Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann

Pic by Franzi.

“The whole point of good literature is to make newness durable. You are creating alternative time. You are making vivid that which did not exist before.” Colum McCann, Letters to a Young Writer

Letters to a Young Writer by author Colum McCann comprises fifty-two short texts that give some practical and philosophical advice about various matters of authorship – like creating characters, developing a plot, the terror of the white page, the first line and many more.  For me, each of the small texts was highly motivating and full of inspirational lines, which I would like to write down on a BIG mood board and hang it up above my favorite place to write (so currently this would be above my sofa).

A big recommendation for everyone who is loving the written word but also fighting with it from time to time.

I wish you a wonderful week! Have a creative one :)!

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Paneer Tikka Masala

Pic by Franzi.

This dish tastes like made in an Indian restaurant (at least in my world). I made it already several times – especially for guests. It’s easy to prepare (but takes some time) and always gets lots of praise :). You can make it either with paneer (an Indian fresh cheese that’s available in good-sorted Asian stores or you prepare your own home-made cheese), or alternatively use tofu, which tastes nearly as good as paneer in this Tikka Masala.


Ingredients: Serves 4.

2 TblSps coconut oil for frying, 250 g paneer or tofu (cut into cubes), 3 TblSps olive oil, 1-2 garlic cloves (smashed), 1 diced onion, app. 60 ml tomato paste, 2 TSps ground cardamom, 1/2 TSp pepper flakes, 2 TSps minced ginger, 2 TSps ground turmeric, 1 TSp garam masala, 1 TSp ground coriander, 1 TSp ground cumin, 800 g whole peeled tomatoes (tinned), 500 ml heavy cream, 450 g frozen peas, salt.


Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a big cast-iron pot. Fry the paneer (or the tofu) until it is golden-brown (2-3 minutes on each side). Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Discard the oil.

Heat the olive oil in the same pot. Add the smashed garlic, the minced onion, the tomato paste, the cardamom and pepper flakes. Roast, stirring often, until the tomato paste has darkened and the onion has softened (about 5 minutes). Add the rest of the spices (ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander and cumin) to the pot and roast, stirring constantly, until the bottom of the pot begins to brown (about 4 minutes).

Add the tomatoes with their juices, crushing the tomatoes with your hands while you add them. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring frequently and scraping up any brown bits. Cook until sauce thickens (about 8 minutes).

Add in the heavy cream, the paneer and the peas. Season to taste with salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened (15-20 minutes). Serve with rice.


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In Memoriam of a Princess…

Pink roses for a princess who stated “A dash of pink is always a good idea!” Pic by Franzi.

Last Thursday a friend lost her battle against cancer. She was a hell of a fighter and will be missed forever.

I am incredibly thankful to knew her and for all the happy hours we had together. Never will I forget her singing this song or her sleepwalking or her homemade jams or her being able to be ready in the morning in only 5 minutes (max) or her or wild dance in a car full of helium-filled balloons at her hen night or her love of karaoke or her first attempts on a snowboard or her being “kidnapped” by some unfriendly police-officers or the situation in which I realized she was pregnant or her socks on the bath mat in our first winter vacations or all those other small events that we were able to enjoy together. …Or the moment she came back into the life of one of my besties, as her so-called “fortune cookie”.

She also was the big luck of another dear friend of mine – she was the mother of his son and his newly wed wife. …Those two people were the reason she fought this hard. T & H: Thanks for being at her side during this battle and all the strength you gave her.

I am grateful to had her into my life, in the life of my friends and for every intensive moment we were able to experience in the last year – despite all odds. Now that her fight is over, we will carry her in our hearts. To enjoy every moment – that is what she taught as during those last months.

Goodbye princess C. You will be in our hearts forever.

I wish you a week full of memorable moments. Enjoy every second!

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Everything Now – A New Arcade Fire Album!

Arcade Fire concert on July 2, 2017 in Berlin. Pic by Franzi. See more on Instagram.

Arcade Fire’s new album Everything Now will be released on July 28, 2017. At the beginning of the month, me and two of my best pals were at the Arcade Fire concert in Berlin. It was a big party, where they not only played their old indie-rock hits but also some of their new tracks. If you never saw this band live, you definitely should put this onto you bucket list. They are incredibly powerful on stage and are creating a wonderful atmosphere in the audience. The few new songs, that I already listened to, only intensified my anticipation of the album.

Have a wonderful new week and happy listening!



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New Hamburg Spots!

Schanzenturm“. Pic by Franzi.

After Hamburg was the G20 spot last week and everyday in the media, it’s time to calm down a bit in the city. Since I realized that many of my old Hamburg recommendations are not existing anymore (I promise to update those posts soon), it’s time to share with you some new favorite Hamburg spots of mine. Here they are…

Restaurants (Book a table in all of these, if you plan to eat there!):

Brüdigams… My all-time favorite in Hamburg! Classic cuisine with a modern twist. Always delicious!

Ti Breizh… Breton! Incredible tasty galettes and crepes!

Zum Spätzle… Cute little space that serves Swabian dishes.

Kleine Brunnenstraße 1… Little restaurant that’s perfect for special occasions (e.g. Valentine’s Day, Birthday dinners,…).


Vineyard… Perfect for having a glass of wine with good friends on the end of a stressful week.

Le Lion… The most sophisticated bar in Hamburg.


Less Political… Located in the Sternschanze, this place is always crowded with young and hip people.

Black Delight… Small place that makes delicious coffee.


Luicella’s… An incredible variety of flavors!

Eisliebe… Always a good reason for a bike tour to Ottensen.

Eisprinzessinnen… Again: An incredible variety of flavors!

I wish you a wonderful July week! Enjoy the warm days :)!

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A Book About the Brain!

Pic by Franzi.

Today’s post is written under some time pressure: Thus the small picture and only a few lines…

Our last book in the literature club was Mein Hirn hat seinen eigenen Kopf (My brain has its own head) by Dong Seon Chang. It’s a book about the wonders of the mind – how our brain works and how it defines us and our relationships to the people around us.

An exciting read with lots of insights to discuss about!

I wish you a wonderful week! Enjoy the wonders of your mind :)!

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Pasta Casserole!

Pic by Franzi.

Today’s recipe is pure comfort food: (Gluten-free) pasta in a thick, creamy tomato sauce topped with melted cheese. A simple prepared dream of a pasta casserole!


Ingredients: Serves 3-4.

400 g (gluten-free) pasta, 1 tube tomato paste, 400 ml heavy cream, 250 g grated cheese, 1 garlic clove, 100 ml olive oil, herbes de provence, dried oregano, 1 diced onion, vegetables (like cubed bell peppers or zucchini), 100 g tinned corn (drained), a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper.


Cook the pasta according to what’s instructed.

For the sauce mix the whole tube of tomato paste with the heavy cream, the olive oil and one smashed garlic clove. Season with pepper, salt, herbes de provence and dried oregano.

Roast the vegetables in some olive oil until tender.

In a big casserole combine cooked pasta, 125 g grated cheese, the corn, the roasted vegetables, the tomato halves and the sauce. Top with the rest of the grated cheese. Bake at 180°C for app. 30 minutes.


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A Garden Wedding!

The beautiful wedding cake – with the names of the bride, the groom & their little daughter! All pics by Franzi.

Now we are definitely in the midst of this year’s wedding season! On Saturday Stephan and me were in Hesse at the beautiful garden wedding of his second cousin Simone and her groom Olli. It was such a wonderful feast with lots of inspirational ideas. Here are some impressions…

I wish you a wonderful fresh week! Have a lovely one!

I loved the table decoration: Collectors cups and saucers & wild flowers.

A candy bar!!!

In the night they lit a fire – and smoked salmon, which was later served as midnight dinner!

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Song of the Month: Ganz Paris träumt von der Liebe by Caterina Valente!

This month’s song is a true “oldie”: Ganz Paris träumt von der Liebe by the Italian 1950s star Caterina Valente. It just reminds me on this special summer feeling that’s already in the air: warm and heavy and wonderful…

Have a wonderful new week and happy listening!

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What Are You Looking Forward To This Summer?

Pic by Franzi.

I asked my pals: “What are you looking forward to this summer?” Surprisingly, their answers turned out quite variable – from gardening, hiking tours, mild nights or going to festivals. What would I answer? Spending time with those wonderful people, of course (and enjoying the brightness of warm lazy summer days). Here are all the inspirational answers I got (this time I also wrote their original German answers as well)…

Events & Actions:

Stephan: “I am looking forward to the summer vacations and all those upcoming concerts.” // “Auf den Sommerurlaub und die ganzen Konzerte.”

Markus: “Open Airs.” // “Open Airs.”

Claudi (my mum): “I am looking forward to the brightness of the days (because one gets more things done), to wearing summer dresses and to ride the bicycle.” // “Ich freue mich über die längere Helligkeit, weil man mehr schaffen kann, über das Tragen von Sommerkleidchen und über das Fahrradfahren.”

Dania: “I am looking forward to Jacobs and Sevs wedding in France amd the accompanying vacations.”// “Auf Jacobs and Sevs Hochzeit und den das Ereignis begleitenden Urlaub.”

Gerald (my dad): “I am looking forward to a reunion and to nice weather. And that hopefully all that I will build or repair will work out in the end.” // “Auf ein Wiedersehen, schönes Wetter und darauf, dass alles was ich baue und repariere danach auch funktioniert.”

Sophie (pregnant): “Mostly I am looking forward to put on my shoes by myself again.” // “Am meisten freue ich mich darauf, meine Schuhe wieder selbst anziehen zu können.”

Jessica (just started a new job): “I am looking forward to finally wear skirts at work. There is no aircon anymore, that will hinder me doing it.” // “Ich freue mich darauf, endlich Röcke bei der Arbeit anziehen zu können. Es gibt keine Klimaanlage mehr, die mich daran hindern kann.”

Meline (student): “Since for me summer means that I have no exams or lectures, I am mostly looking forward to the free time during which I can do spontaneous things with my pals and my boyfriend.” // “Da ich Sommer mit klausuren- und vorlesungsfreier Zeit verbinde, freue ich mich am meisten auf die Zeit, in der ich spontan Dinge mit Freunden und meinem Freund unternehmen kann.”

Steffi: “Sailing.” // “Segeln.”

Vivien: “I am looking forward to not freezing anymore, to warm evenings on the balcony, to BBQs, to staying outside with friends, to Open Airs, to the vacations and the Lollapalooza festival.” // “Darauf, nicht mehr frieren zu müssen, auf warme Abende auf dem Balkon, auf das Grillen, das Draußen sein mit Freunden, auf Open Airs, den Urlaub und das Lollapalooza.”

Sunshine, long days & warm nights:

Claudi Ö.: “I am looking forward to being outside and to enjoy the sun.” // “Auf das Draußensein und darauf, die Sonne zu genießen.”

Conny: “I am looking forward to ice-cream and long evenings.” // “Auf Eiscreme und lange Abende.”

Anna: “I am looking forward to the mild summer nights.” // “Auf die lauen Sommerabende.”

Liesbeth: “Mostly I am looking forward to the long bright days and the relaxed warm evenings with friends and family. Moreover, the tiredness and boredom from the winter will be gone.” // “Am meisten freue ich mich auf die langen hellen Tage, die entspannten warmen Abende mit Freunden und Familie und darauf, dass die Müdigkeit und Langeweile aus dem Winter verschwindet.”

Jacky:  “I am looking forward to nice weather and to spend time with family and friends.” // “Auf gutes Wetter und darauf, Zeit mit Familie und Freunden zu verbringen.”

Janina: “Mostly I am looking forward to mild summer nights (as far as this is possible in Hamburg) and to relaxed sitting and talking with friends in the park.” // “Ich freue mich am meisten auf laue Sommernächte (soweit man in Hamburg davon reden kann) und auf entspanntes Sitzen und Quatschen mit Freunden im Park.”

Birte: “I am looking forward to sitting outside for many hours in the evenings, talking and drinking something with ‘spritz'”. //  “Auf abends lange draußen sitzen, quatschen und irgendwas mit ‘Spritz’ trinken.”


Sabrina: “I am looking forward to my exciting vacations.” // “Auf meinen abwechslungsreichen Urlaub.”

Hartmut: “I am looking forward to the warmth and to water for bathing – like in the Baltic Sea.” // “Ich freue mich auf Wärme und auf Wasser zum Baden – zum Beispiel in der Ostsee.”

Yvonne: “I am looking forward to my vacations/maternity leave.” // “Auf meinen Urlaub/Mutterschutz.”

Eva: “I am looking forward to the summer vacations and the beeeeeach!!!” // “Auf den Sommerurlaub und den Straaaand!!!”

Katrin: “I am looking forward to my favorite spot at the Lake Constance, where I can put my feet into the water and read calmly.” // “Auf meinen Lieblingsplatz am Bodensee, an dem ich meine Füße ins Wasser strecken und in Ruhe lesen kann.”

Marie: “I am looking forward to the beach and the sun.” // “Auf Strand und Sonne.”

Annika: “I am looking forward to our hiking tour in Slovenia.” // “Auf unsere Slowenien-Wandertour.”

Garden Activities:

Simone: “I am looking forward to our raised bed that we are currently building and plan to farm. In a bigger context: To try out more new things like this.” // “Auf unseren Hochgarten, den wir gerade bauen und bewirtschaften wollen. Größer gefasst: Neues in der Art zu probieren.”

Suse: “I am looking forward to BBQs, to evenings on the terrace and to play and dig in the sand with the kids.” // “Auf das Grillen, darauf abends auf der Terrasse zu sitzen und dass wir mit den Kindern draußen buddeln und spielen können.”

Claudi R.: “I am looking forward to romp with the kids in the garden.” // “Darauf mit den Kindern im Garten herumzutoben.”

Jan: “I am looking forward to my new giant garden and to build a terrace there, where I will enjoy cool drinks and sling a hammock.” // “Auf meinen neuen Riesengarten, da eine Terrasse hinzuzimmern, dort kühle Getränke zu zischen und eine Hängematte aufzuhängen.”

Inka: “I am looking forward to sit in the garden, to the sun and to have BBQs together.” // “Darauf im Garten zu sitzen, auf die Sonne und das gemeinsame Grillen.”

I wish you a wonderful June week! Enjoy all the happy moments :)!

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