Merry Christmas everyone!

christmas-cat

Today is my last day at work (and I have a lot to get finished… but let’s not talk about that). All my clothes and gifts are packed (Jan’s clothes aren’t, but he has today off), the flat is almost tidy – I just need to do the dishes and clean the kitchen – and our flight to England is booked for 7 am tomorrow – and the baggage handlers strike has been called off. So all that remains is for me to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a wonderful start to 2017. I will be taking a blogging break while I’m away, so Confuzzledom will be back in the first week of the New Year (not saying which day of that week though…).

Happy Christmas, dear readers! With love from Confuzzled Bev

25 Get to Know Me Questions

Today I want to something slightly different. I’ve done similar things before (like an A to Z of Me), but it’s been a while and I think I’ve acquired a few new readers since then (hi new readers!)

I spotted this particular set of questions on Ellie’s blog, This Country Girl’s Journal, and since she asked her readers to join in, I thought I would.

Baby me
Does anyone recognise this person?

1. What is your middle name?: Ann. It’s my grandma’s name and was also the name of a great grandma I never met, but I’m not sure whether my parents named me after either of them or just picked it because it’s such a middle-namey kind of name (seriously, I can think of at least 8 people with the middle name Ann(e)!)

2. What was favourite subject at school?: English for all the reading and Food Tech because I’ve always liked food 😉

3. What is your favourite drink?: Tea! Soft drink probably Dandelion and Burdock. Alcoholic changes regularly.

4. What is your favourite song at the moment?:  My all time favourite song is Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler, closely followed by Landslide by Fleetwood Mac and Desperado by The Eagles. Right now I rarely listen to music, but when I do it’s Sister Hazel more often than not, so I’ll say my current favourite is Change Your Mind by them.

5. What is your favourite food?: I hate this question! How can you expect me to pick just one?! Potatoes, garlic, sweet potato, cheese, pumkin, Yorkshire parkin, cottage pie, Sunday roast, Swiss chocolate… I’m hungry now!

6. What is the last thing you bought?: Books. Always books.

7. Favourite book of all time?: Again, NOPE! You cannot expect me to pick just one book! But, since you said all time, I’ll only include ones I read more than 10 years ago that have stuck with me. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond, Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, So Much to Tell You by John Marsden, Each, Peach, Pear, Plum by Janet and Allen Ahlberg.

8. Favourite colour?: Red

9. Do you have any pets?: Sadly, no. I want a dog, but in Germany I thought it was unfair with us both working full time and in Switzerland you have to do a course and get a certificate before you’re allowed to own one! Then there’s the small matter of getting permission to keep one in the flat…

10. Favourite perfume?: I don’t know. It was Liberte by Cacherel, but it’s been discontinued.

11. Favourite holiday?: Well, New Zealand was pretty amazing, but so were Taiwan and Madeira. EDIT: I’ve just realised this was probably originally American since I changed all the “colors” to “colour”, so “holiday” probably means like public holiday. In which case pancake day, because who doesn’t like a day devoted to pancakes?

12. Are you married?: No.

13. Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times?: Out of which country? I was born in England but clearly don’t live there now so umm… stupid question ;-).

14. Do you speak any other language?: German (but not Swiss German!). A tiny bit of Spanish. Individual words in a few other languages.

15. How many siblings do you have?: A sister and two half brothers. My brothers are not related to each other.

16. What is your favourite shop?: I… don’t think I have one? Maybe TK Maxx.

17. Favourite restaurant?: I don’t knooooow. I did like Bratar in Karlsruhe, but favourite? Hmm. We went to a lovely restaurant in Basel recently – Safranzunft.

18. When was the last time you cried?: I’m not sure, but I’m willing to bet a book was involved!

19. Favourite blog?: Oh, lots. Kezzie‘s, Holly‘s, Charlotte‘s…

20. Favourite movie film (sorry)?: A League of Their Own, Dogma, Clue, Edward Scissorhands. Sorry, I’m useless at picking just one of anything.

21. Favourite TV shows?: E.R. (still and always!), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (hmm, need to watch it again), The Big Bang Theory, Farscape, Blackadder.

22. PC or Mac?: PC

23. What phone do you have?: An ancient BlackBerry. It was a gift.

24. How tall are you?: 5ft 6 – I think.

25. Can you cook? Yes! I love cooking, but not when it’s just for myself.

Did you learn anything new about me?

If anyone else decides to give this a go, let me know – I’d love to come and have a read. You can see Ellie’s answers here.

Gotta love the Liebster Award

I wanted to finally catch up on my final few weeks in Germany and share some photos from a day out that I arranged as part of my 35 before 35, but although the card reader is sitting here on the computer desk I can’t find the cable for it so no photo uploading for me! Instead I’ll go with another post that I’ve been needing to write for a while…

I was nominated for the Liebster Award again… this time by Holly from Full of Beans and Sausages. She nominated me weeks ago, but I’ve been putting off answering because her questions are haaaard! Thank you Holly. I’m happy that you think I’m worthy of this award.
And now the questions:

1) What is your favourite room in your house?

Since I’ve literally just moved it’s probably a little early to tell. But I’m going to go with the dining/living/kitchen area (it’s all one big space) because that’s where the balcony is, and also where my books live. Of course the books’ home is my favourite!

2) What is your life plan for the next 5 years?

See what I mean? Haaaard questions! Well, I am very much hoping that Jan will continue to enjoy his job and things will go well enough that we’ll still be in Basel in five years. However, it is a fairly small company so it may be that at some point he wants to move on to something a bit bigger? It’s difficult to judge right now, although so far things are going well. In the meantime, I’ll continue working at my company for now, then hopefully within the next 1-2 years we’ll have our first child (Dear family members who are reading: do not hold me to that!! I have no idea whether it will work out. And no, I’m not currently pregnant!). Obviously my plan involves Jan and I staying together for the next 5 years. Oh, and a puppy. Beyond that I honestly have no idea, and thinking about it kind of scares me so I’m stopping now!

3) Describe a typical day from when you were a child.

Wow, again a question that’s surprisingly difficult. Typical days are hard to remember! I suppose it would have to be a week day, since weekends/holidays were never typical, so I’ll do a school day. It would start with my mum shouting to my sister and I to get up for school. We’d take turns in the bathroom, then dress in our school uniforms before heading downstairs. Breakfast was always cereal – usually something like Frosties or Coco Pops. Then it was back upstairs, teeth brushed, downstairs again for our shoes and coats and we’d head off to school. When we were really little my mum took us, but by the time I was 9 we walked together with some friends from our estate (when we lived in Northern Ireland, my mum always walked me to and fom school – my sister was still in nursery then). School consisted of morning lessons followed by first break, where everybody had to eat fruit. Us girls would skip or play clapping rhymes, then it was back into school for more lessons. I was on packed lunches for most of my time at primary school, which meant second sittings, so at lunch time I would go out to play first then come in for my lunch when the first bell went. If we ate quickly enough we would then have more time to play after lunch. This was followed by afternoon lessons then home time. The ice cream van always stopped on a road close to the school right around home time and anyone who had money would buy something. Usually I did not have money,but sometimes a friend would take pity and lend me ten pence for a WHAM bar (who remembers those?). Back home, we had to immediately change out of our school uniforms and do any homework we had. Then, if it was a nice day, we would go outside to play until my mum called us in for tea. On rainy days, we watched children’s TV… back in the days when there was only half an hour of children’s TV after school and not entire channels for it! Tea would be something like sausages, beans and chips or fish fingers and vegetables. There was hardly ever dessert, but the fruit bowl was always full and if we were still hungry after tea we could help ourselves. Then it was time to get our bags ready for school the next day and get into our night clothes. Sometimes we would watch TV again, but usually we just played in our rooms. At bed time, I always begged to be allowed to read for a bit and the answer was almost always yes. Then, after half an hour, it was lights out and no more talking (I shared a room with my sister). Then it all began again the next day. That’s how I remember it anyway. The details may be off.

4) Tell us about the most unforgettable moment from your life.

Hogmany in Edinburgh. Not really a moment, but the whole trip was fabulous. From the torch-lit procession from the Royal Mile to the top of Calton Hill (proceeds from those who bought a torch went to charity) to the candle-light carol service in St. Giles Cathedral on New Year’s Eve to seeing KT Tunstall live in Princes Gardens on 1 January for a mere 11 pounds. So far, no new year’s trip has beaten it – although Brussels comes close (Madeira was fantastic, but Edinburgh wins on actual New Year celebrations)

5) Tell us about the worst idea you ever had.

Numbing the top of my ear with ice cubes before letting my friend attempt to pierce it with a safety pin (that we had “disinfected” using bleach). Luckily it hurt too much and I made her stop, otherwise I’m sure the end of the story would have involved an infected ear and antibiotics. As it is, it’s fairly boring. Sorry! (The time I got drunk at 17 and threw up all over myself in the toilets of a pub was also a close contender, but smuggling in a bottle of vodka wasn’t actually my idea so…)

6) What can you see out of the window you are sat at right now?

I’m not at a window! Hold on, let me just go to one…. okay, I see part of the outside wall of our spare bedroom (which is currently full of boxes waiting to be unpacked and a bed that hasn’t been put together yet), the building opposite and some trees. If I look a bit to the right, beyond that building, I can see some of the houses on the hill.

7) What qualities do you like to have in a best friend?

Honesty (if I’m being stupid I want them to tell me!), loyalty and a good sense of humour! Also, they need to be slightly weird because normal people don’t like me.

8) If you could live in any era of history which would it be and why?

50s so I could wear clothing that actually suits my body shape! Although the whole not working and being expected to be a perfect housewife thing would get old fast! Actually, I wouldn’t mind living in a few eras for a while just to experience first-hand what it was like. Maybe a year in the 20s, then some time in the 60s with the hippies before popping back to the time of the industrial revolution and experiencing for myself what it was like when the very first steam train appeared…

9) How would you spend $100 right now?

I would buy something new for our flat. We still need quite a bit but it has to be a gradual process because Switzerland is expensive! If someone randomly gave me $100, I’d probably buy balcony furniture (not the highest priority item but the most fun!)

10) Today is the first day of the rest of your life – what will you do differently today?

Well, first of all I would like to say that I now have the Green Day song “Church on Sunday” in my head (it starts with “Today is the first day of the rest of our lives!, okay? YouTube it!).
What would I do differently? The same thing I plan to do differently every day – be positive, enjoy the little moments, greet Jan properly when he comes home (instead of just chucking a “hi” over my shoulder while attempting to cook and do multiple other things all at once), keep on top of stuff throughout the day so I wouldn’t need to be multitasking as Jan walked in the door. Hopefully this will also all actually happen now that I’m not commuting for an hour every day. (I’m not counting this week because I’ve been on holiday which is never the same as normal life).

And now for my questions.

1. What is one thing you’re really good at?
2. What is one of your favourite memories?
3. What was your first pet? (If you’ve never had a pet, what pet would have liked to have?)
4. What’s the weirdest search term that’s ever found your blog?
5. How did you come up with your blog’s name?
6. Which is your favourite blog post you’ve written? And which is your least favourite?
6. Who is your favourite singer/band?
7. Where do you want to travel to next?
8. What was your favourite book as a child?
9. What is your favourite flower?
10. If you could have any name other than your actual one, what would you choose?

That’s it! Sorry I’m so boring 😉 And now I nominate:

Kaelene from Unlocking Kiki
Diana from Life in German
Briony from Fear of the Reaper
Allane from Packing my Suitcase

Have fun, guys!

2014 on Confuzzledom

I’m fascinated by blog stats, particularly search terms, which are often hilarious. So here’s a look at my top search terms and most-viewed posts for 2014:

My top posts in 2014:

  1. Chicken, leek and bacon mashed potato topped pie. This post from last year randomly started getting loads of views in October and has featured in my stats every single day since then. It was viewed a total of 365 times from 28 December 2013 to 28 December 2014.
  2. I Wouldn’t Thank You for a Valentine. Usually this is my most viewed post, but this year it lagged behind with a mere 247 views. I wonder if that means teachers have stopped assigning it for GCSE?
  3. German Foods I Love and Loathe came third with 171 views, proving that you can never go wrong with sausages and potatoes 😉
  4. Sukie’s Cake Shop, Karlsruhe. A relatively recent post this one – I only wrote it in September. But it still managed a whole 164 views between then and now. Which just goes to show how few people are blogging about things to do in Karlsruhe!
  5. So You Want to Learn German? This post got 137 views. I just hope it was useful to someone…

And now my top search terms for the year

  • The mysterious woods of whistle root pennell
  • confuzzledom
  • give me something to do
  • rewe cafeteria frankfurt airport
  • nagold old church

Nothing particularly exciting there – the good search terms are usually the ones that only come up once. But it’s still interesting to see what most people who end up on my blog are looking for.

And now, in no particular order, my five favourite search terms that have found me this year. None are quite as fun as last year’s, but luckily I’m easily amused 😉

  • marketing xmas cards from ex colleagues
  • playmobile wino
  • linda the giant sausage
  • mmm stinky foot
  • xxx girl bum

Now it’s your turn… tell me about 2014 on your blog! Or alternatively tell me what your favourite search term is that’s led someone to you.

The Liebster Award (again)

Dubliner in Deutschland nominated me for a Liebster award. Thank you my dear! 🙂

liebster-award 1

I’ve been given the Liebster award before, but usually the rules say to list some number of facts about myself and that’s haaaard 😉 With this version, I’m supposed to answer some questions set by the person who nominated me and then make up some questions of my own before passing on the award. Here are the questions from Dubliner and my answers:

  1. What do you mostly blog about?
    Everything! Although I suppose books, travel and food are my top three themes.
  2. What do you love about blogging?
    The community. I love reading/responding to comments and seeing what my favoruite bloggers have been up to. But I also like that it gives me an outlet for my thoughts. Even if I didn’t have a single reader I would keep blogging to save myself from insanity.
  3. What is your favourite movie?
    I have to pick just one? That’s impossible!I can narrow it down to three for you, but no further (and please don’t ask me to put these three in order!). 1. The Princess Bride, 2. Clue, 3 The Crow
  4. What makes you happy?
    many things! Sunshine (as long as it’s not toooo hot), spending time with my boyfriend, spending time with friends (and also actually having people to call friends!), good food, dogs, seeing the red pandas when I walk past the zoo…
  5. Tea or coffee?
    Tea! I am British after all 😉 When I drink coffee it has to be drowned in milk and preferably flavoured.
  6. Do you have a favourite song?
    That’s even harder than the films! There are so many good songs. I’ll give you four, okay? 1. Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler, 2. No Time to Sleep by Tina Dico, 3. Quick Fade by Feeder, 4. Belgium by Bowling for Soup.
  7. What’s the last book you read?
    The Surgeon of Crawthorne by Simon Winchester It’s the story of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary and one of its main contributers, an American who was imprisoned in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Very interesting. I can recommend it.
  8. Name three places you would love to travel to, if money were no object.
    Canada, Japan and Denmark
  9. Why did you start blogging?
    My first blog was an MSN space (later MSN Live Space) that came with my e-mail address. I started using it out of curiosity, having no real idea what it was. Later, I used it to blog about my time in Austria. I started this blog shortly after I moved back to Germany. I was bored, basically friendless and my boyfriend was busy writing his Diplom (German version a Master’s) thesis, so I started a new blog to keep myself occupied and get my thoughts out of my brain – hence my tagline.
  10. What’s your favourite post that you’ve written? (Link, please!)
    You Know You’re Turning German When… is the first one that comes to mind.

I nominate:

Beth from Ami in Schwabenland
Marianne from Californienne
Becster
Sophie from Sophie in Clogs
Molly from The Move to America

And now here are my questions (only 5 because I’m not imaginative enough to think of a whole 10!):

  1. What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2014?
  2. What is your favourite food to eat in autumn/winter?
  3. Where was the last place you travelled to?
  4. What is your favoruite snack food?
  5. If you could learn any language (and were guaranteed to actually manage it!), which would it be?

Confuzzledom has e-mail!

Just a quick post…

I thought it was about time my blog had its own e-mail address to save me spreading my personal one all over the Internet (hmm… a certain phrase involving horses and stable doors seems fitting here…). In future, if you would like to send me an e-mail, you can do so on

confuzzledomblog@gmail.com

Confuzzledom alone was already taken. How very rude! 😉 I’ll add the e-mail address to the side as well as soon as I figure out whther there’s a better way to do so than simply inserting another text box.

And that’s all I wanted to asay. As Tigger would say, ta ta for now!

Hundreds and thousands

Apparantly, this is my 1,000th published post on this here little blog. That’s what WordPress says, anyway, and since I have no intention of going back and counting them all I shall just have to take its word for it. When I saw that I was approaching the 1,000 mark, I decided I would need to celebrate this accomplishment with a search terms post… because how else does one celebrate blogging milestones? Sadly, most of the search terms that are actually making it through these days aren’t all that interesting (you don’t fool me Google… I know it’s all the best ones that you’re keeping to yourself!) and some days not many get through at all. Recently, I had 16 search terms and every last one of them was unknown! And now all you popular bloggers are thinking “16? In a whole day? I get more search terms than that in 5 minutes!”. Well, my corner of the Internet is still only little… yes, I’m one of those small fry that gets excited when I manage to get over 75 views in a single day, so 16 referrals from search terms ain’t too shabby 😉 Aaah, who am I kidding. No popular bloggers would ever find their way to my little spot. Hmm, I think it’s time I threw away my spade and attempted to climb out of this hole I appear to be digging myself into…
Errm where was I? Oh, yes. Search terms! Here’s the pick of a very small bunch for you.

Bless the confuzzled sheep

Yes, bless it, and it’s little cotton socks too! (Between this and previous sheep-related search terms, I’m starting to think I should make a sheep my blog’s mascot…)

Girl xxx a horse

I don’t know what the xxx is trying to hide, but I know enough to be sure you’re not going to find it on my blog. Perv!

I cry because I wet myself

I’m so sorry. Have you tried consulting a doctor?

mmm stinky foot

Please take your foot fetish and leave my blog!

xxxgirl clock theme

What’s with all the x’s?

photo of appendix with lots of pooh

Eeeew. Just no, okay?

bevchen sparkles

Only when I’ve been playing with glitter…

you are confuzzled girl!

Wait, how did you know? Can you see me?
Also, I can’t help but hear this search term in Whoopi Goldberg’s voice… you know that scene in Ghost where she says “Molly, you in danger girl!”? This search term totally reminds me of that, and I have no idea why.

so the German word for table is Tisch

Yes. Your point?

giant sausage expat

Yes, Germany is the land of giant sausages. Get over it already 😉

That’s all I’ve got for you today, but two other bloggers recently celebrated blogging milestones with search term posts and they got some hilarious ones. Go check out Expat Eye on Latvia and Aussa Lorens for more fun with search terms.