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Packing List for Germany: Spring Edition

Packing List for Germany: Spring Edition

Different cities have different styles, but if you’re looking for what to wear in Germany, this post will get you started so you’re prepared for our variable spring weather, and don’t immediately stand out as a tourist.

Spring is a tough season to pack for when you’re heading on a multi-city trip through Germany. I find it hard to dress for and I live here! Go for layering and be realistic about your planned activities. Above all, be ready to walk

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Don’t wear yoga pants

Gym clothes are for the gym – you won’t find people wearing yoga trousers unless they have literally just finished a class, and even then, they will change before going out on the street. This goes triply so for sweatpants. Try a relaxed pair of flowy trousers or more structured yet stretchy ponte if you’re looking for comfort. A dark pair of slim or skinny jeans, a nice top and a cardigan, with a scarf thrown over the top, will do well in any German city. I have joked with my husband there is a German Dad uniform on the weekends: chinos in a dark colour, t-shirt or collared shirt, and a v-neck jumper on top. Seriously, I saw every single dad dressed like this in a Frankfurt museum the other day. 

Outerwear

Spring is a changeable season everywhere, and if you’re planning on visiting Berlin or Munich, be ready for wind. A good trench coat, ideally with a water resistant or waterproof coating, will be your best friend, and it works well layered with a sweater or cardigan. It looks equally nice on top of jeans as a nice dress when you’re heading out for dinner. This is where I find more technical rain coats fall down – you want to go to a nice restaurant, but Gortex just doesn’t fit the bill. Unless you’re planning a serious hiking holiday (in which case you’ll need other clothes anyway), bring a trench or another nice wind and rain resistant jacket. 

Universal Standard Trench
Universal Standard Trench
Guess Trench Coat
Guess Trench Coat
Ted Baker Contrast Trim Trench
Ted Baker Contrast Trim Trench
Via Spiga Water Repellent Trench
Via Spiga Water Repellent Trench
M&S Stormwear Trench
M&S Stormwear Trench
Universal Standard Trench
Universal Standard Trench
Guess Trench Coat
Guess Trench Coat
Ted Baker Contrast Trim Trench
Ted Baker Contrast Trim Trench
Via Spiga Water Repellent Trench
Via Spiga Water Repellent Trench
M&S Stormwear Trench
M&S Stormwear Trench
Universal Standard Trench
Universal Standard Trench
Guess Trench Coat
Guess Trench Coat
Ted Baker Contrast Trim Trench
Ted Baker Contrast Trim Trench
Via Spiga Water Repellent Trench
Via Spiga Water Repellent Trench
M&S Stormwear Trench
M&S Stormwear Trench

Scarves

A few good scarfs, from silk to lightweight knit, will fill in the gaps when the weathers takes you by surprise. They take up practically no space in your luggage (I like to shove mine into my shoes) and it makes any outfit that bit more sophisticated. Wear it in your hair, pull it around your shoulders when you’re on an open-top bus tour, tie it to your bag for a pop of colour, sleep under it on a long train journey – I love a good scarf or three when traveling. You will see everyone in Germany wearing scarves in all weathers – men and women.

Wrap scarf
Wrap scarf
Crinkle linen scarf
Crinkle linen scarf
Lightweight woven scarf
Lightweight woven scarf
Mulberry silk scarf
Mulberry silk scarf
Wrap scarf
Wrap scarf
Crinkle linen scarf
Crinkle linen scarf
Lightweight woven scarf
Lightweight woven scarf
Mulberry silk scarf
Mulberry silk scarf
Wrap scarf
Wrap scarf
Crinkle linen scarf
Crinkle linen scarf
Lightweight woven scarf
Lightweight woven scarf
Mulberry silk scarf
Mulberry silk scarf

Shoes

You will be walking everywhere, so bring sensible shoes, everyone says. Yes well, sensible doesn’t have to mean ginormous gym shoes. You’re in luck, because The Thing over here for several seasons has been crisp white trainers with anything. I personally love my Italian Supergra hightops, but any low-profile white trainer will do the trick. The second most ubiquitous shoe choice are sleek ankle boots, and these are also easy to find in seriously comfortable options. I love my Blundstones, and wear them everywhere… they are fully waterproof, slip on easily, and with a little polish look good as new no matter what I throw at them. 

Blundstones heeled
Blundstones Chelsea boot fancy
Blundstones Chelsea boot
Supergra hightop trainer
Supergra low-rise trainer
Blundstones heeled
Blundstones Chelsea boot fancy
Blundstones Chelsea boot
Supergra hightop trainer
Supergra low-rise trainer
Blundstones heeled
Blundstones Chelsea boot fancy
Blundstones Chelsea boot
Supergra hightop trainer
Supergra low-rise trainer
Tübingen
The picturesque riverside in Tübingen

Dresses

I am a dress and cardigan woman through and through, but I truly believe it’s one of the easiest travel outfits ever. Even in spring. From March to June, spring in Europe can be variable, so be pack for cooler temperatures and a few warm days too. Bring several pairs of leggings to wear underneath and you’ll be fine. I personally prefer leggings to tights for daytime wear, as I find them more breathable and forgiving over a long day. I just tuck a pair of black socks on under black leggings, and with ankle boots, honestly no one notices. A good midi dress with a cardigan, leggings, ankle boots, trench coat, and scarf can take you pretty much anywhere looking put together and feeling super comfortable. It turns hot in the afternoon? Whip off those leggings or the cardigan. The wind picks up? Do up your cardigan and coat, wrap the scarf around your shoulders for an extra layer. 

Joanie Cardigan
Joanie Cardigan
Joanie Rabbit print dress
Joanie Rabbit print dress
Karen Kane Shirtdress
Karen Kane Shirtdress
Bomber Jacket
Bomber Jacket
Universal Standard Geneva dress
Universal Standard Geneva dress
Tshirt dress
Tshirt dress
Joanie Cardigan
Joanie Cardigan
Joanie Rabbit print dress
Joanie Rabbit print dress
Karen Kane Shirtdress
Karen Kane Shirtdress
Bomber Jacket
Bomber Jacket
Universal Standard Geneva dress
Universal Standard Geneva dress
Tshirt dress
Tshirt dress
Joanie Cardigan
Joanie Cardigan
Joanie Rabbit print dress
Joanie Rabbit print dress
Karen Kane Shirtdress
Karen Kane Shirtdress
Bomber Jacket
Bomber Jacket
Universal Standard Geneva dress
Universal Standard Geneva dress
Tshirt dress
Tshirt dress

Bags

I am not a fan of daypacks. I know they are practical, but they look huge, and when you’re going in and out of museums, squeezing onto busy public transport, and walking down small streets, they are a pain to you and to everyone else around you. Stick with a practical crossbody bag or messenger bag. It’s easier to keep it in eyesight in case of pick-pockets, and easier to access. Honestly, a small water bottle you can refill, your camera, your phone, your wallet, tissues, a snack bar, a lipstick, keys, plasters – there’s not much else you need for a day out. Take advantage of my search for stylish camera bags right here.

Shoulder camera bag
Vintage looking camera bag
Johansen Siena Camera Bag
Cambridge Satchel Company Traveller Bag
Jo Totes Camera backpack
Shoulder camera bag
Vintage looking camera bag
Johansen Siena Camera Bag
Cambridge Satchel Company Traveller Bag
Jo Totes Camera backpack
Shoulder camera bag
Vintage looking camera bag
Johansen Siena Camera Bag
Cambridge Satchel Company Traveller Bag
Jo Totes Camera backpack

One-week Spring Germany packing list

  • One shirtdress
  • One super easy jersey dress
  • One sweater dress
  • One midi skirt
  • One pair of stretchy skinny jeans
  • Two cardigans
  • One turtleneck sweater
  • Two t-shirts (I like H&M for these basics)
  • Two pairs of leggings
  • Trench coat
  • Three scarves
  • Two pairs of earrings
  • Two necklaces
  • Cotton underwear
  • Bras
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera bag/cross-body bag
  • One pair ankle boots
  • One pair trainers

Cosmetics and toiletries

I keep my cosmetics pretty streamlined in general, so when I travel there’s nothing really different than my usual routine. I do often opt for make-up remover wipes, and throw a bunch of cotton pads in a zip-top bag with my favourite exfoliator squirted all over them. But that’s it! It’s worth noting that in Germany, most women go for a fresh-faced look with minimal eye makeup and neutral lip colour.

  • Make up (foundation, concealer, mascara, eyeliner, brow pencil)
  • Make-up remover wipes like these
  • Ziptop bag with cotton pads soaked in Pixi Glow Tonic
  • Medicines

Charging infrastructure

This is our family name for all the cables, chargers, and whatnot required to keep everything plugged in and charged while we’re away. Mine is a bit different as I have to bring my CPAP machine with me when I travel, so I bring a surge-protected power bar with built-in USB ports for plugging in my devices. But my husband brings just a plug-in USB charging block, that has the brightest light on it ever, so it functions as a nightlight as well. We’re also adding a couple of universal plug adapters to our infrastructure as well.

Multi-port plug adaptorMulti-port USB plug in blockSurge protected power bar

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Heading to Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, or Cologne? I've got you covered with a practical packing list for spring time in Germany.

This post was originally published in January 2019, updated in March 2021

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Dress season

Dress season

IMG_1092

For some reason, this seems to be a sensitive subject, but that’s a bit silly, so let’s get real. For those of us with thighs that are friendly with each other, summer can be a bit painful. However, I’ve blissfully lived in dresses and skirts for the past couple of hot seasons with help from some underwear discoveries.
jockies slipshorts

Everyday wear: Jockeys Slipshort Skimmies

I have about five pairs of these. They come in ‘Cooling’ which functions a bit like sports stay-dry. Go for mid-length ones, the short ones don’t offer much in the way of chafing prevention. These are not shapewear, but they are super comfy and won’t leave weird lumpy bits where the shorts begin and end. They go on sale fairly regularly, so keep your eyes peeled.

triumph high waisted

Support: Triumph Highwaist Second Skin Sensation

I’ve had a pair of these for many years, and the elastic has stood the test of time. It prevents nasty chafing and gives you a bit of holding in around the tummy and waist. It’s not Spanx level constriction by any means, more of a medium level of support. Perfect for those days you don’t want to work up a sweat wrestling your way into serious shapewear.

So break out those dresses and do some twirling.

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Sakura time!

Sakura time!

Sakura time!: Cherry blossom prints

I am a black and grey kind of girl, but when springs comes around, the one print that always gets me is the cherry blossom. This spring there seems to be loads of it around, and I confess to already buying a pair of impractical shoes, and a nice tunic. I have my eye on the Uttam jacket I’ve linked below as well…

Sakura time!: Cherry blossom necklace by Tatty Devine

Tatty Devine Cherry blossom branch necklace

Sakura time!: Cherry blossom print trainer by Nike

Nike Cherry blossom trainer

Sakura time!: Cherry blossom print Apple watch band by Casetifyb

Casetify Cherry blossom apple watch band

Sakura time!: Cherry blossom print waterfall jacket by Uttam Boutique

Uttam Cherry blossom waterfall jacket

Sakura time!: Cherry blossom print silk dress by Jaeger

Jaeger Cherry Blossom print dress 

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Five essentials for my bike commute

Five essentials for my bike commute

Bike to Work week is coming up soon here in Vancouver, and this year I actually do ride my bike to work. Albeit a few days a week, and it’s only a 8-10 minute ride. However, thanks to some serious research and great gear, it feels easy. I am not a CYCLIST. I don’t change when I get to work, I don’t go super fast, I wear heels. My bike is a lovely Raleigh step-through with a basket. As with many exercise-related endeavours, it pays to get some bits that you love, that will also make doing the exercise easier. Here are mine:

Cleverhood rain cape. This being Raincouver, if I decided not to bike every time it rained, I would never bike. I have yet to find a raincoat that doesn’t make me feel like I’m slowly stewing in my own juices, so the open bottom of this rain poncho is ideal. Not only that, it allows me to wear all normal clothes underneath, including whatever layers I need for the cold. The houndstooth is woven with reflective fibres, so shows up clearly in dark rainy weather, but looks normal and cool in daylight. The hood fits under my helmet, and the thumb loops help me keep the cape on while cycling. I’ve had endless compliments on it whenever I show up somewhere, which is better than ‘whoa, it’s really raining out, isn’t it?’ the subtext being ‘you look like you waded through the ocean to get here’. The clincher for me: made in the US by decently paid workers. Cleverhood rain cape.

straw pannier, image credit: Le Vélo Victoria

image credit: Le Vélo Victoria

Bobbin Bicycles straw pannier. I love my pannier dearly, and it took months of research to find. I am not a sporty cyclist, as mentioned above. So, I didn’t want a pannier that was all rubberized and reflective-y. I saw photos of this straw pannier around Pinterest, but for the life of me couldn’t find a stockist anywhere. It seemed to be discontinued. I tracked it to Holland, but then got lost in a maze of Dutch bicycle sites. Finally, I found the wonderful Le Vélo in Victoria, BC, and they carry it. I was so obsessed, they emailed me as soon as the pre-order was available. I fit my laptop, a bento box, a small mason jar with snacks, a notebook, and my little Cambridge Satchel Company bag in here, with my rain cape folded on top. It’s treated, so a little rain is no problem. Super secure on my rear rack and it stands up well on its own, so loading and unloading it is simple. Bobbin Bicycles straw pannier, Le Vélo in Canada, Eleanor’s in the US.

jockies

Jockey skimmies. As I mentioned, I cycle in regular clothes. In the summer months, that means a lot of dresses. These little shorts are thin and light, and come in a variety of non-underwear colours, so when you accidentally flash someone, it looks like bike shorts and not, well, underwear. They are super comfortable to wear, and if you get any thigh rub, this solves that whole problem too. They come in longer and shorter lengths, and loads of sizes. Jockey skimmies slip shorts. Hudson’s Bay in Canadain the US.

Barista coffee cup holder. I often make my coffee before I leave, and then when I pull up to a light, I sit back and have a sip. People point at me from cars, they are so impressed with my set-up. I’ve had many people watch me walk up to my bike at the rack, plunk my half-finished coffee in my holder and get on with leaving, make that ‘ahhhhh – now that’s a good idea’ noise. I know, right? Why rush your coffee drinking if you don’t have to? Portland Design Works Barista coffee cup holder, from MEC in Canada, from PDW in the US.

CharlestonGoldS

Bandbox bike helmet with cover(s). There are opinions about helmets, and that’s fine. I wear one. This helmet is the one thing on the list I don’t actually own yet, right now I wear this super cute one. I am in love with these helmets though. You buy the base helmet, and then can choose hat-like covers for it. Straw hats! Wool felt cloches! I am obsessed with this, and I think I want about three of them. Love. It. Bandbox helmet and covers. image credit: Bandbox

Finally, if anyone has any leads on a decent skirt guard, let me know. Enjoy your commute!

PS – Panniers that look cool. Really.

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Families in apartments: closet to mini-mudroom DIY

Families in apartments: closet to mini-mudroom DIY

melsmudroom
My friend Mel quietly does amazing things with her space. I’ve known her for 20 years, and her apartments manage to look cool and put together – both when we were 20, and after having a child, which, to my mind, are serious feats. When she posted a redo of her front closet into a tiny mudroom, I asked her if I could share it here.

Despite some being incredulous, lots of families make a go of living in apartments – whether it’s a co-op arrangement, part of a house, in a tower, or the many other arrangements out there. I laugh at the things that come up when I search ‘mudroom’ on Pinterest, because some of them are half the size of my whole apartment. I knew some of you out there would appreciate Mel’s small-space solution. Here’s what she told me:

‘Our coat closet was basically wasted space because it had a broken door that would come off the track every time you open or closed it. Also we are the type of people who are in and out a lot throughout the day and too lazy to get out a hanger and hang up our jacket every time we come in. On top of that, Sterling couldn’t even reach the hangers or rod to hang up his coat. So our shoes and jackets had been piling up in our pantry area (where there happened to be a couple of hooks) making a mess and driving us crazy.

[quicktime]http://erinehm.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/IMG_1746.mov[/quicktime]

Here’s what we did to make our mudroom:

1. Removed the door and tracks

2. Removed the ancient shelf and rod set-up

3. Patched holes, cleaned all the walls

4. Fresh coat of paint.

5. Hung 2 IKEA Lack shelves in the upper half of the closet for storage.

6. Installed IKEA PS rail and knob system along the back of the closet and a small rail/knobs along the side that Sterling can reach.

7. Added a bucket for keys etc. on another side rail above Sterling’s. (There are some other accessories you can get for the system that were sold out, but we may add later)

8. Added IKEA Stuva bench and cushion

9. Added bins with lids to store our winter scarves, mitts etc and keep the moths out.

10. The closet does not have a light fixture or outlet so we added a battery-powered LED closet light that we found a Canadian Tire. It is motion-activated which is great because we were able to hang it up high without worrying about not being able to reach it.

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