Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Big One Oh!

Thursday the 28th is our 10th wedding anniversary. I have been scouring the Internet for gift ideas for Rob. On a tiny budget, since we are splurging on our Great New York Anniversary Adventure in April. I laughed out loud at some of the ideas I came across. Like converting a photograph of yourself (or even worse! your husband) into a watercolour painting. Clearly this makes a wonderful gift for lots of husbands - you'd be surprised how many people do this. Rob would be horrified. I once gave him a framed photo of myself when we were dating, and he's never let me live it down.

We've had loads of fun planning our NY itinerary. Also pre-paying for it, thanks Viator! A baseball game (pulled pork sandwiches?? I'm in!), Broadway tickets, walking tours, a harbour night cruise and TONS more stuff. 8 days is so little! We are so looking forward to another chapter in our book of travels.

Something happened earlier this week (not to us, just something that I saw) that made me really look at my life and all the things that I sometimes take for granted.Things that make me happy and that we're so lucky to have.  Like a healthy, gorgeous child. Doting grandparents for Immy, who are always happy to help us out in a pinch, and who love to look after her. Summer days. Tiny ballet shoes and 3-year old first positions. Holidays. Date nights. New books. Bedtime reading. Breathing Immy in when she's sleeping at night.

Since this is a post about our anniversary, I guess a few thoughts on marriage would be apt. My friend asked me the other day what I think makes a marriage work. Frankly, I have no idea. Respect, patience, and a lot of LUCK I think. Small kindnesses also help - like how he parks my car in the garage every night because I just...well, don't. And phones me when he's leaving work to ask if I need anything from the shops. Jumps with Immy for ages on the trampoline because it makes her happy. NOT so much how he drives me MAD searching frantically for things that are nowhere to be found - in the morning when he's got one foot out of the door on the way to work. Marriage. Mostly it's good, sometimes it's stinky - but I guess that's what the for better or for worse clause is there for. Amen.

We're looking forward to a family anniversary celebration in the mountains this weekend. With our beautiful daughter, who is the brightest light of our 10 years so far.

For the nostalgia factor: some pics from our wedding day. Of course, that was in the day when photographers still used film in cameras, so that's why you have to squint at the photos to make them out. But oh! Weren't we young? And SKINNY? And look at that hair on Rob's head!

A toast to 10 years. And just a side note: the next Big One HAS to be a water villa in the Maldives. I've already picked the hotel.


New York collage photo credits, because I have to put them in. So that I don't go to jail.

Yankees stadium: Genta Masuda - http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnt/56045658/
New York skyline: JD Lasica - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdlasica/3661062567/
Cab photo: Young Yun - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pabo76/8540332016/
Pretzel: Kino-glaz - http://www.flickr.com/photos/will_brooker/4873199169/
Brooklyn Bridge: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deltabelun/3636283344/
Statue of Liberty: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rakkhi/5336076989/

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Purple Sherlock and other stories

Rob is always on the lookout for cute clothes and shoes for Immy. He comes home with photos of things he's seen in the shops, so that I can decide whether we like them or not. But sometimes he finds something irresistable, which he just knows we will all unanimously love.

Like these.

She calls them her spark-ely shoes, and she wants to wear them all the time, with everything.

The first day she wore these to school, she chose this all purple outfit. We didn't have purple socks, so had to make do with these. Once they were on and the shoes were tied, she looked forlornly at her feet. And said: 'Mom. I'm not happy.' Well. Rob was dispatched at lunchtime to buy a pack of purple socks. I mean, non-matching socks? An outrage.

While I was getting ready for work, she was investigating the Mysterious Case of the Weeds in the Cracks outside the Back Door.
 We've had a quiet week, enjoying quiet family moments. Like bedtime reading, and hers 'n hers manicures. And pillow fighting, which has become a nightly ritual.
We've also been feathering our nest a bit this week. Yuppie Chef just makes this so easy. So many things in our kitchen were gifts when we got married, which makes them 10 years old now.

Like the Lazy Susan: which has to have bottles distributed just right or else it looks like this.
 Replaced by this Joseph&Jospeph worktop saver. Step up, yes?
The promised coffee table pic...strategic photos taken so as not to show the hideous clunky black tv-unit which is the next thing to be replaced.

Cute solitaire game that we bought on our family holiday to Mauritius last year. Its been hidden in a dusty corner, just waiting for us to get our act together.
It's taken me ages to write this post because it's just - well, a bit boring I guess. No wonderful new places that we've explored, or exciting news to share. But then I thought - in 5 or 10 years from now,  I would have forgotten the shoes and how she loved them, and how she enjoyed pillow fighting and painting tiny nails. And I will love - LOVE - that I can read this post and remember again.
There you have it. More interesting posts to follow.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Love Books

When I grow up I want to have a bookshop just like Love Books in Melville. Mine will have a fireplace in the corner, with couches and deep sinky chairs.  Cute mugs, percolated coffee and tiny cupcakes. And an honour payment system that will work like a dream (well, for the coffee and cupcakes - not the books!) And I will spend all day reading, and will also wrap all my books in brown paper with pretty ribbon, and maybe throw in a cute bookmark or two for free. For fun. And for the love of books.

After 44 Stanley, we headed over to the Bamboo Lifestyle Centre. Specifically, to go and look at an antiques store there for a retro drinks trolley. Non-specifically, to browse around in Love Books where Rob had bought Immy the most fabulous book the day before (complete with brown paper wrapping and ribbon). Farmer Clegg. Watch out for the special mention later...

First order of business was the antiques store. Where we found the perfect drinks cart. Just like that. I wasn't sure at first (really? red melamine on the bottom and grey-and-white fake marble melamine on the top?) But I was totally sold when I saw the brass handle. Visions of me tripping my way through the living room, pulling the drinks cart behind me. It needs a total revamp, yes. But it's just the one. Antique stores are so interesting. One man's trash and all that. An ancient dentist's chair - SOLD! To whom, I wonder? Then again, maybe people wonder who in their right mind would buy an ancient melamine drinks cart with wonky wheels and plastic poles. Immy found a perfect-sized chair with some very dodgy-looking nails poking out of it that she parked herself in while we were in the business of trying to extricate the drinks cart from it's dark corner. And when the owner brought out the tricycle, well! Good times all round.

That small finger creeping towards the hole in the chair. Like a moth to a flame.

Um, no. Sorry Immy - mommy really doesn't know what that giant bottle in the cage is used for.

And then - Love Books. Words fail me. Love the cross-stitch labels, and the cute chandelier and the ribbony tree branch, and the selection of books. And the children's books!! Not sure how we settled on Aliens Love Underpants given the wide selection, but there you have it. And have I mentioned the brown paper wrapping and the ribbon AND the stamp? Immy got to help the lady stamp our books, which ended up a bit of a mess and left me wondering how I ended up with ink in MY eyebrow?

We left with more books. Fresh ones of course! A note for those with small children: Farmer Clegg's Night Out is the funnest (I know that's not a real word) book ever. Hilarious.

 And after we had loaded the drinks cart in the car, wrapped our books, run back into the bookshop to actually pay for the books, and run back one more time to pick up the forgotten denim jacket, we  headed over to our lovely Suttner-Stride friends for a quick visit and a moment of holding their gorgeous new baby. (Immy always sings her school song to this baby. We aren't sure why. But it's very cute).

This post should have been part of the previous one, but that would have made it crazy long. But that title - Just a perfect day - that's exactly what it was.

And as I type this with my laptop on our new coffee table, I'm thinking:  no buyer's remorse here, folks!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

44 Stanley

I haven't posted for absolute ages because I've had bloggers block. I just can't seem able to string together some sentences and pictures for a post worth reading. But now I'm getting up on the horse. Its likely not to be the post that changed the world, but I really really want to click that Publish button again. So here goes.
Those who know us well, know that we take absolutely forever  to decide on a new piece of furniture for the house. We can't find exactly what we want, ever. And then once we have it, I am likely to be stricken with buyer's remorse. Luckily R is very sensible about these things, and talks me down off my buyer's remorse ledge almost every time. 
Right. The point. We have been looking for a coffee table for over a year now. Just can't find anything that we both l.o.v.e. Until 44 Stanley and Decade came along. And as I write this, it is t minus 12 hours until our new (old) coffee table is delivered.

Last Saturday, we headed off to Jozi for the day. This entailed waking up at the crack of dawn, piling into the car (no coffee or breakfast - eek!) and catching a nap on the way (well, me. I hope Rob was not napping on the highway). He had been to 44 Stanley the day before, and had spotted a coffee table that he thought I might like. I was sceptical, but since we've searched everywhere else I reckoned we had nothing to lose. And a fun day of exploring to gain.

Did I mention no breakfast and coffee? Once we arrived, the first non-negotiable stop was breakfast. @ Salvation Cafe. Yes please.

Side note. As I type this, it's a quiet Saturday afternoon. Rob and Immy are in the garden. They've just been playing with her balloon, which OF COURSE popped on the grass. Bitter tears which I've now soothed. And now she's on the jungle gym and he is inspecting the grass with some disgust (we have a massive broadleaf problem - apparently. I reckon, broadleaf is green like grass, so what's the problem? Clearly not the gardener of the family.) The point of this is to say that it really is the small things that make us happy. Cliched, but true.

Ahem. Back to Salvation Cafe and breakfast. Yum. Breakfast duo, with the best eggs benedict and french toast. Not sure what any of the fruit tasted like, because Immy ate the lot. And loved - LOVED - the tiny Salvation Army milk bottle that came with her tea.

And while we were waiting for the food, a bit of Swan Lake on the edge of the nearby water fountain. Any opportunity for ballet. Carpe ballet.This is her motto.

Ok. So breakfast was done, and it was time to do some exploring. There are so many cute shops at 44 Stanley. We started - as one does- at a second-hand bookshop. The name made me laugh: 'L'elephant Terrible'. I mean, really. The Terrible Elephant?

The thing about me is: I love books. Obviously. But I don't love second-hand books. I don't know why. I love the shops, which are always musty and cozy and you feel like you could just spend hours browsing. But often I don't, and I never, ever buy books. Guess I just like them fresh.

Aha! Could this be THE Terrible Elephant? (not sure about that lion either)

Right. Next was Imagine-Nation. I am being very careful to credit all of these photos, because I got in a fight with a security guard who said I needed to ask permisssion to take photos. More about this a bit later in the post.

Anyway. I took my favourite photo of the day there. This one. Isn't it great?

So we walked around, and browsed in the shops and R got another cup of coffee and Immy had some water. (and right about at that point I had words with the security guard. I mean, where is the sign that says 'no photos' or 'ask permission to take photos'? Luckily most of the photos were already taken, and we were on our way out so I agreed (not very graciously, I'm afraid) not to take any more.

And then I saw it. The coffee table @ Decade. Imaginary music swelled in the background. I loved it. Wanted it. And sorry, I don't have a picture of it. Watch this space.

This photo of her gives me a lump in my throat.

And so does this one.

If you ask her who the person is on her t-shirt, she will say: Melson Mandelan. Which is close enough, and anyway - I think Melson Mandelan would enjoy that.

And that was the end of 44 Stanley for us. A new (old) coffee table, a good breakfast and some old-fashioned window shopping.

The day continued, although this post does not.

I am tired of sitting on this horse now.