Friday, 26 February 2016

Five for Friday - edition 2

So this 5 for Friday thing is working very well for me - so in today's edition:

1. So my trusty old iPad was stolen out of my handbag on Tuesday afternoon - just when I reached a great part of the book I was busy reading on it. I am angry and sad.

2. I had the most wonderful friendly service from the Brooklyn Police station where a female constable with perfect make up, tidy plait hair and impeccable nails helped me. She went the extra mile.

3. However I can not say the same about Mweb  - my service provide on the iPad who still up to today can not confirm if they have blocked the sim card and the iPad after numerous emails and calls.

4. I have decided to try swimming as exercise - the whole family swims. After I almost died yesterday I have immense respect for my family - especially Hunter and A that swim that 50 meter pool over and over again twice a week. I may have to get lessons at some stage but for now I am just trying to get a bit of fitness going in the water.

5. My MIL is visiting - the first time in years and after my FIL passed away. I just love having her here - and seeing the joy the kids have in sharing their usual activities with her. She attended L's cricket on Wednesday night- this morning he mentioned again that she watched him play cricket. I wonder if we always realized how important this is for both the grandchildren and the grandparents - to share some day to day things. I am so glad we have the chance.

Thursday, 25 February 2016


I love our morning drives to school - it's short, but we pack a lot of talk into it. Sometimes one kid has a lot to say, other times they talk over each other and sometimes I have to ask questions. Let's be honest - not all of us are morning people. But there is always some talk going on. I also like to discuss the day or the previous day if there was not much time to talk the day before.

This morning I had a very quiet kid in the car - the other two were yapping away but no sound from the girl child - even after I flung a question at her. When I glanced to her side she was totally caught up in a book she is reading - the same one I had to drag her away from last night when she could not get to the point of switching off her beside lamp. And just like that I saw myself as an eleven year old. In the same state  - totally entranced by a book, in my mom's car on our way to school. My mom totally irritated by it. Even today I can get caught up in a book in absolute totality. I realized that what was irritating my mom so hugely about  me at that age is possibly irritating me too. The apple certainly did not fall far from the tree.
Mr C made these huge origami flowers from an iPad app - all on his own

And so it is with more than the reading. I started thinking about the child I was and the children we are raising. I see it in Mr C when he gets some craft or art idea. Totally 100% me as a child - with still a bit left of that today. He has to do it now! He needs materials or ideas to substitute what a book or idea might suggest with something we have. Preferably now - or later today. I see it in Mr L that can be so stubborn  that I almost want to strangle him. I can recall the stubborn child I was (and adult I am - although that is maybe a tad harder to admit).

While some of these traits are good ones and may stand them in good steed one day, we need to work on them and get the good bits out of the deal and maybe leave the bad bits behind. Today was just a bit of a revelation - a flash back and a peak into the girl I was in the daughter we have. 

I would love to know what you recognize of yourself in your kids?

Monday, 22 February 2016

What's comfortable dressing after all?

So this morning I am dressed in jeans and a fancy Tshirt - with pretty sandals. Purely because I am going to be on site for most of the day when I will switch the sandals for safety shoes and don a neon safety vest over my shirt. This morning a mom at school said "Look how comfortable you are dressed for work - and looking smart too. Wish I could dress that way for work". I guess it is a compliment but somehow it took me to those magazine articles with celebrity moms that are dressed in gorgeous evening dresses for the photos and always mention that they are most comfortable in their jeans and Tshirts taking the kids to school/relaxing at home/ walking the dog. And google it - the amount of images of celebrities relaxing in jeans with kids/dogs etc are endless - no really. I googled Angelina Jolie in jeans and a Tshirt with kids and a whole sea of images appeared.

Photos courtesy of Pacific Coast News
I am certainly no Angelina Jolie but my point actually is just that jeans and a Tshirt is anything but comfortable - especially in this heat! Maybe in mid winter if the jean is nice and worn in and the Tshirt soft with age, yes. But I nearly died of heat on site today - the sun seems to be out to burn as all to death soon - even more in hot jeans and sleeves on a Tshirt.

No, what defines comfort for me at work in this heat is a nice pretty summer dress - I am way more comfortable in it and much much cooler. On weekends it's longer shorts or  three quarter pants and a sleeveless Tshirt - or a cool summer dress. If pants is a must for work I have smart styled three quarter pants or soft thin pants. But jeans .... no. Why is it so iconic for comfort if one has to admit that comfort in not no 1 - unless of course it's just because I am carrying a bit more weight than I should. Or I have not yet found the perfect jeans. All I know is that I am particularly less comfortable than usual.

But be honest girls - who does find jeans the no. 1 in comfort? And always if so? And if not so what is your idea of comfort? For the office too -not just yoga pants at home?

Friday, 19 February 2016

Five for Friday

I am going to copy Cassey shamelessly and also do a five or Friday.  a great way to catch up on bits of news.

I completed reading "I am Pilgrim" last night - boy, it's good! Expect a review soon. And now I have a book hangover - I can not get into any other book. Another 800 pages of Pilgrim would have been perfect.

It's the first Friday since the gala season started that A is not swimming. They are a lot in her age group so the do get weeks that they do not swim. It's great to have an afternoon to breathe and get some work done. She also loved not having to be at school at 6am for swimming relay practice.

I very seldom watch Tv but am really enjoying Lorraine Pascale's cooking program. And now I need apple pie. The home made variety.
Photo credit - BBC food channel

The kids had the school's internal rugby and netball day yesterday. The classes play each other and the grade 7 kids act as coaches. The boys' classes both won their matches and A's class won the overall grade 5 prize - for matches and having the best spirit and cheer to start off. 3 very happy kids.

We had a huge thunderstorm and much needed rain last night. Our poor Ocean girl was so scared that she ended up between me and Hunter on the bed. Sweet little puppy - still not used to Gauteng thunder storms. And will we ever think of rain the same way after this huge drought? I don't think I will ever.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

We all seem to be colouring in.... or not?

When I talked about hobbies last week I was quite surprised at how some of you feel you do not have hobbies. I guess some things goes down to interpretation of the word. For me it's anything that brings YOU joy and that you do from time to time for mostly selfish reasons.

My problem is that I love to do so many things - most of them creative to some extend. Although my most practiced hobby is definitely reading - I do that without fail sometime every single day, I crave some creative bits. I am really a bit of a craft addict and any raft or art project makes me very happy indeed. However packing and unpacking materials, setting up etc can take a lot of time. And sometimes you have a few minutes to spend on yourself. For this, the not so new any more craze of adult colouring in is just perfect. I enjoy it tremendously and have 4 books of which 2 were gifted to me.

So I thought I would share my favorite colouring in materials with you.

Gosh yes, there are many many books for every single possible taste . My favorite is a small A5 one that I can slip into my handbag and take out anytwhere. But honestly I adore all 3 the others equally - it's just the size of this one that makes it more desirable. I am not even going to share which ones I have - I suggest you visit any local book shop - Exclusive books has shelves full and CUM books stock beautiful ones with inspirational Bible verses in.

Colouring in pencils:
My favorites is a set of Derwent fine art pencils that I absolutely adore and do not share with anyone. However when we bought school stationery this year I by accident bought an extra set of Staedtler Noris colour pencils and I have these in a pencil bag that I carry around as I feel less precious about them than my Derwents. They are stunning and feel very different than they used to - almost as if they are heavier with a different feel to the whole pencil. Give them a try.

 Felt tipped pens /kokis:
Fine - Stabilo 88

Thicker - Stabilo 68
I am a total total Stabilo fan - I have used the thin yellow ones for year - I write every single day with them because in my books life is way too boring to write in black. Bring a little colour. I also use them to colour with - in particular if it is very fine lines and area or if I feel like colouring with lines etc. This year I discovered the Stabilo 68 ones - a thicker one but fine enough to colour in with. They have a great very firm tip without being too hard and showing lines too much. The perfect koki.

So, who has tried this? And what are your favorites?

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Tuesday Books day

I have read two books since my last books post and as I am busy with "I am Pilgrim" and it's 800 plus pages (thus it will be a while before I am done with it), I though I should share about the last two books I have read.
"Before I go " by Colleen Oakley
Daisy is 27 years old when she finds out she only has a few months to live. In stead of wallowing in her sadness and fear she jumps straight ahead in her type A personality type and make lists of things that need to be done before she goes. Her main concern is her charming and intelligent husband that is totally useless in taking care of himself.

As she search for who she believes will be the perfect wife for him she actually almost loose him in her pre occupation to ensure that his life goes ahead with minimal disruption caused by her illness.

I really enjoyed the book and despite the very sad topic one never feels overwhelmed by her sadness of sickness. The tone of the book carries through her attitude towards her situation - almost light hearted and matter of fact. But subtly one finds out how her life is changing and how the disease affects her and her relationships.

Well worth a read - an 8/10 .

"The Italian Wife" by Kate Furnivall

Set in Mussolini's Italy with the fear and horror that any dictatorship brings. The main story line is good enough and the main characters well rounded but I did find that some of the others felt a bit too shallow- as if I needed to know more about them to colour them in. I also found the continuous description of Isabella's slim figure and unruly hair as well as Roberto's broad shoulders as totally unnecessary up until the end of the book. Our idea of what the characters look like was long settled by then while I found some others had no physical description or anything that painted that same picture.

The book only really gripped my about two thirds in and then the story moved at a good pace. The best part of the book was a fascinating look at the time and place. I am sure lovers of historical fiction may enjoy it. A good enough read only and a 6/10 rating.

 So have you read any of the two and what are you reading at the moment?

Friday, 12 February 2016

Those moments....

You know, those ones where you stand back and think "Slow down time - this growing up thing is happening way too fast" . Those ones where you look back to the photos a day or so on and still can not believe how big they are and that the milestone was reached. First smile,  steps, first day in school - you know what I mean.

Last night was one of those - I looked at my daughter and had to swallow hard because all of a sudden she seemed so - well, way too big. Don't get me wrong -they are just little girls still - but little girls growing up fast. The realization that we are now way closer to the teen years than I may want to admit. Solid in tweenhood.

How can she be going to her first dance? Just yesterday she cried on her first day in grade 1.

I am lucky that we have wonderful moms in our school and that the idea to make a group of friends and attend the dance together was born in one of the mom's heads. So we assembled 5 friends, I did a little photo shoot with them to document this big event. This in itself was huge fun for the girls and as one of them said, they felt very pretty and special indeed. They went together and had huge fun. Apparently A and her BFF spent most of the evening together chatting, dancing, visiting the photo booth etc with assorted other girl friends. For most of them it was about having fun together and not about boys yet. But yes, they all danced with a boy, or two, or three....

I am glad their first dance was such a positive experience and that they all want to go again. I guess there is no holding back time and all that it brings.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

One of my little hobbies

I love to take photos - in fact I do think that I drive my family nuts at times. But I love to capture moments, expressions and little details. And most of all - I love the joy photos brings to all after the moments are gone.

For years I have taken photos at most school events I attend and post them on my photography Facebook page or personal if I know all the parents. We have a wonderful school photographer - honestly I think we have the nicest and most creative school photos around. She used to be a highly sought after wedding photographer before she decided to take life a bit slower and now do families, makeovers and the school stuff. But she can not be everywhere all the time. I got a huge compliment last year when I published photos I took at the school prize giving and she asked if she could buy the one of her son. Of course I just sent it to her - I am not in the money making business with the photos - but maybe some day?

Last week I took some photos at a gala where A competed for the school. I have to say that I was quite happy with my own pictures and felt that maybe I have the settings for swimming sorted for now. I shared them in the school's swimming Facebook page - and got asked if I would mind to mail some to the school photographer to use in the school newsletter. She always makes these beautiful collage headings with photos.

Much to my joy I received a message back from her that praised my pictures and that she will mention my name on the newsletter heading. And that she thinks I need to be the school photographer. Obviously just a joke but I really appreciate her praise and feedback - knowing the high standards she has herself. I feel that maybe I am getting somewhere with my photos. Not for a moment am I seeing myself as being a great photographer or having mastered the art. I just feel that I am improving my skill and enjoying it. It's always nice to get a little pat on the back now and again. So let me share just my favorite two with you.

So I would love to know what are your hobbies that are bringing you joy right now?

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

I saw the most beautiful little baby the other day

She was all pink and rosy, pretty and gurgling to her mommy in the Pick n Pay queue. The absolute epitome of what we all think a baby will be like before we had our own. Before we had the tantrums, the sleepless nights, the reality of what raising a child is.

Sometimes I think I may have wished those early years away - "this too shall pass" seem to have been my motto. Particularly the first year of the twins was tough. Sometimes I can barely remember who I was if I look at pictures of that year. Pure exhaustion - maybe even desperation. Three kids under 3 was insane at times. But no, on more thought I do not think I wished their baby year away - nor any of the others. I mostly have moments of joy etched in my mind . Mostly I say - not entirely. Yes, they are sometimes intersected with those horror bits that seem even more vivid, but mostly the joy and happy moments are the ones you remember. I think our minds are programmed that way because without that who would ever have a second child?

But I do love the ages they are now. Honestly from about age 4 I seem to enjoy my kids way way more. I guess some of us love the baby years more and some of us the bigger ones. I love that they now can argue a point with me. I love that they are now particular about what they wear. Of course the girl child being a girl and older is more adamant about this but do not under estimate the boys. Mr C in particular has his preferences. I also adore how they take more responsibility for what they do. And how they enjoy to learn more.

I have to admit that I am a tad scared of the teenage years - maybe this primary school age is the one I will love most. I guess only time will tell. While I sit between nostalgia at how time has flown on the one hand and and enjoying having kids that feed and dress themselves on the other I realize that hand in hand with "this too shall pass" goes "treasure every moment".  Sometimes in the madness of a particular moment even today I have to remind myself of these two mantras.

So, what is the age you particularly enjoy? Or think you will? And how do you feel about these two mantras?

Friday, 5 February 2016

Relax a bit with Lux

The last few weeks have been very stressful - apart from all I have mentioned before we also had a few days without our au pair which meant me filling in the gaps and trying to catch up on work all the time. Good thing though that Lux sent us some loveliness a while ago to try out and review. The Princess being all of 11 years old now sees herself as quite the beauty product reviewer and she wrote this:

I love the pink prettiness and great fragrance of the Lux soft touch Pink infusion. It smells great while you use it and the lovely smell is still around for most of the day thanks to the body lotion. My friends loved it too.

From my side : I lit the candles, had a lovely bath and applied the body lotion afterwards. A great relaxing time and my skin was really soft and smelled gorgeous. What I do like most about the product is that the lotion is non greasy and gets absorbed quickly but keeps the skin moist for the whole day.

Thanks Lux - we love the pretty pink and will certainly buy it.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Happy new year! And then life happens!

So yes, this year has been a bit of a bummer up to now. The last week and a bit, since my last blog, has been particularly tough.

We lost a friend the week before last (after seeing him the Saturday - 4 days before he passed) and had his funeral last week Wednesday, my mom had a hip replacement on Tuesday (her third big orthopedic operation in so many years) and I battled a kidney infection through all this.

Through all this we had some great news - A did her best ever in the house sport swimming and made the swimming team as a full and proper member with 3 personal best places and times.

Today is the start of a wonderful brand new year for me! Yes, I know it's the first of February but I need a do over. It will be a great year! If this weekend is anything to go with - it will certainly be. We had a great one filled with good food, family time and lots of rest.

So, who is starting 2016 with me today or who had a great January?