Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Merry Christmas with all the trimmings...

Christmas Card (onemorehandbag)Christmas cards I sent out this year were either self-made, see above (minus the watermark in the middle, obviously) or English shop-bought ones. To all of you whose addresses I don't know but who are no less precious to me, please accept this "virtual" one.

Last night I got Jamie O.'s latest book, Cook with Jamie from the Pampered Princess (who gave me a much-needed hug and "there, there" pat on the back, making me feel guilty for bitching about her...a and really nice mugs and plates with a christmassy motif from Snow White. Could this be subtle hints to add "invite friends for dinner" to my list of New Year's resolutions? Fair enough as I've been seriously neglecting my hostess' duties.
Tonight, I'm meeting the book club posse and tomorrow morning I'll be heading southwards to my parents' for a long Christmas holiday (back to work on January 4). I don't know if I'll be able to post again this year.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all of you!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

first batch

This year, having got most of my Christmas presents from my parents already in advance, I was determined I'd take my friends' pressies to KLU with me to have more things to unwrap. Soon I decided against it as the number of bags to take "down" to Carinthia started to accumulate in my bedroom. After a beautiful orange vase from the Tyrolean and interesting bits and pieces plus a cinema- voucher from Frida, which I got last week, I got these yesterday from Amica and the Mermaid, respectively:
pressies, yay! (onemorehandbag)From the Mermaid, I got the Bollywood cook book and a Gucci Envy gift box (containing a perfume, body lotion and soap) plus very cool and veeery green and shaggy earmuffs. From Amica I got the cool purple and orange felt bag above and the intriguing little green box with frogs. It looks like a small-scale case for glasses but according to the little leaflet that was inside, its manufacturers, Giorgio Fedon & Figli suggest encasing the following items in their little "mignon" (which comes in many colours) as they prefer to call it: condoms (hah, fucking hah, my looks alone are the perfect contraceptive these days...) a USB-stick (more likely), jewellery, coins, pills, a sewing kit, receipts. Amica said that the shop assistant in the posh little lifestyle shop whose best customer she is told her this should not be missing in any handbag. The perfect gift for yours truly in other words.

More to come tonight from the Pampered Princess & her sis and Snow White.

Monday, December 18, 2006

one in a million

last minute shopping (onemorehandbag) On Saturday, I met fellow blogger Johannes and his elder brother C. for a quick drink near overcrowded Mariahilfer Straße (see picture). What a gloomy threesome we were. Apart from the fact that C. had a severe headache and seemed rather zombified, we more or less progressed from "How's it going?" to "Hasn't his year been THE PITS?" in a matter of seconds. Apparently, this year has been pretty shitty for all of us and we swapped notes on just how traumatised we were from break-ups or (unrequited) love nipped in the bud, respectively. J.'s theory was that once you've turned thirty - which he hasn't yet - you become less discriminating. C. and I interrupted him, "No, the opposite is the case!" On second thought, I'm not so sure anymore as my grown-up mental checklist is somewhat flawed by a rather childish need for instant gratification and above all, reassurance. You know, never mind if he's a shithead if he convincingly tells me I'm the best thing since sliced bread (well, he's free to phrase that slightly more romantically, but you get the picture) and looks like he actually believes it, too.

When I was younger, I firmly believed that happiness and coupled bliss were more or less reserved for good-looking people (and if it did happen to ugly ducklings, they should at least have the decency not to snog in public, thank you very much). That at least gave a mission to my teenage angst: Lose weight, cover your spots and magically grow cheek-bones that deserve the name and hey presto! Prince Charming will appear on your doorstep. In retrospect, I don't know what I'd have done without my unrequited pinings for obscure objects of my desire like "the guy from the bus stop" or "the heart-throb from class 5B", never mind all those singers and movie stars who'll never know that back in the 1980s a chubby Austrian teenager believed she was THE ONE for them. What would the Mermaid and my other, equally complex-laden and love-sick friends have talked about, if it hadn't been for endless discussions about our dire prospects to get a boyfriend. Obviously, it was a kind of perverted fishing for compliments, a top trumps for frustrated rejects, if you so wish.

Now C. is definitely one of the best-looking young men among my friends and acquaintances. And yet he's had several close shaves with psychopaths of the female persuasion and had his heart broken.

I haven't quite decided if I should find this worrying or comforting.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Black Period

I hadn't noticed until a colleague recently said to me, almost in an accusatory tone, "You seem to wear nothing but black these days. Is it to go with your mood?" Ooops. She might have a point, considering the colour-scheme of my latest gadgets and accessories:

meet Jane Black (onemorehandbag)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

city lights

Christmas in Vienna (onemorehandbag) In spite of my attempts to pretty much block out Christmas and related activities other than baking and present shopping of my life - don't decorate the flat: check!, avoid Christmas markets: check!, change the topic if people talk of New Year's Eve parties: check!- this year for fear of launching into yet another one of the hysterical weeping fits I've become so good at and which scare nobody more than myself, I have to agree that the city centre does look nice and festive. Again.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Last night, I went to see Scoop with a friend (let's call her the Tyrolean) after having swapped our bags with Christmas pressies at Starbucks. We both really enjoyed the film and agreed that it was in fact the perfect pre-Christmas entertainment if you're after a much-needed break in between marathon baking and combat shopping. I have pretty much seen all of Woody Allen's many films (must be genetic, my parents love him too) and admittedly there was a phase in the late 90s where I thought he was way past his prime. Not so. After Match Point, which was probably the best film I've seen this year he has produced another masterpiece in a completely different, more lightweight, genre. It was definitely his funniest film since Manhattan Murder Mystery and Scarlett Johansson just seems made to star in a Woody Allen film. As does London as a location, interestingly enough. In magazine speak: Scarlett J. is the new Diane Keaton. London is the new New York.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

not so provincial after all

German impressions (onemorehandbag)For some reason (well, personal experience, too), I always take it for granted that by virtue of its diminutive size Austria is very provincial and seriously lacking in consumer friendliness and customer care. Take our rather restrictive shop opening hours for example. Or the fact that staff at railway stations or airports have only a very rudimentary grasp (if at all) of foreign languages. My recent visit to Düsseldorf and Cologne showed me that we still can learn from our German neighbours when it comes to customer "unfriendliness". Just to give you three examples:
1.) Train ticket machines at Cologne airport (as well as Cologne central station and Düsseldorf central station, by the way) only accept cash or German EC cards. Try with an international Maestro card - tough luck. Don't be so deluded to assume that at the manned ticket counter they accept your bank or Visa card, either.

2.) Owners of a German bank account can only take out money from a cashpoint of a branch of their own bank unless they want to pay exorbitant fees. Thankfully, tourists can withdraw money from any ATM and not pay extra fees.

3.) Even fewer stores than in Austria seem to accept credit cards, such as Habitat in Düsseldorf.

In spite of such retail obstacles I did boost the German economy and bought:

various pressies at Habitat
a pair of skinny stretchy denim trousers and a long top with belt to be worn with them
a sexy(ish) black top for the office Christmas party
a case for my new camera
a SWATCH watch (duty free shop)

Chiquita, who is currently doing an internship at a cosmetics company gave me tonnes of free products. Thanks to her, my cellulite craters should be under control for a while.

Monday, December 11, 2006

When the postman rings twice

approaching Vienna (onemorehandbag) On Thursday afternoon, 10 minutes before I was due to leave the office, I was called to reception. Allegedly it was urgent. Reluctantly I rushed there, only to see the postman with a small parcel. Assuming it was official I signed his "electronic receipt notepad gadget thingie" (you know what I mean, don't you?) without looking at the sender at first. When I did, I screeched into his ears and made a little leap of joy. My baby had arrived! Just as I had given up on my camera getting here in time for my German weekend break a Christmas miracle happened. Never mind that it rained all day on Friday and I hardly took any photos. It's a bit like when you carry an umbrella with you it won't rain at all. But it's good to have it on you just in case...
More about Germany tomorrow. As for the Casio Exilim Z1000 - it's love.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cookie Monster on tour

there's more...(onemorehandbag) Some more of my recent baking exploits above...

Tonight I'm flying to Cologne to visit my cousin Chiquita for the long weekend (tomorrow's a holiday in Austria). Chiquita actually lives (and works) in Düsseldorf but when I booked the flight she lived in Cologne which is why I have the privilege to indulge in a (hopefully pleasant) Deutsche Bahn experience late at night. Anyway, I'm looking forward not only to seeing her but also another friend who lives in the area and to revisiting these two cities, which I really like, Cologne in particular. Düsseldorf has a Habitat store (drool, drool) and although I was not particularly impressed with their current collection when I checked in Manchester, I'm hoping to find some Christmas pressies there.

More about all that on Monday.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Future Restored

Remember how disheartened I was when WOMAN magazine forecast a rather bleak 2007 for aquarii? Well, I've since found the remedy. All it took was the purchase of JOLIE mag which scramed "the big love horoscope 2007" on the cover. No moping around until November here, quite to the contrary: Apparently I'll be irresistible in spring and unbeatable when it comes to flirting. I quote: "From the end of February all the way through March your love life will seem like an exciting novel (...) and you will experience the hottest nights of the year." Now this is more to my liking! I'll also have a career breakthrough right at the beginning of the year - hurray!

Then again, their characterisation of my star sign does not really apply to me, queen of self-pity and stubborn clinger-on to things lost: "You have never been a woman who has problems leaving behind old things and entering new territorry." Hmmmm

Ah well, I'll just pick out the raisins of this atrologic cake and believe in my love-goddess and career predictions.

2007, hold on tight!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Digital Rage

Deserves me right for trying to make a super bargain and comparing prices on Geizhals. The Casio Exilim Z1000 camera I ordered exactly a week ago and which was supposed to arrive in the shop "by Friday at the latest" and subsequently be sent to me within 24 hours still hasn't materialised. I've just called and been told there are delays from the supplier's side and they hope to get their order this week. There goes my hope of taking my new baby to Germany with me this Thursday. There is a considerable price difference compared to other, "offline" shops but ...


PS (14:00) : I successfully scratched my gadget-itch in my lunch-time when I bought a Motorola RARZ mobile phone for € 1 (I extended my subscription with Telering for another 18 months). Hah!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hi, it's me, your seasonal baking bore

cookies (onemorehandbag) Did I say on Friday I had problems motivating myself to tackle the gingerbread-dough. Ahem. Above you can see the products of the weekend's baking and chocolate-making frenzy. Not pictured are 3 more (!) types of cookies I made, including the good old Christmas cookies for dummies where I substituted dried apricots and mangoes for the cranberries and used half walnuts, half Brazil nuts. Not bad. I also soaked the fruits for the toddy cake (=variation of traditional British Christmas cake) I am going to bake tonight. Hopefully my lunch-break excursion to the British supermarket with FCN will produce ready-to-roll icing.


Friday, December 01, 2006


Do you know that "headless chicken feeling"? No? I seem to get it a lot recently. It's when you feel you can't concentrate on one single task (well, o.k. that could be called ADHD) and in general feel very unfocused. Instead of doing one thing properly or getting down to doing what should be most important, you half-heartedly, but nonetheless frantically, do two dozens of other things instead. Such as walking out with a hairdrier when you're at an electronics store shopping for a new digital camera:
yet another spree(onemorehandbag) Mind you, that was long overdue as for years I'd been torturing my hair (and my patience) with a weak breeze of a hairdrier. The MEXX jumper above is yet another of those ersatz cuddliness objects I seem to accumulate lately. If you can't get someone to hug and cuddle you, get an angora jumper instead. Makes sense, right?

Re: digital camera, I ordered it online on Tuesday and it seems the store still hasn't got them back in stock. I called today and was told they were expecting to receive them "within the next days". I tried to get the message across that I wouldn't mind having a camera in time for my trip to Germany next Thursday. A holiday without a camera...*shudder*

I'm trying to get myself into the right frame of mind for tackling the gingerbread dough I prepared on Monday and which has been hibernating in my fridge ever since. Next Wednesday I have a Christmas baking date with the Pampered Princess. Expect to be bored to death with pictures of biscuits once again. There are small mercies, though: this year I'm not getting an advent wreath and won't put up Christmassy decorations as I simply am not in a festive mood. And that's not only because of the spring weather we're having.
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