What I did this year

2015 is quickly drawing to a close and I thought it might be a fun exercise to look back over the year and see what I got up to.

This year I:

started blogging again

stopped eating my fellow mammals

hosted Laura, the daughter of one of my dear friends from Australia, for a week

gained rather a lot of weight 
worked on forgiving and in the process rediscovered my happy

spent LOTS of fantastic, fun, exhausting, amazing time with my precious granddaughter Issy

planned and booked a cruise for 2016, yay!

began training with my man, we will be walking a 100km stretch of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain in June – bucket list stuff this!

worked pretty consistently at my Word of the Year, which was “Steady”

spent two weeks with my sister-from-another-mother, Lisa.

said good-bye to two of my precious dogs 

welcomed a new dog to our family

marvelled at Paula’s academic achievements and Roxy’s baking talents.

read 57 books

created a fairy garden

spent some wonderful family-time in the ‘berg.

All-in-all, a good year!

Unravelling 2016

For a few years now I have been completing the brilliant Susannah Conway's Unravelling workbook each December.  I find it a thought-provoking (and fun!) way to close off the old year and start the new year on a good footing.  If you want to share in the magic, pop over to Susannah's blog here and download the free workbook.


I love this quote.  It sums up exactly how I feel at the moment.  I'm restless.  I have no idea why.  We went through a hectic few weeks and now things are pretty much settled and you would think I'd be feeling calm and relaxed - the "storm" is over, after all,  But no, I'm fidgety and distracted and I have this little ball of anxiousness in the pit of my stomach that just won't go away.  It frightens me a bit because when I feel like this it usually means that something is not "right", I may not be able to put my finger on the cause just yet, but sooner or later it will come to light.  My spidey-sense is tingling.  Sounds a bit woo-woo, but that spidey-sense is usually spot-on.  Oh well, time will tell.  In the meantime I will fidget and fret...  Even the weather has decided to join in, with a howling gale to match my mood.

One plus four = Life

Seems this week's One + Four = Life post is allllllll about Issy!

I've been exhausted this week, still am actually, fortunately things should be settling down somewhat now, so hopefully I'll get a chance to re-charge my batteries in the next couple of weeks.  I sure hope so because there is nothing worse than waking up tired and having to drag myself through the day.


I'm not a great fan of Spring to be honest.  To me, Spring seems to be largely about wind and drizzle - not that I would complain if we got some rain at the moment, things are really dry around here.  What I DO love about Spring is the Jacarandas.  Nothing nicer than stepping outside in the morning and seeing the driveway carpeted in Jacaranda flowers.


Issy graduated to a "Big Girl Bed" this week!  She was in such a hurry to sleep in it that she couldn't wait for the bed to be varnished, or for the proper bedding to arrive.  How cute is that little bottom in the air!


I love her in this top because.... those shoulders!


We popped in to Rox's and Jon's house for a visit yesterday afternoon to be greeted by this darling little streaker!

That's all for this week.  Here's hoping my blogging mojo returns in the next couple of weeks!


Sometimes life gets so messy and stressful that eventually I feel like my thoughts and feelings resemble a bowl of spaghetti - all twisted and mixed up with no clear beginning or end.  That's when I know I need to meditate.  I would love for my meditation practice to become part of my daily routine.  I know it would make my life so much calmer and less stressed... I have an issue with discipline right there!  But I'm working on it!

I wanted to share two things that have helped me SO much with my meditation practice.

First of all, the regular 21-day Meditation Experiences run by Oprah and Deepak.  I first began meditating with the help of one of these courses.  The courses are free and they are really, really good.  I find their approach very accessible for someone new to meditation, but at the same time I believe they would have value for someone who has been meditating for years.  There is a new course starting on 2 November, to read all about it, or to register click here.

And then a relatively new find, Stop, Breathe and Think.  This is such a brilliant app!  For those days when I haven't got loads of time to meditate, or I'm just feeling out of sorts and need some guidance, I click on Stop, Breathe and Think and choose a guided meditation.  It's a free app and I find it really fresh and user-friendly.

One + Four = Life

It's been quite a big week in our household.  We welcomed Duke into our family on Monday.  Duke is a 7 year old pure-bred Weimaraner.  Unfortunately his former owner died very unexpectedly a month ago, so Duke was in urgent need of a new home, and we were very pleased to welcome him into ours.  He is an absolute darling and we already love him to bits!

I love this pic^^, it's so typical of our family... Paula chatting on the phone and dogs all over the place!

The intention was for Duke to be an "outside-dog".  Yeah.  That's not working out so well for us!

We went to Pallet Jack's for a relaxed family meal on Sunday night.  It was my first time there and I was really impressed.  It's paradise for families with children.  Issy had an absolute ball.  She was off to the playground the minute her little feet touched the floor.

We went down the coast for the weekend again.  Rox, Jon and Issy were also down the coast, visiting Jon's parents.  We got together for a braai on Saturday and Issy made a bee-line for the pool.  This little nunu is SUCH a water baby, absolutely fearless, which gives me the heebie-jeebies as she isn't water-safe yet.  I long for the day when she can swim to the edge unaided!  For now I keep an eagle eye on her!

Have a wonderful week all!

Joining in with One + Four = Life ... a concept that started on Meet Me at Mike's, and that is more recently being hosted by Nanjing Nian.

One + Four = Life

I really mean for this blog to consist of more than a weekly 1+4=life post....but things are so busy, busy, busy around here that we are barely keeping our heads above water.  Hopefully "normal service" will resume once things get back to normal towards the end of the month,

1. Paula and Issy picking mulberries.  It's precious to see my little granddaughter, Issy, learning the simple pleasures of life, like picking seasonal fruit.  She LOVES the mulberries and ends up with an adorable purple smile!  It warms my heart to see what a lovely aunt Paula is to this little girl.  

2. Roxy, Jon and Issy came for dinner on Thursday night and I happened to catch this moment on my phone camera.  I thought it was too sweet - Rox and Jon looking mischievous and Becca in the background keeping an eye on the situation.

3. We went down the coast on Friday afternoon to spend the weekend caring for Uncle Ian and boy did it do my heart good to see him looking so much better!  Just shows what a bit of good, home-cooked food and TLC can do for a body.

4. Early Saturday morning on the verandah.  Man, I miss this view!  The photo unfortunately doesn't do it justice.  We got to see quite a bit of whale activity, which was lovely.

Joining in with One + Four = Life ... a concept that started on Meet Me at Mike's, and that is more recently being hosted by Nanjing Nian.

The idea is:   once a week, four photos, to document your life.  One + Four = Life

One + Four = Life

My intention is to do these One + Four = Life posts on a Saturday or Sunday... this week I am finally getting to it on Wednesday!  It's been a very tough week...

The first two photos were taken during our road-trip up to Springs, Gauteng.  There is something so beautiful about the barren landscape in the Free State.  

Photo number 3 is one of the roses my aunt planted in her garden many years ago.  We went up to Gauteng to spend the weekend with my elderly Uncle, who has stubbornly refused to move out of the house that he and my aunt had lived in their entire married life.  Our time spent there was so heart-wrenchingly sad and at times traumatic, this rose was one of the few things to brighten my day.  

The final photo was taken on our return.  We realised during our visit that my uncle can no longer live alone, so (much to his disgust!) we packed him up and have brought him to live with my Dad for the time being.

This post is part of the whole One + Four = Life thang... a concept that started on Meet Me at Mike's, and that is more recently being hosted by Nanjing Nian.

The idea is:   once a week, four photos, to document your life.  One + Four = Life

One + Four = Life: 19 September 2015

I'm starting something new today.  When I started this blog it was for the express purpose of recording the lives of my family.  Sometimes that purpose gets a little lost in amongst all the other bits and pieces I blog about.  When I saw the idea of One + Four = Life - first on Meet Me at Mike's and more recently on Nanjing Nian, I thought it would be a nice way of getting back to basics and recording the goings on in our family.  

The idea is:   once a week, four photos, to document your life.  One + Four = Life

So, I am going to try to do it weekly, as a way of remembering what we have been up to that week.  Be warned, the photos are probably not going to be of the greatest quality because (a) they are going to be taken by me! and (b) they'll be snapped on the run, using my phone.

1:  We spent the afternoon at the Oysterbox, enjoying cocktails in the Lighthouse Bar and then a wonderful High Tea to celebrate June's 60th birthday.

2:  Paula and June by the famous lighthouse.  Doesn't Junie look lovely at 60?!

3: A frequent sight on our driveway.  Roxy and Issy heading home from our house.  We are SO lucky to live next door to one another.

4:  In our kitchen first thing in the morning.  Roxy and Issy come up to have breakfast with us most days.  Usually it's a green smoothie.

Five on Friday

It's Friday!  Already!  Where do the days go??

This week I was quite busy, so I didn't do as much internet browsing as I usually do - which is probably a good thing!  But I did see this interesting article about the rare astronomical event that is coming to a sky near you on 28 September.

I loved this guy's take on vulnerability.

Reading this blog got me keen to start doing some serious journaling.

Loved the look of these hand-lettering tutorials.

And finally, I actually made these Cranberry and Apricot Nut Bars and they are awesome!


I've been a fan of Flylady for a long time.  I first stumbled upon the website about 10 years ago (geez, has it been that long?  Time flies!) and have used some of the principles in my home ever since.  The Flylady program is basically a system to get your home in order, using "babysteps" that eventually form a very do-able routine.

What I like about Flylady is that it's completely FREE of charge and it's not overwhelmingly complicated or intimidating, you start out really, really slowly and build from there.  I'm a great one for starting something and then getting put off because it's just really too much - that doesn't happen to me with Flylady.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter, my aunt and I decided to start the Flylady system from scratch and to work through it together.  I got the basic Flylady program off the website and tweaked it to suit the South African context a bit better, I created a pdf file from it, printed that out for us to use and we are working our way through it.  It's actually a lot of fun doing it with others to keep one accountable.

My home is enjoying all the attention being lavished on it and I'm starting to feel a little less stressed-out about all the housekeeping tasks that I wasn't getting to.

If you'd like to join in and "Fly" with us, let me know in the comments section, the more the merrier! 

Taking Stock

It's a new month and the start of a new season, so that seems as good an excuse as any to take stock.  

So, right now I am...

Making: myself comfortable on my favourite rocking chair.
Cooking : Well Grant's cooking tonight, but last night I made the most awesome Chickpea curry.  Recipe to follow soon!
Drinking : coffee sweetened with Agave syrup.  I've sworn off sugar for the month.
Reading:  the new Susan Wiggs - Starlight on Willow Lake.  I love her Lakeshore Chronicles books.
Wanting: A new Summer wardrobe! 
Looking: at the photos Rox just sent me of Issy in her new swimming costume.
 How cute is this little poppet?!

Playing: around with the idea of changing my hair colour, but I'm not sure yet. 
Deciding: that if I'm not sure about a new hair colour, then perhaps I should stick with what I've got!
Wishing: money wasn't a factor - there are lots of things I want to buy!
Enjoying: the thought of baby-sitting Issy tonight.  
Waiting: for warmer weather to kick-in so that I can get out of my daily uniform of trackpants!
Liking: the fact that I won't be cooking supper tonight.   It's lovely having a husband who enjoys cooking!
Wondering: what to do for supper on Saturday night, we have Dad and Astrid staying over.
Loving: the fact that we are eating so many veggie meals lately.
Pondering: the fact that, for once, I am actually sticking with my Word of the Year, which is "Steady"  
Considering: starting my Christmas shopping.  I know it's only September, but I aim to be done early this year.  Very early.
Buying: Christmas presents online seems like a good idea to me!
Watching: The Darling Budds of May - I recently bought the DVD set and we're loving it.
Hoping: that I can find some more nice series to buy when we have finished watching this one.

Marvelling: at how my Issy-girl is growing.  Just the other day she was a baby, now she's a toddler.
Cringing: at the size of my butt!  Wow, it's been a Winter of weight-gain! 
Needing: to get back into yoga.
Questioning:  Why I keep stopping my yoga practice.  
Smelling: varnish.  yeuch!  We are having our window frames varnished at the moment.
Wearing: track pants and a T-shirt.  Boring!
Following: a few fashion boards on Pinterest to inspire me for the Summer.
Noticing: that I have had a dull head-ache today.  I'm wondering if it is sugar-withdrawal?
Knowing: that I should probably stay off the sugar for good.  
Thinking: about the Summer.  I hope it's going to be a goody!
Admiring: this woman's gorgeous hair... Isn't it stunning?!
Sorting: through my Summer clothes was an eye-opener.  Not in a good way.
Getting: tired of the weight I have gained. 
Bookmarking: Stop, Breathe & Think.  I'm loving the guided meditations on this site.
Coveting: This look, only I would wear different jeans.
Disliking: all the drama about the Springbok rugby team.  Makes me sad. And a little mad.
Opening: a new book is always a thrill.  I started a new book last night and can't wait to dig in again later on today.
Feeling: settled, serene, steady.  Yay me!
Snacking: on naartjies.  I do love a naartjie!
Giggling: at my Jackie-dog who is begging for another segment of naartjie.  Crazy dog!
Helping: no, not feeling very helpful right now ;-)
Hearing: the wind blowing outside.  Hoping it brings some rain.

Feel free to join me in Taking Stock, please leave a comment if you do!

I found the original taking stock list at Meet Me at Mike's  (she has blank ones that you can copy and paste)

Good-bye my Rud

Sometimes in life you are lucky enough to connect with a person, an animal, or a place on a soul-deep level.  It's like something deep inside is stirred by a connection that you can't explain.  Kindred spirits.  That happened to me when I met Rud.  Rud and I had a connection that defies description.  That dog knew and understood me inside out.  He totally, completely and utterly "got" me.  No other person or animal has ever touched my heart in the way he did.  I know it sounds utterly crazy, but it was very real.   

I got a phone call this morning to tell me that my precious Ruddy-boy had died during the night.  We don't know what was wrong with him - he was literally a bit sick yesterday and then took a bad turn at 3:00 this morning and died.  

I will mourn him forever.  I have lost something irreplaceable, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that his spirit lives on and I will always be so grateful to have experienced the quality of love that I shared with this dog.  It was a privilege to know him and to love him.


I saw this quote a couple of weeks ago on Clever Bird Banter and it really stuck with me:

Thought-provoking isn't it?!

It prompted me to think about all the things that I am thankful for:

I am grateful for my family.  My husband, my children, my precious grand-daughter and my extend family, small though it may be!

I am grateful for my pets.  My furry family that means so much to me.

I am grateful for my home.  I actually plan on doing a blog post all about my home in the very near future.

I am grateful for my job.  I am very grateful that I am able to work from home.

I am grateful for my health.  Very grateful.  One of my blogging friends was recently diagnosed with a third cancer.  Another blogging friend lost her beloved husband to cancer this week.  These people are young, they have young children.  My heart goes out to them.

I am grateful for my faith.  I may not be your poster-child, church-going Christian, but I am a Christ-follower and I am grateful that my Father is up there - probably rolling his eyes at some of my antics - but up there, looking after me, none-the-less.

I am grateful for my lifestyle.  We may not be wealthy (okay, we're definitely not wealthy!), but we live comfortably.  We live in a country with significant issues, but we are able to live an outdoorsy kind of life, with a fantastic climate and plenty of wide open spaces and a culture that is diverse and interesting.

I am grateful for my friends.  Being the introverted soul that I am, I don't have a big circle of friends, but the friends I do have are friends for life.

I am grateful for all the extras that make my life fun and interesting.... books, music, the internet, movies, photographs and hobbies....  all the "fluff" that adds depth and variation to my everyday life.

What are you grateful for?

My tribe

It's fascinating to me how relationships shift and settle over time.   I've watched it happening over the years with my girls.  There's a 5.5 year age gap between Roxy and Paula.  In general, I LOVE how that age gap worked for us but, on the down-side, it didn't make for a particularly close relationship between the girls while they were growing up.  The first time they grew particularly attached to one another was when Rox was 18 and Paula was 12.  Rox started working as a Teacher's Assistant at the school Paula was at and Paula just looooved being driven to school by her sister and having her sister working there.  That was the start of a lovely bond between them and over the years that bond has grown and grown.   They are SO close now, it really warms my heart to see it.

I have always been really close to both my girls, but in different ways.  I will never understand the dilemma some people have about having a "favourite" child.... my two have such distinctly different personalities that they are BOTH my favourites, but in completely different ways.

If I'm feeling down and need a laugh or a distraction, then Roxy is my go-to girl.  If I am feeling down and need to have a good heart-to-heart and some sympathy, then it's Paula I run to.  Roxy is my polar opposite - she is out-going, funny, happy-go-lucky and confident.  Paula is my mini-me - she is sensitive, very slightly OCD, hard-working, organised and a worrier of note.  Roxy challenges me, stretches me, makes me laugh and causes me to gain vast amounts of weight by eating my own body-weight in her cup-cakes.  Paula understands me, she really, really "gets" me, she comforts me, builds my confidence and is the best reading and music buddy in the world.

And then there is Issy.  Our precious, special, most gorgeous girl.  Loved and spoilt rotten by her Mummy, her Nana and her Lala all day, every day.

The four of us together are a little tribe.  We challenge each other, we build each other up, we stick together like super-glue and love each other madly.  I thank my lucky stars for these girls, these relationships, this love, every single day.

The Worst Dog in the World

Meet the worst dog in the world:

Her name is Becca, she's about 18 months old, and officially belongs to my daughter, Paula.

Paula adopted Becca in September last year, she was a rescue dog, about 5 months old at the time and had had a pretty rough start.

Right up front, let me say that I don't like drama, I like peace, calm, quiet, control, order......  Yeah... Becca doesn't understand that stuff!

Becca is a hooligan.  With Becca around there is ALWAYS drama, She is highly excitable, she is noisy, she is destructive.  Becca is, simply put, a force of nature to be reckoned with.

This dog has me tearing my hair out daily.  The things she does.....  

She chases things.  Becca chases the hadeda's, she chases my cat, she chases our other dogs and sometimes she chases imaginary things.  She likes to hump, she humps our legs, she humps Isabella, she humps our visitors, she tries to hump the cats and occasionally she humps a teddy bear... it's very disturbing!  She brings things inside that have no business being in my house - things like charcoal, branches, a decomposing frog and the skeleton of a small, unidentified animal!  She barks.  Most dogs bark, but Becca takes it to a whole new level.  She barks at passing cars, she barks at birds, she barks at the wind.  She barks the whole time our gardener tries to talk to me, to the point that we now have to use stealth if we want to have a conversation.  She barks when the telephone rings and she barks when anyone touches keys - be they house keys or car keys.  Weird!  She steals.  Becca steals toys from somewhere - we have no idea where they originate from - and this is really strange because Becca is a fenced in dog who cannot get to any of our neighbours' houses.  She loved stealing from the builders we had doing renovations - she stole their tools, their sand paper, their lunches and anything else they left lying about (they learnt very quickly!)  She goes places where no dog should go.  I have found Becca walking around on the coffee table, walking around on top of the dining room table, in the dishwasher and on my dressing table.

She is always up to something, always causing trouble, always destroying something and yet you can't help but admire her for her spirit and her spunk,  She is totally gifted in the area of bad behaviour.

I have known, owned and loved many dogs in my life-time and I have NEVER encountered a dog like Becca.

She is also precious and loving and insanely sweet.

Becca's redeeming feature is that she loves with ALL of her heart.  If you want to feel like a rock star all you need to do is wake up next to Becca.  I wake up, stretch one arm out to her and say "hello Becca" and I have instantly MADE her day.  She goes from this:

.............to a ball of frenzied joy and adulation.  I have made her day by simply opening my eyes and acknowledging her existence.  She jumps and shivers and kisses me and licks my face and leaps all over me and practically pees herself with joyful exuberance and adoration.  How can you not feel like the most important person that ever roamed the planet when your first conscious thought is that you are loved and adored beyond all reason?!

There is just something about this dog.  She has crept into my heart (and raised my blood pressure!) like no other dog I have ever encountered.  I firmly believe that one day we will remember her as the best worst dog we ever had.