A Photo An Hour: 21 March 2020

Hello friends! Saturday was the day of the Photo an Hour linkup and, thanks to social distancing, for once I wasn’t the only one spending the entire day inside 😉

Here’s what I got up to:

10 a.m. Kettle is boiling for the first cuppa of the day.

11 a.m. Tooooast! (Just noticed the state of my toaster. Yikes!)

12 noon. Finally starting this book that everyone has been raving about.

1 p.m. About time I got in the shower.

2 p.m. More tea! Jan is up now so I’m making two.

3 p.m. Can’t concentrate on my book while Jan has crap TV on so I’ve escaped to my craft room (otherwise known as the office). Making Easter cards for Post Pals.

4 p.m. Putting on some laundry.

5 p.m. Getting some reading in while Jan’s in the shower.

6 p.m. Cooking. Soup seemed like a good idea.

7 p.m. Drinking beer, watching the news.

8 p.m. Getting some exercise with a virtual reality game. (Please ignore the mess!)

9 p.m. Back in my PJs.

10 p.m. Watching some YouTube.

11 p.m. Time for bed.

How did you spend your weekend at home? (I hope you were at home – unless you work for a health service, supermarket or similar, in which case THANK YOU!).

Photo an Hour is hosted by Louisa and Jane. The next link-up is on 18th April. Will we be allowed out by then? Only time will tell.

Three things for February 2020

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Good morning!  I’ve kind of been neglecting this space recently so I thought I’d do this as something fun that’s also quick and easy. Shamelessly stolen from Audrey.
Three things I liked about February
1. Our trip to St Gallen
2. Pancake day!
3. Watching Good Omens
 
Three things I’m looking forward to in March
1. Poland. We’re meeting my family in Krakow for a few days then Jan and I are going to Wroclaw.
2. Lighter evenings so I can leave the house after work without having to worry about people lurking around corners.
3. …I cant actually think of a third thing. Clearly I need to male some plans for March.
 
Three vegetables I eat the most
1. Carrots
2. Courgettes
3. Chick peas
 
Three grocery items I buy every week
1. Milk
2. Bread (for toast)
3. Chicken
 
Three things we go through like crazy in my house
1. Teabags
2. Dishwasher tabs. I seriously don’t understand how we got through so many with just the two of us living here.
3. Margarine
 
Three things I always have time for
1. Reading
2. Sending birthday cards
3. Catching up with other people’s blog posts
 
Three things I never have time for
1. Writing posts for my own blog
2. Housework (you may think I exaggerate but you haven’t seen the absolute state of my flat!)
3. Cooking anything that takes longer than 45 minutes total  (including prep). I want to but I just can’t!
That’s it. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. (P.S. The photo at the top has nothing to do with anything  – I just needed something to put there.)

Six degrees of separation: From Fleischman is in Trouble to…

This was fun last time, so I thought I’d do it again. This link up is hosted by Kate from Books Are My Favourite and Best. The idea is that everyone starts with the same book and then adds six more to the chain, each one somehow relating to the one before. Then we see where everyone’s chain took them.

This time around, the starting book is Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

Fleishman

I had never heard of this book before, but the synopsis tells me it’s about a man who has recently separated from his wife. One day, she drops their kids off at his place and disappears. This tells the story of him searching for her while juggling his job and parenting their two children. I feel like it’s quite unusual to read about divorce and relationship breakdowns from the man’s perspective, but here’s another book that does that…

Man and Boy by Tony Parsons. This is about a man who, on the eve of his 30th birthday, makes a stupid mistake, which results in his wife moving to Japan, leaving him to raise his son alone.

My next link is a little tentative as it’s based solely on a word in the title…

Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan. I haven’t actually read this yet, but it’s about a boy called Johnny who has recently moved house, and therefore schools, and has to deal with a bully. Then a chance encounter with a swan sparks a series of events that result in Johnny playing the lead in a school ballet. There seems to be a magical element to it as well. It sounds like it’s going to be a fun read!

Let’s move on to another book featuring ballet…

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. I adored this book as a child and read it over and over (seriously, you should see the state of my copy!). This is the story of three sdopted sisters, Pauline, Petrova and Posy, who ended up taking ballet lessons and, later, performing to help earn money for the family.

My link between this one and the next book is adoption.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford. This is a fun children’s mystery set at a smuggler’s inn during the winter. The main character, Milo, is adopted and while the story is not about that, his being adopted does play on his mind a lot (although he clearly loves his adopted family and wouldn’t change his life for anything).

Another book featuring a hotel and a mystery is Winterhouse by Ben Guterson. Interestingly, the main character in this one is an orphan, so there’s another connection! Although according to the synopsis, Elizabeth Somers sadly didn’t end up in a loving family. I haven’t read this one but I really want to!

For my final link, I am going to go with a character name. As I’ve mentioned, Winterhouse features a girl named Elizabeth, which brings me to…

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. Elizabeth is not the main character in this Instead it’s the story of Maud – her best friend – who is suffering from dementia and has a few things muddled up but is determined to find out what’s happened to Elizabeth. The lengths Maud goes to to try and find her friend are really touching and I found this a really good depiction of dementia. I recommend this book.

And that’s six, which wraps up this chain. Go here to find out where everyone else’s journey took them (you can find all the links in the comments on the host’s post).

If you were to make a chain, what links would you use?

A photo an hour: 21 September 2019

Happy Monday friends! I’ve come to the realisation that photo an hour posts are my least popular in terms of both views and comments. But that’s okay – this is not a complaint, just an observation. I shall continue posting them because I quite enjoy being able to look back and see what I did on a random day two years ago – even if it mostly wasn’t anything interesting. Anyway, September’s photo an hour date fell on Saturday. I took part on Twitter and now I shall also share the photos on my blog. As always, Jane and Louisa were the hosts.

9 a.m. Starting the day with tea, as always.

10 a.m. Cross stitch, but soon I’ll be going for a shower.

11 a.m. I got dressed – yay me! Now opening my post, which included this candle. Look how shiny!

12 noon. Off to the Post Office, where I sent my brother’s birthday present.

1 p.m. In town. There was an emergency services event happening.

2 p.m. Back home. Time for a cuppa before I commence cleaning.

3 p.m. Gotta empty that dishwasher! (And then refill it. Where do all the dishes come from?)

4 p.m. Hoovering the living room.

5 p.m. Second load of laundry about to go in.

6 p.m. Jan was at an all-day choir rehearsal, but he said he would be home by 7 and would want food… guess I’d better get started then.

7 p.m. (ish – I got distracted and took the photo a little late). Food and Pointless Celebrities.

8 p.m. Going back to the 90s as I start my Buffy the Vampire Slayer re-watch.

9 p.m. More Buffy.

10 p.m. On to episode 3. When this was finished we went to bed, and since it was still before 11 there are no more photos.

How was your Saturday? A little more exciting than mine, perhaps? If you want to join in next month, October’s photo an hour will be on the 12th. Simply take a photo every hour and either post it to Twitter or Instagram (or both) using the hashtag #photoanhour or save them all up and write a blog post. Or do all three! Whatever floats your boat. Have a great week my lovelies.

My favourite season

autumn3

There are people out there lamenting the fact that proper autumn isn’t here yet. Apparently they actually want it to be dark by 5pm and not get light again until everyone has already started work the next day. They’re looking forward to never leaving the house without a rain coat or an umbrella. They’re excited about cloudy days and wet, slippery leaves. But for me, personally, this late summer/early autumn stage is my favourite.

♡ The days have cooled down to a bearable temperature so I can leave the house without a hat, 12 bottles of water and enough sun cream for an army but I only need a jacket if I’m venturing out early in the morning or late at night.

♡ I can go for a walk and neither roast nor freeze. You can call my Goldilocks because I like my temperatures “just right”.

♡ It’s dark by tea time so I can light a candle and curl up with a book after we eat, but I still have time to run out and grab some groceries after work before the evening draws in.

♡ Pumpkins and squashes are back in the shops (yay!) but I still have meal choices that aren’t “what’s the most warming thing I can think of because it is freezing today!” (Side note: why does all warming/comforting food involve so much peeling and chopping? Our evening meals take up so much more of my time on cold days).

♡ We get the ocasional rain shower but it hasn’t yet progressed to multiple days at a time of grey skies and wet feet.

♡ The trees are just on the cusp of turning and soon I will get to marvel over all the wonderful colours, but currently all the trees still have their leaves. (Within weeks of autumn foliage time the trees will be bare and won’t start to get leaves again until April. Is that what all you people who are demanding autumn colours *right now* actually want? Six entire months of depressingly naked trees?)

So all of you who are longing for real autumn, followed by winter, just be a little bit patient. You’ll get your cold, dark, damp days soon enough (and they will go on for longer than you think!) Just let me have these 4-6 ish weeks of “my” season. You may even find that we agree on some things.

*Disclaimer: while the descriptions of my preferences are true, this post in its entirety is thoroughly tongue in cheek. No offence at all intended to those who are looking forward to autumn/winter!

Style (badly) imitating art

Happy Monday friends. Jan came back from Italy late yesterday and then proceeded to snore and grind his teeth all night, so I’m tired today. Early night definitely in order tonight! Anyway, for the first time in ages, I actually remembered to check the inspiration for Style Imitating Art, and here it is (chosen by Kim from Fierce Fashion Blog):

Cordial Medoc

My first thought on looking at the poster was “I don’t have anything in those colours!”. Then I went beyond the colours and for some reason the way the grapes are laid out reminded me of a top I own, even though neither the colours nor the pattern match? Here is my outfit… let me know if you can see what I mean:

SIA_9-9-19

Here is a closer look at the top… with apologies for my utter uselessness at selfie taking! It’s mainly something about the way the green leaves are just kind of splodged on that reminds me of the grapes. (Splodged… technical term don’tcha know 🤣)

SIA-selfie

Finally, for those who are interested, these are my shoes, although those have very little to do with the inspiration. I just shoved them on because they kind of match the outfit. They have red and purple though, so they are at least vaguely similar to the colours in the poster.

SIA-shoes

Since this is an outfit post, the obligatory “where stuff came from”. The top is from Sainsburys, apparently (as in the supermarket) – I had no idea they even did clothes! My aunt bought it and didn’t like it, so she gave it to my mum who didn’t want it either and promptly passed it on to me! Skirt: Don’t remember. It’s about 9 years old and the label is gone. Shoes: Primark, about 5 years ago. (And the socks are H&M, although I’m sure no-one cares about those!).

So, what do you think? Am I completely crazy for thinking this is even vaguely reminiscent of the inspiration?

If you would like to join in, you have until tomorrow (Tuesday, 10 September) to send a photo of your outfit to Kim at fiercefashionblog@gmail.com (worn or just a flat lay), then check her blog on Wednesday for the full round up of outfits.

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.