++ Thursday night is Kino Night at Metropolis Cologne - tickets only €4 ++ Düsseldorf celebrates its 725th birthday this year with a program of events and city tours planned ++

Shopping

Go Greatlive

Looking for something made local, not in China? Want to get something for your home or body that's not just cool and original but also made by a local designer? Greatlive is a 'Laden für Kulturbedarf' which is not easily translated into English. It's about lifestyle, art, fashion and music. You'll find handmade long boards, screen printed t-shirts, original art and deco for your home as well as baby clothes, bags and lampshades.

Coming soon to Bonn

It's the news you've been waiting to hear: The English Shop is opening in Bonn! No more 50 minute trips on the 16, or waiting in the cold at the Bonner Bahnhoff. Locals will now be able to buy their crumpets, PG Tips, Walkers crisps and Strongbow cider from just around the corner. The new shop opens on the first Saturday in March and will be located on Friedensplatz. There may be some celebratory tea and biscuits on offer on the opening day, more news on that coming soon. In the meantime.... yay!

TK Maxx comes to Cologne

If you're a bargain hunter you'll be delighted by the latest shop opening up on Neumarket.  Addidas trainers that normally cost €100, for €20  Hand-made Spanish leather ballerina's - normal price €60 for just €15. Bench t-shirts normal price €40, for just €15.  All this and much more is available at TK Maxx - the big brand discount store coming to Germany from the UK.

A little slice of Tuscany in Cologne

If it’s Italian you’re looking for then this is the shop for you. Parma is predominantly all about food but it does also cater to homesick Italians who just have to have the genuine Italian article. Thus we find Bebè detergent for delicate bambinos and Snob eau de parfum for, well, snobs I suppose. Ever needed buon-appetito napkins with crossed Italian flags to give your meal that distinctive pizzeria touch? Parma can help.

Wunderbar in Bonn

If you're a sucker for stationary then take a look at Wunderbar, a new shop in Bonn.  Moleskin notepads, gorgeous multicoloured photo-albums, patterned storage boxes, baskets and of course, pens, pencils and writing paper.  And then there are all those little extras that you just won't be able to resist: silver candle sticks, beaded boxes, bags, purses, key fobs etc.

Made to last in Cologne

Do you remember the phrase "it will last you forever" - when was the last time you bought something that could live up to that expectation?  In these days of throwaway fashion, even the latest "it" bag costing thousands of euros will be thrown on the fashion scrap heap when the next season's "must have" hit's the pages of Vogue.  That's not the case in Manufactum - here you can buy stuff - that lasts.  With the slogan "The good things in life still exist" Manufactum sells everything from pure vegetable soaps and original Belgium chocola

Shop till you drop, on a Sunday

shop

Thanks to a new ruling in the city of Cologne, you will now be able to shop on three Sundays in March.  On the 7th March in Weiden and Porz-Lind/Wahn, on the 14th in Rodenkirchen, Lindenthal and Ossendorf, and on the 21st in Braunsfeld, Longerich and Poll.  There will be other dates throughout the year - including of course for the Innenstadt (Schildergasse etc.) in May.  If all of that is far too ordinary you could instead, take a little trip to Belgium or Holland and check out the designer outlet's on our doorstep.  In Holland there is the MacArthur Glen Designer Outle

Flea market treasures

troedel

There's nothing like a bit of "trödel" - or junk as it's known in English.

Rock candy heaven

rock

When I was a kid, the seaside was all about two things - sandcastles and a stick of rock.  You never ate the sickly sweet hard candy anywhere else except on a wet, grey, windswept British beach - it almost felt like a consolation prize.  And now you can relive all those wonderful memories in the stick of rock shop "Snoepjes" in Düsseldorf.  It's a Dutch/German concept where they sell different varieties of "Rock Candy" in a bag - you no longer have to break your teeth on the stuff - they cut it up into bite sized pieces for you.  You can also req

Tausend fliegende Fische

fische

Stray off the beaten track once in a while and you'll stumble across some great little shops in the city's back streets.  One of my faves is Tausend Fliegende Fische, a gorgeous little boutique on Roonstrasse, near to Zulpicher Platz.  With its cosy retro look and huge assortment of cool fashion names it's hard to leave the place without buying something.

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