Celiac Disease, General Life Tips, Nutrition Tips

Traveling With Celiac Disease | How To Stay Gluten Free On Your Travels

So the one thing I hate about traveling is trying to figure out how I’m going to eat without getting sick. It’s not always easy and the fact that I can’t go out and try all the native meals which really sucks but there is no use crying over spilt milk. You just have to clean it and go on with your day. That’s all I can really say. Sometimes it can really suck to have celiac disease. Now I don’t travel a lot and when I do travel I have to think about quite a few things before I do so like what am I going to eat and how am I going to eat? Pretty standard if you ask me. Here is my tips on the matter.

  1. A Place With A Kitchen

First things first you need to stay at a place where you have access to a kitchen to cook your own meals. I know that doesn’t scream oh I’m on holiday but it’s better than being in so much pain and unable to enjoy your holiday because you got gluten in your system. I learned this one the hard way.

  1. Bring The Basics With

This one is pretty hand in hand with number one but I felt like I should milk this at least have enough to write for five tips. It’s super important to bring the basics with you on your trip. Shelf foods if you catch my drift. Pastas, rice, bread, sauce and etc. It’s no guarantee that the closest supermarket will have any gluten free foods so it’s better to be prepared. Here is an example of what I packed in when we went to Greece. I packed in enough food for the two of us as most holiday places to stay at kitchen is pretty basic so there isn’t an option of cooking pasta’s separate and etc. So it looked like a lot but it did come in handy and whatever is left you can always bring back home.

Sorry that this picture is so shit in quality. I had to screenshot from my Instagram. The original picture is long deleted.

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  1. Do your research

Doing your research before going on your trip can really save the day. See what restaurants you can find close to your hotel and how many of them have gluten free options. Now don’t expect a long list heck you will feel lucky to find one but you can contact them before going on the trip and ask if they can help you. There is still foods that’s naturally gluten free and if prepared right then you have no problems. I can’t promise that there will be something for you but it’s worth to look into. Unfortunately it’s just one of those things.

  1. Accept your fate

This sounds pretty horrible and even if you really try there is still a chance that you will get glutened. The best way to avoid it is to cook all of your meals and bring enough basics with so you only have to rely on vegetables and meat. But it can still slip through so be prepared for that. Take what normally helps ease the pain, I have a hot water sack that I hold against my belly when the stomach pain is really bad. It’s the only thing I have to ease the pain but maybe you have other things that helps you.

  1. Another tip that I can’t think off

Damn I really want five tips but I honestly can’t think of another tip sooooo let’s just act like I have another tip to share. Wait I have a tip! Just try to enjoy your trip and don’t be too hard on yourself. Although you didn’t need me to tell you that.

I hope this was helpful to someone. Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Dutch, General Life Tips

Afrikaans Speakers Learning Dutch

I’m writing this one specially for my fellow South Africans here in the Netherlands. Specially the new ones. Now not all South Africans speak Afrikaans so this one is only for the little handful who do. Dutch is quite difficult for Afrikaans speakers because it’s so close yet so far. You can’t get away with speaking Afrikaans to a Dutch person. Yes they might follow you a little bit if you speak real slow but it’s only going to get you so far. Same goes for an Afrikaans person trying to follow a Dutch speaker. You might get a rough idea what they’re saying if they speak slow enough and they don’t have an accent but again it will only take you so far. Eventually you have to speak and learn proper Dutch.

I recommend you read these two blogs of mine as an extra or before you read this blog.

Blog number one is my experience with the big Dutch test and how to prepare for the test. I do have to add after I wrote that blog I found out I failed two of the tests (just barely) and I just wrote those two tests back in the beginning of March. They changed the program (not that much to make a difference in the content of this blog. They just upgraded the system. It’s a lot better. The speaking test was a lot easier in my opinion.)

https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/11/10/dutch-as-your-second-language-nt2/

Blog number two I give tips and tricks on how to go about learning a new language. It’s really helpful so definitely give it a read when you just started learning Dutch.

https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/11/10/how-to-learn-a-new-language/

Now let’s move on to my Afrikaans speakers. So once you’re deep into the I’m going to learn Dutch process you will probably start to talk a lot in Dutch (I definitely recommend this. It’s exhausting but it’s really going to improve your Dutch.) and you will make mistakes here and there. First of all just stay strong and if you battle with a word or how to pronounce something pause and ask for help. Here in the Netherlands when a Dutch speaker hears your broken Dutch they will switch over to English for your own comfort. I know it’s rude but they mean well. Just switch back over to Dutch and be straight forward with them. “Hey I’m trying to learn here. Help me please!” It’s not going to be easy but just keep at it. You will improve. I didn’t take this course because I felt like I was a little ahead (read I didn’t want to spend money on it) but this course looks very promising — https://www.zuidafrikahuis.nl/cursus-nederlands

The one main thing I recommend is get a little notebook you can carry around on your person to write notes in when you notice your Afrikaans mistakes that consistently slip in. I call my book: “Afrikaans oopsies!” It might sound Dutch but that’s almost never the case. The Dutch language is a special language hey. It will take a few months before you learn when to use “de, ben, zijn, heb” and etc. Alright before I share some of common mistakes I made (still make) I want to share a funny story. So we all know in South Africa a bill at the cashier is called a “slippie” well here it means G-string. It’s a “bon” here so just keep that in mind.

Amper = bijna

Basically every time you want to say “amper” stop yourself because it’s “bijna”.

Ander dag = laats

Aspris = expres

Baba = baby

Bekommerd = besorgt en ongerust

I always forget this one.

Baie warm = heet

Blameer = schuld geven

Bly = woont

Dun = small

Deurmekaar = verward

They do use “doormekaar” when someone is confused over a pack of cards. A person is “verward”.

Druip = onvoldoende of niet gehaald

Daglig = overdag

Eendag op ’n reëndag = op een dag

Eenkeur = op een keur

Ek wonder = ik vraag me af

Gunstelling = lievelings, favoriete

Hoender = kip

Gets me all the damn time.

Hardkoppig = koppig

Hartseer = verdrietig

Irreterend  = irritant

In klim = in stappen

Kombuis = keuken

“Kombuis” is a boat’s kitchen here.

Kar = auto

This one always get me. Insert rage filled scream. My trick is think of a car as an automobile. This way you remember it’ “auto” in Dutch.

Kos = eten

Kombers = deken

Kwaad = boos

Kettel = waterkoker

Kleinseerig = kleinzielig

Lekker = leuk (alleen lekker kos of lekker weertje)

Awwwh we Afrikaans speakers use “lekker” for everything. It’s the way of life. When you want to say “lekker” it’s probably not the right time to say it. It’s only correct when referring to food or when saying the term: “lekker weertje” otherwise it’s “leuk”.

Lip ice = lippenbalsem

Los my uit = laat mij met rust

Min = minder, weinig

Mince = rundergehakt

Mikrogolf = magnetron

Mat = vloerkleed

Navorsing = onderzoek

Opgewonde = heel veel zin in of enthousiast

Oomblik = ogenblik of plotseling

Partykeur = soms en afentoe

Reg = goed, klaar

Here you almost never say “reg” only when you’re talking about direction (but not really it’s “rechts” and “rechtdoor”) and the law. So I know in Afrikaans we use “reg” all the damn time – “Die kos is reg!” – but stop yourself and choose another word because it’s never “reg” when you want to use it.

Sukkel = worstel/worsteling

This one was quite funny because I was like “Ek sukkel hoor!” but yeah “sukkel” isn’t a word here. “Ik worstel om dit te doen.”

Skaars = amper

So basically as an Afrikaans speaker when you want to say “skaars” its “amper” here.

Stamp = duwen

Spasie = plaats, ruimte

Stadig = langzaam

Stort = douche

Spinnekop = spin

Skottelgoed = afwassen

Sensitief = gevoelig

Tumbledryer = droger

Terg = plagen

This is when you tease someone.

Verhouding = relatie

Vervelig = saai

Dutch speakers use “vervelend” when something bad happens or a case of bad luck.

Vinnig = snel

Verskooning = excuus

Venster = raam

Vloekwoorde = scheldwoorde

Warmwatersak = kruik

’n koek in jou hare = klitten

That’s only a few of my Afrikaans oopsies. It has really helped me because now in the back of mind I knew about these words and after a few more slip ups eventually I remember the right word for what I want to say. I wish you all the best!

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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PS: If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. Ek sal jou enige tyd help waar ek kan! Lekker daggie verder!

 

Self Love, Story Time

I Have PCOS

This is probably one of the hardest blog posts I’m ever going to write. It’s something so very close to my heart and talking about it makes me feel vulnerable. This entire experience rocked my entire world and I’ve been an emotional wreck. The timing wasn’t the best either as I just found out my grandmother’s cancer is back and this time around there is just nothing they can do for her. It broke my heart especially when it dawned on me that I won’t ever see her again. I can’t go down to South Africa to say my goodbyes.

So how do I start? I’m trying my utmost best not to cry here but the tears are definitely going to roll pretty soon. This is an emotional subject to write. Somewhere, wait let me get the date and post, 8th of February, I publicly mentioned that I was diagnosed a hormone syndrome that was the culprit behind my weight gain, mood swings and acne. By that point I was sitting on the news for quite awhile. Wrapping my head around it wasn’t completely easy. When I started to learn more about it, well let’s just say I cried a lot. It’s been difficult.

I guess I should just say it. I have PCOS. Yeah. I said it. Some of you might be wondering what the hell is PCOS and why are you making such a big deal out of it? Fret not I have four books (I haven’t finished reading them all) that I cried while reading and they taught me quite a bit about the syndrome.

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that affects an estimated 5 to 10 per cent of women of reproductive age across the world, and results in irregular or absent periods, acne, excess body hair and weight gain. It can also cause problems with fertility.*

PCOS can cause depression and anxiety. There is drugs to help with the symptoms and to improve fertility but there is natural solutions. Drugs comes with side effects and will stop working once I stop taking it. I don’t want to take drugs for the rest of my life so I’m very eager to solve or ‘cure’ my PCOS with my diet. The book I’m following is by Marilyn Glenville. Here is the link to her website and book. (I really wanted to follow my doctors recommendations first before I go off and do my own thing. He decided to put me on drugs but I’m still going to change my diet as Marilyn Glenville recommended in the book, Natural Solutions To PCOS, for the best possible result.)

https://www.marilynglenville.com/

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https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/

I bought the book and three others on Amazon. I really enjoy Marilyn’s book. I watched her lecture and just really fell in love with her approach and overall success rate.

But let’s get back to my feelings. I’m surprised how detached I’m writing this but I can already feel the tears coming as I think of what I want to say next. PCOS scares me because I want children one day. What scared me the most is the infertility that comes with it. I read and seen so many women in support groups that has been struggling for years. YEARS. This one women has been trying for ten years. Not only do you struggle to get pregnant you have a very high risk for miscarriages. That terrifies me so much. I’m scared. I really am. I’ve wanted to be a mom ever since I could remember. I’m entering a stage in my life where becoming a mother is in the future. The diagnoses shook my entire world. So many thoughts raced through my mind and to be honest when I think about it too much I can’t stop crying. It’s just..what if? No let’s stop right there. I can’t put it in words. I just can’t.

PCOS has affected me emotionally, heck that is an understatement, but physically it has wrecked havoc on my body. My hormones are completely out of whack. I gained 15kg almost overnight. My acne is horrid. My mood swings borderline on she’s crazy and my self esteem is shot. I have excess body hair and the sudden weight gain has given me quite a bit of stretch marks. I don’t feel attractive. I’m scared that I’m failing as a women. Not only do I no longer feel attractive there is a possibility that we will really struggle to have our family. It’s heart wrenching. Okay I’m crying again. Can barely see my screen. I’m going to take a break.

My entire body aches. My energy is low. My acne and stretch marks is a daily reminder. I’m tired all the damn time and I’m constantly nauseous. I’m struggling with depression and I’m scared. I have days where I have no appetite and eating makes me want to throw up and then I have days that I just can’t stop eating. PCOS is completely out of my control and it will never go away. When I was diagnosed with celiac disease I kind of took it with stride. It was difficult as it was something so out of control and something that will always be there but…I don’t know. It seemed like well cut out gluten and make some sacrifices but overall it’s still good. PCOS on the other hand…it affected me on every single level and I will have to make a massive lifestyle change. My diet is going to have to change and hopefully that won’t spark up my old eating disorder…I’m scared and this is really hard.

I’m writing this four days before my first big appointment for my PCOS. We made the appointment soon after I was diagnosed but the waiting period was eight weeks. In these last eight weeks I’ve made a few changes but not a lot as I want the test results to be more telling if that make sense. I will explain in a bit. I’ve tried to keep up with my training more but at the same time I read so much about how this and that might not be good for PCOS so really I want more guidance. I’ve cut out almost all caffeine. In these last eight weeks I’ve had four cup of coffee. I’ve been drinking a lot of green tea and I’ve cut down almost all refined carbohydrates in my diet. I’m on a very low sugar diet. I check every single label for the sugar content and find the best product for me. But emotionally. I’ve been barely keeping it together. I cry at least four times a week about PCOS. I can’t open the PCOS book without crying my eyes out. I sometimes don’t really feel like doing anything and it’s just been so hard.

On Thursday the 29 of March I’m hopefully going to walk out with some future plans and more information. I’m not sure of the entire process as I yet have to experience this, I will add on to this blog after I’ve been, but I’m hopeful. Or I’m trying to be. My best guess is that they’re going to run some tests, see how my insulin resistance is (diabetes is at risk here) and over all what I should do, eat and etc to control my symptoms and balance out my hormones. Hopefully this will make me lose weight because barely any of my clothes fit me at the moment and fitting in my old clothes will really help my self esteem right about now. (PS, the appointment was a massive success. I walked out feeling hopeful for the future and a little less scared. The doctor gave me a future treatment plan. He ran some tests and in a week I will find out the results and then change my diet and drink the correct supplements from there. For now I’m just going to read all of my PCOS books and learn even more.)

I’m not sure what exactly I want to accomplish with this post. I’m not okay and PCOS is going to be a struggle but I guess I just want to say to my fellow cysters…you’re not alone and together we can support each other through this. And I also want to explain why I’ve been so absent and less like myself…I will definitely talk about what’s happening with my PCOS and what changes I’m going to make and etc. What products or stuff works for me and all that jazz. But for now I’m going to end this blog because honestly my emotions are just too much for me right now. As I’m writing this part still four days before my doctor appointment I’m really scared and overwhelmed so I’m just going to take the week off Instagram and Facebook. I don’t need social media to add to everything right now. It’s also my mental health week for the month so it’s needed.

Edit from future Cassy that already saw the doctor. I’m still scared for the future and I know I’m going to go through a lot of changes because of the PCOS but I’m feeling slightly more positive. It did help that when the gynecologist scanned my ovaries he saw that I ovulated recently. It just made me feel better about becoming a mother in the future…I’m not a complete failure. My body ovulated naturally. While I’m here I should explain something to those who doesn’t know what PCOS is, so basically I don’t ovulate normally. Where a healthy woman ovulates every month a women with PCOS will ovulated maybe 6 times in a year. Some even less. Some don’t even ovulate at all. There is drugs to induce an ovulation if you want to get pregnant. Not all of them work for every woman out there with PCOS and that’s when some woman struggle for years. That’s what scared me so much but walking away with the news that hey you have an egg in the basket just made me feel more hopeful about everything. I know that without those news I would be feeling a lot different right about now.

Edit from future, future Cassy that just got her test results back. Everything is GOOD! I don’t have other problems related to my PCOS. Feeling very happy right now!

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Making A House A Home (DIY and more)

Renovation Plans For Our First House

Oh I can’t contain my excitement with this one. So in case you missed it, Onno and I bought a house. We just got the keys and we have big plans to make it our perfect home. I figured why not share some of those plans and ideas. I mentioned in the post where I announced the news that we’re going to do a lot of DIY projects around the house. I will definitely share those on here too but for now I’m just going to throw my ideas out there. There is still a few places we have no idea what to do just yet but hey we will figure it out once we’re in the house.

I’m going to start downstairs from the entry way all the way to the back of the house and garden before I take you upstairs. It sounds horrible but I want to keep pictures of our house limited to the public. It just feels unsafe to go through the entire layout out here. Don’t get me wrong we will have before and afters but for now I’m just going to test my skills as a writer and describe the house.

When you enter the house you have the stairs right in front of you and then on the left side you have the door leading to the living area. This little area is very bland at the moment. I’m definitely going to do something fun in this area but we are limited as the little hall or entry way is a bit narrow. We have a storage space under the stairs and then stairs leading down to the creepy and small basement. Onno is going to hide my candy down there because I’m never going down there. That is a promise my friends. Anyway I’m not completely sure what we’re going to store under the stairs, maybe food (pasta, rice and etc.) but that’s something we will probably figure out. The wall if you can call it that, that covers the stairs on the side is very bland and just sad. I really want to something fun there but I haven’t thought of anything yet. It will probably turn into a big DIY project so if I end up doing something cool with it I will definitely let you know.

Alright now we’re finally going to enter the living area. On the left side at the window facing our driveway is our kitchen. Our kitchen at the moment is going for that old vibe if you catch my drift. It’s yellow and the appliances are outdated. It has a dark stone counter top and a white porcelain sink. We’re not completely in love with the kitchen. I like the layout but it needs to be upgraded. The plan is to replace the appliances with new up to date ones (the dishwasher is still new so it’s going to stay. We’re very excited to have a dishwasher. The only downfall is the front doesn’t have a cupboard so you can see the silver of the dishwasher. Here they hide appliances behind cupboards. If that makes sense. Anyway I’m thinking of sticking a marble or something pretty like that paper on it. I will definitely let you know what I end up doing) and we’re going to repaint the cupboards because the shade of yellow is just horrid. Last but not least we’re going to replace the tiles against the wall (well on the floor too but I will get to that part) and we’re going to build or buy a table slash counter top for the side. You can never have enough work and storage space. Something that I really like is, the previous owners has a school black board up in the kitchen. It’s long and thin and doesn’t stand out in a bad way. We decided to keep it because I just love the idea of writing notes for Onno and it’s great to write down the groceries. I figured the kids one day will love it too.

Now we’re moving onto the lounge and dining room area. Everything is open in case you we’re wondering. So this area is quite large in length so let me just rethink how I’m going to explain this. In the one corner we’re going to have our TV and couch and on the other corner we’re going to have our dining table. We have a fireplace (a gas or electric one I’m not sure) that doesn’t work (we will fix it eventually) in the dining room area. Originally we wanted to put our TV above the fireplace but the wall above it is weak and we don’t want to risk it. We have a large window overlooking our garden right next to the dining table which I really like. Oh so I mentioned that I want to replace the floor tiles in the kitchen. Here they have wood in the living area and tiles in the kitchen but because it’s a open floor plan they cut the two off quite unattractively. I don’t like the look of it so we’re going to put new floors in. I want the same floor all throughout the house (well not the bathroom but you get the idea). I just like the look of it.

Alright now we’re almost walking out. At the door as you’re about to go outside you have an area for the washing machine and then two steps forward you have the bathroom. We have a shower and a corner bath which is something straight from my dreams and a toilet separate. Yes the bathroom is downstairs but it’s one amazing bathroom. I’m counting down the days till I get to climb into the bath and spend hours in it. Magical.

And we’re finally going outside. At the moment we have pavement all the way through and a little storage space at the back. We’re not completely sure what we want to do with the garden or how it will turn out to look but we want a fire pit and a vegetable and fruit garden. I also want a lot of grass and space to be outside. Not much to ask from our garden…I think. We originally liked the idea or replacing our wood fence with a hedge but after watching a garden TV show the entire day two weeks ago we liked the idea of making a living wall and well make a living wall of herbs and whatever fruit and vegetables we can grow like that. We don’t know what can survive here in the Netherlands yet or any of that. When I’m writing this I haven’t gone to a garden center yet but I’m hoping after I’ve gone I will have a better idea or what will work. I also just found out that my neighbors might complain about the fire pit and smoke so we will have to look into it. I know I only get to use the fire pit a few weeks in the year but I’m from South Africa. Cooking on the fire is a massive part of our culture.

Okay now we’re moving up stairs. Finally. We have four bedrooms and one toilet up stairs. The room facing the road with the toilet is going to be our office. For our office I’m not going to go super crazy. We’re just going to paint two walls yellow, get a storage system and get a nice brown board to stick notes on. That’s about it.

The two other rooms are going to be empty for awhile if you catch my drift. Onno and I wanted to get a house we could grow into. When I told this to my parents they both were like so when is the baby coming? It was quite funny. For now I think one of them will be a workout area and the other will just stay empty. The one needs more work than the other one though but it’s not high on the list for us. Maybe we will set up a room for guests but then again we never have guests that actually stay over. The last room is our bedroom. Onno and I was really looking for a house with a big main bedroom. It was important to us. We wanted space for a massive closet and I want a makeup area. I have big and I mean big plans for our bedroom. Behind our bed I want to set up a fairy light feature. I want to try painting a geometric design on the one wall and I want to try my hand in turning out TV stand into a seating place in front of the bed. I have so many great ideas and I just can’t wait to share them.

We want to be smart with our money because well obviously the more we can do with our money the better. There is some things that needs to be done on the house NOW so we plan to do quite a bit by ourselves or call in favours. Hey we found out I have to get a massive dental procedure done that ate quite a bit into the house budget. I had a small rant slash cry about it on my socials but let me quickly catch you up. To remove to teeth and implant the fake stuff is the same amount of money for a nice car. Yes that’s right. we could’ve bought a car with that money but no we’re going to buy teeth. It wasn’t the best news and it knocked the air out of our lunges but there is nothing we can do about it now. Dental hygiene is so important I mean we just lost a car because as a child I didn’t know what a dentist was nor did I brush my teeth. I’m paying quite literally for that mistake now. Also how did house plans turn into a brush your teeth children speech?

I’m so excited to share more about the house. I will definitely share all of our DIY projects around the house with some exciting before and after pictures I’m sure. This year was a rough one but there is definitely some good going around. It feels so good to finally share about the house, I’ve been keeping it under the wraps for so long. Now I can finally tell you about something else…but that’s going to be another post! Probably going to be up somewhere in the next three weeks but for now, guess? I will give you a hint…Speculoos is…nope. I’m not going to give you’re a hint. Go wild with your guesses.

Also before I go here is some pictures of the renovations. I will share more soon!

 

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Making A House A Home (DIY and more), Story Time

We Bought Our First House

I’m squealing from happiness and giggling from excitement as I’m writing this. Onno and I are buying a house! Pretty soon I can say we bought a house! Well when this blog goes up it would be: WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! It’s so surreal that I’m not even sure where to start or how to put what I’m feeling into words.

I guess let me start at the very and I mean very beginning. Onno and I discussed getting a new place once I’m here for real for a very long time. When I got here we started looking around for a new place to rent. The thought of buying didn’t even occur to us. After going to a few different places we decided that we should wait a bit because well nothing was catching our attention. A few months went by, Onno got his permanent work contract and a few events took place in the city that reminded us why we wanted to move in the first place. Around Christmas we started talking about finding a new place. It was around then when we started talking about possibly buying a place. Once we confirmed that it’s possible, we started the search.

It was quite a busy period. Searching online for hours for a house that could possibly tick all of our boxes, calling the realtors, finding out which houses is sold or when we could make an appointment, traveling to the new place, being disappointed in the place before even entering the house and so much more.

The first few places was disappointing to say the least. We knew walking into the neighborhood that we wouldn’t like the house. We found a few nice places but it wasn’t nice enough. It did teach us what we really wanted. What was important to us and what we would really like. The day we drove out to see the house we ended up buying was quite interesting. We made the appointment two weeks ago and after visiting so many houses and being disappointed at every one we were very tempted to stop and take a break. We were running out of options and it was quite exhausting. We figured well even though at first glance (two houses) we don’t like this town, these houses are in different areas. Let’s give it one more try. We had two houses on the schedule. The first house was modern and all done up. The garden was on the smaller side but it was one of those houses where we would barely have to do any work to make it move in ready. I didn’t really love the idea. The neighborhood wasn’t as nice and it just didn’t feel like the right fit for us. So we went to the second house feeling a little eh about everything. The realtor was stuck in traffic so we had some time to browse the neighborhood and check the house out from outside. I fell in love with the back garden. It was big and the house had so much potential to grow in, which was and well is important to us. Once the realtor arrived I was for once very excited to view the house. The neighborhood was perfect and so far just from the outside I could already tell this house was a top contender.

Two minutes into the house viewing I knew. This is the house. It’s a old house and needs some work but it was just everything we were looking for and then some. I fell in love and hard. It just ticked off all our boxes and well it was our perfect house. Onno and I wanted a house that needed some work. We wanted to be proud of the transformation and really make the house our own. The entire way back home in the car we talked about what we can do with the house and what needs to be done to make it move in ready and etc. By the time we got to Onno’s parents we were sold. After showing the house to them and talking about the house they too were pretty much on board. That night we came up with the agreement. We had to wait the weekend but by Monday the realtor came with a counter offer which we accepted. It was a done deal. I cried. It was going to be our house! Yay!

We made arrangements to have the building inspection done and Onno’s parents came over to view the house on the same day. I finally had a moment to make a video of the entire house for my parents. The inspection went well and we were very pleased with the result. A few weeks later we signed the agreement and then we just had to wait for the mortgage. We got the mortgage on the 7th of March and month before we will get the keys. After that everything went quite smoothly. We got the keys on Friday (you might’ve seen the post on Instagram) and we’re so beyond happy! I’m pinching myself because I just can’t believe it.

It doesn’t feel completely real to us. I mean this is going to be our very first house. It’s going to be ours. We can do anything we want with it. It’s been a very long time since I had the opportunity to choose what color I want to paint a wall or to hang something up. It’s something so small but to me, this is huge. I’m really so happy and grateful that we’re able to buy a house as such a young couple. It’s amazing!

I asked Onno to write a blog about all the technical stuff about buying a house here in the Netherlands. It will probably go up at the end of the month. We also have so many ideas and plans for the house that I just can’t wait to share with you all. I have many DIY projects that I plan to do in the house, all of it I will most definitely share. But before that here is some picture(s) we took on Friday! I can’t contain my happiness right now.

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Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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PS: You have no idea how hard it was to keep the news to ourselves. I nearly slipped up on my socials so many times. It felt weird to hide something so big but now I can talk about the house all I want. Bless your souls.

Fitness Tips

My Favorite Full Body Workout

This is my favorite full body workout to do. It’s easy to follow and to remember and I’ve been doing it on and off for months. It was originally designed around recovering from my shoulder injury. It’s a quick and easy workout to do I just have to get into the habit of doing it at least once a week till I recover my strength. Anyway I really enjoy this workout so I figured I should share it with you all.

Before I start I really want to clarify that I’m not a personal trainer. I designed this workout for myself after years of following other workouts. After my shoulder injury I couldn’t follow my normal workouts so alas this was born.

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The only thing I should explain is the full rotation with bicep curls. This is for my shoulder mobility. I basically rotate my arms starting from side out to the side of my head before I bring it forward to my side where I finally end it with a bicep curl.

Oh maybe I should explain the reverse fly too. Before I found it online when I was searching for arm workouts I had no idea what it is. Basically you lay on your stomach and stretch out your arms backwards like your flying. Hence the reverse fly. I bet you can find a video on YouTube, if my explanation sucks.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Story Time

A Really Detailed Brussels Travel Blog | Part Two

Okay this time around I won’t have a super long introduction mostly because I literally just wrote the last word in part one so I still have the journal close to hand although I’m getting hungry and want to get up and eat breakfast slash lunch soon. I also need to go to the shops but let’s see how far I can get with rewriting this next part before I need a break. THE CRINGE IS PHYSICALLY PAINFUL.

Alright you ready know the date and all that jazz so here goes. We’re just going to jump straight into the good stuff. Oh lord give me strength.

Around 9pm we set out for a pasta meal because well cravings. The Italian restaurant where the staff spoke French was beautiful and the meal was, insert some fancy word for delicious, exquisite – yes I googled it. Over our meal and a very tasty red wine we talked about a subject that was an obvious tension bringer, Dana, or what’s her face, decided she wants to get a tattoo and Onno said he will go with her. Okay that sounds innocent and yes I’m being unreasonable (At least I knew!) but hear me out okay! I talked about getting my tattoo dedicated for my dad way before Dana even knew she wanted a tattoo. Onno actually gave me the idea! It’s our thing! Onno is the only person that really knows about my fears about my dad leaving me in that one way that he keeps coming close to. (My dad has had a lot of strokes. Ever since I could remember he had strokes. Some were quite serious and we didn’t think he would bounce back from but be always somehow does. It’s really scary every time. He had a stroke in August in my au pair year so a month before this journal entry so it was still very fresh.) And the thing is that Onno and I have experienced a lot of things before we met each other so there isn’t a lot of things that is a first…ironically it was my first weekend away with my loved one and my first time staying in a hotel and my first time bathing with a guy…(No tickled each other’s toes here. We took a bath together. It was cramped and really uncomfortable. I eventually kicked Onno out and relaxed in the bath on my own.) It was just important to me and still is. Onno is my boyfriend (I just smiled thinking back to Onno as my boyfriend. It was truly such a wonderful time but I must say Onno as my husband is ten times better.) and I want him to be with me when I get my tattoo for my dad. It just makes it so much better that it’s his first time ever being in that environment. I just feel like that moment will be so special and I will probably get emotional.

Alright let’s take a short break to talk about all of that. I feel like it’s needed. Looking back onto that fight now nearly two years later I can’t help but think how silly it is. In a way I can kind of see where my past self was going. She wanted to share this super special moment with her boyfriend with him still new to everything. I get it but why did we fight about something so silly? Why did I make it into such a big deal? Thinking back to it now I feel like I was just self conscious and worried. When Onno and I met he had two girl best friends that was attractive and very well out there. I didn’t want to be beaten by them and I wanted to be ‘the only girl’ in his eyes. It’s a little silly considering that Onno doesn’t even talk to these girls anymore and we’re married now but hey you feel what you feel. Sometimes as a couple some damn fights will come up but it’s important to sit down and talk it all out till you reach the root of the problem. Onno and I did that and where that fight could’ve ruined the entire weekend, we came back from it. That’s the one thing I always enjoyed about Onno and I’s relationship. We always talk it out till we find a place where we’re both happy. We never go to bed angry and we never go a day without saying we love each other. We start our day with a good morning kiss and end our day with a good night kiss. Okay let’s return to the journal entry.

After our dinner we originally planned to go out in the town but after finishing most of the wine I was feeling more than tipsy and it didn’t matter to me where we ended up but I have to admit, just being alone with Onno is always the most flattering idea! (Insert future Cassandra cringing her ass off! Please make it stop!) Onno which was also a bit under the influence

What the hell Cassandra? Under the influence. What? I can’t deal with my past self right now. I need a break. Also Speculoos just dropped onto my journal so I can’t read the next part. And now I also can’t move because my cat chose to cuddle against me.

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Let’s try that again…

Onno which was also a bit under the influence made the choice of how the rest of the evening was going to go and steered us back towards the hotel. There we basically climbed back in bed and talked about everything and nothing at the same time. I remember that night. My memory is a bit foggy but we talked about how tiring it is for the partner in their favorite… (Oh you got to be kidding me. Yeah I can’t write that and put it on the internet.) Let’s just skip forward till when it gets safe for work again. We fell asleep shortly afterwards. The both of us woke up at around the same time the next day, perfectly fine and hungry. We decided that after such a busy last two days and the fact that we did see most of what there is to see already that we could take things slow and relax in bed for the most of the day. So after eating a nice portion of breakfast again we cuddled up in bed and actually watched a cooking show before we tickled each other’s toes. Finally around 3pm we needed some fresh air and off we were. I took the last minute photos, we made another Starbucks stop and I couldn’t let us to leave without getting Belgium chocolate. After getting everything we needed we headed back to the hotel with a plan in mind. First we will check out and get the car and then we will head to the Atomiom where we will relax for a bit before heading home. Not everything went according to plan. On our way to the Atomiom we stopped at the church where we made a quick stop to explore and take some pictures. After our a small detour we were back on the road towards the Atomiom by following the signs. Now if only the signs were clear. It literally took us on such a round and about ride that we passed the actual thing twice and then it send us on the highway. We were so close to giving in but Onno was determined to get us there. When we finally found a spot, we had to pay for the parking ticket and then walk more than 20 minutes to the actual building. Rage!

We finally found the place and after our long walk we relaxed on the grass for a bit and talked. The subject of money came up once again. I honestly feel so guilty about how much money Onno spend on our weekend away and I wasn’t helping with the expenses. Although I did pay him back for most of the things he bought for me, almost 80 Euros in total but it wasn’t close to what he spend. It was our first weekend away so now we know to be more careful with money next time and where we could change a few things.

A little add in from future Cassandra. That trip we went all out with spending and shopping and etc. We were basically throwing money at everything. We definitely could’ve been smarter with our money but we definitely learned from our mistakes. Our second trip together was to Greece nearly a year later. There we were careful and smart. I think in the end it was the same cost. Brussels was a weekend and Greece was 7 days if memory serves me correctly.

 It was around 7pm when we drove out of Brussels. On the road we talked about the financial aspect of next year (Remember I went back to South Africa January 2016. Three months later I flew back for three months on the tourist visa. It was our test to see if we wanted a long term relationship so to basically get me here in the Netherlands.) and we decided that the both of us will work out a budget and see how much money we can afford to spend each month and etc. I was happy we talked about it. (Being open about your finances with your partner is honestly so important. Sometimes sacrifices and changes needs to be made and you can only figure that out by talking about it…) We also talked about Onno coming to South Africa in the August holiday to meet my family. I’m absolutely in love with that idea! (Onno came to South Africa in January 2017. Around my birthday. It was also around this time we had our pre-wedding.)

On the border of Belgium and the Netherlands we stopped for our dinner. McDonalds! And surprisingly I ate more than Onno, three chicken nuggets more but still more. (Past Cassandra why the hell did you feel compel to brag about this? Just why?) There was a lot of laughing involved and the occasional farting and no it’s almost never Onno. (We ate in the car and also I fart a lot. Gasp. A girl farts. Back then I was really sensitive to lactose and after a weekend of cheesy foods, ice cream, milky drinks and chocolate my stomach wasn’t loving me at all.) It’s the ice cream and cheese! (How lovely. I even made excuses for myself in the journal. Hilarious.) I’m the guy in the relationship and I take my job seriously. (Not really but I was a bit rough around the edges. Onno ‘manned’ up over the years.) After one more detour where Onno took a wrong turn on a highway. We arrived at my place around 9pm or in that area. Our first weekend came to an end and it was amazing to spend quality time with Onno without any distractions. We said goodbyes and with one last kiss Onno was off. That’s the worst part, saying goodbye and watching Onno leave.

FINALLY! I somehow survived this blog. There was cringe, tears and just overall pain. I’m so happy that I finished it. But before I end this blog I should actually give some travel tips (or tip) for Brussels.

The thing we used the most was a map from this website — https://visit.brussels/en — If you’re going to Brussels definitely give this website a look. They have everything you might need.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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