Thursday, February 13, 2020

Pottery painting with kids in Düsseldorf

A couple of weekends ago we decided to take the kids to Eigenlob keramik so they could paint their own pottery. I thought they might think it would be fun but you never know until you've tried. At the pottery place they have a wide assortment of different things to paint from cups and plates to small ornaments. Filip decided that he wanted to paint a two in one tee pot/cup ( not that he drinks tee but he was determined) and Mila wanted to paint a horse. I picked a bigger bowl. Kids did great and really concentrated on what to paint and they spend probably 40 minutes focusing on that. But as my bowl took longer time to paint the kids when the finished they asked if they could pick something more to paint and because I wanted peace and quiet I said yes. And so it ended up being a pretty expensive activity, but hey something we all enjoyed and we will definitely come back and make some more magic. Last picture is how it all ended up after burning and glaced. 

English Theater Düsseldorf "Breadcrumbs"

I got a very nice Christmas present of a friend a theater ticket to an English play here in Düsseldorf. "Breadcrumbs" by Jennifer Haley at the Theatermuseum der Landshauptstadt Düsseldorf. The play is about a writer who gets diagnosed with dementia and must depend on a troubled young caretaker to complete her autobiography. Between the two it is a battle between wills but also trip back in the past to the dark woods. It was a small stage with only a few rows of seats and we were nearly sitting in the play. I thought it would feel too close in case I got sleepy after a couple of glasses of wine or if it would be boring so I would nod off but the play and the performance was so good so it was never an issue. It was the premier show of the play and the performance was great and the story was interesting. I love theater and I will definitely come back to English Theater Düsseldorf.

After the theater we walked down town and had a drink outside - Outside in February!
And then we continued down to Altstadt and it was so much people and also a lot of polices all over the place. We went to the Mexican place had burritos, nachos and a few Mexican cocktails before heading back home.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

My Love for Note pads

One of my New year resolutions for 2020 is to reduce the amount of clothing I buy for me. Not that I have been exaggerating buying cloths but still there is room for reduction, I anyways only buy shirts with stripes or dots on and however much garnments I have in my wardrobe I have nothing to wear anyways. But something I am not ready to stop buying even tough I don't really need more are pens, papers, drawing pads and note pads. For me it is pure happiness finding cute note pads in great quality or new inc pens preferable made in Japan but German is ok also to try out. I carry them home like hunting trophies and line them up on my desk or the kitchen table just so I can watch them and let the whole family also see ( but not to touch)  my great new purchases ( normally they are not quite as impressed as myself..) My favourite art supply store is still in Prague called Zlata Lodart Supplies on Pasáz Platyz from Narodini and I write lists well in advance of what aquarell colors I am running low on. For note pads I have found two favorite stores here in Düsseldorf Mayersche Buchhandlung on Köningsallee they have a big assortment and TK Maxx in Duisburg. The latter one is very unexpected for me I had no idea they sold everything in TK Maxx I thought it was just cloths. I went in just to have a look around last year and found Swedish made photo albums and hand-made Italian note pads and more. What is a bonus is their prices just like their slogo big brands for small prices - It is great. Here is parts of what I came home with last time I went there. I love the big case of Bruynzeel colouring and drawing pens I found and cant wait to try them out or actually I can wait look at them all in right order organized and sharp... 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Lundsätter 2020

This is how I left Lundsätter a couple of days after new year when we flew back to Düsseldorf. I like to leave it as tidy as I can and I put the chairs on top of the tables because my dad is very nice and letting his robot vacuum to work in our part a few times before we come back. This time I also removed curtains upstairs because one big project this year is to change our big beautiful windows to other more modern windows which will be easier to open and also energy classed. The one we have now is very old, the frame is falling apart and last summer it is a small crack in the glass. What I realized when removing the curtains is that I the room feels so different naked and gives a great open feeling. With the new windows I can leave it like this because I have ordered built in blinds. Blinds or curtains are necessary because it gets very warm in the summer when the sun is strong but also with Swedish light summer nights it is hard to sleep without.
Hopefully we will have the new windows installed before we come for Easter.
Other than the windows we have just installed a heat pump at my dad's side and no other big plans this year. Although painting the big roof covering one patio needs to be done and will be a pretty hard job. Question is if I should paint it white or same red as the house - that decision I will do this summer. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Christmas markets around Düsseldorf

Before leaving Christmas behind and focusing on this year I have to write this post about all the Christmas markets in and around Düsseldorf that I visited this year. Apart from that the weather more felt like March in December the Christmas spirit came early thanks to all the traditional German Christmas markets. The Christmas markets were set up well in time for first of Advent and was opened everyday up until Christmas. Festive lights, decorations, cosy wooden stalls with all sorts of things were sold. Handmade German ornaments and decorations ( a lot of made in China ornaments too) local specialities such as traditionally decorated gingerbread cookies. The classic hot beverage Glühwein was served in many stals and often served in a special designed mug. Bratwurst, crepes and other on the go food sold everywhere. In most markets you can also find a stage where Christmas songs were performed and where St Nicholas came to greet the children etc. In Düsseldorf they also had an ice-skating rink set-up in the main square by Köningsallee infront of Galeria Kaufhof. And with the view over Rhein in Altstadt close to the Schlossturn a big Ferris wheel was set up. 

Me and Mila headed out on the first weekend and walked Nordstrasse which had mainly Glühwein, roasted almonds and bratwurst stands. We tried skewer with strawberries dipped in milk chocolate, oh yes very yummy. We continued walking through Hofgarten to down-town Düsseldorf and got a glimps of all the stands there. Düsseldorf down-town has Christmas markets spread out a bit from Köningsallee and Kö-Bogen and a lot of stalls on the walking street Flinger Strasse in Altstadt down to Rathaus and Burghaus.

My uncle Christer came down to Germnay to see us the second week of December and we had a chance both to check the market down-town on a Thursday when it was very few people but also on a super busy Saturday. We even went on the big wheel which has a great view over Rhein and Altstadt.

Also to visit the market in the evening gives a lot of festive spirit with all the lights and drink a few hot Glühweins.

I have also visited:
Kaiserwerth ( our local centrum 10 min from home) has a very cute little Christmas market
Ratingen ( Neighbor town to Düsseldorf and only 10 minutes away from where we live)

All in all I have never had the chance nor the interest to visit so many Christmas markets ever before, but while living in Germany I can't avoid them during December so I am instead embracing them..

Düsseldorf the big Christmas tree outside the Rathaus

one of many Glühwein stand at Altstadt 

Roasted almonds and decorated Christmas cookies 

A rainy Tuesday I had a mug of Glühwein In Altstadt with Rose-Marie and Nadia and rest of the new German class 

Uncle Christer came and checked out the Christmas market in Düsseldorf 
The wheel

Me, Mila and Christer went in the wheel on beautiful sunny December Saturday 

A rainy day me, Filip and Rose-Marie checked out the market in Ratingen (a city right next to Düsseldorf) 

Traditional Nutcracker figure in a large format in Ratingen

Friday, January 10, 2020

Happy New year 2020

A new year is here. The year 2020 is here. A new exciting year that I am hoping will be filled with fun and happiness. This will be my 10th year I am writing my blog on and off and it is a great place to keep memories, stories and experiences. It is fun now to have 10 years worth of memories in texts, illustrations and photos in one place. This year I have the ambition to write more frequent because my writing process flows better and it is much more fun if I do it more often and also because it is such blessing to experience living in an other country and country and I want to keep my thoughts and experiences and share them. Lets aim to do an update once per week and see how that goes. 

What hopes and expectations I have for 2020 
- That my family and friends are blessed to stay healthy and happy
- To explore more places in the area around Düsseldorf - we have many cool places both in Germany but also in France, Holland and Belgium to check out which is only a few hours away in the car
- To stop thinking so much about things which I can't change, not to think everything is my fault, not to care too much what other people think and to leave things behind and not go over it over and over
- To read all the great books which I have bought in order to be allowed to by more books
- Just do things which I feel like doing instead of think so much why I am doing it or what is the point of doing it (hahhaaa god I am complicated...)
- Enjoy my time and all my experiences and not all the time feel guilty that I should do more and that I need to have a 9-17 job to be a full good person. Even though I have earned more this year on my new hobby of trading stocks then what I would have made if I was working full time as a teacher, I am still picking on myself for not working.. Instead this year I need to fully enjoy that I have the luxury at the moment to learn a new language ( god damn it soon I will be on a semi fluent level!!) live in a new country, have a lot of time with my family without feeling stressed, spend every school-break doing fun things with the kids, collect international experiences through this expat life, keep drawing and writing so that maybe I can hold that book I am dreaming of making in my hand one day, enjoy the city, nature and museum while other people work and I can drink a pilsner or a glas of wine for lunch with a great friend if I want to.
- I am so happy that I have managed to find a horse in a great stable close to where we live to help with and also I am hoping to find a pony that Mila can help with at the same stable as it really gives us a lot of good energy.
- Me and Loren to do something by ourselves more often then once or twice per year. So I guess this means that I need to find a great german speaking young babysitter who also can help Mila with reading German
- To at least take 10 000 steps per day
- To keep up with biking more then I use the car

Well there it is my humble wishes for 2020 

Happy New Year picture from Team Nikolovski! We celebrated at Lundsätter with my dad, Tang, Uncle Christer, my brother Pontus and his sin Charlie. Great mix of food on my dad's side. 

We celebrated the new year with sparkler, Champagne and watching the stars which so strong and clear can be seen out here in the forest a few hours before 12.  We also got Loren to burn his socks in the fire, why because they were broken and also just to do something out of the box
During the last day of the year me and Mila went to the stable and had a nice hack in the sun with friends 

And Filip got to hang out with his cousin Charlie and uncle Pontus

We also made a fire during the afternoon up in the forrest and grilled marshmallows. Uncle Christer drove us in the trailer behind his quadbike and organized the fire 

Being in the nature is the shit ! 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Happy advent

I got a new drawing pad from my uncle for my birthday in August with high quality papers and I got inspired to really work with colors in more layers and fill the whole page with details.  Also I came up with an idea to make illustrations based on seasons and traditions. Traditions which we are celebrating for long but also new traditions which we have picked up from our different destinations where we have lived and from here in Germany. 
So far I have made October - Halloween a tradition which is pretty new to us - I remember reading about Halloween with trick or treat as an American tradition in one of my first textbooks in English when I was ten years old. Here in Kaiserswerth, Düsseldorf it is celebrated big time in the international neighborhood and so we have started to dress up and join the fun.
November we are celebrating St Martin here in Germany ( will write a separate post about whom that was, how we celebrate and show the illustration)
December - I have so far made first of advent here below and also St Lucia which I will present later. Why first of advent - well I think it is something special with advent and the excitement that Christmas time is approaching. I love Advent lights and stars in the windows to bright December up a little. Advent kalender in different forms and the advents kalender on Swedish television each morning before school and kindergarten one new episode. And Advent candles to light - here in Germany it is popular with advent wreaths out of spruce twigs with four red or white candles ( I thought it was grave decoration last year when it was our first year here in Germany but already this year I have adjusted and bought one instead of making my Swedish style advent candle)
I will continue my illustrations of traditions and write something about each tradition - hoping I can keep up with it :) 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Thank you September you were good and welcome October! October I think you are my favorite month of the year apart from December, April, June, August and September.. Here in Düsseldorf the schools has two weeks off for Autumn break so we have that to look forward to and also I am going a weekend to Stockholm to see my family and see a musical. And the changes in the nature is just so pretty - transforming from green to yellow and orange.  
I was doing some paperwork this morning but also had time to start a Happy Halloween illustration which I am thinking to turn in to a card somehow. I don't know how I picked this format - hard even to take a photo of it... I will find a way to show a better picture of it!!

Also looking in my memory box and found some other October drawings 

Friday, September 20, 2019

Exploring Eifel National Park in Germany

Last weekend we planned to go with friends to a cool playground in Belgien a couple of hours drive from Düsseldorf. All good we packed some picnic got ready and was in the car ready to go at 11.30 Saturday. Everyone was excited happy to be in the car going on adventures. NOOO!! Of course not. Everyone apart from me was heavily complaining. Mila wanted to stay home and play with her friend next door, Filip did not want to get in the car at all without explanation and Loren was thinking that it is unnecessary to drive for two hours when we can do something fun in Düsseldorf. Yeahh!! Bad mamma for thinking it would be fun to explore a little, to see something different and to force the poor family to sit in the car for 2 hours. But Somehow I managed to get them all in the car without too much drama.. Kids started complaining and asking if we are nearly there yet before we even hit the motorway which is literally 8 minutes from us. And Loren cheered them on sighing heavy and telling me "I told you this was a bad a idea.... " I put on Spotify with music from Blippi (kids songs about vehicles) and everyone calmed a little.
Loren had Google maps on and was gonna navigate me. We got out of Düsseldorf and drove towards Maastricht. GPS rerouted us to avoid a traffic jam and then we kept driving and it was pretty enjoyable with all passengers in ok mood (no screaming, not kicking the dashboard or being nervous) After 40 min Loren suddenly said "Take the next exit" ohh ok yes of course google maps was not following us at all and when he realized that we had driven pretty far in slightly wrong direction.
And to get to our planned destination now would take us 2 hours including the heavy traffic. We did some research on the map and found a couple of National parks not far off from where we were as a replacement destination.

We decided to go and check out Eifel National Park located in North-Rhein-Westphalia, Germany, bordering Belgium and Ruhr Lake reservoir.
We came to a very cute town called Heimbach
Heimbach - with cobble stone streets and cute restaurants and bäckerei (bakeries) 
The Castle on the hill is called Burg Hengebach a very old castle seated a nobel family of the region in 1207
We took an elevator up the fortress and had a great view from up there and also a Flammkuchen and a pils. Flammkuchen is a German type of pizza. 

The view from Burg Hengbach - kids spotted the playground by the river Ruhr
We started walking on one of the trails towards the mountain and we were impressed with all the small beautiful gardens. Narrow gardens side-by-side leading down towards the river and people growing vegetables and flowers and having a little cabin to have a beer or coffee in. Loren wanted one. 

Across the river we saw this café and canoe rental place - it looked so peaceful and cool and next trip we will check it out closer. 
Happy Team members - after all not so bad to experience new places even if it takes a little while in the car....

Cute fontaine in the center of Heimbach with a lot of cute places to eat or just drink a beer or coffee. 

We had a great day in Heimbach it was such pretty and magical place and the weather was great too. Driving back home was good and without drama Mila fell asleep and Filip was listening to a wide variety of children songs although mostly Row row row your boat on repeat. And Loren was also calm. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Summer 2019 been and gone

Thank you Summer 2019 for a great mix of weather and a long break from routines
We have spent our vacation in Sweden. We left Düsseldorf and flew to Stockholm Skavsta on 4 of July and stayed all the way until 18 of August. At first I was stressed to get as much as I can out of this precious time we call Summer and to meet up with family and friends while we are in Sweden. How stupid to get stressed and so I stopped with that and could enjoy fully instead.

When we first arrived in Sweden it was cold - no but really I mean cold cold as in 15 degrees. We had to drive to the Outlet in Vingåker to purchase fleece jackets, wellington boots and long pants. When we left German in was hot and I couldn't even imagine that it could be such a different 2 hours away (in an airplane) But the weather picked up and we have enjoyed warm weeks where we have been swimming in the lakes but also rain and cooler weather - and to be honest I think this big variation is the magic with Swedish Summers.
Here is some of our Summer memories out of many happy memories we will take with us from this summer

Our old and cool cat Levis was happy to have us home 

Nice clean water in the Swedish lakes without billion of peoples
Mila learned to swim and Filip impressed by getting in the fastest in the water and even pappa Loren was swimming

What a dream to have kids nextdoor to play and pick wild strawberries with 

A lot of gold in the forrest and for me that is pure happiness to find and to pick 
Rainy day doesn't stop us from going up to the forrest searching for blueberries and chantarelles 

Breakfast with granddad nextdoor 

Boat-ride with mormor and Göran and Lugnet 

Me and the kids took a Trip down south to Österlen to visit friends 

You beauty Vittemölle beach in Österlen close to Kivik 

Milas dream came true - to ride by herself and to canter for the first time 

Bozze dog was also happy to have us home and Filip happy to have his besties next to him 
Hanging at Lugnet with mormor picking berries from the garden 

Granddad/morfar big summer project at Lundsätter was the tree house 

Celebrating Uncle Christer at St Djulö with a swim at the dog beach