I’m still here!

It’s been very quiet on the blogging front for me, I know. And I miss it! It’s just been sooooo busy in my real life, I either haven’t gotten around to blogging or I haven’t been in the mindset.

My son got his school diploma earlier this week! There was a central celebration for all those graduating and after that the 4 graduating classes split up and went upstairs to smaller rooms. That is where  personal speeches were given to each kid and where they actually received their diplomas.  My son’s class mentor awarded him a “Pun Master Award” in the personal speech she gave about him, referencing his humour. My in-laws were there as well, as was my mother and my aunt. I really missed my dad, though. He would have loved to have been there as well. Schools, learning and diplomas really were his ‘thing’…

Here are a few pictures of my son signing his diploma, the speech my son received, and the congrats afterwards (the girl with the long ponytail is my daughter).

We were very proud! Now it’s on to hotel management school for him… and this coming weekend his birthday with lots of celebrating. So much to do before then!

My daughter has been having some troubles that we’ve been dealing with and recently some things came to a head, so our energy has been focussed there (as it should be). Luckily things are a little better now. We have a plan of action and we’ve decided, together with her, to enrol our daughter at another school where we hope there will be a little more care for her than she received in her old school. We’ll see… we’re very hopeful, though!

All the ups and downs in my children’s lives that my husband and I have been dealing with, combined with work being very busy right now, means that, yes, blogging hasn’t been a priority recently. I’m really enjoying my new job, by the way, and they are happy with me too as I have just been given an extension on my contract till mid september next year and a pay rise! However, there is so much to do and I need to watch out that I don’t get sucked into unnecessary details. I need to keep on top of doing what I should be doing and not getting side-tracked by other things that people are starting to ask me about as well…

There has alas been little time for fangirling but I do try to keep up a little bit; I need to, for my own sanity. This means that I do have Pilgrimage ready to view but with all sorts of drama happening around me, I haven’t been able to stomach looking at violence like that yet. Maybe next week, when things look to be calming down a little. In the meantime, I did enjoy these Richard Armitage in Pilgrimage gifs from UltraVeloce on Twitter!

I also really liked this picture of comedian/actress Miranda Hart with her dog Peggy over on Instagram from two days ago:

Favourite photo. #dontsharefood #PeggyandMe

A post shared by Miranda Hart (@realmirandahart) on

From somewhere, and I can’t remember where, I was alerted to a Turkish cat-lover’s site a little while back. He plays keyboards and when he does, one of his many cats loves to keep him company. It is so darned cute and this week he posted another cute one, which gives me real joy! He has more videos like that on his Instagram, including one where another cat comes in as well and the video-cat gets a little jealous. Perfect little pick-me-up on a busy day.

These quick little glimpses of fun things help me relax a bit and make me smile!

Hopefully, starting next week, most of the busy stuff and private life stress will be over for a bit and I can get back to blogging more again. That is, until we leave for our summer holiday in England in two weeks time…

Anyway, this post was just a little sign of life… I’m still here! 🙂

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Focusing on the good… my son!

After my depressing last post, I really do have to report on the highlight of this past week, of this past schoolyear, actually!

I absolutely love my son, but he really is a lazy sod. His secondary schooling has been a bit of a headache for us, every year he only just made it to the next grade. Here in The Netherlands you have several levels of secondary schools. The highest level is called VWO and prepares you straight for university, the second level is called HAVO and prepares you for applied sciences college/uni, the third level is called MAVO and prepares you for vocational education. Within MAVO you have a few more levels that are lower.

My son is smart enough for at least HAVO but as he’s such a lazy sod, his results didn’t get him in there, so he has been doing highest level MAVO instead, aiming to move on to HAVO afterwards. He is almost 16 and a month ago he had his last finals for the MAVO exam. This past week we heard he passed in one go, without needing to re-sit any exam! Woohooo! Quite a relief for him and for us as well! We cheered very loudly when the call came. 🙂 As is tradition in The Netherlands when kids pass their secondary school exams, the flag also went up at our house with my son’s schoolbag hanging from the pole…

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He wants to be ‘a manager’ one day, although what it is exactly he would like to manage he doesn’t know. However, he’s been very enthusiastic about a 3 year vocational college course for hotel management (we went to an open day a few months ago) and wants to go on to do that instead of going on to HAVO. The second half of the the second year and the first half of the third year he’ll have to do one or two internships, with at least one of the internships needing to be abroad. He loves the idea of that! So, at the end of August it will be hotel management college for him, in a city close to here that he can travel to easily. He’s been accepted into the bi-lingual Dutch-English program of this course, which makes him and us very happy. He’s more of a practice-oriented guy than a theoretician, so we’re really hoping this college will suit him well.

We’d promised him a PlayStation if he passes his exams (he’s been wanting one for years now). Yeah, bribes may be bad parenting, but we were getting desperate and it seems to have worked in the end… My husband ordered a PlayStation for him yesterday and it came this afternoon. It’s hooked up now. My son has been obsessed with basketball for the past year or so, he follows the NBA closely and was elated when ‘his’ team, the Golden State Warriors, won the NBA championships last week. So, we also got him an NBA game and the boy is happy!

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Boys and their deserved toys! And moms and dads have extra leverage over him for the coming 3 years… As the PlayStation is hooked up in our living room, we get to control the use of it for now. 🙂

More fangirling in London!

Well, not only fangirling, we mostly did touristy stuff… As I already blogged about in my previous post, my 15 year old son and I were in London this past weekend and what a lovely time we had!

We went inside Tower Bridge and walked on the glass floor there, looking down!

My son was fearless about that and while I did do it briefly, I found it scary. But I did it – yay me! We also saw the engine room…

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… and when we finished our tour, we were greeted by a cannon salute across the river!

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OK, so the salute wasn’t for us but for the Queen’s 91st birthday. Still, we felt honoured. 🙂

We passed through Westminster…

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… and went on to Portobello Road in Notting Hill…

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… which was also a bit of fangirling for me as it reminded me of the lovely movie Notting Hill. The Notthing Hill thing was a spontaneous idea; if I had thought of it sooner, I would have researched it better and would have fangirled my way to Hugh Grant’s front door from that movie.

That evening my son and I went to see The Lion King musical, which we both very much enjoyed (we had a good view from the front row of the Grand Circle)…

While we were walking to the theatre, we passed by Covent Garden and walked by a street artist/comedian getting ready to do his thing. The street artist looked straight at my son and in his microphone announced “Ah, there we have Justin Bieber”! I had to laugh and the whole crowd turned to look at my son as we scurried along and my son turned beet-red! He has been compared to a younger Justin Bieber before and he hates it… I know I’m probably an awful mother but I have ribbed him about this incident regularly and in hindsight he now also has started seeing some of the humour in it.  He still insists he looks nothing like Bieber, though. 🙂

We shopped a bit in Oxford Street and also met up with fellow Richard Armitage fan Hariclea from the Opera is Magic blog on Saturday afternoon! We met at “Fortnum and Mason” and had ice cream ‘coupes’ at the ice cream parlour on the first floor! Beautiful, delicious, filled our stomachs right up! So much so, that my son felt a little sick there for a moment! Luckily he recovered quickly. It’s always a delight to see Hari and it was so much fun that I forgot to take pictures of our beautiful ice cream creations! The only picture I took was of two teacups priced at £145,- while waiting for Hari…

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Hari and I may have mentioned Richard Armitage a few times in passing but didn’t get too carried away in the presence of my son. That evening, as Hari went off to the theatre, my son and I went to see the Scarlett Johannson scifi movie Ghost in the Shell in a Leicester Square theatre with a truly huge screen. The movie was not the greatest scifi movie I’d ever seen, but it was quite fun and had nice visual effects.

We spent our Sunday on Hampstead Heath. We walked there for a bit, my son even climbed a tree…

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… we got up to Kenwood House (also a Notting Hill film location, by the way!)…

… and treated ourselves to some delicious scones (this had been something my son had particularly wished for).

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Later that afternoon we made our way back to the airport and flew home again. But I didn’t leave London without some specific fangirl items!

I’ve bought a DVD of a Gregory Peck movie I came across that I have always wanted to see but have never been able to…

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I’m not that much into Westerns but, come on, it’s Gregory Peck, my first real teenage fangirl crush!

At Kenwood House I bought the book Belle that accompanies the excellent movie of the same name, about a black young lady who lived as a lady and not as a servant in Kenwood House in the 18th century. She was also featured in a painting that was painted at the time but alas that painting is not at Kenwood anymore and is now somewhere in Scotland. I had seen the film, I now saw the book and grabbed it for myself…

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And, I did some more Jane Eyre fangirling when, in a bookstore, I happend upon a book with this title…

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I immediately recognized it as the first sentence from the last chapter of Jane Eyre and just had to have it, especially considering we will be visiting writer Charlotte Brontë’s house this coming summer.

Last but not least, there was Audrey Hepburn fangirling as well! I came across this POP doll of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s  and just couldn’t let it go…

So, yes, London is a great place to fangirl; it makes me feel greedy when I see all these goodies together even though they all didn’t cost that much. London is also a great place to spend time with my son! He picked out pretty much all our activities (Portobello Road and meeing Hari were my picks, the rest were his) and I loved that one-on-one time with him. I think that, except for my snoring at night, he enjoyed his time with me as well. We’ll definitely be back!

Fangirling in London!

My son had a one-day (!!) class trip to London today. They left at midnight last night by bus to Calais, then ferry to Dover, then bus to London. They spent all day traipsing through the city and this evening the class goes back to the Netherlands but my son doesn’t… You see, I flew in to London this afternoon…

Leaving The Netherlands…

Entering England…

… and met my son this evening! While his friends have a long journey back all night, he has the luxury of sleeping in a bed here in my brother’s house. We’re having some mama & son time here in this great city, flying back home again on Sunday!

My visit here started well: I did some fangirling this afternoon while I was on my own – I walked by Emma Thompson’s house! She lives not far from where my brother lives in London and I just couldn’t resist. A nice, unassuming house in the middle of a row of houses. Very quiet street too… and no, Emma Thompson did not magically appear. I didn’t want to linger or stalk or anything, so after a quick look I walked on. It’s just nice to get a quick glimpse of how one of my fave actresses lives!

Some more fangirling when I saw this bag of one of my fave books in a bookstore…

… and this sign made me think of Richard Armitage in North and South when he mentions ‘Arkwright’s invention’

I love fangirling in London!

(This is my first time ever blogging on my phone… fingers crossed…)

The birthday boy

My son is 15 years old today! Whoop whoop! Happy birthday!

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Picture taken last weekend during a family party!

Every year I think back to the day he was born and wonder where the time has gone? He is a very social, warm and fun young man. Sure, we do go through some trying times with him, he is a teenager after all, but golly, I don’t only love him, I like him too! We are now navigating the waves of his schooling (which gets a little rough here and there) and I am very curious to see what course he will sail for himself these coming few years. What kind of life will lie ahead for him? I remember all too well being 15 and 16 and 17 and 18, those were very important years for me. Will they be as important to him as well? I wonder…