Gratitude list

Today is Thursday but it is a Friday for me.  I’ve taken a days leave and cannot wait for my 3 day weekend to begin.  4:00pm:  you can arrive now!

We have no big plans – literally just a weekend where we’ll see what happens and I’m really looking forward to it.  This week was a short one – Monday being a holiday but it felt like a much longer week.  I felt like I was constantly catching up with the previous day.  I’m super behind on housework, need to get on top of laundry and hoping do a bit of pottering around in the garden.  More rain is expected next week so hoping to plant some flowers over the weekend.  I also want to do a wardrobe switch and move summer clothes out and pack away some winter ones.  The weather is slowly warming up but today is quite overcast so I won’t be packing all my winter clothes away just yet!

I cannot believe September is nearly over and Monday is the 1st October – time is flying. To end off my week I’m doing my gratitude list a day earlier:

  • A 3 day weekend that was awesome. Did day trips to Hermanus and Arniston.
  • Seeing Blue Cranes on Sunday. Such beautiful birds
  • New hair! Had highlights and a cut on Monday.  I feel ready for spring!
  • Spoiling myself with shampoo and conditioner from the salon (I usually buy from the supermarket but felt like giving my new highlights a treat).
  • Hot chocolate with marshmallows.
  • Naps over the long weekend.
  • Old episodes of Modern Family
  • Rain
  • Letting go of something I cannot control and focusing on the good stuff in my life instead.
  • Weather has been less cold in the mornings and evenings. Spring is here!

What about you? What is on your gratitude list this week?

xx

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Mindfulness

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A few months ago I read “The Power of Now” By Eckhart Tolle.  Reading this book made me realise how important mindfulness is in everyday living.  It also highlighted how non-present in the moment I can be. For instance, lately while watching TV, I’ll find myself doing other things as well.  Checking up on FB for instance, or paging through a magazine or adding to my to-to list.  Instead of just sitting there and enjoying the movie/sitcom/series I’m watching.

At work, I’ll be on the phone and while talking, I’ll often be typing something to save time.  Sitting with a phone gripped between my ear and shoulder isn’t comfortable and how much time am I actually saving?

We are constantly told ways to get more out of our day and given loads of tips on multi-tasking.  But how many extra hours in the day are we getting out of this?  Are we adding or subtracting time and stress in each situation?

So lately I’m trying to just be in the moment.  Present.  I’ve packed my phone away more often.  I think I posted for the first time in months on FB the other day.  I’m aiming to be more in the here and now.  Rather than floating in cyberspace waiting for approval of a photo I’ve taken of my cappuccino or a witty status update.  And you know what?  It isn’t all that difficult.  Because the more present I am, the more content I feel.  In fact when I take my phone out for a photo these days, it is to save something to share on my blog or just to remember the moment by.  Not 3 different snapshots of my rapidly cooling coffee.

At work there are times when multi-tasking is essential and then I give juggling 100%. But after the morning rush, I try tackle one task at a time and know it is done perfectly when I tick complete.

And this mindset has spilled over into other areas of my life.

I feel more engaged and present these days and it feels really good.  My aim is to spend less time fretting over the past, less time worrying over the future and more time living in the here and now.  Instead of mulling over something that happened years ago which I cannot change.  It is a work in progress – I do find it difficult to let go of things but realising that you cannot change the past is the first big step.

So that is where I’m at right now.  Being more here and appreciating the present moment as a gift.  Not brushing over it or taking it for granted.

These days when we are out, enjoying our weekends or time off work, I keep my phone in my bag and my mind in the moment.  And you know what?  I find I have more time to enjoy my cappuccino….while it is hot.

xx

My spend vs save list

Spend vs save

I saw San at http://www.theinbetweenismine.com/ did a similar post last month and I wanted to do something too.  Years ago my list would have been very different – I used to have to have the latest cellphone and I could spend ages in craft shops.  Putting this list together was fun and interesting and I encourage bloggers to make a list of their own.

Spend list:

Food and eating out

Our food bill is quite high for 2 people.  Hubby enjoys cooking (thank goodness as I’m a disaster in the kitchen).  Eating well (and healthy) is not cheap.  I prefer the meat we get at our butcher – so we end up doing grocery shopping in a few different shops.  We try to eat relatively healthily during the week and then treat ourselves to 2 – 3 meals out on weekends.

Travel

Hubby and I love discovering new places and if we enjoy a holiday or weekend away it quickly becomes a favourite that needs to be re-visited. Hermanus, Langebaan, Wilderness, PE and of course Sun City is on our list of favourites.

Courses:

I’ve always enjoyed writing so I’ve done 2 courses over the years.  A feature writing course as well as a creative writing one before that.  Learnt loads and while they weren’t cheap, they were enjoyable and I’m glad I’d enrolled.  Obviously I’d love to put them into action but who knows what the future holds right?

Cosmetics

I’m addicted to Clinique. Have worn the make up since I was in my early 20’s and doing the 3 step for over a decade now.  I love their range despite the price tag.

Nail polish is another weakness of mine and I am a huge fan of the Morgan Taylor range. Currently wearing one of my favourites ‘Sweater Weather’ as I type this.

Summer clothes:

I adore spring and summer so I always have more clothes for my favourite seasons. Dresses, skirts, pretty tops, shorts and sandals – love love love.

Save

Cellphone and techno goodies.

I used to have an amazing Samsung but after having it stolen I went back to an older model and don’t get a fluttering heart at the latest phones.  The price of cellphones (and the data they chew through) is not cheap and I cannot justify spending hundreds of Rands each month on a contract that barely gives me enough data for the first few days of the month.

Maybe I’m maturing with age.  Maybe I’ve just gotten old.  Who knows.

Craft goodies.

I’ve done so many crafts over the years.

Lets see, there was the baking and cake decorating phase.  The scrapbook phase.  The crochet phase. The knitting phase.  The journaling phase.  The colouring in phase.  Need I go on?  I spent a small fortune on each and apart from journaling haven’t done much on any of them in years.  Now before I dive into something creative, I do my research, ask myself if this is something I’m going to actually do for more than 10 minutes.  If so, then I price the necessary and take it slowly.

Winter work clothes:

I have a very boring winter wardrobe for work.  The thing is, I have a cardigan collection that I’ve built up over the years and thankfully they have lasted quite well (bar the one that has shrunken over the years and now sits 3/4 up my arm).  So each winter I’ll add a cardigan or two (had to replace the shrunken one as it was winter and arms get cold!)  But I don’t go wild with knitwear or have a fabulous choice of coats and boots.  I don’t have a clue on accessorising with trendy scarves and hats.  Just let me be (in a cardigan) until spring.

Spa days:

I went through a manicure and pedicure phase at the beginning of the year but now I prefer to do my own.  I often get asked where I have been to get my nails done when I’ve painted them myself in front of the TV.  It is very important to treat yourself (and I love going to these places) but if I visit a spa it will probably be for a special occasion or if I’ve received a voucher as a gift.

What about you? What is on your spend vs save list?

xx

Friday at last!

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Oh my goodness but was this the longest week or what?  I’ve had terrible back pain which I got seen to at the Dr on Tuesday.  The pain is muscular and I’ve got painkillers and some stretching exercises to do but it keeps sneaking back.  Last night, I was so sore that I got out of bed to do windmills to relax my left shoulder and neck which was aching.  There have been times this week when I’d wake up in so much pain that I couldn’t roll over.  Just lay there like an upturned beetle on my back.

Poor hubby didn’t get much sleep thanks to me.  I’m not a good patient – I’m cranky when I feel dreadful and my husband has the patience of a saint to put up with me!

I had to cancel plans with a friend last weekend because I woke up on the Saturday feeling so awful and then dinner with a friend on Tuesday as well.  Thank goodness for understanding friends who were happy to re-schedule for when I’m on the mend.

Work has been so busy, we have finished quarter end but there seemed so much to do this week that I feel I’ve been juggling continuously since I sat down at my desk on Monday morning.  I’m exhausted to say the least.

Anyway it is Friday and I’m linking up with  Lindsay http://theflynnigans.com/ Charlotte http://mypixieblog.com/ and Beth http://coffeeuntilcocktailsblog.com/ with my weekly gratitude list.

  • Hubby treating me to a new camera.  I love my Canon SX740 SO much!
  • Getting peace of mind regarding my back from the Dr.
  • Mark and his endless patience.
  • The heater in the office
  • Blogging and opening up about something that has weighed heavily on me.  I shared this on Monday and am grateful for the support and love from fellow bloggers. ❤
  • The longest week ever coming to an end and a 3 day weekend to look forward to
  • Jane Fallon’s books – currently reading “Faking Friends” and it is really good
  • Dam levels being just over 70% – so amazing!
  • Date night after work yesterday
  • Being spoilt with a spa voucher at work this morning.  Cannot wait to use this!

I’m so looking forward to our 3 day weekend – tonight we are going for a drive before dinner at Louis.  Tomorrow I want to take some pictures with my new camera and Sunday we might take a day trip somewhere.  I’ve got a hairdressers appointment on Monday morning.  I’ve had the same hairdo for a while now and excited (but a bit nervous) to change it.

What about you?  What is on your gratitude list?

xx

Winter bucket list recap

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It seems like yesterday that I made this list and I’ve mentioned that this winter was one of my favourites.  I just embraced the whole season with open arms and now that spring is here (although today is so cold, it doesn’t quite feel like it) I am doing a recap of my winter bucket list:

  • Go back to the Quiver trees. 
  • Have a weekend in Wilderness.
  • Visit the market in Sedgefield again  
  • Continue going to gym – winter is not an excuse! Could have gone more often but did go!
  • Cycle 45 km’s and increase speed from previous cycle
  • Go to a class offered by the gym instead of only using the treadmill Played squash so I’m still ticking this one off!
  • 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 – Nope
  • Read both “The power of now” by Eckhart Tolle or “The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo and put into practice – Read one (Power of Now)
  • 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.   Savoury – we took a favourite dinner of ours and made it healthier.
  • Say no to things that don’t interest hubby and I.  Our weekends are precious and I’m putting us first. 

A lot of my overseas friends are going into fall/autumn now as our seasons are opposite.  What was on your seasonal bucket list?

xx

If you and I had coffee

Hello Friday

Today I’m linking up with Lecy at A Simpler Grace https://asimplergrace.blogspot.com/

If you and I met for coffee I’d suggest a restaurant on a wine farm nearby.  The views are stunning and they have a beautiful outside area at the restaurant where we can sit and relax.

I’d order hot chocolate.  Spring is around the corner but the weather is still chilly and if we are sitting outside, this will warm me up instantly.

If we met for coffee I’d tell you that this winter was the first one that I embraced and actually enjoyed.  I’m not a fan of cold weather but since we need the rain, this year I loved every storm, every thunder shower, every drop!

I’d tell you that I didn’t have a great week last week.  On Wednesday night I had the worst backache I’ve ever had.  Was actually sick from it which was not fun.  Stayed home on Thursday and felt better.  Went back to work on Friday and in the evening the pain was returning but worse.  Saturday morning I was so much pain – went to get an anti-inflammatory from the pharmacy which worked but knocked me out for hours.  Sunday was better but I’m hesitant to keep taking the anti-inflammatories.  I had to cancel plans with a friend on Saturday which was really disappointing – I’d been looking forward to our catch up for weeks.

If you and I met for coffee, I’d take a deep breath before sharing something personal.  It isn’t something I advertise to anyone who isn’t extremely close to me.  Growing up I didn’t have the most fantastic childhood.  For most of it I didn’t feel very valued in my family or anywhere near number 1.  My sister has special needs and so she required a lot of love, patience, time and understanding from my parents.  And I understand that.  But while I didn’t need as much of the above, I didn’t deserve so little of it.

In my family other people were always seen as incredibly important to my parents.  So a relative, a friend, a neighbor – anyone that had a need of any sort was welcomed with open arms.  Our house was always full of people – I can honestly say that being surrounded by people is no guarantee against loneliness.  I had a Gran who loved me unconditionally and I know she knew I wasn’t always having the most amazing time at home while growing up but it wasn’t her place to say anything.  She later told me this as an adult which made me realise that I wasn’t being oversensitive to things.

I grew up and assumed that this unfortunate baggage could be left behind.  But it didn’t.  It required (and still does) a massive suitcase which I lug around each and every day.

And it is exhausting to say the least.

Talking about it with my folks has never worked.  They think they did a sterling job and nothing I say will ever change their mind.

I thought that being an adult would mean I’d stop caring about my past.  But somehow feeling invisible and constantly sidelined has made me terrified it will happen again.

And it sucks.  Immensely.  Those who love me don’t deserve to be bled on by me because of others who did the hurting.  And it is an uphill battle to remember this.

As an adult, I’ve readjusted my expectations of my parents and every time I lower them, I think to myself that they cannot hurt me again.  I went out of my way in January when my Mom was in critical care in the hospital – spending days in Worcester to be near her hospital.  The only request I had afterwards was that they kept me updated with health issues.  Health has always been something they have kept me guessing with.  I literally will know my mother has had an operation after she has had an operation.  I’ll find out she was ill or in pain after she has landed up in the hospital.  And just excuses get given each time.  In April when this happened I was upset but I lowered my expectations yet again and kept up daily contact via Whatsapp on my mother’s hospital visit in June.  I knew which day she was being released from hospital and my phone battery that morning started beeping that it was low.  I sent a frantic message saying I’d catch up later, all the best for the day.  Heard nothing.  Checked e-mails each hour.  Rushed home and charged my phone, no messages, sent another.  No answer.

Their phones were off.

I spent a night worried out of my mind, sent more messages in the morning and got a cheery reply that they were home already the day before.

You’d think I was used to the mind games after over 3 decades but there is still this crushing hurt mixed with disappointment.

They chose to move last year.  It was their decision.  But it has been my husband and my responsibility to visit them each time we’ve seen them.  And I expect nothing and ask less but still nothing I do earns the right to be kept in the loop regarding health issues.  They’ve done this for years – why am I not used to it?

We’d say goodbye and I’d thank you for listening (and promise I’ll be in a better mood at our next coffee date).

What about you?  What would you discuss with a friend on a coffee date?

xx

September mantras and goals

I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that we are in September!  While many bloggers are talking about fall/autumn we are getting ready for spring and I’m looking forward to the warmer weather and not having to wear layers of clothing every day!  The weather is still quite cool at the moment and I’m sitting with the heater on full blast as I type this 🙂

My August goals were:

  • Look into doing yoga Well I sent an e-mail enquiring classes – does that count?
  • Continue to meditate Not as often as I should have
  • Declutter one area or room Nope
  • Put OLW for 2018 into action Not really
  • Read 3 books  Read 2

Yeah I know – terrible.  August just seems to have gotten away from me.

September goals:

  • Go to a yoga class
  • Make time for close friends
  • Declutter wardrobe and donate clothes I don’t wear
  • Read 3 books
  • Blog 10 times
  • Be more mindful
  • Less time online – 2 FB free days a week?

My mantras focus on gratitude and mindfulness this month:

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Tell me, what are your goals and mantras for September?

xx

Sentence a day: August edition

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I got this idea from Lindsay  http://theflynnigans.com  You sum up a month with a sentence (sometimes more) per day and it is basically a snapshot of your month.  Remembering a month day by day is not easy so I keep an electronic record and each day just add the previous day’s highlight or happenings and there you go – 31 days condensed.

Wednesday 1st August: Woke up just before 4:00am and finally fell asleep just minutes before the alarm went off.  Busy day.

Thursday 2nd August: Another busy day.  So glad the weekend is around the corner.

Friday 3rd August:  Decided spur of the moment to have a weekend in Hermanus!  Hubby left early to pack (did a great job), fetched me and we went Hermanus from work.  Did grocery shopping and checked in and had an awesome braai.

Saturday 4th August:  Went to Greyton and did a walk.  Then chilled out and had another braai.

Sunday 5th August: Hubby got an amazing waterfall picture at Harold Porter Botanical Garden.  We had breakfast then made our way home.

Monday 6th August:  Had zero sleep and felt awful.  Stayed at home.

Tuesday 7th August:  Better nights sleep, migraine gone, back to work.  Really busy day, got home and caught up on laundry and ironing and had a delicious dinner.

Wednesday 8th August:  So awesome knowing tomorrow is a public holiday.  We got something ready made from Woolies, drinks to enjoy and had a great evening knowing we could sleep late the next day.

Thursday 9th August:  Public holiday!  Lunch at Cattle Baron then had a long drive and came home and watched a movie.

Friday 10th August:  Back to work.  Busy day, did an assessment for a course I’m doing through work and I got 80% so I was rather chuffed!  Date night with hubby in the evening.  Went to Louis for pizza.

Saturday 11th August:  So nice to lay in after a busy week.  Had brunch at the Rambling Rose and then took a long drive afterwards.

Sunday 12th August:  Super chilled pajama day.  Bliss.

Monday 13th August:  Visited my in-laws after work and then went to Cattle Baron for dinner.

Tuesday 14th August:  Really cold!   So grateful for the heater in the office!

Wednesday 15th August:  Had drinks on our bench outside after work.

Thursday 16th August:  The 2 year anniversary of my blog!

Friday 17th August:  Freezing!  Getting out of bed was such an effort this morning.  Went out for dinner in the evening and had delicious pizza.

Saturday 18th August:  Went for a cycle – I managed 45 km’s which is my longest ever.

Sunday 19th August:  Had a lie in, then caught up with laundry, had a late breakfast, watched movies, napped and went for a drive to Camps Bay.

Monday 20th August:  After work we had a games night at Mark’s parents.  Had so much fun laughing our way through 30 seconds.

Tuesday 21st August:  The dam levels are 60.1%.  Praying for more rain so that by summer they are fuller.

Wednesday 22nd August:  Lovely surprise from my boss’s wife – sushi for lunch.

Thursday 23rd August:  Left my keys at home so I was locked out of my drawer (with work diary, stationery etc) all day.  Very busy and long day.  So glad I’ve got a 3 day weekend!

Friday 24th August:  Hermanus weekend!  Went to look at the Canola fields and Stanford along the way.  Had breakfast at The Brassiere South and then went for another drive. Went to look for whales and spotted a few! Checked in, did grocery shopping and Mark went to take photos of the Canola fields in the afternoon sun – stunning.  Had a delicious braai and was glad we made the most of the beautiful weather because the wind picked up and a storm was on the way.

Saturday 25th August:  Seriously windy day.  We had breakfast and then took a drive along to De Kelders and then to Pearly Beach.  Got back and I was so relaxed I had a nap. Hubby made us an amazing braai and as he finished it started pouring with rain – great timing.  Watched rugby while it poured with rain.

Sunday 26th August:  Woke up to hail!  Had tea in bed while hubby went to look for whales and then came back for breakfast.  We packed up and went to the Spur for nachos – YUM.

Monday 27th August:  Freezing weather!

Tuesday 28th August:  Work function after work.  Had a great evening at a stunning restaurant in Gardens.

Wednesday 29th August:  Really busy day at work.

Thursday 30th August:  Even busier day!  Hello Friday?  Are you there?

Friday 31st August:  Hooray for the weekend!  Date night – went to have pizza at Louis – delicious!

xx

Hello spring!

Winter

It seems like just the other day it was autumn and I was filled with envy for those going into summer.  I’m not a winter person and wasn’t looking forward to the long cold months ahead.  But then a few weeks in I decided to make the most of the season and focus on the positives and you know what?

I loved this winter.

I changed my mindset from someone who used to complain “it is so cold” numerous times a day to that of gratitude.  I made a winter bucket list of things I wanted to do during the season.   I loved every moment of the rain because it meant dam levels would increase and often when it poured outside, I’d take a few minutes to watch it.  The other day at work, I took a moment out of a busy day to just sit and watch the rain and felt so grateful.

The rain has meant beautiful waterfalls which Mark has been taking stunning photographs of.  He is going to make a 2019 calendar with these photos and I cannot wait to see the end result once it is printed.

Our winters are not as cold as those that some of my overseas friends experience.  When we talk about snow, it is on top of the mountains not our gardens.  However we’ve had some cold weather and I’ve been very grateful for heaters!  At night after a quick shower I would get into my jim jams and thick gown and get comfy under blankets on the couch.  On days with good weather we’d go for a cycle or plan a day trip and make the most of it.  There was no hibernating and waiting for spring!  We went on adventures and spent loads of time in Hermanus.  Had a great weekend in Wilderness and visited the Northern Cape to see the Quiver trees.

I genuinely loved this winter.  I’m not saying I loved the cold temperatures but I did make the most of the season.  Now that spring is here (although it doesn’t feel like it just yet) I’ll admit that the time flew by very quickly.   It is amazing how changing my mindset (and attitude) made the last few months so different to previous winters.  I spent the cold months feeling content instead of wishing the time away and I focused on simple pleasures.  Sitting a few days ago drinking tea in bed while it rained outside was a wonderful way to start my day.

The collage at the top of this post are highlights from snapshots over the past few months.

Seasons are like life….it is what you make of it that counts.

xx