Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Can we talk about bodywash?

My brain is fried and though I have lots to say about the Instagram drama, let's talk about something lighter today.


First, I only use bodywash in summer. In winter I use soap because it doesn't feel so cold on the sponge. When I'm feeling fancy I use glycerine soap to give my skin extra moisture but otherwise it's Dove.

I always used to get gift packs of bodywash and body lotion so I haven't bought my own stuff for years and years... til I stopped getting those gifts.

Granted, it's better if I don't get them because I'm also a bit selective (fussy) in that I'm very sensitive to smells, so I only use vanilla, sandalwood and "clean, unfragranced scents". Oh, and cocoa butter also works although is not my very favourite fragrance. I also like a creamy soap.

So I've had to buy some bodywash of late, it being the summer that never ends (!!!! it's nearly APRIL and still so hot!).

I spent what felt like hours combing the aisles of Clicks and Pick and Pay, and friends, there is a thing like too much choice.

I left the first time empty-handed and then my MIL had this one in a hand wash in her guest bathroom, I wrote down the name because it's a nice natural smell, and got myself a bottle.

The handwash at the top is the one I use in our bathroom and it also has a nice clean, neutral smell.

But tell me, what do you use? Can you recommend anything?
Also, is it me or is R38 a bit steep for soap????

I always feel a bit cheap saying things like that but oh well, I call it good stewardship of my money.

But quick - a funny story. A girl at work had a STUNNING lip colour so I asked her for the name and brand (Frost by MAC) but then when I heard how much MAC is (R220!), I promptly tossed the post-it note away. That is just too much for lipstick. My most expensive lipstick was R90 (Rimmel).

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

So we had ourselves a little Valentine's playdate

Rimmel's Punk Rock

Some of you know I like a half-birthday playdate for the kids because, well, winter parties are just not as fun.

We were away this year for the half-birthday and since they're in school proper, looks like we'll always be away for their proper birthday and half-birthday, which really, is there anything better?

So we settled on a Valentine's playdate instead.

We invited about 8 kids, 4 accepted and 3 sets pitched, which is about standard for my RSVP rates. When the one mom RSVP'd, she asked if the kids should wear red and white, and I said, "That's a fabulous idea. Why not?"

Our craft one day was to make red paper hearts. Surprisingly I had no red paper so we used the side of crayons and coloured white paper.

We had pink, red and white food which was really fun once you get your head in the game. Can I just give a shout-out to Woolies for their beetroot chips? Expensive (R24 a bag) but YUMMY!

The kids ate apples, yoghurt, marshmallows and a few cupcakes. Good for me, they were not into the beetroot chips - more for me!

I thought the moms would stay too but sadly, they didn't. The one mom did want to stay but she had to take her other kid to a party.

Oh well.

While I'm on it, am I the only one who still doesn't have a school mom friend? I have three that I can text to check details, but that's not friends, it's friendly. The one mom I am more friendly with but it's not like we talk apart from matters regarding the kids.

Connor's hands
The kids all played nicely together and were so adorable that I said at one point, "you guys are SO cute!" and the one child said to me, "if you think we're cute, you should see the new Grade Rs" (she is very precocious and I love it!).

And that was that. Kids were all collected on time, tidy up was super quick and that was our social for Feb.

I think I need to do a little playdate once every 2 months - the kids love it, I actually get stuff in the house done because the kids are occupied, and it's really low-maintenance - I probably didn't even need to buy any extra food, except the cupcakes.

To keep them entertained, I just put out plain paper, colouring pages, glue, scissors, craft sticks, crayons and such, and I leave the kids to create. And run around the garden of course :)

Kendra's hands

I had big plans for this week (all mental!) but I've felt so lazy that I've made exactly no plans with anyone. I did get all my organising done that I wanted to, and I've read a lot already. But while I'm thinking about it, I quickly whatsapped one friend :)

So what are you up to this week?

Monday, March 21, 2016

My little photo project

So far my little project is going very well.

I've got the whole thing down to just a few short minutes every Sunday - it's WONDERFUL.

I take about 30 pics in about 2 minutes, and there's usually something good there :)

The only thing is... I'm now so fast at getting the pics that I've started forgetting about getting some of me with the kids.

I haven't had this problem for 4 years so when I was doing my Feb project life on Saturday night and I couldn't find any pics of me and the kids, we had to fix it the very next day.

And from now onwards I'll be more diligent in getting D to come take a pic, or I'll get a selfie with the kids or something.

But for now, enjoy K & C's 52 project for Feb :)

How are your 2016 photo projects going thus far?
Are you getting in photos with the kids?

Friday, March 18, 2016

The search for Mexican food

I'm really not very adventurous with trying out new places because I hate wasting money.

Now and again though, D will send me an email with something he's seen and I will still say no, but usually Mexican and Thai places get me out of my comfort zone and like I feel like trying.

The thing is nothing comes close to the Mexican I tasted in North Carolina.

We've been to that place in Melville, Cafe Mex.icho, right opposite Bambanani. We haven't been back in 2.5 years.

We went to Mama Mexicana last year for my birthday (I definitely want to go back!) and I've been to Perron twice - once with Sam (have the glazed pork dish - oh my word, it is absolutely delicious) and once with Robyn (we had tacos but I can't remember what they tasted like - I think we were too busy talking).

This time we went to Baha Taco, which classifies themselves at street food.

It's small inside and the food was nice enough but the portions were very small for what we paid.

nachos were R50
guacamole was R25
beef taco - R60 (one small taco)
chicken taco R40
We won't go back there either. The kids begged for more food after their chicken quesadilla because they were still hungry and truthfully, so were we. But we'd already racked up quite a bill so we left.

Do you like Mexican food?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Playing games

Did you know that it's a thing for 6-year-olds to love playing games? I didn't until I read this book I told you about before.

While I'm recommending a book, I want to say something that's been milling about in my mind for a bit.

People say "I don't read parenting books" and that's fine....kind-of. I think that's silly, honestly. I do think don't read anything and everything, especially if you're desperate. Like if you're delirious from lack of sleep with a newborn (or two), don't read all the books about sleep methods that don't tie in with your values. If you're a co-sleeper, don't read Gina Ford. And so on.

But when you're not in a desperate stage, it's just wise to read up some and catch a few tips here and there.

It's just the same how we read parenting blogs, don't you think?

And now I'll step off my soapbox.

Back to the games...

D and I often say "this was the holiday of the .............." like there was a Ballito holiday once where the kids collected those tiny pellets from toy guns on the boardwalk every single day.

This last holiday was the holiday of card and board games.

They are insatiable. There's almost no point to packing the cards or Ludo away. Or the backgammon. And some other games I don't even know the names of....

I'm not a fan of games myself. Most of it feels like chance, and I prefer to use my brain. I do like 30 seconds and Pictionary, but I've told you before, D and I have to play on the same team.

I do like the kids playing because you get AWESOME photos like this set.

K will play the games up to a point but then she wants to draw or doodle or make things.

Do you like playing games?
Which are your favourites?

Do your kids like playing games too? Which games?

Monday, March 14, 2016

How this heat has been affecting me

I realised the other day when I felt like I could conquer the world just how this heat's been affecting me.

It had been cooler for a few days and I made a big list of things to do and I got about 12 of the 15 things done.


Because up to that point, it's been bare necessities around here, especially on the weekends. Gym, Weigh-Less, church, I only cook when the freezer is bare, I only run errands if absolutely necessary and the rest of the time.... reading and chilling.

Some days napping!

I've always said I'm a winter baby but really, I am someone who suits the cold weather.

I am even happier at work when the skies are grey and it's cooler outside.

Of course I'm behind with my walks for the year because it's been so hot. I just can't fathom getting out for a walk in the heat.

I know I catch up on the walks in autumn and winter, but I don't like being behind with anything :)

I really cannot wait for the consistently cooler weather. What in the heck happened on Sunday? I wore jeans for the 21 degree weather and it felt like 28 degrees.

Looks like my kids are like me too, definitely Connor. The slightest whisper of rain and they were on with the cooler clothes and gumboots, even with umbrellas :)

And what better way to return from a walk than to have some nice hot chocolate and a mini scone?!

Are you more energised in warm or cool weather?

PS, for Laura :)

Affect is usually a verb, and effect is usually a noun. To affect something is to change or influence it, and an effect is something that happens due to a cause.


Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Extra-murals at school, and kid busyness

Mandy wrote a post the other day about how busy the girls are and I remembered I wanted to talk about this busyness too.

I've always said I don't like kids to be too busy. Life is already busy enough so it takes conscious intention to be un-busy. Long-time readers may remember my babies did NO baby activities whatsoever - no Kindermusik, no babygym, no moms and tots, nothing. This was part...WTH - these are babies, people - and why would I want to make my life crazier by choice?!

Still, I believe they need to do something physical and while we're figuring out what they like to do, they chose two physical activities.

My kids do 3 extra-murals - chess, tennis and mini-cricket.

They offer these at the school, straight after school, and they are done an hour later.

My kids walk home from school so they get home just before 3. After undressing/ dressing, and then unpacking their bags and having a quick lunch, it's homework.

Then it's about 4:30 so they have 1/2 hour before baths.

I feel this is crazy.

It's way too much for 6 year-olds :)

I even said no to a weekday playdate except on a Friday and then again, not every Friday. I want them to relax and just run around the garden messing around.

Because I'm not messing with that homework schedule.

They are into it now (and of course, schools close next week) and seem to have no more trouble sitting still and getting to it.

Of the two, Connor is more focussed and Kendra is more....imaginative.

I keep reminding myself that my own handwriting was awful til I was about 8 and it just clicked for me.

I made a rule - if you say yes to it, you have to stick with it for at least one whole term. Like the Tiger Mother (ahem), I strongly believe that we only enjoy things when we have some mastery over it. I was mostly frustrated by my photography for years til I got good enough. Now I love it.

Kendra came home after ONE tennis lesson saying she was done. I overheard her telling D and was in the room pronto (before he could say "okay baby!") to remind her of our rules.

She then went to week 2 and came home loving it more.

So far they're enjoying all three of the extra-murals and thankfully, since we have to do nothing outside of school, we're enjoying it too.

Now here's the thing, and some of you will think we're crazy but oh well... we told the coach the kids can play mini-cricket but they can't play games on Saturdays.

We have a really nice family rhythm going on with family gym and we don't want to break that and start transporting kids all over Jhb from 7 - 10 every Sat morning.

Coach was fine with it but I've told nobody (except you!) for fear of something. Judgement?

American friends, South Africans are big sports fanatics (not me and D, obviously!).

My other friend MandyE said her girls don't do anything except one activity and she feels guilty sometimes too but wants to preserve their non-busyness.

MandyE, I'm with you! 100% all the way.

We've also stopped swimming lessons (unrelated to the busyness) but last weekend had such a nice laid-back day because we weren't rushing anywhere.


So where do you fall on the extra-murals spectrum?

All? Nothing? Somewhere in between?

PS I've just finished a fabulous book and Dr Leman said something I like - if you feel like your children are too busy, stop the activity!

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Another good reading month

This was another good reading month for me. I finished 7 books, two of those non-fiction.

  1. We'll always have Paris - a travel memoir of a lady and her daughter
  2. Parenting your Powerful Child - Dr Kevin Leman. I'm on a Leman kick and plan to listen to Have a new you by Friday this month too.

Um, all those with powerful kids (Gemma - Sam!) should read this book. D listened to just an hour of it with me and we've been using the tricks on our kids already :)

Favourite books this month
Four friends - Robyn Carr

Get Lucky - Katherine Center

Three and a half heartbeats - Amanda Prowse

Go read all my reviews on Goodreads :)

I still have this mad idea that I want to start a book club. BUT there's the small matter of I don't like people telling me what to read and when, I don't read book club-by books and no-one I know reads the same books I do. :)

So my fantasy book club remains this nice idea in my head.

What was the most interesting book you read in February?
What do you plan to read this month?

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Bright colours in the Bo-Kaap

Aside from my walk with Julia, we went back to the Bo-Kaap so I could completely indulge in photo-taking on my own looser schedule than with a tour guide.

And yes, I bribed the kids with ice-cream to go walking in 30-something degree heat.

This one reminds me of a Tara Whitney photo :)

This girl was supposed to email me for her photo but never did.

One more that I posted on Instagram :)

Now, doesn't that make you feel happy?

Otherwise, what's making you happy these days?

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Quick update on the work situation

Last week I wrote a little about the stuff currently happening at work.

Even though I was not the one with the tears and drama.... I am most definitely affected.

(Using affected/ effected incorrectly is one of my pet language peeves)

Matter of fact, the type of work I do is the section most affected by the change.

I am really not too bothered by the change itself (I'm hoping our useless assistant moves to a different area than I end up in!), except by the reporting line.

We have a very loose change management plan but basically all will be revealed over the next 2 months because implementation date is 1 July.

The really good thing is that since I've had a really bad work situation before (and that's an understatement), left and survived, I know I have the fortitude to do the same, if need be. And I will be just fine, both emotionally and financially.

So I'm not worried.

I also don't have the same attachment to this company that I did to the last one, which is maybe a good thing...

And that's it.

But how are you doing?

How was your February? Despite the extra day, mine went way too quickly!

I have 3 different grey walls at my house. With all the painting that went on last year, I'm a bit obsessed by the Perfect Grey.

Behold, Cape Town knows how to do grey.

 Which colour are you currently obsessed by?


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