The Delft MaMa blog is celebrating its first anniversary this April. Agnès Batllori Benet and I started this blog with lots of plans and even some structure, but most of all we learned most valuable lessons on the way. Agnès is moving onto other challenges while Marie Kummerlowe will take her position as one of the blog leaders.
During this past year, we have been lucky to have such great diversity of writers joining us regularly and temporarily and this is something we’re very much looking keeping this up in the future as well. Tuesdays blog posts will be published on Fridays from now on biweekly alternating with the mom of the week, which will have a bigger team of writers behind it as well.
Currently most children are enjoying their May holidays, which include the celebration of King’s Day. The toddler playgroups on Tuesdays and Fridays will go on normally during the holiday weeks, so if you’re looking for a few hours of downtime with other parents while kids are getting to know each other, that’s your place to go. If your plans aren’t still locked down, but you find yourself in the need of a day trip idea within the Netherlands, check out the DMM Pinterest page made just for this. For crafty parents (any skill level) the 2nd of May DMM is organizing a mosaic workshop. Also, don’t forget DelftMaMa Cinema Club is always open on Facebook for new and familiar faces! More ideas on what to do throughout the year, subscribe for the Delft MaMa newsletter at the bottom of this page!
This Saturday Delft MaMa is taking a head start on King’s Day by organizing a Children and Maternity Clothing Swap at the playgroup location KDV de Vlinderstruik in Delft on Lodewijk van Deysselhof 165. It’s a well-organized and an easy way to be kind to the environment and to our wallets by joining our efforts together.
“If one million people bought their next item of clothing secondhand instead new, we would save SIX million kilograms of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere.” 
What to bring? Good quality clothing in all sizes for children and expecting mothers that no longer serve you. The seasons change and you just might find yourself staring at your child’s closet trying to find out if any of the last years shorts fit them. Or perhaps your maternity pants are only hogging the space and you’d much more benefit swapping those elastic jeans to a pair of sandals and rubber boots for your toddler. Whatever the case may be, everyone’s welcome!
How much do the items cost? The short answer is zero. Many of us don’t have families close by and find ourselves lacking the otherwise natural circles of clothes swapping with relatives. Swapping with cousins rarely cost anything and neither does this. We encourage people to bring what no longer serve them and hopefully find the pieces that will be just right for them as well. Pieces aren’t counted, so swap will be strictly based on taking whatever serves your purposes. You’ll simply pick what you need!
The items that are left in the end you’re free to bring back home or you can choose to donate to the Delft MaMa King’s Day Sale.
More information about the swap is available here.
Last year Anna Kõvári of Delft MaMa organized the first King’s Day Sale all by herself.
“I just cleared a bit our house and sold the items. It was more like an experiment for me to see how I would deal with selling things to strangers. I was completely surprised by myself; I did not know that I love bargaining and selling,” Kõvári says.
It took a few hours, Kõvári made some money, which she then decided to donate to Delft MaMa. Call it a success? Absolutely!
This year DMM decided to turn on the big gear and start preparing well in advance. Tatjana Lisjak has taken an excellent lead in the project and gotten people to dig through their closets in order to support the organization. Want to learn how to donate items and more? Click here.
On King’s Day you’ll find Delft MaMa in two locations: Nieuwe Langedijk and another to be announced spot. You can drop by to see the variety of books, beautiful dresses, clothing, toys and the rest that are available for small change at these two stalls. You will also find a Delft mama volunteer on the spot with coloring sheets, boxes of raisins and other wonderful things for your little ones. If you already have everything you could ever desire for, but you feel like supporting some of our projects, there will be a box for money donations purely for the upcoming mosaic project.
What’s the gist? Delft MaMa is turning 10 years in 2017. To celebrate, the organization wants to treat the city on our birthday much like the Dutch people treat their family, friends and colleagues in the form of “traktatie”. The current Delft MaMa substitute chairwoman Ildikó Wooning explains further: “We are taking a wall that is tagged with graffiti and make it a lot nicer. The location we chose is a playground, so it connects nicely to the spirit of Delft MaMa. The design is a picture of a bridge, children, a mother and ducks and it embodies the feeling of bridging the gaps.”
Delft MaMa has asked funds from the city and various other charity foundations, but most of all we are relying on donations. You can contribute by donating your time, money or materials. 
Nan Deardorff McClain, well-acclaimed mosaic artist in Delft, will be leading this project with the help of volunteers. There will be five mosaic workshops available for the Delft mamas in May. It will be an exchange of talents, time and materials, according toWooning: “We give the materials and the volunteers give us their handiwork. Those pieces will go on the wall.” The first workshop will take place on 2nd of May. You can find more information here.
When I found out I was having a girl I was so excited and imagined all the cute outfits I could put her in. I remember creating a Pinterest file designing her perfect imaginary wardrobe, I think I had about nine months of dressing her in what ever I wanted, before I realized that my little girl had her own ideas of what she wanted to wear. When she was two it was nothing but superhero costumes. At two and a half she just wanted to dress like a boy and by age three she was crazy about Hello Kitty.
So how can you merge Style and Comfort into the perfect little wardrobe? I feel like I am far from knowing the answers, but here are a few things I have learnt along the way.
Children need to love what they are wearing. Through colour, texture, pattern, a little creativity throw in some accessories and your child can shine with their personal style! It is fun to teach children about colour in clothing and about different colour schemes. Monochromatic is a great word for kids to learn and say while sporting pink from head to toe. You are never to young to learn about neutrals or how to match like colours or contrast light and dark.
Similarly, talking about texture is equally intriguing for kids. Fuzzy, smooth, soft, bumpy, ruff, scratchy are all fun to explore while distracting little fingers from pulling shirts off the hangers in the department store.
Kids also love creating their own clothes. One white HEMA t-shirt, a pack of iron on transfers, your aspiring young artist’s drawing and you have the cutest one of a kind graphic tee. Here my little “Odette” has made her own swan princess t-shirt and wears her white tutu to pull off her look. She couldn’t be prouder to wear her masks which we bought at So-Low and decorated herself.
Accessories are a simple, playful and can change up a look in an instant. It is also where you and your child can explore your creativity. I found some cotton jersey fabric at the market for three euros, I decided to try my luck at making little buff scarfs that double as a headband for the kids. My sewing skills are limited but this really was the easiest project and involved sewing only one seem, you don’t even have to finish the hem it rolls on its own.
Girls tend to accessorize themselves very easily with necklaces, bracelets, tiaras and fairy wings, while boys aren’t left with much.
Try cute hats, suspenders, neck bows, vests, capes wings and tales and your boy will be just as excited as the girls to prance pretty. Make simple accessories together, it takes no time at all to string a beaded necklace or glue some cat ears on a headband. Think accessories for everyday life, it is nice to have children look in their costume box before they go out and add a special something to really jazz up their outfit.
Most of us are familiar with those beautiful Pinterest photos of woolen sweaters, tiny printed floral dresses and perfectly matching tights. As lovely as they are to admire, at five my little princess detests wool sweaters, saying they are too itchy. She will absolutely not wear those cute perfectly matching tights (stockings) either, saying she hates the way they feel and puts her nose up at any lovely corduroy overalls (dungarees), trousers or jeans.
The fact of the matter is, children are going to play, explore and are going to get dirty and if they are anything like mine, they will want something comfortable that allows them to move.
My daughter’s uniform seems to be a pair of leggings, a cotton long sleeve t-shirt for the base, layered with either a dress, tunic or circle skirt – and if I am lucky – a lovely cotton cardigan.
I think it looks adorable on her and seems to be the winning combination that allows her to hop, run, skip, scooter, climb, with out any constraints.
On the other hand for my son who loves to be warm he is comfortable in wool sweaters, jeans and his fox hat, which I made for him quickly at Halloween and still hasn’t taken it off.
I know that you can have great comfortable style for your children with out breaking the bank. For me it’s hard to spend a lot of money on kids’ clothes especially when they outgrow them so quickly. It is nice to spend money on gender neutral classics that can be passed down to their sibling. A great toggle coat in red or navy is classic and adorable for either girl or boy.
Personally I love cute shoes, but they can be expensive. I either wait for a sale or order off Limango, a great discount webshop. For affordable basics I go to H&M, HEMA and C&A and usually those come in organic cotton.
Here my tiger who came to tea is wearing a pair of leather booties with funky mustard laces a steal from Van Haaren, a pair of jeans on sale from WE with suspenders (H&M) and cotton tee from HEMA with an iron on transfer I sketched.
My daughter is in a very inexpensive navy blue shift dress with a white Peter-Pan collar from the French discount grocery chain Monoprix. I love their children’s clothing line, you get that chic French look at a fraction of the price! Her baby blue ribbon is from the market, her knee high socks are one of her many unloved tights I cut, and her navy Mary Janes are from Pepino.
I spend more money on unique pieces, a special dress or a really cute jumper and for styles that can be repurposed as they grow. A style like this starts off as a dress, turns into a tunic and later maybe a swing top.
Vintage finds are real scores: I look on Etsy and have raided my mother-in-law’s trunks. This red hand knit sweater and t-strap clarks was my husbands and it really goes to show some things are worth hanging on to.
As a kid I always loved the change of season, with it brought fresh colour palettes, new textures and fabrics in clothing. There was nothing better than celebrating the seasons when I received a new raincoat, rain boots and umbrella,and to my joy my children feel no different.
I love getting excited about colour and for this spring I tucked away our rich colour palettes from winter, brought out pale muted colours with pops of intensely saturated colours.
In these princess and dragon inspired looks my daughter is wearing a dress I splurged from Filou & Friends, H&M leggings and the perfect pair of riding boots I bought from Decathlon for practically nothing. She picked out her own fuchsia pink umbrella, which I cringed at the time but it actually looks so cute with her pale pink rain coat (Cadet Rousselle.) My son is in a pinstriped navy pant from HEMA and a baby blue button down from H&M. His hat is form Zara and his scarf we made from one of his dad’s. I quickly sewed him up a dragon tale from scrap felt I had in fun shades of green and pale blue. We found his umbrella for 5 euro at Bristol. His boots are Hatley. His favourite colour is yellow at the moment so what better than a bright yellow raincoat from Pluie Pluie.
There you have it what I have learnt so far: if you can be a little creative, make it fun and comfortable, accessorize and play with the seasons, kids can have a unique style that both of you will love!
Delft MaMa, represented by a group of kind-hearted volunteers, was one of the 140 institutions present at the largest expat fair in the Netherlands.
This annual event organized by The Hague Online in partnership with ACCES celebrated its 10th edition.
“… have you heard about the most thriving parenting community in the South of Holland? … ” “Delft MaMa is…?” “New in town..?”
From 11 am until 5 pm the City Hall of the Hague, hosted over four thousand people coming from every corner of the world.
Many were the visitors that stopped by to meet and greet a small representation of the people that build our community. Amongst crayons, boxes of raisins, bubble blowing bottles and face painting, our Delft MaMas got engaged with families coming from Canada, Italy, India, China, Japan, England, Hungary and The Netherlands, to name a few.
Complicity smiles and tips about parenting in a third culture environment where joyfully shared.
We hope we will see new faces in the upcoming events real soon!
A big thanks to everyone involved in making this fair a success, before, during and after.
images of the video by Ildikó Wooning and Eva Sabina Amaral, editing by Ildikó Wooning. Pictures Shadi Parsa, Eva Sabina Amaral and Agnès Batllori
She has a delicate voice, but a lot of power behind her words. She talks about politics, her enthusiastic boys, her upcoming wedding and about her love for running. You might have hard time guessing this elegant lady used to be a lead singer of a punk band and loved skateboarding and judo, but the fire and passion that has seemingly always resided in her becomes clear quite fast. And she’s our mom of the week, América.
Brazilian América met her Dutch soon-to-be husband Robert at a wedding of a Brazilian and Dutch couple. Two years later she found herself living in Delft and starting a family. At eight weeks of pregnancy the couple went to see the midwife for a sonogram. “Oh, I see something”, said the midwife and paused for a second. América and Robert both saw it on the screen; their wishes had been answered – twice. At first América got worried, because she had no immediate family around her, but eventually got used to the idea. Identical twins Sven and 16 minutes younger Thomas were born some 28 weeks after the first sonogram in 2014.
I ask América the question she probably has answered a thousand times by now: have you always been sure which one is which? “I was worried about it when we got home from the hospital, because they had been wearing the bracelet tags all along. My kraamzorgster helped me a lot though. She said “now let’s take a good look at them, you’re their mother” and ever since I’ve known which one is which”, América says. Now it even seems funny to her she could have ever felt confused in the beginning, because as identical as the boys may be, there is a big difference in them in her trained eyes. To make it easier for everyone else around, the parents dress the boys differently and gives them different haircuts too.
Our mom of the week fills her days with her boys by mapping the over 200 playgrounds in Delft (yes, you read that amount correctly) and soon she’ll start blogging for DMM, too. Alone with two toddlers, going out to a playground became a challenge, so she started making notes about her favorite ones. “I started to look for playgrounds that were closed with a fence, small and that didn’t have huge climbing racks”, she says. América was open at the consultatiebureau about the challenges going outdoors with her fast twin boys and to her aid, the consultatiebureau offered a volunteer grandma through their Home Starter program. América, Sven and Thomas have been enjoying the company of their Dutch grandma for half a year now for three hours a week. She speaks Dutch, helps América with things she needs the support in, but respects her ways of raising the children. “You’ll tell what kind of help you need. In the beginning she would not interfere, but now I ask her advice and she helps me. The volunteers respect your parenting and are there for the support”, América explains. The boys are very strong-willed and as a mother, América needs to be very strict and consequent with them. “By becoming a mom, I found out I’m really strong”, she rejoices.
América has a background in communication design and a vast interest in photography, handicrafts and history. She got her degree in Germany and stayed there for over a decade before returning back to Brazil only to find out she had hard time adapting back to her native land. Brazil had changed and so had América. Life with Robert took her to Delft and the years in the Netherlands have been good for them. However, in the upcoming summer the family is packing up their belongings and moving to Oman in the Middle East for a duration of a job contract. América tells me moving there means the couple needs to get married, fast I might add. When they found out about the need for a marriage certificate in order to move there as a family, Robert scheduled a babysitter for the boys, took América to Paris and properly proposed to her in a place that holds a lot of meaning to the couple. She smiles the entire time she talks about her family or her upcoming wedding, even though it has been one busy schedule trying to make it all happen. Her dress will be mint green, which is also the color for celebration in Oman according to our bride. And the wedding date? No other than Valentine’s Day!
After the wedding, the planning and packing will start. The family will be living in a compound with around 200 other families, but América is already looking forward to Oman outside the neighborhood. “In the beginning I was a little worried about moving to Oman, but then I started to learn about it and now I’m really excited about moving there”, she tells and continues explaining how she’s looking forward to the hot weather and maxi dresses, the outdoors, sand, camels and beaches, but most of all learning Arabic. “It’s a chance to learn it and get new influence of other ways of living. It’s good to open up the horizons”, she smilingly adds. Seeing how América takes up on a challenge and turns even the simplest things into something educational, useful or beautiful, I can’t wait to talk to her once she returns to Delft, a little over three years from now…
“What time is it?”, she asks impatientely running through the front door. She glances at the clock and with a sigh she sits on the sofa. Just in time for Sinterklaasjournaal. The presents are still empty, the cake is still not baked properly. I could really get annoyed with these plots, they are every year the same (big spoiler ahead, yes, it all ends well, pakjesavond will be a succes). But I am not. I am nostalgically enjoying the last remains of a childhood mirage. Her eyes sparkle in front of the TV, her remarcs are fun.
I am sure the term Sinterklaas is something most of you hear all the time these days. Even if you are new in The Netherlands you simply cannot miss the Sint Nicholaas celebrations. Even though Saint Nicholas is celebrated in quite a few other Europeans countries, the way it is done in the Nederlands is unique. Your kids might be glued to the TV ever since Sinterklaas arrived by steam boat to the Netherlands and follow the exciting Sinterklaasjournaal like my 12-year-old daughter still does. You probably went and waved the arrival of the Sint in Delft and saw the Piets on their jetskis. Your child might be begging you to put his or her shoe at the fireplace every night and hopes really hard it will be filled next morning.
Just a few more days and December will start. With first Sinterklaas pakjesavond of course. Let’s be honest, it can be overwhelming a bit, there are so many things happening. So many lights and meals and celebrations, Christmas, Santa Lucia, Hannukkah, New Year’s and even Three Kings in January. But besides all the fuss, presents, family outings and travelling, there are so many nice and cosy and fun things to do in Delft. These can bring some amazing sparkle to your December days and nights.
It all starts with the now famous Lichtjesavond, this year on the 13th of December. I remember the first time I went, my daughter was only two years old. I remember her big eyes, her excitement, the red nose and cheeks and the fun we had that freezing night. She looked amazed at the podium performaces and she was extatic when the big Christmas tree got its lights on. A sparkling evening treat.
What I am most looking forward to is the ice skaing ring that is returnig to Delft this year. Other than the years before, it will be located at the TU Delft, so a bit further away form the old center. But I already know we will have loads of fun, skating, laughing and inhaling fresh, crispy air in our longs. And occasionally enjoying a glühwein or a hot chocolate.
Have a look at all the activities, you will be surprised. See a Christmas concert or a show, visit the new Christmas market, or shop till 23.00 and have some drinks afterwards, on your child free night. Add some sparkle in your December month. We all need that during these long, cold and dark days. Find this sparkle at De Donkere Dagen van Delft
“When I first set foot in Delft, second thing after visiting the real state agency to sign the contract for our apartment in the Market square, was visiting the midwifery practice. Right there, pinned on the wall, among all the other leaflets in a language back then illegible for me, I found THE one in English. It was shining brighter than the others. Maybe because it was written in English? Maybe because it read: “Your community in Delft” and I so much needed a “community in Delft”? Whatever the reason, I was very grateful to find such welcoming and inviting piece of paper with a purple teddy on the front page. Three years have passed since this initial experience, but I still treasure this moment. After almost two years of involvement with Delft MaMa, I want nothing else for all the newcomers in town to come across one of the leaflets of our institution and make their hearts jump with joy. They, like us back in the day, deserve to be and feel truly welcomed, because this is the very reason why founder Lucie Cunningham created this community 9 years ago. To me there is nothing as rewarding as helping back.” Read more
Hello MaMa’s! I am thrilled to be sharing some inspiration with you today. As an interior stylist, my own home is naturally my style playground and my little girl’s bedroom is no exception. Over the summer we completed her room and I shared the results over on my blog Avenue Lifestyle. For those of you looking for ideas for your own little ones’ rooms, I sincerely hope you find some here today. Let’s peek inside! Read more
After the fall of the Berlin wall at the brink of her teenage years, Oriana and her parents moved to the Netherlands. Things weren’t changing in their native land of Romania as much as they had hoped and the family decided to look to the west for future. Before settling in Delft Oriana moved around the country from Drenthe to Limburg and from Nijmegen to Amsterdam. Now Oriana lives in the center with her husband Wim and their 12-year-old daughter Maud. Read more
Thanks to the inspiration via a photo shared on the Delft MaMa Facebook group, our group of 3 mamas and 7 little girls spent the afternoon at the Delft Botanical Garden last Saturday and highly recommend it.
Not far from the city centre, this hidden gem is situated on the corner of Julianalaan and Mijnbouwstraat, next to the Science Centre.