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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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