The other half of Church -Narcism & Shame

The other half of Church -Narcism & Shame

‘Narcissism: Healing the Relational Infection in the Church’
Jim Wilder’s book ‘The Pandora Problem: Facing Narcissism in Leaders & Ourselves’, on narcissism has been on the shelf for a year, as I can’t get through it, even though the subject fascinates me due to the fact that my ex-husband has been, through court-ordered Psychiatric assessment, found to have Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

I find the book ‘The Other Half of Church‘ by Jim Wilder and Michel Hendricks more straightforward and deals with the same(ish) subject. An abridged version of chapter 7 from this book can be read (for free) with YouVersion’s reading plan ‘Narcissism: Healing the Relational Infection in the Church’.

In this six-day plan, Michel Hendricks and Jim Wilder diagnose the epidemic of narcissism within the church and offer a biblical path to a healthier community of kindness (affection), forgiveness, and transparency. (YouVersion)

I have briefly summarized the chapters on shame and narcissism, from the book “The Other Half of Church. The quotes in this blogpost are also from these chapters.

Shame

Shame is an intense emotion and you don’t want to remember the situations in which you felt ashamed. According to Jim Wilder, shame is connected in our brains to the formation of our character. Shame is necessary to form our character.

There are 2 types of shame: toxic shame and healthy shame.

TOXIC SHAME

Toxic shame communicates “you are bad” and does not come with help. This shame lets us know that we are stupid, ugly, or clumsy, for example, and we feel even worse.

HEALTHY SHAME

With healthy shame, the relationship with the other person is important.

Healthy shame is a nonverbal spontaneous response to a face that is not happy to be with me. (Jim Wilder)

You see by the other person’s face that he or she is sad about what you are saying or doing. You feel this too. But the other person does not communicate the message ‘you are bad’. According to the authors, we can learn to be relational in shame. In a relationship, the other person can let you know in a loving way that he or she loves you, but that you are not acting like yourself. This is also called the “loving reminder”.

If the reminder is done correctly and I am humble and receptive, you have helped shape my character. I am now a little more like Jesus thanks to you. In God’s kingdom, shame is always combined with a strong dose of love. (Jim Wilder)

The restoration of relationships is important and that is what shapes our character. With toxic shame, this is missing. One of the examples from the book about the difference between toxic and healthy shame:

Toxic: who are you to criticize me?
Healthy: your criticism hurts me, but I want to be open to learning from it. Tell me more.

Narcissism and Shame

Narcissism, according to Jim Wilder, is at its core a shame disease. The “loving memory” (as in healthy shame) is seen as a threat in people with narcissism/narcissistic tendencies. A conversation then becomes an argument to be won. The motivation to win is especially strong when it comes to character or leadership.

Narcissists will not accept a healthy reminder if their character is flawed, but they are adept at using toxic shame against others. (Jim Wilder)

People with narcissism/narcissistic tendencies cannot deal with shame in a healthy way, they do not learn from shame in relation to others. As a result, they have a great need to be special. This is why many people with narcissism/narcissistic tendencies hold leadership positions in companies, but also in churches.

The narcissistic pastor

The authors explain that leadership often looks good and impressive on the outside, but the inner motivation is disconnected from relationships. Measurability and numbers are often important and if these are not good the leader makes up a story making the fault lie with someone else.

Service is more important than relationships!

On a stage, the great leader can appear to have a strong connection with the congregation while still maintaining a real relational distance.

Around the narcissistic leader, we often see a bubble of people who affirm him. People who see through the leader’s character and threaten to burst the bubble are quickly eliminated, using a difference of opinion about the vision as an excuse.

If someone gets in the way of the great cause, they are sacrificed on the altar of the leader’s vision.

Group or congregation

Jim Wilder makes the comparison to the treatment of his eye infection.

The church has both a culture and an infection. Even if there were a magical antibiotic, the infection would return permanently until the culture changes. The culture of a church is its relational soil, and the infection thrives in depleted soil.

A relationally poor congregation is susceptible to leaders with narcissistic/narcissistic tendencies. Sending such a leader away is not a solution, because people will seek such a similar successor. Changing the culture is the solution.

A congregation with loving relationships is better armed against narcissism and does not accept it. Jim Wilder explains that it is impossible to teach a narcissist new behaviors. A person changes by what he sees others do and what he imitates. A church with a strong relational foundation can show the leader with narcissistic/narcissistic tendencies how she herself handles shame and loving correction.

What to wear while biking in the rain

What to wear while biking in the rain

What to wear while biking in the rain? Although Belgium has a reputation as a rainy country, a bicycle rider will not have to bike in rain as much as you would think. Of all the km cycled in a year, it will rain for about eight and a half percent. Don’t just take my word for it, I found this info on the webpage of Belgium’s best known (flemish) weatherman: Frank Deboosere

So, even though it might not rain as much as you think it, I do feel like it starts to rain just when I have to leave the house. And I bike e-v-e-r-y-where with my Babboe cargo bike. The school runs, groceries, appointments. So I find it incredibly important to be properly dressed. No fashion show here, no! If I am warm and dry, I don’t mind the rain. Even the torrential kind.

So here I will share with you what I wear on rainy days while out and about with my Babboe e-curve cargo bike. Interested in buying a cargobike/bakfiets? Read my review of mine here!

What to wear while biking in the rain
Ain’t I cute ? 😀

Jacket

A raincoat is a tricky thing when cycling. Once you cycle your body will warm up and sweat. Especially in relatively warm rainy periods, wearing a raincoat often causes you to sweat more than the rain could ever make you wet- yes, even in so-called “breathable” textiles.

At such times you should therefore think more about how warm / too warm you are going to be rather than how dry/wet you are going to be. Feel free to wear only a t-shirt (and no sweater) under your raincoat.

A quality raincoat is breathable and rainproof, preferably slightly longer down the back to protect your rear from splashing moisture, and with ‘ventilation holes’ under the armpits.

You can obviously go cycling with any kind of rain jacket, but I recommend paying close attention to the fit as well. Make sure it’s cut to your body (not a garbage bag), even with a sweater on underneath. And that the fabric is comfortable and light, and compact enough to tuck away when it’s not raining.

The even more “professional” (read: more expensive) jackets are also windproof, which can do good on a cold winter day but is often too warm for the rest of the year.

This is especially true of the plastic jackets (the K-Way), just about the best guarantee of you sweating. One hundred percent water and windproof, but also ideal for building a sweat lodge underneath.

A rain poncho is fine, even if it’s just a plastic thingy. You are really dry under your raincoat tent, and your excess body heat can disappear underneath. A disadvantage is that a poncho will also want to prove itself as a parachute on a windy day, which will make cycling extra difficult.

I always have one with me just in case it unexpectedly begins to rain.

The jacket is probably where I spent most of my money, even though it was on sale. But it’s the best one that I have had, ever, and I’ve been cycling for many years now.

Rainpants

Basically the same story as for the jacket: make sure you don’t get too hot underneath. While rain pants can be made of plastic or coated nylon, modern waterproof materials are commonly used, including waterproof-breathable fabric such as Gore-Tex.

You will sweat in plastic pants, but not in Gore-Tex. But I have never really sweated with the plastic ones. I need to just remember to wear it over pants instead of over leggings, stockings, or just bare legs, as it can become really cold on your legs during the winter months.

So there is not much wrong with cheap plastic rain pants. Make sure there are zippers on the legs, long enough to pull the rain pants easily over your shoes and pants, making it easier to pull over your shoes/boots.

Probably my cheapest purchase.

WHAT TO WEAR WHILE BIKING IN THE RAIN

Cap

If you like to have a rain cap on your jacket, it is best to take one that fits snugly. A loose cap tends to ‘catch the wind’ rather quickly when cycling. I personally prefer a rainproof cycling cap, because my ears and a full field of vision remain free. A cap also keeps raindrops out of your eyes. I don’t mind the rain, but really do not like it pounding in my face.

Socks

Wet socks remain wet socks, but socks made of merino wool (the pleasant counterpart of goat’s wool) or synthetic fabric are much more comfortable when wet. Also when they’re dry, by the way. You have waterproof socks – available in the better sports store – or in case of emergency, plastic bags over/under your socks (although in that case, you will quickly have sweaty feet).

Shoes

Wear shoes with grip, so they don’t shoot off wet pedals. You can wear waterproof shoes (even rubber boots, if you make sure that no water can enter from above), or overshoes: a kind of waterproof socks for over your shoes, again available in better sports stores.

I love wearing my doc Martens, but it takes me longer to put on than my cute rain boots with horses on them 😀

Gloves

I don’t mind the rain on my hands while biking during warm(ish) weather, but when it’s cold and wet…or just darn cold, /I find it essential to have a pair of winter gloves on. You have all sorts of gloves, but the best that works for me was pretty cheap (hey, I’m a single mom!), bought in a local discount store. They are padded, rainproof, and have rubber grips on them. I’m not sure if they would stay waterproof all day during heavy rain, but they work for my daily rides to school and such. You can always pay the extra if you do very long treks at a time.

Be seen!

When we leave for school at around 8 am, it is still very dark out (January) and my son has swimming and karate lessons in the evenings, so it’s incredibly important for us to be visible to other road users.

Unfortunately, the front lights of my cargo bike fell off at the beginning. I bought a new pair, but they fell off too. One of the downsides of my cargo bike I’m afraid. So to be seen in the dark I wear a LED hiking headlight and I also wear a reflective vest. My son, even though he is sitting in the cargo bike, also wears a reflective vest.

Still missing

So this is how I protect myself from the crazy rain. It took me years to find the right gear and combination, but I’m all set now. The only thing missing is a good, waterproof bike bag. It has to be one that can fit on my Babboe bakfiets as the battery is at the back, so not all bags fit.

I’m open to suggestions!

Requirements :

  • Waterproof
  • Big
  • Preferably cute 😀

So hit me with your favourite bike bags.

A sweet little Christmas

A sweet little Christmas

We had a very sweet Christmas surrounded by the people I love. I wanted to give them a Christmas that was as enjoyable as possible (considering this was going to be a very different Christmas to other years) and I think I have succeeded! I had gotten a bit ahead of myself by doing a lot of shopping on Tuesday, I had anticipated the flocks of people on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Thursday I did some last-minute shopping, I got the boardgames that I ordered and delivered to our local supermarket. After that it was just me and my two boys (Mister 24 and mister 7) on Christmas Eve. They ate what they love most, fries. Once the youngest went to bed my older son and I watched “A star is born” . Not very Christmassy, I know, but after having watched alomest every Christmas movia avaible on Netflix and Disney + I was craving something else, and “A star is born” did not dissapoint.

The day after, Christmas day, my daughter was back home and so we opened our gifts, we laughed a lot. It was a very nice morning, I missed not being ablew to go to church, but it was luckily livestreamed. I then made cinnamon rolls. My son assembled his Lego that he got for Christmas and we played board games.

We went for a small walk in the woods with the dogs and Indiana, my daughter’s horse. It was cold, the air was humid, but I think we all had this need for nature, far from the city, the people and the covid, my son was able to run, we walked, and just enjoyed the fresh air until it started to rain a bit. Oh well, Belgium…

In the evening when we came back home we, of course, had our Christmas Day meal in the evening, table grilling. We, like every year, had way too much food. There was absolutely no room for dessert.

It was a beautiful, peaceful Christmas and I received the love in abundance from the people I love and that’s the most important thing. Thank you, God for this beautiful Christmas 2020.

#Thankful

Scared out of my mind. Learning to drive after 40.

Scared out of my mind. Learning to drive after 40.

I did it! Since writing my last post about learning to drive, I have passed my theoretical exam and took 20-hour lessons, and now I can drive (alone) to practice before taking my driving exam. Ok, it will not be for this year, but early next year (2021), but he, COVID happened and I’m amazed that I have still managed to get this far.

Each time that I was waiting for my driving instructor, I was waiting there with 18 ish-year-olds…I was by far always the eldest, and this made me realize (and the obstructor pointed out a few points as well) that there are advantages and disadvantages to learning how to drive (a manual btw).

So this is what I have come to realise about learning to drive at over 40 years old.

What I have come to realize

  • Is it learning difficult when over 40? YES
  • I’m a passive driver. In other words, slow.
  • My bladder is elderly, even though I’m not yet. Had to make a few stops during lessons.
  • It certainly does not come naturally to me…but maybe it would not have come naturally to me at 18 either.
  • I did not think that I could swear in a certain way.
  • I now understand why people complain about old people behind wheel.
  • I also understand why some people tend to associate a personality with a special mark of a car (thinking of BMW’s and such)
  • I never really realized how many people on the road are a hazard (or simply being idiots) Just crossing the road without looking, throwing their car doors open without looking for oncoming cars.
  • Objects in mirrors are closer than they appear.

This is me, on my way to therapy

This is me, on my way to therapy

• This is me on my way to therapy. You can almost not see it in this picture, but I have tears streaming down my face.
• Sometimes I feel like I don’t need the therapy anymore, that the time that my therapist puts in me should be spent on someone else. 
• But then this happens. I cannot stop the tears. For no other particular reason than besides the fact that I am still dealing with the aftermath of what has happened to us. Meaning that sometimes I think that I have recovered gracefully from all that had happened, just to end up almost where had I started.
• I know that I will feel better. I know that my therapy will also help. But I also know that I will feel like this again.
• And before you start judging me, maybe thinking that I like the attention that I get from coming from the abuse that I and my daughter have suffered. 
—-> Then shame on you. 
• I have as much right to tell it as it is and hopefully, it will help others know that they are not alone, as I have the right and the delight I get from sharing moments of happiness that happen, the mundane things in my life. 
•••It’s not all good and it’s not all bad. It’s just life. 

Why we should prefer second-hand stuff over the new stuff

Why we should prefer second-hand stuff over the new stuff

There is little worse for our planet than constantly producing new stuff and throwing it away again and again. Fortunately, the second-hand market offers a solution. Before I show you what second-hand stuff I have in my house (in my following post), I explain why it is so important to (learn to) appreciate second-hand and how to do it!

Why re-use gives environmental benefits 

Second-hand items can bring considerable environmental gains. Reuse extends the lifespan of the equipment. If you buy something second hand, nothing new needs to be made. This way you save raw materials, energy, and waste needed to make new stuff. Are you going to use something for a short period of time, like baby clothes? Or is it indestructible, like a batch of garden tiles? Then it certainly pays to buy it second hand and resell it after use.


It’s economical


Buying second hand is necessarily more economical. The gain can be more or less important. But if you take the time to search, the finds can be really amazing: reusable egg boxes to go to the market at 50 cents, wicker baskets at 3€, toys at -70%…

For very specific products, it is important to do some scouting, a “market study” to buy at the right price. Indeed, the occasion is fashionable, so some people see it as an opportunity to make money. Below are some tips on how to find your way around.


Typical second-hand must-knows


It’s dirty & it smells bad


When you buy second-hand, you have to deal with the “old life” of the objects. Nevertheless, there is no risk of catching diseases with second-hand purchases. Our advice :

  • Clothes: whether it is a different laundry smell or that of clothes left in boxes for a long time, after being washed a few times and worn, the clothes will quickly take on your usual smell.
  • Objects or toys: as soon as I buy an object or toy, I clean it before use. For example, in the case of a puzzle, I assemble it to check that nothing is missing and then I clean it with a dry cloth and the vinegar multi-purpose cleaning spray. Same for books.
  • For baskets and wicker objects: clean with black soap.


It’s “cheap”


Buying and giving second-hand gifts does not mean giving gifts of lesser value.

In the face of these criticisms, one of the counter-arguments is that you can find completely new second-hand things! Double gifted gifts and non-exchangeable ones, purchased errors, unworn clothes with labels: it is very common to find things still in their original packaging…

Of course, second-hand purchases are sometimes favored by the least wealthy households, but not necessarily. Today, buying vintage/retro is in fashion. There are more and more of us out there, who buy second-hand by choice: to avoid over-consumption, to save money compared to a new purchase…


My tips and tricks for second-hand purchases


Make it habitual


In recent years, I have adopted an “opportunity reflex”. As soon as I (our we as a family) have a need: I systematically look to see if this product exists on the second-hand market. And in 90% of the cases, this search is successful and avoids a new *new* purchase.

Locate and study prices


Before buying second-hand, it is always good to do a little “market research”. You can find out the new sale price of the product you want by estimating the price you want to put on it.

In fact, second-hand purchases are on the rise, and some people see this as an opportunity to make money. Fortunately, it is often possible to make good deals, so don’t hesitate to negotiate if you think it is necessary.


Take guarantees when necessary


Buying legos or pants, does not require the same level of attention as buying a household appliance for example. For the former, do not hesitate to ask for photos if those in the ad are not enough. For household appliances, it is possible to find second-hand, in very good condition or even almost new. Do not hesitate to ask for the purchase or maintenance invoice! Many second-hand shops give a warranty with bigger electrical appliances.


Give preference to local purchases


One of the first reflexes quickly adopted is to always check that the product is available near us before buying it on the Internet. In the case of second-hand items, I do a first local search before expanding to the region and then to the whole of Belgium if I really can’t find it. This allows me to save both shipping costs and pollution-related to transport.


Where to buy second hand?


In a specialized store

In second-hand stores you can often buy furniture, clothes, toys and household goods. You can also put your old stuff there. Some second-hand stores sell stuff in your place, so you can make some money from it. You can also sell furniture or works of art at an auction.

Kringwinkel
Chain of second-hand stores all over the country. The income from sales is mainly used to maintain and create jobs for people who have few opportunities in the labor market.
www.dekringwinkel.be

Think Twice
Think Twice is a branch that offers a wide range of vintage clothes at affordable prices. T2 gives its customers the opportunity to freely create their own individual styles, thereby spreading the love for second-hand fashion
The Think Twice Facebook Page

Oxfam Solidarity
Used stores run by Oxfam Solidariteit. The proceeds will go to development projects in North and South. There are 42 stores in Belgium, some specializing in books and others in vintage clothing.
http://www.oxfamsol.be

Ecoshop and Troc
Chains of stores with second-hand furniture and household goods, where you can sell your own stuff.
www.ecoshop.be
www.troc.com

All second-hand outlets
This website gives an overview of used stores in Flanders, from clothes to cars and computers.
www.tweedehands-info.be

Don’t hesitate to use Google to translate!

There are also stores that do not specialize in second-hand but offer second-hand products alongside the new. I’m thinking of Bol.com and I just read in the newspaper today that Ikea plans on doing the same.

Me at one of my favourite spots : De Kringwinkel

Garage sales and flea markets


Garage sales have been very fashionable for a few years now, unfortunately not so much now during Covid times, but hopefully, things will get back to “normal” at one stage or another.

People have a stand there to empty their houses and for passersby to find the right opportunity. I advise you not to go there with an idea in mind because by experience you rarely find what you came looking for. In spite of the diversity of the offer, if you look hard enough you will often find what you are looking for. Go as early as possible is my main tip!

As for flea markets, or *Rommelmarkten* as they say here in Flanders, they have long been known to be the place to go for antiques and other rarities found in attics by antique dealers. Sometimes the prices are quite expensive compared to the garage sales, but go and do not hesitate to negotiate!

To find out about garage sales or flea markets near you here in Belgium: go to Rommelmarkten.be or Wattedoen.be (use google to translate)


Online

  • Online classifieds: You can buy as well as sell. Are you looking for something very concrete? Then you can set up a search function, which notifies you by email when someone has placed such an ad. There are many other sites where you can buy, auction, or sell second-hand items.
  • Vinted: Personally my very favorite for clothing and toys. Very quickly Vinted has established itself as the new reference in the sale and purchase of second-hand clothing in particular. Its advantage? It allows you to make advanced selections by size, brand, condition, location. We can easily find the desired clothes according to our requirements! But also toys or other items such as Christmas toys. I have just recently been able to buy a brand new school bag for my son made out of reusable plastic. So, double win on sustainability!
  • Instagram: this social network has a lot of accounts that do online second-hand sells and it is the opportunity to discover real pearls. I have a few that I particularly like: like
  • Facebook Marketplace: it is an online marketplace very similar to the online classifieds. You can find anything from toys to a used car.

To conclude on the second- hand buying lifestyle

While for some people it is instinctive, for others, buying second hand is a mental step that can be difficult to take. Nevertheless, the advantages can be countless!

And as for the rest, I advise you to go “step by step”. One can start perhaps with a book or a game if the idea of wearing an already used garment is an “uncomfortable idea”. Then, once you have become familiar with the idea, you can take it one step further!

For example, this year is a new milestone for me: I’m looking for my first (used) car! Pray that I find the right one. 😀

Just go for it!

Before you go, here is a Belgian list for online buying and selling

eBay
The best-known auction site. You can sell stuff through an online auction or an ad.
www.e-bay.be

2dehands.be
Viewfinder site. You can buy as well as sell.
www.2dehands.be

Velt
Offers of second-hand eco-products on the website of Velt, the Association for Ecological Life, and Gardening. You can offer your stuff for sale or for free, place an ad for what you need, or offer something to trade.
www.velt.be

Stukot.be
The Flemish colleges and universities, in collaboration with KBC and Tapptic, are launching the website Stukot.be. Students can buy and sell their room stuff and their expensive (well-maintained) manuals) directly to other room students. Thanks to the expertise of Tapptic, responsible for the design and development of the website, the website has been optimized to be visited via the web as well as on a smartphone or tablet computer. Later, the website will be launched in Wallonia.
www.stukot.stumarkt.be

Uw Kringding
Auction website of De Kringwinkel, one of my favorite thrift stores! Not only do they help the environment, but they also create social employment spots!
www.uwkringding.be

Did this article make you want to try second-hand shopping? Any tips for me to discover?

Cutting the cord

Cutting the cord

I was proudly telling my mom friends the other day, that I had decided on cutting the cord. Do you know this expression? It means to say goodbye to cable/digital tv. *Shocking*

But apparently I’m not only a late bloomer when it comes to driving, but I am also a late bloomer when it comes to living without cable because by now, most people do. *Another shocker*

I was raised with having no cable tv and to make matters worse, we had BETA instead of VHS. The horror! Meaning that I could not borrow any videos from my friends. (hey, I grew up in the ’80s)

So when I became the independent teenage mom that I am today (not so teenage anymore), I said hello to cable TV. Oh, the hours we have spent, just flipping through channels, never really finding something worth watching. Besides Friends.

Cutting the cord
Reunion! Reunion! Reunion!

Then came digital tv, you could now have the tv on demand, skip the commercials. What a luxury.

But I came to realize that we were watching less and less tv. It would only come on in the evening, preferably with Sushi, and my daughter and I would watch 90-day fiancé on TLC together or Doctor Pol on Animal planet, while mister six would be watching his own program on Netflix.

But that was about it.

I was paying a lot of money for something that we were not actually using , plus being a single mom, wanting to buy her first car, I wanted to make some cuts here and there. And with cutting the cord and only keeping the internet, this made a significant difference.

So yesterday was our first evening without TV, my daughter switched on a video from YouTube on how to train Doxies (her’s is a pain in the bum, *mister bark-a-lot*). We were actually watching something useful for once, instead of catfishing people on a 90-day fiancé.

But it still feels weird to me.

I miss the channel flipping, even though I found it annoying before.

I just have to face the fact that I’m becoming old and that I am now finding it easier to understand how old folk don’t like change.

But I DID CHANGE, so not that old yet. Ha! 😀

Cutting the cord

Still want to watch tv/tv shows online, in Belgium? These are the options.

  • We all know NETFLIX – Available for all screens via Chromecast, on Apple TV and Smart TV (LG, Sony, Philips, Samsung, Haier). You already have a subscription from 7,99 € per month.
  • Sooner – The largest online catalog of arthouse movies. Subscriptions start at 7,99 €. Thousands of films, selected by a team of film lovers. A dozen new films are added every week.
  • Amazon Prime Video – Just like Netflix, Prime Video from Amazon gives you on-demand access to movies, series, and documentaries. Maybe less popular series than on Netflix, but often real gems! Subscribers to Amazon Prime get a free subscription. Otherwise, you pay 5,99 € per month. Available on Smart TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and now also on Chromecast.
  • Disney + – It has finally arrived in Belgium! Just in time for another imminent lockdown maybe. On Disney +, you can discover the best stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic in one place. From hit movies to timeless classics and new originals – there’s something for everyone and all of this for 6,99 € monthly.
  • TV Vlaanderen – Want to watch Belgian channels? Well TV Vlaanderen is a streaming service that allows you to watch live on 18 top channels (including VTM, one, Canvas, FOUR, FOX, National Geographic, BBC Entertainment, Ketnet, …). You pay 9,95 € per month for the “light version” and can play everything through your TV via AirPlay or Chromecast. They also have options for through satellite or antenna.

I’m hoping that Acorn Tv will one day be available in Belgium. Just love British comedies and mysteries. Pleeeeeeeeeaaaase!

Cutting the cord, have you done this already? Any regrets? Any favourite streaming website? I would love to learn more about this trend.

“Sparks of Joy” #3

"Sparks of Joy" #3

I try to share monthly with you things that have brought Sparks of Joy into my life. It will not always be things, but it can be an outing, it can be a craft I did with my son, a new recipe I tried out. It can just be anything.

Here you can read my last list of “Sparks of Joy”

So now, my list of things that have sparked some Joy and given me a thrill these past months!

  1. Dumplings! This is a brand new craving that I have developed during the COVID lockdown. I tried making some myself, but they were just not the same. So enjoying lot’s of them, now the restrictions have eased. My favorite spot in Antwerp, up until now, is a Bah Mei in the Antwerp Chinese district. I dare you to find me an even better one!
  2. Wine! Now that we are spending more time at home, why not with a nice bottle of vino? Loving this new-found wine called Dark Horse. I actually bought it for my miss 26yo, because of the horse on it of course…turned out to be actually good.
  3. Corky Masks! Now that the new fashion fad is face masks, I have quite a collection now. Two of my favorites is one that I bought on Etsy. And a vegan/sustainable one made out of cork, from a local store called Captain Cork.
  4. Favorite toy bough this past month is for sure the new Super Mario Lego set! I already know what I’m getting my little mister for Sinterklaas.
  5. Nice inviting smells are major “Sparks of Joy” for me, so my all-time favorite reed diffuser is from Atelier Rebul, the Istanbul. But will be trying a new one out next month.
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✨Het verhaal achter de kurken mondmaskers✨ . ➡️Toen covid19 in maart echt begon te woekeren en de drastische maatregelen van de lockdown werden opgelegd was dit ook voor Captain Cork een donderslag bij heldere hemel. . ➡️Ik was verplicht om de winkel in de Hoogstraat te sluiten. Net na de moeilijke retailmaanden januari en februari. Net nu de lente in aantocht was, mensen meer gingen winkelen, terrasjes doen, het toerisme dat op gang kwam. . ➡️Ik wist dat ik heel snel moest schakelen om mijn ‘kop boven water’ te houden. De vaste kosten bleven door lopen maar de inkomsten waren plots verdwenen. . 😷 Snel ontstond het idee om van de kurkstoffen mondmaskers te maken. Ik ben immers zeer bekend met het materiaal en ik was er van overtuigd dat de kenmerken en eigenschappen van kurk zich uitstekend zouden lenen voor mondmaskers. . 🌱W Vergeet ook niet dat kurken stoppen gebruikt worden in de voedingsindustrie, de strengst gecontroleerde industrie op vlak van volksgezondheid. . 😷We hebben wel tot 500 maskers gedoneerd om mensen kennis te laten maken met onze kurken maskers en om op basis van hun feedback ons ontwerp bij te stellen en te perfectioneren. . 😷Ontwerpen, prototypes, uittesten … einde maart werden onze maskers al geproduceerd. Maar we kwamen net te vroeg. . ❗Onze maskers haalde zelfs het Portugese prime time nieuws voor hun duurzaamheid, veiligheid en luchtigheid. Toen de Belgische overheid het gebruik van mondmaskers ging aanbevelen en zelfs verplichten op het openbaar vervoer kwam voor mij de kentering. . 🎉Mijn maskers kregen fantastische reviews, haalden meermaals de pers en zelfs bedrijven gingen ze in grote aantallen aankopen voor hun personeel. Zelfs dokters, verpleegkundigen en ander medisch personeel waren overtuigd en kochten de kurken maskers aan. Momenteel worden ze zelfs tot in California aangekocht. . . 😷Hou jij van luchtig, ademend, anti allergeen en licht? Koop dan snel je kurken mondmasker. . . 👇Fashionable kleuren of course

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That was it for this past month. Looking forward to discovering new and fun things. Drop me a line if you want me to try something out.

Hugs!

Must have: Atelier Rebul Istanbul Reed diffuser

I love pleasant smells.

Ever since I was a child you could find me sniffing at the fabric softener bottles in the grocery store while the parents were shopping.

And every time that I would come across lavender outside, I would pinch my fingers over the blossoms and smell my fingers.

Or walking into the Lush store makes me want to buy up all the bath bombs…

Must have: Atelier Rebul Istanbul Reed diffuser

I’m pretty sure that it releases dopamine in my head.

My favorite way to scent my home

Reed stick diffusers are my favorite, cheap or expensive – I’ve tried a lot of different types. In the end, I decided to invest in more expensive reed diffusers.

Cheap turned out to be expensive, considering that you tend not to smell much after a few days, or even hours, with the cheap reed diffusers.

So…

I googled “best selling reed diffusers”

I was already familiar with Rituals. I love many of their products and have bought the large reed diffusers a few times before. But I felt like the smell got lost way before it should have.

So I wanted to try something different and some brands came up regularly. When I looked up some of the recommended brands (including Atelier Rebul), I found them way too pricey for me to just take the risk and buy a reed diffuser online.

But then one day I walked into the washroom of a local lunch spot and I was hit by this incredible scent.

I took a picture so that I would remember the name. I forgot to switch the sound off on my phone, I’m hoping that nobody heard me taking these pictures in the toilet stall. Ha!

Must have : Atelier Rebul Istanbul Reed Diffuser
The picture I took of my must have Atelier Rebul Reed Diffuser

Atelier Rebul Istanbul reed diffusers.

On bol.com they were priced at 35 euro, I thought that it was pricey, it’s ten euro more than my previously loved Rituals reed diffusers.

Must have: Atelier Rebul Reed Diffusers

But the scent left such an impact on me that I decided to give it a try.

It’s been three weeks now and the bottle is only 1/3 empty and the smell is still as wonderful as the first time I smelled it. I haven’t even turned the reeds over yet.

So this is a must-have! I would recommend this one to anyone and will I will be certainly giving this as a gift in the future!

If you don’t want to take the risk (and trust me :0 ) Check this link out the see if a store near you sells the products from Atelier Rebul.

The story behind Atelier Rebul

Must have: Atelier Rebul Istanbul Reed diffuser

Making the list

I’m curious as to the other scents that Atelier Rebul has to offer so I will be visiting their shop soon. Plus, I want to buy their Istanbul scented candle.

In the meantime, the Atelier Rebul Istanbul Reed Diffusers will be on my next “Sparks of Joy” post.

Lemme know what you think or have any other suggestions.

Unique kids birthday places around Antwerp

Unique kids birthday places around Antwerp

Unique kids birthday places?

This is a frequently asked question from many of my “mom” Facebook groups. We are all looking for that one unique birthday party. No indoor playgrounds (I really hate those), no “let’s just wing it” home birthday parties where the only thing planned was the decorations and cake. (the kids will entertain themselves, right?)

Well, look no further, I have collected here for you loving parents, a list of interesting and unique birthday party ideas for your little special person.

Who’s afraid of Red, Yellow & Blue – Antwerp city

For those little creative souls out there, this place certainly will catch one’s eye.

  • A place where fun and creativity come together.
  • Where an artist’s studio and fine foods merge.
  • Somewhere you can experience a wide range of creative workshops not only children but for adults as well.
  • Here you also enjoy art events every week, such as film evenings, vernissages, and performances.

For the birthday parties, there is a workshop, cake, time to open presents, and even room for free play!

Just contact Nena to see what offers they have that might suit your needs @ Who’s afraid of Red, Yellow & Blue!

Party for kids @home

With Party for kids, you can create your own birthday party by:

Choosing from all kinds of themes and choosing from various additional activities like baking cupcakes, dance party, funny hairdos…the list is impressive.

This company can also provide extra party food.

They equally have options for entertainment, watching over the children, decoration, and of course a present for the birthday kid.

So if you are looking for something fun for at home, without the mess, this website needs a visit from you.

Visit it here @ Party for kids

Unique kids birthday places around Antwerp

Zelda Zorro – Oud Berchem

Zelda & Zorro want to make parents life easier!

They do this by providing workshops for children’s birthday’s in an extremely beautiful setting. It’s building (the former justice of the peace) is situated in the hip “Oud-Berchem” neighborhood.

I just love the workshop themes they have. Workshops like making slime monsters, a jewelry-making workshop. Just such wonderful ideas, even a “designer” workshop for the little fashionista’s. LOVE!

Sprookjespad/ Fairytale path – Brasschaat

The Fairytale Path is a magical walk through park De Mik. During the walk, an experienced guide guides the children to a fantasy world with stories, songs, and games.

The activity lasts about two hours and starts at the Mikerf petting zoo, goes through the park and around the pond to the listed tower gate, where the children can stay for half an hour in the beautiful wishing tower.

There is a sweet little tavern where they sell pancakes or ice cream, but you need to book it separately. But my preference would be having a picnic at the lake with a view over the castle and tower. The children will love this!

Book the walk here : Sprookjespad

Book the pancakes & ice cream here : Mikerf Kinderboerderij

Zoo van Antwerpen / Zoo van Planckendael – Mechelen

Due to the measures taken concerning the coronavirus, birthday parties can not be booked. The parks however are open.

We have done this one too. My son loves the zoo and I though that it was the perfect idea.

You can choose between the toddler safari and the Creepy Creatures theme.

You have a guide who will explain all you want to know about the animals, and the walk ends with pancakes and a drink!

My son even receive a turtle stuffed toy.

I did find it pricey and we were hoping to have a close up of the animals or something special, but it was just a guided (well-guided) walk around. I might be picky, probably because we are proud owners of year passes and visit a lot so it did not feel much different from our other visits.

But still a great idea for the animal lovers! And we love the Zoo all year round.

You can find more info here : Zoo van Antwerpen or the Planckendael Zoo

So here you have it, my list of unique kids birthday places around Antwerp

If you liked my ideas, have a look at my other posts I wrote about fun things to do with kids in and around Antwerp!

Have any other unique fun ideas? Drop them in the comments below please! <3