Sunday 29 January 2017

I got punched in the face*

*by snow. I KNOW.

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? 
I have started a new hobby: Cross-country skiing. My friend is a big fan, and she took me out a few days before New Year's eve. It was a gorgeous day, with blue sky, sunshine, and the most perfect powder snow you can imagine. I love nature and moving my body, and I was instantly hooked. 

We went again a week later: Another day, same result: I love this sport! 
Then, last Wednesday, the honeymoon phase came to an abrupt end. 
It was a grey and overcast day. My friend and I were the only ones out on the trail, with one notable exception: There were paw prints on the track. They were from a cat, either a bobcat or a lynx. These beautiful creatures are not normally dangerous to us, because they will avoid humans if they can. But if they feel threatened, they can attack. I have huge respect for all animals when I'm out in the woods, and it felt very special - and a bit unsettling - to ski along where a big cat had walked not long before us. 

The snow was crusty that day. It had melted and frozen, and under a thin layer of fresh snow it was icy. Ice is nobody's friend, is it? Unless it's cooling my drink, I have no use for it. It's dangerous to walk on, drive on, and ski on. Nope, I'm not a fan. 
What I didn't know then, is that it can also pack a mean punch.
But I was about to find out. 

The valley we like to go to is all hills. You go up and down the entire time. Going up is hard work, but easier for a newbie, while downhill is more fun, but that's when I usually fall. 
This particular hill was quite steep. 
As I was picking up speed, I started to panic slightly. I saw a bend coming up, and I had to make a split-second decision: Should I try to make the turn, or give up and simply go straight into the deep snow?

I decided to go straight. 

It was the wrong choice. 

As I plowed into the deep snow at high speed, something stopped my skis abruptly, causing me to dive headfirst into the snow. 

At least I'm in good company. (Image found here.)

It hit me like a brick. 
The layer of ice under the seemingly fluffy white stuff punched me in the face with a force that was as unexpected as it was painful. 
I lay there for a minute, stunned. Then I tried to slowly make my way out of the deep snow, which is no small feat with long, cumbersome skis still attached to your feet and blood dripping everywhere. 
My friend had a first-aid kit with her, and we slapped a huge band-aid across my nose, where the bleeding was the worst. 
(Honestly, that's what made me feel the most stupid - having this humongous band-aid stuck to my nose. It was in my line of vision, and it was both distracting and humiliating.) 

That's a shiner, isn't it. 

But there was one last surprise waiting for me.
Having almost reached the car on shaking legs, I spotted the elusive cat walking across the road! I only saw him for a second or two, but I'm fairly sure it was a lynx. They are shy animals, so it was a special treat to catch a glimpse of him.
That sighting made it (almost) worth getting kicked in the face!

Top picture found here.

P.S. The last person who didn't sign up for my newsletter looked worse than I do. Don't be that person. 😜


Friday 27 January 2017

Three things to brighten your day

I didn't plan on posting anything today, but then I came across a video that proves that farmers do it best*, and obviously I had to share.

*Dancing. I'm talking about dancing. No, you have a dirty mind.

P.S. Imagine Sia's Cheap Thrills playing as he's dancing. YouTube must have removed it (boo).
Or just click here to play it alongside it (start the music when the video is at 0:30 min) ;-)

The second great thing is a video you have probably already seen, but on the off chance that you haven't, let me show you:

I've watched it three times, and it makes me laugh more every time. It's gold.

Last but not least, let me introduce you to my new favourite IG-account @hayleycakes

Hayley has a wicked sense of humour, and the quotes on her cookies crack me up. She is insanely creative, and has an incredibly steady hand. But the best part (for me) about her Instagram is her cookie decorating videos. There is nothing more soothing than watch her create magic with nothing but icing and a decorating bag. 



Wednesday 25 January 2017

A day in the life

You know what one of my all-time-favourite marriage rituals is?
Listening to Rich, talking on the phone to our friends. 
He's very fond of talking on the phone, which makes him the polar opposite to me. I despise the phone. 90% of all phone calls that I happen to be around for are screened (i.e., not answered. It takes a very special, extraordinarily brave day for me to answer a ringing phone.).
However, I absolutely love listening to Rich talking on the phone. 

Despite having a very open and loving relationship, I never know 100% how he feels until I hear him talking to his family and friends on the phone.  
That's where he fully opens up, and tells them how he feels about his current situation. 

For the last two months, all he has been talking about is how fricking happy he is that we moved, and how much he loves our new home. 

I couldn't agree more. 

Since my last day in the life post happened about eight months ago when we still lived at our old place, I thought it's high time to give you a peek into my new routine. I'm not yet working at the hospital, so it's all about me-, Richard-, and animal-time!

I wake up at 7:30 every morning. My first act upon opening my eyes is reaching for my phone and checking what I missed throughout the night (I can't help it). After 10 minutes or so, I get up and make coffee. While the coffee is brewing, I go to the bathroom, and then check the temperature outside. Living on a farm, that's a vital ritual that we perform daily, to gauge how the day will unfold. 

Once the coffee is ready, I sit down on my desk. 
I absolutely LOVE this time of day. Even if I'm working, I always make enough time before work to have at least half an hour to drink my coffee in peace while reading my favourite websites, check my emails, and maybe even squeeze in a short blog post. 

If I have no work, that's the time where I get most of my writing done. 
I'm most productive in the morning, and my best writing time is usually between 8 and 10 am. 

I made myself an inspiration-wall next to my desk that's supposed to keep me motivated. 

The window frame on the top left reminds me of my 4 top professional aspirations. 
The gold frame on the top right is a quote from my 10 Minute Novelists group on FB: "Don't give up! One day, you'll be someone's favourite writer!"
The black frame below the window on the left contains my favourite motivational encouragement by Anne Lamott: "Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you're 65 or 75, and you never got your memoir or your novel written; or you didn't go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid?
It's going to break your heart. 
Don't let this happen."
The cork board on the bottom right contains a changing assortment of notes, pictures, and little titbits that inspire me. 
The canvas print on the bottom left is one of my fave pictures of Rich and me 💓

After my first writing period, I go outside to feed the horses and sheep, and let the dogs out. That usually happens between 9 and 10am, depending on how late we fed them the night before. 

After that's done, Rich and I have breakfast. We tend to go out for breakfast once or twice a week, and have it at home the rest of the time. 

After breakfast, I either write some more, do yoga, or we do chores like laundry, grocery shopping, picking up hay, or other farm-related stuff like cleaning out our rabbit cages. 

The afternoons are woefully unstructured. They tend to slip away, and half the time I can't tell you how that happened. 
Take yesterday as an example: Our neighbour came by for a chat, and invited us to come over for a glass of wine. We really like these neighbours, so we cheerfully accepted. Before you know it, it was 5 o'clock, and we headed back home to cook dinner. By the time that was done, it was past my productive time, so I watched a few episodes of Switched at Birth on Netflix, before attempting to write this blog post you're currently reading. 
I'm also working on a site for our farm where we can sell our animals, so that takes up some time as well.   

I spent a lot of time on this ol' desk. 

By 9:30 I'm usually ready for bed, where I read for half an hour or so before turning off the light. 

I love my days right now, but I know that they're numbered: Soon, I'll have to fit regular work hours in there somewhere again. How? I'm not sure yet - I'll keep you posted!

P.S. If you want to get more 'alternative facts', you should sign up for my newsletter. It's full of them.


Monday 23 January 2017


Winter is still in full swing around here (the dogs are in heaven!), but our mamas on the farm don't care: They have started having babies!
Last week we welcomed Fire, our first lamb of the season. 

His legs are black, except for a little spot on his left back foot that is white, just like our late Morgan horse Fire.
See the little white spot on his left foot?

Fire was a very special horse, and we were sad to lose him a year and a half ago. This little boy has the same markings, so he got the same name. He's a spunky little guy, so we think the name fits him perfectly!

Tom Snow is intrigued by the new addition
Our dogs are livestock guardians, they would never hurt our sheep or goats. Besides, the mamas are transformed from easy-going, docile sheep to brave mama bears with the courage of lions, and protect their babies fiercely. 

We also get baby bunnies year round, and just found a nest with 10 new babies:
Rich and Nina checking for babies
Found one - a day old!
This couple is still in love, but we think their baby making days are over - they fit right into the retiree community around here. 
 Never too old to enjoy food. Yum!

Life is good on the farm. I hope it's good for you, too!

P.S. If you sign up for my newsletter, you will be the first to learn of new announcements. I have a big one planned for next week, don't miss out! 


Thursday 19 January 2017

Sparkle and lace + a link-up!

How's January treating you so far? I don't know about you, but it's usually not my favourite month (meaning I hate it). This year though, with exploring our new neighbourhood, the almost daily sunshine and a new hobby, I actually like it!  
What I used to do in previous years was treat myself to something in January to brighten up this dreary month. Just in case, I did the same thing this year haha!

I saw Naomi from Love Taza wear this incredible pair of sparkly shoes, and on a whim, I ordered them. They are a wee bit too big, but nothing that a bit of cotton-wool wedged into the toes can't fix. Other than that, I love them! As if mother nature knew that I wanted to wear them out, she warmed up considerably, and the snow is melting fast. Thanks, girl! 

Another reason why I wanted to wear them today is that I am co-hosting Jennie's popular fashion link-up Fabulous Friday. I have been linking up for close to two years, and I was honoured when she invited me to be a co-host this week. This special occasion deserves some extra sparkle!

I hope January isn't treating you too badly either!

Shoes: Asos
Dress: no longer available (similar)
Leather jacket: old (similar)
Circle scarf: gift (similar)

Fabulous Friday1
Meet your host for Fabulous Friday, Jennie of A Pocketful of Polka Dots. Jennie is a 40+ frugal fashionista who enjoys trying new trends, loves All the shoes, believes life is too short for boring hair, and never met a polka dot she didn't like. You can follow Jennie here ∼
Bloglovin| Facebook| Instagram| Pinterest| Twitter

My favourite look from last week's Fabulous Friday link-up is Ruth's casual boho-chic outfit. I'm a sucker for stripes, and I will always have a soft spot for flared jeans. Add to that her adorable hair, and we have a winner!

Linking up with Fashion Should Be Fun, Rachel The Hat, Sheela writes and Shelbee on the Edge


Monday 16 January 2017

The gift of time

"I don't have time".
"I'm too busy."
"I wish I had more time."
"I need 48 hours in the day to get everything done."

Sounds familiar? I bet you have said at least a few of these statements. Maybe even today. After all, it's Monday morning, the weekend was way too short, and instead of doing laundry you binge-watched Netflix, and now you're out of clean underwear.  (Go commando, it's okay. I won't tell anyone.)

I have said these words thousands of times. Bemoaning the fact that I was caught in the endless cycle of work, housework, a bit of TV, eat, sleep, repeat. Feeling drained at the end of the day, with no energy to do the things I wanted to do. 

Well, that has changed. Since January 1st, I suddenly have plenty of time, and it's - hmm, how shall I put it?

It's overwhelming, thought-provoking, and enlightening. 

Knowing that it will only be for a limited time gives it a sense of urgency, the pressure that "I need to make the most of it!".
Luckily, I have Rich by my side. He reminds me to stop stressing, and to just enjoy it. He is the zen-master, highly skilled in relaxation and enjoying the moment. While he doesn't meditate in the traditional sense (i.e. sitting cross-legged on the floor, eyes closed and chanting "om" under his breath), he has been doing his own form of meditation for years. 

He meditates in the morning, still lying in bed, staring into space. "What are you doing?" I ask him every time I see him lying there. Silently I urge him to "get up, get on with the day, do something", because that's how I am. 
But Rich is completely relaxed. "Just thinking," he will say. But I know that he isn't really thinking - his mind is pleasantly calm and empty, and he just is

He also meditates during long drives. If it's up to him, he won't talk much during drives. I've asked him many times, "What are you thinking about?", and he has explained patiently, over and over again, that he doesn't think; he tries to keep his mind blank. 

Like I said: Zen master

But anyway, back to me. Or first, a question for you: What would you do if you suddenly had all the free time in the world? I know that the first few days are no problem: The novelty of not having to go to work is delicious, and you do everything you fantasized about when you were a slave to the clock: Sleeping in, lazing about, drinking endless cups of coffee/glasses of wine while you while away the hours reading, social media-ing or watching TV (or all of the above). 
It's heaven. 

But sooner or later, you will get restless. As enjoyable as it is for a few days, you can actually get sick of being lazy. (I know. Who knew?)

What I have been doing is a lot of soul searching, reflecting, and cultivating my "perfect" life. I'm trying to establish routines now that I hope to keep up once I start working again (which, btw, is on Feb 4th! Yes, I'll start work right here in Merritt, and I'm thrilled.)

I have been reading lots, and learning lots as well! Some articles you should read during your coffee break today:
↑ This article is mind-blowing. It has the potential to be life-changing (and I don't use that term lightly.) It shed a lot of light on what went down at my last job, and made me understand the vicious cycle we all trapped ourselves in. Like I said, read it!!

↑ I'm doing a lot right now to shape my destiny, and I'm really proud of it. Now it's your turn!

↑ My newsletter. If you want to find out how I survived the worst time of my life (and how you can, too!), you should totally sign up.

Other encouraging reads for when you're down:
↑ It will make you more courageous. She is incredible.

↑ Too awesome for words.

Okay guys, let's do Monday.

P.S. Signing up for my newsletter will make you 10% sexier. It's a scientific fact. 


Thursday 12 January 2017

A dozen years

On Tuesday, we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. In typical fashion, we kept it low-key and casual, doing farm-y stuff like unloading hay, doing a dump-run (we don't have garbage pick-up where we live), and basically doing what has been our theme for the last few weeks: Spending (almost) every moment of every day together. In the beginning it felt weird, I'm not gonna lie, but after the initial why-are-you-always-here?-adjustment periodwe both love it!

We bicker every day, but we truly enjoy spending so much time together. We both know this won't last forever, so I try to remember that (unsuccessfully, usually) before I gripe about the pee on the rim of the toilet (seriously: how hard is it to hit the huge bowl of the toilet??).

Anyway. We actually had a surprisingly romantic evening involving champagne, candle light and humongous steaks. It also involved a loong walk down memory lane, something I don't want to deprive you of:

Vintage Rich and Miriam, aka. the cradle robber and the baby. (He looks so old! I look so young! I know you're thinking it, because - come on, just look at us. But we were so madly in love, we didn't notice or care. Still don't. Long live love!)

Our wedding

Contrary to most people's wedding day, ours was not that great. If you want to describe it in one word, that word would be: Awkward
It was very small (only 16 people including us), and the unspoken theme of the day was: Let's all pretend this is normal, even though it's weird as hell. Most of my family met Rich for the first time on our wedding day, and there was this funny moment during the town hall ceremony where the registrar read our birthdays, and I swear you could hear everybody behind us furiously calculating in their heads what our age difference is. Just in case you're wondering the same: 25 years. Yup, a quarter of a century. 

Other unusual facts about our wedding:

1. I didn't choose my dress. (I didn't even wear a dress.) My mother picked it. I had envisioned a white skirt-and-jacket combo à la Carrie Bradshaw's simple outfit when she marries Big for real. But I was so grateful that my parents pretended to be okay with our marriage, that when my mother offered she would buy my outfit, I readily agreed. 

2. I didn't even see my wedding outfit or try it on until the night before. I was working in Wales at the time, and didn't arrive at my parent's house until the night before our wedding. Talk about risky! But I honestly didn't care what I was going to wear. All I wanted was to become Rich's wife. 

3. The wedding was over at 5pm. Our ceremony was at 11 in the morning, with a lunch afterwards. After the lunch, we sat around and talked (with several awkward silences thrown in), and my uncle took some photos. If he wouldn't have, there wouldn't have been any photos at all! Because we had no wedding photographer. We had coffee and cake in the afternoon, and to everybody's relief, the whole affair was over by 5pm. 

4. Our reception was at a castle. Since we got married in Germany, we were able to have the reception at a castle. Castles are easy to come by (both our home towns have them), and this one is only five minutes away from my parent's house. 

    Image found here

5. Our honeymoon lasted only three days. We went to Weimar with Richard's cousin and his wife for a bit of sightseeing. After the three days I had to return to Wales for two more months to finish my job at The Celtic Manor Resort, and Rich flew home to Canada. 

While our wedding may not have been "the happiest day of my life", our marriage has blossomed into the strong foundation on which we built a very happy life together. 

None of our wedding guests expected our marriage to last. Most thought I married him because I wanted to stay in Canada, and that he married me because of my youthful age/a midlife crisis on his part.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We fell in love despite ourselves. It was one of the scariest decisions we ever made, but the one that has brought us so much happiness, I would choose him over and over again.

If there is one lesson I have learnt, it is that you can trust your instincts. 
If it comes to love, you have to listen to your heart. It won't lead you astray. It may look insane to others, but if it makes sense to you, go for it
Nobody can give you advice, because nobody knows how you truly feel inside. 

I'm so grateful that we both went for it. It's been the most extraordinary journey, and it's just getting better and better. 

My darling husband, I love you forever. 

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