Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘general’ Category

Natural living?


The last 10 years of my life I lived in the countryside. Natural living is easy there. Together with my ex I built a strawbale and clay house and we had a big garden to grow vegetables in and fruit trees.

Building with strawbales

Building with strawbales

 

Big garden with fruit trees

Big garden with fruit trees

We heated the house with woodstoves and a pelletstove. We didn’t have any supermarkets or shops nearby, so no temptation to buy stuff you don’t need.

Heating with woodstove

Heating with woodstove

We tried to be as self-sufficient as possible. I made my own shampoo, soap, perfume and other stuff. We recycled as much as possible. We used glass mason jars to store stuff.

When we split up I moved into a community farmhouse, Ferme de Chebais.

Spring at Ferme de Chebais

Spring at Ferme de Chebais

We had our own vegetable garden and some fruit trees. I hiked a lot in the surrounding neighbourhood and lived more outside and in tune with the seasons.

Summer at Chebais

Summer at Chebais

But then I moved into the city of Ghent. I moved there after backpacking for 2,5 months and camping outside most of the time. It was a bit of a shock to me to be surrounded by concrete so much and suddenly have shops, bars and restaurants everywhere. And my natural living started to fall apart. I started buying food in supermarkets. I still buy food at the local organic grocery store, but also the packaged stuff at the supermarket.

Suddenly I have a lot of trash again. A lot of plastic waste. Before I bought in bulk once a month and added locally grown organic veggies and fruit to my staple (I’m a vegetarian). Now I no longer plan ahead and sometimes visit the supermarket / grocery store daily. I started eating stuff I didn’t eat for such a long time. Packaged stuff, processed stuff. I’m really struggling with city life it seems.

So, how do I start living natural again? I think it somehow has to do with not being used to this kind of ‘abundance’ anymore. I have to harden up and not give in to the ‘easy life’ of having a supermarket next door.

I still make a lot of my own products, even the dishwasher powder. I still recycle and re-use. But I stopped going outdoors, even though I have a park next door. I know I need to change that. I need to get used to the city and discover the little bits of nature it has to offer me. I need to open my eyes and see the beauty of the small city nature. And I have to get used to people being everywhere. That’s what’s keeping me from going to the park most of the time.

Do you have some advice to give me? How do I combine city life with natural living?

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


People ask me all the time: what was the most beautiful place you visited on your journey? I visited a lot of beautiful places in my months in Ireland and Scotland. But some of them are real highlights that I still cherish. So, in no particular order, here are my 3 highlights for Ireland.

Skellig Michael
What a mystical place! Ancient beehive huts where monks used to live. Cragged rock islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Now, together with Little Skellig, a bird sanctuary. I was there during the breeding season of the puffins. And saw thousands of gannets that live there. Amazing wildlife and scenery.

 Wanna read more? Click here!

Beehive huts and Little Skellig on the background

Beehive huts and Little Skellig on the background

Puffins

Puffins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Skellig, gannet sanctuary

Little Skellig, gannet sanctuary

Photobomb by puffin

Photobomb by puffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connemara

Dramatic mountains, beautiful lakes and breathtaking desolate valleys where you only encounter sheep. Beautiful little coastal towns and villages. And the most beautiful rainbows you will ever see!

Wanna read more? Click here!
And here!

Beautiful view on the Connemara mountains in Roundstone

Beautiful view on the Connemara mountains in Roundstone

 

Letterfrack bay

Letterfrack bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roundstone harbour

Roundstone harbour

Clifden bay

Clifden bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glendalough

Lush mountain valley with 2 lakes and the beautiful abbey ruins of St. Kevin. Quiet abandoned mining village. Little birds that join you on your trail through the mountains. And the mystical little sanctuary where St. Kevin used to have his cell. Peace and quiet. A reflective and meditative vibe. Visit it during rain or after the tourists have gone. And enjoy the solitude.

Wanna read more? Click here!
And here!

The St. Kevin abbey

The St. Kevin abbey

St. Kevin's cell

St. Kevin’s cell

Upper Lake Glendalough

Upper Lake Glendalough

waterfalls in Glendalough National Park

waterfalls in Glendalough National Park

Read Full Post »


Lately I’ve been hiking a lot. I have always loved walking, way more than riding a bicycle or driving a car. There is something in the constant rhythm of walking with your feet on the earth. You are part of the land. Walking old ways that so many have walked before you. The land invites you to slow down and take in all of its components. You see so much more walking: plants, animals, birds, trees, little insects. You hear all the sounds of the land and the sound of your feet becomes one of them.

Jodoigne - Chebais

Jodoigne – Chebais

Once a week I walk to my job, about 17,5 km from where I live. It takes about 4 hours to get there. I walk through fields, hollowings and small villages. In the morning, at sunrise, some flowers are still closed. By the time the sun is high in the sky, you see those same flowers opened up, following the sun. So delicate and beautiful to watch.

Pyrenées - Lac Pradeilles

Pyrenées – Lac Pradeilles

In june I went hiking in the Pyrenées Orientales in the south of France. We (my boyfriend and I) took our tent, food and rucksacks high up in the mountains and camped next to wonderful mountain lakes. We hiked 5 to 9 hours each day. It was so beautiful! The scenery there high up in the mountains is just amazing! We did part of the GR10 hiking trail, but then loved all the lakes so much we decided to stay in that part of the mountains. We saw about 9 of the 12 lakes there.

Me hiking in the Pyrenées Orientales

Me hiking in the Pyrenées Orientales

Walking in the mountains and in my own little Belgium has made me realize that our bodies were made to walk. Walking feels so good and natural. Our whole anatomy is made for walking. Somehow that’s easy to forget when you are sitting behind a desk all day and taking your car to get somewhere.

I just came back from a visit to the Baltic Sea, where my fatherly roots lie. I opened my mailbox and saw this blog by Storm “How I lost my legs to a car“. It’s another take on walking and how driving or sitting makes us loose a natural way of living.

Next year I will take 3 months off from work and I will be walking to Santiago de Compostela (Spain) from Le-Puy-en-Velay (France). I am really looking forward to this experience, walking on an old pilgrim trail. Walking in the footsteps of many before me.

I’m reading a wonderful book at the moment (yes, I know, I only seem to blog about books lately): “The old ways: a journey on foot” by Robert Macfarlane. Love the way he writes about his magical experiences with walking on ancient trails in Europe. The book reads like poetry. Utterly recommended!

Read Full Post »


… can be fun! A former colleague of mine is leaving for a new job. They asked me to perform on her farewell party, since she is a fellow bellydancer. I couldn’t make it, so I decided to make her a goodbye video. The first part of the video is spoken in Dutch and was made with my webcam. The second part, the dance, was recorded with my camera. I edited the dance part with Muvee, a nice video editing software. Then put the two parts together with Windows Moviemaker, free software.

I had a very small dancing space, jammed between a wall and a closet, hence the low variety in movement. But it’s a fun way to surprise someone!

Thanks again Nele, for being who you are!

Read Full Post »


I have lots of DVD’s to work out with. Too many actually. I find myself going back to the same DVD’s over and over again, so I guess these are the DVD’s that correspond the most with who I am,  how I drill and my way of dancing.

I do a workout every morning, and once in a while I do a workout during the day or evening. My morning programme usually consists of:

– waking up (haha), get myself a glass of water

– yoga session of 20-30 min

– bellydance technique drill session of 20 min

– yoga cooldown

So, here’s my list of favourite DVD’s, in no particular order.

Yoga

Yoga Shakti by Shiva Rea

Yoga, Mind & Body by Ali Macgraw

Bellydance & Yoga conditioning by Ariellah

Bellydance technique

Bellydance & Yoga Conditioning by Ariellah

Bellydance Fitness Fusion Buns by Suhaila

Tribal Fusion Bellydance by Rachel Brice

Serpentine Bellydance by Rachel Brice

Tribal Basics vol. 7, creative steps & combinations by FatChanceBellydance

Dark Imaginations by Anaar

Hoop

Hoopdance by Hoopnotica

Great stuff can be learned from these DVD’s: balance, insight in your body, great technique, crisp movements and the joy of dancing.

Read Full Post »


I feel so bad… I have been neglecting my blog entirely. Not on purpose, you know. Just, my longterm relationship ended a few months ago and I’m trying to rearrange my life and learning to live my life as a single again. Well, it takes some time to adjust, after 9 years… 😉

The combination of both this and my hip injury has made me neglect bellydance. I consequently do my yoga workout everyday, but somehow bellydance slips my mind everytime. I did teach a workshop for some 9-year old kids, some weeks ago. It was lots of fun. They were having a girls night sleepover. They loved putting on makeup, dressing up and just dance, laugh and have fun. I also taught them the Fatchance bellydance prayer and they absolutely loved it! They kept on doing it again and again, completely fascinated by the movements and the meaning behind every movement.They just ‘felt it’, you know, all of it. Kids can be so pure in their feelings and emotions, they don’t ask questions, they just are in the moment, right there.

Here’s an extended version of the FCBD prayer:

Read Full Post »

Taking time to heal


Since the beginning of february I haven’t been able to really practice my dance. After a long and cold winter with wood chopping, hauling straw bales and other heavy stuff, my body said stop. My hip got dislocated and this moved my left hip 2 cm up. Quite painful. It changed the balance in my back, neck and the rest of my body. First I thought I could get rid of the pain by resting and doing yoga. The yoga helped a lot, but it didn’t get any better. So, I finally went to see my physician, about a month ago, and he put my hip back in it’s place.

And now I have to be patient. Really patient. Not my forte I must admit… But if your body tells you to take time to heal, you must listen to it. No matter what. I’m gonna need my body (and my bellydancing hips) for a lot more years to come. So I must listen.

I do try to attend my ATS classes, but as soon as I feel anything painful, I stand aside and rest or do some yoga. It’s difficult, seeing the other dancers create and dance together and not being able to join in fully. But it’s my time to heal now. And to cherish my body for the things it does for me. So I take time. And I heal.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »