Moments of Happiness in March 2015

Leaving chilly Amsterdam behind to go on our "babymoon" in Phuket Thailand. I swear this wasn't the only reason I got pregnant but I'd be lying if I said I didn't utter the words "we need one last luxury holiday before the baby comes" approximately 48 hours after I found out we were expecting. Hey, they may not always be the right ones but at least I have priorities!

The highlights of this babymoon included: swimming in the sea at sunset, reading a book a day (sometimes with a dragonfly for company) and remembering how fresh mango tastes better in Thailand than anywhere in the world.

Settling into our new home, the best moments of which were taking delivery of our very own bed (which has two separate mattresses because I like to sleep on a rock while NewMan likes snuggling down onto cotton wool), sourcing mismatch dining room chairs from local antique shops and finding a vintage couch in the second hand shop around the corner from us - there is only so long I can sit and watch TV on a Fat Boy.

Getting up early to have a breakfast meeting with one of my favourite blogging people The Budget Traveller and getting to snap the Rijksmuseum and Iamsterdam sign completely free of tourists at 8.30am.

Spending a long weekend with my parents who came for Mother's Day weekend. We took them to Pllek, went to the theatre to watch one of my favourite musicals Porgy & Bess, and on the Sunday had an amazing afternoon tea at Hotel Droog. It was one of the best weekends of the year so far.

Adding more songs to this playlist of tunes I sing to my unborn child. This month we've especially been enjoying Voxtrot, Nina Simone, Jessie Ware and the new Tuxedo album. I'd also like to thank my sister-in-law for introducing me to Leon Bridges - great 60s feel soul music.

Crocheting baby hats for one of my very good friend's new arrival. She gave me the only advice I needed to hear about childbirth. "It's totally worth it." I'm tempted to tattoo that on my eyelids before July.

Walking down Albert Cuypstraat on a Sunday morning when the market was completely empty and spotting some fine examples of #damgooddoors.

Finally admitting my waist is long gone and going maternity clothes shopping with my mum. Seriously why didn't you guys tell me how HILARIOUS maternity jeans are?!?! I feel like I'm pulling clown pants on whenever I wear them, plus I can tuck the top of them into my bra!!

Finding out the sex of Baby Bird. Guesses on a postcard... or in the comments.

Noticing the days getting a little longer and the light at dusk get a bit more special.

Writing and publishing my third short story in the ongoing Twelve project. After writing a love story that used only two word sentences in February, I again pushed myself out of my comfort zone by doing something a little different; historical fiction. Though the story is based on real people and true events, Leaving Rotterdam was a fun first foray into setting a story in a previous time and place and while it was much more research-heavy than I imagined for a 4000 word story, I really, really enjoyed this. I think I'll do it again. (Leaving Rotterdam is not currently available on Kindle but if you'd like to read it and missed out on the chance last month, please just drop me a line (bird AT and I'll happily send you a copy.)

Meeting up with one of my best friends on afore mentioned babymoon and spending five days chatting with her about hormones, mindfulness and the merits of brightly coloured nail polish.

Hosting one of my Travelettes' ladies, Kathi, for a weekend of cycling in the sun, vintage shopping and eating lots and lots. Also thanks Kathi for playing ping-pong on the dining table with NewMan while I had a nap. Can you please come back to entertain him (plus one more!) later this year?

Feeling Baby Bird's featherweight flutterings turn into middleweight upper cuts and kicks.

Discovering the boyfriend's default song for testing our new stereo set up in the new apartment was Pony by Ginuwine.

Going to a special Dinner with Strangers and making new friends. Truly delicious food too! (If you're in Amsterdam and would like to be invited to the next one, like the Facebook page.)

Reading a really varied collection of books. I can't ever imagine reading only one genre. Do you read all kinds too, or are you pretty loyal to one type of book? I'd love to know. 

Getting lots of love on this post about the things I've learned as a freelancer over the last three years. Also a post I wrote for Travelettes about Dutch foods you should eat when in Amsterdam or the Netherlands proved very popular, though I warn you do not read when hungry!

Eating dinner at the dining table pretty much every night. I'm too embarrassed to admit how rarely we did this in our old apartment but I'm grateful we've reversed this habit in our new place.

Going to my second Creative Morning talk and this giving me another opportunity to take pretty photos of Amsterdam in the morning light. This one was about Ink and graphic artist Francesco Zorzi shared some stories about how he uses ink in his work and life. The highlight was this lovely video of a project he did in his native Italy just for fun:

Watching House of Cards (Robin Wright, you are one fine actor) and Better Call Saul on Netflix. And watching a few good movies, including Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler and American Beauty (can you believe I'd never seen it before!).

Receiving some lovely, lovely emails from newsletter subscribers with feedback on my stories or just because they wanted to say hi. Hearing from readers is hands-down my favourite thing about blogging, so don't be shy if you ever want to email or leave a message on Facebook.

Planning one last trip back to the UK. Watch out friends and family The Baby Bird Bump Tour is coming to a destination near you soon!

Giving away free books in the name of World Book Day. If you got one, how are you enjoying your stories?

Placing NewMan's hand on my belly and having him feeling his child's popcorn punches for the first time. Keep growing stronger, little one; we can't wait to meet you.

These are the things that made me happy in March 2015.

What has made you happy recently?

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.
Find Frankie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

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