Category Archives: Trying something new

40 days of higher awareness

Statue of an angelWith Ash Wednesday the fasting period within Christian tradition started this week. In recent years I noticed quite a lot of people who normally wouldn’t call themselves religious, fasting during this special time of year. I think this trend really reflects the wish to have a time within the year to reflect about ones consumption or to live more aware of ones own behaviours.

Lend normally starts somewhen in February. After the new years resultions which might have been failed in January, lend gives everyone an opportunity to work on small changes in their lives. I have been fasting during lend for three years now and can truly recommend it.

I started by doing without any chocolate, then any sugar and am this year trying to renounce meat. I think it always should be something you do for yourself and this also means that you shouldn’t be too hard to yourself if you break the fasting ones or twice.

I remember that in my first fasting period I couldn’t help it to eat ones or twice some chocolate just because I ones completely forgot and the other time I simply couldn’t resist. But still I managed to eat no chocolate for 38 days which was a pretty good achievement for me.

So what I basically want to say is that fasting should be about a voluntary act and always should be something you enjoy. Of course it can be tough to resist something you normally do a lot or eat a lot but it always gives me a feeling of great achievement and strenght if I manage to push through the 40 days.

Fasting out of religious belief or just out of curisosity or self challenge definitely is a good way to get to know yourself better. And there are so many different ways you can approach the season. I mean there are the general ideas like not eating chocolate, meat or not drinking any alcohol. But you could also do something completely different like a friend of mine did. Last year she was doing her Master degree and because she always stressed herself she decided to try to reduce that pressure on herself. So every time she was putting too much pressure on herself she comitted herself to relax. The year before she tried not to use any swear words.

So I guess with these examples fasting really is about a period of time where you try to live a bit more conscious about you and your life decisions and often that helps to find new ways of living or just small steps of improvement for yourself.

What to do with old clothes?

During my time in Leeds I lived in a tiny room in a typical student accomodation. Due to a very small wardrobe I really didn’t have that much clothes with me and after some time, I surprisingly didn’t miss anything. So when I came back to my full wardrobe, back home, I was a bit overwhelmed and started to strictly sort my old clothes.

Sorting things I had three categories in mind:

Stuff, I am actually wearing

I put everything aside which I hadn’t been wearing for longer than half a year. With every peace, I thought about possible combinations and styles and if I couldn’t think of any I put the peace away. It was such a good feeling to get rid of all that stuff I didn’t even use anymore.

Stuff, I thought others would like to wear
Stuff, no one wants to wear anymore

Some of my clothes just was so old, washed out or broken. Because I don’t like throwing away things like clothes I used special recycling bags where I knew the clothes would be sorted again and then recycled properly.

A friend of mine and me were thinking to go to a clothing fleamarket for quite some time. Now seemed to be the perfect opportunity to actually put our plan into action. All the clothes I thought someone might still want to wear was packed into a box and last weekend I headed to Munich to try my luck in selling them.

The fleamarket, we went to, was a special market for girls and started in the afternoon. So we didn’t have to get up very early like we would have to on a “normal” one. Together with another friend we booked four metres for our stall. In the end we could have used more than that and the preparation and arranging of our stall was quite a challenge.

clothing fleamarketClothesIt was my first fleamarket ever and I wasn’t sure if I would sell anything of my stuff. I just hoped not to lose money in the experiment. But in the end, I earned more money than I thought and on top of it had a great time selling, negotiating prices and chatting with the visitors of the market.

girls fleamarket
It was such a fun experience and in the end half of my clothes were sold and I am giving the remaining clothes to refugee camps and charity shops. I could also recycle them but because they are still usable, I feel better to give it to people who might actually wear them again.

What do you do with leftover clothes or other stuff? Have you been on a fleamarket?

How to create your own personal gallery

As you could see in my last post I love to visit art museums and galleries. Art has something inspiring to me. I find it very intriguing to think about what the painter thought about his or her picture and what intention they had with it. So every time I visit a bigger art museum I buy a postcard of one of my favourite pictures as a souvenir.

postcards

Up to now they all just were stored away in a drawer but I always had the plan to create my own personal small gallery out of them as soon as I had my own flat. Well, I don’t really have my own flat now, but as I told you I just moved in with my boyfriend which makes me responsible for decorating ;).

After the first weeks of sorting all our stuff out and storing it using the limited space up to the last centimetre, I headed off to the fleamarket last saturday to look for some old frames. I first thought about using one sort of frame for all the cards but decided that different frames would make the whole think more authentic.

frames

I found these three frames very cheap on the fleamarket, cleaned them up and decided which picture would go with which frame.

In addition to the postcards I also recently bought three small pcitures which were shot with a pinhole camera by Przemek Zajfert, an artist from Stuttgart. I loved his small pictures and decided to get three of them for our new flat.

trio

I wanted to frame these little beauties in a special way. For this I bought a bigger white frame at IKEA. I started by cutting out white cardboard in the size of the frame as the background. For the “frames” of the small pictures I cut out three identical squares in the middle of another cardboard. The squares where around 0.5cm bigger than the pictures themselves. After that I clued small cardboard stacks between the two cardboards and arranged the pictures within their little “frames”.

Crafting a frame

first results– I guess now you see waht I meant, right? 😉 –

I like how the pictures immediately look more valuable and just give the illusion of originaly peaces of art (if you ignore the size of them).

My own personal gallery

Just imagine how happy I was when all the pictures where up on the wall. I especially like how the different sorts of frames fit together and make the gallery even more interesting. So now I have my own little Van Gogh in my living room. How great is that!

Of course you can do your own personal gallery with what ever pictures or cards you like. Any ideas?

How do you like to decorate your flat? Any projects coming up?

Culture and Comfort Food – A Perfect Weekend in January

January was a month full of new starts for me. I started my first real job last Monday and moved in with my boyfriend. It’s all very exciting but at the same time it freaks me out how fast things are changing sometimes. I am not very good with changes, I have to admit. I always need some time to adapt to new situations.

So this weekend was perfect to step back and close the week with some of my most favourite things to do. Enjoying some art and indulging in deliciously heavy comfort food, made the last week with all its new experiences step aside and I was able to completely relax. I guess that’s what weekends should be about ;).

Now if you think we just stayed in bed all day, you got me wrong. On Saturday we headed off to Frankfurt to see the anniversary exhibition of the Städel Museum. The art museum is celebrating its 200th anniversary and is having a great exhibition till the end of January.

Städel Museum in FrankfurtMasterworks in Dialogue Städel Museum

The exhibtion is called “Masters in Dialogue” which describes well the essence of the exhibition. The museum is comparing some of their most popular works with other pictures from different museums from all over the world which have a relationship to each other. Sometimes the pictures were painted by the same paitner and you could see the development of the painter or two painters who didn’t know each other painted the same object or theme with different intentions.

– You can change the subtitles into English at the bottom of the video –

As you can see in the video, this exhibtion was quite different from the chronological presentation of a normal art museum and reminded me of the approach the TATE in Liverpool is taking with their exhibition “Constellations”. They also present a picture and arrange it with others who were inspired by this one picture or painter.

Art is something which really fascinates me and what could be better than spending an rainy and cold January Saturday being inspired by some great art work ;). Well I guess what makes a wintery day even better is some warming food. Since I left Britain in summer I miss the hearty food like pies and mash. So I combined these two traditional dishes in a warming Sheperd’s Pie.

Vegetarian Sheperd's Pie
To mix it up a bit, we decided to try a vegetarian version of the Biritsh meal. I found this recipe on BBC goodfood. Because I couldn’t find lentils in a can and was to lazy to boil dried lentils, I deciced to exchange the lentils for peas which turned out to be a great decision.

For a pie for 2 you need:

a small onion
one thick carrot
100ml red wine
200g chopped tomatoes
vegetable stock140g peas
500g sweet potatoe
butter
grated cheddar

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the chopped onions. Add the roughly chopped carrots and pour in the wine, some water and the tomatoes. Simmer till the water is nearly gone. Then add the peas with their liquid and simmer again, till the liquid has nearly gone.

cooking

While you are doing this, boil the sweet potatoes till they are soft enough to be mashed with some butter to a nice potatoe mash. Pour the tomatoe-pea mixture into a bowl and cover it with the mash. Put some grated cheese over it and bake everything for 20 minutes in the oven (190°C/170° fan/gas 5).

vegetarian Sheperd's Pie

The combination of sweet potatoe mash, peas, carrots and tomatoes was heavenly and the perfect end to a chilly weekend in January. This recipe will definitely become one of our favourites, I am sure.

What are your favourite things to do in January? Wrapping up inside or heading out into the cold?