Weylandts is going against the grain.

I have a major crush on Weylandts, and I’m sure that you do too, so I quickly wanted to show you their new range. Weylandts has just launched its new, edgy black and white outdoor furniture collection, now available in all stores. This is the first time that they’ve ever released such a bold themed collection with patterns on-trend and paralleled to the Fall/Winter 2015 collections of fashion icons Balenciaga and Valentino. “This year’s patterns are bigger and bolder than ever, unlike the monochromatic minimalism seen in the past.” comments Chris Weylandt, MD of Weylandts. If you know their furniture, you’d agree and see why this is pretty big news in the home decor circles.

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Seventies Occasional Chair

Tribal Occasional Chair

Star GazerBasket Occasional ChairWhile everyone’s shuffling and scuffling to claim the ‘minimalist’ look (including me), Weylandts is following the “more is more” rather than “less is more” trend. While I’m not a huge fan of tribal prints, I do love these large gingham checks. Look out for the Rock Lounger (R 14 995), Seventies Occasional Chair (R 2 995), Basket Occasional Chair (R 8 995), Tribal Occasional Chair (R 7 995) and the Star Gazer Chair (R 11 995) Also if any of you are getting these pieces, then please buy me something. No really. Browse, window shop, wish list and purchase all your furniture dreams on their site. I do this at least weekly. Good for the soul, keeps you motivated!

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Interviews with my father. A podcast.

In one of my recent posts I chatted a bit about our crazy family holidays. And I got to thinking about my parents a lot, and the amazing lives they’ve lived. I got the idea of doing a podcast (starting with my dad) to interview him about his life a bit. I’ve been nagging him to write a memoir for years, but my dad… He’s not great with technology, so he wouldn’t be able to type it all out. He’s got this book where he jots memories down but he doesn’t know how to get going with all of it. I figured we could start with little interviews and see where that goes.

My dad has had the most incredible life, and it really just needs to be documented. My dad is also just the nicest guy you’ve ever met in your life. He’s just so real, and different and authentic. He’s such an old soul, and we are really close. I also want my boys to know more about their grandfather, as my dad lives in Empangeni we don’t get to spend a lot of time together. I started with a little clip this morning, and I’m researching how the heck you even create a podcast – what do you use to record it? Do I have to do any post production sound engineering? How do I do that? I also need to get hold of some old pictures and things, and I’m putting together a timeline of my dad’s life to date to get a feel of chapters and how to break it all down. Can I do it all by recording our voice conversations? What about the quality? Loud speaker audio is so miff. So I got myself a little side project to work on, and I’m super excited about it. I’m eager to learn even more about my dad and both my parents’ lives – and uncover some family tree information as well.

This morning I just wanted to do a sound test, to see how the audio would work. Man I’m so bad at this – I just took a video clip of me on the phone to him – in photo booth. Sigh. My dad said we can do the recordings at night and over weekends so he can concentrate. I’m gonna do the first one tonight, and get those kids to bed super early so we can figure it all out.

I am EXCITED you guys. If anyone has any advice on the best way to go about creating a podcast, right down to how to record it, please let me know. I woke up at 4am with this whole idea and called my dad pretty early to discuss all of this, and his phone went straight to voicemail. It’s going REALLY well you guys.

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Family travel memories – mine and yours!

When I was a kid, our family had our favourite holiday spots. We traveled a LOT as kids. My parents were / are huge outdoorsy adventurers. We went on holiday to so many places that I can’t even remember them all. We went camping throughout Mozambique for 3 weeks and saw the most incredible, untouched things. We drove for days, discovered new paths, dodged land mines, had near drowning incidents (raises hand) and honestly, had the greatest experience of my life. My parents did Botswana and the Okavango by Landrover, sleeping in their roof-rack tent. My parents used to own a bush camp / lodge / game reserve in Hluhluwe and I’d help my dad ‘hunt’ poachers and find snares on weekends. I have had some of the most unreal, African experiences of my life – mostly fuelled by my dad’s love and hunger for the bush.

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We stayed in manor houses and rode horses and canoed and got trapped by baboon spiders (raises hand again) Honestly, I can’t even remember where all these places were, but I remember the fun. The togetherness. The thrill of discovering new places, towns, houses, camps, oceans, rivers and mountains together, as a family. We roughed it sometimes. We stayed in 5 star hotels sometimes. Man, we really did everything. I am so grateful to my parents for giving us such an exciting and memorable childhood.

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Anyway. The one place we went to a couple of times was this resort called San Lameer. I’d love to go back there some day. I don’t even know where it is or if it still exists, but I have the very best memories there. I remember that place like it was right now. We must have gone there dozens of times, and it was packed with fun. I remember neon sunblock and holiday programs, a giant lizard, endless open space, villas with secret path ways in between. Swimming and sunburn and sand stuck in your cozzy. And that is what Grootbos is to my kids – and to us. Grootbos has become our family holiday spot, and we’ve gone once a year for the past 3 years now. It’s something that they will always, always remember.

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You know, before we left last for the last trip, I told Noah “We’re going to Grootbos” he didn’t remember the name, but I said “The place with the horses and the game room and pool” and his face lit up like a starry African sky. He drew a picture of a horse and said “This is Sparkles. I’m taking this picture for him.” I had no idea who Sparkles was, but eventually discovered that it was the pony he rode on the last time we were there. He remembered some of the staff, he remembered our room and every single little thing that we did. The boys were both DILLY excited about the trip. We’ve been there three times and we still haven’t done everything.

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You get a list of possible activities to do when you arrive, and over a cocktail the family sits together in the lounge and decide together what everyone would like to do. A must this year was their eco-farm where they grow all their own veggies and where their FREE range hens live and play all day. The nature safari was breathtaking and the guide was beyond what ee’d expected. I was on the phone to my dad every ten minutes telling him about the sugar birds and that they have over 750 species of fynbos and he fed me questions to ask the guide and it was just so incredible. The boys learned so much about nature. They were permanently outdoors. On horseback, in a jeep, on the beach, at a farm, in the nursery, in the fynbos, petting zoo or up a tree. The Grootbos magic is real, and I’ll be telling you more about it on their blog real soon. In the meantime: here are some of my favourite pictures from our last stay. As the boys get older, I’m getting quite emotional about all the memories they’re clutching on to. I can see it all being saved and stored, and I know that these experiences will feed and guide them throughout their lives. Being an earth-conscious child is something that I’ve always wanted for them. Read more about Grootbos’ responsible tourism initiatives. They’re situated just a 2 hour drive from Cape Town and just 30 minutes from Hermanus. View their rates and packages and take the family to experience it for yourself!

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A note on blogging from a blogger

Hello daar, blog. Flipping flip I haven’t been writing for a while, have I? Guys have you noticed how many blogs there are lately? There are one or two that I read, but those of you from back in the day (7 or 8 years ago) might remember a completely different and more isolated internet life. Back when some of the greatest and most important blogs were around and everyone really gave AF about what they said and thought about the world. Nowadays – not as much. It’s all gone a bit commercial and kak, hasn’t it? In it for the ‘opportunities’ these young guns. The stats, the awards (remember those) the freebies and I don’t know what else. I saw a blogger meet up thing the other day and flip you guys that was what Nicki, Angie and I started up about… six years ago? Five? Back when I was at a PR agency in Joburg. A LONG time ago. Remember when Nicki blogged? I miss her writing so much. So many really good writers have censored or packed it in completely because it’s just too much. And you guys, some bloggers these days can be hard-core-mean to each other, and super serious. It’s changed. I have noted that the real writers, the artists, the sentimental and passionate… are still here. The ones who built their house on the rock, you know?

Do you still read blogs? With all these apps and services and devices, it’s pretty easy to stay in the loop these days. I’m so guilty of not updating and it bugs me because this is where I keep all our memories. I made a bit of a U-turn a few months ago, or was it last year – when was it? and decided to stop and say NEE to the sponsorships and cash monies and things because it blurred a lot of what I wanted to do with my online space. Blogging is not a business, or well it’s not my paycheck. I have a business that I put all my energy, love and excitement in to every day and it’s just so rewarding. Some of you may know that I run a little social media agency in Cape Town. With blogging: I find that when you start getting paid to do something you love (in terms of hobbies) then even that starts to become a bit of a chore. A deadline. A responsibility. It’s no fun, I say. And I’m not a salesman you guys. That’s not what I wanna write about. And I’ve been doing SO MUCH writing lately, just not online or published because some things are private. Here is a picture of me looking private. Look how private I am.

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I’ve become very… personal about a lot of things, and I think it’s great. I’m quite an introvert IRL, and a bit of a recluse. I was telling Graeme how I struggle to make small talk or make friends because the friends I do have, I’ve had my whole adult life (and most through childhood and teen years too) So meeting new people and telling them about me sounds just… exhausting. I am a complex person. My besties know everything about me, and there’s great comfort there. I don’t trust many people because there are just so many jerks out there, you know? I like to stay warm by the fire of my close friends, family, children and dogs. We went to a kids party yesterday, and I spoke to a group of moms for a few minutes and as G and I walked away, I was like “OMG was I okay? Did I say anything weird? Do you think they’ll think I’m okay? Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned this or that, or like spoken a word at all. Was I weird?” Cause the thing is that I AM weird and I’m afraid of opening my mouth around people for most of the time. Also, G is so used to my quirks / probable personality disorders that he is completely useless at giving feedback. He’s like “you were just yourself” and I’m like “NOOOoooooo that’s awful!!” I’ve really been struggling with school moms. The ‘other’ moms I call them. I mean they all seem nice, but I am so skittish all the time. Is there an app for people skills?

I have these friends that I’ve met over the years who I know don’t know me at all. You’ve got them too. Friends you keep at the very tip of your fingers and who you ‘friendship’ with every day, but they don’t know a darn thing about the human you are deep inside. In the corners and shadows and behind trap doors. You don’t ‘show and tell’ those parts because heck, the therapist you hired and paid couldn’t open that kak with a crowbar.

So sometimes it really is easier to go online and talk to complete strangers than it is to whatsapp your mother and get IRL feedback. Sometimes it is nice to talk to absolutely nobody about absolutely everything and to remind y’all that this is real life people.

My friend Stacey (real-deal writer) has described my writing style as confessional. She picked it up off the bat because hers is too, and I’ve always suspected that Stacey and I are similar. I love friends like Stacey because she’s felt extreme and utter heartache. Not a standard requisite for a tick-box, but I feel comfortable around people with broken hearts. People who have suffered are real. Humble. Intelligent. Wise. Wordly. Experienced. Haunted. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable around people who live ordinary or sheltered lives. Easy lives. Does that sound bad? Look how insecure I am all over my blog today. I wonder if you’re able to feel without your heart broken in half, like it needs to be exposed and vulnerable to heighten your awareness and absorb more life.

I’m more drawn to honesty and bleeding emotion. I want to read and write and feel. I want to save my own memories for a rainy day. I want to remember everything about this life and I want people who love me to remember all about me too. I’ve been following this tandem blogging experiment over on Cath’s blog (thanks for the invite, bitches) and I’m really enjoying it. They get a ‘line’ every week and a whole bunch of them have to write a blog post on it. It’s very cool! I also read my friend Keri‘s blog because her writing is lekker and she likes to leap out of her comfort zone, which I really respect about people. Some research (a tweet I sent out once) has shown that we follow blogs because we’re drawn to the writer’s personality and feel connected to them. I get that, because even if my favourite bloggers are writing about computer games, I’m all in cause I like to read their words and find out what they’ve been up to, like a creepster.

So I guess what I’m TRYING to say, is that it’s pretty hard to stay authentic in this new world and wave of bloggers who might be in it for different reasons – reasons that weren’t even around when some of us started out, and that’s okay. We have our own motives, and who’s to say who is right anyway, just cause someone isn’t doing something the same way – doesn’t mean they’re wrong or right and who cares… let people do what they wanna do, right? I haven’t been feeling very creative. As I write this, it’s Sunday morning and the kids are being hella loud, running up and down the passage and outside (up to no good I’ll bet) so it’s hard to stay focused. I know I sound like a whiny mother. I am a whiny mother. I’ll write more soon, little rabbit haus memoir. I swear it!

 

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Stylish Metallics from TFG online: @home and hi-online

I recently joined ranks with TFG online – @home to select my favourite winter decor trend. We’ve been putting a lot of love and light in to our home lately. Graeme is an art director by profession and styles decor shoots and designs products for an actual living. He’s always fiddling around the house, moving things around and art directing our home. I love clutter and colour and a touch of messiness. A home needs to look cozy and lived in. It also needs to be BRIGHT and happy. It’s hard (for me) to create a welcome and messy space that is also modern and child friendly. I’ve learned so much with the boys over the years. Our couches (and any couches hereafter) will always be grey or dark brown with slip-off-and-wash cushion covers. Anything white is only at arm’s reach and not climbable. Our walls get wiped down once a week and our ornaments need to be indestructible. Like, two days ago the dogs had a tussle under the dining room table and knocked a vase and some aloes over. Next to all the couches and beds are streaks of dirt from after-school kiddie feet and sleepy dogs. Over the years I’ve become a professional kiddie-proofer while trying to keep a tasteful living space. NOT easy, friends. Being a mom-on-a-budget, it’s also super hard to find pretty decor things that won’t drain my bank balance. I’m a ‘shop from low to high’ kinda gal. Anyway, we’ve collected some pretty things over the years that have lasted.We already have loads of @home decor bits and bobs around the house to give it that little kick. The boys room is looking really sweet lately, and one day I’ll get around to taking some pictures (when I have the will and strength to actually clean their room haha) How sweet is this wall hook that I got from them a while back?

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It’s probably not very ‘blogger’ of me to tell you that I’m not a fan of decor (or any other) trends. I like to do my own thing, and if what we have happens to on trend, then great – but I can’t go re-decorating our home every season, you know? I mean, I caved and did the bunting and chevron cushions way back when, and after like 2 weeks I wanted to burn. my. house. down. Your home is your personal, intimate space where you spend your time together as a family. I love that @home is showcasing trends that will last every season. While they’re hot buys RIGHT NOW, they’ll be hot items for many years and memories to come. So, this is how they’ve incorporated all the must haves in to their every-day offering. And WHOO-HOO!, these are my picks! Warning: You’re gonna want ALL the things!

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I chose stylish metallics! And this is the little bit that I wrote for them about why I love erm, metal:  I love metallics for the sleek, luminous finish that it adds to any room. Inject your home with a bit of glitz with a rustic undertone. I especially love copper and brass, and find it interesting that raw metals from older times have been modernized with on trend designs. Adding a bit of raw metal with other earthly tones, lots of white space and greenery creates a stylish and minimalist look that we’ve incorporated in to our own living space.

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180167521801680818017216To create an easy living space: Do the same as you do for your wardrobe: Start with neutral colours. Neutral walls, couches, curtains, blinds, carpets. Nothing too busy or fancy or colourful. Then add your textures and colours with accessories: Scatter cushions, throws, occasional chairs or an interesting coffee table. Add indoor plants for some ‘earth’ and some metals for contrast and tone. We have lots of glass and I always have fresh flowers on the table. I’m really loving the new decor that’s emerging lately and you guys, I am SO GLAD that we’re over chevrons. I really am. You can shop my selection here > http://goo.gl/aLDOIJ

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And if you’re looking for ideas or if you’re not a fan of metallics, then check out the two other classic looks that you can create with @home! Remember, you can shop online and they deliver within like 2-3 days or express if you’re an impatient brat like me. All trends are from TFG Online, where customers can shop both @home and hi-online trend items. I want ALL the Minimalist Grey things too. Apologies to my credit card, things are about to get real. Happy shopping, friends!

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Please note, as a ‘thank you’ from TFG for helping them select a few trend items, they gifted me a little voucher which I used to buy a few accessories, including this Rose Gold Basket (R89.00) and this Housey Wall Hook (R119.00) Really nice of them, thanks guys!

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Matjiesfontein and the Lord Milner Hotel – Karoo

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I was recently invited by the Mc Grath group to spend an evening in Matjiesfontein, at the Lord Milner Hotel. I LOVE the Karoo, so I was super excited to explore this little village, rich in history and heritage. Firstly, I thought that Matjiesfontein was a town, then they said it was a village and when we got there, I realized it was really only one little strip of road. Matjiesfontein is TINY, friends. I was so charmed by this little community – population 320. There is one hotel, one motel, a bar, a coffee shop and well, that’s pretty much it. Some of the original buildings like the post office and the little bank had been converted to museums some time ago. The entire village is a national monument. Why?

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This tiny village, on the fringe of the Great Karoo, was founded in 1884 by legendary railway man, James Douglas Logan. Immerse yourself in living history; life here is a tribute to the early Karoo, the Anglo-Boer War and Queen Victoria’s England. Wikipedia says: Originally, Matjiesfontein was only a small depot and farm, however a Scotsman by the name of James Douglas Logan, who was superintendent of this stretch of railway, bought land at Matjiesfontein, moved there because of his weak chest, and opened a refreshment station for the passing trains. This was so successful that the business soon formed the nucleus of a growing village. Logan was unintentionally very influential in South African history as he had secured the catering contract for the railways through his friend in parliament, James Sivewright, and discovery of the corruption involved led to the fall of the first government of Prime Minister Cecil Rhodes in 1893

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The double-storey Milner Hotel was built in 1899 by James Logan, in the early stages of The South African War. The hotel was used as a military hospital during the conflict with British forces and the hotel turret was then used as a lookout post. Some 10 000 troops were camped around the village during this time. James Logan, founder of Matjiesfontein, died in 1920 and is buried in a little cemetery 10 kilometres from Matjiesfontein. His tomb is located next to the grave of George Lohmann, a famous English cricketer who spent the last years of his life in the Karoo.

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In 1968, David Rawdon, hotelier par excellence whose claim to fame includes establishing Rawdons Hotel at Nottingham Road, the well-known Lanzerac Hotel set in the Stellenbosch vineyards, the Marine Hotel Hermanus, and The Drostdy Hotel in Graaff-Reinet, purchased Matjiesfontein Village. After performing extensive renovations and utilising the wealth of antiques gathered during his world travels, David reopened the hotel in 1970, renaming it The Lord Milner Hotel.

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The extravagant Royal Lounge portrays the life of James Logan and other famous Victorian personalities who occupied or visited the village over the last century. The grandeur of Matjiesfontein stretches back to a heyday when the village was a fashionable health spa that attracted visitors from all over the world, including Lord Randolph Churchill (father of Winston), Cecil John Rhodes, Rudyard Kipling and of course, Olive Schreiner.

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And you know what? You will completely understand why so many literary greats and artists were so attracted to this village, and why you will be too. It’s a popular wedding venue (because you can literally hire the entire town) and I’m definitely going back with the kids. They will LOVE the transport museum, old courthouse, the lush gardens, pools, open space, fresh air and the museum. We did a night tour of it, and I was scared near to death. Not to mention all the ghost stories. Do yourself a favour and google “most haunted building in South Africa.” Yeah, they only told me that part on the bus. I was legit terrified you guys.

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Please visit this quaint little community. You will absolutely love it. Be sure to take the old London bus tour for the shortest tour in the history of mankind, and a completely hilarious experience. Johan Dippenaar (hotel manager, fire chief, police captain, museum curator and I forget what else) is an incredible host and you simply must spend some time with him and hear all the insanely cool stories. You feel special just being there, and you’ll never forget it.

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Clinton Friedman Botanics

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I haven’t done a decor post in a while, and heaven knows that we’ve been so busy with the house lately. New floors, washing lines, gardening, replacing skirting boards, putting up blinds, fixing the front wall. We’ve had contractors here for two weeks trying to get it all done, and as soon as one thing is sorted, another pops up. You know how it goes! I’ve mentioned that my dapper husband works at Weylandts and spends his days at super cool decor shoots, show rooms etc so he’s been pulling some weight on the decor front. As you might know, I LOVE plants and nature and earthy things. Forests, lakes, oceans, hikes, walks, cycling – take me outside and I’m a happy gal. So when I saw these Clinton Friedman creations, my heart did a double punch. How gorgeous? I’m not very good at keeping up with Pinterest, so I like to save all the little things I find here, in my little online journal. I saw these for sale on Esque (one of our suppliers) and dug a bit deeper. Clinton Friedman does wallpaper, prints, umbrellas, cushions and fabric. This is his website if you’re in to this sort of stuff. I finally figured out what to do with a drab gap piece of wall in our lounge. Helloooo wallpaper! PS This is not a sponsored post. PSS Expect a lot more of these as I find new and fresh local designers!  We’re doing a bit of a decor overhaul right now, just because I spend so much time at home and we see so many clients at our home office and boardroom (Also, the children have grown up a bit and have stopped throwing up on everything as much)

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Confessions of the worst vegetarian ever.

Sho. What. A. Week. This week was, horrid. I was on so much medication, and the boys were on school holidays, and work doesn’t stop. How I functioned through all of it is a modern miracle mystery. Or something. The past month or so I’ve been getting really sick. And I honestly hardly ever get sick. I run, I gym, I eat (mostly) super healthy – I love fruits and salad and bran and grains and crunchy leafy green things. You’d have a hard time getting me to eat any junk – to be honest. If I feel like something yuck (YUM) then I’ll make some sweet potato chips with loads of mayo or something. I’m super proud and careful about what I eat most days. So let’s take an unbalanced, unhealthy diet off the table right here.

About 2 months ago, I cut meat out of my diet but still ate fish. I felt better than ever – really. Skin cleared up a lot, I felt lighter, healthier, lost weight and just all-round great. Then I (quite accidentally, really) stopped eating fish or seafood for another month. I just hadn’t gone out of my way to put tuna in anything and we hadn’t been for sushi. Our local grocer’s fish is hella expensive, so I was like “I’ll get when I do the big shop” and that just never happened. Maybe I’m supposed to be telling you what a good person I am cause I didn’t eat meat but honestly it just happened. And at the same time all this other stuff happened.

I got a bad tummy bug. I got flu. I got mild tonsillitis. I got an ear infection. My eardrum burst. All of this in like a 6 week period I think. I usually get sick once a year or so, like most of us. After the third night of being up ’til 3am with a hot water bottle on your ear, you kinda lay awake and start trying to figure out WTAF is wrong with you. I started getting sick when I cut out the healthy fats and proteins found in fish. I think. I’m pretty sure.

Then I thought “nah…” because Noah has been vegetarian for 3 years and that kid NEVER gets sick. In his whole entire life I remember him being sick once, when he was about 2. He is a healthy, brainy, happy and super active child. So… wtf. I spoke to my brother cause he was vegan I think for 5 years and now vegetarian for 4 years and he used to get sick too. He had to go for injections and all sorts of things but he got really sick. Then I spoke to my friend Kate who was vegan, then vegetarian since 2009 and she didn’t go through this. So what gives.

So after laying in the doctor’s room for several hours (hellooooo sick bed) after another injection (this time for a reaction against penicillin or the cortisone or something) and after throwing up for 6 hours straight, I had a tuna sandwich. And it felt good. And I felt stronger. Sorry I know I’m supposed to be all YOU DON’T NEED MEAT and SAVE THE OCEANS, but I felt a bit of strength come back. Two nights after that, I cooked some boerie rolls. I was all ‘blue steel’ frying those onions and sausage like a malnourished starving animal. I wasn’t craving meat-meat, but I was trying to find a solution. The spinach for my pop-eye, if you must. I got in bed with my boerie (haha) and settled in to some series. It wasn’t until there were 3 bites left that it happened: the taste. It tasted like meat. Like flesh. Dead, rotting, bloody flesh. And come now guys, I had eaten meat since I was like 6 months old – THIRTY YEARS I kicked back the burgers, mince, chops, lamb – loved it. But I swear to God, it was the most disgusting, foul taste.. like I was eating something dead. And I frantically tried to tell Graeme and my mom and they were like “yeah but technically that is what you ate” and I was just like… “No but you don’t understand, when you stopped eating it, it tastes SO DIFFERENT.” It does. When you grow up with meat, it’s just a thing – a thing your mom dishes up with mashed potatoes and green beans and rice and you eat it and you love it, because you know it and it’s awesome.

Having not eaten red meat for two months – it really adjusts your palette. Like.. re-sets everything. I wasn’t disgusted on an emotional or ethical level, I was mid-way through my favourite show and not even thinking about it. I just needed that gross taste out of my mouth as soon as possible. I got in my car and drove to the garage and bought like a handful of ghost pops and juice and chocolates (sooo much better, right?) and anything I thought would get the taste away. The taste, it’s like… iron, metal. Like when you cut your finger as a kid and you lick at it (we all have) (yes even you) and you taste blood and you’re like “gross how do vampires do this….” That is what meat tastes like after you stop eating it. And meat is meat whether it’s dog or human or cow or baby sheep – it all tastes the effing same to me now. My point is – you’d probably go through the same thing.

Anyway, I’m like the worst vegetarian / pescetarian ever. The other weekend I accidentally ate chicken samoosas at Noah’s sports day. Graeme had a packet of them and I was like “yeah gimme some” and like two days later I was like “oh wait…” and felt like I had to do the vegetarian equivalent of Hail Marys but I didn’t know what that was. And it’s hectic, man. Vegans and vegetarians can be soooo hectic. A friend of mine is vegetarian and she was like “yeah I eat fish sometimes but don’t tell people” and my brother felt some flack when he went from vegan to vegetarian for health reasons. And then the vegans are like “Oh, the bad and unhealthy vegetarians are putting the good ones to shame” but it’s not like that. Some people really get sick, you guys. I opened the convo on twitter, and dozens of people said they had to go back on to animal proteins or dairy or something. Another friend of mine got sick on a vegan diet, then switched to vegetarianism. People don’t want the animals to suffer, and people are trying but it’s hard in the beginning. Maybe it’s easier for some (and I applaud you) but changing your diet and life-long habits in any way is hard. I felt so much better when Kate told me that it literally takes years to fully adjust. And now I don’t feel so bad about my failings and accidents and sickness and wanting to self-harm over eating 3/4 of a boerie roll.

I don’t know why I got sick, or why some do and some don’t. It might be a detoxing process – maybe Noah’s system was young and strong enough to adapt. Maybe some people have better immune systems, and there’s research on different blood types needing different nutrients. I’m not going back to red meat, because it tasted like something that had maggots in it (for real) but I will still eat fish now and then. I think I need to. And maybe I’ll wean myself off of that eventually. Maybe I’m not as hard core as I thought I was, and getting ‘that’ sick really humbled me. Something about sitting on your bed at 1am with a toilet plunger to your face that makes you really consider your life and actions.

So I am saying this:

I don’t want to eat dead animals. I don’t think it’s cool to eat blood or have any part in the suffering of another earthling. I also know (and you should too) that colon cancer is most common amongst people with a diet rich in red and processed meat. Not nice to think about, but do yourself a favour and google “colon cancer” in case you have any doubts. I am shit scared (see what I did there) of that type of cancer. Right now, it’s the third most common type of cancer – globally. Anyway… I am saying: take care of yourselves and listen to your body and keep it strong. Do your research. Tonight a friend asked what plant based proteins I am eating and I was like “what is that” because even though I’ve been eating all those foods she mentioned like beans and lentils – I didn’t know that they’re proteins. Cause I’m the worst. So if you’re looking for a list of meat alternatives that nourish all the right boxes, find one here.

Anyway, I know I said I wouldn’t be talking about this anymore, but I’m still sitting here with a stack of meds next to me wondering how the heck this all happened. I’m putting it down to detox, and I’m eating some fish again. And getting back to the gym tomorrow and hoping that this is the last of it. So if you’re going through this transition and it’s not all hunky-dory world peace vibes, then that’s okay. Tiny little steps need to be taken at your own pace. Saving the world is HARD work you guys. Kidding. I think I’ve saved like, half a cow. Maybe a drumstick. And in light of all this negative, ranty sulky vibes… Here’s a picture my brother took while we were at the beach yesterday. Dudes chilling with dolphins. We live in a beautiful world, people. Let’s all be kind to each other.

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A few family pictures – 2015, Betty’s Bay by Paul Clark

We went to my mom’s house in Betty’s Bay for Easter Weekend. It was super fun (and busy) and some days a bit rainy, but it was great. The dogs love, love love going to my mom’s. The houses there aren’t allowed fences – how awesome? Something about the fynbos and preservation, so you can build a house but you aint putting up a wall and gate. So your dogs have to be pretty loyal to stick around, as ours do! They really love exploring around the garden, fynbos and bushes and keeping busy.

My brother Paul is visiting for a bit, and took some pictures of Jack and Daisy. On the morning we left, I asked him to take a quick family picture or two before we got going. It was super unprepared, I hadn’t planned any outfits or props or plans or anything fancy. I sat on that rock for like 20 minutes trying to call Graeme away from the tv to quickly sit for a picture. Looking at these, I’ve decided that THIS is the way to go: all natural! I didn’t even edit these images – just a quick crop here and there. I feel a bit self conscious now cause I was wearing short-short shorts, and I was gonna try take some bumps and bruises out but you know – this is us. All rested from a weekend away, about to get in the car and head home. A moment, a memory. We’re gonna frame three of the pictures from the below, and I’m really excited to see how they come out in print. Thank you SO much for the quick snaps Paulie – ek waardeur dit baie! Who needs a lawyer in the family when you have a photographer, right? If anyone in and around Cape Town / Overberg wants some profesh “frame it” family pictures done in the next few weeks, you should mail my brother – pawlclark@gmail.com and this is his website. It’s my blog and I’ll punt if I want to!

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What happens when you push a panic button in South Africa?

Now, I’m home alone from time to time. Not often, but sometimes just the boys and I are at home. We have a pretty good security set-up, but we had ADT installed when we moved in. I don’t know why – as we’d previously had a bad incident in Observatory. In that case, 3 guys had gained access to our property while I was home alone. They ran off when they saw me, and as they ran I pressed the panic button three times, but nobody showed up or called. I phoned my husband and he got on the highway from town, and made it home to me before ADT had even arrived. In fact, I had to call them about 25 minutes later to ask why nobody had showed. Interestingly, the SAPS had showed up before they had. This is a business that had been taking about R425 of my money every month for three years, at a total of about R15 300. And nobody showed up, at all.

When we moved to the suburbs, we had a meeting with ADT and expressed our concerns. They promised a maximum 4 minute response time, as they have so many patrol cars and bicycles in this area. We also stipulated in our contract that in case of emergency, they have full access to the property and need to jump the front wall if necessary so that they could view the front and the back property – especially if we’re away, but in any case if there is an emergency: They have access. We signed our contracts and felt secure in the fact that this area is better managed, as promised.

This morning I was discussing security with Graeme, and I told him that I was going to test the panic button. We have them all over the house, and we’ve trained the kids to use them too. In case there’s a medical emergency, a fire or if something happens to mommy that they don’t know how to help with. At around 11am, I closed our front door, set my stopwatch, and pushed the panic. Sirens went nuts, and I waited.

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The siren blared and eventually switched itself off after about a minute and a half. Nothing. When my stopwatch was at 2 minutes 42 seconds, my phone rang. By now I had checked a few emails and put some cartoons on for the boys. Or, been attacked by some sort of crowbar gang or something. I didn’t answer the call, because after all, I was in ‘distress’ and unable to take the call. This was an emergency.

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These are screenshots from my phone. It appeared that nothing was really happening, and nobody was arriving. I made a cup of tea and checked more emails. Interestingly, the siren didn’t activate again. I would have thought that if a panic was pressed, then the siren would continue to alert neighbors and passers by. An alarm going off for a minute, then switching off would tell neighbors that it was activated accidentally. A siren that continually goes on and off might signal an erm, alarm of sorts. For me, this would show that someone is in distress. I took my tea and stood at the front door. We have these old school patterned windows next to our door where I can see our front garden and gate. Note that my car is in the driveway, showing that someone is home.

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At 8 minutes, 8 seconds our gate bell rang. I stood next to the intercom but didn’t pick it up. After all, I was in serious distress and unable to answer. I had pushed a panic button, which should trigger every SOS signal in the books over at security headquarters. Nothing. I watched the ADT guy get back in his car. And then more nothing. Nobody called again, nobody jumped over the wall. I got concerned that he in fact WOULD jump over the wall because those guys are armed man. I also wondered if he was in his car calling the police for backup, in which case I had some serious explaining to do. But he was just sitting in his car. He didn’t ring the bell again, nobody phoned me again. It was like nothing was going on at all. From the time that I had pushed the panic, over 15 minutes had passed. I thought that even more concern would be raised as I hadn’t answered the phone, and I wasn’t answering the gate, and a car was parked outside. I have seen the ADT guys respond to alarms in our area, and they generally park, stand outside for a bit, then drive off, noting in their log books that they’d attended to the call-out. I am pretty sure that the guy would eventually just have driven off.

The carpenters that are doing our floors arrived that moment. The ADT guy quickly jumped out. I opened the gate for the carpenters, and the ADT guy followed. “Is everything okay ma’am?” he asked. He was a really nice, soft spoken man. I said I was fine, and he said “Okay!” and left. Didn’t even ask for my password. About 20 minutes later, a lady from ADT called to ask if response had arrived, about 35 to 40 minutes after I’d pressed the panic. I said I was fine. And that was the end of that. So there you have it, ladies and gents. This is what happens when you press a panic button in your home when you’re alone with your children. This post is not to defame ADT in particular, but to highlight security systems in general. I’m sure that ADT does a lot of good in their line of work, but I don’t feel very safe being in their ‘care’ right now. I thought you should know, and I urge you to test your systems too.

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The doorbell rang at 8:08 and I opened the gate at 15:31. If I hadn’t opened the gate, I’m sure he would have driven off eventually. He didn’t even shout out. Nothing.

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