Weekly gratitude post #22.

I went to the theatre with my mum last night to see a play called Two Worlds Hotel. I hadn’t heard of it before and the description sounded rather dismal but it wasn’t. It was really interesting, even funny in some moments, and it made me think. I liked it a lot! The next play we’re going to see is actually next Saturday. It’s one we should’ve seen about a month ago but we were unable to go because back then the roads were too dangerous to risk it. It’s Romeo & Juliet and I’m sure I’ll love it. Then in about another 2 weeks we’re going to see Paul Pörtner’s play called Scherenschnitt oder Der Mörder sind Sie. It’s supposed to be an interactive play with the audience being somehow involved. I’ve never been to a play like that and I’m super excited and curious.
Here are some phone snaps of me and my mum from last night:

One year ago, to the day, I set off for my first trip to Switzerland ever. I’ve been reminiscing quite a lot these days and I dug up some photos that I hadn’t posted yet so make sure you take a look! There’s enough photos for one more post which I hope to put up some time next week.

This week I’m grateful for:

1. Art in all its forms. It’s a source of endless joy and beauty in life.

2. All the healthy and delicious food I have the privilege to enjoy. I finally feel somewhat inspired to mix up my breakfasts again so hopefully I will get around doing that next week — and documenting it for the blog, too!

3. Having the opportunity to take a nap at the weekend. My schedule is rather insane during the week and I am so happy to have a few moments just for myself at the weekend.

4. Feeling so content and ready for next week on a Sunday evening.

What are you grateful for?

Lausanne, 10 February 2015.

I can’t believe it will soon be a year since my trip to Switzerland. I’ve been thinking about my time there a lot lately and discovered I’ve still got some photos I haven’t posted yet. Here’s part 1, February 10.

The sun was positively blinding that morning. We had a gorgeous day ahead of us.

The ice rink in Flon was completely empty that morning. Next time I go there in winter, I’m definitely taking my skates. :P

I love the Lausanne metro.

The view of the cathedral is breathtaking. And it really was that kind of a perfect, nippy wintry day, perfect for sight-seeing.

The cathedral is positively fairy-tale.

Oh and they’ve got some really funny bins in Lausanne, too.

We walked up to the cathedral.

The view from there is just as beautiful.

The Alps have stolen my heart.


And of course it’s rather lovely inside as well.

Look at the light!

I still regret being too full after breakfast to go for a cup of hot chocolate there. Next time, maybe.

By the time we’d got to Cuppin’s, though, we were ready for a snack.

Quite possibly the best cupcakes I’ve ever had. Next time I’m getting the bigger ones.

The place is utterly charming. I wish we had a cafe like this somewhere around here.

It felt a wee bit retro and it reminded me of Muriel’s Kitchen, which is one of my favourite spots in London.

We then decided to walk off those cupcakes.

I rather love beautiful railway stations.

I kind of want to make it a spot where I’ll take a photo every time I’m there.

We walked around for a bit and then went back to the hotel to take a break because we had grand plans for the evening.

Art On Ice. Marc Sway, Tom Odell and Nelly Furtado… and most importantly, some of my favourite figure skaters ever. It was a wonderful evening that I’ll never forget. I still get goosebumps whenever my AOI playlist comes up on my iPod. I’d wanted to link you to my favourite performances but then I realised I’d really have to link to all of them. So just go here and watch the whole thing if you like. :)

Weekly gratitude post #21.

I spent this week completely immersed in my figure skating world (I mean, more than usual) due to the Europeans. I think I’m going to miss running home from the ice rink and gym to be able to catch as much of it live as possible. :)

The only bad thing about this week was that my first trip of 2016 has been cancelled. We’d been planning to go to Vienna as there was supposed to be the first Art on Ice event in Vienna ever. We thought we’d use this opportunity since Vienna is really close to where we live and go there since we adored last year’s show in Lausanne. It was supposed to be held on 20 February, less than a week before my birthday. I’ve had the tickets since autumn and I honestly couldn’t wait. On Tuesday, however, they posted on the website that the show has been postponed due to a “scheduling conflict” and it will now take place on 18 December. December. I can’t even properly express how disappointed and furious I was… and still am. First of all, it’s unprofessional and unfair – to the skaters, artists and to all of us as well. Second of all, I can’t go in December as I’ve already got plans. And even though I’ve asked repeatedly for an explanation, I haven’t been given one. From what I could understand from the comments, it might be because of an unexpected hockey game. I don’t think the reason could have been any more stupid. They’ve been planning this for over half a year and they can’t shift a stupid hockey game because of it? Why does it always have to be figure skating that’s pushed to the side?
I’m just so disappointed. It was supposed to be my birthday trip, my birthday present and I’d been looking forward to it for months. Oh well. I’ve got another figure skating-related trip planned for April and I’m definitely doing the Vienna weekend some time when the weather’s nicer.

Despite that, there’s a lot to be grateful for, right? So here’s my list for this week:

1. I’m grateful for my good health. I’ve been thinking all week how lucky I am to be able to skate and exercise the way I do.

2. I’m grateful for my understanding family who made arrangements for me to be able to watch the Europeans. And for watching it with me, because it is even more fun when you can then discuss it with other people. :)

3. I’m grateful for having learned to say “yes” more often. It’s made my life busier than ever but I’ve got so many more experiences and opportunities because of it, it’s absolutely worth it.

Now for the Europeans. I’ll start with what I thought was, this time around, the absolute best: ice dance. There are so many beautiful dances this season, I’m so thrilled!

My favourite probably has to be Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte‘s free dance. It is so joyful, energetic and vibrant, it completely draws you in and you can absolutely see how much they love skating and this dance, and that’s something that I absolutely adore. (short dance | free dance)

I of course loved Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron as well. I’d been nervous how they’d do after such a terrific season last year and also because of Gabriella’s serious injuries last fall but they were fabulous, especially their free dance. Their programmes are very different from Cappellini/Lanotte’s. Out of this world might be a good way to describe them. (short dance | free dance)

Ekaterina Bobrova/Dimitri Soloviev have been my favourite Russian dance pair for some time now (unpopular opinion, I know) and they really shine this season. I fell for their short dance the first time I watched it. Their music is the Masquerade Waltz and the second half is Montagues & Capultes. Beautiful, strong, catchy music combined with their powerful skating – gorgeous, really. (short dance | free dance)

Pairs: Volosozhar/Trankov skated circles around everybody else, of course. Their victory was well-deserved. They’re always so beautiful to look at! This was the first time I saw Savchenko/Massot and they were fantastic. Their triple twist is fantastic and they’re going to make the future competitions very interesting. I have love Marchei/Hotarek since the first time I saw them together at last year’s Euros and they did not disappoint this year, either. They’re the same type of skaters like Cappellini/Lanotte: you can see how much they love what they do.

Women: I liked both Medvedeva and Radionova. My problem with the Russian girls, though, is just that: they’re girls. And once they actually go through puberty, they immediately get replaced by younger girls. And while they’re all terrific technically, I do prefer the way older women can express themselves and the music (think Carolina Kostner.) We’ll see what will happen to these two in the next few years. I was very pleasantly surprised by Angelina Kuchvalska and I rather liked Roberta Rodeghiero, too.

Men: Javier Fernandez was superb, as per usual. I really like his skating and I love how much he keeps improving every season. Obviously, Florent Amodio was one of the highlights. I loved that he went back to his Memories of Sobral free skate, it was a great choice to skate this programme as his farewell, and oh my god it worked. He loved performing it and the audience loved him for it. Such an emotional moment! I don’t even know what to say about Michal Brezina. I hope they manage to address his psychological issues and give him all the help he needs because he’s obviously capable and he works hard. It’s his head that fails him. I felt so sorry for him after his skate.

If you watched the Europeans, what did you think? Who were your favourites and how did they do?

New Year’s Eve 2015.

I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of New Year’s Eve. I like to make merry all year round and I don’t like to be told when and how I should do so. I’m also not too keen on fireworks and drunk people. So personally, I prefer staying in. So all in all, it was rather a calm day spent with family while eating some really good food. What’s not to like, right?

This was the last morning of 2015.

I had no plans to go anywhere so I took the time to stretch properly. It felt wonderful.

I bloody love that candle.

We all got new mugs. They’re Anthropologie and they’re fantastic!

Eda slept a lot.

And these two worked.

The poor thing is frightened of fireworks. :(

Food prep.

We made our first banoffee pie.

The finished result. It was delicious.

My poor dear.

Salmon & cheese platter. The blue cheese was lavender and have no explanation for the colour. It was really good, though!

This was guacamole, hummus and egg salad.

And lots and lots of veggies.

And at midnight, we opted for Fragolino instead of champagne.

How do you prefer to spend New Year’s Eve?

December 24 – 30, 2015.

Here’s a photo summary of my family’s festivities, spanning from December 24 to December 30. I hope you enjoy the post, despite the fact I’ve only put it up now.

December 24

Look at that! My favourite breakfast of all.

Before breakfast, I put the presents under the tree. Normally I would’ve done it earlier but we’d only put the tree up the day before.

We bought some new ornaments this year and this is one of them. I love them so much!

My other favourite, for obvious reasons. I’ve got a pair of these in the Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas shop.

An oldie but a goodie.

We had the prettiest tree ever. As we do every year. :)

We experimented with the mistletoe a little bit and I love how it turned out!

Here’s the finished plum compote from the previous night.

I’d had a very specific idea about the table set up and it ended up being just what I’d imagined.

We also had a really charming bouquet — and it lasted us over 2 weeks! I was so impressed.

These are plums wrapped in bacon and some leafy greens.

My mum let me take a couple of photos of her.

Potato salad and fried carp. We only have it once a year so I always enjoy it a lot.

Our sweets are always spectacular.

I’m a big fan of sparklers. ;)

December 25

Even though it’s slightly different each year, our tree always has character and it always reminds me of all the Christmases past. We like to buy some new ornaments every year but there are some that we always have to put on the tree. I love when the old and the new meet and create something extraordinary.

Here’s another shot of the mistletoe arrangement. What do you think?

Books are the best presents. And I got loads!

Christmas day meal prep.

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Eda was helping, as usual.

Brussel sprouts and apple & cranberry puree. That was my favourite thing about the whole lunch!

Looks delicious, doesn’t it?

December 26 – 30

Then, finally, more people arrived! My little sister came on the 26th and stayed for three days. Among other things, we went to the ice carnival together and we had a lot of fun! By the way, she got that reindeer jumper from us for Christmas and she didn’t take it off the whole time she was there. :D

Then my sister’s boyfriend turned up on the 28th. And there were more presents!

When you accidentally get the same pyjamas like your sister, you’ve just got to take a picture together. It’s the law. :P

Weekly gratitude post #20.

My weekend in one picture. ;)
It was so cold on Saturday! There were some record temperatures there all over the country, -35°C in some places, which is crazy, but I loved it. It started snowing the moment I walked out of the gym on Saturday morning and didn’t stop until late in the evening. I loved the cold air, the snow and the way it made everything look. I had no other plans for Saturday except for the gym in the morning and working on my January articles so I put on my warm socks, lit up my favourite Yankee Candle ever and relaxed. I have so very few opportunities to really calm and quiet down for longer than an hour these days and I enjoyed it a lot. The weather changed literally over night, though. It is now 3 degrees above zero, the snow is quickly melting away and the roads and pavements are becoming very dangerous. Such a shame!

I’m going to the cinema tonight to see Lída Baarová, a film about a famous Czech actress who had an affair with Goebbels. I’m looking forward to seeing it, I’m really curious about it. The trailer was great!

I’m really excited about next week, too! It’s the European Figure Skating Championships and I just can’t wait to see it all! I scheduled as much as I could around the events. I still won’t be able to see as much of it as I would’ve liked of course, or at least not live, but I expect to be able to see a lot.

One more thing: my mum finally used the Christmas tree bundt pan she got for Christmas. We used Nigella’s recipe (of course) and added some cranberries. It’s absolutely terriic! Both the recipe and the pan.

This morning I tried to toast one slice of the cake and put some lightly salted butter on top and it was incredible. Can’t recommend it enough.

And finally, the list of things I’m grateful for:

1. Fleece. I’m so often cold and fleece clothes are my favourite! I would like a fleece everything, please!

2. Chocolate. We finally opened the Christmas truffle collection from Montezuma’s and I’ve been crying with joy ever since. :P

3. Scent-induced memories. I get a lot of those in winter when you can smell the snow and ice in the air. It reminds me of going ice skating and sledding with my sister and our gramps taking us out for walks in the snow.

What’s on your list this week?

23 December 2015.

My mum and I were just talking the other day that we need to plan our run-up to Christmas a little better this year. We managed, of course, we even did more than we’d planned, but the schedule was way too tight. It could be potentially even worse this year as Christmas Eve is on Saturday and we like to be all done by then. We’ve decided we’re going to try and take Thursday and Friday off so we have enough time to get ready without feeling overwhelmed.

I’ve got to say, though, looking at the photos from December 23, it doesn’t really look all that hectic at all!

First of all, we still had some decorating to finish.

We finally figured out a way how to put those robins up so we could still open and close our windows.

We haven’t got a mantelpiece so this has to do.

I really like how it turned out this year.

My mum’s friend made this for her.

Then we moved on to baking. On the 24th, it is a tradition to eat a sweet plait loaf for breakfast.

We had to make two different types of dough this year because my sister has had to cut out gluten (for medical reasons).

Our Christmas tree was outside on the terrace then, waiting to be brought in.

I finally learned how to do this properly. :P

All done. It tastes even better than it looks.

When we were done, it was finally time to put up our Christmas tree.

Eda was trying to help.

Too cute.

And later that night, I made a plum compote. It’s a family recipe, one of my favourites.

So that was my 23 December 2015. Next up: Christmas Eve!

Weekly gratitude post #19.

We are heading into a week of below zero temperatures, day and night. It’s going to be so nice out… I’m just hoping for some more snow. I can’t believe we’re halfway through January, though! I don’t know why but this year, I’m longing for some proper winter weather. I like when the weather fits the season. This year, though, I seem to be obsessed with photos from everyone’s winter trips up north. I long for walks in the snow, skating outside and spending cosy evenings inside with a book. I sort of got my wish with the walks in the snow because we had some for the bigger part of the past two weeks and I took Eda out for a walk every day. And today I’m actually enjoying one of those cosy evenings in, feeling a bit like a polar bear, actually.

I got the sweatshirt from my sister for Christmas and it’s superb! I’m finally warm!

We dropped Eda off at my sister’s on Saturday. The house seems a bit too empty now. I know that she’ll be back here before we know it but for now, I miss her very badly. And that’s why I’d like to dedicate today’s gratitude post to her.

She’s the best dog in the world.
She’s a little bit shy and wary of strangers.
At the same time, she’s incredibly curious, clever, loving, friendly, playful and loyal.
She loves nestling up to us, her pack, at any time of the day. And I love when she does it.
At night, right before I turn off the light, she tends to look up at me, give me a little kiss goodnight and snuggles even closer to me.
Her skin turns pink when she’s tired and it’s the most adorable thing ever.
We talk to her during the day a lot and (partly) because of that she’s very clever and sociable. She thrives on contact.
I believe that there are people in the world who are just supposed to meet. And I hold the same belief about animals. There are just certain beings, human or not, who are supposed to cross paths. I’m so grateful that Eda has come into our lives. She’s enriched me in ways I couldn’t imagine and I love her unconditionally. I can’t wait to have her back here with me.

What are you lot grateful for this week?

Carnival on ice.

When my little sister was here for Christmas, there was a Carnival on ice event in my local ice rink. I am not the target group so I can’t really comment on the choice of music or why the organisers would put these huge inflatable rings in an ice rink that was full of people. Nevertheless, it was a good opportunity to finally go ice skating with my little sister. She’d only been once before in her life and I found out that she’d skates in those horrible plastic rentals then. I was a bit worried how she’d handle recreational figure skates (the toepick was my main concern) but she was brilliant! She goes rollerblading a lot so that definitely helped with the balance and also she’s young enough not to be frightened of falling down.
We stayed for about an hour and had a lot of fun! We both hope that she gets proper ice skates next Christmas so we can go more often.

Look how happy she looked! And I’m not sure if you can make it out but she’s wearing a spider headband.

I dressed up as the Ghost of Christmas Present. :D

I tried to teach her how to stop. :D

It was such a fun afternoon, I can’t wait to take her again.

Weekly gratitude post #18.

I think that the first January week might be the most dreaded and hated week of the year. Mine was actually filled with walks in the snow, family meetings and good food — not bad at all! How was your first week of the new year?

This cocktail is called Poinsettia, by the way. Nigella’s recipe. Give it a go, it’s delicious!
This week I’m grateful for:

1. The family tradition on not taking the Christmas decorations down on 6th January. I know that this is when Christmas officially ends but it’s long been a tradition in my family to have the tree up for as long as it looks nice. Sometimes we start putting away some of the other decorations gradually but we love to have our tree and all the fairy lights up for as long as possible. January is usually a very cold and always a very dark month so why not enjoy the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree for a little longer? It makes the house feel even cosier than usual and it certainly brightens up all the long, dark evenings.

2. The weather! All the snow… I’m in love.

3. Happy family meetings. We didn’t manage to see some of our family over Christmas so we met up on Friday and it was great.

4. More work! A former student of mine sought me out earlier this week to ask for individual lessons. I’m really happy about that! This person used to attend one of the group courses I taught many years ago. They couldn’t continue due to change of job but the situation has now changed yet again and they’re back! It always makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside when somebody comes back for more. :) It means a really busy winter for me and I’m very happy about that, too.

5. This traditional Christmas sweet plait bread. It’s usually eaten for breakfast at Christmas. We of course baked it for Christmas but I still had cravings… so I gave in and made another one yesterday. It goes really well with the lit Christmas tree and a Lord of the Rings marathon (best January tradition ever.) :)

Quite a list this week! What’s on yours?