Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Something New Week #16


 On Saturday, I did something new and that was to take part in my first protest.  Acta is a big issue at the moment and various protests have been organised across Europe.  Saturday saw the second such protest here in Bremen.

I've seen protests before and it was a fantastic experience to take part this time to support a good cause.  The feeling of community was great especially seeing people I know there taking part too.  I was a little bit worried as protests have been known to lead to trouble but it was absolutely peaceful and went without a hitch. 

We met at the station at 2pm.  Over 3000 people took part and while the majority were younger, there was a good range of people there.  We walked to the town hall where more speeches took place before the march continued.  There was a heavy police presence but not because of any trouble, they helped clear the route for us so that there were no accidents. 

One of the highlights for me (although I know it's not the point of the protest) was the presence of a samba band which really lightened the mood.  One thing I didn't like though was the use of the Guy Fawkes masks.  Maybe it's the influence of horror films over the years, but I found them really creepy.  I feel that if you're not causing any trouble at such an event, you should be happy to show your face, in fact, it's kind of the point of the event - giving your personal support to the cause.

I'm really glad that we took part and it was part of a lovely day for us on Saturday and something I'd definitely do again for the right cause.

If you are interested, check out these links:

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


As you saw in my goals diary last week, one of my targets this year is to read at least one classic and one modern book per month.  I have no problem with the modern books, we have plenty of those left that I still haven't read (despite the book ban having lasted over a year now).  However, when deciding what to read for February, I realised I'm all out of classics.  By classics, I mean those that appear in the classics section of Thalia.  I've really gotten into this kind of book in the last year.  Here are some I've already read:

  • Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  • A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
  • Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  • Emma - Jane Austen
  • Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
  • Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
  • Persuasion - Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  • Wuthering Heights -  Emily Bronte
  • Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  •  The Prelude - William Wordsworth

So last week so the lift of the book buying ban in order to stock up on some classics at Thalia.  I haven't much time left in February so I stuck to some relatively short ones - The Secret Garden and The Catcher in the Rye.  The latter of which I started this weekend.

Following this, I took Nico into Thalia to show him the classics corner and discovered that all of the Penguin classics were priced around 2.10 each!  Unable to miss such a bargain, I stocked up on ten more classics (enough to keep me going for the year and allow the reintroduction of the book buying ban) for the bargain price of 37 Euros!  I already finished off my February classic - The Importance of Being Earnest!

Monday, 27 February 2012


One reason that I am particularly enjoying the sunny, Spring weather is that it is nearly time to get back on the bike for my daily commute.  Winter has been great, I love the tram system in Bremen and that I can use that time to read but some days are better than others.  Since the new semester started, I have an early duty on Mondays and although it's hard to drag myself out of bed half an hour earlier, the guarantee of a seat on the bus and trams is worth it.  

When I get on the tram on a usual morning, I hit peak time.  One morning last week took the biscuit though.  We were packed in like sardines.  I had pushed my way on last because I would rather be by the doors than stuck in the middle where it gets really claustrophobic.  We pulled up at the next stop where a mother and daughter were stood on the platform.  The girl was young, probably in the older years of primary school.  One thing you see here is that school kids, especially at that age, carry huge square backpacks.  I thought straight away that the mother would take the girl further down the tram where there was more space.  But no...she let the doors open, pushed her daughter into the tram with some force as there just wasn't space and said goodbye to her!  The doors would not close as the girl's backpack was in the way, but still the mother just pushed her into the crowd until they closed and waved her on her way! Many more mornings like that and the bike will be making a much quicker comeback!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Millennium Trilogy

This week we got through the whole (nine hours) of the orignal Swedish millennium trilogy films.  Watching the first one was a bit eerie, having seen the new Hollywood version just a few weeks ago and how similar they are (I wrote about this earlier in the week).

The other two films are much more closely linked (as are the books) and have a different director from the first one.  I have to say that if I hadn't read the books, I think I would have really enjoyed the films but knowing the story beforehand and seeing how they have mauled it really spoiled it in some ways.  I understand that films have to make some cuts to stories in order to make them work as films and that some books just don't work the same as a film (Twilight series...) but I hate when the storyline is changed for no apparent reason (My Sister's Keeper...) and that is what seemed to happen here.

On a final note, the ending makes me really down too because it was so obviously open for a fourth one that we may never read now.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Saturday Update

Well, in terms of my goals this week has been the worst of the year so far.  I've put on a whopping five pounds this week!  I have been totally slack about exercise.  I've walked a bit more but haven't done any zumba or yoga and at the same time I forgot about all the sensible things I had put in place in January such as not drinking alcohol and no snacking between meals.  So I started of the day a little bit down but also a hell of a lot more motivated to get back on track.  January was an amazing month for me but February not so much.  This week sees the start of a new month and I'm going to make it count.  Otherwise, it's back to Weightwatchers!

Work has also gotten me a bit down this week.  Year nines stole the exam from my file on the desk...colleagues asked me if I was pregnant...I had more cover lessons than usual.  Okay so on the pregnancy one I should point out that the secretary has been gossiping and let everyone know that two female colleagues are pregnant and taking maternity leave next year but not who.  So the staffroom has been rife with rumours and guessing games all week but nobody is owning up.  To be honest, if it were me, I would be fuming that the cat had been let out of the bag.

Speaking of cats, Nico bought a laser pen this week which has sent Pete absolutely wild.  We even got him into a bath with water using the pen!  Unfortunately he is acting crazier when we aren't using the pen so I think we may have to cut down it's use.

Otherwise, it has been a fairly quiet week.  We are having dinner with Ed and Loreto tonight after we visit the Acta protest in Bremen this afternoon and next week will be busier with English conversation and coffee on Thursday evening, girly coffee on Friday afternoon and a trip to Oldenburg to round off the week.  Have a good one!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Goal Diary

Here's another idea I have pinched from one of my new favourite blogs - Life of Bridey, a goal diary for 2012.  I've been working on it for over a week now but still have lots to do.  It helps me keep focused.

My gorgeous new notebook

Inspirational picture

Inspirational word

My goals for 2012

French course breakdown

Recipes so far

Reading list - (highlights of)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Yesterday we invested three hours into watching the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Having recently seen the Hollywood version, we were interested to see how the original would be and why they had needed to remake it.

Certainly at the beginning of the film, it was a really eerie feeling because of how similar the films are.  The sets are almost identical, the casting is strangely similar.  There are two things that made the Hollywood version different - it had cut more out of the film which I have to admit is understandable when you consider that the original lasts three hours and is presented in two parts.  The other difference is the ending which is in a way closer to the book but still not identical.

I was left with the feeling that Hollywood had just done the remake to appeal to a wider audience - first of all, through the obvious language benefit of no dubbing and secondly through the use of more popular, widely known actors.  In many ways there seems to have been little need for a remake and I was a little disappointed.  So we have the other two films to watch and luckily the viewing won't be spoilt in constant comparisons!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Chicken Soup for the Soul

My new book arrived yesterday.  After a recommendation from a friend, I bought this book.  It's quite inspirational and already made me cry when my friend quoted me a particular story from this.  When I saw her copy I thought she was crazy with all her page markers and turned corners but now I see why.  The stories are fantastic.  There are 101 in all and I have decided to read one per day for two reasons.  First of all, and it even says this in the introduction, it would be really easy to power through them but I wouldn't really be taking them in and focusing on the meaning of each one.  Secondly, I would be through the book in no time.  Luckily, there are a number of more specific editions for when I am finished!

Here's today's quote:

Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house.  Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next-door neighbour. . . Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  Be the living expression of God's kindness, kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.
Mother Teresa 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Shrove Tuesday


Happy Pancake Day everyone!

We will be tucking in tonight with a revival of the gluten free pancakes.  Just need to find a nice vegetarian savoury recipe.  I'm thinking of giving up chocolate for Lent this year.  Not being catholic, I've never done this before (or maybe I did when I was little but I don't remember managing it!)  I have enough sweet things to keep me going until Easter without chocolate and it should help me achieve my other goals.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Latest Project

Here's a little something I've been wanting to do since Christmas and finally got around to this weekend.  I took a plastic boot that we got some St Nicholas chocolates in and painted in bright yellow to match the kitchen.  I'm planning on getting some seeds and growing something in there for the Spring!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Saturday Update

Good morning!  It's been a very busy week this week with Valentine's Day, furniture building and two girly meetings.  On Monday I had a lovely lunch with Loretto, discovered where the translation office is so that I can get my paperwork for a permanent contract translated and had a very relaxing yoga session (so relaxing that I did actually fall asleep at the end!)

Tuesday was a lovely day as you have seen with some gorgeous flowers, a lovely candlelit bathtime and a delicious Mongolian dinner.  On Wednesday, I spent the afternoon building furniture and completing my next French lesson.  Thursday saw another coffee with the girls and making some new friends from all over the world - always fun.  Friday was a somewhat quieter affair winding down for the weekend.  

With the special dinner, a bottle of wine over the weekend and several treats in between I was expecting bad news this morning but was pleasantly surprised to have stayed the same this week.  Extra motivation to get back into Zumba and boost the results for next week hopefully - it's about time I hit that one stone mark for the year I think!

We have no big plans this weekend.  A couple more projects to take care of in and around the flat but on the whole just relaxing and making more plans for the next few weeks.  Next week we have a family birthday party and dinner with friends hopefully.  Work will be a normal week but year nine work experience is coming up which means five and a half weeks without my most energy draining class, so I'm looking forward to that.

It's also been nice to hear how disappointed some of my evening class students are about the courses being cancelled, so much so that we are looking into setting up an informal weekly conversation session which will be much more fun and hopefully mean making more friends here in Bremen!  Have a good week!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Something New Week #15

My something new for this week has been joint furniture shopping!  We braved Ikea for the first time in over a year, and on Saturday, and what should have been a quick job saw us out from 11.30 until 17.30 but it was worth it.

Since we moved into the flat in August, there have been various issues with storage that have seriously wreaked havoc with my OCD.  we've had books, CDs and DVDs all over the floor and the flat.  So we invested in a new bookcase, three DVD cases (also in preparation for when some more of my things are brought over from England - hint hint), storage for the CDs, a bathroom cabinet and a mirror.  I spent Wednesday afternoon building the bookcase and DVD cases and am so proud of the result.

We finally have floor space again and the flat feels more homely than ever!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Pete's Adventures

Ever since we brought Pete home back in October he's had a real problem with closed doors.  If we go to the bathroom he sits and meows outside the door, even though he hates water and doesn't want to come in if we open the door (although he did try to get in the bath with me on Valentine's Day!).  He's jumped on top of doors...

He gets especially grumpy about the little door to the cupboard under the roof (you can see it int he background above) so sometimes I let him in there for a bit and he rummages around in the suitcases and boxes.  However, after a discovery by Nico yesterday, Pete is now banned from this cupboard and here's why...

the little tinker has been sneaking snacks out of the stockpiles of cat food we have in there!  Cats are cleverer than you think sometimes!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Valentine's Day

I hope you enjoyed Valentine's Day.  We had a lovely day yesterday.  After work, I came home to these gorgeous flowers and a candlelit lush bubble bath.  

I bought Nico this framed periodic table for the office.  Nice and colourful for science geeks.  


Then I was treated to dinner at our local Mongolian restaurant - delicious and seeing this man in the entrance always makes me smile!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope you have a great day!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Something New Week #14

This week we indulged in a bit of indoor gardening in my quest to start a mini garden.  We had a bit of a clearout of some of the plants that didn't make it through the winter and bought some bright summery new pots from Ikea to jazz up the flat a bit.  

Pete likes to eat houseplants and his favourites are grassy ones like spider plants.  We now have four of these around the flat for him to chew on.  He does this fairly often so you'll understand why the plants don't yet match their lovely pots.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Where I'm From

I am from the White Rose county, from Morrisons and home made shepherd's pie.
I am from the comfortable, family home with the blue garage door.
I am from daffodils, ferns and oak trees.

I am from the cupboard under the stairs, shelves full of books and playful, patient cats.
I am from Boxing Day gatherings and hooked noses, from Shires' and Crossfields and Grandma Kathleen.  I am from the stubborn and the sensitive and the adventurous.
From a town which "isn't the same as when I was a girl", from school reports that could always be better and where hard work will get you anywhere.
I am from summers spent on windy beaches. Swimming, playing and reading.

I'm from Leeds, Scotland and Wales, from tuna pasta salad in Summer and Sunday dinner with Yorkshire Pudding.  From mince pies at Christmas and chocolate eggs at Easter.

I am from a catholic education, atheist heritage and buddhist principles.

From the woman who joined the army at seventeen to escape home, the woman who taught me how to feel, the man who taught me how to learn, and the grandparents I never knew.

I am from holidays in Scarborough and Cornwall, weekends on the touchline, and ballet shoes.  From the tinkling melody of the piano and the long evenings of homework.  From the foreign travels and a need to explore that's got me where I am today.

Thanks to Bridey for the inspiration and here's a template you can use.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Saturday Update

Good morning friends!  Well it's been a very up and down week this week.  First I found out that my evening classes won't be running this semester which was a little disappointing.  Not enough people registered unfortunately.  So this week's film night with the advanced class was my last lesson for a while.  The upside of that is that I get my Thursday evenings back.  The first nine will be spent catching up on my missed yoga lessons.

Yoga was really good this week.  I went on Monday as I had the time and Nico now works on Monday evenings.  The best thing was that we had a stand in instructor and she mixed up the time so we had a 1 hour 45 minute session instead of 1 hour 15 minutes.  I felt great on Monday but I have to admit I've been feeling the strain since.  I haven't done Zumba at all this week but I have walked a lot.

As it turns out, the walking and getting back to smoothies and tracking have paid off as I lost 2.5 lbs this week which more than made up for last week and put me at my lowest so far this year.  I seem to be having a cycle of slightly bad week, very good week, that's inching me closer to goal.  I am going to stick with it this week although I'm having a night off on Tuesday for our Valentine's Dinner.

Tuesday was Schuelersprechtag which is a bit like parents' evening but just for pupils so I only had four appointments as I'm not a class teacher.  I took the laptop with me and got ahead on my planning.  It was also the first time I can remember that I went to work with no make up - quite by accident!  

The topic on the Reinvention Project this week has been boosting energy.  Unfortunately, I seem to be already focussing on the three points made.  The first to set a regular bedtime.  We set a New Year's Resolution to go to bed at 9pm and read for an our or so and it's been working out well.  Even on the weekend, we don't stay up much later.  I think your body gets into the routine.  Also, we have Pete who can't tell the difference between weekday and weekend!  The second point was to eat healthily.  Whole foods was a topic a few weeks ago and when I read how often others cook from scratch, I realised that actually we are doing really well!  I'm still working on this but I'm much happier with my diet than I used to be.  The third tip was to analyse which big things in your life cause you stress and zap your energy.  I had just one of these that's been gradually developing since the year started and it's the uncertainty about where my life was going to end up this year.  My contract comes to an end in July and I wrote to the council twice asking to extend my contract (first in September).  Well this week I finally heard back and the council are supporting my application.  It's not the certainty I had hoped for but it's a huge forward step.  Now I just have to get my paperwork in order, starting with having all my qualifications translated so I'm already at work on the small mountain of paperwork and will keep you updated!

We're up bright and early today to head to Ikea and finally order the things we've been talking about since we moved in.  Next week we are heading out for Valentine's Day and there may even be two coffees with the girls as well as two yoga sessions.  Have a good week!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Being a Yogini again

Just going to take a minute to blow my own trumpet today.  On Monday, our new school timetables started and Monday is still an earlier finish for me but is now Nico's late finish so I decided I would go to yoga on a Monday from now on.  So Monday rolled round and I left the flat in temperatures of -14 half an hour earlier than usual, did my hours at work and decided on the bus on the way back that it was way too cold and I would stay in the warm flat and Zumba!

I'm proud of myself because I was so far ahead on everything, and Nico had so kindly prepared dinner that I had plenty of time and really a very poor excuse not to go to yoga so I went.  I was rewarded too because the new instructor lost track of time so we got an extra long (1 hour, 45 minutes) session!  I wasn't feeling so lucky the morning after when my shoulder muscles were hurting but at least I felt like I had done something.

I was especially motivated by Bridey this week and her amazing goals diary which I am thinking about pinching.  I especially love the exercise journal. 

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Something New Week #13

This week it's another recipe until I get some real inspiration.  This week I made my own Gluten Free Fishcakes!  I used the book I got for Christmas (for the second time in a week) and wasn't too downhearted about the results.  They did break apart a little in the pan so next time less creme fraiche and maybe just do them in the oven but here's how they looked.

We also made a delicious Brazil Nut and Vegetable Korma twice this week!  Here's how that went.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


As I mentioned at the weekend, I've been feeling a little less than inspired lately.  I'm finding it difficult to keep going with some goals and finding it impossible to come up with new things to do (without increasing my debt rather than reducing it) and I think part of it is coming from being left hanging with my job situation after August.  I have written to the council again and asked for a reply but heard nothing back still. 

On Sunday, I had a bit of a browse though some of my favourite blogs and some of their favourite blogs and found some new inspiration so I'm going again on my lists and plans and will update you shortly but you can check out some of these creative, amazing people here:

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

'Greening' the beauty regime

Another great topic on the Reinvention Project last week was how to make your beauty routine more green!  Going for all things healthy and hippy at the moment, I've spent some time looking into this.  Basically it is about using products that have fewer harmful chemicals.

First I did some research here.  This is a great site and resource which tells you on a scale of 0 (very good) - 10 (very bad) how healthy certain products or ingredients are.  I was happy to see that many of the Clinique products I use are quite good at around four points and the Avon ones are slightly higher at around six on average.  Unfortunately many of the products I buy and use here in Germany aren't on the American database but the good news is that individual ingredients are so I can still be more aware.  

My first step was buying a non-aerosol deodorant and I'm planning to buy another to keep at school.

Monday, 6 February 2012

A Note on ...Downloading

The recent crack down on illegal download websites has really got me annoyed.  I can see the point of the companies who own the rights to music and films but to be fair, they only have themselves to blame.  If they produce a product that is so good that everybody wants to hear / see it then they should make it possible for everybody to hear / see it legally.  I'm not as informed on the music scene but the way I see it is that there is no reason to illegally download music because tracks can be purchased legally and at a reasonable price through itunes.  I accept that the makers of music deserve an income from it but at the same time, when they don't have to pay for materials (i.e. a CD, case and packaging) then the cost should be reduced.

I recently looked into buying a Kindle only to find that the price of electronic books is the same as paper books - why?   Surely not having to pay for paper, ink and the printing process would make the product cheaper?  If there's no benefit to me for buying an e-book, I'd rather have a paper version.

The same is true of films and TV programmes.  To my knowledge, there are no legal download sites.  I have seen that Amazon have started screening some series but I can't comment on this further which brings me to another point.  Why are so many songs, videos and programmes banned in certain countries?  I can understand that some countries have stronger censorship rules that I am used to England but Germany certainly isn't one of them.  Time and again, I am denied access to things that I have seen several times in England: you tube music videos, bbc iplayer and the amazon links from imdb.  If only the makers gave me a legal way for me to hear and watch these things here in Germany, that wasn't as extortionate as buying the product (which often isn't available here in the shops either) or paying for Sky TV, they could make a small fortune out of me, and I can't be the only one!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Cold Snap

Even the ducks' transport has been disrupted!

You're probably already aware (if not get stocked up before it gets to you) but there's a very cold snap in Europe at the moment.  It started here over the long weekend and is showing no sign of letting up.  It was -12 when I set off to work on Thursday and although a toasty -9 on Friday, it was the first time I've set off to work in snow for a while.

It doesn't matter how many layers, I cannot get warm outside at all.  It's a good thing the transport is so full on a morning, just to get the feeling back in my extremities.  I just feel for those suffering even more (-30 in Russia and one hundred fatalities in the Ukraine!).  Let's hope it pushes off soon.

Meanwhile, the mornings are clearly lighter on the way to school...

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Saturday Update

We've had a short week this week after our long weekend for the half year holidays but already on Wednesday, it was like we'd never been away.  School was as stressful as ever with an unwelcome new timetable that means I now have to work from 7.30 am on a Monday so an even earlier wake up call to start the week - great!

I lost my motivation somewhere around the day we went back and so the exercise regime has been lacking and the snacking came back.  I'd had two glasses of wine over the long weekend and all of these factors have combined to result in a 1.5lb gain this week.  

However, I'm feeling refreshed by the cold weather, the new month and lighter mornings and am going to make a better go of it this week.  I've started with a healthy breakfast and the smoothies are going to make a new appearance this week.  I've got a shorter day on Tuesday with pupil day where we just have meetings with some pupils instead of normal lessons.  So far I have just two appointments.  My easy conversation class has finished until the new semester next week but I have a double lesson with the advanced group on Thursday where we are going to be watching the film Invictus.

I've also finally completed my French assignment to get sent off so I need some new non-negotiables.  Here they are:

  • move more and every day.
  • meet up with the girls this week.
  • have a smoothie every day.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Something New Week #12

This week's new thing for me is one that I hope not to have to repeat for a while - I went to the vet with Pete.  Following his treatment last week the vet wanted to see him again for a check-up.  The good news is that his bottom problem has cleared up although they are checking his stool sample to be sure that he doesn't have worms.

The bad news is that the lump in his neck is not his chip and it is growing but not enough to have the vet too worried.  We have to monitor it and it may need more investigation in the future.  To be fair, it doesn't seem to be bothering him so we'll just keep an eye on him for now.

The experience of going to the vet was something in itself.  I've never been before because my Mum always used to do it when we had cats at home and I was working when Nico took Pete last week.  At first, I was totally calm about it but then, weeing a family coming out of the room without their pet (who was being operated on as it turns out), I remembered what a serious and unpleasant place it can be.

So far the experience has also been relatively good value (touch wood).  I always expect huge vet bills - a bit like at the dentist where they look at all your teeth quickly, give you the all clear and charge you £16.50 (at the last check) for the pleasure of those five minutes work.  Yes...I do wonder if I am in the wrong job at times.  However, the vet that we have found is very thorough - she cleaned Pete's ear, eye and bottom while we were there and it came to twelve Euros.  Very reasonable.

Despite the positive remarks and the fact that Pete is doing better now, I'd still like to avoid the place for a while...please...

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Something New Week #11

This week I tried to make my own gluten free pizza from scratch.  I've had gluten free pizza before - Nico came up with the recipe himself and always tries hard to make my favourite foods even though most of them traditionally involve gluten (pizza, pasta...)

Having watched him struggle with the horrible gluten free dough, I hate asking him to cook these recipes for me so this weekend, I decided to try it for myself.  So this week it was me struggling and swearing and getting my hands messy and poor Nico still had something to contend with in the form of his worst pupil yet in the kitchen but it the end it turned out well.  We made pizza with half tuna and vegetables and half cheese and tomato.  Both sides were delicious and when I forget how horrendous the dough was, I'll do it again!  

It was so filling that we substituted the planned dinner for a delicious fruit smoothie so the points count won't be too high either.

Next on the list - pasta!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Resolution Review

So it's a new month today.  I don't know how January went so fast but it did.  It's already getting that much lighter in the day and Spring is on its way.  It has been quite a successful month and it's a good time to review those 2012 resolutions.  Here's a reminder of what I set myself:

  1. Be Healthy
  • Detox on alcohol followed by a weekend only rule and sticking to 3 units per day.  (done!  I didn't drink from landing back in Germany until Saturday night - 28th and then I had one glass.  To be honest I think cutting out the snacks has really helped with this or vice versa but I'm going to be sticking with it as I think it's a major factor in my weightloss this month.)
  • More exercise - walk to healthy every day, build up from one aerobic session per week to three, run the Bremen 10k in Autumn.  (done!  In fact, I think I have outdone myself with this one.  As part of the Reinvention project I set myself the target of moving more each day whether it be zumba, yoga or walking instead of getting the bus.  I didn't manage it every day but I managed it on six days out of seven and I think that too, has helped with the weight so I'll be keeping it up)
  • Cut out snacks and make wiser food choices.  If this doesn't lead to weight loss by the end of January, (or if I plateau during the year) rejoin Weightwatchers meetings and start tracking.  (done!  I've gone back to using the weightwatchers website which I find really useful but much to Nico's relief, we haven't had to go back to measuring and planning meals yet, I've just cut out the snacking and made healthier choices for my three meals - with some smoothies thrown in - and despite a slip up mid-month - I've lost 10.5lbs this month!  Keeping this one up too!)
  • Remove my makeup and follow the three step cleansing routine - EVERY night.  (done! Although I haven't noticed a huge improvement in my skin.  I'll be keeping up to it, drinking more water, and maybe it's time for that facial!)
  • Use my electric toothbrush to make sure I brush for the full two minutes, twice per day, no excuses!  (done!)
   2.    Go to bed at 9pm and read for one hour before lights out (this is a joint one with Nico and obviously won't work on a Thursday but really made a difference and helped with the 5.45am alarm calls when we tried it last year before getting back into the habit of late night TV watching).  (done!  We are both loving this one.  I am on my fifth book this year (two German, three English) and loving it!  Nico has finally got the bug too and is heavily into the Stieg Larsson trilogy at the moment.  We've also found that we sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed for it so we'll be continuing with this one.)

   3.  Keep doing new things (see my weekly updates and 27 list).  (done, but ongoing.  Need some new ideas!)

So here is to a happy, healthy, and fun February taking us closer to the Spring!