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Where I’ve been…

Yes, I am guilty! Guilty of not writing anything recently. I have been very active on my Instagram account but, on here? I guess you could say its writer’s block, or laziness or in actual fact, I have had so many thoughts going through my head, that I’ve just been stumped on what to write about. So let’s start at the beginning.
My last post was on New Year’s Day where I spoke about my plans and goals for the new year. One of them was to go to Cape Town. Now, that holiday’s been, happened and feels like a long, lost dream. That’s the worst thing about getting home from a holiday. It’s not about going back to work or getting into a routine again, it’s that feeling that the holiday just never even happened. But, it was one the best and most relaxing holidays I’ve ever had!
My friends and I took a day trip up Chapman’s Peak drive.
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We took our Spar salads and ventured to the deserted Llandudno beach.
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We missioned to Muizenberg Beach and ate a delicious lunch with an ocean view of the surfers at Tyger’s Milk.
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We took walks and bike rides on the Sea Point promenade.

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Obviously went clubbing at the ‘exclusive’ Shimmy Beach Club.

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Hit up Clifton 4th Beach.

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And of course, we ate everywhere!!

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(Osumo was our first stop in Sea Point)
(Then onto the most popular restaurant in town, Jarryds, for breakfast)

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(Craft Burger Bar for what I think is the best burger in Cape Town)

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(How can one miss Crumbs & Cream’s delicious ice cream sandwich)

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(And a final breakfast at the incredible Newport Deli in Greenpoint)
So now that Cape Town has officially come and gone, it’s back to the grind. Going into my last year of university has me very nervous but, also very excited about all the possibilities ahead of me. I think after 3 months of holiday, I definitely don’t have a right to say I didn’t get enough rest. University and my health are at the top of my important list this year but, I am 100% going to be spending a lot of my spare time writing on here and posting on my Instagram page.I plan to be writing a lot about university life in South Africa and also reviews about restaurants that I go to as it seems that I enjoy trying and eating at new places around Johannesburg. And I promise that it won’t be so long until I post on here again (I think that’s more of a promise to me than you 😉
Here’s to memorable holidays, getting into routine and forgotten walks on the beach.

Where did 2017 come from?

Seriously, where did 2016 go? Feels like yesterday we were celebrating new years and now again it’s just popped up on us.
Happy New Year!!!! I honestly cannot believe how quickly this year has flown and how 2017 is already here!
I have spoken way to much in my previous posts about goals and resolutions etc. So in this blog post, I wanted to talk about crickets. Yes, I did just say that, Crickets. No, not the boring field game that men seem to enjoy for no reason that I could understand, but rather those pesky little creatures that live in our gardens.
Why crickets you may ask? Because they remind me of summer nights. Living in South Africa, we have pretty hot summers here and many of those night have to be spent outside. Sitting outside on a boiling hot summer night, having a  barbecue (or a braai in South Africa) surrounded by family and friends and alcohol, comes to mind when I hear crickets.
I am currently listening to those crickets right outside my bedroom window, whilst reminiscing about those summer nights. And in light of me leaving for Cape Town on Friday, I can’t help being so excited to travel again. Being at home over New Years is always relaxing. There’s no traffic and no people in the shops, restaurants or queues. Why? Because they’ve all migrated to Cape Town for the holidays. It seems to be a commonality that each year Joburgers pack up their houses and move to Clifton 4th Beach in Cape Town. So even though, it is quiet and relaxing here, one can’t help feeling lonely over the holidays.
I think it’s pretty similar to Christmas or Easter time. Everyone loves to return to home-cooked meals, the houses that they grew up in and familiar faces. And there’s always that one poor soul that has to stay put. Well this year, I was that one poor soul. But, I looked at the positive and took advantage of it. I got to see and eat at new places in Johannesburg that, even though I have lived here for 21 years, I would have never gone to otherwise. 27 boxes in Melville or Fresh Earth Cafe in Emmerentia are some of the unknown treasures that Johannesburg has to offer.
Every city in the world has these little treasures that we just need to step out of our comfort zone to find. So, if you are ever feeling like I have been over the past week, find those treasures in your city or town or country and do a bit of your own exploring.
I have been planning this trip to Cape Town for months now. You may ask why I am traveling to another city in my own country instead of going overseas. I promise you anyone who lives in South Africa would just smile at you and say it’s a South African thing. We love Cape Town. Its beaches, night life, and beautiful city all thrown together make the perfect holiday destination. It’s the perfect balance of relaxing and busy. If you ever have the chance to visit South Africa, I, as a proud Joburger, would even suggest you rather go to Cape Town.
My next blog post will be my packing plans and list for my trip to CT and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.
Here’s to little treasures, exploring your own city and starting 2017.

In Hindsight.

This evening, all over South Africa, nervous matriculants are about to receive their final school results (Good luck to all!). For those overseas, it’s kind of like getting GCSE or SAT results. Many of my friends’ younger siblings are going to be getting their results and not only does this make me feel super old but, it also makes me feel a bit nostalgic about my high school years and this exact night for me 3 years ago.
3 years ago, just before midnight, I was sitting, very impatiently, on my living room couch waiting to find out whether I had passed, especially in mathematics and science. As soon as I got the SMS, I screamt so loudly in shock. In a split second, my school career was well and truly over. Could I have worked harder? – Most probably. But, knowing that I had 12 years successfully behind me and a future at a university made me actually quite sad.
I was very lucky that I had an amazing time in high school. I had great friends and got to experience some pretty awesome things. The days of everything being paid for me, being driven around and looked after, were officially over and now came the big wide world with a neon sign: GET A DEGREE AND A JOB.
Now three years down the line, entering my final year of university, I look back on my high school years with a warm heart. The marks were never important to me. Spending lunch breaks and Saturday nights with my friends, drinking alcohol a bit too early on and chatting about boys for hours with my girls are memories that I know I will cherish far more than those boring hours spent in a classroom.
We take so many of these years for granted and it’s a horrible cycle. In primary school, high school students tell us to enjoy school. In high school, university students tell us to enjoy school. And in university, working people tells us to enjoy university. The cycle never ends, and at each stage we look back and think how we wish we could relive it or redo it.
Now, I’m not going to use the crap sayings like Carpe Diem or live in the moment, blah blah blah. We get all that crap from our parents and the internet. All that I want to say is: take a picture. Try and remember it. If there’s anything that I wish I did in hindsight, it would have been to take more pictures. Because as you get older you forget. And no matter how hard you try to remember the special moments, it’s usually the horrible times that stick out.
So, you know that round little thing at the back of your phone? Use it!! Use it to remember those you’ve loved and lost, the moments when your stomach was so sore from laughing and the moments you want to never forget.
Here’s to those moments, passing school and hindsight.

And so it begins…

The tree, fairy lights, mistletoe and Christmas pudding are slowly beginning to be forgotten and thoughts of 2017, goals, resolutions and new adventures are forming in our minds.
First off, Merry Christmas to all. I hope that you spent the day surrounded by love and joy and I’m sure plenty of food. Christmas is the time of year when we look back on all that we are grateful for. I, for one, am lucky enough to be grateful for so many things. Family and friends, having a roof over my head and food on our table. Let us also think about those who aren’t fortunate to have much. Even if you didn’t on Christmas day, take 5 minutes out of your time this week and do a good deed for someone less fortunate than you.
As we move into the new year, our thoughts shift from what we are grateful for to what we plan to change or achieve in the next 12 months.
My 365 days have started off well but, not as well as I had planned. It’s hard being surrounded by so much temptation and the habits of the past. Trying to explain to others what you want to change and having them roll their eyes at you and say “why even bother trying?”. I guess that really was a question that came to mind: why try? Why make any different at all? Why new years resolutions?
We’re not perfect. There is always room for growth. We identify parts of our lives that don’t satisfy us and we attempt to make goals and form ideas and ways to change them. However, these areas for growth are not always understood by those around us. It’s a challenge in itself having people around you support your goals never mind just achieving them.
Even though, giving to others is very important and I encourage it all year around, there are moments in life where it is okay to be a tiny bit selfish. Thinking of yourself and how to improve and grow are healthy thoughts to have. This is our life at the end of the day and yes, we can do so much by helping others, but striving towards a good life for yourself should not be seen as a punishment.
So along with the 5 minutes of a good deed for someone else, take 5 minutes this week for yourself. You’ve probably spent the holidays surrounded by hoards of people. So whether 5 minutes means locking yourself in a room and meditating, getting in your car and just driving or simply reading a book; DO IT. I don’t believe that healthy self love comes naturally to many people. So find where your self love is and spend some time with it.
I pray that this coming year brings light, love and joy to those who need it and that we all step into it with fond memories of 2016 and high hopes for the new year.
Here’s to self love, giving and beginnings.

Seeing the bigger picture…

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I neededIMG_20161222_103113.jpg something to keep me occupied during my holidays. I remember spending countless weeks at home with my family completing puzzles when I was little. So, clever me, decided to buy a 1000 piece, black and white puzzle.
I am about two weeks in now and I am starting to think that either I was crazy or am going crazy.
Why did I decide to do this particular puzzle? Definitely not because it was 1000 pieces! But rather because the final picture was so beautiful and when framed after completion, would fit so well in my room.
At this point I am beginning to question whether completing it is even possible. I did so well with all the building pieces but, the sky seems like a never ending process of black, grey and white.
When we make choices in life, we hardly ever consider the process. We simply look at the outcome that we want. For example: when we begin a diet, we only partly consider the process. The outcome of looking great and achieving whatever your outcome is, is the big picture. We put the amount of hours in the gym and how much effort needs to be put into eating well, into the back of our minds. Then we begin the process and after a while we realize how hard it truly is. By then, the outcome picture is becoming less and less worthwhile and few people continue the process.
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Such like this puzzle, I began with high hopes and the forthcoming of something beautiful to put on my bedroom wall. Now, being able to only manage to find maybe 2 pieces to fit into the puzzle each day, those hopes are slowly beginning to diminish.
But what do we do? We push. If it’s an outcome that is worthwhile, we push. Each day, little by little, we add a little piece to our goals, slowly building up to the desired product. In the words of some famous, wise guy: “Giving up is never an option”. Wise quote coming from someone who can barely finish a puzzle…
Whatever puzzle you’re struggling with in life, decide on the pieces that you need to push towards completion. Do a little piece everyday and with hard work and persistence, that goal is definitely in sight.
My 365 days are going to be 365 little pieces that will combine to make the big picture. 365 days is a long time when broken down individually, but as a whole, the outcome will be so worth it.
Here’s to high hopes, pushing and 365 little pieces.

The 365 Choices…

It is currently 1:04 in the morning and once again, a million thoughts are flowing through my head. As you may have seen in my previous post, I have decided to begin my own year of self-improvement starting this Christmas.

It is all well and great to have the idea and the big words saying I’ll do it but, its the follow through that’s vital. We spend our whole lives saying “one day” or “next year”. Why do we never say “today”?

The choices that I need to make concerning my 365 days are very similar to New Years Resolutions and God knows that’s on everyone’s minds at the moment. On January 1st, miraculously the gym is packed, all Christmas feasts have been forgotten, we have vowed to be healthier, kinder, cleaner, more productive and all-in-all, a wondrously new person.

I think that the reason gyms are empty in February and the drive-through at MacDonalds is packed is because we set such high goals for ourselves that are impossible to complete. Proclamations of going to gym 6 days a week or setting an alarm to wake up every single day at 5 and get more done, are heard all over the world on New Year’s day.

Today I was watching a movie called “The Choice”, based on a book by Nicholas Sparks, where the choice being made was by man deciding whether to take his wife, in a coma, off life-support. Yes, a bit dull for the cheery Christmas time, but it relates to what I mentioned about our New Year’s Resolutions. We treat them as life or death. We think that we need to go big or go home. The situation in “The Choice” is something that I pray no person ever has to go through, but we do have to keep in mind that tomorrow could be our last day and we need to live and love to the fullest.

Cutting out carbs or sweating out 100 hours at the gym is not living life to the fullest. Living life, at least in my eyes, is spending it with family and loved ones doing things that we love whilst taking care of and improving ourselves in our own small ways.

One small choice that I am making for my year is to cut out cold drinks. This may seem like something insignificant but, to me it is huge. I struggled with a Coca-Cola addiction between the ages of 12 and 15 and since then I have managed to control the addiction but, I still struggle with the amount of cold drink I consume a day. This is one small way I can improve my health. Another way is going to be gym. I already go to gym but on a very irregular basis. I do very well for a week or two then don’t go for a while then go back. My choice is to make gym more consistent. I am not starting with 6 days a week, twice a day going crazy but rather, 3 days a week to start and then see how I do from there.

In terms of my traveling dreams, I will be setting out on my first adventure of the year to Cape Town in a couple of weeks. Something I have learnt in the build up to this trip is that I really need to handle my money better. I have two jobs out of university where I depend on income and this year I have sailed through that money. In order to save better this year, I have set up powerpoint documents that help me log how much income I get and how much I am saving. This will help me finance more travel in the future which for me is another way of living life to the fullest.

So to sum up my choices for my 365 days:

  1. No cold drinks
  2. Gym 3 days a week CONSISTENTLY to start
  3. Log all money incomes and savings

See, nothing too crazy or too impossible. Something small and achievable.

My wish for you this Christmas is to make wise choices, spend time with family and cherish the lives you have. Enjoy the moment now and worry about what you’ll do next year after the Christmas pudding. Happy holidays and I’ll check in with you after Christmas.

Here’s to joyous memories, love and 365 days of choices.

The Prequel to 365…

In “Eat, Pray, Love”, Julia Roberts’ character, Liz, decides that she needs a year, 365 days, to ‘find’ herself. She then travels to Italy, India and Bali to do so. I’ve heard so many of these stories before. Break ups, horrible jobs, a fall out with a friend, an unhealthy life. These are some of the reasons why people get up and go. They leave it all behind for India or Japan or anywhere without Wifi to go find whatever is missing in their lives.
Unfortunately, I am at a stage in my life where I can’t do that. I am student, about to begin the final year of my degree, with less to no financials and those pesky commitments that are always used as excuses. But I have dreams. I have those big dreams that our parents tell us to have when we are little, but as we get older, we get told to be practical and find a job that pays (and pays well).
I don’t have dreams of being famous or having tons of money. I don’t dream of a handsome muscular man to pay for my every need. And I definitely don’t dream of living someone else’s life. Instead I dream of improving my current one.
Being healthier and exploring are my dreams at the moment. When I was little I think they were to be an accountant (seriously, who dreams of that?) or to be Barbie (typical). And I am sure that in 5 years time my dreams will be different, but for now I have two simple dreams.
However, if these dreams were so simple, why haven’t they come true? Sadly, I know the answer. I keep on saying “Monday I’ll begin. On the 1st, I promise I won’t drink cool drinks. I’ll try travel next year”. All the typical questions that are preventing me from these ‘simple’ dreams.
So, like Liz, I am going to have my own year. I doubt I’ll visit anywhere exotic or become a permanent gym go-er. But, I am going to try. Starting Christmas day, my 365 days begin.
In the movie, Liz looks for a word to describe herself. I wish so badly that words such as “disciplined, productive, self-less, determined” described me but, I guess maybe by next year Christmas I’ll figure it out.
Heres to twinkled lights, misteltoe and 365 days of trying.