Reflections #18: Looking Back at a Month of Celebrations and Cancellations

me on a roof terrace in Seville, Spain, holding a beer

On the last Sunday of the month I write my personal review of the previous four weeks. Being confined to home due to the coronavirus, life has obviously been less adventurous lately. But in a way I’ve also enjoyed having been forced to take it easier AND not to feel guilty about it! Let’s have a look at what I’ve been up to this month then. And if my list of films and series watched these last weeks is any longer than usual…

A month of celebrations

April is usually a celebratory month filled with several birthdays and anniversaries. First there’s my mum’s birthday early April followed by my ‘immiversary’ (my immigration anniversary) the next day.

I know, I’m such a cruel daughter for leaving the country permanently the day after my mum’s birthday…

This April it’s been 8 years since I moved to the UK! An exciting adventure that has given me many unique opportunities I would’ve never dreamed of, but is now experienced with mixed feelings. Being away from friends and family with no idea when I can see them again, feels very odd.

my parents at the door with a surprise bouquet delivery for their anniversary

I was actually supposed to be in the Netherlands again last week to celebrate my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. Obviously the trip was cancelled, but my very sweet friend Susan Boom surprised my parents with a beautiful bouquet which she dropped off whilst bearing social distancing in mind of course.

And while my other friend and bestie Suzanne and I threw a party for our mutual 40th birthdays last year, her 41th birthday this week was celebrated behind closed doors. Quite the contrast!

And a month of cancellations

Our trip to the Netherlands wasn’t the only thing that got cancelled. Curiously enough we didn’t have any other overseas trips planned for this year, which is very unusual but very lucky given the circumstances.

However, contrary to popular belief, our lives don’t merely consist of travelling. There’s also work to be done! Thankfully I can still do my editoral work from home, but obviously all my London walking tours have been cancelled. Considering I had quite some big groups booked, that’s a significant loss of income.

But the special post delivery this week with drawings by Suzanne’s daughters (which finally arrived after three weeks!) definitely put a big smile on my face!

drawings of my best friend's children
Our pet alpaca ‘Alpie’ admiring the drawings sent by my bestie’s daughters

Also Hubby had a considerable amount of performances planned for these coming months. But he’s found some cool new ways to reach his audience in these surreal times, offering free content and impromptu live performances using streaming services.

He also fulfilled his long-desired dream of starting his official Scanner fan club! Having been in the music bizz for almost 30 years now, Hubby has an impressive archive of unreleased material which he has now made available to fans for a modest subscription fee starting at only £5 per month.

It’s amazing to see how fast people in different industries have embraced creative solutions in these troublesome times. Yet at the same time it’s heartbreaking to hear about all the companies, shops and venues having to close down after a few months already. I wonder what we’ll be left with post corona, whenever that may be.

Blog posts I wrote this month

After a blogging lull earlier this year, I’m returned to my weekly blog schedule in April. And I have to say that the overwhelming amount of responses from my readers has been truly heartwarming so thank you for that!

The most popular post was last week’s Dutch-language article about typical Dutch food I miss living abroad. This taught me that in order to attract the attention of Dutch people, you only need to mention food and they won’t stop talking anymore, ha ha!

But also my two other posts – online art exhibitions you can see without leaving home & the best places to find historical Roman London sites – proved to be popular amongst readers.

If you missed any of this month’s blog posts, here’s your chance to catch up!

Portret van mij met een kroket van de Febo, een voorbeeld van typisch Nederlands eten dat ik mis in het buitenland

The Expat Files #2: Typisch Nederlands eten dat ik mis in het buitenland

Dit weekend had ik eigenlijk in Nederland moeten zijn. En had ik mijn voorraad van typisch Nederlands eten dat ik mis in het buitenland weer aan te vullen. Eten waarvan ik vóór mijn emigratie amper over nadacht, maar nu eerder een luxe zijn dan vanzelfsprekendheid. Benieuwd naar wat dat allemaal kan zijn? Lees dan snel verder!

Colourful mural by Keith Haring with dancing human-like figures

Online Art Exhibitions to Visit from Your Home

One of the few little ‘upsides’ of the current worldwide lockdown, is the fact that museums are now offering access to their temporary online art exhibitions. From Australia to the UK via the US, here are eight great temporary online art exhibitions to get your culture fix, even in times of lockdown.

Virtual travels to New Zealand

For the last three years, Hubby and I have been going on long escape-the-European-winter trips. But because I was saving up for my British naturalisation process (which is on hold for now by the way), we didn’t go away this year. In hindsight, this was a very fortunate decision, for several reasons.

Instead of travelling, I’ve been writing some articles about the New Zealand trips we made in the last two years on my travel blog Miss Travel Clogs. Head over to if you want to learn more about the astounding street art scene in post-earthquake Christchurch or see the beautiful landscape of Rotorua, a town famous for its great geothermal activity.

screenshots of two articles about New Zealand on my cultural travel blog Miss Travel Clogs

Films and series recommendations

And here’s the section many of my readers most look forward to: my list of film and series recommendations. This month I haven’t watched many films that I find worth sharing. On the other hand, I’d suggest to watch almost all the series I’ve seen.

There are two films I need to highlight though: Extra Ordinary and Thin Ice. The first one is a surreal comedy combining Irish humour and black magic, while the latter is a Fargo-ish black comedy. Do watch them if you get the chance!

To make it easier for you, I indicated all my must-watch recommendations with a * in front of the title.


Cube (Amazon Prime)
*Extra Ordinary (Netflix)
Extraction (Netflix)
Fantasy Island
Grudge, The 
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Judy & Punch
Military Wives
*Thin Ice


*Better Call Saul SE05 (Netflix)
*Curb Your Enthusiasm SE10 (HBO)
*Kidding SE02
Modern Family SE11
*Sinner, The SE03
*Tales from the Loop
Will and Grace SE11

New music discoveries

While I usually prefer noisy guitar or electronic music, these last months I’ve been enjoying more gentle music. Listening to Dutch radio, I’ve discovered the following songs. Surprisingly it even includes a song in Dutch. Traditionally, Dutch-language pop songs aren’t that ‘sexy’, but there have been some good Dutch singer-songwriters in recent years. And even if you don’t understand Dutch, I think you’ll appreciate the pleasant vibe of Eefje de Visser’s Oh.

King Princess – Ohio

Regard – Ride It

Eefje de Visser – Oh

Hayley Williams – Simmer

Found some headspace to read again

Despite being an English Literature major, I barely have the headspace to read anymore. In between editing schoolbooks and writing articles for two blogs, I’ve had enough of writing and reading by the end of the day. I’d rather go to the gym (pre-corona times of course) or crash on the sofa for some proper binge watching.

However, not being able to travel or rush around anymore, I recently found some peace and quiet in my head and was able to just sit, relax and read a book. I started with some light reading and picked up some literary thrillers by the popular ever selling Dutch author Saskia Noort. She might be a busy lady, but she did find the time to share my Instagram Story of me relaxing with her book!

Instagram Story screenshot of author Saskia Noort resharing my photo with her book 'Koorts' (Dutch for fever)

I hope you’ve been well these last weeks. Tell me what your month was like in a comment below. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thanks and stay safe and healthy!
Zarina xxx

11 thoughts on “Reflections #18: Looking Back at a Month of Celebrations and Cancellations

  1. The month of April was a very strange month for me. The first two weeks alone, no-one visiting, a lot of stress because I had to help getting a friend back to The Netherlands from Indonesia. The last two weeks of April my friend C.finally arrived and stayed with me during his voluntary quarantaine. I visited my father a few times, I actually could not bear it nót going to see him, he is 82 yrs old and I would never forgive myself if anything happened to one of us and we did not get to see each other again due to this coronavirus.
    The weeks with C. did a lot of good, a bit of recuperation after the first horrible weeks of self-isolation during which I experienced some form of PTSS. At the moment this has sort of stabilized and through the connections of someone I met just last August I can get some help with this, fortunately.
    Even though there is a ‘lockdown’, you still had a busy month!
    Thank you! xx

  2. Aaah people in the UK would love to go to Netherlands 🥰😂🙌 Dutch Bloggers are my favourite because they give me a glimpse of Netherlands and the life there!!

    1. Thanks for your visit and comment Brin! 🙂 Considering the Netherlands is less than an hour’s flight, it’s the perfect overseas travel destination from the UK I think. Just need to wait for the world to become safe and healthy again… Take care and hope to see you here soon again 🙂 x

      1. Yess absolutely! I’m drawing up travel plans already though I dont know how far it’ll be possible these day. Stay safe!❤✌

    1. Aaaw, thanks so much for your nice comment! Sometimes I wonder if these monthly reviews are interesting to anyone other than my mum ha ha, so it’s really great to hear you enjoyed it 🙂 Thank you! xx

  3. At the beginning I was quite excited to know that the lockdown is getting extended. Now, it feels as if I’m loosing my motivation more and more as the days pass by.

    With all these I’m trying to be positive and follow the routine I’ve made. Hopefully, I shall be able to regain my zeal by reading blogs here 🙂

    1. Ah yes, I can definitely relate to what you’re saying! This whole situation is starting to wear me down now, not being helped by ll those people I see going out on their usual business again, as if they just decided it’s been enough now. However, although I can’t wait for things to go back to ‘normal’ again, I’m also scared about what awaits us then, another wave, more restrictions…? We can only wait and see unfortunately and in the meantime remain to stay sensible and kind to ourselves. Take care! xx

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