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Yours *TrulyJuly*

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Letting nature do as nature intended: Oxford Port Meadow is an untouched piece of green that invites animals as humans alike to enjoy the freedom of roaming by guess and by golly.


The beautiful views over Oxford Port Meadow.

The beautiful views over Oxford Port Meadow.


Oxford Port Meadow is a typical English flood-meadow reserved for giving space to the Thames for overflowing. History has it that it is the Freemen’s collective right to graze their animals free of charge, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, and exercised ever since. Also residents living alongside Port Meadow can keep a cow and a horse on the meadow for free.


It’s a beautiful spot to interact with free spirited animals who can do as they wish:


Swallows fly:


Geese are chilling:


A calf says hello:


The horses come to visit:



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The Oxfordshire Museum

The Oxfordshire Museum


Taking a stroll around Woodstock we discovered The Oxfordshire Museum.


With only a short time to spare I couldn’t resist to check it out: Like all national museums in England, it is free, so there’s nothing to lose.


To be honest, I was intrigued by the giant dinosaur sporting the poster advertising for the museum at the entrance. I went in on a mission to find it.


So I rushed through the galleries, taking in a brief impression and ended up seeing everything on offer in only 10 minutes.


It’s worth it. The museum features collections of the market town of Woodstock and its industries, local historic finds, treasures, building means, art, archaeology, skeletons, costumes, the lifestyle of Victorian times, the woodlands and wildlife relating to the county of Oxfordshire.


And yes, it has got a dinosaur gallery. But nowhere did I manage to find the dinosaur from the poster.


At the front desk I was advised to check out the dinosaur garden. And to my great surprise it was indeed there: The dinosaur.


And that was it! Some dinosaur footprints and this one dinosaur.


The one dinosaur in the dinosaur garden.

The one dinosaur in the dinosaur garden.


Besides the poster overpromising the one attraction that is only it, the museum is a lovely little informative place to spend 10 minutes in.


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Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire

Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire


The ticket price for Blenheim Palace is: Adult £27.00. The park alone is: Adult £16.00.


But if you’re a local you know a shortcut to get in for free.

An unsuspicious gate that doesn’t even open straight forwardly is one of the hidden accesses that lead to the park premises.


Many locals find their way to the weekend picnic this way with no interest in the glamour of the palace.

Lovely views await that should be open to the public or at least the locals anyway.


I think that’s why it’s not forbidden per se.

Any path that leads close to the palace shows warning signs about having to pay entrance. You can ignore it at the risk of being found out.


In the meantime you can enjoy a wonderful stroll in lush green landscapes with Harry Potter ancient trees, quacking and hissing geese, lovely ponds and pools with big fish.


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Christ Church in Oxford

Christ Church in Oxford


Visiting family in Oxford we thought about what touristy sightseeing activity we could do despite having a great time together.

Researching various options I found an event I thought could be a special experience:


The Choral Evensong at Christ Church, Oxford


After a lovely family dinner, which we enjoyed so much that we ran a little late, it got a bit tight getting there in time.

We managed to find parking close by the pedestrian zone, but still had to rush to the cathedral.


A small inconspicuous side entrance was guarded by a smartly traditionally dressed commissionaire, who didn’t look like he’d be letting in any tourists.

I asked how to get to the evening mass and he replied in a very heavy and posh British accent to go straight on.


We crossed the lovely inner courtyard flanked all around by beautiful sandstone buildings forming a square of tranquillity in the heart of Oxford.

Again I would have never found the way to the actual cathedral, the entrance was very humble for the glory that awaited inside.


But we had no time to appreciate it, as we were ushered to a free short pew near by: What a coincidence there were exactly 3 seats next to each other available in the middle row. Otherwise the church was full!

Everything was totally unfamiliar to us, as we’re protestant. We were just glad we made it. Even though it looked like we got seats on the back bench.


To our very surprise however it turned out we had landed the best spots:

When the choir entered, they sat right next to us! And even better: The lector was right to our other side where one of the pulpits was situated.


Right away the choir started with a lengthy performance of 3 psalms. It was intense.

The choir was halved in two, who sat opposing each other divided by the long corridor that lead to the altar.

In regular intervals they took turns between each other in the sing song of the biblical texts.
In addition some parts were recited by only tenor and bass, while others were held by only the soprano.
It was magnificent.


At the same time it felt natural and human, the celebratory rituals of the Catholic Church were not stiff and forced, but executed with sincere devotion.

In the end some of the choir members were still young boys who hardly managed to glimpse over the bench, yet they sang so beautifully it brought tears to my eyes.

It was the quieter more humble parts that touched me to the core, alternated by the crescendo of a strong and powerful vibrancy that lifted my spirits.

The text was sung clearly and even though it’s hardcore Catholic Church doctrine there was solace in the reassurance of the words upraised with such passion.


The setting, the wonderful high arched architecture with colourful church windows, was not only great for acoustics but also for a meditative look inside oneself.

Especially as the priest situated in the middle of the church told pensive stories.

First a story of Abraham’s son Joseph who tells how great and merciful god is and that we must forgive each other.

The second story was of a farmer with two sons, who got property split between them. One squanders all, but realises he has sinned and returns. The father rejoices and celebrates, which angers the older son, who always worked hard in the field. His father explains: The other son was dead, now he’s back with the living. He was lost, now he has been found.

I’m not a religious person, but it’s almost impossible not to get touched with spirituality in such celebration of god.


For me this was truly a highlight of Oxford. Freely open to the public, this is simply a splendid experience.


It was of course not possible to record any of this amazing performance, so here a little impression about the choir:


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Heart Of Woodstock

Heart Of Woodstock


Woodstock is a small civil parish not far from Oxford.

Founded back in 1279 by Henry II it’s a quaint little Georgian market town worth a visit.


Walking along the main road is like travelling back in time:

The streets are lined with with golden stone period buildings, the main square boasts the 18th century Town Hall.

Stepping into the Macdonald Bear Hotel, one of England’s original 13th-century coaching inns, feels like a visit to England in the Middle Ages where Misses went to the powder room and bedrooms are haunted.

Continuing on to the Saint Mary Magdalene church gives an idea how small the parish is. The cemetery’s graves date back to Victorian times.

For a more in depth impression of the area and time The Oxfordshire Museum gives a quick overview.


Woodstock is ideal for a sunny afternoon stroll to take in history just like it was back then.


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April and Ratatouille are enjoying a steam bath.

April and Ratatouille are enjoying a steam bath.


When your pet rats get older, they need special care, from rich nutrition to medicine.

Ratties who suffer from respiratory illness can find relief with fresh moist air. A humidifier can help or a steam bath.

So do your oldies a favour and take them with you into the bathroom every time you shower: The hot air works like a steam bath and helps them to breathe better.


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easyJet is not really up to scratch with its currency exchange rate.

easyJet is not really up to scratch with its currency exchange rate.


It appears easyJet did not really get Brexit yet. Since Brexit the Pound has depreciated and fell to an eight year low since the financial crisis in August 2017.


The Pound is falling to parity with the Euro, but not so at easyJet: Here you have to pay 9 Euros for 7 Pounds, even though they’re hardly worth 8 Euros.


Cheap money making scheme or naive hope the Pound will still recover?



easyJet ist nicht so ganz auf dem neuesten Stand der Dinge.

easyJet ist nicht so ganz auf dem neuesten Stand der Dinge.


Bei easyJet ist Brexit wohl noch nicht angekommen, denn seit Brexit schwächelt das Pfund und hatte bereits im Oktober 2016 einen dreißigjährigen Tiefstand.


So fällt das Pfund fast auf Parität zum Euro, aber nicht so bei easyJet: Hier muss man für 7 Pfund 9 Euro bezahlen, dabei sind sie noch nicht mal 8 Euro wert.


Billige Abzocke oder naive Hoffnung, dass sich das Pfund erholt?


Ohne es zu bewerten.


Without judging it.



Oh nein, da kommen Wolken.


Die ziehen vorbei.


Oh weh, danach kommen schon wieder neue Wolken.


Auch die ziehen vorbei.




Bad design versus good design

Bad design versus good design


When rescue puppies Starsky & Hutch popped into our lives for fostering, they came with a bunch of dog accessories: a dog bed, bowls and toys.


While Rogz Bubble Bowlz work perfectly, I’m disappointed about their Slurp Bowlz.


I’m surprised they actually make such a bad design: The Slurp Bowls are wider on the top than the bottom. That supposed non-slip silicone base is of no help when your puppies step into the bowl.
Which they do, all the time!


Even when you put the water bowl in the furthest corner, secured on two sides by wall or furniture, they somehow manage to step into it. Let alone that they jump into it at most play sessions.


Our dog’s water bowl has a wide bottom and narrow top. Even when the puppies jump right into it, it stays put. When they step onto it, their paws simply slip to the ground along the curved outer surface. It serves as the communal water source, because it works so well.


As a back-up especially in hot weather, the Slurp Bowlz are in the bathrooms. Because they topple over all the time, the only place where I can keep them is our open plan shower, where it’s ok if water spillage occurs.


If you apply the good practice industrial design principle ‘Form follows Function’, you get to a result like this super practical, multi functional travel dog bowl: Poochie Bowl.


So do yourself a favour and watch out for good design in pet water bowls. A good start is to opt for bowls with a wide base. It can save you a lot of mopping and sweeping! 🙂


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ARD Radio Tatort: Task Force Hamm

ARD Radio Tatort: Task Force Hamm


Jeder echte Hammer muss einfach mal reingehört haben: Seit schon 10 Jahren läuft der ARD Radio Tatort, immer gut gemacht, immer spannend und immer lustig. Vor allem wenn’s der aus Hamm ist!



Südafrika - das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin

Südafrika – das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin


Also, Du musst halt vorbeikommen. Du kannst dem europäischen Winter entfliehen und stattdessen den Sommer auf der anderen Seite der Erde genießen, da kommst Du nach Südafrika.


Ich würd ja gerne, aber der Flug ist so teuer!


Ja, dann musst Du einen Weg finden, Geld zu machen, ganz im südafrikanischen Unternehmergeist.
Wie wär’s zum Beispiel eine Gruppe zu organisieren, die nach Südafrika reisen will und dort den Tour Guide zu machen?
Oder wie wär’s eins unserer Zimmer als B&B anzubieten und noch ein Touri Programm draufzusetzen?
Oder mit ein paar Jugendlichen ein ehrenamtliches Projekt durchzuführen?
Denk mal darüber nach, mit welchen Deiner Talente Du Geld verdienen kannst. Hier in Südafrika machen wir das jeden Tag. Das lernt man ganz schnell.


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South Africa - your dose of Sun Vitamin D

South Africa – your dose of Sun Vitamin D


Well, you just have to visit. You can escape the European winter and enjoy the summer on the other side of the planet, then you could come to South Africa.


I’d love to, but the flight is so expensive!


Then you need to find a way to make money in true South African entrepreneurial style.
How about organising a group who travels to South Africa and be their tour guide?
Or how about running a B&B for one of our rooms and planning some tourist programme?
Or recruiting several youth and starting a volunteering project.
Start thinking how you can use your skills to earn money. Here in South Africa we do that every day, you learn very quickly.


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My blog is growing exponentially. Thank you!

Halfway through the year I reached the same views as all of last year.


Blog stats of Yours *TrulyJuly* - halfway year mark

Blog stats of Yours *TrulyJuly* – halfway year mark


And that even though I’m doing everything wrong: My topics are rather random, but so is life.

The only consistency I manage to stick to is to write #ABlogPostADay.

And to keep a high level of quality according to Content Marketing good practices for creating VAC = Value Added Content.


I think it shows that anything we really focus on is bound to become a success. That should give any writer hope.

In addition it shows that there are lovely people out there who indeed take the time to read my writing. That gives me hope.


Thank you for finding this blog, for reading my posts and for liking and commenting!

And if you’re a fellow blogger: Keep up the good work! It’s worth it!


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South Africa - your dose of Sun Vitamin D

South Africa – your dose of Sun Vitamin D


So, you just have to visit, maybe next autumn holidays, then you could come to South Africa.


Ach, I don’t enjoy flying.


Well, by boat is a bit tricky.


Yes, I took a look: There’s no cruiseship going as far as I know.


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Südafrika - das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin

Südafrika – das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin


Ja, Ihr müsst halt vorbeikommen, vielleicht die nächsten Herbstferien, da kommt Ihr nach Südafrika.


Ach ich hab’s nicht so mit dem Fliegen.


Also mit dem Boot kommen ist schlecht.


Ja, ich hab’s mir schon mal angesehen: Eine Kreuzfahrt gibt’s da nicht hin.


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South Africa - your dose of Sun Vitamin D

South Africa – your dose of Sun Vitamin D


So, you just have to visit, maybe next spring vacation, then you could come to South Africa.


I took a look at a map: It’s not that easy. I mean, by car.


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Südafrika - das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin

Südafrika – das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin


Ja, Ihr müsst halt vorbeikommen, vielleicht die nächsten Osterferien, da kommt Ihr nach Südafrika.


Ja, ich hab’s mir mal auf der Karte angesehen: Also kommt man ja ganz schlecht hin. So mit dem Auto.


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South Africa - your dose of Sun Vitamin D

South Africa – your dose of Sun Vitamin D


So, you just have to visit, maybe next festive season, then you could come to South Africa.


I took a look at a map: It’s quite far. Like, with the bicycle.


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Südafrika - das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin

Südafrika – das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin


Ja, also Du musst halt vorbeikommen, vielleicht die nächsten Weihnachtsferien, da kommst Du nach Südafrika.


Ich hab mir das mal auf der Karte angeschaut: Also das ist ja ganz schön weit. So mit dem Fahrrad.


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Bleib mal sitzen.



Ok ich komme.


Was hast du denn jetzt an ‘Bleib mal sitzen’ nicht verstanden?



Ich hab kein Wort verstanden von dem was du gerade gesagt hast.




Ensure you have a Style Guide.

Ein Style Guide ist eine gute Sache.


Viele Unternehmen haben zumindest einen Brand Guide. Genauso wichtig ist der Style Guide.



Ein Style Guide determiniert die Sprache und das Layout, mit denen die Repräsentierung eines Image in allen Medien gewährleistet ist.


Für Brand Recognition ist es wichtig, immer die gleiche Präsentation der Unternehmenswerte zu verwenden, von offizieller Korrespondenz z. B. Briefe, PDFs zu Marketing Maßnahmen z. B. Poster, TV Spots bis hin zur Online Präsenz z. B. Social Media, Mobiseiten.


Aber mit so vielen gut geschriebenen Style Guides frei zugänglich im Internet erhältlich, warum dann selbst einen kreieren?



Weshalb einen personifizierten Style Guide:



Sie oder Du? Du klein oder groß? Vorname oder Familienname? Formell oder informell? Spitzname oder Titel? Individuell oder kollektiv? Abstrakt oder persönlich?



Neue Rechtschreibung, alte Rechtschreibung? Oder irgendwie was dazwischen? Wer ist die Zielgruppe? Wer soll die Audience sein?



Dass wir fehlerfrei schreiben sollten, ist klar. Aber Grammatikregeln sind nicht immer so klar. Der Style Guide kann genau klamachen, wie Fehler vermieden werden können und welche Grammatik in welchen Fällen anzuwenden ist.



Fett, kursiv, groß, klein, in Anführungsanzeichen, in Apostrophen, in Gänsefüßchen? Wie sollen wichtige Worte hervorgehoben werden?



Welcher Schriftzug die Firma repräsentieren soll ist entscheidend. Höchstens 2 verschiedene sollten eingesetzt werden für Lesefluß. Selbst der White Space zwischen den Spalten sollte definiert werden.



Ein Style Guide ist eine gute Möglichkeit die Themen zu bestätigen, die bevorzugt werden und umgekehrt: Welche Themen absolut Tabu sind.



Abkürzungen ja oder nein? Auf der einen Seite sieht’s faul aus, auf der anderen Seite spart’s Platz.



Wie sollen Produktnamen, Markennamen, Slogans, Überschriften in der Body Copy referenziert werden? Groß geschrieben stechen sie heraus. aber kleinschreibung sieht hipper aus.



Sogar auf das korrekte Beenden der Sätze muss hingewiesen werden. Eigentlich ist es recht simple: Sobald es ein vollständiger Satz ist, gehört da ein Punkt hin.
Aber Interpunktion ist so viel mehr: Komma, Semikolon, Doppelpunkt, Leerzeichen, Bindestrich oder Trennstrich oder Gedankenstrich,  Schrägstrich, AnführungszeichenKlammern (, ), [, ], <, >, {, }, )  … Soll ich weitermachen?


Datum und Uhrzeit

Die Möglichkeiten sind unendlich. Aber wenn man’s anders macht, gucken alle erstaunt.


Troublesome Words

Manche Begriffe haben keine klare Anweisung der Rechtschreibung, zum Beispiel: eBook versus e-book versus ebook versus Ebook. Welche Version ist die Norm?



Worte! Es gibt so viele davon. Im Style Guide kann das alles festgelegt werden:

–  An welchem Thema sich das Vokabular halt,

–  ob man simple oder fachbezogen schreiben sollte,

–  ob emotional oder konzeptuell,

–  einbezogen oder exklusiv,

–  positiv oder faktisch,



Ob innerhalb der Webseite oder in einen neuen Tab verlinken, dass die Links gesäubert werden: Der Style Guide sollte den Layout Plan für die Online Präsenz enthalten.



Barrierefreies Browsen ist ein Muss und Metadata kann ein einfacher Weg sein, den Standard zu erfüllen. Der Style Guide stellt sicher, dass Metadata korrekt ausgefüllt wird.



Der Style Guide listet alle für SEO wichtigen Keywords.



Ein weiterer Weg vom Style Guide Gebrauch zu machen ist Beispiele zu sammeln und zu erklären. Beschreiben und Regeln erstellen kann nur so viel. Authentische Beispiele anführen wie zu schreiben und wie nicht, machen den editorialen Stil klar.



Ein Style Guide spart Zeit:

In dem Moment, in dem mehrere Leute an einem Dokument zu Schaffen haben, muss einfach ein Style Guide her, um effektiv zusammen zu arbeiten: Alle wissen bereits, worauf sie achten müssen, das Proofreading geht schneller, es gibt keine Wiederholung der editoriellen Anweisungen und sollte doch etwas unklar sein, wird es eben hinzufügt.


Wie jede große Persönlichkeit sollte eine Marke einen distinktiven Tone & Voice anschlagen um gehört zu werden.

Ein guter Anfang eine Tonality aufzubauen ist, zu erkennen wie man sich von anderen Stimmen unterscheidet.

Diese Style Guides geben ein gutes Beispiel:

Zum Vergleich: Economist Style Guide

Gute Inhaltsliste: Wikipedia:Manual of Style.


Ensure you have a Style Guide.

Ensure you have a Style Guide.


Many companies at least have a brand guide. But just as important is a style guide.



A style guide sets out the language and format used to represent a company’s image throughout the media.


For brand recognition it’s crucial to consistently use the same presentation of company values from official correspondence e.g. letters, PDFs to marketing means e.g. billboards, TV ads to online presence e.g. social media, mobisites.


Of course, with so many well written style guides freely accessible around the internet, why go through the trouble and create your own?



Why you need a customised Style Guide:



First name or surname? Formal or informal? Nickname or title? Individually or collective? Abstract or personal?



That we should write without any errors is clear. But grammar rules are not always that clear. The style guide can give particular reference to staying clear off common mistakes and clear up for specific cases what grammar is preferred.



British English or American English? Who is your target group? Who do you want your audience to be?



Fat, cursive, in capitals, in quotation marks, in apostrophes? How do you want to stress important wording?



Choosing the font to represent your brand is crucial. Stick to one or two typefaces for readability. Even the white space between lines and paragraphs needs to be defined.



A style guide is a great place to confirm topics to focus on, and in reverse: To make absolutely clear what topics are taboo.



To use or not to use abbreviations? One the one hand it can look lazy. On the other hand it saves space.



How to refer to product names, brand names, slogans in copy? With a capital letter they stick out. But it can look hipper to write only in small letters.



Even making sure sentences are correctly ended with a full stop is often needed. But punctuation is so much more: Brackets and parentheses, Ellipses, Commas, Colons, Semicolons, Hyphens, Dashes, Slashes… Shall I go on?


Dates and Times

The possibilities are endless. Yet, if you get it wrong, your audience will be puzzled.


Troublesome Words

Some words don’t have clear rules for spelling, for example: eBook versus e-book versus ebook versus Ebook. Which version should be consistently used?



Words! So many to choose from. The style guide is the place to determine:

–  should your vocabulary draw on a certain theme

–  simple words or rather specific terminology

–  emotional or conceptual

–  inclusive or exclusive

–  positive or matter of fact

–  if politically correct and gender neutral terms are preferred.



Linking within the site or in a new tab, cleaning up the link properly. The style guide should also contain layout rules for the online presence.



Accessibility is a must and metadata can be an easy way to comply. The style guide ensures metadata is correctly filled in.



The style guide gives the opportunity to list all keywords essential for good SEO.



Another great way to make use of a style guide is to collect and present specific examples. Describing and setting out rules can only do so much. Listing concrete examples of how to write and how not to write makes the editorial style clear.



A Style Guide saves time:

In the Moment that more than one person works on a document, a Style Guide is needed: Everyone knows what to watch out for, the proofreading goes quicker, there are no repetitions of editorial instructions. And should indeed something not be clear, it simply gets added.


Just like any great personality your brand should have a distinct tone and voice in order to be heard.


A good way to start establishing your tonality is by differentiating from others.

As a great example of a style guide to compare your brand to: Economist Style Guide

And a good list of elements a style guide should contain: Wikipedia:Manual of Style.


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Rattie Molly happily munches salad.

Rattie Molly happily munches salad.


Every rat loves salad!


Do your pet rat a favour and regularly feed them fresh greens.


Just like it’s healthy for us, it’s a healthy snack for ratties.


Some salads have little nutrition, for example iceberg salad, so it should always only be an addition to their staple food.

On the other hand it helps keeping ratties entertained who are on a diet.

Salad is also a great source of water and keeps pet rats hydrated on hot days.


Many supermarkets allow you to collect their greens and salad leftovers, which are a great treat for your ratties.

It’s a joy to watch them munching away on the salad leaves!



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Leckerer Zitronenkuchen

Leckerer Zitronenkuchen



250 g Mehl

250 g Butter

250 g Zucker

5 Eier

1 Zitrone: geriebene Schale + Saft

1 Teelöffel Backpulver


Alle Zutaten zusammenmischen, in eine gebutterte Kastenform geben und bei 180 °C für 1 Stunde backen.



Yummy lemon cake

Yummy lemon cake



250 g flour

250 g butter

250 g sugar

5 eggs

1 lemon: grated skin + juice

1 teaspoon baking powder


Mix all ingredients, pour into a buttered baking tin and bake at 180 °C for 1 hour.



Puppy Bliss: The joys of having puppies

Cutie pie Hutch looks like he's sticking out his tongue.

Cutie pie Hutch looks like he’s sticking out his tongue.

The funny moments puppies bring into our lives: Here rescue puppy Hutch looks like he’s sticking out his tongue. ♥

Follow SA Rescue Puppies!



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Sommerpause für den Tatort: Warum eigentlich?

Sommerpause für den Tatort: Warum eigentlich?


Ich hab jetzt mal in der Fernsehzeitung geguckt:

Ich schaue ja nur den Tatort, sonst kann man sich ja nichts mehr im Fernsehen angucken.

Und da gibt es jetzt nur noch Wiederholungen! Die habe ich ja alle schon gesehen!


Läuft denn nichts anderes?


Sonst kommt ja jetzt nur Fußball wegen dieser FIFA WM!

Da gibt’s also den ganzen Sommer über gar nichts mehr zu gucken für mich!

Und das geht 10 Wochen lang so. Wie lange sollen die Leute denn in den Urlaub fahren?

Also dann möchte ich so eine Sommerpause auch für meine GEZ Gebühren!


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Facebook asks me to review my data settings a good 3 weeks late.

Facebook asks me to review my data settings a good 3 weeks late.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is applicable from  25th May 2018, but Facebook only asks me to review their data settings on 17th June 2018.

Interesting, especially as WordPress managed to not only inform its users ahead of time, but even offers GDPR compliant functionality automatically.

And it gets even more interesting, as it’s only possible to continue using Facebook when accepting the updated terms.

Note the trigger for checking updates, which is however empty of numbers:

Without accepting the updated terms I can no longer use Facebook.

Without accepting the new terms I can no longer use Facebook.

Well, let’s just sum this up as Facebook being fashionably late. 😮


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RattieSitting always confronts you with the unexpected:

What do I find as I clean the rattie cage? My nail file! 😮


One of the reasons why you must always keep your home ratproof and how pet rats force you to be neat and tidy.

It also shows that you need to empty out your rat cage carefully, you never know what you might find in the depths of the rattie den!


This time I’m caught by surprise that beautiful Skavin is also a #CleverRat and turns out to be a nail file thief!

#CleverRat: Skavin turns out to be a nail file thief! ;)

#CleverRat: Skavin turns out to be a nail file thief! Can you see the gnawing evidence? 😉


Understandably so: Rats’ teeth never stop growing, which causes them to brux and gives them the need to gnaw.

What better instrument to keep your ever growing teeth in check than a nail file!

I can imagine that simply carrying the nail file in their teeth gives every pet rat a tingle right up into their spine.

Clever little munchkins, these ratoos!


And while it might’ve been annoying not to have my nail file at hand, I can’t help but think that rats make great pets. 😊


Follow Rats Make Great Pets on Facebook and on Google+. 🙂


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The German team after winning the 2014 World Cup.

The German team after winning the 2014 World Cup.


As the current Football World Cup champion it’s of course understandable that Germans are once again in soccer fever.

Having hosted one of the most successful Football World Cups with Public Viewing and Fanfests all around it’s also to be expected that many Germans will watch the games in social gatherings.


What I didn’t know is that many weddings are simply ruined by the soccer fever Germans go through.

I’d think a wedding day is the most important day for the two people getting married, a holy union that all guests should be celebrating.


Well, not so in Germany: If the bride and groom dare to set their wedding on a date that an important soccer game takes place, it seems acceptable for the soccer fans within the wedding party to watch it.

Be it on their phone, tablet or whatever device they bring along, or the TV in the room next to the wedding festivities.

And it goes further: The wife and husband to be often need to contemplate arranging a monitor or screen to stream the game.


There are discussions in forums how to deal with the rudeness of wedding guests demanding to watch the game, going as far as tips as to when to wed and when not – all according to the FIFA Football World Cup schedule of course.


I too enjoy the Football World Cup. But if there’s a wedding, I attend the wedding. Soccer – how could it be more important than real life?


Very funny: The gate info for our flight is scheduled to get revealed 5 minutes before our gate officially closes.

Very funny: The gate info for our flight is scheduled to get revealed 5 minutes before our gate officially closes.


Our flight EZY2175 (U2 2175) was scheduled to depart at 16:05 on 12/06/2018. As every boarding pass clearly states, the gate closes half an hour earlier: At 15:35. Then how can it be that the actual gate info only gets revealed at 15:30?

On top of it, the clock on the flight information display was actually late, by about 3 minutes, as the metadata of my camera shows.

Still, the gate information was indeed published on time, at the correct time.

Not enough time however to make it to the gate in time.

This was of course not a problem, we even left the airport exactly on schedule.

But it’s pretty clear what would happen if this was the other way round. – If a passenger was late and didn’t make it to the gate before it closes



Life is crazy nowadays. The whole world is out of balance.

What people consume on the one side of the planet, people on the other side of the planet have to suffer for.


It’s terrible. But what can we do?


Well, we can stop consuming like there’s no tomorrow!

Who with their right mind can still buy Nestlé, H&M, or Bayer?

I always say: As long as there’s still one McDonald’s on this planet, there’s no future for humanity.


But it’s not all that doom and gloom.

We watched a great documentary the other day: Tomorrow.

Do you have Amazon Prime to watch it?


??? Of course do I also boycott an evil employer like Amazon!!!



Yum: Roasted melon seeds!

Yum: Roasted melon seeds!


When enjoying a refreshing melon, we often disregard the most nutritious part of it: The seeds!


Just like pumpkin seeds they can be roasted for a delicious crunchy munchy snack. Be it WatermelonCantaloupe or Honeydew, melon seeds are hailed as a superfood with various healing properties.


Roasted Melon Seeds

Scoop out the seeds from your fresh melon.

Place them in the oven or in a pan on the stove and slowly dry roast them.

Add a bit of fat so they don’t burn.

But no spices are needed: The roasting turns the melon seeds into a tasty snack. Remaining melon caramelises and adds extra taste.


As the seeds get roasted whole including the shell, they are quite tough to chew. But for that they are quite filling and come with a high fibre content which aids your digestion.


I see triple: Who is who is who?

I see triple: Who is who is who?


As if it wasn’t enough to have Folly and Peanuts look the same, there’s of course still Folly’s sister Madness.


Can you tell the difference between these three?

Who is who is who?


Madness has dark socks, while Folly and Peanuts have white socks.

Peanuts has slightly darker ears than Folly.


But at first glance it’s close to impossible to tell them apart.


As long as they all get along, not a problem.


Only when it comes to going back home, it is of course paramount that we can identify the ratties properly.


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Combing through that mess while it's still wet? No way!

Combing through that mess while it’s still wet? No way!


I used to be very picky with my hair:

No colour and only the best hair care products would touch it.
From expensive shampoo to special conditioner to elaborate leave-in intensive hair treatment.


Then I became a hair model.

That meant lots of colour, from blonde to grey to brown to red, but still only the best colour care products for my hair.


Until I had enough. I lost all flexibility and flow of my hair, it was so damaged. My hair became unmanageable and it was time to leave it in peace for a while.


I decided nothing would touch my hair:

No colour, but also none of those manipulatively advertised beauty products.
I realised it was silly stripping my hair off all its natural oils and then replacing them with silicone and who knows what is in that mass produced big corporate’s merchandise.


After a long break from any treatment of my hair, I started with some colour again, but I still stay away from conventional beauty products.


So now I only use very mild non-foamy shampoos that have nothing but natural ingredients.

This of course left me with a dilemma:

Combing long hair that has not been treated with conditioner.
– An almost impossible feat.


However, there’s a trick that makes it much easier:

Don’t comb your hair while it’s wet.
Leave it to dry first.


Any knots or entanglements are so much easier to comb through when your hair is dry.
The hair also still straightens once it’s combed, mine doesn’t stay curly or frizzy just because I didn’t comb it right away.


When I didn’t use colour in my hair, it was so fine and straight, I sometimes didn’t comb it at all.
Then it just would fall in big strands with no risk of looking frizzy.


All this nonsense of hair care is overrated.

Sometimes leaving your hair natural can give you quite a cool look, you know: that ‘I just came from the beach’ or ‘I just fell out of bed’ look.
And it definitely makes you get to know your hair and yourself better. 🙂


At the dentist in South Africa: Here amalgam has long been passé.

At the dentist in South Africa: Here amalgam has long been passé.


I have good teeth. So I don’t have to go to the dentist that often.

However, it’s a good idea to go for a check-up on a regular basis.


Now I live in South Africa.


So I first had to learn about the public health system in this country, my new home to be.


There are public dental clinics in South Africa, which are free of charge.


Should special treatment be needed, a charge related to your income is raised. That is fair.

Of course there are negative aspects, too: Long queues. Just like in England with the NHS. Never look a gift horse…


The basic treatment at the public dentist is enough for my needs. Plus professional tooth cleaning and even fillings – all paid for by the government.


I have no cavities. But my molars were sealed back in Germany for prophylaxis, which started to be not so great, as it seems bacteria still made their way through to my teeth.


So we had to break open that sealant to check what was going on beneath it. Indeed: It was quite brittle and broke easily.


Now it was about sealing my teeth again.


Suddenly I had a horror scenario running through my head of getting my teeth filled with amalgam or something similarly terrible.


So I asked in a bit of a panic: “Sealing? With what?”


After which the dentist replied in a calming voice: “Ceramic of course. What else? Amalgam? Where in the world would you get that?”


Well, I thought to myself: In Germany.


Beim Zahnarzt in Südafrika: Hier ist Amalgam schon lange passé.

Beim Zahnarzt in Südafrika: Hier ist Amalgam schon lange passé.


Ich habe sehr gute Zähne. Muss also nicht oft zum Zahnarzt.

Aber es ist ja immer eine gute Idee, mal zum Check-up hinzugehen.


Jetzt lebe ich ja in Südafrika.


Und da musste ich mich erst einmal orientieren, wie nun in meiner neu erwählten Heimat das Gesundheitssystem funktioniert: Health System in South Africa.


Es gibt in Südafrika öffentliche Zahnarztkliniken, welche kostenfrei sind.

Sollte die Behandlung über das Grundprovisorium hinausgehen, muss man gemäß des Einkommens dazu zahlen. Das ist fair.

Natürlich gibt es auch negative Aspekte, wie zum Beispiel lange Warteschlangen: Das kriegen sie in England mit der NHS auch nicht hin. Und überhaupt: Einem geschenkten Gaul…


Die Grundbehandlung beim Zahnarzt beinhaltet genug für meinen Check-Up. Selbst professionelle Zahnreinigungen und sogar Zahnfüllungen werden vom Staat bezahlt.


Nun habe ich keine Löcher, aber meine Backenzähne sind damals in Deutschland zur Prophylaxe versiegelt worden, und das hat wohl doch nicht so gut geklappt, denn nun schien es, kamen doch Bakterien an den Zahn heran.

Also musste diese Versiegelung mal aufgebrochen werden, um nachzugucken, was darunter denn so passierte. In der Tat war sie Recht spröde, denn sie zerbrach direkt.


Nun ging es darum, den Zahn wieder zu versiegeln.


Da hatte ich plötzlich die Horrorvorstellung, dass ich das nun mit Amalgam oder so ‘nem Zeug gemacht bekomme und fragte direkt: „Versiegeln? Mit was?“


Worauf der Zahnarzt mir beruhigend erklärte: „Natürlich mit Keramik. Was denn sonst? Doch nicht etwa Amalgam, wo gibt’s denn so ‘was!“


Tja, dachte ich mir da: In Deutschland!



Chestnuts, as any nut, go well with chocolate.

As the chestnut has a rather mild taste, chocolate can easily overpower the chestnut flavour. The more chocolate you add, the more brownie like cookie you’ll get.

Depending on your personal taste, you might want to add sweetness in relation to the chocolate powder used. The starch in the chestnut will also turn sugary the longer you chew.

Chestnut gives the chocolate flavour depth.

Chestnut gives the chocolate flavour depth.


Chocolate Chestnut Crumble Cookies

200g chestnut flour

50g salted butter

50g coconut oil

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 vanilla pod

2 tablespoons 100% chocolate powder

1 pinch salt


For a vegan version you can of course just simply add chocolate powder to the vegan recipe for the Chestnut Crumble Cookies. 🙂


Somehow the chocolate requires more moisture to make it real nom nom yummy.

The chestnuts are so starchy, they absorb all moisture, so keep the cookies in an airtight container to avoid drying out.


The good news is that with the high carbs low fat ratio, chestnuts are low in calories.

In addition, even with the high starch content, chestnuts are low in FODMAPs and are suitable for people suffering IBS trying out the low FODMAP diet.


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#RattieSitting: Folly is the spitting image of Peanuts.

#RattieSitting: Folly is the spitting image of Peanuts.


It does happen that I get lots of ratties at the same time for RattieSitting. Especially during holidays, the number of visiting pet rats can be quite big.

And it can happen that some ratties look really similar.


Even if it gets confusing when taking pictures for PortRATure, they mostly have some markings that makes it easy to distinguish them when comparing them side by side.

Not so with these two: Folly and Peanuts!


To let the ratties get to know each other, I often place them in the rattie garden: It’s an outdoor shelf with lots of pots for growing fresh grass for the ratties from their leftover seeds.

As this is neutral territory and a new environment, the ratties are busy enough to roam and explore, so that they make friends and huddle together.


Picking them up and wanting to put them back in their cages, I faced a serious dilemma with Folly and Peanuts: They are the spitting image of each other! Who is who?


Usually it’s quite easy to tell similarly looking ratties apart by their character. But these are guests, I also need to get to know them first.

And usually ratties prefer to hang with their own clan. But I just let them all get to know each other, so they don’t mind hanging with their new friends.


Luckily I’m very good with taking close-up portraits of the visiting ratties. So it was possible for me to identify Peanuts.


But just in case, I checked back with Folly’s owner to make sure she chooses the right rattie when it came to picking them up for taking them home again!


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Hey, wie wär’s wenn wir uns auf dem Schützenfest treffen?


Joa, können wir machen.


Denk jetzt bitte nicht, ich hätte was mit dem Schützenfest zu tun.

Ich gehe da nur hin, weil alle da hingehen.


Ach so, Schützenfest also nur zum Leute treffen.

Aber das ist doch ganz lustig?


Ja klar. Aber ich mach da nicht irgendwie mit bei dem Verein.


Das hätte mich auch ein wenig überrascht. 😀


Wer kommt mit zum Schützenfest?

Wer kommt mit zum Schützenfest?


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I’m a big fan of WordPress and this is why:


You might’ve received a lot of emails lately asking you to acknowledge the updated Privacy Policy according to the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


WordPress is no exception. They too had to update their Privacy Features and have communicated this ahead of time, from May 14th.


But they go a step further and help you stay compliant with GDPR too:

Akismet is a spam fighting WordPress plugin that protects millions of WordPress sites from comment and contact form spam.


As you can see from my screengrab above, Akismet is doing a great job: It has protected my blog from 12,894 spam comments.

Now it offers to display a privacy notice on my contact form.


I appreciate getting this support within the WordPress family.

Like with WordPress’s engagement for accessibility, it shows that they go the extra mile.


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Coffee with my tea, for me it’s the way to be. ;)

Coffee with my tea, for me it’s the way to be. 😉


I’m an absolute tea drinker. I drink so much tea and accumulate so many tea bags, that I had to write a blog post about what to do with used tea bags.


Since my first visit to the UK where I spent my entire summer school holidays working as a room maid in a hotel to improve my English, I got converted to drinking black tea with milk. And lots of it!


I only drink coffee when it’s really good or when I need to spur on my brain.


So when I’m at a conference, workshop or meeting, taking lots of notes and filling my head with lots of information, I appreciate a cuppa coffee with my tea.


People look at me funny seeing me double-handedly drinking coffee and tea at the same time.


But I just explain that I love a cuppa coffee with my tea! 😉



I see double: Summer and Skavin

I see double: Summer and Skavin


The joys of RattieSitting:

Mixing it up with the visiting pet rats can also backfire!

Sometimes ratties look so similar, it becomes difficult to tell them apart.

Here we have beauties Summer and Skavin:

Luckily they do have distinctive marks: Summer has the cutest white belly ready for cuddly kisses while Skavin is a gorgeous black self, meaning she is black all over.

But at first glance, it’s hard to distinguish them.

Taking pictures for PortRATure for example is a challenge when these two pop up and it’s not clear who is who.

Well, it never gets boring with pet rats, that’s why rats make great pets! 😀


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Foster Puppy Hutch is double toothed: His adult tooth is growing next to his puppy tooth.

Foster Puppy Hutch is double toothed: His adult tooth is growing next to his puppy tooth.


Especially with rescue dogs it’s a good idea to note when they lose their puppy teeth, as it gives an indication of their age:


Puppies start losing their teeth at about 4 months.


To record the first tooth falling out with a time stamp, simply take a photo of your puppy’s state of teeth.


Watch out for the lost puppy teeth, they make a nice memory.


It’s important to catch the first tooth falling out, as the process of replacing puppy teeth with adult teeth can take several months.

Usually it should be completed around 6 months, but especially if the adult teeth are growing side by side with the puppy teeth, it can take a while until the puppy teeth finally fall out.


In the meantime you end up with a double toothed puppy:


Even though Hutch's adult fang is growing, his puppy tooth is still not falling out.

Even though Hutch’s adult fang is growing, his puppy tooth is still not falling out.


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World Cow Girl

Cattle, Culture and Life's Other Adventures


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Alex Markovich Illustrations & Photos

Alex Markovich. 40 y.o. Russia. Artist. Author. MarkovichUniverse AT gmail DOT com Feel free to use my paintings and photos on your blogs and social networks as illustrations for your stories, poems, etc.

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