What it’s really like to be on a juice diet, with the Juice Revolution

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I don’t know if you noticed, but I’ve been making a solid effort to improve my health lately. With work, the house and the kids… I’ve been feeling drained. I’m guilty of tucking in to a glass of wine on many nights during the week, which I’m sure wasn’t helping the situation. I hadn’t been getting a lot of sleep, because this little business brain never wants to switch off. I’ve wanted to try juicing for years, but it seems like such a schlepp to find and buy organic ingredients every day and chop and prep all of that. I wouldn’t know where to start. Also: juicers are super expensive. It seems like a huge commitment.

I ordered a 7 day Super Juice Diet from Juice Revolution last week. I’m on day three right now, and I wanted to tell you a bit more about it. First, the package I’m on includes the following goodies!

5 juices (meals) a day for 7 days | 35 juices or smoothies (500ml)

Seven 300ml juices. This is the hot & spicy tea, which I drink cold at 9pm every night. AMAZING.

Daily supplements and vitamins, pre-packaged per day: (Spirulina, Barley Green, Acidophilus)

A selection of Pukka teas to cleanse, detox, relax and love

A booklet with a daily program, tips and advice

A free guide explaining in detail how to live a healthy lifestyle. From food groups to exercise

Coaching and support

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The juices are incredibly nutritious and filling. I can’t believe how filling they are. I’m on day three, and I this afternoon I had a banana, pineapple, apple & yoghurt smoothie. I was so full, I was almost uncomfortable. You will definitely never go hungry on these juices as long as you take them at the right times. I know this because I skipped a juice on day one and wanted to shove an entire pizza in to my mouth and swallow it without even chewing. Take your juices ON time. It’s such a luxury for me to just grab a juice out the fridge instead of cooking and prepping. I know that I am saving a lot of money on take away coffee, groceries and wine right now. As I type this, I’m having a Turbo Express Juice: Apple, avocado, pineapple, celery, cucumber, spinach and lime. One of my favourite juices so far.

Day 1 and 2 were pretty hard, and I really missed my morning tea. I missed salt a lot too. This morning I woke up with a completely flat stomach, which made day 1 and 2 pretty worth it! I went through slight (HECTIC) withdrawals on Sunday. All the sugar and caffeine leaving my system I’ll bet. I spoke to Juice Revolution’s coach, Fiona Stander about it. She explained that on day 1 and 2 your blood sugar levels drop, and your body starts to convert glycogen in to glucose, which is then released in to your bloodstream to restore my body’s natural and normal blood sugar levels. See, all this extra ‘stuff’ in our food is no good for us. On day 1 and 2, you’re working really hard to get your body back to it’s ‘original’ form. Most people feel the benefits of a cleanse from the first day, but I felt quite… odd. Not weak or dizzy or anything, I felt a bit spaced out. Almost drunk or high or something. Abnormal. I had no idea how hard my body was detoxing even at that point. Isn’t it incredible?

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I’m starting to understand why people call this detox a “re-set” just to get your body cleansed of all the nasties and back on track. I already know that I’m going to be super careful about what I put in to my body after this. I’m going to buy a few of Juice Revolution’s lifestyle juices to keep in the fridge as meal replacements and boosters. Getting your 5 a day is pretty darn hard (even as a vegetarian / pescetarian). I’ve definitely started losing weight. This program was designed for you to lose about 3kgs in a week, depending on your system.

Speaking of your SYSTEM. My body is currently detoxing in every way. I’m regular in my erm, movements and I’ve been drinking so. much. water. My system is faster than ever and I’m more alert, in general. Every now and then (even today) I get a piecing headache that lasts for like 7 seconds, sort of like a brain freeze. Last night I was wide awake ’til 11pm and when I woke up this morning I didn’t crave tea or coffee at all.

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One of my biggest stresses was wine (and vodka, and pimms, and sugar free red bull) and not being ‘allowed’ to drink for a full week made me feel super panicky. I’m on day three and I’m not craving booze. I don’t feel like I need a drink as a ‘pick me up’ or a ‘wind me down’. I feel pretty neutral. Fresh. I went for a long walk and bicycle ride with the kids and dogs this afternoon, and I’m dead keen to get to gym tomorrow. I’ve been more productive work-wise too, more focused.

My only complaint is that the juices are pretty large, at 500ml a juice. I looked around at other programs and they’re all pretty much in those quantities. I really thought that I’d be super hungry, but I’m struggling to finish them. Fiona gave me the tip to skip one on the defrost if there are duplicates. So instead of having a whole Super Juice at 9 and another whole one at 11, to have half and half. I’m doing that from tomorrow. That way I can also save some of my juices for after. I’m suddenly pretty turned off by cakes and things, because I know that those foods are empty, and I’m really enjoying feeling nourished. I’ve learned that we don’t need nearly as much food as we think we do. I’ve learned that our body needs nourishment, not ‘fillers’ to feel full. I feel more satisfied having a Turbo Boost juice than I do from having a veggie burger or bowl of pasta, which I find VERY odd, but I’m starting to understand it (and my body)

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We all have different taste preferences, eg the Super Juice is not my favourite – only because it has lime in it. The rest mostly have hints of lemon, which I love. I love beetroot, but ginger isn’t my favourite. Twice now I’ve caught Benjamin with one of my Super Juices and Noah is obsessed with the Lemon Ginger Zinger. How it works is that you receive ALL your juices frozen in a box, and you put them all in the freezer. They’re marked on the cap, so “Day 1 Juice 2” or “Day 3 Juice 5” so the night before, you just take out the next day’s juices to defrost. The convenience is one of my favourite parts of this juicing process. Not having to cook or prep meals or grab an unhealthy meal is such a pleasure. I’ve really enjoyed the time off in that department.

I’ve been taking some photos of all the juices and their descriptions. The welcome pack is beautifully done. I’ll do another post this week to show you more of the program, but in the interim, you can check out the juicing packages on their website. There are so many programs to choose from, starting from R800.00 a package. I’m curious to see how I feel tomorrow. Apparently day 4 is even more amazing, so I’ll keep you updated. I’m really enjoying this, and I’m feeling really great on the inside – out.

 

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It’s that time of year again. Hellooooo Knysna!

In this Parenting Life, “July” means several things. School holidays. Flat panic. Winter = entertaining kids indoors. Extra expenses for nannies, camps, holiday care fees, additional extra murals, activities and all-round moaning from children nationwide. It also means a break from packing lunches and lifts (if kids aren’t in holiday school) but for most of us, it doesn’t. Because my office is at home, and I’m mostly away teaching workshops or in meetings and training; child entertainment is KEY. Every year I try find cool things for the boys to do, hire ALL the movies, organize play dates and try get them out the house when I can. Schools close this Friday for us, and I’m pretty darn afraid to be honest.

For the past two years, I’ve been writing about the Knysna Oyster Festival (3 – 12 July). The first year was with one of my (now) besties Keri, and we did we adventure side of things. Think zip lining, township tours, elephant sanctuaries, boat rides in the RAIN and bungee jumping. And also many wine and oyster hangovers which you could pool with ‘adventure’ if you really think about it. Survival skills? It was FUN and crazy. Many an evening wobbling back to our hotel and snuggling at the fireplace with Charlie, Knysna Hollow’s resident cat. I remember the night before our bungee jump, we’d got back to the hotel pretty late from events. We sat on the porch and shared a bottle of wine while calling our dads for pep talks on the big ‘jump’. Sitting in the dark, in the quiet and giggling loudly ’til the late hours with Keri is one of my favourite memories. It really was an epic week!

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The following year I joined the oyster festival as a runner! Total contrast as it meant much less wine, earlier nights and a lot of pressure leading up to race day. Graeme came along for support and I ran my very first half marathon. Honestly, one of my proudest achievements to date. I had never been fitter, healthier or felt stronger. So last year I was there for the sporting side, which was absolutely incredible. The Knysna Hollow Pasta Party is such a vibe! All the athletes go there the night before the race with their families and heap plates of delicious pastas. There’s live music and the bar is crammed with holiday makers and nervous runners! I really enjoyed experiencing the festival from the sporting angle. After I completed the 21km Graeme fed me coke, energade, rehydrate and valoids (so. much. nausea) I had the longest afternoon nap of my life, and had never felt so proud of myself. Ever.

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I have great memories from the Oyster Festival and Knysna Hollow, so this year Graeme and I decided to go again and take the kids! I won’t be writing about the festival this year, so it’s strictly leisure. The festival grounds are flooded with kids and kids activities. Obstacle courses, bouncy castles, cooking, tents, baking, events, shows and not to mention all the family hikes, forest walks, cycle events and dozens of child friendly restaurants along the waterfront. Graeme promised that he’s gonna bungee jump this year too! And we’re taking the boys paragliding. We’re crazy excited.

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So this year, we’re doing the July holidays RIGHT. Graeme has taken a few days leave from work, I’ve cleared my schedule and we’re off to the Oyster Festival and Knysna Hollow again! I can’t wait to go back, because every year that I do, I feel so changed. Like re-entering the same lobby as a different person each time. And anyway, their rates are great and Graeme agreed to do the drive, so I am ready to pack and get going. Just two more weeks of school trips, lunch boxes and deadlines to get through. Knysna (home) Hollow, we’ll see you again soon!

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Adventures of a suburban wife.

I’ve been talking about how tired I feel lately, just from being a mom and trying to get everything done with the kids. Not new, or original material – I realize. Women worldwide complain about fatigue every chance they get. Forget horse betting, I wanna be in a room full of moms and put money on who is legit the most exhausted. I’ve been struggling to settle lately. Well, since we moved to the school district, and the boys started attending a real-real school. Friends warned me about it – to enjoy the playschool days because things get very real in big school. I laughed them off. “I’ll show YOU” I told myself. “I’ll show those silly moms who obviously don’t know me or my children. We’ll be just fine!”

And here I am on the edge of sanity at least once a week. Sometimes I cry for just no reason. I cried in Coyote Ugly the other night. I mean what is that? People sent me that video of the guy documenting his dead dog’s life and I got back in bed, unable to face my life that morning. And you know, when you have a kid, people are like “Wow kids are such a big responsibility” and I always thought that was a bit of a sham. Feed them 3 – 5 times a day, make sure they bath now and then and put their shoes on the right way around. They pretty much raise themselves, if we’re being honest. All they want to do is play and cuddle and climb things and listen to stories. Not much to it.

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And then Noah got a homework book. Firstly, I couldn’t even cover the darn thing. I had a friend over and watched her do it while I sipped wine and took notes. We always used those ‘already folded’ book sleeves, but I couldn’t find any at the shops. She let me write the name on the label and everything. I remember the first time I got a notice from the school and I thought “lol they obviously don’t know me. This form will sit in my cubby hole for 3 months and eventually be used to mop up dog vomit or similar.” I try be a good school mom. I want Noah to be that kid with the melrose cheesie and juice box and apple slices and triangle cut sandwiches in his lunchbox. Crusts removed. Eventually I realized that I really should read the notifications and it started pretty slow. One or two here. “Theme in class this week is The Ocean” seems legit. Kids should know about the ocean. Fish and stuff. I imagined they had a poster up in class somewhere, nice pictures of dolphins and so forth. Kids love dolphins. Like 2 days later: “Children are going on an outing via train to the actual ocean to swim and discover and learn. We need help with lifts. Pack a snack and a towel and plastic packet for wet clothes and any medication and sunblock and this is all the paperwork. Sign this form if your child is attending. This one for indemnity and sign this form if you will transport a child to the station. Sign this form if you will be attending the field trip with your child personally or alternatively, sign this form if you’re a kak mom. And also send money for train.”

He’s in a top-notch school. Really, the best. They go ALL out and I love them for it. They go a lot further than any school I ever went to. That whole week at school, they had talks and visitors and one day when I fetched Noah he was like “Come check the octopus.” Yes. An octopus. It was in the school fridge and very much dead, but they’d sourced it somehow. I think the first time I saw an octopus was at the aquarium like, last year. Then the theme was “pets” and I figured maybe the teacher would bring her hamster to school one day. They had a full on dog show on the school field. And an educational talk from trainers and breeders and a vet, I think. Every day there were different animals at school, and one day I even took old Buttons in and let the kids pet him all day. In my old school, I imagine it went “Who can name pets” and some kids went “goldfish” “puppy” “budgie!” and that concluded the pet theme for the week.

Noah has a lot of things that he has to remember and of course he can’t remember all of it, because he is 6 and still little. Every day he has to remember his bag, a jacket, hat, umbrella (lately) and his homework book. His lunch, his juice box and a fruit. The kids all hand in a fruit at school, then they all share. It’s great! When he gets to class he needs to register, hand in his fruit, hand in his homework book and note his ‘mood of the day’ by putting his name peg next to the emoticon he’s feeling… like sad, happy, angry, sick etc. On certain days he also has to remember his swimming costume, plastic bag, cap, towel and spare clothes. Other days his soccer kit. Other days his library bag. On top of that, he also has to remember something or other that the homework book had notified us of, like a R10 for a fundraiser or raffle sheets or a cake sale or something.

By Noah I mean me. I have to remember this stuff. Me. And HE IS ONLY IN GRADE R. He doesn’t even have homework or tests or projects or real sports yet. He doesn’t even have subjects or school books. Or a pencil bag. Or a uniform! Then Ben will enter grade R next year and Noah will move on and who knows what will become of this family. You’d hope that the kids would help along, but the boys are getting to that ‘testing’ age. I have GOOD kids, but Noah can be stubborn like a donkey on a hot day. This one day, I’d packed him left over spaghetti for lunch. He is going through a phase where he does not want to eat spaghetti. In his defense, this has been going on for about two to three years but I can’t eliminate spaghetti from the family diet because it is cheap and quick to cook. He already won’t eat meat so the options you understand are quite limited. We argued all the way to school about the spaghetti and what I didn’t see was him taking his lunch box out of his bag and leaving it on the backseat. Off I go on my day of meetings, workshops and errands.

At 10:15 I got a call from the school. “You have not packed food for your child.” This is a school that I’ve been trying to impress for years with flowers, emails, begging, stalking, volunteering at sports days and borderline bribing to get my child in to the school at all. We moved house, moved Ben’s school, moved jobs and tried to impress these people for almost two years. “No, I’m very sure that I did pack him a lunch.” “No ma’am he says there’s no lunchbox in his bag. All the other children are eating right now and he doesn’t have any food.” It took me about 7 minutes to slap a sandwich together and drive it to his class, furious but also terrified that I was somehow in trouble. Heaven forbid the other moms hear of this, I thought. Bet the PTA has hidden cameras all over that place. I mean, how terrifying are the other moms? I’m sure they’re quite nice and kind, if you ever make eye contact with them. When I walk in and out, I imagine them thinking “There goes that mom that wears her gym kit every day and never goes to gym. Or showers.”

It’s taking a lot of adjusting. And I do feel pretty overwhelmed. I’m really enjoying Ben’s last year of ‘pretend’ school. Every now and then he brings art or a cupcake home and we’re like “how sweet” and that’s about all there is to it. This Friday Noah has to have a costume for dress-up, and I saw three more notices in his homework book that I haven’t the courage to look at right now. I’m so excited for him. He loves his school and he’s learning so much. He gets excited about every single brand new day and it makes it all so worth it!

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Why is everyone so happy?

I’m feeling so disheartened tonight, and I have been for a while. I so badly want to open my heart on my blog, but it’s tricky. There’s this invisible line in this whole blogging business that you might not know about. Talk, but don’t say too much. Be personal, but don’t air dirty laundry. I don’t know about you, but every person I’ve ever met has a bit of laundry that needs doing – you know? I’ve experimented with different writing styles and gone through my own emotional growth in my blogging years. I’ve experienced different kinds of reactions from all angles, both personally and by listening with open ears when others are talking… about each other.

Someone I know wrote a beautiful and heartfelt article on her struggle with depression. Weeks later, I felt nauseated when I overheard other bloggers referring to her as the ‘sad’ one with all the ‘problems’, clutching flutes of complimentary champagne while perched in a huddle, overdressed with made up faces as genuine as their personalities. Nothing annoys me as much as phoniness. Be real, show an abundance of character and authenticity, then you have my full attention and my respect. Intelligence, quick wit, knowledge and an education in both books and life are what will set you apart from those who are easily herded in to social corners and cliques.

I admire people who show their unique and creative spirit. People who disagree and argue. The non conformists and the trouble makers. The kind and fiery hearts with exciting stories to share about their lives and experiences, and not about other people and their misfortunes or personal struggles. I may have crossed a line here, and perhaps there’s a press release or event invitation that will skip my inbox next week, but I believe in authenticity… to a degree. Tricky, I realize. Let me explain.

I had a quick chat with Jane over on her blog this week, and I’ll share an extract. She asked if there was anything I’d want my readers to know about me, and I said:

I think that people assume that they genuinely know or understand people via following them on social media, but it pays to remember that I don’t share intimate details of my life involving my kids or husband, marriage, work or extended family. While you might see a cute picture of my son on Instagram, I may have lost a big client that day. Maybe G and I had an awful fight or maybe one of the kids is struggling at school and it’s breaking my heart. While I want to talk about all these things, I do value and respect the privacy of those around me. 

These are the boundaries that we all face in our lives. We sensor ourselves. We show the good and cheerful parts and try fit in and be likeable. Desirable, even. Maybe we don’t want people feeling sorry for us, or looking down on us. Maybe we don’t want to appear weak or fragile in this world of filters and selfies and perfectly styled breakfasts.

Last year my heart bled like a broken reservoir. Our little Benjamin was diagnosed with asthma. He’d had it for years and I didn’t know. I’m his mother, and I did not know that my sweetheart of a boy was struggling with something that I was not making better for him. He got in to a whole lot of trouble and in to a critical condition. We carried his little body to a hospital and sat at his bedside for four days watching people try fix him. If we’d waited an hour, things would have been different, they said. I thought he just had flu. I thought. he. had. flu. Specialists were coming in and out, syringes filled with blood and oxygen and nebulizers were being passed around and I sat next to him feeling like the worst human that ever existed. Like I didn’t deserve to be his mother. I wanted to tell everyone, I wanted to tell all our friends and I wanted to tell complete strangers because I wanted help. Advice. We needed support. Even now, it’s hard to talk about because the guilt pushes my tears forward every time I think about that week. How awful I felt. How scared we all were. I didn’t want to tell you because it was personal, and it was about Benjamin. So I wrote about houses and holidays and a bunch of other things and I pretended that I wasn’t terrified and desperately lonely in all my fears and feelings.

6 months later, Ben is so in control of his condition. After several tests, we’ve established that his asthma is allergy induced. Bunny Banana struggles to get his breathing straight when something (we don’t know what) in mother nature annoys his tiny boy chest. He’ll tell you all of this himself, like he’s telling a really good story. The asthma is something he’ll probably outgrow, and he’s completely the boss of it. He is not ashamed in the slightest. He pulls out his pump at play dates, in class and amongst friends like it’s just no big deal at all, because it isn’t. He is strong and proud and true to himself, so why was I so ashamed? My boy is perfect and he’s going through the business of growing up and with that comes all sorts of challenges, developments and obstacles. As he grows and changes, I’m learning and growing as a mother too.

We’re not all as happy as we might seem online (not even you) so why all the masks and faces. Are we seeking validation? Do we appear more desirable if we pose our lives in a sunny disposition? We’re sharing our good times and happy memories. Our journeys, travels and experiences. I get that, I understand that and heck you guys – I do it too! Let’s celebrate our lives and be grateful for all our blessings, I know – let’s do that.

But let’s also be real. I miss humanity. I miss the connection. Our poses and masks are leaking like bloodied ink from our smart phones in to our real lives. Like the idealism of our highlight reels are becoming our misguided realities. Sit around a dinner table and it’s like getting the commentated version of instagram. A podcast of your social media lives, printed and transcribed in to a dialogue for all to hear. “Look how happy I am” we say. “Look how great everything is” we try to convince each other, and ourselves while adding more filters and hashtags so that even more people can see how great everything is.

But is it?

I had an awful night tonight. I’ve cancelled two overseas trips this past year, and my social media feeds are covered in photos of international museums, concert tickets, the Eiffel tower and exotic beaches. A reminder that I haven’t quite got my shit together this year (again) and another nagging reminder that I’m sinking so deep in to the ‘suburban mom’ persona that I genuinely fear that I’ll never get out. Am I too selfless? Am I just unorganized? Why am I so busy all the time? Am I doing something wrong, is everyone else better at everything than I am? I haven’t gotten round to returning our library books, so how will I ever manage to sort my visa out.  Am I not making it a priority, or is it secretly not actually important to me at all. Is it an escape tactic? A rebellion against the school commute, play dates and soccer practice? It’s always like that, isn’t it. When you’re trying to lose weight, your social media feed is consumed by pictures of people who look like they haven’t eaten in three months. The best decor posts will always show up right after the dog ate half your couch. A perfectly styled picture of a nutritionally balanced salad will punch you in the chest as you’re digging in to (another) defrosted pizza base, reminding you just how awful you are at everything. How much more organized everyone else is and how much more money everyone has than you. Seriously though – where do you all get all your money from?

I sound bitter and ungrateful tonight, don’t I? I’m not. We’ve been blessed in more ways than I’d ever hoped. My life is riddled in privilege and happiness, I admit. We don’t want or need for anything, and yet lately I find myself feeling quite greedy about it. Like we need and want more, but we don’t. Not really we don’t. Yet, some days I feel like a wild spirit captured in a mediocre life. Some days I feel disappointed in how ordinary everything is. The routine of it all. I want to pack up this house and the boys and trek through Africa for a month, but then I remember that we have full time jobs, and those darn library books. Some days I really just want to shake things up. I also remember how incredibly blessed and happy we all are, just the way everything is right now.

Obviously I genuinely want all the good people on earth to be happy and healthy and for all your dreams to come true, hard work to pay off and for every success to be granted in your very and exact direction, I do. Maybe social media mirrors our own shortcomings back to us and hits us in the emotions in case you really were numb inside, and maybe that’s a good thing. Like a reminder of our own obstacles and shortcomings. A kick in the butt, if we’re being eloquent. Maybe social media is the new nagging housewife, except in pictures. And while the nagging housewife is annoying AF (ask Graeme) maybe we need it, and to keep track of everything we’d like to achieve. But then I question – is social media selling us a preconceived idealism of flashy cars, expensive restaurants, stylish clothes, perfect bodies and international trips that we don’t really desire? Is the augmented reality of other people’s lives encouraging and motivating our every success or making us feel disheartened and depressed? Depends what mood you’re in, I say. Some days I feel so inspired by everything around me and other days I want to unfollow every single person I’ve ever met. Because emotions. The thing is, it’s not jealousy. It’s a reminder. When I see someone who has lost 10kg I instantly feel happy for them, but then I feel super guilty because I skipped a run (or six) and ate that second bowl of pasta last night. You know? And sometimes I don’t want to feel that guilt. Sometimes I just want to eat my pasta and be happy with my muffin top without questioning my life on a Tuesday night.

Then I remember that we’ve got some great trips coming up, and we’re really trying to make our home look beautiful and cozy. And I wonder if there’s someone out there, looking at my or someone else’s social media feed, wondering if they’ve gone wrong and how they ended up alone on the couch on a Saturday night. And if that’s you, I want you to know that I feel like that sometimes too, and it really is awful. We’ve all got a different ‘ordinary’ and it’s up to us how we reflect these mirrors shining their light in our faces.

It’s okay to feel pretty sad about all of it sometimes. Sad about being tired, and not seeing your friends and family often enough, or eating junk and not living your best life.  Sad about not being on top of things all the time. And sometimes it’s good to talk about it, even if nobody is listening.

 

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Our lounge make over, part one!

We’re doing a bit of a lounge make-over at the moment. Winter is here and every day is getting colder and more miserable around here. While so many people seem to love this kind of weather, it really just makes me unhappy. I love the outdoors and sunshine! Now that we’re spending more time indoors, my restless spirit decided it was time to re-vamp the family room and refresh our living space. If we have to be inside, then at least let the room be as beautiful as can be!

Doing a living room make-over can be pretty affordable, and fun. Also, it’s pretty darn easy. All we did was buy 2 liters of paint an some brushes and masking tape (R200 – R300) and chose a colour that we both love. We chose the ‘main’ wall in the lounge and Graeme and Noah painted it a beautiful cement grey. I got a few new pieces of wall art from The Foschini Group‘s  @home online store. I’ve mentioned them a thousand times before, because they really have the most beautiful decor pieces. I’m on a first-name basis with the delivery guy at this point!

So this is what the lounge looked like before: Quite minimalist and monochrome. When we moved in to our new home, we sorta just hung things up and got all the rooms ‘good enough’ because we were waiting to hear on the boys’ school applications and so on. Now that they’re both rooted at our dream schools, it’s time to settle in and nest for keeps.

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When we’re done with the complete make-over, I’ll spend some time telling you guys where everything’s from and where to find similar pieces if you’re keen on creating a similar look! I’ve also taken some profesh photos which I’ll share with you once the project is completed. Last weekend, we got the basics done. We painted that main wall, then Noah and I started the prep for the artwork. We cut all the shapes out of newspaper so that Graeme and I can try figure out the layout on where everything’s gonna go. Creating a gallery wall is super tough you guys – one picture even slightly out of place and the whole thing looks weird. No pressure! This newspaper method is also great for marking where hooks are placed on the artwork, so you can just mark it, stick it all to the wall and drill in to the markers.

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Haha, in the picture above, G was still poly filling and Noah was super keen on a photo. He NEVER lets me take photos of him lately. He’s so proud to be doing stuff with dad. This is what the wall looks like now, after two coats of the Grey. For those who asked, this perfect shade of grey is called Plascon Cement Wash Y1-E2-2. It doesn’t give that weird blue or green tint that I’ve seen in a lot of greys. It’s very matte and gives a beautifully even finish. The reason we wanted the cement feel is to bring more earth tone in to our home. We’re all big-time nature kids, and the idea is to bring some of the outside, inside. So we’re going for lots of greenery, earth tones, botanicals, fynbos, baskets, weaved items, glass, mirrors and metallics. I want an earthy, tropical feel with warm tones. The white was just too much as we have a lot of light in our home, so everything starts to look at bit clinical, you know? This is what the wall looks like now

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And now, it’s time to put up all the art. Graeme and I have had little disagreements on where everything should go. Even Noah got involved in the bickering and has his own opinion on what should go where. We’re having a lot of fun with this and I love that the whole family is getting involved. Go and LOOK at some of the gorgeous wall art pieces that @home has at the moment, including their already framed protea, aloe, figs and artichoke prints. Once we’ve finished our little space I’ll show you which pieces we used, and how we incorporated it in to our existing space. Winter really is for nesting!

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Weylandts’ first ever TV ad – The Tastemakers

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I’m sure I’ve told you, but super talented Mr Husband works over at Weylandts. Over the past couple of weeks, they’ve been shooting a pretty incredible TV ad for their Tastemakers Campaign. The ad was shot at Chris Weylandts home (I KNOW, right?) over at Maison Estate. The model is the very gorgeous and apparently super nice Ana Kuni. I’ve taken a few stills from the ad to show you the vibe, because oh man… it’s just such a breathtakingly beautiful little story. The ad opens with “A weekend to ourselves” and shows a home video style series of the husband filming his wife being very every-day in their gorgeous (and tasteful) home.

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From eating left overs for breakfast (empty bottles of wine still all over the kitchen) and dancing in the living room with no shoes on, to running around the house in your cozzy, this feel-good ad will leave a nice little grin all over your face. It’s so gorgeous that within seconds you’ll want to be in that house, with all that furniture, decor and accessories – which I guess was the entire point. Watch the ad! And congrats to the entire Weylandts team. This is beautiful!

 

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Skinny laMinx launches new range of fabric and cushions

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I’m a huge fan of Skinny laMinx’s fabrics. I discovered Heather’s work about 4 years ago when we first moved to Cape Town and bought 2 of her cushions straight away for our new home. Note: Her cushions are also stocked at Vamp, where we bought ours. Over the last few years we’ve built up quite the cushion ‘collection’ from top SA textile designers like Heather, love Milo, Menagerie and Artvaark (our sweet bunny origami cushions) We also have a few from over the seas, like our bunny cushions from Urban Outfitters. Right now, we’re looking at getting a few pieces from India, which I’m really excited about. We’re also re-doing our lounge at the moment, which I feel is important for Winter. We’re spending much more family time indoors lately, so I *need* to freshen the room up a bit to help me deal with the winter gloom.

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We’ve just ordered a few cushions from Heather’s online store, as her new range ( search #DiggiDot ) launched last week Friday. All of Skinny laMinx’s work is timeless and gorgeous, in good quality. We made the mistake of buying cheap scatters before, and within 3 washes and 2 weeks the fabric fades, tears and thins out. I’ve learned that cheap is just never worth it. Screen printing is such a delicate and tender art, which I discovered when I did a whole lot of research on it last year. Heather presses water based inks onto a natural-toned cotton/linen blend basecloth.  Her designs are very creative, mature, original and colour-happy. I love that she’s incorporated some simple stripes in her new range, for the busier rooms like those with decorative bedspreads or overly colourful children’s rooms. Now, her entire range has fabrics to brighten up a space, add character or tone down a room with minimalist styles in simple colours with loads of white space – like nothing you’ve ever seen from Heather’s work before. The modernized polka dots with digital influence and pops of bright colour with charm the decorator out of anyone. When looking at previous ranges tied in with the new fabrics, you really get the feel that Heather’s kept older pieces in mind so that you can build on your current collection without having to redecorate or toss previous purchases. It all works together so nicely.

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I can’t wait to show you our new space! We have loads of work to do in the living room and I’m really excited about having a cozy, colourful and creative family space for these chilly days. I want to spend every afternoon at the fire with hot cocoa and lazy dogs sleeping at our feet while we watch movies and spend loads of time together. While it may be gloomy and grey outside, we’ll ensure that inside gets a ‘happy’ makeover this season. You can shop Skinny laMinx’s new range here > DiggiDot Range, Heather Moore, Skinny laMinx.

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A Cape Town Steakhouse

We recently went for supper at The Butcher Shop and Grill in Mouille Point, Cape Town’s favourite Steakhouse. Their Sandton branch has been going for over 20 years, and they only opened in Cape Town about a year ago and already the place is packed almost every night – even Mondays. Desperate to satisfy Graeme’s steak cravings, we decided to try somewhere new and to see if The Butcher Shop is even family friendly at all. We put some smart shirts on the boys and drove to the seaside to see what all the fuss is about.

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Firstly, The Butcher Shop is super fancy. The decor, the plush finishes and modern twists on everything makes your eyes wander in every direction. I was suddenly worried that the boys and their child-like ways might not be welcome in such a sophisticated atmosphere, but I was so wrong. Everyone was really friendly, and there were one or two other kids in the restaurant too. Without a designated play area, we were a bit nervous about how the boys would behave, but you know – without a play area, they spent all their time at the grown up table and we had such a good time connecting with them. They sat at the table and chatted with us like little mini adults the whole time, and we really enjoyed that! It’s not often these days that we can all sit together and catch up without the television, toys, games, computer, dogs and a dozen other household distractions. It was also really nice to treat them to some proper and delicious food and great service. They were such little gentlemen the whole evening. While I want the kids to run and play and be free and joyful and a little crazy most of the time, it was really sweet to see them ‘clean up’ like that and realize that they can have fun without colouring-in pages and running up and down the aisles of a restaurant with a balloon the whole night. It was so special to watch them be such good (and civilized) little boys.

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The food. Was. Delicious. Graeme and I tucked in to the wine, and the appetizers (sausage, gravy and bread) arrived almost as we sat down. That kept the boys busy, cause kids love bread and dippy sauce, am I right? I ordered a few Oysters and Graeme had the Grilled Baby Calamari (with a lemon butter sauce). Their Oysters are locally sourced, ocean-fresh and plump. Every lemony, salty bite was just incredible. I’m a huge fan of oysters, and there’s nothing worse than overly creamy, cultivated ones. If you’re in to this delicacy, you’ll love theirs. Graeme said that the calamari was delicious but very, well – safe. Then again, so is Graeme. He always orders the same things, so when it came to mains – he chatted to the Master Butcher to make a recommendation. I have watched Graeme order the same meals at restaurants over and over again with a bleeding heart for 8 years, so it was great to have the in-house butchery right there to encourage his adventurous ordering side, you know?

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For mains, Noah ordered the Falafel Burger (vegetarian burger topped with a portabello mushroom, fresh tomato and tangy rocket), and Ben had the Shepard’s Pie (lamb mince with creamy mash). They do have a designated kids menu, but you can also split portions between kids, order from the starters or keep those left overs for the lunch box. The boys loved their food and it was good to see them eating something other than Mac n Cheese / Pizza / Fish Fingers at a restaurant. I can’t get over how much fun it was to watch them be mini grown ups. I want to take them FINE DINING now. Get them ties! Okay, no we won’t do ties. I mean, they even tucked their napkins in to their shirts. My heart!

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Graeme had the Kobe-style Wagyu Beef without any sauce. He wanted to keep it all natural and beefy. He said that the meat was really marbled inside (I don’t know what this means) and that it was super juicy and tender. And, like everyone else says > it really was the best he’s ever had. The Butcher Shop is obviously very famous for their meat. This from their site > Our meat hangs in carcass for three days. Then our rump, sirloin, fillet, ribeye, T-bone and prime rib are aged for 21-40 days, at which point we invite you to take a walk, stand at the counter and make your choice of a specific cut. Get it on or off the bone; grass or grain-fed. Also, did you know that SA beef is leaner in natural fat (11%) than beef from the USA (33%) and Europe (23%)

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I had the Line Fish, which was Dorado. I also opted to have it ‘clean’ with a horseradish sauce which I feel accentuates flavours rather than messing with the product. Graeme warned me about ordering fish at a steakhouse, but their seafood selection is extensive. I always want my fish to flake and break at the touch, and I got exactly that: Fresh, buttery and steamy Dorado was exactly what I wanted. Nothing was plated in a super fancy way and the presentation wasn’t exaggerated. You get what you order, in big portions with great quality and solid flavour. Traditional, uncomplicated and honest dishes have sent The Butcher Shop Group soaring for over 20 years. Their emphasis is on quality and service, and you’ll go back over and over again for more.

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Keen to go? Find them on Beach Road in Mouille Point (opposite the lighthouse) and call them on +2721 434 0813 to make a booking. You can also mail them to book: enquiries@thebutchershop.co.za. Want to see what you’re in for? View their menu here. Note that they are family friendly, and if you’re looking for an upmarket dining experience, you’ll find it here.

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Summer Bodies are made in Winter, right?

This time last year, I was prepping for my first ever half marathon. I took part in a challenge to go from “Couch to 21km in 8 Weeks” with no previous running fitness or experience. In hindsight, it wasn’t the best move on my part. I jumped in too quickly and went too far, too fast. I ended up with injuries including blisters, stress fractures, shin splints and it took months for my quads to feel back to their quad-like selves. I was super proud of myself, and signed up for more races straight away but every time I ran I was in pain. I did a few short runs but most days couldn’t clock 2km. Running is something I LOVE doing, but I switched to fitness classes to strengthen my body and to keep moving without my running shoes. At gym and I do Shape classes every week, which is 30 mins hard core cardio and 30 minutes toning – squats, lunges, sit ups, planking, all of it. I don’t know the names of the things we do but I know that you can’t walk for 6 days after, and it feels great. Toning and strengthening my core has made such a difference in everything that I do. A few weeks ago, I went for a run again in the Overberg and for the fist time in almost a year, it didn’t hurt. I’ve slowly been adding more runs to my routine, mostly on the treadmill just to keep the muscles warm and active. One of my favourite things to do is run my little heart out to super loud music and watch the swimmers.

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Now that I feel stronger and fresh again, I really want to up my game. Last year I wrote about my sudden and epic weight gain, where I gained like 7-10 kgs in a matter of weeks. Call it the 30s, call it pasta (probably the pasta though) but I ate my way through my entire wardrobe. The 21km was the perfect challenge for me to adjust my life, get fit and healthy – and it worked. I’ve been keeping active since then, and I feel good. Winter can be pretty crummy in Cape Town cause it rains a lot, so I hang out at gym  more often. Also – our gym has a huuuuge indoor play area for kids with basketball court, so the kids LOVE going and getting a little workout too. I take the dogs for a walk every single day, sometimes twice a day. We have 4 great parks in our area, so I take my running watch with me and do a few laps with Jack and Daisy. They really love it when I run, and while I’m breaking a sweat they literally look like they’re not even trying. Mocking me with their finesse and endurance, those darn dogs.

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So while I’m slowly upping my fitness, I’m also trying to lose those last few kgs. While I fit in to all my clothes again, I still feel like I should be wearing LONG shirts and HIGH waisted pants (what muffin top) to cover any and all wobbly bits, you know? What I wouldn’t give for skinny, toned arms you guys. I’m not doing enough in my diet, and I have the appetite of a teenage boy. I never used to care for things like cake, but since becoming a vegetarian, I’m craving more carbs and sugars. I’m trying to find the balance with the protein and iron to nourish my body appropriately without it craving or needing anything unnecessary. I love healthy food and I do eat well, it’s just the little extras that are weighing me down (or up, am I right?). I’ve switched to soup because it’s easy for me to add proteins like dollops of cottage cheese, kidney beans, spinach and chickpeas and it’s working! I like soup because preservatives and added ‘secret’ ingredients freak me out, and soup is just vegetables and water which makes me feel super clean and healthy and like the food is pure. I’ve cut out carbs completely, which isn’t a great move because two hours later all I want is chocolate cake. I just need to start creating a better balance. Or I just need to stop ordering cake but let’s not be ridiculous you guys. I mean.

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So I want to lose 5kgs. I’m not a banting kinda gal (because gross) and I 100% believe in balance and moderation. I would never DENY myself anything. If I have cake, I know I need to run that little bit extra the next day or I add another walk in to our routine. I don’t drink enough water, and I need to add even more activity to my schedule. Resistance training and running makes you younger, stronger, healthier and reduces your risk of disease and osteoporosis quite drastically. Not eating meat is helping with cholesterol and cancer risks, but I want to do even MORE to live a healthy life. One of my besties has joined my gym so we’re doing Pilates which I feel quite weird about cause I’d rather be RUNNING, but I really need to get to my core and balance, and get in tune with what my body is capable of. So I need to stop eating the added crap, and I NEED you guys to support me. I’m going to be posting all my meals on Instagram (@therabbithaus) again. I call it #tashbunnydiet if you want to find it or follow along. My goal is to lose 5kg by Friday 26 June and the real challenge will be to maintain it throughout winter. By reducing my body fat percentage, I hope to be lighter, healthier, fitter, faster and more confident. Feeling self conscious isn’t sexy, you guys. So here’s to more running, less cake, a tiny bit less wine, more water and more balance. This blog post is all about being held accountable, so please will somebody count on me. Do you have any health goals this winter? Let’s run them out together. Lace up!

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