Thursday, 17 August 2017


...adjusting to our new routine.
...enjoying the outdoors more.
...creating space for more creativity.
...making plans for the next few weeks.
...drining peppermint tea.
...dancing more.
...savouring time with the children.
...delving into the past.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Reading Review

Hound of the Baskervilles - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Another Sherlock Holmes children's classic, I really enjoyed this crime story. It was one story, unlike the collection I recently read but it was interesting and kept me guessing.

Pietr the Latvian - Georges Simenon

This was a gift from Nico. It's the first in the Maigret series though it's not one of the TV adaptations that we've seen.

The story follows Detective Maigret in his hunt for Pietr the Latvian a criminal wanted throughout Europe. It's not a long story but it is very descriptive and does keep you guessing.

I'm looking forward to more of this series.

Dick Whittington - Retold by Vera Southgate

This is a quick little read that my Dad recently brought over from England with some of my things.

It's the famous story of Dick Whittington going to London to make his fortune. Of course there is a cat involved and it's a fun tale.

Looking forward to reading this with the kids.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Recipe: Tomato and Parmesan Quiche


  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 60g grated parmesan
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 small pots of creme fraiche
  • Handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 280g flour
  • 140g butter
  • Seasoning

1. Combine the flour and butter with 1/2 tsp salt and 8 tbsp water. Roll out the dough to a circle ca. 5cm larger than your pastry tin. Gently lay the dough over the tin, push into the corners and chill for 20 mins while heating the oven to 200℃.

2. Half the cherry tomatoes, put them in a roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Place in the bottom of the oven. Prick the pastry base with a fork, cover with baking paper and baking beans, blind bake for twenty minutes. After removing the paper and beans, bake for a further 5 - 10 minutes. Remove pastry and tomatoes from the oven.

3. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Gradually add the creme fraiche and then the basil. Sprinkle half the parmesan on the base, place the tomatoes on top, pour over the creme fraiche mix and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Make it Monday - Project Life Update

It's been a while since I've blogged about Project Life but that's really because I like to have photos for my posts, I don't like to post photos of our children online and my Project Life is basically all about the children now.

I first started this project back in 2012 and I loved it. I'm not really sure why I stopped at the end of 2014 but I am so glad I got back into it this year.

I update my album weekly and I love flicking through from January each week. Seeing the story and development makes it so worthwhile.

I was in England for my friend's wedding at the start of last week so I can finally share a page in this space! While the average week tells its own kind of story, I love when we have something special going on as we tend to have better photos and it's generally easier to make the colours work.

That was really true this week as I could get in some of my favourites from the Seafoam edition to brighten up a really happy day.

If I can keep up the energy on this project, the kids are going to have something really special to look back on one day.

My process:

- Go to Rossmann and print out my favourite photos from the week (phone and camera)
- Place the photos into the layout, cropping where necessary.
- Pick a colour idea for the week and select cards that work, starting with the big date card.
- Journal on the appropriate cards.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Saturday Update

Wow! What a week!

Celebrated the marriage of Rachel and Rich on Monday in Alnwick. It was a beautiful day for a beautiful couple.

The day after, we headed up to Lindesfarne which I already wrote about.

I flew home early on Wednesday and it was great to see my babies. I missed them so much.

I enjoyed a nice breakfast with my Dad and the kids after Isabella's check up on Thursday morning - the first with no crying.

Dad left after a chaotic baby swim yesterday. Now it's back to Earth with a bump as we find our new routine again!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Holy Island

After the wedding - a beautiful day and fun reunion with the amazing ladies above, we drove up to Bamburgh and Holy Island. I'd been last summer but it was exciting to go back with friends.
Bamburg Castle

My road trip buddies enjoying the view

Beautiful scenery

The abbey on Lindesfarne

St Mary's Church on Holy Island

An interesting wooden sculpture

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


On our way to my friend's wedding this week, we stopped off for a bit of sightseeing in Hexham.

We arrived at 4pm and looked around the priory including the creepy crypt.

Here are some photos:

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Recipe: Pretzel bread


  • 500g flour
  • 250g water
  • 10g salt
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 20g yeast
  • 10-50g butter or oil depending on preference
  • Soda lye
1. Leave the yeast in some luke warm water to activate it.
2. Mix all of the ingredients except the soda lye into a dough. Let it rest for five minutes.
3. Shape the dough how you want - pretzel, rolls, sticks. 
4. Using gloves, dip the rolls in lye. Rest for twenty minutes.
5. Slit the rolls with a knife, sprinkle with salt and bake for 20 minutes at 200℃.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Make it Monday - Hama Beads

I saw this idea in a magazine a few weeks ago and I've always wanted to try something with Hama beads so I made a quick Amazon order and got cracking.

It was actually more fiddly than I thought and though I'd promised Isabella she could help and I did let her try, it's not suitable for a three year old.

I am pleased with the result though. It covers a glass with a hole in the middle for a straw to stop wasps sharing your drink in Summer. I think it works well.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Saturday Update

We've had a good week here. On Monday Joshua and I had brunch with one group of friends and Isabella had brunch with hers. The weather was glorious and everyone had fun.

On Tuesday we had our day out at the bird park which I already wrote about. That was a real highlight.

Wednesday was chaos with Isabella's friend visiting while the dads went to get wood. In the evening Dad arrived after a slight delay.

Nico went back to work on Thursday and I was glad of Dad's help with the kids. We got lots done including a bit of gardening.

Friday was even more productive with washing, cleaning, baking, packing, crafting, cooking...

Today I had an early start at 5am for my journey to England for my friends' wedding. So excited!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Walsrode Bird Park

This week we had a lovely, family day out a bird park in Walsrode. The weather was fantastic.

We were there nice and early when the park opened and stayed until the early evening because it was so nice and the kids were great.

First we headed to the penguin enclosure for feeding time and Isabella was delighted to throw a fish in!

 We then wandered round the biggest bird park in Europe and visited everything from hummingbirds to the osterich. There were owls, eagles, hawks, parrots,... anything you could imagine, and a few you couldn't.
 There were also two shows, an indoor one with some tricks and comedy as well as information on illegal animal trade. The second was outdoors and a real spectacle with vultures and a bald eagle swooping over our heads. Amazing.
 When we'd seen enough birds we took the kids to the play area. There were lots of huge slides and nets for older kids. The highlight was a cross between a bouncy castle and a trampoline which we let both children loose on. They loved it!
 We took snacks and drinks with us. The kids were free and thanks to Nico's forward planning we got 10% off our tickets. It was great value and we'll definitely be going again.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

August Goals

Here are my plans for this month:

  • Start a new fitness routine
  • 2 letters
  • 2 recipes
  • Learn to play poker
  • Catch up with friends

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Recipe: Chocolate tart

I made these using this recipe. It's the same pastry as the peach tarts last week with a yummy chocolate ganash. I managed ten individual tarts from this recipe.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Make it Monday - Liquid Soap

This week I finally got around to trying my own shower gel.

First I used this recipe to make my own Castile Soap. It didn't go quite to plan. I think I'd gotten the temperatures confused since I was using an electric hob rather than in a crock pot. It took seven hours rather than three for the 'cook' and then I still had to dilute it after some more hours on the next day. It is runnier than I expected but it is a learning process.

I then used this recipe to mix the final shower gel. I love the freshness but do find it too runny. I'm hoping time or tweeking the recipe will help in future.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Weekly Wisdom

Everyone starts at zero.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

The Saturday Update

It's been a fairly quiet, relaxed week around here.

We started out celebrating my father-in-law's birthday with family. I always enjoy time with family and so do the kids.

We came back on Tuesday and had two quiet days as a family and getting caught up on bits and bobs. I ordered some new trainers after mine fell apart at the hen do and I want to start a new class in August.

Yesterday one of the friends who introduced us came over with her baby daughter. We hadn't seen her in a long time so it was really good to catch up.

Next week will start off quiet and get busier with Dad coming over and me flying to England for a wedding.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

July goals review

Here's how the month went:
-Sort out the hobby room - done!
-2 recipes - done!
-2 letters - nope, my penpal is on holiday...
-Get out more! - done!
-Start C1 training - done!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Reading Review

Sherlock Holmes Investigates - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Another of my children's classics collection, this was by far the easiest to read. It is a collection of Holmes' shorter cases and I knew some from previous forays into Sherlock Holmes territory (books and television) but there were still some new cases in there too.

Dark Fire - C.J.Sansom

This is the second in Sansom's Shardlake series and I went into it wondering how he could follow his first tudor times murder mystery. Well, it lived up to the first in every way possible. It was full of twists, different plot lines and a range of interesting characters. I'm even more excited for the third now.

Sepulchre - Kate Mosse

This is the second novel of a trilogy which I've read a bit back to front this year. It didn't really matter though. It works perfectly as a stand alone novel, while maintaining some character and setting links with the other two.

It follows Leonie, a seventeen-year-old Parisian in 1891 and a twenty-something American writer in 2007 uncovering some spooky family secrets. An enjoyable read.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Recipe: Peach Tart


  • 2 cups flour
  • 3tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 113g butter
  • 1 large egg
  • Cold water
  • 1 large tin of peaches
  • Cinnamon
1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a mixer until it looks like fine bread crumbs. Make a space in the middle. Whisk the egg yolk with 2 tbsp water and place it in the space. Mix. Using your hands, combine the dough into one ball, wrap in cling-film and allow to rest for at least thirty minutes in the fridge.
2. Roll out the pastry to about 1/4 inch thickness. Line your pastry tins with it and push well into the corners. I used six small ones but you can vary this. Allow to settle for 15 minutes in the fridge.
3. Line the tarts with aluminium foil and top with dried beans. Bake at 180℃ for thirty minutes before removing the beans and foil.
4. Brush the pastry with the egg white and bake for eight more minutes until golden.
5. Slice the peaches and layer the slices over the tart. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar to taste. Bake for 25 minutes at 150℃.

Serve with cream or ice cream.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Make it Monday - August Birthday Cards

Recently a friend passed on a lot of card crafting stock and this week Isabella and I spent some time using it for next month's birthday cards.

It was fun and a bit different. A lot of the materials are quite feminine (a problem I'm always coming up against), but we managed to include one for my nephew - in blue of course.

Pleased with the results. Just need to come up with some gifts now!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Weekly Wisdom

The only thing you can control is when you start.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Saturday Update

It's been a very tiring week here.

After a fantastic weekend celebrating Rachel's hen do and a long day travelling back on Monday, we went to Heide Park theme park. We met Isabella and my in-laws there. It was a fun day of rides and sights. Isabella loved it and both kids were tired out. There were also lots more rides for little ones than we expected.

Wednesday was our fourth wedding anniversary. Nico got up with the kids, we had pancakes for breakfast and enjoyed a nice relaxed day with the kids.

Our friends came to visit on Thursday afternoon with their little girl. The girls played in the garden and we had pancakes with them for tea.

Yesterday we went shopping and bought some DVDs. We had pizza for tea and enjoyed them on the terrace.

It's raining cats and dogs today so we are watching one of the DVDs and having a quiet day before another busy few days celebrating my father-in-law's birthday.

Friday, 21 July 2017


I didn't know how extensive a problem this is.

Good advice.

Funny and true.

This reminds me of a local train conductor.

So simple!

Very raw yet beautiful photo project.

An eerie photo project.

A very practical idea.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Garden Harvest

As ever, I love that our garden is producing. As well as the non-stop raspberries, we've had strawberries, gooseberries, basil, our first courgette. There are still beans, tomatoes and chillis on the way. Nico is fantastic in the garden.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Hen Weekend

My train picnic
 Last weekend I flew to England for my friend's hen do. It was my first time away from Joshua which was hard but having some girly giggles was good for me too.
Outside Newcastle station
 I arrived at midnight on Friday night and caught up with another school friend, my roomie for the weekend - Charlotte.
Dressed up with Charlotte
 On Saturday we went to It's a Knockout and competed against another hen do and two stag dos.
Action shot of the bride to be
 It was actually more fun than I expected in the wind and mud.
The whole team
 We came third out of four groups! Then it was back to the hotel for a swim.
The bride to be and her sister on the town
 In the evening we went to Cozy Joe's for karaoke and then a few bars.
The crazy cat ladies
 On Sunday we went to a cat cafe - Mog on the Tyne. The bride-to-be, Rachel, is a vet and cat lover.
Kitten (baby Pete)
 They have ten cats including two kittens. One looks just like Pete and I would have loved to sneak either of them out in my bag.
Kitten number 2
 I had a gluten free panini and juice. We had the place to ourselves for an hour which was lovely. The cats are so relaxed!
Stan after some hot chocolate
 After the cat cafe I headed back to Leeds with Charlotte to see family and friends before my flight on Monday. What a fab weekend.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Recipe: Breakfast Bread


  • 400g spelt flour
  • 10g yeast
  • 250ml luke warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sesame / chia seeds
1. The evening before, put the yeast and sugar in 50ml of the water and leave for ten minutes.
2. Gradually add the flour, salt, olive oil and remaining water. Knead well for at least ten minutes.
3. Divide into eight equal rolls. Prepare each roll seperately.
4. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the rolls equally (see picture).
5. Decorate the rolls with the seeds and sprinkle with water. Cover with clingfilm. Leave in the fridge over night.
6. The next morning remove the film, sprinkle with water again and put into a cold oven. Switch the oven on to 180℃ and bake for ca. 25 minutes until brown on top.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Make it Monday: Knitting Update

I'm still going strong on my knitting course, knitting a patch a week on my cushion cover to match my blanket.

I love the variety and colour in these weekly instalments. I am ready to get my teeth into a bigger project but until I have more time, these weekly projects are keeping me going.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Weekly Wisdom

Good friends are like stars; you don't always see them but you know they're always there.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Saturday Update

We started the week with a breakfast playdate for Isabella and her friend before everyone goes on holiday. It was a lovely morning and she rode her bike there and back.

Tuesday was Nico's birthday. His parents came over and we did homemade pasta for dinner. Isabella went home with them for her week's holiday. The house was strangely quiet after that...

With the extra peace and quiet we got various jobs done. I packed, cleaned and organised.

Yesterday I flew back to England. With a 30 minute flight delay and quick coffee with my Mum and step-dad in Leeds, I arrived here in Newcastle at exactly midnight.

The hotel is gorgeous. Today we'll be playing It's a Knockout and going out to celebrate a special friend.

Next week I'll be heading home, having some quality family time and celebrating four years of marriage.

Friday, 14 July 2017


Maybe these tips will bring some inspiration.

This makes me proud to live here.

This hit home.

More good life tips.

Fun photo project.

Amazing talent.

Such a sweet gesture.


Thursday, 13 July 2017

40 things.

Before I turned 30, I had a list of things I wanted to do and ever since I've been working on a list for before I turn 40. I was surprised how much I've ticked off already. Here goes...

~try scuba diving
~buy a house
~see the northern lights
~see an opera
~do the three peaks  
~learn to plait Isabella's hair
~hot air balloon
~bake bread
~climb a mountain
~go on a camping holiday
~complete a calligraphy course
~watch the BBC top 100 films
~cultivate a garden
~eat lobster
~eat at a Michelin star restaurant
~buy some 'proper' bedding 
~restore a piece of furniture
~invest in new glasses 
~learn to play backgammon
~fly a kite
~read the works of Charles Dickens
~try three new hairstyles
~capsule wardrobe project
~visit Africa
~learn to play poker
~see a whale in the wild
~sew a dress for myself 
~go on a girls weekend away
~uncover the mystery around my greatgrandmother
~paint Easter eggs & Egg hunt
~go to the shooting festival
~fondu night
~pay it forward
~learn to rollerskate
~cheese tasting
~bake and decorate a cake
~see Stonehenge
~be debt free
~take Isabella and Joshua to Disneyland
~run a half marathon

Wednesday, 12 July 2017


...preparing for a girly weekend away.
...missing our big girl who's on holiday with my in-laws, but...
...enjoying the quiet.
...reminiscing over baby photos.
...watching some new series'.
...marveling at how fast my baby is growing up.
...appreciating my wonderful husband.
...feeling very blessed.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Recipe: Wheat-free Lasagne


  • 360g spelt flour
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 60g butter
  • 200ml milk
  • Parsley
  • 500g mince
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • Rosemary
  • 1 onion
1. Combine 300g flour and the eggs into a dough. Allow to rest for half an hour in the fridge.
2.Brown the mince, add the onion until browned, add the tomatoes and rosemary. Cook for ca. 10 minutes on a medium heat.
3. Melt the butter with ca. 60g of the flour. When it thickens, add the milk and parsley and remove from the heat.
4. Remove the pasta dough from the fridge. Using lots of flour, work the dough through a pasta machine into sheets. Cut the sheets into manageable lengths and cook in boiling water for a minute each.
5. Layer the three components in a baking tray. Add cheese to the top and bake in the oven at 180° until the cheese is melted and golden. Yum!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Make it Monday: Salt Scrub

 Following my recent foray into cosmetics with soap, I decided to give a body scrub a go.

I used recipe number eight from here and it was very easy, it took just five minutes.
At the moment I think it looks too fluidy but I will try it in the shower and then I may alter the balance. If I can get a good balance, I think this would make a nice gift.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Weekly Wisdom

Every new beginning is some other beginning's end.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Saturday Update

We've had a really busy week here.

On Sunday we got out early and went to a flea market. When we're up so early with the kids anyway, it's good to get out.

I took Joshua to the outdoor pool on Monday. We didn't swim but had a nice catch up with friends.

We headed into Bremen on Tuesday to have coffee with a friend who's moving away and do a spot of shopping.

Thursday was a quieter day. Isabella was on a trip with nursery and we prepared for her last day.

Friday was her last day at nursery and it was a good one. I can't believe how fast her time there has gone. Another phase comes to an end.

Friday, 7 July 2017


One of the best things about Spain.

I need one!

The key to small talk.

Some life changing tips?

One or two big surprises here.

I must try this.

What an awesome teacher!

Some interesting history here.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Reading Review

Rip Van Winkle - Washington Irving

This was a really odd one. It was from my 'children's classics' collection and yet again, I can't imagine a child reading this.

The book is actually a collection of short stories including Rip Van Winkle and Sleepy Hollow. The stories are all based around a Dutch settlement in the state of New York. Some are vaguely interesting but they don't really grab me. Not one I'll be reading again.

Blackout - Marc Elsberg

Nico put me onto this book after waiting a long time for an English translation. It follows the story of a varied group of characters spread across Europe during a continent wide blackout.

It's an absolute page turner. The scary thing is how realistic and plausible the story is. I could imagine this book as a film. The characters and story are brilliant, I can't recommend it enough.

Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

Now this is a real children's classic. I love this story with its lovable characters and moral stories. It really makes me feel like a child again reading about Rat, Mole, Badger and Toad and their fun adventures. Looking forward to reading this one with the kids.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

July Goals

Here's what I'm planning this month:
-Sort out the hobby room.
-2 recipes
-2 letters
-Get out more!
-Start C1 training

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Recipe: One pot chicken and feta pasta

-Olive oil
-2 chicken breasts
-1 can chopped tomatoes
-1 cup water
-200g pasta
-1 pack feta cheese
-20 olives, quartered
-Handful fresh basil

-Brown the chicken in the oil with seasoning.
-Add the chopped tomatoes, water and pasta, cover and cook for ten minutes. Remove the lid for five minutes.
-Add three quarters of the cheese and olives.
-Serve with remaining cheese and basil.

This was plenty for us three and very filling.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Make it Monday: Papercut Card

 Today I tried a new card making technique through a freebie project from Mollie Makes. I had a cutter and the mat so it was quick and easy.
It's a bit fiddly and the results aren't perfect but it was very therapeutic and the more I look at the finished project, the more it grows on me. I'm looking forward to trying some more paper cutting projects and honing my skills.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Weekly Wisdom

If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Saturday Update

We had a good week.

Isabella had a full nursery week and made us unbelievably proud with her leaving report.

We got various jobs done around the house and garden, some of which had been on my to do list for a while.

I made progress on lots of paperwork; kindergarten, work, bills,...

Lunch with the mums from yoga was more relaxing than ever now that Joshua is happy to play. He also has four teeth now!

Isabella's birthday party was a huge success. She had fun and pass the parcel was new and liked by everyone.

I can't believe June is over already, it was a busy but good month. Let's see if July can match it!

Friday, 30 June 2017


I try not to be political but ... this.

A beautiful travel photography project.

Saving this list for later.

Some yummy pasta recipes.

Love these.

Never really thought about this fruity controversy.


My kitchen cleaner becoming famous stateside.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

June Goals Review

Here's how I did this month:
  • 2 letters - 1 done
  • 3 recipes - done!
  • Plant flowers in the garden - done!
  • Make soap - done!
  • Register for the C1 exam - done!
  • Cycle tour - done!
Not bad for such a busy month with a week away and a week of third birthday celebrations.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017


 This week, dragging my poor family out in torrential rain, I finally got some new plants for the garden. I don't have the best luck with plants but I felt the terrace needed some colour so I'm trying again!

I love the front of our house much more since Nico repaired this bench and we added a bit of deco and green.
 Fuchsia is my favourite. The colour is amazing and fills a spot on the terrace.
 I still love this archway in the garden. The clematis is really growing in now and the new hanging plant should bring even more colour.
 I still love this hanging planter too. The pop of colour matches the flowers below and lifts the eye.
I'm really looking forward to these lillies opening. I've never had them in a pot before. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Recipe: Feta and bean salad

- 2 packs of feta cheese
- 2 cans of kidney beans
- Half a cucumber
- ca. 8 tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Rosemary
- Thyme
- Seasoning


Chop and combine the cheese and vegetables. Rinse the beans and add them. Dress with the oil, lemon juice, herbs and seasoning.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Make it Monday - Potato Print Cushion Covers

 Inspired by the colour scheme of a Mollie Makes project last year, I've been trying to incorporate more pink, turquoise and grey into Isabella's room. Her Ikea furniture is white and pink, she has a grey rug, a turquoise weaving and a painting with all three.
 Following yet another Mollie Makes project, this time from the 2017 calendar, I made three cushion covers for her bedroom too.

I ordered linen in the three colours with enough left over to hopefully make a quilt. I picked up cushions from Ikea. They are fairly large and comfy.
 Adapting an old envelope cushion pattern for the size of the Ikea cushions, I sewed them together yesterday. It's an easy pattern that I have done before.
 To jazz it up I got out a potato and a couple of pastry cutters. I settled on this clover shape as it's not too plain, nor too complicated. I had some white fabric paint to make a nice contrast. Then I got creative! With some help from Nico, I came up with three different patterns.
I'm really pleased with the results. Here's a tutorial if you want to try.