#Lisboa

Entry: 24/06/2018

I’m on a train. That is definitely something I do not get to write every day. Heading to Porto, I decide it’s about time to write something, and, work on some other things as well. The 3 Hour journey allows me to do as much. Although, to be completely honest, having woken up way too early after @RockinRio 🤘 yesterday evening (or rather, early this morning), working is the last thing on my mind.

Lisboa. I think I fell in love with this city as well. It’s fresh, alive.

What about the #Pastéis de Belém? There is this quaint shop in Belem renowned for these custard cream delicacies. They started making the pasteis back in 1983 and follow the original recipe to date. They taste divine, if you were wondering. But they kind of reminded me of our Maltese pastizzi. Only instead of a ricotta filling, it’s custard. Sprinkle a little icing sugar and cinnamon on top and it makes for the perfect breakfast whilst in Lisbon.

Here are some of the best highlights of Lisbon 👇 Porto will soon follow.

I changed my mind; I think I’m going to have a nap now.

Amanda x

amandalia

amandaliabelemamandalialisbonamandaliacastleamandaliacocktailsamandaliagardenamandaliatram

#meetingswithyourself

byamandalia

Every day is scheduled, planned, structured. I actually write a to do list first thing when I wake up; even before I take the first sip of tea. A daily to do list, a weekly to do list, a monthly to do list. You get the idea. My calendar is brimful of deadlines and meetings. And time seems to simply fly by. It’s Tuesday. I blink and it’s Friday again. I blink and it’s July already.

Yesterday, I decided to set a meeting with myself. It felt weird to say the least. I spend so much time with other people, that being alone in a public space felt off. At first.

But now, I am happily sipping my coconut cappuccino while doing my favourite thing – writing. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what I write, as long as I do write. It’s very much like:

amandalia

I know for a fact that later is synonymous with never. I’ve been there a couple of times. And all the planning and scheduling go against and sometimes take over my spontaneous side. So, without giving in completely to my organised self, I decided to spend time with myself.

No matter what it is that you do in life; student, full-time employed, mumpreneur, freelancer, stay-at-home parent, you should seriously start thinking about doing this. Spending more time alone can be beneficial. It actually helps with refocusing, improving your concentration and even getting to know yourself better. So be it at home, in a cafeteria, out for a walk or at the beach, it’s good to find the time to disconnect and think.

Is this something you already do? I would love to hear your thoughts 💙

Amanda x

 

Last time you read a book?

 

bookamandalia

I spent this whole week (except for Monday morning) indoors. Hence, my radio silence. I missed out on work, my brother’s birthday celebrations, coffees and beautiful sunny days. The flu got me this time, and it was everything but pleasant. And so, I had (and still have) to rest as much as possible. Doctor’s orders.

Watching TV or too much time in front of my laptop worsened my headaches and made me feel even more drowsy. But, staying at home doing nothing gets boring after a couple of hours; even though I have Nina, my hyperactive puppy, by my side.

I grabbed a book. I bought it last January on my way back from London and had only managed to read a couple of pages. In fact, I didn’t even bother sticking a bookmark inside. There was no point.

The first thing I weirdly enjoy doing once I open a book, is smell the pages.  I don’t know if any of you do this. Maybe it’s just me and my weird habits. Alas, my nasal congestion denied me this simple pleasure. I can’t even taste anything at the moment.

The feel of the pages, though, is soothing. Don’t you miss reading an actual book book and not swiping away through articles, books and magazines on your smartphone? Ah, I remember going to the local library every week and read until my eyes watered. I used to bring home five books at a time (I think that was the limit back then), read the last sentence of each and start with the one I found the most compelling. Again, weird habits. I found solace in fiction and spent hours on end with my favourite characters. How times change.

Back to the present. As I sipped on my honey infused cup of hot water, I read through the first chapter. And then the second. And now, I’m hooked. It’s actually a pretty good read; Anthony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders, a captivating #whodunnit story within another story.

It feels good to be able to absorb the words on the page without having to go through the same paragraph at least three times. There is no clatter in my mind; only the author’s story (or in this case, stories) unfolding. Nothing else.

I know how hectic life can get, believe me. And it’s exactly for that reason why reading can be beneficial.  Leafing through a book can be therapeutic. Plus, I have also read somewhere that it helps boost your concentration. Think about it. You’re exercising your mind whilst enjoying a good page-turner.

I guess it’s nice to free up some time for yourself to simply read without any distractions. You should try it.

Now, I will take my leave. Magpie Murders awaits.

Amanda x

#cuba #rawbeauty

Cuba byamandalia.png

Before writing about anything else this year, I wanted to first show you Cuba. It’s 12 hours away from home (something like that, by plane) but believe me when I tell you, worth every second.

One word that I would use to describe it? Raw. Does that make any sense? Untouched – that’s another word for it. It’s a different kind of beauty.  Quite different than, say, New Zealand or the Scottish Highlands. And also, there is this laid-back atmosphere I have yet to come across some place else.

Food 🍴: Best if you’re not too picky because there’s a big chance of  having rice and beans for dinner every single day. Pork is their main dish. But you will always, always, have a hearty portion of rice and black beans with your meal.

Stay  🏠: One way of getting an authentic feel of the place is by staying with the locals. One of my best experiences so far is spending New year’s eve eating and drinking with the whole family. Staying in a Casa Particular instead of  a hotel or resort is something I would definitely recommend.

Drinks 🍸: There is a  limited amount of soft drinks available. As for bottled water, Ciego Montero is the only brand that we came across everywhere we went (restaurants, casas and local stores). Like with everything else, choice is quite limited. For instance, ordering e.g. a local beer at a restaurant and being informed that it’s the last can, was quite a normal occurrence.

But, that shouldn’t be disheartening! Why? Because their cocktails do not disappoint. I am not one to fuss but I can honestly say that so far nothing beats their Piña Coladas. They serve it sans Rum and bring a bottle of Havana Club over so you can add as much as you want.

We lived off Mojitos, Cuba libres and Piña Coladas practically for 10 days. There was one time in Viñales (during happy hour – some places do have it) where we got a cocktail for only 1.50 CUC (equivalent to EUR1.25). Usually the price varies from 3 to 5 CUC; depending from where you’re having it.

Internet 🌐: Well, forget it. For starters, you’re on holiday 😄 and Instagram can wait. But really, Internet is not easily accessible. Forget WiFi access at bars, restaurants or even where you’re staying at. There isn’t any. On the plus side, it was quite refreshing to have actual conversations around the table without anyone staring at his or her phone.

There are a couple of places from where you can buy WiFi cards but you can only have access in certain areas for a limited amount of time. You’ll know when you get there. Flocks of people will be sitting around in a given square, on their phones whilst others trying to sell off WiFi cards.

Now, let the pictures speak for themselves.

Amanda x

Habana

Habana, Cuba

Got to love those cars

Got to love those cars. Viñales, Cuba

The Mural

The Mural

On our way to Vinales

On our way to Viñales, Cuba

Ladas and classic cars

Is this another Lada?

Hand rolled Cigar from farms @ Vinales

Freshly hand-rolled cigars from the farm @ Viñales, Cuba

Looks like the Maltese tile, doesn't it

Looks quite like the Maltese tile, doesn’t it?

Varadero

It was supposed to be sunny. Varadero, Cuba.

Tobacco Farm, Vinales

Tobacco farm in Viñales, Cuba

@House of Rum

House of Rum, Habana, Cuba

Hotel sign in Habana

Hotels in Habana, Cuba

The Flag

Well, that’s the flag.

One of the many stray dogs in Habana

One of the many strays roaming the streets of Habana

Driving around Vinales

The sleeping man, laying down. Can you spot it?

Casa @ Vinales

Casa steps. Viñales, Cuba

La Bodeguita del Medio

La Bodeguita del Medio. Famous for their Mojitos

Fruity Breakfast

Fruity breakfast. It’s that and fried eggs.

Horseback riding

That was the only way we could get to the Tobacco farms! Viñales, Cuba

Cuban coffee

Cuban coffee

Cuban billboard

One of the many billboards. Viñales, Cuba

Couple of blocks away from our Casa, Habana

A couple of blocks away from our Casa. Habana, Cuba

Coffee cups

Coffee cups. Lots of them.

Classic car, Cuba

Your classic car, Cuba

@ Vinales

Mornings @ Viñales, Cuba

Churros, churros, churros!

Churros, churros, CHURROS!

You cannot not have a Cuba Libre

You cannot not have a Cuba Libre

29

Never-ending beach @ Varadero, Cuba

 

#goingfreelance #1yearlater

@byamandalia

It has been a year. The 16th of December marks the day I left my 9 to 5 job (it was more like 10am to 6pm) to start afresh. How time flies! And honestly, looking back, I wonder why I didn’t take the leap before that.

It was a year of firsts. The first time I had my own clients, the first time I gave out training sessions on digital marketing, the first time I truly challenged myself to reach new heights. Forget about the New Year‘s resolution. If you want a change in your life, do it. Don’t wait around for another year to start; that’s a waste of time. And time is something you will not get back because once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

So, here’s a little insight. Working as a freelancer is not all glitter and might I add, is not for everyone. It’s not a shortcut like some people seem to think. It’s more of a long and bumpy ride. After all, you’re starting from scratch. And, on your own. The first month being the toughest because your income will suffer. But, and that is a big BUT, I have to say that if you put your mind to it, it will get better.

It’s challenging because every day is just not the same. I see this as a plus. However, some people are scared by this; about not having a Monday to Friday routine. But that’s just it. There is no Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 routine. Because this way, you can meet up for a coffee on a Monday morning after working on a Sunday afternoon.  It’s more about learning to find your pace. And, more importantly, managing your time wisely.

Until next year!

Amanda x

 

 

#amsterdam #overtheedge

It was love at first sight. I got lost in the beauty of the place. And there were a couple of times I  got lost – literally (I have no sense of direction whatsoever, a couple of people can vouch for that).

During our stay, it was mostly cloudy and raining. Some might have even grimaced and frowned at the less-than-ideal-holiday weather. But honestly, it was a breath of fresh air. A break from the hot and humid weather August was kind enough to bestow on us back home.

What can I say about Amsterdam? The locals are nice and helpful, the food is good (albeit a bit expensive), transport is super efficient and I felt relatively safe roaming around the streets, even after dark. I’m a bit paranoid, so that’s saying something. Obviously, this heavily depends on the area. But, I give the overall Amsterdam experience two thumbs up. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Definitely.

This blog post will be in pictures <scroll below>. I think they will sum it up quite nicely!

Amanda x

On our way! byamandalia

On our way! Essentials at hand.

Finding our way around Amsterdam. byamandalia

Finding our way around Amsterdam #firstday

When the sun comes out at Zaanse Schans. byamandalia

When the sun comes out at Zaanse Schans.

First, lunch! byamandalia

First, lunch! @ Goos

Flowermarket visit. byamandalia

Flowermarket visit.

Random tile at Zaanse Schans. byamandalia

Random tile at Zaanse Schans.

Cheese from Zaanse Schans. byamandalia

Cheese from Zaanse Schans

Lunch break at Vondelpark. byamandalia

Lunch break at Vondelpark.

Over the edge. byamandalia

Over the edge.

A waffle with stroop. byamandalia

A waffle with stroop.

You cannot not drink beer! byamandalia

You cannot not drink beer!

Rainy day in Amsterdam. byamandalia

Rainy day in Amsterdam.

New best friend at Zaanse Schans. byamandalia

New best friend at Zaanse Schans.

Beautiful Vondelapark. byamandalia

Beautiful Vondelapark.

Mouthwatering almond cake. byamandalia

Mouthwatering almond cake.

Coffee at Anne Frank's House. byamandalia

Coffee at Anne Frank’s House.

Breakfast at Greenwoods Keizersgracht. byamandalia

Breakfast at Greenwoods Keizersgracht.

A must have Starbucks picture. byamandalia

A must have Starbucks picture.