Hello and Happy Sunday!
I normally have my ideas (especially connected to writing/work) when I’m in the shower (TMI?) and today is no exception. My brain is literally buzzing with so many ideas. And I realised I haven’t written anything in like, forever.
My massage therapist (a newish addition to my life) says I have a creative block. As in I’m not creating anything so I’m blocked. That sounds way too hippy to me. But maybe she’s right.
I haven’t been writing because I haven’t felt strongly enough about anything to write about it. I thought I’d come home from my Asia trip and be writing 100+ blog posts but they just haven’t come. They take sooooo much time and that’s something I haven’t had a lot of lately. Since we got back I’ve been working loads (to make up for my 2.5 month absence) we also bought a camper van (more travels coming soon!!) and a new HOUSE!! Yes, we are those crazy all or nothing people.
So, excuses excuses. But it’s not just time… My Britishness means I constantly want to apologise if things aren’t good enough and I’m a Virgo so I want everything to be perfect. My writing is FAR from perfect. I know that, but this quest for perfection is holding me back.
I have to take my own advice, like I did with speaking Dutch and just fuck it. (Old post: Learning Dutch is fucking hard)
I can’t always write about things that you want to read. Sorry. I mean Dutch people are funny and that, but there’s only so much you can go over the same ground. I want to write about travel and food and maybe a little interior design stuff here and there, seeing as we’re going to be redecorating a whole new home. You want to read about crazy Dutch people and expat struggles.
Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you are interested in other things. One of my favourite ever blogs (hannahgale.co.uk) covers lots of subjects. I read all of her mental health posts, travel posts and home decor posts. I always skip the fashion ones because it simply doesn’t interest me. We have completely different body shapes and tastes. I know lots of people do read (and love) her fashion posts, but they’re not for me.
So I guess what I’m asking is for you to do the same. For me to carry on writing, I need to do ME.
So please, if it interests you, carry on reading and if it doesn’t – skip it 🙂
Thanks in advance and here’s the post I actually wanted to write today…
First few months of the 12 Provincies Challenge
I’m almost 4 months into my 12 provinces challenge and I’ve ticked off the following:
Utrecht: Kasteel de Haar (Haarzuilens)
Zuid-Holland: Delft, Scheveningen, Lisse, Noordwijk, Katwijk
I also went to Utrecht and Amsterdam multiple times but I’m not counting them as I go all the time… I’m also not counting Nuenen in Brabant (where we picked up the camper van from) or Zaandam, again – I’ve been there loads. Or Huizen, Laren, Loosdrecht or Kortenhoef as they’re all too close to home!
But 4 months down and 4 provinces ticked off sounds pretty good to me.
I may or may not get round to writing individual posts about all these places… but if not, here are some edited highlights 🙂
Arnhem – January 2017
Ok, Arnhem was a bit of a cheat because we had limited time there on our way to Germany… so I should definitely revisit Gelderland (and Arnhem) later in the year. But it does deserve a mention because I had my first bitterballen of the 2017 there! And also there was a snowman. So…
Bitterballen in Cafe Meijers, Arnhem
Snowman in Arnhem
Kasteel de Haar – April 2017
Sooooooo pretty! And by far the most impressive castle I’ve seen. (I still need go to that Instagram-famous German castle too!) But really, if you’re in or near the Utrecht area it’s worth going for a stroll around the grounds. And FREE! 😀
Kasteel de Haar, Utrecht
Delft & Scheveningen – February 2017
We went to both places in one day when my sister and niece were visiting back in Feb. I’m not gonna lie… I don’t like Scheveningen. It’s so busy/touristy and overpriced! There are lots of better Dutch seaside resorts. (Coming up…)
I loved Delft though!! And want to go back asap! If anyone has Delft tips for me… please leave a comment below. I’d be extremely grateful 🙂 🙂
Oude Kerk, Delft
Lisse – April 2017
We also had tourists, I mean friends, over in April… so we took them to see the flower fields in Lisse.
Tulip fields, Lisse
Don’t be a dick and trample the tulips or pick them! Pretty please.
Noordwijk & Katwijk – April 2017
Two lovely seaside towns (which are both a lot nicer than Scheveningnen!!)
In Katwijk I had the best kibbeling I’ve ever tasted in my 3 years of living here – from a seafood stand along the promenade.
Kibbeling in Katwijk
Garnalen kroketjes in Katwijk
Roze garnalen in Katwijk
Not the best pic… but here’s the food stall in question 🙂
And we had to take this one for the Dutchie’s Mum, Willy!
Meanwhile over in Noordwijk we went on our first camping trip in Janis. (Named after the Janis Joplin documentary, Little Girl Blue.)
Camping in Noordwijk
We stayed at Camping Op Hoop van Zegen which was one of the closest to town but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are a silver fox. Literally the dullest/quietest campsite ever!
Bitterballen in Noordwijk
Noordwijk itself was great though and I recommend Branding Beach Club which is currently #1 on Trip Advisor. Average bitterballen but the seafood platter was great, if a little overpriced. You are sat ON the beach though… so 100% worth it. Oh and make sure you book a table! They’re rammed!!
Sunset at Noordwijk
I never used to get sunsets when I was younger (my friends berated me one summer in Ibiza) but now I am fully on board!! Stunning!
Renesse – April 2017
Last, but certainly not least is Renesse… we went here for 3 nights over Easter and loved every minute of it. I’ve heard it does get very crowded in peak summer, so maybe best avoided during that time, but over Easter it was pleasantly populated 😉
De Haven van Renesse – nice place to go for a drink
Oh, and guys… I have seen the future!! Mosselen kroketjes! Of course, I wish they were bitterballen, but they taste the same. So, so good. 11/10 seriously. Believe the hype. It’s worth going to Renesse just to eat these in my opinion…
Mosselen kroketjes at Grand Café Helder
And what trip would be complete without a chocomel and a slice of appeltaart after a long walk on the beach?
Chocomel and appeltaart, De Branding, Renesse
I hope the rest of the year measures up to these adventures! I love exploring Holland! 🙂 If you want to join in, please use the hashtag #12provincies and if you have any tips for me for the remaining 8 provinces: Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Flevoland, Noord-Holland, Noord-Brabant and Limburg – please do let me know!