She’s a M A N I A C

There are days I devour Netflix shows like an all you can eat continental breakfast. I indulge, overeat and get bulimic. When this happens, weird neurochemical processes take over my membrane and suddenly my non-fictional life sets itself in the middle of my new favorite fictional universe. When those two worlds intertwine in some heavy love making, this is what comes out…

A monstrously exciting read. 

“After ‘Penny Dreadful’ and ‘Girlboss’, Evelien Delgouffe turns ‘Maniac’ for her long awaited new fan fiction blog post” (Daily Planet) 

There was a time I posted a new blog post every week. Back then I was globetrotting. Running after adventure like a dog chasing its own tail. And guess what? Wherever I went, there was my tail! In Australia, in China, even in Japan. Of course I had exciting things to tell each week. Heck, I had exciting things to tell every day, every hour, every minute! But since life is back to the status quo, not a lot of exciting things happen to report about.

I go to the supermarket, I sit at home and write and with the money I make from writing I go to the supermarket again. It’s the circle of life.

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Even though I’ve changed the decor of my life to a new city, I still roam the streets like a moody teenager looking for a pattern. The pattern around which my life, and all life around that, is knitted.

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There was a time I believed in the pattern and I saw the pattern everywhere. I even wrote a book about the pattern. The book has been lying in eyesight for almost a year now. On the corner of my desk. Collecting dust and cereal crumbs.

The book I wrote was filled with hidden walls, double meanings, easter eggs and was a perfect blueprint of the labyrint in my mind which researchers like to refer to as ‘Mindlantis’, the final frontier.

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But lately, I don’t see the patterns anymore.

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You: “Are you depressed Evvy?”

Me: “Isn’t that just the default setting of human beings?”

You: “Err….”

“But why did you actually never publish your book?”

Me: “Because I sent it to 5 people and 1 of those 5 people thought it was shit so from then on I thought it was shit too.”
“Anyway, I am too embarrassed to send it to publishers. That book is all me. I couldn’t bear people to criticize it.”

You: “Ahm, aren’t you a critic in real life yourself?”

Me: “Who are you the ethical department??”

You: “No actually I’m down the hall with the unethical department.”

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You: “We have been watching you for a while miss Delgouffe.”

Me: “Yikes, and who the fudge are you mister Side Parting?”

You: “My name is Doctor Mantleray and I want to eat (…) errmm, study your brain.”

Me: “Oh yeah? And what’s in it for me?”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Cutting-edge treatment of you neurological hypertheroidial amoebical mambo jambo… hysteria.”

“My colleagues from the unethical department look forward to meet you.”

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Me: “Unless there is some world class editor/ renowned publisher working in your little unethical club, I’m afraid I’m not interested.”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “What a coincidence. There is! His name is Owen and he will be happy to help you publish your book.”

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Me: “Errr, well…thank you, but never mind. I don’t think this version of my book is the definite one anyway… I should probably think about an alternative ending. As a matter of fact I should go do that right now.”

You as Dr. Mantleray : “If you work with us, our computer will do the writing for you. We will hook you up to our neuro-network and your book will be printed directly from your brain. Owen here, will just run the final checks on points and commas.”

Me: “Ok then mister Mantis…”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Mantleray”

Me: “Whatever. Allow me to rephrase my initial question: What’s in it for you?”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Once you begin to appreciate the structure of the mind, there’s no reason anything about us can’t be changed. Pain can be destroyed. The mind can be solved….”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “… And you will earn 50.000 euro”.

(15 minutes later)

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Ow-keey-oki miss Delgouffe, we will now hot wire you to our neuro-network for a little test run. We will ask your subconsciousness a few basic questions. Consider it a warm up, before we proceed to subduct your future bestseller from your brain.”

“And a 5, 6, 7, 8!”

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Me: “Where the funk am I?”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Your subconsciousness chose to wake up in Japan. You were here on the 16th of May, 2016. The real you has just witnessed a minor earthquake. Remember? You even put a message on Facebook after it happened.”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “The earthquake was actually not coming from Miyazaki, like news media reported that day, but was caused by a small bug in our computer system when we hooked ‘the future you’ up to our neuro-network. It happens all the time.”

Me: “That’s ahm… swell… doctor, but why am I here?”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Don’t ask me, ask your subconsciousness. Is this place also mentioned in your book?”

Me: “Yeah…”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Well there you have it! Now don’t be scared. Throughout this interview your subconsciousness may switch through different locations from your past. And potentially your future.”

Me: “My future???”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Yes, as a matter of fact this is you in 6 years from now. Look! You’re a doting mother, covered in rainbows.”

Me: “No no no, take me back! Please take me back!”

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Me: “Where the fudge am I now?”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Err… it seems like your mind is a little disoriented. It mixed your time in Australia with your fascination for cosplay and fantasy, miss Delgouffe. Maybe it’s better we take this conversation to our pre-formatted offices. I will get the floppy disk and program us right in.”

“There you go. Better ain’t it?”

Me: “Peachy…”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Now let’s get to the core of this mission, miss Delgouffe. First question: are you allergic to any kind of nuts, seaweeds or possibly gluten intolerant? Our chef needs to know, since you will probably stay in our facilities for more than 48 hours.”

Me: “No.”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Ace! You’re now officially screened and ready to print your bestseller, miss Delgouffe. We will bring you into contact with editor Owen and you can discuss the next steps together while Gertie, our computer, prints out the full story for you and the rest of the world to read!”

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Me: “Owen, where are we?”

Owen: “We’re in an elevator.”

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Me: “Owen, I cannot be in an elevator. Elevators scare the living shit out of me. I have experienced severe trauma in an elevator!”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “What’s happening in there? Why are the radars turning like crazy?!”

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Owen: “Oh boy! You didn’t mention that fear in the intake conversation?”

Me: “They asked me about my fucking gluten intolerancies not about my Michael Myers vs. Laurie Strode relationship to elevators. Now get me the fuck out of here!”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “God Gertie, we’re losing her. Another prodigy’s about to go catatonic.”

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Owen: “Better?”

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Me: “Yes, thank you.”

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Me: “Hey I used to live on this corner! This was one of the first rooms I lived in when I moved to Berlin!”

Owen: “I know. This is 1 year ago today. Do you remember? You took this picture of yourself in your flat.”

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Me: “Yes I remember! I was writing… on my book.”

Owen: “I know.”

Me: “Wait a minute. Am I currently in there? Holy moly! Am I stalking myself??”

Owen: “Yes. What we need to find out miss Delgouffe is the simple neuro-dynamics of why you gave up on your book. Why did you throw something away you worked on for months? Why did it end up on a corner of your desk collecting dust and cereal crumbs?”

Me: “Jeez Owen… I don’t know. Maybe I’m afraid it’s not good enough. Not entertaining enough… After all I stick to true events. I didn’t even bother to use a lot of fantasy… It was just an immediate excerpt of my life. Past and present. And all the irony and double meanings I pretended to see along the way.”

Owen: “Pretended to see? What if what you saw was really there…?”

(In the meantime in the unethical department) 

You as Dr. Mantleray: “We have to stop the trial Azumi. I have to pull the plug!”

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Dr. Azumi Fujita of the unethical department: “No! If you do that you’ll risk she ends up in a vegetative state!”

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(In the meantime in neuro-land)

Me: “Nonsense Owen. I fooled myself. I’m a fool. And maybe that stupid book should just stay in the past.”

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Owen: “At this point in time, when you were here writing in your flat. You also wrote a text message to a handsome looking guy you matched on Tinder. He answered you back and you met each other for the first time on Friday the 13th of October… In the real world, you are a few days shy of celebrating your first anniversary together… That same evening in this flat you listened to Lady Gaga because you had a sudden melancholy to her widely unacclaimed album ‘Artpop’. Today a movie with Lady Gaga enters cinemas and guess what… It’s a love story and she’s probably gonna win an Oscar for it. These are not random facts. I’m sure the Evelien from one year ago, who is now sitting in this flat, would have recognized this pattern.”

Dr. Azumi Fajita of the unethical department: “Dr. Mantleray we are gaining back her cooperation. The numbers are… growing impressively. Owen is actually getting to her.”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Of course. I knew we were not going to risk another McMurphy…”

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Me: “So the pattern really is the pattern, huh?”

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Owen: “Yes. And therefor I have to ask you one thing…”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Owen: “You can’t finish your book if you’re running away from your demons. It’s time for the Confrontation stage of this trial. You need to confront your biggest trauma in order to finish your book and unravel your pattern. You will have to take us to that deciding moment in your life. The moment that changed your life forever, the moment that also hurt you the deepest.”

Me: “Ahm Owen? Why did you change into a purple looking Yoda?”

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Owen: “Maybe because your subconsciousness feels more at ease talking to a stuffed animal. Ha! Check mate!”

Owen: “So to come back to my question…”

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“Are you willing to travel back to the most painful moment in your life and dissolve the pattern?”

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Me: “I’m ready for my therapy doctor.”

You as Dr. Mantleray:

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“And Owen’s not a doctor.”

Dr. Azumi Fujita of the unethical department: “Just leave them, James.”

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Me: “Brace yourself Owen.”

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Me: “For this emotional torture ride will take you to belly tingling highs…

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…and sickening lows.”

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XO

Congratulations! You made it all the way through! Thank you for reading and just for the record: I’m not depressed. This is merely a piece of fan fiction to show my deep appreciation for this great Netflix show. Check out my previous fan fiction posts on ‘Penny Dreadful’ and ‘Girlboss’ if you wanna discover more!

BLONDE & B R O K E in Berlin: how to tackle food cost?

How to survive on a budget in one of the coolest cities on the planet? 

Find out in the following bit!

So as you know I am now free living and freelancing in Berlin. I am not near the point where I make shit loads of money YET (especially if you have read what happened to me in the previous post) so that’s why I have to tackle my money business in a clever way.

(…) Me going to Ibiza for 4 days probably wasn’t the cleverest of ideas but I considered it more to be an investment since I had the time of my life with people I love and care for. Bonus points for mental health yo! 

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The traveling threesome ❤

But this cannot mean I can go on a Spree. No matter how close I live to this river (…)

The truth is: Good things in life don’t come for free so I have to really think about what I spend and if that correlates with what I get out of it.

For instance: I could stop eating. That way I don’t have to spend money.

True. But there is no point in not taking care of my body as I don’t want to get sick as I don’t want to spend money on doctors and medical bills. Hm, do I even have insurance, I wonder?

So I have made some calculations and I have estimated myself a 15 euro allowance per day to spend on ‘surviving’ (rent not included). With this I can anticipate in basic needs. Food and beverages come first. That should be more than enough right?

Rrrright… But when I need toiletries, laundry soap or tickets for public transportation this also has to come from the same allowance which means I have to do some creative shifting here and there.

Especially in case I would want to buy shoes or clothes. LUCKILY I stopped buying that shit ages ago! I don’t feel like spending money (considering the previous mentioned correlation theory) on things I don’t really need. I’m usually ahead of fashion any ways (:-p) so I much rather put my money where my mouth is.

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Okay, so how to tackle food cost in Berlin? Actually it’s pretty darn easy…

  • EXPLORE DISCOUNT PARADISE
    Germany is ‘Die Heimat’ of Lidl and Aldi. So if you want to hit the jackpot involving discount shopping: you’re in the right place. Next to those you also have Penny, Netto, Kaiser’s and Kaufland. I suggest you visit them all and see where you can nibble some extra cents of certain products. Believe you me, it’s the ‘LIDL’ things that count!
  • RECYCLE YOUR BOTTLES 
    This one is a little trick to actually earn money. When you buy plastic bottles in the shop you can collect them in a machine and get 0,25 euro back per bottle. Glass bottles are worth 0,08 euro a pop. So be wise and recycle yo! It’s good for the environment and for your wallet. But for the sake of ‘Nächstenliebe‘: when you find empty  bottles or cans in the street or in the metro, leave them for the homeless so they can have a little pocket money too.
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  • MAKE FRIENDS WHO INVITE YOU FOR DINNER
    It’s always advised to make friends. Especially when they have a kitchen and a big fridge. Dinner parties are pleasant, cozy and budget friendly.

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    You can bring a cheap bottle of wine if you feel like returning a favor. These days even a nice bottle of biological Italian wine from the BIOMARKT costs only 2,90 euros.
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    It’s even nicer when you cook together with a bunch of people! This way you can have a gorgeous round of cooking and split the costs all together.

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    Cooking with honey, I mean, Hany

    Big meals are much cheaper than cooking for 1. Life for a single gal not only comes with a price, it’s also pricey!

  • GO TO THE MARKET
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    Why would you want to pay 3 euros for 1 avocado when you can pay 3 euros for a bunch of avocados? Der Genter Wochenmarkt (U-bahn Leopoldplatz) is an insider tip for your fruit and veggie fix. It has been a well kept secret for over 80 years now. Be prepared for some old fashioned market trader shouting as well as a big crowd of customers. You can find everything here from a new zipper to a vitamin boost. You can have a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice for 1 euro. Only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

 

 

 

  • FAST 
    Coming back to the ‘not eating part’ here. Actually that’s not a bad idea at all. I have done some research on the matter and there is compelling evidence that skipping one meal a day actually improves physical and mental health. There is a whole nutritional war going on right now aiming to bring down the breakfast lobby. It’s all just a bunch of marketing from Captain Oats and Tony The Tiger. I feel most energetic and productive in the morning when my body solely runs on black coffee. I have a whole storage cabinet of fat cells for my body to tap into, so I’m sure I won’t starve from skipping one meal a day.
  • DOWNLOAD ‘TOO-GOOD-TO-GO’ unnamed
    This is absa-fucking-lutely brilliant. It’s an app – you can download it in the German iTunes Store for free – where restaurants offer leftovers at a ridiculously low price. It’s a great way to cut down food cost as well as food waste and to be more sustainable in regards to the planet. Basically this app is doing everyone involved a HUGE favor.
  • EAT OUT
    This may sound a little contradictory but in most cases going out for dinner can be cheaper than buying ingredients and cooking a meal for 1. Compared to Antwerp, Berlin is much cheaper to eat out. You can easily find a big healthy meal between 4 to 7 euros. And there are so many healthy choices including a lot of vegan options. Vegan cuisine is big in Berlin. I get my vegan fix at VEGO in LychenerstraBe (Prenzlauer Berg). In this neighborhood there is a wide array of restaurants -especially Asian- who offer alternative vegan or vegetarian dishes. For vegan cocktails you must go to ‘Chaostheorie’ in SchliemannstraBe and on the corner with LettestraBe you have to swing by ‘Wohnzimmerbar’ for the vegan soup of the day or a nice soy latte. Creative, cute and cozy! My favorite work spot to date! Speaking of dates….

    (Left: vegan burgers at VEGO; Right: cozy outings at Wohnzimmerbar)

  • GO ON A DATE !
    If chivalry isn’t dead, you will be golden with this one. Meet a guy for drinks, have a nice talk and maybe go for a little bite to eat, charm him with your magical charming wand and before you know it he picks up the tab and you don’t have to spend one nickel. It happened to me twice already, and I wasn’t even doing it on purpose. Every time I went out, the guy picked up the tab. It was twice at Kreuzburger though… which usually doesn’t cost more than 5 or 6 euros. Tofu burgers cost a little bit more than meat ones :-p
  • LAST BUT NOT LEAST: ALWAYS KEEP EYES AND EARS OPEN
    A good insider tip might just be one station away…bestplace-berlin-amen-01

If you stick to these basic ‘budget hacks’ you will hardly burn through your daily allowance. When this is the case I like to treat myself to a yummy coffee somewhere… Preferably with a little side order of brain food.

There is always money for a little comic relief. 
“Swallow me whole”, that’s exactly what that vegan bowl at ‘the Commonground’ said to me later that night! 

If you want to check all of this out for yourself: there is currently an amazing offer to come to Berlin practically for FREE!

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3 days in a 4 star hotel including breakfast (that damn breakfast lobby) for only €49,50! @vakantiepiraten.nl

Come and live FREE with ME next to the SPREE!

It is such a GREAT city!! ❤ ❤ ❤

XO

*BERLIN HIGHLIGHTS* part 1 : BECYCLE + best breakfast bars

The next THREE posts I will share with you the THREE highlights of my recent THREE day THREESOME trip to Berlin.

The traveling threesome being:

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(L->R: my roommate @cedriclav, his boyfriend @michaelvdp80 and me @eveliendelgouffe)

First highlight: BECYCLE and Berlin breakfasts

Being a cycling enthusiast I was a little concerned about spending a weekend away from my bike. Usually I go riding every Sunday and I was worried my three day holiday would be a setback in my training schedule.

As we arrived in the middle of the night on Friday May 19th, we already did some research on the plane about where to have breakfast on our first morning. In the recent issue of Monocle we read about this place called ‘MyGoodnessBerlin‘.

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IMG_2607A nutritious and healthy cafe where they serve alternative style breakfasts made from organic whole foods. They serve super natural smoothies, banana breads, muscle protein oat bowls, … To eat in or take with you to work! None of us three is actually a vegan but we do love to try out new stuff and preferably when it matches our fitness regime. And it’s quite refreshing to discover the existence of for instance a turmeric or beetroot latte. Or vegan Snickers balls!

The cafe is located in BECYCLE, a new fitness boutique studio, focusing on high intensity spinning workouts. The holy Mecca for cycling lovers.

Overall Berlin is a very bicycle friendly city. Everywhere you see people riding their bikes. And the roads are much more adapted to cyclists than here in Belgium. I kinda loathe the aggressive and dangerous behavior towards cyclists here.

Anyway, they have premium facilities and no contracts. Basically you can turn up, subscribe for a cycling class and for less than 25 euros you get to use GIRO cycling shoes, a big custom made bottle you can fill up with chilled water, a towel, a locker and a futuristic turbo bike for a 60 minute suffer fest in a room with the best Berlin beats (go to their SoundCloud here) 1 instructor and about 15 other sweaty cycling enthusiasts. The idea is simple: you just have to execute everything the instructor tells you no matter how much it hurts or how fast it goes. The experience is unforgettable. And very rewarding afterwards. You feel happy and energized throughout the rest of the day and you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging on a big breakfast after.

I went to check out BECYCLE Sunday morning at 10.30 am after only 4 hours of sleep. I was out discovering Berlin’s nightlife until the early hours. (More about this in the next highlight!) But after my workout I felt FIT & FRESH.

Since we already checked out the breakfast here the day before, we went to check out another place to refuel: ‘Commonground‘.

Run by the guys from breakfast and coffee hotspot ‘Silo Coffee’, ‘Commonground’ is a place which strongly focuses on quality and where the chef, bartender or barista truly believes in the product they are making and serving. Being attached to the Circus Hotel, this place is located in a majestic building, with amazing inner court. You can have breakfast until 4pm. And, fun fact: In weekends and on Friday evenings ‘Commonground’ has a strict ‘no laptop’ policy. They kindly ask you to find another area to complete any work that you may need to do during weekends. Isn’t that great???

And again: the prices were sooooo cheap. We had breakfast with three people for less than 65 euros. Drinks included. And tap water is free of charge. In Belgium you could easily spend up to 80 euros or more for what we ordered.

1 x Berry Brioche French Toast : 8,20 euros
3 x Sourdough Toast with Avocado mash and Poached Eggs : 12 euros (x3)
1 x Home Made Granola with Chia Seed Pudding : 5,50 euros
2 x Latte : 3 euros (x2)
2 x Home Made Iced Tea : 4,5 (x2)

There are countless of eateries, bars, cafes, … in Berlin. This is just a tip of the ‘eisberg’! When you are in Mitte, Berlin and you don’t know where to find food or coffee. Just go to Rosenthaler StraBe and Kastanienallee and surrounding streets and you won’t get hungry ever again!

Points where Berlin beats Belgium’s ass: 

  • Much healthier food, accessible for anybody (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, lactose free, …)
  • So cheap to eat out! And soooo good! 9,8 euros for an exquisite roasted lamb leg in rosemary and garlic butter?! This is gourmet HEAVEN!
  • Much more bicycle friendly. Seriously Belgium, being a cyclist country, what’s up with that???? (This one really upsets me)
  • So much more healthy focused lifestyle with sports and nutritious foods.

STAY TUNED FOR NEXT HIGHLIGHT : The most exclusive nightclub in Berlin! 

XO