Monday, 23 December 2013

Happy Holidays

Today we are heading away for the holidays - two weeks with our families.

I won't be posting regularly so here I am signing off for the holidays.  

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2014.  

See you on the other side!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

A History of Scotland

In my latest spurt of reading I have almost devoured this work over the weekend.  I've always had an interest in history and I bought this just after we got back from our honeymoon in Scotland as I was sure there was a lot I could learn.  Part of my family history also stems back to Scotland so it's that little bit more special than some of the areas of history I have studied.

There were two things I loved about this book.  The first was how much in sounded like Game of Thrones.  Normally, I find this kind of writing very heavy and hard to get through but this one was so well written and the content itself is so interesting that it was like reading a work of fiction and therefore, the history seemed all the more amazing.

The second, slightly more geeky aspect was how interconnected history is.  Everything I studied at school - the Tudors and the Civil War -, sixth form - the American Revolution and industrialisation -, and university - medieval Europe and Spanish history -; it's all in there even though the focus is always unmistakably Scottish.  It just goes to show what a huge and amazing history that country has - despite its size!

It's not a book I would recommend to everyone.  You have to be really into history and/or Scotland, but for those that are, this is a great read.  I'm really looking forward to finishing it this tomorrow.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Saturday Update

It's been a fairly quiet week around here.  We had a busy weekend visiting family with family and then saying goodbye to our guests on Tuesday after a final visit to the Christmas markets.

After that it was a short week at work and since we finished, I've been getting caught up on all the little things around the flat - washing, letter writing, project life etc.

I've been going crazy on the reading, I finished Catch 22 on Thursday and read A Christmas Carol the same day.  On Friday I read another novel and I am already a third of the way through a History of Scotland which has been sat on my bookshelf ever since we were on honeymoon there.  I thought it was going to be a bit dry but actually it reminds me a lot of the Game of Thrones!  

This weekend we are heading to the markets again with Nico's aunt and getting the final bits done before Christmas week - online check in, wrapping the last presents, packing...

I'm already feeling nice and relaxed and really looking forward to these two weeks.  Just what this time of year should be about!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Reading Goal - achieved!

I've just finished reading my latest Dickens novel - it seemed appropriate at the moment.  In fact, I read it in a day - very good...and short!

Completing the book completed my goal for the year of reading one regular book, one classic and one German book every month.

It's been nice to get into more German this year, I am getting faster with them too.

So, thirty-six books later I have decided not to carry on with this goal next year, instead I am repeating the previous one of reading all the books I have before I buy any more!  That may well keep me going until next Christmas!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Project Life - Week 37

This week was a nice mix of photos and journalling.  It was a busy week with Mum and Doug's visit so there is a lot in there.  I like that the colours match even though they are not very Christmassy.  Overall I am more pleased with this week's spread.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Recipe: Broccoli and Bean Tagine


  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 100ml red wine
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 100g carrots
  • 100g broccoli
  • salt and pepper
  • cinammon
  • cardamom
  • cumin
  • coriander

  1. Cut and fry the onions, adding the crushed garlic when they start to brown.
  2. Add the wine, tomatoes, tomato puree and beans when the onions are browned.
  3. Chop the carrots and add to the mix.
  4. Add the spices and allow to simmer for about fifteen minutes.
  5. Add the broccoli.
  6. Simmer for a further ten to fifteen minutes.  Adjust the spices to taste and serve.
Tip: Sometimes we serve this with millet and peaches.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Family Visit

Mum and Doug left this morning.  They had been here since Thursday and we had a great long weekend shopping, playing games and visiting the Christmas market.  Here are some snapshots from the visit.

 Cocktails after our afternoon shopping spree.

The winner at Catan!  (Round 1 of 3)

At the Christmas market getting our 2013 Schlachte mulled wine mugs!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Settlers of Catan

This weekend with our visitors we finally had chance to finish not one, but two games of Catan - one with the extension pack which we have never managed before.  We are even thinking of cracking out the second extension pack while they are here!  We haven't even opened that one ourselves yet!

It's a great game that is really big here in Germany (but also available in England) but you need four players so we don't often get chance to play.  Even our visitors needed a little bit of convincing but really got into the game in the end.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Project Life - Week 36

Another quiet week on the photo front as you can see from all the journalling.  Luckily there was plenty to write about in this busy week.  I tried to tie the colours in but I am looking forward to using a new kit in the new year as the Christmas reds don't always work well with the lovely hot pinks in this kit.

Looking forward to having more photos next week and then it's not long until I start a new 2014 album.  I started this album when I turned 28 and planned to continue it for a year but it is getting quite packed and I think the new year will be a good crossover point.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Saturday Update

So after a nice relaxed weekend last weekend, it has been something of a mad week but it has flown by - just ten days to Christmas!

On Monday we had an unofficial colleague Christmas get together at the Christmas Market in Bremen as I won't be at the official one this week.  We were also celebrating for a colleague whose trial period is over for her promotion so that was extra nice.

Tuesday was a long day at work with meetings and a load of marking to get through but it is all done now and things are winding down for the holidays so that is good!

As usual I had my evening classes on Wednesday and we arranged to have class at the market next week so I must organise that still but it won't be as late a finish as usual which is nice because I had to have an afternoon nap this week - I feel like an old woman!

On Thursday our guests arrived and we had a lovely meal - thank you Nico - and a relaxed night before the busy weekend.

On Friday I met mum after work and we went for lunch at the Christmas market and did some clothes shopping in the afternoon.  It's the first time I have bought new clothes in ages and it was time so I'm pleased we did that.  Then we had dinner at our favourite Persian restaurant - Apadana - it was delicious and filling and we were all glad we went and glad to walk off the meal later and enjoy the views from the river.

This weekend we are doing a little more shopping, baking, game playing and visiting the in-laws so it will be busy but not too busy and of course next week is the last week at work already!  Good times!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Feliz Navidad

So it's all working again and here's a new favourite of mine combining three of my favourites at the moment - Christmas, Spanish and Michael Buble!!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The countdown is on...

So me telling you what I haven't done lately is getting a bit boring.  What I have been doing a lot of is preparing for Christmas both in school and at home.  My videos aren't working this morning so that will have to be a treat for later in the week. 

For now, here is one (last - I promise) link to the countdown that has been keeping me going and is starting to get exciting.  I've got it set as my homepage at the moment.  Get in the Christmas spirit!

Over the next week or so, as well as a video or two there will be Christmas market photos and more so if you are something of a Scrooge I would tune out now...

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Foodie Links

Along with getting behind on my crafts lately (read, taking a break for the holidays), I haven't been cooking or baking much either so this week I thought I would share some of my favourite foodie websites with you.

So get surfing and find something you like!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Bremen Christmas Market

Last night was the first of what will hopefully be several visits to the Bremen Christmas Market for me this year.  Unfortunately I won't be able to make work's Christmas meal next week so I made a special effort despite the miserable weather yesterday and headed into town with some colleagues after work.

One colleague really did have to convince me to go despite the rain but in the end I was glad she did as the rain had all but stopped and it had put off the crowds so that it was quite comfy to wander around for once!

We had a punch and a nice chinhwag - always good to see colleagues outside of school too.  I was home for seven as it was a school night but my first visit was thoroughly enjoyed - here's to lots more!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Craft Corner: A Christmas Link

It has been quiet here on the craft front since finishing the cards last week.  I received a little inspiration today do from this website and if I find some time to work on it this week, I will post on it next week.  Have a look for yourself in the meantime.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Project Life - Week 35

This week is full and festive with all the decorations we've been putting up and cards we've been sending out now that December has arrived.  That meant lots of photos.  There's also a nice dinner in there and a photo with some journalling on our engagement anniversary which we celebrated last Thursday.

I really like the look and the little injection of colour that Christmas brought to the project this week.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Saturday Update

This week has flown by again.  We got the decorations up last weekend and I'm almost back up to date on the to-do lists.  

Work was normal Monday to Wednesday with our big meeting on Tuesday.  Things feel a little bit more festive there too.  It's really nice to feel part of a team there.

I stopped cycling this week.  I am being extra careful this Winter and the weather has dropped to such an extent that it is only a matter of time until it gets icy and dangerous on the bike.  Speaking of the weather, we were hit quite heavily by the gales that have been making their way through Europe so I was glad not to be on the bike.  School closed early on Thursday and lessons were cancelled on Friday.  It started snowing yesterday too so it was especially festive here.

I caught up with family on the phone and continued planning our trip back to England to see as many people as possible while we are back.  I'm really looking forward to it all.  Just two more weeks of work!  And they will be very festive with a visit from Mum and Doug, a colleague outing to the xmas market and taking some classes for a special xmas meeting.

Next week, I hope to catch up on my reading and get the flat in order for our visitors on Thursday.  Have a good one!

Friday, 6 December 2013

More Christmas Decorations!

 Following on from our tree, we decorated the whole flat last weekend and here are some more shots of our decorations.
 This is my new purchase for the year.  I love it!
 One thing about being part of a German family now - they buy us lovely gifts for different seasons (Christmas, Easter...) and we save them for the year after so it is like Christmas when we decorate and get to open all the new things we forgot about.  This Santa is one of them.  I love it.
Of course, out come the candles and the smoker man for the insence.  I love the smells of Christmas as well as how the flat looks.  We're feeling festive around here!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Christmas Decorations

At the weekend, we got all our Christmas decorations up and now that the cards are all sents and the presents are all bought, the stress is off and it's time to really enjoy it.  I love this season.  I love how cozy the flat feels with twinkling lights and lots of red everywhere.  As you can see, I'm not the only one enjoying it.  I'll share some more later this week.  Also, looking forward to several planned trips to the Christmas markets!!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Recipe: Courgette Bake


  • 3 courgettes
  • 1 small pack of diced bacon
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt, pepper, parsley
  • 175g creme fraiche
  • 4 slices of (gluten free) bread
  • Grated parmesan cheese

  1. Chop the onion and brown it with the garlic and bacon in a pan. 
  2. Chop and add the courgettes for five minutes when the rest is almost done.  Season to taste.
  3. Stir through the creme fraiche and transfer the ingredients to a baking dish.
  4. Cover with a layer of chopped bread and grate parmesan over the top. Drizzle some olive oil over.
  5. Bake in the oven on 200 for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browned.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Project Life - Week 34

This week was very quiet on the photo front again but I did miss a couple of big birthdays in England this week and my stepdad sent me some photos of the celebrations so I included them and I'm really pleased with the results.

It's not something I would do every week but it just fit this week.  Next week will be back in Bremen with the start of the Christmas celebrations.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Craft Corner: Origami Christmas Tree

This was the first of my Christmas projects this year.  Last week, I popped into Idee for some paper and found the perfect green and white combination for these trees.

I finished the first one in half an hour.  The last bit is a bit fiddly but otherwise it is very straight forward and I am really pleased with the results.

You can find the instructions here.

Sunday, 1 December 2013