October 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
A very good Monday morning to you all… I’ve been successfully ignoring the shops slowly starting to fill up with Christmas items, but this guy stopped me in my tracks yesterday when I was out for a walk… mistletoe – growing wild in the middle of the city! I don’t normally bring my phone when going for a stroll but I was waiting to hear from a friend and caught this beauty! Look at that blue sky too, it was just a beautiful day. We had visitors all weekend, so there wasn’t a huge amount done around the house.
Flylady’s “Cruising Through the Holidays” journal was emailed around (for free) this week too, so the holidays are on their way. I must get started on that as well. We will have a wedding to go to while we are home for the Christmas period, and i did NOT want to buy anything new, although one of the visitors really put me off and now I don’t know whether to persist with plan A or get something else (secondhand!) I wanted to have a nice vintage style and invest any money into a new coat.
I didnt take many pictures of London when I was there, but I would give a tip as to a decent budget hotel where we stayed which was the Travelodge in Southwark. Walking distance to London Bridge, Westminster (20 mins or so), nearby cafe’s where you can get a fry for around a fiver (saves on lunch!) . We visited the Tower of London which was fascinating, we saw Beefeaters, ravens, the old armoury but gave the crown jewels a miss because the queue in the rain was far too long. Our very kind hosts told us that it’s possible to get in for half price if you have this ticket, but we weren’t organised enough and ended up paying full whack… oh well!
Our next trip is in 2 weeks time, when we return to Ireland for a long weekend. I can’t wait! I’m also sloooooowly planning our long-awaited trip to Japan 2015 which will hopefully coincide with me quitting my job finally, I started to look for a new job last week. Wishing you all a happy and productive week!
September 21, 2014 § 2 Comments
Hello and happy Sunday! I spotted this little guy eating his Sunday lunch in the tree in our shared-garden. Isn’t he a cutie? I think he’s eating an apple intended for the hedgehog that lives in the garden too.There are at least 3 squirrels that live in the garden. The weather is still lovely in Hamburg but is set to change during the week. The days are getting noticeably shorter.
When I start to see the squirrels scurrying about collecting nuts, I start to think of the things I need to do to prepare for the winter season… clearing the summer things out of my wardrobe, seeing what I need to replace and also revising our travel plans for the rest of the year.
In two weeks time we go to London, which is turning out to be VERY expensive, but we are really looking forward to the break and to see friends and family. Last week was also very hard for us work-wise and I have to really start to think about where we go next because we can’t keep going on like this working too much. We really needed this weekend to relax, walk in the woods, wash my hair, do my nails, read a little…. etc.
I can’t help thinking about a long holiday between jobs… somewhere very far away. I had a crazy idea to just book our tickets to Japan for next year as soon as I get paid, we have wanted to go for a long time now. Any readers been there and can give advice if it is good to go spontaneously or plan it out a bit better to get the best experience? Thanks in advance!
September 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
The ole yoghurt maker is back out!! We had some abandoned greek yoghurt in the fridge so I decided to put it to use. Are there any other yoghurt-maker readers out there, perhaps with a tip for how to get it a bit thicker? I use the easi-yo thermal flask – a slightly mad purchase from those celtic tiger days ;)
September 7, 2014 § 4 Comments
Hello dear reader! You find me this week in the middle of packing a small roll along suitcase and making some outfits for the week. The reason for the roll-along is that in a highly unusual situation of events, I’ve been sent to the spanish Island of Majorca this coming Tuesday for work! So excited! I was there once as a child in 1992, it was the first place I ever flew to on a plane.
Seriously glad I am MissusSmartyPants-organised clothes-wise because it will involve working outside in at in at least 30 degree centigrade heat, dining with my boss and a client in the evening, as well as some personal beach time (WOOP!).
My boss will be hanging out in our spare time probably, so I was happy to discover at the back of my wardrobe was something I can use as a beach-coverup – can you say AWKWARD?! I don’t have much sun-holiday clothing because my boyfriend and I NEVER take sun holidays together because he just gets burned, the poor pet. As usual I will be packing using the 5,4,3,2,1 rule which is just great so I will share that with you with an infographic I found on Pinterest should it be of interest to someone:
Other than that, a trip to (ridiculously expensive) London is booked for October, to Ireland in November and then in December again. My suitcase will have plenty to do in the next few months! Feeling very lucky :)
August 25, 2014 § 3 Comments
Hello, I hope you’re already having a good start in your week :)
I was baking cookies again, and this time it was a sugar-free recipe from my lovely friend Keith. Although it says sugar-free they are indeed quite nice with a cuppa. I think the next time I make them I will put a little ginger powder into them, half a teaspoon or so and try baking soda instead of baking powder, because they didn’t rise at all. They needed flipped in my fan oven, you can see they look a bit “well done” in the photo. But I would definitely make them again as a “good-conscience” teatime treat ;)
Here’s his recipe (makes approx 16 cookies):
August 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
Over the weekend we were invited to a party where I wanted to bring a gift of some homemade cookies, but unfortunately I didn’t get the time to do it then and I got them a book token. Just as well as I forgot that the birthday boy is lactose intolerant!! The day afterwards I got around to it and gifted to someone else as a thank-you.
The cookie jar you see here is for us and is a re-purposed sweetie jar. They are the soft-chewy kind and take a little bit of time when they’re being baked because you need to just watch that they are browning on the outside but not too baked inside. They are ridiculously simple to throw together and everyone is delighted to receive home-baked cookies! The simple recipe came from a library book way back when and I don’t know what the original book was called, but here it is (makes approx 36 cookies):
Classic Soft-Bake Choc Chip Cookies
- 220g butter
- 160g brown sugar
- 110g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 300g plain flour
- 1tsp bicarb of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 250g choc chips
- Preheat oven to 190°C.
- Beat butter and sugars together until smooth
- Add eggs & vanilla then continue beating until combined
- Sift the flour, bicarb of soda & salt and stir into the butter mix until just combined
- Add choc chips and stir
- Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the ungreased baking sheets about 5cm apart
- Bake for 10-12 mins until the surface is just set but the centres are still soft. they will appear underdone but will continue to harden while cooling. The “secret” is not to over-bake them.
- Allow to cool for 2mins on the baking sheets (no longer or they’ll harden too much) then transfer them to wire racks to finish.
August 15, 2014 § 4 Comments
Something I didn’t mention the last few weeks is that I have been trying to reduce the old spare tyre a little bit and am trying a mixture of freeletics and paleo. The hardest part is that I do my exercise in the morning and it makes Paleo breakfast a bit tight for time, so I thought I might bake a loaf to save me a bit of time. The reason I didn”t make muffins instead is that I have no muffin tray.
- Here was the recipe i muddled to gether from a few different paleo cakes/loaves:
- 1 and 1/4 cup carrots
- 1/4 cup oil (I had no coconut oil so I just used sunflower – not paleo but whatever)
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1 cup ground coconut
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 3 bananas mashed (I think I would take two next time)
Then handfuls of the following from the pantry:
- poppy seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, raisins
- And before it goes into the oven add a quick tablespoon of vinegar (i had japanese rice wine vinegar)
I baked it at 160 C for about 40 mins and it came out more like a dense, moist, slightly sweet loaf.