26/09/2018

TRAVEL | How To Spend 48H in Brugge, Belgium


My best tips to explore this chocolate box town.

Last August, my boyfriend and I took a little trip to Brugge. This adorable town is located on the Dutch part of Belgium, and I had seen many a beautiful photo of the place. I had also read Gabrielle's praise on her blog (A Glass of Ice) of how Brugge was a lovely city for a European break. And I can now say, after spending two lovely days there, that it is definitely a gorgeous place to see.
Without further ado, here are my top tips to spend 48 hours in Brugge:

TRY SOME OF THE BEST FOOD (RESTAURANT TIPS BELOW!)
The holy trinity of food in Brugge is as follows: French fries, waffles, chocolate. So of course, my boyfriend and I tried all three of them. Eating in Brugge is a tad expensive - in general, I think that Brugge is not really a budget-friendly town, but you do get what you pay for. The place I loved the most, and where we went on our first afternoon there, is the Old Chocolate House. It is a chocolate shop downstairs, and you have to go upstairs to the tea room to have the most wonderful choice of hot chocolate I have ever seen. I picked the Ecuador chocolate, '70.4% cocoa with fruity accents, hints of coffee and rum'. Heaven in a bowl! You are given a little tray with a chocolate basket made of chocolate and full of chocolate buttons. You have to pour the chocolate baskets into a bowl of hot milk and stir it until the chocolate dissolves. The whole experience is really fun, and the menu is quite extensive, from darks to milk and white chocolate. You even have fruity ones!

The Old Chocolate House
Mariastraat 1a, 8000 Brugge


French fries (let's forget about the controversial name here...) can be found everywhere in Brugge, from sit-down restaurants to little takeaway places where you can get them as a snack. We personally decided to pay a visit to the Potato Bar, a hip place where, you guessed it, the specialty is potatoes. You can choose between three portion sizes, but the best things is the toppings. They make a real change from your plain ketchup and mayonnaise dips! I picked the truffle mayonnaise (a generous serving of creamy mayonnaise, with truffles and beetroot) while my boyfriend got a beef stew topping. Pick the smaller size serving, it is more than enough for one meal - unless you are really hungry.

Sint-Amandsstraat 31, 8000 Brugge


I won't go into too much detail about waffles - you can find them pretty much everywhere, they are all super yummy and they will be your afternoon sweet snack of choice if you visit Brugge - trust me!
The last place I wanted to mention is Salade Folle (which means Crazy Salad in French): a lovely, healthy food restaurant with serious Instagram vibes. I mean, my salad looked like a work of art. It is not the cheapest place to go, however you do get excellent food for the price you pay. 

Salade Folle
Walplein 13, 8000 Brugge


On a side-note, if you like toast - and like taking pictures of cute cafés even more than you like toast - head to That's Toast to try out one of their compositions. It's all toast, and it's yummy. Be there early though as it gets crowded very quickly and you may have to queue to be seated after 10 am.
Another thing to know is that restaurants in Brugge (I can't talk for the rest of Belgium though) don't have tap water. They will give you a glass bottle if you ask for water. One thing I've noticed, is that all restaurants generally have one beer on the menu that's cheaper than water... Just sayin'.

TAKE A BREWERY TOUR
If you have as little as 48 hours in a new place, I would recommend doing one thing that you wouldn't do anywhere else. For us, it was a brewery tour! De Halve Maan (The Half Moon) is an old brewery and pub that everybody knows in Brugge. They have been brewing their own beers for centuries, and you can learn all about the process during a brewery tour.


For 10€ per person, you get a guided tour as well as a coupon for one of their ales, the Brugse Zot, to try any time you wish after the tour is completed. No matter whether you are a beer geek or not, I would highly recommend this tour. Even my boyfriend, who does not drink, loved it. Great value for money, and it makes a change from your usual museum! 
Bonus point: during the tour you get to climb to the roofs of the brewery, and get a beautiful panoramic view of Brugge. 


WALK AROUND THE FAIRYTALE STREETS
My favourite thing in Brugge was to explore. It's a small town, so you can do everything by foot - or in a carriage drawn by horses if you're feeling fancy. My boyfriend and I had the best time walking around and just taking in the view. The place we liked most was the little quarter tucked away behind the Brugge Cathedral - just meander around the streets, and on a Friday afternoon, everything was so quiet that we could hear a pin drop...


Some of the landmarks you don't want to miss are the Markt, Brugge's market place, where you can see the Belfort. The bell rings every day and plays a long tune, which at first feels special, and after a while gets slightly annoying as it tingles in your ears. Trust me, that bell never stops. 
There are plenty of restaurants all around the market place, which we did not try, but I drooled more than once over the beauty of the buildings themselves. I mean...


Generally speaking, once you get outside of the main streets (where all the shops and restaurants are) you will find that Brugge is very quiet and relaxing. Go for a walk along the canal, find the prettiest houses on the outskirts, and don't stick with the town centre only - getting away from the crowds always feel like you're discovering the town as it really is.
There are other beautiful spots in Brugge that I will share in other posts, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

THE DO'S AND DON'TS
There are a few other things visitors to Brugge should know. The first one is a practical tip for you to survive: be careful with cars and bikes. I am under the impression that drivers on any type of vehicles in Brugge don't really care about pedestrians. There isn't a lot of cars driving around so you may well end up walking on the road or on the pavement regardless, but make sure you always check around you - most especially for bikes. People love bikes there. Dutch influence I assume!
Last but not least, I had to make a note on the churches in Brugge. I adore visiting churches. Whenever I go somewhere new in Europe, I look for the churches because they are often a museum in themselves. My boyfriend and I visited three religious landmarks in Brugge, and I have to say, I was far from impressed. The Basilica of the Holy Blood claims to possess a relic of the Blood of Christ. I was expecting a lot from the architecture and art inside the churches but each time I was disappointed. I would say none of them are a must to visit - however, you will see that the outside structures of all the churches are stunning. The bell towers are so high in the sky, and the doors and facades are beautiful and intricate, but that is where it stops. I am finishing on a little downer, I know, but I had to share my thoughts on that side too. But I may be a little picky - I do like my dramatic, baroque Italian churches thus I am a little biased...

Have you been to Brugge? What is the cutest town you've ever visited?
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14/09/2018

LIFESTYLE | Do What Makes You Happy


Don't waste more time.

With the popularity of self-care, personal growth and positivity movements, there is a consensus (and you'll probably agree with me) that to be happy, you should do what makes you so, no matter what others say. Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds, otherwise there wouldn't be a bazillion other posts like this one on the Internet. The truth is, social pressure is a real thing and it can hold you back in ways you would not even think about in your everyday life. Thus, it is why today I am here to tell you that you should always, always just do what you want. And fight for it!


Nothing lets your personality shine through more than doing what you like. Whether it is by doing a job you are passionate about and feel like it is worth getting up in the morning for, or finding the hobby that helps you unwind and makes you proud when you talk about it. Blogging is a particularly relevant activity for this: even though it is getting more and more common out there, blogging can still be stigmatised by some people, seen as stupid, useless, narcissistic, and so on. From raised eyebrows to comments on how superficial this whole hobby is, we've heard it all. How many bloggers like me have often decided to keep it a secret? I used to be very reluctant to talk about my blog and what I blogged about, mainly because of the negative ideas held by others who did not happen to enjoy blogging themselves. Well, thanks Karen, but I'm not a fan of aquabiking. Let me blog all I want. To each their own. 


There are many social situations where we restrain ourselves from expressing what we really want to say or do. The first instinct, when you get into a group, is often to 'go with the flow' and adapt to the people you are interacting with. This can lead to a lot of frustration, especially if you would very much to express something about yourself that you think wouldn't fit in at that moment. As an introvert, I have lived this too many times: not talking about something I love because it seems like it isn't to the others' taste, diminishing myself or giggling out of embarrassment when someone makes a comment that I do not agree with... Preventing myself from being me, basically.

Now, I think this is wrong. I should never be made to feel like I should not share about what makes me happy and what I love doing. I should surround myself with people who love me for all that makes me, me. People who understand and support me along the way. This is what friends and (valuable) family are for. 
Because nothing will make you happier than doing what you want, no matter how silly other people may think it is. And for me, it sometimes mean posing for pictures in public places. People will look, people may think it's weird, but it makes me happy, confident and fuels my creativity, so I will keep doing it as long as I want to. The most important thing is to keep yourself happy, fulfilled and let that fire burn. Listen to yourself, be bold, and do the things that makes you smile.

What is the one thing you love and will do no matter what?
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04/09/2018

BEAUTY | The Best Tips for Curly Hair


It takes a while to master curly hair, so let us share our ancestral knowledge. 

Every time someone with straight hair tells me 'I wish I had curly hair like you!' I am of course flattered, but most of all, I remind them what a hassle it is to take care of curly hair. It gets frizzy, it gets dry, it is more often than not impossible to style properly and you can easily look like a mad scientist if you don't pay too much attention. 
However, curly hair does look amazing when it's taken care of, and over the years of having curly hair in different lengths and more or less healthy, I have gathered a few pieces of advice I would give to anybody with curly hair. Here is what the years taught me...

MOISTURISE
Keeping your hair moisturised is the first thing I would advise to anybody with any type of hairr, really. But this gets even more important with curly hair, because if your hair is super dry, the curls won't hold. It needs some moisture to curl up properly and form those pretty round, shiny locks that we like. 
Now, I don't have any particular products to recommend. What I would say is that you don't need to use products specifically designed for curly hair. Go for dry hair ranges. I really like Dove hair products, as well as L'Oréal. Typically, I wash my hair three times a week, roughly every two days - mainly because the roots get oily. I use shampoo and conditioner, and I will also do an oil mask once a week. The more moisture, the better.

LESS (PRODUCT) IS MORE
As for leave-in conditioner, mousse, spray and all that jazz, I will only say that less is more. I find that it's easy to put in too much product and end up with cardboard hair, or very artificial-looking curls. Too much product also causes hair to get oily quicker. I usually only stick to curly hair mousse, which I apply both on wet hair straight after I've washed it, and then a couple more times throughout the drying process (I let my hair dry naturally). On second day hair, I will also run a handful of mousse to style it after I slept on the curls. I find that mousse helps give structure to the curls and running your fingers through your hair to style it is the easiest way to have a nice, natural finish.
However, since I have now cut my hair quite short I will try and not use any mousse at all. Time will tell if that makes a difference or not! One thing with curly hair is that you keep experimenting over and over again no matter what.


WASH IT UPSIDE DOWN
One thing I got from my mum is to wash my hair with my head upside down in the bathtub. That means I never really wash my hair at the same time as I do my body, but it's a routine I've gotten used to and that I love because it gives a lot of volume to your hair. I find that when I wash my hair standing in the shower, all the water weighs down the hair a lot and once it dries, my hair looks a lot flatter than when I wash it with my head upside down.
I also always put my head upside down and run my fingers through the hair during the drying process, because it helps separate the locks and, again, gives better volume. Same when applying mousse. Try it out and see if it makes a difference!

IT'S ALL ABOUT HOW IT FALLS
I used to think the most important in creating your curls was the washing and the products you use, but over the years I've found out that actually, it is how you style them that makes the most difference. Curly hair is easy to shape and, both with a little hair product and with your fingers, you can change up how it looks in a few seconds. Arrange the locks, pin a few sections here and there, untangle some areas with your fingers, and you will be able to make the hair fall differently. Of course it won't necessarily stay put throughout the day, but this is another thing you have to accept with curly hair - it won't look the same when it is freshly washed after a few hours outside in the wind. You can still make it fall as you want it to and touch it up during the day. Or even better - embrace the wild look and the frizz!

Do you have curly hair? What are your best tips to keep your hair healthy?
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