Sunday, 31 March 2013

March Goals Review






Again, the Weightwatchers one really fell by the wayside.  Especially being on holiday didn't help, I haven't been to one meeting this month with one thing and another.  However, I am feeling good about my weight and figure at the moment and with the Spring and Summer on the way, I'm feeling way more motivated.  Having signed up for the Race for Life again this Summer, I'll be starting training soon.

Tax return is done and handed in.  I also got my health insurance refund through, which is always a good thing!

I actually managed to catch up with all my immediate family and seven different friends while in England so I am very happy and have been very social this month.  That was as well as writing several letters and Skyping a lot following on from my January and February goals!

The bridesmaids' dresses are bought!  It was a stressful experience but they all look beautiful!  We also managed to arrange several other things this month including cake, photographer, favours, the guest book, and today I will be visiting the venue for the first time!  A very productive month!

The Smartboard training was finished before the holidays started.  It was more straight forward than I expected but I am a little bit extra proud of myself for managing to do it in German as well!

I'll be feeding back on my 28 things list soon but I did really well on this too with just two things left to go!  (I started the month with five.)

Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Saturday Update

It's been a crazy week around here really.  I spent last weekend in England and flew back on Tuesday.  I have been and will continue to update on that in other posts.  Just waiting on some snaps of the hen night itself.

Since being back in Germania, I have been settling back into a slightly more normal routine.  My sleeping and eating patterns are totally out of whack so I am back to gradually cutting out the naughty things (though it is still holidays), starting the running practice again and trying to finishing off the 28 things list in time for my birthday next week.

It's been great to spend more time with Nico.  The trip to England was the longest we have been apart in almost two and a half years but on the other hand it was good practice for London next month - thank goodness for Skype is all I can say.  Much better than just the telephone.

Next week I am looking forward to my birthday, getting back to school (yes, really) and catching up with friends now that we are all back in the country!  Have a good one.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Catch ups



Following the crazy hen weekend, some people would have taken things easy but I wanted to make the most of my time in England and managed to fit six catch ups with different friends and family into twenty four hours as well as a lovely Sunday lunch with family.

I also visited Blackerhall Farm for the first time for a delicious lunch with my Mum and Grandma.  It was wonderful and filling - they even had gluten free bread!!  I hope we will be able to go with Nico next time we are in England.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Foxglove

Despite the terrible weather, we headed out to the Foxglove, near Huddersfield for dinner on Friday night.  Mum and Doug wanted to treat us and show Loreto and I this lovely little restaurant.  It was very traditional and English so even though Loreto thought we were crazy going all that way in the snow, she was pleasantly surprised and we all had a lovely dinner.




Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Fantastic weekend in England

With Mum
So after a few days away from the computer, I'm back.  I wasn't taking a break really as the last few days have been manic.  The aim of the trip was to find the bridesmaids' dresses and have the hen night.  It looked a bit bleak at times but we managed it and fit in a whole lot more besides.

Hayley and Isla - our little flower girl
I woke up on the day of my flight to a window of snow!  Luckily it didn't settle and the flight was fine.  The first signs of trouble came as we drove back over the Pennines to Leeds and saw the weather warnings for the day after.  The plan had been to go to the Trafford centre to shop but it quickly went out the window.

My best friends - Loreto and Hayley
The next morning - there were inches of snow and we weren't sure we'd even make it into Leeds let alone whether one bridesmaid would make it up from Derby but it the end it went well and we all got there.  After a Starbucks, we explored the new Trinity shopping centre which had opened just the day before.  

My sister Briony and cousin Christina
I have to say the centre is huge and very modern but as it was my first shopping trip with a baby along, I was unimpressed at the low number of lifts in the place.  We managed though.  The shopping was not successful - Leeds was not as ready for us as we thought with several stores not having the bridal sections we were hunting.  In the end we stopped for lunch at TGI Fridays before heading back to the White Rose for the BHS bridal store.


There we found a lovely dress that we had seen online - no spoilers on here before the big day though.  Not everyone was 100% happy but the dress looked great on all of the girls and we ordered them there and then.  We also found some fab dresses for the hen night - more on that when I get some pictures!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Easter Chick

Something else that can be achieved in the holidays, even while watching a three hour film, is a new knitting project.  I loved making this little character!  Surprisingly easy for a beginner like me and I learned some new techniques - added bonus!


Thursday, 21 March 2013

See the Godfather Trilogy - done!

source
Making the most of the holidays, I finally got around to watching the third part in this series this week.

I have to say, being a film fan, I quite enjoyed this trilogy.  The first part was a good film in itself, the second showed us the background - great for me as a history lover and someone who studied American history -, and the third shows us how the story continued. 

When I studied media studies, we learnt about the traditional elements of a story and the balance of good and bad, and all of these things played out well in this story.  It's not a girly film, but I'd recommend the series to anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Empanadas


On Sunday, we tried to make Spanish style empanadas.  I love empanadas, I have done ever since I lived in Spain and fell in love with tapas.  When I went to a Tupperware party in February, I saw a special mold for making them at home. 

This weekend we got around to trying it and opted for an onion and blue cheese filling.  The mold was rubbish.  Maybe it was just with the gluten free dough but every time we closed the maker, all the filling fell out the middle.  My friend had the same problem.  In the end Nico made a couple by hand and they turned out the best tasting anyway. 

Next time we will definitely do it by hand and put in more filling!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Easter Time

Easter bunnies
So it's holidays and, looking through the window here, you could be forgiven for thinking they were the Christmas holidays.  In an effort to get into the Easter spirit, I spruced up the flat with our Easter decorations last weekend.  Feeling a little more jolly now!

Easter candles

Easter eggs in the tree - German style!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Royal Mail


I had a strange delivery last week.  I've ordered books from England before but last week a ordered a series of teenager books that I started a while ago and haven't finished.  They weren't very big or heavy but they arrived this week wrapped up in the bottom of this huge Royal Mail bag!!  I'm not sure what went on but I guess it was nice to have a little reminder of home from the Royal Mail!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

My Story - Dave Pelzer

source
After finishing Anna Karenina, I wanted a break from the classics and my brain wasn't ready to go back to German so I picked up this autobiography that I got for Christmas.

This book first came to my attention when I worked at WHSmiths and it was a big hit on the lists but I didn't really know much about it until I did my teacher training and a few of the other trainees had read it.  

It tells the true story of Dave Pelzer who grew up in the USA in the seventies with an abusive mother.  Throughout teacher training, I heard stories of abused children and it's something that seems to come up on the news every so often and quickly get forgotten about again.  I've never read such an account as this though.  

It wasn't an easy book to read - especially the first part which focuses on his childhood - the worst time, but it was an interesting book and it has a strong message of overcoming such a background, which was important.  I'm glad the book had a happy ending, even though many similar stories haven't.

It's not a genre I want to get too into but I'm glad I read this one.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Saturday Update

The holidays are here at last.  The week flew by.  I think it went so fast because I thought I was having an early weekend but in the end our sleepover got cancelled so Friday seemed like a long day - I'm not a big fan of change, especially when plans have been solid in my mind for a while, but these things can't be helped at times and now the Easter holidays are here - even if it looks more like Christmas!!

Due to the crazy weather and some frozen brake lines, I've been on the tram all week - not good for my fitness goals but it meant I finished the book I was reading in record time - more about that tomorrow.

It really was a wind down week at work.  I got a couple of other little jobs done but really, I was tired on an evening and I've been putting a lot of things off until the holidays when I'd have more time.  Last night I had to get them all on one big list before I could sleep soundly and after waking up at six this morning (another sure sign of the holidays), I'm powering my way through the list already.

So, not a lot to report on the whole.  There will most likely be no Saturday update next week as I will be in England preparing for my hen night but I will be posting regularly throughout the holidays.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Qwirkle





Continuing our games theme, Nico purchased this little gem this week.  I have never heard of it so I'm not sure if we have it in England (the instructions were German, French and Italian).

It's called Qwirkle and it's a bit like a cross between dominoes and scrabble.  The best bit is, it can be a two player game so after dinner last night we sat down with some music and a nice cup of tea, and had a game.

I'm looking forward to the next round!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Pete's Latest Adventures









Nico and Pete enjoyed a new game of hide and seek yesterday while I was at work.  

Pete is so funny.  He has been trying to get on this bookcase for weeks but always gets told off when we catch him so the little sneak waits until we are out of the room, jumps up there somehow and then stays dead silent while he watches us search like crazy for him!  I'm just amazed he didn't knock anything off the shelves to get up there!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Whiteboard course

source




 Last week, I achieved the first of my March goals by completing the Promethean Whiteboard course that our deputy head has been pushing us to do since August.

I've worked with Whiteboards before in England, but with different software so it was good to get to grips with this properly.  The courses were interesting and to be honest, not very difficult, but very time consuming.  

In order to not be glued to the computer, I plan to build up my resources slowly but it the meantime, my new certificates are on the wall!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Anna Karenina






After about four weeks (it feels a little longer) I've finally finished this epic novel.  I really wanted to read it before watching the film and I managed it!  

I've loved reading so many classics over the last year or so and this was no exception.  It was another look at 'high society' - this time in Russia.  I had already heard and totally agree that it is similar to Madame Bovary which I read last year.  

I loved the way the characters and the story developed.  I also loved that the story focused on several characters' lives instead of just one but also interlinked them all.  

What I didn't like so much were the huge sections of the story which were only focused on economics or politics, they lost me a little.  It's not that I didn't understand entirely - I took a lot of Russian history at school and university - but it's not what I want to read for fun and the book could have been a fair bit shorter for it.  The philosophical bit was okay though.

Next classical project will be Les Miserables before watching that film but in the meantime, I'm excited to see what this film version is like, roll on Friday.


Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Saturday Update

Another crazy week this week.  As well as a full week at work, I managed to get at least one thing achieved each day.

Last Sunday, we finished booking the honeymoon so with the flights, four hotels and car hire, we're just about ready to go.  I'm really looking forward to the wedding week and having friends and family around but because it is going to be so hectic, I'm really looking forward to having some time for us on the honeymoon too.

On Monday I had to miss Weightwatchers to go to the council to ask for our permission to get married.  The system here is quite frustrating.  After telling me I had to get my (brand new) birth certificate translated - my year fives can understand 'father', 'mother', a place and a date for goodness sake! - he decided to let me off that.  Then came the date for our official appointment to pick up the marriage license - his first suggestion was 17th July (I almost had a heart attack - the wedding is on the 19th!), he found me one on 3rd June.  It's still a long time off and I still have to get time off work for it but that's just German law apparently!!

On Tuesday, there was a big strike across Germany to try to get equal rights for all teachers, and not just civil servants.  I left it too late to actually take part but I went with a colleague and his class as part of their political education.  Afterwards, I had lunch with Nico and in the evening I ordered a guest book for the wedding.

Wednesday also so a nice impromptu date with Nico after work, when we went to the Roland Center together and I had my first session on the sunbeds in order to not look totally washed out on the big day.  Looking forward to my second one later today.  I have to say, I felt a bit ridiculous on Wednesday as it was the first real Spring day we had with temperatures of up to 15 degrees but since that's now a distant memory, it should be even more rewarding to get some rays today.

This week I have also been doing the rounds of year five classes at work to introduce to them the possibility of starting a second foreign language next year.  I love speaking French or Spanish and watching the looks on their little faces.  It's been lovely to visit the classes I don't teach as well.  On the topic of work, I also finished my whiteboard training this week!  It has been on my to-do list since August but putting it on my monthly goals list really gave me the push I needed.  More on that later.

Thursday was my lovely short day at work.  We had a lovely afternoon catching up on some good series that we have been watching.  I also started arranging some more accommodation for family though that is still a work in progress. 

Finally, it was weekend again.  I had a lovely lunch with Loreto where we had a real good chat and catch up.  It was a great start to the weekend.  Then I came home to my lovely fiance and his wonderful brownie cake and we had a lovely relaxing evening with a couple of calls to and from England.  We also received our first official RSVP which was an acceptance so I am very excited again now!

Next week is the last week of term, which is going to be brilliant now my training is done and we have a sleepover in school on Thursday night which means I get Friday off and can spend it doing Zumba and watching films with Loreto!!  Have a great week!

Friday, 8 March 2013

And another link...


I completely forgot to add this to the list on Wednesday but I thought this video was fantastic.  

I can't imagine our first lady doing something like this.  At first I was really impressed that such a respected lady knows how to have fun and have a laugh, but now I found out it is all for a good cause - the 'let's move' campaign, encouraging parents to move more with their kids - brilliant and fun!

P.S. The weather is getting a little more blustery here - I hope the kite flying weather holds out over the weekend!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Inspiration


I'm not a very religious person but I still remember our deputy head teacher reading this out in assembly when I was at school and it really struck a chord with me, it's something I try to think of when things are tough and actually, it's one of the few ideas that usually helps.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Lovely Links

Here are some lovely links to some of the things I've been reading around the interweb this week:

What a lovely real life story.

Slightly jealous of Elise for having such a wonderful new blank canvas to work on, not jealous at how much effort a move takes though.

These guys will never get boring.

What amazing views of our honeymoon destination.

So glad that dating is behind me - this used to be my worst nightmare.

In case you didn't catch it already, I'm on a mission.

With full points, I think I can still claim to be English.

Something to consider.

Interesting interview.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Race for Life 2013


Love this video and thanks to a friend sharing it on Facebook, Mum and I have signed up for the Cheshire run while I'm back in England this Summer - looking forward to it!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Sewing Project 1 - Complete!



 Here's my first ever sewing machine project.  I was so excited to get going on this.  

Learning how to use the machine this weekend brought back vivid memories of high school textiles lessons.  Back then I was petrified of sewing my fingers together or something but I'm a little more mature and organised now...as long as I remember to unplug the machine before moving it, right Nico?

Anyway, for my first dead easy project, I picked out some material with lots of lime and lemon notes to match our kitchen and sewed up the hems to make this little blind for the kitchen.  Now, fewer neighbours can see in.  

I had planned to back the material but Nico quite rightly pointed out that we need the light when working in there.  I'm so pleased with the results!  

I also bought this book as a general guide and it has already proved invaluable, now I plan to follow the projects through.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

28 things - Visit the birthplace or grave of a cultural icon


We went to Howarth in the Summer with the aim of visiting the grave of the two Bronte sisters who are buried there, and having a nice family day out.

I read some more Bronte last year and I have read at least one novel from all three now so it was especially interesting to me and Nico really enjoyed the trip too - I think it shows a lovely side of England.

Unfortunately the church, where the sisters graves actually are, was closed for renovation and we didn't get to see them but we wandered around the grounds, where they must have wandered too and we saw the terribly overcrowded graveyard there, as you can see above.

I hope to visit again one day and see the museum too but we had a wonderful day that day.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Saturday Update

Happy Weekend!!  And Happy March everyone!!

It's been a great week. Nothing especially great has been in there.  I think that not having year nine around at work has done me the world of good.  Even though I had cover lessons for the most part, I had extra time to get on top of work and even finish level one (of two) of the whiteboard training, so I kicked off the month, well on with my goals.

Last Saturday evening was nice with our best man and his fiance.  It was the first dinner we'd given where it was all in German but I think it went ok.  They were very polite and didn't mention it when I talked gibberish.

I didn't have a good week at weightwatchers and I can't go next week because the council office I need to visit to arrange the wedding is only open on mornings or Monday afternoon and that's more important at the moment.

Friday lunch was lovely with the Spanish ladies and a catch up with Loreto on the way home.  Then I had a lovely catch up with my Gran and Dad and heard my nephew talk for the first time (well, where I could make out for definite what he was saying) - so sweet!

This morning I'm up and full of energy for a change so I think I will finally crack out the sewing machine in a but and give that a go.  Later, we are going out to play Catan for our friend's birthday.  Looking forward to it.  And just two weeks to the holidays!!

Friday, 1 March 2013

March Goals


Well, March is here - I hope you remembered your "white rabbits" this morning!

With the new month comes a new round of goals for me.  Quite a lot on there this time including one that doesn't really fit in with my goals for the year but I am thinking that with year nine on work experience and then the Easter holidays, it should be manageable!