So I started this post the other day to share the wonderful news that our conservatory is finally finished, or in Elisabeth’s words – Done! We finished the floor last weekend and it has been really great this week. Because we have a house where the kitchen is on the ground floor and the living room is on the first floor (seemed like a great idea before Elisabeth came round) things are tricky with a toddler, keeping her entertained whilst putting the shopping away, cooking dinner and just general clearing up was getting more and more challenging. But now with the conservatory ready for playing in, everything has become so much easier, Elisabeth loves it in there. We have only put her toys in there (and stuff that she can’t reach yet) so it is baby proof, which means that she can play in it whilst I’m in the kitchen, it has already made such a difference.

However, yesterday it started leaking AGAIN! This is the third time now and we are not best pleased. I can’t remember whether I posted about this before but when Incompetence & Co came to fix it first time around, the manager who came along told me that he was expecting problems because – be ready, ridiculous comment coming – it was an outside wall! As far as I know every conservatory is built on an outside wall, if it wasn’t it would be a greenhouse surely! Anyway, they said they fixed it first time, and the second time, so when it started leaking yesterday I was not happy. So I have had to cancel my plans for this afternoon and sit and wait for Incompetence & Co to turn up and “fix” it again.

The most disappointing thing is that we went with a big reputable company who specialise in conservatories rather than a local builder, and we are seriously disappointed with the overall finish, apart from the fact of course that it is not water tight. Anyway, enough moaning, I’m sure it will be sorted eventually so we can really enjoy the space without the need for an umbrella. When it is and when the sofa is delivered I will post some pictures.

Have you ever had building work or other work done to your house that went wrong? Or were you disappointed with the workmanship?


To Kindle or not……

I love books, I love reading, I love owning and buying books. I love standing in front of my bookcase and thinking hmmmm, what shall I read next. Shall I pick one that I have never read before or re-read a favourite, should it be easy reading or a bit more intellectual, English or Dutch, fiction or non-fiction, so many choices. In life I hate choosing, but when it comes to books I love it.

I have several bookcases at home and some books move from one to another. This is because I have a favourites bookcase. The one in the living room has all my favourite books in, but when I acquire a new book and really enjoy it, a current favourite might have to move to make room. Within the favourites bookcase I even have favourite shelves, they are basically the ones I have the best view of from the sofa, and that’s where the favourites of all favourites live. The ones like: Love in the times of cholera, The shadow of the wind, Simon, Memoirs of a Geisha, The time travellers wife, I could go on.

Anyway, my point is that I really like books. So when e-readers were starting to become really popular I was confused; why would anyone want one? I could obviously see that it is practical for commuters and on holidays, but still, surely you would rather have actual books? So it was clear to me from the start; I didn’t want one. I asked my husband (who doesn’t like reading and therefore probably doesn’t get my obsession with books) to please never buy me a Kindle.

Fast forward to the following Christmas…… My husband, who is the most wonderful person in the world but also most likely the worst listener, bought me a Kindle! When he gave me the present he said he was a bit nervous about it because he wasn’t sure whether I wanted one. Ha ha, I guess some of the comment ‘I don’t want one’ must have gotten through :-). I immediately knew what it was and I had about 10 seconds (whilst I opened the present) to decide how to react when I “found out what it was”. I obviously didn’t want to be ungrateful, but I had specifically asked him not to buy me one. By the time I opened it I was actually quite interested to find out how it worked, what it would look like and what it would be like to read a book on it, so actually, even though I still didn’t want one, I was pleased to be able to satisfy my curiosity. I could always sell it it if I really didn’t like it.

Fast forward to the day after Boxing Day….. My husband looks at me and says: “For someone who didn’t want a Kindle (so he had been paying attention!) you’ve used it an awful lot so far.” He was right, By that evening, I had only owned it for about 60 hours, I had finished the first book and had built up quite a library of interesting and free books. Free books! That was something I hadn’t counted on. I knew you could get some of the classics for free, but I was not aware of the enormous amount of free and/or cheap books that were out there just waiting for me to download. And I loved it!

But don’t worry, I will never ever give up on actual books. If I really want a book or if one of my favourite authors has a new book out, or just when I fancy, I will go into a bookshop and buy actual books. But I also love my Kindle because without it there would be a lot of books that I would never have read. So I would like to thank my husband for completely ignoring my request, thinking he knew better and being right. You rock!

First words

One of my blogging friends (Meghan, check her out at Ratnam Residence) wrote a lovely post about her little boy’s first word the other day. It reminded me of something that happened the other day and I thought I’d share it with you.

Elisabeth is really practising her words now. She’ll try and repeat most things we say and given that she is only 18 months old, we think she is doing quite well. When she is not saying actual words she is chatting in her own little language. Some of the things she likes saying are: pappa, mamma, shoes, done, night night, ta, car and toast. All pretty straightforward short words, until a few days ago when she was happily playing with her teddy bears and all of a sudden she said: Panama. No idea where that came from and she hasn’t said it since, weird!

I wonder what she’ll come out with next, perhaps she should work on supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 🙂

No more smelly busses…..

Why is it that there are always smelly people on my bus? Almost every time I get on a bus it is full of smelly people, and they always seem to come and sit next to me. Sweat, smoke, booze, nothing seems to be too much. Do these people not shower? Do they think in the morning, oh I’m going by bus – no need to wash!

Anyway, today was the first day of my new exercise routine, and the end of smelly bus journeys. I cycled to work for the first time in about 2 years……and it was great! It is only just over 3 miles, but that is better than nothing. And it saves me spending money on not so enjoyable bus journeys, so it’s all good! And I love my bike, it’s a big proper Dutch bike and even though it is much harder work than a mountain bike, it is far more relaxing.

And on my days off, Elisabeth and I like to go for a ride together…..


You can take a girl out of Holland………

The plan will be not to plan….

I like to plan things, I like to what is happening when. With children this can be really useful at times, but most of the time it is just frustrating because things never go according to plan.

Last night the plan was to have a relaxing evening in front of the t.v. and perhaps write a post about something fun. The weather had different plans, it had been really quite hot all day and it did not cool down in the evening. Not the best weather for sleeping in. So it was no surprise that Elisabeth didn’t go to sleep until about 10pm, bless her little heart. She also didn’t nap today so she is a real crouchy toddler at the moment. Luckily there is one thing that always cheers her up, playing ipad! We try to limit this to 10 minutes in the evening, but at times like this when she is really tired it’s a welcome break for both of us.

My husband is laying the floor in our new conservatory and I’m getting really excited about finally being able to use it. I also planned to clean the carpet upstairs in our living room as soon as the conservatory is ready for use to give the living room carpet time to dry without us getting wet feet. Unfortunately I had to move that plan forward slightly as Elisabeth, who was walking around in the nude as it was too hot for wearing a nappy all day, managed to do a poo on the carpet, nice. I only looked away for a second, and that was all it took. So out came the carpet cleaner, sigh, it’s such a lot of hassle getting the hoover transformed into the carpet cleaner, cleaning the carpet and then transforming it back to normal hoover state.

So from now on, I’m giving up on planning for a while as just take everything as and when it comes. I wonder how long this will last?

Sleep update

There are some good things happening on the sleep front. After a month of having to get Elisabeth up almost every night at different times, for a week now we have been able to go back to our sleep training routine where we go into her room when she cries and stay with her until she falls back asleep, but without picking her up. Not only is this much better for Elisabeth, as it will help her get back to get back to falling asleep on her own when she wakes up in the middle of the night, it is also a lot easier for us. Because when we go into her room we take a duvet with us…….and have a little nap on the floor 🙂 well I do anyway. I don’t think my husband manages to fall asleep on the floor, but I often wake up an hour or more after going in with Elisabeth fast asleep in her cot. Once I woke up to daylight entering her room whilst it was definitely dark when I came in. All in all we are a lot more rested. Although this will probably be the end of it again because every time I tell someone it is going well it goes wrong again.

This morning when she went for her nap we had another breakthrough, well, my mother in law did because I was at work. Just after she had gone to bed, my mother in law thought she heard her say poo. She was a bit worried about what Elisabeth was up to and rightly so. The little monkey had indeed done a poo and decided to try and change her own nappy! By the time my mother in law got upstairs she had taken her clothes off and undone her nappy on one side. Needless to say, she and her bed needed to be changed. So a lot of stuff happening, the good thing was though, that after all that, my mother in law put her back in bed……….and she actually went to sleep!

This is quite a big step for Elisabeth as up to now once she was awake and out of her bed, there was now way she would just go back to sleep. We are feeling quite positive about this and hopefully this will be the start of some longer periods of sleeping through. But I do realise this is not the first post that I have ended with such a statement……we live in hope.

One Thousand……Really?!?!

This week I reached quite an exciting milestone, I reached 1,000 views on my blog! How exciting!

When I started blogging I was quite sceptical, I couldn’t really imagine that anyone, apart from my mum, dad and sister, would be interested to read about my little life. How wrong was I? On one thousand separate occasions someone decided to have a look at what I had to say, how amazing is that?!?

Now either you, all my lovely blogging friends, are a really forgiving bunch, or maybe, maybe I am quite capable of writing half decent posts. I hope it is the second, but my insecure self finds the first easier to believe. Whatever the reason, I am very pleased so many people visited my blog over the last few months and hopefully we’ll hit 2,000 soon.

Thank you very much for reading!