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!

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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!

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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.

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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, 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!

 

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.

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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.

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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!

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#dutch, Dutch, General Life Tips

Translating My First Blog Into Dutch

This upcoming week is my last full week to prepare for my second round with my Dutch test. I’m hard at work trying to study for the two tests I failed and have wracked my brain on how to incorporate my Dutch studies with my blog at least once. It’s a two birds one stone type of thing. I need to write a blog for tomorrow and I need to study. So what better way than trying to challenge myself with my Dutch writing abilities. I’m going to attempt to translate my first ever post here on my website. As I know not all of my readers can read or understand Dutch I’m going to add a little footnote of my thoughts in between parts (read sobs, rants and frustration but I will be funny about it). I will also underline what words I had to Google translate or call a friend (read ask husband). This should be interesting! Here goes!

—Body Best Friends Forever / BBFF

You are your own best friend.

What I mean with this is quite simple. When you’re feeling down in the dumps and filling your own head with negative thoughts stop yourself and ask this question: “Would I say any of this shit to my best friend?” Over my dead body honey. I will never tell my best friend they’re fat or make them feel guilty about their binge. I will never judge them for something they’ve done that I maybe don’t agree with. That’s not me so why on earth would I say any of this crap to myself?—

Licchaam Beste Vrienden Voor Altijd | BBFF

Jij is je eigen beste vriend.

Wat ik bedoelt is eigenlijk heel simpel. Als je slecht voel en je eigen hooft met negatieve gedachtes vulden, stop jezelf en vraag jezelf deze vraag: “Zal ik ooit deze slechte woorden tegen mijn beste vrienden zeg?” Oor mijn dode lichaam schatje. Ik zal nooit voor mijn beste vrienden zeg dat zij vet zijn of ze (hul?) laat schuldig voelt over een binge. Ik zal nooit ze oordeelt over iets wat hul heb gedaan wat ik misschien niet mee zaam stem. Dit is niet mij zo waarom zal ik deze slechte woorden voor mij zelf zeggen?

***

Lord that was anything but easy. I have no idea how this going but that was anything but easy. It will be curious to see how right or wrong that went…will ask Onno to rate me below…Stay tuned. That short little paragraph took me five minutes to translate. It’s nearly 11pm. Damn I’m going to be here for awhile. Okay let’s continue!

***

—When I catch myself with any negative thoughts about my body I imagine my best friend’s face and that I’m saying these words to them. In two seconds flat I’m beyond angry and over protective. I’m like oh hell to the no! Who the hell do you think you are with saying this type of bullshit to my friend? It doesn’t take me long to have a big Ahaha moment and just like that I snap myself out of the negative thoughts. I then proceed to tell myself what I would tell my best friend if they were saying these type of things about themselves.—

Als ik mijzelf betrapt negatieve dingen over mijn lichaam denken dan zal ik mijn beste vriendin voorzinnen en mijzelf zien deze woorden voor haar zeggen. In twee seconden ben ik boos en over beschermend op haar. Ik was net nee, net een groot vet NEE. Wie denk je is je om deze onwaar en negatieve woorden voor mijn beste vrienden te zeggen? Dit neemt mij niet zo lang om een goot Ahaha moment te hebben en zo snap ik mijzelf uit de slechte gedachtes. Ik zal dan doorgaan voor mezelf te zeggen wat ik voor mijn beste vrienden zal zeggen als zij deze woorden over zijzelf (ze?) zeggen.

***

Over protective was difficult to translate into Dutch. Husband got stumped and we had to Google. It really wasn’t as hard but hey it’s late and our brains are currently fried. I doubted so many things while attempting to translate this one but I’m somehow got through this one. I also feel that I cheated a little bit because Google translate saved the day twice although I only added one extra letter. Licchaam is lichaam. Negatiewe is negatieve. I’m learning hey! Which was the purpose of this post. I wanted to work on my Dutch and write a blog post. Two birds one stone remember. Is this even entertaining for you all?

***

—“I’m fat.” Fat is just a substance in your body and guess what without fat you won’t be alive. So what if you carry a little extra fat? You are soft and great to cuddle with.

“I’m ugly.” No honey those thoughts are ugly. You are anything but ugly. You are a wonderful human being so don’t you dare dill your sparkle.

“I’m a horrible person.” Are you kidding me? Serial killers, child molesters, rapist and puppy kickers are horrible people.

“I ate two chocolate bars. I basically ate all my hard work away.” What type of chocolate was it?

So snap out of it. Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat after me.—

“Ik is vet.”  Vet is alleen een inhoud wat in je lichaam en raad eens zonder vet kan je niet leven. Zo wat als je een beetje extra vet om je buik dragen? Je is zag en geweldig om mee te knuffel.

“Ik is lelijk.” Nee schatje deze gedachtes is lelijk. Jij is enige behalve lelijk. Jij is een wonderlijke persoon zo je durf niet om je fonkeling te doffen.

“Ik is een verschrikkelijk persoon.” Grap je? Seriemoordenaars, kinderen molesters, rapits en hond schoppers is verschrikkelijke personen.

“Ik heb twee een chocola reepjes gegeten. Ik heb eigenlijk al mijn harde werk weg gegeten.” Wat zoort chocola was dit? Was dit lekker?

Zo snap uit dit! Kijk jezelf in the spiegel en herhaald na mij.

***

Damn that was hard. My brain is fried at the moment but I’m almost there. Onno is questioning my constant what is this word in English but it’s too fun to write this without him knowing. I must say this is challenging but I’m getting there. Let’s get through this last part! I’m just too excited to find out how I did. I want to see my rating!

***

I’m WORTHY!

I’m BEAUTIFUL!

I’m FABULOUS!

I’m AWESOME!

I’m a magical unicorn…

Ik is waardig!

Ik is beeldschoon!

Ik is fabelachtig! 

Ik is geweldig!

Ik is een magische eenhoorn 

*** 

I laughed so hard when i looked up what’s fabulous in Dutch. It’s hilarious. Unicorn in Dutch is also pretty funny. It makes me think of a squirrel and I just couldn’t stop imagining a little squirrel with his mouth stuffed full or nuts and wearing a pink sparkling tutu and homemade DIY unicorn horn. It’s magical. Now for the moment I waited since the beginning. My grade!

Drum roll please…

“Cassandra did very well! I was very curious what was happening behind me with all the questions…Of course there is small area’s to improve in but most of it is smaller details. I give her 8+ out of ten!”

grade

Insert happy squeal! I’m feeling quite proud of my score! I’m getting better! Pretty soon I will be writing long novels in Dutch (not really) but it’s a skill I need. Dutch is after all the main language in my new home country. Oh the test is on the 7th of March so think of me on that day! Hold your thumbs please!!!

Oh here is the link to the original post if you want to give it a read without my Dutch translations. It was quite nostalgic to read it again. — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/09/body-best-friends-forever-bbff/

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

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General Life Tips, Other

Hair Care Advice | From Double Bleach To Kind Of Okay Hair

My oh my have I done so much shit to my hair these last few years. I’ve bleached it. I’ve colored it more times than I could even count. I’ve heat treated it to a point of extreme damage. My hair was falling out with handfuls at a time. I’m not even being over dramatic either. I was truly shedding like no other. My hair was dry and felt like grass. It wasn’t a pleasant look. Styling my hair would cause even more breakage. It came to a point where no matter what I did, I was having a bad hair day.

I’m not a hairdresser nor do I have a large amount of information on healthy hair and all that jazz. All I know is that once I started to incorporate these few things into my hair care routine, my damaged hair made a complete u-turn. It’s not 100% but every month it gets better. I do notice that if I’m less consistent with my hair care routine my hair quality decreases.

  1. Limit all heat

Heat is something that can truly damage your hair. Hair straighter, curlers and blowers WITHOUT any heat protection is definitely not doing any wonders to your hair. I read somewhere online for ultimate hair growth rinsing your hair with cold water just before your shower can work miracles. It closes the hair follicles. Something smart like that. I haven’t tried it but hey the internet get some things right? I saw awhile back Buzzfeed had some of their people shower in cold water for a month. They noted a difference in their hair. It’s worth looking into if you really want to grow your hair. Fast.

  1. Limit chemicals

Strong chemicals, as logic would tell you, are anything but healthy for your hair. So stay away from hair dye –avoid bleach like a plague- and strong products promising this and that. Read the back of the product and make sure they use natural products. This will make a difference.

  1. Limit shampooing

This is one can sound a little fun but you have to give your hair time to create its own natural oils. Study has shown the time between washes should be longer instead of shorter. Luckily dry shampoo and even baby power can save the day if your hair is just too oily. I grew up with the idea to wash my hair every single day. Now I wash it every four days. I feel like there has been a difference.

  1. Treat your hair

This one at first glance seems to be counter predicting my limit chemicals but the key here is natural hair treatment. You want to get products that feeds your hair the nutrients it needs to grow strong. From what I understand after damage, your hair doesn’t hold onto oils as it should so it is your job to supply oils to it. I’ve been treating my hair every four days with a massive treatment on the weekend for over a year now, heck I’m nearing the two year mark and I’ve noted that my hair is making its own oils. I don’t need to treat it every day for healthy looking hair. I’m making progress. I apply most of the product on my ends and the rest on my roots. I massage it into my scalp for the best result. I will go into that one more in one second.

  1. Massage your scalp

Massaging your scalp while washing and during treatment can make the worlds of difference. I read somewhere a long time ago, well when I was trying to grow my hair fast, that if you massage your hair for two minutes every single day while your head is upside down makes your hair grow super duper quick. I don’t know if this is ultimate bullshit. I’ve never been able to stick to it every time I’ve tried it. I saw a YouTube video once about someone trying it. I guess what I’m getting at I’ve noticed a positive response when I was massaging my scalp. Even if it doesn’t encourage growth it was definitely encouraging oil production. It was worth a try.

I’m going to insert a picture of my blond hair and my hair now. I doubt you can see a massive difference in the quality of the hair as the pictures isn’t of the best and I was treating my hair quite often back then so you couldn’t always see the damage but it was definitely there. Oh while I’m on the subject the bleaching broke my hair like a mother of all holy. The parts where it broke off takes ten times longer to grow in and is ten times more damaged than other parts.

Here is a few more pictures to really show how damaged my hair was from the blonde dye. Also it took me a hour of deep searching my computer for these images and using one just isn’t enough. I do have to add that this was AFTER treatment. It was just constantly DRYYYYYYY, brittle and well damaged.

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

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