2021 here I come

I have a confession to make. I have always been the kind of person who thought New Years Eve was horribly overrated. Although as a child I liked the idea of staying up, eating nice things and watching fireworks, as I grew older New Years Eve just lost it’s sparkle. It felt like just another day, on which I usually had to work, with too much food (too close after Christmas) and on which I had to force myself to stay awake until 12 o’clock, because it’s expected and you can’t sleep with all the fireworks going off anyway.

This year though… boy am I in the mood for New Years! The moment that clock strikes 12 I am actually going to be there, partying with the rest of the world. Why? Not because I think that a global pandemic will be resolved overnight and everything will be better. We are still going to be in lockdown until January 19th at least and until the majority of us have been vaccinated this virus is clearly not going anywhere.

So no, it’s not because of that. It’s mostly because I am looking forward to what the new year brings… and that is stability. As my trusty readers will know, I have had one heck of a year with a lot of stress and because of that CFS flare-ups. I cannot wait for a year that is emotionally and financially stable. In which I can find balance and build up an actual routine.

I don’t think I expected myself to write this a couple of years ago. To be frank, I am quite a contradictory person. I am the kind of person who gets bored and restless when I get into a rut, but who is also not super adventurous. I enjoy a good challenge, but enjoy staying inside my comfort zone as well. As such, for me to be happy and thrive I have discovered I need to have balance between those sides of me. If love doing research and pushing myself at work, but if I am doing so I need to have a stable home and financial environment. If these are lacking, it results in a feeling akin to loosing my center of gravity and desperately trying to keep myself from falling.

So what is my plan for the coming year? I plan to work hard, but also balance that out by spending time with family and friends (responsibly whilst social distancing of course). Work hard, “play” hard… or well, as hard as my CFS allows me to do either haha. I want to get back into eating healthy and actually going outside for a walk. And most of all I want to finish that freaking PhD.

I Swear By My Pretty Floral Bonnet I Will End You GIF by efitz11 | Gfycat

To help me start 2021 the best way I can, I have actually asked to get Monday the 4th off. That day I will spend taking stock of my PhD and plan the work that I have left to do. At least this year I won’t have to try to fit it around another Masters course, as well as a full-time job. It’s just the full-time job that is left… Piece of cake right? *Cough* Right… I will just keep telling myself that until I believe it lol.

From the 5th onward my plan is to get up at 6 a.m. every weekday, so I can take my time waking up, hopefully do some exercise (be it 10 minutes of yoga or a short walk depending on what my body and the weather allows) and do 1 hour of writing a day before work starts. On the weekends I will sleep until 7 a.m. so as to get myself a little extra rest without messing up my sleep rhythm. My Saturdays will remain the day on which I do absolutely nothing that is work or PhD related. On Sunday though I will dedicate at least the first half of the day to my PhD. So if I want to meet-up with friends I first have to do a bit of writing, before I get to play.

At the same time I will try to get back into the habit of eating healthy again. The past couple of months I have just eaten whatever I fancied whilst attempting to retain my sanity, but that seriously needs to stop. I have already told my Herbalife coach that I will be joining the 90 day challenge… so wish me luck. Honestly, I am craving vegetables so badly after Christmas that I don’t see that as being too much of an issue haha.

Needless to say I have no intention of beating myself up if I have to amend the above mentioned routine sometimes. Honestly, I am not perfect (much as I dislike it, being the perfectionist I am) nor am I Superwoman (according to my former colleagues at the Bodleain I am more of a Captain Marvel lol), so I will just take it as it goes and try to make the best of it.

So yeah, 2021… stability, structure and routine. Here I come! Higher. further. faster 😉


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!


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 ;).

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

Newcastle: Bridges, Victoriana and tea, lots of tea

It’s been about two weeks since I have returned from Newastle so it’s high time for a blogpost about it! It’s a rather long one though, so make sure to get a cup of coffee or tea.

Together with my former colleague and lovely friend Mare, I set out for Newcastle on October 30th by boat. After a rather rocky night (literally) on board in a small cabin, we disembarked in true zombie style (due to the crappy sleep we had had) in Newcastle at 09.15 UK time. After clearing customs we were ushered into one of the busses that took us to the town centre.

For some reason I cannot quite phantom there are absolutely no storage lockers in Newcastle. None. So we were at a bit of a loss what to do with our luggage as our hotel has a no left luggage policy *sigh*. Thankfully though someone from dfds was able to point us to a local newsagent that would look after our bags for 5 pounds each. It wasn’t cheap, but it was sure better than having to lug our baggage around.

So, what do you do on your first day in Newcastle? Right! You explore the city centre. We set out for Grainger Market as a number of websites mentioned this was a must see. It was clear that most of the stores were geared to women that were +50, except for this one kick ass store that sold Disney shoes! Yes you read that correctly: Disney SHOES. Although I was tempted I decided against buying them, as I was quite sure they wouldn’t accommodate orthopaedics… Didn’t keep me from drooling at the display though…


The central arcade was right around the corner, so we looked at that as well. But quite frankly this was a bit of a disappointment. The architecture is alright, but it pales in comparison to the ones in Cardiff.

After a quick stop at the very comfortable Waterstones café for a much needed sugar boost (Chocolate milk and Bakewell tarts apparently do wonders to revive you from zombie mode), we ventured into Eldon Square shopping centre. There we visited only a number of stores before we positively fled the premises. For some reason it had suddenly become incredibly crowded there, which was simply too much for two very tired introverts.

We found sanctuary at the Laing Art Gallery. We hadn’t planned on visiting this, but a museum café seemed the best place to escape the still growing crowds. And we were right. The gallery had a lovely café with a beautiful stained glass window, delicious tea and sandwiches… and best of all: nothing but elderly citizens who chatted away whilst keeping their voices down so as not to bother other people…. Don’t judge me, I was tired haha.

After having sat there for at least an hour, we picked up our bags and went to the hotel. By the time we got there, it was nearly time for dinner, which we had at Piano and Pitcher. Now this is a truly lovely restaurant with one hell of a view, and hands down the most scrumptious sticky toffee pudding that I have EVER had.


Our awesome view of the open bridge.

Day 2

On the second day we roamed about the Quayside a bit in search of breakfast and took this lovely selfie 😀


After breakfast we headed to the Victorian open air museum Beamish. Now THIS was fantastic. The museum is huge and offers a tram and bus service to transport visitors in between the several Victorian towns and farms that they have. And the best thing is: the mode of transportation is 100% Victorian.


Yep you get to ride this… for free.

The people working there are obviously nuts about anything Victorian and have a boat load of knowledge that they are eager to share. We had a particularly lovely conversation with this gentleman at the bank.


Gosh… I wanna work here too! Dream job goals people! Dream job goals!

Whilst visiting their website before our trip I had discovered that there was a photography shop…. So needless to say I couldn’t help myself and had another picture taken in Victorian style. At first when the photographer pulled out the dress, which was a light pink, I was a bit doubtful, but as he was clearly a man with a plan I rolled with it. And the result… Well judge for yourself:


One word of advice when visiting Beamish: get there early or plan to go for two days. Seriously, this place is massive. We didn’t even get to see half of the museum despite being there at 12.00. So yes, keep that in mind.

That evening we ended up eating at Las Iguanas, a Mexican restaurant which to my lovely fellow traveller’s extreme delight has a vegetarian menu. And their vegetarian food is good: honestly, the Portobello fajita’s that are TO DIE FOR. Oh and make sure to try to non-alcoholic cocktails. Those are good too.

Day 3

In the morning we discovered the place that hands down serves the best and most affordable breakfast at the Quayside: the café at the Baltic Museum for Contemporary Art. The music selection is relaxing, the staff is friendly and the food is good. So good that we ended up having breakfast there the next day as well.

The museum shop was also well worth a visit, as they have lots of fun gifts. We did briefly go through the several exhibitions, but as neither of us are much into contemporary art, we didn’t enjoy it much. What we did like, however, were the viewing decks which allowed you to overlook Newcastle AND the pretty epic staircase.


After our brief visit to the museum we left for the Biscuit Factory. This is an art gallery where artists display their work and where people can buy it. Some of the work is both stunning and affordable, so it is definitely a visit when you are looking for some new art to decorate your walls (or just to admire the art).

By this time our tummies were rumbling quite a bit so we made our way back to the Quayside to visit Catpawchino, a cat café. Now this was absolutely lovely… and not just because we had to take off our shoes, which our aching feet greatly enjoyed. The owner of the café has an number of cats which all have their own personality and their own charm. My personal favourite, however, was Alfie; the candy monster and king of the castle. Just look at those eyes!


Oh and if cats at a café aren’t enough to make you want to visit: the tea and food are also great. So make sure to give this a try :D.

We spent the rest of the day back in the city centre to visit amongst others Marks and Spencer’s and to revisit Waterstones to pick up the newest Dan Brown novel that was on sale for only 10 pounds.

Day 4.

This was our last day in Newcastle. After dropping off our bags at the newsvendor we visited the Lit & Phil library. Although this is by no means the most beautiful library I have ever visited, it was definitely the most welcoming one. Upon entering we were greeted by a lovey elderly librarian who welcomed us and invited us to wander around and read as many books as we wanted whilst enjoying some coffee or tea. Whilst browsing their book selection I actually found a book that will help me with some of my research. So yes, super happy we went there.

Afterwards we roamed through Newcastle in search of a quaint little shop called The Glamorous Owl. Now this cute little giftshop is a hidden gem that is really hard to find if you aren’t actually looking for it. The entire shop is dedicated to handcrafted items and they are surprisingly affordable. I ended up buying a pair of really cute, silver, floral earrings (for only 25 pounds!). So if you are into cute, handmade things make sure to drop by.

By now it was time for lunch, and I knew just the place to go to: the Tea Sutra Teahouse. This is very close to the Eldon shopping centre, but rather tucked away so nice and quiet. They have an enormous selection of tea, which they serve in different types of tea pots depending on which tea you get. You also get a little timer so you know when to pour your tea, preventing it from getting too bitter or strong. The food is really good as well! Oh, and when it says your food comes with a salad, don’t expect the spoon full of sorry looking leaves you usually get. No you get half a plate heaped with really, seriously good salad. 😀

The tea house has a bit of a new age/ middle- eastern vibe to it, which is incredibly soothing. And I cannot help but complement the owners on their impeccable music taste: whilst we were there they were playing a Porgy and Bess cd.


By now it was almost time to head back to the boat. We dropped by Marks and Spenser’s to pick up a Christmas pudding, amongst other things, before making our way to the pick up place for the bus which was to take us to the boat.

The return journey on board was pretty smooth (though the food on board left something to be desired: soggy scrambled eggs… really?), and we were actually able to get some OK sleep (which might have just been because we were exhausted hahah).

I had an absolutely lovely time with Mare (thank you for being awesome!) and am definitely planning on returning to Newcastle at some later point in time. Though if that will be by boat is up for debate haha.


To invinity and beyond!

Ehm, hey there! I am sure you are all wondering where I have been and what caused the loonnnggg silence on my blog. Well get yourself a cup of coffee or tea, because this is going to be another looonnngg post.

As I wrote in my previous post, I wasn’t really doing all that great. At the time my CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) was kicking my but, which caused me to try the anti-inflammatory diet.

After two weeks of the diet, I decided to drastically adjust it. My body was not responding well to the no-gluten side of it. So rather than going gluten-free, I decided to reduce the amount of gluten I ate, but still allow myself to eat the occasional sandwich if my body indicated it needed it. Same for diary and meat products. I have been eating less meat (firmly sticking to lean meats such as chicken) and more fish and have tried to eat 1-2 vegetarian dishes each day. I occasinally eat a slice of cheese or coffee creamer, but oterwise firmly stick to non-dairy products such as almond milk.

tired2Unfortunately, the diet has still left me struggling with fatigue big time. I have had a number of weeks when going to work three days a week was pretty much all I could manage. I actually had to drop everything else, because I was physically incapable of doing it or because I was so tired that the thought of it simply stressed me out.

As such, I had to give up yoga, decorative planning and blogging for a while. I even had to skip a couple of my tap dance classes… Now that’s not to say I have not done anything fun at all though. I have allowed myself to go to Movie Park Germany and gone out to dinner with my aunt and uncle who I had not seen in a long while. So all has not been pure missery :). But I have had to pay a price for those outings: I have needed at least a day if not more to recover from them.

As a result of the fatigue I have not been making much progress with my dissertation either. Most days I have just been too tired, so my brain has been unable to translate my ideas into coherent, gramatically correct English sentences >.>.

So what has all of this meant for my weight? Well, I have to confess that it has caused me to fall of the wagon. When I feel this extremely tired my eating tends to get a bit out of control. My will power goes down the drain and I just eat anything I can get my hands on. It’s like my body goes into survival mode. Food means energy, and energy is what we need. So eating it is! The result: I put on 1,5 kilo’s… Go me *sigh*.

everytime-ithinkihave-allmy-ducks-in-a-row-one-of-the-23692428Last Saturday I decided it was time to get my ducks back in a row. I did some Yoga, planned the upcoming week and was frankly ready to get back on track… And then I got hit by some kind of virus or bacteria. Which has resulted in me leaving work early on Monday and just sitting on the couch with a body that was just a trembling heap of missery for the rest of the week. My legs felt shaky and I got out of breath just walking from the couch to the kitchen and back: and that’s 30 freaking steps (I have counted them)…

But I refuse to let this get me down. I am going to use the weekend to get better and then slowly pick-up the pieces the coming week. My goal is to get back on track with my food intake and to do what I can without over excerting myself.

Needless to say I have had to give up running for a while as well. And as much as I hate it (I actually mis running) it doesn’t look like I will be getting back into that for at least another month. I have also figured out that it is probably going to take me much longer to train for a 5k than a healthy person. So with that in mind, it is probably a good thing that my best friend and I have decided to postpone our goal to run the RunDisney race by another year.

However, this decision to postpone our first 5k wasn’t made because of my fatigue though. On the contrary, I decided to do so, because of something really, really exciting!

Are you guys ready for it?


I have booked a trip to Walt Disney World Florida!

I am so excited. My fiancé and I are going to go next year at the end of November. Yep, so we will be there during the Christmas season! This trip will be to celebrate the completion of my PhD (so I’d better finish the bloody thing!). And I am so, so, so excited!

My mother-in-law is also coming with us as she has never been to Disney World, but always wanted to go. Some of my collegues were quite surprised about this decision, as they couldn’t imagine taking one of their in-laws with them on vacation. But I am actually really excited for her to join us on this trip. I believe this is the first vaction where my fiancé will have his mom all to himself, as he has always had to share her with his two other siblings, so it will be nice for them to spend some quality time together. Moreover, I really get along with her (she’s a lovely person) and she’s just as much into Christmas and amusement parks as I am. And bonus: it will be nice to have someone who also likes to visit every single souvenir shop hahaha ;).

So in honor of our trip ti Disney I have decided to make y motto for the upcoming week:


I’m gonna kick this week’s but!


Herbalife and Couch to 5k update

Well it’s high time I gave you guys an update on my experiences with Herbalife and the Couch to 5k app.

Although I have always been anti-shake, I am really, really glad I decided to give Herbalife a try. Honestly, it has made such a difference in my energy levels! Ever since I started on March 25, I have actually had days when I do not feel tired at all. And since I am someone suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that is MASSIVE!

Ok, it is not a miracle cure and I still have days where I am pretty damn low on energy, but those days have been far fewer than they used to be. Honestly, Herbalife has done more for me than the therapy sessions I received at the hospital.

Screenshot_20170709-105839Thanks to the shakes I have also been able to start running twice a week (see my post entitled “I will be a proud healthy tomato“). Continue reading