Cross stitch, cocktails and a new dress

Hi!
Did you all have a good weekend? Mine flew by too fast, as usual, but I managed to cram a lot in.

On Saturday, I dragged the boyfriend shopping with me. After weeks of failure, I wanted to finally purchase a dress for the christening I’m going to in 2 weeks and I needed him along for a second opinion. We ended up in a shop called BiBa, which I’ve never been in before, and after trying on a dress that made me look completely shapeless, the shop assistant remembered something else they had in stock and came back with something else for me to try on. It fit, it emphasised my good bits (whilst hiding the worst of the lumps and bumps) and I liked the colours… even the little bit of pink on the front didn’t disturb me too much (I hate pink!). And – best of all – it was size XS (something I suspect had more to do with the shop’s sizing system than me). Jan liked it as well, so we decided to go with it, even though it cost slightly more than I had been planning to spend.
And now I bet you all want to see the dress, don’t you? OK… here it is:

Dress

That evening, we went to Karlsruhe’s beach bar. One of our friends couldn’t believe we’d never been, and insisted that we take the opportunity now the weather is finally nice. It could very well be raining again by this time next week, and there isn’t that much of the summer left any more. The place itself was nice enough… it’s on the roof of a multi-story carpark, which is pretty cool. You can watch the birds and, once it gets dark, see the stars. The service was incredibly slow though, and the cocktails I tried were a bit meh. The Mojito Razz (raspbery mojito made using Bacardi Razz) was nice enough, but the Hugo was far too sweet and Jan’s Sundowner was awful! Later, we moved on to a new place that Jan and I have walked past a couple of times and been meaning to check out. The Strawberry Colada I had there was amazing! Not too sweet and made with real strawberries.

Cocktails at Soul
Cocktails at Soul

Sunday was mostly spent alternating between housework and cross stitch. Once again, I’m rushing to get a gift finished in time for an event (last time it was a wedding, this time it’s a birth). Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Anyone feel like guessing what it's going to be? ;-)
Anyone feel like guessing what it’s going to be? ­čśë

I still have a long way to go before it even starts to resemble a picture! Guess what I’ll be doing with my evenings this week…
On Sunday evening, we were invited round to a friend’s place for dinner. We had peach chicken with couscous, which was delicious! This was followed by chocolate fondue with plenty of fruit for dipping. My waist line did not thank me, but it was so, so worth it! I also indulged in some Pimms and lemonade (now that’s what they Aldi should have had for their British Isles week instead of Buck’s Fizz… Pimms!). Good food, good company and wine… could there be a more perfect way to finish the weekend?

Awesome Internet find

I came across this site this morning thanks to Facebook and I HAD to share it with you all as soon as possible.

It changes whatever you write to cats.

Cats

cats2
To get your own writing turned into cats go here: http://nekofont.upat.jp/

The website is Japanese, but there’s a button at the top right to switch to English. Now go forth and create cat writing!

Weekend fun

I have more to tell you about Berlin, but the photos are taking ages to sort, so for now I shall tell you about my weekend instead.

Yesterday my friend brought her Wii round and a few of us had a games night. We invited my downstairs neighbour over so we couldn’t disturb anyone and did Just Dance. It was a lot of fun but sooo exhausting! And I can really feel my thighs today! At least I can definitely say I got my exercise this weekend! Photos do exist, but they will not be finding their way on to this blog ever.

Today, the sun was shining, so after watching Newcastle United lose horribly in a football match against their local rivals (I wish I’d stayed in bed!!), Jan and I headed out to look for signs that Spring has finally sprung. We found them in the form of blossoms… finally here a month later than usual!

Spring tree

My new shoes finally got their chance to go outside! Hopefully this is the start of this year’s good weather and I won’t have to get my winter boots back out again!

Polkadot shoes

Our yearly passes for the zoo ran out a week ago, so we decided to go and renew them, and pop in to the zoo while we were at it. We got to see the new baby giraffe! Very cute.

Baby giraffeWe also went to visit the alpacas, but they were too busy eating grass to pay any attention to us.

Alpaca

Walking round zoos is thirsty work, so we decided to head to a cafe and have an iced chocolate (well, I did. Jan had some yoghurty fruit thing).

DSCN2974

Then it was time to head home for our tea (or dinner, if you prefer), which is currently cooking. Meanwhile, I’m off to watch The Big Bang Theory.

35 before 35: Schwarzlicht minigolf

When looking for things to do in Berlin, I came across something called Schwarzlicht Minigolf (blacklight mini golf), which I immediately knew I wanted to do, so on to the 35 before 35 list it went. I wasn’t sure whether I would actually have a chance to do it in Berlin, but it turned out that Duisburg, Bremen and Hamburg have their own blacklight minigolf courses, so I was fairly confident that I would manage it before my 35th birthday. As it turned out, Jan was all for it, so I did get to do it in Berlin.

Basically, it’s pretty much the same as ordinary minigolf (but I like minigolf so that’s ok). The only difference is, in the words of the lady who gave us our clubs and balls, this version is “darker and more colourful” (for an extra Euro, we could also have got a pair of 3D glasses, but we chose not to). After collecting our equipment, we headed downstairs into the cellar where we immediately spotted the first hole. Colourful certainly wasn’t an exaggeration! This was on the wall by the first hole – unfortuntely I didn’t manage to get a good photo of it.

Colourful minigolf wall

Hole one was separate from the others, so after completing that one we headed into the first proper room, which was Berlin themed. Well… it had a picture of the Brandenburg Gate anyway.

Brandenbrug Gate art

I actually did pretty well in this part of the game (or maybe Jan just did badly? Either way, I ended up with a better score than him… well, one point better anyway).┬á Room 2 was basically just colourful (there was no theme that I could work out) and room 3 was set in a kind of futuristic desert kind of scene – maybe it was supposed to be a space station on Mars or something?

Wall art in room 3
Wall art in room 3

The decorations in room 4 were my favorite. This time there was no doubt that we were supposed to be in space… and even without glasses the planets looked 3D! My crappy photos really don’t do it justice…

One of the holes in room 3
One of the holes in room 4

Minigolf in space

Space art

Until this point, the courses had been fairly standard with just one or two more unusual ones thrown in. Then we moved on to the final room…

Crazy minigolf

My first reaction was “How is this even supposed to work?!”. Take this for example:

Hard mini golf course

The aim is to hit the ball up the slope, over the gap and have it land on the yellow bit at the other side then roll into the hole (the black dot you can just see at the back of the photo). Falling off the sides counts as having gone out of the course, but we chose to ignore that rule. Neither of us managed to get the ball across the gap even once anyway…

Jan actually did pretty well in the final room. I failed utterly miserably at every one of the courses in there. So much for my good start! The final results say it all…
Bev 78, Jan 63

Apart from the last room, this wasn’t much different to ordinary minigolf, but it was fun anyway!If you like minigolf and want to try something different, I would certainly recommend it. And I’m sure it would be great fun for kids as well! The staff give each person a gold club to match their height and we noticed they had some tiny ones so even little kids should be able to have a go. We went at night, and the place was full of teenagers (as can be expected) but there were a couple of adults too.

The Berlin Schwarzlicht Minigolf is located in G├Ârlitzer Park, which is in the Kreuzberg area of Berlin. (Kreuzberg apparantly used to be a fairly dodgy area of Berlin but is slowly becoming gentrified, so you’ve got graffitied buildings right next to nice looking caf├ęs, which is slighty disconcerting.) The actual address is G├Ârlitzerstrasse 1, but Google maps apparantly doesn’t have a clue where that is and tried to tell us it was right in the middle of the park, which resulted in us going through the wrong entrance and wondering around in the dark for a while! We were even approached by someone who asked whether we needed “something!” No, I’m really not here to get my “fix”, honest…

To get there, take the U-Bahn (underground train) to G├Ârlitzerbahnhof. The park entrance is on the corner of Skalitzerstrasse and G├Ârlitzerstrasse, and the minigolf place is fairly close to the entrance. The building is covered with graffiti and there’s no proper sign but look out for the blackboards with “Schwarzlicht Minigolf” written on them. If you’re going at night or on the weekend, I would definitely advise making a reservation! We were unable to get through by phone, so we just turned up only to find that it was full so we ended up booking then for two nights later. During the week it might be ok as long as it isn’t school holidays.

Here, have a bonus picture of me playing minigolf (I don’t normally post photos of myself, but on this one I’m basically just a shadow…)

Minigilf girl

 

Cocktails!

Last night, I met up with my friend K for food followed by cocktails. We decided to eat at Litfa├č, which I like because it’s fairly cheap and does huge portions. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to finish my meal there!

The Litfa├č sign... this is an old photophoto not taken last night
The Litfa├č sign… photo not taken last night

After eating, we were going to head to a bar called Carlos for cocktails (I’d never been there), but it’s really small and turned out to be too full, so we moved on to Kap because I knew they do cocktails too. Jan joined us at around 10 o’clock and we finally left the bar at close to 3 a.m.!

I’d forgotten what it’s like to have a night out with a girl. Yes, I’ve been out with K before (Jan, K and I went to Freiburg Christmas market together, actually), but usually as part of a group and most times her (now ex-) girlfriend was there, too and I didn’t get to speak to K much. (Yes, I said ex-girlfriend. Yes, K is bi. Get over it already…).

Most of my friends here are male, and a lot of my friends back at uni were too. I seem to get on better with men… they’re less likely to get offended when I unthinkingly say the wrong thing, they don’t seem to mind when I go quiet because I’m feeling shy and don’t know what to say. Women tend to find me bitchy, weird or antisocial – and this is not me reading too much into things, but what people have actually told me. Men, for some reason, don’t – or maybe they do but just don’t care. So it’s been a while since I last went for drinks with a girl.

Another commentary on Friendship...
Friendship… (Photo credit: was_bedeutet_jemanden)

At the end of this conversation, K told me that she’s my friend. And I don’t think it was the cocktails talking ;-). Not bad for a random night out – yummy cocktails and a confirmed friend!

Christmas baking – round 3

On Sunday, a friend invited us over to his place to bake biscuits. Obviously I jumped at the chance – all the fun of baking without getting flour all over my own kitchen again? What’s not to like! There were 9 of us in all, but we managed to do a pretty good job of not getting in each other’s way.

First we baked biscuits

biscuits in ovenThen we decorated them:

Christmas tree biscuitsWe had many different types. These are some traditional German biscuits known as Vanille Kipferln (Vanilla Crescents is the best translation I can come up with).

VanillekipferlThese ones were waiting to go in the oven when I took this – somehow I failed to take one of them after they came out.
These chocolate-coated biscuits are gluten free for the sake of one of the group. Can you tell I had fun decorating the teddy bear?

Gluten free teddy biscuitOnce we’d finished baking, we settled down to feast on our creations with a nice cup of Gl├╝hwein.

Christmas biscuitsA fun afternoon, but I don’t think any of us will be wanting a sugary snack for a while!

By popular demand…

I don’t tend to post photos of myself (or other people for that matter) on my blog, but several people have asked to see my Halloween creations, and I am rather proud of what I came up with, so I thought I would make an exception. Here I am dressed as a bat, made using a broken umbrella, a black hat, cardboard and some black fabric.

(Yes, that is a Christmas card behind me. It’s Jan’s… from last year). I won’t post a photo of Jan, but I did take one of the scythe I made him for you. As I’m sure you’ve now guessed, he went as Death.

We spent most of the evening watching a friend’s band play in a local student bar (our friend is the keyboardist) before heading to the Irish pub at 1 a.m. for a few drinks. Amazingly, it was almost 4 when Jan and I got home! I’d been so tired all day that I hadn’t even expected to make it til midnight. Unsurprisingly, we had a lie in this morning. It was a good night though. Now to start planning my costume for next Halloween… (just kidding… I think ;-))

Plans and potatoes…

Despite all my promises to get back to regular blogging, once again it’s been over a week since my last post. That pesky little thing called life has reared up its ugly head and got in the way again! So what have I been doing that’s kept me so busy?

~ Learning Spanish! Jan and I started another Spanish course recently (our third), so now that’s where we go on Monday evenings. Each lesson is an hour and a half and let me tell you it’s hard work! Hopefully it will be worth it in the end though!

~ Socialising! Last Saturday a friend of Jan’s who moved to Frankfurt was back in town for the day, so we met up with him and went to Stadtfest. Then in the evning we met up with friends for “Dirty Old Town”, the annual event in which all the pubs in Karlsruhe’s old town have live music all night. And on Wednesday our favourite Irish pub celebrated it’s 2nd anniversary, so of course we had to be there.

~ Cooking Sunday dinner! The meat was fried pork steaks, so it wasn’t a real Sunday roast, but my roast potatoes were absolutely perfect. Crunchy on the outside and lovely and soft in the middle. Luckily I made extra so I get to enjoy them again for lunch tomorrow. Mmmm.

~ Making plans! We’ve decided to go to Edinburgh for new year as we only got such a short time there (one afternoon!) during our trip around Great Britain this summer. And since we’ll be heading to the island anyway, it makes sense to spend Christmas there as well this year. So we’ve been looking at flights, trains and B&Bs and have finally come to a decision. We’ll be staying at my dad’s for 9 whole days! My little brother won’t know what’s hit him – he’s never seen me for that many days in one go!

Nothing to say, but I’m saying it anyway

Hmm, another new week. I seem to have entirely missed most of last one. All I remember is that it involved working like a mad woman all day then returning home to work like a mad woman some more, but this time on something that I’m not getting paid for. And all this while trying to recover from my monster cold. I’m all better now though, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know. And the dissertation is moving forward. I even managed to have some fun at the weekend, which is something that hasn’t happened in a while. On Friday night Jan and I went out for a meal then some cocktails with a friend. It was 2:30 by the time we got in and I was up again by 9:30, but the reminder of what it’s like to have a real life made up for the tiredness.

I also started putting some things in boxes on Thursday evening. It wasn’t much, and my place is still as chaotic and crowded as ever, but it’s a start. Somehow actually starting to pack things away makes the move seem so much more real. I’m hoping we’ll be able to get the keys soon, then we can go in and do some measuring so we can figure out where to put what. We already have a list of things we need to do – and buy. I think another trip to IKEA will be on the cards fairly soon. Not until after payday though. My university are now demanding money from me again. *sigh*. Thankfully this is the last installment, so hopefully they’ll leave me alone after that. Unless of course I have to pay for the privilige of having my certificate sent out to me. That is a bridge that shall have to be crossed when I come to it though… I have to pass the dissertation first!

Frog’s legs, football and snow all in one week

You know it’s been too long since your last post when you go to WordPress only to find you’ve been logged out! (I have mine set up to keep me logged in).
In my defence though it has been a busy, busy week.

On Monday it was Jan’s birthday. He turned 30 (causing a friend of mine to say “Wow, you have an old boyfriend” when I told her. She thought he was only a year or two older than me, not 3 and a half). Thirty being a special birthday I obviously wasn’t going to let him ignore it – like he has pretty much every year since I met him! So I started asking him what he wanted to do at the end of January, and finally managed to persuade him to let me take him out for a meal. We went to a slightly more expensive than usual restaurant which we had both seen from the outside but never been in. Actually, the prices were slightly better than I thought they would be, but the total still ended up being over ÔéČ100. That did include an apertif each, a bottle of wine, starter, soup, two main courses and a dessert though, so not too bad. And we tried frog’s legs. In case you were wondering no, they don’t taste like chicken! They were nice and I wouldn’t object to eating them again but it’s not something I need to do every day.
Jan has decided he’ll be having a proper party once the two of us have found a flat, so there’s still that to look forward to as well. (We are officially looking now… exciting, yes?)

On Tuesday I went out for dinner with a friend. I hadn’t seen her since before Christmas and it was sooo good to meet up. This time we went for a slightly cheaper option – a bar/restaurant type place that mostly students go to. I think it was the first place I ever went for a drink in Karlsruhe, way back in my Erasmus days. That was the same year I met my friend, so we spent some time talking about homw time has flown since then… my year abroad was 2003/2004 and now we’re three months into 2010. Unbelievable!

Wednesday was the day of the long awaited Germany-Argentina match and I was right there in the stadium! A friend of Jan’s got tickets ages ago, and since I had 2 days holiday from last year that had to be taken before the end of March I decided I would go along. Some things just have to be done at least once in a life time. The match was in Munich, so Jan hired a car and we left the house at 7:30 am to drive down there. I still can’t believe I was up that early on my day off! It took us until nearly 12pm to get to Munich (damn traffic! Damn roadworks!) so the first thing we did was go and get something to eat. I had the biggest burger I’ve ever seen! That alone would have been enough for me, but it came served with homemade potato wedges (with the skin left on. Mmmm) and salad. The best thing about it though was that the gherkins and tomatoes had been left on the side of the plate, so I didn’t have to pick them out before I could start eating. It also came with three types of sauce – ketchup, mayonaise and something that may have been mustard (I didn’t try it) all of which came in proper little jars. Excellent! We then went for a wander around town, did a bit of shopping (I got a new coat) took some photos and finally headed for the stadium. Those who watched the match on TV thought it was boring and that Germany were week, but from where I was sitting it was pretty good. Germany at least seemed to try for once (number 24 played excellently!) and I enjoyed myself, despite freezing to death the whole way throguh – the Allianz Arena is completely open and unheatable! Germany lost 1-0, which is a shame, but the goal was so pathetic that they almost deserved it. We left Munich after the match and drove back to Karlsruhe, finally arriving at just after 3 am. I’m very glad I didn’t have to work on Thursday!

Last night we were invitied to a friend’s place for a DVD evening, to celebrate Jan’s birthday. We watched Office Space, which is funny if a little strange in places. By the time we left (at just after 2am) it had started to snow. Not the nice kind of snow either, horrible little flakes that are basically just freezing rain… and all blown about by a nasty cold wind. We missed the tram as well, but luckily our friend has a car so he gave us a lift home. We went straight to bed when we got in, then woke up this morning to find it was still snowing (at least I did, it’s now 1:20 pm and Jan’s still in bed!). Snow in March is unheard of for Karlsruhe, and it’s meant to continue for the rest of the weekend. And there was me thinking Spring was on its way.

That was my week. Very enjoyable, but now it’s time to get back to the boring stuff. Housework and my dissertation are calling…