13 Things To Help Overcome Those Homesick Feelings

Living abroad whether temporary or for your forever home can be a challenge to your emotions to missing home. You may have moved due to work, new studies or au pair, volunteering or just to explore the world. Whether its missing family and friends, the food, traditions or general silly things, it all counts to feeling homesick. There are many options and ideas to help you cope.

Here are 13 things to help overcome your homesick feelings while you are living abroad: Continue reading “13 Things To Help Overcome Those Homesick Feelings”

10 British Christmassy Things You Miss As An Expat

So it’s finally December and wow has this year gone fast with Christmas just around the corner! We are planning to put our tree up this week! Who’s already got theirs up?

As an expat it can be very hard to be away with a distance from home during those Christmas vacations and away from family and friends who are all getting together to celebrate. It’s one of the worst times of the year to feel homesick. Being abroad for a long time sure isn’t as easy as you may think it is!

For this list, it is written compared with the United Kingdom and the Nethelands from my expat experiences living abroad. To get into the Christmas spirit in the Netherlands you usually start after December 5th which is Sinterklaas, the Dutch Santa. But it sure a very different experience to celebrating Christmas in England. Continue reading “10 British Christmassy Things You Miss As An Expat”

Cycling Not Just For Transport

Now that I have lived here for 6 years I feel like I am allowed to turn into a road bike fanatic. The Netherlands is a great place for road biking due to the safe bike paths and the lack of hills. After stalking many Marktplaats sellers (Dutch version of Ebay) I was lucky to find one that was the right size and price range. So it’s now official! I have bought my first ever road bike, in a new-ish condition all shiny and red.

Learning all aspects of cycling on a road bike sure is a learning curve, such as what all the different components are as well as the ‘do’s and dont’s‘. A Dutch book that I still need to read is ‘Vrouw & Fiets’ written by Nynke de Jong and Marijn de Vries, which has been recommended to me by at least 3 people this week.

As well as buying the bike this week, I bought some gloves and cycling glasses at the Decathlon and researched into what size clip-in shoes I needed. I also scored a new helmet via Marktplaats and ordered some sexy cushion-padded shorts to protect my butt and a cycling shirt with pockets at the back.

Cycling not just for transport - Togetherintransit.nl

For my first route I decided to take it easy, cycling only 11km around the Kralingse Bos park in Rotterdam. Within 10 minutes I felt so hungry and realised the unhealthy lunch probably wasn’t the best idea before some fitness. As a gym junkie that I am (minimum 3 days a week at the gym + home workouts sessions) I should of known better! However overall happy that my average speed was faster than my city bike as well as being able to pratice the gear changing and the overall feel of the bike. P.S I didn’t have my ordered cushion-padded shorts in time for this route either so it was a bumpy experience!

I’ve started using the app Strava, perfect for tracking your route with GPS. Gives you information about your speed, elevation, estimated calories and more importantly the time and distance. What I also love is once you do the same route more than once, you can challenge yourself to beat your old time and make some personal bests!

Cycling not just for transport - Togetherintransit.nl

For my second route this week it was right after fuelling up with some pasta, also prepared with my cushion-padded shorts and the correct gear. The plan was to do another small route for practicing, but with a beautiful sun setting it was too good to end it to quickly. I cycled with my partner exactly 32km, and even at the end I felt like I could of gone further but it was dark and we had no lights!

Cycling not just for transport - Togetherintransit.nl

For my third and last route this week, we decided to travel to the De Biesbosch National Park. Based on the western wind, we cycled all the way there with the wind. The plan was to do a few laps around the national park but I was rather tired once we reached 60km, and knew I still had to cycle atleast 10km back towards to the boat to take me back to Rotterdam. We stopped at the De Brabantse Biesbosch for a delicious pancake and a cola, as my partner needed some energy as he cycled all the way back!

But WOW, so proud that within a week I managed to do a long trip of 67km in one go! A lot faster than I ever imagined too within only 3 hours!

Cycling not just for transport - Togetherintransit.nl

Cycling not just for transport - Togetherintransit.nl

The total this week I cycled is 116km (including a short 10km I forgot to record). I couldn’t of done it without those padded shorts thats for sure!

I still need lots of practice until I can call myself a real road bike fanatic, but I’m making a good start!

Cycling not just for transport - Togetherintransit.nl

My wish list of things to get (and need) to feel like a complete road bike user:

  • New matching water bottles and holders
  • A bell
  • Clip-in SPD Shoes
  • Spare inside tyres
  • A multitool kit
  • A bike computer/sensor to measure and see my speed, distance and time
  • (and whatever else I need that I don’t know about yet!)

Any tips & tricks, related books or apps, or even decent shops or websites to buy gear would all be appreciated!!

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Cycling not just for transport - Togetherintransit.nl





Dutch Citizenship?

Since June 23rd I have had a rather big dilemma on my mind. As most of you will know the citizens of the United Kingdom have voted to leave membership of the EU, nicknamed Brexit. I think no one really saw it coming, that it would be official, since the polls were so close but really? Who really imagined that they would no longer be part of the EU?

Within the first few days after the vote I was curious what my options had become, as an English person living in the Netherlands. Up until now there is still no certainty what will actually happen, or how I will be personally affected. So everyone is having the same doubts and concerns.

Now that it is getting closer to August I have the option to choose to apply for Dutch Citizenship, and to become a rightful owner of a Dutch passport. Because in August I will be officially living in the Netherlands for 5 years. However there is currently a motion at the government that will most likely go ahead, stating that it will be 7 years residency instead of 5. So I may still need to wait another 2 years to apply. What also makes this more amusing is that my passport runs out also in 2 years so I’ll most likely have to apply and pay for a UK passport again anyway!

The doubts I have, is that if I apply for Dutch citizenship through naturalization (the only option that applies to me) that I will lose the right to keep my English citizenship so it will not be dual citizenship. Of course no one really knows what will happen to expats abroad who still have English citizenship, but I don’t know if I should apply for Dutch citizenship in August or to wait and see how the United Kingdom plays it out.

And the only way to have dual citizenship is if I was married… well I’m not rushing into that anytime soon haha! But I do feel that having dual citizenship will give me better options in the future, in regards to travelling back home and visiting family/friends, or to work in England if I return, or even when I have children in the future who could then also have dual citizenship.

Well for now I am playing the waiting game with the UK. Waiting to see what their next move it, what will be decided and what options I may have.


Becoming Dutch


This word has become one of my favourite words to use since living in the Netherlands. It’s one of few words that cannot be perfectly translated into English, as there is simply no English word that is the same. If I had to describe it in my own words I would have to describe a situation.

Some of my examples:

  1. A cozy evening on the sofa with a film or series playing from Netflix, while underneath a warm blanket, a bowl of crisps on my lap and candles lit.
  2. A lively party full of family members celebrating someone’s birthday with cake, wine and a great mix of music playing.
  3. Sitting in a small restaurant with friends while stuffing your face with delicious food, while being provided with great service.

One word to describe these situations is definitely gezellig. It’s about feeling comfortable in the situation and being confident with the people you are with. The pleasantness of being with that someone or the inviting fun feeling that a party offers is also gezellig. The moment has to be right.

“Gezellig; cozy, nice, inviting, pleasant, comfortable, time with loved ones, relaxing atmosphere, fun.”


I bought my first bike from Queens’s day a few years ago, now officially King’s Day. It was for about €25 Euros, didn’t need much work and perfect to get from A to B. My partner had fixed the lights for me and I gave it a good clean. It was just what I needed and intended to buy that day, as well as clothes.

Cycling in the Netherlands is pretty different to cycling in England. For a start there are no hills, unless you live in the south. You don’t have to worry about cars passing closely to you, as there are separate bike lanes basically everywhere. So you only need to avoid other cyclists and the occasional idiot on a scooter. You also have to avoid getting your tires stuck in the tram rails when crossing over them, as you will literally get stuck. Finding a spot to park your bike in the city can also be a nightmare.

Bikes are pretty much most peoples first mode of transport in the cities, unless it’s really bad weather and you catch the tram. The Dutch love using their bike to transport stuff too, like children on the front/back or a dog. But there is also some crazy things that I have seen being transported by bike, like a matress, a built billy bookcase from Ikea and full grown christmas trees.

After a year my first bike was the subject of drunken thieves. I had not used my bike in at least two weeks, but I checked on it often to make sure it was still there, as it was chained to a lamppost near where I lived. Well the third week came as I was actually going to use it. Arriving at the lamppost I had emotions to laugh and cry at the same time. During the night thieves had taken basically every part and left only the frame, attached to the lamppost with my chain still there.


My latest bike was bought on Marktplaats, a dutch version of Ebay. I definitely keep it safer, with two locks and I use it daily so its less likely to be stolen. But you never know…


Flowers are popular in the Netherlands. On a sunny market day the flower stalls are so popular you may have to wait a while for your turn to be helped. Plus they always have so many different types and colours to choose from, beautifully making a bouquet of your choices. I’ve definitely become a fan of buying flowers every month!


Even though tulips are originally from Turkey, it has become the flower of the Dutch. The Keukenhof is exreamely popular in the spring months when it’s open. If you love tulips and walking around decorated gardens then it is well recommended. The gardens have more than seven million tulips each year growing and well worth a visit.

Three Kisses

Having travelled to France yearly as a child, i knew their tradition of 4 kisses to greet someone who they knew well. However I didn’t really do it as i was still young. Since arriving in the Netherlands and being greeted by my partners family, it’s something I have got used to. Going round the room and greeting everyone in this way is definitely welcoming. The usual three kisses goes left-right-left, but every now and then theres someone who wants to do it differently and you clash noses.