Saturday, 31 December 2011

Bye bye 2011

The last few days have been quite uneventful. We met up with the bf's dad and stepmom a few times. Usually to eat. They didn't really want to visit any tourist things (lots of them were closed anyway). So instead we had a lot of good food. Not complaining there. Time at home I mainly spend reading and watching movies. Great and relaxing.
So today it's the last day of the year and I think it's time to look at last year's resolutions and see how I've done:

  1. Drop ten kilos by the end of the year (preferably not gain any back over Christmas). Surprise surprise this happened! Well, not the last bit. I dropped 12 kilos, but gained 3 back during the holidays. But I am back on healthy eating tomorrow so not worried at all.
  2. Read at least one book a month for pleasure (doesn't count if it's for study). Easy peasy.
  3. Regularly update Goodreads.Done!
  4. Get a haircut at least twice a year (yeah, that's a LOT for me) and make it short.  Done two by May! But none since. Bad me! Might get a cut in January.
  5. Try to eat at least one piece of fruit a day. This has not happened since I switched to a diet back in October that avoids fruit. But I eat loads of fresh vegetables.
  6. Go one week without carbohydrates (bf swears on this so let's try it out). I never did a whole week, but basically do six days of it and then an indulgence day on number 7.
  7. Go out for drinks to a new place at least once a month. I think I managed this. Was not really counting though.
  8. Go to at least six new and exciting dinner places during the year. I thought I would totally fail on this, but since the bf's dad took us out three times this week I managed! LOL.
  9. Go out at least twice a month and ignore work/study for those nights. I meet people from uni about twice a month for drinks/bookclub. So to my own surprise I managed to do this.
  10. Go running once a week. FAIL!
  11. Have a detox day once a month. Fail. Though I feel with the diet I switched to it's really unnecessary. Though what I did do I stocked up on bath bombs, so now will try to have a nice relaxing bath about once a month.
  12. Cook at least two times a week.Bf complains I didn't do it, but I think I tried hard. Though I do make him cook more than me. He's just better at it.
  13. Go to the movies at least six times. Win, Win (May), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, 50/50, Breaking Dawn. Two missing. Darn.
  14. Watch at least four Studio Ghibli movies that I haven't seen yet. My Neighbour Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies. I recorded some on our new TV. Now just need to watch them. But yeah, FAIL!
  15. Use up all the tea in the kitchen before buying any new ones (except my daily dose of green tea. Cannot live without that. But all the 'fun' ones have to go before stocking up again). Fail, I tossed all the ones out when we moved that I knew I wouldn't be drinking anymore.
  16. Go through the whole wardrobe and throw out what I haven't worn for a year or doesn't fit/isn't comfy/looks horrible. Yes! But I kept some things, maybe will have to do it again... Did it again while moving. Tossed out so many clothes mainly due to no storage to keep them. Am very proud of myself.
  17. Buy one pair of shoes that looks good with skirts. And maybe buy a new pencil skirt. I bought some new sandals, which look really nice with skirts. And now also some heels for the winter. Still hard to walk in but at least they look decent.
  18. Smile when somebody wants to take a photograph of me (instead of yelling at them). Yeah, this worked out good for me. Bf complains I don't let him take pictures of me. Which is not true. I don't have any images of him because he keeps hiding from the camera...
  19. Buy a wrist watch. Done! See here...
  20. Reply to messages within three days. No delays allowed. Yes, waiting three months is too long. Sigh, I am still very bad at this. Though got a bit better.
  21. Go on chat/messenger programmes at least twice a week to stay in touch with friends. Still not big at going on messenger. I even turned off the facebook one.
  22. Start an address book and update it regularly.Fail. Though I still would like to do it. I did find my old one. But it's not up-to-date.
  23. Do not just get any job when graduating. It has to be a publishing job. Done, done, done!!!
  24. Put away money once I got a job for a trip to Japan. Working on it. We want to book in a few weeks. I got enough for the flight, now need to save for the money I will need there.
  25. Do the Japanese homework every week for term 2 and 3 and study for half an hour a week on top of the homework. Let's not talk about this...
  26. Finish Japanese for Busy People I and work through half of Japanese for Busy People II. I had high hopes for this to do it in between uni and job starting. But then I started work before I even finished uni, so yeah, that didn't happen....
So there are many things I haven't quite accomplished what I set out to do. But on others things I think I have done rather well. I want to do some New Years resolutions for 2012. Need to have a think about what I want to achieve next year and what to concentrate on and then I will put it up.
Until then... Everyone have a great start to 2012! It can only get better...

Monday, 26 December 2011

Merry Christmas

I know I said that I would probably not get into the whole Christmas spirit this year, but to my own surprise, I was wrong. I met up with a friend of mine at Borough market on the 23rd. I wanted to buy some nice sweets for Christmas Eve. I had planned to make our own Christmas Tea. Boy, the selection was amazing and I had a hard time choosing, but in the end I think I did get some nice pieces.

The market is really not that big, but it was super crowded and we were exhausted after navigating it for about an hour. So we decided to grab some tea. We ended up also sharing a cupcake because looking at all the sweets made us hungry!

Look at the size of this cupcake!
The cupcake was actually not that good. The icing was more like a butter cream. It tasted ok, but was totally not what we expected.

Christmas Eve was a quiet day for us. We headed out in the morning to buy some groceries we still needed and some more plates and glasses. As my bf's dad and stepmom are in London over the holidays we needed more than just the two plates we used to have. Luckily the store still had the same plates we bought in October. They were on sale then, but still had some left so were even cheaper now. Score! I think we paid a pound per plate. Also picked up some wine glasses.

So this is our nice Christmas tea that we had in the afternoon. Some nice scones with clotted brandy butter and raspberry jam and some sweets (Baileys and chocolate cheesecake, marble cake, chocolate eclair and those two Portuguese sweets filled with custards). And no, we couldn't finish it all. We saved some and had it for dessert in the evening. But it was amazing! I really liked the brandy butter. Might have to stock up on that before it goes out of season.

The next way was spent preparing for the bf's dad to come. We pre-cooked a steak and ale stew and pre-boiled some potatoes to roast later in the evening. In the afternoon we headed out to pick them up at their hotel. Because no public transport was running in London we walked. It was actually a pretty nice walk. Not a lot of people out. The wind was chilly, but walking kept us warm. Only took us a bit over an hour and we didn't hurry or anything. Their hotel turned out to be pretty nice. We stayed for about half an hour and then ordered a cab.

Once home we started cooking again. Made roast potatoes, reheated the stew, made some brussels sprouts and some salmon. Boy, that was an amazing dinner. I forgot to take pictures, but all the dishes turned our really nicely. As a started we had ciabatta bread with roasted aubergines dipped in olive oil, vinegar and some herbs. Amazing! We need to host more dinner parties. So much fun! Then we had some wine and beer. And coffee as a dessert. Nothing else because we were stuffed! It was a really lovely evening.

His dad is into photography and he gave us some photos from home and now wants to buy us some frames and hang them up. That should be nice as our walls are empty at the moment.

I don't know. Sitting together and sharing a meal really made Christmas feel like Christmas. It's a shame we didn't have candles or decorations. I will definitely remedy that the next time we have a Christmas at home.

Hope everyone else had a nice Christmas as well. Here's to a good New Year!!!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Whoopie Pies

This week I had my last day of work before the new year. What I didn't expect, but what I thought was really lovely, was my boss giving all of us home-made truffles. They were soooo delicious!

My company also had a little 'Christmas market', where they sold of some books, cakes and other stuff for charity. I couldn't stop myself from buying two whoopie pies. And they had red sparkle on top of them! Very delicious.

On a different note. TFL (transport for London) has just sent around it's holiday schedule, or should I say lack of it. I thought on Christmas Day it was only the tubes that weren't going anywhere. But apparently it's also the buses that are not going. No public transport at all. Not ideal since we want to go meet my bf Dad and stepmom at their hotel I guess we will tell them that sight-seeing is out of the question on that day. We can try to find food. But that's it. We agreed that we would walk to the hotel and then splurge on a cab ride back home. Because they are not gonna rip us off at all if no public transport is available. The joys of Christmas...

Monday, 19 December 2011

Things that only ever happen to other people

You know those things you read about in the newspapers so you know they are real, but they feel really distant because they only ever happen to other people. And usually people you don't know. There can be really cool things like winning the lottery (and I don't mean winning a fiver, I mean winning BIG). Winning the lottery is a great concept. I never buy tickets, because I don't know anyone who has ever won, and it is almost like a fairy tale. It's not really something that can happen.

Other things I am really glad that they never happened to anyone I know. For example my parents got new neighbours since last year. I never met them. They have started a family this year, but their baby girl was born premature and ended up catching an infection. She died soon after. But because I have never met her or her parents it felt like a world away and did not have a big impact.

Well no more. Last weekend my family joined the statistics and we are no longer one of the families were things don't happen. Of course I wish we still were, but that is not how life works out, is it. Last weekend one of my baby nephews died. One minute his heart was beating, the next it wasn't. Paramedics were doing their best to bring him back, which they managed for awhile, but his heart was not strong enough and he didn't last the night.

This was a week ago. We still don't know what happened. Apparently it's just one of those things that can happen while babies are young and still vulnerable. He will be released from hospital on Tuesday. After much cutting and slicing apparently the doctors still couldn't figure out what was wrong. My sister will have a memorial service for him that day. And then he will be cremated on Thursday and be taken home. My sister was too scared of putting him into a tiny casket. 

I have no idea how she and her husband are holding up. My mom and brother spend the last weekend with them. And my ten year old nephew, who was present when it all happened and is very much a bit traumatised, is being handed around to be taken care of while my sister and her husband have made the arrangement. Which just all sounds so WRONG! You do that for older people. When we did all that for my grandma we were sad and mourning, but also very accepting. She was old, and at some point we all have to leave. But why did my little nephew have to leave at six weeks old? That's just not fair.

My sister-in-law and brother are also freaking out a bit. Their son is just a day older than my other nephew. Now they are very scared that at some point he might just stop breathing too.

So yeah, the Christmas spirit is running high in our households at the moment. I am still not going home for the holidays. I spoke to my sister for a long time and she prefers there to be less people. I feel a bit like a traitor for not being there. Then again, I am secretly glad, because I hate funerals and they do nothing for me (except wanting to punch the ministers in the face for saying stupid stuff like 'we should just be thankful for the time we were given'). So I will be on phone duty for the next weeks to lend an ear whenever my sister wants to talk. I think for her it's actually easier to do it on the phone than in person. Though I really don't do any talking. What should I say? It will all be better? BS. 

Sorry for a depressing post. I was thinking a long time about whether I should post about this. But in the end decided that I would. Though I think this might be the only post. So don't think I am a cruel person when the next post will be about baking and fairy lights (it won't). That's just me trying to get back to some kind of normality. Though it's scary how much my house is still 'normal' while my sisters is completely broken. And I cannot explain to her why this has happened to her. Not that I would wish this onto anyone else. I think we are all just struggling with the not knowing how or why it happened.

So this year Christmas will probably be the most depressing one in our lives. I am actually very happy now that I went home for a week in November. At least I met my nephew before he left us. So please everyone remember, tell all your loved ones how much you love them today, because tomorrow might hold surprises we are not quite prepared for.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Advent Calendars

When I was in Germany this year I picked up these niffty postard advent calendars. Of course I didn't post them to anyone but brought them home. The top one is mine and the bottom one is for the bf.

The colours look a little bleached out in these pictures. They are much stronger. I love them both though. I like the classical colours and image in the first. And I like the warmness of the colours and image in the bottom one. Will have to get somebody to send me some for next year!


Yesterday, 6 December, was Nikolaus. I am not sure how many countries actually celebrate Nikolaus, but in Germany when we were kids it was a big deal. I almost liked it more than Christmas. The night before we would bake these breadmen (Stutenkerle) and would be allowed to decorate them ourselves. We could even choose what to make (boy or girl).

Then we would put out special plates (some people put out boots) onto the windowsill so the Nikolaus could leave us presents and candy.

The next morning the plates would have our Stutenkerl on it, plus some clementines, nuts and some chocolates. We all got a little present, usually a book or a tape. We would be lighting candles and then all have breakfast together. And since it was winter and still dark outside it was always such a nice and calm atmosphere. Yes then we had to go to school. But the Nikolaus days that happened to be on a weekend became even more special then. And we would all go out for walks and do things as a family.

So on Monday I slaved away in my kitchen to produce these:

Big Stutenkerl for work.

Got a new brush on the weekend. I love how it's silicone and sooo easy to clean.

Little one for the bf.

And this one is for me.

Size comparison. The big one looks small, but it was much bigger than the others!

So yay me. Now I finally feel in the right mood for Christmas! Gonna order my bf Christmas presents on the weekend and then I am all done! Hurray! Oh and maybe I will get some decorations. This house is a bit blank at the moment.

So happy belated Nikolaus everyone!

Weekend filled with Christmas stuff

This Saturday I decided that I wanted to go see the German Christmas market at the South Bank. We left the house early and since the weather was nice decided to walk all the way there. We stopped at a little café for some breakfast and then headed towards the London Eye.
We stopped by St. Pancras where they had a huge Christmas tree made entirely out of Lego!

Isn't it gorgeous?! My photos really don't do it any justice. Anyway we kept heading towards the Eye though we didn't go a direct path. On our way we discovered a little outside shopping mall. We might go back sometime soon because it was just too lovely, but we didn't have that much time to linger.

We made it to the Christmas market really early and sat down to a cup of mulled wine. It tastes soooo much better at the market than anywhere else. I find British pubs tend to water down the wine and all you taste is spice. But this one was really good and strong. Yay!

We had then planned to go to a German pub to eat lunch, but it was not open when we got there. So we headed back and found a nice burger place for lunch. We also stopped at a camera place and inspected the camera I keep thinking of buying. It's even more lovely than I thought it would be. So I will deffo buy it, just might wait till after Christmas. Or not...

I also need to make a decision on whether I want the bf to buy me a Kindle for Christmas or a Kobo Touch. I just cannot make up my mind. There are so many things going right for either one of them. Darn. Not good at making decisions, but bf refuses to make the decision for me. I figure I will make up my mind before or on the weekend. Or not. I actually already made up my mind about three times and always changed it again... Stupid me. Anyone has opinions on which one they prefer?
Ok, back to internet research on ereaders.

Monday, 5 December 2011

It's almost winter

I wanted to do a real post, but instead I got to play around with the background and colours. I wanted to give it a more winter/Christmas feel. I don't feel like winter at all yet. Mainly because it's not really cold. The last few weeks it has been really mild. I think it might get a bit colder this week. Let's hope so. I really want to get into the right mood before Christmas hits.

Anyway, will try to post about my weekend later! Everyone have a happy Monday ;-)

Friday, 2 December 2011


Oh you are in luck. We took a team photo on the last day of Movember with all our glorious moustaches! Now, no making fun, but this is me if I could grow a stache:

End laughter.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

November is out

So everything in our flat got fixed but the roof issue. Thankfully it's not raining that much at the moment so it only leaked once more. Apparently today people will be climbing up the roof today with fancy new electronic equipment to find the leak. Uhm, ok whatever they say. Just fixed the damn leak. Honestly, I don't see how this has priority. It's raining into your building. The ceiling has water marks now and is wet. I'm no builder, but clearly that can't be good.

Anyway, on to nicer things. The month of November is over now. The boys at work did all grew moustaches and had us sponsor them. We all met up for a last great group photo and us girls put on some fake staches as well. Mine can be seen below. Sorry, no on the face shot, I looked like an idiot. Maybe for the Christmas party where I plan to wear it again as I am going as an old man...

The weekend was great. I went out for breakfast with the bf. We actually had a pre-breakfast breakfast as he forced me to leave the house so early that our chosen place was still closed. So we went into Paul's and had a croissant and mocha.

After that we went over to a lovely breakfast place and I had the Lumberjack Stack: pancake, French toast and waffles served with maple syrup. Delicious! But definitely sugar overload. Then we went to see 50/50. Oh boy, I thought I went to see a comedy. The film was brilliant, but made me cry all over the place. 

After that I headed to lunch with a friend at a fancy Japanese place. And by fancy I mean they had projectors on top of the tables and you had to order from a projected menu. The food was actually shown on your plate. It was cool, but also overpriced. 

And then stupid us went to Oxford Street. Which was packed! I took some photos of the Christmas decorations, but they are really blurry. Will do better next time!

And now it's back to working. Boo. I wish weekends were longer... Maybe one more day, that's all I'm asking...