Oh man – what a week! Valentine’s day dinner was delish, I got some great news on Friday (see my last love), I officially joined my floorball team, and spring is finally here (though while I love the warmth, it’s unnerving that it was 60 degrees in the middle of February)! That, and it’s officially one month until I turn 29. Last week had its ups and downs, but I’m glad that everything happened.
I am obsessed with bury a friend by Billie Eilish. It’s like Lourde and Regina Spektor combined into an amazing sound.
Laneige everything! I tried a sample box of their overnight line and am obsessed. Wow. It’s been about a week and I’ll be repurchasing full sizes as soon as my samples are done.
A tiny bit of stretching each night has given me a bit less morning misery when I wake up after my weeks of much harder exercise. The pigeons are back in the tree outside our place. I don’t particularly like them, but they truly are the first sign of spring for us here in Gent. Those colour-block leather slingback that I mentioned last week? They’re perfect. I scored a few goals in one of my innebandy/floorball scrimmages last week, and I feel like I’m already improving! THIS piece of magic. I LOVE this hot air set from BaByliss. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover the wonder that is light, fluffy, slightly styled hair. It’s been an expensive month, but I’m highly considering this perfect spring sweater.
And now for the big one…I’ve been going to speech therapy for about a month to fix the way I speak and use my tongue. It’s been described as ‘infantile’, but we can already tell there’s a huge difference! Alongside that, for my insurance to cover my speech therapy I also have to fix a bite issue. So, tomorrow evening I’m getting fitted for my Invisalign trays! My dentist emailed me on Friday to let me know they were ready. She has been amazing and I’m so happy to have her treating me. I only have 22 sets and will be changing weekly, so fingers crossed it goes by fast and painlessly. Perfect teeth and speech, here I come!
Hopefully next week I’ll be saying that clearly and not lisping with a mouth full of plastic ????
Did you ever come upon something so remarkable and unexpected that it actually took your breath away?
I’m not often rendered speechless, but that’s exactly what happened to me on our trip to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring windmills from the 1740s.
After a successful, sunny day of eating, walking, shopping and general happiness in Rotterdam, PJ took me to one final place that I haven’t scratched off of my personal map. Being a bit of a windmill buff himself (I say buff, I mean expert), he was quite proud to show off his knowledge of the area’s existence.
Arriving precisely at golden hour made the experience even more magical, and gave us the opportunity to amble down the middle walkway and along the water at our own leisure, with 19 windmills at the edge of either side of the water. We had the added luxury of arriving late enough to skip an entry fee and the mass of tourists that make their way through the mills in the middle of the day.
With the blooming wildflowers and the sun hitting the mills and the water just right, it was a magical sight that I didn’t realize I’d been waiting to see for my entire time in this region of Europe.
I can highly recommend taking the time to drive/ride/cycle/walk out to seeing this extra-Dutch area if you’re around. It’s a stereotypical idea of what the Netherlands looks like, but it’s a real view of the countryside that you’ll never forget.
Here’s hoping for more beautiful adventures this spring!
Ah, quarantine, what a time to be alive – and to browse the April New In sections of all my favs. Even if I’m not really shopping at the moment – and I still have my March wishlist to go through- browsing is a fantastic distraction from cleaning companies having to tweet to their customers that they shouldn’t ingest bleach or inject isopropyl alcohol.
Let’s be honest, my list is actually WAY longer than this so I specifically left ASOS off this list of retailers or we’d be here til lockdown was over. To not make this any longer – let’s get into it.
April New In Wishlist
Let’s start things off with one of my fav Swedish retailers, a great store for basics and the most transparent fashion brand, according to Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index report.
After seeing the khaki version of this sweater with the all-over embroidery (on the right) on Jess from Copper Garden, I immediately added it to my list. Imagine my delight on finding the cream version with the arm embroidery – an exact replica of a blue sweater from H&M bought years ago and promptly wore to death. How much did I love it? So much that I wore it for my passport pictures. So you can be sure I’ll be wearing these on rotation during every cool summer night in the park.
After seeing this in Josie from Fashion Mumblr’s H&M picks, I knew I had to try it. While Josie’s style is a bit more feminine than mine, we can both agree that this dress is the perfect summer pick.
And now we head over to Spain for 2 top high street options, starting with Mango. I like to think of Mango as the more corporate cool sister to Zara’s edgy side. Though I haven’t been as impressed with Mango over the last year, their spring new in will have me ready for terrace Saturdays – as soon as we can safely enjoy them again.
I’m pretty sure every fashion blogger/vlogger/Instagrammer has made some sort of mention of this cami because, duh, look at it. It’s practically perfect in every way! Forgiving neckline, neutral shade, and an easily tuckable option for any type of bottoms. Extra points for being part of Mango’s Committed line.
One of my favourite blouses in my closet is in this style, but the thick fabric is not the most forgiving in the summer heat. I’m hoping this flowy number can be my picnic in the park option. Also a Committed option, made of 60% recycled polyester. Here’s another puff sleeve option I’m currently into.
I mean, I think it should go without saying why these are on my list – a perfect pair of non-denim black pants should be a staple in everyone’s closet and mine 5-year-old, ill-fitting pair didn’t make the move from Gent to Paris. Also, currently on sale for 19,99 €.
& Other Stories
I personally find shopping on & Other Stories’ website kind of difficult – I much prefer to go into the store and check out their offerings first hand.
Satin Mini Skirt
But seeing this perfect satin mini on Freddy in her Spring Stories video made me want to snatch it up immediately. Come 11 May*, that’s exactly what I’ll do.
*Small disclaimer – I’m not ordering at the moment because I don’t feel right ordering non-essential items. I don’t have a problem with anyone else doing it, it’s just a personal choice.
On to the finale with Zara – is it really a wishlist post if a few items from my weekly new in perusal don’t show up? Their S/S 2020 campaign is out of this world gorgeous – if you don’t know what I mean, head over to Zara site now and check out the campaign page or their new in. You won’t be disappointed.
Limited Edition Lace-Trimmed Top
Stunning. Lovely. Obsessed. What I can picture myself wearing in my little Parisian apartment as I get ready every morning.
Cardigan with Jewel Buttons
In the last few months, I have really become a cardigan lady. I’ve always enjoyed them, but the cardigan love is now fully real. I’m loving the pink and slightly metallic thread running through this one. Not super sure on the buttons, but easily replaceable if I don’t like them!
And, for the finale, the brightest, most beautiful spring top. I love everything about this. The neckline, the side-zip, and the print, my goodness. Sometimes you just want to be loud without speaking, and this is just the top for that. Brunch, here I come.
Some final items I’ve been looking into are jeans, like these H&M skinnies, these Mango push-ups, and these Mango cropped skinnies. I only have 3 pairs of skinnies in my closet, each in a different wash and all have a slightly different fit. Plus, I can never have enough denim.
And that’s that, ladies and gents! Have I missed anything else perfect from any other April New In sections? Let me know!
I’m not going to lie – I was a horrible grump this past Friday. I worked all day, got an email I didn’t like and became tired before we even left the house. And I always have this expectation about me being happy all the damn time. But, despite my contradicting mood I soldiered on (and got a mini-lecture from PJ on not letting shit affect me the way that it sometimes can, but such is my life as an over-thinker & dreamer with a real knack for cynicism).
Keen to make the most of the evening without letting my mood destroy it, we did what we do best (and what we’re currently doing now): found the best spot in the area, had a drink and watched the world go by, which is far funnier when the world in front of you is full of 110,000 drunk people.
PSA – if you don’t know about the Gentse Feesten, it’s a 10-day arts & culture festival taking place at venues all over the city. In the evening, it becomes a city-wide party, with concerts, DJs and rivers of Belgian beer flowing from every tap the city can handle.
Superette RTT (for some reason this link doesn’t work on mobile?! Get it together Facebook.)
Location: Oude Beestenmaarkt
We’ve been here pretty often when it’s open. This little pop-up makes the best pizza in town, has a great forest-vibe setup, and sits next to water across from a few bars. Perfect people-watching material. Can highly recommend the cava over the wines here.
A quick walk through town to the stage at Sint Jacobs is where I took the featured photo (which was also posted to the official @visitgent page), but also this one. An accurate representation of a normal, non-grumpy night:
We stopped to watch 2 minutes of a concert before my mind said a big old NOPE to the number of people around us that were way more intoxicated than I’ve ever consciously considered being. I’m 100% sure the girl selling jenever made an absolute killing on Friday.
Location: Smack in the middle of the City Pavilion and Korenmarkt, across from Sint Niklaas Kerk
Because we hadn’t properly celebrated PJ’s (most likely) passing of his exams, we went for the 3-glass tasting menu: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Titus was right to pen an entire song about it, even if I’m talking about grapes and his ode is to something slightly more risqué. Pinot Noir – you’re a star.
Just to reiterate these words of warning –there will be drunk people everywhere. A group of young kids, so stoned one poor guy could barely keep his eyes open, barreled their way onto the above-pictured terrace, ordered 6 cokes and ‘sneakily’ added red wine to their glasses when the waiters ‘weren’t looking’. No one was openly bothered, but I’d rather have shithead kids take their antics to a venue more prepared for their needs (and I mean that in the nicest way, I’m constantly a shithead).
Top tips for the grumpy girl:
Take a jacket. Euro summers are great, but this is Belgium. There’s a 99% chance you’ll be cold at night
Don’t wear white or shoes you like. You’ll probably have beers thrown on you. Whether accidental or on purpose is dependent on the situation. Again, Belgium.
Figure out how you’re getting home ahead of time. I’ll never condone drunken cycling (esp. since you get a hefty fine), and taxis/buses/trams can be hard to come by. If you’re close enough – walk. It’ll help you sober up if you choose to imbibe.
Don’t be grumpy. Take a shot of tequila if you can to get out of your funk. Would have served me (but not my head) well on Friday night.
Hope you have a good Gentsefeesten this year, and that you’re in a far better mood to enjoy.
This weekend, we whisked ourselves away on a pup-free (sorry Hobson, thanks Torrie!) weekend in the Loire Valley, bouncing around from château to château with 1 or 5 glasses of wine in-between (not all at once, cmon guys). And, honestly, I gasped out loud at how amazing some of these places are. From the hunting ‘lodge’ that inspired the design in Beauty and the Beast to an over-water wonder built my some of history’s strongest women, come along as I relive last weekend in the best way: memories of fun and food, obviously.
WHERE WE STAYED
After getting someinspirationonline, we started our adventure in Blois, which will never not be fun to say.
For me, that’s where the fun mostly ended. I’m sorry, Blois – you’re just not for me. We didn’t get to the Château de Blois in time to view it, and though grand, it wasn’t the reason for our visit to the valley. And while I was super keen to see the mechanical dragon clock across the square, it seems things were shut down for winter and I was left sorely disappointed and stomped my feet as we walked away to embark on a small tour of the town.
Yes, this is the château of the above-mentioned Disney related fame. PJ visited after a work meeting during the summer and had me green with envy when we FaceTimed, so I’ve been pestering him to visit ever since we made plans to be in the area. This place is STUNNING and has such an interesting history. Can you believe that it was created to be a private hunting lodge?!
We spent about two hours inside, visiting the rooms and the incredible centre double-staircase (allegedly built in this way so the king’s mistress could leave as the queen entered, leaving the entering regent none the wiser.
Location: Ideally located in – you guessed it – Chambord!
Cost: 15 EUR entry, but remember that you’ll need to pay for parking if you drive.
Top tip: Visiting any time outside of summer? Bring some layers. The weather outside was not bad, but inside I was freezing my suede-covered butt off.
After a quick drive through Tours and an impending rainstorm, we quickly decided that the ever-popular Chenonceau was next on our list.
It’s popular for a damn good reason.
Just look at this structure! It was absolutely beautiful, inside and out (bonus points because the fireplaces actually worked so my butt was nice and toasty throughout our visit). The château had a number of famous female inhabitants over the year – Catherine de Medici even ruled France from an office over the water for a time – and they expanded the size and grandeur over the years to make it the fascinating monument it is today.
My only regret is that we didn’t get to do a wine tasting, but that’s what Spring is for. Right? Thanks in advance, PJ.
Top tip: Take the tour, either with the booklet or histopad (included in your ticket price). It’s such an interesting place! Make sure to visit early in the day or at dusk for incredible light bouncing off the Cher river
Loire Valley Stop 3: Orleans
Why did we not stay here? I love this super quaint city, renowned for its liberation by the one and only Joan of Arc. And she. is. everywhere (for good reason, of course!)
As we were only stopping through, our tour was limited to the cathedral (gorgeous!), food (delish!) and Joan’s statue in one of the main squares (magnificent!), but I will easily go back and visit on a Saturday in Spring.
WHERE WE ATE
Le 12: Super cute wine and beer spot in central Blois. There’s a wine store inside, and all you have to do is tell them what kind of wines you like and they’ll bring you a recommendation to taste test before you order. Would highly recommend the mixed meat and cheese planche to go with your drink of choice.
Oh Terroir: Easily the best meal we had. It’s somewhat unassuming in Orléans, and the concept is that of ‘fast good’ – nice, quick food made from regional products. It was truly amazing – we each had a large lunch, glass of wine and water and dessert for a total of 38 EUR. And we were full. Would easily eat here again.
WHERE WE’D LIKE TO GO NEXT
Once we visit some more of Paris, I ‘ll happily go back and visit some of the other châteaux in the area! We tried to visit Château de Cheverny but didn’t have the time. Our next visit will definitely include Amboise so we can visit Château de Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his extraordinary life.
And I’d like to try some more wine. Some nice, dry, delicious Loire Valley wine. Who’s with me?
What would you recommend for our next trip down south?