Thursday, 31 May 2012

Last Knitting Project

In the end I did do the last knitting project from the beginners kit this week and here it is.  I was pleased with this one as it was easy and quick as I'm getting used to it all.  This week I'm having some lessons from my Mum to get my next non-beginner project started!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

28 New chess.

This weekend, I finally convinced Nico to play a game of chess or two with me.  I discovered that, some books teach you nothing.  I also discovered that Nico is the master of the understatement - "I've only played a bit, I don't remember much".  (Or maybe I am just rubbish.)  The whole experience took me back to my childhood when instead of Nico whooping my ass, it was my Dad!

So far I have made the experience sound quite negative, however, I did enjoy finally getting some practice in rather than reading about chess.  I did learn from thee first game, I could tell this because the second game took much longer.  I plan to keep on practicing, when I can talk Nico into it again...

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Usual Suspects

I believe I watched part of this film before, I think it was when I took media studies but I'm not sure.  During my media studies AS level, we watched clips of several films that left me wanting more, many of which I still haven't gotten around to.  Another one that pops to mind is Shallow Grave.  One that I definitely did not want to see again as it falls into one of my two least favourite catagories (Westerns and alien films) is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Anyway, last week I was doing some ordering on Amazon and found The Usual Suspects at a good price and we watched it at the weekend.  At first, it put me in the mind of Reservoir Dogs in that it was a crime thriller and had flashbacks however, although I loved Reservoir Dogs, I much preferred The Usual Suspects.  For me, it required more thought from the viewer, both films had good twists but somehow, this one was better for me.  I am my father's daughter and had this one figured out before the end but there was a lot of drama and suspense as well as a host of brilliant actors.  I won't spoil things, but I highly recommend it.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Tomato progress

The first tomatoes have finally appeared on the plant - have a look above!  It's very exciting watching them grow, can't wait to eat some!

Sunday, 27 May 2012


I haven't posted about my card making activities for a while but I have been diligently working away at handmade cards all year and this month, I think I'm safe in that none of the recipients read the blog so here goes (sorry if I do spoil any surprises).  

This month I have done two cards, one quite modern one and one more traditional.  The modern one is based on an idea that came with the special set in Idee.  I have really enjoyed those cards - I also used them for Mother's Day and for my niece's birthday - and I may buy some more.

This more traditional card is my own design using products from a card magazine I bought last month (at extortionately high import price - damned impulse buys, now I have to get my money's worth).  I'm pleased with both designs and looking forward to more experimentation and some special birthdays next month!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Saturday Update

Weekend breakfast in bed
 Good morning and Happy Weekend everyone!  This is how our weekend started - beautiful sunshine and a delicious breakfast in bed.  When we first talked about moving in together over a year ago now, the idea was to have less stress with travelling between flats and to be able to get a cat.  This morning really made me realise how many of our dreams have come true this year when we were in bed with breakfast and the cat watching German TV and just enjoying the weekend.  It's just wonderful!

Delicious gluten free croissants that Nico bought me
It's been a great week although very busy.  I finished another knitting project which I'm very proud of, conducted and marked the year ten English exam for my group and they did really well!!, and had another lovely lunch with Loreto, making a new friend - Camila and practising my Spanish!

On Tuesday I had a strange day when I managed to lock a pupil in a classroom over break, oops!  Luckily he wasn't as sensitive as I would have been and took it well...  It's made me a lot more cautious though!  I also had an interesting languages hiccup with a pupil which may have knocked my reputation at school.  He came to the staffroom asking for water and I wanted to tell him that we only had tap water - unfortunately I have visited one too many bars in Germany and said 'vom Fass' (from the barrel / on tap) instead of 'vom Hahn' (from the tap).  So while I may have gained a reputation as an alcoholic, I won't be making that mistake again and he took it in good spirit.  Tuesday also saw the last Spanish department meeting with our current head of department who is retiring at the end of this school year.  It was inspiring to hear her talk about her career at the school.  It made me both inspired to work harder in my Spanish classes and a little sad that I hadn't gotten to know her better over these two years.  It seems strange but I'm only just starting to feel like I belong in the school and that I'm part of a team there and not just the foreigner who's going to disappear again soon.  Still waiting on that contract though...

Wednesday was the exam day so it seemed really long, but as I said, the kids mostly did better than expected and when I worked out their overall grades, none have below a four which is good.

On Thursday I had a drink with my English students which was nice after not getting together for a while with holidays.  I don't always look forward to the meeting as it is a bit later in the evening and I'm tired after work but I always come away feeling good.

Friday was really nice as I had cover lessons now that year ten have finished and watched an English film with the year seven pupils.  I got all my cleaning and washing done before heading out in the glorious sunshine for a lunch with Loreto and Camila.  I find it hard to stay on track when eating out.  I guess it depends where you eat but we tend to eat at a restaurant which only has two salad options and neither of them sound very filling as they offer bread as a side which I can't eat.  I did okay though with a jacket potato and allowed myself a glass of wine.

This week I have stayed the same on the scales which is good considering how busy I have been and how I haven't had the energy for zumba in this heat.  We may head out to find the lake in Huchting later for a cooling swim so at least that will be some form of exercise and I have been cycling a lot including to work and back one day this week.  (It would have been two but a motorway accident on Friday meant that our route had very heavy traffic and I'm not comfortable enough on the bike to cycle through that.

Next week we will be having a visit from Mum and Doug so we will be out and about a lot.  We also have a nice long weekend due to a bank holiday Monday (with Tuesday off too) so let's hope this weather holds out!  We are visiting Fischerhude with Loreto on Tuesday which I have heard a lot about but will be new for me too so I'm excited about that too!  Have a good week!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Belt purse

 Another week and another knitting project finished.  I really like breaking each project down into stages and knitting away each evening.  It also stops me nibbling.  This week I made a purse that fits onto a belt.  I don't actually own a single belt here in Germany and I'm not sure how much use I would get out of this if I did but it was a fun project and I learned some new knitting skills such as - sewing holes into things (on purpose), sewing my seams the right way round (thanks Mum), and adding buttons!  I was really inspired by the colour on this project as the lighter shade of blue is one of my favourites.  All in all a lot of fun!  What do you think?  This was the penultimate project from my starter kit.  I'm having a break next week for a family visit and will crack on with the mobile phone case the week after.  Then I have to start thinking bigger...  I see a trip to Idee in store for Mum and me next week!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Pizza Night

Tomato Mozzarella

Tuesday was pizza night for us.  This time we used these pre-made gluten free pizza bases and it was much less stressful all round!

The Gluten Free bases
We decided to go with one tomato mozzarella and one broccoli, rocket and feta.  They were both delicious.

Feta, Broccoli and Rocket
I'm thinking of a little project like this one over at Enjoy It with Elise Blaha...She's one of my new favourite bloggers and I'm looking at starting another new project inspired by her soon.  More on that later.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


If you read my regular Saturday updates you may have realised that I am indeed struggling with my on going goal to get back to my goal weight.  When I'm good I'm good, and the rest of the time, I undo all my good work.  Recently I decided to motivate myself with this pretty food diary.  I went out and bought myself a pretty notebook and a set of coloured pens and got to work.  It may seem silly - I've been tracking online for over a year to no avail but somehow getting the pens out and writing it down makes it seem more daunting and important.  Since I started I have had my two lowest weigh ins of the year although I did get a little off track while we had visitors (and we have more visitors next week).  Watch this space.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Balcony Love

One half of the balcony.  In the middle you can see our lovely bird house gift from Briony.
Yesterday afternoon I finished putting the finishing touches to the balcony.  Since the first sign of Spring it seems we have been buying, sowing and repotting seeds and plants every weekend.  Last week we finally filled the balcony boxes and I replaced a damaged one yesterday so now all we have to do for the Summer is watch and wait!  I think it looks lovely already and can't wait for the last few flowers to blossom.

Check out some of Nico's amazing photos from the weekend.
The balcony box flowers





The other half of the balcony with all our herbs.

My speedy tomato plant
I'm already loving waking up to the bright and cheerful flowers looking through the bedroom windows!  Summer is here!  It was 27 degrees here yesterday too!!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Making the Switch - Opticians

I've been wearing glasses for about fourteen years now and lenses for about twelve.  Being barely a teenager when I started, it wasn't my choice of optician, I just went to the family one - a private optician in Morley who was great at his job and had a lovely friendly receptionist who I still see occasionally when I'm around Morley.  When he retired, we all made the switch to Specsavers.  There are a whole range of benefits of being a customer at Specsavers:

  • They have a Buy One Get One Free offer on glasses
  • They do a special direct debit, delivery system for monthly contact lenses which includes free check ups
  • They repair their glasses in store for free
  • They provide cases and solution with the lenses (or not if your getting overloaded as I was)
  • They have evening and weekend appointments (including Sundays)
  • They have lovely friendly staff and are very efficient
In the whole time I was with them, I only had one complaint - that they couldn't find a way to put the initial on the address so that my sister and I didn't get confused with our contact lenses.

In a bout of financial updating and planning last year, I cancelled all my direct debits including Specsavers.  I had a back stock of lenses to last me six months so I cancelled the programme knowing that at some point I would have to switch to a German optician and get the ball rolling over here.

That point came last week.  I finally booked myself in for a contact lens appointment at Frenz in Bremen.  I didn't especially choose this company - the one nearest us in Huchting had recently closed down and this one was near the tram stop in Bremen.  One thing I have noticed is how crazy the window displays for opticians are here in Bremen.  I'll be walking down the street and see a lovely ornament and wonder how much it costs, only to discover that it is just part of the optician's window display and not for sale!  Frenz has crazy bright coloured stationary hanging everywhere in the store which makes no sense to me but I love stationary so there we go...

The woman who I had my appointment with was very professional, helpful and didn't struggle with my German so I decided to stay with them.  I was dreading the test as my German alphabet has a flaw - the letter 'R'.  I never noticed it until kids at school started asking me 'Was kommt nach zwei?'  (What comes after two?) and wetting themselves when I answered 'drei' (three) with a really confused look, waiting for the punch line until I realised, my accent was the punch line.  Never in eleven years studying the language has anyone pointed out my inability to produce an authentic German 'R' sound but now I notice it all the time, especially when spelling out my surname in public, eek.  So you can imagine how I was looking forward to the eye test.  I was over the moon to discover that the German (or maybe just the Frenz) system uses numbers!!  And there wasn't a 3 in sight!  Perfect!

So two appointments down, test pair of lenses approved and just waiting for payday to order my first six months worth of pairs.  I have to say, the downside is that there is no automated system here as there was with Specsavers but the branch in Bremen is so handy that as long as I am organized enough to get my order in and paid for on time, I won't have any problems.  (Fingers crossed!)

Sunday, 20 May 2012


Last week we noticed these crazy colours everywhere around our local church.  I've never seen anything like it but we figured it must be either something to do with confirmation time at the church or something to do with a festival called Aktionata which is supposed to be going on in Huchting right now... who knows??

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Saturday Update

We've had a great week here in sunny Bremen.  We had a lovely visit from Briony and Lucas as you may have seen from this week's posts.  Here are a few final piccies.

Enjoying a frappuccino in the sun!

Finding new friends

At the Mongolian on the last night


Just lovely!
So we are now enjoying a quiet weekend, especially Pete!  We had some lovely mojitos in the sun this afternoon and will be catching up on some projects tomorrow.  

Next week is a back to normal working week except that it includes the English exam on Wednesday which is stress but also means an early finish and a day and a half off to mark in a couple of weeks.  

We will then be getting ready for another family visit the week after but more on that later.

When I got weighed on Thursday this week I had lost two pounds - must be all that pram pushing!  I will be being extra good this week too!  Have a good one!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Lucas' First Trip to the Beach!

Yesterday was another fun filled day for baby Lucas.  We started with a trip to the park.

We then took the tram into town for lunch at the Greek restaurant where Nico and I first met.  Of course, Lucas charmed all the staff and ate lots with us.  It was more filling than we expected so we decided to walk along the river to the beach afterwards.

So Lucas had his first boat trip across the Weser.  This was extra special as it was Fathers' Day here in Germany which basically means all the men (fathers or not) go out and get drunk while the women look after the children.  One group on our boat asked for a special treat on the river where the boat spun around in circles before arriving on the far bank.  Then Lucas got his first walk on the sand and his first paddle in the river!

When we thought we had well and truly worn him out for the day we headed home.  Of course he slept all the way back and was full of beans when we got in!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Back to the Zoo

Yesterday, we took Lucas to the zoo and either tired him out or bored him to sleep but we enjoyed it.  We even found a part that we missed last time with a giant snake and more birds!

The monkeys

Admiring the animals

More monkeys

Looking around - making sure mummy is following

Giant stone Horace


The parrots

Having a break


Red parrots

Lucas did not like the noise of the red parrots

Cutie Pie!

The fish

The snake!

The big monkeys