Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Was it something I said?

Where did you all go? Seriously. Am I talking (writing) to myself?

Don't reduce me to begging you for comment love. Please.

I'll try to be more interesting, promise. I'll write about sex, drugs and rock n roll. No, I won't actually. I'll continue writing about my cats, my work and other (apparently not very) scintillating aspects of my life. Whether you comment or not.

But comments would be lovely.

Friday, 23 September 2011


  • There are a lot of birthdays in September. All the New Years' babies... Flip. You're bankrupting me, people!
  • We have a charity ball tonight. I can't wait. It's themed too. I love dressing up! Must remember to take my camera.
  • It's a busy weekend. We also have a friend's 30th bday bash tomorrow (the third this month) and then our church small group is refurbishing a room at the children's home we support on Sunday. Plus it's the Singapore F1 Grand Prix.
  • I am tired. It's been a crappy week. I had a client who misbehaved rather badly and it totally threw me. I tend to work with people who share the same ethics as me, so when I come across someone who doesn't seem to care about morals, it always shocks me. Thankfully it doesn't happen very often. And this person is now out of my life.
  • Situations like the one I've just mentioned combined with a general feeling of being on the brink of burnout have made me question what I'm doing for a living. With the amount of crap I've put up with this week, I might as well have been a plumber. It definitely pays better. Thankfully there are good people out there too. I enjoy working with them and they appreciate my work, so I've been reminded that aside from the odd imbecile I'll encounter, I generally do like freelancing. I even love it sometimes. So it's ok if I have days of hating it once in a blue moon. It's normal.
  • The things that are making me smile at the moment are spring-time weather and gardens; my cats (we've discovered how entertaining it is to let them chase BB-gun bullets around the house... hilarious); the weavers that have built their nests in my silver birches to house their little chicks; delicious light summery food and having TSC home this week when I was expecting him to be away at the mine.
What's up in your world?

Monday, 19 September 2011

Perfect weekend

This weekend was one of those rare occasions where we managed the perfect blend of socialising and chilling. We haven't had a non-frantic weekend in months, so we really enjoyed it.

Supper Club was at our house on Friday night and I made a few things from one of Jamie's 30-Minute Meals menus, expressly ignoring his advice to not mix and match menus, and then put together a few of my own creations.

We had Woolies' spicy nachos as a snack, with homemade guacamole. Then supper was Jamie's spinach and feta phyllo pie, with pesto tamato salad and a cucumber and mint salad. I made a chicken tray bake with honey, thyme and lemon juice (I love having fresh herbs and lemons from the garden to play with). Desserts were mint milkshakes with whipped cream and sprinkles. Yum.

I do think I used almost every piece of crockery and cutlery in the kitchen though. And my dishwasher is stll broken (six weeks now!), so when Louisa and Nicola arrived for coffee the next day, Louisa was forced to eat her words after she'd refused to believe that my house looked like a bomb had hit it.

We took our coffee and muffins outside and spent a lovely morning enjoying the fresh air and the sun, once it had decided to grace us with its presence. We chatted for ages and I just loved the chance to catch up with Louisa and see Nicola so happy. If ever I become a mother, I want to be a Louisa kind of mom - the lie-down-on-the-grass-and-tickle-your-kid-till-you're-both-out-of-breath kind of mom.

When TSC arrived back from racing his concrete boat across Germiston Lake (varsity assignment), he watched the rugby he'd recorded and I planted my bulbs and napped.

Later on, we headed through to Cresta, where I got to spend my very generous birthday LaSenza voucher from Ruby. Thanks again, lady! We had a pretty good dinner at Founders Grill and shared a creme brulee (I hear the Hallelujah chorus when I think of it) for pudding.

Then it was off to see Crazy, Stupid, Love at the movies. I wasn't expecting much, but we both loved it! It's the best romcom I've seen in ages. It started off pretty slowly, but by the time it got to the height of the comedy, I was in stitches. Great casting, really.

Sunday started with a pilates class, which always makes me feel like I'm at peace with the day. Then we decided to have brunch somewhere outside where we could enjoy the spring weather, so we headed to De Ouwe Werf at Broadacres (can't find a link), where we had a good, simple meal (great value for money) in the beautiful gardens. Looks like an amazing venue for those with kids - they have a jumping castle and a great enclosed playground.

After that, it was a quick visit to the shops, a nice snooze at home and then church and a Sunday evening meal of leftovers on the couch with a glass of wine

It really was a perfect weekend.

How was yours?

PS: My wedding story is up over at Angel's Weddings today.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Spring flowers

Snapped in my garden this week... I hope to spend some time there this weekend. Have a good one.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A rant on writing

I love writing. I really do. Sometimes I forget this (usually when I'm 3000 words into a report on a boring subject like mining legislation and have lost my sense of humour a wee bit).

Writing, however, really is a weird job. There's a whole bunch of people who think that anyone can be a writer and can't see the need to hire someone with a journalism or copy writing qualification to do the work.  Then there's another bunch of people who think writing is some mystic creative gift that God endowed on a chosen few. And there's a few of us who are somewhere in between. We believe that words have currency and a good wordsmith is worth a good fee, but that writing's not rocket science or religion either. And not every article can be a masterpiece.


What has brought on this musing? A thread of discussions on the professional writers' forum I subscribe to, about the fact that sometimes writing is really boring. One of the members posted a comment about the fact that he's completely bored with his work, whether it's journalism, copy writing or communications consulting. Sometimes I feel the same. After awhile, words get stale. This is particularly true in certain instances. Like press releases. I hate writing press releases. IT's all the same stuff. Different product, same spin. But I could do press releases in my sleep. It's easy and it's a good way to make a quick buck. But it's not fun.

Another catalyst for this rant was the reaction of the guy who came to check out my complaint about my mattress (which has a 20-yr guarantee but is lumpy after five) when he asked what I do and I said "freelance journalist".

When people ask me that question and I give them that answer, their eyes light up and they inevitably say something like, "Ooh! That must be interesting!" And sometimes it is. There are certain jobs that I love doing - writing that fits into my interest areas. I used to get to do theatre pieces for a lovely lifestyle magazine. It meant I got comps for all the new shows. I loved writing those pieces.

But the writing that actually pays good money tends to be corporate stuff. And while some corporate stuff can be fun, some is decidedly not.

People also don' tunderstand that there are totally different types of journalism out there - investigative, news, political, lifestyle...

When I say "freelance journalist", people don't picture me sitting behind my laptop, typing away at a brochure about hydraulic hose (yes, I actually did write a brochure about hydraulic hose. Fun stuff). They see me with a camera and a notepad in the middle of some obscure African country's latest war zone, dodging bullets and frantically scribbling down tales of human tragedy that will promote urgent action by the masses. I could never be a hard news journo. No bullets for me, sorry.

Or people see me dressed in a power suit, electronic dictaphone in one hand, cocktail in the other, as I interview some or other fabulous celebrity for a profile piece about the contents of their handbag, their thoughts on ageing and the rumours of their latest fling. I could never be an entertainment journo either. I have zero interest in most celebrities.

There are occasional moments of glamour in my job (definitely not when I'm crying my eyes out on my carpet, surrounded by tax documents and tissues). Sometimes I get to meet someone impressive. Sometimes I get to go to glitzy events. Very, very occasionally, I get free stuff (but hardly ever the nice kind). I promise you that none of these things happens very often (and that the food at press events actually tends to be fairly revolting on average).

I am not in this for the glamour. I'm not in this to save the world (but if I can get more people to recycle I'll be extremely happy). I'm in this because it's something that I can do. (I think. Sometimes.) And because when I'm not writing a 3000 word report on mining legislation (for real), I actually do love writing.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Itchy feet

I don't know if it's as a result of being stuck in my house while the renovations took place, or if it's just that time of year, but I am desperate (DESPERATE) for a break. Like everyone else I guess.

It does not help that we've been invited to a destination wedding in the very furthest part of the Kruger in December and I've been checking out pics of the camp on the web. It's going to be awesome. Hot, but awesome. It's right on the border near Mozambique and my travel-hungry heart jumps at the thought that maybe, just maybe we could pop over the border into our neighbouring country. I've never been to "Moz" before.


It's very unlikely, seeing we really don't have the money. But a girl can dream, right? And travel is all I'm dreaming about at the moment. A friend asked my advice on where to go for a December bush break near Cape Town and I spent an hour procrastinating on the interwebs, seduced by the pictures of luzury tents and the Big 5.

I have no advice for her though. When we lived in Cape Town we were far too broke to afford anything more than a day trip to one of the beaches (I still miss the Llandudnot boulders and Camps Bay sundowners). So if any of you know of somewhere, please let me know and I will pass along the info.

She's also looking for a nice weekend getaway spot that's not too expensive or too far from Cape Town. Any ideas?

As for me, I may resort to pitching a beach umbrella in my lawn this weekend, sprinkling some sand on the grass and pretending I'm on the coast.

Have a fab Friday. And enjoy the rugby if you're that way inclined.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Before and After

It's taken me long enough, but I can finally show you some renovation pics!


When our house was built, the owners at the time decided to change the plans for the en-suite bathroom in the main bedroom. They were elderly and didn't want a bath, so they built a wall in the middle of the room that would be the bathroom and installed only a shower, toilet and single basin, using the other half of the room as a walk-in cupboard.

The spare bathroom, on the other hand, has a bath and no shower. In winter, being cold-blooded, I find that the only way to get warm is to immerse myself in piping hot water. We would often use the guest bathroom to bath, but when we had guests staying with us, we were stuck with our shower, which had a broken sliding door that needed to be forced closed and still let cold air in because it wouldn't shut properly. The guests, on the other hand, were stuck with the bath, which is difficult for people like my 85-year old granddad to use.

So we installed a hand shower in the guest bathroom, broke through part of the wall that had been built in the bathroom and used what was the walk-in cupboard as a spot to install a lovely bath.

We found a way to fit in our new bathroom without moving any major water points. We added an extra basin and an extra shower (inside the existing shower). That last bit is one of my favourite things... Now TSC and I can shower together and he can have his luke warm water and I can have my scalding hot water. I've been explaining the necessity of this to everyone who has seen the bathroom: I believe all serious marital discussions should ideally take place in the bath or shower because it's very difficult to fight with a naked person ;-)

Anyhoo... Here are the pics...


If you look closely here you'll see the towel rail lying on the floor. We tried fixing it on numerous occasions and it just kept falling off. So glad we have nice new, sturdy towel rails!

It may look innocuous, but this non-closing shower door was evil.

The walk-in cupboard

Here's where we broke through the wall from the existing bathroom into the walk-in cupboard...

Now we just need more stylish laundry bins!

Still can't believe this was the walk-in cupboard!

The Bedroom:

Once we'd put a bath in what was our walk-in cupboard, we obviously needed to find a new storage solution, which meant installing new cupboards. We also had to replace the carpet, which was worn through in some spots, and the skirtings. You'll see why when I show you a pic! The ceilings had pulled away from the cornices, allowing dust from the roof to pour into the room and make TSC's allergies a million times worse than usual, so we fixed the ceilings, rhinolited over them and put in new cornices and a new light fitting. While we were at it, we installed a vanity for me so I don't clutter the new bathroom with my make-up and hair accessories, and we also replaced the curtain rods.


The revolting skirtings. We've now replaced most of these around the house with Meranti wood ones. The originals were made of a substance that was almost like cardboard - you could pull the things apart with your bare hands!

You can also see how worn the carpet is here - it's actually threadbare under the skirting on the left side of the pic.

Fixing the ceilings and prepping the walls...

This pic shows where we built up the old doorway to the walk-in cupboard and the rhinolite, stillwet and patchy on the ceilings.

New paint, fixed ceilings, new cornices and a new light fixture...

The finished room:

I LOVE these cupboards (thanks Louisa for the recommendation). They run the whole length of the wall and one of them opens up as the entrance to the bathroom (the one you can partially see on the far right of the pic)

The new cupboards opposite the bed, along with my dresser and the new curtains.

I'm so chuffed with the way my heart-art headboard substitute worked out! Our old headboard was too big for the room. We actually had to take it apart to get it out once the cupboards were in!

So that, my lovelies, is what I have been preoccupied with over the last six weeks. I'm very glad it's all finished and I am supremely happy with the end results. But now I want a break from home improvements for a bit ;-)

PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my amazing TSC. We didn't finish the renovations before my bday, but I'm glad we did it before his.

Thursday, 1 September 2011


Can the world please slow down? Just for a second?

I just need a second to stop for breath.