Saturday, 29 June 2013

Old car rally

I can't believe how much the weather still changes from one week to the next. This time last week, we were enjoying a great day out in Brugg, visiting an old car rally (and this time last year, we were experiencing the hottest day of the year on our wedding day!)... and it is raining hard today, making our small town look rather gloomy.

When we saw in the local newspaper that this event was going to be on 5 minutes away from our house, we naively thought that it would be a small gathering of local enthusiasts with less than 10 cars. Only because last time we were told about an open day in our neighbourhood, we ended up crashing the local goat breeders' association annual meeting...

But it turned out this time, that this was a huge event, with over 100 members of the Old Timer GP association travelling from all over Switzerland to race theirs cars! For a modest 10CHF a head, you could spend the whole day looking at old cars, old bikes and old military vehicles; watch them race around a 1km track and have a drink... had it not been for the noise being a bit too much for Baby Suisse, we could have spent the whole day there. 

Here are some of the special cars we spotted:

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
1936 Citroën 11 BL

1933 Morgan Three Wheeler SS
1956 Maserati 250F
1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

1968 Ford Escort TC

1972 Citroën Aschigs 12 and 1969 VW Käfer

We'll never cease to be surprised with the quality of the events behind organised in our little corner of La Suisse most weekends!

For more information and pics about the event, go to

Thursday, 27 June 2013


Wedding party-releasing lanterns

In two days' time, Mr T and I will be celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary! Our wedding was one of many unexpected events in 2012 and was a very small last-minute affair with only our parents. As many people were disappointed to not have been with us on our big day, we had a belated wedding party in the UK in February and will have a small family meal with my family in France next weekend.

Anyway, I thought that with the anniversary coming up, it would be a suitable time to show you pictures of our "pork pie" wedding cake from the celebrated pork pie establishment Stanthfords (Mr T's favourite pie shop located in a small town next to his)...

Largest pie reads "Mr & Mrs"

Not a factual representation of bride and groom!

I have shared with you before our love our pies, so it only seemed natural for us to have a pie feast back in Yorkshire in February (alongside an amazing hog roast!). One of our university friends also made this very special cake for Baby Suisse...

top layer: fruit; middle layer: chocolate; bottom layer: Victoria sponge

...and a LOT of marzipan!

As Baby Suisse is half-French and half-British (well, actually he is 100% French for now as we haven't done the paperwork with the British embassy for him to get a British passport like Mr T), our friend went for casual French racism with a giant beret-wearing frog, a garland of onions, with a final garland of Yorkshire roses for good measures.

I loved my unusual "wedding-party" cakes!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

IKEA meets Africa: a one of a kind play blanket

With summer officially gracing us with its presence last week (he has since decided to go on holidays somewhere else), we had been spending a bit of time in the garden. Baby Suisse love playing outside bare foot on the grass and splish-splashing in his paddling pool. I had been on a look out for an outdoor blanket in our local supermarket in May but could not find any. Mind you, they have only recently started displaying them so they must have been waiting for warmer days too!I saw blankets in charity shops but I wanted something that was water resistant and not too warm to sit on...

During a trip to IKEA last May, while walking past the fabric aisle (my favourite aisle ! ), I saw that they had some nice strippy outdoorsy fabric, the plastified kind that you can use to make table cloth with for your garden furniture. I had bought some in the past to make the lining for a beach bag and realised it would also be perfect for what I had in mind!

I bought 150cm of the stuff and decided to use up some fabric from my "African stash" which I have used for plenty craft projects before: read more about it here, here and here. This particular fabric came from a market in Senegal. I have shared with you in the past some of my African adventures (pre- Baby Suisse days) when I was very fortunate to spend 4 years on and off working in various parts of Africa. I have done posts on my travels through Tanzania (here and here), Zanzibar and Uganda...maybe I'll take the time one day to share with you my pictures from Senegal, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia.

No fancy design or stitching, I just cut a piece of African fabric about 8cm smaller all around than the plastified lining, made a border as well as I could without worrying about how nice the corners would turn out and quickly machine-stitched all around. When I occasionally manage to get a bit of free time to myself to craft, it never is for more than 30 minutes so I need to be able to do the whole project in a short amount of time without overly worrying about perfection. The end result does look "home-made" but I would never get anything done otherwise!

And here it is, a perfectly suitable and one-of-a-kind summer play blanket for Baby Suisse. I wanted to take more photos of the finished product and have a mini artsy photo-shoot with toys and all...yeah that never happened due to lack of time and cooperation on Baby Suisse's side. Apologies if this post is a little bit poor photo-wise, must try harder next time!

Right, I am off to share this on Wendy's Handmade Monday. I haven't posted there on a while due to lack of crafting time so it will be nice to catch up and see what other bloggers have been up to :-)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

I'm going cuckoo!

A trip to the Black Forest would not be complete without setting foot at least once in one of the many cuckoo clocks shops in the area (literally everywhere!!).

There must be widespread fear of industrial espionage in the cuckoo clock industry as I got sent off from the shop above in Titisee for taking a photo of the clocks on display...

NOT impressed with your attitude!
You would have to try very hard in the lower Black Forest area to not stumble across one of these clocks. You don't even have to step into a shop, even houses dress up as cuckoo clocks!

While in Triberg, we checked out the shop attached to the world's largest cuckoo clock in Schonachbach. That's a controversy in itself as 2 different places within less than 3 kilometers were claiming the title, and a quick look on Wikipedia informs me that these giant cuckoo clocks are popping out all over the place. 

The size of a house, it isn't a bad looking cuckoo clock but the cuckoo itself is proportionally underwhelming. We waited for the hour to strike for 3 minutes, prepared to be amazed and could not believe how little thought was put into this. Here's a (boring) video of the world's most boring cuckoo in action.

The shop itself at the back of the clock is very nice though and people were a lot friendlier. I could take pictures of the different clocks and ended up buying some little hand-carved and painted nutcrackers to put on our Christmas tree. Alongside the more traditional clocks...

...were some very funky and modern-looking ones!

There were clocks to cater for all sorts of tastes and living room sizes, including this enormous one:

We did manage (after much hesitation on my part) to go home without a cuckoo clock as it's one thing finding them picturesque in a shop,and another thing having them on your living room wall between 2 IKEA bookcases. Very pretty things though...

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Why is the Black Forest called that way?

Well, as we found out one gloomy weekend in May it is because it is pretty darm dark in there, especially this May when winter was still officially there and hopes of sunshine were crushed every single day.

We had decided to take advantage of a long bank holiday weekend to go to Germany and spend 2 nights in the Black Forest with some friends. As we found out that weekend, we only live 15 minutes from the German border (and after almost 2 years we did not have a clue we were that close) and 90 minutes away from the South border of the Black Forest. We broke our short journey in Titisee-neustadt as Baby Suisse was having a very bad day and had decided 20 minutes into the journey that he had had enough. After a spot of lunch, I had imagined an afternoon of strolling along the shore taking pictures and buying souvenirs but thought the better of it after realising we hadn't packed anything warm or waterproof to wear at all. We have got quite good at packing everything we're likely to need for Baby Suisse on trips away but somehow forget about ourselves. Never mind, we said goodbye to Titisee after a last chuckle...

Another 20 minutes up the road, we unpacked our things in the hotel we were staying in Vöhrenbach (nice and dog/kid friendly, we recommend!) and decided to take advantage of the sun briefly coming out for a short walk in the area, skipping up the hill, singing and...well not quite but you get the jist.

The first evening was spent eating far too much schnitzel and trying to convince Baby Suisse to go the fuck to sleep (do you know this children bed time story? GENIUS!). Baby Suisse, we realised, does not like not sleeping in his own bed so ended up with us.

After a very short night's sleep and a breakfast of cheese, bread, eggs and meat (why do you always feel obliged to eat 3 times as much for breakfast when you're away from home just because it's free and there??), we set off to Triberg for a hike around the waterfall.

The Triberg waterfall is one of the highest in the whole of Germany and was impressive given the surreal amount of rain we've had this "Spring".

Annoyingly, you have to pay to see the waterfall but we took the opportunity to buy a bag of peanuts at the gate to feed the squirrels. Alf was going nuts for the squirrels, he is very keen on them shall we say...

We stopped for a coffee near a big pond and a spot of duck feeding...

Because of the light rain, the site wasn't too busy on that day and we thoroughly enjoyed the hike in the woods around the waterfall. Not much to see in terms of wildlife...

...but the many different sights of the waterfall were worth it.

And yes of course, we saw plenty of cuckoo clocks too, but that'll be the topic of another post :-)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A weekend of fooding

Oops, I meant to write a blog post at the weekend but I got to Sunday night feeling completely shattered and desperate for an early night. Mr T left us last Thursday to go to Ireland on a stag weekend until Sunday afternoon and I was on Baby Suisse's full time duties after work on Thursday and Friday and at the weekend. My little boy and I had a great time together but we were pleased to have Mr T back home after a few days!

One of my resolutions for this year was to take up cooking again every now and again, and in particular to make use of the many great cookbooks we have accumulated over the years. Mission accomplished this weekend, with 3 recipes from 2 very different cookbooks.

The weekend started with a recipe I had tried before: chocolate banana bread from my Green&Black's cookbook. Last time, I added a twist to the recipe by making muffins rather than a loaf, but both are equally tasty!

A new recipe from the Jamie at Home book was tried and loved, simple but delicious home-made pizza with courgettes (home-grown), mushrooms, taleggio cheese and parma ham. I realise now that I was so desperate to tuck in that I forgot to take a picture of the pizza after it came out of the oven...oh well...

Sunday dinner was light, perfect comfort food again from Jamie's book: home-made beans on toast. Perfect for the evening, put all ingredients in a pot and simmer for an hour:

A new favourite in our house!

Apart from cooking, Alf, Baby Suisse and I went on many walks in the neighbourhood (including a trip to the Roman amphitheatre) and Baby Suisse spent a lot of time splashing about in his paddling pool. It's beginning to look a lot like Summer :-)

Do you have a favourite Sunday night dinner recipe?
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