Thursday, 29 May 2014

Great German supermarket product/price comparison site

Last October I talked about a UK/US supermarket comparison site called (UK version) that enables you to paralelly compare the total sum of your shopping with each individual supermarket taking part in the list and puts the cheapest of the supermarkets on top as soon as the sum of your shopping basket changes with a cheaper new product.

Now I stumbled over a similar German site called - it does not compare whole baskets, as far as I found out it only compares single products so it takes a bit more work to figure out the basket for each single. Another feature of the site is that you can either search for 1st option: How much?, 2nd for: Buy where?, 3rd: How many calories?, 4th quality check? and finally 5th: How much will I save buying the shop's version of the product?

A neat site which surely could highly progress by offering a similar "basket comparison" option as the UK and US comparison sites.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Cutting my long hair - from tailbone length to waist length

After: Waist length
Before: Tailbone/hip length
Yes, for those who know my love for very long hair, it might be surprising news, but I finally decided to cut my hair from tailbone/hip length to waist length.

I felt like it got too heavy for my rather petite body structure and I had several serious neck issues, especially after washing it. It might be part stress, but I believe it is mainly due to the weight of my hair, which got thicker in the last few years after changing my hair routine.

Front view
I also had to give up not drying it with a hairdryer, every time I would let it dry by itself I could be sure to have a totally stiff neck the next morning. Nothing you wish to experience more than once, especially not after EVERY freaking hair wash.... So, I guess here in Europe, especially in Germany, I will have to rely on my hairdryer unfortunately.

So, there you go, my new hair cut - as always cut at home - my head and hair have not seen a hair stylist for more than 5 years now and I really don't miss the (at most times disappointing) experience ;)

Side view

Castles in Germany: Altes Schloss Hohenbaden & castle restaurant

Any castle fans here? Planning a trip to Europe any time soon? Well, congratulations, you are coming to the right place, Germany is the hotspot for all castle and middle-age fanatics!

This time I took my London friends to the Altes Schloss Hohenbaden, the Old Castle in Baden-Baden. It is part intact, part restored ruins and a very mysterious yet romantic spot.

As part of its history, it has (like most castles) lots of stories, including the legend of The Grey Lady: 
A countess famous for supressing the population and only worried about herself. Always asking for hard labour and high tax, and those who dared to resist, were promptly thrown into the dark and damp dungeon of the castles, where in worst case scenario followed physical torture.

One evening, she took her only baby son up to the top of the highest tower. Looking down on her kingdom, she held her son far over the stone window ledge and sneered: "Look and count all the villages, spots and farms! They are endless. As far as your eye can reach, all people have to bow and scrape to you. Force them under your knout and don't give them rest, thus you will live well on earth!"

But the moment the lady finished her cruel speech, the baby boy slipped through her hands and fell down into the deep darkness. Pale as death the lady rushed down the stairs to look for her son. Although she forced her servants to look for her child day and night, the boy was never found.

So since this incident, the legend says that the crual countess is running down the stairs of the castle on stormy days and when you listen well, you can hear her shrill voice being carried in the hoarse winds through the narrow corridors of the castles.

Me having some delicious moca tart
Got some goose bumps? hehe.... My friends indeed felt some shiver, especially with the wind harp close by, which claims to be the biggest in Europe.... We then decided that we had earned some rest and headed for some coffee and cake in the castle's own restaurant, I had some amazing moca tart and my friends both had fruit cakes, very yummy! Here the Castle Restaurant Menu.

Here some more pictures of the wind harp and beautiful sights of the mysterious, romantic castle:

Sunday, 25 May 2014

One of Germany's most romantic, hidden gems: The enchanting Geroldsauer Waterfalls & Bütthof restaurant

My favourite romantic spot:
The Geroldsauer Waterfalls
So as I mentioned in my last post, I spend one beautiful day in May hiking up the enchanting Geroldsauer Waterfalls, together with the prince of sun, dance girl and holiday girl.

The weather was quite moody so after arriving a little bit later than planned due to the sheer impossibility to find any directions pointing towards the waterfalls, we finally asked our way through (even though we had to ask about 4 times, and one group of ladies were Russian grannies who did not speak any German, Baden-Baden is quite a favourite spot for Russians in general).

Getting there about 45min later than intended, we arrived just in time for a midday snack, so we thought. Hiking up the waterfall paths, we quickly found ourselves starving and ready for lunch, so we were very pleased when we realized that the nearby forest restaurant Waldgaststätte Bütthof was only about 5min away by foot so we were quickly speeding up and saw the pretty Landhaus style restaurant and its own grown Irish buffelos (?) already from far.

The prince of sun ordered the buffelo steak dish and I tried a bit, it was very soft and delicious (although I have to admit that I felt a bit guilty as they were peacefully munching along just about 100m away from us..... We all had a huge plate filled up with delicious, traditional Badener food, the girls tried out the "German sausage and fried potato salad" (Wurstsalat mit Bratkartoffeln, please try and imagine something different than some lettuce, chips and a sausage cut in pieces :D, below some pictures for further illustration). Your love, your friends, beautiful landscape, a beautiful restaurant plus nice waitress and amazing food, cannot get better than that, can it?

The forest restaurant Waldgaststätte Bütthof 

Check out this quick youtube video of the Geroldsauer waterfalls (the music is lovely as well!):

Mannas Zappan - Organic soap bars from Hungary

Mannas Zappan Soap Bars & Dresdner Essence relax bath
I had to write about one of my latest obsessions... but first things first: A few weeks ago, my London friends dance girl and holiday girl came to visit me here in Germany for a weekend. Spending our days eating out and sightseeing around the Baden-Baden and Alsace regions and hiking up the enchanting Geroldsauer Waterfalls, we actually spent our first 1h together just exchanging presents <3

One of the presents holiday girl gave to me was a wonderful collection of organic body, face and hair soap bars that she ordered from a supplier in Hungary. The brand is called Mannas Zappan and the products were originally made by a mum that got frustrated with available body care products. Mainly due to her children's allergies, she felt that common products did not work with her family and created their own original organic products: the soap(bar)s are all natural and organic, the ones I received in my collection, have an intense and earthy perfume, each of them has its distinct smell that gets you quite quick. All lather fantastically (for those who miss the lather in other organic soaps), probably due to the coconut soap that most of the soaps contain. I tried them out today (yes, all of them at once :D, I just could not resist) after having a wonderful muscle relax bath using the Dresdner Essenz Muskellockerungsbad. (Got to spoil yourself from time to time, don't ya?!)
My collection of
Mannas Zappan soap bars

On the left a few pictures of the soap bars, here a quick translation of each soap type (no guarantee though, it has been with the google translator ;)

On the upper left, a body soap bar with cinnamon and coconut, it says something like good for maintaining firm skin. Yummy it is for sure!

On the lower left in light green, the shampoo soap bar of my collection, I absolutely loved my hair - I tend to have normal, rather dry hair and often have an electricity thing going on just after drying them, but this shampoo soap really helped avoiding the static state. It smells a bit citrussy and I suspect another green ingredient here: