Archive for the 'holidays' Category

Ich bin ein Berliner

August 24th, 2012

Nope, I am not a doughnut, and actually JFK didn’t say he was either.  But I have just returned from a lovely short break in Berlin.  Hubby was over in Poland playing with his “wee men” as he does every year, so as it was near our wedding anniversary (yesterday, 4 years – how time flies!) we thought it would be a good idea to spend a few days together afterwards in Berlin.  We seem to have picked the hottest time of the year, and there was a bit of a heatwave going on when I arrived (35 degrees is far too hot for me!) but it was still lovely.  So in the spirit of a show and tell, here’s some pictures from our trip.

We stayed at the DDR design Hotel, Ostel (DDR in case you were wondering stands for the Deutsche Democratic Republic, or the East German side to us) – it’s in a block of buildings and is totally refitted to be in keeping with cold-war era design.  Down to the fact there was no lift, TV or air conditioning.  But we didn’t realise it would be as hot as it was.  Or that we would be given a room on the top (6th) floor….

The room itself, like the rest of the hotel was really cool in its design – lots of mad wallpaper and original lights.

Our room

Instead of having a TV we had an original radio, although the only station we could tune into was one that seemed to only play English songs, and cheesy ones at that.  Cue lots of Phil Collins, Abba and Chris De Burgh.

I have to say despite there being no lift and you then being stupidly hot when you got upstairs, I loved it – it had a really friendly atmosphere and was incredibly cheap too.

Berlin was lovely; I had been before, and this time the only thing that spoiled it slightly was the sheer volume of building works that were tearing things up and making a noise and mess.  Saying that, in comparison to the UK, even the building works seem a lot more civilised and efficient.

The Berliner Dom was so pretty, and I love this picture with the Alexanderplatz tower behind it.  There was a cafe downstairs we visited to have a bit of a rest in that had the most gorgeous chocolate and cherry cake I think I’ve every eaten.  No pictures of that.  It didn’t stay on the plate long enough!

Museum island was pretty, although we left it a bit too late to have a proper look round the museums so we just sat outside in the fresh air and took in the scenery.

No matter where you are in Berlin you can’t escape the heavy involvement of the City in world history, although this period fascinates both David and myself, so it was actually something we had a look round rather than trying to ignore.  We walked through the Brandenburg gate and had a look at the Reichstag – look closely enough and you can see the repaired bullet holes.  As it was growing darker we walked round the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe (above) – an maze  of huge concrete blocks of different sizes and heights, and with the floor undulating you can be waist height at one minute then the next the blocks are towering over your heads.  For me the most clear symbol of the situation was seeing flights of steps leading down to the underground museum at one point completely blocked by a slab of concrete.

We also walked round the Topography of Terrors which is built on land that was one of the main offices of the Third Reich (we know how to party don’t we?!) which still freaks me out – it’s beautifully done and is just quite factual about the atrocities that were committed.  The picture that spoke most to me was SS officers on a day off wearing party hats, whilst you were reading about the individuals and what they had done/ ordered.  Completely surreal.  We had also looked round the museum at Checkpoint Charlie which was fascinating, especially when it gets to more recent times where there are names I recognised from watching the news with my parents.  I wasn’t entirely pleased to see that the first shop you get to when you are on the American side is a McDonalds….we did nickname it McCheckpoint Charlie after that.

It really is a lovely city though, very friendly and relaxed (not like London!) – the trains were on time and efficient and with the help of the map we were easily able to find our way round, despite the fact neither of spoke any German (I only did a year of German at school because it meant I then didn’t have to take part in the bloodbath that was hockey, and I found strangely that didn’t have much call to tell people my name and that I have red hair.  Or find my way to the library).

On our final night there we found a little restaurant near Alexanderplatz that was so sweet, playing lots of very jolly 1920′s and 30′s music, and that served currywurst.  It wasn’t an expensive meal, and the place was tiny but I can’t explain how happy being there made me.

I told David I wanted to open up a European style bakery and cafe and became quite carried away with ideas for it (although we all know it won’t happen!).  I did, however come home with a mahoosive bottle of curry ketchup so I can try to recreate the meal we had….

Next year we don’t know if the wee men competition will take place in Poland again, or whether it will be in Germany, but either way we’ll be having a mini break attached to it again.  I’m hoping it will be in Germany again as I want to visit somewhere with forests and lakes and pretty cabins.  And where I can get a dirndl skirt too.  Though I somehow doubt I would be able to get David into some lederhosen! xoxo



Pretty flowers

July 28th, 2008

Thanks so much for the dress comments – you have confirmed in my head what I wanted- aren’t the Candy Anthony dresses just divine though – sooo wish I had the cash to have thrown at one of those bad boys.

Do you want to see what 200 Irish crochet flowers look like?Yep, 200. Doesn’t look that much really does it? That does however represent many many hours spent with a fine (1mm) hook and different threads. I think I have used up about 5 whole reels and lots of bits of reels of thread. They are all different shades of warm white – thought it would provide a subtle contrast to the Ivory dress… Will be making the dress itself on Thursday and Friday so I will keep you posted on how it’s going.
Less than a month now – aaargh! So much to do, but at least after a week away I feel refreshed, relaxed and ready to go (for once in my life) – just wish I didn’t have to work!

What do you think to these babies? My friend Uzmah is a trained florist and she did these for me as my wedding gift – I think they are stunning and are identical to the ones I had pictured. when I planned what I wanted. It’s long (reaches to my knees when I hold them at waist height) and I am so so happy with them. The red roses have pearls at their centres, as I will be wearing my grandmother’s pearl necklace, and putting pearls on the dress, so it kinda goes….The bridesmaids’ posies need to be finished off – they are missing the peach roses that are in mine and I will get them tomorrow – when they’re done Uzmah will bind the stems with ribbon to make a handle. Watching her work was fantastic – she made it look so easy. I tried copying what she was doing for the posies and mine looked like a toddler had done it – these she made in about 5 minutes each. It would be so easy to hate her if she wasn’t so lovely! I was on a bit of a roll when we’d done them and I have (with help from the Stitched Up ladies – Vicky in particular – thanks hon x) done almost all of the buttonholes too. We’re getting there….Going to start the bunting on Weds too.

Anyway I thought I would end with some pictures of the changing faces of Cromer, where I stayed with my best friend Rach last week – the weather was freezing,stormy and then boiling hot (such is an English summer!) and I have developed a lovely tan. Til next time xoxo