General Life Tips

Dutch Beauty Products I Use And Love

Before you start reading this blog, I just want to point out that some of these products will probably be available in other parts of the world. What products they are and where they are available is your guess, not mine. I’m way too lazy to actually look into this. For a change, I’m not going to have a long and super boring introduction and instead I’m just going to jump straight into the products.

Face

Skincare

I’m going to start with skincare because well that’s where I want to start. My skincare routine has always been simple but surprisingly I’ve kept up with the routine since puberty. I have two routines. In the morning I cleanse my face with cleansing water and then moisturize my face with the day cream. I then apply my make up over that. Oh, I should totally write a blog about all the products I use for a full face everyday makeup look. It’s actually quite simple and my everyday look takes me 15 minutes max to complete as where if I do a more full glam look it can take me over an hour. To steer myself back to the topic of skincare, my night time routine is just as simple. I wash my face in the shower with my face scrub and then apply my night cream. I apply a face mask once a week and that’s it for my skincare routine. Nothing to fancy but it keeps my skin nice and healthy. I do believe that healthy skin (or well everything really) comes from within. The supplements I take for my PCOS surely helps with the appearance of my skin. Also, a healthy amount of water per day helps.

IMG-2699.JPG

I bought this cleansing water at Action. It was my first time buying from the brand. I haven’t really found a cleansing water that I’m obsessed with. I’m still exploring and jumping from one product to the next one. I mainly just require the water to be sensitive on my skin type and remove all makeup and dirt from my face. I don’t have any complaints against this water at all but I probably won’t buy it again. I do usually steer toward the Nivea section. Only because Kruidvat sometimes have a 2 for 3 special.

IMG-2701

I started using this day cream from Hema about two months ago. I really like it and would definitely purchase it again once I finish this container. It makes my skin feel so soft and it works great under my makeup. I have dry skin and this is just heaven for it. Definitely nourishes as they promise. This is one of those age prevention creams. I read online once that it’s important to take measures to prevent wrinkles before you get them.  That’s mainly the only reason why I bought this one. This is the golden box one for 6,50 euros.

IMG-2720

I love this face scrub. I always get the same product. It works. I really don’t have much else to say. It works for my skin. I normally buy this at Kruidvat when they have a sale on.

IMG-2709.JPG

This is my night cream and it’s pretty damn great. It smoothing and makes my skin feel so good. The natural glow is pretty damn great. I’m really happy with the face creams. I have no idea if it’s actually doing any age rewinding or any of that stuff but hey it makes my skin look great so sign me up. Once again it’s from Hema and it’s 6,50 euros.

IMG-2714

This is my new facemask. I’ve been using it for two months and it’s my new favorite. I used to always use the facemasks by 7th Heaven but eventually switched over to this one as I could get more uses out of the product per euro. I’m all about saving them coins.

Makeup

I’m a drugstore makeup queen. The most expensive makeup product I own is 26 Euros and I saved for a long time to buy that. I like to keep it affordable because well I don’t want to spend big coin on makeup. Or well anything in my life. Clothes, shoes, nails etc. I believe that a 15 euro foundation can be and sometimes is, better than a 150 euro foundation. Also, the things I could buy with that money is just insane. Even if I had 150 euros to spend on a foundation, I never will. So what I’m trying to say is my makeup is drugstore and some of the brands you can only find here in the Netherlands.

If I want to buy makeup I always go to Kruidvat first. They have a bigger collection of different brands that etos or Hema. If I don’t find what I’m looking for or I want to try out another brand I will go to the other two shops. I love essence make up. They are very hit and miss. Some of their products are just amazing and others are pretty shitty. I don’t like their eyeshadows at all. Etos makeup is the same. It’s a hit and a miss. I personally haven’t really jumped into their makeup line and tried out everything mostly because I have what I need and I know what I like from a set brand and purchase it again (and again) but sometimes I need to find a new product and I don’t have a favorite, that’s when I explore different brands. That’s a lot of unnecessarily explaining. I personally just love their foundation and concealer. Will insert pictures in a bit. I did buy one of their mascaras’. It’s not my favorite and I won’t buy it again but it gets the job done and I will use it till I finish it or it expires.

Nails

I’m obsessed with colorful nails or having my nails all done up. I hate acrylics or anything damaging so I stick to good old nail polish from the drugstore. Although I’m not picky with all the fancy stuff that can come along with nail polish, I am picky about the quality of wear. What I mean with that is, it needs to look good on my nails for at least three days before it shows wear and tear. That’s it. I also don’t want to spend more than 5 euros on a bottle of nail polish. My favorite and go to brand for nail polish is Hema. They last long enough for me and their color range is good enough. If I’m looking for a specific color and Hema doesn’t have, I will buy an essence polish but they wear out quickly. Here are daily pictures I took of my nails to show how the Hema nail polish wear. I do want to add while doing this ‘experiment’ if you will, I was going about my normal way of life. I washed dishes and cleaned the house. I washed my hands every time I went to the bathroom. Basically, my nails got into contact with water and soap. I applied my face creams and all that jazz. I dug out stuff from my dog’s mouth when he ate something he shouldn’t eat. You know the everyday type of things. I removed it on day 6 because we had a date the next day and I wanted my nails to look fresh but otherwise I reapply nail polish every week. A new color every week of course.

nails.png

Hair

I talked about my hair care awhile ago here on my blog when I shared my story from the bleaching and how I recovered my hair from all the damage. I didn’t really talk about the products I use and why. I know for a fact that one of the products I love you can purchase in South Africa because well I always bought it there too.

I have two main products I use for my hair. A hair mask and a hair oil. The hair mask is something I do twice a week and leave in for about 30 minutes and the hair oil is something I add when I feel my hair is a bit dry and needs some love. The hair oil I use also makes my curls pop. Here is a before and after of my hair mask. The before picture is the state of my hair after a few days of no hair oil or any extra treatment or love. As you can see it looks like dry and sad. The after picture is taken the day after treatment.

hair treatment before and after.png

That’s about everything or the main products I use. I have extra bits that I whip out on special occasions. Before I wrap up this blog I just want to clarify that these products work for me. What might work for me might not necessarily work for you. I have dry and acne prone skin. I also have dry and damaged hair. I hope this blog was helpful.

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

heart-2954170_1280

 

General Life Tips, Mental Health

I Rewarded Myself With 1 Euro Everyday I Went Without Candy For A Month

I truly just had the best idea ever! Honestly, I’m giving myself a massive pat on the back. It’s such a great idea someone should pay me to solve problems creatively.

So, I’ve made it absolutely no secret just how much of a sweet tooth I have. The amount of candy I consume isn’t healthy. For my teeth and for the fat around my belly. It sure as hell doesn’t help with my acne breakouts too as I always flare up after a candy binge. I know this and for the last few years, I’ve tried everything under the sun to find balance with eating candy. I really and truly want to find that fine line of balance where I still enjoy a packet of wine gums here and there but I don’t have the desire or habit to do so every three days.

Just to give you a crystal clear idea just how deep my candy addiction runs, here are some of the blogs where I’ve talked about it.

An Unhealthy History | What I Used To Eat In A Day — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/09/04/an-unhealthy-history-what-i-used-to-eat-in-a-day/

I basically ate candy all day every day. I remember quite vividly that I would go to the tuck shop at school and instead of buying proper food for lunch I would overload my hands with all types of candy. I would then go home and eat candy after school and sometimes would even have candy for dinner. Yes, I would eat candy for dinner. No wonder I have so many cavities.

My Nutrition Plan For 2018 — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2018/01/03/my-nutrition-plan-for-2018/

Again, I’ve set a goal for myself candy wise and only kept at it for two weeks max.

Nutrition Class 3 | Carbohydrates | Part 3/3 — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2018/03/19/nutrition-class-3-carbohydrates-part-3-3/

The Slap of Reality series I had going for a few weeks there is the one thing that helped the longest. I think I went without candy for two months. The longest candy free time in my entire life. It’s the series where I would physically measure the sugar amount in the candy and put the two next to each other. This was a very eye-opening experience.

The Northern Lights For 365 Candy Free Days — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/12/22/the-northern-lights-for-365-candy-free-days/

This is probably my favorite twist to trying to eat less candy. It was the right step forward but once it became quite clear that we wouldn’t have the funds for this trip, I caved and only one month in, went full out with the candy. But I had the right idea. Dangling a juicy carrot in front of me to motivate me to not eat candy is the right way to go because clearly the weight gain and toothache don’t motivate me enough.

Before I share my brilliant idea, I want to talk about why I love candy so much. No, it’s not because the delicious treats are great to snack on or because they’re convenient. I think it goes deeper than that. In all of my challenges where I tried to set a goal to go without candy for a set amount of days, I always strived well till I had a bad day. Just recently I finally shared that I suffer from depression. I have quite a bit of bad days. Days where I don’t even want to get out of bed. Days where life is just too much. They are truly dark and scary days. In those days I want comfort. Comfort food. Comfort movies. Plain old comfort in the form of cuddles. And most of all, I want comfort snacks. In those dark days, I want my favorite meal (a tossup between Spaghetti and Pizza), my favorite soft drink (cherry coke) and my favorite treats (wine gums, m&m’s and vanilla ice cream). Now eventually I want to learn other habits that I can turn to on my dark days but at the same time, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO TREAT YOURSELF. In moderation of course. I’m still very much so a work in progress and I’m working on improving my mental health every single day.

Alright now the moment has arrived that no one was waiting for, drum roll please…my brilliant idea! So I asked myself, what is something else I’m super obsessed with but can’t get often because there isn’t always extra money lying around for it. MAKEUP! I’m a sucker for makeup and there is quite often products outside the daily routine that I have my eye on. Products I don’t need but boy do I want them. It’s always something a little more expensive that I need to wait to get for a special occasion. Currently, I’m dying to get my hands on this one eyeshadow palette and Christmas can’t come soon enough. So keeping in mind the whole dangle a carrot in front of Cassandra’s face to motivate her to go without candy for a day scheme from the Northern Lights idea, I thought hey why don’t you put money into a saving account every day you go without makeup? One euro to be precise. I transfer the one euro into the saving account at the end of the day once I’m in bed. I can then use that money to buy all the make up my heart desires. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. So I’m writing this blog on the 5th of September. I already ate some candy so I can’t get my one euro today but I’m really curious to see how the rest of the month will go. As I’m only going to upload the blog in October, I have some time to test how this idea goes and share it on here. Wish me good luck!

***

Alright, this is a pop in at the 17th of September. We’re two weeks in and well I saved 2 Euros. A lot happened and there are two things I want to touch on here in this little update.

1) I’m an emotional eater. I noticed almost immediately when we got some bad news, my candy intake spiked. I wanted ice cream, candy and so much more to almost comfort and heal the wound. It’s a very toxic thing that I clearly haven’t given enough credit too and will have to do some research and learn how to deal with this. The last thing I want to do is restrict and be on this strict diet for the rest of my life. I want balance but I can’t stuff my face with candy every time I have a bad day. It’s not the best choice for me at that moment.

2) If I did eat candy a day, I would just go all out. I wouldn’t just limit myself to one candy bar or one slice of cake, oh no I already lost my one Euros so I should at least make it worth it. Go all out and stuff my face with all the candy I can find. This was well counterproductive. What’s the difference between spreading the candy out daily then going without for a few days and then catching up on that one day? So I decided to put in a clause. If I overeat on candy that one day, I need to withdraw 1 Euro from the special savings account. Since I’ve made this clause, I have hone back in on the pure amount of candy I eat on the day.

That’s about it that I wanted to share in this pop in. I’m starting my 31 days smoothie detox today so I’m very excited to well put 31 Euros into the makeup account. I’m confident that once I can actually buy a makeup product with the money saved, saving would go easier. So hopefully (hopefully my ass I’m going to do this. No ifs. No buts.) in two weeks when I finally finish this blog to have it go up on the 8th of October, my total amount in my little savings account will be: 18 Euros!

***

Alright, I’m back now on the 7th of October, ready to finish this blog for tomorrow. Since my last pop in a few things happened. I’m not even sure where to start because when I say a few things happened, I mean a lot happened. This entire experience was very much so trial and error but I finally figured it out and it’s actually working.

There are three main things I want to talk about so I’m going to try to explain myself properly.

1) For starters, my self-control when it comes to candy has greatly improved. It took me four candy days to eat a packet of M & M’s. I’m not even kidding instead of inhaling the entire packet and then some on one day, I only ate a quarter of the packet. This is a massive step for me.

2) The next bit I want to touch ground on is my mental health and how what I eat affects it. I mentioned earlier in this blog that the reason why I struggle so much with candy as well I go for yummy food for comfort. I’m still learning how to improve in that category but what I started doing is simple. When I noticed that mentally I wasn’t in the best place I would take the dog for a walk and keep my mind active with other things. I would read a book, paint or just about anything to stop myself from stuffing my face in a desperate attempt to fill the void. For a moment there in this month, I wanted to do a smoothie detox for 31 days. That crashed and burned real quick. I’m just going to get straight to the point, it was too overwhelming for me and I couldn’t handle that emotionally right about now. I love biting off more than what I can chew. I put so much pressure on myself all the damn time. If I don’t I feel like I could be and should be doing more but I’ve learned, the hard way, that in order to live a happy life in harmony with my mental health, I need to adjust my way of thinking. The entire experience wasn’t a complete failure, I did learn if I drink a smoothie a day I don’t really get any candy cravings.

3) The last thing I added near the end was to mark the calendar. So, in the beginning, I would simply transfer the 1 Euros to the savings account just before going to sleep but I almost always forgot and my days would start to melt together and days would go by before I remember to transfer the money. The last thing I want is to work so hard on letting this account grow so I can get my makeup fix and then actually screw myself over by not transferring the correct amount. So I printed out a calendar where I simply color in the day I went candy free with the intention to transfer the money at the end of the month. This wasn’t only beneficial for my memory but for the motivation as well. It was one thing to see the account slowly grow but it’s a whole different thing to see the calendar grow in color and to make the calculations of how much money you get to spend on makeup at the end of the month.

I’m absolutely obsessed with this idea and after a month I can say with full confidence that it’s working. The best part is you can do it too! It doesn’t necessarily have to be for makeup. I mean in a few months I will probably find something else I really want but don’t have the money to spend on it. You can use this technique for video games, a new phone, a new book and etc. Literally, anything that you always want but never have the money to spend on it. It also doesn’t have to be candy related. You could reward yourself 1 euro every time you don’t smoke or drink or every time you go to the gym. The possibilities are endless. I mean look at cigarettes. How much money do you spend on the death as a stick per month? Do you want to quit? Reward yourself for every day you don’t smoke a single cigarette and eventually, the math will make sense. You can start of slow too. Let’s say you normally smoke ten per day. You can then say if I smoke 5 today I get to put 1 euro (or a fair amount in your currency) into a special account and with that money I can buy this thing I’ve been keeping my eye on. I think you catch my drift. Now I don’t think this will work for every person but hey try it for a month. If it works, great! If it doesn’t then what did you really lose? Whatever money you did manage to put aside you can easily use on something else you need.

I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life. It works. I mean I get the fancy makeup that I don’t necessarily need but I want and control my candy intake (so my health will improve) at the same time. It’s a match made in heaven. If you do end up trying this please let me know! I would love to know how this worked for you.

PS I’ve saved 17 euros since the 5th of September. Considering it took me two weeks to figure everything out, I would say I did pretty damn good.

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

heart-2954170_1280

 

 

 

 

 

Animals, General Life Tips

We Got A Puppy And This Is What I Learned

Onno and I’ve discussed about getting a dog for a really long time. I’m a dog person. Nearly my entire life, we’ve owned a dog. It feels natural to me and after a few years I always miss it. Onno has never owned a dog in his life as his father is allergic to the furry animal. We decided that once we have our house with a nice backyard, we will get our dog. We also had the breed down because well I’m obsessed with a golden retriever and nothing else would do. Flash forward to buying a house, renovating that said house and working in the garden. Once we moved in and finally start to work in the backyard, we started to browse the internet for our new family member. We found him just as his breeders placed the ad for him and his four brothers. The ad was placed just after he was born (2-3 weeks) so we had more than enough time to finish the garden and prepare our home for a dog. We called the lady and we made an appointment to choose and view the dog in three weeks.

I could barely contain my excitement and slowly started to buy anything dog related we might need minus the big stuff. Mostly just toys and his blanket. Finally the Saturday I was waiting for arrived. We drove through all the way to the South of the Netherlands with our new car to see our puppy. It was a part of the Netherlands neither of us has been too before so it was exciting to see how the area looked like. A lot of farms. I kind of liked it. I’m all about the country life but there is this fine line I love, but that’s a blog for another day. Back to the puppy, we arrived and I practically drowned in puppy love. Dankie immediately climbed into my lap and started to play with my hair. Stole my heart right then and there. We want the pink dog! He wasn’t pink of course, but the breeder had color collars on the dogs to tell which one is which. We stuck around long enough for lots of cuddles and drools, one container of strawberries (The breeder owns a strawberry farm. The freshest strawberries I’ve had in my entire life.) before we headed back, incredibly excited for the end of July. We of course didn’t leave without taking pictures of Dankie.

For preparation of welcoming a new fur baby in our house, we worked on the garden almost daily. It was a rough and dirty work. We literally laid down the grass the day before we got Dankie. His bench/cage arrived a week before that and we had a hick up with his food. The company send two bags of the wrong food and it took us over a week to get the correct bag of food. A few days before we got Dankie, we also got his food ball and more toys. The last bits of pieces. In between all of the shopping and slaving in the garden, I was reading a book about puppy training. As mentioned before, I’ve had quite a few of dogs in my lifetime. All of them turned out to be decent happy adult dogs. Decent as my one dog has the bad habit of jumping onto people and scratching the living hell out of them. A habit all puppies have, a habit that I never learned to nib in the bud before it became a habit. Oh wow that’s a lot of habits in one sentence. My brain nearly hurts. Anyway so I know enough about dogs but I wanted to go the extra mile. I also knew that having a dog here in the Netherlands is a lot different than what I’m used to.

In South Africa most of our dogs sleep outside in a kennel. Some dogs aren’t even allowed inside the house while others are allowed to come inside for a few hours. Others will also have the dogs just sleep inside the house and have free rein. There is a lot of different type of dog owners out there. We personally always had an outside dog. Our dogs sleep outside in the dog kennel but can come inside throughout the day. But here in the Netherlands, things go a bit differently. No dogs sleep outside, mostly because in some winters it snows. You can’t exactly have your dog sleep outside in that type of cold weather. Maybe quite a bit of the year it’s okay but definitely not in the winter. Anyway, so here most dogs are inside dogs. They sleep inside and spend most of their day inside. I knew that this would mean more training for the dog. I need to properly house train him. I need to teach him to stay of the couch and bed and many more. Hence why I spend two weeks reading the most boring book ever. I learned a lot though, but some pages were mind numbing things.

I also asked for advice. Onno’s aunt has three golden retrievers and obviously knows the ins and outs of having a dog here in the Netherlands. The main thing that I struggled to wrap my head around is the whole bench/cage situation. It felt wrong, to lock up your dog in a cage throughout the night. Now I see it as his kennel. It’s his safe little place. No one else goes into his bench. It’s his bed. Of course it keeps him safe throughout the night while we sleep. He can’t chew and eat on our furniture (choking hazards) or raise terror for the cat. I will share a blog about bench training in more detail later but the quick rundown, get him excited for the cage. Play around it. Leave treats in it. I always have his favorite teddy in there.

In the beginning your puppy won’t have the ability to hold his bladder. There is more bathroom breaks. Heck the book said you should take him out every 30 minutes. The less he goes inside the house, the better. In the beginning, we would take Dankie out around 3am. Now Dankie sleeps through the night. After about a week of waking up at 3am and then 5am, with a dog refusing to pee…we just let him sleep through the night. He does sometimes bark in the middle of the night to tell us he wants to go potty but other than that, he can hold it and sleep through the night. Oh I should make a blog about house training. I just have so much to share. So much knowledge. Some has nowhere to go! Oh Dankie can also do a few tricks! He can sit, wait for his treat while sitting, lay down, wait ten seconds with his treat right in front of him before I tell him to go eat it, he can kind of roll over. That one is still a work in progress. Fetch is okay. It needs more work and I just started to teach him to shake my hand before he gets a treat. He is a very smart boy and learns the tricks quite quickly. Most of the tricks he only does with me, so he needs some more work.

Where was I? I was talking about something before it went off to so many babbles. Oh yes. The cage/bench thing. I think I said everything I wanted to say about that. Let me think. What else was there I wanted to say in here? How funny would it be if you could actually answer me right now? I would probably have a heart attack and ask why the hell you’re in my house at 8am on a Monday morning. Not cool buddy.

Oh yes. What I learned. So by the time I’m writing this, we’ve had Dankie for one month. I learned that patience and repeating things is the key. Patience because your puppy won’t know that this is what you want from him and repeating things because well it will take him awhile to learn it. Puppy brain and all. Plus he needs to learn the human language and that might take some time. It took me two weeks of constantly fretting over the dog, constantly taking him out before he got into the habit of going outside to potty. He knows he has to go do his business outside. We still have a few accident inside here and there. House training can take a year. My main advice is to always be excited for him/her when he goes outside. Make a big deal out of it. Your puppy wants to please you so when he sees if he goes outside, he makes you happy, he will do it again. We cheer, congratulate him and even give him a belly rub. If he does go inside, don’t punish him. It will cause mistrust and most of the time he peed there twenty minutes ago and he won’t connect your punishing him about this. Just clean it up and move on with your day. I know it’s frustrating but hey patience is key. Just study your dog, eventually you will be able to pick up when he wants to pee. The way he walks and acts before doing so. Then jump up and take him out.

I will be honest with you, the first two weeks of having Dankie was rough. I was an emotional mess, two minutes away from a mental breakdown, but the added frustration that I can’t really leave Dankie alone or do much didn’t help things. Dankie had a really bad case of separation anxiety. I’m not even joking. He would full on lose his shit when he couldn’t see me for five seconds. A week after we got him, I had to go to the dentist. I put him in his cage for that time. I was gone for a hour and half tops. He was screaming when I left and he was screaming when I got back. Now he is a lot better. A real big boy.

That’s about everything I wanted to tell you. Oh wait. I should explain the whole Dankie as name thing. I explained it a little on his and mine Instagram account but I should explain it on here as well. And yes he has an Instagram account. I will have a link at the bottom of this blog. So Dankie is Afrikaans for Thank You. When I was young my mom would tell me that you need to be thankful and say thank you every single day. A good lesson right? So basically I called my dog thank you because I found it funny. And now I say thank you 300 times per day. Maybe this is only funny to me? But yes. The name is Dankie. I was stuck between Happy and Sunny for a few months, but Dankie is just so original.

Alright now that’s everything. I promise. Before I end this blog. Here is a bunch of pictures of my second fur baby.

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

heart-2954170_1280

Check out Dankie’s Instagram! Just click on this link — https://www.instagram.com/dankieeey/ — and enjoy all the cuteness.

Animals, General Life Tips, Story Time

One Year With Speculoos (Our Cat)

How exciting! One year ago Speculoos became a part of our family and I can honestly say that it was packed full of laughter and so much kisses (Speculoos loves it). I love the little fur ball so much and I can’t imagine life without him. So much has happened over this year, so many funny stories to share so I figured why not share them with you with some pictures of Speculoos. Also I squealed while choosing the pictures for this blog. Also I took so much pictures of Speculoos. I still do. My camera gallery is mostly just him.

 

And yes most of these pictures is going to be from young and little Speculoos because well that’s what I have on my computer. For more recent pictures you really don’t have to go very far. I post about Speculoos on my Instagram way to much but he also has his own Instagram because well he is just that cute.

 

Potty training Speculoos was a slow progress. It took a month but I’m proud to say Speculoos never makes an accident. He didn’t even make one accident in the new house (a very proud cat mom here). In the old apartment in Onno’s office we had the typical eight square storage space from IKEA that we stored my clothes in. Behind it we stored my two suitcases (from my travels from South Africa) where we always kept our out of season clothes. It was open and easy to access. The first potty accident Speculoos had was on the carpet in our living room. For awhile after that it seemed like Speculoos found his litter box. However when I did the laundry I got a nice old handful of poo. Lesson learned. I cleaned it up. He did it again. I got a new laundry basket (one that can close is higher and out of reach).

A week went by with no other accidents. That is till I came home from a first meeting with a Insta friend (My only zombie bait, Zoe *insert wave*) to a very unpleasant surprise. While working in his office, Onno discovered a horrible smell. He followed the smell only to find Speculoos own personal litter box all over our bags. It wasn’t pretty. Everything was covered in pee and poo and well yeah the picture is painted. It was anything but pretty. Wait I said that. Let’s move on. Onno stacked it all in the kitchen area (guess the dining area but we had a open floor plan) and as I was washing things, Speculoos used his litter box, my bag, again. It took me a week to clean everything and even longer to get the smell out of Onno’s office. But that was the worst of it. We blocked the area with a box and Speculoos finally discovered where his litter box really is and actually started to use it. Did I mention the time he peed on the little mat in front of the shower? Yeah that was horrible to step into. Oh wait while I’m talking about his accidents, Speculoos had one just before we moved. He peed on our bedding but I think that’s due to us removing boxes and stress of being left alone for so many hours for so long. The renovations was rough on all of us.

While I’m on the subject, I did punish Speculoos (in the beginning not the accident before the move) every time he went to bathroom in areas we didn’t want him too. This is how my parents trained our animals and there is probably other ways but well this is just how I train my animals. It works. So basically I take the animal to the accident and press his nose into it and give him a hard tap on the bum. Afterwards I take him to the actual place I want him to use as a bathroom. After repeating it a few times it will start to click for them. Also to get rid of the horrible cat pee smell use sea salt. It will also crystallize the pee and make it easier to clean. I said the p word so many times. Oh. Also I said the oh in a very high pitched squeaky voice. Just ask my husband.

 

Okay let’s get back to my cute adorable cat stories. There is so many instances that our silly but stupid cat made me chuckle like crazy. Speculoos being scared of a strawberry or attacking the oranges. Or Speculoos running of with my tissues when I had a cold. Or how Speculoos will stare Onno down and attempt to steal his pizza. It’s actually hilarious. He will lay in the lid and if Onno is distracted his little paw will go up. Or when Speculoos fetched his little ball from down the stairs. Or when Speculoos played in the wrapping paper till he knotted himself in. Or when Speculoos stared at the bird for a full hour with his tail wagging. Our silly little cat has brought us so much joy. I love him so much.

The most vivid stories actually come from most recent. Speculoos has always loved water (he stares at us when we shower) and while I was in the kitchen I had the bath running (it takes about 15 minutes to full) and I hear a little splash and turn around to see Speculoos run out of the bathroom. It didn’t take much to guess what happened. Speculoos went for a bath and regretted it. Afterward he gave me the stink eye from the bathroom floor while licking himself as we bathed. The silly little thing. I really love him so much. Wait I’ve said that before but writing all of these stories just makes me feel all warm and fluffy and so many other stories are coming up in my head but enough of that. Here is more adorable pictures of my silly little orange cat.

 

Honestly I screamed at that last picture. Also the middle one. Here are both of them again because come on! That is painfully adorable!

 

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

heart-2954170_1280

PS. I will be sharing a few more blogs about Speculoos (the move, how we introduced him to the outside world and maybe his first night with us ever?) soon.

PSS. Here is Speculoos Instagram profile — http://www.instagram.com/speculoos_the_cat/

 

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.

food.png

  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!

heart-2954170_1280

#dutch, 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!

heart-2954170_1280

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!

 

General Life Tips, Other

South African Travel Tips From A Native | Part One | Garden Route

South Africa is truly a beautiful country even if I do have to say so myself but I don’t because once you see it you will completely agree with me. It has the mountains. It has the sea. It has the wildlife. It has the great food. It has so much more but I can’t really come up with them now but seriously it’s a pretty good deal. Take a look at this video that the YouTube channel ‘We Travel The World’ made. It’s pretty well done.

youtube video for south africa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUwTTTVCDqA

Now that you’ve watched the video (hands up if you actually watched it!) and you’re interested in the country here is a few things you should know. I first want to say that even though I would love to be able to sugar coat things and really sell you on my home country…I’m not going to do that because I want everyone to enjoy their visit there but most importantly stay safe. As horrible as it is, South Africa isn’t that safe anymore and tourist are the top victims. I’m sorry but it’s true and not just for South Africa it’s for every place in the world.

The other day I was talking to a friend who showed interested in visiting South Africa. I just started to lists great places to go too and what you should keep into account and etc. It was a lot and I’m not even sure if most of it settled so I figured a blog post dedicated to travel tips.

I’m going to start off in Cape Town mostly because that’s where I spend most of my life and I actually know my stuff in that area. So like most countries you can go through a travel company but I’m writing this blog to those who are do it on your own types of travelers. Renting a car is incredibly important. Public transports isn’t a thing. There is Ubers but not in all the small towns and can be quite expensive. Car rental companies are luckily all over the place, heck there is one right at the airport. Now because you don’t know the area GPS is going to make a massive difference. I would recommend you spend the extra money on insurance. There is a lot of hit and runs, or scratch and bumps in South Africa. You could’ve parked your car and went out and about and come back with a massive scratch on the side or a bump in the back. The last thing you want is to have that type of damage on you. Luckily the petrol isn’t that expensive with most rental cars so really, get that insurance.

Okay so there is a lot to see and experience in Cape Town itself, there is probably a lot of information about all the tourist sites in the city on the web. Here is a link to one — http://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-cape-town/ — I’m going to talk a little more about the towns and experiences close by. I will be up front, you will be traveling a lot via the car but I promise you some of it will make it worthwhile. I will also recommend you try to find a place to stay outside the big cities. Cape Town hotels can be quite expensive and you can get just as great sea view on the side of a mountain with a hour drive. Don’t worry. I will tell you all about it. There is a small beach town really close to Cape Town, Hout Bay, you can look into staying there. The views are pretty amazing.

The main thing I would recommend is the table mountain I mean just look at this view.

16999077_781700671981138_3822042816076634874_n

I’m going to recommended  a small but sweet beach town called Gordon’s Bay. It’s where I used to stay so I can tell you that it’s a pretty great spot to spend some time. The drive from Cape Town to there is very short, here is a screenshot from Google. There is a few things I want to tell you about driving in South Africa. We drive on the left side of the road. We have stop streets and we call traffic lights robots. We also have taxis which are famous for being the worst drivers around. They’re not like you’re imagining that I can tell you now. It’s like a mini bus – always over crowded, painted with graffiti art and a little beat up – and they drive however they want too. They will speed up next to you, half push you out of the road, go in front of you and then suddenly stop on the side of the road to drop someone off. It’s very annoying but just keep an eye out. Also while we’re talking about pigs on the road. When a traffic light turns green of red, don’t immediately floor it and go for it. Give it five seconds and double check there isn’t a straggler trying to make it through the red light. I almost got killed once. Seriously just look. Don’t trust the other people on the road.

cape town to gordon's bay

Try to avoid driving on the highway in the middle of the night and never stop. Never go into the townships, you will know what it is when you see it. I mean no offence but that’s the last place you want to be as a tourist in the middle of the night. Unfortunately there is a lot of people who would steal that nice car and all your belongings right under from you. I really don’t want to scare you but all countries have areas where bad folk gather a little more. Just keep your doors lock and don’t stop on the side of the highway if you can help it. Awhile ago the people from the township would throw rocks from the bridge over the highway to get the cars to stop. Once the cars stop, friends waiting on the side of the road pounce.

Okay the drive to Gordon’s Bay is quite nice. Close by you have Stellenbosch which is small little university towns that’s famous for great wine and going out to party. Somerset West is just as close, which has a great nature reserve if you want to go for a hike. Here is the pictures I took when I hiked that nature reserve. It’s a hike I’ve done quite a few times and I enjoy it every time.

 

Strand is next to Somerset West, it has a nice beach but Gordon’s bay is literally a throw away with a small beach too. Here is a picture I took when I was still there.

14484817_700595590091647_4503097974609714360_n

There is many great places there so really try to look into staying there for a bit. For day activities close to Gordon’s Bay you can go to crystal pools which is a beautiful waterfall hike. Here is a link for more details — https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1020231-d9828027-Reviews-Crystal_Pools_Waterfall_Hike-Gordon_s_Bay_Western_Cape.html — While I’m in Gordon’s Bay. A restaurant I would hundred percent recommend is — https://www.facebook.com/The-Thirsty-Oyster-Tavern-763767090329474/ — Try their pork roast. My dad had it on my 21st dinner and it looked delicious. I was seriously considering ‘glutening’ myself for a bite.

After you seen and done what you wanted to do in Gordon’s Bay here is a great drive I want you to take. It’s in the mountains. It’s a beautiful ride. On the one side you have you mountain and on the other side you have you ocean. There is many beautiful small towns that you can stop and maybe even stay a night. Look on airbnb for a possible place to stay but there is hotels if you’re feeling fancy. The dollars/euros/pounds compared to the ZAR is quite nice. You can go all out for a lot less money in South Africa.

gordons bay to hermanus drive

You make this a day drive trip as there is quite a few pretty small towns. Betty’s Bay is beautiful small beach town. You will find penguins there! Kleinmond also has it’s attractions to tourist but I want to take you too Hermanus. They are pretty famous for their whale watching points (although they’re only around certain times in the year. Find more information here — http://www.hermanus.co.za/whale-watching —) but they also have some great fish food. The restaurant on the edge, wait let me find their website (—http://www.bientangscave.com/ —) has the best fish food I’ve tried in a long time. Their prawns is magical! The view from the restaurant is also pretty beautiful. Seriously if you’re in Hermanus GO THERE!

Here is some of the views you can find on this drive.

 

From Hermanus I’m going to take you down a very famous drive in South Africa, the garden route. It’s a drive I’ve taken so many times in my life its actually almost painful. After this route I’m going to take you down a little bit more before I end this part one. As you can see you can’t see the entire country in three weeks. I would break it up if I were you. I mean we’re just touching the surface but you’re seeing quite a bit of the Western and Eastern Cape. Alright let’s go back to the garden route.

garden route

Here is a website that has a ton of information about everything. I mean why would I go through everything when this website has already done it for me. — http://www.gardenroute.co.za/ — I would recommended you stop in as many towns that pulls your attention as you can. My favourite places that I would recommend a overnight stop is Mossel Bay, Knysna (Sedgefield and Plettenberg Bay is just as beautiful and a short drive away), Jeffrey’s Bay and Port Elizabeth.

Mossel Bay is a harbour town with many great tourist stops. Knysna is beautiful with its forest walks and so much more. I would recommend you go to the heads and this restaurant. They’re food is amazing — http://www.sirocco.co.za/ — Sedgefield has a great flea and farmer market every Saturday right on the outside. You have to drive through but you can’t miss it. Let me see if I can find a link to it — http://www.wildoatsmarket.co.za/ — Plettenberg Bay has a beautiful beach and let’s not even begin to talk about all the little tourist parks on the way there. There is a elephant park (Here is the link for you — https://knysnaelephantpark.co.za/ —), a wolf sanctuary (Here is the link for you — http://wolfsanctuary.co.za/ —) and so much more. Google will probably give you more information. There is also a great nature park just outside Knysna. Here is the link — https://www.sanparks.org/parks/garden_route/  — You can even stay inside the park and I’m sure it would be a wonderful experience. Just look up ‘knysna tsitsikamma national park’ for more information. There is some great actives you can do there.

I personally went to the wolf sanctuary a few years back with my dad and I loved every second of it mostly because I’m obsessed with wolves. Here is a few photos from that day.

 

There is so many things you can do that I would seriously recommended you plan the drive and look up every town and see what there is to do that you would like. It’s a big country hey. If I have to go through every single town and what you can do there this would become a very long post (it already is but still). Also stop in Oudshoorn if you can because this — https://www.gardenroute.com/Cango-Caves-Garden-Route-South-Africa_content_op_view_id_41 — There is so many other places I could go into detail that it’s almost difficult to decide on one thing. Maybe I should make a separate blog and go through every town…someone probably did that. Google will probably pull through where I don’t. I mean I found this website after one second of searching — https://www.goatsontheroad.com/top-stops-garden-route-south-africa/ — so just take the time to look into everything. The last stop I want to recommend is Port Elizabeth. They have a small elephant slash game reserve park there that I would recommend. You drive through in your car and you might just sit between elephants.

Here is the photos we took when we went there. It was amazing.

 

Here is the link to the park — https://www.sanparks.org/parks/addo/

You can also stay inside the park and do tour through them which is probably an experience by itself. It’s a smaller park I mean if you think game reserve park in South Africa you think — https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/ — but that’s on the other side and can be a completely other trip all together. otherwise you can also just trade in your rental car at Port Elizabeth, catch a plane to Johannesburg, get a new car and go from there. Depends on how you want to go about it. From Port Elizabeth you can go to East London but I have never been there personally so Google will have to fill in the blanks.

I think that’s about it for part one. There is just a few things I want to recommend for the entire country all together. Mug ‘n Bean is a restaurant you will find all over. They’re food is high quality and pretty great. Woolworths almost always have the nicest fruit and vegetables (they are very strict with they’re quality). I would also recommend you buy some clothes there if you need some because they’re quality is quite nice. It’s like a cheat. We bought work pants for my husband when he was in South Africa and for the price of one here in Europe we could get two to three really great quality ones. There is Truworths too but use your own judgement. It’s quite easy to see which is great quality clothing and which is not. For the ladies you can stop at Foschini for makeup and perfume. They have some brands that paying in ZAR can save you a bit of money. YOU NEED TO TRY A BRAAI, there is probably some restaurants that can give you something similar but I’m sure if you go to a park or something the opportunity will arise. It’s a barbeque (but don’t call it that) but South Africans are quite passionate about their meat on the fire. It’s really great though. I saw some airbnb places offer a Braai with the package. Safety wise don’t walk around in the dead of the night in side streets. Lock your car and don’t leave valuables in eye sight. Hold tight onto your handbag and don’t walk around with a phone in your hand (outside) if you can help it. Don’t leave your wallet or phone on the table at a restaurant where someone can grab it. Just be conscious about it and you will be fine.

There is so much more I can tell you but I should probably end it here before this gets ridiculously long. I’ve never really explored the countries at the top but I will do some research and ask friends and family and make a part two sometime in the next few weeks. If you end up going to South Africa I hope you would enjoy it fully. It’s truly a beautiful country with great food, people and experiences.

I wish you all the best and I will see you in a click!

heart-2954170_1280