On balance

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One of the things that I sometimes battle with is balance.  I’ve often had an all-or-nothing view to random things and it is something I’ve been trying to address.

For instance I’ll go shopping for one item.  Walk out with bags of things I don’t need.

Go out for dinner with the goal of ordering something healthy.  Reach for the wine list and go for a huge burger.

Decide to go to gym and have a dinner full of veggies and skinless chicken.  Skip gym.  Stop off at the shop for an easy lazy dinner.

Plan to clean one evening after work.  Procrastinate, go out for dinner, stop off to get ice-cream on the way home.

Cut out sugar.  Do this for a whole day.  Eat a family sized kit kat.

You get the picture.  But life is not all or nothing.  Everyday we get the opportunity to make good choices that hopefully impact our future selves positively.  That workout this afternoon means I’m more likely to hit the gym the rest of the week.  It means I’ll feel fitter when summer arrives.  That healthy lunch I have at my desk means I’m more motivated to stick to my dinner plans and have extra vegetables this week.  To drink more water.  Small steps that all add up.

Yesterday we had lots planned, doing work around our garden.  Going to gym.  Grocery shopping.  Shopping for a friend’s birthday present.  Looking at containers for the bathroom cupboard.  Catching up with laundry.  Doing a quick vacuum.  Healthy supper.   It started raining and I could hear the couch calling.  I could see us putting off our list of plans and getting comfortable with some frozen yoghurt and the TV.  I looked at the book I’m reading and thought how much I could get through in an afternoon.   Then I realised it is that old all-or-nothing reasoning that I’ve listened to, far too many times.

We skipped the gardening and thought we’d see how much of our to-do list we’d get through.  Before we knew it, we had done it all and I must say it felt really good.  Last night as I dozed on the couch during a movie, I realised that not ticking off 100% on your list does not justify putting off the other 99%.  I think I’ve always known this but putting it into practice cemented it once again.

If I’d decided to put off all of Sunday’s plans I’d have missed out.  On running my best 5km ever.  On stocking up my gift drawer with some amazing goodies after finding a lovely present for my friend.  On finding containers so I can finally organise the bathroom cupboard.

I’d be sitting with an even longer to-do list on a Monday and instead I’m pleased with all I’ve done today and looking forward to a good week.

What about you?  Do you find balance easy or challenging?

xx

Happy Friday

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Hello Friday!  This week has been a long one.  Busy.  Good.  Could be better but I’m not complaining as Friday morning has arrived and there is a weekend just hours away, waiting to be enjoyed.

Fridays mean happy vibes and gratitude lists.  As always, I enjoy linking up with Lindsay http://theflynnigans.com/ Charlotte http://mypixieblog.com/ and Beth http://coffeeuntilcocktailsblog.com/  with my list of things that made me smile during the week.

  • Spending another weekend up the West Coast.  The Gannets at Lamberts Bay were exquisite and we had a wonderful stay at our favourite guesthouse in Langebaan.
  • Getting pampered at the Spa in Langebaan.  Had a pedicure and the bright orange just shouts spring is around the corner.
  • Caramel muffin and coffee as an early afternoon desk snack
  • Doing a post that I’ve been wanting to write for ages about female friendships https://my30somethingadventures.wordpress.com/2019/08/19/4001/  Thanks Charlotte for the inspiration. It is a topic that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
  • Making time for gym. Monday was so busy but I made sure I fitted in a 4km run.
  • Working from home on Wednesday.  Meant I could go to the gym at lunchtime and visit the dentist.
  • 2nd full week of a dry month and feeling quite good. I’ve got more energy and am sleeping so well.
  • Clinique gift with purchase goodies
  • Being more mindful and being aware of when I’m overthinking nonsense.  Work in progress.
  • Tea and book time early in the morning before a busy day.

We’ve got a chilled weekend ahead, Mark wants to get a photo of some Canola fields so we are checking the weather and what the best time would be.  Also plan to spend some time in the garden getting it ready for spring.  We went to get the grocery shopping for the weekend done last night after work and stopped off by the butcher to get what we need for hamburgers – I felt rather inspired after watching a cooking show earlier this week!

What about you?  How has your week been?

xx

On female friendships

Charlotte over at https://mypixieblog.com/ has given me loads of things to think about lately.  She’s written a couple of posts on female friendships and I thought it was time I did one of my own.

I think alot of us can agree that an amazing friendship is one of lifes gifts that you treasure.

I have a friend I’ve known since I was five and we are still in contact 31 years later.  She lives overseas (moved many years ago) and I miss her but we make do with FB, e-mail and Whatsapp.  I don’t need to tell you it is not the same as when she lived down the road.  Literally – her parents and mine were in the same road.  We shared the magic of Father Christmas, went to the same Sunday school, shared the excitement of starting our first jobs after college.  We attended each others weddings and there are so many times that I wish she didn’t live on a different continent but I’m thankful for technology which helps with the distance.

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Then some friends come into our lives as adults.  6 years ago I was at a cousin’s birthday and I got talking to one of the other ladies at the party.  We just clicked instantly – I think it was over her handbag and she went on to become a really close friend.  A wonderful shopping partner who will find the top or shoes you are looking for, in your size in seconds (plus she loves the same shopping mall as I do).  She is organised, makes solid plans and doesn’t let you down.  Doesn’t take friends for granted and these days that is a huge deal.

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These are two friendships that I’m highlighting to show that the time you know a person isn’t everything.  But what I find as an adult is that I’m far more selective as to what I put up with because I know what a healthy friendship entails.  These fabulous ladies have taught me this.   They have both been genuine, thoughtful and kind from the moment we met.  And so have the others who I’m proud to call friends and who I enjoy spending time with.

When I look back at a few friendships that didn’t make the cut, I can instantly see why.  One person was doing all the taking.  Or there was a toxic element (a huge turnoff for me).  Or the introvert card was played.

Let me explain that last one as I’m also an introvert.  I like my space in a friendship but when I say I’m going to something I’m there.  There are things I don’t enjoy yet over the years did because I wanted to be a good friend.  Like sitting in rush hour traffic to get to birthday dinners.  Sitting through hours of movies that were not my cup of tea.  Going to my least favourite mall on the busiest day of the week.  It didn’t matter what I was going through or what sort of week I’d had.  I DID it.  And was it reciprocated?  In some cases no.

There is a huge difference to being a genuine introvert and a lazy and rather shitty friend.  And boy have I had my share of the latter in the last few years!

And then there is the friend who acts like your best pal but is really just there for the season.  Don’t expect anything deep or heartfelt when you go through a rough time.  When I lost my gran and was grieving a friend knew this.  Instead of sending a single message of comfort she gave endless updates regarding her move to another country (complete with photos of her new house and how she’d decorated the rooms).  I’d lost someone extremely important to me and was in a lot of pain and I realised that I was not dealing with a friend – I was dealing with someone that collects friends and makes them feel like they are nothing more than a number once the season is over.

Sometimes a friendship has run its course and it is time to part ways.  I’ve read a few blog posts about this so I know it is something alot of us have experienced.

Or there are times you might feel dragged into doing things that don’t interest you and saying no seems impossible.

This happened to me many years ago.  Instead of just being honest and upfront I  made flimsy excuses after losing too many Friday evenings to dinners which hubby and I didn’t want to be part of.  We tried being polite, we tried to postpone as many times as possible.  We blamed flu for months (perhaps my punishment is getting such bad flu each and every winter ever since).  When it was our turn to organise the dreaded dinner (a monthly chore we dreaded) we’d leave it for as long as possible but hints were not received.

I should have been honest and just felt incapable of saying what we feel.  I drew the line one afternoon making the weakest of excuses not to meet for lunch that weekend and got caught out when I posted something on FB.  Instead of feeling bad I just felt relieved and thankfully a rather one sided friendship fizzled out.  It is particulary difficult when it is with someone you cannot avoid.  A mutual friend in your circle you know you’ll see loads of.  A colleague.  A friend of your family etc.  You don’t want to hurt feelings but you can only make so many excuses.

It is a complex area of our lives – female friendships.  When they are going well it is wonderful.  When they hit a rocky patch, it feels horrible and can drag us down.  I see a lot of people hang onto friendships far after they’ve expired and it can be difficult to know when that moment arrives how to handle it.  We invest time and energy into friendships but they need to be healthy to flourish.

What about you?  Can you relate?  Do you find female friendships are always rewarding?  Or do you experience certain friendships as tricky at times?  Are you able to cut ties with zero guilt and move on or do you hang onto expired friendships because saying no is too difficult?

Please share your thoughts on a subject close to the hearts of many of us.

xxx

Happy Friday

Hello Friday!  Been a busy but good week my side.  Was off ill on Monday but back in the land of the living.  Lets just say I am SO over colds and flu right now.

Fridays mean happy vibes and gratitude lists so I’m linking up with Lindsay http://theflynnigans.com/ Charlotte http://mypixieblog.com/ and Beth http://coffeeuntilcocktailsblog.com/  with my list of things that made me smile during the week:

  • Fun in Lamberts Bay seeing the Gannets last weekend.  I will do a post soon about our stay up the West Coast.  We enjoyed our stay at Harrisons House in Langebaan –  the room was stunning and the breakfast was SO good.

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  • New tumble dryer.  The previous one was getting old and taking forever to dry clothes.
  • Trying a new mint tea I bought and enjoying the refreshing taste.
  • Reading the Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty.  I am only a few pages in but enjoying it so far.
  • Doing a dry month and making healthier food choices along the way (will do a proper post on this when I’m done).
  • New cuticle oil I’ve been using after my nails were damaged having a gellish manicure removed incorrectly ages ago
  • Having the best cup of tea ever on Tuesday.  It had been a long day and hubby made me a cup after my shower.  I told him that was the best cup of tea in my history of my tea drinking.
  • Clean and tidy home.  Just lifted my spirits instantly waking up to a clean and organized home this morning and knowing we have no chores for the weekend.
  • Getting grocery shopping done last night so we can go home after work and get our weekend started.
  • Doing some creative writing this week.

We’ve got some fun planned for this weekend and I’ve got a spa appointment for tomorrow which I’m looking forward to.  Managed to get a last minute booking yesterday.

What about you?  What is on your gratitude list today?

xx

Coffee date

I’m linking up with Lecy today from https://asimplergrace.blogspot.com/ for a coffee date post.

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If we met for coffee I’d suggest an old favourite restaurant which has a beautiful conservatory and pretty views.  We’d choose a table indoors because it is cold and we’ve had some unexpected rain this week.

I’d order a creamy cappuccino and ask you how you have been.  I’d tell you that I have been doing some creative writing this week and am working on a fictional story.  I’ve been writing it on and off for a while but the other day had over 5000 words and a bit more direction for this story.  Creative writing is something I’ve always enjoyed and it felt good to just fill a page with thoughts.  Feature writing is another passion of mine and I submitted another article to the online magazine for a women’s running club.  I’ve been an advisor and guest blogger for CMIYC for a few months and it has been very exciting.

If we met for coffee I’d tell you that I’m doing a dry month.  I started it last week (so it won’t be a calendar month – just 30 random days) and it is going very well.  I got a sore throat the day I started so gym hasn’t been possible but I’m on the mend and cannot wait to go for a run.  I’m sleeping so much better (although that could be the cold medication).  Hasn’t been the best winter for colds and flu unfortunately.

We’d look at the menu and I’d suggest the cake selection which they keep on display in a corner.  I’d choose a piece of lemon meringue and ask you how work is going and if you are enjoying winter.  The rain we’ve had has been wonderful and I’ve enjoyed watching the dam levels improve.

If we met for coffee I’d tell you that every day brings with it a reason to be grateful.  Sometimes you just need to look for it.  Yesterday was a very long Tuesday and a frustrating trip to the shops where we bought the wrong thing – something random like a lightbulb.  I was feeling a bit irritable, we got home late after running around and I sat in the study trying to catch up on the blogs (in the dark due to incorrect light bulb purchase).  Hubby bought me a cup of tea that I swear was the best cup of tea in the history of my tea drinking.  It tasted SO good.  And as I sat there I was reminded that complaining is easy but finding the good in the day is worthwhile.  So I got out of the bitter barn and had a lovely evening with one of our favourite suppers (steak and sweet potato mash) and watched Suits sitting under blankets feeling rather content.  Before bed I wrote in my gratitude journal and I’m pleased I have started this again.

If we met for coffee I’d tell you about the past 3 day weekend.  We spent some time up the West Coast and checked into a beautiful guesthouse in Langebaan.  I’ll show you the photos and tell you how relaxing it was and how refreshed I felt when we came back.  I’ve got a blog post planned for this week hopefully.  The West Coast is beautiful and with spring around the corner we could see a few flowers popping up and brightening up West Coast National Park.

We’d finish up and say goodbye, always lovely to catch up with you.  Next time you choose the venue!

xx

Show us your books – August link up

Today, being the second Tuesday of the month I’m linking up with Steph  https://www.lifeaccordingtosteph.com/ and Jana http://janasays.com/ for Show Us Your Books.

Book #1

Book 1

The wife’s shadow by Cath Weeks

The plot

Suzy and Mike appear to have it all and are the envy of their close friends.

Suzy has a successful deli she is expanding.  Mike stays at home with the kids after a work related injury.  They have a beautiful home, comfortable routine and everyone seems content.  Suzy seems to have been able to move on from the childhood trauma she has never shared.  After her mother dies, Suzy starts suspecting she is being followed. That someone is watching her and wants her to know she cannot leave the past behind.

My thoughts:

From the moment Suzy’s secret is revealed and she travels back home the book becomes a real page turner.  I did not see most of the twists and turns and the book kept me guessing up until the end.  I recommend it as an enjoyable rollercoaster and I look forward to reading more by Cath Weeks.

My Goodreads rating:  4 stars

Book #2

Book 2

Friends and liars by Kaela Colby

The plot:

Ruby has returned to her hometown to attend the funeral of one of her closest childhood friends who has taken his own life.  Danny was a friend she’d know forever along with Ally, Everett and Murphy (who she fell in love with as a teenager).  Growing up they were known as the crew and they vowed to be loyal friends forever and always be honest.  Danny has left behind 5 letters addressed to each of his friends with a secret which they never shared to the other members of their group.

They are told that they can share the envelopes or keep them to themselves however Danny leaves a warning.  He reminds them that all things done in the dark have a way of coming to light.  Ruby is terrified of revealing hers as she knows what she has kept for so long will have devastating effects.

My thoughts:

I took a while to get into this book but once I did I enjoyed it.  Ruby has been living in New York for years but returns home to say a final goodbye to a good friend.  She is shocked at the letters handed out after the funeral and will do whatever is necessary to keep her what is written in her envelope to herself.  Little do we know her secret is not quite what Danny suspected.  The book moves from present to Ruby’s teenage years and her unstable childhood while we wait to find out the 4 secrets hidden amongst the group.

My goodreads rating:  3 stars

Book #3

Book 3

The Lives we touch by Eva Woods

The plot:

Rosie and Daisy are sisters who have been estranged after a falling out.  After not speaking for months Daisy is notified that Rosie has been hit by a bus and is in a coma. She rushes to the hospital where she is told her sister has 3 days to wake up before decisions will have to be made.

Rosie is unconscious but can hear everything her family are saying as they wait for her to wake up.  She is trying to remember what happened and why she is in hospital but details seem out of reach.  She then gets a glimpse back to various memories which might help her put the pieces together.

My thoughts:

After reading “How to be Happy” by Eva Woods a few months ago I wondered if this would be as moving. And I’m pleased to confirm I was NOT disappointed!  This book is so full of feeling and had me reaching for the tissues many times!  Told from both sisters views, this is a beautiful story that shows it is never to late to start over.

I enjoyed the layout – the memories jump around to give readers insight into Rosie and Daisy’s childhood and the tragedy that turned a happy family’s lives around in an instant. Rosie’s teenage years, the decisions she made and why she self sabotages herself.  The guilt that she carries because she suspects she is to blame for ruining her family’s chance at a happy life.

Daisy is the sister who always plays it safe and has chosen sensible over fun for far too long. As she tries to get to the reasons behind her sisters accident, she learns some important things about herself as well.

A real page turner I couldn’t put down.

My goodreads rating:  4 stars

Book # 4

Book 4

Any dream will do by Debbie Macomber

The plot:

Shay made a terrible decision and paid a heavy price so she could protect her brother. Drew is grieving the loss of his wife and feels lost in his grief.  They meet and both feel this could be a chance for them to find happiness.  Unfortunately Shay’s past catches up to her and could jeapardise her future with Drew.

My thoughts: 

I’ve been a fan of Debbie’s books since I first started reading the Cedar Cove series and then the Blossom street books.  They are usually enjoyable and have sweet if predictable endings.  When I’ve been reading a few heavy books or thrillers and I need a light form of escapism, Debbie’s books are a safe bet.

The characters and writing style were a bit bland – maybe I just prefer the regulars in the Cedar Cove books?  The plot was predictable with a couple of surprises but nothing too unexpected.  Easy reading but not something I’d recommend.

My Goodreads rating:  2 stars

So 3 good books out of 4. Not bad 😊.

What about you?  Did you read anything interesting in July?

xx

Humpday confessions

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Wednesday is here so another edition of humpday confessions is in order.  Here is my list this week:

  • Of the many things in life that I just ‘don’t get’ fake is high on my list.  If someone treats you badly, is rude and disrespectful and/or makes you feel negative about yourself, then yes share your feelings with those around you.  But don’t moan for years and then fill your timeline with pics of your fake friendship/relationships.  I don’t understand why people do that.  When someone is rude and repeatedly presses all my buttons I walk away.  That person won’t be a contact on any form of social media (hell – they won’t even be a contact on my phone) because I don’t feel the need to parade an empty friendship around like an accessory.   Treat me badly?  That is your choice.  Walking away is mine.  But I seem to be very alone in this way of thinking.  Why is that?
  • Now that I’m back in my reading routine I’m flying through books and cannot wait to share what I read in July.  4 books folks – 4 BOOKS.  So much better than the solitary meh book I managed to get through in June.
  • Speaking of books I shed quite a few tears for “The lives we touch” by Eva Woods.  I cannot wait to do a review on this page turner.  Eva Woods wrote “How to be happy” and as much as I enjoyed that, I LOVED her second book more.
  •  I’m sorry My Kitchen Rules Australia season 10 is finished.  This was the 10th anniversary season and enjoyed it.  Even though some teams were really rather rude and caused bad vibes at the various instant restaurants.  I was disappointed that in a couple episodes the drama eclipsed the food.  But all in all it was very enjoyable and I look forward to the next season.
  • I need to learn how to NOT send any e-mails or texts after a super long day that is combined with a glass (or two) of wine.  Recipe for disaster.  Seriously!  Looking at my phone on Tuesday morning and just shaking my head.  Can I get a re-do for Monday?
  • I really need to get highlights again soon.  My roots are nearly at my ears and nobody is fooled with my lazy version of bel ombre.
  • Oh my goodness but I’m sad that Big Little Lies is finished.  How was that last episode??  I won’t say more in case I spoil it.
  • It gets to me that after my gran passed away and my parents and sister moved from Cape Town, nobody bothers to ask how I feel about these two big life changes.  In a space of less than a year I lost my Ouma and my parents and only sibling moved and now live far away.  The visiting falls on me and people think that since I’m adult I must just keep on plodding along happily.  I want to shout “No Cheryl, I’m NOT doing fine – I feel really low but thanks for NOT asking” occasionally.  Not everyday but definitely today.  Sometimes being an adult is difficult.

What about you, anything you’d like to share?

xx