Saturday, 31 October 2015

The Saturday Update

What a mad week!

We were at the Handmade Craft Fair last Saturday and it feels like forever ago!

We did manage a quiet day on Sunday.

On Monday we bought Isabella's new car seat and some fruit trees. I got a lot of work for school done while Nico and Isabella were in the garden.

Tuesday we prepared for our trips.

On Wednesday I flew to England until Friday for a spontaneous trip to visit my Gran in hospital. It was good to catch up with family and meet my tiny twin nieces.

On Wednesday Nico and Isabella drove up to Nico's parents' for his Mum's birthday. They all had great fun and Isabella chattered the whole time.

I got there in time to partake in the birthday celebrations yesterday which was nice.

Now we're home waiting for trick or treaters and getting ready to go back to work and kick off this busy season.

Friday, 30 October 2015

October Goal Review

Here's how I did this month:

  • Take a family photo - not done.
  • Complete three sewing projects. - did two and a knitting project.
  • Zumba once a week. - started out well and then came the holidays.
  • Have a family day trip. - done - the craft fair.
  • Write to my Gran. - done twice!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Christmas Box

One of Isabella's first nursery projects is to prepare a Christmas box for a child in need. It's like Operation Christmas Child in the UK.

We're sending it to a nursery aged girl. She will probably be from Syria or the Ukraine. We're filling it with lots of little treats. 

It really makes me aware and grateful for just how lucky Isabella is and therefore how lucky we are.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Garden Update


Since it's the last opportunity we'll really have to get out in the garden, we've been making the most of it. Nico's been working hard, Isabella's been playing hard and I've been pottering.

We decided to go all out and stock up on fruit for the next years. In the photo you can see our new cherry and plum trees. The space in the middle is for our wedding apple tree that we need to bring home from Nico's parents' garden.

We've also got grape vine for the terrace and Nico's planning to move the gooseberry bush. 

It's going to be a fruity garden!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Handmade Craft Fair


This weekend was the annual Handmade Craft Fair in Delmenhorst. It takes place in a big repurposed mill space.

Nico had spotted the signs and looked it up and it also proved a good opportunity to try out the new car seat with Isabella.

There were various workshops and a quilt exhibition which was pretty fascinating but the highlight for me was the stalls.

Most of the crafts were sewing or knitting related which is perfect for me. I was fairly overwhelmed but given that I haven't won the lottery lately I had to hold back a bit.

In the end I came away with two new projects - a little santa doll and a girl's top for Isabella's Christmas present. I'm really looking forward to getting started.

Another huge bonus was the list of stores who were there and their online shops so I can order from new suppliers in future.

It was also great to see so many crafters under one roof - the place was packed and some of the stores were selling out fast.

It was wonderful to be out and about as a family. Isabella got used to her car seat but we forgot her buggy. Luckily she loved walking around and running away from us. We also had coffee and cake. She sat on a big chair, shared our cake and slurped a bottle of apple juice like a star.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Make It Monday - Baby Bunting

 This week I completed a special project that I've been building up to for a while. Some baby name bunting for my beautiful twin nieces. I hope they like it.
I enjoyed the process and have some more fun things lined up.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The Saturday Update

Of course this week flew but it was great.

We relaxed, slept until eight, took Isabella to nursery, got our jobs done, read, did our hobbies, bought an apple tree, caught up with family, had our reglar appointments, planned some nursery events and did some work.

Today we are going to a craft fair in Delmenhorst, tomorrow we'll be in the garden and next week I'm planning a last minute trip to England, a visit to Nico's family and hopefully a little more relaxation before the end of the holidays.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Harvest Update

 Today was possibly our last harvest of the year. And it was a good one. Above you can see a giant bowl full of carrots, and a cucumber.
 A kohlrabi, although these didn't do as well as we had hoped.
And here the spring onions, chillis (about 1% of the harvest), beetroot, some more carrots and one single onion!

For our first year, I think we had a really good harvest. I'm so excited to get more involved next year now that we are more settled.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

My top three tipples

I'm not a big drinker and when I do drink, I'll often opt for a glass of wine. Now that the nights are getting colder and darker it's the season for something a little bit stronger. These are my favourites:

1. Amaretto

I first started drinking this with apple juice when I first lived in Germany. Overly sweet for some tastes, I much prefer it to harder tastes.

2. Ouzo

Another drink I picked up during my time in Oldenburg, we started drinking this at our regular Greek restaurant. I like to drink it with water which minimizes the hangover.

3. Irish Mist

Nico is something of a whisky connoisseur. I've never enjoyed whisky but we did discover this blend which is the perfect mix of whisky and sweet.

Christmas Bonus: Baileys

This is my traditional Christmas drink, sweet and creamy on ice - perfect for getting into the festive spirit.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Skincare

Now that the colder weather is here, I need to start turning up my skincare routine again. The cold weather really dries out my skin. I always had oily skin but over the last few years, I've noticed a difference.

For the last ten years, I've used Clinique products and loved them. Theirs was the only moisturiser I found that didn't make my oily skin even oilier. However, I'm consistently looking for ways to save money and as I'm tightening my belt now more than ever, I wanted to find something good for my skin that doesn't blow the budget.

I used to work for Boots in England and one of the more effective yet affordable brands was Garnier. Luckily, it's also available here and I'm going to try it out over the next weeks and see how that goes. I've ordered a day and night cream for the first time too.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Apple tree

We have an apple tree! Well, technically we have two but that's another story.

We've been talking about a tree for a while - we want some shade in the garden and our neighbours all have apple trees too.

After lots of research Nico went out and bought an Elstar and planted it in the middle of the lawn.

It's young at the moment but if all goes well we'll have lots of apples and shade in a few years.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Make It Monday - Knitted Mittens

This week I finally knitted a second project from my knitting course. I needed a birthday present for a friend's little boy and these seemed perfect.

I learned some new skills including matress stitch and making thumbs. There was also some crochet involved.

Hopefully Jack will like wearing them as much as I liked making them!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Saturday Update

It's been a struggle of a week, which is usually the case right before holidays. If I hadn't known that we'd have two weeks off now, I would have been off sick. As it was I struggled through with a cold, impending ear infection and headaches and spent my day off camped in front of the fire binge watching TV.

Isabella had a great week. She finally stopped crying when we drop her at nursery - by Friday we got a quick wave and mumbled 'bye' as she ran off! That really helped my mindset. We also got some photos from nursery this week so it was fun to see what she's been up to.

I've done some knitting and journaling this week but no finished products yet. Another reason I'm excited for these holidays. First up is a quiet weekend to kick being ill. We've got various appointments this week to get on top of things and go into the next half term fighting fit.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Journalling

As I've mentioned before, I recently started a new journalling project: 31 things from Ali Edwards. I'm just two days in at the moment and still concentrating on the writing aspect but I love it.

Ali has prepared 31 topics which I write about and photograph (as close to daily as possible) and then format together in an album.

I started on the train on Tuesday and couldn't stop. It's been a long time since I wrote anything but notes by hand but it's a really cathartic process which I am enjoying and really want to keep up. Hopefully it will improve the quality of my blog writing in the long term too!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Parent Rep

Here in German schools, things are run much more democratically than in England.  At my first disciplinary meeting for a pupil, I was surprised to find so many people there - the pupil, all of her teachers, her parents, the class rep and a parent rep.

At the start of every year, every class elects student representatives to represent the interests of all pupils.  They actually take it very seriously and on the whole, do a good job.

In the same way, the first parents' evening is used to elect parent representatives.  Unfortunately, not all classes have parents who are interested in or able to do the job.  My class is in its second year without a rep.  It doesn't disaadvantage us too much as teachers (some reps can be quite a hinderance to the job) but it is so much nicer to have cooperation.

That is why, in the run up to Isabella's first parents' evening, Nico and I agreed that if there were not enough willing volunteers, we would  be prepared to do the job.

In the event, that is exactly what happened and I volunteered to be the second rep for Isabella's class.  It is a responsibility that I take seriously but to be fair, it's not a huge task.  Next week is our first meeting and we'd like to get the parents together regularly but apart from that, it's just helping out with some events and making sure that the staff have what they need and that the parents are happy.

I'm so looking forward to getting started next week and helping to make Isabella's nursery time very special.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Autumn

Well, Autumn is well and truly here and to prove it I'm fighting off a cold. I thought I'd re-share some of my favourite things to do in this season.

  • Write letters - as well as keeping things up with my American penpal, I'm writing to my Grandmother again.
  • Get stuck into a good book.  I was so gripped by my latest one I'd gotten through 100 pages without realising the hour last night!
  • Curl up in front of a nice fire.
  • Get the board games out.  We were looking for some dice for one of Nico's lessons the other day and I realised how long it has been since we played - some are even unopened.
  • Give yourself a manicure or pedicure.
  • Catch up on your favourite boxsets.
  • Have long skype sessions with far away friends and family.
  • Get crafty - I have so many projects lined up, I don't know where to start.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Make It Monday - Draught Excluder

 This week I did a second project from the Fat Quarters book from Mum.

As winter is on it's way, it seemed appropriate to make this one. I used some red and navy scraps as it seemed fitting for the season.
I learned how to make boxed corners on this project and I love the finished product. Isabella thinks it's a great new toy so everyone is happy!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Saturday Update

This week flew by. It was our first full week of our new routine and just one more before we have holidays.

Isabella did a full and fun week at nursery. She's coughing less and eating more and missing her all day means we value our evenings together all the more.

Work was hectic and stressful but the course on Friday built me back up again.

The running has dropped off a bit but I cycled three days and helping Nico put the wood away got my heart rate up too.

I got going with crafts again working on three projects (completing two) as well as starting the journaling course.

I'm excited to get through the next work week as I have so many plans for the holidays but I'm aware they'll fly by too!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Encuentro Hispanico

source
Today I was on a long training course for Spanish teachers. It's the first one I've been on for a while and I came back feeling totally energised and ready to go again.

First there was a talk on Spanish politics from a renowned professor. I was a bit worried but managed to follow and understand for the full hour.

Then came the first workshop on vocabulary training. It was just the right balance of talking and doing and of theory and practice.

Lunch was provided and various publishers were advertising their Spanish books and we were offered a 50% discount so I got a Spanish grammar book for my classes.

In order to get good value for money and get more involved in Spanish again, I joined the DSV (a committee for Spanish teachers in Germany). Their meeting took place after lunch and it was interesting to hear about the situation for Spanish in Bremen.

Then came the second workshop on mediation. This was really practical and interesting again and as with the morning workshop can be applied to Spanish or English.

Finally was an information session about exchanges with Spain and Mexico which is something our school is also interested in.

All in all, a great day!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Twins!

Huge congratulations to my sister who brought beautiful twin baby girls to the world today.

Freya and Amelia are beautiful and their big brother Lucas is very proud too.

I can't wait to meet them this Christmas.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Wood

As you can see from this view from my front door, we're ready for winter!

One of our favourite things about the house is our wood burning fireplace. We first had one in the Harz and it was great after a long walk.

We're just getting to the time of year where we can use it again and it's fantastic. It only takes one lot of wood to heat up the living room.

I wouldn't be without it any more. We'll be hibernating this year!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Home grown...

After the cougettes, the biggest success in the home grown section of our garden has been...raspberries!

Nico planted three varieties that produce fruit at different times of the year and we're now enjoying the late variety.

In terms of the amount, they've probably been the best as we're still trying to use up courgettes!

As you can see, we're not the only ones enjoying them.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Make It Monday - Fabric Noticeboard

Looking for something a bit different lately, I came across this tutorial. We invested in a staple gun and I stocked up on ribbon but everything else we had from other projects.

I've always wanted one of these noticeboards but I didn't know how easy they were to make.

This one is going to be a kind of inspiration board for our craft room and I can imagine making one for Isabella when she's a bit older.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Saturday Update

This is the first week where the change of seasons has been really clear. Cold foggy mornings and warm, sunny afternoons. Pumpkins everywhere. Autumn is here.

We had a good start to the week but then Isabella and Nico both got sick. Our baby has croup but after the first night and some medicine she's improving. It's so hard seeing her struggle and cough but I know she has to go through it.

Work has been busy but good. We finished the EDL celebrations on a high and year ten finished for work experience. Hopefully that will see things calm down a bit up to the holidays.

On Tuesday I went to a children's dental health seminar at the football club. It was interesting but it's hard work getting Isabella to cooperate while she's too young to get it.

Wednesday was parents evening at Isabella's nursery. It was nice to meet the others and hear what's going on there. I volunteered to be a parent rep. Hopefully I haven't bitten off more than I can chew but I'm looking forward to it so far. The first big event is a lantern walk in November. It's normal here in Germany but will be a first for both her and me.

Today we have friends visiting who we haven't seen for ages and as it's bank holiday weekend we're heading out to a local event tomorrow.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Currently...

...nursing a poorly but tough little girl.
...enjoying more tea.
...making exciting plans at work.
...starting a new journaling class.
...crafting three different projects.
...looking forward to this new season.
...working on my Spanish.
...getting involved in nursery as a parent rep.
...listening to more radio.
...taking advantage of the holiday weekend.
...squeezing in time to breathe.
...catching up with friends.
...writing more letters.
...lighting more candles.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

October Goals

Here are my goals for this month:

  • Take a family photo.
  • Complete three sewing projects.
  • Zumba once a week.
  • Have a family day trip.
  • Write to my Gran.