10 more things to do before I turn 40

I recently posted the first part of a list of 40 things to do before I turn 40. Today, I want to show you the next ten items, appropriately 4 months to the day before the end of my 35 before 35 challenge.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

  1. Try 10 foods or dishes that I haven’t had before
  2. Take the funicular up to Rochers-de-Naye (thought to have been the inspiration for Rochers Neiges in Agatha Christie’s “The Labours of Hercules”) – thanks to Chomeuse for this one!
  3. Cook 10 recipes from cookbooks I own – I have loads that I rarely even glance at, so it’s time I made some use of them!
  4. Try an Escape Room
  5. Eat 5 or more portions of different fruits/vegetables every single day for a week (Monday-Sunday)
  6. Take the Glacier Express
  7. Visit a new place in Switzerland for each letter of my first name – thanks to Kezzie for this fabulous suggestion!
  8. Visit Pompei – I have wanted to do this ever since we learned about the volcanic eruption on primary school!
  9. Eat pizza in Naples (this one and the previous one can be combined in the same trip)
  10. See the Rocky Horror Show in the year of its 50th anniversary – I saw the 30th anniversary show when it came to Sunderland, then I went to see the show in German in what I only later realised was its 40th anniversary year. So it only makes sense to see it again in 2023 (since that will be the year I turn 40, if the actual show turns out to be after my birthday I will count this item as completed if I at least have the tickets!)

That’s 25 so far… I will post the remaining 15 within the next few months. Please feel free to give me suggestions in the comments.

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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.

8fdf5-whats2bnew2bwith2byou

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).

A gathering of thoughts

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a nice Easter? I was home along for the long weekend – and still am, actually. Jan is away with one of his choirs on a trip that covers Vienna, Belgrade, Sofia, and Istanbul. Jealous? Me? No, not at all… Anyway, as you will have seen, the tag line of my blog is “Just a place to gather my thoughts” and occasionally I like to do just that, i.e. put together a list of random things that have occurred to me but don’t merit an entire blog post of their own.

lost-in-thought
Image from: https://openclipart.org/detail/263006/lost-in-thought
  • Or building is being renovated next year and one of the things they’re doing is giving everyone a washer and dryer in their flat. I am way more excited about this than the new bathrooms they’re also planning on putting in… no more getting up early to put on a load of washing because certain people feel the need to reserve the evening washing machine slots months in advance so nobody else gets a chance! (Side note: most rental apartments in Switzerland have a shared laundry room and you either have an assigned day, a specific slot (e.g. Monday mornings) a sign-up sheet or, in some cases, it’s a free-for-all. In our case, it’s a sign-up sheet).
  • Sort of related to the above… if I’m not allowed to do laundry or hoover on a Sunday does that mean it’s also illegal to dry my hair?
  • After two whole delivery-free days in a row (Sunday followed by Easter Monday, which is a holiday), how is it possible that I had no mail today? The post person had obviously been because Jan had a letter from his health insurance, so where was my post? I want my books and I want them now!
  • Speaking of books… I picked one up today that had been on my shelf for a while and realised that someone had ripped out a page in the middle (I buy almost all my books second hand). It’s an ex-library copy and is otherwise in good condition, so I can only assume the seller didn’t know. Who on Earth does that? I’m really annoyed now because I finally felt like reading that book and now I have to wait for another copy to arrive. Also, I’m going to have to throw the book away and I hate throwing books away, but with a missing page it’s no longer any use to anyone.
  • I have two acquaintances who are currently pregnant with their fourth child. How?! (I mean, I know physically how but a) what are the chances of two people I know announcing this within a week and b) how do other people manage to have four children at the drop of a hat when I don’t even have one?)

Hmm, I thought I had more than that but I seem to have run out of steam, so that’s it. Not the most exciting post, but if I can’t talk to an actual human being I’ll just have to throw my random thoughts out into the universe instead 😉 And now I need to go and cook tea (by which I mean let the oven cook it for me). Have a great evening, friends.

One lovely blog award

I’m so sorry my blog seems to be a giant tag-fest recently, but people keep nominating me for things and, honestly, I’ve been feeling uninspired so it’s nice to have ready-made posts. Today’s is the “One lovely blog award” and I was nominated by Chomeuse with a Chou. She’s a fellow Brit abroad (in her case France) and she has such a wonderful writing style. Please go and check out her blog. I was also nominated by Irish Procrastinator. She is Irish (no, really?), very funny and an excellent poet. Again, you really must check out her blog. Thank you both so much for the nomination – I am genuinely touched that somebody considers me “lovely”!

lovely blog

There are rules, of course.

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award;
  • Share seven things about yourself;
  • Nominate 7 other bloggers and inform them.

I have done similar posts before and I don’t think I will be able to dredge up seven entirely new facts, so apologies to long-term readers who’ve probably seen some of these before.

  1. This one is in my About Me section, but I’m using it here anyway. I have three siblings – a sister and two half brothers. My brothers are not related to each other. At my sister’s hen do (which I couldn’t attend), people were asked to take a quiz about her, and one of the questions was how many siblings does she have. Not a single person got it right – including my youngest brother’s mum! Oh, and I’m the eldest, by the way. My sister is actually the middle child twice.
  2. The first “adult” book I was ever allowed to read was The Clocks by Agatha Christie, when I was around 10. I can remember reading it in bed one morning before anyone else was awake and going downstairs to get the big dictionary so I could look up the word “illegitimate”.
  3. In my entire life, the place I lived the longest in one stretch was Karlsruhe, Germany – from September 2006 until I moved to Switzerland at the end of April 2015.
  4. Following on from the above… I always find the question “where are you from” really hard to answer. I lived in the place I was born twice, but even while I lived there it never really felt like “home”. It was just where army families get put when the army has nowhere else for them to go. Northumberland feels like home more than anywhere else, and that’s usually what I tell people, but if I have to specify a town it gets awkward again. I moved in with my dad aged 13 (he was out of the army by that time) and went to high school in the town he still lives in, but I hated it there and couldn’t wait to get away, so I certainly don’t consider that home! My parents are both from Morpeth, where my remaining grandparents still live, and that’s been the most constant place in my life. We went there for at least one holiday every year. It’s probably the place I am most likely to think of as “home”, but I’ve never actually lived there in my life.
  5. I’m obsessed with names… how people choose names for their children, how naming trends have changed through the years, which names are popular in which parts of the world. Jan gets so sick of me talking about people and their names!
  6. I lived in Austria for 10 months and have now been in Switzerland for close to three years but I have never tried skiing. Every year we say we will, then every year we don’t.
  7. When I was about 7 or 8, I wanted my name to be Abigail. I have no idea where I even got the name from – as far as I’m aware I had never met an Abigail at that stage in my life. To be honest, I would probably have chosen any name of my own at that point though. Beverly Hills 90210 came out the year I turned 7 and I got so sick of people at school chanting “90210” at me. Or alternatively saying “hey Beverley, are you a cop?”. Obviously they thought they were being sooo creative. *eyeroll*. So it’s kind of ironic that these days when German speakers don’t understand my name the first time I will actually say “Beverley as in Beverly Hills”.

Hmm, some of those were kind of long. Hopefully not too boring though?

I’m not actually going to tag anyone this time because I’ve been throwing tags around like confetti recently and I think I’ve already tagged everyone who might accept at least once. Sorry about that. I promise my next post will not be a tag or award!

A Photo an Hour: 24 March 2018

Hello friends! As some of you know, Saturday was this month’s Photo an Hour day. I took part on Twitter and now I want to add the photos to me blog, too.

10 a.m. Jan brought me a cup of tea in bed! Don’t be too jealous… it’s only because I was on day 3 of a sore throat 😉

11 a.m. Time for a shower! I used the one above the bath this time since Jan was in the other one.

12 noon. The sun was shining for a change and it was actually warm so we decided to go for a walk in the woods. On the way there we passed this field, which is usually full of horses. You can just about spy one at the back, by the tent thing.

1 p.m. After leaving the woods we reached a café where we stopped for a drink.

2 p.m. Heading home. The train is on its way to Basel from France.

3 p.m. A late lunch. This interesting looking twisty thing had bacon pieces in it. SO tasty!

4 p.m. Jan was busy doing something for his choir, so I started a new book. My final one for Erin’s challenge!

5 p.m. Time for another cuppa.

6 p.m. Doing some colouring. Jan laughed at by baby dragons colouring book – mean!

7 p.m. More reading while the potatoes cook for tea.

8 p.m. Eating baked potatoes and watching Pointless Celebrities

9 p.m. Still watching TV (although we switched it off 2 minutes after this photo was taken!)

10 p.m. In bed with my book. I’m determined to finish the challenge this month!

11 p.m. Refilled my water, now it’s time to sleep.

So, that was my Saturday. How was yours?

As always, Photo and Hour was hosted by Louisa and Jane.

Sunshine blogger award… again

I know I did this fairly recently, but I was nominated a second time by Confessions of an Irish Procrastinator WEEKS ago and I feel bad that I haven’t answered her questions yet.

sunshine blogger

The rules, in case you forgot already:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for a blog post and links back to their blog.
Thank you! I am truly honoured that you think my blog is worthy of this award.

2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
See below

3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
Hmm

4. Display the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog.

Here are my answers:

  1. What’s your favourite animal and why?
    I like lots of animals. I’m going to be really unimaginative and say a dog though. They’re just so loving and seem to truly like their owners no matter what. Nobody is ever as happy to see you as a dog!
  2. If you had to be a character in any book who would you be?
    Oooh, that’s a good question… but also a difficult one. I think I would like to be Susan Sto Helit (aka Susan Death) from the Discworld books. She is, quite simply, awesome! Plus I would get to meet Death.
  3. What habit would you like to kick?
    Leaving things lying around. I need to make sure everything has a place and then put things in that place, even if it means taking a detour into another room.
  4. What would you like to achieve before the year is out?
    The main thing I want to achieve isn’t for the blog, so I’ll give another boring answer. I’d like to lose 2-3 kg.
  5. If you could live in any known fictional land (for example Wonderland or Narnia) where would you live?
    Aah, I want to say Discworld but that seems like cheating after picking a Discworld character for question one! Okay, Narnia. After the White Witch is defeated, obviously.
  6. What uplifting thought or quote you do you live your life by?
    Try to live by would be more accurate! “Be so happy that when others look at you they become happy too!”. I don’t know if that’s actually a quote or who said it, but I bought a postcard with it on and stuck it inside my front door so every time I leave the flat I see it and try to act on it.
  7. Share one thing that makes you really happy.
    This is going to sound really weird, but the River Rhine in Basel. Even on a cold, grey, rainy, miserable day, walking across the Rhine never fails to make me feel happy and… hopeful, I guess? No matter what’s happening, at that moment I feel like eventually everything will turn out okay in the end. I don’t remember a place in Karlsruhe ever having that effect and it makes me really glad we decided to move here. See, I told you it was weird!

    12_Rhine
    The Rhine by night
  8. Share something you’re proud of.
    My Master’s dissertation. I wrote it about the translation of children’s literature and got 70% for it. (I actually got a higher mark for my Bachelor’s dissertation but I feel like a Master’s dissertation is more of an achievement so…)
  9. Do you have any unusual party tricks?
    Hmm… no. Not that I can think of.
  10. Who’s your favourite band?
    Finally an easy one. Green Day
  11. If you could fly or be invisible which would you choose?
    I think fly… assuming I could fly really fast over long distances it would be a useful skill for getting to England in a hurry if necessary.

I’m actually going to cheat and not nominate anybody because I’ve already done it once recently and can’t think of anyone else, but I will give you 11 questions and if anyone feels like answering them please feel free to say I nominated you for the award!

  1. What is your most treasured possession and why?
  2. What would be your dream job?
  3. What was the last film you watched?
  4. What was your favourite subject in school?
  5. What’s your favourite thing about yourself?
  6. Have you ever been told you resemble someone famous? Who was it?
  7. Do you snore?
  8. If you could learn to transform into an animal (but only one) which animal would you choose?
  9. What’s your favourite cartoon?
  10. What was your favourite film as a child?
  11. If there was a film about your life, what would it be called?

Feel free to pick one or more questions and answer them in the comments if you don’t want to do the whole thing 🙂

Thinking of 40 things to do before I turn 40

My birthday is creeping ever closer, and even though I’m definitely not going to complete all the items on my 35 before 35 list, I’ve enjoyed it so much that I decided to make a new list, of things to do before I turn 40 – even though the idea that my next milestone is forty makes me feel slightly sick. HOW CAN THAT BE? I am still very far from having 40 things on my list – it took me long enough to think of 35 last time never mind an extra 5! But I thought I would share with you what I have so far.

Toblerone cheesecake
Cake just seemed like an appropriate photo…
  1. Go to the festival of lights in Lyon
  2. Beat Jan at mini golf – he always wins, but just once I would like to beat him
  3. Make flour soup (a staple of Basel Fasnacht)
  4. Watch 10 films in German – I hate watching dubbed English films, so this will probably also mean finding 10 German films!
  5. Read the rest of the books from the BBC Big Read Top 200 – I’m not going to finish this by August, but I do want to read them all so I’m rolling it over to my 40 before 40.
  6. Learn basic Ukrainian – get to at least level 3 on Duolingo
  7. Visit Ukraine – this was on my original list, but I changed it due to safety concerns. I’m hoping in the next 5 years things will calm down a bit…
  8. Go out for afternoon tea
  9. Build a snowman – surely at some point in the next 5 years there will be enough snow for me to do this?
  10. Visit Auschwitz
  11. Look for dwarfs in Wroclaw
  12. See the leaning tower of Pisa – it’s probably not even that impressive, but I just want to see it
  13. Read 25 non-fiction books – apparently 50 was too ambitious last time, but 25 should be doable, right?
  14. Read a book published in each year of my life, so one book each from the years 1983 until 2023 (I don’t have to read them in order!)
  15. Give at least 100 pounds or euros to three separate charities

I do have a couple more, but I think 15 is enough for one post. I don’t havy anywhere near 40 though, so please let me know in the comments if you have any other ideas for things I could do. I will at least consider anything that isn’t bungee jumping!