Monday, 15 September 2014

The Piri-Piri Obsession: Our simple (almost) original, flame-grilled Nando's Chicken Recipe

During our time in London, the prince of sun and I got completely passionate about Nando's. Our favourite is the medium spice version of the flame-grilled Piri-Piri chicken.
Luke was obviously admiring the chicken from
start till end :D

We were unable to forget the incredibly delicious taste and decided it was time to get our hands into business. First step: During this year's early September market in Porto Seguro, we bought the long wanted simple churrasqueira (portable for future beach barbecues!) and came up with our very own and simple

- any chicken you prefer, could be breast, whole chicken, there goes your preference, ours was chicken breast with some bones

For the Piri-Piri sauce, you'll throw the following ingredients into the mixer:
- fresh chiles, depending on how hot you like it - or chili sauce
- 2 heads of garlic
- salt, pepper
- olive oil
- coriander (Brazilian coentro)
- bit of vinegar, bit of lime

Our new flame grill churrasqueira & the prince
of sun taking care of the Piri Piri Chicken
You should get a delicious, hot sauce - very fresh smelling, in our case with a tendecy to coriander which we both adore.

We then cut out the breast bone to get butterfly-shaped open-lying breast shape and massaged the sauce into the chicken. Best would be to actually leave it soaking up the sauce during the whole night or at least 3-4 hours to get the lovely taste right until the bones.

And then you just throw the whole lot onto your barbecue grill of choice (or skewer) and roast the chicken to your preferred bronzed tone, our preference is quite deep and dark.

We had our Piri-Piri chicken with Graviola juice, garlic rice and vinagrete (tomato salad with onions, vinegar, oil and coriander). Yum.....


Eugenia - Jambo fruit also called Java Apple: My very first Eugenia jam

Early spring time in Brazil! August and September are the fruity seasons for Jambo fruits. It was late May (Brazilian autumn-ish) that the beautiful Eugenia tree had his pink sea of flowers (which are in fact edible as well, not very special in its taste, but very pretty to look at.) which in fact looked a bit like a vulcano spying pink lava.

And now the delicious, smooth fruits are ready for harvesting, all shining in bright, dark-deep delicious vulcano-red. My brother in law invited us to get as much as we could carry as the tree in his garden is carrying a whole lot of it and his family got kind of tired of eating them so most fruits are partly eaten by birds (who only did one little picky bite and went onto the next fruit, so --- a lot of waste in the fruit section).

So off we went to harvest the Eugenias (that's how people call this fruit around here, in some other regions in Brazil they are also called Jambo, the original tree/fruit name is Eugenia malaccensis). The prince of sun and his brother climbed onto the huge tree and started collecting the fruits while our niece, sister in law and the dogs were watching patiently for some fruits to fall down - which can be a bit dangerous, once an Eugenia fell directly into my sister in law's eyes and she ended up with bruises so... better stay alert and watch your head when you are under an Eugenia tree in August and September ;)

Arriving at home with about 4-5kg of Eugenia fruits, I washed the fruits and then we had quite a few of them, just as on the days before when we went to visit their family and took Luke to his doggy playmates. The ripe fruits have a deep red have a sweet, slightly sour taste (the ones that are not as ripe are a bit more sour), kind of apple-ish and the aroma is almost like roses, very different from what I have experienced in fruits until now. So, what's a woman to do when she has LOADS of fruits?

Friday, 20 June 2014

Our unexpected 15h-trip to the Caribbean

Wenn einer eine Reise tut, dann kann er was erzählen. (M. Claudius, 1786)

(Translated from German: When someone goes on a journey, then he will surely have something to talk about afterwards.) How true is this traditional German poem that my grandmother immediately cited after we told her about our crazy transatlantic trip.

It was a very ordinary start into our trip to Germany. After our 12h coach night drive on Aguia Branca to Salvador, we had a large breakfast at the Salvador rodoviaria (central coach station) and then took one of the airport transfer coaches straight to the airport. Strolling around the shops, we then did the usual lunch, check in at the (hugest Condor) waiting line (of all times) et cetera until getting to the gate where we sat down to wait for boarding time. We would be waiting quite some time though. Although we were already used to waiting 30-45 min more for boarding, we all got a little bit antsy when no information got through to us about reasons for the delay. Discussions started, rumours about some technical errors went around and some people almost started a fight at the entrance asking for food and water, especially people with little children and babies probably did not have the most brilliant of times.

Till then, still pretty normal, given that the local police strike had just caused major chaos in the city a few days before, so we were not really alarmed yet.

Then, after about 2,5-3 hours, we were asked to get on board. Happy to finally get our long awaited dinner (thank god we had had huge lunch meals as well as snacks before), we boarded the plane, got our stuff in order and sat down. Then the pilot talked to us, he wanted to explain a few details so we thought, oh that s nice, he ll finally tell us what went wrong. I won t bore you with details about some false technical software error message of the left wing of the plane and communication-translation failures between the computing-tech team of the Condor but in the end, the captain had some more important information to get through....

"Please open page xy, you'll be able to see a world map there." (WTH?) OK, from that moment on, I and probably most (German speaking) passengers knew that we would not be flying to Germany that night. Poor English and Portuguese speaking people who had to wait the WHOLE explaining time in between as the pilot first spoke about the circumstances in German, then English and then one of the stewards translated the story into Portuguese. Long story short: Due to law, a plane even though experiencing a false technical error message, when being delayed more than 4 (or 5?) hours is not allowed to be away from an emergency landing possibility than 100km (or so). Meaning the more than 9000km journey across the atlantic was not possible anymore. Our emergency diversion lead us to:

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Great German supermarket product/price comparison site

Last October I talked about a UK/US supermarket comparison site called (UK version) that enables you to paralelly compare the total sum of your shopping with each individual supermarket taking part in the list and puts the cheapest of the supermarkets on top as soon as the sum of your shopping basket changes with a cheaper new product.

Now I stumbled over a similar German site called - it does not compare whole baskets, as far as I found out it only compares single products so it takes a bit more work to figure out the basket for each single. Another feature of the site is that you can either search for 1st option: How much?, 2nd for: Buy where?, 3rd: How many calories?, 4th quality check? and finally 5th: How much will I save buying the shop's version of the product?

A neat site which surely could highly progress by offering a similar "basket comparison" option as the UK and US comparison sites.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Cutting my long hair - from tailbone length to waist length

After: Waist length
Before: Tailbone/hip length
Yes, for those who know my love for very long hair, it might be surprising news, but I finally decided to cut my hair from tailbone/hip length to waist length.

I felt like it got too heavy for my rather petite body structure and I had several serious neck issues, especially after washing it. It might be part stress, but I believe it is mainly due to the weight of my hair, which got thicker in the last few years after changing my hair routine.

Front view
I also had to give up not drying it with a hairdryer, every time I would let it dry by itself I could be sure to have a totally stiff neck the next morning. Nothing you wish to experience more than once, especially not after EVERY freaking hair wash.... So, I guess here in Europe, especially in Germany, I will have to rely on my hairdryer unfortunately.

So, there you go, my new hair cut - as always cut at home - my head and hair have not seen a hair stylist for more than 5 years now and I really don't miss the (at most times disappointing) experience ;)

Side view

Castles in Germany: Altes Schloss Hohenbaden & castle restaurant

Any castle fans here? Planning a trip to Europe any time soon? Well, congratulations, you are coming to the right place, Germany is the hotspot for all castle and middle-age fanatics!

This time I took my London friends to the Altes Schloss Hohenbaden, the Old Castle in Baden-Baden. It is part intact, part restored ruins and a very mysterious yet romantic spot.

As part of its history, it has (like most castles) lots of stories, including the legend of The Grey Lady: 
A countess famous for supressing the population and only worried about herself. Always asking for hard labour and high tax, and those who dared to resist, were promptly thrown into the dark and damp dungeon of the castles, where in worst case scenario followed physical torture.

One evening, she took her only baby son up to the top of the highest tower. Looking down on her kingdom, she held her son far over the stone window ledge and sneered: "Look and count all the villages, spots and farms! They are endless. As far as your eye can reach, all people have to bow and scrape to you. Force them under your knout and don't give them rest, thus you will live well on earth!"

But the moment the lady finished her cruel speech, the baby boy slipped through her hands and fell down into the deep darkness. Pale as death the lady rushed down the stairs to look for her son. Although she forced her servants to look for her child day and night, the boy was never found.

So since this incident, the legend says that the crual countess is running down the stairs of the castle on stormy days and when you listen well, you can hear her shrill voice being carried in the hoarse winds through the narrow corridors of the castles.

Me having some delicious moca tart
Got some goose bumps? hehe.... My friends indeed felt some shiver, especially with the wind harp close by, which claims to be the biggest in Europe.... We then decided that we had earned some rest and headed for some coffee and cake in the castle's own restaurant, I had some amazing moca tart and my friends both had fruit cakes, very yummy! Here the Castle Restaurant Menu.

Here some more pictures of the wind harp and beautiful sights of the mysterious, romantic castle:

Sunday, 25 May 2014

One of Germany's most romantic, hidden gems: The enchanting Geroldsauer Waterfalls & Bütthof restaurant

My favourite romantic spot:
The Geroldsauer Waterfalls
So as I mentioned in my last post, I spend one beautiful day in May hiking up the enchanting Geroldsauer Waterfalls, together with the prince of sun, dance girl and holiday girl.

The weather was quite moody so after arriving a little bit later than planned due to the sheer impossibility to find any directions pointing towards the waterfalls, we finally asked our way through (even though we had to ask about 4 times, and one group of ladies were Russian grannies who did not speak any German, Baden-Baden is quite a favourite spot for Russians in general).

Getting there about 45min later than intended, we arrived just in time for a midday snack, so we thought. Hiking up the waterfall paths, we quickly found ourselves starving and ready for lunch, so we were very pleased when we realized that the nearby forest restaurant Waldgaststätte Bütthof was only about 5min away by foot so we were quickly speeding up and saw the pretty Landhaus style restaurant and its own grown Irish buffelos (?) already from far.

The prince of sun ordered the buffelo steak dish and I tried a bit, it was very soft and delicious (although I have to admit that I felt a bit guilty as they were peacefully munching along just about 100m away from us..... We all had a huge plate filled up with delicious, traditional Badener food, the girls tried out the "German sausage and fried potato salad" (Wurstsalat mit Bratkartoffeln, please try and imagine something different than some lettuce, chips and a sausage cut in pieces :D, below some pictures for further illustration). Your love, your friends, beautiful landscape, a beautiful restaurant plus nice waitress and amazing food, cannot get better than that, can it?

The forest restaurant Waldgaststätte Bütthof 

Check out this quick youtube video of the Geroldsauer waterfalls (the music is lovely as well!):

Mannas Zappan - Organic soap bars from Hungary

Mannas Zappan Soap Bars & Dresdner Essence relax bath
I had to write about one of my latest obsessions... but first things first: A few weeks ago, my London friends dance girl and holiday girl came to visit me here in Germany for a weekend. Spending our days eating out and sightseeing around the Baden-Baden and Alsace regions and hiking up the enchanting Geroldsauer Waterfalls, we actually spent our first 1h together just exchanging presents <3

One of the presents holiday girl gave to me was a wonderful collection of organic body, face and hair soap bars that she ordered from a supplier in Hungary. The brand is called Mannas Zappan and the products were originally made by a mum that got frustrated with available body care products. Mainly due to her children's allergies, she felt that common products did not work with her family and created their own original organic products: the soap(bar)s are all natural and organic, the ones I received in my collection, have an intense and earthy perfume, each of them has its distinct smell that gets you quite quick. All lather fantastically (for those who miss the lather in other organic soaps), probably due to the coconut soap that most of the soaps contain. I tried them out today (yes, all of them at once :D, I just could not resist) after having a wonderful muscle relax bath using the Dresdner Essenz Muskellockerungsbad. (Got to spoil yourself from time to time, don't ya?!)
My collection of
Mannas Zappan soap bars

On the left a few pictures of the soap bars, here a quick translation of each soap type (no guarantee though, it has been with the google translator ;)

On the upper left, a body soap bar with cinnamon and coconut, it says something like good for maintaining firm skin. Yummy it is for sure!

On the lower left in light green, the shampoo soap bar of my collection, I absolutely loved my hair - I tend to have normal, rather dry hair and often have an electricity thing going on just after drying them, but this shampoo soap really helped avoiding the static state. It smells a bit citrussy and I suspect another green ingredient here:

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?

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Love parcels: Belated Christmas parcel and very belated November-beauty parcel

November beauty parcel
You can imagine my joy when I realized that the November beauty parcel that my sister and mum had sent and that we already thought had been stolen, made a 3-month-belated appearance today! =) A huuuuuge Lush chunk of Coconut Shampoo and Bodywash - Soap was waiting for me, as well as a hydrating face gel for the prince of sun, my favourite German soft toothbrush, a delicate Alverde face cream for dry skin and a muscle relaxing Dresdner Wacholder bath essence. *_*

Second Christmas parcel
It was however not the first one in the (you guessed it already) parcel bunching list: About one week ago, a belated second CHRISTMAS parcel  sent by my mum arrived <3 It was filled with tiny, sweet Christmas decoration (all packed in a (still perfumous) tunnel-perfume packaging), two Kamillin Camomilla bath solutions, two relaxation and spa bath essences (one with refressing Melisse and the other one with romantic flower perfume), a natural face wash, my favourite Weleda reconstruction oil as well as a 2014 calender with beautiful mouth-and-foot-paintings-pictures and famous-poet-quotes, January was a deep yet wintery quote by Goethe: "Wer will denn alles gleich ergruenden! Sobald der Schnee schmilzt, wird sichs finden." (translated to English, something similar to: Who wants to examine-discover-explore everything! When the snow melts, it will be found!) and February a DANCE QUOTE by poet Aurelius Augustinus=) which totally spoke out of my heart!

"Ich liebe den Tanz, denn er befreit den Menschen von der Schwere der Dinge."
(translated to English something similar to: I love the dance because he frees us humans of the heaviness-weight of things).

Right now I am just using half of the sweet, romantic flower bath essence salts for a relaxing foot bath, Luke loves the smell as well, he sniffed and examined the perfumed pink water and immediately afterwards relaxed and fell asleep next to me on the sofa....

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Easy 32p Soda Baguette with a slight taste of Bretzel

Freshly-made warm bread is one of the things I never get tired of. Especially when it's simple ones with basic and only few ingredients, a short preparation and short baking time.

This Soda baguette is kind of a copy version of Easy Soda Bread - A girl called Jack - a simplified 32p Soda Bread recipe posted by Jack Monroe.

I have changed a few things, but most of the recipe is the same. Wonderful and quick "Airy Fairy Easy Peasy Soda Bread", which surely will become one of my quick weekly fresh bread options from now on. I was really surprised that the bread had a slight Laugen (pretzel) taste on the bottom side and crust *_* Another plus point here!

I have to admit although I had warm lunch and warm dinner, (heavy lunch of rice, beans, pumpkin and cooked chicken and heavy dinner of rice, beans and fried carne-de-sol meat), the latter actually just about 1h before the bread was ready, I still managed to eat the whole baguette (supposed to serve 4) all by my own and had it warm with melting butter and blackberry jam......


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Coconut Chicken with Cabbage & Pimenta Arriba-Saia

Tonight I was working - the heat and humidity of the air almost the same as during the day. Silently sweating my way through the tasks and messages, I drank some water with ice cubes when FINALLY, a slow but steady rain shower cooled my hot head and everything around us seemed to relax and sight of exhaustion and relief.

Coconut Chicken with Cabbage & Pimenta
Feeling all cosy and refreshed with new motivation on board, I suddently felt an urge to cook up a storm and off I went to check what I had in the fridge. I had most things I usually get as my `basics` except the coconut milk that I picked up randomly (but instinctively) during my last shopping trip.

I HAD to use this coconut milk no matter what I was going to cook. I checked what was in need to be eaten so that I would not have to throw it away and TADA, a pretty big chunk of cabbage lying innocently on the bottom of my fridge, neglected during the last few days.

So I did a short search on cabbage and coconut milk and found an overwhelming amount of coconut cabbage chicken recipes, mostly curry-related dishes. I don`t have curry spice at home, but thought, alright, cabbage+chicken+coconut=dish should be totally working out so I mixed some of the ingredients I found in different recipes and came up with my own version of Coconut Chicken with Cabbage, adding my self-made pimenta spice I had mentioned beforehand (*Pimenta Spice), quite simple as it is just plain Arriba-Saia pimenta-vegetables in a salt-vinegar solution.

Ingredients (serve 2):
400g chicken (breast), cut in 2-3cm cubes
1/3 of a medium-sized cabbage head, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of butter
a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh coriander
a bit of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of Arriba-Saia pimenta(-vinegar) (if you have another pimenta or hot spice such as pepperoni or something similar, that should probably work as well, depending on how hot you like your sauce)
1 tablespoon of loose chicken stock (add more salt if preferred)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium garlic knobs, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
100ml coconut milk
juice of 1/4 lemon (or half a teaspoon of plain lemon juice)

I first quickly pre-fried the chicken in a bit of water, butter and chicken stock in the pressure cooker for about 6min while chopping the veggies. Then adding first the onion and cabbage, letting it fry a little bit I later added garlic and the rest of the ingredients, finishing off with half of the coconut milk, then letting it simmer on low heat for about 5min and adding the rest of the coconut milk and lemon juice just before serving it. Maybe you might need a bit more salt, the prince of sun and I do not add much of it compared to most Brazilians around here, in general, when I cook with chicken stock, I don t feel the need to add more salt anyway.

I preferred it with plain rice and nothing else as it is very flavourful and sweet-spicy, but the prince of sun had it with rice and beans and found it a delicious match as well.


Saturday, 8 February 2014

My favourite solution for bulky beam problems: Ceiling bookshelves

Bulky beam and projected ceiling bookshelf
Advancing in our construction, we`ve finally had to confront our little beam issue in our living room. We first thought we were able to make it a fun feature of our already wholly-different-from-anything-known-in-the-world house but then found it still to bulky and interrupting in our rather small living room. But as it is necessary in the whole stable construction blabla, we cannot just remove it and had to come up with another solution to hide it somehow and so I went on browsing solutions, from adding artificial beams and painting them all the same colour or adding wooden features, adding circles or complicated terrace styles as well as bringing on pictures or plants. But then I stumbled over another alternative that totally convinced me: BOOK SHELVES! Lucky me that I had already planned to integrate some book shelves into our living room area as this option is the most cost effective of all beam hiding solutions as well! We just need to get a pretty large shelf (3m long x 0,4m wide), place it right in the middle of the beam so that each bookshelf side on the right and left of the beam will have an equal share of 0,15m bookshelf space and the middle part of 0,1m will be covering the beam itself from below.

Cut through ceiling/beam/bookshelf from the side
As we are currently working on a few other construction projects, I am not sure how quick we will be able to integrate this idea, but I CANNOT wait to finally get some proper book storage space and almost library feel into my home!!! ;)

`Capital` by John Lanchester: Hilarious, moving & suspense-packed book about Londoners & financial crisis

I have already read a lot of books, articles and blogs about the everyday wonders of life of normal (and particular) Londoners. But no book captured the daily struggles and beautiful moments and feelings and interconnections between residents of the capital so beautifully as John Lanchester did in his book CAPITAL.

I finished the book wanting to read it again just to dwell in my favourite chapters. John Lanchester describes the happenings concentrating mainly on one London road, Pepys Road, with a thrilling, weird threats-postcards-addressed-to-all-residents side-story. He connects the lives of workers, (a Hungarian nanny or the Polish painter working for the rich, an English banker, his shopaholic wife and their sweet two boys as well as a  young football star from Senegal, and the immigrants, an extended Pakistani family (owners of a local shop) of uncles and brothers and wife and their wonderful little children, and police force and the pensioners, an elderly woman dying of a brain cancer and loads of other Londoners, describing their life, feelings and interconnections, outside and inside happenings, so neatly that you often believe he is not writing fiction. This all just sounds so warm and human that it feels like you already know and have met those people in real life.

My favourite residents are:

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Foldable, lightweight travel wellies - Hunter Original Tour Rubber Boots

Hunter Original Tour Wellies in black
This one is pretty funny. Every time I tell people that I urgently need quality wellies (rubber boots), the next best thing they answer is `but aren`t you living in Brazil - isn`t this one of the most tropical places with long sun hours and burning heat?`

It surely is. Nevertheless, the quantity of rain is very impressive all year round, the rainstorms and resulting immediate floodings cause totally muddy streets in less than 5minutes, streets would have to get redone about 2-3 months if they were to look about alright and tidy. But that`s probably just a dream of all residents, no reality in any case... I have often observed old people being really afraid of walking outside due to the totally slippery pavement and street, often the pavement is totally destroyed or simply non-existent, so everyone has to walk on the street instead. I already slipped several times - which isn t very tragic as my bones are still pretty flexible. But imagine someone older...

Hunter Original Tour Boots and its anti-slip rubber sole
And nobody likes to slip, if we are really honest, especially when it`s totally muddy. So shoes or wellies that have adequate soles for slippery grounds are very precious. Nevertheless, I also walk my dog in the muddy streets so.... he really doesn t care if the ground is totally slippery and muddy and will play anyway so my feet, legs and trousers will be totally soaking in water or mud when we come home (let`s not talk about Luke`s muddy condition after the walk here haha, that`s another topic). But well, good resistent waterproof wellies will pretty much resolve most of those problems. That`s why I decided to get quality travel rubber boots as I will also use them as winter boots, just with high boot socks to keep my feet warm in addition to dry during the autumn and winter months I spend in Europe. As I am going to travel with them, they should not be too bulky and heavy, and as I wish to use them both during walks in the countryside, but also in the city, they should be pretty as well.

Quite a challenge. But thank god, I stumbled over the following blog: - Living in London and close to Hampstead Heath, food lover, sausage dog walker and passionate traveller herself who introduced her readers to her favourite Hunter boots. And following her blogs throughout the - what? about 5-7maybe few? years that she continues to passionately write about them, totally convinced me to get them myself.
Hunter Original Tour Wellies - foldable & lightweight,
but city-chic - perfect for travellers

They have some original sturdy ones for rain and snow which are more convenient if you only use them around your area but also have one model for travel bugs like me: The Hunter Original Tour! Foldable, lightweight and stylish-city-chic! So I`ve ordered them, in pretty black which combines with about every item of clothing I have I guess... (and if not, who am I to care :D All I want is having clean and dry feet and less washing jeans to add that one - lol), happy and lucky to have found those boots that just include everything I needed at the very moment =)