abcfee – our 2015 edition

– Edit: This is not a brand new post, we already posted it on the re-designed (I couldn’t resist)- but haven’t quite figured out how to re-direct you guys there. I know, I know, bad blogger not keeping up with the tech-side of things. I hope we manage soon, until then please check it out and let us know if you like the new style 🙂

When Fee puts out a challenge we rise to it – this time more than 15.000 photos were posted on instagram for her ABC challenge, #abcfee2015, and Fee herself rose to the challenge of looking at all of them and pining her favourites on the pin board (check it out). Here are our pictures, all the words are (obviously) in German, but some English words did fit the letter of the day as well, maybe next time we should try to match all the words in both languages…. We didn’t complete the whole ABC as you will see, because we were dog-sitting over the Easter weekend (guys, 4 dogs are a lot of work!) and my sister was in town (2 kiddos & 1 dog…). Enough excuses, here we go:

abc-1A) Apfel or (braised) Apples with Banana bread: our breakfast that day. B) Baustellenlärm also known as construction noise (which has been going on since March next door…) C) Chill (or dog manicure) D) Doppelt sehen or seeing double – continuing with H) Hunde (dogs), I) Irene J) Jeans (the dog park edition) K) Kaffee (coffee), and then picking up with S) Strohhut (straw hat) my super cute favourite nephew no 1 at Kensington Gardens.

abc-2With H) like Häuser (houses) – I had a creative day and the time to take two pictures…, T Tee (tea), U) unglaublich süß, super cute, V) versteckt (hidden), W) würzig (flavourful/spicy), XYZ) zzzz.

Even tough we didn’t manage to complete every letter of the alphabet, it was great fun. We sat over breakfast thinking about words and possible photos. Please Fee, recover quickly from all this work and do another one soon!


Dear Friday


It’s not only Friday, but Good Friday this week – are you all set up for Easter (or Passover)? We are definitely not there yet: the Easter decoration is still in the box and the menu currently only exists in our heads… (reinforce mental note: go shopping in the morning, like in: now!) We are going to be non-traditional (read: Lamb-free ): The plan is blood orange and fennel osso buco (still no idea for first course or dessert yet). The weather is supposed to be – ehm, not great – like almost every Easter – ok, not true, my very first Easter in the UK it was almost 20°C warm and I remember there were sleeveless t-shirts and a pick-nick at Kew Gardens (pictures of proof exist somewhere).  Still looking for some food ideas, decoration or gifts for Easter? Here is a small selection:

Looking for some cooking ideas and don’t know what’s in season right now? Cookie and Kate have a great April guide.

A lovely selection of Easter books for children.

Up for a bunny garland or ombre eggs?

Any plans for Easter breakfast? Check out this post or, even better, check out the whole blog – the renovations are fantastic!

Since we are still freezing outside (when not running or playing with the dog), this giant fuzzball is hugely tempting (totally not in the budget and also no space to put it, and most probably Micro would call dibs…)

Hope you have something lovely planned for the Easter weekend, spend some time with family and/or friends and have some gorgeous food. Have a good one!

Dear Friday

Micro and Austin at Camber Sands beach

Micro and Austin at Camber Sands beach last Saturday

It’s Friday again! How was your week? This week was particularly hard in terms of construction works next door, the sledge hammer new generation or something. The floor boards vibrated for hours, in this case not even noise-cancelling headphones work. Micro and I immigrated to the coffee shop, where I did some work while he was curled up next to me. I can’t wait every day until it’s 5:00pm (which is when they normally finish), unfortunately they also work in Saturdays. Last Saturday even before I had the chance to have a single drop of coffee… aaaaahhh!

Thanks to Micro’s constant kissing amongst other things (although doggy kisses are apparently good for you) we tried to make our make-up routine more eco-friendly. First time we miserably failed, because it’s not easy to find your way through the cosmetic jungle (and not everyone has a diploma in chemistry to fall back on and understand the ingredients). We resorted to Think Dirty. The app helps you to find out what’s really in your (cosmetic) bag. Most of the time we have our phones with us, so it’s  easy to simply scan the bar code and find out if your really want all these things in your face (and your dog’s tummy).

The weather is getting better (or I want it to be better, we got rained on during our big walk the last two days and it’s definitely cold outside) and I want new shoes to take Micro out. Maybe some new Rockport (I have a pair from some years back I used all last year to take Micro out) or (very tempting) these from Hanwag (and obviously more expensive, sigh). Serious eats had a staple pantry pick, which made me think how ours changed with the whole30: no more beans and a lot more chilled coconut milk, some home made red curry paste (frozen) and instead of peanut butter (which apparently is not great when you have hypothyroidism) we have a large jar of cashew butter (actually, I’m not sure this thing doesn’t qualify as ‘jar’ anymore, but hey, we don’t want to be too strict about this).

And maybe this banana cake is the right thing for your weekend? It’s supposed to be raining here all day on Saturday (great!) I foresee lots of long hot showers and curling up in bed with a book  – after having taken the dog out … not that Micro likes the rain either – he takes any chance he gets to curl up under the cover. Whatever you have planned, have a great weekend!

Dear Friday

Breakfast in bed

Hello and welcome to a new Friday, the door to the weekend! How was your week? This week was uneventful – especially compared to the last one when we drove home and back to London within 3 days (yes, we do these things).  We had Sunday to unpack and re-group – and of course, thanks to that, our meal prep was a bit sketchy, though we stayed on the whole30 track. We’ve gotten the hang of our morning routine, getting up, lemon water and yoga and then we really enjoy sitting down having breakfast with hazelnut milk coffee. Weird, I’d never though I would like that dairy-free concoction or have enough time to sit and chat on a weekday breakfast. I didn’t even do that at school (especially not the chatty bit, which is unusual for me). The energy levels are still low – G almost keels over sideways after dinner, but then she just started a new job, so she might have a good excuse here. We both saw some changes, but feel it’s too early to draw conclusions. Probably we should think about adding another 30 days….? No idea, but that can be discussed on the weekend.

What else did I find interesting this week?

It might be a good thing to stay away from pre-packaged, ready-made food and invest some time into cooking yourself, especially when you read this study.

We let it happen, by looking away, by not listening or not being able to see the signs – the stitch would you wear it?

Not whole30 approved, but it looks oh so great: sweet potato and apricot cake

Already looking for Easter Egg decoration? Try this one, this one or this one

I have said that the week was uneventful, and it was, until a few hours ago I learned that Micro’s new buddy Balto passed away. It’s so, so sad! I hope he finds plenty of interesting things to explore in doggy heaven!! Life is quite short people, let’s enjoy it while we have the possibility to do so. Plan something nice for this weekend.

Walking with friends: Austin & Micro outside of the water and Balto in the middle of it

Seeing with your nose – Dog Tuesday

Sleepy Dog

The plan for last week was to upload the ‘Am I ready for a dog’ checklist, but our work schedule got nixed first by young Austin the Golden Retriever (who scared us yet again by having played with the ibuprofen package, but all is well and he didn’t ingest any tablets) and then driving home to Germany on Thursday and back Saturday.

Instead, today you get a post I had planned for a little bit later. This might help, when you are  looking at your dog stopping (again) and sniffing (again, and again) when you would like to go… and the frustration rises. This TED video gives you an idea why this is happening (the stopping and sniffing, not the frustration part) and how cool your dog’s nose actually is. I would disagree with the statement that dogs only see black and white, however, studies show that they are red-green blind. This means you could train you dog to sort the yellow and the blue socks – if you wan to invest the time.

Dear Friday

Photo from – and yes, we are still having lemon water in the morning

Dear, dear Friday, so thankful that you are here! What a week! Cutting out dairy from our diet really hit us this week. We were (are) so tired – whole30-10th day hang-over-kind-of-thing. So far, the hazelnut-date-vanilla concoction wins in the category ‘best milk replacement’. The need to have milk seems to have diminished, though the need to have something is still there. We definitely feel less full – less bloated as well (hmm, might be a reason for feeling less full….), and apparently facial skin cleared up, but not so much the skin on my hands which is really playing up. Did anyone else experience this? Lots of headaches, but that could be because I pushed myself way over the edge (yep, still doing that) and with G doing 2 jobs until next week, it’s not been a walk in the park for her either. This would also be the reason why there was no Dog Tuesday – although I had planned it to be every 2 weeks (or every fortnight as they say here – took me the longest time to figure out what that meant!). We did a ‘Are you ready for a dog checklist’ – which was great fun designing and you will be able to download next Tuesday. Lists with ‘what do I need for a new dog’ and a budget planner are in the works –  exciting things ahead 🙂

But enough about us, how was your week? Are you looking forward to your Friday evening? Do you have a Friday ritual?

Do you have a food/drink ritual? This winter we have tried warm orange juice with ginger and it worked really well. Here are a couple of ideas.

My friend A has donor kidneys – he suffered from graduate kidney failure, which eventually made it necessary for his survival to be put on the list for new kidneys. It also forced him to change career paths from an active musician to becoming a great recording engineer. We talked about how it feels to live with other people’s organs -even though I found the subject difficult to approach. So, I know about a lot of the pitfalls, and this story is very unusual, but watching it will make you smile.

I got really excited when I read this article about twice baked potatoes (and the possibility to freeze them!!) Even though I can’t have them myself, they’ll make a nice meal for our guests. Y, this one is especially for you!

We knew it all along: women do more housework than men – since the Neanderthal!

And I leave you with the timeless Kathleen Battle and ‘Where’re you walk’ – Micro loves it, he ‘sings’ with it. It also brings some peace into our flat, especially when they are using the power-drill next door, like they are now…. Have a happy weekend!

Dear Friday

First time: home made almond milk

How was your week? Is it just me or do the weeks feel twice as long lately. G and I have started on the whole30 for lent (which is not this year’s motto of the Protestant Church in Germany, which I used to take as an example; they go with ‘you are beautiful’ instead..hmm, at a stretch this might still work.). The main change for us was leaving  out all dairy . One could say we went a bit overboard with dairy once we decided we would be without it for lent… we slowly came off it, not wanting to throw anything away. Thus, Monday (and not Ash Wednesday) was actually our first day without. Curiously enough, cutting out grains from my diet two years ago didn’t nearly give me the cravings I now have for milk, especially in the morning with my coffee. It only started to fade a bit yesterday – let’s see what happens in week 2, then.

G accepted a new job (yes, I know, that was fast – long story though) and found this to solve her shoe problems. Have you tried it?

Slightly late for us, but here is the how to catch a mouse video in case you have this problem. Don’t forget to stay away from sticky traps whatever you do – the mouse is definitely not going to quietly wait on it until you release her/him!

This is going to make you breathe.

Have you cleaned your Mac/PC lately? If not, have a look at this for some tips – and if you have f.lux enabled, don’t disable it in your login items (like yours truly) and wonder why the display still has a yellow tint in the morning…

Are you a highly sensitive person? Then, you probably need to arrange your space differently – do the test.

Do you have anything nice planned for the weekend? We’re going to meet up with our friend J and her little daughter for brunch and we will spend some time on meal planning, because with that sort of choice for food, you need to be prepared. Whatever you do I hope you have a great weekend!!

Dear Friday

Photo by Staffage via:

Dear Friday, what a roller-coaster of a week this has been!  We started a new morning routine  by getting up slightly earlier (than before) and starting the day with some lemon water and yoga before sitting down for breakfast. We only check messages or go online after having had coffee. I thought it would be hard (and yes, getting up is really hard) and we’re only doing a light morning routine to wake up and focus (otherwise, no chance for me to get out and take Micro to the park). Because we have been going through a stressful phase, it’s been really good and helped us to focus and get through the day with more ease. We will report how it this develops.

You’re looking for some good arguments to get up earlier in the morning? Here and here are a couple of tips. This also might change your evening routine.

Need some ideas for what to have for breakfast, now that you have more time for it? How about this bread? Or, if you can read German, this blog is all about bread – and we used to make some great bread from it when we were still eating grains.  Ah,  the smell of fresh bread (sigh)…

Do you have a shoes-on or shoes-off policy at your place? You might want to read this, if you are cleaning your place on Fridays, it will push you the extra mile – and the article didn’t even put a dog or a cat into the equation – eek!

I am so glad it’s Friday and time to relax a bit. I hope you have a truly fantastic weekend and a short break from your weekday routine!

Dog Tuesday- I want a dog

choose-you-dogWe have been thinking about a dog category for a while so we are starting out this new feature today. How exiting! If you don’t like dogs and prefer cats (or hamsters, crocodiles or snakes) feel free to skip these posts, we don’t mind. We know not everyone loves dogs, and the reptiles out there need some love, too. But for all you cat lovers out there, I wish I’d known some of the tricks for dogs when I had cats – they do work for cats as well. You don’t believe me? Watch this!

Did we get you curious about getting a dog with our 1 year with the dog post (and all the pictures with Micro from the last year)? You have been collecting cute dogs pictures on pinterest, longingly looked at the dogs waiting for their owners outside a shop, talking to random people on the street because they had a cute dog? You did one or all of the above? Then it’s probably time you seriously thought about getting one. Don’t quite know where to start? Fear not, we will give you some ideas.

1. What sort of dog would you like to have – and what sort of dog would like you as a human? Yep, a relationship with your dog is a two-way street. (Actually with a cat as well, but I digress….) If you are not a very active person getting an active breed (= a dog that needs a lot of exercise to be happy) is, sorry to say it, not for you. Example: You have a family with four kids under 10 years and one with AHDS, then a border collie (that is used to herd sheep, and will probably round up all your kids in the living room) is most probably not the right choice. Unless – you are prepared to pay a good dog walker to exercise the dog for you – but would it really be your dog then? But, hey, it’s possible if you really, really like one breed of dog so very much that no other dog would do for you. You will need to budget for it, and plan very carefully, though.

2. You have no idea what sort of breed you would like? No problem, do some reading or even better watch some videos: Dogs 101 has done entertaining short videos about all the different breeds (even rare ones) and gives nice summaries at the end of each clip, so that you can see if that sort of breed is suitable for you lifestyle. Or maybe you’d prefer to download an app to know more? All is possible! How much exercise does the dog need, can I have the dog with kids,  house or flat suitable, how much grooming is needed – all this and more will be answered.

Please, please think about this step very carefully – I meet those people in the dog park, who tell me the dog is too much work and not what they expected and that they will return it. It makes me so incredibly sad. I have seen flyers where people advertise to sell their dog, because they don’t want it any longer. I even met a man who came to the dog park asking if we wanted the dog he was walking, he would give it for free.
How can you even think about returning a dog like a pair of pants that don’t fit? So, pretty please, don’t be that sort of human. Ok? Ok!

And,  because it has to be mentioned, the BBC made a film about dog breeds, what ideas humans have on what dogs should look like, and what it means for the dog. It’s called Pedigree Exposed – and, like in every good movie, there is also a sequel, but start with the first one first. Be prepared when you watch it, though, it’s not an easy film to see. The UK Kennel Club did change some of their regulations afterwards for instance not to (euphemism on) ‘put to sleep’ (euphemism off) Rhodesian Rigdeback puppies that don’t have a ridge, because they carry a genetic mutation…. don’t – even – get – me – started on that subject! This film is the reason why we don’t see big UK dog shows on BBC television, BBC dropped their sponsorship of the dog show.

Micro at the beach

I have no ears – Micro’s first time at the beach

Now you should have an idea which sort of breed will make a good dog companion, and this gives you 2 options:

Option A – get a dog from a (good) breeder

Option B – get a dog from a shelter

Let’s start with option A (just because we wanted to have a dog from the shelter, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have one, too). Start by finding a good, respectable breeder – preferably in your area, but sometimes if you want a rare breed you have to go further afield. The UK Kennel Club has a comprehensive list  – they even have a video (if you don’t like to read through the list) and you can search for the breed you like here, hey they even have an app. For Germany, you can start out here.  In any case: say no to impulse buy bargain counter pups (or Wühltischwelpen in German – had no idea that word existed!). And, because history teaches us that inbreeding is not a great thing for dogs (or humans, that’s why we have those laws), try to avoid breeders who do that. You didn’t know? Read up about the Habsburger family and all their funny genetic happenings like the famous Habsburger jaw.

The famous Jaw here: Charles II of Spain – his mother Mariana of Austria was also the niece of his father Philip IV of Spain

Option B obviously involves looking for a shelter – I would advise to start talking to people who already have rescue animals, to get an idea about what sorts of shelters are out there. There are the big ones such as Battersea, RSPCA or Dog’s Trust (they also have an app), but there are also great smaller ones out there, where people rescue dogs from abroad like Micro’s friend Alfie, who is from the Desperate Greekies. If your heart is set on a breed (and you don’t necessarily want a puppy) you can search for the breed you like + rescue (e.g Vizsla rescue or Greyhoud rescue – I chose those two breeds at random to give you examples).

If you have spotted a dog on a shelter website that you think would be great to meet, it helps if you are well prepared when you visit a shelter. That means, you know what you can offer the dog, where the nearest (dog)parks and vets are (after what happened to Micro’s friend Austin, it does not hurt to know the name and number of the emergency vet as well…), and, if you are renting, if your landlord is fine with you keeping a dog. You will need that piece of paper from the landlord, so better start with that right now, then you can think about moving if they don’t like it…. People from the shelter will also come and do a home visit, and if you pass, you can take your furry friend home. In Germany you will sometimes have to commit to walking the dog for a certain number of times before you can take him home. Don’t think those rules are there to make it hard to get a dog, see it as a trial period for you and the dog. There is a very high number of returns (hate the word in this context) of shelter dogs, and better test it out first, then to make a dog (and possibly you) unhappy. Right?

Option B also comes with a B1 sub-option: you can foster a dog, all shelters have the option of fostering or you could go for this project here (love that idea!).

And here is everything I said above, just in a very cool graphic – unfortunately BarkBuddy does not work outside of the US – does anyone know of a similar app for UK or Germany?

Are you all ready to get started? Did we forget something? And don’t forget to tell us in the comments what you think!