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…


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!


Friday letters

Hello everyone! I hope you are all well? I am tiiiired, which is partly my own fault for reading something on my phone in bed last night after turning the light out, but really I didn’t end up going to sleep that late. I think I’m just taking my time to recover from the wedding followed by a 24 hour odyssey to get back from England. I’m not as young as I used to be! Still having a slight cold probably isn’t helping either. It’s mostly gone now but my nose is still a bit blocked with what seems to be some kind of glue?!

Anyway, let’s have some letters shall we?

Friday letters

Dear sister. You made an absolutely stunning bride! If the rest of your marriage is half as amazing as the wedding I know you are going to have the most wonderful life.

Dear brother-in-law. Welcome to the family!

Dear extended family. It’s good to know you are as crazy as ever! I enjoyed being on the dance floor with you at the wedding.

Dear snow. I hear you were in Basel when I wasn’t. Please come back… I would much prefer you to all this rain!

Dear Swiss post. According to your website, I would have had to send Christmas cards to Europe yesterday for them to arrive in time. I’m hoping you’re just being very generous because the last of mine won’t be going out until this weekend!

Okay, that’s it from me. Time to do some work. Next week I’ve taken Friday off and then we’re closed for Christmas. YAY!

Friday letters

I meant to post more this week – and also actually respond to my comments – but then work got busy and I was tired. Blah, excuses. Anyway, I thought I would at least pop in briefly to write some Friday letters.

Mail box

Dear weather. So I see you decided to give up on summer right before the weekend. How kind of you! (Me, sarcastic? Nevah!)

Dear whatever bit my little toe in the night. My toe? Seriously? Now wearing shoes makes it itchy and swell up. And I can’t exactly walk around in sandals right now (see previous letter). I guess leaving the hose is not in my immediate future…

Dear godson. I hope you had a wonderful 4th(!!) birthday. Sorry your gift was late!

Dear sister. Congratulations on your engagement! We will celebrate when I see you next.

Dear weekend. You’re almost here! I can’t wait to catch up on some sleep after getting next to none last weekend!

That’s all for now. The church bells just told me it’s 1 p.m. and therefore time to get back to work… 4 hours to go!

A labour of love

As you may or may not remember, I went to England at the beginning of January. The reason for the trip was my sister’s 30th birthday! It’s not every day your younger sister turns 30, so I decided to give her a special gift. I had a photo of her dog as a puppy converted to a cross stitch pattern and then stitched it for her. I started it last June and finished it literally on her birthday, 7th January 2016! Stupidly, I forgot to take a photo of the finished article, so I only have one of my sister and her boyfriend holding it after I gave it to her. I’ve cropped the photo so you can’t see the people in it (which is a shame because the smiles of joy say it all!). So, I present to you, Loki:


This is the biggest project I’ve ever done (over 1000 stitches, mostly in shades of gray!) and I’m extremely proud of it. My sister’s reaction was exactly what I had hoped for – I actually have a video of her literally jumping up and down with joy!

By the way, the extra fifth hand holding the bottom corner is my brother’s… neither of them has an extra arm! (Pity… I’m sure we all wish we did at times!)

Throwback Thursday

While I was in England I actually managed to make some headway on clearing out my old bedroom at my dad’s and in the process I found some old photos, so I thought I would completely embarrass myself and share a few of them with you. Apologies if the quality isn’t the best, I had to take photos of photos again.

Little baby Bev
Little baby Bev

This is one of the very few photos of little me where I was actually (sort of) smiling. There’s writing on the back of it: “Hello there. Looks like mam’s bringing me food?”. Apparantly somebody (presumably my mother?) is trying to imply I was only happy when I was getting fed! Also, what the hell colour paint is that on the wall?! The army has a lot to answer for, I’m telling you! (They’re also responsible for the awful brown carpet… although the “lovely” sofa was entirely my parents’ doing. What can I say… it was the 80s!).

Me aged 2 and  a half with my baby sister
Me aged 2 and a half with my baby sister

It seems I wasn’t too impressed at having to hold my little sister! Not sure who I’m giving the evil eye to here… (Usually I don’t post photos of other people, but in this one my sister is a baby! I’d love to see someone pick her out of a lineup based on this!).

First time in snow (probably)
First time in snow (probably)

Check out my fabulous snowsuit! I actually remember it because my mum kept it til I was about 10, but I don’t remember ever wearing it. The photographic evidence says I did though.

There you are. I hope you enjoyed your glimpse into my babyhood. Maybe one day I’ll share more…

Friday letters (the illness edition)

I am so glad that it’s Friday! This has definitely not been my favourite week ever, and all I currently want is to have my boyfriend home again. And to sleep. I’m ridiculously tired right now! Also, for the first time in a very long time, I’m wishing my weekend away. I never thought I would say this, but I just want it to be Monday already! Anyway, here are my Friday letters. The subject matter may be a little monotonous this week…

You've got..
You’ve got.. (Photo credit: macca)

Dear boyfriend. I’m so happy that you’re on the mend. Now hurry home so I can feed you delicious, nourishing soup (aka covering from illness food) and keep an eye on you! P.S. Happy Birthday! I hope you manage to have a somewhat nice time, despite everything… I seriously hope the doctors give the OK for you to come home on Monday!

Dear boyfriend’s colleague. I’m not even sure which of you I should be thanking, but Jan’s mum told me you were planning to stay on in Turkey until Monday to carry his luggage for him. I hope he is appropriately grateful to you (at least as grateful as I am)! I had been seriously concerned about how he was going to manage that.

Dear Facebook friends (who I allowed to see my status). Thank you for all your messages of support, well wishes, etc. It’s good to see how many people out there care about me (or Jan, as the case may be…)

Thank you
Photo credit: Avard Woolaver

Dear sister. You saw my Facebook status and immediately contacted our dad, who then called me. I hadn’t had a chance to contact him yet and I was so glad to hear from him! We may fight occasionally whenever we’re forced to spend more than two days together, but when it counts you’re an amazing sister.

Dear readers. While I’m on a thanking spree, I want you to know that I appreciate every single one of your comments/reassurances/well wishes. I have the best readers in the blogosphere!

Dear teenagers on the train. 1. Wearing your caps backward and your jeans so far down your backsides that you could only walk with wide-open legs to stop them falling down does not make you cool. 2. Nobody wants to hear your awful “hip hop” music at 7:30 a.m. 3. Please take a shower – you stink!!

Dear sleep. We’ve spent far too little time together this week. And waking up at 3 in the morning from a dream in which I’d it was 8 a.m. and I’d completely slept through my alarm was no fun whatsoever. Please come back soon – I miss you!

Dear readers (again). Specifically, those of you who mentioned knowing someone who’s had an appendectomy. I have a question. How long was it before they were able to do normal things again? I ask because my grandparents are going to be in Germany at Easter. They’ll be staying about 2 and a half hours away, and we were supposed to drive up and meet them. If Jan can’t drive, we can’t go. So I’m wondering whether to cancel on them or not? At this point, they may still be able to cancel if seeing us was the most important part for them…

That’s all from me this week. I’m too tired to think of any more letters. Have a great weekend, everyone.


Formula 1

Somebody found my blog the other day by googling “Housework fairy Stella”. Who knew she had a name? Or maybe it isn’t a name… perhaps there’s some connection to the beverage producer. Lager, Cidre (it’s NOT cider… apparantly) and housework fairies. The possibilities are endless! But anyway… now to return to today’s scheduled programming…

So, let us go back in time to the weekend of 20-22 July 2012. We had tickets for the Formula 1 weekend at the Hockenheim Ring. Not because I’m a particular fan of fast cars driving around in circles (ok, funny shaped circles then), but because it turne out to be a good way to get my sister to actually visit me! We decided not to go on the Friday – even Ms. hardcore Formula 1 fan herself (the sister) didn’t think there was a huge amount of point in watching the practice – but we decided to go along on the Saturday, watch the qualifying, check out our seats and find out what (if anything) you were allowed to take in with you. We took a bottle of water and made sandwiches and it was no problem whatsoever. Suck on THAT football stadiums who refust to let me bring in my bottle of tap water, but also refuse to sell me any that isn’t carbonated. Yuk!

First impression of Formula 1: It is LOUD!! If you ever find yourself attending a race, take their warnings about ear protection seriously! We were very glad of ours. There was actually a running commentary being played via the loudspekaers the entire time we were at the qualiying, but we didn’t figure that out until the break between rounds one and two. All you can hear is Vrrrroooooooom, Vrrooooooooom, Vvvrrrrrrroomm… and that’s with earplugs in! It was also incredibly difficult to follow what was actually going on. Well, for Jan and I especially seeing as we didn’t even know who was who. Although I was aware that Sebastian Vettel was driving one of the cars with a Red Bullo logo on the side… because you can’t live in Germany and not know that Vettel drives for Red Bull!! I have to admit though, I had no idea who Schumacher was driving for… luckily my sister’s official programme was able to help with that. The atmospher was great though, and a good time was had by all (despite a good soaking about halfway through!).

The next day we went back again… much earlier this time! For the qualifying we had left the house at about 10:30 a.m. For the actual race we were out of here by 9! And before that there were four people to get breakfasted and showered. It was an early start! This time we took some cans of beer with us – there were signs all over saying no glass bottles, and although nobody was actually checking we decided not to take advantage of their leniency (I just had to look up the spelling of that and it still seems weird to me!). Let me tell you, finding cans of beer in Germany is not that easy! REAL had a choice of about 5 different types! This time we knew exactly where to go for our seats and were settled fairly quickly. Oh, and one interesting thing: this is the only event I’ve ever been to where there was a queue for the men’s toilets! Us girlies were able to walk straight in. It shouldn’t be surprising really considering what sport we were there to watch, but somehow it still was. I was able to follow things a little better than the day before (would still have been completely lost without the screens though.. and even my sister got confused at one point!) and knowing which cars to look out for meant I was able to at least try to get photos of specific drivers. I was aiming for at least one each of Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schuhmacher, maybe one of of Nico Rosberg (since he’s German too and unfortunately overlooked due to being on a team with the way more famous Schumi) and also a couple of the Vodafone McClaren Mercedes drivers for my sister, who loves Hamiltobn for his driving skills but wants to marry Button – apparantly. All in all it was quite an interesting experience, although not one I necessarily need to repeat (especially not at that price!!).

Here are a few of the photos I managed to get.

Qualifying 1 (you can tell it’s the first qualifying cos it hasn’t started raining yet!)
NOW the rain has started!
Race day! – The drivers greet the crowd
Caterham Formula 1 Team of Malaysia

Vettel! The Hockenheim Ring is his home track.
Lewis Hamilton. He actually did pretty badly on the day (failed to finish, in fact), but I thought it would be nice to end with an English driver and I gave you a photo of Button in a previous post.