Weekly roundup #17

29 April 2016

Dear all,

I hope you have all had a super week. It has been really cold here in Holland, the coldest King's day in a very long time perhaps ever. It has been a real shock to the system as we were getting used to the arrival of Spring.

Unfortunately my big lad has been sick most of this week so there are few pictures of him in my week at a glance. Being a working mum sure sucks when your kids are ill. Thankfully he was feeling much better by Wednesday and was able to join in with the King's day celebrations. And I only had to work 2 days this week and I am now free for 20 days. Hurray!


Our week at a glance


Family Fun #14

28 April 2016

Welcome to Family Fun a brand new Linky! The linky runs from Thursday to Saturday and all bloggers are welcome to add any type of parenting post.

Join me in a community of bloggers. Link up and share family experiences, successes and failures, laughter and tears and offer support to one another. 

Why not share your Parenting Posts, Craft ideas, recipes, days out, photo stories, weekly roundups etc with friends?

All posts welcome!


Family Fun: Texel Weekend Part 2

26 April 2016



Dear friend,

welcome to part 2 of my post about our family weekend on the beautiful island of Texel.

On Sunday morning we wanted to visit the Lighthouse beach that is situated on the Northern tip of the island in Cocksdorp. This is a really unique and beautiful place with one of the widest beaches I have ever seen. We arrived early and had the beach to ourselves which was amazing!

After a sudden hail storm during which we took cover in the restaurant and warmed up with a hot chocolate with lashings of cream  we climbed up the lighthouse. The views from the top were spectacular!

Parenting from a special Perspective: Caring in the Chaos

25 April 2016

Ever wondered what it is really like to parent from a special perspective? Parent to a Special Needs Child? Where do you turn for help? What challenges do you face? What has surprised you? What have you learned? Every month I will be featuring one of my brilliant fellow SEND bloggers and sharing their reflections on raising a child with special needs.

Welcome Nadine to Diary of an Imperfect Mum. Nadine blogs over at Caring in the chaos. A blog about her journey as a single mother and a carer to a beautiful toddler. A place where she shares learnt developmental tips in speech and language, Occupational therapy and Physiotherapy. Please pop over and take a look. 



1. When did you first realise your child has Chromosome 18Q?

I had no idea my daughter was born with a condition, all was fine throughout the pregnancy it seemed, up until 36 weeks when they thought she was a bit small - so they opted for a planned c section. When she arrived she was tiny at 4lbs but she was healthy - it was only 6-8 weeks later things started happening infections, crying and trips to A&E that alarm bells started ringing.

Around this time I started to suspect something was wrong with her head, as it seemed bigger than normal. It was hard to get people to agree with me - as she was born so small, I was reassured constantly that she was ‘just growing’ but something didn't feel right and I went to Dr Google and came to the conclusion she may have Hydrocephalus (Water on the brain). Her face and eyes were different, her eyes had a sunsetting look. I was however ignored by doctors - brushed off as a nervous first time mum.

Some 6 months later she was formally diagnosed with Communicating Hydrocephalus.

It was not one of those times you actually want to be right.

This lead to genetic testing where she was diagnosed with Chromosome 18Q.

Silent Sunday

24 April 2016



Photography: Silent Sunday. 1 photo no words...



Liked this photograph? Come and see some more.

Family Fun: Texel Weekend Part 1.

23 April 2016



Dear friend,

We have just come home from a fun packed family weekend in Texel. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. We went for a day a couple of years ago and it was too short so I really wanted to return and when hubby found a great deal staying on a holiday park for the weekend we jumped at the chance!

Texel is an island  in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands. It is the largest and most populated island of the West Frisian Islands in the Wadden Sea. The dune landscape on Texel is a unique habitat for wildlife.  About one third of Texel is a protected nature reserve.



We stayed in a Roompot vacancies house on their Kustpark (coast park) our accommodation was the most basic (I kept calling it a caravan and hubby kept reminding me it was a chalet) but it was very clean and had everything we needed. There were some very impressive holiday houses there too so there is something for every budget. The boys were particularly impressed with the large swimming pool with super long slide and wave machine. Our house was situated right next to the woods so was perfect for nipping out with the dog for a walk.

The Kustpark is in De Koog and on the Friday evening we went for dinner at Quinty's restaurant. The food was lovely and I really liked that they offer three portion sizes to suit all appetites. The staff were really good with the kids and taught them a trick whilst we were there. The boys also got a surprise toy with their meals.

Early on Saturday morning we headed for the beach. 
We were almost the only ones there and the views were stunning! 
(Please check out my photographs in the film at the end.) 

  

On saturday afternoon we went to Ecomare. Ecomare is a nature reserve, seal sanctuary and sea aquarium. At Ecomare you can get really up close with the animals, seals, porpoises, and birds. During feeding times the trainers hold shows and give extra information about the animals. The little man absolutely loved it here and made me take lots of photos of the seals. It is well worth a visit just to see the animals so closely and also because your entrance fee goes towards helping the sanctuary to continue the brilliant work they are doing. You can even adopt a seal!




Texel really is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Perfect for budding photographers and nature lovers.

After a busy afternoon hubby took the boys swimming in the wonderful pool and I got to spend a couple of hours enjoying the peace and quiet before we had a family favourite for tea.

Gourmet Image courtesy of Pestel Keurslager


Please come back and see part 2 of our Texel trip.


Weekly Roundup #16

22 April 2016

Dear all,

This week we headed off to Texel, a beautiful island in the North of Holland, for a weekend of family fun. We spent our weekend exploring beaches, looking at the wildlife and investigating the island. It was great fun!

The beginning of the week was hard for us all as we were tired going back to work and school and the little man had a spot of cold. Then the end of the week arrived and the big lad had a really nasty throat infection. It was time for me to don my super mummy cape and get to work. I think we are all ready for the May holidays to arrive.

Our week at a glance




Family Fun #13

21 April 2016

Welcome to Family Fun a brand new linky! The linky runs from Thursday to Saturday and all bloggers are welcome to add any type of parenting post.

Join me in a community of bloggers. Link up and share family experiences, successes and failures, laughter and tears and offer support to one another. 

Why not share your Parenting Posts, Craft ideas, recipes, days out, photo stories, weekly roundups etc with friends?

All posts welcome!


Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

19 April 2016



My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.




Book Corner: Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Tale of the Wizard'sWhisper

18 April 2016


My book corner choice this month is: Sir Charlie Sticky Socks and the Tale of the Wizard's Whisper by Kristina Stephenson.

The Tale of the Wizard's Whisper is a legendary tale of Knights, castles, Wizards and monsters. Sir Charlie is a truly brave knight who along with his faithful cat envelope and good. grey mare goes looking for a new adventure. The adventure involves them going on a quest to find the wizard's whisper.  Along the way he encounters a treacherous track, a frightful ogre, worrying signs, a spooky-wooly wood and ends up in a deep, dark cave with an old crone.


Silent Sunday

17 April 2016


Photography: Silent Sunday. 1 photo no words...


Liked this photograph? Come and see some more.

Weekly Roundup #15

15 April 2016

Dear all,

We had an absolutely jam packed weekend this week with a boat trip, cycle ride around the flower fields, shopping for new shoes and a surprise party.

I found the rest of the week a bit of a challenge as I am still not back to 100% fitness after my hysterectomy and I had probably done too much. It is weeks like these when I really like writing my Weekly Roundup as it makes me focus on the positive things that have happened in the week.



Our week at a glance


Follow my Autiquotes series.


My favourite moments this week were:


  • A sunshine walk at the beach
  • Watching the boys faces when they took charge and drove the boat
  • Catching the boys having a cuddle at the beach
  • Little man asking for cuddles and stories in bed
  • Hubby's colleague giving the boys a massive TV for gaming as he got a new one
  • Being chosen as favourite photo on #PointShoot linky by the fabulous Em
  • Seeing the boys reaction when I told them their Gamer Zone post was my most popular post last week
  • Going out for lunch with my lovely colleagues
  • A brilliant week with some fabulous posts in #FamilyFun 
  • Being part of a special surprise house & garden makeover for our lovely neighbours
  • Enjoying a cycle ride around the flower fields



Like this post? Check out more of my Weekly Roundups here

Family Fun #12

14 April 2016

Welcome to Family Fun a brand new linky! The linky runs on Thursday and Friday. All bloggers are welcome to add any type of parenting post.

Join me in a community of bloggers. Link up and share family experiences, successes and failures, laughter and tears and offer support to one another. 

Why not share your Parenting Posts, Craft ideas, recipes, days out, photo stories, weekly roundups etc with friends?


All posts welcome!





Mummy's law

13 April 2016

Dear friend,

I like to consider myself a positive thinker and I do believe that having a positive outlook can affect our general wellbeing but today that belief is being tested. Have you ever heard of Murphy's law? 

Murphy's law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong (Source Wikipedia.) 

Well today I've decided to adapt it and rebrand as 


Mummy's law...




  • Relax in the tub/take a shower. Are you serious, someone will suddenly need a poo or desperately need to ask you where their football kit, cuddly toy or keys (hubby) have gone.
  • Put on your makeup.  LOL someone will have lost a sock or had a water disaster in the bathroom so you end up going about your day oblivious to the fact that you only managed to put mascara on one set of eyelashes.
  • Drink a hot cup of tea. Forget it. Your mummy brain will draw you to empty the dishwasher, to wipe down the kitchen surfaces and feed the dog.
  • Chat with a friend on the phone. I can guarantee you will need to pause at least 5 times to avert a disaster, stop a fight, ask them to switch the TV down or stop them from raiding the cookie tin. You are lucky if you can finish one full sentence. 
  • Eat your dinner. You will never again eat anything warm because you will spend every meal, spooning food into mouths or cutting up food or taking kids to the bathroom. Once your kids are older your food will never be your own as they will want to try it and then usually swap plates as mums is always nicer. 
  • Watch TV.  The TV will be constantly tuned to kids channels. If you do try and watch something you will be asked, What is this? repeatedly. You will never again get to watch anything all the way through because you will give in and put the kids channel back on.
  • Get ready for a night out in peace. One child will cry, one will want a story and one will say they are feeling sick so that you spend your whole evening worrying about them.
  • Go to the toilet. As soon as your bum hits the seat a child will appear, they either need you or have just come to watch as heavens forbid you should be allowed to poop in peace without them.
  • Dry your hair. There's something about a hair drier that makes toddlers behave like a dog with its head out of the car window. Toddler will demand blasting every 2 minutes. Someone will have lost something again or will fall over. You leave the house with half dry hair then spend the rest of the day with an attack of frizz, looking like Worzel Gumming. 
  • Go to bed early/Lie in. Kids have a radar that knows to surprise you by arriving at your bedside every half an hour, suddenly having a temperature, needing a cuddle or being sick. 
  • Read. Forget the John Grisham or Marian Keyes your author of choice is now Julia Donaldson or Claire Freedman. When you do find time to read you can't follow the thread because you've been interrupted so many times you don't have a clue what's happening.
  • Carefully select an outfit. Instead of spending ages selecting the perfect outfit with carefully matching accessories you have a 5 minute window to get dressed and will wear anything that fits and is clean but doesn't make you look like your mother.



What are your Mummy law moments?


Family Fun: Messing about on the river

12 April 2016


Dear friend,

One of the things I love about living in Holland is all the water. It is such a beautiful place to live surrounded by all the canals and waterways with stunning views. So when the local marina had an event at the weekend we couldn't resist going along for a free boat ride.

We arrived at the marina early with two excited boys and were greeted by one of the staff and offered coffee, tea or lemonade. The boys couldn't wait to board and so we were first in line and managed to bag the best spot right at the front of the boat.





Little man brought Panda with him for a ride.



The big lad made himself comfortable at the front of the boat.

The weather was a little bit overcast but the views from the water were still beautiful.

We headed through Katwijk. Hubby and I would love one of these waterside houses.

Another stunning view down to Katwijk binnen

The boys got to stand up and touch the bridge. 

The big lad was nervous but took a turn at steering the boat.

Little man was lucky as he got to drive fast.

The trip took around an hour which was long enough for my two active kids who don't like to be cooped up for too long. The guide was very friendly and made us feel at home straight away, explaining how to drive the boat, the rules of the water and pointing things out along the way.

You can hire different types of boat from the marina, you do not need experience and will get instruction from the staff. The beauty is you can sail anywhere you want; into Katwijk, Leiden or further. All boats have a water map on board. We hired an electroboat last year when my parents visited (20 euro an hour) we took a picnic and spent a lovely afternoon on the water. Marina Rijnsburg also have group outings and other arrangements like sail and BBQ,  and sail and guided tour.

I can't wait to go again this summer!

We went on the trip free as part of the Marina's promotion, I was not compensated for this review.

Liked this post. Read more of my EXPAT series here.

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism



My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.





Parenting from a special persective: with Steph Curtis from Steph's Two Girls

11 April 2016

Ever wondered what it is really like to parent from a special perspective? Parent to a Special Needs Child? Where do you turn for help? What challenges do you face? What has surprised you? What have you learned? Every month I will be featuring one of my brilliant fellow SEND bloggers and sharing their reflections on raising a child with special needs.


Steph Curtis started blogging over six years ago at Steph’s Two Girls  when her youngest daughter Sasha was given a diagnosis of ASD. It is believed that she actually has a specific type of autism known as Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). 
Steph is keen to raise awareness of this condition and runs courses for parents to help with strategies for everyday life with PDA.


1. When did you first realise your child has Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)?
We first referred our daughter for speech therapy just after her 2nd birthday as she was making plenty of noise/sounds but no clear words. The speech therapist who assessed her referred us straight on to a paediatrician, saying that was just routine. Our girl was 2 and a half at that appointment with the paediatrician when autism was first suggested, and a month later the ASD (autism spectrum disorder) diagnosis was given. It was probably a year later, after I'd had a 'lightbulb moment' when reading about PDA online, that the secondary diagnosis of pathological demand avoidance behaviours was given.

Silent Sunday

10 April 2016


Photography: Silent Sunday. 1 photo no words...


Great news for Autistic flyers

8 April 2016

Dear friends,

Have you ever flown with children. It is stressful isn't it. Airports are busy places, crammed full of people. Trying to keep an eye on cases, kids, passports and find where you need to go is a nightmare. Let's add another factor into this equation. You also have autism. But there is great news for some Autistic Flyers...

Airports for people on the autistic spectrum can be an absolute nightmare, the senses going into overload. I don't know whether it is the noise, the light all the people standing too close or all of that put together that makes the experience a challenge for my son. But as a mum I desperately want to make this situation easier for him. We are regular travellers as my family are in the UK and we live in Holland. My kids have been on planes since they were 3 months old.



Last February we flew to the UK and my experience prompted me to write 2 posts about flying. The first one a rant about having to pay to check in luggage and in the second piece, I discussed how we need to give disability priority.

Whilst patiently cueing for passport control, I watched priority travelers whizzing through their separate section...
Getting on the plane customers were given priority: disabled and elite members. We waited while people, who should know better, jostled for position with me my 2 kids and 3 bags. (Shame on you!) 

The whole situation sheds light on my sons invisible disability again. OK he wasn't freaking out but he was uncomfortable, stressed, repeating the same question, pacing, fidgeting, not enjoying the situation. What would make this better for him?

...How hard would it be to make disability a priority?

Surely we have got our priorities wrong when only those who can afford to buy the best treatment get priority?

I am really pleased to see that one airport has started to address this problem for autistic people. Newcastle airport has signed up for the Autism Charter and has trained staff to support their customers with Autism.  How brilliant is that???  

The article in the Chronicle states that Newcastle airport;  
...will soon produce an ‘Airport Autism Passport’ which passengers can download to ensure a ‘fast track’ service to speed them through queues. Crowded areas can be particularly distressing for people with the condition. 

You can't see but I am doing my happy dance right now. At last some understanding and action. I am getting one of those passports for the big lad as soon as they are available. 

Newcastle Airport are also working with the North East Autism Society to produce a social story so that autistic passengers can familiarise themselves with the terminal before travelling.  What a brilliant idea!

All we need now are for other major airports to follow suit.  

Thank you to my best friend for sending this article, you made my day!!! 















Weekly roundup #14

Dear all,

Spring has arrived with a bang this week. It is one of my favourite times of the year as living in Holland and in the Bollenstreek region (the bulb growing region) we become surrounded by rainbow coloured fields. The temperature has risen and we have had more sun so the winter coats have gone away and we have been making the most of the lighter nights.

I had a super weekend of fun, laughter and wonderful food with my best friend. It was lovely to have time to ourselves and we went into Leiden for an afternoon of lunch, shopping and girly gossip. It was so good to see Nic but I did feel slightly deflated afterwards as it made me realise just what I am missing, that easy banter that flows when you have a shared history and understanding with someone.


Our week at a glance




My favourite moments this week were:

  • Spending quality time with my best friend 
  • Sitting on a terrace with a rose beer in the sunshine 
  • Teaching a class of 4 year olds for the morning and singing songs about animals and bugs 
  • Playing on the school yard with the little man 
  • Putting away my winter coat 
  • How little man has started posing for photos
  • Being guest blogger on Rookie mistakes with the lovely Claire at Life, Love and Dirty Dishes. 
  • Eating Bean Boozled, Yum & Yuk Jelly Beans (a present from Nicki). I ended up with smelly socks and vomit flavours, Yuk!
  • The boys learning to play Go Fish with Autie Nicki
  • Enjoying the beautiful spring flowers





Like this post? Check out more of my Weekly Roundups here



Family Fun: Flower Power

5 April 2016



Dear friend,

On Saturday morning we went to Kom in de Kas (Come in the glass house). It is an open day where people are encouraged to come and look in the greenhouse and see how the tropical plants are grown. It is one of the top ten most popular events held in Holland. As my best friend was visiting and as we live in a flower growing area we couldn't resist having a peak inside too.

The whole event is free and takes place in over 23 regions of holland with over 200 growers opening their doors. You can see robots giving plants water, have your face painted, jump on a bouncy castle, ride a pony, meet some feathered and fluffy friends and have a nice cup of coffee and slice of cake too as well as learn about how the flowers and plants are grown of course. It is a fun day out for everyone.


Some of the plants being grown in the glass houses.



A selection of beautiful Gerberas.

One glass house had a wild bird show.

Little man needed a lift walking between the glass houses. There is a bus service for people who have difficult walking.
The boys enjoyed the small petting farm. 

Nic and Big lad posed for a wedding snap, who's the bride? There were some beautiful flower arrangements on show.

My favourites, the orchids. 


This year we had a whistle stop tour as Nicki and I had plans for a fun afternoon of lunch and shopping in Leiden that we didn't want to miss. But I would highly recommend a visit!!!

We also had a short drive around the bulb fields on Sunday afternoon. The flowers are just starting to appear and I took some initial snaps. It was beautiful weather and if this sun continues all the flowers will be open in no time. It really is an amazing sight to behold.

Tiptoeing through the tulips.
Not all of the tulips were out yet.

The freesia smelt amazing. 



A rainbow of flowers.


Nova had to get in on the act!
My family. 

This is one reason why I love living in Holland. I know I shall never tire of this beautiful sight.



Liked this post then check out more of my EXPAT series here.

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