Finding a piece of peace

I love my home, but I also love my adopted home. There are so many differences and so many similarities between the two places I call home: Cape Town and London (read more about that here).

 Cape Town is like a slow leisurely drive on a Sunday afternoon, with the fresh breeze blowing through your hair and the sun setting just behind the mountain top. London is a little more like changing into fifth gear, putting the full weight of your foot on the accelerator, running a red and coming to a screeching halt outside the Morley’s down the road.
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Over the past year and a half, I’ve experienced so many changes in my life: new job; new flat; new-ish country; new friends and plenty of new adventures. It’s been a busy time with so many adjustments, many disappointments, major heartaches, many celebrations, many frustrations and many unbelievable moments. With so many changes it can be hard to keep grounded and I can honestly say that it’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

For the longest time, I’ve been struggling to find a balance in my life. You know how it goes, as soon as one area of your life is going great, suddenly something happens in a different area of your life and totally upsets the rhythm of your flow.

Living at full-speed in a such a busy city, where FOMO is a real thing, it’s often tough to find a little peace. But  after a lot of soul-searching, I’ve  finally come to realise the value of down time and giving your soul some room to breathe.

As a serial over-committer,  carving out some ‘me time’ is still something I have to work very hard at, but I’m getting better at it. Also, I now have no shame in admitting that I won’t make it for your 10am brunch date next Sunday, as I have a plans with my duvet and my new book! LONG LIVE CHILL DAYS!!!


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The Adjustment Bureau


Just to be clear, this is not a review, but in case you wanted to know what my thoughts were on the actual movie, absolute bollocks. Moving along….literally. I recently moved countries and continents for that matter with my brand spanking new hubby (check out his blog here)and it has certainly been an adjustment.

Moving from London to Cape Town was never in our plans, but here we are in sunny South Africa and I’m absolutely loving it. There’s something exciting about coming back home. All those “ordinary” things which I took for granted while growing up in Cape Town, somehow seem so shiny and new. Like waking up to the sight of Table Mountain outside my bedroom window, taking a 10 minute drive down to the beach after work and feeling the sand between my toes, enjoying the lovely fresh seafood down near the water’s edge, where it was probably only caught a few hours ago.


The adjustment from living in a 24 hour city, where everything works like clockwork is quite surreal. Moving back to Cape Town feels like slamming on the breaks and shifting into cruise control. The vast difference in climate, when moving from cloudy grey skies with intermittent rainfall to the sunny, sometimes windy and altogether warmer Cape climate, has also been a bit of a shock to the system.


It’s actually quite amusing how the same things that used to annoy me about my home town, is now what I appreciate the most. To name but a few: the lady down by the corner shop who wants to know who your mother is and always asks “aren’t you family of aunty so and so who lives in so and so, who was married to such and such?”; the lack of organisation in processing any sort of official paperwork (which sometimes works in your favour), the man at the market promising to give an excellent deal on that dress- “just because you’re such a pretty lady”, the maniacs we call taxi drivers and their accomplices (taxi guards) trying to squeeze into the non-existent lane in the middle of peak hour traffic and the woman at the supermarket checkout proceeding to telling you all about the amazing dishes she makes out of the same types of mushrooms that you are buying- “you should really try it you know”, she tells me.

I’m not completely ignorant of the issues that plague our country and I realise that their are still many areas which need dramatic improvement. But, I can say in all honesty, that despite the shortcomings of this colourful and friendly place I call home, it’s good to be back. In my experience  I’ve found that sometimes you have to leave the things you love behind to truly appreciate it.


Curry in a hurry

I took a walk down Brick Lane today, with my heels clicking on the cobble stoned ground, as the faint sun shone down on my face. The lane as always, is a hub of activity and sensational aromas. Curry houses line the street on both sides, proudly displaying banners which are similar from one restaurant to the next. ‘Best Balti House 2010’ reads one; another says ‘Curry House of the Year 2011’; and yet another: ‘Restaurant of the year 2009’.

Clearly a marketing ploy to attract many naive foreigners, but hey who can blame them? This is after all Banglatown. Walking down Brick Lane feels like a completely different world in the middle of a very English city. There’s even touting outside of nearly every restaurant, trying to entice you into a meal in their fine establishment, while their competition across the way nudges you closer to his end of the lane.

The name is derived from the former brick and tile manufacturing that took place in the area, using local brick earth. At first the area was occupied by French Huguenots, who left their mark on many of the side streets in this area, such as Huguenot Place, where my office is situated. In the last century however, the area has been occupied by Bangladeshis.

It’s quite a popular hang out spot for trend setters, who spill over from the nearby “trendy” Shoreditch. Big hats with peacock feathers, red-dyed fur coats, thigh-high boots, purple hair and top hats are all the norm around these parts. On the weekends the lane turns into a street market, with street vendors, songstresses and Carrom Board games; providing a little ‘something’ for everyone.

The rich heritage of the area, combined with the quirky characters that hang out there and the smell of masala is what makes Brick Lane unique to me.

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Home Comforts

As the time is nearing for me to make my big move abroad, I find myself contemplating what I can and cannot live without. There are certain home comforts which I simply cannot imagine my life without and the thought of not having them at my disposal makes me slightly nostalgic. Things like ‘Wonderkroon’ and Jamaica Ginger Tonics, which my mother swears by and always seems to make me feel better when I’m sick.

Then there’s my all time favourite cereal, Pronutro, which tastes just as good now, as it did when I was five years old. Salticrax, which despite its misleading name, is the absolute best savoury snack. I’ve also got a weakness for Flings, which generally are considered ‘baby chips’ due to their soft texture, but hey who cares right? Rooibos Cappuccinos, Woolworths Marshmallows, Kauai, Mugg & Bean, Old Biscuit Mill, Eastern Food Bazaar, the V& A Waterfront and the Company Gardens are just some of the things I’m going to miss about my home town.

I’ll most certainly miss all of my favourite delights, but I’ll miss this city and the people in it the most. Cape Town has a certain spirit about it, especially around Christmas time and the people who live here are some of the warmest, funniest and downright nicest people I know. No matter where I go, this will always be my home.

So here’s to new beginnings, lasting memories and a place I can always call home 😀

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Mothers & Daughters

I’ve never had a daughter before, but I have loads of experience on being a daughter. My sister and I being the only daughters amongst our brood of five have been fortunate to be raised by a modern day Wonder Woman. My Mum has loved us, nurtured us, cut us down to size, spoilt us and raised us to be the courageous women we are today. I’m not sure how she managed to pay such special attention to each and every one of us, with five kids running around, but I can only hope that if I should have a daughter one day, I’ll be able to measure up to the kind of parent my Mum is.

I’m a huge fan of spoken word and this little rendition by Sarah Kay called “B”, is one of my favourite pieces. It gets me choked up every time and compels me to aspire to be a great mother one day.

“This world is made of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.”

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La Vie Simple

 a.k.a. The Simple Life

A few weekends ago I spent some time on what my best friend and I affectionately call ‘the farm’ or what is better known to others as Clanwilliam. I decided to make the long trip to this little ‘town’ outside of Cape Town to spend some time with my Bestie and her hubby who recently moved down there for work purposes.

The drive down there took forever and the more we drove, the more I felt as if any and all elements of my city life were disappearing before my eyes. Looking out at the huge expanse of dry land, all I could see for miles were mountainous landscapes and dams in between. I was expecting to arrive to at a tiny little town with gravel roads and perhaps one general store, but I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

So there may not have been a shopping district as I know it, but there was in some sense a town centre, with all the major bank branches, a Spar, a restaurant and even a local pub, all of which ran on ‘country time’ (i.e. no after hours shopping). Despite this however, I thoroughly enjoyed soaking up ‘The Simple Life’ and the many great things it had to offer.

For starters, no one told me how freakin’ fantabulous the champagne is out in the country, but I certainly took full advantage of this. Then there’s the beautiful landscapes, which are simply breathtaking and the fresh air, which is nothing like the smog-filled city air and made me want to bottle up a few litres to take back with me. The best part of the weekend though was the people.

There’s something very endearing about small town people that just creeps right into your heart. They’re the most accommodating people ever, who will go out of their way to try and help you even if they don’t know you and especially if you’re an out-of-towner. There’s also the courtesy factor, where everyone greets everyone, despite them being strangers to each other and it certainly is true what they say about news spreading fast in a small town, because everyone either knows you within the first 24hours of you being there or they’re sure to know about you.

I thoroughly enjoyed my ‘mini-break’ to the farm and it certainly made me appreciate the great outdoors, made me believe in the good of humankind again and made me realise that sometimes less really is more.

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It’s still you

You still make my heart beat faster, 
still make me laugh like a kid, 
still get a smile out of me, 
even when I’m peeved. 
You still give me butterflies, 
still know how to comfort me, 
still make me feel completely secure, 
whenever you’re near. 
You’re still the one who I trust most, 
still the one who loves me best, 
still the one I want for life, 
the only one who holds my heart.
Even after all this time, even after all the miles, it’s still you.

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The statute of limitation has expired on most of our childhood traumas

Dr. Gordon Livingston was a US author and psychiatrist, who wrote a critically acclaimed book called Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, wherein he 30 truths or life lessons (which you can read more about here ). He believed that every individual is in control of his/her destiny, despite their past of current situation. The fourth chapter in his book was called ‘The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas.’

The chapter goes on to explain that despite what has happened to us in our childhood, whether it be severe traumas of neglect, we are still in control of our destiny, and in order to move forward we must first be willing to let go of the past, in order to move into our future.

I know we’ve probably all been in one of those situations where we revert back to a childhood memory or something we learnt (directly or indirectly) from our parents or siblings. Some of these memories or traits are positive things that we carry with us from childhood, others though, such as the memory of your parents’ abusive relationship; or being molested by a family friend are best left forgotten.

Granted, its not as easy as just getting over these traumas which leave their scars on us for life. But in order to avoid repetition thereof in your future and move forward in life, you have to let go of these traumas. Its always easier to blame something or someone, but instead of blaming your current circumstances on your past, why not decide to take control of your life and steer it in the direction that you want it to go. Don’t let your past define your future!

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Be Bold and Mighty Forces will come to your aid

I normally start every year on a bit of a high, with lots of dreams, hopes, plans and enormous amounts of ambition. Every new year feels like a fresh start to me. A new beginning, a new challenge and an opportunity to make things happen.

This year, was no different. It started off with a bang, looking bright and shiny and new! I was so amped to get going, I could barely contain my excitement. I was looking forward to so many things: being a student again; moving back home; seeing my family again; catching up with old friends and making new ones; doing some volunteer work; soaking up the sun; exercising; and making a start on my many little personal projects I’d been meaning to do for so long. 
It was all so exciting and I felt like a ball of energy heading for success. Then came the mountain! It hit me right in the face, knocked me off my feet and dropped me on my head with a loud THUD! Bringing me right back down to reality. What a buzz kill! Sure, I knew it was coming. I knew it wasn’t all going to be easy and breezy, but the hard bits always hit you from behind and always so unexpectedly.  
So needless to say, there have been many challenges in this year. Many late nights and early mornings devoted to conquering assignments; many depressing days filled with sulks over the ‘long distance’ in my long distance relationship; many days spent planted at my desk while the rest of Cape Town enjoy the sunshine; and too many days wishing this would all soon come to an end. 
The mountain, has been a massive challenge and there have been many times where I’ve had to pull on my ‘big girl panties’ and just suck it up and now that I’m nearly at the top, I’m literally dragging myself toward the finish line and wishing that the ‘mighty forces’ like Luke Skywalker would just show up and give me a push toward the finish.  In a race, you always hear people say that you should ‘finish strong’, but by God, I’d just like to finish right about now. It’s tough, but I’m determined to get there in one piece and looking forward to finally bidding my student days farewell. 
So here’s to meeting the challenge, surviving the highs and the lows and here’s to kicking that mountain’s ass and then breezily cascading down the waterfall on the other side (a girl can dream, can’t she?).  Only ten more weeks to go and I can’t wait to bid farewell to 2011 and welcome the new challenges that await in 2012. Here’s to the last stretch, lets make it count!
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Final Words: The Last Lecture

I watched a lecture recently that Steve Jobs delivered at Stanford University in 2005. He spoke of his childhood, of being born out of wedlock, adopted and raised by a working class couple with no tertiary education. He spoke of his time at university and how he dropped out of his course after a few months; of how he created apple, became very successful and then got booted out of his own company.   A truly remarkable man who accomplished so much in his lifetime but still recognised the value of love and family.

Ever since reading about Randy Pausch and blogging about him earlier on this year (check it out here) I’ve thought a lot about what my final words would be to people if I had one last message to share before my time on earth elapsed. After the news of the death of Steve Jobs this week, a visionary who I really admire I felt even more compelled to write this post.

I aspire to be somewhat of a visionary myself one day. I don’t think I’ll ever accomplish what these remarkable men (Steve and Randy) did, as creating the latest Apple Mac or volunteering at Disney Land is not really on my list of things to do before I die. However, I’d like to know that I made some difference in people’s lives, even in the smallest way.

If this were my Last Lecture, I’d want to share my life lessons with everyone. I’d tell them that life is a day-to-day experiment, we don’t always get it right and sometimes it explodes in your face, but when you do, it’s absolutely brilliant. I’d say not to waste time on things that don’t matter and don’t bother worrying about what is to come or what might happen; but instead take a leap of faith and hope for the best.

I’d say forget the rules and push the boundaries. I’d say live a fearless life, always fighting to reach new heights, always challenging the norm and always questioning. I’d say be defiant and don’t let your past prevent you from unlocking your future. I’d say that one of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt is that people change all the time and its not against the rules, so if you don’t like who you are, change it.

I’d tell them to make time for the things that matter, like family, friends and lovers.  Show and tell the people you love and care about how much they matter. Sometimes the things we take for granted, the things that go unsaid, like a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘I think you’re amazing’ are the words that need to be said. Because sometimes stating the obvious is underrated.

I’d say take a risk, be daring, because the only person in this life who can make your dreams a reality is you. Reinvent yourself if you have to, after all if  Cher can do it, anyone can. Don’t let who you are stop you from becoming who you could be. I’d say do something that matters. Forget about the money and the status and just do something for the good of mankind.

I’d tell everyone that being happy is the most important thing, so spend time on the things that make you happy. Because this is not a test run, there is no do over, you don’t get to re-write the script and there’s no room for regrets. All we have is right here and right now, so make it count.

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