Buy /sell second hand cloths

Selling unwanted clothes or buying cheaper is a solution eco friendly and most important budget friendly and one of the steps on trying to go on Financial Independence movement
For Brussels, there are several solutions:
– use second hand dress shops
– ebay – great for more expensive pieces like smart dresses
-facebook local groups is great for towns but not much success for who live too far out and people aren’t willing to travel (even for giving stuff away for free)
Vinted Site (I didn’t succeed to install app in Belgium) is a easy solution, as I have a Mondial Relay close to me. I preffer it as, compared to EBAY  no timings, no auctions, just a price, and you can negotiate the price with the seller.

In any case, I recommend to search what is close to you, and look after new or almost new. Don’t let to stay at home too much and not used, these cloths can help someone more in need…

Crossing Belgium by foot, on the beach

For newcomers, Belgium is not a big country, just a slice of 70 km between France and Holland and a mix of some tasty French food and Dutch relaxing attitude.
More, walking is one of our favorite way of spending time, discovering nature and towns and pushing our limits. Searching routes and ideas we found the crossing on mentioned and I considered a great challenge for us.
So let’s cross it, by foot, on the shore, sand, and all the seaside towns from Belgium.

We split the distance in 2 days.
Day 1: France border from De Panne to Oostende. 34 km.
Day 2: Oostende to Knokke border. 35 km.

Transport: train is in all the 3 towns: De Panne, Oostende and Knokke.

Day1: we arrived very very early on De Panne. There is a train , but for who has a car they can park the car close to the tram stops and take the tram from Oostende back to De Panne.
Walk from train station to border is adding an extra 4-5 km to walk, some one the sandy dunes and that’s difficult but I wanted the photos with me between the 2 flags to mark the border.
Then on the beach the walk is passing by:
De Panne
walk to border and back to De Panne
Nieuwpoort (don’ miss the ferry/boat, as us…we had to extra walk by town for 5 km)

As a bad surprise, there is no ferry (or at least didn’t find it) in Nieuwport so we had to add around 5 km to the first bridge in the town. Well, not useless because we stopped to eat a fish (what else) in the town and to drink a beer (my husband) enough to give us enthusiasm for the other part.

To walk, a part of it we did on the sand, a part on the shadow of the big buildings. We stopped several times for a coffee, for an ice-cream, for toilets.

early wake up (before 6) to go to Oostende.
De Haan
Blankerberge (here I took the boat to cross us and save for a town walking)
walk to border and back to Knokke. This walk was understimated by as, as Knokke is big and after is finished we had to extra walk a few km – go and back….

The end is always difficult – tired and water finished. And from Knokke we cannot find any place to buy some water so calculate properly.

Another attention is to the weather. Too sunny is too much, too rainy and too windy is again difficult – this is the coast, the wind is stronger than Brussels, much stronger.

To stop and relax use the dunes as the small areas between the hills are naturally protected from wind. I almost fall asleep in one of these areas.

Toilets. Regularly are a plenty. Not opened before 10, and I learn from mistakes to go the toilet when I have a toilet, not the need. If on some areas there are toilets each 1 km, once the need occurs there are not anymore! mentally disappeared all the toilets in front of me!

Packing water and snacks is money and time saving. Is a 7-8 hours walking, it is ok to stop to drink a coffee for 3-4 euro but the food is expensive in this overpriced touristic areas, and walking on Sundays we found the supermarkets closed.

Total distance:
34 km
41 km.

a lot.
A lot….

But I want more !! 🙂

For the future, I recommend to do it in 3 days. Second day to stop at the entry of Knokke. And third day to come to Knokke and walk all the town and the beach to Holland, stay there and turn back – a short day of 12-15 km.

More details here:

Simple affordable healthy food in Belgium: vegetable soups

In all financial discussion is mentioned that Belgium is an expensive country and we cannot find affordable food.

Really? hmm. We adapted to local sources and started to cook a basic simple cheap dish: vegetable soup. Soup is great for Belgium weather (9 from 12 months are rainy and cold) so having a soup is a basic solution for me to warm my soul and body and not diminish the wallet and most important to not have the question: “mom, what do we eat today??”.

In soups I hide and bring a plenty of veggies for my family. Normally my husband avoids a lot of cooked vegetables, but he doesn’t know what is in the soup as I use it as an opportunity to cash in on nature’s offers and local unappreciated vegetables (pumpkins, root celery, parsnip root, nettles etc)
Soup is great to save time as I cook once, eat twice. Specially the last year with teleworking I started to spend too much time in the kitchen.
Soups are rich on vitamins and minerals and fibers, and low in fats and calories. Even the C vitamin is destroyed by cooking, some vegetables needs very little time for cooking and adding extra herbs will improve it, but there are a plenty of other vitamins that are thermal survivors (A, B, beta-carotene ,iron etc) but  help to stay hydrated too, and  reduce hunger and increase fullness.
Soups are easy to make, not need strict recipes and we can make it with what we find on the market. Adding 2 extra carrots and one red pepper can change the taste from one soup to another, and if we don’t have it we can make a soup.
Soups can be a lunch or a dinner, even can be take away.
Add condiments for health and flavors: garlic, onions, ginger, curcuma, parsley, dill, bay leaves, basil, chives etc all are famous for the healthy effect and we can play with these to give a nice flavor. More, these condiments I can grow in pots on my balcony so are for free.
Vegetables are cheap. 1-1.5 euro /kg – and I can make dishes with costs under 1 euro /dish.

When I don’t have any idea what to cook, I look on PINTEREST to inspire and choose what soup I can make with existing ingredients and this is how I have a soup for a half of the week.

So what ingredients are cheap in Brussels and I use often for soups? Leek, pumpkins, root celery, parsnip root, potatoes, carrots, onions, cauliflower, red beetroots, cabbages, beans (beans, lentils and chickpeas – I buy dried and boil in advance and freeze) , etc – these are weekly on my shopping list, 4-7 kg of all. Less than 10euro for 4-7 kg of vegetables and we eat a half of the week (if not) all the family of 3. Who said we have to be rich to eat healthy?

What I love is to add, on my dish, after cooking, 1-2 spoons of raw olive oil (nice to have a Greek friend) or a big spoon of fat yogurt or heavy cream, dried cheese or dried bread, any condiments freshly cut from a pot.

Basil – all the year

I handle often to kill my plants. I am not expert on gardening but perseverance is my quality. Finally I found how to propagate and harvest basil all the year.

Basil is growing great in pots and on balcony or in the kitchen, a plant very suitable for a town lifestyle. Just a small particularity: the life cycle is very short. That’s mean after going to blossom and seeds is dying. Well, I don” like this, I love to cook salads with basil so I need it daily and fresh and cheap, of course.

Most common is to buy seeds and plant again and again, as we can harvest in 2-3 months. A simpler and faster solution is to propagate basil from old plant. How? just cut the steam. Remove alllmost all the leaves (as for cooking) but keep 4 the smallest from top. Try to have a quality steam and put in water. In several weeks it will have roots and is a proper time to plant. I did this will plants bought/ received as a gift. Organic is better, of course.

Tomatoes season is now: freeze

I think almost of people loves tomatoes. But not all the people knows the season of tomatoes is quite short, around 6-8 weeks per year. Thanks to the evolution and industry we can find tomatoes all the year, produced in glasshouses in Holland or Spain or South Africa, but there is a lot of pollution and plastic used because of the production and transport.

As I propose myself to eat more what is specific in season and more local, I try to eat maximum tomatoes now and to preserve for several weeks of winter.

In fact, for Belgium, this summer was extraordinary hot and tomatoes were in blossom. Not happening often – even in my garden I produced a lot –and still a lot of small green one. So why not to use this chance?


Last weekend I bought tomatoes from a local producer ( ) – and I think it is their neighbour that is producing and 5 epines sells 🙂 . With 3 euro/kg I bought great tomatoes so next weekend I plan to buy again, a bigger quantity, to prepare for winter.

What I will do?


Tomatoes sauce – one cook and eat 10 times -isn’t that great for lazy people like me?

Well, I buy tomatoes, of course. Usually I negotiate the price for big quantities but not with the producers 🙂 . I will go Saturday at the Clemenceau market directly to Sebastien, the farmer from 5 epignes (the place is somewhere at the end, behind the meat covered place) and  I will choose the well red tomatoes, even there are a little broken – this is because of too much rain or too much gravity 🙂 – just to be well mature. Wash, put in boiling water for 2 min to easy peel  and then cut in several pieces and boil for 30-40 min. I add flavours, of course: onion and garlic, thyme and basil (from my balcony). Quantities: for 5 kg of tomatoes, half of kg of onions, several garlic cloves, 1 table spoon of thyme, a hand of basil. No salt – I want to freeze it. I let to stay for 2-3 hours then to split in plastic ice cream boxes (saved) and freeze it – 10 bags. In November-> January will be a perfect fast pasta sauce for 10 weeks.
Time consuming? Yep. Shopping time, 1 hour to peel and cut tomatoes in pieces and boil. In same time is boiling I clean the onions and garlic – and cut in several pieces and add with the tomatoes. After 15-20 min of boiling together with the vertical mixer I will mix well the tomatoes and all the other ingredients and let to boil more several minutes. Put in boxes and freeze. Yep, 1 hour in the kitchen, less than 20 euro spend but I will eat 10 times a quality sauce without anymore effort.

Freeze Basil for Make Pesto Starters

I know, fresh basil is available for purchase year-round, but when you’re growing your own you want to preserve that unique, home-grown flavour perfectly. And why not, is for free! is there, just to know what and when to do it, 5 min effort.
We love pasta. We love pasta with Pesto. So I did it.

Basil cubes


– The most efficient way to freeze basil is by making basil cubes. I can add a green “bomb” in a soup, an last-minute aromatic punch. Simply chop basil in a food processor or with a knife and add enough oil or water to coat the leaves. You’re looking for the consistency of a thick paste. I am arriving for a three-to-one ratio of basil to oil. Spoon the herbal mixture into ice cube trays, freeze for one night, and then I transfer to a fabric freezer bag.
Pesto starters: to make pesto starters, the process is quite similar to making basil cubes. I combine equal parts chopped basil and parsley with enough olive oil to form a paste. No garlic because my husband hates but pine nuts are great. Freeze on cube sizes. Mix with cheese (parmigiana) after little defrost. I hope to find a parmigiana not too salty and to freeze within…