Saturday, 26 April 2014

Botanical garden

Spring is a good time to visit the botanical garden: So much to see, especially lush green and colourful flowers. Such a peaceful and easy going atmosphere, calm and serene. I really love to go there.
This little greenish pond looks spellbound with the brown curly fern in front.
A pair of mallard ducks, enjoying the people taking pictures of them.
A collage of flower beds and trees I'm very fond of.
And beautiful orchids!
Time is passing fast in the botanical garden. Good to have a sundial at hand.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Spring walk

The next day we did some sightseeing with the family and went to the City's lake. A walk around the lake is 6 km, too much for everyone to walk, so we just visited the north bank. At the balustrade we witnessed the "love locks"-phenomenon which has spread around the world and finally reached our place as well. Affixing padlocks to fences, gates and bridges by lovers should symbolize everlasting love. Cute little tokens of affection.
We went to the nearby town hall and wanted to take the elevator to get to the top of the dome for spectacular view. Unfortunately we would have had to wait almost an hour as it was quite busy. So we decided to wander around the adjoining little parc.
I found an interesting looking tree trunk with a curious hole...

Then we went to the newly rebuilt castle.

It was all white and shiny. Inside are conference facilities and a little museum.
In front of the castle were pretty beds of yellow and red flowers.
First time for me to see yellow hyacinths.
Well worth seeing is the baroque style garden. We lingered from one pretty flower bed to the next water fountain, enjoying the many colours of spring flowers arranged in geometrical order.
Love the pansy violet. Pretty colour for a new blanket....

Happy spring walk with a happy family.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Cozy café

The weekend before Easter we had family over visiting us. So first of all we spent all Friday tidying up, doing grocery shopping and baking a birthday cake. It was Peter's sister, lovely U.'s, birthday. And the first time for her and her daugther to visit us. Saturday morning they arrived together with Peter's parents, and having nice and sunny weather it was decided very quickly to stroll through the city. Well, strolling and shopping makes one to have a rest and stop by at a café. Unfortunately my favourite café in the old town was crowded we couldn't find a place to sit. So we continued walking.... until, all of a sudden, a very inconspicuous little place caught my eye. If there wouldn't have been some people sitting outside drinking coffe I would have never noticed this place. Stepping inside we were greeted by a lush selection of cakes and sweet little somethings. I was immediately enthralled.

The interior of the café was charming too, a mix of vintage and children's furniture, a café combined with home accessories such as porcelain, glass and decorative items and cheerful colorful toys.
 And you can have a coffe right in the middle of all this.
 What I loved very much are the cups of Pip Studio.
 Pretty, pretty, pretty!
 To our great delight, the warm drinks were served in those cups I fell in love with.
Now imagine the name of the café!
It is called "Moments of Happiness". So true indeed!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter Holidays!

Wishing you joyful and peaceful Easter holidays with your loved ones!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Of birds and eggs

The last weekends I was busy crocheting some Easter decoration: some little birds and some eggs.
And interestingly they are almost the same size. The birds are filled half with filling material and half with rice to give it better stability. Instead of safety eyes I used the ones to glue on, but that's not safe for little kids or pets as the eyes tend to fall off when touching.
The pattern for the little birdies including a little story can be found here.
For the eggs I followed this pattern here.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Lunch box, Doshirak or Bento

What to eat for lunch? A question I often ask myself during the week. I usually bring some weekend leftovers for Mondays and Tuesdays to my office and go out eating lunch somewhere for the rest of the week. Usually I eat far too much and irregularly. And a lot of times lunch outside is neither delicious nor nutritious. So when I came across some food blogs I found a very clever way to prepare lunch boxes: So called bentos. Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine, and the equivalent in Korea is called doshirak. There are different styles of bento, food that looks like cute animals or like flower gardens, real food art and for sure very appealing for kids to eat. I was more looking for practical and easy to do lunch inspirations though. Something I can prepare over the weekend, store in the fridge or freezer and use all week long. So I started with something really simple, yet delicious.

First I cooked some white rice with soy beans, filled two halfes of two  containers and stored the rest in the freezer in little portions for later occasions. I fried some tofu, cut into bite size pieces and seasoned with soy sauce (very yummy recipe found here). I think the tofu, which is almost invisible in the picture below (unterneath the parsley), is best to eat when just fried. It got quite dry on the second day. I peeled and chopped some cucumber, carrots and radish, added a mini tomato and some flat-leaved parsley. I also prepared some soy sauce-sesame oil dip in a separate mini container for the veggies. Voilà, my first lunch box:
It was very delicious and to my surprise quite filling as I used a small plastic container with only 400 ml capacity. And it saved so much time. I really enjoyed my first bento/ doshirak experience and had almost the same combination for two more days. (I did a variation on the sauce)
From last weekend's leftovers I packed a smoked salmon lunch box with hash browns, tomatoes, olives, some corn salad. Yet another tasty lunch!
I think I will continue making those lunch boxes more often. Sooo many inspiring blogs out there, so much to try out! And so simple too. All you need is a food container with a lid for safe transport. Fill half or two-thirds of your lunch box with carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, noodles ect., and the remaining space half with vegetables and proteins like meat, fish, egg, tofu etc.. Close the lid only when the food has cooled down. Use separate containers for food you will heat up in the microwave or for dressings/ sauce/ dips. The lunch box content should be colourful, well balanced and attractive for  you to eat. Try it out!