Saturday, 29 March 2014

Quick "Digestive" Cinnamon Oat biscuits - Easy recipe & basic ingredients

Today afternoon I was working and patiently concentrating on solving some $%# issues when I suddenly felt THE most urgent desire to have some digestive oats biscuits. Now, those who have never had them (most people living in the UK have probably come across a sort during one of their shopping trips), it is simple oats biscuits/cookies, nothing makes them more digestive than other sorts :D But I guess it did the trick for me somehow and I ADORED them, definitely one of my clear favourites of English biscuits. Especially the ginger oat biscuits, omg...

The thing is - I am NOT in London or the UK at the moment, so how on earth could I satisfy my desire? I almost immediately decided that today was the DIGESTIVE trial, my first attempt to make proper oats biscuits.

And THANK GOD, they turned out almost identical in taste, if not a bit better as I did not use as much sugar and additives as they probably use in their factory biscuits. The ingredients list of my recipe of cinnamon oats biscuits is reaaally simple, I would even claim that almost everyone has the necessary ingredients at home:

Ingredients: (makes +/-25 medium sized biscuits)

Friday, 28 March 2014

Trip to Germany & Berlin coming closer! PLUS Information on Aguia-Branca, MeinFernbus & Condor luggage allowance

Since Dezember, I am planning my next Trip to Germany and Berlin! YAY!!! This time together with the prince of sun <3 Now there are only about three weeks left, OMG, so excited =)

I am going to visit my friend Berlin girl at her place in Potsdam, do Berlin sightseeing (and shopping) with the prince and her and we will even do a short day trip to Warnemuende, a seaside resort and former fishing village situated on the Ostsee, Baltic Sea in the North-Eastern part of Germany, close to Rostock. I am really looking forward to showing the prince an authentic German beach and sea as well as traditions and his first, ever dunes (and dune rabbits!). (He does not know about the day trip, so.... cannot wait to see his face when he suddenly stands in front of the beach and sea, he thinks we are only going to visit Berlin and Potsdam, no word from me or Berlin girl about the trip or destination hehe....

Castle beauties - Fantasy vs Reality 
There is more, my family and I are planning to go on many castle trips, at least 4 different ones, one will be the Hohenbaden Castle, one castle near Gengenbach (forgot the name, I have to research some more...) plus the beautiful Hohenzollern Castle (those three are all located at less than 2h by car from my parents' place) and the famous Neuschwanstein Castle (the one that Disney used as a template for their dream castle) (located more or less 4h by car from my parents' place).

And as a cream-top for my holiday cake of wonders, two of my dear London friends, holiday girl and dance girl, are coming over for a weekend trip, none of them have been to Germany so I am thrilled to introduce them to our wonderful culture, delicious hearty German food, relaxing Roman bath-spa, breath-taking waterfalls.... *_* so excited!

So, other than that I have been planning to take lots of books and have made some packing lists (what to pack in Brazil), German-culture-related items (especially German children s books and items), shopping lists, Berlin packing list, Berlin to-do list, Berlin shopping list, my region's to do list, home-trip packing list.... I did mention that I love making lists... haha....

I mentioned some of our travel companies during my Europe trip last year already, I actually used the same companies as we do this time, but now I'll explain the baggage allowances for each company in detail.

So here you go, here more about each company we are travelling with:

Our first travel company is a Brazilian coach company called

Aguia Branca - 12h night bus from Porto Seguro to Salvador
-one suitcase of 30kg (to be stored in the luggage department of the bus)
-no exact restrictions for hand luggage

Last time I travelled with them, I only had one hand luggage (the carry on size), but most people travelling with me on the bus had a carry on plus normal handbags plus enormous plastic bags with them so I am quite optimistic that they are pretty generous with hand luggage taken on the bus with you (as long as you can fit it into the relatively generous space in front of you).

Arriving at the bus station in Salvador the next morning, we will take one of the local buses to the international airport in Salvador, where we will catch our flights in the afternoon, we are flying with

CONDOR, 10h over-night transatlantic flight from Salvador to Frankfurt
-2 suitcases of 32kg each (yes, you are reading right here *_*)
-hand luggage=carry on of 6kg
-1 laptop bag plus laptop
-1 small handbag

Isn t that just a dream....! Let's get that straight.
Proper 64 kg checked luggage. 6kg carry on. Total: A whopping 70kg. Not counting the handbag and laptop bag stuff!!! AAAAND the prince and I are travelling together. Each of us has those allowances, making it official:  140kg. Plus content of two small (hand)bags & notebook bags *_*

Right, last trip to Berlin, we will probably leave most of my stuff at my parents' place when we leave for Berlin and only take one suitcase and backpack with us, so our last company mentioned is

MeinFernbus, 10h daytime coach trip from Karlsruhe to Berlin
Our luggage planning

-2 suitcases of each 20kg
-hand luggage of 15kg

Whopping, isn t it!

I know now you'll ask me how I will ever be able to get my luggage sorted with so many different luggage restrictions.

Keep calm and... read on ;)

Love parcels: If I were a little bird and had 2 little wings, I'd fly to you!

Today I had two sweet surprises waiting for me at my doorstep.

One was literally sweet: A parcel from my lovely mum <3 full of goodies, delicious, sweet forest fruit tea (that I am slurping right now) as well green tea and as other sorts, loads of beautiful poems, songs and prayers as well as the invitation to my cousin's wedding and some cheerful baloons. =) My dear mum always manages to surprise me over and over again with new ideas and beautiful memories of my childhood and favourite childhood songs as well as showing me new poetry and in general re-inventing life and love the whole time.

The poem that touched me most was my alltime favourite little bird song (shown on the postcard in the middle picturing a young woman with a looong braid sitting under a try, being thoughtful and observing little birds flying around. The only colour aspect of the picture is a tiny heart on the bottom <3 so beautiful! *_*).

The poem says:                                                     (this old-style-German poem translates to something like:

"Wenn ich ein Voeglein waer,                                If I were a little bird  
 und auch zwei Flueglein haett,                               and had two little wings,    
floeg ich zu dir.                                                      I'd fly to you!
Weils aber nicht kann sein,                                    But as it cannot be,
weils aber nicht kann sein,                                     but as it cannot be,
bleib ich all hier!"                                                   I'll have to stay right here!).

She has also sent me loads of beautiful poems by Rudolf Alexander Schroeder, which I will come back to in a minute =) By the way, my mum had sent some cosmetics as well, but those errr got lost on the way somehow - we will never know where, right, aehem....

The second nice surprise was a traditional postcard from my friend law girl who is doing her LLM, master of law, in San Francisco and has sent her lovely lines over. It is the first postcard that actually arrived, she had sent one from New York once that got lost in the nirvana of international air mail =) So happy it arrived this time hun! <3 And who knows maybe the Brazilian mail will be getting better and better each, paying a bit more to their staff resulting in more reliable work force resulting in better service offered to the public!

(So yes, just need to work on that 'stuff disappearing'-issue, but we'll get there right, as we say in Germany: Es ist noch nie ein Meister vom Himmel gefallen = It never happened that a master fell from the sky., meaning we all continue learning and perfecting what we do...

And now, as promised before, here some of the beautiful poems by Rudolf Alexander Schroeder:

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Good hair, bad hair and our world`s fear of gray/white hair & Update on hair cut

Just as anyone else on our dear planet, I have been confronted with hair issues during all my life. Any kind of it really. But today let`s only talk about our precious tresses!

Starting at teenager age, I had just decided to let my hair grow and quickly learned that the hair business is not as simple as it seems. I was quickly told that my hair was not thick enough to be grown long or that it had too many split ends and needed 3cm to be cut and after some time, it was suggested that I also do something about my rather boring hair colour. Insecure as those teenagers are, my colouring routine started at about 16 ranging from dark blue-black to chocolate-red-brown and went on until I was about 23 ending with indigo-and-henna-dark-red-brown. (I love how literal you can see the expression DYING HAIR. right!?....) Seven long years of dying my hair. Seven long years of horrible chemical substances eating into my scalp and flowing down my poor vains. And at about 20 years of age, the first grays started to appear. So as soon as I realized that those grays were appearing, I was pretty much condemned to colour my hair forever. So I was told. By the media, TV ads, magazines, some of my family (except my mum who herself has the most beautiful gray-streaked tresses herself since her late 20s/early 30s <3), friends, and finally after enough brain washing, by myself. Getting grays in such a young age, dreadful!

Well, during those 7 years, my routine was quite simple compared to what other people do, I had a shampoo and conditioner (silicone loaden of course), some loreal and fructis and such. Plus one finishing cream for shiny and non-frizzy hair. Plus some hairbrushes (in 4-5x daily use), hair dryer (about every 3 days when washing my hair) and a small set of flat ironer, curler etc (which I used at the age of 22-23, maybe 10x or less in total before changing my routine radically). I coloured my hair about every 3-4 months, sometimes later and went to cut it about every 4-6 months. I was pretty low maintenance most of the time, already before changing my routine, some might say now.

New hair cut:
Shorter front hair on March 2014
Wake-up-hair ;)
Then, about 4 years ago, I started researching about product content and general (beauty=) health related issues as well as going through some personal growth and changes in attitude and how I viewed myself and everything around me and totally stopped EVERYTHING I did before. I went through a lot of different stages (like trying out the no-poo-movement and such) and then finally decided to let my true hair/hair colour shine (and sometimes bounce) again =)

general length the same,
kept at hip length
And I have not looked back ever since. I did go back to shampooing due to my sensitive scalp, no other products such as spray or such, a very mild shampoo version (see my hair routine for more information) (most of my shampoos are Alverde) and wash my hair about once a week now. I brush it once (sometimes twice) a day, mostly in the evening, sometimes in the morning, but here in Brazil I have it up in a bun for most of the daylight (HOT) hours as it is really too hot for having hair longer than your ears ;) I have it down in the late afternoon and evening hours as well as when sleeping, I just throw it over the pillow and wake up with my octopus hair almost strangling me ;) I have tried sleeping with buns and braids during almost 3 years. But it is just not the same comfort and now that my hair is long and heavy enough, I just keep it over my pillow for most of the night and from time to time, throw it back into its off-pillow position when it gets into my face after tossing around too much and have to grab it from under the prince of sun`s head haha.... oh well ;) since changing my routine, my hair shows that it too has its moods. Sometimes it is very wavy and almost curly, sometimes it is almost sleek with just really slight waves.... it probably just depends on my current state of mind haha..... one thing that I noticed though is that the longer I go between washes, the easier it goes to the wavy-curly state. I do love combing my hair and letting the curls (that appear at the ends mostly) bounce around for a bit.

Side view of new shorter front section
I also cut it myself (straight across mainly, at hip length), a few weeks ago I decided to cut some of my front hair as my hair was getting too heavy for my taste and finally had the courage to cut about 3 hands of length! But I love it, the rest of my hair is still hip length, it is lighter and the front section lies in a soft wave next my face.

My beautiful glitter-whites in the sun <3
Now about the gray hair/white hair issue: I LOVE my white hair which distributes in layers and fine glitter-lines throughout my head, but mostly at the front sections and I get so many questions who coloured my hair and did the delicate light-blond highlights and that it looks sooo nice and natural and shines like little stars glittering in the sun, especially the front highlights sections... and how I managed that sometimes only a few hairs are highlighted and not streaks of hair, really SINGLE hairs. I always answer that my hair dresser is called god and that he is a real genius in making me perfectly look exactly how I am supposed to be, combining my hair colours and structure exactly to how it best combines with my natural skin, cheek and lip colour :D

I get strange looks then, some pauses and deep thinking periods and some ask:

My morning in three easy steps

Here my morning in three easy steps haha:

Step 1: Wake up and put this octopus hair in a bun to stop it from strangling me

Step 2: Open the door and in comes Luke for his first belly rub

Step 3: Morning coffee =) 

And guess what happened after taking the morning cup pictures?  

Friday, 21 March 2014

Punctuality revisited: Cultural differences in German, London and Brazilian culture - part 1

Punctuality. Efficiency. Honesty. I guess those things were mostly mentioned when someone talked about positive aspects of German people's character. So here my three cents to a few related topics, all in comparison of my experience in each culture I am living in: Germany, London (UK) and Brazil.


German translation: Pünktlichkeit
I won't say that there are no exeptions but in general, Germans (including myself) take punctuality quite serious. It is seen as a polite act (of kindness) to respect each others time and (most probably) commitments (the other person might have after meeting you). So that's why in most cases, when you plan to meet someone at 11am, it will be 11am. Not 11:05 or 11:30. Or very often, the person you are meeting with might be arriving in a so called Puffer-timespan. Which means he or she arrives about 10minutes or so earlier just in case something might happen that could cause some delays. So don't be surprised if you are early and your friend already sits on a bench with a book in his hand, smiling when you arrive early as well =)

Londoners & punctuality:
I have to be honest, I cannot say too much about the rest of Britain as I have only done a few day trips to other cities so... Anyway, in most cases one could say that Londoners are pretty punctual. Maybe not in an arriving-too-early-manner like Germans, but you will not wait longer than 5minutes after the agreed time. (I can only refer to what I have experienced with teachers, friends and appointments). And in case they are late, they will make sure to let you know by message or calling you. I do know one exception, but I guess my friend dance girl just tends to run late anyway (so I do know that she will arrive late and always have a book or some work stuff with me). We always meet close to cafes so I always end up having a coffee or tea while waiting for her and she then joins me for the second cup ;)

Brazilian translation: pontualidade
I guess it is no news that Brazilians are famous for being late. People don't mean to be rude and lazy, it is just that everyone assumes that the other one will be late, so in general anything from 10 to 40 minutes of delay can be possible. Just take a book with you in case you wish to be punctual. In my experience, people tend to call only in case they have to cancel the meeting, not if they run late. But I am sure there are exceptions. So no worries if you run late, in most cases people will probably not even notice or mention it ;)

German translation: Das Empfinden von Zeit und Raum
This one might sound strange, but I will try my best to explain what I am at here. When you are out and about in a new place, maybe a tourist in an unknown city, you always end up asking locals for directions. Those are always measured in time and space, how long will it take to get there and how far is it. Germans will mostly try to tell you the exact time or check on their smartphones in case they don't know. Most preferably in exact minute and meter description. It will take you 5 minutes and 2 seconds and it's 155,55m distance. (Just kidding). Being known for their (slightly perfectionist) exactness, they would probably rather tell you that they actually don't know about how long it will take and how far it is, in case they really don't know or have no mobile (google map) help at hand. Just to be on the sure side so don't think they don't want to help. It is just that they don't want to lie to you. You might however also meet someone offering to take you straight to the place where you wish to go or telling you that they are on their way to go there and offer you to come with them.

Londoners' sense of time and space:
Most Londoners think in tube stops when they talk about time and space. Most probably when someone is late, the tube (or some delays in the tunnel) are the reason. (Or pretty convenient excuse). So most people tend to give a rather foggy description of time span, such as 'in case you catch the tube when you get on the platform and it is not too crowded, then in case no tunnels are blocked or no inspectors stop you, you might get there at maybe 10am'. But due to construction works, certain roads might be blocked, so the journey could be much longer than originally thought. To be on the safe side, they might check google map or the London transport page called Transport for London which has an excellent Journey Planner for their whole bus, tube, train etc network. A life saver really. And tube and bus stops show the exact time in minutes when your next bus or tube arrives..... ok, that might be another topic ;) Just always leave with least 30minutes time puffer and you will be fine.

Brazilian: Senso de tempo e espaço
Talking mostly about my husband, his sense of time and space is rather... flexible. He might say that he will just get some bread at the bakery around the corner 'REAL QUICK'. And arrives one hour later, telling me some interesting story about what happened this time. :D He probably just knows too many people around here, is very sociable and kind, and tends to chat around and looses his sense of time. A few months ago, I learned the hard way that his sense of time and space REALLY is very very different from mine when we went on a walk with our puppy Luke and the prince of sun just QUICKLY wanted to show me something 'closeby'. His favourite words are 'rapidinho' (very fast, very quick) or 'pertinho' (very close). So me thinking 10minutes, 1km. At the most. It rather turned out 70 minutes and a few kms more than imagined and resulted in a deep sunburn and a very thursty hubby, dog and me. haha.... Most Brazilians tend to have a very generous sense of time and space (mostly in their favour ;), so do count on a few minutes and km more, when someone tells you, that this and that is VERY close or very quick.

Let's maybe take two examples for efficiency: work place and supermarket

German translation - I had to list quite a few words in addition to the obvious as we Germans do describe it in quite a lot of words depending on the area: Effizienz, Faehigkeit, Tuechtigkeit, Leistung (the list goes on)

Work place: People tend to concentrate pretty much constantly on what they have to do, most people have their to-do lists and time sheets and organisation sheets and packing lists and... haha, am I talking about myself here? Let`s just say that Germans are very efficient, time efficient, work load efficient. They prefer to really concentrate on getting their tasks done before or for the deadline, to then leave work and enjoy family life or free time (if possible not do more work at home), most Germans really like to seperate their work and private life as much as possible.

Supermarket: There might be some supermarkets that have more relaxed cashiers, but most (especially discounters such as Lidl or Aldi) have reached almost dangerous speeds in getting your shopping from scanning into your bag. And you really are expected to join the put-stuff-in-the-bag-as-quickly-as-possible-RUSH. Do prepare yourself and have your money at hand as soon as possible to avoid annoyed looks from the cashier assistant or even the people waiting in the queue behind you. (They should relax a bit more ;), I guess people are getting pushed way too much in those shops and the older they get, they probably are in danger of getting a heart attack sooner or later - but I do have to admit that it is excellent when you are in a rush and have to leave this supermarket REAL QUICK and then have to face a huge queue. In general, in such supermarkets, you really get out quick even if you join a 30 people queue...

Here a taster, and no, there is no quick-play-trick, just observe the people behind the lady moving in a rather `normal` way:

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Luke`s first on the trek backpack - Kerbl dog saddle bag harness

The prince of sun and I are both passionate outdoor fans and since we have Luke, we do our little trips around the Porto Seguro region with almost set times - Luke already reminds us in case we get out later on a day, first calling us and when he has our attention, he leads us to where we store his harness :D. Just in case we forgot.

Even better is the fact that Luke will now be able to carry his own (poo plastic bags), water and food (or like today morning part of our weekly food shopping). He seemed so proud when first walking around with his new saddle bag harness on and was even more proud, when we arrived at home and he watched carefully when we were taking the vegetables out of his (before carried) saddle bag harness. He always observed us carefully when carrying our shopping bags and probably he finally felt like part of the mission group :D Funny enough, he was not shy at all and immediately put his head into the neck section of the backpack harness when I put it on him and all naturally wore his new harness as if he had done it for months! He seems quite comfortable wearing it, I put the saddle bag on my arm to check if there are any harsh edges that might be more dominant when the bags are filled with heavy stuff, but the material still felt quite soft on my skin and did not cut into it). And it seems to tire him out more than when he is wearing his normal harness, so that`s another plus point for our powerful and evergy-loaden moscito-hunter =)

In case you wondered, this morning on the way back home after our shopping trip, we actually fitted tomato sauce and cream in tetra packs plus several vegetables like onion and garlic evenly distributed on each side (and we could have fitted more in but wanted to test his resistance first) and Luke did not even seem to note the weight at all or make any signs of complaining, rather opposite like mentioned before =) Oh and you can fit in 500ml water bottles, but pick one, that`s a bit shorter than average and thicker instead, otherwise the top part of the bottle might have to stick out of the bag. 

Here a few details in case you would like to know more about the brown-black Kerbl 81198 dog saddle bag harness that I bought for Luke (20 EUR on Amazon):

Juparanã Tapioca - Pudim-cuzcuz de tapioca (semolina-rice-couscous-ish Tapioca manioc-flour pudding)

On the (rare) 'chilly' days here in Porto Seguro I love to prepare cuzcuz de tapioca (I prefer to call it pudim de tapioca as traditional cuzcuz dishes are mostly with coconut milk and coconut pieces which I rarely use even if the traditional recipe recommends it).

Most of the time I keep it very simple and just mix the Juparanã Tapioca cereal (which looks like kind of a mix of semolina, couscous and rice) with (loads of) milk, cream, salt, sugar and spices (pimenta, cinnamon), let it rest a bit in milk, then cook the milk on low heat, mix with spices and then leave it with loads of more milk to thicken.

The grains tend to swell a lot, so first time I tried it I ended up with a huuuuge pot of this delicious, sweet and very filling dessert! Less is more even if it looks like nothing when you put it in the milk pot first... it reminds me of semolina, just muuuch bigger grains - and at first it might feel funny eating them as it feels like lots of little soft-yet-hard-ish pearls.

Now, what exactly is Juparanã Tapioca?