Thursday, October 17, 2013

Time for Change: The Last Post

It's Time
Photo Credit:Tim Nisly
After much deliberation, much soul searching about direction, a lot of brainstorming and still a few doubts I've decided to wrap this blog up. (The blog itself will remain here but there will be no more updates.) A Letter from the Netherlands was the place I started my writing, started connecting with other expats and through this blog met a bunch of amazing people. The fact is that I only have so many hours a day and it's proving not to be enough for everything I want to do. Something has to go. So this is one of the 'things'. After five years here it's a tough decision but I'm taking a new direction, planning a rebranding under my own name (The Writing Well is also on the chop list) and I am looking forward to some really exciting developments.

However, that doesn't mean an end to my blogging - au contraire my dear friends. Expat Life with a Double Buggy is going strong and will continue to do so with a wider scope than before. I started ELwaDB to blog about expat parenting. I'm widening that with a new tag line:

"My expat way of living, loving & parenting"

This means that I'll be blogging about anything that takes my fancy that relates to expat life, parenting, living in the Netherlands, speaking a foreign language, all things British, exploring new cultures...... you name it really, I'll probably have something to say about it!

So if you are a follower of this blog get yourself over to Expat Life with a Double Buggy and follow me over there. Besides the blog, there are a million and one ways to connect with me. Well, four actually. (You can directly click on the social media buttons on the top right of this page or use the links below). 

  1. Expat Life with a Double Buggy has its very own Facebook page with lots of lovely people giving their opinion on lots of expat and parenting related topics. I share not only my blog posts and articles there but wonderful musings from other people too. If you're on Facebook hop over, like and say hello.
  2. I'm on Twitter. You can find me under the name AmandavMulligen.
  3. I'm also on Pinterest pinning lots of different topics but particularly relevant boards include Being British, Expats in the Know, Expat Life, What I love about the Netherlands, Expat Shopping
  4. And last but not least you can connect with me on Google+

I will also continue to be a guest blogger for Smitten by Britain for the foreseeable future.

I guess the short version of all this is that I'm clearing the way for a new path. I'm consolidating. All three of my children are out of the baby stage so it's time to turn a little more focus back to writing. Over five years I've evolved, my goals have changed and my plans have started to take shape. So please stay with me on the journey..... take my hand and walk the new path with me...... see you all over at Expat Life with a Double Buggy. You coming...? This way.....

P.S I think there may be a tear as I press publish this time..... I can always change my mind right?

Friday, September 20, 2013

16 Essentials to Survive the Dutch Autumn

Photo: Billy Alexander
According to my calendar this Sunday is the official start of autumn. In the blink of an eye summer faded and an unpredictable weather front crept over the Netherlands with a mischievous smirk on its face, just as we were all finishing up our ice creams and rubbing the last drops of sun cream on from the bottle. Most of us weren't quite prepared for the onslaught of the rain, hail, wind and greyness.

It's the time of year known as "four seasons in one day", also known as autumn, fall or herfst. To survive it you need sixteen items.

  1. Sunglasses - when it makes an appearance the sun is still bright and strong and you need eye protection (can also prove helpful against leaves - see tip 8)
  2. A sense of humour - you have to be able to see the funny side of getting hailed on in your sunglasses 
  3. A rain coat - one that is very waterproof indeed
  4. A rain hat - unless your rain coat has a built in hood that actually stays on your head (unlike mine which was apparently designed with the head of the Gruffalo in mind) it is worth investing in a rather fetching rain hat. Okay, it may not be attractive, but the 'drowned rat with limp hair' look isn't hot either
  5. Waterproof trousers - particularly if you don't like to be parted from your bicycle. Again, not a sexy look but it is a dry look
  6. Two pastic bags - one to put over your bicycle seat and the other big enough to put over your child's bike seat, should you have one
  7. A gale proof umbrella - if you have the choice between a bog-standard umbrella and a super-duper wind proof monster version, opt for the latter. The Netherlands is a wasteland of decrepit, washed up umbrellas, torn apart by gale force winds and lashing rain. Don't let your umbrella become the next victim
  8. A scarf - the Dutch autumn wind blows cold and wild when the mood takes it. As a bonus to keeping warm, wrapping a scarf round your face is also a clever way to avoid getting a surprise smack in the face by a wayward dry crispy leaf or two
  9. Jumpers (or sweaters if you are American) - the temperature drops and it gets a bit nippy out there
  10. A summer jacket - some days the sun shines and it's actually quite warm so don't hide that summer jacket away just yet
  11. Short sleeve T-shirts - some days it is so warm you'll start thinking you imagined the hail, rain and wind of two days ago
  12. A winter coat - and then reality hits, the sun decides it's done for the year, tucks itself up behind a big blanket of clouds and sleeps until spring. Be prepared, before you know it you'll be needing that big, thick, snuggly coat
  13. Wellington boots - whether or not you are into puddle jumping you will need some kind of waterproof boots before the year is out, unless your preference is to walk around in soggy socks
  14. De-icer for the car - chilly mornings ease their way in gradually and what begins as a friendly layer of frost on your windscreen soon turns into a stubborn blanket of ice
  15. A selection of plastic zip up bags - it's not just squirrels that are collecting stuff in autumn, kids do it too. They collect conkers, acorns, fir cones, leaves and general crap from the floor. You're going to want to put it all in a sealed off bag. Trust me.
  16. A big rucksack - last but not least you will need a really big bag to put the other fifteen items in. Think the kind of bag you see hikers and campers lugging around. 
I wish you all good luck with the decline to colder, wetter, darker days. See you all again in spring!
 
Photo: Claire Noe (Stock.Xchng)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Guess Who's a Guest Blogger for Smitten By Britain

Photo Credit: Petre Birlea
Me! I am delighted to share that I have the honour of being a new monthly guest blogger for Smitten by Britain. I've been following Smitten by Britain for a long while, keeping up to date with all things British whilst living away from British shores. When there was a call for guest posters I jumped up with my hand in the air shouting me, me, me. And she said ok.

The Smitten by Britain blog is run by Melissa who is nuts about Britain. She's in fact a Britophile, which I guess is about as close to being British that you can get without actually being British. The most important thing about Melissa is that she loves a proper cup of tea, so that absolutely qualifies her to be a Britophile!

Anyway, I'm the new British culture monthly blogger and I have kicked off my new adventure with a post on the British and their love of caravans. It hit me this summer that the Dutch are not the only ones pulling caravans along in their masses. In fact, it turns out that the British obsession love affair with caravans is more intense than even that of the Cloggies. Seriously, it is. I looked it up. Brits really are bonkers about their caravans.

Hop on over to Smitten by Britain to read more - and keep tuned in over there for more every month from me, plus tons and tons of great posts every day about all things British.