Benvingut a Barcelona

Dear readers,

It almost feels like summer is over already and yet we don’t want to relish this unique feeling of excitement of a summer holiday.

So, in typical Millenial fashion, we have decided to enjoy it till it lasts. And that started with an impromptu weekend in Barcelona with 2 locals to discover the city like true Barcelonians.

We started our weekend with a breakfast at one of the oldest pastry shop in Barcelona and the one behind the creation of the Cacaolat, sort of chocolate and milk drink that is everyone’s breakfast in Catalunya.

We then went for a nature-filled walk on MontJuïc, one of the hills of Barcelona that has the Olympic stadium and the Museum of History of Catalunya. The views of the city are also spectacular!

At few hours later, when our stomachs reminded us that we are not used to the Spanish hour of luncheon, our two local guides brought us to the incredible Galeria Nacional, which, contrary to its name, is a covered passage, decorated in a marvelous Art-Déco style that offers 6 or so restaurants.

The afternoon was spent walking along the Passeig de Gràcia, enjoying the many shops the city offers to its tourist.

Dinner was taken from a beautiful terrace at the hotel Miramar on top of the MontJuïc hill.

Sunday dawned on us and we decided to undertake the boardwalk from Barceloneta and the Olympic harbor to the W hotel, a few kilometers away. You follow the long stretch of beaches and you can stop for a drink on one of the many chiringuitos.

The paella is, evidently, THE DISH of Sunday and we recommend the one of the Chirringuito Pez Vela at the end of the boardwalk. It isn’t the closest one but the most authentic for sure!

And if you have some extra days, don’t hesitate to wander the street of the Gothic district and visit the Parc Güell!

See you back in Luxembourg for new blog posts 🙂

What to do when the TV/internet fails you…

It’s not working… no, it’s definitely not working! The only thing appearing in your TV screen is « no signal »… at home at least it works …

Who has never had this desperately black screen, empty of content, right before the time of their favorite show?

Well, we are here to try to helping because sometimes it is just a matter of simple manipulations.

The most obvious thing to check: is everything plugged in? Are all the plugs connected and the devices turned on? Yes ? Then maybe it is a cable that is unplugged? Is the HDMI cable well attached to both ends ?
Is the internet box switched on and synchronized? Is the wifi enabled? And the bluetooth of your laptop (for a chromecast) active?

Yes ? Well, in this case, it should be working…

Ah! The input of the TV, did you select the correct one? Check the input menu of the TV to make sure you are connected to the right one.

Finally, the only thing remaining to do is to properly set up your chromecast and your mobile (or laptop) and everything will roll. You didn’t know it had to be set up? Well, it does ! You’ll find here how to do it!

Now you’re sure to be able to see your favorite TV show on the big screen!

Bigger is better

Luxembourg is not a big country but we like to see things big!

(Have you seen the size of the flag?!)

Most houses and apartments in this tiny country are made for families and do not represent big surfaces but as we develop the flat sharing concept here, we realize that we are far from the big flatshares of London or New York. It’s a given that we will never reach the astonishing number of 548 flatmates in a same building but slowly by slowly we are building residences of up to 22 flatmates!

(Yep, watching a funny video on Facebook is part of the package deal when living in a flatshare).

Most people look for smaller residences where they can be closer with their flatmates but there is an appeal to bigger residences. A chance of meeting more people and that is what flatsharing is about. Settling in a new city or simply a new place and not living alone (and sharing the expenses of course!).

(I’m not sure if this is what a big flatshare looks like but I’m torn between fascinated and scary…)

What would you rather have? A flatshare that offers small amenities and a closer  relationship with your flatmates or a bigger one with lots of people (and probably noise) and have great adventures, traipsing through town and hiking that mountain like you said you would but never had the courage to do alone?

In any case, we’ll have all options available for your here in Luxembourg!

 

Five resolutions to improve your flatshare

Do you remember how it was back homne? The full fridge, the fluffy towels, the liberal use of central heating. Luxuries all distinctly lacking, you notice, as you arrive back at your flatshare.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. With these five resolutions, you can make your flatshare a little bit nicer every day.

  1. Get Some Plants

Plants are living things that you take care of. Under your watchful gaze they develop into flourishing fountains of beauty, instilling purpose, joy and pride into the life of the gardener. What’s not to love!

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See them as the first step on the tripartite progression to parenthood (plants à puppies à babies). Or keep them for their health and stressbusting properties. Either way, you’ll be glad you did. Here are some great options for what species to get.

  1. Recycle

In most boroughs and councils, bins are now collected once a week. That means bin space is premium property. Not as premium as a Belair studio flat of course, but still pretty premium. Recycling more is better for the environment, but it also means your bin won’t be full after two days! Hurray! Take that, urban foxes.shutterstock_108327635

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Buy Some Local Art

Those pegs on your walls are for pictures, not hanging up your shirt to dry, y’know! Why not use them properly and support local artists at the same time by buying some cool local art to hang up? You’ll become Cool Host #1 at house parties plus you’ll help your local art scene, meaning more art for everyone! Yay! 

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  1. Splash out on Everyday Items

Come on, you’re an adult now. It’s time to get good bed sheets. You use them every day, you might as well have nice ones. It’s time to get that throw to cover up your pre-furnished sofa. It’s time to get the doormat with the witty saying on it. Don’t fight the Inner Dad. Embrace it. This is who you are now.

  1. Sit Down Together Every Once in a While

A good flat dinner at the end of the week is a great thing. You’ll feel closer, happier and also get to have some delicious food and wine. Plus when you spend the rest of the week buried in work/the library/your boyfriend’s house, you know that there’s some quality flatmate time booked in.shutterstock_172085942

Dinner ideas for a smooth flatsharing

Flatsharing is all about sharing, be it the bathroom or the kitchen. But it is also about living in community.

In order to help you with that, we have put together a list of 5 recipes that are perfect to gather around your flatmates around a good dinner and laughter.

Our best recipes for successful evening with your flatmates

Pasta

Any kind of pasta is not only easy and cheap to make, you are 90% sure that it will please your flatmates to have a plate full of spaghetti after a long day at the office… or right before going out.

Little tip to satisfy all your flatmates : try making a pasta without meat or prepare two different kinds, say pesto and bolognese to cater to all the different diatery requirements.

Pizza

Italian food in general is great for a shared dinner and nothing bonds people more than pizza in front of a movie. And the greatest thing about Pizza is that, while it is easy to make, it’s even easier to order and have delivered.

Again, remember to pick two type, a veggie one and a meat one for all types of eaters.

Cookies

It’s Sunday afternoon and it’s raining (because, let’s face it, the weather in Luxembourg is not the sunnier one), the laundry is done and you have been watching Netflix for the past 3 hours. Time to get proactive and dig out your inner Master Chef. Baking cookies is super easy and chances are that your flatmates will pop in the kitchen when the smell of cookies reaches their room.

Crêpes

Reclaim your French inheritance (or find someome in the flatshare that is French) and organize a crêpe night. Salty, sweet, jam or Nutella, everything can be put on a Crêpe and it’s super fun to try flip them while cooking them.

Summer salad

Summer is just around the corner and there is nothing better to empty the fridge than creating a huge salad with all the leftovers (fruits, veggies, chicken, poached eggs, etc). Not only will you be enjoying a healthy meal but you will also make a head start on the Spring Deep Cleaning. 

14 Decorating Tips while on a Budget

You’ve just moved in into your new flatshare but it does not feel at home yet? Decorating it is a great idea but how to justify the investment it represents? After all, you will only be staying for a few month, probably not even a year. So, in order to remedy to this problem, we have put together some tips for decorating on a budget.

Remember, though, that before you do anything in your flatshare – painting a wall or even hanging a piece of art – it’s wise to check with your landlord first what you can do. 

Touch Interiors
Tape up wallpaper

Nothing makes a room more inviting than a wall of colors and while painting or parpering it can be tricky (especially if you are in a flatshare), we have found a great solution for you to add color to your life (and your room). Buy a single roll of wallpaper and hang it like a sheet using double-sided tape. Easy to do and even easier to remove!

Luci.D Interiors

Cushions to the power!

Adding cushions to a room, any room is the perfect (and playful) way to brighten-up a space without worrying about having a long-term commitment. We’d recommend chosing bright colours and patterns – and remember that it super easy to empty them, fold them and bring them to your new apartment.

As for the filling, little tip from us to you : use a larger cushion pad to have a firmer cushion that can be turned into an extra sit when guests come by for an « apéro ».

Arkee Creative

The unsuspected powers of the rug…

A sofa is great, cushions to decorate it are attractive, but a rug… a rug has so many different uses that it is an imprescindible of interior design.  It will not only hide an unattractive floor, but also bring colour without painting, and, if you buy a large enough one now, you’re likely to have a place to put it in your next home.

 

Studio Revolution

Stick ’em up

Another alternative to nailing up numerous frames is to hang lightweight images, which can be suspended with Blu Tack or bulldog clips attached with double-sided tape.

Lindye Galloway Design

The headboard

A headboard serves to anchor a bed and by extension the room it is located in. Adding a large headboard to your bed can give a dramatic look to your room and give an impression of more filled-in. Buy one that is freestanding and you will even be able to reuse it later on.

Dreamy Whites

Introduce mirrors

A tall mirror leaning against a wall can expand your space and dress the room without being hung, and you’ll always be able to find a use for it in a new home. For even more impact, paint or gold-leaf the frame, and don’t be afraid to group a few mismatched mirrors together.

Just Perfect!

Layer throws

Like cushions, throws are great for adding instant colour that can move not just between homes, but between rooms. Folded neatly on the bed, tossed over a chair, spread across a sofa – there are so many ways to use them. Plus, they add a sense of inviting warmth.

The Room Illuminated

Light with lamps

A tall, dramatic lamp is a good way to emulate the light from a nonexistent ceiling fixture, while also adding a feature that makes the room feel more filled-in. Choose a chunky work-lamp-inspired style for high impact and plenty of light.

Owl Design

Opt for black and white

Another strategy to give a place a styled look is to stick to a mostly black-and-white theme. It works with any flooring and simple white walls and, combined with neutral basics, creates an austere, Parisian-studio look. Simply add a colour pop with fresh flowers and you’ve got a fully formed concept with just a few pieces and no stress – perfect for a busy life on the go.

Coworking: an increasingly popular solution

What is coworking?
You’ve probably heard of coworking. But just in case, coworking is about sharing an office space together with other companies even if their sector of activity is different. This type of « roommating » has no limit in terms of number of « roommates » or even duration. This cohabitation can extend over a few hours as well as several years.

The advantages of coworking
If this trend is spreading more and more, it is primarily for financial reasons. The reasons are exactly the same as in a flatsharing between students for example.

A division of rent and charges is not the only benefit. Indeed, the equipment, such as the coffee machine, the internet network or the telephone, can also be shared and therefore included in the costs to be divided.

Coworking in a workspace means meeting new people and new companies. These companies that join your office space are a great way to expand your network (even if the industry is not the same as yours). Creating relationships with these companies could be very useful to you (partnership building, customer portfolio development, advice exchange, etc.). So it’s a great way to boost your business!

In case you are a young company for example, it is difficult to engage in the long term to have office space. Coworking is very advantageous for this. Indeed, you have no obligation to sign an entire year, you can simply rent a space for a client meeting or for the purpose of working on a specific project.

The last point is that it is very easy to access to a coworking space as the documents needed to be submitted are less than those required for a conventional commercial lease.

In a few words, the business world has reached the 21st century and has applied the same principles that allow students to afford an accommodation in a city center to the world of start-ups, increasing the number of industries that use the shared economies model to improve and encourage the new generation.

Well, it’s not working anymore… but why, what’s going on?

You’re getting home from work, you’re tired and then you switch on the light and… nothing, the lamp does not work anymore!

The first step is to eliminate the evidence :

  • Was it the right switch ? A moment of inattention is so quickly arrived!
  • Do you have electricity in the residence?
  • The lamp turns on but flashes, in a Night-Fever kind of way? No doubts anymore, if you have power, the bulb is probably dead! Or in the case of a neon, the choke is on the same track.

The lamp does work but the shutter does not close properly, impeding you to get your well-deserved rest, even after going up and down several times? Geometry will be your ally! Observe the blades: if they get skewed, the wings of the shutters no longer work. It does not close completely? The reel is in fault.

Even worse: it’s winter, a snow storm is coming but the only thing your radiator does is a « gurgling » noise that serves only to bother you? It will need to be purged of the air inside of it. A metallic noise is heard during the heating? The thermostatic valve no longer works! The heating is down throughout the entire flat? The boiler is certainly involved.

In any case and if tinkering is not your forte, don’t hesitate to consult your flatmates, one of them is probably a Bob-the-Builder in the making. In the worst case, your landlord will certainly be able to assist you by sending a professional to fix the problem. Remember to ask if your lease covers these incidences!

How to become the « perfect » roommate in 10 lessons

Living in a flatshare is rather nice provided you follow a few rules. Furnished lists for you the 10 rules to follow to become the ideal roommate.

1. Tranquility and calm
Flatsharing necessarily means sharing several spaces together. You are at home, of course, but it is not needed to make all your phone calls from the living room, to put the TV in the background, to play the guitar in the dining room. Respect the tranquility of the place, especially if your roommates are working!

2. Sharing of tasks
No, your roommates are not your maids! It is essential to set up a schedule of household chores to be done in your home and to distribute the work fairly. You will live in a healthier environment knowing that you have done your part.

3. Respect for privacy
Everyone’s room and everyone will be happy! So, you always knock before entering the private areas of the other occupants of the flat. Same for the bathroom and toilet, especially if your flatshare is mixed.

4. Caring and positive spirit!
Between roommates, we give each other a hand, we help to move a piece of furniture, to fillout paperwork … In short, we are present as we would be with friends and we remain positive in case of problems! This is the best way to make friends and especially to maintain a good atmosphere.

5. Clear and frank communication
Communication and honesty are also assets to have good relations with your roommates and avoid frustrations. Do not keep what’s wrong with you, be clear and say it calmly. There is bound to be a solution and you will find it together.

6. Pay your share
Money matters must be settled as quickly as possible. It’s not complicated, just share all the fees according to the number of people sharing your accommodation. Expenses equally divided will not create any conflict. And do not be late to pay your dues.

7. Minimize the number of big parties
You like big parties, so much the better, but that may not be the case with your roommates. So, avoid organizing one every weekend. And, by the way, even if your roommates like it from time to time, they may end up getting tired of seeing a crowd come home every night!

8. Avoid inviting « weird » buddies
Of course, you can invite friends, but know how to choose them! Indeed, your boyfriend, with his gritty jokes, or your friend with well-defined political ideas may not please your roommates. In short, do not mix genres to avoid unpleasant surprises.

9. Be clean and organized
Be clean everyday. Do not leave your dirty dishes lying in the sink, leave the toilets and the bathroom clean behind your , put away your books that invade the living room … In short, once again, be respectful of others by being organized. If you do not do it for yourself, do it for your roommates, they will be delighted.

10. Cooking for roommates
From time to time, do not hesitate to please your roommates by organizing a small dinner, by cooking a dessert, improvising an aperitif! There is nothing better to create a warm atmosphere between you and get to know each other little by little.

Behind the scenes of the administration in Luxembourg

As is the case every year, the Direct Tax Administration (CDA) will send taxpayers their tax deductions form. Said like that, it seems very daunting but the reality behind it is very important for newcomers.

Indeed, without this tax deduction form, the amount retained from your salary is quite consequent!

This form allows then your employer to apply the exact tax deduction on your remuneration. 

It is therefore very important to check the data in the form to avoid any unnecessary taxation.

The beauty of the Luxembourguish administration is that the tax slip is updated automatically, excepting you change your address and you are a non-resident taxpayer.

You have not yet received your tax deduction sheet? No worries, the RTS offices are open every morning from 8am to 11:45am to welcome you and assist you with your deduction form

Little tip: it is advisable to wait until March 1st before contacting the RTS office to report that you have not received your form as it can take up to that date to be sent to you.