Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


Recent doings

There are various versions of this type of post out there. Jane calls hers Mondaying (can you guess which day she posts them?), others take part in a linkup called Currently. Basically, the idea is you take action words ending in -ing and tell people the things you’ve been up to lately that the word describes. A way of updating people on your life and talking about things that aren’t worth a blog post of their own. Here’s my version.


Watching: The Blackadder box set that I bought Jan for his birthday. I had only ever seen bits and pieces of it, mainly from the later episodes (plus the millennium special “Blackadder: Back & Forth). We’re now on series 3 and we’re loving it! And I didn’t even recognise Hugh Laurie!

Reading: My way through the winter book challenge. I’ve completed three categories so far and have just started my second book for the two books with the same title one. At the same time, I’m reading Possession by A.S Byatt for the one-word title category. I will have to read Persuasion eventually, but it won’t be for this challenge!

Cooking: All the pumpkins! We used the muscat pumpkin and the Baby Boos that we bought at the festival, so now I’m back to my usual butternut squash. I love pumpkin season!

Designing: A cross stitch pattern for a Christmas card! I’ll show you it once it’s stitched – which won’t be until I’ve finished the one from the guessing game. *Sigh*

Drinking: Tea. So much tea. I’ve been failing to get to bed when I should lately, which has resulted in tiredness throughout the day. Multiple cups of tea are the only thing getting me through!

Planning: New Year! We’ve decided not to go away this time, since we now live somewhere where it might actually be worth being on New Year’s Eve. Instead, we want to invite some friends to come and visit us here in Basel. I’ve mentioned it to a couple, now all we need to do is invite people properly and discuss a few details (such as what food to provide – raclette is a possibility (when in Switzerland…), plus a non-dairy option).

Buying: Too many books from the Internet. Nothing new there then! Also card making supplies and a few Christmas presents. Can  you believe November is more than half over already?

Wondering: Why WordPress have changed the post publishing screen again? It’s all different and I can’t find half the features – like what happened to the option to insert a link to your own blog without having to type in the URL? And how do I change the size of images now? Grrr! Whatever happened to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?

What have you been doing lately?


A Photo An Hour: 17 October 2015

October’s installment of Jane and Louisa‘s Photo an Hour linkup was yesterday, and for the second month in a row I actually remembered to join in despite having nothing particularly exciting planned. Jan was out for the of the day at a practice session for a choir he’s performing a concert with at the end of October and I have no friends here so it was just me, myself and I. Here’s how my day went:

10 a.m. I’m up! To start the day, the obligatory cup of tea and some porridgey stuff I spotted and found intriguing.

11 a.m. I want to go out so I’m taking a shower (hey, that’s almost a line from a song! Not intentional, promise!).

12 noon. Finally made it out. Now it’s cold I have to dry my hair, so getting ready takes ages. Plus I had to go back for my phone so I would actually know when it was time for the next photo!

1 p.m. Leaving the shops (photo actually taken slightly after the hour because I was in Aldi at photo time and I was afraid of getting in trouble for taking photos – lots of staff were hovering around!).

2 p.m. Walking home (I need the exercise). This is actually a side street as it was a bit more interesting than the main road I was walking down.

3 p.m. Just finishing my rather late lunch. Scrambled eggs with courgette (my idea of a healthy meal), a slice of toast with chickpea spread on (not pictured because I’d already eaten it) and of course a cup of tea.

4 p.m. A spot of housework! Not the most exciting photo, but I was hoovering at the time so what else should I have done?

5 p.m. I found a recipe for “healthy” biscuits (cookies) and was determined to bake them. Just a few of the ingredients gathered here – I then had to make my own mixed spice because it doesn’t exist here apparently.

6 p.m. Lining the baking tray with my new permanent baking “parchment” (clearly it’s not parchment, but Teflon).

7 p.m. Jan came home and made us each a cup of tea. Check out the matching mugs!

8 p.m. Cooking tea. Chicken with bulgur and beans.

9 p.m. Jan put the rugby on, so here’s the Haka.

Beer10 p.m. Half time nearly over. Drinking beer.

I went to bed just before 11 and decided not to stay up for the extra ten minutes and take a photo because I was convinced I had an even number. I was wrong. Symmetry ruined, grrr!


A Photo an Hour: 23rd May 2015

Saturday was photo an hour day again, hosted by Jane and Louise. My first one in Switzerland! Here’s what I got up to:

10 a.m. I’m up! Instead of starting yet another photo an hour post with a picture of a cup of tea, I went with my slippers. Immediately after taking this I of course put the kettle on :-D

11 a.m. Haven’t moved from the sofa yet! Here’s a photo of some of the creatures that live there.

12 noon. Jan got up and put the kettle on again, so I decide to have another cuppa before going for my shower.

1 p.m. Showered and dressed, time to dry my hair.

2 p.m. Midday quiet time is over, so now we’re allowed to put together the spare bed. But first these boxes need to get out of the way.

3 p.m. Space cleared, now to do something with these bed parts! (Or so I thought, what actually happened was I took the picture while Jan hoovered the space where the bed was going to go. Then I said I was going to see if we had any mail, Jan asked me to pop to the shop for milk and I returned to find him sitting at the table claiming he hadn’t been able to find the bits for the bed (screws, etc.) 20 minutes of searching in boxes later, I went and examined the bed only to find the parts already attached to it! Apparently he hadn’t looked particularly far. So we were finally ready to start assembling the bed just in time for the next photo…)

4 p.m. This is the way we assemble a bed!

5 p.m. Finished! All I need to do now is wash the quilt cover and another pillow case, then we’ll be ready for visitors.

6 p.m. Watching a bit of Celebrity Mastermind.

7 p.m. Tea nearly ready. Vegetable chilli in case anyone is wondering. We ate it with tortilla wraps and a tonne of cheese.

8 p.m. Loading the dishwasher. I love my dishwasher!

9 p.m. Eurovision time! Snacks and drinks at the ready.

10 p.m. Watching Eurovision. Perfect timing with this picture :-D (The cartoon men were my favourite part of Sweden’s entry)

11 p.m. Still Eurovisioning, still drinking.

Midnight. Finally points time! The end is in sight.

1 a.m. I went to put my pyjamas on and took a photo of the bed I was preparing to get into (say hi to Eeyore!). I then went back to the living room, where Jan had insisted on turning on the computer for a work thing. Yawn! By 1.30 p.m I was in bed though, so the last photo of the day still fits.

So, that was a typical Saturday in Switzerland. New country, but not much difference (as evidenced by my this photo an hour post from February). Photo and hour takes place every month. If you want to take part next time, keep an hour on Jane and Louisa’s blogs, Is That You Darling and Duck in a Dress, and also the hash tag #photoanhour on Twitter.


The British Tag

unionflagI recently read this post on Becster’s blog and immediately wanted to join in with the tag as well. Because I’m British and it looked like fun, ok? The idea is really simple… all I have to do is answer the questions.

Question 1: How many cups of tea do you have a day and how many sugars in your tea?
It depends, but usually at least three. One when I get up (which my boyfriend makes me), one when I start working and one in the afternoon. Sometimes I’ll have an extra one in the morning, or if I don’t go out at lunch time I’ll have one then and another after work, so it can be up to six. Milk, no sugar please. And the tea needs to be strong – builder’s tea all the way!

Question 2: Favourite part of your roast?
Potatoes! I can never decide whether I like roasties or mash better though. And if there are Yorkshire Puddings then those too. But right now any part of a roast would be my favourite because I just want a real British roast dinner without having to cook it myself. I miss British pubs!

Question 3: Favourite dunking biscuit?
I don’t dunk biscuits in my tea because the idea of soggy biscuits makes me shudder. But biscuits for eating with tea have to be Bourbon Creams. I’ll also take Chocolate Hobnobs if you’re offering though.

Question 4: Favourite quintessentially British past time?
Afternoon tea! So many Germans are convinced we Brits partake in tea and scones every day at 5 p.m. I wish we did!

TeaQuestion 5: Favourite word?
Canny. Not the standard English version (which means shrewd), but northern usage which can mean anything. She’s a canny lass = she’s a nice girl, it’s canny caad = it’s quite cold, gan canny (to someone who’s about to drive home) = drive carefully or more generally just take care, gan canny wi’ the vodka = be careful with it, use/drink it sparingly (i.e. don’t get too drunk). How can you not love such a versatile word?

Question 6: Cockney rhyming slang?
I don’t know much (even though we learned about it in school once), but I did teach the boyfriend what barnet (as in barnet fair) means. Oh, and my dad’s always saying “Giz a butcher’s” – as in butcher’s hook = look.

Question 7: Favourite sweet?
Milk bottles! Yes, I may actually be 5. I also love chocolate limes though and have bought them back from the UK with me numerous times.

Question 8: What would your pub be called?
Probably something boring like “The Red Lion” because I have no imagination! Oh, I know, The Beehive because Bee is one of my nicknames and I would get to decorate using a bee theme.

Question 9: No 1 British person?
Eddie Izzard! I love him so much. Or Alan Shearer because he’s a Geordie hero and we share a birthday. (I did also like Becster’s answer of Alan Rickmann though).

Question 10: Favourite shop/restaurant?
In Britain? That’s actually really hard seeing as I don’t live there any more. I think I’d have to go with Barter Books in Alnwick though.

Question 11: What British song pops into your head?
In Your World by Muse, mostly because they’re performing at a festival in Switzerland this summer and I was looking up prices yesterday so they’ve been on my mind anyway.

Question 12: Marmite – love it or hate it?
Ugh, hate it! I used to have a housemate who loved it and I would have to leave the room when she spread it on her toast because I couldn’t even stand the smell of the stuff!

Have you done this tag? I would love to see your answers!


Friday (the 13th!) letters

Hi everyone! I’m very glad today is Friday… this week has been exhausting! So much going on at work, and I haven’t been getting a tonne of sleep either (thanks, boyfriend who grinds his teeth in his sleep!). I won’t have much of a chance to relax over the weekend either… tomorrow we have three flat viewings in Basel, the first of which is at 11 a.m., meaning we’ll be setting off at 8 a.m.. *Yawn*. Anyway… I’ll try and think of some letters for you, even though I haven’t been doing much of interest this week. Most of my free time has been spent scrolling through flat websites trying to figure out whether we’ve already replied to that particular ad (and getting accused of being a robot for my pains!).

Mail box

Dear tomorrow’s flats. I hope either one of you or last week’s works out because I really don’t feel like spending another Saturday running round Basel (or another week desperately trying to find new adverts to respond to that aren’t only available from 1st May, i.e too late).

Dear boyfriend. Please go to the dentist and get a new bite guard or I may have to murder you in your sleep!

Dear tea. You have been my saviour again this week. Without you, I would either have frozen to death or fallen asleep at my desk <3

Dear weather. I know February is statistically the coldest month, but could we at least have some sun? I’m so sick of clouds!

Dear self. Here’s a reminder: buy stamps! Also, find your customer number and write a termination letter to your Internet provider.

Dear friends/family with birthdays coming up. All of your cards and gifts will be late. I apologise.

Dear fellow bloggers. Once again, I apologise if I haven’t been by to say hello recently, but if you read the introductory paragraph you have your explanation.

That’s your lot for today. It’s supposed to be my lunch break, but I need to cut it short so I can get a translation finished by the end of the day. Have a great weekend, everyone!


A photo an hour: 8th November 2014

On Saturday, I took part in A Photo an Hour with Is That You, Darling? again.It took me a few days to get round to uploading the photos, which is why you’re only getting the post now. (But on our new computer, which I am in awe at the speed of! You’d understand if you saw what I’d been dealing with until now…)

9 a.m. I wasn’t actually planning on getting up for another hour, but bloody construction workers outside the window ruined my lie in!
10 a.m. Starting a new cross stitch image for a Christmas card

11 a.m. Out of the shower – time to get dressed
12 noon. Doing a few dishes before making lunch

1 p.m. A quick trip to the local supermarket
2 p.m. Time for a cuppa, seeing as my morning one went cold before I could finish it!

3 p.m. More cross stitch – nearly finished this one!
4 p.m. Wondering what to make for tea later. Please ignore the state of my fridge!

5 p.m. Time to start hacking up a pumpkin (it always takes me forever!)
6 p.m. Cooking

7 p.m. Wine? Don’t mind if I do!
8 p.m. Watching the first Hobbit film. (I still can’t believe  they stretched out that tiny book to make three films!)

9 p.m. Still watching the film, so here’s a selfie on the sofa!
10 p.m. Watching Jan get our new computer set up.

11 p.m. In bed with a book. And that’s your last photo… I turned the light out just after midnight but didn’t take another photo. I wish I had now though because this has ruined my symmetry ;-)

book page


A photo an hour: 16 August 2014

On Saturday, I took part in the August edition of A Photo an Hour with Jane at Is That You Darling? I am being cheeky and also including this in Amanda’s Day in the Life linkup for August.

9 a.m. I was actually awake at 8:30 (thanks construction workers!), but somehow I find it easier to take my photos on the hour(ish), so I waited til 9 to take my first one. A nice cup of tea to start the day!


10 a.m. Doing a bit of cross stitch! I’m working on something for my kitchen as part of my 35 before 35. Can you guess what it is yet?

cross stitch

11 a.m. I noticed it had stopped raining, so I decided to head into town while I had the chance! (I promise I didn’t go out smelly – I showered and brushed my teeth between the last photo and this one!)


12 noon. Still in town. My dad paypalled me some money for my birthday, so I decided to pop in to Douglas and see if I could find a perfume I liked. (Is to paypal actually a verb? Never mind, it is now!) Am I the only one that would rather browse in peace than constantly be asked if I need help? After two shop assistants approached me, I decide to leave the shop and head elsewhere for my perfume… which turned out to be lucky because I found a special offer with a 30ml bottle of perfume and some shower gel for just €29.95. The perfume on its own would have been something like €45!


1 p.m. Time to head home for lunch. Pictured is the Natural History Museum, which I passed on my way home. (Also, note the grey clouds returning… definitely time to head home!)


2 p.m. Wrapping gifts for a few children whose birthdays are coming up. This one is for a friends son and I also wrapped stuff for my little brother and for my godson (although his won’t be posted til I return from Taiwan).


3 p.m.  Another tea? Don’t mind if I do! And back to my cross stitch while I drink it.


4 p.m. I finally managed to post the last of my Vienna posts. Hurrah! Next up is all the travelling I did with my brother (I’m sooo behind!).


5 p.m. Enough lounging around… time to make a start on tidying the kitchen! Here’s a photo of my hoover, plugged in and ready to go.


6 p.m. Dinner time! Ready-to-roast duck and boil-in-the bag potato dumplings. Also consumed but not pictured: peas and, of course, good old Bisto gravy!


7 p.m. Having made the (possibly insane?) decision to cross stitch all my Christmas cards this year, I got out all my cross stitch magazines and started going through them looking for ideas.

cross stitch magazine

8 p.m. What Saturday evening alone could be complete without a classic film? ;-)

Blues Brothers

10 p.m. (I missed 9 p.m.!). Still watching the film… nearly finished now!

Blues Brothers

11 p.m. Off to bed with the final book I need to finish for the summer reading challenge! I’m progressing through it… but verrrry slowly!


And that’s it. I turned the light out at 11:30 p.m. so I never made it as far as a midnight photo.

A Day in the Life: A Linkup by Break the Sky



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