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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
While 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!