Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Beauty of Switzerland - Zug with my Montpellier bestie

Last weekend my best friend from my language stay in Montpellier visited me. We met three years ago and had a lot of fun in the south of France.

We try to meet up regularly and now she was finally able to come visit me for a whole weekend.
I picked her up at the train station in Zug Saturday morning. Then we walked through the city, explored the area by the lake and had lunch there. That’s when it started to rain. Thankfully it stopped again and I showed Evelyn more oft he old town and then we stopped at a store. It’s my mum’s friend’s store. She makes wonderful glass bowls, angels, butterflies and much more. We stayed in the store for quite a while and just talked about the world. She also offered us a refreshing drink.
Then we went back home, had a coffee and I showed Evelyn around a little bit. For dinner I thought it would be great to make Sushi, so we did. She has never tried it before, so we had lots of fun. After dinner we got changed and took the bus to the city. We had our yearly party with fireworks going on. At first I thought it would be nice to watch the firworks from the mountain, but I was not in the mood to drive, so I decided to go down to my favourite spot by the lake. We saw a beautiful sunset and a great firework after. We also had time to catch up properly, which was great. Getting back home was interesting, because there were not enough buses, we made it though.

The next morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny day. After breakfast we drove up to Zugerberg and I showed her the school. We walked around the big campus and enjoyed the view down to Zug. I can never get enough of this view and I’m so grateful and happy that I can enjoy it every day at work. We cooked lunch at home, before going down to the city again. With the “mandatory” Starbucks drink we walked to the lake. By the lake we have this grey block, you can go in there and see the fish under water. There were only some small fish, nothing interesting ;). Since it was such a beautiful day, we decided to go on a pedalo ride on the lake. It’s great to see the city from a different perspective. The time on the lake was really relaxing. After walking to the other end of the city along the lake, we stopped at a restaurant and enjoyed a drink.

This was an awesome weekend, with a great friend and I have to say once again, that I live in a beautiful place.

The perfect start to my holidays!!!

@ Hafen Restaurant
View from Zugerberg

Promo Blitz - LITTLE SACRIFICES by Jamie Scott

How much would you risk to stand up for your beliefs?

When Duncan and Sarah Powell move with their daughter, May, to Savannah Georgia in 1947, they hope against hope that they’ll be welcomed. But they’re Yankees and worse, they’re civil rights advocates almost a decade too early.

At first May can pretend they’re the same as everyone else. It means keeping quiet when she knows she should speak up, but it’s worth the sacrifice to win friends. Unfortunately her parents are soon putting their beliefs into action. And when they wake to find that they’re the only family on the block with a Ku Klux Klan cross blazing on their front lawn, the time comes for them to finally decide between what’s easy and what’s right.

Kindly Note: This is not a Rom Com like Michele Gorman's books under her own name. It's an atmospheric coming-of-age novel set in the 1940s segregated American South and contains adult themes that some readers may find uncomfortable.

Monday, 29 June 2015

The Secret Power of Books by Pat Elliott

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Today as a guest on the lovely Simona's blog, I thought we could talk about the Secret Power of Books.

Did you know books have Secret Powers?

I don't mean the type where you swish a wand and say 'abracadabra'. No, the Power is more subtle than that. I believe each and every one of us who reads, has fallen under at least one spell.
The Secret Power is the sentence, the phrase, the paragraph that changes your life forever.
You'll know it when you read it – and it's different for everyone.

The first book that did this for me was a gift from an Irish cousin of mine. He was over visiting England, we were walking around the sports track in the local park, talking. When he left, he gave me a book, 'Cry, the Beloved Country' and he wrote a few words of dedication in it.
It's a Penguin Modern Classic, David signed it Christmas '84 … and I have it still, sitting beside me. That's 31 years later. The pages are foxed, but the love contained in the book and the gift are as clear and strong as the first day it was given to me.

So the words in this book which held the Secret Power and changed my life?
Set in apartheid Africa, an old country priest whose son had murdered a white man during a burglary was introduced to a lawyer, Mr Carmichael. As they were talking, the lawyer mentioned he would take the case 'pro deo'
When he left the room, the priest turned to a friend and asked how much would this great man cost, who took the case?
It was explained that in the old days of faith, taking a case 'pro deo' meant taking it for God. Which meant it cost nothing to the human who was being defended in court.
The old priest was stunned when he was told this; that a man should take a case for God and not charge him. He turned his face away and wept, never having met such kindness.

Now that struck a chord in me – and in my life, I try to be kind, so that one day, someone might think they had never met such kindness.
All because of the Secret Power of Books.

The phrase 'pro deo' has fallen out of fashion – but to my mind, kindness should never fall out of fashion.

There have been other books, other spells, but this was my first. It changed my life. 

I would love to know – not if – but what book changed something in your life.
Tell us in the comments below. Please.
If someone has performed an act of great kindness to you, unexpectedly – tell us that too.
Thank you for reading, thank you for commenting. 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Love Shack – by Jane Costello

Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb:

Life's great when you're 29 years old with a gorgeous girlfriend and fulfilling job. Until you have to move back in with your mum . . .

Dan and Gemma have found their dream first home, but the asking price is the stuff of nightmares. The only way they'll ever save enough for the deposit is by moving in, rent-free, with Dan's mum.

It's a desperate solution, but it's only for six months. And Gemma's determined to
make it work, no matter how bad things get.

But between Dan's mum's kitchen karaoke, her constant innuendos, irrepressible argumentative streak and - worst of all - her ham and pineapple curries, life back at home would test the patience of two saints. Which Dan and Gemma most definitely are not.

Then, as they're trying to convince themselves it will all be worth it, Gemma's past comes back to haunt her. And suddenly the foundations of their entire relationship are shaken to their core…

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Oh look, it’s another Jane Costello book, yay!!! I love Jane’s books and her writing, so I couldn’t wait to dive into this one.

The story follows Dan and Gemma, a young couple who is looking for their perfect dream house, but that is not easy…

Everything is so expensive or just not what they want. They fall in love with Pebble Cottage and the only way they can come up with the deposit is selling everything and moving in with his mum. Dan is NOT thrilled and their everyday life changes dramatically. They don’t have any couple time and his mum has her drama as well.

On top of that Gemma’s past is going to haunt her, in form of her ex Alex. Let’s just say Gemma spends time with him and gets confused.
There are also issues about the cottage, connected to other people who are interested and the owners.

The Love Shack is a real test for Gemma and Dan’s relationship. They go through a lot and also get to know each other from a different side. It includes their careers, their love, their families and much more.

The storyline is gorgeous and cute. It’s written in alternate chapters, so we get to experience both Gemma’s and Dan’s feelings. I always love reading a story from a man’s perspective; it just gives you another insight.

Gemma and Dan are a great couple and wonderful characters. However, the character I loved most was Dan’s mum Belinda. She was so much fun to read about and she had her own story to tell. The thing that made me feel close to all characters was, that they were not perfect at all, so genuine and real.

Jane’s writing is great. Full of funny moments, although I have to say I didn’t have as many LOL moments as in Jane’s previous books. It’s a light-hearted, feel-good novel, combined with some deeper and soulful elements. Sometimes I wasn’t happy with Gemma and her actions and I felt that at times, the story didn’t really move, so I can only give 4 stars. It’s still a wonderful book, the catching spark was missing for me though.


My possible cast:

Gemma: Rachel Bilson

Dan: Adam Brody

Jane on Twitter: @janecostello

Saturday, 27 June 2015

My First Year of Teaching

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One year ago, I finished my studies at uni and got my teacher’s diploma and I also signed a
contract with the school I’m working for now.
It has been a long journey to find my right job, but a year later I have to say it’s the perfect fit.

It’s a private school and it’s bilingual. I love languages, so that’s huge for me. Half of the lessons are taught in German and half of them are taught in English, except for French of course, I teach that in French ;) I love the international atmosphere at work and I got to know so many great colleagues from all over the world.

In this school year I taught 5th and 6th grade, I am also the grade 6 classroom advisor. I have to say that this age group is the best fit for me. I really enjoyed teaching the 10 – 12 year olds. They are independent, clever and they are able to prepare presentations. It’s fun to challenge them with different tasks and exercises. I mostly teach them Math, German and French. For me it’s really important to engage the students and also let them have some fun with games and other things. I always start a lesson with a game connected to the subject. It's the best when you see they lights go on in their heads and they understand a topic. 

The students have been great this year, so nice, clever and they showed me several times, that they like me as a teacher and that they like my lessons. Being classroom advisor adds more duty of course. The contact with the parents and organising different events etc. It has been a lot of work, but I really enjoyed it. My colleagues have been a great support and help.

In the second semester I got the opportunity to take over the drama club after school. I rehearsed for a musical with the kids, which was a lot of fun. The performance was yesterday and the parents loved it (the kids skipped some parts, but nobody realized). 

My first year of teaching has passed so fast, I can’t believe it’s been a year! It has opened new possibilities for me and I really enjoy working at this school, with great kids, a wonderful team and beautiful surroundings.

I will miss my grade 6, they were an awesome class to start my teaching career with. Happy I will still see some of them at school, because they are going to a higher section on campus.
Looking forward to the next school year, with new kids and also some other subjects to teach.