Friday, 31 July 2015

Something precious in your home

At the end of March, I moved into my new flat in Cologne. It was a building side, new walls were added, others were taken down and the entire flat was painted in white. I am a perfectionist when it comes to the place I am living in and everything has to look great as soon as possible. Of course, decorating your places takes time and costs money, so the last three months I pretty much invested all my spare time in my home and my bank account can't wait until this place is done.

In the entrance area I want to create the Precious trend. The trend focuses on the appreciation of all things vintage and antique. This could be a collection of old photographs, books or keys, but also just to draw the attention to a special piece of furniture. Of course, everyone interprets the Precious trend differently. To me, the best precious thing when I decorate my place are my photographs. They document memories, the fun I had on holiday, the great parties I went to and the time I spend with my friends. My precious friends.

A great way to decorate a room in the Precious trend, is to start with a traditional and classy pattern wallpaper. Graham&Brown has everything you need to create whatever you are after. Damask wallpapers are perfect for this and thanks to the great variety Graham&Brown has to offer, there is something for every taste. Different colours, different patterns - the choice is yours. Below are my personal favourites:

The Desire in Taupe/Metallic is great for a sophisticated look, but if you are a bit braver and want a more dramatic look, the same pattern comes also in purple. Of course, their are many more wallpapers in the Graham&Brown collection.

I am currently flat-sharing, so when I chose the wallpaper my flatmate and I had to make the decision together. We chose a stripped wallpaper for the Precious trend, our hallway is a lot longer than wide and my flatmate didn't feel a pattern would be the best option for our entrance area. Our choice was the Figaro in Gold/Beige.

Not only offers Graham&Brown great wallpapers to create this style, they also have lots of great accessories to style your home. As I wanted to display my photography collection, I chose one of the picture frames from their collection. But be aware, the existing pictures in the frame are so pretty, you might not want to swap them with your photographs. You can order one of their picture frames here.

I also love their mirror and clocks. The Silver Fretwork Mirror (centre) is great for the Precious trend, so are the clocks on the left (the Cogsworth) and right (the Pocket Watch Clock).

This trends suits nearly every room and I think the best  thing about it, that everyone can interpret the style themselves. What is most precious to you? What do you want to be seen immediately by everyone that enters your home?

A disclaimer: I am a brand ambassador for Graham&Brown and I am participating in the 'Year of Design 2015'. During the year I receive products, coupons, giveaway and promotions. However, all opinions are my own.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Slutty Brownies - something to bake this weekend!

I baked Slutty Brownies again a few days ago with my friend Kim, they are as the name suggests no ordinary brownies. With chocolate chip cookie dough as a base, they have a layer of Orea biscuits in the middle and brownie dough on top. It's basically three guilty pleasures combined in one. You shouldn't bake them too often, even though you really want to. I have previously shared this recipe, but it's so good, it needs to be shared again.

→Ingredients for the cookie dough layer:
  • 120g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 150g white sugar
  • One egg
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 160g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g white chocolate chips
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
→Ingredients for the Oreo layer:
    • Plenty of Orea biscuits. It depends on the size of the tin that you are using. I used a throw away roasting tray and used 30 biscuits. The Oreo's can be regular or double stuffed ones. You know you want to use the double stuffed ones, right?
    →Ingredients for the brownie layer:
      • 140g unsalted butter
      • 2 large eggs
      • 250g white sugar
      • 150g cocoa powder
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 2 tsp vanilla extract
      • 100g plain flour
      • 100g white chocolate chunks
      • 100g dark chocolate chunks

      First you start with baking the brownies: In a medium sized sauce pan, melt the butter on a medium heat. Don't let the butter burn. Once the butter is melted, you can add the sugar and the cocoa powder. Stir until everything is combined and take it off the hob. Add the eggs, vanilla and salt and whisk everything together. Finally, you can add the flour. Don't stop stirring until everything is combined. Let the dough cool down and start with the cookie dough. Mix the butter and sugar together in a mixer. Then add the eggs and the vanilla. Scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl, it's a bit messy. Add the flour, baking soda and powder, salt and mix until all the ingredients are combined. Add the chocolate chips. Done! Wasn't that easy? 

      Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. I always use a roasting tray that can be thrown away after using it, but if you use a regular baking tin you need to use either baking spray or butter. Otherwise, some of the delicious brownies will stick onto the tin and we don't want to waste any of it, do we? 

      First, we need the cookie dough. Press down the dough to form the bottom base of the slutty brownies. Then layer all the Oreo's that will fit on top of the cookie dough. One single layer will do, unless you want to be really really naughty. Don't do it, don't do it! Finally, you can pour the brownie dough on top of the Oreos. It takes a while until it is evenly spread, so don't give up! The result will be worth it. 

      Bake the brownies for 35-40 minutes. Depending on your oven it might take longer or only 30 minutes. It's important to test with a knife, once they have been in the oven for around half an hour. Finally, you can enjoy the Slutty Brownies. There is no need to let them cool down, unless you want to. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream!

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      Wednesday, 24 June 2015

      The past, present&future of bringing happy colours into your life

      I am so excited to announce that I am a Brand Ambassador for Graham&Brown and I join other bloggers around the globe who will accept a monthly interior design challenge. I am very passionate about interior design and I am really looking forward to the Year of 2015.

      When I was a little girl, my mother dressed me in a lot of pastel coloured clothes. I remember having many dresses in mint, lavender and rose and wearing with ruffles. Not only had my dresses ruffles, my mother would match my outfit with sandals and vintage inspired socks. As a child happy colours definitely had the biggest influence in my life. Interior design trends don't pop out of nowhere, they are inspired by the past. I was born in 1990, but happy pastel colours were an inspiration in fashion and interior design long before that.

      In my present, happy colours don't have as much influence in my life as they did when I was a child. Most of my clothes are black or navy. My bedroom is painted in a greenish grey and my furniture is dark brown. I really should make more of an effort. Luckily Graham&Brown is very passionate about interior design and about bringing happy colours into our homes. You don't have to paint your home, all you have to do is to embrace the gradual tones with cushions or wall art. The dreamscapes collection brings a bright touch and happiness to every home.

      Happy colours are classy and timeless. Happy colours will always make us happy. Happy colours had an influence the past, inspire us in the present and they have even more potential in the future. I for myself, will try and be a bit braver in the future and bring more happy colours into my wardrobe and my home.

      A disclaimer: I am a brand ambassador for Graham&Brown and I am participating in the 'Year of Design 2015'. During the year I receive products, coupons, giveaway and promotions. However, all opinions are my own.

      Thursday, 18 June 2015

      Ten Things to do in Kardamena


      As you probably know, I love to travel. I have been to many places around the globe, but I have never been to Greece. The country is high on my 'To Visit' list, and I am planning to go next year. My grandmother has been to Kos twice and she recommended it to me. I would like to stay in a place, that isn't as touristy as Kos, though, and so I looked at places close by. One of the options is Kardamena. While offering great hotels to stay at and activities to do, it is still faithful to its roots and you can enjoy the Greek weather sunning on Paradise Beach.

      Paradise Beach Kardamena

      Located on the southeast coast of Kos, it is a modern tourist resort located less than ten kilometres away from Kos airport. It's known for its 'party-hard or go home' attitude, but Kardamena is so much more than a place to enjoy the night life. 
      Kardamena used to be a simple fishing village, but the place has changed a lot over the years. Today it is one of the busiest spots outside of Kos Town. Kos is only half an hour away from Kardamena, so great for a day trip. 

      Kardamena Aegean Village

      My hotel of choice would be the Aegean Village, a four star hotel resort located on the golden sandy shores of the south coast of Kos. The hotel is built on a slope and offers guests a magical view of the sea. The facilities and entertainment are at the bottom of the slope. Don't worry, there is a 24 hour complimentary minibus service that will take you to and from the hotel room at any time. Half board prices start at £399 per person with a sea view room in August. Of course, Kardamena is known for it's Bar Street and you probably have the picture of young adults falling intoxicated out of clubs and bars. However, it is so much more than that. It's a great place for couples, friends and families with children of all ages. 

      1. There are many activities in Kardamena, but if you have to do one thing, it is definitely visiting the volcanic island of Nisyros. A boat takes you to Mandraki, the capital of the island. You will visit Nikia, an old village that offers you great views over the volcanic crater, formed by a massive eruption in the 15th century. You can drink coffee or soumada, the local liqueur made of almonds. If you like you can walk around the crater and if you can climb up the top. 
      2. Spend the day on Paradise Beach and enjoy the sandy beach with the bright blue sea. If that doesn't get you packing your suitcase, I don't know what else will. 
      3. If you want a bit more action than the peacefulness on Paradise Beach, head to the Water Park in Kardamena. Fancy a bit of speed? Try the Kamikaze and if you are particularly brave, head down the Black Hole.  
      4. Try Scuba Diving. Loads of fish and good visibility make the sea around Kardamena perfect for Scuba Diving.  
      5. Take a day trip to Kos Town, the capital of the island. Full of history and culture, it offers also great stores to satisfy every Shopaholic. There are of course plenty of shopping opportunities in Kardamena too.  
      6. Try out Greek food. Many cosy little restaurants by the sea front offer fresh seafood and Greek specialities like Saganaki, prawns cooked in Ouzo and feta. Go easy on the Ouzo! 
      7. Visit Antimachia. It's only a ten minute drive from Kardamena and you can visit the Greek House. There is also a windmill and if you are up to a bit of walking, you can explore the ruins of a Medieval castle.  
      8. Go fishing! There are daily fishing trips at 10am. There is a rumour that seafront restaurants will happily cook anything you catch for free.  
      9. Visit Avli, a traditional Greek restaurant located in a pretty courtyard. Try out Greek meatballs and stuffed vine leaves. It's a family run restaurant and upon sunset they will light oil lamps. Pretty romantic, eh? 
      10. Read a book by the beach or by the pool, soak up the sun and relax. You are on holiday. 

      Good weather is guaranteed in Greece during the summer. Not only can you expect 12 hours of sunshine a day, but temperatures are usually in the 30s too. It is very uncommon to see a drop of rain in July and August. Sounds great? British citizen need a valid passport, but not  a visa to enter Greece. A flight from Gatwick Airport to Kos takes three hours and 45 minutes.

      Kardamena is the perfect destination for a great vacation in Greece. Travel agencies like Holiday Gems are well established in the Kos area and can help you with everything from booking flights to finding the right hotel to stay. 

      What destination is made for you?

      Remember the unusual afternoon tea I had in London last year with iDBUS and the BB Bakery? If not, you can read about my experience here.

      iDBUS offer coach travel to a a wide-range of cities across Europe. Choosing from all those destinations isn't easy. To make it easier for you decide which city to visit next, iDBUS has created a destination generator. It is very simple, all you have to do is to answer seven multiple choice questions and it provides you with the perfect place to visit based on your answers.

      The app will be launched today and iDBUS has created a competition with three return tickets for two people to win. All you have to do is fill in a form after finding out your perfect city with your name, email address and postcode to be part of the prize draw. You can then share your result on Facebook and Twitter to earn more points if your friends take the quiz and participate in the competition as well. It will also give them more chances to win. The quiz is available in French, English, Dutch and of course German.

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