July ’17

Summer is in full swing and life is as busy as ever. Here’s a short overview of what kept me busy in July.

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My new notebook that I use for lists of any shape and kind
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This view on a day at work – what even is my life?
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Celebrating our Flemish holiday with some baked goodies. 
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A sunny day in Brussels
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Celebrating one of my friends’ 25th birthday!
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Doing my make-up with my new Peach Palette and liking the result
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Seeing this as I walk towards our garden
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Enjoying the outlines of the garden on the bed
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A late birthday dinner
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This guy – every day made better
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This splendid lunch view over Brussels at the MIM
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This funny doorbell at the beguinage of Diest
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Celebrating late birthdays together with friends
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Surprise visits to Sint Gillis and having drinks at a sunny bar
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Having fika at Peck47 in a new summer dress
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Cute streets in Leuven
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Game night with my boyfriends’ friends
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Late night strolls through Ghent city centre
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Catching up with friends at the HAP food truck festival
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Cozy nights at home (with a recycled bottle as a candlelight)
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Plants! Yay! 
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On the job – discovering the gateway to paradise
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Visiting the botanical garden of Leuven with my mum
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Yet another day at the office 
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Picture perfect cobbled streets in Leuven

August has been incredibly busy already and there’s yet more to come. That makes for lots of pictures though! Can’t wait to show you.

Until then,

Love,

Silke

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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

Lisbon

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I took a little trip down south to experience the colourful city that is Lisbon. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there and while it’s going to be hard top pick the best parts, here’s some of our favourite parts… :)

On our first day, we went to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, an old monastery in typical Portuguese style belonging to the UNESCO world heritage. It’s located in a part of Lisbon called Belém. I honestly believe that if you’d give me a book and a nice drink, I could spend all day there; reading, watching people, enjoying the scenery.

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In Belém, we skipped the long queue at Pasteis de Belém because we figured it was a tourist trap. Instead, we spent our time roaming around the severely underrated botanical gardens, Jardim Botanico Tropical.  Really, it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves, with only a few street cats lazing around and a peacock or two (three, four,…) crossing our path. If you’re an exotic plant lover like me and you love to discover hidden nooks and crannies in parks, this is your place. We felt like we were in a different continent.

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On our second day, we went to Castelo de Sào Jorge, the main fortress built on one of the seven hills that form Lisbon. It overlooks the city and the Tagus and the views do not disappoint. It’s hard to move away from the edge and stop taking pictures of the abundance of colourful houses.

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To many of the disadvantages of visiting the city built on that many hills, there is one major plus side: there is a multitude of viewpoints spread across all neighbourhoods in the city. One of my favourites included the Miradouro Portas do Sol. Sipping cocktails while overlooking the tiny streets of Alfama makes for the ultimate summer holiday vibe.

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Our third day in Lisbon took us a little bit outside the city. We’d booked a small group tour to Sintra, Cascais and Cabo da Roca. If we’d known how little time we got in Sintra, we’d have probably preferred to spend a whole day there and just skipped Cascais. Cabo da Roca was worth a visit though. Plus we were thinking the view on Pena Palace would be a best from the Moorish Castle just across. Maybe next time?

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Cabo da Roca is the most Eastern point of Europe and that means it provides anyone daring enough to look over the edge with magnificent coastal cliff views. Again, wish we could have spent more time here instead of Cascais, which was a disappointment.

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Another cool place with a little bit of an edgy vibe is LX Factory. This market is located in an industrial area between the centre of Lisbon and Belém. All shops are located in old factories. Hipster central, pretty much. My favourite included a book store (no surprise there, right?) that was set up in an old press room. Also, do not, I repeat, do not skip the Landeau chocolate cake. I still have dreams about it sometimes. From there, it’s only a short walk along the Tagus river to the cozy harbour, Doca de Recreio de Santo Amaro.

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Other than that, we spent most of our time roaming around the city, enjoying a multitude of things that are easy to find in Lisbon: eating pasteis de nata, sipping cocktails, photographing and admiring the azulejos and not minding getting lost in the small, colourful streets of the city.

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Also, one golden advice: download the Uber app and use it in this city! It’s the cheapest, easiest way to get around. We tried the public tram system, which was more expensive and waaaay too crowded. Your burning thighs will be grateful. The hills are no joke, take walking shoes (with a non-slippery sole preferably).

Are there any other places in Portugal that we need to put on our bucket list?

Love,

Silke

Vienna

A week ago, I left on a last-minute solo trip to Vienna. I decided to spend my few last free days doing something that I love, namely travelling. So, I booked a ticket and a hostel and a week later I was on my way. Here’s a play by play of what my trip was like.

First off, I arrived late in the evening at my hostel, the Wombats City Hostel. I believe it is one of the very, very few hostels in the city, which means you are bound to make friends there if you travel solo. There were lots of solo travellers there, which was nice. Overall, great hostel, would definitely recommend.

One other tip is to buy a 24 or 72 hour pass for the metro (the U-Bahn), an easy way to get around in Vienna. Or you can walk if you like that, which is very doable too.

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The first place I went to is pictured above: Karlsplatz with its famous Karlskirche. Entrance for students was only 4 euros, and that includes an elevator ride up to the dome and a view over the city (behind bars, unfotunately). Nonetheless, the outside is more spectacular than the inside, unless you are into baroque dome paintings and lots and lots of gold.

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Next up was Schönbrunn, one of the most famous palaces in Vienna. And you could tell by the number of people there, so touristy. I originally only intended to visit the gardens, but due to unfortunate stormy weather, they were closed. So I took the shorter tour of the inside rooms (there is a long one with 44 rooms, and a short one with around 20 rooms). And let’s be honest, if you’ve seen one of those castles, you’ve seen them all. I was truly impressed by the length of Princess Sissi’s hair though. I’m sure she could’ve donated her hair for about 20 wigs to ThinkPink.

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That same night, I went back to the castle because I’d let some weirdly dressed guy that kept calling me “milady”convince me to go to a classical concert there at the Orangerie. When you’re travelling solo and you don’t really have much to do in the evenings, your brain is bound to think YOLO and say yes to things you usually wouldn’t say yes to. So I went, and it was great! The concert consisted of two 40 minute parts, one with music from Mozart and one with music from Strauss, both accompanied by dance and opera singing. It’s strange how much classical music you recognise without even realising you know it! I thoroughly enjoyed watching some of the guests come to the concert in proper ball gowns and taking place front row while I was sitting there in my jeans at the back row, with the plebs. So, if you get the chance to see ANY concert in Vienna, it’s a must do.

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The next morning, I was meeting some friends that I’d met over the summer in Canada. They were kind enough to meet me in Café Central, one of the most famous coffee houses in Vienna, and if I may believe so, the most beautiful. It dates back to the fin-de-siècle coffee culture that was prominent in Vienna at that time. It was known to be the place for Austrian writers like Peter Altenberg and other famous visitors like Freud and Trotski. It’s a great place to go in the morning as there is still room to sit (not so much in the afternoons, I was told by my personal guides), the breakfast is great and it’s a perfect departure point to go visit other main attractions the rest of the day.

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One of my next visits was to the Hundertwasserhaus, a series of apartments that remind me a little bit of Gaudi, but are a work by the architect, you guessed it, Hundertwasser. They’re a bit out of the way, but I found them interesting enough to put in the effort. Also, it was a nice break from the rather busy and “touristy” areas of Vienna. One of my favourites parts of the trip.

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Next up, I went to Stephansplatz, a central part of the town, with lots of (souvenir) shops and people. The main attraction of the square is the Stephansdom, which you can enter for free. Although the interior, again, didn’t really speak to me, I find the roof kind of interesting and pretty. It reminds me of the Matthias church in Budapest. Being neighbours, I guess it’s logical that they would have some influence on one another. With the Christmas lights still up, Stephansplatz was a nice area to wander around though. Two places I recommend going are, firstly, the Haas&Haas Tea shop, only for the smell if not to buy something. The second place is a good one for dinner and another recommendation by my friends, who called it “very Austrian”. It’s a place called Jonathan&Sieglinde and all of their dishes are made with apples or potatoes. Sometimes both. The food I had there was divine.

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The next day was already my last day, and because it was so cold (-11°C, but with windchill about -20°C), I decided to spend it visiting a few museums. The first place I went to was not a museum, though, but a secret, hidden gem called the Ferstel Passage, right behind Café Central. It’s a gorgeous gallery that goes past a tiny square with a fountain (you’d think it’s outside, but there is a huge glass dome). It looked like something out of a movie.

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Onwards, I walked past the Hofburg and went to the National Library, a definite must-see for any book lover. I was suffering a serious case of library envy (yes, that is a thing and if it’s not, it should be). I tried to take some pictures but they don’t do the place justice.

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My next stop was the Museum Quartier, where I went to the Leopold Museum. If you like paintings by Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, this is the museum for you. Also, the building has some cool windows which offer good views of the city. (I seem to have developed a love for museum buildings rather than the artefacts themselves, is that strange?) Also the MQ shop has some really cute stuff, worth a visit.

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My last stop was the Secession, a very small museum, but with one of the most fun exhibitions by Francis Alÿs. His art pieces are tiny, tiny works of art on pieces of wood of about 10 by 15 cm. You get a magnifying glass to look at the art pieces. At first glance, each art piece represents a very mundane habit, but if you look closely, each piece is absurd. In between each piece there is text. The text doesn’t necessarily say anything about the picture, but nonetheless, the pieces and text are interactive. Loved it!

Back to Naschmarkt I went, to pack my bags to go home. If you’re in that neighbourhood, there is a good burrito bar called El Burro. Cheap, cozy and delicious.

Now, that’s that. Auf Wiedersehen!

Goesting

Goesting is a small, barely noticeable establishment in Ghent where you can have lunch, soup, coffee, tea and, of course, lots of pie. What I like most about Goesting is its name, because it is a typical Flemish word that reflects exactly the feeling you get when you are craving something, whether it be food or something else. You can totally have “goesting” for a piece of pie, for example. The second thing I like about Goesting is its simplicity: the interior, the menu, the way they serve the food, everything is kept simple. But hey, less is more sometimes.

Because Goesting is located right next to the water, it’s a perfect spot for people watching. Especially considering it is located right by the Dille & Kamille (always a nice treat to pop in there)  as well as the busy Veldstraat, which means that there’s always plenty of cyclists and people walking by. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll find yourself basking in sunlight behind the glass window, which feels amazing, especially while sipping a cup of great coffee.

Where?  Goesting is located on the Predikherenlei 25 in Ghent.

When? Every day from 10am to 6pm, except for Tuesdays.

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December ’16

The last one of the year!

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A picture perfect blue sky in Ghent
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Finally putting my photos from my trip to Canada in a proper album
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Trying something new for breakfast: porridge with apple and cinnamon
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This enchanting view from the ferris wheel at the Brussels Christmas Market
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Seeing the Dom in Köln from the Christmas Market
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Completing my HAY kaleidoscope tray collection
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Forever my favourite gallery in Brussels
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A beautiful misty morning in Bruges
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Holiday prep with tea and Swedish chocolates
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A colourful and delicious mix of thyme and rosemary roasted vegetables, my favourite
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The Grand Place in Brussels in its stunning Christmas attire
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Celebrating Lucia at the Scandinavian language faculty at my old university
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Catsitting
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Last-minute decision to go into a crazy Christmas photo booth in Durbuy
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Waking up to this
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Decorating the Christmas tree and watching it from my living room. Hygge.
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Baking mince pies
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This castle and a sunset that, combined, look like something out of a Disney movie
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A boyfriend that know me really well

See you in 2017!