Category Archives: Family

Hanami In Germany

Last Sunday, Second Daughter and I headed off to Ludwigshafen am Rhein to attend a Hanami festival. Hanami literally means “flower viewing” and is commonly used for the traditional observation of cherry blossom. In our case, it referred to a cosplay convention.

Second Daughter is fascinated by Japanese pop culture and she had been looking forward to this convention for weeks. She had arranged to meet with her friends and I had a date with my beloved camera. I was not disappointed. Every time I turned around, there was a new photo opportunity. I was gobsmacked by the amount of work and attention to details many cosplayers had put into their costumes. The atmosphere was very convivial and the sunny weather added to the festive mood. The full photo gallery is available on my Of Lens And Pen website.

The convention took place over two days and offered many activities for the manga and anime fans: shows, karaoke, contests, workshops and plenty of shopping and eating possibilities, of course! Second Daughter spent more or less all the money she had been saving and was especially delighted with the art she bought. Talking to some of the artists present was definitely a highlight for her.

After about five very interesting hours, we decided to call it a day and made our way home. Second Daughter is already dreaming about next year, and about attending the cosplay day at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October and EpicCon in December…
„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein
Letzten Sonntag sind meine Tochter und ich nach Ludwigshafen am Rhein gefahren, um ein Hanami Festival zu besuchen. Hanami bedeutet “Blumen besichtigen” und wird normalerweise bei der Kirschblüte-Beobachtung verwendet. In unserem Fall war es eine Cosplay-Convention.

Meine Tochter ist von der Japanischen Kultur fasziniert und sie hat sich auf dieses Ereignis schon seit Wochen gefreut. Sie hatte geplant, sich mit ihren Freundinnen zu treffen und ich hatte ein Date mit meiner geliebten Kamera. Ich wurde nicht enttäuscht. Jedes Mal, wenn ich in einer anderen Richtung guckte, fand ich neue Gelegenheit für ein Foto. Ich war von der Arbeit und der Liebe zum Detail, die viele Cosplayer in ihren Kostüme gesteckt hatten, sehr beeindruckt. Die Atmosphäre war sehr gesellig und das sonnige Wetter sorgte auch für gute Laune. Die gesamte Bildergalerie ist auf meiner Website Of Lens And Pen zu finden.

Die Convention fand über zwei Tage statt und bot viele Veranstaltungen für Mangas- und Animes-Fans: Shows, Karaoke, Wettbewerbe, Workshops und natürlich, ausreichende Shopping- und Essens-Möglichkeiten! Meine Tochter gab fast das gesamte Geld, das sie gespart hatte, aus und war von den Bildern, die sie gekauft hat, besonders begeistert. Mit verschiedenen Künstlern zu reden war für sie ein Highlight.

Nach ungefähr fünf sehr interessanten Stunden haben wir uns entschieden, nach Hause zu fahren. Meine Tochter träumt schon vom nächsten Jahr, und auch davon, den Cosplay Tag auf der Franfkurter Buchmesse im Oktober und EpicCon im Dezember zu besuchen…
„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein„Hanami – Con meets festival“ in Ludwigshafen am Rhein

Full Gallery on Of Lens And Pen


How To Have The Ultimate Family Adventure This Summer

Summer is just around the corner, which means it is the perfect time to start planning your family adventures. How exciting! If you want to have the ultimate family holiday this year, you can use this guide to help you plan.
Discuss The Kind of Trip You Want to Have as a Family

When you are planning the trip, do not make it an adult only thing. Sit together and talk about what you would like to do. What kind of sceneries and temperatures would be ideal? What should be added to the list of activities? Build up the enthusiasm and then research some possible destinations that sound like your dream holiday. Go through the whole process as a family. When you all get really excited organising it like this, you are bound to have a brilliant time.
Make Sure There Is Something for Everybody

Really young children might not be able to contribute to the family discussion much, so you might want to plan things for them to enjoy too. You definitely do not want to have a disappointed toddler when the point is to appreciate your time together. Ensure there are activities where everybody is included, like family canyoning trips.
Family Holiday

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Save Up Plenty of Money

The more money you save up, the more potential for a great experience. It is not necessary to spend an absolute fortune to have the holiday of a lifetime. There are many things you can do for free, such as walking tours, museums, etc. However, if you have money to spare you will be able to add some extra fun stuff to do while you are there. You will be able to eat what you like and have a good time in general.
Plan for Every Eventuality

It will pay off to plan ahead, as you want to be worry-free while you are away. Pack sunscreen, lots of towels, sunglasses, protective clothing and get insurance. Think about everything you need before you go. Make a list, and check it multiple times. Skipping on some details might turn into a stressful time later.
Keep it Positive

Spending a lot of time all together can mean a few tense moments. Try to put a positive spin on everything and keep everybody’s spirit up. This will make for the best trip and can turn things around instantly. Your own attitude is really important, as your kids may take cues from you. Remember, it is OK to have a little time apart if you need it. You could let the older kids explore while you play with the younger kids, or just chill out.

Have fun!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Organic Box Delivered To Your Door

This is a service we recently signed up for and we are big fans. Every Wednesday, an organic box filled with fresh vegetables, onions, eggs and a loaf of bread is being delivered to our door. All contents have been cultivated or made in our region.

What do we get? It is a surprise, although you can let the shop now if food allergies or personal preferences mean that some veggies have to be left out. I love the fact that you have to get creative and compose your meals with what you find in the box. For example, a whole celeriac was once part of the delivery. I had always bought part of one before, to add to a soup. I started flicking through some cookbooks and decided to try an Ottolenghi recipe called “Celeriac and Lentils with Hazelnuts and Mint“. The salad was a huge success. With the other half I prepared a puree, served with grilled salmon and carrots. Very nice too.

As for the bread, you can either pick which one you want or opt for a rotation of the (many) sorts available. We chose the second option to discover new flavours and the bread keeps significantly longer than shop-bought.

Going on holiday is not a problem, a quick email and there will be no box waiting for you. When I am not home, we have an agreement about a dropping off place out of the rain, sun, etc. Should you wish for specific vegetables, not need some products one week or want to add something from the online shop, again an email will do the trick.

Supporting local farms and businesses as well as cooking with very fresh, seasonal vegetables? A winning combination, if you ask me.

Weekly Organic Box delivered to your doorOrganic Box with vegetables, onions, eggs and bread

Why You Need to Visit France at Least Once in Your Life

France is such an easy holiday destination when you live in the UK. It is so close by that you do not need to allow days of travel to get there. As a result, the travel options are varied and the cost is relatively low. You could drive to France, get the train or travel across the channel by boat. Be prepared to speak a little French when you are over there. They expect you to at least try to communicate in their language! Here are a few areas that you need to visit at least once in your life.


Mont Saint-Michel - France
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This is on the coast in the North of France. It is so stunning and there is so much to see. You can discover Mont Saint-Michel and the Abbey built on it. There are of course the beaches, including the ones that bear such significance to the First World War. There are war graves that you can visit too. With many museums and cathedrals, Normandy is your culture stop.

Of course, Paris has to be on the list. It is simply stunning and so worth a visit. Everyone needs to experience the city of love. Of course, everyone knows the most famous sights, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. It is lovely to wander the streets in the evening and grab a macaron or three on the Champs-Elysées. A short train journey to the outskirts of Paris will take you to Disneyland. Always a popular idea if you travel with young ones or the not so young too! You would only need a couple of days there, as it is not huge.


If you are looking for a more chilled out stay, then a trip to the French countryside is a must. Dordogne, in the South West of France, is truly stunning. There are gardens and castles to visit and wander around, as well as the breathtaking Dordogne caves. The villages and towns have bustling markets, as well as plenty of cycling routes and vineyards. Perhaps not the best area to take children, but it would make for an amazing getaway as a couple.

The Alps

French Alps
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The fantastic thing about France is the wide range of activities to choose from. If you want to visit a beach, you can. If you want history and museums, you have plenty to choose from. Skiing? You guessed it, it is available too! Skiing in the Alps is just fabulous. Visiting out of ski season is a great idea too, as long as you are into walking or hiking. There is great scenery, good food and plenty to do. The weather is often just right too. You will not want it to be scorching hot if you are planning on hiking.
Have you been to France before? Then do share what your favourite places to visit are.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.