My ‘for me’ errands

Beauty & Fashion, Food & Travel

Here is my ever growing list of things I do to look after and pamper myself.

Daily:

  • Prayer of thanks for all that I have.
  • Shower/bathe myself.
  • Attend to oral and facial hygiene.
  • Send M to kindergarten except on weekends :).

Weekly:

  • Hair wash and blow dry at my local salon.
  • Manicure without varnish.
  • Personal Yoga training session.
  • Life and Breathing session via Skype with Gaia.
  • Yoga session in the Park.
  • Date night with Mr B.
gold facial

Gold facials are the best. They make me look gold. source

Fortnightly:

  • Pedicure without varnish.
  • Thai massage/aromatherapy massage.
  • Psychotherapy session.
  • Cinema night with friends or Mr B.

Monthly:

  • Bowen therapy session.
  • Facial at Villa Kennedy Spa.
  • Four hour brunch at either a nice Japanese, French or Italian restaurant with a few hilarious and uplifting friends.
  • Book club meeting with brunching friends (obv on a separate occasion) where we discuss either very serious, intellectual books or just entertaining drivel or just talk nonsense until the restaurant asks us to leave.

Quarterly:

  • Three night stay at Das Kranzbach, located near Garmish Parten Kirchen. This is definitely a sanity saver.
  • A visit to the dermatologist to make sure my skin is in top condition.
  • Weekend trips to London with M. Food, friends and Selfridges. Need I say more?

Biannually:

  • An exotic family holiday entailing sun, surf, good food and being embarrassingly lazy rolled into a week.
  • Trip to Oz to see family and friends. We don’t travel economy.

Annually:

  • Another family holiday, but destinations are always a bit quirkier. Sun is not an essential, but proper doses entertainment and good food is a given. Think Bhutan, Helsinki and Faroe Islands.
  • Pre-Christmas shopping in New York. Economy travel is out of the question.

With so many errands to run and so little time, isn’t it then a tragedy relief that the list above  (minus my daily rituals!) is just a fantasy? And isn’t it funny that most of the rituals don’t actually involve acquiring material goods. Yeah, yeah they still involve spending a bit of moolah, but it costs nothing to daydream!

October in a quickie post.

Food & Travel

Quick recap of the past few weeks: -Felt like I needed some intervention of some sort – whether it was alcoholic, therapeutic, medicinal or all of the above. I was homesick, I was tired, I was stressed and I was fighting the German grammatical rules like WW2. And I was very unimpressed with rudeness I encountered in Frankfurt. Boo. So thank goodness for… -A well needed long weekend in London for a friend’s wedding. It was so much fun. I drank and danced like I was 18. Thanks, P. It was an awesome wedding. I also squeezed in a get together-come-baby shower (not for me) with my delicious London mummy friends over some lobster, had a gut busting sushi feast at Roka and let’s not forget about the silly shopping spree.  Damn you, pretty things in London. German things are very robust and functional – pretty, they are not. Buyers for Kaufhof Galleria, you need to up your game. Some of the stuff you sell should not be allowed on your shelves. Just saying.

IMG_7746

Amazing name card holders. Apparently Bride and Mother of the Bride spend hours spray painting and sawing these creatures. What we do for weddings, hey? via deliciousmother

– Finished German lessons for the year. Hurrah! Level A is completed. 🙂 – A lazy weekend with my lovely jubbly family. No plans, no stress. Lots of hummus, falafel and warm cinnamon scrolls (Zeit fuer Brot have amazing scrolls).

IMG_7747

Came with warm pitta bread. At 8.50 euros a pop, it makes for a very delicious and filling meal for the family. Aroma is my favourite eatery of the moment (in Frankfurt). via deliciousmother

All this fun and frolic post manic and murderous moments means that I am feeling refreshed and ready for more fun, learning ( I will conquer you, German, god damn it!), eating, blog posting and more importantly, more baking!!

Mein Kopf explodiert.

Cake!, Food & Travel, Parenting & Musings

Yesterday’s cake was a hit. My friend and her boyfriend very much appreciated my efforts, and we enjoyed every bite of the cake. I came back home feeling grateful to have met and befriended such a warm and easy going couple in Frankfurt. Some people are just so easy (in a good way). Easy to open up to and easy to be with. Just delightfully easy. Transporting the cake there, however, was not.

I made the mistake of decorating it on the cake stand instead of a cake board, so when it came to finding a way to carry it to my friend’s flat I was stumped. No box nor carrier was big enough to hold my cake + cake stand safely. There was only one solution : take it in my hands, and carefully (and s  l  o  w  l  y) walk there. And God forsake the man/woman who bumps it off the stand.

What should have taken me 10 minutes took me 25. On the upside, compliments got thrown at me my cake by pedestrians, drivers and restaurant workers. Did you really make that cake? Wow, that looks so beautiful! Why, thank you for the cake, signora! Mmmm lecker! Oooo, that looks so yummy! Oh, that looks so good! (All in German, natuerlich!) Many smiles were given and a lot of eyebrow flirting action went on (with the cake). It got me thinking. Maybe I could make a few of these cakes for a few bucks…

And I am very pleased to say that it tasted as good as it looked. The left overs reside safely with my friend, otherwise it would be sitting in my belly right now. Which would not a good weekend make*.

However! I have a little bit of cake left in the fridge. The original recipe makes a three layer 7 inch cake and my cake tins are 6 inches. After my German lessons, I was in no state of mind to adjust the  recipe to suit a 6 inch tin. This meant I had leftover batter/frosting, and this, my dear readers, is how little cakelet (+nine cupcakes) came to be!

photo 1

three layers of moist chocolate stuff. via deliciousmother

photo 2

baby cake and mama cake. via deliciousmother

When Amazing M returned from her grandparents this afternoon, I served some of this to Oma and Opa who were impressed, but I got the feeling that M didn’t share their opinion when she spat out a mouthful of cake and didn’t ask for more. Grumble.

The fours days apart did me the world of good: Cake+cakelet was born, I could finish my German homework in peace, and I got precious time to just be me. Not a mother or a wife. Just plain old me. Which is fab! Other than a few delicious things like, say, a trip to Six Senses Yao Noi or this(DROOL), I find that having or claiming ‘me’ time is the best thing I can give myself.

Plus, the time apart gave us the chance to properly miss each other. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of the most intense cuddle from M when I greeted her at the door. Actually, she literally threw herself at me and declared, “I missed mama!”  Priceless.

p.s. apropos the blog title – it has nothing to do with this post. It merely explains the result of having to learn a very un-easy language. Also, I could not think of any other alternative title.

*many minutes spent at the gym. Gym going is my preferred form of exercise, but I’d rather have a lazy three day weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night I had a cakegasm.

Cake!, Food & Travel

It happened when it was very late. Waaay past my usual bedtime by three hours. I had the whole flat to myself as Amazing M was with Oma and Opa, and Mr B was away for work.

As much as I missed them both something crazy, I had a fantastic opportunity  to get up to some baking and could make as much mess and noise as I needed to without getting shooshed at or told to go back to bed.

I present to you my Chocolate and Nutella Layer cake, inspired by Rosie from the blog, Sweetapolita.

DSC_0434

I am just so chuffed with my efforts! via deliciousmother

As I started baking quite late, it was 2 o’clock in the morning by the time I had finished decorating it. So technically, my cakegasm was experienced in the early hours of the morning.

This is quite an ‘easy’ cake to bake. The cake mix is very simple- just mix in a few different wet ingredients at once and then add the dry stuff. No creaming the sugar or other time consuming techniques. The tedious bit is waiting for the crumb coat and subsequent layers of frosting to set.

As I’m taking the cake to a friend this evening for pudding, a cross section pic hasn’t been taken. I’ll try to eat just one slither of a slice…

You can find the full recipe and other delightful treats to make here.

*DM defines this as an eruption of visceral pleasure induced by the sight/taste of a cake. Not an actual physical orgasm as defined here.

A dirty weekend.

Food & Travel

It has indeed been a dirty weekend so far. As much as I would like to say it’s been of an amorous kind, I am more than happy to say it’s been of the gustatory kind.

Cue: Best Worscht in Town.

photo 2

Just before the lunch time rush. Via deliciousmother

We were running some errands this morning, when we passed by this institution: a little kiosk on Grueneburg Weg selling currywursts of varying degrees of spiciness, accompanied by various curry flavours. They are supposedly 100% meat and free from flavourings and additives.

Curry-Geschmack

I have eight more excuses to go back. source

Hot

B was not hot enough for the Korean tongue. Next time I’ll go for the mouth orgasm. 🙂 source

Mr B chose a mix of beef and pork currywursts of spiciness “B” with the “Old School Curry”.

photo 1

Is way more appetising than it looks. via deliciousmother

The wursts here are extremely popular. I’m told that it’s heaving with customers come lunch time, and so famous is this place for currywursts, they are often called on by event planners to cater to their upmarket clients at formal events. And now I know why! It was extremely tasty and I’m sure it will hit the spot whenever I get a strong desire for something spicy, meaty and not so healthy.

Sharing an adult’s meal package between the three of us meant that we desired a little more for our tummies. So off to Leipzig Strasse we cycled to share a doener teller. I know, I know, I went on about healthy and tasty food in my last blog post. In my defence, such was the extent of our morning cycle, I must have surely negated the wurst, plus the teller did come with salad, and potato (albeit, in the form of fries), so it’s all good!

photo 3

for five euros you can’t complain. via deliciousmother

I guess it’s something green, fresh and non-meaty for dinner.

 

Courgette Carbonara (a la Abby).

Food & Travel

When it comes to cooking, I am just plain lazy and unadventurous. I stick to my basic repertoire of recipes. I just don’t get the same buzz about trying a new savoury recipe as I do with cakes. I knew I needed to explore, as one can only have so many Thai curries, pasta and meat (with three veg).

So imagine my delight when I met a lovely lady named Abby from the German expat ladies group. Perhaps she could encourage the inner cook in me? I’m not sure I even have an inner cook in me, but there’s always hope.

Abby, an ex-Londoner, is an amazing cook and blogs about food. Her blog is full of lovely recipes, photos of mouth watering dishes as well as accounts of eateries in cities she has travelled to.

When I came across her recipe for Courgette Carbonara, I just knew I had to try it out. And I thought I’d do the blog name justice by posting a blog about a delicious dish!

 

Ingredients

DSC_0415

Granapadano, plate of salt, chilli flakes & basil, lemon juice courgettes, eggs, red onion, pasta Amazing M. It was hard to take pics with M wanting to touch everything. via delicousmother

Result

via deliciousmother

via deliciousmother

Verdict

DM – fresh, tasty and just lovely!

A super easy and healthy alternative to a carbonara that can sometimes be a bit too oily for my tastes. Will definitely make this again.

Mr B – healthy; if you made it again I’d eat it, with more cheese.

Mr B would have preferred more cheese, more salt, lots of cream and some bacon/meat. But he’s German so let’s not take his opinion on tasty and healthy food too seriously.

Amazing M-  Mmmm. Nice, mama? I don’t like it, mama.

The courgette ribbons put her off, but I did manage to get her to eat some of the pasta. Her taste buds are much like Mr B’s so unless its super cheesy and oily/creamy, she’s not very interested.

Please check out Abby’s blog here for the full recipe and other inspiring dishes.

Please comment below on any great food blogs or sources of easy, quick, healthy and tasty recipes!

A new life in Germany.

Food & Travel, Miscellaneous
source

Green and glorious Germany! source

So here we are in Germany. Land of bier, BMWs, bratwursts and Boris Becker.

It was a long time coming. We knew London was just a temporary home for our little family. Many tears were shed, and many a heated discussion had before coming to a decision. We had a point system for Australia vs Germany vs U.K. and ultimately Deutschland scored the highest. And here we are, starting again. New flat, new friends, new food and nearer to the in-laws! Which is a great thing, by the way. Amazing M has a wonderful relationship with them and it really is nice to be able to send her to them for a few days whenever we want. Apologies for the alliteration peppered throughout the post so far. I’m just so excited about getting excited about blogging again that I can’t help using my favourite language technique (?).

There are many expat blogs out there that will tell you about some of the strange cultural habits/practices/manners of Germans, so I’ll quickly summarise the good and not so delicious things I’ve experienced so far:

CYCLE FRIENDLINESS I’m in bike paradise. It is safe to ride your bike here (unlike in London), and there are specified cycle roads that lie parallel to the roads. I can cycle everywhere. To the gym, to the city for drinks (maybe not such a good idea if you plan on having a few drinks), to our local Aldi (which I love almost as much as my old local Waitrose in London- that’s another blog post topic!), and anywhere else I fancy.

Uber RUDENESS I got massively told off by a seventy something year old cashier in the food hall of a department store. Just for having a buggy! Apparently there was no space for it to go past the aisle, but the annoying thing was that she did not even offer a solution. I was dumbstruck by her rudeness so I lamely walked away to find a cash desk that my ‘mammoth’ buggy could fit past. But I must say this it is the only experience of the stereotyped rudeness of customer service in Germany. Perhaps I’m lucky or perhaps there will be more instances to follow.

MAKING NEW FRIENDS I’ve been meeting new ladies through an expat forum. Daunting, at first. Like going on first dates again. But it’s been great. I don’t think I’ve been this socially busy since my singleton days. All I can say is that the internet has been my saviour again. Like I’ve said in one of my previous posts, you just have to put yourself out there to meet new people and form friendships. Having great group of friends makes settling in a new country so much easier.

FURNITURE SHOPPING Forget fashion! I’ve been drooling over many items of furniture whilst shopping for a dining suite (is it just me, or does ‘dining suite’ sound so 70’s? A brown table with rounded corners, matched with chairs upholstered in old school granny bag material come to mind). Let me tell you the immense rise in endorphins I experience when entering a Boconcept store is just something else. I love Skandi anything. Well, we finally agreed on a dining table and chairs for our living/dining room. Hooray!

MISSING MY USUAL EATERIES I’ve had to get used to not having exciting, non-German food at hand. I just can’t walk up the road for fantastic sushi or fresh Mexican whenever I want. I miss my Iocal Italian for their amazing pizzas, and miss my dim sum. And my £20 lobsters. Next time I’m in London, I swear to Life that I’ll be feasting so much I’ll be rolling back onto the aeroplane.

LEARNING THE LANGUAGE IN CREATIVE WAYS My official lessons haven’t started but I’ve been taking some initiative by way of using trashy television shows as an excuse to watch them. Immersion is key, so I’ve been watching trashy German shows like The Bachelorette and Shopping Queen. Looking forward to the upcoming show, Adam Seeks Eve. It’s a dating show where the contestants are naked. For reals.

MISSING FRIENDS The first couple of weeks in our flat were fun. A new flat and new city is very exciting when you can share discoveries with a husband and child you love very much. However, when the dust settled, I was in tears, missing my dear group of friends back in Blighty. I was thinking, ‘Who else is going to love me, with all my quirks and faults?’ Okay, maybe a little bit overdramatic, but when I got over that I decided that I had to put myself out there. Again. Mr B nudged me a bit, thank goodness. And it all worked out in the end, thanks to the internet and thanks to a great group of expat women, generous enough to welcome me into their homes. To all you beautiful friends back home in OZ, missing you is a daily occurrence, a given, and something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to.

GETTING USED TO NO RETAIL ON SUNDAYS Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for having a day of rest, more family time and going back to the good old days of simple living. Really. But I just like having the option to be able to go shopping should I wish. Window shopping at a department store on a cold and wet day sounds like a good idea. I’m not one of these mums who embrace the rain and go out stomping in puddles with their rain jacketed children. No, siree. That’s what Kindergarten is for.

There you have it. A brief account of life so far in Germany. So far so good.

Learning from my kid.

Food & Travel, Parenting & Musings

The past few weeks have been a little manic. Amazing M’s birthday was a big reason, as well as having some social engagements as a fam.

Friends from Sweden came to help celebrate M’s 2nd birthday, which was just so nice. I almost shed a tear when I greeted them at the door. Old friends are the best friends, in my opinion, and I feel so blessed to have spent some time with them later on in the week.

M's birthday cake made by deliciousmother!

M’s birthday cake made by deliciousmother!

Now that I’m bumbling along with no cake to bake or party to plan,  I’m feeling a little uninspired. I know I’ve fallen off the spiritual bandwagon for some time now – I’m getting pissed off more easily, I’m not as optimistic about certain things in my life and I am starting to berate myself.

A visit to an ashram or spiritual teacher would be marvellous, but I’ve realised that my best teacher is right in front of me : M.

She has no concept of real time. Well, she knows when it’s bed time or nap time. But there is no past or future for her. Her reality is taken one second at a time. And so the intention of the week is to relax with M; be fully aware of the moment and the sensory experience it brings. Who knew there would be life lessons in tea parties and eating plastic artichokes.

I love you, M!

Our Thailand Holiday.

Food & Travel

Finally, back in front of the computer with some blogging time. It’s been quite a busy month due to spending some time in Germany with Amazing M’s Oma und Opa after coming back from our holiday in Thailand. As well as the normal boring stuff like laundry, party planning (M is turning two soon!) and blog-procrastinating.

A HUGE happy birthday shout out to Ms AJK and Ms Diva Yakult. I’m really sorry that I couldn’t celebrate your day of amazingness with you so I will send you this cake virtually…

via lunchpailsandlipstick.com

via lunchpailsandlipstick.com

Our holiday in Thailand was our best thus far, notwithstanding two bouts of D&V and a back injury between the two adults.

First stop was Bangkok. A quick three night stay in the bustling city to set our body clocks in preparation for some serious relaxation on the unspoiled island of Kho Yao Noi.

The Shangri La

This traditional hotel has two wings: Shangri La and the Krungthep. The former is modernised, big, and loud in a Kardashian kinda way, and the latter is quiet and old school. The decor is very Dynasty with its burnt orange marble, but somehow it works. We chose to stay in the quieter quarters but had full access to the newer wing and its facilities.

Our view from the room. via Deliciousmother

Our view from the room. via deliciousmother.com

Our daily activities consisted of eating, swimming, relaxing. And afternoon tea-ing, and pre-dinner cocktail & hor d’eouvres eating. And an obligatory 90 minute Thai massage. And a session at the gym after spotting something not very pleasant in the mirror.

Ok, so not the most exciting photo, but this chocolate marshmallow was the most delicious marshmallow I have ever eaten. So I just had to take a picture of  one. via deliciousmother

Ok, so not the most exciting photo, but this chocolate marshmallow was the most delicious marshmallow I have ever eaten. via deliciousmother.com

Mr B and I aren’t really adventurous when it comes to exploring cities. We love to relax and eat, and will travel many hours and go through a whole lot of stress to do so. It sounds a bit non-sensical, but living in a place where grey skies and cold weather is the norm, you have to understand the crazy we go through just to lie on a sunny beach.

Leaving Bangkok without doing something touristy would have been a bit silly, so we hopped on a river boat with Amazing M strapped in her buggy to look at some temples and market shopping. What I noticed when looking around the market was that the vendors were extremely relaxed. No pushing and trying to get a sale out of you. It was almost as if they didn’t care for a sale which suited Mr B and I just fine. We didn’t fancy any second hand plastic Pikachu clocks, anyway.

via deliciousmother.com

via deliciousmother.com

Six Senses Yao Noi

After a short hour flight to Phuket and a taxi ride to the marina, we hopped on a boat to sail to Koh Yao Noi.

photo

via deliciousmother.com

The forty minute boat ride was beautiful. All we could see was an expanse of blue sea and a few distant islands before we approached our destination. I knew I was in for an utterly blissful time when I saw the villas as we sailed into the pier.

329191-six-senses-yao-noi-phang-nga-thailand

via mrandmrssmith.com

We were introduced to our GEM (butlers, basically – but stand for general entertainment manager) and whisked away to our villa in a buggy.

Our Villa

If I could bottle the glee I felt when the front gate of our villa open, I don’t think I’d need to eat so much chocolate. The endorphin and oxytocin rush sprung forth as I processed what was to be our place of relaxation for the next nine nights.

I will let the photos speak for themselves.

poolvilla

via mrandmrssmith.com

via mrandmrssmith.com

via mrandmrssmith.com

329201-six-senses-yao-noi-phang-nga-thailand

via mrandmrssmith.com

via airows.com

via airows.com

We had the luxury of our own coffee machine and wine fridge as well as a surround sound system throughout the whole villa.

We made use of the sound system with DVD films borrowed from The Library. However, it probably wasn’t the best idea to watch The Impossible, a film about a family who survived the Tsunami in Thailand. I kinda freaked out a little after watching it. It was a great movie and now I have a greater understanding of the the enormity of the disaster. I tend to live in a bubble sometimes. When something is physically so removed from your situation, it is easier to just brush off as an “it’s such a terrible thing” thing and then fret about something banal a few moments later. But note to self: do not watch disaster movies when in a natural disaster prone country.

Amazing M had the pleasure of swimming thrice daily.  Great fun and convenient that we could do it in the pleasure of our own villa. But let me tell you this: do not peek into the swimming nappy when the child is in the pool.

Dining

Thai food perfection in The Den, The Living Room and The Hilltop Reserve. Staff were attentive and knowledgable. They absolutely loved M to pieces and she got lots of cuddles and treats from them.

photo 2-1

The Den. The soft noodles were AMAZING. via deliciousmother.com

via ihavenotbeenthere.com

The Living Room via ihavenotbeenthere.com

The HIlltop Reserve via sublimetravel.co.uk

The HIlltop Reserve via sublimetravel.co.uk

Breakfast was in true Six Senses style: silly amazing. Thai food, Western food, ice cream and even Indian food. Yes to Pad Thai for breakfast!

photo 4

via deliciousmother.com

photo 1

via deliciousmother.com

photo 2

via deliciousmother.com

Entertainment

As I said earlier, doing stuff other than eating, working out or doing yoga was totally out of the question. Amazing M was just a cheap excuse to get out of doing some exciting things like exploring James Bond Island or chartering a yacht around the islands. Who am I kidding, if I could charter a yacht, I wouldn’t be here blogging about our dream holiday. I’d be living it…

photo 1-1

via deliciousmother.com

Imagine doing yoga here every day…I’d be so relaxed and Mr B and I would never bicker.

via sixsenses.com

via sixsenses.com

The Spa

Ultimate bliss! We had three massages each and I enjoyed every luxurious minute of it. Even the ‘detox’ one where I couldn’t help giggling during treatment as I have ticklish thighs.

via sixsenses.com

via sixsenses.com

The Beach

Quiet, sandy, warm. Laugh at you will at the obvious, but sandy beaches are rare in England.  I’m a little upset with how little time I spent there.

via sixsenses.com

via sixsenses.com

The Hilltop Reserve

If I could, I would plonk my flat little ass here and never leave. Just so you know, I would prefer to have a booty like Beyonce, but you can’t change them genes…

via six senses

via six senses

The Gallery

A very cute shop where we frequented often for fun.

via deliciousmother

via deliciousmother.com

The Conclusion

Best holiday ever. It’s beyond my bed time and it’s showing in my blogging, but I’ve been putting this off for so long I don’t care. I’m coming back, Six Senses Yao Noi. You better make up some extra green tea ice cream for me. I forgot to mention that they have thirty flavours to devour all day. For FREE!!!