LDN II

by Kelly on April 18, 2014

LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II
LDN II

Last weekend I headed to London once again. This time around I was joined by my two besties as we made our journey to London for a very special reason: Miranda Hart‘s final tour stop at the O2, no less. Bestie number one and I were already fond of dear Miranda and bestie number two quickly joined in on the fun.
The keywords during this stay: shopping, food, coffee and friends. Although I managed to get some culture into our schedule by visiting The Glamour of Italian Fashion (1945-2014) exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum. I’m so sorry, but no pictures were allowed inside this exhibition, but if you’re in London before July 27th (when it ends its run), I highly recommend it.
I’m pretty sure that by now, the only thing you do want to know, is what that All Access pass from Miranda is doing there in one of the photos. Apparently, my friends and I (or mostly I because I was trying to hide my camera at one point) looked quite suspicious to the people filming the behind the scenes segment for the Miranda tour dvd. They ended up doing an interview with us, we had to sign some papers and who knows, we’ll might see stardom one day (right).

bruxelles ma belle

by Kelly on April 8, 2014

bruxelles ma belle
bruxelles ma belle
bruxelles ma belle
bruxelles ma belle
bruxelles ma belle
bruxelles ma belle
bruxelles ma belle
bruxelles ma belle
bruxelles ma belle
bruxelles ma belle

Over the weekend my bff and I hopped on a train to Brussels for a bit of culture, a bit of food and a lot of sunshine. I tell you, the weather has been crazy lately (in a good way, though).

In the morning we visited the Michaël Borremans exhibition at Bozar, which I highly recommend. I’m not going to write about this one separately, I just suggest you go see it for yourself. There are quite a few exhibitions at Bozar that are free admission, so even if you’re not keen on buying a ticket for this specific exhibition, it’s still worth a stop during your visit to Brussels.

I cannot emphasize this enough, but ever since heading to Brussels a couple of months ago, I discovered a newfound love for our capital. Maybe I neglected it for too long, I don’t know, but one thing I’m sure of: the city has a lot to offer. This time around we headed to the Dansaert area which has a lot of cool spots, including the most amazing square to have lunch. Also in the neighbourhood: Parking 58, which offers the most amazing (free) views of Brussels.
Looking back at my photos from our Saturday in Brussels, I can’t wait to go back and discover more of the city!

LDN

by Kelly on April 6, 2014

London
London
London
London
London
London
London
London
London
London
London

Last weekend I jetted off to London for the day. This time, my mom accompanied me on a sun-drenched day in the UK capital. In the morning we visited the Borough Market, a place we both loved, so do expect a dedicated blog post in the future. I will already mention that we witnessed the longest line for coffee ever at Monmouth Coffee. This fact does make it rather tempting to wait in line next time I’m in London, something I didn’t do this time around.
After a beautiful walk along the banks of the Thames, a quick stop at the Tate Modern, we strolled over the Millennium Bridge for a nice but windy walk. Of course, a trip to London wouldn’t be complete without some shopping, so we did just that in the afternoon.
This time we travelled from Lille, France (my dad drove us there), so we were in London by 9am! The train ride lasted only an hour and a half and we didn’t have the hassle of traveling to Brussels first. If you live near Lille, I do recommend starting your journey there, although the Eurostar terminal at Bruxelles Midi is better equipped.
Now, this won’t be the last you see of London here, as I’m heading there again by the end of the week. My friends and I will be staying there for three days and are due to see Miranda perform at the O2 Arena on Saturday night. I’m counting down the days as we speak!

we shall keep the faith

by Kelly on March 31, 2014

Flanders Field American Cemetery

This post has been long overdue, but since I was fighting a cold last week, I didn’t spend much time in front of my computer when I came home from work every evening. Especially since I had a day trip to London ahead on Saturday (more on that later).
I have a lot of posts lined up for you in the next couple of weeks, since I seem to be piling up new content from each of my trips.

Yesterday another, rather unexpected, trip took place when we headed to the Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem and I chose to share this one with you first.

If you live in Belgium, I think you might have noticed that US President Barack Obama paid a visit to our country last week. During his short (less than 24 hours!) visit, he also made time to stop by the cemetery in Waregem (in my province, nonetheless). My husband and I share a keen interest in war history (which coincides with a museum visit now and then) so we decided to stop by the cemetery yesterday afternoon. Of course, we weren’t the only ones who came up with that on a beautiful spring Sunday. I think the caretakers haven’t had this number of visitors in years.
The cemetery was well maintained, although it was a pity they had already removed the tiny flags that were put up around the cemetery on the occasion of the visit of the president (who was joined by our King and PM).
One thing I can assure you: a visit to a similar cemetery does leave quite an impression.

For now I will leave you with the poem Barack Obama recited from during his short speech after his visit to the Flanders Field American Cemetery. It is called We shall keep the faith and was written by Moina Michael who was inspired by the war poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae.

We shall keep the faith

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
In Flanders Fields we fought

- Moina Michael

paris is always a good idea

by Kelly on March 18, 2014

paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea
paris is always a good idea

Once uttered by Audrey Hepburn and presumably many others, I tend to live by the quote that led to the title of this blog post. So it happened that a couple of months ago a Thalys promotion ended up in my mailbox and I had a free night to spend courtesy of Hotels.com. In that case, Paris is certainly a good idea and that’s how we ended up in the City of Lights this past weekend. On the menu: some shopping, a bit of sightseeing, a visit to the Cartier-Bresson exhibition at Centre Pompidou, burgers and a macaroon or two.
For now I will leave you with an impression of our weekend through these photos. I’m so sorry, but I couldn’t narrow them down any further, I just love about everything Paris has to offer. Over and over again.

titanen

by Kelly on March 11, 2014

titanen
titanen
titanen
titanen
titanen
titanen
titanen
titanen

Now, March didn’t only bring Spring into the country. No, it also marked the first race of the cycling season on Belgian soil. Coinciding with this event was the launch of yet another sports publication (I know, us sports/cycling fans are spoiled brats, that’s for sure): Titanen.

Titanen aims to bring us the stories of the present-day titans. We can find them in many fields and when thinking about cycling, I presume Fabian Cancellara is an obvious name to pop up. That’s how the first edition of Titanen is dedicated to Spartacus himself.

I browsed their website before the launch and was surprised to find a slightly different publication on the newsstands. It’s printed on a small newspaper format and it has that wonderful smell when you turn the pages. Something I truly miss when browsing the internet.

I spent one Sunday morning reading it and I would highly recommend it if you want to get to know Fabian a little better. It features a nice interview with him and the photography is top notch. There are quite a few contributions from people that I have been following for a while (online, that is), like Veerle Pieters. She provided a beautiful infographic about Fabian and even dedicated a blog post to the design process (which provides an equally interesting read).

With “De Ronde” and “Paris-Roubaix” approaching fast, this might be your one read before you watch Fabian giving ‘full gas’ on the cobble roads this season.

spring on a sunday

by Kelly on March 9, 2014

Spring is visiting Belgium a little earlier than usual and I’m certainly not the one to be complaining about that. It’s a welcoming change after last year’s winter, that seemed to last forever, and the rain we’ve been enduring for the last couple of months.
I’m spending this Sunday at home, just being lazy, (hopefully) finish my book and penning down a couple of ideas that have been swarming in my head for the past couple of days. Bliss.

Here’s what currently inspires me or complements the spring vibes I’m currently feeling.

Paris is always a good idea
…and that’s exactly my idea for next weekend. Can’t wait to see you again, old friend.
Postcards from Paris - Gary Pepper
(photo credit – Carin Olsson/Gary Pepper)

Summer tunes
This new record by Belgian duo Hermanos Inglesos certainly has that spring feeling to it and also has me making multiple embarrassing efforts at whistling.

Pastels
I’m all set for this pastel trend and even did a small wardrobe update on Friday. I just love my new blazer from H&M.
H&M Figure-fit jacket
(image credit – H&M)

Cuteness overload
This Pinterest board has had me oooh-ing and awwww-ing for hours this week. The cuteness is almost impossible to handle: it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Eat
I’m currently trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and there’s nothing more important than breakfast in my opinion. Yesterday afternoon I finally got to try my hand at that granola recipe I found on Belgian foodie blog Thursday Dinners, like ages ago. I’m so sorry it’s in Dutch, but if you throw in Google translate, this will be easy as pie (not to mention: so delicious, it takes me tons of discipline not to eat that entire bowl).

and it was all yellow

by Kelly on March 2, 2014

Yellow x Veuve Clicquot

I could’ve written about Coldplay’s Yellow here, but instead I’m going to write a little note about food. Not just any food, no.

This past Friday marked the opening night of Yellow Bistro & Bar. Set in a historic building in the centre of Belgian city Bruges, Yellow is a new restaurant concept curated by Gert De Mangeleer and Joachim Boudens of three Michelin starred restaurant Hertog Jan, formerly located in Bruges and re-opening later this year in Zedelgem (which happens to be my new hometown, by the way).
They aim at serving local products (De Mangeleer’s signature dishes) combined with surprising wine and beer combinations (as selected by Boudens).

Next to the bistro concept, there’s also a champagne bar courtesy of Veuve Clicquot. As a matter of fact, the name of the bistro and bar, Yellow, is a reference to the typical yellow colour of Maison Veuve Clicquot. There’s a selection of tapas available to accompany your drink, whether you’re having a drink before dinner or just unwinding with friends.

I had a sneak peek at the menu and have a date set with my friend already. If you’re feeling the yellow vibes as well, then do make your reservations before they close by the end of May.

Yellow Bistro
Braambergstraat 10
Bruges

28.02 – 31.05 (noon-3pm; 6-10pm)
for more information, visit www.yellowbrugge.be/en

Tom’s Kitchen (Chelsea)

by Kelly on February 25, 2014

Tom's Kitchen
Tom's Kitchen
Tom's Kitchen
Tom's Kitchen
Tom's Kitchen
Tom's Kitchen
Tom's Kitchen
Tom's Kitchen
Tom's Kitchen
Tom's Kitchen

During our latest visit to London, we discovered Tom’s Kitchen, located in Chelsea. I was looking for a breakfast place in the neighbourhood, since we would be spending part of the day there when Foursquare led me to this place. After walking a few blocks in all directions but Cale Street (where it is located) we finally got ourselves seated, just in time for breakfast. Set in a townhouse, this is the informal counterpart to Michelin starred Tom Aikens restaurant. On the menu: comfort food, from breakfast to dinner.

Our perception was that this place was rather frequented by locals as I didn’t spot any tourists (or they were really good at hiding it).
Anyway, I had the most delicious granola at this place. They serve the yoghurt and honey separately which is how I like it (yes, I can be high maintenance at some point).
My husband isn’t the breakfast type of guy and doesn’t have the same appetite that I have, but when I ask him about his favorite breakfast ever, he still mentions this one. I think it possible that he’s just as much into assembling his own food as I am (the photo with the bagel and the salmon does explain it all).

Aside from the food, they have the best light available which is something I always notice when I step into a place (blame it on the photography background, will you?). Of course, a marble countertop doesn’t do any harm either.

By the time we had finished our breakfast turned brunch, early birds for lunch were arriving and by judging their lunch menu (did I spot butternut squash? Oh, I guess I did), I can’t blame them.

Hungry already? Tom’s Kitchen also has other locations in Canary Wharf and Somerset House, aside from the Chelsea one we visited.

bespectacled

by Kelly on February 20, 2014

bespectacled
(Image credit: Warby Parker (top & bottom left); Ace & Tate (top & bottom right))

I think I have been wearing prescription glasses for as long as I remember. No, that would be a lie, I do remember the day I admitted that for the past year or so, I hadn’t been able to read the black board at school. Yes, a year, and I did cry when admitting to that fact. We’re talking 1994, I was an insecure pre-teen and the last thing I wanted, was to wear prescription glasses. I already had a gap between my teeth (got that fixed in due time), so that was quite enough at the time. Not to mention, prescription glasses were anything but fashionable at the time.

Over the years, the condition of my eyes got a lot worse and as of today I am the not so proud owner of a sphere value of -7 and -4.75 on my eyes. Luckily, these numbers have been steady for the past ten years and I can only hope it stays that way.

When I was in college I eventually embraced the fact that I had to wear glasses. I got myself a set of Gucci frames and I was all set. Of course, it was only a matter of time before I couldn’t walk past a retailer and stare at all the beautiful collections.
However I tend to buy all my frames at the same optician I’ve been going to for the past two decades. For some reason, she always buys the frames I like best and I tend to have a liking towards Gucci and Ray Ban.

Glasses do get expensive and not only because of the frames. Since my sight is that bad, I need glasses that are extra thin, which tend to become more expensive and we’re only talking regular glasses here. Glasses designed for sunglasses are even more expensive.

Since my sight has been quite steady, I have had to ability to purchase new frames over the years without getting rid of my old ones. So, I switch now and then, but my Ray Bans are still my favorite. I also happen to wear contacts on weekends and during my vacation because they allow me to wear a range of sunglasses that I wouldn’t be able to wear with prescription glasses.

Around this time last year (or presumably even earlier on), I first learned about Warby Parker. They pop up on American blogs now and then (I think I read about them on Oh Joy!). They are indeed an American company, with their headquarters based in New York. They produce and sell prescription glasses directly to the customer via their online shop. From what I’ve read: good quality and by judging those $, a low price as well. Next to that, they are also involved in a charity program: for each pair of glasses sold, a pair of glasses is offered to people in need.
As for the customers, they have a home try-on plan which allows you to try up to five different frames during five days. After this trial period you send the frames back and you can purchase (no obligation) the frame of your liking. When I think about me sitting at my optician for over two hours trying to choose a frame, this sounds wonderful. I also think my purchase would be much considerate.
If you’re not really into that online stuff, they also have a showroom and a couple of retail locations in the US. I think I might be step foot into one of them during our West Coast trip, since they don’t ship abroad.

However, I recently stumbled upon Ace & Tate, who operate very similar to Warby Parker and have their headquarters in Amsterdam. From what I’ve read on their Facebook page they are shipping to Belgium as well.
They emulate Warby Parker’s business model of letting go of the middlemen, except Ace & Tate products are manufactured in Italy, in a family-operated factory to be more precisely.

I admit, I’m a bit reluctant, but then again, I have my eyes set on a new pair frames since like forever. The question remains though, will I pull the plug and take a leap of faith with Ace & Tate or will I go back to my regular optician? Time will tell, but at €98, new prescription glasses are a bargain, that I can tell you.