Getting to know me

“And how do you know when to let go? Where does the good go?”

Sometimes it is difficult to know when to give up on something. You have invested time, energy, money into it and you are not reaping the rewards of it, but you feel that you should stick with it.

This has been me the last few months. Lockdown should have been the perfect time for me to focus on my part-time studies. However, the more I tried, the less motivated I was to do it. The uncertainty of lockdown coupled with my anxiety over Covid and Lupus accompanied with the uncertainty of when I would return to work as well as when my learners would return, made it a struggle for me to concentrate on writing a grocery list, never mind the debilitating difficulty of writing an academic essay.

During Lockdown I decided to drop half the subjects I had registered for in the hopes that it would help me focus more energy and attention on the remaining subjects. This proved helpful, but it wasn’t enough. I felt anxious every time I saw an assignment deadline creeping up and the closer it came, the less I was able to concentrate on the work.

In the past few weeks, I have found my voice at work, which has been an enormously empowering experience for me. This has helped me to realise I should be focusing my attention and care on the things that bring me joy.

Most of my joy at the moment comes from spending time with my husband and cats, House Party with my mom and sisters and the admin aspects of my teaching job.

I also realised that I need face-to-face input from lectures, lecturers and peers. Even though I am an introvert, my biggest struggle with online studies was having to work through the curriculum on my own. Knowing this is also empowering, as the next time that I attempt part-time studies, I will find a similar course that offers classes to help me with interactions.

The silver lining to this cloud is that this blog is definitely making a comeback from this post onwards!

Watch this space!

Getting to know me

Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs…

Hi everyone! This is just a quick post to update you on my journey.

I am starting part-time studies in a few days and my field of study is very near and dear to my heart. I want to give this my best shot at succeeding and give it 100%.

I will be studying Library and Information Sciences and this is a subject that I have always been interested in and I would love to learn more about it and eventually make it a new career path.

For this reason I have decided to temporarily put this blog on the back burner. I will still be posting daily hashtags, but my next full-length post will be during the upcoming March South African school holidays.

Thank you for your support thus far and I’m looking forward to posting again in March!

Getting to know me

What do we do for fun? We bake!

I have always had a special relationship with baked goods and cakes. My first memory of a birthday cake, was a clown with NikNaks hair and I think that was where the love began.

My serious interest in baking started shortly after I started working in 2010. At first, I kept it easy with just normal chocolate cakes and cupcakes. Thereafter, I became more adventurous with chocolate ganache, fondant and edible glitter. Turns out the glitter isn’t edible after all, who knew? 🤷🏻‍♀️

At the time my baking was centered around my immediate family’s birthdays, Pinterest and real-life inspirations. One of these inspirations is my aunt, who is like a sister to me and who is a prolific baker in her own right.

I absolutely love to bake cupcakes. It is therapeutic for me to ice each one and if I want to practice piping – im horrendous at it; it is the best way to do it. You might disagree. My mom reckons they are too much work. Why bake 24 small ones and ice each one individually if you can just bake one big one?

I especially enjoyed baking cakes or cupcakes for my sisters’ birthdays. As my confidence grew, their ideas and expectations became more wild and I always did my best to live up to it!

Baking will always be one of my favourite things to do to relax and my husband and I enjoy baking together now. We sometimes have very strong, differing opinions of how things should be done, but that is how we learn.

Please let me know if you also enjoy baking or cooking. If not, please let me know what a favourite, therapeutic hobby is for you.

Getting to know me

I Want To Hold Your Hand!

I recently read the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Reading this book gave me a deeper understanding of myself and how I show love and want to receive love.

My Love Language is physical touch and holding hands with my husband makes me feel more loved and in love in return.

I enjoy playing with his hair, stroking our cats when they are sitting on my lap, playing with my sisters’ hair if they are sitting next to me on the couch (and they let me).

Recently I realised that this is something I do subconsciously. When my mind is wandering and I am not focusing on anything in particular, or even whilst reading a book.

There are different ways of demonstrating your love through your hands:

Sisters holding hands.
High – Fives
Romantically with your partner.
Hugs.

My favourites are hugs, high-fives and holding Nathan’s hand. Holding hands with my husband specifically is my favourite part of my love language. It makes me feel connected to him at all times and in all things.

It is a highly valued, unspoken bond between us that I don’t ever want to break.

Getting to know me

2020 … What happens next?

During the last week of 2019, I spent much time reflecting on what I want my new year to look like. This has helped me work on objectives for this year that I will be putting all my efforts in to.

I realized in 2019 that I put a lot of focus on ideas and situations that impacted me negatively. This year I will be working hard to maintain a routine of meditation and yoga to help me notice slight changes in my surroundings and mood. I’m hoping this will help me to halt negativity and depression in its tracks.

My relationships are what keep me grounded in times of distress and turmoil. I want to build on my current relationships, especially to strengthen the foundations with my husband, sisters and bestie. These are the people that help to bring me back from the brink and they have helped me more in 2019 than even they know. 2020 is the year I look after them!

I want to spend my free time doing activities I enjoy and focusing on my part-time studies. I will be studying Library and Information Science next year. This is a childhood dream come true for me, as I have always loved reading and books. When I have completed this course, I look forward to spending more time between my favourite authors and characters.

Another key focus area for me will be weight loss and exercise. I enjoy running and HIIT training and will be trying a new approach to ensure that I can reach my fitness goals. It combines my love of colouring with my desire to be more active.

For the first time, I am actively looking forward to what this year holds. I am excited about possible changes in my life, no matter how big or small.

I am ready for you 2020, so BRING IT ON!

Getting to know me

2019 … The Year That I Needed.

At the start of every new year, everybody is so eager for reinvention. New year, new you; New Year’s Resolutions that fade by February and making all sorts of promises to yourself and anyone willing to listen that are outrageously difficult to maintain.

Like many other people, I started this year with one goal that felt achievable: post one photo a day for 365 days of the year. While the school holidays were still going, it was easy. I had plenty of time to take photos, edit them, add captions and post daily. By February I was still taking photos daily, but posted them in batches of 3 or 4 days. By the time school closed in March, I had all but forgotten my daily post.

There are many reasons for slowing down and eventually giving up. Looking back, this is not a year that I want to have a lot of evidence of. In so many ways, this was a truly awful year. One that I do not wish to repeat and wouldn’t wish on my enemies – not that I have any. I was just existing for much of the year. Walking through the world in a haze of depression and anxiety, going through the motions.

By August, I realised I needed professional help. With the help of my psychologist, my Lupus was diagnosed and I started with treatment for it. At the same time I started treatment for my depression. I have spent the past four months healing and working through my depression with the help of medication, meditation, exercise and reading. I have made discoveries about myself and my life choices and actions that have helped me grow as a person and to love myself more.

It was not an easy or enjoyable journey. At times, more awkward and uncomfortable than I wanted to admit or go through, but it was necessary. The world I was trying to stay afloat in, wasn’t allowing me time to reflect and learn from past mistakes. Life was going at 100mph and I was always trying to play catch up.

I needed these last four months to take a few steps back, reflect on what was important and how to proceed in 2020. Next year will not see a new me, but a me that knows what I need to be fulfilled and happy.

Getting to know me

Are you a Grinch or an Elf?

Scrooge getting into the Christmas spirit … Kind of …

It is that joyous, magical time of year.

I am a Grinch/Scrooge who always complains when the Christmas decorations go up at the end of October. I mean, seriously, why?!

Towards the middle of December there is usually a change in spirit. Right around the 16th normally. As a child, this was the first weekend the entire family were together to start the festive celebrations. And this is when the season starts for me.

My first memories of Christmas are of such nervous excitement that we had to stop on the N1 because of my nausea. As an only child, it was very exciting to be part of such a big family and have so many new cousins, aunts and uncles and people who made me feel like I belonged. A house crammed with so many people that nowadays many of us stand just outside the lounge to make sure everyone has a space to sit. More food than any of us can eat in a sitting,mid-morning naps on Christmas Day, walks to the river and park while we wait for lunch, or to walk off the lunch, and always laughter; long, loud laughing.

As an adult, I still love Christmas – at the appropriate time of course! I am a bit of a last-minute shopper. Almost always still buying and wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve, oops! I love decorating the tree and wrapping gifts, but since Avery decided to make a bed out of our tree, it has been in storage and we hide the gifts after wrapping.

We have not forgotten the true meaning of Christmas and on Christmas Eve, before gifts are handed out by our very own Mrs. Claus (Tannie Sanet) we read the story of Jesus’ birth and listen or sing a song or two.

Is it even Christmas without Boney M in the shopping centers or out of Tannie Daphna’s stereo?

Getting to know me

Running is my happy place. I hate it.

I hate running.

What I dislike most about running is that sweatiness and RedFace is unavoidable. No matter how relaxed my run/walk is, I always look like I have been through the ringer.

With Lupus, I struggle to cope after sun exposure; which is unavoidable on a great, outdoor run.  And depression makes me want to just be a couch potato and not do anything functional. The hardest part of getting out the door is to actually put my shoes on and tie the laces. The other parts are easy, but as soon as those laces are tied, the excuses dry up and I need to get myself out the door.

BUT …..

I love running. It IS my happy place.

Allow me to explain.

There is nothing quite like the fresh bite of an early morning breeze to rid your eyes and mind of yesterday’s cobwebs. Taking the first breath of crisp air when I step outside is an instant pick-me-up to my skin and organs, unlike any other! On the days where I push a little harder or further, the overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment in myself is enough to make me forget the steepest hills and the harshest sun!

During a run, I feel that I am part of nature. I can process my day without having to talk or explain it. I can practice mindfulness and how to be at peace with myself and my life. Running provides me with more clarity, productivity and energy, every single time.

As soon as I am out the door, I am happy I went. I listen to my body about whether we run immediately, or start with a bit of a walk first. Listening to my body and what it needs is a newly acquired skill and has helped me to get back into running much more successfully.

Getting to know me

How to cope in this crazy, beautiful world!

Every person; big or small, old or young has certain habits and rituals that we use to make ourselves and others feel better. These habits and rituals are as varied as the personalities of people on this earth.

There are different types of rituals that can be done and I will be sharing some of mine, and what it is about each of these that attracted me to it.

  1. Nurturing Yourself:
  • • Coffee

For me, coffee is essential to survival. I cannot start my day without a cup of coffee. I take mine black with a pinch of pink salt. Crazy! I know, but hear me out: the pinch of salt brings out the natural sweetness of the coffee and eliminates the need for sugar or sugar alternatives. I’ve also cut out most diary, partially due to diet and also to reduce phlegm. Let’s get back to the point of the post though, which is that 9 times out of 10, coffee is an instant pick-me-up for me. It can almost always make me feel better, more energised and happier. Just the first sniff of coffee in the morning puts a smile on my face.

  • • Lounging around

Sometimes you need more than just a coffee to bring you happiness, especially when you are feeling run down or at the end of your tether. At times like this, I find what I want most is to lounge around at home with my hubby and our cats in bed or in pjs all day. Sometimes this involves reading articles or books, but most often we are binge-watching our favourite shows or something new on Netflix. And you know what? It is perfectly okay to do that. As long as you know what will help you, do it and do it often!

  • •  Mani/Pedi

I am not your average girl. I own make-up, but rarely wear it, as I don’t want to get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning to put it on. And I do NOT paint my own nails, as it ALWAYS chips on the same day, which makes me super upset! Therefore, I will pay good money to have Gelish done on my nails. Bonus: on your toes, it can last up to 3 months!! And the pedi is what makes it all worthwhile, especially at Sorbet. They do a mean foot and lower leg scrub and massage, that will melt all your problems away.

  •  Colouring:

When I feel the need to just escape, I always find that colouring really helps me to clear my mind and focus on the task at hand. I especially love using my Sharpies to colour single pictures and have a variety of books in which I use pencils.

  • •  Goody Two-Shoes Movies and TV shows:

If you are a movie buff , Goody Two-Shoes movies (dankie Marius) or light-hearted romcoms or comedies could help ease your tension or make you forget the problems you are facing. For me, I specifically enjoy Afrikaans romcoms, they always leave me with a warm glow. My favourite TV show is Grey’s Anatomy and no matter my mood, Greys will always make it better!

2. Engage your brain:

  • Read:

I do not enjoy reading to learn. My jam is reading to escape. Ever since I was little and could read proper books, I have loved escaping in to the worlds of my book characters. Whether it was a dusty town in Johannesburg with Saartjie, Anna and Lina or the magical world of Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Hermione; I was in love. I spent many a Saturday morning walking to my local library to exchange books. I have an extensive Harry Potter collection that I am still expanding (much to the frustration of my husband, I am sure).

  • •  Bullet Journal:

I recently discovered bullet journaling. I am still working on being consistent with it, but enjoy the freedom of making each day and week look exactly how I want it to look. It is also a good creative outlet that allows me to draw, colour and write with abandon.

  • •  Crochet:

This is another creative pursuit that I enjoy. It is easy to break away from everyday life with a crochet hook and a ball of wool. I use Youtube videos to learn new and different stitches and patterns.

3. Move more:

I love to run, especially in the early morning, crisp air. I enjoy seeing the world when many people are already headed to work or getting ready for work. I use the time to practice mindfulness and reconnect with nature. Running is a time when my mind is completely free, it clears my mind like nothing else ever has.

4. Be Social

My favourite people to be social with is definitely my husband, bestie and her hubby and my two amazing sisters. We laugh, play games, are silly together and through it all; love each other and take care of each other.

These people are my tribe and I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without them. They keep me grounded and sane and understand me in ways that I could never explain to anyone. Thank you for all you do and who you are!

Getting to know me

Eight paws. Two purrs.

Defined as “a small domesticated carnivorous mammal with soft fur, a short snout, and retractable claws. It is widely kept as a pet or for catching mice, and many breeds have been developed.”

We have two of these beautiful creatures who call us their slaves. Avery and Zoe – as different in nature as their appearances. These two (mainly unwilling) love-bugs have been with us for 2 years and 1 year 3 months respectively.

Avery

“Traditionally a last name derived from Alfred. It means “wise”: in French, “ruling with elf-wisdom”; in English, “counselor.”

Avery certainly has some elfish wisdom and she rules our house with a quiet, cautious curiosity. In true morning cat fashion, she believes the early cat catches the bird.

Her ideal day would include gallivanting outside all day and soaking up the sunshine. For safety reasons they have both been raised as indoor cats, so instead, she spends much of the day staring longingly out the window to the garden where she is frequently entertained by the birds who enjoy our flowers and plants.

She also loves to try and open windows when given the opportunity and will escape faster than you can say, “Avery”. When she does escape, she always manages to coerce Zoe into joining the fun.

When not escaping or daydreaming of birds, she prefers to rest on the couch with us or on her scratch-post.

Zoe

“A Greek name meaning “life.” In the Greek translation of the Bible, Eve became Zoe.”

Zoe has very specific requirements for how she embodies life. This little cat is a firm believer in beauty sleep. She could give Garfield a run for his money in the Nap Department.

In the morning when I open their door for them, she will still be waking up and streeeetching before lazily walking out into the passage and sauntering to the lounge. Here she will jump on the couch or another bed, do a quick groom and go straight back to sleep.

The only thing that she will wake up for is her rattle mouse. She loves it so much that we have had to replace the string twice already as she keeps biting through it. Her other favourite pastime includes biting holes in any exposed cables around the house. She is not really too interested in the garden or birds, but if Avery were to find an escape route, she is always game!

These lovely ladies keep us on our toes and warm our hearts and laps. They complete our family unit and I would not trade them for all the money or any other animal!