It’s here again, the first advent Sunday. I can’t believe how quickly the year has passed. The weeks seem to be running away from me. Filled with home office, lots of reading and too short weekends. It seems like just a very short time and not 12 months ago that I was in the mood – basically for the first time ever since the death of my parents – to really embrace this time of year. Decorating my apartment, baking cookies, filling my advent calendar, ordering and buying my and tomcat Diego’s gifts … and now it’s the end of November and one month until Christmas. And I’m as excited as last year to enjoy this special time. Apart from the cookie baking … lucky me I already bought Christmas cookies in September in Austria as well as my beloved dried fruit bread. So, I can skip the cookie baking – which was not that much of a culinary success last year anyway.Although, I do love the cookie baking smell in my apartment. So, maybe I will do some baking after all …

The little autumn decoration I had is gone, the Christmas decoration is out and of course, even bed linens and towels have been planned out to colour coordinate with my red-green Christmas scheme.With every room displaying those colours. Pillow covers on the sofas, cuddly blankets, candles and candle holders, table linens, dining chair pads (red for Christmas, black for the rest of the year), tea towels, etc. I love it. I love when everything goes together. 

And I’m really looking forward to advent. With Sunday afternoon tea and Christmas cookies the way we had at home, lighting the candle of my advent wreath, listening to Christmas music (not Silent Night, that was “forbidden” at our home, my Mum wanted to hear it on Christmas Eve for the first time, so this classic song was always skipped) and thinking of my loved ones. With the joy of opening my advent calendars – this year my childhood one I filled myself, one I got from my colleague and a tea calendar as well as a special one for my cat – every day. With ordering the last gifts for my family and myself and getting the few gifts for my German friends. With the preparations and planning for the Christmas holidays in terms of cooking and groceries needed. And enjoying the peace and quiet I treasure so much. 

As it seems, Christmas markets will be cancelled again anyway due to the rising Covid numbers, which I won’t miss too much. I don’t like mulled wine and hot punch anyway, and I can certainly skip bratwurst at a food stand.

Well, I wish all of you a wonderful advent. Enjoy the time and don’t stress yourselves too much by getting last-minute presents, being harassed by your family, worrying … and for the singles out there: don’t be sad! I know, it’s difficult at times, I know what I’m talking about! There are days I too wish I had someone beside me, and most of all, could turn back time to be back in Austria with my family and the way it used to be, but … life goes on and I learned to enjoy the little occasions in life even on my own.



Murder … Mystery … and all that for one whole weekend! Awesome! Remember all those detectiveseries from the 80s and 90s? There was always at least one episode, no matter whether it was “Hart to Hart”, “Murder she wrote” or whatever else was on, where the main characters were invited to a dinner party / weekend / island to enjoy the company of fellow guests with one of them ending up dead. Dead, dead, dead. As in murdered. And since I just love murder mysteries – as books and as TV series -, of course I had to experience that too. So, I registered to a genuine “Murder Mystery Weekend”. And since doing something like that in Germany wouldn’t be the same, it had to be England. The country of the best mystery writers. Where else.

Even though it’s already been a few years now, darn, how time runs, I still treasure the memories and definitely want to do something like that again in the near future. But for now, back to my first Murder Mystery Experience. Which took me to Harrogate. To the exact same hotel Agatha Christie disappeared to in the 20s to rethink her marriage. The Old Swan Hotel was definitely the perfect location for such an occasion and – as already described in one of my posts – the murder was to take place in the 20s (which it then didn’t) and I not only got the appropriate 20s cocktail attire – as in three dresses, just in case – but also a new haircut and colour.

I have to admit, it WAS a bit weird, being the only German/Austrian (as in German speaking person) at an English Murder Mystery Weekend. And not only that. Being the only SINGLE participant as well. Which was even weirder. But since I’m half English in my private life anyway, I enjoyed it even more being surrounded by British and Scottish people. My dinner table companions were just lovely and soon I felt as if I had always been part of this mixed group.(Even though their accents were difficult to understand at times, I do have to admit. Being more used to BBC TV series English …)

The first evening started with a nice dinner, an introduction of the actors – who dined with us as well – … and the first grisly murder.

Day 2 we had a morning event, where we had to work together on the task of producing a TV morning show, with every table being responsible for another news flash. And the second murder. (Of course!) Strangled! Followed by a third one at dinner. With a knife sticking out of the victim’s back. And the best of all? The actors remained in their roles all over the weekend. No matter whether you saw them at the bar, outside for a smoke, at breakfast … 

Gosh, it was so much fun! And I was thrilled that I did get to dress up in 20s attire after all. (Well, I wore a 20s-glitter dress for the first evening, being a bit overdressed and out of date!) Luckily, I had a second dress available and since we were supposed to be at a fancy-dress party I just had to wrack my brain which character I could choose from the 20s. The recently watched “Mrs. Bradley’s Mysteries” with Diana Rigg– books by Gladys Mitchell – came to my mind and saved me from the embarrassment of not going dressed as a TV detective character. Which also meant, that I had to spend the afternoon before the fancy dress dinner in town, shopping. (Too bad!) To stock up on the accessories needed to BE Mrs. Bradley. As in lots of fake jewellery. And I also found dark blue patent leather Mary Janes at Marks& Spencer, which nearly completed my outfit. I would have loved to also wear a fake fur wrap to my dress. But no chance. Even though I also hit several vintage stores.

Did I catch the murderer? I was as far off as possible.Even though I still think my theory was genius. But I didn’t mind! I had fun! I met nice people! And that’s the most important!


It’s funny. I was lying in bed last night, contemplating my current life. And it’s weird how one day resembles the other. No matter whether it’s a home office day or weekend.

Week days: I get up at 6 am, take care of my kitty cat, get dressed and ready, prepare a cup of cocoa and switch on my laptop at 6:30. Until 11:30. With short breaks for tea (twice) and one cup of coffee. Throwing Diego’s toy mouse around occasionally. Cooking starts at 11:30 am, lunch break for an hour, then another two hours of office work. The rest of the afternoon I spend reading and watching Netflix series, enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of cake or some cookies. Feeding and playing with my cat in between. Half an hour on the home trainer from 6:00 pm on, then a nice hot shower and reading in bed.Gee, that sure is exciting! But you know what? I don’t care … I love it! I still enjoy home office, I enjoy having space and quiet to work – after all, one does chat with colleagues a lot and has online meetings. I enjoy being able to cook lunch in my own kitchen instead of heating up something in mostly disgusting office kitchen microwaves. I enjoy havingmy fridge cooled ice tea on hand – which is another thing I wouldn’t use at the office. The fridges are even more disgusting than the microwaves. I enjoybeing able to quickly do my shopping during lunch break or get fresh produce from the farmer’s market a stone’s throw away. Or just head out after work for coffee or ice cream (in summer) to enjoy the sun and watching other people. Not to mention that I’m in a much better mood compared to office days when I can’t help getting annoyed by basically everything. Starting with those stupid car drivers …

Once a week I do some grocery shopping, but apart from that I mostly stay at home. With the occasional coffee / tea / dinner outing with a friend. Or even alone. Which is not unusual for me. But apart from that, I enjoy my beautiful home and balcony, because … well, let’s just face it. Shopping is still not much fun with the constant mask wearing. And I try to wear them as little as possible.

Of course, I could also drive somewhere to take a walk in the woods or a park or whatever. But that’s just not me! Walking without a purpose doesn’t make sense to me at all. Unless I am somewhere on a beach or the British coast or any town. But hiking through the woods or – heaven forbid – up a mountain … I’ve had plenty of that as a child and teenager and just started to hate it in the later years. 

Weekends: I sleep in, at least I try to. Saturdays, I get the most important housework done. And then it’s either off to my “private” desk for doing paperwork and some writing, with a cup of Latte Macchiato sweetening my work or going out to a café to do the same (as in the writing and coffee drinking part). Saturday or Sunday lunch is always special. I try one new recipe from my large collection of recipes, planning ahead for at least a couple of weeks of what I’m going to cook. (Which to me is half the fun!)

Some reading in the afternoon and the obligatory cupof tea with cake. Trying out new recipes as well, since I have discovered baking as a nice addition to my cooking. Nothing too complicated, of course … scratch sidelong instructions with dozens of ingredients, scratch stuff like “melting chocolate over simmering water”, scratch pretty decorations … and scratch German style whipped cream fillings. Simple, quick cakes, experimenting with additions of shredded apples, different kinds of ground nuts, fruit, jams …

Oh, reading what I have written right now, it’s true. My life right now is pretty boring. One and a halfyears of basically the same old same old. But … I like it that way. And I dread the day when I have to return to the office, the 45-minute-drive to work with those horribly annoying and bad drivers, the noise in the open-plan office, the drive back … hoping I will be allowed within the new regulations to work from home as much as possible. Because, to be frank, I don’t need anything else. And I don’t miss anything.Just do my work in peace and quiet in beautiful surroundings – which my home office is. That’s quality of life.


I can see you sighing into your cup of coffee, wonderingwhat I’m up to now, “’I want ice cubes’! What is she talking about?”

I’ve recently returned from my trip to Austria (as you already know) – as usual trying to squeeze in everyonein a single week, driving from one end of this “huge”country to the other end. My daily schedule for this week? Meeting my friends, hurrying from one café to the next restaurant for lunch, followed by more coffee plus cake in the afternoon … what a horrible way to spend a week …

Why I’m telling you this? Just to give you a little background information and make my story more exciting. Are you excited? Are you curious? Or are you still sighing and deciding you’d rather get another cup of coffee before finishing reading this week’s posting?

Alright, alright, I’m going on with my story! Where was I? Right! On my Austria “vacation”, going out for dinner to an Italian restaurant in our one and only middle-of-town shopping center. With 70 shops, can you imagine that? Actually, it is kind of cute and well planned.

Yes, I know, my story! Be patient! I’ve still got nearly 300 words worth of space. So, I met my best friend for dinner at the Italian restaurant and since beverages are usually served without ice cubes I specifically ordered my apple juice with water AND ice cubes. 

The waitress looked at me as if I were from another planed and inquired, “Ice cubes?”

I just nodded and continued with my order: Spaghetti alla carbonara, “Without that dried parsley you like to unnecessarily garnish pasta with because you think it looks good!” And tastes awful. I always have to scrape off the herbs, which annoys me no end. Am I finicky? I don’t think so. After all I’m not ordering my salad with the dressing on the side or my pasta being cooked without salt or the sauce without bacon and merely ham. I just don’t want dried parsley on my pasta.

The waitress saunters off and my friend said, grinning, “You and your special wishes!”

What can I say? I’m not a parsley kind of girl. (And since we’re on the topic I also hate dried oregano on pizza if it’s not sprinkled on carefully but dumped in the middle – and there you can see me scraping again!)

Back to my story. Beverages were served first and you should have seen my face as the waitress put my watered-down apple juice down in front of me – without ice cubes – and said, “The water is cold enough anyway!”

I was so stunned I was unable to react. The water is cold enough anyway? The water is cold enough anyway! My friend chuckled and I just sat there, with my juice and NO ice cubes which I had wanted so badly! And I always thought the point of being waited on is that you get what you’ve ordered. At least I got my pasta without parsley. (But fresh chives which didn’t go that well with the Carbonara sauce either …)

I didn’t leave any tips, by the way. And in the future, I will rate a restaurant after their ability to bring me ice cubes!