Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Travel Diary Berlin: Shopping

Just like London, Berlin offers a variety of shopping opportunities. Each time I go back, a ton of new independent boutiques have opened their doors. Same with restaurants, it's seriously hard to keep up! So it's best to ask locals or get a travel guide that's frequently updated (such as Berlin inspires that comes out twice a year). Though, if you can't be bothered to go through all the effort of noting down all interesting shops beforehand, your safe bet is Mitte: Walk from Hackescher Markt down to Eberswalder Straße. No matter, how much Berlin evolves and how many stores change owners, you'll surely find some interesting shops on the way. As Hotel Mani, where we stayed the first day, was a few steps away from Rosenthaler Platz, we were right in the middle of stylish Berlin. Here are just some of the shops you can find there! Scroll down to see them all.

Kauf dich glücklich | Fashion, Beauty & Homeware | Rosenthalerstraße 17 – Berlin, Germany

I used to know Kauf dich glücklich for their cafe that offered delicious and rich waffles. Now they also have a big store that is really living up to its name, which roughly translates to "buy happiness for yourself". They have the most prominent homeware names from Bloomingville, Ferm to House Doktor and even their curated selection of fashion items matches the minimalist and clean aesthetic. Their beauty products seem quite interesting, lots of brands I've never heard of before. Definitely need to check them out. Definitely worth a visit!

Hay Berlin | Homewares & Stationary | Auguststraße 77/78 – Berlin, Germany | www.hayberlin.de

Hay is probably favourite of many who like Scandinavian design, myself included. I went frantic when the Hay Market opened in Selfridges. Though, when Emma told me there was a proper Hay store in Berlin it went right on top of my "places to visit" list. I first got to know about the brand because of their mix and match trays of which I own a few as well. I love Hay for its timeless, but edgy design at an affordable price. At the Hay store you can find all their furniture, homewares, textiles and stationary. Though, be aware, when entering, because you'll want to have everything they offer!

do you read me?! | Books & Magazines | Auguststraße 28 - Berlin/Germany | www.doyoureadme.de

Stumbled across this little gem by chance. The store offers a variety of international magazines and books, covering topics from fashion, photography and interiors to culture and society. Everything's online now, but nothing beats ink on paper. I would have spent hours browsing through the magazines, but unfortunately, I was on my way to meet a friend. Next time, I'll definitely take out some time from my schedule to go through everything they have.

JACKS Beauty Department | Beauty | Kastanienallee 19 - Berlin/Germany 

When I first saw the hand painted brushes from JACKS Beauty Department on my instagram feed, I was so jealous of my friends living in Berlin, who had the opportunity to get their hands on one of these beautiful brushes. Besides their unique look, the bristles impress with their incredible softness. I have yet to try them out, but since I've just gotten a new set of brushes, I didn't buy any. The store itself is so tastefully decorated that you don't know where you should start looking and offers make-up, nail and other beauty services. Plus, you can find a lot of unique beauty brands that were carefully selected by owner Miriam Jacks. It's a heaven for anyone interested in make-up and beauty.

Broke + Schön | Fashion | Alte Schönhauser Straße 35 - Berlin/Germany | brokeundschoen.de

One of my friends highly recommended Broke + Schön to me. Apparently she cannot enter the store without buying at least one item (she actually bought a few pieces when she went with us as well). They've got such a great selection of items that we spent hours in the dressing room, trying on one piece after the other. It's a bit pricey for Berlin standards, but when you've got labels such as Cheap Monday, it's not surprising.

harmony | Homewares | Münzstraße 11b | facebook.com/harmonyberlin

Another place for interior lovers. Harmony is a tiny shop next to my favourite frozen yoghurt place. But despite the size of the store, you'll find so many great products. I especially liked their selection of ceramics and bought a beautiful hand-thrown ceramic bowl for my jewellery there. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Review: Boots Beauty Box

Boots is probably one of the best things about living in the UK. Whenever I have friends visiting from Germany, it's at the top of their list of places to visit. But who can blame them, it has anything you'd need from cosmetics to skincare. So when Boots sent me a Boots Beauty Box full of their own carefully developed skincare products, I was more than happy to try them. The name might suggest that Boots is joining the subscription box craze, but it's actually to introduce Boots' extensive skincare range to review. It covers everything from make-up removing, cleansing to moisturising at such an affordable price. Here are some impressions:

One of my favourites is the Boots Simply Sensitive Protecting Day Moisturiser SPF15* (£1.74)! I have oily combination skin, so I always look for light moisturisers, but still makes my skin feel smooth and soft. It's formulated to be kind to the skin, so it has no fragrance and colour, which I prefer. I also liked the Boots Botanics Micellar 3-in-1 Cleansing Solution*(£1.49) quite a bit, as it gets rid of the main part of my make-up easily, before I continue with my cleansing oil. The only thing that bothers me a little is the packaging. You have to be careful, when putting it on a cotton pad, because it's quite easy to spill. I still have problems with the occasional spot, so spot treatments are a necessity in my skincare drawer. I've only used the Boots Skin Clear Ultra Rapid Action Spot Gel*(£3.99) once so far, but it definitely seems to keep its promise of reducing the size of spots within 2 hours. 

I was curious to try out the Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Charcoal Facial Scrub* (£3.21), since tea tree and witch hazel are known for fighting spots. My face definitely felt much smoother after using it, tough the small particles were quite rough and are not really suitable for those with sensitive skin. As for the Boots Essentials Cleansing Wipes Moisturising for Dry Skin* (£1.50), I personally haven't used them for a few years as they leave my skin feeling dry and rough afterwards. So I'll probably just use it to clean my hands off any make-up residues.

I definitely recommend trying out the products in Boots' own brand (view all skincare products here). With all products under £5 (as they are on offer right now), it's definitely worth giving them a go. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Between Pillars

Faux Leather Pinafore* Bankfashion | T-Shirt New Look | Air Max Thea Print Nike | Duster Coat Forever21
Sunglasses ASOS | Backpack* Reiss | photos taken by Emma (bloomzy.co.uk)

Nowadays, I try to travel as light as possible. Just packing the essentials and not carrying around a hundred of outfits which I won't even be able to wear. The Duster Coat was easy to thrown on any kind of outfit, adding a bit of extra warmth in the evenings or when it got a bit more chilly. It can be both casual and elegant (not that I went to any place that required me to dress elegantly, but you never know!). The trainers were a no-brainer anyway, my favourite for their comfort and the stylish print. And packing your best t-shirt is a given as well (of course, I packed it for my Scotland trip). You can wear it simply with some jeans or here I styled it with a pinafore dress for that extra bit of "trying-to-look-like-I-put-some-effort".