Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday 31 October - I have no idea what time it is

11.11am, Dazed and confused. I got up at 4am after 3 hours' sleep, to get my 7am flight. At 6am, sitting in the airport, I found out the clocks had gone back and it was actually 5am. Then I flew to London, where the time difference made it 8am when I arrived. I went to meet Emma at the airport and by the time I met her, it was 10am, which is 11am in Berlin, which is really midday. So I have no idea what I was doing at 11.11am, because I have no idea when that was or where I would have been. Or where I am now. Or what the time is. I'm confused. And tired.

Saturday 30 October - So long, sir...

11.11pm, On our way home from a lovely birthday dinner with Anna Lena and co. Tomorrow morning I leave for London (4am start!) so we bailed a bit early so I could get some sleep tonight. By the time I get back, Nick will have gone back to Australia, so my exciting foray to the Big Smoke is tinged with sadness. He's been an integral part of my summer here and he will be missed big time. Thanks Naw for all the adventures, new words and overused phrases (It's been a good honest pleasure treasure...real quick), celebrations, conversations, mischief and love. x

Friday 29 October - It's a birthday!

11.11pm, Celebrating!! Had the most amazing party with Germany's loveliest people. Dressed as a spider, I was joined by all manner of creatures, including a bat, a cat, 2 clowns, a nun, 2 Indian princesses, a dead fox, a devil, a pirate, a flapper girl and good and bad Max from Where the Wild Things Are. Everyone looked amazing and I had such a super night, which followed a sweet day of cake, chicken and wine with my dream girls, Eri and Emma. My leaf obsession was totally indulged when I woke up, as Nick and Andy had covered the kitchen in beautiful colourful leaves, with little presents hidden among them. I've been super spoilt and I love being 25! Thank you everyone. x

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday 28 October - The last night of 24

11.11pm, Arriving at Peligro to a special pre-birthday drink from Keno, in preparation for midnight. I'd been to Susann's for a lovely dinner and as the clock struck 12, I had lots of birthday songs, shots and general love around me from some of the world's best people. I think 25 is going to be good...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday 27 October - Fine dining

11.11am, Having coffee with my friend Sophie. As well as being a bilingual journalist and all-round super Fräulein, she's also just started a supper club with another friend and I was in awe hearing about all the culinary treats they serve up. We went to a cute little coffee shop on Oppelner Strasse (scene of The Night of a Thousand Pittas) and had chai tea and sat in pink faux leather chairs. So schön!
After all the talk of sumptuous cuisine, I was pretty peckish, so what did I pick up? Only Germany's best pun in the form of a chocolate bar...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday 26 October - Pumpkin party

11.11pm, Carving pumpkins! I've never carved a pumpkin before, but the boys and I decided to create some spooky orange heads for the Halloween-themed party on Friday. They don't really celebrate Halloween in Germany... though, saying that, there are pumpkins everywhere! I decided to give mine eyelashes... But I still think she looks pretty scary!

Tuesday 26 October - Berlin's hidden secrets

11.11am, Heading out to the Turkish Market on Kottbusser Damm to find some fancy-dress materials for my birthday party on Friday. The boys managed to get some pretty good stuff, while I was more concerned with the Borek (a dreamy Turkish hot cheesy/spinach pastry thing) and dips.

After the markets, which were busy, exciting, colourful and hectic, Andy and I went on a date! We haven't hung out heaps together recently, so I decided to take him to Schlachtensee, which is on the outskirts of Berlin in the West. My friend Megan had told me about it but I honestly wasn't expecting it to be quite so amazing. I'm pretty sure it's the most beautiful place I've seen in Berlin and, in fact, one of the most stunning I've seen in the world. You know those places where you're just blown away by the beauty? And it's on the S-bahn, about half an hour away... It blew my mind.

So Andy and I arrived (I hadn't told him where we were going) and had a few hours of walking around the whole lake, taking hundreds of photos, having a snooze in the sunshine and eating Turkish bread and dips that I'd brought with me, washed down with ice tea and mulled wine (strange mix, but it worked). I got to indulge my autumn leaf obsession with what seemed like hundreds of different shades of reds, russets, fiery oranges, bright greens, browns (Wikipedia claims there are 45 shades of brown, but what I'm pretty sure Schlachtensee would argue there are more).

Looking back at the pictures, I still can't believe this place exists in a capital city, especially one like Berlin. It was how I imagine Canada to be (I've never been though...). New favourite place, for sure.

First two photos by Andy Lawrence.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday 25 October - Feeling festive!

11.11pm, Playing Scrabble with Andy and Nick (they both beat me by a LOT, but I like to think I was playing a kinder game).

It was a great evening because the long-awaited exciting time has arrived: Mulled wine is on sale! For only 1 euro, a litre of the finest Glühwein is now sitting resident in our kitchen (having already drunk two litres between us), next to the Christmas-tasting biscuits. Germany is such a good time to be in during the run-up to Christmas, even if we still have two months to go.

I'm off to London next week, which I'm looking forward to, but I can't help wondering how much more Christmassy it will be here once I get back to Berlin, as even the Christmas markets will be open then... Perfect for wandering around with a glühwein and bratwurst.

Monday 25 October - The obsession continues...

11.11am, Sleeping in, accidentally. I meant to get up and head outside but before I knew it, it was midday! How does this keep happening?! Anyway, when I eventually got myself up, Nick and I went on a thrift-finding mission to Mehringdamm, where Nick found a scarf/glove combo and I bought some orangensaft. Rock and roll. On the ride home, we passed the most beautiful church lit up by the sunshine. Carrying on with my obsession with autumn leaves, it was cool to see these trees next to each other: one with amazing colourful leaves and one with all its leaves stripped off by the wind. I love Berlin, I love autumn.

Sunday 24 October - A new hangout

11.11pm, Curled up in bed reading my book after just having got home from some drinks with Megan. She took me to an awesome little bar near our houses as she's just moved back to a few roads away from me, hooray! Anyway the bar is called Kachel 54 but I can't find anything about it online, so I think it's pretty new. It is a typical Berlin bar in the way that it is dark, comfy, candle-lit, perfect for red wine etc, but what makes it stand out is the guy that owns it: the friendliest, sweetest man. He must be in his 50s, full of life and excitement and the funniest taste in music: think 2Pac, The Fugees and Salt N Pepa. He also goes around the bar with jars of sweets and nuts. I think I'll be going back.

(Picture of sweets taken from Text Marketer)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday 23 October - Shootin' hoops

11.11pm, Hanging out with Nick after an adventure-filled day. Nick, Andy, Nick Jackson and I headed to Hasenheide park and managed to play basketball, table tennis and a pretty vicious game of football - I have the bruises to prove it! I was still feeling a bit sick so mine and Andy's team consisted of me standing in front of goal while Andy did everything else on the field. And we won! It was a super-fun day and then we went to Santa Maria and ate dinner while we watched Andy work. I was tired out after a busy day and had no energy so it was another lazy but lovely eve.
(Picture taken from last time we played basketball at Hasenheide).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday 22 October - Friday night in

11.11pm, Watching TV online with Nick. We started watching 30 Rock, a US comedy with Tina Fey (one of the best). Six episodes later and it was time for bed. It was the perfect Friday night in; TV, the sofa and lots of peppermint tea (still feeling rubbish). Lazy, chilled and just what I needed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday 21 October - The impatient patient

11.11am and 11.11pm, Dying a slow, painful death. I don't know what from, but I woke up this morning feeling so awful with cramps and other horrible things I won't go into. I moped around the house all day, spending my time watching TV, sleeping and crying. Yuk. I hate being ill, especially when there's no reason for it.
(Picture taken from the Coventry Telegraph)

Wednesday 20 October - Festival of Lights

11.11am, Getting rained on while admiring some of Berlin's best buildings all lit up. Every year, during the Berlin Festival of Lights, most of the city's monuments are illuminated until midnight every night, and it really is awesome to see. We got caught in a massive storm though, so our viewing was kind of short-lived. It's only on until tomorrow so anyone who's in Berlin, I highly recommend going. These pics are of Em in front of the TV Tower at Alexanderplatz.

Tuesday 19 October - Scouse reunion

11.11am, In Luzia bar with my friend from Liverpool, Jack Welsh, and two of his friends. I love seeing people here from other parts of my life, it's weird and good. I'd forgotten how much I miss the Scouse accent so Jack duly obliged and entertained me for the night.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday 19 October - Homes then and now

11.11am, I was actually out of bed! With a trusty coffee by my side, I was sitting at my computer trying to do anything but the work I had to do. I forgot how good my procrastination skills use to be when I was at uni, but I've been refining them today for sure. The thing is, when I actually made myself do the work (writing up an interview for SHOP magazine), it took a lot less time than expected. So now I am free for the afternoon to go and meet the guy we sublet our old apartment from, who is back and wants to meet for a beer. Should be interesting...
In the spirit of consistency and comparison, here's our new apartment in numbers (click here to see old apartment in numbers).

1 boy, Andy
1 girl, me
1 balcony
10 cameras and 1 thing that is like a camera but isn't one
5 bikes
1/2 a working shower (it works, but it's not attached to anything so you have to hold it)
4 gadgets I'd never used before living here (a waffle maker, a juicer, a tabletop grill and a soda stream)
1 pretty window that I am still obsessed with

Monday 18 October - Monday morning...

11.11am, Waking up to the eighth alarm going off (ten-minute snoozes since 10am)... and pressing the snooze button again. I really intend to get up early (yes, 10am currently counts as 'early' for me) but I find that when it's cold outside, my bed is the place I want to be. And it definitely is cold outside at the moment.

When I finally rose, it was a job day. You know when you put off all those odd jobs you have to do, until suddenly it's the day before they need doing by? So off Andy and I went to our old apartment to pick up two bikes and two umbrellas, then to the post office, the Schlüsseldienst (key cutters) and the bank. Boring but necessary.

The leaves are still just about hanging on, so there are still beautiful colours to be seen, but I fear it's now a matter of days, not weeks, until they've all fallen and been mushed into the ground.

Ps. Andy's new bike (see yesterday's post). Pretty awesome, huh?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday 17 October - Easy rider

11.11am, Waking up and getting ready to go and meet Susann and Colin for lunch. Colin's leaving today to go back to Amsterdam, so Andy and I cycled to Prenzlauer Berg to meet join them at the French Cafe of Dreams.
After we'd eaten and said our goodbyes, Andy and I went to a fleamarket in Neukölln, where we've managed to pick up some pretty good stuff in the past (See here for some of our other treasures from there). But all past purchases were surpassed by what Andy bought today. Oh no, it's not just another bike (taking his tally up to three). It's the world's most awesome bike. It's a red chopper bike (looks like the one in the picture, taken from StreetLowRider). And when Wikipedia describes choppers as "a bicycle that is designed to get attention and provide a smooth comfortable ride", they're not wrong. It looks hilarious/amazing and you feel like you're riding the bike from the comfort of an armchair. I think it's Andy's favourite thing in the whole entire world.
Ps. I wore my new shoes today. I love my new shoes.

Saturday 16 October - The French quarter

11.11pm, In Peligro with everyone, after having had a thoroughly delightful afternoon with Susann. We went for a long walk around Neukölln, and then after fighting our way through Gangstaville, managed to stumble upon the Parisian Quarter. Who knew?! Down a random backstreet we found the loveliest little place called Vux Cafe. Please visit the website and look at the pictures, because I can't really do justice to how amazing all the food looked, especially the cakes. It's a Vegan cafe and was a super-sweet little haven from the big, bad rain outside. We both had pumpkin soup with corn and chilli bread, delish. The cafe has just had its first birthday and seems to be going from strength to strength so, if you're in the area, it's definitely worth a visit (on Richardstrasse). After our little visit to France, Sus and I went home with a bottle of wine, before heading to everyone's favourite bar.
And, as if the day couldn't be any better, Nick and Colin went to Niketown and picked me up my first ever pair of Nike High-tops. I'm in love with them; picture to follow soon.

Friday 15 October - There ain't no party like a Neukölln party

11.11pm, Sitting in our living room with Keno, Eri, Colin, Mellis, Emma, Daniel, Andy, Nick, Nackson and Gareth, having organised fun. Five of us had been playing Trivial Pursuit earlier in the eve, with the losers having to go on the booze run as we'd run out. Luckily, I had Emma in my team, and who knew but she was amazing, beasting pretty much every question. Bear in mind it was the 1987 version of Trivial Pursuit, and she hadn't even been born then. Good work Smith.

We all went out to Ä Bar, which is fast becoming my favourite bar in Neukölln, and it was ace to show off our part of town to everyone! I took some cool pictures in the bar but unfortunately, didn't have my memory card in the camera (I don't have the cord, and the 'OK' button doesn't work, so I can't transfer the pis to a card)... so you'll just have to take my word for it that everyone was looking beautiful.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thursday 14 October - Deeper underground

11.11pm, Playing one of the most fun games of all time ever. Glow-in-the-dark mini golf! About 20 of us gathered in Goerlitzer Park for Keno's birthday, to head underground and play the best game ever. Eri, Emma, Sus and I formed a girls' team, which resulted in lots of high fives, a few holes-in-one, but generally a VERY high score (apparently not a good thing in golf). We also learnt that if your team sings to you as you're putting, it helps! Not sure how or why, but our renditions of Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, The Carpenters, Aqua, Disney, Jackson 5 and Bondi Rescue definitely seemed to improve our skills (or maybe just put everyone else off their strokes). Such a fun night, hugely, highly, hilariously recommended.

Wednesday 13 September - Surprise, surprise!

11.11pm, In Peligro, waiting with bated breath. At midnight, it would be Keno's birthday and, unbeknown to him, his best friends were flying in from all over Europe to celebrate with him. So us girls (and Mellis, who had arrived from Austria by that time) were sitting in Peligro, checking our phones every two minutes for news of the others' impending arrival, and drinking much too fast, in an effort to hide our excitement/nerves.
Amazingly, by midnight, everyone had arrived, songs were sung, shots were drunk and Keno couldn't stop smiling. Happy birthday big man. x

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tuesday 12 October - To the rescue!

11.11pm, Watching Bondi Rescue with Emma. Like all good things, our love for the Aussie lifeguard documentary has turned into an obsession. We watched it for about 4 solid hours, stopping only to run to the shop for emergency 'supplies' (waffle ingredients and wine). When Andy came back from work at 1.30am, we were still watching, and were full of the world's best waffles (apparently you don't need to follow the recipe or have any of the right ingredients for it to work!). Fun times, apart from I have now lost the ability to talk about anything other than Bondi Rescue. Which I don't think is a bad thing, but others disagree...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday 11 October - Social networking

11.11pm, In Santa Maria with friends new and old. I'd been to the cinema to watch The Social Network (the film about Facebook) with my friend Bea (who I met in the queue for chicken at the park back in August: see here to remind yourself of the story!). About 20 of her work friends joined too, so it was fab to meet them and go for a beer afterwards.

The film was actually awesome... Not at all what I was expecting, but good all the same. Full of really funny, quick wit and some pretty hilarious acting from JT. The group was pretty split down the middle about whether they liked it or not, so go and see it and make your mind up for yourself. Then write about it on Facebook. Then write a status update about it. Then 'Like' it. Then go outside and meet your actual, real-life friends and talk about it.

Monday 11 October - Sushi yourself

11.11am, Cycling home from Emma's house (which is also Keno and Eri's house), stopping off to get some breakfast hangover goods. Not for me, for once, but for Andy who had a boy date with Keno last night. It's Keno's birthday this week, so Andy surprised him with tickets to a basketball game last night, where I gather they drank a lot of beer, took a lot of photos and whooped and hollered their little drunken hearts out.

Meanwhile, Eri, Emma and I were having a sushi evening, which was followed by a TV, tea and chocolate night. Nice and chilled...until the boys came home, with cuts, stories and pictures to show. So we sent them back out again (they duly obliged) and went to bed until 5am when they kindly stumbled back in.
I have to admit that, after a few too many nights out recently, it's nice to be the one feeling bright, breezy and just a tiny bit smug.

Ps, How amazing is this knitted sushi as featured on Craftzine blog?! Not entirely sure what you'd do with it, but it's pretty hilarious.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday 10 October - Amazing autumn

11.11am, Marvelling at the leaves. I know I keep commenting on them, but the colours and huge amount of leaves in Berlin really astounds me. They are so beautiful and they're at the point now where they're falling all the time. We live in a tree-lined street (the top left picture is a view from our kitchen window) and so often there's a big flurry of leaves coming down all around you as you walk along. I never realised I was so into leaves, but almost every day they are a different colour and it's amazing to see. Autumn is fast becoming my favourite season.

It's strange to think that a year ago I was here visiting Andy, still playing in the colourful autumn leaves, but with no idea that I would be living here and seeing them for myself every day, in less than 12 months.

The picture on the top right of us jumping is from this time last year, taken by the award-winning photographer that is Andy Lawrence. He's got a new blog, so you should check it out here, and he's working on a new website too, so watch this space.