A tiny love

Recently, I made a set of bean runes (I’ll be blogging about this on my other page soon). I had some beans left over and decided to doodle around a bit… And ended up making tiny luvs to keep in my purse and hand out to lovely people, or leave out for lovely people to find. (The magic of tiny luvs is, only lovely people can see them!)

2015-07-15 18.18.57 2015-07-15 18.18.32 2015-07-15 18.59.40 2015-07-15 19.00.27  2015-07-15 19.00.50If you’d like to know: I used a chalkboard marker to draw the hearts. I think silver gel pen would work as well, or maybe even gold. Or you can use white beans and black markers.

Spread the love!

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Clashgour adventures, or why do we love the highlands again?

It was a long weekend in Glasgow last week and since it also coincided neatly with Stefan’s birthday, we had decided to go on yet another of our infamous outings with Team DickButt (don’t ask…!).

Tref and I took the train up from London on Thursday morning to arrive in time for some epic birthday drinks. We picked up this awesome balloon Homer as a present on the way from the trainstation and I still think it’s one of the best birthday ideas we’ve ever had. I mean, it just fits!

2015-07-16 15.17.45 2015-07-16 17.11.33Drinks were had and cuddles were had and jokes were made and beer was spilled and chips were stolen and unspeakable things were said that evening. Reunions as they should be.

2015-07-16 20.56.01 2015-07-16 19.31.28 2015-07-16 19.31.18 2015-07-16 19.31.11 2015-07-16 19.31.26The next day we went food shopping and as soon as everybody had been able to excuse themselves from the office, off we went, to our trusty bothy at Clashgour.

Since Tref and I didn’t have any camping gear or hiking boots, it seemed easier to use the hut instead of going off somewhere far to camp. Some people brought their tents and braved the midges in the woods, but most of us were pretty ok to barricade ourselves indoors especially during dusk and dawn when those little buggers were at their worst.

I usually don’t take a whole lot of pictures on those excursions because I’m actually quite glad to put my phone to the side for a bit. And also, there’s two really good photographers in our group. Since Stefan is off to China this week I’m afraid I won’t be able to share any evening pictures just yet, but Geoff let me steal his beautiful photos of our outdoor adventures.

When we arrived at the car park (the hut is a short walk from there since Clashgour is not accessible for unauthorised vehicles) a little before dark, it was raining and very windy. Luckily, we were the second car load to arrive and the party that arrived before us had already started a fire so we could begin with the traditional proceedings of trying to dry too many wet things around one very small oven.

It stormed all night, but Saturday was nice and sunny, so we decided to walk up the very wild river to a beautiful loch.

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The path was very boggy and flooded in many places. Then we had to cross the river and many of us (especially me in my jogging shoes) decided to ditch the shoes alltogether. From then on the walk was much more enjoyable, as most of it was on muddy, soft ground and grass. As always, the views of the highlands defied all descriptions. clashgour_july15_geoff (5) clashgour_july15_geoff (6)Saint Christopherus crossing the river (without holy child).

Swinging the bridge:clashgour_july15_geoff (7)You shall not pass!clashgour_july15_geoff (8) clashgour_july15_geoff (9) clashgour_july15_geoff (10) clashgour_july15_geoff (11)Since we were already wet, we waded through the waves to a little island to enjoy the view.clashgour_july15_geoff (12) clashgour_july15_geoff (13) clashgour_july15_geoff (14) clashgour_july15_geoff (15)

There were more shenanigans before our return to the bothy, but Geoff must have been too busy hurling rocks across the rivers with various home made slingshots to take any pictures!

When we got back we decided to make use of the good weather and have a bonfire down by the river. As we prepared for aforementioned, several people started to notice a weird itchy sensation around their feet and ankles… and once we got the fire going, we soon realised: THEY ARE HERE! The mitches had found us! And for the rest of the weekend, we would bring our blood sacrifices on their tiny altars. They are the zombies of the highlands!!!!

On Sunday, most of the troop made their way up one of the hills behind the hut, but I didn’t really feel like climbing a mountain barefoot or in soaked sneakers. So I stayed at the hut with a couple of other people, had a lovely nap, and cooked awesome food for the hungry travellers. I’ll still show you some of the pictures that Geoff took of the climb and the cloudy summit before he fell and submerged himself and his camera in a river (what ever did you go and do that for!?).

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Evenings were as always spent telling stupid jokes, drinking too much home brew, eating awesome food, and fighting over the most comfortable sitting spots. Mornings were for sleeping in and then cooking (and eating) too much breakfast until long past midday.

So what do we love the highlands for again? We love them for views, for walks, for still clear air, for wild and wondrous rivers, for beautiful wildflowers, muddy paths and still lochs, for booze and bivouaks, for friends and fires. We don’t love them for midges. No, we don’t!

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Weekend pictures: Horniman museum

Yesterday we went out for a walk and since it looked like it would rain, we decided to pop into a museum close by. It being Sunday afternoon, it was quite busy, but still worth it. There were quite a few different parts and exhibitions that were all very different from each other, but our favourite part was the aquarium, which is just amazing! So this post is really just an excuse to show you the pictures that I took in there.

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It started with frogs and starfish. I’m such a frog fan! I just think they are the cutest, moste cuddly thing ever! And did you know that starfish have tiny tentacles and are constantly groping around with them, like curious little snails? Aaawesome!

 

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Then came the jellyfish! Ooooh look at them go!!

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I never knew that seahorses like to hold on to things with their tails! And this yellow fish just kept photobombing my pictures! Him and his friend were pretty silly!

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There were also tiny baby starfish! What can I say? Tiny baby versions of things are just the best!

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The anemones are Trev’s favourite (he says no, it’s the corals, but I know what he went all whoo-whoo about!), but I liked the huge lobster with his beautiful blue legs too. He looked so friendly and content, nomming on some seaweed.

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The coral reef was absolutaly amazing. You could see that the corals were very happy and healthy… I don’t know much about fish, but they were pretty perky, too!

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And then there was this little guy… sitting in this hole, poking out his huge head like a curious neighbour. Riddiculous!

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He looks a bit Golllum-ish, don’t you think?
I liked the more exotic frogs, too, but they were a bit boring.

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Another part of the muesum was a room with huge plants and games where you could learn about how plants work and do things like try and defend your plant friend agains pests.

It’s for children of course, but it was a lot of fun!

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Then we went to the Asian culutres room and met some old friends. Om om Ganesha Hanuman Jay!

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Hope you had a good weekend! xx

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Summertime in London

I think I’ve collected enough pictures for a quick upddate on what I’ve been doing… because rambling posts without pictures are no fun at all!

It’s been super hot here in London over the past ten days or so. Sunny and bright almost every day. We are staying with Tref’s parents and they have a lovely back garden, so I’ve been outside most of the day most of the time.

Which is good for me in a way because it means less screen time. I’ve been reading a lot, and after two bleachy summers in Scotland, I finally have a bit of a tan again, which feels good.


I’ve been helping Tref’s mum take care of the garden a little bit. We did some repotting, weeding, pruning, and I got to use a lawn mower for the first time in my life. Garden work ist just so nice and rewarding. I’m hoping to maybe get some herbs and seeds this week because we have so many pots that could be used for some lovely summer planting. But all in good time. Today the ‘real’ gardeners are here and are trimming hedges and digging over beds and everything will look even lovelier than before!


The garden is also such a great way to be able to connect with nature and the world in general… I do a lot of pottering and just talking to trees and spirits… like the lunatic that I am. I built a bee hotel and snuck in two big branch piles so that little friends can find a home… and I made a prayer tower out of sticks, which was great fun, and I think it looks cool, too!


Since we have a lot of time at the moment, we figured we might as well make good use of it, and decided to get our fitness back on track. We’re working out a lot, and we’ve also cleaned up our diet – which was much needed after a period of impulsive eating and letting things slide because of traveling and occupied minds. Because we don’t eat a lot of dairy and no meat we decided to go with protein shakes for the moment. (Which is probably not an ideal solution, but seems like the right thing for now). Because our home made mixture has Spirulina in it, which not only has a very distinctive flavour, but also a very agressive green colour, we call the shakes our ‘green goo’. We both agree that the recipe needs tweaking….!


But summer’s making up for it with lovely fresh food to eat for the rest of the day! I have never loved salads as much as right now!



I’m not getting around London City so much because where we stay is just so much more relaxed and peaceful than the city center. But every now and again I will venture there… and take touristy pictures. Most evenings though we enjoy drinks and chats at one of the many local pubs or bars… and sometimes we discover gems like hidden roof terraces that nobody knows about and that we have all to ourselves!



It’s definitely not the worst of summers here! Hope yours is great, too!

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The ruined castle

I wrote this post ages ago but seem to never have published it… Well, now that the weather is fair and we are far from beautiful Scotland, it seems like a nice thing to remember one of the first ever exploring trips that we set out on with what would turn out to become great friends!

It was one of those weekends where we set out in the search of a castle. Yes, I know, there are many of them in Scotland. But they are all special in their own way, and I can never get enough of them.

We certainly weren’t prepared for the adventure that was waiting for us on that Saturday afternoon though. Because when we arrived, we found this:


A ruined castle, big barbed wire fences, and signs saying ‘Danger! Keep out!’

Well, what were we to do? There was a fallen tree that served as a bridge across the fence. It didn’t take a lot of scrambling, and the mysterious world of the ruined castle lay before us.




Nature had already started to claim it all back, but there were still traces of the people who used to live here, long long ago… I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating when I say we got super excited and explored the heck out of that place!






Some stairs were a bit shaky, but it was kinda ok until quite high up, so we got to enjoy the view and to feel like we were inside one of these old temples in a jungle, Indiana Jones style!











In the end it was the waning light (and the fact that we had no torches – what a calamity!) that had us leave, we could have spent days in there!



Yes well… don’t tell anyone, ok?!

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Glasgow times

After Paris, we decided to hop back to Glasgow for a bit. We didn’t really have much to do and visiting the friends that we were missing seemed like a good idea.

It was good to be staying with people we knew well, especially since I spent the first few days being super sick with a fever and throat infection. I was relieved to have a bed to just rest in for as long as I wanted without worrying to take up somebody’s space.

When I started feeling better, it was luckily just in time for the West End summer festival. We had a little walk along the stalls and then watched the parade from out friend’s livingroom window.


I might also have got my face painted with glitter and butterflies, but that’s only a rumour.

Veronica made me this amazing little friend for my birthday! Isn’t he lovely? We decided to call him Donatello Sheeperson.
It’s quite incredible that Veronica learned to knit in fall last year, and in March finished her first scarf (she has made two more since), and now just whips up something like this!

We had a few wonderfullly sunny and warm days (probably the only proper summer days they’ll get, judging from Scotland experience), so I was out and about a bit, looking for nice and peaceful spots to read my book in the fresh air. I discovered a pretty beautiful backyard full of pretty birds and flowers…



Of course Glasgow wouldn’t be Glasgow without long evenings in pubs with burgers, drinks, friends, and hipster puns on your way to the bathroom.

We also rekindled old traditions. Our favourite one is: “Let’s meet up at somebody’s place and Trev cooks dinner for everyone and their cousin.”




These pictures are actually from two different evenings, because there were enough leftovers to last for a second dinner!

Sunshine makes every place prettier, and I kind of like the way these dainty shadows adorn what would otherwise be a very sad typical Glaswegian street corner.

Of course we made sure we got plenty of park time during the sunny days. Well, let’s say I made sure everyone got plenty of park time – regardless if they were willing or not!




We are currently staying in London and enjoying some family time. There’s not a lot to take pictures of at the moment, so I will have to think of another way to fill this blog. Maybe I’ll start writing poems… no, don’t worry, I wont!

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Princess Crêpes

For people who visit Paris from somewhere where crepes are not a common food article, it is probably a very exciting place. Traditional French crepes are yummi and there are definitely a lot of places in Paris where you can eat your heart out trying your way through all the sweet and savoury varieties.

However, in Switzerland, and probably other countries close to France, it is not hard to find crepes and so to get me excited about crepes in Paris, you need to take me to a special place.

And that special place is called Princess Crepes.



Right. So not only is it a creperie all in pink and ruffles and hearts, with stuff toys and the girls there are wearing cute maid outfits…. ALSO it is a creperie where you can totally order a crepe with ice cream, cheese cake, chocolate sauce and kitkats, and not be immediately sent to gluttony prison.




I don’t really know how and why, but the first time I came to Paris with Tref, we somehow ended up here, and ever since then, I have made him come back here every time we’re in town just so I can have a riddiculously sweet and crazy treat (really, they’re not even that good!…I swear!)

Oh and yes, I totally had a super vegan birthday and then a few days later came here and had this crepe… my life is weird like that at the moment.

I’m not trying to make too much publicity… I’m always positively surprised to find that they still haven’t made it into a Lonely Planet or something, and there aren’t scores and scores of tourists queuing outside… But I’m always afraid someday that will happen!


I’ve told so many people about it thought that I thought I’d show the pictures so you can see what it looks like… and yeah, if you happen to be in Paris and want something fun to do for an afternoon, do give them a shot!


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Bonjour Paris!

We had decided to go to Paris from Switzerland pretty spontaneously, because Tali had never been there.

Paris is a weird place for me to describe. It was one of the first places I visited on a city trip. I liked it but, never harboured a personal attachement or passion for it (for France, these feelings are reserved for the South, I’m afraid). For some weird reason or other though, it is one of the places across Europe that I ended up visiting again and again, so that by now it feels quite familiar.

And even though I can’t say I’m in love with the place, there are a few reasons why I have soft spot for it. One of them is that Trev and me got together after spending a weekend in Paris with friends. Yup, we hooked up in the TGV Lyria somewhere between Paris and Basel… I’m not sure if that sounds adventurous or just super weird, it definitely was neither of the two.

It felt pretty funny then, to sit on the same train together once more, and to imagine that the same landscape was rolling by our window just like all those years ago. (And then this happened: Me – “Funny isn’t it to think that last time we barely knew each other and now we’re talking about out future and stuff.” Tref – “Now we’re married my dear.” Me – “Oh yeah, I forgot about that.”)

Something that I’d definitely never realised – because so far I’d always traveled with a comparably light backpack – is that the Paris Metro is a maze of different levels, all connected by randomly placed stairs, no escalators, and very few lifts. With my 20kg suitcase, I definitely got a good workout from our way between the trainstation and our first stop.

We got a cute little place through airbnb and as soon as we saw this we knew it was a good place!

Whilst waiting for Tali to arrive from Berlin on a later train, we went for a random walk around the neighbourhood and then stopped for the first Pastis and beer of the trip.

We were talking randomly, and at some point our conversation turned to Dule, who is an old friend of Trev’s from Zurich who now lives in Paris and who we were going to meet later in the week.
I’m really not exaggerating when I say that not two seconds after Trev uttered his name, Dule came walking around the corner.

Strange things happen and Paris is smaller than you think!

 

This lovely chance meeting proceeded into impromptu wine and chats sitting by the side of the canal with some other friends and a lot of strangers who were all also enjoying the evening sun (and luckily were more prepared than us and had a corkscrew with them!)

The next day was my birthday and it was a lovely day of relaxing, food, and socialising. The day after we had to move to a different place to stay which was a bit annoying, but also good because the new place was in a lovely part of town and was also really cool.

Tali went off to do the touristy stuff and Trev and I just had a relaxed stroll around Montmartre, enjoying the sunshine, scouting for street art, and meeting ugly little kitties.





I really wanted to take this one home! He was so derpy and his eyes were really pussy and disgusting, but he was so desperate for cuddles, so we tried to pet him without touching his face…

When we went shopping for dinner in a neighbourhood store, we found this:

  Tali had to leave the next day, and we went to stay with Dule and his partner for the rest of the week. It was awesome to see both of them again after such a long time. We cooked a lot of food, mixed a lot of drinks, and Dule and Fabrice were so nice and welcoming, even though they were both super busy.

For some weird reason, I had got lots of mosquito bites at some point during the week (never noticed any mosquitoes, and neither of the other guys had any bites…). I have had this weird thing happen to me over the past few years that sometimes I overreact on bites. So not only were the blasted things so itchy I could barely think straight, but a few of them started to blister and made my ankle swell up. It’s nothing super dramatic, but it’s not comfortable, and it eats away at your nerves.

I’m not sure if that also weakened my body a bit because a couple of days before we left I started to get sick with a throat infection.

I’m super glad it only happened towards the end though and it wasn’t too bad until we left so I could make the most of my time in France.

By now I am sure that one way or another, we’ll be back!

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Here we go again! (Tale of a birthday)

So, yeah, it actually happened…. I turned thirty this year. 30. Three – Zerooo.
I’m still not quite sure how to feel about it. Ageing is such a funny thing… I remember when I was younger and convinced that being old would be super boring.

But looking back now I feel like at least in my experience, life gets more exciting the longer you practise. I definitely feel like I’m doing more fun and exciting stuff now than I did when I was twenty! Also, I don’t feel much older than back then. A little bit more experienced maybe. Definitely more sure of myself and more at ease with myself and the world. Less stressed, more confident, and… maybe even a little happier. Altought that’s hard to compare.

I don’t really feel like writing a lot of philosophical stuff – I prefer to talk about these things at the moment. Also something that changes with age? Anyways, long story short, I decided to make 30 a magical age and a magical year. And I started out pretty perfectly with my birthday.
Tref and I met up with Tali in Paris again, she was joining us from Berlin, as she had never been to the capital of France before. We stayed at a cute little place through airbnb (awesomest thing right after couchsurfing!), and on my birthday we just slept in luxuriously before getting dressed and venturing out in search for some late lunch.


We found a fun litle place that sold vegan burgers and other takeaway stuff and had a blast tasting our way through their menu.


Takeaway wine in resealable plastic cups? Really? Really! (I kept the cups!)

After lunch we went in search of something that would count as a birthday cake, and hit the jackpot in a neighbourhood organic store:

Hard choice, but we decided on mango-maracuja, raw chocolate mulberries, and vegan whipped cream.

Feast by the canal!

Vanja’s flatmate had given me these pink sunglasses in Amsterdam. She bought them to celebrate a special day, but then thought they suited me better than her – it just felt perfect wearing them for my own celebration! (Yes, I know they’re riddiculous. No, I won’t stop wearing them!)



After fooling around in the sun by the canal, we made it back home in time for a short nap and getting ready for birthday drinks and dinner.

Trev’s old friend Dule took us out to the wonderfullest spots in town..





(Cock – Tail. Ha!)


We had pre dinner drinks at a lovely bar called the Little Red door. Then we stuffed ourselves with sushi at the place where six years ago I had the very first sushi of my life (yeah, I’m a late bloomer like that), and then we had absolutely amazing cocktails and great music to round the evening off.

I’m not a big party person, never have been. I like to dance and smile and make little things feel special. I wore a super special dress and got dolled up with one of my best friends. I got spoiled to bits with vegan food without anybody makeing me feel like I was complicated. I sat in the sun. I laughed and shared hugs with friends. I got to just be myself and know that was enough. I danced because I felt like it. I received messages, good thoughts and virtual hugs from friends and family all over the world.
I had a perfect birthday.

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A little bit of Switzerland

Sorry, I couldn’t resist… somehow a post about Switzerland always has to start with a picture of kitty. From Amsterdam, Tali and me took a night train into Zurich and stayed with my parents for a few days.

Our first day was abolutely brilliantly sunny and warm. So much so, that we decided to hop on the bikes and spend the afternoon at the lake shore. We chatted, read, and even had a short swim!


We also made it into Zurich for a bit of shopping, cupcakes, and some administrative stuff. I think we both shared a feeling of finding it both lovely and weird to be back… a lot of thing were different from what we remembered, but in general, of course, the place is still the same.

I enjoyed spending as much time as possible with my family. It was only a short stay this time – shorter than I had anticipated because we made some changes to the schedule – but lovely nonetheless.


(Kitty playing with – and destroying – one of my knitting needles. Who could be cross with her!?)

I didn’t have time to be as social as I might have liked, but met a couple of good friends to exchange news and memories over dinner and a lovely brunch. Life moves fast these days!


On Wednesday evening, Tali was scheduled to catch another night train to Berlin, but because the Deutsche Bahn was on strike, we had to reschedule and she was off with an early morning connection the day after.

On Friday, I picked Trevor up from the airport. He was joining from London for my birthday dinner with the family on Saturday.

We hadn’t seen each other in about seven weeks, so it was good to be together again! What a jetsetter life!

My birthday is one day before my Mum’s, and my godmother’s birthday is a couple of days after, so it is a bit of a tradition in our family to have a joined celebration.

It was lovely to have everybody together! Although it felt like it wasn’t enough time to properly catch up on family time, I was very aware how blessed I was for everybody to make time and space to spend this evening with each other, and really appreciated it.

Also: Look at my awesome birthday dress!

From Switzerland, we spontaneously decided to spend a few days in Paris for my actual birthday. All about that soon!

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