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!

December 29, 2014

Goodbye 2014

2014 was going to be an average year. I had no special resolutions made, no exciting life events happening and no vacations planned, the only thing I was really excited about on New Years Eve were the friends I had around, the food on the table and the fireworks outside. For that night, I didn't have to worry about my upcoming exams. 2014 was going to be an average year, but it ultimately became a very special one for me. Let me tell you a story. I'm good at those. 

I've always been a wallflower. Not that I wanted to be, I'm a redhead for goodness sake, but no matter how hard I tried to fit into social groups, there'd always be the loud girls pushing me into my trusty, silent corner. And I let them. Because they had been doing so for years and I missed the skills to fight their words. I became insecure, had no self-value and a self-esteem level far below zero. I played the victim and blamed "them" for never giving me the chances I thought I deserved, not realizing that my own pessimistic attitude was fuel to their fire. For years people labelled me as a quiet and insecure, but friendly girl. And even though I felt different, that's the label I gave myself as well. Until a conversation with a friend at uni made me realize that things have changed. The tides have turned.

We were discussion the often absurd initiations held by student clubs early in the academic year. He said he didn't understand how someone could want to be so humiliated for such a simple cause, and it lead us to discuss wanting to belong, wanting to be recognized and wanting to feel accepted. I told him that I was always too insecure to join a student club and that I was afraid that I'd be laughed at and ridiculed all over again. His reaction opened my own eyes. 

He laughed.

Almost hysterically.

Then he looked at me with a serious face and said: "you are NOT insecure."

And he was pretty damn right. I'm not quiet. I am loud. I am sarcastic. I cross lines. Sometimes put up my big mouth. I am open and social. I am a lot of things, but I am not a wallflower. I talk with everyone. I want to talk with everyone. I like knowing my fellow students. All of them. I like going out. I like meeting people. 

The voice in my head that used to constantly remind me of how others see me (or could see me), the voice that limited me in what I did and dared, had turned quiet and I hadn't even noticed it. It might have been because going to my university gave me the chance to start anew. In a new city. In a new school. With new people. No one there knew about the past. Their views on me weren't tinted by the views others had spread. They saw me for who I really was. A true redhead.

2014, You were awesome.
2015, BRING IT.



December 24, 2014

Jingle Bells Rock Harder In Germany: Düsseldorf Weihnachtsmarkt


I don't always go to Germany, but when I do you betcha it's around Christmas time. If there's one thing the Germans know how to do it's throwing a Christmas party and the Weihnachtsmarkt in Düsseldorf is my favorite. This year we went a little early, somewhere late October, and so I waited to share the photos until we were all in the Christmas spirit. I don't have much to say about Düsseldorf, other than that you can buy Essie nail polishes for half the Belgian price and that they have all the stores a girl can dream of. There even is a Primark where you will not be trampled by thousands of unhinged women on a budget. I scored two lovely dresses and a beautiful top that I cannot wait to share in an outfit post soon. Also: German food.

General warning before you click on "read more": you will get hungry.

December 22, 2014

The last leaves have fallen


The last leaves have fallen and winter has come. The first layers of frost have made me curse about forgetting to put a scraper in the car and losing my gloves somewhere in my drawers. I scratched the windshield with my Ikea Family card and warmed my fingers with a take-away coffee. I am never ready for the first sting of winter, but at least I tried a little this year.

A few months ago I was feeling down after life had been a bitch (there simply is no other word) and I needed a pick-me-up. Breakfast and a good chat with one of my best friends, an extra coffee afterwards and a dose of retail therapy instantly made me feel better. This ginormous turtleneck sweater was found at Zara that day and I freaking love it. Because it's big. Because it's cozy. Because the colors are perfect (it's deep purple with hints of navy blue). The wool is a bit itchy, but I ain't complaining for €27. As soon as I threw it over the register, I knew this knit was also going to keep me warm and comfortable during my study weeks in late December and January.

Yup, it's that time of year again when the whole world celebrates the Holidays and I close my bedroom door and hibernate until February. But you can hardly call it a winters sleep. February, our salvation. So far away, still. I have 5 exams this round and am already wishing for the last one to be over. They're all oral examinations too, all but one, and I cannot express how much I dislike those. I'd rather write my answers down than having to defend them in front of my professors. Something about bad experiences with elementary school teachers that even more than 10 years later, I still don't like them fellows. 

Thank you for reading again, and have a lovely week! If there are other students among you: pour yourself an extra cup of coffee and go for it. Good luck with your exams! I'll be studying with you (and Tweeting and SnapChatting and Instagramming excessively while doing so). 


December 11, 2014

The Dublin Diaries: Ireland National Botanical Gardens


Last week I was discussing my weekend plans with a few of my friends, and when I told them that Kenneth and I have a weekly date night, they started laughing, claiming date nights are for old people. While they're out hanging in a bar, Kenneth and I sometimes like to do things that "are for old people". When we travel, we will almost always visit the local or national botanical gardens. Because they're pretty. And because their cafés usually serve the best cakes and pies. So far, the Kew Gardens in England took the number one spot on my list, but they got some serious competition happening in Ireland!

"Majestic" is the first word that comes to my mind when I try to describe the National Botanical Gardens of Ireland. I've never seen anything like this glass houses before, and the gardens surrounding them are so large and beautiful that we easily could have spent an entire day there. My favorite parts were the rose garden and the dahlia field, which was an awesome throwback to a dahlia exhibition we visited in Paris a couple of years ago. Because I took so many, I decided to share my photos from the botanical garden in a separate post. If you'd like to see and read about Dublin itself, I have a post on that as well!