Shit I Bought in London

Last week I was fortunate enough to visit London again. I went with my gorgeous friend Anna who you can find on her blog: www.tinytrinket.wordpress.com. It‘s a lovely little internet niche and you should totes have a look!

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Because we have both visited England‘s capital a bunch of times we did hardly any sightseeing. Instead we drank lots of tea, ate cupcakes, went for strolls and got stuck in the shops. I‘m not much of a shopper when it comes to clothes, shoes and handbags. So when Anna tried on coats and blouses I checked out Primark‘s sock section; we went inside Topshop three times, but to even things out I dragged Anna to the Disney Store. So, as you can guess, most of the stuff I bought is utterly useless and unnecessary – but I just felt the physical need to stuff my suitcase with all the overpriced rubbish I could possibly find. Not. Regretting. Anything.

Princess Leia Mug

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I can‘t even begin to tell you just how excited I am about this mug! I mean, just look at the buns! Aren‘t they fabulous?!

Giant Crumpets

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I also bought regular ones, of course, but I could not resist the temptation of one massive chunk of happiness!

The Iron Trial (by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black)

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It was raining and we found shelter inside a Waterstones store, and oops-a-daisy I ended up buying a shitty YA Harry Potter rip-off with a romance twist, and I‘m really looking forward to reading it!

Harry Potter Jandals

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Looking back, I seriously can‘t remember why I bought these. I suppose I saw them and just held on to them without even checking the size.

Postcards

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Did I mention my love for crumpets? And check out this hamster, he‘s a real hero!

William & Kate Mug

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Strictly speaking this is some Shit-I-bought-in-Brighton-last-summer item, but it‘s terrible enough to get a mention here. I pretty much just scanned all the souvenir shops for the most dreadful mug and then bought it for myself. I greatly enjoy drinking out of it, though. It gives me a sensation of roalty.

Socks

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I have this very weird obsession with socks. I buy socks whenever I‘m bored because I have to wait for a train or someone is late meeting me. At least they keep my feet warm, so they are not completely useless.

Rapunzel Plush Doll

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Another weird thing I do is collect plushy Disney Princess dolls. Basically, everytime someone I know goes somewhere they have a Disney Store they have to bring me back one of these dolls.

Aluminium Foil

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There are cats on this foil. Sandwiches will never taste the same again!

Hummingbird Bakery Cupcake

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I am a massive fan of the Hummingbird Bakery. I own two of their books, they make beautiful cupcakes and cakes and all other sorts of edible things. So naturally, when we passed one of their stores I had to go inside and treat myself. I bought their Blackbottom Cupcake which, technically, was absolutely delicious. But because we‘d just had a big lunch fifteen minutes before I was still stuffed. So for a day and a half I carried around a half eaten cupcake in the hope to eventually finishing it. Which I did, but by that time it was squashed.

I‘m going to end this list here, mainly because I do not want to appear like some weirdo who can‘t control herself. But also because I‘m stuck with the flu and looking at a screen for too long makes me all dizzy. I hope everyone‘s been having a lovely weekend!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Ps. I ALMOST FORGOT! Remember how I went to Hannover a little while ago? Well, Inga made a small video (because she is that awesome) and that‘s my sole reason for creating a Youtube channel, so if you have three minutes to spare have a look at it!

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

BIG NEWS! Except not really big. And not really new. As I announced on Instagram about a month ago I have decided to join Emma Watson‘s feminist book club called «Our Shared Shelf» on Goodreads. My reason number one for joining is that it‘s Emma friggin‘ Watson, and basically if Hermione Granger opened a book club I‘d join without hesitation. But I also figured that I don‘t really know anything about feminism. I can see why women would need it in, say, Saudi-Arabia, but I have never really thought about why feminism might also be important to me personally. So reading a book about it every month might really be an eye opener.

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Last month‘s book was called My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. It was a bit hard to get by which is why I finished reading it a little later than originally planned. There is a huge discussion board on Goodreads, but I‘m usually so busy that I can‘t really take the time to actively participate in the discussions; however, I decided to read through some of the arguments and put them on my blog. If anyone still wants to discuss certain aspects or opinions, please feel free to do so in the comment section. 🙂

First of all, the blurb:

«Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. Every fall, her father would pack the family into the car and they would drive across the country, in search of their next adventure. The seeds were planted: Steinem would spend much of her life on the road, as a journalist, organizer, activist, and speaker. In vivid stories that span an entire career, Steinem writes about her time on the campaign trail, from Bobby Kennedy to Hillary Clinton; her early exposure to social activism in India; organizing ground-up movements in America; the taxi drivers who were “vectors   of modern myths” and the airline stewardesses who embraced feminism; and the infinite contrasts, the “surrealism in everyday life” that Steinem encountered as she travelled back and forth across the country. With the unique perspective of one of the greatest feminist icons of the 20th and 21st centuries, here is an inspiring, profound, enlightening memoir of one woman’s life-long journey.»

To me, one of the first and most important aspects of feminism that Gloria Steinem mentions is that of a functional community that listens to the needs of others. Or as she puts it:

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This doesn‘t just count for women but really for people in general. Women are just one group that is or was being oppressed, depending on region and culture. So feminism is about injustice being heard. And not just that – she states right in the beginning that helping somebody, be it women, men or children, you have to go about understanding them and their situation, every aspect of it:

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This can not be stressed enough. Steinem later tells the story of how she once tried to save a turtle by putting it back in the sea. Her teacher then explained to her that this turtle had just spent weeks crawling up the beach to lay its eggs – now it would have to start over. Her conclusion:

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To me that means that we can‘t, for example, just tell women in the Middle East to stop obeying their husbands. I, at least, am in no way entitled to do that. I know very little of their culture and I can not possibly fathom the outcome of such protest. Wouldn‘t everyone agree that Malala is a feminist? Yet, she wears a headscarf, just like millions of women do, and our western society tries to tell them that this is sexist and limits them in their freedom. How many women have we asked? Sure, they should be able to decide for themselves, and many aren‘t allowed to make such decisions – but unless someone from their own culture takes her headscarf off as an act of female liberation, many women will not even want that «freedom.» And I certainly have no say in it. Scrolling through Goodreads I found a few interesting comments on the topic and I take the liberty to quote them here (since Goodreads is a public sphere already):

«As a domestic violence survivor a friend of a friend used to try to help me by being mean to my abuser after we broke up. Nothing could have bothered me more than that because I felt that I had sacrificed years of my life to make him happy and someone making him miserable now was not a comfort to me, but even when I told her that she kept doing it. I loved this story because it reminded me of that and it gave me a way to remember that I have to make sure I’m doing the right thing for others.»

«I’m Mexican, which means my darker skin gives me away whenever I go on vacations to the US, and something that gets to me every time is the condescending looks people give me. People constantly talk to me slowly, as if I was stupid, when they don’t know that I’ve studied English ever since I was two years old. And when I reply with good English they look surprised, it’s insulting. As Latins we are constantly misrepresented as illiterate, lazy or even stupid. And even when I know I am privileged, it bothers me that people think they can put an entire nation down just because of the stereotypes they are bombarded with.»

That actually leads to another thread that I never even considered a part of the feminist movement: race. This certainly has a lot to do with the fact that I live in Switzerland where racism, although prominently existant, is not to be compared with racism in the United States. I never realised the obvious fact that black women in a white world would struggle twice as hard as their male counterparts – once because of the colour of their skin and the discrimination they had or have to face because of that, and twice because of their feminity that would discriminate them in both black and white cultures. I always think that stating somebody‘s skin colour is in itself a racist act – why should I care whether that girl next door has brown or white or purple skin?! But Steinem made me realise that in certain contexts it‘s an essential piece of information. Not because it necessarily says something about the person, but it says a lot about the society around them.

The author naturally also takes into account Native American societies. What I didn‘t know either was that gender roles aren‘t simply a given. They have changed throughout history and gender equality was a given in certain cultures. Steinem quotes Paula Gunn Allen:

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There is an incredible amount of topics Golria Steinem touches and discusses in her work and it‘s simply not possible to spread them out in a single blog post. I believe that the most essential thing I have learned so far is that feminism equals the fight for human rights. This doesn‘t come as a surprise, but feminism as a word has become more of an insult than the definition of an activist movement. It does not consider simple aspects of human rights such as a woman‘s control over her own body or the male rape victims or domestic violence. One very interesting opinion of Gloria Steinem‘s is the following:

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It‘s such an interesting thought that human rights would start with the fair treatment of women. I‘m not sure I entirely agree, and this quote will definitely have to be put in context. But it is certainly a thought I‘ll keep taking into account and that I might come back to on this blog as well.

My Life on the Road is a very moving and interesting read; I think I agree on almost everything Gloria Steinem has to say. She is definitely not a man hating, non-shaving women‘s libber that so many of my gender fear to be or seen as (and if you are, then good on you! There‘s nothing wrong with that either. Except, don‘t hate men. Don‘t hate, ‘k?)

I definitely recommend this book, even, and especially, if you don‘t consider yourself a feminist!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Last But Not Least: Day Six

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We went to Stonehenge today, and I loved it. It‘s a funny feeling, getting excited about stones. But just think, those lifeless junks of rock surpassed the ages of history. All the wars, the storms, the crises, all the malice in the world could not push them from where they are stood.

And just think, all the people that come to visit, so desperate for a little bit of mystery, for the proof of magic. And those unmoving stones just keep standing in a circle, casting shadows and marking the sinking of the sun, they are all the proof some of us need.

Just think, maybe the stones are not special at all, maybe people just made them so. Maybe fairy tales exist for those who believe in them and who are willing to look at things as if they really are magical.
Just think, maybe that is the real power of the stones.

(Quote: J.K. Rowling)

Gold Star for Hannover

Hello dear reader!

[I was going to name this post Hungover in Hannover but I never was hungover in Hannover, so I decided not to lie to you.]

I am writing this while sitting on the train home from Hannover, and there is no time like a long train journey to write or read or sleep (or, in my case, eat!). I spent five glorious days with Inga up in the north. It was so lovely seeing her again after almost six months, and especially after having travelled the UK with her last summer. She is my number one travel buddy and I’m very lucky that she keeps going off to live in exciting places where I can stay with her!

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Hannover is a seriously underrated city. I mean, have you ever heard of it? Have you ever made any plans to visit at all? Admittedly, seeing Inga was my sole purpose of visiting, so no judging! Buuut for starters, Hannover has a mean coffee house culture. We spent so much time in cafés drinking tea and eating cakes. My favourite café was called Glücksmoment which translates to «Happy Moments» and is a very adequate description of what’s expecting you inside. They have a massive variety of cakes and beverages and the mugs and plates and inside décor are super cute and pretty in blue and pink shaded colours. They also have a little shop within the café that sells baking essentials. I couldn’t resist and bought Bavarian themed cupcake molds; I know that’s all the way down in the south, but, hey! They say I mog di! at the bottom, and I like being told «I love you!» in Bavarian!

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Another fun thing we did was visit the zoo. I am very very fond of monkeys, and I was so excited to see the cuddling gorillas and the tantrum throwing orang-utan, and OMFG the chimpanzees! Aren’t they the cutest?! I SO want to adopt one! I also got slightly carried away when I saw the flamingos. But, honestly, they are pink birds standing on one leg, looking elegant as fuck and matching my socks – it was an intense moment, okay?

One night we went to a concert in some dodgy bar called Glocksee. Well, I say dodgy, really I felt quite at home. It’s just your alternative, 21+, smoking-is-allowed-inside kinda bar that allows live music and encourages the dealing of drugs. In short, it was brilliant! The music was fun to dance to and even allowed for my microwave dance to bloom. Hannover supposedly has quite a number of secret locations to go out, but you have to discover them for yourself. And that’s what, to me, makes this city so utterly charming, the fact that the really great places are not as advertised as they are elsewhere.

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We got all of the touristy stuff done as well, as you can see on the badly taken photos above (yeah, sorry for the lack of quality). For me, some of the nicest moments we had were on the couch with a cup of tea and chocolate cookies, watching Doctor Who and talking about all the places we’ve been. Especially with the weather as rainy and windy as it was it was good to be sitting in the warmth. Carrie Hope Fletcher and Dodie Clark recently did a song together called Gold Star For Me – to which Inga introduced me one late night. I think I should probably some day write us our own song, but I still think the lyrics relate to us pretty well, too!Bild 98Today I insisted on visiting the History Museum and I was very excited, too, when we walked there after breakfast in yet another beautiful café, but I ended up feeling more and more tired the further we explored Hannoverian history. There was a lot of talk about kings and horses and houses, but my mind just kept spinning around images of kings’ beds (of which they sadly had none on display). So thus conclude my adventures in Hannover, and I’m going to try and get some sleep. I still have five hours to go, and tonight I have two parties to attend. It’s going to be a late night. Tomorrow is not going to be fun (except that I’m going to the bookshop and then catching the train to go on a skiing holiday with my family, so I believe the hangover will be just a minor distraction.); I told Inga I’m not going to drink tonight, but open bar? Who’m I kidding!

Okay, better stop here before anyone thinks I’m a hopeless alcoholic (if anything, I’m a promisingly hopeful one!). I hope your week has been as great as mine!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Sexy Books: Fools Rush In by Bill Carter

Just read: Fools Rush In by Bill Carter

I have been so excited to finally talk about this book! It has become one of my absolute favourites and I think everyone should read it, because there is so much to gain from it!

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Fools Rush In tells the story of Bill Carter who visits Bosnia in the 1990ies during the Siege of Sarajevo. He helps distribute food and other goods, he goes to rock concerts and parties and he finds friends.

Basically, the blurb already says it all:

«Some trips are chosen, some choose you. When tragedy strikes Bill Carter‘s life he finds himself drawn to a war zone. In the modern heart of darkness, the besieged city of Sarajevo, we meet a man rebuilding the ruins of his former self in the most unlikely of places. Carter joins a maverick aid organization, „The Serious Road Trip“, and dodges snipers to deliver food and supplies to those the UN can‘t reach. He makes friends with the artistic community of Sarajevo and fights alongside them for survival in a place where food and water are scarce, where you meet death every day, but crucially where life, love and laughter ring out all the same.
Carter takes his journey one surreal step further and enlists the help of major rock band U2. The ensuing events go no small way to influencing the course of the war and Western awareness of it.»

There is no way I can do this book justice by writing this review, so I‘m not even going to try. But let me tell you this: it wrenched my heart, it reduced me to tears, it made me giggle hysterically, it sent shivers down my spine – but most importantly, it gave me back some faith that even the smallest person can change the course of events. It had me believe that there are people who care and who stand above themselves. Not just Bill Carter, who just seemed to be acting without much further thinking, but also U2. Bono offered the band‘s help and meant it. During their 1993 world tour they did satellite link-ups where Sarajevans were broadcast onto stage and told their stories to so many people. Please, just look at this video!

Fools Rush In is such a genuine story, and it‘s really a work of philosophy. Bill Carter writes in large parts about loss and love and family and home – things that essentially have nothing to do with war, but have everything to do with life. And life just appears to be going on during any war.

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I know the Bosnian War has long passed, but there are so many other tragedies taking place in the world, and the least we can do is not turn our backs. Let‘s talk about it. Let‘s not pretend there aren‘t any people suffering. No one is required to go into a war zone and risk their life, of course not. But who has ever stood up to a bully or paired up with the unpopular kid at school? If anything, this book makes us care about each other.
It‘s a life changing read, I promise!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Last But Not Least: Day Five

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Two things. One, I had the best of days today. Two, Brighton is heavily overrated and I do not wish to go back. The pier was too loud and the pier was too bright, the beach was too crowded and the noise of the traffic was everywhere. The fish ‘n‘ chips made my stomach ache.
But.
Around noon the sun came out.
And we wandered along the promenade and we left behind the people and the noise and we told each other stories that we already knew but liked to hear anyway.
I remember waking up from my own snoring on the train back.

It was such a complete day.

(Qote: A.A. Milne)

A Family Dinner

There is this Taylor Swift song called The Best Day where she describes different stages of her childhood, and when I look back on mine I find this song to pretty much sum up my life. Of course, there were a few rough patches, and there will always be, but having a loving and caring family means that there will always be a new Best Day.

Tobias, my baby brother, moved out two weeks ago because he has a proper job and a shit load of money, so you see, he‘s nothing like me – and it should feel weird, but, you know, I kinda enjoy not sharing the bathroom any more!

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Tonight we had him over for the first time since he moved and it was such a lovely evening. I made a pineapple-kumara salad and risotto, and it was surprisingly delicious, considering that I never cook. My family is slowly turning vegan (although we can‘t quite let go of Nutella) and I took the recipe straight out of Vegan Lovestory, a beautiful vegan cook book I got my mum for her birthday.

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I like having my family together and listening to their stories about work and friends and idiots they met at the supermarket. Our favourite topic is my mum‘s trouble with her work computer, because she has to phone the IT-company about once a week and then practically tells them what to do. We always joke that they must be pretty terrified when the phone rings because they have started giving her administrative rights, even though they are not technically allowed to do that.

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So there you go, a little insight in my friday night. I know it‘s not the most exciting thing to talk about ever, but it‘s what matters most to me in the world, and I like people knowing.

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Oooohh, and I must also tell you that tomorrow I am going to watch all of Season 9 of Doctor Who! I haven‘t seen one single episode of the new series, and you will not believe how excited I am! This is my christmas, I swear!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Last But Not Least: Day Four

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Ten years ago someone asked me what my favourite part about Winchester was, and I answered, «the catherdral.»

And I still feel mesmerised by this ancient structure that stands there so proudly. The windows were once destroyed and yet, people gathered the broken pieces and rearranged them, a beautiful chaosof of unfitting colours and shapes. The floor is crooked, and do not trust these walls. All those small imperfections that show just how desperately people want to live. How little effect war and destruction have on our need of beauty and light and divinity.

They say that Winchester is the hometown of Camelot.
I believe it.

(Quote: The Sword in the Stone [Disney])

«Snowy Linen Land»

Apparently, what people are most likely to do when it snows is not going outside to build a snowman, but post «snow» on Facebook and take Snapchat pictures through their living room windows – or, you know, blog about it!

Winter is my favourite season and it‘s true, I mostly enjoy it from the inside. I love being all snuggled up in a blanket and working away with a mug of tea. I can‘t work when the sun is out, I always have to draw the blinds. But then snow is something else. I still get giddy when the first snow falls, even if that happens way after Christmas. I feel like snow is a valid excuse for the cold wheather, because cold with no snow, that‘s just eh. At least with the snow there it looks pretty.

I still don‘t massively celebrate the white scenery, but having a dog I‘m out in the woods almost every day anyway, and this week has been simply stunning. And because I have the world‘s cutest dog I decided to share some moments with you.

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On wednesday night I went ice skating with Samantha for the first time this year. It‘s funny how you can just go round and round in circles for hours and not notice that it doesn‘t get you anywhere. We discussed all the books collecting dust on our shelves and we talked about working in bookshops and how it‘s the best job in the world and yet the routine gets too much sometimes. And we talked boys and castles and poems.
It was a pretty night.

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Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Sexy Books: The Empire Strikes Back by Donald F. Glut

Just read: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back by Donald F. Glut.

I wasn‘t going to talk about this book, I really wasn‘t because, you know, it‘s a novelisation! But then I read it and as far as novelisations go (which, btw, isn‘t very far at all) it was really quite okay. In fact, it‘s the okayest novelisation I have read in a long time!

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I‘m sure everybody knows what Star Wars is about, but I‘ll give you the blurb anyway, if only because I love the word blurb.

«Though the Rebel Alliance won a significant battle, the war against the Empire has only just begun.
Several months have passed, and the Rebels have established a hidden outpost on the frozen wasteland of Hoth. But even on that icy backwater planet, they cannot escape the evil Darth Vader‘s notice for long.
Soon Luke, Han, Princess Leia, and their faithful companions will be forced to flee, scattering in all direction – with the Dark Lord‘s minions in fevered pursuit…»

I have a pretty clear image what «the Dark Lord‘s minions» look like, and the internet has not failed me! It just takes the edge off the entire saga a bit when THIS is what stormtroopers really look like!

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But moving on! Novelisations always have that exciting feature of telling you a little something that isn‘t included in the movie, and there are always small surprises, like a variation in dialogue or a change of action; many things that might not work in a movie, can happen still between te pages of a book. And besides, the book doesn‘t have to be incredibly good because all it does is still my inner geeky needs. And this one certainly did!

What I loved most, of course, was that there is some extended action between Han and Leia. C-3PO doesn‘t interrupt their kiss and that actually makes the entire scene more endearing. My favourite thing about the book, however, is the fact that Leia calls Han «Hot Shot» – repeatedly so!

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Leia has even more jazz in this book version than she already does in the movies, which I absolutely love. Still, my favourite part of the book has got to be when they settle in Cloud City and Han tries to win her over:

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Of course the book isn‘t just a sloppy Han-Leia fanfiction novel, it covers all the fun parts that we love in the film as well. It‘s just that Luke never call Yoda a «Hot Shot», or he might have got a bigger mention here!

Have a lovely (snowy?) afternoon!
Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx