Self Love, Story Time

I Have PCOS

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.marilynglenville.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Bought Our First House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story Time

A Really Detailed Brussels Travel Blog | Part Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Let’s try that again…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story Time

A Really Detailed Brussels Travel Blog | Part One

I’ve mentioned my journal that I kept the first year of our relationship well I have content for a lot longer but let’s face it…it’s never going to make the journal. Anyway this blog has a point. So the other day my travel tips for South Africa went online and the response was like oh wow people really like my travel blogs I should write another one. Thus this blog was born. Now where does the journal come in Cassandra? Patience my little grasshopper. So back when Onno and I were fresh in the dating pond we went away for the weekend. It is a very short travel but hey it’s in another country so this can count as a travel blog right? Anyway I wrote about this trip in my journal (oh I wish I can copy and paste but instead I have to rewrite everything) but it’s always nice to walk down the memory line. Honestly when I think back to our first few months I blush. I fell deeply and head over heels for this precious Dutch boy. Okay I’m just writing that to make my husband go ‘awwh how sweet’ and get up and make me a cup of tea. Did it work? Well yes it did. I wanted to take a picture but it took my husband ten minutes to get up from the couch and I lost interest and started to browse the internet. By the time I finally got my tea I was so deep in the web that pausing to take a picture just wasn’t an option.

I will be honest with you. It’s Sunday night and I’m extremely lazy. I have to get up to get the journal so I can actually finish this blog but getting up is just so much effort. Honestly I need to pee but once I’m up I just want to go to bed. It’s only 9pm but who is judging. Okay guys, I’m clicking save and I’m getting up. Alright I haven’t moved. Okay I still haven’t gotten up. Okay I’m saving and closing the document. Someone is going to bed. I will finish this blog tomorrow.

Four days later…

I just sat down, got completely comfortable only to remember I still haven’t gotten out the journal. Damn it! I will probably browse YouTube or move to another blog while I wait till I need to go so I can get the journal on my way back. I’m lazy and proud.

Two hours later…

I’m ashamed.

Six YouTube videos later…

Okay I finally had to pee. I already sat down and started to get comfortable when I remembered. No worries. I got up this time around to get the god damn journal. Honestly it wasn’t supposed to be this hard. Here is the journal entry. The cursive writing is straight from the journal from way back then and if I feel there is some empty parts I will add it, it’s the normal writing. Okay enough chatting. Here is the goods. Oh just a quick note from my future self. I was very step by step in this blog. After reading this you will know exactly what we did in Brussels and when. At the moment I’m halfway through writing it over and this blog is turning into a ridiculously long one so I’m going to split it. Here is part one! (Part two will be up next week Monday so you only have to wait two full days for it!)

24 to 27 September 2015

The time has arrived. Our very first weekend away and our destination is Brussels, Belgium. Thursday night Onno arrived at my place just after I put the kids in bed. We laid on my bed and naturally I had to ruin all the excitement of our weekend away by mayor stomach ache. (I now know it was a gluten attack but this is before I was diagnosed. Getting extreme and very painful stomach aches was pretty normal.) I’m talking about full on stomach twisting cramps. I nearly cried. The host parents arrived while I was withering on the bed and even with the stomach ache, I just wanted to leave, because leaving would mean our weekend would start. I fell asleep in the car when the stomach ache dulled enough for me to relax. Before I knew it I was back in our bed cuddling with Onno. We fell asleep shortly afterwards and I have to add, falling asleep with Onno’s arms around my body is one of the best things in the entire world. The alarm pulled us out of our slumber but it sure as hell didn’t pull us apart. We had a nice quick round (Oh my I really didn’t hide anything in our journal. Well I’m going to cut that part out. I’m sure all the adults reading this knows what we did.) of monopoly (I’m hilarious.) before starting our first day of our short trip. We had breakfast and packed our bags and right on time we were in the car. After waiting 10 minutes max for a construction truck to move out of the way – we were on our way! The drive went smoothly for the most part. I took pictures of the moment because naturally I need to document everything. Now what is a short road trip without a detour? The original plan was to go to Antwerpen on one of the travel days (Friday or Sunday) and everything was going according to plan till we took the wrong turn for Antwerpen and landed on a different highway. Our little detour didn’t cost us a lot of time but it did however stop us from seeing Antwerpen.

 

It was between 11am and 12pm when we finally arrived in Brussels. We left Rotterdam around 9am. We parked the car and with our bags in hand; poor Onno almost died carrying it to the hotel – we arrived in the centre of Brussels. We dropped of our luggage at the hotel (check in time was around 3pm) and set out to explore. We took things slow really. We didn’t rush to see all the tourist attractions. We were on our own pace the entire weekend. No rush involved and if you don’t count the last amount of walking we did (an easy 12km per day) our weekend was pretty relaxed. The check in at the hotel was only at 3pm so we burned time by sitting in a nice and very expensive restaurant for a juice drink. Afterwards we walked to the massive square that Brussels is famous for, ‘Grand-place grote markt’. Onno was genuinely happy to see that there was Starbucks and naturally we couldn’t resist to pop in and look around. This is where I finally tried a frappuccino which basically is ice coffee and let me tell you, it’s heavenly. Onno had his usual and I couldn’t resist getting the sweet little Belgium themed cups. With our drink in hand we walked around sticking close to the centre. On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the second main tourist attraction ‘Manneken pis’. Our second stop was in the shopping area close to the hotel. Onno got a nice long black jersey for himself and at Hema we got a sexy black number, of a dress which I plan to wear to his thesis defense next month. I definitely need to lose a few layers of fat too still fit into it and look good. (What a warped way of thinking. My mindset truly has changed over the years.) Now there is one thing you should know at Brussels, their Primark sucks and I couldn’t find a decent prized pants anywhere and I brilliantly packed only one long pair and after messing my lunch on it, I needed a replacement. We soon gave up on that. The both of us were exhausted after all of our walking and the only thing we wanted was to finally check out our hotel room for the first time.

 

Our room was on the fourth floor and beautifully decorated. It was neat and very fancy. The bath looked so inviting that we just couldn’t resist trying it out together. Seriously Cassandra why did you go into details? I’m not even sure if I should add this part. Let me see what Onno says when he’s editing this. Our first bath was short because Onno couldn’t keep his hands to himself. Yes, I’m blaming him! Okay maybe I was part of the blame but I’m not admitting to anything and you can’t make me! Insert evil deranged laugh here. We tried out the hotel bed with a very – Okay there is no way I can add all of this. I can see Onno blushing and he’s not even home right now. Onno then showed just how much he loves me by going to Primark which was beyond busy and horrible might I add to buy my replacement jeans. If that isn’t an act of true love then I don’t know what is!

It was about dinner time when we resurfaced to reality. Onno wanted ribs and who am I to deny the boy his meat? The restaurant was packed but our reservations easily gave us a table. I’m going to see if I can find the restaurant because their food was amazing. Here is the link —  https://www.tripadvisor.nl/Restaurant_Review-g188644-d946742-Reviews-Amadeus-Brussels.html I had one big rib and one baked potato and Onno went a bit harder and had two of each or he tried. He was completely smitten with the sauce they gave with the potatoes. I’m pretty sure the large amounts he ate of it made him sick but he would probably never admit that. I did however noticed I was rubbing off on him and he didn’t touch his salad!

Our desert was Irish coffee and I refused to try this because it’s a given fact that I wouldn’t like it. So Onno ordered a vanilla ice cream with whip cream on top and let me tell you, it was divine. I was pushing my luck with all the whip cream (I was heavily sensitive to lactose back then.) and the added ice cream wasn’t going to help me at all but hey – I’m only going to be in Brussels once! (Back then I didn’t think I would ever move here to the Netherlands. I was fully prepared to maybe never see Europe again.) After dinner we walked around and I have to say Brussels looks amazing at night time. It was then when something caught my eye, a Ferris wheel in the distance with its lights on proudly. The child and the hopeless romantic inside of me just had to go on that ride and so Onno and I walked through quite a dodgy part of the town. The two of us, only dressed in a very thin sweater, to say we were freezing would be an understatement. The Ferris wheel was shit expensive but definitely worth it. It consisted out of three rounds and there was the one round where we stopped at the top and the little house thing or whatever they call it – started to swing. It totally freaked out. It was swinging. Onno was being so smooth and kissed my fears away (I’m cringing so hard rewriting this.) but I think he was a tiny bit scared! When we finally climbed off the ride I was so relieved. I’m alive! We walked back towards the hotel, stopping at the centre where there was a concert going on in French. We weren’t interested and just went back to the hotel. Back in the hotel room we rolled (Oh come on Cassandra. Why did you document all of this? No one wants to read that.) before falling asleep. The bed was beyond comfortable but I had one problem with it. The fact that there was so much room between Onno and I. (I can’t stop cringing.) Normally when we would sleep together we would cuddle and fall asleep with some physical contact and while this wasn’t different…the thing that bothered me was the fact that when I woke up in the middle of the night Onno would be so far and out of reach where normally he would be just one arm reach away.

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Don’t mind me but I kind of just need two minutes away from rewriting this travel blog because all of this cringing is making my teeth hurt. Honestly this is so CRINGY. From now on when Onno and I have sex and I actually wrote it in the journal I’m just going to write that we ate ice cream. Wait that might actually get confusing when we have ice cream. Okay let me rethink this. We tickled each other’s feet. Now that’s not weird. Let’s keep it because it’s going to be so funny to write slash read. Remember we tickled each other’s feet. Nothing else. Just that. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge.

The next morning, the Saturday was our official explore Brussels day. We started our day by eating more than enough food at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. After breakfast we had to lie down because we feared our stomach would explode if we walked. It was then when we planned our activities for the day and the first thing on the agenda was waffle making! We got dressed and off we were to the waffle shop! We were split up in teams but that didn’t stop us! We made the batch. Onno and I was the first one to try the waffle iron out. I’m proud to say it came out nearly perfect and it was delicious. I then came up with the idea to build a waffle house with all the leftovers. Our little house looked beautiful and Onno decorated it beautifully with only little help from me. Proud of our accomplishment and thirsty we stopped at Starbucks. We enjoyed our drink in the hot sun in the centre while planning our own private tour. Literally the second we walked away from the centre I had to pee. If you ask Onno he would say I can take one sip of a drink and two seconds later I need the bathroom. My bladder is weak man. It took 30 minutes easy to find a bathroom and let me tell you. My ears were ringing and my eyes was tearing up by then. The bathroom couldn’t arrive a second later.

 

We then walked to the tourist attractions close to the centre and stopped at the park across the castle. I think. Anyway we stopped there to chill for a bit. It was then that we decided to walk to the arc thing…and let me tell you…HOLY SHIT that’s a lot of walking. It must have been an easy 30 minutes of walking before we gave in and bought a metro card and traveled with the metro for the rest of the evening. When we arrived at the arc (Let me look up what the hell I’m talking about…It’s called Cinquantenaire) we stopped there for a bit to chill and around 5pm we finally started to head back to the hotel after being up and about in Brussels from 11am. On our way back to the hotel we stopped to buy some lovely treats to snack on. We also bought a bottle of champagne, candles and bubble bath for a romantic night in the hotel room. On our way back to the hotel we passed a street artist and I was so interested in his style that I bought a little artwork of his.

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We lit the candles, made a relaxing bubble bath and just sat back and enjoyed the moment. I made Onno a beard and a great hairdo with the bubbles while he failed in doing mine. Naturally we got distracted – damn it Cassandra. We tickled each other’s toes. Around 9pm we set out for a pasta meal because well cravings. The Italian restaurant where the staff spoke French was beautiful and the meal was, insert some fancy word for delicious, exquisite – yes I googled it. Over our meal and a very tasty red wine we talked about a subject that was an obvious tension bringer, Dana*.

Alright folks that’s where I cut you off. I just can’t handle more cringe right now. Reading about this fight made me face palm myself. Truly so ridiculous in the long scheme of things but I will still write about it. Just not in this blog. My teeth are honestly aching from this. I’ve never cringed so hard in my life. Are you cringing?

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

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PS: In part two I will actually give some travel tips from my experience in Brussels. I don’t know how much is valid now nearly two years later but let’s see.

*Dana isn’t her real name.

Link to part two — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2018/04/02/a-really-detailed-brussels-travel-blog-part-two/

Story Time

Making Friends As An Adult

Now I don’t know about you but making friends when I was a little snot nose was a lot easier than making friends now when I’m an adult. You would just casually walk up to some kid and be I like your shirt let’s be friends. That’s it. Now it can be a little more complicated. I might be a little more picky when it comes to choosing my friends than what I was when I was younger but that’s not the point. Okay maybe it is. Some of my friends in high school I wouldn’t choose to befriend now as an adult. I learned with my age that some friends are there to help you grow as a person and is there for you even when you’re being a complete asshole. Other friends will stab you in the back the second you’re no longer enough for them. It happens. As I’ve grown older, well this blog is really giving away my age, I make friends with people who I feel like are genuinely nice people who will bring some positivity and fun in my life and not bring me down. Heavens knows I can do that to myself more than enough. I don’t need someone else to do that. I got it boo. (I’m working on it. It’s a journey.)

I made my first friend here in the Netherlands in a very new age kind of way. We met on Instagram, followed each other and started liking and commenting. Fast forward a few months and my return to the Netherlands we decided to meet up for lunch. We walked around, talked and before we knew it we were arranging another day out. We’ve met up a few times and after every meet up I feel like our friendship is a little stronger. You know we’re more comfortable with each other. I love that part in the friendship. We met up last Friday and honestly the fun and upbeat day was just what I needed. These last few weeks has been tough on me. I’m not doing that okay to be 100% honest. I have moment where I just go on without really thinking about it and then other moments when I can’t stop crying or leave the bed. 2018 really started with a bang and a punch to the gut.

She messaged me around 10am and asked if I wanted to go out for lunch. It wasn’t one of my good days and I planned to sulk, read and stay the entire day in bed. I was happy to hear from her and figured a day out with her is just what the doctor ordered. We arranged to meet up around lunch and I actually got out of bed to get some work done before I need to leave. My Friday blog had to be edited and then go live and be shared and talked about on my other socials. You will be surprised how much time that can take. Anyway I left around five minutes before our meet up. The restaurant is super close to the apartment. When I got there we had our coffee and lunch and talked about everything really. It was the typical catch up and it was really fun. After a good a hour if not more we headed out for a walk in the city. We walked towards the Euromast which is quite a walk if I’m frank with you. There we had a little mini photo shoot because we both need new pictures to post on Instagram. Which was a great success. I still have two pictures to post and it’s not mirror or cat related. Score! We promised to meet up in the spring and in the summer for a photo shoot. We’re going to go all out, switch out outfits and etc. I’m really looking forward to it. It will probably be a great laugh.

We walked and talked a lot like damn sitting down in the park to bird watch was heaven scent. Okay I’m lying. We didn’t bird watch. A tree was involved and we’re fascinated by the view but there was no birds involved. Although if I want to get really technical a dove showed up and started pecking around our feet but that’s pushing it. Are you curious yet? You will never guess this. We saw a girl climbing the tree with a bunch of ropes. We sat down and tried to figure out what she was doing. In our defense we weren’t the only ones. Zoe wondered if the girl is going to hang herself and at that moment I knew this friendship is going to last because I thought the exact same thing. I could see it: A Young Girl Hanged Herself As Onlookers Watched In Shock. The gruesome scene never took place because who would be kidding – that’s some pretty scary shit. Like what would you even do? Scream? Rush to her side in a desperate attempt to save her? 911 please. Turns out she was making a Instagram video. She started doing this bunch of nice tricks with the big rope like what do you call those circus people with the ropes? Air bats? No that’s not it. Let me Google.

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What did people do before Google? Oh my where the hell did I come up with air bats? Where does that even come from? The brain is truly an interesting thing. I can see the correct word in my mind but the spelling and the pronouncing is just not happening. Aaroco bats? Acrobats? Is that it? Am I thinking of the right thing? Google, help meeeeeeeee!

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The answer is a yes. Five points to Gryffindor.

Anyway back to the story, we must have watched this girl for 15 minutes easy if not longer. Eventually we figured we watched enough birds and headed back home. I was getting hungry again and by this point it’s been hours since we met up and we walked almost the entire time and my feet we’re killing me. We said our goodbyes and promised to meet up soon. I was about two minutes away from the apartment and was home before she even crossed the street. Not even a second after stepping into my apartment I remembered that I never gave her the study books she leant me for my Dutch test and now writing this I figured she was still really close I could’ve caught up with her and hand the books over. Awwh well now we just need to meet up soon.

So I made a friend as an adult. It’s pretty fun and surprisingly not that hard. You just stalk each other on social media consistently for a few months before meeting in real life. I made a funny. Me so funny. Roar. Why did I roar you ask? Good question. I just felt like I should make this blog longer but that’s probably cheating. Also I’ve noticed that I start a lot of sentences with “Now…” and I have no idea where this came from but it makes me think of a teacher and I’m not sure how I feel about this. Alright folks I reached my desired word count. I felt like a stretched this puppy thin quite naturally. Sometimes I didn’t even mean to but we all know me by now. I get off track quite easily. You should see me in real life. Anyway I’m still doing it so let’s just end this blog here before I ramble on and on. That would be annoying right. Oh I’m still doing it. Make it stop. Help me Google!

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Annnd she never clicked on any of the searches.

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

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Proof of friendship. Get it? Proof of life? Kidnapped. You get it! Insert winky face.

Story Time

Random Acts Of Celebration | But Also Pranking My Husband

Originally I went an entire different direction with this blog. It started off with pranking my husband which was pretty damn fun but when I sat down to write this blog, four days later. It got me thinking. The more I thought about this post and what direction I want to go with it, the more I wanted to change it and write it in a different way. I wanted to write something a little, eye opening.

I should give a bit of back story before I just jump into the good bits because well it’s not like you can read my mind. If you could, well bless your soul and also can I have some privacy please?

Alright so Mondays is always an interesting day for me. It’s my big cleaning and laundry day so I don’t normally go out to do the shopping. I do that on Tuesdays, but we ran out of toilet paper and laundry softener. I couldn’t exactly just leave it so I begrudgingly went to the shops. I wasn’t super excited to rush home and do the dishes so I browsed the shelves. They had this new decoration strings that caught my eye and before I knew it was adding balloons to my cart. I was full on preparing for a big party decoration wise. What are we even celebrating?

The fifth of March isn’t a special day for Onno and I. Yes it’s my grandpa’s birthday but he is 10 000km away. It doesn’t make sense to put up all of these decorations for him. Anyway so the idea behind putting up the decorations even though Onno and I didn’t have anything special to celebrate together was to prank him. I wanted to see what my husband would do if he came home to a fully decorated house, his wife all dressed up and dinner ready (as always) for his arrival. Onno came home and as I expected him too, he was surprised but also worried he forgot something big. Insert nervous laughter and sweat. I have a pretty good idea of what was going through his mind; “Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.” Onno was begging for clues. What is so special about this day? What did he forget? He was throwing out possibilities but honestly as a couple we have nothing to celebrate on this day. After ten minutes Onno cracked and I told him honestly I just wanted to put up decorations and see what you would do. He laughed and asked why I would take five years off his life because his heart is about to stop. The evening continued, we talked about our past, how we got here and where we’re going, we had a delicious dinner and watched TV. It was a nice and calm evening.

The next day I had my last Dutch lesson with my mother in law. She came over and asked about the decorations. What were you celebrating? I told her it was a prank and obviously because it’s her son she felt sorry for Onno. I came to my own defense with: “He only sweat about it for ten minutes and then afterwards the rest of the night we sat under the decorations by candle light all cuddled up on the couch and having a great time.”

You see that yes we had nothing special to celebrate. It was truly a random act of celebration but and there is a but…we celebrated the fact that we’re together. All too often life gets busy and we fall into a habit of things. We sit next to each other on the couch and work on our laptops. We talk but we don’t really talk deeply as often. The decorations got us to pause and celebrate the fact that we’re together. We’re both alive and healthy. We’re loved.

Sometimes I tend to forget how difficult and hard it was to get here. Half of our relationship was apart. Long distance was anything but easy and there were times that it felt like it just would be easier if we gave up. Our love would never allow that but that doesn’t mean it didn’t get really hard sometimes. We would get angry and annoyed with each other. We would just really miss each other. Onno and I paused that Monday night, slowed down and just embraced each other’s company. It was a perfect night. Now the fifth of March will be a day we celebrate our relationship.

Thank you so much for reading. I wish you all the best and I will see you in click!

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PS. The last few weeks I’ve been using see you in a click at the end of every post. Who noticed? So it came about in a post that I didn’t end up posting. I wrote it while being tipsy and it was just well shit. In this post I was playing with the word play of ‘I will see you in a blink’. I then switched it to click and lost it. It blew my mind. I like it and it makes me chuckle every time I read it so I can’t help but use it.

 

 

 

Story Time

My Botched Tattoo

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for months. Heck I planned on writing this blog just after my website launched six months ago but well I don’t write a blog if I don’t feel like writing. Otherwise it feels forced and it’s not a nice read. I don’t know if that even makes sense but it just how my brain works when it comes to writing. It needs to feel natural and it needs to flow.

So enough about that. Let’s jump into the good things. I got my first tattoo when I was seventeen years old in March. It was a very impulsive decision but it’s something I will NEVER forget or regret. My step dad just left and on the day their divorce finalized I decided to get my tattoo. I wanted to get a butterfly. Placement or the entire tattoo wasn’t that important. I just wanted my butterfly on my body. For a very long time I felt like a butterfly trapped with clipped wings. The very next day we went to the tattoo shop and I spend 30 minutes picking out the design and then it was time. The session was two and a half hours and quite painful to start off with but getting through it felt so good. It was what I needed. I finally had freedom over my own body and getting a tattoo was the ultimate sign of it. The word elefthería forever showing the true meaning of my tattoo.

Here is a picture of the tattoo of the hour. The design or the job is anything but perfect but the meaning will always make it a great tattoo in my eyes. Sorry that the lighting is kind of bad. I had to wait till my husband got home to take the picture and well it was dark out and half of our lights are out. Oh and its pretty straight on my back. The picture is just wonky.

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However this blog post isn’t about my first tattoo, it’s about my botched tattoo. It was my fourth tattoo and although number three wasn’t the best job either nor did it look like it was going to be a success midway through. Even though the stencil rubbed away while the guy was tattooing and it just went downhill from there, it’s still not my botched tattoo. I don’t know why I’m building up to it but let’s just get to it.

My botched tattoo is my shoulder tattoo. At first glance it seemed like everything was going fine. Here is a photo of the tattoo so you can see what I’m talking about.

You will probably notice that the eyes are raised and bumpy. This is where everything went wrong. The first time around I tried glow in the dark green ink that the tattoo artist recommended. It didn’t take at all. For the first time my tattoo bled a lot and gave up a clear liquid the day of and the day after the tattoo. It took a lot longer to heal but after about two weeks the crust came off. However with the crust ALL of the ink in the eyes disappeared. I could feel the skin was raised and ‘inked’ but there was nothing. I immediately went back to my tattoo artist. He sat me down and inked over the eyes in ink that was donated to the shop. Once more it bled and gave of a clear liquid. My body was rejecting the ink. The actual tattoo park with the needle and ink was ten times more painful than ever before and coupled with the new painful healing process…well it took me six months to go back to the tattoo artist. After the eyes healed the second time around only half of the ink took. It didn’t look good but because the entire process was just horrible I wasn’t in a rush to get it done once more. Eventually my prom came up and my shoulder would be on display in my dress so I decided to get it done. Once more it was a painful experience but this time around at least I walked away with eyes that’s green. However after the three attempt the eyes turned out to be very raised, bumpy and well it doesn’t look good.

I’ve been thinking of getting it covered up for over a year now and I even saw a new tattoo artist with my chosen design…but the idea of a needle touching my shoulder makes me cringe in pain. I know it’s going to be beyond painful and I just haven’t got myself to just do it. I know I will get it done eventually…

I’m going to end this blog with the advice I mentioned on my blog post called: Think Before You Ink | Tattoo advice (Here is the link — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/13/think-before-you-ink-tattoo-advice/ ) What I did wrong with this tattoo was one I didn’t do enough research on my tattoo artist. If I even bothered asking around about him I would’ve found out there has been a lot of people who complained about his tattoos and some with the same problem as my shoulder tattoo. Secondly I didn’t give the tattoo enough time to heal and I should’ve never went back to the same tattoo artist after the first failed attempt in the eyes. I learned my lesson the hard way.

My first tattoo after the shoulder was at an actual professional company who got many good reviews and clearly knew what they were doing. I had to pay a little more but the end result was well worth it. It’s my ribs tattoo that I got in honor of my father. I got this tattoo in the Netherlands and the entire experience was completely different then my cheap South African tattoo artist. My first tattoo in South Africa after the shoulder tattoo is the tattoo dedicated to my husband. Once more I did my research, paid a little bit more and the end result was well worth the money. It did need touch ups and the tattoo artist made me wait three months before she would even consider touching the tattoo. My point is, there is a very clear difference in the quality you get once you’re willing to pay a little more. As I sit and write this, three of my tattoos (number two, three and botched number four) is tattoos I would want to cover up in the future. They’re not good quality and the design is anything but original.

Learn from my mistakes, spend more time and money on something you want to permanently ink onto your body.

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

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