Category Archives: Notes

A New Direction (and a new blog!)

do-it-with-passion

It’s time for a new chapter. I’ve been away for sometime as I sort of lost my mojo for blogging. I’ve thought long and hard about starting again, and after much consideration (and a large glass of red wine!) I’ve decided to return to blogging, but with a new focus. A focus nearer, and dearer, to my heart – To Make A Home.

Like many of you, I’m a transplant to Brussels. I first moved here 12 years ago and have experienced this city from many different perspectives – jobs, relationships and, of course, where I have lived. Building a life in a foreign country comes with many challenges, but one thing that we can do to ease the transition is create a place to make us feel comfortable and energized, and enjoy every day.

I’m not talking about building or remodeling a huge four-story townhouse (although that is my dream!) or being the perfect 1950’s-style home-maker (my worst nightmare). I’m talking about taking wherever you live at the moment – your first apartment, a rented property or even your friend’s spare room – and making it your own.

And the best part is it doesn’t have to cost a fortune! I have lived in all of the above and have learned over the years how to make the most of my space and budget. Brussels is not the easiest, or most affordable, city to find home furnishings, so I’ve grown to be a die-hard DIYer, bargain shopper and creative IKEA hacker. I want to share what I’ve learned and tested (and what has failed), as well as what inspires me to create my own home.

I hope you will join me in this new adventure, whether you care about decorating or not. I especially want to write this new blog for anyone who wants to improve their home but isn’t sure where to start, thinks they don’t have enough money or simply doesn’t have much time. I strongly believe that a well designed home, no matter the size, has the ability to change the way we live for the better. Even if it is through small adjustments we make, like a new lamp, changing the wall color or rearranging the furniture, creating an environment that suits individual style and needs helps us enjoy our spaces more and feel like we are at home, even if far away from where we grew up.

So come join me over on my new site To Make a Home and follow along on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. And you can always revisit Best of Brussels past posts for my thoughts on this city!

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Obama in Brussels

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know President Obama is in Belgium today. As an American, I’m thrilled to finally have a US President that I voted for come to Brussels for a visit, even if a short one. Lots has been written in the build up about the cost and disruption, but despite the €10m price tag and traffic concerns, I think people are genuinely happy to welcome Mr Obama. Just take a look at Twitter this morning and all the welcoming comments from Belgians and expats alike (#ObamainBelgium #ObamainBrussels). Even folks in DC have taken notice of the importance of Brussels!

Obama in Brussels

Obama is on quick tour of Europe (The Netherlands yesterday and Rome tomorrow) and is busy this morning seeing the Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem and then attending a EU-US Summit and NATO meetings this afternoon. He’s also giving a speech later at BOZAR which you can watch live (starts at 17:45).
Unfortunately President Obama isn’t expected to have much downtime for site seeing or chocolate shopping, like good old President Bush did back in 2005 when he visited the famous Mary’s chocolate shop. I’m sure most of us won’t get a chance to see him, or even a glimpse of The Beast (his limo) but it’s great to finally have him in the capital of Europe. Welcome Mr President and hope you enjoy Brussels!
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I’m baaack!

Yesterday was one of those great days in Brussels. The sun was shining, temperatures reached 20C and everyone was outside making the most of it. I took a stroll around Flagey market, joined friends for brunch at Belga Cafe, did a loop around the Ixelles ponds and the Abbey, and just generally soaked up the warmth and good atmosphere. This winter hasn’t been especially harsh, but the city completely changed over the weekend with the first signs of spring. Such a glorious day truly brings out the best of Brussels which has inspired me to return to this blog.

I know, I know. I’ve been away for almost a year. But let me explain – I had a baby. For those of you who have been there, no further explanation needed. For those of you who haven’t, free time (to do frivolous things like writing) all but disappears. The first few months are now a blur. Once my brain power started to return to full capacity, I needed every ounce to get back to work. Over the past months I’ve thought occasionally about things I should be sharing on this blog but just haven’t quite mustered the strength, or enough quiet moments alone, to actually sit down and type.

But no more excuses. I’m back! Now that said, being back may take on a slightly different form than in the past. The nature, and speed, of life has changed and I’m afraid so have the things I do around Brussels. The husband and I still like to discover new restaurants, but just not as often. I still like to find unique things to do and see around the city, but just not as many. I still want to share the best of Brussels with everyone so am going to start posting again, but maybe just not as regularly as in the past. 🙂

If you’re one of my great readers from before or if you’re brand new to Brussels, I hope you’ll join me (again) on my search to find the best this town has to offer! In the meantime, here are a few snaps from my walk around the neighborhood yesterday. See you all soon!

Abbaye de La Cambre

Abbaye de La Cambre

Abbaye de La Cambre

Abbaye de La Cambre

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Hello, anyone there?

This post is long overdue. It’s been more than a month since my last update to this blog so apologies if you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth. But trust me, I’ve got a couple of good reasons for my absence of late.

As mentioned in my New Year’s resolution post, I started a new job in January which has kept me pretty busy over the past couple of months. There’s another bit of news that has slowed me down recently as well – I’m pregnant! I’m due in early June so am almost 7 months along (yikes!), which is making life more challenging by the day. The second trimester was pretty good but these days I’m feeling more like Elizabeth Banks in What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

And to top it all off, we are moving house. Like I needed one more thing contributing to stress and fatigue levels at the moment! So hopefully you can excuse me for not posting over the past few weeks. 🙂

I promise that I’ll be back soon to write about the best of Brussels and my favourite things in this city. In the meantime, you can find me over on  Twitter and Facebook where I’ll keep sharing all sorts of Brussels goodness that I come across. And if you’re going through any of the above (hopefully not all at the same time like me), here are a few links to help you out.

If you’re new to Brussels or just have a new job…

LinkedIn Expats Networking in Brussels group

International Young Women Partnership

Young Professionals in Foreign Policy

Newcomers to Brussels

or having a baby in Brussels…

Brussels Baby Book (also see the Facebook page)

Brussels Childbirth Trust (I’ve signed up for their prenatal classes)

Antenatal and Baby (classes, midwifery services, support group)

or if you’re moving…

Online list of moving companies and a moving checklist (we’re using Scholts)

Thanks for understanding and see you all back here soon!

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