UK – Wales

For my work I went to Wales for a week. I stayed very close to the coast, a few minutes drive from St.Davids. Because the family I work for went by car and the journey is too long to be squished in between the girls car seats, I took the train. I love traveling by train, so I didn’t mind at all. I will tell you a little bit about what I did every day.

FRIDAY
I had the morning to do a little bit of relaxing, to start the day slowly and to get ready. My train was going at 12:30, from Paddington Station. I arrived at the station perfectly on time and I didn’t have to wait too long before we took off. The first part of the journey, until Bristol Temple Meads was a bout 2 hours, then from there to Newport it was only half an hour (though there was a little delay) and the last bit towards Haverfordwest was another 3 hours. Everything went really well and though I left with a grey sky and rain, the weather got better and better. I planned to do some work on the train, but I was too distracted by the beautiful views. Especially when I arrived in Wales, the views were really breathtaking. So not a lot of work done, but a lot of thinking and enjoying. When I arrived at Haverfordwest, my employer was already waiting for me to pick me up. Before going to the cottage, we went to get groceries at a very big Morrisons. From there it was about half an hour to the holiday cottage and in the meantime it got rainy and dark. The cottage was so  lovely. I couldn’t see the outside too well, but the inside was amazing. So much space and proper country side style. Light walls, old dark wooded floors and an amazing big bathroom!! My room was all the way upstairs, with a very cute en-suite bathroom. I shared the top floor with the girls, but they had their own bedroom though. I quickly warmed up some lentil soup and then unpacked my things. I  love doing that, hehe.. The rest of the evening I just relaxed and read a little bit. Just before bedtime I wanted to take a shower, but I couldn’t get the water warm. So I had a very very cold shower, because I just can’t go to bed without a shower.. let alone in freshly washed sheets!

SATURDAY
The bed is so cosy and lovely, I had an amazing sleep. For breakfast I had some fruit and tea and then we headed to Whitesands Bay, a beautiful beach. The tide was in, so we went into the little shop and had a tea in the cafe. After that we could wander around on the beach for a bit, yay! There are always so many things to see on the beach. Beautiful shells, crab claws, seaweed, pretty rocks.. I used to take things with me, but I never do something with it, so now I just admired it whilst I’m there. In the afternoon we went to a close by harbour. When the tide is in you can’t walk there, but it wasn’t, so we could walk at the bottom of the harbour, towards the sea. Was very fun and it was super beautiful there. In the evening I made myself a burger, I did some reading and though my employer got my shower to work during the day, the only thing I got was freezing water. I was too cold to take a proper shower, so I had to splash myself a little to at least feel fresh enough to go into bed. I was sooo cold after!

SUNDAY
When we were in the cafe yesterday, we found out there is a trampoline place nearby. So we went there this morning. It’s called Hangar 5 and it’s a big place full of only trampolines. So much fun! In the beginning I felt a little wobbly, but once I got into it, I was confident enough to do (quite) high star jumps and to really enjoy it. Only a few minutes drive from there was a big restaurant and we went there for lunch. I always prepare to have salad and fries, but to my surprise they actually had quite a lot of vegan food. They even marked it as ‘vegan’ on the menu. It made me so happy. There were things like: Asian slaw, Garlic bread, Spiced cauliflower & kale brown rice, Basil pesto penne, Grilled Harissa aubergine and even an Apple pie for dessert. I went for the Grilled Harissa Aubergine and gave them a compliment for their vegan options. The restaurant is called ‘The Lost Coins’ btw and I had a lovely lunch here. In the evening I was determined to get my shower to work, so my employer took another look and he got it to work within a minute. Turned out that hot is cold and cold is hot and you had to run it quite a while on ‘cold’, before it got hot. At least I had a lovely warm bath that evening, what was so lovely. I really enjoyed that.

MONDAY
Again I had some fruit for breakfast and then we went out to explore St.Davids. It’s an absolute beautiful village. We originally went to do an art workshop with the children, but when we got there it was closed. So we decided to go to the cathedral. Wohw! What a beautiful cathedral. I really loved walking around there. Everything is so detailed and beautifully made. In the back is a little restaurant and we had lunch there. They only did 2 side dishes, but both were vegan. So I had some mixed veggies and roasted potato, with a little bread roll on the side. I filled the bread with the veggies and though it wasn’t a lot of food, it was surprisingly delicious. I felt really content as it made me happy that even here you don’t have to starve if you choose for cruel free. The world is changing! In the afternoon everybody went to the beach, but I stayed at home to cook for the kids. In the meantime I also tidied up and cleaned the kitchen. Because I just can’t stand crumbs and mess, haha! I had some yummy pasta in the evening, with a home-made tomato sauce.

TUESDAY
This morning I started with yogurt, banana, strawberries and muesli. A good breakfast for a morning at the seaside. We went to the beach they went to yesterday. It was a beautiful beach, enclosed with cliffs. A lady said that people sometimes swim with seals here, so cool! I also found a shark egg, what was so nice. Later I did some research and it turned out to be from a ‘Small-spotted Catshark’. We took some sandwiches with us for the kids and whilst they were eating them around lunchtime I suddenly spotted 2 seals swimming a few meters from the shore! I was so excited to see them!! So I sat on the rocks, closest from where they were and waited for ages.. and a few times they showed themselves again. I actually didn’t want to leave ever again, but we obviously had to head back at one point. In the afternoon we watched a children’s program (Ruff-ruff Tweet and Dave) and they made a rainbow out of veggies and fruits. So when it was finished, we made a rainbow too. We ate the fruit for snack and the veggies for dinner. So much fun!

WEDNESDAY
I had the same breakfast as yesterday and after I helped to get the kids ready I was off for (most of) the day. I took some time to relax, read and work on my blog. I made myself an avocado pasta salad for lunch and after that I prepared some meals for the next few days. I cooked a butternut squash and made it into a pasta sauce, together with some other veggies. It was lovely to do some cooking by myself, listen to music and sing along. So relaxing and fun. In the afternoon I helped out a bit, by playing with the kids outside and I also cooked and gave them their dinner. It was a lovely relaxing day.

THURSDAY
The last day, because tomorrow morning I will catch the morning train back to London. So today we went to the same beach as where we saw the seals last Tuesday. We played on the rocks, explored some caves and looked for treasures (pretty stones, shells, crab claws, shark eggs, seaweed etc). Then 2 dogs came on the beach and started barking very loudly. It turned out, that not far from us was a baby seal in between the rocks. We didn’t see him at first, because his fur blends in with the rocks so well. We went to see him (to make it easy I’m going to assume it was a boy ok?) and thought he might be hurt, because he didn’t move away and started to make noises. So we decided to call an organisation to ask if it was normal. The only thing was that we didn’t have reception there. So somebody went up to find reception and we started to play around again. But then the seal suddenly wanted to go back to the sea. At that same moment the lady who made a call cam back and said we should leave him alone, but he shouldn’t go back into the sea, because he was waiting for his mum there. So we panicked a little, because he was on his way to the sea. We tried to stop him, but it was quite tricky. We decided to make a call to a sanctuary as we didn’t want him to die in the sea, because of losing his parents. Then another lady came onto the beach and said we should probably just let him. But we felt so guilty, because we went to this beach and that’s why it was disturbed. So we decided to take all our stuff quickly and run away, hoping he would stay on the beach if we left. But when we climbed back up to the cliff he did go into the sea anyway. I felt so bad, because if it wouldn’t survive it was our fault. As soon as we got back to the cottage I send the pictures I took to my best friend, who knows a lot about seals. Then he told me that the seal looked old enough to look after himself and that he looked very well too. I was so happy to hear that and felt a lot less guilty. All together it was very amazing to see a beautiful wild animal from so close though. So special! In the afternoon we went to Whitesands Bay again for a bit and when we got back I started to pack an prepare everything for tomorrow. I took a last bath and then curled up in my lovely bed for the last night. I slept so well during my stay. Very deep.

FRIDAY
An early wake, because my taxi was going to pick me up at 8:40 and before that I helped giving the kids breakfast and to get everything ready and packed. The drive to the station was very nice, because I had a very nice taxi driver, who was born and raised in St.Davids. He had an adopted Jack Russel and as soon as we discovered our love for dogs, you can imagine we didn’t talk about anything else anymore. The train journey went very well. I only had to change once at Newport this time and before I knew it I was at Paddington Station again. I arrived home at 16:15 and quickly got some banana and spinach, because I craved a green smoothie after not having it for a whole week.

HOTSPOTS LIST:
Whitesands Bay (beach)
Hangar 5 Trampoline Park – Fishguard Rd, Haverfordwest SA62 4BY.
The Lost Coins (restaurant) – Fishguard Road, Haverfordwest SA62 4BP.
St.Davids Cathedral

I thought I’d type a short story about what I was up to this week, but in the meantime I typed over 2000 words. Oops! Anyway, Wales is beautiful! A lot of times I thought ‘I’m going to come back here’, and I will. As soon as I have my van (read about my van and life changing adventure here) ready, I will make some trips to Wales for sure. It will be perfect for some try outs.

Have you been to Wales yet? Or are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip and experiences! I would also really appreciate some recommendations for when I will go again. You can leave a comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

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Being Grateful

IMG_3589There are people in this world who always find something what annoys them or what isn’t good or what could have been better. I don’t have to tell you that negative people like that drain your energy. I personally can’t be with those people for very long, because I start to feel uncomfortable. I don’t know how the respond anymore after a while and also it makes me feel mentally tired.
Wouldn’t it be so nice if everybody would see the positive things in life rather than the negative? I think if everybody would pay a little bit more attention to the things that make you happy there will be a huge change in the world. Nowadays people are focused so much on success, power and money. They are all in a rush to climb to the top, focusing on their career, make and spend money, show other people how good they are and how great their lifestyle is. Is this really important? Does this IMG_9470make you happy? I think we should focus on all the things what really makes us happy. In my opinion those things which are most close to you and they’re often the little things. When was the last time you felt really happy and you took a moment to think about it and be grateful?! I think it’s a good idea, after you finished reading this, to write down all the things you’re grateful for. You can make the list as long as you want. You can keep it short or you can explain why you are grateful for the things you wrote down. I think this is a very good exercise to make you realise what you have. It could even be helpful in a time you need some positivity, but you find it hard to come up with things because you feel so down. Just read all the things you wrote down and take a moment to be grateful. To help you understand what I mean, I will share a few of the things I’m grateful for:

IMG_4285– My health. My body has it’s problems, but overall I’m healthy. Even though I got some health problems, I always try to focus on the things I can do. I’m grateful for being alive.
– My family & friends. I have such a lovely family. The bond between me and my parents is very strong and so is the bond between me and my brother, sister, nephew and niece. There is so much love. I do not have a lot of friends, just because I prefer it that way. But the ones I have, I love so dearly! I’d do anything for the ones I love and I’m grateful I have people in my life who make me feel like this.
– My creativity. I love drawing, writing, fixing, creating, designing and it calms me staring at a blank piece of paper in front of me, knowing that I can create whatever I want. Such a feeling of freedom. I’m grateful that I can feel this and that I am able to make and create the things I want to.
IMG_0696– My sensitivity. I must admit that this is both a blessing and a curse. Though I mostly like to see it as a blessing. I feel things very deeply, I sense things very quickly and my love is very strong. I would’t want to live in any other way and in a way it even makes me feel proud. It makes me a very passionate person, what can only be a good thing.
– Being alone. I’m very good alone. I do everything alone. I am grateful that I’m never fed up with myself, but always happy to be with my own thoughts. I’ve never been bored in my life, because I always have me.
– Being vegan. It makes me very happy that I’m vegan. I’m so grateful that I can feel compassion and that it’s so easy for me to be vegan because of that.
bigben– London. I love London. I love my flat and I’m so grateful that I live in this amazing city, where I feel so very much at home. Wherever I am in the world, I always feel euphoric whenever I’m back.
– I’m also very grateful for all the things around me. Animals and nature. I’m grateful that I can see the good in every animal. That they calm me and make me smile. I love the way they respect nature, it’s something we humans can learn from. Nature is beautiful. The bumblebee who zooms from flower to flower. The beautiful coloured leafs making their way to the ground on an autumn day. The refreshing raindrops on my skin. The silence in the middle of a field full of flowers. The first early morning sun rays coming through the window. I can go on and on.. 

IMG_4203This all doesn’t mean that you can never have a little complaining once in a while, because that can also feel as a relief sometimes. Just make sure that, wherever you go and whatever happens, you also keep seeing the great things around you. Or if you’re in a very bad situation, remember the good things. Think of all the things that make you happy. It could be a family holiday.. the inspiring feeling you had after watching this amazing movie.. the time you and your best friend had the best day ever.. that satisfying feeling you get when you wake up and you realise the love of your life is sleeping next to you.. or that time you climbed that mountain and enjoyed the silence when you made it to the top, feeling proud of yourself. Be grateful.. Being grateful opens your heart!

Are you somebody who takes a moment to be grateful for the things you have? Or are you going to do this exercise? Please let me know if it helped you realising how lucky you are. You can comment below or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X