Kaffee und Kuchen.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Last week, my baby (!) brother turned 20. I genuinely don't even have a clue how that happened, that can't mean that I'm 23 and a half now, surely. Here's a photo showing you just how cool we used to be as kids, I'll leave our coolness levels now up to your imagination.
Anyway, let's talk about birthday things, the ways birthdays are celebrated back home are one of the many things I miss in England. In Germany, we do Kaffee und Kuchen (Coffee and Cake) whenever it's someone's birthday and invite lots of friends and family for a chatter and laughter filled, relaxed afternoon. The cake is usually homemade and besides coffee and tea, my nan's also been known to demand champagne at such occasions, which I couldn't say is a bad thing either ;). 

Anyway, this year, my mum truly outdid herself, she's become this crazy baker over the past year, who doesn't shy away from all these pretty things you see on Pinterest, she recreates them and they actually look amazing (can't say that's ever happened to me unfortunately, whenever I try to recreate something from there it ends more like the latter versions here). Anyway I thought I'd share some photos, so you can all see what a talented baker my mum is and to show how many delicious things I could eat yesterday!

Happy Weekend!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

I just wanted to wish you all a wonderful weekend :)

Dan Croll - Again

Thursday, 27 March 2014

For the third time in less than a year, Daniel and I went to see Dan Croll yesterday, an artist we'd only discovered last year at the iTunes festival. After a slight anticlimax at the beginning when someone vomited on the dancefloor, we had an incredible night! Dan Croll is just too cool for school and his music is so much fun. We also briefly met him afterwards and whilst he was cool, I was just weird, will definitely have to up my cool soon.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share some photos. They're all black and white, they're all very similar, but I still kinda like them.

Not Dan Croll, but same night and I kinda liked it.

I also thought I'd share some of the music with you. First, here's one of Dan Croll's songs:

And here's a song of one of the supporting acts, Jack Garratt, who we also really liked. I was really sad he doesn't have a CD out yet, but I'm sure it won't be long :)
I hope you like them as much as I do. What music are you enjoying at the moment?

Gentle Improvements || Following Up.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Hello lovely people, I thought I'd introduce a new little series type thing all about gentle little improvements. Last year I read The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin and I actually found it fascinating and can only recommend it to anyone. Rather than a self help book, it's a documentary of the author exploring different areas of her life and how (fairly little) changes in those areas could contribute to her overall happiness. I won't go into detail, but if you're at all interested, give it a read. I'm also spending (and/or planning to spend) a lot of time reading about how to work efficiently, which habits are good to have et cetera et cetera, so I thought I'd share little aspects that I've decided to work on with you.

The first thing I decided to work on is Following Up. It was one of the points in this blog post, and whilst I guess this can mean different things to different people, the way I mean it here is to do the things I said I'd do in the promised time frame and to the highest standard I can or to not offer to do them in the first place.

This should be so obvious, but at the same time it's just so easy to volunteer to do things, because it seems like the polite thing to do, because you feel pressurised to say yes, or simply because you didn't think it through. I've decided now that I'd like to be that person who always delivers, preferably before and to a higher standard than the other party expects it.
So just to give you an example, last week someone asked me for a recommendation on LinkedIn and I said I'd try to get it done at the weekend. Then the weekend came and I didn't just almost forget, I also really didn't feel like it when my little reminder (about which I'll talk in just a moment) came up, and I knew I could easily push it until the next day, the day after or the day after that, but then I thought, you know what, I'm just going to sit down right now and write the very best version I can, to really make it about this person, to describe why they were so good to work with, rather than use a generic template kind of script. And after I sent it off, the person at the receiving end actually told me numerous times how much she appreciated it, which in turn made me very happy. At the end of the day, it was such a small thing for me to do (+ once I started I actually enjoyed it) and it really meant something to someone else. I want to work on always making this happen.

The same goes for things that I need to get done myself, things that could easily be pushed, but that I'd feel a lot better about if I just got them done, I kind of owe that to myself, right? And again, I'd also like to do this to the best standard.

So to help me with this I've created a fresh account on Wunderlist and downloaded it again for my Macbook and iPhone. Wunderlist is essentially a simply (to) do list app, but at the same time, whilst super simple, it's so much more than that. You can have all sorts of different lists, you can for example have different ones for private and work, another one for shopping and another one maybe for films you'd like to watch or books you'd like to read. You can also set yourself reminders and due dates, create sub tasks, and set tasks to repeat every, well however often you'd like to repeat them.
What I love about this is that you can basically have it as simple as you want, but it can also accommodate for complexities. So what I do now is to literally keep track of everything (and I mean everything) I'd like to get done, so things I said I'd get done and things I want to get done for myself and for the majority of them, I set a due date. I have them on different lists, but the app gives me an overview of what I want/ to get done when this week or today, because in one place it accumulates all the tasks and due dates from the different lists and puts them in order.

How are you with following up? Is it something you think you're pretty good at (and if so, tell me all your secrets ;) ), is it something you think is important and you'd like to improve? I'd love to hear your thoughts and tips.



The value of stillness.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Imagine being in a beautiful house, 200m away from the sea, surrounded by fields and nature with someone you love, and with a really good book of course. Imagine that when you're quiet for a moment, there's actually no noise anymore, there's just gentle quietness.

That's how beautiful and deeply relaxing my last weekend was 
I hope you had a great weekend too.