28 October 2012

Two seasons in one day

Today, 28th October, was a very cold day. I was far far away from Prague for the weekend, walking to our hotel with a few friends just before midnight, when the snow started falling. By the time I woke up, the whole place was covered in about five centimeters of snow. As we drove back to Prague, some places looked a bit like winter wonderland. In big cities like Prague, the snow is a few degrees uglier than in the countryside, but I am really glad that I live at a suburb and get to enjoy it just a little bit more.
This big cold wave came quite soon in the year and also quite suddenly. The trees did not throw all the leaves down yet and already they were covered in snow!

Anyway, it is melting already and if it freezes overnight, do not let your Grandmas out to slip on the pavement and break their bones!!

26 October 2012

More autumn

I can't help it! It's everywhere I go! And to be honest, at least something is nice outside, when the weather is not.


25 October 2012

Autumn flavours and fridge cleanup

Hokkaidó pumpkins are becoming very popular around here. When we were kids, my parents used to roast pieces of pumpkin in the oven from time to time and I remember liking those.  Most pumpkins available here were huuuge, but today at Tesco, I came across a very silly-sheep-friendly small one that fitted into my backpack (together with other shopping) very easily.
It is the first time that I tried to roast one, so I just took the seeds out, cut it up into small chunks and roasted in the oven (gas mark four). They are nice - soft and taste a little bit like sweet potatoes.
As I made a terrible mess with it, I decided I might as well clean the kitchen and I found some really bendy good-for-nothing carrots, so I quickly googled a carrot and pumpkin cake recipe and made my own version of that. The original recipe contained a lot of ingredients that were currently not present at my home (like coconut and nuts…ts!!! Who has that, right???!), so I just made my own version by mixing in anything that was available in absolutely totally inaccurate amounts (see the recipe below).
Also, since I have my totally awesome cups for making cupcakes from Poundland, I almost never bake cakes in a baking tray at all... I add a bit more baking powder to make them rise and make cupcakes instead!


Here's the recipe:

1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 and ½ teaspoons of  baking powder
1 cup of the cheapest ordinary whatever type of sugar
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
2 average-sized eggs
2 small (and very bendy)  carrots, grated
a sprinkle of ground cinnamon
a sprinkle of salt
a splash of lemon juice
some pumpkin, grated
some ginger, grated
a few dates, cut up to small pieces
fill the cups
let cool (optional)
stuff your face

22 October 2012

The pretty side of autumn

I do like autumn. Even though it brings a lot of unpleasantness and grumpiness and cold, I do like it. It used to be my favourite season once (before I fully discovered summer!!).
The weather has changed rapidly and the nature follows. Big birds like jays, crows and magpies started gathering around in the fields and gardens and the sparrows that nested on our house yell like crazy every morning. Also, I no longer meet the snails and the hedgehog.
The leaves on some trees started colouring into nice shades of orange and red and nuts keep falling from the walnut tree on the way to the bus stop and I like picking them off the ground (but unfortunately I am greatly losing in competition with retired people, dog walkers and homestay mothers and, mostly, the birds!!).
The days are dark and cold, sometimes rainy. Right now the combination of four degrees in the morning, having to work outdoors and long hours is the most unexciting I can imagine and the only things that save me are the seven layers of tops and sweaters and so many layers of tights and socks that I can barely bend my legs to sit down, hot tea at hand and a very warn lunch break. I have already been ill and I really look forward to quitting my job at the end of the month and concentrating on reading, resting and crafting :)

18 October 2012

The new old envelopes

I have seen people on Etsy mentioning re-used packaging materials in their shop policies and I think it’s a great way how to not only save some money (those bubble-wrap envelopes can get really expensive!), but also to reduce the amount o rubbish we produce by using the same thing more than once.  A few weeks ago, I got a bunch of old used envelopes from my man, who is quite fond of ordering things online – old books and CDs and DVDs (it does drive me a bit crazy from time to time). The first order of Christmas decorations has already gone out into the world in the new-old packaging and I childishly hope that I will get some more envelopes for Christmas :)

16 October 2012

What I come home to

It's always nice to come home after a cold day at work and warm up with a cup of tea and an episode of something funny on a cozy sofa. Lately, I find knotting bracelets and making crafty things in the evenings very relaxing. In fact, a whole little sofa and table at my home are covered in crafty things at the moment.
The picture on the left shows a Christmas wrapping paper that I made by stamping snowflake stamps purchased on Fler (a Czech website very similar to Etsy) on a used wrapping paper from IKEA. I have also bought a few of the Christmas presents and they look gorgeous wrapped in this paper that cost nothing and only needed a little bit of time to be made.
The other picture shows a Christmas design for friendship bracelets that I came up with after last year's Christmas. The two bracelets pictured here are already finished and will soon be listed in my Etsy shop.

14 October 2012

Swimming with jellies

There’s a thing that kept me jumping around happily for about three days at the end of September. A friend of mine needed some freshwater jellyfish (Craspedacusta sowerbii) for her students and I was the one she asked for help! So when A. came to visit me, we got our wetsuits and fins and masks and weights and celebrated the first day of October by having our first Czech dive together in a quarry called Borek. The jellyfish were quite small but abundant, hanging around in the water collumn, some near the surface, some quite deep, floating in the dark waters of the quarry like semi-transparent little ghosts . They were beautiful. It was my first dive with them and I loved it. The day was sunny, it was warm and we got lots of jellies and saw a bucket under water, lots of fish and a very angry crayfish that tried to scare me and I gave it a scare back, but it wouldn’t get scared. I think I don’t do the crayfish sign language right. 

During our way back to Prague by train we met a very loud Floridian lady with her much quieter Floridian husband who told us about this honeybadger video. Apparently ( and now I really feel the need to point out that there are certain scientific inaccuracies there :-b ), they are pretty nasty and bad-ass and they dont't give a.... well, watch it!!! :))))


I’m having a day of personal awesomeness today. Not only am I ill and still doing what I should, but in spite of my illness, I managed to go out, do a great deal of work at the uni, drag a whole backpack and bag full of food home and cooked myself dinner for today and lunch for tomorrow and a few more meals and also hanged the washing in the moonlight while singing “panties in the moonlight” to the tune of Toploader’s “Dancing in the Moonlight”. I rarely get to dance, but hanging undies is a thing I do quite often. People should write more songs about practical things, really. I mean – just try to sing it to yourself. Undies in the moooon light, everybooody!! Yeah, well… It’s been a good Sunday and I am happy, that’s all I wanted to say.

06 October 2012

Being at home

I fear that this is going to be one of the late night tired posts when I’d have done better by just going to sleep rather than bogging, but I thought I haven’t written anything for quite some time (because my awesome boyfriend and delightful mother were visiting), so I’d better reveal the life-truth that occurred to me while I was filling the washing machine tonight.
I like my home. No matter how lame that might sound, I really enjoy staying in and doing all the housework, trying new recipes, going shopping for food, gardening, repotting plants, feeding the pets, feeding myself, tidying up or just spending the time resting… I also love the smell of the washing powder, the sound of the washing machine and the calm atmosphere of hanging the washing in the garden on Sunday morning when everyone else in the house is still asleep.
So call me lame, but I don’t really feel the need to go out to clubs and pubs to spend money on drinks and food when I can have just the same at home - for less money and probably with much more fun and the bed is always only a few steps away. Being at home is cozy, comfortable, warm and snuggly and it will feel even better in times of harsh and cold autumn and winter weather that are going to come. There is nothing better than sitting on a sofa, snuggled up in a warm blanket with a cup of tea in hand reading a book, watching my favourite TV series or making a friendship bracelet.

I love my home!!!

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