Intratuin: More than just your average garden center.

Intratuin:  More than just your average garden center.

I LOVE Intratuin Garden Centers. YES, Intratuin is technically a garden center (largest in the Netherlands) and NO I am no green thumb.  Anyone knows me, knows that I kill all plants.  BUT…. this place is more than a garden center.   They have beautiful home items for sale too and they offer workshops!  It sort of reminds me of IKEA, yet better.   It’s really a nice shop for all ages.  If you are mobile you can walk and walk following the route.  Kids can play a bit, older folks can sit down for a long time if they want in the cafe – I witnessed it first hand… many being rolled around in their wheelchairs – perhaps an afternoon out from the nursing home?

Intratuin is a great place to visit any time a year and they update their site and store based on seasons.   At Christmas time they really have the place decorated and there is a walk you can do through the store with lights, music, decor – a real must-see.   We were there during the Herfstvakantie for the Kid’s Workshop: Pompoen Snijden.  During the summer they offer a lot in terms out outdoor living & bbqs.

Today I took Maebh and her friend from school to Intratuin in Veghel for an afternoon craft event based on a tulip theme considering today was National Tulip Day.  At  €2.50 per child, they are always well worth the small fee and at 9 she LOVES to do them herself.  There is a helper there to start them off or give tips if needed.   Many times, you can buy the kit and do it at home too.

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In fact,  today was Nationale Tulpendag – the Dutch Tulip Growers created a massive temporary garden on Dam Square in Amsterdam featuring around 200,000 tulips.  Visitors then could pick some flowers to take home after walking around the displays.  I originally wanted to go here but plans changed.  Instead I took advantage of the self-pick area at Intratuin and took home 10 beautiful tulips which I picked myself.   At home I cut off the bulb myself… contrary to what you’d think you cannot just use the bulb again… it’s just waste. They are really my favorite flower and love having fresh ones at home.  I’m  looking forward to Tulip season this year and a visit to the Keukenhof and seeing the fields in full bloom.  While still early, for the past few weeks, I’ve had several bunches already… pink, yellow, white and now red.

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Anyway – back to Intratuin.  All Intratuins offer kids workshops (always €2.50) but the one closest to us only does it on Wednesday afternoons –  so unfortunately that is our busy day with early release,  piano and gymnastics, so it’s not possible.   They also have some pretty cool workshops for adults but I’ve yet to do any of them.  I’ve love to take a BBQ masterclass workshop in the summer like this blogger, AnniePannie.nl, did.  Her experience looked very cool and the photos made my mouth water!

In addition, they have a scavenger hunt thing called a “kinderspeurtocht”.

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During this month’s children’s treasure hunt, you’ll discover everything about indoor plants.  Kids explore in the store and find the answers to questions.  Pick up the treasure hunt at the service counter, investigate in our store.  Then return the answers to the service desk, where they’ll will receive a nice present.  We didn’t do this, but next time I’ll have the kids do this.

There  even has a small play area which at 9 our youngest is a bit big for but as she is gentle and small, she and her friend had fun.  Today after their craft they played with some smaller kids (safely of course).  I assume they all have the same set up  – a cafe that serves nice coffee and fresh mint tea, yummy lunch options.  I had a tomato soup and the kids had a kids meal (including a drink and poffertjes.

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While they were inside doing the craft, I enjoyed my fresh mint tea, then I walked around the shop a bit.  So many lovely things I’d love to buy.

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Thankfully I had some self-control but I love all the decorations like the cushions & throws, scented candles, beautiful plants.  I’m also trying to find a new throw for the sofa – a fully, warm one that doesn’t leave fluff.   Here are some photos I took but they do not do justice on how beautiful the items really are – the store is so lovely.

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They have a small area for pets.  Along with food and grooming products, they sell hampsters, rats and a couple bunnies.  But Maebh really loves stopping by and looking at the fish section – so that takes about 20 minutes.  She picks out which exact fish, which tank, which decorative items she’d like inside.  Hummm – I have no desire about having an aquarium at home.  I don’t mind going to see them in their tanks at the shop, but I think keeping a fish tank clean and ph balanced is a lot of work.  I told her a single fish in a bowl of water is an option  – but not today!  I hope she forgets!

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I’ll keep an eye out on both the upcoming kids & adult workshops at the Intratuin and look forward to our next visit.   Of course a workshop to improve my lack of a green thumb would be very handy as I now have a whopping two plants in the house that I’ve managed to keep alive now for a while!!

 

PRODUCT REVIEW: Stainless Insulated Bottles – Chilly Bottle & Dopper Insulated Blazing Black

PRODUCT REVIEW:  Stainless Insulated Bottles – Chilly Bottle & Dopper Insulated Blazing Black

Thankfully there has been a huge shift away from single-use plastic but we still need help.    Today San Francisco airport banned single-use water bottles!  The city of San Francisco banned the sale of plastic water bottles on city-owned property back in 2014, but allowed delays and granted certain exemptions.  The new rule comes into effect on 20 August, and is part of a five-year plan to lower landfill waste, net carbon emissions and net energy use to zero.  Filtered water is provided for free at 100 “hydration stations,” where flyers can top up reusable bottles.

The bottled water market globally is rapidly growing with approximate 600 million households consuming bottled water in 2018. That’s more than 100 billion gallons (391 Billion litres) of water per year or 1 million bottles per minute

This statistic displays the annual consumption of plastic bottles in the Netherlands as of 2017, by type of bottle. Combined, around 1.4 billion plastic bottles per year are consumed in the Netherlands, with 53 percent being small bottles. On average, 80 plastic bottles are consumed per person per year in the Netherlands.

 In the Netherlands and in our community, there are about six pubic water refill stations right here in the city centre.  There is also a larger push for some shops and restaurants to allow the public to use their taps to refill their water bottles if they have this openbare drinkwatertappunten sticker on their window.

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FREE DRINKING WATER TAPS IN DEN BOSCH

In Den Bosch Center I know of six main free public tabs at the Train station, Stads Park, Arena, Markt, Parade and Hinthamereinde and then at these private locations:

  • SwapFiets
  • The Green Bar
  • Art Den Bosch
  • Proeflokaal ‘T Paultje
  • Ricky’s Barber & Shop
  • Bossche Brouwers

FREE DRINKING WATER TAPS IN THE NETHERLANDS

I just found another website which shows even more FREE WATER TAPS all over the Netherlands.   So as long as you bring your bottle in your bag, you have no reason to need to buy a plastic bottle of water.

On the flip side it’s often difficult to get a restaurant to give you kranwater (water from the tap) in a pitcher or by the glass at the table.  In my recent experience, I learned that many American’s living here in the Netherlands find this absurd and complain about it, but the restaurants don’t want to give up the revenue they are making on you buying the expensive bottled water.    I will add that we hardly ever ask for tap water – only if it’s the end of our meal and the kids are thirsty and we ask for a single glass of water for the kids – the waitresses tend to offer it.

GLASS BOTTLE – MY PAST EXPERIENCE

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I personally prefer to drink of out a glass – so when I was back in the US last year I bought myself a Lifefactory Glass Bottle with the plastic outside.   It was heavy, it had loads of condensation on the outside, but I liked the glass part. Glass doesn’t keep water quite as cool for quite as long as stainless steel either.  Sadly, I dropped it on the sidewalk and the entire bottle SHATTERED!!   Gutted as I spent $25 on it and loved it.  And here I was warning the kids about being careful with my bottle – and the adult dropped the bottle.

OUR KIDS USE WATER BOTTLES DAILY AT SCHOOL

Last year, our kids had the BPA free, plastic Dopper water bottles for school – but by the time lunch rolled around their previously cold drinks were lukewarm and condensation was all over the outside of their bottles so that meant their papers and anything in their school bags became damp too.   So over the summer, we talked about getting them both new bottles for back to school.  But most importantly – not just stainless bottles – but insulated bottles.

I had done some research online so I knew I wanted to see the Chilly Bottles and the new insulated Dopper – in a larger size.  Both are just around the €30 mark and both are BPA free and insulated.  We wanted to see them in person vs just buy them from the internet and hope for the best.    There are few stores in our area which sell different bottles – Waar and WO! Concept Store.   Both stores are lovely and are my go-to stores for gifts.  In fact, yesterday I bought my SIL a Kletspot for her birthday at WO!  I have to get in and out quickly as I love to buy everything for myself 🙂 

WHAT WE BOUGHT

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Our 11 year old son was eyeing a Bamboo bottle which had a tea infuser inside, which to me was more suitable for a middle aged office worker,  but I know that would not work so well over time for my boy as it would most likely crack.  So he ended up getting the large, 580 ml (20 oz) Dopper Insulated Blazing Black – perfect for him.

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Our 9 year old daughter picked the Chilly’s Bottle 500 ml with AVOCADO’s on the outside – perfect for her.   All things avocado print are all the rage for 9 & 10 year old girls.  We didn’t buy a brush to clean it out but we might do so eventually but for now as we only use water, we’ll be fine.

LOOK A NEW DOPPER – GLASS

Dopper Glass and it looks great and insulated!! – I just don’t trust myself but if I see it in the store going to have a close inspection.  If the Chilly bottle turns out to not work for Miss M should it taste to metallic and she wants my Dopper (I offered it to her) I might have to get a replacement.

DON’T FORGET TO CLEAN IT

Any type of reusable water bottle should be washed after each use to avoid bacteria growing and spreading,.  Use washing up liquid and hot water ensuring you get into all the nooks and crannies, such as the threaded neck and cap. Alternatively, use your dishwasher if it is dishwasher-safe.

Bacteria and germs thrive in moist environments so not washing your water bottle enough provides the perfect conditions for germs to grow.  So the next time you are thinking of just giving your bottle a quick rinse, reach for the washing up liquid as well.

KINTO TRAVEL MUG

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My husband just returned from a meeting in Kiev, where he was a speaker and as a than you, they gave him a gift of a KINTO Travel Tumbler mug.  Of course, he handed it to me.  I love it, a new insulated travel bottle for me to use for my coffee on the way to early morning football games 🙂

 

REVIEW: 3Doodler Start Kit – 3D Pen

Maebh loves arts & crafts,  so was VERY happy “Santa” brought her the 3Doodler kit.  This one is the best quality ones.  This is the better quality one at €50 vs the cheap one that can be bought for €12.

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With the new 3Doodler Start your creative kids can finally bring all of their wonderful and imaginative ideas to life in 3D. The 3Doodler Start 3D printing pen extrudes an eco-friendly plastic that cools and hardens rapidly, allowing kids to literally draw in the air!

It uses an Eco-Plastic that’s made entirely from food grade materials, so it’s completely biodegradable, non-toxic and BPA-free!

The 3Doodler Start is seriously easy to use too, there’s only one speed and one temperature and no software or technical knowledge required – just turn it on, insert a strand and start Doodling in 3D. It can either be used while plugged in, or charge it up and Doodle wirelessly, anywhere for up to one hour.

There are over 200 free stencils and projects available online!   So we’re going to check the site out ASAP!  Extra plastic is going to be what Maebh spends her allowance money on!  At €6 for a set of 24 strands – it’s not cheap.   Allowance money is being introduced after the New Year.

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While I think it’s aimed for 8+, kids like Maebh 6, enjoy it and kids like Soren nearly 9 find it hard.

While there is no battery, it comes with a micro-USB Charging Cable whch doesn’t have to be plugged into mains all the time unlike other 3D pens – so that is GREAT!  Also the tip doesn’t get super hot like some other pens so it’s IDEAL for kids!

Loads of wasted wax but still fun!  Extra wax kits are perfect birthday presents!

More about the product line including a newsletter, ideas and ways to buy can be found on their website here: the3doodler.com