Monday, 30 October 2017

Travel Diaries: Berlin

{Image from}
So we recently took a 5-day trip to Berlin that I'm calling our second babymoon (it was actually a trip I had planned back in March for my husbands birthday).  My husband loves the band Mumford & Sons so I began by googling where they would be touring next.  He's one of those guys that has everything so coming up with something new and fun to do for his birthday every year is somewhat of a challenge.  So when I saw that Mumford were playing at the Lollapalooza festival in Berlin in September, I decided to book the tickets and go for it.

Given the fact that at the time of booking I obviously hadn't realised that I would be pregnant - getting around was a little bit of a struggle but I definitely made it through and spending a few days relaxing in this beautiful city turned out to be just what we both needed. 

Where we stayed

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Berlin City Centre and it turned out to be the perfect location for discovering the city and doing a spot of shopping.  The breakfast was standard fare - a buffet, but it did get really busy (we only ate there once, mainly for convenience and to feed my pregnancy hunger) so I would recommend getting up a little earlier for it. It was a little pricey at 19 Euros each - and not worth it in my opinion.  There were lots of bakeries/coffee shops nearby I recommend you check out first.
The hotel itself was great, the room was clean and modern with a standard city centre size (if not a little bigger). Definitely great for what we needed. 

Things to do

We were literally a 2 minute walk from an array of shops (Zara was on the corner of our hotel street) and a five minute walk to Berlin's answer to Harrods - KaDeWe (KaufhausdesWestens).  It's the second largest department store in Europe - second to only Harrods in London and is definitely worth a visit even just for the window shopping.  The street it's on also has an ample amount of other stores including Uniqlo, H&M, Pull&Bear etc.

Also a short walk from our hotel (and a minute walk from the KaDeWe) was the nearest tube station - U Wittenbergplatz.  From here you can get to so many places in the city.  We bought a 24hr unlimited ticket for 9Euros each and hopped on and off all day.

Also on the street the hotel (situated at the other end to the shops) is Berlin Zoo. Due to it's substantial size and great food options, you could easily spend a day here.

Bikini Berlin is also a short walk from the hotel and is a great alternative shopping/pop up store complex with some cafes and snack bars that definitely do not disappoint.  Find out more here. 'Funk You' is a good option for fellow avocado obsessed people such as myself.

Places to eat

{Monkey bar views}

We ordered room service more than I'd care to share on this trip (preggo problems) but we did visit a few places that are definitely worth a visit while you're there.

Monkey Bar Berlin takes it's name from it's location. It overlooks the monkeys at Berlin Zoo at the BikiniBerlin, so has a great view to enjoy whilst sipping on specialty cocktails or eating dinner.  Dinner reservations are taken weeks in advance so if you did want to eat here definitely make a reservation before you go.  If not, you can still go into the bar area and have a cocktail (or mocktail in my case) but be aware that they are pretty pricey so a few might just be enough! There's also a great balcony area to sit out at on warmer evenings with stunning views. 

L'Osteria is also a brilliant option if you love Italian food like us (the people of Berlin seem to really like it too!). Also situated at the Bikini Berlin (can you tell we didnt walk far?) it was a perfect option.  Be warned - the pizzas are certainly sharers - my husband ordered one, ate just about half and had to take the rest home in a box (which he subsequently gave to a homeless guy who seemed a tad excited to see the box coming towards him! *all the feels*).  I opted for a mushroom risotto which was also a healthy portion size and definitely the best meal I ate while I was there.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Bedside Beauty

I've always been fairly bad at looking after my skin.  In the last few months I've been looking to rectify my bad habits by creating a 'bedside beauty' routine and I've found it to work so well.  Something about all my products being right next to my bed helps me stick to a routine without fail and follow the steps every single night. 

For removing my makeup I use whatever makeup remover wipes I have to hand (sometimes baby wipes....) which I appreciate isn't the best option for your skin but this routine is all about convenience to ensure I actually stick to it!

After I've removed my makeup I go in with a night cream.  This suits me better than moisturising during the day because I don't feel like daily moisturisers sit well on my face, especially if I'm applying makeup afterwards.  The other benefit is that night creams tend to have more of a chance to be completely absorbed into the skin while sleeping.  My favourite is this Aldi one -  Lacura Q10 night cream - SO inexpensive but so good.  If I've run out of this I'll use a natural oil like this Rosehip oil which I get from the beauty department at T K Maxx.

Next I'll use an under-eye cream.  This is now an essential for me as I feel like it brightens my eyes so much in the morning compared to if I don't use one, so I never skip this step. My favourites are here and here - I only have a sample size of this as it's super expensive!

Lip balm is also an essential especially since I've been pregnant as I've found my lips to be so dry for no real reason! I use this one during the day as well because I love the rosy tint.

My final step is using a great highly moisturising hand cream.  My hands do so much during the day that at night is the only time they get a rest! I take the opportunity to lather a generous amount onto my hands so it can soak in while I sleep.  I'm currently using this one.  My favourite is this one by Burt's Bees. It smells gorgeous!

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Coffee talk: Body Dysmorphia

Some children see only things to hate about the way they look. Their condition can lead to depression, anxiety, self-surgery and even suicide 
- Eva Wiseman, The Observer

Today's Coffee Talk's subject is something we don't ever really discuss, but we talk about it all the time.  Let me explain.  How many times have you heard your mum or your best friend say they look fat or that they don't like their arms or whatever the case may be, and you look at them - honestly not knowing what they are seeing?  

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a serious problem.  I don't pretend at all to be affected by this so much that it affects my daily life, but I do know that it affects every woman in some kind of way whether they talk about it or not.  The reason I know that we all suffer from it,  is when I look back at old photos of times I remember thinking I was fat or I was worried that my outfit wasn't flattering enough etc.  

Since finding out that we are having a baby girl, it's definitely made me check myself every time I've said (or even so much as thought) something negative about my body.  Even though we don't mean to and we're not projecting these comments onto another person, we think it's ok to say it about ourselves. In doing this, we're not really realising that our comments can become damaging in the long term and cause the younger generation to look for things to pick at - because they've learned to.

When these thoughts become an obsession is when the real problems can start.  It can turn into a full-blown mental disorder that can lead sufferers to self mutilate in the hope that they can fix the 'problem' that they think they're seeing that sadly isn't even there in the first place.   After reading this article, one thing I thought was how reserved the estimated figures were.  Granted, not everyone is affected so much that they embark on surgery, but '1 in 50 people suffering in varying degrees' ? It seems somewhat conservative to me and the number has to be higher among women especially due to 'comparison culture' brought on by the success of social media.

What the article also reveals sadly is that bullying is a factor that can affect a child's psyche and make them question the way they look and no amount of positive reinforcement from a parent can counteract that, because we're seen as 'having to say that'.  It seems to me that the only solution is to take the focus off of looks altogether.  Things we say to girls include: you look beautiful, your hair looks nice, your make up looks good.  Have you ever noticed that when you're talking to a boy you are more likely to comment on his experiences, his toys/possessions, or what he'd been doing that day?

BDD is in my opinion definitely something we can all be aware of, and whilst I'm not saying that  commenting 'you look pretty' should be off the agenda completely, maybe it shouldn't be the first thing we say.


Monday, 23 October 2017

Autumn Hygge

Autumn is my favourite time of year and has been for as long as I can remember.  I don't think I could really put it into words how I felt about it until the Danish term 'Hygge' became more well known.  It just sums up how this time of year makes me feel - the temperature drop, the cosy netflix (and hot chocolate) nights, oversized knits, pumpkin spice lattes and nature's amazing colours.

{Image source: Pinterest}

This time of year also always turns me into a crazed 'nesting' woman so as you can imagine now with also being pregnant, it's reached an all time high.  I never understood why there was such a thing as a 'spring clean' considering how much more motivated I feel to do things around the house at this time of year.  Do you have favourite things about this time of year?

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