Last week, the largest toy store in town shut its doors in preparation for a grand reopening in a newer building down the street. Three floors filled to the brim with toys galore, the new store boasts a multi-story wooden slide and a carousel on the top floor. Münster is now home to Germany's largest toy store, and we brought the girls on opening day to partake in all the festivities. 

Parents were presented with champagne upon walking through the door, and kids were given buckets of candy, balloon animals, and the opportunity to have their face painted. So, we stood in line for 1/2 an hour, watching girl after girl become transformed into princesses and butterflies. And then it was Eloise's turn. "What would you like?" asked the exhausted, champagne deprived face painter. "A crocodile!" replied my little one, "and a rainbow." And that's what she got, after a little cock eyed action from the lady.
I am recovered! Stitches are out, strange side effects are gone and my one week bedroom vacation has come to an end. It was high time to go outside. 
Tops on my list of favourite things to do is wandering very very slowly through flea markets. After a while your eyes start to fuzz and everything looks the same, but everything before that point is pure happiness. The biggest flea market in town came this weekend, and off we went to comb the stalls.

What we got:
Right off the bat, Claudia scored a freebie. A wooden bear with wings. Completely random (creepy) and she loves it.  
Eloise found an über Waldorf-inspired doll that she's named Henny.
I found a little craft type sewing machine for 5 euros and a pair of broken, vintage, Ray Ban sunglasses for 50 cents. Though they may make me look like a have a broken nose. Still, 50 cents!
We had a little picnic lunch and found a fake bird. Then we found a tick in Eloise's hair and it was time to go. Still a great day and one that made me very grateful that my recovery went as quickly as it did. It was good to be outside.
I found this Wardian Case terrarium at the flea market on Saturday for a grand total of 4 euros. Dusty, dirty and full of potential, I spent the rest of the afternoon researching DIY terrariums. 
Luckily, the garden centre just outside of town is one of the only places in Germany open on a Sunday. So we packed up the kids and off we went. I knew that I wanted to do succulents, and there were plenty to choose from. Safely transported home, I went to wsork.
For the most basic terrarium, you will need:

A glass container, even a fish bowl will do.
River rocks, or other small rocks, for drainage.
Potting soil.
Plants. I went with succulents and cacti, but ferns and moss are equally beautiful.

Start by layering the bottom of your vessel with the stones.
Top with a good layer of soil
Arrange your plants around the centre of the vessel, trying not to let them touch the sides. The humidity in there could make your plants rot if you're not careful, and it's better not to have them all mushed along the sides.
Top with more soil where needed, and then give it a good misting. DO NOT water it like a regular plant. It will just get mouldy and smelly.
Et Voila! Put your terrarium in a sunny spot and give it a spray when it starts to look sad. Avoid direct sun as that glass is going to become an oven and you don't want to cook your plants. This project took only a little bit of time to put together. We "borrowed" the rocks from a neighbour, used leftover potting soil and bought the plants for less than five euros together. Grand total came in at around 10 euros, and I'm happy to have a bit of living art grace our flat. 
We had bird watchers come and visit! I was serenaded with pigeon coo imitations for two days and it was excellent. There are only two other people I know that are more interested in pigeons, Bert being one, my mother being the other. I sent this pic to my Mom years ago, just to be mean.
Pelican vs Pigeon. Who wins?
The weather was down right pleasant for their visit. Then, they left this morning and it has been raining since. This is a craft we did a while ago, but it's perfect for a rainy day like today, and uses scrap paper that every parent inevitably has laying around.
After tracing the outline of a bird, I had the girls use some watercolour paint to colour it in. I cut it out, slit its belly open and put in some accordion wings the girls had made out of left-over paper. Then we took some pinking shears to other scraps and threw those into a bowl to make a nest. Easy peasy. I think Bert would approve.
This is the way our living room looked the day we got the keys to our apartment. This is the after:
By positioning the sofa this way, we've created a little mini living room, which leaves the rest of the room wide open. I don't like it. I miss my decorating partners in crime, and I'm hoping they'll chime in with ideas for the second part of the living room. Please send me your pins, words, anything. I need some inspiration!
If there is any upside to being sick in bed, it must be the shameless amount of "me time" one is entitled to. I have owned this book for a while now, but was intimidated by the 700+ pages that I would have to commit to. I am sorry that I put it off for as long as I did.
Freedom follows the lives of the Berglunds, beginning first with a glimpse into their lives as a young family in a rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood in the Midwest. But the novel doesn't dwell there. It swiftly moves from era to era, richly describing the individuals whose lives you are entitled to share in. 
The empathy you feel is not mostly pleasant, but engrossing and familiar in some form. Whether it be the intensity of teenage love, the necessity of reassurance, or just wondering what your place in the world is, there are striking moments of truth within this book. 
As I closed the cover at the end, I gave Aaron my "it was so good!" voice, usually reserved for buttered popcorn. I want to feel that all over again. So please, give me your recommendations. I'm desperate for anything written in English, so that should give you a lot of help in suggesting a book for me to read next. And in turn I suggest Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen.
Without even really trying, I've infected my kids with the rummage bug. The girls enjoy "treasure hunting" with me, and I enjoy it with them, as long as they don't touch anything. Ever.
I'm of the firm belief that nothing is more comforting than vintage cotton linens. Since next week we're going to have a house full of people who will need to sleep at some point, Eloise and I went out on a hunt. 
Unfortunately there were none to be found today, but that doesn't mean I didn't buy anything. Of course I bought something. Or things. Let's go with things.
Vintage marmelade and honey jars will be perfect storage for the random grains that make it into our house (millet, for one). But what really got me going was the font. Take this test to see what your "type" is.
A down filled pillow with muted pastels and softly worn silk quilting? Love it. Very deserving of a cuddle from my littlest treasure. 
After my assistant takes a nap we'll be off to finish what we started. It might take many tries to find what I'm looking for, but I'm willing to take on the job. It's the least I can do.
One of my first apartments was a converted coach house. All exposed brick, fireplace, loft bedroom. Oh man, I loved that place. I also fell victim to marathon episodes of Trading Spaces, and somewhere in there I got a hard on for decorating. Shabby Chic was my first love, and the flea markets of Paris were my Mecca. This last week I finally made my pilgrimage. Consider me reborn.   
Les Puces is as old as the hills. On the outskirts of Paris, it's where vagabonds came to set up tables filled with a nights worth of dumpster diving goods. After you make it through the maddening crowd of people shoving knock off Gucci in your face and "magicians" playing slight of hand games, you're rewarded with a meandering maze of bric-a-brac and everything vintage and lovely. It's hella expensive, but just taking it all in is worth the trip.  
The vintage fabrics were the best buy. Easily transportable and reasonably priced, they were a treasure just to look through. Très jolie.  
Paris was everything I could have hoped for and more. Rambling walks, wine hour #1, wine hour #2, more walking, it was perfect. There is just a glow to the city that I've never seen before. It's opalescent. More posts to come on the most beautiful of cities.