Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 11.31.12 AM

Doki watches for kids

The boys got Doki watches over the festive season and I’ve been talking about them on social media ever since. I have no idea why these have only come out now because I am obsessed. The concept and functionality of these watches have really blown my mind. And, put my mind at total ease. You can get them online, via hi-online over here https://goo.gl/5CHXgq , but keep reading!

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 11.04.39 AM

What is a dokiWatch even?
1. It’s the world’s most advanced kids smart watch. Note that there are many variants of this kind of product, but the doki is by far the most advanced, user friendly and glitch-free.
2. It’s essentially a GPS tracker and communication device that looks like a watch – that kids can wear anywhere. Oh, it also tells the time
3. You can video call, voice note and text your kid any time, any place. The watch links to an app that you have on your phone and that’s how you guys keep in touch
4. It’s perfect for kids who aren’t old enough for a cellphone, OR for parents who aren’t keen on their kids taking expensive smartphones to school
5. It works with a sim card (nano) and data which you load the same way you would any other phone
6. Your kid also gets a unique cellphone number that appears as a normal call when they phone you from their watch
7. The security is TIGHT. The watch needs to download software, which presents a unique QR code that is then scanned by YOUR app on YOUR phone – then the data syncs. People cannot hack in to your child’s watch – I promise.
8. Your kid can send you photos!
9. Your kid can tell you when you’ve forgotten a lunch box, swimming cap, extra mural etc. No more embarrassing phone calls from the school informing you that your child has no money for civies / bake sale. You get to HIDE how unorganised you are now
10. Your kid can keep in touch with other friends and siblings who also have doki watches. They can sync as friends but ONLY if you (the admin of the watch) gives permission. You NEED to watch this video to fully grasp it:

My favourite features:
1. Oddly – the alarm clock! I set their alarms from the app, so I can remind them of things like waking up (obviously) or extra murals and errands. My youngest is a total scatterbrain and is asthmatic. He needs to take his cortizone and other pump at school sometimes, so I made up this rhyme that “He’s a big boy, so at BIG break he needs to take SIX pumps because he is six years old.” Having a child who is asthmatic / has life threatening allergies NEEDS this watch. Relying on teachers to administer really important medication is incredibly stressful. When Bunny has an ‘attack’ (shallow breathing for 3 – 4 days) I used to keep him at home because of all the medication he needed throughout that period. I was way too stressed that his teacher would forget, etc. He missed weeks and weeks of school last year. Now I can call him, remind him, instruct him and follow up. I can also check on him at any time to ask how he’s feeling, because kids are sometimes shy to tell their teachers or classmates if they’re not feeling well. Also: I am so fine-tuned to asthma now, that I can hear in his voice exactly what he needs. Having a 24/7 open line of communication with your child is such an absolute pleasure.

2. The GPS tracker. From a personal point of view (and maybe some of my readers can relate) I share the boys’ free time with their dad. So two nights a week, and one day every weekend – I don’t have my monkeys with me. Although their dad and I have such a great relationship, I don’t want to be whatsapping him every two hours being like “where are they? what are you doing? what are they eating?” you know? NOW I can open the app on my phone and see where they are alllll the time. The other weekend, for example – I freaked them out because I sent them a message being like “So how is World of Birds?” HELLO, I AM AN INTERNATIONAL SPY.
On a side note with the tracker – you can set up locations on your app, eg when they are at school, a specific friend’s house or at swimming. Then you get a NOTIFICATION when your child has arrived or left there. Eg I’ll get a notification on my app saying “Benjamin has arrived at Alfie’s house” or “Noah is at school”. I MEAN COME ON. Every mother right now has stars in her eyes, am I right?

3. The fitness tracker. They love it so much because they get a little pet that advances or changes in levels (they know more about this than I do) with the more steps and activities they do.

4. The CLASS MODE setting. We all love talking to our kids, right? But while the watches are new – they’re showing it to alllll the friends at school. This means you will receive approx 10 million and twenty messages, calls, emoticons and voice notes in that first week. Doki knows this, so they invented class mode. When you activate this on your app, they can’t send texts or voice notes etc BUT the GPS and SOS function still works. I take it off class mode when they’re in after care or at break times etc – or when I want to check in. Wait what – an SOS function? This is where it gets SUPER nerdy and also – amazing…

5. The SOS function is a big red button on the other side of the watch (not with the control switches) When this is pressed, an actual siren goes off on your app. It flashes with the GPS location of your child and goes in to LIVE STREAM AUDIO of their surroundings. I mean give me a break. You can hear everything that’s going on around them as soon as that button is pushed – until you deactivate it on your phone. The live stream appears as a voice note. All functions on the dokiWatch also deactivates, so they (or someone else) can’t put the SOS call off. However – no siren goes off on their watch. It’s not great to think about anything happening to your kid, but man alive if it did – this watch would eliminate so much of that PARENT FEAR.

Another personal note: Every parent I have ever spoken to has lost their child if even for seven seconds and they will tell you that it was in fact the worst seconds of their lives. I have personally lost Benjamin before. I lost him for at least 15 – 20 minutes. Maybe it wasn’t that long, but man it felt like it. We were at a huge park and he was on his bicycle. The road curved ahead with splits that could go either left or right. Ben had a new bike and had rushed ahead. Noah was struggling with his pedals and had stopped behind me, but Ben didn’t see him stop. So I was standing in the middle, with one kid disappearing in front of me. I couldn’t run ahead and leave Noah behind either. The worst part? If he had turned left – he would have headed to a busy parking lot. I ran to the centre of a park, handed Noah to a group of moms and RAN. I did like 3 laps around the park – flagging people down “Have you seen a little boy on a red bike – have you seen a little boy on a red bike?” Eventually a dozen people were looking for him. I was crying. You can imagine. We’ve all felt this total sense of helplessness as a parent before. Where did we find Ben? Down a small bank, looking for tadpoles. That’s just his personality, and he was 4 or 5 at the time. He is a daydreamer. He’s a curious adventurer. He has a shorter attention span. But man, if he had that watch – I could have called him straight away and asked him where he was – you know? I could have told him to meet me at the swings.

6. Video calling. I love this so, so much. Sometimes I miss my boys to death – or they’re doing something really fun that they want to share with me, or that I want to be part of. They’ve been able to ‘show’ me great things like school projects, outings and trips. I’ve been able to video call them from concerts at Kirstenbosch and shown them the crowds and live bands. Days when they’re with dad – we’re still able to share our lives and activities with each other – and I really love that.

It’s also great for lazy parenting haha. I’ve been known to text Noah from upstairs at home instead of shouting across the house. Things like “put the television softer” and asking to close windows and so on. It’s a dream.

So while there are many options on kids smart watches, you need to understand that this one has the most functions and you need to decide which is most important to you. The dokiWatch is a more expensive option, but you need to understand that it’s glitch-free, great quality, award winning and reliable. You can read more about it here > http://www.doki.com/

Hi-online asked me to review the dokiWatches on my blog, and I’m so glad I did. They usually cost R2999.00 each, but the nice people at hi-online gave me a discount code: TRH500 that you use when you check out here > https://goo.gl/5CHXgq and that will give you a sweet discount. It’s only valid until 31 March, so get on that ASAP. You won’t regret it.

0
0
Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 4.30.43 PM

Why on earth should you have a MySchool card?

There are currently 1.2 million SA customers choosing to give back as they shop. How it works is that MySchool cardholders can nominate up to three beneficiaries and then swipe their cards at participating retailers every time they shop.  The retailers make contributions on behalf of cardholders based on a percentage of their spend, which is then distributed to the schools, charities or conservation bodies of their choice, at no additional costs to the shoppers.

Thanks to all the cardholders around the country, R 70,319,673.21 was raised last year for a range of schools, charities and conservation organisations.

I was chosen as a MySchool ambassador over the festive season and they gifted me R2500.00 to donate to a charity of my choice. I chose The Society for Animals in Distress so my funds was spent on the sterilization of 25 domestic animals in South Africa. Isn’t that incredible? Check out all the beneficiaries and retailers and get involved.

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 4.31.08 PM

Animal causes are a great favourite of the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet cardholders with an array of welfare and conservation organisations receiving significant funds through the fundraising channel. Over the last fundraising period, the National Council of SPCAs received R 326,107.74; while just over R 1 million was raised for regional societies, Sandton SPCA, Tshwane SPCA, Cape of Good Hope SPCA and Alberton SPCA, as well as the SPCA’s of Kloof, Durban and Amanzimtoti. The programme is also as effective at raising funds for the lesser known, more localised animal welfare organisations. For example, in the same time period, just by swiping their cards at till points, SA shoppers raised R 147,701.78 for the Highveld Horse Care Unit in Vereeniging; R 92,929.62 for the CartHorse Protection Association operating on the Cape Flats and R 272,086.33 for False Bay’s TEARS, The Emma Animal Rescue Society. Protecting the country’s dwindling Rhino populations is a wildlife cause that is top of mind for many South Africans, and shoppers raised a whopping R 2,483,344.39 for the MyPlanet Rhino Fund which is managed by the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

For schools and non-profit organisations across the country, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has become an important fundraising partner making a much-needed contribution to the on-going funds they need to carry on their vital work.  Shoppers get the opportunity to support the causes they care about, whether that’s improved education, a better society or a more sustainable planet. Get your card and be part of this straight away.

Animals in Distress

0
0
Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 9.42.16 AM

Dear Future Homeowner

There’s a cool competition going with Property24 where you can win R24 000 for your home / bond. All you need to do is upload a video of you sharing your top tips to other people coming in to the market. You can also win one of two cash prizes of R2400. I’ve entered because I’d like to use that cash to finish up my kitchen and re-do the cupboards and shelving in my bedroom. There’s still so much to do in my little house. Here’s my entry:

 

A video posted by Natasha Clark (@therabbithaus) on

You can also upload your entry to Instagram and then share the URL in your entry. Find the entry form here > Dear Future Homeowner. You can view the current gallery and watch everyone else’s videos there too. There are only a few entries and the competition closes this Sunday, 22 January so your chances are pretty great.

The advice I shared was on looking at schools in your area before committing to a purchase. I’ve heard of so many people who have had to move homes to get in to catchment zones for schools, which would completely break my heart. I have a few other tips and I’m going to enter a few times, so look out for more tips and tricks in the gallery. Good luck friends!

Speaking of my home: I’m going to spend some time taking pictures of our house, because I haven’t really shared my renovation story or before and after pictures. I’ve put SO MUCH love in to this house, which I bought as an investment property for the boys. I’ll share more on that story with some pictures soon : )

1
0
2016-02-29-15-48-29

2017

I’m super ready for 2017. It’s such a cliche to feel this motivated at the beginning of the year, but I feel so fired up. Last year was all about new beginnings and setting things up for growth. Laying down the groundwork and foundations to keep building. Go taller.

I bought this house that still needs so much work, but it’s here. This year I’ll be re-doing much of the kitchen, sorting out the garden, putting in the vegetable patches and creating all the living walls. I want to plaster and paint the exterior walls too, which is going to be such an expensive project, but we’ll see if I can get it done. I learned a lot about money and investments last year, and the goal is to get this house to a point where a rental would cover the bond. It’s a far reach, but totally attainable. I think we’d only want to live here for another year before moving on to the next property. The boys (and Jack) definitely need more space so that they can grow too.

We set up the new classroom for our training facilities and we’ve signed four new, exciting clients that we’re kicking off in 2017. I love watching these projects take shape and come to life. We hired another team member and there’s another one coming in January. Delegating has always been my downfall, but with the right tools and people in place – I’m slowly learning to let go and not hold things back. Letting go has also created all this new time to get more creative and passionate about the day to day dealings, instead of shoving work down the production line.

Benjamin is starting grade ONE. He’s going to learn to read and write this year, and I’m so excited for him. He’s starting guitar lessons, and Noah is doing piano. The house is about to come alive with music and even more books and activity, which I’m really looking forward to. Watching my boys grow and learn makes me happier than anything else ever could. Motherhood is truly rewarding, exciting and wonderful.

With a bit more free time, I’m more dedicated than ever to my blog. I’ve missed writing here, and sharing my thoughts, experiences and stories. I opened up boxes of my old journals and diaries the other day – where I’d documented my life since I was twelve years old. Someone said that I’m so lucky to have that: all my thoughts, experiences and memories to keep forever. I want to keep remembering. I also feel that my writing is quite rusty and I need to keep practicing to keep my own little voice alive. I reached out on twitter and asked what you guys want to read more about, and it seems like you’re mostly interested in travel, food, lifestyle and personal stories.

I got the most beautiful email from a reader last week, and she said “Finding out about your blog might have been the best new year ‘gift’ for me. This morning my friend phoned me, and we talked. I was crying and then.. then she thought about you. She started telling me about your story and I felt hope.. hard to describe the feeling, maybe relief. I asked her for the link and immediately, I looked at your story. “I can relate”, I thought. There is hope, there is another chance for me. I felt ‘I CAN do this’.”

Receiving emails like this is what makes blogging so important to me. Writing about the harder times is difficult and vulnerable but we’re all just people, going through our own struggles. Fighting with our partners, losing friends, struggling at work, feeling down. Eating too much, eating too little. Dealing with our own insecurities and fears. Obstacles. Sometimes there’s so much going on that I can’t share on social media, but only to protect the privacy of those close to me. A lot has been going on, but it’s getting better now. Slowly.

Life is beautiful, and fragile. People are strong. We’re all so capable and fierce, even at our worst. I want to see us all try harder in 2017.

In 2016 I met a man who changed the way that I see a lot of things. Someone older and (I hope he never reads this) much wiser and experienced. He motivates me, makes me laugh until I cry and he loves me. Having someone so supportive and fun-loving at my side has driven me even more. Driven me mad at times : ) but more on that in another post.

I feel like I learned a lot in 2016 and I know that many of you feel the same. Some of you have big things heading your way, like new life, babies and marriages. New jobs and businesses. Opportunities, new cities – new homes. More travel. New love. Apparently (according to numerology) this year marks the start of a new cycle, and is the ideal year to make changes and go for everything you’ve ever been afraid of.

Happy 2017 to all of us. Let’s do this!

2016-02-29-15-48-29

2
0
img_0177

2016.

I was scrolling through my Instagram last night and couldn’t believe how much has happened this year, and how much everything has changed. And I mean everything. Let’s get real for a minute, because I want to be able to read this again in a year’s time and really remember how this year felt.

In 2016, I started my first year as a single woman. I wanted to say “single mother” but I don’t feel that way at all. Graeme is a great, involved dad who sees them almost half of their time. What I really struggled with was NOT seeing them that much anymore. The first few months, I spent a lot of time at home. I threw myself in to work, which I love. I didn’t want to socialise and spent a few weekends in KZN, visiting my dad and childhood friends. I also watched the entire Sex and the City series from scratch. Then all the movies. Obviously.

I hadn’t dated since 2007. It was all so… weird. I started a life with someone at 23. The adjustment was difficult, but not awful. I missed the familiarity of being around someone who knew me, to be honest. I’m so proud and surprised at how unscathed the boys were by any of it. Noah slotted in to ‘man of the house’ mode and helps me so much. In the mornings, he gets up before anyone else and lets Jack out for his morning tinkle. Those tiny little things make such a huge difference around the house, and he loves any kind of responsibility.

I bought a house. I renovated a house. I found somewhere safe and happy for my boys to live and play and we made it a home – together. We danced in the lounge, we unpacked boxes and we ate a LOT of take-aways. On nights alone, I drank a lot of wine. We moved in to our new home on 1 July and that Winter was pretty tough.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-47-03-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-44-09-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-43-00-am

We had to say goodbye to our beautiful Daisy. Although we tried, our new garden is not equipped for two ‘farm’ dogs. She is a great guard dog, but her barking did not sit well with our neighbours – no matter what we tried. She is with my uncle in Durbanville and has become a friend to their Collie. She’ll always be in our lives and on family outings and camping trips, but we miss her so much. Every day. Losing Daisy was a hard blow on all of us.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-47-19-am

I got really good at filling my time and keeping busy. I tried dating and was pretty awful at it. I know that’s true because I watched a LOT of Sex and The City. I met the most incredible people this year. Kind, wonderful, driven and good hearted men. I also met trash. I’ll write about it eventually. It will have a catchy header like “The 3 Men I Dated in 2016” because I’ve learned that there are exactly 3 in every dating / MAN category. Again – so much educational value in Sex and The City.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-44-44-am

I met someone who is my equal in every way and who I learn so much from. Someone who scared the rabbits out of me. Someone who really loves me. I’m a really happy, lucky girl.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-40-27-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-41-11-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-41-48-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-42-09-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-42-40-am

I lost friends and made friends. I lost a best friend, which hurts a woman’s heart more than any man ever could – am I right? I respected my own individuality, because nobody should ever begrudge another for not conforming to their views or lifestyle. We can’t change or shape ourselves around other people’s expectations, and we need to accept and forgive each other for our flaws and faults. I learned so much about forgiveness this year, and what a gracious act it is. It’s one of the best and kindest gifts that you can give to someone.

2016 told me that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. And that I don’t really care about anything that does not affect me directly. Some people call it privilege, I call it prioritising. I am not going to sit and argue feminism with you for 6 hours on social media when I could be working on a pitch, baking with my kids, running with Jack or drinking bubbly with my wonderful boyfriend. It’s not that I don’t care about women’s rights, it’s just that there is so. little. time. that I’ve learned to direct mine toward my priorities: The people who I love and who need me.

This year I took major steps in my business to give it room to grow. We’ve opened a classroom / training facility which is walking distance to my house. It’s such a pleasure to walk a few steps to the office every day – I really have landed with my bum in the butter here.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-45-33-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-44-29-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-45-01-am

I’ve taken a few knocks, made awful mistakes and really centered my emotions. I was all over the place up until about two months ago. Everything affected me. I found myself wanting to numb my heart with food, series, books, booze – any form of escapism that you could think of. I felt… lost this year. I have the most incredible friends who let me vent, lash out, act weird, be crazy and annoy them for like 10 months straight. A further shout-out to my long-suffering mother who could probably publish novels from our whatsapp threads. I appreciate and love my friends more than I could ever articulate or limit within the framework of words. You are truly beautiful people. I’m going to be a better friend in 2017.

389337_10150715855101494_772685039_n screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-45-55-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-46-07-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-47-33-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-47-50-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-43-47-am

We ‘solved’ Ben’s asthma. After years of struggling with his tiny lungs, an allergy test saved the day. Also thousands of rands worth of special bedding, sheets, covers, cushions and mattress protectors because our little Bunny Banana is allergic to dust mites. It’s been such a relief to watch him grow stronger every week.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-43-24-am screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-46-35-am

Noah blew us all away this year with his passion for school, his new friendships and dedication to his schoolwork. He loves school more than anything else, and it loves him.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-35-52-am

That’s a wrap. I’m doing my Xmas shopping today and making the house FESTIVE for my boys who spent way too many evenings watching me work. I can’t wait to just be with them all day without any distractions. I’ll be a better mother in 2017. I’m going to be better at everything. Merry Christmas friends. I hope you have the most beautiful time with everyone who loves you.

2
1
screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-48-27-pm

The Simple Things

Country Road asked me to showcase my own version of “The Simple Things” in life. Amongst all the chaos of work, school, personal projects and deadlines… What I love doing most is dedicating full, undivided time to Noah and Benjamin. We often do little tea parties where we’ll just hang out and enjoy each other’s company. Time without homework, chores and rules. I’ll make a big pot of tea and get us some delicious treats and sometimes we’ll play UNO or watch a great family movie or something and relax together for hours.

It’s sad how much kids have to do these days, from such a young age. Noah is in grade 1 and hates Mondays already. On that day they have mini sport, library and two 2 breaks. It hurts your heart to see how quickly they get thrown in to so much. They have 2 extra murals a week and swimming is coming back now too. It’s so important to me that they just get to relax with me, and forget about all the expectations that school already places on them.

So yesterday afternoon I fetched them earlier from school. I got to watch a bit of their drama lesson and laughed at their little performances. We had a long talk on the drive home and instead of hours of homework and routine, I popped by a local bakery, picked up some treats and let them have cupcakes and tea for dinner. I let them use mommy’s ‘fancy’ crockery (that I recently shopped at Country Road) which always makes them feel super special and grown up. Here are some pictures of my gorgeous boys, who I love more than anything else in this world. Looking at these photos made me stop and realise just how quickly they’re growing up too. It’s bittersweet, but beautiful. This is us at home, doing the simple things.

img_7598screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-48-27-pmscreen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-50-26-pmimg_7592screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-50-41-pmimg_7682screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-48-00-pmscreen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-49-31-pmscreen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-48-17-pmimg_7709

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-49-12-pmCountry Road let me select a few items from their store for our home to enjoy. I chose a dining set of their gorgeous white, grey and pink plates with matching cups. The wooden tray pictured above is also from them, as are the boys’ outfits. There are a few other items which I’ll share in my next post, when we talk bubble baths and lemonade stands. You can shop Country Road’s dining section here.

1
0
holden

People.

I’ve been living a lot of life these past few months and it’s been pretty great, to be honest. For a few years I kept to myself and focused on family, work, and a handful of friends. While these are all great things to have, I hadn’t realised how ‘safe’ everything was. I got gridlocked in to routine and managing other people’s lives. This is the great ballad for every mother, I realise.

When I did go out, I would always socialise with the same people. Go to the same places. Order the same things. Talk about the same topics. There was maybe 2 years of this and I’d never felt as ordinary. Last year I threw myself at everything that had ever frightened me, and it’s changed my life. The people I’ve met, the emotions I’ve felt – whether exhilarating or excruciating, it’s all changed me. I am terrified of boredom. Or being boring. For a long time, I felt so isolated by my own bangups, because there was no frame of reference. There was nobody new to compare bumps and bruises with. There were no new stories to hear.

September marks one year since I ventured to Paris alone, almost to the day. I’ll never forget getting wine-drunk on a sidewalk cafe with a girl I’d never met. She was about to go home to break up with her boyfriend of 7 years and we spoke about love for hours. The previous night I was discussing depression and happiness with bar staff at a cafe, where I’d ordered a take away but stayed for hours picking on a cheese burger and devouring french champagne. Taking photos of strangers for hours at the Eiffel Tower and seeing how much they appreciated the offer. Trying to tune in to the thoughts of people in the metro as the tunnel lights flashed across their distant looking faces. Crying on my own for hours in the station because I’d missed a destination that was so important to me. Feeling so incredibly alone and accomplished at the same time.

That bred courage.

I’ve been reflecting back on all the people I’ve met since then. Since January. Sometimes when I think about it for long enough, I get really sad. I wonder what it would have been like if I’d stayed where I was and never got to connect with these people from all over the world and right here at home. I met incredibly rich, successful people who are desperately unhappy – and alone. I met people who have enormous dreams and a passion so contagious that you felt special just sitting next to them. I met people who have problems that aren’t their fault. Who medicate themselves daily to feel alive at all. I met someone who felt like everything was on repeat, every day and he didn’t know how to stop it or wake up from it. I met a girl who pushed anyone away who ever criticized or disagreed with her. I met people to were addicted to escapism, not drugs. I met a boy who played pretend, with the loudest laugh and the biggest smile. He could floor you with his charm, but hidden behind that roar is a very frightened person who never takes chances. I met dreamers and chasers, players and lovers. And I don’t want it to stop. Even if it hurts.

Each person has taught me a tiny little baby thing. It really is true that if we all emptied our pockets, and put all our problems on the table – we’d all grab our own back. It’s true that life won’t give you what you can’t handle as long as you step up. You need to take chances to change your life, and even though I’ve been totally scorched and disappointed by people in the past year – I’ve learned who I don’t want to be or become. I’ve felt proud of myself for being able to handle punches. I’ve spoken about things that made me uncomfortable. I’ve hurt people. I’ve been hurt. I’ve banished barrels of insecurities because even the most beautiful women doubt themselves. The most poised are drowning in false pride. The loudest men are often the most afraid, the richest are actually poor and the bravest are the most accomplished. I’ve met people who are ill with mediocracy but completely happy. I don’t think that we’re supposed to be ‘happy’ or content. There should always be a new place or person to learn from. You should always have something that keeps you up at night, something that haunts you. Excites you.

There’s this movie on Diane Arbus’ life story that I love so much. She was a phenomenal photographer, and Nicole Kidman plays her in the adaption called “Fur”. As a photograher, she liked to capture uncomfortable, strange or interesting people. At the end of the movie, once she starts becoming this celebrated photographer… she finds her first subject, sits next to them on this park bench and says “Tell me a secret”

Image: Diane Arbus, New York Magazine

Image: Diane Arbus, New York Magazine

4
0
10376374_10152048390771296_306446844162207761_n

I want to talk about divorce.

I want to talk about divorce. Specifically, mine.

I want you to know that the “D” word holds no negative connotation in our situation. There is no guilt, resentment or regret in my heart. Nor with my ex husband. It’s been 7 months. Maybe 8. The divorce itself was quick, seamless. Painful. It would be a lie to say that ending something that important doesn’t hurt. Perhaps just a bit less than we both expected. It was a 2 week process handled by only one legal representative who sought out the best interests for all of us.

What makes a marriage fall apart? It didn’t. I loved my ex husband and I know that he loved me. We love each other still. I don’t believe that you can share a life and raise children with someone and ever stop having a bond with them. It’s unfathomable. We created life together, from our own flesh. We shared love, and happiness and a bed. We shared tears and grocery bills and sometimes scraped to get by. We made joint sacrifices. We nested and moved cities, moved homes, unpacked houses and shared a bathroom. Our bodies. Our secrets. That kind of relationship cannot be undone and never should be. We are permanently bonded to the people who we shared ourselves with, in whatever shape that bond lives.

I married my best friend and tried to make him a husband.

Our relationship was based on a familiar friendship, love and compatibility. We foresaw these as the perfect ingredients for marriage. We are a great team. We were (and still are) used to and comfortable in each other’s company. There were a lot of missing elements and undiagnosed factors in our relationship that we didn’t recognise in the beginning. These factors of course enlarged and grew more important as the years tore in to us, no matter how hard we fought them; and trust me: we did.

We fought for each other, our marriage and our friendship when we probably shouldn’t have. We pushed each other’s boundaries year on year in total silence. We made each other lonely. We made each other sad, and restless – and we hated ourselves for it. I know I did. We sought qualities in each other that neither ever possessed.

This is the thing: You marry someone at a time when you are both happy and they fill your holes with the qualities they have. Like… (just examples) maybe you’re a needy person and your partner is an affectionate person: MATCH. Maybe you’re an unorganised person and he is tidy: MATCH – and so it goes. But then years go by and you mature and might find that you’re not a needy person anymore…  but he’s still affectionate. Now… he might feel rejected. Maybe you’ve become super organised but he’s still tidying up after you, so you might suddenly find that annoying. Controlling. Do you see where I’m going with this? We literally un-match as we grow, develop and change. All the bits and pieces that fit so perfectly can (and probably will) slide out of place and it is not. your. fault. It is not. his. fault.

But we make it each other’s fault, don’t we?

On the surface, and even in every day life: we were happy. We could easily have stayed in our marital home for another 10 years. I know that marriage is at times hard and lonely for almost everyone at some point. I strongly believe that it’s an institute worth fighting for. Being married really does mean falling in love with the same person several times.

I want to talk about marriage more because it’s a wonderful, beautiful thing that will rip your soul apart if you don’t give it room to be flawed. It’s not supposed to be perfect. You aren’t supposed to be happy all the time. It won’t fulfill you, and it might uproot everything you never knew about yourself. It will test you, and your sense of hope. When things get bad and you don’t know if they’ll EVER get better but you stay because you promised someone. Him.

You need to have hope.

With marriage comes all the other promises you made to each other too. It’s the breaking of those little ones that snaps the rope that holds you both together. At some point you might both just be standing there, each holding an end of the string and looking to each other for a solution. You can try to knot the pieces to join the string again, and after a few years your rope might be covered in knots and bumps and that’s okay because you’re trying.

Maybe what happened with us is that neither knew how to tie knots properly. Maybe we failed. Maybe we needed to admit that we didn’t have what the other person needed and we never did. I think there’s a maturity in that. An acceptance. Love, even.

We talk every day. We went through a natural adjustment period (read: borderline murder threats) but that was only for a few days. It’s kind of like when you fight with your best friend, and you annoy the hell out of each other…. then you call them a few days later, and it’s like nothing even happened. We hang out, socialise, give each other advice and play with the children together. We are almost exactly the same as we always were – we just don’t live together anymore.

We are going to be in each other’s lives forever. We made that decision when we had Noah – nevermind marriage. He is family. He is friendship, and he is a “daddy”.  At the end of the day, he is my best friend. We’ll still annoy each other sometimes, and we’re fully aware that we’re stuck with each other in the beauty of joint parenthood… and that’s pretty great, because he’s a wonderful father.

And that’s one knotted rope that can’t be undone.

 

10376374_10152048390771296_306446844162207761_n
11
3
Knysna Hollow Manor House

Knysna Oyster Festival 2016

I’ve been to the Knysna Oyster Festival a few times and it never disappoints. I’ve been for leisure, pleasure, work and fitness. From exploring the nightlife and jumping off bridges to running a half marathon, it’s always been some kind of adventure.

BUT, I’ve never gone as a family. For years I walked past the numerous (many) kids play parks, activities and areas with regret and always promised that I’d return with my baby bunnies in tow. Whenever I attended the Oyster Fest, I always stayed at Knysna Hollow Country Estate. It feels like going ‘home’ walking through their doors because the lodge / resort is so homey, welcoming and unpretentious in it’s beauty and surroundings.

Knysna Hollow Manor House

Knysna Hollow Country Estate Pool

Aerial of Knysna Hollow Country Estate - highlighted

We’re heading off to Knysna Hollow from 1 July for a long, long weekend of activities, adventure and quality time. I already have bungee jumping, paragliding, a forest walk, educational elephant encounter and whale watching in our itinerary. Their spacious family chalets are between R750.00 and R1000 per person on a Bed & Breakfast basis, and kids under 12 years sharing with parents stay free!

Family chalet at Knysna Hollow Country Estate

Accommodation - Knysna Hollow Country Estate Garden Suites

Knysna Hollow Country Estate Garden Suites

The chalets open up to gorgeous lawns with various pools, play areas and a man-sized chess board on the estate. Don’t forget about Charlie, the resident cat. He is definitely my favourite and quite a legend at Knysna Hollow. I have such happy memories edging up to the fireplace and catching up with Keri for hours over bottles of wine and having sundowners at the poolside. If you’re looking for a family-friendly, jovial and festive but relaxed place to stay over the Oyster Fest or any other time on the Garden Route, then this is my highest recommendation. They’ve also launched Superior Eco Estate Rooms that overlook a perennial dam with prolific birdlife. The spacious rooms are decorated in a fresh Scandinavian-style which combines natural wooden finishes with a refined palette of blues and greys creating a calm and inviting space. View all their accommodation options here.

View of the newly built Knyna Hollow Eco Estate block.

Eco Estate Rooms at Knysna Hollow Lounge area with Flat Screen TV.

Knysna Hollow Eco Estate Rooms all have superior bathroom facilities.

See you soon, Knysna. The boys can’t wait! Looking for accommodation in Knysna? Check AccommoDirect for more <a href=”https://www.accommodirect.com/destinations/knysna/“>accommodation in Knysna</a>.

0
0
IMG_7583

The boys in their Winter Country Road gear!

I haven’t done a little shoot of the boys for such a long time. With the move, renovations and work, I’ve barely got their winter wardrobe sorted and find myself fishing through cupboards trying to find snuggly gear that still fits. Growing kids are the toughest, because when they were younger they needed a new wardrobe every single year. Can you imagine that for a second? That everything you own in your cupboard needs to be replaced every year from your shoes to your shirts? Actually, that doesn’t sound bad at all. Now that they’ve settled in to their growth, I’m getting 2-3 years of wear out of items (especially when I’m sneaky and buy a size too big hehe) so I’ve really enjoyed dressing them more lately. I love it when they look good and people stop and comment on how stylish or adorable their little outfits are.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.50.29 AM

I shopped at Country Road V&A Waterfront as they have a huge kids section. They had a 20% sale on some winter items, so I did go a little bit mad. I love the quality of Country Road’s clothes and have a few of their items in my own wardrobe too. When I went to Melbourne in January I came home with the most beautiful Country Road dress you have ever seen – but more on that another day / post. Extending my favourite brand in to the boys’ wardrobe makes me happy and I can see how proud and different they act when they’re dressed well, you know? It has begun! I really love the kids denim range. The fit is so snug and lightweight and makes them look like proper little tiny grownups.

IMG_8930

We took a walk down to our favourite sushi spot the other afternoon, so I took some fun pictures along the way to show you how sweet the latest kids #Countryroadstyle gear is. The boys are so good on camera and love playing along. They do drama at school, so I totally take advantage and say things like “show me happy” okay now “show me serious or excited or fun” like really, they are always so keen to play pretend and will be on a ramp in Milan or at least in Vanity Fair in absolute no time. KIDDING. Am I? How cute are these outfits!

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.49.55 AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.49.42 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.49.16 AMIMG_7555Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.49.32 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.50.08 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.50.17 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.50.38 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.50.47 AM

PS Check out sweet Nina’s new outfits on Angie’s blog if you have a girl and want to play dress-up too > Lucky Pony 

 

3
0