Merry Christmas and Thank You to those who kept 2016 going when the world went to shit!

The decorations are hung, the fireplace roars (ok well the electric fan whirls round a bit). Glitter now adorns every flat surface and the final prep for the onslaught of family, friends and frivolities has officially begun. All that’s left for me to do now is not kill my family when I feed them this year.  

Continue reading Merry Christmas and Thank You to those who kept 2016 going when the world went to shit!

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Alles wat ik wil voor Kerstmis is dat je!

Over on the Dutch Review I have shared my ultimate Dutch Christmas Song Playlist. Its harder than it looks to find Christmas tunes that aren’t in English but I’ve come up with 5 favourites to get you in the spirit for festive cheer and other office party based frivolities.

So move over Mariah! Bog off Bing Crosby! Sayonara Shakin’ Stevens! Piss off the Pogues. Copping off in the stationary cupboard or photocopying various body parts is still optional at your Office Christmas Party but here are some of my favourites that you should have on your playlist.  

So crack out the Advocaat and fill your face with Kerstkransjes  and let’s get this party started!

 5. Kling klokje klingelingeling

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOwrRyfKKIM%5B/embedyt%5D

A children’s song that is as catchy as it is angelic. ‘Klingelingeling’ translating to ‘bell ringing’ in English is a song about a clock counting down to Christmas. Loved by the masses and sang by 5 year olds everywhere Kling Klokke Klingelingeling comes in at Nummer 5!

 

4. Marco Borsato – Kerstmis

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idbam7QRYe0%5B/embedyt%5D

There is magic, there is fake snow, there is Marco. Such a powerfully festive recipe right there. It’s a feel good movie song and they basicailly shout Christmas on nearly every other line of the song and I am totally fine with that.

 

3. De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig & Katja – Ho Ho Ho

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uFkoUsA2Rs%5B/embedyt%5D

Get that grove on and feel Hip this festive season. Think The Fresh Prince, its 90s Hip Hop style and who doesn’t love a bit of rap every now and then?! Get those shoulders bouncing and be a Kerstballer with the rest of us! Ho Ho Ho is my nummer 3.

2. Nick & Simon – Vrolijk Kerstfeest

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5karFyNtiU%5B/embedyt%5D

They are sickly sweet and devilishly handsome Nick en Simon always make it on to any of my Dutch singers’ lists. . This countrified tune will have your foot tapping and hips swaying from the intro. Be it the bells or just the tune Vrolijk Kerstfeest has got me right in the mood and comes in at nummer 2!

 1. De Toppers met Een heel gelukkig kerstfeest!

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX0M_1Be7GU%5B/embedyt%5D

One of the first Dutch Christmas Songs I ever heard and learnt. It’s a tune that never leaves me throughout the Christmas period and the video to this one from Toppers is like the most cliché Christmas party ever. I hope my attempt at hosting family this Christmas plays out like this! That’s why Een heel gelukkig Kerstfeest just has to be my nummer 1!

 

the-office

To sing us out I’m going to leave you with the Helemaal Hollands’ Kerstmedley which has all of your favourite tacky Christmas songs to get you in the spirit of Christmas and have you dancing round like a buffoon in a festive sweater. I could have left you with the fabulous Simone Kleinsma’s Kerstmedley   but that felt far too sophisticated.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhuzKqeJPO4%5B/embedyt%5D

Society is down on Down’s

Sally Phillips’s  documentary for the BBC about the challenges and joys of raising her son with Down’s Syndrome was simply brilliant. In her words “I was expecting tragedy but what i got was comedy” that line perfectly sums up her family life and the entire documentary. The documentary looks at the increasing ability for screening foetuses for Down’s Syndrome earlier in pregnancy with more accurate results. The odds of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome are higher the older you are when you get pregnant and screening is offered as pretty standard practice to expectant mothers, especially those post 30 years old at conception.

4221396001_4051350406001_jamieWith Down’s people achieving more than ever before by becoming tv actors in mainstream soaps and movies, models on the catwalk etc. One would be almost forgiven for believing that we are now all accepting and encouraging but the truth is we are far from.

Continue reading Society is down on Down’s

5 Things I’ll never quite understand about the Netherlands

In response to my recent 5 things I will always love about the Netherlands I thought I would write a counter post. The things that I really don’t get. The things that always mark the differences between our countries. In many ways the things I don’t understand about the Dutch are the basis for the reasons in which I love them!

Continue reading 5 Things I’ll never quite understand about the Netherlands

My last little trip

My time in the Netherlands was all too fleeting. 5 days felt like nothing more than a weekend and with lots to fit in there was never a dull moment. My host family had me covered with everything from a cozy night sleep to sampling new foods. After an 8 year semi-dutch adoption I thought there was very little I hadn’t tried or had managed to sneakily avoid but even now my trip was filled with new experiences.

To bring you all along for the journey my Dutch Guide and I penned a few little reviews of our eateries. You can find those here:

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My new experiences this time included seeing the inside of a working windmill. You can read all about that here.

Shopping for Dutch real-estate took my snooping to a whole new level. The subtle yet distinctive differences were a real treat to see. img-20160928-wa0019

Also my first experience of cycling – spoiler alert – it involved a lot of screaming, a near miss with the a hedge and a very sore bottom for a few days afterwards. You can read all about that by clicking on the picture and see various other pictures where I do not look quite as chic as the Klompenmeijses lead me to believe.

Leaving the Netherlands is always pretty shit. Once I pass through customs and wave my family behind for the last time I can’t help but shed a little tear. Brexit or no Brexit the Netherlands will always have a special place in my heart for as long as they are happy to have me in their country. I have even considered offering to do the negotiating on behalf of the UK with King Willem et al., I think we could reach a happy medium and it would give me an excuse to make the Netherlands my temporary home once again.

I will be back soon, I miss you already and I am most grateful for always feeling so welcome by every single person I meet on my travels.

Tot ziens my friends, tot zeins!