Even though a minute ago was still July, we are already halfway the month of October and November is on its way. The air has become crispier, the nights are coming sooner and Mother Nature is now just showing off its fiery colours. Fall has always been my favourite; not only because how beautifully the world around us changes but also because of everything it represents. Fall is a season of change. A season of renewal. A season of letting go of the old and welcome the new. And I have never felt all of this like I am currently feeling this year.
“Fall. Everything about this season guides me home, signals me to settle back into myself.” – @mamaeatsplants
My life gave a 180 degrees turn during the last couple of months. When I quit my job at the end of August to accept another one that is more aligned with my interests and ambitions at the company that I have been wanting to work for ages, I was so sure a new season was approaching. Well, I was not wrong. A new one was indeed approaching, not only in terms of “real seasons of the year” but also in terms of seasons of life.
It is easy to fall into the habit of running on “automatic” for routine tasks with little thought to our intentions and emotions. Everytime I experience a big change in my life, I like to just force myself to stop, breathe and take time for self-reflection and real instropection. Sometimes I really need to shift my focus and energy from goals and seemingly endless to-do lists to real simple intentions. When I do this, I become more aware of my thoughts and own feelings. Plus, I have come to realise that it can be pretty easy to get bogged down in the small day-to-day stuff and, as a result, lose sight of the things that really matter to me. For that reason, I am happy to have found that the act of setting intentions helps me to re-center myself in my own being and to reframe my thinking. It allows for a good mental review and reset, which sometimes is all we need to be at the top of our game.
Without further ado, these are my 7 intentions for this month:
Make time for Online Dutch classes and make a greater effort to speak Dutch.
Prioritise self care by taking better care of my skin.
Go to bed earlier during the working week in order to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
Get back into my Yoga practice.
Finish the book I am currently reading: “Autumn” by Ali Smith.
Make time to catch up with friends over a nice cup of coffee or tea.In order ways, to create time and space into my schedule
Get outside in order to appreciate Nature displaying its fiery fall colours.
… and ere are a few photos that I took to illustrate some of my above intentions! 🙂
Now, just a small reminder as this post is coming to an end: Intend for everything you wrote down to work out as it should but then let it all go and allow opportunities to come your way. When setting intentions, dettachment from the outcome may not come naturally to us but I see as fun-da-men-tal. So, all in all, live with intention, embrace the uncertainty and be happy on your own terms. ♥
Are you someone who usually sets intentions? Have you set any for the month of October or for the current fall season? If so, please share below. I’d love to hear what you have chosen to focus your energy and attention on! 🙂
So much has happened over the past 7 weeks. There was a 180 degree change in my life. Many of the things that I have been wishing to happen for the past year or so have finally happened and one thing is for sure… I am so grateful for where I am right now and I am so excited about where I am heading to.
As I wake up this morning in my semi-dark bedroom, at the house I grew up in, and hear the rain outside..I feel nothing but joy and gratitude. I am currently on vacation in my homecountry and it feels like this is the best way to say goodbye to the current season of my life. A new phase is approaching. I will be welcoming a new season of life in exactly one week. A season that is sure to bring forth new opportunities, challenges, learning and growth. ♥ If there is one thing that I have come to realize is that we should “Live the story we want to tell”. And, for this, we should bear in mind two very important things. Firstly, we are the changemakers and the change we seek is oftentimes within us. Secondly, our story can be reshaped every time we decide so.
I hope you have enjoyed to read this short post! Enjoy the rest of your week xx
I know you are hurting inside out but I need you to keep on holding.
Please. Just hold on for a little bit longer. Can you do that for me Granny?
I acknowledge that this is a very selfish thing to ask from you
but I need to see you once last time.
I need to hug you tight and tell you how much I love you.
And I know you will be staring back at me
with your eyes tearing up and wanting to say it back.
You will open your mouth and your voice will fail
but hey, it is okay. I know you do too.
I have always known because your acts of pure kindness
have showed me that
since the very first moment I opened my eyes to this world.
The problem is that you have always had a too big of a heart
You shared it with so many people
That you are now left with so little of it for yourself.
I feel angry, sad and hopeless.
After all, I have known you for all my life
and I just can’t bear the thought of having to learn to live a life
where you are no longer part of it.
I know your heart is weak and your breath is failing
I know your mind just wants to leave your physical body
And I can only imagine your pain.
The pain of being in a body that refuses to cope with your mind
I can’t blame you for wanting to leave and go meet grandpa
But I need you to keep on fighting
because soon I will be home to hold your hand
whilst whispering how lucky I am to (still) have you.
So please, please Granny, just hold on for a little bit longer.
When I went home a couple of months ago, mum gave me some of the plums she picked up from your backyard. Just like how I remembered them to be: vivid purple colour, big, sweet and so juicy. I ate them with so much appreciation, gratitude and nostalgia. And you know what? They tasted like my childhood and I just wish the taste could last forever because it reminds me of you, my dear Granny.
Time is the most precious gift you can give to someone. — Gloria Tesch
Some days are just harder than others. Sometimes life gets a bit too much. And today was just like that. I was not necessarily sad but I just felt really empty. Unexplainably empty. As a result, I found myself wishing to have my boyfriend, best friend or mum around just so they could hold me tight and I could feel safe. No words would be needed. Just a hug and their heartfelt look that speaks silently “hey. I get you. It is not easy but you are gonna be ok.” (…) They are my support system and not having them around (because they live in a different country/city) makes it harder to cope with this kind of days. Nevertheless, this has also taught me how I can “pick myself up”. I called it a day, went home and allowed myself to have some peaceful downtime. As I went to bed I whispered to myself these few words in the most gentle and kind way that I know: You are safe. You are ok. You will still succeed despite these bad days. First I let it hurt and then I let it go.
So, If today is one of those days where you are feeling a little bit lost inside, do not dwell on it. Instead, show some compassionate for yourself and for how you feel and let this post be a reminder that:
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:
Doing Yoga. This practice not only brings me joy but also peace. Peace to my mind and body.
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.
Going for a spontaneous walk in the nature with the boyfriend.
Handmade ceramics. A pure work of art.
The days getting longer and longer as Summer approaches
More ethical and sustainable purchases
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
Journaling, especially first thing in the morning.
Getting creative in the kitchen and feeling inspired to cook new recipes.
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!!
One of last month intentions was to devote more time to read. Because I really wanted to follow through on this intention, I decided to make it specific by setting the goal of reading at least 10 pages 5 times a week (minimum). It may sound silly to set such specific intention that may even make the great act of reading sound like an obligation. However, I don’t mean to make it sound like that because that is really not the case for me at all. Setting this intention was just a way of motivating me to make “reading before bed” one of my positive daily habits. I always go through phases when it comes to reading. There are times where i am completely hooked on it and other times when I am less so. However, now that I have developed this daily habit I get so excited about bedtime haha!
Every evening, thirty minutes to one hour before feeling ready to go to sleep, I switch off my mobile device, go to bed, pick up a book and read. I read until I feel like falling asleep. I love how a book has the wonderful power of helping me to quiten my mind, unwind and just sleep better.
Now I do not know about you guys but I am that kind of person who reads multiple books simultaneously. Though this is not something I am particularly proud of, I just can’t refrain myself from doing it. Trust me, I have tried haha I have this pile of books sitting on my bedside table and I am just so eager to read them.. and apparently all at once!! I have started them all and I am enjoying every and each one of them. Every time I finish a book, I say to myself “ok, now you are just going to focus on finishing to read all the other books that you alredy started. No more buying new ones until they are all read.” But oh well, I never seem to be able to stick to it (regardless of how many times I tell this to myself!). I feel like I always need to read a book that fits my mood and because my mood naturally varies from day to day, I need to have various options at hand………. Can anyone relate? 🙃
Anyhoo, today I am sharing the five books that are on my bedside table and that I am currently reading:
Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind by Yuval Noah Harari
Mind-Gut Connection by Emeran Mayer
The miniaturit by Jessie Burton
The 4-Hour Work-Week by Tim Ferriss
Is reading one of your joyful daily habits? If so, what book(s) is/are currently on your bedside table? Have you read any of these books or are you thinking to do it? Please let me know in the comment section below! I would love to know 🙂 Have a lovely Monday x
I know, I know it is nearly June and Easter is long gone but.. I still would like to share some pictures and captions about this holiday since it held some real special moments! So let’s get straight into it 🙂
Because the company I work at gave us this paid day off, my Easter weekend started earlier. This was not only great but also much appreciated given the fact that at that point in time I was running on fumes. It was such a beautiful day of Spring. The sun was shinning and the weather was incredibly warm. I bought myself two bunches of gorgeous flowers and I also got to wear one of my favourite floral-print dresses. All in all, pretty simple things that make my soul very happy.
This day off gave me the perfect opportunity to go to a cafe, sit down and devote some time to writing. This is something that brings me peace and makes me feel grounded, especially when I am loaded down with work and have a lot on my mind.
Even though I love this cafe vibes, staff and overall service, I do not get to come here often because is a bit far from my house. Thus, I was so happy I could use my time off work to pay a visit.
Firstly, I ordered a cappuccino with unsweetened soya milk. Despite being a coffee lover, I try to avoid drinking it at weekends due to my (oftentimes slightly exaggerated) caffeine intake during the working week. One of the reasons why I love to come to this cafe in particular is because they have this freshly brewed coffee, whose beans they roast and grind there, with a really low caffeine percentage. It tastes just like regular coffee. Plus, everyone working at the cafe seems to have proper barista skills. The cappuccinos are always perfectly served with beautiful latte art on them.
I did some journaling whilst slowly sipping my delicious cappuccino and it was oh-so-lovely.
After doing my journaling, I decided to order a teapot of Oolong green tea and a vegan raw matcha and chocolate bar. This was a delicious focus booster and made me feel so inspired to write and just keep on writing some more. I lost track of time and ended up by staying at the cafe for nearly 3 hours.
Raw treat made of toasted nuts, dates, chocolate, coconut, chocolate, lemon and matcha. It was so good that I am tempted to make it myself at home 🙃
Back in January, I deliberately took the decision of reducing my weekly workouts for the balance of my mind and body. However, despite no longer working out on Fridays, I really felt like moving my body when I left the cafe. As I was quite close to my gym, I decided to go there for a 1-hour workout. I did some weight lifting and core exercises and I really enjoyed. I usually go to the gym for certain group classes (HIIT, strength training, body combat, etc..) but this doing this different workout on my own was exactly what I was craving. And it felt great in the body (and mind).
I am all for trying new things (like this one) that test and challenge our mind and body in a positive way. Though it is important to assess and understand why we do what we do. What it seems to be a positive habit may actually have a not so positive intention or drive behind. This is something I learnt as a result of falling into the habit of overexercising (obsessively and in an unealthy way) in the past and of experiencing its resulting negative effects both in my mental and physical health.
I have been making a continuous conscious effort since June 2018 to approach fitness (and everything it entails e.g. eating) with balance in mind. I have come to learn that if something makes you feel good, that does not necessarily mean that more is better.. and I guess that it is great to realise that nowadays I am able to exercise out of a palce of abudance, rather than of lack. It is so empowering to be able to move my body in a way that feels good; in a way that feels right and without overdoing it, you know? Anyway, sorry for digressing. Back to my Easter weekend.
So, after my gym session, I just went straight back home and cooked myself a good nourishing dinner. I actually felt inspired to try a new recipe that was on my list for a while.
How wonderful is it to feed our bodies with foods we enjoy whilst giving them the fuel and energy they so need to thrive?
This is the vegan version of a traditional Portuguese recipe (one of my fave actually) and was developed by @madebychoices . It is called Tofu à Brás (english name: tofu and mushrooms “à Brás”) and you can find right here It is soooo dang good and the ingredients could not be more simple! All you need is: sweet potato, leek, fresh coriander, mushrooms, white onion, firm tofu and a few spices and dried herbs. I did add green beans because I somehow seem to never be able to stick to a recipe haha For the perfect final touch, you should add black olives on top but sadly, I did not have them at the time. So, if you are keen to give this recipe a go, please make sure you have them at hand because I trust that they would make the dish even tastier!
I went to my usual Saturday morning gym class. This is a group class of strength training intercalated with cardio exercises that I particularly love. While it is true that a great sweat is guaranteed, I always end up by having great fun. It is impressive the fitness instructor makes these classes the most intense, enjoyable and entertaining!
Gym was then followed by a good shower, the usual house chores and a late lunch. I end up by eating late on Saturdays most of the times because I always like to clean and tidy up the house first. Only when that is done can I actually relax and sit down to enjoy my meal (and well enjoy the weekend for that matter). Does anyone can relate?
The boyfriend arrived just after lunch time. He knocked on my door and I opened it only to find him standing there with a bouquet of pink tulips (my favourite). This really was a lovely surprise. He also got me some super yummy chocolate. It might be cliché to receive flowers and chocolate but… after being in a long-distance relationship for several years straight, these lovely gestures really have extra meaning for me. Plus, it is impossible not to be over the moon with unexpected flowers and chocolate, right? He surely knows how to own this girl’s heart haha
Because a pretty cool looking spot with lots of outdoor seating had recently opened in my street, we decided to go there for the first time. We sat down in the bustling terrace and ordered a glass of prosecco and beer. The weather was absolutely perfect and we got to spend a great time soaking up some vitamin D and sharing laughs. What a well-spent afternoon.
Since the weather was still pretty warm when with we left the terrace, we decided to go for a short walk in the neighborhood. How I love to be surrounded by this greenery and boat houses so typical from The Netherlands.♥
After the sun setting down, we went back home and had a chilled evening in. I made my coconut chickpea curry (recipe here) for dinner and we just called it a day.
I used to spend Easter at my home country with my family up until the second year after I moved abroad. At that time, I was really busy with my Master Degree, priorities changed and… I guess that life just happened. I still make Christmas at a home a must but Easter is now usually spent in The Netherlands, which is where I live for over three years now. This does not mean that Easter stopped being about family for me or that it has lost its meaning. Not at all. Easter is still about gathering around the table with my family and sharing a nice home cooked meal (aka an unbeatable feast). It is still about waking up and starting to cook right way. It is still about spending hours at the table indulging in finger lickin’ good food, sharing funny stories and laughing out loud. It is still about going for a lovely walk all together in the late afternoon. It is still about valuing one another… and when it comes to all that, this year was no different. The thing is that it just involved less people and instead of talking with the fam in person, I talked with them over the phone. I still enjoyed it a whole lot. I still got to spend it doing the things I’d usually do and with someone who I dearly love: the boyfriend. I cooked us a brunch, we watched some episodes of Games of Thrones (since I was still stuck in season 3. shame on me, I know) and then we went for a sunny walk by the harbour near my house.
..and I finally nailed down a foolproof recipe for making the most ethereally smooth, creamy and dollop-ing hummus! Because this recipe is from the amazing @pickuplimes , all credits should actually go to her!
Anyway, it ended up by being a really special Easter because it was actually the very first time that my boyfriend and I got to spend it together. Also, I was more than happy to cook us an Easter brunch. This is mainly because I see cooking for other people, especially for my dear ones, as an act of nurturing. It is one of my favourite ways of showing my love and care. My boyfriend really praised me and showed his gratitude for the food I cooked, which made it all worth. Knowing that he really appreciates every time I cook a good (and well, sometimes not-so-good haha) hearty meal is a big motivator for me to keep on putting all my passion into creating and trying new recipes.
I had a very slow start to the week due to the Easter Monday. I let myself to natually wake up and made two waffles using chickpeas flour for breakfast. I topped one of them with fresh strawberries and caramel syrup* (shown in the picture below) and another one topped with dark tahini and a dash of cinnamon. I dellightfully ate them whilst writing my morning pages as per usual.
*just to clarify: this syrup is one of those that is calorie, sugar and fat free and despite not being a big fan of this kind of products that is also free of nutrients, I decided to give this one a try. The main reason for that is its really short ingredient list with no wacky names. It is good to complement my waffles toppings but not to replace them 😉
Even though I really enjoy working out in the morning, I only have the chance to do it on Saturdays due to my work schedule. So for that reason, I decided to use the fact that I did not have to go to work and went for a full-body workout gym class.
After that I went grocery shopping for the week and then went home, took a much needed shower and cooked myself a good nutritious lunch.
One task that sat on my to-do list for, let’s call it, ” a considerable amount of time” was to spring cleaning my wardrobe. Finally I got round to doing it! It was about time to give my closet a spring refresh.
Declutering my wardrobe turned out to be so freeing and somehow physically relieving. It was like purging physical stuff opened up something on the inside too, you know?
I think that this just goes to show how items take up both physical and mental space. I am a firm believer that physical space and mental space go hand-in-hand. Because by freeing up physical space we are also able to freeing up mental space, declutering leads to greater mental clarity. Thus, if you feel like your brain is in serious overdrive, clearing out your closet might just do the trick! It surelly did it for me.
I donated my clothes to charity with the hope that someone out there can give them a better use than I would. Plus, I find this to be a great way to recycle and to stop clothes from going to waste and end up in a landfill (a huge problem nowadays).
Also, now that I have done this spring cleaning to my wardrobe, I feel actually somewhat inspired to make the task of “mindfully decluttering” a more frequent thing in my life. I know I can only benefit from it because stuff I own but do not need can really take a toll in my mind.
As for the rest of my day, well I just relaxed, read a good book (picture below) and watched the movie “Mary Poppin returns”. Definitelly a classic fantasy/musical that made me feel nostalgic for my childhood.
All in all, a long weekend taken really easy. I hope you had a lovely Easter holiday/weekend filled with joy, love and good food!..and for those who do not celebrate it, I still hope you had a weekend filled with all those great things. ♥