Visiting an Abandoned Theme Park

Saturday, 13 December 2014
Visiting an abandoned theme park - spreepark berlin

When I went to Berlin on holiday last year Blair and I booked a tour of Spreepark, an abandoned theme park on the outskirts of the city.  I've always had a bit of an obsession with looking at photos of abandoned buildings online (like this) so when I saw an opportunity for us to visit an abandoned theme park I jumped at the chance.  Especially as it had featured in the film Hanna which we'd watched only a few months earlier.

I briefly wrote about it in my Berlin Day 3 post with a couple of photos, but I was looking through the albums on my laptop the other day and there were tons of pics from the theme park so I thought I'd share some more.

When we went on the tour it was unfortunately mainly in German so I didn't really get the full story, but having read up on it afterwards there's quite an interesting history there.  The park first opened in 1969 and was the only theme park in East Berlin during the Soviet rule.  After reunification the park was expanded and eventually turned into a more Western style amusement park with a fee to enter (rather than paying per ride like it was before).  It was plagued by debt problems though and after increasing the entry fee they saw visitor numbers decline and in 2001 announced closure.  The owners, Norbert Witte and family, then moved a couple of the attractions to Peru and opened a new park called Lunapark in Lima.  Unfortunately though Norbert Witte was then imprisoned after attempting to smuggle cocaine from Peru to Germany, and a couple of years later his son was also imprisoned for drug smuggling.  Up until recently the Spreepark was still owned by the Witte family who offered tours (like the one Blair and I went on) but I've since discovered that earlier this year the park was sold to the City of Berlin and tours are no longer available.

Sadly, I've also just read that in August this year major parts of the park were destroyed by fire (which is believed to have been deliberately started).  So unfortunately you won't ever be able to visit and see it as it was in my photos below, a real shame!


I was planning on recommending that if you ever visit Berlin you should try book a tour, but now I know that's no longer possible.  It was a really cool experience though walking around the place imagining what it would have been like in its heyday.  There were quite a creepy element too as it was like being in a ghost town - the big wheel still slowly turning and creaking in the wind, trees growing over the roller coaster tracks, buildings lying empty, covered in graffiti.  Definitely one of the highlights of our trip and something we'll always remember.

Living Room Wishlist

Thursday, 11 December 2014
I posted recently about some redecorating we've been doing in our living room and kitchen.  As I mentioned, we live in a rented flat so the changes we can make are mainly aesthetic - buying soft furnishings like cushions, curtains and candles etc, rather than painting or changing the carpets.  It's also a furnished flat so the majority of the furniture isn't ours.  If I had my own way though our next task would be replacing our sofa as it's starting to feel really old - the leather is wearing away in places as is the padding on the inside, particularly on the arms where you can really feel the wooden frame.  Not the best for lounging on!  

My ultimate dream living room would definitely include a corner sofa - it's been top of my wishlist since we visited a friends' flat a few years ago and they had a huuuge corner sofa that just looked absolutely beautiful.  Whenever I mentally plan my fantasy house (which is more often than I care to admit) the living room always involves a big corner sofa covered in lots of cushions.  That's the dream!

I adore this grey sofa from Furniture Choice - I can just imagine B and I lounging on it, surrounded by cushions on a cosy evening.  I've put together a little wishlist showing how my dream sofa would fit in my living room, incorporating a couple of festive touches in there since it is almost Christmas after all!
Speaking on fantasy room planning - check out my Home Pinterest board, it's full of amazing furniture and homewares for you to swoon over and help plan your own dream home!

Post written in collaboration with Furniture Choice.

Best of Christmas Advent Competitions

Tuesday, 9 December 2014
The only thing better than a chocolate advent calendar (Malteser this year, thanks for asking) is an advent competition.  Normally I find it really annoying seeing my Facebook and Twitter timelines spammed with comp entries, but for some reason when it's in the lead up to Christmas I don't mind as much.  I particularly enjoy advent calendar style competitions that have become really popular in the last few years, with brands giving away prizes every day in December.  It's like lots of potential wee Christmas presents up for grabs everywhere you look!  

I've tried to seek out the best of the best competitions out there and have listed them below so you can go and enter.  There's a mix of beauty, fashion, travel and food comps, so something for everyone.  Best of luck to you all!   Although I mostly want to win them all myself….

Competition runs until the 12th of December with prizes including Green & Blacks chocolate (day 1) and Pizza Express vouchers (day 6).

A Facebook game where you click on one of three presents and see if you've won a sk:n product, treatment, or a discount.  You can go back every day to try again, so if you don't win the first time you've got more chances later in the month.

Rocco Forte Hotels are giving away weekend breaks at each of their ten 5 star hotels - so that includes The Balmoral in Edinburgh, Hotel De Russie in Rome, Browns in London, and Astoria in St Petersburg.  The prize changes every 48 hours, so make sure you go back to see which hotel is being showcased that day.  

New Look are giving away prizes every day on Twitter with a mix of fashion and beauty bits up for grabs.  They gave away a unicorn clutch bag(!) on day 6 which is one of those things that I'm pretty sure I'd never buy for myself but now that I know it exists I kinda really want it, haha.

With 5 winners every day this is probably one of those competitions you're more likely to actually win -  although you need to answer a Bourjois related question so you might need to do a wee bit of Googling first.  If you're a Bourjois makeup fan then definitely check this one out.

Another beauty related competition, with Glossybox giving away prizes from various brands in the run up to Christmas.  

As a big fan of the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer I was excited to see that the brand is running an advent competition with products and discounts up for grabs.  Will be keeping my fingers crossed for a win, as my poor damaged hair is crying out for some help!

"Scratch" away the door on the womens or mens Whistles advent calendar to find out the daily prize - the day I checked they were giving away a trolley dash in their flagship store - imagine!

Another Facebook game based competition where you can win jewellery, bags, and accessories from high street fave Accessorize.  

Guess the prizes on their Facebook page each day for your chance to win products from the Debenhams beauty hall.  As this is one that requires a bit of research/guess work the number of entries will be lower so your chances of winning are that little bit better.

Ahh my favourite fruit cider….Rekorderlig are giving away prizes every day on their Facebook page, as well as sharing things like festive cocktail recipes.

Even just writing the words Patisserie Valerie is making my mouth water at the thought of their cakes and pastries.  Needless to say I'll be entering their Facebook giveaways every day in the hope of winning a treat box.

Let me know if you spot any other good competitions!