Documenting our (mostly) Scottish family's life in Berlin - culture clashes, expat cravings and all! bloglovin Moving to Germany living in Berlin


Wide eyed and full of wonderment

22 August 2014

Children’s capacity for wonderment at the world never ceases to cause me enjoyment. This morning, the bus that came to take us to nursery was brand new. To most undiscerning eyes it will have seemed a lot like the old buses, just a little rounder looking and more shiny. But not to a 3.5 year old. Whilst everyone else was staring disinterestedly out of the window - had they even noticed? - my boy proceeded to list every single thing about the bus that was new and different, each accompanied by excited exclamations of ‘look!’, ‘wow!’ or ‘amazing!’ - the seats, the handrails, the buttons, the door handles, the steps, the displays, and - best of all - the noises the doors made on opening and closing. “I love the new bus!”, he exclaimed. Never had a bus ride seemed more exciting, a simple morning commute more of an adventure. Once at nursery, he continued on his wave of exhilaration, telling each of his teachers over again about his phenomenal experience on the new bus that morning, eyes sparkling. They could not but smile. I hope his capacity to see the beauty in even the smallest things will remain with him for as long as possible.


Freebie Friday: Oli’s Bahnwelt

15 August 2014

Kids can be expensive, so as parents we all like to get our hands on something free, don’t we? The internet is full of resources to download or print off, but many corporate organisations also offer freebies you can send away for if you just know about them. I’ve been tracking down a few of these here in Berlin, and thought I’d share what I’ve found so far with you.

This week, I’d like to introduce you to “Oli’s Bahnwelt”. Oli is the children’s mascot of Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany’s national rail service, whose role it is to explain to children how the railway system works and the different jobs that people do. On his website, he is the start in a series of short videos, each accompanied by online games as well as craft ideas to download and colour in or make. 

Oli first appeared in 2001 in the Pixi book “Oli fährt Bahn” (Oli rides the train) - Pixi are a popular series of paperback miniature children’s books, about 10x10cm in size. Since then, several other titles with Oli’s adventures have been produced. We’d previously received the original title from a friendly DB ticket seller on a train journey to visit Oma and Opa, and the boy loved it. I’d heard that you could write to DB to request free copies of the other titles, so I did just that, thinking there were only three in total. What a lovely surprise then, to receive an envelope in the post just one week later, with not three but seven free Oli Pixi books!

Sure, some of the stories may seem a little contrived as they try to factor in the different train terminology and job titles, but if you have a little train loving bookworm at home, then these are just perfect. We’ve been reading Oli stories at bedtime for the past two night :) 

If you live in Germany and would like your own set of Oli books, all you need to do is send an email to with your postal address, asking them nicely to send you some.

DIY: Haribo Goldbär

1 August 2014

In our household, we all love porridge for breakfast, especially with honey. But what to do with the cute honey jar after it’s empty? It seemed a shame to just throw it away.

But then it reminded me of the Haribo bear, and I had an idea! 

Whether you have kids or just have a sweet tooth yourself, you’re probably familiar with the Germany confectionary company HARBIO, founded by Hans Riegel in the 1920s - did you know the name is an acronym of Hans Riegel, Bonn? Bonn is the city where the company has its HQ. One of their signature sweeties are gummy bears, known in Germany as “Goldbären” or, in English, Goldbears.

Anyway, so back to my idea. I soaked the empty honey jar in hot water to remove the label, then two coats of gold spray paint later and…does it remind you of anyone yet?

I painted the eyes and nose back in with black acrylic paint, and the boy insisted I also add a mouth, even though the original honey jar bear didn’t have one. Then we tied a piece of red ribbon round his neck and voila!

Don’t you think he’s the spitting image of the HARIBO Goldbär? 

It’s not a hugely large jar, but you could use as a vase for some small flowers. I think I’d probably pop a few marbles in the bottom first, to make it a bit heavier and less likely to fall over. 

What’s your favourite kind of HARIBO?

Project Balcony 2014: Who needs flowers?!

Deutsche Küche: Nudelsalat

10 June 2014

Whether picnic, BBQ or party, next to Germany’s favourite Kartoffelsalat, a Nudelsalat (pasta salad) is never far away.  It’s also great on hot days like this - we’re currently in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures around 35 C - where you can cook the pasta the evening before after the weather has cooled down, and then just throw everything together after work the next day and you have dinner for about two days. This recipe comes courtesy of my brother. Serves 4-6 adults as a summer meal, or more if it’s just a side dish.


  • 250g cooked and cooled pasta (I used gluten free fusilli)
  • 4-6 gherkins (depending on how small or big they are)
  • 1 small tin of peas (aprox. 150g drained) or alternatively defrosted frozen peas
  • 1 “Fleischwurst" (aprox. 200g) - I’ve sometimes seen them in the UK, but if you have trouble getting any then alternatively you could chop up some hotdog sausages
  • 1 small red pepper & 1 small yellow pepper
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 small jar of “Miracle Whip” (250ml) or an equivalent salad mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • salt and pepper


  • Chop up the gherkins, Fleischwurst and peppers, and mix with the cooled pasta and peas.
  • Mix together the salad mayonnaise, vegetable oil and milk and season with salt and pepper. If the dressing seems too thick, add a little more milk.
  • Mix the dressing in to the salad - all done!
  • As a finishing touch, cut the hard boiled eggs in to quarters and arrange on top of the salad (I forgot to do this before taking the photo, and remembered the eggs half way through eating - d’oh…)