Dienstag, 30. September 2014

A great love story.

The love story between myself and black tea dates back a long time.
I very much assume that I was weaned on black tea – at least they gave it to me as a daily drink, when I was only a very little girl.

Like any pair of lovers we have both developed a few quirks and idiosyncrasies over the years and have gone through highs and lows.

These are, of course, intimate details only relevant to the two of us – but I will make an exception and allow you to partake  in our love today:

1. I start my day with two cups of English breakfast tea – I drink the first one shortly after having prepared breakfast for the children.
I sit on the couch and watch them, as they pack the last items for school (and if I’m very lucky I don’t have to search for this piece of paper that they really do have to bring back today, signed, yesterday it was for sure still in this spot?), the mug warms my hands, the tea has the perfect drinking temperature.

2. Speaking of the perfect drinking temperature:
immediately after the tea is done steeping, it has to cool off – this way the taste will remain very soft and mild.
I find it impossible to wait until it cools off by itself: first of all it takes what seems like hours, secondly a residue might form around the rim of the mug, which is not pretty, and finally it might be bitter by then.

This is why I always need 2 mugs:
Fill cold water into one mug – wait a second – discard water – fill hot tea into cooled mug – fill hot mug with cold water – wait another second – discard – decant tea, etc.  – you get the idea?
After about 4-5 times decanting the drinking temperature will have reached PERFECTION.

Yes, I know, everybody thinks we are freaks now – but you just have no idea!
Tea and I: we haven’t known anything else for decades, and we both absolutely do not want to change it.
Well, at least it has never said anything.

3. Without its company I don’t like any kind of cake, fancy or other – I’m not kidding! 
Even if it is my favorite cake, I cannot eat one morsel, until its aroma enters my nostrils and I taste its bittersweet deliciousness.

Tea does appreciate my faithfulness and rewards me with its pleasantly stimulating effect. 

4. Speaking of faithfulness:
about 1 year ago it had huge jealousy issues – first it hoped that the Italian affair would be of short duration, then it feared that espresso would come between us after so many years of togetherness. In the mean time it has calmed down: while the two of them still don’t communicate, they tacitly tolerate each other.

(when the drama got really out of hand for a while, I assured it that espresso definitely has the smaller…um…cup. THE SMALLER CUP!)

5. To be fair:
I, too, have emotional airs and graces.
The only (!) situation when I act like a bitch from hell, is the moment when my husband picks up my mug and empties half of it without asking (the answer would ALWAYS be “no”!).
NO, he cannot make fresh tea for me – because it wouldn’t instantly have the perfect drinking temperature…see 2).
By the way: despite the fact that I really do get mad, my husband keeps doing this.
For decades.
I should consider a separation.
Not from black tea, of course!

6. As is often the case in a long relationship:
while our love was consistent, excitement wasn’t part of it.
I tried new varieties, half-heartedly, but none of them brought a breath of fresh air to our love life.
And then suddenly lightning struck – our love ignited once again, completely unexpectedly and out of the blue in a small, yet superb department of the KaDeWe in Berlin.
My taste buds experienced one highlight after the other and I realized:
This is exactly what I’ve been searching for all my life.

7. Since that day, no effort has been too big, no price too high:  
full of anticipation I open the beautifully designed metal containers and first bury my nose in them.
I breathe the natural aroma of the organically grown tea and let the whole leaves tumble into the strainer.
While I’m pouring water on top, their fragrance already starts filling the kitchen.

I try a different kind of black tea every afternoon – none of them has disappointed me since.
I enjoy, and allow myself to be pampered by it, we both experience intensive moments like never before – the taste compensates for the effort of brewing “lose tea” by far!

I feel like a teenager head over heels in love, who would like nothing better than to post an hourly selfie with her honey, and at the same time I feel like a missionary on a crusade, who has to convince everybody that drinking tea of this particular brand is the one and only truth.
(And those who do not agree simply have not discovered salvation.)

In conclusion I can say:

I associate with black tea what many others associate with coffee:
Extreme pleasure.  
A lovely ritual I look forward to every day.
A faithful partner of many years by my side.

And at this point I would like to thank Kusmi, who – unknowingly – reignited the fire of our long love affair.

Sources of supply:
Tee glasses (they have perfect grip and don’t alter the tea’s taste like ceramic mugs sometimes do, they keep the perfect drinking temperature for a long time): Räder
Tea strainer with China embellishment: Räder
Tea: Kusmi



I have so far tried several types of Kusmi black tea – they are fantastic without exception.
Their quality is so superior that you will never be able to drink tea from the grocery store anymore.

If, however, you prefer green tea, I would recommend
 Lov tea, it is the same standard of quality, but both my daughters prefer it.

This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.

Montag, 29. September 2014

Time for families.

Even if a family’s daily operations take up a lot of time – there is no way around procurement of groceries, mountains of laundry and dentist appointments.
And the bigger the family, the more work needs to be done. In order for this to not slip into being a routine, organizational checking off of chores, I consciously take a “time-out” with my children ever so often.
Most of the times we do nothing spectacular/extraordinary – simply shared time with everybody present and the opportunity to enjoy each other.

I have never been a “play mom” (I am bored to death when it comes to conversations between Playmobil characters) – but I thoroughly enjoy shared activities and adventures.

There are, for example....

1. Picnics.

Whether at night, by the lake, in the park or just in the middle of the day after school, instead of lunch. When the children were younger, I once bought pretzels and sausages, grabbed warm blankets, pillows and numerous large lanterns and went with them to the castle gardens, where I read children’s books to them by candle light.

Sometimes I simply fill the food that I have already prepared into glass jars and containers and tell everyone that we will drive somewhere now and have a picnic.

I cannot remember one single occasion when nobody was enthusiastic about this – the children love participating to this day.

2. Spontaneous parties.

It is not an uncommon occurrence that we decide at lunchtime to have a campfire at night.

Or in the morning that we will throw a summer party the next day.

Just like that, without a special occasion or a birthday, without perfect catering or equipment – all we need is spontaneity and creativity.

I admit, sometimes this means an awful lot of extra work – and working moms will hardly have the time to do it.

I, however, was at home and enjoyed it very much myself to arrange something like that.

We have gathered a bunch of lovely memories over the years:

we created tents in the backyard out of large fabric pieces, went on a scavenger hunt in the woods (half of the paper clues are still there – we unfortunately never found them again), made little rafts and let them float in ponds, and assembled big camps out of mattresses for sleep-over parties.

I neither had a blog then, nor would I have had the time to keep photographic records of everything – but some of the later events still made it onto the blog, such as the summer party, the apple party, the pizza party
 or the party when Noelle turned 5000 days old  ;).

All very important occasions indeed.

3. Museums and the zoo.

Classics, no doubt.

My advice: go visit in a countercyclical fashion – meaning during the week, if possible, in the last two hours before closing time – see but a few things, but see them intensively. 

This provides you with a nearly private atmosphere, you can, for example, watch butterflies for an hour and experience the unfolding of the most beautiful moments.

All the above activities are relatively easy to execute – but what happens, if you have a nice idea or even a dream of a family project that requires somewhat more time or special know-how?

In this case I have a wonderful tip for you today:

In September “Hohes C” started the initiative "
Zeit für Familien (time for families)" – the brand brings to life larger and smaller family projects, supported by a team of experts.

For a 2013 study, commissioned by the company itself, has shown that parents above all wish for more time together with their kids – and with its campaign “Hohes C” wants to give exactly this time to families!

It is supposed to happen in shape of projects that are carried out together, that carry lasting values in their wake – and thus inspire other families.

You have always wanted to build a big family dinner table?

Renovate an old trailer for the next family vacation?
Or erect a tree house in your backyard?
Or do you have an entirely different idea?

Why don’t you participate and apply at “Hohes C” with your project – with a bit of luck and help from "Zeit für Familien" you will be able to create a lasting memory.
HERE is the way to the campaign.

Can you already think of a project?
Which undertakings do you venture on in order to bring a little diversion to your daily grind?

Let me know in the comments!



This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.

Samstag, 27. September 2014

Liebesbotschaft Basics IV: luxury sweater

I am infinitely delighted to introduce you to the latest cashmere dream piece designed by Liebesbotschaft Basics:
This time, it’s a  luxury sweater!


I opted for a garment that can be easily styled in both an elegant and a casual way – it is comfortable AND chic at the same time.

You can upgrade it by combining it with leather pants or a slim-fitting pencil skirt.
If your daily dress style is more formal, you will be dying to slip into this sweater after work – woven in Italy according to specifications with 100% fine-spun, multi-threaded, very high-grade cashmere, it hugs your skin as pleasantly as an embrace – it is light as a feather and keeps you warm like nothing else will.

The sweater’s cut is a little longer – I half-tucked it into my pants on the pictures, but you can see the full length in the back.

What’s special about it: the box pleat in the back makes the whole look very feminine and elegant, the sweater drapes really beautifully, nice and loose around the hips – like a slight A-line!
It hugs the figure where it should (on top around the shoulders), and drapes casually where it may (around the waist, hips).

There is a discreet hand-stitched sequin appliqué in the lower right-hand corner, particularly pretty for women who like a reduced look when it comes to jewelry and accessories.
I very much like to wear just a watch with my outfits, and this sweater complements the look perfectly.

If you already own one of my cashmere pieces, you will notice a difference this time:
The sweater was woven in a denser, even warmer cashmere quality.

Those who are as cold as I am, will be really happy about this during the fall and winter months!

Ideal for sunny, cold afternoons outside – perfect for cuddling up in the evenings at home – and a must-have for winter.

For all of you who are maybe looking for something other than grey for a change:
The sweater is also available in a powdery, soft rosé (not a baby pink!) – a color that can be found in many of the big designers’ spring collections.
Black and dark blue will accentuate this the best.

You will find the Liebesbotschaft Basics cashmere sweater at Bam und Bini.
And in soft rosé HERE.

It is a limited collection, as usual.

(my pants are made-to-measure, after a pair by Gucci. More affordable leather pants are available by Breuninger, e.g.).

I am very curious how it will appeal to you!
And as usual I am happy to listen to your wishes for future garments.

Now let me finish with a kiss!


This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.