How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

In just 2 weeks, the ITB will take place in Berlin, and it’s so exciting!

In my mind, the ITB is one of the best places to go to if you’re a travel blogger, and for me that is where all the magic happened and I met a real-life blogger for the very first time!

Mind you, not all of them were nice, and one person in particular was pretty awful, but this is where I found out how useful my blog was, and where I received my first press trip. A mere five (5) months after my blog came into existence!

I’ve been very lucky!

I’ve also been at the right place at the right time. And where’s that maestro?

Me in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall & Street Art!
Me in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall & Street Art!

Why, Berlin of course!

Berlin is hip and trendy!

Mind you, it really helps if you can speak German, so go ahead, and book a class, and tell them that I sent you!

The other day, I went to a bloggers get-together, and I met a fellow who couldn’t understand how a blog could be made. He thought it was really difficult.

It really isn’t!

Me being thoughtful during a Live TV broadcast in Germany, and looking as if I'm about to sing! ©Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Me being thoughtful during a Live TV broadcast in Germany, and looking as if I’m about to sing!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Having said that, if you’re going to survive in this business, it helps if you can write really well, or you have some other skill….

Now, I can’t help you with that, but I can show you how to start a blog for yourself.

Here goes!

HOW TO START A BLOG IN JUST A MERE 10 MINUTES: A SIMPLE GUIDE!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

For many, when they think of WordPress, they think blog.

WHAT THE HELL IS WORDPRESS?

What the hell is wordpress?
What the hell is wordpress?

WordPress is web publishing software you can use to create your own website, blog, or app. Since it was released in 2003, WordPress has become one of the world’s largest and most popular web publishing platforms. Today it powers more than 70 million websites!

WordPress is much more just a blogging tool. It’s also a highly flexible content management system (CMS) that enables you to build and manage your own full-featured website using just your web browser. Best of all, it’s completely FREE!

And it’s free of charge because WordPress is an Open Source project beause hundreds of volunteers from all around the world constantly create and improve the code for the WordPress software. And, there are thousands of plugins, widgets, and themes that enable you to build just about any type of website you can imagine!

This post will show you how easy it is to get your blog, or website, up and running quickly.

CHOOSE A WEB HOST:

Choose a professional web hosting programme like Bluehost!
Choose a professional web hosting programme like Bluehost!

There are hundreds of thousands of web hosts out there, and choosing one from the crowd can be confusing. Depending on the country that you live in, choose whichever you are comfortable with.

If you don’t need the flexibility of a full web host, you may consider getting a free blog on WordPress.com. which is how I first started. And there’s perfectly nothing wrong with doing that!

However, I also mixed and blended as I went along mapping my free blog with my premium paid host which is why you either see my blog as this or this and if I leave a comment on your website (if you haven’t got one, all the better to be reading this post!), you’ll see my blog as this!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

Having said that, if you’re looking for a popular well known host, and a host that won’t suddenly go bankrupt, then Bluehost should definitely be at the top of anyone’s list because Bluehost is one of the only hosting services officially recommended by WordPress and has been the top recommended hosting service for their platform for almost 10 years!

There are many reasons why Bluehost is so highly recommended, but here are just a few:

  • Premium customer service, reliability and usability
  • Easy-to-use control panel
  • Custom-built servers to provide the most stable and reliable hosting environment
  • Quickly get started with a one-click WordPress install, provided by MOJO Marketplace
  • Expert, in-house technical support provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Unlimited websites, email accounts, and domains – all on one account, at an affordable price
  • No gimmicks, no contracts so that you can enjoy the comfort of a 30-day money back guarantee and the option to cancel at any time.
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

And to sweeten the deal even more, if you sign up through this tutorial, you’ll get a special offer of shared hosting at $3.95/month for 36 months, as well as a free domain name for a year!

To set up your hosting account with Bluehost, follow the steps below.

HOW TO SET UP YOUR HOSTING ACCOUNT:

Set up your hosting account with Bluehost!
Set up your hosting account with Bluehost!

Once you do so, the next page will see select your plan.

  • Click Get started now and choose which hosting package you want for a special introductory offer and a 30-day money-back guarantee!
  • On this page you will see three (3) different plan options: Basic, Plus, and Prime. I recommend the basic option at the beginning, and then as your traffic begins to grow and your blog expands, you could always consider upgrading to Plus or Prime.
  • If you’re still not sure, go for the free hosting package on WordPress.com but if you’re ready to get professional or at least look professional from the start, then go for self-hosting instead. Bluehost has great rates and they’ll also give you your domain name for free if you decide to host with them!
If you're ready to get professional or at least look professional from the start, then go for self-hosting instead!
If you’re ready to get professional or at least look professional from the start, then go for self-hosting instead!
  • The next page will direct you to the Sign Up Now page.
Choose a new domain name for your website or transfer or map, the one you already have!
Choose a new domain name for your website or transfer or map, the one you already have!
  • If you already own a domain name, you can enter it here, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost.
  • If you don’t already have a domain name, you can purchase one from right in the sign up process, and the best part is, it comes free with your new WordPress hosting account purchase.

So for this you need to choose a domain name for your site:

Choose a really good domain name!
Choose a really good domain name!

Choosing a blog name is extremely difficult! You need a name that’s going to stick, something that’s catchy and memorable, but also something that you can grow with and that won’t make you look like a Silly Billy five (5) years down the line!

Really think about it!

If you make your domain name destination specific, what happens when you move? If you make your domain name age specific, what happens when you grow up? If you make your domain name budget specific, what happens when you start to become successful and can afford much more than a budget of $10.00 a day?

Me - The British Berliner - Live a life of both style & travel.
Me – The British Berliner – Live a life of both style & travel.

There is a reason that my blog is called The British Berliner.

Before this here blog ever existed, I lived in Berlin, and have always called myself The British Berliner. It used to be a running joke but when you think about it, it fits the label and is what it says on the tin!

I have lived in Berlin for over 15 years. I’m married, have a husband, and a teen. I’m pretty settled, and not likely to move anywhere else.

At least I don’t think so lol!

Book your hotel here!

The outcome of Brexit was crazy! @Visit England - Rich J Jones
The outcome of Brexit was crazy!
@Visit England – Rich J Jones

I’m also British. And regardless of that awful situation of Brexit, I love my country, and that won’t ever go away.

I’m both British and German.

I am The British Berliner!

So think carefully about your domain name.

Your Account Information for putting in personal details
Your Account Information for putting in personal details
  • Once you’ve entered a domain name, the next page will lead you to creating your account. This is where you should fill in your personal information.

This page will have a section where there’s:

Your Package Information & Payment Information section.
Your Package Information &
Payment Information section.
  • Account Information for putting in your personal details
  • Package Information for choosing which package you want to purchase
  • Payment Information for making payment via credit card or paypal
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

By the way, basic shared hosting is priced at 12, 24 and 36 month terms thus:

  • A Basic 12 month package is $5.45 per month
  • A Basic 24 month package is $4.95 per month
  • A Basic 36 month package is $3.95 per month

To help save you money obviously, the longer the term you purchase, the lower the monthly rate will be. By choosing a 36-month hosting term, you can get the great introductory rate of $3.95 per month. And, because you’ve chosen to host with Bluehost, if you ever need more than a shared hosting account, Bluehost provides seamless upgrades to VPS or dedicated server hosting accounts from inside your control panel!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
  • After you’ve filled in your information and chosen your hosting package, click the Submit button to complete your purchase.
  • You’ll then be asked to create a password for your account. You can use the Password Generator to create a strong and secure password, or create one yourself.

It is required to have both capital and lowercase letters, a number, and a special character (?!#, etc.) in order to have a strong enough password to protect your account.

Now that you are all signed up and are able to log into your account, you can get started installing WordPress!

HOW TO INSTALL WORDPRESS:

How to install WordPress!
How to install WordPress!

This may seem like the most complicated step, but Bluehost has worked hard to make this one of the easiest things for you to do by using the new MOJO Marketplace for installing WordPress and other applications.

  • In your cPanel, scroll to the section titled MOJO Marketplace and choose the One-Click Installs button.
Installing WordPress via Bluehost
Installing WordPress via Bluehost
  • This will take you to a page inside MOJO Marketplace called Scripts and Platforms. The blog section is at the very top, so all you have to do here is click on the WordPress icon.
  • This will open the installation window.
Click on the green “Start” button that will start the WordPress installation process
Click on the green “Start” button that will start the WordPress installation process
  • Click on the green Start button that will start the WordPress installation process. The next part is easy and only a few steps.
Select which domain you would like to install to
Select which domain you would like to install to
  • Step 1: Choose where you want to install WordPress. This can be any domain on your account, a subdomain, or a folder for one of your domains.
  • Next, click on Check Domain, which will make sure the domain is assigned and pointing to your account. You may get a warning that you are overwriting files, but as long as you don’t have another website built yet, you can check the box and continue. This is mostly to make sure that you really want to install in that location. If you do have other sites built, you will want to make sure you’re not overwriting something important.
  • Step 2: Show Advanced Options. This section allows you to set up your own username and password for your WordPress install. It’s recommended to use a different username than admin and a very strong password.
  • Make sure that the Automatically create a new database for this installation box is checked, unless you have a database already set up that you want to use.
Once you're done, click “Install Now!”
Once you’re done, click “Install Now!”
  • Step 3: After you’ve read the terms and conditions, check the box indicating that you’ve done so, then click Install Now.
Once WordPress is fully installed, it will provide you with your site URL, the admin login URL, your username, and password. Make sure to keep it in a safe place.
Once WordPress is fully installed, it will provide you with your site URL, the admin login URL, your username, and password.
Make sure to keep it in a safe place.
  • Now you’ll see the progress page, which will show you how far along the installation is.
  • Once WordPress is fully installed, it will provide you with your site URL, the admin login URL, your username, and password.
  • You will get a copy of this information, except your password, in your email as well.
  • Make sure to keep it in a safe place.
Type in your username and password and you’re in. Hurrah!
Type in your username and password and you’re in. Hurrah!

 

  • Now you can log into your WordPress site by going to the admin login URL.
  • Enter your username and password, then click Log In and you’re in!

Congratulations! You’ve just created your first website or blog!

Congratulations! You've just created your first website or blog!
Congratulations! You’ve just created your first website or blog!
  • Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be taken to your WordPress dashboard. From here, you can control everything to do with your WordPress site, such as creating pages, writing posts, and changing the appearance.
  • Then all you have to do next is to write something or add a picture, and when you’re ready, hit publish!

Keep it sweet and simple and you’ll be fine!

Welcome to your first post!
Welcome to your first post!

Wow!

Welcome to your first post and the virtual bloggers club, otherwise known as twitter!

Remember, if you sign up through this tutorial, you’ll receive a special offer of shared hosting at $3.95/month for 36 months, as well as a free domain name for a year!

I’m not an expert in the technical field, but if I can setup a WordPress blog all by myself, so can you!

If you have any additional questions, comments or simply need more help, just ask, and I’ll do my best to help!

*The promotional price is for the first term only and renews at the regular rate.

HOW TO START A BLOG IN JUST A MERE 10 MINUTES: A SIMPLE GUIDE!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and brilliant thoughts, are my very own!

It’s almost March!

On 07.03.17, I’ll be at the Travel Massive ITB 2017 Opening Party!

On 08.03.17, I’ll be at the iambassador – Traveldudes – ITB Travel Tweet-Up event.

On 08.03.17 – 12.03.17, the world’s largest tourism trade fair – the ITB will be in action, and everyone who is anyone in the travel industry, will be here!

On 15.03.17, I’ll be at the Spring Reception for the British Community at the British Embassy in Berlin.

From 07.03.17 – 09.03.17, our friends – the British musical and comedy duo – Carrington Brown – will be performing Germany’s premiere of Carrington-Brown feat. The Swonderful Orchestra: Comedy meets Classics at Tipi!

And in March and April, I’ll be on the road again to Austria & Croatia!

If you’re not in Berlin in March, you’re positively dull!

Watch this space!

Please note that there is now a bluehost affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the link, because every time some sort of website hosting is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

Do you have any other questions about how to start a blog? Any comments or suggestions? Let me know below! 

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!

Stanley Tucci as the marvellous Director of the film - Final Portrait, at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Stanley Tucci as the marvellous Director of the film – Final Portrait, at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

OMG!

  • I’ve told you before and I’ll probably tell you a million times over, living in Berlin is awfully fabulous!

I mean, there’s just so much to do!

The work of a lifestyle, expat, travel blogger is never done. There's just so much to dooo!
The work of a lifestyle, expat, travel blogger is never done. There’s just so much to dooo!

Only a few weeks ago I was telling you all about how I could afford to travel all over Europe, and using the train no less, as well as floating through Berlin Fashion Week, rushing through windmills in Holland, and skiing in the Czech Mountains, which the official Twitter account of Visit Czech Republic, kindly retweeted and shared!

And just the other week, the Sputnik Kino put out all the stops to bring us the British Shorts Film Festival too!

Book your hotel here!

Diego Luna & Maggie Gyllenhaal at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Diego Luna & Maggie Gyllenhaal at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

And now, ladies and gents, the red carpet has been rolled out yet again, and Berlin has been hobnobbing with the best of the best. I mean, if it’s good enough for Richard Gere and Jonny Lee Miller of T2 Trainspotting. It’s surely good enough for you!

And why forsooth?

Because?

Because the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, is in town!

Now for those of you interested in getting a piece of the action it’s quite easy.

WHAT IS THE BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL / BERLINALE?

My press pass at the Berlinale.
My press pass at the Berlinale.

Well, the Berlinale is simply, the world’s largest public film festival which provides an audience of interested film-goers, a city full of excitement, a diverse cultural scene, fascinating new films, and an opportunity to see, talk to, and take close-up pictures, of international stars in the movie world!

The public programme of the Berlinale shows about 400 films per year, mostly international or European premieres of every genre, length and format! Formats such as epic international cinema (Competition), independent art house (Panorama), films for a younger audience (Generation), new talent from the German film scene (Perspektive Deutsches Kino), avant-garde, experimental cinematography (Forum / Forum Expanded), weird black and white science fiction (Retrospective), film classics / rediscovered films (Berlinale Classics), cult films (Homage), and films about food (Culinary Cinema), art house cinemas within Berlin (Berlinale Goes Kiez), cinematic story-telling of Indigenous people around the world (NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema), and short pieces (Berlinale Shorts).

Jeanne Werner. And if you look closely, I'm sitting on the right, on the row behind her! You can just about see my hands! Es war einmal in Deutschland - Bye Bye Germany. ©Berlinale
Jeanne Werner. And if you look closely, I’m sitting on the right, on the row behind her! You can just about see my hands!
Es war einmal in Deutschland – Bye Bye Germany. ©Berlinale

And with more than:

  • 335,000 sold tickets
  • 20,000 professional visitors
  • 122 countries
  • 3,800 journalists
Press hacks at the Berlinale!
Press hacks at the Berlinale!

You simply can’t go wrong!

That’s right.

From the 9th of February to the 19th February, 2017, Berlin will be packed solid with members of the film industry.

My heart swells when I know that Berlin is competing with the likes of other film festivals, in Cannes and Sundance.

Alright, not in the same category, but still. A festival to be proud of!

With more than four hundred (400) films, fifteen (15) categories sections, and more than half a million cinema visits, the Berlinale is not only an independent film festival with a difference, but also a film festival that ordinary people can actually visit.

Book your hotel here!

Ordinary punters at the Berlinale. You know. People like YOU! ©Berlinale
Ordinary punters at the Berlinale. You know. People like YOU!
©Berlinale

Yes, that means YOU!

A world international festival can sometimes be daunting, so I’m going to try and make it as easy as possible so that you too can participate. If you want to!

Read my beginners’ guide and find out how!

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE BERLINALE / THE

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Punters waiting at the Berlinale Palast to see the stars. Be prepared & wrap up warmly! ©Berlinale
Punters waiting at the Berlinale Palast to see the stars. Be prepared & wrap up warmly!
©Berlinale
  • BE PREPARED: The Berlinale always takes place in February so get yourself on the mailing list of the Berlinale, so that you know when the official Berlinale programme is published.
  • USE THE INTERNET: There is a Berlinale homepage in both English and German. On the homepage is a Programme Section which also has a most valuable item called the programme planner. Use this item to search for films so that you have an idea of what you might want to see BEFORE the film festival begins.
Search for a programme at the Berlinale.
Search for a programme at the Berlinale.
  • GET THE PROGRAMME: If you’re not entirely sure what each film is about, you can either download the pdf format or if you’re in Berlin (and why wouldn’t you be!), you can pretty much find the programme brochures in every cinema forum in the city. Just help yourself!
  • USE TECHNOLOGY: Not only can you use the programme planner for your personal searches but you can also get into the 21st century and, for the first time ever, download the Apps (for Android and iOS) which links into the programme planner so that you can mark your favourite film or event at home, or on the move, and still remain up-to-date across multiple devices. The app also provides Berlinale information about festival venues, festival events and an overview of festival video broadcasts, the Opening and Closing Gala, as well as all the fun on the Red Carpet!
Relax & check my social media at the Berlinale Open House! © Berlinale
Relax & check my social media at the Berlinale Open House!
© Berlinale
  • USE SOCIAL MEDIA: The Berlinale is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow my titbits and little quips here! Not only that, but around the Potsdamer Platz Arcade, WiFi is available for 2 hours per day per person, and there are other WIFI hotspots scattered around in various venues. For free!
  • MAKE A LIST: Once you have a rough idea of what you want to see, go ahead and make a list. Don’t forget to put the date, the name of the film in it’s original language and in English, the venue, and the time. Then make a second list with different films. Just in case. And a third one too!
Look at the packed crowd for the World Premier of Es war einmal in Deutschland - Bye Bye Germany. Aim to arrive early!
Look at the packed crowd for the World Premier of Es war einmal in Deutschland – Bye Bye Germany.
Aim to arrive early!
  • CHECK THE FILM TIME: People get really excited when punters finally get the film of their dream and then discover soon after, that they can’t actually watch it ‘cos they’re still at a previous showing! Just because the film states a starting time of 20:00 doesn’t actually mean that it’s going to start at 20:00! Films start late, discussions over lap. Deal with it! I find that putting films three (3) hours apart generally leaves more than enough room to manoeuvre. So, if for example, a film starts at 09:30, the next film I book is at 12:30 and not anything less! Most films tend to last between 80 and 100 minutes but you want to give yourself time for overlaps and also for getting from A to B. Berlin’s public transport system is fantastic but you still have to wade your way through the crowds to get out of the venue itself, and then go downstairs to your next train station, not to talk of wading yourself through more crowds, at the next film venue!
  • LEAVE EARLY: Doors generally open 10 minutes before the film starts, so make sure you’re in the queue at least 20 minutes before the movie begins. If it’s a popular film, give yourself 30 minutes as there is no allocated seating. First come, first served. No seat is a dud in my opinion, but if you have preferred seating, then get there early.
Get your Berlinale film tickets in person!
Get your Berlinale film tickets in person!

This means that you’re going to have to gird your loins, get all your mates together and be smart and efficient. Each individual can only buy 2 tickets per film, except for Generation (children / youth films) which you can buy 4 tickets at a time, and Culinary Cinema film screenings at 7.30 pm, which you can buy as many as you like! You can of course, cross your fingers and buy on the day if tickets are available at the box office of the cinemas themselves. Ticket counters open daily from 10:00 to 20:00, with people forming a queue from as early as 08:00!

If you don't feel up to being with the rabble, not a problem, use your fingers and go online to buy tickets at the Berlinale instead!
If you don’t feel up to being with the rabble, not a problem, use your fingers and go online to buy tickets at the Berlinale instead!
  • BUYING TICKETS ONLINE: If you don’t feel up to being with the hoi polloi, not a problem, use your fingers and go online instead! On the programme page is an online ticket icon. If you click on it, you’ll be directed to the online ticket shop but be warned, the other buyers are keen film-goers and pros. at this game. You’ll need firm fingers to keep clicking and refreshing in order to get those tickets. Or better still, allocate yourself an army of friends to help you.

You know how concert tickets sell out in 10 minutes? Yep! They use the same method. Friends! Mates! Neighbours! Everyone you know!

Grab a few friends to help you buy your Berlinale ticket!
Grab a few friends to help you buy your Berlinale ticket!

If you click on the Online Tickets icon, you will automatically be forwarded to the website of the Berlinale ticketing partner – Eventim. You’ll have to create an Eventim account with an extra processing fee of €2.00 per ticket. You can also use a major credit card and the tickets will be delivered to you either by Email, on your mobile phone, or you can simply pick the tickets up at the Online Ticket Pick-up Counter in the Potsdamer Platz Arcade shopping centre, by showing your printed confirmation and ID card.

There’s an exclusive ticket counter only for punters with Mastercard!

Book your hotel here!

Berlinale ticket prices are very reasonable!
Berlinale ticket prices are very reasonable!
  • TICKET PRICES: Berlinale tickets are generally between €4.00 – €22.00! A 50% discount is available for selected last-minute tickets and of course, if you’re a student, of school age, on welfare, etc, then a 50% discount on tickets are available too.

If you register by telephone, groups of at least 5 people for Generation tickets, cost just €2.50 each!

Roll up! Roll up! Queue up & come & get your ticket! © Berlinale
Roll up! Roll up! Queue up & come & get your ticket!
© Berlinale
  • NO TICKET: If you still haven’t got the ticket you want, then go ahead and get any other film ticket instead!

The whole point of a film festival are the intriguing films that are made available. Every film has passed muster, and outside of your own personal preference, none of the films are duds. Go on live a little! If you’re still unsure, then go to the venue of your choice and either hold out a sign that you’re looking for an extra ticket, or look for individuals who might want to sell theirs. Don’t deal with touts though. If the individual looks nice enough and has 1 or 2 tickets rather than 20, and is willing to sell it at market price, or even cheaper, then go for it!

  • WATCH YOUR THROAT: After watching quite a few films, the throat does tend to take a bit of a beating as the rooms can get a bit dry, so arm yourself with water and cough drops. Take a scarf too, in case the air-con is at full blast!
A film industry and press-only conference, at the Berlinale! ©Berlinale
A film industry and press-only conference, at the Berlinale!
©Berlinale
  • PRESS: If you’re a press person, you should have been through the accreditation process and have your badge and Berlinale gift bag! Nevertheless, even press people have to organise themselves, as tickets are only made available one (1) day prior, and so I found myself checking into the Grand Hyatt Berlin on a daily basis!

At 08:00 in the morning. Eeek!

Book your hotel here!

After a hard day at the Berlinale, surely I deserve a glass of champagne!
After a hard day at the Berlinale, surely I deserve a glass of champagne!

On the other hand, free water, free coffee (Ouch!) free WiFi, a press room, comfy seats and a quick means of getting all the press stuff and press tickets that you need, are provided.

Everyone has been so helpful and kind and because I’m now a pro. I’ve gotten each and every film ticket that I have wanted so far.

Thank you Berlinale Press Team!

Bing Lang Xue - The Taste of Betel Nut - A Hong Kong film at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Bing Lang Xue – The Taste of Betel Nut – A Hong Kong film at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

I really don’t think so!

In my case, I aim for weird Asian films, obscure East European films, Anglo-American films with controversial topics, and films over issues that I would never usually go for ‘cos they’re just not shown at your local flick!

Menashe - The first Yiddish film to be presented at the Berlinale. Ever! © Federica Valabrega
Menashe – The first Yiddish film to be presented at the Berlinale. Ever!
© Federica Valabrega
  • STAY FOR Q&A: The beauty of an international film festival or any film festival at all, is that everyone tends to be there. You get stars such as Richard Gere, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Gillian Anderson (Scully), Chloë Sevigny, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting), Timothy Spall, Steeve Coogan, Cillian Murphy, Sibel Kekili (Game of Thrones), Moritz Bleibtreu, Jason Issacs (Harry Potter), and Geoffrey Rush. Directors such as Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games), Danny Boyle (Trainspotting & Slum Dog Millionaire), Gurinder Chadh (Bend it like Beckham), and other directors, producers, actors.

In fact, everyone!

Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me at the Berlinale,and I hadn't even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!
Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me at the Berlinale,and I hadn’t even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!

Three years ago, Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me and I hadn’t even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!

Actors, directors and producers tend to go out to the front and apart from staring at them really closely, you can ask them questions about their films or their thoughts, surrounding that film. And being that this is Berlin, everyone’s really chilled and not freaking out, or going crazy!

Not inside the cinema theatre in any case.

George Clooney © Berlinale
George Clooney
© Berlinale

If there’s a hottie on the red carpet like George Clooney, Jonny Lee Miller or Richard Gere, all that flies out of the window, and people start screaming!

I mean, it sometimes goes insane.

Richard Gere at the Berlinale. Everyone went crazy! ©Berlinale
Richard Gere at the Berlinale. Everyone went crazy!
©Berlinale

The actors are always calm, professional and charming (especially George & Richard. We’re on first name basis now of course..!) but the audience just lose themselves with star-lust, over-whelmingness, or the fact that film premier tickets can sell out surprisingly quickly, and not be found for love or money. If you didn’t know somebody, who knew somebody, who knew somebody, way up there, chances were, you wouldn’t get a look in!

The atmosphere once you get indoors, really is comforting and quite frankly, it’s nice.

Practically every member of the T2 Trainspotting cast got mobbed at the Berlinale. Even Ewen Bremner - Spud! ©Berlinale
Practically every member of the T2 Trainspotting cast got mobbed at the Berlinale. Even Ewen Bremner – Spud!
©Berlinale

And all for the price of a cinema ticket.

Less in some cases!

  • MAKE FRIENDS: Chat to the person next to you. Find your friends and partners and go for a well deserved late night drink!
Make Friends at the Berlinale! ©Berlinale
Make Friends at the Berlinale!
©Berlinale
  • TAKE ACTION: Now that you know what to do, go ahead and get yourself a film ticket and do it all over again the next day!

See you at the Berlinale!

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE BERLINALE / THE

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Laura Hajek & the hilarious Steve Coogan at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Laura Hajek & the hilarious Steve Coogan at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

This article is not sponsored and even though I received press tickets, all opinions and the excellent festival films that I chose, are my very, very own!

It’s February!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be reviewing the films that I saw at the Berlinale.

February is enjoyably rushed!

Catch me if you can!

A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017! ©Berlinale

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

A Beginners' Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!
A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!

Have you ever been to a film festival? What actor would you like to see in real life? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!

10 Christmas gifts that don't cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!
10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!

I do so love winter!

It’s that time of year.

Christmas!

I love the crispness of the air, the early evenings, the freshness of the cold, and the darkness  when the lights come out.

I love it so, because December is my most favourite month ever, and also the month of my birth!

It was my birthday a few days ago.

Yay!

img_2803-2

Just look at my delightful yummy birthday cake. It’s cherries and cream, but it sure does look like cherry tomatoes.

But that would be weird…!

The horror of Christmas shopping!
The horror of Christmas shopping!

And even if you’re not into the horror of Christmas shopping, you are still liable to the festive season.

At least in Europe you are!

However of late, Christmas has been high-jacked by activities contrary to what this season is all about. Everywhere you look there’s some disaster or another, and then in a few weeks, merriment galore, then huge bills!

Yikes!

So let’s make a deal. Instead of wasting a huge amount of money on things you either don’t need, or probably already have, making the issue of #firstworldproblems completely and utterly true. Let’s figure out a way to make Christmas time as pain-free as possible.

So come with me as I feature 10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing if you’re broke, and don’t have a penny to your name. And 10 gifts that do, for those who have the dosh, and really want to spend it!

Here we go!

10 CHRISTMAS GIFTS THAT DON’T COST A SINGLE THING, AND 10 GIFTS THAT DO!!

  • MAKE A PERSONALISED MIXED TAPE
A personalised mixed tape doesn't cost a single thing!
A personalised mixed tape doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

Ha! Ha! Not a real tape. I mean tape!? Tape?!&%!!

When was the last time that you actually saw a good ‘ol cassette player?

Like never!

Nevertheless, the sentiment remains the same. Why not make a customised mixed playlist from your huge collection on iTunes or Spotify, and make a CD! You can even sing on it….!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

On the other hand, if you don’t want to embarrass yourself or your family, perhaps getting an actual musical CD is the way to go!

I recommend the highly successful soulful talented Scottish singer/songwriter – Emeli Sandé. Get your hipster friends Emeli Sandé: Long Live The Angels. If you can find it…! If you’re in Britain buy it via Amazon UK. If you’re in the US buy this CD via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy this CD via Amazon.de.

  •  MAKE A PHOTOGRAPHY ALBUM
Photographs don't cost a single thing!
Photographs don’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

In todays’ world, pretty much everyone and his mother has a mobile phone. In many cases a smart phone too. It doesn’t take a genius to take a photograph or two of yourself, your friends, and family, or even your hobby using stuff like postcards, ticket stubs, old T-shirts, money, etc, making your photography more than just a bunch of photos, but a scrapbook of your life. And theirs!

Then all you have to do is upload the photographs, edit as appropriate, then send off to your loved ones by Email.

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

fujifilm-instax-mini-8
It does. It’s Christmas!!

Buy your loved ones a fun retro camera via Amazon UK. If you’re in the US, buy this camera via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy this camera via Amazon.de.

  • MAKE YOUR OWN COOKBOOK
I'm a terrible cook, but I do like writing about food! How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!
I’m a terrible cook, but I do like writing about food!
How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

I’m not the best of cooks. In fact, although I love eating wonderful food and I have a whole bookshelf of cookery books. I CAN’T COOK! But if you can, why not make your very own cook and recipe book for your friends and family. Add personalised notes and extra information about why you chose that particular recipe, ‘cos who doesn’t like something delicious. Or even the secret to making a good cup of tea!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

If you fear that you might kill people, leave it to the experts and buy your loved ones a cookery book so that they can make it like mummy used to, properly! Why not try one of the best food books of 2016 – Salt is Essential by Shaun Hill. And if you’re really quick, you can have an extra book – Rib Ticklers & Choux-Ins: 110 sensational recipes, from steaks & bakes to cheesecakes by Glynn Purnell, bundled in at no extra cost too. But hurry, there’s only nine (9) left!

If you’re in Britain buy them via Amazon UK. If you’re in the US buy these books via Amazon.com here and here. If you’re in Germany, buy these books via Amazon.de.

  • GO ON A WALKING TOUR
Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending 16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

You’re broke and you can’t afford to travel the world. Not to worry. Let the world travel to you! Join a walking tour in a major city near you. Completely and utterly free (except for the tips of course. We said save money, not steal it!).

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

On the other hand, you’ve got holiday time due to you, or you want to surprise a loved one, then don’t be shy take the next train, or flight, and book a hotel to anywhere in the world. Go on. You deserve it!

If you’re in Britain, book a hotel room via Booking.com. If you’re in the US, book a hotel room via Booking.com. If you’re in Germany, book a hotel room via Booking.com auf Deutsch.

  • MAKE JAM or CHUTNEY
Plum jam doesn't cost a single thing!
Plum jam doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

We all eat far too much! Using the fruit and vegetables from your garden, your terrace, or even your window sill, can give you jams and chutney galore. Instead of throwing out your excess fruit, make jam and give them to your friends and family.

We have a plum-tree, a blackberry tree, and hundreds of tomatoes. Fresh produce doesn’t do itself justice, bearing in mind that there are no added chemicals. In fact, no added anything! Just put in a little sunshine, a bit of water, some basic pruning from time-to-time, a couple of old teabags, and you’ve got yourself a vegetable patch, and freshness to last you through the winter!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

If you’re as bad a cook as I am, get yourself a cookery book and learn how to to find fruit and vegetables all around us. Buy your loved ones a book that has never been out of print called appropriately: Food for Free by Richard Mabey! If you’re in Britain buy it via Amazon UK. If you’re in the US buy this book via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy this book via Amazon.de.

MAKE A HOME-MADE MOVIE

A home-made film doesn't cost a single thing!
A home-made film doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

If you have a smart phone, a camera, or a selfie stick, you can start making your very own-home movie, starring YOU. Produced by you, and directed and scripted, completely and utterly by you. Boy, but what a thrill!

I’m not going to show you any of my own home-movies. I’m not mad you know! But if you want to see some of my professional ones, click here!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

If you’re serious about movies and films, and want to take making a movie to the next level, why not go to film festivals for inspiration, then enrol at a film school nearby. I’m constantly being asked to make some sort of film production, made and produced by myself.

Er. Nope!

I love watching films. I love being in films, but I’m not skilled enough to actually make the film! And nor do I want to. I love being in front of the camera, rather than behind it!

I was even asked by the BBC to take part in an creative art make your own digital film project, but I turned it down. The BBC. I know!! Having said that, I love learning stuff which is why I’m always at one workshop or another, and there’s nothing wrong with adding to the skills that one already has. So I might book one of the MET practical filmmaking world renowned weekend courses after all. And certainly, if you’re serious about this stuff, you should do the same, or get one of your grannies to pay for it!

  • READ A BOOK
Reading a book doesn't cost a single thing!
Reading a book doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

If you’re clever, getting a book for free is as easy as getting a slice of bread, all you had to do is search for a classic book online, or go to your local library, and the book is yours. Certainly the Berlin Central and Regional Library (ZLB), yearly library membership cost between just €5.00 – €10.00 a year and include being able to borrow DVDs, Videos, Music CDs, Booklets, Audio books, Art related items, and up to 60 books at a time! On top of that, you have access to every other public library in the city. All pretty much free of charge.

Gosh!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

Why waste time. Buy your loved ones a kindle, and they can have a book for life!

Kindles are on special offer right now and they’re much cheaper than an iPad! I have Kindle on my iPad, and my phone, and a few years ago we bought “The Tall Young Gentleman” a Kindle Fire Tablet, and he’s still using it! For children, teenagers and millennials, Kindle Fire is your man!

If you’re in Britain, buy Kindle Fire via Amazon.uk. If you’re in the US, buy Kindle Fire via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy Kindle Fire via Amazon. de.

If you’re a dedicated reader, then a Kindle Paperwhite is more useful! If you’re in Britain, buy Kindle Paperwhite via Amazon.uk. If you’re in the US, buy Kindle Paperwhite via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy Kindle Paperwhite via Amazon. de.

Whatever. Buy a kindle!

ps. Fire Kindle does Snapchat too, if you download Google play store…

  • CHARITABLE GIFTS THAT YOU CAN SEE!
Donating an old toy, doesn't cost a single thing!
Donating an old toy, doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

I personally like to donate clothes, books and toys. I’ve also donated my time by teaching for free, or offering some other service. At one point, I was a Charitable Director of a Woman’s Shelter in London, and a civilian sergeant in the Engineering Unit of the Territorial Army!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

Most people by their very nature are charitable and want to help others, but sometimes there’s a nagging feeling if you’re really doing what you can? Is your money going to the people who need it most, or some administrative office in Switzerland?

Some organizations offer more tangible ways to do this. I’ve donated to UNESCO for children and natural disasters. I’ve also given money to start-up organisations in Berlin, as I like to support up and coming talent in various ways!

I was first introduced to a company called Kiva.org via my previous company who made a donation of $25 on my behalf, promising to double whatever I donated myself.  It’s a non-profit organisation that allows people to lend money via the internet to low-income entrepreneurs “to alleviate poverty.”

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

I donated another $25 and got to choose who I would give this loan to. I chose the owner of a small corner shop in South America. She paid me $2.00 every month and paid back the loan. But not to worry, I didn’t take the money. It’s put into your account where you can loan it out again!

Well-known charities like Oxfam, allow you to donate a specific animal – a goat or llama – or other basic items needed by the village.  You can also “adopt” endangered animals through animal conservation organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

  • FAMILY HISTORY 
Researching your family history doesn't cost a single thing!
Researching your family history doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

Research your family history  and ask your grandparents about your ancestry, your roots, and your family history. You can also go to the local library, local burial grounds, church, place of worship, the town hall or failing that, get online and do some digging via  Ancestry.com! You’ll be surprised at what you find!

Via an old newspaper article, I found out that my dad was the first engineer of colour, in his Northern England unit! He’s in his 70’s now, so you can imagine what an achievement that was at the time!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

You can hire an expert historian who will do the digging for you and make your genealogical tree, or you can get your family tested for DNA. After all how do you think I know that I’m descended from royalty. I always tell people that I’m related to the other Queen Victoria. I’m not. It’s different royalty. But I might be!

Failing that why not go to Europe and find out. Many of you are descended from people in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia. Don’t you think it’s time you took a plane and found out!

  • WRITE YOUR OWN BOOK or START YOUR OWN BLOG
How to write & publish a book! I prefer paper or hard back!
How to write & publish a book!
I prefer paper or hard back!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

Get yourself a glass of wine, grab some plain  white paper or your laptop, and get writing!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.
The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.

Buy the book of someone else. An ordinary person. Just like you.

Someone like my very own  brother, who wrote a children’s book called THE BEEHIVE, in just three (3) months!

If you’re in Britain buy it via Amazon UK. If you’re in the US buy this book via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy this book via Amazon.de.

Also, if you want to be like me when you grow up – a well-respected smart British – German blogger, all you have to do is to get yourself a website host such as Blue Host, and open up the website of wordpress.com.

It’s really easy and can be done in all of 10 minutes! If you really want to know how to set up a WordPress website in any language, let me know, and I’ll set up a post about it in January! Speaking of languages, have you seen my language tab at the top of the page? Now you can switch my post to any language you desire! Nifty!

I'm a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I’m a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin –
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

So what are you waiting for, Xmas is just around the corner, get to work!

And good luck!

10 Christmas gifts that don't cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!
10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and amazing gifts, are my very own!

In January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Film Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in the Czech Republic.

Save the Date!

December is going to be bouncing!

Watch this space!

Please also note that there are three affiliate link companies (for the very first time), connected to this Christmas gift time post! Every time one of those services are used,  booked, and paid for via my link, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

10 Christmas gifts that don't cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!
10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!

Which of these gifts would you use?  Do you prefer to buy, or give away? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com