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Sonntag, 27. September 2015

Amigurumi Madness

Hello lovely readers and a very warm welcome to all my new ones! How nice of you all to be here! 

About one year ago I bought a pattern for a lalylala doll. Paul the toadstool was the first one for me. I was addicted from the first few stitches to the easy and lovely pattern. It didn't take long for Paul to emerge from my crochet hook. But as it is with things that you do for the first time - you make mistakes. Pauls hat was way too thick and heavy, so his head kept waddling backwords and forwards and never held up. I am very, very bad when it comes to needlework. I really have troubles with sewing on buttons and so I naturally had difficulties with sewing on the different limps and body parts. I wanted to add beads as eyes but ended up glewing them on poor Paulies face because I got so frustrated when I wasn't able to sew them on his head. 
And so Paul stayed alone and didn't get a lalylala companion to spend his time with! 

Until now. 

I have a friend who bakes. She loves to make cakes and cake pops and cookies and she is very talented when it comes to decorate them. She works in a bank and she earns some money on the weekend with selling those cakes. 
Now as some of you might know, my man and I are saving for a house. And as you can imagine - buying (or building, we haven't decided on this was yet) a house needs A LOT of money. So I thought: if my friend can earn some extra money with something she loves to do why can't I? And since I got so much positive response to poor little wonky Paul, I thought it must be possible, to crochet some not-so-wonky amigurumi dolls and sell them. Not on a "I earn my living with this"-basis, but to have a small, little income on the side for our future home. 

To make a long story short: I made another lalylala doll. I'm sure you are familiar with her. She's making her round through the blogosphere for a while now. So I'm going to stop my blabbering and proudly present to you: Kira the Kangaroo! 
Not yet perfect, but still adorable and - to my endless delight - already sold. 

And now if you'll excuse me: I have am order for a Kira. Little Lena already waits for her own little kangaroo. So I better start to crochet!

Dienstag, 15. September 2015

Taking Stock: September

Making : Amigurumi. Lots of it. I have a new plan in the making and I hope that it will work out!
Cooking : Pumpkin Risotto. I love Risotto!

Drinking : Water and Tea. And I hade a few glasses of Wine on the weekend.
Reading: T.C. Boyle - San Miguel
Wanting: for an opportunity. it hasn't arrived, though.
Looking: at sport videos. I think I have to give "Blogilates" a try. I really need to get fit!
Playing: music, again. As long as I remember, there was always music around me and I stopped listening to music in the last few years. I'm starting to get my love for music back again.
Deciding: on whether or not I should look out for a new job...
Wishing: somebody would make this decision for me!
Enjoying: autumn days. but the warm, sunny ones. not the cold, rainy ones that we also had in the past week...
Waiting: for the weekend. A friend from Hamburg will come visit!
Liking: the fact that I could maybe earn a little money...
Wondering: if the refugee crisis will come to a peaceful solution!
Loving: that my crochet mojo is back.
Buying: NOTHING! I am not allowed to spend any money on anything. We're really seriously saving up for our own house. And for a big holiday next year!
Watching: I watched "Frozen" yesterday. The man fell asleep immediately. nice movie. Too much singing for my taste. I think I prefer Pixar movies.
Hoping: that my nice big plan will work out...
Cringing: at the news at the moment. Austria is overflowing with Refugees. The people are doing their best and it's amazing to see, how many people help to volunteer. But that situation can't go on like this. We need a solution...
Needing: more time for sports.
Smelling: freshly brewed tea. As autumn slowly comes along, I'm back in my baking mood. I really need to make a cake on the weekend.
Wearing: JACKETS! It's way too early to wear jackets..
Following: blogilates. And some sewing blogs.
Noticing: the small changes my man and I go through. I wonder if it's because we're married now...
Knowing: that certain things will have to change in 2016.
Thinking: that I'm really excited to start my yoga lessons next week!
Admiring: how people find time in their lives to crochet, cook, bake, work, make sport...I'm always so short on time!
Sorting: through my yarn stash.
Getting: massages. I have a lot of headaches and my doctor thinks it's because my shoulders and my neck are so tense. So I get massages two times a week. They only last 10 minutes, though.
Bookmarking: Blogilates videos and cake recipes. Perfect combination! ;) 

Disliking: the refugee situation. This world can be such a cruel and terrifying place. It really makes me sad!
Feeling: motivated. I'm about to go for a run. I've set up a reward system for myself, where I save 2 euros for every sport activity that I made. Then I'll use the money to spoil myself. With a nice massage, new shoes, a facial treatment...something like this. Let's see, if this works!
Snacking: apples. Apple season is on and I love a good apple and everything you can bake with it!
Hearing: Music again! Dave Matthews Band, Calexico, Kasabian, Katie Melua and many many more.

Donnerstag, 10. September 2015

Lush Cosmetics - A Random Act of Kindness

Do you know Lush Cosmetics? There are two Lush shops in Austria and I used to walk by one of them on my way to the university, when I was living in Vienna, some years ago. The smell that came out of the store was always very intense and though I liked the displays in their windows, I never went inside. My best friend gave me a Lush handcream some years ago for my birthday. I liked it and loved to use it but still - I never went into a Lush store.

Fast forward a few years. The same friend who gave me the handcream and I were talking about our hair and shampoo and soap and haircare. Typical girl talk. She said, that she uses the shampoo bars from Lush and that her hair is absolutely gorgeous since then. So I walked into a Lush store. And that's where a new addiction began.

It all started with a Shampoo Bar. The image of a solid shampoo made me curious and so I bought one. What I like about it, is that it last a veeery long time. Much longer than the shampoo that I bought in the drugstore. And it has all natural ingredience. The older I get, the more important it is for me to use cosmetics that has natural ingrediences and ideally no chemicals in it. And that's the whole concept of Lush! Aside from the shampoo (I just bought my second one) I already tried two different hair conditioners (I have really long hair so I need products to care for it and make it look shiny and healthy!), a body conditioner (kind of like a body lotion, but richer. perfect for me, as I have really dry skin), a body soap, lip balm and a hand and cuticle cream as my skin around my nails is always extremely dry. And I was amazed by every single one of these products.

Now the reason why I write this post:
Last week I went into a lush store again. I actually just wanted to buy a new bar of shampoo, though I already knew that I probably would buy some more. It's really hard to go into that kind of store and buy just the thing that you came for. A nice young lady came up to me and we talked a lot about my hair and my skin and she recommended some products for me. Aside from the shampoo I bought a new conditioner (I already used it in the shower. My hair smells amazing and it's really strong and shiny!), a lip balm and a body soap that's supposed to replace my shower gel. At the checkout, they always ask you if you want a sample of something. They give you that sample in a little black box. It's usually something liquid - a face mask or a body lotion or something like that.
I'm having some problems with my skin lately. It's oily, greasy and shiny and I have the occasional pimple and I have the feeling that it's getting worse. Before I went to the shop I had a look at the lush homepage and saw a facial soap called Coalface. It seemed perfect for my problematic skin. But I already spend more money than I wanted to, so I asked the girl if she could give me a piece of that soap as a sample. She said, she couldn't do that. But then she told me, that once a week, they were allowed to make a "Random Act of Kindness". If they like a customer, they can give them something for free. And that's what she did to me. She gave me a whole piece of the Coalface soap. It would normally cost around 10 euros. 

Now I don't get any money from Lush for typing this post. I'm sharing this with you because I love the philosophy of that company. No animal testing. No chemicals. Just natural ingrediences. Handmade. And best of all: No useless plastic packaging. Everything I bought today was just wrapped into a piece of paper. They try to use as little packaging as possible. If you buy a face mask or a shower gel, thr packaging is recycled and you can bring them back to the shops. I've been using Lush products for over a year now. My husband doesn't and I see how much plastic packaging and garbage he produces with his shampoo and shower gel. And it feels good, to help spare some useless plastic litter and do something good for the enviroment. Even if that means, that you have to spend a little more money. Believe me - it's worth it.

Now if you'll excuse me - I have to get back in the shower!

Sonntag, 6. September 2015

Travelling Austria - Wellnesshotel Pierer (mountain pasture wellness)

oh my, seems that I'm writing nothing else but Travelling posts these days. But two weeks after our wonderful tour through the west, we had another little time out. Our families know, that we love to travel. Travelling through Austria, through Europe our through the whole world is our shared hobby. My man and I have little in common (surprisingly - the relationship works perfectly fine. Opposites do attract, apparently!) but we really share our love for adventures and our need to see as much of this beautiful world as possible!
When we got married in April, our parents and my man's sister gifted us with three vouchers - each for a weekend away in a beautiful hotel in Austria. And so we decided to use one of those vouchers to have a little spa treatment in a wonderful resort in Styria, about a two hour drive from our home.

The hotel was wonderful! It's called Almwellness Hotel Pierer. It's located at 1.200 metres obove sea level on a little mountain. Styria is called the green heart of Austria because of its forests and vegetation. Unfortunately, it rained during our whole stay so we didn't get the chance to wander around the mountain a little bit.

Instead we spend the time between eating, reading and sweating in the Sauna. The hotel hat 6 different saunas. We got a massage and I got the chance to try out my first yoga lesson. I LOVED it and it won't be the last time, that I'm doing some yoga. I already looked up a yoga course near my home and I can't wait to give it a try!
The breakfast buffet was amazing - the hotel treated us with homemade and local products, in the morning as well as for the 6-course-dinner in the evenings. Let me tell you that we had a very, very nice stay there.

Enough with the words - here are some pictures for you to enjoy!

our wonderful room

the view from our balcony

another picture of our room. that cow greeted us every morning!

the view we had from the rest area

they had this beautiful natural pond, unfortunately it was a little too cold to use it...

the 90 degrees hot sauna. It originally was a hut on the top of a mountain. I loved the smell of wood inside.

a shower inside a hollow old tree.

no words needed. amazing view.

Samstag, 5. September 2015

The Year in Books - July and August

I missed last months year in books. As I said in my holiday post - Austria has suffered (and I mean this word here literally!) from an incredible heatwave. Though I did some reading I really didn't get in the mood to type up a post about it. So here follows an extra long reading post - I try to keep my babbling about the books a little shorter this time. As always I'm linking up with Laura from Circle of Pine Trees.

Nick Hornby - High Fidelity
An all-time-favourite. A book that I've read a few times by now and I absolutely adore it, as it really speaks from my heart. Although I'm married I always had commitment problems and ran away from serious relationships - until I met my man. Similar to Rob and Laura. And oh, all that goooood music...

Robert Galbraith - The Cuckoo's Calling
A re-read. I forbid myself to buy new books. Well, at least not as many as I used to buy. I only have space for two bookshelves and they are FULL. Besides, I want to spend less money. In general.
Well, back to the book...Robert Galbraith isn't a man. As some of you might now it's an alias for J.K. Rowling. She wanted to write crime fiction without it being sold just because of her name. It was soon discovered that it was really her. Whether intentional or not - we'll never know.
The book is about a young supermodel who falls to death from her balcony. Her brother hires the investigator Cormoran Strike to solve the crime as he is sure, that his sister wasn't suicidal. Cormoran Strike is the main person and an interesting non-hero.
I love every J.K. Rowling book that she has written so far and I really liked this one too, though it tends to be a liiiiittle long in between.

Robert Galbraith - The Silkworm
I re-read the second Galbraith novel straight afterwords. Again a Cormoran Strike novel. Nothing much to say here. Interesting, compelling and I didn't know who the killer was until the very end. That's how I like my crime fiction. Though I must say that I would probably be the world's worst investigator as I NEVER know who the killer is. Have you seen The Sixth Sense or Fight Club? I really need to watch movies like this until everything is uncovered because I never understand it myself.

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
I've written about this book here. Again a re-read. I read it because I bought the new Harper Lee book and wanted to freshen up my Mockingbird-Knowledge.

Giulia Enders - Darm mit Charme
A rather unusual read for me. It's a book about intestines, bowel, guts. I don't know which one of these words is the right english medical expression. It explains how the intestines work, what they have to do with depression and why this is such an important organ in our body. Sounds rather dull but this book is number 1 on the Austrian bestseller charts for more than one year now. So I really needed to know what all the fuss was about. Very interesting and it's written in a very funny and easy way. Took me just one day to finish it.

Harper Lee - Go Set a Watchman
Here we go. The new Harper Lee book. There was a loooot of talking about this book before it was published. The way the manuscript was discovered was a scandal and the content of the book was apparently rather shocking itfself. As I really liked To Kill a Mockingbird I was of course very curious - and in the end veery dissapointed. The book is really dull. Nothing happens! And when finally something happens the situation is so easily resolved that it really made me angry to read it. It reminded me of an unfinished story. So many loose ends that weren't properly tied together.

Stephen King - Finders Keepers
I read the first part of this trilogy on my honeymoon in Mallorca, in April. When I bought Go Set A watchman, the blue umbrella on the cover caught my eye and I knew, that this must be the second book in the series. Of course I had to buy it too! (Do you see now, why I have to forbid myself to buy more books? This is getting out of control!)
I loved it as much as I loved the first one. It was a whole other story and the main protagonist from the first book didn't arrive until the second half of the book. But Stephen King sure doesn know how to write a compelling thriller. Nothing more to add here. I won't tell you anything about the story as I don't want to spoil anyone the reading. Let's just say that there's a lot of blood.

Klaus Oppitz - Auswandertag
I took this home from work where I found it lying around. It's about a dystopian Austrian future, where people flee to Turkey, because there is no future in Austria. A quick read, but I'll probably never read it again.

Judith Hermann - Aller Liebe Anfang
Again a book I took home from work - and brought it back today, because I won't read that again either. It's about a young mother who get's stalked by a young man in her neighborhood. He never talks to her or gets near her, but he rings the bell at her house everyday and puts seemingly random stuff in her mailbox. Sounds interesting, and the beginning was very good - but that book doesn't have an ending. It just stops and let's the story hang loose in midair. I hate that. The ending is the best part about the book and the author really blew that. 

Isabel Allende - Das Geisterhaus (The House of the Spirits)
Oh how I love this book. I chose "Das Geisterhaus" as my book for our tour through the West and I finished it when we got back home. I've read this book a lot of times and I'm still fascinated by the story. I really love family stories, that tell the live of the participants through decades and generations. To be honest - I've never read anything else by Isabel Allende. I probably should give it a try...

I've you've made it all the way to the end - thanks for reading all of this! Next time I'll be up to date with my reading list, I promise!