Monday, 30 April 2012

Latest Knitting Project

Here's my latest knitting project which I finished over the weekend and sent off to England for my niece's second birthday (I think they may have to shorten the strap for her for a while).  Very pleased with this since I have only been knitting three weeks!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

28 things...Learn Origami

Well so far I am powering through that 28 things list.  Over the weekend, I fit in some origami.  Luckily Nico had a book on this from when he was younger so I scooped a some bargain origami paper in my favourite shop - Idee and got going.

First I tried my hand at the old stereotype origami swan...I wasn't too pleased with the results...

I didn't let it put me off though, and I moved on to a flower which I was more pleased with and it packs flat so I can stick it in my goals diary and make more to send with cards in the future!

Finally, I made a frog that would also go in my diary and had more success in the animal world this time than with the swan.

I'll definitely be keeping up the origami.  It was more fun than I expected and makes cute little favours.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Saturday Update

This week has flown by yet again and we're finally here with the long May Day bank holiday weekend.  We haven't made big plans as we're ready for the break but we are looking forward to games night with Ed & Loreto tonight.

It's been a great week at work with the first meeting of the new year five team which I am very excited to be a part of.  I have belonged to two different year groups in the two years that I have been here but I think it is going to be different this time as I am there from the beginning and can also contribute more now that I am used to the system  and the language.

I have been working on a knitting project for my niece's birthday and will be putting the finishing touches to that today - more on that next week.  I also did some more work on greetings cards and invested in a craft magazine from England.  

I haven't been big on the zumba this week.  I fit in one session on Monday but on the other nights I was just too tired.  However, I have clocked up a fair amount of points on the pedometer and cycling to Roland Center and back every day.  Instead, I tightened up on the food front.  I stuck to my regular breakfast, but had salad bowls and fruit salads for lunch followed by dinners with a high proportion of veg and no snacks or alcohol.  It's paid off with a 2.25lb weight loss this week!  I am hoping to continue this next week which would put me at my lowest weight for the year.

I also had lovely meetings with my English student and Loreto this week.  We braved Alex's again on Friday and the service was much better than before and proved to be another fairly healthy lunch.  It's something I hope we can make a weekly ritual - a very positive end to the week. 

Next week we have a long weekend, another year five meeting and perhaps a trip somewhere local - more on that later.  Have a good one!

Friday, 27 April 2012


Here's my latest knitting project all completed.

It was more of a challenge than the book mark and took longer but I am really pleased with the results.  The new skill in this project was French knitting which I really enjoyed, especially the results, the arms and legs.  The bit I need to improve on is attaching them to the main bit as I don't think they will stay on long.  We will see.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Paper Models

Last week I was in Schnoor with Loreto and we called into the paper model shop.  I have a lot of crafts on the go at the moment but I couldn't resist these two little activities for Nico and myself and we got on with them last weekend - I love my little bear!

Bear instructions

Bear card

Penguin instructions

Penguin card

Finished bear!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Robin Williams Season

It's been Robin Williams month in our flat for films this April.  When Nico discovered I have never seen the holy grail of films for teachers - Dead Poets Society, he bought me it with Good Morning Vietnam (another gap in my film education up until now) for my birthday.

I really enjoyed Dead Poets Society although I can't say that it is entirely realistic.  It reminded me of why I got into teaching, so maybe it will be one to watch on the bad days.  It was a great story and I really enjoyed it.

Last weekend we watched Good Morning Vietnam.  Thinking this was just another war film, from an era whose war films I haven't really enjoyed, it's never been high on my list of priorities.  Boy was I mistaken.  Not only is it possibly the first war film I've watched with at least some sympathy for the 'enemy', it also has an inordinate amount of comedy for its genre and brings teaching English as a foreign language into the picture and also reminded me why I do my job.  I think it may have made it to the number one spot on my list of favourite war films.

In considering the work of Robin Williams, I had to resort to imdb to remind myself of all of his films.  It's quite amazing the range of genres in which he has worked.  I always consider him a comic genius but he has also covered war, children's, crime, sci-fi, romance and television.  I think Good Morning Vietnam and Mrs Doubtfire may be my joint favourites from his repertoire but then I am told that 'Good Will Hunting' is another huge gap in my Robin Williams' film knowledge...

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

28 things...Learn to Knit Again

When I was little (in primary school kind of little), my parents and my aunts taught me how to knit.  I don't remember what I managed to make, I just remember that someone always had to start me off and that I quite enjoyed it.  I don't really know why I stopped.  I've been sewing again for months, but not knitting.  It was a big part of my childhood as my Mum used to knit professionally and always seemed to have a project on the go when I was young.

This year, when making my 28 things list, I decided it was something that I wanted to learn again, and not just knitting but also how to start myself off with a project and see it through to completion without help.

When he came to visit over Easter, my Dad bought me this brilliant little starter kit.

He was a little put off by the idea of buying me a children's kit and in German but I insisted I wanted to start small to make sure that I got the hang of it and learnt properly again.  With the kit and a little help from youtube, I started the first of the mini projects in the kit, a bookmark and even managed to finish it in the same evening.

Once I got going, I remembered easily, the hardest part was getting started but I figured it out.  I was so pleased with how quickly I picked it up again.  I can't wait to start the next project in the kit!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Happy St George's Day!

Happy St George's Day and Bon dia i bona diada de Sant Jordi a tothom!  

Attending a catholic primary school in England, I grew up learning all about St George and the dragon.  It's a big coincidence that he is also the patron saint of Catalunya where I lived and studied for half a year.  Their tradition today has to be my favourite - girls are presented with roses and boys with books from their loved ones.  It's very romantic and sweet.  You can find out what and where he is also the patron saint of here.

Balcony Update

We made several trips to the garden centre throughout the holidays (of course it also had something to due with the cute monkeys we discovered!) and the balcony is finally starting to look something like!

The latest additions

The balcony now

My new tomato plant - see 28 things list!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Dad's Trip

Having Dad to visit was great.  We did lots of new things in and around Bremen as you've already heard about.  We took him to my favourite coffee shop in Bremen as well as the oldest, we had another long walk around Park Links der Weser, I was introduced to Dead Poets' Society (brilliant film, shame it's not so realistic to teaching!), we spent a day visiting Nico's family which was nice for everyone, despite the language barrier, a day in Hamburg and a day in Bremen shopping and taking the boat tour.  No wonder a two day work week has still left us exhausted!  It was brilliant though.  On the last night we headed to our favourite local Mongolian restaurant for the special offer buffet - delicious, and introduced Dad to our favourite Buddha!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Saturday Update

It's been another good week this week, I can't believe how fast the time is going!  I've had a full week at work, including a relatively successful parents' day, coffees with Loreto and Taisiya who I hadn't seen since before the Easter holidays and made great progress on my latest knitting project as well as starting some origami!!  More on all that to come this week.

Last Saturday we had a great day as we got out early and cycled into town for the first time this year to do a little shopping and have some lunch.  Now that Spring is here, it feels great to be on the bike more.  In fact, I have been on the bike every day for twelve days now, and even cycled to work and back yesterday.  As long as the weather stays like this, I intend to keep it up.  I'm a little disappointed though as it hasn't paid off on the scales...I've stayed the same for another week.  It may be time to get back to meetings if I don't make progress soon.

On Sunday we headed to Nico's Gran's for her birthday which was a busy and fun occasion.  Nico showed me around the farm too which was fun.  Cows are bigger and a little scarier than I remembered!

On Thursday I had coffee with Loreto in the Schnoor.  It was a nice little coffee shop, we went there because they allow dogs.  Yes, this week I got to meet Luna for the first time.  For the first half an hour or so, I wondered what all the fuss was about, where was this crazy dog I had heard so much about.  Then, while we were drinking coffee and talking and Luna couldn't roam around anymore, the dark side came out and so did the teeth!  Luckily, she is like Pete and when she bites, it's just playful but not being a dog person, I didn't really like it, and neither did the poor woman behind us in the book shop later, oops.  

While in the Schnoor, we also checked out the paper model shop and I bought a couple of little models that stick together with split pins so we had fun with those yesterday too.

Next week is the last full week at work before the long bank holiday weekend, there will be more girly coffees, more crafting, more cycling and hopefully the end of the latest knitting project and maybe the start of a new one!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Huchting Zoo

As promised, we finally made it to the Huchting Zoo and garden centre on the last day of the holidays.  Most of the animals are birds and apes.  There is also a little baby monkey in the reception.  It's mum rejected it so the owner has to care for it.  We saw three cats which we think were pregnant - they were pretty big anyway.  The best thing, and what we hadn't understood up until the visit was that the entry price is refunded against any purchases so we bought a few more plants for the balcony and in the end the zoo didn't cost us as such.  It was a great trip and I will definitely be taking my nephew next month.

The shy ape

The not so shy ape



Thursday, 19 April 2012

Bremen Boat Trip

On the last day of Dad's visit, the weather brightened up enough for us to do something new for all of us here in Bremen - the boat tour.  We've been wanting to take the tour for a while so this was a great opportunity.  The tour started near the centre of town at the Martini dock and went up to the harbour area and back again.  It was difficult to hear the whole commentary over the noise of the wind and waves but what I did pick up was interesting.

Some of the new developments

One of the big transport ships

The harbour at work

The little lighthouse

Pier 2 venue, part of the flour mill and the little lighthouse

The Kellogg's factory

The view heading back into Bremen

One of the older Bremen ships

Hamburg Trip

As Dad has now seen and done most of the things that Bremen has to offer, we decided to fit in a day trip to Hamburg - a city he hadn't yet visited.  I've been three times but don't know it all that well so it was interesting for me too.  We got there in time for a typical German lunch - currywurst / leberkaese and pommes in front of the town hall and then took a walking tour of the main sights.

At the town hall


Musical Theatre

Following the red line tour

The world famous Cotton Club

In the harbour area

St Michael's Church

Ever the literary fan

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


Hope you had a great Easter weekend.  We had a relaxing one with a visit from my Dad, the Easter bonfire, a nice long post-Sunday-dinner walk and some lovely presents.  Easter is a bigger holiday than in England.  For weeks in advance you see brightly coloured eggs appearing in trees like this:

We received some delicious chocolate and marzipan Easter bunnies from Nico's grandma and these gorgeous hen measuring cups from my mum.  They're especially good as they have both ml and cups in the measurements and I've never been sure exactly how much a cup is when following American recipes so they will be very useful!