Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Jar of Joy!

Here's a new idea I'm trying out this year after reading about it on the blogs this month.  Every time something nice or good happens, I write it down and pop it in this jar.  On New Year's Eve next year, I can open the jar and remember all the great things this year has brought.  It's also a great way to recycle that candle jar from the summer gift swap last year. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


 The recent weather has reminded me of another trip I took while on my year abroad.  While I was studying in Barcelona, the Erasmus group organised a skiing trip to Andorra.  I had never heard of the place but wanted to try something new - having never been skiing before either and it was great fun.  Unfortunately we got lost on the way to the tutorial and ended up at the top of a mountain coming down the long, slow, hard way and it put me off so much that we just built snowmen on the second day. It's an experience I'm considering trying again - making sure I make the tutorial next time - it's only taken me seven years to get over it!!

Monday, 28 January 2013


Over the weekend I finished designing the invitations.  All we have to do now is write them and get them sent which we should be able to do over the long weekend this week.  I don't want to put full pictures on as it should be a surprise for those receiving them but you get an idea of the colours above.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Timekeeper

This novel was in the group I ordered with my Christmas money.  I first read a Mitch Albom novel while I was at university.  Although he is American, I was travelling at the time and picked it up in German.  Tuesdays with Morrie was the first, and I believe only, book that I have read in German that has made me cry.  It was amazing.  However, that's for another review.  I read another of his novels - The Five People You Meet in Heaven and wondered whether it really lived up to the first.  I didn't connect with it as much.  So when I heard about this new release, I was kind of on the fence, however, it had rave reviews so I gave it a go...and I'm so glad I did.

The novel is based on the story of Father Time - the man who invented time and how he was punished by God for doing so.  The book also details the stories of two modern characters - a teenage girl and an octogenarian man.  The connections between the characters were really clever and they were really easy to connect with.  I think anyone can relate to the evil of time and how we usually feel that we are short of it.  I identified with the book so much that I wanted to do away with the whole principle of time by the time I was finished (two days), if only my boss would agree!

The message of the novel struck a chord with me in the worst of ways on Friday when the tram I was travelling in struck a pedestrian.  She was running across the road without looking, to catch another tram.  I've seen it almost happen so many times but it was still a nasty shock when it did.  I know I am guilty of it at times too but it really pains me to see people put themselves in such danger for the sake of not being late.  The trams in Bremen are so regular that there is normally another one after five minutes!  I hope the lady is alright.

In the meantime, I'm making a promise to myself to focus more on the here and now, and spend more time with those I love.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Saturday Update

My feet haven't touched the ground this week.  It has gone so fast, I guess that's with being so busy.  I didn't get to Weightwatchers on Monday for two reasons - I was marking the year ten exam as grades had to be given by Monday night and I left it to the last minute.  The second reason was the crazy weather.  It started snowing again on Monday and didn't stop until Tuesday night and I just wanted to be home and warm.

Achievement of the week was getting those grades in and sitting through the many report meetings on Tuesday afternoon so it was another late night.  The weather meant me getting the tram twice this week, on Tuesday, when the snow was really thick and after almost falling twice on Monday, and on Friday when I had lots to do in town.  Both led to not very nice experiences so I'm glad this week is over to be honest.

On a more positive note, the first of our English guests has booked accommodation and flights for the wedding.  Not bad considering we are still getting our heads around the invitations.  Just a week to my deadline but we are getting there.  

Other than working on projects, this weekend is all about games night tonight!  So looking forward to the next round of Catan with the extension pack!!  Next week is a short one, thank goodness, we finish on Wednesday at lunch time and I have no evening class on Thursday.  Really looking forward to the break.  Have a good one wherever you are!

Friday, 25 January 2013

28 things...make candles!

I completely loved this little project.  I used some of my Christmas money to buy a little candle making kit.  It makes four small candles - two round ones, one square and one star shaped.  The process was relatively straight forward up until I was taking them out of the moulds and cutting away the extra wick and Nico, the scientist in the house, pointed out I had them upside down - oops!  Luckily, I was able to rescue them.  The perfect project for these cold, dark evenings.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Tupperware Time

On Saturday I visited my first ever Tupperware party.  It was great fun, although I have to admit, a lot of that came from the great company and the chance to practise my Spanish, German and English all in one go rather than from the Tupperware itself.

I did place an order and was really excited when I found the product in the catalogue - it was an empanada maker.  Since living in Spain and falling in love with tapas, I've always wanted to make these and they have been on our gluten free to do list for a while so come February, we will be able to get going!

The down side of the evening was how expensive the products generally are.  Having seen parts of the Food Inspectors on you tube, I was especially inspired to clean up my act and get organized in the kitchen but I just can't afford to do it the Tupperware way.  Maybe when I win the lottery...

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Barcelona 2010

Sagrada Familia
In the school year 2009/10 I taught my first ever adult classes.  The school I was working for at the time was a languages college and only too happy to let me loose on the teachers and parents in teaching them Spanish.  On the evening of the first class, I was wondering what I had let myself in for - adults?!  And not just that but what if they didn't like my teaching?  The parents wouldn't want me teaching their kids and my colleagues might not respect me...they say teachers make the worst students!  

All my fears were completely unfounded.  We had a great year with two big highlights.  The first was the Christmas dinner at La Tasca in Leeds where we got both groups together for a but of practice and the trip I took with some students from the teachers' group to Barcelona at the end of the year.  It was great to be back there, showing them around and still finding new things for me on my fifth trip to the city.

Flamenco time!

Yes, teachers get silly on holiday too!

The lovely ladies at dinner.

The view from Montjuic.


Monday, 21 January 2013

One Little Word

Around all my favourite blogs this month, there has been a bit of a common theme (apart from the monthly goals) and that is 'one little word'.  I did this last year as part of my goals journal and actually it seemed to make sense.  For this year, it wasn't hard to decide, it almost feels too obvious but my one little word is going to be 'Love'.

It fits in in so many ways.  Of course, we are getting married this year so that is a big reason but also, I want to focus on our relationship and not take Nico for granted.  It's also not just about that kind of love.  My new diary even has the quote 'Do what you Love and Love what you do' which is going to be my motto for the year, if not life and I want to focus every month on the things I love; especially this month which is dark and dreary and gets people down, me included.  So here goes:


This month I love:

  • my amazing fiance for coping with my stress and mild panic attacks about the wedding already.
  • my best amiga for always being there.
  • the fact that the days are starting to get lighter (I don't normally see this until February).
  • my job - especially the pupils and colleagues who make me smile every day.
  • Skype catch ups with the BFF in England.
  • getting back into German literature in style with Tintenherz (like Harry Potter for bookworms).
  • getting creative again with wedding planning projects as well as others.
  • the snow!  It means that cycling through the park at night is no longer scary as it doesn't get dark!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Northanger Abbey

Last week, I finished working my way through the novels of Jane Austen.  For some reason, the complete works that I bought a few years ago didn't include this little beauty.  My Dad bought me it for Christmas though (I loved the fact that the cover matched the collection but that's my OCD for you) .  Actually I really don't understand why this was considered the sixth book because I think it could be my favourite.  I couldn't put it down and so it was finished in a week.

It has all the elements of a great novel, strong characters, a complex story line and suspension throughout.  I loved her descriptions of the abbey and I loved how Catherine came across as a normal person and even a bit of a modern heroine.  Like me, she didn't even fully understand all the social complexities of the time and it was really endearing.  

Highly recommended for anyone who likes the classics.

P.S. I've now started my first German novel of the year - Tintenherz - and it may be a little longer until my next literary update...

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Saturday Update

What a week - I don't know where it has gone at all.  With meetings and reports at work it has flown.  All my reports are finally done except year ten (only the most important) who are sitting their exam on Monday so that I can give them some grades so Monday will be manic next week.  On Monday this week, I actually got some time back as they had a different exam but it disappeared with preparation and filling in reports.  It wasn't the best of days because I wasn't impressed at just losing 200g.  I should have been happy that it was going the right direction.  With the lack of food planning this week, I don't think I'll be so lucky next week...

The rest of the week has just been about work really.  I've been so tired that I haven't had the energy to do much on an evening.  Yesterday I did go and buy the materials for the invitations and Loreto is coming over soon so we can get to work on those.  We found out that some of the accommodation near our wedding venue is already booked so I'm starting to fret a little about that - we need to get cracking!

So once we get this weekend out of the way with all the catching up I have to do it's back to another manic week at work with report meetings and what not but it's the last full week before the next short holidays!  Hopefully I will have a more positive update next week!  At least the days are getting slightly lighter!

Friday, 18 January 2013

28 things...have a bra fitting!

For obvious reasons I am not going to go into this experience in much detail.  Friday was my first foray into the world of bridal lingerie.  It wasn't altogether successful but before I could even start, I needed to know my European size which worked out quite well for getting this little task off my to do list.  The main reason it was on there was that I haven't been measured since I was around seventeen and with all my weight fluctuations, I wanted to be sure and now I am!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Notes on the 28 list

The more observant among you may have noted little changes occurring with my 28 things list lately.  I feel that I shouldn't really meddle with it at this stage - as if it is almost like cheating - however, there are some things that I know I am never going to manage by April now and there are other things that I have always wanted to do but completely forgot during the half an hour I sat down to write my list.  So, I have transplanted a couple of things onto my 29 things list (making an early start) and included two new items on this year's plan.  This will hopefully help me get closer to achieving them all too, especially as one is already done.  The two new things are:

Melt lead on new year's eve:

This one, as you may have seen in the first week of January, is already done.  I wanted to do this last year in England and we completely forgot.  We almost forgot again this year but as we were in Germany it was easier to find at the last minute and it was good fun.

Go on a Grunkohl trip:

Here's something else I have wanted to do since I moved to Germany.  It's a part of the culture up here in the North of Germany but somehow I always talk myself out of it.  Mainly as it is supposed to include insane amounts of alcohol and I haven't been that close to my colleagues.  Now that I'm permanent and am closer to my colleagues, I'm going to give it a go this year.  It will be in February so watch out for that!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Barcelona 2008

I have taken so many trips to Barcelona so this week I am focusing on just one.  This was when I went with my friend Charlotte in 2008.  We had a great week exploring the city and even though I had lived there before this, we still found new things for me too.

Dali Museum

The Port

Sagrada Familia

Parc Guell

Camp Nou

Mount Tibidabo

Spanish Village

The Aquarium

The Magic Fountains

Recicle Barcelona

We just happened across this band while heading to the beach - amazing music