Monday, 30 April 2012

Marco and I & other Love Stories

I submitted the story of how Marco and I fell in love to Ruche a while ago, hoping it might be selected for their Love Stories feature. And it was! If you missed it here, go check out the beginning of our relationship over at Ruche! And there are many more romantic tales to read if you're in the mood. I for one love to find out how people met!


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Friday, 27 April 2012

Fine Tuning: The Lumineers - Ho Hey



© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Homemade Hazelnut Spread

I love Nutella. As a kid, the only place my brother and I used to get the stuff was when we stayed at my Oma and Opa's, as my Mama would not allow it in the house. Sad times. We both swore that we would always have a jar of Nutella in our cupboard once we lived on our own. As far as I know, we both adhere to that oath. At least, I adhered to it until recently.

Until I found out that I can make a decent chocolate hazelnut spread myself. I've been wanting to try and make my own version for a while, but I had not found a simple recipe that I completely liked. After some research, I just threw some ingredients together in the end. And it worked.

My homemade Nutella tastes surprisingly similar to the real thing. Nutty and chocolatey, a little less sweet mayhaps. (Anecdote on the side: Marco calls me Nik and this spread is now known as Niktella in our home.) Niktella is maybe a bit more grainy than its commercial friend, but contains a lot less sugar and is vegan to boot. I add vanilla extract for a hint of extra sweetness, but once only had vanilla flavoured soy milk instead of plain, which is when I omitted the vanilla extract. This recipe makes enough for one small jar and a hot slice of toast.



200g hazelnuts, toasted
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegan milk substitute (like soy, almond or hazelnut milk)


In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts until they start becoming a paste. This will take about 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until well combined. 

Use a spoon or spatula to scoop the hazelnut spread into a clean jar. It will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks. It will not harden up, so you do not have to store it at room temperature.


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).
Reasons To Skip The Housework

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Why Being Depressed Makes Me Happy.

I am sorry if this post contains much more detail than you ever cared to know about me or if it makes you feel uncomfortable. I hope you will read through to the end and still like me after. It is a post I have been contemplating and discarding, trying to word and re-word. You've seen these posts on other blogs. They fall under the 'honest' category. It's a post that feels awkward and that I hope a friend would understand.

This week, all week, is Depression Awareness Week here in the UK. I believe that facing the fact that you might be depressed is a tough thing to do. Describing feelings and emotions that you yourself cannot really understand and that make your head spin while trying to find ways to ignore them is hard. I believe that depression holds a stigma and that many people probably think that somebody who is feeling so low all the time should just pull themselves together. It is not that easy!

I have been unhappy on and off for years, to the point that I felt unable to control my emotions and became irritated with everything and everybody. I had fierce mood swings. I planned outings and accepted dates so that I would have something to look forward to, and then I cancelled many an evening out with my husband or friends, because I felt that I had nothing to wear, that I would have nothing to say to them and that everybody would see me as the fat, clumsy, boring oaf that I on those occasions thought I was. I hated to be in social situations with people I did not know even more, because then I would have to appear interesting and self-assured in some way. Otherwise I was sure they would talk about me behind my back. I feared rejection. All I wanted  was to be by myself, wrapped in a blanket and eating any amount of comfort food. I did not want to deal with people. I felt worthless, inadequate and without purpose. I simply did not want to do anything, because even the stuff I normally enjoyed felt like ginormous chores.

I was jealous of my friends, of strangers, of people I met that seemed effortlessly happy. I felt jealous of the friends I knew where seeing therapists, because I felt that my worries were too petty to go see one myself. I started feeling spiteful and angry. I tried to figure out what made me feel this way, thought of words that might explain my erratic behaviour to my husband. I got stuck in my own mind or started crying and getting mad when Marco would not understand or tried to tell me I would soon feel better. I felt lonely.

In fact, I still feel like this a lot. Only now there is a difference. I started therapy about a year ago to try and get to the core of my feelings. Each Thursday evening for almost a year I have been climbing up the stairs to my therapist's practice, knowing that an hour of crying and self-inspection and frustration lay ahead of me. It's the best and the worst time of my week. The best is knowing that this will help me feel better, that there is somebody who will listen without judgement and who will try to help. The worst is feeling like there is never a breakthrough, like I am always dragging out and chewing over the same stuff, and that I am just not able to stop those tears.

But you know something? Finally having somebody tell me that me feeling down and doubtful all the time was called depression, was called anxiety, was one of the happiest moments in my recent life. It is probably weird to say that, but I just felt that everything I was going through in my mind was suddenly justified, that I wasn't just an ungrateful, whiny pessimist. I felt that I now had something tangible, that I knew what I was dealing with and that there were ways to do that dealing.

I have not yet started to like myself much more, but I am learning a lot about the person I am, rather than pushing too hard to be the person I want to be. I have started taking a small dose of anti-depressants every day. That was a tough decision to make. But I felt like I wanted all the help I could get to push me out of my hole and into the light. The change that these pills have made is minimal, but palpable. I have moments now in which I feel a stillness, a calm in my head that lets me prepare for the next storm of self-doubt and misery. I feel less worried and have found more reasons to laugh. I can see the road that I want to take, and even if my steps are very, very small, I know that if I'm patient I will stop getting lost and eventually find my way.

Now, back to Depression Awareness Week. I hope that anybody who feels the way that I am feeling is aware that there are ways to control depression and will  be able to get the same help I am getting. A lot of people probably are in worse state of minds. A lot of people may feel less sad. But no matter why you are unhappy, I think it is important to realize that your feelings are real and that there is nothing to be ashamed of. I also hope that people who do not struggle with persistent sadness, low self-esteem and hopelessness themselves are aware that the people who do are not trying to be difficult or looking for attention, and that they need loving support and understanding in order to get through their unhappiness and start feeling better.

I am obviously not an authority on depression and in no position to give advice, but I would like to share what I did to come to terms with this big dark shadow that I feel looming over me a lot of the time. The first step was to acknowledge that something did not feel quite right, but also to let yourself know that this feeling is okay and  that you can take your time to figure out a way to combat it. Don't be hesitant to speak to your doctor about the way you feel. I waited a long time to do this because I was scared of not being taken seriously and was so relieved in the end when my doctor understood what was going on.

If you think you would like to see a therapist, find out if your doctor can recommend one or research local practitioners on the internet. Make sure that you are comfortable with the therapist you choose and discuss the way that they will help you. Some might just sit back and listen, some may ask questions, some may suggest exercises to help you overcome your depression. You have to feel comfortable with your therapist's approach and you should feel relaxed when talking to them. It took me three attempts until I found a therapist that I could be at ease with.

Now, when I feel down, I just try to listen to my heart and instincts and give myself the quiet time and solitude I need. My husband knows I need me-time on the bad days, and I have also let my friends know what I sometimes go through. I feel that being honest is a relief, because trying to keep your emotions a secret and attempting to function normally is really not that simple. I was surprised that some of my friends opened up in return and told me about periods in their lives when they were going through similar phases. That made me feel less alone.

What calms my mind is lying on the floor and actively listening to music, which fills my head and chases away any negative thoughts. I also try and be absolutely 'in the moment', for example when I make a pot of tea. I try to go through all the motions slowly, smelling the leaves, counting the spoons out, just waiting for the water to boil instead of doing something else in the meantime, igniting the match, lighting the tea light, inhaling the fragrant steam... All of that makes me feel like I am really treating myself to something good. It is hard to remember these things when all that's going on in your head is rage or sorrow, but by creating feel-good routines, I am sometimes able to avoid spiralling deeper into doubt and misery. I hope that one day I will know myself well enough to be able to control the way I feel as best as I can.

Thank you for listening.

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Liebster Blog Award

thank you

Thank you, namely, to Jennie from Cheeky Handmades, who bestowed me with the Liebster Blog Award last week! I'm seriously stunned she picked me, because she is such a creative lady and all the other blogs she nominated are written by really handy gals as well. Plus I keep failing to turn up to her knitting circle! But I sure ain't complaining... TA!!!!!! x

Here are the rules that come with this award:
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter.
2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed.
5. Let them know they have been chosen!

And the 5 blogs that I would like you to know more about are these fantastic places:

Peonyfish - Jess writes intelligently about the things that are important to her and takes beautiful photos.
Whiskers Lane - Jodie makes cute stuff together with her mother Tricia. Be prepared to squeal!
Green Pees - Vicky just opened her own cloth diaper mail order business, and that idea needs all the support it can get!
Fate Filled Times - Amy lets us see into her soul and shares inspiring posts on following the path to happiness.
Stitch Therapy - Emma is my goddess of re-purposing and finding beauty in the small things. Her embroidery pieces are amazing.

Take this award and run with it however you like, lovely ladies. Or just put it in your pocket and let me say thank you, I so enjoy reading your blogs!

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Monday, 23 April 2012

Blossoming Bags

  The Miha Artnak via Street Art Utopia

I know that they are evil garbage, but I think plastic bags caught in trees or blowing gingerly down the street can be pretty. Obviously only as long as somebody eventually picks them up and the person who dropped them in the first place has frequent nightmares about their envirocrimes!
This is a photo of The Rise Of The Fall, an art installation by The Miha Artnak. You can find out more and see the project documented here.
Have a good week!

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Friday, 20 April 2012

Fine Tuning: Timber Timbre - Bad Ritual


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Herman. The Cake That Keeps On Giving.

Have you ever met Herman? If you have, chances are that a friend or family member introduced you to each other. And quickly after that, Herman will have moved into your kitchen and demanded to be cared for. As a reward he promised you cake. 

No idea what I am on about? I'm talking about a sweet sourdough cake starter, widely known as Herman, the Friendly Cake. When you get one, you feed it with sugar, milk and flour, it slowly grows and in the end you can bake a cake with some of the batter and share the rest with other people. Much like a tasty chain letter.

I had a little liaison with Herman way back when I was a teen, so I was pleased if not surprised when he recently entered my life again. A few local Herman owners had tried to pimp his offspring via Twitter and I could not resist this calling. I remembered making the most gorgeous fluffy cakes with him. Nor did he disappoint this time around.

So. You count yourself lucky enough to have ended up with a receptacle of lively sourdough which smells slightly of yeast and is throwing friendly bubbles. What next? You will have to commit to this 10-day regime:


You have been presented with Herman. Pour him into a bowl, as he will continue to grow. Cover the bowl with a loose-fitting lid or a dish towel and let Herman rest somewhere warm and quiet. Never put Herman in the fridge as he will up and die if it's too cold.


With a wooden or plastic spoon stir Herman 2 to 3 times during the day.


Stir some more.


Today is feeding time. Stir 200g plain flour, 200g sugar and 200ml milk into the batter. Cover and let stand.










Excitement! Your Herman is ready to be shared. Add another 200g plain flour, 200g sugar and 200ml milk to it and mix well. Then portion the batter out into 4 equal amounts. Pass on three of the little Hermans to new homes with these instructions. Or only pass on two and keep one to start all over again. You will use the 4th portion to bake your cake.

DAY 10

It's baking day! To make your Herman cake, preheat the oven to 180ºC and add the following basic ingredients to the sourdough:

150g plain flour
2 eggs
150 g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
100 ml oil

Then add:

50g raisins
50g dessicated coconut
2 large carrots, finely grated
2 tbsp cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients well and pour the dough into a regular loaf tin lined with baking paper.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 70 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched. If the cake browns too quickly, cover it with a piece of tin foil. Use a skewer to test if the cake is ready, if it comes out clean after you inserted it in the thickest part of the cake, your Herman is done. 

Let cool slightly in the tin before lifting it onto a wire rack to cool completely. You can serve the cake as is or give it a dusting of sugar or cover it with cream cheese icing.



If you do not happen to know a person who is keeping a crazy cake in their kitchen and might pass a wee Herman on to you, you can start off the batter of friendship yourself. I have tried this successfully and I know that other people have successfully baked with my starter mix. 



140g plain flour
150g sugar
200ml milk (at room temperature)
1 pkt active dry yeast


In a big bowl, mix all the ingredients well. Don't worry about any lumps, these will break up as the dough leavens. Cover the bowl with a loose-fitting lid or a dish cloth and let sit in a dry, warm place for 24 hours and then begin the 10-day cycle. With this fresh starter, do not worry if it starts smelling of sour milk, this is what you want to happen and what will start off the live sourdough culture.


In any way, whether you get given a Herman or grow it yourself, you will be able to bake some delicious, light cakes with your sourdough once you get it going. The basic ingredients stay the same, and after adding those, you can pretty much throw anything else you fancy into the mix. Different spices, different fruit, different nuts... I have tried a few motley combinations, and some turned out brilliantly, while others just resulted in a so-so cake. But experimenting is part of the fun. 

You can also bake your Herman in a variety of different cake tins. I have used a bundt pan, a loaf tin and a round loose bottom pan and they all made for lovely results. You will have to adjust the timings according to what pan you use. A bundt pan, for example, bakes a lot faster than a loaf tin. Just set your timer for the initial hour and then check back in 10-minute increments if your cake is not done when the timer goes off. 

I think that is all you need to know, now let me share three Herman variations that were absolute winners. You will be able to find more if your search for 'Herman cake' online.



basic ingredients
seeds of 1 vanilla pod
100g raisins
1 large apple, finely grated
2 tbsp blackcurrant jam (can use other)


Mix these ingredients in with the basics as stated above, and fill the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. 

Bake in the preheated oven for an hour or until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched. 

Let cool completely in the pan and then turn onto a plate. Dust with icing sugar before serving.



basic ingredients
2 bananas, mashed
100g chocolate chips
2 tbsp cinnamon


Mix these ingredients in with the basics as stated above, and fill the batter into loaf tin lined with baking paper. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 70 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched. 

Let cool slightly in the tin before lifting it out and icing it with a mix of dark chocolate, cream and butter. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles if so desired. 



basic ingredients
100g dessicated coconut
1 small can (227g) pineapple pieces, drained
zest of 2 clementines and juice of one
zest of 1 lemon
zest of one lime
1/2 tsp ground ginger


Mix these ingredients in with the basics as stated above, and fill the batter into an 8"/20cm round cake tin lined with baking paper.

Bake in the preheated oven for 70 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched. 

Let cool slightly in the tin before lifting the cake out. Let cool completely on a wire rack and decorate with a mix of the zest and juice of one lemon and enough icing sugar to make a thick icing. Let the icing dry before serving.


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

What's Not To Love: Cat Versus Human

If you're a cat person and have a furry f(r)iend in your life, I am pretty sure you will love Yasmine's blog Cat Versus Human. If you are a dog person, you will probably not get it. If you embrace both the existence of felines and canines, you should definitely go have a look.

Yasmine draws scenes from a life with cats, and they are so accurate that they make me chuckle every time she comes up with a new one.

Here are 3 of my favourites:

So true.

I do this maybe every other day. 
I guess the undersides of the kibble don't have that stale smell yet.

Mae and Missy. To a tee.

Go visit and enjoy!


© Text  - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Knit The Sky

I got some special mail the other day. I had ordered a wool kit from Leafcutter Designs, with all the ingredients to knit myself a piece of sky. I am not sure anymore when and how I found out about Leafcutter Designs and its creator Lea but I had previously used her post service. Lea's website is full of wondrous things and services that inspire the imagination.

Lea latest project revolves around 'conceptual knitting' and the 'sky scarf' was her first idea. My parcel contained 5 skeins of soft laceweight alpaca yarn in all the colours of the sky, a project patch and instructions. 

The idea is to watch the sky and its changing colours every day for a year and then to knit two rows in the colour yarn that is most accurate in order to create a representation of your local weather. Lea explains it better herself:

I am going to start my scarf on my birthday in May, so by the time my next birthday comes up, I will be able to look back on what the previous year in my life was like, at least weather-wise. I feel really connected with the idea behind this project, because sky-gazing is one of my favourite pastimes!

Mae was feeling connected with the project, too, especially when I unwound the skeins into balls:

While Missy was trying to appear well-behaved and just watched:


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Monday, 16 April 2012

L. Manze - Pie & Mash (and Jellied Eels).

On Saturday, Marco and I were out shopping down the market during lunch and decided to have something to eat at L. Manze. L. Manze is a pie & mash shop near where we live and I had been wanting to try it for a long time. Pie & Mash is what they serve, in various portion sizes. You can also order the East London staple of Jellied Eel, but in all my time here I have not yet been brave enough to go down that route. One day. The shop bakes their own pies in old-fashioned metal pie dishes and they then get served with mashed potatoes and liquor, which is a parsley sauce. It's simple, delicious and filling.

L. Manze was opened at the beginning of the 20th century by an Italian immigrant who build up somewhat of a pie & mash emporium in London. This particular shop still has all the beautiful original fittings: tiled walls, floor and ceiling, large mirrors, an ornate cash register and wooden booths. The staff was friendly and there was a steady buzz of customers while we were eating. I would thoroughly recommend this restaurant for an authentic East London experience.


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Friday, 13 April 2012

Fine Tuning: Feist - Bittersweet Melodies

Look! It's only two of my favourite things made into one! Feist and Irina Werning!



© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Eleven Questions. No, wait. Twenty-two Questions!

I recently got tagged not once but twice to give the answers to eleven questions. The first time it was Diane from Crave Cute who wanted to know 11 things about me, and not long after, I got 11 more questions from Mandy of Chocolate & Cream Cake. Thank you, Ladies, for thinking of me! 

So today I will be answering all 22 questions that were put to me and think up 11 of my own that I might ask you... you... or even you! If you are curious about what Diane had to say for herself, you can have a look here, or maybe you'd like to pay Mandy a visit here?

First let me lay down the rules for this gig. There are several versions of these, so I cobbled a set together to my own liking:

1. Post these rules.
2. Post a photo of you.
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag the somebodies who you would like to answer them.
5. Let them know you've tagged them.

That's rule number one and rule number two done with already, so without further ado I'll move on to the questions:


1. What is your favorite plant or flower and why? I like birch trees. They are ethereal and beautiful and remind me of home. I also like ranunculus. Because it's so purdy!

2. Approximately how many books do you have in your house? Many? I'd say 500+. What can I say. I love books!

3. Do you like to shop better online or at a physical store? In general probably in a physical store, because it just makes a difference to check out the look/feel/sound/fit of your purchase. But I also love eBay and Etsy and if I order books or CDs, I try and order them from independent stores or the musician's website.

4. Are you the kind of person that likes to make lists or do you just wing it? I'm loving answering this list of questions A LOT! I am also fond of questionnaires, shopping lists, packing lists and to-do lists and I go crazy for ticking things off on all of them. So yes, I'm a list girl through and through.

5. If you have a pet, do you let it sleep on your bed? Of course. I have two cats. They are cute, warm, furry and they purr. I'd be mad not to let them sleep with me!

6. Do you prefer to cook or would you rather order in, or pick up something prepared at the store? Cook in general, but I also love going to restaurants and trying out convenience foods. All food has its place and time.

7. Do you have a favorite Holiday? Christmas!

8. Do you like traditional or modern art and furnishings? Again, I could not really say. I love art when it appeals to me in some way emotionally. I like Italian renaissance paintings, Dutch still-lifes and photography through the ages. Some well-known artists I like are Botticelli, Rodin, Klimt, Stephen ShoreEmily Carr, Arnold Böcklin and Henri Rousseau. For furniture, I love the early 20th century, especially the designs form the 50s and 60s. But IKEA is always a good place to shop for well-designed contemporary furniture and I would definitely not turn my nose up at antiques. I'd say my taste in these areas is pretty eclectic.

9. Who is your favorite artist or musician? I've been a Pearl Jam fan through the ages.

10. Do you remember what your favorite childhood book was? It was the Nesthäkchen series, which followed a girl growing up in early 20th century Berlin, through the first world war, finding friends and falling in love and eventually starting her own family. I read all 10 volumes several times.

11. What was the best piece of advice you ever received? Be kind to yourself.


1. Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? What are they? No, I have in fact several pairs of shoes I love. First, my Converse. The epitome of cool and comfort. Second, my hiking boots. Because when they come out there's adventure in the air. Third, my slouchy brown boots that I have unsuccessfully tried to wear to death. They just keep on going and complete my default wardrobe of dress and leggings. Fourth, my beautiful tapestry heels. That I still have not worn.

2. If you could be a family member of a fictional family, which one would you choose? I'd love to be Lorelai Gilmore's second daughter!

3. Which sense (sight, taste, touch, smell, hearing) would you be most OK with losing? Losing a sense? No thank you! None of the above! Although, thinking about it, I'd like to lose the sense of doom that I always feel hanging over things.

4. What's your favorite color? Has it always been your favorite? Teal. It used to be red for a long time. I actually love red and teal together.

5. If you could travel in time—forward or backward—to "when" would you go? The States in the 50s. And I've been wanting to do that even before Mad Men made the 50s cool again.

6. Who do you envy? People who seem effortlessly happy and content. I'm struggling to get to that place, but can't seem to figure out how.

7. Would you rather be a cyborg or a mutant? Mutant. I'd probably manage to break my own technology if I was a cyborg. (Hang on. Is Wolverine still a mutant or did he become a cyborg when they injected him with adamantium???)

8. What's your favorite candy? Milk chocolate with whole nuts.

9. Do you prefer cold weather or warm weather? I prefer real weather. By that I mean that I want to be cold in winter and warm in summer and have seasons that are pronounced and different. But I think I'm most fond of fall and winter, so I guess the answer would be 'cold'.

10. Would you rather travel through space (a la Star Trek) or the oceans (a la Seaquest: DSV)? Oceans! I love diving and swimming and the mystery of the deep sea. Space is a bit scary to me.

11. What's your favorite number? The one that I dial for Thai food? 

Okaaaayyyy. Now you know a lot more about me than you knew an hour ago when you started reading this post.... Are you still with me? Here are my 11 questions:

1. What or who would you like to be reincarnated as?
2. What is your favourite crap TV series?
3. Which country is your absolute dream travel destination?
4. Do you have a nickname?
5. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
6. The Cookie Monster. Marry, snog, avoid?
7. If you had created Earth, what would it be like?
8. What's your favourite food?
9. What's your favourite song?
10. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
11. Would you rather read Fantasy or Science Fiction?

So, there we go. I'm just gonna put these out there. If you feel like participating, please do answer my questions and let me know! I'd love to get to know everybody better, but I must say that I'm particularly interested in how Jess, Fiona, Laura, Shelly, Helena, Sydney, Vicky, Jessi, Reese, Candace and Amy would reply. Consider yourselves tagged, girls, but don't consider this a must-do!

P.S.: Sonia, I really wanted to tag you too! Heck, I'll just do it anyway, who says you have to have a blog to play?!


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).