Paul & Paula private

family breakfast

Paul & Paula private is the place where we share a little bit about our international life.

Four kids, many languages, regular moves and travels. A little peak behind the scenes…

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18.10.19

Genuine Friday: My 3 favourite podcasts I listen to while running

top 3 podcasts for running

Very often we hear that we need to look after ourselves. Self Care!
That I should be careful not to lose myself – in between children, work, school, husband, and life. And that we should create moments that are just for us.

I am very aware that it is difficult to find these moments, and especially to have them on our agendas. Because instead of sitting down with a cup of tea we sort through the mail, check homework or need to find a costume for a school assembly. You know what I am talking about.

My personal self-care program is running. I picked it up a few years ago because I realised that I wanted (needed) to move more and that I wanted needed my body to move more. I looked at a couple of options (swimming for example) and came to the conclusion that running works best for me. Especially in terms of flexibility.

Back then I started with a running app and a beginner’s plan. Slowly! Long story short: Running keeps me balanced.
It is ‘me time’, it feels great afterward, and definitely shows on your body. I even signed up for a 10k to push me a bit further and did it. Plus, I booked another one coming up in November (4 weeks I was reminded yesterday!!!).
And I will tell you – I am not loving it, but it is a great feeling to know that you can run 10k. (for example)

However, the thing I love most whilst running – is listening to podcasts!

When I started I went for music, like most people, but found that a bit boring after a while. The running app I use (adidas) includes a few podcasts and I gave it a try. Unfortunately, they were not really what I was hoping for and way too dull for my taste.
So I started to look around. Research, asking friends, searching on the podcast app, etc… there was a lot of trial and error involved.

What I wanted: Inspiring podcasts with fire (I am running after all, not walking or trying to fall asleep)
I love to listen to other people’s stories, I want start up and entrepreneur knowledge, and I want facts.
For example, I started to listen to a few ‘strong women’, ‘women in leadership’ kind of podcasts and man was I disappointed. There was way too much ‘bla’, a lot of ‘me me me’, and just too much dragging out a story for very little input. No thank you. Not interested, and again: I need ‘action’ when I am running. The story, or talk, needs to keep me going.

By now, I have a few shows in my library and I want to share my 3 favourites. I am sure that you would love to listen to them as well, be it during a run, on your commute, waiting for a plane or…

The 3 favourite podcasts I listen to while running:

1. Marie Forleo was my AHA moment. The moment I found her I was super intrigued by the topics that cover a lot about entrepreneurship and creative passions. It is very American in a way that you will hear lots of ‘awesome’, ‘you are the best’, ‘we love you’ and so on, but it is very engaging and fun. Marie is very outspoken, a true storyteller and the kind of woman that I believe can help the whole ‘the future is female’ movement. Some podcasts are call-in shows where people can share their challenges and Marie will come up with different ways on how to tackle the problem. And especially how to look at it from different angles. Many times I came back from my run and had to scribble something down I did not want to forget. This woman is full of passion, drive, and power.

Marie Forleo

 

2. How I built this is satisfying my curiosity to hear other people’s stories. I love life stories and to understand people a bit better once you know a bit about their past. Guy Raz gets you the intel behind some of the world’s biggest and most interesting brands. Innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists. It is super interesting to hear how they started out, the hurdles, the first success and what kept them going. I especially like it because you can discover people and stories that have not been covered a dozen (or even more) times before. Some of the podcasts are live shows which are quite fun too. The last one was with Christina Tosi from Milk Bar and she was so quirky, eclectic, and fun. So good!

How I built this

 

3. The Tony Robbins Podcasts come with this mission: “Why live an ordinary life when you can live an extraordinary one?”
These podcasts want to help you take your business to the next level. And Tony is sharing a lot of his knowledge, experience, and strategies. Inviting very powerful business people to his podcast to have very deep conversations about tactics, achievements, and why failure is a good thing!

Tony Robbins Podcast

 

Listening to a captivating podcasts really helps me to forget a bit about the kms still ahead of me!

 

By the way, I always listen to the podcasts on a 1 1/2 playback speed. This means that they will play a bit faster and are more in flow with my run.

Other Genuine Friday topics we covered:

Raising a big family

Partnership after having children

Daily family life incl struggles with four children

And I also shared my top 5 Netflix series!

 

 

Photo: Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

top 3 podcasts for running

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05.06.19

How to add colour to your kitchen in an instant!

beija flor
Hello and happy hump day! Today I will show you how we managed to add some fun, charm, and especially colour into our kitchen.

Some of you spotted our new and very beautiful new mat instantly over on Instagram, especially in my stories. And lots asked where it is from… because… yes… it really changed the whole atmosphere.

You may remember the cute little mat we had in our Malmo apartment and that also added such a lovely accent to the place.

Therefore we worked with Beija Flor again, because they really have the best designs, colours and choice.

Have a look for yourself…

 

beija flor

beija flor

beija flor

The mat I chose is called ‘Electic‘ and the tile design is a combination of far away places, cultures and styles composed together into a vivid celebration of colours and patterns.

I had a very hard time to select a design because there are just so many I like. In the end I went for this colourful one, because I liked the idea of having a big dose of colour in our kitchen. And it is really very lovely, especially when…

 

beija flor

…the sun shines in!

The print is of such good quality and the colours very vibrant. Vinyl mats are super easy to clean and they last for a very long time. This soft flooring version is laying in our kitchen now as well. Because the kids rooms have carpet (the joy of a London home) now. So you see, very versatile and easy.

 

beija flor

All over, the mat really enhances our kitchen and makes me happy every morning when I start making breakfast. Easy, quick and practical!

Beija Flor gifted us the selected mat. All words are my own and I selected the design. All images: Paul & Paula
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17.05.19

My top 5 TV series I binge watched the last weeks!

This Is Us

Since I am always on the lookout for a new great series and love to see what others are watching (and why!) I thought that I may share my recent favourites with you.

Because maybe you are the same. And because I do love to watch a good TV series. More than movies these days and I cannot even imagine how things were before Apple TV.  Can you? With all the commercials and being ‘on time’ on your sofa and all that stuff.

And, it is rather relaxing to end the day with a good show. To make sure we are not getting lost with all the stuff (Netflix produces a new show every hour it seems), twice a week we do a ‘talk talk‘ evening session with my husband. To discuss anything on our minds and things that need to be done.

But anyway, let’s get back to the point. I am writing these shows down in alphabetical order because there is no way I could give them a listing. I love them all… for various reasons as you will see:

(by the way, I wanted to get this article out earlier this week but it took longer than expected, and since it is not so much about kids, I think it fits quite well on a Friday – not a 100% Genuine Friday but it is quite personal actually because most of these series actually touched me very much)

Dead to me

dead-to-me-netflix
This show was only launched at the beginning of this month and I think I finished the first season in 2 days, 3 max! I love dark humor and there is plenty! And these two ladies, Christina Applegate stars with Linda Cardellini, are absolutely fabulous. The general story is: A widow is searching for the hit-and-run driver who mowed down her husband and befriends an eccentric optimist through shared grief. And everything is so real, natural, full of emotions that I can relate to, and touching!
Also the topics! There is a lot in the plot, but they are all very important: dealing with grief, mum guilt, being in your 40s, miscarriages, breast cancer, and friendship.
Be warned, there is a good amount of swearing and I know that this put some people off. But this is not a show for children and, to be very honest, I can kinda relate. Jen (CA) has so much on her plate. Her husband died, she has two teenagers and a business to run. And when listening to heavy metal (love that part, can relate to that too!) and swearing helps to navigate your life a bit better, then that is fine. It is all still very raw and new, it will not last forever! And yes, I would love to have a friendship like Jen and Judy (LC) share, because they both allow each other to feel what they need to feel.
By the way, the two seem to really enjoy each others company in general. Love it:


Image: Netflix

 

Dynasty

dynasty fashion outfits
This is the total opposite of Dead to me. And the only reason I actually watch and love it. This soap opera reboot based on the 80’s series is all about glitz, wealth, the corrupt world, and backroom deals. The storyline is totally over the top B U T the main character, Fallon Carrington, is sassy, outspoken, obnoxious and sports the sharpest eyeliner in history. Together with the best outfits! There you go, for me, it is all about the costumes, the styling, the fashion! It is just so good! Once a week I have my Dynasty moment and then I am glued to the TV waiting for a new outfit to pop up. And since the show is recorded at the moment, all the pieces are from current collections! And to top it all, you will see lots of Gucci, Louboutin, Prada, and co. But there is also space for some smaller brands and new designers. That is why each outfit is so interesting. And, yes another ‘and’, the men. They do dress the men in the coolest outfits too. Jeff Colby actually has such a bad a** wardrobe! To sum up: Bold, structured, feminine with a twist, modern, cheeky and always just so on point! Love it! You should try it too if you love fashion…
Also, you absolutely have to follow Meredith Markworth-Pollack on Instagram, the stylist of the show. A genius!

 

Killing Eve

Another show with two ladies as the main characters. And this one is just never dull, always well observed, made with great attention to detail, and most importantly so much fun.
Eve is a bored MI5 security officer whose desk job does not fulfill her fantasies of being a spy. Meanwhile, Villanelle is a fearsome assassin clinging to the luxuries her violent job affords her.
When Eve is tasked with tracking down Villanelle before she can strike again, the two women are thrown into a cat-and-mouse game that turns the traditional spy-thriller on its head. I love some good crime (also in terms of books) but this is another level. Sophisticated and fantastic acting! Season 2 aired in the US and I am impatiently waiting to get access here in the UK.

 

Patrick Melrose

patrick-melrose
This one is intense! And Benedict Cumberbatch is the show. To be honest, I am not sure I would have adored it as much if somebody else would have played that role. He is just such a great actor. The show is based on semi-autobiographical novels about Britain’s upper class by Edward St Aubyn. And about a man from a very privileged yet traumatic childhood in the 1980s. Patrick’s father was abusive, and Patrick’s mother put up with his behavior. He went into addiction and severe substance abuse in New York. The 1st episode is a very accurate description of what it means to be an addict. But the story quietens down and deepens after that, so please do not give up after that start.
The biggest message is that even so, you have given up substances/ drugs, your past will not automatically disappear too. So touching to see Patrick self-sabotaging and still believing that he is not a good person. His mum is played by Jennifer Jason-Leigh who is also extraordinary. Definitely a show that lingers in your memory long after.
Image: Sky Atlantic

This is Us

Another one with deeply affecting emotional messages! About the lives and families of two parents, and their three children, in several different time frames.
And a whole lot of important topics as well: Mental health, loss, homosexuality, premature babies, adoption, addiction, and finding your path in life.
This family is surely not perfect and this is what makes it perfect after all. For me! It is so simple and yet so complicated, heartbreaking, sweet and also brutal.
They start to make you adore Jack, the father. The one that is perfect, loved and does everything and cheers everyone up. But episode after episode (especially in the last season)we see more about their lives, what they dealt with and slowly realise that it was actually Rebecca, the mum, who kept everything and everyone together. And it reminds us, that what you see (or want to see) is not always the reality. And that there is more to a story.
It is deep and especially the grieving part feels very close to me. Because losing a very close family member is not something that you eventually “get over”. But instead, that loss becomes an integrated part of your life going forward. And in ‘This is Us’ we can see how every character in this series is dealing with it in very different ways. I think we often believe that grief is temporary, and only allow expressions of it in that first few months or maybe a year. And yet there will always be moments of wishing that loved one was still around. To me, that show was/ is really some form of grief counseling.

What are you top TV series to binge watch? Have you seen one from my list? I would love to know…

Top Image: NBC / This is Us
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10.05.19

Genuine Friday: Daily family life and struggles with 4 children

Daily family life and struggles with 4 children

Hi there! And welcome to another reality glimpse of our family life. I am happy to see that you guys like to read these and relate.

And I think that is actually the main message here: You are not alone and we are all doing the best we can!

One topic that comes up every so often is the daily life. The normal things, the boring stuff, and the struggles. Especially when there are more children than adults. Since my usual reply to the question: “How do you do it all?” is: “I just do!” I had to write down a few points and things over a short period. Like gathering our daily stuff in bullet points to get this article together. Because I do not have every day planned out to the last detail and since we are parenting for nearly 12 years now, our routines are so implemented that I do not notice them so much or strongly anymore.
I hope you know what I mean!?

Therefore, I want to start with this:
Multitasking
Making dinner and helping with homework while searching for a missing you and listening to my tween upstairs looking for her favourite earrings. This may make me seem like the ideal multitasking supermum! Like I am competently handling my life. But I can tell you, this is not how I feel. I really feel pulled in all directions, with a spinning head and especially may loose my patience when all four of them talk (to me) at the same time.

By the way, the children are 3 1/2, 6 1/2, 9 and my eldest will turn 12 this June.

Or how about sleep! Yes, they all sleep through the night B U T if they could they would all still sleep in our bed. This may have something to do with the rare alone time I think. (thoughts?) Bedtime stories usually happen in our (big) bed and then we have at least one person in there. Often two. And a sad face telling you that they also want to be in there and the mum telling you, again, that there is not enough space. Especially on weekends there is always a discussion about the bed situation.

And this: Because nothing is ever fair. And me going bananas when I have to hear for the zillion time that ‘It is not fair!’. Ahhh… the constant competition, checking on siblings and who does what. Of course we always try to give the same to everyone, but it is not seen this way through their eyes. And is it the general reply to anything they are not happy with. And it drives me crazy!

Oh and next to ‘not fair’, there is always an argument over something silly. Who got the biggest slice of pizza, who gets the shower first, or who gets the biggest apple.

And the moment you are an awesome parent for one kid means you are failing another one. Example: One child needs a big hug or my full attention to listen to something that has happened. So I do it. And I am the best mum to that child but also the worst to the other ones who think I am rejecting them.

Even when you win, you lose.

Party invitations or playdates. Except for my eldest (by now) everyone always wants to come along. I don’t know if they just inherited my curiosity but it can be awkward to pop up with a row of kids when actually only one of them was invited. Not to mention the extra time it takes to get there and to answer another million questions to where we are going, why and what and all the names.

Also, my 6 year old never got over the fact that she is not the baby in the family. She was meant to be and life decided differently. And to be honest, it is something I am often out of ideas on how to make this fact easier for her. (anyone?) It is not affecting our daily life and she is not bringing it up all the time. But it is there and every here and there she might say how she would like to be the baby in the family or why everyone is always saying that Josephine is so cute. Because that is something people do when they see a small child or baby but obviously that answer is not good enough for her.

To end with: There is no such thing as peace and quiet!

(except when finally everyone is in bed and sleeping, it may happen that I stay up longer than I should… just because I want to enjoy the peace a little longer!)

And yes, in the end it is all worth it. Like I said before in my big family life article – the hustle and bustle can be exhausting but I also love it!

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12.04.19

Genuine Friday: Your partnership after having kids

partnership after kids

Today is the 2nd round for Genuine Friday (the last week really just flew by) and I have another topic that comes up very regularly: Your partnership after having kids.

Between your job and being a mum, you are a woman too. And most likely a partner. So how do we keep our relationship alive? Interesting, romantic and fresh? I agree the crazy part is over. You decided to have kids and moved on to the next stage. The very serious stage. The one that changes you, your life and your future.

I know my husband (and even so I always call him my husband we are not even married. But after four kids together it does not sound right to call him a boyfriend either) for 20 years now. (we just had our anniversary this March) That is a very long time – I agree.

We know each other like nobody else. We share everything and yet we need to pay attention to not loose ourselves in our daily, busy, lives. It is easy. Getting up. Preparing the kids, breakfast, yourself. Out the door. Work. Collecting kids. Catching up about school, homework, friends, events. Making food. Eat, wash, bed. Done. Sounds familiar?

What we do? We are lucky. I am working from home and that means I am very flexible. And Eric manages to work one day a week from home as well. (or at least that is the plan and often it works out)

On that day we go out for lunch. Always. Only very special circumstances will make us change this ritual.

Other couples try to manage diners without kids, we do a nice lunch every week. When it is the school holidays and we cannot go, especially if it is more than once or twice, we really miss it.

And the days we are not both working from home we call each other at least once a day. Just to say hi and a little chat. Usually nothing fancy but definitely a ritual.

Is it something you could implement as well? If you both have office jobs – could you meet for lunch in the middle?

What else do we do? Once the kids (all of them) are in bed we will have a tea on the sofa. Every evening. And talk a little. And we enjoy the silence. I literally sit on the sofa every evening and appreciate the moment when they are all in bed. It feels so good, haha.

But not so long ago I added something else to our evenings. Twice a week – Monday and Thursday for us – we have a Talk Talk evening. No Netflix, but talking. You may say now, well… if you need to talk, you talk. Why having special days for that. True, these are not the only days we are actually talking to each other (no worries) but the days we actually discuss more heavy topics. And I felt it would be good to fix time for that. Because in that way we both know that we cannot plan to work that evening.

Like I said, we just started this recently but it is good. And, good old German list loving woman I am, actually make little lists of things I have in my mind and do not want to forget. Examples: Holiday planning 2019, childcare, home security, work schedules for the next 14 days (also to find lunch date days) and so on…

We hug. A lot. And whenever we need a hug we hug. Physical touching is important to both of us. Therefore we ask each other regularly how we feel. And if we cope or we feel like we are running a marathon that we can’t win. Because once somebody feels worn out it is too late. We try to be on top of it as good as we can and check in with each other. If necessary we make a plan on how to shift workloads to give a little more space to the person in need.

And yes, there are periods when things are a bit shaky. Re-connecting is not always easy but possible. And you can do it. And when you think about it – those crazy years with newborns, two year old’s testing you and kids approaching the tween years – they make you strong and a really good couple. There is so much JOY in parenthood.

And never forget: You are not alone. No couple is perfect. Do not ever think they are. Do not judge by perfect Instagram images. They all have ups and downs. This is life and normal. (which also means: do not compare!)

And one more tip from me – let it go. Sometimes all I can do is laugh (because the other option would be crying). And then I might throw a piece of cucumber at my husband and everyone has to laugh too. Or we decide to put the music on and dance after diner. It helps. It really does.

Go to playgrounds together. Just tell the kids that playground means PLAY if necessary and have your moment to talk to each other. We do this too.

Find your ways to be a couple and not just parents. See what fits for you, your life and surroundings. But do it!

 

Image: Thomas Leuthard
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