Slow living in the Ardennes

This summer, after our big trip to NYC, which you can read about here , we decided to switch things up and go on a holiday in our own country for a change to unwind and relax to the fullest. So, I booked a tiny house in the Ardennes, the most foresty area in Belgium, without a wifi connection. It was delightful! We slowed down, we read (lots), we  cooked, we hung around, we went for walks, we watched dvd’s, we did all the things that disappear too easily from daily life because a to do-list gets in the way.

The place we spent these 5 days at, was perfect for it. I booked with two very friendly people called Chantal and Salva, who have converted this trailer into a proper tiny house for two. They paid attention to every small detail and almost everything is made out of wood. Cozy for sure, comfortable , yes, that too! The trailer is located in a small village called Trou de Bra, which is part of Lierneux. Not too far away you can find Spa, Trois Ponts and Coo. Although close to the renters, we were surrounded by nature. The garden that they created is perfectly suitable to enjoy these surroundings too: there’s a hammock, a barbecue, picknick table, etc. There was also a cute wood stove in the house which we didn’t use (30°C was plenty, thanks) but who knows, we might go back in winter to do it all again. In case you’re interested, the place is called Coeur de Roulotte and you can find more info about booking here.

Despite the small digital detox (I did log in once or twice when visiting the cities), I did take lots of photos because it’s what I love doing. An impression of our stay is what follows. Hope you enjoy! :-)

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_174704

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_121511

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_174523

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_174517

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_144001

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_205229

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_163130

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_193739

thumbnail_IMG_20180802_124648

thumbnail_IMG_20180731_143055

thumbnail_IMG_20180731_111437

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_175754

thumbnail_IMG_20180731_155247

thumbnail_IMG_20180802_143016

thumbnail_IMG_20180731_195200

thumbnail_IMG_20180801_141751

thumbnail_IMG_20180801_153646

thumbnail_IMG_20180801_144756

thumbnail_IMG_20180802_165247

thumbnail_IMG_20180731_085511

thumbnail_IMG_20180731_152044

thumbnail_IMG_20180801_164920_462

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_174914

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_174824

thumbnail_IMG_20180730_174934

March ’18

What little things made me happy this past month of March? It was an incredibly busy month so I didn’t even have time to take photos, but here are some snapshots of some happy bits.

Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 19.32.04
Spotting the first blossoms of the year
Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 19.32.42
Celebrating two years with this fella
Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 19.32.27
Spending the weekend in Antwerp exploring the city
Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 19.31.54
Perhaps my favourite part… seeing the project I’ve been working on for over a year come into being. Little bit proud.
Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 19.32.51
Getting a bit of spring in our house
Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 19.32.12
Enjoying the first sunny day by eating ice cream and visiting one of the project’s art installations.
IMG_20180324_171536
A fresh pint on a sunny terrace
IMG_20180325_154846
A walk in the forest

February ’18

Here are the little things that made me happy in February.

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 11.30.07
This home cooked roast at home
Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 11.30.15
A refreshing walk in the park
IMG_20180204_154206
Exploring the vintage market in Brussels with my girlfriends
Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 11.30.23
A night out to see a comedian in a fancy decor
IMG_20180205_153213
A cup of coffee whilst shopping with my mum
IMG_20180228_195326
A surprise gift from my sister in Uruguay!
IMG_20180210_144300
A day out and about in sunny Ghent
IMG_20180210_124511
And along with that the first rays of sun and hence a coffee OUTSIDE
IMG_20180210_121057
This nice shadow drawing on the wall
IMG_20180210_170229
Finding the ‘Gelukstraat’ or ‘Happiness street’ 
Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.34.44
Our trip to Norway

Norway – the best of

A week ago, we came back from the cold north that is Norway and were blown away by the astonishing landscapes and dreamy, wintery views. We will definitely be going back in summertime someday to see the great contrast. Because I’m all about spreading the joy, I thought I’d share my favourite bits and pieces, including photos, of our trip. We stayed in Oslo for four days and took the Oslo-Bergen railway to, you guessed it, Bergen, where we spent another 3 days before heading home.

Oslo

Things you shouldn’t miss

  • Oslo Operahus. It’s undeniably one of the city’s architectural masterpieces. Impressive in winter, with the frozen harbour, I can only imagine the grandiosity it must radiate in summer, when the roof is the best place to catch some of that sparse soleil.
  • Korketrekkeren. This translates to the English equivalent of “The Corkscrew”. It used to be a winter sport practice course, but is now open to everyone for… sledding! And it’s one of the most fun things I’ve done in the snow for sure. You simply take Metro line 1 up till  Frognerseterveien, where you rent a sledge and helmet and off you go! And what’s even better is that you can take the metro back up at Midstuen and go again. Easy peasy.
  • Norsk Folkemuseum.  Although a bit chilly and slippery in winter, the peace and quiet of the outdoor museum and the colourful old houses make up for it. If you plan to go, try going on the weekends, when they have lots of activities going on, even in winter. We did some banana and chocolate grilling on the campfire.
  • Det Kongelige Slottet. The royal palace is located on a bit of a hill and offers a fantastic view over the main shopping streets and a beautiful park.

screen-shot-2018-03-04-at-14-59-59.png

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.00.33

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.00.24

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 14.59.39

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 14.59.48

Things you can skip

  • Vikingskipmuseet. Although the viking ships are impressive, you’ve pretty much seen everything the museum has to offer on their website. 100 NOK felt a little bit much for the size of the museum. A tourist trap, if you ask me.
  • Nasjonalmuseet. The museum itself is relatively big and provided me with an okay indoor visit, but you won’t be missing out much if you skip it.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 14.59.30

Places to eat

  • Gryn. A concept restaurant that specialises in porridge with typically Norwegian ingredients like brunost (brown cheese) as well as waffles (savoury and sweet). Great place for a quick lunch!
  • Munchies. With two places in Oslo, they are the best burger places. Quick, easy, delicious. Try the sweet potato fries.
  • Rent Mel. Although expensive, this pizza place next to a hotel, had a-ma-zing pizza’s. The best.
  • Taco Republica. This place has delicious taco options. You can mix and match to your liking. Make sure to book a table, though.
  • Retrolykke Kaffebar. The best place to try waffles with jelly and cream. The entire interior reminds of the 50s and 60s. I love the mismatched cutlery, cups and plates.
  • Liebling. A good place for lunch or coffee. Cozy and homey with plenty of space. Great pie. They also have a variety of colourful lattes.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.00.14.png

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.00.52.png

To shop

  • Norway Design. The best place for design. Also a stationary lover’s dream.
  • Ting. Cute little gadgets that you don’t need but desperately want anyways.
  • Glasmagasinet. Basically, you could’ve just left me here to live and I would’ve been perfectly happy. It’s like a dream for any design lover. They also have a fabulous Kicks department which is perfect for any make-up or skincare lover.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.00.43.png

Oslo – Bergen railway

A highlight of our trip was definitely the Oslo-Bergen railway. We had booked tickets 2 months in advance, which was the perfect time because that’s when you get the “minipris”, which is cheap tickets. You get to choose your seats and there is no hassle of checking in, just hop on. Bring plenty of snacks and reading or listening material because you are settling in for a 6 hour train ride. Things never get boring because after every tunnel, a new and magical scenery appears. Sit back, relax and enjoy (it’s easy).

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.07.25

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.07.37

Bergen

Things you shouldn’t miss

  • Bryggen. The row of old Hanse houses is one colourful sight to say the least. If you’re lucky the sun will come out and the harbour view will be one to never forget. (Or very lucky, because apparently there’s 320 days of rain in Bergen!)
  • Fjord tour. You can simply not leave Bergen without exploring the fjords a bit more. Even in winter, there’s tours running. Although I’m pretty sure the Norway in a Nutshell tour is better (but our budget didn’t allow for it), we did the Mostraumen fjord tour. Nonetheless spectacular! We booked ours through Fjord Tours.
  • Fløibanen. Take up the funicular (with a 26 degree slope!) to Fløyen and you will be rewarded with an amazing view over the city and the harbour as well as the surrounding mountains. It’s when you realise why Bergen is called Bergen! If possible, go for a hike or a ski. We got stuck knee-deep in the snow, but had an enjoyable walk nonetheless. And the hot chocolate afterwards with that view is just the best.
  • Audhild Viken. An all-year-round Christmas shop. I didn’t know it was a thing, but I am so glad that it is! You’ll come out cheery, singing “Jingle Bells” in no time.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.35.03

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.35.14

Places to eat

  • Pingvinen. The best restaurant we went to for the entirety of the trip! Also very popular with the locals, which says a lot. They have daily specials, of which we tried the Plukkfisk and the Raspeballer. Typical Norwegian flavours assured.
  • Blom. If you’re looking for a strong, specialty coffee, Blom is the place to be. Clean, crisp, cozy.
  • Alléhjørnet Thai. Also very popular with the locals, we had some delicious pad thai at this place. Can’t go wrong.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.34.44

Where to sleep

  • Citybox Oslo. A very easy and new concept hotel. You do everything yourself: from check-in, payment to luggage storage and check-out. If you really need help or more towels, you can go to the management office, but we loved this hassle-free and easy stay. Also very close to the train station and the city centre!

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.34.54.png

Next up…? I’ll leave that to be a surprise! :)

 

January ’18

screen-shot-2018-01-28-at-17-24-31.png
I rediscovered the fun in reading and am absolutely loving reading everywhere and anytime I can
Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 17.25.22
This bargain of a dress. Read about it here.
Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 17.25.03
Saw Alt-J live in concert in Vorst
Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 17.25.14
I won the bean in the Three Kings’ Cake ( a celebration on the 6th of January)
Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 17.24.38
Went to Brussels Jazz Festival at Flagey
Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 17.24.56
Ate pasteis de nata at Forcado
Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 17.24.20
Brought together a bunch of artists for a work project and had an inspiring and productive brainstorm
Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 17.24.47
Made some healthy breakfast cookies. Find the recipe here.
IMG_20180117_185720.jpg
My boyfriend opened a one evening restaurant just for me
IMG_20180118_203706
Brussels by night
IMG_20180125_130252
Visited the Engelenburcht for work
IMG_20180121_153012
Played Scrabble on a cold Sunday
Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 17.11.25.png
Some colour in the morning
Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 17.11.35.png
Chandeliers on a regular week day
Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 17.11.44
Made a refreshing walk in the park

2017 in hindsight

This year has been a year of change, both on personal and professional grounds. Not only did I move to a different city that was entirely new to me, Brussels, but I also moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend Gillian. Only a few days later, I started my first ever ‘real’ job. It’s been a year of finding balance between visiting family, catching up with friends and spending enough time with each other (because living together doesn’t automatically mean you get to talk or see each other a lot) as well as work obligations and finding time for myself (aka blogging).

It’s been a year of learning and growing from both positive and negative experiences, but I guess that’s what makes life so interesting. I’m pretty sure I’ll  learn even more in the year to come, and that makes me both excited and a little bit scared. But most things that are worth it, are a little bit scary. We already have an exciting trip planned and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Whenever I look back on a certain amount of time – a month, a year – I feel very blessed and full. When you’re so busy and very much in the moment, it’s nice to reflect and come to realise that you’ve experienced A LOT. It’s magnificent. Here’s some of my favourite moments from 2017. Let’s toast to many more…

In January I spent my last time solo travelling (for now) in Vienna (more photos over here) and realised that once you’ve found your partner in crime, travel buddy aka love of your life, it’ll never be the same. It’s also the month we moved into our first apartment together. I can’t describe it anything but chaotic bliss.

15894463_10209866054661681_6459688970674923309_n15895473_10209882669597044_4921963867967505556_o

In February, I spent the first full month working and really enjoying all the different office views. We also spent a wonderful weekend in Paris for Valentine’s day (more photos here).

dsc09964

img_13921

In March, I was reunited with my little sister, Pia, from Uruguay. We met when on exchange in Australia, where she became my host sister and have been friends ever since. Whenever we meet, no matter how long since the last time, it’s like we see each other every day. It was also the month Gillian and I bought our first car together.

img_1942

img_1523

In April, I was surrounded by flowers and friends, a good combo. We took on swimming as a new hobby and it was also the month I donated over 20 centimetres of my hair to the Think Pink foundation, a change to say the least!

screen-shot-2017-05-01-at-20-05-40.png

screen-shot-2017-05-01-at-20-05-111.png

screen-shot-2017-05-01-at-20-05-55.png

May was all about taking it easy and exploring Brussels, which was exactly what I needed. We also took a little holiday to Lisbon in Portugal (more photos here) and life was simply perfect and perfectly simple.

screen-shot-2017-06-11-at-10-58-57.png

screen-shot-2017-06-11-at-10-57-59

18766796_10211188622445049_7512225371794524035_o

In June we took a weekent trip to the Belgian coast and we enjoyed everything from my birthday to the little things, and everything in between.

19264692_10211460640805338_5794656127139928599_o

img_20170617_142626

In July I visited Pia during her exchange in Valencia and got a taste of real summer. More photos here.

Screen Shot 2017-12-24 at 23.52.34.png

Screen Shot 2017-12-24 at 23.54.05.png

August was a busy month, but we managed to squeeze in a little weekend getaway to the Dutch regions, Zeeland and breathe in some of that salty sea air. More photos here.

dsc01056-copy

September was so busy that I focused most of my spare time on friends and family and didn’t have the proper time to record any of it.

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 00.00.33.png

In October I spent a weekend with my girlfriends in the Ardennes and the weather was a-ma-zing.  Golden hour has never been so golden as that weekend. More photos here.

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 00.02.26.png

In November my boyfriend and I took a long awaited vacation and spent our time travelling through two fantastic countries, Peru and Bolivia. You can read more about the trip by clicking on both countries.

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 00.08.59.png

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 00.08.46

The final month of 2017 was spent in cozy corners with good company and great food, the way life should be. We enjoyed the warmth and comfort of our home and created our own bit of hygge.

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 00.11.09.png

See you in the next year? :-)

Love,

Silke