Happy long weekend!

To fully enjoy the long weekend of Pentecost together, my boyfriend suggested I choose my ideal getaway for some quality quantity time together. A woman who knows exactly what she wants and which getaway will spark her fire is just wonderful.

Strong women are capable, and they do it all. In fact, the terms “super woman” and “super mom” were coined because of the kind of women who are strong, dominant, and feel like they can set the world on fire. So I chose to spend our long weekend together in the Netherlands.

I am a big fan of the Dutch coastal region for the very simple reason that it is beautiful. Clean open coast lines, pure nature, friendly people, great food. What more can a woman desire?

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Best summer getaway

European summers are usually deliciously hot and relaxed. Which is why I prefer to spend my summers here and keep my big holidays for when the weather turns gray and extra vitamin D would be needed, ie in winter.

I’m going to come right out and say it: Europe does summer best. From sunsets on the beach to lazy patio drinks, whatever your travel style, Europe makes summers to be remembered.

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Where we’re staying

We are intensely enjoying our long weekend at Beach Hotel Zuiderduin in Westkapelle. The hotel is extremely comfortable with rooms accessing directly onto the outdoor warmed swimming pool. A huge nature dune separates the hotel and the rest of the inland from the beach. The beach is accessible via a quaint set of wooden stairs. A challenge. Especially when you are carrying the extra 11 kg of baby.

What we’re eating

We dined out on the beach terrace of Beach Club Zuiderduin which is located directly on the beach. The view is stunning. The service is impeccable and friendly. And the food is out of this world. We choose a seafood dish – a choice which seems imperative. When at the sea, eat like the seagulls. The fish tasted as if it was freshly caught this morning. And it probably was.

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What we’re drinking

Champagne, of course. What else ?

What we’ve seen today

There are two lighthouses in Westkapelle. One is located inwards on land, on top of an old gothic church. And the other is located directly on the beach front. Together they are supposed to produce a light line for the many ships passing by.

And there are many cargo ships which sail past Westkapelle and into the river Schelde to access Belgian’s main ports of Zeebrugge and Antwerp. Furthermore we see many ships leaving port sailing towards Terneuzen, and from there on to international ports, ultimate destination in Asia, Chine or maybe even Japan.

Needless to say we are happy campers in our luxury hotel enjoying all the abundance nature and life have to offer us. We are in love. Life is beautiful.

— Westkapelle, the Netherlands (June 2017)

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Beach please

A beach escape to tide you over

After the birth of my third child, I felt a need to spend some quality time with my babes to bond. So it was only natural that planning a beach getaway was at the top of my to-do list. The stylish yet understated coastal town of Cadzand in the Netherlands is a relatively quick drive from Belgium. It guarantees beached-out bliss. This is a place we like to get away to to warm up and unwind.

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Luxurious hotel & wellness

Luxury is our natural way of life. We stayed at Noordzee Hotel in Cadzand, which is packed with old-fashioned charm and incredibly friendly and chatty Dutch, who are more than happy to share the secrets for the best conch salad, where catch the sunset, and even, if you ask nicely, the most serene beach spots. All guests can access the dunes immediately off the hotel’s back terrace, adding to the hotel’s easygoing vibe. Cadzand is bustling almost all year round.

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Walks in the nature reserve, het Zwin

Het Zwin, the nature reserve which hugs the southern end of Cadzand, is a good spot for families. It is great for daily afternoon trips as well as morning sealine excursions.

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The sand beach

Cadzand is known for its beautiful sand beach, and while there are many ways to enjoy it, shark tooth hunting is perhaps one of the most special. My suggestion? Go at sunset when the sand has a pearly iridescent quality and have a glass of champagne on the beach before heading back to town for dinner.

The sand dunes

Descriptions of Cadzand’s sand dunes sometimes read more like a utopic scene. The Netherlands has an aggressive environmental agenda, reaching for zero emissions and “zero contamination”. This lets the focus remain on the stunning sea view and impeccably kept nature surroundings.

Windy days

Even in not so beautiful weather there is plenty to do with little ones. We had a great time flying our kites on the beach.

There is nothing more empowering for a mother than to spend her days out playing with her children. If you’re a woman who loves nature and seaside, then Cadzand is just the place meant for you.

— Cadzand, the Netherlands (July 2016)

Get lost on seaside time

Hiking sand dunes, drinking champagne and hot chocolate, pristine water at every turn…what’s not to love? We’ve rounded up the our favourite pass times for best holiday life at Cadzand.

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April is still too cold for swimming or paddling. My littles won’t let such details hold them back. On with the wellies and the wind stoppers. They’re still happy to catch the waves. We walked all the way down the beach, discovering hidden spots. This is also the ideal place to go hunting not only for sea shells, but also for shark teeth! Yes really.

Cadzand beach stretches out to the scenic area of the Zwin, a nature reservation. A true delight to visit for some calm soul searching. We ended our day with a scrumptious gorge on seafood down town.

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Sand dune hiking is one of our bestest when we visit the seaside. Cadzand is surrounded by dunes and green gifts of nature. Always a delight to spend a few hours letting the little ones run wild. They climb and jump and roll around. Letting their imagination get the best of them. The dunes are also an excellent spot to sit still and watch the sun set on clear evenings.

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Cycle on the beaten path, you can discover the coastal area for miles. There are plenty of places spotted the long of the cycling routes, on the beach, where you can stop for refreshments. The Netherlands if flat which makes cycling easy and enjoyable. Feel as free as the sea gulls flying above your head. Kids thrive in all this open air freedom and nature ramblings.

Yes, you can ride a bike. I was 7 months pregnant when I took this trip with my kids. And although I’ll admit to more frequent breaks than my childrens would have liked, and my big belly getting in the way a few times, we really went for it. Pregnancy was no excuse. You can do it too !

Cadzand, definitely worthwhile.

— Cadzand, The Netherlands (April 2016)

Life is a beach

I love spending quality time with my kids dreaming away at the beach. Here’s a list of what we love doing at the seaside :

  • walking around in flip flops
  • jumping the waves
  • just being outside
  • hiking the dunes
  • cycling the coast line
  • experiencing stunning views of the horizon
  • visiting charming coastal towns
  • enjoying sea food
  • witnessing stunning sun sets
  • racing down sand dunes
  • exploring art scenes made of shells
  • partaking in outdoor activities
  • searching for sea shells
  • admiring boats sailing by
  • floating on the waves

We all know the sea air is good for you. And so is having fun. When you combine holiday and kids, you’ll be inspired as well as physically at the top of your game.

— Oostende, Belgium (September 2014)

This is the sound of sea

Whenever my soul feels stifled or my thoughts to scattered, I bundle up my little ones and take them to the sea side for a couple of days. Not only does the open horizon work miracles on my inspiration and energy levels, my mind comes to rest at the sounds of the seashore.

Teach your children to listen

With a little guidance, you can propose that your children stop for a moment and listen to those sounds of the sea, splashing waves, and sea-gull-screams. Now they are mindful and enjoying it right now!

Then listen intently

The sea is the sounds of summer. It’s so great to lie on the sand with your eyes closed, enjoying the fresh sea breeze, sun rays on your children’s faces and listening to the sounds of beach. The buzz of popular dance music playing in the nearby bar, the sound of the waves and sea-gulls, and the happy laughter of bantering people.

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Recollecting these funny summer days, my heart yearns to stroll the wide open beaches again and again. And to listen to and breathe the atmosphere of the beach!

— De Haan, Belgium (April 2014)