#107 hamper

Hello, V gave us these lots of homemeade treats, as she was given a huge amount in her christmas hamper from her employer. We very much enjoyed polishing them off!dinner7

On 21st I took the 4 kids to Hoofddorp cinema to see the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi and we all really enjoyed it.

Lee was given this hamper bursting with fancy snacks & such from his work. It came in a quite stylish coolbag which is nice.


it’s quite big, there’s even a glass mason-jar type water dispenser and 2 mason jars with straws coming out the lid.

on Friday 5 of us went cycling for a day trip to that Het Oosten Garden centre, it turns out it’s the biggest in NL.


First (almost) whole family substantial cycle. it’s 6km each way. First of many I hope.

Free and safe to cycle with kids down a narrow, 2-way road that has big delivery trucks etc! So strange!

We wandered through the xmas decs zone.  Lola and I got quite festive among such a lot of pretty sparkly stuff & were bopping to the Xmassy tunes!  We then spent quite some time in the plants. In there I met my lovely Angie, it’s near her house. So that was nice! We bought quite a few  small houseplants,  they are less than half the price of UK.


We are making some sort of green wall. It’s only just begun but quite a few of us felt instantly , like the room had been decorated to our taste or something. The lurid green trays are temporary!

feed the koi

The next day it was Saturday. I didn’t even realise as Lee and the boys are off . I have had quite a pain in my shoulder/neck for a few days, it’s made much worse by going to bed each night but that’s unavoidable. I have tried a few different pillows. I can’t move much but it doesn’t hurt when i’m cycling, so Lee & I cycled up Legmeerdijk again, As Angie had mentioned there’s another garden centre a little further up. Called Ranzijn, it was a lot smaller, quite similar to a B&Q. it had pets too, so Lee had a little look at those. Then we went through nearby picturesque Bovenkerk and had lunch in Cafe De Manen. We each had a lovely soup n chips. It’s round the corner from the Amstelveen 2nd hand shop, De Boemerang, so we went in.

I got a myself 2 nice pairs of boots total £24 and some cute old red pans, £4. And we enjoyed our cycle back, even though the last 4km straight down the Norddammerweg was in full wind and quite an exercise! We love cycling down there as there’s lots of individual decorative farmhouses to compare and various animals, birds etc. My neck was much better after the cycle.

On Saturday evening Carla picked me up with the girls and we went to ECG (dutch Uithoorn) church for another free christmas dinner! I didn’t really want to go but Carla wasn’t listening. And I’m really glad, as it was fantastic! A lovely loud friendly atmosphere, and we were joined on our table by just the  people I would have chosen. It was nice to chat as I haven’t seen them in a month or so. The food was lovely, we sang a few carols (only 2 i recognised) and had a message of course. Good old ECG church!


So that’s 2 free christmas dinners! And Christmas itself here is called Eerste & Tweede Kerstdag – 1st and 2nd xmas/Yule day. For example “ECG invite you to a service on 1st Xmasday at 10am” which I find strangely clinical. Shops will say “open on 2nd kerstdag 12-6” .

i googled Kerstman vs Sinterklaas. I think it’s a kids film.

The US/UK Santa/Father christmas is called the Kerstman here and not at all to be confused with Sint. So there is an amount of recognisable US/UK decor & stuff in the shops, and loads of Dutch traditional Christmassy foods. But what’s fabulous, is there haven’t been all the heaving crowds! It has only been a bit busier in general. Lovely!

Lee & I have often fantasised about running away to a sunny island to escape the whole christmas debacle! But it turns out that hanging around in a massive garden centre has been almost as escapist!

I have warned the kids that we are having our mildest (if you’re a kid, read lamest) Christmas ever. We haven’t put the tree up yet. Saving something for Christmas eve or possibly even christmas day! No stockings-  as we are doing the shoes-on-pakjesavond instead. We shall see how this goes down!



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