What happens in seven years

So much changes, yet so much stays the same.
Seven years ago I met my daughter for the first time. That moment I looked at her sweet face, I knew things would never be the same again. And they weren’t.
If I look back to where we were then to where we are today, I can’t believe how much can and does change. We’ve moved homes, we’ve moved jobs, we’ve been promoted, we’ve travelled overseas, our eldest who at the time was just starting Grade 1 is now starting High School, we’ve lost friends, we gained new ones, friends got divorced, friends moved away, we’ve lost loved ones to cancer and lost contact with people who we thought would be in our lives forever but aren’t now, our goals changed and we’ve grown as individuals and as a family.
Yet, in all this time, my little girl has grown up and blossomed. From that clingy unhappy baby that no-one could look after except for mommy and daddy, to the confident lovable little girl you are today.
I look at you and my heart fills with joy. There was a day when I thought I wouldn’t be here to watch you grow up and it scared me so. I pleaded and begged God that day, and he answered my prayers. I’m here today and I see you growing up. I see you coming out of your shell. I see you still struggle with goodbyes. I see you playing. I see you learning. I see you making friends. I see you in your little magical world of my little pony, unicorns and princesses. I see you laugh and I see you loving life. I see it and I am so grateful. No *we* are grateful to have you in our lives. Mommy, daddy and your big brother.
We love you to the moon and back.
Happy birthday sweet child x

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Why we wore jackets in November

It was the 7th November, and even though South Africa was about to enter into a blistering heat wave, we were packing our bags with coats, mittens, scarves and boots. Why you ask? We were off to London for 9 nights. Two nights for travelling. Four nights for work. Three nights of sightseeing, shopping and experiencing the city.

London is vivacious, energetic and full of tradition. It has more tourist attractions than I can count on one hand, and even though we woke up early and went to bed in the early hours of the morning, we still needed another few more days to experience everything.

We climbed and walked 1000’s of steps. Our legs were aching and my back was sore.

We carried (dragged) over 70 kilograms of luggage between the two of us. It was uncomfortable and our arms were tender.

We were averaging less than 6 hours sleep on some nights. Our eyes were heavy. Our bodies exhausted. Sometimes irritable.

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Yet, we were lucky enough to explore a new country for 72 hours. We travelled the renowned underground. We met Londoners and other travellers. We went to see the legendary Big Ben. We got wet. We walked the notorious streets of Oxford, Piccadilly and Regent Street. We lost each other. We experienced the ultimate celebrity fun day out at Madame Taussads. We took photos and captured our time with the likes of Tom Cruise, Ronaldo, Spiderman, Desmond Tutu, Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles and Shrek. We crossed over the longest River in the UK, the Thames River, and took pictures of the bigger than life “London Eye”. We went Mexican one night at Covent Gardens. And met up with long lost friends. We climbed into bed weary and tired. We laughed about the days antics, until our stomachs were sore. We shopped at the awe-inspiring Hamleys. We spoilt our kids with toys. We ate a meagre dinner of a packet of chips and a handful of chocolate, but we ate it at the amazing Piccadilly Theatre, watching the very entertaining musical “Jersey Boys”. It was worth missing a sit down dinner for.

We made some great memories.

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Bits & Pieces

Here is a sneak peak of our lives over the last few months

We adopted a rescue Basset. Meet Wally. He is so kind, sweet and charming.

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We finally travelled to the Kruger. We saw Elephant, Lion and Giraffe. It was such a captivating experience driving and sometimes walking alongside the magestic animals of Africa.

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We journeyed on an old fashioned Steam Train ride. Clouds of steam, whistling, billowing smoke and clickety cluck of the rails made it a day the kids won’t forget for a long time.

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I won a weekend away to the magical Cathedral peak in Drakensberg. It was a paradise of fresh air, warm hospitality, elegance and to top it off ~ it’s a family haven. I spent most days chilling in the hotel lounge watching Wimbledon recovering from swine flu, whilst the rest of the family went hiking, swimming, horse riding, and played table tennis and bowls.

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We celebrated my oldest nephews coming of age. Jonathan officially turned 21 in August. We road tripped down to Bloemfontein and said goodbye to his youth and welcomed him to adulthood. Sisters, cousins, nana’s, aunts, husbands, and friends gathered for a long weekend where we played games, dined, said speeches, danced and spent some quality time together.

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A few of my photos were selected for the Getaway show and the Iphoneography exhibition. Photography is always going to be my first love, sorry IT Services but you’re not even a close second. I crave looking at, and taking pretty photos.

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Sun-kissed Durban hosted us for a week. We did everything a good holiday is made up of. We slept in late, we took long walks, we did some sightseeing, we swam in the sea, we ate out a lot, we ordered room service, we watched movies, we hired bicycles and we relaxed.

We bought a boat. I can’t wait to spend time on the water with friends, with family, sun tanning, skiing and making memories under the hot beautiful African sky.

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Ethan got accepted into our high school of choice. Next year he will be a small fish. He will be 1 of 240 in his standard, instead of 1 in 18. He will be the youngest, instead of being the oldest. He will have to prove himself. He will have to make new friends. It’s a new start, a new chapter in his book that we’re all looking forward too.

I’m thankful for all we get to do and see together.

There are days where life doesn’t seem fair, when it throws us curve balls and punches but there are also days like the ones above where I know life is good. We are certainly blessed beyond measure.

A child of the 80’s

I was a child of the eighties, and proud of it. We had an era of freedom that we didn’t appreciate at the time but now that we look back, we do so with affection and fondness. Looking back at those years, it truly was an exceptional time to experience our wonder years, even if we did have really bad hairdos.

Our toys didn’t include ipods or ipads. Instead we played with Cabbage Patch Dolls, Care Bears and My Little Ponies. And oh so often, we would give our Barbies haircuts with paper scissors that never really cut properly.

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We didn’t play Playstation in the seclusion of our bedrooms. Instead we walked to the nearest green grocer to play Pacman on the Arcade Machine after school, or invited a group of friends over to play Mario Brothers that plugged into the TV in the lounge. No-one had a TV in their room, well not that I knew of anyway.

We didn’t read books on the Kindle. We weren’t spoilt for choice where we could download 100’s of books so we went to the local Library and booked out the likes of Sweet Valley High, the Famous Five and the Secret Seven. We would read them over and over, and over again.

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We didn’t have whatsapp to connect with our friends after hours. Instead we wrote our friends letters on papers we collected and swopped at school.

We didn’t have 100’s of TV channels to choose from, so sitting in front of the TV for hours wasn’t such a draw card. When we did, it was for memorable events like waking up early to watch Princess Diane and Prince Charles get married, and watching the finals of Wimbledon.  Who didn’t have a crush on Andre Aggassi?

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We didn’t have ipod’s or CD players, and bands like One Direction and 5th Harmony. But we did have Glen Madeiros and The Bangles. And I might have listened to “Nothing’s going to change my love for you” and “Is this burning an eternal flame” on my tape recorder at least a 100 times until the tapes snapped. Does anyone else remember trying to tape songs off the radio? I used to get so angry when the DJ would talk over the songs.

It was also an age of naivety and innocence.

An age where you thought your friends would be friends forever, because we exchanged friendship necklaces and pricked our fingers and became blood sisters.

An age where you thought you could be and do anything when you grew up.

An age where you had never heard the word racism, or questioned why there were no kids of other colour in your class.

An age where you believed your parents could do anything, and knew everything.

It was a time where we blossomed. Where we were allowed to be children. I hope my children can look back at their youth with the same happy nostalgia.

What we didn’t do on holiday

We didn’t have to get up at 5:30 in the morning.  We slept in after 8 every morning, in the tranquillity of our air-conditioned hotel room 2510.

We didn’t have to worry about what to make for dinner. We walked the Promenade and ate out at California Dreaming, Ocean Basket, Pesto and Beach Bums.

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We didn’t have to sit in traffic for 2 hours. We walked, bicycled and cruised on Segways. And fell off Segways and sprained an arm (never a dull moment when Ethan is around)

We didn’t have to stress about deadlines. Our biggest stress was the weather, and if it was going to be a beach day or not.

We didn’t have to spend our Sunday sorting out school clothes, lunches and groceries for the week. We spent last Sunday checking out sharks, mantarays, turtles and dolphins.  We supertubed, tanned, slid and swam at Ushaka Marine World.

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We didn’t spend our evenings assisting with homework and catching up on emails. We spent our evenings in the hotel room, ordering room service, watching series and sipping on craft beer and wine.

We didn’t spend our days in meetings, telecons and visiting clients. We spent our days digging our feet in the sea sand, swimming, building sandcastles, chocolate dipping, eating ice-creams and exploring our coastline.

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We didn’t spend our weekly budget on bills, groceries, school activities or work lunches. We spent our money on making memories. The best money can buy!

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The Amazing Race for Charity

The http://www.charitychase.co.za has been on my bucket list for years, and I finally got to tick it off this weekend. It was everything I imagined it would be, and more.

Let me warn you, the clues were not easy to decipher, at all. They were cryptic, challenging and needed us to think out of the box. We googled, we used social media, we swopped a clue with another team with a bit of bribery and corruption, we problem solved and we argued but we’re proud to say, we never needed our life line. I’m also proud to say that we did it without any friendships ending or marriages destroyed, and came in Team 16 out of 150. Whoop Whoop!

The clues led us racing all over the North of Johannesburg and included activities from jumping on Pogo sticks, stopping at the Field and Study centre to buy ice cream from a retro ice-cream cart, checking out the new kid on the block in Melville, the very funky “Pulp Fiction Restaurant”, buying items from a second hand shop and finding someone to donate it to, drinking crafts beers in Melrose, coming up with our own proudly SA haka outside Hogheads in Fourways, downing raw egg, pilchards and chicken liver to tracking someone walking their dog and taking a photo with them. It was challenging to say the least.

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There were 150 teams, and each team had a mandate. Dress to kill and or win! It was a day where originality, imagination and resourcefulness met. We were racing against the likes of the Ghost Busters, Tetris Blocks, Steampunk ladies, Surgeons, Mexican’s, Construction Workers, the Matrix, Baywatch babes, Scoopy Doo, Michael Jackson, Orange is the new black, Superheroes and ourselves, the happy hippies from the 60’s. Each group flooding the streets of Joburg with colour, enthusiasm and craziness.

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It was epic. It will definitely be something that will make an annual appearance on our social calendar going forward.

A few reasons why I need to blog again

I started thinking of this blog a few weeks ago. Then I thought of it again a few days later. I contemplated writing again. I considered it, I deliberated about it and I reflected about it, and to be honest the thought of it made me a bit nervous.

Then I read through my old blog posts and it resurrected all sorts of feelings and memories. I yearned for those days. I became sentimental, wistful and melancholy.

I realised that this was more than a blog. It was a biography, a memoir. A chronicle of our lives together. My family, my friends and my nearest and dearest.

It will be something that we will all look back on one day and we’ll remember, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Writing is a form of therapy. It made me happy. It provokes all kind of feelings. It made me reflect on the time that I did write, and there was no remorse. I don’t want to look back and have regret, so I am going to resurrect Remember Me.

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Starting today

With a little bit of TLC

We are a little infatuated with the History Channel at the moment.  Between Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, American Pickers and American Restoration, we decided to start our own little refurbishment project at home last month.  I love the idea of taking something old and inexpensive and giving it new life and purpose.

Our mission.  Take a vintage item and turn it into its original condition, hopefully by adding a bit of our own style to the mix.

The vintage item in question would be an old school desk.

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So ladies, this is what you need:

  1. Find an old school desk.  We found our antiquated desk on Gumtree.
  2. Tell your husband about your idea and make sure he buys into it, as he probably needs to do a lot of the hard work (thank you babes!).
  3. Drag your husband to your local Builders Warehouse and invest in brightly coloured spray paint that preferably has a primer in it and lots of sandpaper.
  4. Check that the electric screwdriver and sander has been charged, and then carefully remove all screws, nuts, bolts, hinges, and other metal hardware on the desk.
  5. Begin with the tedious job of sanding everything down.  Including the rust off the metal legs and initials carved in by bored students. This took a painstakingly 6 to 7 hours.
  6. Fill in any holes with wood filler.  We made our own with wood glue and the sawdust from the sanding.
  7. Once the above is done, then the fun starts.  You can start spray painting!  This was one of the most rewarding parts of this job.
  8. Once dry, you can start reassembling. And Voila!

With a little bit of work and TLC, we turned this classic old school desk into a charming homework desk, that will hopefully last another decade or two.

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Almost a year

It’s been almost a year since I last updated this little blog of mine.  So much has changed, but so much has stayed the same. 

In a year…

We celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and life.

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I worked hard and I was promoted.

 I struggled to find a balance between work and home. I still do.

I jumped into the Indian ocean and swam with dolphins. It was exhilarating.   

I still love taking photos.  It’s my passion and outlet. 

I traded in my trusted Yaris for a trendy little Fiat Convertible.

Ethan has transformed into such a caring sensitive child.  I am so proud of him.

I travelled to Welkom, Mossel Bay, Pietermartizburg and Langebaan.  For business.

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I met new Clients and Projects went Live.

I travelled to Mozambique, Kei Mouth, Clarens and Cape Town.  For pleasure.

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We made lots of new memories.

Zoe learnt how to write and say her ABC.  She keeps us on our toes.

A crazy night in Long Street over a few drinks turned into promises of a tattoo. I love it and don’t regret it.

I battled insecurities and anxiety.  I prayed.

We lost touch with people but other bonds were strengthened.

Most of all, in a year we lived.  We tried to make the most of every situation.  We battled demons.  We loved.   We were there for each other.  There is no time for regret.

Instead I look back grateful, and I look forward hopeful.

Bits and pieces

Wow. What an insanely crazy and busy birthday month it’s been.  I got totally spoilt by each and every friend and family member.  And what makes my little heart beat a little faster is knowing that people get me.  The presents had my name written all over them, it’s as if they know me better than I know myself sometimes.  A multi-colored crochet blanket, a girls night away at a lodge next month, retro wooden canvasses of old camera’s, a bottle of Tommy Girl, an old style red minibus piggybank, a fleecy Woolie Onsie, a bottle of yummy home-made tomato bredie, a smart bag, a really trendy Polaroid camera and two very funky picture holders for the polaroids.

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Not only did I get to tick a lot of things off on my want list, I was also lucky enough to create some really special memories.  Here a few things we did this month.

Parkhurst’s Christmas in July.  I love it when Christmas comes twice a year!  It’s a night of pavement socializing, christmas jingles, home-made cookies, gluwein and fine dining.  We settled on having dinner with friends at Possums.  The décor, the food and the company didn’t disappoint.  Thank you for the mid-year festivities.

Pretville. It’s small, it’s charming and it takes you back to yesteryear.  This little Fifties Town boasts it’s very own town hall, a diner, a salon, a sweet shop, a bioscope and a collection of classic vintage cars.  In a nutshell it’s madly colourful and full of fun!

Come Dine with Me Finale.  Five Dinner parties.  10 Votes.  1000 Cash Prize.  1 and ½  hour edited video.  One Winner.  It was epic!  We are officially the CDWM Winners for 2013, even though no-one will let me live down that I forgot the serviettes.

Secret Eats.  The lead up to Secret Eats was all very hush-hush and cloak-and-dagger.  The venue was undisclosed until the day of the event and the menu was top secret until a few minutes before taking our place at the dinner table.  The mystery and enigma of it was all very exciting.  There is nothing like a build up to a dinner like the way Secret Eats hosts one.  We had a fabulous evening with my sister and brother in law!

Melville Music Festival.  We landed up at the Music Festival quite by accident two Saturday’s ago.  The plan was to take friends to one of our favourite quaint little French restaurants in Melville for a quiet lunch of pizza and their house wine, but instead we found ourselves in the middle of a magnificent French Music Street Party.  The little streets and avenues were brought to life by jazz bands, dj’s, live bands and a full on orchestra.  It was music to our ears and food for our soul.

All in all it’s been a month filled with love and gratitude.