I have to add this video to my last post! It does fit somehow and somehow it doesn't. I am not quite sure either if I like the song at all, but what is for sure, is that the radio plays will be massive, if summer will come back. Petite Meller is a french singer, who reminds me of a Barbie doll by her looks, why it does somehow fit to my previous post. Also her song does somehow remind me of "Barbie Girl", as the melody is indeed very hooky and a great summer tune. Although the lyrics do not go well with a summer tune, I guess. Anyways, enjoy listening to this track.
Today it arrived, the eagerly awaited "Barbie" doll, that does not look like a Barbie at all. In fact, it looks like a kid from next door and I believe, that our daughter will love her.
Whilst scanning the Internet for toys or dolls for my daughters 3rd birthday, which is coming up in July, I came across two different brands, who do exactly the same thing. They upcycle old Barbie or Bratz dolls and make them look natural. In order to do so, they remove the original face paint with acetone nail polish remover and then paint a new face. Also they see or knit new clothing for the dolls.
One is called "Tree Change Dolls" and the other "Playful Child Dolls". I wanted to purchase one each, but unfortunately the "Tree Change Dolls" were sold out after just 1 minute. But I am so happy to have this little doll from "Playful Child Dolls" with us now and cannot wait for my daughter to play with her. The dolls are handcrafted by artist Michelle Conn and craftist Rochelle Griffith from Australia. So please, meet our new family member, who has not be named yet:
When I was pregnant with our first child, many friends told us, we should still sleep, go out more, watch movies at the movie theatre and go out for lunch or dinner, while we still can. They were right for the most part, we could neither go to the movie theatre, nor could we have a good sleep, nor could we go to clubs/ bars, for obvious reasons, although I never missed that. But we never had any problem going out for lunch or dinner with Zoë.
Maybe it was because we never made any fuss about it, were relaxed about it, maybe it was just because she was easy with it. We went out for lunch for the first time, when she had been only a couple of weeks old. Since that we have been to restaurants at any time and any place. Simply when we felt like it. We never chose the restaurant for it´s family friendly characteristics either. We chose what we liked.
And thankfully our baby boy Jarle is exactly as easy about it. So we can still enjoy, what we love most besides our tv series and movies - food!
So, the day before yesterday, we tried out the first real family friendly restaurant, that also calls itself a family restaurant, which goes by the name of "The Kidchen". It had its opening about two weeks ago and it is still brand new.
The restaurant has a special chef de cuisine, namely Jens Dannenfeld, who has owned two Michelin stars during his career and has worked at "L´Escalier", a very well-known top french restaurant here in Cologne. The extraordinary thing about this restaurant, besides good food, is the indoor playground for kids. The concept implies, that parents should have a relaxed dinner, while the kids can play.
The indoor playground is about 600 m^2 big and consists of a playground for babies until the age of 3 and a bigger playground. They have build a big kitchen, so the kids can play like mice in between food (obviously not real food), juice and the like, climb and build towers, play with big pieces of cake parts. I really loved that playground and so did our big girl.
I have to say I was a bit disappointed by the food though, neither did I think it was set up really nicely, especially not for the kids, so my daughter did not have any reason for eating and would rather go on playing, which I thought was not the general idea of the concept. I think it should also stand out for its wonderful and appealing food for the youngsters. Nor did the food for us really satisfy or convince me. I chose the cod fish, which had been served with overly-roasted grains, so I could not eat any of the grains, because they had become bitter. And my husband chose the "Wiener Schnitzel", which had no special twist, nor a perfect potato salad and was not decorated nicely either. It was simply a boring, yet very delicious and tender Schnitzel. The desert was nothing extraordinary either. We had the "Kaiserschmarrn" and the chocolate mousse, both was good, but not extraordinary food.
The staff was really nice, they tried convincing our daughter to eat, so she could have her desert. They were helpful and attentive.
They have also put a lot of thought in the needs of parents with children, so you can find a special nursing space, a changing table and kid´s chairs in different heights for babies and kids at the restaurant. Also they have a great selection of lemonades.
Furthermore there were only two families besides us visiting at that time, so I think you could kindly expect the chef or sous-chef to come out after dinner, if they were only open for two weeks, in order to ask personally, how we had enjoyed our dinner. But it is of course not a necessity.
So, will I go there again? Zoë really enjoyed herself and I think they will definitely improve themselves, so yes. I would go there again. But next time, we will bring some friends.
My original plan was to release a new blog post at least every week, yeah, like that worked.
I just have to explain myself first though. I am more of a perfectionist, than I am willing to admit. But when you have two kids, life becomes unexpected and you just have to bow out on perfection.
I thought this would bother me, but to be quite honest, it is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I am happy with little things I achieve, I do not take everything as serious anymore and I definitely became more efficient.
So, please do not expect any regularity on postings, sometimes I will manage to post once a week, maybe once a month, or every day.
Many things have happened recently, I had a contest on designcrowd for the design of my logo - hope you like it as much as I do, and I have been on a short trip to Julianadorp in the Netherlands with my family. We stayed at a house directly at the beach, so we had our feet in the sand all day long!
It was lovely. And our daughter made many new friends, as we were surrounded by a lot of families in the other houses. They played on the beach all day.
You would imagine, your kid becomes tired with this beautiful weather, sand everywhere and playing with kids all day. But our big girl decided vacation was all about being awake. So she went to bed at 11 pm. and got up at 6 am. You can probably imagine how happy we were about not having the possibility of watching one of our favorite tv series or just the wonderful sunset. Bummer.
Still, I would always go there again! So my recommendation clearly goes out to Landal Beach Resorts in Julianadorp aan Zee.
Because of the weather at the north sea, mostly being very windy and sometimes rainy, I thought it would be a great idea of having a rain jacket or windbreaker of some sort. I do however carry our little boy in a sling most of the times and so I searched for a jacket, that gave me the possibility of still carrying our baby and having him and me covered.
So, I found this perfect jacket:
It is the outdoor all weather jacket rain from Mamalila, a brand, that designs jackets especially for carrying your child in a sling. Although it is quite expensive, it was great for the beach life. I did not feel the wind nor did I get wet, when it poured cats and dogs.
I just came across Jack Garratt, love his timbre and energy!
Next to music, my biggest passion is my kids. I am sure everyone can say that about their kids, but mine really are the most important things in my life! They bring me constant joy and occasionally worries, but in the end, I wouldn’t want to miss one single second.
My big girl is turning three this year and my son is just 3 months old. I think that´s the perfect age difference between them and hope they´ll able to really interact more and play with one another soon.
When I am asked, what it's like with two kids, my standard answer is: "it is challenging."
It really is challenging and I keep asking myself, why when I was a first time mom, did I feel exactly the same way?
First time mom
When I became a mother for the first time, my whole life changed. Before motherhood, my life was all about work - staying up late, sleeping in on the weekends if I did not have to work, etc. and then life changed A LOT! Today I rarely watch an episode of my favorite tv shows from the end to beginning - I tend to fall asleep after 5-10 minutes tops.
Flashback to three years ago... My life was all about: "when will I shower or will I even get to shower?"; "will I be able to have breakfast/lunch/dinner?"; "when can I get my make up done and will I ever look like a normal person again without food or baby spit-up/vomit stains?"
Let´s just say that after a while I got so relaxed about it, that I no longer cared what others thought, all I cared about was that the baby and I were happy.
In all honesty I was worried about a lot of things in the beginning. Having no experience with kids, I held a baby once, never changed a diaper, and never had to calm a baby down. I was simply inexperienced and insecure. Fortunately, I learned that a baby tells you exactly what it needs and when. And even if you are a bit overwhelmed at times (positively and negatively), you instinctually know how to handle the situation and your baby will be grateful for your love, care, and attention; so it will forgive your minor mistakes. What makes this period even more special, is that you grow with your child and with each experience and life challenge, you are both facing it together.
What to get and what not to
I think most parents get (buy, are gifted, or just acquire) too much stuff for their newborns. We probably did too. Most important of course, is clothing. Summer basics should consist of 6 long sleeved bodies, 4 short sleeved bodies, 1-2 light cardigans of some sort and a light pullover, 2-3 pairs of leggings or light pants, 2 pairs of leggings with feet, 3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of wool socks, 1 blanket, 2 pairs of rompers and 1 sleeping bag. Just bear in mind, that even though it´s Summer, it´s better to get clothing that you can layer, as it might get cold and babies need a little more warmth.
Another important “first” is a baby sling or stroller, though I would not recommend using a BabyBjörn or Manduca before the baby has reached 6 months of age.
Also worth considering is adequate diaper or clothing changing space and maybe a crib that you can attach right to your bed. The latter can be useful during the night to bring your baby into your bed for feeding, care and comfort with the benefits of sleeping close to the baby, but without the worries associated with co-sleeping.
For the moments in between feedings I would recommend getting a baby quilt, so you can have your baby lie next to you wherever you are. Having a music box is a plus and can be put on your belly during your pregnancy so the baby recognizes and can find comfort or joy in the melody later.
Other than the abovementioned items, your baby really doesn´t need much, except maybe a rattle or one of those wonderful “grip and play” Oballs by Rhino toys.
Mom of two children - new challenges
All of a sudden you can be confronted with funny or surreal situations such as both kids screaming, whining or crying at the same time, and these moments will make you want to bump your head against the wall.
If you are lucky, your firstborn child is in the middle of his/her defiance or rebellious phase. This will present you with the challenge of coping with an exaggeration of its kind. Our big girl´s defiance phase has grown exponentially since the little guy was born! In a flash you have a screaming and crying child next to you, who is overwhelmed by its own feelings and trying to understand what is going on. At least in this regard, our daughter is coping fine. Some days it is easier for me to stay calm than others, but at the end, it is a phase that will be over at some point. Right?!
When you have one child you have to establish some sort of schedule to give the child some consistency; this supports you in building up their self-esteem, and gives them the security of a reoccurring somewhat predictable, daily routine. This meant my husband and I making a conscious effort to have breakfast, lunch and dinner at almost the same time and trying to stay on the same schedule for activities, groceries or the like. We were never strict about it though, and let our princess decide for herself when she had to lie down for a nap or when she wanted to go to bed. We took her everywhere with us and she was fine with it.
But with two kids everything changes. The importance of a routine has become even more important than ever. Because if we don’t stick to it on a daily basis, the older child is at risk of being late for kindergarten.
I don´t know how others manage it, but I struggle in the mornings, getting the two of them, plus myself ready. Having one child means having a child that will also easily adapt to your schedule. Having two children basically means, you have to adjust your schedule to the children and be very strict about the routine. Sticking to this is good for the bigger child´s self esteem and sense of structure. Thankfully for us, we still manage to take both of them everywhere we go, whether it´s out to dinner, concerts or theater plays.
We were aware of the possibility that our daughter could feel dethroned by the new child, since our attention and focus would no longer be solely on her and that she might try to act out or misbehave to get it back. Within our circle of friends we have learned that sometimes this comes with the kind of behavior NO parent would approve of. And in such cases, one should be thankful if your child does not direct its rage and grief against the newborn.
Thankfully our big girl did not and seems to enjoy having another little person in the house.
I guess what I want to say is….it´s ok to feel overwhelmed and it is ok to feel overpowered; this is something I have to constantly remind myself. But every day, I am overjoyed to have two of the most wonderful human beings (besides my husband) around me everyday.
The next song has been around for quite some time now, but somehow it just fits here perfectly.
Why did I choose the name LALACHOUCHOU? It is quite simple, lala stands for music, for singing, my kid used to tell me to turn on the lala and my mom says I did the exact same thing, so it was a logic consequence. And chouchou means sweetheart or darling and music has always been my life, so it just fit.
As I mentioned before, I grew up in the music business. My parents founded their concert agency about 35 years ago and so I was always around music, surrounded by music, went on tour with my parents and several artists and got to learn the language of music.
Music nurtures most of us, helps us cope with bad times, helps us underline the good ones, tells us stories and gives us advise, it can annoy us, but in general we cannot live without it. To me it is not only an inspiration, it is also my passion and it is my skill. I call myself a truffle pig, because I claim to be able to differentiate between a good song, that has a hit potential or at least radio play potential, or is just a great song and on the other hand, a song that does not have a lot of potential. I am saying this quite carefully, as music is art and art always has its audience, sometimes you just personally do not get some of the pieces. You cannot ask yourself to understand everything though!
I have met many great artists during my life, some of them are still on stage, some are retired and some have been gone too early. Some of them have become friends, most of them have become lifetime companions, we have shared many laughs and most of the very well-known artists are more down-to-earth than some newcomer artists nowadays.
When I was born the band Tokyo played a concert for my birthday, when I turned 13 Luciano Pavarotti sang a birthday song to me in Paris. Those were very special moments, although I do not even quite remember the first one. I was lucky to make many great experiences like this. Being on tour and hanging out backstage with the artists and crew was mostly fun and the time between the get in/ set up for the show and the actual start of the concert was filled with table tennis, soundcheck and always with games for me.
I have to say that these times have been different though, some things have not been as professional as they are nowadays, because they were optimized through the technical evolvement, like ticketing for example. Remember how easy it was to duplicate tickets and I remember my parents talking about how many tickets must have been duplicated for shows as too many people were in the venues. There have been many ideas on the way to stop the black market and one was through special tickets. I remember this fan ticket that was an actual cd, which you could play. It was a Genesis tour. (You can find a picture here: http://soenner.com/images/music/genesis_calling_all_stations_shape_cd.jpg)
I am glad that the ticketing companies have finally found a way - or realized that they had to find a way - to print fan tickets again with the artwork of the artists, as it saddened me to think fans would not be able to keep their ticket as a memory anymore the same as they used to. Tickets used to be a piece of artwork, they used to be designed in order to fit the artwork of the poster or the tour theme itself, sometimes being an addition to the poster. Needless to say, I am happy they are going back to the roots in some sort of way.
The black market however has not been stopped yet, not all tickets are forgery-proof and secondary ticket market has become a big subject to the industry. There are companies buying tickets at a regular price and selling them for a fortune! Although this is not good for either the audience, nor the promoter/ artist or anyone actually involved in the show, companies who speculate with tickets have become quite popular. The only way to gain control again would be to avoid buying tickets from them. But I might get into detail about this at a later post.
So, as I said, I call myself a truffle pig. A talent scout. Someone who finds new music that might become a hit tomorrow or just has something special to it. If I look into music, I am always looking for something that captures me. It may be the voice, the special timbre, the special sounds used in the production, the mixture of genres, the song itself or a combination of everything. It just has to kick me in some kind of way, it has to give me goosebumps, bring me to tears or just set off my emotions. Another song I just recently found who does exactly this, is this one. So please enjoy!
When I write or talk about music, I always say that I would rather let the music speak for itself. I have been a talent scout for 20 years and managing artists for roughly ten. My roster has changed a bit over the years, but I once had a journalist and radio promoter tell me that he liked my style - that any band I picked had something special about it - even though they differed a lot from each other. And I said to myself, he gets me.
When I presented the music of my artists to labels, publishers or the like, or artists I curated for the concert agency, I would just take the music in with me and only get into the details, after the melody set the tone and emotions free among the others in the room.
But as I said before, Music is Art. Not everyone gets the piece or sometimes a person is just not as quick as you might be. Sometimes you might be ahead of the curve with the music you produce or you like. Taste isn´t confined to any given time frame, and eventually good music will find its listeners! But often it means a lot of hard work and challenges.
I have worked with extremely talented and gifted artists who have yet to achieve mainstream recognition, but had special something about them, that would have enabled them to build up a solid fan base. But somewhere on the journey, they either lost faith in themselves or did not have patience and persistence to stay focused through these hard and sometimes tough steps or difficult times.
When looking at it that way, we come full circle to the way things used to be. Bands need to play and play and play. And in the beginning, it doesn´t matter if it´s in front of 2, 5, 10 or 15 people.
Sometimes they have to pay to play (which I do NOT approve of) and in general, invest a lot into their career just in order to start off with something. They need to have staying power and longevity. They need to be patient. And they should never lose faith in themselves or their music.
Yes, easier said than done, but the reality is, so many people are able to produce music nowadays that there are many more great musicians out there. That said, many of these people who think they are great musicians, are just as hungry and driven and determined to distinguish themselves. So, the competition can be fierce.
This seems to be the issue in some areas of the music industry and has become quite common among the newbies. But in order to put on a good show, what goes on ON the stage, is just as important as what goes on BEHIND it. Everyone who makes up that tour has to be appreciated and not taken for granted. If the cleaning woman does a good job, along with the rigger, and the caterer, then the crew, not to mention, the artist, is happy.
I think everyone has their part to play and should be recognized for their job and constantly appreciated!! So please, everybody, clean up your mess in the catering area and don´t wait for someone else to do it.
On a slightly different note, one of the artists I worked with and that I really still enjoy listening to, is Roman. Unfortunately he never got the attention he deserved, but luckily for you, there is a band that sounds a lot like him – probably just a little more mainstream and called Bastille.
But here´s Roman, so take a listen for yourselves:
Trufflepig. Talentscout. Music Advisor. Booking Agent. Singer. Mother of Two. Wife. Artist. Trendsetter. Muse. Fashion Addict. Starry-eyed idealist. Hobby Psychologist. World Traveller.