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Mittwoch, 30. Juli 2014

Isabel Allende, Ripper

I have read quite a few books by Isabel Allende but was intrigued by the blurb of "Ripper" which sounded very unlike any of her other books.


Amanda, a teenager living in San Francisco initiates an online roleplay called  Ripper where she and a handful of youngsters from all-over-the-world (and secretly her grandfather) investigate the latest of the citys murders. With her father being a policeman she is naturally interested in crimes and even gets her Dad to listen to their theories. The group finds out that the murders are related and when her mother vanishes they better hurry finding the culprit!
I had an inkling early on who could have done it but had no idea why or how and it didn't lessen my enjoyment one bit! If you like young adult fiction don't miss Allendes trilogy starting with "City of the beasts".

Sonntag, 27. Juli 2014

The half-bald aries!



There's an inside joke between my brother and myself that I don't like reading manuals or instrctions. Hate them. Most of the time you can't make head or tail of them anyway!
But this time, when my brother gave me this fabulous diy gift I longed for instructions.



A clay aries for growing cress!

My brother only relayed to me that I had to soak the aries (which is incidentally my star sign) in water for a few hours and then put the seeds on it. Through the hole in the head I was to fill in water.




Soak. Done.







Attach seeds to animal. Not quite so easy. Maybe will try rolling the thingy in seed next time.

Wait and watch it growing!

 But how often am I to fill it up with water? And why is it getting moldy on top? Does it need direct sunlight?

I need answers! And before you ask, of course I consulted google. Google thinks it's more important to know how to throw a clay cress animal by yourself than how to use it. Probably to do with the searches for "Ghost" (OMG that was 1990!).




So this is how it looks a week later: a half-bald aries. I will shear it off later to get some home-grown cress for my baguette. Then I'll probably scrub it all off and start anew!

Sonntag, 20. Juli 2014

Val McDermid, Northanger Abbey

What could be better than one of my my favourite authors rewriting a Jane Austen classic? I have to confess, I couldn't remember all that much of the original but the idea of the story being set in 21st century Edinburgh during the Fringe festival made me curious. 

Bookworm and country bumpkin Catherine "Cat" Morland gets invited do Edinburgh by her wealthy neighbours. She loves vampire novels instead of gothic novels, has facebook and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who lives in Northanger Abbey and might be a vampire!

She enjoys the festival with her new BFF Isabella Thorpe who turns out to be engaged to her brother.
But when Bella drops Cats brother for the wealthy older brother of Henry, she feels she has to leave Edinburgh immediately.
Luckily Henrys father invites her to join them in Northanger Abbey and here things turn mysterious....

'Val McDermid’s brilliant re-working of Jane Austen’s original shows that innocent, bookish girls in thrall to the supernatural have changed surprisingly little in two centuries. Witty and shrewd, full of romance and skulduggery – I loved it.' J.K. ROWLING - See more at: http://theaustenproject.com/books/#sthash.ojrYjr1d.dpuf
 I was hoping for more installements by McDermid but it turns out that Northanger Abbey is one in a series of six novels called the Austen Project by different authors: http://theaustenproject.com/books/


'Val McDermid’s brilliant re-working of Jane Austen’s original shows that innocent, bookish girls in thrall to the supernatural have changed surprisingly little in two centuries. Witty and shrewd, full of romance and skulduggery – I loved it.' J.K. ROWLING - See more at: http://theaustenproject.com/books/#sthash.ojrYjr1d.dpuf


'Val McDermid’s brilliant re-working of Jane Austen’s original shows that innocent, bookish girls in thrall to the supernatural have changed surprisingly little in two centuries. Witty and shrewd, full of romance and skulduggery – I loved it.' J.K. ROWLING - See more at: http://theaustenproject.com/books/#sthash.ojrYjr1d.dpuf
'Val McDermid’s brilliant re-working of Jane Austen’s original shows that innocent, bookish girls in thrall to the supernatural have changed surprisingly little in two centuries. Witty and shrewd, full of romance and skulduggery – I loved it.' J.K. ROWLING - See more at: http://theaustenproject.com/books/#sthash.ojrYjr1d.dpuf

Dienstag, 8. Juli 2014

Chardonnay Selection by Salzl Seewinkelhof

Last weekend I had a wine revelation again. I discovered a wine that had me raving and now telling you all about it.

It was one of those balmy summer evenings. Warm, with the  threat of storm in the air that leads you to strolling through town, not wanting to go home even though it's late.

We decided to go to my favourite bar "Cole & Porter" (https://www.facebook.com/ColePorterBar) right in the city center and took a seat in the hidden courtyard.



Here I had a lovely glass of Chardonnay from the Austrian Vinery Salzl Seewinkelhof (http://www.salzl.at/de/weingut/weingut-1.html). They are situated in the east of Austria, the famous wine region Burgenland.






When you see the brilliant, sunny yellow colour you can imagine the fruity bouquet of pineapple, pear, bananas, litschi, mango. Fresh and mellow at the same time! 
Definitely one to remember!



Mittwoch, 2. Juli 2014

What I love about Munich

1. Its size
Not too small and not too big. I can reach everything by public transport, which is usually very efficient and clean. I like the anonymity of my apartment block with its 100+ flats but I also bump into people I know on the streets all the time. In some parts of town you can still recognize the former village centres.

2. Its location
Within an easy one-hour trainride I can be in the countryside with awesome mountainviews and stunning lakes.
Two hours on the train get me to Salzburg (of the Sound of music fame) and four hours to Vienna.

 

3. Summer cycling
There's nothing better than riding my bike through beautiful, leafy-green Munich on a balmy summer night. The sweet scent of the linden trees never fails to make me happy.
Cycling also reminds me of my Cambridge days where I was lucky enough to encounter the "Naked Cyclist" once. Must be damn uncomfortable.

4. Its people
The Bavarians are amazing and lovable in their honest grumpiness and I am one of them. I adore the local dialect and I'm never happier than when I can chatter away with colleagues in my native lingo.  It reminds me of my childhood days and my grandmother who wasn't very tolerant when I mistakenly spoke in "High German" (like the Queen's English).


5. River surfing
Not that I would dare to venture out onto the river on a piece of fibreglass but it's fun to watch. The Eisbach has an artifical and constant wave which makes it popular with every surfer worldwide.



















6. A Castle in the city with huge parks and the typical blue and white sky reflected in the Bavarian flag!


All in all I can't imagine living somewhere else anymore.
The one drawback is the cost of living. Due to its popularity and prosperity the rents and property prizes are ridiculously high so that it is very difficult to find an affordable place.

But if you're thinking about coming over for a holiday, let me know and I'll show you my favourite haunts.

Donnerstag, 26. Juni 2014

My beautiful suntrap

This is the third summer in my apartment and for the first time I managed to turn the balcony into a colourful haven.




I have lavender, mint, basil, geraniums, a bamboo and one tomato plant bearing at least five tiny tomatoes!
"A flower meadow benefits butterflies and bees." A marketing gag from my local supermarket brought me a small packet of seeds to support the bee community. Always keen to beautify my summer room I got to work and only one week later you can already see some results. I also added  sunflower seeds for extra cheer.
 


My geraniums, acquired cheaply from Aldi in April are giving me a lot of pleasure. They remind me daily of my late gran, who's probably still dead-heading her geraniums in heaven.


To celebrate this years football worldcup I got out the flags. 

There's still room for improvement and a couple of more plants, maybe another bamboo.

Freitag, 20. Juni 2014

If I should die by Matthew Frank

I have just finished this amazing debut crime novel written by my friend Matt. 

It introduces Afghan veteran Joe Stark and follows him through his first weeks at the London Metropolitan Police. Although he suffers from PTS he can offer in-depth knowledge of army life and an soldiers code of honour to his new job helping to solve the case. 
A definite must-read for every crime fan leaving you wanting for the next installment!
 
Find out more about the author and the new series here: http://www.matthewfrank.co.uk/books/