3 great things that happened this week

I was at my last Christmas party in school everrrz. Me, Norah and Tobias decided to seize the moment and play a sweet Joy Division tune (well, at least a sweet version) as an almost-last goodbye to our school and this godforsaken island. Photo cred leftmost picture: Norah.

Hung out with four main gals: my bestie Norah and also Anna, Fanny and Caisa with whom I haven’t hung out for way too long. I can’t even remember what the hell we were talking about all night, but I do remember I had way fun. The hoodie is from Weekday and I wear it almost everyday.

Albin shaved his hair off!!! He’s hopefully about to sign a contract with a pretty influential model agency, and they suggested he should shave his head. Said and done. I think he looks totally utterly fly in his new look. 

And as a Christmas special, I’m giving this video to all of you ’cause you probably need it. And Merry Christmas to all of you. And a safe one for those who feel anxious during Christmas times.

Sunday night

It’s Sunday night when I write this post and I’ve had a rough day. I spent the weekend in Stockholm, again, partying and buying Christmas gifts for friends and family. And then, all of a sudden, anxiety hit me like a wall. I constantly struggle with always being to harsh on myself. And sometimes it gets too hard to deal with. Therefore, I ended up almost panicking for no reason at all on the bus from Stockholm. I think my body and mind is just calling for a Christmas break. Which couldn’t be any more suiting, since I have holidays for two and a half weeks, starting from Wednesday. It’s probably time for me to take one step back. Hang out with my siblings, watch movies and read books by the bonfire. Try not to fight the sense of boredom. Try and fill my diary up, for once.

It would be wrong of me not to mention my weekend in Stockholm, though. I arrived on Saturday morning and went immediately to the shopping street on Södermalm. I spent all afternoon buying Christmas presents and I was dead tired when I showed up at Axel’s and Patrik’s place around dinner time. After having a pot of lentil stew I had to take a nap while the others hung out in the living room, playing music and drinking Club Mate + Vodka. It’s a wonder we even made it out, but when the night had grown darker and we’d had a few, we started making our way towards one of the gigs we were keen on – Axel Boman at Morfar Ginko & Pappa Ray Ray. The line was way too long though and it all ended up with me and Philip going to a gig at mmmmm. Jessie Grankvist played at the club and she was great, she is great, check her out:

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And so, Sunday. We had coffee and tomato soup for breakfast and hung out at the weekly Söndagsklubben (=talking and dancing in the living room and DJ:ing all day). They do this podcast thingy from time to time, you could listen here if you wanted to. It’s just a lot of nice music for lazy Sundays and hardly any talk at all.

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Samuel and a pizza.

On Sunday afternoon I had coffee with Ida. She is one of my closest friends but we hang out to little; she’s always busy with school projects and work. But this time I finally got to talk to her about the complexities in life. I’m guessing that’s one of the reasons I was feeling pretty off for the rest of the day. We talked about heavy stuff of the kind that can gnaw your brains out any time you let it. It’s important as hell to talk to your friends about anything that is hard to carry alone.

I think my mind and body are trying to tell me to back off for a while. Or at least have some rest. So that’s probably what I will do. For a couple of days or a week or two. Merry Christmas y’all, talk to you soon.

A rookie’s guide to Brussels

I’ve been to Brussels twice now, and I wouldn’t say I have become an expert on the hidden gems of the city. But then again, I know few people that have visited Brussels for fun and not for work, and I thought that I might as well share some of my favorites if you ever happen to swing by. Hang on.

Shopping
If you do go to Brussels, make sure that there is a lot of free space in your luggage and that you did receive your last pay. The thing is, Brussels is great for shopping. Especially second hand shopping. If that’s not for you though, there are several streets that are great for mainstream shopping. On Rue Neuve you will find H&M, Zara, Primark etc. But watch out, it will be crowded. If you’re looking for something more quiet (but also more expensive), head to Rue Antoine Dansaert and don’t miss Filippa K and Brandy Melville.

Second hand
I’d say you’ll probably find the best second hand close to Place du Jeu de Balle, which is also a flea market that is open everyday. I found all sorts of cool stuff on the market – old vinyls, Levi’s jeans, old clocks, portraits and broken lighters. Definitely worth a visit. The vintage gems in this area are Foxhole (great for second hand shopping at regular prices – neither pricey nor cheap), Bernard Gavilan and Melting Pot Kilo on Rue Haute where you can buy second hand clothes at a kilo price (that is where I bought my Nikes!).

If you head to Ixelles, make sure to stop by Retro Paradise. The prices are a bit higher but it’s well worth it – you can find a lot of hidden gems here. And it’s still not crazy expensive. Next to Retro Paradise lies Spullenhulp – Les Petits Riens which could be well worth a visit too – at least the prices are much lower.

If you happen to visit Brussels the first Sunday of the month, make sure to pay a visit to Brussels Vintage Market. It’s a three-floor market where you can find anything from vintage designers’ clothes to cheap sport clothes in the basement. There is also a bar in the hall =you can drink a beer while checking out the racks.

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Going out
I don’t think you’ll ever have a problem finding bars in Brussels – there are at least three in every corner. And most of them are real cozy. And they serve splendid Belgian beers of course. But also anything else you’d want. If you want to go clubbing, you should probably head to Fuse. That’s actually the only club I’ve ever been to in Brussels, but they also have a really good reputation.

Eating out/drinking coffee
Alright alright guys. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to try Belgian fries while in Brussels. You do know french fries are originally from Belgium, not France right? For the best fries in town (or so I’ve heard), head to Friterie de la barriere.

And eating out? Now this is where you should ask a local for tips since I haven’t eaten out much in Brussels. Finding a restaurant is not tricky at all – they are everywhere – but sorting out the most touristy ones is a bit more difficult. Finding some fast food won’t be hard though. I had a good veggie burger at Ellis Gourmet Burger once, which is supposed to be the best burger place in Brussels.

If you’re looking for coffee, head to Place du Jeu de Balle and explore the streets nearby – Rue Haute, Rue des Renards and Rue Blaes for instance. There are loads of hip cafés and great second hand in that area. In Saint-Gilles, try out Maison du peuple, and if you are in Ixelles you should definitely head to Café Belga for coffee or drinks.

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Sightseeing
Well well, here comes my weak point. I’m really not the sightseeing-kind-of-girl. But there are lots of great places to check out in Brussels. Head to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts to get a good look at the fancy blocks in Zavel (it’s really pretty and definitely worth the stroll). In Zavel you’ll also find magnificent churches, fancy cafés and shops, art galleries and luxurious chocolatiers. Then there are all the touristy sightseeings of course, such as Grand Place, Mannekin Pis (not at all an impressing guy), Atomium etc etc, but I’ll let you find out about all that for yourself, ’cause I really don’t think the world needs another blog entry telling you to check the common tourist sites out. There are plenty of nice parks if you visit in summer or in spring though.

One interesting thing about the city is that every block looks entirely different from the other. There’s the fancy blocks, there’s the city center, there’s the hipster hood and there’s the poorer blocks. There are Flamish parts, French parts and parts dominated by entirely other etnic groups. Anywhere you go, you’ll get a new angle of the city. I definitely recommend you to go to Brussels. It’s pretty and it’s inspiring and the beer is worldknown. What else would you need?

What to do on a Tuesday off

Remember I told you I felt too restless to go home after Brussels? Well, I ended up going home directly on Monday after I’ve landed at the airport anyways. I was dead tired and couldn’t look forward to anything but sleeping in my own bed. Guess we all reach our limits from time to time. Started watching the Netflix Originals The Get Down, which seems very promising. I think I can recommend it even though I’ve only seen the first episode so far.

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It felt so good sleeping in on Tuesday morning, and even have time to read a book and drink a cup of tea while having breakfast on my own. After breakfast, I ended up trying all my swimsuits and bikinis and doing my makeup while dancing like crazy all by myself. That’s one thing I do whenever I’m alone, but then again, who doesn’t right. I was going to meet up with Norah in town for lunch at 12 am, but I texted her asking if we could meet 15 minutes later. “I think I have a good selfie in the making”. “Hahaha, of course”, she replied. True friendship.

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We spent two hours or so in town, searching the flea markets and checking out the Christmas market. There is really nothing to do in Mariehamn, especially not winter time, and especially not yesterday since it was the independence day of Finland and most of the shops were closed. But it’s still always kind of great to catch up with your bestie. We ended up having pasta and espresso at some Italian place next to the market. Talking about the future (what else these days), about how to fight inferiority complexes, how to boost your creativity and what kind of collaborative projects we would like to do some time. But also about love and life, ’cause you can never talk to much about those things.

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Also, I sported these new babes that I bought in Brussels. Always embrace the 90s babe inside of you. Anyways, after saying bye bye to Norah I went home to study for a couple of hours for some test I have tomorrow. There’s only four months left of high school now, I really can’t wait to get it over and done with. Starting from April, I will be free to do whatever I feel like (even though I’ll probably just end up working non stop until summer). 2016 is coming to an end and for the first time in my life, I have no idea of how the upcoming year will turn out. Where I will live, what places I will discover, if I will study or work or just travel (I’d take my guess on the last one).  It is both scary and super exciting at the same time.

My day off ended with yoga class and family dinner. For the first time in weeks, it actually felt good to get some rest. I’ve been everywhere and I’ve done so much recently. I do love this hectic lifestyle, but there is no way I manage without doing my yoga. You gotta find whatever keeps you alive.