May ’17

Here are my favourite snippets from the past month.

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Getting a new exotic plant for our bedroom
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Cocktails at the food truck festival in Brussels
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Reading outside on our little patio with candles at 11 PM (!)
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This picture perfect home desk set-up. Pretty in pink.
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Having breakfast in bed together
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Baking cookies on an extra day off
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Pulling out the summer dresses on our city trip to Lisbon
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This explosion of colours as I drop this Lush bath bomb in a hot bath
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Visiting the Open M exhibition during lunch at work
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Prepping for Lisbon
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Searching for edible flowers on a foraging workshop and walk
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Accidentally ending up in the Pride parade at the Stock Exchange in Brussels. And also sunny days.
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Finally getting to visit the Helen B shop in Ghent. How cute, right?
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The cool architecture of the Tour & Taxis building 
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Pretty flowers
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Healthy granola and my cool new mug from Helen B.
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The Steve McCurry exhibition
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Sipping lattes, eating cake and watching people. Life can be simple sometimes.
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This rooftop view over Brussels that makes me dream of New York.
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Visiting my friend Lena at her new abode in Hulst, Netherlands
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Lying on the grass to enjoy the sun

Can’t wait for June. What’s your month been like?

Love,

Silke

The Art of Choosing

“Choosing is losing.” It’s what I always presumed to be the truth. A truth that seemed to be reaffirmed by the fast-track society we live in nowadays. We are confronted with decision-making daily, all in order to achieve a richer life, where “more” equals “better”. From the clothes we wear tot he things we eat and the programs we decide to watch on TV, choosing has become an identity determining full-time job. And as if this decision-making isn’t arduous enough, society expects us to do it fast. There is no room for doubt or reconsideration; we’d have to decide yesterday rather than today. This leaves us bewildered as to whether there are still choices to make at all. Really, hasn’t the decision been made for us?

Careful consideration has become an ancient concept that people no longer choose to apply. Society expects us to know precisely what we want and who we would like to become, yet many of us are left behind, clueless. There is no time to be unsure or cautious because time is money. If we don’t make up our mind soon enough, we are left behind, doomed to become the outcasts of our society and communities.

Don’t get me wrong, having choice is a luxury, but when both ends of the choosing feel like losing, with FOMO chasing us down every path we choose to take, it often doesn’t feel like it. So, society tells us: choosing is losing. I used to be the person afraid to miss out everywhere. I’d want to be at different places at the same time. I’d want to meet different people at the same time. All this to the point where I’d be unhappy either way.

What I’ve realised is that it is not, though. When fruit famers grow fruit, they choose which branches to keep and let go of other pieces in order to maintain the quality of those that they chose to keep. To choose one thing and lose another means knowing what you want. It’s choosing quality over quantity. It’s choosing time over money. It’s choosing happiness over resurfacing doubt. Sometimes saying no to someone means saying yes to yourself. So choosing isn’t losing, it’s winning.

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April ’17

I can’t believe it’s May already! Time flies when you’re having fun (or when you are too busy to notice the shifting of days) :-) Time to look back on my favourite moments of April.

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When after months of waiting, the blossoms on the fruit trees finally came peeking!
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A lazy afternoon stroll in my home town that had a ferris wheel for some reason
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A walk through the blossoming fruit trees and receiving a “bouquet” on the way :-)
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A morning walk through the enchanting Hallerbos
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Enjoying the warmth of a fire on a cold evening walk
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A visit to the Radiohuis (radio house) in Leuven with a bunch of colleagues (I like the chairs a lot!)
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Discovering a castle in our very own backyard as it were
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Having coffee in the cosiest café in Tienen
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Playing dress-up for our 90s themed housewarming
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which included 90s themed snacks! Such a colourful sight.
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More morning walks through the blossoms and having a talented photographer as a boyfriend (or was it a lucky shot?)
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Having a Hugo cocktail with elderflower on a sunny day with friends
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Our weekly visit to this gorgeous swimming pool. I absolutely adore the lighting and the way the shadows of the trees play with the water.
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Our house. It’s surprising how fast this place has become a home. This photo was taken right before our friends came to visit for our housewarming.
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Camping (and freezing a little bit (a lot)) in this lush scenery
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Spending sunny days in beautiful surroundings
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Cutting my hair for ThinkPink and donating 25 centimeters
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This photo of apples makes me happy
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Spending a sunny day with two of my best friends enjoying the weather and each other’s company
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They way our community has made the city so colourful – a job well done

I can’t wait for more of these treasured moments to come. I can’t wait, because we have some exciting thing planned. See you next month,

Love,

Silke

Hallerbos

When the weather is nice (read: when it’s not raining), we like to spend most of our time outdoors. Today we spent the morning at the Hallerbos, the Blue Forest. Around this time of year (next week actually), the forest becomes enchanting with the blooming of the blue, purple bluebells covering and colouring the surface. To beat the crowds, we went a little bit “too early” with some of the bluebells still closed. Nevertheless, a ‘would recommend’ forest. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

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Bloesems à volonté

Het is nog even wachten op de officiële lente, maar ik moet zeggen, bij mij begint het toch al wat te kriebelen. Mijn zonnebril heb ik al opgeduikt van onder het stof, mijn zonnecrème staat klaar en de eerste mojito’s zijn al gedronken. Binnenkort ruil ik, hopelijk, mijn moddervoetjes dan ook in voor zomersproetjes.

Zoals je wel kan horen, ben ik een echt lentepersoon. Iedereen is goedgezind, alles mag al eens iets meer op het gemak en de wereld krijgt stilaan weer een beetje meer kleur. Zo ook in het Hageland, waar de komst van de lente maar één ding kan betekenen: een ware bloesemzee bedekt de heuvels van dit prachtige gebied in Vlaams-Brabant. Om er zeker van te zijn dat iedereen kan genieten en dit prachtige, doch kortstondige, fenomeen niet hoeft te missen, organiseert Toerisme Vlaams-Brabant in samenwerking met 11 Hagelandse bloesemgemeenten en andere partners een waar lentefeest: drie weekends lang staat de regio in het teken van dit adembenemende bloeifenomeen.

Het eerste weekend vindt plaats op 14 en 15 april en staat in het teken van “Vuurmagie”. Tijdens één van de nocturnewandelingen, geniet je in combinatie met sprankelende vertellingen van talrijke vuurkunstwerken die de weg verlichten doorheen de fruitboomgaarden. De avonden mogen dan nog fris zijn, bij het zien van de draaiende vuurcirkels krijg je het sowieso onmiddellijk warm.  Op vrijdag 14 april gaat deze vurige wandeling door in Landen, doorheen het natuurdomein de Beemden. Op zaterdag 15 april slaat de vonk over naar Zoutleeuw, waar wie niet genoeg krijgt van het spektakel kan blijven voor een exclusief nachtje tussen de bloesems. Stond toevallig op mijn bucket list! En nu ook in mijn agenda dus. Klik op de afbeelding voor meer info!

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Het tweede weekend is all about “Picknickpret” en vindt plaats op 22 en 23 april. Met een resem aan activiteiten zoals een dauwwandeling, huifkartocht, bloesemwandelingen, zoektochten en, uiteraard, picknicken, stel je je dag samen zoals jij het zelf wil. Een gezellige lentedag verzekerd. Bij Fruit Vanhellemont in Meensel-Kiezegem zal een sprekend picknickkleed (ja, het bestaat!) je doen wegdromen met verhalen over het romantische Hageland. En als madame daar niet in slaagt, doet de overheerlijke picknickmand (op bestelling) of de omgeving dat zeker wel. Voor mij klinkt dit alvast als een mooie balans tussen actief genieten en luilekkeren; wie vindt mij op het picknickkleed of tussen de bloesems? Als je dit zelf ook niet wil missen, meer info krijg je door op onderstaande foto te klikken.

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Last but certainly not least, is er het derde weekend dat dan weer in een culinair kleedje is gestoken. Proeven van het  “Culinair Op Pad” weekend kan op 29 en 30 april. In verschillende gemeentes zullen er fruitige activiteiten mee te pikken zijn. Of je nu met de fiets of te voet bent, bloesems zijn er à volonté. Wie slim is fietst de bloesemsnelweg langs knooppunten 356, 45, 192, 50, 58 en 59 om zo het onderste uit deze toch wel lekker gevulde kan te halen. In Tienen zet je even je fiets aan te kant en kruip je even dichter bij je geliefde op het romantische bloesemterras bij fruitbedrijf Reynaerts. Op en top genieten en heerlijk samenzijn. Zijn je voetjes moe van het wandelen, geniet dan van een verwarmd voetbad in Linter. Bloesemwelness klinkt mij alvast als muziek in de oren. Afsluiten doe je in de bloesemlounge in Geetbets. Eens neergeploft in één van de kleurrijke bean bags, geniet je van een smaakvol streekbiertje of -hapje. Dat is nu eens echt genieten van de lente! Meer info nogmaals door op de foto te klikken.

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Ikzelf kijk alvast heel erg uit naar deze mooie activiteiten. En stralend weer heb ik besteld. Nu hoop ik alleen nog op jullie gezelschap…

Tot dan?

Silke

 

 

2016 – the round up

Last year, I did a blog post on my favourite parts of 2015. This year, I’d like to do the same, but this year, I’ve been keeping score. This year has been one of change and evolvement. It’s been a year of decision-making and growing up. It’s been a tough year, but a good one. My eyes light up as I look at the next year, a bright, bright 2017.

This year, my blog has grown. I’ve gotten over 1700 visitors, who have viewed over 3200 items. People have clicked “like” on my blog posts over 220 times and commented over 20 times. I’ve written 87 blogposts. My most popular blog post were the following:

  1. What I Wore – New Years Eve 
  2. Ik ben boos.
  3. Floraliën Gent 2016 – a photo report
  4. Heldinnen van vandaag
  5. My top 5 favourite YouTubers

My blog has been read by people from all over the globe, in over 58 countries, which is what I am probably most proud of. I want it to be and remain a platform that is there for EVERYONE. Most of my readers come from Belgium, the USA and Australia.

But enough about my blog, what did I achieve this year? What have I been up to, really?

I’ve watched 29 films, I’ve watched 33 different TV series, I’ve been to 21 different museum or exhibitions, I’ve been to only 2 parties (apparently all I do is sit at home and watch TV series?), I’ve been to 13 concerts, plays, comedy or dance performances, I’ve read the poor number of 7 books.

I’ve been to 6 countries other than my own. I’ve been to Edinburgh, Scotland, travelled through 4 provinces in Canada, been to one state in the USA, saw the new Harry Potter play in London, took weekend trips to Eindhoven, the Netherlands and Berlin, Germany as well as a day trip to Köln, Germany.

Writing these down now, having kept track of all those things for a year, I feel that my most important accomplishments are not listed here. Simply because they cannot be measured in numbers. And simply because numbers don’t tell us anything about the quality of things.

So, rewind. What did I achieve this year? What have I been up to, really?

In January, I posted my first fashion related blog post, something entirely out of my comfort zone, and it turned out to be my most popular blog post. It is also the month I received my Bachelor degree and took off on a solo trip to Edinburgh, Scotland.

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In February, I spent a weekend with my girlfriends at the Belgian coast, and we all came back with lots of energy. It’s strange how people can lift each other up. I got a surprise gift from my host sister from Uruguay and realised that some bonds really are unbreakable, no matter the time, distance or language barriers.

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In March, I found someone that I love and cherish and I swear I am never letting go of your hand ever again. What happened later that month only strengthened my belief that love is what we need, more than anything, today. I spent the rest of that month with family and friends, because what else is there?

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In April, I spent numerous hours thinking about the future.

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In May, I finally finished my Master thesis after hard hard hard work. As a reward, it seems I had lots and lots of ice cream that month. I said goodbye to Ghent as a student, because that month contained the last days of classes.

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In June, I finished school, did my final round of exams and after that, spent all my time doing all the things that I wanted to. I celebrated my 23rd birthday.

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In July, I went off on a 6 week journey through Canada and for the first time in forever, didn’t enjoy the whole travelling solo thing. And what I first saw as a disappointment to myself because I’d lost my independence, I now realise was finding company worth sharing with.

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In August, I came back home, worked and.. moved into my new apartment in Ghent.

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In September, I went to London with an old friend and realised that true friendship doesn’t fade. Only time and distance does.  I started a new study program in Bruges and after day 1, gathered all my courage and admitted that it wasn’t for me and started applying for jobs.  It is also the month I added some new life to the family: my friends gave me 4 fish for my new apartment (and they’re still alive!). In September, I graduated and my parents came to see me. A shiver of pride went through my spine as they called out my name.

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In October, I spent a lot of time between Brussels and Ghent, enjoying the best of what both cities have to offer. I took lots of walks in the forest and went to Eindhoven for the weekend. Generally, I enjoyed life.

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In November, I went to numerous job interviews, was disappointed an almost equal amount of times. I tried to stay positive by looking on the bright side and enjoyed where all those interviews took me. I took a break from it all by going to Berlin and my itchy feet have been itchy ever since.

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In December, I visited a German Christmas Market, celebrated the holidays with those that I love and the future looked brighter than ever.

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Being the very organised person that I am, I love lists. Maybe a little bit too much even, where it’s come to the point where I sometimes feel angry or sad with myself for not being able to do everything all the time. So rather than committing to resolutions for the new year, I would like to express what I hope will happen in 2017, with the freedom to roam free, the freedom to change my list, the freedom to add and delete, the freedom to leave things un-ticked, the freedom to do nothing if I so well damn want to.

I hope to continue growing and learning. I hope to make new friends and cherish my old ones. I hope to live a healthier life. I hope to read more. I hope to do absolutely nothing from time to time. I hope to move to Brussels. I hope to find my future job fulfilling. I hope  to continue writing this blog. I hope to only put energy into those (things) that make me happy. I hope to do yoga at least once a week. I hope to spend as much time as I can with loved ones. I hope to be as happy, or happier if that is possible, as I was this year. I hope to travel often. I hope to be less envious of other people and look more at my own achievements.

In 2017, I want to be less of a list maker and more of a life maker.

See you then,

Silke