spruced by marlene

okka’s book

By Marlene | Published: 1. October 2014


I got the chance to read Okka’s book „Völlig fertig und irre glücklich: Meine ersten Jahre als Mutter“ in advance when I was still heavily pregnant. I’m not sure she knows what a treat that was for me. I locked myself into our living room for a couple of days and didn’t really move, except to get more salted licorice. And tissues. Oh my, how this book made me cry, because what she writes is so true. It also made me laugh a lot, because what she writes is so true. When James would come into the room, I kept blurting out: „I’m not the only one feeling like this!“ Of all of the books I bought or got given on pregnancy and child rearing, Okka’s is the only one I read cover to cover. She doesn’t give a single tip on what foods are good when you’re expecting, or how to get your baby to sleep, or what toys will turn your child into a nuclear physicist. She just writes how it is, with all of the questions, all of the joy, all of the absurd things you want to eat during pregnancy (I repeat: salted licorice). Which made me feel more prepared for motherhood than any help book ever could’ve done. This book is thoughtful and smart, it comforts and cheers you up, and it tells you: it’s alright not to know everything and to feel overwhelmed, to be in a bad mood sometimes and still always be able to enjoy the happiness of having a child. It made me think that I was less alone with it all. And that’s a great good gift of a book. Thank you, Okka.

„Völlig fertig und irre glücklich: Meine ersten Jahre als Mutter“ is out today (in German) and you can get it here.

date night

By Marlene | Published: 29. September 2014


„Did you just hear him as well?“
„No, I’m sure he’s sleeping.“
„I’d better check.“
„Fast asleep.“
„What time is it anyway?“
„Half past nine.“
„Should we…“
„…go to sleep?“
„You’re reading my mind!“

Sometimes, before we collapse into our bed at half past nine, I remember my friend Miriam’s advice from when I was still pregnant: Go out! Just the two of you, five course dinner, the whole nine yards. But then I was always so tired that all I wanted was to put up my heavy pregnant legs – and would promptly fall asleep in front of the tv.

Arlo is four months old now. On the one hand it feels as if the time with him is passing at lightning speed. Probably because our son is a human power bar. I’m going to boldly assume that his first word is going to be „faster“. Faster, Mama, carry me, carry me, carry me, now sing to me, sing to me, sing to me, Papa, I want to eat, eat, eat, eatsomemore, now carry me again, go, go, go. Even after he’s had to go through surgery, which he did last week, he’s still amazingly full of energy and cheer. He discovers so much about life that he finds absolutely fascinating every day that even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t find time to miss much about life without him.

On the other hand: Wasn’t there a time when I showered before 6pm? I’m also reasonably certain that I used to shave both of my legs. Seriously, a couple of days ago I simply forgot to shave my right leg. Forgot! I could write that I took care of it the next time I showered. But you wouldn’t believe me anyway. I also didn’t use to think that the elasticated waistband was the biggest fashion innovation of the century. Or rate meals by whether I could eat them with one hand.

Here’s the beautiful thing: when we sit together in the evenings, impossibly weary and with big bags under our eyes, I still wouldn’t want to be any other couple than the one this kid has turned us into. We didn’t know beforehand what we would be like as parents. Now I think we’re doing pretty well. Certainly we’re more patient and more resilient than I ever thought we could be.

But we were also pretty good together beforehand and I miss that other couple sometimes. So one night next week we’re gonna be those two people again, the ones that are more fragrant and don’t refer to each other as Mama and Papa.

I imagine our date night looking something like this: we will wear clothes that are dryclean only. We will eat together, maybe steak, definitely something that will require both hands and sharp knives. I will put on too much red lipstick and wear stupidly high heels, and after two glasses of red wine I will be so tipsy that I’ll want to make out in the backseat of the cab and let James totally take advantage of that. And we will stay out really late. So until about 11pm.

I’m wondering, how do you do it? Do you go on regular date nights? And how do you manage not to talk only about your baby the whole evening?

„The Castle“ clutch from Olympia Le-Tan | „Rouge Louboutin“ nail polish from Christian Louboutin, via The Corner Berlin | shimmer brick eye shadow palette from Bobbi Brown | „Orgasm“ blush from Nars | instant eye lift brightener from Trish McEvoy, via Liberty | „Le Volume“ Mascara from Chanel | „Teen dream“ lip pencil and „Lady Danger“ lipstick, from MAC

book love: „wie eine wohnung…“

By Marlene | Published: 18. September 2014


Hanging plants upside down from the ceiling – I want to try that. Or maybe I’ll start by sprucing up the bathroom mirror with rope? No, first I’m going to the cellar to find an old cable for ‘writing’ something on the living room wall.

That’s what reading Steffi’s book „Wie eine Wohnung ein Zuhause wird“ (only available in German – yet!) does to me.

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inspiration: last days of summer

By Marlene | Published: 16. September 2014


Selecting outfits is very easy for me at the moment. They only have to pass one test: are they resistant to baby spit? No wonder I’m drinking up all the streetstyle pictures from the shows like an It girl after a champagne drought. My first click every morning, as Arlo is drooling on the shoulder of the same-as-yesterday-grey-sweatshirt, is Sandra’s blog A Love Is Blind. She’s just so good at capturing the action on the street. A couple of days ago I noticed picture of Claire in the same orange skirt she had on when I photographed her last year, just worn with a different shirt. And I thought: that orange lifts my mood like the last days of summer we’re having in Berlin at the moment. Also: how very cool and likable that she’s getting noticed for her own style rather than for silly expensive or sponsored outfits that have become quite common at the shows. Which is exactly what Claire wrote a smart and fun piece about right here, featuring some of her looks from New York Fashion Week. Pretty much every outfit is an inspiration. Not just if you, like me, are dreaming of one day again being able to wear something that doesn’t have to be washed at 60 degrees.


body shop bb cream

By Marlene | Published: 23. August 2014


I’m loving anything that saves time at the moment. Shopping? Online. Eating? Preferably standing up and one-handed. Shoes? Slides. Cosmetics? The BB Cream from The Body Shop. The last time I shopped there, it was the late 90s and I wore the White Musk perfume and strawberry flavoured lip balm. Both Okka, who’s a fan of their Colour Crush Shine lipsticks, and Alexa, who swears by their Vitamin E series, made me revisit the brand. The BB Cream didn’t need a lot of testing as the make-up-particles in the lotion adapt to the skin tone. Plus, it requires less work than foundation, covers almost as well and – bonus! – you can apply it one-handed if need be. It might sound weird, but a touch of tinted moisturizer makes me feel less mumsy. Especially on those days when I suddenly notice at the supermarket till that I still have a swaddle cloth draped over my shoulder.

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