Making time

It’s been a quiet few weeks from me over the last few weeks!

For the last three years, April/May and September/October have been exam season for me. It is always a stressful time. I don’t study nearly as much as I should, but every waking moment is consumed with thoughts of what I should be doing. During these months, especially May and October aka crunch time, I feel the need to limit my outside interests, so as to really focus on what I should be doing. Even the little obligations and commitments that don’t take up loads of my time sometimes feel like they are too much.

I really am grateful to my friends and family during this time for being patient, checking in regularly and just being super-supportive of my academic endeavours. 

Exams are over for now and it’s a good few weeks before I get my results and enrol for what will hopefully be my final semester. 

Over the last few days, as I wishing away the exams, I was thinking about what I really wanted to be doing instead of cramming information on financial forecasting and cost-benefit analyses.

What I desperately wanted to do was to be creating. And with creating, I wanted to be sharing my creations. I love the making and the creating, but I also really do love the sharing part. It’s a big part of what inspires me. 

Having said that, I have a little idea brewing about some things I want to create. And there are even some little clues in there as to what my creations may turn out to be. Follow me on my social media pages for more. 

And in the next few weeks hopefully, I’ll be catching up on some long overdue blogging.

Till next time! 

Hil. xxx

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Coffee or Tea?

If you had to pick one only hot beverage to drink for the rest of your life, what would it be? Coffee or tea? I wouldn’t want to have to choose!

Coffee is easy.

Coffee is go go go.

Coffee is wake me up and keep me going.

Coffee isn’t fussy. Coffee does her job in mugs, flasks and paper cups.

Coffee can be black, white, frothy, cheap or real. Sweet or bitter.

She is a dance partner for vanilla, cream, chocolate, toffee and ice cream.

She loves a dunk. A rusk or just buttery bread.

Coffee is quick, moving, grab on the go.

Coffee works.

 

But tea – ah… tea.

Tea is pure.

Tea is ritual.

Tea is soothing.

She is specific. Ceylon and China only.

Tea is same. A drizzle of cold milk, less than a teaspoon of sugar. Hot and strong. Always the same.

She is soul. She is calm.

Tea fixes. Just putting the kettle on for tea is the beginning of the solution.

Tea is slow and calm.

Ah… tea.

And Rooibos – never ever!

 

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When last did you go on a Soul Date?

In Julia Cameron’s wonderfully inspirational book The Artist’s Way, she recommends having a a regular “Artist’s Date”. You can listen to her describe it here. Essentially, an artist’s date is an hour or two, dedicated to feeding your creativity and doing something that nourishes your soul.

I like to think of it as a Soul Date.

soul
səʊl/
noun
1. the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal
2. emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance.
date1
deɪt/
noun
2. social or romantic appointment or engagement.

I’m not particularly regular with my Soul Dates – they’re more impromptu than organised. I really need to make an effort to be more intentional about taking this time out. Playing with beauty, art and design gets my creativity going and makes me a happier person.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou

Over the long weekend, I had a soul date with with my friend Jeanette and my sister, Jessica and our kids. As we head into autumn, Cosmos flowers are making Jozi look particularly pretty and a public holiday seemed like the perfect opportunity for some beautiful photos of the flowers. And our girls do so love a photo shoot. Connor loved it too – he’s all about outrageously funny faces and photobombing!

Jeanette is a professional photographer  and Jess and I love to fiddle around with our cameras as a hobby. We had the best afternoon, traipsing through the veld, searching for good photo spots, and experimenting with the light and poses as the kids came up with ideas for shots. Of course, their ideas included tree climbing and some action gymnastic shots.  My nieces tried throwing little bouquets of Cosmos that they collected into the air, and trying to catch the moment as they fell to the ground. I didn’t get great shots, but it was fun trying to time the moment.

I love taking photos on my iPhone, and I am still learning to play with my new toy, a Canon EOS mirrorless camera. The pics I took with the Canon haven’t been downloaded yet (lazy me) but in the meantime, here are a couple of my iPhone pics.

I’d like my next Soul Date to be a First Thursday at the Keyes Art Mile. What will yours be?

 

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A writer must write, right?

My little blog has gone through quite a metamorphosis in the last few years. My earliest blogs were on Tumblr. Then I created a WordPress blog entitled “RunRoundGirl” where I chronicled my journey from couch potato to runner (amongst other things). After that, a brief spell of being “In Hil’s Head” and now finally, my blog is at home here on my official business website, www.hilarygreen.co.za.

Time out!

As is typical of a metamorphosis (or so I recall from biology) it might have appeared to be quiet from my side over the last few months. I certainly haven’t blogged in a while! But there have been loads of things happening behind the scenes.

I’ve been considering my career aspirations, crystallising some ideas, adding to my experience and working on my degree. I’ve also been dealing with some challenging family stuff. I’ve been writing a regular monthly column for a couple of community magazines. Oh, and I’ve been learning to ride a horse. More about that in another post!

Writing has always been one of my favourite things to do. I absolutely loved creative writing in high school. I remember one project that we had to do for English class – I think I was in Standard 6 or 7 at the time (that’s Grade 8 or 9 if you’re a millennial). We had to keep a journal for a week. My teacher insisted that I kept writing long after the project was over, and the marks were in. She believed that I wrote well and encouraged me to write as often as possible. On another occasion, we had to write a parody of a fairy tale. I wrote a long, extremely rude and funny poem about Cinderella. It was a huge hit and was published in the school magazine. From those early days in English class at school and sharing my teenage angst with Dear Diary to dreams of being a journalist – words have always featured strongly.

Side note regarding the journo thing: I could never make up my mind whether I wanted to do serious hard news (think Christiane Amanpour and the photojournalists of The Bang Bang Club) or work at a glossy magazine (I loved The Devil Wears Prada before it was even a movie!)

The journalist thing never happened and a career in insurance did. I’m not sure why it took me so long to connect all the dots to realise that maybe, just maybe, I could turn my love of word craft into a career. Now it’s time to put my words into action. I am officially launching my writing career.

Onward and upward

Thank you to all of my cheerleaders on this venture, you know who you are! If anyone needs a good great writer, you know who to call! And please share my Facebook page, my website and my blog posts. Sharing really is caring!

I might not be Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada (although I am sure she would play me in a movie about my life) but dreams do come true. You just have to make them.

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2018 – My year of ME

New year’s resolutions are so 90’s, don’t you think? In this age of TED talks and enlightenment, we’re all about setting intentions – choosing a word for a year, a theme. It is so much gentler than swearing off chocolate, or swearing off swearing, for that matter. And more productive too.

This will be the third year in a row that I’ve chosen a word for the year. I can’t for the life of me remember my word for 2015. I had to go back and check my blog archives for 2016’s word.

This year is a bit different. This year, my word is ME. A reminder to put myself first in all aspects, so that I can be so much more to those around me. I don’t think I will have to go back into my blog archives to remember my word. Why? – I hear you ask

Late last year, I took some “MEtime” to attend Briony Liber’s “Career Women Moving Mountains” workshops. The information that Briony shared with us and the collective wisdom of the women attending the workshops with me was invaluable for my career growth. There is something so magical about a group of women getting together to share.

My highlight was the final session. We took a little time to explore some tough questions about our experiences in 2017 and our expectations for the year ahead. Then the fun began.

Sitting around a vast table covered in magazines, washi tape, coloured pens and glue and other beautiful creative tools, we began to create a vision for 2018.

Using ME as my inspiration, I searched for images that illustrated what putting ME first meant. Things like making time and space for myself for the things that make me happy, getting on top of my budget, looking after my health, celebrating all victories – big and small, and a reminder to remain hopeful and optimistic.

My vision board is now hanging inside my wardrobe, catching my eye as I search for something to wear each morning. It’s a daily reminder to focus on ME.

I am also trying to turn the intention into action by setting myself a little resolution for each day as suggested by Rich Mulholland here. In essence, instead of grand resolutions, he suggests that we set a few good intentions. Then we think about what actions we need to take to make those intentions a reality. And each day, set a little goals for something that you can do to realise the intention. And if you’re doing this 4 out of 7 days in a week, you’re winning.

Little goals, tiny steps and an awesome year. Cheers!

If you are keen for a 2018 on your terms, check out Briony’s website and her vision board workshops.

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#GreensGoTroppo – all about our Mauritian adventure

If you’ve had any interaction with me at all, both in real life and online, you’ll know that I’ve just had the best vacation E.V.E.R! It’s all I spoke about for months beforehand and it’s all my sweet dreams are about now.

A couple of months ago, Belinda, based in Dubai, decided that the very best way to celebrate her milestone birthday was with her family on a tropical island. Cue a ton of excitement from all of us and a mad panic to renew passports and get kids’ unabridged birth certificates. That, in itself, is the subject of an entirely different blog post.

July seemed a very long way away back then, but time flew by and before we knew it, the big day had arrived and the Dubai Green and the Jozi Greens were jetting off from ORT to meet the Perth Greens in paradise.

Ready, steady, fly!
Slightly dishevelled!

We stayed in the most fabulous resort – Beachcomber Trou-Aux-Biches – worth every single star of its 5 star rating. The 13 Greens shared two villas, each beautifully furnished with ALL the creature comforts including a private pool, outdoor showers and more Nespresso than even my caffeine addicted body needed. The beds were incredible – Jon reckons he should have worn his fitness tracker to roll over and kiss Jess goodnight – they were big, like super king size! The whole hotel, from the villas to the restaurant restrooms, was scented with the most unbelievable fragrance. I found out later that it’s a Beachcomber fragrance called Royal Orchid.

Basically, our days were spent as follows:

  • Wake, Nespresso, dress in appropriate resort wear – ie bathing suit, shorts, sarong.
  • Buffet breakfast where you have no choice but to try ALL the food then swear you’re not eating until supper.
  • Beach/pool, read, roll over, repeat.
  • Decide you’re peckish and might head up to the restaurant for a bite of the buffet lunch. You have no option but to try ALL the food. Wonder if you’ll possibly be able to eat dinner?
  • Back to the beach/villa to read nap.
  • Sundowner drinks and the butler arrives with a plate of pre-dinner snacks. Amazingly, you’re able squeeze one or three of the spring rolls.
  • Dress for dinner and a golf cart to take us to one of the numerous hotel restaurants – Italian/Thai/Indian/Gourmet Seafood/Themed buffet)
  • Drinks and chatter after dinner at one of the villas and blissfully to bed.

The Greens did mix it up a bit by snorkeling, canoeing, pedal boating, stand up paddling, a glass bottom boat trip and a trip into Grand Baie and a few walks to the Trou-aux-Biches village for some retail therapy. We could find pretty much anything we may have needed at Chez Popo supermarket.

That’s not me…

So snorkeling. Can’t say that was my favourite thing ever. I am a massive scaredy-cat when it comes to swimming, especially sea swimming. So the first time we went out on the snorkel boat, I decided I wasn’t even going to try. Then FOMO struck as I watched everyone bobbing about, so I borrowed a pair of flippers and tried to climb off the boat. Panic and nerves set in and I just couldn’t do it. The next time we all went snorkeling, I decided to try again, this time with the safety of a life jacket. I actually got off the boat that time. But I was too busy popping my head out the water to find Nemo. I had to make sure the boat hadn’t sailed away without me! I am quite comfortable to now admit that snorkeling is not for me. I am quite happy to marvel over the wonders of the ocean floor from a safety of a glass bottom boat.

We decided to celebrate Belinda’s big birthday on Friday night and we were treated to a barbecue in our villa, cooked by one of the chefs and served by our amazing butlers. The hotel staff made the most incredible effort and it was a special night. We spoiled Belinda with some bling in a teal box and a photo book of memories. I think the photo book that we created for her was a hit! 

Wasn’t the table setting just gorgeous?

On Saturday we had to say a sad goodbye to the Aussie Greens, so we had to take a traditional family selfie before they left.

After that, we were all very subdued. Cocktails were necessary…

And on Sunday – it was all over. My only regrets – that the hotel shop had sold out of the Royal Orchid fragrance diffusers – the little memento I was planning to buy myself to evoke memories of my week in the tropics. Oh and that I didn’t get to meet our celebrity neighbours.

Yes – I almost forgot to tell you – we had celebrity neighbours, just a few villas away! Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are staying at the resort to film a movie. Sadly, I only got to spot the back of Anne – but other family members got really good sightings and Jess even made eye contact with Ms Hathaway. I did consider doing some real stalking, but that would be a bit uncool, you know?

A resort holiday is absolutely indulgent from the minute you set foot on the resort, but everyone agreed that by far the biggest treat of all was spending a full week together as a family. The cousins bonded, as did the mom, siblings and siblings-in-law, and we all treasured the quality time together.

I am also so grateful for the opportunity for my kids to experience an overseas trip. Travelling broadens your horizons in so many ways. I am pretty sure an overseas gap year is definitely on Ewan’s to do list now! He’s even talking about wanting to be an exchange student.  And I have a travel bucket list as long as my arm, so it’s time to start doing some planning and budgeting!.

P.S. I wanted to call this post How the Greens got marooned – you know… marooned on an island and a play on the colours – geddit? Instead I chose #GreensGoTroppo – that was our chosen holiday hashtag for all pics we shared on social media. “Troppo” is a nod to the tropical island experience and Aussie slang for going nuts. And since we shared the week with the Aussie Greens, it seemed appropriate!

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Ta-daaa

I’ve hinted a couple of times about a big and exciting change happening in my little corner of the blogging world.

Finally, after much deliberation and procrastination, I have taken my blog to the next level. From a .wordpress.com site to my very own domain. And here you are… www.inhilshead.co.za!

I am so, so happy be able to share this space with you! A lot of time and love has gone into creating a space that’s all mine, from the design to the written content.

So what’s going to be happening InHil’sHead in the coming months? I guess the best way to describe this space is as a lifestyle blog… about my life as a busy, working mom, trying to live my best life. From my food and life hacks, to parenting, my efforts at fitness, the books I read, the places I go and the thinks I think. And everything in-between. I even have my first giveaway lined up – super exciting and I can’t wait to share it! I’ll be sharing my monthly column with you too – a light-hearted look at parenting tweens and teens. I have so much news to share about what I’ve been up to recently – expect loads of tropical island pics!

Oh – and my old posts are all here too, so you’re welcome to take a look through those while you’re here!

Click subscribe below so that we can stay in touch! You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And please, please let me know what you think in the comments below!

Loads of love,

Hil xxx

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My Top 5 TED talks

I don’t know if this makes me super-geeky, but one of my favourite ways to pass the time, especially when I’m looking for a bit of a pick-me-up-slash-kick-my-ass-into-gear, is to head into the black hole that is YouTube and watch a TED talk or four. 

They also make for pretty cool podcasts to listen to while driving. The nice people who curate the podcasts on my iPhone have made sure that the podcasts are suitable for audio only and you don’t need the visuals to enjoy them.

Going to a TED conference is on my ever-growing bucket list, so I was very keen to hear Carel Nolte of CN & Co give some feedback on his recent trip to the main TED event in Vancouver. 

I was amazed that Carel was the only South African in attendance at the event this year! Unless you count Elon Musk who was one of the main speakers.

I was also intrigued by the idea of TEDx events – which are independent TED-like events held all year round, all over the world, provided you have a license to host such an event. I’ve always thought that a TEDx event would make for the most awesome corporate conference! 

I have a couple of TED favourites and I thought I’d share them with you: 

  1. Liz Gilbert’s talk on creative genius. 
  2. Brené Brown on the power of vulnerability.
  3. Amanda Palmer’s Art of Asking – I’ve also blogged about her audio book
  4. Sarah Kay’s amazing poem. Oh man – Sarah Kay is just the most amazing poet – I could listen to her forever!
  5. Shonda Rhimes on saying Yes!

If you haven’t discovered TED yet… then where have you been? 

And if you have… please share your favourites, I’d love to hear about them!

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If only social media were a bit more… social!

I’m a social media junkie – I’m not going to even try and pretend I’m not. Any attempts at “detoxing” from the constant stream of information that I allow myself to constantly be exposed to, has failed dismally. But then again, I’m not very good at detoxes from sugar, wheat or caffeine either. Judge away. 

Back to social media though… I’ve noticed a trend in the last few years about how much less we seem to actually interact now, compared to the early days.  

We used to do so much more than “like” things. I seem to remember a lot more talking, banter, debate, feedback. 


Nowadays it seems like all I, and a lot do others do, is “like”. A heart here and a thumbs up there. I’m totally guilty of this. How many blogs do I follow, and how rarely do I say anything to the bloggers I like and respect? 


 And yet, as a blogger and socialmediaphile (yes, I totally made that up), nothing makes me happier than a real wordy comment on my IG pic, blog, tweet or FB share. Yes, views and likes are cool… but tell me what you think? What you really, really think?

Like I said – I’m absolutely guilty of this myself. Maybe it’s a symptom of information overload and too little time to take it all in? There’s just so much happening on the WWW that I spend the time I allocate to it skimming the details. Maybe what I follow needs to be more carefully curated? But FOMO is real y’all!

I’m going to make it my mission to have quality engagement with friends and acquaintances on social media. Really try and build networks. Less emojis and more real words. 

Tell me what you think? What you really, really think?

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

Forgive me friends, it’s been much more than a month since my last spillage of words onto a page. 

Crazy, last minute, deadline driven attempts to focus on exams has taken precedence over normal life. In fact, if you ask anyone in my house… it’s pretty much been each person for themselves, while I’ve been camped out at the dining room table, nose in books/laptop, drinking copious mugs of tea for sustenance. In fact I’m amazed that that they were still loving and kind to me on Mother’s Day! I don’t feel like mother of the year at the moment! But they’re sweetie pies and we’re family and we adore each other through studying and fun. 

Even my kitty is over this constant studying… 

 

Anyway exam end is in sight and the results will be what they will be. And I have big plans for when this exam season ends… 

Are you sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for details? 

My big plans (for now) involve finishing a painting, reading books that are entirely ficticious and fun, binge watching a series or two on Netflix, and rebranding this blog. 

Yes, time to rebrand! If you have known me for any length of time, you’ll know that my interests are vast and varied. I’ve been giving the the rebrand of my blog some thought for a while now and I want it to be about more than running, momming or studying or any one thing. 

I’m thinking along the lines of “ordinary girl trying to live an (extra)ordinary life” vibe because essentially that’s what I’m trying to do. I want to be and achieve so much more than existing. 

I love people and their stories and I want to blog about things which will hopefully provide a bit of a laugh, some inspiration and even some motivation. I want to talk about all the things that I’m trying to do to help me live my best life!


I’m certainly not promising blogs climbing Everest or adventures through the Amazon or anything so extreme, unless someone feels like sponsoring a trip. In which case I’ll blog away! 

So while I consider how this rebrand is going to look, hit me up with some exciting 
ideas for names…

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