Friday, 27 May 2011

I spy with my little eye...

...something beginning with "G".
"G" for Germans. You can wander through London, through National Trust properties, airports or train stations. They are visible even when they don´t speak.
If you what ask any random non-German person they would probably describe them as the ones wearing leather shorts, funny hats, dirndls and have long blond braided hair (hmm, the women at least).
But I have found much more realistic ways to spot Germans abroad.

They always wear proper coats, preferably from Jack Wolfskin. Rain or shine, summer or winter - Germans on a city trip are prepared for everything in their wind and weather proof functional anoraks.

They always wear proper shoes as well, many wear real hiking boots but at least a sensible and hardy pair of trainers it has to be.

They always carry a water bottle and a banana and/or a muesli bar with them. No quick ready made sandwich or packet of crisps for them, no.

If over 60 they mostly dress in beige. Beige shoes, beige coats, beige trousers or skirts.
 The women love taking bagpacks. But the majority decides against the practical big one - no, they love the mini versions which unfortunately once were fashionable for a very short time in the 90´s.

If you haven´t spotted them yet you only have to watch them for a while. If they sit on bench staring at the hip and fashionable it-crowd in Camden or Shoreditch and quite openly talk about them, that´s German behaviour. Less "Live and let live", more slagging people of.

I´m sure there can be more points added to my list but with this collection it should be fairly easy to find some Germans. Just look for the people looking dressed for all weather, looking sensible and a bit boring while chewing their bananas.

PS: And no, I don´t mean to offend anyone :-)

video killed the radio star...

Another "Blogstoeckchen" from lovely as ever Miss Winkelmann:

Do you like watching tv? How much do you watch?
I do watch tv but I could quite easily live without. Sometimes I need a tv binge of trashy programs like "Dating in the dark", "Four weddings" or four episodes of obscure "Come dine with me" in a row but in general I'm an internet junkie, not a telly one.

What type of program do you like most?
documentaries, docu soaps and travel magazines

best channels?
BBC, Channel 4, arte, Vox

best series?
Sex and the city...can watch it again and again and again and never made me a tv series cry so hard as the last episode did.

best crime series?
none, don't ever watch crime

best documentary?
best reality-tv?
so many, the most recent one I got addicted to was "My big fat gypsy wedding", don't know in which of the two categories that falls though...and I can't get enough of all the "Goodbye Deutschland" expat programs. Another thing I enjoy is watching Jamie Oliver cooking while travelling the world.
best film?
"Amelie" - there are a few films I adore but this one is special. The first film I watched which made me feel fully understood. Know it by heart...

best news program?
don't like news and try to avoid them as they are normally only two sorts of news: the utterly boring ones or the ones upsetting me.

best children's program?
all Astrid Lindgren adaptions, Loewenzahn, Die Sendung mit der Maus

best sports program?
pfff, as if I would watch that!

favourite person on screen?
Guenther Jauch, Stephen Fry

do you like commercial breaks?
as long as they are not too repetitive I don't mind them too much. But the English ones are so much more fun. So much more silly music or singing involved there...

your tv pet hate?
all casting shows, TV used as white noise in the background

channel-surfer or staying loyal to a program?
in Germany I don't have too much choice but over in England I can't resist the temptation to flick through the hundreds of sky channels in search for the ultimate one...

Sunday, 22 May 2011

When I'm grown up...

...I wanna be a wedding photographer. With a proper expensive camera and even more expensive lenses. With a Mac to work on and a full copy of Photoshop (and the ability to use it would be helpful as well). And a car that brings me wherever I should be (and the confidence to actually drive it)...and paying customers.

Until that all will come true, haha, I do my best with what I've got.
So here are a few shots of the low-key registrar office wedding of a distant family member (my husbands step-half-sister) I went to last thursday in Norwich.
Considering I was not allowed to take pictures during the actual ceremony (Norfolk rules, fuck them!!! While posting this I'm still busy writing my complaint letter...won't change a thing but will make me happier about this nuisance) I think I didn't do too badly...

bargain hunt in Norwich

It has been very quiet here over the last days but I was on a short-break to Norfolk in order to attend and shoot a wedding and, while there, have a look around and have a few good days in a tent again (more about that later).

I was delighted to find a cheap "Savers" drugstore in Norwich as I had my eyes set on what looks to be the ultimate bargain.
I read about it in Georgia's Blog and since then was obsessed:
A 1,99£ dupe for the highly expensive Benefit Hoola matte bronzer!
It looks similar and so far does exactly what it says on the box - it is a matte bronzer where a little goes a long way. I'm not an expert and never owned a proper Benefit product but who cares. I was/am over the moon :-)
And while looking around "Savers" (it's not the prettiest of shops but belongs to the Superdrug chain and has cleaning stuff as well which is more similar to German drugstores so basically - it's a British "Schlecker") I found a true and proper Calvin Klein transluscent lipgloss for 2,99. Don't know if maybe it is reaching it's sell-by date or if CK has stopped doing beauty products but again, who cares!? I'm happy about my two little bargains!

Monday, 16 May 2011

smeels like a dupe

Helène D'Arcy Enjoue Eau de Parfum...I'm not normally one for cheap perfumes as I have quite a thing for all sorts of scents, and most of them from the higher end of the market, but last week I stumbled across this one. Sprayed it in Rossmann last week out of desperation as I left house without spraying myself with something nice - I know I'm weird but that makes me feel so naked that whenever I have the chance I have to sneak in a shop and "test" a perfume.

I didn't expect lots when using this 4,99 Euro Eau de Parfum but was surprised...I knew this smell...I knew it's a dupe. Not a long lasting one but nevertheless a dupe! Of  Hugo Boss Intense, a scent I quite like and use fairly often. So if you like the Boss scent, are not opposed of cheap perfumes and wander past a German Rossmann drugstore: try this one! Might not look overly stylish on the dressing table but who cares anyway when you can make a bargain!?

Sunday, 15 May 2011


this week's Blogstoeckchen by Miss Winkelmann :-)

your holiday plans for 2011?
not sure if they will all work out in the end but so far:
3 days camping in Norfolk to attend an photograph a wedding, starting in 2 days from now
4 days Stockholm in August with my husband
3 days Bayreuth with two friends (I have tickets for the Wagner festival)
a few days in Guernsey again or maybe Jersey in early October
hopefully another camping trip to Canterbury in summer
and 2 days in Paris completely on my own at some point.

what is your favourite way to spend holidays?
going to a place which has lots to see and do, where I feel safe and if it offers the chance for some shopping it won't hurt too

the best holidays ever?
I liked the majority of my holidays (and haven't been on too many yet anyway as I never really travelled until I left school and only had my first flight when I was 23) so there isn't one standing out.

the worst trip?
10 days skiing in 8th grade. Went to Neukirchen in Austria and hated every second of it. Went so far that when we arrived back home I kneeled pope-style on the school car park and kissed the ground.
Don't wanna offend anyone but since then I have issues with Austria...

favourite destination?
would give every country the chance to be my favourite destination (maybe even Austria lol). Spontaneous, utterly dull and embarrassing answer: anywhere where I have a chance to communicate in German, English or French.

5* hotel or tent?
I discovered camping exactly one year ago so I'm quite taken by the idea of sleeping in a tent. Of course I wouldn't say no to the 5* hotel but camping, although limited on where you can go, is such a nice way to save an awful lot of money.

if possible self-catering. I like cooking, am a bit picky when it comes to food abroad and it's simply so much cheaper.

how detailed is your planning?
quite - before booking I'm known for getting obsessed with comparing prices and reading every little detail on tripadvisor. And I love buying travel guides and own a lot. So, yes, my planning is detailed, how the reality then looks is a different story though...

what needs to be in your luggage?
all sorts. I do plan outfits before packing but in the end forget to look at my list so I often forget at least one thing. But I'm one of the few people who absolutely love packing...and absolutely hate unpacking, so I never use wardrobes on holidays. What always needs to be in my luggage? Camera, diary, phones, sunglasses, hand sanitizer and anti-sickness tablets (just in case).

which places do you have to see before you die?
Marrakesh, the Easter Islands, New York, San Francisco, Moscow and St.Petersburg, Thailand...pretty much everywhere I haven't been yet.

what would you do with two months free time and 20.000Euro cash?
not sure, I'm a student so the two months free time bit is not a fiction and doesn't excite me a lot. So I probably would spend the money on a new boiler for the house, a Nikon D700 and a Louis Vuitton handbag...but to answer the question the way it is meant: I would maybe travel form the east to the west coast in the US...or go on the Transsiberian railway to Bejing...or live 2months in Paris...or book a round-the-world ticket...don't really know.

funniest travel anecdote?
not a travel anecdote as it happened in London, but: twice it has happened so far that I ran into people I know from uni. Not the most likely thing to happen considering how many millions of people there are in London. And funny as my reaction was always the same completely confused one.
("Oh hi!"...*thinking about walking on...then thinking's London for fuck's sake!!!...I've just met her in London and not on the can't walk on just like that!...isn't that incredible?!?* "Hi! What are you doing here?"...*what a stupid question...don't know what to's so weird...I met her and we are both in LONDON*...)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

my travel dilemma

I have a dream...a dream that I walk through an airport with a cute designer handbag containing only a few essentials like lipstick, credit card and passport (of course in a stylish leather holder) stored neatly.
With a smart little trolley which follows me everywhere or a timeless Louis Vuitton travel hold-all dangling nonchalantly from my shoulder. Me sparkling with elegance and class, a cosmopolitan not a tourist.
And then I wake up and reality kicks in. I have not a handbag but a hold-all from Primark. Stuffed with books, asparagus, diaries, camera equipment, cat treats and whatelse I don't trust to put into hold luggage and desperately need. The passport doesn't fit a nice leather holder and is hiding somewhere in that chaos called handluggage, the lipstick hidden in a transluscent re-sealable plastic bag. I can hardly lift it and never find anything in it.
My suitcase is a 6 year old Samsonite with a big rip on top. Bashed and battered and never carrying anything under 20kilos. And I struggle and fight and sweat dragging all my belongings through endless airport corridors listening to the rhythmic flip and flop of my cheap and security-friendly shoes...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

my London dilemma...

When I go to London I normally start my day at 6 in the morning and get home around 7 in the evening. And not only that my days are fairly long, I'm a walker. I enjoy walking, it doesn't really tire me out and I'm simply too tightfisted to spend more money than necessary for tube rides. So for me it is absolutely fine and normal to start at Primark Oxford Street and during he day walk up to Hampstead Heath. Sometimes I think I even invented a new sport like that - "Urban Hiking" ;-)
Anyway, as we all know London can be a very stylish place...lovely and chic shoes belong to that lifestyle...I like beautiful shoes...I even can walk in heels...but:
With my days in the capital sometimes involving more than 12km of walking, how could I ever manage that in heels?!? I always look at some London ladies and envy them...for their petite frame, the wonderful shoes and the money to get a taxi for every step.
So my personal London dilemma is being stuck with comfy and reliable shoes that would suit village idiots while I'm dreaming of a life in Louboutins...*sigh



Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Kleiner Mann was nun?

When I thought of having to sit over 4 hrs in theatre on saturday I was lessed than impressed. Felt tired and just not in theatre mood in the slightest (yes, that happens...even to people doing theatre studies for more years now than I'm brave enough to mention).
I had a ticket to see "Kleiner Mann was nun?", a theatre adaption of the 1932 Hans Fallada novel (English title "Little man what now?") done by the director Luk Perceval for the Muenchner Kammerspiele in 2009.
My motivation to see the play was that last year I had read Fallada's "Alone in Berlin" ("Jeder stirbt fuer sich alleine") and was truly impressed by it.
The in the end 4 1/2hrs just flew by! There was little action on the stage, maybe a bit too little for most tastes, only an orchestrion playing, looking more like an altar sometimes.
I sat on a cheap seat far away from stage so I had troubles seeing the actors faces. So for me the evening worked as something as an audio book which was surprisingly nice! I could easily listen to what was going on as the text was so close to the novel and therefore very descriptive.
And even though that sounds as if it should have been a very long and boring evening, it was not! The plot moved me, the acting convinced me...mostly (maybe the leading couple could have done with less hugging).
Will get the book in the library now...a theatre night to remember, very simple, very reduced and very thoughtprovoking.

And yes, for everyone interested in the plot (wikipedia):

The bookkeeper Johannes Pinneberg and the sales girl Emma „Lämmchen“ Mörschel had hardly found out that she was two months pregnant when Pinneberg is sacked and must find a new job in the middle of the economic crisis. Pinneberg’s despicable mother Mia, a nightclub hostess from Berlin, comes to the rescue by finding her son a job as a salesman in the Berlin department store Mandels. However, Pinneberg is stuff under pressure because the boss Spannfuss introduces a monthly quota for all salesmen to achieve, otherwise they are made redundant. This leads to fierce competition between the colleagues. As their son Horst, whom they affectionately call “Shrimp”, is born, money again becomes scarce because their health insurance payouts are delayed. After a year Pinneberg becomes less able to work at Mandels. After many warnings about lateness, he is very behind on his monthly quota. He begs the film actor Franz Schlüter, who wanders into the shop, to buy something from him. The actor refuses and complains to the manager about Pinneberg’s behavior, and Pinneberg is promptly fired. In November 1932, the small family illegally move into Pinneberg’s former colleague’s summer house 40 km east of Berlin. Although Pinneberg has been unemployed for 14 months, his wife forbids him to steal coal. Instead, she darns socks and does dressmaking for local families to earn a bit. One of Pinneberg’s journeys to Berlin ends in a fiasco, as Pinneberg, with his poor appearance, is chased away from Friedrichstrasse by the police. The couple realize that good old-fashioned love is all that matters. Fallada gives a detailed description of the living conditions of the white-collar workers of the time. He also shows the roles of trade unions, governmental institutions and sacking in the labor market. Businesses are shown to pitch people of the same class against each other and reveal everyone’s worst side.

Monday, 9 May 2011


The sewing machine was definitely one of my better buys recently. Never thought I would enjoy sewing that much and that I would have enough patience for it (found out that easy things go rather quick so that makes me happy). Yesterday's project were pillow covers for our 4 garden chairs (I know, not one of the more elaborate things to do but at least a start). The fabric came, as usual, from IKEA. I'm pleased with the result  - today I will start working on the piece of fabric that will substitute a headboard for our new bed. Will keep you posted :-)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Shop until you drop

Another "Blogstoeckchen" by Miss Winkelmann, as a shopping addict I couldn't resist ;-)

Do you like shopping?'s as simple as that

What do you like the most to shop? unfortunately everything. Absolute favourite is probably buying drugstore things. But I enjoy buying clothes, bags, shoes, IKEA things and I absolutely love the daily grocery shopping tour as well. Lidl, Aldi, Asda or Morrisons...could spend ages looking at all the things they have.

What don't you like? hardly anything but if I have to pick one it is: buying DIY stuff. Usually ends up being very pricey without any fun...

favourite shop? so many but the one I can never resist must be Primark.

your most recent buy? a flowery vintage 70's dress from Rokit in London. The first time I found something reasonably priced there which even fitted! Wish the sizing in vintage clothing would be more reliable...

you like shopping on holidays? yes, but: In the southern countries and France I can't buy clothes as it's all too small. Good that there are so much more things to buy than just clothes...;-) Favourite is buying foreign everyday stuff like lip balm, jam, biscuits or tinned things...if the tins are nice they make beautiful flower pots and vases afterwards.

your favourite shopping partner? I enjoy shopping the most when I'm on my own. If I have to pick partners then it is my shopping-loving husband or my mum which has a similar taste to mine.

you exchange or return a lot to the shops? no, hardly ever. Don't think of it, can't be bothered or maybe it simply means I'm good at shopping?! Maybe returned 4-5 things in my entire life.

what do you hate about shopping? when it's busy. That's why I avoid all sorts of shops on friday afternoon and saturdays. And shop assistants which constantly tidy up whatever I dared to touch...I normally end up making a bigger mess then on purpose.

Budget? not great as I don't have an income

second hand? yes, as much as possible. Vowed that 2011 will be my year of donating clutter and clothes to charity shops and buying more there. Since last october I'm only buying books second hand, my dressing table came from ebay and my newest addiction are car boot sales and vintage shops. And I just handed in the 5th bag to a charity shop so it goes very well and is very satisfactory indeed. I would love to buy more clothes second-hand but unfortunately styles that look quirky and stylish on someone Alexa Chung sized, looks more Susan Boyle on me...

special shopping moment? buying a Longchamp bag in the Lafayette department store in Paris and being let through in their shop by a huge, impressive looking doorman lifting the velvet rope for me.

best place to shop? London...or every other good-sized British town.

most expensive buy? a semi-detached house...

biggest shopping mistake? as a young teenager I was picked up plimsolls in Aldi...unfortunately I got it wrong and bought two left ones...

you shop with lists or spontaneously? a combination of both...often write lists but in the end forget to look at them or can´t find them in the depth of my handbag anymore

Monday, 2 May 2011

The bride stripped bare

A story about a newly wed London wife in her 30s who is unhappy and unsure about her life and relationship and starts several affairs. Of course it´s more complicated than that but her search for a meaning is what the story is about.
It´s written like a elaborate diary...the language is descriptive and very precise. You can feel for her, sometimes more and sometimes less, although you know that what she does is not right.
But the whole story seems so realistic and honest that I couldn´t stop reading it. And sometimes it was quite a sexy read, can´t deny that.
The "Anonymous" makes it sound more scandalous and mysterious but it is still a work of pure fiction by the known author Nikki Gemmell.
For me a book well worth reading escpecially for everyone married.

heisse Hunde

One of the most important things for me when visiting IKEA is (along with having lots of free coffee, picking up pencils and buying at least one pack of candles) eating one or two Hot Dogs on the way out.
The trick is to pack them in a way that you can fit as much of the dried onions and gherkins on them as possible.
You can imagine the disappointment I feel in a UK IKEA - Hot Dogs are available but without any extras, only the bun, the sausage and ketchup/mustard. How boring...
PS: And don't get me wrong - I find the picture quite tasteless too.