Switzerland in May – tropics and snowy mountains it’s all in a day trip.

Those of you following my personal Instagram account already know. We spend the second week on May in Switzerland, trying to speak French and mostly miserable failing. Luckily, there were a lot of things around to cheer me up about the terrible state of my French language skills.

We stayed in a little village called Nyon, on the coast of Lac Léman near Geneva. It was a picturesque town, with lots of small streets, lovely houses (both old and new), as well as a gorgeous view of the lake and it’s snow topped mountains on the other side. It even had some Roman ruins still standing.

As it wasn’t a big village and nothing noteworthy was going on while we were there, we usually took day trips to places near the lake. We went hiking on Saint-Cergue. A mountain right outside Nyon, with a terribly curvy road to get up there.  We tried to followed one of the routes laid out, but got lost. At least we didn’t see any signs anymore and it seemed like we really weren’t on the route anymore, but then it seemed like maybe we still were. We’re still not sure, but we’re happy we at least found our way back to the car. Even if it took longer than planned.

Then, we also took a trip around the lake and discovered the most beautiful places there. We weren’t sure about where we would stop. We we’re just driving the coastal route and watching the gorgeous views. Eventually we stopped in Montreux. A gorgeous, tropical-looking village and the far east-end of the lake. It has a footpath right be the lake, where you can’t come by car, which is stunning. Seriously, if you ever go there, check it out!

     

Our next stop was in Yvoire, FR. A lovely village to walk through, as it still has a medieval city center and a castle. They also have a Garden of the Five Senses there, which was great to visit. I couldn’t stop feeling some of the amazingly soft plants. And did you know there’s a flower that actually smells like red wine? The woman at the ticket counter told us, but I thought she must be overstating it. Nope. It really, REALLY smells like read wine.

Other trips we took were to Geneva, where we visited the flea market and walked about town. It was a great day, and the lake looked lovely. There’s very little else I can say about Geneva. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit CERN.

We did however get to see the Mont Blanc. We took a cable car all the way up the Aguille de Midi. It wasn’t one of the best days to go up there, since it was a little cloudy, but every once in a while we could look all the way down. Eventually it started snowing, which really made it cold. I didn’t mind too much though, because the whole experience was just amazing!

Have you ever been to Switzerland? What stood out most for you?

4th of May – Dodenherdenking

The fourth of May isn’t just Star Wars Day. In fact, I didn’t even know it was Star Wars Day until about two years ago. I’ve never watched the movies. It’s not my thing.

The fourth of May for me and every other Dutch person, means Remembrance Day. On the fourth of May, all victims of the Second World War are remembered. More recently 48855(2011), this has been expanded to include “all Dutch victims – civilians and soldiers – who have been killed or murdered in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world in war situations or during peace-keeping operations since the outbreak of  the Second World War.”

A national remembrance ceremony is aired on radio, television and the Internet, so everyone can follow it. There are of course also local remembrance ceremonies. The part that stands out most for me, is the two minutes of silence. The whole country is silent for two minutes. This includes train stations and airports. People who are on their way (only if it cannot be avoided), will pull over to the side of the road. During these two minutes, nothing happens in the Netherlands.

I think it’s important to remember this. To remember that a long time ago, the whole world was at war, which caused millions of lives. Personally, I also find it important to 39999remember that there are still a lot of people who live in a war-torn country and how lucky I am, that I do not.

So maybe the next time you read a book where a real or fictional war is the setting or merely a plot device, remember how lucky you are for being safe and free.

Ps. On the fifth of May, we don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but instead we celebrate or freedom!

KonMarie Method – Step three: books

As promised a long time ago, here finally are some pictures of step 3 of the KonMari Method, the decluttering of my books.

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As you can see, that’s a lot of books. Also, lots of chaos! I discarded almost half of all these books. My list stands at 235 that I got rid of. This means that there were 326 that I wanted to keep them.

Another joyful fact is that my bookcase looks so much better now. It was by no means crowded before, but somehow something always seemed off. Now, I find, that it looks so much better!

For a bunch of the books I’ve already found some lovely people who would like to have them. All the other ones will be donated/sold to second hand shops.

Next on the KonMari Method list is papers. We already did this as well. Lots better organized now, and a lot less papers still around. We’re now slowly going through all the other things we have to do, before moving on to sentimental items.

Ps. I think my TBR never went down as fast as this, and probably never will again.

Review: Goals 2 0 1 6

Blogging Goals 2016.2As mentioned in my previous blog post, I wanted to check up on the goals I set last year. What happened to them? Were they reached?

I posted two different blog post at the beginning of last year describing my social media goals and my reading goals.

  • original pictures on the blog

    I mostly managed to do this. However, not in the way I planned. I still take my pictures from my Instagram pictures very often. At least they’re my pictures though. So I’ll consider this one half-way reached.

  • feminist blog posts

    Nope. Didn’t happen. I still want to, just didn’t really write very many.

  • update list of reviews weekly on the blog

    This did most definitely not happen.

  • let go of ‘the perfect picture’ on Instagram

    I mostly did this. Most pictures are not too set-up anymore and all of them are taking by phone. I think I can consider this one as reached.

  • use my Facebook page more

    I didn’t do this. Like with certain other goals I didn’t reach, I still want to, but I didn’t get to it.

  • upload reviews on Goodreads

    Nope, I forgot all about Goodreads for a while.

  • interact more on Twitter

    Twitter wasn’t really in the picture anymore…

  • pin new posts on Pinterest once a week

    Hmmm, I skipped this one too.

  • follow more bloggers on Bloglovin’

    Well, since I wasn’t blogging, I didn’t do anything on Bloglovin’ either.

  • read 120 books

    I didn’t get to read this many. Especially since starting my new job (that I love!), I’ve not read as much. This is why I set my reading goals a lot lower this year: it has to be realistic after all!

  • read 15 books in German and Dutch

    These I reached. I read 20 books in Dutch and 18 in German!

  • read 5 non-fiction books

    Yes! I read a total of 16 non-fiction books.

  • read 10 classics

    Almost, I read 9 books I would consider classics this year.

  • read 2 fairy tales each month

    Uhm… nope. Didn’t happen. Maybe this year?

  • Reduce TBR to under 150 books

    Yes! I didn’t do it reading, I got rid of a lot of my books (about half). Now, my TBR is under 100! So, achieved!

As you can see, I did not achieve all of my goals. I’m ok with that. During the year my life changed (full-time job), so my goals had to change as well. I therefore don’t regret that I didn’t achieve all of them: there were other things that became more important.

How did you do on the goals you set for yourself? Let me know in the comments!

2 0 1 7 GOALS

* 2 0 1 7 *

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The previous year went by so fast, with lots of ups and downs. I feel like I’ve finally got the hang of working full time and having a social life. However, blogging seems to have taken a backseat. I’m hoping I’ll be able to fit it in again at some point as well.

So it’s the time of year where we set goals. Since I didn’t really achieve very many last years, I’d like to try again and maybe make them a little less ambitious and more realistic.

  1. Excersize at least twice a week (tae kwon do, pole dancing, running, yoga).
  2. Finish 52 books this year.
  3. Acquire two new games (board/card games).
  4. Reduce my TBR from 88 to 50 books.
  5. Go to the sauna at least once a month.
  6. Experience 5 new things (foods, activities, sports, places etc.).
  7. Finish the Konmari method + repeat at the end of the year for books and clothing.
  8. Post 1 new blog post each week.

There are more things I would like to do in 2017, of course. This list of goals is by no means extensive. However, writing everything down would be excessive (and possibly boring).

My goal for next week? Review the goals from last year. Perhaps I did better than I think.

Happy New Year! May all your dreams and goals come true this year!

KonMarie Method – Step two: Clothing

The KonMarie Method has a certain order to things. This means that when you decided to start doing it, you’ll have to follow this for best results. The first part, I’ve already explained, which is thoroughly asking yourself why.

Next up is choosing which items in your house to keep. You’ll do this by asking yourself the question: does this particular item spark joy? I kind of translated that for me to mean: does this item make me happy in any kind of way?

However, there is no randomness in going through all of the items. You start with clothing, then books, papers, konomo (miscellaneous), and last sentimental items. The idea of this order of organization is that the first group is the easiest to discard things from and the last the most difficult. This way one learns to discard, and psychologically seen (not in the book), one first has a couple of successful experiences discarding items, making it more likely that you’ll continue the method and don’t give up half-way through.

Thus, what I did next was figure out which clothes to keep. In the end that meant that I had discarded a large trash bag and a half of clothes (they were donated). The boyfriend got rid of an entire bag of clothes, and together we got rid of a whole bag of shoes and a whole bag of bags.

Unfortunately I ended up with very few socks and very little underwear, so I got some new things as well. I don’t mind though, because this means no more uncomfortable underwear or socks anymore. Plus, I finally gave up on bras completely (I still had two, just in case).

I have no pictures of the huge mess in our living room with all the clothes in there. I forgot. However, next time, when I’ll let you know about my books, I’ll have some pictures.

Till next time!

 

KonMarie Method – Step one: Why?

The Life-Changing Magic of TidyingI’ve been away for a while and in that time, I have of course still been reading. One of the books I’ve read (and have started to implement) in my life is: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo, in which she explains her KonMarie Method.

I am not a tidy person. I’m clean, but not tidy. My boyfriend can confirm this. I have trouble putting away the things I have used. Usually this means I leave a bit of a mess in my wake.

So, I decided that maybe it was time to change something. How better to start change than with a new book? Thus, I looked online and found The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. I read up on it, watched a bunch of YouTube videos and then decided I had to read it for myself.

Now, I would like to share with all of you how I’ve been doing. Going through all the steps one by one. The first step, often overlooked I’ve noticed, is to ask yourself: why? Why do you want to do this, why do you want to reach that step, and why the next one, and why and why and why? Pretty much, you’re trying to be a 3-year-old. Until, at some point you reach the final answer: because I want to be happy.

So, I asked myself these questions, or should I say: this question? Anyway, I wanted to get my house more tidy, more streamlined to prevent the constant distractions that make everything in my head seem very loud. (Does that make sense to anyone?) There is a constant input of stimuli, which was disturbing me. So for me, the answer is exactly that. I want to get rid of all these extra stimuli so I can feel more relaxed, which will make me happy.

Next, I’ll report on the cleaning out of the clothes in our closets (the boyfriend is doing it too!). So follow along to see how this book (hopefully) changes my life for the better!