Right, so what started out back in 2011 having just joined the gym and found out that not only was I 20kg overweight, but that my body fat was disgustingly high, is evolving! This blog is a reflection of my journey to a state of better health, vastly improved self confidence and hopefully a far more energetic me! It is also a place where I can ramble on about whatever takes my fancy. I cannot promise to write well, but I do promise to be honest in my ramblings.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

My Superpower....and what it's taught me!

Yip, you're welcome to call me strange....for many reasons, but in this particular case, for calling my deafness, my superpower!  Yes, I know, some people refer to it as a disability, and as far as the Receiver of Revenue is concerned, I'm SO deaf, I'm disabled!  However, I think it's only a disability if you name it as such.  The truth is, it has taught me so much that I rather think of it as a super power! 

I can hear you wondering what on earth being deaf can teach anyone.  Well, I will try and describe the most valuable lessons.  

I've learnt to be tough.  You know that thing they talk about...the thick skin!  I'm a pretty sensitive soul, but my deafness has taught me to not take things personally.  Just to let things roll off of me like the proverbial water off a duck's back.  It has taught me that the general population is exceptionally judgmental...and quick to judge at that!  They are very quick to judge you as really stupid or very rude....they don't seem to consider for a single moment that you're deaf and may not have heard them at all.  That's ok, it's their issue, not mine.  Their loss, for not getting to know who I am.  LOL!  

I've learnt that my little family are totally amazing individuals!  My kids, having grown up with a deaf mom since birth,  know exactly how to communicate with me successfully.  They just know they need to get my attention first, then what follows my be normal human speak, or it may consist of a manic combination of signs...which produce, not only near perfect communication, but often many laughs too!  Kids are awesomely creative!  They truly keep me sane!  My poor husband, I nearly drove him off the rails, but he colluded behind my back with my audiologist and got me a really powerful hearing aid.  Something without which I'd be a complete recluse and he would be insane! Best surprise gift ever!

I've learnt even more patience than I was naturally blessed with!  With myself and with others.  When you're told in your early twenties that you not only have an inherited, progressive deafness, but that it has affected both your ears aggressively, you kind of give life a good think.  You learn to become completely non-judgmental.  The cliche that each one of us is fighting battles that nobody knows about is too true.  It's taught me to have patience with my fellow man.  You know that guy that you kindly let into traffic that doesn't bother to thank you....well, maybe is deep in thought about his dying mother.  You know that patient that comes in and is as rude as all hell...well, maybe he is just angry at life because his wife is dying of cancer.  Maybe tolerance is a better word than patience.  

It's taught me creativity.  For example, I only wear my hearing aid at gym if I'm doing an actual class.  Otherwise I take it out.....then I would dread seeing anyone I know, as without my aid I'm totally useless at having a conversation.  Well, I'm the lip-reading queen, but still, I dread it totally and completely.  So enter the earphones and music.  I plug in my earphones, turn up the volume...yeah, way louder than you can handle :), put my head down and voila! People don't talk to you!  

It's taught me that my sense of humour is totally precious!  Sometimes the things I think I hear are absolutely hysterical!  I hang onto that laughter....because the fear of actually not hearing music or hearing my childrens' laughter, or the birds tweeting or the kettle boiling or my dogs barking or a million other things is just overwhelming.  

It's taught me love.  My friends are my treasure.  The people who accept me and love me, deaf as I am, are my rocks.  I will always remember bitching to a friend of mine, complaining that people just start talking to me, even if I'm looking away from them, launching into a conversation.  Then when I don't respond, they have a complete hissy fit and accuse me of not listening, etc.  This friend simply said "then they don't understand you".  I cannot begin to stress enough how important these amazing friends of mine are!  Social gatherings are a total nightmare for me.  It always involves meeting new people and usually loud music and various competing noises.  It takes every ounce of my concentration and energy to maintain "normal"  communication.  

It's taught me that my pets are such beautiful souls.  They don't care that I'm deaf.  They just love me.  When I am alone at home, they instinctively stay around me.  They let me know the minute anyone is close to the front gate and also by their reaction, I can tell straight away whether it's friend or foe.  

It's taught me huge self-respect.  Wow!  I'm actually okay - deaf or not.  I've managed to hold down a full-time, pretty responsible job for more than a decade.  I've managed to hone my other five senses to assist me with day to day living.  

As strange as it may sound, I am thankful to my deafness.  It's taught me far more than it's taken from me.  

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


After various things - chatting to friends, reading articles, experiencing life - I have been pondering "labels".  Labels we're given, labels our children are given....  

Many moons ago, and really, I do mean many, when I was a pupil (now known as a "learner"), we were classified into the normal classes and then there were those who were put in the special class.  I guess by being in the special class, you were kind of automatically labelled - most times negatively.  In the so called normal classes, there were the naughty kids, the good kids, the top performers, etc, etc.  Now by today's standards, our kids are labelled ADD or ADHD, or numerous other things.  Often they're fed Ritalin in various forms to "help them concentrate".  I take a metaphorical step back and I see that today we have this incredible wave of ADD and I don't wonder for a minute what has caused this generation to be ADD, but think that most of us were/are ADD/ADHD but were just not labelled as such.  Some of us were labelled dyslexic or dumb or stupid or slow or naughty...ag man.... pick your label!  I realise now that my two kids have a mom and dad who are both deserving of the ADD label.  Well, I can tell you something, I rejoice in my ADD!  I harness it and ride it like a rodeo horse!  And hopefully I've encouraged my offspring to do the same.  

Labels are not what we give ourselves, or shouldn't be anyway, but what other people give us.  We should only have one label for ourselves and that is one of unlimited awesomeness,  or perhaps endless potential, or maybe undeniably brilliant.  I say shake off those labels that people stick on us and realise that we are what we believe we are.  Let's take that a step further and start to view the individuals around us as incredible, special, amazing souls.  That way, we don't put people in boxes and expect a certain kind of behaviour.  I believe it was Henry Ford who said "if you believe you can or you believe you can't, you'll be right".  The interesting thing is, that those kids in the special classes are mostly today highly successful adults, while many of the top achievers at school are now simply idling along in life, or sometimes, down and out.  

Let's all take a deep breath and believe we can, and have faith that those around us can too, no matter what label society has decided to stick on you. Rejoice in your uniqueness and go out there and be the best, most awesome, beautiful you, you can be!  

Monday, 12 January 2015

In pursuit of happiness....

Happiness....what is it?  

I've been thinking a lot lately about happiness.  How do you define it?  Is it a static thing?  

Well I reckon it's a very complex thing and highly individual too.  What makes me happy may not make another happy and vice versa.  Happiness, I believe, is a choice.  Yip, you heard me right!  There is no person, animal, thing or action that can make you happy unless you have happiness in your soul already.  To create it, I think you need to make a decision each and every night and morning to be happy.  How can anyone not lie down on a comfortable bed in a secure home, with food in your tummy, ready to recharge those batteries, and not find joy in that?  How can anybody wake up, turn on the shower taps and step into a warm shower with clean water and soap and not find joy in that? And let's face it, if it's something we create, nobody can take it away from us!  Yeah!!

Yes, most of us working class people have enormously rushed lives, and big stresses and it's very easy to get caught up in them.  It's very easy to slip into a pity party when the young guy in the latest Jaguar growls past and you wonder "why isn't that me?".  Life is a struggle but if you continue focusing on the stresses and struggles, you'll put out your little happiness light.  For people with major health issues, life is often a daily struggle and I think for them it's vitally important to find things that lets their little happiness light burn bright.  

Walking through the Mall, I was shocked.  I love watching people, however, the shocking thing was that very few people looked happy.  Where are the smiles?  Yes, crime stats are up, the economy is down, yadda yadda, blah blah, but there is always something to smile about. 

Come on people, let's spread a little cheer and get our little happiness lights shining! Do something crazy, something fun....something that makes your soul sing.  It's contagious so let's go out there and spread the love! 

It starts with a smile!

Photography:  Nikki Biggs

Sunday, 28 December 2014

One of my best finds of 2014....

Now you may or may not know, but I am a creative soul and I have a need to make things, write about things, paint things....well you get my drift!  

Builders Warehouse was having this huge promotion on paint products and I found something called Fired Earth chalk paint and soft wax.  Well it's been almost life-changing!  After visiting Kol Kol (www.kolkol.co.za) and getting loads of inspiration I made the decision that I will upcycle, recycle, reuse and make whatever it is I happen to want and need!  Add chalk paint into the mix, and you have it waxed!  Ok, that was a bit lame.... sorry!

The colour I chose - Chateau Moss - is a sort of khaki colour.  I absolutely love it but I am definitely going back for at least another two colours!  

There are a few things I love about this product:  It can be used on practically any surface and no real preparation is required, it is water soluble so no hassle cleaning the brushes, it is so easy to work with and dries quickly and you can get really creative with the effects using one or two coats, distressing the finish or not, waxing or not.  The waxing gives it a good seal and deepens the colour.  

I've had great fun and have already completed numerous projects, from metal tables, to clay items that I made, to restoring an imbuia table and a picture frame.  The imbuia table was my first project.  It was a broken table I'd had lying in storage for as long as I can remember.  I drilled out the broken off bits, put in a piece of dowel, gave the top a sanding as it was in quite bad condition, and then taped off what I didn't want to paint with narrow masking tape (R5 at the local chinese store!).  I gave the two shelves two coats, aged it a bit along the edges, and then waxed it.  I left it overnight and then buffed it up.  Not bad for a first project!  

Although it seems to be more popular to leave the top natural wood and paint the legs, because the legs were in a good condition, but the top was a little worse for wear, I decided to do it the other way around.  

Do yourself a favour, go and grab a tin of chalk paint and a tin of wax and have some fun.  Paint a few of your plant pots, or paint a few old glass bottles...really just go and have fun!  

Saturday, 27 December 2014

New Year's Resolutions? Nah...I don't think so!

Yip, in just five sleeps, we'll be entering a sparkly, shiny, brand new year!  That time where people make all sorts of promises to themselves about what they will and won't be doing next year.  Do I make resolutions? No!  Been there, done that and I find that I feel awfully let down by myself if I don't achieve my goals.  So what's the problem?  Am I just a slacker?  No. I think I set the standard impossibly high, surely leading to failure.  I've been far too unrealistic in my goal-setting in the past and there is nothing like a sense of failure to dampen the spirits and destroy self-confidence!  One year I just decided that enough is enough - no more resolutions.  I quit being so hard on myself!  

I get quite philosophical at this time of year, looking back to see what I have achieved, where I need to improve, what plans I need to set into place for the next year or two and how I am going to achieve my goals.  Now, I sort of sit down and do a five-year forecast.  I write down where I'd like to be in five years on the health front, the work front, the home front, etc.  Then I realistically break it down into years and then further into doable chunks.  I also leave room for unforeseen obstacles along my path so that I can kinda roll with the punches so to speak.  I seldom attain all my goals, but have quit beating myself up about and choosing rather to focus what I have achieved.  Life is unpredictable after all. 

So on the 31st I plan to kiss 2014 goodbye graciously and be thankful for the lessons learnt, and welcome 2015 with arms wide open!  In this new year I plan to look after myself, dance as often as I can, try new things, eat good food, drink good wine, have a positive outlook, continue seeing the good in everyone and everything (yes I know, I am naive, but I like my little world!), work hard, stress less, laugh more, write much more and sleep well!   

What are your plans for the next few years? 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Festive Season??

Each year I find myself saying the same thing.  I seem to threaten all and sundry, and in particular the very Universe itself, that I am going to save my annual leave, take all 20 working days over the "festive season" next year, rent a little cottage in the Karoo and spend the days in the plaasdam with a cold ale and the nights in front of a log fire indoors.  I will not have to communicate much with humans for four weeks!!!  Unfortunately next year is yet to come.  Now I'm sure some of you are making big rolling eyes and sighing and failing to comprehend why I don't just love this time of the year....I mean it IS the festive season. 

Let me attempt to present my case.  We live our lives by time....day by day, weekend to weekend, month by month and then during the last couple of months of the year...there is this buildup to the Festive Season.  By that stage of the year I am pretty exhausted from putting heart and soul into my job, family and life in general.  I'm not really in the right frame of mind to be all excited and energised.  Then there is the budget....now I am really proud to say that I work with a pretty tight budget...and survive!  However, although the children's education is paid, my home loan is paid and none of us go hungry, there just isn't enough in my budget for things like holidays and lots of gifts.  Then there is the pressure from society that everyone should be really excited and happy that Christmas is coming.  But that same society has created a commercial circus around Christmas.  What is Christmas again?  I know a lot of people who suffer from depression at this time of the year.  It's a really difficult time for a lot of people.  The pressure to be happy seems to accentuate their depression.  It's not cool!  

Oh then we have the Christmassy music in ALL the shops...starting sometime after July it seems!  As soon as the calendar strikes 1 December, people lose all sense of reason, manners, respect and fear when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.  What's with that? And while we're asking questions, what's with all the food?  For what reason do people feel the need to consume quadruple the normal amount of food, feel awful afterwards and proceed to swear never to eat so much again in their lives.  I just find the whole time rather difficult to bear. 

A chap really annoyed me today.  This is a really nice guy who works at the hospital in the sanitation department.  I see him every day and he removes all our recycling and other waste from the offices each day. I went so far as to organise an awesome cake for him some time back.  However, in the last week he has cooked his goose/turkey so to speak.  He came to me last week and asked for a "Krismis boks".  Immediately I was highly annoyed.  You just don't ask for money.  It's just not right.  I sort of evaded the subject.  Today he was back again wishing us all a Merry Christmas.  I wished him back and then he asked me if he must now leave empty-handed.  I told him that the one boss had already give him extra and that I did not have anything to give him.  He threw a bit of attitude my way and said that's fine, he will just treat us next year, the way we've treated him now and he stormed off.  Well I was horrified. 

I ask you, is this the Festive Season?  Is this what Christmas is all about?  

That said, I have to say there are people I know who really celebrate the birth of Christ.  For them it's a deeply spiritual holiday and whatever they do is in His honour.  I have no problem with that.  To those of you to whom Christmas has true meaning, may I wish you a very merry one....and while I'm at it....may all of you enjoy good health, prosperity and happiness in 2015.  Can't wait to get my new year's groove on....it's going to be an epic year, and there is always the possibility of a Karoo holiday at the end of it!

Clifton ...just a magical place!

I'm sure we're all in agreement that Cape Town, our Mother City, is just the best city in the whole wide world.  Not only is it beautiful, but it's got such a friendly population and the list of things to do is endless.  It has the natural beauty of Table Mountain, may I remind you one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the ocean, world-famous beaches, a cooking night-life and the most awesome shops, museums, restaurants, etc, etc.  

Photography by Michael Nigrini
Photography by Michael Nigrini

Clifton is in a protected little spot where the wind just can't seem to get to...and trust me, it really tries!!  Taking a weekend or even, being totally decadent, a whole week to unwind and recharge in Clifton is just such soul therapy.  It's right on two bus routes, the MyCiti transport system (www.myciti.org.za) as well as the City Sightseeing bus route (www.citysightseeing.co.za).  It's a short taxi ride in one direction to the V & A Waterfront or the city centre and in the other direction you find Camps Bay, Hout Bay and along the route, the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa....wonderful to sit on their deck and watch as the sun dips down into the ocean (www.12apostleshotel.com).  

Photography by Michael Nigrini
Photography by Michael Nigrini
There is a holiday apartment on Clifton Steps - 50 steps down from the road and 150 steps up from those stunning Clifton beaches.  Did I mention that the wind really battles to find it's way to Clifton?!!  You can even take a stroll to Camps Bay.  In the morning you'll see all the beautiful people running, cycling, walking and having breakfast at various eateries.  At night, Camps Bay just blossoms into a vibrant mix of music, beautiful people, great food and an incredible vibe.  
Photography by Michael Nigrini

The apartment itself has an almost magical effect on me.  It would seem that when I step through the door, my stresses and strains, worries and fears just dissolve.  It is decorated in natural, earthy tones and is incredibly calming and peaceful.  I sleep so soundly that it doesn't take long for the batteries to recharge.  

I would highly recommend booking a short or long break at this amazing place.  For further information email your inquiry through to cliftonaccom@gmail.com.
Photography by Michael Nigrini

Photography by Michael Nigrini

Photography by Michael Nigrini

Photography by Michael Nigrini

Photography by Michael Nigrini

Photography by Michael Nigrini
Photography by Michael Nigrini
Photography by Michael Nigrini
Photography by Michael Nigrini