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.

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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).

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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See you in the next year? :-)

Love,

Silke

December ’17

Quite unbelievable that this blog post is already the last one of this year in the monthly favourites category. Warning for this one: there’s a lot of Christmas related photos. :-)

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Doing the Christmas shopping together
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Sinterklaas making an unsuspected stop at our house
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Visiting the Christmas Market in Leuven
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Scoring these 5 books for the mere price of 5 euros at the travel book sale at work
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Soaking in the wintery atmosphere all around the city
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Decorating the Christmas tree with some holiday cheers in the background
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Admiring the result from the couch next to the makeshift fireplace
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Wearing ridiculous hats at the British Shop
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Drinking tea on a Sunday evening in my favourite mug
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Playing laser tag with the extended friends crew
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Not needing anything from IKEA but ending up needing everything from IKEA
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Pulling out the ugly Christmas sweaters and loving it
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Baking gingerbread cookies
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Admiring the Christmas light show at the Grand Place in Brussels
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Spending another Christmas in the company of good friends and crazy family with way too much food

Love,

Silke

Peru – the highlights

Last month, we spent some time travelling, and it was the best thing ever. My boyfriend and I went on a group tour to Peru and Bolivia with Koning Aap for 24 days. We came back enthused and with recharged batteries from another trip of a lifetime. Because people are curious and keep asking me what the best part was, here’s a round-up of the best bits (- warning! there’s a lot!).

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Tip! Take the Lonely Planet guide: it was our go to book for recommendations on nice area’s, markets and places to eat and it’s never disappointed us.

Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa

If you’re ever in Arequipa (2300m), this monastery is a must! This maze of little streets and houses is surprisingly cheerful. With the contrasting colours of blue and orange, this monastery almost made me want to move in. Almost.

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Ballestas Islands

These islands in the Pisco region just of Paracas are a must for wildlife lovers. The islands are overthrown with guano birds and it’s hard to miss them (or their poop too :) ) when visiting the islands by boat. We also spotted one Humboldt penguin, lots of fur seals and other sea birds. It’s a pretty spectacular sight to see.

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Colca Canyon

Besides the obvious highlights of the trip, this was my favourite part. This canyon is one of the deepest in the world (up to 4600 metres in depth) and is therefore mindbogglingly impressive. Highest point of the canyon is 4600 metres and breathtaking (although sometimes literally). Highlight of our days spent in the canyon was a 50 minute hike to the Cruz del Condor, a viewing platform to spot the condors. A good tip is to not necessarily hang around at the spot if you don’t see condors, because they might be a couple of metres the other way. We spotted no less than 14! Needless to say, we praised ourselves incredibly lucky!

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Huacachina

This oasis in the middle of the dessert is a peculiar sight to see. Because I’d heard the only way to properly view the oasis was from the top of the sand dunes, we didn’t hesitate to book a buggy and sand dune boarding tour. My throat was soar from screaming and I’m still not entirely sure whether it was from excitement or from terror, perhaps a bit of both. The drive was so worth it though, and I think I’ll let the photos speak for themselves here.

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Nazca lines

Nazca is a very desert-y and rocky area and there wouldn’t be much to see if it weren’t for the huge Nazca lines. These ancient drawings compose the weirdest figures but to see them from a 6 person airplane made them all the more spectacular to me. A must.

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Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

Because we wanted to have the first view of Machu Picchu the right way, we decided to walk part of the Inca Trail. We enrolled ourselves for the 2 day trek. Really, it’s only one day of walking, but the 12km took no less than 7 hours and was, well, challenging. Pathways are narrow, uneven and 80% of the time, uphill. Nonetheless, there is a lot to enjoy on the way with amazing views on the way as well as the the Wiñay Wayna and the Inti Punku (Sun Gate). Even though it’s only a day worth of hiking, you can’t help but feel ecstatic when you catch that first glimpse of the impressive Inca site that is Machu Picchu. Let’s just say there’s something magical surrounding the whole site and experience.

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Cusco

Out of all the cities or towns we visited in Peru, I think this must’ve been our favourite. There’s a relaxed atmosphere and a decent amount of nice cafés and good restaurants. Don’t forget to go up the San Blas area in the city, it’s got some nice little streets in dreamy blue and white.

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I’ll be posting a blogpost on the best bits of Bolivia soon too! :) Keep an eye out for it.

Until then,

Love,

Silke

October ’17

Before I’m off on a month of travelling, I want to tell you all about the best bits of October…

Spending a weekend surrounded by nature during the hottest indian summer weekend with my best friends in the Ardennes
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Coming back to work on a Monday with this sunny view
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Seeing some music playing at the Wagehuys in Leuven
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Matching my new wind jacket with a Pink Lady
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Pretty houses, trees and sunshine are pretty much the perfect combination to put me in a good mood
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Using my boyfriend’s beard as a monkey – I thought this was hilarious and it is now my phone’s background
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Seeing some folk music and having a drink before the show in this lovely interior
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Watching the Virgin Suicides
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Celebrating the 200th birthday of my favourite university 
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Seeing Bazar in concert in Antwerp
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Soaking up some sun on the train
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Playing board games in our PJs while drinking hot chocolate (and totally acing the Chubby Bunny challenge)
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Having a drink on the Vosseplein in the Marolles – a random day off during the week
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This cozy cabin for our girls weekend
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Even a blurry and crooked picture of Ghent looks nice – just sayin’
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Early mornings aren’t as bad when they’re like this

 

The Ardennes

Last weekend, I spent some quality time with my three best girlfriends in the Ardennes, the most well-known forested area in Belgium. To reminisce over the wonderful memories we made, I thought it’d be a cool idea to make a photo report. Here are some photos that made it to the family album. The pictures are a combination of three locations: Spa, Lierneux and La-Roche-en-Ardenne.

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September ’17

I’ve been so busy! And although we’re already halfway through October, I couldn’t keep the best parts of September from any of you. Here’s my favourite snippets.

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Reading this new, touching book
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Baking vegan blueberry muffins
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Sunny mornings on an empty train platform
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Posting another outfit post, the second one this year
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Spending the day in Ghent
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Visitation rights to the cat
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Breakfast in bed
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Having brunch at Huset
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Getting dressed up for a wedding
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Street art in Lier
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Discovering more green parks in Brussels
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Spending the afternoon at one of the vineyards of Hageland
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Assembling my own perfect bouquet of flowers
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Feeling like a master chef after making veganese spring rolls
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Evenings in the city
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Selling stuff second hand at a flea market
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Running. So far I’ve been keeping up going once a week.
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The Art on Paper exhibition in Bozar 

Can’t wait to show you what I’ve been up to these past few weeks in October already.

Until then,

Love,

Silke