Monday, 28 February 2011

The Cats

Let me introduce you to the cats. They can be quite demanding and naughty. They need a lot of care and attention. But we still love them! Except when they come to sit on our chests and breathe down our faces at 4 AM...

This is Mae. She was our first. She is a beautiful tortoiseshell, black and white and red all over... With four cute little white mitten paws. Marco came up with her name because she was very flirty and easy to give us love when we first met her, so she reminded him of Mae West. Mae enjoys hunting for moths, running, fruit cake, belly rubs, and string. Mae does not enjoy being stalked by Missy, raw meat, and cat bullies.

This is Missy. She came second, but thinks she is number one. She is mostly black with a few reddish tortoiseshell speckles, three white whiskers, and a funky raccoon tail. Her name suits her because she can be something of a little misfit. Missy enjoys water, sleeping on the laptop keyboard, meeting other cats, feathery toys, and purring. Missy does not enjoy having nobody to play with, being told off, and us sleeping in.

Both of them are rescue cats that were looked after by Cats Protection before they moved in with us. Mae was a kitten when she was first rescued, then went to live with somebody who developed an allergy to her. Good for us, but poor Mae! Missy had had a loving owner, but was put into shelter when the lady became pregnant and her boyfriend did no longer want a cat in the house. It must have been hard to give her up!


Completely unrelated to the above, I today complimented a post officer on how methodical he was in stamping and signing several proof-of-postage slips for parcels I was sending. Geek!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Happy Birthday, Susa!

Today is my friend Susa's birthday! I hope she has a fantastic day and the new year will bring her all she wishes for when she blows out her candles.

I have known Susa for over 10 years, we used to be workmates at first, but she soon became a friend. I even lived with her for a few weeks after I had given up my apartment in preparation for my move to London. I'm really grateful that she's still my friend, after that! For my wedding last year, Susa was my personal, all-day make-up artist. She is incredibly good at making a girl look gorgeous! We also share a slightly unhealthy obsession with The Lord Of The Rings movies, complete with borderline stalking of one of the elves, who we went to meet at a fantasy festival in the Netherlands. At age 27. (Oops, did I just write that?) For a while now, she has been eating mostly vegan, which I admire her for.

Unfortunately, she is in Germany, and I am in London, so I cannot see her for Kaffee und Kuchen, but I promised her a while ago I would be on the lookout for a good vegan cake recipe, and I might just have found one. It is for an Chocolate Orange Cake and Susan from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen kindly let me share it. You can find it here

I pretty much stuck to Susan's original recipe, but made the following substitutions:

unbleached flour : plain flour
white wholemeal flour : dark wholemeal flour
sugar : golden granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon : 2 tsp cinnamon
water : soya milk

The oven should be at 175°C and I baked the cake for 50 minutes. I also added one tablespoon of orange flower water for some extra fragrance. For the cake decoration, I left out the orange icing, but made double the amount of chocolate icing, to which I added 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and water instead of orange juice (I used one extra teaspoon of water, so 5 instead of 4). So all in all, I guess I made more of a cinnamon-spiced Chocolate Orange Cake. (I am a bit of a cinnamon addict, sorry.) After I had drizzled the icing over the cake, I added a circle of candied orange slices as decoration. The cake rose beautifully and even though it is dense, the crumb is quite light and springy, which is rare in a vegan cake. I tried a bit this morning, and it did what it said on the tin. Lovely chocolate flavour with an orangey note. Plus a cinnamon hit, in this case...

When I have a whole piece this afternoon, I will think of you, Girl! Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Susa! x

Friday, 25 February 2011

Pay It Forward

I love presents, surprise parcels and handmade things, so this is going to be swell!

While spending some time blog-hopping, I ended up at Blue-J Cottage. This is a blog written by a lady who loves cats and sewing, like me. Only she's a lot better at sewing!

She also wrote a post about the Pay It Forward Handmade movement. It sounded like a fun thing to do, so I decided to participate. The concept is easy. If you find a Pay It Forward post, AND you blog, too, AND you are one of the first three commenters on the blog post that tells you about Pay It Forward, this blog owner will make something especially for you. I am very excited about this idea and wondering what Ms Blue-J Cottage is going to make for me!

Are you interested in joining Pay It Forward Handmade?

Here are the details:

1. Important! You have to have a blog.

2. I will make a little something for the first 3 blog owners who comment on this post. It will be a surprise and I will make it and send it to you some time during the next 365 days after you have commented.

3. Make sure you let me know your email address, so that I can get your contact details.

4. To get a handmade present from me, you have to play too! This means YOU pledge to send a little handmade something to 3 readers of your blog. It doesn't matter what you give, as long as it is handmade by you!

5. Once you comment here, you need to post about your Pay It Forward on your blog to keep the fun going - you can just copy the rules from me and please include the Pay It Forward badge in your post. Also, feel free to join the Flickr group to see what else is being sent!

6. Follow my blog. (That would be nice!)

Ideally, this will help all of us to get to know some fellow bloggers and to spread some handmade joy and cheer around. I sure am looking forward to reading my first 3 commenters' blogs and to deciding what to make you!

Yay! I have now found three people to craft for, so I closed the comments.  

Thank you, my three commenters!

If anybody is still interested in doing this, you can possibly still join at one of their blogs:

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Tiny Treats

Check out Etsy shop PetitPlat. Stéphanie makes the most amazing, real-looking food miniatures. I wish I was a little girl and somebody gave me a cake buffet for my birthday - one that I could share with my dolls!

My adult self would settle for a macaroon necklace anytime.

All pictures © PetitPlat (Stéphanie Kilgast)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Problem Hair

So, today was supposed to be a happy day. Because I reached the first milestone in my personal weight loss challenge: 5 kilos off the starting weight! Maybe I shouldn't mention that these were the same 5 kilos that I had put on over Christmas, consuming copious amounts of Christmas cookies, cakes and chocolates?

But anyway, they're bygone now, and it was time for the reward I had promised myself. A hairdresser's appointment. With my favourite hairdresser, Jay, who always manages to make me feel like this:

As you can see, that's a glamorous Ava Gardner with shiny tresses, and not a weeping wreck, trying to wash and rearrange her hair immediately on her return home after having been made to sit with a scarily übercool stylist for too long. And here you have an actual picture of me after an appointment, so you can see I'm not so far off:

I was REALLY looking forward to making this appointment for several reasons.

Firstly, I had been putting off having my hair properly cut since the wedding last August (I know!), and my locks so need a trim.

Secondly, my grey roots are showing quite, which I pretend is alright and almost invisible when I wear the hair up, but in reality I urgently need some highlights.

Thirdly, Jay is really lovely to talk to, not intrusive or gossipy, but friendly and sweet. Of course she still is übercool (comes with the territory), but she's not scary. And she is such a wizard with the hairdryer. Not to mention the actual cutting!

All the time from August till now, I had a bad conscience, because I thought she might think I defected to a different salon and I wanted to make up for lost time. Last I saw her, she gave me a hug and wished me good luck for the big day, so I thought I certainly was due for catching her up on my married life.

Now wait for this. I call the salon in giddy anticipation, asking for a date with Jay.

And the girl on the other end of the phone says:

"Sorry, she's not working here at the moment."

So I ask:

"Has she moved to your other branch?"


"No, she's gone travelling for two months and we're not sure if she is going to come back after."


"You mean she might come back?"


"We don't know."

Now I, desperately:

" Erm, okay, I will have to see, maybe I will wait and call again in two months?"


"Uh, okay?!"


"Okay, thanks, bye."



NO!!!!! Jay has left me!

She could not wait 6 months for my return? How? Why? I should have known. We always talked about trips we'd taken or were planning to take, she had severe wanderlust. And now she's gone. I am traumatized. Does anybody know where she is? Should I hire a PI to track her down?

All I know now is that I will have to look for a new hairdresser that I like and can afford, and last time that took 10 years and several cities. Maybe I will book a cut with one of her colleagues, but can they be trusted? Wouldn't that be cheating? Just because Jay and I are taking a break does not mean I should be seeing other people. What should I do???

Maybe I will just let my hair grow forever. Even if that adds 5 kilos...



All shall be well. Let's cross our fingers. After I sent a heartfelt email message FAO my former hairdresser last week, I got a reply from the salon owner:

Subject: RE: An Email from ESHK
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2011 13:45:50 +0000

Hi Annika,

Your message is very important to us! Thank you and I'm so glad that you like our service. But I have a good news for you, Jay suppose leaving us but I think she will come back after her holidays, which is in April, therefore I will delivery your message to her when she is back or you can come back anytime after April to tell her this yourself!

Thanks again and I really hope to see you in ESHK soon



This was my original message. Don't call me weird...

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2011 13:06:36 +0000
Subject: An Email from ESHK

a form has been submitted on February 23, 2011, via: /contact [IP]
Contact Page Form

Your Name Annika
Subject Jay
Message Hi there. I just found out that Jay from the Hoxton salon is no longer working with you at the moment, and I always had my hair cut by her. I did not get an appointment for a while (not because I defected, but because I got a bit lazy about my hair), so I did not know she was leaving. If possible, could you give her a message and let her know how much I appreciated her personality and what she did with my hair? I am devastated to loose such a great hairdresser! And good luck to her in whatever she will be doing next! I would be so grateful if you could somehow forward this on to her. Thank you very much. Best regards, Annika

The salon is ESHK, by the way. I go to the Hoxton branch. For the time being, I booked in with Miguel. Miguel, don't let me down!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Paris - November 2010

This was our second trip to Paris, but the first one as husband and wife. Marco proposed to me during our first stay there. So for us, Paris truly is the City of Love and will always be connected with special memories.

And especially for our friends Ivonne & Jimmy:

                       Before                            After

(No "during" I'm afraid, we wanted to be chic!)