Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Newtown shoot - part 2

Remember we did shoot 1? Something happened to the memory card so we had to scramble to get another slot. That means we missed gym, the house was a wreck but we went to get the second batch of photos done.

So because we were working on such a tight schedule, I literally RAN down the street in Newtown to get a few pics in front of the grey door and then a little bit further to get the rest of these.


FOR THE LOVE!!! Magnificent!

I was so glad this lady walked by - she fits in perfectly with all the colour

I believe I can fly :)
Did you enjoy seeing those photos?
What were the most fun pics you took this year?
I loved being in Newtown and taking these pics! Some of my favourites this year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

{2014 review} health, wealth and happiness - part 3

So let's carry on with the 2014 review.

I wonder if anyone else is interested in these posts. Ha - I'm mainly writing this down for me.

Health and fitness
  1. My weight loss goal wasn't reached - I'm too scared to look at what I weighed in the beginning of the year but I weigh more now!
  2. I've been excellent with consistently going to weekly cardio, but the toning only happened for those 4 months I was off work.
Some stats? Sure thing :)

56 workouts at the gym, 52 photo walks with the big camera (plus about 8 - 10 with just the iphone) and 36 Spanish dance lessons. That's a whole lot of active (compared to previous years) that I'm happy about.

The Fitbit and I are getting along just fine these days. You get 100 points on Discovery for walking 7500 steps so I never aim for 10 000 anymore. I found I used to "kill myself" getting to 10 000 and then I had really sore feet for a day or two afterwards. Now I aim for 7500 and that's just nicely comfortable. I need to get to my goal this month and I'll feel like a rock star!


I set a goal for 70 books, 15 non-fiction, and I'm reading number 80 right now...... I've read the MOST amazing book recently which deserves its own post.

Most importantly, I finished all but ONE of my physical book novels so I'm SUPER chuffed!


I tried out 26 new recipes (the goal was 25) and a fair amount of those were from the Se7en blog :) EASY peasy.

This was year 2 of me trying new recipes and I love it so I'm continuing next year.

Photo walks

I did 52 walks (accurate because of my photo organising system) with the big camera, and about 8 - 10  with the iphone (this is when Connor says, "no PHOTOS, just walking").

This is one of my most favourite things we did this year. I especially loved the winter walks because I love walking in the cold, and I realise that I've done two this month because it's so darn hot.

Project life

I've kept up with my monthly project life. It's built into my monthly goals and my monthly photo organising system so it just ticks along.

Kendra likes looking through the album every month :)


40th birthday party

Did this this year. Don't know if I'll do another birthday party next year. If I do, I'm going super small.

And I went to Ballito for 5 days. Now this was a super fantastic idea - I thoroughly recommend going away for your birthday to a happy place.

Last but not least, business

Financially, my 4th worst year ever. Yes. Somehow I couldn't care less?

However, I am very proud of 3 things:
  1. I wrote a weekly newsletter for about 50 of the 52 weeks this year. Amazing. It's quite a bit of work.
  2. I also wrote 31 days of enough time, a blog series turned book. I'm super proud of this - it's some of my favourite thoughts on time management
  3. And then I wrote a new time ecourse, Help! I need more time. This one is soooo good. Actually, I think I'll take it myself again :) It has way too much content for what I was charging (the people who took it even said so!) though so I only ran it once. I need to brainstorm this with Beth to see what I can do with it. Maybe make it into 10 weeks? I don't know.

I also want to mention another little thing that worked so well this year - dates with each kid.

LOVED the individual time with them, and they love it too.

Now I want to leave you with something sweet. On Saturday I KILL it in the gym (a bit of showing off with all those 16-year-olds) and sometimes like this Saturday, my blood pressure was a bit too low so I felt ill afterwards.

We were all going to go to my favourite store (Mega Mica) - that's not sarcastic - I love hardware stores. And PAINT!

But because I wasn't feeling well, I decided to stay. And so I said to Kendra, "Baby, can I ask you to do me a favour? Will you stay with me and take care of me?" And she smiled big (my little nurturer) and said, "yes, of course, Mummy". She bounded out to D and said, "Daddy, I'm not coming with you - I'm going to stay home with Mummy" and of course, we exchanged raised eyebrows because THE CUTENESS!

She brought me water and Panado, and we had a lovely time of quiet girl stuff on the bed :)

Tell me how it went with you in these 3 areas!

Monday, December 29, 2014

{Monochrome Monday} last of 2014 - the work version

Well friends, I'm back at work today after my two-week break.

This is actually the week most of SA is on leave so it's going to be a light week at work, I think :)

All the better for goal-setting and such lovely things. I have said it before but this week between Christmas and New Year is my favourite week of the year.

New, fresh diaries and calendars, new notebooks, goals! What more could a girl ask for?!

What are you looking forward to this week?

If you join me for MM, leave a comment so I can come see!

PS I still don't have my word of the year - eeek!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

{2014 review} Faith, family, work and house stuff - part 2

Go grab yourself a cup of tea/ coffee/ hot chocolate... it's a long one :)

 Some of you know I set goals in every area of my life, and I even cheat in one area I call "fun" because it's about 5 areas in 1 :)

I've done the detailed work through each goal so I thought I'd just share the high- and lowlights here.


I've never been great at consistent Bible-reading but this year, in July, I created a whatsapp group with Julia and Robyn, and we've been reading various chapters for the entire second half of the year.

They are amazing Bible partners and friends - one of us will share any scriptures that spoke to us, to encourage the others, and we needle each other along so that we catch up if we're behind, etc.

I honestly love it!

Thank you, J and R - this group is one of my highlights this year - I'm so grateful to and for both of you.

In other God news, I really had to trust that He would be there to catch me when I "just resigned".

All the things I was slightly concerned about (money) were totally unfounded and instead, I ended up using much less of my savings cushion than I'd anticipated. I've already replenished all the savings I used up and am now better off financially than I was before leaving (and of course, emotionally!)

PDM course

Earlier this year I ran a course at my church to train people to discover the congregation's passions and gifts.

It's been slow moving getting going but those 5 weeks of training were AMAZING. I just loved it!

House stuff

I knew going into this year that things would possibly be going pear-shaped so obviously I went out spending madly.

We bought a nice kitchen table, had new carpets put in all the bedrooms and bought a new bed.

And just when I was ready to get other things done, I resigned and froze the spending.

But I have a big list for this year...


Well, work was "interesting".

My word was "shine" and I remember saying to Julia, "did God give me that word for the tears shining on my face?"

I was on those little white pills on any days I had to interact with those people. Fortunately, I worked away for a couple of weeks in a different Jhb branch, Pta, CT and Bloem. All of those days = no little white pills. Main office = a pill a day. Very sad but let's move on.

Then I had 4 glorious months at home with the babies. I worked on my business, blogged and so on. Now that I think about it, it feels like I didn't do enough but I did what I needed to do.

I honestly didn't intend to go back to work so soon but the opportunity came up and it was a good one so there I am :) So far, so good. Am still cautiously optimistic nearly 4 months later.

Hopefully next year there'll be no need for any tears!

I'm so very grateful for that CT work trip - even though I worked my butt off during the day, and some nights til after midnight, I got to travel to CT for the first time in over 4 years and see THREE amazing friends. More importantly, I'm so glad all the diaries worked out.

Thanks so much, friends, for your hospitality. It was so needed and welcome at such a dreary time in my life.

Let's end off on a good note for now, and I'll keep the health and fitness stuff, the category called fun and my business stuff for another post.


Our 4 holidays - well, I do think this was the most we've been away ever. I do this nerdy analysis of our money every year and I remember last year thinking the places where we spend the most money is on holidays... and that's exactly how I want it :)

This year we spent 26 nights away from home - 10 in Ballito, 4 in Drakensberg, 5 in Ballito, and recently 7 in Drakensberg.

Now this is a subject for another post but I'm counting on all of you for super-practical ideas for holidaying with school kids!

I set monthly goals for dates with D, dates with each kid, and me getting in photos with the kids, and on posting pics to the kids' blog, and having those in writing reminding me every month makes me more intentional.

I also set a goal for a fun thing as a family every month and we only missed twice so I'm counting that as a win. Mind you, 4 of those were the holidays :) And Montecasino Bird Gardens are STILL on the list!

How did these life categories go for you?
What was the biggest highlight?

PS These pics were all taken with the Nikon

Saturday, December 27, 2014

View from the rooftop

Sorry, guys, I know I published a blank post last night.

It's because I typed the subject and I hit enter instead of clicking in the block to start uploading pics.


Anyway, tonight I had big plans to blog on health and fitness - riveting stuff for me as that is a big focus for 2015 - but I got sidetracked reviewing my 2014 goals and setting goals for 2015.

I can't imagine how HOURS could just fly by like that ;) so I'll leave you with some pretty pics of the view from my work's rooftop.

Do you have a favourite photo?
Also, is anyone busy reviewing their 2014 goals?

I'm going to be writing a lot about this over the next week as it is LITERALLY my favourite subject ever!

(also, I have to set the example since I'm writing blogs on Organising Queen next week ;))

Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 round-up - part 1 - the friendship version

I collapsed on the bed earlier thinking about what I had to do tonight and said to D, "wait! is this already the last Friday of 2014?!"

When he said yes, I realised I have TONS of posts still to do and I've run out of time so best I start.

Let's talk about 2014 and friendship.

It's been... odd... and good and some things have been unexpected and some things have been so very lovely.

First, the numbers (be prepared to be shocked. I am!)

40  - no. of friends' names on my spreadsheet - last year's people plus new friends
85 - friendship/ social connections over the year (1 party where I see 3 friends counts 3)
* 49 - 1:1 connection time (in other words, no parties or multiple friends date)
6 - new friend meet-ups (two in Cape Town and 4 up here)
6 - friends I didn't see at all. 1 is not local so understandable, 3 I have let go of, and 2 I need to make a plan.
17 - number of friends I only saw once. A lot are not local ;)

(* I have 3 friend dates scheduled for this week. All 3 are 1:1 so I've included them here but I'll come back and amend if any of them flake on me!)

Interesting thoughts:
  • Amazing how I agonised about the people from my old company before leaving... and the people who have stayed in touch are the same people that always did. ONLY THREE! But 3 very good eggs :)
  • Makes complete sense but the months where I had more than 4 one:one friend dates are the months I felt most connected and happier. When you see friends at parties and such, it's just not the same. It's still good, but not the same.

What worked?
  1. I had a monthly goal to have at least 2 socials. Most months were too easy but some months I just about managed it.
  2. On average, it works out to 7 per month which sounds crazy now that I type that. I think 4 - 6 is my personal comfort but of course, the birthday months of July and August throw everything out the water - it is CRAZY.
  3. Oct and Nov are traditionally very busy months in SA because it's warm, everyone comes out of hibernation and lots of babies are born because there are a lot of birthdays.
And what's the plan for next year?

1. Unsurprisingly, I will still have a monthly friendship connection goal but next year I want to do more at-home "entertaining" if you can call it that when it's one or two friends because eating out is getting way too expensive.

2. I keep thinking if I'm paying R130 for a main course and a cup of tea... and I'm a tee-totaller and I drink ONE cup not multiple cappucinos, etc. then I don't even want to think about other people who drink and have numerous coffees and eat.

Multiply that out by 4 dates a month, and it's a good monthly unit trust investment, which is where I prefer to put my money :)

When I was out from work for those 4 months, most of my allowance went towards eating out!

3. I'm going to extend a few invites and if nothing comes of it, then so be it... because I suspect I might be the one fuelling the fire for some of the friends on the list.

4. I'm also thinking of doing something really cute involving good, old-fashioned letters in the mail... I'm good with following through on projects, but it is a 52-week commitment.....

If you made it til the end, congrats and thank you :)

Now tell me, how did 2014 stack up in terms of your friendships?
What were the highlights and lowlights?
What, if anything, are you doing differently next year?

PS feel free to write your own post and link to me.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from my home to yours

Merry, Merry Christmas to all of you.

We're off to church in the morning and then it will be a flurry once we're home of cooking, packing up our food and presents and making it over to MIL's house.

Normally, my biggest aim is to keep my expectations of the day low so I'm not disappointed. Here is another take on the crazy of life from Momastery. It will encourage you if you've not had the marketing department's version of Christmas thus far.

Otherwise, my wish for you is a day spent exactly as you need it to - slow and quiet if that's your thing, noisy and full of family if that's your thing, a bit of both. Whatever.

Or else you could just breathe deeply and wait to relax after 8 pm :)

See you tomorrow :)

Where are you having Christmas lunch today?

PS some scenes around my home and the last one is from the second photoshoot in Newtown. Yesterday's photos are from shoot 1.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Newtown photoshoot - take 1

We had a photoshoot scheduled and it was pouring. POURING!

We prayed and God literally stopped the rains where we were for 1 hour and 20 minutes, exactly what I asked for.

Nobody can ever convince me He doesn't care about the small things.

We had a great shoot (I was SUPER happy because of the rain and grey skies) and afterwards we even had 20 minutes to play around before the rains started up again.

These are my pics from that day. D took the phone with me and the kids.

I know some of you don't like graffiti (to each his own) but I LOVE IT! 

look at that grey wall and the blue door... it's the backdrop for the pics further down in the post

Look who we found down there - cute Gemma dragging her family along :)

here are those blue doors and grey walls - DIVINE!
Do you like the urban look?
Which is your favourite pic?

PS And then I had a Spanish exam in the afternoon!
PPS something unfortunate happened to the memory card and we had to RESHOOT. Imagine my family's "joy".


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