The last 10 days in instagram pictures

Are we there yet?

I’m not on bed rest (thank goodness!) but I have been ordered by my doctor not to do anything more energetic than a walk. Maybe she knows me too well… she specifically told me I’m not allowed to clean the house or start emptying cupboards. So I’m all ironed up and feel like I should be bouncing off the walls. But at 37 weeks pregnant, I’m fighting a persistent head/ chest cold and playing the waiting game… I’m continually tired and carrying what feels like an energetic and very uncomfortable bundle of elbows and knees.

Munchkin is running out of room and I’m running out of patience with being pregnant. But we have managed to get some stuff done!

Munchkin's nursery (temporary)

We set up Munchkin’s temporary nursery. The rest of her furniture will arrive in a couple of months. But for now, we have everything she needs to start life. All of her clothes are washed and ready and she finally has her own space in the house which feels nice.

Munchkins bassinet in our room

The reason we’re not overly worried about her nursery is that she’ll be sleeping in with us for the first few months. We’ve her Leander cradle all ready and waiting for her arrival.

Munchkin shoes, cut out

On the days my brain works, and when I’ve not been trying to get all the paperwork etc together for Munchkin’s citizenship and passport or finding her a paediatrician, I’ve been playing with felt; making little shoes for Munchkin and for some friends who have recently had babies. I think I’m finally happy with the design. I love them in coral and grey! I now just have to work out the different sizings.

Munchkin shoes in progress

I can’t decide if I like the bows on the front or on the side. So I’m making Munchkin a pair of both!

Bassinet munchkin

We had a small get together with some of our friends on Sunday on the deck of my favourite gluten-free café in Cully. It wasn’t a baby shower in the traditional sense, but we really wanted to see our friends before we temporarily slip even further off the social scene after Munchkin arrives.

I wasn’t allowed to go all ‘Nicola’ on it. Frustratingly, all I was allowed to do was to book the space and to send out email/ Facebook invites. So it was a decidedly un-Nicola-like event, not a hot air balloon to be seen, but it was delightful nonetheless (DM soothed my ruffled feathers by reminding me that I have many, many future Munchkin birthdays and unbirthday parties to organise). And I have to admit, it was quite a novel experience not to have to worry about anything more than just turning up.

Present from our crafty friends, dalek, Dr Who, baby blanket

Munchkin received some seriously splendid gifts from our lovely and very generous friends. She already has a toy collection and wardrobe I’m envious of!

Some of our crafty friends had got together to create a gorgeous present for Munchkin. They each knit or crochet some panels and made them up into a beautiful baby blanket. They’d been sneaky enough to get DM to send them the colours I wanted for the nursery and in amongst the pretty patterns, they included a couple of sneaky geeky panels. One of a Dalek and the other of a storm trooper. It’s perfect and suits DM’s and my style exactly. I’m really looking forward to seeing Munchkin wrapped up in it.

Crochet aviator helmet for nephew

I spent yesterday with my feet above my heart trying to get my swollen feet back to a size that would fit inside my slip on shoes and worked out this little pattern for a crochet aviators hat/ helmet for the little nephew we’re expecting in a few weeks. I then made another one for DM’s cousin who just had a little baby boy. I’m waiting for Munchkin to arrive so that I can custom make her one that fits perfectly.

 

All photos from next to nicx instagram account

Switzerland’s New Papershop – Ikea

 

I received an email from Ikea yesterday and immediately made arrangements to go and check out my local store. Why? It’s not like they were handing out free Sczchfgdudnkfdskj’s, and I’m not a huge fan of their disposable furniture. Like with my chocolate, I’m more a ‘one good quality piece rather than a 400 gram block of average stuff’ girl. But I do like their gluten-free cake! And cheap glassware, lighting and teacups for parties.

They do a roaring trade with the expats here. Where else can you go, do a confusingly long, windy lap through a warehouse and walk out the front door with a complete house-full of furniture and appliances?! We do have some pieces bought over the years that I’ve yet to find suitable replacements for, but that’s mainly because second hand and vintage are so insanely expensive here; and as up until recently we’ve not had a car for me to take ‘brocante excursions’ in.

So why was I heading to Ikea with haste?

 

 

I went to check out their new Paperstore. I love paper-stores! Switzerland isn’t the best place to buy wrapping paper or stationery. When we arrived here almost 4 years ago it was near on impossible to buy wrapping paper or cards that weren’t bedazzled in some form (usually with glitter AND metallic foiling) and that often cost more than the item you wanted to wrap! Thankfully the situation has changed of late, and whilst still expensive, the range and quality have improved. For example Globus have come so far as to stock limited ranges of letterpress stationery.

So the prospect of cheap wrapping paper and stationery lured me in and I went for an ogle. It’s not earth-shattering. The designs are relatively modern but nothing that you’ve not seen before. I’m looking forward to seeing what direction they take it in and how up to date they keep the ranges. I like the black and white, and brown paper and white ranges but wasn’t overly enamoured with the green, blue or pink options. But it is cheap (eg. 10 gift tags for 1.95 chf) and going by the number of people filling yellow bags with notebooks and gift tags, is quite popular. So if you find yourself having to wrap presents galore, need party favours or have decided that the Sczchfgdudnkfdskj you’ve just bought needs to be wrapped before you take it home, it’s the perfect place to go.

 

 

You can find the list of Ikea stores that contain the Papershop range in Switzerland here. The range and prices in Switzerland are shown here.

 

 

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My favourite new thing #1: Bake it like you mean it

I love cake. Not just eating it (though it is splendiferous), but making them. Ogling them. Trying to work out how they were constructed and how they stay together. I adore the challenge that some cakes pose and the delicious simplicity of others.

But my cake consumption and creation has been seriously curtailed these past few months. Even the thought of anything more decadent than honey on toast has had me seeing green. My parents-in-law very kindly ordered me a subscription to Delicious magazine earlier this year and I’m very sorry to admit that until very recently, they were all sitting in my lounge-room providing food porn to my visitors but that I’d been to do little more than flick through them quickly. Absolutely nothing looked even remotely appetising.

So, when my Doctor gave me meds and the green faded a little and then I hit 15 weeks and the nausea started to abate on it’s own, I was exceedingly happy for (what felt like) the first time in months! The fact it coincided almost perfectly with my planned trip to Zurich for cake, and a visit to an enormous English bookstore had me practically levitating. I had to limit myself as I had to be able to lug my purchases around Zurich for the remainder of the day and, like most things in Switzerland, they’re not cheap.

As soon as I saw the cover of this very recently released book it was a given. It was coming home with me. And flicking through the pages I felt cake-inspiration for the first time in… oh so long!

Bake It Like You Mean It: Gorgeous Cakes from Inside Out

Just look at these amazing creations!

Bake It Like You Mean It: Gorgeous Cakes from Inside Out
Bake It Like You Mean It: Gorgeous Cakes from Inside Out
Bake It Like You Mean It: Gorgeous Cakes from Inside Out
Bake It Like You Mean It: Gorgeous Cakes from Inside Out
Bake It Like You Mean It: Gorgeous Cakes from Inside Out

 

I cannot wait to try some of them out! I’m really looking forward to seeing if I can make gluten free versions.

Available from Amazon: Bake It Like You Mean It: Gorgeous Cakes from Inside Out

High Tea at Miyuko in Zurich

miyuko-zurich-(by-christine-syrad)

Image via http://www.spottedbylocals.com/zurich/miyuko/

 
I found out about Miyuko a few weeks ago and immediately made plans to get to Zurich! Booking in for High Tea with a few other Lausannois ladies and crossing my fingers that my pregnancy induced illness would abate in time for me to enjoy the train trip and fabulous food. Thankfully it seems to be getting much better. We had a splendid day. I’m absolutely exhausted, but it was well and truly worth it.
 

Miyuko Zurich

 
Miyuko is the creation of a graphic designer, chocolatier, cake decorator and fan of all things Japanese called Sara Hochuli. It’s located just 10 minutes easy walk from Zürich Hauptbahnhof.

I immediately fell in lust with the place. And not just because they do a gluten-free High Tea (they also cater to vegans and the lactose intolerant), but also because it was a fabulous mix of a traditional European cafe with a hefty dose of all things kawaii and the attention to detail is fabulous!
 

Miyuko Zurich

 
Everything from the lampshades to the crochet coasters has been ‘Miyuko-ised’. The ribbons, cushions and even menus have all received care and attention. And not in a slap, dash, ‘just whack our logo on it’ style. Each item in the café has been crafted and curated with an eye to detail. It made the perfectionist in me do a happy dance! The food is no different, the presentation is impeccable and creative.
 

Miyuko Zurich

 
We spent three and a half hours there in total and struggled to finish the food. The High Tea includes 3 different types of tea. I started with a Darjeeling, then moved on to a chinese tea ball and finally finished with a delicious ginger and lemon tea.
 

Miyuko Zurich

 
And the High Tea menu contains no less than a small quiche, sandwiches, antipasti, chutney, fresh fruit, plain and chocolate chip scones with jams and cream, cake and macarons arranged artfully on a gorgeous three-tiered cake stand (I suggest you don’t eat lunch beforehand, you won’t need it!).

They also make glorious cake creations. I’m already dreaming about my next birthday cake and plotting so that I won’t have to make it myself!
 

Miyuko Zurich

 
The café is not large and was full the entire time we were there (mid afternoon, mid week) so make sure you make a reservation. They’re completely booked out on weekends weeks in advance and have a cancellation policy in place. English for placing reservations via email was not a problem and the waitress we had was fluent in English, lovely and patient with us (none of us spoke any more than rudimentary German).
 

Miyuko Zurich

 
For more information find the Miyuko website here
 

A cheesy NYE

NYE

 
How was your New Years? Our was rather quiet as seems to be the norm in Switzerland. There are no big fireworks displays or outdoor festivals in Switzerland to celebrate the arrival of a new year.

Most years we’ve been in Switzerland we’ve had a quiet night in and have opened a bottle of champagne to toast the new year in. But we decided to do something a little different this year. We had a few of our friends around for dinner and games. Read more

Etsy Switzerland #2 – kids

& Giveaway

In the second of my Etsy Switzerland posts I’ve focused on a few Etsy stores who make really lovely items for kids. There are just so many fabulous reasons to purchase locally and to support the artisans and small business owners within Switzerland, here are four!

And in an added bonus, one of the store owners is giving away a beautiful handmade baby blanket to one very lucky next to nicx reader!

 

Mirtilo

Claudia from Mirtilo is based in Zurich. She makes these gorgeous rabbit toys using soft corduroy, cotton, cotton jersey and felt. I love the green and yellow print on this little one! And at only 30 chf each they’re very reasonably priced.

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Schilthorn

The Sunday before our trip to Australia. Our lovely friend Sandra took us to Schilthorn. It was AMAZING!

Husband and I are not overly active types. I detest the cold (two knee reconstructions when I was 16 have left me with an ache that lasts most of the winter months) and I have had firm words from my current doctor about not throwing myself down mountains attached to pieces of wood. And Husband has had two broken ankles. So we’re not really poster children for the whole winter sports thing. We’re much more ‘lets go cycling or doing laps in a pool’ kind of people. Or as it’s seemed since we arrived in Switzerland; ‘let’s hibernate and pretend the cold outside doesn’t exist’ kind of people.

I did look at heading into the mountains for an ogle. But when looking at the timetables and seeing 1 bus, 3 trains and a couple of cable cars to go one way, I freaked and stuck my nose back in my book whilst munching on cake. Or promptly planned a trip to Paris.

It didn’t help that everyone kept talking about ‘Hiking’ which immediately brought to mind special equipment, frostbite, having to eat the sled dogs and Mount Everest. My husband and I love ‘walking’ but ‘hiking’ sounded sadistic! This is where fabulous friends come in, Sandra persisted and took us to Schilthorn and on a light hike. And we’re hooked. Check out the pictures and you’ll see why.

Who knew it?! Hiking IS walking! ;)

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Etsy Switzerland #1- Cute creations

When I first arrived in Lausanne in 2009 I did an Etsy Shop Local search and what I found was abysmal. There was next to nothing available in Switzerland and what was listed was definitely not to my taste.

So when I did a Shop Local search recently on Switzerland I was pleasantly surprised! There are masses of fabulous, cute and creative products out there. I’m all for shopping local and for encouraging the support of local artists/ creators; so I thought that I’d try to highlight a few every now and then. Starting with Maripili and Bibuki, both of whom create fabulously cute creations.

Maripili

Elia from Maripili makes these sweet brooches out of felt. At between 10 and 13 USD each they’re very reasonably priced and beautifully made. They’d make a wonderful gift for that little lady in your life or to add a bit of whimsy to one of your favourite outfits. They’d also be pretty fabulous as goodie bag gifts for a little girls birthday.

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The Lavaux Vineyards

What do you think about when you think ‘Switzerland’?

Skiing? Rolling green hills with cows wearing large cow bells? Cheese? Chocolate? Alps? Watches? Banking secrecy? Tax evasion? Sweden? You’d be shocked how many people confuse Switzerland with Sweden.

But unless you’re a wine buff or have lived in Switzerland, I’m pretty sure you didn’t think vineyards and winemaking did you? Take a look at these (click on the photo’s to have them expand)

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A fun day cycling from Ouchy to St.Sulpice and back again.

It’s summer, which generally means an influx of visitors if you’re an expat. This year we had the in-laws here for two weeks. Husband took a weeks worth of annual leave off so we could spend some time together and it fell to me to find things for us to do. One of the outings we took was a bike trip from Ouchy to St Sulpice.

You can get day-passes from the Lausanne Roule bike hire scheme for 7chf per day, per person. Once you’ve purchased your day pass from one of the sale points in Lausanne you  can access the many bike stations located in and around Lausanne. A quick swipe of your pass card, a hefty pull to get the bike out and you’re off! After returning the bike at the end of the day, you post the pass back to them in a prepaid envelope.

If you own an iPhone, you may want to download the ‘Velopass’ app, it tells you the number of bikes and free stations available and is very handy if you’re looking for somewhere to return your bike at the end of the day.

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