Based in Belgium, Margot Huybrechts is the founder of A Hearty Home, a rapidly-growing online space that inspires young adults to eat healthy and “find their way in life”. We chat with Margot about healthy eating, healthy living, being creative and recommendations for travelers passing through Belgium.

To start off, tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your story, and what do you do with yourself?

That’s a very hard question to start with! In a nutshell, I’m a “normal” mid-twenties girl who’s trying to find her way in life. I’ve always been creative and always had this drive to well… create something. I used to write poetry and make music. Now I’ve found my way to blogging, but the common thread in almost everything I do is creation. I’m always looking for ways to express myself and hopefully share what I have to offer with the world in one way or another. Blogging seems to be the perfect way to do just that.

Tell us a bit about your quaint online hub – A Hearty Home.

I started my first blog a long time ago without a real plan and I kind of fell in love with it; sharing my soul in writing. It took me a few years and a few different blogs to finally build the blog I’m in love with: A Hearty Home. The difference between this blog and all the previous ones is that I started planning and building this blog a year in advance, so when it launched almost exactly a year ago I knew that this time I got it right (for me, anyway). I’m an absolute perfectionist when it comes to layout, which resulted in a rebrand in January (with a change in topics) and a new, more modern, blog design at the beginning of May and now I feel like “this is it”, the perfect representation of me, online.

Why this particular mix of eclectic topics?

Choosing the topics I wanted to blog about was the hardest part of the preparation. On the one hand there are those that say that a niche blog, with only one specific topic/audience has more chance to be successful, on the other hand there are those that write about anything and everything they like. A Hearty Home is a mix of both. I looked at the things I like, the things I like to write about and I looked at my general audience (young adults, figuring out life, building their first home, wanting to feel good in their own skin…) and what they would be interested in reading. All of the topics I cover suit this audience. I also focus on blogging itself, because I want to help others build and grow their online space like I did mine.

How did your fanbase discover your work?

I was pretty active on Bloglovin a few years back and I already had 1000+ followers on my previous blog account over there. When I started AHH, I made a new Bloglovin account and transferred my followers. Almost none of them have unsubscribed (ha!), so I guess they also like this blog. On Twitter, I’ve build my followers from less than 200 to over a thousand in a little over 6 months, by sharing lots of blog links, mentioning blogger retweet accounts, participating in chats, etc. Being active on Twitter is really the only the advice I can give someone who wants to grow their audience. I’m pretty sure that almost all of my active readers and commenters found my blog through Twitter, it’s an amazing tool for promoting one’s work!

What’s it like living in Belgium?

Right now, not that great: we’ve just been kicked out of the European Championship football (or soccer) so everyone is pretty disappointed right now. But on a normal day, Belgium is quite a “chill” country to live in. It’s modern, free and peaceful – everything we usually take for granted but lately, all the conflict that’s going on in the world, I think we should be more appreciative!

The one real downside to Belgium (if you ask most Belgians) is the weather. It’s never good (and if it is, it only lasts a few days). Generally, it’s cold in summer, rainy in spring, grey in winter. All we want is snow in winter and sun in summer! But then again, if the weather is the only thing to complain about, it’s okay, right? The thing about Belgium is that it’s more like a very big city than a country. It’s so small, and with highways and roads everywhere plus towns and cities in between, that there’s not that much “open space”. You’ve got a lot of green everywhere though, but nothing really big. The good thing about that is that in a three-hour drive you can cross the entire country; easy access to any place you want to go!

What are three things that young travelers must see and do in your country?

One of the destinations in Belgium that I think is already quite famous for travelers is Bruges. It’s a small city with amazingly beautiful buildings. Same goes for Ieper: a beautiful city with lots of WWI memorial sites in the surrounding areas and also “the last post” (a musical remembrance moment every day at 8pm). It’s pretty special, even for me as a Belgian. So if you’re into visiting historical things and cities: definitely consider going there.

Because Belgium is like one big city, I think it’s mostly our cities you’ll want to visit: Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels… Turnhout is one of my personal favorites.

Last but not least, there’s a part of Belgium that everyone here considers to be a vacation spot: the Ardennes. It’s the south-east part of Belgium where there are hills (which is very exciting in a flat country!) and lots of woods – it’s very pretty there! If you’re looking for a quiet spot of nature in Belgium, look no further; you’ll find it there.

How did you chance upon healthy cooking?

I haven’t always been so passionate about healthy cooking, and it’s still a struggle to stick to it every day. I’ve been battling binge eating disorder for over 7 years now and I just felt my body screaming at me to stop it and take care of it. So one day at a time, I’m trying to give my body what it wants and needs both physically and mentally, and one of those things is good food. It’s the best medicine there is.

If you had to offer somebody one simple tip for healthy eating, what would it be?

Easy: make everything yourself with fresh products. I know it almost sounds stupid, but cooking and baking everything yourself with good products really is the key. When I do that, I feel good. You can cook anything you like but you’re not getting too much sugar, too much salt or nasty preservatives. Real food, made at home, is the best way to get healthy, and just generally enjoy your food, make time for it.

Of the hobbies you listed, which one takes up most of your time?

Most of my time used to go to my music but since I’ve started taking this blogging game seriously, I’ve been spending all my free time working on the blog, building an audience, improving my posts, getting better at scheduling (when you’re working full time and blogging, it’s hard!), and I’ve been loving every second of it!

What’s next for Margot and A Hearty Home?

Who knows, I hope to still be blogging 10 years from now: recording my life’s experiences, my interior design and decoration, more recipes, my view on life, … I hope AHH grows into a space where people, particularly young people, can come and find inspiration to live an authentic life, be happy in their skin, and make a hearty home for themselves, like I am trying to do. I also hope to help lots of other creatives build their blog and brand through my resource library for bloggers which will launch September 1st.

Finally, where can folks see your work/follow/subscribe to you?

You can visit the blog at, find me on Twitter here and follow through Bloglovin here.