Friday, 28 December 2012

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Expat Mummy's top....places to eat

We have eaten in a number of places in Berlin and these are our top picks in no particular order.

Nola am Weinbergsweg - great seasonal menu and a wonderful location.

Yumcha Heroes - Chinese dumpling heaven

da Piadina - homely Italian food

Milchmanns - best brunch plate we have tasted here

La Käserie - probably one of my most favourite places here, both for the cheese and the service

Vanilla - Kay's cupcakes are some of the best I have tasted

Monday, 17 December 2012

Domklause - restaurant at the DDR Museum

After a great morning in the DDR Museum, we went to the adjoining themed restaurant for lunch. I will begin by saying the decor is amazing and the history of the original Dom Klause makes it even more fascinating. The service is great and the prices OK although the main meal part of the menu is a bit pricey.

I will also say that the portions are good and the selection of traditional DDR food is very interesting. Eating here is more of an extension of the experience of the museum rather than a restaurant in its own right. I did not enjoy my soup (top right) but that is probably my taste and no reflection on the execution of the dish.

It is definitely well worth finishing your time in the DDR Museum with a meal here.

Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 1, 10178 Berlin

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Thursday, 13 December 2012

DDR Museum

This museum has been on my list of places to visit for a while and I am delighted that we made it. We arrived when it opened at 10am which was a good move as it got very busy later on. My son enjoys museums but I don't think he has spent over three hours in one before and I think he would have stayed longer.

This is the ultimate hands on museum, everything there is for you to look at, touch and really experience.

The biggest draw for him was the Trabant that you could sit in and drive whilst watching a video of a DDR housing estate. I think we went back to this car about twenty times.

The presentation of the main exhibits is a representation of DDR prefab housing blocks.

There are drawers to open that hold real things from the era and in many cases you can get them out and touch them.

I loved this construction toy which allowed children in East Berlin to build their own prefab structure.

This drawer delighted my son - it is a DDR apartment in miniature.

And there is a life size one too. Again you can open all the cupboards, watch the TV, pick up the phone and really immerse yourself in the East German experience.

There is a lot of mixed media dotted around - listening posts (in German) of contemporary broadcasts, video screens and a little screening room running short films (again in German).

My son loved typing on this portable typewriter (which was almost identical to one I had when I was about nine).

They have used a lot of new technology in the museum to keep it interesting - above is the desk in the Party office and each item, when placed on the hidden screen on the desk, pops up an interactive screen.

There were a number of school parties in the museum when we were there and I have never seen so many young people really engaging with a historical exhibit.

The museum explores all aspects of DDR life from recreation, lifestyle, food and other consumer items, political life, prison - the list goes on. If you take time to read everything you will go away knowing all you want to about life in East Germany/Berlin and if, like me, you were enjoying through a child's eyes, they have a great book you can purchase which follows all the information in the museum.

This is the notice that greets you when you arrive and it really lives up to it. If you only visit one museum in Berlin make it this one!

Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 1, 10178 Berlin

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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Mein Laden, Dein Laden secondhand shop

I reviewed another of these indoor flea markets back in the summer and I recently rented a shelf at one in Pankow called Mein Laden, Dein Laden. This is a busy shop and there is a lot of footfall so a great place to pick up bargains and also to sell your own stuff.

I will have a shelf there until Christmas selling a rotation of great quality things so please stop by if you are in the area. Below is my shelf this week.

For more information about renting space here, visit their website below.

Address: Damerowstrasse 8, 13187 Berlin (in Forum Pankow)

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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Lucia Christmas Market

The Lucia Christmas market is the other one of my favourite three markets. The Kulturbraueri gives it a great location. It is a fantastic family friendly place with almost half of the stalls selling food and drink. It is a Scandinavian themed market with a definite lean towards the more Northern countries of Finland and Norway.

There are a number of child friendly rides and although it can get busy, we have always found that it doesn't feel too crowded for little children.

The coat heating is wonderful place to warm up. You get inside the cosy coats and sit in the radiators - bliss in the minus temperatures we 'enjoy' here in Berlin.

Yummy Bratwursts.

There is a really cosy Yurt to enjoy Christmas drinks including a children's punch.

Address: Kulturbrauerei(Innenhof), Schönhauser Allee 36-39, 10435 Berlin 

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Monday, 10 December 2012

Winter World at Potsdamer Platz

Potsdamerplatz Christmas Market, or Winter World as it is officially called, is one of the three in the city that I enjoy. There stalls are a mix of Christmassy ones and other more generic market stalls but the sparkly walkway makes it feel very Christmassy. 

The big plus point  is the largest mobile toboggan run in Europe, which is 12 metres high and 70 metres long by the station area and there is an ice rink at the end of the market by the theatre area.

The bratwurst stand in the centre of the market, close to the entrance to Potsdamer Arkaden sells yummy sausages and there are various other food outlets.

If you are in the mood for some Christmas shopping or simply want to warm up, the Potsdamer Arkaden is well worth a visit.

Address: Potsdamer Platz, 10785 Berlin

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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market

We have been to most of the Christmas Markets in the centre of Berlin over the last two holiday seasons and I think that the one at Gendarmenmarkt is the best one. It is a real Christmas market with all the stalls selling Christmassy things and the eating places are very special. You need to pay 1€ entrance when there is entertainment on the stage and it can get a bit busy but that adds to the atmosphere.

There is a huge indoor Christmas decoration shop and it is just magical.

The Christmas tree in the centre of the market sparkles with lots of tiny white lights and beautiful decorations. Again the only word is magical.

The only word for the Belgian waffles is heavenly - a must try. The market stalls are quite expensive but sell quality good and if you run out of cash there is a cash machine in the centre of the market. If you only visit one market this Christmas make it this one.

We also went to see the lights on Unter den Linden, close to the Brandenburg Gate, afterwards and that completed the evening.

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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Googoo&gaga funky T shirts

We have been lucky enough to be asked to review a couple of fab tshirts from the French brand Googoo&gaga.  My son loves bright clothes and the wonderful psychedelic nature of the tshirts was right up his street. We picked the smallest children's size and they are a bit long on him at the moment so there is room to grow for the summer and I predict these will become his favourites then. 

The fabric is so soft and the colourful designs have a slightly washed out look to them that I love.

Here is a bit of background about the brand. googoo&gaga is a collection of art-driven onesies and shirts for kooky children. Each limited-edition piece is created with a dose of love, a pinch of madness, and full color, super-soft, all-over sublimation printing.  

Proudly designed and made in the Philippines, inspiration comes from the hot, colorful, and chaotic surroundings of Manila, the country's capital. The brand began in 2008 by husband and wife team AJ and Audrey Dimarucot. AJ is an artist specializing in t-shirt graphics. He has designed for the late Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys and the band Panic at the Disco. 

Overall, googoo&gaga's inspiration comes from the hot, colorful, and chaotic surroundings that Manila represents. The style in which all of our designs are made always involve a little bit of madness from inception to the finished product.

If you fancy getting your hands on some of these limited edition T shirts or onesies, googoo&gaga is on sale at Little Pop Up (Berlin) on December 8-9, 2012. Their products normally retail for €25 but for the Christmas Little Pop Up they are discounted to €18. Click here for more information about Little Pop Up on Facebook or on the web.

To order on line visit the googoo&gaga website