Hello Friday!

The weekend is less than 2.5 hours away and it is a 3 day one – yippee!

This week has flown and as I sit here typing and listening to the rain I feel like it has been a good one.  That said I am ready for 4:00pm to roll around and some relaxation to commence!

Each Friday Lindsay http://theflynnigans.com/ Charlotte http://mypixieblog.com/ and Beth http://www.thebethnextdoor.com/  host a link up called What’s up weekend?  Bloggers take stock of what made them happy during the week and it is a wonderful way to start the weekend as we share our gratitude lists.

My list this week included:

  • Mark.  His patience and love. Being understanding while I’ve been grieving and always being there for me.
  • Old favourites for dinner. Sometimes you need comfort food.
  • Tea and a Debbie Macomber book – great combination.
  • Feeling better after being off on Wednesday. Sore stomachs are the worst – I feel instantly miserable when I wake up with one.
  • It is no longer icy in the mornings. Nearly time to move my winter stuff and bring out the summer clothes.
  • Dealing with my grief better these past few days. Doing loads of self-care and taking a day at a time.
  • Concentrating on being present and being more mindful.
  • New Lucy Diamond book just waiting to be read
  • Fresh bedding – slept so well the last couple of nights.
  • Long weekend! Got a lot of fun planned for the next 3 days and knowing we don’t have to set an alarm for Monday morning is adding to the bliss.

What is on your gratitude list today?  Have an awesome weekend.

xx

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It has no timeline

The other day I realised that the grief I’ve experienced for the past 10 months is not getting better.  I thought it was and that I was doing well.  Then it crept back.  I thought it was in check.  And then it reared its head and I was forced to realise that I’m not feeling as okay as I’d like to be.  In fact I’m feeling incredibly rubbish.

These days anything can set me off.  A conversation.  A random program.  A song.  Even an advert.  I feel like I really need to make the move to waterproof mascara asap.  I could be mistaken for a panda at times.  Or an angry raccoon.

I don’t like opening up to very many people.  Hubby has seen me at my best and worst and loves me unconditionally so I’m always comfortable with him seeing me vulnerable.  And my Gran was the same.  She loved me for me.  Some people in my life love me with what feels like terms and conditions attached.

They have made me feel more like a policy than a person.

I don’t know if I’m ready to bare all just yet but in a nutshell I grew up with a sister who has special needs.  And while I understand that she needed alot more love, patience and understanding I don’t think it meant I always deserved the amount that I received.  I was a cheeky and headstrong kid – I know that – but I could have been worse!  I always had to work hard and nothing ever seemed good enough.

My sister is the most kind-hearted, generous and loving person and she only sees the good in people.  I can be a bit negative and cycnical – I admit it and it isn’t something I’m proud of.

But just because one daughter needs more doesn’t mean the other deserves so much less.

My Gran always made me feel special.  In fact she often told me (no matter how old I got) that I was her special girl.  I think she knew that I wasn’t always having the greatest childhood growing up.  She never judged me.  She never made me feel bad for expressing my emotions. She just loved me.  I was flawed and she still loved me.

I can never thank her enough and losing her has brought with it a huge amount of pain.

On Friday a friend sent me messages with the kindest and most soothing words.  She confirmed that it is okay to feel the way I do.  She is the one of the most positive people I know and she knew exactly what I needed to hear.  And she did with zero judgement just kindness.

You see, grief doesn’t have a timeline.  There is no timetable to set your emotions to and tick off as you go through them.  Losing my Gran is hurting so much and there is extra loss as I’m grieving for someone who loved me just for myself.  Not only when I was well-behaved, did well at school, made good choices or was selfless to others.  She was my Gran and so much more.  And I wasn’t the perfect granddaughter but she still treated me like I was.

She loved me.  From the start and until she left us last November.

And I’m allowed to feel like I do.

xx

Hello Friday

This hasn’t been my favourite week!  Felt awful on Monday after no sleep.  Had to go to a meeting after work on Tuesday (after a rushed grocery shop), Wednesday I had training at the office then hubby had a work dinner afterwards.  I feel like I’ve been rushing around all week and I’m downright exhausted.  It was one year ago that my Gran’s had a massive stroke on Monday which means last year this time we had 8 weeks left with her.  The 1 year of her passing away is less than 2 months ago and I cannot wrap my head around that.  It still feels like yesterday.  I really thought I was doing fine and it is a shock to discover this week that I am not doing all that well.

I am trying to be positive and so here is my gratitude list for this week:

  • Relaxing weekend in Hermanus celebrating a special anniversary.
  • Feeling better – drinking loads of water and getting some sleep really helped.  I don’t know if I felt so ill from something I ate and I need to get an allergy test sometime to see if I need to limit certain foods.  Feeling worse and worse every time I eat certain carbs.
  • Mark – always taking care of me
  • Training at work went well on Wednesday
  • Warmer weather.  Although we are very hopeful for the rain which has been predicted for later.
  • A friend of mine who has alot on her mind, taking the time to send a really sweet and thoughtful message.
  • Quarter end is finished
  • According to the scale, 2 weeks of healthier eating paid off.
  • Sorbet nail polish – currently wearing a pretty red one.
  • Finally admitting that I have not dealt with my grief properly and I need to address it.

What is on your gratitude list this week?

xx

Spring outfit – check!

After what felt like a super long winter I’ve been looking forward to the warmer weather.  Not wearing layers of clothing and anticipating the joy of finally packing away those thermal spencers.

I thought that I’d treat myself to a new spring outfit.  I’ve been wearing the same jeans for so long and even though I find jeans shopping tricky I gave it a go.

I tried on a couple of pairs of jeans and then bought a pair of RE: boyfriend jeans at Woolworths.

A few weeks ago I found a Daniel Hechter shirt and super comfy pair of Adidas sneakers at Truworths.  Teamed with the jeans I felt I’ve got my spring outfit sorted.

We spent the weekend in Hermanus and on Sunday went to Fernkloof Nature Reserve and the weather was beautiful and warm.

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xx

Book review: The Food of Love Cookery School by Nicky Pellegrino

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This book drew me in from the first page and was one that I couldn’t put down. It is the sort of book that is perfect if you are looking for a holiday read or simply feel like a bit of escapism.

The author sets out the story very thoughtfully and I enjoyed the way each character was introduced.  You feel as if you are the fifth character in the book and are accompanying Poppy, Tricia, Valerie and Moll on a 9 day holiday to Italy. They have signed up for a cooking school in Favio and their Teacher Luca will be teaching them how to make dishes he learnt from his Grandmother when he was younger.

Poppy has had just come out of a divorce and feels ready to learn new things. Valerie is the oldest in the group and is grieving the loss of her partner. Moll is a down-to-earth single mom who tries new flavours with enthusiasm and is never far from her camera and notebook.  Tricia is an attorney trying to balance a busy career and motherhood.

The trip means something different to each of the characters. From the start it is clear that this is a trip of a lifetime to Moll. For Tricia, this is something that her husband booked for her and a way to fill time and be away from her hectic life. She was the one character I didn’t warm to at all and I was pleased each time the focus moved to the other 3 ladies.

Luca and each of his students have secrets and as the story unfolds there are some surprises. Luca’s past was not expected. However readers might guess what Moll is carrying with her. I found Poppy to be a bit naïve at times – Valerie and Moll are the characters with the most substance in my opinion.

The recipes made my mouth water and I could imagine the tastes and smells – it is a beautifully descriptive book. The sights and sounds that describe the places the characters visit transport you to Italy in a second. You feel as if you are visiting the wine farms, restaurants and chocolatier with the rest of the cooking class.

There are recipes at the end – which is a bonus to those who would like to try the dishes explained in the book.

I just found I wanted more after the book had finished. I would have liked to see how things panned out for Valerie, Moll and Poppy. Tricia didn’t bring much to the story. Moll was irritated by her and I found I was too at times!

An easy and enjoyable read, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys food and travel.

xx

15 years ago…..

On the 6th September 2002 I went on a date with the boy next door.  It was a fantastic evening and he made me laugh the entire time.

It has been a decade and a half since that first date and that boy next door is my husband and soulmate.  He has always been there for me and made me feel loved and special every single day.  He still makes my heart flutter, makes me laugh, takes me on wonderful adventures, has seen me at my best and worst and loved me unconditionally for 15 years.

I often feel undeserving of such an amazing person’s love.  His patience knows no limits, he sees the good in situations and has a positive attitude that I envy.  He goes the extra mile every single day for me and I can never thank him enough.  I can be having a super long day and he just makes it better, puts things in perspective and I feel calmer in seconds.

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Thank you Marky.

For everything.

Words can never fully convey just how much I love you.

xx

September mantras and goals

Spring has arrived on this side of the world and I’m feeling excited for the new month.   At the start of each month I like to look back on goals and list new ones.  I’ve also started choosing two quotes or mantras which I’d like to carry throughout the month with me.

My chosen mantras for September:

quote 1

This works as my gym and fitness quote for the month.

Quote 2

A reminder which is so true.  Putting it into practice can be tricky because sometimes people don’t have boundaries and you need to set them yourself.  Detaching yourself from drama and negativity takes time but I’m determined to continue doing this.

August goals recap:

Go to gym 2 – 3 times a week. Unfortunately not every week.

Eat more meat-free meals

Try a new recipe Googled lots of recipes but that was it!

Blog twice a week (minimum)  9 posts for August so I’m happy with that.

Read 3 books

Recycle as much as possible

Leave work stress at the office  Getting better at this but still room to improve.

Surround myself with positivity.  Stop letting toxic people get to me.  Set boundaries and limit contact.  Getting better at this as well.

Declutter for 15 minutes twice a week. Nope. Hopeless at this! Started on my desk and found a diary from 2006. Shook my head and packed everything back!

September goals:

Go to gym twice a week (minimum)

Limit sugar

Read 3 books

Write 8 Blog posts for the month (minimum)

Continue surrounding myself with positivity.

Post less on Facebook and focus more on my blog. Obviously will still log on to catch up with blog groups.

Stay on top of housework and laundry.

Make Monday to Thursday healthier eating days with treat/cheat days on the weekend.

Try a new recipe

Declutter for 15 minutes twice a week.

xx

 

Happy Spring Day!

Today is the 1st of September which means spring has arrived!  I’m looking forward to warmer weather and not wearing layers of clothing.  Packing the heater away.  Enjoying more braais.  Having sundowners on the bench in our garden after work (as opposed to sitting under blankets on the couch with tea).   Swapping jackets and winter woolies for my summer clothes.  I don’t know if it is just me but I have much more to wear in summer than winter!

Anyway it is time for my weekly gratitude list and today this includes:

  • Mark got some great photos in Arniston on Saturday.
  • Lazy Sunday breakfast
  • Mark surprised with a beautiful candle from Pure and it smells amazing.
  • The rain we got on Tuesday
  • Clean and tidy home
  • Dinner at Cattle Baron – delicious burgers and chips
  • Watching old re-runs of “Mike and Molly”
  • Completing a big task at work – yesterday was a mad rush but worth it.
  • Little things that remind me of my Gran.  The snapdragon flowers that popped up in our flowerboxes.  A gift bag I found the other day with her handwriting on the tag – I remembered it was the last Christmas gift she gave Mark and I.  It feels like gentle reminders from her saying she is still around.
  • Fish and chips at work today for lunch.  Super tasty!

Less than 2 hours until the weekend – I cannot wait!  Been such a long week and I am counting the minutes to 4:00pm.

What is on your gratitude list this week?

xx

5 Things I refuse to feel guilty about

Lets face it we have enough to do each day.  Adding guilt to that to-do list is just not on.  Life is short!  Here is my top 5 things I refuse to feel bad about:

  • My shoe collection. For as long as I can remember I have loved shoes. My earliest shoe memory involves a pair of yellow, red and blue sandals (this was the late 80’s by the way). They gave me blisters but did I take them off? Nope. My love affair with these beautiful feet decorations had started. And it hasn’t gone away.  I’m always on the look out for the next perfect pair.
  • Having a cheat/treat day. You know how some days you wake up, plan to hit the gym, make a healthy dinner and read some self-improvement magazine or book before going to bed at a decent hour? And then life happens and you drive past the gym, stop at the grocery’s store bakery counter and binge watch a reality show for hours.  Well tomorrow is another day (at least that is what I tell myself).  Yesterday I skipped gym so today I’ll work extra hard.  I’m learning balance as I get older.
  • Me time. I love to read. I love to drink tea. Put the two together and you have a blissful form of escapism.
  • When a friendship fizzles out. We live in a world where social media expects us to have a huge circle of friends. But I’d rather have a few close, genuine and honest friends I can be myself with. I cannot handle when a friendship is forced on me. You politely accept a dinner invitation and before you know it, you’ve unwillingly joined a supper club that is okay for the first couple of months and then gets old. And you cannot escape. Your (numerous) hints are not received.  It took ages for this monthly event to fizzle out and the relief was enormous.  I vowed never again to let myself (and poor hubby who got dragged into it as well) get involved in things we are not interested in.
  • Not being able to walk past a stationery or book shop. I’ve tried. I’ve not succeeded. I don’t know if it is possible.

What is on your list of things you refuse to feel guilty about?

xx

The week that was

It has been a busy week and I’m thrilled that the weekend is less than 3 hours away.

Each Friday Lindsay http://theflynnigans.com/ Charlotte http://mypixieblog.com/ and Beth http://www.thebethnextdoor.com/  host a link up called What’s up weekend?  Bloggers take stock of what made us happy during the week and it is a wonderful way to start the weekend as we share our gratitude lists.

My list this week included:

  • Exploring Arniston and Cape Agulhas last weekend.  We went through extremely early to Arniston and were in time for the sunrise then we walked around I got a few snaps.

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Then off to Cape Agulhas which is the Southernmost Town in Africa.

We then headed to Hermanus where we stayed the night.

  • Eggs Benedict.  Had mine with salmon on the side at The Bistro the next morning.

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  • Buying the perfect pair of navy high heels. Finding a pair of navy shoes is like looking for a unicorn, a mermaid and the Loch Ness Monster.
  • Old favourites for dinner – boerewors rolls and oven chips made my Monday!
  • Rain this week. Our dam levels are still critically low so we are so grateful for every bit of rain.
  • The wonderful community of bloggers I’ve discovered in the last few months
  • Hearing from my colleague who left at the end of last month. Miss our laughs but at least we have e-mail.
  • Read “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. Brilliant.  Loved Morrie’s attitude and beautiful view on life and how it should be lived.  Determined to stress less over rubbish and live more in the moment.
  • The heater
  • Watching sitcoms that make you laugh after a long day at work.

What is on your list?

xx