Sunday 9 December 2012

Summary Christmas Decoration

As much as I love this warm temperature we are having at the moment, I still struggle with the concept of a southern hemisphere Christmas. I miss the cozy atmosphere around this time of year in Germany - the smell of baking, candles and snow.

This year I combine my traditional decoration with some beachy elements. The boys and I collected driftwood and turned it into stars and a small tree.  
 I loved filling the advent calendar bags this year. The temptation of peeking was just too much for my little one though so I ended up taking them down and putting them all in a basket - out of little hand's reach.
I hope you all have a lovely time leading up to Christmas. It will be very quiet around here as we are waiting for the baby to arrive early in the New Year.


Thursday 8 November 2012

Stylist Anna Church's Island Sanctuary

I picked up the latest Inside Out Magazine and completely fell in love with Anna Church's home. Anna is both a successful stylist, having worked for many of New Zealand's lifestyle brands and magazines, and an artist.

She lives on the beautiful Waiheke Island and has turned a seaside shack into a stylish family home with a relaxed beachy vibe. Her talent of arranging objects is evident throughout the home. Go check out her portfolio and artwork here.
(Images: Kevin Emirali for Inside Out)

Friday 2 November 2012

Black forrest cupcakes

There is no doubt my apatite for sweet things has gone up considerably so I find myself baking quite a lot :- These black forrest cupcakes are delicious and super easy to make. Here's how:

Mix the egg, sugar, oil & milk and in a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the dry ingredients with the rest. Combine the kakao with half of the dough. Fill cupcake forms half way with the light dough, put 4-5 cherries in the middle and top of with the dark dough. Bake at 200°C for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool before topping with whipped cream, chocolates flakes and a cherrie.

Yes, the belly is definitely growing. This is me at 29 weeks. I promised I would show you one of the maxi skirts I made. With the warmer temperatures I find myself wearing it almost daily.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Niki Jones

I received Niki Jones' new season catalogue today and had to share some of the exquisite images with you. Niki Jones has created a unique collection of home accessories fusing traditional craft techniques with a modern aesthetic. Trained in textile and industrial design, she has previously worked at Habitat before launching her own company.

I love the fresh yet traditional feel of the textiles. I am determined to add a hint of citrus in my home this summer and the cushion above is just simply perfect. 

The Niki Jones collection does not just include home textiles and vintage quilts but also selected furniture, decorative accessories and mirrors. You can view the full catalogue here.


(all images: Niki Jones)

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Bedroom sanctuary

Some people's bedrooms are a calm sanctuary, mine in all honesty is usually a complete mess. I have an inability to put clothes away and they end up all over the floor and bed. I must have always been like that as I remember my mother regularly threatening to throw everything out the winder. My poor husband has reluctantly gown used to it - but that's ok because it's really the only flaw I have (hahaha).

Since I have started studying again our bedroom also functions as my office and I have a little desk set up in there. I found it hard to concentrate when the room is messy, so now I just throw everything into my wardrobe before I sit down in the mornings - easy!
You might recognise the painting from our lounge in our old apartment in Germany here
I do like it in our bedroom as it's very soothing. Another bonus is that a canvas on your head at night during an earthquake hurts less than a wooden picture frame. Got to keep these things in mind around here :-)

I have only one more week to go until the Uni semester finishes and will hopefully have some more time to visit this space. I have also been busy sewing up a storm - my bump is growing by the day and these maxi skirts are a lifesaver. I whipped up three yesterday - so easy. 


Monday 1 October 2012

Some {spring} changes around home

With the days getting longer and the temperatures rising I felt like a bit of a change at home - my grey cushions have been replaced with light pink ones and I have re-arranged a few things around the lounge. What better opportunity than the change in season to keep things looking fresh.
The window seat has been a recent project. Originally dark brown, I painted the seating area white and made the black & white blind. I am still planning on covering the seat with a large cushion but really don't want to spend a fortune on foam & fabric as this is a rental home. I am pleased with the temporary fix though. It us such a great spot to snuggle up with the kids and read to them. 

I hope you have a wonderful week. The boys are on holiday from kindy for the next two weeks and we have lots of exciting adventures planned. I am working on a teepee at the moment - I will share some pictures when it's ready.


Thursday 27 September 2012

The best bread recipe EVER!

Ask any German living in New Zealand what they miss and most will probably say decent bread. Don't get me wrong, New Zealand has come a long way since the only options where either white or wholegrain toast/sandwich slices wrapped in plastic bags to keep it extra soft and squishy. Now there are lots of European-style breads on the market but they do come at a rather steep cost. Paying $7 for a loaf of nice bread is a bit of a luxury even for someone like me who starts every single day with bread and cold meat (while my boys are true kiwis eating weet-bix or porridge).

I have been baking bread for some time now and have always continued to experiment - sourdough takes forever to make and bread from a bread-maker might be quick and easy but doesn't have a nice firm texture & crust. Finally it seems I have discovered THE perfect bread: the best thing - no kneading. It's the simplest thing and comes out with a delicious golden crust - heavenly!

I'll show you how to make one...
You will need four ingedients:
3 cups of all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons of salt
1 3/4 cups of water
Step 1: Combine flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and mix everything with a wooden spoon. The dough will be really sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it for 12 to 18 hours at warm room temperature. I send to do this in the afternoon and bake the bread mid morning so we have nice fresh bread for lunch.
Step 2: This is what the dough will look like the next day, the surface should be dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for about 15 minutes.
Step 3: Flour a cotton towel and shape the dough into a ball - seam side down. Cover with another cotton towel and let it rise for a further 2 hours. The dough should be double in size.
Step 4: At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 230 degrees. Put a cast iron (Pyrex or ceramic) pot in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Turn the dough into the pot, seam side up. Bake 30 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and bake for a further 20 minutes, until the loaf is nice and golden.
Cool it on a rack for a while before cutting into it. Enjoy!

This recipe is from here and there's even a video to help you step by step here


Wednesday 26 September 2012

I'm back!

helllooooo! I am back and I have certainly missed this space and my blog break turned into a rather long absence. Will you believe me when I say I have been busy?

My last post was in May, and we were just heading into winter. I can't blame you for wondering if I had gone into hibernation :-) Turns out I have done quite the opposite, I started working part time, enrolled in postgraduate studies at University AND created another little human being which if all goes well will be joining our family in early January.

The New Zealand winter has been mild but felt long nonetheless. I am excited about spring and noticed that I have been taking a lot more photos now that the days are getting longer and the light is all that much brighter. 

With life so busy I felt that one thing had to give and it was this space - now that I have settled into a routine and things are ticking along nicely I feel ready once again to devote time to my own blog and of course to my dear reader's blogs as well - something I have been missing very much. 

I have so much to show you and I hope you will once again join me on my journey.


Wednesday 2 May 2012

German "Gemütlichkeit"

Hello friends, thank you for stopping by today. While the northern hemisphere is enjoying the start of spring, down here autumn has definitely arrived. The days are getting shorter and cooler but the air is crisp and clear. I love the mood of autumn - the leaves are turning golden and we can witness the most amazing sunsets and sunrises above the sea. More time is spent indoors than out and while we love wrapping up and bracing the cool winds we love coming home to a hot drink and that lovely feeling of german "Gemütlichkeit".

My long awaited Moroccan plate arrives all the way from Germany. I simply couldn't find one here at a reasonable price and so turned to the wonderful Dagi who sent one all the way around the world for me. I love it and it will no doubt get used in many ways as I decorate my home.

Last week I was invited to my friend Fran's new house. I was very impressed with her little slice of paradise. She spoilt us with the most delicious afternoon tea and after a little search I found the recipe online. I was cutting a few corners and used my bread maker to knead and rise the dough but you can find the full recipe here.

One of my big projects last months was making four little flower girl dresses. I loved the job and was pleased with the way they turned out. Sewing was once a huge part of my life but with two little ones it is tricky - now that they are getting older and one is at kindergarten I am hoping to steal a few hours here and there to get back into it. Who knows where it may lead...

Finally I went on a major hunt for some bedding for the boys. I spent what felt like a whole month searching for something that did not have Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder or any other cartoon figure on it. Bad enough they watch these things on tv they don't have to dream of it at night :-) I wanted something plain and simple that would work with a red roman blind I made for their room. 
I finally found a blue and white striped cover and it works perfectly with their small letter cushions I made for their old room in Germany (here).
The room is tiny but sleeping is all they do in it and they have a large playroom for all their toys.

With one million interruptions by my little one this post has only taken me 3 hours to complete :-) 
See you again soon, I promise.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Weekend Getaway

I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend.
Today I want to share some photos of a trip we went on a couple of weeks ago. We visited friends In Dunedin, which is about five hours south of Christchurch. It was lovely to get away from the city and once more appreciate this magical country we call home.

Oamaru was our first stop for the night. The small town along the coast has a beautiful historic part with Victorian buildings constructed of the famous Oamaru stone.
Our next stop was Moeraki - the home of the famous Fleur's Place and of course the boulders - clusters of perfectly round stones that have formed over millions of years and now sit in the sand like sleeping giants.
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