Recent doings #31

Hello lovely readers. I don’t know how it was for anyone else, but for me August went fast! I can’t believe it’s September already and time for another round-up of what I’ve spent the past month doing. As always on the first Thursday of the month, I’m linking up with Kristen for What’s New With You? So, here’s what I did in August.

whats new with you

Eating. This is really bad, but I ate so many plain (as in just salted) crisps in August. So many. I’m not proud. Also tinned soup.

Drinking. Ice tea… the shop bought kind that’s full of sugar. Again, not the most nutritious. But it’s refreshing and it’s been too hot for normal tea. I’ve also been drinking Rhubarb juice – I found it when we went to a supermarket in Germany and I was intrigued so into the basket it went.

Reading. I read a lot in August, and managed to finish Erin’s reading challenge. The longest book I read was probably Outlander. Unnecessarily long if you ask me…

Watching. We went to the open air cinema and watched the new Jumanji film. I really enjoyed it. I liked how they made it recognisably related to the first one but a different concept so it didn’t feel too repetitive. And I thought the brief mention of Alan Parrish (Robin Williams’ character in the first film) was a nice touch.

Cross stitching. Birthday cards for my brother and my godson. Both have their birthdays in September, so their gifts needed to be sent off in August to make sure they arrived on time.

Making. A pattern I stitched in July into a birthday card for a friend’s son – sometimes I stitch things then take ages to actually do the card-making part!

bear birthday card

Seeing/hearing. The original Blues Brothers! They were at a free music festival in Basel so obviously I had to go and see them.  Then Jan and I went to a performance on Friday (31 August – so just about last month) featuring someone Jan is in a choir with. Even when Jan isn’t directly involved I have to go and support his choir members 😉 It was bizarre but very cool.

Celebrating. My birthday! I was working during the day and in the evening Jan had his first choir practice after the summer break the day of my birthday so he couldn’t really miss it, but I treated myself to cake and we went out for a meal the following evening. I got some lovely gifts and enjoyed relaxing and having control of the remote for a change 😉

Winning. At mini-golf… as you will know if you read my last post. One item off the 40 before 40 list already. Woo hoo!

Buying. All the books…. I’m so bad. And soup… I placed an order with British Corner Soup and the day it arrived I immediately had Scotch broth for lunch. YUM!

Also, a few updates ago, you may remember me hinting about something else that was going on around here that I couldn’t tell you about yet. Well, after multiple rounds of interviews with various increasingly higher up people, I can now reveal that Jan has a new job! He starts in November and it will be in Zurich, but we have no plans to move – at least for the moment. We both love living in Basel and he thinks the commute will be similar to his current one so we’ll see how it goes.

I don’t know what else to tell you about August. Jan was away one weekend for a choir practice weekend. I was pretty much just here and mostly working. As I mentioned in the intro, I feel like the entire month went by in a flash… but I’m okay with that. Next Friday we have visitors coming and I have the last two weeks of September off work so I’m very much looking forward to the next few weeks.

How was your August? I hope you all had a good one! Check out the link up to see what’s new with Kristen and all the other participants.

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Recent doings #27

Hello friends! I am writing this introduction before work (I did the rest of the post yesterday so it was almost ready to go). In a few minutes, the washing machine will be finished and I can go and get my clothes… I finally managed to do laundry after getting up extra early yesterday only to find the machine in use. I have no idea which neighbour had stolen it since clearly my name was on the sign-up sheet. (Well, technically Jan’s but same thing). Roll on the day that I have my own washing machine! So now I’ve been up extra early two days in a row, and tomorrow I have to be up even earlier since it’s my Friday to be in the office. Whinge, whine, complain, etc. Anyway, it’s the first Thursday of another month and that means it’s time to link up with Kristen and Gretch for What’s New With You? Here’s what I got up to in March.

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Eating. All the bad things. Honestly, you don’t even want to know how much sugar I consumed! Other than that, I was trying to eat fish twice a week in March but I only actually succeeded on two weeks of the month.

Drinking. Way too much (normal, i.e. black) tea. I really need to cut down on my caffeine consumption!

Reading. I will tell you all the books I read next week, but I feel like I can’t mention often enough that I actually finished Anna Karenina!

Watching. We actually watched a lot in March… way more than usual. Jan kept wanting to watch films, so we ended up watching A League of Their Own (one of my favourites but he had never seen it!), In Bruges, The Imitation Game… I feel like we watched another film but I don’t remember what it was. We’ve also been watching Young Sheldon. We still have last week’s to watch though, since Jan was away. Hopefully it recorded… I forgot to check.

Celebrating. Jan’s birthday. Well, he never wants to celebrate properly but I have him gifts and bought a little cake for us to eat after dinner.

Making. Birthday cards for Post Pals children, as always. Side note: the balloon dies I used for the card below may just turn out to be my best purchase of the year. So useful!

balloon card

Cross stitching. A card for a Post Pals child.

Buying. What did I buy, apart from books, which is too obvious to mention? Stickers. Washi tape. Oh, I bought a yoga mat. Not that I plan to take up yoga, but Jillian Michaels’ DVD has parts where you have to lie on the floor and I’m hoping the mat will be more comfortable than our living room rug. I’ve had the thing for 2 weeks and haven’t actually tried it out yet.

Booking. My first ever Airbnb. I mean, I’ve stayed in Airbnbs before, but it was never me organising them. This one is for us to stay in when we go to my cousin’s confirmation near Munich in May.

Burning. A candle called Rainy Day Reads. The scent is supposed to be Fresh rain, ginger, lavender. I have no idea what fresh rain is supposed to smell like. I mean, it’s basically water so doesn’t it depend on where it falls/what’s in the air at the time? (The candle smells good though.)

Seeing/hearing. Jan perform with one of his choirs… the same one he is currently on a trip with. It was an interesting program and they performed one of the songs I like best. Plus I got to go for pizza with them all afterwards, so that was cool.

That’s it. If I did anything else this month I don’t remember it. And the part of Easter weekend that was in March I pretty much spent spring cleaning my flat. So… what did you get up to in March? I hope you had a good one. Go check out the link up to see what everyone else got up to in March (and add your link, if you feel that way inclined).

Recent doings #25

Hello my lovelies! Well, here we are… the first month of 2018 done. January was a relatively quiet one for me, but that was what I wanted after being so busy in December. Today is the first Thursday of the new month, so of course I am linking up with Kristen and Gretch for What’s New With You? (Although the answer to that is nothing, really). Here’s what I got up to in January:

whats-new

Reading. First, I completed Erin’s book challenge. I then read a few other books and, thanks to being in the office yesterday (=looong train ride), I actually finished On The Road. Yay me! I will tell you about my reading in detail on Show Us Your Books day.

Watching. Jan got The Big Bang Theory season 10 and Arrival DVDs for Christmas from my family so we watched them. Also, a Facebook contact from high school reminded me of the existence of Pushing Daisies… my dad showed me the first episode years ago and I always meant to watch it. So I asked Jan whether he would watch it with me and he agreed. We watched our way through all of Season 1 within a week, so now I need Season 2!

Eating. The month started off as a continuation of December… well, I had to finish the Christmas chocolate, right? But after the first week I was back at work so I decided it was time to try to be healthy again. There was a lot of soup/broth. But then we were trying to use up some vouchers from a booklet we had (it expired yesterday) so we ate out way too often and on two of those occasions I had dessert. So yeah.. not a good eating month.

Drinking. Tea. Probably too much if I’m honest. I need to cut down on my caffeine again!

Celebrating. A Basel friend’s birthday. We went for dinner at a Turkish restaurant then to some bars.

Making. Birthday cards for Post Pals children and also one for my grandma. And I’ve just realised I forgot to take a photo of the one I made for my grandma…

owl tape card

Cross stitching. Cards for Post Pals children – now that Christmas is over I’ve returned to my mission of a cross-stitched card for every child. I managed to get two out in January.

Playing. Jan’s colleague invited us over one Saturday to play and escape game that he got for Christmas. Like an escape room, but in table-top form. It was cool, but relatively easy. And I still want to do a real escape room even though I expect to suck at it.

Burning. Yeah, weird category. I found candles that were Swizzles sweet (candy) themed online and could not resist ordering them! The scents are supposed to be Lovehearts, Refreshers, Drumstick Lollies. The Lovehearts ones are rose scented, which is not what a Loveheart smells like! Refreshers smells kind of lemon sherbet-ish, which kind of works. As for the Drumstick Lolly one… the actual wax just is Drumstick Lolly. When burning it mostly just smells like any other red fruit scented candle – sort of sweet and not really like anything – but occasionally I will get a waft that smells exactly like Drumstick Lollies.

Buying. Apart from too many books? I bought a fox necklace from Etsy and I looove it. It came from this shop, if you’re interested. I’m sure bought other stuff as well, but I can’t remember it. Huh.

I’m linking up with Kristen and Gretch, of course.
Happy February everyone! What’s new with you?

35 Before 35: Progress report 7

A blog post two days in a row? What is this madness? I hear you cry! Well, it’s exactly a month until my 34th birthday (HELP!) so I thought I’d better check what progress I’ve made on my 35 before 35 list since my last check in – which was in January, apparently.

Number 13:  Read (or re-read) 50 non-fiction books

I was up to 18 last time, and now I’m on a grand total of…. *drum roll* … 19. Yeah. I read A Sense of Style by Steve Pinker. I reviewed it yesterday.

Number 15: Read 30 books in German

Last time I was up to 22, and now I’m on 24. So a whole 2 for this category.  Die Stille Braut by Barbara Wenken (okay) and Märchenwald by Martin Krist (really good!).

Number 21: Read all the books from the BBC Big Read that I hadn’t before starting this challenge

I’d read 46 last time and now I’m on 56! Finally some real progress. I’m not going to list them all, so you can see all the Big Read books I’ve read here. I have 67 left to read… theoretically it’s possible, as long as I stop reading everything else!

Number 30: Learn to crochet or knit (or both)

I haven’t written a post on it yet, but I did loom knit a bunch of tiny hats (too small for even a newborn, but recognisable as hats) and one and a half socks for myself. Loom knitting isn’t exactly knitting, but the items are made of wool and look knitted so I’ve decided it can count.

Number 31. Watch 35 films I’ve never seen before

I had made it to 29 last time… and now I’m finished! I’ve actually managed to watch all six of the films I still needed this year. I completed this item by watching Kajaki. You can see what else I’ve watched here.

Number 34: Drink champagne in Champagne.

Woohoo! I actually did this. Thank you Germany and your ridiculous amount of public holidays in the spring! I wrote about it here.

So, I have made some progress on the reading front, discovered a new hobby in loom knitting (because I totally need even more sedentary hobbies with the way the scales are looking!), crossed off one more travel item and actually managed to watch films for a change. With one year and one month to go, I obviously won’t manage everything (especially not all the travel-related items) but hopefully I will at least get all the reading crossed off. Wish me luck!

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?

A Photo An Hour: 29 January 2017

Yesterday was the first photo an hour of the year, and like most times that it falls on a Sunday my day was incredibly boring. Naturally that didn’t stop me from joining in though!

11 a.m. An embarrassingly late start, but in my defence we were visiting friends the night before and didn’t get home til nearly 3 a.m. Starting the day with a cup of tea in the amazing cup a pen pal sent me for Christmas.

12 noon. Cross stitching a birthday card.

1 p.m. Based on the amount of dishes I have to wash by hand you wouldn’t think we have a dishwasher!

2 p.m. Back to cross stitching, with more tea of course.

3 p.m. Still stitching… yes, that’s how much progress I made in an hour!

4 p.m. At some point Jan got out of bed (so those of you who were judging me for getting up at 11 can now judge him instead!) and put the BBC News channel on.

5 p.m. There was nothing on TV, so we put a Big Bang Theory DVD on.

6 p.m. Time to make a start on dinner.

7 p.m. Food! Pancakes, avocado and goat’s cheese spread (made by me) and crispy bacon.

8 p.m. We put a film on while we ate. Tale of Tales… it’s weird!

9 p.m. End credits of the film. It had just finished and I hadn’t moved yet.

10 p.m. In bed reading my book… auf Deutsch!

That was the last photo I took I actually could have taken an 11 p.m. photo, right before I turned out the light, but symmetry must prevail 😉

I promise I did actually move from the sofa at some point during the day – to shower and quickly pop to the shop – but neither of those things coincided with an hour so I look even more lazy than I actually was.

Linking up with Jane and Louisa, as always.

How was your Sunday? Did you get up to anything more exciting than I did?

35 Before 35: Progress report 6

It seems my last 35 before 35 progress report was on 13th June 2016! So much for regular check ins 😉 Time for another one then. Here’s what I’ve managed to do in the last 7 months:

Number 13:  Read (or re-read) 50 non-fiction books

I had read 12 by last June and I’ve now reached 18. I’m not going to list all 6, but you can see them here. I need to get cracking with this one if I really want to complete by the time I turn 35! (Next year, by the way. Aarghh!).

Number 15: Read 30 books in German

Last time I had read 21, now I’ve read 22. Huh. I read Emmas Geheimnis by Liz Balfour, which would have been better if it wasn’t so predictable. I had only read one book in German between the last progress report and the one before that as well. Must try harder!

Number 18: Bake 10 different types of biscuits

I was on 6 before and now I’m on 7. The seventh was chocolate Christmas biscuits.

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Number 21: Read all the books from the BBC Big Read that I hadn’t before starting this challenge

I’ve been trying very hard to incorporate BBC Big Read books into all my challenges and have managed to increase my number from 27 right up to 46! And one of those was the ridiculously long Shogun. You can see the full list here. I now have less than 100 to go… 86 to be precise.

Number 31. Watch 35 films I’ve never seen before

Last time I was on 27. I’ve watched two more since then: Mirrormask and Paddington. Six more to go. Watching films should not be this difficult!

And that’s everything. It doesn’t seem like much for six months! Apparently I’ve mostly just been reading.

1 year, 6 months and 27 days to go. Somehow I don’t think I’m going to make it to Slovenia, Champagne and somewhere to see the Northern Lights by then! Not to mention learning to knit…