All about spring cleaning

spring bouquet

Spring has arrived in Berlin! The sun is shining, my winter jacket has been banished to the back of the wardrobe and socks are slowly on the way out. When the weather gets warmer and the trees start showing some green I can literally feel my energy levels going up. Even in my sleep deprived state (one or both of the kids has been waking up at night for the last couple of weeks, in other words, me too).

I suddenly got it into my head that we had too much stuff. And even more unused stuff (cakepop maker anyone?). I blame/thank Marie Kondo for making me reassess our Stuff Situation. If you really think about it, you don’t need half the stuff you have. So in an attempt to clean up, tidy up and move forward, I set to work last week. Books we have never read and were catching dust on the bookshelf? Gone! Babybed sheets and blankets? We have 2 toddlers now, so, gone! All those frames for all those photos we never get round to printing? Gone! I didn’t even get to the double buggy we still need to get rid of or the 20 plus wooden hangers we have no use for.

There is another reason for this spring clean. Personally, I need things tidy for my brain to be calm (emphasis on tidy, i.e. all the kids book either on the shelf or as a stack in the corner of the living room, or in the toy pram etc.). Mess causes chaos in my head. I don’t like chaos, it makes me unable to think. And I’m thinking a lot these days. I’m full of ideas! I have lots of dreams and plans. I want to do this and try that. Do you get that too?

3 months ago, at the start of this year, I set myself the task of drawing for 30 minutes each day. I use the Flow Calendar of Tiny Pleasures as my background, think of an idea that would work well and then draw it. I really enjoy it and my goal is to do this for every day of this year (and hopefully beyond). I want to get better at drawing and the only way that’s going to happen is if I practice. Even if it’s only 30minutes a day drawing a simple little figure with a blue hat and a stripy scarf. You can see what he gets up to on my Instagram account.

Big things have small beginnings

When I started this blog, I did it with the goal of awakening my dormant creative side. I had very little time and energy back then (2 small kids and a recent move from one country to another) so the most obvious way for me to be creative was to bake. I didn’t need anything special for it. Most of the time it was just some eggs, butter, flour, sugar, a bowl and a mixer. But now I find myself at a point where there is room for more.

Spring has always been the symbol of new beginnings. And I feel that my blog could do with some freshness and newness too. I’m not yet completely sure how that will go but the ideas are there. I am holding the seeds. I just need to plant them but for that, the conditions need to right. My conditions need to be right.

Are you doing/planning a spring clean in your life? What is it you want to tidy up or get rid of?

Berlin Tierpark in the spring



No service and time to read

Evening sun in Usedom

I’ve been off the air for the past 4 days. Really off the air. My phone permanently had the words “No Service” on the display. I actually liked it…

Two weeks ago we spontaneously decided to book a family trip. Life has been so busy for us that we felt like we needed a change of scenery. Away from chores, deadlines, house planning and the every day routines. Time for each other. Real family time without distraction.

And so it happened that both P. and I had no phone reception or any means of accessing the internet. I admit, that some times it was awkward. When we travel we rely on Google Maps a lot. It’s a great tool to figure out where the next pee break for the kids is going to be (unless it becomes an emergency then anywhere will do) or even for mapping out forest walks or the quickest route to the ice cream place. We used to plan our trips a lot in advance but now we tend to check Google for museum opening times or Trip Advisor for the best fish restaurant in town. How we travel has really changed over the years. This weekend we went “old school” and used paper maps and brochures and asked an actual person for recommendations for places worth visiting.

But one thing that has remained the same is that I use holiday time to read. I pack a stack of unread magazines and possibly a book. Neither of these will get fully read but at least I will get past the first couple of pages, which as a busy mother or 2 is a luxury. Here’s what I packed:

  • Der Mama Styleguide: Mode-, Wohn- und Lebensstil mit Kind (Knesenbeck Verlag): I bought it to practice my German reading skills :-) Actually, I have been following the photographer for this project, Jules Villbrandt, on Instagram and when I saw that she contributed to this book I was curious. For me personally, this book is a breath of fresh air. It tells and shows what life is really like with kids in tow wether you are a single parent or part of a couple. Wether you are a young mom or a mother of teenage kids. And for me, most importantly, the reality of the working mum anno 2016. It turns out that you can be a successful working mom even if you can only manage 5 hours of work a day (provided no one is sick etc.). Why is it I never saw this? Or have I been defining personal succes the wrong way? In any case, I am grateful for living in Berlin, the childcare options it provides and therefor the work opportunities it offers me. If you don’t know German it is still worth checking out the photos in this book for inspiration, as is the Mummy Mag Pinterest account for inspiration for all things Mother/Woman/Kids.
  • Flow Magazine: Last year I ditched all the glossy women’s magazines. I found that I only read half of the articles and always got annoyed that the first 10 pages were just ads. Flow Magazine has very little adds and is full of things I want to read. Instead of screaming: “Buy these killer heels NOW!” it whispers: “Get yourself a cup of tea and relax for 5 minutes because everything will still be there when you’re done sipping a good brew and you deserve 5 minutes to yourself.” I really prefer the whisper… besides, I’m a city mom now which means lots of walking, sandy playgrounds and dragging buggies up and down U-Bahn (underground) steps (when the lift is missing or the queue for one is too long). Killer heels are no longer part of my life. That’s just the way it is.
  • Several interior design and architectural magazines: we bought our very own bit of Berlin property! The inside will be unfinished which means there is still a lot of work to be done. But it also means we have a blank canvas. It’s a scary but exciting project and we can’t wait to get stuck in. A bit of inspiration is always needed but more importantly, since we are still quite new to Germany, lists of stockists are required, hence the home magazines.

I hope you had a good weekend. I’m now looking forward to getting back into the swing of things though maybe at a slower pace.

Have your travel habits changed over the years because of technology? And what is your favourite thing to read when you escape the every day?

Blog acceptance

In 7 weeks I will be traveling to Dublin to attend the brilliant bloggers conference the Hive. It’s the second time I’m going and I feel excited, eager to learn more and looking forward to seeing old and new faces. But (yes, there is a but!), it has also meant that for the past few months I have been questioning my own blog.

How’s it going?

Am I happy with my content?

Am I still committed and passionate about my subject and how I present it?

What is my actual goal?

It seemed that all I could see lately was people with more Instagram likes for the same kind of picture I had posted. Was no one interested in my work? Or did I not engage enough with my followers? And why was it that my Twitter feed seemed full of people thanking their followers for hitting another milestone (“10K followers! Thanks guys!”)? What were they doing that I wasn’t. And WHY did I suddenly become trapped in this thought that my success was measured in likes and followers?

As I am writing this, I have missed my personal post-deadline for the last 2 weeks. No new recipe. No new pictures. No social media strategy. Nothing. Part of me wants to apologise for this and start giving you the reasons why I couldn’t make it. But the other part of me keeps reminding myself that this blog was meant to be fun. It was supposed to be my creative outlet.  This blog is not my job nor is it part of my job. It was never supposed to become a burden or a reason for stress.

I admit, that at times I have felt stressed to produce content I am happy with. Sometimes, with all the other crazy stuff going on in my life (kids, work, pilot husband’s weird working hours) I find myself  thinking that I would rather sit on the sofa for a bit, with a cup of tea, in peace and quiet, than baking a batch of cookies, styling them, shooting them, editing and writing a post on them. But I usually choose the latter because I don’t want to let anyone down and what if people don’t take me seriously if I don’t post this week?

I’ve just watched the video of last year’s Hive again and was reminded of the following:

What Nathalie said about success: “You need to decide what success looks like. And when you get there you need to pat yourself on the back”.

What Janna said about following your thoughts: “It’s OK to question yourself. It’s OK to follow your thoughts if something is nagging at you and to pivot your ideas and try to find a new way of having a balance between new things that come up and the basic of your character.”

And what Ellen said which really made me stop and think: “Stop being a follower. You be you. Be confident”

With the Hive less than 2 months away, I feel I have 3 things to work on:

  1. Accept the blog I have, be proud of what I have produced and what I have achieved so far.
  2. Not to be scared of the new ideas that I want to add to my blog.
  3. Stop comparing myself to others.

This is not an easy task, but I am determined to find the way that is truly mine and nobody else’s. I can’t remember who said this at last year’s conference but I intend to remind myself more frequently about it: “Everyone is different. You are unique, therefore your story is unique” (or something like that). In other words, accepting my blog the way it is means that I am accepting my stories and how those stories got there. It means I accept my person and my achievements. All of the achievements, both big and small. Accepting is not always easy but resisting is much harder.

So now I am going to book my flights to Dublin and buy myself a nice, new notebook full of empty pages to fill with my new ideas and thoughts. I think I sense some excitement in my flue stricken body…

Do you have a blog? Have you questioned your blog and the direction it was/is going in? What advice would you give someone who is questioning their work?

Books, tea and beautiful hydrangea








When I was 8 my parents packed all of our stuff into a container and we moved half way around the world to Hong Kong. It was the 80’s and we were living in Belgium. Hong Kong was a country. Or was it? Back then it was still a British colony. Everyone around us had to take the atlas off the bookshelf and look up exactly where this small bit of land was.

When we finally arrived we were in a totally different world. I remember the smell of the traffic. I remember being amazed at the bamboo scaffolding. I remember the red taxis and the double decker busses. The Starferry that sailed between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island with its first class upstairs and second-class downstairs. I remember the Lion Rock Tunnel which meant we were almost home in the New Territories. In a world were multimedia was non existent, everything was new.

I went to a British school and by the time my first Halloween came around my English was fluent enough that I understood the concept. The theory was simple: dress up, do something scary, get sweets. My friends took me trick-or-treating and we felt very proud of the scary stories and jokes we had memorised in order to get treats.  Do kids still do that these days?

Later, I went to an American school and my Halloween memories then started to include Jack-o-lanterns, caramel apples and popcorn balls. In 1994 we moved back to Belgium and Halloween sort of disappeared out of my life. No one had heard of it. No one was interested in this “American” tradition. But then someone decided it would the ideal theme for a student party. And over the years, Halloween filtered down from young adults to teenagers to kids and toddlers.

Last year my kids’ kindergarten wasn’t having any of the Halloween madness. But this year they have embraced it. And what really impressed me was that my 4 year old knows the story behind Halloween. Her 20-something educator explained what it’s all about and why there are lanterns made from pumpkins. Even more impressive is that we live in Berlin and Halloween is not even part of the German heritage.

This week , I have no new recipe for you. Instead, I want to share with you the things I will be making for my kids’ Friday evening pre-Halloween treat feast (I think we’ll skip dinner tonight :-)).

– I made these Rice Krispie treats for my daughter’s Kita Halloween party. I made individual treats using a bat cookie cutter and covered them in milk chocolate.

– I unexpectedly found sugar eye decorations in the baking section of our small supermarket. I’m going to stick them onto some crackers and make these cute little spider treats.

– Popcorn has recently become a new favourite in our house and today it will be covered in caramel sauce according to Linda Lomelino’s recipe featured in this month’s German version of Flow Magazine.  Linda Lomelino has one of the most beautiful blogs I’ve come across. Just look at those pictures! Her crunchy caramel popcorn is part of her recipe for Chocolate Cake with Caramel Buttercream and Crunchy Caramel Popcorn.

– And when my little monsters are asleep tonight (P. is on evening shifts) I plan to tuck into some of this with the left over caramel sauce.

Are you celebrating Halloween? Is there a sweet or treat you make every year?



Welcome to the sister- and brotherhood

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-014Moving to new place can be daunting. Your entire surroundings become different, things look and smell unusual and all the new sounds you hear grab your immediate attention. It takes a while to settle in and feel comfortable. But then one day you realise that the number 10 tram two streets away isn’t as noisy as you had once thought. Or that the ever changing graffiti doesn’t make you curious anymore. You start to know the opening times of all your new favourite shops and restaurants. You’re also meeting new people. A new running partner perhaps, or a group of like minded friends who will go to exhibitions and museums with you. After introductions have been made you start building relationships bit by bit. And then comes the moment where you look around yourself and it hits you: you are no longer the new kid. You’re part of the gang, of the city/village. Your new life has become your normal, everyday life.

Now, imagine, that this new place you are moving to is THE WEB! How daunting is that?

I posted my very first blog post back in november 2014 and I felt like I was stepping out onto a huge field filled with a massive amount of people. I wanted them to see me and hear me while they themselves were busy doing the same thing. So much noise. So many people.

Thank you Meredith at KaffeeundKuchen for nominating me for the Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award. It’s not an actual award but more a way to introduce yourself to the blog-reading world and then you nominate other bloggers to do the same. Introductions and building relationships. That’s what it’s all about really. Not feeling so daunted anymore.

Here’s what Meredith wanted to know about me:

1. What do you mostly blog about? Baking is my thing.

2. What is the best city you have travelled to and what are your recommended ‘must sees’ in that city? New York is definitely my favourite city to visit as a tourist. I recommend visiting the Moma, The Frick Collection and the UN building. 

3. What 3 items do you always pack on a trip? Apart from my passport and credit card, I always bring a big scarf which serves a multitude op purposes, snacks because you never know when and where you will be stuck/delayed, a paper copy of flight/hotel/car rental confirmations because technology isn’t always reliable or available.

4. What is the best meal you’ve ever had and where did you have it? Last year we visited this place in Stockholm. The menu is blank. You are trusting the chef to make a meal for you based on what local produce he sourced that day. I can’t remember exactly what we had the experience was fabulous.

5. Which destination is on your ‘must see’ list? Why? I would love to visit Hong Kong. I lived there when I was a kid back in the late 80’s. I want to see it through adult eyes now.

6. What is your favourite way to spend a free weekend afternoon? With the kids at the Market Village in Neue Heimat.

7. Who would you pick to go on a cross-country road trip with you? Why? My other half P. Just because he is the only person I want to see and experience the entire world with. 

8. What are your blogging goals for the coming year? Finding my ‘style’ and becoming more and more confident.

9. What’s your favourite blog post that you’ve written? I enjoyed this one the most because it made me feel like a teenager again.

10. What’s a new blogging skill that you’ve learned recently? Since blogging is still very new to me, I’m learning so much every week. But the thing I’m currently paying attention to is being more engaging with people through social media and commenting more on other blogs.

Who are you Christie, Cheryl, Angie and Charlotta? And because it’s not a girls-only group, who are you Niels and Brian?

1. Dinner or desert? And what would it be?

2. Is blogging a fulltime occupation for you?

3. Why did you decide to blog?

4. How do you like your coffee?

5. I bake and blog about it. What would be the ultimate baking recipe you’d want me to try?

6. What was the last movie you saw that you hated or just didn’t get?

7. Did you ever buy something only to regret it the moment you got it home? What was it?

8. As a blogger how do you deal with writer’s block/not feeling inspired/stuck on ideas?

9. Do you ever take a break from blogging (you’re on holiday, dying with the flu, etc.)

10.  How long can you go without checking your blog’s Twitter/FB/Instagram/homepage/etc. account and stats?

Some rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link them in your post.

2. Answer the 10 questions you have been sent.

3. Come up with 10 questions of your own.

4. Spread the love and nominate up to 10 bloggers.

(Image from




About inspiration and determination

People who know me personally will tell you I’m a determined woman. When I want to do something, I do it. I ignore those around me who doubt my dreams and ideas. I am not ruthless though. I am not the kind of person who sets out to achieve goals at any cost. I like to take my time. The philosophy of “I want it and I want it now” is not relevant to me. I want to enjoy my journey, not get to the finish without remembering the things that I saw on the way.

I had been talking about Baked-it for about 6 months before I finally hit the “publish” button. And I have to admit that as determined as I am, I did need a bit of a push for this one. Now, half a year later, I feel myself getting more and more confident in what I am doing here. I notice that I am finding my way, my personal style, my uniqueness. I still have so much to learn but that excites me (most of the time). I am already curious what I will get up to in the next 6 months.

Of course, no creative mind works without inspiration. Something or someone to make you want to do better, to make you want to do different. Something or someone that points you in the opposite direction of where everyone else is looking. Something or someone that makes you look up and switches on the light in your foggy brain.

Here are my wingmen and women:

My friend Johanna who is a journalist and blogger. My friend who gave me the push to do this. Thank you!

Meredith at Kaffee und Kuchen and Henar at Wanderings. I don’t think they realise how much I am learning from them.

My Scandinavian Home gave what was for me the most inspiring talk at the Hive Conference this year. I still think about it every time I write.

Annie was my first Twitter follower. She does amazing work and is so motivated and determined.

Thalia at Butter and Brioche who showed me that it is not just me who gets moments of doubt. I think she is brilliant, even more so because she is honest.

The Hive Conference for being such a friendly place to learn without judgement of how much or little experience you have as a blogger (see you in Dublin!)

And last of all, the guys and girls at Silo Berlin who supply me with coffee when I’ve had a bad night with the kids and need a bit of help to produce a good post.

Next week I’ll be baking again. But now, I want to open a bottle of something bubbly to celebrate my achievements so far.


Easter – what we did

Some of you already know that we don’t live a Monday to Friday, 9-5 kind of life. Sure, the kids and I do to a certain degree, but my pilot husband-to-be does not. His schedule doesn’t take into account holidays, celebrations and weekends. But we are used to it. It’s our life and there are some great perks that come with this lifestyle.

So what to do come Easter weekend when most people are out of town visiting grandparents or taking a well deserved family holiday? What to do when P. is hanging about the European skies and the kids are shouting “I want to go outside!” at 7 in the morning? You take your iPad, that’s what you do. You skip the Lego Train building game and the Youtube app and you go straight to 2 of my new favourite blogs. Thanks for your help in keeping us entertained this Easter weekend Isa and Claudia at Hauptstadtmutti and Jenni at Museum Diary.

On Good Friday we made and ate a lot of marshmallow top hats. You will find the recipe here. They are perfect for little people with little fingers.

child's hand putting smart on top of marshmallow

On Saturday the sky was blue and the sun was out and it felt like spring was finally on the way. I love our street on days like these. The fountains are back on now that winter is over and the trees will soon be full of luscious green leaves. Oh, and this is where my daughter will grasp the art of cycling a “big” bike.

Frankfurter Alee

Happy Easter! We hunted for easter eggs and made this fresh, pink rhubarb juice. I got the recipe from the ladies at Haupstadtmutti. I can only recommend drinking lots of this home-made juice because it is simply the best. I’m pretty sure this is going to be a staple in our house this spring and definitely this summer. You’ll find an english translation at the bottom of this post.

Rhubarb juice in carafe view from above

On Monday I took 2 overly excited kids on 2 subway trains (the fact that we needed to take 2 different ones was a big deal) to the Berlin Currywurst Museum near Checkpoint Charlie. So it’s not the MoMa or Tate but it was the perfect place for us on Easter Monday. The highlight was smelling and looking at all the spices. And the fact that apart from another family we were the only ones there (we arrived as they opened) and the kids could run around without getting in any one’s way. If ever in doubt about going to museums with your kids, read this article by Jenni.

Currywurst museum Berlin looking at ginger

I hope you had a lovely easter weekend.


English translation of Rhubarb Juice as featured on Hauptstadtmutti (original recipe by Marie Langenau)

1 kg fresh rhubarb

400g sugar

juice of 2 lemons

Wash the rhubarb thoroughly making sure all the dirt is gone. Peal and chop into 2-3cm chunks. Place the rhubarb in a pot with 2 litres water and let it all boil for about 15 minutes. Strain the juice into a second pot. Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Pour the juice in 2 clean bottles.

The Hive 2015

When was the last time you did something that scared you? I’m talking about the good kind of scared though. The kind that gets you excited. The kind that makes you stumble over your words and say silly things. The kind that makes you feel like a kid again the night before a long anticipated school trip to the zoo.

In about 4 weeks time I’ll be attending The Hive 2015. It’s where I will be meeting other bloggers. It’s where I’ll be learning a lot of new things. It’s where I’m going to have to step out of every comfort zone I have. In my head, all the people who will be attending are pro’s at this game and I’m the one who has just made it to the bench.

So when the fabulous organiser of this event suggested we all write down 40 things about ourselves, I let out a big sigh of relief. I have a hard time remembering names but fun facts about someone? Those I remember! Now I don’t feel like I’m walking in the dark anymore. The room full of strangers is starting to look more like a room full of friendly and warm faces.

Here is what you need to know about me:

1. I’m a ballet dancer. Not professional but one can still dream, right? I have been plié-ing since the age of 8. I totally lose myself in dance.

2. I’m a chocolate snob. I’m Belgian and I can’t tolerate bad chocolate.

3. I was a airline pilot for 10 years. I don’t miss the job but I do miss the actual flying.

4. I can quote almost every dialogue in Pride and Prejudice.

5. I am a mother to 2 toddlers. I find being a mom really hard.

6. The age gap between my kids is 18 months. Sometimes I think we didn’t think this through properly…

7. The age gap between my kid is 18 months and sometimes I think that is the perfect age difference.

8. I ALWAYS lick the bowl.

9. When I was 9 I was pretty fluent in Chinese. I lived in Hong Kong at the time.

10. I am engaged to me married. 6 months until I say YES.

11. I am afraid of big ships (cruise liners, ferries, …). They always seem to sink or capsize. I avoid them.

12. I want to write a bestseller.

13. I love the smell of summer rain on concrete.

14. I also love the smell of freshly cut grass.

15. I don’t wear lipstick or lipgloss because it makes kissing my kids and man a “baby wipe situation”. Also, when it gets windy my hair gets stuck in it and that is not a good look.

16. I LOVE christmas. I get sad on the 26th because I have to wait another whole year for it come around again.

17. The first thing I ever baked on my own was meringues. I was 9 and I have photographic evidence somewhere.

18. I love smells and always associate them to a particular situation. I suppose you can call it sniffable memories.

20. I have lived in 7 countries.

21. I speak 5 languages.

22. The one movie that always makes me cry is Bridges of Madison County.

23. If I want to be taken serious I wear my glasses.

24. I rarely cook the same meal twice.

25. I am a very determined person. I go after what I want even if it takes me a long time.

26. I don’t give myself enough credit.

27. My favourite evening activity is sitting on the sofa with my man and watching the Big Bang Theory while eating the best Shawarma and drinking a beer.

28. The best meal I ever had in a restaurant was one where there was nothing on the menu.

29. I love Sweden in the summer.

30. Berlin on New Year’s eve scares me (never seen that much firework going off at the same time).

31. I love the Belgian seaside.

32. I have very little patience.

33. I love Lego and hate how there is now a “girl range”.

34. I studied art history for a year but have forgotten most of it. I blame the fact that I was pregnant during that time.

35. I love architecture even though I know very little about it.

36. Medical documentories fascinate me. I think surgeons are amazing.

37. I love luxury (5 star hotels, business class travel, …) but can easily live without it. I does not define me. I enjoy it like I enjoy a walk in the park or a good coffee.

38. Nothing beats that first day after winter that it is warm enough to sit outside your favourite cafe to drink your coffee.

39.  While waiting for my first pilot job I cleaned hotel rooms, did costumer surveys and was a secretary. All very much jobs that don’t get enough respect.

40. Violins in the subway station playing Pachelbel’s ” Canon in D” makes me smile but also makes me emotional.










Driving home for Christmas…

Who’s traveling to see family this Christmas?

Who’s got suitcases packed full of presents and is worried the guy at check-in is going to spot that you are 10 kg over the weight limit? Who’s hopping on the train and has the challenge of making at least 3 connections, one being just a mere 10 minutes? And who’s got the car filled with lots of thick winter clothes, toys and books, a double buggy and a bag full of tricks to keep 2 toddlers happy? That last one, that’s me. Between our home in Berlin and my parents’ home in Belgium, there’s around 825 km. Most of it is German Autobahn (good road, lots of space, no speed limit in a lot of places… basically a driver’s dream) so things go quickly and smoothly.

It’s always nice to come back to Bruges. It is one of the most beautiful towns you’ll ever see. Especially around Christmas. Have you seen BBC series “The White Queen”? Most of it was filmed here. This is what it looks like in the evening a week before Christmas.


One of the first things I do when I am in Belgium is to go to the supermarket and stock up on things that are unavailable or more pricey in Germany. On my list:

– Lotus Speculoos

– Speculoos pasta (also called Biscoff or Cookie Butter in other countries)

– Cote d’Or chocolate

– Luikse siroop (apple and pear spread)

– Brown sugar (practically unavailable in Berlin)

– Kandijsiroop (syrup made from rock sugar)

– and beer…

So most of it is baking based. Yes, even the beer can be used in baking :-)

What do you bring home from visits to families or friends far far away?

Belgian GoodiesHere’s a small selection of Belgian goodies, including Belgian rain in the background (happens a lot here…).