The best caves in Belgium

Visiting the Grottos of Han left my children in awe. Although terrified at certain parts throughout our journey through the rocks, they found that caves are pretty cool. The caves unleashed my kids’ inner Indiana Jones (always amazed at endless imagination).

The Caves of Han are known as one of the largest known cave systems in Europe, consisting of complex chambers and labyrinths. My children enjoyed the impressive subterranean passageways rich with history and breathtaking sights.

Located between the river Lesse and the Belgian Ardennes, this enormous cave has been open to the public since the 18th century. Children will be delighted to see incredibly large stalagmites and stalactites. So they’ll feel like Indiana Jones in an alien environment.

In the grottos the temperature is a constant 13°C so be sure to take a wooly jumper for your little ones.

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The world is a fascinating place !

— Han-sur-Lesse, Belgium (March, 2014)

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Barcelona with kids

We stayed in Barcelona for a week before embarking on our Disney Cruise adventure. The city is a true treasure chest to be fully enjoyed in the company of little ones who look at life with that fresh sense of innosence and wonder.

We visited the city extensively with the little ones in trail. My kids enjoyed this city trip very much, spending time with mama, seeing new things, touring this gorgeous town. We generally got out and about using the subway. These are the top 10 things my children remember of Barcelona.

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  1. Parc Güell : they loved the mosaic, the colours, the shapes, the play of shadowy stones and nature park.
  2. Las Ramblas : the trinkets, the artists, the quaint little bars.
  3. The beach : we love the sea. Period.
  4. Cable cars : up to Montjüic
  5. Riksja bikes : lovely tour of the city, though the children were concerned if the man on the bike was tired of taking us around.
  6. The aquarium : we saw jaws ! The children were happy to see that the nasty men in the film hadn’t really killed the poor little shark. Nice shark.
  7. Touristic bus : we sat up top the double decker and toured the whole city, making plans of what we wanted to see and where we would go next.
  8. The Sagrada Familia : my kids will always fondly refer back to the castle with the 4 golden crowns on top. What a lovely nickname for Gaudi’s unfinished cathedral.

The best thing about Barcelona is that it is a city which is truly geared towards children. As you are walking around, you will frequently stumble across a park with swings and slides where the children can play before you move on to the next sights.

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Barcelona is the ideal city trip to take with your children if it is your mission in life as a parent to enfuse your offspring with a passion for life, food, culture, and of course, architecture.

— Barcelona, Spain (August 2013)

Incense for the centred child

My children are so happy to engage with me in yoga and meditation sessions. Setting the scene is just as important. Part of the ritual is cleansing our space with natural incense. Nothing smells better than the wild outdoors and the breeze of the forest. It is wonderful to bring the beauty of the woods to our home.

I discovered Juniper Ridge incense when looking for a sustainable alternative to artificial room sprays. Lighting up makes me shine every time. Thank you to their entire team for being so ecologically engaged ! I am truly grateful to know there are people investing in nature and making it possible to bring change into my life. This incense comes straight from nature and therefore it is going to change…

You can order no matter what your location is up to you. Question is where you live. I found a European website in Amsterdam which sells these aromatic treasures online (Hear Hear sells Juniper Ridge incense).

You’ll love their products, 100% wildcrafted. We love it !

Why meditating with kids is the best

Meditating with kids can be awesome. I first started applying this technique with my son when he showed signs of anxiety and restlessness at bedtime. No matter how small and innocent, our children experience their own levels of stress too and need to be taught tools and techniques to deal with a busy life.

Benefits for mother and child

Sharing my own experiences with meditation to relieve anxiety with my children have changed the way I meditate myself. For the better.

  • Seeing the beneficial effects meditation had on my children, enhanced my own belief in this relaxation technique. And in my ability as a parent to offer adequate solutions when I notice my child is suffering.
  • Meditating with my children has deepened my bond with them. Meditation is something sacred which we share together.
  • My children are more relaxed and have stronger self-esteem. They now have the power to calm themselves down through deep breathing and inner focus to release negative thoughts.

Spontaneous silence

Sharing meditation with my children brings many gifts like feeling of spontaneity, flexibility and adventure. My children feel at ease spending quiet moments together with me, and then afterwards sharing our thoughts and emotions. Sharing at such a deep level gives way to more laughter and inhibition when out exploring the world. Reassurance at core-level produces strong, self-reliant children ready to face the world.

You can do it too

Moby has release 4h of free downloadable ambient meditation and yoga music. I like to fully engage with my children and offer then some guidance in their meditation.

A meditation guide :

begin by getting comfortable, letting go, and focus upon your breath, relaxing your body one part at a time, begin by focusing upon your feet allowing all your muscles to relax, throughout your feet, feeling the warmth seep through your toes, bringing in deep relaxation, allow this beautiful warmth to flow easily up through your ankles on into your legs, relax, feeling your knees and your thighs completely give way to a, calming flow of loving peaceful relaxation, should any outside thoughts come through simply brush it aside and continue to focus on your breath, breathing deeply and relaxing completely, sense this healing flow now enter the base of your spine, it’s relaxing your lower back, sinking deeper and deeper into a calm state, moving up your back, relaxing all the muscles along the way, let go.

Namasté !

I lost my heart to the ocean…

… and with it, a piece of my soul.

The seaside has always had a calming effect over me. I love the sound of the waves, the smell of the fresh sea breeze and the unlimited sense of freedom as I watch my children scutter madly along the beach.

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My kids are great lovers of new ideas, truth and beauty. They love to understand the world. So all excursions are full to the brim with exploration and savouring each moment, driven by their relentless questions and my own ignorance.

Children are such wonderful creatures to spend time with. They free-range across nature, thought, food, … – anything strange and interesting.

We are out to sate our thirst for knowledge with this blog. I hope you find our adventures rich and complex enough to sate yours.

— De Haan, Belgium (April 2013)

Things I learned by visiting the Japanese Garden with my kids

The Japanese Garden is a small oasis of calm in the city of Hasselt. It combines the delicately controlled nature of a real Japanese sculpted garden, with soft flowing stream of water and a Japanese pavilion. I had wanted to visit this park for some time. I am very interested in meditation and all rituals like the Japanese tea ceremony.

Children are hungry for information

My kids adore beauty and they want to know why. Why is this a Japanese garden ? What do the Japanese do ? Where is Japan ? I was subjected to a tirade of questions whilst running around the park discovering one new beauty around every corner.

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I am all for spontaneity. And I pride myself on being well-read. But my kids got the better of me. Next time, I swore, I’d be better prepared and I’d do my homework. Lucky in our day and age, I can just pull out my iPhone and Google the questions I can’t answer.

Children love water

No sh*t Sherlock, hadn’t seen that one coming. Add a stream of water where children can actually get hands-on involved and you’ve got yourself some happy campers.

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The lake was home to a huge school of Japanese Koi. My kids so desperately wanted to pet the little darlings. Of course they just ended up washing their feet.

Nature is a beautiful place to be with children

The Japanese cherry trees were in bloom. And such gorgeous flowers ! My daughter wanted to eat one, they smelled so delicious.

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Such love for beauty is only complete when spent with mum. Just look at those darling little faces. So happy to be out discovering the treasures of this park. Children just add that little extra spark of luminosity. This picture is one of my treasures. I call it the Cherry’s Jubilee.

Anything can be an adventure

We took a walk round the park, following the small paths and crossed the stepping stones by the waterfall. Like I said, kids love water. It adds to the magic and the excitement of the moment.

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This waterfall sure heats things up ! The wild uncontrollable force of nature, the fierce rocks… Yet everything so calculated and orchestrated into this magnificent setting. Loved it !

And this proud mother learned…

That day, I realized as I was walking around the Japanese Garden in Hasselt, bathed in the loveliest light. What made that day so memorable was the presence of my kids. I had wanted to teach them what a beautiful place this world is. But actually it was my kids who taught me to see the beauty, as they looked and discovered and played in all childish innocence. I was humbled by how much they actually taught me. Would I have spent so much time by the water watching the koi ? Would I have asked myself so many questions about the Japanese culture ? Would I have noticed the sweet fragrance of the cherry blossom ? I felt so lucky. I found so much inspiring beauty. I can’t wait to get outside again !

— Japanese Garden, Hasselt, Belgium (May 2013)

Life is a journey

Life is a journey. A beautiful journey when shared with children who still look at the world through the innocent eyes full of wonder and amazement at every corner they turn. Where to begin on this beautiful planet with so many things to see ? So I have a bucket list of places my soul yearns to wander. As long as there is yoga, there is yet another page to write…

Places I would love to visit, things I long to see, stuff I want to do :

  • Pyramids around the world (Mexico, Egypt, Cambodja…)
  • Mauritius
  • Seychelles
  • Kos
  • Japan
  • Peru (the Inca trail, Macchu Picchu, Nazca lines, Paracas skulls, Candelabra)
  • Colombia and meet Shakira
  • South Africa
  • Safari in Kenya
  • Madagascar