Moments of Happiness in June 2015

Crocheting a baby blanket... I had felt so nervous about making this for him as though doing so would jinx things or make it frighteningly real, so I'm sad I started it so late but happy that it's nearly finished already and also excited that I will see it in use very soon!

Realising we are already halfway through 2015 and although I sometimes begrudge having to do these write-ups once I start thinking about the things that made me happy over the last four or so weeks, I start to feel very grateful for the peaks and troughs in a month and how I can look back on real memories that may have otherwise faded from my mind. Which is pretty much why I decided to start doing these posts, so yay, clever me for once!

Celebrating a fully-cooked baby with a gelato in Sarphatipark. And yes, that's me balancing it on my bump. (P.S. The coconut flavour ice cream from Ijscupje, which you'll find all over Amsterdam, has pretty much fuelled the last few months of my pregnancy - it's amazing.)

Getting used to our most Dutch purchase yet. While not cheap it was definitely less expensive than a car and a whole lot more fun!

Going to a pregnancy yoga preparation session with NewMan in which he was given several instructions on how to hold, massage, soothe and comfort me during labour. Ha! And he thought it was going to be only me doing the hard work!

Hosting a bunch of our friends and new neighbours for a slightly belated housewarming BBQ one not-very-sunny, but thankfully dry Sunday. It was a great day and unexpectedly, night too!

Spending a few quiet moments in the garden of the Rijksmuseum which has plenty of chairs to sit in and lots of sculptures to see. The best part it's free to visit. I enjoyed watching this little girl play around in an unpredictable water feature.

Going to De Kas for dinner. It's long been on our list and it definitely didn't disappoint. If you haven't heard of it, the restaurant serves only one three course menu which changes daily depending on the vegetables they have available in their green house or their farm fields just outside of Amsterdam. They source meat and fish from local, sustainable and organic providers and even the juice I was drinking had come from the allotment you can find in the park the restaurant is found in. Delicious, pretty food in a gorgeous location and you can have a nosey in the greenhouse after dinner.

Visiting the "Geboortehuis" or "the Birth Hotel" which is basically a hotel for birthing mothers. I'll write more about what pregnancy and giving birth is like in the Netherlands once I've experienced the latter but it's fascinated me that there is a real focus here on relaxed, home births and the Birth Hotel is where you can go should you wish to have a home birth but would rather not have the mess or hassle in your own home. There's even a room service menu and a wine list to choose your celebratory drink!

Reading Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, possibly my favourite book of the year so far. (Though sadly this month's reading also included my least favourite book of the year too.)

Spending the morning learning about the Dutch, the Netherlands, and why their relationship with water is so special and unique all thanks to Dutch Discoveries. Oh, and this all took place in one of the grandest buildings in Amsterdam - lucky me!

Hanging out with Miffy, or Nijntje as her countrymen call her, as she celebrates her 60th birthday! I can't wait to introduce Baby Bird to this special Dutch bunny and Dick Bruna's simple and fantastic artwork that is so love by children (and adults!)

Publishing one of my err... weirder short stories, That's What I Want To Say, and receiving a lovely 5-star review on the same day. I'm calling this story my "Gillian Flynn moment" just with a better ending than Gone Girl (!). There will be another free short story this month and every month until the end of the year for all newsletter readers, so sign up!

Going for lazy terrace lunches along the Amstel. Girasol is a favourite of ours thanks to its Portuguese menu and sand underfoot for a more authentic beach effect (and the best pasteis de nata in Amsterdam!)

Finally finishing up all my client work before I go on maternity leave. This leaves me with a few weeks (hopefully!) to finish up a novella I wrote based on an idea NewMan had in the shower. I should probably pretend my writing process is more romantic and exciting than this, but nope. This is the reality of how my stories come to life (and guess what? I love it!)

Spending the afternoon at the Stedelijk museum where there's a special Matisse exhibition taking place. My sore feet did me proud as I wondered around the full exhibit only needing one tea and cake stop. I thought it was remarkable that Matisse not only experimented - and innovated - with some many different forms of art, but he also played around with the most vibrant colours at a time when the world felt a little dark and hard, i.e. the years during and after the Second World War.

Feeling my heart swell when I heard NewMan say one evening "You know, it just hit me that by having this baby we've basically created our new best buddy." Not long now until we can all hang out...

These are the things that made me happy in June. What made you happy last month? I'd love to know in the comments below.

Read my Moments of Happiness from January, February, March, April and May.

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
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