Category Archives: Creative stuff

My year on Instagram – a few highlights

About half way through this year I was suddenly reminded that I had an Instagram account that I hadn’t touched since 2011. I really don’t remember why I set it up way back when, nor why it fell into disuse. At any rate, I was pleased to rediscover it, and since June it’s become one of my favourite social media networks and has spurred me on to take and share a lot more photos in everyday situations than I probably would have done otherwise. It’s also got me back out on photowalks with friends, so the creative and social benefits have extended way beyond the digital realm.

It’s been a bit of a ragtag mixed bag of a year with one thing and another, but looking back over my Instagram feed has reminded me of the many happy, colourful moments there have been – I find it surprisingly difficult to gripe and whinge in photographic form – and after I read Konstantin‘s Instagram review post, I decided to do something similar. So here are seven of my favourite shots from 2014, one for each month from June to December.

June: Chilling at Jos Fritz Cafe

Kooky chair.

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Many will say that it wasn’t much of a summer, but my Instagram feed suggests otherwise. I can’t actually remember a year when I spent so much time outdoors at street cafes and the likes. Renewing my acquaintance with Jos Fritz Cafe and discovering newly opened places like Cafe POW gave me fresh horizons on places to work, read, relax with friends or watch the world go by on my own. Roll on spring when it’ll be warm enough to sit outside again!

July: Christopher Street Day in Freiburg

Going along to the Christopher Street Day parade was one of the best decisions I made this year – it was without a doubt one of the very happiest and most memorable days spent in the best of company. In a year that’s had more than its fair share of headlines involving discrimination, hate, intolerance and ensuing barbarity, it was wonderful to be in the midst of such a joyful and welcoming throng of glorious, cacophonous diversity, and to feel truly at home in it.

August: Posh nosh with a bestie

I definitely don’t see Diana often enough – which is a little bit shameful given that we basically live in the same city – but we spent a lovely evening in August putting the world to rights over some pretty decadent plates of antipasti and tapas: a grown-up girls’ night out but with plenty of silliness thrown in for good measure. I’d like MORE of this in 2015, please, and I’m so very grateful to all the friends I’ve been able to spend similar occasions with over the course of this year. ❤

September: Boats at Flensburg

Boats. #whattheflensburg

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Every September, I (try to) attend the annual conference of foreign language instructors at German universities, which is held in a different place every year. This year we were up at Flensburg, which is about as far north as you can get in Germany, and it was wonderful to have an excuse to go to the seaside on business, so to speak. The whole affair is a bit like a family reunion crossed with a very pro-active self-help group – a far cry from the scary, stuffy academic conferences I sometimes attended as a research student, and greatly energising and uplifting as well as informative. Each time I go I feel more confident, and I come back brimming with new ideas and resources.

October: What a difference a new mug makes

I can't help smiling every time I look at my new favourite mug. 😊 #100happydays day 34.

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I’ve been a fan of Woodstock for as long as I can remember – I always seem to go for the sidekicks rather than the main characters, be it Piglet (rather than Pooh), Robin (rather than Batman) or George (rather than Zippy or Bungle). So I HAD to buy this mug as soon as I saw it, and it’s become my office staple. In fact, I found it necessary to buy a second one for use at home, plus a breakfast plate for good measure. It puts a big smile on my face whenever I see it, no matter how rotten I might be feeling at the time.

November: And the autumn just went on, and on…

Magical landscape.

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Given half a chance, I could easily have populated this entire post with landscape photos – it’s been a wonderful year for getting out and about around Freiburg as well as a bit further afield. But this is one of my favourite scenery shots for the year, taken on a day that started with thick fog over Freiburg itself, yielding to sunshine as we travelled beyond the city limits and up into more mountainous terrain. You can see the fog in the distance in this shot, contrasting with the wonderful warm glow of the autumnal countryside approaching the late afternoon. On that day in late November, I was convinced that the autumn would go on for ever, and I could have sat for hours looking at the view, had it not been a little too chilly to do so…

December: The power of words

The thought that counts. 💗

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I received this little package from someone I’ve been trying to help overcome some difficulties. The simple eloquence of the words, and their sincerity, left me a little lost for words. In fact, I still am.


So, there you have it – a few moments, places, people revisited. It’s been fun reliving parts of this year, and I hope I haven’t been too introspective for it to be of some interest to other people in here as well. Roll on 2015:my camera’s at the ready!

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Week 7 – these boots were made for… decorating!

20130225-170015.jpg This year I received something absolutely fantastic in the post on Valentine’s Day – a brand spanking new pair of Doc Martens boots (model 1460 smooth milled black, for the attentive to detail). It must be almost fifteen years since I bought my last pair, and those served me well and longer than any pair I’d had previously, so much so that I felt almost like a fly-by-night ingrate for even thinking of replacing them. The process was further complicated by the fact that the exact model that had been so reliable was no longer produced, and I was reluctant to go for something that might be second best.

Ultimately the frustration of not having a wearable pair of Docs won out, and I set to work to find a pair that were most similar to what I’d had. And voila! I love the round toe, the slightly sleeker silhouette and the absence of such bright yellow stitching on these, compared to the absolutely classic model, and I really do think that the milled leather was the secret to the long life of my previous pair – the uppers never cracked, unlike almost ALL the Docs I’d had for any longer period previously.

And now to make them my own. In the past I had a striking pair of cherry-red square-toed DM shoes, which I loved, and a quite bizarre limited-edition pair of boots in beige(!) hessian(!!), which I dyed purple and loved almost as much, even though they spent most of their lifetime looking rather scruffy and being decidedly non-waterproof. I’ve seen people with beads or trinkets threaded onto the laces of their boots, and I decided to try something similar. On my way to the rather funky bead shop, I happened to go into a cheap accessory store that was having a sale on. I bought two cheap Christmas bracelets and decided to plunder them for sparkly stuff to thread onto the laces of my new boots, magpie that I am. You can see my “plunder stash” and the final result below (you can click on the picture of the boots to see a larger version). It may end up feeling a bit OTT – I’ll have to see, but for now I’m happy.

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