Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Goals Review

Wow! This month flew by. Time to see how those goals went.

  • Complete July's (and now August's) Project Life - done!
  • 3 of my 30 things list - actually managed one in August but still want to do three this month - knocked two more off the list which means I'm officially half way!
  • Complete a baby sewing project - did three of these, watch out for the updates.
  • Take some family time out - did this. This month I need to plan a christening. Godparents found...
  • Build back up to 10,000 steps on the pedometer - would you believe, my pedometer packed in on day two and not just the battery. I bought a new one and have been doing well but not up to 10,000 yet.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Recipe: Lamb Roast


  • 4 lamb cutlets
  • Red pepper
  • Red onion
  • Courgette
  • Potatoes
  • Seasoning
  • Greek spice
  1. Debone the meat but keep the bones. Roll the cutlets together and tie with string. Season the meat with salt, pepper and Greek spice.
  2. Brown the meat in a frying pan.
  3. Chop all of the veg and add them to the pan along with the bones. Fry for about ten minutes.
  4. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook at 180° for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the bones. Cut off the string. Slice the meat and serve.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Saturday Update

What a crazy week we have had around herw. Soo ready for this weekend!

Isabella now has a passport in what was possibly the smoothest interaction in the Badens vs German bureaucracy. Hoping to book our Christmas flights next week.

Speaking of booking, we also booked a couple of nights in the Harz for a much needed family break. Really looking forward to the timeout after the last few months.

We have continued the house hunt and have another appointment next week. Watch this space.

Isabella and I visited school to catch up with a colleague which was really nice. It made me miss school and also be glad not to be there in equal measure but it was nice to see colleagues and pupils.

Yesterday we discovered baby massage. It was really interesting but the best bit was watching Isabella react to other babies. She was so curious and cute. Looking forward to more baby groups.

I'm on with a new, bigger craft project which I hope to finish over the weekend. Otherwise, we're having a quiet time and getting ready for some big decisions.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Sewing Project 2014: 16 - Changing Mat

 It felt great to finally get back on the sewing machine and make something from the baby crafts book our friends bought for us.
It was the first time I've worked with PVC and the colours were an experiment but I'm really pleased with both. Looking forward to using it out and about. I'm now working on something to match.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

30 things - Write my 40 things list

I've been working on this one for a while. I finally finished it this week but I won't be revealing it in full until April when I start it. It was a little easier than my 30 things list as I knew I'd have a whole ten years to complete it so it's a little more ambitious. Some of the highlights include, visiting South America, eating at a Michelin star restaurant and running a half marathon. Exciting!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Book Review

Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

This is one of the books on the BBC top 100 list and while I had heard of it, I had no idea what it was about. It follows a family in 1930's America, travelling to California in search of work. 

I really enjoyed the story itself, however the book was written in chapters that seemed to alternate between the family and more general, background information.

Also, it took me a while to reconcile myself to the ending. I don't want to spoil it but it seemed quite abrupt. The more I think about it though, the less I see how else it could have been done.

Crossstitch - Diana Gabaldon

I accidently picked up a book from the Outlander series when I first arrived in Germany and having heard about the television series, I decided to read from the beginning.

This first book tells of Claire, a WW2 nurse who time travels through a stone circle in Inverness, 200 years back in time. It's a really good read. The characters are well developed and the action keeps you turning the pages.

Looking forward to the next one!

Life of Pi - Yann Martell

Another one from the top 100 list, I devoured this in three days. It was a little spoilt in that I had seen the film first but I still really enjoyed it. 

As the title suggests, it tells the story of Pi. It begins with his childhood, gives you his religious background and follows his shipwrecked adventures in the Pacific.

I'd really recommend this book, preferably before you see the film.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Avocado Update

Just look at the progress my avocado plant is making! It has really gone crazy this month. It will soon be time to plant it (and the lemon plant next to it). I'm really pleased with this little project so far!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Recipe: Stuffed Aubergine


  • 2 aubergines
  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 onion
  • 200g minced lamb
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 20g parsley
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 150ml water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • salt and pepper
(This version is delicious but not too spicy. If you like spice, add a bit of chilli to the mix.)

  1. Slice the aubergines lengthways. Place them in a roasting tin. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on 200° for 20 minutes.
  2. At the same time, brown the onion and spices for five minutes before adding the mince, pine nuts, parsley, tomato puree, sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Mix the water, lemon juice and tamarind paste and pour over the aubergines and spoon the mince mixture on top. Cover with foil and roast for 1 1/2 hours at 175°, spooning the liquid over the aubergines every half an hour.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Saturday Update

We've had a busy and productive week here. On Monday we spent the afternoon with a friend who is having a baby this week. It was great to catch up with her and talk babies.

Isabella and I went shopping and had a lovely lunch out on Tuesday. Isabella charmed everyone we met and we got lots of errands done.

Wednesday was quieter and we were mainly at home but I completed a whole sewing project and got started on a second - more on that this week.

Thursday was our big day out. We went into the city, did some shopping, made an appointment to get a baby passport next week, had a delicious lunch with Nico when he finished work, enjoyed an ice cream in the sun and visited both the Asia shop and the specialist (but excellent value) butcher...phew!!

Friday was quiet again. I finished another sewing project despite a very clingy (and possibly teething?!) baby.

We've got lots of mini projects and to-dos going on this weekend and another busy week next week, including baby massage!!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Project Life - August

 This month had lots in common with July - I used the Seafoam kit and it was very photo heavy. I also included the usual typed journaling and calendar card.
 August was much busier though so there are more pages, lots of people photos and some new kinds of hand written journaling from the new kit. I love the what, where, who... card.
 I also love the colours this month. The blues are really light and summery. Really excited to be back on top of this project again!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

30 Things - Get back to my pre-pregnancy weight

To be fair, I didn't go through the same post partum diet and exercise regime that most new mothers have to. Of course breastfeeding helps but ten weeks of illness did this for me. They say it's easiest with your first anyway. I guess we'll see.

For the last week I have been back in non-maternity clothes. There are still things that don't fit but they didn't fit a year ago either. Having gotten ruthless with Isabella's wardrobe this week, it's my turn next - watch this space.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Robin Williams

Like many, I was shocked and saddened to hear of Robin Williams death this summer. Another legend gone far too soon. Growing up with classics like Mrs Doubtfire and Aladdin, I already had a great appreciation for this comic genius. As a teenager, I watched Mork and Mindy reruns and over the last few years, I became acquainted with some of his best known, more serious works, Dead Poets' Society and Good Morning Vietnam.

Since his passing, I wanted to appreciate even more of his work and just recently we have watched Patch Adams (a true story which I believe, really captures Williams' own spirit) and Good Will Hunting. I can't believe it took me so long to watch either of these.  

We will be continuing our Robin Williams season around here with his stand up DVD as soon as it is back in stock.  We only learned last year that he started out in stand up and we're really looking forward to seeing it. 

It's very sad that I'm only just discovering some of his greatness but it's also such a positive legacy that he left behind. I look forward to introducing Isabella to his films as she grows up.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


...enjoying maternity leave.
...feeling grateful for my health and family.
...catching up with good friends.
...filling up on delicious seasonal produce (hello pumpkin soup).
...getting the creative urge back.
...being addicted to One Tree Hill and Breaking Bad boxsets.
...stepping things up with the pedometer.
...planning big things for the next six months.
...snuggling with the babies.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Recipe: Chilli con Carne Bake


  • Onion
  • Mince
  • Salt, paprika, chilli
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 can sweetcorn
  • Tortilla chips
  • Sliced cheese
  1. Brown the onion and mince, adding the spices at the end.
  2. Add the canned ingredients and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer the chilli to a baking dish. Top with the tortilla chips (crumbled) and slices of cheese.
  4. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the top is brown and chilli is bubbling on 180 degrees.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Saturday Update

This week saw a bit of change around here:

The end of the summer holidays means Nico is back at work and Isabella and I are finding our feet as two during the day.

Isabella outgrew the crib and is now in her cot in her own room. We're trying to get her into a routine with it.

We're both feeling great as I am better healthwise and we're becoming morning people and trying some natural remedies - more to come on that.

Creativity is slowly working it's way back to us with new recipes and sewing projects on the horizon.

Things are just generally feeling good and getting back on an even keel around here - long may it continue!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Project Life - July

Clearly, I was a little behind on this project and have been playing catch up this month but I am still really pleased with the results.

July was a quiet month so there isn't too much going on but I did manage to get a nice mix of photos and journalling in there.
New this month and next is the seafoam Project Life kit which I finally managed to get my hands on (it had sold out when I started this album). I love the colours.

July was mainly our early adventures with Isabella, getting back to crafts, and Mum's flying visit.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

30 things - Go on a picnic

 It may seem like something simple but it took us over two years to finally crack out the picnic set. We finally dug it out and packed up some sandwiches, nibbles and homemade chutney to head out to Worpswede and celebrate my mum's birthday. 

We found a lovely spot near the main gallery, surrounded by sculptures and the weather was kind, staying fine for us.

It's something I hope we'll do more often. Especially next Spring and Summer when Isabella can appreciate it more too.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Book Review

The holidays were a great opportunity to get caught up on some reading so lots to report on. Here's a round-up of some non-fiction reading I did this summer.

The Creative Habit - Twyla Tharp

I heard about this one on Elise's blog. I'm making a conscious effort to work on my creativity and thought this may help me. It took me a while to get into this one but it was an interesting read. I don't know how practical it was for me but I would recommend it to someone exploring a creative career.

The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin

This book came from an amazon recommendation. Gretchen spent a year identifying and achieving various goals in order to be happier. I really enjoyed reading about her success and found it easy to apply some of her ideas to my life. Usually, this kind of project would be right up my type- A alley with reward charts and everything but it's too big for me to take on right now. Highly recommended read.

Awareness - Anthony de Mello

This book was a gift. It really reminded me of 'The Power of Now', which I read last year. Many of the ideas made a lot of sense but the language was a little long-winded sometimes. I was told not to read it cover to cover but did it anyway which probably didn't help. I plan to read it again, bit by bit, in a few months, giving my mind more time to digest the ideas.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

September Goals

August was a slight wash out as far as goals are concerned. I was quite poorly and am just now feeling back to my normal self so I am carrying last months goals over. As a reminder, they were:

  • Complete July's (and now August's) Project Life
  • 3 of my 30 things list - actually managed one in August but still want to do three this month
  • Complete a baby sewing project
  • Take some family time out - did this. This month I need to plan a christening.
  • Build back up to 10,000 steps on the pedometer

Here's to a more productive, successful and healthy month!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Recipe: Pizza Toast


  • 1 green pepper
  • Cooked ham
  • Creme fraiche
  • Tomato purree
  • Salt, pepper, oregano
  • Gouda
  • Sliced bread

  1. Mix all the ingredients except the bread in a bowl.
  2. Spread the mixture on the toast and grill until brown on top.
Tip: change up the toppings for some of your favourites.