Category Archives: Wellness & Beauty

Bike Fun

Do you ride a bike in Brussels? If so, I’ve come across a couple of ways to make your daily ride around town a bit more fun.

The street style blog phenomenon has exploded in recent years (think The Sartorialist). So the website Belgium Cycle Chic, which started a couple of years ago, is right on trend. The blog features pictures and stories of interesting and stylish people on bikes around the country as a way to express street style, fashion and bicycle culture. The site was inspired by Copenhagen Cycle Chic, a concept which has spread to several cities and countries around the world, including bicycle capital Amsterdam.

Belgium Cycle Chic

Everyone is welcome to send in their photos of bike street style. So if you’re part of the scene, and maybe need a little motivation to look good on your bike, send your shots and a little description to info[a] You never know, you might be featured in the next post!

Belgium Cycle Chic

Another way to have some fun with your bike is to join the Brussels Bike Tag game. Started by Sebastien Pepinster who discovered the idea while living in Paris, the project aims to encourage people to ride bikes a bit more in winter and also discover the city along the way. So how does it work?

Brussels Bike Tag

It’s just like a game of tag. First, head over to the project’s Facebook page to see where the last photo of someone’s bike was taken. Your aim is to find the location in Brussels, take a picture of your bike in the same spot and then take a photo of your bike in a new place in the city (ideally in a different commune). Next upload your two photos to the Facebook page by creating a new album with the tag number and your name. See the page description for more details about how to participate.

Brussels Bike Tag

The goal is to reach 200 tags of different places around Brussels. The game is currently at number 102 (when this was posted), so there’s still plenty of time to play along. The winner will be randomly selected from participants who posted a valid tag. The more times you tag your bike, the more chance you have to win! I couldn’t find any details about the prizes, but I’m sure they will be bike related. And really, the idea is just to have a little fun!

Good luck to all of you on bikes this winter. Stay safe and warm!

And for some more cycling info fun, check out previous posts here and here.

Images via Belgium Cycle Chic and Brussels Bike Tag.

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Brussels Bootcamp

I wrote a post about a year ago about some of the fitness centers that I’ve tried around Brussels. I needed a little motivation back then to get exercising and the time has come again for me to kick my own rear end into gear. I’ve done the gym thing (a few times) so was interested to learn about an alternative way to get moving – Brussels Bootcamp.

Now the idea of bootcamp sounds rather intimidating, especially if you’ve heard anything about what real military bootcamp is like. Yikes! But this is a slightly easier version, with programs for varying fitness levels and styles in different locations around Brussels. The signature program Powerhouse Bootcamp is a nutrition and fitness combo that runs for 6 weeks for €250, which includes before and after assessments as well as various checkpoints along the way. This program is also offered in an early morning “extreme” version. Hmmm, not so sure about that 🙂

If the full-on class isn’t for you, Brussels Bootcamp also has supplemental programs like a running clinic (€180 for 6 weeks) and power yoga (€180 for 6 weeks). There is even a kids fitness session on the weekends with activities like treasure hunts, bike rides, races and relays, self-defense, stretching and healthy eating tips (€150 for 12 weeks).

The Powerhouse Bootcamp is held daily at Parc de Tervuren, Parc du Cinquantenaire, Bois de la Cambre and the American Women’s Club of Brussels in Waterloo. Check the website for the all the times and schedules for other classes. Generally people sign up for the full 6 weeks, but you can also join part way through for a discounted price. According to the bootcamp organizers, doing the program for 6 weeks is a good amount of time to set goals and measure changes in fitness and health levels.

The last 6-week session started on 10 September so this week should start the next 6 weeks, a good time to sign up! You need to bring few things with you, such as a mat, weights and water, but I’m sure the drill instructor yelling and motivation are all included in the price. I’m trying to convince myself that the colder weather these days is not a good enough excuse for not joining now…I hope I can win the will power battle.

Have any of you joined Brussels Bootcamp? Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

Images via Brussels Bootcamp.

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Blow Hairdressing

Update: Rady has since left Blow but Sebastian and I have been reunited! He has now joined the Blow team and still does a great job with my hair. I even recently let him cut it a bit shorter (not an easy thing for me to do!) and it looks great. Happy to have him back 🙂

I wrote a post about some of the better hair salons in Brussels a little while back. Unfortunately, my favorite hairdresser of late, Sebastian, has left Toni&Guy Schuman. Without him, I’ve found that the salon has really gone downhill. They have a lot of junior staff now and the service just isn’t what it used to be. Toni&Guy have even closed two other salons, the Royal location (near Port de Namur) and the one in Antwerp. Not a good sign…

But luckily for me, the former owners of Toni&Guy have opened a brand new salon – BLOW Hairdressing. It’s tucked away on a quiet street near Merode (just off Rue de Linthout) and has a modern, industrial (yet warm) interior. There are about 15 work stations upstairs, with the hair washing area downstairs. Everything is brand spanking new, including all the ghd hair dryers and the heat lamps that look like they’re from outer space.

I went for highlights and a cut last Saturday, their opening weekend, as I was in desperate need. Frances, the lovely owner with her husband and stylist Russell, greeted me along with Rady who also used to work at Toni&Guy. After a quick chat with Rady for the cut, Kara, a fellow Midwesterner from the US, got started on the color. She of course also used to work at Toni&Guy and I’ve known her for years, so it was great to have her do my highlights again. She really is the best.

One of the best parts of the salon is the washing station, which has amazing reclining chairs that lift you into a horizontal position to get your hair washed. No more bent, cramped neck! Brilliant.

Rady did a great job with the cut and blow-dry after. It was so nice not to be passed between five different people and have quality service from experienced staff. Here’s a picture of me with aluminum foil in my hair under the dryer gizmo and an after shot. Rady went a bit big and glamorous, which was a fun departure from the normal straight blow-dry.

The salon was full of old Toni&Guy clients, mostly expat/anglophone, who seemed to like the slightly more mature vibe (no loud techno blaring) and personal service. The team currently includes Russell, Jef, Rady and Kara, but may expand if business grows. They may also offer additional services like manicures and pedicures in the future. And one additional plus, they’ll even be open two Sundays a month, a rare thing here in Brussels. You can follow the latest news on their Facebook page.

I have definitely found my new favorite hair salon in Brussels!

10 Rue Charles Degroux, 1040 Etterbeek
Tel: +32 2 734 08 00
Open: Tuesday & Wednesday, 11am-7pm, Thursday & Friday, 11am-8pm, Saturday 9:30am-6:30pm, Sunday by appointment (closed Monday)

Images via BLOW Hairdressing.

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Pencil Run

Running isn’t really my thing. I’ll go for a jog from time to time, but the idea of a marathon seems a bit nuts to me. However, I’ve heard about an interesting event that uses running to discover Brussels from a different perspective.

On Sunday 14 October, runners of all abilities can join the first ever Pencil Run, a guided running tour through Brussels following the 77 pencils drawn on Brussels walls, gates, doors and bridges. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the city is full of street art (see previous post), and someone has found a creative way to use these markers (pencil drawings specifically) to organize a group run around town.

The run is meant to be a relaxed sightseeing tour so participants don’t have to worry about speed. It starts at 1pm at Place St-Boniface and will finish around 6pm at Botanique. The total distance is 42km (a marathon), but you can join or leave the group whenever you like at any of the meeting points on the route (see list on website).

The route will go through Ixelles, around the VUB, through the Bois de la Cambre, then on to Saint Gilles and Forest, into the center and along the canal before ending at Botanique. You can see the route map here.

There is no cost to join but then there isn’t any formal organization provided either, so you’ll have to bring your own water. To join, just show up on the day or register in advance on the event’s Facebook page or by sending an email to bastiendz at gmail dot com. If you’re not much of a runner, you can also join by bike.

In case you’re not participating in the Brussels Marathon this Sunday, this could be a fun and alternative way to go for a run and see Brussels at the same time. This is a one off event however, so check out the Brussels Sight Jogging group for more guided running tours.

Good luck to all of you who join!

Images via Pencil Run.

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