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.

Image.png-12.jpeg
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 🙂

Image-3.png-7.jpeg
Coffee Roasting

 

Image-2.png-10-e1546203004323.jpeg
Cupping and Tasting
Image-1.png-14
Latte Art
Image-4.png-6.jpeg
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

“I am entirely up to me.”

I am entirely up to me.

 

Six simps words that carry a strong message.

I am indeed entirely up to me. I do not want to watch life passing me by. Just over a half year ago, I have made this very important conscious decision of committing to myself (and to my life for that matter). Every morning I choose to stay committed, regardless of how easy or hard it comes to me. I am in such a better place than I was 7 months ago and I feel both very proud and thankful. I have been focused on doing everything I do with greater intention: working, eating, moving my body, meeting and connecting with people, traveling, reading and writing/blogging. I have also been paying closer attention to my surroundings and to the things I do so I can better grasp whether they build me up or drag me down. Numbing out to deliberately avoid dealing with my emotions and feelings is no longer an option for me. Rather than just mindlessly living, I want to be present because life is happening “here and now”.

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Self-Reflection.

It is so important to carve out time for self-reflection; whether we are going through a rough time or not. Sometimes it may seem that life is rushing right by us and that we have no control whatsoever over what happens to us. We might feel pretty overwhelmed for no other reason than placing our self-worth on external sources, such as on what happens to us. When we tie our value to things outsides ourselves, we tread down a risky path and we may well be setting ourselves up for failure. So please, dear one, let this be a reminder that it does not have to be this way. Become aware of your feelings and emotions, your behaviours and your relationship with yourself and those around you.

Take time in the morning (just after you wake up) or at night time (just before you go to sleep) to really look inside yourself and reflect on: What could I be doing to bring more happiness into my  life? Where does my life feel out of balance? What can I do to change that? What do I truly need at this very moment? How am I feeling? What I am thankful for? Is there something keeping me from believing that I am worthy?
Please remember that “you can’t pour from an empty cup”.  💛

Image.png-10

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Sunday morning in Paris.

Sunday morning in Paris 🌸

Image.png-16

 

Sundays are my favourite, especially when I get to wake up in a beautiful city that is not my own, like it happened last weekend. My boyfriend and I flew out to France on Wednesday, the 12th September, in order to celebrate my 25th birthday in Paris, which turned out to be an amazing and very memorable one. 💛

The five days spent in Paris were so healing for my monkey mind. These holidays were a welcomed break in my usual work, fitness routine and overall day-to-day life as well as a break in my mental chatter and in the not-so-positive spin of thoughts and emotions that I sometimes experience. Plus, my boyfriend and I spent a lovely time together exploring the beautiful city of Paris.

Image-1.png-13

On my last morning in Paris, I decided to walk to a small and beautiful Parisian cafe and devote some time to journaling. I feel very lucky to have a boyfriend who is so supportive and caring. He always gives me the time and space I need and whenever I feel an urge to spend a couple of hours alone writing down my thoughts or doing something else, he immediately backs me up. I guess that this what love is: to be with someone who builds you up, rather that who drags you down 💛  

I have been journaling almost every day for the past one and a half months and I am planning to continue to do it so. Getting into the habit of journaling was from far one of the best things I have done for my mental health. There is so much rattling around my brain all the time and getting my thoughts out of my head and down on paper has been keeping me more grounded and helping me to tune into my feelings and emotions.

 

Image-4.png-6

 

Are you also into journaling? Would love to know in the comments! 🙂

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:

 

Image-1.png-11

Image-2.png-7

Image-3.png-4

 

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

Image-5.png-4

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:

Image-4.png-5

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

 

 

 

A tough Monday.

Today was just one of the those days. I did not have a great night of sleep nor a great day in general to be honest. I went to bed late last night because I needed to finish a few things for work and then struggled to fall asleep. Even though I still managed to be productive at work, I just kept on dwelling on negative thoughts throughout the day. Nothing specifically bad happen today but I just did not felt scattered and with my mind drawn in several directions at once… and because, we feel what we think, it was pretty much impossible to feel good today, no matter how hard I tried.

I still went to my usual strength training group class at the gym and instead of having felt a boost to my energy and mood levels, I, honestly, just left it feeling more tired and upset. I guess that even the so-called feelgood chemicals usually released by working out have decided to stand me up today. Sick of feeling this way, I decided to just ease things up. On my way home, I bought myself a gorgeous bunch of colourful flowers. What I love about blooms is the fact that, regardless of how positive or negative I may be feeling, they always seem to force me to pay attention to the beauty and splendor of the world around me. Once at home, I grabbed my pen and journal and devoted some time to writing.  I felt like I  decluttered my mind and freed up some mental space that was very much needed. It seems the effects that journaling has on a restless mind and overall thought process never cease to amaze me. I then had my dinner whilst watching a movie and just called it a night.

..and you know what? Giving myself some grace (instead of just keep pushing myself too hard), proved to be exactly what I needed to bounce back. ♥

Image.jpg

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

My Weekend Gratitude List – July 18

Friday (27th July)

I am grateful – oh so grateful – for the last weekend in Dusseldorf and for finally having opportunity to spend time with my best friend. I am  grateful for our reunion after 10 months and for realising that, no matter how much time goes by, there are things in life that never change. I am grateful for finally getting to see her first new apartment, for our homemade 3-course dinner out in the balcony on Friday evening and for how much thought and love my bestie put into it. I am grateful for the wine drinking under a gorgeous lunar eclipse and starry sky and for deep conversation about life and the Universe. I am grateful for all the dancing, shameless selfies and moments of pure bliss we shared together.

Saturday (28th July)

I am grateful for our slow Saturday morning. What a scrumptious brunch we had at home, followed by some self-care time that involved hair skin cleansing and moisturization and facial masks. I am grateful for feeling so worriless and at ease around her. I am grateful for the lovely cafe we went to, for the super friendly and ….for the person who invented frothy dairy-free cappuccinos! I am grateful for the time we spent planning our next trip together and for seeing that she is just as excited for it as I am. I am grateful for the time spent exploring Dusseldorf, for the great food we had for dinner at a Japanese restaurant and for the beauty that the city is by night.

Sunday (29th July)

I am grateful to hear that my bestie really enjoyed my visit and to realise that we do have an everlasting bond. I am grateful for our hugged goodbye that got us a little teary-eyed. I am also grateful for having had the opportunity of meeting this other close friend of mine, who has been sick for the last 5 days but is now feeling better. I am grateful for the catch up we had over a delicious vegan brunch that involved matcha pancakes with berries and açai bowls. I am grateful for our Sunday walk by the Rhine river and for the moments of laughter we shared. I am grateful for the perfectly sunny day with a nice breeze and for having had a smooth coach journey back home.

All in all, I am grateful for having people in my life who show me how wonderful it feels to live in the present moment and intentionally. I am grateful for having people in my life who make me forget that life might be a uphill task at times. I am grateful for having people in my life who believe in me, uplift me and see in me the person I want to see too. I am grateful for having amazing friends who make me cherish and treasure life. And, lastly, I am grateful for going to sleep with a smile in my lips and a heart filled with joy. ♥

courtney-hedger-336844-unsplash.jpg

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

Reframing my mindset.

I think we all agree with the saying that it is insane “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results“. Nevertheless, I would risk saying that most – if not all- of us have done this at some point in our lives. I know that I have done it in the past and, as a matter of fact, I was doing it not so long ago. It takes courage to admit this to ourselves and it takes a lot of will power to break the cycle and put an end to this self-sabotaging behaviour.

 

I came to realise that the reason why I was me having a self-defeating state of mind.

I have always seen myself as a positive and self-motivated girl, who tries to see the good in every bad situation. However, I must say that maintaining an overall positive mental outlook is something that I have been struggling to do over the past few months.

I want to believe that the root cause of the health issues I am currently going through is my thinking and I  mainly originated by my thoughts and  been hard to do

The health issues that I am currently facing made me realise what I mentioned earlier in this post: I have been repeatedly doing the same thing and then find myself wondering why am I not getting different results. If I want meaningful changes to happen in my life, then I need to make a daily conscious mental effort to remain positive, and in addition, take actions that support my intentions and goals every single day.  Of course that I will encounter challenges and difficulties in doing so but, I now now recognise that my reality is entirely up to me. Because my mind is the mighty force driving my life, I have consciously decided to reframe the self-defeating state of mind that I have been having lately and believe that:

  • What I am currently going through is a lesson in disguise
  • What I see as a problem is really nothing more than an opportunity to grow and do things differently
  • There is no such thing as a mistake or failure, there is only a chance to learn and to start doing things differently

We have freedom to steer our lives in the direction we want and power to choose our thoughts and who we want to be. We have this freedom and  choice every single day. How great is that?

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Letting go of the need to control what I can’t.

As a goal-setter and over-planner, I oftentimes fool myself into the faulty thinking that I can control how everything in my life unfolds. This is a pure act of self sabotage that only leads to frustration. I am sure that all of us, at some point in our life, have experienced physical, mental and/or emotional tensions that make us burn our  emotional energy wastefully. These tensions evoke feelings of uneasiness and we ended up by finding ourselves somewhat “stuck in time” trying to make sense of the chaos in our life.However, I have come to realise that in order to bring emotional well-being and spiritual freedom into my life I must let go of what I can’t control. I must learn to surrender and acknowledge that there are things in life that cannot be planned, predicted or prevented.

No matter how hard I may try to plan ahead, life is always going to throw surprises my way and that is the true essence of it. Thus, keeping this in mind, I recognise that my need to control is rooted in fear and I am letting myself be open to whatever life throws my way. I choose to let go of my need to control what that I can’t as well as to let go any thoughts that do not serve me. Of course that this requires a mindset shift that is definitely not easy. It is actually very challenging and a journey in itself. Nevertheless, it does get easier as we go.  Things in life go much more smoothly, when we simply allow them to happen instead of attaching ourselves to outcomes, push things to happen how we want them to and try to run the show of life. If we do this, we will see life as being more peaceful, effortless and overall more joyful. We will be able to see a whole new plethora of opportunities.

Letting go is not “to get rid of” because, oh well, that is just not realistically possible.What I mean by it is to become aware of it but emotionally detach myself from it. The need of control will still be there, but if you don’t identify with it or hold onto it, it can no longer hold onto you.

I have realised that in order to let go of my need of control, I must:

  • Learn to surrender to the here and now. The present moment is all we really have and can rely on.
  • Learn to trust in the Universe and to go with its flow whilst embracing uncertainty. Swimming against the current of life is exhausting and pointless and it will only bring pain and suffering into our lives. I recognise how important it is to go with the Universal flow of life, use it to pave my future one moment at a time and believe that I will be able to deal and handle whatever is thrown my way. At the end of the day, we “grow through what we go through“.
  • Learn to see life through the eyes of Love and accept whatever comes my way as it is. Accepting the unforeseen and seemingly bad situations is key for my life to fall into place. After all, I just magnify and give power to whatever we refuse to accept and resist.
  • Make “thinking positively” and “feeling great” top priorities in my life. I attract what I invest my time and energy into.
  • Be gentle with myself at all times and acknowledge that I am enough and capable to tackle and successfully overcome any setback. 

     

So when your head is spinning around in circles trying to get one step ahead of a situation that you perceive as a threat, just stop and get in touch with your inner emotions so you can grasp the reason for that need of control. Once you understand it,  then let your feelings be without acting on them. Even when you find yourself trapped in fears, anxiety and worries because something bad just happened or is bound to happen, please do not let that situation consume your thoughts. Accept it and have confidence that you will be able to handle. By accepting it, you will experience less distress and you will manage to think more clearly and reach a solution. Focus your emotional energy on what you can control, rather than on what is beyond your control.We can’t take full control over everything that happens to us but we can certainly take the steering wheel of our life and lead it in the direction we want.

I strongly believe that our thoughts and beliefs shape the way we interpret our reality, and, ultimately, help to create it. From my standpoint, there are only a few things in our life that we can control. They are our thoughts, actions and how we react to what happens to us. As a direct result, by taking control of these things we might indeed control what happens to us.

Our frame of mind dictates the way how we live our lives so let’s wrap our mind in a cocoon of positivity and acceptance of what is beyond our control and let it take an active role in shaping our reality. ♥

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

A well spent day off from work.

The past Thursday, 10th of May, was Ascension Day in Holland and this national holiday could not have come at a more perfect time, right after the financial quarter end at work and right before my boyfriend came to stay for just over a week.

Generally speaking, I am very happy how my day off went. All the little things that I end up by doing turned out to be exactly what I needed to recharge and feel at my best again! It was not a “to-do-all-the-things-that-I-need-to-do-but-can’t-do-whilst-I-am-at-work” kind of day but a day that allowed me to reset my perspective and left me better off.

First off, I had a very restful night and slept for 8 hours, something so often underestimated these days. As I went to bed early-ish, I did not need to sleep in to get a good and long night of sleep and, as a result, I woke up feeling very refreshed and ready to seize the day!

I got up and drank a full glass of plain celery juice first thing in the morning. I then put on my workout clothes and got all ready to leave the house. For breakfast I had a bowl of quinoa porridge topped with cinnamon and a tiny bit of white tahini. I ate it all whilst catching up on some youtube videos. Once I finished eating breakfast, I headed out to the gym for a strength training and cardio classes, one of my favourite group workout sessions. Plus, I just love when I have the chance to work out in the morning. It gives me that extra energy boost to efficiently tackle my day.

On my way home I stopped by the supermarket to get some groceries and ended up by buying this gorgeous bunch of colourful tulips. I just could not resist it! I love how they brighten up my indoor space and make my house feel like “home”, especially in this beautiful season of blossoming love. ♥

Image.png-2

After a revitalising shower and some house chores such as doing laundry, I was quite hungry and made myself some oven baked sweet potato chips with smashed avocado and a large squeeze of lemon juice. The perfect combo! Plus, these chips don’t require any type of oil to get crispy or tasty…trust me, they are simply delicious and so easy to wolf down! haha I have also eaten a bowl of a homemade mushroom and veggies stew! It is so important to get all the essential nutrients in and feed our bodies right! 🙂  

Image.png-5

Because skincare is also self-care, I decided to take some time after lunch to devote my full attention to properly take care of my skin. I don’t think I need to endorse the amazing benefits of having a self care routine as I am sure you are pretty aware of them. On my face, I used a foaming cleanser, a hydrating mask with organic argan oil and to finish off, a natural toner mist spray. On my body, I simply used a hydrating lotion. All the products I used are vegan, cruelty free and with natural ingredients and I love how they leave my skin soft, gloomy and soothed. As you can see, I like to keep my skincare routine quick and simple as I am of the opinion that less really is more. When it comes to cosmetics, I prefer to go for quality over quantity.

Image.png-6

Even though the weather was quite gloomy outside, I decided to go to one of my favourite cafes in town, which is like 5 mins from my house, and do some writing for the blog. By doing this I am using my time productively whilst doing something that I really enjoy doing. I ordered my usual cup cappuccino with organic oat milk. It never disappoints!

Image-1.png-2

 

When I got home, I decided to do some cleaning around the house and organise one of my kitchen pantry drawers. Bringing order to this drawer was something that I needed to do for a while and I knew that I would feel better after getting it done. It always gives me a sense of accomplishment to do something that has a tangible result and cleaning up my external environment feels like cleaning up my own psyche. As it is often said, “tidy home, tidy mind”!

Afterwards, I prepared some celery juice for my next 2-3 mornings. After reading the benefits for gut health that plain celery juice has in an empty stomach, I decided to give it a try and see how I feel. I have been doing this for just over a week now. I can’t lie that digging the straight up celery juice requires an acquired taste but if my gut benefits from it, then it is definitely worthy!

Image-3.png-2

 

For dinner, I made a hearty and creamy soup only with veggies and healing spices such as ginger and turmeric. I will have to post this recipe at some point because it is definitely one of my go-to soups whenever I feel like eating some homemade comfort food.

Image.png-3

I watched an episode of Greys Anatomy whilst having dinner. It is one of my favourite series of all time!

After a quick catch up with my boyfriend, mum and one of my besties, I decided to disconnect from technology and do some bedtime reading. Churning through some pages before I go to sleep is something that I have been trying to turn into a winding-down daily ritual. I feel like it clears my mind from my day-to-day worries and unwanted thoughts and prepare my body for sleep. Besides that, ditching technology just before bed is a healthy habit that I want to bring into my life since it is known to trick our brains to think that they need to stay awake and alert.

Image-1.png-3

The things that I have done may seem quite mundane for many but what I wanted to show with this blog post is that we should not feel forced to do something super special – like “going on new adventures” – just because it is a public holiday where we don’t have to go to work. We can equally enjoy it by doing seemingly “trivial” things that we actually like doing. In short, focusing our energy and time on some but key activities might end up by having a significant impact on our mood and energy level the next days; it might end up by being exactly what we needed to be at the top of our game.

I feel like we are likely to do better in all parts of our lives if we take the time for ourselves and do whatever we feel like doing, big things or small. ♥ At the end of the day, the way how we choose to spend our days is, of course, the way how we spend our lives. 

Please let me know in the comments if you share these same thoughts or not. Also, what are some of the things that you like to do when you have a day off work? 🙂

By the way, I am currently reading the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. Has any of you read it already? Would love to know!

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful