My top Three picks from Berlin

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Berlin is such a dynamic and unique city that it’s hard to narrow it down to any one type of place. The buildings are loaded with history and the people have a quick wit and a sharp humour. Here are my top three tips from my three day trip to Berlin.

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Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church

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A section of the wall in Potsdamerplatz

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Berlin’s flee market


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One of the most enjoyable times during the trip was our visit to Berlin’s flee markets. For a city that is so rich in history, it has a treasure trove of antiques; from old currency, to silver spoons to racks upon racks of buttons and pins. There was a really nice atmosphere around the markets as well, people are there to make deals, they work with a purpose and a list, as opposed my listless ramblings. I had a great time picking through boxes of trinkets and shuffling through tables of buttons (one stall stuffed to the gills with buttons). I also got to try currywurst at this market, a Berlin delight of sausage with paprika spices generously drizzled over the top. Very delicious.

As a lover of markets I got my fill as we also visited the Turkish markets near the U-Bahn stop Kottbusser Tor. Don’t be fooled by the fruit stalls lining the beginning of the market and scattered throughout, although the pastries and breads are rather nice, there are true treasures to be found here! Just walk in a little farther and you will find stall after stall after stall of fabrics at €3 a meter and €5 a meter, cottons, synthetics and prints. Admittedly this is not the place for the highest quality but there are soft jerseys to be found and gorgeous prints to be unveiled. Don’t just walk towards this market, run towards it!


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The exterior of the Reichstag

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The inner spiralling walkway of the Reichstag’s dome


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The Reichstag was another impressive site. One of the top sites of the city and I can see why. Getting there is a little bit of a struggle as you have to wait in line just to get a ticket but the groups are evenly spaced and once you’re in the dome you don’t feel crowded, plus its free. The view from the top of the Reichstag is also impressive, you can see Potsdamer Platz, the Brandenburg gate and all the way to the Zoo. The Dome itself is an architectural beauty, light curves of glass and steel: the glass titled at such as angle as to catch the light like a mirror. Inside there are sloping walkways which spiral towards the centre, providing 360 views of the city at the top. We visited the dome around sunset, catching the slight haze over the city, giving everything an ephemeral quality. Despite the strong, icy wind it was still well worth visiting as it was one of the most memorable moments of the trip.


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Nikolaikirche

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Cafe Konditorei


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Another highlight from the trip was Nikolaiviertel, the old district of Berlin, a little medieval haven in the centre of the city, a few minutes from Alexanderplatz and the TV tower. The cobble stone streets curved around the Nikolakirche, with the rest of the area littered withcafes, shops and teddy bears. This is the perfect place to relax and to relish in Berlin’s medieval architecture. I would also recommend a visit to Cafe Konditorei, their teas are something else (the jasmine is delicious!) and their selection of cakes, biscuits and pastries was one of the best that we saw during the trip. If nothing else will sway you their seats are deep, the type of place that you want to rest your weary feet to read a few chapters of your book (can you tell how I spent my time in this cafe?!) . You should also be sure to watch the array of christmas decorations hanging from the ceiling.


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The modern Potsdamerplatz station

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The traditional S-Bahn stop for Potsdamerplatz

In all this was an extremely enjoyable trip. The city carries this huge sense of gravity about it. There is a different kind of atmosphere here that is hard to find. You can feel how decisions made here have a weight within Europe and the world. You can feel the history of the place, as is evident in the remaining buildings before the war and the memorials and museums scattered around the city. This is a town which inspires you, which takes you in slowly until it has your heart, which makes you want to return again and again for that unique sense of being at the centre of everything. I can be sure that this will not be the last time that I will visit Berlin.

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Winter nights

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At the moment I am in the process of creating my portfolio, 15 A1 sheets, in three months…. ambitious I know but I will have it finished, that’s why I’ve been a bit absent recently. I’ll hopefully have some finished pieces to show you soon but until then, enjoy those long winter nights!

Sugar and spice and all thing nice?

2014 Pentax K-5 11 072 I am not a big fan of sparkles or glitter, I had my “doll” phase, same as most little girls, but from the age of eight, anything “girly” has been a bit of a no-no for me. I was the kid who had their homework in first, who read books through the night and played with “boys” lego. I think those who love girly things, work it, but it’s just not my thing… until I saw this fabric.2014 Pentax K-5 11 053 Think back to about a year ago, my first time in Stockholm with fabric on my mind. I walk into this amazing shop (seriously this place is gold!) with a new interest in knits. It was perfect! There was also lots of amazing Scandinavian chic inspiring me at the time, so why not go a little riske and buy the sparkly knit… It’ll become something….someday…2014 Pentax K-5 11 097 Well today it has! I’ve always had an idea to make this attention seeking fabric into something, well, not so attention seeking. And so an unassuming long-sleeved top it became. But of course it couldn’t remain too simple, so I scooped the back, but not too low so that it is still suitable for everyday. The final result, I kind of love it! I didn’t expect the sparkle to grow on me so much, but since making it last Saturday morning, I’ve worn it about five times… true love in the making! I have about enough left to make a vest so a summer version shall be in the making!

Winter is coming

2014 Pentax K-5 11 094 Prepare yourselves! Winter is coming! And I have made myself a coat, and I’ve taken a million pictures of it… Well it is the coat of my dreams. Loose and swingy and of so structured! I’m particularly pleased with the collar, say hello to my first drafted collar. 2014 Pentax K-5 11 036 This is my favourite coat so far, I’ve always wanted a very oversized yet structured coat, I have already made a grandad coat, which I also love to pieces but I needed something new and a little bit more refined. This coat fulfills that purpose.

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 The pattern is new for me as it’s been drawn up with new tailoring blocks, because my old ones were getting weird with the darts. I also made my first drafted collar, so it’s as smart as a suit! The general shape of the coat wasn’t dufficult but having my bust dart hidden under the collar and getting the front to sit flat were little problems to deal with.

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The fabric was last years Christmas gift, from Murphy sheehy’s, of course. My love for them continues each day! It’s a felted wool with a slight tartan pattern, there is a base of charcoal grey with the plaid being in a deep navy. I was already in love with the mix of grey and navy, but throw in my new-found love of all things tartan and I was sold!

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The coat was a good sew. The wool took the ease in the collar and sleeves like a dream, it sits ‘just so’ and I’m a bit obsessed with the hang of it. Another feature that I love is the button holes and the welt pockets. Both made in leather, it was possibly a bit ambitious for my first giete button hole and welt pocket, but the detail really does add to the coat though.

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Overall I’m thrilled with this coat, so thrilled that I wore it during the end of summer, despite my ridiculous combinations with shorts and Birkenstocks… This combined with Coddington styled hair (out to my shoulders!) I always got looks walking around town!

A photographer’s paradise

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Sweden round two! The first photo is the only decent picture taken of our dog sled ride. If you are in any snow filled place with the option to go on a dog sled, do! It was quite possibly one of the best experiences of my life. We had a night-time ride with the hopes of seeing the northern lights, disappointingly we could only see the orange haze of the mine but the quiet trudge of the dogs feet made up for it. We were also lucky in our sled ranger. The love he had for his dogs was incredible and when he talked about them, how much he liked being with them, they sped up as if to make him happy. The forest trees engulfed us as we sped through a wood and over a frozen lake. It was one of my favourite moments of the trip. Our next day, and last day in Kiruna, we visited a church (second photo), an old giant wooden one. Since it was a Sunday we had to wait a while outside to let the service finish but once the doors were opened we turned into Japanese tourists taking our cameras out for everything!. The third photo is the last one in Kiruna, while waiting for the airport bus to come in.

We then had a day in Stockholm, ending with my favourite mode of travel, train! We headed from Stockholm to Goteborg and witnessed a stunning sunset. I think I spent the first half hour just staring out of my window (photo five), accompanied by a traditional bag of small godis and a kex bar too! Our first day back home was a grey one, yet we still spent the better part of the day taking photos, it was really misty so they actually came out looking quite cool. The next morning was a real surprise, snow everywhere! The last time I saw snow near Goteborg I was a little girl so naturally I yet again spent the day taking photos, we also met these really nice horses who kindly allowed us to photograph them.
We then spent a day in the city itself seeing all our favourite places, the art shop to get my friends some Russian watercolours, the café in Helena for the best Kanel Bullar in town, we even got to go on a tram that had been old when my dad was living in the city twenty years ago. On the way back we were also greeted with another fantastic sunset and did a little drive to best the best place to photograph it.
Then, on the last day, letting the child in me have some fun, we went to an aquarium. And, well… I think the photographer in me had more fun, ISO set to 3200 and colour bumped up, I easily took over 200 photos. It was a good way to end the trip as the next day was spent languishing around airports, and watching the Swedish ice hockey team in the final.

Walking in a winter wonder land

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Sorry for the silence, and late photos. I still have more left to show, but figured that this was a good number (if not a few too many!) from my trip to Sweden. Visiting the ice hotel was a surreal experience.
As soon as your foot steps off the airplane you’re transported to this winter wonderland, looking around the perimeter of the airport (first photo) there is nothing but snow and a horizon of forest. In the space of two minutes I was a kid again, throwing snow balls at my dad as soon as the cameras were away! Seeing the ice hotel in real life in another surreal experience as well, not quite sure what to expect, we arrived by night to find the lit up ice walls and “impressionist-ish” sculptures (second photo). Later we had meals in ice bowls, such as for dessert, the most amazing strawberry ice-cream I’ve ever had and I’m not a huge fan of strawberry ice-cream! After a night which revitalised 70’s dance moves and Scandinavian 80’s pop music, we had a day to discover Kiruna.
Our first stop was the Sami centre, where the original indigenous tribes lived and where the reindeers currently roam. If you do ever visit reindeers and you are given the chance to feed them moss, do! It’s so much fun, they come right over to you with same curiosity as a horse, despite their antlers they seem quite gentle and curious animals, this made leaving them quite tricky though! Later on in the day we visited the ice-hotel, the lit-up palace is just as spectacular by day as by night. Our tour meant that we were allowed to wander around the art rooms within the hotel. The last photo is of one of the rooms, where there were ginormous heads, the same height as me, in opposite corners of the space.