Self Love

Why I Stopped Shaving For Society

Last year in June, Onno and I enjoyed the hot Greece sun. It was our first real vocation together and boy to this day I look back to that week fondly. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had. We just celebrated each other, there was no stress to document every move or connect to the outside world. Simply just quality time together. It was a dream come true. The entire vocation just got oh so much sweeter when he asked for my hand. Okay now that you know a little back story I can talk to you why my vocation was so important. It was my turning point.

I was lounging at the poolside when my semi hairy legs caught my eye. It was no surprise, it’s been four days since the last shave. It just never stops. I just stared at those little bristles. I knew I had to shave them ASAP. I mean how could I possibly lounge in my bikini with hairy legs? I was getting ready to quickly head back to our little cottage to shave when it dawned on me. Why on earth am I doing this? My bikini line was irritated at the constant shaving and my arm bits burned a little. Because god forbid I have hair on my body. I kept starring at my legs, wondering if I should just quickly go and shave them. I would hate to be ugly or imperfect in society eyes. Again I asked myself: Why on earth am I doing this? Do I want to shave my legs right at this very second? I’m pretty damn comfortable right about now. The sun is feeling great on my skin and getting up now would require standing up and that’s just too much energy. So I asked myself the next question that changed everything.

Am I shaving for myself or society?

I made a vow to myself. I will only shave my legs, arms pit, bikini line etc when  I want too. I won’t shave it weekly to make sure I’m baby smooth. Why would I? I don’t mind body hair. I stopped shaving and weeks went by. I grew comfortable with long arm hair (even though quite a few people felt the need to express their distaste) and hairy legs. I didn’t care. I still wore my spaghetti top and shorts. Why the hell would I care if someone gets uncomfortable because I have body hair. Today I shave when I want too.

Sometimes months go by before I shave again. It wasn’t always easy to embrace the body hair. Some days I felt self conscious about it and on other days it empowered me. Screw society standards. This is my body and everything I do with it is my choice.

My Body. My Rules.

sign-2454791.jpg

 

Story Time

A Wedding Before My Wedding (My Pre-Wedding Experience)

Every girl dreams of this day. It’s the day that they prepare for since their pigtail days. It’s the day that’s perfectly planned out from the tune of the bells to the clear silk of the dress. Every bead, every rosebud and every silver wear perfectly aligned in their rightful place. I can only be talking about one thing. Oh yes. There’s nothing alike. Her W-E-D-D-I-N-G day! In my case it my Pre-Wedding and to explain it briefly; It was basically a wedding without the legal part of it. It was for my family and friends in South Africa before I immigrate to the Netherlands. Obviously because we want our union to be recognized in the Netherlands we had to wait till I was abroad before we could take the steps to tie the knot for the real. It’s on the 22nd of August in the court. Afterwards we’re going to enjoy a lovely meal at a pizza restaurant that serves gluten free food. Something I wanted in the first place.

My time arrived quite early in my life in a time where my adult mind could make decisions that my child self would never come to. One of these decisions is that no, I don’t want the fancy dress, all the flowers, the big event and food that no one really enjoys. What I do want is to spend the rest of my life on this earth with the man I love. I don’t need an over top ceremony to make this possible. Unfortunately I’m a great person and listen to the wishes of my parents. One of those wishes was an over top ceremony that I managed to compromise to something smaller but the bells, rosebuds and silky white dress I couldn’t escape. The idea that I, a woman that loves wearing princess dresses doesn’t want a wedding was something no one could wrap their mind around.

I wish I can say everything went smoothly and I enjoyed every last second of the entire process, but I had frustrations left and right. The first thing that comes to mind was the venue. I’ve never dealt with a business that I loathed more. The memory of the horrors they pushed me through is enough to make me clench my teeth. Then came choosing the dress, it would come to no surprise that I had no cooking clue what I wanted as the entire wedding ceremony was all a smokey haze. I was lucky enough to have a father willing to buy my wedding dress but unlucky enough that his wife is a controlling woman that felt like it was her right to choose my dress. As I only had three months to put the entire thing together, a lot of things I would’ve enjoyed to have on the day wasn’t possible, but let’s move away from the long list negatives.

The positive thing was that I saw most of my cared for family and friends. I made lovely memories.  My uncle’s ceremony. Onno’s vows. My parents speeches. My grandma’s speech. My first dance. My dances with my parents. Oh and I got some great pictures out of the thing so there is that too. But honestly, I encourage you to take control of the situation and celebrate your marriage to the person you love more than anything as YOU TWO wish it to be. Don’t compromise. Don’t let anyone ruin or change this special moment. Don’t please them, please the two of you. Your happiness is important.

IMG_0242

Fitness Tips

Challenge: Drop And Do 500 Leg Raises In 30 Days (Level 3: Third Wheel)

Do you like a challenge? This is a 30 day challenge where you start with a small amount of leg raises per day and as you get stronger and more dead inside, you push the limits and do even more leg raises the next day. All the way till you can stop and do 500 leg raises.

This is for someone in the third wheel of fitness. So if you’ve been working out for a long time now and really know your way through the gym this is definitely something to spice things up for you. It’s a great way to challenge yourself.

Happy Leg Raises! 

500 leg raises 3

PS: If you complete or join the challenge use the hashtag #fitcouchpotatochallenge so I can get in touch with you.

Fitness Tips

Challenge: Drop And Do 150 Leg Raises In 30 Days (Level 2: Middle Child)

Do you like a challenge? This is a 30 day challenge where you start with a small amount of leg raises per day and as you get stronger and more dead inside, you push the limits and do even more leg raises the next day. All the way till you can stop and do 150 leg raises.

This is for the middle child in fitness. So if you’ve been working out for a hot minute and kind of know a thing or a two and just feel like a change than this is definitely something fun for you. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and build your strength.

Happy Leg Raises! 

150 leg raises 2

PS: If you complete or join the challenge use the hashtag #fitcouchpotatochallenge so I can get in touch with you.

Fitness Tips

Challenge: Drop And Do 50 Leg Raises In 30 Days (Level 1: Beginners Luck)

Do you like a challenge? This is a 30 day challenge where you start with a small amount of leg raises per day and as you get stronger and more dead inside, you push the limits and do even more leg raises the next day. All the way till you can stop and do 50 leg raises.

This is for beginners. So if you’re new and just decided to make a change in your life this is definitely something fun for you. It’s a great way to start and build your strength.

Happy Leg Raises! 

50 leg raises 1

PS: If you complete or join the challenge use the hashtag #fitcouchpotatochallenge so I can get in touch with you.

General Life Tips

Think Before You Ink: Tattoo Advice

(1) A tattoo is a form of body modification where a design is made by inserting ink, dyes and pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment. Tattoos fall into three broad categories: purely decorative (with no specific meaning); symbolic (with a specific meaning pertinent to the wearer); pictorial (a depiction of a specific person or item).* That’s as technical as I’m going to get with the subject.

If your thinking of getting your first tattoo there is a few things I want you to do, but first let me tell you where I’m coming from with this wisdom. I was 17 when I got my first tattoo, a tramp stamp, a term I learned after I got the butterfly permanently inked on my body. I went to the first tattoo shop I could find, paged through the book for not even ten minutes, put two designs together and that was it. The next minute I was hunching over experiencing the pain of over a thousand needle pricks. I’ve had this tattoo for nearly five years now and I don’t regret it…completely. What I do regret is not spending more time on the design and choosing the right artist for me. I still love the piece because of what it stands for. Plus it’s on my back so it’s not like I see it every day.

My second, third and fourth tattoo was just as impulsive as the first one. They were done by a tattoo artist that really shouldn’t tattoo people. They’re doing more harm than good. I have one botched up tattoo to prove it. Pro tip: It hurts more if the artist doesn’t know what they’re doing. When my fifth tattoo rolled around I’ve managed to learn from my mistakes. I spend two weeks thinking and rethinking my design, creating my own original and custom piece. I then did my research and found the right tattoo artist for the job. Ribs are a tricky place. The result is a tattoo that I love and cherish not only because of the meaning behind it but how great it looks! The trend so far has continued with my latest tattoos.

If you haven’t been able to conclude what I’ve been trying to teach you during my little recap of tattoo fails I will bullet point it for you down below.

  • Tweak and re-tweak your design
  • Do your research: tattoo artist and shop

Also as a side note, you have to be prepared of what people might say and do. As annoying as this next sentence will sound; strangers, acquaintances, friends, family, co-workers, your pet…might have their own two cents to say about your tattoo. It’s frustrating and none of their business but unfortunately even though the times has changed – not everyone agrees with the art of tattoo. AND it’s completely okay. Everyone is different. That’s the great thing about mankind. We are all our own unique blend of cookie dough.

Source(s):

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattoo

Get inked or die naked…

woman-1209590

General Life Tips

So You Want To Au Pair Abroad? This Is What You Need To Know…

Leaving home isn’t always easy. So going abroad for a set amount of time and taking on the big responsibility of being an Au pair isn’t for everyone. BUT it’s an experience like no other and something I’m so happy and grateful for being able to have done. It’s life changing and eye opening. If it’s something you’re interested in then don’t let fear stop you. I was an Au pair in the Netherlands for one year with two kids. I can honestly say that it has changed me as person like no other experience could’ve.

  1. Kiddie Love

This probably sounds funny and obvious but I really can’t express it enough. You really need to love children and I mean all the different parts of it. The good and the bad. Children aren’t always easy. They’re going to test your limits and really see just how patient you can be. There will be days when you honestly don’t want to deal with the same nonsense and there will be days you love your host kids so much that the idea of leaving them physically hurts.

  1. Country Love

If you’re going to au pair in another country it really needs to be a country YOU are interested in. It’s going to be your new home for a year so it really needs to be a place you feel like you can fit in, experience new things and really embrace and learn from the culture.

  1. Host Parents

Please take your time with choosing a host family/parents. Don’t just choose a family because they chose you and your scared you won’t find a family. No. Kick this idea right out of your head. These people are not only going to be your family and basically the baseline in this strange and new country but they’re also going to be your boss. You have to have similar views and interest or it won’t always be a breeze in the park.

  1. Au Pair Friends

Having Au pair friends is really a blessing in disguise. They’re experiencing the exact same thing than you are: the frustrations that can come with looking after kids, the home sickness, the struggles with the new culture and language and overall they’re your support in this new environment. They’re your comedian relief. They’re someone to have fun, unwind and most importantly to grow with.

  1. Wise Company Choices

Choose your company wisely. They’re going to effect the entire experience in ways you won’t imagine. You can get absolutely wonderful companies that truly carries your best interest to heart, but then you get horror companies that basically…to put it nicely screw you over. Do your research on the company, specially Google their names with words like scandal, horrible company etc. If someone didn’t have a great experience with them it will be somewhere on the internet. Go to their Facebook page, try to contact other au pairs that went through them and not just that, go with your instinct. If you feel good about the company then that’s all you need to know. I recommend House-o-Orange for my South African Au Pairs: https://www.house-o-orange.nl/

Take the leap and Au pair. At least once.

child-594519PS: It’s not always going to be fun and games but again, it’s a great experience. You really ‘grow up’ while you Au pair. If you’re interested, go for it!

 

General Life Tips

How To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work

Relationships aren’t always easy. Its filled with great memories and pointless arguments. The other day my husband and I was arguing if the pasta in the container was gluten free or not. We went into great detail with references and we still couldn’t come to a conclusion. Onno still stands by the fact that it was gluten free pasta. He’s dead wrong in case you were wondering. We’ve been together for two years now and more than half of that time we spend apart with 10 000km between us. We weren’t even in the same country. Onno is born and bred in the Netherlands and I came out of a little hole in South Africa. After my VISA came to an end and I had no other choice but to go back home. There I  stayed for a year. Long distance relationships are ten times harder and you need to work double as hard. Doubts that you would never have in a normal relationship starts to pop up. Trust will go a long way.

  1. Stay in touch

This one probably sounds silly but you really need to stay in touch. Every morning send that lovely good morning message, update them throughout your day and then obviously never go to bed without a goodnight message. Include them in your day, tell them about the cat you saw or that weird person you saw on the train. You really need to put in the effort every day even if you both work 8 hours per day and nothing exciting happened..

     2.  Video call as much as possible

Really make it a habit to video call as much as possible. Seeing you loved one’s face can really make all the worlds of differences.

  1. Go on Dates

This probably sounds absolutely ridiculous considering I just mentioned there was 10 000km between us but hear me out. Oh the power of technology. We watched movies together which means we basically watch the exact same movie while Skype is on. We mute it and when we want to say something about the movie we signal the other one to pause. We did this at least twenty times. We also played games together (not as much though) which is basically the same concept as the movie date. You play the game and see who has the better score and etc. If I went to the beach with my family I would record a video. There was a lot of videos in general.

  1. Stay patient and talk about your feelings

As in any relationship you need to stay patient and open. Understand that there will be frustrations and the struggle will be real sometimes. Be completely open with your partner. Tell them when you’re having a bad day because you miss them more than anything in this world.

  1. Have that end goal

Having a date on when you will see each other again will make a massive difference. It’s something to look forward to and something that will make the distance feel a tiny bit smaller. Make it fun, plan what you’re going to do when you see each other again (after the welcome back cuddles obviously) and get that countdown going. The longest countdown we had in between seeing each other was 6 months.

It’s difficult but not impossible. If your love is true than it will work.

daisy-712892.jpg

Fitness Tips

Bicycle Training: Week 1 – 4

The first month of bicycle training is warm up in a few words. The goal is to complete 100km in a week. One maximum ride which is 60km and the rest throughout the week. Below you will find all the details but if you want to get updates as it happens, follow my Instagram page. There I share all of our routes.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about follow this link (https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/10/challenge-3000km-bicycle-tour) to catch up, but I will sum it up briefly. The plan is to cycle the Netherlands in May 2018. Approximately 3235,4km. 100km in 31 days. 145 towns.

week 1 bt

Oh it’s week 1 and we even started on a Monday can I get a whoop whoop?! We did really well if I do have to say so myself. Our body was full of energy and constant muscle ache wasn’t a thing yet. Well till Saturday rolled by and we had to attempt our maximum ride. The goal was 60km and it just wasn’t realistic for our first week. We also started this ride after my dentist appointment and by kilometer number 30 the numbness started to wear off.

IMG-2147

 

 

 

Monday: 13,6km

Wednesday: 15km

Thursday: 12,75km

Saturday: 45km

Total: 86,35km

 

week 2 bt

Week 2 was quite a interesting one. I got sick very early in the week after my dentist appointment (Got a infection and high fever was my body’s way of dealing with it), but somehow we still managed to get a good week behind us. Monday the goal was to bicycle 10km and although just the week before 10km was quite a feat, we didn’t even notice the distance till 12km. By then we were way to far out and still had to cycle back home. Only the last 5km was incredibly difficult. Friday was our first ride after my sick pity party. We made sure to take a very relaxed ride and managed to take advantage of the lovely weather here in the Netherlands. Oh and I got to tell you this part. On Sunday we did our maximum ride and it was our personal best! You got that right! I’m so incredibly proud. It was a tough one too. A strong wind and rain, but we didn’t mess around. With a lot of hard work and pure willpower we got it done!

IMG-2151

 

 

 

Monday: 22km

Friday: 12,6km

Sunday: 64,04km (Personal Best)

Total: 98,64km

 

week 3 bt

There’s nothing like being on a role and just seeing all your hard work pay off. We pretty much followed my training program to the T which was a first in case you were wondering. Our maximum ride was one of the most challenging ones to date. For 30km and I’m not even kidding we were driving against the wind. The first 15km was agony and everything inside of me wanted to stop and just cancel all this nonsense. I mean it’s insane right? 100km a day for 31 days? Are you high? But no, if you don’t challenge yourself, you will never realize what you can become! So we pushed through, Onno being the driving force and boy am I happy we didn’t quit. For quite a big part of the ride back we were going through a forest and it was absolutely amazing. It was just us and nature. Oh and rain but what else can you expect from the Netherlands?

IMG-2156

 

 

 

Tuesday: 12,25km

Wednesday: 16,89km

Thursday: 14,9km

Saturday: 59,9km

Total: 103,94km

week 4 bt

This one wasn’t a good week. Although it looked like it would go as normal and we’ve been doing oh so good…You can’t always predict the unpredictable. On our first ride we encountered a small set step in the form of a old knee injury flaring up from the stress and frequent riding. If I learned anything from my just recently healed shoulder injury is to always listen to your body. So we turned around and headed back home. The next day we celebrated our two year anniversary and took this as a perfect time to rest and allow our body to heal and adjust. A few days later we attempted to complete our maximum ride but again the knee flared up and we headed back home. I couldn’t be happier about Onno’s dinky knee (only for two seconds) because the wind was 30km/h and pushing 60km out of my body wasn’t an attractive idea. What I’ve learned from this week is I need to incorporate more rest days in our training or our bodies won’t keep up.

IMG-2153

 

 

 

 

Tuesday: 19,5km

Friday: 15,9km

Total: 35,4km

Fitness Tips

Challenge: 3000km Bicycle Tour

I’ve always loved the idea of challenging myself one way of another. The idea of doing a bicycle tour in the Netherlands popped in my head mid run with the doggies while I was still stuck in South Africa. I was fake interviewing myself; something I do while day dreaming about my future. Anyway back to talking about my hopes and dreams. At first the idea of bicycling the Netherlands was something that was just an idea but after immigrating and settling in, the idea came back to the surface. Very quickly the idea turned into actual planning.

Boy did it take a lot of work. I pulled out my map and just started circling towns; the main towns and cities that stood out in bold and then a few little towns here and there. The South, the North, the little island and all in between. I made sure to make a nice little semi circle. Nothing to be missed. I had the easy part. I just had to look at the map and make a route from town to town that would flow. Onno jumped on the computer and got the actual route. I helped…a little. This is the link of the website we used, we use the same website to plan our training routes: http://fietsroutenetwerk.nl/ The website is in Dutch but is very easy to use. If you need a step by step tutorial, comment below and I will definitely be your translator and knight on a shining bicycle.

bicycle route website.png

After our routed was mapped out, we just had the easy choice of when we will  be embarking this journey. It took some playing around but eventually we decided on a time frame where we feel would be the most comfortable, weather and traffic wise. The month of May 2018. With all of these details at hand we could start doing the math so I can make the big announcement on all my socials and in essence sign my fate. Approximately 3235,4km. At first we were eager to complete the goal of 180km and get the entire trip behind us in 18 days but reality kicked in and now it’s just 100km in 31 days. 145 towns.

If you’re interested to follow my journey as I train for the tour then follow me on Instagram or stay tuned for my other weekly blog updates. That’s about it. There’s nothing more to say but…

Saddle Up!

bicycle-557046.jpg