Tag Archives: selfie

Engagement Day

For many, the 19th of May meant nothing but the marriage of Prince Harry to Megan dsc_5108.jpgMarkle. To myself, my partner and our families, it was the day of our Engagement Party. For us, it was a very important day, not just as a milestone in our relationship but also because we wanted to share this with our closest family and friends. We wanted them to be present and share with us the happiness and love such an event brings.

It was also the first time my partner, Daniel, met with my entire family – with all my uncles and aunties. I thought it is a very important step before our wedding day next year to get to know where I’ve come from.

Since we planned the party ourselves, the months which lead to our party were busy; we spent a considerable amount of time planning it out. Not just the food, but also the music list, the guest list. Coming up with the invitation, and the decor. Needless to say the decor was for me the most exciting and challenging part. Thinking about what we might need on the day, creating and customising props and buying decor. Although I did most of the research, we chose everything together. Daniel also worked on building a wooden box from scratch, in which we put the cards the guests brought us on the day.

The party itself was filled with smiles and happy relatives and friends. It was also a get-together, as some of the guests we did not see for a good number of years! I thought, it was great, that we managed to do this. Especially for the fact that it was the first time in 24 years that my mother’s siblings were all under the same roof! Having family living overseas, makes it difficult for all of us to meet for every occasion, especially those who live as far as South Africa!

The blessing of the rings, and the cutting of the cake, were the highlight of the evening for us, mainly because of what they symbolise. The joining of two, who have the same outlook and dreams in life. To love, and to cherish. Now onto the big day next year!

 

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5 Steps to NOT be an asshole

It is true that being proud and comfortable with yourself has its benefits… However, if you find yourself looking at your image gallery on social media, and all you are brostop-being-an-assholewsing through is pictures of yourself, you have probably taken it too far. If you find yourself continuously talking about yourself, and your only specialty is proving others wrong, then it’s time to admit you have a problem.

If this bothers you on the verge of becoming pissed off, as you think I am writing about you, keep reading… I dare you!

Here’s a few points on how to build yourself into a regular human being to give you the possibility of having meaningful relationships:

1. Being Right
One of the ways to drive another crazy is this idea that you have to always be right. It gets worse when you are in the wrong, but you keep persisting until you hear the other agreeing with you. The reason why one keeps being so persistent is probably because it feels good to be right. However, this is at a detriment of friendships and relationships, as in reality no one enjoys being proven wrong every time there is an argument; let alone when they are sure they are right!

2. Me first
As much as we should respect ourselves, one should not interrupt another – one should listen. Sometimes, all we need is to be heard. No need to come up with a fix or a solution. Although the intention might be genuine, we need to learn to listen, let the other feel and express what he is feeling and instead, understand what they are going through. If they need your help, they will let you know since they chose to confide in you.

if-i-wanted-to-listen-to-an-asshole-i-would-fart

3. Ass kissing
The opposite of always being right, is trying too hard to get people to like you. Being that person who agrees to anything and everything, will make those around you lose your credibility.  Your words will not mean much since they are adjusted depending on the belief of your audience.

4. Attitude
No one is perfect, and everyone falls in this equation – including you! Stop being such a selfish, inconsiderate jerk. The world is not yours, but ours to share and live in. If you have nothing nice to say, you are better keeping your mouth shut! The only way you can be considerate is by thinking things through – Pause and review what you are about to say; be it in person, on the phone, email etc. Practice makes perfect – Funny, practice makes us better people.

5. Building up
Instead of talking about yourself, spend time to compliment someone unprovoked… Ask a question about themselves and their life in a conversation. Celebrate the success of others, rather than turning the subject about yourself. Stop thinking about yourself and focus on the others in the room with you. If you truly care about those around you, it will sooner or later become natural to do so, and your actions will follow suit.

Best Castles in Germany

I have quite a soft-spot for Germany. My fascination started way back when I was barely a teenager. At that time, I was supporting the German National Football Club, better known as Die Mannschaft. Since then, I discovered another love – Castles. After exhausting my travels in the UK, in 2016 I started traveling to Germany. So far, I have visited between 30 to 40 castles in Germany and based on my experience, I would like to write about my favourite 5 castles (so far!) in Deutschland!

Burg Hohenzollern

Located on top of Mount Hohenzollern, one can find a very distinguished castle.  What I would also call distinguished is the view from the castle onto the surroundings; the mesmerizing view of the Black Forest. Upon entering this castle, one would realise that no expense was spared in building and maintaining this castle.

The first mention of the castle was in 1267, however the mentioned castle was completely destroyed in 1423. Roughly 30 years later, the second Hohenzollern Castle was built – now bigger than ever. The fortification around it is a testimony of several conversions the castle has endured during its lifetime. To this day, the structure is sound and in perfect condition thanks to all the tourists who have visited and will visit in the years to come. Personally, I appreciate it when admission fees are used for the maintenance and renovation of the castle I visited.

 

Burg Eltz

Located along the Mosel Valley, one finds a breathtaking castle by the name of Eltz. Remembering the first time I visited this castle, I was unaware of the long (and pleasant) walk in the forest to reach it. We were puzzled; How is it that we are visiting a castle so out of sight? Trust me, the fifteen minute walk is worthwhile. If you find this as an obstacle, you can always take the shuttle bus however! English tours are available in this castle which is kind of expected considering how popular this castle is.

The castle is still owned by the same family who around 33 generation ago lived there. Eltz is one of the only three castles on the left bank of River Rhine which has never been destroyed. Construction started prior to 1157. Another house within the castle was built in the 1400s, whilst the third part of the castle was considered finished in the 1530s. The upside of this last construction is the fact that each room was heated, unlike the remaining parts of the castle which were partly heated only. The Eltz family is still considered noble to this day.

Schloss Drachenburg

Although Shloss Drachenburg looks like a castle, in fact to me, it looks very similar to Disney Castle, this is considered as a villa. What is unbelievable about it is that it was built in just two years between 1882 and 1884. It belonged to a banker who initially planned to make it a home, but then he didn’t. It was later donated to the State Foundation and is now open for the public. The western facade of the palace was heavily damaged in WW2. The restoration took many years to fulfill as even roofs needed to be replaced.

Aside from the beautiful views of Bonn and the river from the very top of the castle, one must admire the interiors who have been hand-painted all these years ago and are to this day so well maintained. I also remember huge stained glass windows, with details I have never witnessed before; and even after visiting several other castles in other countries, still remain unbeatable…

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle

Pfalzgrafenstein – such a big name, for such a small castle! One can find this little gem in the middle of River Rhine. In fact, to gain access to it, you’d have to ride a short boat trip. Once we arrived on Falkenau island we started by admiring the river from a different angle. We also noticed that from a certain level, this castle looks like a ship. Since the river’s depth varies due to seasonality, the castle had to be built in such a way that it did not flood when the water rises.

Built between 1326 and 1327, its function was as a toll-collecting station. A chain across the river forced ships to stop and pay the fee. If they did not cooperate, they were kept in the castle’s dungeon until a ransom was received. Although the castle was restored to its glory, to this day one does not find neither electricity nor a lavatory. The area is a World Heritage site.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Possibly the more popular castle not only in Germany but worldwide. What many do not know, is the sad story behind it. Back in the 1800s, the King Ludwig II, started to build this most magnificent and luxurious castle, only he died before it was completely finished. In fact, the king only lived in the castle for 172 years (in his private headquarters, whilst it was still being built), and it was opened for public viewing shortly after he died in the year 1886.

It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day […]; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world…

— Ludwig II, Letter to Richard Wagner, May 1868[14]

 

Most of the photos above are my own (apart from interior photos of Neuschwanstein, Eltz and Hohenzollern for the simple reason that it was not allowed). Kindly seek permission before re-using.

8 things to strengthen one’s relationship

Given the last 13 years of somewhat unsuccessful relationship “experience”, I have tried to gather and combine a list of things or tips, which I think would make or help in having a satisfying and working long term relationship.

  1. Honesty; Possibly the most important thing of all. Always be honest and truthful to each other, on all things in your life, be it as a couple or individual. Honesty helps you feel more comfortable and assured on where you stand in your love affair.
  2. Be respectful – Mutual respect is important in maintaining a healthy relationship. The wishes and feelings of each other are valuable even when you disagree. Be genuine and show interest in your partner’s life and hobbies – such things can only bring you closer as a couple.
  3. Trust – This is the foundation of a happy and fulfilling relationship. It take time to build trust and can be lost in a split of a second if one feels betrayed. Examples of being trustworthy are: being reliable and following up on your promises, share what you feel and always say the truth, be a safe place for your partner, be consistent (not only when it is convenient or things are going well).
  4. Be considerate – Keep each other in the loop, ask for holdinghandssunseteach other’s advise in decision making, especially when this will affect your life together as a couple.
  5. Affection – don’t just say that you love your partner; demonstrate it. Kiss each other good morning, be passionate, hold hands in public, take pictures together – make memories… surprise each other with a romantic date or a gift.
  6. Know your Priorities – Although we all lead busy lives, we should always find time for our partners. If you don’t see this as important, perhaps you should spend some time to think about this and why you are hanging onto a relationship which you don’t feel devoted to. If we all invest as much time on our relationship as we do texting, playing games, on social media and watching TV  or films, we might actually have a meaningful relationship.
  7. Security – Show that your partner can count on you to be there in times of need; be it emotionally or physically.
  8. Be a team  – You are stronger together, as a team. Make plans, ensure you have shared goals and same purposes and views long term. Work together.

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