Recovering spoonies: lacking online representation

I have never really been one to use my blog for super deep retrospection or to advocate for anything in particular, yet this blogpost has been in the back of my mind for a while and well…. here it is.

Like most people I turn to social media for inspiration and motivation. This can be just daily motivation to keep me going through the day, or for inspiration with regards to wellness and leading a healthy life style. However, I have increasingly found myself dissapointed with the lack of representation for recovering spoonies like me. If you are not sure what a spoonie is, Wikipedia is your friend ;).

By far the majority of wellness and lifestyle influencers, vlogers and bloggers cater towards able people. They constantly repeat to you that for a healthy lifestyle you need to balance your food intake with exercise: it’s 80% food and 20% excercise. They stress that you need 8 full hours of sleep to be well rested to get the most out of your day. To stick to morning routines with yoga, medidation… all that jaz. They then post really delicous looking recipes that are “so easy to make”. And to encourage you to do all this, and to get to your own goals they post one picture after another that is a variation on the one below:

8 Motivating Tips for Weight Loss

Well, imagine seeing this everyday whilst having a body that you will literally make you sick when you exercise to much. As someone who suffers from Chronique Fatigue Syndrome I literally risk getting into a crash when my heart rate is elevated for a prolonged amount of time, which makes exercising extremely tricky. And when I say a crash I don’t just mean I get tired. It can cause a range of symptoms, including physical pain (joint pain, full body pain and throat ache <– or a combination of all three), less control over my emotions (mood swings are a bitch), nausea and dizziness, other flu-like symtoms… Yeah it’s a real doozy.

Moreover, one of the issues with Chronique Fatigue Syndrome is that even if I sleep I do not rest. So even if I sleep 8 hours a night, I still wake up tired. This makes sticking to a mourning routine quite hard, even though I do force myself to do this for as much as I can. It’s a bit hit and miss, but I just take every day I do get up at 6 as a win.

Which brings me to the great weight-loss recipes… Yeah they are great. Just not if you aren’t allowed to eat half of the ingredients that they have in them (because of intollerences… trust me, most spoonies have a bunch) and are too complicated for you to make, cause newsfalsh you are tired or in pain, or both… all the time.

And then it is topped off with the constant reminder that you need to try harder, despite the fact that you getting out of bed and doing the things you need to do is already part of you trying really hard. Literally for spoonies, recovering or not, just doing the things they do costs a lot of effort and sometimes the staple “get healthy!” motivational quotes just make you feel like you aren’t cutting it. Like the hard work you do for just “showing-up” (whatever that may mean for you) isn’t enough.

Even the recovered spoonies who are trying to help you recover trough their own experiences fall into the trap outlined above. They post pictures of themselves working out in the gym and keep chanting this mantra of pushing yourself. I realise for them they of course also want to share their achievements and you know what? More power to them! But do not pretend like showing a picture of yourself in a gym is helping your fellow spoonies get where you are, because let’s be real: it isn’t that easy. It seems that they have forgotten how hard it was to get to that point and that wesometimes you just need to give ourselves some freaking grace and acknowledge how hard we work to do the things we do.

So I have instead been following influencers that advocate for disability and spooniness. And they are great. They have taught me how to check in with my body, to be more accepting of how I feel on bad days and to not constantly feel like I have to push myself. Especially an influencer on Instagram called Kat Inokai has helped me so much in embracing my spooniness. If you are spoonie reading this, make sure to check her out.

However, these people advocating for disability and spooniness are usually people who suffer severely from chronic illness(es). They have not yet gotten to a point in their recovery where they can focus on trying to start exercising again or losing any of the weight they may have gained. They are off far worse than I am.

They cannot yet share in the struggle to keep of keeping a balanced diet where it goes well for a couple of days, but then you get to the point where you are so tired that your body just tells you to eat… a lot. And because you are so tired you don’t have the energy to cook anything. So you grab something that isn’t great for you. And you know this, but at that point you just don’t have the energy to fight the cravings, or any willpower left to resist, because you needed all of that just to make it through the day.

They are unable to display the struggle of doing exercises that are low-impact and the feelings and thoughts that those trigger. Like: is this really all I can do now? Surely I can do more than this? But if I do, will I get a crash? How much exercise is safe for me to do right now? Should I do this every day, every other day? Once a week? All of this with no guidance, as frankly: no one is figured it out yet!

So again I find myself lacking representation. I find myself wondering why the “wellness” industry isn’t incorporating us in their narrative? There are so many of us, so why ignore us? Are we scary, because you don’t know how the advise you give us may affect us? Well, newsflash the advise you are just producing on “default” now sure ain’t doing much for us either.

And where are we ourselves? Where are the spoonies that are still in the midst of recovery? The, as I have begun to refer to myself, “high-functioning spoonies”? Are they just as lost as I am? Are they not showing themselves/ not advocating for our experience of spoonieness, because our lives are kind of boring? Do we feel like our lives aren’t interesting enough to be put on social media, because it is a repetition of the same thing over and over again, as we don’t have the energy to add anything new into the rotation? Is it because we are so desperately trying to hang on to be able to do the things we can, that we don’t have much energy for anything else, including advocating for ourselves?

I have reached a point where I am seriously considering becoming this advocate myself. Despite my life being boring and me perhaps not being the best example of a recovering spoonie. As I said, I am pretty high functioning, which may make it hard for others to relate to me. I have a fulltime job and am trying to finish a PhD: not the easiest to relate to. But then again, if there is one thing I have learned from CFS, it’s that everyone’s experience of it is different. Everyone is affected differently by it. So why would my experience of it be less valid? And maybe there are people who will find confort in me fighting to maintain my “boring” life, because they are doing the exact same? Maybe it will inspire others to share their story as well.

What do you think dear reader? Should I step up?

Be kind to yourself: it really does make life a little easier

Despite the world being pretty much on fire, I have to say the first couple of days of 2021 have been pretty okay for me personally.

For the first time in months I finally feel calm. As if for the first time in weeks I can finally just breath. It’s as if everything is finally in place and I can finally think clearly again. These past couple of days I for the first time in a good while felt like I had the headspace to focus on the things I want to do again.

Does that mean I got up at 6 a.m. every day this week? That I was able to work on my dissertation from Monday to Friday? Nope. I still have chronic fatigue syndrome so there are going to be days that are just not going to go the way I want them to. I had a couple of pretty rough nights, which caused me to wake-up so tired that I decided to set my alarm for another hour.

And you know what? That is absolutely okay. If I am too tired to work on my PhD today or if I cannot get myself do do the dishes, then I will give it another try tomorrow. I have stopped getting upset with myself for not being able to do all the things I had planned on a particular day… And my gosh does that feel good!

As some of my avid readers know I absolutely love decorative planning. This is a type of planning style where you liven-up your planner with cute and pretty stickers. Every weekend I would sit down with my planner, decorate it and plan out the entire week. For everyday I would decide what I was going to do. Needless to say, if you have an illness as unpredicatable as chronic fatigue syndrome that does not work. So what happend was that I found myself getting frustrated every time, because I could not finish all the things that I had planned to do. Instead of my planner helping me be more productive and me enjoy working on it, I felt like it was a reminder of my failure to do simple things like dishes and was some kind of testemony to my inadequacy…. Yeah… If that isn’t one heck of an unhealhty mindset, than I don’t kow what is. So, I decided to quit planning for a while. I tried to get bak into it multiple times, but I could simply not find a way for it to work.

Until now. Every weekend I now sit down to decorate the week before, as I used to, but I do not plan anything yet, unless it is an actual meeting with someone. Instead I have incorporated planning into my morning routine. That way I can check in with myself on the day to see how I am feeling and to gauge how much I will be able to do. At the same time, I have learned to have peace with it if I have one of those days where I have less energy than I thought I had. So if I have written down that I will be doing the dishes that day, but am too tired, I simply put it off to the next day and regard th eplanner entry as a reminder for tomorrow. No giving myself crap, no feeling bad about it. It is what it is.

And you know what? It actually works! Yesterday, after a really crappy night I just couldn’t get up at 6 a.m…. So I got up at 7 instead. In the morning I had resigned myself to do nothing on my PhD that day, but planned that I would at least do dishes. Well, after working half a day I was quite unexpectedly able to focus on my PhD for 2 hours. However, the trade of was that I wasn’t able to do any dishes because of that. So I left that chore for today… and ended up cleaning the stove as well whilst I was at it. Just because I could. Flexibility for the win!

One of the reasons why I decided to share this in this blogpost with you all today is because I hope it helps some of you to perhaps be a little kinder to yourself as well. It is so easy to get upset with ourselves because of our limitations, physically or otherwise. Yet where does that get us? It only makes us feel frustrated, unhappy and may cause us to give up something that we love doing because of that. There’s enough negativity in the world already right now, don’t become another source of it for yourself.

No matter what you are struggling with, you are doing the best you can and that is enough. As someone on instagram wrote yesterday “being in our bodies is hard”. And so is being in our minds at times. But that is okay. It is alright to struggle or to feel pain. It is not your fault and it does not make you any less worthy. You are you and you are enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially not you yourself.

chibird — A small corgi pup to remind us that we are in...
Copyright: Chiibird

2019: the year I embraced my spooniness

*Blows away some dust and coughs*. Well, this place has been pretty quiet hasn’t it? I’m afraid 2019 has seen one whole blogpost…. Yeah, that’s a new low even for me. But, I’m not going to apologize for it, as I don’t feel guilty in the least.

2019 has been a year of learning, realizations and acceptance for me. And the one big thing that lead to this is that I have learned how to get better at being a spoonie. For those unfamiliar with the term: a spoonie is someone with a chronic illness. The nickname comes from spoon theory. This basically means that you only have so much energy to spend, which is represented by spoons. Some days you have a lot of spoons and on other days only a couple. Or on the really bad days you have absolutely none and you are reduced to being a total couch potato.

Previously, (read only a couple of months ago) I used to get very frustrated on my zero spoon days. On those days I had usually planned on either working on my Aberystwyth homework or on my PhD, meal prep, do the dishes or laundry… Or, preferably all of the above. I would have included this to do list in my planner complete with matching stickers. So imagine waking up and instead finding that all you could do that day was make your way down the stairs, pop down on the couch and for dinner pop a ready meal into the microwave… Of course I spent the better of that day mentally beating myself up for not being the least bit productive that day. This state of mind wasn’t improved by staring at the part in my planner with my to do list and having to face the fact that I could not tick off one single thing. So by the end of that day I was frustrated and felt like a failure.

It took me a good while to realise that such thoughts were not just depressing, but incredibly unhelpful. Being frustrated certainly didn’t help my energy levels go up miraculously nor did it help me in any way. Shocker right?

So, I decided to stop thinking this way. I literally stopped planning and decided to listen to my body on my days off to see what it needed. If it can shove some dishes in the dishwasher that day, I do that. If I have a really good Sunday enabling me to write: whoot! Here for it. And on the zero spoon days? I now make myself a nice cup of tea (and I mean fancy, comforting tea), curl up underneath my fleece blanked on the couch, wait for one of my cats to join me for some lovely cuddles and just binge watch a Netflix series. I declare those days self-care/recharge days and try to enjoy them. I know that I always (and I mean always) push myself to do the best I can at everything I do, and on some days just getting out of bed is all I can manage. And you know what: that’s good enough for me.

got out of bed.jpg

As a result, I have stopped decorative planning. I really miss using my stickers, but hey: no matter how cute that sticker is it sure isn’t worth feeling like crap for. I am still holding on to my planner supplies for now, just in case I change my mind. If not… I am sure I can find a friend who is into journaling that would appreciate them just as much as I do.

Adopting this “I do things when I have the energy for it” approach also meant very few blogposts. In the grand scheme of things, they simply did not have priority this year. I work 4,5 days a week, am doing a postgraduate course (which is going really well by the way: I’m ahead of schedule at the moment) and work on a PhD whenever I can… So with that much on my plate I simply didn’t want to pressure myself in writing blogs. After all, they are supposed to be written for the fun of it, not because I feel like I have to. So instead, I opened an instagram account where I sometimes post pictures. If I snap a good picture or have something to share I post it on there. But again, it’s a no pressure “la-dy-da” approach. No promises, no regular update times. I post whenever feel like it. I would love it if you could sneak in for a peak sometimes. My instagram account is @positivelymar.

My embrace of spooniedom has also lead me to stop entering weight-loss related challenges. I just really want to focus on listening to my body and getting it to a state where it functions at its best. And that comes with enough challenges on its own. Honestly, because of my illness the motivational quotes that were supposed to help me reach my goals during the challenges were getting a bit on my nerves. Constantly being told “do your best” gets a bit frustrating if that is all you are doing. Living with a chronic illness means that you are constantly pushing yourself: whether it is to go to get out of bed, to go to work, to write… And in those cases regular motivational quotes can be discouraging as they make you feel like you aren’t doing enough. So… I stopped. Instead I started following some instagram accounts from fellow spoonies that share messages that currently resonate more with the stage of life I am currently at, like “you are enough”, “you are already doing everything you can, hang in there”. This does mean I have gained a bit of weight again, but I am sure that will come off as soon as I find the right balance.

Before I end this blog, I do want to make it clear that this new approach doesn’t mean that I feel sorry for myself, have planned to spend all my weekends in bed and will never try to achieve another goal in my life again. I mean, come on…. Have we met haha? I still have that freaking PhD to finish and I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will finish it!


No, this new approach simply means that I am learning to roll with the punches. That I am trying to work with my illness, not against it. A lot of people with chronic illness feel as if their body actively working against them. As if they are choosing to subject them to pain, fatigue etc. Well, I am not sure I agree. I am pretty sure my body and mind are in the same (rickety) boat. So instead of constantly quarrelling over who should be steering (and occasionally scoop out the water), we’re gonna have to learn to sail this thing together.

When I declared at the end of last year that 2019 would be the year of change, embracing spooniness wasn’t exactly the change I had in mind. But it was the change I needed. For the upcoming year I’m just going to continue this change. As I result, I am not going to make any resolutions, promises or set any definite goals for 2020. I’ll just see how it goes, go with the flow and cross bridges when I get that far. In short: I’m going to live life by using one spoon at a time.

For you, my dear readers I hope that 2020 will treat you well and that you will learn to be kind to yourself. We so often demand the world of yourselves, where we wouldn’t dream of demanding even half of that from others. It’s time we are a bit more forgiving to ourselves and learn to listen: to our mind, our heart and our bodies. Have a lovely 2020.




I liiivveee!!!!


I have never identified with Mushu (from the Disney movie Mulan) more than right now. February is finally over and I have somehow managed to make all my deadlines and to retain (what was left of) my sanity.

Honestly, what was I thinking when I set myself a two month deadline to not just finish a masters module + 4500 word report, but also to hand in a draft of my entire PhD dissertation?! Since January 2nd my life has basically revolved around work and studying… Ok and sleeping, because that was sorely needed to. There was absolutely 0 room or time for a social life. Thankfully, I have lovely collegues where I work so had lots of conversation during our breaks, which definitely helped to keep me sane.

In a facebook post I wrote that I really hoped I would never have to do something this nuts again… Unfortunately for me, as this was only the draft of my dissertation, I am sure that I will have to make quite a few corrections. So give it a month or two and it will be the “return of the insane deadlines” *que Star Wars music*.

But yes, this was one of the reasons why this blog has been a bit dead recently. I’ve been insanely busy and there really just wasn’t much going on in my life… But this month all that is going to change!

Why? Because travel! And people! In the second week of March I will be off to Aberyswyth to attend a study school there. During the study school I will basically be attending lectures related to the postgraduate degree I am currently doing. To make the experience as authentic as possible I once more get to enjoy all that dormlive has to offer, such as shared toilets and showers with nowhere to to hang your dry clothes! How exciting! The thing I really do look forward to through is the three warm meals a day that I don’t have to cook myself… The last time I went in September the food was seriously good… and free (cause work’s paying!). That just makes everything better doesn’t it?

Almost immediately after that I will be travelling to Amsterdam for 6 days. It will be so nice to see my parents and some of my friends again. I’ve really missed them and I am only sorry I cannot see everyone in the small amount of time I have. It won’t be all play though! I will be spending at least 1,5 days of my vacation at the University with one of my supervisors as we go through the draft of my PhD to discuss the corrections I am going to have to make…. Work-a-holic? Who me? I don’t know what you are talking about.

But yes, look forward to a bit more activity here. Also if you would like me to blog about a particular aspect of my life in England (the food, the people, the towns) let me know in the comments and I will see what I can do 😉

This is Mar, signing off.

2018, what a year!


I cannot believe it is almost Christmas. Honestly, time seems to have absolutely flown by this year. And what a year it has been.

2018 was the year that I moved to the UK, got a new job at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, started a new post-graduate study in Digital Curation for said job and travelled outside of Europe for the first time to go to Walt Disney World.

Unfortunately, because everything that has been going on, it has also been the year of a distinct lack of blog posts. After moving to the UK I had intended to post a lot of updates to keep everyone updated about everything that has been going on. However, I soon had to admit to myself once more that I am not super woman. ^__^” Apparently working 4,5 days a week and doing a study a long side that is pretty tiring and does not leave a lot of time for things like blog posts… Who knew, right? Thankfully, I now have 1,5 weeks off until January 2nd, as the library closes over Christmas (… I don’t think I have a had a proper Christmas break since high school o.o).

But that does not mean that I will be lounging around binge watching Netflix the entire time though. Why, you ask? Well… because I have a massive deadline coming up! By the end of February I have to submit the full draft of my PhD thesis. Now at this stage I am only fine tuning my conclusion and editing my introduction… Nevertheless, it is still pretty daunting, with everything else that is going on. Oh, did I mention I have to hand in a 3000 word report for a course I am doing for my postgraduate degree at the same time? So yes the first two months of the new year are going to be heaps of “fun”.

On the other hand, I am glad to have a final deadline for the PhD in sight. I have been really focussed on getting my bearings here in England and have been neglecting working on it. So, I suppose this is a good kick in the bum to get back on track and finally finish the thing!

So to help me make that deadline I will have to do some proper planning. And for this reason I am going to get myself back into decorative planning (which basically is planning with pretty stickers). I was pretty into this last year, but had to stop myself as I noticed planning was becoming a chore and because I was mentally beating myself up over not checking off everything on my to do list for that day, simply because I was too tired. Which is never a good thing. Afterwards, it was pretty hard to get back into planning cause I had lost my mojo. Also, if your day consists of commuting to work whilst doing homework, working and watching some Netflix in the evening… well there is not much planning needed for that. But now that I have to fit my PhD into this somehow, this requires a lot more planning.

So I suppose those are my goals for 2019: finish the darned PhD and get back into planning. Oh, and maybe lose the 2 kilo’s I gained whilst eating all the things at Disney XD.

Do you have any goals set for 2019? Feel free to share in the comments!


My life as an English archivist trainee

Well this blogpost is waaayy overdue. Apologies for the long wait people, I was just struggling a bit to come to terms with working 4,5 weeks, doing school work and having a commute that turned out to be way longer (because you cannot trust English public transport). It’s not been all work and no play though, as I have also met up with some friends here in the UK to visit places like Coventry, Leamington Spa and to explore Oxford together.

In my last blogpost I promised you an update on my new job. I’m afraid, however, that it has to be a rather generic post, as my hands are a bit tied due to the social media policy. That being said, I will try to make this blog as interesting as I can nonetheless.

The first thing I want to say is that I feel really blessed as I really like my colleagues. They are all very sweet and have tried hard to make me feel at home. After leaving WoningNet this was the thing that I was most worried about, as my WoningNet colleagues are all super sweet and awesome. I have kept in touch with some of them and it is great hearing from them once in a while. I still miss them, but I am glad that I have found such wonderful colleagues here in the UK.

Ok, so now you know I like my colleagues. But what about the job? Well that isn’t half bad either (read: I am really enjoying myself). I am currently being trained in one of the reading rooms to help answer questions of readers and give out books and other materials readers wish to look at. As the material belongs to the special collections these books cannot leave the reading room, so we have to keep an close eye on it.

I am also learning how to catalogue a collection comprised of the work of a contemporary poet. The first step in this was taking all the items out of boxes and placing them in special archive boxes, whilst making a list in Excel detailing what I was putting in each box… Now this may sound boring, but it was strangely exciting, because I was never sure what I would find in each box. I definitely did not expect to be cataloguing 5 different coloured corkscrews or temporary tattoos… Yep, bet you didn’t see that one coming either. I am pretty sure I lucked out with this collection though.

The next step is determining how I wish to arrange the catalogue and including this in a cataloguing plan, which I will be working on after my break today.

I have also been taught how to digitize cassette tapes and other media whilst using forensic technology, and will be helping to implementing a new system that will my workplace to catalogue digital media more effectively.

I have also learned how to archive websites so they can be kept for posterity even when their owners take them offline. I think this is a brilliant initiative, as I am pretty sure we all come across one of two websites that we would have looked at a bit more after they went offline.

I’m afraid that is all for now. My break is nearly over. I hope to be able to post a bit more frequently now I have some sort of routine going here. If you have any questions about my life in the UK, feel free to ask :).

Things I’ve noticed whilst living in the UK

I cannot believe that it has already been over two weeks since the move. Time has flown by. High time for an update! But where to start. I have some much I want to write about that I decided to split it into two posts. This one will focus more on the things that I have noticed after moving to the UK. And the next one will be about my first week at work (which has been awesome by the way).

So… I have been to the UK before, but I have noticed a couple of things that I had not noticed before, so I decided to share them with you guys.

Don’t trust the journey planner
Journey planners here in the UK are notoriously unreliable. You can consult 3 and they will all give you different bus or train times. They also usually fail to take into account the difference between off peak and peak travel times, so it might take you 25 minutes longer to get somewhere than the planner says you will…

There are roadworks everywhere
The most likely reason as to why it will take you longer to get somewhere is that they are probably working on the road.. or rather roads. I have never seen this much road work taking place simultaneously. Honestly, the British goverment could do with a planning department for this….

Trains are the bermuda triangle
More likely than not, your phone will immediately lose its signal the moment you set foot in a train. You can absolutely forget about calling someone or sending text messages during your commute, unless you are standing still at one of the stations. So if you try to call me and you get an out of service message, you will know exactly what I am doing haha.

MacDonald’s is everywhere
Roadworks are not the only thing you are likely to encounter frequently during your commute. Everywhere you look there is either a MacDonald’s (or Mackies as the Britsh lovingly call it) or an advertisment for this. If you have to buy a busticket in one of the major cities you will find that your receipt conveniently doubles as a discount voucer for a Big Mac. Only 1,99! To be honest, I’m a little bit surprised at its popularity whilst you can get so much better food at Wetherspoons. This a chain of pubs serving really good, decently priced food. If you are ever in the UK make sure to eat there. Their (vegetarian) bangers and mash are to die for.

Small bags of Walkers’ crisps
Walkers crisps (or Lays as we know it Holland) packs of crisps only come in small portion sized bags. I have yet to find a big bag meant for sharing. This seems to encourage people to eat it in moderation, which forms a odd contrast to the overabundance of MacDonald’s adds. Personally I don’t really mind as it keeps me from over eating, but it was still something I noticed that was a bit different to Europe.

Try the bread
Now this is a recommendation of my fiancé who has had the pleasure of sampling the regular breads (I have had to stick with gluten free I’m afraid). When buying bread in the UK you don’t only get to chose the type of bread, but also the thickness of the slices. And gosh the extra thick, soft white slices look absolutely delicious. According to my fiancé they are. He particularly likes the one from a brand called Hovis… So, when you are here, make sure to give that a try.

food_cakes_and_sweet_cake__cake_and_biscuits_031407_The legend’s are true: most British are entirely made up of biscuits and cakes
Every morning without fail there are at least three to four of my direct collegues who can be seen enjoyong a lovely slice of cake or a muffin in the cafeteria. I have been informed that the cakes are really quite good, but not as good as the ones in the public café of the Weston Library. Needless to say, I shall have to put this to the test at some point.  Any volunteers who wish to join me in this experiment?

Those who have not yet had their fix in the morning eagerly sample some of the cookies or a homemade piece of cake which someone has brought into work during the 4 o’clock tea break. Next time I visit Holland I will definitely bring back some Dutch cookies for them to try.

Well that is it for now. Over the course of the next couple of weeks or months I am sure I will notice some more differences or English habits. 😀 So this might become a bit of a series. Who knows ;).

What a move…

IMG_20180826_103855791.jpgI am currently writing this post whilst I am curled up on the couch under a blanket in the conservatory in our new home. We have been experiencing some real British weather the past couple of days and today it is going to be a rainy day as well.

The journey here though was not as smooth as we had hoped. We had wanted to leave for Birmingham on Thursday no later than 10 am, but we’re unable to leave until 11, because not all our items fitted into the van. Thankfully, we had a wonderful neighbour who was willing to take it to the garbage disposal for us… Honestly, he deserves the best neighbour award.

So once on our way Biscuit quickly informed us that travel is not for him. He did so quite loudly for about 30 minutes before the poor dear finally settled down a little. Pancake, on the other hand, only miauwed when she really wanted some attention. She was a real trooper.

Once we arrived at the Eurotunnel, to crossover to England, we had to stop at the pet reception to check the paperwork of the pets. I expected this to be pretty smooth sailing as they both go their rabies shot on time and we got a new European passport for Biscuit, as he used to have a regular passport before. But of course nothing could be that easy… After scanning both cats the lady at the reception told us there was something wrong with Biscuits pasport. The vet had forgot to stamp and sign it. I was already pretty stressed at this point, because of the move so I was about ready to start crying. But the lady phone a local vet about 10 minutes away who was happy to give us a new passport.

And we got that passport alright, but not before my fiance and one of our best friends driving the van had to hunt for a cash machine, because the vet did not take credit or debit cards (… That’s the French for you I guess).

So two hours later and 50 euro’s (??!! For a flipping piece of paper!) poorer we were finally on the train and off to England.

You would think things would go pretty smoothly from here. Ha! Guess again! Apparently the British love to work on their road system… Especially during summer vacation and in evening times. lucky us!

So our plan of arriving at our new house and unloading our things had to be revised. Instead we decided to crash at the house of the friend driving the van, as it was 00.30 by the time we got there.

The next day we got up at 7 o’clock to head to the house. We only had until 11 to unload all our possessions…  After a quick stop at a supermarket to buy some cleaning supplies and provisions we arrived at the house by 9… Yep leaving us 2 hours to unload the entire van.

It was tough, but we made it with 5 minutes to spare. I spent the rest of that day cleaning out kitchen cupboards and putting things away.

Yesterday was a bit of a slower day. We put together some wardrobes and did some grocery shopping. I bought an electric kettle at Morrison’s hoping to make some tea, only to find out it is missing the lower part to power it when I got home… I was so confused when I pulled it out haha. So I am going to have to just stick with water for a bit. I’m sure I will live ;).

Biscuit is having a bit of a hard time adjusting to all of this. He has spent the better day of Friday and Saturday hiding under the sheets in our bedroom. But he seems to be getting used to the new place. Pancake on the other hamd acts like I just gave her the best present ever. She was happily expiring the new place on the first day lol. For some reasons she particularly loves the stairs (it’s her first time seeing any) and loves to chill on the top step haha. Weird cat. She is currently chilling on my lap happily purring whenever I spot writing to give her a cuddle. I am sure Biscuit will venture down the stairs today or tomorrow as well. It usually takes him around 3 days to adjust to changes.

So yeah… This has been one hell of a move. But we are here. In rainy old England. Guess I’d better do some more unpacking, though I have to say sitting here with the cat on my lap makes it hard to get started haha.

A new job

Dear readers,

Well this blogpost is up a little later than I wanted it to, but a lot has been going on.

Most of you will already know this, but since I wrote my last post I also got a job in the UK. I have been hired as a Graduate Trainee Digital Archivist and will be working at what I believe is one of the coolest places ever: The Bodleian Libraries! I feel like I owe you guys a small trip report as I had to go all the way to Oxford for my job interview, so grab some coffee, tea or plain water (whatever works for you), because it’s going to be a lengthy blog.

On July 11 I was invited for an interview in Oxford. My interview was to take place on Thursday July 19th at 9.10, so I decided to fly in on Wednesday. It would be my first trip abroad by myself in about 6 years. Honestly, that prospect made me a little nervous, especially since I did not have the best time ever the last time I went on a solo trip. Ironically the trip was to a conference in Birmingham and I just ended up feeling a bit lonely. This might just have been nerves though. As it kind of was my first time flying alone, my first time staying in a hotel on my own and my first ever conference… Perhaps the accumulation of first times kind of ruined it a bit. Who knows?

This time was quite different. Though I still prefer going on a trip with others – it’s just more fun that way -, I had a pretty good time exploring Oxford and doing some shopping at Cath Kidston and Uniqlo. If you have not yet heard of Uniqlo I highly, highly recommend you pay that store a visit. It is a Japanese brand, known for its simplicity, but amazing quality. It of course also helps that they aren’t crazy expensive. For my Dutch readers: there’s a store coming to Amsterdam this autumn, so be sure to check it out. I for one look forward to stopping by there once every so often in Oxford.

The room I booked very much had a dorm room kind of feel. Probably because it was actually a dorm room rented out to tourists over the summer.. They did try really hard to make the room feel a bit more special, with the little soaps and even a chocolate on my pillow.

As I hate being late, I of course arrived at the library for my interview a little early. So I used this time to take some epic pictures of some really cool buildings right across the street from where I will work.

Before the interview commenced I was asked to take two tests and was subsequently interviewed for about 45 minutes. I had a pretty good feeling about the interview. You know, the kind of feeling that you really couldn’t have done or said more than you did. And if they didn’t hire you, it was simply because it wasn’t meant to be. After the interview I was given a small tour of my potential new workplace, just to give me a bit of a feel what it would be like working at the Weston Library (which is home to the Bodleian Library’s special collections).


The Weston Library

Once the tour was over and my really sweet guide had dropped me off at the entrance I, of course, could not resist perusing the giftshop. I have made it a habit to pick up a magnet of every place I go to, so I made sure to pick up a nice one of the Old Bodleian Library (at this point, I wasn’t quite sure if I would be getting the job, so I bought one just in case). By this time, though it was time to get my luggage and to head to the bus that would take me to the airport. I would have loved to stay in Oxford a little longer, but alas that was not in the cards.

Check-in at the airport was fairly swift and I decided to sit myself down at a Starbucks in the hopes of being able to do some writing. Cue the hipster picture of a Chai Tea Late and a laptop lol.


Thankfully my flight was pretty on time and I was able to board the airplane swiftly. About 1,5 hours later, the plan landed on Schiphol and the crew gave us permission to switch our phones back on we were still taxying.

I was eager to let my parents and fiancé know that I had landed safely, so I immediately turned off flight-mode. As it usually takes my phone a while to pick up any type of signal, I let it rest of my leg for a bit. The moment the device picked up a signal though it started ringing. It was a number from the UK and more specifically from Oxford… My heart leaped a little as I answered the phone. It was the Bodleian library offering me the job! Whoot!

So now I am sure some of you are wondering: what on earth does a graduate trainee digital archivist do? Well they will teach me to do a variety of jobs, such as how to digitize old documents and how to archive them, how to archive digital born media (such as websites, blogs and e-mails), how to set up these archives and how to manipulate XML, which is the language used to enter information in to the library’s databases. On the other hand, I will also be working at the library’s reading rooms, so I will also be trained as a librarian.

Whilst being trained on the job, I will also be studying with the University of Aberystwyth (yep… that’s going to be a fun one to pronounce). There I will be taking a distance learning course in Digital Curation. Amongst others will be taking modules in “Archive collection development and Description”, “Knowledge and Information Architecture” and “Management Information Systems”. You would probably think that I would be pretty through with learning seeing that I have done a Bachelors, Masters and am about to complete a PhD, but nothing could be further from the truth. I actually look forward to start this new study. Though it definitely is a bonus that the essays never have to exceed 3000 words and don’t have to consist of 100% new and original ideas. Hopefully this is going to be piece of cake since have been producing 14,000 word chapters that are (hopefully) filled with new insights and ideas.

As I am writing this I only have two days left at my current job. I cannot believe we are already leaving for England next week. Time sure flies when you are packing!

Unfortunately, I once more had to admit to myself that I am not superwoman. I discovered that I cannot finish everything at my current job up nicely, pack the entire house and emigrate, finish my PhD on time and lose weight. Something had to give, and I am sad to say my eating has been a bit all over the place… Over the past month or so I have gained 2 kilo’s. Yikes. Needless to say I am going to try to keep that under control since I do not want to gain any more. Ambitious? Hell yes, but apparently, that’s just how I roll.

As always, thank you for reading my dear reader. I am not sure if the next post will be before or after the move, but just in case I post it after: see you on the other side of the pond!

We’re moving to the UK!

keep calm I'm moving to England

Yep, the majority of my readers probably already know this because they know me in real life, but we are moving to the UK by the end of August.

My fiancé was offered a job in Wolverhampton and I had spotted a job that I really want to apply for. It of course also helped that I am crazy about the Victorian era and we were already thinking of maybe moving to England next year… So we decided to go for it.

When are we moving? 47 days from now…. and boy is that stressful haha.

Thankfully though we already have a house. We signed the tenancy agreement for a lovely house in Rubery, Birmingham this weekend. I am so excited! The house is bigger than we currently have. It has two bedrooms and a massive kitchen. The reception room itself isn’t too big, but it is adjacent to a lovely conservatory, which I am sure the kitty cats will appreciate.

new house

Our new home!

I will make sure to post some pictures once we have decorated everything.

The area itself is lovely. It is pretty quiet and it is very green. It is also close to Waseley Hills Country Park, which looks amazing. I can’t wait to explore this. Perhaps I can persuade a  friend who enjoys a bit of twalking (talking + walking) to join me… Hmmm, we’ll see.

We still have a ton to do though. We need to pack and get everything ready for the move. And on top of all that I also have a dissertation to finish… Yep: when I said things are stressful, I meant it.

I will try to keep you guys updated about the move and how I myself am getting on with finding a job in England. But I am not making any promises, because to say I’m going to be “hella busy” might be an understatement. Still, I will do what I can to keep you all posted ;).