Dear Friday

coffee break

Coffee Break

Happy Friday 13th! Are you all ready for Valentine’s Day tomorrow? If you need ideas fast have you checked out Rachel’s lazy girl’s guide (love them!) for Valentines’s Day (single or couple). You don’t need to rush out to buy a card,  there are lots of options for free printables (just in case you remember this at 11pm tonight…)

If you prefer to do some diy over the weekends: Love this idea of a reclaimed wood buffet sigh, there’s not enough space to do this here

Have you seen the interview with ballet dancer Polina Semionova? She so reminds me of our friend H – who is not a dancer (but could have been one), but she is a pianist 🙂

Don’t forget that Joyce DiDonato takes over the Metopera instagramm account tomorrow with  Lady of the Lake pictures (and it’s her birthday as well)

In search of a light lunch? How about this salad for lunch – a bit of spring on the plate already

For everyone at home a cheerful Helau und Alaaf!!! (miss carnival, snif) We will (hopefully) get up early to walk the dog – otherwise we will have to jog through the rain (again, where is the sun?!?) and then have some with out of G’s stylish cups and maybe some waffles…? If you are celebrating Valentine’s Day or carnival, what ever you do, have a great weekend!


Dear Friday

Austin and Micro after a run in the park

Happy Friday everyone! Did you have a good week? This week has been both uneventful and stressful, but it’s nearly finished, so enough said! I’m writing this from the centre of the storm – next door drilling just reached a new level: the floor = my bed is shaking… Thankfully it never lasts for too long and I will add  some white noise to this sound mix (otherwise known as hoovering) as soon as I hit publish.  Micro and his BFF Austin are both with the dog-walker, this means their humans can get some work done. It’s just a little bit easier for me when he is running with his friends and I ‘just’ have to do some cleaning (haha!). He is not a big fan of being taken away by the dog-walker, but I know he does enjoy running with his doggie friends. He comes home exhausted and we can curl up together.

Reading from your tea leaves? No, reading from your choice of chilli

New alternative to gel nails – what do you think?

Diagrams that make cooking easier – lots of them

Solar powered light in a jar – something for favourite nephew no.1’s birthday?

With all the drilling going on next door, I really could have done with these headphones  this week

Google maps can be useful, even for Frodo

Oh, and in case you have not done enough cleaning in January follow Heike on her cleaning journey – it’s in German, but her videos are pretty self-explanatory and she has lots of great ideas for storage and organisation.

What are your plans for this weekend? The weather is not supposed to be great, so I don’t think we’ll do a lot other than taking the dog out for long walks, drinking tea – and maybe G’s going to make some cookies…? It’s this time of the year where I have enough of the winter and can’t wait for spring to start. I have seen that daffodils start to come out of the ground, so hopefully not much longer! Whatever you do, have a fantastic weekend!


Dear Friday

apartment therapy

Pets make kitchen a happier place ©apartment therapy

Hey, how have you been? How was your week? It’s been one hell of a week here and I still  get bad migraines, if I don’t rest enough – and enough seems like a lot currently. Plus, they are doing some building works next door, so there is a lot of sledge hammering and drilling from there – not really the quiet, peaceful atmosphere you’d wish for. I can’t tell you how glad I am it’s nearly weekend!

The January Cure is coming to a close and we haven’t managed to do the living room – oh, well it’s postponed not abandoned.

Joyce DiDonato’s new CD Stella di Napoli – great new music to listen to, in case you are in the mood for something new.

Leonardo had change of mind – a cool revelation thanks to science.

Pets make kitchen a happier place to be – hmm, guess we should re-think that the kitchen is a no-go area for Micro.

This sounds like a reasonable breakfast option – and definitively very pretty bowls! Coincidentally, after having added this link, I found the bowls here.

If you are already looking for a pretty valentine’s card – this might be a diy version for you.

What ever you do this weekend, have fun and stay warm – I hear there is some snow coming.

Year 1 with the dog

Micro’s first day at with us at home, still looking lost and worried

Warning: long post, lots of dog content!

One year ago (at 11:30am exactly) we went to the RSPCA  at South Godstone and picked up our little Micro. At this point he was still called Rudy. He didn’t answer to that name, so we thought we might as well call him Micro, since we didn’t think he looked like a Rudy. Skinner (after the psychologist B.F. Skinner) was also a contender for the name, but somehow lost over Micro in the process.  We picked the puppy up, put him in his new crate and drove off, somehow slightly surprised (despite many weeks of preparation) that we now had a little doggie.

At home

At home, working, adjusting to working with a dog on my lap

Why a dog, you ask? Some years ago, we nearly got a cat, but the breeder called us the day before we were supposed to meet, telling us that she had sold the entire litter to other people. Grit being allergic to cats, we selected a breed that is supposedly better for those people. Since it fell through, we didn’t feel like we wanted to try another time. We talked about it, but that was it. And then I started to go through hell with my PhD (that would be stuff for another post one day maybe, but if you really want to know right now, google PhD problems, you’ll find it at the top of the list). My health, not the most stable anyway, started to degrade seriously. I know that some people  with that illness never recovered from their set-backs and I was really worried. (comment from G: understatement of the year! M was so unwell that she wasn’t sure if she’d ever recover or ever be well enough to make life plans again. It does make you re-evaluate what you’re waiting for, and sometimes the outcome of those deliberations has to be ‘now or never’) I remember standing at the bus stop and saying to G ‘What are we waiting for? Let’s get a dog!’ We have a walk-in kitchen – no way we should get a cat that I could  then pick up from the counter-tops every 5 minutes 🙂 So, we didn’t take that bus. We turned round instead and walked into the vet’s office next to the bus stop and asked what would be involved, and how we could start the process of adopting a dog. The vet’s nurses were quite lovely and told us we needed to have permission from the landlord (in writing), and then find a dog (either with Battersea dogs & cats, dog’s trust or RSPCA) that we would like.

So, we proceeded to get permission, which was granted without a problem and then G looked for dogs everywhere. We had a few months to get organised: we knew, we had to wait until I had the upgrade exam (that was my final marker before taking a decision about how to proceed further with the PhD). That unfortunate event (no further details right here right now) took place mid-December. We had flight tickets to go home for Christmas, so I only started to be really part of the dog-searching process process in the New Year.

Taking Micro to the dog park

G had sent me an email before Christmas though (to cheer me up) with a dog selection and ‘Rudy’ was in it. He was really the only dog I immediately liked – but I didn’t want a puppy or a male dog….(yep, I know, famous last words) We found a female dog online we wanted to visit the first weekend in January 2014, but when we arrived there had been some miscommunication within the RSPCA team, and that dog had been promised to someone else. To say we were disappointed would be an understatement. However, we talked to the person in charge that day to see if there might be any other dogs looking for homes, that would suit us and our specific lifestyle. She asked us how our usual schedule was, how many dogs we had before, what we could offer a dog, and she thought we would be fit for a puppy (big surprise!!) and asked if we wanted to see ‘Rudy’. Yes we did 🙂

Micro's first time at the beach

Sand on the nose, no ears: Micro’s first time at the beach

‘Rudy’ had been found in an abandoned house/garden before Christmas, together with 3 other dogs, one was believed to be the father of the 3 youngsters, ‘Rudy’ was the youngest, and no potential adopter (is that a word?) wanted to see him up to that point. There we were: one member of staff went to get the puppy and then he was there, so cute, but with this lost, scared look in his eyes. They were super nice and let us sit with the dog for over an hour on the floor of their vet’s office. He (the dog, not the vet) was very playful and interested in us, especially fond of the Velcro on G’s jacket (Velcro was actually another contender for his name). We walked out of the vet’s office to set the adoption process in motion and had the hardest time to leave the dog behind. At that point Micro was not really concerned with people, they came and went and he didn’t seem to miss them once they were gone – completely different with dogs though, as I learned when I started taking him to the dog park. I could have left: as long as he had doggie friends, he was fine.

We got a house visit from a member of RSPCA the next week, and got approved immediately (YEY!). Grit took a week off from work – a sort of a ‘puppymoon’, as someone at the dog park called it later that year. They also had just started the adoption process. We could have taken the puppy with us on the day of the approval, but I was so scared to do something wrong with the dog (or in another words, a piece of little chicken shit to mess up the dog, since it’s my first one), that we only visited him again for a few hours and waited another five days, until G’s holiday, to pick Micro up.

It’s really the best thing we have done last year. Why a rescue dog and not one from the breeder? Well, personally I prefer a cross over a pure breed, and G didn’t mind. It’s definitely more ‘work’ with a rescue dog. Generally speaking,  they all come with their issues, and you need to work with them and work out how to help them get through these (lots of work, as I said). We watched countless videos with dog trainers – and yes, also with the ‘dog whisperer’. The most important thing I took away from that was that you can ‘tune into the dog’s energy’, which – if you ever have done any Eastern form of sport or medicine – should come very easy to you. We had one lesson in a puppy class – definitely not the ‘positive training’ kind of person (although they had advertised themselves as that), and neither the dog nor us were happy at the end, so we never went back. I found a lot of great tips with Zak. And we have a fantastic dog walker really close to us, even though it wasn’t love at first sight for Micro, we were finally able to let Micro to go with the pack and he came back so zen, it was great!

Micro with his friends Trudi and Squeeky

Having Micro has forced me to go out and talk to people – I never talked to so many people in 12 years of living in London! – in my darkest days, when I thought I completely messed everything up (PhD, life in general, you know the whole thing). My natural instinct would have been to hide under my blanket and never come out again. Not so much luck with a puppy that needs to be taken out every 2 hours and you need to have high positive energy to make him think the outside is fun and (please) follow me there. I learned a lot about dogs that year, made new friends and I’m very grateful for it. Here is to (hopefully) many more years to come!

Micro and his friend Austin unusually asleep



Dear Friday

New year, new resolutions, new dear Friday. TGI Friday!  What a week this has been – I am so looking forward to the weekend! Last Thursday Mirco’s furry friend Austin thought it was great fun to eat some painkillers that were high up on the table (where he is not supposed to be, and, as his humans thought, out of reach for him). Let me tell you, it was far from being fun. He was taken into animal hospital almost the moment we went to the vet (Micro and I came along as psychological support) or, if you’d asked Micro, he left through the other door and was gone. In reality,  Austin was in the back of the vet’s office getting blood work done and some infusions and stayed in hospital for another 48 hours. He got briefly re-admitted on Monday for a scan and that’s when poor Micro really lost it. The second time he had to leave the vet without his furry friend, he wasn’t going to take it lightly: so Micro didn’t eat until about 9:30 pm that day  (we tried all his favourite foods) and once he saw Austin again on Tuesday, he wouldn’t leave him out of his sight, he tried to get in between him and the vet when we walked in to pick up some meds, cried like baby when he couldn’t see Austin having a shower (after a muddy walk in the park and the humans wanted to sit down for a nice catch up coffee…) and completely forgot any form of recall… (sigh). Did you ever have a hysterical dog running away from you in the dog park? Then you know what I’m talking about: it’s super exhausting! So, it’s back to the Basics in Trema of training, and I didn’t get much done this week.

What else was interesting? Yep, get that insurance for you little furry friend that you wanted to sign up for months ago. And write down that number for the poison helpline! German readers can find more info regarding poisoning here.  No, worries, people on those phone lines are trained and will ask you the important things anyway, but it helps if you can stay calm – or ask a friend to call for you. And don’t wait when it happens! Call and go see your vet!

Found this blog which talks about a dog getting immune-medicated encephalitis. It makes one think what is really necessary and what is pushed on us – very difficult subject. It also reviews some dog related items (e.g. coats, harness) and, despite the heavy subject is still quite entertaining.

What else, apart from dog content? Beginning of the year always means health and fitness so we’re getting lots of zoodles (thanks to the lurch G got for Christmas) and meatballs, for an inspiration see this one (warning: you might get hungry), or you might want to try a salad like this one for lunch.

New year also means clean your place, and, like Daisy (and us) you can join the January Cure over on apartmenttherapy. When you hang upside down in the kitchen (bedroom, living room) you can at least tell yourself there are lots of other people doing similar things at the same time – united we clear (or something like that 🙂

Whatever you do this weekend, have fun and enjoy!

Dear Friday… and happy New Year 2015!

present wrapping … best present for Micro this Christmas: the wrapping paper


Christmas gifts, discoveries and looking at the year ahead….

Christmas in Germany seems a long time ago already, and apart from lovely memories and some very cool Christmas presents, we brought back a pretty bad head cold and cough (courtesy of M’s nephew, Little M). I thought we’d still share some of the things we discovered…

Ordering fish online – after a desperate search through Fulham for Herring fillets (preferably Matjes) to make the traditional New Year’s Eve Heringssalat (Herring Salad), we’ve discovered that you might not be able to easily find Herring in London, but you can get it by next day delivery if ordering online… Who would have thought?! Do you have a family recipe for Heringssalat? Here is one I found online, but since M has gone SCD and I have gone Paleo, ours is a little different from this one (German).

Having had to order some flowers for my colleagues who organised our recent office move in Central London, I loved the beautiful flowers when they arrived.

A cool way to let steam escape from your cooking pots – the Lid Sid (thank you R and C for this great Christmas present!)

Since Christmas, M’s Dad is now walking around the house like Frodo… happy feet!

Cold hands this time of year? One of my colleagues carries this in his pocket (admittedly not in pink….)

And one more discovery I simply have to share: knowing how much I’ve been missing *real* Spaghetti, M’s parents gave me this for Christmas. We all (M and I together with M’s parents who spent New Year’s with us) tried it out last week when we made butternut squash spaghetti… LOVE IT!

I hope you had a lovely holiday season and great start into the New Year!! We’d love to hear about some of the nice, creative and crazy Christmas gifts you received or gave away…. For now, have a lovely weekend 🙂

Dear Friday

richmond park

Richmond Park

No dear Friday last week, thanks to a really stressful week (and a September favourites post instead), but today we are prepared, even though we will be driving through the French countryside when this goes up.

Dear stray dogs, don’t be invisible any longer

And, staying with dogs: love this lost and found video

Looking to secure the front wheel of your bike – how about this?

Looking for a new poster for your kitchen? Maybe Julia Childs can help

Dear people with problems figuring out what to have for breakfast… This blog will change the problems to ‘what will I have first’. I know for G it’s the Avocado toast and I would prefer the apple omelette (minus the cheese though).

The new Against all grain Meals Made Simple cookbook has a fantastic pancake dry mix recipe (pretty much the dry ingredients from the Paleo biscuits with a bit of a twist) –  a real life saver these last two weeks for my lunch – if you are new to Paleo, her cookbooks are totally worth checking out.

How about some temporary food tattoo – to show off on your arms/ankles in the golden October weather …

Last, but not least, looking for a solution for this dear flat of yours to self-clean before the holidays? Maybe the Style Cure is a solution for you.

We are probably still on our birthday roadtrip home, working out what to do first when we arrive. Have a great weekend yourselves!

Season of change

Autumn leaves…. (Picture: © Sanctified Rant)

As the seasons change and the last traces of summer are making room for autumn, there is change in the air on all sides…. I usually love this season, especially when October turns out to be golden, and when the leaves turn all colours under the sun! Crisp walks through woods and parks, late afternoons on weekends snuggled in with a tea and chatting to good friends, even sitting inside in the warm while it’s windy and wet outside (reminder: we have to buy those Hunter boots!!).

There is also lots of change looking a little closer: M is working on re-visiting the foundations of her research work, looking at some steps in new directions,  Micro is growing up and discovering life after having been the smallest puppy in the dog park (he has already discovered that he can pass on some annoying habits to admiring smaller puppies… oh my!), and I am about to embark on my own small adventure, changing jobs just as I am about to hit another Zero-birthday (oh, 20 again…. and again…. or something like that).

Change is exciting and there is a fair amount of adrenaline coursing through my system at times. What I love best about this time of change, however, is spending it with good friends and family. I am so very fortunate!!

September Favourites

Coffee with friends, little M and Micro some of the highlights

Eek, is this October already? Oh, well, come in then and lets have fun! How about a golden October, what do you say, hm? What did we do last month?

Important steps to prepare for the winter (and everybody thinks this is going to be a really cold one, as the last one was just wet and mild) – we have started to mouse proof the place. And my first and absolute favourite: Insulation foam (also known as Bauschaum at home, and while you could spay this into your sockets here, don’t try this at home, it is forbidden!) One can of foam went into the holes in the kitchen alone (don’t ask!). Also all other possible mouse-entries were sealed with steel wool (like under the stove and towards the fridge). Basically, the place is perfectly accessible for the little beasts without ever having to show up on the surface – grrrreat! The one and only place we haven’t touched yet is the little built-in cupboard for the boiler (with non-fitted holes around the pipes, what..?), which might get done this month thanks to power dough from Pattex  – I have to say all tips and tricks came from our good friend A – and seriously, we should give her a regular house tips and tricks column here, she is full of fantastic ideas for the xxxx (censored) building structure here.

And then, we have been squirrelling away on something that is absolutely censored right now, as it’s stuff for G’s mom and it’s her birthday very, very soon – no, chance I.,I’m not going to spill the beans here, but we will be there dog and all on your birthday! Lots of favourites, though. Now you can wonder what we have for you 🙂

What else? Oh, yes, my birthday present home-office renovation (the dog edition), which was/is on hold until we come back from the birthday trip for G’s mom – too much to do and not enough time during the weekend to do it all. We did buy a 2,30m long wooden kitchen counter top and put it over the two Malm dressers in the bedroom – already looks much better.  Favourite thing: our awesome mini-car, in which we manage to fit that thing! We threw away about 8 bags full of paper stuff (and there is more to go through), shlepped one shelf up into the living room and one down from the living room into the bedroom – and, in the process, because of a very narrow hallway, had to get the one from the hallway temporarily into the living room. Yep, you can see, it was a heavy lifting weekend, so grateful G’s here and always up for doing these crazy things with me.

Micro and I are back into our in the coffeeshop-working-mode again, so I can go through my papers/emails that I don’t want to touch/do at home. The little bookshop (which is not directly around the corner and is definitely not called like that, but is an independent bookshop) allows Micro come in and sleep (or rather crash) under the table, as I usually come after he has played his little heard out at the dog park. He’s made plenty of new puppy friends, which makes me very happy, as he was almost the youngest one when we started. He is the smallest one that comes regularly. His friend Banjo – a Chihuahua/Jack Russel mix, who is definitely smaller, is not there that often – and all the other ones have really grown and are (more than) twice as heavy as he is now. Not that this would discourage him – oh, nooooh! Favourites here: the bookshop (including very friendly staff, great coffee and fruit loops to share with Micro) and new dogs and owners at the dog park.

What else? We met up with old and new friends and conclude that having a dog (and a car) really added to our quality of life this summer. Now, it’s for you October to show your best side. I’m so much looking forward to our birthday road trip next week! And please don’t be a rainy month  – remember, I have to take the dog out!


Dear Friday…

The first (official) autumn weekend is waiting right outside the door (starting after 5:30 or 6pm or whenever your weekend starts). It’s really beginning to be cool now in the mornings  (of course the weather is changing: if I was still wondering whether that would be the case, I only have to look at our dog, who is shedding like mad!)- mental note: knit faster this weekend to finish jumper! Hmm, maybe I can sneak in some time over lunch to finish the last row of the body… what do you think?  The home-office renovation is still in full swing, we are sorting through tons of files – paper everywhere on higher (Micro-secure) surfaces – he loves to shred paper, and he’s actually quite good at it. Some more ideas for the weekend:

Business card holder diy yay or nay?

Staying with diy – sew your own waxed jacket (including the waxing process) too much to do or worth the effort?

And (finally) Heike’s organising files video – great ideas! Thanks for posting them! I’m so going to order one hanging file – I can pick it up when we go home next month, seriously less postage charges!

Joyce DiDonato’s new CD – great repertoire and very lovely cover picture

Beautiful video about how balerinas prepare their shoes- my friend used to squeeze them in the door and them bang the door – always made me sad that we don’t have a similar thing as singers; it’s such a great ritual to ease you into concentrating onto your job.

Really? iPhone 6 bends under pressure? #bendgate

Apparently still worth the money and coming first in the taste test: the real parmeggiano

And staying with food and the autumn theme: time for the Fee’s sweet & spicy pumpkin/squash soup with pears (scroll down to the end for an English translation of the recipe) – I have a feeling I’m going to make this for tonight and catch up on the new season of some of our tv series – that should help with the knitting! What are your plans for the weekend? Going for a walk, hanging out with friends and/or family or having time for a coffee (without taking some work with you)? Hope you have a great one!