Monday, June 30, 2014

Interior design inspiration: Etage 7 Berlin

Although disappointed that the futon sold are only inspired from their Asian models, not necessarily brought directly from Japan or other Asian countries, Etage 7 Berlin offers enough reasons to change your mind about the style of your furniture. The shop I visited recently is situated on Kanstrasse 13, but the company also has another shop in Berlin on Schonhauser Allee as well as an online boutique.
The design of the shop itself is relatively simple, spread on two spacious levels, stucked with various models of beds, mattresses and other pieces of furniture (especially book shelves). The furniture used is originally from Central Europe or Mediterranean area, but the overall inspiration is from the minimalist Asian models.  
The customer service was very friendly, offering me a lot of details about various woods used for the furniture, as well as other details about the products distributed. The shop is very flexible and it is possible to order your own size - compared to what I know about the Asian furniture, the models were anyway quite massive, fit for the usual large space of the Western homes. An order may take 4 to 6 months till the final delivery. 
The models are relatively simple, available in different colour combinations. It suits the non-sophisticated customers, practical and with a sense of minimal fashion design. Especially for the futons, there are different models available, some of them with a serious elegant touch. Most mattresses I've seen are designed according to the highest health and comfort standards. 
These shelves are my favourite, although you need a lot of courage and a safe ladder to move different objects from a part to another. But when you are out of space, it can save a lot. 
The same space concern can push you to buy this bed too. The prices are medium, with the average price for a minimal bed going to around 600 EUR. With different modifications, it can reach around 1,000 EUR.

My first porridge

I wanted to taste porridge for a long time, but despite my frequent trips near Scotland and the foodie recommendations from well experienced friends in matters of porridge and my interest for various traditional foods, the moment of true porridge was delayed for a couple of years. (What a shame, I know!) But in one of those moments when you realize that it should be 'now or never', I finally made it! I bought two colourful boxes from Glen Oats, and after a little while, I proceeded to the tasting. 
The porridge, available in three variants, simple, berries and gold syrup, was produced especially for the German market. They look colourful and funny, maybe with a design too charged in my opinion, but friendly enough to convince you to buy it. Especially if you never had the taste of the porridge, it may be a proper incentive. The preparation can be done within minutes, making it a perfect choice for the fast breakfast or lunches spent near the computer: boiled water poured over the content till the designated limit. You should mix well before starting to eat, in order to create a mixture as compact as possible.
As a general recommendation, it is better to consume them while hot. I tried one of them also one hour later and was not very happy with the taste: some traces of gluten, the whole composition was a bit sticky, and without too much taste. But fresh, it can be delicious and bringing good energy.  
My favourite out of them is the berry: it's fresh, fruity and mild. It goes with a breakfast based on fruits or as the only meal of the morning, accompanied by a simple tea or a coffee. 
The corn syrup is a bit too sweet for my taste, with a very milky taste. At a certain point, it tastes a bit artificial, but maybe one should pour less water. For me, it was enough for the morning, together with the coffee. 
My first meetings with porridge, although with the ready-made ones, was fine, good enough to make me curious to try an original meal one day. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Interior design inspiration: Lambert shop Hamburg

Situated in the elegant Hansa Viertel, close to the Gansemarkt, Lambert shop is an interesting destination for those looking for some high-class furniture, home accessories and table ware. Covering many stores and style variations, it is mostly inspired by the Asian heavy furniture, but equally displays objects of modern inspiration. 
The most displayed items are those of Asian origin, adapted to the European tastes into lively and unusual colours such as green or red. The main target is the owner of a big spacious house, even mansion. However, minimalist pieces of furniture, that suit smaller space that encourages a vertical development and embellishment.
The furniture is not only elegant, but shockingly innovative, as it is the case with two-legged table on the right side. It can be used to adorn the lobby, or as a simple yet interesting decoration in the living room. The dark colours are also an all time favourite, as it could match every interior and wall painting.
Up to a different level of the store, comfy leather Recamiers and various candle decorations are displayed. While visiting the shop, I felt that you cannot always match completely one full room with the pieces of furniture available, but it is also possible to find out more online, as the shop has a virtual shop too. 
Although the shop benefits of an impressive amount of space, the overall design of the shop did not impress me too much. Disparate and not stylistically matched pieces of furniture are brought are sharing the same space only because it seems they are too many for allowing the free access in the rooms. 
Some corners though can offer the full package of inspiration for matching at least half of the room. The Chinese style of closet is my favourite as it is very simple and with a generous space behind the doors. 
The customer service is very friendly and ready to help in case you are lost among so many temptations. I favour always very simple furniture arrangements, avoiding crowded corners - not only because there might be children that can be hit by or annoyed because lacking the proper space to move or play. 
When comparing Western and Eastern style of living, I noticed that in the latter case, we might need more space for books, as big plates and vases are usually used for carrying food or flowers, not for decorations on the shelves. 
The prices are middle to high-end, with the value of a modest chair going to 249 EUR. and a 100x240 wooden table to about 4,000 EUR. I suppose that if they would invest a little bit more in the style of the shop, there will be even more customers interested to buy, inspired by the good taste and smart suggestions for room arrangements. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My newest colourful love: 2 in 1 Green Lamarthe handbag

It was just another summer day, when I entered Galeries Lafayette Berlin to kill a bit of time and have a look at the newest models of bags, hats and maybe for some blogging inspiration. Then, I saw this beautiful Lamarthe bag. So beautiful that I spent more time than scheduled in admiration.
Maybe the colour is a big too strong, but with a simple summer outfit - yellow or pink salmon or light brown/beige, or if bold enough, some orange, it brings a lot of happiness. As for the shows, if there are matchable green shows, why not, otherwise, some beige or yellow sandals can be recommended as well. The bag is spacious enough for a lot of important items, from your tablet to your phone, a make-up set, your purse and even a kindle. Only be careful not to overload it as it is hand-carried. 
It is made of quality leather and the interior is coated with quality silk. 
Mostly a daytime accessory, when folded it can easily be carried on for an evening party. This multi-functional quality is an important asset and if you can buy it on sales - right now the price goes around 150 EUR. - it's a very serious investment. As it is summer, don't forget to wear a light make-up!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Flower decorations ideas for the summer table

The main thing that I love about the summer except the long days and the sun, is the possibility to admire so many flowers. It is that season of the year when one can find natural flowers, with natural smells that will always embellish the house. Also, I noticed that in the summer the flowers last longer,and for instance, the flowers bought for Shabbes can be kept for another week or even more. A couple of days ago, while on the road, I noticed some beautiful bouquets. For each of them, an interior design story was easily matched. 
I am still consider the very blue flowers as looking a bit artificial, but the flowers included in this bouquet achieved a pleasant balance of colours. It looks a bit official and would buy it for a special occasion, maybe for a holiday. 
Yellow makes me very happy and would love to have this bouquet for a birthday related occasion. Or for an anniversary. Through the combination of various kinds of flowers, including the very special rose, it brings a sense of warm and diversity. 
The combination of yellow and blue resulted in a quite cold combo in my opinion. This bouquet goes rather for any winter occasion. After a bit more thinking I realized that if placed in a predominantly white environment, it can show a friendlier face.
Do you feel the waves of joy sent by those joyous flowers? I want to have them on my Shabbes table every week.
This simple selection of flowers is more distinguished and elegant, but warm enough to send you friendly good waves. For a summer bar or bat mitzva is more than perfect.
And if none of the previous bouquets convinced you, it's hard to believe that the simple sunflowers will fail. Look at every single flowers, about the sun stories they are telling and the wonderful simplicity of the pure yellow. 

If interested to check more flower inspiration, feel free to check my Pinterest dedicated board:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Schacht & Westerich shop in Hamburg, the house of paper

Situated in the chic Hansaviertel in Hamburg, Schacht & Westerich shop is the most recommended destination if looking for paper products, as well as writing instruments. Although the Montblanc pens, Moleskine notebooks and Faber Castell pencils are a predictable presence in such an high-end shop, the entire design and the special products distributed make this location unique for anyone looking to make his or her life a little bit more beautiful. 
Take, for instance, the fine wedding stationery, personalized enveloped and invitations for your wedding or any other special occasions. The customer service is friendly enough to help you find exactly what you are looking for. The shop also offers the possibility of online ordering. 
Leichhturm 1917 is considered the German answer to Moleskine. Established in Hamburg after 1948, it has nowadays representatives in over 50 cities.  
The prices are moderate to high, but for the origami and other creative projects, paper in various colours are available for very low prices. In any case, it's a quality investment.
For the traveler in me, the counter of stationery inspired by and dedicated to travel was the favourite corner.
Overall, a happy shopping experience and an interesting stylish discovery. The shop is quite big and with so many temptations around, expect to spend there at least one full and colourful hour.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Green tea noodles! Green tea noodles!!!

I am a huge fan of green tea and of noodles. While living in Asia, I tasted a lot of green tea-based products, most of them completely unusual for the educated tastes of the Europeans. Especially the sweets are very special, without too much sugar, but bringing a certain balance to the taste that you can hardly find at any other products. As for the noodles, maybe I love them because they can be prepared so fast: you boil the water and pour in and that's it! 
But, when I found out one of those days green tea noodles, I could not believe it is for real! How can it be possible to find two of my favourite products in one! I bought them without thinking too much, because, dear readers, we are talking about big love here!
I kept them for a couple of days, before feeling hungry for something special. The preparation is ridiculously easy: boil the water and pour them on the bunch. My big mistake first time was not too calculate correctly how much water I need and not covering the noodles properly by the water.  
Because the preparation is very easy, I had some time to add some fried veggies - mushrooms and small tomatoes, with a delicate touch of olive oil. A smooth combination, that makes you feel full without any guilt feelings. 
The green tea taste is not that predominant as in the case of the cookies or the tea, but enough to give the noodles a special unique taste that I never had before. I avoided to add cheese or sour cream, as I felt that it can match better any other veggie combination. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Interior design inspiration: Doğtaş Exclusive Shop in Berlin

Doğtaş Exclusive Shop in Berlin, and Germany, was opened relatively recently, on Lietzenburgerstrasse 69-71. It is situated very close to Fasanenstrasse and to the famous high-class shopping area of Ku'damm. The customer service is relatively friendly, helping you when you need more information, but not necessarily asking you if you really need something. The showroom occupies two stores, one being situated underground. In Turkey, the company was awarded the 'Most Accredited Brand of Furniture Sector' title two years in a row.
One think that I loved about this shop is the diversity of colours that embelish a choice of wood that otherwise looks cheap. First and foremost, the couches and little pillows are the patch of colour that change completely the entire room perspective. The white furniture is looking elegant, fit for modern tastes.  
When looking through the original Turkish catalogues, I discovered a bigger choice of colours and wooden textures. This walnut wood living room table has upholstered chairs that look very comfy. Most furniture suits moderated-sized rooms, offering a good space management. 
If you are a bit more pretentious when it comes to colours, you can find bed linen that are breaking up the monotony. The mattresses are designed according to the highest standards in terms of health and comfort.  
Most room sets presented are organized around the concept of practicality: easy to move, not too complicated to use, user friendly modules, fitting various budgets and expectations. The natural wood gives a warm look to the room. 
When looking at many bedrooms, especially at the beautiful carpets and comfy chairs, I could not stop thinking about the Oriental stories. And if you want to take your breakfast in bed, it's even more encouraging to tell even more stories.
 Most closet do have metal handles, and are offered in a combination of mild colours.
The most colourful spaces are the children' rooms, although most of those I've seen are perfect only for girls. The pieces of furniture offer enough space to collect all the small and big items, without taking too much space from the room. 
This is one of my favourite room combinations, not only because I love the blue colour. The twist between tobacco and white, plus the petrol blue of the chair with the elegant lines are part of a good combination. The modernist lamps is designed to occupy the minimum amount of space while offering a good lightning. 
The comfy chairs can suit any space: from the kitchen to the bedroom, you can move them as often as possible when you need to relax.  
With the help of some pieces of furniture, you can build a lot vertically, without charging the space and bringing together interesting pieces of furniture. 
Without impressing me to tears, Doğtaş Exclusive Shop in Berlin has a lot of interesting and affordable options to be considered if one think about redesigning completely the house or simply adding more colour to the ambiance. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Beauty corner: Clean-up strips from Rival de Loop

As the air in Berlin is very fresh and the pollution is relatively limited, I do not need too many clearing products, but somehow, especially in the spring I need to intensify the number of skin products. For a long time, I was a faithful user of Nivea clear-up strips, with relatively good results. 
But I am known for my curiosity to try new products as well and for the last 4 weeks, I used the Rival de Loop Pure Skin Clear-up Strips, available at my local Rossmann at a very acceptable price - as everything that goes up by this company distributed by Rossmann.
Based on tea tree oil, it can be used for forehead, nose and chin. The application is relatively easy: you wet the strip with warm water, apply it in the areas with predisposition to black spots, wait for around 10-15 minutes, take it out and clean the skin with warm water. The results are relatively modest: it cleans the skin, but every time I needed to clean carefully the glue that remains on the skin, an experience that I did not have before. The skin looks clean, but not completely, and most likely you need to repeat the process in less than one week. 
Otherwise, if you need to make a small investment in your skin, you can do it. If not necessarily, you can wait a bit more and buy a product that is really high-quality from all points of view. 

Learning to prepare eggplant, testing another recipe from Tori Avey

I have a very complicated relationship with eggplant. I started to eat very late in life and my first experience was a disastrous allergy. Since then, I cautiously tried to prepare it in several ways, without too much success. But I hardly give up, especially when it comes to prepare food, so I gave one more chance with a very tempting recipe by Tori Avey. 
I used a medium eggplant, sliced it and salted abundantly it with kosher salt. I also added some drops of lemon. Let it to rest on a paper. After 15 minutes, the drops of water were visible on the paper. I let it to rest for 20 minutes, in total, and rinsed the salt with cold water for 5 minutes.
I coated each slice in eggs white, previously beaten till it goes creamy. In a pan, I poured 1 tablespoon of walnut oil and waited a while till it gets hotter. The recommended temperature is 200C. I fried it on both sides, for around 6-7 minutes each. On some slices I spread some Cayenne pepper for more hotness. 
I followed the author's recommendation to do not have more than 4 slices of eggplant simultaneously in the pan, because it diminishes the overall temperature and it might take more time till it's getting ready, but after the first batch it went very fast anyway and in less than 20 minutes I was ready. 
And when it was ready, I could not stop eating it! I left some pieces for later and share a little bit in the house. Served cold is not that good and eggplant anyway should not be let too much to wait after preparation.
I made a little salad, with fresh tomatoes and rocket, plus fresh yoghurt, and it suited excellently the beginning of the summer mood. No allergy this time, perfect taste, low calories and not too much oil. Can't wait to seize a new occasion to test this recipe once again. 
Bon Appétit!