Landgoed Singraven : Sun is warm, grass is Green.

The world is better when it is Green.

We found another perfect green paradise and as always, Nature never fails to amaze me. I am a lover of beautiful buildings & modern structures, but nothing compares to a visit to nature. The allure of the sound of the gentle waters slushing from a flowing river, the crisp green plants, the warm and bright sun that touches our cheeks with the gentle breeze.

Its all priceless.

 Do you know that your mood changes the moment you are exposed to green outdoors? It’s a natural  booster.

Or haven’t you realized  that strolling and walking outside can even increase your creativity?

I grew up playing outdoors a lot. My childhood memories are full of  playing & running in the rice fields, catching spiders and spending so much time as if there’s no tomorrow.It was so much fun compared to the modern games of iPad now. Now that I am a mother, I am so concerned about this especially with a wandering, active, feisty toddler who wants to be out, all the time! Studies show that playing in the dirt (soil) outdoors helps kids stay healthy. Bacteria, viruses and other gross things in the soil actually help the immune system, and brain develop. Playing the dirt can also improve a child’s mood and reduce anxiety and stress. There is really a great insight why spending outdoors in green settings can do so much to our overall being. This is also one of the reasons why Dutch kids have a very active & happy childhood. They are so blessed with natural greens.

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The wandering Toddler

We’re so glad that we stumbled into this hidden Green Oasis and a gem tucked in the woods. It”s  a secluded place of imaginary fairies, lotus, and serene river Dinkel tucked away from the busyness of the city life. There we heard only the sound of Nature. Nothing else. Everything is green. Everything is fresh. Even the sun has a special rays. It is gentle. The breeze is cool. We felt instantly at home.

Langoed Singraven estate is beautifully situated along the Dinkel near the village of Denekamp. In here are many special monumental buildings, including the state house Singraven, the rear coach house and the ancient water mill with three wheels. Singraven offers a versatile landscape with woods, alleys, fields, meadows, marshes, and the ever-present Dinkel. If you visit Holland, don’t miss to see this place. It is worth your time.

This place has  fascinating cultural history, soothing and interesting nature, active leisure activities such as cycling or walking and much more. My daughter just simply loved lounging on the greenest grass that we have ever seen! She climbs everywhere and licked the grass, pinch it, and tasted it. I cannot blame her, the place is like an oasis to us. We haven’t had these amazing greens in Kuwait, so we really indulge.

 

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Even the water in the river celebrates nature. A reflection of quiet green bliss.
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The Langoed Singraven  ( Singraven means Large Canal )
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Of Mid Summer Night’s Dream ,with clear River Dinkel on the side.
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Dutch Watermills (Watermolen)

Now one of the fascinating things about Netherlands is their Watermolen (or WaterMills).The Singraven watermills were first mentioned in 1448 and inspired famous 17th century painters like Jacob Ruysdael and Meindert Hobbema.

 This watermill is unique because of its three mill wheels: one oil mill (inactive), a flour mill and a saw mill; both of which are fully functional and still in use. Current buildings date from around 1880. So much beauty &  history on this place.

Singraven has a manor which is sometimes open to the public and a watermill. The watermill has three functions: oil-mill, flour-mill and a sawmill.  Today the oil-mill is a restaurant but the other two are still functioning with the of volunteers.

The first house of Singraven dates back to 1415 but it was demolished and replaced by a new house in 1661. Several different Counts and families lived in the house. Almost all of them made improvements to the house. The last owner is  Willem Frederik Jan Laan donated the estate to a foundation.

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The River Dinkel that flows through Singraven

There so much activity that this place can offer. Its perfect for families with little children who wants to explore and roam.The vast area is perfect for Hiking, cycling, walking, strolling, or just enjoying a quiet meditation. The place has a park, a range of restaurants , Dinkel shop, Watermills, Carriage Houses that can house a function, Dinner or Luncheon meetings. You can even marry in this lovely place. This could be a perfect setting for a romantic garden wedding.This is also the ideal place to learn more about Nature. Estate Singraven participates in the project “Education on Location”, organized by the Foundation Museums in Dinkelland. Other participating institutions and museums are: Huize Keizer, Natura Docet, Mill Foundation Lattrop-Tilligte the Open Air Museum Ootmarsum and Cosmos Observatory. If you want to learn mohre about this place, you can check their website (Dutch ) Here.

Do you enjoy green landscape of Nature like this? What do you appreciate about country living?

Hope you have a chance to visit a green place just like this. Here’s to #theworldneedsmoregreens!

 

Amsterdam for Kids, Why Not?

Have you’ve been to Amsterdam? I mean, with a toddler toddling with you?

Amsterdam is a wonderful city. Full of vibrant and definitely a top Family destination.Whether you are travelling with babies, toddlers or children, this major European city is a hub for adventure and family-friendly sights that would make your stay worthwhile. Now before anyone raised their eyebrows and rant about this city’s tag for lascivious scenic spots , coffee shops & brothels, let me get this straight. We went there not for those reasons.

As for me, Amsterdam is a sure winner for travel destination for kids.Besides that this is my husband’s home country, I can’t argue anymore why this city stands out. Its up to you to discover its charm. You as the parent is the sole responsible for your trip to make it or break it. Period.

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Little Miss N in front of her favorite Ninjtje 

 

On our recent trip to the Netherlands, my daughter had a blast and we can’t wait to be back soon this summer. I want to share with you what I’ve learned from this trip especially from our visit to the newly renovated  Rijksmuseum , but this time with my daughter.

Both me & my husband are excited to explore the Rijksmuseum .We are both lovers of Architecture and Arts  so we thought that this should not be missed from our trip.We booked our tickets online & we managed to squeeze ourselves quickly away  from the rain and morning frenzy in the tram. Finally  we’re at Rijksmuseum. We are excited. My daughter was not. She preferred Ninjtje over Rembrandt.Am I a bad Mama dragging this little toddler to admire the works of Van Gogh & Rembrandt?

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Sculpture at the reception Hall of Rijksmuseum

On the contrary, Rijksmuseum was striking & beautiful . It really exceeded my expectation. But not the busyness inside! It is something that I did not expect since we were  there early. After depositing our things at the baggage deposit counter, we headed to see the Grand Hall. We take our time to adore the famous “Night Watch Galleryin the grand hall of the Great Masters. For the first time in over twenty years, the Rijksmuseum again organized a Rembrandt exhibition, giving every generation the chance to renew its acquaintance with the great Master of the Golden Age.This is something that we don’t wanna miss. We don’t see this everyday so we wanted to make the most of it but unfortunately, it did not happen that easily.

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Shooters district XI under Captain Reynier Reael, known as “Lean Company” Frans Hals and Pieter Codde, 1637

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Shooters district II, led by Captain Frans Banninck Cocq, known as the Night Watch, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1642

 

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My daughter was busy biting the leaflet and looking at the crowd. Maybe she was wondering why there is no Winnie the Pooh ? Soon I have noticed that there were quite  a number of visitors with babies tagged along with them, but most of them looks older than her. I felt unsure though that soon she might get bored and start to whine since she doesn’t like to stay in one place.She likes to roam around so we move on. I skipped the crowded areas, especially with so many people coughing! I was really surprised to see so many Koreans inside Rijksmuseum.

One thing that I find difficult is accessing the elevators. They were centrally located but then it was so busy,  its difficult to navigate with a stroller.I find the size so tiny compared to the ample sizes of elevators here in Kuwait.

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Beautiful tainted windows inside Rijksmuseum

Knowing that my daughter is super active, I give her a treat and let her loose in the adjacent hall. She loved the tainted windows, and she had some wooden benches where she climbed on.The sight was new to her. This was also my personal favorite. There were interesting patterns in the floor that kept her occupied, but not that long. Its almost lunchtime so we decided to check out the Museum’s cafe, but as I expected, there was already a long line waiting for a table. Its obvious that we can’t wait that long to be seated. I was not even sure if they have a high chair. I personally needed a breath of fresh air. So we decided to head out and check out Ninjtje Parade in the Museumplein.  

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Museumplein with the Rijksmuseum in the background.

She loved this, who doesn’t? She was actually mesmerized by each sculpture. I just let her ogle on each sculpture. She climbed them, touch them, maybe they had a quick téte-a-téte! Then we let her climb over the I am Amsterdam Letters with delight. She was so thrilled by the huge letters to climbed on. After she got exhausted, we decided to have a picnic , rest for a while and watch the ducks in the pond. Now that’s what I called “We time “.

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Can I take you home Miffy?

So what have I learned from this trip?

I don’t blame my daughter for the short-cut of our visit in Rijksmuseum, in fact, I was grateful to her. She have taught me to take it easy by slowing down & paying attention to what really matters, Afterall, a happy child equals happy parents.

Expat Mama Travel Tip!

  1. Be flexible and make it simple – Don’t complicate your itinerary. You know your child better. You know what makes them cranky. Bring them to destinations where both you & your children can be flexible and relax as much as possible . Amsterdam is surrounded with beautiful green landscapes and sceneries , make the most of the clean oxygen. The best memories are made outdoors! If your child doesn’t like being in crowded indoors, search for the nearby garden or take a stroll in the park.
  2. Don’t forget to have fun-Make sure you are enjoying yourself. If you become stressed out, your child will definitely catch it. Take time to talk to your child while you admire the scenery. Your tone can either set the mood  & soothe her and helps her to calm down.
  3. Do it together- If you are travelling with a family, then allow other members to interact with your child. This can ease the child-overdose you are feeling if your child is constantly clinging on you.

Don’t forget to make lots of memories of your trip!

If you like this post, then maybe you would be interested to know what are the top free things you can enjoy in Amsterdam as a family. Do you have 24hours in Amsterdam? Then click this Link Here to know more.

How about you,what is the unforgettable part of your trip with your children?  Do you enjoy travelling with kids? how do you handle the impromptu changes ?

Safe travels!

 

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8 Free things every Expat must do in Kuwait

There are absolutely free things in Kuwait for you to splurge on. Now that we have cooler temperatures, being out and about  gives you us a chance to discover this country’s various hidden facets. But having a great time  doesn’t need to be costly, some things can be enjoyed without spending much . For Expats like me who wants to spend a quality time during weekends with family & friends,you might be interested in these attractions. I have compiled these 8 Free Things to do In Kuwait  that you might want to check out on your next spare time.

Here are my  favorites :

1. Catching  Sunsets in the Arabian Gulf

When was the last time you actually watch the sunset & just admired it ? Give your phone a break and take time to chase a sunset along the Arabian Gulf . The beautiful corniche from the Scientific Center strip up to Marina Crescent is our favourite as it has a beautiful view of Skyline & silhoutte of Kuwait towers & skycrapers .

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2. Exploring  the Souk Mubarakiya

Mubarakiya is the market melting pot of Kuwait. You can get lost in its diversity, and smorgasbord of Arabs flocked here especially on Fridays. If i have a visitor to Kuwait, this is one of the place I would bring them. There’s so much things to see and to do.

What’s so fascinating about Souk Mubarakiya is its diversity . It has numerous shops from Arab clothing, jewelry, toys, perfume, Indian spices, shoes, traditional Kuwaiti souvenirs, household goods, Iranian carpets and a spread of woven crafts & rugs, fish market and the list go on. Have you tried exploring the Old souk and haggle for the beautiful rugs & carpets ? Or the beautiful unique tapestries that are really worth checking out . If you can spend 3 hours just people watching inside Avenues during Summer ,then try for a change to gaze at the diverse culture you can find inside the Mubarakiya.

3. Watch the fishermen and their fresh catch in Souk Sharq Fish Markets

Maybe it’s not your thing but i find it fascinating just to see the different boats in the docks of Souk Sharq . You can see how the local Fisherman went about their business & how each of the boats just float there . If you like, then you can check out the Fish market nearby to have an idea what to prepare for dinner .

 

4. Catch the wonderful Lights show in Kuwait Towers

Have you seen the different lights on the Kuwait Towers recently? If not, try to get there at night and just have a vain selfie .Its a nice walk along its promenade and to have family picnics beside the beach while enjoying the Light Show.

5. Take a Nap in the Park

If you are a mother and constantly looking for new places to  bring your kids & for yourself to enjoy as well, then hit a nearby park & let your kids let loose in the park until they are exhausted . Make sure to pack some snacks & drinks and off you go. Maybe they can have a nap too in the park, while you can enjoy some peace and quiet  and doze off while your spouse can watch the kids. Pick out a not-so-crowded area in the park & lay your blanket for a short escape from your phone & TV. I tell you , being out is good for you . Kuwait Mom’s Guide have a  very nice list of all the Parks & playground around Kuwait that you can check out from Here.

6. Explore the Traditional Arabic Dhows

There are various locations where the traditional Dhows ( Wooden Fishing boats) are displayed for public viewing. You can learn its history, and be amazed how the ancient Arabs built these Dhows . The World’s largest Arabic Dhow “Al Hashemi II” is displayed inside the grounds of Radisson Blu Hotel. Its a renowned Guiness Book record holder  for its grandeur & size.This is one of the top attractions here in Kuwait. Go inside & get lost of its beautiful interiors. Even the chandeliers inside the boat will make you gasp.

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The Al-Hashemi II Dhow in Kuwait

The Al Hashemi marine Museum is totally free admission, In here, you can learn from Kuwait’s rich maritime history. Another  Dhows displays are in the grounds of Scientific Center near seaside  and the one in the grounds of  Kuwait Museum. You can combine this while you visit the Kuwait Museum which has a very diversified collection of Kuwait artifacts and the Planetarium.

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The roof panels of Kuwait National Museum

7. Admire the Architecture

If you’re into Architecture and love beautiful buildings like me, then Kuwait offers a vast views from modern up to traditional buildings that is pleasing to the eyes of Art enthusiasts. You can see a distinct pattern which is a typical Kuwaiti design in Modern buildings, malls, Shops & residence Villas. One example is the Ghani Palace along Salem Al Mubarak Street in Salmiya.

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8. Attend the Grand Mosque Tour

This is a very rewarding experience, and every Expat should see this important landmark in Kuwait. Not only that it boast its grandeur of its islamic design and religious significance,it will  also give you a different perspective about Muslim culture & traditions. For Expats who are interested to embrace the Kuwaiti culture then this destination should not be missed. The Grand Mosque has a gorgeous interior architecture and the tour is very informative about Islam ,and good thing is its conducted in English. The Aware Center  is arranging their Free Tour for the Grand Mosque. The tour is usually  held on Saturdays. Its free and open even to non-Muslim expats even kids are welcome. The women need to dressed up modestly during the tour. The Grand mosque has facilities to provide Abayas to every female visitor. If you are interested, you can check out for more details Here. or read my separate post about my visit to the Grand Mosque Here.

Are there really Free things to do in Kuwait ? YES,absolutely!

If you like this post, feel free to like & share it. Thanks for visiting my page !

 

 

Why I fell in love in Moselle

“You’ve got to see this!” This is what this post all about.If you are thinking of going to Germany & wants  a place to have some serious adventure, or maybe a planned escape with friends ,with serene, and yet fulfilling experience  away from the hustling city life vibe , then  Moselle is the perfect trip for you. Germany is not only famous for its Oktoberfest and  castles, It is also renowned for its lovely river Landscape Nature. For my daughter’s first international trip , we brought her here. Who says you can’t have fun with a baby ?  Here’s why ,Moselle wine region ranked # 34 for Top Places to go in 2016 .From my personal experience, This should be in your Bucket list.

The Views are simply Breathtaking

Nature at its best. The River landscape of the Moselle is seen as one of the most varied in the whole of central Europe. There is a folk legend that says that the Devil once visited the area with a large sack which He gradually emptied, thus forming the many different castles and fortresses along the area. The Moselle is the largest left-handed tributary of the Rhine River with a length of 544 km. It stretched from West to Northwest in large loops. Below Trier,the most beautiful landscape of Moselle begins. Its bank s are covered with vineyards , quaint houses,small romantic wine growing communities and medieval looking fortress towns.The Mediterranean flair is inescapable.

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View of the Moselle River and beautiful villages  from Landshut Castle

 

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The River Moselle ,viewed from a luscious vineyard in Bernkastel-Kues

Hop on a bike , or just spend lazy times walking is the best way to make the most of your Moselle journey.The streets are stroller friendly. You can let your baby nap beside the banks of the river while you admire the calm beauty of the Moselle or simply,feed the ducks.My daughter took a nap during our hike up to the Landshut castle and while enjoying the view above. How many babies napping with a castle view and surrounded with vineyards? You need to make memories in your journey.

Architecture that surround the whole region

There’s so much detail in every structure that I see. One example is the Lieser castle.It was built in the previous century by the Baron of Schlorlemer in a middle of a feudal park.Nowadays this building serves as a luxury hotel.As you step out of it,20 meters away and you can gaze at the banks of the River Moselle.We had a morning walk here,and although the weather is slightly gray, it was worth the stop.

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The Castle of Lieser
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Lieser Castle : Fairy Tale Hotel along the River Moselle

Just Let loose and be charmed in the Market Squares.

Its like being transported into a frenzy Jumanji . History come alive.Everywhere you look, creative pubs,quaint little shops,of beautiful Half-Timbered houses,fountains and Hauptmarkt (Main Market ) makes the city a fascinating metropolis.You can admire the unique,ancient historical monuments that were of significant testament  to the importance of this time. Some fountains were adorned with small ogres and mischievous monkeys.My daughter loved the play area near Saint George’s fountain. Children flocked to the area with flowing waters which they could play, stomp their little feet and running around and just shrieking with delight,  while their parents are munching on warm pretzels and people watching.

 

The best glass of Wine

You can always enjoy a good glass of Beer in Germany, but in Moselle, you simply need to try the Riesling wine ! Even if you are not a Wine Enthusiast like me, you will surely love their wine.We have stayed in an apartment which has their own Weingut and from the moment we arrived, we have sampled their wine. It was really good.There’s no better way to enjoy it than just sitting back in the balcony &  enjoying the view. Prost!

 

Don’t forget to try the local food.We love the restaurant along the banks of Moselle in Bernkastel Kues,The Hotel & Restaurant Cafe Rosi.It has a Beer Garden,River Banks, and a Hotel.Imagine feeding your gastronomy delight with a view of the Landshut Castle and feeling the typical air of the region.Well, in Germany,enjoying Eis ( ice cream ) is a typical sight and of course we tried it.But unfortunately I am not so fond of Ice cream with liquor.It tasted too strong for me that the chocolate flavor was overpowered by the liquor.If you have a thing on this,they probably you would enjoy their Eis.

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Ice cream or Eis with liquor
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A Wine Ship Monument in Trier
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The steep vineyards along the streets of Osann-Monzel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Timber frame houses

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I am already looking forward to go back and explore the other parts of Moselle.There’s so much more to see and explore. All in all,it was a great trip! and of course ,we brought home some fine wine !

 

Thank you for reading !