My month of January in review

Well. January just flew by like a fastball. It is crazy how the first month of the new year is already done. Time seems to be speeding up as I grow older and older… Or is it just me? Anyway, as February is already here, I thought I would share with you some of my last month’s highlights. I always like to take time to reflect on the previous month as it improves my self-awareness and provides perspective.

Personal highlight of the month:

After being in a long-distance relationship for nearly 5 years, my boyfriend has left his home country – England – and moved in with me. It was about time! Now we will be both living and working in The Netherlands. We are both so darn happy and grateful for this huge change in our lives and relationship. This really goes to show that great things take time. ♥

Most exciting purchase:

Flights to London. My sister is having her graduation ceremony in May and I finally got to buy the plane tickets so I can be there to congratulate her in person. She finished her PhD from Imperial London College and I could not be more proud of her. Seriously.

Favourite ethical purchase:

Freezer bags made of silicone grade food, another small step towards using less plastic in my day-to-day life. I am so pleased with this purchase! Because the material is odourless and non-toxic (free of bpa, latex, lead and phthalates), it is a more sustainable and safer plastic alternative both for the planet and our health. Other characteristics of these bags that I am very pleased about are their self-sealing convenience, transparency of the material (i.e. you can easily see what is stored in them), light weight (i.e. easy to transport). They also don’t take much space at all, which is great given the fact that my freezer is not very big. Plus, as they are sturdy and resistant to extreme temperatures, you can just reuse them with no issues whatsoever. For those wondering, I got these silicone freezer bags from Amazon and totally recommend.

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Favourite book:

The Undutchables: An Observation of the Netherlands, Its Culture and Its Inhabitants by Colin White and Laurie Boucke. As an expat living in The Netherlands, I find this book to be unbelievably humorous and entertaining! I think that it is the kind of book that someone who is interested in learning more about the Dutch culture would find very interesting and insightful to read. It captures many of the funny quirks of the Dutchies at the same that presents them in a very funny and authentic way.

 

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Favourite song:

Mumford and sons – Guiding Light.

I know, I know. It is not exactly a new tune but it is so lovely and pleasing to the ear.

Favourite movie:

“Johny English strikes again”. Any comedy movie with Rowan Atkinson is a must-watch for me! I watched it right on the first day of the year and it made me start 2019 on a “positive” note if you know what I mean. My boyfriend and I had a really great laugh. Is it not laughter the best medicine and therapy one can have?

Favourite homemade dinner:

BBQ pulled jackfruit tacos. Yes, oh yes.

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Jackfruit is one of my favourite meat replacements and I had been wanting to make this recipe for a loooong looong time. I am so glad and happy with how tasty it turned out. The boyfriend, who is a meat-eater, said that they were freakin’ delicious and he actually also said that both the texture and flavour resemble chicken meat! What a win in the kitchen! 🙂

Favourite memory:

One of my good friends from my home country came visit me with her boyfriend. She came exactly when we had the first real snowfall of the year and she got so thrilled haha! ..and oh well, in all honesty, so did I. I feel like it does not matter how long I live in The Netherlands for, I still get excited every single time I see snow. It is just oh so pretty and magic and peaceful.  Anyhoo, focus focus. As I was saying, my friend came visit and I made a reservation in one of my fave restaurants in town. We delighted ourselves in some lovely vegan Vietnamese food, shared some funny stories and laughed a lot! Both our partners came along and it was lovely to see how they just clicked and got on well with each other. It was a really great night and we got to build some new beautiful memories together to add to our 20 years of friendship.

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The first real snowfall of this Winter.

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All in all, a great start to the year 2019! 🙂

How did January treat you? What were some of your January highlights? Please let me know in the comment section below! 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

 

 

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Monday reminder.

As we jump into a new week (and soon into a new month), I would like to leave you here what I wish I was told last night when I was struggling to fall asleep.

You are a whole being. You are not someone who is broken or who needs to be fixed. You are not someone who is not good enough or unworthy. You are whole.

Where you are right now is exactly where you are supposed to be. Even if you everything . Trust the timing of your life and, most importantly, trust yourself.

Put your thinking mind at rest. (Over)thinking just creates problems that would not even exist in first place if only we were present. (Over)thinking just perpetuates resentment, guilt and pain. So, my dear one, take a deep breathe and know you are safe. Know that you are already whole. Know that you are everything you need to be.

 

 

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”.  💛

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Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Sunday morning in Paris.

Sunday morning in Paris 🌸

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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.

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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.

 

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

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

New month: time to set new intentions.

2017 was a year of many achievements, growth and learning. I am very happy with how everything turned out. Nevertheless, it was also a year of some mental struggles. My life went through tremendous changes and I found myself stressing and obsessing over things that do not really matter. This is because at the end of the day they do not define or reflect who I am as a person. To be more specific, I realised that I was placing way too much focus and attention on the foods that I was eating and on how much physical exercise I was doing, which just drained me out mentally and physically.  This is still a currently struggle but I now taking actions towards changing my approach and mindset. It is a work in process but I will get there.

That being said, I want this year to be the year where I regain my body, mind and soul balance. I want to reconnect with myself and achieve greater mental balance. I want to experience things for the first time. I want to travel more and explore new and beautiful places that I did not even know that existed. I want to be more compassionate, kind and love towards myself and others. All in all, I want to start appreciating life more by doing things that I truly enjoy and that are aligned with my authentic self. I want mindfulness to be present in all aspects of my life.

February is almost here and I want to take the opportunity of a new month approaching to set new intentions. They are as follows:

  • Read more. I have three books that I want to finish and I will “make” the time to do so.
  • Journaling more regularly. This is something that helps me hugely and that I genuinely love to do.
  • Re-start my daily practice of gratitude. My boyfriend got me a lovely gratitude journal last year and I can firmly say that writing a gratitude list regularly (almost every single day) helps me to re-focus and feel grounded whenever times get tough. Practicing gratitude is something so simple, yet so mighty and beneficial.
  • Travel more within the Netherlands and outside. I have two exciting trips planned and I am so looking forward to exploring more of this beautiful world of ours.
  • Make yoga and meditation a habit. I have a brand new yoga mat and I am really determined to incorporate yoga in my lifestyle again as I know that I will only benefit from it. I practiced yoga for almost two years and I used to love how it made me feel. Both yoga and meditation give us piece of mind, awareness for transformation and inner strength, which are all things hugely needed in our life.
  • Go to more museums. I have always loved to go to museums but I haven’t visit any for some while now. I considered going to museums as a beautiful way of getting lost in a different dimension/reality as well as an opportunity for building meaningful and personal connections, absorbing local culture and getting inspired. Plus, we can learn so much in just under an hour by simply visiting a museum.
  • Let go of what I can’t control. This is perhaps the most abstract and hardest intention of my list but, surely, the one that can make the most positive impact in my life. As this is not a straightforward intention but it is one that, from my standpoint, has heightened importance, I might write a future post just to delve into it.

I think we are so used to having such a fast-paced lifestyle that we end up by focusing on getting through the days instead of on making them “worth” and fulfilling. We rush into our days headfirst without having a specific idea of what we hope to achieve and of what we want to get done. Our days are so filled with mundane distractions that I feel like if we don’t set intentions, we often end up by acting mindlessly and our life just flounders.

What do you guys thing about this? Do you also set new intentions from time to time? Let me know in the comments 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful