Finished Projects, Katja, Knitting, My Week in Pictures, Travel

January 2014 Round Up

General Pics

January started in the standard way, with lots of fabulous fireworks. We stayed in and watched them from the comfort of our couch – very cosy!

For a minute there I thought the business to the left was doing private parties! #lookagain

And while picking up Katja from Nursery the street was blocked off by firefighters. Turns out there was a building well and truly ablaze on the other side of the canal. It’s since been torn down, which is no great loss – was a bit of an eyesore.

Family

Katja is starting to try to help around the house, which is really quite sweet. She’ll sweep up with the broom, put on the rubber gloves and even tries to season the chicken.

I popped into a local charity shop and scored a toddler sized handbag and very pretty denim dress for Katja – and no pink or cartoon/princess characters in site.

Meanwhile we’re into the 7th month of Bump and she’s starting to look a little more obvious now!

London Trip

This month we popped down to London for a long weekend. The idea was to meet up with Suzy and Dave to celebrate their recent nuptuals, but that didn’t quite work out. Never mind – we got to catch up with Ilze and Paul and with Gavin and take Katja to the Natural History Museum, which she adored.

We went down by train which we booked online only to find that thetrainline.com had put us in separate seats with no table despite our wishes. And as there was no way of letting them know that we had an under 2 with us oh my what a nightmare that would have been! Luckily for us we were travelling off peak and the wheelchair spaces were free for both journeys giving us the space that we needed for 5+ hours of train time with a toddler.

Craft

This month started with one finished item – a jumper for Katja which unfortunately ended up just a tad too small 🙁 An unusual construction technique didn’t really pay off so eventually I’ll make another for her using the same yarn.

I also started on my Birthday Damask Shawl – a fabulous gift from Liz. I’d been eyeing this pattern off for years and had somehow elevated it to the “wow” level. I also found the prospect of starting by casting on over 300 stitches for the long edge to be overwhelming and I was convinced it would be a drag to knit. Boy was I wrong – I haven’t enjoyed knitting something so much for quite a long time. Actually, probably not since the last time I knit lace. Perhaps I should be looking more at lace patterns to knit!

News & Updates, Travel

2013 Review

02-New-Year-2013-Wallpaper

As the year comes to a close, it’s time for the obligatory review post. This is made a little easier given that I didn’t post anything to tell you of any grand plans at the beginning of the year, so theoretically I could just say wow, look at me – I did everything. But that would be a lie.

The truth is that I did have some plans and ideas for what I wanted to achieve throughout the year.

Post more – While I’ve achieved this broadly, I was planning on doing a weekly post which I’ve sucked at. I started well but then got myself backed up and I think I’m currently only up to May or something with the weekly photo posts I was doing. I’d love to say that I’ll get them all finished but I seriously doubt it – perhaps a monthly would be better to finish off the year.

Clean more – I am better at cleaning the house. I’m quite pleased with that. Still not up to OCD standards, but then do I really want to go that far?

Be better organised – given that I totally failed to get Christmas cards out, I’d say I’ve failed this one! Still, the only way is up…

Stashdown – For those who are unaware, this means finish the year with less yarn than you start with. I’ve failed that one too. To do this properly you need to know how much you’re starting with. I decided not to count the crochet threads… far too hard! So in yarn alone I started the year with 68km. My end of year total is 77,847m so that’s just under 10km of yarn acquired.

Lose weight/get fit etc – Well, I got pregnant again and in what appears to be my typical fashion I’m currently 2kg under the weight I was to start with (have been gaining for a few weeks) and there’s less than 3 months to go!

Aside from that it was a year of up and downs. We went to Australia which was fabulous – Katja got to meet her Aussie family and my godparents. Unfortunately we lost my godfather a little while ago. I’m so glad that he got to meet Katja. Katja grew as all toddlers do, in leaps and bounds and is such a delight. I made it through my postnatal depression and the homesickness that always happens when I’ve visited home. My youngest sister had a beautiful little girl, my other sister got married and is expecting again. Mum retired. Christian’s family came for visits and there were fabulous trips back to Dublin and visits from Irish friends. Good friends have announced wonderful news with a marriage and a new life on the way amongst the updates. It’s been a great year in all and I’m looking forward to the continuation of the adventure in 2014.

 

Travel

I know a little place…

When a friend asked for recommendations for places to eat and things to do in a number of European countries recently I realised that I had been to almost all of the places on his list. So, rather than keep my opinions confined to a small group of people on facebook, I figured it would be worth writing an entire blog post – here goes.

In general I love just being in a new city and the old towns are fascinating. I like to seek out local museums rather than the big ones (although some of the bigger ones are worthwhile) and I also like to go to a local supermarket to see what kinda stuff the locals buy and eat.

Impression Amsterdam 1_photo used on flyer

Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum, definitely worth seeing. If you are pressed for time, just go in and look at the Milk Maid and the Night Watch.
Tour the canals, takes you around to most places and is very good value
Amsterdam museum, I do love a local city museum and this one is lovely
The Museum of Bags and Purses has a fascinating collection and was a gem of a find for me

It’s been too long for me to be able to offer reliable eatery recommendations, but in general you’ll be getting things like Stroopwafels, Profertjes and the like. You can have fairy bread in the morning and it’s considered breakfast. Tea does not come with milk unless you ask specifically for it. Mind the trams, they’re on the wrong side of the road for a Melbournian and it can be quite disconcerting. Also, bikes have right of way over pedestrians.

Antwerp.Belgium

Antwerp
– The world heritage listed Cathedral of Our Lady is stunning, make sure you hear the bells they are probably the prettiest I’ve ever heard.
– It’s also pretty cool if you can see some of the ships on the river, just a short hop from the central old city. Think Yarra with a cruise liner running down the middle.
– The Meir is the main shopping street and has some gorgeous buildings
– The castle, Hat Steen, on the river is a maritime museum, but in front of it is a statue to one of the giants who used to guard the river.
– You can do a tour of the sewers, I never got around to it – they suggest you take wellies.
– Antwerp means “throw hand” and you can see in front of the Town Hall a statue depicting the throwing of a giant’s hand into the river by the hero Brabo.
– The Irish Times on the Grote Markt is a lovely pub.
– Central Station is quite possibly one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world, and if you have more than a couple of days in Antwerp is a good place to get a train out to Bruge
Rubenshuis is worth a look, aside from being Rubens’ House it is a fine example of the homes from Antwerp’s height
Sir Anthony Van Dyke is a really lovely restaurant in a 15th century street, the chef gave up his michelin stars when people started killing themselves over them and has made the restaurant cheaper and more intimate as a result, fabulous food and the most romantic atmosphere but you do have to book. At the very least, walk down the street cos it’s gorgeous
Popoff has amazing desserts
Zuidterras is a lovely restaurant with a view of the river
– Belgium claims to be the home of the French Fry and the acknowledged home of them in Antwerp is Frituur N°1 – locals have them with mayonaise.
River Kwai is a lovely thai restaurant, nice ambience
De Vagant would have to be my favourite bar in the world so far. They serve over 200 different gins. There’s a restaurant upstairs, but I like to just order a few different fruit flavoured gins and the cheese and salami board. Once you’ve found a few gins you like, the shop over the road is where you can buy

In general, waffles taste best from Antwerp IMHO, you can get them everywhere but some of the cafes are supposed to be better than others (my favourite appears to be closed boo), you’ll also find muscles are big as are snails (yum!). I haven’t been here in a few years but I’ve no reason to believe that any of the restaurants have diminished.

Frankfurt

Frankfurt
– the Römerberg is lovely and is the home to the old town house
– the Opera House is also very pretty
– the Natural History Museum is worth a look. They have a male dingo on display, Christian got very excited that he was able to say “as dry as a dead dingo’s donger”
– definitely stop by the Kleinmarkthalle an undercover market. YOu can get some eats there

I tend to pass through Frankfurt more than I stop as it’s on the way to Christian’s family in Fulda. I did see a great Botticelli exhibition in the art gallery a couple of years back.

2013-05-23 16.30.11-1

Munich
– a half day trip to Pfaffenhoefen is in order if you like to knit
– the English Garden is just a big park, unless you have plenty of time I wouldn’t place it high on the list however I would go to the southern tip of the English Garden at Prinzregentenstrasse where you’ll see scores of people leaning over a bridge to cheer on surfers on an artificially created wave in the Eisbach.
– watch the Glockenspiel at Marienplatz
– climb to the top of St Peter’s Church for amazing views
– a tour of the Residenz is worth doing, it’s a beautiful building (and features in the most recent Three Musketeers movie)
– Viktualienmarkt is the market area and is a must
– Have a meal at the Hofbräuhaus, it’s a must-do
– for something a bit posh, Dallmayr is like the Harrods food hall of Munich
– Schuhbeck is the big-wig chef in Munich, he has a restaurant – I’ve eaten at some circus/restaurant thing which he did and the food was amazing. You’ll also see spice shops by him which have some great combinations.
– Vapiano is a good solid Italien which you’ll find in a number of cities on the mainland, good for when the German zoo-on-a-plate approach gets too much
Augustiner Beer Hall does awesome Weisswurst which is a veal sausage served with pretzels and sweet mustard and which must be ordered before noon. (peel the skin off the sausage). Generally served with beer, if you don’t want to drink that early order the Apfelsaftschorle. This is one of my highlights when I visit Munich.
Weisses Brauhaus is a great place for lunch and near Marienplatz. It’s a very typical traditional German eatery, much like the Augustiner
– There’s also BMW World which I’ve never been to

Munich is the centre of the stereotypical Germany you see on postcards. Most of the rest of Germany resents that, but it’s a great fun place to be. Most of the restaurants will do an English menu and you’ll see a lot of pork.

edinburgh_-_calton_hill_nov_12_0

Edinburgh
– the Scotch Malt Society has a fabulous restaurant but you need to know a member in order to get in. Luckily you do.
– Holyrood Palace is definitely a must do – as is the walk up to the Castle from there.
– Starbucks on Princes Street has amazing views of the castle
– avoid the Grassmarket for restaurants, they tend to be high priced
– the Caley Sample room does gorgeous food, as does it’s sister the Cambridge Bar (burgers)
– Rosslyn Chapel is a good distance by bus but worth the trek
– The Sheep’s Heid Inn is one that Mary Queen of Scots stopped at
– St Gile’s Church has a great history
– Do a tour of the city that takes you into the underground bits, spooky but very interesting

Definitely one of those cases of too much to choose from here!

I’m going to come back to this post and update it as I remember new places to go to…

Craft, Katja, My Week in Pictures, Shopping, Travel

Week 13.17 – Puffing Billy

Week 17 from April 22nd to 28th. This week we were in Melbourne enjoying the sunshine and a trip on Puffing Billy.

MissK is sleeping like a baby after yesterday's terrifying swimming pool ordeal
20130422 – MissK is sleeping like a baby after yesterday’s terrifying swimming pool ordeal. Poor thing cried the entire time we were there and clung to me like never before. The only plus side is that she’s slept so well since.

The Hopetoun Tea Rooms in #Melbourne
20130423 – The Hopetoun Tea Rooms in #Melbourne would have to be one of my favourite cafes. I never knew of the links to Edinburgh until last year’s trip to Hopetoun House, a place all Melbournians visiting Edinburgh should get to.

Apparently failure to proofread is not considered a shortcut in the painting business
20130423 – Apparently failure to proofread is not considered a shortcut in the painting business. Brilliant fail!

$2.80 for leather shoes - let me think about tha.. YES!!!
20130423 – $2.80 for leather shoes – let me think about tha.. YES!!! #shoppingwin

Today we visited the lolly shop! #theyarnbarn
20130423 – Today we visited the lolly shop! #theyarnbarn

Female Superb Lyrebird
20130427 – Female Superb Lyrebird. I’ve only ever seen one in the wild once before. Couldn’t get a good shot of the guy who was wooing her.

Puffing Billy, view from carriage
20130427 – Puffing Billy, view from carriage. So glad that you can still hang out the windows, an awesome day.

My Week in Pictures, Travel

Week 13.16 – Adelaide and Melbourne

Week 16 from April 15th to 21st and finds us in sunny Adelaide and Melbourne.

Trying to choose one!
20130415 – Trying to choose one! In the end I chose a purple leather purse at a market for much less than these cost.

Small version for a young lady #tatting
20130415 – Small version for a young lady #tatting. It’s always nice to make something special for a special little girl.

3D printer looks quite funky
20130416 – 3D printer looks quite funky. Isn’t it amazing what technology can do, imagine what life will be like in ten years’ time!

Dead Zoo Melbourne - fabulous display
20130420 – Dead Zoo Melbourne – fabulous display. The screens showed the animals around you, you tapped on an animal to find out more. Seemed to make it so much more interactive than I remember it being.

Vasette
20130420 – Vasette in Fitzroy, one of my favourite florists and just as gorgeous as I remember it.

My Week in Pictures, Travel

Week 13.15.2 – Adelaide

Week 15 from April 8th to 14th but this post only covers the days in Adelaide.

9:30 just dropped @docsaemann off at work. It's 26 degrees #adelaide #thisisthelife
20130410 – 9:30am just dropped Christian off at work. It’s 26 degrees #adelaide #thisisthelife

Chillin on a balmy autumn evening
20130410 – Chillin on a balmy autumn evening

China Town #adelaide
20130410 – China Town #adelaide

St Francis #adelaide
20130410 – St Francis #adelaide

Oily! #showinmyage #memories #adelaide
20130411 – Oily! #showinmyage #memories #adelaide This character was on TV for a number of years (or so it seemed) advertising Kraft peanut butter

"This
20130413 – This Irish man has been sitting in the sun a tad too long…

Only one way to work out what this is... #adelaide
20130414 – There’s only one way to work out what this is… #adelaide

Ahh proper swans!
20130414 – Ahh proper swans!

My Week in Pictures, Travel

Week 13.15.1 Australia!

Week 15 from April 8th to 14th but this post only covers the days in Melbourne before we headed of to Adelaide.

VW crab
20130408 – a VW Crab, I’ll never look at that logo the same way again

Movie time #melbourne
20130408 – Movie time at Federation Square in Melbourne

Lemon... Sour...
20130408 – Katja’s first taste of lemon… sour… but she went back for more!

Melbourne trams
20130408 – Melbourne Trams – they join up and they’ve been running all my life!

Katja and Gus playing together #cousins
20130409 – Katja and Gus playing together #cousins

Silly face time with Natalia and Mark
20130409 – Silly face time with Natalia and Mark