I was blessed to add another country adventure to my belt. Another work trip, to Japan this time. A real long flight and a crazy time difference.

Japan is not a country I ever thought I would visit. Asia is so different from what I am used to. But as it turns out, I loved my time there.

Yes, I went there for work, so did not get the full sightseeing adventure. But there are things I have fallen in love with. Cakes!!!! They certainly know how to make delicious cakes. Not too sweet, actually just perfect!

The cherry blossom season is upon then so all was spring like in the stores. Another thing I loved! Beautiful flower patterns, well thought out lunch boxes and cups. Pretty!!!

Kimonos! Even though I did resist the urge to buy one especially for tourists, I can’t help but be in wonder at the beautiful ladies in their gorgeous kimonos. So colourful and elegant, with their socks in wooden flip flops.

Shabu Shabu was not quite how I expected it. Clearly not like the western style in Wholefoods. But a great experience and delicious soup after!

Would I go back, given a chance? Absolutely!!

My Top 10 Photos and the Stories Behind Them

In preparation for the release of the gallery part of the blog I decided to show my top 10 pictures and the stories behind them. Photography has been a huge part of my life and is one of the main ways in which I can be creative. I have been asked ‘why photography’ a lot and for me it allows me to show the world from my perspective. Something which you could walk past every day, is beautiful to the next person. So I try in my daily life to imagine what would make a good picture.

I have done some interesting things in my life and so I thought about sharing my top 10 pictures and also why I took them. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to some incredible places in the world and have seen and experienced so many different cultures and wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else.

  1. My First Long Exposure Shot – MadagascarIMG_8087

Back in 2012 I went for 10 weeks to Madagascar where I had an unforgettable time! It was genuinely one of the best trips of my life. Everything was super photogenic out there and one evening whilst sat watching the sunset, I just looked down and saw this log being washed ashore and saw the beautiful patterns and decided to try my first attempt at long exposure photography. This was the result. Yes the focus isn’t perfect, nor the composition, but it was my first attempt at something I had been too scared to try. The reason I chose to include this in my top 10 is not only because it was my first attempt, but I love the movement of the water and I love that it tells a story.

2. Ethiopian Man – Ethiopia


I took this picture whilst I was there for my first time in Ethiopia. During that trip we were taken to a religious festival in the middle of nowhere. Everyone was so happy and the people of Ethiopia are all just so beautiful! Whilst having lunch I looked up from my food and noticed this old man standing in a doorway just watching the celebrations and I just thought that that would make such a beautiful picture and I just couldn’t stop myself from grabbing my camera and taking the shot. This was the outcome…It still remains as one of my favourite pictures from my trip.

3.  Why Did the Bear Cross the Road – Yellowstone National Park, USA12698140_10153445388827613_5201671014563450931_o

A couple years ago, my parents and I decided to do a proper American road trip. Starting from Minnesota and passing through 5 states before coming back to Minnesota. One of the major stops on the road trip would be Yellowstone National Park. On our first morning in Yellowstone, we had breakfast in a diner where we spoke to a couple who had been going there for years and hadn’t seen anything other than bison and elks. Well the morning before we had already seen a baby bear, so we were having a good start. Later that day, whilst driving around we spotted a bear walking in the bushes and quickly decided to drive slowly whilst the other cars were parked. And that gamble paid off…the baby bear decided to walk next to the car and then cross the road right in front of us. What an awesome way to experience the wonderful wildlife of Yellowstone!

4.  Sisterly Love – UK17861959_10154584511697613_2200926202777938493_n

These 2 beauties are the gorgeous daughters of some family friends. They were the perfect models and behaved so well! Bare in mind that I did have a broken finger on my left hand and could barely carry my camera. So just before this moment, I had my back turned to the children whilst talking to the parents. I turned round to see the big sister tenderly touching her little sister and I caught this moment. I love taking pictures of children and babies as they are just so unpredictable. Blink and the moment is gone! Seeing the joy on the parents face when you show the final product, makes all the stress of shooting on the day, worthwhile!

5. Taking a Deep Breath – MadagascarCamera 14MP-9PC

Whilst on the trip in Madagascar, we visited one of the islands nearby to where our camp was and visited the reef there. Whilst snorkelling I suddenly spotted a turtle swimming really close to me and decided to swim alongside it for as long as it would let me (whilst keeping a respectable distance!). This moment was just so special for me as it was the first time I had seen a turtle in the wild, it also allowed me to swim with it for about 20 minutes! It was just amazing!

6. Conquering your fears – Costa Rica


Those of you who know me, know that I am PETRIFIED of heights! Yet this opportunity in Costa Rica, was one that I could not let slip! I took this picture with my GoPro to give the widest angle of where we were. Yes I was scared, but after one bridge that fear was gone! The nature was just so beautiful that I was distracted! When you are surrounded by the beautiful scenery, you can’t help but take pictures everywhere!

7. Tree With a View – Minnesota, USADSC_0041

Whilst Canoeing down a river in Minnesota, we noticed this beautiful bird sitting in the tree. Now it isn’t crazy to see Bald Eagles in Minnesota, but there were hundreds of people below it and hadn’t spotted it. I’ve spent a lot of time in Minnesota over the last couple years and yet every single time I see them they blow my mind! I was so lucky to see such a beautiful bird so close by with such blue sky as the perfect background! I think I ended up taking about 50 pictures of this single Bald Eagle. It was clearly waiting to spot a fish!

8. Miniature World – Wisconsin, USA14525015_10154011743427613_4904568668393714772_o

A couple years ago, I treated myself to a macro lens, and this opened up a whole new world of photography for me! Whilst taking pictures in a garden in Wisconsin I suddenly spotted this tiny spider and I thought could I take a picture of it with my new lens? It was incredibly jumpy and I knew it had moved just as I took a picture. To my surprise when I looked back at it, it was staring right into the camera! It stays one of my favourite pictures I’ve taken with my macro lens as this spider was smaller than your little finger nail!

9. Curiosity Never Hurt Anyone – Madagascar544481_10150927775222613_1435884139_n

Whilst going on a walk in the forest in Madagascar, we came across this tiny chameleon! At the time it was the smallest known chameleon! This picture was taken whilst it was in my friends hand! And again just as I took the picture, it decided to move its head towards my camera to get a good look! I just loved the curious nature of this chameleon and that it really wasn’t scared!

10. Flashy Chameleon – Madagascar 529121_10150924222632613_1178186907_n

So as my last picture I couldn’t not chose this one! It has always been one of my proudest shots! The story behind this picture is that whilst we were at the camp, this panther chameleon strolled into the camp. My friend picked him up and I suddenly noticed how striking the colours were on the perfect background!! The dark background brought out his colours perfectly! A while back I actually entered this into the National Geographic photo of the year and it got into the top 10. It is one of my biggest achievements in my photography career!

So what about you? What is your favourite shot and why?

~ I love photography because I can show people the world through my lens ~

Snow 2

For the last couple days it has been snowing on and off. This morning I woke up to a lovely white world. Not that it was not white before… we have had snow since the end of December. But the snow had turned to ice, not powdery, and more various shades of grey than pure white.

Am not too much a fan of winter. I really do prefer sunshine… I love the sea… but I have to admit… a beautiful serene white world with beautiful blue skies is very pretty indeed.

I looked up a few quotes, wondering what other people make of snow. These are 2 of the most beautiful ones I read:

There’s just something beautiful about walking in snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special’

‘Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together’

The Bible is also talking about snow.. it’s not so easy to imagine snow in Israel, although it can be cold in the mountains there (never been, on the bucket list.. but have been told) Yet is the perfect analogy. ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18)’

We can be white as snow… through the grace of God. His blood will cover our sins… He will wipe them out. We do have to accept it, but it’s a free gift.

Much like snow… a reminder of His grace…

Maybe I do love snow more than I think!

What about you?


Why is it that the week can last so long, but yet the weekend just flies by? Tomorrow it’s Monday again… another week starting… my year in America is also just flying by. I am looking forward to my brother visiting next week… and then it’s on the countdown stretch to May.

What is it about time?

My uncle passed away a week ago… the time able to spend with him on this Earth is now in the past. It’s sad that so much time has been wasted without a lot of contact, although I treasure the time spend. It’s not wasted. I have been privileged to reconnect with my uncles family, son and grandkids… more time well spent.

My dad is the last one still of his family. Time has passed by, and although I hope much time is still left…it’s flying by. Time spend is to be treasured.

My daughter passed her Masters degree. Time well spend, but that period is now also past.

What will the future hold? I don’t know what time we still have on this Earth. I do know Who holds the future. And even though I have no control over time..I can’t speed it up or slow it down… I am looking forward to that day when time is of no essence anymore… eternity is not measured in time.

Why the Marine World?

I have had a lot of people ask me “why do you like the ocean so much?” or “why marine biology?”. So I thought, why not tell my story…

It all started when I was a young girl…since I can remember, I have always loved swimming and the ocean. Whenever we would go on holiday near the ocean I would want to go in and watch all the fish! I still remember that the majority of the time either mum or dad would have to come in to the ocean to tell me to come and have food as I would go snorkelling for hours! Something about the marine world fascinated me!

My 7th birthday came and my parents decided to buy me the video boxset of Jacques Cousteau’s discoveries (in Dutch). I started watching them and within a couple minutes, I asked my parents “what does he do?” to which they responded that he was a marine biologist. As a 7 year old I had already dreamt about being an astronaut or a wedding planner, but something in me clicked whilst watching the video. I knew I was going to become a marine biologist!

That was it for me, my obsession started! I wanted to read all the books I could find on marine biology and the marine world, wanted to watch all the videos and wanted to talk to everyone about it! I don’t think my parents were fully aware what they had done!

Fast forward 10 years and it came time to think about university options and what I wanted to study. I knew it had to be marine biology but there were so many different courses within marine biology. But only 1 really stood out! Marine Vertebrate Zoology at Bangor University in North Wales. Now I wish I could say that it was an easy path for me to get into university. However, it really wasn’t! I didn’t do well with my final exams and that meant that I had to repeat a year and redo some of my exams. However, in that year I also realised that I wasn’t quite ready to go to university. So what then…here came the trusty google search. What could I do to postpone university for another year but also be something worth while! I stumbled upon Frontier Gap Year’s website and that was it. Multiple projects jumped out at me but only 1 really caught my attention. Madagascar. Marine conservation and diving…now that was something that I thought was worth it to postpone uni for.

After spending an incredible 3 months in Madagascar, my love for marine biology grew so much and I was ready to go to uni! My experience at university was a mix of amazing memories and times I wish I didn’t have to go through (check out my post about living with a hidden…not so hidden illness to learn more!). But 3 years later and I had completed my BSc and was applying for a masters degree! Who would have thought! But every time I finish something, my love for marine biology grows!

I speak with so many people who have no idea what to do with their lives and I know I am incredibly lucky to have figured out what I wanted to do at such a young age! You just never know how your actions affect the other person. You might just inspire someone and help them find their ideal career! I’d like to think that even if my parents hadn’t bought me that video boxset, I would have still ended up in marine biology.

I’ve done multiple presentations about my field and people always tell me that I glow when I talk about it and I know they’re right! When I talk about marine biology, something in me changes and I become more animated and can’t stop talking! Even just writing this I have a huge smile on my face…

I am now 26 years old, I have just completed my research masters and currently looking for PhDs…my journey is far from over but I know that I am in the right field!

What inspired you to get into your career? What do you love? Let me know in the comments or message us privately!

~  When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself – Jacques Yves Cousteau ~


Superbowl 2018

Have to admit… I am not a huge sports fan… not any sports… don’t like watching it on tv.. and when my husband watches F1 I get irritated…. my husband and daughter are sports watchers… they are even staying up for the Super Bowl.. even when no one else does…

But being here in Minnesota, seeing all the SuperBowl buzz around me, you can’t help but get caught up in it.. even if it’s just a little bit… will I watch it on tv this eve? Probably not… but I was nosy enough to venture to the Mall of America, which is another entry point with a direct shuttle to the US bank stadium in Minneapolis… I wanted to see this for myself…

It was very quiet in the shops… shopper heaven probably.. but outside the shops was a huge buzz.. almost everyone there was wearing the jersey of the team they support (I said almost… I was probably the odd one out), face tattoos, scarves, hats… jackets, sweaters… these are some serious fans! Even if their own team (read Vikings) is not playing.. still the team jersey is worn with pride… and paraded around…

Makes me wonder… what are we fans of? What makes us go out in the cold (-20) to mingle with other like minded people. What makes us want to be together to watch the game in a group?

Do you have something you are a fan of?

I do too.. I am a Jesus follower.. not really a fan, but I want others to see that that’s what I do.. follow Jesus… I don’t have a jersey, but maybe how I walk through life is enough of a jersey to let others know? I hope so.

What about you?

Another Tuesday

Life has a habit of throwing curveballs… my daughter Melody put a previous post up on the same topic… seems a family theme!

Maybe it’s just acknowledgement that no matter how much you want to plan out your life, and need the security to know what’s happening next… it just does not happen that way.

These last couple days I have had the pleasure to spend time with my dads older brother in Tennessee. The weather was lovely, the surroundings are beautiful and are beating snowy Minnesota. It’s been just him and me… chatting about everything and nothing. Looking through pictures, me watching him take a nap while I am crocheting… time we have never taken before… well, I have never taken before. A blessing.

And yet I know this will most likely be the last opportunity. Besides that my year in America is rapidly coming to and end, he is also of age and battling cancer. The curveball I was talking about.

Just when you think you have it worked out, and given family relationships it’s place.. it’s really the last time…

I am not complaining. I am blessed beyond measure… looking at my uncle I realise I am also blessed with a wider family who can put family history in perspective.

Above all, it puts time in perspective. No matter how much of it or how little of it we have. Use it wisely!

Time spend should never be wasted!!

Everything Doesn’t Always Go to Plan

Everyone plans…for their future, for their day out, for their holidays. You can plan everything down to the second, but life has taught me over the last month that no matter how much you plan, things can fall apart.

A couple days before Christmas my relationship of 4 years fell apart and all the planning I had done just disappeared. Do I regret anything? No. Would I change things if I could? No. Life throws these curveballs, there is no way around that. But how we grow from them is up to us. I could have chosen to be a wreck and cry the entire time we were on holiday in Scotland. Instead, I dusted the dirt off my shoulders and picked myself up and had a great holiday!

So no matter how much you plan, you also have to give space for the what ifs in life. This year definitely didn’t start the way I thought it would…But this is the year that I take things under control. My health for one…and take time to be me and grow even more as a person. Whether that is going out more and taking pictures and growing as a photographer, to trying those Pinterest recipes that I have wanted to try for a while now.

When you are going through a tough time in life, what do you do to pick yourself back up? For me, it’s surrounding myself with friends and family, laughing and remembering all the awesome things that have happened! And of course, comfort food such as chocolate and pizza was consumed! And a whole lot of shortbread and mulled wine instant tea (Whittard) in Scotland too!

So instead of Italy, this year I’m going to explore other countries, work on my photography and finally dye my hair! What’s something that you planned that fell through? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments or email me!

~ My entire life can be described in one sentence: It didn’t go as planned, and that’s ok – Anonymous ~

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