Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Learning to Juggle... Work and Play

It's that time again, school/ creche holidays. That means I have both Noodle and Squish home with me all day. I love spending time with my kids, but I have a couple of extra challenges this time around. I recently had to let go of my domestic worker/ nanny (don't ask) and have not found a suitable replacement. This means no help with the kids (which I don't mind, except when I have screaming kids in the background while on business calls) and lots of extra cleaning, washing and ironing (my least favourite chore) on top of WAHM'ing (and blogging). We are also still fasting, so my energy takes a major dip by the end of the day.

I have learned to get the bulk of my work done in the mornings while Noodle is at school. Working around one child- challenging but doable. Working around two (one of whom asks questions non-stop) not as easy!

If you have read my previous blog posts, you will know that I enjoy doing activities with my kids (and Noodle has come to expect this over holidays). So I feel like I have been short-changing them a little bit and allowing them watch more television than they should, due to a lack of time on my part. 

Here is one very quick activity we have managed to get up to:

I let Noodle and Squish make their own banana lollies. Noodle proudly did it all by herself (see messy picture below) while Squish got a little help from me.

This is the 'recipe' we followed from one of the Dora the Explorer recipe books. Noodle used to be obsessed with Dora. This wore off for a little while, but after the Dora show at Nickfest, both Noodle and Squish are Dora obsessed now.

We replaced the ice-cream sticks with cinnamon sticks (mostly because I did not have ice-cream stick but I also think it will add a bit of flavour). I also let them add some colourful sprinkles as a special treat.

I have also gotten lots of colouring books and Lego blocks for both kids and jigsaw puzzles out to keep Noodle busy (except Squish keeps breaking her puzzles while she is busy, so I have to intervene).

 Hopefully I will find time for more fun activities soon. For now, on with the juggling.

Friday, 26 June 2015

The Work From Home Series- Getting Paid!

I haven't done a 'Work From Home" post for a while and though one is overdue.

Today I am going to discuss what might be the most crucial part of running any business, whether from home or anywhere else- actually getting your clients to pay you. After all your blood, sweat and tears in starting up a business, you do actually want to be paid for your work. 

If you do the work, obviously you will get paid for it, right? Wrong. Bad debt is one of the factors that is most likely to sink a small business. If your business is new, you might be slightly lenient with credit terms, hoping that this will help you build goodwill with clients. Unfortunately, when it comes to paying up, there are too many out there that are inclined to take advantage and this is one area that you can't afford to always play the nice guy- like that (slightly annoying) LunchMoney Lewis song goes... I've got bills I've got to pay... I've got mouths I've got to feed.

Here are some suggestions for making sure that you get your money in when you need it:


The best way to ensure that you get paid is to make sure that expectations in terms of payment are made clear from the very beginning to avoid misunderstandings later on.
  • Make sure you keep careful accounting records and that clients are invoiced straight away.
  • Make sure that you are clear about any terms of supply of credit.
  •  Do a credit check before providing credit to anyone- or at the very least for any big deals. 
  • You can consider investing in debt collecting software.

You may have sneaky clients who try to withhold paying bills as long as they can so that they can benefit from interest derived. Perhaps they simply forgot to pay, payment was overlooked or there is some minor problem that can quickly be ironed over. Here are some steps that you can take while there is still room for giving your client the benefit of the doubt:
  • You may want to start by sending a friendly e-mail reminding them that that payment is still outstanding and reattach your invoice and banking details for ease of reference.
  • If they still don't pay, you may want to give them a phone call or even a visit for large sums outstanding. At my first job after university, we had a lot of bad debtors (which happened to be large corporate clients with plenty of money). My boss used to have me physically drive over to the clients for a courtesy visit, engage in chit chat, hand over some promotional material and then slip in a pile of invoices before leaving- sneaky but effective.
  • If a client admits to having trouble paying due to financial reasons, you may want to work with the customer to come up with a mutually agreed payment plan- rather that than not getting paid at all!
  • If the above does not work, you may need to hand the client over to a debt collection agency or an attorney. 
  • In a worst case scenario, you may need to litigate to  get your money in. This will destroy any relationship with the client, but at this point they are obviously not the type of client that you want anyway. However, this should be a last case scenario as it can be time consuming and you will incur legal costs along the way.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Five Fun Things to Do with Old Broken Crayons

We recently found ourselves with the remains of many crayons from times gone by and went looking for ideas for things to do with all the stumpy remnants. 

Here are some ideas. For all of these, you will have to peel the paper off the outside of the crayon first.

1) With Eskom loadshedding you can never have too many candles. Our attempt at this was a bit of an aesthetic fail but Noodle loves her new candle. 

Peel the paper, divide into different colours and then melt down individual colours to make candles by pouring one colour at a time into an old jar (we used an old mayonnaise jar). Be sure to melt one colour at a time and let it cool as our colours mixed to make a giant pool of brown.

This is what it should look like (this is not what mine looked like): 

2) Heat up some rocks in the oven and then draw on the crayon (be careful with young children that this is hot enough to melt the crayon but not burn them). I have not done this one yet with my kids, but have gathered some rocks and hope to post the results when done.

See how here:

3)  Melt the crayons and place into silicone moulds to create fun, shaped crayons- like our little stars below.

4) Shave bits of crayon, pres between two sheets of paper and iron to create an abstract masterpiece. 

5) Tape a row of crayons to your canvas. Hold upright and heat with a hairdryer until it melts to create a beautiful creation. Example here (also on our to-do list):

Monday, 22 June 2015

Noodle Says Part 4... And Stuff Squish Says Too!

I have not done one of these posts in a while, but my little ones have had plenty to say.

Noodle Says:
(On holiday) : Why did they put the ocean so close to the road?
(Noodle loses her shoe). Maybe the prince will find my missing shoe and send it for all the little girls in the land to fit on.

Me: Pay attention.
Noodle: I don't know if I have enough money. How much does it cost?
Noodle (later on):  Daddy, listen to me! It doesn't cost any money to pay attention!

No, my clothes are not getting smaller, I am getting bigger. 
Unfortunately, four year old's are sometimes a bit too blunt and honest. Like this:
Me: I can't remember where I put it.
Noodle: Sigh. Mommy, that's because you're not as smart as I am.
And this:
Noodle: My best friend is ... (names child in her creche class).
Family member: Why is she your best friend?
Noodle: Because she is so pretty.
Me: You are supposed to pick friends because they are nice people, not because they are pretty.
Noodle: But she is NOT a nice person!
 So there is Mother's Day and Father's Day. When is Childrens Day?
Squish says:

My little man, at 17 months, has become a regular parrot and repeats pretty much any word we tell him to. His sister tests this theory by making him repeat very random things, like 'octopus' or 'vegetarian'.

He can now name his body parts, a few colours and a few letters of the alphabet. He now knows the names of extended family members and has decided that it is hilarious to call me by my first name. He knows the names of lots of food items (he loves food!).

He has extensive telephone conversations on a toy phone (but says very little on a real phone, opting to smile and wave instead).

He has also learnt to sing... he now sings bits of Old Mc Donald, bits of the A, B, C song and (sadly) the chorus to the theme songs from Frozen and Doc McStuffins (you can see his sister's influence here) and the chorus to an Arabic lullaby. I still love this early language phase!

What new things have your precious little ones said lately? Please share!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Inside Jozi WAHMs Kitchen- Easy Sehri (pre-sunrise meal)

As mentioned in yesterday's post, we have just started the month of Ramadaan. I will not be doing lots of Ramadaan posts, but I thought I would share my favourite sehri/ suhoor recipe (this is the light meal traditionally consumed before sunrise during the month of Ramadaan. This is my Ramadaan secret gem as it is quick, easy on the stomach and keeps you full for a long time. Even if you are not fasting, this is a tasty and nutrient -dense breakfast.

Now I know of older people who have a full on meal of curry and rice at 3-5 a.m. For me, the thought of this is slightly nauseating and we just stick to our normal breakfast of cereal, packed with a bit more extras for sustained energy. In summer, low GI smoothies work really well. However, now in winter, hot oats are my poison of choice. 

cinnamon fruit dates banana cranberry fasting Ramadaan
This morning's bowl of hot oats

 Oats are high in fibre and apparently help to lower cholesterol and keep your blood sugar levels stable (this aspect is of relevance when fasting as you want sustained energy in order not to feel dizzy and tired later in the day).

This is what I do to create a quick and easy breakfast that is light, but will keep you full for a good few hours as it is packed with nutrients and has a low GI:
I prepare a large serving of cooked oats as my children also enjoy oats (you might not want to stand in front of the stove that early, so you can make enough for two or three days in advance and keep in the fridge, just heat up and add the milk when you are ready to serve).
I cook the oats with a dash of salt and a few cinnamon sticks (cinnamon and oats are both known to regulate blood sugar and will help keep your sugar levels from dipping later in the day).
Then I add hot milk and a combination of whichever of the below tickle my fancy on the day in question: 
  • dates (which feature in many Ramadaan recipes), 
  • nuts, 
  • dried cranberries, 
  • fruit (always banana as it is so filling and sometimes other fruit too), 
  • muesli, 
  • dried fruit,
  • sometimes a tiny bit of Nutella if I am feeling naughty (because of the nut and oil  content in the Nutella, its glycaemic index is not as high as you might think).
  • a little cinnamon powder is added as this really keeps those hunger pangs away.
I would imagine that a protein powder would also help, but I loathe the taste of these.
Be sure to drink lots of water too in order to stay hydrated.
That is it. Easy, right?

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Ramadaan Mubarak

The blessed month of Ramadaan has arrived.

This year, for South African Muslims, the actual fasting (abstaining from all food and drink from sunrise to sunset) aspect of Ramadaan should be relatively easy. Being mid-winter, the days are cool and short (for example, today's fasting times for Johannesburg are 5.26 a.m. until 5.27 p.m.). To put this in perspective, in Johannesburg, we will be fasting for about twelve hours, compared to parts of Sweden where there is currently only an hour of night time, meaning that they fast for over twenty-three hours. In St Petersburg, Russia, Muslims will be fasting for about twenty-two hours. This shifts by about two weeks each year as the Muslim calendar is slightly shorter than the Gregorian calendar, meaning that at some point we fast for long days in the blistering summer heat while those Swedes fast for only an hour when they have perpetual night time. 

While the actual abstinence is obviously a huge deal, as critical is the spiritual side of Ramadaan, reflecting on ones own character, aspiring and making changes to be a better person and generally doing more good deeds and this applies universally. (For me, there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to this aspect and I have a long list of goals each year.) Muslims aim to pray more, give more charity and abstain from sin during this period, the idea being that if this is done for 29-30 days, this  behaviour will become habit and hopefully carry forward during the rest of the year.

It is a challenging time each year. Besides the food aspect, more prayers are required. Sleep deprivation is worse than usual as we wake up very early for a very light meal before the fast commences (in our family, this is typically just cereal and fruit) and go to bed later due to extra prayers required.

One seemingly minor,  but tiring battle for me is just co-ordinating the evening routine. As we break fast early in winter, food must be on the table much earlier than our usual supper time (and a little extra effort goes into meal preparation). After we break our fast in the evening, hubby, A, like other Muslim men,  is usually at the mosque for extended prayers in the evening, leaving me alone with the bath and bed routine, which is usually a shared task. I have no idea how single mothers do it, but for me, bathing a four year old while trying to stop a one year old (who has just been bathed) from diving back in the bathtub or play in the toilet bowl is the ultimate exercise in patience and self-restraint. Getting both to sleep simultaneously at a reasonable hour, prayers and then doing all the usual evening chores- mission impossible. Character building- that is what this month is all about!

Despite the minor challenges, at the end of the month, we look forward to this month and the sense of peace it brings each year and always feel like our faith has been strengthened and re-affirmed for the year ahead.

Wishing all Muslim readers a blessed, peaceful and enriching Ramadaan.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Things That you Should Pack On Holiday But Never Do

We have just returned from a few lovely beachy days escaping from the Jozi frost and wind.

There are the obvious things that many of us tend to forget like toothbrushes and chargers and then some odd indispensable items.Here are some of the things that I packed (or should have remembered to pack that make life so much easier while on vacation. 

1. Extra packets to pack dirty clothes when you return. It is not a holiday if you do laundry. The exception is dirty stuff that you will wear again during your stay, like swimwear. Which leads me on to the next point.

2. Pegs and sample sized washing powder. Hotels always seem to have washing lines or clothes horses but nothing to stop cozzies from flying away.

3. An extra bag or two that folds flat. (Like those re-usable shopping bags). Luggage has an uncanny habit of breeding and multiplying by the time you return. 

4. A small first aid supply.

5. Ziploc bags (they should pay me for touting them so often). The big ones are handy for keeping things organized and compressed and the smaller ones for avoiding toiletry spillages. I also use small ones for keeping jewellery from getting lost in my luggage bag. I also put shoes in a separate flat bag or packet in my suitcase (but I am just weird and don't like my shoes touching my clothes).

6. If you have babies that use bottles, microwave steam steriliser bags are super handy and take almost no space. Even when we stayed at hotels with no microwave in the room, the kitchen staff were always happy to assist with bottle sterilisation.

7. I always pack a small bag with small new toys for the little ones... nothing fancy, but a new colouring book, little cars, notepad, mini board game etc which will keep them occupied for part of the journey will do wonders for your sanity. Also, pack in a couple of old favourite toys of their choice. This will help them feel settled at their new destination.

8. If you have a hairdryer at your hotel, do not bother with a travel iron- you can use the hairdryer to remove any bad creases in clothing if you really need to. 

Monday, 15 June 2015

We Went to Nickfest and it Was... Amazing!

The much anticipated Nickfest finally arrived this weekend!

We arrived fashionably late for the early morning VIP Party on Saturday (okay, we had just gotten home from our holiday late the previous day and as dictated by Murphy's Law, my two little ones, notorious for being up at the crack of dawn, decided that they wanted to sleep in). 

It took a bit of work to get through the entrance. My little ones wanted to play at the Silverstar fountains and I had to convince them that there was something far more exciting ahead. By then, crowds were already starting to build up, but what waited for us as we made our way down the orange carpet made it totally worth it.

Imagine a huge area filled with everything a child could ever want or dream of. Wish granted!!! Rides, slides, bubbles, playstation games for the older ones, magicians, surfing... you name it, they had it!

We were greeted by the various stilt walkers, who had all sorts of tricks up their sleeves for the kids. Noodle got the beautiful fairy princess to make her a teddy bear balloon. 

Then Noodle went climbing a huge inflatable climbing wall, which she bravely navigated. 

We then went to play in the toddler area, where Squish enjoyed playing in the ball pit, while Noodle built giant puzzles. Noodle then had her face painted as a princess. 

Comedian Riaad Moosa (one of my personal favourites) opened the show, and the little ones were treated to delightful Dora, Spongebob and Ninja Turtle cupcakes. 

Time for a bit more play. My kids, especially Squish loved going on the rides over and over. You know those little rides that you find all over the malls where you have to insert a coin and then they  bob up and down for a (very short) time? They had lots of those, only they did not need coins- you just pressed the button and then the kids stayed on as long as they wanted (there were no queues at the time and a big variety to chose from so they were not depriving other kids from a turn).

My kids, especially Squish also loved playing in the thick, glittery green slime in the slime area.I am not sure if I am a mean mother, but I only let them play in the little slime areas where they just got their hands to elbows messed (some kids were literally swimming in the giant slime pit). This is the same slime that various brave celebrities, including Whackhead, Proverb and others got dunked for charity.

We spotted quite a few local celebrities and a few fellow mommy bloggers.

Then the gates opened for the general public. I loved the fact that there was such great crowd control (unlike similar events that I have been to). While it was busy (tickets were sold out beforehand), it did not get overcrowded at any point and there was more than enough activity for all the kids to engage in.


Then it was time for the shows. There were various brilliant music acts, but for my kids the stars of the show were Dora (And her friends Diego and Boots) and of course Spongebob. The Dora show, with its familiar songs, was a huge hit for my two.

By the time the other shows started, my kids were back on the rides but had a good view of the stage from there and watched the Spongebob show from there.

Noodle is a HUGE Dora fan and she was ecstatic when she got to hug boots, whom she happened to find outside as we were leaving. I wanted a picture of Noodle with Boots but sadly, my camera went a bit crazy and by the time I finally got to take a picture, Boots was leaving so I caught his tail.

All in all the event was a huge success and Noodle is already asking me when the next Nickfest will be!

Monday, 8 June 2015


The Jozi WAHM's Guide to Everything will be taking a break for a few days.

I hope to catch a bit of this good stuff while thinking up exciting new things to share on this blog:

Till then...

Friday, 5 June 2015

Pardon Me... But How Hard is it to be Nice?

Today I went to a nearby Shoprite store. Although part of the same franchise, I usually opt for a nearby Checkers over Shoprite as they tend to be cleaner and better stocked with the things we like, but today Shoprite had a massive one day sale on various things, including nappies, which eats up a significant part of our budget (the Pampers were half their usual price). I figured it should be fairly quiet as it was a weekday morning and the temperature below freezing (we South Africans are not known for braving the cold).

As it turned out, half of Johannesburg had the same idea as me and it was utter chaos.People were pushing and shoving one another out of the way. People were wrestling for pot sets and I actually saw a lady KICK another lady (the victim was aggressively clearing the shelves of all the baked beans). One woman screamed at another "Los my f*kken Marie biscuits alleen jou blerrie b*tch" (Afrikaans for 'Leave my beep beep Marie Biscuits alone you beeb beep."). The baby isle was chaos- a staff member was wheeling along a trolley full of nappies to re-stock the shelves but was tackled and the trolley emptied before he had even reached the relevant shelf. If it is of any relevance (as South Africans have a tendency to generalise), the misbehaved individuals stemmed from a variety of ethnic groups.

Driving home, I got hooted at by taxis for not taking off from the traffic light when the light on the other side turned red, for having the audacity to wait until it was green for me.

Later in the day, a lady came knocking at my door begging for food. "Please can you give me something to eat madam, maybe a tin of food for my children?" Now, while I am not one to encourage begging, I never have the heart to turn them away, particularly when the request is for food rather than money. I went to the kitchen and got a half a loaf of bread and some mushrooms and carrots from the fridge which we would not be using before they went bad (but which were still perfectly good). I gave it to the said lady, who looked at the food given and said to me "why are you giving me this- I asked you for a tin". That old saying 'beggars can't be choosers' came to mind. I have read somewhere that the measure of good manners is how you treat those that do not have any, so I let it go. This is getting harder and harder to do though as I have had a few very cheeky beggars at my doorstep lately- one even demanded cutlery to eat the meal that I had provided him with.

After these incidents today, I could not help but wonder what has happened to our humanity as a nation. I know economic times are tough for some, but if people cannot even be humane to one another, we are even poorer than we think. The problem is not universal- every day I come across nice, good-mannered and pleasant people from all walks of life. However, they seem to be outnumbered by the meanies.

Who do we blame for this lack of niceness and basic consideration for others? Is government to blame? Schools? Are we not doing enough to teach our children good manners at home? We have seen bizarre examples of mass bad behaviour in our news headlines this year, from xenophobic attacks, unruly strikes, destruction of statues, burning of public resources and so many more. I understand that what is considered as good manners may differ from culture to culture, but there are some universal basics like treating others with decency and dignity that seem lacking.

All I know is that it is time to break the cycle and that each of us needs to do something to make this happen.

Slime... lots of Slime

We previously told you about Nickfest, which is coming to town in a week! (If you missed it, you can see more here.) Here are some exciting updates from the guys at Nickolodeon. We can't wait!!!

"Thousands of kids, tweens and teens descending on South Africa's first NickFest later this months will have a chance to witness their favourite celebrities get covered top to toe in Nickolodeon's (DSTv channel 305) iconic green slime. Sizwe Dhlomo, Anele Mdoda, Darren “Whackhead” Simpson, Proverb, Pearl Thusi, Cassper Nyovest and Mi Casa  are among the kind-hearted South African stars who are lining up to get doused in Slime as part of the NickFest Celebrity Slime ChallengeNickFest performers Morgan Beat Box, The Buzz and the  Tsogo Sun Arts Academy All Stars will also be braving the slime pit during the family friendly festival.
The “slimedown” of epic proportions will be presided over by funnyman and real life doctor Riaad Moosa, the official host of NickFest, as he encourages the celebrities to get dunked in gallons of goo while trying to keep his pristine doctor’s coat out of the mess!  
With less than two weeks to go, the NickFest production crew is currently perfecting its recipe for the Slime, made to a secret Nickelodeon recipe. It will take 4 days to prepare more than 3,000 litres of the slippery concoction, which kids will be able to experience first-hand for themselves  at NickFest - don’t forget to bring a towel and a change of clothing!
Tasania Parsadh, Senior Channel Manager, Nickelodeon, Africa, said, “It is thrilling to see how willing stars are to  get totally icky and covered in buckets of bright green goo  when it is in the interests of helping kids in need.  All proceeds from the NickFest Celebrity Slime Challenge plus ten percent of funds from ticket sales at NickFest will be donated to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust to help towards the ongoing construction of a state-of-the art  pediatric hospital in South Africa, in Parktown, Johannesburg - and if that’s not worth getting sticky for, then nothing is!!!”
The SA “slimees” join the prestigious ranks of stars from P!nk, to Tom Cruise, the cast of Modern Family, Jo Jonas, Jennifer Lopez, Sandra Bullock, Orlando Bloom, Katy Perry, Halle Berry, Harrison Ford, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Five Seconds of Summer, Chris Pratt, Justin Bieber,  and many others who have all previously been slimed by Nickelodeon.
Tickets for NickFest are now on sale at Computicket, priced R110 per ticket (entry free for children under 2).
For more information on NickFest please go to www.nickelodeonafrica.com, like us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/NickelodeonAfrica, or follow us on Twitter @NickAfrica and on Instagram @Nickelodeon_Africa. To join the conversation about NickFest, please use the hashtag #NickFest."

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

No Rest for the Wicked- Surviving Sleep Deprivation

I consider myself an expert in sleep deprivation- not an expert in curing it, but in existing with it- I have a vast amount of experience in this area. 

I am one of those people who needs a solid eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Without sleep, I am grumpy, lethargic and my brain feels like it is stuffed with cottonwool. For the past five or so years, I have been averaging three or four hours of sleep a day, so anybody who has not known me for a while probably thinks that grumpy and dull-minded is my normal state of existence.

When did I stop sleeping? Like many mothers, my first pregnancy hailed the end of slumber- with the first half spent waking up to puke my guts out and the second spent hot, bothered and uncomfortable. All this is apparently nature's way of preparing one for the torture to come.

Once baby comes, sleep is non-existent for the first couple of months, which I must admit, passed in a bit of a blur both times round. So, you find yourself up all night with a restless newborn. Feed, burp, change nappy, repeat. Then baby decides to sleep during the day and all those wise people tell you to sleep when the baby is sleeping. The problem is, this is when everyone decides to visit the baby (and some even have the audacity to wake the baby up!). This is also when you find yourself actually having to do things like bath, cook, clean or see to other children.

Some babies start sleeping through after a few months. These are other peoples kids, not mine. The sand man skips my house completely on his nightly sojourn and my  children avoid  sleep at all costs.

My desperate sleep training attempts with Noodle were an epic failure so I did not even go down this path with Squish. Result- I now have a toddler who still sometimes nurses around the clock. I also have a four year old with an overactive imagination, who wakes up at 2 am frightened by a shadow or pondering solutions to poverty and world peace. To make things worse, they often wake one another up.

I have read every sleep manual out there and have tried all the calming bath salts, lotions, potions, supplements and magical sleepy drinks out there without success. So, somehow, I (together with dear hubby) have come to live without sleep. I cannot offer advice on how to get little ones to sleep more (there is plenty of that out there), but I can offer advice on how to get by without much of it.

These are my tips for getting by on virtually no sleep:

1. While instincts may tell you to chug down copious amounts of coffee, resist the temptation to do so. It will leave you wires when you actually do get a chance to sleep and make you feel more run down in the long run. Keep that caffeine boost for desperate situations only. Keep hydrated with lots of water and try to stick to a healthy diet for an energy boost.

2. Sneak in those naps where you can. I sometimes close my eyes and catch a quick nap during any car ride longer than five minutes where I am not the driver.

3. Learn to sleep upright/ while breastfeeding.

4. Cut out television completely. This is a good tip for freeing up time for anything, sleep included.

5. Get help. Enlist the help of someone to look after the little ones while you nap.

6. Invest in a good under-eye concealer so you do not scare any little kids away with your zomboid appearance.

7. Learn to accept and embrace your sleep deprived state. When you are bitter about the fact that you are getting no sleep, it is far tougher to handle than when you make peace with it. Or maybe that's the sleep deprivation talking.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Noodle's Guide to Daddy Shaving

Yesterday, dear hubby A had a bit of a mishap while shaving... and by mishap, I mean an almost trip to the emergency room bloodbath (okay, not really, he was fine- kind of, but there was a lot of blood).
Noodle, however, scarred by the sight of all that blood and deeply concerned for her daddy's well being, decided that she would compile a shaving manual for dad to avoid any such future occurrences. 

Noodle can't write yet (other than her name and a few other dyslexic-style words- she is four afterall), so she drew pictures and asked me to write the following instructions:


Pick up the shaver. (Yes, it is called a shaver.)

Now shave your face VERY, VERY, VERY softly. (No, no shaving cream, water or any of that good stuff. When asked, Noodle said that dad should leave the shaving foam for her to do shaving foam art with.)

 The most important rule is do not cut your face.  (Yes, very important.)

The water will come out of the shaver and scrub your face. (News to us.)

Do not get cut. (This rule is so important it had to be listed twice).

Wash the cut hair off your face. (You do not want to walk around with loose stubble on your face all day).

That is all. (Yes daddy, that simple, think you can get that right?)

Monday, 1 June 2015

Reasons why Jozi is a Great City to Live In

Amidst the crime, political scandals and electricity shortages, sometimes living in Johannesburg can be stressful.

This is when we need to remind ourselves about all the reasons why Jozi is actually a really amazing, unique and overall great place to live.

jozi mzansi CBD

Here are some things to put all the doom and gloom of living in this city in perspective.
1. We have great weather. We have sun almost all year round and it does not get too hot, too cold or too humid- except for maybe a cold month or two around June or July, when we like to drive to warmer, beachy Durban to thaw out.

2. The spectacular mix of people- 'local' South Africans already present a melting pot of cultures. In Jozi, you have all these different people plus you have people from all over Africa and the rest of the world all combined to create this dynamic and vibrant city. You will hear hundreds of languages and encounter every type of person imaginable and find the ultimate fusion of art, culture, fashion, lifestyle, religion and everything else.

3. For a big city, it is really green. Most people live in free standing homes rather than apartments like other big cities and there are plenty of green parks and dams within the city. Green trees line suburban streets, which get blanketed with purple jacaranda flowers in spring. While the townships are less 'green', they have their own vibrant beauty and colour. Despite common perceptions abroad, we do not have lions in our gardens but if you really want to get back to nature, it just takes an hour or two's drive to encounter the bush and the big five.

4. It is the city of gold. Everyone loves gold, right? The city was literally founded on gold and continues to be the wealthiest city in the sense that salaries are typically higher than across the rest of the country. People dream big here and a lucky few realise these dreams.

5. It is a shopper's paradise. From upmarket malls like Sandton City where you can find the world's most exclusive brands, to shopping from informal traders on the street corners (yes, you really can do your shopping at your nearest traffic light without leaving your car), we have it all.

6. The history- not so long ago this is where great people like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi have made their marks and going even further back, this is where some of the oldest archeological finds were made. From old mining and apartheid relics to Khoi San rock art and fossils, this is a historian's dream.

7. Our tap water is drinkable, of a good quality and tastes so good. This is something we tend to take for granted but a trip overseas to a place where bottled water is the only option is a quick reminder of this.

8. Geological stability- we are not particularly prone to earthquakes, fires, tornadoes or any of that freaky stuff.

9. The energy- the city is always abuzz and there is always something exciting happening. In the business place, things seem more active and productive than in other South African cities and on the social front, there is something for everyone.

10. Anything goes and everyone will find a space somewhere that they fit in. There is freedom of religion (I can wear a headscarf should I so chose without being unfairly labeled as a terrorist) and freedom of expression.