Fighting the overdue blues – with baking!

Baby is now officially overdue and I am getting really bored. Today I decided to combat this by baking cheesecake – the German kind.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the anglophone version of cheesecake – non-baked, biscuit base, nice and creamy. But there are many fond childhood memories associated with the traditional baked Bavarian cheesecake. Some people put fruit in it – those people are wrong and you should shun their cake-based opinions. It really works best with Vanillepuddingpulver. You can use something like Dream Topping or Angel Delight, but it’s not the same. German “pudding” is boiled milk with flavourings and starch; there is no gelatine involved and usually no eggs – it’s like milk jelly and absolutely delicious.

If you are lactose intolerant or vegan I’m sorry to say this recipe is definitely not for you – it uses four different types of dairy!

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan oven).

Dough:

200g plain flour

75g butter

45g sugar

1 egg

1 tsp baking powder

Mix together. This is very crumbly – that’s okay. Press it into a prepared 26cm springform.

 

Filling:

500g quark (fromage blanc or skyr could work too if you can’t find quark)

125g sour cream

250ml milk

140g sugar

110ml oil

2 eggs

1 pack vanilla pudding powder / similar

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Blend together. This is entirely liquid, so assemble your cake as close to the oven as you can – you don’t want to carry this around!

Pour the filling into the form and pop into the oven. It takes about 45min or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Be careful when you take it out – it will still be wobbly and needs to cool down to set.

And there you have it! One delicious German cheesecake.

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Baby update – 37 weeks and term!

It’s now term time and I’m about ready for baby to come out! Since it is half German, I’ve informed baby that there are two options: being early or being on time. I’m not sure the message got through though… so we play the waiting game!

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How far along?
37 weeks 1 day
Baby is now:
about 3kg and about 33cm
Total weight gain:
8kg
Sleep:
Good when I can get it, but it’s difficult to find a comfortable position to fall asleep in.
Exercise:
Personal trainer once a week and the occasional walk.
Mood:
Excited.
Cravings/Aversions:
Not really – it’s been a fairly boring pregnancy regarding cravings.
Symptoms:
Sore back, sore belly – just all round soreness now.
Missing:
Sleeping on my stomach and getting out of the tub easily.
Movement:
Lots and lots – but always hiding as soon as I get the camera out.
 Maternity Clothes:
All the time.
 Worst Moment of the week:
Washing machine vibrations throwing a glass off the sink, causing it to break.
Best Moment of the week:
Finishing the “must do before baby” list.
Looking Forward to:
Baby!

Finally, a hobby room

I thought it would never happen! It’s still not 100% (or even 80%, I think), but it’s usable, it doesn’t look awful and I feel I can show it off!

Remember this was a room of disaster. There was a giant ugly nineties built in wardrobe that stank of smoke and used about five times the amount of screws necessary – it was clearly a home construction. Behind that we revealed two alcoves and a whole lot of damp plaster falling off the walls. The floor was smelly ugly carpet and all the wallpaper was incredibly tough to get off. This room really tested our limits!

 

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That wardrobe though…

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About three hours into wardrobe removal

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dramatic…

When the plastering finally was done, we laid new flooring, as getting the original flooring repaired would have been extortionately expensive and taken several months due to broken bits.

But now! Now the room looks like this:

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Upon entering, you see the two desks and the lovely sunny view. The little alcove is now shelving and will probably receive a third little shelf at the top.

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On the left wall is my fabric stash, a chest of drawers full of sewing and crafting materials, some books, all our sheet music and most of our instruments.

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On the right is the computer desk, office materials and pin board.

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This is still the messiest corner. The sofa pulls out into a double guest bed. The incredibly wonky wardrobe is a leftover from previous tenants and currently holds all my LARP costumes, wigs, armour etc. We’lll eventually replace it with a newer, higher wardrobe that doesn’t loom over the sofa like that and which has door that actually close, but it will do for now.

 

We both spend quite a lot of time in here now and I have to say I love it! It gets sunshine (or at least daylight) all day long thanks to facing south-east.

 

The banister and maternity leave

Work had gotten increasingly stressful – as it does – and I was really struggling. Then in the last few days things started to escalate: trouble at parents’ evening, impending inspection and then yesterday pupils actually physically fighting in my classroom. For the first time in my life I reached my limit – shaking, heart racing, sorting out my next class before hiding in the staff room for a short, hysterical cry. Luckily my amazing colleagues clocked on immediately and ordered me to go home. I went to the doctor and have been signed off to start my maternity leave early. While it makes me feel like a failure as an employee and colleague, as a human being I am immensely relieved. I slept better than I have in weeks and am now ready to tackle everything left to do in the house!

When I last updated I said the shoogly banister was finally about to be replaced. Just a reminder of the hideousness that was:

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Just plywood and horror. NOW however…

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How gorgeous is that? And most importantly it is properly anchored in the ground and does not shake precariously when touched. It still needs to be painted, but that’s a small thing. It just opens up the hallway so much and there is much more light in the actual staircase. It still makes me smile every time I see it 🙂

 

 

All and nothing

That’s what it feels like I’m doing at the moment! I only have 23 working days left before my maternity leave, but there is so much still to do at school in those that it will probably be over before I know it. At the same time there is almost nothing happening in the house – when I get home I am so tired I just have dinner and crawl into bed!

Hopefully we’ll be able to give an update on the upstairs landing soon though. The terrible banister we have at the moment *should* get replaced this week. It currently looks like this:

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I never even bothered to paint it because I knew we were going to replace it. All walls were that dusky purple at the bottom and a colour that can really only best be described as dead flesh on the top…

And here is why it’s getting replaced:

Yep, that’s in no way actually fixed into the floor and therefore totally pointless for babygates! Plus it doesn’t actually look very nice at all. So fingers crossed it will all work out this week.

 

Pregnancy away from family

House things are somewhat taking a bit of a back seat, although there is still a long list of things that need to be done before baby gets here. But today I wanted to share my musings on something that is inevitable as an emigrant – pregnancy far away from family.

My closest relatives are my mother’s uncle and aunt, but even they live a three hour drive away and are on holiday a lot. My sister lives in Wales. Everyone else is either in Germany or in the States. My husband’s parents live in Edinburgh, which isn’t too far, but still an hour away. Those are his closest relatives.

I went to boarding school and therefore am pretty used to not being around my family. However, as we get further into this pregnancy, I find myself often wishing some of my family lived closer, particularly my mum. It seems like such a cliche, wanting your mum when you’re pregnant, but she’s – well, mum!

My mother is an amazing woman. She had me and my sister relatively young and then went to university to become a doctor when I started primary school. She has always relentlessly worked for us and supported us, in a wonderful no-nonsense loving way. I value her advice and opinion and I love snuggling with her, even at 28.

She had planned to come over near the baby’s due date, but due to various complications it’ll probably be later and maybe not at all. That’s okay, she’s got a job and a life and things that need taking care of. At the same time I really hope it works out. As we start our own family, I want our baby to fit into my existing family, to get to know them and love them. That’s immensely difficult over such long distance. I’m lucky, really: at least it’s all still within Europe and a day’s travel at most for anyone.

The considerations continue when I think ahead to the future. Many of our friends here who have had babies already rely heavily on their family to help out with child care. We won’t be able to do that – my husband’s parents have a variety of health issues that mean they are not mobile enough to help out and they are the closest relatives. What that means is that friends will step up to the plate. We have so many wonderful friends who truly feel like family to me and I know we will be okay. We will go to see family and they’ll come to visit us. And yet there’s a little bit of me that’s just sad I won’t be able to just pop round to my mum’s with the baby, my gran’s with the baby etc etc.

I knew that this is the way it would be, of course. I’ve lived abroad for over ten years now. But the bittersweetness of starting a family without your family was not a reality until now. I’m very glad the internet exists and contact is easy. I suppose this just makes every time I do see them in person that much more special.

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At my wedding