Saturday, February 27, 2016

3 Hobby Books to make your weekends more creative

Either if you work full or part time, if you are a parent with one or more children or just single, life is not easy and the working week means very often a lot of stress. As winter and the cold weather decide to stay for longer in some unhappy parts of the world, weekends can be just grey and not-eventful, without too much to do outside. Instead of staying in the front of the TV most of the time, what about learning some new skills that can save your mind for something better during the exhausting days of the week? Here there are three books that can bring a pintch of creativity into your life:

In the age of digital writing, hand writing is greatly neglected. I used to study calligraphy in primary school and I still do a lot of handwriting every day, but the art of elegant lettering is not so widespread as it used to be. Judy Detrick, a calligraphy teacher and professional, offers an introduction into this precious art, with the help of a couple of exercises and various advices about the best materials to use. The exercises for acquiring basic skills for Italic hand writing, are designated for specific letters - including capitals and punctuation. 
For the beginning, it requires an investment of maximum 40-50 EUR. You can practice 10 insightful minutes the day and use this new skill for creating various 'Thank you' notes or invitations for events.  
The book will be available for sale starting with 19 April.

I am a big supporter of colouring books for adults and I own myself a couple of them. This one is a bit special though, because besides the beautiful graphics it features a story that I love even more as I love colouring books: Alice in Wonderland, celebrating 150 years since making the world a better place. Besides the colouring patterns, it also has some little story and an invitation to quizzes. The only regret is that there are not as many patterns to keep you creative at least for a couple of months. 
The title will be released on April 5.

The Flower Workshop, by Ariella Chezar with Julie Michaels

I spent most of my childhood in a house with a wild garden and I love flowers wherever they are. I am doing once in a while flower arrangements, but not that much as I want to do and not always with a plan. This book is meant to bring inspiration for creating insightful flower projects but also brings the personal story of the author, of growing up in a creative familly in love with nature. First and foremost it has beautiful pictures, but it is also well written and gives many ideas for the beginner or advanced flower designer. The learning is based on the author's workshops all over the world that I will be very tempted to attend at least once.
The book will be released the March 1.

Disclaimer: I was offered these books via, but the opinions are, as usual, my own

Friday, February 26, 2016

Month 5 with the baby

The awesome invention of mobile playground
There were so many things going on in our baby life in the last 30 days. As a general rule, he entered a very healthy schedule, with early wake up around 5.30 after a full night of sleep, eating, sleeping a bit, playing, eating, sleeping again, some more playing, eating, a couple of hours outdoors when weather allows, eating, playing, 30 minutes of sleep, bath. We tried to keep this pace and in most cases everythin went more smoothly than expected.
The biggest achievement this month was the purchase of the mobile playground, a very great idea, made up of colourful pieces put together, made of different materials, uttering sounds, with mirrors and plush that are a delightful idea. He spends around 2 full hours there, playing with the toys and this time is a precious mommy time too, when I just can do my writing things while watching him from close. We bought more and more toys, that are aimed to stimulate his creativity and help him develop. More about the amazing industry of children toys in a coming post.
Compared with the previous months, he spends much more time touching and observing things, pulling up and trying to feel the materials. 
Another big step for the baby was the introduction of solid foods. I am preparing an extensive post about it but till then, we are very happy with the addition and we tried to add new and new foods - white carrots, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, fruit mix, evening brei with vanilla or banana. Another reason to be happy was that so far there were not allergic reactions so we can keep going on with more experimenting. We did not try fish and meat yet, but hope to find a kosher solution in the next 2 weeks.
There were another awesome things going on too: we went travel by airplane, bus and train. It was not easy for us and for the other passengers, but at the end of the journey, he reacted quite well and ended up by taking some healthy naps in between long sessions of screaming. There were many lessons learned but also a warning that we have to try to slow travel and listen to his requirements first and foremost. Conclusion: travel with a baby is not easy at all!
The communication improved significantly and he smiles more and more. He also developed a funny caugh that drove me to panic first, but two doctors told me that in fact it is just a way to grab our attention. Also, he can show us also when he does not agree with something, looking at us with some big worried eyes. 
He also moving a lot, with the neck getting stronger and stronger - we are doing some special therapy too, as the doctor realized that more exercise is needed - with more rolling on sides. We also had a little panic moment, when the doctor announced us that his head is a bit flat and we need to check out with some other specialists about. Hopefully, everything is fine and will come back later with a detailed post about this. 
Overall, everything is changing, and not only his hair: we bought a new sleeping bag, most of his first clothes are packed in bags and ready to go further to other kids, we have to find him a new bed as soon as possible. 
But first and foremost, I am very happy to have spent a lot of time with the baby as I decided to give up work for now and apply for the so-called 'Elterngeld', the salary given by the German state to moms for the first year of life of the kid. We went beyond the bureaucratic stage and we are waiting for the further developments. 
Ready for more baby adventures to come!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Chose your lamp at Lampen Lee Berlin

There are many lamps shops in Berlin - more features in the next posts - but very often they offer modern shapes and relatively models that specifically suit either the low budget customer or the very hip designer lovers. Lampen Lee Berlin aims at a relatively different market. 
Tiffany lamps are one of the top products, with prices that can easily go far from 400 EUR.
There are around 250 different lamps that suit every kind of lamps, for every kind of rooms, from small ones to high-ceiling ones.
Bed lamps are another category richly represented,and the diverse classical items are not easily found in other places. 
The customer service is quite helping and friendly and it also offers various reparations and assistance with installation when necessary.
The design of the shop as such is non-existent and it can be excused as in fact with such a big concentration of products on a small space, aesthetics are the last worry it seems. Add to this the fact that there are also other antiquities and jewellery and some vintage furniture on sale. 
With such an overwhelming diversity of products and quite a messy setting, the best is to arrive there with your own idea of lamp. 
Besides the Tiffany colourful lamps, there are also gracious Swarowski crystal lamps which suit majestic rooms and interiors. In fact, with such a sophisticated lamp the rest of the room cannot be but very minimalistic and reduced to a very simple furniture and big windows.
Wall lamps are the cheapest ones and here too the offer does not disappoints. Garden or outdoors lamps are also available. 
On the market since 1972, the shop is situated in the Western side of the city, close to the Blissestrasse metro station and with bus stations nearby. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Energy morning treats by Ovomaltine

I am not a big fan of chocolate spreads and I still remember my shock when my first breakfast in Switzerland I was invited to put some Nutella chocolate on my bread. Sounded so barbarian for me that I needed years till I finally accepted to try. When I spread the crunchy Ovomaltine spread on my black bread, and started to taste it, my bad impressions were history but the results were more than surprising. It does taste as chocolate, but has some special strong taste that can be enough for the rest of the day. And, in fact, it was as I was full enough to do not dream about anything else. 
As I am a coffee fanatic, replacing the coffee with any other substitutes, makes me feel like a traitor. For my culinary explorations, I try once in a while some cocoa, but no way to make a long term commitment of replacing it for good. Especially not in the morning. Thus, I prepared my Ovomaltine treat in between two afternoon coffees. I used 180 cold milk for 18 g. Ovomaltine. I did not add sugar, but mixed extra as it takes longer to dissolve. 
It contains a healthy mixture of malz and cocoa, with many vitamins added such as Calcium, Magnesium and B12. So good and self sufficient that at least for one hour I forgot that I only need coffee. Drinking it in the morning made it for a full meal, with that energy dosis that everyone needs to go through the daily challenges. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Beauty review: Rose Hand Cream by Accentra

It does not happen every time to decide testing products I never heard about. It does not mean that the producs are bad for my skin or low quality, but when it comes to beauty products, I prefer to go on the beaten path, based on the good previous experience. However, a hand and nails cream cannot present a high risk and thus, when out shopping for beauty products with my friends I discovered this Aromatherapy cream by Accentra, I just follow my instincts and bought it,curious to discover something new. 
Especially during the winter and the never ending cold and because I have to keep my hands a lot of time under water cleaning permanently something for the baby, my hands are getting easily dry and require constant care. In the last two weeks, I am using this cream at least twice the day, for both hands and nails and the results are satisfactory.
I bought a 60 ml. blush rose tube, for 2.50 Eur. Made in China, the tube has an appearance of painting tube, made of a thin plastic, which looks good but of a relatively modest quality. It contains mainly water, mineral oil, citrus oil and geranicol. The cream is smooth, not too greasy, with smell which is for me a combination between oily something and fading roses. Not to die for, at least not me.
As for the effects on my skin, the most important after all, after 10 days of permanent use, I am fine with. It is the kind of cream that you end up using by reflex because you just know that it does good to you, at least for the next hour or so.  Not sure I will run to get a new supply after this tube is ready, but I am left with a good experience so the next time I know what Accentra is and what it did to me. 

Pro and cons the bottle food

In the very first days of the first week of the 4th month of the baby, we started immediately to change his menu, by introducing each day and right now, one month after, each meal, a new type of food. As I am preparing right now an extensive post with my lessons learned about the first baby meals, I focus right now on some aspects regarding the bottle food only. Two months ago, I started to ask and read around various opinions about and also based on my own conclusion, the following ideas emerged:


- Expensive - One small bottle can cost in Germany around 1 Euro one. Right now, I buy every week around 5 different ones. If I want something really special, I have to buy the kosher ones which are more expensive - around 3 Euro the little bootle. As in Germany the food is so cheap, you may suppose that you can reach a budget of around 3 Euro the week for all diversified meals.
- Unknown source of vegetables - There is always the bio option, but anyway, you have no idea how the vegetables grew up, how and when were harvested and especially, what kind of chemical treatment, if any, was used for them. 
- Perisability - Actually it happened very recently to me the following 'story': a mixture of vegetables - pumpkins, potatoes and carrots was no more good looking after 3 days of getting in and out the fridge. 


- Sterilic - The final product was created in high-end supervised hygienic conditions, respecting the highest food safety rules. Regardless how clean you are, the laboratory-like conditions can never be replicated at home. 
- Low  risk of chocking - Especially in the first months, you should be very careful with what you feed your baby. The bottle products are supposed to have that perfect balance between solid and liquid food that is scientifically required without experiencing any unhappy experience.
- Saves time - Either you are a traveling mom or not, when your baby is screaming from the deep of his or her lungs and you just cannot afford to waste time to clean the vegetables properly, put in the food processor, wait again till everything is done etc. Some products - like bananas - cannot be stored without risking deterioration. With the bottle, you just take it from the fridge and start feeding the baby.

Before being informed about the bottle food, I was convinced that I can do everything on my own, and even downloaded on my Kindle a special book with recipes for babies. I had a lot of time only for my baby, after all. However, after asking people with experience in the field of babies, checking the diverse market I have in Berlin and also reading various opinions of specialists, I decided that, at least for now, I will use the bottle food. The baby is quite happy and developing and as for now, no allergic reactions were noticed and thus, we should just go on with the bottle food.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fashion tips: H&M jewellery collection

I am very very careful with the jewellery I wear - more than with the shoes, to be honest - but when completely by accident I discovered some items from the latest accessoires collection by H&M, I was more than surprised. I usually associate their jewellery with the teenage-kind of items but this time I was proved to be snobbishly wrong. Most of the metals are gold-looking, combined with various stones. The assymetric row stones are very attractive in fact, and they look pretty natural - not only in the pictures.
The silver and black combinations are inspired by the 1001 Nights, it seems, massive pieces with intricated chains. The metal looks pretty cheap so it did not impress me too much. 
But on the goldie side of the collection, there are more attractive options, like the opal and glittering gold, which can be used not only for the office sport outfit, but also for some non-pretentious evening date or party.  
These bracelets are actually my favourites, as I love the finely-shaped metal with the moderatelly sized stones. For each bracelet, there are three colourful stones that can be matched to different outfits, both in term of colour and degree of sophistication. 
 The Latin American inspiration of these earrings is chic enough to wear them for a couple of days in a row.
 The rings are also nicely cut, with flower models or simply stones. The prices are very attractive too: with an investment of 10 Euro one can find easily two matching items. 
The complicated geometry of some make it an interesting accesoire for the day. Regardless of the reason why you are living the house, do it in style!
The earrings are offered in different combinations and pairs which makes you feel free and special, regardless of your age and your budget. Especially when you travel, you need to still feel good, without being exposed to the danger of losing your family treasures or being too ostentative. 
Not all earings look authentic and high-end but if you have some time to search, you can find for sure something interesting. As for me, I promise that, at least once in a while, will be less snobbish and will check non-brand jewellery. 
Photos taken at the H&M Store in Bamberg. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Histerically laughing about teenagers

What else can you do when you have at least one piece of wild teenager in the house? Sometimes I am worried that something wrong happens with the brain between certain ages but hopefully everything is erased with one click. Except for those having care of them, who are supposed to be the victims of their confusing personality. As a survivor of the life with a teenager, I may agree with a friend of mine that in the old good times they were so right to send the kids away from families during this age, for acquiring an apprentiship, or getting an education, or whatever reason. 
Jan Weiler wrote previously about teenagers - Pubertiere (Tiere means animals in German, so you do not need advanced linguistic skills for understanding the getting the meaning of the  title - how he calls them, so this recent book is a follow up. Kind of update saying 'hey, I survived life with 2 - TWO! for Gd's sake - teenagers'. Altough reading this book will not change anything from the usual drama of the co-habitation with such a creature, at least it makes you laugh. Laugh therapy is good. The most efficient weapon against the tyrans. If not used with the German humour - to add a lot of sarcasm and self-admiration abot how smart you are when you make the joke - you may not get it in many cases, but as for now the book is available in German anyway - including audio version - so if you read it it means that you know more than the basic 'ich bin, du bist...' kind of training. (PS. The der, die, das thing you will never get it...never). 
Why you have to read this book: because you will feel less lonely, more relaxed, ready for a new day with the teenager under the same roof, and more convinced than ever that the dictatorship should be fought against. Wherever you are on this planet, there are many other parents too trying to understand the secret language of their teenies and to order more Energy drinks instead of the old times lemonade because, this is how it works. 
The optimistic me hopes that it is not always the same and at least my sweet little boy will be always respectful and cute and never, but never ever, a wild teenage-animal. At least now, I do have a lot of experience about what to expect. And believe me, be ready to expect the worse.

Product review: Febreeze New Zealand Air Freshner

As I am living in an old house with old furniture and once in a while, especially in the winter when it is too cold to keep the window open for a long time, some air freshners. Although I like in general vanilla and roses and some spices too, when it comes to the house, I rather prefer some neutral and fresh impressions. 
The good looking bottle from Febreeze and the good price - just another under 3 EUR. deals by Rossmann - were attractive enough for giving a try. This New Zealand fragrance spray is produced by Procter and Gamble Switzerland and available in a 300 ml. bottle. 
It is spread by pushing the spray from the side, very easyly and without any risk of being left with part of the spray cover or something similar. Through this system you can also have the control over the quantity spread in the air.
Let's go to the basics now...The reason I bought it is not for the collection of good looking bottles - which I do not have - but for some quality air freshner in the house, especially in the baby room. I never been to New Zealand and have no idea how this country smells like, so it is impossible as for now to check at what extent the description is consistent with the reality. At the first spread, it smells like fresh forest and fresh air - so not too much smell, mostly the work of imagination. But the biggest problem of all is that this smell - whatever it may be in reality - disappears very fast. True is that the air in the house does not smell bad thereafter but in fact it does not smell at all. Everything smells like a couple of seconds before. 

Verdict: Maybe the next time I should find something else. So bad that you cannot have the chance to actually test the air freshner before buying it, just like in the care of regular perfumes. It would make the choices much easier. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Beauty review: Anti-Falten Lifting Konzentrat by Schaebens

I used the face masks by Schaebens for a long time with relatively good results, provided at a very good price, but was not too keen to start testing many of their capsule skin treatments. Somehow, the very low price and the apparently little substance discouraged me from trying it. After all, I cannot do experiments with my skin. 
But one of my many resolutions are to try as many new producs as possible and the positive quality reviews of the products branded by Schaebens helped me to go over all the ready made ideas. 
After looking at many of their beauty products, I decided for the anti-wrinkles lifting concentrate. It is available for less than 5 Euro at any DM or Rossmann shop in Germany. It has a big list of ingredients, among which Q10, Peptides, Grape Seeds Extract, hibiscus flower extract, perfume. It includes 7 capsules to be used for 7 days in a row. Other similar products included 5 or 6 capsules.
The little capsule is a wonder in itself. You cut the head and start applying on the skin, especially in the areas exposed to wrinkles: corners of the eye, corners of the mouth etc. The wonder is that the liquid contained is really enough for covering the face and even found more than once that there is even more liquid than I needed. 
I previously cleaned the skin with Hydra Skin Protection by L'Oreal, let to rest and started to apply the liquid with circular moves. At least upon the first application, you will feel some little tickle under your skin within the first 30 minutes, especially in the checkbone area. 
The liquid itself is very consistent, fatty - very greasy at touch - and it stays on the skin for a couple of good minutes before being absorbed by the skin. I followed the treatment early in the morning, leaving it to work for hours before applying any other skin care products or make-up. 
I do not have too many wrinkles due to a very good genetical heritage, but I felt after the first day that the skin looks more natural and glowing. After 5 days, did not see any more some fine lines around the mouth.At the end of the treatment I was really feeling much better in my skin. 
Verdict: It is a product worth the investment, with good result, but if you really have a seriously wrinkled skin, you better save money for something more high-end. 

Book review: How to be Parisian Wherever you Are

Given the fame of this book - even at my local bookstore I had to pay 2 Euro especially for reading it - I was expecting something much more interesting. It is supposed to be a guide of of love, style and other (bad) habits of a Parisian woman, but it can easily suit, at least partially, other women too. Like from Italy, or Spain or maybe from Greece too. Anyway, it is an easy reading, with many glamorous pictures - sometimes much better than the text itself. 
Trying to keep being on the good side of things, here are a couple of advices that are useful for any women, wherever they are:
- Find your perfume before you are 30 and wear it for the next 30 years - Seriously, with so many interesting perfumes around, it is a pitty to just stay stucked to one and only. Plus, you need to change for different parts of the day and occassions. Seriously, the life is more complex than it used to be...
- 'Too much Make-up, too many colours, too many accessoires. Breath deep - less is more'. This is something I agree with...
- 'You play the main role in your life'. I could not agree more and this is something not a Parisian should know, isn't it?
- Salt&Pepper belongs to the table not to your hair. 
- The Parisian is ever happy. Like I tell you are the most beautiful woman in the world and you said it is not enough for you. Art, culture and politics are exactly her thing - To be very honest did not feel that this is exactly an advice to follow. Instead, learning to be happy with your lot is the best lifestyle lesson ever.
- Being original is not a compliment. - But we are unique, each and every one of us, isn't it?
- What you will not find in her closet: nylon polyester jogging pants, UGG Boots, free top, fake design bag, jeans with holes. - Except the UGG which are too comfortable to be left behind, I swear I do not own any of these items either.
- What she always has in the closet: black items, V-Pulllover, Pull marine. I knew it, I was always a Parisian...
- The Parisian often comes outside Paris, but she is born again there. - It goes for Berlin too, I think. Or NYC, nothing special about that actually...
-  The natural look is the result of well kept secrets transmitted from a generation to another.
- What you will not do for your skin? - Here you got me, dear writers. I am so 100% with you that I forget everything I disliked about this book.
- She is by nature a melancholic being. - I don't think that this is necessarily something you should include as part of your to-be-to-do-list. Unless you want to spend a serious amount of money on therapy.
- Only the best wins - Kind of stock markets advices for the fashionable women. 
- Dinner in Paris starts with Champagne. - I am too much wine-oriented to change now. 
- Together with her children she can always find dream worlds to explore, where herself she would love to live for ever, when she does not need to return to her adult world where she can work for a salary. - Maybe this is just a literary trick. 
- Being rich does not mean a design bag, an expensive car, a golden watch or a ring on every finger, but a newspaper under the armpit, talking self aware about Deleuze, her personality who is shining. Money versus intellectual richness. - #pleasegivemeabreak. This was on the time of Madame Bovary, isn't it?

What I also did not find great about this book is the structure of the chapters and the distribution of ideas all over the book. Practically, you can find many ideas about the same thing spread here and there. 
The verdict: Read it if you do not have something to keep your mind busy while commuting or waiting in line. Otherwise, you better go to Paris to see the real world. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Beauty review: ISANA Shower peeling with Dead Sea Salt

I am not a big fan of doing body peeling treatments all by myself because yes, sometimes I must recognize, I am very lazy. Especially now, with the baby in toe, the time is so limited that I have to think twice before spending too much time doing something. However, the combination between bambus massage pearls and dead sea salt sounded tempting enought for purchasing this shower peeling cream from Rossmann. Also, the fact that it is limited edition made me even more curious and special to use something not everyone's cup of tea.
I am using it for a week every day once and I started to like it. I apply the white cream with small blue dots on the dry skin, left there for around 10 minutes and washed out. If for the hands and upper body it feels like using any regular cream, in the feet area, after a couple of seconds I just feel how all the exhaustion and feeling of hard walking from the last months just goes away. It is true the sensation lasts for maximum one hour, but it may be enough to give you a feeling that this cream really does something. Something good with your body. It has a discrete smell that does not remain for too long on your body.
Given its under 4 EUR price - it is enough to use it for one month - and the good experience, I recommend it, at least for the feet relaxation effect. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Recipe of the week: Green Tea Poached Pear

I wanted to test this green tea poached pear recipe for a long time, but in a way I was not sure that I am ready to be disappointed in case the recipe is failing. But I gathered all my positive energies and focused on the correct preparation of the ingredients and in less than one hour I was ready. I started by boiling in the 200 ml. of water two bags of Punjana tea, my favourite green tea choice for a year, that I received as the prize for a Twitter competition. (The full review of this beautiful tea coming up later). 
When the water was boiling, I added around 12 leaves of fresh mint and 3 slices of ginger, 200 gr. butter and 1 1/1 tablespoon of white sugar. Maybe adding a bit more sugar would have been fine too, but tried to rely on the pear's natural sweetness. I boiled all together for around 5 minutes. It would have been fine to add some cinnamon  or more ginger too.
After intensively simmering I added the pear. I did not want to peel it as I usually like the peel, only cleaned up properly. Boiled everything together for around 10 minutes. After that, I took the pan out of fire and let to rest for another 5 minutes. There was a pleasant soft smell in the air, the combination between the butter and the green tea. 
Wrapped by those beautiful smells, I cut the pear in two, poured a glass of white wine and started the tasting. It was an easy dessert for the evening, not so sweet, going well as a reward of just another mommy day. 
The costs of all the ingredients are less than 10 EUR. It can be prepared within one hour, without too much effort. 

How to Prevent Sudden Instant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Instant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a relatively unpredictable tragic occurence leading to the death of the new born, that based on the medical experience with children can be prevented though.
Also called crib death, it occurs during sleep, within the first months of life of the baby. It may be associated with a certain abnormality in the kid's brain, most specifically a disfunction at the level of the part that is supposed to control breathing. The most exposed are usually kids with a low weight at birth or with respiratory infections. For the boys, the risk occurs when there is already a family history of SIDS, with second hand smoke and premature birth. If the mothers are over 20, smoke, take drugs and drink alcohol and with an indadequate prenatal care, the risks are higher.
One of the best prevention of SIDS is to be sure that the kid is sleeping during the night on the back and not on the stomach or on the side. The baby should also have the blanket around the body and far away from the face in order to leave him breath properly. We are using a nice sleeping bag that helps baby D. to control his moves.
It is also important to avoid bringing the kid in the same bed with the parents as they may obstruct his breath during the sleep. The crib of the baby should be bare, regardless how big is the temptation to gather his favourite friendly looking toys around. It is also said that brestfeeding for at least 6 months can reduce the risk of SIDS.
Another important preventive method is to maintain a room temperature between 18 and 20C, as overheating can create breath problems. The air should not be dry either and in order to keep the air fine, once in a while we brought a wet towel on the thermostat. It is a relatively primitive method but it works for now.
As for us, what we additionally did and do, is to check on him regularly. Even he looks fine and asleep, it is always good to keep an eye on him every hour and check if everything is fine.

Cute children furniture - The friendly myriapode

We are quite far away for the moment when we will start looking for personalized furniture for our baby boy, but I am somehow getting ready for what we are supposed to find. At this stage, I am just looking around and brainstorming and trying to see what it can be found on the market.
A couple of days ago, this colourful funny hanger caught my eyes. It was installed at a dwarf size so it can be used by the one year or maximum 3 year old. Besides its functionality, it it very attractive due to the beautiful colours and very friendly characters featured. Who can resist a friendly smiling myriapode? Although at this stage in the life of our boy we are the one who are buying him clothes and toys because found the figures cute and friendly, later on he will be the one to chose and we are getting ready for that moment. Given the warm happy nature of my son, I am almost sure he will chose such a jolly hanger. Looking forward to that moment while we keep doing serious research about beautiful and practical and not so expensive furniture!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

4 Reasons to Have at least a Pair of Half-Gloves this season

As winter, even in Germany, is about to finish soon, writing about gloves does not make too much sense. I better try to research some topics about summer dresses and swimming suites, maybe. However, there is still time to save your pair of half-gloves - check the good sales running everywhere in Europe, and here are the reasons why:

- Elegant. I was given a pair of woolen half-gloves, but long time ago I used to wear some very sexy leather ones and I was so in love with them that I used to wear them all round the year. Those were the times...

- Practical. I decided to wear them more often when I realized how easy I can use my smartphone when having them. When my fingers are free I can easily check the phone, or take pictures or upload photos on Instagram. Yes, maybe I am too much addicted to Instagram, I know...

- Showing off what you really want to. Like your fine manicure or your delicate fingers. Seriously, is it not a pity for your beautiful manicure to stay hidden during the unexplainable long winter?

- Unforgettable. They are so practical and giving you a natural feeling that you just keep them on you when you have your coffee or go out or pay for your newspaper. No more worries that you left them somewhere or you end up at home only with one of them...

What do you think? Ready to add a new item to your wardrobe this season?

Everything about bonsai

I used to live for one year in Japan, but somehow, the bonsai never grab my attention. Not in a positive way, anyway, as I considered them as a deformity of nature and therefore refused completely to think about having any of them in my house. But I kept being interested in the Asian cultures and when I was offered the opportunity to find out more about bonsai, did took the chance of a couple of hours of reading. The merit of the author was to make me interested in this topic, with the simple writing, in-depth research and tons of tips about how to take care properly about the bonsai.
Contrary to what I knew - and not only me - the bonsai is a Chinese invention brought to Japan and adopted as a fascinating item. It is made of elements that are intendede to create a replica of the nature, into the form of mini-landscapes. Kept in bronze or ceramic warthware, it inspired early yoga postures and is meant to symbolize, among other things, the cycle of life. The bonsai become popular not only in Asia, but also in Europe, where it was often exposed to world exhibitions or the topic of various books, starting from the beginning of the 20th century.
Nowadays, there are books in almost every language about it, and you can find it in many houses over the world. There are even bonsai online clubs where those passionate about these small plants are sharing their experiences and tips. 
Besides the historical background and other researched information, the author also outlines some of the advantages of owning a bonsai: it is easily transported, allows the creation of a realistic miniature version of nature, is beneficial for the health and the environment, offers the chance of exercise through gardening, it is an art form and also adds value to the house. So many reasons for such a small tree...
There are different types of bonsai - depending on the size and types - that are treated in different ways. The book presents details about various features, pruning, watering and repotting. Some of the most beautiful ones are magnolia, fuchsia, wisteria, rhododendron or dwarf pomegranate.
The author also shares some of the trivia that at the first sight look really shocking, like the fact that you have to chose if your bonsai is a boy or a girl, a choice that obviously influences its development. Who would have think about this issue?
Although it is supposedly addressed to beginners, it goes beyond the introductory knowledge and explains how to find a soil with good qualities, how to do the drainage or the good aeration, the proper roots checking or the items that have to be included in the bonsai tools or what food to prepare for the bonsai.
After going through this crash course I did look completely different to the bonsai from the Bauhaus store in my area, but I still need some time till will finally decide to buy one for my house. In fact, everything looks more complicated now. 
The bonsai photos were took at a local Bauhaus store in Berlin

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A busy day in the life of a 4-month baby

The newest  addition, an awesome combination of toys that helps the baby to grow
Being a mom is a very demanding task, but as a baby, there are so many things to do every day that you can hardly have a free time on your own. Somehow, being a baby and being a mom means for both a lot of chores and a very strict program to follow every day. There is almost the same program, a routine that does good to the baby and almost brings the mom to the edges of desperation. But given the exciting times ahead and the permanent development of the baby, we better enjoy the situation as it is and we cut short the complaining part.

As for now, let me introduce you to the daily schedule of my cute baby boy, 4 months and 2 weeks old:

- The day starts around 6.30, 7.00 the latest - without waking up in the night -, with a milky breakfast, followed by some small gymnastic, and the administration of a drop of Vitamin D on the pacifier. Usually we also change him to different clothes than the ones used for the night.
- For one hour, he usually plays with the toys hanging on the mobile playground, the latest add to the baby collection of toys.
- He sleeps in the middle of the playing for around 1 hour when he wakes up for the second meal of the day.
- As we started to diversify the food, he eats besides the milk 2-3 full spoons of carrots or parnsip puree. We give it to him in between milk shots and he likes it. 
- Until the next meal, we usually split the time between our working room, where I try to have some work done, and his mobile playground. If he is quiet, I am trying to put him on the belly or on other sides but the back.
- The next meal - we keep a strict schedule of the meals, with a list of the eating hours - is again a combination between milk and bottle food.
- Around 13 o'clock it is about time to go out - when the strange German weather allows it, of course. I usually do not change new clothes, just add new layers adapted to the outside temperature. We go to do shopping, or to visit and meet friends, or to have coffee and cake. He likes being outside and very often the crispy weather makes him sleep. As I go out, I always carry with me a big bag with: powder milk, thermos with hot water, bottle with cold water, milk bottle, 2-3 diapers and wet napkins. Even we only plan to be out for an hour, it is good to be ready, just in case our plans are changing. Thus, you can keep a certain level of independence.
- After the afternoon meal is finished - if we are at home we have the same menu of milk and solids - it start the most difficult part of the day, when he is relatively tired, regardless how much he slept outside, and needs more attention than during the rest of the day. Usually, I take him in the hands, we talk and play and laugh together, listen to some children music. If he is calm enough, I am trying to put him on the belly again for a couple of minutes. 
- Bath time is the busiest time of the day. There are so many things to arrange and set up in a relatively short amount of time: preparing the night clothes, the towel, the bath tube with the sponge and shower gel, the bottle of milk, the bed with the sleeping bag. The bath takes around 10 minutes, followed by drying up, some oil massage and kissing time. In the last weeks he is falling asleep very easy so I have to be fast with getting the mobile playground out and arranging the room for the next day. The baby days ends around 20.00 the latest.
From now on, I can continue doing some work or just relaxing. Tomorrow is a new day, for me ad y sweet baby.

Sweet dreams!

Tea review: Messmer Egyptian Amun Pomegranate Honey

Sold as a box of 20 bags for under 2 Eur at Rossmann, this Messmer tea has a sweet blend of fresh fruits. I especially liked the combination between the pomegranate, hibiscus, apple, orange, blackberry leaves and elderberries on one side, and the honey on the other side. It has a natural sweetness that does not need, at least in my case, any additional sugar.
It has a persistent wax smell which is a bit annoying but drink it fast and you will get over it. 
I let the bag in the water for around 5 minutes, and it is was enough to obtain a good concentration. 
I tried it both cold and warm and was not a big difference in terms of taste. The good impression remains. It also goes well in the morning or in the evening either with the breakfast sandwiches or salads or with the afternoon cakes or with the evening snacks. 

Recipe of the week: Quinoa goat cheese salad

I recognize that quinoa is by far one of the least favourite foods. First and foremost, I do not understand why eat foods without taste. Second, I hate the smell of it, of wet earth. Not exactly an inviting fragrance to have your good morning boost.
The last week though, I decided to do more healthy food experiments - details coming up soon and I ended up buying a bag of quinoa. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what I want to mix with it for feeling that I eat more than a tasteless something. 
When I am out of ideas, as usual, cheese creativity helps. Goat cheese in this specific case. I also added for flavour avocado, olive oil, salt and some butter, and cherry tomatoes too. Lessl than 30 minutes later I was happy with the results, and the salad was rich in vitamins and proteins to keep me energized for a long time after.
It serves 2. Preparation time: 20 minutes


100 gr. quinoa
200 gr. goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
50 gr. butter
1/2 ripe avocado

Clean the quinoa till the water comes up clean.
Put to boil 150 gr. water and add the salt and butter. When it boils, add the quinoa and leave it for 10 minutes.
Slice the goat cheese and the avocado. 
Wash the cherries and cut it into 4 small pieces each tomato.
Add the soaked quinoa and mix it well.
Add the olive oil.
Wait for 2-3 minutes and start eating. 
You do not need anything else for the breakfast, besides, of course, the coffee and some fresh orange juice.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Beauty review: In Dusch Body Milk with Honey by Nivea

I used to be a big fan of Nivea products a couple of years back as our holiday house was close to a factory of the company and as kids, we used to spy a lot around the premices, trying to imagine how to beauty creams are made. I especially liked their hand creams and skin care products, but once in a while I also liked to try their shower creams.
A couple of days ago I discovered a lot of samples of In Dusch Body Milk with Honey and decided to test it for 3 days. 
What I really like about it is that are made for busy people. My shower ritual is to apply the shower gel and after drying to use my special body milk but this takes time usually. With this body milk, after you use the shower gel, with the skin wet, you apply it and keep showering and dry the body. 
I used a 10 ml. sample every time and it was enough. It is free of silicone and artificial substances. It has a strong smell of honey and milk, but on the skin it goes as a natural fragrance. After using it twice for almost a week, the skin looks smooth and fine at touch. It works for both normal - my skin - and dry.
As there are many more In Dusch products, most probably will be tempted to try more samples soon.
In Germany, it is available for 4.49 Euro in most Rossmann and DM stores.

Book review: Die Mama trickliste für Babyzeit

As during pregancy I did not read too many books about babies and other related information, the first days after giving birth we started to update at the speed of light with various data and answers for basic questions about the baby life. The advantage of speaking many languages is that you can find various resources, but of course, the school of thought when it comes to children may be very different. 
However, I am open to integrate various ideas and tips and I do not mind to take the best from all. As we have the luck of a very good children doctor we are half-way through happiness, but I still feel that I need to improve my knowledge about babies. 
This book by Ute Glaser has the advantage of offering a lot of simple information both for parents - at least about the beginning of the book - and for children. I was happy to realize that some of the tips I was already using, such as to have a thermos for keeping warm the water for the milk. 
For me, the most important part was about what you have to do after giving birth, and especially how wise it is not to try to be the best and keep inviting people. This is exactly what we did and my burnout shortly after made a lot of sense. Wish I was more convinced that 'Relax, tomorrow is another day' should be my motto. It is also says that it is quite normal to feel at the end of a very exhausting day as you have not done nothing and before starting to write intensively every day, this is how I felt in the first weeks after coming back from the hospital.
As for baby-related information, I discover some good ideas: for instance, that second hand baby clothes are better because many of the chemical substances are already out of the materials following repeated washing; or that you have to keep the baby in the arms in the part close to the heart that he is used to hear from the time in the womb; or that the afternoon sleep in the open air is very healthy;
My disappointment regarding this book is the lack of a more structured information about the various stages of life. In the first year, planning every step every month is very important and I am very interested to know how I can deal correctly with various changes - right now, diversifying the food. Overall, a book recommended to GErman speakers parents, but still not that book I am looking for. Search in process...