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BACK | TO | BLIGHTY.

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The first weekend back in England and we had a forage in our new back garden, where we found the most marvellous rhubarb! 

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…and just like that, we’re back in Blighty.

For me, our secondment to Berlin feels like such a whirlwind. A total blur. We were there 9 months, and for the most part, I loved it. Loved being at work, loved the people, the culture, the places to see and the things to do. Berlin was incredible for kids. Which I had never anticipated! Even restaurants will go out of their way for children. It’s a highly child-friendly City.

But the truth is, England is home. And in Essex, we’ve found a county that I’m not sure I could ever move away from again.

Also, just wanted to shout out to some new friends. I felt majorly disconnected and really quite lonely when we were living out in Berlin. Whilst this may, or may not, come as a surprise, I found the Insta-Community to be ERRRRRRRRYTHING. I can’t tell you how much the chatter and support helped me. Even if I wasn’t mustering the energies to join in – just keeping abreast of how everyone else was getting on, also helped. Never underestimate the power of a Digital-shoulder, and how it can impact on others! I look forward to meeting you all IRL soon.

It feels good to be back.

I have started writing a Things I Missed list, in true Mother Of All Lists (aka and/or Clemmie @Peckham_Mamma) style! Might be helpful for prospective/current Ex-Pat’s living in all different corners of this lovely globe of ours.

So here is to being back in Blighty. I’ve missed you, you gorgeous thing.

MM.

 

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Brand In Focus | Southwood Stores.

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Southwood Stores is an online concept store by Hayley Southwood, where you will find handpicked, quirky, Scandinavian influenced gifts and homewares. Hayley believes passionately about empowering women and has recently launched her own in-house label GRAY, celebrating strong women.

I first came across Hayley and her online shop back in 2013. (I can’t believe it was 3 years ago?! Time sure does fly with a toddler in tow!) At that time, Hayley was the only UK stockist of Hello Apparel; and I went straight ahead and ordered a HELLO Jumper from her, along with one of our most loved prints that sat in Eli’s bedroom, The Mountain Print by Clare Nicholson. I always loved parcels from Hayley, with the attention to detail of packaging and customer care; with some treats even winging their way over to Berlin!

Watching Hayley, via Instagram, over the past few years has been wonderful. Seeing how her little shop has grown and expanded with wicked new products and new brands, through to the launch of her very own clothing label: GRAY By Southwood Stores.  The ethos of Hayley and her shop is to be brave and follow your dreams. And she’s definitely succeeding there – having now opened her very own Southwood Stores showroom – where you can not only have a cuppa with the lady herself, but from here she also offers Social Media / Branding services with sessions operating on-site.

Details of showroom opening times are as follows:

Monday 10am-2.30pm
Wednesday 10am-2.30pm
Friday 10am-2.30pm
First Saturday of the month 11am-2pm

I could buy everything that Southwood Stores have in stock, but here are some of my current favourites hitting the top of my #MoMWishlist:

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WIRE MESH MEMO-BOARD (BLUE) – £55.00

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VINTAGE SCHOOL CHAIRS – £60.00

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PALM LEAVES – £55.00

Back to GRAY By Southwood Stores. Hayley worked really hard to find the right garments for her label – high quality and responsibly made. The slogan graphic prints are also locally screen-printed by a “woman owned business”. I think it’s fantastic that Hayley has stuck to her local roots here too – there’s nothing better than championing your local business community and spreading the love even further afield.

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The sweatshirts are super soft, wash well and have a really flattering fit. I went for the WARRIOR sweatshirt. Because, well, we’re all WARRIORS. “The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about”. This is something that resonated deeply with me – and I do feel like a proper WARRIOR when I’m wearing my sweatshirt. It’s more than just words, isn’t it? It’s about how these things make you FEEL.

On top of alllllll this, Hayley is also hosting a series of Conversational Meet-Up’s, of like-minded Women. The recent one looked brilliant so look forward to the next Event’s being scheduled. You can find the latest details and tickets, here. 

Hayley is a true inspiration and I look forward to seeing how Southwood Stores continues to grow and evolve! (Oh, and I can’t wait to have a cuppa with her in person at the new showroom soon!). Keep doing what you’re doing Hayley, everything about your being is amazing. Just remember to BREATHE (and get the kettle on!).

 

MM.

*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a Mama who I think is frikkin amazing*. 

 

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Kids’ Footwear | New Balance Trainers / Sneakers / Sneaks.

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A few years ago we lived and worked in East London. We saw a lot of trends, styles, brands, come and go. But it was practically overnight that I spotted guys wearing NEW BALANCE trainers; and I’m not gonna lie, I was like “how are they even making a come back?!”. As a kid, New Balance were always a trainer that I saw as being fit for purpose, like for playing Tennis in or something else sporty!

A few more weeks went by, seeing more and more colours of sneaks popping up; and then I saw a pair of Bordeaux Red (my favourite wine no less) New Balance 574’s in the window of Albam, Spitalfields. I fell in love. I wanted them for myself, even though they were Men’s. I knew right then that my opinion on New Balance had been overturned, forever. And rightly so.

Fast forward 5 years and my almost 4 year old is loving life in his very own pair of All-Black 574’s.

For those who don’t perhaps know, Eli was born with several medical conditions – Talipes, Torticollis and Hypermobility. From before he was even born, Eli endured some pretty intense tests, scans, physio and corrective treatments (Ponseti method). He came out the other side meeting the milestones that all his pals met, at the same age (and some he hit even sooner than anticipated!). While, on the outset Eli looks ‘fixed’, you can’t help but notice just how clumsy he can be, how off-balance he can be and how crazily flexible he can be! He’s super-active and he never did learn to *just* walk – he quite literally got up one day and RAN. Eli also doesn’t sleep well – never has – since being a newborn. We sometimes excuse his lack of sleep with, “he just doesn’t want to miss out”, “he’s being a typical toddler”. But the older he’s getting, the more convinced we are that it could well be his conditions waking him and giving him jip. He’s commented recently on his feet and knee’s being sore. We were told that it’s likely he could grow up with Migraines and will get early onset Arthritis due to the flexibility of his joints. (We have his next check-up with his consultant in June).

When Eli did start running walking we struggled to find suitable footwear that supported him fully, that would aid against relapse and would keep him upright. With this all in mind, I wanted to highlight how good these trainers are for his feet; and his balance (no pun intended). They’re a great fit for him, just narrow enough. They tie quite tightly, with no rubbing at any points. They keep him more sturdy than any other footwear he has, yet they’re really lightweight. They’ve worn exceptionally well and actually still look brand new. Eli has commented that they’re “my comfy adventure shoes”. And I think that says it all! He’s really happy with them – he runs like the wind in them – and looks pretty cool too.

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I ordered Eli’s 574’s from OFFICE and had them delivered within the week to Berlin. They have a massive range of Kids’ New Balance styles, in loads of wicked colours. There are also velcro versions for smaller feet… or for feet that love untying those shoe laces! You can shop the full range online here.

 

MM.

 

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CALLING ALL > Music-Loving Mama’s!

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After having Eli my go-to daily outfit was a pair of wet-look leggings and the baggiest top I could find. I’d worked in Fashion since leaving Uni and had completely lost my way with getting dressed when King Eli arrived. 18 months later I had become so lazy and boring with my day-to-day outfits and didn’t feel like ME anymore. My excuse for everything was my 18 month old toddler, I didn’t need to dress up for him…

I had an epiphany when I stopped working from home and ventured back into the office. I started grabbing for those sacred pieces in my wardrobe that I’d kept “for best” and I started to wear them as everyday clothes. (Considering we rarely go dancing or even for meals anymore!). I became ME again. Dressing for YOU, makes YOU so much happier. (Gotta say here though, since moving to Berlin, 70% of my wardrobe is in storage, so I don’t really have a “for best” section anymore… I’m fairly happy with my wardrobe. Despite the constant stream DHL deliveries from Topshop, Zara and ASOS… (I send back more than I keep 😉 ). I’m more or less me though, depending on how much sleep I’ve had… ). But what’s important is these changes make YOU, YOU again.

I hadn’t realised until only recently, but I’d forgotten about MUSIC. Actual MUSIC. I’d always been an avid gig-goer from my teens; going to a gig every week (at least) whilst at Uni. We did the Festivals and the more intimate gig’s. Music was my EVERYTHING, just like my dressing up; from growing up, getting ready and going out, to my daily London commute! Even with my work, I had musicians come in weekly, sometimes daily, doing a session that I’d be posting across the HQ Social channels, or just help out with picking clothing from the shop-floor. Music was always with me. How had I forgotten about it? How had I forgotten how good music can be, how good it can make you feel?

Being in the office in Berlin, we have a communal Sonos system, which is great on a good day! But the majority of the time, the music can be, let’s say, eclectic (to be polite).  Which is fine, not everyone has to agree on everything, all of the time! I also work from a very old laptop that doesn’t even connect to the Sonos system, so rarely, if ever, do I input to the playlist. I have resorted to listening to Radio 1 through my headphones during work hours. But the music is pretty dire from Radio 1, it’s repetitive and monotonous. Don’t get me wrong,  I enjoy the laughs from Grimmy in the morning, Scott & Chris after 1pm and then Greg in the afternoon. But I dislike the 10am-1pm slot. A lot. Not to be rude about it. But I switch off. It’s certainly not the music that I liked to listen to. I either then grin & bare the Sonos playlist or put my Apple Music catalogue, consisting of mostly 2004, on shuffle. Last week I realised I hadn’t really listened to any new music since having Eli. I turn to The Beatles, Nirvana, David Bowie and The Lib’s for continued listening or we have shuffle on when we’re cooking or tidying up.

I’m eager to find out what other Mama’s enjoy… and what you’re listening to, right now. Basically, I want to know what exactly is ace of base! Or are you like me? Had you forgotten that music actually existed outside of that annoying Nursery Rhymes CD, the Peppa Pig theme tune or the Disney Top 100 tracks ? (Or indeed outside of Radio 1?). If you are stuck in a musical-rut then I propose a new hashtag!

 

#MamaMusicMonday

 

Going forward, I want to start my new Monday-week with some new listening. So Mama’s, let’s get sharing! What are you listening to in work, at the gym, on the school run, on the commute? What do you listen to when you’re doing a tidy up with the kids at the end of the day? What do you dance around to in the kitchen? (Or prance around to when you’ve poured that so-needed Gin when the kids are eventually asleep?!).  Share absolutely anything and everything with the hashtag #MamaMusicMonday – at any time in the week. From easy-listening to fast-paced! Any genre. Old or new! Just something with a beat that can set the tone for a new week – perhaps something none of us have listened to before – and definitely nothing remotely toddler related (please!). Music can help us in a million ways – it can do so much more than make your feet tap. And I’d so sadly forgotten that bit too. It wasn’t until darling Bowie passed away that I remembered how much music can mean, for so many. The emotions and memories you can feel from hearing one of your favourites…

SO with all that, I’m ready to resuscitate my musical education. I’m ready to regain that old ME who loved music so much. And you never know, you might spy me at a gig near you again soon 😉

MM.

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Hello 2016…

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YESMUM Cards, by Hollie de Cruz, available in her shop,  here.


Better late, than never, right? Happy New Year.

2016: The dawn of a new age for me. 2016 is all about positive vibes only.

I ended the year on a not so good note, I’ll be honest. I’ll go into further details when I get round to blogging about my wonderful YESMUM Cards. But that aside, I wanted to bring the old blog up to date now we’re in 2016.  So what’s happened so far in 2016? Well, we’ve had the coldest of January days we’ve ever had, ever, a flight back to our Motherland in the North of England, the death of the incredible David Bowie – which has left me somewhat broken hearted, amazing snow-filled fun, a cough, a cold, a stomach bug and Tonsillitis. The past few weeks have also cemented the fact that I need to step back and CHILL – for someone with anxiety, this is obviously a bigger thing than just ‘chilling out’. I’m taking steps to indeed ‘chill the hell out’, and I feel much happier stepping into February. Onwards and upwards, eh!

Here are a few snaps from January and into February:
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Our first flight of 2016, at 10am on 01/01/2016 – start the year as you mean to go on?!

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Haupstr. 155, Schöneberg, Berlin – the apartment where the wonderful David Bowie lived during his Berlin years. Myself and Mr Memoirs were always Bowie fans, but something really struck us about his shock passing. Perhaps it was because we’re in Berlin and he did so much for this incredible city? We genuinely felt heartbroken and haven’t stopped listening to his back catalogue since. We found the trip to his apartment so emotional – albeit, Eli referring to Bowie as ‘The Starman’ and picking yellow flowers for him definitely didn’t help things! We’re so sad he’s gone, but so happy he existed. Wonderful Starman, we will be forever indebted to you for the musical education and creativity. Our son will live in a happier place for your music and choice-looks, and for that we will be eternally grateful. 

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We hope Berlin does change the street permanently! 

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Winter MOTHER – Jewels by the absolute SuperMum that is Kelly Seymour of Cult Of Youth.

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FINALLY! The schnee arrived!

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Wanna build a schneemann?

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Eli got a mega bike for Christmas and refused to part ways on the Kita-run, regardless of terrain! 

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CHEEKY SNOW-CHOPS!

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…tea solves everything. Especially a proper cuppa!

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We dressed in lots of red to show our support for the recent British Heart Foundation #WearItBeatIt campaign. See more on my post, here: Our personal account, and #WearItForIvy!

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…and here we are, today. Today saw the bluest of skies and a mild 12c! Spring is certainly in the air, and I for one cannot wait for sunshine filled adventures!

For now, over and out!

 

MM.

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Eating Out | GLASS, Berlin.

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WHEREGLASS, 10623 Berlin.

DATE: 23.10.2015

TIME: 7:30pm.

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We took the train to Zoologischer Garten and strolled along the chilly, but short, route to GLASS. Filled with the anticipation of a magical evening, celebrating Mr Memoirs’ 30th birthday, we actually passed GLASS! We backtracked and found the restaurant tucked away between building’s.

First impressions were great – we received a very warm welcome and an abundance of smiles. Good start. We were asked to choose where we would like to sit, we decided on a lovely table in the corner, by the window. We were immediately provided with the menu… hidden inside an envelope. Having previously had correspondance with the Host, Juliana, I had decided to keep the new menu a surprise! I had read several incredible reviews of Glass and of the Head Chef, Gal Ben Moche, so had high expectations – and I was not disappointed!

The tasting menu is available with 5 courses (€75 each) or with 7 courses (€95 each). We opted for 5 courses, as well as the wine pairing (€45 each).

The five courses I chose were:

ONION SOUP // GRUYÈRE / BRIOCHE

FOIE GRAS // PONZU / DUCK CONFIT (+ 10 €)

MINESTRONE // SCALLOPS / BEANS / ZUCCHINI

JERUSALEM // POULET DE BRESSE / CAULIFLOWER

CANDY BOX – Dessert – which has to be shared + 20 €

However, we were advised that we’d receive a surprise treat or two before our first course. I don’t think we could have been more shocked and in awe of the ‘treats’s. I, still today, a week on, cannot stop thinking about the first dish we received.

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Dehydrated soya milk with a miso sauce. Actually just the most incredible thing! I could have eaten a bowl full of this.

This was quickly followed by:

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Another sharing treat, the hot-cheese filled crackers to the bottom corners were my favourite! There was also sardine topped falafel and dehydrated egg’s and bacon.

We were then served another ‘breakfast’ style dish:

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This one was a sweet treat – with egg yolk just cooking to the bottom.

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“Taste on a spoon”. One of my favourite mouthful’s of the evening. Ravioli, filled with Oxtail broth, topped with oxtail, greens and parmesan. INSANE. This spoonful was just stunning. The ravioli popped open in your mouth, releasing warm liquor. I have never tasted anything like it.

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Next were served a homemade pretzel bun each, along with 2 slates of butter that were out of this world! One of the butter’s were made with olive oil – using olive’s from the vineyard where one of our wine’s were produced – the other was topped with volcanic salt.

We were then served the first dish we had picked from the 5-course tasting menu.

Mr Memoirs loves anything smoked and earthy, so ‘Forest in a glass’ with its mushrooms and vapour meant he was in his element!

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The waiter was incredible at describing each individual dish – and really set the scene with the Forest in a glass dish. Mr Memoirs remarked that it did indeed feel like he was walking into the depths of a forest, taking in the different scents of the forest floor. The smokiness lingered too – very clever.

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Onion Soup with Gruyere and Brioche. The dish was served with the onion consommé being poured at the table by the waiter, who explained all the fine details to the bottom of the bowl. A warming and tasty dish that left me cleaning the bowl with my leftover pretzel!

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Foie Gras with Ponzu and Duck Confit. There was a surcharge of an additional €10 on this dish, and it was so worth it! The Foie Gras was the best I’ve ever tasted and the duck confit ‘dumpling’ was divine. I could have definitely done with a gravy boat of the sauce however! It was just superb.

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“Minestrone” with Scallops, Beans and Zucchini. The waiter gave us a cheeky smile as he placed these dishes onto the table and declared, “This dish is a lie, it’s not really Minestrone! This dish is made using a lobster bisque…”. I’m not a fish easter, at all, so I was quite apprehensive about this dish to say the very least. But my goodness, it has completely changed my mind! The bisque was filled with bags of flavour, as was the pasta, beans and courgette. I also ate the majority of my scallop! Which is a huge achievement for me – and of course, a huge compliment for Glass. The scallop was so delicate and tasty, I couldn’t help but go back for more.

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Following this, we received another ‘treat’ – a Horseradish Sorbet. Never experienced anything like it. Just incredibly powerful and cooling, all at the same time.

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And now time for the ‘main’ – Jerusalem. Now, I am a person who would not order chicken on a restaurant menu. Chicken is a staple in our house, it makes for a quick and easy dinner for us all; or is reserved for Sunday lunch. Not special enough to order from a restaurant, in my opinion… That was my opinion until I tasted Poulet De Bresse, the most sought after chicken, all the way from France. I can’t even put into words how surprising this dish was – I didn’t want it to end. The chicken was like nothing you’ve ever tasted before, really very special indeed. The cauliflower details were so tasty, as were the peas and grains. Stunning.

…and then came the pièce de résistance. The Candy Box. Presented table-side, by head chef, Gal Ben Moshe. 

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The Candy Box is a magical display of childhood tastes. Obviously, liquid nitrogen is always a bonus too! This was the most memorable and fun dessert we’ve ever had. Gal presented our version of The Candy Box with “H B 2 U”, in celebration of Mr Memoirs’ 30th birthday. Very thoughtful.

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Also, shout out to Juliana who added a birthday candle to the proceedings!

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We chatted to Gal after we’d finished the meal and congratulated him on such a wonderful and unique dining experience. It’s going to be very difficult to top the evening we shared with GLASS. We will definitely be heading back to GLASS when the menu changes – which we imagine to be Spring as Gal tends to use seasonal ingredients. There is also a Vegetarian menu available; offering both the 5 or 7 course tasting menu.

I cannot rate GLASS highly enough – from the staff to the food, everything was just stunning. A relaxed atmosphere with the most unusual dishes. Simply a must whilst in Berlin! (And get a reservation in soon, I can see this restaurant gaining it’s first Michelin star very soon – it is already featured in the Michelin guide – so tables will be at a premium!).

Thank you GLASS.

MM.

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Restaurant GLASS
Uhlandstraße 195
10623 Berlin
Phone: 030-54710861
Email: reservierung@glassberlin.de
Website: glassberlin.de
Opening times:
Tuesday to Saturday from 18:00 to 23:00 clock

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Oh darling, let’s be ADVENTURERS!

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Another year has passed since I opened the dashboard to this blog. And my feet have barely touched the ground.

We’ve had birthday’s and Christmas, losing job’s, starting a new business, starting a new/old job, more birthday’s and the beginning of our biggest adventure yet – a move across the land and water to BERLIN. As most folk know, we love an adventure. We also love a house move (not the actual packing and unpacking bit though!) This time, we packed up our suitcases (x3) and somehow managed to get our entire home into a single storage unit and flew out of London Southend airport on 31st August; marking our 9th house move in the near-12 years we’ve been together. And definitely the most exciting house move to date.

We’ve relocated to Prenzlauer Berg, in central Berlin with work. Having been here a fortnight now, we absolutely love it! We will be registering as Berlin resident’s next week, which has so far hindered a lot of other registrations – such as applying for a Kita-Gutschein (I’ll document this process once we have one in hand!) and applying for a bank account etc. So we’ll be able to start to really settle into Berlin life once all these last hurdles have been overcome. PHEW!

In the meantime, I’ll be getting back into engaging with my blog. I’ve missed it so much. But living literally just around the corner from work and Eli’s prospective nursery, I’ll finally be able to find the time to go back to writing and reviewing – and of course, documenting our adventures along the way. I can’t wait!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with the latest: @JudyPink

Tschüß, bis bald!

MM.