Home in Leiden

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Oh, it's a jolly holiday in Leiden.

NEW! Delicious handmade cupcakes delivered to your door

Having a party? Need something for a traktatie at school or work? Wouldn't you rather support a young entrepreneur than a supermarket? The youngest baker in town - whom you may have spotted selling cakes near de Burcht on sunny Saturdays - is now taking orders! Quentin is 9 years old and adores baking. He can make from 12 to 60 cupcakes, brownies etc. per order and will deliver them free within central Leiden. Take a look at his new webpage:, or contact him on

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Quentin is HomeinLeiden Harriet's son - and his cakes are genuinely delicious! Those of you who came to HomeinLeiden's 6 th party got a taste of his mini lemon and earl grey cupcakes.

Holiday in Leiden

Is it just me, or is it just non-stop holidays at the moment? It's seems like the children are never at school, and somehow the bedtimes and ice cream rations never get quite back to normal in between. It came as rather a shock to discover that there is another week of holiday coming up, but at least it enables us to make the most of all there is to see and do! I've just had family staying, and it's made me see our lovely city again through new eyes. Many of you will know what I mean - having visitors reminds one just how beautiful the city is, what a lovely atmosphere it has, and just how tempting the market stalls overflowing with fresh fruit and veg or the little café tables on the canal are. With visitors, I remember just how close Katwijk is, or just how lovely the Hortus is on a sunny day. So let's get out there and enjoy ourselves!

Oegstgeest Family - Children's Clothes Swap July 4th

On Friday 4th July the Oegstgeest Family Group is holding a children's clothes swap at the usual meeting times of 9.30-11.30am at the CJG on Lijtweg 7 in Oegstgeest. They grow so fast - come along with your own children's outgrown items and see what others with larger children have to offer. No sales, only swaps, so you can't lose, really; if it doesn't fit, just bring it back to the next swap... Any size is welcome from tiny baby up to teenager (in fact larger children's stuff would be particularly welcome, personally speaking!), so long as it's in reasonable shape; leftover clothes will be donated to a good cause, so you'll have a good clearout whatever happens! There will of course be coffee and snacks on offer, and we do hope you'll be able to join us. Email if you have any questions.

Join the celebratory HomeinLeiden event on 26 June!



Thursday, June 26, 2014 19:00-21:30


19:00-20:00 Welcome reception and drinks
20:00-20:45 Special Guest Speaker Dr. Jane Mellanby
20:45-21:00 Q&A
21:00-21:30 Drinks and continued festivities!


Webster University, Room 7
Boommarkt 1, 2311EA Leiden


€5 to cover event costs


If possible, to

Dr Jane Mellanby is Emeritus Fellow in Experimental Psychology at St Hilda's College, University of Oxford. She also happens to be my mother.

She will be sharing vital, practical advice and ideas from her hot-off-the-press book, Education and Learning-an Evidence Based Approach . The talk will explore the following:

  • Learning at school: How important are class sizes and teaching methods?
  • Food fads: Do superfoods really improve children's brains?
  • Technology: What's it doing to my teenager's brain? Should it be used in the classroom?
  • The older brain: Can my older parents still learn? How can I help them remember things?
  • Gender: Do boys and girls really learn differently?

There will be drinks and plenty of opportunity to meet new people - so please join us to come and help us celebrate Home In Leiden's 6th Anniversary!

Holiday activities for kids


I've started using this website for looking up ideas of things to do with kids. It has all sorts of information on things I would otherwise have missed. For instance, every Wednesday there's a surfschool in Katwijk at 16.00 for children over 8 - I think that might be a good one for the holiday week!

Do look at your local buurthuis' programme (see and the museums all have holiday stuff going on as usual.

By the way, there's an exhibition coming up at the Sieboldhuis (opening 4 July) that I think will appeal to most children (and adults), about cartoon characters - think Pokemon, Hello Kitty and Power Rangers. Children can dress up, meet the characters, create their own comics and masks, and lots more. See for details.

It's a long time ahead, but worth planning for - the wonderful Magische Jeugddorp (Magical Children's Village) will return this summer! Thanks to tireless campaigning, it has been rescued for this year at least. If your children haven't experienced this yet, try it! From 4-15 August, on a few fields behind Zwembad de Vliet, children aged 6-12 can spend the day (09.00-15.30) playing outside, taking part in all sorts of activities, such as hut building, drama, craft and dance. It's sort of Swallows and Amazons crossed with Butlins crossed with Lord of the Flies. It's 27 euro for the whole week or 6.50 per day, and you get a discount if you have your vakantiepas (which you get at the end of term at school) with you. My children went with a gang of friends last year and absolutely loved it! Not for the most fainthearted of parents though, as there are a lot of hammers and nails involved.

Markets galore!


The lovely Bijenmarkt is back, on 14 June - this time outside the Volkenkunde Museum instead of by Plantsoen. As usual there will be a lovely range of food, clothes, gifts and plants, with a 'green' theme, as well as activities for children. See for more information.

Leiden's Golden Age Market

On 29 th June the first Leiden's Gouden Eeuw Markt will take place, a new event organized by StadsLab, which aims to celebrate Leiden's international trade during the Golden Age of the 17 th century by having stalls from countries around the world that have historical trade links with the Netherlands. Should be great to visit, but importantly - if you have or you know anyone who has a business importing goodies from abroad, why not contact the organisers and book a stall? For more information about the aims of the market see
To book a stall, see the Facebook page
and contact Iliana Peralta on

New stuff for babies


Did you know there was a new mama café (in Dutch) in Leiden? It's in the library of Het Gebouw, Arubapad 4. They have a meeting one Friday a month at 9.30-11.30 (the next ones are 20 June, 11 July and 29 August). At each meeting there is a breastfeeding specialist, a midwife and/or a children's nurse available to talk to, and each time there is also a guest speaker, who will talk for half an hour on a particular theme. Recently there was a talk on babywearing, and a talk by a children's physio about the physical development of babies. It almost makes me want to have another baby, just so I could go! Visit their facebook pageé-Leiden/373060112796280 for information about the next one and for lots of interesting links and tips.


I just found out about this and was interested, as I taught my children babysigns when they were tiny (6 months plus) and found it enormously useful and frankly astonishing that at 9 months they could tell me they were thirsty! I myself started out with a book called Baby signs by Linda Acredolo, and was then part of the research group on which the first Dutch book on the subject, Babypraat by Eiskje Clasen, was based. It's a lovely book actually - especially because it has several anecdotes about my son Quentin.

It's not everyone's cup of tea, of course, but I found it hugely helpful that my children learned that they could communicate things with their hands when they didn't know how to say them. As tinies this meant they could tell you they were thirsty or that something was hot, and even as toddlers if they couldn't get their tongues round a word they'd act it out or invent new ways of saying it. You always say the word at the same time, by the way - it adds to the words rather than replacing it! I never followed a class because I found making it up as we went along worked very well, but there are now courses in Leiden run by Djoeke van Rossum. If you're interested visit her website - the next 'taster' lessons are in the evenings of 24 June and 15 July, and the next full course starts on 13 September.

Volunteer work?

And finally - perhaps you'd like to do some voluntary work in Leiden? Home in Leiden is always looking for help, so that's one option of course! Contact if you are interested.

Otherwise, there is a new hospice for teenagers and young adults on the Middelstegracht, Xenia hospice, which is looking for volunteers in all sorts of areas, including reception, working in the kitchen, voluntary nursing assistance etc. Take a look at their leaflet for volunteers: I was planning on volunteering in the kitchen, as it's a brilliant project set up by an amazing woman and has a great atmosphere. Unfortunately I was forcibly restrained by my husband from taking part in any more voluntary work. So I'm hoping that I can at least spread the word!



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Recent additions:
See Q`s Cakes on the right of this site by Social. Take a look at this new website: Delicious handmade cupcakes delivered to your door.