Thursday, 27 October 2016

3 things to smile about #5

This time of year nothing makes me smile more than preparing for Christmas - well, it's only just around the corner isn't it? And before that, there's the advent calendars to think about, of course.
I've gone a bit mental with my advent calendar boxes business in the past three or four years, and although I am sure I'll come back to it, this year sadly, I'm not making any apart than for close family. The truth is, I've left it all a bit too late to get organised on that scale, and in any case it's good to leave things to rest sometimes. So one of the best things at the moment is browsing for my own advent calendar, and there is so much choice out there, it'll be hard to pick one.
 Carrying on with traditions, this year I will definitely be doing is homemade stocking fillers. So here are some of the easiest, lovely things that make me smile.

First up is the old classic - lavender bags. The is a really easy one to make, and a crowd pleaser, because you can always use a lavender bag to bung in a drawer or in the car for that extra fresh smell of Provence! I order my lavender online from the good people of Amazon, and any old bits of scraps will do for your fabric. That said, this series of fabric above is perfect as you can just cut up around one of the adverts.
Next up is great for little people, and although it's a bit fiddly it's a rewarding one. I make my life easier with this one by not turning any of the fabric over, I just shear it after sewing. You do need to get some small magnets, but again, my Amazonian friends are very resourceful on this one.
Finally, handwarmers. Who doesn't curse the cold when they go out on a cold morning? Those are so easy to make, and they're a cool, natural alternative to the ones sold in the shops for a fiver. You'll probably use them longer too. My one and only trick is to double-sew the edges if you're using rice like me. It just ensures your grains stay where they should, and don't end up in the bottom of your coat pockets!

Well, I hope I have inspired you to make a few stocking fillers with fabric scraps. I would love to hear more ideas from you. Do you make your own stocking fillers? Do you make and sell at Chrismas markets?

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Berlin 2016 - part 2

Berlin never fails to surprise us. Through our past visits we've managed to see most of the museums and monuments around, so this time we had not made any plans whatsoever and just went with the flow. Sundays are always funny on "the continent" of course, because not much is open, and you can easily just end up spending a whole day walking around. Luckily we had some great guides for the day, and surprised we were indeed. 
We started off with a completely new thing for us, a Kleingartenkolonie, or the German version of a leisurely, super-well maintained allotment. I could have stayed hours spying on the manicured lawns and oh-so-kitch chalets, it was fantastic! 
The weather was not so clement, alas, so we headed to Museum fur Kommunication, which we'd never come across before. We spent a good couple of hours browsing the exhibits and trying to get our head round the Golden Ratio, which was the focus of their temporary exhibition. I am in love with those glass cloches, what a great way to display something special! 
Of course the day was once more punctuated with food, food, and more food. We should really have skipped lunch, but the thought of leaving Mr Peony without his currywurst was just too heartbreaking. It goes without saying we all felt obliged to accompany him and order a "snack". The next best thing was our gigantic dinner in Kreuzberg, a place specialising in schnizel which came highly recommended by our guides. Oh my, what a mistake this was - I think it's mandatory to put on three kilos with each visit there. Honestly, when they brought the first plate over, I was like "oh, ok, it's a platter to share between the four of us, cool". Then came three more of the same, one for each of us. Oh dear. The trouble is, it was so good you could barely stop yourself from eating it. I do feel a bit ashamed. Then we pushed the boat out and ordered dessert. More shame. And didn't even walk home or to the tube, got into a taxi just two steps outside. My, oh my. Good job we only see you twice a year, Concept Tours!

If you've not been to Berlin yet, don't even think about it, and go book your tickets now, it's a fabulous place for a weekend city break. I hope I've managed to convince you. 
We have, of course, some favourite places, and I'd be happy to write a post on our "coups de coeur" if some of you are interested - just let me know here or via my Instagram account.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Berlin 2016 - part 1

At last, half-term has come, which means I can catch up on my posting a bit!
One of the great things about living close to an international airport, is that you can quickly catch a flight after work on Friday, and spend a cheeky weekend away - just what we did last month.
This is far from our first visit to Berlin (2009, 2010, 2015) , but any excuse is good to come back again. The promise of a weekend with good friends, visiting trendy and edgy places, enjoying currywurst - need I say more?

 After a gargantuesque breakfast chez Concept Tours, we headed to Bikini. The place was really cool and relaxed, we caught up over cappucino, and the kids had a blast looking over the zoo monkeys on the viewing terrace.  Possibly the best buys of day was the loot of Christmas chocolates and biscuits from the little supermarket - we're so greedy I could almost be ashamed ;)
But honestly, resisting these treats would have been hard, don't you think?

We stopped over at Neni for cocktails and a bite (their trio of hummus was to die for). It was super crowded up there, but we managed to wriggle our way to the best seats of the house by their massive window overlooking Tiergarten (I won't mention my panic attack re fear of heights, that's just not cool when you're in the trendiest bar in town!)

 Our last stop for the day was at the photobooth, where everyone had a go at pulling their best pose. Man, I wish they had cool cheap photoboothes like that over here - at 2 euros for 4 poses, it was an absolute steal.
On the day I debuted my new autumn love, a wolly cape from Massimo Dutti. It's a really comfortable item, and can easily be worn with anything casual, perfect for a little weekend away in Berlin!
Part 2 of our little escapade coming soon, featuring the Golden Ratio AND Kleigartenkolonie, treat or what?

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

my little Brooklyn box

My Little Brooklyn Box arrived! And guess what people, it is spot on season and trend once more, I loved it at first sight. The blogosphere seems to have been filled with lovely pics from all the lovely people I follow this year, and it's kind of given me the urge to go myself - Mr Peony, if you ever read this post, yes, I've made up my mind and would love to have a look around ;)
The October box is such a breath of fresh air as the days gets darker, shorter and colder.

Our lifestyle goodies this month were a lovely tin mug ("coffee made me do it" is a nice touch, too) in an equally lovely box. I think I'll be using it with soup, kind of more in tune with the season.
The perk this month is a stencil for making fancy cocoa drawings on the top of your coffee - again, I am thinking savoury sprinkles, like sesame seeds on pumpkin soup maybe?
We also had three lovely pins (soooo retro!) with the modern twist of having a pair for your collars, as presented on the card. I love this idea.

The beauty stuff is pretty exciting too, with a gold Kohl pen by Terry (never had one of those before, and hadn't come across this brand either), a super pink gloss from Sephora, which instantly reminded me of Kinski in Paris,Texas for some reason, and the Little Beauty treat is a nail treatment, which again is so perfect this month!
I have to say I also fell in love with Kanako's illustration, I think it's possible the cutest of the year and once I find a nice frame for it it is going up on the wall for sure.
Overall a nice box again this month, and I am really proud of myself for not giving in to the temptation to look at Instagram and discover the theme before my box arrived in my pigeon hole in work. Every month, it feels like the best day of the month in work. I totally recommend getting it delivered there, nothinng makes me happier. Well, coffee and a nice biccie maybe? Nah, not even close.

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