My wedding dress- diy baby

Engaged or what? So it begins..

Congratulations! You have now entered the mighty realm of wedding shenanigans where family politics rule the day and long forgotten traditions threaten to damage your sanity, UNLESS you say “Sod that” and decide to turn your years, months, days (Wow no risk no fun ay?) of planning into a playground where creativity and originality has no boundaries.


It genuinely does not matter how big or small or whatever budget you are playing with- as long as you stay true to who you are as a couple and don’t put yourself under too much pressure by trying to please everyone else, you’ll have a great time.
So here is to all you beautiful Women/Men out there who said “ Oh yes baby” to that one human that fills your heart with warmth and joy! How very exciting!
There are so many different aspects that make a wedding day super fun and one of them, is -of course- the dress, so how do you decide which one is for you?

What kinda bride are you?

Now there’s a question. Where do you even start? Grecian, Princess, Bohemian, classic?
I had never stepped into a bridal shop in my life and decided that instead of spending a small fortune, I would venture into the world of online wedding dress-shopping, where possibilities seemed endless and the prices were too good to be true.

Definitely a content aka “this will do” bride!

After I realised that I will be eating and drinking most part of the day I decided that the princess cut
(Aka Poofy Cinderella) would probably be best.

Ok, maybe “dreamy meets practical” bride?

My original plan was to sew my very own dress but after a few youtube videos, I realised that adjusting a ready-made dress was perhaps a less stressful option.

“Risky but not too risky” bride!- Oh shut up Sarella.

My bridal moment on Level 12

On a busy afternoon at work, between a “do you deliver your goods via donkey”-phone call and my bowl of Cereals, I found it: My dream dress for a gob-smacking price of £64.99-including delivery.
My outrageous colleague Silvia announced that I had gone absolutely mad, until, 2 days later: the parcel arrived.
Silvia who had just proclaimed my insanity, was now the one dragging me into the ladies, to try that blimming thing on.
I stepped out of my cubicle as light hit the sparkles and we both knew: This was the dress.

Now, who can say that they had their magical bridal- dress moment in the toilets on Level 12?

The inspiration

The dress was beautiful the way it was, but I needed some additional magic.

When Jasmina, a wonderful human who offered to help me with the “flowering up”, sent me a picture of a dress she had spotted somewhere in Soho, we had our inspiration!
What we needed now was FABRICS, FLOWERS and MORE FLOWERS!

The inspiration

Now, I don’t need to tell you that fabrics can be as expensive as half a trip around the Bahamas and back, unless, of course you discover the markets of EAST LONDON, where the original cool kids reside.
When Jasmina proudly presented a bag filled with surprises which added something like £20 pounds to the value of the dress, I was astounded- I really have some good friends!

One size fits all? I don’t think so!

The first step was to adjust the dress so that it wouldn’t slip off my bosom as soon as I started swing dancing on tables. Jasmina, who used to work in a bridal shop, took my measurements and turned my sewing machine into fire. Watching her slide the fabric passed the needle whilst sunlight hit her messy Victorian styled hair bun looked like something out of an old period drama, without the actual drama and a more updated sewing device


Adjusting the dress and making it fit comfortably is crucial!! Having to pull, tuck, twist or lift a garment all day can be quite a nuisance, so I strongly suggest, to either find someone who knows how to tuck you in properly, invest in some badass sewing classes or really get down with them incredible youtube tutorial folk.

Now the magic

After we had cut out the desired lace ornaments and flowers, we started pinning them onto the dress whilst I was in it. Once we found the right balance, we slowly pulled the layers of tulle over my head and began with the hand sewing. Surrounded by pearls, beads and lace our silver needles went up and down for hours on end. It would be a lie to say that this task was not time consuming- it most certainly was.

Whenever Chris (my now husband) was out of the house, I sat on my bed, sewing whilst watching dark documentaries about my beloved Victorians.
(The knowledge I have gained over these 3-4 extra sessions…)

and the result (?)

I was gobsmacked- shaken and stirred. Beautiful!

So let’s recap what was needed to make my wood- fairy princess dream come true?

  1. Faith in the online realm of uncertainty , £64, 1 click
  2. A couple of trips to east London and £20.00
  3. 4 bottles of wine, 2 months, patience and plenty of documentaries

Easy enough?

Let me say this:
For someone who never dreamt about “THAT” dress- I had found “THE” dress by just allowing myself and Jasmina to feel free and creative.
Be open minded, allow yourself time and grow with it, you might be surprised what your “crazy” idea can turn into. (Imagine how I felt when Jasmina excitedly showed me her black, green and orange fabric to go with the dress? BONKERS!)

Breathing your soul into a piece of garment, gives it life and makes it so much more meaningful as you are part of the birthing process.
It doesn’t matter if you spend £1300 or €35.98, uniqueness is priceless and in the end I was the only kinda bride I was meant to be and that was : ME!

wedding dress

Jasmina you are the seasoning to my potatoe soup and I will cherish all our dialogues, laughter, tears, and lost needles, until I dance on rainbows in Neverland- probably in my wood-fairy wedding dress. You are magnificent and the most colourful human I have the pleasure of having in my life!


All my love and colourful balloons to you!

Autumn- Soul


If someone would have asked me 5 years ago “What’s your favourite season” I would have answered SPRING without hesitation! I have always loved the feeling of new beginnings, the first warm sun breeze after a wet and grey season, little blossoms finding their way through the tired grounds and sparrows serenading in the early morning hours (much to my husband’s dismay, who occasionally tries to reason with them- without any success).
Spring slowly turns into summer and suddenly plunges into an indescribable silence.

It is almost as if a soft Sepia veil, silently, wraps itself around anything willing to accept that it is time.

I was sitting in my friend’s cosy living room, drinking tea and spinning yarn for the very first time, when I realised how magnificent autumn was.
It was then, when I started to wonder why I had never even noticed the magic of this season before.
My mum has always been an autumn gal and still holds the tradition of turning our home into a colourful nest of happiness. Pumpkins, leafs, new curtains, mobiles and everything in between- as long as the colours range from deep brown to a mustard yellow.

Even though I always enjoyed my mums excitement, I never knew how beautiful it was to actually embrace all the scents, enjoy the colourful leaf dance, mystical nights and to sing with the owls. (Not really, but could you imagine?).
It has now transformed into a time of reflection for me- never intentional but always from deep within. Sometimes it makes me melancholic, sometimes I want to turn into a turban wearing enchantress, other times I feel nostalgic and dance to Chopin’s beautiful creations.
It is a quiet and very personal renewal, which might be undetectable to the outside world, but is oh so very present and filled with wonders. Autumn encourages me, to not only get in touch with my soul but also with loved ones around me.

I want to create a woolly nest and fill it with cinnamon scented marvels, dust it with pumpkin seeds, warm hugs and a melancholy melody, carrying everyone into the miracles of the night.


As Nietzsche once said: “I notice that Autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature”
and I think, that he speaks the truth.




Ich Kinder im Sandkasten streiten höre

Mir der schwarze Kater unentwegt an den Fersen entlangt schleicht

Mich das Knarren, der Jahrhundert alten Dielen, zum Lachen bringt

Frisch gemahlener Kaffe Geruch mir um 15:00 in der Nase liegt

Erinnerungen mit dem Öffnen des Buffets erwachen

Der Postbote mit der Aussprache meines Namens kämpft

Das Bimmeln der Straßenbahn die Umleitung der Linie 3 ankündigt

Lebensbotschaften, auf den Teerstrassen, entgegenzwinkern

Bekannte Gesichter mich liebevoll vom Erdboden heben

Weitentfernte Kirchenglocken mich aus dem Bette rütteln

Jede Minute zur Kostbarkeit wird

Mein Tränenüberflutes Gesicht in Mamas Händen liegt

Weiß ich: Ich bin zu Hause.



I hear kids argue in the sandbox

The black cat sneaks around my heels

The sound of the hundred year old floorboards make me laugh

The scent of freshly ground coffee fills my nose at 3 pm

Memories awake whenever I open the buffet in the hallway

The postman struggles with the pronunciation of my name

The ringing bell of the tram announces: DIVERSION

Life wisdom winks at me, from the tarred roads

Familiar faces lift me lovingly off the ground

Distant church bells shake me out of bed

Every minute turns into a treasure

My tearful face rest in my mum’s hands

I know: I am home.

Late summer impressions.

To cup or not to cup, is that a serious question?


Indeed, it is.

Now, before I get down to business, I need to let you know that this blog entry will totally be about my personal experience with the menstrual cup (and that I have used red paint in some pictures) Panic? Don’t fret my friends, I will give you two options:

No.1: continue reading! (highly recommended)
No.2: back out slowly as you cover your blushing cheeks in utter horror

For all of you, who decided to stay- Thank you!!

I do understand that some of you lovely Men amongst us, might consider this to be more of a “Woman’s thing”-whatever that means.
I am, however,convinced that the wisdom (yeah right) I am going to share will be beneficial to all members of society.
The more you know the better, Spread the news!

Please note that this “review” will be based on my personal research and experience only.
I am no doctor, gynecologist nor am I an expert. So before trying anything out, I urge you to carry out your own research and consult someone higher up in the wisdom Chain.

Why am I doing this?
Well I have to say that it is the love for mother earth and as my teacher once said:

“Back in the old ‘Bismarck- Zuckerbrot und Peitsche-days’, German kids were taught to cry whenever a tree was cut down”.

I can confirm that these teachings were still trickling through to my generation and showed us how to love nature and be as resourceful as possible. My school (Nachbarschaftsschule) was an  “experimental” school  at the time and was mockingly named “ TREE SCHOOL”, by some.
I rather enjoyed being a tree hugging Hippie, who had the freedom to go to school barefoot and doing cartwheels on meadows in the afternoon.
What a privilege to be encouraged by your teachers, to be creative and mindful.

How about that cup now?
I don’t know if it was over pub lunch or a stroll over the Covent Garden market, when my ever-resourceful unicorn mentioned the Menstrual cup to me. As I understood it, the cup was made out of silicon and was used to collect blood instead of absorbing it like a Tampon or Sanitary towel, which might sound a little weird- yes I agree, but as a convinced Tampon user, I started picturing that little piece of cotton, stuck in my body soaking up with bodily fluids and suddenly the cup wasn’t such a bad idea after all.


According to various accounts, it can also be re-used for something like 10 years, when looked after properly.
Then there was the “Chemical/Plastic- where the heck does all that stuff go?”- issue.
Have you ever read the little “package insert” thoroughly whenever you bought a pack of Tampons/Sanitary towels? -I can’t say I had-

It turned out that the Tampons I had been using for years on end were made from Viscose with a polyester/polyethylene cover (The stuff that some plastic bags are made of…REALLY?) and a cotton or Polyester cotton cord. Blimey.

When I found out that it can take  centuries for a regular Tampon to decompose and realised that I had been feeding our ever-growing landfills, I switched over to 100% organic cotton Tampons immediately, which apparently, took only up to 5 years to turn their back on earth.


“Come on now-How many Tampons do Women in this world really use in their lifetime?” The answer is: More than you think!
Opinions vary but last time I checked the number was somewhere between billions and “Are you kidding me?” So I felt it was definitely time to get with the programme.

How to choose the right cup?
After some light research I knew that picking the right cup was a little bit like finding the right bra size, which had already taken me about 15 years. My initial thought was therefore: Not this again!
As Women come in all different sizes and shapes – (yes, I mean internally) there are differently designed cups to accommodate this. Big, small, long, short, wide, narrow, you name it. Now how in the world am I supposed to know how long or wide my cervix is?
Measure tape anyone? -Let’s just leave it up to trial and error, shall we?


So it begins
A few days later my Athena cup arrived and I could not wait to try it out.
I will spare you the details of how I finally got it to sit in the right position but just so you get a little bit of an understanding, it somewhat reminded me of the invasion let by William the Conqueror in 1066 and definitely felt like that too. But on a serious note…

How do you get this blimming thing in?
It is not as simple as it seems at first, but once I figured out a technique that worked for me, it got easier every time I used it. If you are planning to give it a go, just remember: Nobody is watching (ideally), so if you have to fold your legs over your right shoulder- whilst doing a little belly dance routine- go for it.

1.Fold it into a “U-shape”, insert and push it into place, so it sits comfortably in your cervix, but not too deep as this will cause leakage

2. Once you feel like its secure- let it go and wait for the little victory pop, if you don’t hear it, don’t fret, you can still dance a victory Macarena (remember no one is watching).

3.To ensure that nothing will go passed the cup, get in there and work yourself around it. There shouldn’t be any dramatic dents and you shouldn’t feel a thing.

It’s all in the wrist baby.


Can you still do your normal toilet duties wearing it?
Was literally the first thing I goggled as I was sitting on the toilet and the answer is ABSOLUTELY! This cup does not limit me to anything. Some even say that you can have Sex wearing one. How? I do not know! but then again, I was never great at physics.Whenever I felt any discomfort whilst going to the toilet (probably because I hadn’t mastered my wrist technique yet), I just took it out for a few minutes and Boom!

Can you exercise with it?
Was another of my concerns, especially when you have a crazy Zumba teacher like Hayley, who makes sure you tumble around whilst doing an almost handstand and booty-shake simultaneously. I can honestly say that this cup always stayed in place and that I couldn’t feel a thing!Try it! (and by that I mean the ZUMBA)

How do you know the cup is full?
Knowing if your cup had enough, is not much different to finding out if your Tampon needs changing.When it starts leaking you know that it is time to empty that bad boy.
The more you use it, the easier it gets to determine how often you should change it, without letting the uncomfortable mayhem commence in your underpants.As some Women have heavier periods than others it is hard to say how long you can leave the cup in for. (this also depends on what size cup you get)
My personal “record”,is currently just over 10 hours on a heavier day, some even leave it in over 24 hours… and they still live to tell the tale.

How to get this thing out of ya?
You know how they say, “it is always easier to break in, not so easy to break out”.
When I first tried to take it out, the cup seemed to have disappeared into the darkness of infinity and trying to stay calm was almost impossible. I could feel the end of the cup but could not grab it and was also worried that if I pulled too hard it would rip and be lost forever. When I had puzzled together a plausible story for the A&E department, I suddenly remembered that I did have muscles I could use (Strong by Zumba,I kid you not!)and immediately got into a squat- birthing position.


I managed to grab each sides of the cup (as you should)and pull it out smoothly. Phew!
I am happy to tell you that I never lost it again and have now developed a technique that doesn’t involve the emergency department. Victory is MINE!

Not for the faint hearted
Now I will say this, if you are easily repulsed by your own bodily fluids, to the point of physical sickness, this cup is not for you.I was reminded of horror scenes which involved the sacrifice of a small pig when I first emptied it, luckily I was in the bathtub, so the evidence was easily flushed away.
When I felt confident enough to wear the cup outside the comfort of my home I was faced with the challenge of having to empty it in public.The prospect of having someone come up next to me whilst I am casually cleaning my cup, wasn’t really something I wanted to experience, even though this would have been quite a conversation starter.
So how else can you do it?
Just empty it into the toilet and wipe it clean with toilet paper and back it goes.Another option would be to carry a small bottle of water with you, so you can rinse it whilst you are in your little cubicle.- not that difficult after all ay?
They do sell Menstrual cup cleansers, which I have never tried to be honest but a thorough rinse with soap and warm water always did the trick for me.
Some also boil it in hot water, mainly after their cycle has come to and end.
10 minutes should be enough to disinfect it and prepare it for next time.Just make sure you keep an eye on it. There are stories of cups going up in flames in the kitchen- oh yes!
Think of the story you will have to come up for the fire-brigade! The horror!

So what do we think?
Apart from a few little escapades at the beginning, I can honestly say that I LOVE IT.
The discovery of the Menstrual cup made me get in touch with my body on a whole different level (No shit!) and helped me to get one step closer in my pursuit of living a more sustainable and environmentally conscious life. Apart from saving heaps of money or no longer being in the position of running out of Tampons, I feel more comfortable and safer wearing it opposed to Tampons.
Listening to your body is always a good idea so if you want to stick to Tampons and sanitary towels out of personal preference or because you have already tried this cup and it didn’t work- you go for it girl.
I would urge you to  consider going for a more environmentally friendlier version,if you haven’t done so already.  There are  100% organic cotton options or  even re-usable Sanitary towels. The alternatives, to help this planet,  are there, so why not make an effort to at least look into it?

As our teachers sang to us on our first day of school:

“Many little people, in many little places, who take many little steps, can change the face of the world”

And if you can make a  difference with a silicon Menstrual cup, why not?




Its’ a colourful Mandela


The difference between existing and living is as wide as mountains are high and the fact that I had been unable to shift the pressure over a period of months, weighed heavily on my soul.

Stress had me by the throat.
It was a combination of unhappiness at work ( did you know that bullying is not only a high school thing?) boiling tension at home and the fact that I had recently decided to stop feeding my body unnecessary hormones.
Making the decision to let my body be itself, after pumping it with the contraceptive pill for over a decade, in order to cover the fact that I was unable to get my period more than once a year, was a scary one for me, which brought back all the worries I had as a 16 year old.

Is there something wrong with my body? What if I can never have kids? Will my husband leave me if I suddenly grow a beard (I did ask him and he said he wouldn’t! fingers crossed)

The urge to feel better, grew stronger each day and I was desperate to find ways to feel content and free again, yet the pressure I put on myself whilst trying to do so combined with all the other issues I was facing did quite the opposite.
As if my internal battle field of emotions wasn’t enough, I was being bombarded with never ending questions about my life plans, my unborn curly haired children and future home, which made me realise that my friends were so much better at life than I was.
It felt like I had been thrown into this race which then cunningly mutated into the

“89th-SOMETHING Hunger Games”

Finding yourself in one of those can be unbearably nerve wracking- especially when you realise that you are

A)not good at running


B) only own a pair of Birkenstock Sandals instead of high performance running shoes.

I was completely immerged in a cloud of doubt, fear, mental exhaustion and could sense that it was time to get away! Thank God for Ercilia !
I first met her 8 years ago whilst doing Yoga on the grass, when I was desperately looking for a place to stay and she was looking for someone to move in with her. Destiny? Hello!

From the moment I stepped over her doorsill, she gave me a sense of belonging, and a few years on she was going to save me again with her annual Health Getaway retreat weekend.
Hidden in the beautiful countryside of Normandy lies the “Mill retreat centre”, which invites you to communicate and fall in love with nature again.

Every year is a unique experience which always starts with sharing our intensions, thoughts or reason for coming to the retreat.
Filled with so much joy and relief to have finally gotten away from all the stress at home, a flood of tears overcame me as soon as I had finished my first sentence. It was clear that I needed to breathe again. Our first exercise was a 20 minutes’ walk around the beautiful lake followed by 10 minutes of silence.


For the first time in months I could feel clean air filling my lungs and a sense of tranquillity replacing the anxiety, which I had been carrying around for such a long time.
My feet were on the ground and immediately connected to the earth and the heavens again.

Our days would start with an early Yoga session given by my beautiful friend Halinka ( who introduced me to Ercilia at the Yoga on the grass event over 8 years ago) and were filled with other wonderful activities such as Qigong, singing, creating Mandalas, Tibetan bowls, walks around the small town a few kilometres further down the road and the most delicious food you can think of, especially cooked for us by the magnificent David.

Tibetan Balls, picture by Gareth

Nothing ever felt like an obligation and there was so much space and so many personalities to explore.
The company we found ourselves in was outrageously amazing and made the retreat what it was.
Being the youngest in the group, with the oldest member being close to 90, was quite an experience and some of the conversations, which ranged from heart-warming to pubic hair rugs on an unfortunate waxing day, will be remembered until the end of time. It was such a wonderful thing to see how much life, authenticity and joy there was in people from older generations and I realised how much I could learn from their conversations and actions.

So, I observed and joined in as laughter hit the ceiling whenever and wherever we came together, especially when we decided to dress up, paint our faces, do the HAKA (in honour of our lovely Sandra from New Zealand) and some African dancing. How the heck did that even happen?


One of the things I was looking forward to the most was re-living my Childhood by staying in one of the gorgeous Gypsie Caravans, which had perfectly been placed next to the river.
It reminded me of all the summer nights I had spent sleeping underneath the stars and brought back memories of all the wishes I had made that one particular night, when shooting stars were performing an unforgettable spectacle.

Where did all this sentiment come from?

Why did this place give me the feeling of being that young girl again, stepping into the world with confidence, taking the time to appreciate every moment, feeling comfort from a warm kiss on the cheek or a surprising touch on the back to say that I was part of the family?

I did not know the answer to that question but started thinking about what it meant to be a “child”.

I realised that “being childish” does not have to describe an irresponsible, stroppy or immature attitude but should rather define an attitude that allows us to look at the world through eyes filled with wonder, which carries an even greater responsibility than we could ever imagine.

If you have ever seen the excitement in a small child’s eyes, admiring the flowers on the side walk, you will understand how much light there lies in living in the moment and in being your true self.
When I saw Annie walk through a garden of lavender, sensed Maureen’s excitement whilst admiring the coiling lines of our Mandalas and noticed Lyn’s tears running down her cheeks over a precious memory she kindly shared over a poached Peach at the dinner table, I understood.
Realising how much I needed the exchange with the older generation to understand how important it was to live life through a child’s eyes touched me deeply.
They reminded me that our life’s were never intended to be an endless loop of struggles upon struggles or worries over what you have or haven’t got.
Nor were we supposed to walk down the exact same road, if we were our paths would never cross and wouldn’t that be a tragedy?
If we embrace who we truly are, we realise how much we have got to give and how much colour we can actually splash into the never-ending Mandela of life.

I think Peter Pan was right after all when he said, “Don’t grow up- it’s a trap”.
Even if we never learn how to fly, keeping that happy thought might just be enough to carry us into the wonders of Neverland.

When I returned home, I knew that some of the problems would still be there, but that didn’t matter.
My perspective had changed- I had found my inner peace and my body its flow. I was ready, to face whatever I had to face with the boldness of this little girl I once was.

Life was not given to us, just so we can simply exist but to wonder, explore and embrace whatever we can through the eyes of a child and in the time, we were given.
Allow yourself to rest; to breathe and connect with whatever it is that makes you feel content.

It sounds almost too cliché but maybe we need a little reminder:
When we are facing difficulties, let’s acknowledge it, address it, do something about it, if we are able, but let’s not drown in it. Life will keep on flowing like a river, no matter what we do or however we feel, but it is our decision whether we find our own personal rhythm down the stream or struggle as we are desperately trying to hold on to branches which have long lost their roots.


Explore.Embrace. Be
and if it means to trot about in your old dusty Birkenstock sandals, so be it.

It is not a race. It is a colourful Mandela.


My father’s daughter

What if you had taken a different step or had said a different word?

Have you ever wondered what your life would have been like? I have the strong believe that we all have a specific purpose to fulfill in this life and that we were equipped with whatever we need to pursue it. Whether we choose the direct path or walk a few times around the rose bushes, some call it coincidence or chance, but I call it destiny ( however Disney -fairy-airy-headed it might sound).

When my Dad told me that a Swedish sailor tried to persuade him to get on his boat and travel across the world with him I immediately thought “ If only he had said yes, I could have now watched all the Astrid Lindgren films in their original language”. However, there was another path waiting for my dad which he decided to explore in his early 20s. He was the youngest of his siblings and born in a small village called Lione, Mocambique.


The stories he sometimes tells me of his childhood are both fascinating and heartbreaking. Memories of war, malnourishment, burning huts and desperate escapes through the forests are some of the tales, which still leave me stunned and absolutely humbled. Coming from a background filled with uncertainty and sadness, my dad learnt to push his way through at a very young age. This led him to work in a restaurant owned by a Portuguese family, who wanted to adopt and take him back to Portugal, but again- he rejected as if he knew at the tender age of around 10 that this was not his plan. The money he earned bought him his school uniform, pencil and paper and was the beginning of a journey he never thought would end up in East Germany on a train to Borsdorf. Working in a factory which produced agriculture equipment he was offered a few years training in East Germany, which at the time was still divided from the West. Whilst some of his colleagues received a bike or a radio as an award- he was on his way to Germany where he lived in a boarding school with other guest workers.

At that time my dad and his fellow country man did not speak a word of German which was the source of some brilliant stories which still make us laugh to this day.

Who wouldn’t buy washing up liquid and marinate their chicken with it, if they weren’t able to read the label or moisturise their face with “nappy Rash Cream”?

A few years and a 3 months German course later, he ended up on a train where a young, blue eyed girl was knitting. My dad never told me what it was about her that made him ask “ Could you knit me a jumper?-its so cold here” but after she replied “if you send me the wool, I will” they broke the ice and became pen pals.Friendship turned into affections and a few years later I was born.

Times were quite different back then and the unity my parents still nurture to this day was not welcomed by the majority of people. The government would not allow my parents to be married ( I found out that at that time a lot of children born into a relationship between German girls and Guest workers were sent to orphanages and their dads sent back to the country they came from) and even the closest people, which you would have expected to be the backbone and source of strength, had trouble accepting that my mum chose an African man over the bachelors in her small village, somewhere in the countryside of East Germany. My mum once told me that she was locked into the house so she wouldn’t be able to go and see my dad but found a way by jumping out of the window in the middle of winter. It was painful not to be accepted but we became our own family and comfort which created a safety net for any challenges life decided to throw at us. Years later, after my two sisters had been born and Germany had finally been re-united, my parents decided to travel back to my dad’s home country. So there we were, 3 children under the age of 6, no Malaria Vaccinations (we didn’t have enough money for them) in a country that was just recovering from a civil war.

Would you call this madness or a great adventure?

People say that when you are that young you barely remember anything but let me tell you, all the extraordinary impressions, scents and sounds have forever been turned into precious memories. I will never forget my mum sitting in front of a crowd of people, crying as she hadn’t anymore clothes to give away or the big cloud of sand and joy that welcomed us when we arrived at my dad’s village, after everyone thought he had died.

As soon as we had returned from this extraordinary trip I remember going to a big department store with my school class asking for 100 notebooks which we wanted to send back to Lione. This was the beginning of a beautiful supporting network , which we still thank my wonderful school: Nachbarschaftsschule for. Every concert, St Martins procession, race or any other event you can think of, helped to raise money for the school, my dad decided to build in Lione.

I remember hundreds of donated chairs, tables, maps, wheelchairs, Pencils, Crayons, Blackboards- and all other things you would find in a school building, piled up in every spare corner we could find. Crazy years of colourful events, achievements, plenty of setbacks (corruption is the reality unfortunately) resulted in a school, a maternity clinic and water well which eliminated a lot of sickness.

When I asked my dad “Why do you do all this?” he replied “God sent me from nothing to this country where I now live in abundance, how can I not reach out to other people and share it?”

This is the life my dad has given me. A life that is filled with truth, compassion, hard work, kindness, so much joy (if only you could hear his laugh, it is full of life) and a warm heart that sees peoples suffering, despite of the hardships he encountered throughout his life.

I cannot even begin to express how proud and thankful I am for having him as a role model. Whenever I am faced with problems, my dad always reminds me that I AM his daughter and there is nothing more I need to know.

Our wedding

The day I became a pirate princess

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It has been said that every girl dreams of her big day on which she can finally be a princess and marry her one true love and live happily ever after.
I can honestly say that this was definitely not me. The only thing I always dreamt about was flowy hair, to find the people who stole my converse and how my life would have turned out, if I had been born in the middle ages. After Chris had proposed to me with an amazing “Pirates of the Carribean Flashmob” dressed up as Jack Sparrow and accompanied by 60 odd pirates (-We studied Drama together, so of course he had to go a little overboard-) I started thinking about how I would actually like our wedding to be? Cirque du Soleil meets Victorian Circus ( without any animal cruelty of course), Marie Antoinette or perhaps Middle Earth style? ( no kiddn’ one of my friends asked me if we are going for “ The little house on the prairie” Theme…say no more!)

As I never had the “Bride-gene”, as they call it, I didn’t really have an image of “the perfect wedding day” and I am convinced that because I didn’t really have any expectations  everything just kind of happened.
Before we had even set a date, I found a dress online which I bought between answering calls at work and finishing my bowl of cereal. When it arrived, everyone in the office was wow-ed away by the sparkle and the fact that I had only spend £64.99- BARGAIN.

Now as fate would have it, a year earlier the craziest and most creative human I know sat on the interview couch and stunned me with her humble “-South American- meets surfer and did you really work at New York fashion week?”-Charme. She became a very dear friend of mine whom I can share my philosophical- none so philosophical, revolutionary, nostalgic and caravans in a field of lavender dreams with:JASMINA.
The one thing I knew was that I have always been a flower girl so definitely wanted them in cooperated in the dress. Jasmina of course had to take it to the next level and after hours upon hours, lots of bottles of red wine, occasional Mozart- Happy Birthday impressions and heartwarming greetings from East Germany, there I was. A wood fairy princess.

All other preparations went smoothly enough with a few escapades and some rather time consuming tasks like our 4 hour marathon of writing out 82 table cards (which apart from the  names included the origin/meaning of the name and a fun fact- who the heck did come up with that Idea?) and wrapping old books in beautiful vintage paper.FUN!

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Because we just went for what we actually wanted and instead of what we were “ supposed to do” we never actually had a “make it or break it” situation or tried to kill each other over “What flavour the icing on the cake should be”. Shortly after my dried flower boquet had arrived ( that way you can keep it forever) and 2 days before the  Wedding day, the countdown was on. Dressed in my yellow coat and pink pom pom earrings I was ready for my Hippies from Germany at Heathrow Terminal 5, and there they were, in all their glory.Onwards.All in la Londre and ready for action.

On the morning of the wedding, we arrived at the beautiful South farm at, something past 11 and  were incredibly calm for what was to commence in a few hours’ time. Is this normal? I didn’t even have a plan for my hair for crying out loud but half an hour later I had Jasmina and my dear childhood friend from Germany Claudia(who, in between, had never really used a curl iron in her life before) do my hair. Et voila!

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On came the dress and my Cinderella Dream shoes and there I stood, ready for my dad to deliver his goods as he said jokingly whilst making me laugh over some old Disney quotes, which evidently made everyone inside the hall laugh.The door opened and I stepped into the room accompanied by the song “Concerning Hobbits”.  It was me writing the Elvish alphabet into my diary, which had caught Chris’ attention originally I have you know- Cuties (Fantasy Geeks) or what? He cried ( if he hadn’t I would have walked out and walked in again, just to give him another chance) and looked so very handsome in his blue suit. After a quirky little Ceremony, we were guided into a separate room by ze Germans who had prepared a private blessing for us, which to me was really the big deal #Praisebe.
There were tears, There was laughter, there were beautiful songs and the book of love. Perfection.

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Caroline, or as I call her secretly “ the dream catcher” tested our stamina to the extreme.
It was the most beautiful autumn day you could have imagined- the leafs were dancing in the breeze, the sun was smiling through the branches and the crisp air gave us a complimentary face lift. Boy was it cold.
After we had almost frozen solid it was time for the reception and of course the food – the Excitement was real.
I was in heaven and reached the next level when I finally took a bite of my longed for poached pear, which I had been dreaming about since the tasting earlier that year.
It was time for the speeches – yes I had prepared one too, as I had a lot of people to thank for where I was right that minute, in my blue bloomers filled with so much joy, Love and apparently a flood of tears.

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After Steve’s ( Chris Dads) thoughtful and Darrens brilliant Best man speech came my sisters speech.
You have to understand that Bele and I have a very special, loving- can’t live without each other bond and even though we live apart we are inseparable- we once woke up in the middle of the night at the same time with a cramp in our calves…if that’s not love I don’t know what is. There lies so much beauty, kindness and warmth in her soul, which turned that moment into my personal highlight of the evening which she had underlined with a video about my (young- come on now.) life.

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To round up the evening and stop the flood of tears, we decided to go ahead with a German wedding tradition: cutting the log!
I am not sure where that Log came from exactly but one mustn’t ask questions sometimes so there we were sawing away.
My dad, a Disney loving Chief from Mocambique, was actually the only one who knew the reason behind this Sawing extravaganza (you would think that the bride and groom would research that before the wedding- HA!) The reason behind it apparently is to get over the first obstacle in your  marriage together and setting the first log/stone for your future as husband and wife.
Whilst we were stuffing our faces with some biscuits, tea and coffe the venue was prepared for our night shenanigans which started with our first dance- To Ella Fitzgerald and Neil Armstrongs “Dream a little dream”, the stabbing of the cake whilst screaming as loud as you can ( he did the cutting I did the screaming- another crazy tradition I came by from living in a Brazilian household) and another craziness from Germany  the “Laurenzia” dance.

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All German kids ( well my generation anyway) know this and tend to dig it out at Birthday, First day of school and in our case  wedding parties. It is a simple song in which you express your longing for dear Laurenzia and wonder when you might see each other again whilst going through all the weekdays. Everytime you mention Laurenzia or a weekday  you have to squad and with 7 days a week that would make 63 squads per person. Not the greatest of ideas when you plan to do a city  London tour the next day…pain! At least we were all warmed up for the next long hours of dancing and a bit of photo booth fun. A lot of things happened in there that shall never see the light of day.

In the end we were all dancing the conga to Whams Last Christmas, Slammed our fists on the tables whilst singing an old Sailors song and one of the lads thought it was a good idea to try on someone’s high heels.
It is fair to say that this day, with all its craziness and perhaps unforeseen weirdness was truthfully the best day of my life. Not only because I married a man who belly dances when baking cookies but also because all the people we hold dear were able to sit under one big Elizabethen Barn roof with us.

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Your loved ones, will always bring you the biggest joy, no matter how deep you sink into the mudd with your “Perfect wedding shoes” or how far behind you are in your wedding schedule.
Bringing your personality and warmth into a celebration like this will automatically have the power to turn it into an unforgettable adventure. This of course goes along with having people help you along the way who understand you and take away any possible stress.

Choosing South Farm as the wedding venue was not only a coincidence but also the perfect choice. The team was always warm, very accommodating, incredibly helpful and unbelievably personal. An amazing venue like that coupled with the people you love, your personal touches to make everyone smile and a photographer like Caroline who is more interested in the moments in between than posing for hours on end is really all you need.

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Looking at it from where I am sitting now made me realise that having no expectations of the perfect wedding day, did actually make it the perfect wedding day plus one.


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