As promised in my previous video I’m here with a pregnancy update. So it’s an update on the first, second and a part of the third trimester. Things I struggled with, but also how I found out I was pregnant and our gender reveal for our families. And then a clothing haul on the baby girl clothes I got so far! I’ve linked the stores here below. I hope you like the video and see you soon! Of course don’t forget to subscribe and like the video 🙂
NEW Video is live on Youtube! Our Staycation vlog in the Netherlands. We meant to go to Greece, but unfortunately that was canceled due to Covid-19. We therefore booked a little cottage in a bungalow park in the Netherlands and enjoyed the Dutch summer sun.
We had so much fun and I was sad when it was over. However thinking of the memories we made makes me so happy.
What are your plans for this summer? Did you have to change your original plans too?
10 tips on how to reduce plastic waste! Do you try to reduce your plastic waste? There’s been enough said about plastic that we know it’s not good for our earth. Oceans are swamped and there are better alternatives.
So here are 10 tips on how to avoid the use of plastic! Easy everyday and most importantly sustainable essentials. How do you try to reduce your waste? Let me know in the comments!
NEW Video is live on Youtube! Get Fit with me! Sometimes it can be challenging to start working out again or finding the time for it to begin with. Especially as a mom (or parent).. However it can be a lot of fun too and there is not one way to getting fit. Tag along with me while I try to run with a toddler and dogs and take my family for a bike ride. Click on the video above to get to my channel.
How do you stay fit? Let me know in the comments!
I’m working together with April Moon and you can get a 25% discount on anything in their store. Discount code for 25% April Moon (https://aprilmoon.ca/) is: APRIL1504
NEW video is live! Check out my LUSH Unboxing + Holland & Barret Haul on YouTube. In this video I want to share my favorite products from Lush and Holland & Barret with you.
Everyone wants to smell amazing and take care of their body, but I also want to do this in a mindful way. This means choosing plastic free and organic products wherever I can.
Come say hi in the comments and let me know what your favorite products are.
A few years ago we started to notice a change in my grandmother. She didn’t seem as sharp as before and was forgetting more than usual. But how do you deal with this?
She went to several doctors, because she had more symptoms than just forgetting this and seeming a bit off. After a while the doctors figured it out. It was the dreadful diagnosis of Alzheimer´s. A disease that is invisible to the eye, but seen in every movement made by the patient.
During this pandemic my grandfather got the call. The call that would change his life in a way he needed, but not necessarily in a better way. There was a spot available in a nursing home for Alzheimer´s patients. My grandmother couldn’t live at home anymore, because most of the time she had no clue where she was or who my grandfather was.
So she moved to a nursing home and because of Covid-19 we can’t visit her in a regular way. We can meet outside and keep a gate in between us. Unfortunately this is the way it has to be for now. Even though it’s heartbreaking not being able to give her a hug.
The only left is being there for my grandfather while he’s adjusting to living on his own for the first time ever. With Bbq’s and dinners we try to cheer him up where we can.
The upside from this whole story is that my grandmother is in good care and most of the time she believes she’s in a hotel. She goes on about the great staff, good food and what a nice hotel it is. So knowing that she’s happier makes me happy too.
And the second video is online! My YouTube journey has really begun. Can’t wait for you guys to see this Sunday Morning Routine .. with a Toddler I might add. So I’ll give you one spoiler alert.. the morning started very very early 😀
But it’s my first vlog ever and I’m hoping you like it. How does your Sunday morning usually look like? Let me know in the comments below!
I finally did it! My new “secret” project is live! I was thinking and doubting whether to do this for years. My first step into this journey was starting my blogs on justalittletasteoflife.com.
However I wanted to push myself creatively even more. It’s a scary and chaotic time in the world and I feel for everyone suffering and to be honest this affects me mentally as it does emotionally. I was doubting again.. is this the right time? But I figured that if I needed some positive energy perhaps others do too. And for me being creative gives me positive energy. Therefore I finally decided to go live with my project.
So here it is .. I started my YouTube Channel! How scary it is to actually post this, but at the same time also very exciting. Today I’m posting a small introduction video to my channel and tomorrow I’ll be posting the first vlog. It will be a mix of vlogs and sit down videos. The topics can go from ‘Living with a Toddler’ to ‘How to reduce plastic’ and much more. As my blog the videos will also show ‘Just a Little Taste of My Life’. I hope you enjoy the videos and I would love to connect with you! You can find the link the here below or search on YouTube by Ilse Michelle.
What’s life like with a toddler? Is it easier or harder than a small baby? My little boy turned 1 year old a few months ago. So we just entered the world of toddler-life. How did our life change?
Well life is definitely interesting. During this quarantine many people state they’re bored..However I’m sure none of them have small children. Being bored is not a luxury I have, but I also wouldn’t trade the chaotic days for anything in the world.
The days start early and usually end late, since in the evening I can have some time to myself. About these early mornings.. sometimes my toddler sleeps a little longer and other days he decides 6:00 AM is a perfect time to start the day. I do wonder.. How come these early days are always when it’s my turn to get up first and my husband always has the days my toddler sleeps in? Do they have some secret agreement I’m not aware of?
During the day we follow somewhat of the same routine with eating and naps to give our little munchkin structure to his days. What has been a big struggle lately is changing his diaper. I guess one day he decided he doesn’t like it anymore. He even has a really angry face whenever he doesn’t like something. It kind of looks like he’s huffing and puffing, almost as if he’s an angry bull about to attack.
So how do we get his diaper changed? There is only one answer: Baby Shark. Yes, the infamous Baby Shark has taken over our household and plays every time we take his diaper off and put a new one on.
But I really can’t complain, overall my toddler is the same sweet boy he’s always been. He just has an opinion now, something I wasn’t aware of before. When he’s not agreeing he’ll let you know. It could be by throwing a sippy cup on the floor or by imitating an angry bull. However most of the time he’s happy and smiling and loves to play in his sandbox. One way to entertain your toddler is a sandbox. Just get a small bucket and a shovel and my boy is happy for at least an hour. And since we have dogs we also go on long walks to a park for example.
So do I think life is easier or harder now that my boy is a toddler? I wouldn’t say it’s harder, but the days are a lot busier. Since he’s down to one nap a day and he is ready to explore the world I’m always running around. Except for when he’s in the sandbox, then I only have to prevent him from climbing on the neighbours fence. Sometimes I miss the days when I could hold him like a small baby or when he was sleeping on my chest, but I also love the interaction I have with him now. In his own way we have whole conversations now, you do need a baby translator, but I’ve gotten pretty good in understanding what he wants.
I guess there is only one more thing to say.. Baby Shark doo doo doo… Oh stop it with that song in my head.. And now I forgot what I wanted to say. Well I guess that’s mom-life.
Check out my Instagram for more pictures!
Is this even possible? Having time to yourself as a mom? I think it is, but you have to look for it in every nook and cranny. Somewhere there’s a little time left for some mommy me-time. And how do I do it?
You might have read in my ‘Morning routine’ blog that I like to have a moment to myself in the morning. A moment before I see or speak to anyone else. Usually I do some yoga and meditate. I figured as a mom this meant I would get up even earlier or feed my baby, put him to bed and then have this time. That could work right?
I noticed this was not the best way to have this so much needed time to recharge. Babies don’t follow schedules and when you think you figured their schedule out it changes and then it changes again.. So doing my yoga in the morning, reading a book, doing whatever wasn’t working. I felt rushed and kept looking at the clock knowing he could wake up any moment. Not much relaxing there as you can imagine.
It took some time for my mommy brain to figure it out, but why not do my yoga in the evening? We’re lucky that our boy Logan sleeps through the night since he was quite little, so that’s my window for mommy me-time.
So that’s what I do now. I go to bed about half an hour earlier. I make sure the bedroom is a relax zone. This means it’s organized, clean, I light a scented candle and I get my yoga mat ready. I also found a youtuber (Yoga with Adrienne) with very nice yoga classes, so I have my laptop ready and follow one of her classes.
By the time I go to bed I’m completely relaxed and I had my me-time. I can then recharge with a good night sleep. Since I also wake up very early for work I even have a little bit of time in the morning. I can eat my breakfast silently and start the day relaxed too.
I am very lucky though to get a big hug from my little munchkin before I go to work. Because besides some relaxing I also really need some love from my baby before I face the world.
Check out my Instagram for more pictures!
Yeah it’s our first anniversary as a married couple! I was planning to write about the wedding soon after the wedding, but life happened I blinked my eyes and now it’s 2020. So how was the wedding?
Since it’s been a while I’ll do a quick recap. We planned the wedding in three months, yes only three months and without any stress! I was already pregnant when my now husband proposed and we really wanted to get married before the baby arrived. So we had some planning to do.
We decided on the date the 1st of February. We were already thinking to get married around that time and on a Friday. Well the 1st of February happened to be a Friday and it was already our anniversary of being together which made it feel like the perfect choice.
I was almost 29 weeks pregnant on the day of our wedding and therefore wanted to make it a fun but also easygoing day. We got married in an old farm which is now a restaurant and wedding location. We chose for a small and intimate ceremony and had a slightly bigger group for the party right after.
My grandfather is the drummer in a jazz band and he insisted on performing. It was so special and it all added to the easygoing vibe we were going for. My mom and best friend helped to do my hair and I did my own make up. Both of them were also my maids of honor and I felt honored they wanted to share that moment with me.
One of my favorites moments was the ceremony. I was so nervous to walk “down the aisle” that I almost ran. I couldn’t look anyone in the eyes cause I felt I was about to cry already. I could only look at my husband and kept my eyes locked on him. But let’s just blame the emotions on the pregnancy hormones right?
Of course we also had our first dance even though we almost forgot. We didn’t plan all the details, but things kind of happened spontaneously which made it even more special to me. My husband already had a song picked out and the night before the big day we practiced dancing a bit. It was so chill and loving. And after that there was some Turkish dancing going on. My husband’s family is Turkish and they wanted to show their moves, but my Dutch family also joined in. I had to sit that dance out since it was too much jumping around for my baby boy. It was very fun to watch though. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you should definitely look it up.
At the end of the night I was exhausted and my pregnant belly started to hurt. The next day I couldn’t do anything but lie in bed, but it was so worth it. Now one year later I look back on such a beautiful and special day. It really feels as if I blinked my eyes and we fast forwarded to a year later. It all went so fast even though we had our baby, bought a house and moved all within that one year.
And now let’s see what our second year of marriage will bring us. Stay tuned!
Check out my Instagram for more pictures!
It’s getting cold outside and the risk of catching a cold is higher too. So what to do when you catch a cold? How can you stop being a snotty little monster? I found 5 habits that help me get through it and get back to feeling joyous and happy.
About a year ago I wrote a blog on my self-care routine when feeling sick. I now want to elaborate on this and focus on the infamous “cold”. And yes while writing this I’m holding a tissue too. So here are my 5 habits!
Habit 1: Accept the situation
So the first thing is to accept that you’re not feeling your best and be gentle with yourself. Don’t push yourself too hard, because your body simply needs more rest, more love and more caring.
Habit 2: Listen to your body
Lately I’ve been trying to get up earlier again. Yes I wake up early anyway for my baby boy, but I mean even a bit earlier to have some me-time. However now I need more sleep, so I wake up when my son needs me and then I have me-time during his nap. I switch my routine up simply to give what my body needs, more sleep in my case, and then I take care of the other things I need.
Habit 3: Clean, clean, clean
I don’t mean that you need to turn into a Stepford wife, but kill the germs. So I like to make sure I change the sheets, do a laundry and keep the house tidy. If I feel like the house is a mess I’ll feel like a mess plus I want to make sure no germs get the chance to feel at home in my home.
Habit 4: Nurture your body
When I was younger I saw having a cold as the chance to eat everything I liked. I mean when else can you feel sorry for yourself? But it never made me get better sooner or make me feel good, maybe in the moment, but after I’d feel even less healthy. I must admit I was tempted to get ‘unhealthy’ snacks this time around too. Instead I decided to make a vegetable soup and have a green smoothie, all the things that will actually give me energy.
Habit 5: Get out of your pyjamas
Ok maybe the first day you stay in your pyjamas, but after that throw it in the laundry bin and get dressed. You can still be comfortable and wear sweatpants, yoga pants or something like it. My experience is that if I take a shower, do my hair and get dressed I already feel so much better. It will actually make you want to go outside and have a positive attitude. And positive energy will help you get rid of that cold a lot quicker too.
So that’s what I do when I have a cold and if I may add take care of a baby. The good thing about a cold is that you know it’s temporary. It’s all about getting through it the best and happiest way you can.
You might wonder what it is like to have a baby in NICU (Neonatal, Intensive Care Unit). Perhaps it never crossed your mind or it’s one of those scary thoughts you prefer to ignore. I never thought I would be able to explain it, but I can and I will.
Why do I want to explain this? Well because I’m so grateful to the nurses and doctors of the NICU. They are truly miracle workers. As you might have read in my previous blog I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and that is why my son was born at 34 weeks.
One day after he was born, it literally was 24 hours after giving birth, he was taken to another hospital in another city to go to the NICU. It was the scariest moment of my life. Seeing how he was taken in an ambulance. It was horrible, but I also knew that it was to make him better, so I did my best to stay strong. Even though at that moment I completely broke down.
He needed medication to make his lungs stronger as they weren’t fully developed yet. The medication worked right away and that same night he was already doing so much better. My husband and I just stared at him. There he was, our little boy, already a fighter.
We stayed at the same hospital since I was still recovering too and luckily I had a private room so that my husband could stay with me. We went to see our boy as much as we could. There was one nurse who was so loving to our son that it relieved the pain a bit when we had to go and leave him.
Two days after being born we could finally hold our baby boy. He mainly laid on my chest, skin to skin, so we could bond. He still had a little mask to help him breath and all these wires, but we didn’t care. That moment was perfect.
All you want to hear is that your baby will be better and will be fine. You want to know you don’t have to worry, but for good reasons the doctors can’t say that. So all we could do was sit there, watch him and have faith that it will be alright and hold him as much as was allowed. In the evenings my husband and I fantasized about all the great things we were going to do as a family. Every time I got sad we’d change the topic to the happy moments we were going to have together.
And then the day came that the doctor was willing to tell us what she expected. She said our little boy was the strongest there of the NICU. Soon he could go back to the hospital in the city we live in. That meant there was no life threatening situation anymore. Good news! We realize we were very lucky. Some parents have to wait months, if at all, to get news like this.
In the meantime we already switched from staying at the hospital to sleeping in the Ronald McDonald House. By the way if you don’t know about this place please look it up. It is a great place and allows families to stay close to their hospitalized children/ siblings. You pay a small fee and there is a kitchen where you can cook, a living room to relax and you have your own bedroom with a bathroom. It’s a place meant to feel like home when you can’t go home.
There are so many more details I could talk about, but then this blog will turn into a book. For example just imagine the strict hygiene rules they have. I’m glad I can talk about it and end it on a happy note, because not everyone can. We were lucky and I’m so grateful for all the good care my son got there. We literally had to put his life in the hands of the NICU staff and they did an amazing job. But let’s not forget about my baby boy whose also a Superman.
Where have I been? Well, I’m still here and I’m back as a mommy! Becoming a mom hasn’t been an easy road for me. It was actually very scary at the end of my pregnancy as I became quite sick. So what happened and how is everything now?
It was no secret that I didn’t feel my best throughout the pregnancy. I felt nauseas all the time, nope that didn’t stop after the first trimester for me, and my energy level was extremely low. Despite of the physical discomfort I was truly happy and grateful to be pregnant. I loved preparing my life and everyone in it for our baby boy to arrive.
Little did I know that our little fighter would have to come a lot earlier than anticipated. At thirty-two weeks I was diagnosed and hospitalized with pre-eclampsia. It meant that my blood pressure was suddenly dangerously high which caused organs such as my kidneys to no longer function as they should.
I can give you a whole list of unpleasant symptoms which I suffered from, but I’ll spare you the details. You can just say that I was very sick and got sicker each day. Luckily my baby boy was doing just fine in my belly. Unluckily I got too sick for him to stay there and so the doctors said I had to be induced, this was six weeks prior to my due date.
And then there was our baby boy Logan! Such a trooper right from the start. Since he arrived way too early he needed special medication to help him breath. He was in the hospital a bit over three weeks and it was an emotional rollercoaster, but he was strong and got stronger every day. Now he’s been home for a while and keeps on showing us what a tough little boy he is.
So that’s the reason I haven’t been blogging. I first of all physically couldn’t do it and then was also emotionally not ready to share our story. I still have to find a way how to process everything that happened, because for a long time we were just in a survival mode, but we’ll get there. I must say that my husband has been the absolute best husband he could’ve been. I admire how calm he stayed through everything and how much love he’s given us. I couldn’t have done this without his love and support.
We’ve also had so much support from friends and family. When you’re going through a difficult time you get to see who’s really there for you. It’s a cliche but it’s true. And I say difficult time, because it was, but at the same time it was also beautiful. We got to meet our son and hold him and kiss him and watch him grow bigger.
And what’s next? Well I can’t promise a weekly blog, but writing is still something I enjoy, so I’ll do my best. However my priorities shifted and my top priority is to focus on my family and on my health and everything else will come after that.
So see you soon hopefully!
Just one week to go and I’ll be a married woman. We had about three months to prepare for our big day. Most people take up a year to plan a wedding. So how did we do this and how did it go?
Our plan was to have a very small wedding, but after looking at the guests we wanted to invite the wedding got a big bigger. It’s still not a huge wedding and pretty small, but I guess it also depends on who you ask. My soon to be husband is Turkish and a Turkish wedding usually starts with 300 guests and can be double or triple the amount of people.
We decided to do ours a lot smaller since that is simply our preference and we have other big things to prepare for .. like our baby boy! So how did all of the preparations go and did we finish? Well we got engaged in the middle of October en started planning the wedding in November. We then decided on the date and found a location quickly after.
The wedding venue is an old farm and has a rustic feel to it. I like a bohemian style and my sweet fiancé loved it too, so that was settled quickly. The venue also does the catering and we can both have the ceremony there and the party at night. They would even help out with the decorations and recommended a place for the wedding cake.
We might be very “simple” in the way that we immediately liked all choices presented to us, but it just made it a lot easier. We made small alterations to the dinner choices, but that was about it. Something that seemed more challenging was to find a wedding dress. Since I’m now more than 6 months pregnant I had to find one that would fit my growing belly.
When my first pick of the dress (I found it online) wasn’t in stock I had to look for another one. The second pick was even better and fits perfectly. I tried it on again yesterday and it stills fits the way it should. My shoes were given to me from long time friends of my mom (they’re like family honestly) and guess what!? The shoes carry my names! I got two different pairs and what are the odds of all the names in the world that these have mine.
So as you can probably tell planning and arranging everything went quite smoothly. We were also very lucky to receive help from friends and family. My fathers wife helped with the organisation and pointed out a lot of things that we wouldn’t have thought about. One of my best friends is helping me with my hair for the big day and one of my other best friends together with my mom helped to make the wedding favours for the guests.
Another huge thing and something very special is that my grandfathers jazz band will be taking care of the music. Yes, you are reading it correctly. My grandfather who is almost 81 years old is a drummer in a jazz band. Looking at everything we’ve done and that will happen it will definitely be a day we’ll always remember. And of course the most important part of all is that I’ll get to marry my best friend and the love of my life.
Check out my Instagram for more pictures!
It’s been a while since I wrote a blog and honestly that’s been weighing on me. Feeling very nauseous and extremely tired took away all the extras I usually do in a day. I did make some changes and it’s been helping me a lot. So what did I change and how is my pregnant life going now?
Last time I wrote I explained that I was struggling with accepting that I should do things differently. I managed to accept that part now. Even when it doesn’t look like it my body is working very hard day and night. It means I’ll be tired a lot more and that’s ok. So I made some changes to be able to enjoy life and still work and keep up with my responsibilities.
What did I change? Well I work a few hours less, which means I get to rest and sleep a bit more. Much needed rest I might add. Another thing I have to admit is that my morning routine completely changed. A while ago I wrote a story about my relaxing morning routine. A routine that I loved, but since things changed so did my routine. Being that nauseas during the first 4 months kept me from doing yoga. I also stop drinking coffee trying to avoid too much caffeine. So soon I’ll write a pregnant morning routine. An updated version.
And what else changed? I take more time for myself and try to live as healthy as possible for my baby boy. We also had some medical check ups which is all standard in the Netherlands. Here we call the biggest check the ’20-week ultrasound’. All results were good and our little boy is growing perfectly. Having past that milestone and being halfway through my pregnancy we started shopping for baby gear.
For me that’s where the fun started and made it all the more real. We got our changing table and shopped for tiny baby onesies. We even found some clothes that looks like my fiancé’s clothes but then super tiny. It’s all so cute. I can’t wait to hold my baby and see how it all fits and just how he will be.
We have to wait a bit more than 18 weeks and then we get to meet our little boy. I guess your life is not changing when you have children, but as soon as you are expecting a child.
Let’s not forget that we’re also planning our wedding which takes place in 2 months. Even though we have less time to plan that Big Day I’m more focused on my Due Date. I can’t help it, the baby just takes over my mind. However before that day arrives we’ll be celebrating another big milestone. I’ll update you soon about all the wedding plans. Stay tuned!
Check out my Instagram for more pictures!
So the first trimester is over and I´m almost halfway there. Of course I´m super happy and excited, but the last months have been somewhat challenging too. So what happend and how has it been like?
Well, let´s start with something very happy. We found out that we´re having a boy! It’s quite funny actually, because almost everyone was convinced we would get a girl. We went for the ultrasound and brought both of our moms. After doing the normal check up it was time to take a peek and find out what it would be.
We were asked if we wanted to guess.. well that wasn’t hard to do! It was quite obvious that we´re having a boy. Everyone was surprised, but all so happy. We would’ve been happy either way, but knowing makes it even more real.
So now it’s time for the less fun part. Why have the past months been challenging? I’d like to start with saying that I’m super grateful for being pregnant and having a healthy baby boy. However feeling sick that often, extremely tired, super emotional and having headaches too.. yeah it was a bit hard.
It was especially hard because I didn’t wanted to listen to my body. I thought I had to go on and work and live as I usually do. Turns out sometimes you just have to set your boundaries and priorities. Normally when I’m feeling sick I just go on and battle through it. No complaining and waiting til I’m feeling better. This time around I have another person to think about and I don’t want to and can’t go over my limit.
Now you know the reason why I haven’t been posting my blogs like I used to. The reason I had to slow down at work and slow down in my spare time. I’m almost half way there and my baby is healthy and kicking and swimming all around my tummy. Do I mind feeling sick? Well, like I said, it has been challenging, but I don’t mind it. As long as my baby is healthy I really don’t care how sick I’ll feel.
I guess that the mommy in me is already coming out. I still have a way to go and some months to wait, but I’m so excited to meet my little boy. For now he has to stay exactly where he is and grow as he should. In the meantime I’ll take care of the both of us by listening to what my body needs.
Let’s also not forget about my amazing fiancé who has been there for me every step of the way. So, I’ll do my best to keep posting blogs and keep you posted on my life. See you soon!
Check out my Instagram for more pictures!
A few weeks ago I went to a tropical Island to enjoy some time off. My boyfriend and I wanted to relax and have some quality time together. So we decided to go to Cabe Verde and more specifically to the island Sal. After all it was going to be our last vacation with just the two of us..
As I announced in my last blog we’re expecting a baby! We’d already booked the vacation before finding out that I’m pregnant, but the timing couldn’t be more perfect. It was lovely to relax and be together just the two of us. I was dreaming of swimming in the turquoise water and putting my feet in the soft sandy beaches.
So that’s what we did. During the first trimester of my pregnancy I’ve been sick, emotional and very tired. Relaxing on a beautiful island is exactly what I needed. On our first day relaxing is all we did. Sleeping, eating, reading a book and more eating and sleeping. Of course we also wanted to see a bit of Sal.
The following days we went on an island tour and also went on a trip with a catamaran. The island tour showed us the ‘blue eye’. It was a cave with water and when the sunlight hit the water it looked like a turquoise eye. It was gorgeous, but we could only enjoy it for three minutes until the next group of tourists got to witness the beauty.
The catamaran was very special. We weren’t sure if we would see any whales, small ones I might add, so we weren’t sure what to expect. We were lucky and got to see three families of whales. They came pretty close to the boat and there even was a mother with a baby whale! Of course I saw that as a sign, since we were also there with a baby.
I’ve talked about taking time off and how it can be good for you. Since everybody is telling us that our lives will be turned upside down once the baby arrives, this vacation came at the right time. We saw beautiful things and we had time to talk about everything we hope and dream about. Most talks were about our future with the baby, but also about the future of our relationship.
Secretly my boyfriend was already plotting something about our future. We stayed at a resort where there were many romantic spots. We planned for a romantic stroll and my boyfriend suggested to do it on our last evening. So we went to take a walk and take some pictures. Just when I was taking some pictures of a few flowers my boyfriend had a big surprise.
I turned around to take the pictures and when I turned back around there was my dream man on one knee. Oh and with a ring in his hand. He had a lovely speech and my heart bloomed even more and of course I said yes when he proposed!
And what do we do now? Well preparing for a baby and planning a wedding! We’re thinking of having the wedding somewhere in the beginning of next year. The baby will arrive in the spring, so we still have time for both things. Of course I will update you regularly on everything that is happening.
For now I just want to say that I’m super grateful for having quality time together with my fiancé, enjoying my pregnancy and now also planning for a very special day.
I shared the news on my Instagram last Monday, but couldn’t wait to tell you in more detail what the past months have been like. The reason why I had to cancel posting a blog a few times and didn’t give so many updates on social media as I normally try to do.
When my boyfriend and I found out I was pregnant we were so happy. I was thrilled and excited and scared. All I could think was ‘please let the baby be healthy’. Finding out this news also explained why I was so extremely tired the whole time and as a side note also a bit irritated (because I was tired of course, totally not my fault). And then came the ‘all day- sickness’ which didn’t make me the happiest person either.
It was very confusing, because I was and am truly very happy and so grateful for this blessing. I was just at the same time feeling so crappy that I couldn’t really enjoy it. Luckily that seems to have past and now I’m starting to feel better again. So now the time has come that I dare to think about a nursery, stroller, baby clothes and all of that.
Many people were very surprised by our news of our baby. They didn’t expect it and didn’t know it was something that we wanted. I guess that’s normal right? We’d preferred not to tell everyone it was something we were hoping for. We were very lucky it all happend fast, but when this journey started we had no clue if it would be a long one or a shorter one. Plus as I said before I like surprises and I like to surprise people too. Well, I guess we did that.
And what about my other big news? Engaged? Wow I can’t believe it and I am so unbelievably happy. When my boyfriend and I got together I just knew in my core I hit the jackpot. I finally found my one true person, the person I wanted to share the rest of my life with. Luckily he felt the same and therefore popped the question on our vacation in Cape Verde. I will share all details in the next blog, which will be all about our time on this tropical Island with these amazing whales.
I think the beauty of life is that you should never give up hope, because you never know how close you are to your happiness. Last year around this time I could’ve never imagined how my life would change in just one year time. How I found my best friend and soulmate and everything just started to make sense. It was and is all I’ve ever wanted and I’m so glad I get to live the life I imagined.
So that’s it for now. My big news is out and I’m happy to share this journey with you. It was hard keeping it to myself and not being able to share what was really going on. Well now you know and I’ll probably share a lot more about my pregnancy, the engagement and our future plans. Just want to end the blog with a big thanks to everyone who’s supported us and is supporting us along the ride.
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First of all however you want your relationship to be is up to you. It’s nobody’s business, but I know what makes me happy and that is balance. I consider balance in a relationship as sometimes you both get what you want and sometimes you or your partner will give in. How can making comprises help keeping the balance?
I guess in the long run it will help you sustain a happy and healthy relationship. This actually goes for any type of relationship. Wether it’s with your mother, your neighbor, your friend, colleagues or your partner. If one of the two always gets what he/she wants, well this person will be happy. The other one however will start to resent giving in at some point.
So how will everybody be happy? Not just now, but also in the future? Learn to compromise. In the end you both want to be happy, happy together. So maybe you have to watch a dreadful movie for one night or clean up socks from the floor, again, but probably you get a lot in return as well. And if one of the two is really against something, perhaps you can find an alternative.
For example my boyfriend and I were looking for a new car. He was quite picky and had a whole lot of requirements and I didn’t. My knowledge of cars doesn’t stretch that far, so I had one demand. Let it please not be a grey car. I don’t know why, but it could be any other color but grey.
So we have a new car now and it’s great. It wasn’t too expensive, drives nicely and is …grey. Yes, it seems I lost this fight. However the other requirements were all met and more important than just the color. So I gave in and got to hang a turquoise bracelet around the mirror to add a bit of me.
In the end we’re both happy and… well I might have a bigger say in decorating the house, so there’s the balance again. What is important is to keep the communication going. Learn to understand and to listen to what is important for your partner and for yourself. You might be more on the same page than you expect and otherwise there’s always a middle ground that can be found. You’re a team and not fighting against each other, but with each other against the rest of the world. Just remember that.
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Lately I’ve been a bit sick, which is probably due to the weather changes. Perhaps that’s why they call it ´feeling under the weather´. Anyway I had to find a routine to make me feel better. My normal routine doesn’t work at these times, so I had to change things up.
So here’s my top five of healthy habits when feeling sick:
- Sleep! A lot of sleep! You’re body needs more rest at this time. What better way to do this then by sleeping? A little nap in the afternoon counts too if you really need it.
- Water, water and more water. Once when I was in high school and had a fever I wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible. I had exams and was very serious about school. So, I drank about 6 liters of water.. Yes it was a lot! But the next day the fever was gone! I’m not recommending to drink that much, but just make sure you stay hydrated.
- Healthy meals. Yes, this is cliche and probably not what you’re craving when having a cold or so. However you’ll feel a lot better a lot quicker when you do get your veggies and fruits instead of chocolate and cookies. Ok, indulge a little, but make sure you get your vitamins.
- Go for a Walk. You might not feel like it and probably want to stay on the couch or in bed all day. Yes me too. The funny thing is that a little fresh air can do miracles. Since I have two doggies I need to get outside for them, but it’s good for me too. Even if it’s just 15 minutes taking in that Vitamin D.
- Be selfish! It might sound strange to recommend to be selfish. I do think that when you’re not a 100% at the top of your game you’re allowed to be a bit selfish. Do what you need to do for you. If that’s reading a book, getting even more sleep or being pampered by your boyfriend. It’s up to you, you know yourself best.
And that’s my routine of self-care when I’m not my best self. Hopefully when finding a routine that works for you, you’ll get better soon too. Another tip that I can add as a bonus is to be patient. Sometimes our body just needs a little bit of tender, love and care and with a little bit of time you’re back to your normal self.
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Of course I do! I must admit in the beginning I was super strict and hard on myself. For example I couldn’t skip one week of blogging and I had to find the perfect picture to match the story. I’m not that good with pictures yet, so especially finding the perfect image was a challenge. I created all this extra stress for myself which robbed me from the fun I was having writing.
In the beginning of my blogging-journey I posted every Tuesday (sometimes on Wednesday), but I realized that wasn’t the ideal day for me. Even though posting on this day was challenging I forced myself to do it anyway. Why did I do that? I wanted a set date every week, but it didn’t have to be Tuesday. When I switched the day up for Thursday I had so much more time to write and felt way better doing so.
Something that I was asked a lot is if it’s hard to find a topic to write about. Well when I started out it was a bit harder to find a good topic. In my case I really have to ‘feel’ the subject I want to write about. Once I have this ‘feeling’ it takes me a train ride to work to finish the blog. The more I wrote the more topics I began to find. Suddenly everything could be a new blog. When I became more aware of my authentic style I saw a potential story in almost anything.
So practice really makes perfect. I am in no way saying my writing is perfect, but I found the perfect way to write. I found a day of posting my blog which works for me, I got better practice with selecting nice pictures and I found my own style of writing. I noticed that when I started I’d put a lot of pressure on myself for no good reason. The point of writing is to enjoy myself, to have an outlet for my creativity.
What have I learned over this year? Relax and enjoy what you do. That was my point all along anyway. I’ll do my best to post a story every week, but on holidays or when I’m sick I just might have to skip a week. I learned to stay true to why I write and that is because I simply love writing. I’m also very thankful for all of the reactions I’ve gotten over the past year. It’s so nice to connect with people all over the world and share thoughts. So thank you and here’s to one more year of blogging!
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We usually have two choices in life. We can either be fearful and expect a negative outcome or we can be positive and trust the process. Of course the second option is the hardest, but it’s also the one that will make you the happiest.
When I look at my dogs I’m amazed of how easily they trust me. They both probably had bad experiences, since I adopted them, but they trust me either way. They trust I’ll feed them, walk them and give them my unconditional love. How do they know for sure? They can’t know for sure, but they just feel it’s alright (that’s what I imagine at least).
Animals are very special in that way, because us humans let bad experiences prevent us from a happy future. We can dwell on the past so much that nobody gets a chance to earn our trust. This makes it hard for any relationship to work wether it’s a romantic one or a new friendship.
So what is actually happening here? As for so many things we focus on the negative side of life. We waste energy on fear, uncertainty and worry while we’re at it. Why do we do that? I think to mentally prepare ourselves in case of a disappointment. But does that help? Did the time worrying really help us prepare for a bad outcome?
We could also do the opposite, even though that one is a lot harder. We can focus on positivity, have faith that things will work out and trust the process. And what do you do then? You let it go. You trust the process and let it go. Every time you worry you should stop yourself. Stop yourself and replace the negative thought with a happy one.
It will take some time, but you will save so much energy not worrying. And another benefit of focusing on things that will make you happy? It will instantly make you happier. Because when you think happy thoughts you generate good energy.
And if you’re ever in doubt, just look at a dog or cat or any pet for that matter. Do they worry? No, they don’t. They just live their lives and trust everything will be alright. So let’s do the same with ours.
Everyone has this little voice in their heads. The one who’s convincing you are doing good or that you should do better. When it comes to what others say and what our own mind says we tend to believe the negative comments. Why not go for the positive words? Why do we easily accept it when someone (or ourselves) calls us a failure but we can’t do the same when we’re called a winner?
I think it all has to do with self-love. When I was younger and felt down I couldn’t deal with any compliment. I would it ignore it or immediately try to downgrade it. For example if someone complimented me on my dress I would respond that it was very cheap and I had it for ages. Why did I do that? I could’ve simply said ‘thank you’.
Another example is that you can’t forgive yourself for making a mistake. Actually either forgive yourself or accept it and move on and even better do both. Making the ‘wrong’ choice is part of your path and will lead you to the right path. So don’t hate yourself for being human. Instead love yourself for realizing you have to make another choice, one that will make you happier.
Perhaps you realize now you don’t really love yourself? Well that’s great. It means you can change it. The first step is to understand that you deserve better, that you can do better for yourself. The second step is to accept yourself for who you are. If you accept the core of who you are, only then you will get to the point of self-love. The third step is to focus on the positive side of things. Every time you have a negative thought try to imagine how it would sound if you change it to a positive one. Much sweeter, right?
Obviously self-love is a process and it won’t change overnight. However every day you practice self-love you will feel happier bit by bit. I talked about it before but I believe loving yourself unconditionally is the first step of everything. Only then you understand how others should treat you, only then you believe in yourself enough to follow your dreams and only then you will understand you true needs.
Keep on having difficulty with self-love? Try to name a few things you’re grateful for first thing in the morning. After that try to name for example three things about yourself that you’re grateful for. In the beginning it can be hard, but it help you shine light on your qualities. Everyone has them and so do you. Every step towards self-love is a step towards leading a positive and happy life. So what are you waiting for?
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First of all why would it be good to change your words of ‘having to do’ to ‘getting to do’? I think we channel a lot of energy into our words. Therefore it’s good to think of which ones to choose. Every time you say something it makes you feel a certain way. It could be neutral, but more often it makes you happy or not so happy.
A while ago I wrote about how stressed I was in my blog Relax and Unwind. It was a busy period at work and a busy period privately. During this time I was also going to the gym about four times a week and I ‘had’ to do a lot more things. The funny thing is nobody told me I had to do all these things. I was obligating myself to do it and if I would skip something I felt guilty and I felt like I failed. As you can imagine this made me feel even more stressed.
So I was the one who was adding more pressure. I did this until I broke and I was mentally exhausted. During my holidays in Turkey I thought of things I could do differently. One of these things is simply not saying ‘ I have to’. Rather than that I can say ‘I will do’ or ‘I get to’. It might sound silly and as if it wouldn’t make a difference, but trust me it does! If you tell yourself a hundred times a day (which I did) that you ‘have to’ do certain things it starts to feel like you really need to. And if you don’t? Well then I felt I’d let myself down, since I had to do this, right?
Of course this is something you don’t change overnight. I notice that at times I still say it a lot, but every time I do I stop myself. So I’m becoming more conscious of my choice of words. By doing so I’m lifting the pressure I’d put on myself. There is nothing I have to do, but it’s my choice to do it, which means I actually get to do these things. I get to go to work and I’m grateful I actually have a job. I also get to cook and I’m grateful I have enough food every day to do so. Try this and you notice it will make you look at your life differently. You will start to feel privileged and grateful instead of pressured and obliged.
Now that I’m practicing this new way of thinking I feel I get more room to breathe. Without this pressure I feel free and a lot happier. It gave me more energy to actually do all the things I always want to do without the obligation of having to do them. It even makes me feel less reluctant to do the chores I usually don’t like.
How can you practice this yourself? The first step is becoming conscious of when you are telling yourself you have to do certain things. Try to stop yourself every time you do. Once you realize you’re obligating yourself you can think of an alternative choice of words. The more you practice it the better it will go and the better you’ll feel. There are already plenty of things we have to do in this world, but the way you talk to yourself is free of choice.
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It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have a busy period at work or a lot of events in your private life. Perhaps some hardly lose their balance, but for me it can be a challenge to not fall one way or the other. I guess I have a sensitive soul that needs to be nourished with care and somewhat of a routine.
Over time I’ve noticed that when I follow a certain set of ‘rules’ I feel much better and I can keep my balance. Although literally keeping my balance is still difficult, since I’m quite clumsy. By the way these rules or guidelines are personal, so you might need to adjust them to your own needs. Want to know how I do it? Here they come:
1. Enough ‘me-time’: some might not need this as much, but I need some time alone to think, recharge, analyze and breath. Every morning I wake up extra early so I can start my day relaxed and even practice some meditation and yoga.
2. A healthy diet: I feel more energized when I nourish my body with the right ingredients. I need a lot of vegetables and fruits, but I happen to like them a lot too. When I’m busier and skip investing time in a good meal my immune system drops and I feel more tired and less like myself.
3. Focus on what’s important: what I mean by this is that you should focus on the positive things happening. Every day something goes wrong, but every day something goes right too. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but at the same time focus on the positive details every day can bring you. For example the other day my train was delayed which sucked, but now I had time to get a coffee and that is something I enjoyed.
4. Be active: Nobody gets energy from sitting on the couch an entire day. You’ll probably feel more tired and lazy. Don’t get me wrong a lazy day once in a while can be wonderful. However in general our bodies need to move. When we move and are active you actually produce endorphins which make you feel happy. So, move that body!
5. Connect with nature: this might sound cheesy, but breathing in the fresh air when you’re in the mountains, at a lake, in a forest or wherever will help you stay grounded and therefore in balance. Walking in the forest is one of my favorite things to do. It’s easy to forget about nature living in such a digital world. That’s why I strongly advise to forget about your phone and enjoy the view, the fresh air and the sound of the wind. Trust me, you’ll feel recharged and more relaxed afterwards.
I have one more bonus tip for a happy and balanced life. Get enough sleep. Without a proper night of sleep you won’t be able to process your day the same, so make sure you get the hours of rest that you need.
So those are some of my tips for a happy balanced life. Of course there are many more ways, but these things work for me and I hope it can help you too. Just give it a shot and try it for a while. I’d love to hear if it made a positive change to your life. If you have other tips let me know. Remember listen to what your mind, body and soul need and you’ll find the balance you’re looking for.
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At first I wondered how I had to organize my day. Even though I don’t organize my days a lot. I wanted to try being without a phone for a while, but every time ‘something’ stopped me from doing it. How would I communicate? What if plans would change? How will I be informed? Can we even do this without our phone? Despite all these questions I still wanted to put it to the test.
I must admit I made one phone call on my phone-less Sunday. I went to the dog park around 8:15 am and informed my mom about my plan. Just so she wouldn’t panic if she tried to reach me. So I figured that this was a valid enough reason for the call to not really count on my day offline.
A happy coincidence is that something on my phone had to be fixed. I turned it off and gave it to my boyfriend, so he could bring it to his work to fix it. This way I couldn’t even be tempted to turn it back one. I was literally offline and if someone needed me they had to find another way to reach me.
The immediate benefit that I encountered was that I had so much time. Normally you check your phone every now and then. While you do this you just ‘quickly’ go through Facebook, Instagram and watch of course just one video on YouTube. Suddenly half and hour or longer has past and you’re still cyberstalking some celebrity. Since I didn’t do any of that I had all my chores done before noon! My meal prepping was done, laundry was done, dishes were done and the bed was made. It was wonderful!
The chores part obviously wasn’t that wonderful, but the feeling of having a ‘free’ day the rest of my day was great. I drove with the doggies to my grandmother and after that to my moms house. Once in a while I noticed I wanted to grab my purse to get my phone. However seconds after I realized that I couldn’t do that, since I didn’t bring it. And why did I need it? Once I wanted to check the weather forecast, once to look at a picture and once to see if I had messages. None of these times I really needed my phone.
When I left my moms I got into the car and for a moment it seemed it wouldn’t start. That was the only time that I thought that I should’ve brought my phone. Maybe in future cases I can bring it turned completely off, just in case there is a real emergency. Other than that I really didn’t need my phone. Honestly it felt really good to not check social media all day long or check any messages. In some way it felt freeing to be offline.
So would I do it again? Definitely yes! I just have to decide how I will do it. At this moment I think it might be good to have my phone in my purse but turned off. Or perhaps I can switch it to flight mode or maybe even better just turn off internet. If you have any tips feel free to share! And my tip? If you haven’t tried it already you really should. You literally have more time on your hands, since you’re not using them to hold your phone.
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I started meal prepping about one and a half year ago. It was when I moved back to the Netherlands and my commute to work had changed. In Spain I used to walk ten minutes to work and had an hour lunch break, so I ate lunch at home. Suddenly I only had half an hour to eat and travelled almost an hour. My shortage of time forced my lunch routine to change too.
Of course I had the option to buy my lunch at work, but I decided not to do that. Why? Well it’s quite expensive in an office to buy lunch. It’s about six euro average in my office for something simple. The second reason is you don’t know how many additives are in your food. I figured it was better if (on most days) I would bring my own food.
In the beginning I got back to a typical Dutch lunch. What is that? Well, bread with cheese for example. I also had some healthy snacks for the morning and afternoon but that was it. When I decided I wanted to get “fit” my diet needed an upgrade. I started cooking twice a day. Once for my dinner and then after dinner again for my lunch for the next day. But this wasn’t working either. Why? Too much cooking and too little time to relax.
When I started my meal-prepping journey I looked for inspiration online. I saw on YouTube and Instagram people also meal prepped, but first I didn’t know how to approach it. Like do I eat the same thing the whole week? Or do I make five different meals? Can I make one thing and just switch up the sauces? Luckily I have a smart and practical boyfriend and together we figured it out.
So what do we do? Well since I’m mainly a vegetarian (some days pescetarian) I actually eat a lot of veggies. I also really like them and it fits my “get fit” diet. Anyway we just buy a lot of different types, then chop them and put them in the oven for about 45 minutes. At the same time I prepare some tofu in a pan. Once it’s all done we divide it in five different glass jars. I usually add some hummus to some as a topping, avocado to others or another sauce if I feel like it.
As you can tell I’m still quite lazy with meal prepping. Every Sunday we follow this routine, but it’s often a mix of vegetables with tofu. When we have leftovers I use those and once in a while I look for new recipes or add something extra like wraps.
In the end meal prepping doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Since you’re the one adding all the ingredients you know exactly how healthy it is. You can also make it as expensive as you want. In case you’re meal prepping together, like I’m doing, it can be fun and used as bonding time as well.
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For starters it’s good to get some mental rest and clarity. How can you do that? Do you remember those (video) games or any other machine with a reset button? When it’s overloaded, there is too much information and not working properly? So what did you do then, you hit the reset button. Magically it worked perfectly after doing that.
As people we obviously don’t have such a button. After all we’re not robots, but wouldn’t it be good if you can get rid of the excess information in your head? Start over and feeling all fresh and new. I think taking time off (from work) is like hitting the reset button. Especially when you’re going away and visit new places.
I’ve had a few busy months at work. I work at an office with a computer all day long and at the end, right before my holidays, I ran out of fuel. I had processed too much information, worked long and intense hours and was tired. Very tired. And when I’m tired I’m also very emotional. So I really needed to hit that reset button. I could hardly bring myself to feel positive, when I’m always positive, which made me even more emotional. Luckily my trip to Turkey was already planned.
So there we went to Turkey and visit the grand city of Istanbul and a little town at the coast. It was my first time there so I had a lot of first impressions. Maybe because I received so much new information, the old (and excess) information was pushed away. I couldn’t think about anything else than what we’re doing at that moment. Living in the now and taking it all in. And of course taking a lot of pictures.
I didn’t realize it would work this way before going on vacation, but perhaps I never needed a break as much as I did now. Being away and seeing all the beauty of Turkey erased the stress and negativity I was feeling before. I was so happy to have that experience with my boyfriend. Side note it was our first vacation together. And as I wrote in the previous blog, snorkeling in the turquoise water made me feel so relaxed.
When did I know the reset button of going away had worked? When I was back home actually. During my holidays I also decided to change some things in my daily routine. For example not oblige myself to “have to do” everything in one day. I also decided not to say “yes” to all events, birthdays and activities. Simply because after work I need some more me-time to recharge.
So when we got back I knew what I was going to change. I felt so relaxed from the trip that luckily I felt positive again too. I still have to be careful not to run around in circles, but it’s a step in the right direction. Now when I wake up and start my day I’m looking forward to see what will happen. I’m re energized and it feels so good.
How to recharge yourself? Well even if you can’t go on a trip, you can enjoy some time off at home and do the same too. Relax in your backyard and read a book. Or try something new and open yourself up to a new experience. When it’s been a little too much we can hit that reset button in all different ways. My favorite though is on a tropical beach with sand between my feet. Just don’t forget to hold on to your newfound happiness when you’re back home.
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I must admit that I’ve been trying to overcome my fear of swimming in open water since a while. When I was living in Spain I often went to the beach and strangely enough I loved to swim in the sea. The clear blue water with a sandy white beach is just mesmerizing to me.
So bit by bit I tried to swim further and further. In Spain I even made it to the floating raft, which was quite a swim. The first time swimming that far my heart was beating and if my hands could’ve gotten clammy they would’ve been. After a while however it was fun and I enjoyed the swim. My fear wasn’t based on an actual threat. There was no danger in what I was doing. So slowly my subconscious mind started to catch up with my conscious mind that already knew I was safe.
I think often we feel afraid even though there is no actual need for the fear. Of course fear can keep us alive and prevent us from making life-threatening decisions. However if we climb up high stairs we should be careful, but it probably isn’t a dangerous situation that justifies the fear of heights.
The same goes for my fear of open water. Apart from snakes I saw in an Italian lake when I was three, I’ve never encountered a situation in which my life was in danger in open water. Yet I’ve had a fear of it all my life. Obviously it would be dangerous entering a part where there are sharks or crocodiles or anything that puts your life at risk.
But the waters I enter were always safe. You can imagine though that I’d never put myself in the situation to see the fish swimming around me. Better to not know if they’re there right? Well that’s not the case actually. When the water is clear and I can see what’s going on I already feel better. But now being in Turkey I wanted to take a real close look at the world underneath me. That part was new to me.
Of course my strong boyfriend was there to protect me, just in case. We got snorkeling gear and I was amazed. Now you might think I saw all these colorful fish. Unfortunately not, but the sandy colored fish and the way they moved was already breathtaking. Strangely enough it was also very relaxing.
We later even took a boat trip and it was so beautiful. We saw more fish, actually a lot of fish. The water changed from a dark blue to a bright turquoise. I jumped of the boat (another thing that scared me) and we snorkeled. What is my lesson learned? That sometimes the one thing that scares you most can be the most beautiful thing you’ll ever do. Honestly I can’t wait to fly to an even more tropical destination and see what the ocean is hiding there for me.
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Well I attended spinning classes in the past. It had been a while though and the last classes were not with an actual teacher, but with a video of a teacher giving instructions. I liked it, but it’s not the same as having a real person there telling you what to do. Mainly because with a video you could “cheat” with an actual instructor you can’t. Not that I would want to cheat my exercise routine, obviously.
This time around I convinced my stepfather to join the gym and join me in the spinning class. He’s 62 years old, but quite active and the spinning instructor is quite impressed with him. Of course he’s dripping in sweat after our workout and I’m not. Ok, I’ll be fair. The AC is on way too hard for me to break a sweat, but sometimes they leave it turned off and then I really notice the difference.
But why do I love spinning? I’ve been going twice a week lately and therefore stopped running (for now). First of all I like doing it together with a buddy. It motivates you to keep going, even when you’re tired and stressed or just feeling lazy. But it’s also a great workout to relax mentally.
Because when I focus on spinning it’s the only thing I can focus on. Yes my mind wanders off, but I always get back to my focus point, spinning. My legs need to keep on moving and I literally can’t sit still. So that’s why I love it so much. It helps me to relax my mind. And this actually goes for any sport, especially cardio activities, at least in my case.
Sometimes I also glance to the side and see my stepfather giving it his all. I see his legs moving so fast he looks like one of those cartoon figures. You know that image of Road Runner going so fast his legs turn into a spinning circle? That’s what it reminds me of and I just start laughing so hard. So yes, even when I’m tired and especially when I’m stressed this is a great work out for me and it wouldn’t be the same without my buddy.
One year ago my friend got the cutest puppy. Of course I had to meet the little fur-baby, so after getting him she and her boyfriend came over. She then randomly showed me her phone with a video of how they got him. And then I saw it! It wasn’t about her holding puppy in the video, but about her boyfriend getting on one knee!
I was so thrilled for her and of course I cried some happy tears. Soon after we went wedding dress shopping with her mom and her bridesmaid. At that time we actually didn’t know we were going to be bridesmaids. After the dress shopping we all went for dinner and she handed us a card in which she asked ‘Will you be my bridesmaid?’. It was so cute and of course we said yes.
But let’s not forget about the dress. It such a special moment when you see one on your best friends in a gorgeous wedding dress. After all the years of dating, heartache, finding the right one, moving in together to then finally saying I do. She was glowing and looked happy and I couldn’t wait until she could wear it again for real.
Obviously we also organized her bachelorette party. Living in the Netherlands the place to go is Amsterdam. So that’s what we did. We made her do ‘not too’ embarrassing assignments, went to a museum (ok, the sex-museum), got dinner, sang a song in the karaokebar and then went dancing for one more time. We laughed, we drank and we danced.
Our bridesmaids chores continued on the day itself. In the meantime we got our own dresses, the right shoes, a purse and our dates. And then it was time. The day had arrived. My friend picked me and the other bridesmaid up. In the car our fun started and at the location we got glammed up. We even wore special robes with ‘Bride’ and ‘Bridesmaid’ on it. What followed was a beautiful ceremony (of course I cried again), a lovely dinner and then it was time to dance again.
Our dates arrived and we did the last things we had to do as bridesmaids. After that we all went dancing and it was amazing to see my friend that happy. The whole day went perfect. After months of preparation it was the most perfect day she deserved. Everyone seemed happy and smiling. To top it off their opening dance was the best thing ever. They even practiced it together beforehand, how cute is that!
It seems a lot of time and effort to invest in one day. However after a day like that it doesn’t seem like just a day. It really is a day you’ll never forget. With words of love, all smiles, kindness in their eyes and their hearts filled with hope for a beautiful future. It was the perfect start of a life together or to continue their journey with a huge milestone in between. I’m glad and grateful I got to witness it all up close.
You also know the feeling when you despise someone? When you absolutely can’t stand a person for whatever reason and might even dare to hate him or her? You then also know how it the hatred feels and how it sucks all the life out of you. How your energy gets lower the more you talk about it, the more you think about it and the more time you invest in it.
If you know and can imagine the difference in these two emotions, then why not always choose for the first option of love? Wether you love your partner, your child, your friend or mother. Love is love and the positivity of love literally gives you energy. Even when you had a rough night and a lack of sleep, a phone call from someone you love can get you through the day.
The opposite is then also true. When you had a rough night and a lack of sleep and you’re talking about or thinking about something or someone you hate that makes your day even rougher. Your energy level drops even more and nothing can make you smile. So we all have moments we don’t like something, someone or a situation. How can we turn that around so you can get energy instead of losing it?
The first step is to realize you’re stuck in a bad emotion. You’ve been whining, complaining or crying for too long and you need to put a stop to it. When you realize what you’re doing it’s time to change. It’s literally about making a conscious choice how you will use your energy. Imagine you “hate” or dislike someone for something that they’ve done to you. Do you think spending hours of hating them will change the situation? Will it make anything better? Will you feel better? Probably not.
So the choice is yours. What you can do is first to accept that the situation is what it is. You’re hurt for example and that’s it. So how to move forward? The second step is to use your time for things that make you happy. Instead of complaining for an hour, you can write a message with words of gratitude to someone who’s always there for you. Which of the two will make you happier?
And it’s a matter of practice. A few years ago when I felt hurt I was so angry and at moments I hated the world. Nothing seemed right. But all the time I spent feeling angry and sorry for myself really never made me feel better. When I decided that nothing would change for the better until I started thinking positive it finally started to get better. So take your pick.
So why do we only date when we’re ‘dating’? The point of dating is to get to know the other person, but also to have quality time together. When you’ve been together for a long time, you probably know each other pretty well, but quality time might be hard to schedule.
After a while, when the newly-together phase is over, you can get ‘stuck’ in the routine of your every day life. Usually this is when we can forget about romance and being a couple versus to just living together and having breakfast and dinner.
And that is why we decided on having a ‘date night’. Our minimum is once per month and we haven’t even been together that long, but it is also just something fun to look forward too. And yes even though our relationship is quite new, we’ve had a lot of family events, visits with friends or birthday parties. That’s why when we have our date night we can ask questions we haven’t asked before and go to places we haven’t visited together yet.
So what did we do on our last date night? We went to the restaurant where we first met. My boyfriend used to work there and we saw a lot of his old colleagues, which was fun. We then had some wine, some nachos, our main course and of course desert. And it was so lovely to have a night away from home, no TV, no phones, just eating and talking.
I hope that ten years from now, when our family perhaps has grown, we’ll still have the tradition of date night. That we won’t forget to keep on dating each other and we’ll keep asking new questions. At this moment it’s no effort at all and probably then it isn’t either, but I always want to keep the romance alive. And one of the ways to do so is by dating.
First of all I was a bit hesitant to babysit my brother and sister, because I thought how am I going to combine that with walking the dogs? My boyfriend promised we would do it together and he could help out too. Ok, so that was settled. Well it was, until it turned out he had to work that specific weekend, the whole weekend.
But spoiler alert, I did manage to do it mainly on my own. Some parents might be thinking now of course you can do that by yourself. Just remember I don’t have kids, I’m not used to having kids and I’m not ready for kids. Even though I did used to babysit a lot I just find my dogs a lot easier. Also I don’t have an elevator so my mom came to help and carry the babies down the stairs. After that we went for a family-walk.
Surprisingly it was one of those special days in the Netherlands. A day when the sun is shining and it was hot. It literally was one of the hottest days of the year probably. My mom was babysitting my nephews of five and two, so it was a gathering of small little humans. When walking a stroller for two you do notice how heavy those things are! I immediately didn’t feel bad for skipping the gym that day anymore.
The walk took us to the center of my city. In the center a fountain or sprinkler-thing is installed for children to play with. The twins are still too small, so while my nephews were running around the sprinklers, I was relaxing with the twins under a tree. And I must say these babies are so chill. They were just sitting on a towel playing with their toys and picking grass and that’s it. No whining, no crying, just happy. If babies when they come in a pair are a ‘happy-package’, then I can handle two for sure.
Of course at night they were a bit more reluctant and didn’t want to sleep. By this time my boyfriend was home and we took turns soothing a baby. He took my sister and I went to cuddle my brother. I guess we did a good job and the twins decided we earned our sleep, because they didn’t wake up until 7:30 am the next morning. Thank you babies!
So what’s the conclusion? Are twins indeed double the trouble or twice the fun? Well, when they’re happy they’re still a lot of work, but no trouble at all. When they’re smiling it indeed is fun multiplied by two. Now you’re wondering if I can’t wait to have my own? Oh I can wait, no problem. I stil find my two doggies more than enough for now.
First of all, I know that the Netherlands is a small country, but for Dutch people traveling from one side to the other feels long. My boyfriend and I took the train and it took us a whole two hours! Yes two hours to go from the east (I live almost in Germany) to the west. Ok, my friends had to travel three hours by the plane, so I won’t complain, but I did cross my country twice that day. Just saying.
Going to Amsterdam to me also feels like being a tourist on a day-trip, although I used to work there. What did we do as ‘tourists’ when we got there? You probably know all the stereotypical things about Amsterdam? Eating cheese, drinking coffee and shopping? Oh no, I meant the other more controversial things, even though what’s on your mind is not controversial in my capital city.
So now imagine some Spanish and Dutchies in a boat on the canals of Amsterdam. Passing by cool boat houses and having a little picnic. What did my tourist friends bring? Some beers, some chips and some marijuana. I personally don’t smoke, but it was a funny sight to comply with the stereotypical tourist activity.
But what was the best part? To see my friends and especially my dear friend Amanda. It had been a year since I last saw her and a lot had happend. Of course we already knew the big things, but now it was time to share the details around the big things. She got engaged, so I wanted to know exactly how her boyfriend proposed and the wedding is going to look like. And I got to share the details of how I met my boyfriend. Just the typical girl-friends stuff.
And what is the good thing about amazing friends? It literally doesn’t matter that a year has gone by and that you live on opposite sides of Europe, because when you’re together it’s like no time has past. It’s exactly the same as when we would meet every week opposed to meeting just once a year. And that we got to meet on little boat cruising the canals of Amsterdam made it all the more fun. Because let’s be honest who doesn’t have fun in Amsterdam?
I guess for a long time I didn’t understand this. I didn’t get that I also deserved and could have unconditional love. Of course I knew this from my family and my friends, but I still didn’t fully get the picture. Perhaps it’s also due to the fact that I felt lost for a long time. I didn’t know what I wanted and needed.
Now that I do know this I believe I deserve this unconditional love. Having moved to different countries forced me to overcome difficulties, learning to be on my own and growing as a person. And I finally learned to love my self unconditionally.This might sound silly, but I think we often forget how important that is. If you accept yourself, your strengths and your flaws, you learn to value yourself. If you value yourself you don’t accept anything less from another person. You won’t allow someone else to continuously treat you poorly, because you know you deserve better.
It took me a while to understand what I was worth, to get to know me better and understand what I needed. I guess that is why I went from a not so good relationship to another not so good one. When I finally got it, hallelujah, and then I didn’t mind being single. Why? Well I rather be alone than be with someone that doesn’t make me happy. I could make myself perfectly happy. I felt loved by myself, by my family, friends and of course my dogs.
And that is when it happend. When I learned to be truly happy by myself I crossed paths with my boyfriend. We met years ago when I was on a holiday in the Netherlands, but it wasn’t until now that we went on a date. Just like years ago it instantly clicked and we never looked back. Sometimes I’m still surprised of how good he treats me and then I remember that now I believe I deserve that. Before I accepted the minimum, because I gave myself the bare minimum.
So I guess that is my point. It doesn’t matter what you prefer, being single or being in a relationship. The key point to remember is that you shouldn’t accept anything less than what you are worth and you deserve. It is then up to you to know your self-worth. To first know how to love yourself before you ask someone else to do so.
So in school we’re forced to read a ton of things. Most of those books you probably didn’t like. Books about geography, math, biology, history and what more. There were also the books that were sometimes a free choice with simply stories. But what was the purpose?
Well in school the obvious point of reading was to learn. I guess that is where it begins. People either start to love or hate reading. I was one of those kids that loved to read and to learn for that matter. I didn’t like math books, but I loved stories about other worlds and other times. I remember being bored in primary school and finishing all my chores early, so I could read more books. You might think oh nerd-alert, but who cares, as long as you’re happy doing what you like.
With a friend I would stroll around the library for hours. I picked out the biggest books, because I thought big books were cool. So even though we were not religious at home I picked up a huge bible for children only so people thought I could read big books. I must have been six, but my parents won’t let me forget about that story.
And why do I think reading is good for you? First of all you’re completely alone with your own thoughts. It’s one of the few activities that you’ll do completely by yourself. Sometimes a little ‘me-time’ can be really good. It can help you relax, get your thoughts together or get completely lost in ‘another world’.
Another benefit is the input of new knowledge. Whether it’s a fantasy book, a biography or romance novel. Usually there is a ‘problem’ in the story that needs to be solved and the main character usually evolves through the story. Following that story line can give you insights in your own life. It can help get perspective on your own problems. And before you know it, it can help you evolve too.
Lately I love to read books about how to live a conscious life. You know books about positivity, being grateful, being mindful and living in the here and now. Why do I choose those type of books? Well, because at times I actively want to search for books that can help me grow. When I seek for new ways to let go of stress, forget about negative thoughts and so what more I turn to those books.
So whatever you like to read, enjoy it. Whether it´s just the lasagna box instructions or ‘life’ instructions. Whether it’s just one page a day or a book per week, it really doesn’t matter. And if you really want to relax while reading I can recommend to get a cup of tea, a little blanket, a comfy couch and of course a good book.
When you look at the situations that causes you stress, you often notice that in the end the freaking out wasn’t worth it. Why do we even experience stress? It is supposed to help us survive and make us take action when necessary. Many times however we stress about things that we can’t change, have no influence on or are situations that are better to be left alone.
For example constantly receiving messages and input on my phone is one of the things that gives me a stress reaction. I often ignore my phone, but secretly I still feel the need to check it every ten minutes when I’m expecting input. The other night I was so exhausted and tired from “discussions” on my phone, my boyfriend had a simple solution. Putting my phone on silent didn’t work, so he just turned it off. I must say it was a relieve.
It might seem silly and quite a simple solution, but it worked. It gave a sense of rest not being able to see if there were new messages. And guess what? The next morning when I turned it on, I didn’t even have new messages! So one of the ways I’m going to create more rest is to turn my phone off more frequently, especially at night. Because in the end stressing about needing to respond is not worth it. Who really cares? It’s not like I’m going to save lives having my phone on. At least not in my case.
So in general I notice that the daily things that causes me stress are not important enough to stress about. Perhaps in that moment it seems important, but then I think ‘Is this important in a week from now? A month from now? A year?’. If the importance decreases the more time goes by you know it’s not worth freaking out about. In case you can’t even influence the situation then it’s definitely better to just let it go.
And even if it seems important on the short term or the long term, will the stress make it better? Or can you shorten the time that you feel stressed? It could be that for a short moment you encounter stress and it’s good because it makes you take action. After taking action however you should let it go. How can you do this?
I think it takes practice, but what can help is to write anything down that you need to remember. For example you can create a to do list and set reminders in your calendar. In between this time stop yourself every time you start worrying. Replace the habit of stressing with a healthier habit like going for a walk or reading a book.
And if you are stressed from too much input, then put a time limit until when you can receive new input. Whether this is from news, social media, your phone or something else. Set an alarm clock when you will shut yourself off from the world and take a moment for yourself. I know these are actions I’m going to make new habits of. I promise I’ll let you know if it works and I start feeling all ‘happy-go-lucky‘.
My mom told me a story or actually she told me the story many times.. that when I turned 3 my birthday wasn’t going the way I wanted to. Imagine a bunch of adults sitting around a coffee table having adult conversations. I was 3 and apparently couldn’t jump into any of the adult talks. So what did I do? Well what could I do?
I took control of the situation. It was my party. So I got up on a chair, clapped loudly in my hands and told everyone that now it was time to sing. My mom said she just laughed, because in her mind it meant I would stand up for myself and for what I needed. Now that isn’t always the case, but on my birthday it is.
So that’s when it was obvious I liked my birthday. And to be clear it’s not about getting presents and gifts. When I was younger of course I thought about that too, but that was never the point. What I like so much about my birthday is that the house is decorated, there is cake, I dress nicely and without shame I can ask all the attention, but only for one day. Perhaps having a limit to all the niceness makes it more fun, because you really have to enjoy it.
But here’s the twist. It might have seen childish or I don’t know what, that I like my own birthday so much. The other side to it is that I also love spoiling others on their birthdays. So I also like to decorate the house for someone else, bake a cake, give presents and do all those things that make it a real birthday.
And now my boyfriends family isn’t really used to celebrating birthdays, so he isn’t either. He says he doesn’t care about it that much. And even though his special day isn’t until the end of the year, trust me he’s going to love his birthday from now on.
There is a point though that it becomes less fun to see the number on your cake increasing. This year I turned 28, but of course everyone is rubbing it in my face that it means “almost 30”. So on one hand I feel shocked that I can’t believe how fast the past years have gone by. On the other hand I’m only 28 and grateful for every day I get to live and enjoy my life.
So even though it might seem silly, I will continue to celebrate my one day in the year as if I own it. All the other days I don’t need all the attention, I’m glad to make it about someone else, but my birthday is mine. My grandmother though gave birth to my aunt on her birthday. Imagine, she will always have to share it, but she did get the best present she ever could have wished for.
Well, I’m bringing a special person this time, my boyfriend. So, we will do it partly together and partly apart. Last Sunday was our first go at it. We did some weights and squats and I went off to do cardio. He went on with deadlifting. I honestly still don’t really understand what it means, but as long as he’s happy, I’m cool with it.
And how did I feel after doing weights for the first time in months? I can tell you that how I move can’t be called walking anymore. It’s looks more like waddling. Colleagues even asked if I was ok, because it looked like I was in pain. And I was in pain! But.. the good kind. At least I know what I did is effecting my body.
So, now we need to keep going. My boyfriend said that I will need to kick his ass for at least the first two weeks. Apparently after that he will drag me to the gym. I guess we’ll have to see how it turns out. But since we’re committing to the gym together we can hold each other accountable.
Perhaps that is what we need sometimes. Someone that can motivate you when you’re feeling lazy or out of it. Someone to confront you with the promises you made to yourself. And someone to remind you of your goals. Of course you can have a heart to heart with the mirror, but you might not want to tell yourself to stop being a slacker. Therefore you should tell others about your goal so they can support you.
Another thing needed to reach your goal is a good plan. So the first step is to have a clear goal. Do you want to get fit or work on your endurance? Maybe even lose some weight? Be very specific in what you want to accomplish and even visualize it.
Once you have a clear goal the second step is to create your plan. How will you reach your goal? For example part of my plan is that I’m going running twice a week and going to the gym twice a week. Even better would be to pick specific days on when you want to do what. Write it in your calendar and you’ll feel more obliged to stick to your plans. But I’m still working on the details of my plan too. And remember to share your plan and goal with someone else.
Something that I personally find very important is to keep it all fun. Even though I make a plan and have a specific goal, it needs to be fun. That’s why exercising together on some days can make it more enjoyable. When I stop having fun at working out, my motivation dries out too. So whatever makes you laugh while doing squats, I would say, go for it. Enjoy!
Sometimes I have these lovely stories displayed in my head. I wake up with a smile on my face and feel super rested. Often however it is the complete opposite. When opening my eyes I remember up to five different dreams which are many times nightmares instead and I’m exhausted.
You might wonder, why exhausted? Well it seems my brain doesn’t stop thinking. At some point in my dream I realize it is indeed a dream and my mind starts trying to change the situation. So after a night of either waking up from nightmares or from analyzing and changing dreams I feel tired. Really tired.
And I’ve tried so many things to change this. First of all I don’t experience a lot of stress, which can be the cause of nightmares, but I have them anyway. Second, I don’t watch television right before sleeping which could be another cause. Also I don’t have trouble falling asleep, just sleeping quietly without my brain doing overtime.
So what do I do to somewhat improve the situation? And what can I recommend? Well, as I mentioned try not to watch television right before going to bed. In my case it is better to avoid any kind of input of new information. So no texting, calling or heavy conversations. Rather a walk with my dogs, having a tea (be careful it’s one that helps you sleep) or a relaxing shower.
Some kind of smells can help too. For example you can put a lavender plant in your bedroom. I tried that option as well, because I do find lavender to be relaxing. It is unfortunate though I’m not so good with plants. To be honest, I’m horrible with plants. I love them, but I just can’t keep them alive. So the ones in bedroom didn’t make it either.
Another option that could or should work is to do some yoga at night. You can use some meditation music while doing it to help you relax. This isn’t part of my night time routine yet, but maybe I can convince my boyfriend we have to start doing this.
In case you have the same troubles as I have, then perhaps these tips can help you too. I still need to find the ultimate solution to my lively dreams keeping me from having a proper night of rest. When I do find it and I have a perfect nighttime routine I will let you know. Until then you might find me falling asleep at any time of the day. Or I’ll just start having siestas again.