Brussels Directory

So you're trying to build a simple or green or deliberate life in Brussels, but you've gone through every shop in Rue Neuve looking for self-sufficiency basics like white vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. Can you find it? Hell to the no. Below is a list of Belgian shops, or online websites that deliver relatively cheaply to Belgium, to help you find the things you need. 

Basic household cleaning
Baking soda - Bicarne from Di, or Carrefour.
White vinegar - Everday from Colruyt
Lemon juice - Everyday from Colruyt
Washing soda - Colruyt

Bathroom and toiletries
Royal jelly, honey, and great hand/face creams - La Maison du Miel (premetro Bourse)
Sweet almond oil - Di
Glycerine - Di
Essential oils -Di (limited range: tea tree, lavender); there is a wider selection in Dame Nature, where they also sell a wide selection of soaps but few 'raw ingredients' for making your own (City 2, metro Rogier).
Rose water, orange blossom water - Colruyt
A good source of these things by mail order is the Aromatherapy Store via Amazon
For free online DIY cosmetic and toiletry recipes, see Crunchy Betty's blog.

General crafts - Be Creative By Schleiper (metro Schuman), Fourmidable (metro Louise)
Fabric, haberdashery - Le Chien Vert (metro Compte de Flandres), Maison DorĂ©e (metro Porte de Namur), Stoffen spektakel - a Dutch travelling fabric market that comes to Flanders and Brussels a few times a year.
Wool - Art et Fil (metro Louise)
Knitting patterns - free online patterns are available from: Vogue Knitting, Knitty and Ravelry.
Beads, jewellery basics - Nenuph'art (metro Trone)
You can also find a list of craft and yarn shops on this Craftster thread, but I haven't checked them all.
The chain Veritas often sell some knitting basics, but the selection is usually small and the prices high. They're handy if you're just after the odd crochet hook and pair of embroidery scissors, though, and they sell beginner's kits for quite a few things.

Second hand
Books, DVDs - Pele-Mele (premetro Bourse)
Clothes, Books - Oxfam Seconde Main (There's one near Pl Jordan, metro Schuman)
There is a flea market in the Place de Jeu de Balle (metro Louise) every morning.

Organic food
Reason2Be - organic grocery box delivery service
Colruyt also has a very affordable bio own brand range.

Baking bread
Colruyt everday range includes an all-in-one bread flour pack, including 500g of strong bread flour and dried yeast. It's reliable and the bread comes out well.
If I had the space to properly store the flour, I would buy it from Agribio - their flours are ground on natural granite millstones (made by a Norman artisan), from organic locally-grown grains. You can also buy the grain to grind yourself. You can buy it online or from the Place Flagey market. However, I haven't tried this so can't comment on quality!

Tea and coffee
L'Heure Bleue - organic tea shop (also sells homemade jewellery, metro Madou)
Palais des Thes - organic tea shop (metro Louise)
Maison Renardy - a small cafe which is also a bakery, patisserie and chocolaterie, and sells freshly ground coffee (including some organic) and their own tea blends. (metro Porte de Namur)

Serve the City - volunteering opportunities in every imaginable community
Sunbeams - information about eco-friendly options in Belgium; annual tree-planting event
Community Help Service - volunteer-run English language service, which runs a 24-hour helpline, runs a mental health centre and maintains a database of English-speaking health professionals. The also run a website listing opportunities to volunteer in Belgium, which you can find here.
Le debut des haricots - collective garden in Ixelles; monthly organic gardening lessons
Re-circle - collects and sorts industrial and other forms of waste, turning it into easily collected and used materials for crafting, art and education
Stitch n Bitch Brussels - meet on Wednesdays and Sundays at various cafes for knitting, crochet or any other crafting, and gossiping about expat life (also on Facebook)
Cafe Tricot - French-language knitting group
Turtlewings - activities for children on design, creativity and the environment
Recyclart - what it says on the tin - turning recycling into an art form
Apis Bruoc Sella - support for beekeepers in Brussels; awareness of urban beekeeping
Epee - creative workshops particularly targeting disadvantaged children (contact via Serve the City)
Que faire? - Listing of events and activities in Brussels, including flea markets (brocantes)
Tibiki - Blog about sustainable living in Brussels

Please note: I am not in any way affiliated with any of these companies, nor do I make any money from my blog. If there is anything you don't see but need help finding, please let me know! Equally, if you know of any alternative sources for these things, please let me know!

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