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!

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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?

The Liebster Award and some random ramblings

Charlotte from Sherbet and Sparkles recently gave me the Liebster Award (thank you Charlotte!) and I thought I would pass it on before I completely forget about it.liebsterblogawardA while ago, I was given a different Liebster Award, which involved a lot more work. This one is pretty simple – display the award on your blog and choose five people to pass it on to. I can do that!

The word Liebster is German, by the way, and means something like “dearest”. How nice!
Here are my nominations:

PinkleaOne of the first blogs I started reading when I signed up for WordPress oh-so-many years ago. She’s a French immersion teacher from Canada and often has funny stories to tell about the kids, as well as life in general.

Expat Eye on LatviaI’m sure you can guess what her blog is about from the name. However, what the name doesn’t tell you is that she’s very, very funny!

From Casinos to CastlesDeanna is an American expat in Germany. She writes about the ups and downs of life (and parenthood) in a foreign land.

Is That You Darling?Jane describes herself as a “UK lifestyle blogger” On is That You Darling, you you will find a bit of everything: Film reviews, recipes and photos from day trips to London, to name just a few.

The Pink RachaelWe share so many of the same opinions, it almost scares me! Rachael recently moved from being an expat in Spain to living back in England, and took a break from blogging during the big move, but she’s back now with more tales to tell.

Sara in Le Petit VillageAn American in France. Her posts range from amusing to insightful and her photos of France are gorgeous!

Now some random ramblings on life in general.

  1. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m looking forward to being able to exercise again! When I went back to work after the dreaded wisdom teeth operation, even walking fast caused a jolt of pain to go through the holes with every step I took. Things have improved since then, thank goodness, but I still don’t feel up to say star jumps.
  2. Speaking of wisdom teeth, I can now chew normally again on one side of my mouth. The left-hand side is still a bit sensitive, but the operation was also more complicated on that side so I’m not too surprised.
  3. Because dealing with the after effects of having my wisdom teeth out clearly isn’t enough, I woke up with a sore throat this morning. Thanks a lot, universe!
  4. It’s raining again. I sincerely hope it’s just a one off and not the start of another three weeks of sogginess! There’s been more than enough rain in Germany this year if you ask me.
  5. Poppadoms
    YUM!! (Photo credit: 10b travelling)

    My godson took is first step the other day, at just over one year and one week old. Clever boy! (Obviously I was not there to see this – I read it on Facebook).

  6. Last night, somebody found my blog by searching for craving poppadoms. Now I want poppadoms! And a decent curry to go with them. I’m so easily influenced… (I also still want Wotsits after yesterday’s search terms post. Always the things I can’t get here. *Sigh*)

And that’s all I have to say for now. Stay tuned for this week’s Look Up, Look Down entry…

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.

liebster3

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?