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!

The one about skiing…

How do you, successfully, write a blog post about the last month and a half of your life when that month and a half was so packed with amazing shit. How do you explain this amazing shit?

Well, as most of you know, I spent my winter holidays in the Three Valley’s in France – two weeks of skiing, snow (kind of), cold – it was, literally – literalleh – the best holiday I have ever had. If you have never been skiing, please do yourself a favour and go and do it.

On my first day of trying to ski, I made the mistake of putting on and strapping up my ski boots at the flat and then walking to the practice slope – by the time I got to the bottom of the ski slope, I was in a bad mood and not interested in this skiing business. My legs hurt, my feet hurt (the shoes are incredibly heavy and the angle at which you stand is quite unnatural). I gave the slope one go, fell twice and wondered why I ever thought skiing was a good idea. The second day was better, luckily. I got the hang of snow ploughing down the little slope (or pizza’ing, if you watched South Park in your youth, like I did)…I think I tried my first green slope on the third day and, as expected, I had some glorious wipe outs there too.

Every day that I skied I got better and better and progressed to a blue run by my second week without wiping out on the way down. On my last day of skiing, I had confidently learnt to ski (turn and almost stop) with my skis parallel to one another. As my luck would have it, some douche bag clipped my skis while I was going quite fast down a blue run, which tripped me and resulted in a knee injury. Like an idiot, I insisted on doing two more slopes after that, but, as I kept falling, I got so pissed off and gave up. This was our second last day, so I had gotten in some pretty good practice in our two weeks at the resort anyway.

On one of the days, we took a drive to Annecy which is a lakeside town about 2 hours away – not only was the drive amazing, but the town itself was just too beautiful. We shopped. A lot. And ate pizza. A lot of pizza.

We spent our evenings at the ski resort reading, playing board games and having a general chill (after a whole day of skiing, you dont have the energy for much else). I was in bed by 8.30pm on most nights. On NYE, we walked down to the main village in the snow (EEKKKK :D) and drank mulled wine while listening to the “live” music (read: a live guitar player and drummer playing to a backing track – it was weird). I was in bed by 11pm.😀

Christmas was spent sitting outside (in the cold) watching the newbie skiers on the practice slope, eating croissants and drinking coffee, followed by presents and a walk to the main village. Later that evening, we had steak, sweet potato bake and salad for dinner (very xmassy, I know) and finished off with a peach crumble. Tradition what?

My last day in France was spent wondering around Moutiers, which is also beautiful, although it rained non stop…also, restaurants close at 2pm and open at 6/7pm every day – why the f***? What are tourists that are waiting for their train supposed to do – especially when the wait is like 9 hours? Yes, I spent 9 hours waiting for a train. I was never as happy to see the back of a train station as I was that evening. Side note: 9 hours on a Eurostar is not much fun either. It is not possible to sleep comfortably on a train – much as you might like to kid yourself into thinking it is.

Im afraid Im not giving much detail on my holiday – if I do, this post would, likely, turn into a book.

All I can, confidently, say is that: if you have the means to travel and experience these kinds of things in life, make sure that you do it. I cant explain how travel changes your perspective in life, but it definitely does – you will never regret travelling, you will never regret the lessons you learn and you will never look back. Once you eyes have been opened, they are open forever.

Peace!

Things I love about London – Crussh

I thought I’d start a new series of posts in which I describe and explain why I love a certain thing in London – shop/restaurant/area/experience – whatever.

So to kick it off, I’ve chosen to blog about one of my lunchtime favourites – Crussh.

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One thing I adore about London is variety of lunches. Cape Town had some decent options, but, to be honest, you can only have Kauai, Sumo and sandwiches from Pick n Pay so many times (yes, it is a gross exaggeration, get over it). London is a literal Smörgåsbord of luncheon options – you get your usual meal deals from the Tesco’s of the world, sure, but you also get any number of ready made meals in the form of sushi, vietnamese, pita’s, salads, pastries (obvs), artisan pizza, greek foods, italian pastas (made by actual Italians), Thai food, Beer (or just alcohol in any form), pub lunches, low fat, low carb, high fat, no fat, paleo, vegan, vegetarian – the list of options is really endless. Your get these little chains of “fast” food restaurants that cater to a lifestyle, which amazes and excites me to no end.

Crussh is one of these – they cater to the low carb lifestyle and, specifically to my liking, LCHF. I mean, they do, do super grains mixed with fancy stuff, but I love that they have roasted cauliflower and pomegranate health pots – or a ginger teriyaki chicken zero noodle soup concoction (which I had today and died for); they have raw date and chia seed bars with no sugar, Bullet coffee (which is coffee with MCT oil added to it); and all kinds of scrambled eggs high fat loveliness for breakfast. The food is also really flavourful and thoughtfully made.

Their slogan is “Fit Food” and I can definitely endorse that – fit food it is. Yummy food. Healthy food. Get in my mouth Food. I usually bring my own lunch to work, but on the days (like today) when we had leftovers for dinner the night before and I don’t have lunch type food on hand, Crussh is my cheeky first option.

Also their coffee is really quite nice (the only reason that I dont buy coffee there regularly is because they dont serve cream with their coffee…and the lady at my local Pret knows my order by heart and, for that, I have a coffee-shop-crush on her. Also, she gives me free coffee every now and then)

Anyway, this is my London love for this week. Now give me a week to think of another one.

Peace!

 

Romance isn’t a science – it’s a heart

I have no idea if the husband will even read this (if it isn’t car-related, his blog reading is sporadic at best), but, well, here goes anyway.

Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship knows that emotion and feelings toward your significant other tend to go in waves – some days you like your partner more than other days. Most of the time, it is due to a myriad of reasons – how busy you are/have been at work, how busy you are/have been at home, how much time you have/haven’t spent with your partner, stress, travelling, personal emotions…there really is a long list of things that can affect the way you feel about your significant other at any given time. I, too (and like everyone else – whether they admit it or not), am guilty of this: sometimes I like my husband more than other days (note that I said like, because I always love my husband. Even when he pisses me off). Sometimes I want to be left alone; sometimes I am irritated; sometimes I am annoyed..one thing that is constant is that he is the only person that I want a hug and reassurance from when I have had a bad day or am worried about something; he is the only person who I want to see everyday at the end of the day when I get home [I, personally, see this as a good quality of my relationship with him (note: not my marriage, but my relationship. My marriage is secondary to my relationship)].

Anyway, the point of this is that, right now, I am very much into my husband – for all his faults and virtues, his quirks and my qualms.

So, husband, if you are reading this – even if I dont show it all the time, if sometimes I am a miserable cow (especially in the mornings), if I am quiet and moody and for the times when I am not:

For all the pokes, pinches and elbows in the sides, youtube videos on a Sunday morning, running for the bus every morning, dreams of travelling, actual travelling, co-baking, silly inside jokes, laundry-doing – for everything that makes up our life…

I.L.Y.❤