DIY Christmas Decorations

Christmas is just around the corner and about 2 weeks ago or so, we got our home ready for the festive season. I mean, if they can start selling decorations and chocolates in October/November, it’s about time we got our act together.

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Another year over…

Yep, another year (almost) over and we’ve done, seen and learned lots. We’ve been blogging collectively for just over a year now (zomg nobody posted about our one year anniversary on Nov 10th! Anyway, to cover that here’s my insight into that topic: cool!) and so much has been going on with our travels and experiences as well as cars, movies, games and food!

Speaking of food, I mentioned that we were having a Christmas dinner on the 24th (the 24th is regarded the official first day of Christmas here and presents are unwrapped on the evening of the 24th). I love Christmas dinner in Germany because at least in this family it means one thing: Raclette. Think meat, onions, vegetables, anything covered in smouldering cheese. Delish!

I kind of got too excited and ate before taking pictures so you’ll have to excuse the lack of deliciousness. You can trust me though, it’s good! Here’s an idea of what it’s like:

Raclette: Cheesy goodness

Raclette: Cheesy goodness

Basically it’s like teppenyaki/grill on the top and underneath you fill up a little paddle with goodness and put thick slices of Raclette cheese on top of it and leave it there until it’s nice and gooey and perhaps a bit crispy on top. In the meantime, you don’t have to wait unfulfilled because you can grill and eat meats and vegetables on top. It keeps you busy and satisfied.

This is what it looked like at the end:

Raclette: the aftermath

Raclette: the aftermath

The next day we visited a friend of ours and she had prepared a nice roast with what can be described as potato dumplings (Kartoffelknödel) only without any filling and plenty of sauce…just the way the Swabians (southern Germans) like it!

Pork roast

Pork roast

And just to round out the post with some more food, we had cheese fondue recently and dipped mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli and baguette pieces into it. Not a bad idea!

Cheese fondue

Cheese fondue

My summation: Germans love their cheese especially around Christmastime! Then again, it’s pretty darn good.

Here’s to 2014 and all the new travels, experiences, cars, movies, games and food it will bring! I will be setting off fireworks I bought here so I’m looking forward to that. See you next year, y’all!


The year of Kokstars

Hi Everyone,

I’d like to start the end of the year as if we’ve been in conversation already, because it’s been rather one-sided and I tend to be the talker in this relationship anyway. Wow what a year it’s been and our first year as a blog stemming from an idea stuck in our unique collective heads for some time now. I think it’s been a great year and I thank you for joining Stephanie, Justin and I for what was and still is our creative outlet, a place we can call home on the internet and somewhere where our thoughts run a little more rampant.

I haven’t been that active lately and that would be down to one very big game which I might add is not 100% complete yet everyone is playing it ragged. As a christmas present to everyone on GTA Online, they made it snow:

0_0 Snow

Fading light over the mountains at the end of Christmas

0_0 Vespucci

The view of Vespucci Beach covered in snow. It was approx 25 degrees celsius here in Sydney so to see this was refreshing.

0_0 Vinewood

The Vinewood sign in winter, look mum I’m famous!

0_0 Boulevard

Getting around town in the snow in a convertible, because earmuffs are fun.

0_0 Chilliad

My Sandking on the top of Mt. Chilliad, loving the lighting.

All in all it’s been great writing for you this year. I hope Christmas was as good as you hoped it would be and that the new year brings new exciting things to you and your friends and family.



Third Advent

I can’t remember the Advent weekends being such a big deal in Australia, but in Germany it definitely is.

This past weekend marked the third advent and in celebration we had a big brunch out in the countryside at our friend’s place.

Unwrapping the Christmas tree

Unwrapping the Christmas tree

Relaxing by the fire

Relaxing by the fire

We stayed overnight and sat by the fire, setting up her Christmas tree. The next morning we got up early and started preparing all the food for the 21 guests who were coming for brunch at 11am.

Taking the beef out of the oven

Taking the beef out of the oven

After hours of slow cooking, it's on to 5 minutes on the grill!

After hours of slow cooking, it’s on to 5 minutes on the grill!

At 9am we put a 4.5 Kilo cut of beef into the oven, to be slow cooked for a few hours. We were thinking about 3, but it turned out to almost need 5! We surrounded the cut with plenty of garlic and onions.

We prepared a fruit salad (banana, grape, pomegranate, orange and honey), some self-made Berner sausages (filled with cheese, wrapped in bacon strips), Italian sausages, pancake mix, chicken drumsticks, salad (cucumber, tomato, mozzarella in balsamic vinegar/olive oil dressing) and a number of desserts. Most of the food we made, but the guests also brought some dishes. A friend of ours brought Kölsch beer, a type of specialty beer that comes from Cologne and we had wines and juices as well.

It was a whole load of food and we ended up leaving around 3pm. After 4 hours of feeding we definitely did not need any dinner!

I’m not sure how people usually spend the third Advent but this is a tradition that I’d be glad to carry on.

Happy holidays and til next week!

Packing and almost ready to go!

As you would now be aware, the Kokstars are reuniting in Singapore very very soon. I fly off tomorrow from Frankfurt but am packing now, the day before I fly. If I were going for longer I would have probably started last week, but I’ll be there for 2 weeks so it should be easy.

For Singapore, because they basically have one, maybe two seasons, it’s quite simple to pack for the climate. It’s always hot and it’s always humid, it just depends on whether it rains. Right now it’s monsoon season so it’s quite rainy, with temperatures between 30°-32°C. I’ve basically packed a bunch of shorts, skirts and dresses.

We’re planning to check out Singapore’s new attractions such as Gardens By The Bay as well as go to Legoland in Malaysia for a day. It should be good and I’m so psyched for it!

I’m also going to be flying for the very first time with Qatar Airways. I’m pretty excited about it because I tend to fly quite a lot and have used many different airlines, but Qatar Airways was rated the World’s Best Airline in 2011. At the moment, Singapore Airlines is my favourite in terms of service, food and entertainment for long-haul flights. I flew once with Virgin Australia in premium economy and that was incredible, but you can’t really be comparing economy and premium economy.

Anyway I’m sure you’ll be reading more from us while we’re in Singapore and I may do a review of Qatar Airlines on my trip Frankfurt-Doha-Singapore-Doha-Frankfurt.

A lot of people have been wishing me a ‘happy end of the world’, but I won’t do that to you. I hope you have a merry Christmas and a wonderful start to 2013!



A tradition that I have only become aware of since arriving in Germany is Nikolaus’ visit on December 6. It’s more of a kids tradition, perhaps, but in this household we definitely still put value on it despite all of us being over 20.

The idea is that you leave your boots, or shoes out on the evening of the 5th so that when Nikolaus visits, he can fill them up with treats. I guess it’s like the stocking on the fireplace in American movies.

It’s so interesting how big a deal Christmas is in Europe, and especially so in Germany. Back home, we put up a tree and some lights, went to church (but we always do) and exchanged gifts on the 25th, but we didn’t go much further than that.

Here, each Advent (the Sundays in December) is a special occasion, as well as the 6th. Before December, you either make or buy a wreath which has 4 candles in it. Then, every Sunday in December, a candle is lit until all 4 are burning. It looks something like this in our home:

Advent Candles

Advent Candles

Each person or couple also gets an Advent calendar made for them. I have a Kinder Surprise calendar because I just love it, but I share two calendars with my fiancé, one from his godmother and one from his sister and her husband. They are filled with goodies and sometimes, small presents are attached to certain days. Here is the one from his godmother:

Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar

The season of giving and receiving. It really is a special time. Merry Christmas, everyone! Stay safe and well. I’m looking forward to being reunited with my brothers and parents over Christmas in Singapore! Feel free to share traditions and Christmas plans with us in the comments 🙂