January 6, 2015


So I haven't posted in earnest on this blog in awhile. Its been a mixture of being busy at work, dealing with unpleasant work-related stuff, it being the holidays and well I think I'll add a little general laziness into the mix.

But in the month in between my last post I've:

-Gotten very ill with the flu (thank you darling husband for your lovely germs)
-Gained five pounds (thank you Paris, Thanksgiving, co-workers with mince pies and candy, and of course waffles and chocolate!)
-Gone to Brussels where I did the waffle and chocolate consuming (its Belgium! Its required)
-Done something exciting, which I can't talk about for a whole month!! But I wanna!!
-And gotten shortlisted as News Photographer of the Year for an East of England media award!

But this post is really just about Belgium. Billy and I headed to Brussels on the 20th for four days in the home of the European Union (which is really disappointing to see in person since it isn't very well labeled and we walked past it multiple times before giving up).

Billy's birthday is December 23rd and because of this he is usually jipped quite badly and therefore didn't (before he met me anyways) get to do anything special for his big day. So this was his birthday present along with awesome noise-cancelling Bose headphones from his awesome wife (that's me!)

My luck, I started showing signs of sickness  a few days before and despite a whole heck of a lot of vitamins and green drinks I woke up the day we were leaving with a super sore throat. Bleck.

It didn't stop our holiday though. We headed to St Pancras station and boarded the Eurostar. Again I was amazed at the ease of traveling by Eurostar. Security takes shear minutes and once inside there is usually enough seats for everyone (not like the last time we were in Stansted).

We got into Brussels around 4pm and after a few false starts trying to navigate the metro system (it is seriously the worst labelled metro in Europe) we made our way to our awesome hotel- 9Central. It was minimalist design and the bed was the most comfortable ever! I didn't want to leave.

We spent the next four days walking around the Grand Place, chocolate alley (that's what we called it anyways), and the amazing Christmas Market. It put the one in Edinburgh to shame.

I found the best waffles by the church that, at night, featured a light display show along with the Grand Place that was really festive. The Belgians really know their holiday stuff.

There isn't a lot of Belgian food per-se its really like London in that most of their restaurants are Italian, Japanese, Chinese and there was even a Tex-Mex. But the one place that was superb, which we really did visit every day for lunch, was this place called Exki.

It is a chain of healthy food that is fast buffet style but with take-away items similar to a Pret. There was a real leisurely attitude in there along with a wall full of magazines and 30 minutes free wi-fi so I didn't feel rushed despite the fastness of the food. We really need something like this over here.

One of the pinnacle moments of the trip for me was, when walking down one of the streets back to our hotel, we passed a toy shop and in the corner of my eye I saw the most amazing thing ever. Visions of my childhood danced before my eyes as I beheld a Moncchichi!!! Hem-Hem... "Way up in da trees live the Moncchichis. Moncchichi- Moncchichis..."

Much to my husband chagrin I entered the shop and nabbed myself a small Moncchichi Christmas ornament showing serious restraint. There were large Moncchichis and ones dressed as Santa and snowmen!! Oh how I wanted all of them. I'm sorry that my husband didn't get to experience the Moncchichis in all their glory but I am pleased to know they live on in a shop in Belgium.

But despite my illness, and the one day where I had to go back to the hotel at 3pm to take a nap, we had a really nice trip. We kept saying over and over how much we preferred Brussels to Paris, but we also said that if it weren't Christmas time we don't think there would be that much to do. We will be heading back that way in April or May to take Billy's mum to Bruge for her birthday present.

Au revior mon ami.

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