Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Lena

 

Wednesday is Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People day!

Today we have the great chance to present you Lena. I met her through her Crème de la Crème group and I have been truly taken away by her vitality and capability to talk about politics, religion and Kim Kardashian in the same forum.
But I don’t want to spoil the surprise, read her interview to discover more – and maybe be part of it!

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Hello and welcome at Barefoot in Luxembourg for a new episode of our series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people”, thank you for joining.

Go ahead and tell us more about yourself!

My name is Lena Baraka. I am British-Sudanese and moved from the UK to Luxembourg 3 years ago with my Luxembourgish husband who was working in London when we met.

I was seven months pregnant when we arrived and had just started my maternity leave after leaving my post as a dentist in London. Work took a backseat as I quickly became involved with mums’ clubs and various activities in Luxembourg. Brunches, Lunches and workshops took over my life and from a social aspect, it was a good thing. If you’re a mum and new to Luxembourg, you’ve definitely come to the right place.  I never got the chance to feel homesick or depressed until I received a letter from the medical governing body informing me that to be able to become registered as a dentist here, I had to speak fluent French, Luxembourgish or German! So, I cried for a whole week. I complained to my husband nonstop and to everyone who was prepared to listen. I realized soon after that I needed to make a choice. Complaining was not going to get me anywhere. So, I started with French classes and told myself that this was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I could take some time off my career to learn a new language and pursue other interests whilst taking care of my newborn.  I felt very blessed as I was in a position where I didn’t really need to work and my husband fully supported me.

Looking back, I have to admit that it wasn’t the easiest challenge. You need a lot of focus, determination and a desire to immerse yourself in the French culture, and I didn’t have that. French didn’t really come that naturally to me as all my friends conversed in English. All my husband’s Lux and French friends wanted to talk to me in English apart from the occasional one off where someone chose to humour me. It was also mainly my fault. I was very reluctant to speak as I felt my real social side and true character could never truly come across or be conveyed in a foreign language so instead, I embraced that fact that English was the preferred language of choice by all! As for my husband and I, we got so used to communicating in English despite his best efforts to try to use his French to improve mine! I was lucky to have some amazing and inspirational teachers that kept me going and kept motivating me until the end. Thank you F & C. I start my job as a general dentist in Hesperange as of next month! Come find me!

Looks like it was a very challenging journey – I have been in Luxembourg for 10 years and  I still cannot speak French at professional level, so this is really impressive to me 🙂 Now can you tell Barefoot in Luxembourg readers a bit more about your Crème de la Crème project we anticipated in the introduction?

So between my duties as a new mother, a French student and a budding makeup artist, I started a new group on Facebook called Crème de la Crème. I’ve always felt blessed and thankful to have the valuable gift of friendship from some wonderful, talented and inspirational women around me.  I thought to myself one day, why not share this gift and create a group that connects these women?

As word slowly spread, the group demographic started to diversify to include women from all over the world. These strong, independent, well travelled and cultured women were more than happy to share honest tips on all walks of life. Questions came rolling in and recommendations followed. The Facebook group felt like a “trip advisor” for life and popular topics included health, beauty products, diet, travel, food, movies, arts and even branched further to offer advice on love and relationships. We waved goodbye to the dull and impersonal manner of receiving reviews online and openly welcomed this new and exciting format of delivery through ‘girl talk’! What started with 20 of my close girlfriends chatting is now host to around 4000 ladies and we are continually growing.

I am part of it, so I can really say this is amazing. So why ladies in Luxembourg should be interested in Crème de la Crème ?

Simply because it is fun! We are a support network for women worldwide, but at the same time we discuss everything and nothing is off limits. We had our first social event at the beginning of October and 30 awesome women came and showed their support and willingness to connect and socialize. It really was a huge success and I have Siobhain Engman, a fellow Crème lady who took charge of organizing the entire event to thank.

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We are currently promoting our next Christmas Ladies night which will take place at Barrels Bar in December. Feel free to come along and mingle, the more the merrier!

It is definitely on my agenda! What are then the best three things about Crème de la Crème and what do you personally enjoy most about that?

Connecting with other likeminded women

Getting on the spot advice on pretty much anything! Bye bye google!!!

Expanding your horizons and learning about different cultures.

Coming back to your Luxembourg background, you already said above you have been here for 3 years. What is your most beloved place in the city?

I love the Grund. Never get bored of walking around and taking in the views.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?

Too many to mention. Batucada, Hitch because who doesn’t love a good burger, Sobogusto, Toit pour toi.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?

Not much of a night-life party person anymore! I like The Tube bar though for a piece of England with me.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?

I like the simplicity of life here. Granted having a husband from Luxembourg has been really useful especially when dealing with administrational matters, receiving official letters, bills (even in English I pretend not to understand now lol). Schools are great, it is safe, perfect for families, you have parks everywhere, you are well connected to some of the best European capitals and cities, you arrive everywhere in 5 minutes. It also has a great artistic scene, theatre, festivals, concerts but you have to stay informed. Events don’t come jumping right at you but if you look, you find. The fact that it is a small country as well is a huge advantage for entrepreneurs and new business ventures. The competition is not as stiff so you have more room to shine and stand out.

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

I miss Starbucks and Nando’s! I would change nothing.

I also definitely would love to have Nando’s in Luxembourg! 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?

Antwerp! But you have to come back with a ring! 🙂

And lastly, to conclude, what is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg? 

Classic.

Meet Lena and the other Crème de la Crème ladies (including me!) in the Crème de la Crème Facebook group. I can ensure this is addictive! 

Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Anneke & Farrah

For a new chapter of our Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People, today it’s the turn of Anneke Hudson and Farrah Gillani, founders of City Savvy Luxembourg.

Credit: Pippa Herbert
Credit: Pippa Herbert

Anneke, Farrah, you are welcome to start this interview introducing yourselves!

In a previous life, Anneke worked as a lawyer in financial services. Half English, half Dutch, born in Kenya and raised on several continents, it’s the multicultural side of Luxembourg that appeals to her. 7 years and 2 children later, Farrah walked into her life with a fun new proposal and City Savvy Luxembourg was born.

Farrah came to Luxembourg from London in 2013 with a 7-year stint in sunny Stockholm in between. Combining a degree from Cambridge University in English Literature with marketing and sales experience at a top FMCG firm, Farrah was delighted to fuse her passion for writing and service together in what is now City Savvy Luxembourg.

Can you tell Barefoot in Luxembourg readers a bit more about City
Savvy Luxembourg?

City Savvy is the online magazine for English-speakers in the Grand Duchy! We seek to inform, entertain and simplify the lives of Anglophones living in, moving to or visiting Luxembourg. We try to combine the style of a glossy, the substance of a journal and the eye of an event planner. People seem to like it!

Every Thursday we have our ‘What’s On’ for both those with or without kids; we have a weekly giveaway and feature inspiring people in the Duchy. We also boast have some hilarious expat columns, restaurant and bar suggestions, and of course a big family section. So if you’re looking for where to do yoga, how the Luxembourgish school system works or have a giggle over expat life, we’re there for you!

Why should people in Luxembourg be attracted by your magazine?

A study commissioned by the EC in 2012 claimed over 200,000 English speakers  in Luxembourg, although English is not one of the three official languages. Despite this, there are relatively few resources providing relevant and up-­to-­date information for Anglophones here and it is challenging for these people to connect to the services, the places and products they require. City Savvy is their meeting point.

What are the best three things about City Savvy Luxembourg and what do you enjoy about working there?

We love meeting new people and Luxembourg is a melting pot of talent and diversity. There are contributors who have their own specialty, be it comedy or research; and then there are the ‘Extraordinary Expats’ and ‘Celebs in the City’ that we feature in the magazine itself. And of course we love working with each other!

We also love helping people, which sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Our happiest moments are when we receive positive feedback from our readership about a service we’ve alerted them to or made them laugh out loud. We publish counselling articles by a qualified therapist, which are tailored specifically to solve expat problems and the response is phenomenal.

Our privilege is to showcase Luxembourg. There are so many wonderful things about living in the world’s only Grand Duchy: the amazing food, the fun festivals, the child-friendly living. Some of the world’s most talented people live here; others visit via the Philharmonie, Grand Theatre and Rockhal. It has all the benefits of a small community and world-class city combined.

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

Anneke has been in Luxembourg for just over 8 years; Farrah only 3. We’re staying.

What is your most beloved place in the city?

Anneke loves to walk through the Petrusse Valley. It’s a great place to take visitors, walking down from the Golden Lady (after taking in the view) towards the Grund. There is lots to see and do on the way, and a drink on the small terrace at Scotts Pub is a perfect end.

Farrah has a soft spot for Vianden – it’s got the most romantic castle, an open-air swimming pool, a cable-car with views over the valley and of course, the nut festival!

What is your favourite restaurant in Luxembourg?

Anneke’s favourite restaurant for a takeaway is Restaurant Tandoori in Beggen, and for a special treat it has to be Ma Longue Sourit in Moutfort.

Farrah’s introduction to fabulous Portuguese food started at Lisboa II, in Bonnevoie. She’s also partial to Le Sud, when the wallet allows.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?

On a sunny evening Anneke loves to sit outside at Go Ten, having a glass of rose and watching the world go by. Farrah loves Clausen as it offers so many options for a cocktail under the fairy lights.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?

Since having children Anneke appreciates the slower pace of life here; the long lunches, the better working hours, the many events and festivals which are always served with plenty of cremant.

The opportunity to see so many theatre shows from London, Paris and even New York is what appeals to Farrah. For a tiny country, Luxembourg definitely punches above its weight!

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

Anneke was living in London before she moved to Luxembourg, and being a city girl at heart, she really misses having everything on her doorstep and all that London has to offer. London is a world class city and it’s hard to compete with! And of course, good ole British humour.

Farrah misses good public transport. Coming from London and Stockholm she never needed a car and it’s been a really bad move, health-wise, to have to rely on it so much here. It would take her husband an hour to get to work if he relied on the buses; it takes 8 minutes by car!

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?

Being half Dutch Anneke loves visiting the Netherlands, and Maastricht is one of her favourite cities near Luxembourg. It’s fun, young and beautiful .. and just under 200km away!

The Moselle Valley is just beautiful; even more so when you’ve had a bottle of wine from the nearest vineyard.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?

Cultured.

IMG_0233 A&F gate1 credit Pippa Herbert IMG_0220

 

Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Nathalie

The Wednesday’ series of “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people” today has one of the youngest protagonist, Nathalie, a stunning and sweet blogger who is studying to be a make-up artist. I spent with her couple of hours last week end and, together with the interview, she gave me some extremely useful tips about my make-up.
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Hello Nathalie, and welcome to Barefoot in Luxembourg. Do you want to quickly introduce yourself?
My name is Nathalie, I am 20 years old now and I live in Luxembourg with my parents and my brother in Bettembourg. I go to the gymnasium in Esch-sur-Alzette and afterwards I would like to study to become a professional make-up artist.

So, make-up is your passion and you have a very nice blog about it. How long ago did you start blogging?
That’s not too long ago, it is like eight months now. Before I actually wasn’t quite sure to share my make-up works because I was insecure about the things I did and I was kind of scared of people reaction. Then I talked with some friends and they just told me: go ahead and do it.. and so, here I am.

What do you like most about make-up and blogging about make-up?
I love make-up myself and other people as it makes me feel really good and blogging is just a way to share it and it is amazing how happy I feel when I give people advices.
At the moment I am preparing my portfolio for applying at professional make-up school, therefore blogging is also a way to do it on a daily basis and to have some feedbacks about my work.

That’s great. Moving now to your life, what do you like about being in Luxembourg?
Luxembourg is so cozy. When you travel to other countries, like even Germany, I feel like it is more stressful. Here I have the impression everybody knows everybody basically, so it is like a “big family“, while in other countries you just feel a stranger.

And you have a favorite place in Luxembourg?
I really love the MUDAM museum and the Drai Eechelen museum park, it is just so pretty there, where modern and old are melted together in a unique space.

What about going out: what is your favorite restaurant?
I really like sushi and I think the best sushi place in Luxembourg is Bamboo Garden – Neo Tokyo, in Hollerich area. It is not looking that good from the outside, but I can ensure you the sushi is delicious there.

And for nightlife?
I used to like M Club pretty much in the past but lately I find I am getting too old for this place, I prefer now to go to café, I really like Frenchie.

If you have to find an adjective to describe Luxembourg, what would it be?
I would say cozy.

Below you can find some pictures of her make-up works during Halloween week-end.
Follow Nathalie blog and her FB page here: she has great projects coming – including working with an important photographer – definitely a blogger to keep an eye on.

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Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Ruth Dugdall

I met Ruth in the pink and cozy atmosphere of Kathy’s cupcakery on a sunny Wednesday morning. She is a lovely and easygoing person and we got the opportunity to talk about Luxembourg, her book coming out this week (“Nowhere girl”) and her expat background in Luxembourg.
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So, as we usually start. What is your name, where are you coming from, what are you doing and how long have you been in Luxembourg?
I am Ruth Dugdall, I am an English crime author and I have been living in Luxembourg for two years now.

That is already pretty good. Do you plan to stay any longer here?
No, we are leaving next year, my husband had a two-years contract. For me it was good to know it was limited: on one side, I did not say “no” to anything during this period, we had lots of travel, things to do, but on the other side, yes, it was just fine knowing we would have came back home after a while.

Didn’t you enjoy being in Luxembourg?
Actually I didn’t want to leave home. I love my home: I am coming from Suffolk, on the East coast of England, a sea-side town. My family lives there, I am sort of “known” in the town, it is a quite small town… So, at the beginning I did not want to leave at all, I didn’t even know where Luxembourg was, to be honest! And I don’t speak any languages, so I was very scared!

But, at the end, we made the best of it and it has been much better than I thought it was going to be. But I am not someone who wants to live away from home. I am a communicator, and I find it difficult if I can’t communicate.

So, you don’t find that, being Luxembourg a very international city, it is easy to live here even if you don’t really speak any official languages? This is often one of the most common comments from expats.
Well, you can get by, but the fact is I like to chat with people. In the gym, yesterday, I made a joke and nobody around me got it. It is not that I cannot make myself understood, but if there is a problem, like being in the hospital or a technical stuff, it sounds like a real challenge. Even though they speak English, there is an understanding gap. I know a lot of people who don’t worry about that, but for me it is all about words.

So you were kind of forced to move here because of your family.
Because of my husband’s job, indeed. Obviously I can work anywhere and my publisher, when I told her we were moving, was enthusiastic, because I have always written about Suffolk, and they said this was an opportunity to settle a novel somewhere else. And honestly it gave me a purpose for being here. You know, we came with Andrew’s job but I knew it was an opportunity for me too and for the kids.

So, would tell us a bit more about “Nowhere girl”?
When I arrived, I had two book deals: the first one I knew what was going to be.
The second book was still a question mark, but my publisher wanted it to be settled here in Luxembourg. So, I didn’t know what the story was until I have been here a couple of weeks and I was dropping the kids to school. There were these posters around saying “be sure children aren’t arriving at school without parents”. I was being curious about it and I went up to a security guard and said “what is this about” and he said “oh you don’t need to worry”. Actually, in Belgium, in that period, there have been three attempted kidnappings. Almost immediately I started to Google it, trying to find what I could, which wasn’t a lot.
I guessed if I child has been taken in Luxembourg, he could be anywhere within few hours, in Europe. So I decided to write about a girl who has been missing: she is an expat and the police is not taking it very seriously because of her age and because she has gone missing before with her boyfriend. I contacted my publisher, asked what about this idea and they said, go for it. But I still had a big problem because I didn’t know how things work in Luxembourg. If an expat went missing, will the British embassy be involved, how the police would respond, do they wait 24 hours, do they act immediately… I needed to know.

So did you do some research about it?
Yes, I was really lucky by how willing people were to talk, I spoke with police, social workers, and I got a view of crime in Luxembourg, because it is very hidden in the press, you can’t find it.
And this is what is quite apparent: Luxembourg doesn’t want to talk about what is going on. Actually all the cities have problems with crime. I am from a small town and we have still murders. It is crazy for Luxembourg trying to pretend nothing happens. And then, of course, I started to come to place like this (rue de Strasbourg) and I found this other side of Luxembourg, with the refugees, people who are here illegally, trying to get by, who can’t get healthcare, who can’t get the papers they needs, and this was their story.

Were people available to talk? Did you find any difficult about that?
I met with Algerian people, people from Serbia, I also volunteered to work at the prison and managed to visit the refugees’ center, so I was actually able to speak to people who really had failed to survive here, had committed crimes. Coming back to your question, no, I did not find any resistance, what I found was the opposite: people needed and wanted to talk about it, because, you know, everybody talks about how beautiful Luxembourg is, and the designers’ shops, luxury life, and nobody is talking about the other side. I think it only changed in the last few weeks, with the Syrian crisis. People are now saying how can we help, what can we do and I think there’s an awareness now of people who are struggling, it wasn’t before then in this city.

So your novel will describe this hidden world compared to the posh Luxembourg everybody tends to talk about. When “Nowhere girl” is going to be out?
The launch is October 24th at 2 pm at Chapter 1, the English speaking bookshop in Merl/Belair area and I will also have an event in Ernster (English branch, near Gran-Duchy’s palace) the following month, on the 21st of November at 5 pm.

The thing I am nervous about is that I am saying this controversial thing: when I talked to most of people about this “hidden” Luxembourg, everybody agreed with my view. It’s true,  things are happening in Luxembourg but people don’t talk about them. At the same time, I am still aware that should be a response from people that are saying we shouldn’t be talking about crime in Luxembourg, because it will have effects… what will it affect? Tourism? What about larger cities like London or Paris? So, there is a resistance to talking openly.

Did people who helped you in the research read already the book? What was their comment?
No, they haven’t’ yet. And, you know, people who helped me in the research, they are not necessarily responsible for the associations they are working for, they aren’t responsible for what in the book. So that’s a tricky one, because for example police has been incredibly helpful with the research but, of course, this is a crime book, so for example, in the book, at the beginning the police is not taking the kidnapping seriously, but I am not saying Luxembourg police was not helpful – this is the fiction of the book.
In particular, the person who helped me the most was a local social worker and I talked with her a lot about the idea in the book and I think that, although she hasn’t read it, she is very supportive. I focuses on this refugee’s family who cannot get healthcare for their child – and I contacted her and asked is this accurate and she told me: “I have a family at the office right now who has a child and they are going in every hospital , struggling with the papers for his care”. It was important for me to hear that, but I am sure there are people in Luxembourg who doesn’t know about this kind of situation.

And you think someone will be disappointed by this view of the book, the view about the fact that in Luxembourg everything is not perfect how it seems to be?
That comment is going to come. I had the same problems indeed with my crime books settled in Suffolk; I had people at that time telling me I did not like Suffolk that much. I love Suffolk, but I am a crime writer, I am not writing about cottages and roses and romance, I am writing about the hidden corners. But this does not mean I don’t love places… My main character is a probation officer, that is what I was, and I have a huge amount of respect for that career, but my probation officer has made bad decisions, personally and professionally, because she is a character in a novel, so she can’t be perfect. But I am not saying all probation officers are corrupt, we are humans.
I am definitely nervous about this launch, definitely more nervous that previous books. If you compared this book with “The Expats” – the other famous novel that takes place in Luxembourg -, The Expats is a spy story, a bit remote, not something that can really happen, not something related to how Luxembourg sees itself. Everybody knows what I am talking about.

So, so far it has been clear what you did not really appreciate about Luxembourg (laughing). Now, moving on the other side, what do you like about Luxembourg?
I like where it is placed, the fact that you can travel quite easily to France, Belgium, Germany, so I find it a great place to go and visit. I am really interested in history, especially World War II, so it has been ideally for going into Belgium. The things that we really like doing IN Luxembourg is “cinema”, because in England they have really strict rules about ages on films, and here they don’t and then as a family we were able to go and see a lot of films that otherwise we would have not been able seeing in England. So, probably every fortnight we go to the cinema and it is just wonderful not to have to worry about the restrictions and I really appreciate it.

And about Luxembourg as city, do you have a favorite restaurant in the city?
Well, I am vegetarian, so eating out here is always a challenge, especially at top-level restaurants. The higher level I go, the most likely I am getting a simple plate of vegetables. I like the restaurant “Himalaya“, we take away from them almost every week and it has great Indian food. We like “Sobogusto“, because of the ambience, and recently I have been going to “Beim Siggy“, because the service is so good, very friendly and if you eat on the terrace, there is an incredible view. I am really excited about the new vegetarian restaurant what opened in town, “Beet“, so I am going to try it soon. I think restaurants here are overrated, if you go to Belgium you have so much more choices for vegetarian!

So, if I am asking what your favorite place in a range of 200 km would be, I suppose it will be in Belgium?
(Laughing) Yes, I would say Bastogne, but not because of the restaurants, because of the incredibly huge materials of the World War II they have. The War Museum they have there, I have been there four times and it is the best museum I have ever been to! But I also liked the Ardennes 44 Museum, they serve beers in American military hat at its bar, so much to see and a lovely atmosphere.

What would be then for you the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?
Accessible – you can get to places easily and you can get by with whatever language you speak.

So what will you miss about Luxembourg when you will leave?
I will miss the opportunity to go to interesting places every week-end. Every week-end since we arrived we visited something interesting.

If you want to meet Ruth, head to Chapter 1 bookstore this Saturday at 2 pm or follow her Facebook page to learn about new events. Her new book, “Nowhere girl” , settled in Luxembourg, will be out in shops on October 31st.

Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people: Carlotta

It’s Wednesday and it is “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people” day! Today we interview Carlotta, the creative mind behind Hub Dot Luxembourg. 

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What is your name?
Carlotta Benedetti

What do your friends call you?
Carlotta, some of them call me Cocca

Describe yourself with three words.
A dreamer, a sunny woman, overactive globetrotter.

How long have you been living in Luxembourg?
After living in US, Canada and UK, I’ve been here for 14 years.

What are you doing here?
I’m a mother of two, a wife, an architect/interior designer, a cooking teacher for kids and a food-blogger.

How do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Traveling around the globe to spread Hub Dot word.

What do you like doing in your spare time?
Hub Dot is my latest addiction!
Hub Dot is a “piazza” where women could come together to share and celebrate their stories, stories of life, work, challenges.
I love to create events where labels are removed – no senior or junior qualifications, just a choice of 5 colored Dots to wear representing the state of mind of those attending. Red ( I’m established ), yellow ( I have an idea, can you help?), green (I’m looking for inspiration), blue (I’m here to socialize), purple (I want to tell you about my charity and my story). I have discovered with HD that when you put together a group of motivated like-minded women in the same room, they love to communicate with each other – incredible things happen!

What is your most beloved place in Luxembourg?
As lover of contemporary art, definitely Mudam.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?
Come a la Maison in the Robin du Lac store.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
Octans makes amazing cocktails.

Do you have a favorite drink?
Gin tonic made with Luxembourgish gin.

Where do you do your shopping usually?
I love vintage : Troc and Secondhand4sale are my best places.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
Luxembourg looks a calm city but I feel the underlying energy in different fields: creativity-art and culture.

What would you improve?
The weather and the customer service, in general…

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?
Redu in Belgium, a small ‘Book Village’:24 bookshops and craftsmen with a large choice of secondhand books and vinyl records.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg.
Sober.

Discover more about the Hub Dot project which Carlotta is part of on their website or on their Facebook page.
The “Supper Club” event they organize on October 15th is already fully booked unfortunately with a waiting list, but you can register already for the one that will be held in November:

Connecting through Philosophy of Happiness”

24th November 2015 at House 17, 17 Rue du Nord L-2229 Luxembourg at 7pm.

An evening of conversations around the philosophical theme of the pursuit of happiness.

Is happiness a psychological state of mind or is it pleasure or is it life satisfaction? Do you know which happiness you are living and how can you become aware of the true feeling of happiness that dwells in the soul?” Finger-food and drinks will be served during the event.

Register on www.hubdot.com
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Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: On Two Feet

The usual Wednesday’ series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People” today goes Rock, with a sparkling music duo, the “On Two Feet”, for our boldest interview so far. Put your seatbelt on!

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Good Morning. So,” On Two Feet”, who are you?
We are a world famous rock band with years of militancy in the hugest live summer festivals in Europe…. just kidding, in reality we are an “open” acoustic band, made up of friends who like to play rock and blues music, entertaining people with extemporaneous shows.
Basically “on two feet”, rather than being something physical / tangible, is something ethereal, a sort of musical philosophy that takes you to play what you like, wherever you are, whoever you are with, in any manner and with any instrument just for the pleasure of doing it!

Where does the name “On Two Feet” come from?
It is the literal translation from Italian of the initial name of our band, which is a kind of word-joke, difficult to explain in English. When we were young, before one of our first live performances, we have been asked the band’s name for the billboards. We had no name and the answer was: “Well, here, on 2 feet (that in Italian means: off-hand, on the spot) … we don’t know”. Guess what? On the billboards we were presented as “On Two Feet”. We loved and kept it!

Describe your music with three words.
Acoustic rock music

Except for the music, do you have any other hobbies?
It’s very rock but definitely true: fast cars!! We are crazy about Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and so on… we dream about them, we talk about them, we drive them on the circuits: we are great fans!!!

How long have you been living in Luxembourg?
It’s almost 10 years, even if we came from different places. We arrived here just to make an experience and indeed we are still there! To most of us no-longer-young-people Luxemburg does this strange effect! Certainly Luxembourg lacks many things, but has an exceptional  “quality of life”, you feel comfortable here.

What is your most beloved place in the city?
We like Place D’Armes for the different offer of bars and restaurants, and it is lovely during the weekend going there to enjoy some bands performing live or some good jazz duo-trio playing at lunch time in the summer, while walking through the flea markets. But we also love to relax in the parks, like the one in the Petrusse Valley, playing there our guitars, and then cross the street, cast a glance at the “Libreria Italiana”, or have a beer in one of the bars in rue Munster, in the lowest part of Luxembourg, that is of course very charming both during the day and the night.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?
We think that there are several very interesting choices: if you want a nice place with excellent Italian food in the city center, you can head to “Essenza” or to “Mi&Ti” or to “Al bacio”, if you prefer to have a ride in the countryside, you can go to “Elch” or to “ToitpourToi”, if you are looking for relaxed atmosphere visit “Maho”, if you are a sushi fan book at “Yamayu Santatsu” … and if you want the best homemade pizza you have ever tasted, you should come to our place as we are the pizza masters!!! (Laughing).

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
Right now we like the “Go Ten”: great service, the drink selection is “dangerous”, always cool people and tasty Asian tapas platters. And then it is very well located in the city center, so that you can jump from one place to another, meeting people. And because the winter time is coming, and you cannot always be outside, we will spend some time at the “White House”, of course!

So as musicians, which place would you suggest to listen to good live music in Luxembourg?
Apart from “Den Atelier“, definitely you have to go on Thursday night at “LiquID Bar” if you like more blues oriented music. Otherwise I heard that “Melusina is starting to organize nice events with a very good selection of live music with interesting artists! What we also love a lot are the “open mic nights” organized in small bars where we are used to jump in and play something fun: I remember epic nights both at Rocas and at Konrad.

Do you have a favorite drink?
Gin Tonic! We love the enormous variety of Gin produced all around the world and the various different Tonic proposition. Of course what makes the difference is the expert bartender who advices you the appropriate Gin flavor to your taste and the best Tonic to be combine with. Try the Mombasa Gin with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic, some cardamom and … you are immediately in the mood!!

Do you pay any special attention to your appearance during concerts and in your personal life? Where do you do your shopping usually in Luxembourg?
We are not fanatic, but of course we tend to be sufficient rock looking!! And at the end it’s easy: get a nice pair of jeans better if ripped, a nice t-shirt, boots or converse, some accessories around your neck (foulard or pendant) and chains around your hips!!! Personal life? What is personal life? We are always on stage!! (Laughing) We pick up stuff from everywhere, both in cool places like The Kooples or the more fashionable Smets and in high-streets one like H&M. We are actually waiting for someone to start selling JOHNJOHN stuff here in Luxembourg!!

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
Its multiculturalism: even if the country is pretty small, you can meet people coming from all over the world. When you go out for drinks, you can hear a lot of different languages, easily meet new people from different countries and cultures. That’s something unique!

What would you change or improve?
The road-works!! There are too many of them, but of course they are useful. The problem is that they last years and cause nerve-racking traffic jams! And people should learn to drive with “more rhythm”, to say it in a musician way: they are too calm and relaxed, and sometime to cross a 100 meter distant traffic light it takes you ages!!!

 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?
Trier
, there are lots of very nice club bar to go in the night!!! 🙂 (Laughing)
We would suggest visiting Maastricht, or to collect some bottle of champagne in the Reims-Epernay region in France. The problem is being sober enough to drive back safely…. Remember always bring a sober driver with you!!

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?
Quiet or quite…a lot!!

If you want to listen “On Two Feet” on stage, next appointment will be at “Al Bacio” on Thursday October 15th, starting from 6.30 pm. There will be an after-work formula: so, no entrance fee, no reservation, free Italian buffet, you pay for what you drink and listen to their music. More information on the FB event here.

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Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people: @fashion_lawyer

For the new chapter of the series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people”, today we are introduced to @fashion_lawyer, my personal fashion icon in Luxembourg and a shining star over Instagram panorama, with her 33,000 followers.FullSizeRender

What is your name?
It is short and sweet and Arabic for “God’s gift” – I was born in the middle of a civil war and my parents considered life as a gift. It pronounces differently in Swedish/English/French from Arabic and I have learned to live with that.

Describe yourself with three words.
Sociable, witty and intelligent (in no particular order).

How long have you been living in Luxembourg?
I have been living here since May 2013 – so little over two years!

What are you doing here?
I came initially for one year as part of an exchange program with my then employer, the largest law firm in the world, and then agreed to extend for another year. Finally I accepted a permanent employment here, resigned from my home office, just to accept an offer with another law firm only a few months later, where I am currently.

How do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Running steadily in the squirrel wheel….

Tell us about your Instagram account!
Well, I started about two years ago with no followers and completely secretly.
As the number of followers grew, I decided to remain as anonymous as possible, as I display a lot of consumption and I consider how this may come across towards colleagues and clients.
I have grown organically and not to mention very unimaginably and with time, colleagues and friends are starting to recognize me, which I don’t really mind.
I just haven’t decided if that kind of account is really compatible with being a lawyer or not. And by the way – I don’t work within fashion, it was just the unfortunate nickname I took when I started which I can’t seem to want to change.
I work with banking, finance and capital markets which is totally unexciting in comparison (I imagine). But, at least, the lawyer part is true!

What do you like doing in your spare time?
I shop! I sing! I dine out! I argue with my husband! I have drinks with friends! I travel! I work out! And I Instagram it all!

What is your most beloved place in Luxembourg?
All of my answers appear crazy in writing – I mean can I write my current office or the Chanel shop without appearing insane? Otherwise, I really like the hotel Le Place d’Armes, I have stayed there several times and a lot of my guests have too, it is just the epitome of beauty.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?
Oh I have many small little gems – if I would chose one it would be restaurant Maho in Clausen. I used to like it for business dinners as well as dining with friends outside on their terrace, and ever since they organized my 35th birthday and combined surprise wedding celebration, I am just in love with that place. Food is wonderful and especially the Chateaubriand from their “Maho à deux“-menu. Even while served to 40 people, it maintained super quality.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
I am old and don’t do a lot of night living after midnight anymore but if I would have to chose, it would be White House, simply because that is where I end up. Palais is a nice bar to sit at until 2 in the morning otherwise.

Do you have a favorite drink?
I am particularly fond of the crémant of Alice Hartmann, (the crème de la crème of crémants, as a Maho waiter once told me the first time I tried it). A good Gin Hendricks or an espresso martini (or why not a dry one – provided they are well done) will get me in a good mood. Scratch all those by the way – instant coffee goes on the top of my list and if I don’t have one with milk in the morning, I don’t make my way out of the bed and down to my #ootd mirror.

Where do you do your shopping usually?
Everywhere. Online, Stockholm, Luxembourg City, Paris, London, on a plane. I don’t like to restrict myself.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
It is a small, accessible, friendly city, having that in common with Stockholm, my home city for 25 years. You can access most of it by foot which I like, you have a sense of security, people are satisfied and therefore friendly regardless of the large amount of expats that come and go. You eat well, drink well, and you are generally well received. If it only rained less, I would be the happiest girl on earth.

What would you improve?
The weather. And the one thing this city misses – a hotel pool bar offering service by the pool where you can have a nice drink and listen to some music dressed as an adult while people spotting – a bit like Nikki beach but without the day party. Have you been to Boos k’fé? So it’s a beach bar without a pool. Only sand. It is beyond me.

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?
I went to visit Domaine Henri Ruppert in Schengen twice – loved the fact of seeing three nations in one spectacular mountain view, all while tasting lovely regional wines at almost no cost at all. The trip is a 25 minute drive from the city and you still feel like you are on an adventure. Recommend it warmly.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg.
Luxerybourg! As an expat, you really have the luxury of a comfortable life here, in all senses of the word.

If you want to follow @fashion_lawyer daily outfits, amazing trips and #Champagne&Chanel posts, you can find her account here.

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Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Meet Zach and Mariano

For the third chapter of the series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People”, today we will get to know better Mariano and Zach, two lads with different backgrounds but several passions in common.

 

What is your name? What do your friends call you?
Zach
: My name is Zach, and this is the way my friends are used to call me, although Zachou is very well used by a few ones
Mariano: My name is Mariano Della Porta. My friends used to call me ‘Tanguero’ because my second activity and my passion is the Argentinian Tango.

Describe yourself with three words.
Zach
: I would say that the adjectives which come the most when people are talking about me are smiling, energetic, optimistic and attentive (well, that’s four).
Mariano: The three words that describe myself are positive, determined and smiling.

How long have you been living in Luxembourg? What are you doing here?
Z
: I’ve been in Luxembourg City for two years now, straight from Shanghai, working as an actuary and risk analyst within financial institutions.
M: I’ve been in Luxembourg for three years now, working in fashion.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Z
: I’ve been led to like this city a lot after two years in its walls. In five years I will still be here !
M: In five years I will still be here as well then 🙂

What do you like doing in your spare time?
Z:
During my spare time, I am organizing afterworks for expatriates and locals. This is one of the things I loved about Luxembourg, its huge potential of young people coming from everywhere due to European institutions, banks and so on. That’s why we created with two friends MixinLux, an association mixing new comers, locals, cool and young, and making them meet each other with a drink and really good music.
Besides this, traveling is my other hobby. One of the other thing I like about Luxembourg. You can travel any place you want quite easily with fair prices.
M: During my spare time I am dancing tango and I am organizing amazing afterworks:  with Zach, I am one of the founder of MinInLux. MixInLux aims to gather young professionals, expats and new comers around in a same place, after work, with nice music and drinks. The main underlying idea is to meet friends, friends of friends, colleagues…

What is your most beloved place in Luxembourg?
Z
: There are a lot of beloved places for me in town. On the bars’ side, it all depends of your mood and the people you’re going with. But the Jakob’s (drinks and atmosphere) in Clausen, the Bouneweger Stuff (chilling) in Bonnevoie, the Vinoteca (view and talking), the Zanzen (chilling and view) or the Urban (beer and atmosphere) are one of my favorites.
M: I don’t have only one beloved place in Luxembourg city, but my best place is the Jakob’s House in Clausen because there is an exceptional service and at the same time the restaurant is amazing.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?
Z
: On the restaurants’ side, I really like the Japanese Aka Cite’. For pizzas, Il Punto downtown with no doubt. For cheese and wine, La Cave a Fromages near the train station of course (so nice owners).
M: My favorite restaurants in Luxembourg are Il Punto and Al Bacio for pizza and Italian food.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
Z
: Night life spot ? All of them 🙂
M: My favorite night-life spot is Rocas with no doubt, because you have a possibility to listen anytime original music, sipping an excellent beer or good rhum. In other words, I love simple places where good music comes first.

Do you have a favorite drink?
Z
: My favorite drink is the Aperol Spritz. I fall in love with this cocktail. But a Battin or a good rum definitely works fine!
M: My favorite drink is as well the Aperol Spritz, but I am also a fan of a good beer with a good cigar.

Where do you do your shopping usually?
Z
: As everybody in Luxembourg, I’m shopping on Saturdays at Auchan, Kirchberg, where I usually meet all the people I know in Luxembourg at one time. Except that this time, they wear sneakers instead of suit shoes 🙂
M: I’m shopping for food as well at Auchan , Kirchberg, but my favorite shop for clothes is Boggi Milano where I’m working 🙂

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
Z
: As mentioned earlier, I really like to simply go out and meet people coming from all around the world, with different stories and interests. Most of them traveled a lot, which give us a point in common! I also find Luxembourg very beautiful and rich in history. I really like just hanging out on the Vauban itinerary within the city’s walls and discovering the city.
M: I like life in Luxembourg for many reasons. For example you can meet people coming from all around the world, with different cultures and interests. In this city you have less stress and more social life.

What would you improve?
Z
: The thing I would like to see improved is the buses connection in the city by night. We lose sometimes a lot of time in public transports to reach two different places, and if you miss one, the remaining option is walking. Having buses on a more regular basis would make the Luxembourg night life more dynamic.
M: It may seems strange but in Luxembourg there is nothing to improve, because it is a country in continuous evolution. Maybe the bus drivers !!!

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?
Z
: In a 200km distance from Luxembourg for a day trip, I would suggest Strasbourg. Lovely city, atypical downtown, nice food and a lot of things to do/visit. For history lovers, Verdun really worth it.
M: Metz 🙂 because Metz dedicates two weeks to the Mirabelle plum during the popular Mirabelle Festival held in august.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?
Z
: Luxembourg in one word would be ‘unexpected‘. After two years, I’m still discovering something new in the city, a like path, a bar, some people, or a place to visit.
M: ‘Romantic’ city.

If you want to know more about the organization Mariano and Zach are the founders, head to Mix in Lux FB page or join their next event at Jakob’s House on September 24th.

Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Henrietta

Starting today, Barefoot in Luxembourg will launch a new weekly column that will be dedicated to people living in Luxembourg. It will be a chance to introduce new projects and, as I know I can be pretty boring with always my usual places 🙂 , others’ new favorite spots. We are starting with Henrietta.henrietta2

 

What is your name?
Henrietta Orosz

How do your friends call you?
Heni

Describe yourself with three words.
Perfectionist, hard-working, crazy 🙂

How long have you been living in Luxembourg?
Since 3,5 years.

What are you doing here?
I am a makeup- and lash artist (and a future economist).

How do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Hmm…Either a well-known makeup artist who can live her dreams, either a successful economist working for one of the EU institutions 🙂

What do you fancy doing in your spare time?
I love walking in the nature. It clears my mind and refreshes me. Luxembourg has beautiful landscape and forests. I love them!

What is your beloved place in Luxembourg?
I love the forests, and the parks under the city & the Grund area. And of course Dunkin’Donuts 🙂

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?
Cavalli Room; Le fin Gourmand. Both are charming places with outstanding meals & service.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
Dipso, the wine republic. Excellent wines, snacks and service.

Do you have a favorite drink?
Evian 🙂  and Hugo..

Where do you do your shopping usually?
For food in Delhaize, for clothes in Budapest 🙂  

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
Calmer than a big city, less stress and more social life. Your business is known here very fast as the country is small.

What would you improve?
The bus drivers! They can cause you inconvenience with their “own schedule”, not respecting the timetable, sometimes they “forget” to stop, and sometimes they are driving like crazy.. I think I am not the only one with this problem 🙂

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?
Disneyland Paris 😛 I am joking. Bit more than 200 km but great weekend getaways: Düsseldorf, Oostende or Paris.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?
Diverse

Should be interested in Henrietta’s work, you can find more information in her FB page here.

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