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Blog 2015

16 December 2015

I had a first in a lifetime experience today. Not only did I have the new experience of flying from Germany via Poland to Romania but also another one: a true alcoholic was sitting on the seat next to me from Warsaw to Bucharest. He had brought a small flask of brandy on board. The brandy bottle’s cap also served as a shot glass. Great design and very handy I should say. He nodded when he first sat down. No further pleasantries were exchanged. When the bottle wad first opened, I tried to look the other way. At that time I was still under the impression he would not want to drink all by himself. I did not know how to react should I be offered a sip and how to be polite when saying no. But that chain of thoughts was in itself of course utterly naive. The flight was a short one but as with so many things in life, all is relative. The bottle did not quite last till we touched down. I assume there was not even the faintest thought of offering even a drop to anyone. Whenever he drank he waved back over the isle, not to somebody in particular, rather towards those back home.
In between each shot he slept. In essence the whole flight and the drinking was a long series of nightcaps if you wish or to be more precise, a series of napcaps.

13 December 2015

I hope there will soon be a version of this ad video with English subtitels! Ist mir egal for the Berlin underground featuring Kazim Akboga!

17 November 2015

P.A. Charlotte’s Thought of the Day: It seems that vintage clothes are always on trend. In fashion, like in wine, ‘vintage’ denotes something from the past of high quality. Quality is always in demand so this perennial trend is perhaps not a surprise.

But what constitutes vintage can depend on your age! For my grandmother it would be something from the 40s or 50s and for me from the 70s or 80s. On the other hand, my niece thinks my office outfits are already vintage.

But is a ‘modern vintage’ look really vintage? Do the clothes have to be genuinely worn out and smelling of moth-balls to be on trend? Or do you need to buy museum pieces? Either way, do you need to spray them with vintage perfume (such as Balmain’s Jolie Madame) to avoid being denied access to restaurants or transport? Probably!

In the end, everything is relative. Tempus fugit!! Try that vintage wine instead…

16 November 2015

From the collection of interesting Gin quotes: ‘A perfect martini should be made by filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy.’ – Noel Coward

13 November 2015

From the collection of my favorite chocolate quotes (at the same time an evergreen in the category ‘wishful thinking’): ‘A piece of chocolate contains exactly the amount of energy it takes to take another one.’

11 November 2015

Of course one needs to bear in mind that espresso or pocket coffee was probably not known back then, 200 years ago. So you had to go out of your way to get good coffee and prepare it in style. But as much as I love coffee, Balzac seems to have overdone it, dinking about 50 cups a day.

2 November 2015

Apropos alcohol: Although James Bond has always been quite a drinker, the latest one beats all his predecessors in terms of units of alcohol consumed.
A study of the actual James Bond novels suggests “his weekly alcohol consumption was 92 units a week, over four times the recommended amount. His maximum daily consumption was 49.8 units. He had only 12.5 alcohol free days out of 87.5 days on which he was able to drink”.

1 November 2015

Gin is in. Gin Gin.

29 October 2015

Define normal: An athletic young man of the type “beloved and adorable child” trains a group of middle aged women. He is the center of attention and as such the perfect, perfect son in law. He is forgiven even the worst techno beats he uses for his gymnastic lessons. And they all smile condescendingly when the next group starts their trainig with another trainer and their weekly glass of champagne.

28 October 2015

Dilbert creator Scott Adams has presented his 10 favorite comics of all time!

7 October 2015

It seems there is a market for everything, even for cameras that make you believe to enhance your creativity whilst restricting you to take photos of sights thousands of people have taken pictures of before. As it’s inventor says, it is a disobedient tool…

6 October 2015

Somebody seems to have hit the add drama button. Whether or not this was intentional, nobody will ever know. 70 years after the war a bomb was found in the inner courtyard of one of the biggest museums in Munich, just around the corner where I live. Since I was at work, I did not need to evacuate my building. they said the bomb was to be removed around 8:30 pm and that they were not really certain whether that would work out. I have to say that did not alter my mood.

26 August 2015

Literary critic Hellmuth Karasek reviews the IKEA Katalog…

17 August 2015

In a recent presentation by the Swiss federal justice and police department the following statement made me smile: 4.8 Mio of the Swiss population own a mobile phone whereas only 4.2 Mio own a toothbrush. Statistics are not always to the advantage of nations.

14 August 2015

I like “compound interest“. Recently they had a piece on why wet dogs smell so bad. I was too disgusted to read it. This time they tried to correct what has been rumoured about Diet Coke over the past weeks. It is reassuring to read: “you don’t need to worry about accidentally killing yourself by drinking a Diet Coke”.

10 August 2015

Finally it is official: There is a need to reduce the gender-discriminating bias in thermal comfort – especially but not only at work says I! “Most office buildings set temperatures based on a decades-old formula that uses the metabolic rates of men”. This needs to change! Or in other words just as this article says: “the phenomenon of women getting cold is very, very obvious”, so we really need to do something here!

Or  as I ryhmed a little while ago:
As always – in the office, freezing,
And all my colleagues do is teasing.
The headscarf has earned me Aisha as a name,
Giving warmth but not necessarily fame.

23 July 2015

One is either a dog walker or one isn’t. I think I can safely say for myself that I am in the latter category.

22 July 2015

Spooky/modern technology: You give this website http://www.how-old.net/ a photograph of yourself and it “guesses” your gender and age.

21 July 2015

The spider is still there. No new web, though. The colleagues had ventured out together to buy a product to fight their ants. Neither failure nor success has been discussed up to now.

15 July 2015

Why we will always have an issue with gender equality: Three (male) colleagues notice they have spotted ants (one per person) on their desks. Mild panic is in their voices when they ask me whether I have also got an ant to report. I say no, but that there is a spider on the female toilet and that interestingly enough the cleaning staff have removed the web but saved the spider. The debate is cut short with the result that the (male) majority considers the spider as a sign of luck and the ants as a problem.

9 July 2015

I attended a webinar on communication skills and received a warm automated thank you note titled “thank you for attending the ‘Staying Young Throuh the Years’ webinar”! Communications skills anybody?

8 July 2015

I learnt something new! In French, cherry tomotoes are called Coeur de Pigeon, pigeon hearts.

1 July 2015

Having a Vitamin D deficiency is actually not so bad: the cure is sitting in the sunshine because your doctor advised to do so.

29 June 2015

In my immediate neighbourhood there is a bar has the following statement written accross its windowfront: Alcohol is the liquid form of Photoshop. I am not entirely sure I agree. Besides, I have never seen it open. Perhaps it is not the aclocol that resembles Photoshop but the bar. It creates the illusion of being there.

25 June 2015

“I looked through a lens and ended up abandoning everything else.” – Sebastiao Salgado.
About two years ago I wrote I was absolutely fascinated by Sebastião Salgado’s work. about an exhibit I saw in London. At the time I saw an exhibition of his “Genesis” project in the National History Museum in London. The project has taken him 8 years to complete. He travelled the world for it, starting on the Galápagos Islands in 2004, going from Siberia and Antarctica to the jungles, deserts and mountains of Asia, Africa and South America. He went to the untouched regions of this planet, taking pictures of seemingly unreal landscapes, animals and indigenous peoples.
Just recently I found this very informative page about him at Artsy.

23 June 2015

P.A. Charlotte’s Thought of the Day:
What does it mean when your fashionable Burberry smartphone cover is more stylish and expensive and pretty than your outfits??!! The only answer is to get a new outfit and dress and handbag to match and complement the e-accessory! Your make up should do likewise. This is not a case of the ‘tail wagging the dog’ but of a new e-fashion paradigm.
I would wear this with the canary-yellow Burberry smartphone cover.
Will clothing soon be sold in mobile phone shops?!

17 June 2015

And so which queen were you in your past life? It so happens that I must have been queen Victoria. Long years of devoted service…

Ah yes, and I wanted to mention P.A. Charlotte’s medieval profession, interestingly enough it was “tailor”! The description went: “You like to create beautiful things with your hands and your mind, and you are not scared of hard work. You like to live in a world of beauty and happiness over greed and anger. You’re the medieval equivalent of a fashion designer!”

15 June 2015

“The bigger house syndrome. You want a bigger house. You need a bigger house. (Not really, but it sure feels like you do.) So you buy it. Life is good… until a couple months later, when your bigger house is now just your house. New always becomes the new normal.”

14 June 2015

P.A. Charlotte’s Thought of the Day:
On March 8th I talked about scuba skirts and Emma mentioned ‘bubble’ skirts in her related comment. These are indeed on trend. But they are very much like the English breakfast spread called Marmite – according to their advertising, you either ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’. I hate Marmite and I am not a fan of bubble skirts. They accentuate the bottom too much for my taste and can look a little silly. But each to her own… Try sitting down in a bubble skirt. The cushion effect is pleasant enough but the skirt rides up a lot. Remaining elegant is hard. Stopping yourself from giggling is even harder! Two examples here may help you decide whether to love or hate them!

27 April 2015

Who would have thought that? ‘Awkward conversations often happen because neither party has anything interesting to say. Take responsibility for being interesting by preparing topics you genuinely enjoy discussing. Your professional interests, summer travel plans, a cool new smartphone app, or an interesting new local business (cat cafes, anyone?) are all great fodder. Avoid the weather, traffic, sports, and television – superficial topics only lead to superficial connection!’

24 April 2015

It is apparently en vogue to eat Sardines (for instance Spanish ones from Los Peperetes), particularly in fancy restaurants. Or to let Sardines ripe way past their due date and then taste them in splendor. Who would ever have thought so? Collecors of sardine cans are called “Puxisardinophiles” according to this website.

17 – 23 April 2015

Holidays on Sylt in the North of Germany. Luckily meanwhile I have a choice between limping fast and slow. Much to my astonishment all trains were on time this time and I was not affected by the most recent strike.

8 April 2015

Mercy 2.0: Sometimes one spots people along the road who are gesticulating wildly, seemingly talking to themselves. One can only hope for them that they are talking to someone over the phone, wearing an invisible headset.

2 – 3 April 2015

Taking a train – scheduled for 5.5 hours and ending spending 22 hours for the trip. A storm made it impossible to take the train to Salzburg and the railway company suggested a bus instead. After four long hours in said bus I finally got to Salzburg where I got stuck and had to spend the night. One of the more interesting things on the trip was that said railway company suggested to go to the train station in order to re-validate my ticket. I said it was an online ticket, something they advertise very much. I was told it was impossible to remotely deal with that and that I had to be at the train station personally with my ticket. It would need to be “stamped”. The obvious – that there was no paper ticket – did not impress anybody on the helpline. I suggested that they might want to stamp my mobile phone instead. No response. In the end, nobody was remotely interested in my ticket, stamped or unstamped.

21 March 2015

So what has happened during the past 5 or so weeks? I battered my right knee, a subsequent surgery has been done and meanwhile I can move the knee again but barely. For now the leg is stuck in a knee brace which – when using two very inelegant crutches with it – allows me to hobble. P. A. Charlotte is horrified because of me wearing those Marlene Dietrich 1940-ies wide flared trousers. She is equally appalled when I change into a pair of jeans which make my right leg look like a Knockwurst.

The best ever greeting of one of the many physiotherapists I have meanwhile consulted was: I have already heard a lot about your knee! The idea of another therapist was to treat the somewhat hardened scars with olive oil, which – so far – has only meant I have adopted a Mediterranean, hopefully not too rancid odor.

Ah and yes, I have missed yesterday’s solar eclipse due to the fact that yet another physiotherapist wanted to see it and thus put me in a small closet in the meantime with a bag full of ice on the knee. 2021 is the next solar eclipse, one should not be too crazy about seeing each and every one.

Otherwise, I have repeatedly wished to be 5 years old again. For one I suppose I would not have hurt myself as badly at the age of five when skiing. Perhaps I would have fallen softer and more elegantly. Although of course I should bear in mind that I was clumsy already back then. At about that time I tended to break my bones rather than tear any ligaments. In my case, every decade seems to have its landmark type of injury: Bone fractures from age 0-10, contusions and bruises from age 10-20, dislocated limbs from age 20-30 and now torn ligaments.

The second reason for aiming for age five again was that things would look different today had I already started playing the piano at age five. Tinkling ‘Jingle Bells’ just before Easter is also admittedly not the ideal choice and so no wonder that today’s five year olds in Piano School are eyeing me irritated.

8 March 2015

P.A. Charlotte’s Thought of the Day: I think I have spotted something of a new trend. Scuba skirts.
These are made of neoprene, which is used for scuba-diving. The skirts are normally flared and – allegedly – are very warm to wear and keep their shape very well indeed, whether mini or midi lengths. They come in a rainbow of colours. I suppose they can be worn quite happily too in heavy rain.
Will we next have scuba suits for men or women who want to swim or dive without changing after a day at the office? I may resist the temptation. Scuba skirts look hot and heavy. And I have enough to do in my busy PA life without extra fashion victim angst!
What would a ‘deep dive’ on a work issue be like when wearing a scuba skirt? Would it be deeper than normal? Is a scuba skirt perfect for clumsy women who spill coffee or water regularly? Is it the perfect outfit for a fish lunch? Who knows!

23 February 2015

P.A. Charlotte’s Thought of the Day: Why is suede so sexy as a material for skirts or boots or jackets? Why are clothes with wholly superfluous dangling fringes so sexy? Why are well made gloves so sexy? Why is black often the most sexy colour for clothes?

There must be something in the human psyche about this and it might not be wise to analyse this too closely. And indeed when you put suede and gloves and fringes and black all together as here, you have created the most exciting and kinky of items of clothing.

But its hard to understand why that should be true! Fashion – like human nature – is often like truth. And, as they say, truth is stranger than fiction!!

Well I thought I would try this unusual garment in my office. The immediate reaction was laughter at the oddness of the gloves. The next reaction was jealousy as our office is often freezing cold and my hands were very warm. The final reaction was laughter as I got the fringes stuck in my keyboard when typing and then managed to dangle them in my bosses coffee. She may now either sack me or demand her own pair! Or most likely add fringed gloves to her list of items for her PA not to wear!!

I for one tend to see things “the Wilde way”: ‘One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art.’ – Oscar Wilde

22 February 2015

With property prices in Munich skyrocketing one really starts contemplating a move to Pitcairn Island. A rather recent change to Pitcairn’s immigration policy provides immigrants with free land. I fear not everybody there is as goodlooking as Marlon Brando starring as Fletcher Christian in Muntiny on the Bounty but who knows?
Interestingly, the Telegraph analyzes whether moving to Mars is preferable to moving to Pitcairn or vice versa and overall, despite its secludedness, Pitcairn seems to be the winner!

18 February 2015

Smarmy“: A certain attitude often accompanied by a squinty look and a superior smile that makes you instantly hate a person. Similar to snobby.

17 February 2015

‘It is more honorable to fail at something great than to master something small.’ –  Jörg Lauster in ‘The Enchantment of the World’.

14 February 2015

It is quite interesting to see how the world reacts on chocolates and Valentine’s Day. It seems that opinions can go far. In Japan “Revolutionary Alliance of Men that Women find Unattractive” march against what they perceive as “oppressive chocolate capitalism”. And then the British try to explain why eating chocolate is actually good for you, but not so much for a dog or the average bear.

8 February 2015

P.A. Charlotte’s Thought of the Day: Green is fresh. Green is the lucky colour of Ireland. Green is the future of politics and of the planet! It is my prediction as the colour trend of 2015. From a pretty flared short coat to a long elegant dress with embroidered flowers, it is the colour for all occasions and all seasons! It works too in the office.

Green can also match any of your moods, good and bad. If you are “feeling blue”, wear green! When you “see red”, wear green! When you see others in a pretty green outfit, do not succumb to being ‘green with envy’. And try to be empirical and objective in your thinking about all matters green – whether about fashion or about the environment.

Indeed – is this blog itself an example of ‘greenwash’??!!

Nothing of course in life is completely “black or white”.

21 January 2015

P.A. Charlotte’s Thought of the Day:

Spring trends? Always a worry. How to be fashionable without looking ridiculous. Should one follow the Moschino ‘Barbie’ look which is very brightly coloured and well-tailored with short skirts but requires the best of figures?

Or should one follow the much more austere darker and baggier and flowing block styles of the dresses of Calvin Klein which works for any figure?

They could not be different as trends for the same season! And it seems biker chic and leather is also in vogue It’s not fair!! I am confused. Wear anything this year….

Alternatively, invest in a dressing adviser This is what Nina McLemore does for Hillary Clinton for example. Most women will eventually look like Hillary at some point in their life or Angela Merkel. Make the most of it. It seems that the secret is selecting many jackets or outfits of the same style but in different colours. This takes the pain out of getting on trend. It also offers someone to blame when it all goes terribly wrong!! But don’t blame Nina – anyone who selects this particular jacket is my friend for life!

20 January 2015

This wasn’t my day. Just a few highlights:
– Prepared rice, burnt finger
– Broke glass with an elbow and cut fingers on pieces
– Used hoover for rest of the glass pieces and planted a punch on my own chin in preparing the hoover
– Knocked off a knob from a chest of drawers with the other elbow
– Tried to repair chest of drawers and spread superglue unevenly over the piece
– Removed superglue with own hands leading to Merkel-like pose only with grayish dust-superglue touch to it
– Tried to remove superglue from fingers – made toolbox fall down and spread all its content evenly…

13 January 2015

I am back since more than a week now and I think the next time I go anywhere I should fly Southwest Airlines.

8 January 2015
Who would have thought that the opposition’s candidate Maithripala Sirisena would win Sri Lanka’s presidential elections?

3 January 2015

During the past days I put in my contact lenses in search of my glasses. Interestingly the first thing I spotted on the beach was a cobra. It did not move and when I got closer I saw it was driftwood in the form of a snake. Scary, especially given that the fellow holidaymaker had been bitten by a sand snake the other day when she tried to help finding the glasses. In the end I can say I found a number of things but my glasses: two light bulbs of the kind that is now forbidden in Europe causing some nostalgia, three whole and fresh red onions, a red toothbrush that had seen better times and a yellow can that kept floating in and out the ocean. Last but not least a Pebbles Flintstone bone hair clip.

1 January 2015

Happy New Year!
Somebody must have hit the “add drama” button lately. The last day in the year was unexpectedly eventful. First I lost my glasses in a gigantic wave that rolled over me and twisted me around several times. Before I could even look for it, the second wave made me fall so badly I almost broke my neck. So when finally washed ashore I tried to find my glasses but was of course quite useless in searching for them as I can hardly recognize my own face in a mirror without my glasses. Others are normally vague figures and if I know them better I can eventually distinguish them by their smell which has so far never won me any sympathy when I mentioned it. But there you go. Someone who is referred to in Sri Lanka as “long not fat” was marching up and down the beach to look for the glasses for at least an hour or so before he turned lobster red. The sunburn was so bad that we thought he might not be able to attend the New Year’s Dinner and end up shivering with high fever in bed instead. Even I could recognize the change in color – which did not earn me any brownie points but at least I thought that was something. Before rescuing the man and escorting him into the shade, another hotel guest who had helped with the search happened to be bitten by a snake. She collapsed shortly afterwards when attempting to do some yoga. Not even the ultra-fit yoga teacher could keep his calm at that point. He had seen her bandaged leg when she showed up to do the class and was not too zen when insisting on a hospital visit. Finally she was en route to the hospital. At this point in time the other guests learnt that the New Year’s Dinner would only start upon her return and that could be hours away depending on doctor’s availabilities and of course on how poisonous the snake really was. A few hours later the lady came back having received no treatment but signed a patient’s self release form. Eyebrows were raised but the buffet was there and so everybody seemed released. Half the party was Russian from Ekaterinburg. While everybody else toasted at midnight, the Russians were rather quiet and had somehow shifted their New Year by half an hour (midnight in Ekaterinburg). At that time I was just trying to introduce “Dinner for One” to an Irish couple who had never seen the sketch. Suddenly though all broadband connectivity was gone and we heard Putin’s New Year speech blasting through some tablet computer. Miss Sophie was unfortunate and stood absolutely no chance.

8 comments

  1. 4 Jan 2015: Well, have it come to your mind your glasses might come ashore somewhere else on this world? It happened to me once at Blankenberge and I think my glasses were en route to the English coast. Anyway I’m happy you still have your contacts. Enjoy your journey and a belated Happy New Year!!

  2. 14 March 2015: Great trend thoughts. But I think bubble skirts and dresses are also again on trend. Keep up the great blogs Charlotte!

  3. 26 March 2015: Charlotte is right. Even though you are sadly injured, you must maintain good style standards!

  4. 26 March 2015: Charlotte is right I think. Whilst I sympathize with your predicament/injury, you must maintain a good high standard of dress sense. Good luck!

  5. 14 Nov 2015: Hi Margit – we have heard very little from Charlotte recently. Could she do another fashion blog please soon? Maybe on the ‘vintage’ theme? Love Michelle x

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