Now you are 9.

30 July 2015


My darling,


Today you turn nine. Nine years old. Yet to me you are still my baby. It only seems like yesterday that we were scared to sleep because we knew the next day you were coming.

Your start was a little bumpy to say the least. The threat of preeclampsia loomed over us like a dark cloud and I worried that you would be ok. Then our worse fears were realised when we almost lost you. We will never know what made you so ill but thank goodness for the brilliant Drs and nurses who pulled you through and kept us going too. 

You are our pride and joy, filling our lives with love and happiness. I am immensely proud of the loving, caring young man that you are growing up to be. You inspire me as you have this amazing tenacity. I know you will be whatever you set your mind to be! 





Photo of the week

26 July 2015


My favourite composition style. I love to shoot them from behind like this when they are just walking along and talking. I have been taking these photos for a while now and plan one day to make a series. 

Photo story: Visit to the UK

20 July 2015


Dear friend,

We have just arrived home from a lovely visit to the UK. I loved catching up with my family and all the girls. I miss those guys so much! I had a fab girly night with my bezzie's, we drank wine and put the world to rights.  My other lovely bezzie really spoiled me as she made a fantastic high tea for us to share, it was beautiful weather so we sat in the garden and enjoyed the sunshine.

Smoked salmon sandwiches, fresh cream scones and cocktail flavoured french fancies. The perfect lunch time treat!
Aren't the dogs beautiful? Mac and Betty.

Photo of the week

19 July 2015


Everyone in Holland bikes, young, old, men women, boys, girls. We love our weekend bike rides and the boys recently got new bikes. I love this clip of them chatting away happily.

Being a blogger is...

16 July 2015


Dear Friend,

I've been tagged by the lovely Lisa @mrssavageangel who writes a truly inspirational blog about her wonderful family. She has been a great support to me on this new journey so thank you Lisa for everything. Here I am taking part in a post called


Being a blogger is...


I never every dreamed that I would be doing this! As a new blogger (9 months) I feel like I am still earning my blogging credentials and learning my craft so I found this very difficult to begin writing. I guess I didn't feel qualified yet!  Thanks Lisa for believing in me!



Being a blogger is hard to explain...
I find it difficult to discuss my blogging with people. I don't think that everyone gets why we choose to do this and it can be difficult to explain. I haven't told my parents, would they get it? 
Writing this is making me address my feelings so thanks Lisa!

But what does blogging really mean to me?


Blogging is like breathing out. For so long I feel like I have been holding my breathe, bottling up thoughts, feelings and ideas. Now through my blogging I am breathing out. 

Blogging is like having another baby. I started this blog with a few short pieces I had written and I have watched it grow over the last few months. I am proud of what I have achieved so far but I am not talking about the statistics. Those matter of course as there is no point in writing if no-one reads but I am talking about the wonderful comments from people. People who have laughed, cried or perhaps learned something and felt compelled to tell me. 

Blogging is addictive. I am neglecting my housework (pity) making my family pose for pictures too much and generally living and breathing blogging. Everything is a potential blog post. OMG what has happened to me? But I love it.

Blogging is inspiring. One of the best things for me has been discovering a world that I never knew existed. A community of people who are willing to share their personal experiences, advice and expertise to help and support others. What a great community.

Blogging is social. Being an expat can be a really lonely experience. I have left behind my best friends and relocated to a place where language is a barrier and culture can be confusing. I have found a way to connect with like minded people. I am making new friends.

Blogging is educational. I am a massive advocate of lifelong learning and beginning blogging has been a massive learning curve for me. But not just the technical aspects. I am developing my writing. I am learning about myself. And seriously some of these blogs are a mine of information with great tips for parenting, cooking, crafts, style etc 

Being a blogger is highly personal. At first I wrote publicly, promoting myself on Facebook amongst friends and family. But I found this hard. My blog has developed and I write more personal stuff.  I was concerned about the cyber footprint I was leaving for my boys so decided to become more private.



Blogging is therapy. It is my way of figuring out life's little difficulties and challenges. But it has grown from that original purpose and has become my own, small way, of raising acceptance of difference. The thing is, the more I write, the more I realise, it is my son who is teaching me.

Blogging is cathartic. On here I can say whatever I think and not feel judged. I can get everything out in the open and not worry about hurting people's feelings. I can be imperfect!

Kind Regards,
An Imperfect Mum

I would like to nominate the following amazing bloggers to take part but everyone is welcome:
@Daysinbed
@theloveofacapt
+Morgan Prince 
Please let me know via twitter if you join the tag and I will comment. 


The truth behind the photo story: I'm forever blowing bubbles...

Dear Friend,

I love our family days out and started to post photo stories of our special weekends and times together. So when hubby said; do you want to go to the tourist market? Despite a long and busy day at work I jumped at the chance! I set off camera in hand, thinking; this could be a good blog post. It didn't quite work out as I pictured.

Here's the truth behind the photo story...



The market runs throughout the summer, especially for tourists that visit our sunny haven. It is filled with a variety of stalls ranging from clothes to household nicknacks and handmade jewellery. To be honest we tend to eat our way around sampling the fresh fish, poffertjes, cheeses, ice-cream and turkish pizza. This was the first time we had made it there since the start of the season and it was all going swimmingly until...


The little man spotted a bubble machine.

Hubby and I don't see eye to eye over bubble machines. The little man loves them, we must have had around twenty (I kid you not). They always end up in a sticky gloopy mess of old bubble liquid that has conjealed and jammed the internal workings. But for the few days that they do work, the little man is in rainbow, sparkling, bubble heaven.

Before the little man had got out of his mouth; BUBBLE MACHINE! Hubby had said; NO! But did I listen? No of course not as I had visions of the happy, smiling boy, playing in our garden. 5 minutes later he had one in his hand and was planning on taking it into school to show everyone. The smile on his face was worth the 5 euro, surely.

I knew the minute that I opened it that it was total crap. The battery holder immediately cracked and the plastic casing opened up as I twisted the bottle of gloopy liquid in! But when he pressed the trigger, it let out more bubbles than I have ever seen. It was amazing!



We were standing in one of the old narrow streets. Hubby was in line waiting for a Turkish pizza. When I looked up, practically the whole street, stalls included was filled with bubbles. The terrace opposite was full of people drinking soapy lager and holding their ears.

Unfortunately, I had failed to realise that the bubble gun also played music. It was a fair ground style rendition of Axel F, the type of tinny music that makes your ears bleed and sets your teeth on edge all at the same time. Hubby glared over his glasses at me and told the little man to give it a rest.

The bubble gun war began. Hubby and the big lad V Mummy and the little man. We bickered all the way up the street and all the way down. Stop, it's so annoying V leave him alone he's not hurting anyone.

Perhaps it was because I was tired and relaxed but I failed to spot the big lad's frustration. Before we knew it he had snatched the gun out of his brother's hands and it broke into 2 pieces. Hubby shouted at the little man, I screamed at the big lad and both boys burst into floods of tears.

But it wasn't over yet. No, in my temper tantrum, I frog marched the little man back to the stall and proceeded to yell at the stall holder about the dangers of selling badly made crap to kids. I managed to attract quite a crowd, all looking at the crazy english woman shouting Dinglish (half Dutch, half English) at the poor man. And no I didn't get my 5 euro back!

On the journey home, you could have cut the tension with a butter knife!


The little man with his replacement (better made) bubble gun.


This post was first published in July 2015. It was revised in March 2016 for the rookie mistakes linky.

Photo of the week

12 July 2015


Beautiful beach days!

Is it ever acceptable to hold a child back?

9 July 2015

Dear friend,

I love the relationship that my boys have. Sometimes I feel that they are more like best friends than brothers. I really hope that this continues. Of course they need to have their own friends and socialise with others but having each other as companions is special.

The little man adores his big brother. But having a younger sibling has helped the big lad hugely too. He has made great progress in his social and emotional development and his self confidence has improved.


I am not pretending that our life is perfect, there are also times when the gap is narrowed, when the little man is in danger of surpassing the big lad. What do you do then?

Is it ever acceptable to hold a child back?



We first encountered this problem when the little man began riding a bike. It was a race to see who would make it stabiliser free first. My husband and I felt that it would really knock the big lad's confidence if his brother surpassed him so we made a conscious decision; surely it wouldn't hurt him to have the stabilisers for a while longer. We focused our time and attention on the big lad and got him riding stabiliser free first.

Next came the swimming conflict. The big lad has been having lessons for 3 years. The little man started lessons in September and progressed through groups really quickly. The fear hit. How would the big lad feel if his brother got his swim diploma first?

This is what I find most cruel and difficult about the big lad having autism. That he has to try so hard at things that come easy to others. That life for him has to be a challenge. It is not that I want life to be easy for my children but watching the big lad having to fight to achieve ordinary/normal things, I find galling.

But he never loses faith that he will do it! It is a testament to his therapists and teachers that he continues to have confidence and enjoy the lessons.

Socially the differences become more obvious as the little man gets older. The big lad often gets stressed when he begins to play with others at the park, on the bouncy castle, in the supermarket. The big lad thinks that little man is putting himself in danger by playing with strangers. The little man is doing what comes natural to him making friends, playing with others.

The conflicts for us are around social and physical development. Academically we haven't faced such problems.

What do you do when school want to hold your child back?
In the Dutch system underachieving children can repeat years. This must be an extremely difficult choice for parents to make. Especially when children have younger siblings at school. This system can be devastating for children with social and emotional problems.

The big lad is terrified of being held back. It has caused him considerable stress this year. Everytime he made a mistake or was given 'easier' work he took this as an indication that he might have to stay in group 5. Of course he didn't tell us this. We had to piece the puzzle together! We now understand why he was getting so frustrated, cross or upset! So is this system fair?

More special needs children are being integrated into 'normal' schools. Isn't it time that this system of repetitive education was reviewed?

I believe that we are putting too much pressure on children. Not all children fit into this norm, this ideal child that most schemes or teaching objectives are set to. By adhering to these methods aren't we failing to meet the needs of all our pupils (under and overachievers).

Instead of our kids having to bend to fit the system, shouldn't the system be bent to fit the kids. Isn't that what Individual Education Plans are for?

If we are to have more children with special needs supported in a 'normal' school environment then we need to ensure they are being set up to succeed and not set up for failure.

As my crystal ball is old and tarnished I can't see what the future will bring and I am relieved about that. The big lad has exceeded all of our expectations.

To be honest I don't really care if the big lad isn't the next Derek Kuyt, Andy Murray or indeed Lewis Hamilton. But I do hope that he can find a job he enjoys, make enough money to get by and meet someone who he loves and loves him back.


I think they will be many more challenges ahead. But one thing is certain...




We will face them together!


For information and help for siblings of children with special needs see the Sibs website.


Love/Hate Blogger Challenge

8 July 2015

Dear friends,

I was really happy to be nominated by the lovely Cuddle Fairy for the Love/Hate Blogger challenge. I am thrilled to be invited to take part in such a fun post. Here goes!

10 things I love:

1. The smell of my boys' freshly washed hair.
2. Opening a new handbag up and filling it with my things.
3. Looking at old family photographs.


Nana at the beach with my mum and uncle David.

4. The company of my best friends, chatting over nibbles and a large bottle of vino.
5. A great book, one that engages your emotions and you can't stop thinking about for days or weeks.
6. Singing out loud to Adele in the car.
7. Stroopwafel icecream.
8. Family days out.
9. My dog.
10. Sunset at the beach.






10 things I hate:


1. Being judged instead of supported.
2. Finding an empty toilet roll tube.
3. Feeling powerless: against injustice , prejudice, lack of acceptance of difference.
4. Not feeling valued.
5. Confrontation/Losing my temper.
6. Vomit; my own (it makes me cry) my kids, anyone's.
7. Negative thinking. 
8. Lies. I am always honest (sometimes too honest).
9. Spiders, just no!!! 
10. Anyone or anything that hurts the people I love!

I didn't find one group easier than the other so hopefully that makes me quite a balanced person?! 
I found it interesting that my hates are mostly feelings rather than things.
I would like to nominate @SuperBusyMum@MrsMumsie and @East_Devon_Mum.


Kind regards,
An Imperfect Mum 


The eight photos of happiness tag

6 July 2015

Dear friend,

I was really happy to be tagged in this great post by the lovely Lisa from the love of a captain. Thanks Lisa. What a brilliant idea. Knowing my love for photos I think it's going to be quite a challenge to narrow it down to only eight but here goes...


1. My beautiful nana.
My nana is the pretty lady on the left. I love this picture of her with her friends. Her smile radiates happiness. She was a very special lady, always the life of the party. My grandad is watching from the sidelines!


2.  A family snap from the 70's
I love this snap as it is natural and not staged. I used it in my first Flashback Friday post. I can't believe how curly my hair was as a baby. Wish it was like that now!


3. My big brother.
My hero. When I started school I kept crawling under all the lunch tables to escape the naggy dinner lady and sit next to him. She had to give up in the end!


4. Our wedding day.
One of the happiest days of my life.


5. My boys.
The day they met and their first ever kiss.


6. Nova.
The best thing we ever bought. Nova is a massive part of our family and has brought so much love and happiness. The big lad's best friend (every autistic child should have a dog) he loves her enormously. 


7. Friends.
I love these girls. We may be spread across the world but we will always be there for each other. 


8. Brothers.
The two things that bring me the most happiness are my boys.
I also love the spring in Holland and the beauty of the bulb fields in bloom is outstanding.
Combined it is unbeatable.

I tag Lisa (@mrssavageangel) Crummy mummy (@mrsnataliebrown) and Lolly (@Nortonmum).

The rules are that if you join in, you mention who tagged you and then tag to invite other bloggers to join in. All for the love of blogging. I look forward to seeing your Eight photos of happiness.



Photo story: Weekend way of life #6


Dear Friend,

No matter where in the world you live everyone is obsessed with the weather! You would think that coming from the North East of England I would be used to the cold and rain but I love the sun. Every week hubby has been reading weather reports telling us that record breaking, hot weather was coming. In the end I stopped believing him but this week it finally arrived. We threw our things in a bag and all headed to the beach on Friday afternoon and Saturday but on Sunday the big lad wanted a bit of a rest (much to our relief as we had slightly overindulged on Saturday night at a BBQ with our lovely neighbours) so we stayed at home and chilled.

Messing about in the sand.

I couldn't believe it when he put the bucket on his head. There are similar photos of me!

My water boys. The UV t-shirts are a must have for our holidays especially for the big lad who is so fair skinned.
We had a relaxing lunch on the terrace at Take2
Sunday morning bike ride.
Lovely to spot some nature on our stop off.
We passed the Corpus museum on the way back a very impressive building.

All that fun no wonder they needed a nap!

Another great weekend. I hope that yours was special too!

Photo of the week

5 July 2015


The beach houses at Katwijk.

If I could turn back time.

3 July 2015



Dear Friend,

Today hubby called me Mumsy. OK so he didn't directly say, you're Mumsy but I was describing what a mum at school looked like and he said so Mumsy like you.
What???

In all fairness to hubby some things do sometimes get lost in translation and he hadn't realised that I would take it negatively.

But it wounded me. Mumsy... Was he right?

OK I have changed an age group bracket in the last couple of years and sometimes when I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface I do a double take. I am starting to look more like my mother.



When I stop and take a good look in the mirror I can't deny the extra lines around my eyes but the party girl is still there bubbling under the surface. The one who was always the last one home, the woman with the hollow legs who kept up with the boys at the match day drinks, the sexy, naughty, often cheeky, life of the party.

Where did that girl go? I aren't ready to give her up just yet...

I am sure that she's still here, hiding behind the mummy facade.

And don't get me wrong, I don't regret anything, I don't want that life again. Yes is was fun. Yes I had many great nights with fantastic friends but...

We spent a lot of our time talking about and looking for love. We were that band of sisters (more like trembles in Teesside than Sex and the city) but we enjoyed every minute so I have no regrets! I didn't meet hubby until I was 30 so I had plenty of "me" time.

Nowadays I choose to spend my money on new bikes and computer games for the boys instead of new nails and pedicures. My wardrobe may not be full of the latest fashions but I do try and keep up to date. The salon cut and colour may have given way to a box from the chemist. But I don't regret anything and I certainly haven't given up!

My priority is them, them, them and not me, me, me!

But don't misunderstand, I am not a martyr either. I work hard at work and at home. I deserve it. Neglecting yourself can lead to resentment. I don't want or need that. I do not feel guilty about treating myself to something new but now every week is replaced with every once in a while. If you have the disposable income for salon trips, fair play to you!

mumsy: giving an impression of dull domesticity; dowdy or unfashionable


Mumsy, seriously. I never thought that would apply to me!

I am a mum. I am not in my 20's (or indeed my 30's) anymore. I am domesticated but OMG. I will never ever, ever be dull!!!

Perhaps I need to look at myself again? Make myself more of a priority. Get that butterfly tattoo I've been wanting for ages, buy clothes from the more in-trend stores or colour my hair. Loose those extra Kilos. Invest more in myself. Or perhaps it is more about allowing myself more time to actually be me, not mummy, not teacher, not wife but me!

I decided not to care about my pasty, British legs and threw on my shorts and headed for the supermarket. A car full of young men stopped to let me across the zebra crossing and someone wolf whistled. I looked around to make sure there wasn't some gorgeous young thing walking behind but no there were whistling at me!

Woo hoo! Goodbye Mumsy woman, hello Mrs Robinson...




Six Degrees Of Harmony Modern Dad Pages Mummuddlingthrough

Facing his Nightmares.

2 July 2015

Dear friend,

I woke early this morning. At first I wasn't sure what had made me stir from a deep sleep but then I heard him crying. My two boys are not babies anymore so I have become unused to the early morning call that was once my daily ritual. It took me a minute to work out which one it was then I heard him coming downstairs.

It was a sob, a deep, heart wrenching kind of cry directly from the soul. I knew it wasn't a sick cry, they are more panicked. Isn't is amazing how we can learn these infinitesimal details about our children? It is a kind of base instinct that only parents have.

The big lad climbed into bed and cuddled into me. This confirmed the seriousness of the situation because he very rarely cuddles like this. This was the kind of hug where it feels like you want to climb right into the other person's body to take on their peace and warmth. We stayed like that for some time, until his breathing had calmed. Me whispering; it's ok you're safe, into his hair. 

Selfishly I enjoyed this moment. Not that he was upset but the closeness of us, the physical contact the sharing of our breathing. This happens so rarely now. He's almost 9, a big boy, my grown up young man. Autism means that he seeks my physical contact less, I have learned to wait for him to come to me not to force my love onto him. I treasure these special moments!




Latest Instagrams

©spectrum mum ~ www.spectrummum.com (diaryofanimperfectmum.com) 2014 - present day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to spectrum mum with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
© Spectrum Mum. Design by FCD.