Moments of Happiness in May 2015

A full month in our new home, and we finally took delivery of the couches we ordered back in February. I'd all but forgotten what they look like so it was a relief to meet them and realise they were as comfy and stylish as we had hoped for.

Ignoring our important list of baby essentials in favour of toys that Baby Bird won't be able to play with for a year or so, but hey, they look good in our apartment.

Flowers bought for me by my "landlady" though she feels more like a friend . With two children under the age of three when she said to me "Take some time for yourself" before you give birth, I am definitely planning on taking her advice seriously!

Seeking out some of Amsterdam's most dustiest and mustiest vintage stores and second hand shops to look for furniture for our new home (and spending a lot of time arguing over the kind of coffee table we want... we're currently not talking about it!)

Spending the day at TEDx Amsterdam Women. It was my first live TEDx experience and it completely lived up to my expectations, and then some, with talks from some of the most inspiring women and men you're ever likely to read and hear about. It opened my eyes to the simple power of doing and reminded me that often the thing that is stopping me achieve what I want to, or do what I want to, is myself and that I am an obstacle I can easily move out of the way.

Oh and it was at TEDx Amsterdam Women that this happened. I would love it if Baby Bird turned out to be a photographer because of this blessing by Steve McCurry!

Popping in to town to see the world's first MDMA pop-up shop, which was essentially a political protest aiming to legalise the drug XTC. Interesting stuff... There seemed to be more media there than "ordinary" people so we went to the pancake shop next door for a snack and coffee while watching all the photographers and journalists work hard on their reports.

A late night bike ride to see a light installation in Museumplein that highlighted how far under sea level that part of Amsterdam is. (Here are some nice photos from another Amsterdam blogger.)

I then went back a few days later to check out the KAWS sculpture standing outside the Rijksmuseum, part of the Art Zuid sculpture festival which I hope to explore before too long.

Working on my novel, a new novella (inspired by a story idea that came to NewMan in the shower) and a non-fiction book. All three are challenging me in a variety of different ways and I hope to have two out of three published before Baby Bird arrives... hope being the key word here!

An afternoon tea with my best Dutchie friend at Betty Blue, a review and more photos to come soon!

Two lots of national holidays in the Netherlands. Although we worked through both of them, by choice, it was still nice to step outside for a break and see kids running around and people smiling because they weren't at work. I especially enjoyed the many events happening in my area for Liberation Day, including the signs in the windows I wrote about.

Brunch at Bakers & Roasters, a Kiwi-Brazilian cafe that was recommended to us by one of our new neighbours. It is extremely popular and you often have to wait for a table, but the service and the food is really good. I highly recommend the stack of American style pancakes.

Writing and publishing a short story about sisterhood and feminism... as seen through the eyes of 9 and 10 year old sisters. I hope you enjoyed The Girl Who Would Be King if you downloaded it from May's newsletter and if you haven't already please do sign up to get a new short story every month until the end of the year.

Reading books that make me feel better about giving birth. (Pregnant women; it's OKAY to feel good about the prospect of labour and birth. You don't have to feel like it's a doom-filled event creeping evilly close on the horizon. In fact, maybe if we approach the deed with some excitement and positivity, it may have a positive impact on the act itself.... I'll let you know!)

Getting in touch with a new group of beta readers who are going to help me make two of those books I'm working on better versions of themselves. (If you want to be a beta reader for my books, please do get in touch!)

My second pregnancy massage, a true tonic and well worth looking into if you are expecting, even if it's just to have a bit of a giggle at the massage table with its special cut out holes for your boobs and bump!

Stumbling across a new BBQ and smoker for a bargain price, the perfect preparation for what will hopefully be a good, long summer.

Listening to Lester Young & Oscar Peterson, The Housemartins, Adele, Amy Winehouse's first album and Prince. I can't wait to find out what music Baby Bird likes to listen to.

Finally watching Frozen and seriously considering naming our child "Olaf" after a friend (and big Frozen fan) suggested it. Also, I know Elsa gets all the attention but I think you've all got it wrong. It's all about Anna! How strong and upbeat and therefore inspiring is she?

A lazy lunch at a new neighbourhood "gastropub" De Paskamer where I bumped into a lovely lady who reads this blog. Rianne - we need to have that coffee sometime soon!

A visit from my brother, his wife and my little nephew who is definitely more boy than baby these days. Everyday he would want to talk to the baby in my belly, insisting that I lift up my T-shirt and expose my stretched out skin (much to everyone else's horror) so he could have a prod and a feel and say "hello, baby!" to my disappearing belly button.

Reading about all the things that people want to do before they die... I still haven't figured out what I would or should write up there.

Getting help up the "hills" (i.e. inclines on the approach to bridges) during my bike rides with NewMan. Cycling with an extra 12+ kg on your body is hard!

Spending a windy but sort of sunny afternoon on a boat with my family cruising along Amsterdam's canals with a picnic.

Hearing NewMan ask "How's he doing?" every morning, as he stretches out a hand to touch my stomach. Yep, Baby Bird is going to be a Baby Boy Bird and we can't wait to meet him. Not long now... Do you have any tips for dealing with baby boys? Or babies in general... I'll take any advice!!

These are all the things that made me happy in May. What were the highlights of your month?

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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