December recap

Each month the lovely Kirsten from hosts a link up where bloggers can share a recap from their previous month.

December was a wonderful month and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.  In the beginning we drove to Montagu to visit my parents and sister.  We had a great time, catching up over breakfast and then going back to their home and spending the day there.  Distance is not easy folks!  I’m going to say that again and when you rely on technology to communicate things can get misinterpreted pretty quickly and feelings hurt.  My mom and I are good at this!  it is Things have been difficult with the distance and just spending the day catching up face to face was really good. 

I decorated very early and splashed out on new Christmas mugs.

We celebrated our 13th anniversary in December in Hermanus.  Love that place as you know.

Christmas was so much fun.  We made a roast gammon, potatoes and veggies and had a super chilled day.  We were in Hermanus and in the evening we drove to De Kelders so Mark could photograph an amazing sunset.  Came back and ate more gammon with mince pies for dessert!

We visited Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and did the Leopardskloof hike which gives views of amazing waterfalls.  It was really an amazing experience.

We spent some time in Pringle Bay and found a stunning restaurant with the best lemon meringue ever.  We’ll be back soon!

When we got home we had a few days still on leave and spent them doing day trips to Franschhoek and Langebaan.

And that was December! 

January 2020 monthly goals and mantras

This is the first monthly goals post for the decade (just wanted to say that).

I’m linking up with Lindsay Charlotte and Beth with monthly goals and mantras.

Let me see how I did with my goals in December:

– Read 2 books – nope

– Make time for self care everyday – Perhaps not every single day but I did make time for myself.

– Put tree up and decorate home (already done but nice to tick something off early in the month!)

– Finish Christmas shopping.  Ate part of one present – so just need to replace that…… – YES

– Make time to visit my Dad – YES. Had such a special day with my parents and sister.

–  Have a beautiful Christmas, a relaxing time on leave (celebrating our anniversary and the festive season). – YES

January 2020 Goals

  • Read 2 books
  • Get back into my gym routine
  • Do an anniversary and Christmas recap post

Mantra for the month: Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future – Deepak Chopra.

Here is to a great January everyone!


Show us your books – November link up


Second Tuesday of the month which means linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books.  Here is what I read in October.

Book 1

The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan

The plot:  Flora runs the Summer Seaside kitchen in the Scottish highlands, after leaving her job and life in London.  She has a complicated relationship with Joel who she worked for in London.  This is the second book in a series (which I didn’t know until starting the book) but it is possible to just jump in without reading the first book.

What I thought:  I’ve read many books by Jenny Colgan and in all honesty I see a trend.  The Little Beach Street Bakery and Rosie Hopkins Sweet Shop series have similarities and it doesn’t seem to matter if you start the series at the beginning or just pick up one and delve in.  You are quickly caught up but the themes seem similar.  Woman leaves job to run coffee shop/bakery/sweet shop.  Woman meets man but rocky road to love follows.

Lack of communication in the Endless Beach was a huge irritation for me.  Seriously in the modern age of technology how difficult to stay in contact (bad signal/cellphone reception taken into consideration)…..

Everyone is drowning in their own thoughts, but nobody shares or opens up.  Main characters assume everyone must read their minds.  I was relieved when it was finished and will not read the next in the series.

My Goodreads rating:  One star.

Book 3

The Hive by Gill Hornby

The Plot:  It is a new school year at St Ambrose.  There is fierce competition and one upmanship.  Shifting friendships and betrayal.  And that is just the mothers.

Bea is the unchallenged queen of the various committees and rules the school.  Heather just wants to volunteer and be a part of it all.  Rachel, former best friend of Bea doesn’t know why she has been pushed to the sidelines.

What I thought:  This book started off slowly and I put it to one side earlier this year.  Then decided last month to try again and I’m glad I did.  There are a few characters which I’m sure everyone has met in their lives.  Bea is a bully – a grown version of Regina George in Mean Girls.  Rachel is her bewildered friend, going through a divorce and confused why her former best friend has frozen her out.  Heather is a people pleaser desperate for approval.  Georgie does her own thing, doesn’t care what people think and most people love her despite her blunt honesty and careless attitude.  The book grew on me the more I read it.

My Goodreads rating:  3 stars

Book 2

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The plot:  Libby has just inherited a huge house in Chelsea.  25 years ago police were called and found a well fed baby (Libby) in one of the bedrooms.  Downstairs were 3 decomposing bodies and a note.  The 4 teenagers who lived in the house had disappeared and couldn’t be found.  As the investigation was carried out 25 years ago, chilling facts were uncovered but the truth has remained unknown.

What I thought:  Another awesome read from Lisa Jewell!  This book has so many twists and turns and kept me guessing.

These days I tend to predict a lot of the so-called surprises and endings in books but this time I didn’t.

Told from various character’s points of view – Libby, a woman called Lucy who is in France and needing to return to the UK (and to the house where everything happened), and one of the children who grew up in the house with dreadful secrets.  The last view gives history to the house and what events led to the shocking discovery 25 years ago.

My goodreads rating: 4 stars

Currently reading “The Missing wife” by Sheila O’Flanagan.

What about you?  Read anything interesting lately?


October recap – what is new with you?

Each month the lovely Kirsten from hosts a link up where bloggers can share a recap from their previous month.

We went to Sun City and Pilanesberg national Park last month and saw the best wildlife sightings since we started visiting this amazing place years ago.


It was the hottest weather we’ve ever experienced – got to 41 degrees the one day.  Took a pic as proof……..


When we are in Sun City we visit Pilanesberg National Park and stay for hours.  You never know what you’ll see and it is always so exciting.  We had the MOST leopard sightings in a trip which was very special.




Cheetah mom and her cubs


Elephants cooling off in the water




Brown Hyena










And of course one of my favourites……Giraffes!  I love them 🙂




Mark booked us a drive early one morning which was great.  Each day we went to the park he drove but going with a ranger meant he could sit back and take in all the beautiful sights.



The weather was out of this world.  We took early morning drives through Pilanesberg and then had brunch at the Lost City Golf Club.





I had some pampering at the spa at Gary Player Country Club.


Went to the hairdresser one of the afternoons and then booked a manicure and pedicure the following evening.

We spent time at Valley of the Waves.



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We stayed at the Vacation Club which is self catering.  The apartments are spacious and have aircon (thank goodness with the heat!)  In the evenings we’d sit on the balcony after supper and just relax with our drinks and snacks and talk about our day and all the sightings.


It was such a memorable week and already we are missing this amazing place and want to go back!



Linking up with Kirsten from See You In A Porridge.

Link up


Show us your books – October link up


Today, being the second Tuesday of the month I’m linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books.  I didn’t do a September link up so I’ve carried a couple of books over 2 months.

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Watching you by Lisa Jewell

The plot:

Joey is a newlywed who has moved back to the UK with her new husband and is staying at her brother’s house.  She is fascinated by their neighbor – Tom Fitzwilliam who is the Principal at a nearby school.  Tom is a lot older than her and is married with a son.  Joey tries to fight it but soon her fascination turns to a serious obsession with the man next door.

While Joey thinks she is the only one watching Tom, it soon becomes evident that someone else is watching her.

The book moves from the past to the present.  There has been a murder and Joey and other neighbours have been called in for questioning (I’m not giving anything away – this is literally at the start of the book).

My thoughts: 

This book was one of my favourites by Lisa Jewell (and I ADORE her books).  It is creepy and chilling in parts and kept me guessing most of the time.  I did guess a big part of the plot but it is still a really good rollercoaster of a book.

My Goodreads rating:  4 stars

Last anniversary

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

The plot:

Sophie has just inherited a house on a beautiful island.  Her ex-boyfriend’s Aunt Connie has left her this amazing surprise and Sophie is speechless and overwhelmed.  Connie’s family is surprised at her decision but most of them welcome Sophie and she begins a new life in her new home.  Sophie quickly learns that everyone on the island is hiding a huge secret or two!   The island is home to a famous mystery (the baby Munro mystery) which Sophie will learn the truth to on her 40th birthday.

My thoughts:

There are quite a few characters in this book and the story is told by most of them.  Sophie is a very likable and positive character and she realizes that in life sometimes you have to make your own fairytale ending.  I guessed what the story behind the Munro baby mystery was early in the book.  There is a lot going on between what happened all those years ago, to Sophie’s present life and I don’t know how relevant it all was.  I felt as soon as I got to know a character, I had more to learn about them.

My Goodreads rating:  3 Stars

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Three little lies

The Plot:  Ellen and Sasha have been friends since they were in their teens.  One fateful night something happened that destroyed the lives of those around them.  Many years later the two are flatmates and Ellen thinks she knows everything about her best friend.  But when Sasha goes missing, she realises how wrong she is.

My thoughts:  This books is told from a few characters view and moves from 2005 to 2017.  It dragged in parts and was not as enjoyable as the author’s Friend Request which I read at the beginning of the year.  The reviews online are good – I just couldn’t rate it in line with them.  I guessed quite a big part of the plot but it is cleverly disguised throughout the book.

My Goodreads rating:  2 Stars

Slim Chance by Jackie Rose

Slim chance

The plot:  Evelyn has just been proposed to by her long-term boyfriend Bruce.  Determined to fit into her size 8 Vera Wang wedding dress, she launches herself into a serious makeover so she can be the perfect bride.  Unfortunately she doesn’t realise a new figure, new wardrobe and new look brings with it a new set of problems.

My thoughts:  I needed some light hearted chick lit and this book delivered.  Evie is the most self centred and selfish character I’ve read in ages and the book is quite a fun read.  Not something I’d recommend to book snobs – this is purely a humorous read if you feel like some light hearted escapism.  

My Goodreads rating:  3 Stars

I have a DNF – City Lives by Patricia Scanlon.  I very rarely don’t finish a book so this is big for me.

City Lives

I’ve read many of Patricia’s books and enjoyed most but this just felt like an overload.  It was the 3rd book in a series but I feel that so much time is spent recapping the past that it doesn’t matter if you read the first two or not.  I put it down.  Life is too short.

What about you?

What have you been reading?


August recap – what is new with you?

Each month the lovely Kirsten from hosts a link up where bloggers can share a recap from their previous month.

August was a great month and Mark and I enjoyed two weekends up the West Coast.  I love Langebaan.  I love seeing the Gannets at Bird Island in Lamberts Bay.  I got some spa pampering.  Great food at Ginja Beanz. Both getaways left me feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead.






We discovered a new place for breakfast and brunch called Jarryds in Town.  I’d visited the restaurant after a morning hike with my boss and some colleagues and wanted to show Mark the menu.  So we had a couple of brunches there and the food is SO good.



I spent a lot of time at the gym, did my best 5k run and lost a few kilos.  We have been doing meal planning and increasing our veggies (not that you’d tell by the pics above haha).  But during the week we have been eating super healthily and doing a dry month.

Getting back into my creative writing was one of my goals for August and I’m pleased to say I ticked it off the list.  I just need to allocate more time to it.

I did make time for blogging and finally got around to writing a post I’ve been meaning to share for ages on female friendships.

The month flew by to be honest and now we are in spring.  The mornings are less chilly and summer is around the corner.  It is my favourite time of year 🙂

What about you?  How was your August?





2019 Winter bucket list recap


I must say I enjoyed this last winter and once again embraced the chilly weather and made the most of it.  We are going into spring now and I’m looking forward to unpacking my summer clothes and swapping jackets for dresses and sandals.

My winter 2019 bucket list included:

  • Visit somewhere we’ve never been before  Yes and it was so enjoyable.  We visited Giants Castle in the Drakensberg.
  • Cycle 45km’s No, unfortunately not.
  • Get a new winter jacket  Which I pretty much wore it most of winter!
  • Plan a getaway to Wilderness and visit the market in Sedgefield again Spent Easter in Wilderness
  • Read “The life changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo Nope, still on my TBR list
  • Get new yoga clothes
  • Do a workshop through the yoga studio I attend  I missed the last 2 sessions as I was sick but I’m ticking this off
  • Make soup from scratch Nope!
  • Embrace the season change like I did last year and make the most of the cold weather
  • Go to bed earlier during the week

I’m debating whether to make a summer bucket list because whilst we have loads planned I feel like I just want to savour the warmer weather and not make another to-do list.  For some reason I feel more care-free and chilled in the warmer weather and I just want to soak up every moment.