Did I mention before how much I love travelling to France? Admittedly, it’s far from an exotic destination for us Belgies, but having this broad variety of holiday scenes and delights just a road trip away is part of its charm, if you ask me. (Someone once told me that the tendency to drive over 10 hours to a holiday destination, rather than just hopping on a plain is SO Belgian. Wondering if that is in fact the case…). We just got back from a wonderful stay in the Languedoc-Roussillon area, happy, rested and (only slightly…) tanned. That’s what eight days of sun, good food, yummy wine, beautiful scenery and visiting cute little towns will do for you :) (Not trying to make anyone jealous, just stating facts :p )

One cute little town we particularly enjoyed was Pézenas. Once the hometown of Molière it still has a heart for the arts today. Roaming through its tiny streets, you’ll discover an array of exhibition spaces and little boutiques, where local artists and craftspeople present their creations. You can imagine how I felt like a kid in a candy store strolling through this prettiness. However, I’ve been a good little girl, and only caved for this flowery ring. For one thing, the girl that created it was delightful (yes, I’m a sucker for likeable people) and I just loved her pretty store. In addition: I could immediately picture this ring as a perfect accessory for one of my minty moods :)

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Selecting summer holiday outfits can be challenging, don’t you think? On the one hand, you’re dying to show off your most sunniest of dresses (we so rarely get to…), but on the other hand, when tramping up and down the sunlit alleys of a southern town, all you really want is to feel fresh and comfortable. My advice? Go for loose fits and/or breathable fabrics. This summer, I find myself particularly drawn to the loose printed trousers I got during our trip to Paris. While these are definitely my fashion crush in this category, sometimes a girl’s gotta be sensible and go for a more budget friendly option. So when I discovered a little vintage shop in the Montmartre area with a rack full of pretty printed pants, I was over the moon. Three pairs for €5 apiece, not bad, right? :)

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Paul Frank sunglasses – H&M T-shirt and belt – New Look purse – Vintage trousers – Havaianas slippers

In terms of print & colors, the one I wore for our excursion to Pézenas is probably my favorite of the three. I love the girly vintage flowers (do I hear someone say Laura Ashley? :) ) and how the pastel petals makes it easily combinable with different colors of tops and accessories. Similar to the other two, these babies have a really loose fit. Perfect for my holiday & leisure time needs but not ideal for let’s say a day at the office. Therefore, I’m considering sacrificing one pair to an alteration experiment, to make them just a tad slimmer. Combined with a pair of heels and a nice blazer, they could make a killer office look. I’m really a sewing machine novice though, so will let you know how that plays out :)

Anyway, so far the brief report on what I’ve been up to these last days. More to come soon! :)

I’ve packed my share of bags over the years. Boarding school, student life and the weekly move between parents have required me to master the art of efficient packing. It’s a skill I’m kinda proud of, to be honest :). I can take pleasure in going through the routine of mental checklists and swift selection.

But of course, nothing like filling your suitcase for a holiday! Especially a summer holiday :). Imagining yourself strolling beneath a sunny southern sky wearing your favorite flip-flops (which we cannot wear half as much as I would want in this country…), or sipping a cocktail in your new sundress, yay!

Obviously, it’s not all fun and games! Especially when certain airlines (let’s refrain from name calling…) force you to limit your on-the-move wardrobe… (What!! Only THREE pairs of shoes!! The horror… ) Some thought definitely needs to be put into it. And I found that, whether you’re packing for business or pleasure, it’s most effective to think of outfits groups. It limits the suitcase excess and makes outfit selection throughout the trip that much easier.

So on the eve of leaving for la douce France, I thought I’d share some of my current suitcase scenes :)

Do you have any fun holiday plans ahead of you?

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Those final rays of light before the end of the day. Warmer colors, softer contrasts, a fairy like atmosphere. Perfect for dreamy pictures and even dreamier thoughts. It’s probably my favorite time of day. Especially in summer. Coming home and having a glass of wine on my terrace. Clearing my head after a day of brain exercise. (Yes, I like to tell myself I do at least one kind of exercise…)

But I’m drifting off. (Which is an obvious side-effect of the fact that I’m enjoying exactly that kind of moment while writing this post). Let’s get to the point. During our trip to Paris, we stayed at a friend’s place in the lovely village of Evecquemont. Only a stone’s throw away from the buzzing Parisian city life, it surprised us by its charming authenticity. So when we came back « home » after a day of roaming the city’s streets, exactly at this magical moment, the neighborhood offered a beautiful backdrop for a quick shoot. Just me, my comfy casual city trip outfit and a dreamy French evening. I hadn’t shared these pics with you yet, but if you’ve enjoyed a similar moment this evening, I believe they might just fit your mood…

Have a dreamy night!

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Vintage Ray-Ban glasses – WE jacket – Mango shirt – SuiteBlanco pants (bought during this trip!)  – Converse sneakers

 

Another week gone by. Some pretty busy days behind and ahead of me! We’re putting in the final prep work for a BEAUTYful event next week (for those of you who know what I’m talking about, this might look familiar :) ), which is always stressy but exciting. You know, that typical love-hate relationship one can have with an awesome yet time devouring job :). In the meantime I handed in the final assignment for my photography-for-noobs course. And in the spirit of *things that make me happy*, I just had to share this one with you.

The purpose of the assignment was of course to demonstrate some of the techniques we’ve learned over the last weeks, all the while shooting something that has a personal meaning to you as a photographer. (Or at least that’s what I made of it :) ). Since I love portrait photography (capturing an emotion, a person’s experience of a specific moment, … ) and am blessed with 4 lovely brothers (inside and out! – *cheesy-alert* :) ), I decided pretty quickly on a portrait series of this beautiful blonde bunch. The idea was to depict each of them in a more “traditional” portrait and one action shot, trying to capture a hint of each’s (very different) personality.

So here they are, my band of brothers <3

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As you might have suspected while reading this little spot I call a blog: I’m somewhat of a fashion victim :). And as those among you suffering from the same condition can probably confirm: one of its most annoying symptoms is its need for space. Lots of it.

Obviously, if you’re not blessed with a Carrie-sized closet (which I can sadly confirm I am not), this can cause quite a problem. Through years of shopping and inheriting pretty pieces from my Fashion Fairy Godmothers, my wardrobe has grown into a considerable collection. Nothing outrageous (really! :) ) but too much for my modest closet to accommodate. And if I’m really honest, it contains too many pieces that haven’t seen an outfit in quite some time. Even though I force myself to have a declutter-round every year or so, some pieces just seem to survive it every time, on the account of being just too pretty to throw away (but too small/outdated/not really my style/… etc.).

So when my friend Alicia asked if I would join her on a flea market next Saturday to get rid of some of our pretty clutter, I just knew I had to put on my big girl pants and step up to the challenge! So Ladies, if you have some free time on your hands and want to rummage through our wardrobe, score some bargains or just come and say hi (please do!), feel free to drop by :).

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Zara scarf – 2nd hand jumper (bought at Clean Closet!) – Topshop skirt ) – Zign shoes – Pilgrim necklace – H&M bracelet

Gotta love Belgian Spring. Pretty yellow narcissi, singing birds, … and lots of rain! The last few weeks, we’ve been seeing some exceptionally cold & grey days, even for our little country. So even though my wardrobe was screaming: “DRESSES, SKIRTS, PASTELS, PLEAEASE!” I had to cave and get some of my winter sweaters back from their summer retreat. Poor darlings, all they wanted was a nice long rest…

I don’t know about you but when the cold weather drags on (and on, and on…), my creativity kind of runs out and I start having a hard time assembling fun outfits (in which I won’t freeze my *ss off :) ). This Topshop skirt is one of my favorite back-up items (you know, the ones you automatically fall back on when you just cannot decide what to wear…). It is easy to combine and the “skater skirt model” is a flattering fit for those of us that are blessed with… you know… a derrière :)

I must confess though: the combination with this striped jumper was a lucky shot (on uninspired days, luck sometimes lends you a hand, thank goodness :) ).  I personally think they work pretty well together and form a snuggly autumn (yes, I said it) combo. Plus the little swans just make me happy every time I wear them, what can I say. :)

By the way: fully aware how much my face is showing that I hate this weather. Will have to work on my acting/posing skills. :)

 

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My god, was this free Monday a dreary one, or what?  Sweet spring, where have you gone? Luckily I didn’t need to go far to find shelter from all this greyness, as the second edition of the colorful Ghentmade craft market took place right around my corner! At Café La Lys (Meibloemstraat, Ghent), this neat little fair presented a sea of hand crafted jewelry, clothes, home decorations, …  Nothing like a gathering of creative minds to brighten a dull day :)  And boy was my day brightened after a walk amidst all this handmade prettiness!

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I’ve never been much of a craftsperson myself (apart from the occasional home deco experiment) and I’m so envious of all these mad skills! (Nothing wrong with a little healthy jealousy, right? :) ) Totally wish I could create such pretty things!

On another note: I love how social media has made it possible for these kinds of little events to get the word out and (relatively) easily gather like-minded souls. The social savviness of the participants also entails that you missing this little fair is not problem at all! Most of these creative girls have their very own online hotspot or social outlet where you can get in touch with them and treat yourself or a loved one to their handmade little treasures. Interested? Here are some of my favorites, to get you started:

Mariekekieke

Marie-Kiekie stands for handmade accessories and clothing with a fun little retro touch! Most pieces are unique, which is always a nice feeling. Marijke(the creative mind behind…)’s  collection goes from pretty necklaces and earrings to amazing baby clothes and bibs. My favorites were definitely the mustache pacifiers, a must-have gift for any hipster baby :).

Little Pastry

The Little Pastry stand caught my eye because of this pretty china set, used to present the jewelry. As always, presentation is key :) Especially since the collection’s tagline positions it as “mouthwatering” :).

La maison du papillon

Karen from La maison du papillon presented a line of jewelry, broches and home decoration, mostly created from recycled materials. The jewelry pieces are simple but colorful (hello pretty pastels!) with a Scandinavian touch, but these awesome étagères were definitely the eye catchers of Karen’s stand!

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Vintage Candy is the creative outlet of Magali and Gwendolyn. Their little table offered a bunch of pretty  earrings and necklaces, hand made from vintage elements. I treated myself on one of their pretty rings! (see picture below).

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Bo Design is the label of Deborah, a graphic designer and illustrator who decorates everything from cards to tableware with her lovely illustrations. My heart was immediately stolen by these cute little smiley faced cups! How can you not cheer up drinking a cappuccino out of those? :)

Which of these creative ladies could seduce you with their pretty crafts? :)

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Vintage Candy ring – Bo Design cup

 

Friday again! Can’t believe how this week has flown by… Lots of work and an awesome midweek interlude going to the Beyoncé concert with my lovely PN colleagues (She BLEW me away. There are just no words for it. Except maybe for this one:  MAJOR girl crush!).  With all this going on, I hadn’t even shared any of my Paris pics with you yet!  Our two day getaway to the city of light was simply delightful. :) It’s always hard to summarize the endless amount of impressions that make a trip an experience but I thought I’d try it by sharing its 5 highlights:

1: Revisiting the classics

Even though I’ve been to Paris several times before, I just cannot help getting a quick fix of some of the classics. How can you go to Paris and not have a quick glance at the Eiffel tower, walk on the Champs-Élysées toward the Arc de Triomphe or climb the Montmartre? It’s so cheesy but they are part of what makes this city what it is and I love to just take a moment and marvel at their beauty (all the while trying to block out the noise of the inescapable crowd of tourists around me, I must admit…)

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2: Beautiful bricks

I adore the romantic style of the Parisian houses with their cute little balconies and high windows! Over these two days, we walked quite some distance through the city’s pretty streets and even though my feet got pretty tired, my eyes never did. I could just imagine myself waking up on the upper story of one of these apartment blocks and greeting the city good morning from my own little balcony :).

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3: Sips au lait

Although overall I find the French cuisine quite heavy, there are some specific parts of it I enjoy very much :). Whenever in Paris I love having lunch/a drink/coffee at those typical Parisian cafés. They have that very particular shabby chic atmosphere you just cannot find anywhere else in the world. We had a lovely cheese & charcuteries lunch in the Monmartre area on the first day and obviously regular café au lait stops were part of our daily plan.

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4: Uncovering new ground

I’m far from a seasoned traveler, but there is one tip I have found to be very effective for city trips: before taking off, do your homework!  By checking the web for the top vintage venues in a certain city, you have a big chance of ending up in the less touristy areas, preferred by local artists, students and “hipsters”.  My Parisian homework brought us in a lovely neighborhood in the 4th arrondissement I’d never been at before and it made me feel like we discovered “authentic” Paris for the very first time. Loved it!

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5: A cultural garden stroll

Acting on a tip of a friend (and because a bit of culture is always a must when traveling :) ), we went for a morning stroll in the garden of the Rodin Museum.  The garden showcases a selection of his sculptures, among which the famous “Thinker” and the garden is a beautiful (be it somewhat smaller :) ) example of a formal French garden, in case you don’t have time to go outside the city to visit Versailles. Moreover, with its lovely spring blossoms, it was a perfect backdrop for a quick outfit shoot :)

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Mint & Berry dress – H&M jeans jacket – Asos satchel – Nike sneakers

 

As some of you might know, I hold a special place in my heart for my hometown Ghent. The perfect mix of hipness & history, there’s no place in our rainy little country I’d rather live. Today I’m sharing a very specific part of this precious city that I thought you might appreciate: some of my favorite vintage hotspots! Who knows, you might get some inspiration for a shopping trip over the upcoming long weekend :)

Myriam Wulffaert Vintage

(St.-Jacobsnieuwstraat 85, Ghent)

This is definitely my personal favorite! Owned by stylist Myriam Wulffaert, this lovely boutique holds a fine selection of vintage pieces (mostly originating from the 80ties), with new pieces coming in on a weekly basis (an excuse for regular visits, hurray!). But the shopping experience is made by so much more than the collection. The interior breathes classic chic and having Myriam herself sitting on her little chair sewing away (adding personal elements to vintage pieces and actually creating original collections) just gives an extra special touch. I love how she’s a serene presence but ready with valuable advice upon request (I don’t know about you but I just hate someone latching on to me the moment I step into a store).

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Think Twice

(Nederkouter 118, Ghent)

Think Twice is a pretty established chain of second hand shops, but I only recently discovered this particular one (while having breakfast across the road from it at the awesome WASBAR!). The two charming girls managing this branch did a really nice job creating a specific atmosphere through the interior (something between your favorite grandma’s attic and a hip flea market – if that makes any sense :) ), which definitely sets it apart from some of the other T2s I’ve been at.

On top of the nice setting and friendly faces you get exactly what you’d expect at a T2: if you invest a little time in rummaging through the racks you can find some real treasures at bargain prices. The collection changes every 5 weeks and did you know they donate surplus items to a good cause?

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Boomerang

(Kortrijksepoortstraat 142, Ghent) 

I just had to include this one for nostalgic reasons! This is actually the shop where my first second hand purchase took place. (A pair of boots, which I still have! Even though they’re falling apart I just cannot seem to part with them…) Situated in the heart of the student area, Boomerang offers a mix of second hand, import and overstock items, although it is mostly known for its collection of second hand shoes. The interior has a fun 70ties vibe and the shop owner is just that right kind of odd :)

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