Book review: The Year that Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly


I’ve read many of Cathy Kelly’s books and I think this is one of my favourites.

The story is about 3 women having a milestone birthday.

Ginger is turning 30 and her birthday coincides with her best friend’s wedding.  She is convinced that the evening will be memorable and it is….but for the wrong reasons.

Sam is 40 and about to have a baby.  When she goes into labour on her birthday her fears about motherhood surface.  Her mother and her are not close and she worries that she’ll end up being just as detached and unsupportive to her own child.

Callie is 50 and she is having a huge birthday party which is brought to a halt by unexpected visitors who bring shocking news.  The life she has lived is suddenly thrown into chaos as she realises that things are not what they seem.

I loved this book and highly recommend it as a light and enjoyable read.  The 3 characters are woman at completely different stages of their lives and the book starts on the day of their birthdays.  Callie and Ginger find out something shocking that they were not expecting and Sam goes into labour.  The story then backtracks to a month before their birthdays and then moves swiftly along post birthday.  It is cleverly written and readers will warm up to the characters from the start.

As the year goes by each character grows and learns things about themselves that they wouldn’t have known a year before.  There is heartbreak, shocks and disappointments but also joy and hope with each chapter and each women learns that she is stronger than she realised.

Another fun read by Cathy Kelly!


Weekend vibes

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Greetings Friday!  So glad you’ve arrived!  This week wasn’t too busy but I didn’t find my way to gym at all.  I did cycle for over 2 hours on the weekend so I’m not going to feel bad.  I just wish I didn’t blame the cold weather for skipping gym so often!

Had a fabulous date night with hubby on Tuesday evening – we had planned to go for a run but he suggested dinner out and dinner clearly won!  I put more meal planning in this week – healthier lunches and dinners and this morning the scale registered this.  I’m trying to eat less meat and without even trying had a couple of vegetarian days.

Fridays are extra cool as there is a link up with the fabulous Peaceful Posse.  Lindsay Charlotte and Beth host this amazing Friday link up called What’s up weekend?  Bloggers share their gratitude lists and it is awesome to read about what made fellow bloggers smile the past few days.

My list this week:

  • Going to Langebaan on Saturday and enjoying brunch at Ginja Beanz.  They make the best tramezzinis I’ve ever had.  Seriously.
  • Cycling 40 km’s afterwards! Longest cycle I’ve done so far – felt quite proud.
  • When Mark surprises me with my favourite frozen yoghurt.  Currently that flavour is Turkish Delight and it is delicious.  Yes even in winter I love frozen yoghurt.
  • Having more rain this week.
  • Spontaneous date night on Tuesday.
  • Clean home – funny how polished surfaces and sparkling clean bathrooms just put me in a good mood!
  • Ended work an hour early yesterday and it was great to beat traffic, get home early, have a shower and get under blankets on the couch to watch a movie.
  • Fresh bedding – slept so wonderfully last night. Had an early night and it makes such a difference.
  • Reading a brilliant book my Aunt lent me. “Silent Voices” by Ann Cleeves.  Couldn’t put it down – I found the main character awesome and I want to find other books featuring her.  There is also a also a program on TV called “Vera” based on these books which I look forward to watching.
  • Learning so much from “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.  I’m just on chapter 3 but there is so much to take in and I’m nodding along to alot.  Overthinking and the inability to live in the moment is an issue for so many.  I don’t know what took me so long to read this.  I remember Divya mentioning this on her blog recently and I’m grateful that I read her post.  Thank you Divya 🙂

This weekend is going to be a fun one.  We are off to photograph the Quiver Trees tomorrow in hopefully better weather.  Hoping for a long cycle on Sunday – also weather dependent.  Then a late lunch at Cattle Baron afterwards.  Housework and laundry are sorted for the moment so no chores this weekend – just fun and relaxing to be had.

What about you?  What is on your gratitude list this week?  Anything exciting planned for the weekend?


If we met for coffee


I always enjoy these sorts of posts which Lecy does.  And Beth recently did one too.

Basically one writes about what they would discuss if they met a friend for coffee.  Any thoughts or concerns are shared and it is an enjoyable way to open up about what is on your mind.

If we met for coffee I’d tell you that I’m so grateful for the rain we have been getting.  The water situation is really worrying and watching every drop we use during the day is tiring.

I’d tell you that I’m trying very hard to get fit and not use the cold weather as an excuse to skip gym.  I’ve been cycling lately and enjoy it.  I rode 40 km’s the other day and shocked myself because I was so certain I didn’t have the energy.

I’d share with you that my germ aversion is very much there at the moment and is causing me to feel stressed.  We all have things we like to avoid but unlike my phobia of heights and snakes, avoiding germs is tricky.  I get very irritated when sick people don’t just stay home and recover – I find it disrespectful that FOMO for a party/dinner/get together is more important to them than other people’s health.  Also being sympathetic is not always my first thought – I hope I don’t catch anything or better keep my distance – is more likely what I’m thinking when someone is ill and drags themself to the office or to a get together.  Also coughing without putting your hand in front of your mouth is disgusting and I find it extremely selfish.

As we enjoy our coffee I’ll admit that I think I’m becoming more of an introvert as I get older.  I also don’t have time for drama and I am avoiding people who like to stir and cause trouble because life is too short.  Being an introvert means that I don’t appreciate people forcing their way into my personal space and I despise having my hair touched and stroked by people who think I’m a human version of their cat.

After we finish drinking and get the bill, I’ll tell you how much I love My Kitchen Rules Australia and how I cannot wait the next season of the South African My Kitchen Rules to start.  I’m no chef but I enjoy cooking shows.

We’ll say goodbye and arrange to meet up for another coffee and catch up soon.


Winter bucket list


I’m not the biggest fan of winter but at 35 I need to accept it arrives each year and I need to make the most of it.  So I compiled a bucket list of things to warm up the next few months.

  • Go back to the Quiver trees.  We went the weekend before last and it was amazing.  Now we want to go back and spend more time there – hopefully the weather will be better with a bit more sun.
  • Have a weekend in Wilderness. Was there for Easter and it seems so long ago.  I love that place.
  • Visit the market in Wilderness again
  • Continue going to gym – winter is not an excuse!
  • Cycle 45 km’s and increase speed from previous cycle
  • Go to a class offered by the gym instead of only using the treadmill
  • Do a proper winter shop. Stock up on spencers and thick stockings.  Actually make a list so I don’t return with a pair of sandals on sale.
  • Make soup from scratch
  • Read both “The power of now” by Eckhart Tolle or “The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo and put into practice
  • Keep up with my book goals – I’m aiming to have read 40 by the end of the year
  • Try a new recipe – savoury or sweet
  • Say no to things that don’t interest hubby and I.  Our weekends are precious and I’m putting us first.

Do you have a seasonal bucket list?  If so, what is on it?


Friday gratitude

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Well hello Friday – you certainly took your time.

This week was a long one and I didn’t get to gym as often as I’d have liked to but I cut down on junk food, ate out less and did meal planning which once I got into was actually easy.

My gratitude list for this week includes:

  • Finally found shoes for cycling!  Found a pair by Giro and they are so comfortable.  They are not clip ons – I’m not ready to try those just yet.
  • Sushi for dinner on Friday night.  It was a great start to the weekend.
  • Visiting the Northern Cape on Saturday – seeing the Quiver trees was absolutely amazing.  Well worth the early start and long drive (total km’s travelled was over 500).

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  • Relaxed Sunday – did a bit of housework and went to gym
  • Going for a run after work on Tuesday and being so glad I did it afterwards
  • Fresh fruit with plain yoghurt
  • The cold weather hasn’t quite started and we had a lovely Wednesday evening, sitting on the bench outside in our garden
  • Red cappucchino at lunchtime yesterday
  • Healthy dinners from Sunday to last night
  • Getting lost in a book.  Currently reading “Silent Voices” by Ann Cleeves and cannot put it down.

I was hoping to go for a cycle tomorrow but other than that we have no plans and I love weekends where anything is possible but nothing is scheduled.  We are thinking of lunch somewhere nice on Sunday or a brunch – we’ll see 🙂


Humpday confessions

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#1  I shamelessly recycled a gift last week.  It was something that was given to me with zero thought and so I palmed it off on someone who has rarely displayed a shred of thoughtfulness.  It felt good.

#2  The gift was (for some odd reason) appreciated so I feel like I decluttered and did a good deed at the same time.  That is called multitasking.

#3  I’m getting too old to pretend “lets catch up sometime – I haven’t seen you in months/years” dinners are enjoyable.  I was chatting to a work friend about this today.  We agreed that sometimes there are people who feel it necessary to catch up with those they rarely see and it is almost like they need to tick off a task on a to-do list.

  • Meeting at 9:00am – DONE
  • Phone for hairdresser appointment – DONE
  • Meet up with people not seen in a year – E-MAIL SENT!
  • Follow up repeatedly – DONE!

Please don’t!

At 35 I know who my real friends are and am extremely grateful for them.  They know how I felt after I lost my Gran a year and half ago and how stressful this year has been with my Mom in and out of hospital.  They offered kind words, thoughtful messages and knew what I was going through.  So those are the friends I feel that I should be making time for.

#4  Unless it is a cooking show like My Kitchen Rules or Masterchef I don’t watch much reality TV these days.

#5  I’ve been eating loads of sushi lately.  I find it so convenient to get a platter after work after a long day.  And no cooking with few dishes to wash is a win-win!

#6  I’ve had the is-it-Friday-yet feeling since Monday morning.  And I’m struggling to understand how today is only Wednesday.

#7  I’ve officially given up on hoping my hair is going to grow.  I’ve never had it grow so slowly.  EVER.

#8  I can see myself in the future as an elderly person with this same bob I’m wearing now.  “Oh this” I will say “this is the haircut I had in October 2017”.

#9  I keep laughing out loud at random parts of old episodes of “Life in Pieces”.  I want to be like Jen when I grow up.

#10  I’m wondering if tonight is for gym or for relaxing on the couch with a glass of wine.  A case of head vs heart!



Despite being a 3 day week for me (sore throat that wouldn’t go away and was going to my chest) it still felt like a long week.  Work has been busy, the weather cold and I’ve not had the highest level of energy while taking every sore throat remedy I can find.

Also since I’ve gotten into cycling I’ve been wanting to get cycling shoes (but not the ones with cleats) which leaves me with very few options.  Finding a pair that fits comfortably has turned into an impossible task (what is up with my feet?)

So I’m ready for Friday and am counting down the minutes to 4:00pm.

My gratitude list for the week includes:

  • Sushi for dinner last Friday
  • Catching up with one of my Aunts on Saturday morning. We had breakfast and ended up chatting for over 2 and a half hours
  • New cycling shorts and jacket. So comfortable – cannot wait to get back on my bike
  • Clinique goodies – I had to stock up on some toner and night cream and treated myself to some new make up.
  • Strava – so glad I joined and it was cool seeing my activity for April.
  • Finally sorted out the bathroom cabinet.  And did another shelf of the linen cupboard (1 to go).
  • Rain!! Started Monday night and we got more on Tuesday.
  • Feeling better after staying home 2 days this week. Sore throat seems to be going.  I slept so much and staying in my jim jams, keeping warm and just taking time to get better really helped.
  • Finished reading “The year that changed everything” by Cathy Kelly and loved it.  Going to do a book review soon.

This evening we are just going to do some grocery shopping and then have a quiet evening ahead.  Tomorrow we have an adventure planned – hoping the weather plays along as it is an amazing place for photography (I’ll hopefully do a post on it next week).  Sunday I’m hoping to fit in a slow cycle – feel like I haven’t exercised in ages and know I have to take it slow.

What is on your gratitude list this week?


May mantras and goals

A new month and a new set of mantras and goals.  April flew by far too quickly.  I was just getting over the fact that March was finished when May arrived.

My goals for last month were:

  • Finish last 2 shelves of linen cupboard  Nope.  No excuses. 
  • Sort bathroom cupboard out See above.  Again no excuses.
  • Go to gym  Yes and it was great!
  • Read 3 books
  • Live out my OLW for the year. Stop making excuses and just release!  I like to think I’m getting there.
  • Decide on a blog name – new blog is getting there – just need to make a final decision on the name.  Yes at long last!  Will be sharing my new blog soon.
  • Go for a cycle.  I lost my cycling confidence a bit and need to get it back.  I went for 3 and my longest cycle was 36km’s.
  • Drive more often. Definitely a trend here with wheels and I.  Nope. 

May’s goals:

  • Drive more often
  • Declutter last 2 shelves of linen cupboard and organise bathroom cabinet
  • Plan dinners and eat more healthy lunches
  • Read either “The power of now” by Eckhart Tolle or “The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo.


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If overthinking was an Olympic sport I’d have so many medals!  What is up with that – so annoying and such a difficult habit to get rid of.

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Need to do more of this!

What is on your list for May?