Monday, 30 April 2012

surround sound

Is it just me or do women just don´t care about expensive sound systems?
My husband is so proud of his dolby surround stuff and all I can think of is how much the speakers ruin the vintage feel of the living room. If I want to listen to music I do this because I like the song, the quality makes hardly any difference to me. So instead of working out how to use the big hi-fi unit I just listen to it on youtube.  If the surround sound is turned on for watching a film (which doesn´t happen often as I get bored and fall asleep too often and, if not, prefer watching Gardeners World or DIY SOS) it irritates me. If a noise suddenly creeps up from behind I get scared and dislike whole idea even more. If I want a cinema effect I simply go to cinema, it´s as easy as that :-)
So tell me ladies if you feel as well that huge speakers and tv screens are simply spoiling the interior design and a waste of money!?

girl talk

Summer 2010 I sat down in a tattoo studio in Brighton and waited for my consultation (which image to use? is my ankle wide enough? how much would it cost?). I entered feeling really nervous - I´m generally quite a boring person and visiting shops like that is an experience far out of my comfort zone. So I basically sat there and waited until someone would say "Hey, this is a tattoo studio for the really cool and tough people. What do you want here?".

Anyway, two ladies came in after me. Best friends I guess, both well over 50. They started browsing through the books. I was relieved, now I wasn´t the most uncool person in the room anymore. After a while they looked at me and asked "So what did you get done?". Something in me wanted to answer "I got some botox, my nose straightened and breast implants" but I didn´t. Just smiled and felt a weird sort of companionship.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Tricky Tag

Again I didn´t get tagged officially but I like tags and I like the subject, so here is my tricky tag about "living" (as in accomodation). Found here.

In Germany I live in a small flat downtown in the house I grew up in. It doesn´t have a kitchen anymore but it is my castle where I can do whatever I want nearly all the time. Love that freedom and love the fact I have two places to store things...and two bathrooms to fill with my vast DM/Rossmann/Superdrug/Boots collection.

Speaking about castles - not many people have been invited into my flat yet. Reason number one is that I find my flat is quite a personal and intimate place and I feel uncomfortable sharing this with too many people. You see what books I read, what perfume I use, which photos are on display, which are not, which clothes I wear, what music I listen to...and you see the mess I live in which leads to:

I´m an extremely messy person, not a hoarder (but nearly). I used to hate that as I never could invite friends round when I was a child/teenager but now I embrace it as part of my personality. I just own too many things and have interest in too much so everything is constantly on the floor. 50% of my life I seem to be searching for stuff but most of the time I´m happy sitting in the middle of my dusty mess of lovely things.

My first years of spending time in England with my friend then boyfriend then fiancé then husband was spent in another flat in the country. Nicely cut, two bedrooms, nice view but awful neighbours (huge dogs, drug dealing, dirt and rubbish everywhere). Never minded being there but felt good to leave it

During our house hunting period I looked at 13 houses in total, my husband at over 20. Some were nice but we weren´t in a position to buy yet, others were shitholes. Can´t be said different. The excitement of looking at real estate wears off quickly...

Now we live in a four bedroom semi-detached house in a small city just outside of London. English people consider the size to be gigantic, the German in me finds tiny. Upside: I have a dressing room. Downside: still so much work and decorating that needs to be done.

For years and years I wanted to become an interior designer. I never tried it cause the entrance examination scared me off. Silly really, should have tried...I´m sure I would have been very happy in that job. And probably even happier as a stage designer...

If you wanna get a taste of how my dream design looks like then check out the work of English designer
Emily Chalmers . A huge inspiration and pretty much 100% what I want everything to look like (and, I can say that with some pride - achieved it in some corners).

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

leather lovelies

It has been a while since I have been lusting after a bag so it´s time again and I´m seriously contemplating treating myself to one of those all leather lovelies from the Le Pliage Cuir line...

They don´t come cheap unfortunately but are made of wonderfully soft and smooth leather. Only one decision to make: dark red...or cognac...or the turquoise?
Have a look for yourself here.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

world nomad!?

Sometimes this world really makes me wonder...makes me doubt the sanity of society and nourishes the wish deep inside of me to just sit in a simple straw hut in the middle of nowhere and become a dropout.
I'm talking about insurance companies.

It is two weeks now that I am officially registered in the UK. I have signed up with a GP ("Hausarzt"), got my National Insurance Number (something like the "Lohnsteuerkarte") and a bank account. I moved from one EU country to another EU country - something that I am allowed to do and is not subject to any restrictions.
Silly me now thought that having a travel insurance might be a good idea. The fact that I have been lucky so far when it comes to lost luggage, emergency medical treatment or delayed flights doesn't mean this will go on forever. So far so good, I had a look on several of the constantly advertising insurance comparison websites. Been told that it will be done within minutes and that I won't pay a lot for it.
Haha! Not when it comes to me of course!

All normal policies are only covering you if you have been a resident of the UK for the last 6 months!
If not, fuck you then.
Really, what is the reason behind that? Why do I get excluded only cause I have been in a different EU country so far? Is that supposed to be form of a curfew for new residents?
One insurance advised me to try my luck with the "world nomads" insurances. Bloody hell...a world nomad? Because I am a German who has moved to England? And need cover for trips that are normally not more distant than 700k???
I seem to have found a gap in the system again...and give up. Stuff like that is tiring me out and wastes my precious time. Will keep living my wild and risky life uninsured then...and keep on dreaming about moving into that straw hut and leaving it all behind...if only I could get the right sort of insurance for that move ;-)

Monday, 23 April 2012

Such stuff as dreams are made on

Last weekend we decided to go away on a very short trip to the Shakespeare town Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. A really picturesque small place, even better after all the tourists have gone.
Unfortunately we only found out after we booked the hotel that the famous Royal Shakespeare Company in their amazing new theatre doesn´t perform on sundays. Hmm...we made the best out of it and went on a backstage tour instead (and some shopping in their fantastic gift shop). Highly recommendable and next time we will go and see them live and in action.
On the way we visited several National trust properties where some of the photos are taken (Claydon House, Upton House, Charlecote Park)

leading a dog´s life?!

A fairly common sight on British high streets is kids that are strapped in a sort of harness with a lead attached at the back so they can walk on their own but not run away.
Well, I´m not sure what to think about this...
When I was a toddler we had a thing just like that in Germany, there are pictures of me wearing it. Then they disappeared, I vaguely remember that they got banished and degraded as inhuman by the parenting world.

This development influenced me. When I see them passing by I never know what to think. The German in me shouts "Oh no, those evil´s a child not a dog!"...the Brit in me secretly adds "What a good idea!" before the pert and dominant German shuts him up again.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

tea´s ready!

Travelling within the UK you will have a hard time finding a hotel which doesn´t provide tea and coffee making facilities in every room (which means cups, biscuits, tea bags, horrid instant coffee, milk, spoons and a kettle). I find this simply fantastic as I´m one of those people who really panic when I can´t make myself something hot to drink (and always carry around various herbal teas in fact I catch some sort of bug). Don´t know how it is in other countries, please let me know if you have more experience there!

In Germany this is as good as never to be found. If you want a cup of tea you have to go to the hotel bar or find a café - how annoying and pricey! That´s why outside the UK I always travel with my small travel kettle in luggage, a very important item for me (has been used for preparing pot noodles on hotel room floors in Paris as well). The little things that can make a small european city trip feel like a big adventure :-)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Divas and Dreams Photo Challenge: Lace

not exactly lace but close enough and beautifully intricate..

....a sketch on display in Claydon House, Buckinghamshire.

Friday, 13 April 2012

cutting a long story short

In a recent article in German womens magazine "Laviva" the journalist Miriam Collée wrote about her decision to get her hair cut short Jean Seberg style. In that, one sentence caught my eye which went something like this " If you cut your hair short as long as you are still sort of young it is cool and stylish, if you cut it after you are 50 it is just practical".
I couldn´t agree more! I love the idea of really cropped hair and e.g. liked Emma Watson and Halle Berry way more with the pixie than with a long mane. But on the other hand I find it scary to look like that stereotypical post-menopausal German on a day out - wiry short hair, rain coat, mini backbag, sandals and no trace of make-up. Or to look like those scary women who find it fancy to wear their crop with purple or deep red streaks...village amazonians.
So the trick is to get your hair cut young enough...and wear it plain enough to make the look work.
Mine is nearly as short as I want it now...happy with it...and it won´t take me long after it will be all short in summer to decide it's time to let it grow again. Isn´t that the good thing about hair? It always grows back again so, be more brave ladies!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

You smell gorgeous!

Miss W is back with another interesting Blogstoeckchen:

your favourite perfume?
impossible to say, there are way too many to nake a choice and scents play an important part in my life (check out this and that). My signature scent? "Eternity" by Calvin Klein

which type of perfume do you prefer?
I like fresh ones as long as they have some sort of body and are not just the American "fresh linen" breed. I like heavy and old-fashioned scents if they are described as "smelling like granny" I will probably like them. The only thing I don't like is too much jasmine or lily of the valley.

your first perfume?
"Charlie Red" for going to theatre...still own it.

do you use matching body lotions?
only if they come for free in a set with the perfume. Don't really use them.

which perfumes do you own right now?
oooh...honest answer? In Germany I probably own about 150 different ones, here in England my collection has already grown to about 30-40 bottles. I know what you might say now...but I love perfumes, something I inherited from my granny!

which perfume is on your must-have list?
right now: Baiser Vole by Cartier, L' eau de Chloe by Chloe, Philosykos by Diptyque and PureDKNY by DKNY.

apart from perfumes - which smells do you like?
rain, first hint of spring in winter air, first hint of autumn in summer, leather, coffee, lime, christmas tea, steam trains, theatre stage and petrol.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Second Hand Treasure VI

This old plastic head (the wig is my own btw)

where: a shutting down carneval equipment shop in Mainz
price: 30€

Thursday, 5 April 2012

power supply

English sockets look like that:

...they have a switch to turn them on or off.
Apart from that there is a regulation banning sockets from bathrooms (that is the reason why you don´t find any normal light switches in British bathrooms and have to leave in order to dry your hair)...damn annoying if you ask me.
In Germany they normally look like that:

...they have no switch and they live in a happy coexistence with toilets and sinks.

Secondhand Treasure V

In autumn friends of mine bought a house which still had some of it´s old furniture in it. They wanted to get rid of the most and I was in the lucky situation to a) have my husband and our van with me at this time and b) to shout "here" first when some photos turned up on Facebook.
So I ended up with two lamps and a armchair. The chair and on of the lamps are in my German bedroom now looking gorgeous and giving the room that certain something. I love my treasures - thankyou :-)

where: in the middle of nowhere in Hesse
price: a thankyou...and the offer to come and visit us in England as soon as our house is ready :-)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Today I spend visiting a friend from the good old university times in her hometown Karlsruhe. Been there several times in the past but not within the last 4 years! Scary how time goes...

After spending hours on regional trains (which I love doing) I arrived and after saying hello to their cat Leyla, we wandered through town on that surprisingly warm and sunny day.

The city center is a mess due to extensive building works but we still found a relatively quiet corner and had ice cream while catching up on all the stories that happened in the last years.

Then the absolute highlight of this trip: we went to the A&S Bücherland, a shop stuffed full with 40.000 second hand books which all get sold for prices between 1 and 4 Euros only!!! Heaven!
I could have spend days in there...and ended up with eight new babies for my ever growing collection (preparing another blog post right now with more details).
I so recommend this shop, if you love books and enjoy reading without paying huge sums for new editions - go there!

After this lovely day and with a very heavy bag I sat on another train again and arrived at home happy :-)

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Last night was one of those unspectacular wonderful evenings that I hopefully will remember until I get demented. Together with a friend I spend my first ever evening as a babysitter!
The two tiny ladies, 18 and 3 months old, were simply gorgeous. No crying apart from when it was needed, no fuzz, one full nappy and loads of playtime and fun. After they were both happily grunting and snoring in their beds we grown-ups had a fantastic time chatting. You really don´t need a fancy bar or similar to make a great night out sometimes!
And then the highlight. When we arrived we saw that next to the house was a small field of lovely colourful tulips ready for cutting and with an honesty cash box. As we are both plant and flower lovers we decided: after our job is done we will get some!

And so we did...shortly after a dark field...with little kitchen knives that were provided...the light of our phone torches...giggling...cutting ones...white ones...crinkly ones...petite ones...round and pointy ones...the neighbours and people driving past clearly thinking that we have lost it completely...or are drunk.
No, we just had a splendid time (and, of course paid at the end)!

What a great idea...what wonderful flowers...and what a night to remember :-)
Sometimes it´s the small things...

Dick Brave and the Backbeats

Three weeks ago I won tickets for a concert of "Dick Brave and the Backbeats" in Mainz. I had heard of them, knew what sort of music to expect but nothing more. Still was excited to go (especially as a ticket was worth over 40€!). Dick Brave is a fictional character "played" by nineties German pop singer Sasha. He suddenly turned up with his band some years ago now and pretended to be a Canadian rock´n´roll singer. And now he had done it again and released the second album.

Never been a "Sasha" Fan when he was en vogue, only vaguely remember the songs. Now, many years later and wiser I have to admit: he is a handsome guy. Maybe I should have spared a look or two in the past ;-)

The songs are partly self-written, partly songs from the 50´s but mostly rockabilly versions of nowaday chart hits (e.g. Rolling in too deep). They are happy, upbeat, cheerful and the I imagine the perfect background music for spring cleaning (which isn´t a bad thing after all!).

I now own both albums, I like the music, the "feeling good" vibe it´s got. The concert unfortunately got spoiled a bit by the really terrible acoustics in the Phönixhalle in Mainz, happy not to have paid myself.
But all in all a great vintage night out that would have been even better wearing a petticoat :-)