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.

 

Recipes

ANZAC Biscuits

ANZACThese iconic biscuits from Australia and New Zealand were made by army wives to send to their troops during the second world war as they travelled well and the ingredients did not spoil so easily. As such they are named ANZAC Biscuits (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps). They are associated Downunder with ANZAC Day and are often used as fundraisers.

Incidentally, the name is protected and as such you cannot call another recipe or another biscuit ANZAC (which means you cannot add things like chocolate chips and still call them ANZACs). You also cannot refer to these as “cookies”.

Ingredients
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup Demerara sugar
3/4 cup shredded or desiccated coconut
140g butter
2 Tb golden syrup
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp boiling water

Method

  • Combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl.
  • Combine butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan. Stir over gentle heat until melted.
  • Mix the bicarb with boiling water, add to the butter mixture. Stir into dry ingredients.
  • Place tablespoonfuls of mixture onto lightly greased oven tray – allow room for spreading.
  • Bake at 180C for 10 minutes.
  • Loosen while warm, then cool on racks.

As always I’d love to hear if you make these and what you think.

Happy baking!

My Week in Pictures

Week 13.14 – Off to Australia!

Week 14 from April 1st to 7th saw us jetting off to Australia where Katja got to meet her cousin, aunts and uncles for the first time and catch up with Grandma and Grandpa.

Snow! #aus13
130401 – Snow! As we leave Edinburgh we see snow on the ground.

Katja and Granddad
130403 – And we’ve arrived! Katja and her Grandad. <3

Gus shows Katja his trampoline
130403 – Gus was keen to show Katja his trampoline. Katja needed no encouragement!

Sunshine feels fabulous!
130404 – Sunshine feels fabulous!

Flora
130404 – Fabulous Aussie flora – Eucalyptus trees smell awesome.

Not impressed with her first haircut!
130405 – Not impressed with her first haircut!

Dessert sorted!
130405 – Dessert is sorted!

Love this tunnel entrance #melbourne
130406 – Love this tunnel entrance #Melbourne

New sensations - sunshine and grass
130406 – New sensations – sunshine and grass

Day at the beach
130407 – Day at the beach

Happy girl
130407 – Happy girl

Greengrocer #abundance #fresh
130407 – Greengrocer. Really miss this sight! #abundance #fresh

Parenthood, Travel

Eine kleine deutsche Maus

First passport

Katja certainly is the international baby. She’s Scottish on account of her place of birth, British also on account of place of birth but also through descent from her Mum, Australian through descent from her Mum and German through descent from her Dad. So you’d think with all of these options getting a passport turned around in a hurry would be a piece of cake, right?

Not so fast!

Scotland doesn’t give passports – Scottish = British, at least at the moment. This may change if Scotland votes for independence, but I doubt they’ll do that.

Australia – we have to first apply to have her citizenship recognised (£80 1-4 weeks processing time) before we can the apply for the passport itself (£85). Turn around time of 10-15 working days unless you pay for priority 2 day turnaround at £65

United Kingdom – application costs £54 and takes a minimum of 6 weeks. Fast track is a 1 week turn around but you’ll pay another £50

Germany – £32 and we were issued with a temporary passport within an hour. A note was attached to the effect that her name is undetermined, we need to fill in some more paperwork when we get to Germany and will get her a German birth certificate as they don’t have to recognise the British one(!) Talk about German efficiency!

So, there we have it – our little girl’s first passport is her German one and we’re off to see her German grandparents, great-grandmother and uncle.

Secret smiles
Memory Monday

Memory Monday – When TV Went to Bed at Night

As we enter the home stretch of the time known as Waiting for Bump, I’m saving up little projects that can be done at night for the anticipated boring hours of feeding and sleeplessness. There’s a few TV shows and movies included to watch for when my brain doesn’t want to really get involved (Next Top Model anyone?). People have started offering me the tidbits of helpful advice too, which to be honest I really don’t mind.

Last week one person mentioned that the big thing for her was the amount of crap on TV at 2am. Apparently she watched more 24 hour news than was good for anyone. That got me thinking about how lucky we are to have 24 hour news at all. I remember as a kid that if you happened to get up too early on a weekend all you would find was the image above accompanied by classical music. For those too young to remember, it’s a television test pattern. TV stations would actually close down at night and play something like this instead. I’m fairly sure that there was some random channel that did this almost forever – but that may have been SBS waiting for soft porn time so that they could show those weird foreign films.

In a way I miss those days. TV seemed to have some kind of comforting orderliness to it. There was cartoons before school, breakfast shows at around the time you were leaving for school, bad American soaps in the middle of the day following by game shows at about the time we’d come home from school. Next would be some kind of bad Aussie soap and then the news followed by current affairs shows, a feature show and then a movie and then the late news and the whole thing would close down for the night. You knew exactly what time of day to watch the kind of show you wanted to see. Now we seem to just have an endless number of channels devoted to utter drivel or looping repeats – even the repeats don’t play full seasons, they seem to just keep repeating the same 12 episodes.

I kind of get the feeling that back when TV went to bed at night there was a little more care taken with showing quality, more effort placed into winning viewers. What do you think? Has TV gone downhill since the days of the test patterns where you live?

Memory Monday

Memory Monday – Karma Chameleon

Culture Club – Karma Chameleon – Video

Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon was a hit in Australia around the time of my 10th birthday. I had my birthday party at the local pool that year, I remember this song playing on the loud speakers as my friends and I had the new Calippo ice creams and red skins and other assorted sugary goodness. I remember pin dropping off the 3 metre diving board but being too scared to go on the 10 metre one. It was a sunny day but the pool was pretty much deserted – hindsight makes me wonder if it was indeed hot enough for the swimming pools or if we were just optimistic.