Thursday, November 30, 2017

How to Be a Fashion Designer

When you are young and keen to explore beyond your limits, all you need is the family support and the right inspiration. Having both of them is a perfect combo for a successful further career, even though you might abandon more than once your childhood dreams. But, at least, you will have the right reasons to do it, not only because no one helped you or because you were in the wrong place and time for finding the proper guidance. 
How to be a Fashion designer by Lesley Ware offers the right ingredients for explaining a glamorous career to any teen - and practically anyone - considering a professional path in this field. Indeed, being a fashion designer and stylist - meaning someone knowledgeable enough to help you put your clothes and accessories together in an inspired way - means a lot of glamour, but it means even more hard work and permanent learning.
Especially for the limited attention-span of teenagers, this book is beautifully illustrated with well placed advices in the page. At the first sight, especially if you are far beyond that difficult age, it might look a very easy read, but in fact, the information is high-quality and rich enough to help you understand the challenges of being a fashion designer while offering a variety of directions for understanding this profession. By being very visual, it doesn't diminish the quality of content. 
You might learn a lot from this book about designing patterns, how the collections are created, how and where to find the right inspiration, create stylish sunglasses or how to take great photos. A guidance about the needed tools and the vocabulary used creates even more familiarity with the domain. 
How to Be a Fashion Designer makes it into a good basis for anyone - age doesn't matter - considering a career in this interesting domain. Also, if you are a fashion blogger you might be interested to have a look for learning some tips about styling and fabrics and what does it mean to be one of those people so often written about. 

Rating: 5 stars
Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

3 Minutes for A Healthy Hair - An Aussie Miracle

Your hair says a lot about your health and your inner state of mind. It doesn't anything to do with magic, but with certain chemical interactions which can be read on the hair, especially when things are not getting well with your health. With a lot of work of any possible kinds on my shoulders, worries and a chemically died hair, I don't expect to have the same shining hair I used to a couple of years ago, but at least I am doing my best for taking care of it as often as possible. 
Therefore, the use of various masks, shampoos and conditioners for fighting the dry hair look. However, nothing compares with the instant and long-term effects produced by Aussie 3 Minute, a product I discovered a couple of years ago, but which I am using at least once the week in the last weeks. Since the famous Australian company finally entered the German market, I am more than happy to use their products on a regular basis. And what a wonder they do to my hair.
Aussie 3 Minute was the first product created by the company, founded at the end of the 1970s, when the hippy happy suntanned people with long hair needed more than a brush. Its main ingredient is the Australian Balm Mint - also called the 'elixir of life' - which gives a specific but bearable smell to the product. The colour - a milky pink - of the product, is also due to the balm mint.
After the hair is well cleaned and washed, you have to apply around 40 ml. - if you have long hair - of 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor and count until 180. Wash the hair with warm water and after it is dried you will notice a dramatic effect. Or at least I did in my case: a happy shining less damaged looking hair. The effect lasts for at least 5 days and it is perfect for me, as I do not wash my hair more than once the week. 
Overall, I added to my toilet pantry another product that I will hardly be able to live without in the next years or so. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

My First Kadayif

I am the kind of chef which adores to push her own ignorance limits, and as someone who started its own adventure in the kitchen less than 10 years ago, this happens quite often. I am always open to talk and share my fears and failures, hardship to get accustomed to various tastes and ingredients and the repeated tries to match them. 
I am brave enough to never give up and dare to make at home lovely recipes of meals that I never thought I will ever be able to prepare on my own. 
I grow up completely ignorant about sweets - part of the reason being that I was allergic to plenty of things and the other half that both my in-house nanny and my mother were for various reasons the worse bakers in the world. But I loved to enjoy once in a while outrageously sweet desserts, such as kadayif - or kataif, which I tasted under various variants in the Turkish restaurants since moving to Germany Until today, I've never dreamed of ever preparing my own, not only by following a recipe but by daring to adapt it to my own choices and creative ideas. 
The following recipe is adapted from the very resourceful book by Suzanne Zeidy, Rosewasser&Granatapfel, that you will read about on this blog at least one more time. It is a complex recipe, which requires a lot of time and attention, but with delicious results that you can't wait to repeat.
500 ml. water
300 gr. brown sugar
100 gr. white sugar
4 tablespoon orange blossom; the same quantity of rose water can be used
the juice of a half a lemon, medium size
250 gr. regular butter
500 gr. ricotta cheese
500 gr. ready made kadayif noodles - purchased from any Turkish store, for under 2 Eur.
If you want some extra sweetness, you can also add some 2 tablespoons of honey to the syrup.
Heat the oven at 250C, at least 15 minutes before the ingredients are prepared.
There are several development stages of the kadayif. The following order is how I've proceeded.
1. The syrup
In a pan add the: water, brown sugar and orange blossom water. Mix well. After 10 minutes, add the lemon juice. Let it boil for around 5 minutes. When ready, put on the side.
2. The noodles
Broke the noodles in two equal parts. Set in the pan half of it, while spreading all over. Meanwhile, heat the butter and spread half of it on the noodles. 
The second half will be added when the ricotta content will be ready, together with the butter.
3. The ricotta filling
Mix the ricotta and the white sugar until a creamy compact pasta. Spread it all over the noodles, trying to cover as much as possible.
Add the rest of the noodles. 
What happens next is a matter of choice.
The original recipe recommend to bake it for around 30 minutes and only after that to add the syrup. My choice was to add the syrup and bake it for around 45 minutes. In this way, all the ingredients are melting together and it is also less sweet as expected (maybe also because of the brown sugar, which is again my choice).
After 15 minutes of baking, I've cut the kadayif into small portions, which helped a lot to portion it when ready to be served. 
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 40-45 minutes
Serves: 6-8

I personally had it with a glass of sugar-free mint tea, or a big cup of black Turkish coffee. I kept it at the room temperature, well covered in an Aluminium sheet, and warmed it before serving, at least for 5 minutes at 250C. 

Bon Appétit!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Bold Colours from Calzedonia

Although some serious really elegant people might contest this fact, one sure and constant thing about me is that I love colours and colourful outfits. Sometimes I do match everything properly, sometimes not too much, but I keep being colourful.
After all, life is too short to wear plain boring uni clothes, isn't it? As I do wear in 99.9% of the cases dresses and skirts, matching thights is a big concern when it comes to creating an outfit. And all those who know me for a while, noticed how much I love colourful special tights. Even that the rest of my outfit is modest and usual and not so outstanding, the tights are making a very big difference, therefore I am always looking for interesting products and combinations.
When it comes to legwear, Calzedonia is by far my favorite brand to find the best tights, at incredible convenient prices. The tights are always long lasting, special - both in terms of colours or patterns - and simply adorn my feet like a beautiful jewellery. I love everything about them, and although I am not so revolutionary to wear socks, some of their collections of fine elegant socks are amazing. This time, I bought three beautiful samples of the Soft Touch Collection: Verde Bosco (dark green), which goes fine with light outfits, Cobalt Blue which is a vibrant blue I love to match it with perfectly modest black skirts, and a Retro Pink which is a pastel colour that would love to match with a brown tobocco skirt or even a purple one.
Making the choice of purchasing those three beauties was a hard one, and I would probably back for some other colours as well, and at least one other elegant black sparkling pair too. Because, why not? It is the season when making presents is a way to reward yourself for the hard work done the rest of the year. And me, as you, I fully deserve it!

A Modern Woman Has to Learn New Languages

ExpoLingua is one of the most important educational event of the late autumn in Berlin, addressing especially those - regardless the age - always keen to learn a new language or improve their linguistic skills. As a modern woman, like you and me, we all know how important is that whatever busy you might be, to put aside a couple of minutes for yourself for learning something new. As a multi-lingual speaker myself, fluent in more than 5 complicated languages and able to read in another 5, I am trying to visit this event when in Berlin, as it always open new windows of intellectual and cultural opportunities for me. 
This year, it was a special anniversary for Expo Lingua, celebrating 30 years of activity, with a very dynamic program with over 70 presentations, mini-classes dedicated to introducing the visitors to different languages and over 150 companies and cultural institutes from Germany and abroad represented. Held as usual in the last years at the Russian House near Gendarmenmarkt, the event was visited by around 10,000 visitors during the two days of the fair.
Every time I visit, there are new languages and opportunities represented. Unfortunately, this year I haven't seen one of my favorite source for learning languages, Rosetta Stone, but I was impressed by the other new participants, offering especially classes for learning Japanese and Korean, two languages which seems to be on very high demand lately. 
The number of classes for learning German was also higher than usual, and I personally recommend to use the opportunities offered by the dedicated program by Deutsche Welle, which goes perfectly well for those keen to learn intensively and fast German. A novelty for me was the MESROP, the Center for Armenian Studies, based in Halle (Salle) University, for learning Armenian, a very special language I always wanted to know and learn more about. 
Edition houses and libraries offering a variety of books, especially grammar and language learning, were also presented, among which Dussmann, the best resource for book worms in Berlin. 
Another interesting resource I hope to be able to use one day is the language trip, when you are going to a country to visit while practising the language. Spanish language is one of the most sought offer in this respect and would love to spent some time one day in some warm sunny place while improving my Spanish for a week or two. 
The most time I've spent though to the welcoming corner dedicated to share knowledge and language tips about the Korean language. For a couple of years already I am thinking seriously to start learning either Mandarin or Japanese - where I spent one full year without speaking or learning more than 2 words - but Korean seems easier and after the discussion had at ExpoLingua I might want to start my lessons faster than expected. 
I was fascinated by the smart way of teaching a language, through apps, but also by using creative games. For instance, you have a couple of pieces, Lego-like, reproducing the letters of the Korean alphabet, that you can play with creating different figures that are in fact combinations of letters. It goes very well for children, but also for people with a strong visual memory. 
Or, learning to read while sipping your morning cup of tea and coffee, while looking at the cup where the letters are spread in an elegant creative way? Do I need anything else to just start learning the language? What will be life be without opening my eyes and my mind to a different, new culture and the language is always the best step forward to reach this aim. Thanks to ExpoLingua I have how to keep myself busy at least for the next 12 months to come!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Milk Banana and Tehina Smoothie

Long time no smoothie! I went through a smoothie' block, combined to an impressive amount of time and coconut milk canes spent experiencing with sachlav (the recipe was updated accordingly, so worth to have a look at it), because winter season is always sachlav season.
As I had some extra tehina spread in the kitchen (for a recipe to be revealed soon), I wanted to use it extensively for various sweet and savory recipes. Why not combine milk with bananas and some tehina plus plus plus...?
I didn't need too much encouragement to proceed to the next step of what turned to be a very successful smoothie - and baby D. loved it too!
It is easy to prepare, nourishing, with a pleasant taste and goes well with any daily meal, including as a meal in itself.

3 very ripe medium-sized bananas, each cut into 4 medium-sized pieces
2 1/2 cup of cold milk
16 gr. Vanilla sugar
1 full tablespoon tehina spread (I purchased mine from a BIO Company store)
1 tablespoon acacia honey
100 gr. pistachio for decoration

Add in the blender the bananas, the milk, the vanilla sugar, the tehina and acacia honey. Wait a minute or two for the ingredients to get together. Mix them at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour it in glasses and decorate with pistachio. 
To be served cold.

Serves: 4 big glasses
Preparation time: 10 minutes

Bon Appétit!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tempura Veggies with Tilapia Fish

I love a crunchy, moderately hot tempura very much, but the chances of finding a high-end vegetarian option are pretty limited, as in most cases the batter is used for frying prawns and other sea foods which I am not interested to taste. Why not having my own home-made tempura, then which except the messy mess in the kitchen that requested some extra cleaning powers, was relatively easy to make and delicious on the plate?
Practically, tempura batter works with any kind of vegetables, and fish too. You can also try the same recipe for meat too, with the tempura batter a substitute for the bread crumbs for the schnitzel, for instance. I recommend to serve it with a soy sauce on the side - I used it a sweet version - or add some black sesame seeds for additional decoration - and extra taste too.
Ingredients (used for a batch serving 4)
500 gr. tilapia fish, cut into 6 small pieces. I really love this low fat white fish, which goes to easily with almost any kind of side dish, from fried veggies to potatoes or rice. I bought it fresh from the fish market and didn't need to use any additional lemon juice as in the case of the frozen fish (which I don't fancy at all, the after-frozen taste being one of the reasons)
500 gr. tempura batter mix. I used the Obento made in Korea, with satisfactory results, as it coated the veggies into a velvet covering
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold mineral water. You can use tap water too, but I decided that mineral water interacts much better with the batter. Some recommend also to use instead of water low alcoholic beer, but I would rather test this for some chicken. 
7 small white champignons
7 medium-sized okra, halved and with the ends cut out
1 medium-sized onion, sliced into rings
1 medium-sized purple sweet potato, sliced into rounds. I only cut the ends out, without peeling it. It is very easy going in the pan, 
750 ml. cooking oil. Sesame oil can be also used, but the smell and consistency are too heavy for my taste. 
100 gr. sweet soy sauce for the dressing
Additionally, you need also a couple of kitchen napkins to be used for absorbing the extra oil from the fried veggies and fish.
Other veggies which might suit a tempura batter for me as well are: any kind of potatoes, bell, red or yellow pepper, olives, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin. In Japan almost all the veggies can be used, such as salad or cabbage but I am not a big fun of such combinations. For the hipsters among you, kale can also be used.
15 minutes before you are ready with the fish and vegetables, warm the oil at 250C. Many (normal) people use some special thermometers to check when the right temperature is reached, but I am not yet one of them.
Prepare the tempura: add the batter, the water and the salt and mix well into the water until you have a compact paste. Add the veggies, one by one, into the batter and coat them by turn each piece on all sides until completely covered up. You can use the same batter for all the ingredients, or separate it into different portions for each of the veggies. However, you may use the oil for frying all the ingredients, it does not make too much sense to take this precaution as in the end, the same taste will be shared anyway.
After each batch of veggies I've clean the oil from the burned rests. At the beginning I only used 500 ml. oil and as the liquid diminished during frying to add more until it reached a satisfactory level for properly soaking the pieces of veggies or the fish.
I tried to have in the frying pan maximum 5 pieces at the same time, as the heat is equally distributed among them and the more there are the slower the frying process.
The main problem is that when the oil is too hot, you are not sure that the veggies - or the fish - are properly fried, therefore, for the potatoes and the fish once the coating was done, I left them in the oven at 250C for another couple of minutes.
You can also add some fresh tomatoes or avocado on the side, to cut out the excess of oil.
As the batter tastes neutral in taste, I am also thinking to use it for baking bananas or pineapple, which might help me to reproduce some Asian desserts I love.
Preparation time (including the time spent waiting for the oil to drain): 40 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Cleaning time for all the (many) tools used: 20 minutes
My first try was for the win, and most probably would keep experiencing and sharing with my readers my latest adventures in the world of tempura.
Until then...

Bon Appétit!

Monday, November 20, 2017

How to Eat (only) Real Food

Growing up without too much care about what does it really mean to consume exclusively healthy food, although coping with tons of allergies most of my childhood, I was lured into the pleasures of good and real food only a couple of years ago, when faced with the huge challenge of cooking and taking care of my house completely on my own - meaning no cooking lady to prepare my lunches or dinners. As I am also doing my very best to keep kosher - at least in the house - another couple of challenges were sent to me, starting from the ability to identify and select those products which contain clean ingredients, from the kosher point of view. 
After reading this book by the food and travel journalist Larry Olmsted, I realize that in fact the time spent reading the list of ingredients of a product before taking the decision to buy is more than a religious obligation, but a healthy choice too. But it does it mean that we might be completely safe from purchasing 'fake' products, as I remember a couple of years ago a terrific story with tilapia fish which was not what it was introduced: not tilapia, not kosher, but some fish brought to America from China. Living in the EU protects at a greater extent the customers from being victims of such abuses, with detailed rules and regulations governing and protecting the selling and distribution of serious food brands, such as Champagne, various wines or cheeses. 
Besides the educational value, this book by Larry Olmsted also has a very pleasant writing, with interesting food stories - my favorite ones are, no surprise, about cheese - and also some short recipes of genuine original cooking. A book done out of the feeling of responsibility to offer informed opinions when introducing foods, which offer valuable hints, especially for the readers which love to travel, taste and discover local tastes, but not every kind of touristy, fake alternatives, although it might be cheaper and in easy to reach places. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sephora arrived to Berlin!

When you spend a lot of time abroad and generally on the road, you get acquainted with great brands and products and you would love to have them at home too. One of my biggest frustrations of beauty shopping in Germany - I know, very first world problems - is that I couldn't shop from Sephora, the store I started to buy my make-up as a rebel teenager. Their products were maybe always a bit over my daily budget, but it was always a great investment. In Germany, you have Douglas which is very top notch, without the middle range offer aimed at middle class, young customers. It was something I was missing, and apparently not only me.
This year, everything changed as Sephora, the chain with 2,300 stores in 33 countries added Germany on their shopping map. In the last months, the 1969-founded French store, opened its stores in the Galeria Kaufhof stores from Munchen, Bonn, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, big German cities with a high concentration of wealth, expat community and tourists. The latest add is the store in Alexanderplatz, inaugurated the 9th of November, considered the biggest in Germany.
The problem with Galeria Kaufhof in Alexanderplatz is that it is always very busy, and as the store is not independent, meaning part of the big hall hosting other beauty stores, it doesn't provide the best identity branding, if not for the typical brand name placed in various corners. What a connoisseur would know for sure though, is that you can find here brands not available in Germany before, such as Marc Jacobs Beauty, Too Faced, Becca and Huda Beauty, in addition to the products created by Sephora itself. 
If you are looking for the best presents, here is the best place to find excellent choices. This pinky agenda on the top is more than it shows: it hides a 2018 daily agenda, plus some gorgeous make-up sets. An excellent present for any modern woman!
My longest stop was at the colourful cute corner of the Korean House, with products that I will definitely be testing in the next months. 
Therefore, I can only welcome the newest Sephora store, looking forward to more awesome beauty opportunities, that I can't wait to share with my other modern women readers.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Declutter Your House with an Expert

Dana K. White has a job which a couple of years ago would have been taken as a big joke: she is a professional decluttering expert. In other words, it helps you to get rid of all the unuseful pile of things you gathered because probably nothing else to do with your life right now.
As someone who moved quite frequently, with a clean ethic of collecting memories and trips and beautiful people around me instead of things, I am half way through the decluttering experience. Although in the last ten years I stayed in the same place - which was the highest achievement since I was born - I tried at least twice the year to do a general cleaning of the house, giving away or selling the lots of stuff that I do not need it, being books, papers, leaflets, clothes and shoes. I have a look at my food pantry at least once the month in order to check what items out of use. Still, once in a while I realize that I have way more stuff than needed and it might take more more than a couple of hours to put things in the clean order. What about people which love inanimated objects around them and keep gathering them at least every day?
Decluttering at the Speed of Life is the book for them because not only offers advice and a plan how to have a better organise house, but it gives a plan about how to life your life 'with only things that matter'. It gives you criteria and reasons why you have to start living the life, instead of hiding behind piles of whatever things. It is a good beginning for a much greater life vibe. Enough material to learn from everyone, including someone as decluttered as me.

Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Delicious Ricotta Cheese Quiche with Tomatoes and Basilicum

I love quiches, especially during the winter, and as an easy meal to kill some short days when I am not too in the mood for cooking. Although I know that it is easy to make and hard to finish, I do not credit myself too often for such a culinary adventure, not because I might have some unpleasant cooking failures memories, but simply because baking requires on my side a lot of attention and focus which I am not always have in excess - especially when the baby chooses to roam around the kitchen exactly in the moment when I am about to prepare some complicated recipe.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a look at a German cooking book - Biergarten Cookbook, by Julia Skowronek - dealing with the usual food served in the famous local beer garten. Most of the recipes were not my cup of tea, but the ricotta cheese quiche with tomaotes and basilicum rang a bell home and decided to try my hand to something new.
The following recipe is a slight adaptation from the book. 
1 ready made Filo pastry
250 gr. ricotta cheese
200 gr. sour cream
4 eggs, medium size
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
5 shallots, finelly chopped
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
100 gr. Pecorino hard cheese
12 fresh Basilicum leaves
I used a 50cm. diameter baking pan.

Heat the oven at 250C, at least 15 minutes before baking.
Add the ricotta, sour cream, eggs, shallots and mix well. Continue to add the salt, pepper, olive oil and mix until creamy.
Set the pastry in the pan and pour the cheesy content. Add the tomatoes and the leaves, and spread the hard cheese on the top. You can also add the basilicum when the quiche is ready to keep the leaves fresh, but I loved how the taste of basilicum infuses the mix of ingredients. You can leave to rest before putting to the oven for a couple of minutes - 5 to maximum 10.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 45-50 minutes
Serves: 7

Bon Appétit!

Why You May Consider a Family Photo Shooting Session

The entrance of my photo studio
A couple of weeks ago, I won a free family photo shooting at a newly opened studio in my neighbourhood and besides the happy feeling of getting a present I openly accepted, I decided to give more than a thought to such an event.
I am personally very camera shy and I rarely have pictures of myself. I went all over the world and I can hardly have any single picture of me in the front of a famous world wonder. With my kids, except one or two selfies, I am usually the one who is always taking the pictures, therefore, we have only a few precious memories of all of us in the same photo. And it is a big pitty, as having those pictures together is part of the common memories we build about us as a family, from a very early age. Therefore, at least one family photo once the year or every two years is very inspired idea, especially if you are looking for some professional inspiration. Isn't it so moving after years to look how all of you changed, developing from small crawling babies to handsome responsible adults?
However, such an adventure might come with costs. For a basic photo shooting that lasts around 30 minutes, the printing of the photos and other additional editing, plus the make-up and other specific arrangements can get you an invoice of around 300 EUR. The costs increase if you want the photographer to come to your home or for a special event - like anniversary. 
In order to avoid the costs, one can consider asking the neighbour with the camera to do it, but free doesn't mean that you will be offered high-end results. An experienced photographer knows how to create the best angle and catch the right expression of all of you and also will use the best quality paper to print your photos.  
All you need is to relax, look your best and gather more and more beautiful memories with your family. It is worth any single euro.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Olive Oil Cake for Your Sunday Afternoon Foodie Fix

Long time no cakes. Or better said, not good enough and photo-suited cakes, as I did have my own portion of (big) baking fail in the last two months. Apparently, my big mistke was to have used Aluminium foil pan, which involves a very crusty upper part and an unpleasant raw bottom. When you offer yourself to bring your friends their favorite honey cake, such an episode is really annoying, but what are friends for if not for forgetting your baking fails (too). Today, I was bold enough to start a new baking adventure. 
For a couple of weeks I've read about a famous chocolate olive oil cake by Nigella Lawson, and kept thinking over and over again. Even had once a wake dream about preparing my own hot cocoa with a dash of olive oil but was lazy and not adventurous enough to try. Today, I went even further and made up completely an olive oil non-chocolate cake. Because this is how usually I work in the kitchen: I am either too shy to boil an egg or bold enough to dare and succeed making from scratch a delicious  heimishe kokosh cake.
The ingredients I used suited a 25-cm diameter Aluminium pan.
2 cups white flour
25 gr. baking powder
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon zest
1 medium size egg
1/2 cup orange blossom
1 pinch of kosher or sea salt
1 cup desiccated coconut
While you are preparing the batter, warm the oven at 250 C.
Add the sugar, olive oil, egg, lemon zest and egg and mix well. Pour the white flour, little by little and mix well. Continue pouring the orange blossom and the salt. Mix well. If needed, add a little bit of warm water to help the batter mix better and be more fluid - just a little bit, as you don't wait it watery. 
Pour the content in the pan. Add the desiccated coconut as decoration.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes to one hour, depends of how smart your oven is. 
Serves: 7
You can have this cake with a cuppa of English tea, or a lemonade, or a black coffee. 

Bon Appétit!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Online Dating Etiquette: Some 5 Useful Tips

It's weekend, that time of the week when most of us, singles, do feel a bit under the weather and maybe longing for that special someone for keeping your warm or planning your next winter trip. As usual, the next step is up to you: you can either keep dreaming, or take the dramatic decision of chaning this unpleasant situation. Perhaps you are just considering to open an account on one of the many online dating sites, and you need just a bit of encouragement that you are on the right path. Or maybe you are just thinking to join one of the many single meetings in your hometown.
Whatever your decision, as a modern woman fully aware of your power, you are the one and only to take the decision. But if you are ready for finding your match online, I am happy to share with you five useful tips for the online dating etiquette:

1. Always be polite!

You don't have to be exclusively into older dating in order to keep your politeness at a high-end level. Being polite, keeping the conversation at a very respectful yet honest level is an attribute of good education, regardless your age and gender. 

2. Differences matter!

I am not only talking about the usual differences, such as education, gender and income, but it also has to do with various regional differences which might influence the dating patterns. Thanks to online dating, people can find nowadays a partner oversea or hours away from their hometown. How they succeed to keep the relationship? By taking into account the different regional aspects, including in terms of language, even under the same generous category of 'English'. Therefore, Gloucester dating might be completely different of Lincolnshire dating, Nottingamshire dating or Cornwall dating. A bit of research doesn't hurt at all!

3.  Be cautious!

It is important to be honest and open about yourself and what do you expect from a relationship, but take your time and think twice before sharing too much information about yourself, including your address or even sharing your phone number. If you have children, wait until things are getting more serious until introducing to each other. It doesn't mean necessarily that something wrong would happen to you if you are doing, but you better wait and check a little bit the other person until he or she becomes more real than an online profile and an obviously smiling picture!

4. You aren't looking for a penpal, isn't it?

A couple of years ago, I 'met' a pretty educated guy on an online site and we started to share a lot of interesting things about life, books we've read, science and many more. Practically, we ended up exchanging more than 4-5 long messages each day, where we were talking about so many great things and shared high-end scientific articles too. Then, it happened to be in the same country and we kept doing the same exchange, meeting only twice. When together in real time, it was obviously no chemistry, nothing really compatible about each other so after a while, the 'relationship' was lost and it was meant to be as we were nothing more than passionate penpals.

5. Keep it to the point!

As a modern independent woman, you know what you are looking for and what kind of partner you would love to spend time with. There is natural selection operating on online dating as it does in most of our life choices: It is nice to meet people from all over the world and backgrounds, but don't forget the reason why you are online dating! Therefore, it is important that before you are getting your profile ready to publish, have a little brain storming with yourself about what you are looking for. It is much better not only for your time management, but for the other person too. Sending the wrong message might be deceiving and the sooner you make things clear, the better. 

Post written part of Brand Ambassador assignment

Product Review: Green Tea & Enzyme Powder Wash by Wishtrend

Both winter and summer do require specific skin care measures and products, but keeping the right balance between intensive care and a healthy skin break is not always easy. Therefore, I am trying to include into my daily routine healthy, natural and eventually cruely free products which make a difference both to my skin and to the environment and the world around. 
As in the last month and a half I tried various Asian products, I continued my journey with an exquisite innovation by Wishtrend: Green Tea&Enzime Powder Wash. That I am a great supporter of everything green tea is no secret, but I keep being surprised by the diversity and impressive effects of this ingredient into skin care products. 
Recommended to all skin types - but especially to oily and acne prone skins - Green Tea&Enzime Wash is distributed into a simple and elegant 70g. bottle with a lovely green-lime colour. It is very easy to use, as a low-acid moisturizing cleanser with immediate effects - velvet-like skin within minutes - and no allergic reactions or irritation. (Obviously, if you have specific skin allergies, the use of the product should be started only following medical advice). The delivery box contains directions in both English and Korean.
I introduced this product into my daily skin care routine in the evening, when make-up was cleaned and I was ready for the evening program. I spread a pinch of green powder into my hand mixed with warm water and rubbed it gently all over my skin. You should be careful to avoid contact with the eyes. Clean the face with warm water and dry with a wipe with a dry clean towel. That's all and the effects are visible at least for the next 24 hours, as it maintains a proper pH balance of the skin preventing the casual dryness following the usual cleansing.
This cleansing powder includes besides green tea - a powerful antioxidant rich in vitamins such as Vitamin A, C and E, a main Asian tip for calming and improving the skin tone - baking powder and papain. The baking powder operates as a soft and gentle scrub agent, excellent for skin care and eliminating easily the blackhead, while the papain eliminates old keratin and dead skin cells, improving significantly the skin texture. 
Overall, my experience was positive and looking forward to keep using regularly this product for my skin care 

Disclaimer: Products offered by Wishtrend in exchange for an honest review. This post might contain affiliate links but it does not influence your reading experience; it only keeps this blog sharing more and more interesting products and ideas that I love and I am happy to introduce to my readers.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Yoga in the Office or How to Keep Yourself Fit in the Cubicle

Most of my working life I spent in an office, on a chair - not always chosen taking into account the highest health standards for my back, in the front of the computer. With over 10 years as a journalist and PR executive, I also had the advantage that once in a while I had to go out and move my feet or just run up on down the stairs of the office to check some lead or proof-read once again my article. At the time I was very unhappy with all the hassle, but in fact it was a great advantage for my mobility.
As a freelancer, I was even less tempted to move very often, but I rarely spent 24 hours in my home office without going out at least for one hour. I do not drive in Germany, therefore, I have to walk until the next metro station which is 10 minutes away of walking. Since I do have a smart phone, I am trying to check the Samsung Health app every day and reach my 6,000 steps the day. However, once in a while, I still feel stiff and I did experience a lot of back problems lately.
At Office Yoga by Julie Schoen is a great inspiration to keep moving your body and improving your mobility, even you have to sit at your desk the whole day. With pre-, during and after-work practical exercises, beautifully displayed in photo and explained in words, it includes a couple of exercises that keep you in good shape and even help you fight headaches without overload of medication. The cover looks not so appealing, but the materials included in-between the covers is very good quality though.
I am not a regular yoga practitioner, but once in a while I like to do some exercise, feeling less stiff and more mobile. Especially for the office part of the practice, you might not need to take your yoga mat in the office, as the exercises require a limited space and sometimes without even leaving your chair. But it is enough to make yourself comfortable in your body and relax in-between stressful assignments. Besides the obvious health advantage, a regular yoga practice will also help increase productivity, as you can relax, take a deep breath and maybe see things in a much better light.
My personal advice is to take the full advantage of the lunch break and spend some time walking around the office, to keep the window open and preferably to have your office near a window to relax yourself once in a while looking outside. Taking short breaks is also recommended, outlined by small walks in the office and some of the yoga exercises recommended in this book. You can be happier, more efficient and healthier too. 
A recommended read for any modern woman looking to have a better life quality.

Lessons Learned from BabyWelt 2017 Berlin

If you are waiting for a baby or you have a small toddler and looking to find out the best children tips for new parents in Germany, BabyWelt is the fair where you definitely should book a price. I visited this event for the first time shortly after my son was born, in 2015, and returned this year being equally impressed by the variety of products and excellent services shared.
Held between 3-5 November at the Messe Berlin, this event gathered over 140 participant companies, all of them with serious experience in the field of baby products and parenting. From big medical providers as Vivantes, to big baby carriage and prams distributors, everything you need to know for the first months and years with the baby was offered to new parents as guidance for their new challenging life about to begin. 
One of the most challenging part of being a responsible parent is the choice of the best products for your child. The pram plays a very important part into the baby's life, and the choice should be done as responsible as possible because it influences dramatically the physical development of the baby. I personally started with a Per Perego and purchased meanwhile a Maxi-Cosi too. (A comparison review coming up in the next weeks). What I really appreciate to Maxi-Cosi is the high-end, safe car seats which are also good looking, not only practical. Even not familiar with the Star Wars, my son jumped instantly on that one because you cannot easily resist such a colourful temptation. 
At BabyWelt, parents are guided step-by-step in their efforts to find the best pram, through practical testing and extensive details. I was very happy to discover a couple of German producers as well, among which Hartan, whose prams and buggies are excellently designed according to the finest details of the baby body.
In addition to the display of products, an important part of the 2-day fair is played by various workshops held by specialists in various domains, dealing with a variety of topics, from health to administrative aspects, such as your rights during the maternity leave. Equally important was to visit the small information point dedicated to vaccinations and other medical aspects of the first months in the life of the baby.
On the stage, new mothers were encouraged to be part of various exercises, helping them to stay in shape, either running or practising together with their babies. A great incentive and encouragement to stay fit after the pregnancy.
And there is even more help for a smooth baby life, as creativity and innovation can make life better. As sleep is one of the most serious issues encountered in the first weeks and months by the new parents, myHummy created products that can help the little ones to fall asleep easier and for a long time. Their toys look so cute that you might want to buy one for yourself, regardless the age. 
I personally always cope with a little crisis before every birthday event, as I am trying to be creative yet practical, to find the best present and party setting and decorations. Luckily, nowadays there are so many opportunities for finding the best presents for the little ones, without too much efforts. Like, for instance, personalized items with your beloved one's name written on mugs or kindergarten bags.
I personally went to this fair looking for some interesting daily care products for my 2-year old son. He has sometimes dry skin therefore I needed some oils for regular use, at least once the day. Based on the description of the ingredients - all natural - I bought one baby oil from the Allgäu-based company boep, whose products are distributed via dm drugstore network and one week after, I am completely happy with the results. The advantage of taking part to the fair is to use various discounts offered on the spot, which means always a fair investment.
Another purchase was from the 70-year old HAKA, which produces natural cleaning products and creams, strongly recommended to allergic and sensitive-skin children.
Clothes for children should be both practical and fancy, preferably with lovable prints, made of natural materials and resistent to frequent washing. My favorite at the fair was the Berlin-based Fuchs und Kiwi, with its colourful funny comfy clothes for all middle ages.
If you are living in Germany and interested to take part to other BabyWelt events, you can do it to Stuttgart (26-28 November 2017), Hamburg (16-18 February 2018) or Frankfurt (23-25 February 2018). 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What is Miswak?

Earlier this year I was introduced by a friend to the Miswak, a herbal toothpaste frequently used in the Middle East and Africa. This product is based on a specific plant called Salvadore persica, which in its natural environment can be used both as a toothpaste and toothbrush. It is a twig which can be splited at one of the ends and made into a thick brush.
I personally used for a couple of months the processed product, the tooth paste I purchased from a local Indian store. Nowadays, even big companies like Colgate are creating their own variant of Miswak, delivered in this part of the world. My experience of using it was uneventful, without any serious issues. It took me a bit of time to get used with the taste, a little too bit medicine like, but otherwise I come along with it very well, and not only my teeth look brighter, but my breath quality improved significantly.
According to local studies, the fluoride-free Miswak toothpastes has astringent, anti-bacterial qualities, reducing tooth decay, fighting plague and gum disease. Apparently, it can work as an efficient antidote to germs and bacteria and bad breath too. There are also opinion according to which it can stimulate your taste bids, but I do not have the required medical background to confirm or deny such an assumption.  
Obviously, the various food habits and ingredients making the local cuisine do influence the quality of the tooth-health and therefore, requires specific cleaning products and Miswak is also one of them. However, if you have an overall healthy dentition, using it once in a while it is not detrimental to your health. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Rossmann Blogger Assignment: Lagom feelings from Barnängen

I recently wrote about Lagom and the beauty of living in moderation, but it was only from a theoretical point of view, as I did not have too many direct experiences - besides my visits to Sweden, where I also taught for a summer school once - with this much praised life-style. My wish to get a better knowledge about Swedish moderation and elegance come true, once I was offered to test the newest products by Barnängen, recently introduced to the German market and distributed through the Rossmann drugstore network. An iconic company, Barnängen was founded in 1868 and become famous for its soaps, but it soon diversified its products and nowadays offers a range array of shower and daily care items.
The four products I was offered in an impressively big box are the perfect company for a pleasant shower routine: Nutritive shower cream, Nutritive body lotion, Midsommar Glow Body Oil - doesn't matter we are running deep into the winter, your body should not stop glowing anyway - and all over intensive Body Balm
They look relatively good, without an outstanding elegant design but acceptable. However, the quality inside each bottle is far beyond the expectations, and for a good serious reason. I tested the products regularly twice the day, and I did not experience any allergy, but if you have a sensitive skin you might pay attention to the ingredients and to the advice of your dermatologist. 
Besides the body oil, the other products are designed as cold creams, a combination between fat ingredients and water. Barnängen products use could berries, an ingredient common to many traditional Swedish beauty and food recipes, including toppings for ice creams. The smell if very pleasant and easily impregnates the skin which remains discretely perfumed during the day.
The body oil has a floral mix, with a particular pleasant natural scent, leaving the skin smoothy and velvet-like. 
My personal experience with this set of Barnängen products was of 5 stars, with a pleasant skin feeling accompanying me during my busy hours and a relaxation and peace feeling after the evening shower. A wellbeing feeling I want to keep with me this winter.
All the 4 products are priced conveniently in the Rossmann stores in Germany.

Disclaimer: Products offered by Barnängen via the Rossmann Blogger Program, but opinions are, as usual, my own.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Everyday Ingredients of Mitomo Masks

In the last weeks, I continued testing a new batch of Mitomo masks. After experiencing the positive effects of some very special ingredients, like horse oil, for instance, or the face sheets with hyaluron or other basic ingredients that are becoming so popular lately, this time most of the products included everyday substances.
A special note on the design of each package: as a regular user of beauty products, especially face masks, I noticed a stereotypical disregard to the way in which the masks are presented. In Europe you have generally some glowing woman face smiling from a shining package where you have a lot of written details about the products. This batch of masks from Mitomo, do have a lot of written details too, but inserted among well chosen inspired images of the ingredients. It is not only about entincing the customer to buy it, but offering a product tailored according to the highest quality standards.
Back to my experience with the masks now. This time, I decided to use them at the beginning of the day, as I started to have very early mornings due to the shortening of the light hours. Shortly before being awake, I decided to start applying a mask while for the next 20 minutes I keep myself busy checking the latest social media updates and planning the rest of the day. It was my own meditation moment to open the morning. 
Each of the sheet has 25 gr. and is heavily soaked into liquid. It works for all skin types and I personally did not experience any negative effects. As usual, the masks were kept in the fridge overnight, for a refreshing effect in addition to the nourishing.
I started with Camellia Essence Mask, using camellia flower, an ingredient of the Japanese cuisine or drinks. What I did not know is that there is camellia oil which is rich in vitamins such as A, B, D and E or nourishing Omega 3, 6 and 9, having a higher concentration of antioxidants than almost any other botanically derived oil.
The green tea doesn't neet too much introduction as an excellent product for both the food and beauty industry. As a face mask, it has a deep cleansing effect, eliminating any blemishes or rashes and red spots. After applying the Green Tea Essence Mask, the skin looked well hydrated and youthful, ready to cope with an overwhelming busy day.
The Rice Leaven Essence Mask may smell a little bit compared to the previous too which are fragrance free, but this highly moistured sheet mask is the perfect antidote to a tired face. After 30 minutes of applying it - I wanted to treat my face with an extra 10 minutes of morning care - the good nutrition mix of ingredients - rice protein, SOD, beta glucon, Vitamin B, among many others - my face went through a radical lift and it looked perfectly rested. 
Another good remedy for a tired skin was the Soy Bean Essence Mask, as soy has amazing natural effects, reducing irritation, improving considerably the skin texture, building the useful resources of collagen and fighting efficiently the damage produced by sun. 
Many of the masks do have, besides the beautifying effect, clear healing and skin care effects. By using face sheets, the chances of increasing the efficiency of the product, as the substance stays longer on the skin are higher. The Tea Tree Essence Mask by Mitomo is recommended especially if you are trying to offer a special protection to your skin. The tea tree has antiseptic and anti-fungal benefits, reducing the risk and effects of infection. It helps considerably against skin infections, burns or rashes and it is recommended to use it especially during the summer when some of us might forget the use a proper skin cream. It has a smooth Tiger balm smell but it worked perfectly deep into the skin tissues and my face looked regenerated and fresh, after only 20 minutes.
The most exotic ingredient of this batch of masks is Sake Essence Mask. I am not a big fan of sake drink, but I may acknowledge its benefits for the skin, such as moisturizing - due to the high concentration of glycerol and amino acids. What I did not know either is that you can also add some drops of sake to your bath water, with a better moisturizing and heat-retention effects. At least I have one more serious reason to reconsider my opinions on sake.
Meanwhile, my next batch of Mitomo masks are quietly waiting in my fridge to be tested in the next days. Stay tunned for more reviews!

Disclaimer: Masks offered generously by Mitomo to test, but opinions are, as usual, my own

When Art Meets Fashion: Palmers Art Nouveau Collection

Fashion is an art in itself, but when the recognized art trends are integrated into the work of fashion the result is very often brilliant. It is about all those beautiful details and visual information which do have a touch which goes far beyond the everyday trends. In most cases, the result is a wearable work of art which whose value remains even the seasons are changing.
One such result is the latest underwear collection launched this October by Palmers, inspired by the beautiful details of the Viennaise Art Nouveau, one of my favorite art trends. Provocative yet elegant, it focuses on decorative details, which are smartly distributed on the relatively limited surface of the material.
This exquisite bra do have, besides some classical Art Nouveau floral motives, small Swarowski stones on the straps, a very elegant addition. 

Wearing black is always a serious statement, but there are different kind of blacks and different ways to wear and display it.

Besides black, champagne gold is a predominant colour of this collection, a very mild and fine choice of underwear.

Among other good things that can be said about this newly entry edition of works by Palmers, it is also that it encourages the return to perfect elegance, that still can be encountered on the streets of the beautiful city of Vienna. The more layers you wear the best dressed you feel.
Every single item of the collection brings a special attention to adorning details, which outlines the natural lines of the body. You can wear your underwear as you wear your hat or your newest pair of shoes.
Night gowns should not be dramatically different of the usual items you are wearing by day. Even if you are sleeping alone, you have no reason to not offer yourself the elegant touch of a beautiful outfit. Because you deserve it, obviously.
 A PJ made by Palmers is equally a statement even if it looks more sporty than you are probably used to wear. An Art Nouveau classical detail can change completely the overall view.

It is hard to say which of the elements of the collection I love the most, but the fine straps bras with exotic motives and small stones made it instantly on the very short list. 
All I hope that this passion for art will continue and I can't wait to be impressed by more and more elegant collections. 

Pictures taken from Palmers website