Sunday 22 July 2018

407. Berlin hacks.

After all the paperwork, house viewings and stress, I finally secured an apartment!
Amen, I must have gone to about 30 odd viewings.
With getting a new apartment also comes a 3 month deposit, plus the current rent you have to pay. So your pretty fucking broke and need to buy all this god damn furniture.

However if your as frugal/thrifty as myself you can do it pretty cheap.

I was lucky enough to get a reimbursement from my job however this nowhere near even covered the cost of me moving my shit from one country to another.

And who wants to lug an ikea sofa from the UK to Berlin anyways?

So here's what I did:

Ebaykleinenzeigen will be your best friend.
In Berlin they are massive on upcycling, re-using and recycling. So you'll find so much stuff on ebay. Now this ebay is more like a gumtree/freecycle. You can find anything and everything on there.
I bought half my furniture on there!

I got the below sofa for 29euros!

Poof Free
Chairs 15euro
Balcony furniture 15 euro
Lamp shade free

Set alerts on your phone, for when new stuff crops up. Make sure you check the free section, you never know what you might find!

Free your stuff berlin, facebook group.
Here people are giving away their stuff they want to get rid of for free, or simply post a picture of when people dump stuff on the street (you'll find this a lot in Berlin).
Be quick though, as bits get nabbed up super quick!

We got our desk and kitchen unit with the help of the group!

Buy and Sell Berlin, facebook group.
This is another facebook group, but this is where you have to pay. You can find some great bargains. I got some essentials with the help of this group.

Washing machine for 50euros
Fridge 60euros
Kallax 20 euros

Mauerpark flea market for random bits and bobs
Every Sunday in Mauerpark is a flea market which sells random bric-a-brac shit. There's always a lot of glassware and a lot of weird random shit. But you have to work for it and rifle through the card boxes of it all

Sunday 27 May 2018

406. Brit to Berlin. How to.

Recently I moved to Berlin with my boyfriend, it was an easy decision to make for us as we both wanted out from London for a year or so now. And I finally got offered the job that I had been interviewing for the last 8 months.

As expats looking to make the move, you'll understand it's not the easiest thing to do. The amount of paperwork etc is insane. So in this post I will try and break it down to be as easy and as manageable as possible.

1. The infamous Anmeldung.

What is it? It's a piece of paper that confirms where you live. Essentially you registering your address.

Why do you need it? Main reason is so you can get your tax number, and then get paid by your job.

How do you get one? You need to make an appointment at the burgeramt. You can do this online here. I would recommend rather than booking an appointment in advance (can wait up to 3 months) wait until 8am when the time slots come up and book on the day.

What do you need to bring? You'll need to bring this form Wohnungsgeberbestätigung which needs to be completed by yourself and the current landlord you live with.

Passport. And anmeldung form

What happens when you visit? I don't know if it's different in each burgeramt, but for me my number (when you register for an appointment you get given a number) was on a screen. And it told me which room to go to, it ran about 15 minutes late. Go into a room, hand your papers over. She prints off a piece of paper and stamps it. Bobs your uncle. You've got your anmeldung.

Now what? You'll receive a few letters in the post. 1, Being your tax number. 2, Social security number and 3. A letter from the ARD to pay for essentially a tv licence. It's compulsory as it's also for internet, radio etc.

2. How do I find somewhere to live?

The prep: Before you even start going to house viewings, I highly recommend you prepare the following paperwork to bring with you to the house viewings.

1. Photocopy of your passport.

2. Last 3 months payslips. (if you're new to your job, don't bother with payslips from the uk, just bring you work contract.)
3. Schufa, this is a credit check. You're entitled to a free once a year. Get one here. If you're in a rush you can go to the post bank and get one. But make sure you bring your passport and you might need your anmeldung.

4. Debt free form. Basically confirms you don't owe your landlord any money. Form is here. This can be signed by your old landlord from the uk.

Tip: Once I had all this i made myself several copies ready to take to each houseviewing.

Where to look: There's plenty of facebook groups. However your best bet if you're looking for your own appartment is immobilienscout24

3. Other useful things to know:

Only need to register/ get an anmeldung, if you are planning to stay over 3 months.

Once registered you will need to get health insurance. This is compulsory.
If you have moved from a different city/country ensure you keep receipts from moving cost as you can claim all this back when you file your taxes.
Join the facebook group free advice berlin.

Saturday 22 July 2017

405. Barcelona eats.

 1. Ugot.

Great stylish little cafe with a vintage theme. Offered a mixture of brunch items such as omlettes, eggs benedict and shatshuka. Best brunch place we visited. Ranges between 8euros - 10euros.

 2. Federel Cafe.

More of the minimalist hipster with a macbook vibe, you can sit in the windows of the cafe which makes for outdoor eating. Some of the staff are nice some are rude so it's a lucky dip with service. Very large menu and lots to choose from. Adored my brioche toastie with cheese and ham shoulder. The boyfriend said the omelette in Ugot was better. About the same price as Ugot. 7euros - 12euros. More variety.

3. Bar Fidel

Great little sandwich shop, which had a great authentic feel at bargain prices.

4. El Xampanyet

Very popular with all the tourists and there's a reason why. It's tasty, authentic and 1 litre of cava is 10 euros. No pictures as I was too busy enjoying it. The staff are super friendly and helpful, there's such a great atmosphere and it's very affordable. Recommend to arrive 10 minutes before opening if you want a seat!

5. El Poble Sec (Road)

There's a road filled with lots and lots of small restaurants/bars which all offer a Spainish snack called Pinchos. They aren't anything special but they are quite fun to eat and range between 1- 2 euros so a bargain if you're on a tight budget.

Monday 29 May 2017

404. Mr. Bao

A lovely little place in Peckham, Mr. Bao has had residency for the last couple of years. Bao's seem to be the craze as of late making their appearance at most pop-up street markets and the well known Bao in soho.
This little place is a perfect for a light lunch or evening cocktails and tit-bits.

Menu Done asian style, you get handed a little menu which you tick what you want. Split between the side dishes and bar's there's a great variety between veg and meat. Well balanced I'd say.

Interior Nicely done, nothing fancy. Nice exposed light bulbs, bit of floral tiling. However this place is very small and they've made good use of the space they have. Fits about 25 people.

Food Tapas style each plate came out as soon as it was ready. We opted for four sides to share and a bao each for a light lunch. This was the perfect amount.

First came the pork dumplings. Probably my least favourite out of everything, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy them because I did. The only thing was that the pastry didn't taste fresh and split easily when picked up. They should've been slightly more crisped, however the filling was great, well seasoned and light. Although the biggest faux pas is that soya sauce was not provided! Sriracha sauce was instead... 6.3/10

Next came the sweet potato fries with wasabi mayo. Ooo lordy these were good. Almost like tempura, the batter was lightly crisp and semi flaking off. The wasabi mayo was delicious (although could've been stronger personally) but they were great. A lovely little side dish. Highly recommended, however they are a bit stingey on the mayo. 8.4/10

Then followed by Soya and Ginger Edamame beans and Fried Chicken with siracha mayo. The edamame beans were delicious, the sauce was great sweet and salty. Can't go wrong. The fried chicken was good, nothing to rave about. But great if you can't resist a bit of some crispy fried chicken. Came with siracha mayo, which for me was ok but would've preferred a sticky honey and soya sauce. 6.1/10

Lastly came the Bao's. These were pretty darn good. Lots of flavour, fresh and tender. A good size too, you might think they were a bit small but the dough is rather filling but light at the same time. I opted for the Chicken and Kim Chi whilst the sister went for the Slow braised pork and Peanut powder.  Delicious. 6.8/10

Price Sides £3-4 / Baos £4 - £5

Rating 7.6/10

Verdict Service is a bit slow, very small restaurant and do need a larger venue especially when you allow large family with buggies. However bang for your buck. All the above came to £22! Great food too.

Address 293 Rye Ln, London SE15 4UA

Sunday 30 April 2017

403. I don't like to wash my hair.

We all get fucking lazy and hate to wash our hair. I thought now that I've hacked my hair off to a bob length it would be easier. Nope, still hate washing my hair. Maybe I'm gross, lazy, or just don't want to conform to society. Who am I kidding. Nah, just lazy and gross I think. However when I discovered Batiste, circa Reading festival 2008, that helped wash away any greasy looking festival vibes and was from then on my saviour.
However I always had a problem with it, it left me looking like I had dandruff. No matter what advice people told me, "rub it in properly" or "use it the night before" it still left a white residue on my dark head of hair (I know they do a brunette one but I'm not paying extra for that, plus back in 2008 i remember it was about £1.50 for a can!). Not only that but it irritated my scalp.

Anyways I've tried a few other dry shampoos in the process, Mark Hill (did weird things to my hair) , herbal essences (kinda-ish worked), label m (didn't work), superdrug's own brand (nope, didn't work).

So I kinda gave up. Until I saw a new brand in Superdrug called CoLab which had the cutest bottle design, it was half price so I thought I'd give it ago. Trying the original scent for a clean fresh smell, it worked a dream. All varieties promote that it doesn't leave a white residue! Which it didn't! And it worked beautifully not leaving my hair feel too dry either! After a couple test runs I ran back to Superdrug and stocked up on a couple more bottles (opted for the extremely cute fruity scent with smiley faces on the bottle and the tropical covered in the trendy look of "plants on pink" print).

Not only is this stuff great but it's vegan friendly, not tested on animals, and protects your hair from uv damage and pollution!

So guys test this shit out! You'll never look back.

Thursday 27 April 2017

402. Rome eats.

1. Gelateria Cecere Antonietta - via del Lavatore 84, Rome, Italy (Trevi)

A friend who'd been going to Rome for many years recommended this place. Just round the corner from the trevi fountain, this area is filled with gelateria's so I was glad I had this place recommended to me. And it didn't fail to deliver, we opted for a lemon sorbet and double chocolate. Oh me oh my, the lemon was perfectly crisp, moist and refreshing. Not sour but softly sweet that it didn't become sickly. Then the chocolate, that was so perfectly creamy and indulgent. A definite must when visiting the Trevi Fountain. About 4 euros a pop.

2. Il Fornaio Via Dei Baullari, 5, 00186 Roma, Italy

Another recommendation from my friend. This was such a little hidden treasure, traditional and small. With a mixture of sweet and savoury treats to choose from we decided to try their foccacia and a slice of the pizza displayed in their window.

3. Pizza Zizza Roma

A great lil restaurant (teeny tiny) that's worth coming as soon as it opens. It has two tables outside and one inside, that's about it. Round the corner from St Peter's Basilica, I've heard queues can be rather lengthy. Luckily we got there just as it opened. Friendly service, we were offered the tasting menu and agreed to tried all the delights. Whilst waiting we were treated to trying one of their arancini balls which were deep fried cheese rice, so crisp on the outside by moist on the in. Mmm mmm. Then came the platter of pizza slices, just the right size for seven different varieties, the base was lovely and crisp and the ingredients fresh and tasty. My favourites were the pesto topped ones! Highly recommended and for a mere 18 euros for two people, you can't go wrong.

4. CamBio Vito

Another day another gelateria! I delved in for the Stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate shavings) and a hazelnut one. So fresh and creamy! Rather filling after scoffing my face with pizza, great size portions for 4 euros. A must.

5. Market At Campo Dei Fiori

One of our last stops before we left Rome was a place we happened to stumble across. This market was filled with all the goods. Men will try and lure you to try their array of truffle infused saucey things, and you must embrace it. Because as soon as you try one, you want them all! We stoked up on truffle infused pesto (7euros), big ol' wedges of parmigiana (price by weight), sticks of garlic salami (also price by weight) and obviously penis pasta (a bargain a 2.50euros a large pack). It's really pretty and quite fun and such stunning location.

Monday 17 April 2017

401. Fancy Funkin Chicken.

I purely chose this place as on a Tuesday they have buy one get one free deals on the burgers and the cocktails and it was my turn to pay between Josh and I...I had read about this place in a few newspapers/blogs etc so I thought I'd give it ago. I love chicken and so I it was only natural.

Free range and ethically sourced their food is Southern American inspired.

MenuA great array of chicken I must say, I like how it was split between burgers, bites and wings. And very well priced.

Interior Average, nothing special. slightly too much bar vibes.

Food All the food came out at once, which for me was a little faux pas. (Would've like the wings before the burgers). We opted for 8 of the Funkin Hot Wings, they were good. Smothered in plenty of source and very large in size! Surprisingly so, I was relatively full after four. My mouth was on fire, but I couldn't stop myself because they were so tasty. A well deserved 8.2/10.

Next came the mac and cheese, would've liked a slightly larger portion but that's me being greedy. It was good, but could've been a bit more cheesier/creamier. Average I would say, 5.5/10.

Then came the burger, holy moley, it was huge. Bang for your buck. And very tasty. I went for the Big Cheese Burger, triple cheese, bacon and caramelised onion. The only disappointing thing was that it was overwhelmingly flavoured with rosemary, and it didn't feel like triple cheese, more of a double. Otherwise the bun was well toasted, the cheese oozed and the chicken was well crusted. This was a 7.9/10.

We also ordered chips which were good a solid 6.7/10 although the coleslaw was warm and very disappointing a 2.5/10, I expected something of a better calibre when the burger was that good. 

Price Coleslaw £3.50/ Mac N Cheese £4.50/ Big Cheese Burger £9.50/ 8 Wings £6.50

Rating 7.4/10 (Increase my scale out of 10, 5 was too small)

Verdict I'd recommend going, definitely on a Tuesday when it's BOGOF, bloody bargain. Just stay away from the coleslaw, and make sure you make room in your stomach before hand.

Address 441 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, London SW9 8LN