10 things that are bringing me joy lately.

One of my favourite podcasts is “Chasing Joy” by Georgie Morley and that was where I got the inspiration to write this post. At the end of each podcast episode, Georgie asks to their guests the following question:“What is something that is bringing you joy lately?”. As someone who have always loved to know what makes people tick and what makes their truly happy, I am always eager to hear the answers.

Because listening to what people answer always leaves me thinking about what is bringing me joy at the moment, I thought I would ask myself this question and share the answer with you in this post. I apologise in advance for not being able to stick to only one thing. I got a bit carried away and ended up with a list of 10 different things instead. Oops.

This is just one of those good questions that imply self-reflection. Something I find very important and make time for every now and then. So, without further ado, here are the 10 things that are bringing me joy lately:

  1. Doing Yoga. This practice not only brings me joy but also peace. Peace to my mind and body.
  2. Being able to keep my house plants alive and seeing them slowly growing. I hope I won’t jinx it by saying this lol. After managing to kill 3 cacti (and countless other plants), I guess it was about time to finally be able to keep some of them alive, don’t you think? I feel like this is one of those life achievements that makes me feel like I am succeeding at this thing called “adulting” haha.
  3. Going for a spontaneous walk in the nature with the boyfriend.
  4. Handmade ceramics. A pure work of art.
  5. The days getting longer and longer as Summer approaches
  6. More ethical and sustainable purchases
  7. Reading before bed. The act of swapping my phone/laptop for a good book just before going to bed comes now so effortlessly to me and
  8. Journaling, especially first thing in the morning.
  9. Getting creative in the kitchen and feeling inspired to cook new recipes.
  10. Exploring a new cafe nearly every weekend. As an avid cafe hopper this is naturally something that brings me so much joy and that I am always looking forward to doing.

Now, I would like to invite you to share in the comment section below what is currently bringing you joy! As the curious person by nature that I am, I’d absolutely love to know!!

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

My vegan Chistmas Eve meal

As per usual I have flown home for Christmas. This festive season as a whole lot meaning for my family and I. My sister, who is at the moment really into veganism, cooked so many different vegan recipes for the family. Her main purpose was showing mum and dad that plant based food does not have to be dull or tasteless.  on highlighting the benefits that a diet without (or with low) meat consuption has for human health and for the Planet. Subsequently, it seems like my parents have actually managed to reduce their meat intake over the past year! 🙂 *win*

My sister motivated me start cooking more new vegan recipes. I have this (seemingly endless) list of all sorts of plant based recipes sitting in my phone and laptop. Since I have been acccumulating them for the past year or so, one of my goals for the new year is to start giving them a try. Now I can see that I am totally missing out by cooking the same things over and over again (regardless of how much I might enjoy them).

Anyway, in this post I would like to share with you the vegan dishes that sis and I cooked (with the help of the entire family) for our Christmas Eve meal. Everyone seemed to love them, which made us oh-so-happy.

The most important thing whenever I go back home is to be reunited with the ones I love. At Christmas time, as our Portuguese tradition dictates, we do it at at the table. Eating together has been always a thing we do as a family but there is something extra special about it when Christmas rolls around. We all gather together around the table sharing delicious food and great stories, cracking jokes and laughing a lot. 💛 This year was no different. Despite some of the usual traditional dishes (not exactly plant-based), our Christmas Eve menu included various vegan dishes. My sis and I felt so grateful for having a family who is so curious and willing to eat plant-based dishes that they have never heard of; especially at such a festive time like Christmas, where eating traditional Portuguese food is a way of celebration in itself.

As a starter, I have made this oven baked fillo dough stuffed with hummus and cherry tomatoes and topped with toasted pine nuts and fresh parsley (recipe from this the compassionatecuisineblog). It was the first time I made this recipe but because I liked it so much, I already did it other two times! #sorrynotsorry

As a main, my sis and I made this vegan portobello mushroom Wellington. It was just to die for guys. Its texture, taste, oh my.. I am drooling just with the thought of it. One thing is for sure, I will certainly be making it more times due to its huge success! This recipe is from boshtv. I am incredibly glad that my sis showed me this awesome youtube channel and website full of mouth watering vegan recipes. There is clearly so much passion involved in the work and cooking of the two guys behind Boshtv. They really show how easy and delicious plant based eating can be and inspire me to adventure myself more in the kitchen. We paired the Wellington with orange and thyme roasted heritage carrots with beetroot and toasted caramalised pecans.

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For dessert I have made bliss balls (made of cocoa, dates, peanuts and shredded coconut) and a raw lemon and coconut cheesecake. I have actually come up with this cheesecake recipe myself and since it actually turned out to be very tasty, I will most likely share it in a separate blog post.

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Now tell me about you! Do you also share a Christmas Eve meal with your family? What is a typical dish of Christmas that you usually have? What is your favourite food(s) to have during this festive season? Let me know in the comment section below! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

My first weekend of December in pictures.

Sometimes it is hard to completely switch my mind off of work mode the minute I leave the office. Oftentimes it feels like I need an entire day just to unwind from a hectic week at work. That is why I make sure that every now and then I have a slow weekend that I can I use to fully recharge for the week to come. My first weekend of December was just like that. I had two and half days all for myself and trust me, they did wonders to my mind, body and sould. Hence why I am here today to share it with you.

FRIDAY (evening)

I headed to the gym for an evening workout when I left the office and decided to combine my fitness session with the start of what I expect to be a compulsively readable and exciting thriller book.

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Blood is the sky by Steve Hamilton.

After the gym, I headed right away to the Nederlands Dans Theather to attend/watch a dance performance from “Significant Moments”. A friend of mine was kind enough to offer me the ticket and I am so grateful for it. I was in complete awe with the group’s absolutely amazing performance from the beginning till the end. The human body really is capable of so much beauty and is just art in itself. I loved it all, from the dynamic, amazingly coordination and energetic pieces infused with humour to the show of lights, sounds and rhythm. A gorgeous concoction of ballet, hip hop, modern dance and acting. This is what I call “starting the weekend right”.

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As I was biking my way home, I found myself in this cycling road and had to take a picture. The bare trees were looking so Christmassy and pretty with the fairy lights! It made me realise how I feel overall “lighter” and joyful when I allow myself to stop, look around and find beauty in the small things of life.

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SATURDAY

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Morning Breakfast before heading to my cardio/strength training class at the gym: vegan and gluten free mini pancakes paired with coconut yoghurt and fresh blueberries. When I think I might fancy some pancakes for breakfast, I usually prepare them the night before so that all I need to do next morning is to pop them in the oven and eat! Quick, simple and without the need of rushing. I know, I know…they might not look like the prettiest pancakes but they were still tasty and crispy regardless! Plus, ugly pancakes are just as delish as perfectly golden and round ones!

Despite the gym class being quite physically intense (as per usual), it was still great fun! It is amazing how the instructor makes every class so entertaining with his cheerful mood and energy. There are moments when it does not even feel like you are working out. You just go with the flow, have a great time and end the class with a big smile (and ok a sweaty and red face too).

After my gym class, I caught a train to a nearby city, where I had never been before, and went for some much needed Christmas shopping. The city is called Amersfoort and is just 15 minutes away from where I live.

It was a short train journey but I still managed to do some reading and eat my homemade wrap for lunch. This is usually the meal I go for whenever I know I am gonna need a lunch on the go. It is simply a carrot wrap filled with mushroom-based mince meat from Quorn, green onions, spinach and cilantro. It was very yummy and it totally hit the spot!

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One of my goals for this year was to explore not only more of Europe but also more of the country where I live. Thus, I was glad to cross another Dutch city off my bucket list just before the end of the year! Despite having been caught up in the rain and getting soaking wet (which is not that unusual anyways lol), it was a well-spent afternoon roaming and wandering around the unknown streets of Amersfoort.

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I also got to explore a new cafe, something I absolutely love to do whenever I have the chance. The cafe is called “Barista cafe Amersfoort” and is it not so quaint and cozy> The staff could not have been friendlier and the atmosphere radiating Christmas vibes was so lovely and inviting.

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I ordered myself a decaf cappuccino with unsweetened almond milk and a slice of dairy and gluten free toasted banana bread with cranberries, almond flakes and hazelnuts.  The cappuccino was perfectly served and the banana bread just scrumptious. They both provided me that extra shot of motivation and, as a result, I was able to have a productive afternoon working on new content for the blog.  I don’t know about you guys but I have always loved working in coffeeshops. I find that they enhance both my creativity and concentration levels.

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Because I was enjoying my time at the cafe so much, I also decided to ordered a fresh ginger tea with lemon (one of my favourites).

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When I left the cafe and made my way back to the train station, I managed to capture the last bit of autumn.

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As it was super cold outside, when I got home I went straight to the shower and then put on some fuzzy socks and my comfy pjs. After feeling all nice and cozy, I made myself a nourishing dinner: chickpeas pasta, green beans, mushrooms, baked mustard tofu, watercress leaves and fresh cilantro. Just what my body was craving. I ate it whilst catching up on the last episode of “This is Us”. Any other fans of this show out there?

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SUNDAY

After a restful night of sleep, I woke up on Sunday morning and headed to the yoga studio, which is just a short walk from my house. I love doing a Power Yoga class first thing in the morning because it not only gives me mental clarity but also because it allows me to start my day in a positive light. Sunday is the only day of the week where I skip breakfast, my favourite meal of the day. It is advisable to practice yoga in the morning on an empty stomach. Having food in the digestive system can disrupt the overall yoga practice as it interferes with the rhythm of the body. Doing yoga poses take energy away from the digestive system and, if we have food is in our digestive tract, its capacity to digest becomes limited.

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After my yoga practice, which once again did wonders to my mind, body and soul, I was craving some real homemade comfort food. So, as for my post yoga refuel, I had this bowl of couscous paired with a mushroom and cauliflower stew. I topped it all off with fresh cilantro, some squeezed lemon, cracked pepper and toasted pine nuts. It was so tasty and it just goes to show that plant-based eating does not have to be dull or boring at all.

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One of the things I love the most about being at home during the weekend is to have the time to really tune in with my body, listen to the foods it craves and feed it accordingly. Plus, nothing beats nourishing our bodies with a homemade and hearty meal made with love and care, am I right or am I right? ♥

 

December is here, which means that Christmas is officially less than a month away and therefore it is most definitely not too soon to pop on a Christmas film and begin to feel festive! Yay. Plus, it was super cold and wet outside… and what’s better than staying in and watching movies when the rain is beating down?

I watched the movie “The Man who invented Christmas”, which tells the story of how Charles Dickens created “A Christmas Carol”. It is a lovely story and I recommend anyone who sees this season as special and somewhat magic to watch it.

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Also, when the weather is not working in my favour, I love a good book to snuggle up with. So after watching the movie, I have finished reading the book “The Universe has your back” whilst sipping a cup of hot camomile tea. I absolutely loved it and it was just the perfect way to end the rainy Sunday.

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This relaxing weekend left me refreshed and ready for the new month and for everything that it holds. How amazing is it that each month offers us the chance to start fresh, with a new mindset, focus and intentions? This slow start to December reminded me of how important it is to give myself a little grace, turn off my ” go go” mentality, put aside my to-do list and just unwind. After all, with our busy lives and only some precious little time away from the grind, we need to make every moment of our free time count. The best way to do it is by making time for the things and people that make our soul happy and our life more fulfilled.

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

Barista Workshop – my experience.

I have come to realise that time is way too short and life is way too big to be anything but happy. ♥ One of the intentions that I have set for the year of 2018 was to simply do more of what makes my soul shine. Thus, as I turned 25 years old in September, I decided to reward myself with a Barista Workshop. For those of you who don’t know, I am a coffee lover whos comes from Portugal, where coffee culture is huge.  We love to linger at the table after eating, drink a cup of coffee (usually an espresso) and chat for hours. I personally love to catch up with a good friend over coffee. Nothing beats a “let’s go for a coffee” invitation! 🙂

Coffee holds a very special meaning to me and, in my opinion, it brings people together. When I was little, my granny (also a coffee lover) used to serve me coffee in this cute little cup every day after we having lunch together. I remember how happy I felt when drinking it. Granny used to take a sip, gently close her eyes and say smilling “it is so good, is it not my dear?”. My parents were not that happy about me drinking coffee at such a young age like 5 years old… but they allowed it anyway because they knew that it was our little thing. Plus, the caffeine/water ratio was probably 85/15%. I loved its taste regardless and that is why coffee has a very special place in my heart to this day.

I did my Barista workshop at Koffie Academie, in Amsterdam, in the beginning of December. The workshop had the duration of 3h-3:30 hours and I could not be more satisfied with how it went.

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Koffie Academie, Amsterdam.

 

So what are the most relevant insights I have learned in this workshop?

  • Real coffee is never be bitter
  • There are about 100 flavours of coffee, depending on its country of origin. The flavours are grouped into 9 overarching categories (i.e. sweet, floral, fruity, nutty/cocoa, spices, sour/fermented, green/vegetative, roasted, other). You can click here for an interactive coffee taster’s flavour wheel
  • I now know what are the most important features of an espresso machine
  • I have learnt how to properly evaluate the acidity, body and strength of coffee
  • I have learnt how to differentiate Asian from African coffee. While coffee from Asia (i.e. Indian malabar) is spicy and heavy, African coffee is lighter, thiner and hence more watery. Coffee from South America is something in between the two
  • I have learnt how to use a coffee grinder and a commercial espresso machine (trust me, it is really really exciting!) as well as how to pour the perfect heart cappuccino.

This is what the workshop entailed and the foundation skills I have learnt:

  • Harvesting, extraction, processing method and variety of coffee beans
  • Coffee roasting (i.e.how a coffee roaster works in order to bring out the best flavours from within a coffee bean)
  • Tasting and Cupping
  • Espresso shots and milk steaming
  • Latte art. I have made my very first heart shaped cappuccino (see below) using oat milk and I am SO stoked about it!!
  • Equipment operation and maintenance

This fun hands-on workshop made me fall more in love with the coffee industry as a whole. I feel inspired and certainly more determined to open my own coffee place one day. It really took my understanding of coffee to the next level and it was like I was tasting coffee for the very first time.

Here are some of photos of the workshop in case you are interested 🙂

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Coffee Roasting

 

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Cupping and Tasting
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Latte Art
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My first heart cappuccino

Are you also a coffee lover like me? Have you ever done a Barista workshop? Let me know in the comment section below! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

A great start to September.♥ 

Due to having a father who is an artist, art has always played a huge role in my life. Dad has always motivated me to continuously develop my creative self and see the world as an amazing art masterpiece. Also, due to his influence, going to art museums and galleries has been a rather normal thing to do in my free time ever since I was a little child.

As someone who loves to behold art in all forms, I feel incredibly lucky (and grateful) to live just a short 30-mins train journey away from, what are in my opinion, some of the best museums we have in Europe. To mark the beginning of September – hands down my favourite month of the year – I decided to take the train to Amsterdam and have some quality time at the Stedelijk museum. After all, we must spend our time doing what we love (as often as we can) because life is way too short to be wasted doing things that do not make us happy.

My Saturday actually started in a busier way than usual. A friend of mine slept at my house from Friday to Saturday and I had to wake up quite early to help her getting ready for a wedding. When she left my house, I went to my usual cardio/strength training class at the gym and afterwards I just made my way to Amsterdam. Stedelijk, the largest museum of modern and contemporary art and design in The Netherlands, has been on my list of must-see museums in the country for quite some time. So happy for making time to finally visit it!

I find it so important to make room in our lives for art because it gives us meaning. It helps us to understand the world around us and, if we let it, art has the power to enable us to have a life that is richer in purpose, joy and creativity.  I love the fact that certain works of art can show us exactly what we are scared of expressing and admitting. Plus, there is something so special about stepping inside an art gallery and loosing myself in unknown shapes, colours, textures and stories. ♥

Visiting an art museum that was knew to me really made my Saturday afternoon. I thought I’d share with you the photos of some of the favourite things I saw at Stedelijk museum:

 

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… and, finally, I got to see the original painting from Mondriaan, one of the pioneers of abstract art.

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I also learnt that the studios in The Netherlands and France where Mondriaan lived reflected the way he painted and expressed himself ins his paintings (i.e. geometrism and grids of black, white and primary colours). I guess that this shows that the environment we create around us really is a reflection of our state of mind.

 

Last but definitely not least, here is something that I read about how art – as we know it today – emerged in the Netherlands and that is so worth-sharing:

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Concept became more important than form; everything could, and art could be everywhere”. How beautiful. ♥

 

 

I hope this post served as a reminder of how important it is to do things that inspire us and make our soul happy. Have a lovely Sunday and great start to the week x

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

 

 

Pure Happiness by the beach.

Good Morning! I have flown to Algarve (South of Portugal) yesterday to spend some holidays by the beach and.. let me tell you guys:

Falling asleep listening to the sound of gentle waves crashing on the beach, waking up the next day to a view of the blue sea, stepping onto the balcony for a morning cappuccino was absolutely priceless. It gave me such a deep feeling of gratitude and pure joy. Happiness really is all about appreciating the simple things in life. ♥

 

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I am currently reading the book “Invisible Power” by Ken Manning, Robin Charbit and Sandra Krot and I am loving it so far because it is enabling me to see life in a new light. This book shows that reality is no more than our thoughts in actions. With this being said and after experiencing so much gratitude during these last 24 hours, I want to share with you a quote from the book that really resonates with me: “Your thinking shapes, colors and sets the tone and texture of everything you experience“. I find this to be so undeniably true. I feel like our perceptions, emotions and personal experiences are created within us since our mind is what ultimately creates our reality.  Hence, it is so important to manage our thoughts and be somewhat careful not to let situations that we deem to be “bad” to dominate our thinking. Our attitudes, feelings and behaviours, which directly stem from our thinking pattern, have the ability to make us go down a slippery slope into a really bad mood that drains our all our energy and focus.

Wish you all a lovely Sunday and in case you are going through a rough time, please, tell yourself to look on the bright side. Positive thinking is so powerful and it is what is going to take you through this bumpy moment in your life.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

 

Sundays make me happy.

Today I decided to take the day to do things that bring me joy, enrich my life and make it more meaningful. Plus, I love Sundays.

I bought these gorgeous white carnations.

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I discovered a lovely coffee shop that is just 500 meters from my house. I loved everything about it. The space. The cozy atmosphere. The chatty and friendly barista. The pretty foam heart on top of my cappuccino with oat milk. What a hidden gem!

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I love to work in coffee shops. They always manage to feel more inspired to write and create new content to the blog.

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When I got home, it was time to take care of my babies, which – as you can well see – barely made it through during my week away from home.  I have been notoriously bad at keeping my houseplants alive but I am getting there guys haha #Adulting requires being able to take care for living things and, therefore, I am fully determined to properly look after these babies. ♥

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Now tell me, what were you up to on this fine Sunday? Did you do something similar to what I did? What do you like to do on Sundays?

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful