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101 things in 1001 days

Source: Design Darling

I came across a '101 things in 1001 days' list I made in 2011 in my mail drafts recently and thought it would be fun to create a new one  again. I love the timeline of this list: it's just long enough to dream a little about all that is possible, but it's realistic enough at the same time, that you are likely to finish at least a couple of them. I plan on having a few regular update posts about how I'm doing with the list. It might just be the perfect way to start having some more adventures and to get myself out there. It might even get me a few blogging opportunities too. You never know. If you decide to make your own, I'd love to read them.

This list has been inspired by Mackenzie Horan.

STARTS JULY 21, 2016
ENDS APRIL 28, 2019
{1 COMPLETE, 100 TO GO}

General

1. Come up with 101 things (July, 2016)
2. Put 5 euros into saving for every goal accomplished

University & Blogging

3. Graduate from university
4. Study abroad
5. Find a mentor
6. Change jobs
7. Invest in a formal wardrobe
8. Fulfill an internship
9. Write a guest post for a blogger I admire
10. Have a blog that I'm proud of to put on my resume
11. Make 5 blogger friends (0/5)
12. Meet a blogger in real life
13. Feature a guest blogger on my blog
14. Establish a blogging routine
15. Find my blogging 'why'
16. Reach 1000 followers on twitter (885/1000)
17. Write at least 15 blog posts per month for a whole year
18. Teach my readers some Dutch
19. Interview another blogger
20. Find a way to incorporate geography into my blog
21. Learn some basic HTML and CSS skills
22. Do an outfit post
23. Learn Photoshop
24. Go to a bloggers event

Travel

25. Visit Iceland
26. Road trip through America
27. Travel on my own to another country
28. Travel to Barcelona
29. See the Northern Lights
30. Climb King Arthur's seat in Edinburgh
31. Rent an Airbnb
32. Visit Montreal
33. Go to a German Christmas market
34. Visit a French market and pick up a bunch of flowers
35. Visit the French Riviera
36. Visit Monaco
37. Visit Marrakech

Family & Friends

38. Have a spa day with my mum/best friend
39. Host a dinner party
40. Do something epic for my parents 25th year of marriage
41. Treat the pup to 10 new toys (0/10)
42. Go on a trip with just my brother
43. Road trip with my best friends somewhere
44. Take my grandparents on a day trip somewhere
45. Send July christmas cards to my best friends
46. Take the pup to the beach

Personal

47. Go on 10 dates (0/10)
48. Go on 10 self-dates (0/10)
49. Go to bed by 10pm for a week
50. Wake up at 6am for a week
51. Start a recipe journal
52. Volunteer as a summer camp counselor
53. Read 5 classics (0/5)
54. Watch 5 classic movies (0/5)
55. Read 5 non-fiction books (0/5)
56. Donate blood
57. Unplug completely for 24 hours
58. Write in a journal everyday for a month
59. Learn how to tell a story
60. Be a vegetarian for two months
61. Keep a food diary for a month
62. Improve my body image
63. Learn to take risks and make my own choices
64. Learn how to cook for one using cookbooks
65. Read 50 new books (0/50)
66. Have my wisdom teeth removed
67. Try five new to me foods
68. Add 10 picture frames to my studio (0/10)
69. Set up a new library account and rent a book to read each week

Local

70. Make a local bucket list
71. Try 20 new restaurants in Utrecht (0/20)
72. Spend an afternoon at a Botanical Garden
73. Visit the Anne Frank house
74. Have a staycation in Utrecht
75. Tick everything off my local bucket list
76. Visit 10 museums (0/10)

Just for fun

77. Write a fictional story
78. Dance in the rain
79. Go stargazing
80. Carve my initials in a tree
81. Get a new year's kiss
82. Go paragliding
83. Take a photo everyday for a month
84. Run a 5k
85. Watch 20 documentaries (0/20)
86. Watch everyday of the Rio Olympics in 2016
87. Read all the Harry Potter books (0/7)
88. Identify 100 things that make me happy
89. Learn how to play tennis
90. Have a weekend without plans
91. Go apple picking
92. Go strawberry picking
93. See all the Harry Potter movies (0/8)
94. Read Pride and Prejudice
95. Buy a pretty basket for on my bicycle
96. Take a surfing lesson
97. Prepare a meal using ingredients from a farmer's market
98. Make a playlist for every season (0/4)
99. Knit a sweater
100. Learn how to French braid
101. Set up a new library account and rent a book to read each week


Let me know what you think in the comments. What would you put on your list?

The Best Beach Reads



I love reading. It's my way to escape. I read whenever I can and I never leave the house without a book. I think my greatest accomplishment to date is that I got my best friend back into reading. I'm always recommending books to her and other friends and family and usually they even like my choices. I'm not very good at writing reviews, I tend to get a bit too gushy, but recommending I can do. This is a list of all the best reads I think would be perfect for summer. Most of them will make you laugh out loud and squeal with cuteness.

Amazing fiction I've actually read and loved:

Who's that Girl - Mhairi Mcfarlane (a funny novel about online shaming and a famous actor that I absolutely loved)

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance - Kirsty Greenwood (If you love vintage clothing this will be perfect)

Girl Against the Universe - Paula Stokes (YA, tennis, sweet love interest and a great portrayal of mental health problems)

Summer Skin - Kirsty Eagar (If there's one book you should pick up from the list, it's this one and it's set in college)

Me before You & After You - Jojo Moyes (You should read these before watching the movie)

The Day we Disappeared - Lucy Robinson (An amazing twist I didn't see coming, it will keep you gripped)

Throne of Glass series - Sarah J. Maas (Another YA. Let me tell you, the series grows better with the book and you won't be able to put it away)

The Fixer - Jennifer Lynn Barnes (I remember reading this on one of the hottest days of summer last year and I literary couldn't stop, a great YA thriller and the second book just got released)

Every Last Word - Tamara Ireland Stone (Another great example of a YA about mental health problems)

The Start of Me and You - Emery Lord (Perfect YA summertime read, Max and Paige are probably my favourite couple ever)


It's Summertime

 The problem I've found with taking a break from blog writing, is that it's so hard to get back to a writing routine. I've been saying to myself to get back into it, but it's just not been working. Every time I sit down to write, I just can't seem to get the words on paper. And then I get distracted by other blogs, get a little jealous of their writing style, and it just starts to gets worse. It's just like playing a sports isn't it? When you fail to continue working out and take a break, it's like you need to start building your stamina all over again and looking over at other sporters who are way better than you isn't going to help at all.

But let's catch you up about what has been going on lately, alright?

The last month of the school year has been a blur of deadlines, exams, meetings with friends and weekends away. And then at the end of the month I've been following the news on Brexit too. It's a bit too crazy to think about it, I find. A country wanting it's own borders back in a world of globalization. It sounds pretty unthinkable to me. I don't want to say too much about it, because I don't think I'm invested enough to know much about it. However, I had been hoping for Remain and it's been interesting to follow the discussion before and afterwards.

Looking back on the past few weeks, I'm happy I called an hiatus on the blog. I couldn't have juggled any more activities than I already had right now. Busy weeks, followed by busy weekends have made it a fun, but tiring few weeks. My weekends included participating in the national student championships with five matches in two days, fourth place as a result, three goals by my own making, pizza, great company and two awesome parties. Another weekend was spent being taught how to become a summer counselor with real kids to practice on.


I don't think I've talked about it on here yet, but my summer plans include volunteering as a summer camp counselor for three weeks. It starts in a few hours and if I'm completely honest, I'm nervous as hell. What if I can't do it? I worry about not being a natural leader and creating chaos, but despite all, I hope it will be fun too.

Everything uni-related has been wrapped up last week and now summer can start. I had a whole plan of spending the first week of my summer break working on the blog, drafting blog posts ahead of time for when I would be away and just generally chilling. That didn't work out due to a writer's block following my hiatus. I left it behind now though I think: I've written three blog posts today, which are set to be scheduled over time.

I'm pretty excited to be working as a counselor at the summer camp for kids despite my nerves. I sincerely hope it will be fine and that I will learn fast. Other plans on my summer to-do list include: a road trip with my best friend and a city trip to London and I hope to be spending the rest of my time watching the Olympics (and maybe working some more too).

Tell me about your summer plans in the comments below, I'd love to know!

10 Budgeting Travel Rules I live by


I wanted to write about a few budget travel tips I have accumulated over the years. I love traveling, but obviously I'm a student and I have to watch my money. I don't have an endless budget, but I have always prioritized travel as an important way to develop and learn about other cultures. Budget travel has gotten me to see most of Europe over the last couple of years and you can do that too.

As a student your financial situation can be precarious. Most students have study debts and have to be careful with their finances. I'm the same as any other student, keeping a side job just to get everything paid for. Any savings I have left, I put towards traveling, but I am careful about what I want to spent it on. I'm not going to splurge on an expensive flight to the other side of the world and instead would rather keep some savings and pick out a shorter distance flight to a country in Europe.

1. One of the most important things to budget on in my opinion is accommodation. I don't need a fancy hotel. I'm just as fine bunking with other travelers in a dorm room. I spent two weeks last summer inter railing through Europe with a friend and we stayed anywhere from dorm rooms to camp sides and did that for about 15 euros a night. A place to sleep is just a place to sleep.

2. Getting the basics of a trip well organized, can save you a lot of money. Booking flights at the right time, bunking with other people, using other cheap transport modes and just a simple thing as doing research can save you a lot of money. I know Ryanair for example always has some cheap deals flying from Eindhoven. I always make sure I'll check their website first. If you want to go really cheap you can also use companies such as Bla Bla Car or take the bus.

3. Another tip would be not to go out for dinner every single night. I love food shopping in another country and I love finding a place for a picnic. It can be just as much fun to eat your dinner under the night sky or during a sunset. During the day it's also a good idea to pack your own snacks, that way you can save a lot of money, instead of splurging on cake and/or lunch every single day.




4. If you do decide to go out for dinner, I'd suggest looking for restaurants in the quieter areas of the city. It's often cheaper, more local and better than the restaurants you can find in touristic spots or on main squares.

5. I always make sure I bring my own travel guide and source the internet for must sees. It can be tempting to try anything and everything and feel like you have to visit the expensive touristic sights. If you do your research, it might be that you can find a cheap alternative and you might realise the sight wasn't even worth it. I also often keep in mind that when the outside of a building is beautiful, it isn't necessarily true that the inside will be just as beautiful. I always ask myself if I really want to pay to visit the inside or if I'm just as fine with admiring it from afar.



6. Remember why you travel. It's important to know what drives your travel. What are your must sees and what makes you happy? For me that thing is to get lost and get to know the true culture of a certain city of place. I love just wandering around with my little guide and I get proper giddy when I discover a hidden square or beautiful street. That's what I travel for and it doesn't even cost me any money to do that. For others it might be something different, but it's great to keep that in mind as it can be something to focus on and make your experience in the city or other side unique.

7. Free walking tours are a great invention to get to know a city in a unique and cheap way.

8. Don't forego any of your must do's, because you will regret it and don't feel like you have to visit something, just because everyone else is doing it.

9. The cheapest way to discover a city is on foot. Take your time. Why rush undergrounds when you're here to discover new things?




10. One last tip is to never go for the cheapest option, always go for the cheaper option. You don't want to end up ill from bad food you've eaten and you don't want to regret not doing something because you wanted to save money. Go for something that is cheaper and think carefully about what you do, but never go for the worst and cheapest option, because I find that it won't make your trip enjoyable. There are some things you don't want to compromise. You're on holiday after all and you're allowed to live a little.

I hope you enjoyed this post and you will keep these things in mind. Do you have any tips you have that I can use in the future too?

Stop and Pause




When your world moves too fast and you lose yourself in the chaos, introduce yourself to each colour of the sunset. Reacquiant yourself with the world around your feet. Thank the air that surrounds you with every breath you take. Find yourself in the appreciation of life.

- Christy Ann Martine

I'm going on an undefined blogging hiatus. It might just be a couple of days or weeks, it might be a month or more. I'm sorry to any frequent readers who have been following my blog. I lost my inspiration and mindset to blog over the last few weeks and I feel like a couple of weeks to refocus and refresh would do me good. Uni life has been mental and if there's is one thing I've realized over the past few weeks, is that it's impossible for me to create anything when I'm feeling stressed. I have so many things on my mind that I can't focus and with course work completely packed over the next month, I don't think I will have that much time. There is no space besides course work and classes at the moment, no free time to do what I want. I even spent my weekend working.  

The fact is that I don't want to pressure myself in writing on here at the moment, especially when it's stressing me out. My course is my number one priority. For now that deserves my focus and after this period is over, I will hopefully be able to tackle this blog again. It might be that there will be an odd post, but it might also not be. I hope I will come back feeling refreshed with new ideas.

All the best wishes and see you soon.

PS. There will still be another post scheduled for Wednesday, but after that it's going to be a radio silence from this side.


My Happy List #4

I miss the beach.

This week has gone by in a blurred rush of work and sunshine. Before I know it, it's 7pm and another Sunday and I realise that I still have to write about my week. It has been a really busy. Course work is really starting to pick up once more. The course I'm doing right now is supposed to be one of the toughest of my entire college career and it's really something I have to focus on right now despite also wanting to work on this blog. Apart from being busy it has also been a week full of sunshine. I've loved long sunny evenings out on terraces with friends and having the windows wide open while I work. Sadly that has all ended this weekend and we're back to it being colder than at Christmas last year. Hopefully this spell won't last long and we're back to the nice weather soon.

I have a list of things that made me especially happy this week:

1. Coming home to the puppy on Friday after a week away and her going crazy with happiness at seeing me. I guess we both missed each other.

2. That same puppy being absolutely adorable. She's learned to fetch a ball just today.

3. Eurovision full of cheesy songs and political comments, watched on the sofa with my family and a tub of ice cream. Dream life right there.

4. The amazing weather we had up until Friday. I spent a few lovely evenings out in the beer garden.

5. Max Verstappen winning the Spain GP on his debut for Red Bull this afternoon. I still can't believe it. I have been following every race since he started in the formula 1 and it's great to see a fellow dutchman doing so well. I'm a nationalist at heart really, so this is great. The whole family was cheering him on and now I can't stop watching replays. I'm just so happy for him, many great races to come.

6. This might be a little weird, but I love commuting back home by train every Friday. I had a bit of time this friday and decided to go a different route home.

7. Strawberries, Melon, Apples. Basically all the fruit.

8. The amazing comments people are leaving on here. I have realized that I don't care about the numbers my blog is attracting, but it's so nice to read lovely comments. It's definitely made me realize that I should comment on other people's blog more often too. It's definitely the most amazing feeling to get a super nice comment from someone.

9. Finding that sweet window seat spot where I can catch the last rays of sunshine of the day.

10. Getting my camera back, finally.

11. Lastly, this amazing vlog from the Michalaks. They outdo themselves week in week out. This one has to be one of my favourites. It has definitely encouraged me to do something spontaneous and creative.

Here's to another week gone by. How has your week been?


A walk through the Alfama Quarter in Lisbon


After our morning at the Botanical Gardens we made our way across the city to the Alfama Quarter and the castle at the top. I did some research before we went and apparently this was a must visit. It's the oldest district in Lisbon and one of the only areas that survived the Great Earthquake of 1755. There are still cracks visible on buildings now and again. We wandered down the little alleys and steep staircases and wandered upon hidden square after hidden square, each more beautiful than the next.

This has to have been one of my favourite places we visit during the time we were there. It's very easy to imagine yourself living there. Washing hangs from the houses everywhere and old man watch on from their doorways. Now and again you come across another tourist, but it's not nearly as disneyfied as other places (Venice immediately crosses my mind). People really live here. It feels like you get a slice of what it's like to live in Lisbon. I loved that.

If there is one piece of advice I would give you when you visit this area is to just get lost. We wandered upon the most beautiful little squares or small alleys on accident that you wouldn't be able to find when following the map. We did get lost and wandered in the totally wrong direction. It took us on a bit of a detour. In Alfama that isn't a bad thing though.







We stopped at a little cafe for a spot of lunch and a nice warming cup of tea. We had wondered all morning and the beginning of the afternoon. We were so ready to sit down for a bit and just people watch. I had one of the tastiest quiches I've ever had. If I remember correctly it was simply cheese, ham, tomato and mushrooms. Simple is often best.

After a bit of a chilled down we made our way further up to the castle. You wouldn't think it would be difficult to find, but it honestly took us ages. When you're in the neighborhood, the castle is only sporadically visible and hard to find. We ended up going in the completely wrong direction, but eventually arrived to this beautiful view.


The wind was strong and it was quite cold up there, but the views were completely worth it. The castle itself isn't big and honestly not necessarily worth a visit. There aren't any particular beautiful rooms or anything as it wasn't a castle people actually lived in and every space looks pretty much the same. The views definitely make up for it though. And the peacocks too. They honestly make the weirdest sound, a bit like a fake cat sound.



Both the district below and the castle are worth a visit. If I were to return to Lisbon at some point, I'd definitely pay another visit to the neighborhood, though if you aren't up for paying for the castle, you might as well skip it and won't miss that much. Miradouros in the neighborhood might be just as stunning.






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