When life stops.

And life does stop, for me anyway, that pause is usually over half terms, Easter, Christmas holidays and the long Summer break.

Being a teacher, my mind is driving at a steady 90mph, not healthy and also not a desirable speed. You’re right there. Come the holidays, life really does stop for me now. It never used too because I spent it with a boyfriend and then husband, always busy together, on holiday or just being ‘us’.

Instead of writing today (it’s a Sunday too) about how tough the half term has been at times for me I thought I would tell you about my time in Holland with my family these past few days.

I bloody love having dutch heritage. And hopefully you’ll see why now….

(BTW for your vision: I just lept off the sofa at 90mph and it’s not even Monday yet…definitely just set my home smoke alarm off. Never moved so fast off the sofa! And calm…. it’s just new candles reminding me it’s sunday nofunday.) 

One of my favourite visits in Holland was seeing a dear Family friend, Kartini. She is such a warrior women, although she wouldn’t describe herself in this way, I think she’s an absolute soldier. She was my nanny’s best friend and gave a truly wonderful heartfelt speech at her funeral. You see kartini ozzes youth. She is 84, rides her bicycle like a teenager, and doesn’t look a day over 70. She has great humour and has a knack of making me smile and laugh. Unfortunately after a bad experience with a doctor and needle she had to undergo a necessary Op that wasn’t initially required which inevitably has resulted in much bed rest and rest and more rest, I have no doubt she will be back to her usual active self very soon. After this ordeal…still beaming that smile!

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English house builds in comparison to Dutch houses are depressing, dreary, dark, plain, unimaginable, did I say plain, and uninspiring. You see, dutch are renowned for plants and flowers, and I’ll add to this, their houses, homes, flats and spaces are so uplifting because they are 70% windows. Making their homes clear, light, and full of natural sunlight. Dutch living spaces are real open spaces. Full of life with the abundance of hanging ceiling plants and ferns. The shops cater to these homely designs; I came across this shop called ‘Groene Vingers’ (Green fingers for those of us that don’t speak dutch), it was dreamy to say the least, the only way I can do the shop and plants justice is to show you through pictures. I have yet to find a shop like this in the UK….(If you know of one you know what to do).

I visited Holland and appreciated seeing people and places more than I ever have before, and perhaps I’d like to put this down to my new single life and giving myself the space and ability to appreciate all the things that make me smile and fill me with a feeling of content and happiness. So what did I do to achieve this? Well I listened to myself and as crazy as it may have sounded, I went to the gym a few times at the hotel, I also missed breakfast one morning with my family because I wanted to go eat somewhere else, which made my morning. Especially the cafe’s little touch of a slip of paper with an uplifting quote on…

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I also made some time for some beach meditation which was so good, as brief as it was due to the wind chill. I was truly thankful for staying at such a nice location on Kijkduin beach and for my family for bringing me with them on their annual trip to see family.

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Friday night of half term in The Hague was all about family, my Mother’s cousins (Anouk, Francis, Rene) and Aunty Renny who is a magnifican 91 years of age, and by the way does not look a day over 75! What can I say? I hope I inherit these kind aging genes. It was all about the roast dinner (2x legs of lamb and all the trimmings that my mother just had to buy from good old marks and sparksie and drive all the way through France, Belgium and to The Hague….the things people do for a British bloody roast!) Although a roast dinner is my least favourite meal, I really enjoyed the chit chat and the vote of confidence from fellow elders on my sabbatical next year, as well as hearing dad’s ‘just have to’ political brexit talk. Que Lara thought…’Here we go again…’.

Traditionally we always make a visit to the Ockenburgh Crematorium to visit Opa, this is always so special because of the unique placing of Opa’s ashes. Bamboo, which was planted by an elder family member years ago and as a result family have always been scattered in and around the only bamboo growth section of the crematorium. It’s so ‘us’.

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All in all it was a enjoyable experience and I soaked it up to the fullest, despite a few set backs of harsh memory reminders of my previous visit with my ex husband, I’m thankful for my strong mindset and my perseverence in my jounrey to outlive this shit storm battle. Thanking you Sis for these moments…

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