Freitag, 31. Oktober 2014

Hello November! (+ winners)

Behind us lies the month of October as pretty as a picture book – at least I can only remember lovely days!

For example...

- I decorated the house for fall: classically with rose hip branches
 and bell jars and I told you 5 simple styling rules that everyone can realize at home,

- there was a fall-inspired lemon cake
 and brownies, deep-fried apple rings, and healthy chocolate cookies
(wow, we should really fry a chicken. As a counterbalance, or something…)

- I wore the new Liebesbotschaft Basics cashmere sweater in the prettiest rosé, a warm parka and a casually elegant coat by Topshop (one that you still have a chance of winning, by the way),

- I took you with me for a day out in Berlin, and told you which
 outfit to pack for a trip to the city ,

- I lovingly poked fun of
15 characteristics of the Germans , described the Americans based on Noelle’s experiences, and told you why you are never too old or too young to live a successful and happy life.

By the way I am writing this post on the road:
I am on the ICE (High Speed Train) to Düsseldorf, the fall landscape is rushing past me, in front of me a steaming cup of green tea, I assemble photographs and a very likeable lady occupies the seat opposite mine. She is on the way to Kazhakstan and Afghanistan in order to conduct negotiations for the German Embassy in her role as a dialogue coach (and I assured her I would not mention her on my blog, so please forget this all very quickly! You read nothing!). 

I had completely forgotten how nice it is to take the train.
You can start conversations with the most interesting people within a few minutes, you can work or read in a relaxed atmosphere (and stretch your legs doing so ;)) – or simply enjoy the gorgeous fall backdrop.

Another thing I had forgotten: there were sets of cups to be won with the Jacobs-give-away!
But you just don’t mention anything, honestly!
Nobody writes, nobody calls and complains – I guess next thing I have to take your stuff to your doorstep?
Just like at home: you have to do everything yourself.

The winners of one set of cups each are:

Congratulations and please mail me!

Back to all of you:
Do you want a preview for November?

Oh, I will just bury you in love until you lose your senses…
That makes you happy, right?
And it makes me double as happy.

So long,

Freitag, 24. Oktober 2014

Healthy chocolate cookies + 5 facts about Americans.

I’ve NEVER been praised as exuberantly for my cooking skills as yesterday.
And I did not even serve anything spectacular: we had quinoa salad, grilled salmon and oven-baked pumpkin with feta cheese.
This morning I prepared a slice of wholegrain bread with cream cheese, chopped arugula and radishes, my child by my side sighing (!) with happiness - the longtime reader will have guessed it by now :
Noelle is back.

You, too, are looking for a grateful child?

Just send her abroad – a good place would be America. 

Yet, just as Berlin does not stand for Germany, New York does not stand for America: how about Missouri?
Preferably a small town far away from any big cities? 

Even if I am fully aware that you will run into the strawberry cheese faction just as often anywhere in the world (yesss, even in Recklinghausen!): 

Noelle really struggled with the eating behavior overseas. 

Other differences according to Noelle:

1. Everything is BIG. .

Refrigerators, cars, drinks, roads, McDonald’s menus, people (directly related to the big menus), the selection of breakfast cereals, shopping malls, roads, everything.

2. Americans love it COLD.

ACs everywhere: at school, inside homes, in malls, in museums. The refrigerators, too, are set to a much colder setting than here – everything inside is close to freezing.
Drinks are enjoyed at an extremely cold temperature.
If you order an apple (e.g. instead of fries with your meal), it is served so cold that you can hardly take a bite.

3. They like their food SWEET AND GREASY AND COLORFUL.

It seemed to Noelle that there were only three flavors: 
1. Extremely sweet.  
2. Extremely greasy.
3. Both at the same time.

Furthermore everyone loves colorful food – the more intense and unnatural the colors, the better! Even Haribo gummi bears come in more intense colors than ours, and they taste noticeably sweeter.

There is White Chocolate Bacon and Barbecue soda – all the while, at the end of the day, everything tastes nearly the same.
Which is: sweet.

(The "clean eating/healthy food" movement seems to be more of a thing in the big cities). 

4. Students display fantastic SCHOOL SPIRIT.
Everyone is fully supportive of their school, proudly wearing their school shirts/jackets, attending football games and other school events in great numbers.
Classes like dancing, cheerleading, marching band, jazz band, football, cooking, theater, health are regular parts of the curriculum.

5. They love to DRESS UP.

They all love dances and festive events, which happen regularly – accordingly they get dressed to the nines for these occasions (while the everyday school outfit is quite often careless and almost sloppy, and hardly anyone wears anything but sweat pants).

For a dance, though, they rev up:

the girls (and their mothers) visit the hair salon for artful curls, get their make-up and nails done, and buy a new dress for every prom and homecoming. 
By the way, the moms are just as glamorous, taking endless pictures of their children and bursting with pride – how pretty they look/that they have a date/that they were voted queen of the dance.
For to become homecoming queen or king is a very big deal.

Noelle brought back one big proclivity: she loves American cookies even more than ever before!
But they still have to be gooey inside. I have tried my hand at a slightly healthier version:  
these chocolate cookies are prepared with raw chocolate, are chockfull of good things – and simply taste absolutely delicious.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wet ingredients:

1 Tbsp ground flaxseed (soaked in 3 Tbsp water)

1 egg
¼ cup melted coconut oil 
4 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup cane sugar
a pinch of vanilla pulp or a bit of ground vanilla 

Dry ingredients:

1/2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of sea salt
3 Tbsp raw cocoa powder(e.g. via Amazon)
heaped 1/3 cup oat flour (just chop rolled oats in the blender)
heaped ¾ cup wheat flour (can also be mixed with wholegrain flour)
3 Tbsp milk
5 oz chopped bitter-sweet chocolate (raw chocolate)
3-4 Tbsp dried cranberries or raisins 

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Mix wet ingredients in a big bowl (flaxseed, egg, coconut oil, butter, cane sugar, vanilla pulp).
2. Now add the dry ingredients step by step. If the dough gets too dry, just add a little milk. The dough’s consistency is ideal, if you can shape small balls with it (reasonably well).
3. Now roll small balls (approx. the size of golf balls) and place them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Then slightly press down on the dough balls, to a thickness of about ¼ “ to ½”.  
4. Bake for approx. 9 minutes, so that they are still nice and soft on the inside – depending on size and thickness this can take a bit longer or shorter. 

You can order the big Ball mason jar at Blueboxtree, it is perfectly suitable for a larger amount of cookies.
Cake stand by Räder.


p.s. Stay tuned for the next episode: “5 facts about the inhabitants of Southern Mongolia”.

Written by Ben. 


This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.

Mittwoch, 22. Oktober 2014

5 rules of interior decoration, feasible for anyone (+ winners)

Let’s spend some time today on interior decoration – and how you can playfully use it to create lovely surroundings.

So get comfortable and enjoy the presentation – yes, even you there, in the back.

Please no texting and no rocking of chairs (will result in baking cake, you know the procedure.)

By the way, my daughter Jil is not part of the decoration (while being well able to throw you a  decorative look, without doubt!), but I see her so rarely that I simply have to take pictures, once she is actually here ;). 

These 5 simple elements will help you to imbue your living quarters with an individual and beautiful atmosphere.

Fact is that hardly anyone wants to live in a place that looks like a furniture store – not even if it was a Swedish one ;).

To avoid this from happening I will show you 5 rules today how to achieve a pretty result without great effort or means.

The whole secret is a skillful mix of:

1. OLD + NEW

My own absolute favorite: modern elements mixed with a few eye catchers from the flea market.

Why is this so?
Because flea market finds (or antique store finds/inherited pieces) tell much more about a person than those bought in a furniture exhibition – as one will often simply adopt the stylists’ suggestions.
But to find a piece in the midst of a scrapheap, which will perfectly fit into different surroundings and even creates a WOW effect – that’s an art in itself!

Something old among current things provides exactly the right tension, so the onlooker does not get bored.

It can be an old black and white photograph among modern prints.

Or an antique camera perched on top of a pile of books about contemporary living.
Or an old wooden stool in front of a modern sofa. 

A nice idea:
special items that would otherwise seem a little “lost” can find their perfect place in the spotlight with the help of a bell jar.
A bell jar automatically calls out: “look here, I am particularly precious!” and lifts the piece to the status of a sculpture – even if they are just some small antlers from the flea market. 


Often it is not only the age of things that is a decisive factor – but more so their effect.

For example: one cannot really differentiate the shape of a vase from the 60s from the many modern elements of decoration – even if it is a vintage piece-  since several labels look to classic designs of the past again.
Not a problem in itself – one only has to make sure that one does not end up with a “matchy-matchy” look again.

So go on, try placing something rustic in a modern setting!

A coarsely woven Swiss army blanket on a modern couch with straight lines.

A group of wooden candle holders on top of a simple, new dresser.
A wicker basket (basketwork always has a rustic and somewhat cozy effect) with magazines in front of a modern fireplace.


Mixing textures is one of the most important styling moves.

It works with big things:

rough wooden table with chairs made of synthetic material (smooth).

As well as with small things:

a chunky wooden bowl filled with many apples, that roll around in it, all smooth and shiny.
Some delicate feathers and chestnuts, encased in prickly husks, in sleek china dishes. 

Rough and smooth – soft and hard – delicate and rugged:

the mix achieves a beautiful, individual and exciting effect!


I admit, this point is probably mostly dependent on someone’s personal sense of style and personality, but I still want to claim that:

most people do not like cluttered rooms.

Especially women sometimes feel the urge to place another little flower/scented candle/decorative item everywhere, or to hang up yet another picture.


the most beautiful pieces do not make an impact, if they are not seen – so: don’t fear the gap! Yes to the white wall!
Place items in groups (like the white china dishes on a tray – together with the scented candles), and leave enough space between the groups.
However, not in order to fill it yet again with clutter (“oh, look, there’s space, I could place this little votive…”) – but simply EMPTY space.

On the other hand, a room is just as cold and uncomfortable, if you simply take away EVERYTHING, in the sense of:

"I don’t like clutter” – rooms like that always convey the idea that the owner has just moved in and hasn’t finished unpacking ;).
It seems cold and uncomfortable – only details create an atmosphere. 

Don't take it too seriously.

It is ONLY decoration.

Grown-ups at play.
Creative pastimes. 

Some people have an inherent knack for it and everything always looks perfect, others generally have a little more difficulty in magically creating a still life from things.
Sometimes it works wonderfully, sometimes nothing matches, independent of how often you shift items back and forth.

For this reason: don’t give a damn!

It is supposed to be about playing and testing, about rummaging through flea markets, about getting inspired and enjoying and not so much about achieving anything – or even impressing anybody. 
So never expect anything of yourself or even put yourself under pressure, don’t take the subject too seriously, but let your creativity flow, very playfully and without worries.

What’s the point of the most beautiful surroundings, if the person living in it is discontent, stressed or frustrated?

You can never decorate as beautifully as love can…

Sources of supply:

bell jar: La Maison

china dishes Bloomingville: La Maison

poster (big and small): Villa Smilla

antlers, camera: flea market


Winner of the Jacobs give-away:
Lilli und Lotta

Winner of the Babyssimo give-away:

Kate MUC

Congratulations, my lovelies, please get in touch via email.



p.s. Did you see my big, new antlers ;)?

Did you ;)?
Unfortunately I have to move house now to make sure not every empty wall gets filled…

This post was translated by Ginnell Studio, thank you so much!

Montag, 20. Oktober 2014

Favorite parka + wild boar salami + happy moments

Ben and I stroll through the farmer’s market – he shows me yellow carrots, purple tomatoes, huge bell peppers from Sicily, zucchini shaped like balls, and red onions the size of small pumpkins.

We try fresh apple cider and sweet mangoes, and buy small red apples and beets in different colors. 
We haul the way-too-heavy bags home, chatting and wondering about the incredibly creative diversity of fruit and vegetables.

I sit on some stone steps in the middle of the city, eating a sandwich that I bought at a small stall: two slices of rye bread enveloping wafer-thin organically raised pork, straight from the grill, and coleslaw.  

The sun shines through the fall-colored leaves, I close my eyes and inhale the wonderfully mild air.

Ben and I watch a program by an English comedy star on YouTube.
We’ve been doing this for a few days, only a few minutes every day – half of it we barely understand, but we still think it’s all absolutely hilarious.

The husband suggests to go and buy wild boar salami from a specialty booth at the market.
I say no (wild boar salami?! What the heck?!).
He suggests to at least try it.
I say no.  
He asks how much it is: the small piece is 11,-€, I say no again. We try the salami nevertheless, I simply cannot believe how delicious it is.
How could I ever live without wild boar salami?
The husband can count himself lucky that I persevered.

Jil and I are in a traffic jam and arrive late at an event – everyone looks in our direction when we barge in and, laughing and whispering, cause some disturbance, but above all spread good humor in an until then rather formal crowd.

I have a hair appointment, and would like to marry the stylist in an instant and take her home with me.

The husband, Jil and I are seated under a huge umbrella at Vapiano’s, eating pasta, talking about our adventures and dreams, at the same time texting with Noelle, who is in the States right now, and above all goofing around the entire time.

I mix the season’s last Italian plums with blackberries, raspberries and small, sweet grapes from the farmer’s market to make a fall-inspired
 fruit salad, and brew a big pot of black tea for everyone.

The husband and I stroll through a flea market and find antlers (IT’S BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE ANY ANTLERS YET, THAT’S WHY!) and a small table for Jil’s kitchen.

Upon returning home I decide that I’d rather keep the table for myself – the child subsequently wants to leave for Berlin straight away.
By foot.
Carrying the table.

I cozy up on the couch with a book, lighting candles everywhere, while Jil goes partying.
And the men go swimming.
I’m not going to say that I might have nibbled here and there while reading – but nothing is left of the wild boar salami the next day.
(it’s only fair, really, since I insisted on buying it in the first place.)

(And all of the above happened in the course of one single day!)

Why I wrote it down for you?
Because every single moment I thought: ”This moment is the most beautiful and most intense moment of my life. The world’s most beautiful moment. The greatest pleasure possible.” 

I admit, on the surface it looks like it’s all too often connected to food (and yes, I am very often hungry!), but that’s not it: 
I want to much rather inspire to experience this extreme pleasure – totally independent of the current situation, time, location or company.
I think a lot of people simply “check off” the daily chores – and take time for pleasure only when they are in Paris, for example.
Or on the week-end.
Or when the children are older.
Or: vacations, finally!

I, however, think every place and every moment is so incredibly beautiful – whether it is London or Stuttgart, whether I’m alone or with somebody, whether I’m out or sitting at my dining room table.
It also does not depend on (wild boar) salami or my fellow human beings.

I am just so happy inside of me, and at the same time not at all willing   
a) to put myself under any time pressure, or
b) to do things while having a different agenda going on in my head – in other words being consciously present wherever I am, or
c) to feel in any way bored, depressed, sad, melancholy or frustrated.

I think I am simply worth more than that!
And nobody can make me, if I don’t want to, right?

Hey, I could write another inspirational post, I swear… 

My new parka also provides pure pleasure – it is completely fur-lined and features a nice, roomy hood.
(To appease animal rights’ activists: no animal had to die for the production of this fur, since only products that are used in the food industry were used for it. It was made from “leftovers”, so to speak – and is technically no different to a pair of leather gloves, etc.)

This parka is the perfect mix of casual and super warm!
It was love at first sight for Jil (“because the Berlin winters are so cold!”), which means that soon I won’t have neither parka NOR table. 

Parka: HERE
Big Tine K. home vase: HERE
(both at Villa Smilla)

Ankle boots: Boss
Leather pants: Hallhuber

Fur pillows: home-made
Tine K. home pillows: La Maison


p.s. If you, too, want to have a laugh: Eddie Izzard
 is simply the best!

This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.