Is het waar dat tegenwoordig wij als klanten de ‘koning’ or ‘koningin’ zijn? Helaas niet vaak is mijn ervaring. Het lijkt alsof tegenwoordig dat het men totaal niet kan schelen hoe je klanten wel of niet behandelen.
En natuurlijk heb ik een voorbeeld: Ik ben een fan van de Ibiza Markten en deze zomer hebben er een aantal plaatsgevonden vlakbij waar ik woon. De eerste was in Stellendam en ik ging lekker lunchen bij Basta (mijn favoriet restaurant) op dit moment en langs te markt. Ik kocht een paar ‘hebben’ dingen en een hele mooie jurk. ‘One size fits all’ werd en gezegd en inderdaad het klopt. Ik was zo enthousiast dat ik had afgesproken om met mijn familie naar de markt de gaan bij Brunotti Beach Club in Oostvoorne. Heerlijk lunch gehad en langs alle kramen gelopen en ik zag nog een jurk, echter mijn ding, turkoois en crèmekleurig met glitters in het stof. Ik heb betaald met de pin (tikkie) en was superblij. Bij het thuiskomen was de gezegde ‘one size fits all’ helaas niet zo. De jurk was zo nauw dat ik kreeg het niet aan. En wat dan, gekocht op de markt en hoe verder. (zie fotos).
Ik heb contact opgenomen met de organisator van de Ibiza markt een superaardig vrouw, Vanessa die wat vragen had. Welke jurk, hoe ziet het eruit, hoe duur, en waar heb je het gekocht. Dat allemaal teruggestuurd en afgesproken dat ik met de jurk naar de volgende markt zou komen in Dinteloord. Helaas was dit niet mogelijk voor mij om dat ik precies op die ochtend mijn hond moest laten inslapen en mijn gedachten van verdriet waren op dat moment niet bij markten of jurken.
Nogmaals contact gehad met Vanessa en afgesproken dat ik afgelopen vrijdag 6 augustus 2023 naar de laatste markt van het seizoen zou komen, wederom in Oostvoorne en bij aankomst ‘vragen waar ze was’?
Gevonden natuurlijk en wij kwamen achter dat deze kraamhoudster (Mood22 uit Noordwijk) was niet komen opdagen, ze hadden geen zin en had min of meer niet voldoende afgezegd bij de organisatie. Niet erg beleefd zou je zeggen!
Vanessa wist ook geen raad meer en gaf me informatie, telefoonnummers, e-mails, website enz. van Mood 22 uit Noordwijk. Dit is gewoon een winkel in Noordwijk!
Eind van dezelfde middag kwam ik in contact met een of andere Sjul en via WhatsApp heb ik alles uitgelegd en gezegd wat mijn probleem was. Nou, jammer dan mevrouw je had het moeten ruilen binnen 14 dagen en wij kunnen niets meer voor je betekenen! Ruilen waar dan?
Ik vroeg waarom ze niet naar de markt was gekomen maar ik werd afgesnauwd met de woorden, dat zij hoeft geen verantwoording aan mij af te leggen en jahoor, dat is juist, het was een vraag. Meer niet!
Het komt hierop neer, ze zijn blij om je geld aan te nemen voor een jurk (of product) maar verlenen daarna nul komma nul service.
In totaal heb ik op de markten diverse jurken gekocht maar nooit problemen gehad.
Een heel vriendelijk meisje van een andere kraam vertelde dat zij ook de jurken hadden verkocht en ja, Italiaanse merk, en die vallen heel klein. Ze hadden de jurk ook nog, maar die was inmiddels afgeprijsd voor de helft (i.v.m. eind van het seizoen). Logisch.
Zou je niet kunnen denken dat het moment dat ik stond te betalen bij Mood 22 (Sjul or Joy) de naam weet ik niet meer, dan ze hadden kunnen zeggen, kijkend naar mijn mate, ‘pas op dit model valt klein!’ Dat wisten ze wel. Nee, natuurlijk niet het gaat alleen over verkopen, geld ontvangen en nihil service richting de klanten.
Hier zijn de gegevens van Mood22 als je ook slachtoffer bent geweest net zoals ik van een miskoop.
Eerst werd gezegd in de WhatsApp ‘ruilen is niet mogelijk’ en later ‘ruien moet binnen 14 dagen’ (ik citeer uit haar eigen woorden).
Nou Mood22 ‘even in de spotlight’, hoe klantonvriendelijk jullie zijn. Dit was een jurk van Euro 74,95 (terwijl andere jurken op de Ibiza markt aanzienlijk goedkoper zijn en nog zo mooi).
Ik hoop dat mijn pad nooit meer met die van jullie ooit zou kruisen.
Stelletje idioten! Nogmaals de klant is altijd ‘koning’ or ‘koningin’.
Tenslotte wil ik geen enkele kritiek richting Vanessa van Ibiza Markt. Zij was heel aardig en probeerde mij enorm te helpen. Ik hoop dat ze volgende jaar denkt: Mood22 nodigen wij niet meer uit. Maar daar ga ik niet over!
A LOT OF REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER THINK OF BUYING AN EMMA BED!!
It was just after Christmas 2022 and the 4th January 2023 when I saw an advertisement for a complete EMMA BED (limited Orange Edition). The offer comprised of the bed frame (metal), the mattress, two pillows, a duvet and bed linen. Very special offer, you know the type ‘hurry whilst stocks last’ and as I needed a new bed for the spare room, I placed my order. Thank God in retrospect I choose for payment with Klarna in three installments.
Huge savings, normal price Euro 1885,71 with savings of Euro 1000, so it was going to cost Euro 885,71. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Almost too good to be true. And that was certainly the case!
As I write this blog, now the19th July 2023, more than a half year later, I can tell you this.
In retrospect the advertisement was misleading, because in the main, EMMA did not have any stocks. It has taken months for all the parcels to be delivered and I had to personally chase up the final one, which had been just dumped at totally different address.
Apart from the fact that EMMA are, in my opinion, totally useless, the delivery people they use may even be worse. These days, courier services like GLS, DPD and sadly even DHL have dreadful drivers who have one criteria when they deliver. As quick as possible, lack of attention, signatures that are made by them on delivery and its awful to say, usually by people who don’t or can’t even speak Dutch (I live in The Netherlands).
With the increasing demand for online shopping caused mainly by the Corona crisis, companies found that they had to go to all lengths to find delivery companies and the service we had a while ago, is certainly not the case now. I will give you another example. I recently ordered a new kitchen dinner service which was going to be delivered by one of the aforementioned companies and I opened my front door as I had heard the van drive up and the delivery man literally dropped my parcel about 5 meters from the front door! Of course, I had to say something, seeing as the parcel was marked ‘fragile’ warning him that if anything was broken, he was on my camera surveillance! They don’t care of course and off he went.
But back to the Emma fiasco.
Thank goodness that I opted for the Klarna 3 installment option as I had paid only one installment and, in the meantime, have sent a load of emails to EMMA about where is the rest of the bed? ‘Ah, yes, sorry stock problems, we hope to get you delivery to you asap!’
To my mind asap is not 6 months. As I said in the beginning, this was a misleading advert because in actual fact they did not have any stock to send.
EMMA is by the way a German company located in Frankfurt.
I communicated with Klarna about this matter, and they stopped the payment plan until the matter is resolved, which I feel isn’t even now. I may have finally had all the parcels, which have been in boxes in my spare bedroom for months waiting for the final one to arrive (the mattress), so just imagine if I had needed this spare bed earlier than July??
I have complained to EMMA about their abdominal service and asked what are you going to do about this? The payment is still on hold, and I couldn’t believe it when I received an email this week. The usual blah blah about yes, they could understand my frustration (and that is putting it mildly believe you me!) and they were offering a Euro 60 compensation payment which will only be paid when everything is resolved. Read here when they have received the rest of the payment. That is downright insulting, Euro 60 comes down to Euro 10 a month for all that inconvenience.
I think that they should cancel one of the two outstanding payments for all the hassle I have had with them. The time I have spent writing emails and also actually chasing the final parcel which had been dumped by the courier at some camping on the island where I live. The fact that there is an address label with my details on and phone number, seems irrelevant, it’s a shame because they probably cannot read it anyway. Had a similar experience last week with a parcel from Amazon delivered by DHL and put in front of my gate at the end of the driveway where anyone could have picked it up and taken it without me knowing. Honestly, I give up.
I have spoken to Klarna in the chat and basically, they agree with me that this is very bad service, and it has taken far too long for the order to arrive.
It goes without saying that of course I will pay for the goods I order but this was diabolical, and it has taken half a year to fulfil my order!!
So be warned! Even though you may think: ‘wow what a good offer’, please realize that it will probably take months before you get it. Never ever pay in advance (just in case) and I do use Klarna a lot knowing that no payment is made until the product (s) have arrived and are OK.
We are faced at the moment with a lot of advertisements on all media which also include the ‘drop shippers. People running companies where they offer products at prices which seem like a good deal but in fact are all coming from China and from Ali Express/Wish and such like. And then compare said prices yourself. Something you may pay Euro 30 for actually costs Euro 3 and these shippers are making huge profits across our backs. Personally, I think this should be made illegal, because for one thing there is always an issue with quality. Obviously because how can you expect a product which costs Euro 3 to be good? Yes, some might be but not all.
So, my issue with EMMA is still unsolved. I have written yet another email to Mostafa saying that the compensation was insulting and come up with a better deal. No doubt, because he has done this before, he will ramble on about company policy (boring) and that will be all.
I wish I had never ordered this bed to be honest. Every time I see the packages up in my spare room, it makes my blood boil and then I have to smile when I think about the promises EMMA make saying: ‘if you buy an EMMA product like a mattress, have a free trial for 100 days and if not satisfied, full refund and return’. They must be joking; you would be extremely lucky if you have even received the product in 100 days.
Interesting theory depending on which context you think about this. You know that if you react to something, whatever it is that you are more than likely to provoke a reaction.
As I was about to start this blog, a quote came up on my phone which I think is quite relevant, from Eckhart Tolle: He says: “Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and becoming comfortable about not knowing”.
Hmm, true in a lot of cases.
My example today was going to be about a rather nasty email I received from someone over the weekend, and I suppose I must blame myself for provoking the reaction. I did not understand what was going on and said this in an email and to be honest I am a bit tired of the initiative always having to come from me in the first place. The last contact was in the winter of 2022, a birthday message from me to them, pretty normal you would think and despite the invitation to pop in for a cuppa, I declined as a thick November fog/mist was in my area and not exactly the day to get in the car and drive an hour just for a cuppa. I thanked them for the invite and explained the weather situation.
From that moment on, heard nothing more. I don’t understand and yes of course you are probably thinking I could have messaged, rung up or whatever, but why does the initiative always have to come from me. That is something I have noticed a lot recently that I am always the one sending messages etc.
So, as it is now 6 months later, I decided to send an email asking if I had done something wrong? It surprised me that after 20 odd years of friendship that there had been silence for so long, but should my conclusion be that the said friendship was over?
Yes, I know everyone is too busy now. Gone are the days when we wrote a letter, everything is digital these days and be honest, if we send an app, we almost expect an answer immediately. Yes?
I didn’t think that my email was particularly fiery and believe me I can write ones like that if I feel so inclined, more a questioning type of message. The reply I got a couple of days later, was so vile and vicious, that after one read, I binned it. Basically, it is all my fault, why I am still not sure, and I will spare you the details, but my hunch was right, the friendship has sort of fizzled out even though I was left with many questions. It was upsetting for sure, but the same day my horoscope predicted a very similar situation and told me that it was truly time to move on. And then came the thought, should I reply, or not?
Hence the title of this blog. If I had replied I would almost have been inviting a further reaction and to be honest one was enough. And I took the decision to just let it go.
Later same day I was working on some texts and came across something very similar. This is interesting and I think everyone can relate to this at the moment.
We as humans are evolving with huge rapidity. We have come out of an age where ‘suffering’ and ‘paying for your mistakes’ was a big issue. This made us all fearful and afraid of rejection. With the new age, it is not about this anymore. It is all about being your authentic self and sometimes even making yourself vulnerable. Isn’t that basically why you have friends? People you feel totally at ease with and can share your inner thoughts? I think so, maybe others don’t.
In the same email I mentioned above, I was accused of ‘lamenting’ so much about my personal situation, they felt there was no time to talk about their problems. This I thought was untrue, but hey, everyone has the right to their own opinion, but my suggestion is keeping your own opinion to yourself if it’s hurtful, it serves no purpose whatsoever to ‘reject’ another in the same way. That time is over! If we don’t realize this and keep going over the same ground again and again, we will continue to be stuck in the mud and make no growth at all.
The whole point is that we as humans and soul beings want to grow. That is why we came here and why we wanted to have the experience. As another friend of mine said: you can spend your life sitting in a chair or you can leap up and crash through all the barriers! May sound strange, but as long as you keep postponing your growth by not living your dream or desire, that is not ok.
So, what is your dream or desire? How do you achieve it? Many people ask themselves this question and try to answer from their minds and not their feelings. End result is that you may think you are in a transformation process, giving yourself a big pat on the back that you know better than the rest, but in fact you keep falling into the same pitfalls over and over again. There are no guidelines or instructions how to do this, you must feel and follow not only your heart but also your gut instinct. Don’t over complicate things but trying too hard, often just setting the intention is enough. No one has all the answers straightaway. Truly.
So, to come back to the beginning of my blog, another important thing is to realize if the people in your life, from family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues or whatever are no longer resonating with you, then you need to be brave and face up to it which is basically what Eckart Tolle says in his quote. We may all be on a journey but that doesn’t say we are at the same station or even on the same train, theoretically. Our life path is personal, and some run all the way and with success too, whilst others go at a much slower pace. Nothing is wrong or right. You just need to be true to your feeling.
It’s been a very strange week and a bit of an eye-opener to be honest one way and another. So, I will share my story with you in the hope that it might inspire you or others to look completely differently at a conflict situation.
Where I live there have been ‘problems’ with the Residents’ Association (RA) for as long as I can remember. In a mixed nationality community where language is often the biggest issue, it is so easy to create, make and remain in conflict situations, so much so at the end of several years you really can’t even remember what it was all about.
I had become so complacent about this RA that I had taken the attitude more or less, ‘oh so what let them all get on with it’ and had stopped even going to the annual meetings.
Of course, there was an awful atmosphere all the time, because all of you can remember I am sure a game we used to play as kids, called Chinese Whispers? Remember? It is telling a short sentence in a group and then whispering to the person next to you and going around until the circle is complete. A short sentence like “I have a red ball”, can often come to an end with ‘I have a purple giraffe”. This is because we all have filters not only in the way we perceive or hear something but more how we then make our own interpretation. I think basically this was what was wrong with our RA and of course language difficulties were present too. And you know how people just love to gossip! Some even thrive on it.
I had always considered myself to be a friend of one of the people who lives here and when my husband died, he was, without any doubt, absolutely a great help. After 40 years of having everything literally taken out of my hands, I was totally hopeless with any form of DIY and to be honest did not have a clue. He helped me and I was, of course, extremely grateful for the help and said that on many occasions.
Then last summer his wife suddenly started to ignore me, if I walked past, turning her back or going inside. In other words, doing absolutely everything she could to just avoid me full stop. I asked her husband several times, ‘what is the matter, is she ill’? (Actually, meaning is she going a bit dement?) And he replied that she had a communication/contact disorder! Ok I thought, so be it.
Then I spoke to him just before Christmas and then the same thing happened again, and I knew he was purposely avoiding me at all costs. He used to ‘pop in’ regularly a couple of times a week and then ‘zilch’, he never came anymore, which was OK, and I was extremely busy with a lot of things, including picking up my life alone once more and creating opportunities to meet other people, learning Bridge every week and all in all – expanding my boundaries.
So, it is now mid-March and I have neither seen or spoken to him since before Christmas which is to put it mildly a bit strange. But then came the confrontation. He was at our communal letter box, collecting mail and I was on the way out with my dog who then walked past with his lead in such a way I had to stop. And of course, seeing eyes that were literally spitting fire I asked – when are you going to be brave and tell me what the matter is? Which is a perfectly normal conversation isn’t it? I honestly wish I had never asked and untangled the dog’s lead and walked on because the conversation that then happened was just dreadful and he was shouting and swearing and accusing me of such ridiculous things, I then began to think, maybe he is becoming dement too?) He was ‘f-ing and blinding’ and in such a fit of rage he was literally shaking, and I began to realize that he is as mad as a hatter and that I should move on. It was when he brought my own daughter into the conversation and accused her too that I was so angry I thought, I must walk on before I really want to ‘clock him’ one! (Which I would not have done of course, but you know the feeling I am sure).
This resulted in a couple of sleepless nights for me, mulling over what had been said and I will tell you that if I had done anything wrong, which I hadn’t, I would be the first to say that and sorry too.
So, what next? More sleepless night and then my daughter suggested try and have a conversation. Er I don’t think so, one time in a week was more than enough, so I plucked up courage and went to have a chat with the Chairperson of our RA.
It was not an easy conversation to start or even continue, considering the atmosphere which has been going on here for years, but I kept to the present day moment and every time anything from the past was mentioned, repeated, I did not come here to talk about the past and who did what, I came to just tell you this has happened to me and I have been unfairly accused of something I did not do and my daughter did not do either. I felt a bit threated to be honest and said so.
This conversation went on for more than an hour and I stood there firmly not getting drawn into any other subjects like ‘ he said this, he said that and so on’, just my own story and my feelings about it and I did say that I honestly felt that I had seriously misjudged my so-called friend over the years, because on reflection, he had always been involved in each and every conflict situation. And yes, come on, don’t we all know better by now? That as long as we keep dealing with one another in duality, conflict, anger, blame etc. etc., then this world is never going to improve one iota, is it?
At the end of the conversation I said, thank you for your time and for listening and she said that she thought I was extremely brave to come and talk and that it was time to let ‘bygones be bygones’, and we shook hands. We don’t have to be having coffee with one another every five minutes, but at least the end situation is, the RA know and if there are problems, I can let them know.
As I walked away and said thank you again, I came home with the feeling that a huge turning point had been reached. It has not solved the problems with the man I talked about in my story or his wife, but it is more than obvious that he is a troublemaker and always involved in any conflict situation and some of the stories are quite awful, which I won’t go into.
So, my advice what to do in a long standing, ever brewing conflict situation is this: Be brave, be courageous and take the first step. I could have had the door slammed in my face, but that did not happen (thankfully). It is in your best interests to honestly share your vulnerability and say sorry. You cannot change the past but at least you can make an effort to put the past in the past, where it belongs and agree to move forward from this NOW moment and try to improve situations which have been festering for years.
Not easy, believe me! But I think it the only way forward and I am sure that a lot of you reading this, will find yourselves in similar situations and it all ends up in unnecessary stress and sleepless nights, when you could have done things maybe differently.
Saying sorry or admitting that you were wrong is one of the hardest things to do but if you are brave and do it, it leads to respect that you were courageous and honest and apologized and took the initiative to move forward. Isn’t that the best solution then?
Oh, weer een blog in het Nederlands, doe ik niet zo vaak, maar ik heb deze week zo geërgerd aan het Klantenservice van Riviera Maison en waarom? Het lijkt alsof sommige bedrijven het woord ‘klantenservice’ zijn compleet vergeten.
Ik heb twee karaffen (voor vino en aqua) en ik dacht ik fris ze even op in de vaatwasser, op eco-stand notabene.
Eindresultaat: de kleine karaf heeft geen tekst meer en de tekst op de grote is scheef op een kant. Zie foto hieronder.
Ik denk, ik stuur een email en bel met Klantenservice. Krijg e.e.a. Lars (van Back Office Sales) aan de lijn en leg uit wat er aan de hand is en dat ik geen bon meer heb. ‘Oh mevrouw geen enkel probleem, dat kan niet’ zegt hij, ‘wij lossen het netjes voor je op’, en is super verbaasd (lees beledigd) als ik vraag, zijn de letters dan stickers? ‘Nee, absoluut niet’.
Ik stuur per email wat foto’s en hier komt het dan: –
Hij mailt terug om te zeggen dat hij niets voor mij kan doen zonder een koopbon en nogmaals zeg ik voor de derde keer, ik heb geen bon!!!
Intussen in de chat met RM via Messenger. Ik vind het vreemd in de eerste instantie, zegt hij zondermeer het probleem op te lossen en nu ineens, is er een probleem, (lees tussen de woorden, zij willen en kunnen niets doen). Ja, is het probleem dat de karaffen niet zo chique zijn en exclusief als RM wil je doen geloven. Het is te gek dat de letters verdwijnen na een beurt in de vaatwasser, en ze zeggen dat ze vaatwasser bestendig zijn.
Eerlijk gezegd vind ik het ronduit belachelijk dat na heel veel heen en weer gaan, dat het op neer komt dat ze niets voor mij kunnen betekenen. Tot op gegeven moment dat ik het zo zat was, dat ik zei: ik gooi ze in de glasbak want het zijn geen goedkope producten. Geen karaffen van de ‘favoriete winkel van ons allemaal’ waar de prijzen normaal zijn! En notabene de producten best wel goed zijn, nietwaar?
Weet het niet zeker maar de prijs van de grote is Euro 34,95 en de kleine Euro 19,95.
Exclusief: nee niet dus.
Ik vertel Lars in mijn laatste email dat ik zeer zeker een blog gaan schrijven op mijn website hierover. Wie het leest, ja, dat is niet het punt. Ik heb enorm veel volgers en mij idee is om andere te waarschuwen, kijk uit met RM-producten ze zijn niet zo geweldig als je denkt.
Zelf heb ik een best wel grote collectie en noot problemen gehad, gelukkig want aan Klantenservice heb je geen bal.
…. Kwaliteit Uitermate teleurstellend is het toch?
Have you noticed, like me, that it seems to be a ‘free for all’ when it comes to writing a comment on posts on all social media. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and others.
What is the reason for this?
Well, first of all it is becoming almost ridiculous what people are actually posting. They seem to believe we want to be such a part of their lives that we see them almost daily with their messages of ‘Good Morning Besties’, photos of them just out of the shower, showing far too much body. Down at the gym, sweating and puffing and panting in reels (which seems to be the latest tool on social media). What they have eaten, when and where, what they are doing, almost 24/7 and I ask myself time and time again, as recipients, do we actually care?
As I have mentioned so many times there are so many fakes and scammers lurking in the shadows of social media, praying on their next victim and believe me they will go to any length imaginable to attract your attention, flatter you, send lovey-dovey messages, all in the hope that you will start to trust them before they drop the bombshell of needing financial support. You know, I have said it all before, and if in this day and age you fall for this rubbish, I can only say, I am sorry. But come on wake up, enough people are warning about this.
But I think we also should turn our attention to these ‘IRRITATING’ Instagram Influencers, who spend their lives not actually working but going from one exotic place to another, pictures of yet another swimming pool, a beach, another floating breakfast in the pool and generally being pampered all for free because and only because they have a significant number of followers. Personally, I think it is very stupid indeed when they involve their children in these posts too. We have all heard of the ‘dark web’ and how many creepy people are lurking there, waiting to use photos of children for very evil purposes.
But my blog was about Social Shaming and that it seems to be a ticket to say what you like to who you like. Whether you know them or not, is totally relevant and it becomes a free for all to have a damned good bitch about this and that. Irrespective of how they feel when they read it.
A great example might be of all the interest surrounding Novak Djokovic. Who after all is a very nice genuine guy but literally anything he posts (or his management) say about winning his recent 22nd Grand Slam Title in the Australian Open, then becomes a channel for all and sundry to rant on relentless. What is the reason. Jealousy? The fact that in these times people in general cannot deal with others who are perhaps a bit better off in life than them?
It is a question to which I think no one has the answers, but time and time again I ask why.
You will remember the famous quote from the Disney film – Bambi (I have said it many times).
‘If you can’t say nothing nice about anyone, don’t say nothing at all’.
This is what Thumper the rabbit says to Bambi. And how much truth is there in this. Answer a lot.
Just suppose you read something on the socials and then make a rude bitchy comment, do you ever think that the person who reads it is ever going to reply? Would you? No of course not, you would probably delete and report if necessary if it was that awful. So why the need to do it in the first place? That is what baffles me!
What is the drive inside that makes you even want to comment or even more so, why are you wasting your time following these people. Some of them we actually turn ourselves into icons and we crave to literally follow every single move and then I come back once more to my thought, why do we care? Is it that we would like to model our own lives of their success.
You know that all the big brand names are going to shower these people with expensive things, like handbags, shoes, clothes, jewelry in the hope that they will promote to all their followers. So, you as a follower are making sure that they receive even more freebies, trips to luxury resorts, stay in hotels, dinners at the best restaurants. Some of which may be on our own bucket lists as a dream that we would like to fulfil, for example a holiday in the Maldives and these blasted influencers go almost every year, because they want to shoot more ‘content’ for us. Isn’t it ridiculous when you think about it? Every time they offer you a special discount in their name, it ensures that they get even more and believe me the prices will be such that in fact you don’t get any discount at all. Virtually every single internet site offers you discount on all products, anyway, so why feather the nest of the influencer even more.
Of course, many of you may be thinking, well hell, get off social media then! A good thought but there are things you like to follow, for instance your own family, genuine friends who you know. Not some vague name, who is probably using stolen photos anyway.
Why are we so stupid? How many more times do we have to talk about this? And couldn’t we all be doing something much more worthwhile than spending our time social shaming. Just ask yourself, would you say that to someone face to face? Probably not.
You may not like them, and I can think of a lot who I personally find totally pathetic, but when push comes to shove, you are following them, and it almost becomes an addiction to know what they are up to each and every day. As I said, I don’t care. Vague influencers trigger absolutely nothing in me. It is boring, tedious, and sometimes pathetic.
My plea would be to you dear reader, stop following, stop making comments, it is just fueling the fire and they benefit not you. Does it make you feel better for writing some nasty comment calling them names and accusing them of things. Do you think that they are worth it?
We all need to think that if we want to make this world a better place, that we should have more respect and share and give people more love instead of shafting them up with social media shaming. And of course, you are not expected to like literally everyone. Feel who resonates with your own energy and who not and just let those who do not go. With love.
Most important of all is listen to what your heart tells you and act accordingly. Whatever you think of these ‘socialites’ remember that they are a person too. You neither have to like them nor hate them. It is not an excuse ever, to social shame. Just imagine how you would feel if people wrote that to you too?
Get choosey, delete people who you don’t know personally, believe me it is the best way and remember my all-time favorite phrase:
Be aware of what you share!
It is absolutely not trendy to have loads of followers, or to be a follower of the influencers who have millions. You can like and respect someone for sure. But it is never a free pass to social shame.
It’s a brand-new day, dear friends, followers, subscribers, and like-minded people. A brand-new moment, a brand-new month, a brand-new year.
I thought I would write my first blog in 2023 and tell you about something I did yesterday, something I have never done before. I went to a Cacao Ceremony. It was actually my Christmas present from my daughter, and it seemed like the perfect day 31st December 2022 to do something like that. So, a very early start as it’s recommended that you participate with an empty stomach. I walked my dog before leaving and it was really dark outside and pouring with rain. In some or other way, even though we are all fed up with the wet weather, its cleansing. That is what I tell myself anyway, each and every time I have to go out in the rain!
Arriving at a little shop in Sommelsdijk, called ‘Moment for Yourself’, it is a little bit like stepping into a magic box. The place is filled with beautiful crystals and all sorts of things that you can imagine you could spend several hours here, before you had actually seen everything on offer.
As soon as everyone had arrived, 6 people, we went through the shop across a small courtyard into a house. This is such a beautiful old property which stretches from The Ring to the street behind and oh so quaint. The table was decorated beautifully, with candles burning and cups containing 100% ceremonial cacao for the actual ceremony itself. After normal introductions, a cleansing with a smudge stick of sage, we then experienced something I have never done before, smudging with wood which is carefully harvested called palisander. You set fire to the sticks, then blow them out and the glowing embers elude a beautiful smoke which smells like … hmmm how can I describe, like perfumed wood. Just magical.
Our hosts Bastiaan and Karin explained what the ceremony would entail and that the cacao in our cups is harvested in Guatemala, by women, by hand. This is not your normal cacao bean, used in many popular brands of chocolate bars, but 100 percent pure. Handpicked, dried, and crushed. The scent from the cup itself smells creamy and chocolately, which seems a silly thing to say, but considering the purity, one would imagine that the bitterness would be present, but not in the smell.
After listening to a beautiful prayer and some music, we added water to our cups, cold at first to create a paste and then hot water. There was biological honey to add if you found the taste too bitter. Those of you who have used high percentage chocolate in cooking or eating for that matter will know that it is more bitter the higher the percentage. Incomparable to chocolate bars like Cadbury’s or Milka, which probably contains only 6% cacao in fact!
Then more music with very poignant words, there was something special added and that was tincture of Blue Lotus. If you like me thought that the normal lotus flowers are pink, there are blue ones too. There was also dried delicate flowers on the table and then theme was ‘Releasing’. Releasing everything you wanted to say farewell to at the end of 2022 and get ready to step into the New Year with renewed vigor and energy.
The first taste of the cacao was quite bitter but the spices which had been added too, gave an almost peppery taste, the after taste as they say when tasting wine, and people then go on to describe fruits and flowers.
The second sip, which you help in your mouth for a moment, was not bitter at all, how strange is that and how quickly does your palate adapt when trying something special like this cacao?
Taking part in a ceremony like this can bring a lot of emotions to the surface and this is important too. Never ever feel ashamed if tears well up in your eyes, it is a release and this was the theme of the day and just remember this, if you laugh so much you cry with laughing, everyone thinks it’s amusing, but when tears of sadness come up, everyone doesn’t really know where to look as it is very easy if you are a highly sensitive person to be pulled in energetically as well. Important to remain centered our host says, wrapping a warm cozy blanket around our shoulders and offering comfort to those who need it. It was very touching indeed believe me.
As you come to the end of your cup and have added warm water a couple of times to drink everything up, you are asked to write down the things you want to release on paper. When you have finished, add dried sage, and then scrunch up into a ball. As luck would have it, the rain had stopped for a fire to be lit and ceremonially we threw our paper into the fire and watched it burn. The scent of sage filled the air and plumes of white smoke emerged from the crackling fire. I found this very moving to be honest, realizing that all the things I had written down had literally been enveloped in the flames and burn away. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust and like magic – gone!
Back inside there was now time for more general talking and we looked at several of the crystals on the table. There was a beautiful quartz Merkabah (Metatron’s Cube) crystal which my own daughter turned between her fingers. She has always been able to do that just like her daughter seems to have such energy in her hands too, crystals literally break into pieces! Quite unusual and everyone had a go. The secret is not to focus on making the crystal turn between your fingers, just to hold it loosely and focus on the energy within. Trying to make it turn with your mind doesn’t work, and if you hold it too tightly it will not move at all.
Then it was time to write a letter to ourselves, seal and address an envelope and give it to Karin. It will come by post at some stage, but it was a letter that you begin with Dear …. And the letterhead had the words ‘Believe in Yourself’.
I think it is important to mention here that it was a very special group and as the ceremony comes to an end with a closing piece of music and words, I got the impression that no one wanted to leave. I felt that too and we chatted on until nearly midday (the ceremony takes 2 hours).
One thing is for sure that this group will definitely come together again in the New Year. We have so much to share with one another from our life experiences and work. I am looking forward to that a lot.
Leaving in the pouring rain and going back to my daughters for something to eat, I pondered on how I felt afterwards. The first word I came up with was ‘expanded’. I felt as if I could breathe much deeper and having had such a bad cough cold for nearly 4 weeks this was incredible believe me! But not only is my body ‘expanded’ my mind is too and I could let go of a lot of things, negative people and negative influences which have been holding me back this past year.
New Year’s Eve is not one of my most favorite evenings to be honest, so I went home, tidied up a bit and put more Christmas decorations into boxes and hoovered around. It seemed important to also create space and room in my own home, much as I love the decorations, the whole place looks so much tidier when it’s gone. Do you feel that too?
Yesterday evening I was going to watch a film and just sat with candles on and reflected on the day in general. I bought a piece of Lemurian quartz in the shop and to my amazement it had too small smooth surfaces which fitted exactly between my thumb and forefinger.
I walked my dog before the whole village goes mad with fireworks and then went to bed before midnight. I am not someone who wants to be out of the streets being deafened by loud bangs and overdrinking cheap champagne. I just wanted after this ceremony to be still within myself and realize that the words ‘Believe in Yourself’ are perhaps the most important you can say to yourself. I always remember the saying: ‘Seeing is Believing and Believing’ and that is very true too.
So, I can highly recommend if you actually want a ‘moment for yourself’ and you have the opportunity to participate in a Cacao Ceremony that I would just say – Do it! It is the best present you can give yourself and puts a lot of things into perspective.
I realize that many of my readers are not here in The Netherlands, but for those of you who are, this is the address:
Moment for Yourself
Westelijike Achterweg 44
3245 BJ Sommelsdijk
00 31 6 83 94 95 17
Bastiaan and Karin are perfect hosts and ensure that you have a wonderful experience. And it is also fun to meet their very friendly dog, Happy.
I am stepping into a new year today (1st January 2023) with such renewed vigor and energy. I shared a quote this morning on the socials which I will repeat here because it really says it all …
It’s a bit strange isn’t it really that 2 days in a year, everything goes completely insane? As the final month of the year appears, we are absolutely inundated with Christmas. The menu’s, the perfectly decorated house, Christmas Tree, Dinner Table where we will all stuff ourselves like all the turkeys that end up in the oven, and then collapse down on the sofa to watch ‘The Sound of Music’ for the millionth time. That is Christmas everyone. And no matter what has been going on for the rest of the year, this is the 2-day time slot to make everything perfect. And on all scores.
When I first came to live in The Netherlands a few decades ago, there was hardly anything to do with Christmas in the shops. People celebrated the children’s feast of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas, a Turkish born saint who lived in Spain) who travelled with his Moorish helpers (known as Black Peter’s) and brought oranges and presents for children. Nowadays it is considered highly racist to call his helpers – Black Peters – and many ‘movements’ are calling to abolish this now. Oh, come on, this is a celebration for children and not meant to be racist in any way whatsoever. People known as Moor’s (probably coming from Morocco) just had a slightly darker skin color and it is not racist or even suggestive of slavery at all.
I remember wandering around one the major shops in the Hague for Christmas decorations, my first Christmas (or I should say pre-Christmas) here. On the top floor one tiny department which had decorations and I remember buying a small tree somewhere as there weren’t Christmas Tree farms or lots in those days. Strange then how something which to me was so traditional (having been born in the UK) was so lacking over here.
And how things have changed over the years. The 5th of December Sinterklaas feast is not really celebrated a lot anymore. It is now full on into Christmas starting at the end of November. Nonstop Christmas music on Sky Radio, that I have gone almost dizzy ‘driving home around in circles for Christmas’ and ‘rocking myself around the Christmas Tree’. I must admit as a child I loved Christmas and all the build up to it. However, when you find out, (the biggest downer ever), that Santa Claus is a magical imaginary figure, in some or other way, the magic goes… or not? I believe in magic.
Magic is the catalyst to making miracles happen, that is what one of my friends says and I agree. It is good to have a little magic in our lives, living in the hurly fast pace burly lifestyle that we do. Shopping is now mostly all online. People don’t actually go to the shops to do their Christmas shopping, or do they? I know all of mine is done online these days, mainly because I don’t want to be in the crowds of grumpy bad-tempered shoppers. All food shopping ordered on time, online, you have to make sure early that you get your chosen delivery spot.
This year in the little village where I live there was a Christmas Market. A few stalls with Christmassy bits and pieces, and as Michael McIntyre says: ‘boiled red wine’ (Gluhwein) and nice things to eat. There were bouncy castles for the kids, a snowman, pony rides and the best of all, a ride with a horse pulling a sleigh. (on wheels of course as there was not any snow), but it had jingle bells ringing and it made me think of my carefree childhood once again. The tree lighting ceremony was late afternoon and village children had made baubles. It is almost as if you stepped into one of the Hallmark Christmas feel good movies, which we all have watched. Because, hey it’s December and the normal TV is such rubbish, we all want that feel good romcom moment, don’t we?
However, wouldn’t it be something to think about if Christmas and the feelings that go with it, were everyday each year. I don’t particularly mean the decorations but more the feeling of goodwill towards one another. Love towards one another and being kind and considerate to one another. I wonder how many of you will be sitting around your Christmas dinner table with relatives who you don’t either see for the rest of the year, or relatives you prefer never to see again? Weird, isn’t it?
All in all, I feel that there is so much negative energy in the global field. So much! Virtually nothing happens without a barrage of negative comments from literally everyone, because yes, we may have our own opinion, but do we have to write it down in public. By this I mean the slagging off that goes on on social media. How many times have you, like me, asked yourself, do you really want to be on the social media train. A constant flow of boring old adverts from drop shippers selling highly priced rubbish, which often never even turns up, or the endless Tik Tok reels of utterly boring Insta Influencers! Do we care? It seems that the majority do and follow avidly and I truly wonder why? Why don’t we put ourselves first. Learn to love ourselves again and then send out the vibe to others? Isn’t that the way forward out of this chaos? I think so.
This year I made several of my Christmas wreaths, which I love to do, I find a different theme every year, then out into the garden with my secateurs, collecting greenery and berries, then wind it all around a straw wreath and decorate with baubles, tinsel, lights, and ribbons. A few of my friends and family love them and are grateful but this year I have been surprised that some have not even said ‘thank you’. Is that now the norm? Well not the way I was brought up for sure.
This year has also been a year of getting used to the fact that we lost a family member last year just at the end of November. This is a traumatic thing, and the circumstances are not relevant for this story, apart from one thing: it’s your biggest wakeup call ever! Why?
Well in my experience and for my family too, a death is a bit like taxes (remember the famous line from ‘Meet Joe Black’ about death and taxes?). It is something that we prefer to sweep under the carpet and not talk about anymore. Not us as a family or even me, but people in our lives who we considered friends or good neighbors and now you never hear from them again. There will be some people reading this blog and suddenly think does she mean me? Yes, I do! My conclusion is then, do they care, answer no, they are so caught up in their own little lives, and even worse (and some dear friend mentioned this to me recently), you suddenly become a ‘threat’ … you are thinking a threat? Yes, for sure, because when jealousy suddenly rears its head, then people act even more strange. Of course, there are people in my life who have been extremely loyal and taken care of me and my family, but to be honest I think I could count them on one single hand. And I would say here openly: thank you for your love and friendship because you cared! You know who you are.
It is a sad example isn’t it of how these times are. We are all in some sort of crisis and some much worse than others, but shouldn’t this be the time when we are waking up and thinking about one another, instead of ourselves. I wonder how many people know the Christmas story of the meaning of it. Religion is not the issue here, as I realize some faiths don’t celebrate, but the whole point is the word HOPE. The Christmas Story is all about hope. I recently told my granddaughter about the story and bought her a small wooden Christmas Manger from Little Dutch, a toy company over here and yes, we have watched the Christmas movies together when she is here, that the magic of it all can sparkle in her eyes too. I have taught her simple songs, like Jingle Bells because in some or other way, the bells ringing in December just mean Christmas, don’t they?
All the major supermarkets have tear-jerking advertisements of how we should behave at Christmas, but it all begins with you. Just one simple little action helping another and maybe giving someone a hug, or a listening ear is all it needs. All it needs to make someone not only feel wanted but appreciated too. But why only on these two days, why not every single day of the year. To my mind this is the only way forward.
I am fed up with the back-stabbing and horrid comments I keep reading on the socials, so much so that I don’t want to read anymore and seriously think that my New Year’s Resolution should be, delete the lot. Wouldn’t it mean so much more to be giving rather than taking. Rather than keep carping on about ‘the perfect lifestyle you lead’ and take the time to make someone else’s life just a little bit easier.
Think about this!
Shouldn’t we all make one single resolution for 2023 and that is; to pay more attention to one another, to help those in greater need. It doesn’t have to be anything big or small just a simple gesture of love and understanding and help if they need it.
Today I was waiting to see my GP and the lady opposite me was in tears. I offered her a tissue and then a peppermint to help her stop crying and she told me she had been crying non-stop for 2 days. 2 days I said!! I then went on to say, that crying is such a great release if you are penting up any feelings you would prefer to get rid of. It is strange isn’t it that crying with laughter is something everyone thinks is funny, but tears of sadness are something to be ashamed of??? As I left, she touched my arm and said, ‘thank you for caring’. It sort of made my day in a way. And this is exactly what I am talking about. Big or small is irrelevant, it is just caring.
Let’s stop all this negativity, let’s stop going on and on about things that probably truthfully don’t interest us at all. Let it go, as I said yes, have an opinion, but don’t feel obliged to share the hateful words on the socials, just for the sake of having to say something. Do something more useful. You will be able to look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself a pat on the back if you do.
Love begins with me, you, all of us, and then we can fuse the energy field around the world with positivity. Wouldn’t that make the world a much better place to live in? Of course, it would. Materialistic things are meaningless, it is the memories that count and make sure you can look back and think to yourself, I did my best!
So, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the very best for the New Year and hope you make it one to remember! ‘All you need is Love’ John Lennon sang!
It was an exceptionally warm sunny day in SaInt John in New Brunswick in Canada In the little gallery up one of the hilly streets, Fred and Malcolm were sitting in their usual place on one of the shelves by the window.
‘Malcolm, get ready’ Fred said. ‘I’ve heard that there are three cruise ships in town today and that means lots of people about and you never know they might come in here and see us. And even better, buy us and take us home’.
Malcolm fluffed up his chest and sat up straight.
‘Really, how do you know?’ he asked.
‘Overheard them talking by the cash desk’ Fred replied.
During the morning several people walked past and looked into the windows and one or two came into the gallery, but it was shortly after lunch that two women walked in.
‘Oh, just look at those two sitting there all warm and cozy together’ one of them said.
‘So cute’ the other replied and began to read the labels attached to them both. It made her smile and she read out the words to her friend:
Hello, my name is Fred, and I am a wet felted fox looking for my forever home. I like peaches, stew, and baseball. I have been handcrafted using wool, soap, and water. If I absolutely need a bath, hand wash me then in cool water and let me air dry, but only if necessary!’
The woman smiled even more and went on to read Malcolm’s label:
Hello, my name is Malcolm, I am a wet felted fox looking for my forever home. I like cuddling, a book, and a cup of milk tea. I have been handcrafted using wool, soap, and water. If I absolutely need a bath, hand wash me then in cool water and let me air dry, but only if necessary!’
Both women stood there smiling and remarking on how lovely their stories were, and after a while, one of them put them back on the shelves. Fred and Malcolm felt their hearts sink, they were sure that she was going to buy them.
They left the shop and walked on up the street to the market. Now quite by chance the lady who had made Fred and Malcolm was working there on another wet felted cat and a conversation began. The lady told her that she had seen the two foxes in the gallery, and they were just such fun. The lady said she could not make any animals fast enough and a pile of four were waiting for her to finish and were already sold! Handing her business card, she wished them both a pleasant day and got on with her work.
The two women glanced at one another, and one said: ‘We have to go back to the gallery’.
When the gallery door opened again, Fred and Malcolm noticed they were back. ‘Perhaps it a good sign’ Fred whispered.
And yes, they were both taken off the shelf and saying their goodbyes to the raccoon, Thor, who then was placed where they had been, Malcolm and Fred both knew at long last they had been bought and were on their way to their new home! How exciting and where would it be?
They spent a couple of days somewhere, wrapped up carefully in tissue paper and then they were packed into a dark suitcase. Fred and Malcolm were both afraid, as neither of them could see what was going on. The suitcase was placed into a car and taken off to an airport, they both knew that because they heard the planes.
Through the scanners and then into the cold chilly wind on a truck and taken off to a plane.
‘Where on earth are we?’ Fred asked.
‘No idea’ Malcolm replied ‘but we are off on a journey somewhere for sure’.
The case was thrown into a plane and a long cold journey above the clouds and Fred and Malcolm felt very apprehensive all the time. It was they both thought, maybe more fun sitting there in the gallery instead of this dark, chilly place and being thrown this way and that. They both decided the best thing to do was to try and sleep and not worry too much. The woman seemed genuinely very nice and friendly, and she had bought both of them and that was of course, wonderful as they would never have wanted to have been split up and sold separately.
A while later the suitcase was opened, and Fred and Malcolm were taken out of their tissue paper wrappings and suddenly found themselves in a new place. A cozy cute cottage with beams on the ceiling and were placed side by side on a mantelpiece above what looked like a log fire.
‘Welcome home’ the woman said, ‘I hope you both will be happy here’.
Two haughty cats looked down from the mirror above and turned up their noses.
Day by day, Fred and Malcolm both decided that they really liked their new abode. There was a friendly big dog, called Mats who looked and said hello every day. There was a real cat too, called Nola who glanced up at the two wooden cats and told them to be nicer and behave, which they both did in the end.
The best bit was in the evenings when the fire was lit, and they would all sit there warming their toes!
A few days later a little girl came. Her name was Reign, and she was three.
‘Would you like to meet Fred and Malcolm? Nana asked her.
‘Yes, please’ she said, and Nana took them off the mantelpiece and handed both of them to her. She gave them both the biggest hug ever and Fred and Malcolm felt their hearts fill with joy.
They heard later that they had travelled over 6000 miles to another continent and soon became a real talking point, as everyone who came to the cottage looked, and admired them both. The woman (called Jill by the way) was proud of her two Canadian felted foxes and best of all, the little girl came very often and hugged them both every time.
‘I love them both’ she said smiling and Nana told her that one day she could take them to live with her too.
Fred and Malcolm were the happiest felted foxes ever, as they had found their fur-ever home!
Even though I know there will be absolutely nothing more on the news for the next few days, I just wanted to write this short piece as a tribute to the Queen who has been in reign all the years that I have been alive. That’s a strange thought isn’t it, we have not known anyone else, and the Queen has always been there, carrying out her duties and tasks with dignity, calmness, sovereignty, humility and certainly took her lifelong job seriously.
My own personal story is about the time that my mother met the Queen. My father was working at the time at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, a sort of retirement home for ex-military veterans, where they can spend the rest of their days with dignity in a serene place. Those of you who know the area, will of course know that the hospital neighbors the place where the Royal Chelsea Flower Show takes place annually.
Every year there was a celebratory day held there, to mark the passing of the monarch Charles II who was the patron of the hospital. People would be given ‘oak leaves’ to wear symbolizing the moment that the King fled and hid from Cromwell and his men.
My father and mother were invited to meet the Queen. Being a typical English summer day when no one knows what the weather will do, my mother chose a dress and an apple green summer coat. Of course, she had the matching hat, that was the way things were done in those circles.
The Queen arrived just before the ceremony took place and it was only when my mother stood waiting to shake her hand, she realized to her horror that she was wearing the same colors as the Queen herself!
As she approached, the Queen raised her eyebrows at my mother, and then when they finally were introduced and shook hands, she said to my mother: ‘we both certainly have good taste in fashion’. It literally made my mother’s day as you can imagine, and she told this story many times until she passed away in 1997. The same year Diana died, which is now 25 years further on.
When the news broke yesterday the initial reaction, I think many people thought that after Prince Philip had passed it would not be long before she did. I think one of the saddest things I have ever seen was the Queen at St. George’s Chapel at his funeral sitting on her own, looking lost and forlorn and that was because of Corona rules at the time. Surely someone could have shown a little compassion and sat with her in her grief.
And now we have a King. King Charles III in fact and Camilla will officially be known as the Queen Consort, which is basically a fancy title for the wife or spouse of the King. I think a lot of discussion with come to the surface again that many people will perhaps never accept her in this role because of how history went between her and Diana. Diana, Princess of Wales was of course, one of the most beloved royals in our history and was the peoples’ princess.
Last evening after switching off the television as I could not listen to another word of what was being said, I realized that since I have lived here in The Netherlands, I am into my third monarch. First of all, Juliana was Queen, then she passed the role onto Beatrix and now Willem Alexander is our present King. Maybe there is a lot to be said for taking a sort of retirement from the role. Maybe not.
It seems strange to me that someone at the age of 73 will be ‘getting a job’ for the first time ever and become our King. Well, the King of the United Kingdom. I am somewhere in the middle of both countries, being a Dutch national too (yes, I have been here that long!)
It was a shock, for sure, that QE II had passed, but at 96 who could expect her to go on for evermore.
She will be remembered by millions as a very special lady who dedicated her life to the service of the country and its people. 15 Prime Ministers, including the great Winston Churchill, right up to Tuesday this week, when she gave Liz Truss the go ahead to form a new Government.