It’s that time again. While scrolling through my Instagram feed, I find myself feeling utterly discontent with my hair. It’s been four months since I last went to a hairdresser. Salon B in Utrecht, for those of you who wonder. It was pretty great, but pretty expensive too. But great, yes. I wanna go there again and have my hair cut badass-y short like Lian Galliard. But small problem — I don’t live exactly close to either Salon B or Utrecht anymore. So then I don’t wanna go to a hairdresser at all (a.k.a. still not trusting the Spanish peluquería) and I decide to grow myself some endless locks like Sarah Marie. I don’t have the accompanying holistic habits though, far from it. (Who said caramel icecream!?)

Sooooo, I don’t know exactly how it happens,

but all of a sudden I’m on YouTube watching dying-my-hair-pink tutorials. I’ve never considered pink hair before, I don’t even like pink. But after two hours of pretty-in-pink girls flippin’ their freshly dyed pink hair on my MacBook screen, I’m convinced I need to pink up my life too. And all YouTubers agree on one thing: I need L’Óreal’s Colorista Washout to do it. The boyfriend is less convinced, but agrees to go buy it with me anyway.

And that’s where the trouble started,

because the concept of a ‘drugstore’ seems pretty much nonexisting in Gran Canaria. In The Netherlands, you can get most beauty- and medicine related products at Etos or Kruidvat — both drugstores you’ll find on every corner of every street. Not so in Gran Canaria. Here, as it turns out, you’ve got the proper perfume stores selling the more exclusive beauty stuff (no L’Óreal Colorista), and the supermarkets selling the basic beauty stuff (you guessed it, no L’Óreal Colorista). The boyfriend (the poor thing) and I drive from shopping mall to shopping mall for at least two hours, without finding that god**** pink hair dye.

We return home empty handed.

And I’m beyond angry and frustrated and not-fun-to-be-around. What’s wrong with this shitty island? Where do these people buy their beauty stuff? Why don’t they have drugstores? Everyone needs drugstores! Right!? I’m at the brink of instructing my dad to buy my beloved pink Colorista in The Netherlands and bring it with him on his visit next week. Then I remember to Google Translate “where to buy” (dónde comprar – no, not progressing on the learning-Spanish-part) + L’Óreal Colorista washout + Gran Canaria and I find that the stuff is available at El Corte Inglès. Unfortunately, Gran Canaria’s only El Corte Inglès is in Las Palmas, at almost an hour driving distance.

Am I going to drive all the way to Las Palmas for my pink goodness?

Of course. The next day, the boyfriend and I get in the car for our little roadtrip dedicated to L’Óreal. Halfway, we decide to stop at a shopping mall to do some groceries at the huge Carrefour there. Guess what, there it is, L’Óreal Colorista Washout in all the gorgey colors! Thanking the universe that we made a pitstop here, I throw Dirty Pink and Lilac in my shopping cart.

The dying process was one big awesome pink party!

And the result was even better than I hoped it would be. Unfortunately, it does “washout” quickly, so I soon found myself planning weekly roadtrips to the Carrefour. On one of those trips, I take home Purple for another dye feast. Then, a couple of weeks later, I’m doing grocery shopping in the supermarket closest to our house. Guess what I find at the beauty department? It turned out to be there all along. ‘:-)

L'Óreal Colorista Washout Dirty Pink

Messy / Dirty Pink hair don’t care

 

Summer time at Eindhoven airport is rush hour. Transavia, RyanAir, WizzAir… all budget flights are jam-packed with people on their way to sunny holiday destinations. As cheap as possible, of course. That’s also counting myself by the way, I’m also on my way to a sunny destination, even though I can call it home instead of holiday. Oh well, maybe both. Anyway, the point is that the woman talking through the speakers works overtime. Calling flight after flight, gate after gate, she is immediately being obeyed by nervous travelers hastily making their way to their gate. The ones already sitting at the gate anxiously abandon their seats to form an awkward line that’s completely blocking the thoroughfare between gates and food corner.

Before, especially when flying RyanAir, I understood that somewhat.

Boarding the plane first, meant first choice in seats, or so we thought at least. However, after boarding late on a flight to Faro once, I found myself with stretched legs across three seats because the cabin crew had urged everyone before me on to the back of the plane, leaving plenty of space for those who boarded last. The lesson the people in the back of the cabin learned that day was to never try to bypass the system by trying to act smart. Anyhow, it doesn’t even matter anymore today though, because everyone has been assigned a seat, so why bother to be the first to board the plane?

Because the Dutch think they can do everything faster and better.

They don’t wanna wait for their fellow passengers, they don’t wanna wait for lengthy procedures, they don’t wanna wait for nothing. They are so fast and good at everything, that they are surely allowed to bypass all annoyances, to take a seat first, carefully arrange e-reader, magazines and laptops, and then wait in all comfort for the rest of the ignorant plebs.

Usually, the contrary of their self image is true.

Taking a seat first in that still empty plane often leads to taking the wrong seat, because interpreting seat numbers always proves difficult. Trying to quickly switch seats to sit next to a friend or family member (ignoring the flight attendant’s “please, after take-off madam”) means working your way against the steady stream of incoming passengers. And arranging e-readers, magazines and laptops has often become irrelevant because you usually need to hand in your cabin suitcase before boarding anyway. Because yes, there are more likeminded people traveling with handbagage only, there are more people trying to switch seats, there are more people trying to do things faster and better than anyone else.

In fact, there are so many people doing the exact same “clever” things,

that flights actually get delayed because of them. Because people are so concerned only with themselves, with getting everything right before take-off (as if the x-hour flight doesn’t allow you enough time to do so), that boarding is going too slow. So slow, that airplanes miss the “slot” of take-off time they are cleared for and have to wait for another time slot. And now you can guess who these people blame when thát happens. Because you know, if they had been in charge, things would have gone much faster and better.

To be continued. // Read the previous part about the airport security here.

boarding a plane

Transavia airplane window view above Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

It’s not for nothing that one of Gran Canaria’s most famous beaches is called ‘The Englishman’s Beach’. (I’m talking Playa del Inglés here). The south of GC — as I have been starting to call it for short — is crowded with English and English-speaking people. However, the area is largely touristic, so the amount of English spoken by the Canarians themselves is very much limited to the accompanying vocabulary. Now try renting a house, or getting an internet connection, or mailing a postal package. Try living a normal life is what I’m getting at. Then the situation gets rather different. Countless times, I’ve found myself at a loss for words in conversations with un-poquito-de-Inglés Canarians. I mean, our cleaning lady speaks better English than my landlord does. And that shouldn’t be taken as a compliment on our cleaning lady’s behalf.

As it happens, I was probably the first in line when God handed out the study-, discipline-, and willingness-to-take-on-large-projects talents, and not far behind when it was time for language skills. So naturally, I was going to be learning Spanish in no time. Actually, now that I was thinking about it, how ridiculous is it that the boyfriend doesn’t even speak Spanish! (He lived in Alicante for two years.) I mean come on, he should be fluent in Spanish by now. Right? RIGHT?

Turns out, I was last in line when God handed out the studying-when-you’re-in-vacation-mode skills. As well as in the studying-before-knitting line. It’s been more than three months since I moved to GC and my Spanish still doesn’t go beyond the commonly used hóla (hello), the rather meaningless question qué tal? (wazzup?) and answer muy bien (very good), and the occasional dos cervezas por favor (two beers please). When I’m feeling really dare-devilly I may even claim that si, hablo un poco de español (yes, I speak a little Spanish). To then continue with the cervezas part to show the truth of that.

I’ve set up a ‘learning Spanish plan’, I’ve collected lists of Spanish words to learn by heart, downloaded Provoc to help me memorize them, bought Intertaal’s ‘Spaanse Grammatica. Kort en Bondig’. In short, there’s no lack of preparation. And there’s no shortage of willingness either. It’s just that I’ll probably have to admit to myself that I’m not thát disciplined when there are no deadlines. And that all I have to do, in fact, is get a real-life teacher.

I hope he speaks English though.

learning spanish

Me in vacation-mode in our backyard // Salobre Golf

Any liquids? Electronic devices? Chargers? It’s just another day at Eindhoven airport and I’m waiting in line for the airport security before boarding the Ryanair flight that is going to take me back home. I just had a cappuccino with my dad at the recently re-opened panoramic terrace, which is totally worth arriving too early for since La Place opened its doors there. I like being early anyways. It helps me to stay sane during the next few hours, when I’ll have to deal with (or rather withstand from dealing with) a combination of certain people in certain situations. And by certain people I mean Dutch people, and by certain situations I mean the security, the boarding, the arrival, and the luggage belt.

Before you get the wrong impression let me put this first:

I love flying. I’ve been flying since I was old enough to bring along my stuffed animal and best friend Kwakwak (aha yes) and let him enjoy the wonders of the above-clouds-level world. I’ve always dreamed of being able to fly, which cannot be a coincidence considering I am named after a bird. I fell in love with the first (and of course best, as would turn out later) commercial pilot whose life path happened to cross mine. And after following him and his career to Gran Canaria, I’ve become a proper frequent flyer commuting back and forth between my new home and my old one.

So here I stand, fueled with caffeine, waiting to pass through security,

which people stubbornly keep calling customs. (Like, you’re flying to where? Rome? Prague? Barcelona? You really think you need customs for that?) It sucks, I know, I’ve been there a million times. You need to get your liquids out. You need to get your electronic devices out. And your chargers. You may even need to show that they actually work. You have to take off your jacket, your belt, your jewelry and watch. Sometimes even your shoes. It’s a warzone, that’s what it is. If I have to go by the whining people around me. I heard Schiphol Airport is going to introduce some kind of scanner that makes this all go run much smoother, but up until then, let us all just, please, let these people do their jobs.

If everyone would just make sure they got their shit together. Like for example, you have your liquids ready in the right fucking plastic zipper bag. And yes, that includes mascaras and nail polishes, because they run right? BECAUSE THEY’RE LIQUIDS. You also finished your bottle of water. Or for Christ sake don’t bring one and just buy one straight after. You have your electronic devices somewhere on top in your suitcase. And you take them out of their cover. Because that’s what you do. And finally, you don’t wear too many accessories. If everyone will just be cooperating instead of complaining about situations that aren’t a big deal if you’re correctly prepared, the whole thing will be over before you know it. You’ll see.

After waiting a dazzilion years in line

behind unprepared and complaining people, I get through in what, two seconds (?), and make my way past duty free to get myself some food. Eindhoven’s duty free is disappointingly small. But instead of the, you’d say, five steps it should take one to cross it, it takes me five minutes. Five everlasting minutes of being unable to pass by people who, by the looks of it, packed their entire household into cramped cabin bagage trolleys. It’s about time I’m getting myself a follow-up coffee.

To be continued.

airport security

KLM Boeing 737 at Athens – Eleftherios Venizelos – International Airport

It’s been over six months since I wrote my last post, which was a goodbye one. Or actually, it was a notification of my move to another blog. Another blog that isn’t updated as regularly as I intended to either, but that’s another story for another time. Today’s story is about this blog, that I kept online all this time, knowing that one day I’d know what to do with it. And that day is today — hooray. :D

Once this was my fashion-, fitness, and travel journal, and once I wanted it to become something professional. That didn’t happen and that’s okay, because in reality, I didn’t have enough time for it anyway. Today, everything has changed, and I’m giving it another go — that is: on that other blog that’s another story for another time. However, these recent changes in my life, my newly found spare time, and the pursuit of taking yet another blog to the next level have made me realize something else: that I really miss writing for the sake of writing.

So that’s what I plan to do here. I’ve always been blogging, or journaling, or both, and putting down on paper my daily thoughts has always been incredibly fun, relaxing, and fulfilling in some way. These benefits were the primary reason for starting this blog once, but somewhere along the way, in my quest to become a professional blogger, I lost them. Now there’s nothing wrong with trying to become a professional blogger — I just missed the spontaneous blogposts about random things in life.

So I kept merely-merel.nl, knowing that I’d get back to it. So welcome again. My name is Merel, I’m 26 years old and I’m from The Netherlands. With my boyfriend Luuk and kittycats Blow and Pablo I recently moved to Gran Canaria (one of the Spanish islands, in case you don’t know). My boyfriend has a job here — which is the reason why we moved (plus: sun) — and he supports us all. However, I’ll have to start anew, from scratch.

My adventures as a newbee in Gran Canaria will be the main topic of this blog from now on. Even though this will be read mostly by family and friends, I hope you who don’t know me personally will grow into liking it as well. No pressure there of course — as I said, I’m not planning on going professional. ;)

living in Gran Canaria

PS. Please excuse the mess around here. I still have to update the menu, logo, sidebar, and all that!

Chain Twenty

I’m so sorry for the lack of updates over here, but those of you following along on Instagram might already know that behind the scenes, I’ve been working hard to follow my dreams! And now it’s finally here, so let me introduce you to *tatataaammm* www.chaintwenty.com — my new blog + (soon to be) webshop!

The idea of opening a webshop to sell my hand knitted / crocheted pieces has been on my mind quite some time, and it took my even more time to figure out exactly how I wanted it to look like. I’ve decided to complement it with an inspirational blog, where I’m not only talking yarn, stitches, and patterns, but certainly also business and fashion. Because handmade knitwear should be fashionable and wearable, and it will surely follow my love for the minimalistic and comfortable.

For now, you’ll find me blogging on chaintwenty.com, and behind the scenes I’ll be working on a FW16/17 knitear collection (for a peek, check out my new Instagram @chaintwenty). I’m not quite sure when the shop will open, but please follow along via Bloglovin or Instagram, or sign up for my newsletter. For merely-merel.nl, I’ll find a new purpose I’m sure — in the meantime my Insta page @merelymerel is already turning into something more personal and colorful, I hope you guys like it.

Thanks so much for all of your support & I hope to see you again over at Chain Twenty!

festival fringe

It’s a shame, actually, but I haven’t been to any festival yet (and I even can’t remember the last one I went to last year, if any?). Most of the time, I’m worrying about the weather, or I think the tickets are too expensive, or I have to work, or or or… excuses. Truth is, I’m too much of a homester to feel like going out — if ‘homester’ is an actual word as Google Translate says?

However, I do love festival fashion! But since it doesn’t really fit my style to walk around in floral maxi dresses, wearing a colorful headband, cowboy boots and feathers in my hair, I’ll have to find another way. I found this fringed (yay-grey!) tanktop on sale at H&M and paired it with the lace up sandals I bought at work the second after they arrived. Combined with my good old black skinnies and a comfy oversized denim jacket and I’m definitely staying in my comfort zone while still feeling those festival vibes!

Now where is the good weather, a big wallet and a few days off? I might take out a vintage pair of Levi’s and a flower crown instead.

merely Merel

festival style

lace up sandals

festival

festival outfit

H&M top | H&M jeans | Manfield sandals | Bershka jacket | Casio watch

Photos by the always fashionable Lauren.

behind the scenes

Oh guys, I’m so excited! I’ve got nothing concrete to show you, but I’m just here to tell you that behind the scenes, I’ve finally decided to officially open a handmade knitwear webshop! In the previous Monday Moodboard I wrote about my Summer holiday plans, which included work on my knitwear shop, but as soon as Summer holidays started, I just couldn’t help myself anymore: If I do it, I wanna do it right.

So I started doing some research about how to set up an online business (because everything starts with proper research amiright!?) and came to the conclusion that writing a business plan is the best thing to do first. So I sat my ass down, made me some coffee (ahh, the other way around of course), and started writing. What do I wanna do? What will my bizz look like? What is my target audience? Etc. Etc.

Gosh, that was illuminating! I’m not done with my business plan yet, but to lift a tip of the veil: There’s gonna be a new brand name, a new website, which will include both a blog and a shop, and a hella lot of new directions to go in. But the overall aim is to simply bring the granny-associated crafts of knitting and crocheting closer to our modern world of fashion. I’ve made a planning to make things more concrete and the first deadline is set on the end of July — by then, I must have decided upon a brand name and start creating a new website. It’s totally nerve wracking, but so much fun at the same time!

Hope you’ll stay with me through all of the transitions to come <3. Meanwhile, you’ll find my shop here (more items added soon, hopefully)!

Find these photos on my Pinterest| Loopy Mango knitting heaven | @aaron_jamess__ bedroom goals | @fashionedchicstyling ripped jeans | Couldn’t find any more photo credits, so please let me know if you do.

city map posters

A typical case of an impulse buy I will probably never regret — these city map posters by Anne H Copenhagen. I was looking for a birthday present for the boyfriend (back in January, yep… #sorrynotsorry) when I stumbled upon Anne’s Instagram. And before you think I’m the most horrible person ever to buy her boyfriend a present that is actually more fun for herself than for him (I’m guilty of that too though), you must know the boyfriend himself asked for something in memory of the amazing years that he had lived in Portugal and Spain.

The only thing he and I could think of was something with photos, but I always find that risky, because with the pace in which we tend to take new photos nowadays, I quickly loose interest in older ones when I see them hanging on the wall everyday. That’s why, for my photo canvases (check ‘em out here and here), I chose landscapes over more detailed photos or portraits.

So when I saw Anne’s I can make (almost) any city in the world in the bio of her Instagram page, I knew my problem was solved. How cool would it be to have city maps of the far-from-welknown cities of Évora, Portugal, and Santa Pola, Spain, hanging on our wall? City maps might not be the most original wall art ever, but these cities would make it unique and personal.

I ordered them both, along with a poster of Utrecht — since we’re at it now anyway (;-)), and after some e-mails back and forth about the size of Évora (Spanish city areas are weird) and the visibility of its airport (which was most important, since my boyfriend is a pilot), I received the posters within a few days. Coupled with some basic white wooden frames, the whole thing hasn’t been cheap, but the quality of the printing (and the paper) is amazing, so they’re gonna last us a lifetime! <3

And when we’ll move again, I’ll definitely add a fourth =).

city map posters

city map posters

city map posters

Anne H Copenhagen

Anne H Copenhagen

Ps. This is my way of showing you bits and pieces of my interior. I know I’ve promised a hometour a dozen of times, but after more than five years, our home still isn’t Pinterest worthy haha! To all of you still living with their parents and dreaming about their own places: don’t get carried away too far, ‘cause you’ll probably never feel like your home is done or perfect, especially with a small budget. That being said: decorating is still so much fun!

Ps2. Yes, I vacuum cleaned the couch for the purpose of these photos. Imagine it being covered with white kitty hairs all day every day #thestruggleisreal

comfy clothes

Comfy clothes, comfier clothes, comfiest clothes. On the scale of comfyness, this oversized top skyrockets. By now you might have noticed I’m not a heels-kinda-girl and no matter how hard I try to be feminine and sexy and dressed-up and pretty and girly all the time, as soon as I walk into the Zara and spot a top like this one, all my sexy-girlfriend-resolutions are instantly forgotten. I must admit I kinda felt bad when I left the store and went home with my new comfy treasure in a dark blue paper bag, but that feeling of guilt disappeared alarmingly fast and I haven’t taken this top off ever since — as a figure of speech.

And who’s to blame really, ‘cause its quite appealing print — which you’ll see clearly when you scroll down — perfectly fits my current schedule. My non-existing schedule that is! Of course I still need to work and write a thesis and blabla, but other than that, university courses and deadlines are now officially o v e r, so hell yeah, let’s take a siesta! The boyfriend and I celebrated this joyous fact with beach strolls and -BBQs, which fitted my plans for Summer perfectly.

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have an unnerving amount of ideas about how to spend my time the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned and make sure to follow my Instagram, ‘cause it’s gonna be exciting!

PS. Talking of spending time: I’ve opened a Tictail shop where you can shop my closet! There will be even more items added soon, so keep your eyes peeled. And in case you don’t have a Paypal account, you can of course always shoot me an e-mail if you’re interested in something!

beach days

merely Merel

take a siesta Zara

comfy clothes

take a siesta Zara

beach days

comfy clothes

Zara top | H&M jeans | Adidas Superstars | Weekday bomber (a.k.a. beach towel) | H&M sunnies

Stay updated?
Bloglovin’
| Instagram | Lookbook | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest