Diary: looking back at January

Yes, January is done and 2019 has officially started. January is my least favourite month of the year: the fun of the holidays is over, the Christmas tree is gone and it is cold and raining outside. But, after a few days of moping, I found out that there are also plenty of fun things to do in January. That and more in this diary blog!


Family visits

We started January in the south of the Netherlands. On January 1st we visit my parents and grandparents. The following weekend we are again in Limburg (Southern area of the Netherlands) to visit Ries his grandmother and family. We are originally from Weert and Nederweert, two small cities in the middle of Limburg and most of our family still lives here.

Dinners, parties and New Year’s drinks

Because we are all January at home in the Netherlands, we have quite a few drinks and dinners planned out. With Ries’ Family,  we have a belated Christmas dinner. Everyone brings a special dish to prepare, this way we have a multiple course dinner. It’s a nice evening and extra special because a new generation is present for the first time: Ries’s newborn niece.

My sorority (from the time I was studying in Maastricht) organised a dinner on a boat, sailing the canals of Amsterdam. Furthermore, we have a New Year brunch and friends come over for dinner.

Workshops and my Postdoctoral

It’s a pretty busy month at work. I work on a number of intensive projects and also do a Postdoctoral Customer Experience. For the latter, I have to write a plan for a possible improvement on customer experience in our company. I interview a number of clients for this project, after which I develop improvement scenarios. At the beginning of February, I will present this final project for the exam committee. And then, everything goes well, I have completed this Postdoc! This immediately gives me more space in my agenda, finally, my Thursday nights are free again!

In addition to this project and my normal work, I organised two workshops in Customer Experience and Customer Journeys this month. It’s nice to do and something completely new to me!Cold Amsterdam

Being ill

The last days of January are not so special, I got sick. After a few days filled with sleep and surrounded by nasal spray, handkerchiefs and painkillers, I feel good again! February, I am ready for you!


Blog

In terms of blogs, it went pretty well this month! We managed to post twice a week, on our fixed days (Tuesday and Saturday). Now that we had a whole month at home, we have had more than enough time to write ahead. At the moment, all blogs are ready for the next two weeks. That really gives a wonderful feeling!

Top 3 best-read blogs this month:

1. Five things to do on Ambergris Caye (San Pedro) in Belize

2. Travel Guide: All you need to know about Caye Caulker in Belize

3. Itinerary for two weeks on Palawan (the Philippines)

Instagram

Gosh, it seems like you all suddenly discovered us on Instagram! Really nice to see that we have grown so fast last month. At the end of January, we are almost at 4500 followers. What I like most is when we receive messages in which people tell us that they really have benefited from our tips on a certain location. Thanks to Instagram, we reach new people every day. I’m curious, do you use Instagram a lot or not at all?Instagram Charlotte Plans a Trip


Discoveries in January

Sports: Rocycle
Typical case of: everyone knows it already, does it already and is already on to the next trend, but Charlotte is only discovering it now… Yes, Rocycle is a huge hype in Amsterdam. I was persuaded by my friend Fay to join her for a trial session. Well, I was sold from the frist second. Rocycle is a form of spinning, but then in the dark with rock-raging music. I find spinning itself pretty boring, but rocycle, where you also use dumbels to train your arms and core, is challenging and exciting. We will be back soon.

Apps: Grammarly
My downstairs neighboor and friend Natasha told me about this app, which you can install on your laptop. And believe me, when you write in English, you MUST use this app. Grammarly indicates where you make grammatical errors and gives suggestions for improvements. For me this is really great, since we translate all of our blogs. English is not my native language, so therefore I make a lot of mistakes. With this I can at least get the grammar mistakes out!Bloomon

Decoration: Bloomon
From my sister-in-law I received a gift certificate for my birthday for flowers from Bloomon. Without a Christmas tree, the house was suddenly very empty and I decided to immediately order a flower bouquet. Bloomon delivers your flowers at a time that suits you and with the bouquet comes a whole description about the type of flowers and how you can best take care of them. I got a beautiful wildlife bouquet, which has stood for more than 2.5 weeks.

Series: Sex Education
This new Netflix series is really hilarious! It takes place at a secondary school in Wales but is certainly not childish. It is about the 16 year old Otis who acts as a sex psychologist for his classmates and helps them with the most unusual sexual problems. Besides the humor, the series is filmed very beautifully. It shows a sunny part of Wales, a side that I didn’t know at all.

Food & beverage: tea with ginger and lime + way too many cakes from Natasha!
Hmm because I was sick, I drank liters of tea every day with ginger and lime. Now I am not a big fan of ginger, but after a while I started to like it!

In addition, we are very spoiled by our neighbor Natasha, who came up more than three times with delicious cakes and baked goods. Natasha is from South Africa and will leave the Netherlands mid-February. We are going to miss her very much, you can not imagine a nicer neighbor than her!food for when you are sick


Favorite moments in January

  • Yeah, we have booked some nice trips again this month. My favorite trip we are going to make is a holiday to Madagascar in June. I have been wanting to visit this country for a long time and now it is finally going to happen.
  • The moment I gave my brother, Maurits, who turned 18, his birthday present! He has been wanting to go to Naples for years and that’s why I decided to take him as a birthday present to this beautiful city. He couldn’t believe it at first and was then visibly moved, so special! Well Mauts, I really look forward to it!
  • Being sick is not fun, but what is fun is being pampered by your boyfriend. This I enjoyed to the max: Ries was super sweet and caring!
  • It was very cold this month, and when it’s that cold outside, there is nothing I rather do than but on some candles, get a large mug of tea, and relax on the couch. Especially when I don’t have to leave the house anymore and I can just Netflix the whole evening! I love it!

Budget tips: What did we spend travelling French Polynesia?
Itinerary: two weeks island hopping in French Polynesia

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