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WEST BERLIN WEEKENDS

March 12, 2017

We’ve just had the sunniest weekend that Berlin has seen for a long while and it was wonderful, so I thought I’d share it here. I actually took my coat off outside, it felt liberating to be outdoors without the cold needling my face. Though the Berlin winters can feel dark and gloomy at times (with lots of Netflix), the summers are worth it, and if that little peep of sunshine that we had this weekend could brighten everyone’s day so much- imagine what months of it will bring?!

Over the weekend we hopped on the S-bahn and went to West Berlin, to Rogacki- an old market. It was built in the 1930’s and hasn’t changed since. Old locals stand around drinking wine, eating smoked fish or oysters whilst they put the world to rights. It looks like a rough and ready version of the market halls that you see in fancy department stores. Yet this is the original, real-deal.

We even made a friend called Briguitta who gave us wine then took us on a tour of the stalls, telling us how each fish was smoked and where it comes from. We bought delicious cheeses, smoked fish and red wine. There is a really cool vinyl shop near the back entrance which also looks like it has been stuck in a time warp since the 1970s. Nick bought three world-music vinyls which he was pretty happy about.

In fact, the whole area has been stuck in a time warp. It’s such a contrast to the edgy East Berlin where we live which is full of young people from all over the world claiming Berlin as their home. It’s random days out like this that make me love living in Berlin, you can continually discover such contrasting things in this city.

Suggested Post: OOTD In Prague’s Old Town

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I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain.

November 3, 2016

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I’m missing my Grandparents immensely today. My best friend has recently lost her Grandad and is preparing her reading for the funeral.  As a result I re-visited the eulogy which I wrote with my family and read at my Grandparent’s funeral. Naturally it evoked lots of special memories and a deep sadness that they are gone.

I remember writing the eulogy with my sisters, Aunty and Mum. We sat around the dining room table with a suitcase of old photographs. Each telling stores about them whilst laughing and crying, with a glass of wine in hand. By the end of the night the speech was written.

When I got to the church the vicar held my hand and said God would give me strength. I did indeed feel strength and read each word without falter. It felt so powerful reading those words to a church full of hundreds of people who had the up-most respect for my Grandparents.
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They were a wonderfully wholesome couple who had a huge influence on the lives of my sisters and I, along with many other people that knew them.
Sadly they both passed away within days of each other and we had a joint funeral for them. The Rector said during the service: “Their lives were so bound up in each other – and they have left this world together. They did everything together and looking after their grandchildren was one of their greatest joys.”

He went on to say: “I have been amazed at the number of people who stopped me in the street to tell me of the passing of this wonderful couple and each and every one had wonderful memories of them.”

Though I am thankful that they both lived until 73 and had fulfilling lives, it never feels like the right time to lose someone you love.
Everyone suffers the loss of a loved one at some stage during their lives, it is heartbreaking that special people must leave us. But my goodness, how lucky we are to have had people like that in our lives in the first place. If death teaches us one thing, it is to live.

The title of this post is of course a quote from Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep a beautiful poem written in 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye.

With love X

Travel & Places

BERLIN UPDATE: TRADITIONS TO MAKE A NEW CITY FEEL LIKE HOME

September 25, 2016

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You will never guess what? It has been a full year since Nick and I decided to make the leap and move to Berlin. It certainly doesn’t feel that long. I am often responding to the question ‘how long have you been here?’ with ‘six months’, because time has flown by. Some of you have been asking for an update on how we are settling in, so I thought our one year anniversary would be the perfect opportunity to fill you in.

Moving to Berlin was incredibly exciting and since we touched down a year ago we have been on a none-stop mission to find new places, discover hidden gems and see as much as possible. However, while thrilling, seeking out adventures doesn’t add up to the most homely, settled lifestyle. One year into the move and we have began to take pleasure in developing our own rituals and traditions here.

One of these things is going to the Saturday food market, stocking up on fresh veg and fish for the week ahead then cooking up an incredible dinner. The market is full of fresh produce and crafts like hand made pasta and artisinal cheeses. One of our most treasured stalls is the tiramisu and pizza stand. This place is run by two Italian guys, one makes the desserts and the other fries authentic, Napoli-style pizza right in front of you. The tiramisu is utterly dreamy and picking up a couple of pots for after dinner (or eating it immediately in the park) has become a regular occurrence – we found out later that it’s even gluten free!

You may have read that Nick loves his coffee (see this post for his top spots), and so this has also become one of our weekly routines. Every weekend we head out to try out a new coffee shop in a new district of Berlin. We usually spend the rest of the day exploring the local shops and sights. It’s been so much fun and has really helped us to get to know the different areas.

These little traditions are just small things that we take pleasure in, but it’s been a really important part of adapting to living in a new country and making it feel like our own home.

Have you recently moved to a new city or country? If so, do you have have any tips on making it feel like home?

Suggested Post: Five Beautiful Things To Do In Berlin

Fashion & Beauty

MY FAVOURITE OOTD POSTS

September 15, 2016

I recently had to search through my back catalog of blogs. It was a lovely trip down memory lane and I enjoyed reminiscing about each post, what I was doing at the time and how things have changed since then. Being able to look back in this way is a wonderful perk of having a blog.

Here are some of my favourite OOTD posts since the inception of LedByLucy and the reasons why.

LedByLucy-Chester-England (14)Chester: Stopping To Smell The Roses This post and pictures remind me of deciding to make a huge leap of faith and move from the UK to Germany. It was a really exciting but also uncertain time as we didn’t know what to expect. Our lives changed a lot after this.LedByLucy-Poppy-ASOS-image6Poppy Print Outfit Of The Day Taken outside of Hotspur Press in Manchester, a pretty grubby industrial building which is steeped in history and charming in it’s own way. And yeah, I like the dress!

New #OOTD post set in #Ibiza featuring @topshop retro swimwear. Link to blog in bio. Ibiza In A Clamb Shell Holiday vibes!LedByLucy-Berlin-FashionTwinsies! OOTD With My Sister I pass this spot regularly and this image of my sister and I laughing together pops up in my mind every time. I actually have this picture framed in my spare room. We both live so far away from each other now that moments like this together are very precious.LedByLucy-Nhow-Berlin-BloggerNhow Berlin Review: A Sunny Lunch Date This is Berlin at its finest, with the sun shining! The Spree (the river in the background) is a landmark in Berlin that I love. If and when we ever decide to move away from Berlin, I know I will look back on photos like this and think of the good times.LedByLucy-January-Treats-image5LedByLucy-January-Treats-image6French Connection and Faux Fur The first post using my “proper” camera. Up until this point I had been admiring other people’s blogs and occasionally creating my own posts using an i-phone. It was a pricey purchase but totally worth it, it makes the blog in my opinion. LedByLucy-Blog-Engagement-Dress-White-Bocci-BerlinEngagement Party Dress: Wearing White Wearing White Both the twinkling lights at Bocci and the fact that I am wearing my engagement party dress make this a favourite post. Maybe one day when I’m older and we have children they might ask about our engagement and I can show them these pictures.

Lifestyle and Interviews

PERFECT IS OVERRATED, PERFECT IS BORING

August 31, 2016

Final 2I love reading blogs for many reasons, they can inspire me, comfort me or capture my imagination in a really healthy and positive way. I can read a post and be like “hell yeah sister, let’s run the world”. But I can also read a blog that makes me feel like crap and want to sob into my un-ironed pajamas at the distorted sight of the author gliding through life like a goddess that wakes up with instant beach waves and an endless supply of incredible dresses.

I discussed recently in this post that I usually select my favourite pictures for the blog. Instead, today here are some of the pictures that have caused the biggest, full belly LOLs between me and my boyfriend when we are snapping for the blog.

I wanted to post these because we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect. But ultimately it’s people’s quirks and unique qualities that make them who they are. As a wise woman once said, perfect is overrated, perfect is boring.

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Lifestyle and Interviews

WEDDING SEASON = SISTER SEASON

September 3, 2015

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Just two years ago my sisters and I all lived in the same city together. We absolutely loved it. We could all see each other at the drop of a hat. We partied, swapped clothes, ate out, cooked in and watched films together all of the time.

Now we live all over the place, in different cities and countries. This just means that our get-togethers are super special and have taken on a whole new meaning now.

Our lovely step-sister recently got married in Guernsey and we all flew out to celebrate. We were so excited to see each other. She looked absolutely stunning, it was such a happy day. We played boules and croquet on the lawn and danced until the early hours of the morning.

Whenever there is a party I always love decorating. For Charlotte’s gift I had a Hello Party bundle made for her.

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She had gorgeous engagement photographs taken and I knew I wanted to incorporate them into her gift somehow. With Hello Party I had personalised posters, banners, bunting and keepsakes made. I picked the ‘rustic watercolour‘ theme then personalised it with colours to match the bouquet.  I presented her with the bundle a few days before the wedding and she had them all on display on the big day.

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I love a good wedding. They bring everyone together to celebrate. The day after we hired mountain bikes and rode all around the coastline. Gurnsey is a picturesque little island and we were lucky enough to have sunshine for the whole time we were there.

We had the wedding blues when the party was over and we all went our separate ways, but it just makes us all the more excited for our next get together.

I hope that you guys have had some good weddings and parties to go to with your loved ones this season too.

Photo credit: First two and last one by PhotoToasty (the others are my own)

Suggested Post: Washi Tape DIY Project

Lifestyle and Interviews

IDEAS FOR SUNNNY DAYS OUT

August 27, 2015

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LedByLucy-Summer-BikeRide (14) CropSummer technically ends in August which is giving me a sense of urgency to make the absolute most of the sunshine before Jack Frost pays us a visit. 

I’ve put together a list of my favourite days out celebrating summer’s gifts of warm fresh air and Vitamin D. My plan is to squeeze in as many as possible before the sun goes into hybernation for winter. (That’s a scientifically accurate depiction of the seasons).

It’s so easy to get into a routine where hanging out with my friends means eating out or going for cocktails at our favourite bar. What I love about all of these activities is that they are healthy ways to hang out, they get your body moving and your blood flowing. Well, perhaps not the cinema, unless your watching a horror movie, but the fresh air is still good!

1. Picnic and biking in the park – Packing a picnic basket with goodies and soaking up the rays in a pretty park is my ideal. I like to take along pillows, outdoor speakers and decorations too if it’s a party. I’ve got massively into biking this summer which is rounded up nicely with a picnic in the park.

Try it here: Hyde Park (London) or Tiergarten (Berlin)

2. Out-Door Cinema– Watching a movie under the stars, cozy under a snuggly blanket is the best way to experience a film. The last Al fresco film I saw was Breakfast at Tiffany’s, it was so special to see Audrey’s beautiful face this way.

Try it here: Fountains Abbey (Yorkshire) or Freiluftkino Insel im Cassiopeia (Berlin)

3. Al fresco Yoga– At my usual indoor class the teacher plays ambient music emmulating nature: a babbling river, birds singing or ocean waves. Oming with actual Mother Nature takes it to another level. I’ve heard sunset and sunrise yoga sessions are magical so I really want to try those too.

Try it here: Park Yoga (Berlin)

4. Fruit Picking at The Local Farm– Pop your dungarees on, head over to the local farm and grab a basket. Freshly picked fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins and when picking your own you can select the cream of the crop. Strawberry picking is my favourite, I like to ‘test’ a few along the way to check that they are sweet enough!

Try it here: Greenbank Farm (Lancashire)

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For my bike ride picnic featured in the photos I wore a ‘Thunder Blue’ crepe tunic from White Stuff . It is a relaxed fit so its nice and cool to cycle in. And to quote Game of Thrones, winter is coming so I can pair it up with some tights and ankle boots in the cold.

What’s your ideal sunny day out? Let me know in the comments section below so I can add it to my list!

Wearing: Thunder Blue Crepe Tunic From White Stuff Camel Ballet Pumps From NewLook and New Look Watch Pale Gray (Similar)

Suggested post: Ibiza Brights

Lifestyle and Interviews

Paint Project

April 20, 2014

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I have a few pieces of inexpensive furniture that have moved around with me from place to place since my university days. They looked ever so sad and dowdy in my new apartment so I decided to give them a colour-pop make-over.

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Dulux tester paint pots are brilliant for jazzing up furniture. You’d be surprised at how far the paint from those little pots can go.

I chose Pretty Pink, Lemon Tropics and Mint Macaroon.

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Here are a few tips:

  • Clean the surface of the chair/table thoroughly before you start painting. If you paint directly onto dust it will look clumpy and peel within no time
  • Apply a few, light coats of paint. This will avoid brush streaks and drips
  • Be patient and allow each coat to dry completely before starting on the next
  • If any brush hairs get stuck in the paint, remove them quickly with tweezers. If the paint starts to dry before you do this it will look messy
  • Cover all surfaces, even those out of view for a professional finish
  • Wash your brushes in hot soapy water as soon as possible so that they are nice and supple ready for the next project!                                  image

Be warned it is addictive! I only intended on painting a chair and table but ended up getting a little carried away. The drawers of my dressing table are now Pretty Pink!

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You can read about my jewellery organisers (as pictured above) in this post.

Lifestyle and Interviews

Operation Organisation – Jewels in Jam Jars

February 20, 2014

I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to jelwery and as an ex-visual merchandiser, I am always looking for neat new ways to organise my nest of necklaces.

Here is a little tip to help de-tangle your treasures…

Before:

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After:

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I used re-cycled mason jars to store my rings, broaches and bracelets. Not only do they look pretty but I can see exactly what pieces I have and then pick them out right away.

See more of my dressing table here.

Fashion & Beauty, Lifestyle and Interviews

How to Host Your Own Clothes Swap Party

February 15, 2014

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Hello! This is my very first blog post here on Led by Lucy and it is dedicated to the art of clothes swap parties.

Hosting parties is a bit of a hobby of mine, but clothes swap parties are an all time favourite. Who doesn’t want to party with friends and leave with a bundle of new threads, all the while knowing that you are doing your bit for good old Mother Earth!?

Keeping our carbon footprint dainty can be difficult in a world of disposable fashion. Swapping is a much greener and far more ethical way of updating your wardrobe, and its super fun too!

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Here are my top tips for hosting your own:

  1. Set the Date, Send the Invitation and Choose a Charity…

Top tip – When setting the date I always try to give guests at least two months notice, so that they have time to trawl through their wardrobes and select the items that they want to swap

  • Setting a limit of items people can bring helps to keep things manageable and means people will bring good quality pieces. I usually suggest five items per person at a small party and three at larger parties
  • If you’re short on hangers, ask that guests bring clothes already on one
  • Choose a charity close to your heart to donate any remaining items to, Ichose Wigan and Leigh Hospice at my latest party
  • If you want your invites to fit with the sustainable ethos of the event, send your invites over email

The Set Up…

If your hosting a large party and have the luxury of two rooms,  usher your guests into one room with music, drinks and nibbles. Take the clothes into the other room and keep it closed until the swapping commences.

  • Hang everything up onto rails, in three sections labeled small, medium and large (if you don’t have rails you could use a clothes horse or washing line)
  • Have an accessories table for shoes, handbags and jewelry

The Rules: If you brought Primark Don’t Take Prada!…

Once everyone has arrived and your goodies are all set up, its almost time to ‘swap till you drop’. 

  • If you don’t have enough mirrors, getting into pairs or ‘style buddies’ to advise each other can be fun
  • I usually set one golden rule: If you brought Primark don’t take Prada!
  • Go swap!

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