60 Questions

I’m feeling very uninspired right now so it seemed like a good time to use this post that I’ve been gradually working on for a while. I got it from Audrey, who got it from Emelia. Audrey answered 45 questions, Emelia’s version had 73 and I went for something in between. So here are my answers to 60 questions. Maybe you’ll learn something new about me.

1. What’s the best thing that happened to you this month?

Kristen sent me Wundersmith  (book 2 of the Nevermoor series). I literally hugged the book while I was telling Jan about it. Before it arrived I was planning to say receiving positive feedback from a customer at work, but honestly the book made me much happier – not the book itself  (although I have been desperate to read it) but the fact that someone was thinking about me and wanted to make me smile  ❤

2. What’s your favourite game?

Articulate – it’s sort of like Taboo but my opinion much better. I also love Trivial Pursuit.

3. When are you most inspired?

Immediately after deciding to try something new. Which is why I have crochet hooks and a book for learning to crochet but have never actually tried it. By the time the stuff arrived my inspiration was gone.

4. If you could teach one subject in school, what would it be?

I worked as an English language assistant for two year and realised during that time I hated teaching so preferably none 😉 If I have to choose something then English literature.

5. What’s your favourite beverage?

Dandelion and Burdock.

6. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

After I lost the twins someone said they hoped we wouldn’t give up trying because we would make great parents. That’s definitely the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.

7. What is your favourite birthday cake?

Is birthday cake a separate thing to just cake? Probably something chocolate.

8. What is one thing you still have from your childhood?

Other than books…. Nick the purple mouse I’ve had since I was born.

10-bed

9. What is your favourite film?

My go-to answer is A League of Their Own but actually there are others I love equally. I’m useless at picking favourites.

10. What is something you can’t do?

Touch my toes… I’m so not flexible! Also play an instrument. I could probably learn with many years of practice but I’ll never be more than just competent. Also draw.

11. Window or aisle seat?

Window on short flights, aisle if it’s like an 8 hour flight.

12. What is something that makes you laugh no matter what?

The film Clue. Always hilarious no matter how many times I watch it.

13. What are your favourite lyrics of all time?

All time? Wow. Umm. That’s asking a lot. Again, terrible at picking favourites. We’ll go with this:

I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you?
Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel

Also including this because the third line makes me laugh:

I met Jane at the centre of the earth
It was dark there was dirt all around
But I gather you can figure that
Devil in the Wishing Well – Five for Fighting

Other strong contenders were lines from Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, Desperado by The Eagles and The New Year by Death Cab for Cutie.

14. What is your favourite holiday?

Pancake Day!

15. What’s heavily played on your music play list right now?

I listen to music on my phone and I always have it on shuffle so no one thing is usually played heavily, unless shuffle goes mad and plays several things from the same artist. The last song I listened to was Forget Tomorrow by Feeder if that helps.

16. If you could raid one woman’s closet, who would it be?

Kezzie‘s. She always wears the best outfits.

17. Must have purse item?

Since I’m British purses are not handbags so obviously money 😉 That and cards are the only things that fit in there.

18. What did you want to be when you grew up when you were 12?

Author. I’m such a cliché.

19. What is something you will not be doing in ten years?

Given I’ll be about to turn 46 I’m guessing no matter how things work out with IVF I’ll have given up trying to get pregnant by then.

20. What is an important life lesson for someone to learn?

Whatever it is you’re going through, its not the end of the world. It may not feel like it right now, but you will get through it. However, while you are going through things, it really is okay not to be okay. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you feel. And don’t let anyone else tell you when it’s time to move on. There is no time limit to feeling bad. (However, if it’s been a while and you truly can’t imagine ever feeling okay again, it is okay to ask for help… even professional help if necessary). Wow, that was long. Sorry if you were expecting something more succinct.

21. How do you start your day?

On week days by snoozing my alarm and wishing that time of morning didn’t exist. Once I’m up and showered the day always starts with tea.

Tea and biscuits

22. Would you ever live anywhere besides where you do now?

I love where I live now! I would live in Austria again given the chance though. Maybe Salzburg.

23. What is your favourite dessert?

Again with the favourites 😅. I like a good crumble. Also chocolate fondant.

24. Is there a dessert you don’t like?

I hate melon so probably melon sorbet or fruit salad containing melon  (or even worse grapefruit!)

25. It’s brunch! What do you eat?

All the potato-based products, scrambled eggs, bacon. Maybe some fruit.

26. Where was the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

New Zealand.

27. Favourite Disney animal?

I like Bernhard from The Rescuers.

28. What is a book you are planning on reading?

All of them? Lol. Obviously I am hoping to get to Wundersmith soon and I’m looking forward to reading The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau.

29. What did you read most recently?

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman. I do not recommend.

30. Favourite solo artist?

Tina Dico

31. What is something you’re tired of?

The never-ending story of Brexit. I still think it’s a bad idea but at this point I think if they’re really determined to ruin the British economy (and possibly make me lose the right to work in Germany) I wish they’d hurry up and get on with it already!

32. What’s a city you wish to visit?

Copenhagen

33. Heels or flats?

I only wear heels for weddings. Lol.

34. Where does one go on a perfect road trip?

Around Switzerland, obviously 😉

35. What do you do on a rainy day?

Read, cross stitch, drink tea.

36. What’s your favourite exercise?

This is a joke, right? 😂 Um, I’m saying walking counts

37. What was your worst subject in school?

Art and music. Both teachers strongly advised that I drop their subject when it came to GCSE options. I also hated Design Tech because I was terrified of most of the machines.

38. What animal do you identify with the most?

Red panda. Mostly solitary, spends most of the day sleeping, needs to eat a lot and only comfortable at temperatures ranging from 17 to 25 °C. Sounds like me 😉

red panda3

39. What do you usually eat for breakfast?

Toast… except when it’s plastic-free July and I can’t buy bread 😦

40. What do you usually eat for dinner?

Um, different things. There is no “usually”. I don’t like to eat the same food every night.

41. Cooking or baking?

I enjoy both although when I’m only cooking for myself it seems pointless. I don’t bake as much as I would like because I hate all the cleaning afterwards.

42. Favourite baked good?

Yorkshire Parkin, made to my grandma’s recipe.

43. What is something you wish you could be good at?

Any of the things that is traditionally considered a “talent”… drawing, music, any sport. Oh, and Spanish. I can never seem to get beyond beginner level.

44. Skiing or surfing?

I’ve never done either. Yes, I live in Switzerland and have never skied. I also lived close to a ski resort in Austria. I’m terrible…

45. First celebrity crush?

Devon Sawa based on those few minutes in the film where Casper is alive.

46. Most recent celebrity crush?

I don’t think I have any “recent” crushes. I’ll say Billie-Joe Armstrong

47. What colour was your prom dress?

Purple

48. How do you manage stress?

Badly? Umm, I don’t know. Writing my diary usually helps. Or going for a walk. Also tea  – tea always helps. course, when the stress is caused by work none of those are possible … then all I can do is power through and hope I can actually meet all the deadlines my wonderful colleagues have given me.

49. What do you do to relax?

Read, go for walks, drink tea, sleep.

50. Shoes or bags?

I’d rather buy books. Lol. But seriously in terms of accessories I have more tights than either shoes or bags. I love colourful tights.

51. How do you know if you’re in love?

Personally when I can stand to be around the person every single day without eventually wanting them to just go away. And I still love him even when he’s annoying me. But honestly I feel like you just know.

52. Who do you turn to when you’re sad?

Jan.

53. What are you most enchanted by?

Nature… a waterfall, a mountain view, a beautiful lake.

DSCN8535

 

54. What is your biggest strength?

Manners. I am always unfailingly polite to shop assistants/waiting staff, etc. Even if I’m having the absolute worst day of my life, I will never be the customer that ruins your day. (I was even polite to the nurses at the clinic who needed four tries to get an IV in me and then got my blood all over the bed.) Is that a strength? I think it is.

55. What is your biggest weakness?

Caring too much what people (might) think. I find it difficult to make friends because I’m scared of talking to people I don’t know… I’m always afraid I’ll say the wrong thing and think I’m weird/not like me. So instead I say nothing and they think I’m weird anyway… and antisocial. I know it shouldn’t even matter what they think of me, but it does. And that’s why most of my friends live on the Internet 😉

56. What are 3 words to describe living in your city?

Rhine, culture, basilisks

57. Cutest thing on planet Earth?

Well-behaved dogs. Seeing them trotting along beside their owners,  off the lead, occasionally glancing up for reassurance/approval melts my heart. If they’re carrying a favourite toy  (stuffed friend!) it’s doubly adorable.

58. Favourite colour?

Red

59. Favourite time of day?

At the moment… when work is over 😅 (can you tell it’s been busy again?)

60. Favourite band?

I usually say Green Day but I haven’t even listened to their last album so I feel like that makes me a bad fan. Although in fairness I haven’t listened to any music released in the last five years except by accident so…

That’s it from me. Tell me your answers to some of these questions in the comments. Or let me know if you’ve done/are going to do this and I’ll come and check out your post.

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I Dare Ya book tag

I’ve seen this little survey on various blogs – I got it from Kristin, but Tanya and Audrey have also done it. I wasn’t tagged by anyone, but I wanted to play anyway.

What book has been on your shelf the longest?

I have a lot of books I was given when I was little and I obviously can’t remember which one was first, but I’m going to go with The Wind in the Willows. I’ve linked to a random version. Mine has a different illustrator. Also, I’ve lost the dust jacket.

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Currently reading The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler. The last book I read was Dead Wrong by Curtis Jobling, book two in the Haunt series. And as for next read… do you seriously expect me to know that already? Let’s just go with it will be one of these:

to-read shelves

Or one of the ones that have crept onto the shelf above because apparently two to-read shelves aren’t enough?

What Books Did Everyone Like, but You Hated?

The Catcher in the Rye – although I am starting to find a few other people who disliked it now. I spent the entire book waiting for the story to start but then nothing ever actually happened. I was in my 20s when I read it so maybe you have to be a teenager to understand? I also hated Wuthering Heights. I read half of it three times before finally finishing it then immediately giving it to a charity shop.

What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

Most of the books on my non-fiction shelf. I am absolutely terrible at reading non-fiction, even if it’s a subject I’m really interested in.

What book are you saving for retirement?

Um, none. I mean I plan to read as much as possible once I retire but there are no books I’m saving specifically for that time. Maybe I’ll finally get to all those classics that really intimidate me?

Last page: read it first or wait ’til the end?

I have a colleague who always reads the end first then only reads the rest of the book if she likes how it ends. I just don’t get that. I would never read the last page before even starting the book!

Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?

Hmm, I don’t think it’s a waste of paper necessarily but some of them are so long. If it’s like a little paragraph I might read it, but an entire page just listing random people? Eh, no thanks.

Which book character would you switch places with?

Lucy from the Narnia books. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but when I was little I was convinced Narnia was a real place and I was desperate to go there.

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (place, time, person)?

The Chalet School books remind me of my grandma’s house because that’s where I fist discovered them – one of my aunts had left a couple there from when she read them as a child and I found them one visit and devoured them. My grandma then let me keep and thus my collection was born. I have most of them now but there are still gaps. Also, Agatha Christie reminds me of my step-mum but that’s mostly because I inherited her collection. I never actually discussed them with her when she was alive or anything. They’re currently all in boxes at my dad’s house but I will get them over here one day.

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

My dad used to work for a recycling plant, specifically on the belt sorting the stuff that could actually be recycled from everything else – you wouldn’t believe the crap people put in their recycling bins! And I don’t just mean as in “yes pizza boxes are theoretically cardboard but we don’t recycle things that are covered in grease and old cheese”. There are people out there who just use them as an extra rubbish bin – many dirty nappies came down the belt and my dad once told a story of a dead rabbit in a carrier bag. Like, what? Anywaaaay… many, many people throw their unwanted books in the recycling bin (😢😢) and my dad “rescued” tonnes of them from the belt. I got my pick of which ones I wanted. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett and Bridget Jones’s Diary are two I remember. Some were in not the best condition but others you could barely tell had been thrown away.

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason/to a special person?

I… don’t know? I give people books all the time. Almost everyone gets books from me for Christmas and birthdays. But for a special reason? Not sure. I was planning to give Jan Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada last Christmas as a silly joke present, but since there were no babies there was also no book.

Which book has been with you to the most places?

Presumably any of my childhood books that moved with us while we were in the army. Ooh, I’ve just remembered I have these two personalised books my grandparents got me – “Beverley and Father Christmas on a Sleigh Ride to the Moon” and “The Pussy-Cat’s Picnic” (I’m not 100% sure on the title of the second, but it’s something like that). My address at the time is mentioned in the stories and it’s the one from before me moved to Northern Ireland so those ones. And those should probably have been my answer for question one too. Oh well. Also I know I picked them up from my dad’s last time I was there but I have no memory of unpacking them or putting them anywhere so now I need to figure out what I’ve done with them…

Any ‘required’ reading that you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

I actually liked everything we read in high school. There are a few books other people read in high school that my class never did but I have read since and didn’t particularly enjoy – specifically The Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies, but they don’t count since I didn’t read them in school (and also still don’t like them). Ohh, wait… I hated Andorra by Max Frisch, which we read for A-Level German. I’ve never re-read it though so no idea what I think now.

Used or brand new?

I don’t mind, as long as it’s readable. Most of my books are used – I could never afford to buy all the ones I read brand new. Especially living in Switzerland! And I don’t own a Kindle, mainly because 99.9% of Kindle books on Amazon tell me they’re not available in my country.

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

My grandma bought Jan four Dan Brown books for Christmas one year so of course I read them all. I liked some better than others. They’re quick reads anyway.

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

High Fidelity works so much better as a film!

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

The Chocolat books by Joanne Harris always make me want chocolate. Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier made me crave Indian food. Basically any book that has detailed descriptions of people making delicious food makes me hungry.

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

I have one good in real-life friend (who also happens to have a blog) always manages to buy me books I’ve a) never heard of and b) end up loving – one of my favourite books of last year was a book from her. I also always get loads of book recommendations from the Show Us Your Books link-up.

Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g. outside of your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

I very surprisingly ended up loving The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. It involves boxing. I could not care less about boxing. But I did very much care about the main character in this book. I would never have even picked it up if it weren’t for the BBC Big Read!

That’s all the questions. If you feel like doing this let me know and I’ll come and have a nosy – I would particularly love to see Kezzie‘s answers to these questions.

Unintentionally imitating art

As you will know if you read my last post, we recently came back from holiday. The final few days of our trip were spent in Lisbon, Portugal. Since we were travelling to hot countries, I had obviously taken summer clothes with me, but it wasn’t until I was actually walking around Lisbon that I realised the dress I had put on that day had a pattern that would have been perfect for one of the beautiful tiles that adorn many Portuguese houses. So, for your viewing pleasure, here is a selection of photos of Portuguese tiles and me blending in so well you’d think I’d done it on purpose…

(I was wearing blue and that seems to be the most popular colour, but not all the tiles in the photos below are blue.)

Lisbon

I’m not really sure how to end this post so uhh, just I guess that’s all folks?

Have a lovely day/week/evening/whatever.

Photo an hour in Ronda (19 May 2019)

¡Hola, mis amigos! Last Sunday was photo an hour day, and it just happened to fall on the first full day of my holiday. We were in Ronda, Spain, where we met up with my sister and brother-in-law, my sister’s best friend and her boyfriend, my brother, my mum and a friend of my mum’s. Let’s see what I got up to that day, shall we?

8:30 a.m. Awake but not getting up yet, so here’s the view from my bed.

9:30 a.m. Now out of bed and having a cuppa.

10:30 a.m. Dressed and waiting for the others to be ready to leave.

11:30 a.m. Admiring the view… the day’s plan being to walk down into the gorge.

12:30 p.m. The start of the journey down.

1:30 p.m. We found water! Hurrah.

2:30 p.m. Back at the top and hitting a bar for some much needed refreshments.

3:30 p.m. Crossing the bridge, and looking down into the gorge.

4:30 p.m. We stopped for lunch… and I also had a beer.

5:30 p.m. Wandering through a rose garden.

6:30 p.m. Back at the apartment to chill for a while… how beautiful is that ceiling?

7:30 p.m. A glass of vino before heading back out.

We went out for dinner after that and I completely forgot to take any more photos, so that’s your lot. Maybe I will remember to post more photos of Ronda at some point, but I wouldn’t hold your breath considering I still haven’t posted must of the ones from our trip around Britain two years ago…

As always, Photo an Hour was hosted by Jane and Louisa. The next one will be on Saturday, 15 June. Make a note of it now if you want to join in!

Style Imitating Art: Blue and Brown

I wasn’t planning on doing another outfit post so soon, but then I saw the SIA inspiration and instantly had an idea for what I could wear, so here we are.

The inspiration for this round is a photo that host Daenel took herself. How cool is that?

bollinger-mill-covered-bridge-by-daenel-vaughn-tucker

I owned every item I’m wearing in my outfit before we moved to Switzerland, which means they’re at least four years old.  Also, two of the items have already featured in past SIA’s – the brown skirt just last week and the brown long-sleeved top back in November. But without further ado, I shall show you what I came up with:

brown and blue outfit

I can’t remember where the skirt is from, the long-sleeved top I think is C&A (or maybe H&M) and the blue top is Primark. The boots are from a shop called Humanic and are Marc O’Polo brand (they were half price and I adore them!).

Close ups of my jewellery:

The necklace was a gift from Jan years ago. The earrings were also a gift – I think from my dad. They’re Tiger’s Eye, which I was always under the impression was the birthstone for Leo (does anyone remember those zodiac birthstone birthday cards you used to get? Leo was always Tiger’s Eye), although the Internet seems to be under the impression that Tiger’s Eye is Gemini. I don’t care – I shall continue to claim it for Leo.

If it weren’t for this link up, it would never have occurred to me to combine brown and blue, but I actually think it looks good together. Thanks for the inspiration, Daenel!

What would you wear for this challenge? If you would like to take part, send a photo of your outfit to livingoutsidethestacks@gmail.com by Tuesday, 29 January. You don’t have to have a blog and you can also just send a photo of the clothes if you prefer not to appear in the picture yourself. There will be a round-up of all submissions on Wednesday, 20 January on Daenels’s blog.

Style Imitating Art: Blue Irises

Hello friends! Time for another style imitating art post – the first of 2019.

The inspiration this time was the Van Gogh Painting “Still Life With Irises”:

still-life-with-irises-1890.jpg!halfhd

I love the blue of the flowers! Unfortunately the only item of clothing I could think of with roughly that shade of blue is a summer dress and I didn’t fancy freezing. So here’s what I chose instead:

sia-jan2019

The flowers are purple rather than blue but I thought the flowers plus green leaves were a decent match for the painting. The skirt is the wrong shade, really, but it kind of represents the beige-y surface the vase is standing on. Not the best interpretation, but I quite like it.

My grandma gave me the top last year and it’s actually the first time I’ve worn it. The label says it’s from Dorothy Perkins. The skirt is old and I don’t remember where it came from. I was also wearing purple tights, which you obviously can’t see on those photo but actually the skirt is long enough that you can’t see them at all when I’m wearing shoes.

How would you interpret this painting? If you want to join in, you have until tomorrow (Tuesday, 15 January) to send a photo of your outfit to 14shadesofgreyblog@gmail.com. Flat lays are fine if you prefer not to show your face.

Style Imitating Art: Bottles of autumn

So, funny story about my entry for this round of Style Imitating Art… I had my outfit all picked out, put it in the suitcase when we went away for a night, then we promptly left the suitcase on the train. Doh! On the plus side, when we went to buy a few necessary bits we found out that the supermarket in Yverdon les Bains sells bamboo tooth brushes. I had been planning for a while to look into ordering one (our branch of the same supermarket does not have them) but never got around to it. Silver linings. And the suitcase has been found – we can pick it up tomorrow. But anyway, I digress… with my original outfit gone, I had to think of something else to wear. Here is the inspiration art, chosen by Danael.

Pocket-flask-metropolitan-museum-of-art-public-access

It’s called Pocket Flask. I love the colours… so appropriate for autumn! And the patterns on the bottles are so interesting. Since we went out for the day today, I got Jan to take a photo of me with all the autumn colours of nature in the background, also so fitting for the inspiration. Here’s what I chose to wear:

SIA-5Nov18

This owl dress is by “Miss Style London”. I believe I bought it from DaWanda, which was the German version of Etsy (but stopped hosting shops recently and is now just a craft site). I’ve had it for about 8 years though so I’m not 100% sure! I thought the colours were really fitting and the patterns at the bottom and on the owls were a good imitation of the patterns on the the flasks. I’m also wearing green tights (not visible, but never mind) and a brown cardigan from Primark (purchased before our move to Basel, so three years ago at least). Some close ups of the owls:

I added some earrings to the outfit, both because the colours fit and they’re kind of glassy looking (although I think they’re actually plastic), which seemed appropriate. Below a photo of me that actually shows one of them plus one of just the earrings. They came from a clothes shop… no idea which one.

It’s already pretty late, but if you fancy joining in and can cobble together an outfit at short notice please do, and then send it to Danael at livingoutsidethestacks@gmail.com by tomorrow (Tuesday 6 November). A round up will go up on her blog on Wednesday and it’s well worth checking out what outfits other people came up with inspired by the art. There are always some amazing contributions!