By 7 augustus 2012 Read More →

Ode to the Hollandse Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam

As you may be aware from my profile (the fact that I write in English may also be a give-away), I am not a citizen of the Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (shock, gasp)! I am in fact a bit of a mongrel (if I may refer to myself as such) with most of my life spent in Hong Kong, Boston and London, with a German heritage thrown in for good measure. As a non-Dutch citizen I have a confession to share with you: I worship (yes, I mean worship) the institution that (in my humble opinion) best epitomizes all that the Netherlands is today [1]: HEMA.

Now, you may be wondering what the relevance of such information is, given that this is a blog about boys and not multiculturalism or corporate identity. Well, it’s quite simple: any mother of boys needs to be aware that Hema is a wonderful and cost-effective source of great products required to entertain, educate and even dress their little darlings. To prove my point, let me share with you some of my favorite, most recent acquisitions.

We all know, boys (as girls) need to play outside and burn off some of their never-ending supply of energy. For this purpose, Hema has a great collection of bicycles, skateboards, basketballs, footballs, roller blades (even some that convert to ice skates!) and even a baseball glove (which for less than euros 9 is a great bargain!).

boys only, ode voor hema, jongensdingen hema

In collaboration with Naturmonumenten, Hema has developed a range of products to stimulate and encourage children’s natural curiosity about the world outside. My second-born son is obsessed with plants, birds and anything nature has to offer (not quite sure where he gets it from, but so be it), so I have found myself buying books, card games, a bug container, a flashlight, a compass and and and… the collection of products is extensive (as my wallet can tell you) and, for any child that enjoys the outdoor, a worthwhile investment. A bit of advice based on my own experience – make sure the rules are set out from the beginning: no creepy crawlers or slimy bugs are to be brought into the house!

boys only, ode voor hema, jongensdingen hema

To see the full collection (40 products), take a look at: Natuurmonumenten.

Thinking ahead and getting the kids ready for the new school year? Amongst my favorite products at Hema are the educational “oefenboeken” for children ranging from 2 to 6 years – a great fun way to introduce your children to the “art” of writing and arithmetic.

boys only, ode voor hema, jongensdingen hema

Are your boys also crazy about dressing up and playing make-belief? On any given day I have two pirates, a dragon or three super heroes running around the living room, battling it out for the secret hidden treasure (a pack of peanut M&M’s) or trying to save the world from the “boef” (usually our dog has the role of the villain). Not being the most talented person as regards a sewing machine, I find Hema’s collection of costumes fun and (yet again) reasonably priced. Here are some of my favorites:

boys only, ode voor hema, jongensdingen hema

Of course I could write a three-page blog all about the “knutsel” products sold by Hema. The choice is extensive, the quality better than satisfactory and prices remain competitive (yes, I know, I keep talking about how inexpensive things are – but then we are all watching our pennies these days!).  If you take a look in my boys’ suitcase, which I have just packed, you will find a collection of Hema’s little project boxes, ideal for a rainy holiday and which I shall definitely not be leaving home without!

boys only, ode voor hema, jongensdingen hema

So my secret is out: I really do love Hema! Give me an hour of me-time, and you’ll be sure to find me in a Hema near you, cruising the aisles in search of a new, fun and (yes, here it comes again) inexpensive product.

PS: Found myself in Hema this morning (surprise!!) looking for a lock for my suitcases. When I asked the sales assistant whether they sold such items, the response was: “You’re in Hema. We sell everything.” I think that summarizes it all.

[1] I quote from the corporate website of Hema: “Vanaf de eerste dag stond HEMA voor eenvoud, duidelijkheid, kwaliteit en eerlijkheid”


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