Turns out that Belgium is actually really beautiful. We stayed in the region of Wallonia and it´s gorgeous there. Amazing nature and oh my, the villages. Wonderful old grey stone houses and grand mansions and ancient churches and even one or two castles on the way. Cobblestoned streets. Sweet little bakeries with the most amazing French bread and sweets. It feels like somewhere in Northern France - you know the village in Chocolat? Yeah, exactly like this. And all this 2 hours away from Cologne. Who knew!

We stayed in one of those old, large grey stone houses and it was wonderful. We were 10 adults and 4 small children and I think all of us enjoyed it quite a bit. The house was furnished so tastefully and think I have found my dream kitchen now. I happily was the awkward daughter-in-law who photographed furniture rather than people so I have quite a few pics to show you in the next few days.The picture above shows one of the living rooms. I loooved it.

It was one of the holidays where you can´t really imagine going back to your everyday life again and I still don´t know how I am going to survive this week at work. I´m secretly plotting ideas how we can make it possible to move to Belgium and live in a grey stone cottage and have a large garden with chickens and eat fresh baguette every day.

PS: We spent a good deal of this holiday in front of the TV watching the news from Japan. I was and still am at a loss of words and on the verge of tears seeing this, for many reasons. Now go and hug someone you love, will you.


Happy Weekend.

We are heading to Belgium today for a weekend with the husband´s family. We rented a huge house (as it is a huge family) in the countryside which looks super beautiful. I´m excited to see it in reality and take lots of pictures! Also, I have never been to Belgium before, so it should be nice to explore this country a bit, even if only for an extended weekend (we´re staying until Monday). I hope the weather cooperates though, keep your fingers crossed for some spring!

Have a nice weekend!

(Springy picture by bicrchbarksoap on Flickr.)


Berlin Adventures.

We haven´t done much exploring around Berlin yet. We had a really hard winter over here - first lots of snow, then freezing temperatures which did not make running around the city very tempting. I have a virtual list of things and places I want to see in Berlin though which will keep us busy all summer long. On the very top of the list was Potsdam, which isn´t technically Berlin - it´s a small city in the surroundings. I remember visiting Potsdam on a school trip. I really liked it back then and when we started planning the move to Berlin, we considered moving there. However we realized soon that other people have discovered Potsdam as well in the meantime and rental prices are insane.

(A word about rental prices in Berlin. No, they are not that cheap anymore. Forget everything you heard about huge old apartments for very little money. Not true anymore. Otherwise we wouldn´t live in Spandau which is still rather inexpensive but sketchy).

Anyway, Potsdam. We went there on Sunday as it was the first warm-ish day of the year (we even sat outside and had coffee!). And what can I say, I still love it. What a beautiful place. The pictures you see above are from the Dutch quarter with many small brick houses and lots of coffeee places and charming shops. I´d move there in a heartbeat. Sigh.

A few more pictures on Flickr.

PS: Thank you so much for all your comments on yesterday´s post! We´ll discuss the findings later.


Hair, and a question.

I really think I should do more with my hair. I recently had it dyed a darker brown and it has grown quite long. Thing is, I only wear it open or in a ponytail. Which is a shame because it´s so long and I know I could really nice things with it. Like for example the updo pictured above (the photo is from Pinterest which is the second best thing on the interwebs after Flickr).

Also, you´re probably shocked. I have posted on three consecutive days! Go figure. Thing is I really like this blog and you, as in my readers, and I do think we should spend more time together, yes? And in order to have fun while spending time together I thought I´d ask you what you´d like to see more here on this blog. Here are your choices, in no particular order:

A: More decorating stories from the apartment.
B: More design-stuff I find on the interwebs.
C: More about me and my life.
D: More movie suggestions.
E: More recipes for yummy stuff.
F: More girly stuff (you know, hair, fashion and such).
G: More DYI ideas.
H: More book reviews.
I: None of the above, but...

For your convenience I added letters to these choices. So if you´d like to read more about movies and books, just write down D and H in the comment box. Easy! 1,2,3, go!


In Love with Flickr.

I just realized that I joined Flickr almost exactly 5 years ago. Back then, I didn´t even have a proper camera and only shared very bad pics taken with my mobile. In spring 2007, I first started to post some pictures of our house in Vienna (we had moved there in November 2006 and done lots and lots of renovation works). We sent the link to our families so that they could see where we lived now, and I guess some of the readers of the blog I wrote back then had a look at the pictures as well. Otherwise, my Flickr stream was a very one-sided affair - no interaction whatsoever.

In spring 2008, I got my first "proper" camera, my beloved Canon G9, and started to take - and post - more and more pictures. I participated in the Apartment Therapy Small is Cool contest and was almost shocked to see that people actually liked what I did with the house (I came second in the international group). After the success with AT I finally found the courage to share my pictures in groups and people started commenting on my pictures. I know the first day one of my pictures went on Explore, I was ecstatic!

I´ve been in love with Flickr ever since. Even though I know that my pictures are far from perfect and that I need to learn a lot technically, it means a lot to me that people like what they see on my Flickr stream. I had never considered myself very creative, but gained much confidence with all the encouragement. Also, I met so many nice people on Flickr over the years. I love that it´s very international - I have Flickr friend from as far as the US, New Zealand, Malaysia, Finland and the UK. I would so love to go on a Flickr world tour to meet them in real life!

Flickr is also a great source of inspiration to me. There is so much beauty honestly. People take and share incredible pictures every day. Like this one, for example. Isn´t it like a painting of some ancient Dutch painter? I had it sitting in my "favorites" folder for quite a while. When we moved into our new apartment, I realized that it would look mighty good in my new kitchen and was very happy that Pen let me blow it up on canvas (thank you again!). And now, here it is. Beautiful, right? (The lighting in my photograph is a bit weird though. See - I still need to learn a lot!)

So, this is already a very long post. What I basically mean to say is: Flickr - best. thing. ever.