Thursday, 31 October 2013

Schlösserrundfahrt - Palace boat tour in Potsdam

During my time with Berlin Girl, we reunited with another friend, let's call her Lizzy Girl (she shares my passion for Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice!).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
We decided that it was the perfect day to do the Potsdam Schlösserrundfahrt - a boat tour during which you can see the most beautiful sights and castles and palaces which range along the banks of the Jungfernsee. For the hungry ones: Yes, you can get food and drinks on the boat.    
Picture from the Palace tour
 source Schifffahrt in Potsdam HP
We were really surprised that it passed by so quickly: only 90 minutes but packed with loads of beautiful sights such as the Palace and Park Babelsberg, the tower "Flatowturm" and the "Small Palace".  I loved the story of the Palace on Peacock Island (unfortunately we did not spot any peacocks, from far at least).                                                                                                                                                             

Then we enjoyed the sight of the Church at Sacrow, the new Hans Otto Theatre, the Glienicke Park and the famous Glienicker Bridge. Last but not least the New Garden with the Marble Palace and finally the famous Cecilienhof Palace, where the Potsdam Agreement was signed in the summer of WW2's ending! Oh, as far as I remember you can even do the tour with another, older boat, the original "steamer Gustav" dating back to 1908, so if you love old ships and boats, that might be THE secret tip for you! 

Here a few tips in case you would like to do the same trip and a few more pictures of the boat tour: 

Spargelcremesuppe mit Roggenbrot - Creamy white asparagus soup with rye bread

This is my mum's delicious Spargelcremesuppe (creamy white asparagus soup) that I had last time I was at my parents'. Sitting on the garden varanda in the Midday sun, I was slurping a nice Latte macchiato and eating my favourite hearty German cream soup with Roggenbrot, rye bread. The simple things in life are the best...

Parcel post delivery in Brazil like bus bunching in London?

It is one of the funniest (but at times also most annoying) phenomenon of London buses. You keep waiting AGES for a bus... and then two or three often even with the same destination come along at once. They called this phenomenon bunching as far as I remember.

My mum's autumn surprise parcel
We are talking about buses, right. 

However, here in Brazil parcels seem to fit into the same bunching category it seems. You feel like no letters or parcels from home are arriving when people finally ask whether you got their (SUPPOSED TO BE) SURPRISE parcel, both of you already believe some of them got lost(or stolen-used (my favourite soft toothbrush that my mum had sent by parcel) or eaten (Lindt chocolate), depending on the delicious content :D lol)  which did happen at times. 

Berlin Girl's surprise parcel
And then, out of nowwhere, when all hope was lost, during two or three days ALL parcels are delivered in groups or one day after another. That’s what happened with Berlin girl’s and my mum’s parcels more than once. Berlin girl had even sent a yummy chocolaty replacement care package for the last care package which did arrive (last parcel blogpost with Big Ben notebook) <3 this time with two yummy Ritter Sport with the chocolate flavours Nugat and Halbbitter 50% Kakao) which arrived today together with a lovely autumn surprise parcel that my mom invented <3, I could almost smell the perfume of German autumn with its wet and windy weather and dancing colourful leaves!.... 

Parcel bunching it is.

"Puppy-photo-love-story": Luke's first time playing in sand

A few weeks ago, we were doing construction works again and therefore had some sand in our yard. Of course Luke couldn't resist and HOOPI DI HOPP he jumped right onto it <3 Judging his face and reactions he absolutely loved it ;)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Fish and Chips at Spotted Horse pub in East Putney

After my afternoon park stroll with Culture Girl, she headed off to get some work done and I decided that it was time for an afternoon snack - or well, catch up with a proper lunch-dinner meal! I decided for an English classic this time:


Quite some time since I had my last one so I was really looking forward to it!

I decided to just go to a pub right here in Putney, quickly went to boots to get some stuff I still needed to stock up on and quickly found a nice, traditional pub called THE SPOTTED HORSE, on Putney High Street quite close to Putney train Station.

You need to order at the counter and then they will bring whatever you like to your place, if you first want to have a look at the menu, no worries, just get the drink and then sit down somewhere - that's what I did with my coke although in fact I already knew what I wanted to eat but wanted to check out the menu anyway ;).

It was a feast of a fish and chips dish, I did not actually manage to eat all of the chips, it was just too much for me, but very yummyyy. They have special daily offers on individual dishes, I believe Friday is the Specials Day for fish and chips, but I am not sure anymore. Oh, and of course they have free wifiiiii as well ;) 

A lovely afternoon in Putney: Limonade at the Boathouse & a stroll around Bishop's park & Fulham Palace herb garden

Putney Bridge
The first time that I set foot in Putney was during my young student years, my second stay (language school holidays) in London where I stayed at a lovely English lady's home in Putney a few years ago. Even though the first day started off rather on the wrong foot (at that time I had not that much knowledge of most English words so self-catering was innocently interpreted as Selbstbedienung (German for kind of just like just serve yourself of what's available), unfortunately it is kind of the  opposite :D.

After solving this little issue,  my kind host and I had a few wonderful weeks together and she showed me around the wonderful areas in Putney.
The Boathouse
Limonade & 
That's why Culture Girl and I decided to meet up in Putney this time for some limonade and tea at the Boathouse. It was a really lovely day, sun all day - at least in this part of London.

Anyway, after our relaxing stay at the Boathouse, we decided to take advantage of the wonderful sunshine and off we went to the nearby Bishop's park for a short stroll. A lot of people around, kids and dogs running around and sharing the love.

Culture Girl and THE RIVER

(I even got a bit of a sunburn and when I went home later to meet up with another friend in North West London, let's call her Holiday Girl: she looked at me with an open mouth and asked "where the heck did you get this sunburn today? It was cloudy and rainy ALL DAY LONG!" Well, not in lovely Putney :D).

Fulham palace - drawing room café

We also had a look at Fulham Palace, now a mix of museum, art gallery and drawing room café.

Fulham Palace herb garden

There is a beautiful herb garden close to the Palace. It reminds me of what I had in mind for the "original Secret Garden" scenery, especially the romantic entrance really enchanted me and Culture Girl.

Here local people are allowed to grow their own vegetables, fruit and flowers, we observed some mainly older people peacefully caring for their veggie plants, I really wanted to get my hands into the rich-scented, dark garden soil as well I have to admit....

A true gem!

Little parcels of Love

After receiving a surprise parcel from my friend Berlin girl, I thought why not show some of the lovely little surprises I often get send by friends and family.

Especially my mum has THE most precious and sweetest ideas, it always lights up my whole day no matter what I was feeling a few seconds before receiving it. The rest of the day I always just walk around with one big fat smile on my face.

One of her last surprise parcels had a whole set of my own (almost antique :D lol) collections of mainly paper-copied piano sheets that I had left at my parents' house and she had sent it over as soon as I bought my e-piano <3

The last parcel that I received (the one in the picture) was kind of an emergency surprise care package: We had been through a couple of pretty harsh weeks and who if not Berlin girl would think of such a wonderful idea to make us smile again - I particularly love the Big Ben style notebook and post its <3 Thanks so much hun!!!

Great supermarket product (basket) price comparison site (both UK and US)

A few days ago I stumbled over this (seems-to-be) fantastic supermarket product (basket) price comparison site (UK and US supermarkets) such as UK based Asda, Sainsbury, Tesco, Waitrose, Aldi.... I have only had a look at the UK version and quickly went to check out my favourite supermarkets and had a short research on the different basic products that one would need to get round in let's say a few weeks or so.

The comparison site enables you to parallely compare the total sum of your whole basket of goodies for each individual supermarket and immediately puts the cheapest of the supermarkets on top as soon as the sum changes with a new product. I have to admit that I quickly got lost researching some of my UK favourites: marmite, clusters cornflakes, crumpets *_*....

I thought I might as well run a quick test example for you with a shopping list that might be ours (just simple food and household plus some dog related items - shopping for a few weeks' to month's use depending on the items):

I pretty much included almost all monthly shopping, 113 items, including food (just would have to get fresh fruit, veggies, dairy and bread during the week), cleaning, laundry, beauty as well as dog related items.

It was almost exciting to see the first three shops moving up and down along the listing, I kind of expected those top three (1st Asda, 2nd Tesco, 3rd Sainsbury's) in exactly this line but still, it is really interesting how some shops offer the same products for a significantly higher price.

Here an example with a simple, single product comparison, the choice of product: My favourite Cathedral Mature Cheddar =)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

My first afternoon tea at Kensington Palace's Orangery

English Orangery Afternoon Tea
It is probably one of the things that every true Londoner-at-heart hopes to experience at least once in a lifetime: A real British Afternoon Tea. I researched quite a few places, but finally decided for The Orangery at Kensington Palace and off I went for my first High Tea experience together with my London friend Culture Girl. The Orangery is a beautiful baroque building and located in one of the most beautiful parks in London, Kensington Gardens and just next to William and Kate's home, which of course left my friend and I giggling and wondering whether we might catch up with them during afternoon tea but unfortunately they did not really decide to join us this day so... maybe next time :D

The Orangery entrance

Walking towards the building on the straight path aligned with trees leading to The Orangery, I almost felt like a royal princess myself. Almost ;) We arrived quite early, about 10 minutes after official opening times, but almost all tables were occupied, so probably it really would be best to get there quite on time to be sure to get your table. And we went on an ordinary Monday afternoon so... As far as I remember they don`t do reservations. At the entrance, a lovely receptionist welcomed us and immediately led us to a free table, next to a lovely American couple and their teenage daughter.

Having had a look at the menu online, we had already decided on the sort of afternoon tea we wanted to have (The English Orangery Afternoon tea), so we were served quite quickly. I just adore the delicate dishware and heavy (silver?) cutlery, it really makes you feel like you are experiencing a true English tradition and maybe the food tastes even better when you use such pretty plates and cups ;). As far as I remember you can even buy dishware, plates and cups at the Orangery or the Kensington palace's online shop.
The Orangery Menu

As usual, I had my favourite of all black teas, Earl Grey, with milk and sugar. Starting off with the sandwiches, I absolutely loved the salmon and cream cheese ones, but the cucumber and egg sandwich were really delicious as well.

We then continued with the scones - first time for me there - and I was absolutely stunned how filling they are! Although I had prepared for quite a feast and did not even have lunch before we went for our Afternoon tea, I did not actually manage to have both, I stopped after the first one as I was afraid that I wouldn t manage to try the cakes as well :D As there is a little fight of which one of the toppings comes first, I decided on the following :

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Top Three hair growth stimulating Brazilian foods

Since creating this blog, I was often asked why Brazilian women have such long, thick hair and why my hair is growing at such a fast rate since I went to Brazil. I guess with Brazilian women it also has a lot to do with really good genes, often women have some Indio (Native) origins - and Indios and Indias here are known for their thick, beautiful hair. In my own case I would say that there are a lot of factors involved, part genes (German, Hungarian and Russian hair princesses :D just kidding ;) haha), part the new environment with new circumstances such as the hot weather and more relaxed life style, but also my own happiness, and frequent exercising.

Maintenance November 2013: Hair length around
hip (jeans cut) length straight across

The fact that I cut my own hair might play a crucial part as I can decide how many times per month or year I cut, currently it is 1-2 times a month about 1-2 inches depending on the growth. I currently keep my hair length just above my jeans and pretty much straight (across) - obviously as it is self cut it is certainly not perfectly straight, but when I shake it, it looks more loose and wavy anyway (on the picture it has been thouroughly brushed), but as it grows that quickly it does not really matter because after a few weeks it is all unruly in its length again.

But let's get back to probably one of the main reasons for this wonderful hair growth: Foodie Goodies <3 ;).

That's why I decided to make my top three hair growth stimulating Brazilian foods list, there you go:

1. Beans

The winner of this list of course are the good old beans. If I had to pick one product that I added to my core nutrition (and eat almost if not every single day since I came to Brazil), then I would always decide to mention BEANS. There are a looot of different sorts here, but the sort we (and most Brazilians of all backgrounds) eat every day, is called "feijao carioca", "Pinto beans" in English.

We also occasionally eat "feijao fradinho", also known as "feijao de corda" (Black eyed beans) and "feijao preto" (Black beans, mostly eaten in the Rio region). We mostly get them in their dried form and cook the whole lot (1kg per package) in our pressure cooker to then freeze portions for convenient quick re-heating during the week.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Stanage Edge! Such diamonds are rocks and mountains!!!

Stanage Edge!!!! As written about it half a year ago, I actually went to visit Stanage Edge in the Peak District during my Europe tour =) It was absolutely amazing, also due to the fact that I went with a good friend from uni, let's call her honey girl! And she is true honey, a sweet, lovely and incredibly kind and intelligent woman with whom I had wonderful and mind juggling conversations that I love to remember until today. We started off in London, stuffed our bags with vinegar crisps and bananas at the next tesco and drove off by car (about 3h distance - as much as I remember...).

Which was a very sensible decision as:

Are you controlling your thoughts or your thoughts controlling you? Are your thoughts healing you or making you sick?

"We are trained to drive the car, drilled to know everything in the world and know everything about our jobs and fields of study. But are we trained to lead with our thoughts and feelings? Not in the slightest. Do we learn or even know that there exist instruments and that it is possible to train thought patterns to completely mold what we were before?

Instead of controlling our thoughts, our thoughts are controlling us. Our current world, education and science only prepare us to explore the outside world, but in no way are we prepared to explore and conquer the territory of our own self". (Be leader of your own self, A. Cury)
NO. We are left alone to be the helpless spectator of our thoughts and feelings, stuck in the audience.

A few weeks ago, my niece gave me an excellent *series of tiny books, written by Augusto Cury (I got the portuguese versions). They circle around the topic of the human mind, our thoughts and feelings and how we stop to stay victims of the latter and through psychological techniques and training new thought patterns learn to be the leader of our psych. world instead of being a cruel and exhausted audience of everything that happens inside of us. He invites us to be the main actor of our own theatre show recognizing flaws in our thought system and exchanging our thought windows and connections instead of being an apathic watcher in the audience claiming it to be impossible to mold irrelevant and hurting thoughts.

"The human mind is like a huge theatre. Your place is not in the audience, but on stage, being brilliant in your intelligence, feeling joy with your successes, learning with your failures and training every day to be THE AUTHOR OF YOUR STORY, a leader of your own self, the main actor of your theatre show." (Be leader of your own self, A. Cury)

The book series reminds me very much of similar thoughts that I got from a few different, similar brilliant books, such as