Recent doings #24 – December 2017

Hi everyone! I’m not really sure what I can write in this December recap post that wasn’t already covered in my yearly review or another post, but I hate to miss out on the What’s New With You link up again (I missed Novembers because I was packing and then on a plane to England), so here we go…

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Reading. I will post all my December reads next week when Show Us Your Books rolls around, but I feel the need to mention (again) that I finished Magician in December. Not only was it over 800 pages long, but it also ended up being the 100th book I finished in 2017. Woo!

Watching. I finally watched Being John Malkovich and it was just so weird! Other than that a bunch of Christmas films… Miracle on 34th Street (the 90s version), A Muppet Christmas Carol, the end of Home Alone 2 and The Snowman and the Snowdog. Also Christmas specials of Pointless and A Question of Sport. I think I watched more TV in December than the entire rest of the year…

Making. Christmas cards… for Post Pals and for my family. I think I made over 100 cards this year! Here are some that I’m fairly sure you haven’t seen:

Eating. All the things I really shouldn’t have… what else does one do in December? Ferrero Rocher, Gingerbread men, biscuits, crisps… it was bad. But oh so good. Then we had lamb for Christmas dinner.

Drinking. Prosecco. And that was before Christmas even arrived 😉 The day of my sister’s wedding we literally drank fizz for breakfast.

Celebrating. My sister’s wedding. And obviously Christmas 😉

Visiting. My dad’s cousin on Boxing Day (26 December for those that aren’t familiar with it). He lives in Germany, but a relatively short train journey away from us. He has three kids and his parents (my great aunt and uncle) were also visiting so it was a full house! We had a fun afternoon.

Hosting. A friend from uni days! She came to stay for the first week in December because she wanted to see some Christmas markets. We obliged by taking her to the ones in Freiburg (Germany) and Basel.

Travelling. To England for the wedding, obviously. Then to Geneva for New Year.

wedding balloon

Buying. Christmas presents, of course. Although to be fair I had bought almost all of mine before December rolled around since I needed to take them to England when I flew over for the wedding. But I did end up buying one last-minute gift the day we flew and then still had to buy the very last one in Newcastle! For myself, I think I only bought 4 books in December, which is actually pretty good going. I won’t tell you how many I normally buy…

I can’t think of anything else. It was a busy month, but somehow all the busy seems to have been covered in just a few categories. I was also working until the 22nd though, so between that and all the Christmas cards there wasn’t really time for much else before Christmas. I’m hoping January will be slightly less insane.

I am linking up with Kristen and Gretch as always. Please go and say hi!

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Time to start eating healthily again!

Walkers crisps from the UK
Why must you be so tasty? (Photo credit: suanie)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been letting the fact that I could eat normally again go to my head. Pizza, chips, jaffa cakes, chocolate Digestives and Walkers crisps have all disappeared down my throat like it was the last time I was ever going to be fed. The result? I’ve now put back on half of the weight I had lost thanks to my wisdom tooth operation. Ooops! It’s time for this to stop, and healthy eating to recommence. That’s not to say I won’t be eating any junk food. After all, I do have a sweetie hamper that it would be a shame to let go to waste! And they say a little of what you fancy does you good. But muffins and pizza in the same day? Half a packet of Rolos followed by a bag of crisps and a handful of Liqurice Allsorts? Slightly excessive, don’t you think? It’s got to stop! So, from today, I shall be cooking nice healthy meals again. And no snacking in between! That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see how well I stick to it…

And obviously Irish pub days don’t count… I need my fix of chips with salt and vinegar at least once a month!

The Liebster Award

Back in June, Gina from A 4star Life nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you Gina! I was in Ireland at the time, then busy with one thing and another, so I’m only getting round to posting the award now. As always with these things, there are rules:

• Post the award on your blog
• Thank the blogger presenting you with this award and provide a link back to their blog
• You then need to write 11 random facts about yourself
• One good turn deserves another, meaning, you then need to find 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers who you think are deserving of the award so that you can then nominate them! In other words, keep the love going and help small, new blogs get out there and get noticed!
• Finally, the award presenter will ask 11 questions of you which you need to answer and then you, in turn, ask your nominees 11 questions, and so it goes.

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So, first of all I need to give you all 11 facts about myself.  I apologise if I’ve told you any of these things before, but after 5 years of blogging it’s hard to remember what I haven’t said!

  • I almost studied Russian at university, but ended up not getting in because my grades weren’t good enough. The uni that did let me in didn’t offer Russian, so I did International Relations instead.
  • For years I wanted to be a teacher. I changed my mind after spending a year as a language assistant in Germany and hating almost every minute of it (except the days where I went to either my amazing year 7 class or the better behaved of my three year 6 classes)
  • On my mum’s side of the family, I am the oldest of 18 grandchildren. There was one cousin who was older than me, but she died before I was born.
  • On my dad’s side of the family, I only have one first cousin! She was born in December 2012 and she lives in Australia, so I’ve only ever seen photos of her. Most of my dad’s cousins (my cousins once removed) are actually closer to my age than his though.
  • I am the only one of my siblings who has a name that doesn’t exist in Germany (even with a different pronunciation). I find this ironic seeings as I am also the only one who lives abroad.
  • The first book that ever made me cry was Black Beauty.
  • I hate ketchup! I can put up with it in burgers, but refuse to eat chips (fries) with it on
  • My favourite crisps are the kind that are meant to appeal to kids, like Monster Munch and Wotsits. I also love Frazzles.
  • I love my job, but the thought of spending the next 40-ish years of my life doing nothing but work (with the occasional holiday in between) makes me want to cry.
  • When I was about 10, I begged my mum for months to let me become a vegetarian. When it got to Christmas, I changed my mind. Christmas without pigs in blankets isn’t a real Christmas!
  • I used to be able to quote the film The Lion King word for word… thanks to my brother who was obsessed with it and watched it multiple times every day! I can still quote quite a lot of it.

And now to answer Gina’s questions…

  1. What’s your guilty pleasure?
    Eating ice cream in the middle of winter while sitting in front of the radiator, wrapped in a blanket. I only do this when the boyfriend is away!
    Oh, and also if nobody’s watching I will sometimes open my empty packet of Flamin’ Hot Monster Munch (I only do it with the Flamin’ Hot ones) right out and lick off all the crumbs. Disgusting right? I can’t believe I actually just admitted that when I have real life friends who read my blog! (Hi guys!!)
  2. English: A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Blen...
    How could anyone resist that little face? (Photo: Wikipedia)

    Cats or dogs?
    Definitely dogs! If I didn’t live where I do, I would love a little white Westie or a Beagle or a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. There are a few individual cats I like, but for the most part I think they’re evil and probably plotting to take over the world… only the lack of opposable thumbs has stopped them until now.

  3. What time do you normally go to bed?
    I would like to go to bed at around 10 on week days seeing as I have to be up for work at 6, but I almost never manage it. Usually it’s somewhere between 10:30 pm and midnight, but if it’s quiz night can ends up being as late as 2 am…
  4. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
    Most embarrassing. Ooh, difficult! I’m always doing embarrassing things. Seriously, I can embarrass myself just by opening my mouth.
    Hmm, the one I can think of right now happened when I was 17. I was invited to my friend’s birthday party… at a pub. My other friend had brought along a bottle of vodka, so we spent most of the night buying coke then topping up with her booze, until she ran out. Then we started ordering triple vodka and cokes. I was supposed to take the last bus home, but completely forgot about it. Then, an hour after it had left, I went into the toilets, sat down on the floor in front of the sinks (I couldn’t make it any further) and threw up all over myself. I was literally metres from the cubicles! Then my friend had to call my dad to come and pick me up because I couldn’t remember my own phone number. My dad just laughed at me all the way home, but the friend whose birthday it was didn’t speak to me for about three months… he worked at the pub and when the owner found out my age he came close to getting fired. Oops!
  5. What’s your favourite joke?
    Not my favourite, but the only one I can think of right now:
    What do you call a chav in a box?
    Init
    What do you call a chav in a filing cabinet?
    Sorted
    What do you call a chav in a locked filing cabinet?
    Safe!
  6. What’s your middle name?
    Ann – along with about half the people I went to school with! It seems Ann was a popular middle name for my generation…
  7. Do you prefer the city or the country?
    I don’t like big cities, but I wouldn’t want to live right out in the country either. I like Karlsruhe because it has the best of both worlds – it’s a city so there’s plenty going on, but it’s nor a huge city and the atmosphere is more like in a small town. Also, the countryside is close enough to visit.
  8. If you could go anywhere right now, where would you go?
    The Ukraine…. or Slovenia. I reeeeally want to visit the Postojnska cave (click the name to see the awesomeness)
  9. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?
    At work, a translator who is proofreading for me. Privately, Jan on Tuesday.
  10. Would you rather have feet sized ears or ear sized feet?
    Feet sized ears. I could hang loads of earrings from them and turn them into a fashion statement… ear-sized feet would make walking too difficult!
  11. Would you rather be attacked by a dozen duck sized horses or one horse sized duck?
    I think a horse-sized duck. Maybe I could tame it then give people rides on its back. For a small fee, of course 😉

Next, I have to nominate some people for the award… or actually, it’s more of a challenge than a nomination coming up with all those facts. Sorry guys! I hereby nominate:

– Kay from Have You Seen My Glass Slipper? (I recently started reading her blog, and she is awesome! I wish I’d had her attitude at 18…)
– Tina from KulturSchock
From Casinos to Castles
– Fay at Fly on the Wall
The Diary of Sugar and Spice
– Katrin from The Land of Candy Canes
– Linda of Expat Eye on Latvia
…. and I know that’s only seven, but that’s all I can think of right now without giving this award to the same people who got the Versatile Blogger Award from me not long ago…
You are all free to turn it down, of course 😉

And here are my questions for my nominees:

1. If you could change your first name to anything at all, what would you pick?
2. Where were you born?
3. What is your favourite quote?
4. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate?
5. If you could own any animal, what would it be?
6. Why did you start blogging?
7. Who is your favourite author?
8. What is your favourite flavour of crisps (chips for the Americans)?
9. Apart from blogs, which website do you spend most time on?
10. Do you have a talent? If so, what?
11. What was the last song you listened to?

Friday letters (OMG it’s August!!)

It’s Friday again, and that means it’s been a whole week since my mam’s birthday! It doesn’t seem like that long. Yet, at the same time, at work it feels like I never had a holiday. I came back to the same translation I was working on before I left and some news that I can’t really share because it’s somebody else’s business, but which means I may be the only English translator at our place come February.  If you’re thinking that will probably mean even more work for me… you’d be right! Oh well, on with the letters. I have rather a lot of them today!

Portuguese Post Box
Portuguese Post Box (Photo: Debarshi Ray)

Dear T. I’ll have been your godmother for exactly two weeks on Sunday and I still couldn’t be prouder to have been selected. Keep on being adorable!

Dear August. How are you here already? I’m not ready for you yet!

Dear today. Could you have gone any slower? I almost cried this morning when I checked the time and saw it was still only 10:30…

Dear suitcase. I’m soo happy to have you back, with the birthday presents from my family and – more importantly – English junk food. My friend may have gone overboard with the Galaxy chocolate (in various different types), Mini Cheddars and Monster Munch, but not to worry… it will all get eaten!

Dear sleep. Please can we have a catch up this weekend? I don’t remember what it feels like not to be tired! (Even in England, I was up before 9 every day because the sun came shining in my window every morning and by 8 it was far too hot to sleep!)

Dear cross stitch. I wish I wasn’t so slow at you! The baby is due this month and I still don’t have a recognisable picture…

Dear summer. I know everyone was complaining about all the rain and cold weather about a month ago, but does it really need to be this hot?!

Dear Smashed Lemon clothing. Why does all your stuff have to be so nice? The new dress I ordered from you came yesterday and I still have at least three things on my wish list!

Happy Friday everyone! Have a fun-filled weekend!

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Listen to the choir sing

Jan’s choir performed at a little cafe/bar place in town yesterday, so naturally I went along. It’s the first time I’ve seen them perform (last time I was ill) and I’d only ever heard two out of the 8 of them sing before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I really enjoyed myself though, and I thought they were all very good. (I’m not entirely sure whether my opinion counts though seeing as I don’t have a musical bone in my body and can’t sing a note. It must be nice to have a talent…).

Other than that I didn’t do much this weekend. Most of Saturday afternoon was spent planning a trip around the UK in August with Jan and a friend. We’ll be starting in London then heading to the North East of England (via Wales) and finally to London, before coming back down to take the ferry back. Phew. It’s all very vague at the moment (the only part we have definite dates for is London) but I’m hoping to plan in a few meetings with friends along the way. And if anyone knows of any good, reasonably priced B&Bs in Salisbury, Cardiff or Edinburgh then please send the details my way. All recommendations gratefully received!

I was going to bake today, but I couldn’t decide whether to make cookies or cake, then Jan went home and told me he won’t be coming over again til Tuesday(!) so I ended up not bothering. No point in making an entire cake just for me! Instead I’m sitting here eating cheese flavoured tortilla chips while waiting for my salmon with spinach and tomatoes to finish cooking. Hurry up fish, I’m hungry!

Retail therapy

The sun came out today and melted most of the snow, so I decided to make the most of it and go shopping. I should have been finishing my progress report for uni and cleaning the flat, but shopping won. I don’t feel too guilty though – that stuff can wait til tomorrow and anyway, most of my purchases were for the flat. I bought:
◊ A tall glass jar for keeping spaghetti in
◊ 2 glass serving bowls for the bargainous price of €1.50 each
◊ A photo frame, which is now hanging on the wall with a photo of Jan and I at my Grandparent’s golden wedding anniversary in it
◊ A photo album… now the photos I took in Paris in April finally have a home!
◊ A cake tin
◊ New towels (2 hand towels, 2 bath towels)
◊ A plastic box with a lid to keep all my envelopes and writing paper and jiffy bags in.

Not very exciting, I know, but the perfect cure for a week like the one I’ve just had. And I don’t even have to feel guilty because I only purchased things I actually need (well, apart from the photo album and frame, but those were cheap enough not to count…)

I’m going to open a beer now and eat some crisps and dip.The only thing missing to make this evening perfect is Jan. Stupid work sending him to stupid Hamburg to sort out stupid software. You can’t have everything though, I suppose.