Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Old Year in Review

It's another year, again. I know it is cliche, but the years do seem to go by quicker and quicker. I don't think I achieved a lot of my resolutions. I had even forgotten that I made any. That doesn't bode well. So let's see which ones I actually managed to stick to.


  • Keep losing weight. Another 10 kilos this year would be great. I don't want to lose it fast, I want to keep it off, so slow and steady is great. Yeah, this did not happen. I actually put on a couple of kilos over the holidays. So I guess I will just have to get it together this year.
  • Be more active. I started doing Zumba at home last year and it felt great to get fitter. I kinda dropped it the last two months because of holidays, sickness and more holidays. So the idea is to work out twice a week. One time Zumba and one time weights. Bf bought a set of weights and I have done training with him the last few days. It's hard but fun. I hope to keep that up. I stopped doing Zumba, but picked up running instead. Doing 2 runs a week, a short one during the week and a longer one on the weekend. So far this has been going really well and I would like to add another day of activity. Either some weights or some yoga, just to not only be running.
  • Keep eating healthy. Except for the two weeks around Christmas I have been eating really healthy. I have actually enjoyed doing it. Had much more energy than before and overall felt better. I think I have done rather well. December was a bit of a screw up, but the rest of the year was pretty healthy. And I am planning to stick to healthy food. Actually got a couple of lunch boxes so I can control better what I eat. 
  • Get more frequent haircuts. Try every two to three months. Hahaha, I think I didn't get one haircut this year. I should get a cut though. At least to get rid off the frizzy and dry bits. Meh, maybe next month.
  • Dye my hair again! Nope. Kinda decided to let the hair dye grow out and see what I am left with. Is taking quiet a lot of time. I guess the not cutting the hair bit is not helping with getting rid off it ;-)


Since I completely failed at any of the goals I set last year I am trying to set a less ambitious goal (like, not working through a whole book). I basically want to stick to what is happening in the lessons. Do the homework/ review and find extra material in the books. Nothing extra. I figure if I can stick to these basics I will do a lot more than I did the last year. And if I really want to do anything extra, I guess I could always find something.

  • Do the lesson reviews each week. This went well for a bit. However my class did not continue to the next year due to a lack of students. So I kinda have been slacking since May. Ups, need to find a study plan without attending classes now.
  • Work on one grammar point per week, matching the one from the lesson or an earlier one. Same as above.
  • Match that grammar point to JFBP and revise.

Fun things

I sometimes get caught up on the internet all day. Instead of doing something I like doing, I end up surfing the net and at the end of the day feel like I wasted my time. So I want to 'schedule' things I like to do in order to remember to do fun things. Yeah, sounds stupid. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the options there are for entertainment (TV, movies, books, games etc) and even though I really want to play or read something I don't start because I cannot decide what to do first and end up doing nothing. I am getting better at this. Less internet, more planned entertainment. I am reading more, watching specific TV shows that I actually like watching and not just random things. 

  • Make an effort to go to the movies (6 times a year). I didn't really count, but it should be around that number, watched three in the last two month (The Hobbit, Skyfall, Twilight) so cannot be doing bad.
  • Spend at least two evenings a week reading for an hour. Done! 
  • Try to play a game at least once a week. I think so. Might be more on the weekend, but definitely enjoying more quality time with games.
  • Blog once a week. Let's not discuss this one...
  • Keep the book club running with meet-ups once a month. It was not once a month but close enough. Though thinking to not do it this year as I am not enjoying the books we have been reading.
  • Try out new restaurants (4 times). Done, one of them was just across the street!
  • Be more sociable. This is not a very concrete goal. But I do want to become more sociable, stay in touch with people, try to make new friends, keep old ones, etc. Maybe try to go out with people from work more often. Hm, I think I did improve on staying in touch with friends that don't live close by. But suck at meeting up with friends that are actually close. Need to work on that!

Overall a big fail. But I am not upset about it. I enjoyed the year overall. I have not made any resolutions for 2013. Of course, there are things I want to do and achieve, but they are not tied into the year specifically. Anybody else had resolutions for 2012, how did you do?

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Hey everyone, sorry for being quiet over the holidays. Hope you all enjoyed yours and were able to re-energise for the new year.

I really enjoyed mine. I was in Canada for two weeks at the bf's family. We met up with lots of his friends and family and also managed to squeeze in some lazy time. We did absolutely nothing touristy or note-worthy. All family and friends visits. A little party for New Year's Eve, some shopping (I love Old Navy), got me some jeans, sweatpants and a nice top. And by nice I mean comfy. Actually both of us bought so many clothes that we had to stuff some into our hand luggage as our suitcase was too heavy. Ups.

Flight home started very interesting. We left the gate. And about ten minutes later had an announcement that we would pull back to the gate to let off a sick passenger. Turns out he was sitting just five rows ahead of us. After he left one of the flight attendants cleaned up after him. I kid you not, she removed about six to seven of those little brown paper bags. Felt very sorry for the two people sitting next to him. The bf is now very worried that it was the noro virus and we will be sick too. Fingers crossed that he just had a bad stomach. 

But now we are back home and back to work tomorrow. Sigh. Wish holidays could last forever!!!!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Distant Worlds

Back in November I attended a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Distant Worlds - music from 25 years of Final Fantasy. I must admit that I did not play most of them. But I have fond memories of number 12. It turned out to be a brilliant concert. The Royal Albert Hall is so beautiful and they had these weird floaty mushroom things under the ceiling. Rather bizarre. Anyway, enjoy some of the pictures I took that night:

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Remember that boiler

Oh remember the boiler? It's all fixed now. We had some nice workmen come in to fix it. Local guys. Very funny indeed. Bf has some Arsenal stuff lying around the house. So of course the guys are fans and from the second they come into our flat it's Arsenal this, and Arsenal that. Have you seen this news article/ statistic/ gossip etc. WOW. Men, just so simple. Instant bonding. Hopefully that meant we got quicker and better service. Hmm...

Monday, 24 December 2012

Starbucks shenanigans

Dear Starbucks employee, 

If you really need to ask for my name at the till, could you please at least get it right? And if that is too much to ask, write something less insulting than Judas. 


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Late Halloween

I meant to post this earlier (much earlier):

On Halloween publicity decided to give out 'bloody' cupcakes. I don't say no to free cupcakes. Even if somebody already clawed their way through them.

Monday, 3 December 2012

... and the heat is off again

Aha! I am not crazy. Boiler did give up this morning (or sometime during the night). When I wanted to hop into the shower this morning the water was freezing cold. And did not get warmer. Luckily I just needed to restart the boiler (too much software in them now) and then it worked again like a charm. But it's only a matter of time. It just cannot handle heating the water and the rooms. Sigh. 

That is all. Just wanted to point out quickly that I am not paranoid ;-)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The heat is on

It took us a long time, but today we finally turned on the heating for this winter. I remember last year we already turned it on in November. This year we were able to hold out a bit longer. It has been freezing at night and I couldn't get my feet warm any longer. So heat is on. And it's still working. I am always a bit worried when it's been off for so long if the boiler will break down. But holding up so far. Yay!

Things have been pretty uneventful lately. Work has calmed down for the year. Should be like this until  January. I am looking forward to our holidays in Canada. Three more weeks!!! Which also means that Christmas is just around the corner. I actually bought some Christmas cards on Friday and filled in the envelopes with the addresses. Now only need to write the cards. Better do that tonight and get them out the door during the week so they arrive on time. I picked a nice Japanese design. It's a great winter scene. Snow falling on trees and some people walking towards a gate holding up umbrellas. Very serene. Everyone will get the same card. I wish they would mix the motifs more in christmas cards packs. But the nice ones are always one motif per pack. Hopefully nobody will compare cards ;-)

I have been able to keep up with running twice a week. The long run has been a bit shorter than intended. Turns out that running and breathing in cold weather and wind really really sucks especially running into the wind. Urgh, that was one of my worst runs last weekend. I basically walked most of the way because I just couldn't suck in any air. This week went much better and I was able to extend my long run for a bit again. I cheated and walked for a couple of hundred meters about half way through though. The incline I had to go up was just too steep, so I took a break and had some water. Walked up the hill and started running again. But overall I would say a really good run.

Now enjoying a nice Sunday evening at home. The bf is cooking and I am listening to podcasts and will make some nice winter punch later. Already took a bath in a mulled spices/ ginger scented bath water. Veeery relaxing. And very deserved after running in the cold. Hope everyone else is also enjoying the first Advent!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

New shoes

Autumn has hit us properly. It's really cold in the mornings, I can see frost on the rooftops! And it tends to be windy and rainy as well. Awful weather really. But it of course also means that I took out all my winter clothes (I love winter clothes, the colours, how cozy everything feels). This is when I noticed that my boots look worse for wear. I had them for several years now and the sole is almost completely gone. Not sure if I can get any traction in icy conditions this winter. Since I don't love this particular pair anyway, I got a bit excited as I could now justify the purchase of a new pair!

So the last couple of weekends I have been searching for nice boots. And my initial excitement wore off quickly when I realised that I don't have 'boot feet'. They just don't fit. I don't know why, but I don't find any of them comfortable. Not even the ones that are ugly and supposed to be comfortable. I am not even going anywhere near the fashionable ones. So great. Not sure what to do for winter now. I guess I have to find some other sensible shoes (but I want boots!). I will be looking around a bit more, but I am really impatient when it comes to trying on shoes (or clothes), so not sure if I will actually get something.

But in better news, I was also looking through running shops to find a new pair of trainers. The old one is getting a bit worn out now that I am actually running in them regularly. They were already old, as I got them four years ago. So I went to one of those fancy running shops, hopped on a running machine and had my gait analysed. I thought it would be a bit more technical, but I was on there for only about 20 seconds (first time I ever went on one, was weirdly disorientating, I felt like I was losing my balance constantly). Turns out I have a neutral, normal gait, so don't need any special shoes, neutral ones are fine. I actually ended up buying the ones I tested running in. They were a perfect fit, not too wide, not too small and I love how the laces are stretchy. And here they are, my little beauties:

My old shoes were purple too. Did not chose this because of the colour though. They are from Saucony. Never heard of this brand before. But then again, I don't really know anything about running. 

Already tried them out. Gave me blisters on my long run, but not too bad. Wore them again after and it was already not so bad. The blisters only came after about 4k. I guess I just have to get used to them first. But otherwise they are really comfortable. Very happy!

Being on the treadmill for the very first time made me want to go back on it. I live in an area that is a bit hilly so I cannot do a lot of flat runs. Which gave me the idea of hopping onto a treadmill to see how far I could run. There is one at my bf's dad house. We will be there over Christmas anyway, so I might just hop on it and see how far I can go without hills and outdoor distractions...

Apologies to everyone reading this. I really don't want to turn this into a running blog. I will post less about running and more about other things next post, promise!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Running off the Cake

I ran my first 5k this weekend! I am just a little bit proud of myself. I know it's not a super huge achievement. There are people who run marathons, but I still can't help myself and feel a bit proud.

As I did not really have any idea or feel of how long 5k was I ran it super slow because I didn't want to run out of steam. As a result it took me forever, but I enjoyed it. Was a great day to do it. I did it in the morning (late morning), the sun was out and it was very cool. Perfect running weather.

It was a much needed run as we had cake week at work. Every year during Frankfurt book fair most people from my department go to Germany to attend the fair. Not me. So all of us who are left behind bring in cake. I kicked off the week with cinnamon rolls on Monday morning. I actually prepared them on Sunday, but didn't actually bake them till Monday morning. So they were all nice and fresh. Though I was sweating on the way to work as the dish was superhot. But the bus and tube was so packed that I couldn't put it down. I think it turned out ok:

The bottom was a bit gooey. We have a shitty microwave oven. I don't think it actually heats to the temperature it says on the display and the heat is very uneven. I left it in twice as long as instructed and it wasn't cooked through all the way. Next time I will try to make a bit less dough to give it a better chance to heat through. They were delicious nonetheless!

Next day one of my co workers brought in chocolate cake.

I didn't remember to take a photo until after I ate almost all of it. Soo good! The icing was made with kahlua and I think got me just a bit tipsy. I didn't take pictures of the other cakes, but they were: ginger cake, golden syrup sponge cake, lemon drizzle cake, ricotta and raspberry scones and forest fruit cheesecake. All of them were amazing. But now I am all caked out and really needed some exercise. Will go for another run today (though a bit shorter) and do a little workout. Makes me feel less guilty about all those sweet things.

Next week we are back to normal boring work. But I found out last week that I still have three days of holidays unallocated for this year. Must have calculated things wrong somewhere. So yay, feels like an extra prezzie now. Might take a long weekend in October and maybe some long weekend in November and December as well. Cannot wait!

But now back to enjoying this weekend. Lunch time. There is some nice olive bread, beef, gherkins and mustard. Love me some good bread.