The importance of travelling

As the proverb says: travel is to live. Since I started travelling often I realised how true this motto is. I tend to measure my time from one trip to the other, so when my day at work is particularly hard I’m motivating myself with simply stating when I’m going to visit some great place. Right now I’m counting days until my next adventure: I’m going for a weekend to Brussels, Belgium with a couple of friends and that is exactly what makes me endure some tough moments.

The impulse to travel is one of the hopeful symptoms of life.

So why is it that sometimes we forget travel makes us happy and instead we rot at home? Mostly it’s the amount of chores we impose on each other, deadlines, sometimes feeling overwhelmed with social issues and workload. I know that when I become corporate robot I forget about anything really and simply sink in all the chores. If you’re in the same place right now where you walk and walk but you’re always in the same spot and feel zero motivation to move and drive anywhere really, here are several reasons why you should keep going and never give up on travelling.

1. Travelling broadens horizons and makes you a better person

It sounds strong, doesn’t it? Like getting into a car and driving to a nearby city for a sightseeing tour would make you truly a better person. And yet… It’s true, or at least I believe so. Going on an excursion always broadens your horizons. Even if it’s very short, to a place you’ve already been to, it’s still going to teach you something. It’s going to build up your experience and simply make you wiser. Example? Visiting another nation and learn about their culture.

Bonus anecdote: When I moved to Portugal (for my Erasmus) I was pretty much disgusted with all the people simply snapping their fingers to call a waiter at a restaurant. I thought it’s so rude! And yet… it’s normal there, so I learned that when I’m in Warsaw, I don’t have to get all airtight and silently rant and rave on their bad manners, but rather understand they might come from a completely different place than I do.

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A photograph of Prague, Czech Republic 2018

2. You can learn another language and improve your CV (resume)

Learning languages is vital. I don’t think I can stress enough how amazing it is to be able to communicate in a foreign language wherever you go. Right now, I’m using skills I learned years ago and can (hopefully) successfully communicate with you, my dear Reader in English. Before I moved to Portugal I used to learn the language from books and some additional classes, but only when I moved my knowledge of Portuguese sky-rocketed. Knowing languages can improve your position in applying for a job or even grant you get one!

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Nazare Beach in Portugal, 2014

3. Travelling makes you stay younger

Ok, I might not have any scientifical proof that it’s true, but I do believe travel makes you more active and therefore younger. Constant planning and plotting stimulates the brain and sightseeing is a great way to reach your 10000 steps needed for a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, when you spend so much money on plane tickets and hotels you just can’t afford food anymore… Just kidding, although it might be true in some cases. For New Years Eve this year I travelled to a city of Torun in Poland. Just for one day, a very short trip. And during this day I visited so many places, I walked more than 20 km in less than 10 hours!

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Barcelona, Spain, 2014

4. You can make friends from across the globe and cement relationships you already have

Meeting people from around the world not only broadens the horizon (see point 1), but also creates connections which not only let you have so much fun, but also allow you to travel further and cheaper. I keep in touch with many of my friends from Erasmus and we’ve exchanged many trips (I travelled to their hometown, they visited mine) for a fraction of a normal price. But what’s most important? The memories, because as you know, people forget years and remember moments. All these precious moments laughing at similarities and differences between our cultures (sometimes very distant, hello, my Brazilian friends!), teaching each other various things or simply hanging around could never be the same if I only had friends from my own country.

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Porto, Portugal, 2014

5. Travel lets you experience amazing cuisines

Oh, the food… how I love it. One of the best virtues of travelling is trying out different cuisines, flavours and products. My long time dream is to visit Italy, Parma, to be exact, and try all the amazing dishes there, including pizza with potatoes and different flavours of pasta. When I visited Croatia last year I fell in love with white wine (Grasevina), sea food, eating freshly caught tuna grilled at the beach, watermelon at noon under an umbrella, and so forth. Celebration of food teaches us love of life. I also learned several tricks of Croatian and Portuguese cuisine and definitely improved my cooking skills.

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A great steak in Lisbon, Portugal

So let’s go on an adventure!

So, don’t dwell on tough times, take a look at some sites with cheap flights, bus or train tickets or even, for a free trip, pack your bag and venture to a place you’ve never visited in your city. Learn new things and don’t let work and chores overwhelm you. Travelling really is a sollution for sadness!

Do you travel often? If yes, did you learn anything interesting during your trips?

Let me know in the comments.

A weekend at sea – Sopot and Hel [POLAND]

Vacation at Polish sea is a debatable matter. I never experienced such, even being Polish and living four hours away by car, as I think it’s overpriced, not that attractive (rather cold water all year-long if you ask me) and so much less appealing than simply flying to Croatia and enjoying perfect beaches with even more ideal weather.

This year though, my future in-laws moved to Gdynia, a harbour town on the north of Poland, and I visited them twice already. Since being a blogger is all about sharing and, as a classic put it, sharing is carrying, let me share with you some beautiful places I’ve visited while on those trips.

Gdynia

Most of the time seen as the least appealing city out of entire tricity area. It’s a home of fisherman and harbour, most well known for riots that ended Communism in Poland. I really grew to love the city. It’s a part of a rather large complex, but in the same time, still a rather small town, mostly modern, due to it’s complicated history. Gdynia is a great place to visit, with the biggest, natural cliff (on the Orłowo beach), museum ships in the harbour (including a destroyer and a frigate) and a great “old town”.

Hint: if you ever find yourself venturing to the Tricity area, remember to stay in Gdynia for the night, as it’s perfectly communicated with Gdańsk and Sopot and in the same time prices are way lower!

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Gdynia is quite famous for great examples of modern architecture, such as monumentalism and early functionalism. In the same time, you can quite effortlessly find great views of the sea, long promenades, cute marinas, yacht clubs, sandy beaches and beautiful waterfronts. Let’s not forget about the most important aspect of travelling: food. I visited several restaurants and I love all of these, offering exquisite dishes in an acceptable price.

Welcome to Hel

Hel is a rather small town just at the top of the Hel Peninsula. Engulfed from both sides with the Sea, it’s one of the most climatic and enchanting places in northern Poland. It was my first time visiting Hel, and the Peninsula as a whole. Absolutely loved it. Especially for the fresh air, great views and very few tourists.

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You can take a rather long walk along the tip of the peninsula, look at the sea hitting the shore from three sides and even visit a seal center, located not far from the walking trail. It’s best to stop by the center during the feeding time, so you can see all nine to ten seals perfectly. Also, who doesn’t love those cute animals?

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You can also travel to the marina and see fisherman’s’ boats and even war ships!

Sopot

Sopot is a resort city and one of the most popular touristic destinations in Poland. The town is enchanting, sheltered from an open sea by the Hel Peninsula, which makes water in the sea a lot warmer. Clean, spotless sand of rather white gold colour creates a beautiful scenery, even in rather autumn/winter conditions.

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It’s probably most well-known feature is the longest wooden pier in the old continent (over 500 meters), which happens to be a great venue for recreational and health walks.

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Concentration of iodine in the air at the sea is doubled compared to the land, which makes it a perfect spot for health walks as well. If you are quite rich, you can always stay at the Grand Hotel in Sopot. That is a rather long-term dream of mine to stay there for a night or two. As it would probably be a financial equivalent of going to Croatia for two weeks, I never fulfilled my childhood dream, but just imagine: what an amazing feeling it must be to wake up, open the curtains and see only the sea.

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Oh, and can you imagine, sipping champagne from one of these fancy, tall glasses at the pool in a place like this? One day, Grand Hotel, one day!

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I don’t think I’m going to visit Polish sea for summer holidays anytime soon, but I do think that it’s a great destination for a weekend trip, especially with the airport in Gdańsk. So, if you’ve never had a chance, check Gdynia, Sopot and Hel out!

Dorota

 

 

 

New years resolutions

As January approaches it is the last moment to let the old year pass and take a look forward to the new one. And what would January be without casual new years resolutions? All these goals we are never going to achieve, but we think about for at least a week until we find ourselves on a coach with a bar of chocolate and a glass of wine, even though we solemnly swore never to touch any of it again?

This year I approached my resolutions a little differently than in the past. I have established five main goals for me to achieve and then described them all down in something I’d like to call my “bullet journal” when it’s actually a notebook with words scribbled in a way imitating calligraphy. Or trying to imitate. imitating trying to imitate. It’s really bad, honestly. I hope this list is going to help you establish your new goals/resolutions and maybe this time we are able to achieve them.

  1. Explore new hobbies and develop old ones

This is by far the most important goal of mine. I really would like to pursue new interests, especially sport related; like systematically attend Zumba classes (which are awesome), or start taking longer walks after work. I have learned (with all the previous resolutions) that unless my goal is tangible, can be verified easily and assessed “binarily” (either 0 or 1), I will never achieve it. So for this point my goal is to attend Zumba class every single week of 2019.  If you aren’t into dance classes you can always pick any other one; like pilates, yoga, swimming, jogging, whatever really, that you actually like. If you don’t have a heart for it, there is no way that you will stick to your resolution.

In terms of developing old hobbies I really would like to work on my blog and Instagram account more. I have great plans for both of these platforms, so if you have any tips I’ll be happy to hear it.

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2. Do one thing at a time.

I know, I know, you are not a real woman unless you’re juggling work, home, 10 children + 5 adopted ones, neighbours’ house, volunteering work and oh, yeah, training for climbing K2. Obviously, everybody want us to think it’s better if we work harder, more efficient and faster. I thought that it’s going to make me excel at work as well, but only when I relaxed and let myself do one thing at time I’ve noticed positive results – not only in my well-being, but also in how my boss perceived me – I got a raise and a bonus, so hey me! For the upcoming year I would really like to keep going, master my self-assertion, work on the way I think and simply slow down. I really love, as mentioned here, slow living movement. Savouring each moment of our lives with amazing food, great places, trips and mind-fullness. I’m listening to a YouTube video right now while typing, so this rule obviously doesn’t apply to background music na videos.

 picture of sand on the beach in Gdynia with colourful stones

So what about quantifiability of this one? Simple, for the upcoming year I’m going to assess how much time I need to perform tasks and keep myself only working (by doing one thing at a time) during this period. For example, if I go to work, I’m going to work for eight hours only. If I work on my blog I’m going to spend exactly the time needed without interruptions (like checking Facebook, Instagram, etc.).

3. Spend less time glued to the phone.

I conducted an experiment several weeks ago when I didn’t use my phone at all (not even calling, just put it in the drawer and forget it exists) after work. This time, I think I endured around 5 days, was eye-opening. Not only did I suddenly have time for everything, I also realised how much time I spend on the Internet. I quit using the phone, left my blog, Instagram account, Twitter (which I have yet to explore) and stopped checking out Facebook. I didn’t manage to stay away from the phone completely after those 5 days, but I think it was a good start. Now, my goal for 2019 is simply to limit my phone usage to absolute minimum – that is Instagram (which is a mean of helping my blog develop), Twitter and occasional e-mail check. No more YouTube beauty drama videos, no more weight loss successes, Little Mix Acapella nor Crazy Roommate stories for hours in my bed eating chips.

As with all the other goals, I’d like to specify this resolution to a point that’ll allow me to assess progress and verify if I really achieved what I hoped for. Therefore, phone usage of 1 hour a day is allowed. This will enable me to work on the blog and Instagram without wasting time on things I don’t really need to.

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4. Keep clutter out of the house.

I was generally inspired by a great YouTuber and blogger Miss Amy Rach, who I really love binge watching while cleaning my house. I noticed recently both my boyfriend Floret and I have been gathering things and not getting rid of any obsolete ones, so expect a lot of decluttering posts here.  I planned my decluttering process in steps, as described here:

  • step 1 – Declutter living room (get rid of boxes, old candles, useless papers, sell books),
  • step 2 – Declutter kitchen (get rid of broken things, check all the jars and labels for expiration date and/or content),
  • step 3 – Declutter bathroom (throw out all the expired products, things I don’t use anymore, product I hate),
  • step 4 – Declutter wardrobe (get rid of things which weren’t worn in ages).

I plan to spend a quarter of the year for each step, so that it doesn’t seem like a burden, but rather a goal to achieve drop weight off my shoulders.

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5. Morning and evening beauty routines

For obvious reasons. I am not getting any younger. I can see thin lines around my eyes which surely weren’t there several months ago and it haunts me how quick time flies. To stop the aging process, I have decided to incorporate morning and evening beauty routines. Before Christmas I found several great deals and bought various cosmetics, including both of the Bioderma creams below.

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The pink one is Bioderma Sensibio Eyes and the blue one is Bioderma Hydrabio Perfecteur with SPF 30 filter.

I know I’ve said here that one of my beauty essentials is All about eyes rich by Clinique, but I was already sick and tired of all these products I’ve been using for years and needed a change. They came with the cute white toiletry bag made of material imitating leather reflecting various shades (unfortunately it can’t be seen in the picture above). I think it’s super cute, I really like simple things and the fact you can’t really see Bioderma logo is an added bonus. I know it is supposed to be a blog post about new years resolutions, but I have been using both of these creams for the last couple of weeks and I can really see a difference. Both give my skin a very delicate, velvety-like feeling as well as a little bit of glow (in a good way). If you have a similar skin to mine I think both are worth trying out!

For the evening routine I have yet to find appropriate night cream, so for now I’m using the ones I have – maybe you have any suggestions for rather dry skin?

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I can’t stress it enough but goals have to be specific. It’s not enough to decide not to eat junk, because there is no tangible way to evaluate progress, and therefore it is easier to be less inclined to stick with the resolution. Even though I decided to declutter my entire house I’m not planning to do it in one single day, because the thought of me decluttering for 24 hours straight is repellant. But if I say, ok, I have these four places that I have to take care of and I have an entire year to do so, it sounds much better in my head, so it is acceptable. Same with hobbies and phone usage, you can’t simply say ok, I’m not using my phone anymore ever, because that’s unrealistic (especially if you’re a blogger like me), nor that you’re going to start diving if you can’t swim.

To conclude this rather prolonged post let me just add, that my biggest hope for the upcoming year is to keep up with blogging at least once a week. I have various ideas for blog posts (I stacked 40 drafts already) and I really take a lot of pleasure from writing, taking pictures and following all of you guys.

So let this year be amazing for all of us.

Happy new year everybody!

My 2018 wrapped

2018 has been quite a year for me.  As a classic once said; I’ve been down for so long it looked like up to me, and when I finally conquered all of my demons I have discovered many new shades of myself, my friends, family and loved ones and finally reached a point in my life when I can honestly say I am happy with where I am.

It didn’t come without an adventure, of course, so let me tell you a story, of how I survived 2018 and how it’s been the most hectic and wonderful year of my life.

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2018 started exactly the same as any other year for the last decade. I made many plans, more or less unrealistic, from which only one withstood the test of time and only for a simple reason it was the most effortless and smooth one from all the rest. In the middle of January I already forgot about my “bikini body” and how I should take better care of my hair, skin and mind. I worked full-time (still am) and as I usually returned home I was drained. Quite literally exhausted, didn’t feel like doing anything really. In February, I applied for a two-part exam, that would enable me to get promotion and earn more. I blew it and the fact that 90% of other people also failed that particular day did not make me feel any better.

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Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

It was my first failure of that sort in a long time and I felt completely crushed. What saved me from dwelling and whining was… lack of time, really. I had so much work, with my full-time job and my side business (oh yeah, I forgot to mention launching my own company) that I completely forgot about the exam. I jumped right into normal flow of the day; waking up, going to work, eating junk (most of the time, really), returning home, lazing around watching YouTube and finally going to sleep. There was no activity whatsoever, I didn’t even like going out.

In August my boyfriend Floret and I went to Croatia for summer holidays. While enjoying the country (and people) I realized how amazing my life is and how much I should focus on fulfilling my dreams, rather than focusing on all the obstacles. My holidays made me grateful for what I have and who I’ve become. Upon my return I received a rather substantial raise, which might have been additional factor for realising my life doesn’t suck that much!

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In November I decided to perform several medical tests. I felt constantly exhausted (which didn’t escape Floret’s attention, his questions about my wellbeing motivated me to check what’s been going on with my body lately), I suffered from extensive hair loss, mood swings and, which hurt me the most, memory lapses. You know the feeling when you call someone and they say you just talked? Or that you get something delivered and it turned out you ordered it yourself but don’t remember a thing? Yep, that’s me. When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease I wasn’t very shocked. A close relative suffered from it for years and as it might be hereditary I suspected I might have the same issue in the future, but now when I’m 28.

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When I started taking medicine, suddenly I felt so much better. I don’t think I ever felt so energized in my life. I can now work for 9 hours, return home, prepare lunch for the next day, dinner, clean the kitchen, take a walk and even go for fitness classes, which up until this point was unthinkable. Literally impossible. I can spend more quality time with Floret, improve my lifestyle and still have a little bit of time for myself.

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So here I am in December, planning my goals for 2019. This time, unlike all the previous years, I am going to succeed.

And how was your year? Did you struggle the way I did?

 

Flavours of Croatia – Zadar

Summer has ended rather abruptly this year in Europe. I have nearly forgotten that it ends at all, with golden autumn and amazing weather up until the second week of October. With holiday time passing I have realized I have not been blogging for a while and, let me tell you, there were more than 13 reasons why.

As I have mentioned in several of my previous posts (for example here), I have been incredibly fortunate to be offered free accommodation for a two-week trip to South Dalmatia, Croatia. And boy, that was an adventure! Upon my return I have already started planning next summer holidays, and as it is a rather daunting task, I wondered what could help me plan. I went through all the main points of planning a trip and realized that where you want to go sets a goal to work towards. And I couldn’t decide. I researched many travel blogs and looked for tips on which of all the amazing places to visit first and I got stuck. What broke the impasse? A book by John Grisham – no joke – about a football player moving to Parma (Italy). Why it wowed me so much? It showed a side of Italy I have never seen before, thriving, rich in flavour and full of lovely people, but from an entirely subjective point of view. Therefore, after spending two weeks in Dalmatia I decided to share with you my view on this region of Croatia, and maybe convince you it’s really an amazing place to visit.

After this rather long prefix, let’s just jump right into what I have learned about Southern Dalmatia.

ZADAR, the city that stole Hitchcock’s heart

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Zadar is the oldest still inhabited city in Croatia. With amazing Romanesque architecture and original Roman forum it reminded me of Rome, rather than a small town on the coast of Adriatic Sea. Both Floret and I loved every single corner of the city, but what really took my breath away was the sunset on the promenade – once described by Alfred Hitchcock himself as “the most beautiful sunset in the world”. I couldn’t agree more with Mr Hitchcock as I sat down with hundreds of people looking at the sun slowly hiding behind the horizon.

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Relaxing to the sound of waves playing calmly on the Sea Organs built into the promenade we waited for the night to set in and uncover the amazing solar-powered public dance floor – a “Monument to the Sun” created by Nikola Basic. I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like this before in my life and I truly believe that Zadar’s Sunset should be on everyone’s bucket list.

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If you are not the greatest fan of crowds you should definitely pick Southern Dalmatia out of all the other cities in Croatia. We have spent several days with born-and-raised Croatians and they all said the same exect thing to us: “never visit Dubrovnik in the summer” and “Zadar is so much better in summer than all the other cities, as it is not that filled with tourists”. Also, what they didn’t say, but I definitely noticed, was the price difference.

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Promenade, Sea Organs and the sun-powered dance floor are not the only great things to visit in Zadar. We have roamed the city quite thoroughly and seen various interesting sites, tried the amazing food and delicious beverages – including Gresavina – famous white wine from the region. Pro tip I have heard from an amazing artist who also provided us with loads of wine – don’t ever buy Croatian wine that’s more expensive than 30 kunas (5 euro) per 1 liter. I have obeyed by this rule vigorously and have to say, Gresavina (especially served with cooled sparkling water Jamnica) is delicious!

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City of Zadar represents a rather interesting mixture of old and new architecture. Blending effortlessly ultra contemporary installations, such as Sea Organs and the Monument to the Sun, with Roman-era fragments and Romanesque churches results from serious bombing in World War II, which forced officials to fill holes in old architecture with modern touches. Every step you take brings you closer to city’s historical heritage, just like visiting a very old, Romanesque bell tower, which interior seems taken straight from Indiana Jones movies. Neighbouring an original Roman forum it’s an amazing place to see the clash of era’s.

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Getting to know the city is very easy with many informational boards hanging around every corner. I was very pleased to see many signs translated into various languages, sometimes even including my own – Polish. It’s always a nice feeling to see signs of your own country wherever you go.

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What I also loved about Zadar? Its nightlife. Floret and I stationed ten kilometers from the city, so we never truly had a chance to experience the nightlife in its entirety, but we had a taste, while enjoying Gresavina and Aperol Spritz on the promenade. I loved spending time among Croatians (in Dubrovnik meeting Croatians in summer is nearly impossible), simply chilling and enjoying the weather, just like I would where I live. I felt more like part of the community, not a stranger, as I usually do while observing others.

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In terms of food, visiting any Konoba (traditional restaurant) with Pleskavica, Cevapcici and various sea food is a pleasure. With amazing interiors, delicious dishes and cold sparkling water, it is a lovely place to relax and regain energy for even longer sightseeing under the merciless Croatian sun. I loved devouring pizza (very common in Croatia, I don’t think I have ever seen so many pizzerias in one city!), looking at the ships passing us by, observing the regular life of people living in the Old Town.

With three airports nearby (Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar), various accommodation opportunities and great transport (both bus, train and ships), it’s one of the most convenient, beautiful and interesting destinations to visit in Europe. So, if you’re looking for a place to visit next year – make sure to take Zadar, the city of the most beautiful sunset in the world, into account.

Have any of you ever visited Zadar? Did you enjoy it as much as Floret and I did? Let me know in the comments!

Dorota

How to plan your holiday trip?

For a couple of days now I have been planning my holidays and while writing down the packing list I realized, that being so busy with travelling to my grandma’s house, being a perfect “housewife” and preserving pickles and zucchini I got from my aunt’s garden, I didn’t have any time to write a new blog post. Feeling a little bit guilty (as you do when you totally ignore something) I decided to finally get to work and prepare a post.

It would’ve been great if I had an idea what to write about, though. I don’t know if other bloggers feel the same way, but sometimes I can write an entire 10 page essay on the most mundane topic and other times I am just blocked, even if I had a great idea. But then, right in that moment, while writing the word “charger”, I got enlightened – I’m sure by now you now where this is going – so yes, another “how to” blog post, but hey! It’s an up to date topic for all of us happy campers!

1. Make a list of things to pack.

I know you might think everybody knows that already, but frankly speaking I met various people who don’t plan what to take for a trip at all. To be frank, I once went canoeing with some of my friends and one of them totally forgot to take a swimming suit and water shoes. I was surprised and asked how that happened, and she simply said she packed as she normally does, not for this particular trip. Since then, after a very lengthy trip to a shopping mall to purchase the swimming suit, she is that much wiser.

Make sure you prepare the list at least a week in advance. That way, for the days leading to the departure date you will have a chance to round out your list if you recall any item necessary. Also, it will allow you to purchase things you don’t have yet – in my case, I wrote sandals, hat, shorts and water shoes, since mine from last year weren’t too good and they let little stones get into the shoe and annoy the living hell out of me.

Bonus tip: make sure to pack all of the medicine you will need (especially prescription pills).

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2. Buy ticket in advance.

And I do mean all of the tickets. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts about saving money  I am not very keen on spending cash right now, as I’ve been trying to save up some. I have already booked my plan tickets and if I knew earlier when am I going to go for holidays I’d book them even several months ago. I also will now book train tickets, bus tickets and make all the other reservations which will allow me to save some and use special offers.

For these holidays I am going to stay in my boyfriend’s friend’s house and therefore I don’t have to book any accommodation, but if you don’t have that luxury I advise you to use booking.com to book in advance and use their discounts. Also, make sure you look for the best offer possible – many of the reservations can be cancelled and exchanged if you find a better last-minute offer. I’ve never done it as I feel people prepare their rooms for you and cancelling last minute is quite mean, but you can still do it and save some.

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3. Buy the currency in advance.

Generally speaking the smaller city you exchange money in – the better. Also, you can book currency in an online exchange office and make sure the difference in rate doesn’t eat a big portion of your money. What is crucial is to never exchange on an airport, near borders or in shopping malls.

This year I’m going to visit Croatia and the currency there is kuna, which is roughly 0,14 Euro. Knowing the rate I can evaluate how much money I need to exchange before leaving. I make sure to have some back-up cash just in case I exceed the limit I imposed on myself and I advise you to do the same. You can never know what happens and it’s always better to be prepared and not stress-out.

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4. Prepare for the trip itself.

Being fashionable is hard, but being fancy on a 6 hours flight is close to impossible. The rule to always dress the part in any situation is valid here as well. In case of flying for holidays, you definitely should wear comfortable, easy to remove shoes (at security check and aboard), have some sweater to put on (it can get a little chilly), and wear jeans which are not too tight (which will not cramp you).

If you’re going by car, pack water, snacks and make sure your luggage fits in the trunk. There is nothing worse than travelling like a crazy gipsy family on crack.

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5. Buy travel guides.

As I mentioned here having a travel guide is vital to sightseeing the site to the full extent. Make sure you buy guides that are worth the price – read opinions first and purchase the one with the highest note. Also, make sure to buy guides detailing the specific site you’re visiting – for example: not Portugal, but rather Lisbon or Algarve.

I am a very detailed traveller – I like to know all the pieces of information about things I’m going to see. For example, if you’re looking at a very old, beautiful church in Budapest only if you’re going to read a part of its history and get to know its name you’re gonna know and remember what it is, otherwise it will be just another church.

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6. Look for things to sightsee beforehand

Making a plan (not very detailed) of what you’re going to do during your holidays is vital. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, for me it is crucial to incorporate all types of leisure activities in your trip, so that you don’t end up simply laying flat on the beach baking your butt. It is vital to remember to plan some sport, some relax and some entertainment time in equal parts. That way you will not get tired of any of them and will be well-rested when you come back.

Right now I am browsing through various blogs to find things to do/see in the part of Croatia I’m travelling to. So if you, by any change, know beautiful places to see in Croatia near a city of Zadar, please let me know in the comments.

7. Return a day earlier

Even God rested for one day – at least that’s what the Bible says. Holidays and all the travelling can be tiresome, so make sure to return a day before and have an additional day for simply relaxing at home and sorting all the things out before returning to work.

 

And how about you? Do you have any tips for planning holidays?

Dorota

My beauty essentials

Last night, following one of the lovely YouTubers I’ve been binge-watching lately, I decided to get myself into a de-cluttering process. If you somehow travelled forward in time and are the only person in the world who doesn’t know what that means, let me explain. I will be getting rid of all of the useless items in my apartment (by donating to my friends and family). I will start with the bathroom, as it is one of the most cluttered rooms in my entire house. I have lots of cosmetics, which is really weird since I use very few and rarely any other than the ones I really like and tested for years. I have several items which I can’t live without and repurchase each time I get close to running out of. Let me present to you my beauty essentials.


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#1 Bioderma Micellar Water – a classic I’ve been using for over a decade now. It never failed me – it erases all kinds of make up almost immediately without any issue, doesn’t leave leftovers or oily skin and has no smell. The only problem I see with this product is the price – I usually wait for it to get discounted in my favourite Pharmacy – if you buy a promotional pack of two bottles it will last for over a year, for sure.

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#2 Ziaja Handcream – I tried many different fragrances of this cream, but my favourite of all is the goat’s milk. I love the delicate smell and the feeling of extra smooth hands. I usually carry it around with me in my purse, the packaging is great and I don’t have to worry it will “spill” inside my bag. Also, the price is very attractive – around 1,5 Euro (2$) for 80 ml is almost like getting it for free.

3# Nivea Active Care SPF 15 Lip Balm – the classic from the absolute classic. I love the smell, how it nourishes my lips and doesn’t let them crack in winter. I use it all year-long, mostly during colder days when the temperature drops below 0 degrees (32 degrees F). I used to use Carmex, but for some reason it help my lips only when I used it. If I stopped (mostly because I couldn’t find it) my lips got super dry and were peeling off. Also, yes, I am aware it says Nivea Man, but I just like that it has a vague fragrance and leaves no trace on the lips.

#4 All About Eyes Rich by Clinique – this tiny little jar of miracle cream to put on your under-eye area and forget about your problems. I like the packaging, ingredients list, that it’s hypoallergenic and works miracles for my dark circles. My only issue? Price. One little, tiny jar of this cream costs around 40 Euro (45$) which is a little bit much, considering the size. Nevertheless, it is lightweight, it reduces puffiness and eliminates every single imperfection under my eyes.

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#5 L’Oreal Rare Flowers – a great purifying gel, which leaves your skin clean and ready for your evening portion of cream. It has a very distinct, pleasant smell and always leaves me in a great mood. Also, it leaves the skin very soft, even in the morning it feels much smoother.

And what are your beauty essentials? Did you try any of the products I mentioned here? Let me know in the comments!

Dorota

Yet another trip to the mountains

Those of you who follow me on Instagram probably already know that I had visited Bieszczady mountains last week. For those, who still didn’t click that follow button – yes, I took a week off from the “big city” and travelled all the way to Bieszczady mountains AGAIN. It took me around 5 hours to drive there and I have truly and passionately enjoyed every single moment there.

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Bieszczady is a mountain range running from Poland through Ukraine and Slovakia and is a part of Outer Eastern Carpathians. I have many times heard of beauties of that particular place, but up until last year I never had a chance to visit. I have described my last trip in details here.

An area of no light pollution

From what I’ve learned only Bieszczady Mountains out of all the mountain ranges in Poland maintain the original darkness of night, all the other areas are light polluted to varying degrees. This is probably one of very few places in which you can experience true darkness of the night. The night sky is absolutely stunning, I can’t even begin to describe how many stars can be seen there. Unfortunately, I don’t own any camera that could catch that picture and give it justice.

Winnie-the-Pooh house shelter

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Winnie-the-Pooh house is a shelter located on the top of the mountain in Bieszczady. It is the highest located shelter in this mountain range. The place has no electricity, nor running water and only sells tea (also with a little bit of additives like… cherry vodka) and other assortment for tired hikers.  You can also sleep there, for a symbolic price, if you ventured too late into the mountains and want to have some rest there.

I was quite interested about the history of this place. I have learned that it was build just after the war to check the borders. Later on, when the borders shifted a little bit, it was given to the Polish Tourist Association which runs it until now.

The road leading to the Pooh-house leads through the Carpathian mountain pasture of Wetlina, which is quite an easy route really. When we ventured there we’ve seen such little kids on the way, we were pretty ashamed we got so flustered after each peak.

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A great place to practice hiking

I am not used to hiking. For my entire life I lived in the place that was flat as a bottom of my shoe. The first time I tried hiking I didn’t really like it that much – I was sweating, tired and simply hated looking so terrible. After some time though, I got used to it and now, except that I whine all the time anyway, I really like it. Especially the feeling of accomplishment when I reach a great, great place and can finally rest.

Bieszczady mountains can be demanding. Can take a lot out of you and leave you exhausted. But each time you finish a hike you already want to go back. The mountains have undeniable charm that draws people back. I met a nice man while climbing to the Winnie-the-Pooh house, who told me he visits Bieszczady for the fifth time and already plans to come back for more.

Although getting tired is not so difficult here, you can also find various routes which are not as demanding. That way, the range is perfect both for experienced, and inexperienced hikers.

A great hotel base

Bieszczady was quite a popular touristic spot in the 90s and now it goes back to its full glory. Both Floret and I enjoyed nearly every single one of the accommodation spots we stayed in. Many of these places offered a lot more than we expected and we loved the owners, who were extremely nice.

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We ate dinner with such a view in one of the places and I totally loved it. The owner was so sweet she even drove us to the mechanic who worked on our car. Oh yeah, my car broke – again. Fortunately, they fixed it in time and we could continue our journey.

We also got friendly with other owners who even treated us with some delicious fruit infusion, let us play with their cute cat and adorable dog and made us a bonfire. I really loved staying there and if you get a chance you should definitely go and stay in the village of Precisne. It is a little remote from the more popular places, but I really enjoyed staying there.

How did we spend our time?

When we booked our holidays we were expecting some beautiful weather and great hiking conditions. It was a little rainy, and the sky was usually cloudy, but we didn’t let it destroy our holidays. Actually, we loved it even more.

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For a couple of days we were simply hiking and making a BBQ in the evening (we walked through more than 65 km) and we needed some rest, hence we decided to spend one full day on the beach at the Solina Lake, relax and try some kayaking. We also checked several other places, such as Arłamów SPA Center. We loved every single second of this trip and we can’t wait to go for another one already.

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Let me know what do you think of this place? Where did you go for a holidays?

Dorota

 

5 ways to follow a Slow Living Movement

Slow movement has been around for over a decade and ever since 2015 I’ve been trying to join in. Fascinated with discovering new ways in which I can simply relax and decrease the tempo of my life I have searched for many clues and tips on how to implement several aspects of Slow Life into my own existence.

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Starting from an explanation as to why I think it’s something worth looking up, let me quickly mention that in 2015 I moved to Olsztyn (a beautiful city in a Warmian district of Poland) where I worked on a construction site. I didn’t know anyone in that particular city, nor at the company I worked for, and having no WI-FI connection I drifted towards spending my entire time with work colleagues in the office. I can’t express how much I regret it, especially since I know now how it turned out at the end, but what I learned is that living with such a great rate can be detrimental to your physical and emotional health. At some point I was so tired of constantly working (also partying) and being surrounded by people and chores that I got a terrible case of irritated stomach which led me to eat only boiled vegetables for a week. I was exhausted and lost and the thing that helped me the most were long walks along lakes and through forests.

In that same period I received a book about eliminating all chemical components from food and living a more healthy lifestyle. I didn’t implement many of the tips into my own life, but it was a factor that influenced my interest in Slow Movement in general. The author of the book was very much in love with the concept and she advised all the readers to tag along. I looked up all the information I needed and learned about FOMO (Fear of missing out) and other concepts related to how fast the world revolves around us and how much information we are flooded with each day.

For a time I have stopped trying to implement Slow Life and I focused on my career, education and other aspects, which at that time seemed more important. Then, when I least expected it, I reached a rather dark period of my life. I remember it was December 22nd of last year and it was already 5 PM. I was at work, last day before Christmas holidays, and the remaining task of the day was to simply get some papers signed, but that particular day it honestly seemed like the entire world is against me. I finished so late I didn’t have enough strength to go to my mom and help her with all the “cooking”.

When I got home I was so frustrated I decided to never let myself work longer than I absolutely must, try harder than anyone else and do things that are not within my scope of responsibility. During that moment I learned instantly how to say no to my coworkers and how to stay focused on what I am paid for and not constantly performing tasks for other people. It doesn’t mean that I don’t help anyone, of course, it means that I spend my work hours doing the actual work I am paid to do. I got back after the holidays and started leaving work at 3 or 4 PM. My friends looked at me with disapproval at first, but with time they gladly joined. Also, ironically, I got praised way more often by my supervisors – I was well-rested, driven and motivated to perform MY TASKS the best I could. That’s when I truly believed the concept of living slowly is beneficial to all.

Now when you already went through all this rather long preface let me get to the point.

During my introspective work I established 5 main points on how to join the Slow Life Movement.

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One of my favourite ways to relax. Playing a boardgame with Floret outside in the warm, summer weather.

5 ways to follow a Slow Living Movement

1. Respect your time.

I really can’t stress that too strongly. If you are not paid for working overtime… don’t. If you feel uncomfortable with someone and often feel left out by your friends – just don’t spend time with these people. If you constantly feel stressed  at work you should think of changing it or adjusting your attitude (about it later on in point 5).

Like I said above, I had a great problem with establishing boundaries in my life in terms of work. I thought that the more I tried the better people will perceive me and treat me like a better employee. I was wrong. I busted my ass off and after that unforgetful December afternoon I’d been working 50% of what I usually did and I am praised even more often. I am well rested, have more energy and motivation to finish tasks I am assigned to do – not some additional chores I impose on myself because I feel like they are required of me.

Sometimes when I read all those “tips and hints” written by corporate rats on how to be a perfect employee and I see words like driven, ambitious, confident, going extra mile, I feel like smashing my laptop on the floor (and it’s the laptop from my work, so that would cost me). Like seriously, you either do your job or not, if you go an extra mile for anything that is not for yourself you’re going to lose. People will see how much you’re trying and will use you for it. I know it sounds bitter, but it is true. Going an extra mile to improve YOURSELF – that is something that will make you stand out.

Let me give you an example (and prove I’m not just a corporation hater). I’ve been working in a designing office (for electrical installation, nothing concerning fashion – I know, a pity) and I used to stay many hours overtime to help my friend with his tasks. I wasn’t paid to do it, but I felt really sorry for him for being so overloaded with tasks. Up until I heard that he was lying around doing nothing while I have essentially done all his work. Well… at least he was honest that I was doing it well. I went an extra mile, but not for improving myself, but rather because I felt like I needed to be helpful.

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I spent a couple of minutes simply sitting here hugging with Floret. Solina lake is beautiful at this time of year. When the weather gets better we hope to rent a boat and check various islands on the lake.

2. Find time to relax.

It doesn’t have to necessarily be an entire week of frying your butt on a beach in Ibiza. You can start by simply spending a little bit of time just looking at nature, people passing you by or putting a face mask on. Whatever relaxes you (in my case playing PlayStation games with my boyfriend or reading a book) – either taking a walk, taking pictures of flowers or planting new monstera. Whatever works for you will be great. Try to implement at least 15 minutes of relax each day and increase this time every week by another 5 minutes until you reach at least and hour. (Side note: if your method requires electronics try to incorporate also something related with going out, at least a couple of times during the week). You will see how much your perception of things around you will change.

Right now I’m on holidays in Bieszczady Mountains again – I wrote about my first trip here in the post. This time I make it a point to enjoy the climate and nature in a greater extent. I took photographs of various flowers (as you probably noticed on Instagram and in this post) and both Floret and I want to explore new routes in the mountains.

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3. Try out slow-food.

In this world ruled by globalization access to food in developed countries is extremely easy. I can get food in 5 minutes, either by going out and getting it from shops/restaurants and my mom’s house or by ordering anything I like with UBEReats or any other application. This ease is quite frankly exhausting at some point. Not only do I have weight problems, I also more and more often get a case of troubled stomach from highly processed food.

The word “Slow” in slow living is an acronym which according to the most reliable source of information (sense the sarcasm here) Wikipedia stands for: sustainable, local, organic and whole – as in not processed. The same source also stands that the movement was set-up by an Italian man Carlo Petrini who protested vigorously against opening McDonald’s restaurant in Piazza di Spagna, Rome. Although I love to devour a Big Mac sometimes, I have to agree with Mr. Carlo. Such places, in this case the most famous square in Italy, should be filled with Italian spots, not something you can eat on a gas station everywhere in Europe.

If you want to join in the movement and eat in a Slow Living style I advise you cook everything yourself. Not only will it do wonders to your figure, it will most probably save you a lot of money. When I cook I tend to choose simpler dishes with less ingredients. I look up recipes on various sites (My favourite blog is the one named Kwestia Smaku, but unfortunately the author only publishes in Polish) and simply follow. I have learned many recipes I’ve never done before, which are not only quite uncomplicated (like spaghetti alio olio, penne arrabiata, chicken in carrot sauce, and so forth) but also delicious. Trying out slow cooking also made me eat a lot less meat – a tip to become a vegetarian soon.

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I know icecream is not really a superfood, but these crafter icecream of the orange cheesecake taste were just too delicious not to mention.

4. Know your value and keep your stand.

I can’t stress this point too strongly really. I have so many girlfriends who just don’t believe in themselves one bit. Because of self-doubt they are constantly insecure and full of unexplainable fears that cause them to get wild sometimes. Seriously, if I got a penny each time I had to convince my friends not to immediately dump their boyfriends or call their “sworn enemies” and call them out I would be a very rich woman. A very rich woman.

I sometimes have moments of self-doubt myself. Even today, in the morning I felt so unattractive, fat and… I don’t know, simply miserable, that the entire day seemed like a nightmare. Fortunately, I have Floret who reminds me sometimes, that there is so much to look for each day.

What I learned in life is that you are unique. There is absolutely no other person just like you and you should always be proud of who you are and strive to be better each day.

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5. Don’t ever let anyone bring you down. Keep your attitude positive.

You don’t have to (and most probably never will) be friends with everyone. There are always going to be people who despise you even if you’re another Virgin Mary. That’s just how life works and the faster you realize that the happier you will get.

If anyone around you keeps trying to bring you down… well, let’s just say the point I made above about getting rid of these people from your life is valid. What I am going to say now might seem harsh, but the above applies even to family members for me. If someone, whoever it is, brings you down – they don’t deserve to stay in your life.

About the second sentence of the title of this chapter: I think staying positive is a key to success in life. Even after the worst day sun comes up again. Always strive to see the bright side in things and never give up.

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And what are your thoughts on slow life? Have you ever tried the trend? Let me know in the comments.

Dorota

5 great ways to spend quality at home

I once read that home is the base where everything begins. It’s a place of relaxation and utter peace where we are able to simply unwind and rest after an entire week of work. I love staying at home, became a little bit of a couch potato recently –  totally not ashamed – and must have my own, personal time. Binge-watching Netflix shows, browsing through the Internet, watching YouTube videos of my favourite Creators and simply clearing my mind. This is all fine, I mean who of you doesn’t do it, right? At some point though, there comes a realization, that spending time watching YouTube might not be the best quality-wise time spent.

Realizing an issue exists is a first step to improve. At least that’s what my parents thought me when I was younger, so I analyzed and came to the conclusion there are numerous ways in which I can spend better-quality time at home.

1. Enjoy your time with board games

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I love playing board games. I bought and was gifted various of games including Catan, Scotland Yard, Monopoly (of course), Colt Express, The Witcher, Board the Train, Dixit and many others. Both Floret and I have been collecting games ever since we found an old version of the Scotland Yard in his parents’ house and we decided to play together. This is one of my favourite things to do during Friday evening when we don’t go out. It’s great; there’s rivalry, fun, all sorts of emotions and satisfaction.

Playing requires focus, it helps creating bonds within the family. Ever since I was young my parents used to play cards or European version of Monopoly called Eurobusiness with us. I loved it! I remember how happy I was when I got it for Christmas one year. The entire family played and it was great, I still recall those moments and even now, at the age of 27 I enjoy all sorts of board games. If you’ve never played I advise you to try out with something less complicated – like Monopoly. You won’t believe how entertaining that is.

2. Check out latest computer games

Ok, I’m not saying slay The Witcher III or God of War, by no means, but adventure games such as Uncharted 4 are great for all sorts of players! I love playing computer games – I was raised very closely with my older brother and we used to play together. If you’ve never played PlayStation4 games… What I can say is: that’s not what you think. Many people perceive gaming as a total and utter waste of time, but in reality it does improve your cognitive functions, it does make you notice details in the background faster and it definitely teaches you languages: look at me, never ever have I attended additional English classes and here I am, convincing you to check PS4 games out.

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Let’s take first example I mentioned above: Uncharted 4. This beautiful game created by Naughty Dog is a perfect example of how graphics improved within the last 5 years. This is a story of Nate Drake, a treasure hunter who helps his brother pay off his debt to a dangerous Gang Leader – by finding a pirate treasure. I can’t even describe how entertaining that games is – not only is it beautiful, it’s also humoristic, fun, packed with action and great plot twists. I enjoyed it so much I actually played it 4 times already, and each time I am home alone and cooking I simply turn on YouTube on my TV and watch Pewdiepie playing the game. Even now, when I’m writing this, my boyfriend Floret is just right next to me on the couch playing God of War

The titles I would recommend are: Uncharted series, The Last of Us (although way more aggressive), Until Dawn, Horizon, Dragon Age and of course, the king of all the games: The Witcher 3.

3. Read a book

If you believe that the art of reading in the computer age waned, particularly among children, is a sure sign that you are a Muggle.

These wise words were printed on my Polish copy of Harry Potter books when I first got them in 2001. I love reading – I always enjoyed spending a quiet evening with a book. I don’t even remember the time I didn’t know how to read – it’s simply like books were always with me. With age I shifted a little bit towards Crime genre, but I love Fantasy still. I don’t read much of Classical literature though – when I was in high school I made it a point to read a book from every single one of Nobel Prize Winners in Literature (which I did) but I can’t seem to remember half of the books I’ve read.

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There are though, pieces that you remember for your entire life. I loved reading Camilla Lackberg and of course the queen of crime literature Agatha Christie. I wanted to go now into which books I enjoyed but I can’t spend an entire year writing one post. I bought the book in the picture above today during grocery shopping and I’ve been craving to read ever since (meaning since yesterday) when I read the first part (I bought it and read it yesterday, that’s how hardcore of a crime reader I am).

I don’t think I have to advertise reading – it’s a common knowledge how great it is for broadening perspective and mastering imagination. Whenever I read, I truly feel like I am in a completely different world – Floret will confirm, even if he talks to me the sound just doesn’t get to my brain.

4. Plan your next holiday trip

I am soon planning to go for a short holiday in the mountains. I am a little bit overworked recently and decided to head for a camping trip at Solina Lake in Bieszczady Mountains – yeah, yeah, I know I’ve been there and shared pictures here, but the place is so stunning I had to see it again. For this trip, there is no planning required, but as I mentioned in my recent post about planning an EUROTRIP I was invited to spend some quality time in Croatia.

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As I’ve mentioned during the coverage of my Eurotrip experience, I’ve already been there once two years ago, so there was no need for me to purchase another guide. I am currently looking through maps, checking events and flights, prices for renting a car, distance from Dubrovnik to Montenegro and best beaches on the way. Finding things in advance might really improve the holidays experience and let us see things otherwise we wouldn’t even know of.

5. Sort through pictures!

I got you, didn’t I? Do you also have a pile of printed out pictures you should sort out but you never do because Netflix is so damn tempting? Is the pile stashed in a box from IKEA somewhere in your room and you pretend like it doesn’t exist because you feel guilty you were supposed to do something about it ages ago and you never did? Do you pray to God to become Bruce Almighty so you can use your stretching time capabilities to sort your pictures? Yeah, me too.

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I went for my Eurotrip 2 years ago and I still haven’t inserted my pictures in an album… – I am a terrible person, I know. I think sorting these out would bring a sense of piece of mind to me, so I might as well take care of it right about now. Keep fingers crossed!

And what do you do to spend a quality time at home?

Dorota