Lights, camera…

Is it really Wednesday already? This week is going fast!

Today I want to show you the birthday card I made for my brother, who recently turned 26. He did film studies at uni and is really into TV and films, so the popcorn cross stitch that was featured in one of my magazines ages ago seemed perfect for him.


Embellished with a printed out clapperboard, that I added “Happy Birthday” to, it ended up being a card that I’m actually quite proud of.


I cut out the hole for the popcorn myself using a punch, which meant there wasn’t a back bit to put over it as there usually is with aperture cards, so I backed it using red and white checked card. I didn’t take a photo of it, unfortunately, so you’ll just have to take my word that it made the inside look more interesting😉

The popcorn was fairly simple, but I actually quite enjoyed stitching it. It was fun doing the back stitch and watching the pieces of popcorn come to life where previously there had just been a block of weirdly shaped stitches!

Would you like to receive this birthday card?

The Rhine Falls (Rheinfall)

At the end of June, my mum and brother came to visit for a few days. I wanted to take at least one trip outside Basel with them, so on the Sunday we went to Zurich and the Rhine Falls.


The Rhine Falls, or Rheinfall in German, is the largest plain waterfall in Europe. When we went, it was the end of what had been a very wet spring so they contained pretty much the maximum possible amount of water. On the image above, you see a rock with a flag at the top and a staircase going down. Usually a boat takes you over to that rock, but on the day we went they weren’t stopping there. The platform where you’re supposed to disembark was almost entirely covered with water…

We used a RailAway offer (seriously – if you live in Switzerland and want to visit anywhere check whether RailAway has an offer first!). With this, we got a reduction on the train ticket, entry to the exhibition at Schloss Laufen, the castle above the falls, and a ticket for the glass elevator that takes you down to a walkway on the castle side of the falls. We were also supposed to get a boat ride over to the castle (which would have saved us a not particularly strenuous walk), but the landing place by the castle was closed due to high water so instead we were allowed to go on the small round boat trip, which took us up to the falls and then came back. Actually that was a better option so we didn’t mind😉

If you take the boat make sure you wear something waterproof!

After our boat trip, we walked around to the castle and had a look at the exhibition. It’s pretty small and basically gives you a bit of information about the history of the castle (also fairly small). Afterwards, we took the glass elevator down and had a look at the falls from another angle.

Tired and thirsty after all that, before heading for the train home we went and had a beer and some cake at the castle restaurant. And of course the little birdy friend that came to join us got some cake too!

Although the Rhine Falls are very touristy and – as you can probably see from the photos – pretty crowded, it somehow manages not to be too much, at least not on a Sunday in June! I can definitely recommend this as a nice day or afternoon out.

Linking up with Packing My Suitcase and My Travel Monkey for Monday Escapes, for the last time! Click the button to see lots more travel inspiration.

Travel Monkey

Recent doings #7

Ugh, I’m behind on my blog reading again! If I haven’t commented on your blog recently I’m so, so sorry! We had a weekend away, then visitors and more visitors. This weekend we get a brief break but I need to get the flat sorted for the next round of visitors – Jan’s mum and her partner are here on 16th/17th July.

Anyway, it’s time for another “What’s New With You” linkup… which means another month is over. Where are you going, 2016? I wish I could pause you for a while to catch my breath…
So, what did I get up to in June?

What's New With You
Reading. I already did a check-in post for the summer reading challenge, so I’m not going to repeat myself here😉 I will, however, say that I’ve now finished The Magus! Woo hoo.
Watching. The news a lot immediately after the EU referendum. I still can’t believe the result. Why you so stupid, Britain?
Travelling. To the Rhine Falls (Rheinfall) with my mum and brother. Jan and I also went to Graubünden at the beginning of June, so I’ll have lots of travel photos to share with you once I’m done with New Zealand. Here’s a sneak preview:
Cooking. Horse steak so my mum and brother could try it. Although technically Jan cooked it on the barbecue. I just made the veg😉
Waiting for. Our new wardrobe. Actually, we ordered it in April so I’ve been waiting for it a while, but it was finally due for delivery in June. Then it finally turned up but the back wall was missing, so I’m still waiting! The missing part is supposed to be coming next Wednesday…
Buying. Clothes. I went to Germany and purchased a skirt for €6 and a dress for €9 – you wouldn’t get clothes that cheap in Switzerland!
Drinking. Cocktails. We found a cute little bar that does interesting cocktails, so when we met up with two people we’ve been kind of hanging around with in Basel (yeah, I maybe made some friends?) we took them there and then took my mum and brother there as well.
What have you been doing recently? Check out the linkup to see how everyone else spent June.

Friday letters

I know I keep saying this, but where is this year going?! We’re more than half way through June already! Unbelievable. At this rate it’s going to be December and I’m going to realise I’ve achieved nothing all year!

But enough about that… letters!


Dear weather. You have a week to improve ready for me to show my visitors around Basel!

Dear mam/brother. Speaking of which… one week til I see you! I’m looking forward to it🙂

Dear new wardrobe. Can’t wait for you to finally arrive next week!

Dear scales. I’m still not impressed with the number you’re showing me, but at least now it’s moving in the right direction!

Dear cheese. Somebody posted an article on Facebook recently claiming you had been proven to be addictive. Not sure how scientific said article was but I can well believe it!

That’s it for today. I’m off to the shops to find something for tea. Happy Friday, everyone!

Hobbiton, New Zealand


Our seventh day in New Zealand was spent waiting around at Queenstown airport for flights to start going again (everything was delayed due to morning fog) then picking up a hire car at Auckland airport and driving to my uncle’s place in Rotorua. Once there, we met my three-year old cousin and spent the evening eating takeaway curry and drinking wine/beer. I have no photos or interesting tales from that day, so we’ll skip straight to day 8 when my uncle had booked for us to go to Hobbiton. He had chosen a fairly early tour so that it would hopefully be less busy so we headed off straight after breakfast. I don’t remember our tour guides name,  but he was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. You could tell he had found his dream job and was absolutely in his element. Did you know that there are two versions of some of the hobbit holes – a “human” sized one and a smaller one. The people playing hobbits were filmed in front of the larger/human-sized one so that they looked the right size for it while the actors playing humans were filmed in front of the smaller ones to make them look too big for the little doorway. Obvious when you think about it, but it had never occurred to me before.

Anyway, I’m sure what you’re actually here for is photos. The place is truly stunning and the little hobbit doors are incredibly cute and colourful. I think everyone can agree on that, whether they’re into The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit or not🙂

Because most of the hobbit holes were only filmed from the outside, there were only a few that actually had an inside, and even those only went back a tiny bit. The scenes inside hobbit holes were, of course, filmed in studios.

Those of you who were hoping to see a photo of me in a hobbit hole are out of luck😉 The only photos that were taken involve other people. Jan doesn’t want to be on my blog and there’s no way I’m sharing a photo of a three year old for the entire Internet to see! Have some more hobbit holes and scenery instead😉

I love how there are so many flowers everywhere. They obviously put a lot of work into the upkeep🙂 Did you notice the bumblebee in amongst the last gallery? I couldn’t resist taking his photo when I saw him buzzing around outside one of the hobbit holes. I love bees! (Not wasps though, nasty vindictive creatures!)

Our entrance fee included a visit to the Green Dragon complete with a drink. I chose the red ale wile Jan went for a stout. There was also a ginger ale for children and non-alcohol drinkers. My cousin didn’t like hers so we all tried it and proclaimed it very tasty. You could also buy food. I’m not sure how you would find the time to eat it though! It wasn’t long before we were being shepherded back to the bus…

I actually thought that Hobbiton was very well done. It could so easily have been horribly commercialised, but it wasn’t particularly (well, other than only being allowed to go in with an official tour which isn’t really cheap!). I’m quite glad they didn’t go the route of having the tour guides dress as hobbits, with other people in costume buzzing around and some kind of “hobbit experience” that would make the whole thing feel a bit like a theme park! Instead we got a lovely walk in the sunshine, a tour guide who gave the impression of just wanted to talk about something he loves, and even my little cousin seemed to enjoy herself despite having no idea what was going on (she liked that everything was three-year-old sized). Overall, I think Hobbiton was worth it… although it’s possible I might think differently if I had been the one to pay for it😉

Recent doings #4

I wanted to post this yesterday, on actual link-up day (the first Thursday of the month), but Jan had taken over the computer to upload his photos, so in place of Friday letters I bring you my “doings” from March… even though you all already know it was all about New Zealand!

What's New With You
Reading: I bought (or rather had Jan buy me) Friday On My Mind by Nicci French from Zurich airport and read that while waiting for our flight to New Zealand. It was good! (I also read a book on the way back, but it was April by that time so I won’t include it).
Watching: On the flight to Dubai I watched The Rescuers Downunder – a sequel to The Rescuers. It seemed appropriate😉 (although it’s set in Australia, not New Zealand). It was very cute, of course. Then I watched something called The Gift, which was weird. On the Dubai-Auckland flight I watched Toy Story 3, which I had somehow never seen! Before New Zealand, we started watching Mr Robot, which I bought Jan for his birthday. Two episodes in, it seems good – but intense. It’s difficult to cross stitch while watching because I miss stuff.
Drinking: Many New Zealand beers! Also wine – we did a wine tour.
Visiting: My uncle in Rotorua. I met my three year old cousin for the first time, and she’s just the cutest!
Travelling: To New Zealand, obviously, but before that we did a day trip to Lausanne.
I can’t even remember what I was doing pre-New Zealand so I’m going to stop here.
What have you been doing recently?
Check out the link up to see how everyone else spent March!
p.s. I don’t know what’s wrong with my formatting? I swear I entered spaces between each item…

A labour of love

As you may or may not remember, I went to England at the beginning of January. The reason for the trip was my sister’s 30th birthday! It’s not every day your younger sister turns 30, so I decided to give her a special gift. I had a photo of her dog as a puppy converted to a cross stitch pattern and then stitched it for her. I started it last June and finished it literally on her birthday, 7th January 2016! Stupidly, I forgot to take a photo of the finished article, so I only have one of my sister and her boyfriend holding it after I gave it to her. I’ve cropped the photo so you can’t see the people in it (which is a shame because the smiles of joy say it all!). So, I present to you, Loki:


This is the biggest project I’ve ever done (over 1000 stitches, mostly in shades of gray!) and I’m extremely proud of it. My sister’s reaction was exactly what I had hoped for – I actually have a video of her literally jumping up and down with joy!

By the way, the extra fifth hand holding the bottom corner is my brother’s… neither of them has an extra arm! (Pity… I’m sure we all wish we did at times!)