Slightly Orange

¡Viva Barcelona!

by Saskia

It’s almost summer again, which means summer holidays, woohoo! Where are you off to this year? Up to the mountains? Or a beach perhaps? If you happen to go to Barcelona, this post is for you. Or if you want to know more about Barcelona, this post is also for you.

Last year on my summer holiday, I spent my days on the streets of Barcelona. Unlike Nina’s post, I was wearing shoes. Which were red Allstars and not greenish Vans, but back to the topic. Barcelona. Every tourist guide gives you the ‘perfect’ places to eat, sleep and go, but it never gives any personal information. I always prefer to look at personal reviews of a city, see what other people did and liked. So if you are just like me: here’s my view of Barcelona.

The one thing everyone warnes you about is, sadly, true. Watch your stuff. We got robbed, but thankfully reacted quick and got everything back, minus 15 euros (they are so damn quick!) plus a good story to tell back home. Those people are so quick and sneaky, please just keep an eye on your stuff at all times. Or make sure you have good reflexes or you excel in kung-fu.

One of the things that impressed me most is Park Guëll. It’s a steep walk upwards, or you can let your drop off by taxi, but it is totally worth it. It’s the park Gaudí designed and it’s most famous for its mosaic benches. (And yes, very touristic)

Another must-see is Casa Battló, also one of Gaudí’s masterpieces. He did not live in this house, but completely designed it. It will leave you in complete awe, or at least it left me like that. I thought it was brilliant, it was so beautiful and playfull and I’m glad we visited.

The Rambla personally disappointed me. It is so much praised by all the books and everyone who’s been there, that I expected loads of it. It’s a nice street, the little tourist shops are okay, but there’s about 20 of them and they’re all the same. I recommend you walk from seaside upwards, because at seaside is where the streetperformers are, and they are GOOD. I also recommend to go there on saturday, because we walked in on a nice little market with all homemade stuff, from jewelry to bags and from postcards to clothes (also on seaside).

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Don’t miss Market de la Boqueria, just aside of the Rambla! It’s a great, GREAT foodmarket, really go there if you love strolling around fresh fruits, nuts and juices. Oh, let’s not forget – vegetarians, don’t go too far back! You will not like what you see at the butcher’s market stalls :(

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La Sagrada Família, well, we haven’t been inside. The queue was too long at first, we went back the next day. It was even longer. So we just took a bunch of pictures of the outside – which was gorgeous, don’t miss it! – but I cannot tell you anything of the inside. According to the queue, it’s beautiful. According to what I’ve heard, the outside is prettier.

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If you like culture and Spain, you must visit Poble Espanyol. It’s an amusement park, shopping centre and a museum all in one. It shows you the different areas of Spain with difference in architecture, crafts and food. I absolutely loved it! The idea of seeing small villages of Spain in such a big city is just amazing. While you’re wandering around Poble Espanyol, you actually feel like you’re far apart from humanity, but you’re still in one of the most touristic cities in Spain. I have to say, we were there as soon as it opened. It might be a little more touristic throughout the day.

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And that’s about it from my point of view. Still pretty touristic places, but with a real opinion now. If you’re going to Barcelona any time soon: enjoy! If not: I do hope you get to visit one day, it’s a pretty amazing city!

My Body Gallery – what real women look like

by Nina

My very first night on Pinterest already brought me something incredibly amazing: it brought me to My Body Gallery, a website showing what real women look like.

The concept is simple: women from all over the world are free to send in their body picture, regardless of their shape and size, with or without their body story. Submitted pictures and stories are being published so that we can browse through it and can see what real women look like, instead of only being confronted with the skinny models all the time and starting to actually believe that’s the only good way to look. You can give in your own measurements, after which the websites will show you pictures of women who have about the same ‘shape’ as you do. This is a way to help women see themselves more clearly. The website explains: ‘In a world full of images of how we “should” look it can get difficult to tell how we DO look. Our hope is to build a site where women can see what real women look like. What we really look like. Most women have spent so many years looking at themselves in mirrors that we can no longer see what’s really there. The My Body Gallery project’s goal is to help women objectively see what we look like, break the pact of silence around “weight” and come to some acceptance that we are all beautiful.’ I can only support that.

I’ve been going through the pictures and stories and I really like how it is working out. I really like how everyone is willing to show their true selves, in pictures but also in words by telling their true personal stories. It is nice to know that you are not the only one who’s struggling with their relationship with their body; as if we are all in this together instead of all alone, and it makes me feel understood and supported. I think ‘acceptance’ is also a key word here. We should accept ourselves and others just as we are. I think that My Body Gallery is a great tool for women and that every woman should know that it exists. That’s why I am writing about it.

Now I can’t publish this without sharing my story, can I? My story is as follows: I’ve always thought of myself as a skinny girl with a fat stomach; my belly has always been bothering me. Though, it isn’t that bad, so I’ve never had the discipline to actually do something about it. My relationship with food isn’t optimal, especially when it comes to the ‘bad snacks’. On the one hand it kind of feels like an obligation to eat it, because it ought to make me happy, but on the other hand it always comes paired with anticipated regret, which is why most of the times I barely enjoy eating those things. Still it isn’t that bad, it’s just in the back of my head and further I am functioning quite good actually. But I am kind of done with it. I’m still seeking for the right balance between eating and not eating, and trying to accept my body the way it is, and I really hope it’ll work out soon, so that I can focus on more important issues.
I am planning to make my picture and add it to My Body Gallery next week or so, but I won’t be posting it here. I’m sure you’ll understand. :)

Now please visit My Body Gallery and spread the word! Know that the image the media are selling us isn’t real; we are.

Flat Kelly – A Fun Project

by Saskia

Earlier this year, I was delighted to be part of a really fun project: Flat Kelly. This was a project by Real-Life Kelly, a friend I know only through the internet. When she posted a message on Facebook she was looking for people to help her out with a project, I was more than happy to help her, because this project sounded awesome.

Real-Life Kelly turned 25 this year and made a list of 25 things to do in her 25th year. Since traveling is out of the question (as 25 year old Real-Life Kelly has Real-Life responsibilities now) a group of very lovely people have agreed to send Flat Kelly around the world. The ultimate goal is 25 countries, but 25 states or 25 cities would be just as awesome.

I was super excited! A group of people from our Writing-Cheerleaders Facebook group was more than happy to help out Kelly and signed up. I was up to get her second and couldn’t be more excited.

Flat Kelly arrived at the 22nd of February. She came with a travel diary and four different ‘moods’. I took her everywhere I went and absolutely loved having her over, it was such a sad moment to send her away. It felt like having a friend by your side at all times.

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She’s been in all kinds of fun adventures! If you want to see more of her, you can go here. Real-Life Kelly is putting everything together on a lovely blog, so we can all check-in with our favourite Flat-person. She has visited the U.K. before she came to me and I’ve sent her off to Canada. So that’s four countries already, counting the U.S. where she came from!

365 breakfasts a year

by Nina

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. Also important is the diversity of your food, to make sure that in the end you’ll be collecting all nutrients your body needs. Well, here I am every morning wandering around the house in search of something to eat and keep ending up chewing on an old slice of bread treated with some overly sweet spread, because there’s nothing else I would want to eat. This is no good.

Do you recognize my story?  Then I have something nice for you: there’s more than just bread! Alpro knew this and therefore asked bloggers from all over Europe to photograph their fancy breakfasts in order to inspire the, when it comes to breakfast, uninspired rest of the world. For a year precisely, Alpro has been posting a breakfast every day, which makes a total of 365 breakfasts! That has to be worth eyeing.

I think Alpro used the bloggers to get their visitors to the Alpro website and to make them use Apro products, since every breakfast contains at least one of those Alpro products, but that’s just a completely wild guess. Another possibility is that they were too lazy to compile all these breakfasts themselves but did feel as if it should be done, preferably with their name on it.* But that doesn’t really matter now, right? As long as we can have our inspiration and aren’t obliged to use Alpro, it’s okay with me.

I do have to add that I’m quite upset for they didn’t ask us to join their little project. We are super nice, aren’t we?! I would have loved to go around making pictures of my food, just like a real hipster. I can see that my slices of bread aren’t that interesting, but I would have tried to have nicer breakfasts! Just like the other bloggers did. Chances are that I would have even bought a smartphone and started using Instagram, you know. Well, that all didn’t happen now, did it? Saskia and I should brainstorm about starting our own, much cooler food project. Ha!

So, where are the pictures? You can find them here on the Alpro website. Here’s a one of the pictures I like the most, it’s number 340 and it’s created by the Belgian Applewood House.

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* I do think Alpro sells good products, but we have to stay critical, right?

My first sauna experience

by Nina

For a long time I’ve been curious about going to a real sauna and especially about the naked aspect that clings to it. It didn’t seem something for me really, for I think I am quite prudish when it comes to nakedness, but I wanted to experience at least for once what it was like. Well, this horribly long winter made the perfect timing to actually plan a visit! Luckily for me, I found a friend who was done with the cold too and  already had some sauna experience (which means she would be able to guide and encourage me when needed), so we took off.

Let me begin by explaining how my doubts on me liking a sauna are funded. I’ve been in small saunas at the local swimming pool, but I have never been sure whether I truly liked it. I like the idea of sitting and relaxing, but in a sauna? Not sure. I am not even sure whether I enjoy taking a bath. At my parents’ place, the bathtub’s job description goes something like ‘collect all used, wet and dirty towels and tolerate the accumulating dust as you do so’. I have used it about three times in about ten years. Oh and once on vacation I’ve had a mud bath and a sulfur bath and that was really nice actually! This may count as experience here. My nudity background is that I just don’t really have experience with it. I am not a sports person so I never got used to changing and showering together with others and I’ve always been locking the bathroom door securely, just as all my family members. I am quite insecure about my body and to be honest I prefer others clothed too (not completely without exceptions, no). I am already insecure dressed in swimwear, really.

So I have never done this before, but I am willing to try. Maybe I am not that prudish after all. I am studying Biology and (therefore) it’s not hard for me to talk about things concerning nakedness, as long as it’s not about me specifically. I am really rationalistic and I know everyone looks different but at the same time we’re all the same and it doesn’t matter and we shouldn’t be ashamed, right? Plus I am not going there to get a guy so technically it doesn’t matter at all what others may think of me.

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I did not dare to bring my camera to the sauna, so here you go: a completely unrelated but nice picture, from last year’s trip to Wimereux.

The idea was to go to the sauna to escape the cold, but it turned out the day we were going was the first day of real spring. Oh well, it’s better to walk around naked when it’s warm, right? It was quite weird actually. We met at the train station and took the bus together and it felt like we were going on vacation; the weather and the atmosphere were so different from before!

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Important day in Dutch history

by Saskia

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Slightly Orange was partly named after our country, the Netherlands, so it would be weird not to blog about this important day in our history. This morning, on the 30th of April 2013, Queen Beatrix officially abdicated in favour of her son, Willem-Alexander. She signed the Act of Abdication at 10:07, making her Princess Beatrix and her son King Willem-Alexander. Around 14:00, he was officially inaugurated.

The 30th of April has been a national holiday since 1949, known as Queen’s Day. This day was the birthday of Queen Juliana, mother of Beatrix. When Princess Beatrix became Queen, it was decided to keep Queen’s Day on the 30th of April, as her own birthday is on the 31st of January and it would be rather cold to celebrate a national holiday and to honour her mother. As the Netherlands has a King now, next year the national holiday will be celebrated on the 27th of April, birthday of Willem-Alexander, and will be called King’s Day.

Long live our new King and Queen!

The Style Book

by Nina

You know how I sometimes like to make collages of clothing in Photoshop? Which I then post here to make it seem more useful. Well, long before my Photoshop era I already made fashion collages, using good old scissors and glue. These collages have been collected in my style book.

Style book is a well-known term among fashion lovers. It basically means ‘book in which you express your style’, mainly by making collages, but writing, drawing and anything else you can think of is allowed. Once you have your style book, you can use it whenever you are in need of inspiration and of course you can enjoy it every time you feel like looking at nice pictures and compositions you collected and made yourself. How nice is that?

For me editorials are the main reason to like fashion magazines, mostly because of the possibility to rip them out and make them into collages. Or when images are too complete by themselves, to just collect them and look at them every once in a while. For my style book I prefer pictures with ‘doable’ clothing over catwalk looks no one (in the Netherlands) will ever dare to wear in daily life. This and my love for simplicity makes that my collages are quite simple and clean, which is exactly what I like.

Here I present to you the most recent additions to my style book and my first ever made animated GIF:

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I don’t do credits in my style book since I am not publishing, but most images are coming out of ELLE, Glamour and H&M catalog and magazine. To give you an impression of the frequency of my collage making: shown are the fruits of 2.5 years. This frequency is low mostly due to the fact that I don’t want to spend much money on fashion magazines and magazines in general and I don’t want to use the internet for this because that would make it too complicated and I like the simplicity of how it works now.

Some more things I would like to add, for those of you who are thinking of starting a style book but don’t know yet how: there is no right or wrong. It is your very own personal project and you can make it exactly the way you like. Don’t like what you made at first? Just try if something else works better.
Plus: the images don’t have to represent the way you dress and that is totally fine. I once worried about my style book not representing me, but then I decided that the style book may be a good indication for the way I would want to dress if I had less restrictions (money, always the restriction) and more courage. My point is: it doesn’t matter as long as you like it and it may show you things about your style you didn’t already see.
So go ahead, making a style book is fun! ;)

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