So, 2014, you are nearly done and I want to thank you for:
* All the wonderful times I have shared with my girls. I so love living close to my girls and the tight-knit, supportive, loving family that we are. I am forever grateful.
* Isabella! I'll never forget 2014 because that's the year that gave me my Isa-boo, and turned my Rox into a wonderful mom.
That little poppet carries my heart in her teeny-tiny little hand x
* Paula settling so well at Varsity. Shew, I don't deny that I had many sleepless nights about Paula heading off to Varsity. But it's turned out just fine, she has made such lovely friends and is doing very well academically. I have a very thankful heart.
* My Jax is becoming an old lady and her health isn't the best. I am grateful for each and every day that 2014 offered me with this precious dog, my constant and faithful companion. Love her more than words can say.
* Europe. Our trip to Europe this year was the stuff that dreams are made of. I am forever grateful that we have had the opportunity to travel the way we have.
* Lisa. This year marked 40 years of friendship! Lis and I have seen each other through so many ups and downs I don't think I even remember them all. She's my "sister-from-another-mother". It was so special that we got to cruise together this year.
I have no doubt that the creator of the December Reflections intended for this photo prompt to inspire a Christmassy picture... but for the love of life, nothing Christmassy jumped out at me today. So instead, I chose to feature my ultimate fragrant indulgence. Honestly, there is no better fragrance in the world, in my opinion, than Karma soap by Lush. It is The Bomb.
I initially heard about this soap on a blog I used to read. This woman raved on and on about Karma soap and, as I suffer terribly from FOMO (fear of missing out!) I decided that I had to get my hands on a bar of it. Now at the time there was not a Lush shop in South Africa, so getting some soap into my paw became a major challenge, but I am nothing if not up for a challenge and so the soap duly arrived in my post box. Well, it was not love at first sniff, surprisingly. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was NOT this fragrance. Frankly, I was a little disappointed, but that was until I actually showered with the stuff.... and then the love affair began.
You see, underneath this matronly exterior there lies a happy, hidden, hippy and the fragrance of this soap channels that rather bohemian, inner-me perfectly. There will never be another fragrance that is more genuinely me. I honestly can't describe how much I love this smell. It is my heroin!
For years I have wheeled and dealed and begged and pleaded and almost flipping prostituted myself to get my fix of my Karma... Really, I have bribed the aunts of friend's friends and the fathers of my daughter's friend's cousins, and anyone else I can possible get to agree, to procure my Karma soap and bring it back to South Africa for me. But I don't have to humble myself that way anymore, because the gods have smiled on me and a Lush store has finally opened down the road in Gateway. Hallelujah!
And, no, Lush didn't sponsor me to wax lyrical like this, it was all my own doing :-)
There is something so special about a friendship that has spanned 40 years. You really KNOW someone when you have been with them through the loss of their milk teeth, first love, marriage, births,deaths... and now grandchildren!
My phone is my favourite camera, purely by nature of the fact that it is the only camera I own! Unfortunately, as can be see from the above photo, the silly thing isn't working currently... It's going in for repairs tomorrow and I am keeping fingers crossed that they can fix it!
I took some artistic licence with this one - the prompt was "stripes", I decided to change it to "checks". I couldn't resist posting a photo of the cute little Christmas ornaments (with their checked pants) that stand on my mantelpiece!
There were a number of photos taken by various family-members that I loved this year. Grant took some stunning photos in Venice, there is a photo of Paula in Santorini that I love and also one in Bellagio, I took a photo in Dubrovnik that I just adore and Rox took some photos of Isabella that are heart-meltingly beautiful.... And that's just to name a few! So many to choose from - I have deliberated and deliberated. But ultimately, THIS is my favourite photo of 2014!
Isabella in the Jacuzzi, taken in August, photo taken by Grant.
Well, if I had taken the trouble to scan through ALL of the photo prompts at the beginning of this project, I would have seen that today's prompt was "Sunset" and I would NOT have used a sunset photo on the day that the prompt was "Red"...... clearly, I DIDN'T scan through all the prompts.....and so I sit in this predicament! Oh well, fortunately sunsets are never boring and I have MANY photos of sunsets to choose from. So, without further ado, another sunset:
Okay, let's be clear here - I read for relaxation, the books I read are not intended to educate me, stretch me, move me out of my comfort zone or in any way cause me stress!
Living in a country with an exceedingly high rate of violent crime and life-threatening disease, means that there is enough stress and bad news around me in my everyday life, I certainly don't need to go shopping for more of the same when I pick up a book to read!
I love to read. Since the day I discovered that the written page had actual meaning I have been a confirmed book worm. Reading is my escape, my not-so-secret pleasure, my treat to myself after a busy day.
Weirdly, having looked at my goodreads page, I see that I have read about 50% fewer books this year compared to last year. I think that may have something to do with the arrival of a certain little grand-baby!
All the usual suspects continue to be in my reading list: Debbie Macomber, Susan Wiggs, Fiona Valpy, JoAnn Ross, Robyn Carr.... I honestly can't pick one favourite book, so I will name a few books that stood out for me this year.
Jojo Moyes' "Me Before You" and John Green's "The Fault in our Stars" were both hauntingly beautiful books that touched me deeply.
"The Mistress of Spices" by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was a very different book, a complete departure from my usual genre and I enjoyed it for that very reason.
I re-read "Gardens of Delight" by Erica James while we were in Bellagio. It was such fun and so special to read the book in the town in which it was set. A lovely experience.
"The Postmaster's Mistress" by Ruth Fifield is a book written by my former high school English teacher. It was most enjoyable to read a book by someone I know, with parts of it set in a town I am familiar with. This was another book that was very different to my usual reading matter and I learnt a great deal about the second world war while reading it, so I enjoyed the experience a great deal.
I am loving Susan Wiggs' latest series, the "Bella Vista Chronicles". I've read both "The Apple Orchard" and "The Beekeeper's Ball" and enjoyed them both. Looking forward to more in the series.
At the moment I am on a Christmas season reading spree, my favourite so far is Fiona Valpy's "The French for Christmas". I am a big fan of Fiona Valpy's books.