Exploring Brussels

Just one of the gilded buildings at La Grande-Place, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I took some time away from blogging over the holidays but have been looking forward to documenting my latest trip. I spent last weekend in Brussels and had a great time experiencing the city and all that it had to offer. I toured the Magritte Museum, walked around the royal palace gardens, and played around on the docks in Sainte-Catherine. There is more to Belgium then just mussels, waffles, and beer… though, I had my fair share of all of that too!

Chez Richard in the Sablon is a great place for an afternoon snack or a refreshing Leffe beer. Blonde is my go to!

Home Goods in Le Sablon

Pair of leather chairs and illuminated bookcase from Flamant

Le Sablon was my favourite part of the city. The store-lined cobblestone streets and historic cathedral made for a great place to wander around. I stumbled across a beautiful home design store and enjoyed getting lost inside. Flamant is a Belgian brand, but they offer shipping throughout Europe and the UK. Artisan craftsmanship is at the heart of the company’s values and it’s evident in quality of their products. The collections range from classic country to urban contemporary living, so there are many options from which to chose.

Blush pink headboard and crystal chandelier from Flamant
A chaise is a great option for creating a cozy reading nook at home.
I loved this antiqued mirror and glass square coffee table!

Belgian Lace

I was also able to indulge in my passion of fabrics and textiles over the weekend. Belgium is well known for the production of fine lace and trims. I saw some beautiful handwork and made a couple of great purchases. The level of craftsmanship was evident in the detail of each piece; everything was so delicate! Click here to learn more about Belgian lace and its origins. The Lace Palace is a great place to pick some up (1-3, Rue de la Violette).

Intricate needlepoint lace is among the finest and most expensive of kinds of lace available today.
Such detail requires precision and countless hours of work.

 

Placemats and napkins with lace detail and trim

Overall it was a great weekend of culture, shopping, and eating. I’m looking forward to experiencing other parts of Belgium: Bruges just might be next on my list!

Holiday Gifting Ideas

With Christmas around the corner and so many holiday parties to attend, here’s a list of home goods that make fantastic little gifts.

Tree Ornaments & Baubles

I love adding to my friends’ trees with beautiful trimmings. This is a great gift idea because it’s sentimental, relatively inexpensive, and easy to buy a dozen, so all of your friends receive different ones.

For high quality decorations in a range of prices in the US, check out Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. The go-to destinations for Christmas décor in the UK are certainly Harrod’s and Liberty.

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Neiman Marcus
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Neiman Marcus
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Photo: http://www.bowerpowerblog.com

Organizers

Small organizers always come in handy and they’re generally items that everyone appreciates but never want to buy for themselves. These are all great options for dumping keys, change, jewelry, cufflinks and other small trinkets.

smythson-displaySmythson Leather Organizers come in the shape of trays, cases, and leather envelopes. They’re artfully hand-crafted and any host would be pleased to receive one of these items (starting at $200/£165).

organic-pearl-nova-square-platterThis metal platter from Beatriz Ball also makes a statement and can be used in an entry way for keys or as a small serving platter ($84/£68).
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Waterford has a perfect gift friendly size crystal bowl with Lismore’s iconic cut crystal. This makes a beautiful present and the receiver will love the yellow hued gift box that is finished with gold accents and padding to protect the bowl ($74/£50).

 

salt-pepperSalt & Pepper Shakers

Salt & pepper shakers also make fun gifts! They come in many shapes, so you’re bound to find a set that suits everyone. Take for example this Apple & Pear shaker set from New York based silver company Godinger ($35/£28) and these festive pinecones from L’Objet available at Amara ($475/£385).

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Candles

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Candles are always a safe bet and easy to buy in bulk for neighbours, teachers, colleagues, and friends. For the holiday season, I recommend Jo Malone Pine & Eucalyptus limited edition Christmas scent ($65/£42) and Nest Fragrances Holiday Collection ($40/£35).

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