City life · Travel

A sunny day in London

Strawberries, cherries and an angel’s kissing spring is all I could think of this past weekend. I had to be in London for work during the week and I thought it was a great idea to stay over the weekend as well and spend some time with my friends (the absolute #worthlivinit material!)

With this view from my office, the weekend can actually wait….

What I wasn’t counting on was the glorious weather – sun and high temperatures made these past few days unfrorgettable. I’ve told you again how weather can influence my mood (this is no news really, it works like that on everyone). What I hadn’t shared with you is another observation of mine: that good weather in northern countries such as Belgium or the UK is a f@&3:£ing big deal. Everyone and their aunties are out at a park/hosting a barbecue/attending a barbecue. And that’s it. People are talking about it for days and days, building up anticipation, then the weekend with the good weather is here and you need to go out and enjoy the sun otherwise you’re the BIGGEST sucker.

 

Coming from a country where sunshine is the norm, I always thought people exaggerated with the good weather. Until I became one of those people.

So what did we do this perfect sunny Saturday in London?

We visited a museum.

 

Art piece at the entrance of the V&A.

We went shopping.

 

We had drinks at a rooftop.

We ate the cheapest bagels in town (OMG, this place is like a bagel heaven, which kind of my preferred heaven of all).

We were happy as hell.

City life · Life

The first day of spring

So it’s here. At least according to Facebook that told me so on Sunday morning. And my response to Facebook (and by extension to the whole world) was SHUT UP.

Because the calendar might indicate that March is almost over. But the weather in Brussels does not want to let go. It’s still really cold, not even sunny, and I think it’s getting me down. Having grown up in Greece, I never really thought how weather can have an impact on my mood. It was usually sunny and warm and years went by just like that without having to think twice how blessed the country is with this amazing weather.

And then I moved to London but again I didn’t care, because London was such a wildly new city, so fascinating and full of things I wanted to see and do, that I didn’t give much thought to the cold and the rain.

And then I moved to Brussels. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t love this city that I’ve learnt to call home, but there are a few things that really SUCK, one of them being the weather.

I can’t remember another time in the past years that lack of sun and warmth made me so cranky. I want to escape, I’m no motivated to work AT ALL, I’m thinking at the clothes in my closet and feel desperate, I don’t even know why I went on a diet a few days ago – it’ll never be warm enough for anyone to see my thighs anyway!

And all this is getting me seriously down.

And there’s not much I can do about it. Except for (1) traveling (2) trying to enjoy my little city as much as possible.

And so I went for number 2 this last weekend with the company of very good friends (omg, I’m so blessed to have good friends, it’s like the greatest consolation in life…). Saturday was about coffee at this cute little place (that I couldn’t recommend more to Brusselians – yes, this is how I call people living in Brussels (like I would do for Brazilians – lol)) and then dinner here (super delicious meatballs with yogurt sauce, fresh mint and some eggplant spread – no, I did not take any pictures of my meal!!!) and then dancing the night off listening to Destiny’s Child and Busta Rhymes which means pure and total bliss.

And Sunday was about getting my culture juices flowing 🙂 We visited Wiels, a contemporary art center, i.e. a great place for my weekly dosage of hipsters (and their adorable children!!!!), and then we went to a listening session of Leonard Cohen’s first album at the Ancienne Belgique* and then I returned happily at home to this view.

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At Place Flagey, aka my neighborhood in Brussels.
And it kind of made me feel better and ready for spring.

So how did you spend your first day of spring?

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At Wiels (this is probably one of the most artistic pictures I’ve ever taken)
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The panoramic view from Wiels’ terrace. One thing I love about Belgium is the skies – cloudporn big time!
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At the Ancienne Belgique bar after the Leonard Cohen listening session. There are a few times in my life I’ve felt as serene as when the session was over.
*(AB is one of the most famous concert places in Brussels. Everyone and their mother have played there. Every few weeks they hold these listening sessions of classic albums for free, where after a short introduction of about 30 minutes on the artist and the album, you get to listen to the whole album with super good sound quality and without any interruptions. Is this the best meditation you can think of or what??????

 

City life

The recipe for a perfect weekend

It’s Friday today, and hopefully you’ll have the chance to get off work a bit earlier than usual, grab a glass of wine with a friend in the sun and plan a thing or two for the weekend ahead.

I often get this feeling on Friday evenings that all I really want to do is stay in for two full days, watch those movies I’ve been obsessing over on Netflix and spend the rest of the weekend cooking and reading The New Yorker.

This is a perfectly legit weekend, with only one minor problem: Monday comes and I feel like I didn’t do anything at all. I don’t feel like I enjoyed myself, I don’t feel like I’m ready to go back to work.

On another scenario (this one hardly ever happens any more…), I go out on a Friday evening for dinner and drinks. Saturday late morning I’m out shopping and then meeting with friends for coffee. There is a party in the evening, where I drink a bit more than I can handle. As a result I’m up around 7am on Sunday morning (yep, THIS is what happens to me when I drink a bit more than I can handle…) with a huge headache and make plans to go to a museum around lunchtime to fight off my hangover. In the evening, I go to the movies to avoid Sunday blues. What happens in this scenario is that I don’t feel rested at all, but am perfectly happy having experienced a pretty full weekend.

(These two scenarios of course materialise when you stay in Brussels. You can always get a plane to Rome for a weekend à l’italienne).

And the question is: when does rest come on top of creating new memories? (That’s how I like to think about partying hard, as creating new memories ;-))

This is kind of a rhetorical question, meaning I’ll leave the “obvious” response to you….

To avoid the conundrum of “what to do this weekend”, I’ve summed up a pretty rad list for you for me for this weekend:

  1. Go visit a neighbourhood in Brussels I’ve never been to. Last Saturday my boy and I decided to take a small city trip to downtown Brussels. Now, Brussels is a fairly small city compared to London, Paris or Madrid, but this only makes us more lazy as everything that requires spending more than 10 minutes in the metro qualifies as a trip to the other end of the world. However, the boy and I were brave last Saturday to go to Yser for some Greek grocery shopping and I was very happy to find the below:
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    A clear blue sky with hints from the 70’s
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    An amazing sight of the St Catherine church
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    A great installation / sculpture in the Comte de Flandre metro station
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    Greek mini cheese pies!!!
  2. Begin MoMA’s free online photography course – I’m really excited about this one and I’ll come back to you with full
  3. Experiment in the kitchen. My plan for this w/e is to make the PERFECT quacamole.
  4. Plan your next trip to Paris (these will be 2 full hours completely wastes on Pinterest, looking at ridiculously beautiful pictures of the Eiffel Tower, Brigitte Bardot and breton shirts by Petit Bateau, as there are completely no plans whatsoever at this moment for me going to Paris any time soon…)
  5. Finish watching Harold and Maude – I love how quirky this movie is, starting watching it last night (but fell asleep), I think it’ll be the best way to fight off Sunday evening blues. If not, I think  I ought to catch The Revenant in the theatre – Leonardo, the Oscar etc. etc.
  6. Pick up the phone and call the friend you haven’t seen in the longest time.

 

Note to self: try to do more stuff that involve culture one way or the other.

Note to self nr. 2: all this planning will go out of the window the moment I hit “play” on House of Cards – Season 4. It’s heeeeeeerreeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!