Tuesday, 30 April 2013

April Goals Review

April has been a crazy month and I have to admit, the goals really went on the back burner.

  • I didn't get my 10% and I haven't been at Weightwatchers this month but I did lose 5lbs and feel like I'm getting back on track.
  • I listed some things for sale on Amazon but they haven't sold yet.  When I get more of my things together, I will list more items too.
  • We are visiting a florist in May when we are in Schneverdingen to get some ideas and place an order.  We have a hairdresser lined up, I just have to pick a style and book it!  We have started looking at suits, sorted some more guests with accommodation and booked the dress fitting!
  • We had a few social events this month with friends - my birthday barbecue, ladies' lunches and planned some for next month.
Also, I started Project Life and completed my cushion projects this month.

Overall I am happy but I am planning to stay more focused next month.

Monday, 29 April 2013

London - part four. (The London Eye)

 On Monday evening, we took all three classes up the London Eye for a view over London.  I've been on the Eye before with my Dad so I knew what to expect but it was great to do it again with twenty-four interesting little people, spotting MI6 and all the sights we would visit in our trip.
 We got some great photos - of course I can't share any photos of pupils on here but here's me and Henrik, the class teacher.  I love this class and it was great to accompany them to London after three years of teaching them English.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

London - part three.

 We hit all of the major sights on Monday with both the bus tour and the boat tour.  The boat tour was informative but I was highly annoyed by the guide's dialect - "they was...".  It's one of my pet hates (Nico was relieved when Alesha Dixon left Strictly and we could watch the dancing without my shouting at the screen every two minutes.  Luckily the kids weren't paying that much attention.
 We passed the Tower of London, some pirate bars and the dock from which the Mayflower was launched.  We got off the boat at Westminster to take some more photos and head to the London Eye.
 The families we stayed with were excellent.  We had been surprised to learn on arrival that we teachers were also sharing rooms which meant us three women in one room, with bunk beds.  It worked out well though, and the food was great.  Our host father was a head chef with the ministry of defence and we were treated to some great food including some traditional English food including, Yorkshire puddings!
 In fact, the feedback between the families, the women running things and us was excellent.  We knew how the kids had been with the families, if there were problems and whether they were eating.  Things were much smoother than in previous years, although, to be fair, we had a fantastic group as well.
 The kids even got into fish and chips with vinegar and bought out all the salt and vinegar crisps from Tesco on the way back.  Again, I was emotional at seeing the kids enjoying the trip so much. 

Saturday, 27 April 2013

London - part two.

 Monday was somewhat cooler.  In the morning, we had a bus tour with a German-speaking guide.  It was a great way to cover a lot of ground.  Later, we walked over Tower Bridge and had lunch by the tower where the cannons were sounding.
 It happened to be the Queen's birthday.  We didn't see many celebrations this week, despite also being there for the marathon and St George's Day.  In a way I'm glad we missed the hectic side of the city though.  Some parts of the trip - travelling in the tube for example - were stressful enough.
 I have to say though, the group we had were fantastic walking together, getting on and off the tube together - we didn't lose anyone all week. Seeing the combination of new sights like the Shard and the traditional ones like the Tower was amazing.

Friday, 26 April 2013

London - part one.

 It's been a crazy week in London and I've slept a lot today - hence the late update - so just a short one today.  I will post more about London over the weekend but here's a little starter.
 The journey to London was great despite the early start.  All the kids were there and despite a missing visa on the border, we all made it across.  The pupils had a great first night with the families and I was quite emotional on Sunday morning seeing all the pupils so happy, especially the ones who are weaker in English but were doing their best and loving the experience.  There were moments like that all week.
On Sunday morning, we took the group to Camden market.  The weather was glorious as you can see and we sat outside for lunch.  I had been to Camden market before but was equally in awe of the place this time.  The stalls are amazing and I picked up a lovely summer dress which I even had the chance to wear later in the week.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Project Life - Week 2 and a Front Page

Front Page
I finally got my first page finished this week.  The glittery 28 I had in mind didn't really fit in with the colours but I like this more muted version which fit the colours of the rest of the page.  It looks inspiring to me.

Week 2
And here's week two of the project.  This week it was all about that cushion project and getting my new bike. I am still in love with it - it's making the commute an absolute pleasure, especially with the lighter mornings.  I also loved mixing things up a bit by using some of the material from the cushion project to fill one of the pockets.

This week, I was really inspired to take more photos of the 'normal' or everyday things to include when we have quieter time.  I love the effect on the page.

I like the way the colours tied together this week too.  I'm already putting week three together and London will be a big feature for weeks three and four.  Exciting times!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Dear blank, Please blank

Dear Noah,
We could have sworn you said the ark wasn't leaving till 5.

I am in LOVE with this website.  I turned into one of those annoying people who sits at the laptop laughing out loud and reading every letter out to anyone who will listen when I discovered it last week but it's brilliant.  Take a look!

There are a lot of Twilight and Harry Potter references on there but there's a good balance between the lovers and the haters.  I also learnt a few of the celebrities that are big in America at the moment...

It's the next site I'm going to be checking weekly, along with cat shaming, for which my passion is still going strong.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Things I am looking forward to this week...

Don't get me wrong, I love living in Germany and so many things are better about my life there, but it does make me appreciate my home country a little more when I'm there. 

This week, we are hitting Oxford Street, Harrods, Buckingham Palace, Camden Market, the London Eye, Madame Tussaud's and the Thames, among others.  Some I have seen before and some are new to me.  I will really be appreciating the little things mentioned above though.

I'm also looking forward to seeing my pupils' reactions to the trip and finding out what they find new, fun and strange.  In the preparation lessons, the main thing that stood out was that they don't like vinegar on their chips and expect paprika on them...I think I have prepared them well but at the end of the day, these little things are exactly what make those trips so memorable.  

I will certainly never forget taking an instant disliking to German black bread, but loving the houses and the pro-Europe attitude.  I was also completely shocked by the liberal attitude when it comes to nudity on a trip to the theatre but maybe that is a whole other story.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Latest Cushions

Before I headed off to London, I had a second attempt at making some cushion covers.  The fabric was brighter than I thought but I'm really pleased with the results - just to find them a suitable home now!

Time for something different next I think....

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Saturday Update

As you read this, I will be on my way to London with 50+ teenagers!!  

Leading up to this, it's been a crazy week.  We had parents' day, reading night at school, I bought a new bike, made some more cushions and completed another project life week as well as having a lovely lunch with Loreto and Nico.  I feel like I haven't stopped but I don't feel as tired as I thought (I suspect I'll be feeling differently this time next week...)

There's not much else to tell this week, we had a quiet weekend together as we knew that we would be apart this week.  I've been keeping on top of my projects and reading but I'm posting on that separately.  So for now, I will just wish you a fun week and look forward to mine, having realised that I will be in the home country for both the London marathon and St  George's Day!!

Friday, 19 April 2013

On my new bike!

On Tuesday, we picked my new bike up from the shop.  It was an absolute dream to cycle home.  It's slightly bigger, which I thought would be scarier than it was, but the big difference is being able to sit up straight on it.  It's great for my posture and my back.  

I'm looking forward to using it more this year! 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Hide and Seek with Pete

On Monday, Nico found Pete, and an explanation for the muddy footprints we've been finding lately!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

My new bicycle!

Here's a sneak preview of my new bike.  

After two years, and many miles, my original bike which cost me just 70 Euros is finally giving up on me.  It's also a little small for me by German standards and now that I have gotten back into cycling.

Last night Nico and I called into the bike shop on the way home and after testing a few, I opted for this one.  Also, it's a Hollander style which means I can sit up straight on the bike which should be better for my back.  

Looking forward to a few trips this Summer!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Cushion Project

I mentioned earlier in the week that I had been working on some projects and here is the latest.

I'm working through a beginners sewing course and this is the first project in the book.  It didn't take me long, in fact I probably spent more time online picking out the fabric and cushion fillers.  It was nice and straight forward and I'm really pleased with them.

I'm also making a couple for the guest room so I will report back when they are done too.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Project Life

Since I started reading Elise Blaha's blog, I've been really interested in taking part in this project.  Project Life is a kind of blend of scrapbooking and keeping a photo album. 

I finally decided that turning 28 (along with using some of the kind birthday money I received) was a great starting point.  I still need to finish the front page but here is the first week in all it's glory along with a quotation from Elise herself and I love how it looks!

I included a couple of birthday cards as well as a handwritten update on my birthday and some photos from throughout the week.

I've already started on week two and had some more creative projects going on so I am looking forward to updating you on that next week.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Saturday Update

Where did this week go?  No sooner am I gearing myself up for the first full week back at work than I'm taking a sigh of relief as it over!  

Work went well, the next few weeks are going to be all over the place with parents' day, reading night, London and several bank holidays as well as the big exams coming up so it was nice to have one normal week between now and June.  I feel liks I'm finally getting to grips with work after two years of settling into the system and the language, I'm feeling more in control and more confident in my teaching than ever before.

I also went on another training course this week on inclusion in English which was fairly interesting and useful, especially as we got freebies to use with our classes.  I already put a couple of things into practice and am looking forward to using more of the ideas.

The weather has been warmer, but along with that it's been wetter and the bike has started playing up again, so I may need to be more proactive on that front soon. 

The exciting thing for me this week was completing my next sewing project.  I was planning on moving onto it this weekend but managed to finish it much quicker than expected on Thursday - I'll post about that soon.

This weekend is going to be a nice quiet one, maybe working on a couple more projects but mainly making the most of our time together before I head to London next week with school.  We were back from our 'big shop' by 10am and had a lovely big breakfast (I lost two pounds this week so could afford it).

On the book front I am still ploughing through Les Mis.  Hopefully, I will be able to finish it on the bus back from London...let's see...

Friday, 12 April 2013

BBQ time!

On Saturday, we had some friends over for my birthday and Nico got out his new barbecue to make us some delicious chimi churi steak and roast potatoes to go with his homemade tzatziki.  It was delicious!!

I love this photo of him on the balcony, grilling away because the heart says it all - my love, embracing his love of cooking.  It was a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Photo Walks

One of the things I love about living here (and I've said it before, I know) is how we really see the seasons.  I also mentioned lately that I want to review my projects and goal setting this year.  Because of that, I have a lot of new and exciting projects lined up already and I hope you are going to enjoy my updates.

The first one I want to share with you is our photo walks.  Throughout winter, we barely seemed to leave the flat on the weekend.  Now that the days are longer and the weather is (slightly) warmer, we have set ourselves the goal to get out every Sunday for a walk through the park near our flat.

As a part of this, I plan to take a photo on the same spot every week to see how it changes throughout the seasons.  I hope to at least make it to Autumn, maybe even a whole year...let's see. 

Above, you can see the first of these photos - don't worry, I won't be posting this every week, maybe every quarter...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Apple Pudding Cake!

I can't remember having ever baked a cake by myself.  Last week, when we went to Nico's family for Easter brunch, I decided to change this.  I always feel bad when we turn up and everyone brings a cake or other food and we are empty handed.  It's especially bad as they are even kind enough to bake me gluten free cakes too.  Now that I'm joining the family, I decided it's time things changed.  So I baked two apple pudding cakes and took some Easter daffodils.

I forgot to take photos but this week, I tried out Nico's new baking tin and made a huge cake for my birthday BBQ.  We still have half left over so it's going to be a tasty week!  Here's the recipe:

Mix 250g flour (I use cornflour and rice flour), 100g butter, 1 egg, 2 tbsp baking powder and 150g sugar.  Use the mixture to line the base of a mixing tin.

Core and chop eight apples.  Mix 75g ground hazelnuts with 50g sugar and 2 tbsp water.  Add this mixture to the apples in a large mixing bowl.  Make a vanilla pudding (using two packets) with 1 litre of cream and 100g sugar.  When the pudding is ready, combine it with the apples and fill the baking tin.

Bake in the oven on 175 degrees for 60-75 minutes.  

We added some coconut and run raisins for the second cake and it worked really well too.  Delicious!!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Hen Night fun

As I mentioned on Saturday, I now have photos to share with you from the hen night.  I'm so thankful to my lovely bridesmaids for organising such a great weekend.  We had so much fun.

Above, you can see the crazy conditions we set out in!  I'm so glad we made it in one piece!

Our very picturesque hotel, in the snow

The view from our room

Home made buns and macaroons from my lovely cousin and bridesmaid!

The start of the night

My cousin and sister, both bridesmaids

Receiving my lovely gifts

New attire!

Opening the goodies

An emotional moment

My lovely hens

Hayley, best friend and bridesmaid

Ready for dinner

The garter made it from the pool to the evening

Loreto, best friend and bridesmaid

With my Mum

At dinner

Ready for dinner

Fantastic group picture

Games at the table

Dancing on the chairs

More games at dinner - the poor staff!

At the bar

The morning after!