Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lost In Plantation

I love traveling. I love all the inspiration I bring back from my many trips. I also love plants. And combining both is the perfect equation for me. But sometimes you don't even have to go away to spend a special holiday. I have discovered over time that botanical gardens are the perfect green escape for an instant holiday feel - even in your own hometown. So one sunny Saturday morning I set off to the beautiful botanical garden in Munich and enjoyed the morning sun, lush greens and I wandered from one climate zone to the next one in their greenhouses. All was topped by a fantastic outdoor garden in full bloom. Spring must be the most beautiful seasons ever, right?

So this was just a short green escape that I wanted to share with you. I am thinking of making my 'Lost in Plantation' a sort of irregular blog series featuring the various botanical gardens I visit on my travels. What do you think? Yay or nay?

Oh and by the way: All images were shot with my iPhone on-the-go as I did not take my big camera with me. I still hope you love and enjoy it!

Happy green week to you all!

Photography with iPhone 5S by Igor Josifovic

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pillow Talk By Wool And The Gang

One of the advantages of social media is bonding with likeminded people. Yes you could call it the gangs of the 21st century. One of those gangs that unites people with a love for knitting or knitted goodies is Wool and the Gang. I had the opportunity to meet the creative minds of Wool and the Gang during our Bloggers Tour in London in March and I even managed to knit a row - can you imagine! I still officially claim that I have two left hands when it comes to any kind of DIY! But Wool and the Gang caters to all people with a passion for cosy knitwear - even to those who are happy with ready knit goods.

Wool and the Gang is above all known for its knitwear - it can be bought either ready made or as knit kits for talented hands. When I met Wool and the Gang during our visit to Heal's in London (thanks to the interiors community at{mine}), I heard their news about launching a new home collection and it's launched by now - they extended their collection with knitted cushions, pillows and a blanket.

I've been cuddling up with their knitted pillow for a while now and I can confirm that it has become my favorite sofa cuddle buddy - while I am working, watching a movie or simple cozying up with a good book and coffee. The pillow is super soft as it is made of a unique yarn that has been made from up-cycled t-shirt scraps.

Are you a talented knitter (unlike me)? Or do you prefer the ready-made version? Whatever version you opt for, one thing is for sure: it is super cosy and comfy. And you'll be part of the gang - Wool and the Gang.

Photography by Igor Josifovic, second image by Wool and the Gang
This post has been brought to you in collaboration with Wool and the Gang

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ready For Summer With West Elm

My favorite season of the year is right now, it's spring. One of the many reasons is also the pleasant anticipation of summer with its promise of warm summer nights, barbecues with friends, poolside fun and beach time. It also means making the home ready for summer - everything is airy and breezy, the colours are brighter and happier, there is a wonderful lightness in the air. West Elm is getting ready for summer too - with a bright and cheerful collection for the warm season of the year.

West Elm launches a great selection of outdoor furniture for your balcony, garden or veranda including some very beautiful mosaic bistro and coffee tables - I love the absolute summer vibe of the mosaic bistro tables, they remind me of summer fun on the Greek islands, don't you agree? But not only your outdoors will be beautifully equipped for summer, West Elm also offers a great range of furniture, home accessories and home textiles for your indoors. I love the Steven Alan striped collection of home textiles in particular - look at the gorgeous rug! And do I spot some Happy Interior Blog colours on the rug's diamond pattern?

Moreover West Elm features currently a great range of terrariums, planters (look at the fantastic mid-century turned leg planters) and small cacti and succulents. I need not mention how much I love that as an Urban Jungle Blogger, right?

I also had the great opportunity to attend a terrarium workshop at West Elm in London during our Bloggers Tour thanks to at{mine}, who invited us to create our own terrarium with West Elm. And yes, I was very proud of my little terrarium (as you can see) and I brought it back to Munich where it resides happily on my windowsill - awaiting summer just like me!

Photography by West Elm, last pic by Susanna Vento

Monday, April 20, 2015

Swinging Plant With Tina Frey Designs

Recently I said in a video that I have around 30 plants in my apartment of around 30 square meters - thus one plant per square meter. Admittedly, it gets a bit tricky to find a place for new plants so the only solution I have is to go up high - with hanging planters. In one of the past Urban Jungle Bloggers posts I showed you some of my hanging planters but as of today I the happy owner of a super nice hanging planter made of resin. This swinging beauty is the handmade work of San Francisco based Tina Frey Designs, the place for all happy things made of resin.

My Pothos plant has found a very happy and joyfully swinging home - the new hanging square vessel, hand sculpted by Tina Frey in San Francisco. This hanging planter is part of the new Urban Garden Collection by Tina Frey Designs launching this spring.

I love the simplicity of this planter, its wonderfully smooth resin surface and the handmade shape with slight imperfections. Moreover I think this hanging planter has a cool mid-century modern vibe. If you like it too, how about if I tell you that I have one more hanging planter just like mine to give away?

The hanging planter is perfect for all kind of cascading or vining plants. But it also works for small plants that can swing up in the air - your choice! I've opted for a Pothos plant, one of those hard-to-kill plants that has hardly any requests. It can grow in a bright place as well as in shady corners, it thrives in dry soil as well as in water - simply put, it is perfect if you want some growing greens without being stressed about plant care. Now if you feel ready for a Pothos plant, join the giveaway and with a bit of luck you'll call this cool Tina Frey Designs hanging planter your very own.

To win one Tina Frey Designs hanging square vessel 15 in white just leave a comment below and follow me on Instagram as well as Tina Frey Designs. For an extra chance visit to win a large Tina Frey Designs bowl. The winner will be announced here on April 27th, 2015 and is open worldwide. Good luck and happy (green) week!

Photography by Igor Josifovic

Friday, April 17, 2015

Plants + Crystals: Homestead Apothecary

A trip to Oakland, California, would mean a long-haul flight and some additional driving for me. Or else a simple click on Edition Local, an online platform from Northern California building and supporting local communities and small businesses such as the Homestead Apothecary by Nicholas Weinstein. And I must admit I pondered a trip to Oakland when I saw and read the story of Homestead Apothecary.

Nicholas Weinstein opened Homestead Apothecary in 2013 after a long period of feeling sick and tired with no evident reason. Running from one doctor to another yielded no result nor cure. Only after he had decided to visit a naturopath his condition changed slowly to the better. Nicholas Weinstein started experimenting with his own herbal formulas for a sustainable and long-term healing and this endeavor eventually resulted in the founding and opening of Homestead Apothecary, a 'community space for all things herbal'.

The small but beautiful shop boasts with herbal blends, teas, tinctures, crystals, honey, vintage herb books and more. As someone who loves plants and crystals, this shop caught my eye immediately. But I loved Nicholas' story above all - a path commenced due to a personal need that could not be catered to. A path that turned interest, work and passion into a beautiful project and business. After all it is a story that reminds us that we should follow our dreams and create. For our own sake and the sake of the community. Read the full story on Edition Local.

Photography by Aubrey Trinnaman for Edition Local

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Update: KOTO candle is now available in small!

The scent of a Nordic home is enticing, soothing, warm: Our KOTO candle, the world's first scented candle designed by nine European design bloggers (among them the humble me) in collaboration with Skandinavisk is now available in a regular small size. You can still get the candle in its extra large size with four wicks but if you want to test it first, opt for the small KOTO candle. Additionally, a decorative scent diffuser is available too.

Why should you have KOTO? Because there's no place like home and your home should be scented with a perfume that refers to the warmth of the home and the freshness of the Scandinavian nature. After all, KOTO is the old Finnish word for home and a good scent is one step forward to a really happy home!

Photography by Linda Elmin

Monday, April 13, 2015

Travel Tips For Sicily - Part Two

Sicily is a wild and romantic island. Its nature is wild and untamed in some areas, its baroque cities and villages are romantic and inviting. After last week's post about western Sicily, today I am taking you to the eastern part of the island. We will visit Catania, the islands second largest city, as well as Syracuse, an ancient city in the southeast of Sicily. And we will climb high up - to more than 3,000 meters of altitude to wander the snow and the craters of one of Europe's most active volcanos Mount Etna. Ready? Buckle up!

Catania is one bustling city. Even though it comes second after Palermo, I felt like it is way busier, there is more going on, the city is very young and the nightlife is buzzing. The city itself matches the Sicilian pattern: Beautiful baroque architecture is followed by crumbling facades and dismal buildings. But the landmarks of the city under the volcano are magnificent - the wonderful cathedral on the city's central square, the quaint Bellini garden, the picturesque Via Crociferi, the fortified Castello Ursino and the colourful fish market La Pescheria.

The city will also surprise you with its many little piazzas surrounded by restaurants and wine bars. Somehow, I preferred Catania over Palermo for the atmosphere. Some places I would recommend are the pastry shop Savia to enjoy some delicious cannoli, the Caffè del Duomo serves great coffee, ice cream and arancini (fried rice balls, a Sicilian specialty) and the Ciciulena restaurant with good Sicilian food and a funky interior design including plants.

If you prefer to experience a less urban atmosphere, head south to the ancient city of Syracuse. Here again you will have some questionable architecture in the modern part, but just continue to the old town which is located on an island called Ortigia. You will quickly get lost once you enter the old town's labyrinth of narrow streets. Let go and just wander around - you will discover the most beautiful balconies adorned with plants, you will pass by cute little stores and restaurants and eventually you will end up at the magnificent Piazza Duomo, a pastel colored Italian dream for the romantic soul in you.

Stay in Syracuse to enjoy the evening 'passeggiata' - once dusk sets in the atmosphere will become even more magic with the city illumination. My personal top recommendation in Syracuse is the wonderful wine bar/shop Enoteca Solaria - try a good local wine and enjoy some typical Sicilian food in a convivial atmosphere.

Last but not least let's talk about Mount Etna. Mid March is quite early and still pretty much winter on the volcano. So be prepared for snow, cold temperatures and foggy conditions. I took the car up to the Rifugio Sapienza which lies slightly under 2,000 meters altitude. You pass through various villages on the slopes of Mount Etna and the last part is a crazily winding road through old lava fields. We drove through cotton thick fog and made it to the Rifugio with no sight of anything. But then the magic happened - the fog diluted and we spotted the Etna cable car station. Next thing I know I was tootling up to around 3,000 meters below the Etna craters. I was marching through snow surrounded by skiers and snowboarders overlooking an endless sea of fog below us and smokey tops beyond us. A truly remarkable moment! Don't miss it if you ever end up on Sicily.

See you next time from another place!

Photography by Igor Josifovic

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