Anna – specialty coffee bar

I stumbled across this cute coffee bar as I made my way back to the underground parking in Leuven, but boy was I glad it happened! Although I’m sure there’s plenty of hip coffee bars in Leuven, I feel like there’s not a lot that are open on a Sunday AND close to the city centre. Well, this one is!

Anna is, as its full name suggests, a specialty coffee bar. But no need to worry, fellow tea lovers out there, they also have a wide selection of specialty teas. Oh yes! “Can I get a piece of pie with that?”, I hear you ask. Sure thing! Just walk in, choose one of the ones on sale that day  or just order all of them if you’re feelin’ frisky. Seriously, their sweet iced lattes are a treat on their own too though. A perfect place for… – you guessed it – fika!

Where? Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 27, 3010 Leuven

When? Mondays to Fridays from 8am till 6pm, Saturdays from 10am till 6pm and Sundays from 12pm till 6pm.

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Moon food

As I was looking for a vegan place to eat in Brussels, I realised there was only one place that ticked all the boxes: Moon food. This café near the Central Station describes itself as the first vegan café in Brussels and I think that must be true. Truly everything they serve, from breakfast options to lunch and dinner as well as dessert is vegan. What I like most about the place is how the wooden interior with lots of plants; it adds to the plant-based feel of the place. Another plus is that their food is served as a buffet and you can pick and choose whatever you like. Just let the people behind the counter weigh your plate afterwards and pay for exactly what you can eat. Or you can simply take-away your food, which is great.

Where? Koloniënstraat 58, 1000 Brussels (right on the corner), very close to the Warandepark and Bozar

When? Monday through to Friday from 12PM till 8PM

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Take Five Espresso Bar

It’s time for some another #HOTSPOT for the coffee and cake lovers. Take Five Espresso bar is, as the name suggests, an espresso bar with different types of coffee and delicious homemade baked goodies. It’s a great place to peoplewatch, because the street the café is on is often busy with people going past. Good thing the bar has a huge window you can silently sip your coffee. They also have free WiFi, which makes it a good place to do group work, have meetings or book a trip with friends in a cozy yet simple environment. Check out the tiles too, they are very pretty :-)

Where?  Take Five Espresso bar is located really close to the city centre, which makes it an ideal place to take a break from shopping or sightseeing. It’s located at Volderstraat 10, 9000 Gent.

When? You can grab a coffee to go or sit down Mondays to Fridays from 8am to 6pm or on Saturdays from 9am to 6pm.

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Helen B.

When I stumbled across Helen B’s instagram account, it was love at first sight. The joy that her designs spark in such simplicity, is what I love most. Her drawings always put a smile on my face. And, as I’m always interested in supporting local or national artists and creators, I took a little trip to her shop in Ghent (a good excuse to go back again!). Let me tell you, it was hard to decide what to get. Funny story; a few weeks later, one of my friends bought me a couple of extra coffee mugs for my birthday. Turned out we had discovered this cute shop separately, but shared a mutual love for the designer.

Where? You can buy stuff from the webshop on the website but I’m more of an old school shopper, so you can go to the shop at Bij Sint-Jacobs 7, 9000 Ghent. On the website, there’s a list with all the other shops that sell Helen B.

When? Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 10am to 6pm and every first Sunday of the month from 11am to 5pm.

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Chouconut

If there’s one thing you should know about me, or perhaps you already do, it’s that I adore discovering places that are perfect for fika, a moment in our busy week where we take time to catch up and talk, have a good coffee and have an even more heavenly bit of sweet cake. I’d say me and my boyfriend do this once a week, and really, it is my favourite thing in the whole world. Obviously, I don’t want to deprive anyone of the cozy and delicious places that I have found myself, hence I set up a blog category called #HOTSPOT.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Chouconut, a place that describes itself as a tea salon and patisserie.  The name pretty much says it all, it’s a bakery that combines chous (soesjes), cookies and donuts. Their sweets are best had shared, because that way you can try different flavours. They are exquisite! And the whipped cream you get on your nose, that’s just something you have to deal with. It’s part of the fun. :-)

Where? Chouconut is only a few steps away from the metro/tram stop ‘Hallepoort/Porte de Hal’ in Sint-Gillis, Brussels, so very easy to get to. There’s a couple of cool shops on that same street too.

When?  Chouconut is open Tuesday-Thursday from 10am to 6.30pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 6.30pm. It’s closed Mondays and Fridays.

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Hallerbos

When the weather is nice (read: when it’s not raining), we like to spend most of our time outdoors. Today we spent the morning at the Hallerbos, the Blue Forest. Around this time of year (next week actually), the forest becomes enchanting with the blooming of the blue, purple bluebells covering and colouring the surface. To beat the crowds, we went a little bit “too early” with some of the bluebells still closed. Nevertheless, a ‘would recommend’ forest. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

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