*Booked* – ‘The Grownup’ by Gillian Flynn

The GrownupThe Grownup by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve never really read “ghost stories” but this seemed intriguing. I ended up loving this “quickie” of a book. The writing style was entertaining me from first to last line and the protagonist seemed like an acquaintance you just knew and felt comfortable with immediately by the way she thought about people and life. All the little twists made this such an enjoyable read!

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Merken

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*Booked* – ‘Lucky You’ by Erika Carter

Lucky You: A NovelLucky You: A Novel by Erika Carter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s a bit difficult for me to find the right words about this book & to explain why I gave it 3 stars (only). 3 stars is simply what I feel about this book, what I felt when reading it. While I do like Erika Carter’s writing style and the general idea for the story, I just don’t “feel” it. The characters seem a bit of a drag….being dragged through their often depressing lives, showing no development. There were only a few moments when I felt one or the other character would go through some kind of development, but in the end….they just didn’t. :/ I liked some of the interaction between them but overall, it felt like I was reading something dark & dirty (and not in the nice “dirty”-way) If this would have been a tv-series/movie I’d have it on just for the noise, doing something else on the side.

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*Booked* – ‘The sun is also a star’ by Nocola Yoon

The Sun is Also a StarThe Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ll give this book 3.5 stars.
First off, how beautiful is that cover art, I could just stare at it for a long time and feel content. Now on to the actualy story and my opinion. What I loved most about this book is the way the story is told. The POV-chapters switch from character to character (and each one gets their own little symbol on top of the page!) It just gives you that insight into each and everyone connected to the story, either by fate, coincidence or some other (dark) matter. Even the smallest characters on the side get their story told. It made me think and wonder about the people I encounter in my everyday life, made me want to look twice at each of them and learn their personal story (why are they happy or why are they angry today? Why is he/she in a hurry? Where does he/she need to go?). The scientific facts mixed with beautiful wording in special chapters matched both of the protagonists in such a wonderful way – it all fit perfectly together…….and THAT is where my problem with this book was in the end! I just found it all a bit “too perfect”, a fairytale that – for me – took this otherwise really cool story, about a day and fate of two people, out of the “real world” and into some fairy tale land where by countless coincidences everything magically falls into place. Don’t get me wrong, I can totally believe that through fate people are brought together in a special moment, but not several special moments and more, almost all in one single day. That bothered me in the end and so I 1.5 stars of the “perfect rating” 😉

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*Booked* – ‘The Tresspasser’ by Tana French

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad, #6)The Trespasser by Tana French

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was my first read of a “Dublin Murder Squad” story by Tana French – so even it is numbered as #6, you can totally enjoy this without having read the previous ones, as the story is not really connected to the other ones, but stands for itself. A murder happened and the protagonist Detective Conway is searching for who’s done it and why together with her partner Detective Moran.

I’ve never read a true detective novel before, and am happy this was my first because it was that good in my opinion. The protagonist is a lady who kicks ass, not so much in the physical sense but with her attitude – for some reason she reminded me a whole lot of Annalise Keating from ‘How to get away with murder’….I couldn’t stop picturing her in my head during dialogues and inner thoughts of the protagonist of this book. Furthermore, I enjoyed that the slow pace of the story, while the whole thought process of the detectives, as well as interviews of suspects and witnesses, were so detailed…I felt like a fly on the wall of an actual investigation! Even when I learned “who’s done it”, the story still kept me turning page after page because I wanted to know how it all played out.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book – 4 stars alone for the protagonist – so 5/5 it is!

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Smash*Book「Pretty Pink」Update #3

 This double page is very special to me: it’s about my baby daughter!

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I picked this double page to be all about my daughter, because it has the calendar on the bottom of the right page saying “A DAY TO REMEMBER”, so I circled her birthday with a heart.
In addition to that I used adhesive letters to add the birth-month (spelled in the german version with an “i” in the end) and her name, as well as “My Girl” and the meaning of her Japanese name (kanji 七海), “7 seas”

I took polaroids of her, as well as me with her & my husband with her to fill out the page on the left with that. I really like the little frames for the polaroids that I got from a friend. On the page to the right I only added a palm print of hers and will use the empty space to fill it with all the funny, witty, interesting things she’ll say once she can talk (more).

In the middle I attached a little wooden ’ema’ keychain I bought at a Japanese shrine that sort of specialises on wishes & prayers for a good upbringing and education of children.
Something I added in the middle to the “rings” of my smash book are little ‘song cards’ as I like to call them. Basically I got a little crafty and made cards that on the front are decorated according to the theme of the lullaby/children’s song, and have the song lyrics written on the back. They are all  in Japanese lullabies (except for the one on the bottom left which is just the Japanese version of “twinkle twinkle little star”).
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I can’t wait to fill the page on the right with quotes of all the things she says that I want to remember!

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Bookish『blogtober 2014』

Day 25 of blogtober2014 has me talking about books ❤

Your favourite book
Well, I really can not just name ONE favourite book. After all there are different genres, different languages, different moods I’m in to feel connected to a story etc. So I decided to make a little list of favourite books, yea?!

  • Children’s Books: Snow White & the seven dwarfs – my favourite fairy tale of all times since early childhood days
  • Young Adult: Das Lied der Träumerin by Tanya Stewner who usually writes children’s books, but has made a really good debut into the young adult genre with this book (unfortunately not translated into English yet).  It has music, love triangles, secrets, dark desires and a whole lot of “finding oneself” among the protagonists.
  • Dytopia: The Children of Men by P.D. James – Chilling, post-apocalyptic story that sucked me in from start to finish. So did the movie they made based on this book. I recommend both!
  • Women’s Fiction: Auf der anderen Seite ist das Gras viel Grüner by Kerstin Gier – If you could turn back time 5 years, would make the same decisions in your life, fall in love with the same person ??
  • Contemporary: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – A story with characters so strong and vivid, they will stay with you for a long time after you finished reading. At least that’s how it was for me.
  • Fantasy: The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers – A must-read for everyone who loves books, reading and the suspense & excitement of immersing oneself in a fantastic story.
  • (Japanese) Classic: Botchan by Natsume Sôseki – a humorous Japanese classic by my favourite Japanese author, and just because the male protagonists reminds me a lot of myself 🙂

 

Snowflake’s baby room tour (^_^)

We are finally done with moving & more importantly with setting up the baby room/nursery for our precious Snowflake. It’s turned out to be exactly as I pictured it in my mind all along, and so I decided to give you a little room tour in pictures (^_^)

Before we actually go into the baby room let me show you Snowflake’s swinging cradle standing in our living room right now.

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A newborn still sleeps a lot & I don’t want to be locked to the baby room all day having to put her down there only. This swinging cradle can be rolled to anywhere in the apartment really – so I can let Snowflake sleep in it and still take her with me into other rooms. This will also be rolled into our bedroom at night, so I can have her right next to our bed, watch her and feed her without having to run through the apartment. That black chair^^will later be put into Snwoflake’s actual room (you’ll see on the other pics)

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Right now Monchichi is test-sleeping in the cradle and I really like the duck-pattern bed sheets that came with it. Fits our blue living room curtains so well (and also our pink bedroom curtains)

!!!!! NOW ON TO THE ACTUAL BABY ROOM !!!!!

First up the lamp and curtain

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We basically have almost every piece of furniture in that room from IKEA – just like this cloud-lamp and the curtain with the playful pattern. I bought that 3 years ago with no actual use in mind and only rediscovered it during the move, but it goes perfectly well with her room and her playful/active personality she is showing in ultrasounds already 🙂

Let’s have a look at the corner to the right of the door (when you walk in) first

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We have some drawers, that black chair from the living room which will be there after the birth & the cloth diaper corner.But let’s have a closer look at some details, yea?!!
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Right next to the door is this owl hanger where Snowflake can put her coats and jackets later on. Beneath that we have the foot-part of the relaxing chair with my fabulous Boo Poo changing/diaper bag ❤ on top.Next is the drawer & a cute and colourful wall tattoo
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I ordered the wall tattoo at Klebefieber and you could choose size and even some colours I think, they custom make it then for you. We are not big on actually painting the walls so those tattoos are a great and easy way to bring some colour and playfulness to the room. The drawers were simply wooden style from IKEA, but I chose to get some rice-paper tape with cherry blossoms on it and make it more of an individual design for Snowflake. Really satisfied how my idea turned out there.You can see the books I chose for Snowflake so far on the top of the drawer. I want there to be books in her life right from the very beginning even if she can’t read/understand all of them right away. There is also my cross stitch work from more than 10 years ago, as I thought it fits the wall tattoo nicely.
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The blue bear one is a simple picture book, her FIRST book so to speak & it has a plush gerbil watching over the book, since we have real gerbils, too 🙂 The big colourful one is about mice living togethere in a house, and it has lots of parts where you can open up (the door or window for instance) and discover things. Along with a small storyline I can read at bed/nap time. It introduces colours, shapes, numbers etc, too. Then I put my favourite fairy tale book there: ‘Snow White’ along with a children’s story from a famous german children’s book author : ‘The Little Witch’ by Ottfried Preußler. Underneath there is a lovely illustrated book we bought in Iceland, telling the saga of the 13 Santas of Iceland who are all brothers and come to visit the children one by one each night leading up to christmas day. They sold it in different languages, even in German and I can’t wait for all the christmas-times to come so I can read it to/with snowflake!Moving on to the shelfs on the other wall of that corner (above the black chair)
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On the top shelf we have some boxes (ergo baby carrier for instance) and then plushie friends: pig-rabbit (from a korean drama series) I received from a korean friend, a little penguin we bought in Enoshima Aquarium, the owl that will turn into a blanket (bought last year in Japan) and a sheep that has a heating pillow inside it’s belly that you can simply heat up in the microwave and thus the sheep functions as a sort of hot water bottle, but more gentle and no direct heat (better for little ones). I received that from a scottish friend some years ago ❤

You also see the little violet owl music box hanging there. Since the changing table is next to the shelves it will hopefully help in keeping snowflake’s attention when she is fussy about getting changed.9
Here’s the shelves with our cloth diaper stash. I want to make a more detailed post about it later on, but basically we decided to go with the prefold system of cloth diapering. Thus you see the prefolds on top (most of them were used by me as a baby, my mother kept them all, washed and cleaned and handed them to me a few weeks ago – Thanks Mum!!!) On the lower shelves you see the covers (prefolds are put into those) & I just love all the different patterns. I ordered those from Stoffy-Welt. More details in another post somewhen. The cross stitching picture says: “comforted with love”The cloth diaper stash leads us to the changing table next to those shelves
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Again there is a huge owl there watching over Snowflake when getting changed. It’s also a wall tattoo.
I want to add that we didn’t go all owl-crazy because it has been a trend for the past years or something. Sure they are cute and I’ve seen lots of people using the owl theme for their nursery, but to us, the owls have another personal meaning. We connect them to our times in Japan, our favourite part of Tokyo to be exact: Ikebukuro, which sounds like “fukuro” which is the japanese word for owl. Therefore you see lots of owl things in Ikebukuro and when we see the owls in Snowflake’s nursery we think of that and want to tell her all about it later.
Anyways, the changing table is from IKEA as well, and we personally liked it more than the shelved ones they have. It’s standing safe and all, so no worries there!! You can also see the baby bath tub on the bottom^^^Next to the changing table we have the baby bed corner!
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Again it has owl-tattoos watching over our snowflake. The bed as well as the big green leaf and bed sheets are from IKEA as well. We really like the combination of natural wood colours & green (aside from some colourful spots of course) as a main “theme”Here is a close up of the paper cranes I folded and attached to the leaf as a sort of mobile-substitute (we didn’t want a real mobile) & the bed sheet design
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I simply used an old book I didn’t enjoy reading that much that I wanted to keep it, and tore off some paged to fold those paper cranes, then attached them to the leave hangin to on each string. No worries, none of them are directly over the head/face area of snowflake, and if she is tall enough to actually grab them (even with lowered bed) I can simply cut them all off – done 🙂

Next to the bed is a little corner where I put some toy already
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it’s a wooden wagon thingy, that helps toddlers to walk, so of course Snowflake won’t be doing needing that right away, but the wooden blocks there can be used to play before she can walk, love that they are all coloured differently. In general we want most of the toys to be wooden or some other organic material rather than plastic, so this is a start.

Oh you can also see the really thick second curtain that is a lovely nature-green and will darken the room during the day when Snowflake needs that (there is no direct sun going into that room until sunset really, but the windows are big and plenty so enough daylight to enjoy).

Next up is the play/crawling/spacious corner of the room
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These are tatami mats (made of bamboo) as they are used in Japan. We actually slept on those (with a futon obviously) all Japanese Style until I hit my 2nd trimester of pregnancy when it became uncomfortable to to the bump. Now that we moved we bought a “real” bed for us. We always knew that when we will have a child, the tatami mats are going in the child’s room as they make a perfect play/crawl area. tatami is very nice to sit on as it’s not as hard as the wooden floor, also not as “cold” as it keeps warm especially in winter. When you spread out a blanket it’s perfect for the baby to lay on there and maybe play underneath one of those arches (we don’t have yet), it’s sooo good for your back – I can tell from our own experience. I put a japanese chair in green on it that we bought in japan, for comfortable relaxing Snowflake will hopefully enjoy. I used the cut off part of the green thick curtains to make pillow covers there. Pillows come in handy when baby’s try to learn to sit up as they let themselves fall back a bunch of times first and with a pillow there you can catch them gently. It’s also making a cozy atmosphere really!

^^^You also see the rest of the owl tattoos places there as a little family. It’s supposed to be our family with Snowflake sitting on daddy’s hat, tehee. I wasn’t satisfied with just the blank white wall space above so I got some coloured paper, cut out some hearts, put them on a string and attached them to the wall. it’s raining hearts on the owl family 😀 they are fluttering a bit when you go by or open a window, so it’s suiting the play-area well!!

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Next to the tatami we have a white storage box perfectly for toddler’s (height) to store away more toys she’ll probably receive from family members. she can also use it to pull herself up when learning to stand or so.

You can already get a glimpse of more drawers in the back there that I made more cute with the cherry blossom rice paper, in the same fashion I already explained a few pics back with the other drawer 😉
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Aaaand here you see what we did with the space ABOVE those drawers^^^ I enjoy doing lots of handmade pieces of clothes for the baby lately (knitting/crochet etc) and I also received clothes from my mum that she kept from when I was a baby/toddler. I thought: “Wouldn’t it be just lovely to display them in a nice way, not just storing them away somewhere for no one to see”. This led us to the idea of a free hanging (metal) line where you can just hang up all the lovliest, sweetes, cutest, most precious pieces of clothes. In my opinion handmade stuff deserves to be displayed nicely and since we didn’t want a real warddrobe piece of furniture clogging up the room yet, it seemed like the perfect idea. Loving that display a lot!!!^^^

In the corner to the left of the drawers (the corner behind the door when it’s opened) is basically just used for storage, and we hung a green thingy from the ceiling that you also get from IKEA to put more plush toys and stuff in it. You can also see the highchair behind it which will come into use later.
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Also wanted to show you how I organised most of the inside of my drawers. We bought different sized little storage boxes and I sorted the onsies, rompers and all the other clothes into that^^^

Last but not least – our little wooden baby swing – Snowflake bear is testing it right now!
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We really liked the wooden design and that it’s not the usual swings (mostly with plastic) that you see in the shops. We think it fits our whole baby room & apartment furniture style well. Also liking the fabric pattern very much. It has little flaps so that you can turn it from a swing into a stationary 🙂

We really are in love with how our Snowflake room turned out. It’s an incredible feeling to stand in that room and imagining it to come to live once Snowflake arrives – something one year ago today we weren’t sure we’d ever get to experience (due to infertility).

Book of Life

My birthday is coming up and when it comes to birthday wishes of mine: I don’t really have any. My biggest wish & present is the one I’m carrying right below my heart every day. Since snowflake is with me, I can’t really think of anything for myself that I’d really really really want. Basically I want this pregnancy to go smoothly, but when it comes to material things, everything that comes to mind is baby stuff that I think of buying. So the birthday money will be used for that.

HOWEVER…I did buy myself a little (early) birthday present over which I stumbled online…

It’s a german book called: “My Book of Life” which you basically have to write yourself…well…more like filling it yourself. It’s filled with different questions on each page that are somewhat on a psychological level, and are supposed to make you think about yourself, your wishes, your life – it’s the idea to get to know yourself much better while filling out each page & answering those questions: ‘My dream of happiness’ – ‘Where do I feel home’ – ‘The nicest words said to me in the last year’ – ‘I want to let go of those thoughts’ etc…

So it isn’t a diary in the literal sense but you can sit down every day (or well, when you feel like it) and open up a random page and think about that question, then trying to fill that page with your answers – no matter if it’s written, drawn, pictures glued onto the page – whatever! Here are sample shots of two of those pages…(every page has a different layout, which mix things up and make it more…creative)

left picture: ‘have you become the person that you wanted to become?’ – ‘Which traits of the person you’ve been as a child can you still find in yourself today?’
right picture: ‘When, where, how, through whom have you experienced: peace, luck, happiness, serenity, wisdom, energy, concentration, security…?’

I’m looking forward to spend some time thinking about those interesting questions & maybe even get to know myself & my life a little bit better through it 🙂