Tuesday, April 26, 2016

5 shopping ideas for your bathroom from Butlers

In the hurry to take care of the other rooms of the house, the baby's room especially, it seems I forget that the bathroom needs some attention and some design touch too. Maybe it is too small for our needs now and needs a completely redesign. Getting ready for the moment when we will finally enjoy the pleasure of the bathroom of our dreams, I did some ideas hunting at the Butlers store in Friedrichstrasse, Berlin and went out with some nice and affordable inspiration.
Baskets for laundry - These items were supposed for kitchen, but with a bit of humour, you can use them for bathroom too. They are available in different sizes - 31x37x21, 27x34x20, 35x42x23 cm - and prices - 9.95 EUR, 7.95 EUR, 12.95 EUR. I loved the colour combination, that brings creativity in any corner of the house they are placed.
White towels - There are never enough towels, especially when the guests season just started. These ones are big - 50x100 cm - and the flowers adornments gives a touch of elegance. Available for 6.95 EUR.
Bath carpet - Maybe the colour is not as joyous, but it is very practical if you love to jump out of the shower on some warm carpet. It is big enough to cover a big area where you can leave some of your clothes too. Available for 14.95 EUR.
Bath inserts - are just cool. 100% rubber, you fix it on your bath and put your tired feet on it. Available in different colours, it helps you to relax after a crazy day of running around the city. The price is 12.95.
Shower curtains. I undersestimated the role of the shower curtain until mine got broken. Until everything was fixed, I 'enjoyed' the water going out on the floor and the humidity and unpleasant view of pools of water all over the place. Available in beige and white - I suggest beige, just in case you want to have one of the baskets - of 220 cm, it is machine lavable, water repellent, with rings to fix and weighted hem. The purchase price - 25 EUR. 

What about you, what are your must-have for your bathroom?

Monday, April 25, 2016

3 books to inspire your (online) spring dating

I am out of the dating market - for obvious reasons - but I remember those times when I was in and I was having some fun - once in a while. I had try online dating - and had even more fan - or followed friends recommendations. At the time, I did not read too much about the sociology or other scholarly aspects of dating, and kept avoiding so. After all, I was interested to find a partner, not to write an academic paper. Now, looking back, I think books about dating - both non-fiction or fiction - could be helpful. Sharing experiences and lessons learned is what we need when it comes to making short lists out of so many choices. In the last days I had some interesting lectures that would love to share with my readers for the sake of good reading and for the inspiration too.
Becky Andersen is at her first book but I hope she will keep writing more (Read here my interview with her for my bookish blog). The book covers her own experiences about senior dating, with a lot of humour and determination, with advice about how to prepare for the date, the selection of the 'candidates' and other small details - such us how to use social media for advice or just for getting rid of the tension after a bad day. Until the end of the book, she finds the one and they are happily married now. 
Francis James wasn't that luckier. 100 of dates and a book later he did not find the 'one', but he gathered enough case studies for helping other people - in their senior years or not - to take risks and make choices or just leave it. It is a man's perspective on dating, with more emphasis on the visual part and with many lunches shared at the Country Club. Systematically, he analysed each of the dates, calculated the investment and shared the lessons learned. However, the surprise element will always be present: 'You can look at all the pictures, read the profiles, examine all the vital statistics, and still be totally wrong about what you thought your date could be like'.
Disclaimer: Books offered via NetGalley.com in exchange of an honest review
I never participated at a speed dating, but probably if you take it easy and do not have too high expectations surprises can come. The Joy of Speed Dating is a novella, the second part of a series intitulated 'The Joy of..'. Lynne Tendai is an overachieved young lady, very judgmental, in a 'significant relationship with her neighbour's cat'. And single. While on the way to take part to a speed dating event, she accidentally met a man that she hurried up to reject and judge, that will - accidetally again reappear into her life and will end up by dating. An easy short read to bright your mornings.   

5 Street Outfits from Forever 21

Forget that some ugly weather forecasts were telling something of a high probability of snow in Berlin. Forget also about given age or some shyness that if you enter the Forever 21 shop, for instance, everyone will look with strange eyes as you are far beyond the 21 thing. It is just a matter of prejudice and this blog does not care about such wrong attitudes. While waiting for the real summer and many outdoor activities, I hunted five street outfits from Forever 21.

Spring blouse - 24 EUR. It gives you a hippy free air. It goes with everything, from skirts to denim, Converse or boots. Boots because it is fancy not because you have to, ok...?
Indian fringe jacket - 63 EUR. Discover your hidden Indian soul with this light jacket. I will match it with a long flowery skirt or some middle denim. Suits very well the cold springs or the Indian summer. Why not a cowboy hat too?
Green long sleeve shirt - 28 EUR. For the long hikings when you still want to feel in a good fashion shape, this military influenced shirt is a match. The number of combintions it goes with is impressive so you just need to add it to the wardrobe and start thinking. You can also wear it in any season so it is a long-term investment too.
Black bag - 29 EUR. I have a steady and deep relationship with my bags. They have to be comfy, easy to wear and with enough space for a purse, big book, makeup necessities etc. etc. This bag is almost close to my bag soulmate, except that maybe the handle is too short. It goes with various outfits and suits different occasions and moments of the day.
Cotton black dress - 24 EUR. Wear it for a beach walk in the evening, or for visitig the local weekly market. Or for some casual garden reading. It is very simple and can get more life thanks to some colourful accessorizes. Comfy sport shoes and a denim jacket will make you feel like Forever 21

Sunday, April 24, 2016

How to start loving your body

In our teen years or later in life, with or without a reason, every woman goes at least once in her lifetime through a bad relationship with her body. Blame the society, the media, the stereotypes...the reasons do not matter always too much, but the effect on our self-awareness and even health can be devastating. Strict diets, psychological pain, tensed social relationships.
Although we cannot predict when this crisis will take place, at least we can learn how to cope with them in a delicate and constructive way. 
Based on her experience, not always happyLaura Fenamore elaborated a couple of advices aimed to stop our negative way of treating ourselves. 'I went from being totally irresponsible with my health, and with my heart, to being completely devoted to self-care and self-love'. This wisdom does not come overnight and the author herself needed a lot of time and failures to find her way. But, the most important is to be positive and turn every experience we go through into an asset for our inner development. 'Though we don't always succeed at what we set to accomplish, that does not make our efforts failures'. Finding the right support either as a group or as an individual is very important in some stages of the development. 
For someone being victim of abuse and unhappy life occurences being a victim and keep being one the entire life is a logical result. However, it is possible to go beyond the paradigm of 'victim stories' that 'keep us stuck'. 'After recognizing that we are not in fact a victim of anything or anyone, we are able to take back our power and take control of our eating habits, lifestyle and ultimately, our happiness'. 
In this process, the laws of attraction are very important and my personal experience too proves the importance of a positive mind. Good things start simply to happen to those who are wishing for. Just because. 
Being in love with ourselves is the beginning of normality and of a meaningfulife celebrating the present and using every moment of life for being grateful and happy. 'When we fall in love with ourselves (...) we begin to fell a deep sense of self-care and want to nourish our bodies with what is best for them'. 
A book recommended to anyone interested in increasing self-respect and understanding our bodies not like standards expected by the society but as a way of expressing ourselves. It is well written and can be easily read. My only regret is that there are not too many examples offered which can offer even more inspiration and guidance to the reader.  
Disclaimer: I was offered the book via NetGalley.com, but the opinions are, as usual, my own

Thursday, April 21, 2016

5 top items on your shopping list from Rituals

With more time spending at home that I used to after the birth of the baby, I focused more than usually in the last months on creating a special family ambiance. A couple of days ago, I went to Rituals for a short overview and left with five purchases. 
Honey touch - 15.50 EUR. A combination between Himalaya salt and Indian rose, it brings a velvet skin and the perfect balance between body and soul.

Ginkgo's Secret - 10 EUR. Just because I cannot resist a hand cream. For my tired and water affected hands, the ginko and ginseng mixture is the right answer. It is recommended as a night treatment.
Sweet sunrise - prices my differ...around 18 EUR. I live i an old house and especially when I cannot keep the window open for too long I need various air refreshners. Sweet sunrise bring the smell of fresh sweet oranges into small and big spaces. It lasts for around 2 weeks and fill-ups are also available.
Happy mist perfume - 16.50 EUR. The novelty of this perfume is that it is designed both for the body and the bed. It has a fresh smell, with flowers essences, alcohol-free and suits sensitive skin. 
Elixir d'Orient - The prices may differ, but goes around 20 EUR. A beautiful combination of Oriental essences, among which the Persian pepper is giving the personality of this very special and obsessive perfume. It is recommended especially for the late evenings and matching a velvet black or purple dress. The rest is just a work of imagination...

Friday, April 15, 2016

5 casual outfits from H&M

With the real summer and the warm season about to start, more and more outfits are needed. For me, as a very - maybe too - active mom, having a diverse wardrobe ready to change and match for different occasions, is a priority. As pregnancy and birth did not changed too much my size, I feel free to use old stuff, but it is never enough and new items are more than welcomed. The everyday look is always easy to adapt and change and right now it is the right moment for an update.
During my latest trip to a H&M store in Berlin, my eyes and purse were caught up by these 5 casual outfits:
Flower midi blouse, available for 14.99 EUR. In the picture there is the XS size features, but all other size options are available. The predominant dark colours makes it less joyous, but if you match it with a yellow or pink or light blue skirt, you can obtain some blooming colours effect.
Scarfs, scarfs, scarfs - on sale! Prices between 3-10 EUR. I never have enough of scarfs and my collection is updated permanently. These ones are good for any occasion, part of the day or season, as a scarf or head covering. 
Square shirt with long sleeves, 24.99 EUR. I am not too much into working-casual, western style, but this shirt is made of quality material and gives you a youngish, school-girl like took. 
For keeping up with the sport style, this long sleeve midi T-shirt is made of a very thin material. Avaiable for 9.99 is also produced in the XS version. It goes well in the late spring or mid-summer, accompanied by some gray shoes or some denim skirt.
In case you are looking for a bit of casual sophistication, this red skirt, with the cotton lace and the different sizes of layers is my recommendation. Available for 14.99 EUR - sales season, it can be the piece of resistance of an outfit which also includes denim skirt, white or blue or black skirt. A skirt with some flower imprint is a good idea too. 

What about you, what are your spring casual outfits?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Pros and cons of second hand clothes shopping for babies

Berlin, especially its Eastern side, is full of stores where second hand products for babies are sold. Usually in this part of the city, there is a high concentration of babies too and thus, these stores are just recycling a lot of things, some of them hardly worn. 
However, how recommended are those products, especially for babies? I am talking here about clothes and shoes, as I will address on a separate post the issue of car seats and toys?
Here are a couple of pros and cons:


- Children are growing up fast and you better find some affordable pieces of clothing for less as in one month time you will have anyway to buy more.
- As the clothes were washed so many times, the harmful chemicals and other substances are already out of the material.
- You protect the environment as using products made already save the harm produced while creating new ones.

- What about the germs contained in clothes from previous owners ???
- Second hand clothes often look tiresome and...just second hand...Do you want your kid to look like a beggar? Even if he or she does not notice that for now....
- Sometimes you do not save too much money. Some Oxfam stores in Germany can be quite expensive in fact.

My choice:
- I am not a big supporter of second hand clothes. I NEVER EVER use second hand shoes, for instance, and I never buy from stores. Stores like ZEEMAN in Germany offer nice and colourful and very cheap clothes so why not use this option instead?
- I prefer to take clothes from people I know and wash them before using. I am very selective though and choose the ones that look fresh and are spotless. 

6 Products to spoil your baby from BabyKorb Berlin

I become a big fan of the BabyKorb store after the baby was born, and not only because it is situated very close from me and when passing-by I just stop frequently by for some inspiration. In fact, love the quality of the products and some well designed corners, although the prices are mostly high-end. It is also a one-stop store, where you can find everything you need for your baby, from small milk bottles to beds and prams, which will save you a lot of precious time. 
The customer service is also careful with many employees roaming around and ready to help.
As yesterday I visited again this cave of treasures, I selected up 6 gorgeous categories of products that would recommend to check on the friendly payment counter.

Toys from Sterntaler - This over 6-decade old German brand offers a large range of baby toys, stuffed animals, some of them singing or to be used as puppets. As usual in the case of the German toys, they always teach you some new skill, which I find a good idea. The prices range from 12.99 to 16-17 EUR.
Sleeping bags - A must-have item in the first year of baby life, considered important in preventing SIDS, but also that gives a chance of keeping the baby covered well during the night, especially when she reached the age of moving over and over around the bed. The choice is very high end, with elegant shapes and materials, for summer - fine white mouseline from Nouk for 45.99 EUR - and autumn or winter. Prices vary highly from 16.99 half-body from Belly Button, to 59.99 EUR. Basic Jersey, or 69.99 Anni cool.
Honolulu outfits from Dutch company BabyFace - I am in love with the boyish design and the quality cotton used, exactly the kind that suits my adventurer little boy. The prices are affordable too: 12.99, 17.99 EUR.
Design clothing from KANZ - These are the kind of products for environmental concerned parents. In addition to the joyful design, the products have been tested for harmful substances too. Their collection looks very cute for the summer, with prices around 24 EUR.
Heimess wooden toys - Just another serious German company selling educative wooden toys. Nice and safe colours, attractive shapes made to develop the intelligence and the spirit of observation. In the case of many, the quality was tested and certified by specialized German institutions. Affordable prices too, between 5-7 Euro.
Music boxes by the French creative minds from DJECO - My baby loves music and we purchased a couple of musical toys. These music boxes are not considered toys, which I agree as they should be rather included in the category of small pieces of art. Cute and delicate figures rolling over and over again, available for just 19 EUR.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Gucci spring inspiration

Even not always with the right budget on my card or in my purse, I never refuse myself the pleasure of having a look at the high fashion products. And as I am lucky enough to live in a city where luxury shopping is well represented, I checked recently some interesting items from the Gucci collection. There are a lot of accessible models, shape and design like. There are elegant colours, uni or in different combinations, such as the pink and deep blue or this green and pink with Chinese models. Maybe it is a too strong statement, but anyway, once in a while it can create a good impression.
This very elegant salmon pink dress with black pink adornment is courageous too and not modest, but if you put underneath a skin coloured blouse, it can work perfectly for a special occasion as a wedding or a particular celebration.
The aggressive pink dress is even more beautified by the black accessorize. The blue dress invites to Caribbean mood and some beach and cocktails too.
The items are available at the Gucci Store Galerie Lafayette Berlin.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Bags with personality from Sonia Rykiel

I love very much Sonia Rykiel, especially her elegant dresses. I have yet to check the children collection and some of the accessories, but there are not too many options in Berlin after the Ku'damm shop was closed couple of years back. As it is always something new to explore by this interesting fashion designer, this time, I had a look at the latest bags models. Most of them suit the busy yet chic modern woman, that needs a big but well organised space to carry her things. Business woman or reporter - there is a special reporter bag suited to carry a small notebook and recording machine - you have to respect yourself and send a clear statement to the men's world.
Most of the bags are made of fine leather, except some denim bags, that were not available at the store I visited. The straps and sequins one, not available either, suit the special evening after-work outings, but most bags are well suited for any moment of the day. I particularly loved the mustard yellow ones because of the strong statement of independence.
The small eyelets tote bag is probably the kind of bag I am usually carrying, with enough space for a book, notebook, pen, big ID holder and some  items for the kiddo too. Although available in red too, my favourite is black because it suits any outfit or season. 
The prices are high, starting from around 350 Euro. 
The bags are available at the bags section, ground level inside Galeries Lafayette, Berlin. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

5 Affordable Kitchen Investments from Tchibo.de

It is that time of the year when it is time for some decluttering and some cleaning or if you are into Pesach, some very hard scrubbing. It can be also a good time for making new home and kitchen investments and a couple of days back I paid a visit to the Tchibo.de for some affordable spring kitchen inspiration.

When I got to know Tchibo the first time, it was everything about coffee and it keeps being so, except that the brand got some nice extentions and right now it sells a lot of interesting and cheap products for the home or home fashion too. This coffee machine keep with the original brand and will help you save some money on the daily coffee shops errands. It costs 49 Euro and is available in red, silver and white too. It has a guarantee of 36 months and brings you Italian coffee into your house.
Mats are not only for yoga, but also for macarons. This reusable baking mat for macarons has a nice colour and is a very long investment for only 3.95 Euro. If you succeed to learn how to make macarons - my dream too - you can save even more money as you can do everything at home. It is not sticky, space-saving and does not need flour or grease to be used. It is also suitable for soft dough and biscuits. Includes some recipe suggestions too. 
If you want to bring to your neighbours your Pesach cake, this transportable cake tin available for 17.95 Euro can help you. With a 26-cm diameter it has a powder coated metal handle and efficient side fasteners.
Besides macarons, creme brulee is another culinary fetish of mine that I am working hard to prepare successfully. Tchibo seems to bring some help to people like me with a object I have no idea it exists: gourmet cooking torch. But anyway, I did not ask myself too seriously how do you actually burn the cream. It costs 14.95, it is supposed to be quick and help you achieve the dream caramelised sweet. 
The 12 ring cake moulds for 6.95 - the .95 appears as a psychological mantra for their prices, but anyway, most of them suit a medium budget anyway - are flexible for easy removal and do have some cute colours and design too. A good idea to make a change of menu and offer a visual variation from the usual muffins. 

What about you, ready for some spring kitchen shopping challenge?
Tchibo also has an online shop so the products can be purchased easier if not available in your area.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Statement bags by Vivienne Westwood

The rebellious and innovative dame of the English fashion, Vivienne Westwood ask women to dare. To dare being themselves, playful yet determined to state who they are. Without any excuse for their choices and ways of life. 
From elegant clutches to big bags for the business ladies, everything can be matched to different occasions and outfits and even moods. I am thinking particularly about the variations of colours. This sweet lily clutch for instance, is the best choice for a Romantic mood, isn't it?
The classical Derby cross classic variants are there, with prices that start from around 125 till up to 500. However, it is an investment in brands that last and quality. And a strong statement too. 
As in everything signed by Vivienne Westwood, the English precision and the French perfectionism. Everything is a work in permanent processs as it should happen with our lives. 

The bags are available at the ground level of Galeries Lafayette Berlin. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Emil Henry, cookware with foodie stories

Some cookware are for short use, some others can be for more than one generation, telling over and over again foodie stories kept from a generation to another. A family business made in the French region of Burgundy, Emile Henry offers for around six generations French design and cooking knowledge to the rest of the foodie world.
The cookware is made using a special burning technology and has an impressive 10-year guarantee. The prices are medium to high but the quality is outstanding and with this guarantee you know that your investment is safe.
As it first the production started with basic cookware products, it extended thereafter by offering now various items, such as pizza stone, bread cloche, tagine baker or baquette baker. Bowls and vinaigre bottles are part of the various collections too.
The basic technique is still used though, although slightly improved to the needs and requirements of the nowadays technology. The handles are particularly special allowing to take it from the oven in a comfortable and safe way. 
If you want to learn more about their techniques, products and the beauty of homemade cooking, their website shares couple of recipes that can be interesting to test. The design lines are simple, with shapes that can easily find a place in the busy closet. The predominant colours are blue, white, brown which gives a touch of high elegance and soberness.
As for me, I am in love with the smart idea of the salt pig. The non-glazed interior helps against sticking salt and you can add salt quickly and practically. Compared to the rest of the collection is also cheaper so sooner or later I will give it a try.