My tropical getaway and proposal!

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.

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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.

Read me one more time

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.

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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.

Don’t stress about it

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.

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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 relaxing morning routine

Well, first of all why do I have a morning routine? I mean I could simply wake up, get dressed and leave, right? But that doesn’t work for me. Not only because I have dogs, but also before I had them, I needed a bit more ‘me’-time before I faced the world.

In my early working days I was a bit more rushed in the morning. In the end that meant I felt rushed all day long. You might think that if you sleep longer and hurry to get to work, you’ll be more rested. Because you slept longer right? The opposite is true though. Sleeping longer and then rushing takes away all the relaxedness you felt before. So that routine had to change.

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It took a while before I found the best way to start my day. I don’t mean the best way for everyone, but for me. After visiting Bali and seeing a Guru, yes I said Guru, I received advise that I had to follow up. The Guru told me I should mediate every morning. So since then I do. I must admit I lost my way for a while, but got the hang of it again. Does it work? Actually it does. I start my day feeling very at ease.

So you’ve waiting long enough. How is my daily morning routine? Well, I usually get up around 5:30 AM. The first thing I do after waking up is either walking the dogs or starting my yoga. My boyfriend is spoiling me lately and walks the dogs every morning. The second thing though is always yoga. First a few ‘Sun Salutations’, then a mix of other yoga exercises and then it’s time for the meditation part.

After a short meditation, the time various each day, and saying a mantra that ‘today will be a great day’ I get to the next step. Shower time it is and then getting dressed, doing my hair and make up. When I’m about ready to leave, I don’t leave just yet.

My boyfriends wakes up and we drink a coffee together. You wonder how I drink my coffee? Well, thanks for asking. I have some black coffee with a drop of coconut oil, some honey, soy milk and some cinnamon to finish it off. And my boyfriend? He doesn’t like my special coffee mix that much, so it’s black coffee for him.

And is this entire routine worth it to get up so early? It totally is! Like I said before, when I rushed in the morning, I felt rushed all day long. Now I take a bit more time for myself before I face work, strangers in the train and all of that fuss and I feel so much better.

It takes me about an hour and a half to do all of it and sleeping in doesn’t compare to the happiness my routine brings me.

So I can definitely recommend to save some time for yourself in the morning. Even if it’s only fifteen extra minutes to read the paper, wander around, drink a coffee or to just take your time. Trust me, you’ll feel the difference.

Ready for take off?

I’d love to say I’m one of those people who’s super prepared for any vacation. But unfortunately I’m not. Or perhaps it’s not unfortunate, because I don’t stress about it either. When I left for Spain, and I’m talking about me moving to Spain, I didn’t even think of buying a dictionary. Ok maybe that would’ve been helpful, but in the end I just bought it upon arrival. So no worries there.

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Some of my friends and family are really good at planning trips. To be more specific the planning of packing for a trip. I’m lucky if I think of doing my laundry on time so I can bring my favorite clothes. But my beloved friends and family make whole ‘to do’ lists and a ‘what to pack’ lists. I sometimes do that, but usually when all the packing is almost done and I just want to check if I have the most important items.

And what do I do when I forgot something? Oh well yeah, then I’ll sort it out once I realize I forgot it. The strange thing is that packing my purse for work is way more important to me than packing a suitcase. And I never need all the extra things I put in that purse. Now that I mention it, that is something to think about. Maybe I’m just way more relaxed when I have my time off. Perhaps it’s a good idea to go on more holidays.

So anyway, I feel there are two groups of people when it comes to preparing for a vacation. There are people who prepare on time, make the ‘to do’ lists, get a schedule and have everything up and running a week before leaving. And then there are the ones who do it last minute, who seem to not have a care in the world and might even be considered lazy.  So which one is better? Being ready for take off way before actually taking off or packing your suitcase while heading out?

Now would it be helpful to find a compromise in planning and not planning the things you need? I think that when you start stressing over something that is supposed to be relaxing, you took a wrong turn. On the other hand sometimes it might be more efficient and in the end relaxing if you finish your packing a bit earlier. Because what I didn’t admit in the beginning is that I’m usually still packing until the night before I leave. I then don’t sleep enough and start my holidays a bit tired. Or very tired. Oh well, at least I’ll have a week or so to sleep in and relax.