MOTHER(HOOD) | NATALIE LOVES AMSTERDAM
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to raise your family in another part of the world? In our Love Where You Live series we get a glimpse into the day to day lives of mamas from all over the world. Where they get coffee, have play dates, date night, shop... It's kind of like a travel guide for mamas. But more than that, it shows that even though we live in different climates and cultures, we can connect through the universal language of motherhood. xx
WHO | NATALIE WOOL @nomadandsea
LIVES | Amsterdam, The Netherlands. More specific in the "Old South" district, which is a beautiful and reasonably quiet area just outside the city center.
WORKS | After years of working for different companies and publishers, I'm nowadays a freelance journalist, editor, writer and founder of 2 soon to launch projects: "Nomad and Sea", and "The Click". (working on .com's as we speak)
TRIBE | Our tiny family tribe exists of my sweet man Ramon (37), myself (35), our twins Bodhi Gabriel Nomad & Noa Eden Sea (4), our cat Snoopy and newest addition: a retired guide dog named Roxy.
My daughter Noa and son Bodhi do not only differ by gender but in every other aspect too: personality, little quirks, face, hair, eye color, taste in food etc... Yet they fit each other like a perfect glove and feel most comfortable being close together.
ROOTS | My family is such a mixture that it's sometimes even confusing to me and when people ask where I'm from, I usually quick-reply that I'm just a typical Amsterdam local as most of us here are mixed. Try following the real deal: my father is Israeli/American with Polish/Ukrainian roots and my mom is Dutch/French with Russian/Austrian/Spanish/Portuguese roots. I myself was born and raised in Israel, grew up in The Netherlands and have also lived in Germany and China. "Hubby" is Dutch with Brazilian roots...
Just hope our kids won't mind being such a melting pot of roots later in life;)
COFFEE OR TEA | Both!! Depending on the time of day (and lack of sleep at night)! I need at least two strong coffees in the morning (also may or may not be the worst case of not-a-morning-person in the world), herbal and ginger teas during the day and eve (an attempt to keep my body & brain zen) and preferably one cappuccino with a friend somewhere between noon and "kids go crazy coconuts time". Amsterdam is full of cafés (not too be confused with our famous coffeeshops). In our favorite district De Pijp, where we used to live and still hang out a lot, Brazilian Brazuca and CT Coffee & Coconuts are our usual coffee and tea (and the best açaí bowl!) hangs. De Balie is our go to hangout in the center (besides a café it's also a theater, cinema and exposition space). Screaming Beans in one of my favorite shopping districts Jordaan/NineStreets is another gem. Nes area is great for coffee, tea and munch/lunch too! The only thing I'm missing since living in Asia, is a good matcha latte in my area.
FAMILY DINNER | All four of us love Mediterranean/South European, Indonesian, and Surinam food. At risk of stepping on some toes here, I'd say that Dutchieland's colonial and immigrants past has left us with the best cuisines. The original Dutch one is... Well... Meh. Unless you're a huge fan of mashed everything (think baby food... Or prison food).
Girassol is an adorable romantic Portuguese restaurant with great seafood, right by the Amstel river. It has a city view terrace, away from the center crowds and live Fado music during the winter. Blauw and Ron Gastrobar Indonesia serve the best Indonesian food. You can find Surinam food (which is not only super tasty but also low budget) at just about every corner of every district but we personally prefer Tjin's and Warung Mini in De Pijp.
Every now and then we treat the twins to typical Dutch Pancakes at Boerderij Meerzicht which is in the middle of our city's forrest.
DATE NIGHT |We haven't had many of those (yet) because twins, no family nearby plus my man travels abroad for work a lot so we cherish our family qtime when we can. When we do go on date nights, they're either in one of the restaurants mentioned earlier (followed by cocktails or a movie), a theater or at a live music performance... Or at the beach.
FRIENDS NIGHT OUT | Nowadays my friends practically have to drag me out to party (and make sure I stay awake). Where we go almost always depends on the club where my bestie aka DJ Raphaella/Miss Brown spins that night. Most clubs here have excellent cocktail bars, few also have sky bars with amazing views over the city. Occasionally we go to the movies, attend expo's or other small events together.
(RETAIL) THERAPY | As a mama, online shopping is my friend.
However small well styled boutiques who carry different (unique) and preferably sustainable brands still have my preference. De Pijp (Gerard Doustraat), Haarlemmerdijk en Nine Streets are hands down the best areas to satisfy my shopping or at the very least inspiration cravings.
For children's fashion, interior and toys, Big & Belg is my one-stop shop.
WORK OUT | My weekly workouts take place under the guidance of my physiotherapist and include everything from cardio and muscle building to stretching and metabolism boosting. I'm limited in sports/movement due to an illness but try to walk fast pace (with our dog) at least once a day, and do yoga and occasionally Pilates at home. Did I already mention keeping up with 2 cheeky active 4 years old's?🏻
PLAY DATES | Amsterdam housing mostly means tiny noisy living so our play dates often take place outdoors:
- the beach at least once a week (because that's were you can find my man surfing)
- playground where we are almost daily (UJ Klaren speeltuin is our favorite) - kids friendly cafés like MiniMarkt
- Saturday's farmers market on Noordermarkt is our weekly spot for fresh organic fruit and veggies. It's right in the heart of de Jordaan, one of the oldest districts in town and a favorite among both locals and visitors. Keep strolling along the canals until you reach the Nine Streets shopping heaven. Just don't forget to stop for a fresh baked Dutch apple pie at Winkel 43 (worth the wait) before leaving the market square.
- Crossing to the north side of town by ferry. Eye Film Museum is not only one to admire from the inside but the building itself and view of the city are worth a visit on their own. Recently another gem was added to the area: A'DAM Tower which offers a unique 360 degrees view over the city from one of the highest buildings around. Once a month you can try your luck finding a vintage treasure at De IJhallen which is Europe's largest flee market. End the day in the impressive industrial Pllek or Stork.
- Strolling around Sunday Market and Westerpark, followed by a lazy lunch at Rainarai, Pacific Parc or WestergasTerras. Sans kids? Enjoy the music and dance at North Sea Jazz Club
ON A SUNDAY …|
We go slow. And to the beach. To our not so secret anymore beach. It's a max 30 minutes drive to what looks like the most unlikely route to a heavenly seaside: hidden up north from the tiny postcard idyllic town Wijk aan Zee, is a road which passes a huge factory. At the end of that road, up through the dunes, just where you least expect, is a huge pier and even bigger spacious beach. This is where we, other surfers and dog owners can be found running/surfing wild and free.
BEST THING ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE ...
Oh how I love this city-- the architecture and canals, multicultural fellow locals, open minded liberal "nothing is too crazy" vibe which Amsterdam is typically known for. It's the almost perfect (the weather and 30 min beach drive are a thing) metropolis and village all in one. Even (or especially?) after living, working and traveling in different countries I can say that nowhere else in the world have I ever felt the combination of the intoxicating bubbly vibe of big city life, while being able to literally cross the entire city from north to south by foot in less than an hour and almost always meet at least one familiar face along the way.