Friday, 28 February 2014

Our Square Eyed Cat

 Since we got the television Pete has become obsessed with watching it (as well as the laptops, which never bothered him before). 
 He especially likes wildlife programmes with big cats and meerkats.
 As you can see he can't get close enough.  He also thinks the DVD player is a God and regularly worships it.
 He was so engrossed that he jumped out of his skin, hurting himself and Nico when Nico switched it off just moments after these photos.
I don't remember our cats watching TV when we were younger but a colleague's cat goes crazy for gorillas!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

March Birthday Cards

With March just around the corner, I finally mustered up the energy to get creative again and sort out our birthday cards for the month.  I am always tempted to go to Moonpig and get it done quickly but I love the results when I make them myself and you can't beat the personal touch.

Again, it's a bit of a mixed bunch this month, both in terms of who they are going to and the techniques used.  I also have to stock up on materials in March before next month but I am always surprised at what I can come up with when the stock is limited.  I'm really pleased with these results.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Reading Round-Up

Daemon and Freedom - Daniel Suarez

This pair of books was recommended to me by Nico.  He loved them as they are crime novels written for computer geeks.  I was a little sceptical being about as blonde as they come when it comes to anything computer based.  However, I was very pleasantly surprised.  There were some bits that went a little over my head but they were not necessary in order to follow and enjoy the story.

What makes the books so good, although it is a little scary is that it could happen, many of the threads to the main storyline are either happening right now or could be in the future.  You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to enjoy the books though.  Very good crime fiction.  One thing though - don't just buy the first book - the ending was way to open for my liking, the second rounded things off nicely.

Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure - Joanne Harris

I've never read a Joanne Harris novel before but I have seen Chocolat and heard only good things about her work so I picked up this book on offer in London last year.  I was really glad I did.  The novel is so well written and it's quite the page turner.

For me the setting and the clash of cultures that this work examines were very appealing.  The only downside were the many references to the characters' past experiences which I assume were described in a novel that came out between Chocolat and this book.  I am tempted to research which of Harris' other books feature Vianne Rocher and snap them up.  In the meantime I will be rewatching Chocolat.

Desert Flower - Waris Dirie

While flicking through the channels at the weekend, we came across a programme clearly filmed in London which caught my interest - Nico realised it was the life story of Waris Dirie and couldn't believe that I had never heard of her.  We found her autobiography in Thalia at the weekend and I read it in just three days.  

Her life story is very interesting.  I was surprised myself that I had never heard of her - I think I was just born a little too late.  She was a supermodel in the eighties and nineties and is now a UN ambassador speaking out for African women, especially those who are subjected to the horrific practice of female circumcision - something she went through at the age of just five.  

The book is very informative - not just about female circumcision but several aspects of Somalian life and the ups and downs of Dirie's life.  An interesting and recommended read.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Etsy Shop Special Offer

My online selling is slowly but surely starting to take off.  However, I have yet to receive my first Etsy order.  In an attempt to remedy this, I am offering a free gift to the first ten orders I take in my online shop.  Have a look at the shop - maybe there's something for you there or something that would make a nice gift for someone you know!

I will also be keeping you up to date with special offers and new products with the new Baden Handmade page up on the tabs at the top of the blog.  Have a look through now and then.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Recipe: Tomato Mozarella Salad


Four tomatoes
One large Mozarella
Fresh Basil
Dressing (I like citrus oil and fruity balsamic)

  1. Chop the tomatoes and cheese.
  2. Sprinkle the basil over the top.
  3. Add the dressing.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Date Night

 Nico's Christmas present to me was a date night and last night was that night.  We went for a Mexican meal at Mexical, did a little shopping for a new book, and went to see Romeo and Juliet - the rock ballet.
 It was a lovely night and did us both good to be out and about.  I wasn't convinced that Nico would be won over by the ballet but it was definitely not the traditional kind.
 The production mixed traditional Vivaldi music with modern hiphop and pop songs.  It was interesting how well it worked and I really enjoyed the dance.  Even Nico enjoyed the show - neither of us is convinced he would have gone for a completely traditional ballet.
 The baby also enjoyed the show - especially the louder, modern parts.  I think we may have a little hiphop dancer on our hands soon!
We both had a great time - recommend the show to anyone who has the chance to go, and can't wait to go on our next date!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Saturday Update

After all those lovely fast weeks, this one has really dragged.  Work has been manic and stressful with more colleagues than ever off sick.  On the plus side there have been no accidents this week!  I am glad it's Friday though.

Last weekend we had a lovely drive up to see Nico's family and cook Sunday dinner.  It was nice not to depend on someone picking us up at the station and not checking the train times.  The weather wasn't the best but I love being out in the countryside at any time of year.

We also had the little move around I talked about yesterday but other than that we have been rather unproductive with so much work going on and either one or the other of us not sleeping very well.

This weekend we are rewarding ourselves with a date night - my Christmas present from Nico - more on that later and then it's another busy week to round off the month.  I'll be glad to see the end of February in a way!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Making Space

Last weekend we had quite a sort out.  It's on our radar that we have to start thinking about getting the nursery ready but it's still a bit early for my liking. In the meantime Nico has decided to use the room as a different kind of nursery...
 It looks a bit bare at the moment but soon  it will be full of tomatoes and chillis and cress...
It's good to know we have a healthy growing environment!

Thursday, 20 February 2014


I recently started reading a new blog written by an old school friend.  She recently moved abroad and set up the blog to review her new experiences - ringing any bells yet?

Reading her first post took me right back to those first weeks in Bremen.  I can't believe how much has changed since then.  My life looked very different back then.  I originally only came over for a two year stint but I fell in love...with a man, with a job and with a way of life.  

What hit me more than these big changes however, was how much I take for granted now.  I was almost a little bit sorry to have left the times behind when every little thing was new - remembering to stock up at the supermarket on a Saturday because it doesn't open on Sunday, getting refunded for recycling bottles, paying for coffees when you leave a cafe rather than when you order, the whole school system...and probably a thousand other things that I don't even remember.  It almost made me want to move again.

Everybody should try life in a different country at some point.  Even if it is only for a few months, it can open your eyes so much and completely change your life.  I'll definitely be reading Jessica's blog in the future, reliving those early weeks and wishing her all the best in her new venture.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Pregnancy Advice

While I feel really blessed that we are expecting a little one in June, what has surprised me the most about being pregnant is how scary it can be.  I always knew that the idea of giving birth can be quite scary but I didn't expect to worry quite so much for the whole nine months! 

First, you just want to get through those magical twelve weeks, and it does get easier when the morning sickness eases but there are so many things to think about that I don't think it will ever quite go away - I mean even when the baby is here there will be lots to worry about.

As the time draws closer, I am finally starting to but some of the worrying aside and start to get excited and I thought I would share some of my sources of information and inspiration with you today.

I check out most of the technical stuff here and here.

Many of my favourite blogs also have many posts on their experiences with pregnancy and parenthood.  You can see them here, here and here.

Apart from that, of course friends and family who have been through pregnancy can be invaluable - especially close family as you obviously share a medical history.

If you are like me and experiencing this in a whole new setting, it can be useful to network with friends and colleagues.  I am incredibly lucky that we have had nine babies born at our school since I started working there, five colleagues currently pregnant, and some of those are also to bilingual parents so I have a wealth of information which is handy when trying to navigate the complex German way of doing things.

Most of all, try to relax and if you are really worried about something - go to the doctor.  They must be used to lots of worried mums but safe is always better than sorry.

Monday, 17 February 2014


...reading 'Peaches for Monsieur le Cure' by Joanne Harris.
...trying to keep my foot up.
...rearranging the flat for the year ahead.
...sleeping lots.
...eating lots of fruit and veg.
...driving around a lot more.
...sewing away on various projects.
...learning a little Turkish - Merhaba!
...getting out and about more.
...(still) drinking lots of tea.
...wearing anything that still fits.
...realising we have just four months to go!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Recipe: Chocolate Cherry Cake


  • 150g gluten free biscuits (I used biscuits with two biscuits with chocolate in the middle)
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 100g sugar
  • 100g rice flour
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp whiskey
  • 1 jar off cherries (about 400g)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease the cake tin.
  2. Blend the biscuits in a food processer and add to the 50g melted butter.  Line the botton of the cake tin with this mixture - press down firmly.  Bake for ten minutes.
  3. Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Whisk until the mixture is warm, but not hot.  Whisk in the mixer until the mixture turns lighter and thick.
  4. Gently fold the flour into the egg and sugar mixture and then pour in the melted butter.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour the mixture over the base and bake for another 35 minutes or until cooked.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Saturday Update

This has been a strange old week after my little accident on Tuesday it has been very quiet.  Having an immobilised foot meant I need something to do with my hands and I loved making the lavender hearts over the last couple of days.

Yesterday, I had a lovely Valentine's Day.  I was productive all day including a short, positive hospital appointment giving me the all clear.  I am much more mobile - thank goodness nothing was broken - and just need to rest over the weekend.  I also made a chocolate cherry cake yesterday which was a first for me and we were really pleased with the results!

I am also really getting into a book called Daemon by Daniel Suarez which Nico recommended to me.  Just two days in, I have read over two hundred pages and can't put it down.  Nico liked it because of the computer programming twists but they go completely over my head and it's still a good read.

Before I took a tumble, it had been a good start to the work week.  I am looking forward to the next few weeks up to Easter.  There's a lot going on with our class at the moment and it makes the time go quicker.  Looking forward to being back on Monday.

We also cracked out one of my Christmas DVDs - American Beauty.  Another classic that I had never seen, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Kevin Spacey is fast becoming one of my favourite actors!

Apart from work, I am looking forward to cracking on with Daemon and doing some more crafting next week.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Sewing Project 2014 - 5 Lavender Valentine's Hearts

Looking for some seasonal inspiration I found the idea for these lovely little Valentine's in this book.
I started out following the instructions in the book and I was pleased with the first one but I also wanted to try machine stitching some.
The problem with this was sealing the hearts up once they were filled with lavender.
I tried to disguise the opening in various ways with differing levels of success. 
This second layer solution from Nico was the best in my opinion.
Then I went back to some more rustic ones with different materials that I had over from other projects. 
Even though the material was 'left over' I thought the different patterns worked well - especially with the lavender theme.  I get my material here from Textiles francais on Amazon.
 Overall, I am really pleased with the selection.  These ones are going to be gifts and I am going to make some for us in red material.  The only downside is feeling sleepy with all that lavender!!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Reading Round-up

A little update and review of some of the books I have read so far this year...

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This was a Christmas present and I have loved getting into some different Latin American literature this year.  I thought it would be quite heavy going since it is a classic but it is actually a much easier read than I expected, telling the story of the Buendia family over a century.  The story is interesting - at times a little crazy and unbelivable and the characters are fascinating too.  I would recommend this book to anyone who likes family sagas although it is not a particularly typical one.  Very enjoyable.

The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

This self-help book was recommended to me by a friend who found out I had an interest in Buddhism and yoga.  At first this book really fit in to both of those other interests as almost the spiritual side of the yoga practice.  There are definitely some ideas that I will take away from this book and try to put into practice.  However, I did feel that I kind of lost touch with the message of the book as I got closer to the end.  The focus became very intangible and unclear for me.  Then again, maybe I just ploughed through the material too quickly.  Definitely one to consider - I may read it again at some point.

The One I Left Behind - Jennifer McMahon

Another Christmas present, I really enjoyed this book.  It's a murder mystery with a twist.  It jumps between the present and the protagonists (Reggie's) childhood when a serial killer was on the loose.  Reggie's mother was the final victim but the only body never found.  It was very difficult to put this one down.  Easy, interesting reading - with a good twist.  Big recommendation.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

5 Pampering Tips for Winter

Yesterday, I managed to send myself and the bump head over heels down the last couple of steps at work, landing with a bump of the wrong kind.  We spent time with our doctor and at the hospital and luckily baby is fine and it looks like I have just got a nasty sprained ankle.  I have a couple of days rest and a follow up appointment to come and so far have been indulging in a little pampering, which is perfect for this time of year.  I thought I would share some of these ideas with you.

1. Candle lit Bubble Bath

I love my showers and don't take enough baths.  I had read a few warning about hot baths while pregnant but apparently that is only a problem later in the pregnancy and it doesn't have to be too hot to be relaxing.  For optimum experience, make sure there are lots of bubbles and a good book in there with you.  I love Lush bath bombs too.

2. Moisturising Face Mask

Winter really takes it out on our skin.  I normally have oily skin but at this time of year I always find myself reaching for the moisturizers - be it lip balm, face cream, hand cream...  A good moisturizing face mask is a luxury that also really helps and makes me feel refreshed and ready to get out an about again.  I really recommend this one.

3. Pedicure

It seems ridiculous since our feet are covered up most of the time at this time of year, but it feels like walking on air after a foot soak and a slathering of good foot cream.  Personally, I am easily bored by peppermint footcream - this is my personal favourite - I'm a sucker for citrus.  

4. Body Scrub

Don't forget all of that skin in between your face and feet - especially if you are also nursing an expanding baby bump.  I started moisturizing after every shower again around the three month mark but once a week I try to exfoliate as well.  It's made much easier with this staring at me from the bathroom shelf.  I can't get enough of soap and glory.

5. Wrap up with a cup of tea and a good book

Pampering doesn't have to stay in the bathroom.  It doesn't matter what time of year it is, the mind can always use the pampering effects of a good book.  The best thing about winter for me is curling up under a blanket with a book and some good English tea or peppermint tea.  Look out for my book reviews later this week for some tips.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Recipe: Ploughmans Open Sandwich

(per person)

Four slices of gluten free bread
One tomato, sliced
Six olives, sliced
Four teaspoons of mango chutney
Four slices of feta
A few large lettuce leaves


  • Lay the toast on a plate.  Layer the ingredients on top as follows; mango chutney, olives, feta cheese, tomato, lettuce.
  • You can change the order, but we find putting the lettuce over the top as a kind of wrap makes this lunch easier to handle.

Monday, 10 February 2014

The Great Language Game

 Have you tried the great language game?  
 Warning!  It is strangely addictive!

On a languages note - I am still going strong on this website - a little a day - and recommending it to my students. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sewing Project 2014 - 4 Felt Coasters

This was the second project in Elise's quilting course and I loved it.  I couldn't get material in the colours I originally wanted so I went with red to match our bedroom where we don't already have coasters and I am so pleased with the results.

You have to sign up to the course to get the instructions, but I couldn't recommend it more - two projects down and still really excited to be taking part.

You can read about project number one here.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Saturday Update

It has been a very relaxing week around here despite the return to work.  Thanks to the new timetable, my doctor's appointment and parent-teacher conferences I had three lie ins this week which was very welcome.  Having had such a productive weekend meant that there was less to do after work as well.

We managed to get to the outlet centre on Wednesday after work to buy some new clothes.  Very pleased with our purchases, we might just head back next week as we ran out of steam before we were finished.

I got my new German driving licence which was a little bit weird but welcome - I feel more official now driving around Bremen.  I also made my first visit to the customs office in Bremen to pick up some crafting goods from America - more on those to come.

Finally, I finished another sewing project yesterday - more on that tomorrow, but very pleased with my quilting course progress so far this year.

Apart from that, there is nothing really new to tell.  We are looking forward to a quiet weekend and a fuller but hopefully still relaxing work week next week.

Friday, 7 February 2014


I've been a fan of Etsy for a while and as I mentioned on Wednesday, I have been planning to open a shop there for some time.  

Well,'s finally there!  I am still finding my way and I'm not 100% happy with it yet but it's a start.  You can find the shop here with my first products already there.  

My products are made to order so I will be happy for a slowish start but hopeful this could be a good little sideline for me combining getting me out of debt with a hobby.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Recipe: Cheese Scones

At the weekend I cracked out the gluten free cookbook again and made these cheese scones.  I was a little worried about the texture but they tasted nice and went really well with some creamy mushrooms that Nico made.

You can find the recipe here.  I would recommend using more seasoning and cheese.  To be fair, we can't get cheddar here so it may have tasted different because of that but we still had a fairly strong hard cheese.

I'm loving baking at the weekends again!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Sewing Project 2014 - 3 Quilted Baby Name Bunting

 I loved this project and it took just one evening to come up with and create.  I have been wanting to try this for a while and finally got around to it.  It is my first project without a pattern to work from and I am really pleased with the results.
 This also matches the owl I made little Isla for Christmas.  I am planning to open a shop on Etsy to offer these products as made to order as a way of making a little extra money.  It's something I enjoy doing so let's see how that goes.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014


Delicious cake and hot chocolate - perfect in this weather
On Saturday, we braved the rubbish weather and headed out on our first road trip in the new car.  As it was very cold and rainy we didn't venture too far but we headed north of Bremen to Worpswede which is a town famous for its artists.
This competely freaked me out as we wandered past
 We liked the town but couldn't visit some of the things we wanted to because of the ice that was still laying around getting extra slippery under the rain.  I can't wait to go back when the weather gets warmer.
My wonderful husband and our cutie car
It was so nice to get out and about - I'm really looking forward to future road trips and our next visit to Worpswede.

Monday, 3 February 2014

February Birthday Cards

 As part of my productive long weekend I got a head start on the new month and made my February birthday cards.  Some techniques were ones I had tried before - I really need to update my stock.  I also tried some new ones though.  I finally got out my jewels for these two cards.  I was really pleased with the results although it was a little fiddly.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Project Life - January

Here it is!  The first month of the new Project Life.  I am so excited about this project again.  This month I have got some new techniques going on and I am soo pleased with the spread for January.

First off I love the colour scheme in the coral kit.  Waiting and putting a spread together at the end of month was so much more relaxed and productive.  It's no longer about quantity - cramming in enough journalling or photos to fill two pages - but quality and it works much better.
I used some different inserts for the spread and will be continuing to do that as it allows me to play with the photo sizes and change the look of the spreads from month to month.

I also used the 'month in review' card which was a free dowload from the Project Life Course I took last year.  I really like the effect of having some typed journalling in there as well as the handwritten words.

Talking about journalling, it felt much less forced this month and the overall effect is much more balanced.
I finally figured out how to use some of my new kit - the corner cutter.  I love the rounded corners on the photos - it ties them into the cards better and makes it all look a little more professional.

Also, using a new kit was very refreshing.  I found card stock which tied into my life and projects really well that were missing from the kits I used up until now.

I'm really looking forward to continuing this project next month.  My target is to get pictures of Nico in there - this is to be a project about our family this year so I want all of us to be in there.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Saturday Update

What a relaxing week!  Work calmed down so much after the crazy, stressful report week.  It was busy as we had three retirement celebrations in two days but luckily it was a short week so we got through it relatively unscathed.  It was really nice to see our colleagues off in style - the leaving dos were real celebrations, especially for the headteacher as there was a lot to celebrate.  

I finished my evening classes this week.  I was sad to say goodbye, but I will be glad to get my Wednesday evenings back.  That and the lower number of classes I will be teaching at school next semester means I can wind down a little bit from next week.  It also brings maternity leave one step closer, eek!

We have had lots of snow this week but luckily it disappeared enough for us to drive safely and I am loving getting out and about it the car.  It was fun to watch Pete out on the balcony.  That's when he wasn't hunting birds through the glass on the front balcony.  We've even had a squirrel out there now that they all want to be fed in the low temperatures.

Having two days off was great - I got lots done including project life for January and lots of organising in the flat.  It feels really good to get things organised around here - it's like we are nesting but also getting closer to achieving several goals.

This weekend we are hoping to get away for a day - make the most of the car, and I hope to get another sewing project under my belt.  We have some friends calling over tomorrow too.  Lots going on.  Have a good one!