Sunday, 31 July 2016

Weekly Wisdom

Without rest, the soul dies.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Saturday Update

It's been a mixed old week around here.

We celebrated our friends' wedding on Saturday. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time catching up with friends. Isabella loved playing and dancing - she was a joy to watch.

On Sunday we went swimming with my friend and her little girl and then had lots of family time before we went to a music quiz with my Mum.

Monday was a real family day with three of Isabella's cousins with her at my Dad's house for the day. It was busy but fun. I don't see enough of the little ones so it was nice to be around them.

We travelled back to Germany on Tuesday. It was a long day but good to get back.

On Wednesday I went for my check up - all good there. Then we drove up to Nico's parents'. Isabella is having a holiday there until she goes back to nursery. It was strange driving back without her but she is having a whale of a time and keeping everyone on their toes by all accounts.

We had rather a quiet day on Thursday with a long overdue date night dinner in the evening. I'll be writing more on that later.

Yesterday a colleague called over for some school materials and I got lots of crafting done.

I'm planning on getting lots of housework and gardening done this weekend, having a quiet day on Monday and then getting stuck back in at work on Tuesday with a first aid course.

Friday, 29 July 2016

July Goals Review

I wasn't very specific with my goals this month but I have been working towards them. Here's the progress I've made this month:

  • I've been monitoring my water and fruit and veg intake and I was improving before we went to England.
  • I've researched local yoga courses and hope to start next week.
  • I had a great date night with Nico.
  • I've been knitting and crafting more regularly.
  • I've started keeping a diary.
  • I caught up with friends and family through our visit and letters.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Northumbria

 The Lighthouse at Whitley Bay

As I mentioned, we spent last week in Northumbria.  Here are some photos if you'd like to see.
 Alnwick
 Alnwick
 Alnwick
 Alnwick gardens
 Bamburgh
 Bamburgh Castle
 Bamburgh
 Tynemouth Harbour
 Tynemouth
 Tynemouth
 With Mum on the harbour wall at Tynemouth
 Whitley Bay
 Her first dip in the sea
 Lindesfarne
 Lindesfarne at low tide
 The castle on Lindesfarne
 Lindesfarne
The abbey at Lindesfarne

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

3 things...

Today I wanted to share three things with you that have been brilliant for Isabella lately.

1. Trunki!

My Dad bought Isabella a trunki for her birthday. It's a little suitcase for kids that fits the hand luggage rules and they can sit on the trunki or pull it along themselves. If you've been through an airport recently, you've probably seen one.

As an added bonus, this one had a matching backback. Between the two, we managed to pack everything she needed for ten days.

It was really handy for us and when we got to England and showed her how she could use it, she fell in love. It's a must for traveling with little ones.

2. Caillou.

This is a Canadian TV series for children and a new favourite in our house. We don't like Isabella to have too much TV time but she's allowed to watch a Youtube video now and then.

Caillou came up as a recommendation and it's about a little boy and his family with lots of little life lessons.

3. Clarice Bean

Browsing through a charity shop in Alnwick, we came across a couple of Clarice Bean books for 29p each and bought them.

Isabella likes the bright pictures even though she doesn't follow the story yet.

The chaotic script really annoyed me, to the point that I let her read them alone. A few days later we got back to my Dad's and he was reading aloud to Isabella and I was in tears laughing. The story is so funny - it took me right back to growing up with my brother and sister.

Especially one line about her brother playing football on her bed and saying it was an accident so she accidently threw his duvet out of the window.

It's worth reading for parental entertainment alone!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Recipe: Courgette Bake

 This is an old recipe but one of our favourites. Since the garden is brimming with courgettes right now, we're rapidly reviewing all of our courgette recipes. Below you can see the first of our huge harvest. We're even having to give some away. I love that we have green and yellow this year.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Make it Monday - Painting

I recently got out the paints again. I'd intended to do a pinwheel painting but it was harder and messier than I thought. In the end I put the idea on hold but I had some blue paint to use up so I did this basic whale for Isabella. It was fun and easy and I'm pleased with the results.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Weekly Wisdom

Marriage isn't about finding the right spouse,
it's about being the right spouse.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

The Saturday Update

What a week! We got back to England last Saturday with just a one hour flight delay. Isabella loved having her own seat and trunki.

We had a nice relaxed Sunday with family. Dinner with my Dad after a trip to the park and a cuppa at my Mum's.

On Monday we headed up to Northumbria with Mum. We stayed at a holiday park in Whitley Bay and Mum drove us to Alnwick, Bamburgh, Lindesfarne and Saltburn over the week. Isabella had her first dip in the North Sea and basically just loved the week. It was great for Nico to see more of England too.

We got back yesterday and had fish and chips at Mum's.

This week we'll be heading back to Germany after some last catch ups, taking Isabella for her holiday with Nico's grandparents and having a nice date night with our wedding gift vouchers.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Colour Therapy Postcards

 While I was at the craft store lately I came across this book of fifty postcards that you can colour yourself. I've admired the adult colouring books for a while and even have one but I don't often get around to it and this seemed like something that was practical as it fit in with my goal to write to friends more.
I've already done two in the holidays and it was very relaxing and fun!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Reading Review

The Patriot Threat - Steve Berry

The latest from Steve Berry didn't disappoint. It's focused on American politics and history again but is partly set in Europe and brings Asia into the scenario which I liked.

It's a page turner and an action packed read. I like that there is an ongoing story and regular characters.

Super Cannes - J.G. Ballard

I'm not entirely sure where this one came from but I read it recently. It's not the kind of thriller I usually go for - a bit too modern and sterile but it was an interesting concept and once I got into it, I was keen to find out who did it.

Last Rituals - Yrsa Sigurdardottir

This was a new Icelandic author for me. Dad left this one after his last visit. It was a brilliant read. It's an exciting, twisting story about a lawyer and P.I.'s investigation into the gruesome murder of a German student in Iceland.

I'm looking forward to more from this writer.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

3 Years


Three years married to this amazing guy today and they've exceeded all expectations - a car, a baby, a house and another baby on the way...who knows what the next years will bring but I'm looking forward to finding out.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Make It Monday - Bead Bracelet

Recently, my mum started to get me the Mollie Makes magazine. It's a brilliant read for a wide range of crafts. They have a project in each issue and so far it's been really fun.

In the first issue I got, you could send off for a free bracelet making kit. I've never made jewellery before so it was nice to try something new.

It was as fiddly as I expected but fun and I'm pleased with the results. I think this is something I will revisit in the future. Thanks Mum!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Saturday, 16 July 2016

The Saturday Update

We've had a fab week. It's flown again but we have been very busy.

At the weekend we had a mini heatwave and went to our friends' house for a barbecue.  They have a little girl Isabella's age and it was great to see them together. They are finally old enough to play together.

Monday was Nico's birthday.  We celebrated quietly.  His mum and dad came to dinner and Isabella loved playing and showing them her things.  They took Pete with them while we are away.

We met one of Isabella's nursery friends and his dad to go swimming on Tuesday.  It was good fun and tired Isabella out.  We did a spot of shopping too - I got a dress for an upcoming wedding.

We had a quiet day at home on Wednesday.  We watched a new German DVD - Ein Tick anders - about a girl with Tourette's Syndrome.  I got ahead on a few projects.  We also watched the videos from our wedding day as we'll be away on or annivesary next week.  It was really nice looking back.  Especially seeing my Gran on there.

We went into Bremen on Thursday to get some last minute things before our holidays.  We wanted to go to Breminale as it's been three years since we visited the festival but the weather did not play along.

Yesterday was all about packing and getting ready.  Isabella is so excited about flying and packing her trunki.

Today we're flying to England and next wewek we'll be heading up to Northumbria on our first family holiday in England.  So excited!

Friday, 15 July 2016

Currently...

...adoring my daughter.
...completing so many to dos.
...eating more fruit and veg.
...looking forward to holidays.
...packing cases and a trunky.
...writing more than ever.
...enjoying the holidays.
...getting out and about more.
...taking photos more actively.
...crafting away.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Diary

When my Gran passed away last year, there was a small nice surprise for us in that we found her  diary from 1945.  My Gran had a really interesting life; I've written about it before.  She told us lots of things.  She always got the most excited when talking about her wartime experiences.  This was not because she condoned war, but because it changed her life - it got her away from home, away from working in the mills, and exposed her to a whole new range of people.

We thought we knew everything about her but the diary was something none of us had seen and has a range of snippets that we had never heard about, including two marriage proposals!  The down side is that it's one of those tiny diaries with half a page per day and there were many occasions when reading it where I was desperate for more, and wished I could call her up and ask her. On the other hand I bet she is laughing away up there at keeping us guessing.

Like most teenagers, I kept diaries in the past and threw them away after a few years when I found them embarassing.  Now that I'm settled down as a mother, I've often thought that nobody would be interested, it's certainly not 1945.  However, there may come a day when Isabella wants to know how things were when she was small and mummy and daddy were growing the family and setting up house.  And so, for a little over a week now, I've been keeping a diary.

I try to write as much detail as possible - who knows whether I'll be around to explain my musings, or be able to remember the context if I am around.  I find it therapeutic to write a page or so at the end of the day.  I wish I had started earlier - especially since Isabella changes so quickly and I want to record that too, but better late than never.

I bought a beautiful notebook to inspire me to write and I love it so far.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Reading Review

Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett

I had never read Terry Pratchett before this and Nico bought me this one (Pratchett's first novel), for my birthday. I really enjoyed it and wish I'd been able to read it when it was written as I feel he was ahead of his time.

It's a really fun fantastical read that took a while to get into but then had me gripped. The creativity of Discworld and the humour reminded me a bit of Walter Moers. I'm looking forward to reading more Discworld.

Metro 2033 - Dmitry Glukhovsky

This was another gift from Nico as he read the German translation (the original is in Russian), and loved it.

It's based in the Moscow metro system in 2033 after World War 3 which forced the survivors underground.

This one also took me a while to get into but I think that was because of the translation. Once I got used to that though, it was a very interesting read. It explores different political views but without taking away from the adventure story and by the end I couldn't but it down.

The Mum - A ladybird book

This was a gift from my mum. It's part of a new range from Ladybird books.

It's really funny, a bit of light hearted entertainment and makes a great gift.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Recipe : Stuffed Aubergine

Still on the Paleo train, we tried this recipe last week. I'm a big fan of this kind of thing - it's easy, healthy, filling and delicious.

I love that we're finding more time to cook from scratch and filling the bio-bin. We'll definitely be trying this again.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Make it Monday: Peg Bag

 Nico recently finished a project of his own - welding, painting and fitting a washing line (or four) in our garden. Since we moved into the house, I've been trying things in the dryer or on the balcony. The clothes lines are quicker, more convenient and nicer. I love it.

Since we've never needed one, we didn't have a peg basket. I found this tutorial online and made the peg bag above. I like the material - I used it on several house projects and it reminds me of Spring.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Saturday, 9 July 2016

The Saturday Update

Another week is up. Of course time is flying for the holidays. Isabella has finished nursery for the Summer now too.

On the whole, it was a quiet week. We both got into our hobbies, cooked more, worked in the garden, and chilled out. I finished a hand sewing project.

On Thursday, we had a morning in Kirchweyhe - Isabella had a doctor's check up, then we took her for ice cream and shopping.

We've got a really busy week coming up with family and friends. Birthdays, BBQs, music festivals and getting ready for England but we're ready for it!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Links!

Important to remember.

I love the images on this blog.

I want to put this into practice.

Funny.

Thinking of trying this on holidays.

So sweet.

Made me cry.

Also on motherhood. (I love the tips for second time mums too.)

Thursday, 7 July 2016

2016 Goals - Revised

Now that we're halfway through the year I had a new look at and rethink of my goals. Here they are:
  • Do yoga.
  • Drink more water and eat more fruit and veg.
  • Pay off debts.
  • Finish sorting the house (baby's room, kitchen, pantry, garage).
  • Date nights.
  • Keep crafting.
  • Write letters.
  • Keep a diary.
I'll keep you up to date.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Reading Review

Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov

This read came from the BBC book list I'm still working my way through.

As soon as I read the blurb, I knew it was going to be a difficult read. It took me a long time to wade through this one. It wasn't thrilling but I did want to stick with it.

The idea of a middle aged man having such an influence on his step-daughter is disturbing but I did want to know what happened to her.

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

I also came to this book through the BBC list. I expected it to be more like 1984 but I found that this novel took the idea to a whole new extreme.

It's a lot more surreal and unrealistic than 1984, yet strangely ahead of its time in some social respects. I found it a really interesting read that made me reflect on life and politics in general.

The Drums of Autumn - Diana Gabaldon

The fourth book in the Outlander series was every bit as good as the first three. It sees the main characters settling in the American colonies and I love the play between past and present with the next generation. It brings a lot of action and interesting new twists to the story. Looking forward to the next.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Recipe: Paleo Energy Balls

Since we've been on Summer holidays, we've had more time to cook and bake, which means more cooking from scratch and healthier options.

As a result, we've tried some new Paleo recipes and this one is easy, no baking required, tasty and it delivers on the energy front. Try it!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Make it Monday

This was one of those projects that took longer to start on than to actually complete. Having made a similar quilt for Isabella when I was pregnant, I wanted to make one for my nephew too and he's really into Minions. My mum found me some suitable Minions bedding to re-purpose and in March, I finally got cracking.

Once I got started it went pretty smoothly. I was doing this project from memory. The Minions were the perfect size, it wasn't girly and I love the blue and yellow colour matching.

He finally received his gift in June and is pretty pleased with it. I love making things for others and this was a big project for a special little man.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Saturday, 2 July 2016

The Saturday Update

After our first full week of holidays, we're feeling much more relaxed around here. The house is looking better for it and having more time to cook means we're feeling better for eating fresher.

We've had a few trips this week which makes us feel better than when we're at home all day. We need to use these holidays, otherwise they fly by and feel wasted.

On Monday we went to Dodenhof - a big shopping center. It has everything under one roof. We had a nice browse and lunch.

Wednesday evening was drinks with the other parents from Isabella's nursery group. I love having time to talk to them and get to know people in our area.

Thursday was our latest scan - all good. Later we went to see some friends at their new house and took the girls to the park.

On Friday we went into Bremen shopping and for lunch. I stocked up on craft supplies to keep me busy.

Next week is Isabella's last week at nursery before her holidays start. We have a couple of house jobs lined up, her next doctor check up and a birthday party.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Hello again!

So it's been a while...

There are a couple of reasons for that. First up, I felt like I was running out of steam again. I'm an all or nothing kind of person - I like to blog every day or I get overwhelmed and give up.

I've used the break to keep my head above water at work and now that we have holidays, I feel much more on top of things. I'm going to try a more relaxed approach when I need a break or have less to blog about.

The second reason I stopped blogging for a while was terrible morning sickness. That's right, we're expecting baby number two in November. Getting out of the first trimester has left me feeling more refreshed and less overwhelmed.

With the half year approaching, I decided to review my goals and where I wanted to be by the end of 2016. Some goals fell by the wayside but I was sure I wanted to start blogging again. So as of today, it's a fresh start.