Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Fashion: Christmas Party

christmas party outfit

December is a bit of a weird month, don’t you think? The first half is dominated by hustle and bustle:  you have to finish your projects, keep deadlines and seal this important deal all before Christmas. Then follows the complete opposite – in the second half work usually slows down (because you know it’s Christmas), people become suddenly unavailable and anything urgent has to wait until the New Year.

Especially in the second half of December people love to eat, exchange presents, come together and socialise (even more than they already do in the rest of the year). Suddenly there are work breakfast invites popping up by the minute, Christmas cards circulate the office and the big highlight, the Christmas Party, is highly anticipated and THE topic of the office.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Lifestyle: eXchange iPad tablet jacket by Paperblanks

iPad air cover exchange paperblanks

Long have I struggled with myself if I should buy myself a case for my iPad. Given the fact that I barely use it and I'm generally very careful with my belongings, there wasn't really "the" need to have one. Plus, most of the models available have all been rather underwhelming and expensive if you ask me.

However, when Paperblanks released the eXchange series in autumn 2015, it was VERY hard to resist. The unique composition of an everyday item such as the case and Paperblanks' unmistakably signature print inspired by old manuscripts and world literature, remains a beloved all-time classic to me that not many stationery brands have achieved.

eXchange launched and I saw myself drooling over those tablet jackets but the heavy price tag of £50 kept me from buying. What do they say about the things we don't buy? Those will hunt us the most for the rest of our lives. An end had to be put to the misery this year, so my time came around when the Black Friday sale arrived. Hello 20% off! Not much, but still a nice touch to get a few £££ off the purchase. Fast forward two days and the eXchange Shiraz iPad Air tablet jacket together with an Edgar Allan Poe 2017 diary arrived fresh from Germany.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Fashion: Christmas Jumper Day

john lewis christmas jumper

I'm not a fan of Christmas jumpers - there I said it.

Often, I find their colours too loud, their motives too cheesy or simply just plain tacky. "But they are fun!" I can hear you say. No, they aren't. They are neither classy nor stylish - but I'm trying - like giving my best efforts here - to blend into the British tradition: I've bought a jumper that I'm comfortable wearing in public for Christmas Jumper Day which will be on Friday, 16th.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Lifestyle: Stocking Fillers & Secret Santa Gifts

inexpensive christmas gifts

The end of 2016 is here and everyone is excited about Christmas by now. With friends, colleagues and family to sort out with presents, the budget can very easily explode and before you know it, you've spent a little fortune during the pre-Christmas period. I've been on top of my gifting list for my friends and family and organised a few cute Secret Santa gifts and stocking fillers to give away. Inexpensive Christmas gifts can be found this year mainly in John Lewis. From small Christmas gifts to stocking fillers, there are some pretty items available in the current festive collection. I've bought a few things which are perfect to give away on their own or will apply that special finish for your wrapped presents. Furthermore, I've also discovered a tech brand at this year's Bloggers Festival that I'd like to introduce to you for today's post as they do the most stylish power packs for your smartphone and therefore would make a great gift.  

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Fashion: The Annual Nightmare Before Christmas. Winter Coat Shopping.

winter coats for women

Where to get the best winter coats from? A question which haunts me annually before Christmas. The thing is, my warm winter coats barely last for one season, mainly because the quality of the fabrics isn't as good as it was twenty years ago. The usual wool-blends to be found on the British High Street aren't resistant to the persistent rain and humidity in the UK, hence why ugly bobbling and peeling are on the cards and have wrecked one coat after another over the years. 

Currently, the retailers are fully stocked with winter coats for women and it took me a good while to find a decent one this year. It feels like you can't rely on a specific retailer anymore, for example, if I need to buy a new blouse for work I know exactly Uniqlo is the right place to go. For dresses, I usually check out Topshop or Miss Selfridge and M&S never lets me down with feminine underwear - but with winter coats the research has to be done over and over again.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Lifestyle: Rome Sightseeing

rome sightseeing travel blog post

The secret top travel destinations to explore in 2016 were said to be Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Rome. Now that the year is slowly coming to an end, I can cross out two of those from my travel list. I’ve managed to take a trip to Copenhagen twice and recently jetted off to Rome for a few days. It was my first visit to the eternal city and instead of revising every day of my trip, I’d like to quickly summarise the good and the bad of my adventures in a list of ten most striking things when you visit Rome:

1. Be overwhelmed: Rome is super pretty

With all its little side streets, hidden restaurants and old build listed grade II houses, Rome has to be the prettiest city I’ve ever seen. Wandering around left me constantly admiring the incredible baroque architecture that breaks the natural light in so many different ways that literally every building looks amazing. Around every corner may await an iron gate embellished with romantic ornaments or there are marble sculptures to take the wanderer back in time. The street signs are usually carved in stone and to be found on house walls. Their weather marked stone - relics of the old ancient times when Rome was built. There’s a gem to discover behind every corner, no matter if you are in the touristy part of Rome or in the more local areas, it is simply pretty everywhere. A big part of that renaissance beauty is the grade II listed old-build houses with their characteristic stucco facades and heavy, wooden doors. I can imagine the inside of these houses have gorgeous spacious apartments with high ceilings and openness, something I know from my previous flats in Germany, which made me feel very comfortable and homey. I found the buildings in Rome, despite their age, modernised and very stylish – a place I can imagine myself to be living in. What secrets may lie behind these heavy wooden doors?

wooden door in rome

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Lifestyle: October In London

October 2016 in london round up

Hi there! Sorry, I've been rather quiet on my blog, but October has been a super busy month and living in London usually means there's barely a moment to stop moving. However, all the hard work has finally paid off and I can share some fantastic news with you, the latest blogging events I've been to and what else I got up to in London this October.

1. I got back into Baking #BakedInStyle

October kicked off with a GBBO-inspired baking event*, courtesy of the Joe Bloggers Network which was sponsored by NEFF and Curry's PC World. I was delighted to be invited by them (first time) and joined the team for an afternoon workshop at L'Atelier des Chefs in St. Pauls. Together with a handful of food and lifestyle bloggers, we got to make a Hazelnut Torte - a cake that combines all the goodness of the Autumn season. After the baking session, we learnt some tips and tricks how to improve our photography skills and to "tell" a story with our compositions.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Fashion: Magazine vs Reality. Autumn Style With Matalan*

magazine vs reality fashion shoot

Brrrrrr it's cold - that usually means one thing: I have to switch summer with winter clothes and on the way of decluttering I throw away half of my beloved pieces, which results in me going shopping to make up for the lack of fashion in my wardrobe.

So, the question is "Where to stock up"? Having lived in the UK for some time now, I've made the observation that every autumn season there's one retailer that has the absolute "Go-To" collection of the year. The one, that stands out on the High Street for miles. The one, all people will shop and the other fashion houses can only hope they come up with something clever next year.  We remember in 2014 it was New Look with their affordable and groundbreaking blanket wrap range (cosy autumn look with the blanket wrap), in 2015 Stradivarius stood out with their bright miniature handbags. My award for outstanding autumn style in 2016, however, goes to Matalan - and that by a mile. Their current range bursts with so many "must-have" items, it is unreal. 

A few weeks back, the lovely team at Matalan had been in touch with me asking if I'd like to check out their new range. Sure! Whilst the PR lady sorted me out with my chosen items, I used the meantime to head over to Matalan's High Street store on Oxford Street, which is literally just down the road from my workplace. I was nosy and couldn't wait for the items to arrive, so the trip down to the store was mainly to further fuel my excitement. The entire range greeted me when I entered the store and so much more.

If you've picked up Look Magazine a few weeks ago (issue from the 12th September 2016 to be more precise), then you may have seen Matalan's ad campaign promoting the AW16/17 collection. I fell immediately in love with the advertised cut out shoulder jumper and it didn't take me long to find it in the store. I've also checked out the other items that were on their way to me and found myself adoring the soft, cosy shawls, Aztec-printed blanket wraps, western-inspired buckle ankle boots and the colour tan in all its variation.

It is amazing how versatile the autumn collection is which celebrates the season in style. With all the warm gilets, jumpers, suede skirts and shearlings, it's safe to say no one has to freeze their toes off this season.

cosy autumn outfit with matalan

Monday, 3 October 2016

Fashion: Jewellerybox Karma Moments Launch

jewellerybox karma moments launch party

JewelleryBox is a British accessory brand that has specialised in affordable costume jewellery. The range features mostly dainty necklaces, charms, bracelets and earrings. On the market since 2014 and straight from the beginning a super blogger-friendly brand, I had the chance to see the brand growing on my blogging journey. Recently, JewelleryBox has introduced a new range to their collection called "Karma Moments" which I previewed during their launch party a few days ago.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Lifestyle: Gifts For Him With Debenhams

gifts for him debenhams

2016 has flown by and whilst most people look forward to the end of the year, to me the busiest period has just started. I'm invited to a few weddings in October, my entire family celebrates their birthdays in November, and let's not forget the ultimate gifting highlight of the year in December - Christmas. There's a lot coming in terms of exchanging gifts and making presents, which I'm looking forward to as there's nothing more enjoyable then to surprise someone with a thoughtful present.

Finding gifts for others can be fun. I love to get totally engaged in the research and I can spend days on selecting a gift. It's a long, delicate process. In the end, I want the recipient to be happy with my choice and I personally never give anything away, that I wouldn't be happy to be gifted with myself. Some people, are just super easy to sort out. Take my mum for example. I know exactly that anything related to scented candles or pictures of her family are always a big win, so with her, it's always straightforward. But come to the male part of my family, I'm literally clueless. My dad is very picky with presents and since he refused one Christmas to accept a set of Bosch power tools, asking the person to return the set, no one in my family enjoys gifting him anymore. Maybe it's genetically tied to the Y chromosome in males that they are so challenging to sort out?!?

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Lifestyle: Magnum Members Club

Magnum Members Club London

During the Olympics in 2012, Magnum had a pop-up store for the very first time in London. Located in Stratford Westfield Shopping centre, Londoners could design their own Magnum and indulge into freshly dipped, customised ice cream - it was heaven! It was an unusual and truly unique experience. Fast forward 2016 and the Magnum store has become an integral part of London summertime. 

Over the years, the brand always had a fun and exciting promotion going along to celebrate the return of the pop-up store in Central. Last year, Magnum had a promotion alongside their pleasure store in Covent Garden - a beautifully designed ice cream necklace by Holly Fulton which allowed the wearer to "unlock" the store and pretty much have a freshly dipped ice cream every day (the full story is covered in my Life Lately in London post). Having been one of the few lucky ones to get their hands on a Holly Fulton for Magnum necklace, which I won during an Instagram competition, my hopes for an equally amazing promotion to accompany this year's pleasure store in South Molton Street were high. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Fashion: Tenerife Beach Outfit

beach outfit

Ahhhhh how come that it is already September? It feels like there was no summer in Britain at all! Luckily I caught some much-needed sunshine during my summer holiday in Tenerife, where I pretty much lived in one outfit: my comfy jeans shorts from Primark and some swimwear. Though I packed my suitcase with cute floral dresses, the combination of bikini/swimsuit and shorts was the most appropriate in 37-degree heat.

Believe it or not, but my wardrobe features very little swimwear. After what has seemed to be a decade or so, tackling to update my swimwear wardrobe was of high priority on my fashion list and I accomplished this very difficult task (do you know how hard it is to find decent swimwear with the current weird fashion styles at the moment?!?) thanks to a collaboration with Octer (My Octer Holiday Story) and Sammydress.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Lifestyle: My Holidays In Tenerife. Part 2

metal beach sculpture los cristianos tenerife salvador

Following up on my Tenerife Holiday Part 1, My second day trip during my Tenerife holiday, was a 5h boat trip to the Los Gigantos rocks at the very southwest end of the island and later, to swim out to the Atlantic Ocean to hopefully spot dolphins. I booked the trip with a company called "Royal Dolphin" through my hotel and it turned out to be a bit of a tourist trap. There was no time given when the boat would leave from Puerto Colon (which was literally a 10minute walk away from my hotel, but I didn't know at the time), so at first I was trapped on a 45minute bus trip to collect other tourists. By the time the bus arrived in Puerto Colon, three buses had already arrived and there were literally 100 people cramped on that catamaran boat, all sundeck seats were taken.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Lifestyle: My Holidays In Tenerife. Part 1

Tenerife Holidays Palm Trees

How can I start this post? Uhm, maybe with an apology for not letting you know that I will be pretty much absent for most of the month? Or have you even noticed that I was gone for nearly three weeks? To be honest, it wasn't my intention to be gone for so long. I've only had one week planned for my summer holiday in Tenerife, but I left without any guest posts, or posts to publish during and after the holidays, so I just enjoyed the time off the usual online pressure and just did....nothing. I holiday-ed pretty hard (more in a bit), returned to work, worked on a project which I was very happy with when I presented it to my team and now that things are slowly returning back to normal (aka boring work routine), I have a moment to give StyleLingua some much-needed attention and love. 

So yes, during the first week of August I went away. I boarded a plane to the sunny Canary Islands and left miserable, toxic London behind. It felt so good to get away, I can tell you. My actual holiday wasn't even a week-long, but those few precious days felt amazing. Time for me, time to catch up on my life. 

I booked flights early in the morning and late at night so that I would get the full day to spent in Tenerife. The flight was smooth and I felt happy when the white top of the Teide came into view. There were no clouds in the sky and from the plane window, I could see the island, the dry desert-like vegetation, the palm trees, the dust and more importantly the blue, crystal clear waves of the Atlantic Ocean. I was excited as a little child to get out of the plane. When the moment finally came, it hit me really hard: the heat. It's a moment, that I have experienced a very long time ago (make it 16 years) and every inch of my body lusted or it. Apart from time with loved ones and air, what I need and crave most in life is love and the heat of the sun - and I was going to enjoy it for full six days. EVERY. DAY.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Fashion: The Green Dress Inspired By Atonement

The Green Dress Inspired by Atonement

Literature has always inspired me in so many different ways, that I thought I should use today's post to show you, how literature influenced my style. I must have been 16 or so when I read Ian McEwan's novel "Atonement" for the very first time, which has become one of my favourite books. The heartbreaking, yet realistic novel about love, forgiveness and a tragic incident that changes the life of all protagonists had some major impact on how I perceive life and shaped some of my core values that I have today as an adult. 

It is an inspiring book so I can only recommend you to read it if you have the chance to. I don't want to give too much away of its plot, but one particular scene stood out to me, mainly when main character Cecilia prepares for a special family reunion dinner and decides on her wardrobe for the occasion:  

"Her latest and best piece, bought to celebrate the end of finals before she knew about her miserable third, was the figure-hugging dark green bias-cut backless evening gown with a halter neck. Too dressy to have its first outing at home." (Atonement, Ian McEwan). 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Fashion: Casual Red Checked Shirt OOTD

Fashion post shot at Leeds Castle

I tend to romanticise Britain a lot which doesn't really come at any surprise if you have ever had the chance to visit any of the medieval castles which are scattered around the island. One place that holds a particular strong magic to me, is Leeds Castle in Kent. Only a 1h train journey south of London, the enchanting water castle is nestled in a generous parkland surrounded by lush greenery, wild rose bushes and tranquil ponds. 

Totally taken by its charm during my first visit in 2011, I was eager to return to Leeds Castle for a day out. This little weekend trip happened with my friend and fashion blogger Mille whilst she came over from Denmark for a few days. Together we explored the endless grounds, hidden archways, got lost in a maze and watched a spectacular bird of prey show. The castle itself holds history dating back to the 6th century as it is of Anglo-Saxon origin and has been used during the Tudor reign as a country house and is today in private hands. Keep your eyes open for a full review post which I'll be working on once I'm back from my summer holiday, as for now, I'd like to show you my outfit that I wore on the day.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Film: American Hustle. Film Review

American Hustle film review

American Hustle triumphed over the strong contender 12 Years a Slave and won three awards at the 2014 Golden Globes ceremony in Beverly Hills. The sophisticated crime thriller, directed by David O. Russell, unites Hollywood stars Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams.

In the film, Bale plays con artist Irving Rosenfeld who teams up with partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) to create a successful scam. When FBI agent Richie Di Maso (Bradley Cooper) catches the pair he forces them to work undercover to expose corrupt politicians. As the plan becomes more ambitious and chaotic, everyone struggles to keep the lie going. Especially as Irving’s unpredictable wife (Jennifer Lawrence) adds more fuel to the fire and attracts the attention of the mafia.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Lifestyle: Yolkin's Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich

Yolkin Macaron Ice Cream London

When it comes to ice cream, it's fair to say that I've had them all: from designing my own Magnum at the Magnum pop-up store*, to sampling Ben & Jerry's core edition to enjoying Cornetto's free cinema experience. Obviously, for this year's obligatory ice cream post, I have something special for you so *drum roll* let me introduce you to a fabulous ice cream brand which I've recently discovered: Yolkin and their macaron ice cream sandwiches.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Fashion: Ready To Explore The World With Rosegal

summer outfit fashion post rosegal playsuit

2016 sees two major fashion trends: red dominates as the colour of the moment (Little Red Dress) and stripes have their big comeback. Reinvented as a form of colour blocking, stripes have been everywhere, particularly in jumpsuits and rompers. From Zara to ASOS, you can shop the pyjama like pieces and for today's post, I'd like to show you where I got mine from.

Online retailer Rosegal* recently reached out to me and asked, if I wanted to try their services and review their clothing. As I always like to discover new fashion destinations away from the familiar British HS where everyone shops, I agreed happily to the collaboration.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Film: Suffragette DVD Release

Suffragette film and DVD release

My film section has been neglected for a while, so the DVD release of the movie "Suffragettes" in Germany comes just at the right time to bring you a new film-related post.

I watched "Suffragettes" last year at the cinema and I remember it came out at the time when gender equality and feminism had been widely discussed in the media. It is still a hot topic right now and after watching "Made in Dagenham" musical and film, Suffragettes was another popular medium dealing with feminism centralising strong women fighting for their rights in society. A fight, that without, we wouldn't live in a (nearly) balanced society today. 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Fashion: My Octer Holiday Story

Octer fashion app review

Right guys, I've got two brilliant news which I'd like to share with you in today's post. Firstly, one epic moment in history has happened over the weekend: I've finally booked a holiday and in four weeks time, I'll be jetting off to Tenerife for an entire week full of sunshine, sunshine and even more sunshine. BYE, BYE WORK! 

It has been such a dread, I can tell you. For weeks now, the project "holidays" has been discussed in my household with no clear results until this weekend when I couldn't bear it anymore and in a short but (financially) painful decision just booked it. What do they say in Germany? An ending with horror is better than a never-ending horror or something like that?!? Well, I'm sure you get the picture and it is now done, settled, booked, paid and the wait for the moment to escape dreary London has come. 

If you follow me on Twitter, you know how much I've been longing for a summer and time away from the office (I spent FAR too much time at work) and the dreading long commute - which you know is basically all that I'm doing. Work, commute, sleep, repeat - and that till Christmas. NON STOP. With so little time on my hands to catch up on my life, it came in very handy when Octer* reached out to me and asked me if I'd like to try out their new service - a fashion app, which are the second brilliant news I'd like to share with you. 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Lifestyle: June Blogging Events In London

blogging events in london bloggersball

June has been quite an eventful month: I've watched Disney's Aladdin, a new musical that has just landed in the West End, celebrated Gemini season with tonnes of birthdays and saw Coldplay perform live at Wembley. Whilst the rest of the world went literally crazy and mad, and we're potentially facing an epic grand finale of politics, the blogosphere didn't sleep either. June saw some major industry events happening to bring together bloggers, brands and PRs for a networking galore.

Here are the latest news from the blogosphere...

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Fashion: Mastering Flatlays With Ciclón

mastering the art of flatlaying for fashion photography

One of the biggest challenges to me as a fashion blogger is to get my outfit pictures taken. I usually don't struggle with inspiration for putting together looks or finding new pieces that I'd like to show on Style Lingua. It is really the photography part that triggers regularly that "Oh hold on - there was something" moment and that "something" is a missing photographer. 

I've tried to get my friends and family involved and it has worked out well so far. However, not everyone is excited and enthusiastic to spend their weekends taking pictures of me and some of my friends live quite far away and aren't around all the time. A tripod can come in handy but it can take quite a while to find the right setting. To be honest, shooting in bursts and ending up with over 500 pictures to sort out afterwards isn't fun either - back to the initial problem.

So what do you do when you have decent photography equipment, a batch full of outfits planned but no photographer (boy) friend around? You learn how to master the art of flat laying. 

Friday, 1 July 2016

Lifestyle: The House Of Minalima. Harry Potter Exhibition

The House of Minalima Greek Street London

Oh, London, you beautiful city that never sleeps or fails to impress with pop-up exhibitions, ice cream pleasure stores or other wonderful surprises. Discovering your gems and learning about your diversity fascinates me every day. My general interest and curiosity have brought me to see the Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin and mirror room exhibition, and lately, I experienced a FREE Harry Potter exhibition, just around the corner from where the Harry Potter musical is staged in Cambridge Circus.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Lifestyle: Yayoi Kusama's Pumpkin Sculptures & Mirror Rooms

In a field of pumpkins Yayoi Kusama

Ever heard of Yayoi Kusama? No? See, me either. Though I don't really follow the art scene, I do read a lot of blogs and spend time on Instagram. Eventually, I came across the Japanese artists' mirror rooms of pumpkins. "That looks awesome" was my first thought, followed by "I have to go there" (since I love a good piece of art, fashion or exhibition). Some research later I found out that this amazing setting is the key exhibit of Yayoi Kusama's "Pumpkin, Pictures and Mirror Room" exhibition which is currently held at the Victoria Miro Gallery in London. As the gallery is (unfortunately) closed on a Monday and during the week I'm at work, a visit to the exhibition seemed to be THE perfect activity for a Saturday morning.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Fashion: The Floral Summer Dress From Krisp Clothing

Krisp Fashion Summer Skater Dress Style Post

The summer is here and with it come long hot days at the beach and warm Barbecue nights. It’s truly the time of creating unforgettable moments from lavish weddings to summer birthday parties, prom and of course the races at Royal Ascot.

Usually, for all these occasions you’ll spend ages looking for THE perfect dress when really, there’s one which will fit perfectly for all of these events, making sure you’ll always look fabulous: the Blooming Rose Skater Dress* from Krisp Clothing.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Fashion: City Break Copenhagen

city break copenhagen fashion post

When you're on a city break exploring town centres and wandering around streets all day, you want your outfit to be casual. Depending on the weather most of us also make sure that our outfit is practical  - and since we are on a holiday - stylish. When I relaxed in Copenhagen a few weekends ago, I decided that my recently bought Oasis Anchor Blouse and khaki green Zara trousers make a perfect match for an all-day out. Let me tell you all about the style!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Copenhagen Weekender. Part 3

Hotel Chocolat latte Copenhagen

Why does time always go by so fast when you have fun? Alex and I were asking ourselves this question a lot when our last day in Copenhagen arrived. Whilst Mille returned to work, we spent the last remaining hours strolling around town, which included a visit to the Hotel Chocolat Cafe, a little shopping haul at Moss Copenhagen and a relaxed chill out on a bench at the harbourside. 

Day 3:

After a little lie-in, we checked out at 10am and hit the town. This time though we both had to carry a heavy backpack and I tell you, that I absolutely hate travelling with a backpack. Those things are heavy for no reason and they do tend to fill up far too quickly. Backpacks are so not stylish and they are so odd to handle, don't you think? Luckily we took turns and if one of us wanted to go into a shop, the other would look after the belongings.

When I'm abroad, I always like to explore the fashion scene in other countries. I love to discover new shops, check out what kind of styles they promote and sell and more importantly if they use different materials. Instead of a kitschy souvenir, I tend to bring back a fashion piece instead, which I find is more unique than a little replica of the mermaid (aka dust catcher).

You'll be surprised to hear, that Copenhagen has actually a lot of familiar British retailers on the High Street, including Urban Outfitters, Topshop and Aldo. I even spotted a TGI Friday's! But away from the usual well-known brands, I discovered a true Danish shop called Moss Copenhagen. A wonderful grey blouse with an incredible lacey neckline drew me into the store. When I entered I felt in fashion heaven: beautiful pieces everywhere and I didn't know where to start looking. The material of the entire collection was silky smooth (not the plastic polyester that seems to be the bestseller on the British High Street) and very comfortable to wear. Blouses and dresses had a clean-cut and shape for that ladylike feeling. Colours were all calm and muted, nothing too fancy but oh-so-chic. I tried on the grey blouse and a couple of other pieces, but after 30mins I left with a to-die-for navy blue striped pyjama blouse.

Moss Copenhagen stripey pyjama blouse

A few Danish Kroner lighter, we tried the Hotel Chocolat cafe. On our first day, we had picked up some vouchers to try their brand-new chocolate latte for free, a blend of coffee and Hotel Chocolat chocolate flavours. I'm not a coffee drinker and my former boss used to gently tell me off saying "You can't become a real journalist if you don't drink coffee". I do love the smell of it so this was a great opportunity to do something out of my comfort zone. I went for a latte with hazelnut chocolate and I must admit that it tasted nice. To me, coffee has a strong after flavour but through the hazelnut, the coffee note became a gentle softening. The latte version with white chocolate, which Alex had, tasted even better, as it was sweeter than my hazelnut latte.

As this was a quiet Monday morning with not many people around, we stayed for a while. The cafe was so lovely and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful excellent customer service.

The Hotel Chocolat Cafe in Copenhagen
New Chocolate Latte from Hotel Chocolat Copenhagen

For lunch, we met up with Mille. Whilst we sat on the top floor of a little cafe and ate our paninis, we watched a drunken man in the street, pulling down his trousers and having a good wee into his T-shirt. Haha, not something you'd expect to see during your lunch break, right?

Saying goodbye to Mille was sad, but I hope we'll see each other soon in London again. After lunch, Alex and I walked to the north of Copenhagen, to an area called Nyboder Østerbro where parts of the film "The Danish Girl" were shot. The area is known for hidden, little side streets with narrow yellow/orange houses which were former military barracks. The area was full of atmosphere and character and it made you feel like you've travelled back in time. There was so much charm and history in between newly build houses, it was a great experience to walk through and stir your imagination - a proper "Can You Imagine Living Here?" moment. 

Nyboder Film Location from The Danish Girl

The area edges to the Kastellet so we found each other north of the city again in the outskirts of the park which lead to the harbourside. In the glorious afternoon sunshine, we found a cute bench and sat down for a while watching the waves and enjoyed this tranquil Monday afternoon with chilled drinks.

Copenhagen Harbour side peaceful end
Sunshine at the Copenhagen Harbourside

We were both reflecting on our weekend and sunken into our thoughts. The last few hours slowly arrived and after a good chill out, we slowly made a move back to the train station. No rush and we took all the time in the world. We walked passed The Little Mermaid, a small secluded area with boats and yachts, the town centre and Nyhavn, Magasin where we had a little look at their gym section and then got some water for the journey to the airport. 

yachts and boats at Copenhagen harbourside

For our final dinner we returned to the side street where we had brunch on our very first day, but this time we would eat at another cafe called Cafe Zirup. I opted for their homemade Chili Con Carne whilst Alex went for a burger. Though a bit pricey, we both enjoyed our meal and it gave us enough energy for the next couple of hours ahead of travelling back to the UK.

The ride back to the airport took less than 15minutes and by then my feet pretty much hurt a lot from all the walking we've done those last few days. I was grateful once we finished security checks to sit down at Joe And The Juice bar for an elderflower, apple and mint smoothie. The background music was super chillaxed and later I found out their Spotify playlist and discovered a song which I really love and have ever since been listening to most of the time at work.

Unlike our flight to Copenhagen, the flight back home left on time. We took off into a clear blue sky and had magnificent views over Copenhagen, the airport and the impressive Øresund Bridge in the Baltic sea. The weekend went far too quickly and we arrived back at No10 shortly before midnight. Needless to say,  how hard it was to return to work and I pretty much sleep-walked back to the office.

You'll find Copenhagen Part 1 and our Malmö day trip in the links. I had an incredible time in Scandinavia and I'm definitely considering to revisit later this year, as it is so accessible to go and just get a change from the usual hectic London. Have you been to Copenhagen before? If so, please let me know and if you have a post, feel free to link it in.

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Copenhagen Weekender. Part 2

The Oresund Bridge panorama view

From my previous travel to Copenhagen in 2007, I had tonnes of Swedish Kroner left over which had lived in my drawers ever since. I thought they may feel a bit homesick and would love to return to their home country, so we planned to spend those Kroner on our Copenhagen Weekender trip. 

For around £7.50 pp I bought train tickets to Malmö and within 35 minutes, the train "flew" us over the Øresund Bridge (Baltic Sea) to Sweden. My friend Anna, whom I met during my time studying at an International Language School in London awaited us at the central station. I had not seen her in six years and though last time we promised each other it won't be so long again for our next meet up, it kind of did. It felt even more emotional when we spotted each other and hugged for a long time. What a fantastic welcome to Sweden!

Day 2:

It is incredible how well Copenhagen and Malmö are connected. Within minutes you can be in an entirely new country! Though growing up in Germany with neighbouring countries just as close, I'm still impressed by it and even Alex felt so. If you think about it, it feels crazy that we've been in the UK on Friday, Denmark on Saturday and Sunday in Sweden. The lifestyle of the rich and the famous haha!

Anna and her partner Johan had booked a boat tour around the city's canal and harbourside for us so we sat down in the glorious warm sunshine and enjoyed this incredible summers' day from the comfort of a softly rocking boat with the occasional refreshing little spritz of water on your skin. 

I've visited Sweden's third-largest city a few times, but same as with Copenhagen, the time spent here was always limited and short. It was fascinating and interesting to see how the city reinvented itself with the establishment of a university and developed into a cultural and thriving spot. Anna and I chatted along and I felt so relaxed that I've completely forgotten to take pictures. #oops

Friends in Malmo Sweden

After the trip, we hit the town and bought some snacks from the international food market. The British stalls were hilarious, selling candy, tea and of course fish and chips with a massive portrait of HM The Queen. Australia offered typical BBQ's such as kangaroo and crocodile steak and the German, well Bavarian, stall had sausages. Not stereotypical at all. We strolled further along the canal and found a spot to sit down with cat sculptures. Earlier, our tour guide from the boat trip mentioned that these cat statues have the symbolic purpose of giving people company whilst they sit here and watch the world go by. Lovely idea what do you think?

Cat statue in Malmo Sweden

Anna and Johan then introduced us to Swedish afternoon tea, aka "Fika". Swedes are just as obsessed with fancy afternoon tea like the Brits. I would say they do it even harder. So we entered this amazing cafe on the main high street and I was overwhelmed by the offer of cakes, tarts and sweet treats. It very much reminded me of a German bakery with lots and lots of delicious bakery treats from pudding (creme patisserie) filled eclairs, to strawberry tartlets, to Viking Rolls (marzipan with chocolate), crunchy chocolate cornflakes nests or coconut flavoured chocolate balls. It was insane and stirred so many memories of my time living in Germany and generally on the European continent. Now and again I do really miss it, though sometimes I'm not fully aware of it and it hits even harder when I get reminded of the European lifestyle.  

Anyway, overwhelmed by the amount of choice, I literally had everything that my greedy eye craved for. After all, I was a) on holiday and b) still in possession of all that Swedish money, so yeah why not?!? I went for a strawberry tartlet, a Viking Roll (marzipan with chocolate) and a Coconut Chocolate Ball, which reminded me of a protein ball. Alex had a strawberry tartlet and another one with sweet sultanas. Sooooo good!

Swedish Fika in Malmo

The day slowly turned into a late afternoon/early evening and Anna and Johan were keen to show us their brand new apartment located at the West Harbourside of  Malmö. This is also the home to one of Europe's largest buildings, the Turning Torso, which hosts mainly flats and reminded me of the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai. 

This part of the town was my favourite. Apart from shopping streets, I love the beach and I got totally spoilt. We watched children and teenagers swimming in the Øresund or jumping of the ridiculously high cliffs (dangerous but so impressive!). No one got hurt in case you're wondering. At some point, we spotted people bombing it over the sea with jet skis and I felt really happy that moment. I'd love to ride a jet ski at some point in my life. It is on my bucket list of things to do before I'm too old to do it. It must be an incredible feeling of pure freedom to race over the water and enjoy the speed and energies. Aw, I've just entered daydreaming mode!

jet skiing over the Oresund in Malmo Sweden
The Oresund Bay with the Twisting Turso Beach at Malmo

The area was amazing, the weather again summery and I wished we could have stayed here forever. The sand of the beach was soft and powdery, the water was bathtub warm and crystal clear. The air felt fresh and I barely had to cough (I had a strong infection/sinusitis a few weeks ago which I couldn't get rid off when you have to commute in jam-packed tubes all day and work in an office in the high emission zone of Central London). The day could have not been better. Weather, beach, friends is all you need, right? 

West Havn in Malmo with the Turning Turso

Anna's and Johan's apartment was another highlight of the day. Located on top of one of the newly built houses, we had incredible views over the Øresund bay with Copenhagen in the far distance. Their light and airy apartment was pure joy and I felt very happy to see that my friend had this amazing flat and finally the lifestyle I had always wished for her to have.

Thought that we had already seen and enjoyed the highlights of Malmö, Anna and Johan went to absolute great lengths and took us to the "new place" in town for dinner called Pinchos. Be prepared for some absolute food porn to follow.

Pinchos restaurant Malmo Sweden
Inside Pinchos Restaurant Sweden

The restaurant right in the heart of town was decorated like an old theatre with some serious Moulin Rouge vibes. Think about Venetian masks, merry-go-round horses, red, red, and lots of red, pictures of circus and entertainment teamed up with warm, cosy lights and comfy chairs to sit on.

The concept of Pinchos is everyone's dream who loves spending time on their smartphones as you order your food via an app. Let me explain: once you've sat down and downloaded the Pinchos app (in Swedish only), you can scroll through the menu and order drinks and food. It comes handy, that each dish is listed with a beautifully shot picture to help to make your decision. All dishes are tapas-sized meaning you can try and experiment with a variety of food. There's not only Fish & Chips, but a creamy mushroom risotto, Quattro formagi pizza, sweet potato fries, mozzarella balls and a super cute mini burger. There's also burrito and a selection of vegetarian tapas available. You simply add anything you fancy onto your app which is then sent to the kitchen. Once your food is ready, you'll receive a push notification and can collect your food from the counter.

Overwhelmed by the choices, we all decided to try different dishes and ordered two rounds. All food is prepared freshly and you don't want to end up ordering seven dishes (such as Alex!) at once. During my "first round", I decided to try the mozzarella balls, mushroom risotto and the mini pizza. I think the pictures pretty much speak for themselves, don't you think?

Drink Order Pinchos Malmo
Tapas Pizza Risotto Mozarella Balls Pinchos Malmo
Mini Burger Pinchos Malmo
Food counter Pinchos Restaurant review Malmo
Food plate served at Pinchos Malmo

Each dish costs around £3.5-4.5 which is a reasonable price. When I picked up my food I was so excited! look at the cute sizes, perfect if you're like me and love to switch tastes during a meal. The portions had just the right size for me and I simply enjoyed everything!

For my second round, I ordered the mini burger, beetroot and goats cheese and two desserts, creme brulee and cheesecake. Needless to say, they were amazing! 

Pinchos Mini Burger Malmo restaurant review
Cheesecake Creme Brulee Pinchos Malmo

After food, we strolled back to the flat. It was a typical summer's day evening: a warm breeze, soft red coloured sky and a tranquil atmosphere. All you could hear were people returning from the beach, that soft flip flop sound that you usually hear all summer long and the occasional cry of a swallow. Again sometimes I really miss living on the European continent. We spent the evening on Anna's and Johan's balcony enjoying the view and a drink (or two).

The Twisted Turso on a summer day's evening Malmo

With a very heavy heart, we took the train back to Copenhagen at 10:30pm after a wonderful day.

I can't describe what an incredible weekend I had and I feel more relaxed after all those exciting travels, events and new impressions than from a weekend lounging at home. Isn't it amazing how a different environment and spending time with friends can contribute to your well-being? Hope you've enjoyed the series so far and will return for my final day in Copenhagen post!

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,
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