New York, New York

It’s been two weeks since we’ve been back from the Big Apple, but I still reminisce about the good food, the incredible weather (it was HOT) and the hugeness of it all. About time I’d let you all know what I loved and didn’t love about the big city life. Let’s start off by saying I won’t be moving to Manhattan anytime soon: not enough green, too many people and too many tall buildings. I need some space. What I did love was the shopping, the food, the city life and the older more historical buildings. Let’s round up, shall we?

Where we stayed – 

We purposefully didn’t stay in the hustle and bustle of crowded Manhattan, but took our lodgings to an AirBnB in New Jersey. Great location because 1. We got the beautiful skyline of NYC as our daily view, 2. Not as crowded, more of a residential neighbourhood feel and yet 3. Only 15 minutes by shuttle bus from the city centre! We were happy to just come home and relax, prepare our own meals and unwind from the busy city.

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What we ate – 

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in New York it’s to not wait to get food until you’re starving, because you can expect lines at restaurants! If you get hangry, like me, it is in your boyfriend’s best interest to make sure you have your food stops locked in. Here’s some of our best food discoveries

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  • Shake Shack – fast, easy, but such tasty burgers. Also the best strawberry milkshake I’ve had in a while.
  • Dylan’s Candy Bar – it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed Charlie’s Chocolate Factory would look like. If you’re looking for candy that’s American or just really weird flavours, this is the place
  • Dough Donuts – We’ve tried a lot of donuts in our lifetime but these ones were just ‘wow’. The melt-in-your-mouth yet so flavourful kind. New York knows how to do donuts, that’s for sure. Another good one is the Doughnuttery, in Chelsea Market, which by the way is foodie heaven! These tiny donuts come in all kinds of funny flavours and let me tell you, the ‘Purple Pig’ flavour is finger-licking good!
  • Ample Hills Creamery – A decent place for regular ice-cream with a wide variety of flavours.
  • Taiyaki Ice Cream  – A really fun ice cream place that makes fresh cones that look like fish (they’re still a bit warm when you eat them so you can tell they are really freshly baked – very instagram worthy and with very quick and friendly service.
  • Grimaldi’s Pizza – We had our best slice of New York pizza at Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn, where you can share a large pizza and choose to have two sides with varying toppings, a nifty idea. Go on time to make sure you don’t have to wait in line.
  • Fika – If you’re craving a coffee break in an airconditioned, quiet space, this is your place.

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Where we shopped –

  • Sephora – As a beauty and skincare lover this was one of my personal highlights of the trip and I spoiled myself with some goodies for my birthday. You can find ANYTHING here. The one on 45th East Street is the biggest. Heaven is a place on earth.
  • Glossier Showroom – Another beauty favourite was the Glossier Showroom in Chinatown. I love the aesthetics of the place and brand and the fact that it’s so well hidden in a penthouse makes it all feel very luxurious. The products are high quality and remain very affordable!

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  • Barnes & Noble – If you like books, notebooks or other book-related stuff, this is the place to be.
  • Paper Source – This place is a stationery lover’s dream. It’s where I bough my new 2019 journal, but wanted to buy everything.
  • Brooklyn Flea Market – We went to the this flea market in Dumbo, Brooklyn, where the shade of the bridge lured us in. It’s a great place for original souvenirs, nice jewellery, furniture (which ached because we couldn’t take any home), clothes and nice smelling soaps.

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  • Chelsea Market – As said, it’s a foodie heaven, BUT it’s also a place where local designers show off their work and you can buy some of their stuff.

What we saw – 

  • High Line – An old railway between the meatpacking warehouses that is now a 3km long park, such innovative urban planning. Loooooved this bit of green!
  • 9/11 Memorial – A testimony to the tragedy of 9/11 and a beautiful place to hang and ponder life
  • Grand Central Station – Not amazing (and not as big as I’d always imagined) but still worth a visit because it is beautiful!
  • New York Public Library – One of my favourite places we visited. This library is everything. Marble staircases, elegantly lit reading rooms, grand hallways, ooh yes. Wonderful just wandering around here.

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  • Times Square – Overwhelming but worth a visit. We thought they had like an event going on or something, but nope, just the regular amount of people on a night in New York.
  • Top of the Rock – We were a bit unlucky with the weather because it was so overcast and misty, but still, views up here are amazing with Central Park on one side and the Empire State on the other. If you can, take some food and drinks and watch the sun set on the rooftop!

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  • MoMA – Bit of a whirlwind visit here, because we entered only an hour before closing time. We didn’t love the museum, but the museum garden was really nice.
  • Museum of Natural History – Very similar to the one in Brussels or Tervuren if you’re form Belgium. Good to know is that they let you pay the amount you want to get in (they have an indication price though).

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What we did – 

  • Central Park  – We rented bikes and helmets for the whole day and decided to tour Central Park so we could cover the whole area. On our way we visited the Natural History Museum, saw the Guggenheim Museum, spotted the different ponds and discovered there is only one-way lanes to bike the park. The park is HUGE, which also makes it less cozy, but we were glad to get out and about in the green.

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  • Coney Island – We took the time to take the metro down to Coney Island, which we loved. There’s a beach and and old 50s amusement park/ fair, which made for a nice day of relaxing, enjoying the sun and watching people go by. Take a picture in one of the photobooths as a souvenir.

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  • Washington – We took a really early train (still snoozing when I think about it) to Washington D.C. and saw all the sights! Best parts were the Library of Congress (gorgeous interior and tiling), the Smithsonian garden, and the US Botanic Garden. So different from NYC too, with lots of white buildings, open spaces and green.

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  • Staten Island ferry – This ferry service goes to and from Staten Island all day and in doing so, goes by the Statue of Liberty. And did I mention it is free? So basically, it’s a free tour past the statue (which is smaller than I imagined?)! You get on the boat in Manhattan, get off in Staten Island and get right back on. It takes about an hour there and back.
  • New York Mets – We decided to see a baseball game at Citifield Arena. If you can, try to get weekend tickets because the crowd was kind of sparse when we were there on a weekday.
  • Brooklyn Bridge – We spent some time in Dumbo, which we loved. We really took our time wandering around this area. Afterwards, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (super crowded) to get the full experience. Impressive though.

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That’s it folks! If you have any tips for us for next time, let me know!

Marrakech

Two weeks ago my mum and I took a little mother-daughter trip to Marrakech, Morocco. It reminded me a little bit of Lisbon (the colours), Peru (the landscapes) and Egypt (the lifestyle). I took lots of photos on our 6 day adventure, so I thought I’d share the best bits (as per usual) with you guys.

The Old Town (Medina)

We spent a full day exploring everything within the old city walls, the Medina. There is so many things to see! We booked a guide for a day so we could get our bearings of this city (that is totally a maze, by the way!) and we walked A LOT. Our first stop was the Djema-el Fna, which is the main square and basically where most of the action happens. There’s snake charmers, henna tattoo artists, little restaurants (at night), a plant market and lots of fruit stalls. Trying some freshly squeezed orange juice here is a must!

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We also went passed the Koutoubia Mosque, which is the highlight of the city. It can be seen from far away and heard too, when prayer begins. Even though we  couldn’t go in as a non-muslim, we very much enjoyed the looks of this architectural stunner from outside.

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We also paid the Saadian tombs and the Bahia Palace a visit, both of which are stunning. The tiling is just wow. I could walk around there all day just people-watching or reading underneath the trees.

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Other than that, the souqs were really interesting – we saw the leather processing, bargained (hard-core) prices and learned a lot about the different spices and medicinal remedies. We also got ourselves some of the famous argan oil.

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Jardin Majorelle + YSL Museum

We spent another half a day exploring the Majorelle garden and YSL Museum. One tip: if you plan on visiting the YSL museum anyways, get a ticket there! The line at the gardens is waaaaaay longer and by getting your ticket at the museum, you can skip the queue. Anyways, we made our way through the garden which was a-ma-zing, but a little but overcrowded to be enjoyed fully. I really enjoyed the bright colours of the yellow and blue that are so typical for this garden, as well as the cacti. The garden’s café is a nice relaxing place too if you want to stay a bit longer.

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The YSL museum is kind of disappointing, unless you are really really into fashion. It’s a nice museum though, with some cool features. The movie about YSL is interesting too.

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The Atlas Mountains

One main goal of the trip was to get out of the city too and explore a bit of the surrounding nature. So we booked a day trip with Marrakech Inspiring Tours (with our guide Abdul) and we would definitely recommend. Although the drive is pretty long, the tour never got boring and we made plenty of stops to enjoy and photograph the surroundings, which was nice.

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Aït Ben Haddou

One of the highlights of said day trip was the Aït Ben Haddou, a UNESCO heritage site that seems to be yet undiscovered by the masses, one of the things I loved about it so much. In the middle of the desert, these castle-like structures arise and behind it is an entire village (still inhabited). Interesting to see to say the least.

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Hammam

I absolutely wanted to try hammam while we were in Marrakech. It’s a bit of a strange experience to have someone wash and scrub down your entire body, but the massage afterwards was really nice and we came out rejuvenated. We booked our hamma experience through Les Bains de Marrakech.

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Le Jardin Secret

We spent our last day hanging around in the souqs and enjoying the serenity of this place called le Jardin Secret. This recently opened garden is a true oasis with lots of green and water. Different from the Jardin Majorelle though, because the plants are less exotic and more English-French garden-like, if that makes sense. The roof-top terrace is the perfect hangout spot to enjoy the garden.

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The Riad experience

It can be nice to get away from the hustle and bustle that is Marrakech city life, so when you are looking for a place, the riads are a perfect hideaway.  Really, there are tiny pieces of paradise in an overcrowded city. It’s like an oasis of piece and quiet. Best breakfast ever.

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That’s it, folks. Curious to see where I go next…? :-)

Until then,

Silke

Summer neutrals

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It was love at first sight with this dress from Ichi. It’s got everything I love in a dress: just the right length, stripes, neutrals but a really cool edgy cut. I love the off the shoulder element. Other than that it’s made out viscose which makes it light and breezy. I especially like pairing this dress with my hair up and red lips. You can buy the dress here.

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Dress – Ichi
Shoes – Esprit
Sunnies –  KOMONO

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100 things that make me happy

  1. Having a boyfriend that is thoughtful, listens to my complaining and still loves my sleepy face in the morning
  2. Waking up by a ray of sunshine peeking through the curtains
  3. Sleeping in freshly washed sheets
  4. Hearing the rain tickle the window
  5. Reading a book and not being able to stop
  6. Apple pie with vanilla ice cream
  7. Wearing a new pair of shoes for the first time
  8. Lighting candles and dimming the lights
  9. Seeing a shooting star

    c Chopsticksroad

  10. Sitting by the fire with friends and roasting a perfectly crisp marshmallow
  11. Children
  12. Making my grandma smile
  13. Trying new flavours of everything
  14. Celebrating my friends’ successes and steps in life and adulthood
  15. A glass of white wine on a Friday evening
  16. Arranging some freshly bought flowers
  17. Sipping my cup of tea at work first thing in the morning while going through my e-mails
  18. Getting that perfect ‘gram (@Belgenius)
  19. Learning new things
  20. Booking a trip and planning it
  21. Seeing the cats peek through our backyard window
  22. Opening a window of an advent calendar
    c Birten Pots
  23. Finding a cute note in my lunch box
  24. Putting away my winter coat
  25. Seeing the first signs of spring on the trees
  26. Spaghetti bolognese
  27. Getting an unexpected positive phone call
  28. Reading a good poem
  29. Going out for a spontaneous ice cream after work
  30. Standing up for someone on the bus or tram and getting a huge ‘thank you’
  31. Finding a song that fits my mood perfectly and playing it on repeat
  32. Karaoke in the car
  33. Catching the train by a few seconds
  34. Defrosting my hands at home after going through snowy weather
  35. Singing
  36. Getting a nice comment on one of my blog posts

    c Marisa Morea

  37. Going to a museum and (sometimes) not understanding what the hell I’m looking at
  38. Getting unexpected letters or messages from family and friends abroad
  39. Helping my family
  40. Hosting people and putting together a feast
  41. White chocolate pralines (manonkes)
  42. Doing yoga and not tumbling over
  43. The smell of freshly cut grass
  44. Having a day off to do absolutely nothing
  45. Eating breakfast on the train together
  46. Picknicks
  47. Reading the paper – makes me feel really adult and all that
  48. Buying new make-up that I’ve been dying to try
  49. Taking a bath with a gorgeous Lush bath bomb
  50. Spontaneously dancing to Norah Jones
  51. Irish music
    c Julianna Swaney
  52. Drinking cocktails on hot summer evenings
  53. Painting my toe nails metallic blue
  54. Going to the sauna
  55. Making lists (ha!)
  56. Watching a super cheesy romantic movie (I’ve seen Love Actually 10 times)
  57. Huge cacti
  58. The smell (and taste) of roasted vegetables with thyme and rosemary
  59. Buying presents for people
  60. Feeling the sand between my toes
  61. Sunsets
  62. Forest walks
  63. Learning a new language and having other people actually understand what I’m saying
  64. Wearing a perfectly matched outfit
  65. Photo albums
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  66. Feeling my skin after a face mask
  67. Watching a documentary and feeling really intelligent
  68. Illustrations that can portray a feeling in one image
  69. Seeing people being nice to other people
  70. Street musicians
  71. Finding second hand gems
  72. Spotting rainbows
  73. Dressing up for special occasions
  74. Scandinavian things
  75. Going to performances (stand-up comedy, theatre, music)
  76. Baking cake or cookies
  77. Hiking somewhere and finding it the worst and then loving it too
  78. Floors with cool motives
  79. Not watching the clock and forgetting about time
  80. The seaside
    c Vincent Mahé
  81. Palm trees – and exotic looking plants or places in general
  82. Greenhouses
  83. Visiting book shops
  84. Filling out my paper diary with my own colour coding
  85. Hedgehogs
  86. Going out for coffee on a Sunday afternoon
  87. Brussels
  88. The art deco houses in the streets
  89. Holding hands
  90. Sharing
  91. Long and floaty summer dresses
  92. Not setting an alarm
  93. Putting sunscreen on someone’s back as a smiley face
  94. Buying strawberries
  95. Sitting on a blanket in the park watching the clouds and people pass by
  96. Getting my hair cut
  97. Big windows
  98. Seeing people blow out birthday candles
  99. Hugging someone after a long time
  100. Getting the mail from the mail box

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