Olliewood Skate Shop Opening

On Friday April 9th, Barefoot in Luxembourg was invited to participate Olliewood’s “housewarming party” in its new location. After operating 19 years inside the “Galerie de Capucins”, the Luxembourgish skating store  had moved up the street to a more visible, brighter and customer friendly location.

Painted in white with a huge window facing towards the street, this new store indeed had indeed changed its looks towards being very fresh and young providing a more exclusive shopping experience. The new place situated just along a busy street of Rue de Capucins, will certainly contribute to a more customer flow due to its visibility. It’s now indeed much easier to stop by to check the latest season trends as the huge shopping window creates the attention of the passers-by.

 The official opening evening was full of people and it was almost impossible to get inside the store. There was a DJ playing through the evening while the clients were busy trying on hoodies, t-shirts, sneakers, caps and checking out skateboards. The personnel was very friendly and patiently advised people and answered any questions anyone had.
I can imagine this shop gaining even more popularity after the change of the location. There is a strong skating community in Luxembourg and a big number of people who simply like the skater style clothes.

 Olliewood

19, rue des Capucins L-1313

Luxembourg-City,

 Opening hours

Monday to Saturday / 10h00 – 18h00

Pictures are courtesy of Olliewood Facebook Page.


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AKABOBUTTEK & NATURWELTEN: new ecological shop in Luxembourg

When it comes to  ecological thinking in terms of providing organic food or eco-friendly products, I feel a bit like Luxembourg is lagging behind in the development of offering these products as compared to many other European countries.

On Friday 31st of March, I was thrilled to attend the opening of AKABOBUTTEK & NATURWELTEN, located in the area on 8 Rue de Bonnevoie. The shop focuses on providing ecologically made products and they have a huge variety of different household textiles and other items (mattresses, carpets, curtains, wooden furniture), yoga wear, men and women’s fashion and accessories,  cosmetics and cleaning products. The owner of the shop has also a “tour bus” and the new shop is in fact an extension of what they were already offering via this bus.

At the opening evening, the boutique was full of customers and the new store crew was warmly welcoming everyone to come and have a closer look to the new establishment. The shop owners also explained to me the philosophy of the store which is based on sustainable development. The idea is to support the developing countries by providing the people better pay for their work. All the products also have a Fair-trade or equivalent certification.

This new shop is ideal for consumers who value environment and are concerned about the inequality of the developing countries. The prices of items are somewhat higher as compared to mass chain stores but the quality is often better and at least one knows that the extra money is given to people who really are in need of it and have earned it. The store itself is also cute and the crew very eager to help and advise.

 

 

Naturwelten Wunnen & Schlofen
8, rue de Bonnevoie
L-1260 Luxembourg-Gare

Opening hours:
Monday 10-18h30
Tuesday -Friday 10-18h30
Saturday 10-18h
Sunday and holidays closed

pictures courtesy of Akabobus 

 

Jenni’s Corner: Apres-Ski with Janette

In terms of weather, March 9th was a perfect day for the women’s magazine Janette to organize an After-ski themed after-work event. It wasn’t too cold to stay outside and the week long rain had finally stopped.
The event took place outside Vinoteca under a huge portable roof which protected us from the cold winter wind. Under the roof, there was an outside bar that sold mainly wine but also some other drinks – they went very well together with a nice selection of different Swiss Cheese that was served on a wooden table on the other corner of the tent.

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I arrived at the venue approximately an hour after the event had started and I noticed that the place was very packed. Small bar tables were surrounded by people who chitchatted with each other while they sipped wine and dipped pieces of bread in melted cheese. Many people praised the quality of cheese fondues and also liked the easy-going music that the live DJ was playing.

I found that the event was perfectly suited for the season and was very well set up. People seemed to be having a good time by posing in front a camera and the place was full of laughter and happiness. The only improvement point would be to think about a bigger location due to the great number of people participating the after-work.

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Thanks Janette for the invitation! I met many people I knew and the alpine like atmosphere made the event very successful!

 

 

Iron Bartender Competition

Two weeks ago, Barefoot in Luxembourg has been invited to a new event concept that took part among five bars in the city center of Luxembourg (The Tube, Bellamy, Go Ten, Octans, Konrad). The idea is based on the cult Japanese TV show Iron Chef.

Each month a “mystery ingredient” will be chosen which the bars have to use to develop a special cocktail. That ingredient could be a special spirit, or fruit, or juice etc. Each bars cocktail is then judged by an independent panel and a trophy awarded to the winning bar to display until the next month.

Barefoot in Luxembourg was part of the jury of the first edition and the selected mysterious ingredient for that time has been Diplomatico Reserve Exclusive Rum from Venezuela.

We started our night as jury at The Tube bar, where we were proposed a very refreshing cocktail called About Figgin’ Thymes – the name has been based on the words assonance with “freaking times” and thyme, one of the main ingredient of the cocktail.
The drink was pleasantly sour and complex, you could not feel much the alcohol and was enjoyable to drink – perfect for a summer after-work. Personally, I found it a bit too much “ladylike”, but I would not mind ordering it again to start a night out.

 

We moved then to Bellamy where we were offered their Capitaliko cocktail – prepared with Rhum Diplomatico, Amaretto, chocolate and orange. The preparation was impressive but in this case the taste, while very good even for me that I am not an Amaretto fan, resulted quite strong. On the other side, we were offered some great food to share prepared by the Bellamy kitchen. I did not know that at Bellamy you could have as well some food – tapas style – and I have to say it was delicious. I would definitely come back to try some more in the next weeks!

 

Third stop was at Go Ten bar: their special cocktail – Diplomatico Choice – was a kind of Mojito prepared with coconut milk and chili. The cocktail presentation was the best one to me: the drink was served in a metallic glass covered on ice and accompanied by some exotic bites with beef and pineapple. The taste of the cocktail was as well for me the best one of the night: definitely a drink I can have all night long, above all during the warm season – I was imagining myself on a panorama pool in Cancun, sipping this ice glass. As some other members of the jury noted, indeed, it was not very much innovative cocktail – but it was the best flavor for most of us.

 

At Octans, the cocktail Carascastagnette was prepared with Rhum Diplomatico, home made pineapple liquor, Gran Marnier and Habanero. It was served together with an home made pineapple mousse prepared with cinnamon (heaven!). The combo was great, as well the cocktail. As taste, it reminds a bit the first one at The Tube, a bit girly.
Octans had definitely one of the better atmosphere for the night and the preparation was very captivating. I would have stayed there all night long!

Last but not least, it was the turn of Konrad. We were welcomed in the downstairs cozy bar room: their drink was called Cozaron, another word  game meaning as well “Konrad’s Son”.
The cocktail was prepared homemade cranberry jam. To me, while the idea was pretty much the most original one, the flavor was too much sweet, but the innovative effort was extraordinary.

 

Based on the average vote of the whole jury – about the name, the presentation, the taste, the originality, the winner of the first Iron Bartender competition was the Go Ten drink.

For us, it was a very nice initiative, something finally different that gives the possibility not only to the jury but as well to customers to try new cocktails – they will remain in the bar menu in fact for an entire month until the next competition.

A huge thank you from Barefoot in Luxembourg to Paul for the invitation, to Olivia our wonderful hostess for the night and to the teams of all the bars participating – you did great and we are really curious to follow up the results of next round.

The amazing pictures coming with this articles are kind courtesy of Nena Corner Photography, who joined us in the jury.

Discovering Almdudler, the new drink from Austria

At the end of January, I was invited on behalf of Barefoot in Luxembourg to Paname to discover Almdudler; a carbonated soft drink from Austria which is slowly making its way into Luxembourg.

The brand name Almdudler apparently comes from an old phrase “auf der Alm dudeln” which means singing in the alpine meadows referring to the origins of the beverage’s birth place.
This drink has a long history in Austria and competes with Coca-Cola when it comes to its popularity.

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The after-work event organized at Paname started at 18.00 and the venue was extremely crowded since the biggest part of the location was serving normal guests and only a small part of it was reserved for the private event. I was offered to taste this sugar free herbal lemonade with cremant as a cocktail as well as directly from a bottle. Personally I preferred the cocktail since I’m not a very huge fan of sodas in general. However, for someone consuming a lot of soda, Almdudler could be a great option for a change.  At Paname, Almdudler was served along with funky appetizers and there was a photographer snapping pictures while we, the guests, had a chance to mingle around, talk to each other and exchange opinions.

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The taste of the drink was very sweet and mild but it was very hard to say what Almdudler tasted like. This wasn’t because it tasted artificial or anything, it was rather the fact that it didn’t really have a flavor of any fruit or other substance that I could relate it to.  I would recommend everyone to try it out and see how they liked it. Almdudler that we enjoyed was packed in glass bottles but as far as Luxembourg is concerned, the drink is available in normal plastic bottles and available in any Delhaize supermarket around the country.

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Most bars also have it so next time you are going out, don’t forget to give your taste buds a new experience!

 

Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Jalo

It is time for a new interview on the blog: today Corie talk with Jacopo, aka Jalo Sounds, a talented musician – and much more as you will discover –  who you can meet often on the Luxembourg nightlife scene.

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Good Evening and welcome at Barefoot in Luxembourg for a new episode of our series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people”, thank you for joining. So, let’s introduce yourself first!

Jalo: It’s me who thank you for your time and the opportunity. I’m a 3-in-1 restless Italian having the time of his life (of his 3 lives) in this little known amazing country. My 3 lives are: making music, teaching music, creating music events. My mission is to make more of all 3 for more people to know, enjoy & share. Not necessarily for all the people. But for the right people. That’s why Luxembourg is fantastic for me.

3 LIVES? CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS MORE, AND WHY?

1. making music: I play guitar since over 28 years ago (I love making my one guitar versions of timeless classic tunes – I sometime add vocals, or play with selected duo partners). Luxembourg has lots of great locations perfect sized for single / duo performers.
I am having lots more chances here than those I would have had in Italy, like playing live on Luxembourg Radios.
2. teaching music: since I left classic training (over 22 years ago) I have developed what I believe the fastest, easiest and most personalized system to learn guitar. 22 years ago I discovered that practically all people regardless of age, tastes and nationality they all love music but no one really wants to study an instrument, to be schooled, or to be constrained in time & space. So I took action. I know it sounds like a big claim, that’s why even after over 80 people trying my method, I still let people try me risk free.
3. creating music events: based on a great examples like the one in Konrad, I started an Open Mic Group for people to share listening / playing music on small scenes to friendly audiences all around the city. It is slowly growing and the right people are making it better every time. There is lots of musical talent and loving to share music in Luxembourg. Both for locals and for expats that may have just arrived in Luxembourg.

WHICH OF THESE LIVES DO YOU BELIEVE TO BE MOST INTERESTING?

Oh well, I find them equally interesting to work on, but the most transformational for me and others is probably the teaching music. I have seen what great change can occur in people of all age / nationalities / when enabled to play music they like.

WHY TEACHING? WHAT’S IN IT, FOR YOU? AND FOR OTHERS?

I believe there is something special with teaching that it makes it close to a divine thing, not really in the sense of some teaching-god with some sort of infinite god-like knowledge pushing information some passive-mortal-being that is just to execute repeatedly. Teaching means most to me in the sense of finding the most effective, understandable, enabling & energizing way to share mutually interesting information between human beings so that this information can build up in form of knowledge, action & sense of purpose in the mind of more humans than before it happened. This is what I see in it, for me and for all others I have the privilege to meet.

HEY, SO MUCH? A SOMEWHAT RELIGIOUS THING?

Things do not change themselves, nor anything else. People can change themselves, and can change things. Teaching can change people. Both the teaching people, and the people who are taught. And we are the people. It’s just so endlessly fascinating. It also take great effort and genuine will to help. When teaching means oppression, or manipulation of the unaware, it’s not teaching. We all know what that is, instead.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

I would say the most tragic consequence of bad teaching is when the wrong-minded teacher becomes a representation of the subject taught, in the eye of the unaware, so people end up quitting to learn that skill, thinking they anyway cannot make it so why trying in the first place, whereas instead people should be thinking of quitting to learn that skill they love with that bad teacher. This I believe is the tragic heritage, vocational wasteland and countless body count left by bad teaching and bad teachers. I try not to sound too theatrical and rhetorical, but I do see it as a genuine tragic loss of human capital through history. And a perfect mass murder with well paid responsible still at large. With good teachers in every school we might have flying cars running on water, for what I know….

YOU SHOULD BE THE PERFECT TEACHER, THEN?

Perfect teacher? Me? Not at all, but after 28 years of playing guitar, I surely have things to say to anyone wishing to play on guitar songs in a very simple and accurate way. It’s the same method I wish it was offered to me when I started. Thanks to modern technology I have a way to make my physical presence as minimal as possible, so I can reach in different ways with my guitar training into even the busiest agendas. I had also very interesting experiences helping songwriters with new ideas and music, and arranging for guitar some great songs that have no guitar in their original versions. Sure, any of these things I say can and should be tested! Just send me an email ( to : contact@simply-songs.com ) and schedule your 1h risk free trial.

Yes! Promotion, here! But how else and how best to check about what I can really do?

AND THE OTHERS? ALL BAD TEACHERS? SURE?

I am not accusing anyone. But I can surely share what I think about 2 categories of my – so to say – teaching competitors. Let me say some about Long Established Music School & Independent Teachers.

DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE MUSIC SCHOOLS CAN DO WRONG? WHY?

About Schools, those with the “maison fondèe en 18..” ….. I believe in lots of non-musical subjects, and for classical music too, conventional teaching might still be the best. But about guitar all I want is to provide another method to people that are in the most vulnerable position of being passionate of music and unaware of alternative methods, especially as they say “you don’t know what you don’t know”. And I am not in a position (nor I want to be) where I tell people that I am The School, I have The Method, therefore I want them to Join My School on My Terms, applying My Program, adapt to My Schedule, buying My Books, paying in advance My Fees for a Full Trimester / Semester / Year… and if people dare not finding it such a Good Deal and end up dropping out, they are the failures, surely not My School. I believe most of these terms are unacceptable to anyone older than, say, 8 years old!

AND INDEPENDENT TEACHERS? WRONG TOO?

About Independent Teachers, I believe these are those who apply the above teaching methods to people, as a sort of karma circle of Oppressive Teaching that never asks what interests the students. Never asking is practical. Asking the students is much less practical. Asking the students, requires acknowledging their Musical Rights, their Musical Ideas, their Needs, and requires probably working harder on finding new, relevant and meaningful answers. But some Teachers use oppression and a false authority to unilaterally impose their one-size-fits-all approach to all people they come in contact with. But learning guitar, like music, means very different things to different people. Having the willingness to ask students, and the knowledge to provide relevant and motivating answers to very different people, is for me a better way of teaching. And I do not mean that I have something meaningful for every guitar player every time! That’s why I offer risk free trial time. As if I can’t provide musical value and motivation, I can’t accept wasting anyone’s time & money.

Some other Independent Teachers are for me mainly performers (sometimes very high level performers) who try their best to take care of students that in reality do not want to take care of, or do not know how to listen to, how to motivate them, how to awaken the musician in them. Teaching is way way beyond getting people listening to their Teachers’ level performances, that can be nice to listen to, but of very little educational value.

SO THERE IS NO BETTER WAY THAN YOU FOR GUITAR SONGS LOVERS?

Oh, if the arguments I made are still so controversial and unacceptable?

Sure there are still other ways! That at this point might still be better, way better than me! If you are up to 5 years old, you should go for a big plastic thing with fun shaped buttons, called Guitar Hero video-game.

BUT AREN’T GUITAR EXPENSIVE?

Nowadays, you can get a fair quality acoustic or a classical guitar mailed to your doorstep for 100€ or less. Never been a better time to invest in music and in guitar.

Or if you don’t want to invest a cent in your guitar, but still play in front of lots of people, go & learn to play the invisible Air Guitar! There is even a Festival for that!

WHY YOU ALSO PLAY LIVE MUSIC? ISN’T TEACHING ENOUGH?

I am such an incredible player that I absolutely want the world to listen to my live greatness!!! Jokes aside, I believe teaching cannot be “full time”. Every teacher should test its value and relevance vs what the outside audience likes (or not!). In other words, good teachers should perform (as much as good performers should teach too!) even if it’s very true that being a good performer does not make you a good teacher automatically. I was taught by a good performer, who was not a good teacher to me. But this pushed me to go beyond his method and classical guitar so I do still thank him a lot, as here I am!

WHY YOU ALSO ORGANIZE LIVE EVENTS? ON TOP OF TEACHING & PLAYING LIVE?

I also create monthly events where all sort of amateur players (not only my students) can play some music to small audiences so they can get some live results & feedback from their hard work practicing. Or they can even end up winning a live paid gig. Sure, anyone can come to listen only! The reasons I do this is because I see this as a better monthly alternative of what some music schools offer only once a year, a closed doors End Of Course Performance. Hence, missing the contact and the feedback of a real audience. Here’s my Live Events Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/openmicgroup.lu

WHAT ARE YOU LEARNING, FROM YOUR 3 LIVES?

From playing live? I learned the need to constantly question my music knowledge, to get better and to be more respectful to listeners’ Fundamental Right to Good Music.

From teaching guitar? How big of a change can make to offer the possibility to make music. We humans are not only social animals, but very, very, very musical animals.

From organizing music events? I learned how much interesting music hides inside many people with very ordinary life that for too many reason are rarely offered occasions to participate and make something very ordinary, very human and very of their own like making live music and/or listening to live music together. And most importantly, what is mostly valued in participants is not the fact of sounding like a professional level musician, but instead being authentic and showing respect to the ears of the audience.

WAS THERE A LIFE OF YOURS BEFORE THESE 3 LIVES CAME ABOUT?

Ah, there was. I came here, like many expats, called in by the financial sector. Yes, suit, ties and stuff.

HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF LUXEMBOURG?

Very good! Natural landscape is smaller than, say, France or Brazil, but the human landscape is enormous, interesting and never ending! And being from the industrial North of Italy, I value mostly the human landscape over the natural landscape. But I do understand those who come from, say, Barcelona and miss the seaside.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING IN LUXEMBOURG?

13 years, of which the last four particularly interesting and unexpected!

WHAT IS YOUR MOST BELOVED PLACE IN THE CITY?

Something non musical here! Any of the many beach volley courts in the city, on a sunny day. This country has incredible sport facilities all around.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN THE CITY?

I love the great position, the kind service, and the reliable quality of a good tartare in the super central La Boucherie. I love the passion and the hard work of people around the simply great food of a few more places like Matelots, Brooklyn Bar & Bay of Bengal. I sure know I am missing lots more nice places.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NIGHTLIFE SPOT?

No real favorite one. I like, depending on occasions, places like The Tube Bar, Rocas, Oscar’s, UpDown, Urban, Konrad, and Brasserie Neumunster.

WHAT IS THE BEST ADJECTIVE TO DESCRIBE LUXEMBOURG?

Unexpected, and great in spite of size!

WHAT ARE YOUR PROJECTS FOR THIS YEAR?

Live better my 3 lives, make more and better music, and something secret I cannot tell you right now, but I will someday!

HOW TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?

Message me on Facebook! I always respond.
Here’s my FB Pages where you can write to me.

My live music FB Page: www.facebook.com/jalo.sounds
My teaching method FB Page: www.facebook.com/contact.simplysongs
My music events FB Page: www.facebook.com/openmicgroup.lu

LET’S FINISH WITH A FEW OF YOUR FAVORITE QUOTES

The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music
(William Shakespeare)

The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple
(Albert Einstein)

Studying without desire spoils the memory and retains nothing that it takes in […] Learning is the only thing the mind never fears, never exhausts and never regrets […] Knowing is not enough, we must apply!
(Leonardo da Vinci)

Without music, life would be a mistake
(Friedrich Nietzsche)

Music mix the bourgeoisie and the rebel
(Louise Veronica Ciccone)

I SAID “FINISH”! AND I ASKED FOR JUST “A FEW” QUOTES!

As you’ve just seen, I tend to talk a lot, write a lot, play a lot… 🙂
Thanks again for your patience & understanding 😉

A FINAL WORD FROM YOU?

Thanks so much! To you, and to Luxembourg

 

Hub Dot Christmas Party: Make Someone Happy

Make Someone Happy was the theme of the last Hub Dot event organized in Luxembourg for the year of 2016. I was very delighted to get a chance to attend to this Hub Dot event again, especially as the theme of helping others, contributing to the society or making a change through volunteering in different associations sounded very appealing to me. Each time Hub Dot events are organized around a specific theme and a handful of speakers are being invited to share their stories within that area of interest.

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This time the event took place on 23 November at the cosy home & deco store STAY – Interior & style  between 19.00 and 21.30. I arrived at the venue shortly after the official starting time and was glad to notice that the place was full of Christmas spirit with beautiful holiday time decorations and other  festive items to be admired. The venue was perfectly chosen to initiate some Christmas atmosphere. There were some cremant and snacks offered upon arrival as well as a colorful dot sticker to pun on the clothes. The dot presented a state of mind of the person choosing it: red meaning establishment in career or business, yellow (Looking for new ideas), green (getting inspiration), blue (socializing), purple (one of the story tellers). The purpose of the dots is to help breaking the ice and make a connection with the other participants in a very informal manner banishing job titles or other (in)visible barriers. The color also helps to identify to whom to talk depending on the desired outcome of the event.

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I found it very easy to mingle around, ask questions and talk to the other women. The event schedule was divided into two sessions of speakers where there was some free  mingle time in between. Each speaker had 90 seconds on the stage which was just enough for them to present themselves and their business without the audience getting to tired to pay attention. As following the theme of the night, all the speakers were somehow involved in making someone’s wish come true; through official organizations, writing a personalized stories for kids, helping refugees on their own, giving counseling in order to help someone towards a right direction in their lives or being the ones receiving help. One lady shared with us how touched she became when she received a free plane ticket for her and her child to go home and visit the family over the Christmas.  Their financial conditions wouldn’t have made it possible otherwise.

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I really enjoyed the whole evening and especially it made me think how easy it is to make someone  a bit more happier. It doesn’t need to be necessarily anything big, expensive or require a big monetary investment nor a huge amount of time. Helping those in need is always beneficial; being it a friend going through difficult times or someone needing some encouragement to change their lives to the desired direction. It makes givers happy while showing receivers that they are valued and taken care of. There are tons of ways to improve someone’s life and we all have tools for it. No magical skills are required, only right attitude, willingness to contribute and attention to the surrounding environment. Let’s make someone a bit more happier on this Christmas!

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Cineast presents Estalgia Party: the Life in the Eastern Block during the Socialist Times

CinEast is an annual film festival dedicated to present different kind of movies from Eastern and Central European countries.
The festival takes place in autumn and the program includes not only screenings but also a variety of different concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events promoting the life and traditions of the Eastern and Central Europe.

One of the events I participated in was called Estalgia party, which main idea behind was to combine a film screening with music, food and a quiz about the Eastern European history. The organizers had reserved Rotondes in Bonnevoie and the venue was already quite crowded when I came to pick up my bracelet. The cost of the event bracelet was 15 EUR at the door and besides the event program, it included some free shots of liquor and some typical Eastern European food.

I liked the theme of the party and how the staff was also dressed up accordingly. Similarly,  food could be collected with food stamps and the menu was adapted to project the poverty of socialist times. The quiz was a nice idea but unfortunately not everyone could take part of it so easily and the location and table arrangements made a bit difficult to interact with people. I would have liked the quiz to  take less time and have more time to be dedicated to the short films and the actual party with music – maybe an improvement point for next time!

Indeed, overall the atmosphere was really nice and it was easy to mingle around and talk to people. Most visitors that I talked to were either from Eastern/Central Europe or they had lived there for a period of time. A few had come due to pure interest towards movies. Generally my feedback for the event was positive and I was glad that the festival was not only about films but also had the cultural aspect very well integrated. Looking forward to next year Cineast already!

 

Jenni’s Corner: Meet the Start-Up Company Blueberry & Pie


 Today Jenni meets Tuire and Wojtek, the creators of brand new children’s book Message in a Bottle.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what are you doing here?

Tuire, 24,  and Wojtek, 39, are the founders of a  book publishing start-up company Blueberry & Pie which creates books with a customized message for children.

Finnish born Tuire, is the CEO and the Illustrator of the company while Polish Wojtek is taking care of the finance even though they both admit being equally involved in the company’s daily operations and developing and executing its business strategy.

The company was founded 1 year ago when Wojtek had made redundant at Skype and Tuire had just finished her studies in in Belgium. They both were looking for something to do and the idea of an own publishing company was born as a result of combining their skills, passion and interest towards illustration and entrepreneurship. Creating books had been on their mind already for some time and once the opportunity came, they didn’t hesitate to grip it.

Can you tell Barefoot in Luxembourg readers a bit more about your book project?

Blueberry & Pie’s first book Message in a Bottle was launched on 26th of August, 2016 and it is a story of Scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper bird Kiki who finds a message in the bottle and decides to deliver it to the intended person. She can only see the first name of the person in the beginning of her trip but on her way from Hawaii to the final destination she discovers parts of the message once it is fully revealed in the last page of the book. The adventure takes Kiki from the tropical Hawaii to cold North America all the way to sunny South America until she makes her way to Europe. During her journey she discovers local animals who help her to reach her goal: “ The story isn’t only educational from the geographical point of view but also teaches kids that everything is possible with the help of others”, Tuire summarizes. The animals that Kiki meets have been selected with the help of biologists in order to provide a realistic picture of their habitat. “I hate when polar bears are placed on South Pole or penguins in the North Pole” she adds referring to false presentation of many animals’ geographical home in some children’s books or cartoons.

The idea with the personalized message is that each person ordering the book writes the final message by themselves and thus making it very unique and fitting to the occasion no matter if it is a birthday, Christmas or a get-well present. This is possible because the books are printed only on demand and hence the buyer can really customize the message he or she wants to communicate to the child.  It could simply be a greeting from an uncle but also a special memory from last summer written down by the grandparents.

Why people in Luxembourg should be attracted by your project?

Luxembourg is full of expats and other international people who are constantly looking for unique presents for the birthday of their friends’ kids, baby showers or baptisms. Children living in Luxembourg also learn English already from very early age so this could be also one way to enhance their learning process.

What have been the biggest challenges and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenge was just to get started. Neither Tuire nor Wojtek had any idea how to start a business and how much work it would require. They didn’t know anything about publishing nor had any contacts in the field, which made the beginning even harder: “ Publishing industry is a very closed field and without contacts or proven reputation, nobody takes you seriously” Tuire elaborates referring to the process of finding the right people to work with.

“We were also struggling to find the exact storyline that we were satisfied with” Vojtech adds.

Both agree that the most rewarding thing is just to see the book becoming true and see that the hard work has paid off.

What are your future plans?

“We want to make a series of books where Kiki goes on adventure in different continents. For example, a story where the journey starts from Australia and takes a round in Asia before finishing in Europe. In this way, a family with several kids could have same book with different stories” the business partners explain.

This is, however, a long-term goal and at the moment all focus and effort is being directed to make the first story available.

Coming back to your Luxembourg background, how long have you been living in Luxembourg?

It has been 4 years since Tuire first came to Luxembourg as an au pair and 7 years since Wojtek began his work at Skype.

What is your favorite place in the city?

Tuire and her inner child like the park in the city center where you can find the big wooden ship made for kids.  Wojtek in turn prefers the Grund area.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?

Both of them are big fans of sushi and gladly eat out food that isn’t easy to make at home Kamakura is the favorite sushi restaurant in Wojtek’s opinion while Tuire likes Yamayu Santatsu: “the name that I can never pronounce” she admits.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?

As a beer fan, Wojtek enjoys BBC or the Big Beer Company due to their big selection of beer but Tuire rather stays home zipping whiskey and reading Donald Duck cartoons.They both admit not being very big night owls.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?

Tuire praises nature, especially Mullerthal region and its endless hiking paths. Wojtek follows the same truck of his colleague and likes the combination of easily accessible nature but also international atmosphere of the country.

What do you miss here and you would like to change or improve?

Tuire finds it hard to connect with Luxembourgish people: “ they have their own interesting culture but it’s really hard to get in to that”. Wojteck points out Luxembourg being rather homogeneous group of people when it comes to professionalism: “Most people are working in banking or financial industry and it would be nice to have more variety”

What is the best place you visited in a range of 200 km from the city and that you would suggest for a daily trip?

“Berdorf is definitely worth of visiting; it has beautiful cliffs, offers a possibility for climbing and they call it the Little Switzerland” Tuire recommends as a nature loving person.

How would you describe Luxembourg in three adjectives?

Luxembourg is rich, green and international for Tuire.
Wojteck finds it charming, advanced and open.

Message in a bottle is available for purchase on their website https://www.messageinabottlebook.co.uk at the price of 26 EUR.

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Jenni’s Corner: La Guinguette de Janette

As an enthusiastic dancer, I was pleased to be invited on behalf of Barefoot in Luxembourg to La Guinguette de Janette, a retro-themed Swing party taking place at Brigitte in Dommeldange, Luxembourg, and organized by the lovely girls behind Janette magazine.

It was a few hours before the sunset when ladies dressed in polka-dot pattern and gentlemen wearing hats and suspenders, started to stroll towards the event venue.

The garden was decorated with colourful lanterns and a light summer breeze provided a relief in the hot summer evening. With only 20 EUR donation (15 at pre-sale), the guests had a possibility to enjoy an open bar and  fill their stomachs with barbecue or grab something delicious from one of the food trucks bordering the garden. Besides cremant, the local sparkling wine, there was wine-tasting and the bar provided custom-made drinks, specially designed for this particular event. I mixed my own drink at Cointreau Cocktail trolley along with so many other cocktail-lovers who took the opportunity to practise their bartender skills.

While waiting for the people to arrive, I had my hair done by some professional hairdressers and there was also a chance to get guidance in make-up section. Gradually the dance floor got filled with several talented dancers and other rookies eager to learn Lindy Hop steps and Swing style bootie shaking. Live band God Save the Swing together with DJ Mr. Serge were responsible for the rhythm and both of them did an excellent job with their performances. I was also very happy about Swing Dance Luxembourg coming on the stage and holding a short introduction workshop about the basic swing and Lindy Hop moves. It was very easy to follow their example and mimic some of the basic steps that build the frame for the actual dance.

 The atmosphere at the event place was both relaxed and energetic at the same time. Some people had clearly just come to enjoy a few drinks with friends in an alternative environment while the others were dancing wildly as if they had been locked in a cage for a week. The organisers had also been very thoughtful towards the football fans the most eager fans were able to follow one of the Eurocup semi-final match on a large screen placed on the event premises. These supporters also made sure that everyone knew some team scored a goal…

Overall everyone seemed to have good time especially since approximately most of the people were still staying there when I started to head home around 23.00. I enjoyed every single minute of my time there and would definitely recommend this event not only to dancers but also to someone who likes to have a drink with friends, experience something different in Luxembourg or simply just have a reason to wear retro clothes. Looking forward for next Janette event!

Enjoy some pictures!

Jenni Laiho

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