Sleep Records

I am so effing tired this week, and I cant for the life of me say why. Im getting my usually 7-8 hours of sleep every night, but I feel like I could sleep for another 4 hours and still not have had enough. I suspect all this travelling may have something to do with it…although I haven’t even really traveled this week – with the exception of a very quick trip to Reading for a meeting. I know I have weekends to sleep in, but, to be honest, the satisfaction of waking up mid-week and being able to say “Im going to sleep a bit more” is far immenser (…is that a word? I dont think so) than being able to sleep late on a day that was intended for sleeping late.

Speaking of travelling – I mentioned that I have Copenhagen and Amsterdam coming up in September…I also have a day trip to Belfast next month, and a potential weekend in Edinburgh in November, which I am also planning on getting Jean up for as he hasn’t yet seen any of Scotland. Much excitement. Im also trying to find a good destination to take Jess to for her 21st next year. I was thinking of Alicante. This is all in addition to needing to buy our tickets back for our 3 weeks holiday in Cape Town for April…although if I leave that until October, it wont be the end of the world.

With much excitement, we are braai’ing this weekend. Because I have, effectively, been deprived of this birth right for the past 2 years, I still get excited every time we braai. And now that we have our own braai, all the better (if you have comments about the fact that it is a gas braai and, therefore, not a real braai…get bent. This is England, not South Africa – we do the best we can).

Things at home are now back to normal – well, “new” normal, as we have an extra body officially living with us. I was saying to Jean that I really do love having Jess live with us. Its nice to be able to meander into her room and flop on the bed with her, or stand in the kitchen, and talk shit. I think my mom is still getting used to this idea of her having her own life and her own space thing…shan’t mention why, but it was a lol.

Tonight I am going to a BBQ at a colleagues house for our team. Judging by the amount of alcohol that been bought and the extra amounts being brought by everyone else, tomorrow is going to be a nightmare. Thank Ra I didnt plan any meetings for tomorrow. I still have a standing plan to attempt to go to gym…I dont think its very realistic, but Im giving myself kudos for even thinking I might be able to do it.

Anyway, that is my drivel for this week.

Peace!

As you like it

4 weeks ago, I started the Ultimate You Challenge, which is hosted by South African health group SleekGeek. The premise is that you compete in this challenge as motivation to change your life and adopt healthier habits (diet, exercise, etc). I started it on a whim, opted with a paleo lifestyle…and away I went. 4 weeks later, Im 6.5 kg down, Ive started going to gym again regularly (well as regularly as my work day allows, which in the past two weeks has been not much), Ive stuck to paleo (mostly)…Ive had a few cheat days, which I dont like to call a cheat because I chose to eat whatever it was that I ate knowing it wasnt paleo. The point is that I enjoyed whatever it was and then carried on with my paleo lifestyle…I didnt destroy an entire day with eating a load of junk. More importantly, I feel so much better on the inside. I feel healthy and together, which is what is important.

Moving countries plays havoc with your life in so, so many ways. It is a MAJOR life change in every day – diet included, and it has fully taken a long time to get my head back in th right space to focus on health.

Last week (probably to my detriment), I discovered this range of amazing, paleo sweet treats called Nak’d…everything is fruit and nut based, but it tastes so moreish and divine. I’ve been good about limiting my indulgence….except today. I think I went a bit overboard today. Shh. Whatever. Think I’ll hold off on the Nak’d bars for a few days before I end up putting on 6 kgs worth of dates and cashew nuts.

Tomorrow is my little brother’s last day of his 3 week holiday in the UK – I cant believe it is over already. Much has happened over the last 3 weeks…my mom has moved out of her house and into ours for a few days before my brother leaves, after which she moves in with friends for a few months. My lounge currently look like a storage container (and so does my garage) and, at any given time, there is a live body or two (be that a human 0r a feline body) strewn across some piece of furniture…5 humans and two cats in a 2 bedroom house is a bit of a lol. Jean said to me on Sunday that the neighbours must think something along the lines of “those effing South Africans…they get a two bedroom house and move 6 families in”.

As a result of my departed step father (if you dont know this story, then all you need to know if that my mother’s husband is a massive doos (for those non-south africans: directly translated it means “box”; indirectly translated it means he is a c**t) and that he deserves only the very worst things in life. Like piles, tinnitus, possibly a bit of syphilis, his car being keyed, tyres slashed…basically anything that makes one really, REALLY miserable and uncomfortable for the rest of their forlorn, miserable life)…as I was saying, step father + collateral damage = cat. Our poor (depending on how you look at it) family cat, Mau was rendered homeless by this move and was due to live with my sister. We discovered within the first 12 hours of his being at her home, that he is a vicious mother trucker of a cat and that her cats just couldnt deal, so he had to be re-homed (again). This is where the “depending on how you look at it” comes in. Keran managed to find him a home with a lovely old bat near Kensington palace (no less) who is retired, alone and wants nothing more than a companion cat whom she can spoil (doesnt seem too poorly now, does he?). He has been renamed to Lucan (what?), but he is adored by this lady, which we are so grateful for. Even if he has a weird name. We also have visitation rights and first claim if she pegs…which we hope she doesnt…obvs.

Well…this has been a lot of rambling this post. I guess the only things left to mention are that I am going to Copenhagen and Amsterdam in September for work…which shall transpire into weekends spent in both cities. I plan to plan (?) it so that Jean can fly up to Amsterdam and spend the weekend with me..which shall essentially be my 31st birthday celebration (red light district and hash brownies…um…). Much excitement….and stoked to be back in a job where I get to travel a little bit.🙂

Anyway…to everyone who moaned at me for not blogging often enough, are you happy now?🙂

Peace x

Like a room without a roof!

I am in such a great place at the moment – I woke up this morning singing to the bluebirds while they sang back to me. Okay, not really…firstly, I cant sing, and secondly, there are no bluebirds where I live – but that’s how I feel🙂

We are loving our new home. It is amazing what difference living in a house and having a garden makes. We dont feel trapped in our space, our cats are able to roam around freely and we have an abundance of space. Last night, as we sat outside chatting and drinking coffee (for Jean) and tea (for me), a fox meandered across our garden a few times – not bothered by our presence or the cats at all, it was quite lovely.

Jean and I spent a good few hours gardening (yes, you read that correctly) on Sunday. We ripped out a flowerbed full of, what appeared to be, weeds (if they were actual plants, they were very ugly and weed looking), dug a proper flowerbed, pulled up some grass and toiled the soil. Next weekend (or today f my husband feels so inclined :P) we’ll be planting the bunch of flowers we have bought for the new flowerbed – which includes lavender, sweetpeas, sunflowers…and some other flowery stuff. Including a rose bush.We also have a farm’s worth of vegetables and herbs to plants, but that might be a job for another flowerbed and a homemade greenhouse.

Work is also going well. After two years in the UK, I ave finally found my place. I’ve found a company and a brand that I believe in and support as much as I did with dg Store (the company I worked for before I left SA). Its a place that recognises potential and encourages people to do and be their best, and rewards their employees in abundance. I cant even explain how happy I am to be at this company, and it makes all the difference in my life in general.

Part of my extreme happiness today is that, by the end of July, I should be able to book flights back to Cape Town for a 3 week holiday in April next year. I cant flippen wait!! I said to Jean that I amazed that I feel so excited bout going back on holiday, but I really am so excited. I cant wait to see my family and my friends, and to chill out in the sunshine, and shop til I drop (…because exchange rate. And end of summer sales. HELLO).

Speaking of travelling and being in the UK 2 years – 28th June is officially our 2 year UK anniversary. How fast the last 2 years have gone – and how accustomed to life we have become here. I often think about how weird things, that were normal to me, will be so strange when we go back to Cape Town on holiday. Like having someone pump your petrol for you (whaaattt!?) and not having self service check out in supermarkets (which means I have to talk to the teller :/)…and the currency! Rand notes and coins really look very odd to me now. Also, actual sunshine for extended periods of time NOT interrupted by rain😀

Anyway, enough dreaming for one day!

Mush!

 

The impending great trek

Well, life for the next month is going to consist of boxes and bubble-wrap, packing and boxes – that’s right, folks. Jean and I are moving from our first England home of a year and a half to our first ever house! I cant even explain how excited I am – I mean, we’ve even started packing…a month in advance. That’s never happened before.

We’re moving to a fabulous little house in Orpington, which is not far from where we live now, but within the Greater London border (read: the M25 – that big ass hell on earth of a highway around London) – it is a 2 bedder, 2 bathroom semi-detached house with a massive garden (this was a non-negotiable for me) and a garage (this was a non-negotiable for Jean), space for a dining room table (also a non-negotiable for me) and is bordering country and suburb which suits us just fine. I’ve been wanting to move into a house for a while and, as we plan on having kidlings in the near future (again, Im not pregnant so calm down), what better time? We also want out kitties to have a life outside (actually, I’d like to not have to deal with a litterbox and their excessive amounts of fluff shedding). So that’s, that – end of May is when we make a departure for Orp dorp and, true to form, I’ve already booked the moving company, researched the local surgery, booked the transfer of our internet and changed the cats’ chip details.

Yesterday (bank holiday Monday), Jean and I, bravely, ventured into the Swedish home décor abyss that is Ikea….per my predictions (which is that a trip to Ikea is the ultimate relationship test), Jean and I quarrelled in the car while sitting in a traffic queue to park (45 minutes and an argument about capitalism later). Thankfully, things got better from there and we spent a solid 3 hours milling around and drawing inspiration from the many, many, many sets…although we still have no idea what we’re going to do, décor-wise, in our new house. Go figure. I did, however, manage to drop a glob of mashed potato into my shoe while we stopped and had lunch in the massive canteen which is smack-bang in the middle of the building and which you have to walk past in order to continue shopping.

Anyway, enough about moving. Next week is my last week at Access before I begin my sparkly new job at Mimecast – and I cannot wait! Although, with everything going on – i.e moving, trip to Belfast, etc, it really is the worst timing, but YOLO (feeling very 2014 right now, can you tell?)

Anyway, as an aside – Jean And I have had an ongoing discussion about pub names for the past few months, and we have decided that pubs in England are (mostly) centred around about 10 common pubs names – the rest of the pubs that dont fall in line with these naming conventions were, obviously, owned by someone very flamboyant who, very possibly, was tried for treason, witchcraft or perversion (because why else would you be flamboyant) and was beheaded at the tower of London (only logical outcome, right?). These 10 are:

  • The Duke’s Head
  • The King’s Head
  • The Queen’s Head (well, now that the entire family is here…)
  • The Nag’s Head (can’t imagine how this one came about)
  • The Black Horse
  • The White Horse (…..)
  • The Rose
  • The Crown
  • The Rose and Crown (someone, obvs, got a bit creative with this one)
  • The George and Dragon (why it is always George and Dragon? I just dont know)
  • The Prince of Wales (and if you are feminist pub owner, you’d call it the princess of Wales…original, eh?)
  • The Bull (literally seen dozens of these)

Okay, thats 12…close enough. They’re all about rolling heads and horses here apparently.

Thats enough nonsense for one day.

Peas!

The unbagging of the Cat

Now that the cat is pretty much out of the bag at work (except for the announcement to my actual team…lolsies), I can officially announce my very exciting news (NO, IM NOT PREGNANT OKAY!): I’ve accepted a very fabulous job at a UK-based, South African founded company called Mimecast as a Senior CX Account Manager.

I am beyond stoked, firstly, to be working for such a well known company in the industry and, secondly, to be offered a position by, what I would deem is, a destination company.

Moving to another country is a damn difficult thing to do – starting your career over and learning to accept that you may have to work at a graduates salary for a little while is an internal struggle, to say the least. Finally, after two jobs (both of which I have enjoyed immensely and both of which have introduced me to some amazing people and friends), I feel like I am finally back on track and making a natural progression from the role I was in when I left South Africa.

This role is both customer facing and more technical in nature (yippeeee!) which means that I can get back to using the skills that I have developed over the years. My current company is great, but as I have fallen more into a management role and because the nature of the business is far less technical, I end up doing much less technical work and, as a result, I felt that my technical skills are totally going to waste.

The other upside to this new role is that I may very likely be spending an amount of time travelling around Europe again, which is right up my street.

This job move also means Jean and I can start thinking about the prospect of buying a house in the next few years – something I have not seriously thought of because…well…this is England and houses are bloody expensive (well, around London they are).

Anyway…thats all I had to say. Go me!

Peas!

Crock-WHAT?

I’ve said it before and I shall say it again: I am possibly the worst at keeping this damned thing updated, but, hey, life happens I guess!

I can scarcely believe that 4 months of this year have whizzed by so quickly – so much had happened and so much has stayed the same. Such an age old cliche, isnt it?!

I was “promoted” during my 4th month at my new company and am now managing the SaaS implementation team which takes up more of my time than anything else. I remember my bestie and ex-manager telling me that, when it comes to people management, be careful what you wish for…well, I’m learning the true meaning of that. It is taxing – especially when you spend your whole day (or, god forbid, week) dealing with employee-related problems, or client escalations where the client spends 45 minutes moaning into your ear about something (or everything) that they are not happy with. I wish the phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’ could be my mantra…sadly, it cannot.

The workload is also quite considerable, so its been quite an effort to gain some kind of balance in terms of how I manage everything – I am getting there, thankfully.

The one saving grace that I do have is that I joined the gym (FINALLY!!!) about 2 months ago and, while I haven’t been super strict about making myself go, I do feel better than I am making an effort to be kind to myself again. Jean and I have also adopted much healthier habits at home in terms of what we eat and I think we’re both feeling better for it.

Except for yesterday. Yesterday we had all the Mac n Cheese. Dont judge me.😛

I also (and this is possibly the most ou vrou, adult statement I will ever make) bought a slow cooker (a Crock pot for those who know appliances by their brand names) a few weeks ago and I can proclaim (loudly) that its the best thing since sliced bread. Why have I never owned one before?!! Stew for days? Yes. Soup? Yes. Slow cooked lamb? Yes. Home made pizza? Apparently. Boiled eggs? Probably (and very slowly, mind). Oh, the joys of adulthood! I made the most delicious beef stew last week…although by the third day I was kinda bored of beef and vegetables…vegetables and beef…beef with a side of vegetables.😛

In other news, Jean and I have resolved to be a bit more proactive about our travel habits because it feels like we wait too long in between our expeditions (Dom, if you are reading this, I finally and totally understand you thing about ‘itchy feet’ – and no, I don’t mean the foot fungus kind). We have booked a long weekend break to Belfast for mid-May and will being doing a Game of Thrones tour (yes, total fangirl moment!!!) and a day trip to the Giants Causeway, as well as some other Belfast-y type sightseeing. Its still in the UK, but it is another country, so it counts in my book. Also Jean has never been to Ireland at all and I havent seen much Irish country/sea side, so Im pretty excited.

We were planning a road trip to Belgium for that week, but since people decided it was a good place to blow people up in, we’re gonna let that one rest a bit longer before we head over.

Another trip we are pretty keen to do something soon is Italy – specifically Venice and, I guess, a bit of a Tuscany roadtrip. We’d have to hire a car though because it would take us quite a while to drive down to the coast of Italy.

Anyway, this is perhaps the most boring update ever, but whatevs – day to day life cant always be exciting.

Peace!

Do you even lift, bro?

So this is going to be totally self indulgent and, usually, I am the first the wrinkle my nose at those who post about their self indulgent gym posts on social media, but whatever.

Today, for the first time since I left South Africa, I went to the gym and actually exercised properly for almost an hour. I didn’t die (like I thought I would), pass out or vomit (I was convinced at least one of these things would happen). I didn’t forget how to use a bicycle or rowing machine. I did pick a 5kgs weight to bicep curls and totally overestimate my strength – I used to pick up a 5kg with ease. Now it feels like my bicep wants to pop out of my arm.

Anyway, I know I’m totally unfit and I know I have along way to go to get back to where I used to be, but the main, bestest thing is that I enjoyed being active again and I feel more productive this afternoon because of it.

I’ve been making a concerted effort to eat healthier (read: cutting out processed foods and sugar) for about 2 weeks and I have been drinking loads of water and it has paid off as I am already 4 kg down – and before anyone thinks “oh yeah, another fad diet” – no, its not. Before I moved to the UK and got into a bad habit of eating unhealthily, I consistently ate well – my sugar intake was limited, as was my processed food intake. I feel like I finally have my mind in the right place as it is not hard to not have sugar and it is no longer difficult to decide to cook a healthy dinner instead of getting the nearest, easiest thing because I don’t feel like cooking. I, however, have decided that instead of following this lifestyle in the same way that has branded it a bit of a cult (LCHF, if you were wondering), I have decided to be realistic about it. Which is why I allowed myself a potato chip or two last week during our work pub lunch – it didn’t do any harm to my progress and, most importantly, I didn’t go and consume the chocolate aisle of Tesco because I’d already fucked up my day by eating a piece of fried potato (I almost did, but I talked myself out if it and had coffee instead)🙂

I plan on attending a combat fitness class tomorrow evening and I am pretty convinced that I may blow carrots and peas after that one. Whatever, its not like I haven’t seen suspicious pools of stomach contents outside gyms in London before (although, it was also near a bus stop…so I cant be sure that it wasn’t one of the evening crowd on their way home after a night of partying…).

In other news, I experienced England A&E full tilt this weekend – two and a half hours of bleeding grannies, sick children, miserable people and one guy who took it upon himself to loudly exclaim that he had been waiting and hour and what does he pay taxes for!? I dropped a 5Kg granite block on my foot and was told to get xrays to make sure it wasnt broken. It wasnt, thank god. Shan’t be doing that again soon though.

Over and out!