Friday, 28 February 2014

Round my hometown, Memories are fresh


Coming back home to Germany feels like a secure, comforting warm embrace.  Even though I've been living in the UK for almost 10 years now, I'm still fiercely German on the inside.  I love coming back here because so much is familiar and I can trace my family history.  For example my mum's Grandmother (so my great grandmother) lived in the house you can see in the above picture on the left.  I feel very close to my roots here and that is comforting.

We took a day to get our errands done whilst I tried to soak as much of my hometown in as possible so it can carry me until the summer where I'll be back for two weeks.


Another piece of history that we love reliving as a family is eating tasty treats in one of Würzburg's oldest Caféhaus.  Café Michel has been around for over 100 years.  The decor has never changed, the tiles in the toilets are still from back in the day, even though it's probably not the most aesthetically pleasing place to eat, we Würzburg locals cling to this place.  That anything could have survived the terrible bombing in World War II (Würzburg was more destroyed than Dresend) is a miracle and so this place is very dear to us.  My gran used to take my mother here when she was a little girl and mum would come here when she was being rebellious and skipping school.

But on Thursday we came for an entirely different reason: in Germany it's Krapfen season. HUZZAH!

Krapfen is a German doughnut without the centre hole and filled with what is locally known as Hiffenmark but generally known as Hagebuttenmark (a fruit preserve made from rose hips and sugar).  It's better than jam I tell you! You guys might be more familiar with Krapfen as the Berliner, the one that John F. Kennedy called himself (Ich bin ein Berliener!).  We each ordered one (my younger brother actually inhaled two in under ten minutes) and ate them accompanied by excellent coffee.  Why can't I find a decent latte macchiato anywhere outside of Germany? My Krapfen was a slightly modern variation of the classic which just has a dusting of icing sugar and the Hiffenmark inside, mine had a wild berries preserve in it and a sweet fruit icing. Delicious.  I wish I could take these back to Cardiff with me! 

More soon!
Bis bald!
x



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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Scouting with Glasses Direct + GIVEAWAY

Glasses Direct
Marilyn Glasses
 
Scout Marilyn glasses C/O Glasses Direct

I've had to wear glasses since I was 8 years old, back then wearing glasses could be quite a challenge because there weren't many nice frames or that much choice.  As I got older the choice got better and bigger.  At the moment I'm switching it up between contact lenses and my much loved Ray Bans.  Glasses always end up coming up quite expensive for me because I need very strong lenses, I can barely see without my glasses or contacts.  

Saying this, I love wearing glasses especially ones that are quite out there and obvious, if you're going to wear glasses you might as well wear big and beautiful ones.  So of course I jumped at the chance to review some glasses from Glasses Direct.  

Glasses Direct is Europe's leading online prescription glasses retailer.  They have a MASSIVE choice of glasses from a range of designers and suitable for each budget.  They stock designer brands like Diesel, Jil Sander and Karl Lagerfeld but also purse friendly brands like London Retro and Scout, which is where mine are from.  They also stock a huge variety of sunglasses which is perfect at the moment since the sun has been showing his face again!

Glasses Direct also offer a great Home Trial service, for those of you who are difficult at making decisions and can't choose just one set of frames! Glasses Direct let you choose 4 pairs of glasses to try on at home at no extra costs.  Once you've settled on which pair you prefer you send the box back with the free postage label whilst your chosen frames get their lenses put in! Glasses Direct do very cheap prescription lenses so I really can't recommend this service enough! 

I chose the Scout Marilyn glasses because I loved the shape, with red lips and these I feel like a real 50s babe.  These glasses are an easy way to instantly feel more glamorous.  I'm going to watch How To Marry a Millionaire and wish I was Marilyn!

Now Glasses Direct are being super kind and are offering my readers the chance to win a pair of  Scout glasses or sunglasses of your choosing by entering a giveaway! All you need to do is do follow some entries, and a brand new pair of frames could be yours to win!

Good luck and thanks again to Glasses Direct!

More soon!
x





You need to leave a link to this blog post on the Glasses Direct Facebook page and like them.  I will be checking your entries to make sure.


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Monday, 24 February 2014

Nina Eats - Juno Lounge


So the day before Valentine's Day I caught up with my number one Valentine: one of my closest friends who I've known since Freshers Week at university and we've been essentially inseparable since.  She's moved closer to where I live so we've been making the most of living closer to each other by exploring what our neighbourhood has to offer.  

Juno Lounge is a stones throw away from my flat, I've been a couple of times for either drinks or lunch but never dinner so I was excited to give it a go.  We went on a freezing cold and wet evening and Juno Lounge welcomed us with a warm and cosy interior and a very tempting specials menu as well as their staple menu.  My Valentine and I both share a love of carbs (see why we're friends?) so we both went for the gnocchi with butternut squash and creme fraiche sauce.  Very tasty, the harissa in the sauce gave it a nice kick as butternut squash sadly has a tendency to get a bit bland.  The gnocchi were average, we're not living in Italy and it was only £8.50 for the portion so I can't be fussy.  Nonetheless it was very tasty and there wasn't anything left on either of our plates.

We rounded things off with dessert, I went for a huge brownie and my Valentine had sticky toffee pudding.  Boarding school has forever ruined toffee pudding for me (and most forms of sponge cakes) so I felt safe with my chocolate brownie.  Again it was very tasty and a very generous portion size!

We washed our food down with tasty cocktails.  My first cocktail was a Cherry Bakewell cocktail, it tasted like cherry drop sweets but it wasn't as good as the one I had in Cosy Club.  Still a nice accompaniment to dinner and something different to my usual choice of G&T.  For second dessert (yes that's a thing as far as I'm concerned) I did revert to my gin and went for the bizarrely named 'Long Bebbo' which was essentially gin and orange juice.  When I drink cocktails I don't always want to taste the alcohol but I like to get the fuzzy head feeling when after sitting down for ages you finally stand up.  So safe to say I tottered home very full and warm and fuzzy from a great evening spent gossiping and laughing.  Just what the doctor ordered.

If you're a Cardiff resident give Juno Lounge a try, it's the perfect pit stop for lunch after a morning wander in Roath Park.  I do love my neighbourhood there's so much to explore and so many good places to eat!



Price: ££
Address: 14 Wellfield Road, Cardiff CF24 3PB 
Phone: 029 2019 8990 
Opening hours: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
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Friday, 21 February 2014

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Coat and top: New Look.  
Trousers: River Island.  
Necklace: Ever Ours.  
Shoes: Topshop.  
Bag: Primark.  
Lips: Revlon Colorburst Laquer Balm in Vivacious

I wore this outfit to meet up with my friend for coffee and a catch up before I fly out to Germany on Tuesday.  In times like this I realise how loved I am and how many wonderful people I have in my life.  It may seem tacky to be posting so soon after my grandfather's passing but what his passing has taught me is that we have to grab life by the balls and live it as best as we can.  Hence this rather loud outfit.  Do tartan, stripes and pink go together? Probably not.  Do I care? Nope.

It may seem inappropriate but I'm looking forward to being with my family in Germany.  I've missed them and normally I only go to Germany in summer so being there in Spring will be lovely.  I'm not sure if I'm taking my laptop with me but my camera will be coming along so I can update you when I'm back.

Today I plan on taking it easy by sorting things out for Germany, watching This Morning with my new moustache mug, eating soup and drafting blog posts.  I'm saving my energy for the upcoming week.  

More soon
x



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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Giving the gift of life


On Tuesday morning I got a phone call from my mother to tell me that my Grandfather had passed away in his sleep on Monday evening.  My grandfather has always been an inspiration to me for his hard work, raising three children, making my father the fantastic man that he is now and for his resilience.  For the last ten years he had to go for dialysis constantly and he was very sick for the past few years.  His passing almost comes as a relief to us because his suffering is finally at an end.

His passing has made me think about my life and again the choices I am making.  Two years ago after my mother's father passed I signed up to the NHS Organ Donor register and I'm so glad I did this.  When someone you love passes away it is such a shock to the system.  My grandfather made it to his 80th birthday and even though he was so sick I really believe that he lived a full and good life.  And it hurts my heart that some people can't have this privilege.


On average three people a day die in the UK waiting for a transplant because there aren't enough organs available.  One donor can save or transform the lives of up to nine people.  For me this is the main reason for being an organ donor.  My grandfather has lived a good long life and if being an organ donor means I can give this gift to someone else than that's just incredible to me.  There are more people in the UK waiting for an organ than there are donors which is a mind blowing statistic.  It takes just a few minutes to sign up and you're changing someone's life for ever.



The video below won the 2013 FilmLife entry to raise awareness about organ donation and having the conversation about donation with your family.  My mother was surprised when I told her I was a donor, she said if she had to be put in the position of being asked what to do with my organs she wouldn't have been able to make that decision so she said she was glad I had made that call.  If you are an organ donor make sure your family are aware, it's a really important conversation to have.

I'm trying to live a full life that I can be proud of and I hope I'm making my grandfathers proud.  But I also hope that when the day comes, I can help someone else live a long and healthy life.  Knowing that there are people out there who can't live the life they want because of a medical condition reinforces my organ donation decision.


If you live in the UK you can sign up to be an organ donor here, I'm a big support of the 'Opt-Out' system for organ donation which means that unless you explicitly state that you do not want to be a donor, everyone is automatically a donor.  I'm happy to hear that this system has been given the go ahead in Wales and hopefully one day will be applicable for all of the UK.

Being an organ donor gives you the opportunity to change someone's life for the better and what greater gift is there than the gift of life?

NHS Organ Donor Registry
US Organ Donor Registry
German Organ Donor Registry

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