Do – not – rush – through life. Make sure you know when to hit “pause” so that you can enjoy your time here to its fullest. Take it slowly.
Trust me, I know that it is not easy to slow down when you feel like you’re lagging behind work and you have a never-ending to-do list BUT remember:
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” —Mohandas K. Gandhi
On the surface of things, there might be the chaos but if you just stop and observe.. you will also be able to see the stillness in the objects all around you.
I know that we may thrive when we have tight deadlines or when we push ourselves to get somewhere. I also know how good it can feel to do things quick and when we power through something difficult. I know the sense of achievement and accomplishment we get when we finally finish something “big” at work/school, despite all the stress, sleepless and fatigue.
We try so hard to keep up with our work, fitness routine and social life. We try so hard to be the good employee, the good friend, the good daughter, the good wife/girlfriend.
We want to be on top of our game all the time. Every single day. We want to do more; BE more.
.. but this non-stop “go go mentality” takes a toll in both our mental and physical health. We become detached from ourselves and the outter world. We become disconnected from our own emotions and needs and life just passes by (…). For all these reasons and more, today I just want to leave here a reminder. A reminder for you, for me and for everyone else who does too much and still feels it is not enough.
Take life in bite size chunks. Do not spread yourself too thin. Take life one day at a time and just as it comes. And, as difficult as this may be, we will find it expands the time that we often lack.
At the beginning of each month, I like to hit “pause”, step back and reflect on the one that has just past. I am sorry for this long overdue post about my January highlights… I started writing it in the beginning of February but then life got in the way and time just went by in a blink of an eye.
Anyway, let’s just get to it.
In my opinion, carving out time to reflect on our achievements (as well as struggles) it is very important for our personal growth. I feel like when I am introspective, my self-awareness and sense of gratitude increase and, as a result, I can better tackle challenges that might come my way head on. This being said, I think everyone should take some time to reflect on what they’ve achieved and experienced every month.
No matter how hectic life might be, we are all worth some time for. ♥
So about January.. I feel very humbled and grateful for all the happy moments and all the “firsts” I got to experience. Naturally, not everything was wonderful (I mean, is it ever is?). I’ve also had my tough moments where everything felt rather overwhelming.. but they surely do not make my January any less good. After all, the way we perceive what we experience depends on the lens through which we choose to view our life.
The highlights/experiences I am just about to share were actually a really great reminder of how exciting life can when I adventure into the new. So, here they are:
1. Ice skating
Coming from a place where ice skating is not a thing, I am so excited I got the opportunity to try it. This was the very first time I ice skated in my 26 years of existence and boy was it fun. I must say that I am not the most coordinated person but I am quite outdoorsy and basically love all kinds of sports (collective sports, winter sports, summer sports, etc..).
I have been wanting to give a go to ice skating ever since I moved to The Netherlands and I have finally done it YAYAYAY! This experience was sponsored by my company and it was so much fun! My balance and coordination were definitely challenged and I am pretty sure I did not look very graceful whilst ice skating (at least certainly not when I fell and got my bum wet haha) but I really reeeeally enjoyed it.
2. SKALAR live show
In Christmas I got my boyfriend and I two tickets for this live show of light and music in Amsterdam and I am so pleased for having done so. It was absolutely spectacular and I can’t honestly compare it to anything that I saw before.
This large-scale artistic production is delivered by the German light artist Christopher Bauder and by the musician Kangding Ray. Every single one of their shows is unique.
If you are a very visual person, then you’re sure to love it. These two great artists bring “choreographed light and electronic music to life in real-time” and it is impossible not be left in awe. We were sat down and looking up for one hour in order to absorb as much as we could. What an amazing sensorial experience this was!
3. Visited two coffee spots that were on my “cafes to visit” list for way too long
If you are an avid reader of my blog, you are well aware of how much I love to explore new cafes.
I have always found inspiration surrounded by people and by the smell of coffee. Hence why I have always loved to study and write at cafes. I like when the atmosphere is laid-back and creative but that is certainly not the only factor that matters to me whenever I am at a cafe. I care about the transparency of the coffeeshop when it comes to the sourcing and production of their coffee. I care about the quality of the coffee and whether it is organic and fair trade or not. I care about the service and the genuine love of the people running the cafe.
A cafe can look like the most instagrammable place but if it lacks soul, then I won’t most likely bother to go back.
All that being said, I am very happy to say that I have finally crossed off two different coffee spots from my list of cafes to visit in The Netherlands and they did not disappoint.
You can see some photos of both below.
The Village Coffee & Music, Utrecht
A good cup of coffee is more about the passion injected into it by the barista and the hard work of all of those before him in the supply chain than anything else.
4. 17Km Leersum hike
I had this 17km hike to Utrechtse Heuvelrug, a national park in the south of Holland, planned since December per the invitation of a friend of mine. This was probably my longest hike ever and, as strange as it may sound, I felt somewhat recharged after it. It was a different way to spend my Sunday with my boyfriend and friends but I really enjoyed the experience. I also got to explore a beautiful area of The Netherlands that was new to me, which was lovely.
There’s something quite special about being completely immersed in the natural world, far from the “civilization”. I am a firm believer that a walk in the woods can do wonders for our mental health and that nature is the antidote to a stressed and overwhelmend mind. Our own breathing and footsteps, the fresh and crisp air on our faces, the rustling trees.. all of this provides a sense of tranquil awareness that I simply can’t put into words. Being out in the nature can be so healing and I want to do it more often. Plus, going for this hike with my boyfriend and friends gave us some uninterrupted time to catch up on “life”, which was great.
5. Sprouting workshop
I’ve always naturally gravitated towards nutrition- and health-related topics. For that reason, I got super stoked when I found out that a work colleague is a nutrition therapist and gives workshops on how we can best benefit from incorporating certain fermented/sprouted foods into our diets for optimum nutrition and digestion!
If you follow me for a while, you probably know that I have IBS (“irritable bowel syndrome”) and, as a result, my body struggles to digeste certain foods. Since my diet is based on plants, my protein intake comes from them. Legumes and beans are rich sources of protein but are not great for sensitive digestive systems due to their indigestible carbohydrates. Thus, given that I can’t consume them on a regular basis, I have to rely on tofu and soya milk/yoghurt as my main sources of protein. This is of course not a bad thing but it naturally limits my diet in terms of vitamins and minerals.
To those of you who don’t know, sprouting foods like legumes (e.g. lentils and chickpeas) and even grains (e.g. wheat and barley), reduces their fodmap content, making them easier to be digested and absorbed by the body. Plus, sprouting foods also tends to enhance their nutritional value, making them richer in protein, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and vitamins C and K.
That being said, because I wanted to learn how I can best add variety to my diet without increasing my IBS symptoms, I decided to attend my friend’s workshop about sprouting foods! She took us through the entire sprouting process and it was so insightful and informative! I was able to deepen my knowledge about all the nutritional benefits of sprouting different grains,legumes and seeds and how we can eat sprouts for optimum digestion. At the end of the workshop we got to eat a yummy lunch all together (with sprouts of course!). We had a warm bowl of coconut pumpkin and spinach soup with some toasted sprouted bread. Both so flavourful and nourishing. I also brought home a sprouting starter kit and a booklet with lots of useful information. I have already started to grow my own sprouts and I am finding it sooooooo exciting!! 🙂
Lastly, but certainly not least:
6. My 4-year anniversary in The Netherlands
A highlight that made all the above highlights possible.
I can’t believe that 4 years have gone by since I moved to this country. It really does not look like that long at all but hey, it really is how they say: Time flies when you’re having fun.
I moved here to do my master’s degree, got a job shortly afterwards and stayed here since then. I have learned and grown so much during these 4 years. It has been a roller coaster ride with ups and downs but not even once have I regretted the decision of moving to The Netherlands.♥
…And this is it! My highlights from the very first month of 2020. I’d now love if could share some of your 2020 highlights in the comment section below! 🙂
Thanks a lot for reading and wish you a lovely week ahead!
I hate how “self-care” has become this buzzword that is so often casually thrown around. It has also been a term used by companies over and over again to make you think that you need to buy X or Z in order to feel better about yourself. This misconception really makes my blood boil.
From my own personal experience, I can firmly state that you need YOU to feel better about yourself. You need to carve out time for the things that matter to you; for the things that make you feel alive; for the things that make you forget – even if only temporarily- of the bad that goes on in your life.
Early last year I was having some sleeping issues that went on for months and months in a row. I would find myself stressed and with too many worrying thoughts at night time and that really was taking its toll in my sleeping patterns. Thus, one of the habits that I have since then deliberately incorporated into my eventing routine was to read at least 10 pages before going to bed during the workweek. The “challenge” was not in reading itself but in carving out the time every single evening to do so. This is now my favourite way to end a hectic day because it helps me to zone out the strain of the day and it quiets my thoughts. As it puts my brain into passive mode, I nod off so easily afterwards. Using my electronic devices until I am ready to sleep is a habit that I no longer have and certainly one that I don’t intend to slip back into.
Journaling (nearly every single day) and doing yoga are my other two go-to tools/strategies for self-care. They make me connect within and feel so grounded.
We are all individuals and, for that reason, what works for me might not work for you..but please, do take the time to check in with yourself, understand what your needs are and seek them out. I have come to learn that it is key to engage in activities and habits to bear against feelings of stress, sadness and emptiness.
Self-care is not about selfishness, self-centeredness or self-indulgence. In fact, it is quite the opposite. When you take care of yourself physically and emotionally, you feel more present, focused and at peace and this can only enhance the relationship that you have with yourself and with others. You need to show up for yourself before you can show up for others.
All that being said, if there is something I would really like you to take from this post is that:
Prioritize the things that “refuel you, rather than take from you”. Life may be relentless at times but you are doing the best you can. So, just be gentle to yourself and “give yourself the love and care you so freely give to others”.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and have found it helpful in some way. Is self-care something you value and prioritize in your life? If so, how do you choose to take care of yourself? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!
My 1-month work probationary period ended on the 1st November and I passed it: YAY!!
The week prior to it was also my very first crazy busy week at this (now not so new anymore) job. I feel like it taught me a lot and because I think we can learn a lot from other people’s stories and experiences, I would like to share my main takeaways from it in this blog post.
As you know, I like to keep things real here and I am not going to lie..It was quite a rough week and I got home feeling both frustrated and mentally drained in most of the days. Even though I was working for long hours, I still felt like I was lagging behind work. Subsequently, I started to think that perhaps I was not picking things as quickly as I should or that my reasoning was not as sharp as it was expected from me. Basically that negative self-talk – that is nothing else than a bunch of BS – came around. To make things worse, this was also a week of overall bad sleep mainly due to the self-imposed pressure of wanting to perform well during my first financial month end closing in the company… Thankfully I have a partner who gives pep talks like no one and he reminded me that my self-worth is not defined by how “good “or “less good” my days at work might go. He also reminded me to just see the situation as it is, instead of trying to make something of it. I tried to follow his advice and just take one day at a time. I managed to do all my tasks (some with additional support from my manager and others without) on time, everything went well and I felt proud of myself and of how much effort I put into c. All I needed was to give myself some grace and time to get “my feet on the ground” in my new job position.
Once my week reached to an end, I went home and just poured my thoughts down on paper. This is something that never fails to bring me groundedness and mental clarity. Journaling about my first busy period at work helped me to put things in perspective and made me realise these takeaways. So, with no additional digressions, here are my lessons learnt:
If I want to to do my job well at all times, I need to be able to dettach my sense of self-worth from unexpected issues that arise and from any mistakes I might do. In other words, when things are not going as I had hoped for, I must get focused, not emotional.
It is never about winning or losing. I am either winning or learning (wise words from Nelson Mandela) and there is a lesson in every struggle.
I do not have to perceive my days as just “good” or just “bad”. I can have a day with some ups and downs and not
I need to stop being so self-critical. My harsh inner critic robs me of mental strength and that is the last thing I need when I am faced with a struggle.
I can’t keep on preaching about self-love and then be so hard on myself.
If I make a mistake, I should move on from it and find a solution for it. Nobody sees an apology as an useful thing unless I am offering something of value in return. So, when I make a mistake, I should think of a way to fix it. My mental energy should go into finding a solution instead of immediately apologising for it, internalising it and feeling like I am failing at doing my job right.
While this is certainly a challenging job, it is also one that I am really enjoying doing and one that is sure to make me grow both personally and professionally. And these are all good enough reasons to feel grateful for it. Plus, this exactly the kind of job I wished for so long. Things at work will get hectic and life will get chaotic from time to time and that is ok. I should be grateful for that and just remember when I wanted what I currently have.On that note, these busy days at work really showed me how gratitude is the way to go.
Gratitude will always bring me back to myself. ♥
Funnily enough, after writing all these points down, I realised that you can actually take them to all realms of your life. They really are applicable to all sitautions we may go through in life.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and would love to know in the comment section below if you would like to share a different lesson/takeaway from a stressful and busy and/or rough time you have had at work? Also, how do you cope with times like that? I am always open and eager to hear about other people’s experiences! 🙂
It’s been a hot minute since my last blog post of monthly highlights but l have been struggling to find time to dedicate to this platform. Anyways, I am now here to share my August and September highlights! These two months were – with any doubts – life changing and I decided to combine the highlights of both in one post since some of the things that happened in August led to others that happened in September.
I don’t know about you guys but I personally love to list everything significant that happens in every month. I think that doing this “monthly check-in”/review encourages self-reflection, increases my self-awareness and offers me the chance to track my progress. Plus, I also see it as an excellent way for acknowledging our small wins and milestones and find empowerment in all the things that are sent our way. Anyhoo, as I was saying, a lot has happened and I feel like my life did a 360 degrees turn within just a couple of months. Change has been a constant (like never before really) and I guess that it will some time for everything to really sink in and become the “new normal”. In the meantime, all I can say is:
I am grateful for where I am at and excited for where I am going.
I will stop digressing now and just get to onto my August and September 2019 highlights. Here they are:
I renewed my passport in preparation for my big 2019 trip that took place in September!
I went to the 2019 Pride Parade in Amsterdam. Even though it was my third time there, it was actually the first time I went with my boyfriend! We had so much fun watching the parade whilst drinking some nice prosecco!
I travelled to Germany in order to spend a girls weekend with the best friend in the whole wide world. I missed her so much and was so looking forward to spending 2 entire days with her! We talked for hours and hours, went out to party, had a wonderful homemade dinner and brunch in the next day, had some proper girls time taking care of our skin, spoiled each other with gifts, relaxed and went out to a really nice brunch place! I also had the chance of catching up with another close of friend of mine who is currently living in Dusselfdorf and it could not have been better.
I participated in a Basketball competition at work and, surprisingly, I did quite well! I’d describe myself as someone who is outdoorsy and sporty but basketball was never jam. However, I guess, that this just went to show how silly are some of the pre-conceived ideas we have about ourselves.
I finally bought myself a pink Fujifim Instax mini camera! I bought it especially for my trip to New York because I want to make a travel scrapbook with all the polaroids! I think that analog photography is quite special because you can’t delete the photos or apply a filter, which we do so automatically nowadays. I love the idea of the polaroids being a pure and raw reflection of the moment that we can keep forever.
I came to the realisation earlier this year that I was ready for a new professional challenge. I was not finding my job trully fullfiling or challenging anymore and, hence, I decided to explore the possibility of getting a new job. I am of the opinion that you should find joy in the work you do. Oherwise what is point of dedicating so many hours of your life to it? That being said, around mid-August I was unexpectedly contacted by two companies that are very different from each other (business sector- and work approach-wise). One of them is an Australian Digital marketing and Social media company and the other one is an American outdoor clothing company (that I wanted to work for ages!!). Both are big companies with their headquarters in Amsterdam and both were offering very interesting job positions and career prospects. I went to several rounds of interviews and ended by receiving a final job offer from both.
I happily accepted the job offer from the American company because it is a company that I look up to not only for its vision and ethics but also for its outstanding work when it comes to environmental and social activism. I truly believe that you will always find more meaning (and inspiration) in your job when you work for a company whose values and principles are the ones you stand by. I am still so happy and deeply grateful for having had this job opportunity!
Following the above highlight, I resigned from the job I had for nearly 2.5 years. I handed out my letter of resignation to my manager and shortly after, I called a meeting with my team to communicate my decision. I felt a mix of nervousness and excitement but it all went well.
I finished the book: The good wife strikes back by Elizabeth Buchan. Finishing a good book is something I consider a highlight. I love the power that a simple book has to pull you back to the present moment and transport to other realms. It does not matter how much stress or countless issues you are dealing with, it all just seems to slip away when you lose yourself in a good or entertaining story. Even though this is not one of the best novels I have read because I could not feel very connected to the characters, it was still an entertaining and good enough read.
Due to my NY trip approaching, I decided to watch the movies “You’ve got mail” and “When Harry met Sally”. Yup, this was another highlight because I really enjoyed my time watching these movies that so lonvingly emboded NY city’s Upper West Side neighborhood. These are just two of those all-time classic movies that you need to watch, regardless of whether you are a fan of cheesy romantic comedies or not.
I received free tickets to watch my first football match in The Netherlands, in which AJAX (considered as one of the best Dutch teams) is going to play!
Finding an unshared flat to live in the biggest Dutch cities is a real challenge in itself (let alone at a reasonable price). There is considerably more demand than offer.. However, it seems like – after 2 rounds of applications – I was allocated an apartment at a building, whose end of construction is due in December! It t is going to be a brand new flat in a super central location and it is going to have a balcony (something I never had ever since I moved to The Netherlands)! The keys handover is planned to take place in December and I cannot wait to move in! It still does not feel quite real to me.
Got to spend my 26th birthday in NY with my boyfriend. It was not only my very first time in the Big Apple but also and the first birthday that I got to share with my partner (from the moment I woke up until the moment I fell asleep). He really made me feel like one very special and lucky girl. ♥
My granny passed away on my birthday and this was undoubtedly one of the greatest losses I have ever experienced (and still am experiencing).
I did a Yoga Vinyasa class at Central Park. It was amazing to feel the Earth right beneath me and connect within whilst being surrounded by so much greenery.
I bought my sister 2 tickets to watch the musical “Book of Mormom” in London for her 30th birthday. She will soon move out of the city and I knew that this is one of the few great musicals she had not watched it yet. It feels so good to be able to afford gifting your beloved ones with an experience they’ll hopefully enjoy and remember for a long time.
Three days later after coming back from NY (gladly did not suffer from jet lag), I flew to my homecountry in order to spend a week with my family. We had some proper quality time together and went on a 3-day mini holiday to El Grove, Vigo and Cies Islands (Galicia,Spain). I think we all needed some relaxing and bonding time in family.
During my holiday in Portugal, I went for a full-body massage and treated my mum to one too.
In honour of Fall’s arrival, I have baked my very first pumpkin spice loaf bread. and it turned super tasty. Yup, that is right guys. This is indeed a big highlight for me. I baked it when I went home for a week vacation and mum and dad loved it. It was vegan and I sorted came up with the recipe based on two that I had looked up online. I was quite surprised with how tasty it actually turned out!
On the last day of September (just 1 day after coming back from Portugal), I had the farewell from my previous company. This was a new experience for me because I got this job when I was a just a 22-year-old girl coming straight out of Universtity. It was my first real job and for that reason the farewell felt specail. My team took me out for a last lunch at a very nice restaurant just by a lake. It made me very happy to see the entire team (including the two people who are based in Germany) all around the table for my farewell.
I received lots of meaningful gifts, which made me realise how thoughtful my ex-colleagues were (and how well some of them knew me). However, getting a big card with the best wishes of 55 people was the most special gift of all. Many of these people also congratulated me for having the “courage” of following my dreams and that really spoke to my heart.
I got to travel to 4 different countries within juts 6 weeks: Germany, U.S., Portugal and Spain.
These 2 months showed me that going through the best and worst times in our life really reveals who our true friends are. This was also a highlight in itself. I received extra love and unexpected heartfelt messages and phone calls from my closest friends all throughout these months, which added additional meaning to what I went through.
These were two months of lots of emotions. I still find myself trying to wrap my head around of everything that happened (and it is still happening). If I think too much about all these recent events I can’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed by them all… But I feel deeply grateful too. Each one of them taught me a lot about myself and these are the main takeaways I’d like to end this post with:
Even though change is a positive thing and is needed, it can make us feel rather overwhelmed. Thus, just know that you can welcome change into your life and still take it day by day.
Life happens and sometimes all at once but one thing is for sure: we are all worth of new beginnings.
Okaaaay this post turned out to be longer than I had expected!… but hopefully you found it a bit interesting, rathen than insanely boring?!
Please let me know in the comment section below if you too are someone who finds pleasure in writing down the monthly highlights! 🙂
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
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!!
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. ♥