Numbers never have meant very much to me, but my heart fills up easily with colours, scents and sounds. Tonight I feel so blessed to recollect the whirlwind of colourful hues, perfumes and tones that have made up the last decade for me.

It was the decade in which we moved back to our beloved Kenya, and traded the bright Delft Blue for the soft Nairobi Blue, although to me, the real Kenyan colours are the warm gold of the dry waving grasses, the olive green of the fever tree leaves, and the orange, purple and gold in the sky around sunset. The scents of wood fires in the crisp evening air, the dry, hot earth cooling down after a sunny day, and best of all, the promise of the first rains in the air, after the dry season.
The plethora of bird calls and songs, some of my most favourite being the Fisheagles, Ibis, Babblers and Go-away-birds. The distant sound of drums on a Sunday morning (took me a while to get used to it, but now I love it like I loved the carillon in Delft on Sunday mornings) The call to and from Maasai ladies being guided back to their boma’s, after a day in the market, and of Hyena and Hippo when I nearly fall asleep.

We travelled to places near and far, discovered so many beautiful sides of Kenya, both on land and under water, on the plains or in the mountains, and fell in love time after time again. Only Roger Whitakker’s: ‘My land is Kenya’ could be suitable here.
But apart from our travels in Kenya, we also saw Italy, the Filipines, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, cruised the Mediterranean, and visited South Africa. And we became real experts in packing our suitcases to the max, when we travel between Holland and Kenya. We saw many dear friends get married, and the sweetest babies were born into our growing families, and hearts. It really is the people surrounding me, near or far, that have made this decade such a special one. With some friends I have already shared several decades, with others I hope to share several still to come. The lyrics of ‘Avondland’ by Stef Bos, describe so well the torn-ness which is inseparable with an international move.

During the past ten years I became an entrepreneur, director and owner of my own company, Maua Moments. It gave me the chance to explore my own capabilities, discover new abilities and share in beautiful occasions. The language of flowers truly is universal, and the most thrilling part of it all was probably passing on this language to others. Although we worked with the full spectrum of colours which is available in nature, the one that stands out most to me, is the Hot Pink which was our signature colour. The unfortunate bit of being a florist, is that you more or less lose the ability to smell all the delicate scents of flowers when you are surrounded by them all day, but the scent that always remained, was the one of eucalyptus, and therefore this is the one that reminds me most of Maua Moments.

It was also the decade in which I got to marry my soulmate. Still as handsome as the day I met him, always full of plans and ideas, his glass never gets half empty, and whatever I do, he not only supports me wholeheartedly, he adores the soil that I walk on. What more could a girl ask for?
Our colours are many, but the silver shine of the full moon that adorned our wedding is probably the most suitable one, and I am reminded of it every day, by the shimmer of my wedding band. The scent that still immediately takes me back to that day, is the perfume that I wore, which also doubled as my ‘something blue’; Bulgari Blu. Even though we had some pretty special songs, amongst which ‘Iemand als jij’ by Huub van der Lubbe, the ‘Circle of Life’ from the Lion King, and ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnsson, it is the sound of chitchat and laughter that is most dear to me when I think of that special time in my life.

Undoubtedly, my most special moments of this past decade, are all related to becoming a mummy to the most beautiful, smart, mischievous, delightful, funny, curious, cuddly, happy and loved little girl I could ever have imagined. She turned my world upside down, and I only discovered then, that it is actually much better that way. The gorgeous chocolate of her skin, bright turquoise, which looks so well on her, but especially purple, because it is her most favourite colour, always immediately remind me of her. The scent of Aloe Vera which calms her sensitive skin will forever be related to warm, damp, after bath cuddles. The catchy sound of her little giggles when she curls up her nose, or the call for “mummy, muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummy!” at the dawn of day, will always, always always, immediately make my heart overflow with love.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have such a full palette of colours, scents and sounds to remind me of my thirties. Obviously it wasn’t all good, of course there were a few sounds and scents that I would have preferred to not have , but then, they are the darker tones that make the lighter ones so vivid, the base notes that support the top notes, and in that way they are just as valuable and indispensable.

Sophie Tucker sang: “After you reach forty that’s when you become a connoisseur, you’re not hasty, you’re tasty, you enjoy things so much more” Well, that sounds quite good to me, so I have decided to make this my theme song for the coming decade.