Five ‘Acts of Kindness’ for 2016

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Dec 312015
 

2016

At the end of December I always take a moment to look back at the year that has been, so much has happened in the last 12 months! Like most people I also make a handful of New Year resolutions for the year ahead, but this time I decided to shake things up a little and put the spotlight on other people than myself. I have come up with these five Acts of Kindness for 2016:

Hallmark CardSend a handwritten card/letter

While I am grateful for internet and mobile phones I really miss the excitement of receiving a sweet card or long letter in my letterbox. I am lucky I have a few ‘old-school’ family members who spoil me every now and then but I have to admit I usually forget to write them back. Next year I will make an effort to surprise my loved ones with a handwritten treat more often.

Brownie on a plateLove thy neighbour

We are very blessed with two sets of wonderful neighbours who are always happy to lend a helping hand. From looking after the kids to helping in the garden or even sharing their garden fresh vegetables, they are real gems! I may not be able to return all their favours but I can bake them some yummy treats to show my appreciation, a simple plate of brownies goes a long way.

Coins AustraliaCare with a coin

I’ll be honest, when I am rushing into the supermarket I rarely stop for the man/woman with a collecting tin. My excuse is that we donate to several good causes already but usually do so online. I recently realised how important it is for our children to see that every coin helps (and virtual coins don’t count for them), so I will be making more of an effort to dig up my wallet and let the kids hand over real money for a real cause.

Red TelephoneMake a phone call

When you are 92 like my Opa in The Netherlands the internet is too much to master so it’s a phone call or nothing. With 5 kids, a busy household and a big time difference between the two continents there are few moments for me to make a quiet phone call, which I feel really guilty about. I love hearing his voice and am going to pick up that phone more often in 2016.

bouquetSay it with flowers

Whether it’s a few handpicked flowers from the garden or a gorgeous bouquet that has been expertly put together, everyone loves a floral surprise. Of course you may not always have time to hand deliver but you can send flowers through Flowers For Everyone with just a few clicks, easy as pie. I have jotted down a few important dates for special people (anniversaries, birthdays) who deserve a lovely bunch this year.

What will be you be doing for someone else in 2016?

Nov 062015
 

EK Books

On our walks to school the kids and I always walk past flowers in many different colours, shapes and sizes and usually they insist on picking one or two to show at kindy or school. While the kids like them all they are particularly keen on dandelions and never pass on the opportunity to make a wish, aren’t children’s wishes just the best? Dandelions may officially be a weed but this new EK Books picture book shows that that doesn’t make them any less special:

Dandelions EK Books

In Dandelions we meet a little girl who is disappointed to see her father has cut down all her much-loved dandelions when mowing the lawn. At first she thinks there is nothing left to do but sit down and wait for them to grow again, but then dad and two lonely dandelion puff balls take her on a special journey…

Written by an Australian (former) school teacher and mother this sweet story is decorated with wonderful watercolour illustrations that are a perfect fit for this magical theme. Young readers will love following the fluffy little parachutes as they travel across the pages and next time you spot a puff ball in your garden you can start a trip of your very own.

You can find Dandelions (RRP $24.99) in leading book stores across Australia or online in the EK Books Shop.

To find out more about EK Books, to browse the range and to order your favourite titles online visit www.ekbooks.com.au.

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Make mum feel extra special this Mother’s Day

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Apr 292015
 

Fresh Flowers

Brought to you by Fresh Flowers

With Mother’s Day just around the corner I always have mixed feelings. On the one hand I am very blessed to be a mum myself to 4 beautiful children and I love how they make me feel extra special and appreciated on Mother’s Day. On the other hand it makes me miss my own mother, who lives all the way across the oceans in The Netherlands, terribly. Since moving to Australia in 2006 I have not been able to spend a single Mother’s Day with her and all we can give her is a phone call and a card in the mail.

My beautiful family

My beautiful family

If you are lucky enough to live close to your parents please take some time out of your busy schedule to visit them on Mother’s Day, how wonderful that you can just show up on her doorstep with a little present and make her day! And don’t forget to take a snap of the two of you together, you never know when you get that chance again every time I say goodbye to my mum I wish we took more photos.

One of the few photos of Mum and I since moving to Australia

One of the few photos of Mum and I since moving to Australia

If you, like me, live too away to drop by personally you can still make mum feel really loved from a distance by sending her some handmade goodness made by the kids, recording her a cute video or having a sweet gift delivered to her door.

Fresh Flowers bouquetThanks to Fresh Flowers it is super duper easy to organise flower delivery online in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. Unfortunately Sunday delivery is not available, but for many areas same day delivery is possible so get that Saturday order in as soon as you can. Make sure you sign up as a Fresh Flower member because you will be rewarded with a welcome 10% discount on your first order, that’s some extra change in your pocket for a lovely card to go with the gift.

If you will be spoiling your mother, grandmother or mother-in-law with a pretty bunch of flowers this Mother’s Day I would love to know what you’ll be getting her. What are your mum’s favourite flowers? If anyone wants to treat me to a little bouquet my vote goes to… Dutch tulips of course!

Fresh Flowers Hamper

Emotions at the airport

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Jun 272014
 
Adelaide Airport, 2 years ago. Three excited kids ready to board!

Adelaide Airport, 2 years ago. Three excited kids ready to board!

With exactly one month to go until we arrive at Amsterdam airport I can’t help but feel a bit emotional. I dream about the reunion with my family almost every night and I love thinking about that moment when they will meet their youngest grandchild for the very first time, so special. When you move to the other side of the world airports definitely become a place of mixed emotions.

Airport Exhaustion

Airports can be very exhausting too

When we leave Adelaide Airport and walk through the sliding doors in Amsterdam we’re always excited and warmly welcomed, when we leave we are very sad to say goodbye knowing it will be another couple of years until we meet again. At the same time it’s good to be back on Australian soil and walk into your own lovely, familiar, cosy home after a long and very exhausting flight.

Fresh Flowers TulipsNext month marks eight year since I moved to Australia. I still can’t believe I agreed to move to the other side of the world, to live in a country I had never been to and marry a man I had only just met. It was the best decision of my life and I wouldn’t change my Aussie life with my beautiful husband and 4 precious children for the world. I will never forget the sight of that incredibly nervous, handsome young man waiting at the airport holding a bunch of pretty tulips to make his Dutch fiancee feel at home, I’ve had a soft spot for tulips ever since.

If you want to surprise someone special (or spoil yourself) with a gorgeous bunch of flowers too it doesn’t get much easier than www.freshflowers.com.au, they deliver fresh flowers Australia wide and same day delivery is available (just check your area at the top of the website). I love how their Fresh Flowers Facebook page shows the flowers being cut and bouquets being arranged in store, just beautiful!

Tulips by Fresh Flowers

Pretty tulips for a lucky someone

Stay tuned for some photos of our reunited family next month!