I’m childfree and I like it

I shouldn’t have to justify my decision to be childfree. But you know what? I have to. All the damn time.

You had me at childfree

Image credit: someecards.com

One time that stands out clearly in my mind was on a recent trip to France to visit my parents. We went to their friends’ house (they’re also English expats living in France) who happened to have their 30-something daughter staying with them. And her 2.4 children.

The mother grandmother, a similar age to my own Mum offered me tea and then asked “so when are you having kids?” If she’d given me the tea first, she probably would have been wearing it. Her son-in-law chimed in whilst simultaneously bottle feeding a young baby and dealing with an unruly toddler clinging to his leg… “yes, when are you having kids?” Erm… sorry, what? I have just met these people. I walked into your house approximately two minutes ago and we’re getting into this. Now. Really?

After taking a mental deep breath and telling myself: these are your parents’ friends. Shut them down, politely.

I replied: “We’re not having kids”.

Then the questions and non-questions started. “Why not?” “You’ll change your mind.” “It’s different when they’re your own.”

“We don’t want kids.” “No, we won’t.” “Thanks, but we’d rather not find out, if it’s all the same to you.”

The daughter mother joined in, she was 4 months pregnant at the time. “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I didn’t know real love until I became a Mum.” *Sigh* This vein of conversation continued for 5-10 mins or so, until it all turned into white noise.

We finally managed change the subject when I pacified them with the “never say never” line. I know I shouldn’t do that, but I just wanted it to be over…

It’s true, never say never. But the older I get, the more confident I feel with my choice. It is a conscious choice, not one that everyone understands, but it is a choice. And I choose to be childfree.

Not many people I know understand this. I think I finally got through to my Mum after about 5 years of “explaining”. The Dutchie’s Mum gets it. As does my best friend and of course, the Dutchie himself – as he feels exactly the same way. But apart from this small circle, I get the face.


The “You’re not having kids?” face.

Friends are allowed to ask. That’s why we’re friends. But just be aware: I am that freak in your social group. The weird one who doesn’t have kids… and who doesn’t want them.

Strangers who ask this question, however, are insensitive. Rude, even. Family members (especially ones you haven’t seen in ages) are probably just looking for something to say. That’s ok too… but next time, can’t you just ask about work or something?

I’ve read a lot of material on the subject of being childfree, most recently Kim Cattrall finds the term ‘childless’ offensive and considers herself a mother despite not having children but like many other articles, it doesn’t hit the spot for me. It seems like what she actually said has been heavily cut and quoted to fit what they want the article to say. But this one line stands out for me: “I just believe, and have always believed since my 40s, that there are many different ways to be a mum.”

But I don’t want to be a mum. I don’t need to be a mum.

I hope that when my niece is older, we’ll be close and I’ll be a fantastic auntie to her. But I won’t be her mum, or a mother figure, I’ll be her auntie. And that’s fine with me.

Going back to the point about not knowing real love until you’re a mother (or “Now that I have children, my life has true meaning!” or even “You’re missing out on one of the best things in life”…)

I am ok with the love I feel right now. Really.

It’s common for mothers to say that you haven’t experienced ‘real love’ until you become a mother. And I’m fine with that.

I love. I’m in love. I love my friends and family, I feel unconditional love. And the other type of love you’re talking about? I will never experience that. But you know what? That’s cool with me. The love I feel is the strongest I’ve ever experienced, so I don’t know any better. You’re telling me that your love is better, stronger, more unconditional. I’m just going to have to trust you on that one.

Still don’t ‘get’ it? Here’s what I would like to say to you:

I respect the fact that you want children. Please respect the fact that I do not.

It really is this simple. Having children is a choice.

No, holding your baby doesn’t make me feel broody.

Not even my niece. Everyone said it would be different when my sister had a baby. I love my niece, it doesn’t take anything away from how much I love her and want to protect her – I don’t want a child of my own.

If you’re my friend, I will love your baby. It happens automatically, because I love you. But holding a small human isn’t suddenly going to make my uterus twitch. It’s just not in me. (The feeling I mean, I do have a uterus! I just choose not to grow a human in it.)

I like to hold/cuddle/interact with your child – but I also like giving it back. When they’re older I’ll read them books or play games with them… but when they start screaming, emit a bad smell, puke on me (or all of the above)… you can have them back. Not my department.

I don’t think that my dog/cat is a child and I don’t treat them like a child.

Some people do. I am not one of them. I have a cat. I love her. Sometimes, when she is annoying I put her outside and leave her out there – because she is a cat.

I don’t hate kids.

It’s a common misconception that childfree people are child-haters. While for some people, this is true… I like kids. I just don’t want one.

It’s not a phase I’m going through, I will not change my mind and it is not your place to question it.

Questioning my personal life choice – especially if I don’t even know you – is not and will not ever be cool.


You can call me selfish – if you like. 

But who am I depriving? A non-existent child? If you’d like to call me selfish, please do so. Probably not to my face though, then we might have a problem.

It’s very common for childfree people to be labelled selfish, because we don’t want to dedicate our life to another human being. And in some ways, I agree – I don’t. I like sleeping, I like travelling, I like doing whatever the fuck I want.

When it comes down to it – selfish isn’t really a suitable label. A non-existent child is exactly that. However, when YOU choose to bring a child into the world, it’s because YOU choose to bring a child into the world. Maybe you’re selfish because YOU want/need/desire a child? It’s not like they asked to be born. No? Ok, well then let’s just both agree to not call each other selfish.

We’re not barren.

And we’re not trying. You have absolutely no reason to feel sorry for me.

Even I question my decision sometimes. But not enough to change it. 

Not continuing the family name, not having grandchildren and worrying about who will look after me in old age are not valid enough reasons for me to change my mind. (And by the way, are all those old people in homes childfree? Nope, thought not. Chances are your kids will move to Australia and not be able to look after you anyway. Just sayin’.)

Hayley x


I am no longer the headless woman!

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably already seen my new profile picture! If you don’t… here it is!!

*Drum roll please*


You might recognise the style… yes, it’s Blond Amsterdam!!

I have been a massive fan ever since I first visited the Netherlands and I have a huuuuuuge collection of their stuff.

When I found out that they did personalised items, they were my number 1 choice for a new blog logo. Unfortunately, when I contacted them months and months ago… their customer service team were decidedly unhelpful and unfriendly: No, we can’t do logos – you have to buy a piece of pottery – and no you can’t come to the store in Amsterdam to watch while it is being painted. The typical “dat kan niet” bullshit. Miserable gits.

I initially thought screw you – I was about to give you a load of free publicity – so I contacted some other illustrators. I got a couple of quotes but my heart just wasn’t in it so I let a few months go by.

I knew I wanted Blond Amsterdam to do it but their customer service had been rubbish. I thought about it again. The talent – the real illustrator(s) – do not have time to deal with customers (or bloggers). I had spoken to some jobsworth. I knew that the real Blond Amsterdam would deliver the goods!

So, I ordered online. I had wanted a logo, but no, they couldn’t do that. So I ordered a bloody plate instead. 12 and a half weeks ago. (Their website states the waiting time for personalised items is around 9 weeks.)

I waited patiently for 9 weeks… and then for another week whilst we were on holiday (hoping there would be a lovely package for me on my return). Nope. I emailed them last week as my expected delivery time had clearly passed – only to be disappointed by their customer service yet again: It’ll be with you next week (with no apology about it already being so late!) and no we can’t take a photo of it and send to you. Of course you CAN take a photo of it. You just don’t want to/can’t be arsed/have a “dat kan niet” attitude. 

But today, I finally got my delivery! It was worth the wait, it’s friggin’ awesome, I love Blond Amsterdam and I love my bloody plate! (And truth be told… I’m actually quite pleased they didn’t send me a photo as opening it was a brilliant moment!)

Blond Amsterdam – your customer service department sucks the big one!! But I still love you.

What do you think of the new “logo”?

Hayley x

English Food vs Dutch Food… Fight!

It’s almost a year and a half since I moved to the Netherlands… and honestly, Holland is starting to feel more like home than England does. Isn’t that vierd?


Wet/cold weather 55%

Politicians 39%

Traffic 37%

Miserable people 34%

Commuting 26%

Sarcasm 13%

Annoying family members 10%

Neighbours 8%

Ex-partners 8%

The Pound 6%



Fish and chips 55%

Pub grub 54%

Traditional pubs 47%

Countryside 35%

The high street 31%

Sunday roasts 30%

TV 24%

Parks 16%

Football 12%

The changing seasons 11%


If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know the biggest thing I miss is the English pub culture and good old pub grub, so I’m totally in agreement with this survey!

(Sources: BritishCornerShop.co.uk – and The Mirror.)

I like food. So yes, this post is about food (with a few drinks thrown in). But the question is: which is better?



1. Bacon vs spek

Thick, luscious rounds of smoked bacon served with crusty bread, lettuce and tomato. Or wafer thin slices of spek? My vote: Team UK.

2. Marmite on toast vs hagelslag

Love it or hate it… marmite is extremely popular in the UK. As is hagelslag in Holland. But which is best? My vote: Team UK.

Proper English tea and toast... with marmite!

3. Full English breakfast vs uitsmijter

Bacon, sausages, eggs, mushrooms, hash browns, beans, black pudding… I’m salivating just typing this! Or fried egg, ham and cheese? Also delicious, but very simple. My vote: Team UK.



4. Sandwich and crisps or boterham?

English people pretty much can’t eat a sandwich without a packet of crisps on the side. It’s like an unwritten law or something. What do Dutchies often eat for lunch? A slice of white bread with cheese and a glass of milk. My vote: Team UK.

5. Beans on toast vs … ?

Is there a vs for this one? (Hagelslag?!! Hee hee.) Dutchies think beans on toast is just weird, but we were brought up with it. It’s cheap, easy food when the cupboards are (almost) bare and most definitely in every student’s culinary repertoire ;-)  My vote: Team UK.



6. Roast Dinner vs Stamppot

Meat and all the trimmings vs a U shaped boiled smoked sausage and mashed veg and potatoes. I love both, but if I can only pick one it has to be the roast.  My vote: Team UK.

© robbie jim / Creative Commons / Attribution 2.0 Generic

© robbie jim / Creative Commons / Attribution 2.0 Generic



7. Chips drowned in vinegar or mayonnaise? 

This doesn’t need an explanation. The Dutch won me over with mayo. My vote: Team NL.

8. English pub vs Dutch brown cafe

Both are fantastic for different reasons, but I’ve got to go English pub. My vote: Team UK.

9. Ordering a round in a pub

Ordering a round in Holland: “Zeven biertjes en een witte wijn” (Seven beers and a white wine).

Ordering a round in England: “One Calsberg, one Fosters, one Stella, one Kronenberg, one Bulmers, one Aspalls, one Pinot Grigio and a gin and tonic, please.” Fuck me, we’re fussy. My vote: Team NL.

10. Bar snacks – pork scratchings vs bitterballen 

No contest. My vote: Team NL.

Bitterballen at Elements Beach

11. Pint of beer vs thimble of beer

The bigger the better, surely? My vote: Team UK.



12. Nesquick vs Chocomel

Powder you mix with milk or prepackaged chocolate loveliness. My vote: Team NL.

13. Liquorice allsorts vs Drop

Both disgusting, at least liquorice allsorts have some coconut around them that I can eat. My vote: Team UK.


Unsurprisingly,  I scored 9 in favour of the UK and 4 to NL. But I’m getting there…

What’s your score?

Hayley x

Weekendje weg tip: Vakantiepark Vlugtenburg aan Zee

This place is so friggin’ cool that I thought I’d share it with you guys, because I’m nice like that.

Yesterday we took our second trip to Vakantiepark Vlugtenburg aan Zee. Technically it’s located in ‘s-Gravenzande but it’s very close to Hoek van Holland and a little town called Monster! (Yep, you read that right. Monster. Tee hee hee…)

And why is it so good I hear you ask? Let me show you :)

If you bend over in front of me, I will take a picture of your ass and post it on the internet.

[If you bend over in front of me, I will take a picture of your ass and post it on the internet.]

The End.

Just kidding, the view is equally as good without rollerblading chicks. Right?


The gorgeous beach is only a 10 minute walk from the campsite (and no, this isn’t a sponsored post, I just really love it here!)

Strandpaviljoen Zomertijd, 's-Gravenzande

Strandpaviljoen Zomertijd

If you enjoy a borrel – there are three bars on the beach: Strandpaviljoen Zomertijd, De Pit and Elements Beach. Especially for you, we went to all three! (Only for testing purposes, obviously.)

Strandpaviljoen Zomertijd is the classiest (read: most expensive) of the three, and De Pit and Elements both have a more relaxed, hippie vibe. At the first two, we only had drinks… but we tasted the food at Elements, including bitterballen!

Bitterballen at Elements Beach

It was a mixed bag. The bitterballen scored a 7/10 because they were slightly overcooked and they were tiny! (Except one! I think that one came from a different bag…)

The kibbeling was good, the mussels were average. I would avoid the groenten tempura (vegetable tempura) as it was super greasy!!

The service was also really (really) slow at Elements but they were busy, what with it being a Saturday afternoon in August and all… so I can forgive them. Totally worth a visit for the atmosphere and cool setting. Good vibes is no understatement!

Elements Beach, s Gravenzande

Elements Beach in 's-Gravenzande

Elements Beach in 's-Gravenzande

I love the wood carvings too!

Oh… and let’s talk about the beach again…

Hoek Van Holland

In the background you can see the Hoek van Holland :)

's-Gravenzande strand

I was doing my Instagram / blogger thing here… and the Dutchie thought he’d do the same…

's-Gravenzande strand

Hup Holland indeed! And speaking of… how Dutch is this next photo!?

's-Gravenzande strand

Thank you cycling Dutch person for coming into my shot at the exact right moment!

Back to the campsite… it’s definitely one of the better ones: well organised, clean, fantastic location and well priced! Just beware though, the reception operates limited opening times. On Saturday that was 10am – 3pm, we didn’t know this and arrived at 3.15pm. Luckily there was a member of staff still there and she happily helped us. Phew! It also closes for lunch (12 – 1pm) so just make sure you check the opening times in advance to avoid disappointment!

There’s also a pancake restaurant on site. We didn’t go there but it has good reviews on IENS (a Dutch restaurant review site similar to Trip Advisor).

He pannenkoek, 's-Gravenzande

Leuke naam, hé?

's-Gravenzande strand

If you love camping, the beach and being a hippie for a day… you should totally go here. It’s brilliant.

Do you know any other awesome campsites that you’d like to share with me?

Hayley x

Live in Hilversum or nearby? You might want to go to Hoorneboegse Heide right about now…

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

No filters, no Photoshop, no fancy camera – just my iPhone.

It really is this beautiful!

Want to visit? Just put Hoorneboegse Heide into Google Maps.

You’re welcome!

Hayley x

Exploring England: Being a tourist in my home country

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have probably noticed that I posted quite a few pictures from England in the past few weeks. That’s because the Dutchie and I spent 10 days back in the ‘hood as we had two weddings to attend, a week apart.

Was it a holiday? Sort of. Do I feel rested? Hell no! Does England feel like home? Definitely not.

So, what to do when you’re in England staying in 10 different places for 10 nights? Pretend to be a tourist! :D Or as my best friend described us: “you’re like posh gypsies travelling round in your Audi”. Thanks for that, darling!

Highlights of our trip:

Southampton – Baby Shower for my sister

Baby shower cake

I’ve never been to a baby shower before. There was a game which involved having to guess which chocolate was smeared inside a nappy. I was not impressed. However, all the “baby people” seemed to enjoy it immensely my little sister was glowing which was lovely. Less than 2 weeks to go until her due date!!

My brother’s wedding

Wedding table

Everyone cried. Everyone except the Dutchie that is – who was looking the wrong way when my brother broke down as the bride walked in. I can understand why – she was a princess. A very special moment.

Lyndurst, The New Forest with my best friend

New Forest ponies

(Despite her gypsy comment. Kinda why I love her… like me… she has no filter whatsoever.)

I feel the same way about horses as I do about swans. They’re pretty, from a distance. Though when horses start running downhill towards you… not so fun!

New forest horses

We skedaddled out of the way with her 7 month year old boy before I felt safe enough to take this. Bit of a scary moment!!

Kittys of Lyndhurst

Lyndhurst is a gorgeous little touristy town. I also recommend the village of Burley which my Mum describes as having “quaint little shops with knick-knacky things”. Pretty much sums up every shop in the New Forest!

Whitchurch near Basingstoke – Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Definitely one of the highlights of our trip! I lived in Basingstoke for 6 years and never knew about this place – but with good reason – it only opened its doors in October 2014. (6 months after I left England.) It was a bit of a dreary day when we visited, but luckily most of the tour is inside.

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

This beaut (two greenhouses joined together) was designed by award winning British designer Thomas Heatherwick – famous for the 2012 London Olympic Cauldron, the Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010,  and the New Bus for London.

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

The greenhouses are used to house the botanicals needed for Bombay Sapphire: almond, lemon peel, angelica root, coriander seeds, juniper berries, orris root, cassia bark, grains of paradise, liquorice and cubeb berries.

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

After schmoozing round for a bit, exploring the grounds and then tasting and smelling all the botanicals which go into Bombay Sapphire… you then go into the “Dakin Still House”… where the magic happens!

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

One of the tour guides takes you through the gin making process and you get to see Thomas and Mary – the two distillation machines which produce over 33 million litres of Bombay Sapphire Gin per year. Amazing stuff.

There’s also the heritage room where you can find out the history behind Laverstock Mill and Bombay Sapphire.

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

We have the Dutch to thank for gin – as they invented jenever – from which gin evolved.


Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Then the last thing to do on the tour? Drink a gin cocktail!! LEKKKKKKKER!

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Hammersmith, London

Hammersmith Canal

Another friend of ours lives in London so we took a walk along the Thames, part of the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race course… leading to Hammersmith Bridge.

Hammersmith Bridge

Hammersmith Bridge


St Andrew's Church, Farnham

While visiting another friend, this time in Farnham, we stumbled upon St Andrew’s Church.

St Andrew's Church, Farnham

More walking… I love walking!

St Andrew's Church, Farnham

I also love wine.


(FYI – Jalapeno Pretzel Pieces – THE best pub snack known to (wo)man!  They blew my previous fave – scampi fries – right out of the water!! The best discovery of our trip. The Dutchie and I are now obsessed. We bought 8 bags to take home with us and have since ordered more online!! Wooei… I can’t talk about these bad boys enough!)

2nd Wedding of the trip, near Milton Keynes

Indigo Images

Photo credit: Indigo Images

One of my best friends from University tied the knot. Another beautiful day and the perfect end to our trip!

The Travelling Gin Co.

They had a gin bike… (The Travelling Gin Co.) as if we hadn’t had enough gin that week ;-) and an Oyster Meister. Dangerous and delicious.

Oyster Meister

Conclusion: I love England but I don’t miss it. I only miss my friends, family and English pubs.

Have you been to England? What were the highlights of your visit?

Hayley x

The Dutch Guide to Cycling

Your alternative guide to cycling in the Netherlands…

“There is no happier cyclist than a Dutch cyclist” (CyclinginHolland.com) but why is this? The flat land? The most extensive cycle network in the world? Priority over motorised vehicles? Who knows for sure… but the Dutch bloody love their two-wheeled best friends.

So, what does it take to be a Dutch cyclist?

© niputaidea / Creative Commons / CC BY 2.0

© niputaidea / Creative Commons / CC BY 2.0

1. Your bike has no gears and a foot brake.

2. You lock it with a strange ring contraption – a “ringslot”, which no one else has ever heard of.

3. Your bike is named after a granny.

4. You scoff at the mere thought of wearing a helmet! How ridiculous!

5. You take your bike on holiday with you. And if you can’t… you hire one instead.

Camping with bikes

6. If you are in possession of children, you buy a bike with a wheelbarrow on the front to transport them to school.

7. You can carry multiple children.

8. Or a fully grown adult on the parcel shelf.

9. There are more bikes than people in your household.

Bikes at Hilversum Station

10. Ladies: You have adorned your bike with a basket, flowers, a colourful paint job… or all three.

11. In order to prevent theft – your bike is a rust bucket with a permanent squeak.

12. You park it next to a nicer bike in the hope that it won’t get stolen.

13. You can ride whilst rolling a joint.

14. Or carrying a case of beer.

15. Or a printer.

Cycling whilst carrying large objects

16. In fact, your ability to ride when stoned, inebriated, or both means you can cycle to the kroeg (pub) or to parties!

17. You can have a completely normal conversation on your mobile phone without wobbling, swearing or falling off.

18. Hell, you can ride with no hands.

19. You are a champion, superhuman bike rider.

20. You are Dutch.

Hayley x