AUTUMN CALLS FOR TEDDY BEAR COATS

November 1, 2017

Autumn has arrived and the season has brought a chilly wind, a steep decrease in temperature and the need for warmer coats. Last weekend I traveled to Birmingham for the weekend, accompanied by my lovely dad, and I asked him to take a couple of outfit pictures (which ended up being around 80 photos altogether, thanks, dad!). As you can see I was wearing quite a fair few layers on this day and thank goodness I did. It was pretty cold and the wind was not very gentle, but seeing the impressive architecture in Birmingham was definitely worth it!

I wore my good old teddy bear coat, which I got from one of those cheap Chinese websites that I would no longer even consider buying from as it's most certainly not sweatshop-free. But I was fairly new to blogging at the time and getting free stuff was exciting and cool (eye-roll). Anywho, long story short, I love the teddy bear coat and I need to get my hands on a thrifted one to replace this one as it's a tad bit worn-out.

I also wore my favourite trousers from American Apparel, an oversized jumper with a blouse underneath (both pieces were from Vero Moda), my trusty old Doc Martens (the vegan edition) and my fancy Matt and Natt backpack (also vegan, fyi). I hope you've enjoyed reading this far too long explanation of my outfit and watching me pull funny faces and looking stern as well. Have a lovely day! (PS: it's world vegan day today, yay!) 




DISCOVERING BATH AND STONEHENGE

October 21, 2017



BATH

Another weekend, another travel destination I'd been dreaming of visiting one day. I love discovering cities with stunning architecture because of the photo opportunities and the atmosphere. I am one of those people who scroll through Instagram in hope to find new places where I can aimlessly stroll with a camera in my hand. Bath ticked all of those boxes and I was excited to hop on the bus, drive for far too many hours and spend the afternoon in the city. Although I most certainly didn't get enough time to capture all of the wondrous places in Bath, I wanted to share these photos with you and I am most definitely going back soon.



 STONEHENGE

I hope I don't break your heart when honestly saying that Stonehenge was just slightly disappointing. I had never seen the infamous monument in real life and thus, pictured it to be much more impressive than it eventually turned out to be. Yes, the stones were enormous but they weren't as massive as I thought they would be. Nevertheless, it was very interesting to learn about the history of Stonehenge and it was a must-see monument.



A LETTER FROM A PAST ME

October 18, 2017



I wrote this letter to you and to myself back in March and, although this isn't really logical, I felt like publishing it in October. This message has been sitting in my drafts for quite some time now and, seeing it's still as accurate as ever, it deserves a little spot on my blog. 

When one starts to wonder what bloggers are supposed blog about you know it's been far too long since the last update. Lately my life has circled around university and trying to settle in a new environment, figuring out what I stand for and what I find important in my life and thirdly, where I want to go. In the process of finding myself I stepped out of my comfort zone, more than once that is, and I found it has taught me so many things I didn't know about myself. I signed up for an Erasmus project with my university which means I might be studying abroad next semester, I met so many new people and I got rid of things I no longer need in my life. I'm pretty sure you're already sick of seeing decluttering posts and tips to get your life back on track, but these topics are prominent in my life so they'll be dominating my blog as well. Anywho, I wanted to list some things I've discovered recently that have changed my way of living. I would also love to know something you've found out about yourself that has changed your life in some way.

· MATERIALISM ·

I have realized that having too many materialistic items in my life has the tendency to put unnecessery pressure on my shoulders. I managed to massively downsize my wardrobe already, but I'm not there yet. My goal is to have less than five pieces of each clothing item. I want them to last long, not get boring and have endless ways to be combined with other pieces.

· MY STYLE ·

I love to dress up and feel 'fully put together'. Whenever I ger ready for uni, I simply throw on one of my trusty oversized sweaters and a boring pair of jeans (usually black). Combine this with my doc martens and the typical 'Nausikaä'-look has been achieved. Rather plain and boring, right? This is something I really want to change in the future because I love the way of feeling ready for the day, wearing a thoughtfully combined outfit.

· WRITING ·

I'm a writer. Do I sound big-headed and narcissistic now? Possibly. Though I think I am writer. I started writing stories when I was six years old and I've never stopped. Everything that happens in my life inspires me to write a story. Tragic events lead to tragic stories, which I mostly don't finish, but I have this urge to jot down anything that happens to me. Recently, however, I've begun writing a proper story. One of those stories that could possibly end up being published as a real book. Don't get your hopes up, it might just be horrible and totally uninteresting!

· IMPERFECTIONS ·

I'm not perfect or untouchable. Boom! Bet that hit you like a wrecking ball, didn't it? Haha. I realize I have my flaws (many of them, even) and I try not to let them take control over my life and my thinking, but sometimes it's so easy to feel sad and irritated by the things that I am and am not. I get annoyed, I feel angry (far too often), I get frustrated and I cry. It's only human. Yet we don't see this side of humanity on social media, or not enough. We all try to paint a picture perfect life online yet behind the screen we are real people and it's tearing (some of) us down.

I sometimes get distracted by the photos on social media and temporarely forget that social media is not real life. Though we all try to make it seem like it is really happening. I try to spend more time offline and discover things in the real world than to aimlessly scroll through the never-ending feed.

· FOUR YEARS OF FASHIONATIC·
  
I have been blogging (inconsistently, I have to mention this) for over four years now! Gosh, I feel old. I promised to make 2017 the best-blogging-year of my life and guess what? Yes, I completely neglected this lovely corner of the World Wide Web for the whole of February. I feel ashamed and extremely sorry, especially since I had so many wonderful things to share with you. Travel tips, lifestyle tricks and delicious recipes. I'm not making any more promises. I will say this though: expect better things to come for 2017 than a blog with no updates for a whole month. Let's make this a place to inspire, grow stronger and become who we are! (That went from being a plain old apology to being really deep in a short time, pardon me.)

Thank you so much for reading the blabberings and thoughts published on my little Fashionatic blog and for continuously showing your support by subscribing to this little corner on the Internet. You mean a crazy lot to me. I'm not making any New Years' revolutions yet, it is far too soon for those, but I am more than ready for a fifth year of blogging in February.

A LOVELY DAY IN NOTTINGHAM

October 14, 2017

Last Saturday, exactly one week ago, I gathered the courage to leave my cozy little dorm room on campus and headed to Nottingham. I also want to warn you before you continue reading this post and perhaps slightly judge me. Since I wanted to be home before the sun would be going down, I didn't have enough time to thoroughly get to know the city and thus, I'm just sharing what I did and loved in Robin Hood's town (which isn't very impressive).

The first thing I did, which I had been really excited for all week, was visiting Nottingham castle and discovering the caves beneath it. I bought a ticket for a guided tour and it was one of the best £5 I have spent (so far) during my time in the UK. The guide gave us an entertaining insight into the history of the castle and why Nottingham used to be called "Snottingham".



My stomach was rumbling after walking around for a while and I headed towards Zizzi's, an italian restaurant with a vegan menu. Zizzi's is located beside the old market square, of which I did not get a photograph because it was decorated for an event, but the buildings surrounding the square are gorgeous.

I strolled through the popular shopping street with the 'typical' highstreet brands, searching for the Lace Market, but gave up after thirty minutes of mindless walking. I did some thrift shopping (of which I will be doing an outfit post hopefully soon) and headed back to the bus stop to head back home. This concludes my short trip to Nottingham, but if you're interested in seeing what I ate on this particular day you can watch the video below.



A SNEAKY LITTLE TRAVEL HAUL

October 12, 2017

Coming to the UK to study abroad does have its downsides, but the perks most definitely outweigh the negative aspects of being an Erasmus student. I get to try out products we don't have in Belgium, my tastebuds are getting to know new vegan food options and thrift shops are around the corner. About a year ago I promised myself to buy less sweatshop-made clothes and I am proud to say that the only items I bought that were not sweatshop-free are some socks and underwear from Primark. I'm not proud of those purchases, but they were very necessary and rather urgent. I will be showing you some of the thrifted items in another post, though (when I find both the time and a photographer). The other items I bought are completely cruelty-free and vegan, which is wonderful. Let's get started.

If you know me, you might also know that my second name is 'Bookworm and Collector' and I suck at not buying anything in secondhand bookstores. When you're practically surrounded by these bookstores, life can get hard and not buying anything suddenly becomes a challenge. Anywho, the first book I purchased was 'The Time in Between', which is absolutely brilliant and tells the story of Nancy Tucker and her battle with both anorexia and bulimia. I also already finished reading Harry Potter and the cursed child and the shock of the fall. Both books I adored and I would most certainly recommend them if you're looking for a good book. The others are still waiting in line to be read.


The weather has not been kind to my skin and neither have the sneaky biscoff cookies (and the bourbon creams - yes, they're vegan!) with my cup of tea in the morning. My skin doesn't like sugar or even the slightest change of climate which caused too many breakouts for my liking. I headed to Lush for a bottle of Tea Tree Water, my favorite, and something new called Grease Lighting. It is supposed to make spots disappear before they get the chance to shine, although I'm not sure if this is working for me. It might need a couple more weeks to start working. Until then, I'm covering up my blemishes with a liquid concealer and a concealer stick from Natural Collection. These aren't the greatest, they were quite cheap so I was prepared, but they do the job (kind of).

The 'Gentle Powder Love' shower gel isn't something I would usually include in a shopping haul, but it smells like heaven, it was made in the UK and it is 100% cruelty-free so I would definitely recommend getting your hands on this bottle of happiness!



Oh, hey me in the reflection! Last but not least I couldn't help myself when standing in front of the Makeup Revolution stand in Superdrug. I sneakily bought two lipsticks, Chauffeur and the matte version of this color, and I have been wearing Chauffeur non-stop every single day. The color is absolutely gorgeous and nude, which makes my makeup feel very natural and perfect to wear during the day. The matte lipstick, however, isn't my favorite since it's a tad bit too light for me. Anywho, I am pretty happy with my purchases so far!


DREAMY PLACES IN BRIGHTON, ENGLAND

October 1, 2017

 
Maybe I should put up the post with my things-you-should-definitely-visit-in-London list before I publish this one, simply because I went to London before I headed off to the seaside city. However, I am far too excited to share the magical spots in Brighton and I cannot wait any longer. Let's start at the beginning, as one should. Brighton had been on my travel wishlist (yes, I do make wishlists for everything) for ages and as I had some free time before I would be heading to uni it would only make sense to stay in Brighton for a couple of days, four to be exact. I jotted down some places in the city I had to visit and went discovering. Let's get started.

THE TOURISTY THINGS

Walk around The Lanes, these are the small shopping streets with high street brands and smaller businesses representing their more creative products. Discover the food and attractions on The Pier whilst having a stroll and feeling the wind breeze through your hair. Spot the gorgeous art paintings on the buildings near Trafalgar Street and get lost in the incredibly small streets. Take a moment to walk in and out of the little shops and maybe even grab some indulgent cake from Wai Kika Moo Kau? Snap some photographs from the Royal Castle and allow yourself to pretend you are the main character in a fairytale.




HIKING AND NATURE

Be awed by nature as you stare at the magical view of Seven Sisters. Hike up the cliff and prepare to be stunned by the view of the sea, the white cliffs and the meadow with adorable sheep. If you wish to spend the entire day here you can get some flyers with hiking routes at the visitor centre. It is possible to hike along the cliffs or beside the beach and into the meadows. Remember to take a small (or big!) picnic basket with you filled with delicious treats to enjoy on the cliffs.


About a 30-minute trip from the centre of Brighton by bus lays Devil's Dyke where you can either go for a challenging hike or to simply enjoy the view at the top. The views are, once again, breathtaking but beware the fierce wind at the top!



MAKING THE TRIP (EVEN MORE!) UNFORGETTABLE

For the price of no more than £1 per ride and 3p per additional minute, you can cycle along the white cliffs or discover the city by bike, though I wouldn't advise you to do this as it can get rather dangerous with the red buses and taxi's on the roads. If you're feeling brave you can wake up early and walk by the ocean as the sun sets. Share sourdough pizza's from Purezza or a pizza burger with your friend or partner (and a cheeky dessert afterwards?). Soak in the beauty and calmness of Brighton and get lost for a couple of days before heading back to reality.





WHY YOU SHOULD NOT BE WORKING OUT

August 10, 2017

According to society's norms, a sixpack and slim, lean legs are necessary to be happy in life. If you don't work out at least five days a week, then who even are you? Can you be healthy without seeing muscle definition or if you haven't smashed that last 5K run? When I was reading up on this topic and watching videos about exercise and how we feel pressured to be the fittest version of ourselves, something clicked. And no, it was not the sixtieth ad about those silly fitteas that will never work for anyone or the twentieth free workout plan (for a month!) that would make me stronger and leaner than a bikini model. 

Why do we care so much about looking a certain way and how healthy is it really, to spend six hours in the gym every week, scanning our own bodies for imperfections we have yet to change? I probably won't be the first to admit that I was afraid of losing my abs when I quit exercising like a mad woman, lifting weights until my back started aching or running until my body broke down. I have been there and yet until I realized how unhealthy these habits were, I never really cared enough to actually do something about them. 

For years I knew exactly what my body was telling me and it was so easy to ignore the signs, to continue to push myself until the bitter end. About two and a half years ago, I took up running and I was very serious about it. Every other day I'd shove on my running shoes, no matter what the weather was like, and I'd run until my lungs were aching and my legs were feeling like lead. It only took my body six months to break down. Running 10K every other day raised my cortisol levels, disturbed my hormonal balance and I haven't had my period ever since. Believe it or not, but even after that, I continued to search for new exercise methods. Yes, I did yoga every morning for five months, but it just wasn't enough. Whenever I was on holiday, I'd frantically search for ways to move my body. A swimming pool would mean I'd do a hundred laps every day, city trips were great for walking and thus, moving my legs and keeping them strong.

I did workouts in my bedroom and dorm room daily after school or uni and when that got too boring I started running again. I never thought about giving my body a break, because I might've just lost my strength and leanness. And, as the story repeats itself, I broke down again. I felt physically drained and I was constantly tired. I'd get out of bed, make myself look presentable and feel ready to get back to sleep. Now, this is what people call an 'exercise addiction' and funnily enough, society supports it. 

I look lean, you can clearly see my abs, I don't have any fat on my body (or barely any) and, according to people on Instagram, Facebook, any social network whatsoever, and even newspapers and magazines, this is healthy. I'm driven, I care about my body and my BMI is on the lower end of the scale. Now you've read my story, heard about my rather dramatic fitness journey and possibly reflected on your own exercise routine, do you still think society's norms on fitness are healthy? 

I wanted to voice my opinion on this little blog of mine and raise awareness about this topic. No matter how benign that ad for fittea might be and the portraying of fit people all over social media, it's not always without consequence. You should only be doing exercise because you love the way it makes you feel, not how great you look or how you'll feel once you've shed some weight. Listen to your body, it's much smarter than your ego.

MINIMALISM 101

July 21, 2017


I'm not fully comfortable yet with calling myself a 'minimalist', but something was stirring inside of me and I figured writing a blog post about my journey to minimalism and tips I wanted to give you would harm nobody. I'll just temporarily forget about the 12 pairs of shoes lurking at me in the corner of my room. There is no easy way to minimalism, it's a journey just like every lifestyle change is. You don't throw away half of your belongings without taking the time to let your decision sink in thoroughly. Also, minimalism covers so much more than just reducing your belongings to a suitcase of clothing, memories and other stuff. Yes, there's the 'what I own' category, but reducing your waste, your negative footprint on the planet and lifestyle minimalism that comes into play. 

THE GOODS

First things first, the basics. Something you'll probably already know is the 'only keep what makes you happy and what you really need' rule à la Marie Kondo. I can honestly say that I got rid of half my closet, the materialistic memories, and objects I really did not need. Clothing items that didn't make me feel comfortable or pretty I easily donated to secondhand stores and charity shops, others I gave to my friends and another pile went directly into the bin. The memory box was another thing I had to tackle, but last year when I visited our friends' school in Congo, I donated 60 teddy bears to the children (I can't even believe I owned that many). Other things went, yet again, in a donation bag or I gave them to friends and family. Last, but not least, do you really need that many items to decorate your house or room? Donate, sell or give them away. 

REDUCING YOUR NEGATIVE INFLUENCE

The biggest lifestyle change for me wasn't going vegan, heck no, that was the easiest thing I ever did. I loved animals, I cared about the planet and I wanted to improve my health. To me, going plant-based was easier than doing five push-ups in a row. Trying to live zero waste is an almost impossible task, considering supermarkets like to wrap a ton of plastic around each carrot, apple or oat. I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm not. I try to buy items in bulk, at zero waste shops or in wholesale markets where I use reusable bags for veggies and fruit. It's not easy, but it's worth it.

 LIFESTYLE MINIMALISM

We tend to be so focused on everything else, the past, the future, our phones, that we often forget to live in the moment itself. We're always longing for that something new, exciting or mind-blowing and the present doesn't seem that wonderful anymore. Try to not schedule every second of the day, leave some time to relax and sit back, enjoying the sound of your surroundings, reading a book or drinking a cup of tea whilst doing nothing else. One of my friends made a lovely video all about lifestyle minimalism which is definitely worth a watch if you're interested.

This minimalism 101 was short and sweet, so if I didn't cover something, mentioned incorrect things or if a certain part was too short, let me know in the comments so I can elaborate on things or fix them if necessary. XX

FLOWERS IN SAN QUIRICO

July 16, 2017

At least one outfit photo session is necessary when in Italy. Although I've been living in the same pair of shorts for over a week now (yes, they have been washed multiple times, don't you worry.) because of the strong afternoon wind in the Val d'Orcia. Being a bit risky, I fancied wearing a skirt for this outfit post. I combined the short flower-printed skirt I bought in San Francisco last year (H&M) with my trusty old croptop and comfortable sandals (both Topshop). Although I don't like both brands for offering sweatshop clothing, I found it even worse to throw these pieces away. The backpack I'm wearing is new and from Matt & Natt, which is a vegan, sweatshop-free Canadian brand specialized in making quality backpacks and shoes. 

One of the things I love the most about the Val d'Orcia is the picturesque little towns with adorable streets and even more adorable people. It isn't touristy, at all, which makes it even more beautiful and peaceful. I definitely recommend reading my last travel post with some must-visit places if you're considering a trip to Italy. More posts will be following soon, so keep an eye out on them! I've got only two more days until I'm heading home *sad face*. I'm spending these last hours laying by the pool, trying to beat my pr as I swim laps across the pool and I'm trying to write another 5K words for my fantasy novel.  


TRAVEL WITH ME: VAL D'ORCIA (PART ONE)

July 8, 2017

It's a Saturday evening as I'm writing this, I'm exhausted from our long walk in the (almost excruciating) heat and just generally being active in 40°C. But hey, I'm watching the sun set over the hills of the Val d'Orcia and I just had a delicious vegan pasta pesto so I have no reason to complain. Apart from the fact that I tripped over and ended up on my right side on the stony road. I'm bruised and blue, but still alive. 

I've gathered travel inspiration I'm excited to share with you and hopefully, you'll be even more excited to plan a trip to Tuscany. The place my mom and I are staying at is a little house in Contignano I found through Airbnb and it's absolutely gorgeous. It's tiny, but seeing as we're constantly out the door there's no reason for renting an expensive house. We're renting a car for the next twelve days (of which three have already passed - sad face) and we'll be cruising through the valley. 

RADICOFANI

First things first, we did a little road trip yesterday and got through four villages in one afternoon. Our first stop was Radicofani. The things in this gorgeous little town you have to visit are:
- The Fortezza; take the stairs to make the tower seem even more impressive after suffering through a rather sweaty climb. We did not visit the fort itself, but if you fancy a walk through it'll cost you about €4 per person.
- Pane e Companatico di Cesaretti Silvana; a baker who is very passionate about her bread, worth a visit if you're hungry or just curious. 
- Have a little stroll through the streets of Radicofani and embrace the authenticity of the village.


 
CASCIANO DEI BAGNI

Wander through the little village and enjoy the breathtaking views over the valley. Other than this there isn't that much to see, but it's always fun to discover new places when in Tuscany.



CETONA

Cetona is a larger city (with a supermarket!) where you can find several restaurants to eat out. Outside of the city you can find Suzie's Yard, a farm where the best organic olive oil is made. We didn't have the time to visit the farm, but if you have the time be sure to check it out. 

 
 SARTEANO

My mom was excited to have some ice cream (not vegan, sadly) at a bar called Diavoli in Sarteano so we headed towards the village. I was exhausted by that time so I caught up on some rest whilst she had her daily dose of sugar. We walked around the city for an hour before deciding we were hungry and needed a proper meal. Italians eat rather late (around 7 P.M.) and my metabolism isn't used to this, which means I get hungry around six. Thus, we survived off snacks and a soda for me whereas my mum had some wine. The restaurant where we ate a delicious meal, which I would 100% recommend, is called 'Chiostro Cennini'. They even had an accidentally vegan option! Also, may I add that the bread is freshly baked and served warm and crispy? *drools* I also wanted to share the gorgeousness that is the sunset in the Val D'Orcia.