What's in a name?

….quite a lot actually. I don’t know many people who actively like their names. I can’t bear mine. “Gillian” is such a stupid name. It sounds like Jillian, so nine times out of ten people spell it wrong. Then, I have people calling me Gill(i.e gills of a fish)-ian. Dreadful. My second name is Donna and that I can just about live with.

Naming a baby is such a huge responsibility. The name that seemed cute and quirky at birth, may become the cross that poor child has to bear through high school and beyond – "Apple Martin" comes to mind… what was Gwyneth Paltrow thinking?!

Grant and I gave a lot of thought to naming our girls. I wanted them to have names that they liked, that were not too common, but not too outlandish or silly. I wanted the names to have a nice meaning too.

We were also very aware of the importance of initials – always in the back of my mind lurked the story of the “friend of a friend”, whose father on going to register her birth, at the very last minute, realized that her initials spelt “FART”! (Impi goes to school with someone called “A. Nuss”) Horrors!

So the naming of my daughters was not a spur of the moment thing. And yet, after all that consideration and deliberation, Roxanne hates her name. I am gutted!

We named Roxanne (which means “dawn”) after a character in the Joy Packer book “Valley of the Vines”. I’d read the book in my teens and immediately fell in love with the name (although in the book it is spelt slightly differently). So, after much debate, we settled on the name “Roxanne” and then began the search for a good second name. Having a fairly longish first name and a long surname, we were on the lookout for a short second name for our babe. We named her after Grant’s gran, Inez. I thought it was lovely, I still do - short and sweet and faintly exotic – she hates it! Won’t even tell anyone that she has a second name. So we now have a daughter named “Roxanne Inez”, who calls herself Rox!

Paula (it means “small one”), on the other hand, loves her name. The only time she gets the mutters is when someone pronounces her name “pow-la”. She likes the fact that she is the only “Paula” in her school. Her second name is “Hope”. It took me a loooong time to successfully fall pregnant with her, I spent many, many months (years in fact) hoping for her, so “Hope” seemed apt. And for the time being, she likes that name too. Thankfully.

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Oh Ancient One.... that's me!

I don't know whether it is just the age of me - but all of a sudden I am wondering where my life has gone? I truly cannot get my head around the fact that I will be forty on my next birthday. Me? Forty? Can't be! Somewhere locked inside me is a teenager trying desperately to get out.

It is just not possible that I have a daughter who is now, very confidently, driving me around. I feel like something is not right. In my mind I am definitely not old enough to have a daughter that can get behind the wheel, let alone a daughter who can talk of little else but finishing school and leaving home.

How does this happen? How come one minute you are a young mom, changing nappies, discussing colic and teething and the next thing this woman is sitting next to you and she is your daughter??

Then I have to face the horrible truth that the "baby" of the family is now wearing bras, slicking on the lip gloss and singing along to Avril Lavigne...

It really is too much for me, it ages me.... Help, I'm starting to feel forty!!!

Sun City

Photos from Sun City.....

I couldn't resist the "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" shot!

Monateng Safari Lodge

Photos from Monateng Safari Lodge...

Had a good holiday!

We got back last night (after a 10 hour journey!) from a super-duper holiday. We spent last Friday and Saturday night at Monateng Safari Lodge, near Pretoria. The timeshare units are absolutely lovely and come complete with a tame Ostrich called "Sarah"! There were also a family of Warthogs strolling about, they have to be the most comical
creatures around, I just love watching them run with their tails up.

On Monday morning we were up bright and early for the 2 hour drive to Sun City - as far as my kids are concerned, the highlight of this drive was watching me have a wee on the side of the road as a tractor drove s-l-o-w-l-y by - when you gotta go, believe me, you gotta go!

Once we got to Sun City we had the most gorgeous breakfast at the Cabanas (read all about it on my "What's Cooking?" blog). And so began a fantastic week of sun, sand and family fun. We spent lots of time at the Valley of the Waves, strolled through the aviary, the kids (including Grant) went on the "Wake Snake" and some of the family took a cruise on the lake, we had lovely meals at the various restaurants, sipped cocktails at the Cascades pool (I love that pool, it's heated!), walked over the swing bridge, relaxed and generally did all the things that make Sun City one of my favourite holiday destinations. Bliss...

Sun City

We are leaving bright and early tomorrow morning for a holiday at Sun City. I absolutely hate travelling, so am dreading the car trip - but at the end of it we can park the car and not get into it for nearly a week, so that is a big bonus.

We really love Sun City. We don't go in for gambling much, so that side of things doesn't hold much appeal. The reason we go there is for the Valley of the Waves. It is such fun to swim in the "man-made" sea and to float around the moat on a tube. The height of relaxation. Grant and the girls have a whale of a time on the slides, I prefer to sit back and watch!

The Cascades is a beautiful area to walk through, especially the swing bridge. We also enjoy playing putt-putt down at the Cabanas. Occasionally if finances permit, Grant takes the girls para-sailing on the lake at the cabanas too.

All in all it is a wonderful place for a family holiday. There is so much to see and do that we never get it all done, which is why we keep on going back!

It is absolutely mind-boggling to think that this incredible resort has been created in an arid, uninhabited part of the country. There is so much attention to detail and everything is so well maintained. Well worth a visit!

Getting off my butt

I have a terrible personality flaw – well to be frank, I probably have quite a few terrible personality flaws, but the one I am talking about here is laziness. My laziness isn’t your run of the mill – I don’t feel like doing the ironing – kind of laziness, it is the type of laziness that prevents me from doing really enjoyable, interesting stuff. It’s the kind of laziness that keeps me glued to the couch when I should be out of the house having fun. Crazy hey?

Now take last weekend for example. In a fit of unusual enthusiasm I decided that we were going to go to “Music by the Lake” in the Botanical Gardens in Durban, to see Freshly Ground. Before I had a chance to think of 10 valid reasons why we should rather veg out at home, I phoned our friends to invite them to come with us and rushed out and bought the tickets. We had a wonderful time. We picnicked on the grass, listened to some really good music, chatted and generally had a fantastic afternoon. All around us were families with little kids, having fun together – my idea of a good time. Now I ask myself – why don’t we do this more often?? The answer is simply, because I find it far too easy to get stuck in a rut and sit at home.

Freshly Ground
were absolutely fantastic. Loved them! They appeal to such a wide audience – there were hippy types, guys in “dreads”, yuppie types, tannies, kiddies and everyone in-between, all thoroughly enjoying the show. If they come to Durbs again, we’ll be there.