Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A Weekend in Brussels, Belgium | Travel Diary

Rain jacket? Check. 
Chargers? Check. 
Suitcase? Check.
Travel card? 
Oh, shit.

I emptied my pockets and found the holographic blue transport card stuffed deep in the pockets of my winter coat. It was 12:00pm and I needed to catch the bus at 12:10pm. A five minute walk plus five extra minutes (just in case) as I can never rely on the buses in my neighborhood. I hurriedly locked my apartment door and carried my suitcase down the stairs, holding onto the railing of the staircase for dear life as I tried to balance myself and my bags. Wheeling my suitcase behind me, my heeled boots click-clacked their way to the empty bus stop. 

2 minutes to go.

The bus driver arrived, opened the doors and I hopped on. A 17 minute drive and I had arrived at Tilburg Centraal Station, where my first priority was to find a kiosk or something to purchase a hot chocolate at. I ended up buying snacks and a hot chocolate  at a local supermarket, cradling the cup in my hands and allowing the steam of each sip to make my glasses go a little foggy. After I finished my drink, I made a chair out of the stairs outside of the entrance gates to the trains as I waited for my boyfriend, Zikri.

We had booked train tickets to Brussels, Belgium for the weekend. I was pretty excited as I'd never been to Brussels before. I've stayed in the city of Antwerp for a couple of nights and even biked 20 kilometers through Ypres to see strawberry fields, but Brussels was something new. Zikri had visited previously, and he was super excited to go back. While waiting, I bumped into my friends from my university; Ali and Roy. The conversation was cut short as both had a train or bus to catch - that's the thing about living in the Netherlands; time is really of the essence as everyone always has somewhere to be.

Zikri arrived shortly after. We missed our train by 15 minutes, so we had to wait half an hour for the next one. In the mean time, we occupied ourselves by drinking more hot chocolate, listening to music and people-watching. The train finally arrived and we were on our way from Tilburg to Roosendaal, where we had to cross-over and take the train from there to Brussels. The journey lasted an hour and a half. 

Brussels Central station was incredibly busy. Crowded with tourists and locals alike, people were waiting in line for tickets, running to catch their next trains and taking photographs. Zikri and I bought our travel cards for the weekend and then went to our hotel. We stayed at Euro Brussels Capital which was central to everything. After unpacking and getting comfortable, we set out to explore.

Taco & Burger Café in the city Center

Wandering around the city like foreigners do, our cameras captured moments we'd reflect on in a matter of days.  We visited the cathedral of St Michael which was as stunning on the inside as it was on the outside.

St Michael Cathedral

The sun was far from setting, florists were perched at every corner, the sickly sweet smell of syrup from waffles drifted in the air as vendors tried to sell their treats. We bought a few snacks for the weekend at a supermarket close to the hotel and spent the evening peering into bakeries and visiting souvenir stores.

Chocolate at a local bakery

On Saturday, the day of our anniversary, we went for lunch at Wok Away, a cute Asian restaurant in a shopping center where we were staying. After eating, we visited a flea market. I was super excited for this because I used to go to flea markets often when I was little. There was loads to see; old cameras, vintage clothing, foulards, french poetry books, teacups, crystals and more. Zikri bought a couple of pins and I bought a coral, whom I lovingly named Carl.

Old Cameras

Me ft Carl the Coral

Miami Plate
After the our little visit to the flea market, we dropped off our purchases back at the hotel, got a map and circled where we'd be going to next. We were both keen on seeing Manneken Pis (the little peeing boy). Neither Zikri nor I knew where we were going, despite having a map with us. Given that I had failed Geography in both grade nine and ten, I let Zikri take the lead on this one. We bumped into an Indian lady who was visiting Belgium for a business trip. She was also looking for the statue and asked if she could search with us. We agreed and began our little scavenger hunt as we walked through alleys and crossed streets in search of Manneken Pis. For those of you who don't know, Manneken Pis is a representation of the rebellious spirit of Belgium, which is why it is so famous. (Yeah, I don't get it either) 

Moving on - let me tell you, seeing the actual statue was anti-climatic as heck. I don't understand the fuss - it was tiny. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn't that. Perhaps it was because all the replicas I had seen were at the very least, the size of a toddler. But no, not the real thing. It was barely the length of my arm. However, like the troopers we are, we got a photo in front of the statue.

Zikri wanted to go to an art museum, where we admired the work of René Magritte, a surrealist artist who is from Belgium. The museum was lovely and the art was captivating. Unfortunately we weren't able to take photos of the work in the Magritte section, but the souvenir store downstairs had replicas in forms of postcards, film and posters which were all absolutely amazing.

Museum Trip

After the statue, we continued walking around the city center and stumbled across a contemporary art fair. The area in which we were now in was super crowded; people were taking photos, reading in the gardens and dancing to live music. We even stumbled across a group of dancers who were dancing to K-Pop, which Zikri was super excited about. After we said goodbye to our friend Dita, the Indian lady we had traveled to Manneken Pis with, we got waffles again. We walked back to Brussels Central to get a train to the hotel and we were back at a reasonable time, feet sore from all the steps and backs aching from all the items in our backpacks. We both showed each other our purchases from the past two days;  Zikri had gotten postcards and loads of pins for his collection. I had Carl, my foulard, a shot glass I bought for Roy and also a post-card I had purchased at a souvenir store.

We were up super early on Sunday morning. Our last day and nothing was planned. We had to be out by 11am, giving us an hour of free time as our train back to the Netherlands was only around 12pm. When we woke, Zikri and I were both pleasantly surprised to see a huge street market right outside of our hotel. The streets were crowded as people, who at this point looked like ants, walked around purchasing and bargaining. We quickly packed, tidied, showered and hurried out the door to browse the market. There was a lot more food at this market compared to the one we visited on Friday. Zikri bought strawberries and I got a cup of Moroccan tea which was much too sweet for my liking. 
I liked the atmosphere of the market; there was so much going on as it was colossal. This weekend was so much fun, I loved exploring and being in a new city. Traveling is always liberating, no matter if you go to a new town, city or country. I hope to have a video about my trip to Belgium up soon, but for now this is all I've got. Thanks for reading; please be kind and take care of yourself.



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Monday, 24 April 2017

StyleTone April Unboxing!

Hi, everyone! Today I'm back with another StyleTone unboxing. This month's theme was 'Bedoodle Me' and almost all of the products in the subscription box had pink on the packaging which made me fall in love even more. I loved the variety of the products; have a look!

Like every month, I received five full-sized beauty products and I have to say, this month's box was my absolute favourite! I received a pink illuminator, lip balm, Silicone Beauty Blender, a pore refiner and a finishing powder with an SPF of 12.

The very first product that captured my eye was this gorgeous liquid illuminator from Trifle Cosmetics. Initially, I thought it was some kind of lip product due to the shape of the packaging so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that it was a face product. Admittedly, I am unfamiliar with Trifle Cosmetics but if the rest of their products are as good as this illuminator I'm sure I'll be making a few purchases soon!

This is the product straight out of the tube. It's a gorgeous rosy pink colour that I think would suit most complexions. I like the consistency as it is easily blendable and blendable. It is weightless too so would be great for the Spring time to add a flush of colour on the apples of your cheeks.

This is the product after blending; I like the pearly finish the product gives and it's not too pigmented. As mentioned previously, it is buildable so you can intensify the colour if you wish. Because it has a bit of a sparkly sheen to it, I would prefer to keep it like this.

 The next product I unboxed is the Note BB Lip Corrector. As pictured above, it has a "3D effect" which essentially makes your lips appear fuller.

This is what the product looks like once out of the packaging. I totally forgot to take a picture of the contents of the product but it's a gorgeous deep pink colour that I adore. Something I really like about this lip plumper is that it is paraben free and contains Vitamin E, which is excellent for moisturising and protecting your lips.

The third product is more of a skincare item. It is the Figs & Rouge Invisible Pore Night Detox Micro Refining Serum. I've wanted a product that makes my pores smaller for ages now so I was so happy when I received this in the mail. I haven't tried it out yet, but I will definitely write a review once I do.

The hype was real with this product! I know there's been quite a debate in the beauty world regarding Silicone Blenders/Silisponges but I don't have too much to say about it as I just use foundation brushes and Real Technqiues Beauty Sponges.
The Silisponge is small and ovular, similar to a sponge but obviously way more compact though a little heavier. I'm super excited to try this out though, as Silisponges are supposed to blend better as they pick up less product plus they are a lot easier to clean than regular sponges and brushes.

The fifth and last product I received is a pressed finishing powder with a sun protecting factor (SPF) of 12 as well as an age protector by the brand 29 Cosmetics. The packaging is a crisp white with a gorgeous silver emblem in the middle of the box that makes the product appear super luxurious.

This is the product on the inside; it is a medium colour pressed powder that is packaged in a silver compact with a built in mirror and compact. The powder has grape seed extract which is beneficial for the skin as it is nourishing. The SPF allows for protection from the sun and the product's included age protectant in the grape seed extract aids in helping skin appear smoother and moisturized as it fights signs of ageing.
That was my review of my April StyleTone unboxing! What did you think of it? 


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Sunday, 16 April 2017

Get To Know Me | Miah Ke-leigh

You've seen me write reviews, share my travel stories, study hacks, beauty products and swatches, hauls, eco-friendly purchases and cruelty-free buys. Today I'm sharing a little bit about me.




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Sunday, 2 April 2017

March Favourites | Places, Books, Music & More!

March has ended and Spring has officially begun! Today I'm sharing some of the items that I've been loving throughout March; from amazing books, groovy tunes, new places and addictive TV series, here's what my March consisted of.

 It's no secret that I'm addicted to the internet. Aside from streaming countless Youtube Videos, reading zines and playing PacMan, I also enjoy watching a few TV series. 

How To Get Away With Murder
 This is my number one show right now! My roommate is a law student and she actually got me into this. I then watched the first episode, then the second and before I knew it, I had finished the entire season.
 It's that good. 
 Not only do you have the super talented Viola Davis playing badass Professor Annalise Keating as a defense attorney with some really interesting cases, but the rest of the cast are just as enjoyable to watch. Each character has their own story, and almost everyone in the show has a secret. You may recognize a few familiar faces like Alfred Enoch from Harry Potter and Liza Weil, who played Paris in 'Gilmore Girls'.
Stranger Things

 You all know how much I love this show. Admittedly, I debated whether or not I'll be watching it again due to there being such a large break before the next season, but then I saw an interview with Millie Bobby Brown, the actress who plays Eleven, and I just knew it wasn't a question - the show is a must watch! It's a sci-fi horror series set in the 80s, it's got excellent cinematography, a tale of true friendship and a bunch of unsolved questions and murders, while still keeping it light-hearted and fun due to most of the cast members only being fourteen.  I even wrote a blog post about it, which you can read here
Grey's Anatomy  
  Yet another show produced by the wonderful Shonda Rhimes, who also created 'How To Get Away With Murder', 'Scandal' and 'The Catch'. In case you didn't know, she's the only woman who has four shows running back to back. As she says, her brain is global. Grey's Anatomy has been running for 13 seasons and counting - a truly inspirational TV series that follows the personal and professional lives of surgeons at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital in Seattle, it's a must watch if you love medical dramas with a little bit of humor. 


Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
I've been on a book spree lately and have bought too many books for the amount of time I have to finish them. Lately I've been reading Pretty Girls, a thriller that revolves around the Carroll family and the unsolved disappearance of Julia, the oldest sister. 24 years later, another girl goes missing and the discovery that the disappearances are  linked changes everything. The book evokes atmosphere, pays great attention to detail and the word choice sound like music, it's so interesting to read and is accompanied by vivid imagery.
Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
A coming of age novel (and movie) revolving around the life of awkward outcast and freshman Charlie who befriends Sam and Patrick, two seniors in high school. Charlie's new friends help him discover love, friendship and parties for the first time and, along with the help of his English teacher, spark his dream of becoming a writer. Things take a turn for the worst when Charlie's world comes crashing down as his only friends prepare to leave for university, leaving Charlie alone with little to no self-confidence. An all-time favourite, I urge you to read this book and watch the movie.

I've created a Spring Playlist which you can read all about here 

I've been exploring a little bit more than usual this month and plan to do a separate blog post all about that. However, here are two of my favourite places in town.

This cute little store that specializes in selling recyclable, fair-trade, biological and eco-conscious products has become one of my favourite places to visit. I often go there to buy a slab of Tony's Chocoloney's Chocolate as they have a much larger variety than I'd find in a supermarket. Aside from that, I also go to their fruit and nut station, where they give you a recycled glass jar or biodegradable paper bag for you to fill tasty snacks in. You then weigh those snacks and pay for the weight. The most I've paid was 8 euros for a medium sized jar filled with dates, almonds, nuts and figs AND a paper bag filled with chocolate covered hazel and walnuts.

Bagels & Beans 

I love everything about this café. From the yellow colour scheme to the freshly brewed coffee, the outdoor tables and the way the sunlight fills the room, Bagels & Beans is a wonderful place to study, get lunch with friends or go on a cute little date.

Flower Markets
I spend too much time strolling and not enough time buying flowers. They're so beautiful to look at, to capture. I love flowers, I grew up with them in the house and to visit flower markets are kind of a hobby. Roses, sunflowers, daisies and foxgloves are my favourite. 

That's it for my March Favourites. What did you enjoy? Have you read any of the books I recommended or listened to any of the songs in the playlist? 


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