5 delicious low-calorie alcohol-free cocktails that you can make and enjoy at home for your virtual Friday (after work) drinks

“No amount of physical contact could match the healing powers of a well made cocktail.”

– David Sedaris

It’s Friday and even when you are working from home, this still means that your weekend is about to begin and looking at the above quote, let’s kick it off with some fantastic cocktails. Why not organise a virtual drink with colleagues or friends to enjoy them in good virtual company?

Because there is a tendency of drinking too much alcohol in stressful situations (and let’s face it: many of us experience the corona crisis as quite stressful), I have collected 5 magnificent mocktails for you and tried them out myself before posting them here. They are super easy to prepare, look awesome, taste delicious and are not only alcohol-free, but low on calories as well. What more do you want !?!

Read on for recipes, so you can kick off your weekend (and the next ones) in style, taking care of your emotional and physical well-being. Cheers!

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Tips how to celebrate Easter at home: facile, fun & festive! What more do you want?

“An egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different.”

– Oscar Wilde

I don’t know how it is for you, but my Easter weekend will be very different this year. It is tradition for us to travel to Holland (we live in Switzerland) and have a long weekend full of brunches, lunches and dinners with loads and loads of family and friends.

This year the long weekend will be with…just our nuclear family. That means I had to rethink how to make this Easter weekend a fun and festive one too.

Read on for some simple and small gestures that will lead to a fun and festive mood and will make this Easter weekend a positive and memorable one too.

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7 practical tips for a good work-life balance when you work from home

“Nothing is difficult if you’re used to it.”

– Kashmiri (on habit)

Many of you will be working from home these days and I am sure you had to get used to that. I know I had😉.

Although I am used to correcting homework and tests at home and I always prepare my lessons at home, working 100% from home is a different story all together (I miss my classroom and the interaction with my pupils😢).

After 2 weeks of working from home I kind of got used to my new way of teaching, but I felt that some fine-tuning was still needed to get a better work-life balance. That’s why I searched for tips how to make working from home work well. I am happy to share some of these tips with you this week so you can profit from them too!

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Why Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” is a good read now we are forced to stay at home because of the Corona Crisis

Becoming – Art and perambulation

“To me, there was magic in the learning.”

– Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming” is an excellent read. It is interesting, funny and you can learn a lot from it. I think it is also (or maybe even especially) an excellent read for everyone who is being forced to stay at home because of the Corona Crisis. Why?

Practicalities first: the novel has got 400+ pages, which is great, because we have a lot of time to spend at home and what’s better than having a good read to kill all that time?

Apart from that, the book has got a very positive and uplifting tone, something we do not find in the news nowadays and something we all need more than ever.

The book also contains many life lessons. Let me share two lessons you can find in this book and you can use in this special situation we find ourselves in.

One is that more choice leads to more stress. Many of us experience the opposite right now: more stress because we have little choice. A different perspective may be very welcome.

A second one is that Michelle Obama shows us the power of a loving and caring family and the power of friendships, relationships all of us can use and offer at the moment.

There are many more lessons this book contains. Read on to find out which ones from Michelle Obama’s extraordinary life you can link  to your “normal” life in the current Corona Crisis. 

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How to handle daily life during lockdown and what positive learnings you can take with you

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley 

How different this weekend is from the one a week ago. And how much more different it is from the one two weeks ago (as the above photo clearly shows). Even though we had read about the Corona Virus in China and Italy for weeks, many of us had not anticipated all this: the social distancing, the working from home, home-schooling…and all that in the wink of an eye (not really or course, but so it feels).

For the first time in many months I felt lost for inspiration what to write about. There is a blogpost ready about the awesome Atlantic coast near Cascais, a really cool day trip from Lisbon. But who cares at the moment? Life has changed and we are adapting to that, learning to cope with new challenges.

I am sure many of you are, like me, looking for ways to deal with these new challenges in the best possible ways. That’s why I like to share my experiences with you, including my learnings.

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A heartwarming read for Valentine’s Day: “PS, I Love You” and its sequel “Postscript”

“Sometimes there is only one thing left to say…..PS, I Love You”

– Cecilia Ahern 

The quote is (surprise, surprise) from the novel PS, I Love You. A perfect gift and read for Valentine’s Day.

What is it about?

Well, about letters from one lover to another to start with.

Writing letters is often done at the beginning of a romance. Not so in this novel. The letters, that all end with PS, I Love Youare not written at the beginning, but at the end of a romance. The romance does not end because one of the two falls out of love though. The romance ends because one of the two falls ill. Terminally ill.

Holly and Gerry are childhood sweethearts, they marry and the whole picture just looks like a fairy tale, but without the “and they lived happily ever after”. Gerry gets a brain tumor and just before Holly turns 30 she is a widow. She does not know how to get on with life after this tragedy, something Gerry had anticipated. That’s why he has written 10 notes to her, all with some kind of assignment for Holly, helping her to get on with life and to be happy again.

Prepare yourself with a handkerchief when you start reading the novel, but rest assured: it’s a heartwarming one, a loving one, an uplifting one and one that shows the power of love in many ways.

Read on for more details and for discussion questions you may like to use in your book club or for yourself, simply to get more out of your read.

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Why women should join (or start) a book club

“Reading brings us unknown friends”

– Honoré de Balzac

Last week, in my budget-friendly NYC blogpost, I jokingly quoted “Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.” – Charlaine Harris. Well, it is true, but that’s not one of the reasons why I think women should join a book club.

What are some benefits a book club can offer you? Well, how about the following:

A book club will make sure you broaden your horizon, you deepen your knowledge, you familiarise yourself with other cultures, you develop your communication skills, you work on your management and leadership skills and you will enjoy female friendships. Sounds pretty good, don’t you agree? Read on for more awesome advantages and some useful tips and links too.

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7 reasons why snowshoeing is a great alternative for skiing and why you should really give it a try

“When life gives you snow, go snowshoeing.”

– anonymous

Hello and Happy New Year to you!

Last blog was all about hiding your Xmas extras, but that is of course a temporary solution. (Re)starting a healthy diet and exercising are ways to ensure lasting results. That’s why this week I’d like to promote a healthy activity that will bring you much while not costing you or the environment a lot: Snowshoeing!

In case you are a fan of winter wonderland, when you like relaxing your brain while exercising, when you love enjoying nature and respecting it at the same time plus when you are looking for having the time of your live for just a tiny bit of money, you should definitely go snowshoeing.

Read on to find out the many more advantages snowshoeing offers.

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10 tips to avoid Xmas stress, so it really is the most wonderful time of the year

“Sometimes we strive so hard for perfection that we forget that imperfection is happiness.”

– Karen Nave

🎼 It’s the most wonderful time of the year🎄

Well, to be honest, for many the weeks leading up to Xmas and Xmas itself are rather stressful. So much to do, so many events to attend, so much money involved, so many cards to write and cookies to bake, such a complicated family to get around one table…The list of stress factors can be rather long.

When you are suffering from (pre)Xmas stress, you may want to go through a list of 10 tips to avoid exactly this, so you can enjoy a relaxed and wonderful Xmas this year!

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A book for when you have to miss (a) loved one(s) this Xmas: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” 

– Francis of Assisi

On the second Sunday of December it is Worldwide Candle Lighting Day. People around the world come together to light candles for children who have lived tragically short lives for any number of reasons; sickness, accidents, war… The candles show that they will always be loved and never forgotten. The candles are lit at 7 pm local time, meaning that a consistent warm glow passes around the planet for a full 24-hour day.

I am not just writing this, because last Sunday was the second Sunday of December, but also because the loss of a child and how to live on after that tragedy is the central theme of the novel “The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes” by Ruth Hogan, a novel I can highly recommend.

When you think you are in for a very depressive read with this novel, well…..think again! The novel has an uplifting tone and message, shows the power of friendships, makes you feel the warmth of gathering together and addresses the heavy subject in a very respectful manner. Quite an accomplishment. There is lots of humour in the novel as well and it is written in an easy yet beautiful English style, including lots of Britishness.

For all of you who love feel-good novels, adore the English language & landscape and especially for those of you who have to miss someone dear this Xmas, treat yourself on this fabulous read! For a full review, please continue reading. For those of you who’d like to discuss the novel in a bookclub, at the end of the blogpost are some discussion questions you can use.

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