Monthly Archives: September 2014

Postcards from Switzerland

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I’ve seen this idea in a few other blogs, so thought I’d put some photos up from our recent holiday en Suisse. Now, we’re not super rich peeps with a holiday home over there or anything…my great-grandparents built a little chalet above a teeny little village in the valley in the 1930s, and my uncle keeps it beautiful.

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There it is! I’ve been going there since I was a little baby, spending a week or two there in the summer. I loved taking my hubby to enjoy it as well. We had a great time, doing some walks, visiting some new places, enjoying an afternoon by a lake…all in all a great time. Le husband had chance to practice his photography skills – most of these were taken by him. So, enjoy!

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Those last two are the village that the chalet’s near. It’s a pretty steep hill but the fresh croissants and pain au chocolat are worth it!

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Kitty cats. There was some kind of exhibition in a village we went to visit where children from local primary schools had created about 80-100 mini exhibitions around the village. It was cute in places, and a little weird in others.

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This is pretty cool – it’s a beehive! The only one like it in the world (?).

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I’ve become something of a car geek since getting married, so even I was excited about this! 

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Moo

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Can you spot it?

So many photos. I’ll save the rest for another day. Next installments: the first big walk (where the dog makes an appearance), Reichenbach falls and Meiringen, and a day by the lake. Bring back the summer holidays!

Dairy Free Diary

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It always starts well in the morning…

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…then my lovely friends make a mousse cake (cream cheese and cream)…

Cheese, milk and chocolate. Three staples of my diet, I think. Milk every morning with my cereal since I was on solids I think. Cheese…if not on a sandwich, grated on top of whatever we’re having for tea. Chocolate far too often in a week. Maybe I’ve had a dairy overload in my life and my body just said, “ENOUGH! I’ll give you red rashes on the most visible parts of your body until you STOP FEEDING ME DAIRY!”.

Ok, so I don’t know that dairy is causing my eczema. But it is BAD. Like bright red, sore, starting to weep slightly, dry. Only steroid cream would work but who wants to put that on every day? I’d like some skin left when I’m old, thank you. So after 3 months of fluctuating rashes on my arms, eyes and chin, then 2 months of constant rashes in the same places (and spreading), I decided I had to try something. I got me some Aveeno (best moisturiser ever), some antihistamine, and some almond milk. Dairy free, here I come!

Or so I thought. I changed my milk and stopped having cheese, but my ambitions stopped there. We went away for a weekend to a family party and there was yummy cheese, lots of chocolate….and the friends we were staying with only had cereal for brekkie. No breakfast vs. breakfast. Only one clear winner, right? So Monday was the Day of New Beginnings. Almond milk in the morning (which is not nice by the way…I’ve learnt to use less than normal milk and sprinkle sugar on!), ham and houmus pitta…it was going so well. I can’t remember where I fell down, but over the course of the week I had cake (super duper frosted cake), chocolate biscuits, more cake, strawberry mousse cake…argh my downfall. I managed to steer clear of milk and cheese though. Didn’t manage a full day though…

So THIS Monday (today) is Day of New Beginnings #2. And so far, we’ve made it! We even went out for tea at Zizzi tonight and I stuck to my dairy-free guns, even though pizza is my all-time favourite meal. Maybe a holiday in Italy will be off the cards! I was amazed (and impressed) that they had a chocolatey dairy free dessert – how, I have no idea. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate? Well it was GOOD. Chocolatey sauce in the middle, chocolate pudding-y sponge. YUM.

Here’s hoping that week two goes better!

Book Review: What Alice Forgot

Book review #2…or maybe #1, I’ve written another one but am waiting to be able to take a photo of the book – I sense a distinct lack of photos in my recent posts (since, you know, I can’t take any at work – hello safeguarding). And no photo here…it’s a Kindle read.

 

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

(Moriarty…anyone else spot that?!)

I saw a review for this book here and was very much intrigued by the story. It’s 1998 and Alice is a 29-year old newlywed, enjoying marital bliss with husband Nick, both excited about the 12-week old ‘Sultana’ they’re expecting later in the year. Problem is, it’s actually 2008 and Alice is 39, a stay-at-home mum-of-three, currently going through a messy divorce with now ex-husband Nick. She has hit her head at step class and forgotten the last 10 years of her life. And boy has she changed in those 10 years!

I love a nice easy read every once in a while. You know, where the writing flows and is good quality, but not Thomas Hardy-style. I sensed this was one to hook me – why had she and Nick separated? What would happen now she still believed herself to be madly in love with him, when he seemingly hates her? And she didn’t know she had children – what would it be like becoming a mother to 3 children suddenly? The fact that we share a first name had nothing to do with it, obvs.

However, a book all about Alice would potentially be a bit dull…as in all from her point of view. We’d be totally in the dark about everything, only seeing her reactions to situations. This pitfall is avoided as Moriarty includes sections from two other characters’ points of view: Frannie (Alice’s surrogate grandma) and Elisabeth (A’s sister). Frannie’s entries are from her blog and Elisabeth’s is her journal to her therapist. I loved these chapters – it created suspense as they both mentioned things that we didn’t know anything about relating to Alice, but also things about their own lives that added depth to them as characters.

I must admit, it was a bit of a skim read on my part, so really I should go back and read it again, which I’d happily do. There was nothing I drastically didn’t like about the book, although it would’ve been nice to see more from Nick’s point of view – how had he changed, really? We only glimpse Alice’s perception of it. The ending was…somewhat unexpected and some might argue unrealistic but I liked it.

It gets you thinking though…looking at how Nick and Alice have both changed as has their marriage makes me wonder about how me and my hubby will fare 10 years down the line. We’ve had it pretty easy with no real life shockers to hit us, and it’s so easy just to bob along without really making an effort to love the other actively. More generally, what would happen if I lost even 5 years of my memory? That’d be nearly my whole relationship gone, even some of my best friends would be strangers to me! Weird.

So, a fab book – easy to read and enjoyable. Plus only £3.32 on the Kindle – winner!