Archive for the 'Holidays' Category

Our summer in England

This year, Tony gave me a present on his birthday. I came home to find a card in the doorway (painted by Rose) with four cans of compressed gas. The rest of the gift was laid out on the living room floor: two inflatable bed rolls, two sleeping bags (the kind that zip together), a small gas cooker and a tent. He had a plan. The plan was for “a grand camping trip through England”.

I’m sure many people thought us foolish for spending our precious summer holiday on a camping trip to England. Actually, I know some of you did. You told me. Despite the inhibiting factors kindly pointed out to us (advanced pregnancy, unreliable weather, unreliable car, etc) we embarked on our big adventure. A last hurrah as a family of three.

High and low points:

Ferry trip from Dunquirk to Dover. White cliffs, as promised.

Staying with delightful Jim and Libby West, our new friends in Essex.

Seeing Jamie Oliver’s father Trevor at the Cricketer’s in Essex

A day in London

Singing “Portobello Road” on Portobello Road and “Feed the Birds” on the steps of St Paul’s

Spending the second night of our camping adventure in Gloucester hospital with severe vomiting

Free health care with my German health insurance. Love the European Union.

Being advised by the hospital doctor not to continue with the camping adventure

Deciding to salvage the holiday with last minute guesthouse accommodation

“Full English” breakfasts in guesthouses

The beautiful Cornish seaside

Driving onto the narrowest, steepest pedestrian street in Cornwall with swarms of tourists glaring

Finding that, despite all appearances to the contrary, it was possible to drive out the other side

Bath (so far my all time favourite city)

Cambridge (so far Tony’s all time favourite city)

A Jane Austen pilgrimage to Lyme Regis

Being in so much pre-labour pain that I couldn’t reach the Cobb to see Louisa Musgrove’s steps

Spending the warmest, driest day of our trip on the side of the road waiting for a tow-truck

Learning our car was not broken down

Driving safely home through five countries

Being home just in time to go into labour

Thanks must go to my darling husband. It was his idea, his generosity and his exertion which made such a holiday possible. Always my companion in adventures big and small.



To Nanny and Pop, with love

Flying South

Well my friends, I guess I had better come clean and admit my shameful expat secret. I went home!

For the past month, I’ve been in Australia. I guess it was no secret that I and the German winter had had something of a falling out. As morale dropped to critical levels, a little window of relief opened up. A series of fortunate events lead to an offer we couldn’t refuse. Home we flew, like birds, to our southern homeland.

Things I loved:

The long forgotten sensation of bare arms and legs

home grown tomatoes


magazines in english

copious amounts of BBQ’d steak

nieces and nephews

the colour green

sewing days

watching british murder mystries with my father in law


free to air Play School

Looking around me, I couldn’t help feeling a little like Alice in Wonderland. “Curiouser and curiouser” seemed to describe the familiar and yet strange world around me. And as we boarded the plane for our return journey, I couldn’t help asking; was I flying home, or away from home?

If you’re of the friends we didn’t get to see while we were home, we’re really very sorry. Our time and energy didn’t stretch nearly as far we we would have wished. To all those we did see, thank you so much for making it such a special and memorable time for us.

Australia Day

Something I’ve learned: I remember things as being better than they were. Our old house at Brownlee Street, how I cursed the missing fly-screens, plagues of roaches and never-ending dust. Now all I remember are the light-filled rooms, outdoor clothes line and incredible back yard. Our time in Stuttgart? I’m sure many of you remember my bitter complaining (see here and here). The grey carpet, the sleazy furniture, the boredom, the endless grey days. When I look back though, it’s the wondrous markets, good friends, sunny apartment and view of the forest I remember. Same applies (I assume) to January 26th. I spent Australia Day last year trying to sell piles of unwanted junk at a garage sale in North Wollongong. I remember cursing the heat, the beer drinking, the cars, the music, the groups of testosterone-heavy youths with flags emblazoned all over their bodies and clothing (if it could be called that).

Was it really like that? Wasn’t it a day of national harmony and relaxation? Wasn’t there a glorious sun with a gentle but not oppressive heat? Didn’t I swim freely in a pristine ocean before eating a leisurely meal of BBQ’d delights? Didn’t I sip cool drinks by a perfect sunset? Wasn’t everything right with the world? No?

Denim and Red Classic Playtime Baby Overalls

Playtime baby overalls by NeverEver (Sydney)


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She’ll be Apples letterpress cards by rubyvictoria (Hobart)


Hand Knitted Australian Organic Merino Beanie for Baby - Toddler 12-24M

Hand knitted organic Australian merino beanie for baby by VictoriaOC (Melbourne)


Laundry Birds hand printed fabric by pippijoe (Melbourne)


Fill your cup - Tea 3 Range - Art Deco Tea Cup Photograph

Fill Your Teacup art photograph by BuckinghamRoad (Sydney)


shells (organic merino cotton cowl)

“Shells” organic merino cotton cowl by artish (Newcastle)


No Christmas in July

Peaches, cherries, cool mornings and hot evenings, living in singlets and sipping cool drinks. It’s definitely summer, but where is Christmas? As Germany continues its merry course around the sun, the tastes, smells and sights of summer are taunting my senses with a mirage of the festive season. Since this year’s will be my very first Christmas without summer’s delights, I figure there’s no harm in my getting excited now?

Doves and Silver Circles Paper Garland

Doves and silver circles paper garland by paperacorn

Christmas lights - PDF KNITTING PATTERN

Christmas lights PDF knitting pattern by kooklacreations

Vintage British Wool Blanket Stocking

Vintage British wool blanket stocking by XmasMuse

Vintage Card - Christmas Greetings and Love Daughter

Vintage Christmas card by starmango

snowflake ornament - design 1

Snowflake ornament by smallpackagess

Green Stained Glass Christmas Tree 5.5 x 3.5 inches

Stained glass Christmas tree by GustineStreetGlass

mod christmas reindeer - hand carved stamp

Mod Christmas reindeer hand carved stamp by paperfruithair

flora note cards with matching swing tags pack of 5

Note cards with matching swing tags by Ruby Victoria

Felted Wool Angels

Felted wool angels byandreabeth

Elderflower Cordial

Forgive me, but I’m still dreaming of England…

Elderflower Cordial

3L boiling water
900g granulated sugar
50g citric acid
2 lemons, sliced
25-30 elderflower heads

Pour the boiling water over the sugar, stir and leave to cool. Add the citric acid and lemon slices, and stir in the rinsed elderflower heads. Cover with a tea towel and stir occasionally over the next 24 hours. Strain through muslin and pour into sterilised glass jars.

Recipe from the July Country Living.

About Me

A girl with a camera, a toddler and a sewing machine. Making sense of Germany... and life in general.

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