Silly pictures

Silly pictures…. Some people just take them… They put on a silly face and snap a selfie. Or, when they are taking a picture with their friends, they first take a normal one and then convince everyone to make a weird face. Just for the fun of it.

I never used to be the kind of person that was comfortable doing this. Honestly, I was one of those people who instantly got nervous or uncertain when someone asked me to make weird faces in a picture. Probably because I lacked confidence… massively. I mean, I didn’t like how I looked in pictures to begin with, so did we really have to make things worse by having me deliberately pull a face that was going to make me look ugly? No thanks! I’m good. I’ll just avoid the picture all together.

You may have noticed that that entire paragraph has been written in the past tense. Well, that’s because something has changed. I am not quite sure why, when or how, but it has. I made the discovery because of some pictures I took with my colleagues at the Christmas market/party at work. The place where I work had organized an outdoor Christmas market, where you could grab a bite to eat and compile your own Christmas package whilst chatting with your colleagues and having fun.

There was also a van with a picture boot in the back. My colleagues and I decided we definitely needed our pictures taken. Unfortunately, all seven didn’t fit in there at once, so I only got to take a picture with three of them. Whilst waiting for our turn outside the van we noticed that they had all sorts of festive hats and accessories. Normally I don’t really go for those, but this time my eye got caught by a sparkly, bright red hat. You know, the kind that you really, really cannot miss. Well, on it went and into the van I got.

After having taken the first picture, the call to arms came: “let’s pull a silly face”. My response? “Oh yeah! Let’s do it!” I couldn’t help but think “we are in a photo booth. It’s tradition!” And that’s how my first official silly face picture became a fact. And here it is for the world to see.

silly picture1

🙂 Posted with the curtsey of my colleagues.

Yep, it’s the one in the middle. Ok, it’s only mildly silly, but still… I think this is actually my favourite out of the three.

But I didn’t stop there! I got back into the van, and again was called upon to make a silly face. And this time; I actually made a proper silly one.

silly picture2

It was only once I was on my way home that I realized how very much out of character it was. And how weird it was that I was completely comfortable in front of that camera: with silly face and without it.

As an avid picture avoider this is a huge change for me. And one that I am grateful for. Of course, there are still going to be pictures that I wince at. Where I think: oh good lord… Please delete it. But hey, it’s a process and we are definitely getting somewhere.

I have since even dared to make a somewhat silly selfie. I was taking a picture of my new cold resistant running clothes that I hope to start using in the new year to show to my parents. And you know what? I am sharing it with you guys as well. Just because I can ;).


Who knew coral red was a colour that would look good on me?

The hoody is really nice and warm and has some holes in there for my thumbs, so it will also keep my hands warm. The leggings are both comfy and warm. So I am all geared up to pick up running again, whenever my body is ready for it.

project confidence

So before 2017 is out I can honestly say that I have made some massive progress with  project confidence. Perhaps more than I realized when I wrote my last post in which I look back on my goals of this year.

And with that, my lovely readers I will leave you. Thank you for sticking with me through this year and reading my blogs. I wish you all a lovely Christmas and see you in the new year.


Selfie taken at work before the Christmas market. 😉 They handed out Christmas hats to help everyone get into the Christmas spirit


The not so chubby girl in the mirror

chubby girl mirrorEven though I know I have lost a lot of weight, which the scale still confirms every week, I often enough do not see myself as a regular (or healthy) sized girl. When I look into the mirror I often still see the overweight, chubby girl that I have been for most of my life. Even when others tell me how much weight I have lost, I am occasionally quite blind to it.

Last week I went shopping with my lovely friend Bianca and tried on a dress which had a pencil skirt. Whilst I was unsure whether or not I should take the dress, because I was worrying if it did not make my hips look huge, if it was flattering and did not make me look bigger than I was she blurted out: Gosh Mar! You are so skinny!

And this actually came as a total surprise to me, since at that very moment I was still seeing the chubby girl in the mirror. You know, the type that shouldn’t wear pencil skirts, because they are unflattering?

I ended up buying the dress, because I decided that I liked it and that I actually did look good in it. Once the weather actually allows for me to wear it (which I hope is really soon) I will try to see if I can make a picture of it to share with you guys. (Go project confidence!).

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Project confidence: Perhaps being you is good enough

I am typing this post whilst siting on my warm, comfy couch,wrapped in a blanket whilst one of my cats is vying for my attention. Outside white flakes of frozen water have been falling down the sky for a good two hours by now. So the world is white and sparkly.

Although we usually go grocery shopping on Saturday’s that is obviously not going to happen today. We have to walk at least 15 minutes to get to the stores (yes *gasp* we do not own a car) and it’s just too risky. I really do not want to fall haha.

So rather than spending my time working on my grocery list or prepping for the grocery haul, I actually have the time to sit down and write a blog post.

I just wanted to apologize for the not so positive post last week, but I only thought it fair to share my downs as well as my ups with you. A lot of my readers as well as friends have told me in the past that they could not imagine how I balance all aspects of my life and look perfect whilst doing it. They told me they wished could do all of that like I did… So, I just thought it would be fair to show them that I actually often struggle to keep all my juggling balls in the air. I suppose this also shows that everyone has their own struggles: even though they may appear perfect to you, they usually are far from it. So I am going to share some advice that I have been trying to implement myself as well: Continue reading

2017: goals and expectations

As promised, I will be entirely dedicating this blog post to my goals and resolutions for 2017. Just to keep everything nice and tidy, I have decided to divide this post up like the one in which I reflected on 2016.


Well my first goal for this year is to loose the weight I gained during Christmas and New Years. I really decided to just let myself go, and deal with the aftermath once the holidays were over. And as today is January first I have immediately started to watch what I am eating even though my fiancé has really been tempting me with lots of yummy, not so healthy food haha.

Once I have accomplished this, I intend to maintain this weight for the rest of the year. Now, I know from previous attempts that this is going to be a bit of a challenge, but I have never been this determined to keep off weight before. So yes, I really, actually think that I have got this! 😀

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2016: what a ride

As promised, I too will dedicate a post to looking back on 2016. It really has been quite a year. I will be dividing this post into different sections, just to bring a bit of structure into this post. I will not be writing about my goals for 2017 in this post, as I plan to dedicate a separate blog post to this.

This is going to be quite a lenghty post as a lot has happened this year, so I suggest you get yourself a cup of tea, coffee or whatever other drink that helps you to relax, and sit yourself down in a comfortable chair ;).


41102ce427d4f9c2345a2480e3e5f36eIn May this year I decided that it was high time that I jumped back on the weight-loss bandwagon. I had stopped watching what I was eating in December 2015 and had as a result gained about 3,5-4 of the kilo’s of what I had managed to loose in 2015. In 2015 I had started with a weight of 80 kilo’s (176 lbs) and had managed to bring it down to around 71 kg (156.5 lbs), thus loosing about 9 kilo’s (+/= 20 lbs). When I began my weight-loss journey again in 2016, I weighed about 74,4 kilo’s (164 lbs).

As those who have been following this blog for a while will know, I managed to loose the weight I had gained and more. Even though I did want to get to 68 kilo’s (+/- 150 lbs) I never actually thought this was a realistic goal… But I am proud to say that even during the crazy Christmas season I have managed to remain below that weight. For the past two months I have been hovering around the 67 kilo’s (+/- 148 lbs), which I am extremely satisfied with. I would like to get down to 66, but honestly as long as I stay around 67 I am quite happy.

As I have lost over 7 kilo’s (15,5 lbs), this also meant I went down 2 whole clothing sizes. By now I have donated, given away, sold or thrown away all of my old clothes as they were too big. And have begun to built an entirely new wardrobe. So there really is no turning back!

Project Confidence

project confidence

In June I started what I decided to call Project confidence. I was and still am quite an insecure person and realized that just loosing weight was not going to help me to gain confidence. Though it has definitely helped a lot!

One of my goals with this project was to gain back my “forever smile”. And I have definitely been smiling more. I am still working on worrying less about what people think of me, or rather, what I think people think of me, but I did not really expect to change that aspect of myself in just a few months. So yes, very much work in progress.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor tap danceI did get to a point, however, where I felt comfortable to try something I had been wanting to do for years. In September I joined a dance school that I had never been to and began taking tap dancing classes. Now this was probably one of the best decisions that I have made all year. I immediately noticed at the end of the first lesson that I felt a bit more like my old self again. Until I was about 15 years old I used to go to musical class where we would have dancing lessons every week, and I absolutely loved it. I had the exact same feeling after tap dancing. For one hour I was able to forget my problems with fatigue and was just able to focus on dancing. Now mind you, I am not particularly good at tap dancing, but I really enjoy it a lot! I always look forward to it and it is a great way to exercise!

Over the past months I really notice that I have began to smile more and to feel a lot better in my own skin. And as I have said before: weight-loss does help with this. Thanks to the amount of weight I have lost, I now own a coat that I feel absolutely fantastic in! If ever there was a coat that gave confidence, this is definitely it. Several people have told me that this really is a Mar coat… and I could not agree with them more. I am almost inclined to buy a second one, I case this one wears out haha.


As my trusty readers will know I have been struggling with fatigue issues for a couple of years now. This year, I was finally admitted to the hospital so that they could run some tests. It turns out that I have chronic fatigue syndrome, for which I am currently being treated by a sleep psychologist. Since I have been going to this psychologist, I have noticed a definite improvement in my energy levels.

I am currently adhering to a strict sleep schedule, have stopped working on my dissertation for at least one day a week (which is usually on Saturdays) and have been focusing less on how tired I feel. As a result, I have been able to survive a completely crazy December that was absolutely crammed to the brim with deadlines. I would not have been able to do this half a year ago, so I am really grateful. I do, however, notice that perhaps I asked a bit too mAfbeeldingsresultaat voor sleepy animeuch of myself and that I do have to take a step back now. So yes, I do need to find a better balance… And remember that I am not wonder woman. However, sometimes life just gets crazy and all you can do is to go with the flow. Here’s to hoping I won’t have a repetition of December any time soon though!


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This year has been absolutely amazing when it comes to work. I was able to obtain my Prince 2 Project Management foundation and practitioner certificates, got promoted to a Senior position, was able to manage a number of IT related projects with success  AND got a permanent contract! I mean just wow… After a year with this many highs, next year is going to be such a let down haha!

PhD and research

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor anime researchMy research as certainly kept me busy this year. In July I was asked to contribute three articles to a Companion to Victorian literature and have just sent them to the editor. I have also written a book review which is to be published in the Wilkie Collins Journal. Next to this I have been working steadily on my doctoral thesis, which is due to be finished September 2017… The thought of which gives me a near panic attack as there is so much left to do! But I will write more on this in my next blog on my goals for September 2017. So stay tuned.

And you my dear? How was your 2016? Regardless of what it was like, I wish you a marvelous, healthy and lovely 2017.

Surprise promotion, tap dance and Pokémon

I just wanted to give everyone a short update as a lot of great things have been happening during the past two weeks.

toujou-nozomi-full-1745026Yes you have read the title correctly: I got a surprise promotion! After a meeting on location this Monday, my manager casually dropped that she had a letter for me at the office which she had forgotten to give to me earlier on the day. As I do not usually get letters from my employer, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked her what was in the letter. To my complete surprise she informed me that it stated that I had been promoted to Senior Information and Process coordinator as of July 1st.

Now I did not see this one coming! Continue reading

Project confidence #2: planning a better me (planner haul blog)

project confidenceI have decided I am going to make my project confidence into a series of blogposts in the hope that they will be useful to some of my readers who are also struggling with self-esteem issues. Or that they will simply be fun to read. I’ll settle for that as well ;). Please note that I have inserted some headers in the post so everyone can quickly see if a section is to their interest or not.

More confidence equals scatterbrain?!

It is a little strange, but ever since I posted the initial post about project confidence and decided I was going to accept myself, I have really noticed a change in me. I am sure this also has something to do with the exercises in the book that I am using to regain my confidence entitled Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-acceptance by Rosie Molinary (I will be writing a review on this once I have used it for a month).

It’s like some of the weight I didn’t even know I was actually carrying around has fallen off of me (lol now I losing weight both figuratively and literally). I seem to be a lot more at peace with myself and even to have a little bit more energy (and I will do ANYTHING for just a teeny bit more energy). I appear to be reverting slowly to the bubbly person that I used to be (yeay me!). This has resulted in my brain literally overflowing with ideas and things I want to do…  Next to the massive mountain of things I am already doing. In other words, I am slowly, but surely also turning into a scatterbrain.

So I decided, it was time to get organized!

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Project confidence

People who know me do not immediately classify me as insecure. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I have never tried weed (even though I have lived in Amsterdam most of my life), I don’t wear make-up and I dress the way I like. I cannot remember the time I caved to group pressure to do something that I really did not wish to do… I believe the last time was when I was about 9 years old. I have always had a very strong sense of self. Other than on stage or in drama class I never pretended to be someone that I am not. I have always only been me.

And yet, despite knowing who I am and never pretending to be otherwise, I lack confidence. MASSIVELY. Yes, you can be yourself and still be completely insecure in being it. Don’t get me wrong, I have slowly been gathering confidence over the years, but it still needs a heck of a lot of work… So, I have decided I am going to start a project for myself: Project Confidence (I like the double meaning in it).

project confidence

So why am I insecure? I am not going to bore you with the details about being teased as a child in primary school for being overweight or having a head the colour of a tomato when I was warm. Yes this left its scars, but I have not had it nearly as tough as some of my readers probably have had it. I had friends and never felt completely isolated. I probably came home crying once or twice, but definitely not every day, every week or even every month. The kids did not make me perfectly miserable. But that does not mean that the comments they made did not leave any scars. It somehow left me with the feeling that I was different and that I did not quite fit in.

There is, however, one event that took place whilst I was still in primary school, though it happened outside of school, that I would like to share with you. This had a really big impact on me. I have not shared this story with a lot of people… If I have ever shared it at all.

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