Thursday, 30 April 2015

April Goals Review

Things to do this month:

  • Finish painting in the house - done!
  • Tax return - done!
  • Opticians appointment - done!
  • 3 sewing projects - done!
  • Take a family photo - missed this one again! Must do one in May.
  • Ring Isabella's nursery - done!
  • Reduce medication - not done due to a setback.
  • Unpack the last boxes - almost but not quite!
Still feel like we made lots of progress this month. Feeling very ready for May now!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Garden Corner: The Flower Patch

This is one of my favourite parts of the garden. It's starting to wilt a little now, but a couple of weeks ago it was blooming with daffodils and tulips. 

Unfortunately we can't take credit for this as the bulbs were planted by the previous owners and it's the one bit I want to keep the same.

Sitting on the grass with Isabella and this lovely background has been wonderful this spring.

In the background you can also see our new hanging baskets on the terrace. I love this season!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Recipe: Meatballs with a Twist!

Another recipe we picked up during our paleo experiment is this twist on plain meatballs. The photo above is with veggie bake which wasn't paleo but still delicious.

The meatballs are basically mince, garlic and ... crushed black olives, with seasoning. 

You can do a range of sides with these. We've tried them with spinach and rice, and the veggie bake above.

Easy and tasty - even Isabella loves them!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Make It Monday - Heat Cushion

Nico made one of these a while ago and it's great - especially after a long day of work.

We decided to make some as thank you gifts for the family and friends who helped us move. Since I finally made a baby gift on my list since October, I figured it was time to get started on these.

It was fairly quick and straight forward. The pouches are filled with cherry stones which hold the heat from the microwave really well.

One down, six to go!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

The Saturday Update

Another long work week here. Luckily it's the worst one for a while. All the May bank holidays are on their way!

On the plus side the weather has been gorgeous all week so we've been spending lots of time outdoors - at home in the garden and at school, lessons in the school yard.

In the weeks surrounding my 30th it's been a bit like having my MOT. Immunisations, optician, dentist and next week my colitis specialist so it's a busy time but good to be feeling so good. Another 800g off the hips with the paleo diet this week too!

It's now raining so today is an indoor day getting jobs done ready for the short work week.

Friday, 24 April 2015

The first...

...outdoor barbecue at our new house!

Today we made the most of the gorgeous weather and celebrated the start of the weekend with a barbecue on the terrace. I hope we have many more.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Garden Corner

The plan since before we even bought this house was to have a veg patch and it's finally coming together.

Nico created it, we planted it together a couple of weeks ago and shoots are finally starting to appear!

The red brick planters are for herbs at some point. At the moment we've got spinach, radishes, carrots, rhubarb and blackberries going as wel as tomatoes and chillis indoors.

I'm looking forward to sharing a more colourful picture hopefully soon.

Meanwhile, look who else is having fun in the sun...

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Mother Fitness

Last week I attended a mother fitness course. It was part of the baby club we are in at Werder Bremen football club. 

It was a one off two hour session - half theory, half practice. It was really interesting. I didn't know, for example, that pregnancy hormones can still be found in the body up to a year after you finish breast feeding! That explains a lot.

In the practical session we were shown exercises that we can make into a regular twelve minute workout. And boy did I need it. I am in such bad shape. I'm still aching but I really want to try to get into a regular routine.

One big positive is that I'm much more mindful of my posture which has already helped with my back ache. Another enjoyable event through baby club!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Citrus Salmon

Lately we've been eating lots of salmon as part of our paleo experiment. Today I wanted to share with you a simple but delicious marinade we've been using.

In a baking dish, cover two salmon fillets with the juice of two oranges, a couple of centimetres of grated ginger, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of dried mint. Marinade for around an hour and bake at 180 for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Make It Monday - Floppy Mouse Toy

Here's this week's project. A toy for a friend's baby boy who was born in October.

It's the first toy that I have sewn. I really enjoyed the process. The hardest part was sewing the face and that was least favourite thing about the finished product too but that's something to work on and actually doesn't look as bad in the photo.

I'm pleased with the end product. I'm pleased I found something suitable for a boy and I hope he likes it!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

The Saturday Update

This week was looong and tiring. My timetable is now up to four early starts - 5.30am alarms!! I'm more or less on track with paleo but I'm not cutting out coffee this time.

I ordered new glasses on Monday - they were long overdue. It feels a bit like I'm having an MOT this month - turn thirty, first haircut in a year, optician, dentist, mother fitness...

I'm still aching for mother fitness and I have to do another session today! It was good to be doing something about it though. I'm glad I did the course and hope I can keep it up now.

We had some glorious weather this week. I finished another project and I'm about to start another...busy times!

Friday, 17 April 2015


...feeling sooo ready for the weekend.
...eating Paleo as much as possible.
...reading the Sanctus trilogy.
...drinking kombucha again.
...aching all over from mother fitness class.
...posting a long overdue handmade gift.
...being a proud mum since Isabella learned to clap.
...dressing lighter in this lovely weather.
...enjoying time in our garden.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Thoughts on 30 things

The observant among you may have noticed that my 30 things list has taken something of a back seat over the last few busy months.

In the end my birthday kind of jumped out on me. I'm not too sad that I didn't do it. The list meant that I did lots of other things that I might not have otherwise and I still plan on doing those things in my own time.

Crafts are taking up a lot of my time now and the house is a financial drain at the moment but both are fun projects so other things can wait a while.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Book Review

Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

I read this as a child but could barely remember it and as it was on the classics list, I decided to read it again anyway.

It's quite a sweet little tale full of morals. It really took me back to childhood but I'm not sure how I got to grips with that vocabulary at that age.

Winter of the World - Ken Follett

The final part of the trilogy. I was sooo looking forward to this one and it didn't disappoint. Again, it was history I have studied but brought to life in a whole new way. Fantastic! And highly recommended.

Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

Before embarking upon my classics adventure, I had never heard of this one.

It's the story of an old sailor's former foreign adventures. It was easy reading and not too long but I can see why it's not so well known.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Recipe: Fake Fried Rice

Unfortunately I don't have a photo for you yet but today I wanted to mention one of our favourite side dishes since we started trying more paleo recipes.

Finely chop an onion, courgette, carrot and some mushrooms. Blend some cauliflower in a mixer.

Fry the onion. After about five minutes, add some garlic. Then add the carrot and courgette. After five more minutes add the mushrooms and cauliflower with salt, ginger and turmeric.

It takes quite a bit of prep with all the chopping but it's delicious, healthy and, if you make a big batch it keeps in the fridge or freezer really well.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Make it Monday - April birthday card

This month I tried some more layering for my great-aunt's birthday card. I really like the effect.

I'm looking out for some similar ideas for future months using some different, non-floral designs. Already got a project for baby birth cards. Look out for those soon.

When I get time, I'd like to make a few different cards to have ready to go. 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

The Saturday Update

We've had a wonderful last week of holidays here.

It kicked off with our visit from mum and gran, which I shared about earlier this week.

Then we had two days of cleaning, washing and gardening. It sounds boring but yesterday was sunny, Isabella sat out and played in her new teepee and in between her eating soil and grass, we had some pretty nice home cooked meals too. A lovely end to the holidays.

Next week it's back to work, a trip to the opticians and more crafting!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Garden Corner

After my birthday last week, I planted several plants I'd received as gifts in front of the dafodils in this planter by our front door. I think it looks much more welcoming and seasonal.

Even though we have a big garden now, I really like focusing on one little corner like this as you can see the progress straight away.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Family Time

Over these Easter holidays, we've had some lovely family time. First my dad was here for five days and this week mum and gran came to visit.

The weather was pretty miserable for most of it but the main thing was having time together. Isabella loved having her grandparents here. She has them both wrapped around her little finger.

We had a lovely girls day out clothes shopping in Bremen and having tea and cake in Fischerhude. I also had a few rounds of dominoes with my gran who made the trip at 91 years old!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Easter Fire

This was our first Easter in our new town and on Sunday we 'just' managed to catch a very special version of the German Easter fire tradition this year.

You can watch the video above to see what it is.

I'm looking forward to family outings in future years too.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Garden Corner

My latest garden project wasn't exactly in the garden. I finally put up our balcony boxes and planted them with both pansy seeds harvested from our old balcony and forget-me-nots from our wedding favours.

I like the idea of bringing old favourites into our new home and I can't wait to see these flower this summer! 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Make It Monday - Baby Bedding

We've had one set of bedding since Isabella was born so recently I decided to make a second set which matches her room.

I didn't have a pattern. I just measured the original set and improvised an envelope closing. I may add buttons to the duvet cover later if needed but so far these are working.

This was an easy, simple project but I'm loving pulling this happy sunny room together.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Saturday Update

We've had a lovely week here.

At the weekend, Nico's grandparents came over and we made some good progress with the garden and house. We were doing our paleo experiment and had a lovely lunch with them.

Dad arrived on Monday and although we didn't get out much due to the weather, he and Isabella had great fun together. We also got lots more done on the house and garden including the last bit of painting - the hallway.

Isabella has started pointing at everything and saying 'there' - in English and German! That's been really fun.

On Thursday we had lots of friends and family over for coffee and cake. It was a wonderful day.

Then yesterday we drove up to Schneverdingen for Nico's grandad's birthday. Another lovely family event.

Today we are having a quiet day getting ready for another family visit from my mum and gran.

Have a lovely Easter weekend.

Friday, 3 April 2015

My Week with Paleo

For the week leading up to my birthday, Nico and I followed the autoimmune paleo diet. It's quite extreme - meat, vegetables and fruit mainly, but we liked it. I even got used to burgers for breakfast!

There are many pros and cons. First to the positives:
  • I felt really good. I think the diet could help me reduce my colitis medication.
  • I got back into cooking. We picked up three new recipes that we'll be eating more often and I enjoyed being in the kitchen again.
  • I lost a couple of kilos. This wasn't my reason for doing the diet but it was weight I can do without.
  • The recipes were mainly ones where you can cook in bulk and freeze some for later.
  • We started eating as a family at the kitchen table more often
The downsides:
  • The diet takes quite some planning and until you build up some recipes, it can be repetetive.
  • I'm not sure how healthy it would be long term - no carbs reminds me of Atkins which got a lot of bad press.
  • By the end of the week, I started to get tired. It may have been the coffee ban or it may be that we need to work on portion sizes.
On the whole we enjoyed the experiment. We're going to be trying to do more of this in the long term and with some tweaking. 

If you have any kind of dietary difficulties, I'd really recommend giving this a try. It really helps me.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Thoughts on 30

So today I turn 30 - the big 3-0!

Somehow I thought that this would feel like a huge milestone. The first birthday I remember remembering was my seventh. I thought I would feel really different - be more grown up somehow. I think I did feel a little different at that age.

More recently, birthdays seem to fly by and I don't feel hugely different. I always thought I would feel more 'grown up' at this age.  This time though, there is a lot more to reflect on. Even though I don't feel older, I can look back on many achievements. I have an MA, a job I love, a house, amazing friends, a wonderful husband and a beautiful daughter. I have everything I hoped I would have at this age, and count myself very lucky for that.

Today will be a nice celebration with friends and family. I'm feeling really good and excited for this new decade.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

April Goals

:-) Things to do this month:

  • Finish painting in the house.
  • Tax return.
  • Opticians appointment.
  • 3 sewing projects.
  • Take a family photo.
  • Ring Isabella's nursery.
  • Reduce medication.
  • Unpack the last boxes.
(Smiley courtesy of Isabella.)