The quick mommy make up routine

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by any of the mentioned companies. I did not get free samples.

It doesn’t´t matter whether you’re are first time mom, a busy woman or someone who just enjoys those extra 5 minutes of sleep in the morning: this morning make up routine will definitely save you a lot of time when getting ready in the morning.

Before I start though, I would like to point out that I am not a make up artist whatsoever: I just truly enjoy experimenting new products, I love make up and skin care. For this reason I have spent quite some time learning about different methods and ways of taking care of your skin. This time around I will introduce you to my mom´s life quick morning make up routine; perfect for women who do not have much time but would still like to look a little put together.

The very first thing I do before applying any product to my face is wash it! And by that I mean wash it properly. I start with soap and warm water, then I apply some micellar water with a cotton bud to remove any kind of “dirt” or sweat. My all time favourite micellar water is from Bioderma: it is one of the few waters that does not cause my skin any rash and does not burn when appllied (please note that my skin is extremely sensitive). After that I was my face with some warm water and I am ready to start my routine.

As a base I always apply a moisturising cream , currently I am using Biotherm products: I have used them for years (along with Estee Lauder) and I can call myself a very satisfied customer: I have a rather dry skin and their products really serve me well. They are very light on my face and are quickly absorbed, as well as they have a really nice and fresh scent (note that in winter I sometimes use a little more fatty creams, the ones from Estee Lauder truly serve their purpose as well).

While I wait for the face cream to dry, I usually brush my hair and try to make it look decent (usually I have a high bun in summer, or a messy pony tail. If I have plans for the day I use my curler or straightener depending on my mood and time). After that I draw my eyebrows (and yes I am hoping to get some microblading done soon, once I decide to truly go for it I will definitely take you with me!); I always use a gel for them which is half a shade lighter than my natural colour. Unfortunately back in the days I used to get my brows done very thin and therefore they stopped growing properly, going out without drawing them now is almost a no go for me!

Once done I apply a very light eyeshadow right below the brow line, and on the inside corner of my eyes and procede to the next step.

Foundation! Yes this is my next step! I absolutely adore the DIOR FOREVER Matt foundation. I use number 2,5, which is slightly darker than my skin tone but it blends as if it was made for my face. I can truly recommend it, you just need a few drops and voila! If the weather is too hot you can skip using liquid foundation and can either go for a BB cream or do like me and apply powder foundation. I use the one by Bare Minerals. It has a fair coverage but not as strong as my DIOR, so it is perfect for a lighter look. In both cases you can choose whether you want to apply some concealer as well or not. I choose to do so but that is mainly because my kids keep me awake most of the night and the bags under my eyes are there to stay for a while. I personally like the Benefit liquid concealer (I take one tone lighter than my foundation) and that´s the one I am using right now.

After I fixed my brows and face a little I go on with my eyes. As of March this year I stopped getting lash extensions done and my lashes are finally getting healthy and long again. I will however get an appointment soon to get some volume worked on them (nothing fake this time around – I will definitely take you with me once I will finally get them done and give you a little feedback so stay tuned); nevertheless I can always use a really good mascara. I have the Dior – Diorshow mascara and find it really good, but I have used ones from YSL and Lancome as well and find them really good too! On a less expensive line, I think L ´Oreal has some pretty cool mascaras too! Note: sometimes I put a little bit of eyeliner on my top lid as well, but very often skip this step to make sure the look stays as natural as possible.

Last but not least I apply some lip balm and lipstick or lipgloss. As of now I sometimes leave that step out if I go grocery shopping or shopping in general. The reason for that is the mask usage. Masks make the use of lip products extremely uncomfortable (at least to me!) and therefore I just use simple lip balm (favourites: Bebe, Clarins, and L ´Occitane). If I apply lipstick I usually go for a nude tone during the day – I think I have every single shade of nude out there! Same goes for my lipgloss, I prefer nude / faint shades for my daywear. I recently discovered a Lip oil / gloss by Dior, which can be used as a topping, as a primer or on its own to give a little shine. I think it is a really cool option for these summer days!

And that´s it! So here is a recap:

1- Clean your face properly and apply a moisturiser; 2- Draw your brows; 3- apply foundation and/or concealer; 4- Enhance your eyes with a good mascara (you can add a little eyeliner too) and 5- Make sure your lips have a nice glow! AND there you are, ready to go 🙂 Ps: In case you feel like your skin is a little too white for summer, you can apply some great bronzer too! I use one by Guerlain and I am totally in love!

Last but not least: If it is really hot outside and I am just going to enjoy the sun, maybe chill by the pool or by the sea, all I do to my face is use a moisturising – maybe tanning – sunscreen, I shape up my eyebrows a little and I have lipbalm with me but that´s about it! I hate the feeling of going to tan and swim with make up on, and trust me, you don ´t want to do that either.

That´s it ladies! I hope you enjoyed my tips, please let me know how these work for you!

xx

Pete

Our placenta praevia and placenta accreta survivor story

This year has been a real rollercoaster and guess what, it is not over yet. I am not only talking about the Covid-19 spread, the lockdowns, the travel bans, the killing of civilians by police in the States, the anti harassment movement in Egypt and .. oh well the list goes on .. I am talking about something a little more private and definitely not so high profile: my high risk pregnancy.

Being pregnant during a pandemic is definitely not easy, especially while on lockdown. I did not get any external help with my first born (his nursery was closed for 2,5 months) and I was running out of ideas on what to do with him, but it all worked fine regardless of my pregnancy. We were truly looking forward to May 4th: the day Germany eased up on the lockdown regulations and brought a new fresh wind into the country. It seemed like the hospitals had enough capacity, that the system was going to work again..and even though hospitals did not allow visits yet it kind of gave us all a little sense of security during these hard times. Never have I imagined that the 4th of May was going to be the beginning of my very private lockdown: I had my first bleed at 24 weeks due to a very rare and dangerous pregnancy condition called Placenta Previa. I knew I had a low lying placenta since week 20 but I never really took it seriously until that day. We rushed to my OB who sent me straight to hospital, where I had to say bye to my son and husband in the car since they could not come up with me to the ER. I was then diagnosed with a Central Placenta Previa (somewhere also called Major Previa) and had to stay in for about 4 days. The bleed calmed down after a day but I had random blood discharge for another while so I had to stay in until it stopped. Thankfully the pregnancy was viable at this point but who wants an emergency C section this early? The chances of survival for such an early preemie are low and even if a baby makes it, the chances of it having serious health problems in life are high. Anyhow, I got my first round of steroid shots and the hospital told me to go somewhere with a higher NICU level in the extremely likely case that it would happen again.

Fast forward a week I was sent to hospital by my OB due to a premature shortening of the cervix (no blood at this time, just some spotting). I was monitored for three days and then sent home where I was on bed rest and pretty much on lockdown. That is when our lives took a big turn.

At this point it was clear: I was on bed rest. I was starting my very own lockdown just as the country started to ease up all the COVID restrictions. I didn’t take my condition as seriously up until that point. My whole life was moved down to 100 squared meters as I could not take the stairs anymore. No more sleeping in my bed, no more showering in my bathroom, no more walks with my son and no more going out unless I had to go to the doctor. I lived on the first floor of our house: the couch was turned into a bed for me, and the guests bathroom turned into my own bathroom. It all felt like prison. It felt like I was trapped in my own body with absolutely no control over it.

Fast forward three weeks, I was admitted to hospital again following a big bleed. I got another round of steroid shots, I was given a lot of information about preemie delivery, about the NICU of the hospital I was staying at, about giving birth under high risk circumstances. It was overwhelming. It seemed like my placenta praevia was not completely covering the cervix anymore, just partially. This gave me a little bit of hope, and a little bit of strength. God only knows how much I have prayed for my praevia to clear on its own, for my health and my babys health to be ok. But my bleed did not want to stop, I stayed in a week and was released to go home after that. My anxiety was high, my fears would not leave my head. I could not sleep, every movement was really hard, my body could handle activities but I was not allowed any and this was killing me. Even harder than that was the fact that I could not freely play with my son, he felt there was something going on, he felt things were different and all I could do was cuddle up with try to explain the situation. But what can a 20 months old truly understand? He could feel, but he could not understand why things were this way. I had a countdown calendar, I was living for the day, I ticked off each day as it passed and prayed for another 24 hours to go by without further bleeds. But things did not go as smoothly.

At my 34 weeks check up it seemed like I had a slight chance to give natural birth as my placenta moved a few millimetres away from my cervix. In many countries it would not have been enough, but here in Germany the doctors gave me the benefit of the doubt and told me I could cancel my planned C section (which was booked for 38 weeks) if I wanted to. I took some time to think about it, went home, talked to my midwife, and talked to my husband. They both encouraged me: I really did not want a C section unless necessary, I really wanted to give birth naturally. It might be a painful experience yes; but it is a great one, full of adrenaline and connection to your child. Moreover; kids born naturally are statistically said to be healthier and stronger, and this is what I wished for anyway.

I felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that at this point things would just get better. Little have I known..things did not get better. On the same afternoon I felt the biggest gush of blood coming out of me, went to the bathroom and it started dripping on my legs, on the floor, filled the toilet and my underwear. Once again I was rushed to labour&delivery at the hospital. Once again I had my blood drawn, an IV put in place, and once again I was away from my family. My husband was allowed to visit me once a day, but I missed my son terribly. He had no idea what was going on but he missed me too. We had several video calls a day: they were great but made me miss him even more. I did not know when I would be able to see him again, the doctors told me it might take weeks before I could go home again.

Luckily the bleed started to get weaker the morning after, and my husband came to check up on me. He wheel chaired me to the hospital ´s garden so I could breathe some fresh air, we talked about me going home soon, about things getting better…. but it did not all go quite as planned.

On the next morning I woke up to yet another strong bleed, I was given some medications, and I was monitored on a CTG a few times a day. Again, it felt like this was fading away as well. I had another scan and I was very hopeful to finally be able to go home to my family.

Unfortunately the doctor was not happy about the scan at all: the baby was doing fine but he felt there was a new anomaly around my placenta. It looked like an internal blood clot. He was not sure what this clot would turn into and decided that I had to stay for another 48 hours. Thank God I stayed. On July 16th I woke up to a massive bleed, which lead to a few other scans and check ups. This time the results were different. The head of the department came to talk to me and told me it was time to make a decision. He said I would not go home pregnant. We had to decide what to do.

There was a 50% chance that I could deliver naturally, the doctor told me if I wanted to try then they would induce birth straight away, but I would have to be monitored for at least 24 hours or until delivery (in case that occurred earlier) since I was high risk. The other alternative would be to go straight to the OR for a planned C section. I felt like I owned myself and my baby a try, and that maybe the induction was the right choice, I signed the papers and there I was: at labour&delivery again. This time the doctors took several precautions, and I was put on CTG for the entire time. There was a midwife checking up on me every 30 minutes and a doctor coming in every hour or so. After a couple of hours the contractions started kicking in, I was so happy, I felt like it was working. I was even asking whether I could be given an epidural just in case, and I was about to sign the papers for it as well.

My happiness did not last long though, 8 hours after they induced birth, I had another (this time) extremely strong bleed, I saw blood everywhere, and I started feeling numb. I knew something was wrong, I screamed and pressed all emergency buttons. A midwife rushed in and seconds later I had three doctors in the room as well. I had another two IV´s placed in and I was given medications to prevent me from puking, I was given something for my pulse and I was given medications to quickly stop the contractions. Then I was finally told that it was time to go in. There was no more waiting, no more trying, surgery was the only way as I was starting to have a placenta abruption. I could feel blood coming out of me, but I cannot remember much, I know my husbad was called in but was obviously not allowed into the OR. My baby girl was born within 5 minutes and taken straight to the NICU, whereas I was out about an hour after that. I remember feeling cold, I remember shaking, and I remember seeing the needles in my arms, but I also remember the friendly face of the anesthesist who kept telling me things will be fine, that I am in good hands and that my baby will be fine as well. I remember thinking about my son at home, about how I had to fight to make sure I could see him again, and that is when my pulse started stabilising. My family gave me the strenght I needed.

During surgery they found out my placenta had a little cut in it, which cause internal bleeding, and they diagnosed placenta accreta as well (this is a very rare condition), therefore they had to cut it out manually. Both placenta praevia, and placenta accreta occur in rare cases and could be extremely dangerous if not diagnosed before delivery. Luckily the doctors were prepared to treat all eventualities and had blood reserves for me, as well as enough specialists available. Afterwards I was told that the bleeding was very severe, and that I should consider myself lucky to be in hospital already, as we would not have made it from home.

The team has made an amazing job in saving our lives and I could not be thankful enough. God is great and has been by our side all along.

Our baby girl, Nora Elena, was born on July 16th at only 34 weeks gestation, has spent 9 days at the NICU and had 3 subsequent check ups. We are now both home and could not be happier.

It all feels like a dream, or rather a nightmare. It is over and I still cannot believe it. I am still having a hard time emotionally but my mental health is slowly getting better. I still have nightmares and need some time to process all that has happened but I am definitely grateful. I learnt to appreciate all the moments gifted to me, I appreciate my family and my friends, I love life and I am so thankful to be where I am. I am lucky, and I have been gifted. I will definitely try to give a share of what I have to those in need, and I will gift people with a smile a little more often: a smile is something we need during hard times. Never again will I understimated the power of love, the power of a prayer and the power of doing well.

There is so much to our story than what I wrote here, but I do not feel ready to go into further details just yet. Please reach out if you want to know more or if you feel like you are going through a hard time and need some support. All I can tell you is that this has been the hardest time for my family, my husband and I were on the verge of a breakdown, and my son was feeling something was not ok as well. As of now we are happy to start enjoying our life again, my son is the sweetest little brother and already loves and cares for his sister. He does tell me every now and then “mom please don’t go away, and this breaks my heart. But I am surely glad to tell him that this time I am here to stay. I guess most people will not understand the gravity of the situation we have gone through unless they experience it, but it is ok. Just please know that being there for your friends and family is extremely important, not only during hard times but always. Moral support is great, we often get caught in our lives that we forget about those in need. Maybe an elderly member of our family, a neighbour, a friend … maybe a stranger who happens to cross paths with us… there is always someone who could use a word of encouragement and a smile. Empathy is important, caring is important. Please be there!

xx

Pete


THE FOLLOWING PART WAS WRITTEN DURING MY LAST HOSPITAL ADMISSION, I DIDNT KNOW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN AS I WAS WRITING. I JUST THOUGHT OF INCLUDING IT AS IT DESCRIBES MY FEELINGS AT THE TIME. I HOPE IT HELPS SOME MOMS REALIZE THAT THEY ARE NOT ALONE DURING HARD TIMES

I am writing this part lying on my hospital bed, it is Sunday evening and I was admitted on Friday at 34+0 weeks following a bleed. Yesterday it kind of got better, it changed in colour and it didn’t´t look as fresh anymore, and started wearing off during the day. Unfortunately a warm gush woke me up this morning: fresh blood, again. So that would be my second bleed within 36 hours. Yesterday I thought I could leave the hospital on Monday, as of today I do not know when this will actually happen.

I know this is the safest place to be at and to be honest going home and waking up to such a gush would scare me even more, or maybe being home alone if it happens would totally drive my anxiety level to 1000%; however I really miss my son. Due to Covid-19 regulations I am allowed to get one selected visitor once a day in the afternoon (this is better than my first two hospital admission right in the middle of the pandemic, where no visitors were allowed at all!), it has to be the same person so I opted for my husband. They might increase that to two visitors at some point but this does not include kids, so as long as I am in the hospital I won‘t be able to see Liam, my 22 months old son. Being a mother can be extremely hard sometimes, and these mixed feelings right now make it even harder. On one hand I have to really take care of the precious baby inside of me, and on the other I have to “neglect” my first born a little for the time being. It totally kills me, knowing that I cannot do both of my kids good at the same time. This is a feeling only those who are in a similar situation will understand, FaceTime helps a little but whilst I love seeing my baby boy, I know I have to keep smiling while looking at him, try to make him feel like I am still close to him. Then, the second I put down the phone I start crying (just like I am doing now while writing down these words). I am sure I am in good hands and that at some point this struggle will end and better times will come, but right now this is very emotional, hard and nerve racking. My stress and anxiety level is quite high right now, and it is not even the fact that I don’t know when I will see my family, or when I will be able to take a walk…it is the simple fact that I am not in control of my body right now, I do not know what/when will happen. The worst of it all is that no one can tell. I am scheduled for a very much unwanted but necessary c-section at 38 weeks and 4 days; however the doctors are not confident that my pregnancy will last that long. I was told there is no point in setting an earlier date because as of now I could go into labour at any time, and every day is a win, so if I do start going into labour or if I get yet another significant bleed, I will be taken to the OR and take my baby out saving both of our lives (I hope!). This is yet another cause of anxiety for me, knowing that I could deliver anytime between now and the next 4 weeks without any kind of warning. What I do is actually set myself little targets. The very first one was set after my very first hospital stay at 24 weeks: my goal was to make it to 29 weeks. After that it was to make it to 32 weeks, then 34..and now the targets are getting shorter. As of now my next one would be to make it to 35 weeks; I will take it from there then.

How to turn traveling with babies into a (almost) stress free experience

Have you ever been on a plane with a lot of wining babies and thought to yourself “Oh my God! Why are these parents causing such stress to their kids? Can´t they just stay home?” .. Well if you did, rethink. First of all, you were once a kid as well, and you might not have been on a plane at an early age, but you most certainly drove your parents and everyone else crazy, at least once, in public. Did “they” cause you such a stress? Did your parents cause you the stress? Nope, they didn´t You were just a kid.

Traveling with kids is a topic surrounded by a lot of mixed feelings, and surprisingly enough, people without kids seem to “know better what´s best for your child”… Seriously? I never thought I would ever say this, but those who don´t have children should think twice before sharing their opinions about parenting. By that I am not trying to say that they are not entitled to an opinion, I am just trying to say that they should mind their own business if not asked. So.. having said that, traveling with kids doesn´t always have to be stressful, it does depend on the kid for sure, but it mostly depends on the type of parent you are.

The very first and essential golden rule is to KEEP CALM. In other words, just chill. Stress is usually passed onto a baby / toddler, so the more stressed out you are, the more stressed out your child will be. This is not a doctor´s opinion, but I really speak out of experience: every time I freak out about something, my one year old son freaks out too. I learnt that a good aura can easily be passed on as well, so if he cries I try to calm him down by being calm myself.

The second golden rule is to be prepared for (almost) all eventualities. So try to be prepared for situations such as sudden hunger, dirty diapers, dirty clothes, playtime, nap time and so on, and definitely have one or the other medication in your bag (after consulting a doctor of course, I usually have a nose spray and pain killers), you can never know when this will come in handy. Whilst you can’t be prepared for all possible situations , it is always a good idea to have the basics right next to you whether you are traveling by car, plane or train.

View from our window seat on our flight to Porto – October 2019

The third and last golden rule I have set to myself is to put my child first. If your child starts crying it is probably because something is wrong, so stop worrying about what the people around you think, feel or want and be selfish: put the wellbeing of your child first and shut the rest of the world out. I know this might be hard at first but trust me, it will get easier, and your kid will be very thankful. Turn traveling into an exciting experience for him/her and you will definitely be rewarded with a lot of love and a heartedly felt smile!

If you also have some comments, or ideas on how to make traveling with kids easier, just drop me a message!

Cheers x

5 Things to do everyday to feel better (whether you are a parent or not!)

As a new mother I was very often confronted with new situations, some I couldn´t cope with straightaway, and I sometimes missed the time I had all for myself in the past. I am sure a lot of you know what I mean, you look around and you just see a big mess, you look at yourself in the mirror and feel so consumed, and then you feel like you have so much to do but don´t have the time for. I felt like this at the beginning of my journey as a mother, and even though I love my baby overall, I still felt like I missed some “me” time, which I am not ashamed to say out loud..because I am only human after all, and I am a woman.

As time went on, I decided I needed to optimise my day and figure out a way to make myself feel a little bit more freshened up, I did not want to be one of those mothers who sat home the entire day with her jogging pants on who just did not know what to start with the day (even though I learnt to love those days as well now! Sometimes we all need a break!).

So here are my top 5 daily to do´s to feel better!

  1. WAKE UP AT THE SAME TIME EVERYDAY

Try to get up from bed at the same time everyday, and of course try to sleep the same amount of hours. As a new mum this may sound a little difficult, and it is indeed, but with a little effort and consequence it can really work out. I still wake up about twice at night to feed our baby boy, but I go to sleep right after and it has been working pretty well for me. We follow the same sleeping routing everyday and this helps a lot! Also, snoozing your alarm is not an option! Trust me, it just makes things a lot worse! Luckily I don´t need an alarm: my husband goes to work pretty early and I am just awake when he is, and Liam also wakes up pretty much as the same time everyday 🙂

2. FOLLOW THE SAME MORNING ROUTINE

Morning showers are the best!

The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth, take an extremely quick body shower and do my make up (yes don´t laugh:) to me this is quite key in the morning!). I don´t always do my hair to be honest, I mostly put them up in a bun, but that does it for me as it looks quite fine, some morning I have more time and in that case I either curl them up or straighten them depending on my mood and the weather!

3. DO ONE HOUSEKEEPING “HOMEWORK”

Housekeeping is a bit of a challenge when you have a baby (when you don’t it is as well), and while some have the luxury of a daily cleaning woman coming over, most of us don´t so that we have to split our time between looking good, feeling good, taking care of our baby, going out, go grocery shopping, cooking, doing something fun and sleep..the housekeeping part may become a challenge. So start by choosing one activity per day, for instance laundry (probably one of the most hated ones) or bathroom cleaning (second most hated .. or was that window cleaning?) and go for it. IF you feel like doing more and can, then go for it !

4. DRINK LOTS OF WATER

Strawberry Water

Ok, this is something I still need to learn to do, I feel I really don´t drink enough water! But what has really helped is putting my water in a big bottle filled with fresh fruits. Right now is strawberry season, so I go for fresh strawberries 🙂 My goal is to drink two bottles (that would be about 2 liters) and also drink two big mugs of tea (that would be another 600 ml). I call anything above that a great achievement! Water keeps my skin smooth and my body hydrated to it is a very natural way of staying healthy and fresh!

5. TAKE SOME TIME TO DO WHAT YOU LIKE

whether this is to watch a movie, to do some online shopping or to simply talk on the phone with someone, don´t forget to do something during the day that really makes you feel better. We are all different but we all deserve some “ME” time. We all have different priorities but try to make “you” your priority once a day!

6. BONUS POINT: PLAN A TRIP!

As a traveling mom, planning trips is always very relaxing to me, so if you are like me, plan (and yes, book!) a trip every now and then !

How about you give these tips a try? If you do let me know how it goes, but if you have other ideas don´t hesitate to share them with me as well! 🙂

Walking around Stockholm with a 7 months old

Hello everyone! We recently came back from our third trip with baby Liam (now 7 months old), and had, again, a really nice time. Family time!

My husband works really unpleasant hours and the only time real time we get as a family (and by that I mean just the three of us) is when we are away. This time our flight took us to Stockholm.

I read a lot about the city before we left, and what really caught my attention was the fact that no matter where I looked, it was always described as being very child friendly..so at the end of the day we thought to ourselves “oh ok why not, let´s book this trip”. And there we were, about to fly to Sweden 🙂

Even though we booked through Lufthansa, the flight was operated by the Nordic Airline SAS: our very first encounter with the Swedish mentality. The airline is not a low cost one, being part of the Star Alliance should meet some requirements after all, and yet you have to pay for food in case you want to eat, except Coffee and Tea. Those were for free. This kind of annoyed me, not because I particularly like the food on planes, but because I thought I paid for a service I didn´t end up getting. I guess I should have made my research a little better. Frankfurt-Stockholm is an only 2 hour flight, and we ate at the airport so we werent hungry. On the positive side, the flight was not fully booked so we got an entire raw to ourselves, which (let´s be honest) makes things a whole lot easier with an infant.

What you have to know about me is that I am not a backpacker and I am the kind of person who cannot just fly with hand luggage, in fact, I hate hand luggage. Ever since we started travelling with Liam I learnt how to pack “properly” and fit a lot more in a lot less space (still more than 8 kg hand luggage, but who knows, maybe one day I will get there), but our luggage and our stroller got to the bag drop really fast (plus point!) and as a little extra, we could borrow a buggy just in case we needed one while waiting! So there you go, child friendliness expectation: met (for now).

We spent the first afternoon/evening “in” with my husband actually getting us some take out, I like to get a couple of hours to just make myself comfortable, shower and make sure Liam is doing well..with the flight landing in the afternoon,by the time I was done with all of that it was just too late to go out.

Brunching in Gamla Stan

The next morning we decided to go on a “walking tour” by ourselves. We usually buy a “Marco Polo” city guide and check out the walking tours they suggest. I am not a huge museums fan (even though some I just really love, for instance the El Prado in Madrid), and I love talking long walks and hikes, and this just really seemed like the best option.

Gamla Stan´s main square
Gamla Stan

Our tour started in Gamla Stan, the “old town”, known for the narrow streets (there you can find Stockholm´s narrowest street as well, called “Mårten Trotzigs gränd”) and little caffés. We didn´t want to have breakfast in Grand Square (Stortorget) because we felt it was overcrowded and the Cafés were totally stroller-unfriendly (very narrow, no place to walk in between tables and no changing tables), so we looked for a place in an inner street and ended up sitting on the mini terrace at Cafe Sten Sture (the cafe had no changing room but at least there was enough place for our stroller!). I ordered a Shrimpmix toast of which I cannot recall the name but it was amazing (if anyone knows the name of this typical Swedish toast pls let me know) and I got the waitress to heat up Liam´s meal, which was really kind of her. So even though Gamla Stan is not the place to be with a stroller and a child, the staff and people in general are really nice when it comes to young parents and small kids!

Cafe Sten Sture – where we had our first brunch

On that day we walked around Gamla Stan, the Royal Palace, and walked to Norrmalm: today´s city centre, which was built after Gamla Stan became too small to house the city´s growing population. Once we got there it really started pouring rain so we went and had early dinner at the first place we found: Fridays. Yup. And guess what, we are never ever going there again! First of all, the staff was not accomodating at all, secondly, you are not allowed to take the stroller in, even though it was pouring outside. We eventually managed to get a table next to the door and fit “our baby” as well, but oh my. Liam couldn´t sit on his own yet but the waitress had no idea and yet she did not ask if we needed a high chair or not. Also, the bathroom is not equipped with a changing table for babies, which (in an international chain such as Fridays) I find extremely weird. Also, my husband got a stomach bug from the cold fries he got, the already cold and hard melted cheese in his burger and the not so well done meet so we definitely cannot recommend this place to anyone and we will surely never ever step into a Fridays again (as a note: we usually don´t eat in such chains, but we really needed to get away from the rain!).

View from the City Hall
View from the City Hall

Once the rain finally stopped we got out of Fridays and walked to the City Hall, the best place to take pictures of the city in my opinion.

We did not go inside but we walked around the garden and by the water. While Liam was enjoying his nap, we enjoyed taking some pictures. Afterwards we walked back to our Airbnb (check it out by clicking here!)

On the next day we had breakfast around the Vasaparken (sorry I cannot remember the name 😦 ), it was a small place and still rather empty so I had enough space for the stroller. I eventually improvised and turned a piece of furniture in the toilette into a changing table so thumbs up to that! I had my favouorite Eggs Benedict on an Avocado toast, and dude the portion was huge!

We continued our walk through the park and decided to explore Södermalm (the southern part of the city), which my hubby loved the most. The reason for that is that this area is quite hip, full of small bars, cafés and little vintage stores, definitely very interesting. It also offers “views from the top” , another great landscape to take pictures of. We definitely enjoyed the walk, it was sunny and we spent the entire day outside.

We eventually got back to Gamla Stan where we had an amazing three course dinner at a restaurant called Under Kastanjen. I highly recommend this place, incredible staff, super child friendly, really tasty food, good value for money and central location. What do we want more, right?

Under Kastanjen, Stockholm

On our last day we had breakfast at the famour “STHLM Brunch Club” – absolutely loved it! We got in without having to wait in line (we went on a monday, that´s why!) and it was both early and empty enough for us to be able to bring our stroller in as well (usually you are not allowed to!). I loved their brunch, their infamous portions and the place itself, but I hated how you don´t really have a changing place for babies and how, when full, you have the feeling to be sitting on your neighbour´s lap. It is a small place and in my opinion it just tries to fit a whole lot of people in it. Nevertheless the food was excellent!

Once done with our brunch, we strolled around the city center, managed to get into a mall called “NK” where I wanted to check something our for baby Liam. There I had a chance to nurse him in a really clean nursing room and change his as well before travelig back to Frankfurt. We even took a walk in the city´s market hall, filled with yummy fresh food. We were way too stuffed from brunch to actually eat something.

Once back at our apartment, we waited for our taxi to come and smoothly checked out. At the airport I was really upset that they took our stroller away at check in, but I was happy to find out we could use an airport buggy till the gate. The buggy is not suitable for babies under 6 months, so if you ever travel to Stockholm make sure to have a carrier with you as well.

Airport Buggy for babies, courtesy of Stockholm airport 🙂

At the gate there was a playground for children (!) and I was about to go with baby Liam but we had to go to our flight so we didn´t have time to play.

Overall we enjoyed our trip a lot! We walked to almost everywhere and only took the metro once. We were surprised at the amount of children and babies in the cities. Mummys but mostly daddies walking around with strollers everywhere! I have to say I have never seen so many kids in a city before, maybe I never cared to noticed but Stockholm is really baby booming in my opinion! I guess the rule and regulations they have for parental leave and nurseries is way better than here in Germany, but I do not know for sure. I think Germany is still a lot behind when it comes to that. Parental leave comes with a lot of bureoucracy and a lot of paper work, also it comes with too little money unfortunately.

The City Hall

Overall I enjoyed my time in the city, but I was a little disappointed to find out it didn´t meet my expectations in terms of “Nordic architecture”. I found a lot of similarities to some German cities, I don´t know why I thought it would look a little different then it does. I loved the water landmarks though, and the fact that you can truly walk with a baby everywhere!

Have you ever visited? Are you planning to? Let me know if this was useful to you either by a comment here below or per E-Mail 🙂

#ThisisEgypt..or maybe not.

I will never forget the day I left Egypt, almost 11 years ago, it was October 2018 and I was scared, excited, ecstatic and curious to find out what it felt to live alone and start from scratch. I was young and I didn´t have much of a plan, and surely I had no idea it would take half of my age then (I was almost 22) to touch base in Egypt again. But then life took its course, I found a new job, I tried to settle down a little, made another major move, got married, travelled around and got a baby boy (the best thing I have ever done actually)…. so yes, quite a lot of things happening.

This year however, one of my best friends got married at a small beach town, so we decided to combine attending the wedding with a little time off to tank some vitamin sea. Bonus point: the wedding was in Egypt. I was super excited to finally have booked a flight to a country I once called home.

I knew El-Gouna, the city we travelled to, is known to be the “St. Tropez of Egypt”, I just did not expect it to be so far from the reality I left about a decade ago. The city does not resemble what you would expect Egypt to be. A ghost town at midday with an overwhelming crowd in the evening.

If I had to choose three adjectives to describe it, I would go for “clean, polite and safe”, three words I would never thought to use when talking about a place in Egypt. I was very surprised to find a very open minded society, with a not so conservative women´s fashion, and a very easy going men´s society. Definitely not the place I left 10 years ago, but definitely not the place I would use the hashtag #thisisegypt for..because let´s face it. This (to me) is not Egypt.

El-Gouna Marina

To make myself a little less hated, and a little more clear, let´s dig into the facts a little. El-Gouna was built about 30 years ago by a company owned by one of Egypt´s richest men: Samih Sawires. Wikipedia describes it as “an Egyptian tourist resort” (not even a city??) – it makes sense though. I found it quite interesting to go through a gate with a security check just to get into the city, which only means you cannot get in unless you 1. work there or 2. have a place to stay at…but then again..a gate? really?

Once you get in, the dirt from the sidewalks disappears, the noise lessens and the mood is chill. I have to say I loved it, but I did not feel like I was in Egypt at all. So back to the #thisisegypt hype. Is it really? To me it isn´t. A place designed for the rich and famous is and should not be representative for an entire country. In El-Gouna poverty suddently disappears, houses all look very similar, glamour is a state of art and prices are rather high compared to the country´s average (for locals at least). I had a feeling that Gouna is a weekend getaway for Cairo´s upper society, because why have dinner in the capital city if you can have dinner at the beach? I think being so in high demand makes the city want to maintain its standards, which is a good thing after all.

Baby Liam enjoying the Red Sea

I really loved finding a trash bin at every corner and no cigarettes on the floor. And believe it or not I was able to nurse in the street without anyone actually minding (something hard to find even here in Germany).

All in all I loved my time in El-Gouna (even though I found the Mövenpick – the hotel we stay at – far away from what I would call a 5 star resort..still better than the other choices though), and I would definitely recommend you pay a visit. It is a very nice place for families and it is child friendly, with the bonus of being a safe place for kids to run around and women to enjoy some freedom. The beach is probably most suitable for water sports then just a quick dip (you really need to wear some shoes unless you want to cut your feet), but the water is beautiful and the underwater world is one of its kind.

Despite the fact that to me #thisisnotegypt , I find it worth a visit. If I lived in Cairo I would be happy to know I could escape the city´s chaos for a while, find some good standards without having to go abroad and relax a litle bit. It is definitely the best place to tank some energy and get ready for a new, stressful, working week. I would recommend you rent a private boat for a day, we did that and not only my 6 months old boy loved it, but also we had the chance to swim with dolphins and take some great pictures. It was definitely a nice day out at sea. What I would also recomend is taking time to try out some of the restaurants at the Marina in the evening and chilling at a cafe in Downtown, we felt really welcome and had a great time. Definitely move around with a touk touk (you can get one using Uber, now #thisisegypt for sure 🙂 ) and forget about your good hair days, the wind will blow you away but you will still wear your best smile, believe me!

Last but not least, don´t forget that Egypt is not only this. Do take the extra mile and visit the actual Country, visit the historic sites (those which are “a little older” than just 30 years), visit the local Souks and markets, go either south to Luxor and Aswan or north to Cairo or Alexandria, do take a stop at a local village and talk to locals. Definitely talk to locals. Out of all the people I have met, Egyptians are definitely amont the friendliest to strangers!

Have you been to Egypt yet? If so let me know what you think in your comments below or send me an E-Mail 🙂

Ps: Be prepared for a lot of checks at Hurghada airport on your way back !

Cheers

Pete x