Change comes with the season

06 October 2020


Even though life seemed to be at a standstill during the greater half of 2020, a lot of big things have happened for me this year. We bought our first house and last week I quit my job of two years to make a fresh start at a new copywriting agency in November. I'd been unhappy with my work situation for quite some time now and it has been draining me of all my energy, so this opportunity didn't come a moment too soon. I'll admit it's all a bit scary – stepping into a new job, meeting new faces, changing my daily routine... But it's also very exciting knowing I'll be joining a new team that I can draw inspiration from, work with new clients and learn about new things, and hopefully find a workplace where I can feel comfortable enough to be myself.

It's kind of cheesy but I recently started rewatching One Tree Hill and the opening theme speaks more to me than ever before: I don't want to be anything other than me. At my soon-to-be former job I often felt pushed into a corner because of my timid personality. It takes time for me to open up and to fully allow myself to be me, but that doesn't mean I don't want my voice to be heard. So this could be a new chance to further develop myself and invest my energy in people who will also invest it in me. That's a nice intention to strive for this season, right?

Well, enough with the ranting now... There's no season that makes me feel more myself than autumn. I live for layering, fall bakes and going for a coffee on a rainy day. In addition it's the time I get to wear all of my favorite colors like burgundy, forest green and all of the browns and neutrals. And plaid, I've been going mad over so many plaid pieces. It's no wonder I fell for this Fransa coat which has the perfect caramel check pattern. While I'm not one to shy away from clashing prints, I chose to style it with a basic off-shoulder top and my favorite pair of jeans by Only.

OUTFIT DETAILS | Coat: Fransa - Top: Jacqueline De Yong via Zalando - Jeans: Only - Bag: Sézane - Shoes: Lost Ink - Earrings: ZiziKim on Etsy
PHOTOS | Nanted Photography

It was a red velvet romance

01 October 2020

I'm not sure if there's a word for being in love with a city but I think I fell for Ghent all over again while shooting this look with Naomi. It's funny how you get a different view of a place when you're not actually living there, isn't it? Now it feels like every time I go back, I appreciate each cute shop and each lovely building a little more. 

Just like every year I seem to be returning to mini skirts and big collars for my autumn wardrobe and can never get enough of them. But honestly, can you blame me for not being able to resist the pearl collar on this River Island sweater? It evokes such a 1950s vibe my vintage-loving heart just couldn't say no. Fittingly I paired it with some pearl earrings from ZiziKim, a Manchester-based jewelry shop I recently discovered on Etsy, and a red velvet skirt by Cache Cache which has the best... pockets! Don't you love a skirt with some good pockets? I know for me it's definitely one of my top three checklist points. It's also a classic piece that can be styled with anything from a blouse to a simple t-shirt and cardigan so it'll undoubtedly make a great staple throughout the season.

OUTFIT DETAILS | Sweater: River Island - Skirt: Cache Cache via Zalando - Bag: Usha via Zalando - Shoes: Lost Ink - Earrings: ZiziKim on Etsy
PHOTOS | Nanted Photography

Impromptu park lunches and early fall dressing

24 September 2020

With all the hustle and bustle of moving I never got around to officially announcing it on here, but a couple of months ago we bought our very own house! We'd been on the lookout for some time and then in March our eye fell on this charming house in a quiet little neighborhood in Oudenaarde, about a half an hour from our former apartment. As much as I loved living in Ghent, buying a house in the city was a thing we just couldn't afford so this felt like the right decision for us. Now I'm not gonna lie it's taking some getting used to not living in the city anymore. Especially without a driver's license it's not so easy to go somewhere or even get to the mall.

However it has been lovely getting to know our new hometown and its hidden corners. This weekend we packed our lunch and went to explore a park nearby. It was such a peaceful spot with a large pond in the middle and a 19th century castle looking over it. Autumn also seemed to have found its way there. Some trees were already changing color and there were chestnuts and acorns scattered all about. It got me really excited for sweater weather and berets and boots and tights (God I love tights!). But for now I'm happy living out my summer dresses and throwing on comfy cardigans while waiting for my favorite season to come back in full swing. 

OUTFIT DETAILS | Dress: Mango - Cardigan: Esprit - Shoes: Inuovo via Zalando - Bag: Sézane - Nail polish: H&M Beauty

A visit to Charlottes Pompoenen annual pumpkin fest

15 September 2020

Visiting a pumpkin patch has always been on my fall bucket list, but in Belgium they’re really not that common. Every year I’m on the lookout for farms organizing any kind of pumpkin related events, without success. Until I recently discovered Charlottes Pompoenen (‘pumpkins’ translate to ‘pompoenen’ in Dutch), a farm in Ijzendijke just across the border with The Netherlands. I was absolutely stoked to find out they were doing a Pumpkin Fest during the first week of September. It took a little convincing to get my hubby on board, but we did end up making the trip and it was an absolutely amazing day. 

A visit to Charlottes Pompoenen pumpkin farm

There were over 400 types of edible and ornamental pumpkins and cucumbers to be discovered in the fields and at the outdoor shop in front of the farm. We also had a good laugh with the different activities and games they had put together like butternut bowling and pumpkin darts. 

A visit to Charlottes Pompoenen pumpkin farmA visit to Charlottes Pompoenen pumpkin farmA visit to Charlottes Pompoenen pumpkin farm

To top it all off, every hour a pumpkin would be fired off by a big catapult only to crash spectacularly into the patch.

A big catapult fired off pumpkins into the patch
A visit to Charlottes Pompoenen pumpkin farm

For a list of upcoming activities at Charlottes Pompoenen: www.charlottespompoenen.nl

A visit to Charlottes Pompoenen pumpkin farm

Are pumpkin patches and Halloween traditions a big thing where you’re at?
Would love to hear about your favorite autumn activities!

Ghent's urban jungle: my favorite plant shops

08 August 2020

4 plant shops in ghentMy love for special house plants sprouted a good two years back, inspired by my fellow plant-obsessed colleagues at the coffee place I was working at and further encouraged by Pinterest. Since then I've been growing a little green family of my own, some times successfully, other times not so much. But every plant I own, or previously owned, has truly brought me a bit of happiness. There's just something so satisfying about a plant growing a new leaf or a cactus flowering, as if they're telling you they're well taken care of.

Over time I found some regular spots to stop by when I'm looking to expand my collection. Of course there are plenty of online shops to order from, but I try to remind myself to shop local and honestly there's nothing like an afternoon of plant hunting to feed the soul. Especially in Ghent, which has a couple of urban jungle gems even not-so-plant-obsessed people would appreciate. Below I'm sharing four of my favorite plant shops in different corners of the city.
4 plant shops in Ghent

Broesse

The humidity in the air when entering the shop immediately gives away Broesse's specialization in tropical plants. In this tiny shop you'll come upon all types of green beauties from the better-known Monstera species to rare Philodendrons and gigantic Alocasias. At the bar in the back there's also a small seating area where you can take a break with a homemade lemonade and other refreshments. What I really appreciate about Broesse is you never leave without getting a few words of advice on how to take care of the plants you're taking home, which can be really valuable if you're only just getting into it.
BAUDELOSTRAAT 13 | broesse.be

Stek

Fancy some breakfast before starting your plant hunt? Stek, which translates to both 'cutting' and 'spot' in Dutch, is a plant shop as well as a coffee and brunch bar. They have a really lovely terrace in the back, while in the front you can take your pick from a variety of indoor greenery. Colorful Aglaonema and Tradescantia, uncommon cacti and succulents... At Stek you'll undoubtedly discover plants you'd never seen before.
NEDERKOUTER 129 | stekgent.be

4 plant shops in Ghent

Little Green Stories

Little Green Stories is definitely my go-to when I'm in the mood to treat myself to a little something green. The shop is always so packed with plants you actually feel like you're making your way through the jungle whilst browsing. Next to planters and other plant care accessories, here you can pick up gorgeous Calatheas and Sansevierias, all kinds of hanging plants or just as well a larger ficus or umbrella tree.
SINT-JACOBSNIEUWSTRAAT 82 | littlegreenstories.be

Dille & Kamille

Dille & Kamille is a Dutch brand with several shops in Belgium and The Netherlands. Their offer covers a mix of home products from kitchen utensils and tableware to dried flowers and a selection of plants often cute cacti too. They also sell a lot of lovely pots, with new collections coming out every season. Located right in the center, you're most likely to encounter Dille & Kamille on your stroll through the city.
HOORNSTRAAT 15 | dille-kamille.be


Are you a greenery geek like me? Let's share the love through Instagram! My plant account is @petiteplantiste.

Our 3-day plan for Rotterdam

04 January 2020

While Amsterdam and Rotterdam are two of Holland’s most popular destinations, the two couldn’t be more different from one another. Often mentioned as 010 (“nul tien” in Dutch) after its regional code, Rotterdam sends off very modern, almost futuristic vibes because of its many architecturally interesting buildings. I’m normally more eager to visit old historical towns, but Rotterdam definitely felt like a breath of fresh air. It’s a great city to spend a long weekend, especially if you’re into lots of shopping and good food.



We arrived at our hotel, The James, on Friday night and then we had three full days to see the city. We planned to visit a different part of the city each day, making sure we’d get a good mix of the touristic must-sees and the more undiscovered spots.


DAY 1: Rotterdam North

 

Vintage shopping in the Zwaanshals quarter

The first morning we had breakfast at Bertmans, a local favorite close to our hotel, and then paid a visit to plant store Stek before heading north. We started our exploration in the Zwaanshals quarter, which is truly a treat if you love vintage shopping. It’s full of small independent shops like Betje Krul, Margootje Vintage and Ding&Dingen, and for an in between caffeine fix there’s Hopper Coffee. You also can’t miss the street next to Zwaanshals, called Zaagmolenkade: this is rather the place for designer clothing or afternoon tea at Lof der Zoetheid. 



Beer tasting at Brouwerij Noordt

After all that shopping, it was time for a good pint. We’d arranged to take a tour and do a beer tasting at Brouwerij Noordt. Just like in Belgium, craft beer is quite a thing in Rotterdam and this local business makes about 15 different types of beer in their little brewery located in the middle of Zaagmolenkade street. The tour guide (and owner) enthusiastically showed us around the place and afterwards we could order any two beers of our choice at the bar up front. They were quite good, and unsurprisingly more than the foreseen number followed. 



DAY 2: Rotterdam South


 

Breakfast at Bas Bakt and lunch at De Foodhallen

We started off our second day at Bas Bakt, an artisanal bakery in the artistic Witte de With Quarter. There we indulged on a lovely breakfast plate with fresh bread, croissants and jam – a real hit! Then after some strolling we crossed the Erasmus bridge to head to the Kop van Zuid, a super modern neighborhood full of eye-catching high rise buildings. Both the Dutch photo museum and the indoor food market De Foodhallen are located on this peninsula. We happily filled our stomachs in the latter, trying stuff from all the different stalls like truffle croquettes, bakpau and traditional Dutch ‘bitterballen’.


A walk through Het Park and view from Euromast

Back on the other side of the bridge, we took a walk through the stunning and one of the oldest parks in Rotterdam. In Het Park you can also find the Euromast towering high above the trees. This is the most popular spot to get a panoramic view over the city. To avoid a long waiting time, we didn’t go up there until sunset, which gave us a stunning sight of the setting sun on one side and the moon rising on the other. Such a beautiful experience!


Escape room fun and burgers

As is becoming a habit of ours during a citytrip, we ended the night tackling an escape room. At Escape010 you can book an escape for 2 people for an actual reasonable price and the ‘Book of Mystery’ theme immediately spoke to us. Though escaping the room turned out to be too big of a challenge, the setting was really well-made and there were some amazingly clever clues to be found! Ending up back where our day had begun, we celebrated our heavy efforts with a delicious couple of burgers at Ter Marsch & Co: a cozy burger place in the Witte de Withstraat.


DAY 3: Rotterdam Central


 

A visit to the Kubuswoningen and Markthal

For our last ‘breakfast’ we gave in to our sweet tooth cravings and ordered cake and coffee at Nine Bar. It was just a 5-minute walk from our next stop: Piet Blom’s Cube Houses (“Kubuswoningen” in Dutch). These 38 cube-shaped houses are probably the most famous architectural attraction in Rotterdam, with one ‘show cube’ serving as a museum for visitors – a rather strange thing to see! Also nearby is the Markthal, another food market with an almost equally remarkable horseshoe design.


Shopping in the Koopgoot and Meent street

We spent the afternoon browsing the shops in and around Meent street like concept store Keet and interior favorite Hay. Then after a late lunch at Ristorante Napoli, we ended up in the Koopgoot: a unique shopping area below street level in the heart of Rotterdam where the larger retail chains are located. Sadly this marked the end of our trip as not much later we'd be catching our train homewards!


All addresses mentioned: 


FOOD & DRINKS
Bertmans | Karel Doormanstraat 292
Hopper Coffee | Zwaanshals 474
Lof der Zoetheid | Noordplein 1
Bas Bakt | Hartmansstraat 22A
Foodhallen | Wilhelminakade 58
Ter Marsch & Co | Witte de Withstraat 70
Nine Bar | Botersloot 44A
Markthal | Ds. Jan Scharpstraat 298
Ristorante Napoli | Meent 81A

SHOPPING
Stek De Stadstuinwinkel | Nieuwe Binnenweg 195B
Ruby Lee and the vintage factory | Nieuwe Binnenweg 255A
Margootje Vintage | Zwaanshals 276B
Betje Krul | Zwaanshals 344
Ding&Dingen | Zwaanshals 508
Keet | Oppert 2a
Hay | Haagseveer 99

TO DO
Brouwerij Noordt | Zaagmolenkade 46
Nederlands Fotomuseum | Wilhelminakade 332
Euromast | Parkhaven 20
Escape010 | Diergaardesingel 67A
Kijk-kubus | Overblaak 70