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.

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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.

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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!

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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 

 

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I love it so much

I can’t explain how much I love our new house already. I’m here right now and it’s total, beautiful chaos. My garden’s grass is overgrown and there is rubble all over my patio. The boys’ bunk beds won’t fit along the wall I WANT in their room, so I’m having custom ones made. Eventually. The house smells like paint and dust oh man the dust… One day in my eulogy please firmly mention how grateful I was that I did not live in this house while it’s being renovated. Like… yoh. So much respect for people who do live amongst construction because I would rather self harm. SO much has been done and there is so much still to do.

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I’m just so in love with this house. I know I bought it as an investment with The Plan being to renovate and rent out, but I kind of never want to leave? I’m grateful that I got to change it the way I wanted and that I can be here every day to just settle amongst the chaos and appreciate the changes as they happen. This neighbourhood is so great. I have never felt as safe, welcome and at ease in a home before. My bed isn’t here yet, but I slept over by myself last night and crashed on the bottom bunk in the kids room. No sheet (because where is that box even) with a spiderman scatter cushion (obviously) and no kitchen sink. No bathroom (they’re tiling it and no) and no coffee. Not even a kettle lives here yet. My plants are huddled in to a corner, my dressing table is in the lounge and every time I come here, I load my car with boxes and tiny little things that can’t be categorised in to a sealed box.

I played a game of pool at the local pub last night and ate 2 chilli poppers at the “stays open past 9pm” joint and walked to my front door with hand-rattled keys. I’m experimenting with different dishes at the local deli and hung a hook for my handbags today. I brought a tiny little bit of dishwashing liquid in a juice bottle and affectionately washed the 3 glasses that live in this kitchen already. The tiny little things.

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I’m taking screenshots of nice housey ideas that I find late at night and early in the morning when I can’t sleep because I’m so excited about living here. I bring the dogs for mini visits and we carry Jack down the stairs because he’s too scared to climb down them just yet. The WiFi was installed here yesterday and I spent an unshowered hour on the phone to technicians this morning trying to set up the router. I sent my new home phone number to my entire whatsapp list even though they never phone on my landline; I just want them to know that I’m here. That they can. Everything’s new and fresh and full of dust but it’s wonderful because it’s mine. It’s theirs. It’s ours.

I really love my new house. I love it so much. We all do. Mostly.

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I bought a house for you.

I sure did. I don’t know if I’m emotionally ready to talk about this yet, because it has been such an absolute mission. I started this process in November last year and when I saw this little house, I could. not. stop. I’d been looking for a little investment property close-ish to UCT that sits in a great neighbourhood and that obviously won’t depreciate over the next 11 years – when the kids move in and settle in to their studies. It’s a sweet 2 bedroom duplex in a tiny little block with a big wrap-around garden. The street is lined with big trees, it’s opposite a beautiful church and adjacent to a community garden and playground. There’s access to the train station close by, and it’s a quick walk to main rd on the current Jamie Shuttle route. There’s a lot of development going on in the area, with phase one recently completed. Man, I did so much research right down to the body corporate and their financials and maintenance plans too. There was a bit of a show-down between the seller and I, and on the third offer we finally found a middle ground.

Buying a house as a sole proprietor is a total nightmare. At one point I genuinely considered taking up a full time job just to make the banks like me more. I’ve always avoided credit and literally don’t have any. Not even a cellphone contract. Nothing. Apparently this is a VERY bad thing, and there were many tears over the phone to the credit bureau about my case. Buying a house with just one income and watching people across a desk comb through your bank statements and business financials is actually mortifying. Quick tip: It doesn’t matter if you can afford the bond or even twice the bond amount. It’s just not enough. So with no credit, no payslip and no joint income I set out on The Worlds Most Impossible Quest. And we won. Eventually.

The plan is to live in this sweet little house for a year or two and fix it up real nice. Then rent it out, and pay it off by the time the boys finish school. If you’ve looked at projected figures for university fees in 2027 then you should understand why I’m trying to cover as many bases as I can right now. Maybe I’ll live there as an old lady with many cats one day – who knows? But at least there’s something extra nestled somewhere.

I’m doing tiny baby little renovations right now, which pains me. I am not a DIY type of person. Even the thought of shopping for tiles bores me to actual death, but I’m trying to get in to it. My mom’s partner is a most excellent builder, so I’m kind of winning there. I’m so grateful to him, really. So here are some ideas and plans and things that I found on Pinterest. The first steps to making the place feel a little bit like home.

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Sydney and Melbourne highlights.

On 1 January this year, I got on a plane and flew from Cape Town > Johannesburg > Sydney and then Sydney > Melbourne. I’m so glad that I got to spend just over 24 hours in Sydney because it is breathtakingly beautiful. Really, I had no idea. I spent 6 days in Melbourne and didn’t see nearly enough, so I’ll need to go back real soon. It’s hard to decide between the two cities as a favourite, so I’ll let you make up your own mind. I have never really considered myself to be a foodie, but Melbourne has changed my mind on that. I ate some of the best meals of my life in Australia. Eeek, even (much) better than the food in Paris. I was really lucky that my host, friends and relatives in the area directed and treated me to all the right places. If you ever find yourself (or currently live in) Australia, then consider these my recommendations.

In Sydney, we dined at Darling Harbour at a place called Nick’s Seafood Restaurant. It’s right on the water, and has such a great atmosphere. Here I feasted on delicious oysters, seared salmon and wine. Even though it was after New Year’s Eve, there were still firework displays on that evening. Throughout my life, I will never forget standing in the doorway of that restaurant, gripping a glass of good wine and watching the colourful explosions over the harbour. I’ll never forget that evening. I sipped Moet at a trendy harbour club and danced until my feet hurt, finally collapsing in to a Novotel bed at around 4am, happy, content and exhausted.

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In Sydney I also really loved Opera Bar which is adjacent to the Sydney Opera House. I loved the Ice Bar? at Bondi Beach and I really, really love an area called Manly which has a gorgeous little bay with warm water and lots of little sail boats and yachts. I missed the boys so much here, because Sydney is built for kids and families. I imagined my boys playing in the (almost) deserted bays and taking them sailing in the afternoons, letting them jump in to the water from the boat and staying outdoors until 9pm every day, when the sun sets there. Honestly, I left my heart in Sydney. I’ll definitely be back.

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For Melbourne, I’m going to give you just one favourite restaurant, where I had the best meal of my life to date. If you’re ever in the area, then you absolutely should visit…

Mamasita: For the best and most delicious mexican food of your existence. Mexican and Italian are my two favourite cuisines, and dammit this place was good. You can’t book a table at Mamasita, so expect a queue (all the way down the stairs, out the doorway and sometimes down the street) to get a table. And people do queue. Even in heels, like I did. The vibe is just so incredible, and you can tell that everyone is having a super good time and are seriously in to their food. The portions are small, served in a tapas style which is tradition in Mexican households. You get to order loads of different dishes and share them amongst your friends – and remember to wash it all down with a jug of their deliciously sweet Sangria. The highlight for me here were the Plantains which consists of long, baked, crispy banana fingers lathered with their signature salsas, sauces, relishes and guacamole. That would hands down be my “death row” meal if I ever had to make such a decision. Everything here was incredible and I ate until I really just couldn’t anymore.

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It was really nice to get a 9 day break from well, everything. I’m planning another trip for July and I can’t decide between Italy and America. July is ideal because of school holidays and also because I HATE WINTER TO DEATH. The first time I went overseas, the boys really missed me. But now, with the new school schedule, routine and dynamics – they are super in to seeing dad 24/7. So when I went to Australia they *really* treasured the time with him and I swear they hardly noticed I was gone :((( or :))))? So now I’m dead set on traveling a tiny bit more this year.

I’ve grown very fond of traveling alone. I don’t think that I would ever want someone by my side through any of it. I get to read and write and think and spend some good quality time inside my head. I get to internalise what I’m feeling instead of shouting “LOOK AT THAT BUILDING” to someone else every five minutes, you know? I always get home feeling a bit more adventurous, stronger and that tiny bit braver. And like I know this big, wonderful secret that nobody else does… you know? I hope you do.

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I wanted to mention that I didn’t take my ‘big’ camera on this trip, because I found it too stressful in Paris – constantly worrying about it, lugging it around, being physically weighed down. So I relied on my iPhone for all of this because memories don’t need to be perfect, right?

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Dairy is f*cking scary.

I’ve spoken about my very slow transition away from meat over the past year. Although many of my friends and family members have been vegan or vegetarian for years, I was pretty stubborn about it. Noah was a vegetarian for three years before I was. As I became exposed to more conversations about this lifestyle, my defiance started to break down a bit. I didn’t grow up on a farm and I had misconstrued views on how animals live and are raised in meat factories. Wholesome pictures of farmers and free range, happy chickens appear on most packaging in the grocery aisles. Jamie Oliver’s clips on meat manufacturing went viral, showing that ingredients found in household cleaning products and bleaches go in to beloved processed chicken patties and viennas. They say that everyone has their own moment of realisation. You can watch all the documentaries you like, but if something doesn’t resonate with you personally then you won’t be likely to make any switches. I mean why would you? You grew up on meat, eggs, milk and ice cream like every other kid did, and you’re totally fine. I get it.

I’m not a salesman. I’m not going to try bend or force your views and to be honest, I pretty much don’t care what you eat. I don’t know everything or even enough to educate you on anything vegetarian related. I can only really share what it’s been like for me, and how it’s changed the way that I live and feel. I’ve eaten the odd burger or lamb chop over the past year. I ate a slither of meat last weekend. Right now, I’m eager to eliminate dairy from my diet but I wouldn’t push the kids to do the same. I’m sure I’ll still eat the odd food item that contains milk, but I’m going to try.

I’ve become quite interested – no, passionate about nutrition lately. It’s always interested me and I’d really like to take some kind of course on food education. I want to know what (exactly) a carrot does to my body. Which organs does it feed? What happens if you eat strawberries and is orange juice really too acidic for us? I want to know why people are lactose intolerant, or what gluten does to some. Why do some people become addicted to sugar? What does it do to your brain, exactly? I want to know everything there is to know about food – it interests me like nothing else does.

Since cutting out, let’s say 99% of meat from my diet – I’ve definitely felt a switch. Cutting meat was mostly a health decision for me, but the ethical side obviously plays a role. The digestive system is something that really interests me, to be honest. I started reading books on it from varsity. My late brother had celiac disease as a young boy, so his digestive system completely shut down and he briefly malnourished until they figured it out. A boyfriend of mine had the same thing. We all have friends and family who have been affected by diet-specific illnesses such as heart disease or some cancers. We’re all suffering in one way or another under the greed of the food industry. Things do need to change, and we need to take care of and protect ourselves from corporations who don’t have our best interests at the forefront.

For me, the most frustrating reality is that so many (even highly educated) people believe that humans need to eat meat and other animal parts to survive, live and even to thrive. To succeed. Another misconception is that being a vegetarian or vegan is expensive. If you do tell people that actual science has proved over and over again that we do not need to eat animal products, then people get defensive. Mostly, they get defensive because you have just told them that they are eating flesh, harming animals, supporting conglomerates, and potentially jeopardising their own health for well, no reason at all. That they’ve been doing this voluntarily. That’s a hard piece of information to erm, chew on.

Now stop. I don’t think that eating the odd animal product is wrong. While I might eventually chat to the boys about dairy farms, I won’t (ever) ban them from cheese or yoghurt. I won’t deny them birthday cake at a kids party or the odd milkshake because this is a lifestyle that they can commit to personally, if they so choose. You need to give your child the opportunity to learn and discover things on their own count, I think. I still offer Noah meat all the time. I still believe that meat has a place in this world, but I feel it needs to be ethically sourced and enjoyed as a now-and-then and not a daily staple. While we don’t technically need to eat meat, we most definitely do not need to eat it every single day or at every meal. There’s also a sense of gratitude that needs to be incorporated. In some cultures, meat is prayed upon. The animal’s life is celebrated and considered. We’ve become so desensitised in our consumption rate that a cow is now just a whacky wednesday or something to mindlessly throw on a sandwich.

More than this, an animal has not given or sacrificed his life to you. It has been taken by force after it has lived (in most cases) a really awful life. These farmed animals are submissive and afraid. Might is not right. Just because you are able to overpower and kill an animal, does not mean that you have the right to do so. I support dozens of local butcheries and suppliers who go to great lengths to supply ethically sourced meat and seafood. Meat and meat eaters do not repulse or upset me. I’m learning about new things and I really enjoy sharing my feelings about all of this.

And it’s not just meat you guys. It’s GMO foods, pesticides and chemicals used in fresh produce too. I’m looking at the entire food system right now and trying to figure out what the fuck is going on.

I’ll probably always still eat the odd meat item every few months. Maybe I’ll make it a once-a-year tradition, I don’t know. I could never call myself a vegetarian or a vegan or even 100% a pescetarian. I don’t want to ‘disappoint’ myself or make myself vulnerable to being criticised. Most of us are so hard on ourselves every day, and I don’t think I could ever handle the pressure of a label.

What I am going to do, is be open minded. Learn. Educate myself on the food industry. I want to learn from others and keep this an open conversation. I went to the aquarium the other day and for the first time in my life, opened my mind to information about red and green lists on seafood. I’ve let people lecture and inform me without feeling defensive or raising any walls. It’s humbling. I’m inherently stubborn and I’m enjoying this more relaxed, or even mature acceptance of the information that’s so readily available to me.

I’d previously dismissed all documentaries or even communication about the dairy industry. My love for yoghurt, cheese and milk knew no exceptions. It was all fine, and as long as I ignored it; it would not affect me. Then this tiny video clip started playing automatically in my feed last week and goddammit it’s changed me. I made myself watch it again and again. I’ve always avoided the “Cowspiracy” documentary and hell I may as well watch it now.

I think that people feel that vegans are smug. Or mean. Forceful. Crazy, even. Remember that vegan and vegetarian people were exactly like you probably even months ago. Burger-loving, ice-cream eating regular consumers just exactly like you are. There’s a feeling of empowerment that comes with being educated about these things, like you know something that nobody else does. You know what’s really going on. It makes you feel aware. Enlightened. Worldly, even. And like any other good or powerful experience, you want to share that with others. They want you to experience what they are, and people share information in different ways.

I (well obviously) don’t like seeing clips of animals being slaughtered in my timeline. It ruins my entire day. Last week there was this video about a rabbit screaming while his fur was being plucked and I can still hear that godawful sound. I don’t need (or even deserve, if I may) to see that, you know. So I won’t do that to you. Sometimes I see something particularly interesting or articulated in a way that I’m not able to express and I might share that. This (really short and punchy) video clip I saw about the dairy industry is pretty safe, and tame. You should know where your food or milk comes from, and this is it. It’s a summary and narrated by a girl so cool that I went and watched all her other clips too. Here it is: Dairy is Fucking Scary

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Cotton On Kids: Playground Approved Denims

Last week the nice people at Cotton On Kids sent the boys some very cool outfits and an invitation to put them to the test at our local aquarium. Basically, “Playground Approved” a 40 piece collection in the latest styles, made with with premium stretch fabrics. The jeans are definitely more comfortable for them (they said) with more wriggle room for running, jumping and playing. There was definitely a lack of denim apparel that is suitable for the every day life of a kid. These denims have (discreet, sewn in) elasticated waistbands so you’ll get more wear out of them as your kids grow. The new range is available for boys and girls up to 14 years, in store at Cotton On Kids now. Here are some fun photos I snapped of the boys at the aquarium last weekend. Aren’t they just the cutest, coolest kids in town? I think so!

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You can check out more of the range on their website over here > Cotton On Kids and a major thank you to the team for the boys’ new little outfits. They had a really fun day!

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Do you remember

We all used to cuddle in to mommy’s bed and watch Friends and Now and Then? Noah, it’s your favourite movie right now. You love the Wormers and the mystery of Little Johnny.

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Watering the vegetable garden and watching your mielies grow? Watching things that you planted grow from scratch. Your mielies are almost ready now, and I’m so proud of how attentive you’ve been.

Do you remember that every night Jack would lay at the edge of my bed and stare at himself in my dressing room mirror? Sometimes he barks at himself forever and sometimes he wakes us up at like 3am this way.

Noah do you remember telling me that chickens are your favourite animals, and then bunnies. And that dogs are “okay”

Ben do you remember sitting in the bunny cage with Pumpkin, Fasty and “the white one” whenever you felt a bit sad?

Do you guys remember me taking your playstation away and hiding it in the top cupboard? You guys got so mad at me that I thought you’d literally never love me again.

Remember how we play UNO for like hours and how Ben always wins? Sometimes you don’t like picking up 8 cards, so mommy shares the big pick-ups with you. You’re never a sore loser, but you always forget to say UNO. I love how proud you look when you win a game, like you’ve been validated by the universe.

Noah you’re such a sensible, organized, neat and level headed kinda guy. You need things to be right, and fair and explained. You like things to make sense. You got your new school shoes and uniform last weekend, and I watched you meticulously fold and place everything together exactly as it was packaged. You’ve had it all ready and organized… 3 days in advance. I love this about you. I love how much you care about everything.

Remember when I travel and I’d always bring this huge stash of NEW sweets and treats home for you? Remember how Ben likes jelly sweets and Noah likes chocolate ones. Remember that time you got grounded for 2 weeks because of something to do with these sweets.

Noah do you remember how you lost your second tooth? How we tied floss around your tooth and the other end to the kitchen cabinet? You were so brave, I NEVER thought you’d let us do it. I hope I’m there when you trick your kids in to it too.

Remember when Ben decided he needed to be super cool and wanted that crazy haircut? All shaved at the sides with an over comb? You got your rockstar haircut, but I drew the line at peroxiding your hair white. You’re only 5 my boy.

Remember how we spent this summer holiday at the pool and at swimming lessons and the beach? You practically lived in the water, and now you’re on your second set of sunburn. I’m so glad that I got to spend so much time with you!

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You’ve started big school, and I’m so proud of both of you. Proud of how well mannered, attentive, caring, sensitive, crazy, fun, sporty and adventurous you both are. I love watching your friendship grow. You’ve been such brave boys this holiday, and I can’t help but be proud and take a few pages out of your tiny little books. Whenever I worry that something’s going to knock you over or unsettle you, you ALWAYS prove me wrong and don’t let anything dampen your gorgeous little personalities. You’ve walked in to a brand new world at school, filled with new friends, lessons, experiences and knowledge. You walked in well rested and sun-kissed, with beamy smiles all over your faces.  I love you guys so much.

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Let’s talk about fat, baby.

I haven’t written about my health efforts in a while, but my fitness instructor said something really cool and clever to me today, so I thought I’d share.

A little background: Two years ago I suddenly (there were a lot of carbs involved) gained a lot of weight… 10kg+ to be exact. Read that post here. It was a combination of stress, emotions, working from home and just being a lazy lady. I never did any kind of exercise and I ate what I wanted. I was always drawn to healthy food, and still am… but I went through a phase of having dinner, having a few drinks and then having another dinner (and a bowl of cereal and toast and…)

I signed up for a half marathon and saw my ass. Properly. I mean, I finished at a good pace, but the training was like an awakening forward slash budget horror movie. I got blisters, injuries, stress fractures, shin splints, cramps. My fatty mac and cheese body was like DEAR GOD WOMAN WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! And I very almost gave up at least three times. Man, I was such an unfit, gross mess. I didn’t even know.

I joined a gym and started taking these Shape classes which is like a group class led by an instructor – much like aerobics but with some weight training. After the first class, my NECK was even stiff from doing sit-ups. Everything hurt, and it felt awful. I couldn’t coordinate with the instructor or keep up with the moves and I felt so ungraceful. I hated seeing my reflection in the wall-to-wall mirrors and was so self conscious. I tried yoga but my wrists hurt. I tried Zumba but lolololol keeping up with those instructors is probably definitely impossible.

Then I slot in to a routine of Shape classes, treadmill and doing some light running with the dogs. I experimented with my diet. I tried cutting out carbs, then sugar and dairy too. I went Pescetarian (vegetarian who still eats odd seafood) about a year ago. I ‘relapsed’ a few times. Once I tried a piece of boerewors and I felt so nauseated, I drove to the garage late at night to buy something to get the taste out of my mouth. Ghost pops, I think it was. I tried juice diets, which do work beautifully. I tried banting for a week or two just to see what it was like.

Two years ago, I weighed 75kg. I’m 1.75m tall, so technically I was still within a healthy BMI. That’s what the internet told me. None of my clothes fit and I felt awful about myself. Right now, I’m 63kg (12kg down, BABY!) and I’m so close to my usual weight again. My mom said something interesting the other day. She feels that we all have an ideal personal weight that our bodies are comfortable with. I used to weigh about 58kg throughout high school and 52kg in varsity. I was painfully thin, although not on purpose. I had two waitressing jobs and classes so I wasn’t at Res for a lot for meals. Any money I made went toward living expenses and booze (hello student life) My dad used to sneak muesli, nuts and fruit dainties in to my bag. I got so thin that I stopped getting my period, which I later learned was super dangerous. Girls aren’t supposed to talk about their weight, are they? Or periods. Whoops.

With the boys, I gained 17 – 20kg each pregnancy. Fine, like 11kg of that was the baby, amniotic fluid & placenta (yum) but I got happy and fat, and I loved it. I dropped the weight in a flash and never struggled until I neared my 30s. It just never stops, does it? I had like 4 wardrobes to cope with my shifting, adapting body.

Well, now the baby factory is officially closed. I learned that I can’t get away with eating 2 dinners and buckets of pasta anymore. I learned that my body DOES NOT like sugar or refined carbs – at all. I don’t eat take aways, I drink a lot of water and I don’t eat meat. If I do eat something unhealthy, then it’s mostly a tiny little baby portion. The thing is, you don’t know any of this stuff unless you experiment with your diet. If you’re gaining weight or feeling gross it’s because something is wrong with the mechanics and your body is not comfortable.

I learned that nourishment is absolutely everything. Empty and processed foods are the worst thing you can do to yourself. If your body does not recognize an ingredient, it freaks out and just stores it as fat. Imagine this big conveyer belt of ingredients entering your body, and someone sitting there sorting it to different routes. “Protein! Send to muscles. Vitamins! Send to organs. Grains! Send to energy. Preservatives? Wtf I don’t know. What is this? Send to fat I don’t know, I’m new.”

My biggest switch has been moving to unprocessed and natural foods. Things that grow on trees or come directly from soil. Nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs in their natural and true form. I’m drinking so much water. I’m doing little fasts where I’ll skip dinner and only eat at midday the next day. I try eat foods that are easy to process like smoothies and juices.

Don’t get me wrong, I can polish a bag of Quality Streets quicker than a mouse to cheese. Sorry if I sound like some sort of condescending fitness freak b*tch. I am FAR from that. I have such a long, ‘forever’ road ahead of me in terms of toning and fitness. My goal weight is 58kg. If I can hover between 58 and 60 for the rest of my days, then I’ll be well impressed. My body KNOWS that I’m not supposed to be at my current weight. I always had a more slender, athletic frame. My family never ate out and my mom cooked us healthy dinners from scratch every night.

I want to feel comfortable. I want to look in the mirror and think “damn girl” instead of “something’s not right, girl”

Oh, so this thing my instructor said to me at gym today: I’ve reached some kind of plateau in my training. I’m in a routine, and my weight and toning efforts aren’t really shifting. I asked if I should be doing more shape classes, or more cardio or maybe try pilates again and she gave me such good advice. I’m supposed to do all of it. All of us. You’re supposed to do like 2 aerobics / weight training / shape classes or sessions a week. Then you need to mix it up and add some running or swimming here and there. Do like 2 yoga or pilates sessions a week. Go for a brisk walk. A hike. Mix it up and don’t do the same thing every single day. Once your body adapts to your routine, it will likely settle.

So from 2016 I’m going to start playing around. Adding weird and cool classes like belly dancing and do some laps in the pool. Try spinning again (must remember to get knickers of steel) and get a skip rope. I seriously love pilates, so I want to do more than that. I don’t really have a deadline on these last 5 kgs, but my body and I want them to go.

The thing is: I do so many unhealthy things. From contraceptives to antibiotics and my (sugar free) red bull addiction. I drink pretty often. I can’t add being overweight or unfit to this pot, otherwise I know my body will take strain and probably won’t last very long. We all have a shelf life.

For me, not eating meat was at least 85% a health decision and 15% an ethical one. I don’t think that we’re supposed to eat meat the way that it’s being ‘manufactured’ in most places right now, and I don’t think it’s good for us. I DO think it’s okay to have the odd meat item, but scaled down to at least 10% of the current production rate. Neither our planet or our bodies can sustain our greed for animal flesh at the current consumption rate, but you know this.

I saw an article today about people yawning over all the “weight loss new year’s resolutions” that are coming our way. I say: Don’t get your body to the point where it causes damage. Whether that be too thin, or too fat. Putting pressure on your heart is fucking dangerous, as is not nourishing your organs. We all NEED to exercise. Go for walks, buy a bicycle or go swim at a public pool, but regular aerobic movement wards off ageing, cancer, heart disease and a shitload of other things. We know this. Weight training will save you from a hip replacement in your 50s, as women (especially mothers) are highly prone to developing osteoporosis.

I am not saying that you should go on a diet or join a gym as your 2016 resolution.

I am saying that you should think about everything you put in your body. Will it nourish you? Does it contain fresh ingredients? Will it feed your organs and skin cells and make your body feel good? Will it ward off diseases? Will it make you look good? Does it promote mental health? Do you need this? Or even: Do I need this much of this? Try cutting all your food portions in half for a week. If you usually have 2 slices of toast for breakfast, rather have one. Dish up half the amount you usually would at dinner. You’ll soon realize just how little our bodies really need.

If you’re the other way around and never find time to eat, then get organized. Cook in bulk and freeze. Shop online. Sign up with a delivery place in your area to send a salad to your office every day. Make or buy cold pressed juices in bulk and freeze them. Pop one in your handbag every morning.

If you’re making a health resolution for 2016, then make it to be comfortable. Say: “In 2016 I want to be comfortable.” Whether that means losing your muffin top or being able to wear shorts or firming your arm jiggle, then do it. Get that “damn girl” feeling when you look in the mirror – whether you’re a size 8 or a size 16, but just get there.

Right now, I’m super focused on my health. I take the boys to my gym and they do activities for 2 hours. We buy wraps and smoothies at the gym cafe, and we take the dogs for walks in the park. Ride bikes. Swim at Newlands Pool. It’s so important that the boys see ME living a healthy life so that they can get in to this routine. Benjamin never wanted to drink water, he would only drink juice. I realized this was because I never drank water. I started doing it, drinking tons of water every day (making sure he sees me) and now, that boy hasn’t asked for juice in weeks.

Your kids WILL mirror you. Every time I walk in to gym, I remember watching my mom on her fitness bike, watching soapies in the evenings. I remember her pink exersize mat and doing Cindy Crawford and Jane Fonda aerobics with her. I remember her going to weigh less and eating provitas and reading books on nutrition. Never remember seeing her run though, ma? haha.

Anyway. Wow. Sorry for lambasting you on HEALTH!!! and FITNESS!!! and DEAD ANIMALS!!! for like an hour, but I hope that something resonated with you. Saying all of this ‘out loud’ definitely helped me centre my current efforts.

Okay bye. Happy New year x

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Guest House in Stellenbosch, Cape Town

I recently stayed at the very charming Vine Guest House in Stellenbosch. Actually, it was my second visit. It’s a gorgeous little gem nestled in the heart of the winelands with pretty views, lush gardens and luxurious finishes. The first thing you’ll notice is how neat, clean and tidy it is. Second you’ll spot the modern, sophisticated yet comfortable decor style. The palette is soft and neutral – think warm greys, natural wood, and crisp white with pops of colour and some greenery. A lot of love, passion and consideration has gone in to the recent re-vamp.

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At the entrance you’ll find a little fountain, a dam with an abandoned rowing boat, tall trees, flowers and an uninterrupted view of the mountains. Vine has 9 guest rooms ranging from Superior to Executive. All rooms have a patio canopied by lush vines and some rooms offer a private terrace. They’re all fitted with air conditioning, flat-screen TV, a safe, hairdryer, bathrobe, Charlotte Rhys toiletries, snacks, wine, pool towels and a fully stocked minibar (even a Nespresso machine!) Check out their rooms here.

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I love this little guesthouse, which is situated on Bottelary Rd, just a stone-throw from Stellenbosch, and close to Paarl and Franschhoek too. This is the perfect spot to stay at if you want a tranquil environment that’s close to all the tourist attractions, cycle routes, monuments and wine farms in the area. Stunning for a stop-over if you’re exploring the winelands and don’t want to drive too far to get back to Cape Town. They serve a mean breakfast, and they’re opening their restaurant in just a few months! I had a sneak peek, and it’s going to be gorgeous. More on that soon!

Vine_Gallery-12You can find more information on their rates and book online on their website. Also check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I’m going back there again on Wednesday! I might try my hand at some tennis this time! Website here. **All pictures by Vine Guesthouse.**

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2015.

Every year I look back on what I achieved, which poles I missed and where I can improve on for the next year. We’re all doing that right now, aren’t we? Setting up trees, wrapping presents, drowning in delicious wine and silently reflecting on our lives. Our future. Our families. This was my year of bravery. I got a new car, I pierced my ears (I was so scared), I went to Paris to see some art, and Noah started the ‘dream’ school. My business grew and with it, my passion for the digital world. I’m taking on a business partner next year and growing a few divisions, which will be my core focus for 2016.

The boys had a big year because they’d always been in the same school and sometimes in the same class. This year they struggled with being separated, but they also developed a bit of independence. Benjamin is more of an introvert, so I think he sometimes relied on Noah for companionship when he didn’t want to reach out to other children. I guess it was the same for Noah too, especially in the beginning. I’m so glad that they’ll be together again next year and can share all those same-school stories about the library or tuck shop lady, assembly and playground things. It’s going to be so good for them!

These past few months… I’ve lost a lot of time. You know when you’re reading a book but your mind wanders and you realise you haven’t absorbed the last six pages you’ve read? I felt kind of like that, but about everything. This year was the one that schooled me. Maybe you’ve had a year like this. When you decided to do everything that you’ve ever been afraid of. Being alone in a foreign city with a language barrier and no sense of direction was beyond overwhelming. I feel a hundred years older, but in a good way.

This was also the year that we legally dissolved our marriage. Our decision was based on a mutual benefit and handled with love and in friendship. A new story has begun, and I know that it’s going to be a sweet one, for all of us. We’re both excited about next year, our new projects and adventures.

I’m finishing up some work and wrapping the last presents, then I’m off to Sydney in the first week of January for business and to see some friends. I hope that you’re all finishing up too, and settling in to the holidays with your families. We’ve been writing and re-writing letters for Father Christmas for weeks, and now I’m off to the shops to buy some cookies to leave at the fireplace “in case he comes early mommy!” It really is the most wonderful time of the year x

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