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.

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.
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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#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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A Lousy Little Tale 

img_0676*Beware… This post might make you itch!*

We are almost at the end of the first term of school and I’m about to tell you a tale about something that happened very early in the first weeks of this school year. It’s taken me this long to write about it because I really needed to put some distance between me and the traumatic event. And I’m not exaggerating- it was that traumatic!

So there I was, early one school morning, brushing my daughter’s hair, when she remarked that her head was itchy. Truth be told, she had mentioned it before and I hadn’t really thought much about it – I just assumed that she hadn’t rinsed her her properly after washing. She’s a big girl now and I mostly leave her to do her own ablutions and just check in on what’s happening behind the ears now and then. She also generally ties her hair up herself and it’s only when she wants to do something special, that I get involved. Well this was one @ those days. She mentioned the itchiness and I parted her mass of long brown hair and took a closer look. And there it was… Although I had never seen one before, it was unmistakable. A creepy crawly creature, about the size of a sesame seed, hanging out in my daughter’s hair. She had lice.

My heart sank and I wanted to cry. I didn’t because I didn’t want to freak her out, but I just knew, from the mother grapevine, what a nightmare lice are to get rid off. I told her to not to bother with getting dressed, it was going to be a stay at home day for her. I also suggested, in the kindest possible way, that she stay off the furniture. I left a request for my domestic helper to wash all the linen, on super hot, and tumble dry what couldn’t be washed. I needed to be at work that day, but I don’t think I was terribly productive – I think I spent most of the day googling “how to nuke lice without harming the head on which they’re feeding”. There is an astonishing amount of information on this, let me tell you. From how-to instructions to home remedies like coca-cola, coconut oil and straightening irons.

Besides googling, I had to make the phone call to the school to confess my shameful failing as a parent. I know, I know, it’s a seriously common problem amongst kids, and absolutely no reflection on us, but it just felt so embarrassing! The school secretary was awesome. She’d clearly handled calls like this before and was sympathetic and light and made me feel a little less like a leper.

That afternoon, I drove home via Dischem and stood staring at the medicated hair care range for ages. What to pick? The hippy tea tree stuff or the one with the cartoon louse being bonked on the head with a hammer? And then which product from the range to choose? The dip or the spray? Is the shampoo necessary too?  I chose a couple of products and went home to wage warfare on my daughters head. We sprayed, we combed, we shampooed and we combed. It took hours. And we did it all again a few days later. And in between, I nitpicked, daily, whenever I had access to her head. My daughter has a lot of hair, and picking the nits out felt like an impossible task. Just when I thought I had them all, I found more. And just when I thought we had the situation under control, I found a few live creatures again. Rinse, repeat.

It’s been a few weeks since the great lice infestation of 2016 and I believe we are well and truly clear of the buggers now. I still check her hair every few days, but all she seems to have now is a dry scalp from all the products! I think the checking becomes a bit of of an OCD thing actually.

My top tips for getting rid of lice:

  • Regardless of the product/old wives remedy you choose, the lice comb is your best friend. The best way to get rid of these things is by applying conditioner to wet hair and combing the hair a few strands at a time.
  • You really do need to catch every single nit – and they really stick to the hair. As I combed, I would search for the nits and slide them down the strand of hair. They need to be removed manually, they do not comb out.
  • Be religious about checking. This will not be a once off treatment.
  • Time your big bed linen wash with the treatment – no point in doing a few hours of a lice treatment and going to bed in a lice infested bed.
  • If your child has siblings, cousins, friends that they hang out with all the time, check the other kids out too. Chances are they are also infested and there’s no point waging warfare on your child’s head when they’re just going to pick them up again from their BFF. Check your own hair too.
  • If your budget allows, apparently the best way to go is with a lice clinic, but these treatments are pricey. Although once you’ve done a couple of treatments with the off-the-shelf products, you will have racked up quite a Dischem bill.

Finally a big shout out to my Claire! She was a total trooper throughout the whole ordeal. She rarely complained and sat through the hours of combing with grace and humour.

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