Aug 31, 2011

Diving weekend in Camogli

Sometimes, I forget one of the biggest advantages of living in magical Switzerland: The closeness and accessibility to other amazing places ;)) 

When living in a place like this, there is so much to enjoy inside of these borders and hence, it is very easy to forget or feel the need to go elsewhere. BUT, before I decided to accept the new job opportunity we did have plans to go for a week to Sardinia for diving. With this upcoming job change we had to however put that thought back on the shelf and this has been a bit disappointing as we want to maintain our diving skills now that we finally have our PADI certificates.

With this in mind and an empty weekend ahead, we spontaneously booked a weekend of diving in a little Italian fishing village called Camogli (not far from Portofino) on the Ligurian coast. A drive of about 6-7 hours......pretty amazing!!

We used BB Diving Center. A great PADI dive center with super friendly and accommodating staff. We did 2 dives and the amount of fishes we saw were surprising. The Portofino area in which we were diving is a marine protected area and this is probably the reason. We saw many different fishes, mainly small ones, but also met a Moray and some pretty big Groupers. I would love to go back there one day and explore some of the other diving sites!! Especially since we never got to see any Dogfish ;))

Oooohhh and I finally got to use my amazing birthday gift, a diving computer, which makes the diving even more fun and interesting!! .....not to mention it makes keeping your diving logs up to date MUCH easier!

We also had some time to explore the area and relax (thankfully) and hence, could enjoy our dinner on the Saturday watching a beautiful sunset from a great restaurant overlooking the sea..... If you go, I would give this place my warmest recommendations!! The food was delicious and well cooked and it had a very romantic atmosphere ;))

La Bella Italia!!
The fishing theme of this village was not hard to spot ;))
I give you: Camogli!
A gorgeous little lighthouse on the pier
Lots of doves....
An appetizer on the pier
Me walking up to Ristorante Rosa
I LOVE mussels....and their mussels were very good!
A local speciality.... Panzotti - a pasta with nuts. Soooo good!!!
The magical sunset....captured from the restaurant terrace...
A little beach in a nearby village called Zoagli...
....and I had some Gelati of course (...and yes I know, I look a bit like a horse in this pic ;))
Stunning sunsets!!

Ciao for now ;))

One chapter of my life is over.....another one is about to begin!

Whoa.....where do I even begin to tell you all I want to tell you? 
The Tea team....through a tea pot ;))
Just in case you are a new reader, allow me to quickly summarize the situation: I am in the process of moving from the German part of Switzerland to the French part. I have a new job here and I start TOMORROW! Chris also has a new job, but he starts a bit later.... I am now living in a temporary flat and am trying to familiarize myself with the area ;))

It's been a tumbling couple of weeks with "Goodbye's" and tomorrow a new chapter begins, one of "Hello's". Let me first focus on the last chapter and the goodbye's. 

Beata, Xiao and Oliwa <3
During my over 5 years with the great FMCG giant, Unilever, I said goodbye to it last Wednesday. It has without a doubt been the richest (work related) learning experience of my career so far! It is actually very scary to leave such a structured and opportunity rich company and my network there behind, but sometimes, when routine gets hold of me, I feel the need to yet again try my wings.....and hence, I'm now flying on to a new challenge! 

I was surprisingly sad during my last couple of weeks.....but not because of leaving the job itself, all though I must say it has been great in so many's just hard to say goodbye to the people and naturally, some are harder to say goodbye to than others. 

At Unilever, I had my first real line manager job and the hardest goodbye was to my lovely team!!! We had a beautiful dinner together on my last day and no words can really describe how much I will miss these amazing ladies! I have been so lucky as if you think about it, I was managing a team of only ladies, 4 of them in fact (one is missing here), and that's not really supposed to work flawlessly, but it always did. We were really a TEAM, always supporting each other and cheering each other on.

 ...and now to the Hello's and the new chapter of my life!
We came to Rolle, where my new job is located, on Sunday evening and have been exploring the area since then. It has so far managed to exceed ALL our expectations and we are so so happy with this decision. The surroundings here are magical and all though we have chosen to live in a little village in the country side, it is still so close to everything!! 25 minutes to Lausanne and 35 minutes to Geneva - the perfect solution.... 

We found out that very close from here, there is, among many other shops, a big shopping outlet (already visited of course ;)) and an IKEA. Now both of these are potential dangers to my wallet..... If you are a Swede living abroad, you will probably realize that when I say IKEA, I'm not referring to its furniture, but rather the Swedish food shop!!! Now the cupboards in my temporary flat are fully loaded with Swedish goodies and food and I'm as happy as a clam! 

Yesterday, we went for a hike from Rolle up (yes, it's up the mountain) to our new home just to see how long it would take to get there and to explore the surroundings. We had an amazing day and it is actually quite difficult to fully digest the fact that we will live in these magical surroundings!!! We had a short break, sitting down in the grass, soaking in the spectacular view of Lac Leman and I snapped some photos to show you (here on the left side)....
Today I did the same route again with my bike and now I know that it will take me a between 1-1.5 hours to walk home from work and around 30-40 minutes by bike. It is NOT "a walk in the park" but a perfect cardio exercise that I can have every day when it's not snowy. It is only 6.8 km's, but with a climb of 345 meters and in some places it is very steap which I especially felt while on the bike! I can of course also extend the route..... Phhheeewwww ;))

I must say that Romandie has been showing itself from its best side so far. The weather has been stunningly beautiful, the people are smiling, laughing and have been really really friendly to us! I don't speak French (yet), but so far that has not been a big issue....but I fear this will be my biggest challenge in terms of integration ;)) I don't speak fluent German either, but at least I understand 90% of it..... Of French I understand close to nothing..... 

Down by the lake here in Rolle, there are many nice little restaurants and we have found the most important things like groceries, bakeries etc. We also found the little harbor from where we can take the ferry to cross the lake. I must admit that after nearly 3.5 years since my last big move, I had forgotten how amazing it feels to have the luxury of being able to explore a new area like this, knowing you will be living here...having a life here and wondering what that life will be like....hoping....dreaming....enjoying and of course, experiencing!

Tomorrow, I start my new job and it's a mix of butterflies and excitement!! Wish me luck ;)) 

I will try to keep the updates coming frequently, but as I will probably have less time on my hands, it might be that you get more than one post in one evening and then nothing for a while again!! Apologies for this in advance....

Hope to see you here again soon!!


Aug 26, 2011

The Weepies - Living in Twilight

I wanted to share this song with you as it is one of my all time favorites and it very well describes my current mood after this past week..... Such a beautiful song! Hope you enjoy it...

"Living In Twilight"
 You look darkly on the day
With memories to light your way
A little sad but it's all right
We are always living in twilight

No one knocks upon your door
Until you don't care anymore
A little alone but it's all right
We are always living in twilight

Living in a dream, walking in between the sunrise and sunset
Living in a dream, walking in between sunset and sunrise

You get tied up in your day, so I let go and walk away
And now we're loose ends of the night
We are always living in twilight

So it goes, though no one knows you like they used to do
Have a drink the sky is sinking toward a deeper blue
And you're still all right
Step out into twilight

So I stumble home at night
Like I've stumbled through my life
With ghosts and visions in my sight
We are always living in twilight"


Aug 17, 2011

Happy 2nd Blog Birthday!!!

Wow! Time flies and it is again time to celebrate the 2nd birthday of this blog (belated)!!! 

To align to the blogging tradition, here is a reflection of my second year as a blogger (the past year in review if you will):

Blog Birthday: August 7th 2009
Number of posts: 298 (this is 299)
The first post:
The most fun post to write (for some strange reason, I like to share embarrassing stories about myself):
The post I'm probably the most proud of: 
Since the last blog birthday, I have...
....tried downhill skiing for the first time ever!!
....managed to finally get my PADI Open Water Diver Certificate
My little niece, Cindy
....celebrated the 1st B-day of my little niece and God daughter and she has started to walk!!!
....bought myself a Mountain bike! A great investment... Thanks Chris for insisting =))
....climbed a tree for the first time in years (and it's still soooo childishly fun!!!)
....found myself a new and exciting job (still in Switzerland, but in the French speaking part, meaning that I will continue to feel pretty lost from time to time ;))
....found a new, great friend!! Nicole, I am so happy to be able to call you my friend!!!
....travelled to Sweden a few times, the Dominican Republic, Rome (twice!!), Poland (Warszaw and Katowice), Paris, Germany (diffrent locations) and last but not least - many places here in Switzerland...
....improved my photography skills and hope to further do so as I just invested in underwater housing for my Canon G10.
....baked a lot of Cupcakes (not to mention the eating of them)!
....spent countless of hours in the gym.
...learned a little bit of German (finally ;))
...."met" some really nice, new (to me) bloggers (they are on my list of blogs that I'm stalking ;)).
....had some of my very best friends come here to visit us.
....very spontaneously booked a trip to Italy this weekend that we will spend diving, enjoying fine Italian cuisine and watching at least a couple of sunsets.

The Facebook fan page for this blog has grown from last years 155 to this years 223 followers!! THANK YOU!!

....and last but certainly not least, I am still very much in love 

In other words, it has been another amazing year!
The last year in retrospect......
Thanks to all of you who have been following and reading my blog... Thank you for all your comments, kindness and amazing support! I love to interact with you and you are the reason and motivation that keeps this blog going. I hope that you will continue to stop by. As long as you do, I will continue to blog ;))


Aug 7, 2011

The weekend in photos (5-7th of August)

I made a Swedish classic on Friday as a starter - "Toast Skagen" 
Chris and I with our lovely dinner guests...such a fun evening!!
.....and Chris made a sparkling dessert!!
Mango sorbet mit frozen Raspberries and Mango Vodka turned into a very nice (but strong!) drink once slightly melted ;))
Sunday dinner with Chris's dad.... Food and chatting! Lovely!
We had Grilled Shrimps and Sea Salmon with a Couscous salad...
...and here the dessert. A little experiment I made yesterday. It's a White chocolate and Raspberry cake.
....the rain came in the evening, but now it looks like this!
....and this is the current view from our terrace. So lovely!
Another great part of the weekend, from which I unfortunately don't have any photos, was the Brunch this morning with Chris's siblings at Beda Kafi......absolutely delish!!!! If you live in the area of Schaffhausen, I sincerely recommend it. The waffles are my favorite ;)

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!!

Letting go......

The time has let you go, to give you up.
Soon it will all be over! We only have 13 precious days left together and the closer I get to the end, the more I am realizing what you have meant to me.......the learnings, the laughs, the togetherness, the love, the occasional confusion, the routine, the fall-outs and disagreements, the passionate discussions, the challenges, the successes and at times, even tears. 

Over the past few years, I found my comfort in you when I had no one else by my one close by to truly rely on. You are my "child"....we have grown together. I have nurtured you and you have given me so much satisfaction at time whilst constantly pushing me forward, urging me to do better, climb higher and not settle for the status quo.
You have also, at times, annoyed the living hell out of me...bored me.....angered me and consumed an unreasonable amount of hours of my all fairness, to give a realistic balance to our story, that should also be said!

Now I'm giving you up....handing you over to someone else....someone who does not love you the way I do and it is heartbreaking on a level where I never thought heartbreak was possible.

My job: I never realized, but I will really miss you ;)))
I hope your new caretaker will be as passionate about you as I have been and I hope that my new job will manage to replace some of the building blocks in my life that I will now loose by letting you go as I'm off to a new beginning. Thank you.....

from an unreasonably sentimental:

Aug 2, 2011

Ooops! I did it again....

Fellow Cupcake Lovers,
Have you ever found yourself un-deliberately baking Cupcakes? I mean....just very spontaneously? That's what I just did. Like one minute I was working....the next minute I had shut down for the day and 30 minutes later I had a full rack of Cupcakes in front of me, ready for cooling and decorating. The recipe was also quite spontaneous, just using what I had at home and the great thing is I used the same batter and the same frosting base and then after split into two flavors..... Easy-cheesy and very good taste and texture!!
Here is the result and the recipe.

Vanilla Cupcake
Vanilla Cupcakes
250g butter (chopped)
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
2 ¼ cups white flour
¾ cup milk

1 tablespoon milk

Nutella and Pistachio Cupcakes
Nutella and Pistachio Cupcake
Same recipe as above, but add Nutella and chopped pistachios to the batter and stir properly.

Cream Cheese Frosting
100g cream cheese
60g butter (room temperatured)
5 dl's of powder sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of vanilla powder  
Food coloring of your choice and amount
Sprinkles or other decorations of your own choice

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place the cupcake liners on the baking tray 
(this recipe made roughly 16 Cupcakes). Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, until pale and creamy.
Add the eggs, one at a time and also beat in the vanilla and milk. 
Lightly fold the flour into the creamy mixture and then add the baking powder.
Put the batter in the liners gently. I would say filled to half makes a good size.
Bake in the lower part of the owen for around 20 minutes and then place them on a wire rack to cool for about 1 hour.
Once your cupcakes are cooled down, you can start the decoration. I used red food coloring for the vanilla cupcakes and used small, round, multi-colored sprinkles as decoration. For the Nutella and Pistachio ones, I used the base frosting recipe above without any additions or color and sprinkled with chopped pistachios.


Aug 1, 2011

A hike among the clouds - Appenzell

Coucouuuu Dear Readers! Hope you all had a sunny weekend! At least in your minds ;)

It's Monday and the Swiss national day, which means that in Switzerland, we are off today..... So first of all: Happy Birthday Switzerland!!

Yesterday we went on a lovely hike in the Appenzell region with Chris's family. It was a wonderful day!! Unfortunately, the sun didn't feel like accompanying us, so the photos don't really do the feeling of hiking justice, but all though we had lack of visibility, it was really great walking amongst what felt like the clouds.  Also, the air was soooo fresh!! Thanks to Danny and the iPhone app called "Run Keeper", I now know that the hike was 7.75 km's with a climb of 1004 meters and excluding the breaks (it's a must while hiking to sometimes stop and seep in the beauty of the landscapes and of course, to have some refreshments ;)), the hike took us 2 hours and 35 minutes. Not that I was ever really in doubt, but now I know for sure that I have to get myself an iPhone ASAP!! ;))
Choosing paths... 
At the start of the hike, we had a lovely little brook on the side of our path. 

Stopping for refreshments at Sämtisersee

At the top
It was VERY muddy on the way up!

The view from the Bergbahn on the way down...
After the hike, we made a stop in the little charming town of Appenzell where we had some drinks at one of the many sweet little cafes. We also bought some regional specialities, like chocolate and cookies and also managed to find a new favorite cheese in a little cheese shop.
My mouth is watering.... I love Swiss cheese!!!

I'm telling you.....the cheese on the right is to die for =p

Typical Appenzell style of houses
The perfect day!!

Now continuing the celebrations on this much needed day off with some relaxation while consuming some of the stuff we bought yesterday and hopefully, finishing off with some nice fireworks in the evening ;))