The Love/Hate Tag – Tagged by Carol in a page

I don’t usually do to many tags, but every now and again someone as lovely as Carol from Carol in a Page comes along and tempts me to write a little more about myself.
And let´s be honest, who doesn’t like talking about themselves? Vain creatures that we are…

This particular tag asks you to list ten things you love versus ten things you hate, after thanking the person that nominated you of course (Thank you, Carol!).
So without further ado, let´s move on to my lists…

Ten things I love:


1. Afternoon naps with Mr. Loca
I never used to be much of a day-sleeper, I usually don’t wake up refreshed, but confused and moody. But fitting in a nap with my husband once Little Bean is asleep feels like a little vacation and is even more precious because it is so rare these days.

2. Watermelon
If I could, I´d live off watermelon all year round. No other food needed. Seriously.

3. Seasons changing
Even though I have complained many times that I am not ready for summer to end, deep down in my heart I love to see the seasons changing. If only fall was less rain and more crunchy leaves around here…

4. Coming from a big family
I have three sisters and three cousins which I see several times throughout the year, as well as a few more that I see a little less, and I love the diversity that gives our meetings.
And of course my wonderful, loving parents as well as my own children, perfect addition to the family and source of joy and sleepless nights.

5. Returning home from work after the cleaning lady was there
I really dislike doing household chores (see below), but I dislike a messy place even more. So I decided very soon that investing in a cleaning lady was a smart thing, and the joy it gives me to return home after a long day of work and everything is magically clean and sparkling is beyond measure.

6. Travel
If you are a long time reader of my blog, that comes to no surprise. I need to be traveling to stay sane. The world is so big and there are so many beautiful places I have yet to discover, how could I stay at home all the time?

7. Food
I know, it is kind of redundant to point 2, but I really, really enjoy food and eating. Especially if someone else cooks. And cleans the kitchen. See point 5…

8. Ticking off things from my to-do list
Sounds just as sad as it is, but I get that sense of accomplishment when I can tick something of my list. I enjoy it so much, I sometimes write things I already did on my list, just to get to tick them off. These days I use an iPhone app, so I don’t waste so much paper…

9. Being independent
This is most likely the least romantic thing you will hear me say (and I will make up for it, see point 10), but I just need to know that I can always take care of myself and leave whoever I am spending my life with if I need to. I need my money, my phone and my old-age provision, and it is one of the reasons why staying at home with only my husband earning money isn’t an option. I would feel trapped…

10. My husband
He is the love of my life, my travel companion, father to our beautiful daughter and soon to our second child. He never fails to make me laugh. He is the perfect opposite to my over-planning, over-thinking self and of course drives me nuts with his spontaneous change of plans. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Ten things I hate:


I have thought long and hard about this section, and then decided to leave it bare. There are a lot of things I dislike (household chores), but hate is such a strong word I really don’t want to use it for trivial stuff.
I am very lucky to say that there is nothing I hat about my life, not even the weight I am gaining (again!) or the fact I need to get up at 5 am everyday and am constantly tired.
Rereading this it sounds very soppy, and I know that the intention of the tag was not hate in it´s strongest, purest form, but bare with me and blame it on my hormones:
There is nothing I really hate.

Of course you should tag ten more people after you finished, but I will not do that and instead leave you to answer in the comments:
Anything in my list that you can relate to?


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Under Pressure – Breastfeeding

When you are having a baby, there are a million things you worry about.
You start reading books on what to eat during pregnancy so your offspring will be all set for winning the Nobel prize.
You spend hours researching the right kind of mattress for your baby´s crib.
You read debates on whether or not to carry your baby, while expert mothers of four fight battles against each other in the depths of the internet regarding self-soothing.

But there is one thing you can read wherever and whenever the topic comes up:
Thou shall breastfeed!
Exclusively!
And: Every woman can breastfeed. If you don’t, you´re just not trying hard enough.

With this being said, let me share my story.

I didn’t worry about breastfeeding at all.
Women have been doing it for centuries, I am healthy, I have boobs (average sized, two of them) and I can handle a little pain.

In the beginning, everything went all right. Little Bean started to nurse within minutes after she was born, it felt comfortable, easy and I was completely relaxed.
Apart from a little soreness there were no problems whatsoever.

Fast forward three weeks, things started to change.
She would want to nurse all the time, giving me only 20 minutes break, she was uneasy, crying a lot and would stay on the breast for at least 1.5 hours every time.
Of course I read a lot on that topic, talked to my midwife and we agreed that my supply was probably a little low. As I really wanted to keep on breastfeeding exclusively, I decided to „work on it“.
After all: Every woman can breastfeed!

The first attempt was increasing the supply by increasing the frequency of nursing. I was a little limited there, because I was already nursing so much, but for the sake of breastfeeding I quit anything else and stayed on the couch, Little Bean attached.
During the early evenings, where she would sleep for four hours straight, I would use a pump and pump every hour, to tell my body we needed more milk.

Sadly, this didn’t help at all, and Little Bean stopped gaining weight.
She had never been a chubby baby, but now she started to look very delicate.

So the midwife suggested, I probably didn’t eat enough. She hinted young mothers would focus on loosing weight too much and thus reduce the calorie intake.
And even though I hadn’t really lost much weight since giving birth, I obeyed and ate even when I wasn’t hungry.
I ate all the recommended foods: Oats, dairy, nuts, and I ate a lot of them.
So much that I actually gained weight.

But my supply wasn’t increasing.
Little Bean was six weeks then and she wouldn’t sleep at all during the days, she would cry a lot and nurse, nurse, nurse.

I started taking fenugreek pills, a homeopathic treatment I didn’t believe in, because I was desperate.
No improvement.

So I was sitting there on the sofa, sore from nursing non-stop, with a crying baby refusing to sleep or let go of me, beating myself up because I obviously was such a failure as mother that my own baby was starving at my breast.
And that while, as you know: Every woman can breastfeed!

The midwife called and had a final tip she wanted to offer:
She told me I should try and relax, because the pressure I was putting on myself was most likely the reason my supply was low.

I had a total breakdown.
Mr. Loca took Little Bean from me, fed her some formula and she immediately stopped crying and went to sleep.

That, of course, wasn’t the end of the story.
Whenever Little Bean got hungry, I´d breastfeed her for at least 30 minutes and then offered her formula. To prevent my supply form decreasing further, I kept using a breast pump every hour during daytime.
Little Bean gained weight and stopped crying, everything was fine.

Or could have been, if people would keep minding their own business.
One day I was out with a friend for brunch as it was her birthday. I nursed Little Bean and then, after 30 minutes of nursing, offered her some formula.
A woman, sitting a few tables apart, rose and came up to me.
„If you offer formula, your supply is going to decrease. You should breastfeed your baby exclusively.“
I should have told her to back off, but I was still blaming myself, so I tried to explain that my supply was too low and that I was trying.
Her answer: „Well, maybe you´re not trying hard enough. Every woman can breastfeed!“

So now, one year after this incident, I am writing this post to tell you: That isn’t true!
Yes, the majority of woman can breastfeed. But not all of them, and not all of them exclusively. Some woman lack breast tissue (not to be confused with cup size), so there won’t be enough for even one child while others can easily feed twins. This is why there were wet nurses back in the days.
Sometimes you can try as hard as humanly possible and it is not going to change.

I nursed Little Bean until she was five months old and refused to drink on my breast any longer. Looking back at these months now, I don’t understand why it was so hard for me to accept the fact that my supply was low and why I kept feeling like a total failure.
If we have a second child, I will try to breastfeed again for sure.
But I will never again put myself and the people around me under that much pressure solely for the purpose of doing so exclusively.


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Recent Reads – „The Goldfinch“ by Donna Tart

If you are unfamiliar with the „Recent Reads“ series, click here for an explanation.
Short story even shorter: I tell you about books I have recently read (came as quite a surprise, regarding the title, hm?)

Reading essentials

The book I want to share with you this month is one I picked up on a recommendation of another blogger. Actually, Ruth Crilly from A model recommends didn’t quite recommend it, but said that she was reading it and found it to be dragging at times, but I decided to pick it up anyway.
And I am glad, I did.
I have read Donna Tart in the past and really liked her writing, and with this book winning the Purlitzer Award 2014, it was an obvious choice.

Cover, German version

The topic:
The books main character, Theodore, looses his mother to an explosion while visiting the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Right before the tragic event he was distracted by a girl, Pippa, visiting with her grandfather.
I don’t want to give anything away, in case you are planning on reading it yourself, so let´s just say that after that event, Theodores and Pippas lifes are connected, and that this connection is symbolized by the picture of „The Goldfinch“ Theodore unwillingly steals from the museum.

The story is the story of a boy being severely traumatized by loosing his mother, the person he relates to the most, getting no chance to work through this and the deep confusion that accompanies him way into his adult life.
It is a story of hurting the people that really mean well and trusting the ones that don’t, just because you desperately need someone to cling to. And about those people that hurt and deceive you despite caring deeply about you.
And it is a story about developing an attitude to morality based on your experiences that is way different than the one the average reader will have, without being a genuinely bad person.
In conclusion, it is a sad and thought inducing story, making you question which person you would have become if your life had been different from what it was.

Did I like it?
Yes.
It is a long read, and if you are stressed or in a hurry, it maybe isn’t the right book for you. Donna Tart takes her time, showing the struggle and confusion Theodore goes through without rushing to a (happy) ending, so I can see where the above mentioned „dragging“ came from.
But to be honest, I think the slow pace adds to the atmosphere of the book, so I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Another thing to keep in mind is this: Theodore isn’t a main character you completely sympathize with. He is hurt and confused and sometimes a pain in the b**t.
To me, seeing the happy and innocent boy turn into a twisted man making questionable choices was painful, but felt right. If I imagine going through the things he went through, staying integre and sane would probably have been too much to ask.

I like the kind of books that can make me cry, and especially the kind of books that will have me musing about life and people way longer than I actually read them.
Of course, having a daughter myself added another dimension. I keep wondering what experiences she will make and how they will shape her into the person she is going to be.
And I know that even if I try my hardest, I won’t be able to keep loss and hurt away from her, same as my parents couldn’t keep them away from me.
Because that is life.

Now before I burst into tears once again (I swear, those pregnancy hormones never stop working), please tell me if you have read this book and if so, what you thought of it.
And, in addition: Do you pick books because they have won prizes or don’t you care?


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Mountains and sheep part 2 – Exploring New Zealands South

I case you missed Part 1 of my travel diary, click here to indulge in pictures of breathtaking landscape and to mentally prepare for more to come.

Mt Cook

Last time I left you at Milford Sound, the place where the sea meets the mountains and tourists take the bus by the dozen to go for a quick boat ride among the sight of waterfalls gushing into the ocean.

To stay with the touristic theme, our journey took us further up north to…

HydroShark Queenstown (Photo Credit)



1. Queenstown
This city is called „The Adventure Hotspot“ and this is no exaggeration.
Want to go skydiving, Bungee jumping or rafting? Queenstown has everything you need.
Fancy a tattoo? There are tattoo studios by the dozen.
Looking for company? Bars and cafés for every budget line the streets and they are crowded by the party people pretty much 24/7.
Too wasted from last night but still in for some adrenalin? Go jet boat driving or ride the „Shark“ conveniently from the city harbor.
But if you are traveling with a baby? Don’t spend too much time in the city. You can do a lot of things when traveling with children, but staying out late and getting wasted isn’t one of them.

If you leave the city and drive to Glenorchy though, you are in for a treat. Set picturesquely at Lake Wakatipu it is a great way to start day trips exploring the mountains and even visiting „Paradise“, an aptly named piece of land which made an appearance in „The Lord of the Rings“ and thus was a must-visit for me.

Driving up to Mt. Cook



2. Mount Cook
Leaving the party crowd behind, we made our way to visit the „Sir Edmund Hillier – Center“ at Mount Cook, providing information about New Zealands most famous mountaineer and the Souther Alpes.
Only driving there is quite an experience: You drive alongside the most turquoise looking waters I have ever seen in my whole life with the snow covered mountains on the horizon, slowly drawing nearer. Make sure to stop and take pictures!

Hiking at Mt. Cook

Once you have arrived at your destination, there are several hikes waiting for you, suited for different fitness levels. We took a medium one, as we had limited time, and walked up to lakes with ice bergs floating and a great view of the Mount Cook glacier.
Is there anything more pretty than sunlight reflecting on a wall of ice?

Hiking at Mt. Cook

Crossing the mountains we headed for the West Coast, experiencing three different types of vegetation within four hours.
The alpine landscape gave way to dry and rugged steppe, wind-blown and wild, which turned into thick and green forest once again when you reached the coast line.
The further up north you drive from here, the more the forest gives way to stony shore.

Impressions of the shore I

Impressions of the shore II



3. Pancake Rocks and the seals
It is no secret that I have a big sweet tooth, so as soon as I heard of a place called Pancake Rocks I knew I had to go there.

Water gushing through the holes

Of course, the name refers to the shape of the rocks rather than the taste, but it still is an incredible place to visit. The ocean pushes in with all its might, gushing through holes formed throughout the years, and erupts in sky-high spouts, glistening in the sun light and covering you in sea spray. It is one of the places that shows you the force of nature spectacularly.

Wild and beautiful

A little further up north is the largest colony of seals on the West Coast, easily accessible by a coastal trail. The trail itself is a shorter trip (around three hours return) suited to people without much hiking experience, but offers a great view and isn’t too crowded, as most people just do the first 15 minutes to get a glimpse at the seals.

4. Nelson
After crossing the Souther Alpes once again, it was time to start exploring the northern part of the Southern Island.
Nelson, called the „Gate to the Food Trek“, is where we spend my 36th birthday indulging in a variety of excellent food before we drove up to the beach to settle for a camp ground directly at the water front.
Being born in February I rarely spend my birthdays sitting outside watching the ocean, so this was a treat for sure.

Crystal clear waters

If you don’t mind braving serpentine gravel roads, there are plenty of hikes waiting for you over there, and if you are in for some beach time, this is the place to be as well.
We went for the hikes most of the time, but happened to stumble upon out own secluded beach once and spend the afternoon there. There was literally no one around, so it didn’t matter that I hadn’t packed my bikini for the hike.
Another day, while crossing a beach to get back to our trail, we met a family with three kids that had set up their tent just at the beach side and were spending a week there. With the parents chilling with a book and the kids roaming the beach, chasing each other and splashing water it looked like the perfect family getaway to me.

The Marlborough Sounds

5. Marlborough Sounds
Time came to leave the beautiful and wild Southern Island and board the Interislander, but we decided to stay one more night at the Marlborough Sounds. Hidden among the trees, there are some pretty weekend getaways and very low-key campgrounds, which was exactly what we wanted.
Spending the night beneath the stars, no lights distracting from their beauty and no sounds except the waves and the wind was the perfect way to say Goodbye to New Zealands South.

Watching the sun rise over the Sounds
Sunrise over the Sounds again

We will be back!


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Strawberry fields forever – Keeping things juicy all year round

This title tells you two things about me:
I love strawberries and I love The Beatles.

Now it is the season for strawberries, so I will put my questionable taste of music aside and talk about the gorgeous red sweetness that is this fruit.

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Living in the 21h century, you can get strawberries all year round.
But even if they look and smell like they should, the taste is only right for a short time.
So what about the other nine months of the year?
The answer is simple: Jam!

But of course, not any jam will do.
The ones you buy contain way too much sugar, most of them contain added flavors and none of them have ever compared to the one and only:

Mama Loca´s Homemade Strawberry Jam


What you need:
1,5 kg Strawberries
0,5 kg Jam Sugar

Strawberries and sugar

What you do:
1. Wash and cut the strawberries
2. Mix strawberries and sugar in a pot
3. Cook the mixture for around three minutes on medium heat
4. Use a blender and blend everything down

If you feel extra fancy, you can add other fruits (raspberries or rhubarb are great) or a vanilla pod to the mixture, just adjust the total amount of fruit and sugar so you always have 3 parts fruit on one part sugar.

Pour the jam into jars (rinsed with boiling water), put on the lid and let it cool down.
That´s it, you are done.

Ah, with one exception: Always remember to lick the spoon. The best part!

No matter how old…

Do you like strawberries?
And have you ever tried cooking your own jam?


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The Beauty Scenario Tag – Agata made me do it once again

If you take a look at my posts, there are some people I mention quite often, because I genuinely love their blogs.
But one person holds place number one without doubt, and that is the wonderful Agata from Her and Makeup. Not only is her blog well worth a read, but she keeps on tagging me in fun little beauty tags.

Va-Va-Voom by Astor

So here we go again: The Beauty Scenario Tag!


You have to get rid of all your foundations and only keep one high-end and one drugstore, which do you keep?
This is a tough one.
My high-end pick would be without a second thought Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer (Review here), but I honestly have never tried a drugstore foundation I was excited about.
I´ll keep on testing, but from the ones I tried so far, none would be missed if I didn’t have her.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil-Free in „Nude“

You go for an interview and the lady interviewing you has lipstick on her teeth. Do you approach the subject or ignore it completely?
In my job, most people doing the interviews are men, so I rarely have to deal with this issue. But I guess I would tell her. It is just the two of us in the room, after all.
If there were more people around, I´d ignore the subject, not to draw more attention to this fact.
Thinking about it, I once told my boss (one of the rare female bosses) she had spinach stuck in her teeth.

You are not feeling yourself and you need a pick-me-up lipstick, which do you go for?
A red one, of course.
And out of my humble collection of reds (*cough*) it would most likely be „Va-Va-Voom“ by Astor. It is creamy, it is bright and it is a pencil, which I love because they are easy to apply.

Astor Va-Va-Voom on my lips

You go back in time for a day to your teenage years, how would you do your hair or makeup differently?
I´d throw out all the foundation I used to buy at least one shade to dark and with heavy coverage. I wanted to look bronzed, and to save money I never did my neck…
But I guess I´d change my skincare regime before everything else if I´d have the chance to go back.

You ask your hairdresser for a shoulder length Pixie Lott hair cut but they hear wrong and give you a pixie cut, what do yo do?
A) Smile, say thank you, call your mum and cry hysterically
B) Cry in the chair and things get awkward
C) Complain to the manager and demand a refund

Out of the above, C) is most likely.
I make sure to take pictures of the style I want with me if I go to see a new hairdresser, to avoid any misunderstanding.
If I had to come up with my own reaction to the above mentioned scenario, I´d probably have a good laugh and see it as an opportunity. All my life I have wanted long, luscious locks, and as long as I can remember I have tried to grow my hair, never really liking the state it was in.
Maybe this would be the universe telling me to go with a short do and embrace myself?

Your friend surprises you with a 4 day city break and you have one or to pack, which „Do it all“ Palette do you pack in your makeup bag?
Another tough one.
I don’t own a „Do it all“ palette. Or any multi-purpose palette to begin with. I´d just throw some tried and trusted products in a bag and pick four depotted eyeshadows in my customizable MAC palette.
It would probably look a little like this one. I doubt I´d take less…

My eyeshadow essentials

Your house has been robbed, don’t worry, everyone is safe, but your beauty stash has been raided. What´s the product you really hope is safe?
My palette containing my depotted MAC eyeshadows (see details here). About 2/3 of them were limited edition and I would miss them dearly.
Apart from that I carry so much makeup in my handbag I´d still own a powder, a blush and about five lip products even if the house burned down.

I really love all of these shadows, but the depotted ones would be missed the most

Your friend borrowed makeup and returns it in awful condition. Do you:
A) Pretend you haven’t noticed
B) Ask them to re-purchase it
C) Secretly do it back to their makeup?

Well, it is just makeup, but I would be offended none the less. I´d probably ask what happened, assuming there was a terrible accident like a toddler trying to eat the lipstick.
These things happen, I know that first hand!
But in the end, I´d expect they´d replace it, and I guess my friends would offer that anyways.

Now that´s it.
I tag Cat from Cat heart budget and Marie from All or nothing.
How would you react? Tell me in the comments below.


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Mountains and sheep – Exploring New Zealands South Part I

It was about time that I tackled the „Backpacking“ part of my blogs header, don’t you think?
And what better way to do that than to share with you this years biggest adventure:
Our trip to New Zealand!

Our first sheep, met in Christchurch.

Expect lots of pictures and a sudden urge of Wanderlust!

Beautiful landscapes wherever you look

1. Christchurch
Before the big earthquakes in 2010/2011, Christchurch was known as the „most British town of New Zealand“. After the destruction of the historical city centre, it now is a city under construction.
Bars and Cafés change places, moving out of buildings liable of collapsing, making it impossible to rely on your trusted „Lonely Planet“ and thus adding a very welcome sense of exploring to your stay.
The spirit you experience there reminds me a lot of the feeling I had when visiting Berlin shortly after it became capitol of the reunited Germany: A spirit of make-do, of improvising and excitement for the future, as well as the refusal to give up and just move away.

Construction going on everywhere

My favorite place had to be the Re:Start Mall. All the shops and cafés are housed in big containers, adding to the spirit of optimism.

Re:Start Mall

And while activities like pole boat trips on the Avon or relaxing in the beautiful Botanic gardens still are must-dos, make sure to check out www.gapfiller.org.nz to keep up with the ever changing art projects housed at demolition sites.

Hydrangeas in the Botanical Garden



2. Banks Peninsula
We left Christchurch going Northwest for some beach time. Akaroa, one of many small villages located at the beautiful Banks Peninsula, is home to the French community. It was there where the first French Settlers landed, mere weeks after New Zealand had been claimed by the British.
What a difference a day makes…
Apart from delicious, french inspired food and beautiful beaches The Peninsula is great spot to watch marine wildlife. Hector dolphins, a small and rare species, are living here exclusively.

Pretty beaches

Breakfast view from our campground close to Akaroa



3. Oamaru
Driving south, we headed straight for Oamaru to check out the Steampunk Headquarters located there.

Steampunk Headquarters

You may or may not know by now, but I am a big nerd and gaming girl, so skipping that wasn’t an option.

Throughout the whole victorian city centre you can find different installments, themed cafés and shops inviting you to dive in to this slightly dystopian version of our history. Or future?

Steampunk train

Details

And even if you aren’t as into these things as I am, a visit to the Headquarters is highly recommended. You won’t find many of these places around the world.

Everything is „On Steam“

The Infinity Chamber, a mind-blowing experience



4. The Caitlins/Southern Fjordlands
Landscape took over as we drove further south. We skipped Dunedin, compared to Edinburgh by many, and headed into the wilderness via Invercargill.
If you are into hiking, this is the place to be.

Jagged coastline, an abundance of wildlife and primeval forest at its finest, all served with the view of the Southern Alpes rising at the horizon… What more could you ask for?
Of course, nature being nature, it rained seven days straight, but that didn’t keep us from exploring. There are many day-trip appropriate hikes that are easily done with a child, but honestly I can’t wait to go back there once Little Bean is old enough and go for the long hikes!

Fungus and moss on a tree
Day hike
Day hike
Lots of ferns
Mountains everywhere

5. Milford/Doubtful Sounds
When in the Southern Fjordlands, visiting one of the Sounds is a must-do. The Sounds are big fjords, offering overwhelming views, but they are also really touristy.
We visited Milford Sound, which is accessible by car (To visit Doubtful Sound you have to either book an overnight boat trip, highly recommended and very romantic, or go by helicopter).
If you go there, make sure you leave early to avoid the heaps of (other) tourists going there by bus, crowding the place between 11 am to 1 pm. That gives you plenty of time to go on short walks when returning, exploring a forest looking like the Fangorn from Lord of the Rings.

The drive up there has some breathtaking views

Sadly, there were no Ents to be seen during our stay there.

Looking out into the sound

Reminds me a lot of Norway

To make sure this post isn’t getting too long and boring, I´ll leave it here and will bring you part II in May, so stay tuned!

Have you ever visited New Zealand?
What was your last big adventure?


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Sneak Peak – Spring

The fact that I am back to work full swing has lead to some changes in my personal and in my blogging life.
To keep up with everything and avoid too many blog-related night shifts, I decided to put my love for lists and new found discipline (it seems to be something you get on top when giving birth) to good use and start scheduling my posts way in advance.

I did this before we embarked on our New Zealand adventure, as I didn’t want to have to try and come up with posts while on holiday, and it worked out pretty well.
I even got excited to click on my own page, because it had totally slipped my mind what I had prescheduled for that specific day.

And with everything planned in advance, I thought:
Why not give you a little Sneak Peak on what will be coming your way during the next three months?

A basket full of (mostly) good stuff

Maybe you´ll spot something you are debating to buy?
Or I will remind you of some gem hidden in your stash?


Let´s just hope it will intrigue you to come back.

Along with these items reviewed there will of course be „Inspired by…“ posts, my „Favorite Face of…“, „Recent Reads“ and, as a new addition, the odd recipe or even outfit post thrown in.

With this said, I hope you all have a lovely Easter weekend, filled with family, food and laughter.

Center Piece on my dining table

Close up of the daffodils

More flowers and eggs on the sideboard

Husband made pancakes with berries and maple syrup


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Getting back into shape – Post Baby Body

My daughter is now ten months old (actually eleven when this post goes online) and I still have baby weight to loose.

This is a shocking confession in times of „What is your excuse?“ pictures found everywhere and Heidi Klum walking the runway for Victorias Secret eight weeks after giving birth.

Weights and weight

But I have come a long way since the Little Bean was born and even if I am not where I want to be quite yet, I have learned a lot about my body and working out with a little one around.
Before I got pregnant, I was at the gym about four times a week lifting (heavy) weights. Along with riding my bike to work and going for runs about twice a week that made up for an active life style.

Despite all this, I never had the „Perfect Body“ as seen in magazines.
I love to eat, and even though I try to eat healthy most of the time, I have a big sweet tooth and enjoy going out for dinner either with family or friends. Cutting back on that was never an option.

I gained 15 kg during my pregnancy, which is considered within the normal range (I am 1,73 m). When I left the hospital after I had given birth, I had lost 5 kg.

Breaking the bad news to all the new moms-to-be out there: Not every woman just magically looses the baby weight if breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding will increase the amount of calories your body burns throughout the day, but it won’t exceed 500 kcal (estimated), being a lot less in the beginning.
500 kcal might sound a lot, but during pregnancy your body will loose muscle mass, and this, together with spending most of your day sitting and nursing the baby will reduce the amount of calories you burn compared to before pregnancy.

Of course, every woman is different. There are even woman out there who had to stop breastfeeding because they lost too much weight, but in the end it all comes down to this:

If you struggled with keeping your weight before pregnancy, you will most likely struggle with loosing your baby weight afterwards.
If you, on the other hand, never had issues, you will probably bounce back easily.

Of course, there are way more important things being a new mom than your weight. And I encourage you to take your time and stop stressing about your belly, but instead focus on resting and nursing your baby.

But if you are like me, getting back into shape will get more important as time passes. Much more than my looks it was my loss in strength and stamina that worried me.
I started panting when taking three flights of stairs, I wasn’t able to carry the groceries in bulk, and when starting to work out, the attempt to do ONE pushup left me in collapsing on the floor.

So building up stamina and strength were what I focused on during the following months.
After some time of just taking the baby for walks, gradually increasing their length, and after getting the permission from my obstetrician and midwife (very important, as there are changes in your rectus abdomini and your pelvic floor that have to have healed before working out), I started .

The first thing I did, nine weeks after I had given birth, was a DVD called „The Mami Fitness Box“, featuring Pilates for New Moms. After looking at the exercises, I figured they wouldn’t challenge me enough, but decided to give them a go anyway.
For the next three weeks I was sore in every part of my body. I don’t know if you ever did Pilates before, but it is way more intense than it looks.

In May, three months after giving birth, I started a three months challenge, the „Bikini Body Mommy Challenge“ by Briana Christine. Apart from great exercises and and a meal plan (which I didn’t buy) she does hilarious YT-Workout videos, swearing, struggling and dealing with her kids while working out, making everything totally relatable.
And the best part: It takes 20 min every day, six days a week, but it is intense. Anyone can fit in 20 minutes of exercise.
I would work out when Little Bean was sleeping or even if she was around. She enjoyed seeing me workout, laughing at her sweaty mama.

Proud to say so!

I regained a lot of muscle mass and was even able to run 4 km without collapsing after the three months had passed, but didn’t loose much weight.
I guess this was down to hormonal changes, because once I had stopped breastfeeding after 5 1/2 months, the kilograms started to drop.

Looking for another challenge I signed up for the Blogilates monthly exercise plan.
If you are not familiar with her channel, go check her out. She is bubbly, sometimes crazy, very motivating and films short videos targeting special areas of your body. I still am addicted to her „Candlestick Dippers“, they worked wonders on slimming down my waist. Sadly, the whole concept didn’t work for me.
She adds a lot of variety, but I prefer to workout using weights instead of increasing the number of repetitions, and even though I could really see the difference after one month, it was a struggle to see it through.
You won’t need any equipment, but about one hour of exercise six days a week, and that was a deal breaker. I struggle with exercising in the evenings, I am exhausted and want to relax when Little Bean is finally sleeping. During the day, I don’t have one hour straight without her, and getting up an hour early was very hard, because she woke up at around 6 am.

So after one month, I quit. And with a holiday in France coming up, and a big exam afterwards, I haven’t managed to get back on track since then.

So here I am, at the end of November, trying to get back into a routine and loosing the last 4 kg.
I´ll keep you updated…

How about you: Do you struggle or do you loose weight easily?
Tips and experiences from fellow mums are highly appreciated.


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The Beauty Tag – Late Night Edition

I am sitting here in front of my desk, suitcase half packed, the Little Bean finally asleep and lots of stuff to do until I board the plane in a little more than 24 hours.

Why you may ask?
Because Agata from Her and Makeup tagged me in her Beauty Tag, and I wouldn’t want to miss out on that.

Beauty Tag

So there we go: 10 Questions about makeup and beauty.


1. The best beauty product discovery of 2014?
To be honest, I didn’t buy a lot of new stuff in 2014. I made a point in shopping my stash and finally finish some products I had, which led to less purchases.
The one thing I really bought this year and was majorly impressed with are the Essence Nail Art Express Dry Drops (review here).

Essence Nail Art Express Dry Drops

2. What Spring 2015 makeup collection appeals to you the most and why?
Lancome French Innocence.
I love, love, love the color combination! It will be the next Collection featured in my Inspired by… series, so you can see what I mean.

Lancome French Innocence Spring 2015

3. What one makeup tip would you give to your mom?
My mom is who taught me how to wear makeup, so thinking about giving her tips now feels a little weird. She is really good at doing her makeup in her personal style, so I either recommend products I discovered or completely stick to skincare advice.

4. The most disappointing beauty purchase of 2014?
A Limited Edition Red Lipgloss by Catrice. I got it in a whim, because it was a collaboration with LaLa Berlin, a fashion label I really like, but I just can’t stop it from settling into my lip lines. I have tried lip pencils, blotting, everything. It just moves everywhere.

5. Do you prefer to shop in store or online? What are your favorite places to shop for makeup?
I love to shop online for skincare (Cult Beauty being my favorite), but for makeup it is very important  in my opinion to actually see and feel the product. Usually I read reviews, swatches and all this online and then got out to buy the product in store. Douglas for high-end cosmetic and DM for drugstore makeup.

6. What kind of posts would you like to see more of on my blog?
I have to agree with many of the comments you received before: Makeup looks and tutorials are your strength. But as they are time-consuming and sometimes require picture taking by someone else, how about more personal/chatty posts? Your skin issues and what you are trying to get it right again. How moving to America felt. Holiday traditions form Poland. Zumba and why you love it so much. Lifestyle posts is what they are called, I guess.

7. Who is your favorite You Tube blogger and why?
I will have to cheat a little and name two, because as much as I love them on their own, the two of them together are my absolute favorite: ViviannaDoesMakeup and LilyPebbles. They are relatable, down to earth, witty and live in London. What else could you ask for?

8. If you could wear only one eyeshadow for the rest of the year, what shade would you pick?
MAC Satin Taupe. A subtle brown to taupe smokey eye that works with a bright lip as well as a more natural look.

9. What do you think of the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year – Marsala? Are you going to incorporate this shade into your makeup?
Yes. Being 35, I remember when similar colors were in fashion back in the days, and I will feel like my old 16 year old self again when applying it to my lips and cheeks.

10. What one makeup product should everyone have in their makeup bag?
Concealer. Whether you are a teen and suffer from spots or a mother lacking sleep, if you want to hide the discoloration too much sun has given you throughout the years, Concealer is your friend regardless your age.

MAC Conceal and Correct Palette in „Light“

I tag Mimi from Mimi Flys and Cat from CatheartBudget (I know you are always looking for a tag, Cat!) as well as Marie from Allornothing, Hollie from Holliegarner44 and Jinah from HeartandSeoul.

To all my lovely readers: Feel free to answer the questions in the comment section, even if I didn’t tag you.
If you don’t feel like answering all the questions, do me the favor and answer question number 6 at least.


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