Virtual Coffee Date #2

Picking up where we left in my previous post because it was a joy talking to you that way, I decided we should get together for tea/coffee again. For once because coffee dates with friends are always a good idea, no matter the day.

If we were having coffee,

I’d start by saying thank you to everyone who asked summer to come back and stick around a little while longer. The result? Starting on the weekend – despite forecasts predicting a 90 % chance of rain – we’ve been having the most amazing sunny days. Granted, the mornings have gotten yet more frigid but on work days I live for the afternoons in anyway. Speaking of which, I’d also tell you …

Blue bike

About the wonderful early evening bike ride I took with my mum on Tuesday. She’d originally asked me if I wanted to meet her to take a little trip to walk around a place adorned by beautiful flowers this time of the year. Yet then she ended up having to stay at work a lot longer than expected and we changed our plans. An evening bike ride through sunny fields and along a river isn’t the worst backup plan I could think of. Add a gentle warm breeze, a conversation about anything and everything – you get the recipe for pure bliss. Pity the weather forecast from now on is seeing us face a 90 % chance of rain, a huge drop in temperatures and barely any sunshine. Summer’s been good while it lasted.

If we were having coffee, I’d also …

Talk about an amazing website I’ve known for years yet somehow hadn’t used in a while until now. If you knew me in real life, you’d know I’ve never been one for online games or even game apps on my phone. This one I can get behind, though. FreeRice is an interactive vocabulary synonym game [edited to add: they’ve sinced added different subjects to quiz you on if vocabularly tests make you cringe ;)]. The clou: for every correct answer, the organisation behind the website donates  10 grains of rice to the poor. Refreshing your vocab and donating for the good cause? Killing two birds with one stone for sure.

Oh and if we were having coffee, I’d also excuse myself at least once and truly mean it – for interrupting you. Because that’s a bad habit that runs in my family. Conversations at those family gatherings are all about being the loudest at the table in the right moment. It’s tough, I’m telling you

What’s also blissful is raspberry season starting earlier this week. No, not a typo. Ever since I can remember, my mum has been growing ‘late’ raspberries in her garden. When the season is just about over for reguar ones, these are starting to grow and they’re the best. Especially the yellow ones I’m always claiming dibs on. Definitely a reason to visit my parents’ garden more often despite it being mosquito territory. This sweet happening is ever so slightly making up for the sad kabocha situation.

Red raspberries and Essie Manhattan Ave-hue nail polish

If we were having coffee, I’d …

Mention that I might be the last person to do so but watched P!nk’s Video Vanguard acceptance speech about her daughter earlier today. Whatever you think of her music, that performance was amazing. I’m not sure if it’s a general trend but I thought these acts of female empowerment might have become more frequent since a certain not-to-be-named moved into the White House? It’d proof the theory a former head teacher of mine brought up: Having a mutual enemy at times works wonders for solidarity, even among people who might not usually agree on other issues, Whether or not it’s this: it’s much in today’s society.

If we were still sipping on our beverages now, I’d express the disbelief and sadness I feel regarding the current situation in Houston. Being one of the lucky ones who haven’t been affected by natural catastrophes before, I can’t imagine what it must be like for the many people who are. When things like this happen, it sometimes feels unreal to me that I can go on about my days as usual while others are going through extreme hardship and losses. Even writing a casual blog post almost seems … wrong.

And now for the question that’d actually have been my first one: How has life been treating you lately? The good, the bad – whatever is on your mind.
Joining Amanda for the weekly dose of thinking out loud.

Happiness-inducing today: The [likely] final day of amazing summer weather.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

What would you tell me if we were having [insert beverage of choice] today?

 

 

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Virtual Coffee Date

It’s been a while so some catching up on each other’s lives seems in order. And what better way to do so than over a cup of coffee – or tea in my case?. So if we were having  coffee, tea or any beverage you prefer, I’d tell you that …

The end of summer always brings up lots of feelings for me.  While the sunshine and warmth of mid-summer days brightens my mood and lightens my thoughts, the shorter and colder the days get, the more melancholia sweeps in. Resentment about chances passed and not taken because there always seemed to be so much left of summer – until there suddenly isn’t anymore. Longing for a move, a different job. Melancholy, thinking about summers past when this was the time of the year school or later on university were about to start again. A time of change and the excitement it brings along – something I’m craving in my own life, too.

Monday felt like the first day of autumn and I wasn’t neither a fan nor prepared when I headed for work, dresses decidedly summery. Oh summer, please come back and stay with us for at least a few more weeks. Will you, please?

Tea_Cafe Gleichklang

After taking a sip because I don’t like my tea to cool down too much, I’d also tell you …

That we celebrated my dad’s birthday with pretty much the whole family the other weekend  [i.e. 10th through 12th of August]. It was a big gathering and really nice celebration despite the weather literally raining heavily on my dad’s parade. Nothing that would have dampened our overall mood, though. The family spent the whole weekend together and friends joined for the ‘official’ celebration – concert (one of my relatives is a jazz singer), dinner, dancing – at one of my parents’ favourite restaurants. Given this isn’t the most accomodating place for vegetarians, I, I wasn’t expecting much from the buffet. involved eating the most amazing vegan lentil ratatouille that I’m set on recreating. So good. No pictures because I apparently got so lost in a conversation I didn’t even think about it.

Speaking of my dad’s birthday weekend, I’d also tell you that …

I may or may not have changed my opinion on cheesecake [I wasn’t a fan prior to this]. I think this actually was my first time ever baking cheesecake, at least the American kind [German cheesecake is made from Quark rather than cream cheese and I’ve always found it too dry this way]. Using Amy’s recipe for Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cheesecake Bars,  I had my first encounter with this classic. While I couldn’t try a slice of the finished cake – no eggs for me – I sampled my fair amount of the filling before adding the egg and if that alone is any indicator of the finished products taste: so good! I quadrupled  the recipe with just a few changes:

  • Using lower-fat instead of non-fat cream cheese [we don’t do the fatfree thing in this family ;)]
  • a good tablespoon less sugar
  • a whole egg because it’d have been wasteful to use just the whites [white for the crust, yolk for the filling]
  • And it turned out beautifully.

Mmh. It was a hit with my whole family and my colleagues – I brought a few leftover pieces to work – despite it being a ‘healthier’ option. We have a winner here and I’m keen on trying to find a good sub for the egg here because I want to have my [cheese]cake and eat it, too. If you have any ideas – Aquafaba? Flax eggs? More cornstarch in the filling? – let me know in the comments. Egg-free cheesecake has to happen.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you …

that I bought a new cake pan. This is an accomplishment both for the fact I spent money on myself without much contemplation and for the fact it’s my first 8 × 8 inch pan. Now this might not sound exciting or special to you but we simply do not use these size pans around here. Try finding one of them in stores – or spare yourself the frustration and order it online. Now I just need to decide on the first recipe to bake in my shiny new pan. Anybody else finding those ‘first time’ uses weirdly … exciting?

If we were having coffee, I’’d …

Tell you that I harvested the first kabocha of the season in my mum’s vegetable patch on the weekend. Yet also that it’ll also have been one of the last. For some unknown reason, my mum’s kabocha plants – she’s been sweet enough to grow them for me for years now – are dying prematurely, leaving just a handful of mature squashes. It’s particularly sad as kabocha is very hard, at times impossible to find in stores over here.

Homegrown kabocha squash

And then – or actually as the very first thing; we had this conversation in reverse order – I’d ask you how -you- are. How you really are. Because I deeply believe that a true friendship is built on sharing the good and the bad in life with each other. No need to pretend there was sunshine where you currently feel clouds hanging over your head. So: How are you?

Joining Amanda in letting the thoughts dance today.

Happiness-inducing today: Reading out in the sunshine after work – it’s colder but not yet too cold for this.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

What would you tell me if we were having [insert beverage of choice] today?

Coffee or tea? Which kind/flavour?

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Week in Review: Life lately

Hello there, friendly people!

Lately, I’ve in a sort of overthinking, not so comfortable phase in life, very much in my brain most of the time. If I was to try and describe the feeling it would be like swimming, not seeing exactly where I’m going. Which sounds scary for the fact I despise swimming alone ;). Anyway, it’s because of this that I’ve fallen out of the blogging loop lately. When the thoughts in mind are changing directions all the time, it’s hard to share anything without confusing all of you like crazy. Which I likely just did with this intro. Oh well.

That being said, I’m still working just as usual. It’s in my free time that my brain is going into overdrive. Thinking is good and necessary, thinking too much isn’t ideal.

Another issue that’s been keeping me from diving into blogging more again is my very moody old laptop. Here’s calling all of you for recommendations!  Which powerful but affordable laptops do you use and recommend? In the massive sea of offerings, I have a hard time deciding. Well, I really like my maritime metaphors today, it seems.

Not all of the points below are achievements; some are merely notes on life lately. Fortunately,  Meg is a very forgiving party host, letting all of us run wild with our interpretation of her fabulous original idea. Share some updates on your life lately in the comments with me. I don’t want this to be all about me

So here’s my by no means complete list of recent going-ons.

Week in review

In the past week(s) I …

Worked. Same same here. Which might be one of the reasons for my current not-so-happiness. Looking for job opportunities has been unsatisfying lately to say the least and I’m letting it get to me more than I’d like to.

Went shopping for the first time in … a long while. It was getting sort of necessary. You know you need to act when you live in tights – still no pants for me – and the majority of them have at least small holes. Note that we’re talking holes in places not visible from the outside but very much for me [mostly in the sole part]. So new tights made up the biggest part of my overall not immense haul. A new cardigan and a book thrown in for good measure. I’m not complaining about that.

Dean and David_vegan curry

Had lunch at Dean and David’s while in Hamburg and was pleasantly surprised  by the addition of edamame [not visible in the above picture] to my curry. Which unfortunately ended up hardly filling me up. On the upside, I took this as another lesson in intuitive eating: what’s enough for other people doesn’t have to be for you plus our needs change from day to day. It’s okay to need more after finishing a meal even if people around you don’t.

Called my insurance company asking them to pay for an extra that I wasn’t sure would be covered. Not my favourite thing to do so I’d been postponing it for a while but in the end it was surprisingly  .. good. The jury’s still out on whether they’ll end up paying but I’m glad I asked.

Faced a fear I’ve been dealing with for a while. It’s too ridiculous to specify but something I absolutely need and want to work on. This also inspired me to tackle more of those fears I have yet know are keeping me from fully enjoying life. Okay just in case this makes me sound nuts: I’m okay. Just always a bit too careful. I didn’t inherit that sprinkle of healthy carelessness that other people own. And we all know cake is better with sprinkles ;).

Visited my sister for a belated celebration of her birthday on Saturday. It was a laid-back family get-together of just her, her husband, P., my parents and me but so very nice. Looking forward to seeing them again in two weeks. On that note:

Successfully picked out a gift and bought it way ahead of time. This one’s definitely an accomplishment as I’m just about the least creative person in picking gifts and tend to postpone it to the last minute.

Started two of my new books. I’m not sure how I like them because they both have their lengthy passages but reading still makes me so happy. Plus, allowing myself to start two newly purchased books at the same time feels just that bit luxurious. Living on the wild side ;).

Blogged just once but there are some really good links waiting for you.

Drafted two blog posts. My mind constantly changing directions isn’t helpful to finishing any of them but I’ll definitely be back with another post later this week.

Once again, I’ve been getting wordy so I’ll end this here by wishing you a …

Happy Monday!

Don’t forget to tell me your happenings and accomplishments from the past week!

Happiness-inducing today: The sun peeking through in the late afternoon on a rather rainy day, allowing for a quick walk through the fields.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
What were some highlights from your past week?
Any laptop – please no Macs as it’d take me forever to get used to them and they’re also not exactly my price range 😉 – recommendations? I’d really appreciate any help here.


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When it rains it pours + seeing the rainbows.

Something tells me it’s been a while since we previously talked life and things, no?

Life – or as I like to think: destiny – has a [insert word I can’t decide on; Funny? Mean? Weird? None of these seem fitting] way of working out. Or: when it rains it pours. It’s been a mixed bag of a week for me and my family. On my side this meant some personal unpleasantries for lack of a better description.Ono of them being an eye infection that’s been bugging me since this past Monday. Essentially, I’m currently the literal equivalent of somebody with a laughing and a crying eye. Sounds more exciting than it is. Fingers crossed I won’t be  this rare phenomenon much longer. It’s getting old pretty fast, you know?  Yet all of that suddenly didn’t matter anymore in the face of some sad news my family found out this weekend. I know vague-blogging sucks but I can neither pretend life was all sunshine and rainbows over here nor – for privacy reasons – share any details. Other than saying that life is fleeting and we need to hug our loved ones tightly whenever we can.

By now you might know I’m constantly refocusing on the good; the silver linings no matter how dark the sky [i.e. life] looks in any certain moment. Only sometimes that’s hard, almost feels wrong. Is living in the moment and re-centering yourself to achieve an at least momentarily positive mood a means of ignorance towards reality? Of self-delusion? A way of avoiding problems and facing emotions until you can’t anymore or things backfire? I do wonder this but have no definite answer. It’s just another case of my mind running wherever it wants so if you have any thoughts on these: feel free to share them.

As I don’t want to get the reputation of “doom and gloom” blogger I’m going to leave it at that and ride the wave of endorphins this lovely Sunday provided me with. Nobody hates positivity. Oh and look at me forgetting what exact day it is  sooo… How was your Easter weekend? Ours ended up very laid back after the previous had been visitor- and stress-filled. Similary to this one a few weeks ago. On a coincidental side note and explaining the title: it was a week where the change of weather mirrored the happenings. Lots of downpours but double (!) rainbows twice in one weekend and lots of sunshine in between.

Not all of the points below are achievements; some are merely notes on life lately. Since Meg has been forgiving towards my changing approaches to the Week in Review in the past I’m hoping she’ll approve once again. Because I had no plans for writing this post and at that didn’t take notes of any achievements. Winging it is my specialty here.

Week in review

In the past week(s) I …

Worked four instead of five days this week. Thank goodness for Good Friday because the piles of paper just keep growing at the moment. Trying not to think of the extra ones coming up after the holidays  …

Spring-cleaned my bathroom and kitchen. Initiated by the  [absolutely amazing] fact of the former’s renovation. Okay, the remodeling of the lighting situation. Because – as I hadn’t told you yet – the latter was a serious joke the past few weeks. Anyway, I dreaded the whole cleaning process but it feels so good in the aftermath. Now when I talk about spring-cleaning or tidying up in general that does not mean I’m the most organized person in the world. Only a slightly more tidied up and less chaotic person – major difference ;). Though I’m proud of myself for having maintained the clutter-free surfaces since.

Did a little pantry purge that felt really good, too. Looks like somebody had a thing for peanuts here. Oops. It also looks like I should get baking again. I’m not complaining about that prospect …

Watched a movie with my mum on Friday night. For the German readers: it was this one which I’d seen before already and highly recommend. Romantic, funny and featuring some of the best German actors of the current time.

Speaking of my mum: she baked her classic ‘Eierlikörtorte’ [egg liquor torte] again – no Easter is complete without it. [Recycled picture with baby P. in the background as the technology issues are yet to be resolved]

Had an unpleasant appointment. At least I didn’t chicken out – that’s my accomplishment here.

Sent out an important email after postponing it for weeks. A big thanks to the two friends helping and encouraging me.

Spontaneously went on a walk with my dad earlier today. If you’ve been reading for a while you know our relationship is difficult so these happenings are rare and not without anxiety on my side. It was good, though. Really good. I’m aware of how quickly the current state here can change, though, but will preserve the memory.

Went for many walks in general, no matter what the weather was like. Lots of things to process require lots of walk-thinking through.

Baked a huge batch of Maple Buckwheat Granola for my colleague. Gluten-free for the first time. As I hadn’t reported back on that: the bread wasn’t a winner – which I admittedly had guessed but am not too sad about; granola-making is way more fun. Yet she said she missed the granola so I got busy in the kitchen after all. It might not become a regular anymore, though, because how insanely expensive are gluten-free oats?!

Blog-wise I wasn’t as active as I’d hoped to – sorry for being way behind on commenting and replying! – but published some really good good links yesterday.

Once again, I’ve been getting wordy so I’ll end this here by wishing you a …

Happy Monday!

Don’t forget to tell me your happenings and accomplishments from the past week!

Happiness-inducing today: Sunshine. The walk with my dad which once again allowed for a good conversation.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
What were some highlights from your past week?


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Quality [time] not quantity

Manic Monday – that’s exactly what I expect today – or actually our first week back at the office – to be like. I wouldn’t mind another day off 😉 … But today’s post isn’t about the future [much less stressing about the latter], it’s a recap of what we did during the past week so let’s go on with that. Meg, thank you for starting this wonderful link-up again months ago and encouraging us to see the good in every week.

As the title might give away already I don’t have many accomplishments to talk about. Rather, I was lucky to spend quality time with my family, filling my second bucket and my heart with joy. I’m sure many of you noticed the missing cheer in my previous week in review and even disappointment. Looking back I see that I was even more appreciative of the past seven days’ happenings so the low I found myself was the rain I had to go through to see my rainbow. <- don’t ask where that came from. My mind goes places when I allow it to take the lead while writing. Moving on for real now!

Week in review

In the past week

Worked two days. That bit about the holidays? Still true. Only that my boss [for those who don’t know: a relative] called me to start again a bit earlier me smile that pretty much all of Wednesday and several hours of Sunday were spent working.

Published a week in review and some Good good links.

Did a second photo shoot of the recipe I mentioned in my recent post already. Sorry for the delay. I wasn’t entire happy with the outcome of my first batch of pictures, still hoped to publish the recipe on Thursday but then came the unexpected call into work and all plans dissolved. <- what I meant when talking about necessary changes  [better time management for after work to-dos]

Crackers

Vacuumed and mopped the kitchen and bathroom floors. Ick. [Funny side note: auto correct suggests ‘Ickenham’ here. Where is that?]

The biggest chunk of the week revolved around the best thing possible: quality time with the family. Some of the happenings included:

Helping my sister bathe P. As if he wasn’t adorable enough this revealed a new level of cuteness to me. Maybe I do want to become a mum after all one day still. Minus the … ahem … backdoor shenanigans [shamelessly stealing borrowing Meg’s terminology here].

Baking baby cookies/banana oatmeal fingers [my sister practices baby led weaning hence the solids along with breastfeeding at six months already]. Vrdict:  not  as popular as fresh fruit. Which I, even being the baker [not my own recipe, though], actually found awesome. Fruit is definitely my favourite kind of candy, too. No worries about the oats in the ‘cookies’, though: I still plan on turning P. into an oatmeal [and nut butter] fiend later on. Just watch me on my mission ;).

Baby nephew

Lots of peek-a-boo playing, ‘conversations’ and cuddles with my nephew. Still obsessed with that boy and I’m afraid you might hear me talk about him a little longer still. Just until he hits those sassy teenage years, you know.

Having a spontaneous longer conversation with just my grandparents on Saturday night. It was lovely to talk about all kinds of things, past and future. We don’t get to see each other and share moments like that often enough.

Giving a little shutout to family members: my grandpa and dad took down our very old garden shed and started building a new bigger one. It looks promising.

Going for several walks with the family. These happen way more regularly now there’s a baby supposed to nap in the afternoons [because walking motion = falling asleep quickly].

Doing the final round of proofreading for my sister’s thesis. She’s about to hand it in.  Fingers crossed for her!

Sitting here on Sunday afternoon/early evening I’m a bit sad my sister and P. left again, not stoked about the prospect of work being more than just hectic for at least the first week – and wistful. Thinking of all the things I didn’t do – not entirely by my own choice – and wishing for some more time. Then again: don’t we all -always- do? It’s about living in the now and that’s something I need to practice a bit more again.

That’s enough about my life already. Tell me about yours and don’t forget to head over to Meg’s and everybody else’s blogs to find out about their recent achievements and fun happenings.

Happiness-inducing today:  Carrying my nephew around a bit more before he and my sister left. A nice walk home from the pffice.

 

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21

Pinterest: MissPolkadot21

Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!
 

How have you been filling your second hunger bucket [hint if you didn’t read the post: emotional hunger]?

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Lessons learned from a traditionally untraditional Christmas

When life hands you limes an unconventional Christmas you can either feel disappointed looking at everybody else’s recaps of their celebrations. Or enjoy reading about those different from yours and see the marvelous parts and lessons learned in the latter. Needless to say I’m going with the latter today in sharing our very untraditional holiday.

MiMM_new

A tree is a tree is a tree. Not!?

Do you know the famous picture by Magritte? Because: this is indeed a Christmas tree. Yes. Anybody saying differently shares my initial opinion is highly intolerant or narrow-minded. This is a tradition I wish my family hadn’t broken for the second year in a row. While I approve of eco-conscious lifestyles celebrating Christmas without a tree just didn’t feel right at first. I will admit, though, that – once we’d sat down for dinner and “lit” it – our home-built non-tree tree did a pretty good job adding the necessary atmosphere to the room. Also, I can’t remember the last time my family had this much fun having a photo shoot in front of the tree. Or actually the last time we ever did that.

You win, un-tree, you win.

Christmas Tree

 

When your heart is full food becomes secondary

Okay, yes, I cringed a little at how cheesy this sounds but allow me to explain. So: Intuitive Eating. It’s the ultimate goal. The means that is supposed to help us eat without worry and … It also is really scary to me. I haven’t shared much of my [food] background on here yet. But what I’ll say for now is that I’ve never NOT struggled with food and at that finding balance is hard. Extremes I can do – either over- or undereating – but listening to my intuition? It’s hard.
Back to the point. We had a very late dinner and I found myself snacking yet never satisfied for long all day leading up to it. Worried about going way overboard. Yet once we sat down, shared the wonderful meal – obviously including Rotkohl – I felt calmed and at mostly at ease. Finishing dinner we moved on to gift giving and playing a game afterwards. No space for overthinking and worrying about what I ate. In fact, I ended up not reaching my calorie goal and eating past my point of satisfaction to reach my calorie target for the day later on. A relieving experience when going through times of endless hunger on the regular. It’s good to realize there are moments when food becomes a second thought only. So much so you forget to take pictures and have to recycle some … #bloggerfail.

Christmas Eve_dinner_Rotkohl

 

Expectations can ruin your holidays – but only if you let them

Oh, expectations … we love to hate them, right? As a huge fan of planning I do not take changes from the agenda lightly and if you mess with my plans completely – not cool. My family obviously did. When all plans fell wayside I could have let it ruin my mood completely but just relaxing and taking things as they came is the best attitude. Though I still think we should have at least played board games instead of Yathzee for a fair chance of me winning.

 

A short amount of time can still create a lot of happy memories.

Gifts_Geschenke_Christmas

As mentioned before our main celebration is on Christmas Eve and it was very much limited to it this year, too. My brother and sister arrived only on 22nd/23rd so the time we got to spend with each other was limited. Another one of those expectation crushed but we still got to share lots of laughs and moments of togetherness. The same can be said about a way too short but wonderful meet-up with a friend of mine. Sipping tea, catching up and then heading to the movies which proved that …

 

I’m a hopeless romantic.

Granted, this was no lesson learned or any news but my sneaky way of saying: watch this movie! I wasn’t expecting much and was more than pleasantly surprised by this dramatic love story set in 19th century England. Every woman needs a Mr Oak in her life.

All in all, my Christmas weekend wasn’t perfect but it also wasn’t what I was expecting both positively and negatively [am I making sense?]. Not everything I’d hoped for happened but it also surprised me in good ways. And I’m choosing to keep the positives at the forefront of my mind. Just iike we should any day of our lives.

And with that I’m wishing you a happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today: Meeting a friend and watching above-mentioned movie. You really shoud, too, if you get a chance.

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Tell me about your Christmas and your favourite moments of it!