48 Hours in London

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I was really excited to go on this trip, I had planned it for months. I’ve been to London before, this time was going to be my 10th time in that wonderful city. But this trip was something that I was especially excited about. I’m a huge NFL fan, I’ve been watching games for years, stayed up all night to see my team win and bought a ton of merchandise over the years. So planning my trip to London was something really special. My first American football game. 



We decided in February to go and see the Rams play the Cardinals in Twickenham stadium at the end of October. A good friend, as well as my cousin were gonna join me.

Since I live in Berlin and the airports there are really bad – sorry to say it, but it’s true – I went to Hamburg to catch my flight to London Heathrow there on Saturday morning. My flight was delayed by an hour due to the heavy wind in the London area. I normally would’ve taken the underground but because of the delay, I decided to take the Heathrow Express, which only takes 15 minutes from Heathrow to Paddington, which is right in the centre of London.

At Paddington, I met my friend, who shared the Airbnb with me. We stayed near Kings cross, which was perfect since it’s so close to the centre.

We spend the rest of the day shopping at Oxford Street, which is always really nice since there are so many shops that we don’t have in Germany. I got myself a sweater, as well as some Rosie for Autograph make up. I only travelled with carry-on so I didn’t have much space left in my suitcase.

The day after we went to get breakfast at a coffee shop before heading (yet again) to Oxford Street, this time I bought nothing and we ended up at a sports bar, where we stayed to watch premier league. In the afternoon we went to the Twickenham stadium to see the game. Sadly I wasn’t allowed to bring my camera and since it was dark I didn’t take good iPhone shots either.

The game was a lot of fun, even though the game wasn’t as thrilling as we expected it to be (the Rams won 33 – 00). It was freezing and I really wished I would’ve brought a scarf and gloves.

My flight back to Hamburg was at 3:30pm the next day, so I still had some time left to stroll around a little more. I went back to Oxford and Bond Street, bought some stuff at VS, had a snack and then went to the airport.

Even though it was a really short trip I still had lots of fun and I already miss this radiant city.

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How I edit my Instagram pictures

 

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I almost entirely edit my photos in Lightroom now. But before I decided to put money into my Instagram/Blog I only used free apps for editing. There are so many great apps and tricks that no one tells you about.

How I edit:

First of all, I decide which picture to use, because I usually take 3-10 pictures of the same thing. So when I decided on one picture I mark it as my favorite, so it’s easier to find.

Step 1:    Facetune

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Yes, I really use Facetune on MOST of my pictures.

I know that this app is famous for photoshop-like editing on your face and your body. But that’s NOT what I use it for. Facetune has one of the best whitening features in my opinion. Who doesn’t know the feeling when you took an almost perfect picture but something in it (that should be white) is grey or yellowish? This is where I use the whitening feature of the app.

But the whitening tool isn’t the only great thing. There is also a tool called “Details”. This tool brings out only selected details which I prefer over the detailing tools on some other apps that just sharpen the whole picture.

If I have a really colorful picture and I feel like the colors just don’t pop enough, I use the “Glow” tool. In the example I used it on the colorful stripes to make them stand out even more.

Step 2: VSCO

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VSCO is my absolutely favorite editing app. I’m sure some of you already use it and/or have heard of it. But there are some great features that not everybody knows.

So after you saved your facetune edits, open the picture in VSCO. The first thing that you will see when you open the app is your “gallery” here you can see your previous edits and all the pictures you added into the app. Open the picture you want to edit, you will see various filters. In my opinion, VSCO has some of the best filters.

My top 5 VSCO filters are: A5, HB1, HB2, NC, OAK2

For my example, I use the A5 filter. In NEVER use the filter on 100%, it’s just too much in my opinion. I usually turn it down to around +4.

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After I decided on a filter I start the “real” editing. I like my pictures a little bit darker, so I normally turn down the exposure and turn up the contrast.

I usually sharpen the image a little bit more, even if I already used the details tool in Facetune. But I try to use the clarity tool as little as possible, if used too much it makes your image look over edited.

As there are some whites and light colors in my example I put up the highlights a bit. I normally do the same with the darks but not in this image as I like how it looks without it.

If you want you can also tint your shadows. VSCO features 6 different colors for both shadows and highlights. I would recommend you to stay away from the highlight tint tough, it’s a little too much in my opinion.

 

One great thing about VSCO is that you can easily copy and paste your settings. This way you can edit multiple images at once and save A LOT of time.

So there you have it. You don’t need super expensive programs to edit a picture.

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Boots, braids and embroidered dresses

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I decided to do my first ever outfit post. I do not consider myself a fashion blogger, or even a real blogger, but when I feel really good in an outfit I feel the need to share it on here.

We took these photos on the first day of fall. I just love this season so much, everything starts to get more cozy, the trees turn from green into golden brown and you can finally enjoy all the food and drinks that somehow is only limited to the cold seasons (I’m thinking about hot chocolate, pumpkin bread and all the delicious candy).

I found this dress at Zara, while I was there to buy the boots, which I saw on a previous shopping spree. About a week ago I found a bellsleved dress on Asos (I will probably also make a post with that dress) and now I’m obsessed with dresses, black tights and biker boots.

Outfit:

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Top 10 breakfast places in Berlin

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1. Le Bon
This one is my absolute favorite. Le Bon is a small cozy restaurant in Kreuzberg. Their menu is small, but don’t let yourself be fooled, it’s quality over quantity. My personal favorite are the pancakes with caramel, banana, and berries. Let me tell you, they are heaven. Another favorite of ours is the avocado toast, it’s well seasoned and has homemade potatoe ruffles on top.

  • Boppstraße 1 / Kreuzberg/ 10967 Berlin
  • Tuesday to Saturday: 9:30-17:00

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2. Commonground 

I don’t usually go to hotel restaurants, but commonground is an exception. A really modern and chic restaurant and bar, that is part of the Circus Hotel. The French toast is served with berry yogurt and is one of the best French toast I’ve eaten so far. But what I like most about this place is the atmosphere. If you sit in the front you have a great view on the streets of “Mitte”, but if you prefer a calmer environment they also have a backyard, which is quite beautiful.

  • Rosenthaler Str. 1 / Mitte / 10119 Berlin
  • Monday to Friday: 7:30-midnight / Saturday & Sunday: 8:30-midnight

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3. Cozy’s

Cozy’s is one of the better breakfast places at the Boxhagenerplatz. Instead of serving the typical German “Wurst und Käse Platten” they have Fruit bowls, smoothies as well as pastries and baked goods. My personal favorites are the Mango bowl and the cheese croissant. Another reason why cozy’s has become one of my favorites is that they serve good coffee as well as high-quality tea.

  • Gabriel-Max-Straße 15A / Friedrichshain / 10245 Berlin
  • Monday to Friday: 10:00-17:00 / Saturday & Sunday: 10:00-18:00

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4. Roamers

If you have time you should go to Roamers in Kreuzberg. It’s amazing for breakfast but super tiny and you’ll have to bring some time with you. It’s definitely worth it though. They have pancakes, toast, cake and good coffee. It’s every food bloggers favorite breakfast place in the city.

  • Pannierstraße 64 / Kreuzberg / 12043 Berlin
  • Monday to Friday: 9:30-18:00 / Saturday & Sunday: 10:00-19:00

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5. Haferkater

When looking for a quick breakfast Haferkater is the right choice, they have a store in the central station as well as one in Friedrichshain and in Prenzlauerberg. Offering a great variety of porridge it’s the perfect to-go breakfast. We love the “Beerenkater” but you should also try the “Ziegenkater”, it’s porridge with goat cheese, pear, and walnuts.

  • Boxhagener Str. 76 / Friedrichshain /10245 Berlin
  • Eberswalder Straße 26 / Prenzlauerberg / 10437 Berlin
  • Opening hours on the website

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6. Daluma

This one is for all the health freaks out there. Daluma is famous for its juices, smoothies, and bowls. Almost everything is vegan and Gluten Free. I really love their juices, one time I had a black juice with charcoal and I swear it tasted so good. It’s also really nice to sit on their porch and just watch the people passing by.

  • Weinbergsweg 3 / Mitte / 10119 Berlin
  • Monday to Friday: 8:00-21:00 / Saturday & Sunday: 10:00-20:00

7. Distrikt Coffee

Another gem in Berlin Mitte is Distrikt Coffee. I went there 5 times for the pancakes, but sadly they never had them at that moment. But even without the pancakes, it’s a great environment for breakfast and they have more to offer than JUST the pancakes. During summer they offer yogurt with strawberries, rhubarb, basil and granola topping, it’s definitely worth trying. It can be really crowded on the weekends, but during the week it’s not a problem to get a table.

  • Bergstraße 68 / Mitte / 10115 Berlin
  • Monday to Friday: 8:30-17:00 / Saturday & Sunday: 9:30-17:00

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8. East & Eden

Located at Torstrasse, East & Eden is in walking distance of Distrikt Coffee and the Hackesche Höfe. I’m normally more of a sweet breakfast person, but their paninis were really good. They offer a good variety of shakes, juices, and smoothies. The shakes are really good, they even offer some with avocado, like the espresso shake. Sounds weird, but the avocado makes them super creamy and delicious.

  • Torstraße 141 / Mitte / 10119 Berlin
  • Monday to Friday: 8:30-17:00 / Saturday & Sunday: 9:30-17:00

9. Dots

When we moved here we were surprised how many good cafes and restaurants are located in Kreuzberg/Neukölln. Dots is one of them. A really minimalistic but nice cafe with a good breakfast menu. All over Berlin, the breakfast menu is almost the same, it’s usually avocado toast, poached eggs, pancakes, and granola. Dots is no different but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. I would recommend you the sourdough grilled cheese and the pancakes with maple cream.

  • Weserstraße 191 / Kreuzberg / 12045 Berlin
  • Monday to Friday: 9:00-18:00 / Saturday & Sunday: 9:30-19:00

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10. Kaffebar

One of our most recent discoveries. As the name already gives away it’s known for it’s coffee, even though the breakfast and cakes are just as good. I had avocado toast (as always) and Danny had a quinoa bowl with poached egg and avocado. Later we each got a piece of cake, I had lemon-poppy and he had coconut, and they were so good.

  • Graefestraße 8 / Kreuzberg / 10967 Berlin
  • Monday to Friday: 7:30-19:00 / Saturday & Sunday: 9:30-19:00

 

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10 Days in Bali

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For our first summer vacation together my boyfriend and I decided to go somewhere tropical. We wanted to go somewhere with good food, nice beaches and lots of things to do. So we went to Bali.

Travel:

We went from Berlin to Abu Dhabi with AirBerlin, then from Abu Dhabi to Singapore with Etihad and from Singapore to Bali with Garuda Indonesia. Our Luggage arrived a few hours late but we were on time. On our way back we flew from Bali to Kuala Lumpur with Malaysian, from  Kuala Lumpur to Abu Dhabi with Etihad and again to Berlin with AirBerlin. (Personally, I’m not a fan of AirBerlin, they are often late and they “lost” our luggage at Berlin Airport when we arrived.)

Stay:

We stayed at the Elysian Villas Hotel in Seminyak. We had a private Villa with a small pool. The hotel itself had only a few villas, so it wasn’t crowded at breakfast or at the hotel pool. We only had breakfast included since we read so much about good restaurant and cafés in Seminyak.

Get around:

If you want to get around in Bali you have 3 choices: you go by scooter, taxi or rent a driver. We only tried going by scooter once and that was enough for us. People in Bali drive on the left side of the road, opposite to the way we drive in Germany, so you can imagine how overwhelmed we were with the traffic. We went by taxi a few times, but only within Seminyak, since it’s only around 2€. For longer trips, we went with a driver that our hotel called for us. That was a great way of getting to know the Balinese culture better. We asked him a lot of questions about the Balinese way of life.

Eat:

I will do a separate blog post on my favorite Bali restaurants and cafés

Beaches:

Bali has many beautiful and different beaches. Since we stayed in Seminyak – and Seminyak doesn’t have beautiful beaches – we went on day trips to Uluwatu and Nusa Lembogan.

Let’s start with Uluwatu. We went to Padang-Padang and Blue Point Beach as well as Sunday’s Beach Club in one trip. At Sunday’s you pay an entry fee of about 20€ which includes 10€ for drinks and snacks at the beach club as well as snorkeling, paddleboarding and beach equipment. I would definitely recommend going there since it’s a private beach the water is very clear and the beach isn’t crowded at all. After we went to Sunday’s, our driver took us to Blue Point and Padang-Padang. They are really different from the beach at Sunday’s. At Padang-Padang there are beautiful rock formations and it’s great for surfing. Blue Point has a huge cave, that fills up with water during high tide. There is an old shipwreck at the beach, which is a great location for photos. Both beaches are only accessible if you climb several stairs. On top of Blue Point, there is the Single Fin, with many restaurants and cafes as well as the Single Fin Beachclub.

We went to Nusa Lembogan as a day trip on one of our last days. A shuttle bus picked us up at the hotel and brought us to the harbor. From there we took a speed boat to Lembogan. The little island is really different from Bali, there are hardly any real roads, no big hotels and you can do watersports. We went snorkeling and saw plenty of colorful fish. But I also have to say that I personally didn’t like Lembogan that much because it was quite dirty.

Ubud:

On another one of our day trips, we went to Ubud. We heard so much about it from our friends who’ve been there. We went to the Pura Tirta Empul  – The Hindu Water Temple located close to Ubud. There we participated in the ritual bath, which was an amazing experience. After that, we went to the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. You’ve probably seen them on Instagram because they are simply incredible. Quite hard to climb but amazing for pictures. When we arrived in Ubud itself it started pouring rain and unfortunately the café we were planning on going to was closed. We didn’t go to the monkey forest because I’m actually rather scared of monkeys and seeing them in Uluwatu was more than enough for me.

Meet our puppy Lumos

11 days ago we brought our new puppy home with us, and I haven’t slept much since.

His name is Lumos, yes, named after the Harry Potter spell. He is now 10 weeks old, weighs about 5kg and is a blue merle Australian Shepherd. He loves to play, sleep and chew on things like our couch, the coffee table, the balcony, our hands, and feet as well as his blanket. He has one brown eye and one that is half blue half brown, which is really common in this breed.

He keeps us super busy since he’s not fully potty trained yet. But we are working on it.

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The best cafés in Berlin

Berlin is an amazing city with so many bars, restaurants, and cafés. I’m gonna share my personal favorites with you.

Friedrichshain:

Silo: This coffee place is small but really cozy. They have great coffee, espresso, cappuccino and more. If you are in Friedrichshain I would advise you to get a coffee there.

Gabriel-Max-Straße 4 | 10245 Berlin | Opening hours: usually 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

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Macarons de Stéphane: Ever since I first visited Paris I loved macarons, so naturally I was super excited when I found this macaron store. It’s more of a takeaway place than a café but still, they have the best macarons. They have “normal” flavors such as raspberry, chocolate, and pistachio, but they also have special flavors like lavender, orange petal or rose.

Gärtnerstraße 13 | 10245 Berlin | Opening hours: 12:00 am – 6:00 pm

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Mitte:

Oliv: Mitte is one of the city centers of Berlin, so if you’re there and you want to grab a coffee and maybe just watch the people of Berlin, Oliv is the perfect place for you. Minimalistic design, good coffee, and great cakes and sandwiches.

Münzstraße 8 | 10178 Berlin | Opening hours: usually 8:30 am – 7:00 pm

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Rose Garden: Rose Garden has amazing sandwiches and cakes, but sometimes it’s really really crowded. Be sure to check in advance if you want to got there on the weekend.

Alte Schönhauser Str. 61 | 10119 Berlin | Opening hours: Usually 8:00 am – 11:00 pm

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Kreuzberg:

Hallesches Haus: The Hallisches Haus is located in an old storage building which gives it little the extra. The café is next to a small store in which you’ll find all kinds of stuff. It’s a really quiet place, so it’s great if you want to read a book or study.

Tempelhofer Ufer 1 | 10961 Berlin | Opening hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

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I hope you enjoy these places as much as I do. If you go there share your photos on Instagram and tag me or send them to me, it’s @inacathrien.

Thank you and bon appetit.