Monday, 31 August 2015

Make It Monday - September Birthday Cards

Another month, another round of birthday cards. I enjoyed playing with colours and patterns this month, though I kept it quite simple. I do struggle with cards for men and boys but I do like these.

Just a few birthdays left this year so I'd better start getting some ideas together for Christmas!!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Saturday Update

It's been a really good last week of the holidays. We've relaxed quite a lot but in between, I spent a morning in the office preparing for work next week and Nico brought ten meters of hedge into the garden!

Isabella had her last round of jabs until she's two - thank goodness - I hate taking her for jabs. She's changed so much in these holidays and she's at a really funny stage just now. Neither of us want to go back to work but we know it will be good for her at nursery.

I'm up to date on knitting my patches and may do a bigger project next. I'm also excited about some upcoming quilting projects using fat quarters.

I've been running lots, cooking, baking and eating paleo, and sitting out on an evening - we have to make the most of this weather!

So we're enjoying a weekend of nothing before it all kicks off. Monday is back to work. We're juggling childcare until Grandad gets here next weekend and then nursery will start!

Friday, 28 August 2015

August Goals Review

Here's how I did this month:

  • Get things on our walls - done!
  • Take a family photo - done!
  • Tidy up the garden - done!
  • Plan the European Day of Languages in school - done!
  • Get Isabella ready for nursery - done!

All in all a great month! I also finished the dress and kept up my running.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Mum's Visit

Mum visited us for a week this month. We loved having her here and (I hope) it was a nice break for her too.

We mainly stayed close to home so Mum could get to know where we live. We spent time in Leeste and Kirchweyhe.

We also had that visit to Osnabrück Zoo which was the highlight of the summer for me.

Despite the dismal weather we also made it into Bremen for lunch and shopping.

The main thing - especially with Isabella - is having time and experiences together and we did that. Mum got to see Isabella dancing, splashing and sliding in the paddling pool (among other things!) and learning to say "mine".

We really enjoyed the visit and we're really looking forward to the next.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Summer Manfesto #8 Listen to more music

With sitting out more on an evening, this has been ticked off without trying really. It's been great to switch off more on an evening with my knitting, a book, or just talking, and some nice calming background music.

Isabella is very musical but I like to listen to normal, 'grown-up' music too.

This is one I'd like to keep up, even when it gets too cold to sit out.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Recipe: Paleo Prawn Curry

Another new recipe we found through paleo 360. It combined the cauliflower rice we've been making since the start of our paleo adventures and gives it a bit more oomph and flavour with prawns, green beans, and vegetables.

It was very easy and it's something I can imagine eating all year round - yum.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Make It Monday - Dream Catcher

Looking for a new project a few weeks ago, I came across this. I thought it made a nice change from knitting and sewing and would brighten up Isabella's room.

The longest part was actually finding the materials. I had a bit of ribbon but ordered some nice colourful ones from my usual online supplier. The ring I had lying around from a previous project. I've never used beads before but I bought those from Idee when we were in Bremen last week.

The ribbon was the hardest bit as I didn't want to staple them and wasn't patient enough to wait for glue to dry. I tied them at the bottom of the ring, weaved them around the ring and each other and tied them back off at the bottom.

I left the ribbon long for the beads but they were too thick to thread through so I dug out some matching wool and used that. I actually prefer the effect with the mix of ribbon and wool.

Isabella spotted the dream catcher immediately and still points to it a lot. It matches her room really well.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

The Saturday Update

We enjoyed the last days of Mum's visit as much as the first despite the miserable weather last weekend. We visited Kirchweyhe and Bremen for lunch and a spot of shopping. Isabella had some quality time with grandma.

Yesterday we went swimming with some friends. It was nice to get in the water again although it could have been warmer for the girls.

Now we are heading into the last week of the holidays. We don't have much planned. Enjoy the time with Isabella and fit in a last craft project or two before things get crazy around here.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Garden Update

 We've been especially busy in the garden lately while we have time and good weather. Above you can see how green and full Nico's veg patch is.
 Here's one of several pumpkins on the way.
 The flower bed we extended is full and thriving again. We found some snap dragons which I had forgotten all about since childhood.
 We refreshed the hanging baskets and are keeping a careful eye on them.
 We've decked out the terrace with more candles (thanks mum) and a new camping lamp (thanks Nico) to brighten up evenings when we sit out. Last night we even had a spiky visitor!
 The herbs are doing well...
 ...and the fruit trees.
Our next big project is cutting back and shaping these rhododendrons.

Thursday, 20 August 2015


...slowing the pace down to enjoy the rest of the holidays.
...reading Sylvia Plath.
...eating giant courgettes from our garden.
...enjoying Isabella time.
...getting out in the garden more.
...spending more candle lit evenings on the terrace.
...making progress in the house while we have chance.
...riding a creative wave.
...preparing Isabella for nursery.
...baking more.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Summer Manifesto #4 Visit the Animals with the Family

Last week, while my Mum was here, we visited Osnabrück Zoo. Isabella loves animals and the trip was a great success. Even when she got tired, she was so excited to see Baloo bear in real life. Now we just have to teach her animal noises as she barked at everything.

I love rediscovering the world through her eyes. Looking forward to our next zoo trip soon.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Recipe: Paleo Carrot Bread

As I've mentioned before, one thing I struggle with sometimes on paleo is the lack of comfort food. In an attempt to find something new and filling, I tried this carrot bread and it really hit the spot.

I can't recommend Paleo 360 enough - I'm still looking for a good English language version.

One of my plans when I go part time is to bake once a week so we have healthy snacks when it's busy.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Make It Monday - Mini Laundry Bag

 This week I knocked up this little laundry bag for Isabella's room. It was much needed. I adapted a pattern from this book which was the first thing I ever made on the machine. I also used material to tie in with Isabella's room and the bunting I made.
Her room is my favourite space right now.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

The Saturday Update

Well another week has flown by.

We started out at the garden centre and we've been doing a little bit each day and it's really coming along.

The paleo is still going well. I feel good and lost weight this week.

Mum arrived on Wednesday and we're having a great week so far. We went to Osnabrück Zoo yesterday and it was amazing seeing Isabella's reaction to the animals.

We've got lots more planned while mum's here - trips, crafts and most of all play time.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Summer Manifesto #3 Part 3

Last night we enjoyed our latest mocktail by candle light on the terrace.

I used this recipe and it was a little sour but nice. Mojitos have long been my go to cocktail and a key summer drink for me so this one was especially nice.

We also got to use fresh mint from the garden which I always love.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Art Therapy

An old school friend was raving about her new hobby a few months ago and how relaxing it was. Until then, I'd never heard of colouring books for adults but now I'm a fellow devotee. 

I don't get round to it very often but it's something where you can really switch off and relax but have something nice to show at the end of it. I'd really recommend getting into this.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015


The first thing we did in the holidays was buy Isabella her first cycling helmet and fit her new seat to Nico's bike so we can get out and about.

Since I'm not the strongest cyclist, I wasn't really comfortable having Isabella's seat on my bike and the problem with men's bikes is that a seat on the back makes it very difficult to get on and off the bike. Nico did some research and bought a seat for the front of his bike. There's a lot of debate about this but we see no disadvantage to having her up front. In fact it's nicer to be able to talk to her and for her to be able to see.

She was a little unsure at first but she soon got into cycling. She loved watching animals out and about and only got grumpy when we stopped moving for too long.

We cycled to the Weser and back in a little circuit and stopped at a playground on the way. We took a picnic but ate it when we got back while Isabella splashed in the paddling pool.

It was great to be back on the bikes again and we even cycled to nursery last week too. I'm looking forward to lots more bike trips while the weather holds out.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Recipe: Mokka Chocolate Cookies

One of the tough things with any diet is finding healthy snacks. That's one of the great things about Paleo 360 - so many recipes at your fingertips. Plus this one is really easy and tasty.

We adapted the website recipe because Isabella loves them and we don't want her having coffee.

It takes less than half an hour - just mix the ground almonds, baking powder, chocolate chips, walnuts, salt, honey, coconut oil, egg and vanilla powder and bake for ten minutes on 180.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Make It Monday - Denim Dress

After six months on my to do list, I finally finished this Wiksten dress this week.

I purposely made it quite plain because I still see myself as a beginner - especially when it comes to clothes - and I didn't trust myself to use anything with a strong pattern. I also made it in the largest size so it's a little baggy but warm, and perfect for autumn and winter. I plan to dress it up with some bright accessories and that's why denim is so good - it goes with any colour.

There were lots of new techniques involved - basting stitches (by hand and machine), setting sleeves and adding the collar. It's not perfect but for a first dress it went way better than I thought.

The pattern is really well explained and easy to follow despite the new techniques and I would definitely order there again.

For now I have a couple of easier projects lined up before another new dress.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Saturday Update

We've had a lovely relaxing week. At the same time, we've gotten lots done.

The dress is finally finished!! Look out for an update on Monday.

We're still on the Paleo kick and although I haven't lost weight this week, I am feeling really good. It's also nice to try lots of new recipes while we have time. The next step is making big batches so we have lots of back ups for September.

We had our one to one with Isabella's new nursery teacher. We couldn't feel better about her going there in September. We got lots of homework - half of which is done already. Her bag is also packed.

I've been knitting again.

Running is still going well. Plus we've had two cycle trips. On Sunday we cycled to the Weser with Isbella. She took a while to get used to it but as long as we are on the move, she loves it and it felt great being on the bikes again.

We finally got pictures on our walls and started updating them. It's amazing the difference it makes. Bit by bit, this house is becoming a real home.

More of the same next week plus mum arrives on Wednesday for a week. Looking forward to it!

Friday, 7 August 2015

Summer Manifesto: #7 Drink Peppermint Tea

On our new health kick, I'm feeling good and trying to limit my coffee intake. It finally gave me the chance to get the peppermint tea back out. I used to drink it a lot but stopped when Isabella was born as it can stop milk production.

It's lovely and refreshing and keeps my water intake up and caffeine levels down!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

German Weddings

In the first week of the holidays, some of our friends got married in Nico's home town. For me, it was my first German wedding with the exception of our own where we tried to mix things as much as possible.

When we got there, they were taking photos in the church. There's none of the 'groom can't see the bride before the wedding' here. On one hand, I think it takes some of the excitement away but it also seemed to be less stressful.

After the photos the couple went away. All of the guests lined the path to the church, women on one side, men on the other. The men were all given a buttonhole and guests with cars were given a decoration for their car. This was nice as everyone got to see the couple.

The service itself was similar to any church service.

Afterwards, guests travelled to the reception in convoy. It's normal to beep the horns all the way.

There is a traditional soup at the reception. Then this wedding had a buffet. It's normal to have lots of entertainment at the reception. Family preared various things at our wedding and that was the same here. Apart from the speeches, one group of friends did a special song and dance. The siblings of the bride and groom arranged for guests to make video messages which were shown at the wedding. They also distributed decorated pegs for guests to find random groups of five for a random photo booth shot.

We arrived home at six in the morning. Weddings here are usually later - the service was at three - and the celebrations go on all night until the candle dance. This is another sweet tradition where the happy couple closes the day with a slow dance.

It was really nice to see a traditional German wedding and to celebrate with our friends.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Recipe: Filled Courgettes

 Last week we harvested our first courgettes from the garden. I can't put into words how much better fresh veggies from the garden taste. The only downside is that they don't grow fast enough!
We combined the fresh veg with our new Paleo kick to try this recipe and it was really tasty. It's going into our file for future reference...when the next courgettes come through.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

August Goals

Here are my goals for this month:

  • Get things on our walls.
  • Take a family photo.
  • Tidy up the garden.
  • Plan the European Day of Languages in school.
  • Get Isabella ready for nursery.
I also want to finish the dress and run three times a week.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Make It Monday - Decorative Letter

I recently found a pinterest tutorial for a decorative letter and decided to try one myself for Isabella's room.

My letter is not quite as flat as the example so it was a bit trickier but I like that it was different and the white looks good where it shows through.

I went with the yellow and orange theme from her room and added a little green with the buttons to tie into some other DIY projects I have planned there.

I also have a 'B' but I'm not sure what I want to do with it yet. I'm just going to enjoy this one for now.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

The Saturday Update

We had a fab week with Nico's family.

The country air and family time did Isabella so much good that she a baby.

Last weekend we went out for the first time without Isabella. She had a great time with grandma, grandad and her uncle while we watched our friends say I do. It was my first German wedding so it was interesting on that level too.

Isabella also got her first shoes, wellies and cycle helmet this week. I can't believe how quickly she has taken to walking in shoes and boots after the tantrum she threw in the shoe shop. And I feel like I have a real German baby now that she has a first size cycle helmet! I was 25 when I got one!

Apart from that we had a very relaxing week.

Now that we are home it feels like we have the whole summer ahead of us - family visits, bike rides, day trips, craft projects...