Friday letters

The fact that it is Friday is so confusing to me this week! I had three more holiday days from last year that needed to be used before the end of the month and this week was Fasnacht (Basel carnival), so it seemed like a good time to take them, with the result that I went back to work yesterday and now it’s already Friday! While a two day working week is quite relaxing, it is apparently too much for my brain to take in… yesterday I spent 3 or 4 hours totally convinced it was Monday. Hmm. Oh well, on with the letters.

Mail box

Dear Fasnacht. So, you’re over for another year. As fun as you were, I must admit I will be glad to be able to go into town without being confetti bombed! (And to no longer constantly be hoovering said confetti up from my floor!)

Dear body. I do not understand how it took you a month to shed 1.5 kg and a mere three days to put every single gram of that back on. Fasnacht has a lot to answer for!

Dear Jillian Michaels DVD. I have big plans to get you out and start doing your workouts again. Unfortunately so far the project seems to have stopped at the planning stage 😉

Dear self. I know Goodreads is tempting, but you really do not need to be adding any more books to your wish list. Read the ones you’ve got on your shelves first!

Dear OU. It’s been a long time since I last tried one of your short courses. I hope I’m still disciplined enough to do the work! At least this is one I can do at my own pace – and I have a whole 6 months so that should be doable…

That’s all folks. Have a great weekend!

 

Guess the Cross Stitch Volume 5 – round 2

There weren’t many guesses for the first round of “Guess the Cross Stitch”. Is this one too hard or is everyone just busy/bored with my blog? Either way, before we continue with round 2 I will present the guesses I’ve had so far.

Here’s what you had to work with:

guess-the-cross-stitch

 

Maia thought it might be a teddy bears’ picnic, with the checked part being a blanket.

Erin guessed a castle.

Jack thought it might be a TARDIS (I knew someone would ;-))

Kezzie thought maybe a Monsters, Inc. character or Thomas the Tank Engine – both very fitting for a 1st birthday card.

And that was it. Just four guesses this time. Nobody got it right, so on to round 2. Here’s a new photo with more completed:

guess-the-cross-stitch

So, now can you guess what I’m stitching? Answers in the comments…

Recent doings #15

Another month, another link up with Kristin and Gretch. I know the use of the progressive form makes it sound like this is what’s happening right now, but I like the way it sounds, so just think of it as what I was doing in February, okay?

whats-new

Reading. All of these books for the bonus round of Erin’s challenge plus The Mysterious Howling, which is book one of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (I had originally planned to use it as my 6 word title for the challenge until I realised the six words were the series title, not the book title. *Sigh*). It was cute and fun and I loved it so much that I immediately ordered book 2 (but have yet to actually read it). I also read a children’s book called Hatching Magic to see whether my little brother might like it. I don’t know about him, but I LOVED it… but what’s not to love about a baby wyvern that’s addicted to chocolate? And right at the very end of the month I squeezed in The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag. The author is new to me but I will definitely be reading more of her books! This one reminded me a bit of Sarah Addision Allen or some novels by Joanne Harris (who I adore!), except set in England and with books. It’s very quirky, whimsical and it just made me happy. It’s maybe a little cheesy and some may find the ending too perfect, but I don’t care. This book is like the literary equivalent of comfort food and it was exactly what I needed in that moment.

Watching. An animated film called Igor that featured the voices of Eddie Izzard and John Cleese but wasn’t as good as those names would suggest and Inglorious Basterds, which my mum gave us for Christmas when it first came out on DVD and we hadn’t actually got round to watching until now! Umm, I think I managed to sneak in a few episodes of Pointless as well, but that’s about it. Actually, Jan always has the TV on when he’s home but I rarely pay attention to what’s on it. Boring (to me) documentaries usually.

Celebrating. Our anniversary (way back at the beginning of the month). We’ve now been together for 13 whole years! Here’s hoping that turns out to be a lucky number for some 😉

Eating. Apples. I’ve been trying out that old “an apple a day” thing. I have them with almond purée (which is expensive by the way, even by Swiss standards!). Although I didn’t actually manage to have an apple every single day. I’ve also been trying to have fish twice a week – and not just in the form of tuna pasta bake. I may have resorted to fish fingers a few times… And of course I ate pancakes on Tuesday – some traditions are worth hanging on to!

Drinking. Dandelion tea and ginger & lemon tea in an attempt to cut down my caffeine intake. I still can’t bring myself to abandon my morning cup of normal (i.e. black) tea though!

Designing. My own cross stitch pattern! It will get its own blog post, but here’s a sneak preview of my designing process. So hi-tech 😉

cross-stitch-design

Cross stitching. The above design, for one thing. Also birthday cards – one of which is still waiting for you to guess what it is. Just sayin’…

Buying. Apart from books you mean? 😉 I bought a long black skirt a few weeks ago and have worn it almost constantly since then, except when it had to go in the wash because I spilled almond purée all down it. I also bought a necklace from Etsy. Plus birthday presents for my friend’s son.

Building. IKEA furniture. Technically it was also purchased during February, but Jan paid for it so it felt wrong putting it under “buying”. Elaine was wondering where my tights had been stored before so I took before and after photos for you. The white thing is a fabric storage container that went in Jan’s old wardrobe but is the wrong size for the one we have now, so it had to live alongside it. The chest of drawers makes things look so much neater, don’t you think?

Organising. My books. One of the other items of furniture we got was another bookcase, so some of the books that were piled up on the shelves moved over there while others got rearranged. I’m sure it won’t be long before the chaos of more books than shelves reigns again, but for now it’s looking good!

Enjoying. The fact that it’s actually light when I finish work now! The first time it happened I got so excited that I went for a walk to the further away supermarket then only bought a carton of milk because that was all I could afford.

Going to. Winterthur, near Zurich the day before our anniversary. We walked around the town then went to the nature museum where there was an exhibition about bees. The bee exhibition was kind of disappointing but the rest of the museum made up for it.

Planning. A trip to Berlin at Easter and potentially a trip around Britain in the summer. One of those things is more finalised than the other.

Wishing. I was in Belgium so I could visit Kerri and her new puppy. Seriously, just look at that little face!! I so want a cuddle.

Wondering. Why doctors don’t just let people arrange appointments online already. It would save me a lot of attempts to say/spell my last name over the phone to German speakers who just cannot (or will not?) understand!

Hoping. That things go well with all the projects that Jan currently has going on at work. Please send good thoughts our way!

And just like that February is done and dusted! So, how was your month? Been doing anything fun recently?

February photos

Happy March everyone! I can’t believe another month is over already. Today is Jan’s birthday, so tonight there shall be a nice meal and gifts 🙂

Last month I started a new series in which I wanted to share the photos I took throughout the month that didn’t warrant a blog post of their own. So, with another month now over, it’s time to share February’s photos.

Nobody needs this many (bad) photos of small birds but I just can’t resist their cuteness!

The snow returned (briefly) and I discovered once again that it’s really hard to take photos while snow is actually falling from the sky!

snow

The photo above was taken on a Friday morning. The sun came out in the afternoon and melted everything that had managed to settle… and would you believe the next day was bright sunshine and highs of 12°C? The weather has been so confusing lately!

I had a week off at the end of the month and on a particularly sunny day I went for a walk into town (and beyond). It was 22°C that day. In February! I mean, it was nearly March, but still… 22°C!

There were signs that spring was approaching! Can you spy the bee below?

I walked all the way to the Birsfelden hydroelectric plant, which means nothing to you so you’ll just have to trust me that it was a reasonably long walk 😉 2km further and I would have been in Germany, but instead I decided to cross the river and head back since it was getting on for 3 p.m. and I still had to cook tea.

Look how blue the water is? Aah, I love living here!

And, to finish off, a yummy treat! Jan and I finally made it to the chocolate café I’ve been saying I want to go to ever since we moved here. I don’t even care that I went way over my calorie limit for that day -it was so, so worth it! Chocolate heaven ❤

And that was my February in photos. Tomorrow there will be a proper February recap post – with less imagery and more words (the type that end with -ing 😉 )

Book challenge by Erin 6.0: bonus round check in 1

Today I am checking in for the bonus round of Erin‘s current reading challenge. Don’t worry, I haven’t finished already 😉 Although I am quite impressed that I got through my choice for “favourite author”…

Here’s what I read for the challenge in February:

books-feb-2017

10 points: Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (399 pages). I had absolutely no idea what this book was about – had never seen the film and somehow had never heard anything about it. Turns out there is no real story. Not one with a beginning, middle and end anyway. Instead we just follow the titular psycho around while he socialises and shops and eats in New York City. Oh, and occasionally kills someone… brutally, graphically, violently. Obviously I was expecting it to be disturbing and graphic, but it was so much more disturbing than I was expecting. Especially towards the end. What I was not expecting was constant references to Donald Trump. Even in fiction I can’t escape him! I gave it 4 stars but I will never, ever read it again!

15 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “W”.

I had two choices for this one, but I decided to read Where She Went by Gayle Forman (264 pages) because it had been on my list longer. Also there are extra bonus points for choosing books that someone had already chosen for the challenge. I must have loved If I Stay because as soon as I finished it I knew I needed to read the sequel, but by the time I got round to reading this one I only had a vague recollection of the story. I still know the main outline, obviously, and I remember crying a lot, but the details are gone. Hmm. Anyway, I really loved this one. I was devastated for Adam and once Mia came back on the scene I really felt for her as well. It made me think about what I would have done in her situation. 5 stars.

20 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) green cover.

green-coverThe Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson (434 pages). This book was not at all what I was expecting! I thought it would be some kind of chick lit/romantic comedy, and in a way it is, but it’s also so much more than that. There is romance, but there’s also a mystery and parts of it are very dark. It deals with mental health and there is a twist that I truly was not expecting. I don’t really know how to review this any further without giving things away, so I’ll just say you should definitely give it a chance. It got 4 stars from me anyway. Photo to the left to prove the cover is green 😉

25 points: Read a book with a homonym in the title

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (324 pages; homonym = tale/tail). I had literally zero idea what this book was about. All I knew was that it’s some kind of classic and people seem to rate it highly. And it’s number 131 in the BBC Big Read list so I would have had to read it no matter what. It turns out that it’s really good, and also incredibly relevant right now given the current political situation in various countries. The story is a bit disjointed and vague, which would probably annoy some people, but I actually thought that was quite a clever tactic – it let you fill in the blanks yourself (potentially with even worse things than the author was imagining) and reinforced the fact that the narrator was very much kept in the dark. At the time it was written this book probably seemed extreme and nobody believed it could ever actually happen. I might have thought that myself if I had read it 10 years ago. But now, in 2017, I’m not so sure. 5 stars.

25 points: (Submitted by Linda) Read a book by your favourite author

I could never pick just one favourite author, so I chose from among the few I always list when asked. Stephen King has been a favourite ever since I read Insomnia when I was far too young to actually understand what I was reading. For this challenge, I read The Stand (1439 pages). Although I love King’s writing, my one problem with him is that he has a tendency to go on and on, long past when he should have stopped. This book is definitely one that could have done with being shorter. Admittedly it’s partly my own fault for reading the uncut edition, but even the original was 817 long, long pages. On the positive side, the writing was, as always, excellent, as was the characterisation – King always makes me feel like his characters are real, and it’s amazing how different he makes them all. How does he manage to get into the minds of such a variety of people? The story of the plague that destroyed the world and the struggles of the few survivors made a really compelling story. However, the supernatural element felt out of place in this one. The whole good versus evil, or God versus the devil (or someone like him) sub-plot made no sense, especially given the ending. Trying not to give too much away, but in my opinion “good” didn’t even defeat “evil” in this book – a few good guys turned up where the good guys were and then something accidental happened and the day was saved… but not by the people who had trekked all that way to save the day. What? It almost felt like King had got that far with the story and had no idea how he even wanted to end it. Minus one star for that. I still gave it 4 though because I really did enjoy reading it – and got through all those pages surprisingly quickly.

And that’s it. I’m halfway through the bonus round with two months to go.

Are you taking part in this challenge? Read anything good recently?

Guess the cross stitch volume 5

Hello everyone. Sorry I’ve been a bit absent this week – being off work I haven’t really felt like turning on the computer, and for reasons unknown to me I can’t post from my tablet! But I thought I would quickly pop in before the week is over with an easy kind of post. A few people have asked whether I’ll be doing a cross stitch guessing game this year, and I’m finally stitching something that seems suitable. I was quite surprised to realise that this is the 5th time I’ve done one of these!

The rules are simple: I post a photo of something I’m cross stitching and you tell me what you think the completed image will be. If nobody guesses correctly I post an updated picture and you try to guess from that. I will give you one clue: it’s a birthday card for a boy who is turning one (also yes it is the right way up!).

Here’s your first photo:

guess-the-cross-stitch

Have fun!

(not) A Photo An Hour: 18 February 2017

As I mentioned, I had to attend an event at work yesterday. I couldn’t really take my camera out all the time (plus I had to help with things), but I didn’t want to miss out on the link up altogether, so I hereby present to you a photo every hour that I wasn’t working 😉

5:30 a.m. Yes, you read that right (ugh!). Up and off for a shower.

6:30 a.m. On the tram, which will be leaving in precisely 3 minutes.

7:30 a.m. My oh-so-healthy breakfast on the train: a vanilla croissant and some vegan drink thing. I’m clearly not vegan (don’t even want to imagine how much cream is in the filing of that croissant!) but I do like to try interesting looking things. This particular one was weird and not that nice, and I ended up not finishing it.

8:30 a.m. Couldn’t manage to sleep on the train so I’m reading instead.

9:30 a.m. On the way to work. I wonder how many readers now know which city my company is located in from this?

What followed was a lot of socialising, discussing and, in between, clearing away plates and things. It was an interesting day, but also kind of exhausting.

5:30 p.m. I should probably have left a gap between the two photo halves, but symmetry! Waiting for the train home.

I was supposed to take two photos on the train, but I was reading and totally forgot sooo…

7:45 pm. Back on the tram.

8:30 p.m. Home, and the oven is pre-heating for my pizza. There was no way anything but convenience foods was getting consumed after that long day!

9:30 p.m. Pizza has been consumed and my pyjamas have never felt more cosy!

10:30 p.m. The only reason I’m still awake is because Jan was at a choir practice thing all day and I wanted to at least say hello to him! He has arrived home now and is watching TV, so it’s time for me to turn out the light and snuggle up with this cutie! (He’s called Nick, by the way)

That was my Saturday. How was yours?