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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Touching base with your team

How is it almost April?  This year seems to be flying by at a ridiculous pace and we are almost a quarter of the year down!

At the speed that we have become accustomed to working at, it is so very easy to get caught up in the urgency of the daily running of our businesses.

The important, but less urgent tasks sometimes fall by the wayside, with all our good intentions of dealing with them later. When they are looked at, it is in a rush and perhaps without the care and attention that they deserve.

One of the tasks that I am thinking of is internal communication, particularly written internal communication.

Keeping your team updated on developments, events, industry news and progress is essential!

The advantages of excellent internal communication

• Encourages trust and ends the rumour mill

• Maintains staff engagement and decreases staff turnover

• Boosts morale

• Builds company culture

• Ensures that your customer has the best possible experience with your brand, through your informed and well trained front-line staff

And most importantly:

It is key to achieving your organisation’s purpose!

Think for a moment about social media. We have become used to receiving a constant, bite size flow of information and feedback. Social media engages us and keeps us coming back for more. Similarly, your team want to know what is happening, why and how they are contributing. Your regular communication with them keeps them engaged and motivated.

But… regular, positive internal communication is tricky and time consuming.

How I can help?

Let me do the writing for you!

I have years of experience in working with various organisations, from the very small to the very large corporates. I have studied strategic business management, so I understand what goes into making a successful business tick! This experience, together with my flair for the written word and my natural ability to adapt to tone and audience means that I can easily and effectively help you communicate with your team.

How do we do this?

I can write your staff newsletters, informational displays, resource documents, event updates and even scripting of oral communication.

I can work with you on an ad hoc project basis, or on an hourly or per word rate, or we can do this on a contract basis, for a reasonable monthly fee.

Let me know what you want to your people to know, and let me figure out the rest!

Contact me now and we can set up a time to discuss your needs.

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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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Inspiration Everywhere!

On a very good day, I spend about 90 minutes in traffic on my commute to and from work. That’s an hour and a half of my waking hours staring at cars in front of me and dodging taxis. Last year, I made a conscious decision to be more discerning about what to do with my ears during that time. I’ve always preferred talk radio to music radio. And as much as I enjoy music, I am not much of a music listener in my car. My commute changed, very much for the better, when I started listening to online radio, podcasts and audiobooks.

In terms of online radio – it’s mostly cliffcentral.com. I can’t lie – I’ve been a fan of Gareth Cliff since his early days on 702. He is the same age as me and I was fascinated back then by how he, as a 21 year old, could hold his own, be so smart, confident and erudite on a prime time show on a popular radio station. I guess you could say I have a crush on his brain. I was super excited to pick up Gareth and his team online. His show is clever and funny, irreverent and sometime totally politically incorrect and so much fun to listens to. I reckon that an evening at a pub with the people on his the team would just be the best evening!

I don’t get to hear the whole show in the morning so I listen live while I am driving to work and often pick up on third hour of the show as a podcast on my afternoon drive home.In the third hour of the show, Gareth mostly does interviews. This week has been particularly cool, with both Monday and Tuesday’s interviews being fascinating!

Monday’s interview was with a guy named Matthew Kanniah who has been picked up by the legends of Top Gear – Clarkson, Hammond and May for their DriveTribe project. I enjoyed the chat with Matthew but more than anything, I was struck by his go-for-it attitude. He is a 25 year old petrol-head blogger and he got picked up by the ex-Top Gear dudes as a result of his tweeting and following the DriveTribe producers and then having the guts to share his work with them. Now that I’ve checked out his work on Instagram, I have followed him and I am super keen to see where he goes! I guess the point is just to put yourself out there. You never know where or who might see you and like what you do!

The next awesome interview I listened to was with Robby Kojetin. Another supercool chat with great banter between Gareth and his guest. I’ve never come across Robby before but wow, what a story! He’s an adventurer and is on his way to climbing all of the seven summits. The really, really amazing part is that he spent over a year in a wheelchair after a really silly and horrible accident. He was so down and out after the accident that he literally counted out the Synap Forte’s to off himself! The only reason he didn’t was because he didn’t have the magic number of pills – the number he was sure would do a thorough job. Even more thought provoking and inspirational than picking himself up from rock bottom and literally summiting Everest, was his talking about about bucket lists. Making a list of things you want to do and then actually doing them. This post sums up the idea beautifully! Please click on the link – you won’t be sorry. I think it’s time I started writing my bucket list down. I really want to read Robby’s book now. From listening to him on the radio, it sounds like he would write a pretty good story!

The final “Aha” moment (yes – I just Oprah’ed) that I’m going to write about was a short little podcast that I picked up while I was driving home last night from my stats class. Rich Mulholland is a really rad speaker that I follow. I’ve heard him live – he spoke at the induction training that I attended when I joined Hollard. He is a regular visitor to Gareth’s show. I think I have a crush on his brain too. I love super intelligent people (that’s also why I adore my hubby!) Anyway, Rich was talking about “curiousity boxes” – the idea that instead of thinking out the box, you think outside your own box. How being curious makes you a more interesting person. Taking time to learn about something you know nothing about.

You know how you start watching a TED talk about something completely random and unrelated to your life and before you know it, you’re drawn completely in and you’re kinda sad when it’s over and you want to tell everybody to watch? That. (Or is that just me?)

This little piece really resonated with me and reminded me to download some more podcasts and audiobooks. Apple and Audible have amazing selections. And maybe I need to be more random in my podcast selection and open more curiosity boxes?

Three very cool lightbulb switching talks and it’s only Wednesday. Imagine what I would be like at SXSW or Design Indaba or a TED conference (which, btw, is definitely on my bucket list!)FullSizeRender

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Foodie Fabulousness: Banting Granola

We’re trying to eat healthily in this house… well the adult contingent is, at least. You know, start the new year right and all. 

I’m trying to eat clean and follow a low carb, sugar free diet, as close to the letter as possible! I absolutely have to get serious about eating well because my weight has been moving steadily,  completely in the wrong direction for the last eight or so months. 

Nick doesn’t necessarily eat LCHF, but he tries to stay away from eating too much bread and eats well to fuel all the running he does. At the moment he’s training for the Two Oceans Ultra and those long runs make him HUNGRY!

One of the keys for my success will be having easy food that I can grab for work – particularly since I eat at least two of my three meals a day at the office. Having a pantry full of low carb options leaves me with choices and not feeling bored and frustrated.

So with that in mind, I bring you my take on The Real Meal Revolution’s 

Banting Granola


Nuts and seeds -I used a 500g Banting mix of nuts and seeds available at Dischem for about R115.00 – it contains walnutspecansalmondsmacadamia nuts, pumpkinsunflower seeds and coconut shavings. You can really make this mix up to your own taste. 

I like to bulk my mixture up with extra coconut shavings and seeds. The coconut crisps up really nicely when you you toast the mixture. 

Cinnamon – I love cinnamon – truly one of my favourite scents and flavours. I add cinnamon very liberally. You could add other spices too, like ginger or allspice. 

Butter and coconut oil – A good couple of dollops. 

Sweetener : honey, xylitol or whatever your drug of choice is.

Pinch of salt – not sure if this is entirely necessary but I find most things taste better with a tiny pinch of salt. 

I like to crush the bigger nuts a bit, just so that they’re not big, whole nuts. Give them a blitz in your food processor or pestle and mortar if you have some anger issues to deal with. 

Toss the whole lot – nuts, seeds and coconut – into a big, deep baking dish. 

Sprinkle the cinnamon liberally. 

Sprinkle the salt – not liberally, really just a pinch! 

Add your sweetener – sprinkle in the xylitol or drizzle over the honey. I used the tiniest drizzle of honey because I’m trying to go sugar free and eat clean so no artificial sweeteners. At the same time, I do think the granola is nicer with a little bit of sweetness. 

Dollop a couple of spoons of coconut oil and/or butter on top of your mixture. 

Place under a hot grill. This is where you need to be careful! This mixture burns super quickly so I place under the grill for 30 – 40 seconds and then mix it all up. Rinse*, repeat until the whole mixture is toasty brown and fragrant. Don’t walk away while you’re toasting your granola! Just don’t! I speak from experience. 

Leave to cool and store in an airtight container. 

I eat my granola with double cream yoghurt, and perhaps some blueberries or strawberries. It’s delicious and easily sustains me until lunchtime. My only advice here is to not eat it every single day – mix it up with other low carb brekkies like eggs etc. And watch your portion sizes. I use about 30 – 40g of granola and about 100g of yoghurt.

Nick’s Not-Low-Carb version is amazeballs:

Oats, yoghurt, bit of milk and a dash of cream, chopped fruit, all mixed up, with a liberal sprinkling of granola on top. Refrigerate overnight so that the oats soften in the yoghurt, milk and cream. Ready to go, first thing in the morning. 

Please share your go-to work day lunches and brekkies! I can always do with extra ideas! 

Love, 
Hil

* Please don’t literally rinse – this is just a phrase 🙂

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Matric results day: My 2 cents worth

Congrats to all of the 2016 matriculants who got happy results today!

When I was in highschool there used to be a TV ad about a bunch of kids getting their matric results by hanging out in front of a newspaper office at dawn in a beat up old volksie and cracking open bottles of coke (?) in celebration. I seem to think it was coke? I was always quite disappointed that I didn’t do that. I wonder if anyone did?

My dad drove me to my school that day. I’d already landed my first insurance job by then, so I’d taken the morning off to collect my results. The receptionist wouldn’t hand them to me and I had to go into the principal’s office to request them. I was terrified. But it was only because they couldn’t trace one of the text books I was supposed to have handed in.

I passed. My dad dropped me at work. I took the bus home. I’m sure we celebrated but I can’t remember those details. Oh and my mom insisted I sort out the text book misunderstanding with the school myself because I was officially all grown up now. Adulting 101.

The thing that I’m reminded of today is how fortunate I was to fall straight into a job. I often have wished that I had taken more time off, but in retrospect it was probably a good thing that I grabbed that first job. I’d been for the interview while I was still writing finals. When they asked if I would be happy to start mid-December, I said yes. I was willing and eager and took the gap given. Maybe if I’d been less eager to start, they would have been less eager to employ me? That first job sucked in so many ways, but it led to my second job. The one where I met Nick and created a real grown up life.

I was lucky. Not everyone landed a decent job with only a matric back then and it’s even less likely to happen now!

If studying further is not in your immediate plans or beyond your budget then take whatever else you can find! Seriously guys, just do SOMETHING. It all counts toward a bigger picture and you never know where a seemingly menial job may lead you. Who you may meet and impress along the way. Even unpaid volunteer work or interning can lead you to places you can’t imagine. And work hard at whatever it is you find to do. You’re never too good for the job you’re in!

You need to know that Grade 12 is not the end of your education. It’s the end of a phase, just like pre-primary and primary school, but it’s not the end! It will continue. And it absolutely must continue if you want to keep moving forward. Take any opportunity that you may stumble upon to improve yourself. I’ve been fortunate to work for companies that have paid for me to study and I’ve completed a couple of insurance related courses which have helped me in each subsequent job I’ve applied for. I’ve now reached a point where not having a degree has proved to be a huge barrier in my career aspirations so at the ripe old age of 39, I’m one third of the way to getting a Bachelor Degree.

Oh and you may not know what you really want to do for the next five, ten, twenty years of your adult life. I certainly didn’t. I’ve had a thousand career ideas and it’s only in the last few years that I have gained a little clarity. Apparently I’m not a freak and it’s quite common… So while you’re figuring it all out, do whatever comes your way and do it to the best of your ability.

I could ramble preach chat for hours on this subject because it’s really close to my heart, but I won’t.

Good luck kids!

Love

Aunty Hilly 🙂

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Bringing 2017 “into Focus”

Tomorrow I go back to work – my official start to 2017! We’ve had a lovely few weeks as a break, and now it’s time to face the real world again. That means it’s also time to consider what I want out of the year ahead! 

Sharon over at www.theblessedbarreness.com posted her word for the year and it got me thinking about mine. What immediately sprang to mind was the word “FOCUS”.
It’s time to focus on achieving my goals!


I’ve got to focus on my studies! I’d love to graduate with my degree at the end of 2018 and this means I need to do some some serious work in the next two years!  
I must, must, must focus on my fitness and my health. I’m officially sugar free (as of yesterday) and tomorrow I will lace up my running shoes and test my wonky tendons on the road again. I want and need to run again for a thousand reasons! 

I want to focus on doing more of the things that make me happy – writing, creating. Taking moments to lie on the grass, enjoy a cup of tea, read a book. 

Focus on being present for my family! 

Focus on finding joy and magic in each day and making the year I in which I turn 40 a fabulous one! 

I could go on and on about the things I need to focus on, but then you might lose focus and stop reading, so I’m going to sign off and focus on finding something to wear to work tomorrow! 

xxx

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