Monday, 18 August 2014

Catch up

At the moment I'm back in York getting things organised for my final year (kinda... haven't yet unpacked) and spending some time with Katrin. Tomorrow I'll be off to Edinburgh for some family time then back to London for just a couple of days before heading off to Berlin! There are lots of exciting things coming up and I hope to be able to blog about them, but for now I thought I'd leave some photos and snapshots of my last few weeks, Italy, Germany, York, it's been a nice summer.
I hope everyone reading has had a great few weeks and are enjoying the last dregs of summer! (Right now it's raining so hard here in York that I can hear and almost feel it pounding on the windows, hi Autumn!)

July/August 2014

We went on a day trip to Fattoria La Vialla which was a bit of a dream of ours and it didn't disappoint, we ate some amazing food and spent a good two hours learning all about biodynamic farming and wine tasting, something I think neither of us will forget quickly!

Phillip enjoying an Umbrian speciality: 'La Porchetta' on a fresh bread roll (though it was more of a brötchen!) essentially it is pork, which has been beautifully spiced and marinated then tied together with the bone removed, then cooked on a large spit and served up in slices for lunches/dinners or snacks in rolls like we had, everyone was buying it!

Some really beautiful bottle-containers we found at a market, they came up to my knee and I'd love to have bought some if I had space... I was envisaging giant candle holders, flower stands, water jugs, the possibilities were endless, even just alone in a bathroom or a restaurant they would look amazing, they were so striking.

Ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers, look at those colours - and the little drizzles of olive oil, mmm, unfortunately I'm not the biggest fan of ricotta cheese so I had to do with a little nibble and a huge appreciation for the aesthetics and let Phillip enjoy the taste!

We celebrated four years of our relationship on the 4th August, we went on a trip to the beautiful city of Assisi and ate some amazing pizzas, it was a scorcher of a day so we ended up crashing home earlier than we had hoped, but we spent the evening relaxing with some wine and good chats on the terrace so not bad at all!

Phillip and I enjoying an Aperol Spritz with all our luggage in Perugia, from here we had a view all across the valley and felt truly relaxed!

We're back in Germany here now, and this is some baklava that I made to celebrate nothing too special but for a family dinner. They were fun to make (and not too tricky) and tasted yummy. The sugar strands added to the look only, but were fun for people to pick at and munch on afterwards.

A breakast picnic in the living room, a simple thing but felt like a bit of a treat... plus, yummy plum tea! 

A nice note for when we got back, and I had a nosy at this lovely book, it has so many interesting designs and spaces.

Katrin's string birdy flying high in the car on the autobahn... weeeeeee!

A really incredible sky one evening in Germany, it was very stormy but beautiful, I also found it interesting how split the sky seemed.

Making gnocchi with Phillip's mum. We ate it with some sea bass and lentils. We simply cooked the gnocchi in some salted water, then lightly fried them in a little butter and sage... funny combination but absolutely delicious.


A nice welcome back to York from Katrin, Sarah and La Vialla (as well as some very boring bills)!

Spending time with Katrin, the crazy cat in York, learning how to do proper fish faces, moving too quickly, belly laughing, eating too much and sleeping not enough, it has been so much fun already.

Some new shoes with Pineapples on them... a little odd/childish? Probably, but I think they are kind of cute.

Also, we are eating/drinking a lot of this... Bison Coffee and their bagels with warm cheese, pastrami, gherkins and mustard... nom!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Tschüss Saarbrücken

It has been exactly a week since I moved out of my flat in Saarbrücken and finished my final semester.
My 'year abroad' is now technically over (even though I am not yet back in the UK!) 
This year I've met people who I know and hope will be in my life for a long time (MacNeil, I'm looking at you), travelled a lot and had tons of amazing experiences, but I have also dealt with some challenging and difficult moments which I know will stick with me.
The final fortnight was hard both emotionally and physically, there were some negative things which I wish could have been avoided, however you just have to learn to deal with them and move on, and remember the positives, which is what I'm trying to do.
The real goodbyes were hard to do and the easy goodbyes were in the end, not so easy.
Saarbrücken has given me a lot; however cheesy it sounds, independence, culture, trust in myself, friendships, language and sunshine, not to mention the all-important washing machine technics and sink unblocking skills.

I hope to write a more detailed post soon, whether privately or publicly, reflecting on the year, but for now, whilst it still hasn't sunk in that I've really left and it's actually all over, I'm going to enjoy some Italian (sunshine??) thunderstorms and eat lots of pasta...
Happy summer!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Less thinking, more saying, next time.


I've been up and down and over and across the last few weeks (speaking physically). I'm back in Germany again now though, planning my dissertation and just organising life admin.
There have also been lots of things playing about on my mind lately, so many things in the news which sadden me or just make me think about how life goes on around us all in such different ways, and I wonder about how I can process or think about them, usually so distinctly separated, and then where I stand on writing about certain topics on this blog.
I really believe there are times in life where it feels like everything bad in the world is happening all at once, as well as times where you want to think about all the issues, where your head seems it might pop with the questions that don't have answers, and where you want to do something, to make an acknowledgement and to confront them, in whatever small way that might be, but what can you do really?
Sign a petition here, post a controversial comment on twitter there, send some brazen letters, read a controversial book, sprout statistics to everyone around you, write a blog post?
Does that make a difference though?

I think it can, but today here is where I'm going to finish, and leave some links of interest:

An exhibition I saw last year at the Folkwang Museum in Essen, it showed a lot about the power of social media in contemporary conflict.

'Artefact' by Cyprien Gaillard, this is a clip of a longer video installation which was filmed in Iraq, and set to 'Babylon' which was also one of the songs used as a form of sound torture in Abu Ghraib. I saw the full feature at the ZKM in Karlsruhe and is worth watching in person if you can find it.

Susan Crile is an artist who creates moving and delicate images of prisoners and torturers in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib (amongst dealing also with other issues).

This TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is worth watching.

Speaking of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I finished this collection of short stories yesterday, and I really recommend them.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Hi Heidelberg

Heidelberger Schloss/Heidelberg Castle
This weekend I went on another little excursion, this time to hot hot Heidelberg, I'm talking 34ºC melt!
The old city has very little industry (minus a printing house), instead it prefers to pride itself and therefore flourish predominantly as an academic city; a metropolis of intellect, traditional architecture and learning (sounds a little pompous eh? Really though it's quite charming). The university is the oldest in Germany and just from ambling through the streets I felt a little brainer... perfect for those of us in need of an inspiration boost for paper writing...!
I spent the time daydreaming of myself as a 19th century poet, cheesily grinning as I strolled along, encouraging thoughts of leaves of paper (grass?!), shady places to sit with my imaginary feather nibs and runny ink, letting the city be my muse... Haha, shhh Ailish, I'm getting ahead of myself, because you know what? It's also just as good to let go of those crazy imaginations and simply enjoy a good beer...! A jug-like glass of 'Vetter', supposedly one of the strongest beers in the world... ("Das nach Stammwürze stärkste Bier der Welt!") at 33% alcohol content back in the day, was enough to tipple me into a post-lunch (obatzdabrot - a dedicated post!) balance of giddiness and sleepiness. However, don't worry, for us tame 21st century clients it's a mere 7%, and when mixed with lemonade as a Radler, is very refreshing on a warm afternoon.
So, now you can take a stroll through Heidelberg via my camera if you like... It's better in real life though, go one day!


The Holy Spirit Church/ Heiliggeistkirche

Some abandoned Radishes
Gernot Rumpf mice on The "Old Bridge"
A golden stags head in Apotheken Museum

Towards the main square
My chum Sarah and I enjoying Vetter bier!
The view from the Schloss





Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Endlich Metz

This past Saturday I went on a day trip to Metz. That is, I should say, after running along the platform with one minute to spare and dramatically watching the 7am train pull away before we had time to leap on! Frustrating as that was, we saw the positive side and passed the two hours for the next train reminiscing about our warm beds and indulging in strong coffee and pastries -pretending we were already in France. When we finally arrived we had a really lovely day filled with bouts of on-off sunshine, ice cream, boat rides, french accents, culture and sore feet!
I'll just let the photos speak, my last few posts have been a bit word-heavy so all I'll say is that it was a really beautiful city and I can recommend a visit if you are nearby! We wandered the old city streets, puzzled our way through the intriguing maze that is Musée de La Cour d'Or, popped in & quickly out again of a few shops (€£$), visited the Centre Pompidou to be flashed at (and be impressed by) and stared towards the skies in the Cathedral of the city, 'Saint-Étienne de Metz'. Only an hour on the train, just try and catch yours if you can help it...




Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Metz
Centre Pomidou



Sunday, 25 May 2014

Glacée in Metz

This weekend I went on a day trip to Metz, there is a post coming shortly, but I thought I'd do a 'Vienna' and give you a sneak peek... Enjoy, I love making silly gifs! Happy week everyone!

 photo output_3ElH7S_zps5943b76d.gif

Friday, 23 May 2014

Moving Twice

Is there anyone from Germany reading this blog?
If yes, you have an iPhone, you like to keep active, and you enjoy doing a little something for charity, then I suggest you check out the app: 'MovingTwice'.

The idea is essentially a running app, but with a charitable twist! For every meter you run/jog/walk/rolly-polly based on your GPS signals, a sponsor will donate to a charity that you've selected. 
This is an idea I wholeheartedly stand behind; the app is free to download and is a small social enterprise set up by students in Germany and Switzerland. However, due to its functionality and ethos, it is growing quickly! At the moment the app is unfortunately only available in Germany and is also just for iPhone users, but watch this space, Android and UK versions will be coming very soon!
I would hope of course that the days of marathon slogging and intense training for charity are not gone, the money fundraised for these events is often remarkable, but with this app there can now also be an alternative for those who don't wish to (or medically cannot) put their bodies through such rigorous training, but who still want to raise a little money for charity through keeping fit.
It is also of course a great app for students who tend to be penny-pinching at the best of times and cannot always afford to give money to charity on a regular basis, even if they want to, but now that walk to Uni? That stroll through town to get some much needed choco-fuel? All that counts!

Supporting and sharing small businesses (especially ones created by fellow students which have a charitable component) is important to me and I hope you can perhaps also enjoy this app!

For more information you can check out their website here:

Or, to go straight to download MovingTwice from the app store, click here:

via. MovingTwice
Disclaimer: I was not paid or sponsored to write this post, all opinions are my own!