outfit pictures

Many of you who also run a blog probably know the struggle: finding the perfect location to shoot your outfit pictures. The ‘big’ fashion bloggers just always seem to find the places that work, that complement their outfits without being too distracting. Of course, many of them travel to the most lovely places all over the world, but still, it really demands serious skills. So, how to do it? (And this is as much as a motivational post to me as it – hopefully – is to you!)

GO ON AN ADVENTURE
Improving your outfit pictures by choosing the right location is, in my experience, a matter of wandering through your own neighborhood, looking for those hidden spots that might just work perfect. That takes time, time you may not want to ‘waste’, and time that might screw up the lighting or your hair and make-up while it is ticking away, such as with this shoot (even though I loved the graffiti wall in the end). But it’s so worth it, because you can always go back to that place you know works well (for example, my blogging friend Lauren and I always have this location as a plan B, in case we don’t find anything).

JUST GIVE IT A TRY
The next thing, when you think you find some place cool, is to just shoot away and check afterwards if it indeed worked. Because sometimes, you can only decide on that after you’ve seen the pictures. Just as those jeans that turn out to make your butt look fat, locations can disappoint in hindsight. For example, the golden hour sun could not make this location look any better (even though I thought the rhythmic windows might look good). On the other hand, this place, with its weird white pillars, didn’t convince me at first, but turned out to be awesome in the pictures (if I may say so myself).

LEARN AND IMPROVE
Recently, I went to this cute place some forty-five minutes of cycling away. I always kinda knew of its existence, but never thought it worthwhile to go all the way there. Well, when we arrived, I couldn’t believe my eyes: pretty houses and white facades everywhere! In the end, we shot these pictures in front of the river, which (I now think) actually doesn’t do justice to the prettiness around there (there’s too much going on I think). But at least these photos turned out airy and light, which is what I was going for, and I’ll definitely return for another shoot.

And while we continue to improve ourselves, let’s be inspired by looking some of my favorite bloggers, who perfectly understand which locations work: Anne (queen of the pretty facades), Ebba (queen of the streets), and Lydia (queen of lighting).

ripped mom jeans

black blazer

merely Merel

mom jeans

H&M t-shirt (dark grey) | H&M mom jeans (similar) | Mango blazer | Fred de la Bretonière sandals (also pretty)

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London Big Ben

As has been the case since forever, my studies are the reason for not updating the blog as much as I want to. Now I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but I do feel like I need to keep you guys a little informed about that as well. Also because I’ve got some nice study-trip-to-the-British-Museum-in-London pictures left to show you haha.

Actually, those little fun trips to great places with great museums with great antiquity collections are the thing that keep me going at the moment. London is already quite a while ago (February), but I went to Cologne recently and there is probably more fun to come during Summer (nothing planned yet though). As some of you know (or might have guessed by now), I’m studying ancient history, and my focus is on ancient Greek art. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s say it involves a lot of research and – hurray – traveling to all those beautiful ancient Greek archaeological sites and accompanying museums (check out my posts on our road trip through Greece here).

At the moment, I’ve finally (almost) reached the last stage of my masters: writing a thesis. Since my masters program focuses on doing research, a thesis is kinda like the icing on the cake. Contrary to students from other master programs – who often look up against that horrible thesis – research is what I have been trained for, what I love to do most, and what I’ve been looking forward to for six years. So you can say I’m pretty damn excited!

Right now, I’ve still got a smaller research paper and a course on Ancient Greek to finish (the latter of which is horribly difficult and exhaustive by the way), but on the sideways (is that a proper saying?) I’ve already started on my thesis. Next September, it will be full-time-thesis-time and I’m looking forward to that more than ever. So yes, I’m adding another six months to my studies, and I think that was one of my best planning decisions ever, ‘cause the pressure for a fantastic thesis is ON and I just need time to take it easy now.

I’ll probably tell you more about the subject of my thesis in the future, but for now, let’s pray Summer comes sooner rather than later. And tell me, what are you guys up to right now? And do you have any plans for Summer?

marble floor

London British Museum

Cat British Museum

Meow <3

London British Museum

Venus British Museum

Just a little did you know: Any ancient sculpture of a naked female is in all probability meant to represent Aphrodite/Venus, goddess of Love. Who, by the way, is the mommy of Eros/Cupid, that chubby boy with the bow and arrow (who wasn’t chubby in Antiquity, that’s a Renaissance idea).

London

Relief British Museum

It’s all in the details. And as my friend said well: “Look! He’s flying a Hema smoked sausage!” – Dutchies will understand hihi.

Ancient penis rings

They had everything in Antiquity, even penis rings. Why don’t they sell replicas of these in museum shops?

London

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knit and crochet shop

Now that my thesis is one of the last obstacles to tackle before I’ll graduate, I find myself being questioned by family and friends all the time about what it is that I’m gonna do after. Truth is, I don’t know. Yes, I’d love to have a job or PhD position in my field (= ancient Greek art, so if anyone knows a vacancy… =p), but chances are small that will actually happen. So lately I’ve been allowing myself to dream a little and I can’t help to come to the conclusion that I’d love (LOVE) to run a knit and crochet shop (in combination with a blog haha).

Probably many among you have similar dreams: the thought of running your own business is simply such an appealing one, isn’t it? It is hard work, but doesn’t everyone have that one thing that they’re crazy about? That they’d love doing every second of the day if it were possible? Imagine making money with it! So yeah, here’s my modest plan for now.

knit and crochet shop

LEARN TO KNIT AND CROCHET BETTER
I know the basics and I know them well. So far so good. But I’m continuously trying new stitches, new patterns, and new designs. The possibilities are pretty much endless and it’s all so rewarding to learn new stuff, all knitters will agree right? Well mastered techniques are naturally at the foundation of a shop in handmade products.

CREATE ‘COLLECTION’ PIECES
Continuously trying out new yarns and designs results in a hella lot of swatches, half finished stuff or finished but unsatisfying pieces. However, a good shop should have a nice collection of basics in its own unique style. Finding my style in knitting and crocheting is gonna take some time, but I do wanna start with ‘collection’ pieces that can be made in different colors and that can easily be customized (think size, color combination, or even stitch pattern). The blanket featured in this post is my first collection piece, hooray! For me, it’s easy and relatively quick to make (I say ‘relatively’, ‘cause it still takes ages, but I’m trying to increase my speed haha), for future customers it’s highly customizable and cheap (thanks to the acrylic yarn that comes in a thousand colors). Right now I’m working on a sweater as a second collection piece, and I simply can’t waittttt to see how that will turn out.

SPREAD THE WORD
In the end, it’s mostly about letting people know about my future knit and crochet shop. So I already put online a shop page and started selling via Marktplaats. In the shop, you’ll only find the collection pieces just mentioned. Since those are the results of endless try-outs, it will take a while before the shop is filled with things I love to make and sell. For now, only this blanky is listed. Besides here and on Marktplaats, it’s very much necessary to finally teach myself the ins and outs of social media. This has been on my blog-to-do-list for ages and it will benefit both my blog and my future shop. Can anyone recommend a good and up-to-date book about social media (especially Instagram?), I’d love to hear!

And well, that’s it for now. There’s a thesis out there that still needs to be written, so I can’t focus on all of this too much, even though I’d rather spend my days knitting and crocheting with coffee on my balcony. In the meantime, raise your hand if you’re dreaming about your own little business as well, because I would LOVE to hear about it!

crocheting a blanket

knit and crochet shop

I’m selling this blue beauty for only €25,- and it’s also possible to choose your own colors. Again, more info here and don’t hesitate to contact me if you’re interested!

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Productivity Planner

Many of you can probably relate when I say that boosting my productivity is on my forever to do list. Juggling between university, work, blogging, a household and countless little projects (check out this one hihi) – not to mention a social life – can be quite overwhelming sometimes. So I always find myself on the lookout for something that might improve my productivity on a daily basis. Here’s a recent discovery I found to be totally worth sharing with you guys: the Productivity Planner.

The Productivity Planner is the second business baby of Alex Ikonn and Uj Ramdas, known for their first project: the Five Minute Journal. I had heard of the Five Minute Journal before (which to me seems like a great tool for improving happiness), but soon enough encountered the Productivity Planner project on Kickstarter and Instagram (@beproductive). That fabulous, black-and-gold piece of stationary heaven made my heart jump, even more so when I read about the ideas behind it:

  • writing down tasks…
  • having fewer priorities…
  • and working undisturbed on one task at a time
    …significantly improve productivity

And that’s what this planner is made for. After an extensive (and, admittedly, somewhat incoherent) introduction, you’ll find space for a weekly plan, daily plans, and a weekly review. They have in common that beforehand, you need to prioritize the most important tasks. The quote “if this was the only thing you did today you’d be satisfied” helped me enormously, ‘cause most of the time, those are the tasks that not necessarily need to be done now, but the ones I’m reluctant to do. And starting off the day doing just that, makes me feel like a bosssss taking care of her shit! #girlboss #etc

04 productivity planner 04

Another thing that really gave me an insight in how exactly I use my time, is the so-called Pomodoro Technique. The five circles behind each task symbolize twenty-five minutes of undisturbed work (a “pomodoro”), followed by a five minute break. The idea behind this is that, because of the breaks, a two-and-a-half-hour task doesn’t seem too overwhelming. Plus, you’re less prone to distraction.

Now I don’t usually have a problem concentrating, so working for just twenty-five minutes seemed like a joke to me. However, the breaks reminded me to get myself some coffee, tea, or water. And the two-and-a-half-hour maximum per task really made me realize that I used to make my tasks way to big. I mean, the “chapter 24 of ancient Greek” that previously featured my daily to do list rather takes five hours. Still it was there, next to “chapter 25 of ancient Greek”, “reading this or that book for my thesis”, and “cleaning the bathroom”. In other words: I used to set myself impossible goals. Thinking and planning in twenty-five minute spans helped me get a grip on how long tasks actually take and what can realistically be done in a day. Believe me, then you’ll learn to prioritize!

Productivity Planner

Needless to say, the Productivity Planner is a wonderfully designed notebook: It has a minimalistic looking, textured hardcover with golden lettering, pages of quality paper with text in just the right fonts (at least that’s my humble opinion), inspiring quotes are everywhere to be found, and it lays flat (!). Okay, I feel like I can’t stress this enough, but IT LAYS FLAT. It lays flat you guys! In short, this planner reminds me of Moleskine notebooks, and that’s something I don’t say that often.

I pre-ordered the Productivity Planner even before it was officially being produced, but certainly have no regrets in buying it. If you’re interested, it’s on the market now for $24,95 and a hella lot of shipping costs if you’re a Dutchie, and you can buy it here. Don’t order too fast though, ‘cause I’ve stocked a few and will be giving one away to you soon! Make sure to follow along so you don’t miss it.

04 productivity planner 03

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black bomber

Sooooo sorry for not blogging for ages, but I’m busy with a lot of stuff I wanted to do for ages (that is, cleaning up my house, head and life, can anyone relate?). Please follow along on Instagram to stay up to date on a (most of the time) daily basis and please don’t if you don’t want to #nohardfeelings.

But here I am for a little while, with an outfit sporting three new pieces that might not be super excited stylewise, but at least they’re black, and that’s something to always be excited about. I’m talking about my striped turtleneck, pointy chelsea boots and shiny black bomber jacket. I think the first two speak for themselves (they’re the kind of simple, but always a good idea pieces), the latter needs some elaboration. Because this is not just a bomber jacket, no, this is the bomber jacket that once featured my wishlist (>>) in burgundy. Now it is also available in black! With just the right amount of shine – not too in yo face – and the right amount of elastic bands – that is: not on the waist. I have a relatively long torso, so something with an elastic waistband always makes me look out of proportion. Still, I didn’t wanna miss out on the bomber trend, because its coolness is just right up my sleeve (never been one for the girly-girly stuff), so I clicked home this jacket right away.

Hope you like the look and I hope to get back on track with regular blogging sooner than later! Oh, if you didn’t already, don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win the Polette (prescription) glasses of your choice (click on the button in the sidebar >>)!

black chelsea boots

black bomber

back outfit

black bomber

Monki turtleneck | H&M skinnies | Sacha boots | Weekday bomber

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British Museum

While you’re reading this, I’m somewhere in the middle of *** nowhere in La France, enjoying some real nice time off. Off from studying, off from work, off even from wifi — even though I don’t really like that last one (it’s probably a good thing though). But to jump from holiday to holiday, here’s a little photo impression of my trip to London almost two (!) months ago! I went there together with my fellow Ancient History master students for four days, with our most important destination being the British Museum (we spent two entire days there haha). Can you believe I had never been in London (and in the BM) before? Shame on me indeed. Now I wanna go back a.s.a.p. =)

British Museum

The entrance of the BM and its center hall are impressive to say the least. Can you imagine ancient architecture actually looked like this? — Oh no, it didn’t, it was all painted, really kitsch to our modern views haha!

Greek and Roman sculpture

Ah. Let’s go there.

Parthenon sculptures

The Parthenon sculptures (way better put on show in the Acropolis Museum, but okay)

Parthenon frieze central slab

The most interesting central slab of the Parthenon frieze: WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE and what on earth are they doing — read all about it in this fabulous book.

Parthenon pedimental sculptures

Fragments of the pedimental sculptures representing the birth of Athena (itself lost haha). Look at the crazy horse head on the left!

Erechtheion caryatid

The one famous Erechtheion caryatid of the BM, the other five are in Athens (must be lonely).

British Museum

Much less famous, but this pretty, “minimalistic” (compared to earlier ones) woman might be at the heart of my own research. And I want her dress.

British Museum

Pay attention to the small objects (don’t do that all the time, you’ll be exhausted): they can be so cute (the sheep) and funny (the slave with a headache).

pilosophers

Philosophers, all with their own distinct iconography — Socrates in the foreground.

Hope you liked this selection of an art historian’s favorites and beware for London part two!

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Polette giveaway

Guys, this is so much fun! To fall with the door in house — as we would say in Dutch — I’ve teamed up with Polette to give you a chance of winning your favorite pair of Polette glasses! For those not familiar with Polette (is that even possible?), they offer an amazing range of trendy frames that are super affordable too (even though the latter is not of interest to you now haha). To these frames can be added all kinds of lenses, with or without prescription, colored (to make fashionable sunnies!) or transparant.

Polette giveaway

I’ve been the lucky owner of a pair of Polette glasses for a while now, and you can read all about my experience here. And if you’re convinced, here’s how you can enter the giveaway:

OBLIGATORY

  1. Leave a comment on this blogpost including which pair of glasses you’d love to win (+ the optional things you did for extra entries, if you did any)
  2. Follow @merelymerel and @poletteeyewear on Instagram

OPTIONAL (FOR EXTRA ENTRIES)

  1. Tag a friend who would love to enter this giveaway in a comment below the giveaway photo on my Instagram — which is a pictures similar to the ones in this post, maybe you’ll have to scroll through my feed a little, but you’ll recognize it (+ 2 entries)
  2. Repost the giveaway photo, tagging @merelymerel in the photo itself or in the caption, and leave it up for at least 24 hours (+ 2 entries)
  3. Follow Merely Merel on Bloglovin and like this post (+ 1 entry)
  4. Follow Merely Merel on Pinterest (+ 1 entry)
  5. Follow Polette on Facebook (+ 1 entry)
  6. Follow Polette on Twitter (+ 1 entry)

Polette giveaway

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been contacted. Thank you all so much for participating and see you at the next giveaway!

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turtleneck

I’m back! Kinda. It feels really weird opening this blog post with a picture of me all smiling and happy-faced, but at some point you just gotta decide life goes on (and be grateful for it too). In case you’re at a loss about what I’m talking about now — I lost my mom almost a month ago. I might share bits and parts of the story here and there in the future, but for now all I feel like sharing is that she was ill for a couple of months and that my family and I are (sort of) at peace with how it all came to an end eventually.

But as I said, life goes on, and the last couple of weeks I’ve tried to keep up with its pace. Which is, besides an overwhelming feeling of tiredness, going quite well. And right now, at the beginning of another brand new week, I felt like blogging again. My blog is my happy-place, and I want to keep it that way, so I today I’m sharing with you guys a look that was shot a while ago, on a happy-day (not taking the rain into account). My friend Lauren and I sneaked into a parking lot, took the stairs up to the rooftop and were met by this ah-mazing view of the Dom Tower. My city just seems to keep on surprising me with its beauty — and then who cares about rain anyway?

Layering has helped me survive Winter pretty well this year and this day was no exception. I fell in love with the long-shirts-underneath-warm-knits kind of combination and thank the lord for these (relatively) warm days that allow me to wear sneakers all day everyday. Also, this turtleneck is my first Weekday buy. The second one will be on the blog AS SOON as temperatures are rising just a liiiitle bit, so make sure to stick around (‘cause it’s awesome). Managed to get the boyfriend some pretty good bargains as well, so everybody’s happy, world peace.

Well, dear followers, thanks a lot for all your sweet comments here, on my social media channels and via e-mail. They all mean the world to me. And from now on, this will be a happy place again!

Dom Tower

Adidas Originals

turtleneck

layering

Dom Tower

TURTLENECK also really good — Weekday
SHIRT on sale now! — Vila
SKINNIES similar — H&M
SUPERSTARS — Adidas via Donelli

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mommy

I’ll miss you like crazy.

mommy

Sudio Sweden

That time of the year again, Valentine’s! To be honest, I’m not that good with presents. Presents for myself, yes, but presents for the boyfriend, hm, not so much. I like to blame the boyfriend for that though, because he never has a wishlist and never likes the stuff I buy him hihi. But here Sudio Sweden comes in with their fabulous earphones I told you about earlier.

I ordered the model called TVÅ a few weeks ago and I don’t think I need to repeat here how much I loved the simplicity and minimalistic design. However, I already hinted at the model VASA BLÅ being my absolute favorite, because: an even prettier design, rose gold, and wireless (which is, besides fancy, also very handy when you have a cat). So I couldn’t be happier when Sudio asked me to be part of their Valentine’s campaign.

VASA BLÅ comes in a beautiful box with that same gorgeous white leather case (see previous post), a charging cable (unfortunately in black, I would’ve preferred white of course), a rose gold metal clip (that’s basically unnecessary cause the cable is pretty short because it’s wireless), and four differently sized sets of sleeves (which is GREAT, because I have small ears and with one of the smallest sleeves, they fit perfectly). About the sound: it’s great, the battery lasts perfectly for several hours (for sure the eight hours promised on the webshop) and it’s just so handy to walk around the house with my study books (and even go to the toilet) without taking the earphones off. As I told you in my previous post, I wanted to try listening to music to zone out and help me concentrate on my study work. I can tell you now that this has proven to be a great success, so I’ve been (and will be) using my earphones a lot!

Fortunately, I can keep these beauties for myself (or unfortunately, because now I need to find my Valentine another present), but the boyfriend loves them too and secretly steals them from me when I’m not around. So if you’re still waiting for some Valentine’s inspiration, whether you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend (they come in black, blue, and pink too), here’s the sign: a discount code for 15% off at Sudio’s webshop (with free worldwide shipping), use merely-merel at checkout!

Sudio Sweden Vasa Bla

earphones

earphones Sudio

Sudio Sweden

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