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.

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3 novels to put on your Xmas list, novels that all take place in NYC

“Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.”

– Charlaine Harris

Do you know that feeling too? You have been somewhere and although it is always great coming back home, you also kind of want to prolong the holiday or at least that holiday feeling. Books are a super solution to get the best of two worlds. You can curl up on your own sofa with a novel and the book brings you back to where you have just been (or takes you where you’d like to go one day). Books are therefor the cheapest vacation you can buy and thus a  perfect Xmas gift!

Have a look at my selection of novels to put on your Xmas list (or to give someone else of course). The novels have one big thing in common: the story takes place in NYC. Trust me, a trip to NYC is far from cheap, so this may just be a perfect alternative. The novels can also serve as a prelude to a planned city break or as a trip down memory lane. NYC is simply fascinating, and so are these novels!

For teachers and story-lovers among you I have selected Teacher Man by Frank McCourt. For shopaholics and those of you are fan of a feel-good story, I have selected Still Me by JoJo Moyes and for those of you who just love a good thriller, you will be thrilled by Run Away, Harlan Coben’s latest novel. And for everyone who loves reading novels about relationships, any of these will work for you!

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5 reasons why autumn is an awesome season

“It’s autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and,

best of all, leaping into leaves!”

– Winnie the Pooh, “Pooh’s Grand Adventure”

With the days getting darker, rain and wind becoming more frequent visitors and temperatures dropping, your mood may just suffer a little…

Time to list 5 things to remind you why autumn is an awesome season too. How about windy walks, pumpkins, traditional festivities, soft fabrics, warm colours, leaping into leaves and more…?

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How I was stubborn about my goals, and flexible about my methods on a city trip to New York City.

“Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods.”

-unknown

In one of my previous blogposts I have already hinted at my trip to NYC. Can you imagine my stress when one week before the trip I sprained my ankle while taking one of the beautiful photos of “petite” Alaska in Switzerland?! I was wondering how much I could actually do and see in NYC…

Like so often, a story popped up and I’d like to share it with you this week. It’s the story of Diederik, who owns a vineyard on the shores of Lake Zurich, and it’s about the way he has dealt with disastrous weather conditions for winemakers.

Continue your read to find out what the link with my NYC trip is and what a great learning this story offers all of us. 

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“Into the wild” and what we can learn from that film

“Happiness is Only Real When Shared.”

-Chris McCandless

As you can see on the photos in this blogpost, Switzerland, despite being so organised and clean, can look pretty wild too.

When we went for a walk in Graubünden’s National Park a few weeks back, I felt like really going “into the wild”. Look at these impressive mountains with that first touch of snow on the top. Can you imagine how I felt, walking on a trail amidst these mountains and lots of trees, crossing wild waters (OK, over bridges, but still…) and even spotting some deer and other game. The film “Into the Wild” spontaneously popped up in my head and I turned to my husband to tell him so. In that instant the famous sentence “happiness is only real when shared” got its extra dimension for me.

It’s so true. No matter how happy you are, you are happier when you can share your happiness with others, building up memories together. That is also one of the pains of losing loved ones: shared happy moments can no longer be shared.

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How history influences vocabulary: Meet Hamburg’s “Mahnmal”, St. Nicholas Church

“Memories are not just about the past. They determine our future.”

– Jeff Bridges

“What’s in a name?” is one of Shakespeare’s many famous quotes. When you look at the beautiful German word “Mahnmal” (oh, how I love the alliteration in it) you will agree with me that there is a lot in a name.

A “Mahnmal” is a special sort of monument. It is designed to make people do more than just remember an event or person. Its function is to teach, to awaken awareness, to inspire insight and to appeal to a tolerant attitude towards others. 

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Letting go in order to grow

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”

 – Hermann Hesse

Next week autumn officially starts. It always fascinates me how nature shows us that letting go is needed in order to grow. How symbolic the falling leaves are.

Somehow, most of us find it difficult to let go, even though we know it is part of life and often a necessary part too.

This week I’d like to share a story with you about a training I had many, many years ago. During this training I was taught the importance of letting go in such a powerful way, that it has helped me ever since. Read on for the full story.

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10 reasons why you should NOT visit the Balkan (but after reading them you will go anyway)

“Don’t make excuses, make something incredible happen in your life right now.”

– Greg Hickman

I spent 4 weeks in different Balkan countries this summer and loved every minute of it. Nature is unspoiled & beautiful, the people friendly & welcoming, the culture rich & diverse, the history abundant & interesting and the weather sunny & warm. I can almost hear you think: “I should go there myself.”

I think you absolutely should, but before you decide to go: Have a look at my list of 10 reasons why the Balkan may NOT be your favourite holiday destination. To be more precisely, have a look at 10 excuses not to go and decide then that they are actual weak excuses and just go to this incredible part of the world.

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