Thursday, 22 August 2013

Keep Calm and eat a Bounty

What started off as a bad morning turned into a  bad day of monstrous and epic proportions.

I am grateful that when I have mornings like this, I can arrive at the office, make a good cup of coffee and have a conversation with my lovely friend - an older and wiser mama than me - that goes something like this.

Me: I AM THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD (followed by entire story in painstaking detail).

Her: YOU ARE NOT THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD (followed by many assurances and examples of why she has this viewpoint).

I take great comfort in these conversations because her daughters are almost grown and haven't thrown her over yet. There is hope, then.


My friend has a bouncy, giggling, beautifully happy 8-month old baby. I remember Immy being that age, and me being constantly surprised by what a good mother I was. I never got impatient, absolutely never yelled and thought that at last my hot-tempered days were behind me and I was going to be the very model of saintly motherhood.

Fast forward 3 years. My daughter has a personality and a MIGHTY will of her own. And she can TALK. BACK. And all of a sudden, it's not always that easy to Keep Calm and Be the Best Mom in the World.

Our children are gifted to us. We are the custodians of their happiness, their wellbeing, their emotional and physical security. We are their teachers, and they are ours. I have learned more about myself - and the person I would like to be - in my almost-four years of motherhood than my entire life before that. Mistakes are okay, and my lovely daughter forgives me for them. But she is my  constant reminder that I should always try to be the best person I can be. The rest - mother, wife, daughter, sister, colleague and friend - just follows. I am a far, far way from where I would like to be, and days like today remind me of this.

Well. Since our day started off pretty badly, we turned it upside down and ended it like this. A candle-lit hamburgers-and-chips picnic on the living room floor.

We read The Rainbabies. And she fell asleep in my arms in her bed. The only good thing about bad days is that they always have the potential of ending well.

To end, my top three Keep Calm strategies for this awful day.

Keep Calm and...

- Buy a bunch of flowers
- Phone a friend
- Try very hard not to hit people who annoy you

Good night.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Whippet in Linden

* Alternative title: The Post of the Many Links

For me, August means a number of things. A million family birthdays. It's windy, dry and dusty so I walk around with a box of tissues under one arm, battling my allergies and making my hair look extra nice so that people will have something else to look at besides my red nose and watery eyes.

For some reason, August always makes me feel restless. Edgy. I feel alarmed that the end of the year is already on the horizon. I long for spring, and rain and hot summer days. Our September diary is already full, and from there it's just downhill at break-neck speed to the end of the year. Exhausting, really. And much, much worse than all of these things is that for some reason I seem to have morphed into the Most Impatient and Crotchety Mother Who Ever Lived.

August and me, not good friends.

In an attempt to calm my restless nerves, and on a much more interesting note, I have recently discovered a treasure trove of online sites selling amazing, hand-made goods made by super-talented South African designers. Honestly, I've been blown away by the sheer talent and creativity that's out there: earrings, ceramics, jewellery, art, décor. I've been plotting and scheming for a while now to spruce up some spaces in our home - and now I can legitimately spend our hard-earned money on some lovely, pretty, homey, cosy things. Click here and here and here to see what I mean.

August got a face-lift all of a sudden.

In Good Company was one of the shops I stumbled upon during my online shop crawl. I wanted to check out their actual shop in Parkhurst, so we set off for Jozi on Saturday for a good breakfast and a bit of shopping. Our coffee shop of choice  - The Whippet in Linden. Good coffee, a HUGE tea selection (if that's your thing), great eggs benedict and homemade fudge for dessert. Also takeaway. One of each flavour. Yum.

I dutifully got permission before the time from the shop owner to take some photos of In Good Company, which I was hoping to share here. Except that there was so much I loved that it was a struggle not to immediately unload armfuls of stuff onto the counter for payment in a cunning and surreptitious manner so as to avoid being noticed by The Husband. Party décor, vintage toys, old-fashioned dominoes and lovely glass jars of brightly-coloured gobstoppers which immediately made me feel that Willie Wonka had not only made them but also hand-delivered them with a few trusty Oompa Loompas in his great glass elevator.

We came home with some secret treasures. Secret because she doesn't know about them yet. We're expecting a visit from the fairies soon, and rumour has it they come bearing gifts. Like fairy-sized birdy lipbalm and shadow puppets and a special tin keepsake box for fairy treasures.

Two weeks to go, and then it's officially spring.

Bring it.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

DIY Kids Art

A friend of mine recently pinned an art project for little kids on Pinterest. I liked the look of it - mostly - and thought it would be a fun way for Immy and I to spend some time together, create something cute for her wall and use up some of our art supplies lying around. So many birds, this one stone.

This is how we did it.

Get a smallish, cheapish white canvas. Honestly, it's not going to be Water Lilies or anything. Stick some tape randomly across it to make some geometric shapes and then get to the fun part.


A small roller is great for tiny hands, and gives  a nice texture.

When all the sections were done, it looked something like this. As you can tell, we weren't too precious about staying in the lines or anything.

I thought a plain painted canvas would be a bit boring, and we already had some very pretty 3D butterfly stickers that I'd bought at an art shop ages ago. Since the theme for this corner of the room is going to be Butterflies and Birds, I figured these would work very nicely.

After realising that actually watching paint dry isn't all it's cracked up to be, we headed outside for some exercise and sunshine.

Once the canvas was completely dry, we carried on with the next and best part of the project - peeling the tape off. A bit like covering your hand in Ponal Wood Glue as a kid and then peeling it off in one go. Or maybe that was just me.


Time for the stickers.

And that's it! She is SO excited that we are going to put it up on her wall - we just need to finish it off with a few more stickers and fairy dust.

In the meantime, I am contributing to the Birds and Butterflies corner by making some peace doves to hang from her ceiling. Luckily I'm married to an architect, because those reverse inward folds are so tricky.

Very excited to spruce up her room with some more fun and quirky discoveries.

Happy creating!