Saturday, August 30, 2008

Weekend Cake

Lemon sponge cake with cherry on the bottom ;-)

Okay, so the cherries were a little heavy for this light sponge and sank to the bottom during the baking process - but the cake still tastes fabulous!

Happy weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Go Green!

It seems everyone's developing a 'green' conscience these days. The interior & fashion world is no exception. American fabric guru Amy Butler has been working with the Gift Wrap Company to come up with an ecological alternative to gift paper & party ware.
The new line is called GIFTWRAP GREEN, ist's 100% post-consumer recycled. The range includes gift wrap paper, gift bags and boxes - all with fabulous Amy Butler prints.

For eco-friendly, organic and recycled clothing go to

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vive la Vie

In this small town it is not unusual for cafés to close for the summer, so too for this café that pretentiously calls itself French Brasserie & Café. They've just re-opened after a three week break. 
The one time we've been there we only had quiche lorraine with a side salad which wasn't exceptional, but it sure beat the ones from the freezer. The menu did look intriguing; and we would come here more often if they didn't have such weird opening hours. On Sundays they only open at midday, Mondays they're entirely closed (and I thought only hairsalons did that ?!), the rest of the week they only open at 3:30 pm. I guess it's more of a 'dinner only' place.
Anyway, one of these days we're going back to test their entrecote, mousse au chocolat, and crevette salad. They have a good selection of French wine as well. For the sweet tooth they do a variety of tartes.
A word of advice. Don't sit outside - you'll be staring at the back of a rather ugly building - which someone decided to have painted a horrible eye-searing blue!
The inside, however, is nicely furnished and decorated with bistro-style knick-knacks.

It's worth a try, when they're open.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our ducks


Best friends.

These two ducks that live in our garden do everything à deux. They make me smile.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To wear or not to wear...

It's that time of year again.

Just like at the beginning of summer, when those first warm rays of sun peek out from behind the clouds, and nobody wants to be the first person baring their naked arms in a T-shirt...I was sheepishly eyeing my black leather boots this morning wondering if a drop to 13°C merited wearing them with my skinny jeans.
Yup, autumn is just around the corner, and usually my heart does a little skip when I think of the soft cashmere cardigans that I get to wear soon; after I've unearthed them from beneath that pile of T-shirts.
But self-confidence deserted me this morning, so I opted for ankle boots instead. Heard the temperature was going to go up to 25°C tomorrow anyway.

Can't wait to break in those boots, though!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Migraine

Leaving behind the stresses of the city, I naively believed I'd be leaving behind my migraine too.
What with the peace and quiet of the country, loads of fresh air, a simpler way of life etc. etc.
Well, I was mistaken.
It hit me again this morning, at 5:55 AM, just before the alarm went off. I am slowly recovering.

As a long-term sufferer I've had plenty of time to experiment with all sorts of pain-reducers, i.e. eliminating cheese, wine & chocolate from my diet (doesn't work); drinking espresso with a squirt of fresh lemon juice (eeuugghh); yoga, meditation, not to mention gulping handfuls of painkillers (worst possible choice if you ask me).

What I found works best in the long run is a moderate amount of Pilates
Aromatherapy; essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, basil work best. Put a few drops of your preferred oil into a neutral carrier oil (sweet almond, jojoba) and gently rub into temples. Alternatively, use a vaporizer, if your family members don't mind the whole house being permeated by the scent!
All natural wild blueberry extract capsules taken over a longer period. Apparently this 'relaxes' the blood vessels.

If you have any other advice on how to alleviate a full-blown attack, please let me know...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quote on Sunday

Imagination is more important than knowledge
(Albert Einstein)

Saturday, August 23, 2008


This region is not only known for its famous Westphalian ham, it's also a major fabric supplier.


These woven fabrics are made from 100% cotton and do not contain ace resin (like most cotton fabrics). They are free of formaldehyde and the colours are non-toxic. Since they are wear-resistant, they are suitable for children's clothing, curtains, cushions, soft toys and all sorts of textiles for the kitchen (tablecloths, potholders, aprons etc.)
I have a whole stack of these at home waiting patiently to be turned into something useful and pretty...but school has started, which means my time for sewing is once again limited. sigh...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympics Ad - Judge for yourself

Carmen van Kerckhove from New Demographics on Spanish basketball teams 'racist' ad

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm Back!

The fantastic fireworks display on August 17th - my b'day :D - definitely was worth the 6 hour drive from west to east Germany. Here are a few impressions from the historic city of Dresden.

men in gold

historic city center with famous cathedral

old mansions on river Elbe

annual streetfestival

Monday, August 11, 2008

Short break

We're off on a short holiday ;-)

Meanwhile I'll leave you to contemplate this poem by G. Eliot.


You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mini Messenger Bag

I made this little bag for my three-and-a half year old niece who lives in the US. She'll be off to kindergarten soon, hence the bag.
It measures 18 x 24 cm with 75 cm strap.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Calling all crafters

     Don't miss out on one of Europe's largest craft fairs taking place in Wiesbaden this year. It's only 8 Euro for adults /4 Euro for kids. Senior citizens / students /groups get a discount. Tickets can be bought at the entrance. The fee includes a catalogue.

There will be more than 50 workshops to participate in, many of them free of charge. There's everything from paper crafting, scrapbooking, clay modelling, patchwork , floristic, needle felting, cross stiching, jewellery making and much, much more.
If you're a patchwork enthusiast, enter a photo of your work to this year's contest no later than 30th November 2008. Great prizes to be won.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Red Pepper

Up until now we've had a pretty wet summer in these parts...(coincidentally, it just started to rain), so I had almost given up hope that anything even faintly resembling a red pepper would grow on my plant this year, but lo and behold one little pepper decided to humor me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yummy Banana Bread

As most of you probably know this country is well-known for its huge variety of bread. But there's always one missing - banana bread.
So I make my own. Here's my recipe. It's healthy, it's nutty, it's delicious!

300 gr whole-wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
250 gr unsalted butter, softened
200 gr brown sugar
3 large bananas, mashed
2 large eggs,
125 gr chopped walnuts

How to:

preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and flour a standard loaf pan.
In a bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl mix together the butter and sugar until creamy, add the banana and eggs and beat until blended. This mixture is rather sticky and a bit lumpy because of the bananas, but this is normal, so don't worry. Add the dry ingredients and nuts and stir until blended. You may add a little corn oil if you think the mixture is not smooth enough. Spread evenly in pan and shake to release air-bubbles. Bake until a thin wooden stick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Approx. 1 hour. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then leave on rack to cool completely.

Enjoy for breakfast!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Why? COS! (it's better than H&M)

Ever since H&M launched its highly successful mail-order catalogue last year, thereby cheering the hearts of millions of women who don't happen to have an H&M store round the corner, we now get to see teens and twens wearing the exact same mille-fleur blouse with the exact same denim skirt sitting in McDonald's at exactly the same time. There's also a sea of look-alike baby-doll tops lined up at the checkout counter, and seven pairs of identical skinny jeans in the exact same shade of dirty blue waiting for the bus to arrive.
If you're like me, and you don't fancy the 'clone' look, COS (collection of style) is your best bet. They're a concept store part of the H&M Group, but it's high fashion at reasonable prices. In fact, it's just a notch down from pret-a-porter!
Check out the stores in UK / Germany / Netherlands / Belgium and Denmark.
Or visit

Monday, August 4, 2008

Land of DIY

I've lived in places where supermarket staff happily pack up your groceries and lug them to your car, where doors to fancy hotels and swanky shopping malls are opened by smiling porters, and where egg fried rice, madras curry or anything else you fancy is cheerfully delivered straight to your door at one o'clock in the morning!

Okay, call me a princess, but would it really be too much to ask if, for once, the local supermarket employee pushed my cart back into its queue, without me having to kick it infront of me one step at a time, whilst simultaneously holding on to two overflowing shopping bags with one arm, and a family-sized pack of loo-rolls tucked under the other. Honestly.
And that time, a few years ago in Habitat, when I bought two outrageously overpriced garden chairs plus a folding table, and the slick shop manager watched me clanging and banging through the entire store all the way to the back, because that's where the parking lot was located. What was he afraid of? Breaking a fingernail???

And the strange phenomena of having to lug the new bookcase, armchair or whatever other bulky furniture you can think of home by yourself! Or pay exorbitant delivery charges.
What do the furniture stores expect? That we all own a pick-up truck?

In this respect, this country has a lot of catching up to do. Needless to say, the governments' campaign to improve customer service has failed dismally. 

Anyway, I've got to go now and cart the bins out to the front, to save the garbage men the trip of going to the back of the house, of course!


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Farmer's Market

Summer is usually the time for festivals, fairs, music & art events and so on...and small towns are no exception.

So, if you want to catch the Farmer's Market, head on down to the neighbouring R-town!
Kids will have a chance to see live animals - everything from horses, cows, sheep, chickens and the odd donkey. Yes, I'm sure all those kids who practically live on a farm will appreciate this.

There's basket making for those of you with a lot of time on their hands, potato-printing for those of you in need of 'ethnic' looking table-cloths, and for people suffering from 'sprue', there's yummy buckwheat pancakes!
Of course, my personal high-light of the day - the 'Kunterdanz' - not to be missed! Old bags dressed in traditional garb stomping around to folksy tunes.

On the other hand you could do what everyone normally does. Get legless.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pet Peeves

1. Heidi Klum being hired yet again for another ad campaign (talk about overkill)

2. People who take their tan too seriously

3. Part-time shops, i.e. shops that open at 9:30 am, close at 12:00 for lunch, re-open at 3:00 pm
    and lock up for the day at 5:30 pm

4. Cotton T-shirts shrinking two sizes after the first wash

5. Friendly, laid-back women who turn into fierce battle-axes the moment they give birth
    to their first child

6. Huge sunglasses that cover almost the entire face

7. Super low-slung jeans and the misguided girls who wear them

8. small men who need to compensate with LOUD VOICES

Friday, August 1, 2008

12 little kitties

Over the years I've shared my home with plenty of kitties. Here's a list of their names, in case any of you cat-lovers out there need some inspiration:

Tiffany / Gucci / Mambo / Bonny / Cappuccino / Muffin / Sushi / Alex / Sammy I / Sammy II / Robbie / Sumi & Virgule.

You may also vote (see vote box on the left) for your favourite cat name.

Resident cat Sammy II reigns our home now (photo). Scroll down for more.

the four 'whiskerteers'


...and Bonny

okay, I've got big ears, so?!