Sunday, 18 December 2011

Ostel - The DDR Design Hostel

Oh yes, my pretties, I found me another retro home-from-home to stay at during our trip to Berlin.

Let me introduce you to Ostel, Berlin's DDR themed Hostel. 

If you follow the brightly coloured building directly opposite Ostbahnhoff, you'll reach the front door to a place where you will be transported back to 1970's East Berlin, complete with an old Trabbie out the front. No Idea if they hire this out, but I would love to have gone for a ride! I did see another company hire them out for a few hours, bit out of my price range but perhaps one day!

The reception area was brilliant! As soon as you stepped in you heard music being played through the old stereo at the side, and vintage videos being played through the old DDR TV. 

I do love hunting out alternative places to stay, and have actually found that the hostels wherever I have travelled in europe have always had the edge. Local businesses, with amazing ideas, make staying somewhere abroad a much more exciting place to rest your head than the run of the mill Hotels all over the place. The extra bonus is that 9/10 they will be cheaper than any budget hotel, and this one really was worth every single penny! I loved going from room to room exploring, and noticing all the little details they had put in to really make this a time warp back to communist Germany. 

Whether you have studied the DDR period of German history or not, you will enjoy this thoroughly. Makes me want to pop to the library and brush up again now! Seeing how it actually would have been like, instead of just reading books and seeing pictures really brings it to life. 

The hallways were decked out too. I love all the attention to detail. This really has re-awakened my love of German design and form.  

The Sitting Room next to the reception:

Stairway up to our room. Luckily we were only one flight up, I wouldn't have wanted to have walked all the way to the top!

Finally up into our room! I'd splashed out a little in terms of staying at a Hostel and booked us a private bathroom. I don't do sharing bathrooms any more I'm afraid! It was just outside our room, so not so bad!

They'd placed DDR approved books around the room too, so I spent a little time reading next to the heater before heading back out into the snow later on!

I couldn't fault the room. I wanted to steal everything in it and take it home with me. I want that wallpaper!!

And the bedside tables too. Actually, I just want to swap my bedroom for this one, and slap in my own twist please. Up for a swap?? 

The radio, all still working! Although it's been a while since I last listened to German radio, so hadn't a clue what channels we were listening too! It was actually really nice not having a TV or the laptop with us. It was the same at Vintage Vacations, and it was really good to just disconnect for a little bit and have no distractions. 

Also wanted to steal the light shade....I trawled through so many flea markets to try and find one, to no avail! I will keep trying though back in Blighty.

The next morning, after a well deserved 10am lie in, we wondered around the corner to the front of the apartment block for Breakfast, at Das Deutsche Restaurant (DDR....Get it?! ha)

During the day and evening it is a regualr restaurant, but serving DDR themed food with a twist. We only had a chance to have breakfast there, but would definitely try it next time.

Decked out all festive, it really put me in the spirit! I miss German style Christmas, especially all the food...droool....lebkuchen.........

Again, notice all the attention to detail, even the flags and pictures on the walls! Where did they get all this stuff from? Imagine walking into a warehouse with a ready to kit out retro restaurant? Dream come true!

Another piece of stunning German Art, showing the TV Tower and view across Berlin. I'd love to have a print of this at home.

A yummy continental style breakfast was on the menu. The Mister grumbled a little as he does like a cooked breakfast,  but he soon livened up when I told him there would be Nutella and Salami on the menu. In separate dishes of course.

I want these eggcup holders. I actually managed to find one of these while Christmas shopping in Brighton today. May have to go back to the shop and get some more.

Time to tuck in!

I would recommend this place to anyone contemplating a trip to Berlin. Not only is it a brilliant experience in itself, you're located right at the heart of the 'alternative' corner of the city, which we sadly only realised on the last day there, after spending most our time either in the museums or in the touristy bits and Christmas markets, d'oh!
You're only one train hop away from some of the best market squares, miles of street art, a lot of second hand and vintage stores, as well as a humongous charity shop/second hand store called Humana. It has 4 floors!! 4!!! In a huge warehouse....insane! More on that some other time.

The staff were all lovely, and really helpful in pointing us in the right directions and provide us tips on which areas to go to. Although the walls were super thin (I'm guessing this was due to the fact you would have been able to listen in on your neighbours conversations and making sure they weren't saying anything they shouldn't have!), we didn't hear too many people, and had a really good nights sleep there. The only thing I would say is bring your own towel, the one they give you is tiny, unless you want to do a mad dash between your room and the bathroom and risk showing your fellow travellers more than they were expecting.

The room was great, the location super easy being only two train stops from the airport, and the breakfast certainly filled you up! A fabulous experience and I would definitely stay again, although next time I think I will save up and go for one of their full apartments instead. My should take a look on their website and see for yourselves!


Much Love from Berlin,


Berlin, Berlin!

Oh how I have fallen in love with Berlin!

We're now back, safe and sound, after a 3 day stay in the beautiful Capital, enduring snow, rain, some seriously eye watering wind, and some sunshine mixed in there too! But it was amazing. I was a bit worried I would fall for the city, having wanted to go there for quite some time, and imagining it could perhaps be that place I have always wanted to find....Germany's answer to what Brighton means to me.  But inland. And quite a lot bigger. had the essence, feel and vibe I was wanting to find. I must admit, I was foolish thinking 3 days would be enough. I could have quite easily spent another month there exploring, finding out more...but at the same time I worried I wouldn't be able to leave after that, and would never come home again! 

I am keeping this one short and sweet, as we did go to some amazing places, and I actually want to feature them in their own posts. So it's going to be a busy week here for me :)

But in brief, here are a few snaps from our little trip abroad. We left the camera in the suitcase, stupidly, so no photos from the first day. We spent most of it exploring around Mitte and Alexanderplatz. A heck of a lot of shopping, and not much else. We did venture out north towards an area I'd heard had a lot of Vintage shops. I found a few, and they were beautiful, so organised and neat and tidy, everything is sorted into decades, colour, and clothing item. It was so pleasurable to walk around, but then that is because it appealed to my slight OCD tendancies.... MUST BE IN ORDER!!! (I think this may be something that rubbed off on me and stayed with me from a child. I grew up in Germany from 1-11 and do miss the place very much). However, I didn't really find anything to my liking, the majority was form the 70s and 80s, and I wasn't really in a shopping-y mood either after a 3am start to the day.

We did however explore the famous TV Tower, have a mooch around all the Christmas markets we found along our way through town, and wondered through the Reichstag and Der Grosse Stern at night. Bloody cold at nearly -4C with a bit of rain, but beautiful all lit up at night. Well worth the soggy feet and tights:

I have a huge soft spot for German architecture and design. The 1920's saw the emergence of the Bauhaus movement (more on that in a further post) and you can see how its influence has rubbed off on the city. The underground is littered with the most beautiful train stations. This was on our way 'home' to the place we were staying at on the east side of Berlin, at Hermannplatz U-Bahn Station. Opened in 1926, you can see how the Bauhaus moto of 'Form follows Function' has influenced its design. No faffing, yet still an amazing sight. The colours were still as vivid as they would have been back then, the tiles made the place look like it was sparkling clean. There is something very pleasing about its design. I love it. Not like our dingy, dirty and stuffy London underground (although its design too, when going to the correct stations, can be just as beautiful).

Unlike London however, the Mister and I found ourselves being continuosly stared at, the whole time. It was as if we were animals in a zoo or something. People actually walked past us, and kept turning their heads to keep staring at us.  found it a little odd...I'm sure we couldn't have looked that strange, but wherever we looked, people stood and stared. 

Now lets all play spot the Emma in the Crowd:

We also spotted some wicked cars around town. Nice to see Berlin has its fair share of fellow classic car lovers. The Mister and I are planning on driving Tilly over to Berlin next year on a trip, and show off some 1970's British Motor design ; )

We also enjoyed some good hearty German food at the local Brauhaus Mitte. You could find a Brauhaus in most towns and most definitely City's, and next time you pop to Germany, make sure you pay one a visit. They are breweries, serving all home-made beer, with proper German food, which from our experience these last few days, is a bloody hard thing to find in Berlin! So many Chinese, Italian and American diners, but nothing proper German! Not like I remember it being in the South of Germany, but then I've never been to Berlin before.

Toasting up by the Christmas Tree trying to decided what to eat:

And on our way back bumped into this Taxi Driver waiting at the nearby taxi rank. Amazing! Still being used today as a taxi, I wanted a ride!!! If only all taxis were like this one:

We stayed at the most amazing hostel on the east side, visited some wicked museums, and eat a bucket load of food my waistline will not be best pleased about, but hey, I don't care, I have now found my new home from home. I love Berlin, and I will most certainly be back again. 

Much Love,


Friday, 16 December 2011

Brighton Sunset

A recent trip to the BMX park at Hove Lagoon ended with this beautiful sunset. Thought I would share with you as it came out quite well for a change! 

Much Love from Brighton,


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Off to Berlin

It's Christmas Market time in Germany, so the Mister and I are off to drink Gluehwein and Stolen, wrap up warm and explore the city!

I haven't been back to Germany in 5 years, and am very very excited to take the Mister for the first time. Finally get to eat some proper food and feel at home again :)

Be back soon with lots to report on!

Seasons Greetings from Berlin,


Monday, 12 December 2011

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Ever been in that situation where you get mistaken for someone else? Yup, me too.

When I was at college, I used to get told I looked like Shirley Manson from Garbage. Please see evidence below. In my opinion, very flattering, and much appreciated. I could sort of understand it because I had exactly the same hair colour as her for quite some time, and was going through my grungy patch. 

However, the other day while meeting an old chum for drinks, I was stared at quite intensely by the bar I know it had been a while since I had been to my old local near my parents place, but really, was it that strange to see someone dressed in vintage in that part of the world, I was wondering?

Quite perplexed I left the bar to go sit outside with aforementioned chum, and ended up being followed out by 2 of the bar staff....they hung around for ages gawping like I was some zoo animal, then one of them finally plucked up the courage to speak:

'Umm......excuse me but....ummmm.....can I ask you a question? Are you not that famous actress from that Foyles War thingy off the Tele?'

HAHAHAH!!!! I couldn't stop laughing!!

a) In my opinion, I look nothing like Honeysuckle Weeks
b) since when do actors actually where their set costumes out in public?? I know for a fact Ms Weeks does not dress as she does in Foyles War in her own spare time.

Flattering as this was, I don't quite understand the likeness with this one. (However, I thought it was a little bit of a downer when I found out Honeysuckle is 9 years older than someone implying here I look older than my age? heh)

So, have you ever had a case of mistaken identity yourself? Have you ever been told you look like the spitting image of someone else?

Much Love from Brighton,


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Home sweet Home....

It's raining, so today I will be mostly sitting here:

eating this:

and finishing these bits:

I do love a rainy day at home :)

Much Love from Brighton,