spruced by marlene


wild heart free soul

By Marlene | Published: 9. July 2014


„Do what you love“ – how many times have I seen a print with that line on Instagram, Facebook and blogs lately. It should also hang on the wall in the Wild Heart Free Soul studio. What the three founders and friends Jana, Lena and Beyza have created together truly gives meaning to those words.

When I visited them – and two of their kids, Matti and Ella – yesterday, I already knew how beautiful the kelim are that they bring back from Turkey. It was inspiring to see firsthand what they’ve built by combining what they’re each good at, trusting their talents and starting something new. Just like that? Just like that. Beyza was renting out cottages in Kas in Turkey where every visitor wanted to take home a pillow or rug from the decoration. So why not bring the kelim to Berlin? Jana had the idea to do a bazaar, Lena had the right space. They shook hands on their project a year ago. And now they’re hosting their second Wild Heart Free Soul sale. The studio on Elisabethkirchstraße is an old garage and a beautiful space: high ceilings and lots of light, filled with colourful kelim, vintage yazma shawls and pretty hamam towels. It feels more like walking into somebody’s home than a shop. The way it only can when somthing is done with heart and soul.

So if you’re in Berlin until Saturday, you should go. But you’d better be quick. I’m heading down there later and after my visit they might be sold out of hamam towels…

Wild Heart Free Soul Bazaar – The Fashion Week Edition
July 9 | 4pm – 10pm
July 10-July 12 | 12pm – 6pm

Elisabethkirchstraße 13, 10115 Berlin







shopping for baby

By Marlene | Published: 30. June 2014


I was almost certain that I’d manage to keep to the list my midwife gave me of the necessary baby clothes. After all, the little ones grow faster than you can say „You’re not old enough to drink yet!”. But then I spotted a denim overall at Baby Gap and basically lost all control.

On the one hand it’s silly to spend a lot of money on this stuff (I repeat: the little ones grow faster than you can say „You’re not old enough to drink yet!”). On the other hand: teeny tiny shoes and hats and jackets are sooooo cute! I’m sure I’ll start buying more second hand and less of the things that can only be washed at 30 degrees soon enough. Until then our son will be dressed better than I am. And I’ll always have an answer to the question: What would you like as a present for him? Because all of these beautiful things make great gifts.

These are the (online)stores that I like shopping in for Arlo. Especially at the moment as the Sale is on. Yes, that excuse works at every age.

| Smallable I’ll take one of everything this shop has to offer in clothes, furniture and toys, thanks. If I had to limit myself, which I do, I’d go for the designs from Numero 74. The grey towel won’t make Arlo enjoy being dried after bathing any more than any other towel. But he looks even cuter complaining when he’s wrapped up in it.

| Sprösslinge Design. Unfortunately this Hamburg store isn’t right around the corner from me. Fortunately it has an online shop. Favourite buys: swaddle cloths from Fresk and Sebra.

| Tiny Store Fortunately, this Berlin store is right around the corner from me. Unfortunately it doesn’t have an online shop. Yet! Anne, the delightful owner, is working on it. The Tinycottons blanket I bought from her is Arlo’s everyday companion.

| Walking the Cat A darling selection of clothes from the darling owner Daria. Just bought in the Sale: a playsuit from Lötie Kids in – not grey, not blue – olive.

| Noé & Zoë Designs from this Berlin label are as cute as unusual and have pretty unbeatable prices. Every friend having a daughter will forever be getting something with the pink star print as a gift from me.

| Babyssimo One day, Arlo will decide to wear a Spiderman costume every day. As long as he can’t object to my taste in clothes, he’s wearing the super playsuit with elephants from Mini Rodini. Got it in the Sale together with a shirt from Gray Label and leggings from One more in the family. You can find a similarly pretty selection of clothes at Villa Smaland.

P.S. Completely unspectacular and extremly practical: the organic cotton clothes from Alana, which you can find at, of all places, DM.

Body from Mini Rodini via Tiny | Swaddles from Sebra via Sprösslinge Design | Top from Violeta + Federico via Winzig & Klein | Shorts from Zara Mini and Noé & Zoë | Hat from Zara Mini | Knit jacket from Arlo’s grandmother | Denim overall from Baby Gap | Socks from Happy Socks | Hat from Noé & Zoë | Playsuit from Le Marchand d’étoiles via Smallable | Slipper from Louis Louise

it’s a boy

By Marlene | Published: 17. June 2014


I know it’s been quiet around here lately. Perhaps you’ve guessed the reason for my silence already. It’s because life elsewhere suddenly got a lot noisier. Our boy Arlo Elliott was born four weeks ago, surprising us with both his early arrival and with a joy so overwhelming we couldn’t have dreamt was possible to feel. There are moments I still can’t quite connect the human being that was growing inside of me with the little baby sleeping beside me on the sofa right now. So that was him, kicking every time his dad talked to him through my belly button. Now he’s very much his own person already. One who still knows how to properly kick.

There are also moments when I start to do something besides sitting next to him on the sofa, admiring his perfect little nose and coming up with idiotic nicknames (isn’t that right, my little potato?). And then he wakes up and next thing I know it’s three days later and I still haven’t finished whatever it was I started doing. I wrote the first sentence of this post last Thursday. Maybe I’ll manage to write the last one today.

I’m on Arlo’s schedule now, one that involves a lot of eating (for him), sleeping (also for him, certainly not for us) and being carried around, listening as his mother tries to remember the Danish lullabies my mother sang to me when I was little. Even though everyone tells you that it’s impossible to imagine how a child changes your life, I had of course asked myself exactly that: What will change? Now I know. Everything. And at the same time: nothing much at all. Because having him here with me feels like the most normal thing in the world. It’s impossible to imagine that there ever was a time when this wasn’t my life. Every moment with him feels like a discovery. Did you know for instance that babies can purr like a cat one minute and sound like a drunken pirate the next? Obviously the cutest drunken pirate you’ve ever seen. Yes, I have become one of those people who think their child is a miracle. I can’t help it. I could look at this little boy for hours and not ever get tired of it, even though I am more tired than I have ever been, amazed at how much he grows and changes every day. I’m certain that in the time I’ve sat here writing this, he’s discovered yet another noise to tell me: Food! Now!

We had been in the hospital for a few days when the baby blues hit me. I had heard this might happen. The change from pregnant to not pregnant opened the floodgates and I started crying. And crying. And crying. And when I was done with that I cried some more. A friend who had her son around the same time as I had mine called herself the „hormonster“ during this period and that’s exactly how I felt. I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t tell James what was wrong. Because nothing was. And yet perhaps that was exactly it: nothing was wrong for Arlo either and I realised that it was up to me to always makes things right for him. I was crying with happiness as much as with worry. I could’ve prepared all that I wanted for being a mother, I still could have never prepared for this breathtaking need to protect him.

So that’s what it feels like when you meet the love of your life.

While I’m getting used to all that’s new, I’ll return to blogging in the next few weeks. I have more time for a picture and a few lines on Instagram right now. You can follow me here. And occasionally see photos of a deliciously cute drunken pirate.

Thank you to everybody who wrote or just kept us in their thoughts as Arlo, James and I became a family. Oh, what an adventure it will be!

Postcard by Petersen

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the glow

By Marlene | Published: 8. May 2014


A couple of months ago James asked me if I enjoyed being pregnant. I was confused why he’d think that I didn’t. Well, he said, I talked a lot about how uncomfortable I felt, moaned about the dark circles under my eyes, complained that I didn’t fit into any of my clothes anymore and how much weight I had gained. He thought that was strange. Because what he saw made him look at me in absolute wonderment.

I’m not sure he knows this but it’s the most beautiful thing he could’ve said to me.

Because I do enjoy being pregnant. But I’ve also had days in the past nine months when I’ve felt wretched. Because my swollen feet wouldn’t fit into any shoes (and my swollen bum into any pants). Because I take more pills every morning than an 80-year-old granny. Because I can’t walk 25 meters without being out of breath. Because I can’t lift, can’t sleep, can’t remember what the hell it was I just walked into the room for. At the end of those days I stand in front of the mirror and ask the tired woman looking back at me where she’s hiding Marlene. Her answer is always the same: She’s busy building a baby, let her be. And perhaps just once in a while believe people who say you look marvelous.

Because that’s what I think when I see other pregnant women. They’ve got that glow that no beauty product in the world can give you. Don’t you think my friend Steffi looks radiant? Maybe she didn’t feel like it on the morning we took these pictures – I know myself how uncomfortable it can be to be photographed when your own body suddenly feels like an unknown entity, – but I look at her with absolute wonderment. And I hope she believes me.

She’s showing some of the maternity wear she got for summer on her blog ohhhmhhh today and if I weren’t already at the end of my pregnancy I’d hit all of her recommended online shops. For me she put on a pair of Racer Skinny maternity jeans from Citizens of Humanity and a white tux shirt from Cos. A look I’d love to wear – pregnant or not.


With thanks to Prag PR for the jeans.

the suze bag

By Marlene | Published: 9. April 2014


So the reason we flew to Thailand was because James designed a new beach bag that we wanted to take pictures of – on the beach.

OK, maybe that’s a lie.

But what’s true is that we couldn’t have found a better place to photograph The Suze. It’s a dip-dyed denim shopper with tan leather straps that looks like 30 degree sunshine to me. I carried mine from the hut to the hammock every day, filled with beach towels, sunscreen lotion and books, although I’m sure I’ll wear it in the city this summer as well. My favourite combination is the white/black version above, which is also available in white/azure and white/yellow. James also makes the bag from a blue denim, dyed in either black, like the bag below, or in pink. All are available online from James Castle now.

And which would be your pick for the summer?