Sunday, 30 June 2013

Selfmade Elderflower syrup {one childhood story}

I've blogged about this recipe earlier (last year) but wasn't quite satisfied which what I came up with in the first place so, this year, I did it again (I would have anyway, go figure).

I love this recipe because, for me, this is my only really "childhood recipe". I sometimes wish I could say we had those awesome cookies my mum always made or something along the way, but we didn't (I guess my childhood cookies are "Prinzenrolle". Store bought. But awesome!). However, we had this syrup. I can't really remember a time where it wasn't around the house, though that must have been the case quite often (since we were three sweet-loving kids and one busy mum who would only attempt one serving size each year. 5 liters for a get it).
This is what my childhood tastes like. And I hope that one day, I'll be able to provide my kids with their own share of childhood recipes...this will definitely be one of them.

A bit unrelated but I had told my dad earlier that I was making elderflower syrup again and he asked me, all confused, why I wasn't just going to the store and bought some. Why do we make DIY stuff?! I believe it's because we love stories! And with everything we create, their is a little story to the thing itself. My story of how I went out and bought elderflower syrup wouldn't probably have turned out so nice. Instead I can say that I went out, just before it got really dark, to ride my bike one last round and go on a hunt for elderflowers....some I would actually be able to reach. And how the fields smelled of fresh dirt and the air felt smooth and cold on my skin while riding my bike. Much better than the store bought version, I assure you!

The syrup is super easy done and if there were Elderflowers all year round I'd probably be doing it...all year round. Yeah, you guessed it right ;)
So follow me on one sweet sugary childhood journey!

You'll need for 5 liters:
  • 1 really large pot
  • 2 liters water
  • 7 natural lemons
  • 3kg white sugar
  • 1 package Vitamin C (powder)
  • 15-18 elder flowers (Those big bundles of them, not the separate teeny tiny flowers...quite logical.)
  1. In the large pot, mix together water and sugar. This is the most fun part of the whole recipe, at least for me. Because adding three kg of sugar to two liters of water is simply fun!
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile stir occasionally (until the sugar is dissolved). Also, wash you lemons under warm water and cut into lots and lots of slices.
  4. When the sugar/water mixture boils (please be careful here! Similar to caramel, this will need longer to heat up because it will reach a higher temperature than the normal 100°C (which would be plain water)! This stuff is hot!) add the melons slices and the elder flowers. 
  5. Bring to a boil again and than turn off the heat and put on the lid. You're done with the first part!
  6. After one day, add your Vitamin C, by simply stirring it in. 
Now, the whole things need to sit nice and cozy for another six days. Waiting. Ugh.

After a week in total, you'll need:
  • containers to store your syrup
  • something to fill them with
  • boiling water
  1. Bring your mixture to a boil again.
  2. Meanwhile, boil some more water ind rinse all your containers/bottles/whatever you use (and the container lids!) with boiling water. Be careful again!
  3. There are different methods now: For once you could drain your whole syrup through a sieve before you start boiling it, and to make it perfect, through a kitchen towel afterwards. This will leave you with a 100% perfect and clear syrup. Also, you could simply leave it the way it is and just be careful not to get too many elder flowers into your bottle. I did this last year. I did the towel version the year before. This year however, I used a 'spoon sieve' (not to fine) and simply removed as much as the sieve would do. I think I like this version the best because it's fast easy and you can do it while you already started heating up the whole mess and simply forgot you wanted to remove something before you would have done the heating part. Ups. And it is actually quite clean! 
  4. When the whole thing is boiling again, carefully fill them into your containers. Close them nice and tightly and you're done!! For the filling process I normally use a large ladle and a funnel. Kitchen gloves for handling the hot containers!

And this will leave you with 5 litters of beautiful golden yellow elderflower syrup. Something to be jealous of! You could use it for simply enriching your water, or wine if it gets more special, pour it over ice cream or make elderflower cupcakes (I'm going to try out those soon, so stay tuned!). The possibilities are endless! Have fun being creative!!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

DIY {more phone cases for me}

After that crazy awesome weekend we're back to work here. That means lots and lots of cuddles, story telling, some smaller and bigger potty incidents and some really cute strawberry kisses yesterday. Unfortunately, those last ones were on my jeans. Oh, well. The kids are a 100% sure my jeans are weird anyway, with all the holes in them. (I love my job!!).
And I really need to get some studying done. It's just hard to convince me, or my brain for that matter, to do that after 8 1/2 hours of work. Go figure.
So yesterday, when I actually could not (like not at all) convince me brain to learn, I painted my next mobile phone case instead. See, I thought if there aren't any cute ones out there for my phone, I'm going to make my own ones! Kind of logical. I know, I'm a genius ;)

If you aren't satisfied with your phone case assortment as well, just grab some plain ole ones and get some nail polish. This stuff is amazing!!

I went for some easy flower-ish pattern. I'm normally not really super girly, but I do somehow like this colour pattern. What do you think?
For the 'tutorial' part: I simply started painting. Light colours first, darker ones later and kept on adding until I was satisfied with it. Just like last time, the colours dried in this cracked kind of way. I'm really not the patient kind of person, who could start with thin layers and wait for them to dry. Just apply all of it at once. Works for me.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

One point less {Sky diving}

Seriously.? Before I start telling my story. This. Was. Awesome.
Breath taking.
I want to do this AGAIN! This was just way too good!

Ok. I needed to get that off my chest. No we can start properly.

Being a good blog reader, you've probably went past my bucket list and being an even better reader, you probably read all of my 10.000 things I want to do. In case you did not, I'll just tell you: Sky diving was on that list.
I had planned to do it last year, but had chickened out in the last minute (I really don't get why. Never mind.)
After having been to Canada, to India, doing all the stuff I did...well, I felt more than ready to conquer that point this year. And, because I have the best aunt in the whole wide world, there we were, two crazy women on a Saturday morning, off to jump off some flying plane. Sounds awesome, doesn't it?! ;)

 We started with really really beautiful weather. You can't really see it, but that picture has some stunning skylines on it. Just so you know.
 We arrived pretty early at 9am and after signing in (assuring we weren't drunk we had to agreed to the fact that there would be one point where we couldn't turn back in this and 'yes' we were a 100% sure we wanted to do this (hell yes!!)) we had a quiet and awesome breakfast.
Our view...through my super awesome sunglasses, which makes everything look like it came out of some old movie.

After all the people had arrived, we got a little prep talk. Just kidding. They just made sure we would know what to do. Though, and that got repeated quite a lot, even though we should forget everything again while suddenly facing nothing but the thin high air in a moving plane, they still would make sure we'd arrive safely down. Good to know, right? So, we all proved anyway that yes, we were able to raise our feet and yes, also the whole head in the neck and hips forward did work pretty well.

And than we had to wait. And wait. And wait. Which is probably just part of the whole thing. I used the time to make some (cough) pictures.
 The clouds and the sky were amazing. And they got a bit scarier the longer we waited. Nothing better than that to raise your mood. No seriously. We were fine. Can you tell ;)
 Yeah. I took a picture of the grass I was sitting on. And yes, I did get comments for that one. Haha. Talk of a photographers pride.
And than, suddenly we were done waiting. There were to first groups to start with. My aunt and I were in the second. Good thing, because we got to watch first and you're getting all the photos!

 There they were. Walking. Uh. Sorry, I just don't know how to really describe this any better. See for yourself.
 The starting place for the plane was right next to the tent we had waited in.
 There were 5 'passengers' and 5 'people-to-jump-with'. All waiting, some rather anxiously/excited/giddy...
 We were waiting too....
 And than they got on the plane and off they were. It is a crazy weird feeling to sit on that plane. Though nothing you could not manage!!!
 You fly about 10-15 minutes to reach the perfect height for the jump. Depending on the weather and the air traffic it is a bit higher or lower sometimes.
Ok. See that 'bigger' black spot in the sky right under the small white cloud? That's a bird. Now, look a bit lower and a bit more right. You see a faint, teeny tiny spot...that...was the plane. Do I have your attention?

And than...they jumped.

We couldn't really see it. We just heard the plane coming closer, far far above us and than how it slowed down a bit. There were too many clouds to actually see them jump and fall. But we did see them emerging from the clouds!


 Three and four is one it's way.
And all five.
Landing position.

And than, it was time for us. At that point I was, rather girlish, jumping up and down and not able to wait one more second to get on that plane. But first we needed to change.

 Please follow us! :)
 But before you enter, someone has to change into this really hot suite. Yeah. I know. I was excited.
 Inside they were preparing the used parachutes, folding them back in. I was using the time to snap a couple of pictures...and put on some more stuff.
 My aunt, getting her things.
 The rest of our group.
Here we were. Is it just me or does this grin look a tad off? Haha well, I promise, I was fine!!

Just like the other group had, we headed off to the plane. At the end we were 11 people. 5 pairs and one guy was jumping by himself.
My jumping partner and I went into the plane first...which also meant we would leave it as the last two persons. I sort of didn't get that until I had to watch everyone before me, falling off the plane. Sorry. That does sound strange, doesn't it? But for now I was still perfectly fine.
My jumping partner came from Melbourne, Australia and it was fun to hear this perfect Aussie accent again. Makes me want to go back there. Anyway.
I probably did talk more than I would have normally. Ok, I confess I'm an easy talker, but I definitely did talk more than normally. I do feel sorry Dan. I hope you didn't mind.
And than we were off.
Up to this point I was feeling good. I had one tiny second where I had to bite my lip because I suddenly found out it was trembling (why the heck would it do that?! No idea!!) But apart from that. Easy peasy. Going to India by myself did change something in me haha.

For the rest, I doubt I can tell you how it feels. How it feels to be above the clouds and suddenly hear your partner say "I want that you hang your feet out of the door..." What? Out of the door. Yeeeeeeah sure. "...and I'm going to count 1, 2, 3..." three light swinging movements "...and than we'll jump". Yeah right.
I wasn't scared.
I was thrilled.

Your brain stops working somehow. And than you fall. And you get why this is called sky diving. Because, you dive into the sky!

And seriously. This. Is. Amazing.
Stunning. Breath taking. Exhilarating. Awesome....
If I could afford it, I would do it again and again and again and again.
But you do have to find it our yourself. Because, even with all the adrenaline, the excitement, up there, there is this stunning calmness. You feel...I don't really know...infinite? It is simply amazing.

And I'm 100% sorry for having called your job 'unnormal' Dan!!!, if all my career plans fail, I'll do that instead!

 Before...and after...

How did we like this?

If you're interested: We jumped with 'spring-mit' and they really did an awesome job. The guys are great, which made it even more fun...and I got a few new points for my bucket list...but those will be actually kept secret.
At the end we all received a certificate. What do you think, wouldn't this be an improvement for my CV? ;P