Books - Everyday Life

My Magazine Shelf

June 26, 2015

Magazines

I have always loved magazines – my husband and family will tell you how many I shamefully have in my house, and how many online subscriptions I have. It’s rare for a weekend to go by without me downloading the latest issue of one or picking one up from the nearest newsagent that sells my favourites. I don’t just go out and buy anything (I can’t stand those cheap, gossipy ones with sensational front stories about horrifying personal tragedies), I choose the ones I like most carefully and then I’m loyal for life. Here’s my current favourites and why, just in case you’re looking for some new reading material.

Good Housekeeping (US) – This has a little bit of everything, which really keeps me interested. I want something that takes me a good hour to read and all the little bits of information in here does just that – the mix of fashion, celebrity, house tips, beauty, etc. is just about everything I need and that keeps me going back.

Brides (US and UK) – I’ve had a couple of wedding magazine subscriptions over the last couple of years since starting the planning process, and Brides is just my favourite. I picked up a bunch of useful tips, beauty regimes and colour palettes I loved whilst browsing through and I think I’m going to keep reading until my subscription runs out. I still adore weddings, even though mine is over and love pouring over the real weddings they feature.

People (US) – This is where I get my celebrity gossip. I’m a sucker for celeb news and pictures, so I can’t resist this or US Weekly when I pass by them in store. There’s nothing more to it than that really, other than that People also have some real life stories, which can be super inspiring.

Ideal Home (UK) – My favourite interiors magazine and I have lost count of the number of pages I’ve turned over at the corner to try and remember a piece of furniture or soft furnishing that I love. Really inspiring since becoming a home owner a couple of years ago, I just adore all the ideas and real homes they feature and I will no doubt keep taking tips and inspiration from this in all the homes I may own.

Martha Stewart Living (US) – My other choice lifestyle magazine, which features a little of everything. This is more high end than maybe Good Housekeeping, so is maybe a little less useful in terms of practical things I can use in my life, but it still makes a great read and as a big Martha Stewart fan, I can’t help but love this.

InStyle (US) – The issue featured here is the UK version, but I actually prefer the US version – it’s the one fashion mag I really enjoy reading, as it features a ton more than just fashion, and I usually like the cover celebrity they feature. Another good one to sit down and spend time reading, this one is usually more difficult for me to locate, but I love it when I get my hands on it, and I’m sure I’ll be a fan for years to come.

Autumn - TV

New TV: Scream Queens

June 25, 2015

It’s that time of year when we start to hear about the new shows that are coming to our screens in the Autumn, and I’m usually trying to decide whether or not I’m interested in picking up anything new or just continuing with my regulars. There are a couple that are so far piquing my interest, one of which is Scream Queens. From the mind of American Horror Story’s Ryan Murphy, the storyline goes something like this: “After a 1995 sorority pledge gone wrong, someone is out for vengeance when a college campus is rattled by a series of murders at the twentieth anniversary of the crime.” I’ll be pretty excited to watch the pilot and see what I think, but it seems to be an interesting concept, so I hope to be tuning in weekly as the time passes. See what you think of the trailer below.

Travel

Mini Berlin Travel Guide

June 24, 2015

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We loved Berlin. It was such a varied, interesting and exciting city and we will definitely make an effort to head back there in the next few years for a long weekend. We didn’t get to see nearly as much as we would’ve liked in the 3 or so days we were there, which is a shame, but we did manage to get to a few places. That’s why this is more of a mini travel guide than anything substantial – we just didn’t do enough to warrant an expert guide on the place. Maybe we can add to this post everytime we go, but for now, here are a few of the things we got up to and a few of the places we’d recommend.

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To Stay

We stayed at Hotel i31, which is located in Mitte, right at the centre of Berlin. It was a great base for our stay, with amazing connections to a ton of different areas, and easily within walking distance of restaurants, shops and some tourist attractions. It’s a boutique hotel, so probably more on the expensive side of the options available, but it was worth every penny and I’m so glad we stayed there. I’m sure there are other great districts to stay in around Berlin, I really would recommend Mitte as the perfect area for your city break.

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To Eat

Ruben & Carla (Linienstrasse 136, 10115 Berlin)- This was our first stop for dinner, as we loved the look of the menu online and it was also super easy for us to walk to from our hotel. We had a great meal here, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a reasonably priced, good quality meal. My husband had the steak and chips and I went for the quinoa burger, and we both enjoyed it immensely, alongside some of the local beer. I probably wouldn’t head back there on another visit, purely because there are so many choices, but it was the perfect start to the trip.

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Kantine Deluxe (Spandauer Str. 2, 10178 Berlin)- We also loved this meal, on our second night. Decorated gorgeously and with the option to sit outside, this restaurant had a large menu and was super reasonably priced. The process of ordering food is novel, in that you use a tablet and go and collect it yourself, but that just means that you’re never interrupted whilst enjoying your time spent here. I had a gorgeous gorgonzola and pear pasta and my husband had a pizza, both of which we really liked. There were lots of things I would’ve liked to have tried on the menu, so I’d give this a second visit, and its super convenient location makes it a great choice.

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Malatesta (Charlottenstr. 59, 10117 Berlin) – This was our most expensive meal during our trip, but it was also my favourite. A limited menu, so check before you head there if you’re a bit fussy, but lovely on every other level. It’s Italian food, but a little different from the traditional. Eating a mostly vegetarian diet means I’ve gotten used to the standard meal choices in most Italian restaurants, but the dish I had hear was a revelation. Red beet ravioli filled with goat’s cheese and honey and topped with fresh pesto, it was just delicious, and my husband enjoyed his lamb ragu with pappardelle immensely too. I had the tiramisu for dessert and although it wasn’t as good as the one I make, it was still lovely.

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Simply… (Pasteurstr. 2, 10407 Berlin)- This was the only other eatery we sat in for a meal, and it was for brunch on our second day. My husband fancied a cook breakfast and I went for the grilled cheese and it really was a lovely little cafe. Very simple and not unlike traditional greasy spoons you find in the UK, it made a nice change and was a bit more out of the way than some of our other choices, so was nice to go exploring a bit. A good try if you fancy something a little simpler for a breakfast or lunch spot.

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We also gave some of the local delis and bakeries a look when we wanted a croissant or pretzel for breakfast or lunch and none of them disappointed. There are so many of these to choose from on almost every street, so you won’t go far without finding something delicious, and you can also find gorgeous sandwiches in many of these places if you want something a little more substantial. We used Trip Advisor to find most of our eateries, as we wanted the places we tried to be at least a little well regarded and I wouldn’t hesitate to do that again. Although I’m all for trying places you see along the way, I just feel a little safer picking out the ones that other people seem to like too.

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To Drink

Newton Bar (Charlottenstrasse 57, 10117 Berlin) – This was just down the street from Malatesta and we had some lovely cocktails here after a meal one night. There are so many to choose from and, as a massive cocktails fan, I was in heaven! Quite trendy and not cheap, it won’t be everyone’s choice spot, but we loved it and spent a couple of hours enjoying the chilled out atmosphere and enjoying a lovely night of our mini-moon together.

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To See & Do

Bradenburg Gate – This iconic piece of architecture is an impressive sight to see and should be a must-do on your list. As one of the best-known landmarks of Germany, it really is one of those things that you should get a picture of and really enjoy in all it’s glory.

Checkpoint Charlie – This was one of my favourite things we saw whilst in Berlin. It was the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War and is still represented today with a replica guard house and sign erected at this historic point. It is a good spot to visit for a bit of history, although it’s ruined a bit by the McDonald’s beside it and it’s interesting to visit some of the memorial sites close by to read up on some of the history.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – This was the most moving bit of history we saw during our trip. This memorial is to remember the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and consists of a 4.7-acre site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. It is such a stark monument and can never really convey what happened, but it really is effective at making you think about all those who lost their lives too early and some useful information close by conveys some truly fascinating facts.

The Berlin Wall Memorial – There are many representations and monuments where the Berlin Wall used to stand and it’s fascinating to see. We only saw most of this when we were travelling around, but it was all so interesting. I’ve read a fair bit about the Wall since returning home and it’s really brought home its significance for the people whose lives it was a part of.

Reichstag Building – We didn’t go inside this amazing building, but seeing it from the outside is enough of an attraction, let me tell you. It is the meeting place of the German parliament and I believe you can go on guided tours inside, but we just used it as an opportunity to get some photos and enjoy the architecture, which is extremely impressive.

Gendarmenmarkt – This square, right by Newton Bar and Malatesta, features some amazing buildings to see and photograph whilst you’re in Berlin, including the French and German Cathedrals. There are plenty of places to eat and drink around here too, with a lovely place to sit outside on the square and let the hours fly by with a drink in hand.

Alexanderplatz – A great place to eat, drink and shop, this area houses a great many things to see and do. It is a central hub for travel around Berlin and also houses the iconic TV tower that you’ll see in so many photos of the city. The World Time Clock is an interesting thing to see whilst here too, but we mostly visited for the shopping (I found everything to be cheaper here than at home).

Family - Lucy's Wedding - Travel

The Days Before Our Wedding

June 23, 2015

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We were lucky enough to be able to turn our wedding into a relaxing, long weekend away from home – and we loved every minute of it! We had quality family time, ate and drank a ton and generally got to enjoy some holiday time before the big day. If I could do the whole thing over again, I’d do the very same thing and I encourage anyone who can to really allow yourself the time away to really chill out before the inevitable anxiety of the occasion sets in. I think this was a major factor in why I was so calm and relaxed going into the big day itself, I had been in holiday mode for a few days and was really enjoying myself, so stressing about little wedding-related things didn’t seem important.

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We had such a great time exploring some more of the little towns around our venue and then welcoming various friends and family members as the days went on. It was, without doubt, the best time I’ve ever had and if I could do it all over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. We had gorgeous weather on the first day, which we took full advantage of, with lunch and drinks outside, followed by some wandering, scone eating and enjoying all the sunshine. It was perfect. The hotel we stayed in for three nights was stunning and it felt like such an amazing treat to have booked somewhere so special for the occasion. No, we can’t do things like this regularly, but for such a rare treat, it was unbeatable.

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My sisters and their partners arrived at lunchtime on the second day, which was followed by some pampering spa time – I loved this and vowed to make more of an effort to schedule some ‘treat myself’ time on arriving home. It was another opportunity to really relax and feel special at such an important time. It was pure indulgence and I adored it.

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About half of our guests arrived on the third day, the boys choosing to partake in some clay pigeon shooting, while the ladies drank tea and cocktails – everyone loved that day (especially me) and it was such a great opportunity to spend time with our loved ones before the wedding itself. The day itself passes by so quickly, that we relished this extra time with all those people we adore, I wouldn’t give this time back for the world.

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I’ll do a write-up on the day itself in the coming weeks, but I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos from our wedding weekend, and can feel what an amazing time we had.

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Lucy's Wedding

Time Off

June 22, 2015

Time Off to Get Married

I’m back after a week off, to enjoy being married, visit Berlin and generally be pretty pleased with the way everything is right now. On June 14th, I married my best friend and they are memories that I will cherish forever. I’ll be posting a bunch of more specific wedding related stuff over the coming weeks, but for now I’ll here to say that I’m back and excited to get back to it here after the time off – I’m refreshed and ready!