Just living – fast-paced and fabulous

If I was to sum up my weekend in just one sentence it’d be: Did it really happen? Or: boy, that was fast! Unlike my last weekend when I had to work all of Friday [think: until midnight] and half of Saturday this one had come with the premise of being calm and uneventful. Not so much in hindsight but I’m not complaining. Let’s recap some of the marvelous happenings from the past two days with our host Katie.

MiMM_new

Starting early – and we know how much I like this – on Saturday morning setting out for a train journey to meet my mum in a city four hours from my current home city. Generally, I enjoy traveling by train because it’s nice to unplug and get fully absorbed in a book. Seriously, if you keep getting distracted when trying to read at home: hop on a train. It works: by the time I got home I was halfway through the book I’d packed.  Plus, you get a new scenery every time you take a break from reading:

Train

Bonus points if you can spot the sea gull in this picture.

 

Because traveling requires some good fuel I packed a lot of food and also tried a new-to-me snack: a Nākd bar. More on these to come soon once I’ve sample some more flavours. I’m not easily convinced when it comes to bars but this one was delicious.

Weekending 020

In between reading and enjoying the scenery time fortunately passed by fairly quickly on my way there. Once I’d arrived my mum and I headed to a café located right by the seaside. Note to self: pack both sunglasses and a light scarf next time because seaside in summer = lots of sunshine and a “steife Brise” as any Northern German would say [overall windiness for all others].

 

neu_Promenadenspaziergang

 

Some more walking around the city ensued but I didn’t take any other pictures of the scenery because when I’m with my mum my phone doesn’t get much attention. Quality time with my mum > being  a good blogger taking pictures. Rather, I’ll leave you with this random non-vegetarian 😉 bit of hilariousness that I found in a book store while waiting for my train later that day. That’s what you happen upon when your train back unscheduledly ends prior to reaching your destination and you have to wait for a new connection. Thanks for nothing, German railway system… [note that it’s basically a requirement to snark at the ‘Deutsche Bahn’ as a German because delays are a daily order of business].

Bacon

Sunday started with leisurely sleeping in – blissful! After some pottering around my apartment, a quick reading session to my second recommended reading place – aka: the gym – and a delicious lunch I headed out to the movies. Following the spontaneous invitation of a friend we went to see ‘The Fault in our Stars’.

I’d read the book way back and actually hadn’t planned on watching the movie but wasn’t going to say no when my friend suggested it. Looking back I’m glad she asked me to tag along.

Cinema ticket

Despite what the ticket might make you guess at first glance we actually watched the original movie in English not the German. I’m usually hesitant towards watching movies based on books that were absolutely amazing because these can really be hit or miss. And while I wasn’t sure about the lot of romance in the beginning the last three minutes had me bawl my eyes out like the book: win. Okay? Okay. Plus: Ansel Elgort… I think I’ll finally be able to include a celebrity crush in my next Currently post again…

In between being out and about all Saturday and not sitting down much on Sunday, either, this the weekend flew by in the blink of an eye. Leaving me thinking that this thing called ‘just living’ feels pretty good. More of that, please.

For now:Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Just all of today.

 

Stay in touch!

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

 

What are some of your [unusual]  favourite places to read?

Did you watch ‘The fault in our stars’ yet or plan to do so?

Tell me your favourite part of this past weekend.

A traditionally untraditional Easter

Hello there and happy Tuesday! Did you all have a great and sunny long Easter weekend?

Even though I’d planned to post yesterday I ended up staying at my parents a little longer and enjoying those last hours. How about we start this post by saying I was right assuming my mum wouldn’t buy a single [chocolate] Easter egg. But one of my grandma’s – the one who got me addicted to Lindt chocolate – made sure our Easter wasn’t all untraditional by mailing us Easter bunnies, no, chicken. By Lindt, obviously ;).

Easter_Lindt-Hühner

… that my mum didn’t even think about ‘slaugthering’ but immediately used for decorative purposes. I’m taking guesses on how long they’ll sit there…

Beautiful was my mum’s Easter bouquet on the table featuring one of my favourite flowers since childhood: bleeding heart. Unique name, gorgeous flower.

Easter_flowers on the table

Recovery-wise Easter didn’t include any mention-worthy triumphs. But I felt more relaxed in consuming more sugar than usual [new favourite: lemon sorbet straight from the tub in between meals]. No picture because once more the camera wasn’t at hand to capture every moment. However, this is a picture from a scoop of [some seriously good mango] ice cream I treated myself to last week, too, so we’ll roll with it. Okay? Awesome. I’m glad we agree here. (:

Ice cream_mango_Giovanni L

Aside from the ice cream I treated myself to [even] more chocolate than usual, cheese, random bits and bites of whatever sounded and looked good. All of this while not going to the gym. Running still isn’t in the cards for me – or not unless I want to worsen my hip pain – and so I spent most of the first two days relaxing. Sometimes exercise just doesn’t happen and that’s okay. Sunday, however, was amazing and more active. Think the best kind of exercise because it doesn’t feel like a formal workout at the gym: a long bike ride with my parents, aunts, an uncle and one of my cousins.

 

Easter weekend_bike tour

These bike tours are an Easter tradition in my family and actually the last one that remained all throughout the years. No Easter egg hunt, no Easter bakets/ gifts or special dinner – but the bike ride is a constant. This year’s included crossing a river with a small ferry. We’d hardly taken our seats when it was time to get off board again.

ferry_Easter 2014

One of the things you learn* from years of venturing on cycling tours with my dad: never trust his guesstimates when it comes to the length of them. Because thirty kilometres easily end up turning into 45. With multiple breaks, obviously. This remainder of a castle gave the backdrop during our longest rest.

*or you don’t… Note to self: pack more snacks!

Easter weekend_bike tour_castle

We were lucky to have the sun accomodate us all day. Somebody may or may not have gotten a slight sun-induced headache, though. As much as I enjoy being out in the sun too much of it makes me feel doozy. Can any other fair-skinned people relate? I’m pretty sure these guys – further proof of my mum considering Lindt a manufactury of decorative objects 😉 – will agree there’s such a thing as too much sun. At least once they melt they’ll do…

Easter_Lindt_Goldhasen

Despite some up and downs this was an amazing and truly spring-like Easter weekend with my family. Though we don’t follow any of the usual Easter traditions it was our own traditionally untraditional celebration. And no matter how often I probably wished we stuck to the classic idea like other families do in the end I know that deep within I wouldn’t actually want it any other way. It’s typically us.

Spending time with family is a [sadly rather rare] treat in itself so I’m joining Becky’s Treat Yourself Tuesday for the first time today.

Treat-Yourself-Tuesday-Badge

Relaxed [in the beautiful countryside]. Spoiled [with good food]. Loved [all of it].

 

Happiness inducing today: An extra long hug my mum when we said goodbye.

Stay in touch!

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

 

Does anybody feel like making any guesses on how long the hens from the first picture will stay in that place? If they’re still around the next time I visit my parents I’ll suggest making some nice chicken soup, errr … chocolate fondue. (:

What was your favourite part of the Easter weekend?

Did you do an Easter egg hunt or get an Easter basket?

 

 

Trusting hunger cues & Berlin recap

Visiting Berlin isn’t just the obviously amazing experience of spending time in this vibrant and multicultural city. For me, it’s also a way of measuring my progress in terms of eating. There are usually months in between any two visits to the city and I can see at least a little bit of improvement every time. Maybe not visible to an outsider but noticable differences to me nonetheless. It’s What I ate Wednesday again so here’s to sharing not only meals but also some reflections on past and present times at Berlin. Don’t worry: deliciousness overweighs the heavier thoughts.

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

We had intended to spend the whole weekend in the city but as my mum had a busy week and still more work to do on Saturday we decided to postpone a longer trip and make the most of Sunday. Getting up far too early for my liking [7:40 AM on a weekend?!] to be at the station in time to catch our train at shortly past 9. How do you early birds do that every day??

at the station

Our first stop and priority after arriving in Berlin was warming up from the chill that lay over the city at a café. Not any, though, but Sarah Wiener’s at the Museum of Communication that we’d meant to visit in anyway. The café has a cozy and comfy feel and an inviting atmosphere.

Sarah Wiener_Kommunikationsmuseum

For any of you knowing Sarah Wiener you won’t be surprised by how pretty – though not vegan – the piece of cake my mum ordered with her coffee. I may or may not have snagged the decorative piece of white chocolate.

Sarah Wiener_Torte

Past visits to Berlin evoke memories that range from not more than an apple for breakfast to then touring the city in a grouchy beast mode and brain fog. Enjoyable days? Far from it. Not only did they clearly affect my general condition but fighting with my mum – related to food or not – was unavoidable. Eating or lack therof pushed itself in the foreground no matter what we did. It became a dominating issue whenever we visited Berlin interfering with any plans we might have made. Previously [note: years ago] trying to eat as little and move as much as possible throughout the day hadn’t made for the most amazing times. This time, however, I let go of plans and followed my intuition. A breakfast that left me satisfied along with some snacks was a first good change. The second was not ignoring my grumbling stomach after making our way through the exhibition on beauty and body image [possibly more details in a post to come]. Knowing we weren’t going to have lunch until the late afternoon we spontaneously stopped by yet another café.

Berlin_youghurt

I’m not a fan of being the only one eating when the people I’m with aren’t hungry yet so this was a step out of my comfort zone. A step that felt good and right, though. Not only was every spoonful of this tomato soup with a sweet and spicy kick warming and delicious. It was another little learning experience: Listening to our hunger cues – however untimely they might feel – isn’t always easy when our mind tries to convine us elsewise. But in doing so we free our minds from focussing on food instead being able to turn our full attention to more important things.

Tomato soup_youghuru

Like meeting blends as I did after eating said bowl of soup above. I’ll keep myself from gushing about how awesome meeting Lucie was again 😉 – but just because today’s about the food. And there was more of that because as good as it tasted the soup clearly didn’t comprise a full lunch. Enter lunch part two. When it came to choosing between an early train home or lunch food won. Food and good company.

Burrito bowl_January 2014

No visit to Berlin is truly complete without fulfilling my need for a burrito bowl at Dolores. Same order as usual: mild salsa, Mexican-spiced brown rice, a hearty serving of black beans. All topped off with salad and freshly prepared tortilla chips. We had a great time caching up with one of my aunts and her boyfriend who are living in Berlin. And just because it’s hard to tell from the first picture: yes, there were rice and beans below all of the chips.

Dolores

Snacks on the train back home included Amanda’s oatmeal bars once more which I swear get better by the day. Back home I had – well-prepared as I am [as if] – oat bran waiting for me to reheat it on the stove making for a great breakfast for dinner on a cold cold night. Trust me you don’t want to see a picture of this let alone one taken in sleepy and ravenous state [not like I took one but you don’t need to know me slacking on blogger duties ;)]. Previously I’d have neither had a two-part lunch nor allowed myself to eat a full dinner plus more snacks after returning home on a rest day with hardly any moving around. It’s all about learning to trust my hunger cues and as hard on my mind as it can still be at times I don’t want to go backwards anymore.

Oatmeal bar_II

There you go with a day of good food, meeting a blend and bonding with family in Berlin. Blissful.

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: Quiet me time in the morning.

Have you been to Berlin before?

Do you have an easy time listening to your hunger cues and following along no matter which situation you’re in?

A family weekend [+ a foodie giveaway]

Happy Monday!

Looking back at the past days I honestly have to assume somebody’s pushing the fast-forward button when it comes to the weekend and slow-motion on weekdays. The past days were packed with activities but I still didn’t get to check off all [fun and not-so-fun] points on my weekend to-do list and now it’s already back to the grind again. Oh well.

No matter how manic our Mondays might be, however, there’s always the weekend to look back at some marvelousness. And if that doesn’t help to cheer you up think of it this way: we’re already well on our way to another weekend ;).

MiMM_new

If you’ve been reading any of my WIAW posts before you might know I’m a fan of spotting themes or patterns in what I’ve eaten. It’s no different in other parts of life so I’m happy to say my last weekend followed an overal theme, too. And the best – in my opinion – at that, too. Just the way I’d hoped for when moving back in with my parents the past days were filled with family activites – and other kinds of families 🙂 …

Family movie night

Okay, so it was just my mum and me watching the movie. But – at the risk of sounding biased – I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my dad’s kind of movie in anway. Don’t you agree?

Movie night with mum

We watched Stuck in Love and I highly recommend it. I’d actually never heard of the movie before and planned on getting Love, Actually. But when I spotted this one at the rental store it just wanted to come along and so it did. The beginning made my mum laugh out loud and ask what kind of movie I’d picked. Luckily, she’ll watch pretty much anything and it ended up being a great one. Perfect for a mum-and-daughter or single girl movie night. With a side of my favourite snacks: Erdnussflips. I’ve mentioned these before and though my mum once claimed she and my dad didn’t enjoy them much they’ve somehow become a staple since I moved in. Sweet coincidence?!

Family [of] holiday buddies

Holiday buddies

Did I mention my mum’s unusual style of decorating yet? While our house sadly isn’t nearly as festively decorated as in past years my mum puts up cute little figurines, ornaments and vases filled with flower arrangements all year. Mostly seasonal or all-year-round suitable ones so let’s agree that the bunny is there to help the dwarf cheer up the slightly unhappily looking Santa, okay?

Family game nights

Something that hadn’t happened in ages anymore. My mum claims she didn’t enjoy them so I’d given up suggesting to play board games – when my dad suddenly asked if I’d like to because he had some more time this weekend. Needless to say I was game!

Cafe International

Seeing how long we hadn’t been playing this game anymore my parents had completely forgotten the rules. It was my job to keep my eyes on them to prevent [most] cheating but some slipped my view. Do anybody else’s parents keep helping each other while you’re playing on your own? Not fair.

Family[-approved] stickers

A good part of my weekend was once more spent writing [long-overdue] letters. Accompanied by a new toffee-scented candle it was most definitely happiness-inducing.

Seasonal stickers

What can I say? I’m five at heart and get excited at the sight of cute little stickers like these ones. But honestly: Wouldn’t you prefer to receive letters covered in reindeers, santas and other holiday-themed ornaments, too? White paper is a sad sight that should only be left for business letters.

holiday-themed

For the family of foodies

It’s time to say sorry. If you read my review of Happy Herbivore Light & Lean you might remember me mentioning a giveaway coming up. And it only deemed on my yesterday that I’d promised to have it up last week already. So: sorry! No more delaying now, though.

HH Light & Lean

For a chance to win your own copy become a member of the family of Happy Herbivore Light & Lean owners leave a comment through the Rafflecopter widget [link below] telling me why you’d like to win the book. The giveaway is open to US and Canadian readers only [sorry!].

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happiness inducing today: My dad approving of the [vegan] family dinner I’d prepared.

Does your family still have game nights when you meet? Which are your favourite games?

What were some of the last great [romantic] movies you watched?

Are you a fan of decorating all year round or just seasonally for the holidays?

It’s beginning to look [and scent] a lot like Christmas

Only 15 more days until Christmas!!! Can anybody else relate to the rushed feeling I get when reminding myself I have gotten exactly zero presents for my family so far?!

Talking about traditions yesterday already my parents and I went for another one of our family’s on Saturday night. It’s been some kind of a ‘must’ for my family to visit a local theatre group’s Christmas play every year since I was a child. Though not necessarily Christmas-themed all of the time seeing their performances is a necessity for us. Admittedly, we weren’t too impressed with this year’s story but it was still nice to spend time as a family and meet friends. For more family marvelousness don’t forget to stop by our awesome host Katie’s for pictures of her sister’s beautiful wedding!

MiMM_new

If you noticed my happiness inducing note yesterday my dad helped me get the box of Christmas decorations from the attic. Not just because it’s huge and heavy but also because – despite being a ‘big girl’ now – I still don’t like rumbling through the dark and dusty top flour of our house myself. Maybe because I’m still scared of my brother’s stories of rats living up there? Thanks for nothing ;).

Pettersson und Findus

And that would be my second Advent calendar – two are always better than one and this one’s been in my family for ages. We got it when me and my siblings were a lot younger and have been reusing it ever since. Petterson and Findus are a classic for us and we’ve been enjoying to [re]disover the hidden surprises every year anew. Actually, I like this one even better than my chocolate calendar because it holds a plethora of memories for me.

AdventYes to not fighting over who’s allowed to open the doors on which day! All mine this year.

Something else that I’d been planning to do for weeks already yet never felt like when coming home from work was cookie baking. Turning up the Christmas tunes and getting my hands covered in flour and frosting? Heavenly.

One kind of cookies my family – especially my dad – insists on having every year are my paternal grandma’s Kakaoplätzchen. The name would directly translate to ‘cocoa cookies’ but that hardly describes how special they are. While she still could my grandma would bake a huge batch mailing us a box of these – among many other homemade cookies – every year.

Grandma's recipe

During the past few years, though, it has become our job to create these using the secret family recipe passed down from my grandma to my mum. These have several steps and take some time to prepare. While I’m not a fan of rolling out dough and cutting cookies my mum isn’t too keen on filling and frosting. Hence why we turned these cookies into teamwork. And I somehow feel I got the better deal,  don’t you agree?

frosting

Cookies baking in the oven filling the whole kitchen with the scent of Christmas make even cleaning up the mess left behind more enjoyable. Learn from my [unavoidable] mistake and don’t try to assemble sandwich cookies with your dad in the same room. Lesson learned: you’ll end up with an uneven number of cookies due to a certain someone not being too impatient to wait until for the finished cookies. Note that I said unavoidable because a) my parents’ kitchen and living room merge into one another and my dad was working in the living room randomly grabbing cookies to snack on. Confession: It’s a reoccuring happening that’s almost a Christmas time tradition in itself ;).

Kakaoplätzchen

These cookies aren’t vegan and while I’m not one to call defeat early I honestly think veganizing them wouldn’t work a charm. Knowing how much these cookies mean to my dad I know he wouldn’t be content with a version that doesn’t quite live up the original. I’m aware some vegans wouldn’t prepare non-vegan foods for others. But this is where I see things differently and value seeing my family happy more than adhering to my own food preferences. Even if my dad feels compelled to discuss my reasons for eschewing eggs – still love him :).

Did I mention the first snow of the season gracing Germany?

first snow

Whether snowy or not, filled with Christmas music, cookie baking or whichever other activities: I hope you had a great weekend.

Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Rediscovering our old Advent calendar.

Which Christmas-y activities made your weekend marvelous?

Does your family have any special traditions related to the holidays?

Did you purchase or make any Christmas gifts so far or are you a last-minute person, too? A bad habit I find incredibly hard to break though I’m not a fan of the added stress.

Recounting a week of ups and downs

Hi there and happy Monday! Did you have a marvelous weekend?

For today’s Marvelous in my Monday I’m going to switch things up talking not just about the weekend but last week’s happenings. Anyway, here’s to the ups and downs of the past week. Because seeing the positives in even the worst situations is what keeps things marvelous.

MiMM_new

Confession time: Visits at the dentist scare me like crazy. It’s not serious enough to keep me from going but I’m basically a nervous wreck the moment I’m sitting down on the chair. And I might just be the most sensitive person ever when it gets to my teeth – it’s embarrassing. Cue happiness [irony alert!] when I had two visits scheduled last week and two more to come this week. Sounds like there was a lot to be done? True. Learn from my mistakes: however healthy you might eat today it won’t make up for bad habits in your childhood. [I found this comic at random – still afraid of dentists but it’s cute.]

The upside, though? My new dentist and her team are very kind. The treatment didn’t even hurt much – after anaesthesia, obviously.  The first appointment went by without much pain and I felt good afterwards. After the second appointment, however … no going into too much detail here because: who’d be interested in hearing about that? Let me just say I was running on very little sleep on Thursday and eating was no fun.

Needless to say the cooking session I’d planned with a newly made friend didn’t sound too enticing and wasn’t going to happen with anything other than blended lightly seasoned food being out of consideration [downside]. But sticking with my goals – and also really wanting to socialize more – I still went over to hers. Being alone would have only meant giving in to the toothache, right? No way :)!

Crunchy vegetables were a no-go with my teeth but who says toothaches meant you couldn’t eat chocolate? Vegan white chocolate, to be exact.  A little tea to help it melt and I was good to go :). To be fair I’m still not a fan of white chocolate but then again not picky when it’s what the host has on hand. And about the movie? So sad but still so amazing. Thanks for recommending it to all of you who did! We ended up having a great evening [upside] that helped me get my mind of the lingering toothache [which got a lot worse on Friday making me need emergency treatment.]

First little down on Sunday:  getting up after an [admittedly self-afflicted] too short night of sleep . Upside: amazing misty scenery at the lake on an early morning run before my dad was supposed to arrive at my place. And the upside to him catching a late train? Time for food prep! Roasting some of the still abundant vegetables in my apartment.

Food prep

Now you already know what my Sunday entailed: spending time with my dad who came to visit me for the first time in quite a while. It’s been a few months if not longer and he surprised me by announcing he’d come along. We met up at my place to decide on our plans for the afternoon and after that stopped by at a café close to my apartment.

Tea

Which included my dad’s first foray into vegan cheesecake and rice milk tasting. I was a bit unsure knowing that both of these can be a little aquired in taste if you’re not used to them but: win! The cheesecake was really good and my dad apparently didn’t mind the non-dairy milk, either. No picture of the cake as – opposed to when my mum’s around  – I’m not comfortable taking pictures of food in front of my dad.

Though I feel bad admitting it I won’t lie here. I’m a fan of keeping it real. Being honest. Not sugarcoating. To me, bloggers sharing both the good and bad parts of their life are a lot more relatable and provide a reason for me to keep reading. Long story short: My dad and I have a complicated relationship. Just like the title of this post implies we go through ups and downs. So to be honest we didn’t have a nice chat while at the café but a rather wearisome conversation about my applications, possible jobs, further studies … Not exactly what I’d hoped for.
The upside was our plan for the day – visiting a reading – turning out to be interesting. But afterwards we shortly talked about my move again. And – not going into the nitty gritty details as not to bore you too much but: it looks like regular blogging will become difficult [if not impossible] while living at my parents’.  It’s hard to imagine for me right now but I hope you’ll excuse a lack of commenting, posts and still keep reading.

Despite this I’m not meaning to say my dad was or portray him as a mean person. Simply because it’s not true. His reasoning for this [not blogging only] internet ban is work-related and – as mentioned above – explaining it might bore you and I wouldn’t want to do that :).

Nonetheless I’m trying not to grieve too much. There have been many times when my dad helped me growing up. Many good memories. Just that things have gotten tougher lately and living in the same place again will bring its downsides, too, and maybe more than just a few. It’s not easy to see the upside of possibly not blogging [regularly or at all?] right now as it has become such an integral part of my life. Since I can’t end the post on a negative note I’ll pretend it’ll teach me to be more efficient and work out a blogging schedule making the most of the rare occasions I’ll have. Fake it till you make believe it, right ;)?!

[It’s another one of those posts I’m hesitant about publishing hoping it’s not too personal! The main reason I’m sharing this is because of its future impact on my blog – not to rant about my family because I don’t intend to ever do that.]

Happiness inducing today: My early run – surprising for a non-morning person like me.

What was marvelous about your weekend or the last week in general?

Do you have any dentist horror stories to share ;)? Maybe I shouldn’t ask seeing as I have to go back today but it could help to know I’m not alone …