I feel like I've been a bit absent recently; not just on my blog but across all social media.
To be honest I've had a pretty hectic few weeks having started my new job as Ecommerce Manager for another fashion brand. It's been taxing and I've found it difficult breaking out of my old routine.
Good news is that two and a half weeks in, I'm feeling a bit more settled and ready to put my blogging head back on!
I had a week off in between jobs and as I hadn't been away yet this year, took the opportunity to get away. The boy and I settled on Brussels pretty much for the ridiculously cheap flights (you never let us down Ryanair...)
Enjoy some of the snaps. I've given them captions and have gone into detail my experience of the city at the end of the post for anyone who might be interested in visiting- it's a great city!
Grand Place- the main square
At Grand Place. Outfit: sunglasses, Ray Ban; choker, ASOS; jersey top, Primark
Galeries Royales St. Hubert- historic shopping mall
Royal Palace of Brussels- the king's crib
Belgian waffles and beer
Clothes at one of Brussels' vintage shops
Oxfam Vintage- like the Oxfam Originals vintage shop we have in Manchester!
My favourite vintage shop- Think Twice and right, the jacket I bought there. Black jumpsuit is Vero Moda and shoes are eBay
The Mont des Arts
The Botanical Gardens of Brussels. Outfit: sunglasses, Ray Ban; earrings, eBay; necklace and belt, vintage; kimono and mom jeans, Primark
Brussels seriously impressed me. We were only there for three days but it totally blew me away.
Firstly, there's so much amazing architecture there. I'm not big into buildings per se but I can appreciate a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. In Brussels, you can't go far without stumbling upon an old ornate structure, detailed sculpture or grand landmark.
Our base was on Rue Royale- named thus because the king lives there, yo! Who, by the way, I swear I saw in blacked out car with a police entourage. Boy wasn't convinced it was him. I digress. In this small area of the city alone, we visited the royal palace (obviously), Congress Tower with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Botanical Gardens.
Within a short walking distance were landmarks like the Mont Des Arts (a hilltop landscaped vantage point with amazing views across the city), Manneken Pis (small brass statue of a little boy doing a wee; sounds hilarious but was actually most underwhelming attraction we saw!) and of course the famed Grand Place which is the main square in the city and contains the Town Hall.
We spent our first day exploring and I'd already earmarked some cool vintage shops I'd looked up online. In the end, my favourites were two that we stumbled across; an Oxfam vintage shop which reminded me of the Oxfam Originals store we've got in the Northern Quarter back in Manchester, and a hidden gem called Think Twice Vintage. I so wish I could've brought the shop back home with me, it was so good! I sometimes think because vintage clothing is now so popular in the UK, there tends to be a lot of overpriced shit out there but in countries where it isn't as well-shopped, the quality seems to be higher. This little shop was full of really colourful, mainly 80s pieces and it was so cheap too. I bought the floral jacket above at what works out to around £13 but almost came away with a studded cropped leather jacket with fringing and a day-glo 80s Nike raincoat. Eyes were too big for my suitcase, sadly.
Aside from visiting all the main tourist attractions and shopping, there was a lot of drinking of Belgian beer and eating involved. Did I mention drinking beer?
The boy and I are big beer drinkers but ladies let me tell you, you don't know what you're missing until you try a fruit flavoured beer; they are seriously good. One of my favourite places to drink was Mort Subite (meaning sudden death!) who have such experience in the industry that they have their own brand of beer which is actually sold in bottles all over the world. I had one of their own brew beers in peach which was yum.
It also goes without saying that I stuffed my face with plenty of Belgian waffles and chocolates. For the best Belgian chocolates, don't go to the tourist traps. The Grand Sablon area of the city is littered with boutique chocolate shops and they are far better quality, home to some of the best in the world. We visited the famous Wittamer, first for a coffee and cake and then to their chocolate shop to buy some treats to take home.
It also helps to know a little French if heading to Brussels, it's the most widely-spoken language there. Luckily I took it to AS Level- it came in handy on the first night when we found an amazing little restaurant away from the hustle and bustle and the waiter didn't speak a word of English. We were relieved to find that I'd managed to translate the menu and order correctly!
I'd recommend Brussels to anyone for a reasonably-priced city break. I'd love to go back.
Have you been away anywhere nice recently?