My 2017 Highlights

I’ve never written a post like this before (except perhaps this one) so please excuse the narcissism. Normally I keep things like this for my diary, but I think sometimes it’s good to share. I’m quite a private person, but do you know what… I’m grateful for this year and I aint afraid to show it. (And yup, I just referenced LMFAO. What have I become?!😂)

 Asia trip

Technically, the majority of this trip took place in 2016 – but I woke up in Thailand on 1st Jan 2017 (with a slightly sore head from multiple Long Island Iced Teas the night before) and boy was that a great way to start the year!

Thailand trip 2016

Yes, I took this photo. Monkey proud on myself!

We got back to Holland on 10th Jan, so we had a decent burst of sunshine before we returned to the cold, dark and wet weather here. Speaking of wet: we had torrential rain in Phuket for the last 48 hours of our trip, which was super annoying. However it did mean that I was able to reflect on the trip and write pages upon pages of my most memorable moments. (Something I probably wouldn’t have done had it been glorious weather – in that case we would’ve been out on a moped exploring and making the most of our last few days.) So although at the time we were disappointed, I think it happened for a reason. Something I’m a firm believer in.


Addressing my health concerns with the doctor

Probably should be a negative, but I’ve got my Positive Penny pants on today, so let’s turn it around! I don’t think I mentioned this before, but I was ill in Asia. Like really ill. Not just Bali belly; well unless Bali belly lasts for 2 and a half months…

I won’t say it ruined the trip, because I had an amazing time… but it definitely hindered my experience. So when I got home I went to the doctor and had loads of tests. Turns out I’m lactose and gluten intolerant, so that’s been fun completely overhauling my diet. (I’m not celiac thankfully, so silver linings and all that.)

Now, I know that Dutch doctors don’t have a great reputation, but my doctor was an absolute star. She listened and gave me every test under the sun for the food issues, plus sleeping pills. (I’ve had insomnia on and off for about 10 years and tried everything!) I’ve got to say, I’m still not 100%… but I feel 100 times better than the way I felt in Jan / Feb of this year.

I’m waffling now – but my point is to remind you that doctors are there to help. Many people fear going to the doctor, but they shouldn’t. It’s not a sign of weakness, in fact it’s the opposite. It’s a sign of strength to ask for help and just means that you want to get better.

So if you’re twijfeling about going to the doctor – just do it!


Buying our 2nd house in the Netherlands

This one is a no-brainer. Of course this has got to be a highlight! Well, the actual selling / buying process was a bloody nightmare (obviously) but now it’s over we can reflect on it positively.

Quite significant too as it means we’re in it for the long haul. We loved our old house, but we love this one even more and we both feel really settled in Hilversum. So much so, that I’m applying for Dutch citizenship. I need to do my inburgeringsexamen… hopefully early next year and once that’s done I can officially apply. If anyone’s interested, I might do a post about this next year in case it’s useful for anyone who is in the same boat.


New places opening in Hilversum

This might seem like a strange highlight, but long-term followers of the blog will know about my love affair with Hillywood.

There’s a new foodhall, Mout which is SUCH a good thing for the town AND it means I don’t have to go all the way to Utrecht when I fancy Vietnamese food now. Biercafé de BarBier also opened, which is another of my favourite new hangouts! Presto coffee had a refurb – it looks awesome! Oh and VIDA opened a wine bar! I haven’t been there yet but it looks really cool.

Mout Hilversum

Basically Hilversum is the next Utrecht: you heard it here first! 😉


Janis the VW camper van

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have already seen Janis, named after Joplin, obvs. I got the idea for her name after watching the documentary ‘Little Girl Blue’. Seemed like the perfect hippy type name for a camper van.

Janis the camper van

Having a camper has opened up so many more travelling opportunities for us in 2017! This year we visited Renesse and Noordwijk in Janis, we also went to the UK (Cornwall and Devon), plus a road trip to France and Spain (Île de Ré, Burgundy, Girona and Barcelona) and we have lots more trips planned for 2018 and beyond.

As we all know, the Dutch love camping and caravanning and I am very happy to have joined the club! 😀

Now it’s your turn! What have been your highlights this year?

Hayley x




  1. I’m lactose intolerant, too–self-diagnosed at the age of eleven. (But I’ve learned how to survive, and you can, too!)

    I’m insanely excited for you to apply for citizenship! (I actually squeed when I read that you intend to apply.) Veel succes on your inburgeringsexamen–keep us posted!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You can also try (and not sure about the grammar on this), “Ik kan geen kaas in beleefd gezelschap hebben, want het maakt van mij een onbeleefd gezelschap!” xD


  2. So sorry to hear of your illness while on travel. I ended up once with food poisoning while touring New England. I was with a bunch of submariner buddies and we drove up to Kittery Maine, (the home of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard) to visit some other submariners up there. Had a huge plate of clams, an enormous lobster and many beers, and ended up remaining within 3 feet of ‘the facilities’ for 3 days. My sympathetic buddies could only say: ‘well, if you are going to sit/lie there, give us your car keys. My car continued the tour, returning with a busted muffler. Hey ho. Anyway, really glad you have ‘Janis.’ We have ‘Wight Mistress’ our trusty 34 ft sailing yacht and so far we have only visited the Netherlands once but really want to return. We made it to Breskens and Middleburg, but want to do a whole lot more. I did in to your blog from time to time but now feel more energised to go back to my Dutch learning and do more. thank you for that. Have a super Christmas and all the best for 2018.


  3. blij dat je het hier zo nar je zin hebt en citicenship okee ga ervoor, ik denk dat je zo onderhand meer van nederland weet dan vele andere landgenoten. succes ermee


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