The book will be available through and also in e-reader Kindle version on

Sneak preview?

A sudden encounter with Patrick turns Olivia’s world upside down. After having coffee together that same day, they lose touch. Months later Olivia receives a message via social media from him. It is the beginning of a stormy, passionate online romance. Not easy, words can easily be misinterpreted. But they both feel that there is something really special between them. 

Months later Olivia gets a phone call from her journalist friend Ella, who tells her some terrible truths about Patrick. This is the beginning of a long process for Olivia when she realizes how she has been misused. She has to learn to forgive herself completely before she can even contemplate moving on with her life. And the loss of someone she thought was special.

In Amsterdam, one day, quite some time later and quite by chance she meets the true love of her life. She did not expect to at all and this means that she moves away from Europe to Australia. The true and  new love between Olivia and Tyler is wonderful but gets very tested when a terrible accident occurs ….

And a very special introduction to the book by ???? (wait and see).

Special thanks to Janosh Stoffers for the cover design

Thewis Wierda for putting it all together online

Annette Barel for the edit and encouraging words..

Image: copyright Jill Kramer


As we go into the autumnal season, being out early in the morning is such a joy. The grass is full of dewdrops as the golden sun peaks above the horizon. Just as if an artist has painted brushstrokes across the sky, the blues and pinks suddenly changed to golden colors as the sun appears. It is so peaceful and quiet, most people are not awake, and the only sound to be heard are seagulls across the sea. What a magnificent way to start a new week, especially one where we are being treated to an ‘Indian Summer’. Gorgeous warm days, high temperatures and despite the turning leaves, feels so good. 

Normally people dread Monday mornings, after the weekend, but I always see it as a ‘new beginning’. The so called ‘working week’ begins for many, including the children who start a new week at school. I heard someone talking about the autumn half term already, but I still feel physically as if I am still in the summertime. 

This year has gone so fast, it’s hardly believable. But it has and it is believable. And what a year it has been so far. Who would have expected it?  But my thoughts are always that there is very little point on daydreaming about the past, you cannot change it, only cherish the good memories, and deal with the sad ones. The thing is you are actually in the here and now, and you don’t even know what tomorrow is going to bring. So, live in this current moment and make the best of it.

This year has also had some incredible astrological events and even though a lot of people don’t follow – I do – and then things make such more sense. Of course, it affects the energy around our planet, when other planets go backwards (retrograde) or astrological phenomena (like squares, trines and conjuncts). People may be sceptic about it, but let’s face it ancient civilizations lived totally in harmony with the stars and ships navigated the seas as well, long before GPS tracking was even possible. We did not have millions of satellites up above the planet, giving us information 24/7.

Even if you don’t agree with me, many of you will be affected just by the lunar cycles of 28 days. 

In that way it is a great shame that we have the so called ‘Gregorian calendar’ and not the 13- month calendar, which relates to the lunar circles, used by many civilizations. I personally think this would be so much better. Also messing around with Summer and Winter time, just keep to one time. It takes us all a week or so to adjust to either losing or gaining one hour. There are enough time zones around the world to cope with. We all have experienced ‘jet lag’ at some time in our lives, when crossing said zones.

But back to my Monday morning moment and the opportunity to start the week with a ‘clean slate’. Organized, ready to go, all the stress of the previous week, in the past and then getting the motivation. A lot of people who work in businesses have that immediate ‘Monday morning meeting’ moment, when plans are made for the forthcoming week. I just wonder if all the plans are actually achieved?

Of course, it is really important when working to communicate, but in the end do you have the feeling that you actually did something and even more so, working all together as a team. That is the whole point, working together!

My working life has mostly been from my own home, so I have forgotten that ‘Monday morning feeling’ as I never actually had to leave my house to work, unless going on business trips.

I had to discipline myself all the time about when to work, how to work and also how to cope with people positioned all over the world and all their different time zones. Our fax machine (remember those?) often used to go on at night as documents were sent through. Now we do that digitally with WeTransfer and such like.

But the point of this blog is to inspire you to just stop what you are doing right now and think for a moment: What is your new beginning this week? What do you want to achieve today? 

How do you intend to do it? What is your goal? 

It is all about inspiration and creating that ‘clean slate moment’ moving forwards and tomorrow will be another brand-new day again !!






This week I finally finished collating my latest book which will be published soon. It’s a romantic love story with a twist ! Hence the title; when things are going well in any relationship or love story, then it’s ‘Peaches with Cream’ but when things go wrong for no apparent reason then it’s ‘Roses with Thorns’. Pleasure and Pain.

Roses with Thorns

At the moment being edited by a friend to filter out any typo’s and grammatical mistakes, which are inevitable and then publishing ready for an autumn read. Going not only to publish through Brave New Books onto but also on to in Kindle version (worldwide)

So watch this space for more news, coming soon !!!!!


We do things differently in The Netherlands it seems: the biggest news item this week is all about our Minister of Justice and Safety, Ferdi Grapperhaus (well his name for starters is hilarious as it literally means: House of Jokers!). So, this man is the at the top of the ladder in the Dutch Government Cabinet and responsible for not only justice, law and order, the police, but also for the general care and safety of ALL Dutch citizens.

So, he was very much involved in all the rules and regulations because of the Corona virus (Covid-19), including the new Corona Law. For social distancing, for reservations in restaurants, bars and cafes, for the rules when visiting museums, theaters, cinemas etc. Also responsible for all law and order and the one who came up with the idea of the fines for people who did not conform to said rules. And these were big fines. For restaurants who did not keep the rules, around Euro 4000 and for people committing ‘the crime’ and not keeping to rules, Euro 400. That is a lot of money.

You would think, I guess, that he above anyone, knowing all the rules and regulations and as a ‘pinnacle in society’, in other words someone who took on a role of being important, would be the one to keep to them as well and even more so, be an example for others.

Well no, you are totally wrong!

He recently got married and even though other people were restricted about numbers attending weddings and even funerals, he could it would seem have as many guests as he wanted. Social distancing, what is that? The many press photographs showed him and his guests all far too close together, hugging and such like. Elderly people like his mother-in-law who falls under the category of being someone at high risk, hugged closely. All rules forgotten and literally flushed down the toilet. Our Prime Minister was in attendance too.

Political debates this week have been really hard for him (good) as the opposition leaders went full on and made a real fuss about it and rightly so. How can you tell people that they have to do something and then do exactly the opposite yourself? Many opposition leaders called for his resignation, but in some or other completely incomprehensible way, he just said ‘sorry’ and the matter was closed.

This is a very hard and bitter pill to swallow for people who have already had and paid fines, big ones too. For restaurant owners who are having a hard time anyway financially with this crisis, to keep their businesses afloat.

But hey, when you are the Minister, obviously other rules apply.

I personally think this makes the system complete hypocrisy, because it just is not fair, and justice is all about being fair for all isn’t it? Or maybe not?

There was one thing that made me laugh out aloud, and that was that someone suggested that we all downloaded a paper mask of his face. Then when confronted by a control, you put on the mask and then say sorry! No fine then? Well if this is the answer, then I can only say, do it and try it.

But this sort of thing really ‘takes the biscuit’ as we say in English (in other words ‘the bloody limit’) and makes a joke of everything. How can you expect people to either respect the system or actually even comply to the rules, which after all are for all of us, our health and safety, when others make a mockery of it? And the Minister for Justice, who is in charge or all of this.

For their own wedding party, for their own gain and even worse, completely disrespecting the rules, so why should others comply to them then?

It’s a big question isn’t it. Experts are telling us almost daily that because people are being so lax about the rules, and our Minister is top of the list, that the virus is rearing its head. Alarmingly too. People on holiday in Spain for example came home much earlier because if you travel back to The Netherlands, from a ‘code red’ country, you then have to spend 10 days in quarantine. I wonder if all Grapperhaus’s guests are now in quarantine. I doubt it very much.

Putting a lot of other people at unnecessary risk because the Minister thought he could apply his own set of rules. Or in other words, ignore what he is telling the rest because he thinks he is a cut above us all?

This is such a good example of when at the top, obviously you are not bound to comply! How fair is that? Totally not!

A scandal really that he got away with it by just a simple ‘sorry’. Not a public apology and how does he expect anyone to have one gram of respect anymore. Impossible.

I think everyone present should have had the same fine (yes, Euro 400 per person) and the restaurant (or venue) where this was held too (yes, Euro 4000 for that indiscretion). 

It is scandalous that it has been swept under the carpet isn’t it? You as a citizen would never have got away with it, you would have been fined and charged. That is the way justice works apparently.


A short summer story by Jill Kramer (August 2020) ©

Today it’s my birthday and the date is very special. 20-8-2020. So to celebrate it I thought I would write a short summer story for all my readers to enjoy. Have a lovely day.

The heatwave continued relentlessly. In this small flat part of the country, under sea level with all the rivers, lakes and waterways, meant that it was literally like a steam bath. The humidity was high. The air so warm, it seemed warmer than the air you breathed out. Everyone was complaining, like they always do, when it concerns the weather! Rose began to wonder if people would ever stop complaining. If it was cold and wet, it wasn’t good and hot and sunny it wasn’t good either! There never seemed to be a happy medium. After all, complaining was something just everyone did and all the time as well.

It was the 9th day, when the heatwave officially came to an end. Rose was not the slightest interested by the facts and figures from the meteorological office, all she wanted was fresh air, cool air and preferably some rain to wash away the pollen and dust.

Her mind wandered back to a couple of weeks ago. She had agreed to go the local pub with a friend for a quiz. After months of lockdown, people were generally getting out and about a bit more, even though Rose had felt happier all those months in her own home and with her own company. It had been 20 years since her divorce. Reluctantly, because if she was honest, she did not want to go, she left the house and walked down to the local pub. It was a reserved number of people and Rose and her friend Julie, found themselves sitting at a table with two men, both of whom they did not know, but they were ‘a team’ for the evening.

Taking the obligatory social distancing into account, there was not a huge number of people present, so the normal loud noise of the pub was surprisingly quieter than usual. She found herself gazing across the table at the rather handsome face of a well-muscled young man. He had a sort of permanent frown between his eyebrows. But he was very good looking and Rose just got lost in her thoughts and did not pay attention until the bell was rung to start the quiz. Julie had been chattering away, but to be honest, Rose had not heard a single word of it.  As the quiz began, she got an amazing smile from across the other side of the table.

Actually, it went quite well, and they seemed to know all the answers between them! The conversation in between got going and once names had been exchanged, the normal talk about: what do you do? Where do you live? Do you come here often? began. Julie collected some drinks, for them all, a second round, as the men had bought the first and Rose began to feel more at ease, and it was just much more relaxed. Dutch courage as they say!

They were not the winners but came in second and decided to have one more drink together and leave. Julie wandered off to take to another friend and Rose found herself alone with her table mate. He was a pilot, yes, she could imagine that, he gave a general impression of being well educated and having a responsible job. And the most amazing accent, which she could not quite place. In the meantime, she had found out that he lived in Madrid, flew regularly to the UK with one of the well-known airlines, and was now on a break. His friend was someone he had known from high school and he had had no idea at all that he would have been here tonight. But he added he was glad he had come otherwise they would not have met! Rose found herself blushing many times at his compliments. He was very suave, and told her how nice she looked, how interesting she was, and very pretty as well. Rose was not used to this at all, having been alone for 20 years and had not been near a single man since her divorce.

It was time to leave and he asked her if she would like to have dinner the next evening. Any suggestions where to go, he asked her? Rose did not know what to say at first. Of course, he was nice, attractive, well damned good looking actually and why not? It did not really seem like a date, after a quiz at the pub. They arranged to meet at the restaurant in the village, at 7 pm the next day. She and Julie left and Rose was conscious of a new spring in her step. She had actually enjoyed it, more than she had expected to and actually he was very nice and my goodness, she was going out again tomorrow.

The next morning, after a flying visit to Boots, the local chemist to buy some scrub salt, some hair removing cream and some lovely scented shower foam, the day passed by so fast. It was soon time to get ready to go out and after about 20 different dresses and such like, Rose decided to wear something she felt comfortable in. She showered, washed her hair, applied some make up and rode on her bike to the restaurant where he was waiting for her.

This time, even though officially it was not allowed because of the Covid rules, he took her hand and kissed it. Rose nearly fainted. How gallant! You could tell he was not English by birth; English men never did anything as romantic as that.

In a cozy corner of the restaurant they ordered drinks and looked at the menu. Rose did not have a single idea what to have, kept reading and re-reading, her mind was completely elsewhere. In the end opting for something simple an easy to eat. So that there was some chance of a conversation… They talked on and Rose felt herself relaxing more and more. He was a charming table companion and they talked about their respective lives. Rose decided to be open and honest, told him she had been divorced for a long time. She did not say 20 years to be exact, not wanting to come over as desperate and pathetic!

When the food arrived, there was a pause as they began to eat. Rose felt conspicuous. But in between mouthfuls, the conversation continued. He spoke about his work, his passion was being a pilot, he loved it, different destinations each and every day. Not that he ever got to see anywhere other than the airport, unless he was on more international flights and got a couple of rest days in between. Just like this exact moment he said, having arrived at Gatwick a day or so ago and taking the advantage of meeting up with an old school friend. And then he had met Rose who he found utterly fascinating. She was sharp, witty, had a wonderful way of talking. He loved her cute British accent, the way she paused between her words, as if she was thinking about them. In fact, he was totally under her spell. He wondered if she felt the same, it was hard to tell. Obviously, she was older than him, but he did not really care about that. He was definitely and totally not interested in all the babes his own age. All pimped and pumped and so full of their own importance and appearance. No, Rose was much more down to earth and actually fun to be with. He loved the way she kept putting her hair behind her ear, he gazed at her elegant neck, thinking what it would be like to kiss her. He liked her expressive hands which she waved about a lot as she was talking. Was this the woman he had been looking for, for such a long time? He hoped so.

By the end of the meal to be honest they both felt as if they had known each other for longer. Everything just flowed so well. The conversation had not been dulling for one moment, on the contrary they found themselves laughing at things the other said, smiling across the table. Now there was something, he found really attractive, her smile, and the way her eyes lit up and flickered like stars in the night skies. Orlando, because that was his name, was falling in love, as if Cupid had personally shot his arrow right into his heart.

After a final nightcap and coffee, it was time to go. He stood up, helped Rose out of her chair and paid the bill. Coming out into the dark evening, he suddenly took her into his arms and kissed her. He just had to and Rose responded equally to him. Their lips explored one another, he held her firmly in his strong arms. Rose felt as if her feet had left the ground and she was floating. She wasn’t, but in her mind, she was. He was a good kisser for sure and it had been such a long time ago. Such a long time. Stirring deep within she felt sensations in her body. She did not want him to stop and he didn’t either. She could have stood there feeling his tender kisses for hours, especially when he kissed her neck.

But she had to go and so did he. Was this just a fleeting moment, like two ships passing in the night, or would there be more. Rose thanked him profusely for the lovely meal and his charming company. Her compliments actually made him blush slightly.  Even though she did not want to, Rose took her bike, thanked him again, gave him one last kiss and cycled off in the direction of her house. Her immediate thought amongst all the ‘rosy pink cloud’ like thoughts she had was: would she seem him again? They had exchanged phone numbers etc. But she knew he would soon be flying back home to Madrid and the travel regulations imposed to UK residents meant that she could not suddenly go there.

That evening in bed, she recalled the evening, what he had said, the way he looked at her, his passionate, gentle kisses and with that thought in her mind Rose drifted off into a deep slumber filled with dreams about him.

Orlando had the same experience. He had gone back to his friend’s house, had a quick beer and said what a nice evening it had been, and went to bed. His mind was filled with exactly the same thoughts she had and before switching off the light, he wrote her a quick text.

I just have to see you again, it said, you are just so wonderful. Such good company, so friendly, appealing and nice. Is that an option? I leave in a day’s time; can we arrange to meet tomorrow. And he signed off with a row of hearts and kisses. He called her darling. Told her how wonderful the evening had been. Like magic he said.

The following morning Rose answered and said she would love to be out with him for the day and see the local sights. She had Windsor Castle as an idea, a quaint town, the magnificence of the castle itself and the long walkway leading up to it.

She got up, showered and dressed quickly, having a coffee and croissant for breakfast and had just cleaned her teeth as the doorbell rang. He was early. Rose felt a moment of apprehension, she had not said one word to Julie about their dinner date or that he was coming here this morning. Should she have done so? Don’t be ridiculous she thought, we are going out, perfectly normal, and opened the door. He looked even more handsome in tight blue jeans, a crisp white shirt and in the hallway, took her into his arms at once, kissing her passionately. He told her how much he had missed her. Rose was puzzled, it was only a number of hours since they had been apart. She offered him coffee, but he thanked her politely. Let’s get going, he said, I want to have a perfect day with you. They set off in his flash hire car and drove to Windsor. Parked easily which was incredible as normally you could not find a space anywhere, wandered around the quaint shops and had morning cappuccino coffees at the local bakery, with a delicious flaky pastry. Sweet toothed Rose could never resist.

Then, they wandered to the long walkway leading up to the castle which looked even more magical today. Holding hands, or his arm protectively around her shoulders, stopping every now and again for a special kiss. Rose was in heaven. He looked as if he felt the same. They just blended well together, chatting away as if they had been life-long friends. Well a bit more than that. Rosie could not believe it if she was honest. Here she was, having a wonderful exciting time, after being cooped up at home for months, with the most handsome man imaginable. She knew he was, every woman who passed them, gave him that typical head to toe, sexy glance.

She told him about her marriage, her divorce, her son and her grandchild. He told her about the loss of his parents when he was young, a dreadful relationship he had had with some ‘crazy woman’ as he called her and had decided that he was never going to have a relationship with anyone again, until Rose came along and had stolen his heart. She blushed and gushed at his romantic words, feeling like a princess who lived in the castle.

They had a typical pub lunch in the gardens and then wandered along the River Thames at Laleham, somewhere Rose knew well from her childhood. She showed him the village where she had lived as a child, the school she had gone to. Apart from it being a trip down memory lane for her, she wanted to share it with him. 

At around 7pm they arrived back at Rose’s quaint cottage style house. So beautifully English, he remarked. Rose was proud of her well-kept lawn and colorful borders. Honeysuckle trailed over the front door eluding its heady scent as she turned the key. Was he going to go, or should she invite him to stay? There was never an answer as he scooped her up into his arms and took her upstairs to the bedroom. And Rose let him. She wanted him now, every single inch of that well-trained body. He slipped the straps off her shoulders and slowly removed all of her clothes, muttering appreciative comments about how beautiful she was.

She removed his shirt, allowing her hands to linger on his chest, which was in one word, just perfect, the tight 8 pack across his stomach and undid his jeans. They laid back on the bed, completely naked. Rose thanked God in her mind that she had done a thorough de-fuzz job as his hands slid gently between her thighs, and kissing her breasts and lips again and again, he made his way slowly down. Rose moaned softly, she had missed this for such a long time and he was obviously a very skilled lover as he knew exactly how and what to touch to make her long for him even more.

Rose came back to reality, it had actually been 10 days now since he had gone back to Madrid and in that time and whenever possible they had texted, and video called with one another. He had sent her amazing photos, from the air, during landing and arrival and departures, from a view she had never had the privilege to see from the cockpit.

She closed the patio doors and locked them, as they were in for a storm. Thank goodness Rose thought, that hot weather had made her fatigued, she did not want to do anything apart from talk to Orlando when she could. They spoke of many things on the text, or recorded audio messages, but one thing was always central, their desire for one another.

A few moments ago, it had been yet another hot sultry evening, not even a slight breeze. The sun had set but the sky had a strange yellow glow. Like the flickering flames of a fire. The wind picked up and within seconds, jagged shards of lightening filled the skies. It lit it up with a flash of white electrical light. Rumbles of approaching thunder were in the distance. Then heavy raindrops began to fall and lashed the windows. It was just a typical summer storm after the tropical heat. It stopped as suddenly as it had begun. The flag in her garden hung limp and lifeless.

Suddenly she heard his voice like a whisper on the breeze. ‘Come to me’ he said. It took her literally seconds to join him. She slid into his bed, between the cool cotton sheets. His warm naked body felt soft and inviting. She took her hand in his. ‘You are here’ he murmured softly half asleep. ‘Of course,’ she replied.

He lay his head on her shoulder, feeling her arm around him, the closeness he so desired. Gently his hands caressed her breasts, kissing her neck gently. She turned to face him, as their lips met. A warm passionate kiss as his tongue found hers.

His soft voice whispered in her ear. I asked an angel to come and guard you, but the angel replied: there is no need for angels to guard angels. ‘You are my angel.’ Rose smiled asking herself if he truly understood what he has just said.


Have you like me, noticed that virtually everyone at the moment has a ‘short fuse’. It takes just a simple comment or observation and people literally explode about things before your eyes. Is it because everyone is feeling so frustrated about the events surrounding Covid-19? Is it because we cannot tolerate the idea that we are restricted in what we do?

This could be a possible excuse.

Yes, of course at first, we were all alarmed and even scared, as this virus raged across the world claiming so many victims and, in the beginning, we really took note of rules and regulations. But after a while people forget, become lax and eventually stop bothering at all. Always thinking the standard thought: I am ok, and it will not affect me. This is partly true but once you become oblivious to said rules, you become careless and do things without paying any attention whatsoever to things like social distancing. It has all become a bit of a bind now and people literally cannot be bothered. That is human nature. Unfortunately.

But what worries me that people seem to have become so intolerant. As I began this blog, often a simple word of comment sends people into a complete rage where they stand swearing and shouting. I can think of a couple of examples.

Last Sunday morning I was walking the dog. Previously I have had some problems with another dog in the village who bit mine when he was a puppy. The two dogs dislike one another a lot and we agreed (a long time ago)  that the best thing was to avoid one another. So, there I was coming back from my early morning walk and in the distance, I could see the ‘dreaded dog and owner’ approaching towards me. I was just about to turn into my road and instead of them stopping and waiting for me to move away, they continued on. End result my dog pulled really hard on the lead, nearly breaking my wrist (which is sprained and painful) and the two dogs getting into a fight. Now is there is one thing you must never do is try and get between two fighting dogs. So, you are virtually helpless and it’s really hard to get them apart. I was so grateful to a neighbor who came to my rescue and separated them, but not before a German tourist had tried to intervene and was kicking my dog (stupid man as if that is going to help?). But I was subject to a barrage of swearing and shouting and some really nasty comments just before said person with the horrid dog was later sitting in the front pew at the local church for the morning service. Yes, right really Christian, I don’t think. Even some friend of theirs got involved and stopped in her car, wound down the window and gave me a right mouthful too. Great and all of this early Sunday morning. I explained to her that I have to be careful walking the dog something I have not done for two years, because of a hip and knee replacement and that we had agreed a long time ago to give one another the space to move away to avoid confrontations like this. I must say this person did apologize, but it illustrates my point perfectly, people have such a short fuse at the moment, they go completely over the top. Even if in fact it is none of their damned business! Or its something they know nothing about but still feel inclined to voice their opinion.

Another incident this week was at a major hospital in one of the bit cities here. The entrance is a big circulating door and there are about 20 signs saying that only two people are allowed into each section of the door at the same time because of …. Yes, The Corona Rules! When I remarked to two people that it might be better to wait, I was again subject to a barrage of swearing and shouting. What the hell is the matter with people? Are the few seconds that they have to wait going to make that much of a difference. I don’t think so. Do you?

Again, this incredible lack of any form of empathy or tolerance and I find myself asking the question over and over again: why?? The thing is that I take notice and allow others their space, so why is it so hard for them?? I don’t have the answers. Yes, we are all in the incredible fast-moving rat race constantly, but don’t you agree with me by now that we have had our wake-up call (with Covid-19) and isn’t it time to re-evaluate??

I think so and I have done that. I have like many sensible people too, realized that all the hurry and speed in the world is basically not going to make any difference whatsoever apart from the fact that I might be late for something. Weaving in and out of lanes in rush hour traffic and speeding is not going to get me there faster. If I wanted to be on time, I should have left earlier maybe? Pushing and shoving is not going to get me in or out of a building any quicker and I do have the time to stand and wait. I find this respectful to others who do make the effort don’t you? And standing there, swearing and shouting has zero effect! Apart from the fact if you are on the receiving end, you just come to the conclusion that they are very antisocial and not actually worth the time of day at all.

I just don’t get it because normally in times of a crisis people usually join together in some sort of unity and this virus seems to have left a lot of people (and perhaps I should be so bold as to write the majority) with an attitude of enormous ego and zero tolerance. And then I ask myself, do they seriously think that this is important in the current situation.

It’s like all the fuss people have made about the fact that they HAVE to go on holiday. So, once the rules were cleared and people were given more space to travel, they literally flocked like a herd to sheep to popular resorts across the world. In Europe this has led to complete overcrowding on beaches, boulevards, cafes, restaurants and parks. The result is of course, just like an idiot could have predicted, that major cities are now going into lockdown and certain countries (well here in Europe) have gone back into Code Orange or even Red because the ‘virus’ is rearing its head once more. Are you surprised? I am not? Nothing on this earth would have got me on a plane, where you are packed in like sardines in a tin, face mask or not, off to a holiday destination. I am much happier to stay at home and amuse myself in my own surroundings. Funny thing is, here in The Netherlands, a lot of people who normally would have gone off abroad have stayed in their own country and realized how lovely it actually is!!! And I am not going to get on my soapbox and talk about the football, festivals, events, demonstrations and such like.

But isn’t it time that people actually stopped and thought properly? I think so and stop all this totally unnecessary ‘short fuse behavior’? What is the point? Honestly? Absolutely none!

I hope those of you who read this blog, will have a serious think about what I have written. To be honest I am so fed up with it, which means that I prefer to be at home, in my own space and I choose not to be subject to anymore verbal abuse by anyone. Get real people!

Treat others in a way you would like to be treated too!

That should be rule number one shouldn’t it?

Images: Google


Criticism is not something anyone likes. It can be very hurtful and unjust and even untrue. But people are prone to criticize about virtually everything these days and often we all become a ‘victim’ to it. We either get the blame for something we did not do, when someone who is protecting their own back, uses us as a ‘scapegoat’ to cover up for their mistakes or they find something to criticize you to make you feel smaller.

The thing is first of all to remind yourself that criticism is often a mirror. A person mirrors their issues and shortcomings at you. And then the best way to deal with it is to allow the mirror to do its own work and send the negativity straight back.

Criticism is often a way or rejecting someone. A lot of people will resonate with this. It’s often easier to find fault with things people do wrong than to compliment them for the things they do right. It is a form of insecurity when you constantly feel the need to criticize others. ‘Passing the buck’ is the easy way out for a lot of people instead of them taking the time to have a think about what they themselves are not doing just right.

It is a tricky subject because many factors contribute to criticism. Think about jealousy for starters. When people are jealous of you, they seem to find being critical a way of projecting their own lack. It is not fair, but many things in life are not anyway.

Tolerance is also something that can lead to criticism. When people lack tolerance, they will almost always try to mask it by criticizing someone else. It does not matter what exactly but just think about this: it’s the easy way out. By masking your own insecurity, you criticize someone else. Easy!

Often criticism is something which we can see as an expression of disapproval either on someone or something, based on the faults or mistakes perceived by the person who criticizes.

So, what is the trick to avoid criticism. Well, there is not one really, but a lot can depend on you. If you make up your mind that you always follow your own heart and do the things you want to do, irrespective of what others say, positive or negative. Of course, positive comments give you a boost, but negative ones tend to ‘take the wind out of your sails’. But as I said above, often those who criticize you about things are usually just showing their own shortcomings. As I said that is the easy way. The best thing then it ‘to duck’ when they throw it in your direction knowing in all certainly that you have done nothing wrong, you actually can’t because any mistake is a learning curve anyway, but not being a receptive for unwarranted criticism by someone else. Then it’s a good idea to let the comments wash over you and pay no attention to it. Paying attention only gives energy to the words. Reacting too. If you don’t react then the conversation has come to an end and you have the choice to walk away. Or not? 

Another way to deal with criticism is maybe to say to someone that their comments are unjust. If they are, say that exactly. But remember people (including you) are allowed to make mistakes so if you have done something wrong and they criticize you for it, just say: Yes, you are right, sorry. Then the energy is taken right out of their words. Then you don’t have to subject yourself to a torrent of comments if you don’t feel like it.

Criticism is a part of our daily lives, because let’s be honest, someone somewhere always has something to criticize another about. But looking behind the reason why they feel that need is the clue and that is often their own vulnerability. The fact that they are lacking something in their lives and cannot be bothered to make an effort to change things.

And now I will let my friend take over once more to finish off this blog …

‘Haters try to expose what’s wrong with you, because they are jealous of everything that’s right about you. There are two types of people. Those who hate their life and do something about it and those who hate their life and don’t do anything about it. Which type are you?

You cannot expect to stay on the right path if you are walking away with the wrong people. Some people make themselves miserable when they can rather make themselves happy and everyone else happy. Sometimes those who act the happiest are the ones going through the most.

I admire people who choose to shine even after all the storms they have been through. Some people come into your life and you just know that you will never be able to replace them if they left.

When the wrong people leave your life, the right things start. Sometimes the people we fear the most should be the ones closest to us. To be around those who enhance your life is called success. To enhance the lives around you is called significance. Be with people who always show you your strength and hopes and not waste time with people who constantly remind you of your failures and mistakes. Don’t chase people. Be you and do your own thing and work hard. The right people who belong in your life will come to you and stay.

Successful people build each other. They motivate, inspire and push each other. Unsuccessful people just hate, blame and complain.

The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most hurt people are the wisest and the people who don’t expect from others are the happiest. People who are truly worthy would never see any good in making others feel unworthy of themselves.

People are not inclined to take great challenges just settle for something else. You spend your whole life trying to fit in and when you finally do, you realize that you are surrounded by the very people who held you down.

There isn’t a person anywhere that isn’t capable of doing more than they think. It’s so ironic that it took so much time for people to realize your real value. They come knocking right when you have finally closed your door.’

Any one final piece of advice, if you are subject to unjust criticism, just rise above it.




Sometimes out of the blue a word keeps coming up and then I begin to wonder what the message is behind it. It all started with Janosh’s theme of the week. His sacred geometrical code is GRATITUDE and I saw the post on social media. With the obvious question: what are you grateful for? Well I could write a huge long list about this, because there are so many things and I expect you feel the same.

I had just switched off my phone when it buzzed again, my friend sending me some new words to share in our blogs and guess what … the subject was gratitude.

This is the moment when I am absolutely convinced that this has happened for a reason, so I will share with you:

‘Each day teaches us the value of time, to be grateful for daily opportunities. My life is not perfect, but I am thankful for everything I have. You can always be happy when you decide to be grateful for blessings in your life. Be thankful for the tiny details of your life that make room for beautiful blessings.

Give thanks for what you are now and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow. When some things go wrong, take a moment to be thankful for the many more things that are still going right. If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share. Be thankful for what you have today. Word hard for what you have tomorrow.

Be thankful for what you have. You have no idea how many people would love to have what you’ve got. 

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.

I need to stop worrying about the future and be thankful for what I have been blessed with so far. Every minute, every day, our life is a privilege. Cherish it, be thankful to God and give it importance And remember to thank God for what he has given you that you did not even ask for. Be thankful for every minute of your life, because we never know when and where death becomes us.

When you are thankful for what you have, you are always rewarded more. Happiness comes when we stop complaining about the troubles we have and offer thanks for all the troubles that we don’t have!

A simple way to be grateful is to close your eyes for a minute and think about those who never got the chance to open them.

If you don’t know what to be thankful for, be thankful then for all the troubles you have not had yet.

Learn to be thankful in your trials because in order to get your breakthrough, you need a trial to break through. I am thankful for all the difficult people in my life, they have shown me exactly what I do not want to be.

Don’t feel bad if you loved the wrong person. Instead be thankful because just like exams, every wrong answer makes you realize the right one. Life is giving and taking Give thanks and take nothing for granted. Being happy does not mean you have it all, it means you appreciate it all.’

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle: you can live as if everything is a miracle. When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

There is a sunrise and a sunset every single day and they are absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them. In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for a special day or to celebrate each special day.

Keep your eyes open and try to catch people in your company doing something right, then praise them for it. Gratitude is more of a compliment to yourself than someone else. They both seemed to understand that describing it was beyond their powers, the gratitude that spreads through your body, when a burden gets lifted and the sense of homecoming when you suddenly remember what it feels like to be yourself. Gratitude and Attitude are not challenges. Gratitude also opens your eyes to the limitless potential of the universe, whilst dissatisfaction closes your eyes to it. The only people with whom you should try to get even with are those who have helped you. In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. Forget yesterday, it has already forgotten you. Don’t sweat tomorrow – you haven’t even met. Instead open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift. Piglet noticed that even thought he had a very small heart; it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.

No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed at the same moment.

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think of those who have lighted the flame within us. Gratitude is a currency that we can mind for ourselves and spend without fear of bankruptcy. Gratitude turns what we have enough of into more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them …’

Wise sentiments don’t you agree? I think that often we all forget to have gratitude for things we often take for granted!  I mentioned before that one of the effects of the Covid-19 virus meant that this year I was more attentive and grateful for nature. I enjoyed the beginning of Spring so much more this year. Mainly because of the lockdowns and the general fact that the air was less polluted, and people were more at home. Many complained, many got depressed and stressed by the fact, but along the way we all seemed to miss the opportunity we all have for gratitude of the little things in life.

Normally where I live, I could often hear the cuckoos in the nearby woodland area, this year they were right here in the gardens. It was simple things like that which made me have even more appreciation than normal. For friendships that despite the lockdowns, took a new role in social media video contact. It was just as good; you can chatter on for free and it is just like being with one another. There was a lot of complaining about this and that, but really in retrospect what was there to complain about. The fact that you could not go out for a meal, visit your favorite bar or go to the football. Was it that bad? Really it should have been the moment when appreciation took on a much bigger role in your life. I am convinced however, that a lot of people missed the point here and that ‘complaining’ was much more satisfying than ‘gratitude or appreciation.’

Even though I know that the normal hectic pace of life leaves little room for contemplation and gratitude, I think this is a good quote: ‘A crisis does not create character, it reveals it.’

How true is that?

Maybe this wake-up call is for all of us to remember the things we are grateful for, even the things we take for granted like the bed we sleep in, remembering those who don’t have one to sleep in at all, just the hard pavements and a piece of a carton box! We get into ours every night, sink back into the comfy pillows and duvet and often forget, the small gratitude for an everyday essential item, because our bodies need rest.

Take a moment today to write down a list of the 10 things you are grateful for and do that for several days. Obviously not the same list each and every day but for the things that happened that particular day. It is a great way to actually think deeper about gratitude.

And practice it more often!!

Images Janosh Art (copyright)

Other Images: Google


Earlier this week a word cropped up in one of my other blogs and it’s been in my mind for a couple of days and I wanted to write a few more words on it.

Selfish or Selfishness. Often a word that has a lot of negativity attached to it. But is that fair?

Let’s have a look at the proper meaning first of all. The immediate reaction will be when you see the word, you think that it is something not just quite right… yes or no?

Selfish/selfishness is an adjective which means (according to the famous English Oxford Dictionary) it can relate to a person, an action or motive. Lacking consideration for other people. Chiefly for one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

Oh dear! That does sound negative doesn’t it?

But and here comes the big but, in this blog. Sometimes you have to be selfish for a reason. One of which is self-love. A lot of people will think yes, sure self-love what on earth is she talking about now. Self-love however, is something really important especially in these difficult times mainly because if you cannot love yourself, who will?

That is a question that a lot of people are thinking about right now. Especially in times we are all facing at the moment. After months of stories about viruses and the lockdown and border closures, unfortunately this Corona (or Covid 19) is resurrecting its ‘ugly head’ once more. Even though people made a really conscious effort in the early days, they are becoming very lax about it now. I actually happened to notice this, in a large teaching hospital where I was waiting for someone in the main (large) entrance hall this morning. There were 6 hand sanitizers and out of all the huge number of people who walked in and out, only a small amount used them. It was good to see a young mother, with her son, who did encourage him to take care. I actually complimented her about it. But we all did it all the time and why have we stopped? I don’t have the answers apart from the fact we have in some or other way become complacent. Now the numbers have reduced significantly on a daily basis, we seem to all think, it’s just gone away. But not true. With new lockdowns in Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona and places like Melbourne, we can conclude that we are facing the second wave.

The numbers infected in the USA are alarming to say the least and even people who radically ridiculed the idea (the President of Brazil is a fine example) is now infected himself.

Where they have been wearing masks for weeks already in Germany, they are just getting started in Belgium, and it will soon be obligatory everywhere. Here is it only obligatory in the trains, trams and buses. 

Standing in the same hallway this morning it was interesting to note that all Asian people are wearing masks and gloves! Hmmmm food for thought isn’t it?

But I diversify somewhat from my theme at the beginning. Is it OK to be a bit selfish? What do you think? Personally, for me I think putting yourself in the first place is important but not to the detriment of others. You have to respect and love yourself as a person before you can get even started with any sort of effect on others. Being selfish is not about being greedy, that is something entirely different but still the negativity around the word hangs in the air. That is the way I see it.

The reason I got thinking about this was about a comment made in one of my earlier blogs about being ‘selfish’. Thing is people will be judgmental if you are selfish, putting yourself first but if they can live with you like that, then they will also get you at your best and in that way, they deserve that as well. It is like the ‘for better and for worse’, one of the ancient marriage vows. There is always that sort of situation.

Some moments in life are good, some are better but at the same time some are bad or even worse. The thing is it is all about finding a happy medium in the middle of it.  Taking the good times and the bad too. Some days are better than others but remember this one thing and I have said it so many times over the past few weeks: ‘You cannot change the past’. We all live in the ‘here and now moment’. We do not know what tomorrow will bring.

We can only make the best of each and every moment. Postpone nothing. Follow your true passion and dreams and do what makes you happy. Don’t force yourself to stay in the rat race or even follow the herd. Be your own person, and if being selfish is part of that, then that is a bit of positivity. Others may make comments about your idea of self-love but let them, they are maybe not on the same path as you, or you’re further up the road in your development than they are. Just be your true self. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

On that note, have a great weekend everyone! It’s Summertime (well here in the Northern Hemisphere) so enjoy. Relax and make the best of things, no matter how hard you think they are. It’s all part of life’s learning curve. We all go through it. No one is an exception.

Breathe, and often when you are stressed just follow your breath for a few months. It is a very simple lesson in mindfulness. Not rocket science.

Think before you speak is a very good thing at the moment. I noticed how much ‘bitching’ there is at the moment on Social Media. Something that made me decide to delete my Twitter account a long time ago. There are just some people in life who think that they have to say something about everything. Just ignore. It’s hard I know.

As I said we are all on the path, but some people are further along the way than others!



There will not be a person who reads this who can say: ‘I never made a mistake.’ Impossible because we all do. Major and minor mistakes, regrets about how we might have done things differently or made different choices, taken other actions.

But the strange thing is that you learn so much more from a mistake than from a triumph. It teaches you that we are susceptible and human too. We do not have to be punished for our mistakes. Things in the past are in the past, but the whole point of those mistakes it that we learned something, and we will do it differently next time.

Whatever anyone thinks!

But a mistake is not in general something to be punished for. (Of course, there are some cases when that it’s necessary, like murder and such like). But in general, the average mistake is not earth shattering. But at the same time, it’s the moment when you have to be strict with yourself, learn your lesson and take a different path.

Its acceptance and making the decision to do it differently.

My friend has been busy again, so here are more thoughts….

It’s fun to work together on a subject and judging by the responses to all of our joint blogs, you all agree! Thank you everyone for your response, too many to answer all of them, but it’s great to know how much these words are resonating with so many.

So, read on …

‘A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. It’s funny how you can do nice things for people all the time and they never notice. But once you make a mistake, it’s never forgotten. Anyone who has made a mistake has never tried anything new. Just know that mistakes are proof that you’re trying. The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.

When you make the biggest mistake ever, some good comes from it. And life goes on.

With or without you. So, get over your mistakes because you just might miss something, or someone, important. The mistakes of the fool are known to the world, but not to himself.The mistakes or the wise man are known to himself, but not to the world.

You’re not a bad person if you don’t learn from that mistake. I realize that life is a risk. It’s acknowledging the past but look forward. It’s taking a chance that we will make mistakes but believe we all deserve to be forgiven. I live this life every day. I make my share of mistakes and every lesson I learn; I learn the hard way. I do the best that I can, and I hope you understand?

I am selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.

Never make the same mistake twice. There are so many new ones. Try a different one each day! Living might mean taking chances, but they’re worth taking. Loving might be a mistake but it’s worth making. You can never make the same mistake because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake. It’s a choice. I wish I could’ve lived my life without making any wrong turns, but that is impossible. A path that doesn’t exist. We fail. We trip. We get lost. We make mistakes. And little by little one step at a time, we move forward. That’s all.

One of the greatest challenges in life is to find someone who knows all your flaws, differences and mistakes and yet still thinks you are absolutely amazing. I fall, I rise, I make mistakes, I live, I learn, I have been hurt but I am stronger, I’m human, I’m not perfect, but I am thankful.

My life, my choices. My problems. My mistakes. My lessons. Not your business. Mind your own problems before you talk about mine. There comes a time when you have to stop remembering your mistakes and just move on. No regrets in life. Just lessons.

Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that kindness is a weakness, sometimes it takes great strength to just smile and say kind words. It’s amazing how much more you can learn by making mistakes than you can by perfect conclusions.

We sometimes let people get the best of us, destroy us and change our opinions on what we believe is true. Only you know what is right for yourself. You have the power; you make the choices and you learn. Each experience that we go through in life is a lesson to be learned. We all make mistakes. Why is that so hard for some to understand? No one should be judged by the mistakes they have made. It’s a past story. Starting out to make money is the greatest mistake in life. Do what you feel you have a flair for doing and if you think you are good enough at it, the money will come.

I think we all wish we could erase some dark times in our lives. But all of life’s experiences bad and good, make you who you are.

Erasing any of life’s experiences would be a great mistake. Life is not a pencil, if you make a mistake, it can’t be erased. Life is more like a pen, you can use whiteout to cover it up, but you’ll always be reminded of the spot where you made a mistake.

Mistakes are part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least others can learn from;

Our problem is that we make the mistake of comparing ourselves with other people. You are not inferior or superior to any human being. You do not determine your success by comparing your accomplishments to your capabilities. You are ‘number one’ when you do the best you can with what you have, every day’!