Have you all made summer pudding and jam? Big thanks to Alice for her lovely and mouthwatering homepage. you'll have to put up with me again now, I'm afraid.
Coming back to Leiden after nearly a month in the UK, it feels like a real new start, a fresh beginning. I My son is starting in Group 3 at school, which is both exciting and terrifying as he'll be learning to read, and as Kunstroute approaches ( www.kunstrouteleiden.nl ) I have to apply myself properly to being an artist. which is not always easy when there are so many other things beckoning. One of them, of course, is HomeinLeiden, which is entering a new phase as the start-up funding from Oranjefonds comes to an end. We have been overwhelmed by the amount of new people wanting to get involved, and given my lack of time the logical next step is to hand over a lot more. scary but exciting!
We will be having a committee meeting (well, an evening eating brownies and drinking wine) on either 26 th or 27 th August - let me know if you'd like to join in and if so which evening suits you best: the majority-favoured date wins! There are so many ideas buzzing and it would be fantastic to get as many people on board to keep HomeinLeiden going from strength to strength! Judging from the replies I've had so far it's going to be a busy meeting, so may not fit in my house, in which case we'll have it at Buurtcentrum de Pancrat on Middelstegracht.
Let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org which date suits you best if you want to get involved, and I'll let you know the final venue.
I'm such a big fan of Bibou ( www.bibou.nl, in the little side street opposite Hema), especially since Babita, the lovely woman who founded it, is so nice. She also has a soft spot for expats, and indeed has an ' Expat Discount' , since she says when she started it was only the foreigners who got the point of beauty treatments.
As well as all sorts of gorgeous treatments and yummy massages (and of course eye-watering plucking and waxings), she is in love with perfume, and has perfume workshops where you can put together your own signature perfume. She also does workshops for children , which I think is such a gorgeous idea - the perfume workshop is € 17.50 for children from age 5, and you can either join in for half price or go and be massaged in another room and leave them to it. There is also a manicure workshop which would be fab for girls' birthday parties (or boys, we're open-minded round here, you know). Another lovely idea for children is choosing and making your own beauty products (body wash, bath milk, body balm) together - a lovely way of making a gift for mummys, grannies or godmothers! They also have delicious-smelling baby products.
The schools are starting so early that it feels like summer is over - but it isn't! There are lots of events in Leiden in August - let's just hope they don't get rained on too much!
Open air concert on (you've guessed it) the Rapenburg and various events on all of Leiden's canals. See www.rapenburgconcert.nl and www.leidsewaterdagen.nl for more details. Last year my children were entranced by a group of drag mime singers, whom they thought were beautiful princesses. No weirder than K3, really, after all.
Hot news for anyone looking for an English-speaking childminder - the wonderful Mandy Trujillo has spaces from this autumn. She not only is a lovely motherly person with two children of her own, she is also a trained nanny. Anyone who has organized childcare here knows how impossibly rare someone like her is. anyway, her email is email@example.com so find out for yourself.
Teddy Kids, the English-speaking crèche , is opening a new location on Zeemanlaan in September (see www.teddykids.nl ). Our beloved babysitter Aleksandra will be working there on Wednesdays, so I hope to get all the lowdown on it from her. and of course I recommend Wednesdays!
For a night out, do check out the Find a Babysitter section, as there are new babysitters registering all the time, and I make a point of meeting most of them, so may well be able to give references. The other option is joining Jennifer's Babysitting Circle - email her on Jennifer[dot]phillips09[at]yahoo[dot]com if you would like to join the list (and basically swop babysitting someone else's child one evening for them babysitting yours another evening).