Wednesday, 31 August 2016

August Goals Review

Here's how it went this month:
  • Increase my daily steps - done, only to realise it's too much during the last trimester and have to cut down a bit, especially in this heat but I am still feeling fit and healthier.
  • Start antenatal yoga - done!
  • Have another date night - nope.  We just don't manage to arrange a babysitter often enough but we will be working on this.
  • Sort out the pantry - in progress.
  • Complete the Day in the Life project - I decided to postpone this one until I finish my current journaling project but the materials are here and ready to go.

Also this month - 
  • We started on Isabella's new room.
  • I completed a knitting patch and craft project per week.
  • I started tutoring.
  • I refreshed the house plants.
  • I continued my diary and letter writing.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Reading Review

Killing Floor - Lee Child

I pinched this one from my Dad while we were in England and I had finished the book I was reading.  I'd only read one Jack Reacher book before and it was chronologically the first story.  I decided to carry on from the beginning and Killing Floor is the first in the series.

It was a really good read.  It was easy to read, which I tend to appreciate more these days.  It was a good story though and kept me guessing right to the end. It's a series I'll definitely be picking up again.

The Unmumsy Mum - Sarah Turner

Brilliant and very honest, I loved this book.  I already wrote about it last week because it helped me so much but I really can't recommend it enough to anyone with a toddler or two.  I've since started reading the blog which, after reading the book, is a little repetetive in terms of material but still fun and I love seeing the pictures that were missing in the book.

The Road Past Mandalay - John Masters

This was an unusual read for me.  I'm not really into military novels, especially when they are not related to my history studies - i.e. World War I and World War II.  This one found it's way to me through my grandmother. Her brother was killed in Burma during the war and I know nothing about the campaign in Burma.  This book was among her things and I decided it was time to find out a bit more.

John Master's war was not directly linked to my great-uncle's other than taking place in Burma but it was still interesting to learn more about it.  I liked the biographical sections best and the sections that described a bit more of the country.  Military accounts really aren't my thing and it took some effort to stay with the book at times but I'm glad I did.  It has left me with many family history questions again.  Maybe I'll be able to find some answers while on maternity leave.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Make it Monday: Paper Owls

Back in the holidays, Nico and I came across this little project in the sale while browsing in a craft shop.

I don't do many paper crafts and I was in the mood for something different. It was fiddly and resulted in me buying some more paper glue but I'm pleased with the finished products. I just need somewhere to put them now!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Weekly Wisdom

Do what makes you feel good!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Saturday Update

This week has been a scorcher! Monday was reasonable enough. I started tutoring and it was really good. I'm all ready for next week.

Tuesday was a normal day too. A bit shorter since my colleague and friend covered parents' evening.

The heat wave hit on Wednesday and I had to leave work early. I called in on Friday as I couldn't have worked in the heat and probably got more done from home.

Despite needing more breaks and lie downs, I've had quite a productive time. I've done a few crafts, we've got our wood delivery in for winter, the house is looking good... I also had a midwife appointment on Thursday which went well.

Yesterday I took Isabella swimming with a friend and her daughter and it was great to cool off. We all had fun.

We're having a quiet weekend before a hopefully cooler work week!

Friday, 26 August 2016


I want one of these near us!

I can relate to too many of these.

Cute future sewing project.

My new favourite parenting corner.

So excited!

Glad we're past this.

An important observation.


Thursday, 25 August 2016


Today I am having fun with my old typewriter. When my Mum drove over in June, she brought lots of my childhood things with her and this was among them.

I remember desperately wanted my own typewriter after playing on one at a friend's house. I think I was about eight or nine when I got it but I have no idea what I wrote or when it got put away - I didn't realise it was still in Dad's loft.

Having dusted it off and fitted a new ribbon (thanks Nico), I'm writing a letter to my penpal today. It's fun but hard work for the fingers and oviously hard to correct mistakes but I love the old style look and feel of it.

I'm not sure how much I'll use it in the future but Isabella already loves it so it won't be wasted.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Recipe: Chocolate Brownies


125g butter
200g sugar
125g dark chocolate
60g rice flour
15g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
60g crushed walnuts and hazelnuts
80g ground almonds


Melt the butter, sugar and chocolate over a pan of boiling water.
Stir in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Add the eggs and nuts and mix well.
Bake at 180°c for 30 minutes before cooling and cutting.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Spanish learning tools

This week I started tutoring and it really made me realise how easy it is to let knowledge go.  I practise Spanish every day both at work and at home but my level is sorely lacking and I'm going to be working on that a lot over the next weeks.

I think I shared a post similar to this earlier in the year but my experience shows it doesn't hurt to have another look.

This is a site I use for all my languages every day - it's best for beginners though.  I need to stretch myself more in Spanish and German.

For reading, it's always great to look at current news articles as the context is usually already there and it normally involves new vocabulary in some way.

This school site has activities for all levels.  I can use some with classes and do the higher ones myself.

Here are some great videos, also at different levels that are great for honing those listening skills.  I already passed this tip on to my tutee.

The good old beeb also has a wide range of activities plus access to Spanish radio channels.

And of course, if you have the money, the good old fashioned book or film can be found here.  Here are some of my favourites:

Como agua para chocolate
El mar adentro
Diarios de motocicleta
La sombra del viento

El mar adentro
El laberinto del fauno
Diarios de motocicleta

Monday, 22 August 2016

Make It Monday - Girl's Pinifore Dress

Here's one I made for Isabella a while ago. It came from this book.

The binding under the arms was really faffy and I'm still not happy with it but there were lots of positives on this project.

-I made a pocket for the first time ever.
-The pleats are effective and were easy to do.
-I made my own buttons and button holes for the first time ever and I love how they turned out!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Weekly Wisdom

Without the lows, we wouldn't appreciate the highs.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

The Saturday Update

What a rollercoaster week!

We went to a very busy flea market last Sunday and had a lovely family lunch on the way home.

Monday and Tuesday were regular work days but really tired me out. Tuesday was long with meetings and I was really tired and achy.

Since Wednesday a friend has been helping us out with lifts on a morning and it's made life so much easier. I've also read The Unmumsy Mum and been to yoga again so despite a mad work day on Friday - think year six tabasco sauce drinking contests - I was feeling much better by the end of the week!

We had a bad night with Isabella last night so we're all feeling tired but looking forward to a good weekend, dinner with friends and another full week including my new tutoring role.

Friday, 19 August 2016


...relaxing with yoga.
...whizzing through this book.
...enjoying the sunshine.
...laughing with Isabella.
...planning her new bedroom.
...eating gluten free brownies from Starbucks.
...making new connections.
...looking forward to the weekend.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The Unmumsy Mum

This book is literally saving my sanity this week. At the start of the week, I was feeling exhausted and a bit down. I know it's the hormones right now and I'm just working through it.

Then this delivery came and I interrupted my current read for this one. I read 100 pages in a day and it's amazing. I've laughed and cried reading this. It's like the author is speaking for mums everywhere and saying all the things nobody else dares.

There are sections I feel like highlighting for Nico as if to show him that it's not just me. I've also bookmarked the blog and started following on social media. It's so important to connect and not feel alone during the harder parts of motherhood.

I can't recommend this book enough to mums everywhere. I'm off to read some more!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Pre-natal yoga

As I mentioned, I started a new yoga class last week. When I was pregnant with Isabella I did a bit of yoga at home but I didn't go to a course. Money was tight with all the other baby expenses and I couldn't find a local course.

This time my midwife recommended it. She said that many second time mums regret not doing as much for the second baby. For example, I won't be doing classes this time as I know what to expect and it's harder to find time to focus on this baby with my first one running around.

Luckily I found one here in Leeste and it's affordable because we don't have to buy as much for baby number two as we kept everything Isabella had.

Last Thursday was my first session and it was really moving. I'm hormonal as hell right now anyway but it felt like the first time I was making time to focus on this baby and our connection. It was also very relaxing which I really need at the moment.

It was a small group - just five of us and all the others are further along than me so we have to see how the course develops but I really hope we find some new recruits! It was an added benefit to meet other mums to be in the area and there's even talk of a baby yoga class.

The yoga was a mix of stretching and relaxing. I really noticed how tense I am and came out aching but in a good way. I'm feeling lots more aches in this pregnancy so it was good to work on them.

I find the leader, Marcella, really nice and she has a very sing song voice which helps to create such a calm atmosphere. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Recipe: Red berry ice pops


  • 300g frozen red berries
  • 1 pot banana yoghurt
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • Honey (optional)

Mix everything together in a blender. Fill the ice lolly maker and freeze!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Make it Monday - Embroidered Cacti

For a while now, I've been admiring this new embroidered cactus trend through Instagram and Pinterest so I was really excited when this mini project came with the last Mollie Makes.

Apart from cross stitch, I've never really done much embroidery so it was fun to learn some new stitches and techniques. Plus the finished pieces were small so they seemed achievable and I love the finished products.

These will be going up somewhere and I'm definitely going to be embroidering more!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Weekly Wisdom

Enjoy the little moments.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Saturday Update

Well it's been a long, full week back at work.  We're starting to get into a routine with taking Isabella to nursery an hour later, picking her up earlier and getting to work.  So far it's going well.  Isabella loves taking the bus and I'm getting my steps up on the pedometer.

After a quiet day on Sunday, we got into the swing with a short day for me on Monday.  Tuesday was parents' meetings all day and normal lessons started at my school on Wednesday.

Being off timetable has been good so far.  I'm getting tons of prep done and helping colleagues and not being a slave to the school bell is incredibly liberating.

I started pre-natal yoga on Thursday.  I want to post on it later but it did feel great to be doing something , just me and the new baby.

Isabella is going through a new stage - opening doors which means early starts for us!  We're going to working on her new room soon as she has started sleeping in there full time now.  Let's hope it makes things easier long term.

Today we're having a quiet day and we'll probably get out tomorrow when the weather improves.

Friday, 12 August 2016


Some good ideas.

Reminder that school here isn't all that bad.

Made me cry.

Something to remember.

A future project.

Lucky non-teacher parents!

Next recipe.

Another fun little project for the to do list.

Thursday, 11 August 2016


 As I mentioned, we went to visit friends in Nienburg at the weekend.  Before they lived there, I hadn't heard of the city but it was bigger than I expected and really nice - very typically German.

Unfortunately it was raining on the day we visited so we didn't brave the walk into town until later in the afternoon and missed the street festival (which I suspect was a wash out with the weather anyway).
 Wherever you go in the city centre there are painted bear foot prints to show where different tourist sights are. Unfortunately we didn't know enough about the sights but that didn't put Isabella off, she loved bear hunting!

There's a huge church with a concert every Saturday morning, lots of shops and a cafe area on the banks of the Weser - the same river that flows through Bremen.
It was great to catch up with our friends.  We'll definitely be heading back there when the weather is nicer and taking a guided tour.  Then I'll be able to share more about Nienburg!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

House Plants

 At the end of the holidays, I made a list of all the things that were starting to annoy me around the house. I spent the last days of the holidays sorting some of them out and then last week I got around to this one - revitalising our house plants.

I'm not very good with house plants. Above you can see what a state the hardy survivors had gotten into. I took the time to replant them, top up the soil, prune them and give them a good watering. Then we bought three new ones and rearranged them around the house.

It's definitely brought a new freshness into the home and I love the greenery. I'm planning to keep a better eye on them now that I will be spending more time at home.

My favourite is the one below. Nico's mum bought it for us when we moved in and it's gone wild in the kitchen but the window sill was getting full and I wanted somewhere to show off the length. This is it on our wardrobe after I gave it a trim!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Recipe: Zucchini Spaghetti Bolognese

Tonight we tried zucchini spaghetti. We'd heard about it a lot, especially through paleo. Nico ordered a zucchini spiraliser and when it arrived today, we got cracking.

It's really easy to do and we froze a big batch for an even quicker and easier meal. Plus it's an extra veg portion rather than overloading on carbs.

The sauce was our regular bolognese and all together it was very filling. It's also a good solution for all the zucchinis in our garden! I'd recommend trying it.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Make it Monday: Kitty

This is another Mollie Makes project that I finished in the holidays. It's the first toy I've sewn completely by hand. She's little and cute and Isabella loves her.

I learned lots of new stitches and techniques, such as whip stitch and blanket stitch, and I love the effects achieved. It was a really fun little project.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Saturday Update

What a long week!

We had a quiet weekend relaxing and storing up sleep.

On Monday we blitzed the house and garden and got everything in order.

We renewed our first aid training at my school on Tuesday. It was interesting and nice being at work with Nico.

Wednesday was full of different meetings at school getting ready for the pupils coming back. Isabella came home in the afternoon. It was so great to have her back. She's a little rounder in the face and very chatty.

I've got Thursdays off again so I took Isabella to nursery on the bike - I don't think I can do it again for a while though. I cleared my to do list and took her to the library in the afternoon.

I got to see my class again on Friday. I was shattered after walking Isabella to nursery, getting my 10,000 steps in before work. It was great to see them again though.

So all in all a busy, busy week. We're visiting friends today, having a quiet day tomorrow and then it's back to work.

Friday, 5 August 2016


A new craft blog. I've already ordered a new project!

I love these playtime pictures.

This puts the German system into perspective.

Beautiful pictures.


Interesting point of view.

An interesting read.

Times to look forward to.

Thursday, 4 August 2016


As I mentioned in the Saturday Update, last week we went for a long overdue date night.  When we got married (three years ago), Nico's friends gave us a voucher for a cooking course at Pades Restaurant in Verden.

When we looked into doing a course things got complicated.  The courses are run quite rarely and fill up very quickly. Instead, the restaurant offered us the option of dining with the voucher and that's what we did.

Pades has a Michelin star.  The menu is updated by season and it's a very classy place.

We got in nice and early and decided to go for three courses rather than a tasting tapas-style menu.  For starters, I had a lemongrass soup, and for main, the risotto with rabbit, chorizo and king prawns.  Both were really delicious.  They were also very informed with allergies and provided gluten free bread.

The highlight of the meal for both of us was the dessert - chilled marzipan soup with peach and berries, creme brulee and a maracuja ice cream.  Delicious!

The best bit was that even after three courses we still have enough credit on our voucher to go again!  It may take us another three years but I'm looking forward to it already and because the menu is always changing, we'll be in for a different treat next time!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

August Goals

It certainly doesn't feel like August here but when better for new goals than the new school year? Here's what I'm choosing this month.

  • Increase my daily steps.
  • Start antenatal yoga.
  • Have another date night.
  • Sort out the pantry.
  • Complete the Day in the Life project.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Raspberry Vodka

This is the first in my experiments to stock our pantry with homemade produce. By Christmas I will be able to enjoy the odd tipple so I decided to prepare something nice.

I took 1.5 litres of vodka, 300g raspberries (a mix of garden grown and bought), 300g sugar. This was mixed together in a sealed mason jar and stirred daily until the sugar is absorbed.

The mixture was then filtered into a jar and we kept the raspberries seperate. Looking forward to enjoying them!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Make it Monday - July birthday cards

Having been to Idee in the school holidays and restocked a little, it was fun to try something new in July with these little felt shapes. It was simple but effective and I'm pleased with the results.