This weekend we had such a nice time exploring Boulogne-sur-Mer. I’m not entirely sure what inspired our trip there, but we got talking and immediately decided it was the perfect Autumn weekend destination because 1) the sea and 2) the AQUARIUM IS NO JOKE. We could’ve stayed in there for hours. It’s the type of place that I wish you could bring a bottle of wine and just enjoy the scenery. Like an underwater sunset. But not wet. And with no light. So nothing like that at all, really…
We arrived Friday night (after listening to Southern Nightmare on the way – super interesting but the first four episodes were alsosuper depressing). Because we know they allow dogs and we’re not fussy at all, we stayed in the Ibis just a few minutes walk from the city centre, and about 15 minutes from Nausicaa. Being the couple that we are, we brought a bottle of champagne and talked the night away. No complaints here, most of my favourite nights are spent with PJ, Hobson and a glass of something good, chatting about everything and nothing all at once.
On Saturday morning we took a beautiful walk through the town, stopping to admire the Saturday market and loaves of bread that were about as big as my torso, and definitely bigger than our tiny boy. We romped around the ramparts of the old town, enjoying the little streets, an installation of sculptures inspired by 16th-century poetry and fables by Jean de La Fontaine (like the city mouse and the country mouse).
We passed by the cutest buildings and bakeries, and after a mini Autumn-themed photoshoot with Bob, we made our way back to the hotel (obvi stopping for croissants on the way) so that the little nugget could pass out and we could make our way to the aquarium.
Yes. The aquarium. It. Was. Amazing. Much like the ocean, I also have a slight fear of aquariums. I always have that moment where my life flashes before my eyes and the glass cracks and all the water rushes out and the sharks devour me. A fairly active imagination, I know.
But man, this place. It was recently renovated and reopened. Split into two sections, the first takes you around one extremely large tank, with different viewing stations and information guiding you along. But once you get to the large view, it’s truly like a window into the depths. We made friends with some sharks and tiny fish and kept telling ourselves that we would watch one of the eagle rays pass “just one more time”. I’m certain they glided by us over 10 times before we finally moved to the second section.
This view alone is worth the admission ticket. Pro tip: take your break here. Buy a bottle of water and get off your feet for as long as you like and just enjoy it.
This was also quite nice, but my favourites were, of course, the sand tiger shark and sea lions. I love the penguins but prefer seeing them in Cape Town (which might be the most pretentious thing I’ve typed on this blog). We also tried to get in touch with our fishy friends in the touch tank, but the water was cold and those rays just weren’t having it anymore.
When we finally left, we walked past the water to a little place off the town square for some steak tartare, beef, fries and creme brûlée for dessert at Le Dôme’s terrace. I may have also peaked into Sephora since we don’t have those in Belgium…
In the evening, we walked Bob to the water and that golden hour sunlight did him well. I will always claim that my boy is the most handsome in the world (but all dog people do this, so my proof is rather subjective). Our evening ended with some beautiful fish dishes at Chez Jules. Definitely the place to go if you have a large party. If you want to go somewhere else on a Friday or Saturday night in the city, make sure you book a table in advance!
So, overall, 10/10 would recommend visiting this little town for a relaxed weekend of good food, sunny terraces, and hours among our under-the-water friends. Just don’t be like PJ and ask why they aren’t selling seafood in the aquarium. In there, fish are friends, not food.
To celebrate 6 years together, PJ and I travelled to a place we’d never been before – Marrakesh! It came about in a pretty funny away: we were searching for a good November location and each thought that the other wouldn’t be interested in a trip to Morocco until we finally brought it up over a glass of wine…and so we booked a trip back to the same continent where we met in 2012!
After countless Pinterest searches and endless travel blogs, I thought I was well prepared for the absolute chaos that is Marrakesh. From the motorcycles, horses and donkeys winding their ways through narrow souk alleys, to the call to prayer sounding from mosques all around the city, and the madness of Jemaa El-Fnaa Square with its monkey handlers, ever-changing food stalls and snake charmers; with all of that hustle and bustle, and the rush of tourists each way you looked, I can assure you that I was definitely not prepared.
But even amongst the chaos, you can easily find moments of calm. The sunsets over the square once we’d found refuge at a panoramic cafe or the roof of our riad, the soothing smells of our incredible hammam, and the little corners of buildings that you could think about living in forever.
And though it’s impossible to capture every aspect of a city with pictures, here’s the jumble of images with which I left Marrakesh (in addition to a magnet, straw bag, pair of sandals and argan oil in my hand baggage. I am a shopper, after all):
Marrakesh surprised me – not always in the best ways – but I’m so happy that we got to experience this incredible and intense city.
Have you been to Marrakesh or other parts of Morocco? What surprised you?
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 ????
This week has been long. It’s honestly hard to believe that we only got back from celebrating PJ’s graduation in London on Tuesday because it feels like it’s been a lifetime since then.
So. I’ve been thinking, and there are way too many things in my brain to be able to recount them to you, my friends, my colleagues, my boyfriend – even Hobson! Thus, I’ve decided to start up a new series (inspired by Grace Atwood’s weekend reading) on the things I’ve loved this week. I hope you enjoy. A small disclaimer – I know my tastes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea/coffee/wine/whatever, but I like what I like and, as someone who blogs, I love to share. I picked up this tinted mascara primer on Monday and was so presently surprised that I enjoyed wearing it by itself.
I just finished (like 5 minutes ago) Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and it was easily my favourite series finale episode ever. I know some people don’t like it, but it’s such a nice, lighthearted series that lets me take my mind off of other things.
I started playing floorball again! After my first foray back into it on Saturday in London, I mustered up the courage to meet a shit ton of new people and play with a bunch of guys who are way better than me. My legs were dead, but I felt like I did fairly well for my first time in a while. I did get one major high-sticking call, but they were pretty impressed with my control of the ball in the air, soooo I’ll not too upset about it.
I took up the Kondo method without watching her Netflix show once, though I did read this BF article. I hate watching people clean – it makes me feel extremely guilty since I just don’t have that need for my place to be spotless in me. I didn’t get the gene – sorry Mom. But it did make me feel better so I definitely understand why people use it.
I started listening to My Favorite Murder religiously and I feel like Georgia and Karen are my best older friends that will keep me young forever. Fun fact – they talk about my aunt in an episode! Another fun fact – they’re not very kind to her (she wasn’t a murderer, I promise) so I won’t be divulging the episode number here.
Started following a couple new Instagrammers recently: ZoeLaz and Haylsa for some inspiring imagery and beautiful editing. Love it.
And finally, today I read this incredible Vanity Fair feature on the life and unfortunate death of war correspondent Marie Colvin, the subject of A Private War, the new film starring Rosamund Pike. After reading, I’d love to see it.
What have you been loving this week? Leave me a comment (especially if it includes links or recs to new articles/podcasts/shows/movies)!
In June, after the French government allowed travel throughout the country – and even opened the borders – PJ and I decided that we both felt safe enough to brave the crowds and visit Versailles during the pandemic.
Since our holidays this year will focus on France (with the exception of going to see family in Belgium), it’s day and weekend trips around the country that are going to get us through the summer! We’ve already done a number of small trips, but they’ve been predominantly outdoors, like walking through gardens, taking drives, or enjoying some salty air on the beaches in Normandy.
Versailles during a pandemic was a bit of a different story.
Though we have a car, we don’t love to use it for short trips when public transport is so easy to use. That said, this isFrance, so of course, something went wrong.
There’s always a lot of work happening on the transport lines here, but the surprise was real as we showed up at the Invalides metro stop – to then take the RER to Versailles – only to be told that no trains were leaving from the station that day.
Because tickets to Versailles right now are based on a specific timetable, we were under a bit of time pressure to arrive perfectly on time (and PJ is always late). So, we scrambled to get on a metro to Montparnasse where we caught an A train to the main station in Versailles. 60 sweaty minutes later, we arrived, still more than early for our timed visit – or so we thought. Though we were technically 30 minutes early, we ended up waiting in line for about 1:15, entering the Palace close to 15 minutes after our entry time.
After donning our masks, slathering ourselves with hand sanitizer and stepping into Louis XIV’s world, the only thing left to do was walk and learn in awe. Each room has audioguide numbers that allowed you to listen about the palace’s history a little more intimately. It was slightly frustrating, as we went on a popular day, at a popular time, and they only let people inside in phases, so the minimal hall space became even less. We did manage to shake this feeling by finding the lease populous part of each room (very likely the spot with the worst views) and listened from there.
After some nourishment at Angelina’s (by that I, of course, mean coffee and sweet pastries), we made our way outside to the absolutely beautiful gardens of Versailles. To be completely honest, if this isn’t your first visit to the palace and are just keen to see it again, skip the inner tour and head straight to the back for the fountain and musical gardens show.
We ended up walking a lot, taking in the different shows at different parts of the gardens, but we finally watched what we had really come there for – some fantastic water art. 10/10 would recommend on a sunny afternoon!
Just make sure you’re in the best spot for the show (in my humble opinion).
Check the weather and go prepared! I didn’t bring a jacket and ended up soaked in a random rainstorm.
Take your mask and WEAR IT. In France, you now must wear a mask in all indoor public spaces.
Bring water and snacks in your bag, you never know how long you may be waiting in line to get in.
Go on a weekday if you can!
If not, try and go around 3 pm – especially if you’re more interested in seeing the musical gardens show which started at 3.30 pm.
Hungry? Have a sweet snack at Angelina! We chose to sit down for our snack, but you can also grab them to go.