February 23, 2015

Edinburgh Highlight: Calton Hill

Even though it is the number one tourist spot in Edinburgh, Calton Hill was only the very last thing we did while we were in Scotland. The threatening clouds in the photos are what kept us to wait until the very last day to climb up the hill. We preferred to visit Arthurs Seat and the botanic garden on the better days, but I really didn't want to leave the city without having enjoyed the amazing views from atop Calton Hill. So, with the possibility to be rained on and literally get blown off the hill, we ventured up there on our last evening in town.

Calton hill lies just off the end of Princess street and offers an amazing view over the whole city. It was fun to stand up there on our last day and point to all the places we had been! Because it was drizzling, we  had the entire hilltop almost to ourselves. I climbed up the National Monument and took a few hundred photos of the Nelson monument and the bright yellow Gentista bushes that brought life in the grey and bare surroundings. If the weather had let us, we would have brought a picnick and watched the sun set from one of the many benches overlooking Edinburgh, but alas, we'll have to return for that!

As if we wouldn't return anyway.

February 9, 2015

A Day out in Edinburgh: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

This comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me. Botanical gardens are my jam! Since I haven't finished writing my posts about Edinburgh and Glasgow, I thought I'd start out with what I usually save for last!

We had pretty soft winter weather while we were in Scotland and because it was not too cold and wet, we decided to discover the green beauty of Edinburgh and maybe even walk all the way down to the seaside. Not everything went according to plan, as you'll read later on, but I really enjoyed this day in the city. It was good, it was relaxed and I ate well. That too, will be proven by the photos later on in this post. Enjoy Edinburgh!

February 5, 2015

"A girl's entitled to flaunt" - Sugababes, Red Dress

You know your life is boring when the most exciting moment of the day is when you ermagerdfinally find the full text version of an abstract that looks promising for your thesis. Really friends, that's what my life is all about right now! I'm pretty much finished with two of the four main chapters in my literature summary and hope to finish the other two (which are already partially written out) by Monday so I can hand them in for feedback.

I also have good news to share! I received my grades yesterday and almost went through the roof when I saw that, at the third attempt, I finally passed my statistics class. I took three other exams which I all passed as well and I couldn't be happier with my grades. This has been my best semester ever grade-wise and I'm really proud of myself for accomplishing a university career. Just one more semester and a thesis to go, and I'll be a Sociology master.

So. Much. School talk!

To brighten up my not-so-much-of-a-life, I wear fancy dresses to sit at my desk. Bloggers will be bloggers! I recently added two fancy frocks to my closet, one as a pick-me-up before the exams and one as a gift to myself after. This red number from Reiss was the after-party. I fell in love with it in Dublin, but the price tag said "hell no". I kept going back to it online and eventually it went on sale, but sold out before the price had lowered enough for me to justify the purchase. I must admit that I was pretty bummed about it, but I moved on and bought another dress from Ted Baker that I had also been eyeing since Dublin. Looking back, Dublin was pretty bad for my wallet. And then I went to Edinburgh. Even more bad for my wallet, because at 60% off I just couldn't pass the dress up. I am a real bad sucker for pretty dresses and that is going to cost me one day. Until then: imma be fancy.

February 2, 2015

8 hours in Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
On a particularly cold morning in late January I got off the train to Schiphol one stop early to explore the historic city centre of Amsterdam and finally meet my very very very long-time blogging friend Bas from The Dirty Velvet. We were leaving for Edinburgh that night, but since our plane took of late in the evening I decided to come to Amsterdam early and enjoy a day in the city. I was going to pay for a train ride to Amsterdam anyway, might as well use it wisely! Two birds, one stone.

It was below zero and I was also toting a small suitcase around town. Not the best conditions, but I tried to make the best of it. The cold kept me from doing much of the things I had planned and I basically sat in a coffee place all morning to avoid catching a cold the day I left on holiday. That failed, by the way. I sniffed and sniveled the whole time I was in Edinburgh! For lunch I met up with Bas and we found ourselves a seat in a cozy lunch spot of which I have forgotten the name (bad blogger!). I do remember I had a sandwich that came with a free mini bowl of soup. I really want to make a Super Bowl joke right now but I can't come up with one. Bas took a few photos of me being all awkward and cold which I've spread between the photos that I made myself. They're easy to spot because they're the black and white ones. We also had some fun in a photo booth as you can see in the last picture!

So... I spent my 8 hours in Amsterdam pretty much doing nothing. But no worries, I have a few pictures to share anyway and a plan to return when the weather is better. Because at €27 for a one-day-retour, visiting Amsterdam by train is cheaper than visiting any Belgian city by the same means of transportation*. Hooray!

January 28, 2015

#GOINGDUTCH: Middelburg, the capital of Zeeland

Ah, The Netherlands! I just spend a day in Amsterdam with Bas from The Dirty Velvet, but first let me tell you more about Middelburg. Being the capital of the province of Zeeland, this city could not be missing in my #GOINGDUTCH series. Zeeland is starting to become well-known territory for me since my parents bought a caravan there in 2014. I've so far covered Yerseke and Veere on the blog and I've also been to Vlissingen and Goes (but did not document those visits).  

Middelburg is a very compact city, with every attraction being located within the historic city centre. Instead of bringing our bikes, we decided to explore the city on foot. Kenneth and I arrived on a warm falls day, wandered around and let the city surprise us. "Cute" is a good and simple way to describe what we saw, and I hope my photos reflect the Dutch aesthetic and calm atmosphere that I felt in the city well. I shared a few addresses at the bottom of the post as well, in case you ever find your way to Middelburg (and I highly recommand you do)!

January 21, 2015

Winter favorites: Zara blanket scarf & Primark knitted dress

My exams are finished, and since crossing the finish line I've been working non-stop on my thesis. It feels good to be reading/writing something else than educational papers! I had to take five exams, but didn't make a crucial deadline for one, meaning I have to re-take the assignment and orally defend it later on in the year. I'm was a bit bummed about it, but my other four exams felt good so I got over it. Fingers crossed for good grades! I should get them in the first week of February.

Tomorrow I leave for Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Glasgow. I've always had it big for Scotland, but until now neither my boyfriend or my friends shared my love. Needless to say I am super excited to go! I saved a little budget for shopping, but we're mainly going just do to a whole lot of nothing. Walking, a few of the main attractions and hopefully some high tea are all we have planned. Our flight leaves late in the evening from Amsterdam, so I happily took the opportunity to enjoy a day in A'dam too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for decent weather and can't wait to share about these new-to-me cities (I've been to Amsterdam once before, but it's been a while!).

January 7, 2015

Brave The Cold

I had to create a good dose of back log posts for the blog before I entered the well-feared January exam period. I know I said that I was going to cut down the amount of outfit posts, but they're easiest content to come up with and easy does it in this hectic month. #examstress.

These photos were made on the day of Christmas Eve. Mom wanted us out of the house so she and dad could prepare our Christmas family dinner and decorate the house. It was a bit too chilly to stand outside in just a simple dress, but there was plenty of coffee and hot chocolate to warm myself up afterwards. Have you ever tried hot chocolate with a shot of espresso? GOOD STUFF. Our Christmas Eve dinner was pretty traditional with family, food and opening presents before diving into the homemade dessert. I got new PJs, a coffee mug with filled chocolates and Jo Malone's Orange Blossom cologne to replace my almost empty bottle of Peonies & Blush Suede this Spring. I'm going to smell nice this new year!

To tell you a little about the outfit: I have no idea what has gotten into me, but I've been wearing my body contouring dresses a lot lately and also recently added this maroon one from Primark to my collection. My two pencil skirts have been on high rotation as well and I actually have about 10 outfits would share on the blog if I could. It's as if I've made a 180° turn away from the full skirts and am going through a new phase in my personal styling. And the boyfriend sure don't miiiind. The handbag is a "golden oldie" as I've bought it the first time I ever was in London, and my boots are spanking new and were a gift from my mom. Fun fact: my handbag was also featured in the very first outfit post on this blog, 4 years ago! 

The Ginger Diaries turned 4 on January 2nd and I started my 7th (!) year as a blogger. Since the past year wasn't a very good one for my blog, I will not even try to explain why I didn't make any of the goals I had set out at the beginning of last year. For 2015 and the 5th year of The Ginger Diaries I just want to get back in the game by posting more frequently, but most of all: I will do my best to be more present on social media and in your comment section because, guys, I've missed you!