Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Galeria Kaufhof cafe

If you have spent the morning around Alexander Platz I can recommend a lunchtime pit stop at the cafe on the top floor of Galeria Kaufhof. They have a great buffet selection of salad, cold dishes such as open sandwiches and hot dishes. You load up your plate and pay by weight. The desserts are great as well, we enjoyed the custard and strawberries!

There is loads of seating at different levels and lots of high chairs. The toilet are on this floor but not in the cafe. It is also important to note that you have to return your plates etc on their tray at a spot in the front of the cafe.

Monday, 28 May 2012

da Piadina Italian Cafe

This is a fantastic little family run Italian cafe in Mitte close to Rosenthaler Platz. They make traditional Italian flat bread (piadina) sandwiches or calzone style filled breads fresh while you wait and it is certainly worth it! They offer a couple of specials each day; two pasta and two soups. The food is delicious (the dessert was out of this world!) and the rustic cafe is very family friendly. It is my son's favourite lunchtime treat to go here.

Address: Auguststrasse 49a, 10119 Berlin 

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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Playgrounds around Rosenthaler Platz, Mitte

We recently met up with some friends and their toddlers and babies at this lovely playground on Auguststrasse, very close to Rosenthaler Platz U bahn. The main part of the playground is a bit behind the street side one (close to Gipsstrasse) and is a large sandy shaded (for when its hot) space with climbing frames, slides, seesaw and swing. There is a number of great cafes nearby for a quick pitstop.

Walking back to the U bahn we spotted this other great playground at Koppenplatz which looks to be aimed at older children.

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Map of first playground on Auguststrasse.

Map of second playground at Koppenplatz
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Monday, 21 May 2012

The Hive European Blog Conference

I spent the weekend (days at least) at The Hive European Blog Conference here in Berlin. It was a fantastically interesting and inspiring two days and I am now bursting with ideas for this blog plus I met some amazing people, many of whom live here in Berlin.

So over the next few weeks you may notice a few changes here. I am looking at introducing a few more regular features and longer articles plus using Facebook and Twitter a lot more. I was flattered to be asked to do a few guest posts on other blogs so watch out for those coming in the next few months.

Also, where I can I am updating photos on blog posts with sunnier pictures as this city has a completely difference face once the grey mantel of winter has been finally shrugged off.

This blog will be remain ad free but if I am offered opportunities to review products etc I will be choosing carefully and will, of course, be completely upfront if they are these kinds of posts.

Finally don't forget I am also writing in the Berlin section of Luvaville. The reviews I post there are often written just for Luvaville so do check it out.

Das Spielzimmer, Prenzlauer Berg

Das Spielzimmer is an amazing Kindercafe very close to Helmholtzplatz. We have tried out a number of places and this one is very special. The front of the cafe reminds me of an old style American living room complete with murals and chandeliers. The food and drink selection is great and they have a great selection of ice cream for hot days. It is worth noting that you can not bring in any food or drink of your own including cups with water, and they are pretty strict about this.

In the front part of the cafe is a little fenced off area for littles to play safely with rody ponies and a gentle slide into a ball pit all on a padded floor.

But the real reason this place is such a winner is this massive primary coloured climbing structure in the back room. It is padded, safe and well enclosed and amazing fun for children.

The other part of the cafe includes more seating, a small play house and very clean toilets. This is a great space for all ages.

Address: Schliemannstra├če 37, 10437 Berlin

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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Playgrounds at Arnimplatz

It is by design I am sure but there always seems to be a great playground close to excellent kinder cafes and the playground at Arnimplatz (by Milchbart and Freund Blase kinder cafes) is no exception.

The green leafy park always seem to be a bit of a sun spot even when there is limited sunshine and as well as a small seating area and green spaces there are two playgrounds.

The first follows the style of many here in Berlin with wooden climbing structures, slides and swings surrounded by sand, which after a weekend with a busy four year old I can vouch for its cushioning qualities!

There is also a small rock climbing wall (see below)

The second playground is aimed at an older age group with more difficult climbing structures and an enclosed football area.

Address: Arnimplatz, 10439 Berlin

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Monday, 14 May 2012

Paul und Paula Kindercafe, Friedrichshain

Paul und Paula is a little neighbourhood kindercafe in Friedrichshain with a reasonable selection of wooden toys, kitchen, slide and a comfy seating area. The food selection is good and tasty. They have a programme of events and activities such as haircutting, puppet theatre and the occasional flea market.

They have a small shop at the back of the cafe selling clothes, toys and baby carriers.

*I didn't have my camera or phone with me on our visit so no photos at present.

Address: Richard Sorge Strasse 25,  10249 Berlin

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Friday, 11 May 2012

Baba-Kindersport, Pankow

This children's activity centre in Pankow offers a huge variety of physical courses from dance to music. They offer courses for parents and children of all ages in their 200sqm space. They are all in German so a level of language skills are needed. Our German language is not good enough at the present but the centre looks well worth checking out if yours is.

They have just launched a Yoga for Kids course aimed at 4 to 8 year olds.

Address: Damerowstrasse 8, 13187 Berlin

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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Center: English-Language Activities

As we have yet to attend a class at The Center, I asked my friend, Annie, visiting Berlin from Canada to write a short review of her experiences there....

My husband and I live in Montreal, Canada and thought we would discover Berlin for a month while I'm on
mat leave. I've been surfing the Internet to find ways to immerse myself into the city quickly. Aside from The
Expat Mummy in Berlin blog which was extremely helpful (special thanks to Melanie!), I ran into The Center: Berlin's English-Language Activity Center. The Center is the place to go if you want to meet English-speaking people. It is a genuine international activity center in the heart of Prenzlauer-Berg. They have activities for all ages, from babies to adults.

My 7 1/2 month-old daughter and I took a trial class of Baby Movement & Massage. It was probably not advanced enough for us as my little one rolls over everywhere. We still enjoyed meeting new parents and their bundles of joy. There are a variety of other classes, among others a Baby Music Class.

The staff is very friendly and helpful. There is a cosy and relaxed atmosphere when entering the space. It's clean, you'll find a changing table and you can easily park your stroller inside.

Berlin Wall Memorial outdoor exhibit, Nordbahnhof

The Berlin Wall outside exhibit close to Nordbahnhof is a great place for both children and adults to learn more about the Berlin Wall. There is a vast open space which used to be the Death Strip with a wall of poles to represent the line of the Wall. There are audio posts with both English and German audio the time of the Wall and many parts of the original infrastructure of the Wall for example lights.

It is safe area for children to run about in.

Further down the road as part of the visitors' centre, there is an observation tower which overlooks a preserved section of the Wall and Death Strip with a guard tower (see photo above). There are stairs and a lift but you need to ask at the information desk on the ground floor to use it. It also offers great views across the city.

Opposite the open area of the exhibition is a small visitors' centre with an excellent gift shop, displays and toilets with changing facilities for babies. Entry is free for all the exhibition; inside and outdoors.

The website below has a lot more detail about what is available at the site. We barely scratched the surface in one morning.

Address: Bernauer Strasse 119, 13355 Berlin

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Monday, 7 May 2012

Book review - Bill Cooks for Kids

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a review copy of Bill Granger's new cook book 'Bill Cooks for Kids'. I have a number of Bill's other cook books and have enjoy the simple but tasty recipes before. I was slightly disappointed that this new book was a compilation of recipes from all his other books but on the plus side they have been selected as 'family friendly' dishes and organized in appropriate chapters such as play date dinners, family feasts and party time.

My first impression was that the book format was very conducive to sharing the food experience with children. The photos are big and bold and for busy parents the recipes easy to follow and to get their children involved in the preparation and cooking. Bill's ethos of healthy eating with treats in moderation is certainly the focus of this book.

I think also the idea that food is for the whole family and not making separate meals for kids and adults is an important one and one that is often not followed by a lot of families who fear their children won't want to try new dishes. A big thing that struck me about this book was that a lot of the ingredients are ones that kids are familiar with and like but sometimes presented in a new way.

I am looking forward to trying out some of the recipes here with my two year old as they say the proof is in the pudding.

Bill Cooks with Kids is available at and from 10 May 2012

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Playground at Pestalozzistrasse, Pankow

Another great find in Pankow. This surprisingly large and grassy playground is on Pestalozzistrasse, a street behind Breite Strasse close to the Rathaus Centre. We have lived here a while and only just discovered it. It is well worth checking out if you are in the area.

The climbing structure is easy for a toddler to climb and giving them a sense of excitement at the same time.

The sun mural on the wall put a smile on my face!

Address: Pestalozzistrasse, 13187 Berlin

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