Recent doings #28

Before I start this post can we just take a minute to think about the fact that it is now June? The sixth month of the year. We are almost half-way through 2018 and I feel like I have absolutely nothing to show for it. Although I have read 87 books so far this year, so that’s something, I suppose. Anyway, today I am here to tell you about the month that’s just ended. So without further ado, here is what I got up to in May:

whats new with you

Reading. I read 11 books in May and finished another that I had started in April. You’ll find out all about them on Tuesday. I also continued with Pillars of the Earth but I’m still not even halfway through.

Listening to. We hired a car to drive to where my uncle lives near Munich and listened to Welcome to Night Vale on the way there. Coming home, we listened to part of the audiobook of M is for Magic, written and read by Neil Gaiman.

Watching. We are still watching Young Sheldon, so that. Also, we went to the cinema in May – for the first time since moving to Switzerland! We saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It was odd but good. I can’t remember whether I watched anything else in May. Jan watched random stuff, as always, but I usually don’t pay much attention.

Eating. Umm… what did I eat in May? I started the month quite well with salads and whatnot. Then after putting the half kilogram I had lost back on then failing to lose any more weight I temporarily gave up and consumed way too much ice cream. The trip to Munich didn’t help either! I’m back on the wagon now, but heavier than ever. Ugh.

Making. Birthday cards for Post Pals kids. I don’t seem to do much else these days.

Cross stitching. I finished the wedding card I started last month and also stitched a goat card for a Post Pals sibling.

Travelling. To just outside Munich for my cousin’s confirmation and then to England at the end of the month for the wedding I stitched the card for. On the way back from Munich we went to the Partnach Gorge near Garmisch-Patenkirchen with my Munich-dwelling uncle plus my aunt and uncle who came over from England for the confirmation. My camera couldn’t cope at all with the combination of bright light outside/darkness in the gorge, but here’s one of the photos that turned out okay-ish.

Partnachklamm

Going. To a set of waterfalls called the Trümmelbachfälle. Basically ten glacier-fed waterfalls inside a mountain. It’s very, very cool to look at! On the way back we stopped in Spiez and were going to play mini golf but we didn’t have cash and the only banks were right on top of the hill.

Celebrating. My cousin’s confirmation. There was a long church service then we went for a three-course meal. I did not, however, celebrate my friend’s wedding in May because it didn’t happen until June 😉

Buying. I put myself on a sort-of mini spending ban in May, but still bought four books because I could not resist. That’s a lot less than usual though. I also bought shoes, which was a necessary expense because I didn’t have a suitable pair for the wedding! And I bought two necklaces from Etsy (they were on sale and they were way too cool for me not to own them). Obviously I suck at not spending.

Walking. I tried to walk into town at least once a week and Jan and I also took a 3-hour walk from our place to the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. The final part of the walk was a sculpture trail called “24 stops” that ends at the Vitra Design Museum (or starts there depending which way round you do it). And we went for a walk along the beach with my mam and brother while we were in England (that was on 31st May so still last month). Once again, walking was my only exercise. The exercise mat I bought continues to watch me accusingly as I consistently ignore it.

Basel 24 stops
One of the 24 Stops sculptures

Seeing/hearing. A musician called Christian Zehnder who Jan performed with once. Christian Zehnder is a “vocal artist” who mainly does what’s known as “throat singing” or “overtone singing”. This time he was with another musician who was playing a hurdy gurdy. If I say it was unusual it sounds as if I didn’t like it, but I actually did. Unusual (or interesting) really is the best adjective to describe it though!

Umm, I can’t think of anything else of note that I did in May. Jan had choir stuff practically every weekend so I spent most of my time home alone either reading or cleaning/sorting. I managed to take about 25 books to the public bookshelf over the course of the month – and still have about another 30 to get rid of!

So, that’s all from me. What have you been doing recently? I’m linking up with Kristen, as always.

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Book Challenge by Erin 9.0 – Preliminary List

Hello! I am back in Switzerland and the categories have been announced for Erin’s next reading challenge, so today I thought I would bring you my tentative list. As always, this is subject to change depending on my mood once the challenge actually starts.

The rules in brief: all books must be 200 or more pages, one re-read is allowed, only books read between 1 July and 31 October 2018 count. And, the most important rule, HAVE FUN!

Now the categories, and my choices.

5 points: Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages
I will decide this based on what I feel I absolutely cannot wait to read once July comes around.

10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “N”
This one will be my re-read. I just picked up Needful Things by Stephen King while I was at my dad’s and it’s been about 15 years since I read it. I may change my mind though given it has 790 pages! I don’t actually currently own an unread book that starts with N though.

10 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) orange cover
I knew I didn’t have an orange book so I bought one at the airport yesterday. The History of Bees by Maja Lunde. I have the copy pictured below – I hope it’s orange enough!

history of bees

15 points: Read a book with an unlikeable character
I am trying to read books I already own and The Collector by John Fowles is on this Goodreads list of unlikeable characters.

20 points: Read a book from the list of 100 books that PBS calls “The Great American Read”. The list is here: http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/books/#/
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is on both this list and the BBC Big Read list so I suppose it’s about time I read it.

20 points: Read a book with something related to water in the title; i.e. ocean, sea, lake, river, waves, etc.
I have precisely two books with water-related titles on my shelves and both are over 600 pages long! I’ll probably go with The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy (my other option is River God by Wilbur Smith)

25 points: Read a book you’ve owned the longest but haven’t read yet (or that has been on your goodreads “to read” list the longest, or has been sitting in your kindle the longest)…basically, read a book you’ve been meaning to read the longest but haven’t got to it yet.
I can’t remember which book I have actually owned for longest, so I went to my Goodreads “want-to-read” list, arranged them in order of date added and discovered that the very first book only has 109 pages. The second book is Un Lun Dun by China Miéville so I’ll be reading that.

30 points: Read a book with an emotion word in the title; i.e. joy, sadness, grief, love, anger, etc. (submitted by Megan)
I thought I would have loads of books for this category, but I actually only found two on my to-read shelf: Love Always by Harriet Evans. (The other one was Joyland by Stephen King but I’m already reading a King book for this challenge).

30 points: Read a book (must be at least 2 words in the title) where each word in the title of the book begins with the same letter (submitted by Vinay); examples: Magpie Murders, Gone Girl, Peter Pan, Love’s Labor Lost – conjunctions and articles count; for example, if the title has “and” in the title, all of the other words must start with “A” to count; or if the title has “the” in it, all of the other words must start with “T”
I have two options for this one. I will either read Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips or Little Lies by Liane Moriaty (for some reason, my copy misses out the “Big”, making the title alliterative)

35 points: Read a book featuring a character who shares your profession or similar one – basically the idea is the character does the same kind of thing as you do day to day – stay at home parent or student counts as a profession; yes, you may need to be creative with this one, stretch it, and make it work for you. (submitted by Bev)
As most of you know, I am a translator. I plan to read The Irish Cottage Murder by Dicey Deere. The main character is apparently a children’s book translator so she’s basically living my dream. So much more interesting than translating technical manuals and price lists for dental equipment (yes, really).
I chose this category and I know it’s difficult, so if anyone is doing the challenge and struggling with this one I will be happy to help you find a book featuring someone with your profession!

And those are all my choices. Now I just have to force myself to wait until July to start reading them! Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Are you joining in with this challenge? Let me know where your list is and I will come and have a look. If you think you might like to join in and would like more information there is both a Facebook and a Goodreads group where Erin provides lots of support and encouragement.

And now I’m off to buy milk so I can finally have a cup of tea!

 

Style Imitating Art: Memorial Day Poppy

I wasn’t going to take part in SIA this week but then I saw what the artwork was and couldn’t resist.

Jen from Librarian for Life and Style chose the botanical engraving “Papauer I ‘Morpheus’. [Memorial Day Poppy]”

memorialdaypoppy

Isn’t it pretty?

I feel like I’ve been interpreting the prompts very literally with my clothing choices, but as soon as I saw the picture I knew which top I wanted to wear, and once again it’s a very literally interpretation.

SIA_poppy

The above photo was the best of a bad bunch! I started off in the spare room because there was actually natural light there, but every single photo was either way too bright or blurry, so I moved back to by the front door. I have no idea what’s going on with my hands here or why there’s weird light on the right but this is honestly the best of about 20 photos! Ugh.

Like in the photo, I wanted the flower to be the only pop of colour against the background (although my background is black rather than white), so I kept it simple and paired the top with a long black skirt. I then added a bracelet featuring a butterfly that I thought looked just like the butterfly in the art.

SIA-bracelet

I wanted to try and show you a better picture of the top without my hands in the way, so here’s a selfie (which I am terrible at!). Excuse the suitcase in the background – I’m busy packing for our flight later.

SIA-selfie

This is the outfit I am wearing to run my errands today. I will get changed later before heading to the airport – I find long skirts get in the way while travelling!

I realised last time that most people say where their clothes came from on outfit posts. Unfortunately, for the most part I actually can’t! This top is about 10 years old and I know I bought it in Germany but couldn’t tell you where! The skirt was ordered online but I can’t remember which site. The bracelet I think came from C&A in Germany 5 or 6 years ago. Yep, I’m useless.

To participate in this round of SIA send a photo of an outfit inspired by this week’s SIA artwork — selfies and flat lays are also welcome — to this week’s curator, Jen, by emailing librarianforlifestyle@gmail.com by next Tuesday, 5 June. The SIA round-up will appear on her blog on Wednesday, 6 June.

And now I have to go and eat breakfast then take away some more recycling. I will post again on my return from England.

 

Off to the motherland!

unionflag

I’m off work this week, which theoretically gives me lots of time to blog but unfortunately doesn’t help with my lack of inspiration. Instead, I’ve spent most of the last 2 days cleaning and sorting out ready for us flying to England tomorrow. Does anyone else go in to major clean-all-the-things mode before a trip? The place must be tidy before we go away even though it’s going to be empty during that time. So things have gone to the recycling point, laundry has been washed, our bedding has been changed, I have hoovered and scrubbed and washed dishes. I was also naughty today and went shopping. I bought shoes, which is okay because I needed some for the wedding we’re going to on Saturday, but I also bought two summer dresses and a pair of trousers, which I really don’t need. Oh, and nail varnish. Oops! So much for my May spending ban!

Anyway, I have a shower that needs cleaning then I can finally sit down and have a cuppa! I hope you’re all having a much more relaxing day.

A Photo an Hour: 19 May 2018

It’s taken a couple of days, but finally here is my post for Saturday’s photo an hour. The link up is hosted by Louisa and Jane.

9 a.m. Yes, you read that right. I was up before 10 on photo-an-hour day. Breakfast time!

10 a.m. Off for a shower – this is the shower curtain over the bath since Jan was using the actual shower

11 a.m. Jan left for a choir practice (hence me being up so early – practically my only chance to see him!) and I started hoovering.

12 noon I temporarily gave up on housework and decided to walk into town.

1 p.m. In town.

2 p.m. Home and about to have lunch – it was in the oven at this point so I took a photo of the packaging.

3 p.m. Decided to sort out some of the shelves on my bookcases. No idea what possessed me!

4 p.m. Still at it. I put together a nice pile of books to get rid of, but the shelves are still practically full. Also, I realised I can’t bring myself to get rid of any BBC Big Read books, even ones I hated, until I’ve actually completed the challenge!

5 p.m. The bookcases still aren’t exactly as I want them, but I needed a cuppa by that stage.

6 p.m. Contemplating my shelves of unread books. They never seem to get any less… hmmm I wonder why that could be?

7 p.m. Jan’s practice finished early so I walked back into town to meet him. Stork was in residence!

8 p.m. Dinner at a restaurant. Rösti with cheese and ham. This is why I’m failing miserably to lose weight!

9 p.m. Home. Jan immediately switched on the laptop to sort out some bills so I thought I might as well read.

10 p.m. Almost finished my book – just a few pages to go.

I could have taken one more photo after this, but I didn’t because I hate it when my photo-an-hour posts aren’t symmetrical!

Did you do anything nice on Saturday?

Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt 2.0

Hello friends! You may remember that a while ago I did a bookshelf scavenger hunt – basically taking various prompts and finding books on my shelf that fit them. I recently watched another version, with different prompts, on Books and Lala‘s YouTube channel (I guess I should call it Book Tube channel?) and wanted to play along again. I can’t credit the original creator because I have no idea who that was. So, without further ado, here we go…

1. Find a book that starts with an “N”

I’m guessing in the title, as opposed to the first letter on the first page 😉

1-Starts with N

Neverwhere… and there is also a bonus N book to the right.

2. Find a book cover that’s mostly brown

This was actually quite difficult – apparently I don’t have a lot of brown books! I found one though.

2-brown cover

3. Find a book that’s based on a true story

I’m reaching a little here, but this book is about a woman suffering with severe M.E. and the author also has M.E. (the book is described as an “autobiographical novel) so it kind of counts…

3-true story

4. Find a multiple perspective book

4-multi-perspectives

This book is told from the perspectives of the two main characters, Scarlet and Ivy.

5. Find a book you read last year

I read lots of books last year. Here’s one I liked a lot:

5-read last year

I can’t believe I’m still waiting for the final book in the series to come out!

6. Find the most recent book that you bought

This was easy! I was in the office again the other day and I needed a new book for the way home, so I went to the train station bookshop and found this:

6-recently bought

I tore through it on the train and loved it.

7. Find a book cover you don’t like

7-disliked cover

I love Stephen King, but what is this cover all about? So ugly!

8. Find a retelling

I haven’t read this yet, but I’m fairly sure it’s a retelling of Peter Pan:

8-retelling

9. Find a book that is also a movie film (sorry)

I wanted to use The Princess Bride for this but I couldn’t find it, so here’s this:

9-also a film

I have read this book 3 or 4 times but never seen the film.

10. Find a book written this year

Umm, I don’t have one. I rarely buy new books. I was thinking of Eliza and her Monsters but the copyright is 2017, so I have nothing for this prompt.

11. Find a non-fiction book

Easy! All our non-fiction books are together on one bookcase 🙂

10-non-fiction

I haven’t read this yet but I really want to!

12. Find a book you have told others to read

I have told several people to read this. As far as I know none of them have:

11-recommended book

13. Find a book with a tree on the cover

Another one I haven’t read.

12-tree on cover

By the way, that Costa thing isn’t a sticker but is actually printed onto the cover of my book. Why?!

14. Find a book where the author’s name is the same as yours (first, middle or last)

The spelling is different but it still counts!

13-author shares name

I took out all the Ramona books from the library when I was about 7 purely because the author shared my name.

15. Find a book you have read more than once.

Many, but I went with a childhood (and all-time) favourite:

14-read multiple times

I’ve only just noticed The Secret Garden peeking out at the side… I’ve definitely read that one multiple times as well!

16. Find a book you didn’t finish

15-never finished

I started reading this once with Jan and then again on my own for a reading challenge (the category was to read a book you had previously failed to finish… ironically, I again did not finish). It’s not like it’s a bad book, it’s just so long and the writing is so tiny…

17. Find a book with a king in it.

I wanted to use a Terry Pratchett book for this but annoyingly none of the books featuring King Verence are on the bookcase. I know I’ve bought Jan at least one so he must have left them at his dad’s place. So instead, have this:

16-king in the book

This is a King Arthur retelling. I’ve started it but so far I’m failing to really get into it.

18. Find a book that’s purple with its dust jacket off.

I took off so many dust jackets for this prompt, and in the process discovered that most of my books are boring black when naked. This one is kind of purple though. I also took a photo of it with its dust jacket so you can see what it is.

I’m not sure how purple it looks here, but it’s purplish in real life. I read this one a few years ago and I think I liked it at the time, although I don’t remember much about it now.

19. Find a book you will read by the end of the year

This is the final prompt. And the book I chose was this one:

18-will read in 2018

I’ve had it on my shelf for a while and it sounds really interesting so I will definitely be picking it up sometime soon.

That’s all folks! This is a really fun thing to do – you should give it a try 🙂

Style Imitating Art: Monkey Trading Card

Hello friends! I don’t know yet whether this will be a regular thing, but today I thought I would take part in the latest round of Style Imitating Art. This time, the art was chosen by Daenel at Living Outside the Stacks and it was this card that was originally used to advertise a brand of cigarettes:

monkey card

Even though there’s a huge monkey in the middle and Daenel literally chose it for the monkey, the first thing my eyes were drawn to was the two exotic birds on the left. I have two dresses that I immediately thought would work for this, but I went with the one that had a background to match the sandy colour behind the monkey.

SIA_2018-05-17

The left-hand bird is mostly red while the other has a blue head (you can’t really tell here so I’ll insert a close-up below), which sort of matches the birds on the card, and the dress also features green leaves for the trees. The long-sleeved top under the dress seems to be the same shade of grey as the background behind the red bird (it looks a bit like a cloud).  My tights are dark green, although they really don’t look it on the photograph. And if you’re wondering why I’m wearing a wool dress and tights in May, the day I took this photo all our sunshine had disappeared, it chucked it down all day and it was cold! I went out to buy lunch immediately after taking the photo and put on my winter boots (thinking about it, I should have put the boots on then taken the photo – they’re the perfect shade of brown for the monkey!)

bird dress
Blue(ish) bird

If you would like to participate, take a photo of an outfit inspired by this art (you can just lay out the clothes if you don’t want a photo of yourself to feature) and send it to livingoutsidethestacks@gmail.com by 9pm EST on Tuesday, 22 May. Danael will then round up all the solutions on her blog on Wednesday, 23 May.

What do you think? Does my outfit match the art? What would you wear to represent this art?