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About using mobile phones while driving & booster seats (Cooperation/Advertising+raffle)

About using mobile phones while driving & booster seats (Cooperation/Advertising+Raffle)

Let’s face it – who consistently keeps his hands off the smartphone while driving? Who does not use the mobile phone in the car every now and then?

Why do so many mothers and fathers risk an accident every day when they are on the other hand always so concerned about the safety of their children?

Why do we underestimate the high risk that arises if we don’t focus fully on the road and the traffic?

Common cause of a car accidents: distracted driving

About 1.8 billion children worldwide are leaving their homes to go to school every day, but 500 of these children are not coming back. That’s 500 parents who lose a child every day.

Distracted driving and touching the mobile phone while driving is one of the three most common causes of car accidents worldwide.

A British mother with a brilliant idea: connecting business with a call for secure driving

The two-time mom Grainne Kelly, founder of the British company BubbleBum, has launched the campaign #ILoveYouEnough to draw attention to this problem. Children use video messages to urge parents not to use their mobile phone while driving and ask ‘Do you love me enough?’. Unfortunately, the campaign is currently only active in Ireland so far. I think that we could use such a great action in Germany as well, where distracted driving is not an issue that is talked about openly and adequately. So I gladly agreed to cooperate with BubbleBum – the company that had the great idea of ​​making inflatable booster seats for kids that meet all safety standards. To develop a campaign that calls for driving safety, is just fantastic I think.

 

 

 

 

An inflatable booster seat that is safe and fits in everywhere: the BubbleBum

Incidentally, Grainne Kelly’s invention fits my needs just perfectly, because I only drive a small car with two children. For my car, I couldn’t  find a conventional booster seat that still fits between the two child seats. My daughter is now 4.5 years old and then the mommies from kindergarten friends no longer join play dates in the afternoon. If I take a third child with us in the car, it should also be safe.

                                                                                                                                             

The BubbleBum guarantees that. Thanks to the restraint system, the straps are in the correct position according to current EU directives (over the child’s lap and shoulders). From now on, the small space miracle lives in my glove compartment, because when it is not needed – air out, fold flat and it’s gone.

                                                        

Also very convenient for traveling in rental cars, taxis, etc., because the BubbleBum fits in a purse or the backpack. A great gift idea for grandparents or a very useful help for childminders who may need to take a child in the car spontaneously or only occasionally. The BubbleBum is suitable for children between 4 and 11 years.

Who wants to win a BubbleBum?

The BubbleBum is available in black, pink, green or other cheerful designs on www.bubblebum.com. As a London fan, my daughter chose the seat with the British flag and would love to sit on it every day (have you read already my blog post about London with a four-year-old in 50 hours?). Good that the summer holidays are starting now and we already have two appointments where we’ll take a kindergarten friend safely with us in our car. Until then, the cuddly dog ​​may ride on the BubbleBum 😉

 

 

                                                                                                                                                   

 

 

If you like to win a BubbleBum, then just comment on this post and / or the matching post on Instagram and Facebook. You can also link a friend in order to increase your chance of winning. You have time until Wednesday, the first of August 2018.

So tell us honestly how you deal with the use of your mobile while driving and whether you always have a safe booster seat in your luggage! I am looking forward to the exchange!

All guidelines for the raffle can be found here.

“Mom – I don’t want to go to Kindergarten anymore.”

“Mom – I don’t want to go to kindergarten anymore”

“Mom – I don’t want to go to kindergarten anymore” – a sentence many parents are afraid of. “I would rather be with my family.” These were the original words of my daughter about two months ago. I think it was on a Sunday night before going to bed. When I heard that, all the alarm bells were ringing for me.  Of course, I asked why she did not want to go to kindergarten, but I played it down and said something like, “Oh, rubbish – you love your kindergarten and you want to see your friends again…” no reaction, and we did not go deeper into the topic.

The private kindergarten

Our daughter is now 4.5 years old. At the age of eighteen months, we got her accustomed to kindergarten/daycare. She goes to a private facility in the next neighboring village. The journey takes 10 – 15 minutes depending on traffic. At that time we had no other choice because the childminders were all booked out and urban kindergarten places were not given until August (irrespective of having no influence on the choice of kindergarten).

The company I worked for went bankrupt during my parental leave with our first child. It was difficult to move from this situation to a new job. Who wants a young mother, who will probably be soon be pregnant again with a sibling for the first child. At some point it worked out, but I had to start in June with a full job. It was actually planned that I work part-time. For the acclimation phase of my daughter in the daycare we took 6 weeks. It actually went quite smoothly. At 18 months, the children are in my experience, not as difficult to get used to daycare as two-year olds can be. That’s why we did it the same way with our son at the beginning of this year. Luckily, I was allowed to reduce my work time to 20 hours with two children. 

A private kindergarten is a financial burden. No question at all. My husband and I have always said that we value the money and that we do not want to tear our daughter out of her usual environment to save money. We could have safely moved to an urban kindergarten last year or this year. But our daughter went every day with great joy in her kindergarten. Even though I sometimes picked her up late, she was never sad. That was a great blessing for us. You do not give that up so easily. Especially since the nursery is open during the holidays and there are no problems with strikes.

All at once everything is different

Maybe lately we have said too many times how grateful we are that we have no problems with the kindergarten. From acquaintances and friends we hear again and again about worries and unpleasant stories around the topic daycare. Suddenly, we are facing a much bigger problem because, as far as we know, there is no reason why our girl would like to stay home at one point. The educators are all nice, the children are all from a good home, the care is very personal. If the food does not taste, there are extra sausages with ketchup. So what is going on for heaven’s sake?

I watch my daughter while picking her up and imagine that she is often alone in the group and no longer plays with the other children. In fact, she tells my husband that the friends do not want to play with her anymore: “The only one who never says no is Filip.” I discuss this with my husband and we suspect that it might have something to do with the departure of Charlotte. Last December, our daughter’s best friend changed to another kindergarten. One who is closer to the place of residence of the family and in addition costs from 3 years onwards nothing. I can understand the step, and the child has put up with the change quite well. Since then, Charlotte is actually still present every day in our conversations. Sometimes I say to our daughter that Charlotte is not in her kindergarten anymore when she invents stories again. Otherwise, one should let the children just believe their stories and imagination. If they are not telling bad lies, parents can just play the game and take the story seriously.

When our girl almost starts to cry in the car one morning and puts on slippers while clinging to her dad, we decided to become active. I asked for a development interview with the head of the day-care center and the responsible governess. These conversations are not conducted by default for each child, but whoever demands it, gets an appointment immediately.

The development talk

On purpose we didn’t start the conversation with our problems, but have first let the teachers speak. I had already imagined different courses of this appointment, but it turned out quite differently. No one has noticed a big change in our daughter’s behavior. It would be hard for her to focus on one thing and stick to rules. That was not new to us. But that’s why she had to take a so-called “break” more often recently and sit quietly at the table with a puzzle i.e.. She never told us at home. Maybe she did not like that. Otherwise, she was always happy and would actually be very open to all children. That Charlotte is gone, the educators didn’t see as a problem at all. To our surprise, the two girls had not played so much together during their time together in kindergarten – so said the teachers. Sometimes the children fantasize a lot together. Anyway, we left the conversation with a good feeling and a calmer soul. The educators have encouraged us to deal more consistently with compliance with rules at home – example eating manners. At the age of four, the children are constantly testing their limits. Our daughter had such nice eating manners and now everything is over. We’re really talking constantly and foolishly about it, but we’re not the types who write down rules and distribute penalties for non-compliance, or reward for following them.

Playdates in the afternoon

The next time I pick the kids up from kindergarten, I make two playdates with the children, whom I think our daughter really likes. Only then did I realize that we had not had any other children to play with us for a long time. Since the arrival of the little brother, there was not much room for it. If the kindergarten is open until 3 pm and three days are filled with program such as gymnastics, dancing and swimming, you almost get leisure time stress. Of course, it’s all just a matter of organization. 

Our daughter was very much looking forward to the upcoming play meetings with kindergarten friends. From morning to morning there was suddenly no complaining that she would rather stay home with me and her brother. Thank god, because I was about to get back into my job. That our son is now in the same kindergarten has also helped a lot. The big sister is allowed to join him now in the dwarf group and then go to the giant group herself.

Everything back to normal

Sometimes things get solved on their own. Often I worry too much about everything. But it is important to listen to the children, to take their problems seriously and to follow up on them. At the age of 4 children have to deal with a lot of new emotions, which is maybe sometimes just too much to cope with. Then they need even more love and security from home. The conversation with the kindergarten teachers – not between the deadlock, but with time between 4 eyes in the office – was a great help and relief for us. Yesterday a kindergarten friend visited us again. Today is grandparents day. On Sunday, both children will hopefully be looking forward to a new kindergarten week again!

Do you have similar experiences with this topic? Tell me!

My Coffee Table Books – part 1

My Coffee Table Books – Part 1

Away from the screen

With this post I start the series of my Coffee Table Books. Meanwhile, some beautiful books have accumulated, which received too little attention during the last 4 years. Why? Because the little time we have left over besides work and family is increasingly spent in front of the computer or mobile phone screen. I can’t free myself from that. Especially if I want to maintain my blog and Instagram feed and at least my online social contacts. In the past, I leafed through the illustrated books several times to immerse myself and just switch off. Maybe I can start doing that again, if I choose a book regularly and introduce it here.

What are Coffee Table Books for?

The English term Coffee Table Book is mainly used in the United Kingdom and the United States. The ‘Coffee Table’ is a side table. These books of which I speak here are picture books for adults whose diverse contents often deal with art, fashion design, interior design or garden architecture. Mostly they are used to decorate coffee tables and consoles. They are placed in a way that they are clearly visible. Sometimes they are also used as a shelf for vases or other decorative elements. The rather large-format picture books with little text are sometimes expensive, because they are printed on high-quality paper and can have elaborate bindings and covers.

Coffee Table Books are definitely an eye-catcher in the living room or bedroom and also give some inside about the interests of their owner. Sometimes they are chosen only by color to underline the color story of the rest of the establishment.

The books can be nicely arranged on top of each other. Either only one or more stacks depending on the size of the table or wherever they are placed. The shelf space is structured without giving away a lot of storing space. It is allowed to put a plate or a cup (with saucer of course) on the stack of books. The fact that the Coffee Table Books are placed openly in the room and not in a bookshelf, they also invite guests to take them to heart. Browsing is therefore desirable.

Coffee Table Book No. 1: L’Esprit décoration Ladurée Paris

How I found the book

I start with the book L’Esprit décoration Ladurée Paris written by Serge Gleizes, because I still revel in the memories of our beautiful Paris weekend in February. If you have not read the article yet, you are welcome to do so here. I bought this book already in 2012. I was with a dear colleague on a business trip in Paris. Both of us visited the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs Elysee for the first time, and we were really impressed. The store felt like a museum. Huge sized with many rooms. In addition to the Louis Vuitton products you could also buy the books that were used for decoration. Unfortunately, I could not afford to buy a bag or a pair of shoes, but this book was a very nice souvenir. Especially since I love Macarons of Ladurée and I’m a Visual Merchandiser. Incidentally, I have been treated just as royally when paying as the other customers who have actually spent serious amounts of money. And for the rest of the day, I stalked Paris with a big Louis Vuitton bag.

About the book

The so-called Maison Ladurée is a world-famous French luxury pastry chain. The pâtisserie is especially famous for its macaron – colorful, sweet biscuits. In the same year that the first pastry shop of Louis Ernest Ladurée opened, the foundations were laid for the beautiful Opera Garnier. That was in 1862. For the Parisian high society, later the tea house-extended business became a popular meeting place. The French artist Jules Chéret was responsible for the special decoration of this teahouse, which can still be admired today in the Ladurée cafes and in this book.

Here you will learn what makes the style of Ladurée so unique and where the decorators took their inspiration for the design of furniture, textiles and wallpaper. Three different, feminine decoration styles are combined at Ladurée. The women who would probably be called influencers today were then Madame de Pompadour of the 18th century, Empress Eugenia of the Second Empire, and bizarre interior designer and antiquarian Madeleine Casting, who worked at the beginning of the 20th century. On Youtube you can watch a great documentary about Madeleine Castaing – a fascinating personality who has almost reached the age of 100.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book also shows examples of how to imitate the Ladurée style in your own home. But you really need the right rooms …

The surprise

The cover of the book with the golden details and the satin ribbon to open / close make it at first glance something very special. The big surprise is a three-page pop-up hidden in an envelope in the cover – also to be opened with a satin bow. The detailed miniature of a Ladurée Café comes to the fore. I would say a typical girl dream.

 

 

 

 

So far, I have withheld the pop-up from my daughter. But I’m looking forward to the day when we travel with her to Paris for the first time, drink hot chocolate at Ladurée and eat colorful macarons. At home we can then dream back to the beautiful, pastel-colored world of Ladurée with flowers and birds of paradise. Cheesy? Not at all. That has style!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book was published in French, English and German (English title: Ladurée: Decoration & Inspiration). At Amazon you can still order it through various third parties. The perfect gift for Ladurée fans, Macarons lovers and decorating enthusiasts.

Are you also a coffee table book lover? How do you like this one?

It can happen very fast: pneumonia and bronchitis with infants

It can happen very fast: pneumonia and bronchitis with infants

If you do not go to the doctor right away

Last weekend, my husband and I had our date night again. The children were allowed to spend a night with their grandparents. What we have done beautiful on the Friday evening, you can read here. When we brought our son (1.5) and our daughter (4) to my parents-in-law in the morning, they both did a great job. A little cough and runny nose has been normal since November of last year. It was not until the evening that the grandmother wrote to us that the little one was not feeling well, but there was no cause for concern.

When we came out of the theater I read by SMS that he has a bit of a fever. The children have so many changes in temperature that we decided not to interrupt our evening. I had taken precaution with suppositories.

The next morning we went to my parents-in-law to lunch together and pick up the children. Our son was already in the afternoon nap and woke up at an elevated temperature. He was not fit and just wanted to be on ones arm. The cough had become a little heavier, so he vomited after coughing after eating. Maybe we should have reacted and gone to the hospital. At least for listening to the lungs.

Wrong decision

Since we know how busy it is at the weekend in the children’s ambulance and the wait would have meant stress for the little one, we decided not to go there. ‘It’ll be all right again’ was the idea. Also on Sunday it was not really good for our son. Although he had no more fever, but did not want to play and hardly eat anything. The cough was ok during the day, but in the evening when falling asleep so hard that he had to vomit again. On Monday morning I drove directly to the pediatrician, because our doctor had vacation.

When the doctor told me that my son was very ill and asked me why I had not given him a fever juice, I felt so guilty that I would like to be buried in the ground. He diagnosed severe bronchitis and suspected pneumonia. How could that happen? I reviewed the past week. I simply could not think of an opportunity that our son would have been able to overcool. We always pay attention.

Antibiotic and Co.

We had to start the same day with antibiotics, drops to dilate the bronchi and give fever juice. The fever juice was important so that the general condition improved and the little one drank enough and ate again. The night was much better than the other two nights before.

The next day, we presented ourselves to the same doctor again for control. He unfortunately confirmed the pneumonia. I always thought that you would have to go to the hospital right away, but the doctor told me that, apart from giving the medication, we should not or could not do anything. On the third day, the general condition was almost back to normal. Our son ate with appetite and barely coughed during the day. That his breathing is difficult, you have yet heard.

Good medical care in Germany

I am so grateful that we live in a country where medical help and medicines are quickly available. With a pneumonia is really not to be joked. My husband just forwarded to me yesterday, a recent, very good article of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Please read here. Often the pneumonia results from abducted colds that have not been properly cured. The consequences can be devastating. In addition, viruses, fungi, chemicals and bacteria can cause pneumonia. Our son has always had a cold in the last few weeks. By getting used to the daycare, he was more stressed than usual. He was also there with many children, all of whom coughed and enjoyed. By droplet infection, so when talking, laughing and sneezing, pneumococci (germs) are easily transmitted.

That’s why I always tell everyone to go to the doctor with the child when it starts to cough regularly. One should not think that the doctors are annoyed, because you run because of every little cold in the practice. Better listen once more than too little. Perhaps we could have averted the extent of our son’s illness if we had gone to the doctor on Saturday and had received medication.

Fit again

Tomorrow the antibiotic is used up. On Tuesday we go back to the doctor. The little one is thankfully doing good. He hardly coughs anymore – not at night anymore. The breathing is back to normal. The drugs really worked very fast. I will report here in a supplement what the findings were on Tuesday and whether our son can go back to the daycare. On Wednesday would actually be my first working day after the expired parental leave …. but we should not care. The main thing is the little one is healthy again!

Have you already had experiences with bronchitis and pneumonia? Then please share them in a comment.

Mum-and-Dad-time: an evening at the Schauspielhaus Dusseldorf

Mum-Dad-time: an evening at the Schauspielhaus Dusseldorf

My in-laws – back in action

Last weekend we were allowed to enjoy some mom-and-dad-time again. The children stayed overnight with their grandparents from Friday to Saturday. Since they had taken care of the children for a whole weekend in February already to make a short trip to Paris, I would not have dared to ask again four weeks later. But since the children are already with Grandma and Grandfather on Fridays anyway, my mother-in-law kindly suggested it on her own. It would be easier anyway, because the children otherwise always fall asleep in the car on the way from Krefeld to Dusseldorf. Our children were very happy – Grandma always makes everything so comfortable – and so were we.

Preparing for the Date Night – with my husband

I always want to get as much as possible out of the precious time as this opportunity presents itself. So I visited on Friday morning the barber of my confidence. Since 2012 I am a loyal Aveda customer and absolutely enthusiastic about the products. The last time I was at the barber’s was before Christmas. The hairline was still not too bad, because the highlights are just so well made (with three different shades). Although it always costs about 120 euros, I have a long rest and the hair will not be attacked. If you want to know which Aveda products I have been using for many years now, then take a look at this article. After that, I went shopping, although I really do not need any clothes anymore, but it felt so good (and 20% VIP discount on Esprit was worth it ;-).

For the first time in my life, I spontaneously attended a Benefit Brow Bar at Douglas. There I have my eyebrows made beautiful. i.e. removed all hairs that should go away, dye and make-up. I am blonde and always have a topic with my eyebrows. More about this little experience and the question of microblading – yes or no – you can soon read here.

The Schauspielhaus – new location

I was really lucky that I got the last two remaining tickets (in row 4!) for a performance in the Schauspielhaus (small stage). We have been living in the Dusseldorf area for many years now and have never made it to the Schauspielhaus. Ballet or dance in general, concerts, musicals and operas have always interested us more as a play, although I grew up with a lot of theatre.

The piece description for the Friday evening sounded perfect for our entry: ‘Welcome’ was the title, performance on the small stage in Central, comedy, duration 1 hour 15 minutes without a break. Following audience talk. Directed by Sönke Wortmann – the name is known from german television. My husband later recalled that he was producing the successful german movies ‘the moving man’ and ‘the superwoman’.

 

 

 

 

The actual Schauspielhaus at Gustaf Gründgens Platz is currently being renovated and is only exceptionally open for two productions. One of them is the David Bowie musical ‘Lazarus’, which I would have liked to see. Unfortunately, the tickets were sold out in February already for all dates. The alternative location for the Schauspielhaus ensemble is the ‘Central’ at the main station – an old postal distribution center that has been converted into a creative quarter. The stairway over a staircase and metal bridge studded with pigeon droppings is not really inviting (beware, there are no stilettos or penny heels, otherwise you might be caught and crashed). The rooms are functional and reasonably nice. But that’s not what it’s all about. It depends on the play and the actors.

The play – close to real life and really funny

Unusual and entertaining is the entry into the world of shared housing, which is topic in the play. While the spectators are still finding their seats, there is already a lot going on on the stage:

We are in a loft with elevator. On the large dining table are the empty pots and plates. There was obviously Spaghetti Bolognese, and no one had any desire to clear it up. Two men play table tennis in the living room, two women sit relaxed in the hammock and talk, another woman sits in a rocking chair and plays with her cell phone, another man opens a bottle of wine and tinkers in the half-open kitchen. Everyone is at the beginning or the end of 30. Punctually at 8 pm the performance begins.

A typical teacher – Benny – announces to his roommates that he is going to New York for a year as a lecturer and therefore wants to make his room available to refugees. He talks about his visit to a refugee home, which has impressed him long lasting. His idea must of course be voted in the round. The main tenant Sophie (called Fienchen) – a hypersensitive, compassionate photographer without success – sees in it the chance of a new project with which she can do good at the same time. Quite clearly against the idea of ​​refugee reception is Doro – a single mother and the oldest in the shared flat. She has problems with Arab men and can not live with them under one roof. The probationary banker – Jonas – also cautiously expresses his concerns because he fears for his much-needed sleep. An elderly couple, he could still imagine, but no arab family. The young social pedagogue student Anna holds back until she bursts out with her own news. She would like the room for her new Turkish friend Achmed, from whom she expects a baby. So the conversation takes its course, in which one learns a lot about the all sympathetic shared flat residents.

Jonas has e.g. spent a night with Anna. Fienchen and Benny were once a couple until she expressed her desire for a child and he then became gay. It is really amusing when Achmed comes to visit and the roommates should decide after its appearance, whether he or the refugees get the room. What is everyone really ready to give up? A highlight at the end is the conversation between Sophie and her father via Skype. He pays the flat and wants his daughter to grow up. I will not tell you more, if one or the other feels like watching the play.

It is very entertaining as I said, and I thought it was a pity when it was 9.15 pm already. You start falling in love with the characters. I would have liked to watch the actors even longer. Everyone was so perfect in his role.

Attention: there are only 2 play dates left (April/May) and one of them is almost sold out already!

The action ‘I am theatre godmother / godfather’ – theatre plays for children

On our way out I wanted to take a flyer for the current season, because my husband and I really liked the theatre visit. And I came across the great action ‘I am a theatre godfather, because …’.

The Schauspielhaus calles everyone to become a theatre godfather or godmother and to collect a stamp for every performance attended with a child. If you can show three stamps on the Theatre Godfather/mother bonus card, the fourth visit is already for free. This bonus card is available at all theatre box offices in Düsseldorf and is valid for one adult and one child. This can be your own child or a child of friends and neighbors. That way a chance should be given especially to those children who usually wouldn’t have the opportunity of a theatre visit.

I present to you three statements and motives from the postcards that are available for the action, because I found them so great:

  1. I’m a theatre godmother, because … the way to the head has to be opened through the heart. (Hassa Ibrahim, strategy consultant and member of the board of the Förderverein Junges Schauspiel, with her son Jakob (8)
  2. I’m a theatre godfather, because … you only see well with your heart. (Rajiv Strauß, cultural adviser in the mayor’s office) Chairman Förderverein Junges Schauspiel, with his niece Maja (5)
  3. I’m a theatre godmother, because… seeing together is a double experience. (Charlot Kühn, a high school graduate from Duisburg, with her neighbor Emilie (12)

If you want more information, here is the contact:

karten-junges@duesseldorfer-schauspielhaus.de or 0211/8523710

 

 

 

 

My daughter (4) has already visited the young playhouse twice with the kindergarten.One piece was probably more suitable than the other. If she turns 5, I will

After the theatre

Since our theater visit was over at 9.15 pm, we have only then gone out to eat. In 5 minutes you can walk from the Central to Immermannstraße where you can find many good Japanese restaurants. What experiences we have made there, you can soon read here. We did not leave out to visit a bar after the restaurant visit so we checked out the current Inn-bar of Dusseldorf. You can read this little article about it here.

Our date night was fun and tasty. Imitation is recommended. 🙂

What do you like to do with your hubby without children when the rare opportunity arises? What are your tips for a perfect date night with husband?

Addendum:

At the weekend, our son coughed a lot and had elevated temperature. Usually I used to run to the pediatrician right away when our kids coughed regularly. This time not, because otherwise nothing was ever bad and either cough syrup or nothing was prescribed. That was a mistake. You can read more about pneumonia and bronchitis with infants here.

Mum-and-Dad time: the Inn-Bar Sir Walter in Dusseldorf

Mum-and-Dad time: the Inn-Bar Sir Walter in Dusseldorf

After our visit to the theatre and a great dinner in the Japanese restaurant on Immermanstraße, my husband and I got into the car again to drive to Heinrich-Heine-Allee 12. There you find one of the hottest bars in Düsseldorf right now – the Sir Walter. My husband’s piano teacher has often said that this is the place to be right now when going out.

It was too dark to take good pictures. Only my Bellini, which was very tasty, I photographically held, because it happens all leap years that I drink something. The drink cost 13 euros.

The music was to our liking – funky house. The audience was quite mixed. We did not feel terribly old, because even 30 to 40-year-olds found their way into the bar. For a bar there was a lot of seating as I found. Nevertheless, we have secured a bar table, because you still see more from the action.

Eyecatcher is the long bar in the middle of the room, which is slightly embedded in the floor, so that you look at it from above. Behind the bar, at the end of the room, there is a small dance floor, which you can look out onto from a balcony with additional seating. The decor is minimal, I have nothing special in my mind but the bar itself. The lighting is provided in some places by neon tubes. The name of the bar also hangs as a glowing neon tube at the entrance to the wall. We were at the bar at about 11pm and had no problem with the entrance. When we left an hour later, there was already a long line at the door.

It was nice to mix with the people and see who, how, where emanates on Friday evening in Dusseldorf. We even danced for 15 minutes until the music became a bit monotonous, too electric. Then it was time for us to go. It was a very nice ending to this date night.

What are your favorite bars in Dusseldorf or in your home city?

Hair Wellness – my Aveda

Hair Wellness- my Aveda

My hair

This blog post is no official advertising, nevertheless I would like to present and recommend you my favorite Aveda hair products, because they accompany me now already over 7 years and are still inspiring.

I wear my hair from early age onwards relatively long. Over the shoulder or even longer to the chest. Until a year before my wedding – that was 2011 – I did not do anything with my hair except cut the tops off now and then. No sounding, dyeing or waves. For the care I have used traditional shampoos, rinses, cures and masks from the drugstore. From year to year I always had to cut a bit more because the hair ends got split and I suffered more often under severe hair loss.

I actually have medium-blond hair, but over the years it gets darker and darker. With friends and colleagues, I have always envied it a bit when they suddenly came from the hairdresser with this fresh light blond hair. Especially in spring/summer, it just looks great when the hair is lighter. Just as fresh as from a sunny summer holiday. Nevertheless, I have never dared to do anything with color due to fear of an unnatural result and damage to my hair.

The recommendation of a friend

A good friend of mine (my maid of honor) recommended Aveda to me at one point. She works for the Estée Lauder Group to which Aveda belongs. I never heard about the brand before. Meanwhile, there are Aveda Counters in almost all department stores or you just order online in the Aveda Shop. At the time when my friend recommended Aveda to me, I worked and lived in the Netherlands. Luckily, a small Aveda Spa opened in my home town in Haarlem. After catchy advice, I dared to brighten parts of my hair. I already knew that I wanted to wear my hair up at my wedding. Just then, such a brightening on the top head looks very nice. I was thrilled and felt like a new person. The hairdresser used three different tones to achieve the most natural result in which the hairline is not very noticeable eve after 3 months. In the beginning I really stopped at each mirror and was so happy about my ‘new hair’.

Aveda – Wellness for body (hair) and soul

The beauty of Aveda is that every hairdresser or cosmetic visit also brings a wellness experience with it. Just dye hair, wash, cut, blow dry does not exist. At the beginning of each treatment you can always choose a fragrance oil, which you inhale during a soothing head/shoulder massage. So if you are in a hurry to visit your hairdresser and want to finish quickly, this is the wrong place for you. Of course you pay more for the treatment than at a usual hair desser, but I’m always looking forward to this little event.

Unfortunately the Aveda Spa had to close its doors in Haarlem after a short time because of a lack of customers. So I went to Amsterdam and got not only beautiful hair in the big Aveda Spa, but also perfect mani and pedicures. When my friend visited me in the Netherlands, we also had a wonderful massage there.

In the vicinity of Dusseldorf, I then found in Krefeld a small hairdresser chain called ‘hair magic’, which works exclusively with Aveda products and also cultivates their wellness rituals. I have been faithful to my stylist Dominik for almost 5 years now. I find it so relaxing when I do not have much to say and there is no need to explain. Knowing that the end result is always gonna be good is very important.

My ‘treatment’ usually takes three hours. The mixing of the 3 shades and the exposure takes  much time. But in those three hours, I can drink as much of the delicious Aveda tea as I want to, read the Vogue, Gala and InStyle or get things done with my phone. Here are a few pictures of my hair, one week after the hairdresser visit. I especially like the light copper tone. Actually, I’m off to go to the hairdresser only every 4 months. Depending on which dates or celebrations are due, I go earlier or sometimes later.

My favorite products

Here are the products that I buy again and again. Of course they are much more expensive than those of our german drugstores like dm or Rossmann, but they are also very productive. With the products from the drugstores, I have rarely really used a variety until the very end. Often the remainders were left forever because I wanted to try something new again. I am sure that at the end of the day I spent the same amount of money.

For my long hair, I use the shampoo and conditioner from the Damage Remedy series. It is a rich moisturizing shampoo that simultaneously repairs damaged hair and prevents new damage. Since I have children, I no longer use hair masks that need to be worked in and rinsed out. No time for that. Instead, I get along wonderfully with the Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair. Massage a small amount into the lengths after washing your hair and you’re done. The hair is then optimally protected against damage and you can comb through wonderfully.

 

 

 

 

From the Damage Remedy series there is also an extra split serum and a hair mask for intensive repair. Usually I let my hair dry in the air. If I know I want to wear my hair open (it does not happen that often), I use the Volumizing Tonic before blow-drying. This is a very light spray, which brings volume especially at the hairline without sticking. A real wonder! By the way, I use the Dyson Supersonic for blow drying – my daughter and I got it from my dear husband last year. About this luxury device, I will soon report in a separate post.

If I use hair spray, which is not often the case, then I take the Brilliant Medium Hold hair spray. For me it is absolutely sufficient and can easily be combed out. If there is really no time to wash your hair, then I can recommend the dry shampoo. This hair powder is really refreshing. In addition I also have the Smooth Infusion Naturally Light Gel in my stock. It straightens your hair without complaining, but you should really only use a little amount. I use it when I want to wear a neat ponytail without the fine hair on the top of the head flying out. Do you know that problem with these thin strands of hair that regrow?

Conclusion

At Aveda there is a great product for every hair type and its needs that perfectly nourishes or styles the hair – on a pure plant basis. Aveda simply means healthy, beautiful hair and good karma. Curious? Then give it a try. If you buy your Aveda products at a department store counter, there are often small gifts, a fresh tea or a short massage for free. For my birthday, I always get a surprise. Otherwise, there is almost no advertising.

Now I would like to know which hair type you are and which care / styling series you have trusted for a long time! Tell me…

Mum-and-Dad-time: our weekend in Paris

Mom-and-Dad-Time: our weekend in Paris

Dare to leave the children alone – the important role of grandparents

In February, my husband and I have spent the first mom-and-dad weekend together since the birth of our second child (1.5 years ago). We are very lucky that my parents-in-law live nearby. They like having their grandchildren around and are still very fit for their age. Every Friday is grandparents day, in case they are not traveling or staying in their apartment at the Cote d’Azur. Therefore, both children have a good bond and a lot of faith in their grandmother and grandfather. Nevertheless, it took us more than a year to dare to leave both children for more than one night with them while we were not around the corner. I think it’s important to wait for the moment when you’re ready and the kids are ready, too. Only if you can be completely sure that the children are in good hands and will hardly miss their parents, you can actually enjoy the precious time without them.

Our little son and his big sister (4) were really looking forward to this weekend because we prepared them accordingly. I have repeatedly told them that parents need to spend time alone, so they can recharge their batteries. We also practiced sleeping at the grandparent’s house before. First only one night and with mom and dad nearby. My in-laws do their job really well. Both children feel completely safe and at home with them. So the anticipation of a long weekend with grandma and grandfather was secured, and we were able to start our little journey completely relaxed.

I often wonder how parents master their lives without the support of their own parents or parents-in-law. There are now in many cities initiatives that convey so-called loan grandmas and grandfathers. Older people, who have no grandchildren themselves, offer their support and gladly take on the role of grandparents for a particular family. For example, my father’s best friends, who unfortunately have remained childless, do so enthusiastically. I would recommend anyone to take this opportunity. It’s worth a try.

Finally time – only for us

What drove me to plan this weekend in February? It was just time for my husband and I to take care of each other again. To us as a couple, without children and away from our own usual home place. It is often the case that everyday life wins over. At some point, small but important rituals such as the Good Night Kiss can get lost, without being noticed. You get to the point where you wonder if everything is still okay. One hopes it. Since I will go back to work again as of April, I wanted to spend our weekend before the end of my parental leave time. With a reasonably free head. In addition, my in-laws are always in southern France for 6 weeks as of Eastern. In mid-May, when the rhododendrons are in bloom in their large garden, they return home.

Paris of course – always worth a visit

A place of yearning for us is always Paris. Also not too far away from home. The decision had fallen quickly. Actually we wanted to go by Thalys train, but those have to be booked quite in advance. Flying was much cheaper. I had chosen our flight times carefully so that we had enough time to take the children to the grandparents house after breakfast on Friday morning. We only traveled with hand luggage, which saves a lot of time. No sooner had I sat in the plane than I closed my eyes and had a great nap. Fantastic. With the Roissy bus we drove directly from the airport to the Place d’Opera where out hotel was located. In order to find the departure point of this bus, we had to interrogate a lot and walked quite a bit. The signs at the airport were catastrophic. Depending on what time you want to go, it is probably better to take the train and then continue from Gare du Nord by metro to avoid traffic jams. I used the time during the bus ride to organize our Friday night. We had left it open so far since Saturday and Sunday was already fully planned. As a joke, I looked for tickets on the website of the Moulin Rouge. I always wanted to go there. And to my surprise there were actually still tickets left for that night. I love my husband for directly giving it a go when I come up with those kind of ideas. One ticket cost 150 euros, but we did not care. We wanted to take everything with us. Who knows when we will have another chance to visit Paris without children? I was happy as a little kid, as the debit from the credit card was through and I had two Moulin Rouge online tickets on my phone. The performance should start at 9 pm.

Our hotel – right next to the Opera

I had booked our Hotel Richmond, a three-star establishment within walking distance of only 5 minutes from the Opera, via booking.com for only 100 euros per night. I found this unusually favorable for this central location in Paris.

It was February, but still it was the Valentine’s weekend and Chinese New Year. I was a bit nervous, but in vain. The hotel was a really decent house, maybe from the 60s with nostalgic, aged furnishings. It had the charm that I really like. Our room was relatively large and clean. The reception was very friendly.

 

Just in time for the blue hour we were on the Champs Elysee. There we looked at shop windows and then had a comfortable and very good dinner in the Brasserie d’Alsace restaurant. I thought it was great that I did not have to deal with the metronetwork, but just follow my husband.

He always understands the plans very quickly and knows his way around Paris well anyways. He lived there 20 years ago when he did an internship at Cerruti.

An evening at the Moulin Rouge – with champagne

At 8 pm we stood in front of the red mill of the real Moulin Rouge in the Pigalle entertainment district in Montmartre to watch the Ferrie Show. If you do not know the eponymous Baz Luhrmann Moulin Rouge movie with Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, you should definitely take a look at it. It was awarded with two Oscars. The organization of this variety theatre of 1886 impressed us very much. Each performance is usually sold out. There are 850 seats and the show performes each night at 9pm and 11pm. Between the first and the second performance, the theatre team has exactly 20 minutes to get the audience out of the way, clean up the place and let in the new audience that is already waiting in line. There are no reserved seats.

With one hour lead time we still had very good seats in the middle of the hall. The front rows were already occupied by the spectators who had booked dinner at 19 o’clock. Until the show starts, a band and two singers entertain. For 10 euros you could book a bottle of champagne when buying the online tickets. The champagne was very quickly  on our table and tasted fantastic, although usually I rarely drink alcohol. 😉 The Moulin Rouge and champagne belong together.

The show was spectacular. One highlight chased the other. At first I only saw glitter and breasts (half of the female dancers are naked around the top). In addition to the constantly changing costumes and stage sets in the dance acts, there were also performances by acrobats on roller skates, dwarf ponies and Tigerphytons in a large aquarium. The vocals should make it appear that they were live. But we’re pretty sure it was playback. That did not bother us at all since the rest of the show was just amazing.

Flea markets at Port de Clignancourt – a little adventure

It was great to have a good night’s sleep on Saturday and have breakfast in a sidewalk café. We spent half the day on the flea and antique markets at Porte de Clignancourt. By metro it took us about 25 minutes from the city center to get there. My husband and I can dawdle for hours (even without buying anything). After all, we bought two prints from the 20s as a souvenir indulged. The elderly lady who sold us the pictures was a bit confused. Instead of two pictures, she packed us only one (and then a very wrong one). Unfortunately, we did not pay attention to what she packed, but continued to browse in time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had an excellent lunch around the flea market district at Chez Arnaud – a small family business, where only locals stoped for a bite to eat. In the afternoon we went back to the Place de la Madeleine in order to meet three older ladies. Those ladies were the former bosses of my husband during his internship at Cerruti. He had organized this reunion already at home. When sitting all together in a café we proudly wanted to present our treasures from the flea market.

 

 

Thank God we already noticed that we actually had received a wrong picture. So after a very interesting conversation with the ladies, who got all sentimental and said that my father in law was the best boss ever, we drove all the way back to Port de Clignancourt.  

 

 

 

 

Luckily the same woman was still in the shop and gave us the right prints we had actually paid for. She was visibly ashamed and even wanted to pay us a taxi. We did not make use of that offer, but still made it on time to the Opéra Garnier – dressed up of course. Without a little adventure, city trips would be boring.

Ballet in the Opéra Garnier – the créme de la créme

At the Paris Opera – I already got tickets for the ballet Onegin at home – we then happened to bump into the COO of the company my husband works for. What a little world we live in. The COO works in London but has his home base in Paris with his partner. A really nice gay couple who invited us for champagne during the breaks. Again champagne for me! 😉

The performance was incredibly beautiful – as I had wished. I love ballet, and I just like the classic productions with big sets and opulent costumes.

 

 

 

 

If you do not know the story of Onegin and you like dramatic book adaptations, I recommend the eponymous film starring Liv Tyler and Ralph Fiennes. Incidentally, we dined quickly at Exki that evening – right on the line before the performance. Exki is a Belgian, healthy, quality fast food chain.

Souvenirs for the kids – the passage de princes

For the children we have bought souvenirs in the passage of the Princes. This passage from 1860 is one of the most beautiful of the famous covered Parisian passages. There you find almost exclusively toy shops: for girls on one side and for boys on the other side. My daughter has some baby dolls of the French brand Corolle. In my opinion, the prettiest baby doll in the market. I could do without the vanilla fragrance, but the faces are so beautiful. So for the dolls we have chosen new oufits (including a dungarees with Eiffel Tower). For the little one there was a hammer game in the form of a crocodile made of wood from the French brand Djeco. I’ve been a big fan of Djeco toys for a long time, because the design is very tasteful.

A long walk and the museum – at the Seine river 

On Sunday we took a long walk through the Tuileries Garden at the Seine after a beautiful breakfast in the Grand Café Capuzines.

The sun was shining and we had spring feelings. At Ladureé we bought Maccarons for the parents-in-law and for me (I have a real sweet tooth). Actually, I find Pierre Hermé’s even better, but a store was not on the way and the packaging of Ladureé is more fun. For lunch, we had an appointment with a cousin of my husband, who lives in Paris with his girlfriend. Cousin Christopher had chosen the very nice Nola restaurant in the Two Stories right next to a canal – an insider tip.

The food was outstanding, the service extremely attentive, the audience mainly young locals and some families. My husband was especially happy about the live piano music. Then we walked quickly through the beautiful Musee d’Orsay, where there was also a special exhibition about Edgar Degas, independent of the Renoirs, Monets and Manets. Degas is famous for his dancer pictures, which I always wanted to see in original. So, the exhibition was a wonderful, round end to our Paris weekend full of dance. Incidentally, the museum itself (an old station building) is well worth a visit. There is also a very nice café / restaurant with a great view. For the permanent exhibition of Art Nouveau furniture we unfortunately had not much time left. Only two rooms we could look at. These shapes must have been so crazy and modern back then. I’m very excited about it and wonder if this style will not someday experience a renaissance.

Back home – all good

At the end of our trip, it got a bit hectic, because the Rossy bus was very crowded and took a long time to get to the airport. Good thing we only traveled with hand luggage. At 9:30 pm we were back home, where the grandparents were waiting with the sleeping children. Actually our daughter was still awake. She was allowed to talk about the exciting weekend with her grandmother and grandfather and unpacked her presents. I was happy she wasn’t sleeping yet and to have her back in my arms again.

We all did enjoy this weekend very much. Of course I missed the kids a bit in between, but they were fine. My husband and I had really in love moments, and we are still living on the beautiful experiences. Get more mom-and-dad time whenever possible or when the opportunity presents itself. Even the children can feel it and benefit from parents who are closer together again.

Blog Recommendation (german) – Paris in a different way

In case you visit Paris soon and understand german, I can highly recommend the german blog ‘Paris with a difference’ to which I have already linked in this article a few times. Here you can quickly find help on relevant topics such as Metro and also get great secret tips.

Where did you spend the last mom and dad weekend? What short trip can you recommend for parents who want to travel without their children for once?

The mole with the poo on his head – in theatre

The mole with the poo on his head – in theatre

The theatre

On Sunday, February the 25th, I visited the ‚Theater am Schlachthof (TAS)‘ (theatre at the slaughterhouse) in Neuss with my daughter for the first time. I only became aware of the establishment when I saw a flyer in a restaurant, although the theatre is already running since 1994.

In addition to children’s theatre, TAS Neuss also offers drama, cabaret and readings for adults (maybe an idea for our next mom-and-dad evening?). For young people, there are exciting projects such as an improvisational theatre duel.

The building in which the theatres are located is a former paint factory. There are two separate entrances for the children’s and the adult theatre. The wall is decorated with huge posters showing thought-provoking quotes of Goethe, Eminem and Kästner. With parking we had no problems. There were enough parking spaces directly at the theatre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was very cold on this Sunday. I was worried that we would be freezing at the ‘slaughterhouse’, but it was neatly heated. Only on the toilets we have slightly shivered (although the bathrooms were great equipped with changing table and diapers!).

Actually, you can see well from all seats in the theatre. Nevertheless, there was an offer at the entrance to take car booster seats off a shelf so that even the youngest could see well. Great idea! After the play, all parents took the seats back and tidied them up.

My daughter & her theatre experience

My daughter is now four years old and already has a bit of theatre experience. Her kindergarten regularly organizes excursions to family concerts in the Tonhalle Düsseldorf, to children’s plays in the Schauspielhaus and to the Nature Stage in Ratingen at the Blue Sea. She has visited the puppet theatre on Hemholtzstrasse in Düsseldorf a couple of times with us. The Krefeld Christmas Circus has been part of our permanent program for 2 years. Nevertheless, we have to be careful that we do not overwhelm her. While circus and concerts are not a problem, she often begins to fear plays. She can not distinguish reality and fiction. This is also often the case with reading books to her. The last two times we had to leave the puppet theatre before end of the play because, for example, a talking pullover with big googly eyes was just too scary for her. We already knew the story of the mole, who wanted to know who made poo on his head, from the children’s book with the same name. The play was advertised for people from 3 years onwards, so I wanted to give it a try. Actually it was planned that a kindergarten friend should come along, but unfortunately she had to cancel the morning because of illness. My daughter’s mood and motivation to go to the theatre wasn’t big anymore. Nevertheless, I persuaded her that it would be fun to do something with Mama alone.

The play

The play took an hour without a break. The mole was played by a very sympathetic actress. Her not less nice colleague slipped into all the different animal roles that face the mole in his search for the guilty culprit. I had to laugh in some places really loud about the presentation of the different characters. It was so entertaining: there was the conceited goat with handbag trying to teach the mole to walk like a model. She was so that she could only do her poo behind the tree. There was the rabbit, who shot with his bunny-heads as a karate master with a headband. There was the tired horse, to whom everything was too exhausting and who constantly chewed apples. The funniest thing was the pig, who wallowed with swimming cap, swimming ring and toilet brush in the compost heap of the mole and it spoke with a funny accent. It was not boring at all. Nevertheless, there was again the moment when my daughter cramped and whispered in my ear that she now wants to go home. That was when the mole sat down on his hill in the evening and begun to cry because he has not found the right animal that made the poo on his head. That was too real and too sad. When the mole announced that he had to meet the mean dog he was so afraid of, it was almost time for us to go. “We know from the book that the dog is not really that bad,” I said. It would be a pity to get up and leave so close before the end of the story. So we stayed. Thankfully, the dog was very cute and sweet. He apologized to the mole, and the two got along again. Namely, the mole has put a little poo of himself on the dog’s head in return coach while the dog has rested.

Before we got up and left, my daughter asked, if the mole was real. I said “no honey – this is a normal woman who is an actress and likes to play funny stories for children in the theatre. Like your grandma does sometimes” (my mother runs a small theatre in the Eifel region). Then it was all ok.

At the exit the two actresses stood in their costumes and said goodbye to the children. Each child  got a picture postcard coloring with the mole as a a give-away. With such little things you can wonderfully round off a visit to the theatre and make children happy. In addition to the shelf with the car seats was also a container with rolled mole posters of the play, which one could take home for free. I found the staging very successful and quite suitable for 3-year-old, if you have read the book with the child before and it has understood the story. As it is always about the different forms of poo, there is constantly laughing. The stage and costumes are designed with love for details. The actresses Monika Sobetzko and Barbara Wegener embody their roles enchantingly. By the way, next to the theatre there is a playground with a large climbing frame and a cable car. Rather, something for the older kids, but my daughter was still happy to climb around after sitting for an hour. 

Mole appointments

All children’s plays of the TAS Neuss can also be booked for special occasions – my excursion and culture tip for all kindergartens and schools in the surrounded area. The little mole can still be seen until July 2018. Currently, tickets are available for two performances each in May / June / July. The dates before that are already sold out! Prebooked tickets cost 6,60 Euros for children and 8,80 Euros for adults. I think the prices are absolutely fair and I would have paid more. Whoever is free on the weekend of the 14th/15th of April, the play can be watched for free at the Neusser Kinder- and Familienmesse. In addition, there will probably be a preview of the two new children’s plays of the TAS: Bremen Town Musicians and Fug & Janina.

London in 50 hours with a 4-year-old

London in 50 hours with a 4-year-old

Last weekend we fulfilled our daughter’s wish and traveled with her to London. In the last year she has had to put up with so much and take care of the little sibling, so we thought it was a good idea that our girl may have her parents for herself for a weekend. After our ‘parents only’ weekend two weeks ago in Paris, I felt this was a need. Since I will go back to work again as of April, it was important to me to do this trip in advance.

The little brother was allowed to enjoy the full attention of his grandparents all for himself for a whole weekend, which he liked very much (also grandmother and grandfather had a good time). I’m always happily surprised when I receive the lovely status reports via SMS from my mother in law and I read how well and how long the little boy slept and how great he had eaten (this must be due to the silence and peace in the grandparents house and the tasty maccheroni made to great-grand mother’s recipe of course).

Day 1

I chose the flight times carefully (from Düsseldorf to Heathrow) so that we were able to have a relaxed start on Friday morning. As per usual, we handed over our little boy after breakfast to my parents-in-law, who luckily live only 20 minutes away from us and are always looking forward to visits of their grandchildren (including overnight) – a win-win situation!

For our trip to London, I ordered in advance a London coloring book, a London city map for children with stickers, a London picture / reading book and the TipToi English book. The coloring book was used immediately on the outward flight.

The reading book was wonderful to review the experiences in the evening and to prepare for the sights the following day. We did not use the map until the return flight. We spent almost the entire hour trying to stick the right stickers to the places we visited. There was no need for the TipToi book. But we will check it out next week. Since October of last year, our daughter has English lessons once a week in Kindergarten. I’ll write a separate post about this topic soon. In any case, she has really fun learning a new language and learned a lot in a short time.

We are very fortunate that one of my husband’s nice cousins ​​lives in London. We were allowed to stay in his house – right in the middle of Kings Cross Tube Station. A bit like in the movies: the cousin Philipp originally comes from Berlin and then fell in love with the French exchange student Alice from Paris. Now they are married and live in a super-modern architect’s house in the middle of London (he’s investment banker, she’s a lawyer …). Unfortunately, we could not spend time with the two of them, as they had to go to Paris for a family celebration this weekend. We had the whole house for ourselves.

On arrival on Friday noon it was really snowy. We were glad that the air plane was able to land at all, because a snowstorm was predicted.

Accordingly, we had also wrapped up nice and warm with thermal laundry, etc. From Heathrow we went by underground – called the tube – with the Piccadilly Line to Kings Cross. Takes a little longer than the Heathrow Express, but is much cheaper and for the kids already the first highlight. Second highlight: ride the black London taxi (“looks exactly like in the book mama”) to the house of Philipp and Alice, unload luggage and then go in search of food. We landed at ‘Honest Burger’ near Kings Cross because we were very hungry and did not feel like chatting in the snow for a long time. We were surprised about the high quality of the food. Very good meat, super tasty, hand cut fries – ups, I mean chips – and great service. If there are free pencils, paper and a mango juice for the child, everyone is already happy. By the way, we found the little booklet about the story of ‘Honest Burger’ so well done that I stole it and took it with me. There were also vegetarian dishes on the menu, and the burger buns could be ordered gluten-free for a £ 1 surcharge.

Then it was finally time and we took our daughter for a double-decker bus ride to the London West End. Of course we sat up in the front row and tried to see as much as possible despite fogged windows. At Piccadilly Circus we got out and walked around. That was a very special atmosphere with all the lights, the snow and the street musicians. Enough impressions for the first half day. We bought some healthy take away food at Pret A Manger and had dinner at home.

Day 2

We all enjoyed sleeping in, because normally the little one is awake at 6 am latest. After breakfast we dressed up warm again and drove to the southeast end of London to visit the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.

Our daughter was more impressed with the soldiers guarding the tower than with the crown jewels inside the Ringburg. For children, the story of the tame ravens is fascinating to look after. If there are no more ravens around the tower, he would fall according to legend. The yelping Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters and disguised knights at the station theater have deterred our daughter. Therefore we quickly turned down and had a proper lunch in the neat self-service restaurant of the tower. Everything was cooked fresh and looked very appetizing. We had classic fish and chips with fine peas. After lunch we walked through all the rooms and towers.

For us parents it would have been enough to just enjoy the beautiful view of the Tower Bridge, but our girl wanted to be ‘on it’, so we did that too. Then it was time for an indoor activity to warm up.

A colleague had recommended the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden, which deals with the transport history of the city and exhibits many historic vehicles that you can explore – perfect for children as of 3 years and really well put together. At the entrance, each child receives a card with numbers / stations on which they can collect hole stamps throughout the museum. For such a thing, the little ones are always enthusiastic, and we could not leave before all the stamps were done. The entry is free for everybody under 18 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can hang out at Covent Garden itself for quite a while.

There are many pretty shops, cafés and a beautiful market hall. The most diverse street artists perform there. Some of them are fools, but others are really fun to watch and deserve applause. At the end of the day we drove back to the West End and showed our daughter what I think are the most beautiful department stores – Liberty and Selfridges. I could easily spend a whole day in each, but with tired child there was not much time to shop. At least, at Liberty – the luxurious Tudor Revival-style department store – I’ve again increased my supply of exceptionally beautiful greeting cards. If you’re interested in visual merchandising, like me, Instagram can showcase my best snapshots of inspirational merchandise presentations.

On the rooftop of Selfridges there is a very good Italian restaurant. There we went for dinner. Pizza and pasta were homemade and of the best quality. Highlight for our girl was a kind of tunnel with many, small lights through which one enters the restaurant area. We danced through it at least four times – because the music was like in a club there.

Day 3

On Sunday morning we went to Buckingham Palace in the sun to witness the famous Change of Guards. The snow had melted, it was much warmer and I dressed way too thick. If you wait at the barracks at St James’s Park for the soldiers to march to the castle with a music band, you can check the nice playground for the kids.

There is also a kiosk with snacks and drinks. In the middle of the park is a large lake with two islands. From the bridges you have a beautiful view of the London Eye on one side and Buckingham Palace on the other side.

The change of guards is a big spectacle with mounted police as well as policemen on bicycles, which keep the road to the castle free. Some of the friendly police men and women made High Fives with our daughter and waved to her.

My husband found it somewhat absurd that the guards are guarded by so much police during their march, because they are actually the guards themselves …. as per usual he’s right.

After this event, we drove to South Kensington to visit the Natural History Museum, one of the largest natural history museums in the world.

Admission is free for all, but donations are requested. I remember very well how impressed I was during my first visit of the museum. The building itself is a sight. Every animal can be seen stuffed or reproduced there. For example, you really get a sense of the size of a whale that hangs under the high ceiling.

Below him are placed i.e. an elephant, a hippopotamus etc., which one thought are big animals. Spectacular for the children is also the dinosaur exhibition with many skeletons and a replica T-Rex that moves like a real animal (remember Jurassic Park).

I was afraid our daughter might be scared, but she wasn’t at all. Her receptivity though was no longer great after lunch at the museum restaurant (T-Rex Grill). Dad just had to carry her on his shoulders for the rest of the day since she refused to walk any longer.

At Harrods, we bought fresh flowers for our hosts and pistachio nuts in a cocoa coat for the grandparents. In the basement of the noble department store, by the way, is the most cheesy monument I’ve ever seen: a Princess Diana & Dodi Memorial in the form of a fountain with photos of the deceased and a life-size bronze statue of the two lovers.

For Lady Di fans certainly a reason to stop at Harrods. I was a bit annoyed that all shop windows were taped – two days later and we could have admired the elaborately decorated “Peter the Rabbit” windows.

The upcoming movie about the cult-rabbit from England is being promoted everywhere – perfect for Easter. As a VM fanatic and old Beatrix Potter fan (the creator of Peter Rabbit), I really should have seen this storefront live (my daughter’s nursery theme is Beatrix Potter characters). Here you can see at least the drawings / designs for the decos of Peter Rabbit Harrods Windows.

Our return flight departed in the evening from London City Airport, which we have comfortably reached by train (Docklands Light Railway). For our daughter that was exciting to ride the overground tube for a change. Fortunately, we were able to sit in the front of the first compartment right behind the windscreen so that, like the simulator in the Transport Museum, she had the feeling of steering the train herself. We went home with a small Dash 8 propeller machine. Although it was quite noisy and wiggled properly, our girl has not complained and fell asleep in her seat just before landing. My husband then carried her back and she did not wake up until the next morning. When I asked her on Monday what she liked best in London, she said, “All Mama. I liked everything the best “. Of course, the kids were allowed to put on their new longsleeves with the double-decker bus and tube socks for kindergarten – a very nice souvenir from the London Transport Museum Shop (made of 100% cotton) 😉

Conclusion

The season was well chosen to travel to London. The city is not crowded then (no long lines at the sights and museums). I find it remarkable that we got along without any cash for the whole weekend. In Germany, that would be impossible. The use of public transport is simple and fair: you do not need paper tickets (as for the metro in Paris) or Oystercard anymore. If you are in possession of a credit card with the wave sign, you can pay anywhere contactless and fast by holding the card to a button. There is a maximum amount that the system deducts per day. So you do not have to worry about whether you could have saved money with another ticket – great! It is good not to do too much, because London is always worth a trip. When we come back, there are new, exciting highlights to discover. Maybe buying a London Pass would be worth it then to save entrance fees.