2014collected: 2014

Collected in... London


Last month I spent three beautiful days in London with a friend. The sun was shining and the city was bustling - time went by too quickly. Can't wait to go back...

Discover/ Up-and-coming Shoreditch is my favourite neighbourhood. Start the day with a coffee and croissant at Fix Coffee. Check out the shops at pop-up mall Boxpark. Have lunch at Albion. Try on the beautiful clothing at The Goodhood Store. Take home some timeless, functional products for home, kitchen and garden from Labour and Wait.

Drink/ A perfect cup of coffee at Soho Grind or Shoreditch Grind. The cute baristas make a mean cup of coffee from their house blend. The Soho branch has a cool basement where they serve cocktails at night - the Espresso Martini is pretty good. 

Visit/ The Victoria and Albert Museum. It was my first visit to the V&A and I was impressed. The exhibitions were well-presented, the gift shops had a nice variety of items and the free tours make it possible to discover every nook and cranny of the vast museum.

Eat/ The best burgers and fries at Byron Burger - I went to the restaurant in Fulham, but you can find their hamburger joints all over town. Another favourite is Comptoir Libanais. Eating on the go? Visit Borough Market and buy something tasty at one of the food trucks. Didn't get there this time, but Ottolenghi and Wahaca are on the list for my next visit - I get rave reviews from friends.

Buy/ Beautiful artbooks and fashion magazines at Artwords Bookshop. I bought the biography of Vivienne Westwood and a copy of So It Goes magazine. The big department stores (my favourites are Liberty and Selfridges) are good hunting ground for unique gifts, beauty products and - this time of the year - Christmas knick knacks.

Stay/ This time round I stayed at a friend's place, but for my next visit I want to book a room at the ACE hotel in Shoreditch. The boutique hotel has beautiful rooms, a juice bar and a modernist brasserie. One can happily stay in the building for days...

What I loved... in October & November


Two months at once... The days are slipping by. The past months have been really busy. Had a photoshoot for work at my place, acting as if it was already Christmas. Went to food festival Krachtvoer. Spent a couple of days in London (more on that trip soon!). Visited the FoMu and was in awe of the work of Richard MosseAte the best pizza ever at Orso. Bought a beautiful new winter coat from favourite brand COS. Went for drinks at Vitrin, one of my favourite spots in Antwerp. Worked hard - 24/7. Had a cup of delicious coffee at Soho Grind. Treated myself to some new beauty products - love my Eyeko mascara. Still trying to get the perfect eyeliner flick... 

My favourite online gifts


'T is the season... The Christmas tree is decorated, I just need to buy a bunch of presents to put under it. If you're anything like me and you don't feel like venturing outside in the cold, you can search the world wide web for beautiful gifts - here are my favourites...

1/ for your mommy friend: the resurrection kit from Aesop for some well-deserved me-time
2/ for the girlfriend who loves Paris: a Chanel lipstick in a classic red
3/ for your fashion friend: this biography of fashion icon Loulou de la Falaise 
4/ for Mr Greenfingers: a cool concrete flower pot from HAY and a fig tree
5/ for yourself: a girl can dream... a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag would make me very happy
6/ for your mother: this tweed grey wool from Wool &  The Gang - maybe she'll knit you a scarve?
7/ for the friend who hates the cold weather: this pair of leather gloves from COS to keep warm
8/ for your travel buddy: this pair of beautiful Komono sunglasses - perfect for your next exotic adventure
9/ Diptyque candles are simply the best... and just about everyone would be happy to find one in their Christmas stocking

Happy shopping!



And then, before you know it, a month has passed by without a single blog post. A lack of inspiration and too many hours at the office... So, for now, this blog is on a break... I am on a break. Trying to fit a gazillion to do's into 24 hours isn't healthy and I need some time offline to get my groove back :)
Maybe I'll feel like posting in a week, maybe not... Just taking things as they come - see you later!

Curious to see what I'm up to? Follow me on Instagram.

Krachtvoer 2014


Last weekend I went to food festival Krachtvoer. This two-day event in Antwerp is organised by the girls from Alle Dagen Honger, one of my favourite Belgian blogs. The festival combines lectures, expositions, food films, workshops and a market with artisan food. The second edition from Krachtvoer focused on scarcity and abundance - last year the focus was on Grond (*soil/dirt/ground/earth). 
For me, the talk of Tartine baker Chad Robertson was a real revelation. Bread is one of my favourite foods and I wasn't aware that so many store-bought bread is full of additives, preservatives and even ingredients like sugar. Bread can appear artisanal, but hide a multitude of sins. The secret is in the flour - stone milled grains are a healthier and nutritionally superior alternative to conventional steel-rolled flours. They are packed with minerals and vitamins. So from now on, I'm on the lookout for bread that's baked with this kind of flours.

You never leave a food festival empty-handed - I took home some organic granola with chocolate from Floom, a spelt bread from Domestic bakery and a cold-pressed pineapple mojito juice from Jus JusIf you didn't fulfill your appetite at the market, you could grab a bite at one of the food trucks. My favourite? The retro Meteor truck - serving the best bacon I've ever tasted, delicious fish rillette and a special dessert with parsnip. 
Already looking forward to next year's edition!

What I loved... in September


September was a rollercoaster of a month... It started off with a week in the Spanish sun - lounging by the pool, reading, napping. Pure bliss. Got back to an epic amount of work. Celebrated the 40th birthday of the retailer I work for - with press events, a Facebook contest and treats in the shops. Went to the Antwerp Fashion Festival. Travelled between our offices in Belgium and the Netherlands to organise more birthday celebrations. Got a new haircut - and went for a beach blonde colour. Went dancing. Discovered food truck food at Barrio CantinaHad dinner dates. And then it was over and out... time for a new month and some peace of mind.

Barrio Cantina


sorry for the blurry  iPhone photos - was too busy eating :)
Last weekend food truck festival Barrio Cantina set up shop at the Scheldekaaien in Antwerp. More than 20 food trucks lined up to serve exotic, tasty and original street food. The food fun started on Friday night with DJ Bug behind the turning tables playing funk, soul and ska. Being determined to taste as many food as possible, I dedicated my entire weekend to the festival. On Friday I tried a pizza proscuito from Woodpizza (delicious!), ate the best chicken-saté sandwich ever courtesy of Saté Man (still have dreams about it) and had an apple-cinnamon pancake from the ladies at Crêpes Company as dessert. Saturday - round 2: with a homemade sausage from Bulls and Dogs (another favourite), a BBQ burger from the handsome BBQ Bazen (damn tasty) and frozen yogurt with sweet toppings from MoochieFor the grand finale on Sunday I choose yet again for a chicken-saté sandwich and had a 'broodje stoofvlees' from De Filostoof
Indigestion? Not me! I can't wait for the winter edition of Barrio Cantina. Next up is food truck festival Camping Gourmet on the 11th and 12th of October. You know where to find me...

Style crush: Ana Kras


Ana Kras is a Serbian model, furniture designer, illustrator and photographer. This multitalented it-girl is engaged to musician Devendra Banhart - they are pictured together in The Kooples campaign. She's currently living in New York, in an apartment filled with her handiwork and pieces from artist friends. 
I like her Bonbon lamps with multi-coloured threaded surfaces and would love to own one for my home - check out her lamps and other designs here. Her pastel drawings are another favourite, here you can see photos of her recent exhibition.
Her clothing style is all about key pieces in good quality that are mixed with quirky vintage finds. Classic with a twist. She likes to wear her boyfriend's clothes, her favourite colour is navy blue and a soft cashmere sweater is one of her favourite pieces. Three things I also love...

What I loved... in July and August


Summer is gone... but July and August were a lot of fun. Ate lots of ice cream - sometimes had it as a substitute for lunch. Visited friends with babies. Went treasure hunting on a book fair and at a yard sale. Had perfect lunches in the sun too - on the roof terrace of this placeWorked out. Visited this museum on 't Eilandje - now one of my personal favourites in the city. Danced until dawn at a great 90ies party. Had after-work drinks in the sun - about every other day. Got to know new people - at barbecues and dinner dates. Went to Mallorca for 5 days - making long beach walks, splashing in the pool and sunbathing while reading this beautiful book. How was your summer?

Relax, take it easy


The past weeks have been super busy... No out of office for me, but a load of work to finish before my impromptu mini-break to Mallorca. Yesterday I booked a quick getaway to the Spanish island - the best incentive to keep me going at warp speed for the next 12 days. 
There are other small things that brighten up my days - simple moments that make me happy and can't be bought in a store... My top tips that will bring a smile on your face are...
/getting 8 hours of sleep - or on the weekends: taking a nap
/waking up to the sunshine and blue skies 
/having a girl's night - eating junk food, like the best falafels in A-town or my all-time favourite 'frietjes'
/reading a magazine or the newspaper, without watching the clock
/taking a long, hot shower - using the most deliciously scented bath products (like my favourites ones from &OtherStories)
/going for a cup of coffee, or two...
/getting together with your friends for a movie night - popcorn mandatory
/painting my nails a bright red - for fiery fingers
/kissing, lots of kissing - a great way to kill stress :)

Weekend wanderlust


love the beautiful selfies of Daria for clothing brand Equipmentthis print would look great on my living room wall/ let's go shopping: this boyfriend jeans has my name written all over it/ check out the Carter Family Portrait Gallery - hilarious!/ wouldn't mind a holiday at this waterside cottage near Stockholm/ I'll visit this photography exhibition in Gent next weekend - anyone want to come?/ baking this weekend - this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs

Collected in... Cologne


Last month I travelled to Cologne to visit 'le bloc fashion festival'. After spending the first day of my trip wandering around the 'Belgisches Viertel' - shopping, watching the fashion shows and meeting up with other bloggers - I spent a Sunday exploring the city by the Rhine. Here are my top tips:

Visit/ Museum Ludwig. This museum is home to the largest Pop Art collection outside the USA - explore the exhibition areas, have a drink on the lovely terrace and get a perfect view of the city from the roof terrace.  

Eat/ If you love a good burger: check out the Beef Brothers' menu. My favourite lunch spot is Salon Schmitz and at Hallmackenreuther you can have a nice meal or some drinks in a cool retro interior.

Discover/ Street art in the Ehrenfeld area. This lively neighbourhood has large-scale murals and public art pieces from street artists around the world. In September, the annual City Leaks-festival organises urban art tours and exhibitions.

Drink/ A perfect cup of coffee at Milchmaedchen. With or without a slice of cake, croissant or tasty snack.

Buy/ Cool clothes, accessories and shoes for men and women at Magasin 2. Store owner Barbara sells a great selection of European brands - I fell in love with the striped shirts and found a perfect pair of jeans.


@elsvandeplas on Instagram

Top shelf


I like to believe I'm a low-maintenance girl beauty-wise. But every time I'm packing for a holiday I have the hardest time selecting just a couple of products to take with me. Although my beauty routine is quite simple and I prefer my make-up quite natural, before you know it my beauty bag is overflowing with 'essentials'. 

Here are some of my all-time favourites:
/Bioderma: the Sensibio micellar water is great to take of make-up in the evenings without over-drying the skin. It's one of the things I always take with me from Paris. If it's good enough for supermodels, it's good enough for me...

/Kiehl's: I use a couple of products from this American brand - the Ultra Facial Cleanser and Ultra Light Daily UV Defense  moisturizer are my favourites.

/Embryolisse lait-crème concentré: another supermodel secret. I use this moisturizer in the evenings for soft, plumped skin.

/Smith's Rosebud Salve: always in my handbag for dry chapped lips. Love the rose scent...

/Chanel CC cream and concealer: my power duo. The CC cream evens out imperfections and makes skin appear fresh and radiant. It also protects against the sun, with a SPF 20.

/bareMinerals bronzer: for a glowing complexion - as if I just got back from a holiday. The mineral make-up from this brand is made without preservatives, chemicals, oils or fragnances. 

/MAC paint pot in Constructivist: I love this rich brown colour on my eye lids. The creamy texture makes this eye shadow extremely buildable. Long-wearing so I'm good for the day.

/&OtherStories beauty: this highstreet brand has a great make-up range. I own a couple of their lipsticks and they are high quality, long-wearing and come without a hefty price tag. I also love their shower gels and body lotions - do try the Fig Fiction range, it smells delicious.

/Dior crème abricot: this rich salve nourishes cuticles and improves nail strength. I keep a tin on my nightstand as I like to massage it into my nails before I go to sleep.

/Essie: I'm addicted to nail polish (can't stand bare nails) and Essie is the best brand out there. My favourites are Wicked, a deep dark red and Mademoiselle, a soft pink. I also love their base and top coats.

Other favourite brands are Dermalogica, Dyptique, Bumble and bumble and Korres. What are yours?

Blog love: Mija


If you've ever looked at my  Pinterest boardsyou will have noticed a lot of  pictures featuring the same blonde haired girl. It took a while before I realised I was pinning picture after picture of Mija. Her style is spot-on, I would love to own her clothes. Simple, sophisticated and laid-back. Love love love it...

What I loved... in June


The first week of June was spent in Paris. Went shopping - for a new pair of sunglasses, beautiful flowers, books, des petites tartes and clothes. Ate a perfect omelette.  Loved the beautiful Dries Van Noten exposition at Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Was gifted the book by a dear friend - lucky me. Drank coffee at new favourite place, Café Craft. Back home, I went brunching with friends & family. Visited the Zoo. Spent time in the sun, drinking lemonade and eating ice cream. Took the train to discover Cologne. Not a bad month at all...

Collected in... Paris


Paris has always had me under it's spell... The grandeur of the buildings, the river Seine meandering through the city, the sparkling lights of the Tour Eiffel, the bistro's with their wicker chairs, the beautiful parks and green balconies, the delicious scent of croissants and baguettes in the morning, the style and elegance of the Parisians and so on... I try to visit my second hometown (or so it feels) at least once a year for a couple of days at a time.

The past years I discovered many favorites in the city and I scribbled them down in my Paris notebook. On this map I share my favourite shops, cafés and eateries with you. Let me know when you visited one - I would love to hear about your experience...



There's a new place in A-town for cute postcards, stationary, funny gadgets &  beautifully designed gifts: Wunderkammer. Opened earlier this month by one of my favourite bookstores in town: 't Stad Leest, Wunderkammer (aka a cabinet of curiosities) is a wellchosen name for this gem of a gift shop. What caught my eye: leather goods by Keecie, Sea Salt soap from Sweden and beautiful postcards for every occasion. Go check it out!

Steenhouwersvest 13  

Label love: Jimmy Fairly


photos by me and my friend Sofie
Let me introduce you to French brand Jimmy Fairly - a label I discovered during my week in Paris. Searching for a new pair of sunglasses without breaking the bank? Or want another pair of prescription glasses? Look no further! Jimmy Fairley has more than 40 styles of glasses and each one can be made to order with the lenses of your choice. The best part? Each pair costs only € 99! Moreover, for every pair of glasses you buy they give one to someone in need. Cool glasses for cool people as they like to call it...
Visit their shop and try on their different styles if you're in Paris, or shop online. My favourites? The Gene in 'ecaille caramel' or the Saint-Honoré in 'noir antique'.

Rue Vieille du Temple 64

Style crush: Jeanne Damas


photos via garance doré, the sartorialist & unknown sources
Model, actress and blogger Jeanne Damas is the ultimate Paris girl. She has a wardrobe filled to the brim with French labels, signature red lips and nonchalant long hair with heavy bangs. You can catch her wandering around hometown Paris in her wardrobe staples: jeans, a white shirt, wrap dress or high heels. Her style is simple, chic and has that French 'je ne sais quoi'. &Other Stories recently shot a video with Jeanne - also make sure to check out her blog. Adorable!

le bloc


When I was invited to visit Cologne by Thalys and Köln Tourismus, I had no idea what to expect. My last visit to the city was more than ten years ago and didn't make a lasting impression. Travelling high-speed by train has been my favourite means of transportation for a while now: Paris, Amsterdam and London are but hours away, I can read or make use of the WiFi, catch glimpses of the changing scenery outside and to top it off - it's better for the environment than taking a plane. So I jumped at the chance to visit Cologne during 'le bloc', a fashion festival in the Belgian Quarter of the city.

The 'Belgische Viertel' consists of a dozen streets where small boutiques and young designers found a home. During 'le bloc'-festival more than 70 shops, bars and galeries open their doors, plus there are fashion shows, pop-up stores, concert and workshops to discover. It felt like all of hip Köln had come out to celebrate - the Brüsseler Platz was packed with young people sharing beers...

Here are a couple of my favourite shops in the Belgian Quarter - check them out if you're in the city:
/Boutique Frau Kayser, Maastrichter Strasse 40-44: gifts, kids toys, accessories and gadgets
/L'éphémère, Maastrichter Strasse 46: clothes by Sessun, accessories and handbags
/Liebling, Limburger Strasse 2B: clothes by Attic and Barn, Mes Demoiselles and Wildfox, vintage fashion, perfumes, accessories and paper goods
/Magasin Populaire, Brüsseler Platz 8: clothes by Sessun, mbym, Animo and more, accessories and shoes
/Boutique Belgique, Brabanter Strasse 29: concept store - clothes, gifts, accessories and beauty 

More on my trip to Cologne coming soon...

La Favorite


Although I visit Paris at least once a year, I still have adressess in my notebook where I haven't been before. La Favorite was one of them. This bistrot is located on the Rue de Rivoli, with a beautiful view of Saint Paul's Church. The décor has a vintage, industrial feel which makes you think of New York. 
Try the 'Omelette de La Favorite' with tomatoes and ham, a galette with salmon or one of the many pizzas and hamburgers on the menu. Drink a coffee on the terrace among the hipsters and tourists, while indulging in my favourite passtime in the city: people watching.

La Favorite, Rue de Rivoli 6

La vie parisienne


The past week I got to call Paris my hometown - a dream come true. Grocery shopping, going to the post office and the florist, ordering a 'café au lait' at the bistro on the corner, sitting on a bench in the park reading - just for a week pretending to live in the city by the Seine. 
Stay tuned for my hotspots in the city: where to go for a good cup of coffee, a delicious lunch,  nice selection of clothes and accessories, afternoon tea and more...

What I loved... in May

May started with a day off work, spent lounging in the sun with a friend. Visited the new exhibitions at the Fomu. Went to Mechelen and had lunch at new hotspot NoenDrank lots and lots of coffee. Explored Leuven on a rainy day. Stayed a weekend in the countryside at my brother's place - enjoying the sunshine. Celebrated the opening of & Other Stories in Antwerp. Spent a day in Amsterdam for work and bought delicious salads for lunch at Marqt.  Ate the best falafel ever at Falafel TofBest of May: living for a week in Paris. More on that soon...

Label love: Samuji


Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy the sun is shining and all that. But this lookbook from Finnish brand Samuji has me longing for colder days, nestled in front of a soaring fire. Established in 2011, this fashion label supplies a complete wardrobe for women, produced in Europe by carefully selected manufacturers. The clothes are made from quality materials: mohair, fine cottons, linen and leather. The rather structural shapes of the items are timeless and wearable from season to season. How about this beautiful grey sweater to carry me from summer to winter? 

& Other Stories


Last year I got to know & Other Stories, the premium high-street brand from the H&M group. With ateliers in Stockholm and Paris and designers that worked for APC, Acne and others - this is high fashion for those on a budget. I especially love their bath products (Fig Fiction is a favourite) and make-up. No wonder if you know that MUA Lisa Butler and perfumer Ben Gorham (founder of Byredo) developped it. 
Last night I went to the opening party of & Other Stories Antwerp. And I wasn't alone... the beautiful shop (700 m²!) was crowded with about 400 happy shoppers. I took home a bright red lipstick, a bottle of nail polish, a basic t-shirt and grey sweater. Think I'll pay them another visit next week - still have some items on the wishlist...

& Other Stories, Korte Gasthuisstraat 17, Antwerp

Collected in... Leuven


I picked a rainy day for my visit, but rest assured that Leuven is a beautiful town come rain or shine...

Visit/ Museum M. Renowned Belgian architect Stéphane Beel converted a historic building into this museum - explore the exhibition areas, shop, café, workshop spaces and a roof terrace with perfect views of the city. 

Eat/ The best pasta in town at Metropole. Feel like eating Mexican? Go to Donki and pick 'n mix your favoriete ingredients to make a killer burrito or taco. 

Discover/ Perfect table settings at De Tafel van Feliz. Nice tableware, candles and table linen - here you can find everything for a festive table. 

Drink/ A perfect cup of coffee at bookshop De Dry Coppen. This quiet place in the city centre has comfortable sofas and a nice offer of literature, travel guides, cookbooks and fun gifts. 

Buy/ Scandinavian furniture and accessories at Design District. I fell head over heels in love with a lounge chair from HAY... No need to regret you didn't buy something from their cool selection, they have a webshop. Need a bit of help? Guido, Marijke and Jolien will gladly come to your home and help you a hand with the interior design. 



Every once in a while I spend a day wandering around Mechelen. This quaint city between Antwerp and Brussels has been my home about ten years ago and I still have friends and family living in the area. The town has changed over the years - lots of young, creative people settled here and the city centre has been undergoing some major building projects. There's a new walking route following the river Dijle through the city, the station is undergoing renovations and different squares have been given a facelift.
On my recent visit, I decided to have lunch in Noen. This breakfast&lunch bar opened in April and is already a new hotspot. Homemade food, a cosy interior and outside seating in the sun - what more could one want? I opted for a pizzette and homemade lemonade, but also stole a bite from a chicken curry sandwich. Everything was delicious, next time I'll definitely try their signature deluxe breakfast... Check out Noen's website for their special events - how about getting your hair cut while drinking a cup of coffee or listening to live music during breakfast?

Noen, Leermarkt 24, Mechelen

What I loved... in April


April was crazy busy. With a lot of projects at work and hectic weekends. Went to a Thai restaurant with a good friend. Got a massage to ease the muscle tension in my body. Had an inspiring talk with a fellow blogger. Ate homemade pizza at a friend's place. Went to Brussels for a bloggers workshop hosted by the lovely Stephanie. Celebrated my birthday with a family brunch at my place. Got yet another massage. Sorted out childhood memories at my parents' place. Had an afternoon tea with a pregnant friend, talking baby names. Bring it on May, I'm ready for you... 

The idler


Doing absolutely nothing this weekend. Hanging around the house in a pair of jeans, a tee and sneakers - my favourite combo. Baking a batch of berry and hazelnut cakes. Checking out Gaia Repossi's Paris apartment as featured in Russian Vogue. Dreaming about the day that my hair will be long enough to make a top knot - only some 48 cm aka 3 years of growing to go. Staying a whole day in bed reading. Because those simple things bring great joy. 

How to eat


photo via kinfolk

The past two weeks were crazy busy. Work, play, projects, birthday celebrations - there were nights that I would sit on my couch, unable to move. My healthy diet got totally ruined - sugary snacks here I come! My absolute low: the night after a bad day at work that my dinner consisted out of a tub of Ben&Jerry's cookie dough ice cream. Needless to say, I can't keep on eating like that. So here are some quick, tasty and healthy alternatives I found...

*jus jus: organic cold-pressed raw juices - perfect for a juice cleanse (check out their tips) or as a vitamin-boost in between meals.
*don't know what to cook? check out this Dutch cooking blog, you can select recipes by indicating which ingredients you have tucked away in your kitchen cupboards or fridge.
*smartmat: no time to go grocery shopping? Get a week menu delivered to your door, you just have to cook it. There's also a veggie and quick&easy menu, so something for all tastes.
*breakfast is the most important meal of the day: discover some delicious breakfast recipes on Lucy's blog or on my all-time favourite breakfast blog.
My ultimate tip: food tastes better when it's shared. So put together a salad, a quick stir-fry or easy pasta dish and invite some friends over. Drink a glass of wine, share something chocolaty for dessert and have a laugh - no better way to beat stress.



photos via pinterest, garance doré & badlandsblog

So happy it's finally friday night, ready for a long weekend... My birthday weekend. I'm hosting a birthday brunch on Sunday, will take time for a coffee break, I'll be wearing my new marinière top, start reading up on Paris - counting the days until my next trip in May - take a nap or two and stroll through the archives of my new blog love. Happy weekend y'all! 

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