• *giveaway* tous les jours organic skincare products and sleepwear

    I’m not sure if you’ve noticed my slight obsession with Tous Les Jours lately? It started off with their pyjamas and home wear and then they very kindly sent me a box of their brand new 100% natural skincare range to try out. Lucky girl! I cannot explain how much I love my pyjamas –(…)

  • how to travel

    Right now the only thing I can really think about is our upcoming Europe trip, so if you’re in no way inclined to want to travel the world, this post will probably be of no interest to you. But since I was a little girl (I blame all the novels), I have dreamed of seeing(…)

  • where women walk

    You may have noticed that I’ve mislaid my blogging legs over the last few weeks. Between an intense fitness programme, a little extra workload, some exciting new projects to play with and a recent horrible bout of flu, time has been limited. I also am at a stage right now where I’m not feeling very(…)

  • my kayla itsines bikini body programme: 12 weeks done and dusted – the results

    So this week marks the last week of my 12 Week Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide – but it is by no means the end of my health and fitness journey. Ironically, I have come down with a bout of flu, which has been a shock to my mind, although I think my body is probably(…)

  • hamba – the dunlop road trip adventures

    As I’m sure you’ve all gathered by now, the Ginger and I are off to Europe in September for three weeks of exploring, playing, wining and dining (or eating at service stations once our measly ronds are all used up). I cannot wait and I may or may not have purchased coloured cardboard already in(…)

  • to live like a king for very little by thor harris

    My wise mom posted this gem written by rocker, Thor Harris, and I had to share it for keepsies. Especially loving number 4, 5, 10, 13 and 17. Happy Friday you beautiful creatures! X 1. Don’t smoke cigarettes. 2. Drive old Japanese cars. Easy and cheap to fix and they run for fucking ever. 3.(…)

  • current state of mind

    As you all know by now I’m sure, I am currently on an intense physical journey. My mind is full of things such as monitoring heart rates, muscle tone, energy, strength, nutrition, stretching, fat burn, average paces, burpees, decline push-ups, commandos, running, power walking and more. I am almost at the end of my tenth(…)

  • don’t be a poes… be lekker: 7 tips on how to behave in a restaurant… and in life

    This post was inspired by a recent Twitter conversation with Natasha, Belinda, Jane, Meg and Kate, all of whom have worked , or currently do work in the service industry. Thanks for sewing the seed ladies – it’s been bubbling below the surface for a while now! 1. If you can’t afford to eat out,(…)

  • my kayla itsines bikini body programme: 8 weeks in

    So I’m into my ninth week of the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide and I promised a report back after eight weeks… so here we go: Weight: To date, I have only lost 2 kgs. Some days I get on the scale and I weigh 58, other days 57. When I began this programme I(…)

  • hope in a world gone mad

    I’m naturally curious. I read a lot. I think a lot. I write even more. And I like to know what’s going on in the world. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I’m also a hugely sensitive empathiser. Which means that if I see or read too much of the bad stuff, I get down in the(…)

*giveaway* tous les jours organic skincare products and sleepwear

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed my slight obsession with Tous Les Jours lately? It started off with their pyjamas and home wear and then they very kindly sent me a box of their brand new 100% natural skincare range to try out. Lucky girl! I cannot explain how much I love my pyjamas – they are such good quality and are so warm and comfy… getting into them after a long hot bath at the end of the day is just heaven!

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So, a little background here – Tous Les Jours is a local, Midlands-based company (hooray for the Midlands!) who are big into keeping things as natural, fuss-free and fabulous as your average Parisian woman. In case you’re a clueless peasant like me, “Tous Les Jours” means “every day” and is pronounced “Tu-lay-joor”. Say it. I know you want to. Don’t you feel fancy now? And sophisticated? I’m about ready to throw on a beret and breton stripes!

Ok, so here’s the deal with their new skincare range, which now also includes an organic face care range – all of which will be launched in their shops and on their online store on Monday the 1st of September. When I say these products are natural and organic, I’m not just blowing smoke up your peach. Literally, there are like six ingredients in my cleanser. I even snapped a pic to prove it.

Aqua, Almond Oil, Elder Flower, Rose Geranium, Rosehip Oil and Asiatic Pennywort . That’s it. No chemicals, no preservatives. NO TESTING ON ANIMALS (I mean, those big companies say they don’t, but do you ever really know?). I’ve been following Sydney from The Daybook’s posts on her natural beauty regime and I’ve been so keen to start doing the same – and now I think I’ve found the easy perfect way! I’ve never really fallen into the whole expensive beauty products trap. Anything more than R100 a bottle is a bit ridiculous (hashtag freelance life). The only time I ever used fancy stuff was when my mom paid for it and when I had a friend working for a company who could organise me products for half price… and even then it was still pricey! For the last couple of years Ive been using Nivea products and they seem to be working well BUT if I can get a reasonably priced product made in the Midlands from natural products, what am I waiting for?

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But does it work? Yes, yes and yes!!! I chose the range for Dry/Mature skin (FML) because my skin has been SO dry this winter and I think the Nivea face wash I was using was perhaps a bit harsh. This range has been an absolute treat for my face! I was worried that I wouldn’t feel “clean” without a foaming face wash – I seem to have this idea that excessive foam equals clean. I have been using coconut oil as makeup remover for a while and along with cleansing with the Tous Les Jour products my skin has been perfect – clean and fresh with no breakouts or reactions… and I guess that’s because it’s natural and natural things go well with skin and hair, as well as digestive systems! I also tried out the exfoliating beads which you mix in with your cleanser once or twice a week for extra cleansing oomph. Best of all, the products are so reasonably priced – my cleanser is R65, the toner R45 and the moisturiser is R80! I think these pretty little bottles will be making themselves right at home on my bathroom shelf for a long time to come.

So… not only have Tous Les Jours spoilt me, but to celebrate the launch of their brand new skincare range on the 1st of September, they are wanting to spoil one of your lovely faces by giving away a skincare hamper to the value of R785! This hamper will include:

Normal Face Wash
Normal Toner
Normal Moisturiser
Exfoliating Beads
Head Band
Lip Balm
Soap
Vanilla Liquid Soap
Vanilla Room Mist
Vanilla Hand & Body Lotion
Vanilla Body Butter
Soap and Soap Bag

AND AND AND AND

A pair of their gorgeous summer pyjamas to the value of R320!

comp4So what do you have to do to win?

Well, first of all, visit their website, take a look at their summer pjs and then in the comments below let me know which pair is your favourite! And then, for extra entries:

Follow Tous Les Jours on Instagram and Twitter (@touslesjourspj)

or Like Tous Les Jours on Facebook (@TousLesJourspjs)

Easy right? All entries will be entered into a draw and the winner will be announced next on Wednesday the 3rd of September! If you can’t wait to get hold of these goodies, they will be available in store and to order online from the 1st of September – and shipping is free to anywhere in South Africa! What are you waiting for? Let’s do this! Good Luck!

*Competition open to readers residing in South Africa*

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how to travel

Right now the only thing I can really think about is our upcoming Europe trip, so if you’re in no way inclined to want to travel the world, this post will probably be of no interest to you. But since I was a little girl (I blame all the novels), I have dreamed of seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night, smoking weed in a dingy bar in Amsterdam (though that desire seems to have fallen by the wayside) and exploring the cobbled streets and ancient ruins of Italy. My Italian/South African friend, Andy, has recently been to visit and tells me that there is an entire city under the sea near Naples where you can just somer scuba swim around old houses and statues. UNDER THE SEA. I mean… SOLD. I am so glad I married Andrew. I know he’s my soulmate and the perfect man for me because he is even more obsessed with seeing the world than I am! He really does fuel my wanderlust fire. And he is also really good at brokering deals – which helps. We have seen a lot in our short time together and I am so looking forward to all the things we are yet to explore and eat and drink. Many people ask me, “so how do you travel so much? How do you get away?” A lot of South Africans seems to be set in this mindset that overseas travel is too difficult and that our green mamba and dismal rand makes overseas travel a bit of a challenge – which it does… but hey, as Paulo Coelho reiterates, “travel is never about money. Travel is always about courage“.

Here are some of my tips for all the mense who have mailed and sent me messages asking me how we do it. This is the dead honest, hard truth and it may mean that I’ll end up living on tinned cat food as a granny. But at least I’ll have the awesome memories. The travel bug is deep, I tell you.

1. Hold Up On The Reproduction. Listen, I’m no mom, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that unless you’re Richard Branson, the chances of being able to travel at whim once you have the midget humans are slim to none. And mommies and daddies – please don’t hate on me – this is only what my friends with kids have told me (usually whilst clutching a screaming toddler and with absolute exhaustion in their red-rimmed eyes). Kids are expensive and time consuming – two things that make travel impossible. I’m not saying that you can’t travel when you have small children, I’m just saying that you probably won’t take it in as much. Also, as soon as those bambinos pop out, every spare cent will be put towards their future education. You need to decide what’s more important – the experiences you gain whilst traveling or saving for your future kids’ food/clothes/schooling (no judgement on either front, we’re all walking different paths here).

2. Marry a Bargain Hunter. Say “I do” to someone who gets thrills out of finding the cheapest deals – or become this kind of person. The problem with most of us (i.e. ME) is that we don’t have the patience to check up on travel and flight sites three times a day… but this is what seasoned travellers do. They hit that refresh button every minute of every hour and wait for the specials to come up. If you can’t be that person, marry one. If it wasn’t for Andrew and his cray-cray obsession with cheap flights and special deals, I’d probably still only have ever left this country once – to go to Lesotho. On a compulsory school trip.

3. Rewards. Get a travel reward credit card and bang everything on it. EVERY-THANG! You’ll be surprised at how quickly those points and miles add up and before you know it, you’ll have a reward flight somewhere far away. As much as you can, ask friends and family to use your credit card when purchasing things online (they can pay you the cash) and then you score the points. Even better, make a family account on your airline account and put all your family members on it – and then every time they book a flight, collect the points to dish out to anyone when they need to travel. BE SNEAKY. (PS: Trip Advisor. Join it. Use it.) (Also, Discovery has a great reward scheme on flights.)

4. Save SMART. My absolute favourite is when people say to me “oh, so you’re going travelling again… You must be loaded!” Erm. No. No, we’re definitely not. We just have our priorities set and our eyes on the prize. So instead of drinking at the local pub every Friday and Saturday night, we work or stay at home. Trust me, a night or two out on the town – eating and drinking and smoking up a storm – can easily add up to a quick grand, especially if there are two of you. Rather stay home or invite friends over for dinner if you want to see them. By doing this, you can save R2 – 4000 a month. If you inherit or win any money, forget about putting it away for a rainy day or towards a new car – book those air tickets straight away! Once your flight tickets are booked, that’s half the job done. Also, stay away from shopping malls – unless you really need some new clothes… and by “need new clothes” I mean that your bras and panties have holes in them and it’s starting to get awkward. That sneaky trip to the mall is just not worth the R799 you accidentally-didn’t-mean-to drop at The Country Road sale – that’s the equivalent to a first class train ticket from Amsterdam to Paris. Think about it. Every little bit counts!

4. Package holidays . There is no shame in booking package deals – ever. If it gets you off the couch AND OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures, then do it. There seems to be this modern prejudice against staying at resorts and this general idea that an overseas holiday is somehow not a “real” trip away if you stay at the all-inclusive. I call bullshit. If that’s the cheapest deal you can get and it allows you to travel – DO IT. You can always hire a scooter/bicycle/car when you get there and explore the local spots. Hells bells, you might even end up staying at a local’s house after a hectic street party and get the REAL local experience. (This may or may not have happened.)

5. Be Your Own Boss. Or A Teacher. Or a Lecturer. Three weeks of holiday a year is for the ants. So many people end up saving all those precious days off for a hellishly painful December holiday spent with annoying family members. Yuk. Start your own business or freelance and make your time your own. It may take a couple of year to establish. You may to take your work with you on holiday. You may have to work extra hard to make up for your travel time but at least you don’t have to sit at your desk biting your nails every time you hand your leave form into the HR department.

6. Make Friends. Wherever you go on your travels, strike up conversations and build friendships with people from all over the globe. You never know when you many need a warm welcome bed in a foreign country. (JOE AND SUSAN -THIS ONE’S FOR YOU. WE’RE  COMING. SOON). Extend the invite to your home too. Sharing is caring, people – especially when it comes to travelling the globe.

The bottom line is that if you really want to travel, if the need to explore the world is deep in your bones, you will make a plan. Bring on the cat food.

travel couple Image by the lovely Sarah Irene Murphy (source)

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where women walk

You may have noticed that I’ve mislaid my blogging legs over the last few weeks. Between an intense fitness programme, a little extra workload, some exciting new projects to play with and a recent horrible bout of flu, time has been limited. I also am at a stage right now where I’m not feeling very opinionated about things. As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I’m keeping sane in this crazy little world of ours by keeping my head down, working on myself and staying clear of nasty news and pointless arguments. I’ve mostly banned myself from my Twitter and Facebook timelines, because there’s usually a fair bit of bitchiness or bad news in both and I don’t like my blood pressure to be raised for no reason any more. Energy and time is precious and I don’t want to spend it being mad about things out of my control. The only thing I can truly fix is me and that’s what I’m working on right now, little by little.

One thing I do want to talk about and one thing I will always have an opinion about is women and our place in society. You guys know I’m all about women and that I’m proud to call myself a feminist. I know there are a lot of popular peeps out there at the moment making fun of the feminist movement. It seems to happen with everything… as soon as something becomes popular or trendy and is on everyone’s tongues, someone has to become the clever skeptic. And let’s not beat around the proverbial bush (haha, see what I did there), the feminist movement has been enjoying a revival of sorts – a young man on a killing spree because women refused to sleep with him will usually do that – along with the recent rise in popular modern femisnit literature written by Caitlin Moran and the rest of the gang. People, especially women, who pooh-pooh feminism and joke about it on twitter (I see you and you’re the reason my TL is not getting much time of day) will do well to reflect this month on how far we have come as women and as a society. They will also do well to remind themselves that not even a century ago, lady folk were not allowed to vote, never mind have a voice and be all bolshy on twitter about how “feminists should relax and maybe they all need a good shag”. Yes, I saw that. And it was written by a woman. *shakes head. cries.*

I also just want to mention that everything is not quite so equal yet and even in my little part of the world, women are still being reduced as people and as equals. At a recent sporting event held in the Midlands called the Kamberg Challenge, in which both men and women are invited to participate, the first prize for the women’s team was a R40 bottle of wine each. First prize for the men’s team were prizes worth over a R1000.00 for each team member. The entrance fee to the game was R700 per person. I mean… I think we all know that there is a lot of work still to be done.

This month, the ABSA “Where Women Walk” campaign is celebrating the many roles that women in our society are able to occupy. From mother and home-keeper to doctor, athlete, cultivator, tooth fairy, trendsetter, entrepreneur and chef – our choices are limitless. In August 1956, twenty thousand women marched to the Parliament Buildings in Pretoria in protest against the apartheid pass laws, which forced all black women to carry passes and in doing so, prohibited them from being able to work and provide for their families. Their protest was ignored by the Federation, which was famous for its assertion that a women’s place was “in the kitchen”, but the march made huge strides in the South African women’s liberation movement and proved the power of a united female force. This was only fifty-eight years ago. We, as women and men, need to remember this.

So this month, take a moment to recognise how far we have come and how wonderful it is that you can choose the life you want to lead.

Take a moment to remember the past and quietly thank the women who walked before you, who paved your path and made it so much easier for you to glide down.

Stop with the snarky feminist comments. Especially if you possess a vagina. It’s disrespectful to the women in the past who would so have loved to enjoy all the rights you do now. Thank your lucky stars that you were born in a time that enables you to attend university, study what you like, work where you want and still be a mom and a home keeper – if you so wish.

Reflect on where you stand in society today and how you are in control of where your path can take you.

As for my path… this is where I am right now:

I live on a farm in a remote area of South Africa. You have to take a long and dusty dirt road to get to our home, and so it really is only the truest of friends who make the effort to visit. Cups of tea become long, chatty evenings accompanied by roasts and bottle upon bottle of wine. We feel the seasons acutely out here, and our days are interweaved with the cyclic birth and death of both plants and animals. Life is heartbreakingly real here. Time goes on no matter what and you must do your best to keep up. This is where I live. This is where I think and breathe and feel inspired. This is where I recollect and build up my strength and plan my adventures.

This is where I walk my path as a woman, a wife and a writer.

kerisjourneyTo join in on the campaign and show your appreciation for the women who marched before us, take a snap of your feet on whatever path you’re on, and share it on Twitter and Instagram, along with a description of where you stand in society and hashtag it #wherewomenwalk. Do it! I want to see the wonderful journeys you are all on.

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my kayla itsines bikini body programme: 12 weeks done and dusted – the results

So this week marks the last week of my 12 Week Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide – but it is by no means the end of my health and fitness journey. Ironically, I have come down with a bout of flu, which has been a shock to my mind, although I think my body is probably loving the break! I’m not sure if endorphin rushes are a real addiction, but if they are – hi my name is Keri and I am an addict. Albeit a proud one! Convincing myself to rest over the last three days has only been possible because the thought of getting REALLY sick and not being able to exercise at all makes me very nervous. Rest we must, and it’s been awesome to see my body still retaining it’s tone, despite the break. I think muscle memory after twelve weeks of intense training must be pretty pristine!

Right, so let’s talk about the last four weeks of the programme, the most significant change being the introduction of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) which basically means sprinting at full speed for thirty seconds and then resting for thirty seconds for ten to fifteen minutes in total. I LOVE this cardio workout – I love how time-efficeint it is, I love how much I sweat and I love the results. Over the last four weeks I have seen my abs beginning to appear, biceps starting to form and my core strength has improved SO much. Planks and V-ups… I gots ya. I don’t have a treadmill at home and the nearest gym is miles away (not to mention overpriced) and so instead of doing my HIIT sprints on a treadmill or on a stationery bike, I skip or do step-ups or X-jumps for 30-40 second intervals. Works a treat. This programme really does work at home – the only thing I battled with was not having a bosu ball (so instead of bosu burpees, I just did normal burpees) and not having a second bench for bench jumps (I just used a second step up instead), but otherwise everything was manageable in my little home gym.

Results?

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t trust the scale at all, although it tells me I have gone from 59.4kgs to 57kgs on the nose (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less). I’m fitting into all my clothes really comfortably – even the ridiculously expensive G Star Raw skinnies I bought in a moment of weakness from the V&A Waterfront store a couple of years back. The biggest difference is the confidence I feel in a bikini. I’m even doing yoga in my bikini every other morning! I love it! I’ve always been the shy bikini-donner. I would never sit at a table in a bikini eating watermelon or run towards the waves in a bikini. That wasn’t me. That’s only what skinny supermodels do, right? Now I could do one of those jumping-in-a-bikini-on-the-beach pics, for sure. And if something wobbles – so what? I KNOW I’m strong and that’s all that matters. My husband is loving this new confidence too – there is a lot more of the waltzing of the naked body around the house these days and he ain’t complaining!Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetMy favourite change has been the change in my mindset. It’s quite a thing to realise that you’ve conquered your ego and that you can control your mind and in doing so, your body. I wrote about my current state of mind a couple of weeks ago – you can read it by clicking here. In a nutshell, I now consciously CHOOSE to be make healthy decisions and choices because I want to, not because I know I should or because I have to. I want to eat well, I want to drink alcohol moderately (if at all), I want to go to bed early, I want to meditate and I want to exercise because I know now how good it feels and how productive it makes me become. This has been one of my best results from the Bikini Body Guide.

Having said that, I’ve also learnt to be easy on myself and my body and to strive for balance; to not beat myself up for having a pizza or a couple of glasses of wine or even a sneaky cigarette. And now that the official 12 weeks is over, I’m striving to live by the 80/20 rule of exercising and healthy eating 80% of the time and indulging the other 20% of the time. Yep, even on our upcoming Europe trip. We’re packing our trainers and walking or jogging every morning, but that’s not going to stop us from indulging in the local cuisine!

Most of all, I’ve learnt to appreciate my body. In fact, I’m downright flabbergasted by her right now. What a machine! She has gone so much further than I had ever hoped and I’m pretty darn impressed. So I wrote her a love letter. Do you want to read it? Of course you do!

Dear Body of Beauty

First of all, I just want to say that I don’t hate who you were, I’m just disappointed in myself for not taking better care of you back then. You may not have looked as toned or as strong as you are now, but thank you for still functioning (and looking pretty damn fine while doing it) despite the endless drinking and smoking, late nights, junk foods and lack of exercise. Thank you for not abandoning me when I was at my worst – when I treated you with no respect and no tenderness – thanks for sticking by me and most of all, thank you for allowing me to explore this lovely world through you. I really, really hope you accept my apology and I promise to be a better lover to you from now on, forever and ever.

I promise to spend time with people who honour and love you enough to respect your choices.

I promise to nourish you well.

I promise to take you on long walks and exhilarating runs.

I promise to push you to your max so you can achieve your best.

I promise to rest you when needed.

I promise to stretch your aching muscles and pamper you with full-body massages and reiki.

I promise to play with you more – on the beach, in the pool and on the dance floor, we will shake and jive and swim and jump!

I promise most of all to love you – come children, stretch marks, wrinkles and cellulite… I will love you because I am lucky enough to call you mine.

And without further ado, here is my final progress shot taken yesterday (my last workout being Legs on Monday morning):

photojkI think I have achieved exactly what Kayla promises you will with her guide – a toned, slim body that looks good in a bikini. The Bikini Body Guide does not promote big muscles and six packs, but a toning and the beginning of a noticeable definition, which I can certainly see every morning in my mirror – I never used to have those line thingies down the sides of my tummy! I feel stronger and fitter and ready to continue my workouts. Once I’ve recovered from this flu, I will repeat Week 12 and then begin from Week 9 again, as well incorporate other workouts – there are so many amazing workout e-books available online! I cannot recommend this lifestyle highly enough – and Kayla’s Guide is the perfect kickstart! You can purchase her guides online at www.kaylaitsines.com.au/guides.

For extra workout ideas, follow my Inspiration Board on Pinterest and for (mostly) healthy recipes, follow my Yumminess Board on Pinterest. You can also follow my never-ending health and fitness love affair on Instagram – my well-being account is @kez_be_strong.

Have a wonderful weekend you lovely people!

xxx

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***If you like this, you might also be interested in: My Four Week Review and My Eight Week Review.***

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hamba – the dunlop road trip adventures

As I’m sure you’ve all gathered by now, the Ginger and I are off to Europe in September for three weeks of exploring, playing, wining and dining (or eating at service stations once our measly ronds are all used up). I cannot wait and I may or may not have purchased coloured cardboard already in anticipation of making a countdown worm. My only regret about our Euro Trip is that I’m going to be missing out on the 2014 Dunlop Hamba Heritage Rally! This epic eight day road trip is in celebration of our beautiful country’s heritage and also involves giving back to the community – along the way classrooms will be painted, new school shoes given out and entire libraries installed – all whilst driving around the country in colourful and funky super and vintage cars, bikes and 4×4′s. Also, there will be four checkpoints over the course of the trip where everyone will gather to make new friends and party like only Saffa’s can! Sound awesome? I think so. Entries opened up yesterday, so hop on over to the site for more information, gather up some friends or colleagues (or both) and get involved. I’m definitely in next year! And I think I already have the perfect wheels for it…

dunlop-hamba-teaser-1 dunlop-hamba-teaser-2 dunlop-hamba-teaser-3 PosterPS: This post was not sponsored – but if anyone wants to sponsor my road trip next year… call me. Totally open to bribery and corruption.

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to live like a king for very little by thor harris

My wise mom posted this gem written by rocker, Thor Harris, and I had to share it for keepsies. Especially loving number 4, 5, 10, 13 and 17.

Happy Friday you beautiful creatures! X

1. Don’t smoke cigarettes.
2. Drive old Japanese cars. Easy and cheap to fix and they run for fucking ever.
3. Buy most of your groceries from the produce section. Most of that other shit is not actually food. You don’t need it.
4. Ride your bike instead of driving as much as you can. You need the exercise and gas is expensive.
5. Don’t have kids. They’re not miracles, they’re people. 7 billion is too fucking many. Find some other way to give your dull existence some meaning. By the way, they’re expensive.
6. Get your clothes from thrift stores. With the physique you’ll have from riding your bike, you’ll look hot wearing anything.
7. Learn to fix things. Tons of great books and Youtube videos on fixing anything. Or ask an old dude. People used to fix things.
8. Learn a trade – Carpentry, plumbing, electrical, auto mechanics, tailoring, computer/electronics repair, something They can’t fucking outsource. No one gives a shit about your Masters in Dostoyevsky…. fix something, dumbass, fix something!
9. If you like booze, drink at home with your neighbors. Drunk driving is for assholes, rich ones with lawyers.
10. Do people favours. It’s called Cooperation. It’s how the world worked before money. They will return the favor, or someone will. No shit. This really works.
11. Make things – look around you. What do you see? Yah, shitty stuff made by impoverished enslaved people far away. Pick anything. Make a better one. People want good shit. You won’t get rich, but you’ll get by.
12. If you live in America – don’t get sick and avoid injury. Wear your helmet and put lights on your bike.
13. Find work you love. If you can’t do that, then find a job where you love the people.
14. Junkies and addicts are like toddlers. They just want to shit all over you and everything. The messes they make can get expensive. Avoid them if you can.
15. Don’t buy shit on credit, remember what happened to America? Cash only. Can’t afford it? Don’t fucking buy it!
16. Preventable expenses – STD’s, abortions, DWI’s, lung cancer, head injuries, speeding tickets, cirrhosis of the liver.
17. Don’t go on fancy dates if you’re not fancy. Most people kind of despise the rich anyway.
18. When you go see shows, bring a flask in. That way you can afford to buy a record.
19. If you had told me 15 years ago that Coca Cola would put tap water in plastic bottles and motherfuckers would BUY IT …… No fuckin way.
20. Don’t get cable. There is nothing on. I promise. $100 a month ? Fuck no!

king

Source: The Daily Dot and Illustration by Bridget B (Source)

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current state of mind

As you all know by now I’m sure, I am currently on an intense physical journey. My mind is full of things such as monitoring heart rates, muscle tone, energy, strength, nutrition, stretching, fat burn, average paces, burpees, decline push-ups, commandos, running, power walking and more. I am almost at the end of my tenth week following this programme which means I have only two and a bit weeks to go. When I first started this regime back in June, I had a tiny seed of doubt at the back of mind about not being able to complete it, but I was also hugely determined to get strong in order to protect myself as a human being in this world (I’m still not sure if this is silly or sad, but I believe it’s a responsible thing to do). I want to learn how to fight, but I need to be strong before I start. The last time I punched a boxing bag, I almost broke my scrawny wrist and the wretched thing did not even move an inch. I feel I may be able to at least get it to sway a bit now.

But I digress. I don’t want to talk about physical strength today, you can read about my change and transformation here and here. I want to talk about mental strength. I want to talk about dedication and I want to talk about discipline. You know when I started this journey, it was about myself and my own strength. I posted a few images of my progress on my personal Instagram account and got some awesome encouragement from friends, readers and family members. I also got a bunch of un-followings from real life friends (I know this because I have joined Iconosquare, which lets you know who your un-followers are) and at one stage I was un-followed by two friends at the same time just after I had posted a progress shot. I thought it was a little strange, but then I saw on Facebizzle the next morning that they had had dinner together. I probably took it too personally at the time, but what I did realise was that not all people, even some of those who are closest to you, are happy or excited for you to be on a journey that is different to their own. This is primarily why I started a separate IG fitness account (@kez_be_strong) – so people could choose to follow my journey if they so wished. Not too many friends or family members did, and that’s ok. The continued support and encouragement I get from fellow health and fitness warriors on a similar journey has honestly been one of the most important and inspiring things to me over the past few weeks.

You see, it’s not only about the muscles or the toned ass – although it may have started out like that. I have never felt more alive. I have never felt more inspired. I don’t want to drink alcohol or eat masses of crap. I want to go to bed early and I want to wake up early. I want to meditate and journal and do deliciously deep yoga stretches at dawn. I want to go for lung-bursting runs and feel the power of my body as it navigates the earth. I want to go on coffee dates with friends and connect with them in a way that’s not clouded in booze fumes and talk of rubbish things which I will regret the next morning. I want to eat healthily and I want to feel my body thrive and be energised on food that is good for it – food which makes it feel light and strong at the same time. I have never felt this good  - physically and mentally. For the first time in ages, I am writing again – every morning. I am creating and I am dreaming and I am sketching and I am discovery my inspired destiny. As the clouds of self-doubt and fear begin to blow away, things are starting to become crystal clear. The better I feel, the more disciplined I become.

So why do I meet resistance from others? Some people honestly can’t believe that following a healthy lifestyle can make you happy. Surely you are denying yourself pleasure through the prohibition of junk food and alcohol and loafing around? Surely you cannot be actually enjoying  your life? “Life’s too short – have the cake!” they say, except my perception has shifted so much that I’m now at a stage where I’m thinking, “life’s too short to drink that whole bottle of wine and spend yet another day being hungover and listless and uninspired.” I don’t want to waste a single day where I could be writing, working, playing, dreaming, reading, looking after myself and in doing all of these things, fulfilling my creative potential. I’ve chosen a vocation where I need to have energy and be focused in order to work. Unfortunately, unlike old Hemmingway, I have come to realise that I can’t write drunk and edit sober, because when I’m drunk, I just want to be talking shit and grinding on the dance floor – not writing at my desk. And when I’m hungover I certainly don’t want to be editing – I want to be lying on the couch, braless and in my comfy pants with a big bag of Flings watching re-runs of Friends.

So, I’m cool with the not drinking for now. I’m cool with saying no to pizza and burgers. I’m cool with exercising every day. I’m super cool with the fact that I purchased a visual journal yesterday and have started sketching again (albeit a little shakily). I’m cool with the fact that I actually have an idea for a book in my head again and a plan on how to set about writing it. I’m cool with the fact that my journal is busting with thoughts and ideas, because as my body is getting stronger, so it appears that my mind is working to its full potential again. I haven’t had such creative clarity since I was a little girl and it feels simply glorious.

It’s not only about the strong body and the skinny jeans (although fitting into those again has been blerrie marvellous), it’s about living a better life, inspired and hungry for every new day. It’s about not having to drown my sorrows in a bottle of chenin blanc, but rather grappling with my demons while pounding the pavement (or in my case, the dusty dirt road). It’s about actually beginning to think about making a worthwhile dent in this world – whether it be through my travels, my writing or my relationship with my husband. I don’t want to be another lost soul with a dull mind and a floppy body sitting at the end of a deserted bar.

But what about the balance? Do I really want to become a tee-totalling hippy? For the most part, YES. Honestly and truly, in this moment in time, hell-freaking YES. It feels awesome being a fitness warrior. It feels awesome having fresh ideas in my head and a clear mind. When on holiday, I will be sure to sample some of the local wine and the delicious cuisine – it’s what travel is all about and I’m so looking forward to it. BUT, I will also be sampling a lot more of their coffee than their cider and walking the streets rather than finding the nearest bar and calling it home for the entire time I’m there.  So this is where I am right now. I feel so, so, so good but I am in no way asking anyone else to follow my path or to stop drinking or to take up crazy exercise programmes, although I asking others to please stop telling me not to. And that’s my two cents for the day. Must be off, got things to do, dreams to write and dogs to walk. If you are currently needing a change in your life, but feel that something is holding you back or sabotaging you, read this article – it made all sorts of light bulbs go off in my little head.

kezhappy

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don’t be a poes… be lekker: 7 tips on how to behave in a restaurant… and in life

This post was inspired by a recent Twitter conversation with Natasha, Belinda, Jane, Meg and Kate, all of whom have worked , or currently do work in the service industry. Thanks for sewing the seed ladies – it’s been bubbling below the surface for a while now!

1. If you can’t afford to eat out, then don’t. Rather stay at home, make some fish fingers and eat them in front of the telly. Quietly. It’ll make everyone so much happier than if you:

  • don’t read the menu properly before ordering something and then complain when you get the bill that’s it’s overpriced and that you’re “not paying for that – it’s ridiculously priced!” Uh…. yes. Yes, you are paying for that. Because if you don’t, the police are going to take you to jail. Don’t steal.
  • argue about the price of corkage. Or argue about corkage at all. It’s embarrassing. You shouldn’t really be taking a bottle of wine or champagne into a place that serves both, especially if said place takes special pride in their wine list, or is an actual wine farm (don’t laugh – this really has happened). If you can get that bottle for half price at Makro, then go buy it there and drink it in the car park – with no glasses, cutlery, tables, tablecloths, serviettes, electricity, candles, flowers, menus or food.
  • ask for something for free which somebody else has already paid for. It’s the lowest of the low. Don’t eat the whole meal, bar two bites, and then say you’re not paying for it because it was “bad”. Or you found a hair in it. Most places have cameras now and they can see you pulling out that piece of hair from your head and putting it on your food. Just a heads up.
  • completely ignore the corkage policy and attempt to sneak your wine into the restaurant and drink it under the table. And then get all grumpy and uppity when you get caught red-handed doing just that. And then go on Facebook and complain about how “rude” and “disrespectful” the restaurant staff were to you. Um, no. You were bust. Stealing. And lying. How embarrassing. Don’t steal.

2.  If the waiter or waitress makes a mistake with your order, tell them straight away – because then they can FIX IT. Do not eat or drink said mistake and then complain about it. Time is of the essence! If your spouse/friend/relative upsets you, don’t fester and build up the situation until it’s so big it explodes… be straight and honest and air your grievances then and there, before things get ugly. Capiche?

3. Make your intentions loud and clear. Repeat them if need be. Make the waiter repeat them back to you if you’re unsure. Not everyone in life is a mind-reader or can guess what it is you want (especially if you’re a shy mumbler).

4. Say please and thank you. Just because you’re paying for something, doesn’t give you the right to treat people like you’re a C-U-Next-Tuesday. Stay humble. Always. And look people right in the eye – acknowledge their humanity, and SMILE. You’ll be surprised at how differently people will treat you.

5. Spineless people resort to Social Media to moan and complain. If you’re not happy with something, tell the waiter. If the waiter doesn’t deal with the problem to your liking, call a manager. If the manager is just as crap, email or call the shop immediately the next day. There is no point in half-arsedly posting a mean comment on an institution’s Facebook page five days after the grievance occurred. There is nothing that anyone is able to do at that stage to fix the problem, bar apologise. Unless you’re looking for free shit, in which case refer back to point 1. If you’re going to use social media, then tweet or post on FB at the time of your disappointment – guaranteed the owner/manager will hear about it rather promptly and make sure to sort it out as quickly as they can. Let people prove to you how they can deal with their own mistakes before you go dragging names through the mud. Second chances and all that. And if you still feel hard done by, just don’t go back. Simple.

6. Don’t throw the “Oh, don’t you know who I am?” or “But I know the owners!” card. If you know the owner, why did you not say hello as he/she walked past? And as we all know, if you have to pull the “Do you know who I am?!” spiel, then no, actually they don’t know who you are. And they probably don’t ever want to ever get to know you either.

7. Remember “Karma”? Well she LOVES working her magic at restaurants – as does her mate, “Got Ya Good Fucker”. I know of a swanky little restaurant in a swanky little city where after one particularly awful C-U-Next-Tuesday made a waitress cry, had his fillet liberally greased by every member of the kitchen staff’s sweaty ball sack. And you know how hot it gets in kitchens. Ya. In the wise words of Trevor Noah… “it’s where they judge you”.

DISCLAIMER: If this post upsets you in any way, please read this. It’s my legal page. It basically says I can say what I want because Freedom of Speech. Sweeeet. Now share this with your family and friends so that we can all make the world a better place. Toodles and loves,

Kez x

don't be a poes

Images: source and source 

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my kayla itsines bikini body programme: 8 weeks in

So I’m into my ninth week of the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide and I promised a report back after eight weeks… so here we go:

Weight: To date, I have only lost 2 kgs. Some days I get on the scale and I weigh 58, other days 57. When I began this programme I was knocking on the heavier end of 59. In my prime fit university days I was 55. I’m very happy with my weight at the moment, and would not be bothered if I stayed right where I am. This programme is about muscle and strength, not skinniness. It really irritates me when people ask, “so how much have you lost now?” It’s really not about that. It’s about losing fat and building muscle, which I think I have achieved overall.

Muscle tone: My bum is so peachy, I’m about to give her a name of her own. No six-pack as of yet (and to be fair, I probably won’t ever have a real one, and that’s okay), but my tummy is definitely flatter and the love handles are gone, enabling me to fit into some long-forgotten skinnies hidden at the back of my cupboard. My arms and shoulders are coming along and I love feeling the firmness in my biceps (even my Dad is impressed with my new muscles). My thighs are sooooo strong. I squeezed Andy’s legs between them the other day and he yelped in pain – must be all the weight he’s lost on the Tim Noakes diet – ha ha.

Fitness: I’m currently running 5km in 28-29mins at a pace of 5:44 minutes per kilometre which I’m happy with. My LISS walks are getting longer and longer and I started my High Intensity Interval Training last night which really kicked my butt! I think this kickstarts the last month of that final push of fat loss and muscle tone!

Diet: I switched from Tim Noakes to Kayla’s balanced, good carb and good fat inclusive diet towards the end of week five. I just didn’t want to tackle two dramatic life-changers at once. I have nothing against banting, and I have seen some amazing results from it (Andrew has lost 8kgs in five weeks and is looking and feeling amazing), but I felt like I still needed quinoa, oats, wholewheat bread and beans in my diet. I love me some red kidney beans! I also like to treat myself to a bit of 90% Lindt dark chocolate now and then. I cut out alcohol from week 6, except for two special occasions which were already booked in my diary ages ago (the longest I have been completely without booze during the programme so far was two weeks straight). I must say I felt awful after both occasions of drinking… I’m going to attempt to go completely booze-free until the end of Week 12, which is really hard when you have a restaurant and are invited to wine tastings every week. And y’all know how I love my wine! But it’s just not worth the fuzzy head and low motivation levels when you’re doing this kind of programme… and it completely messes with your results for at least three days afterwards. Am I turning into a teetotaler? Perhaps. I can’t deny that I feel like a much better human without alcohol – sane, coherent and motivated. If it wasn’t for our foodie/restaurant/socialiasing lifestyle, I’d probably seriously pack it in for good.

Mind: This has been the best change of all. I’m so motivated right now that making good choices isn’t a chore – it’s a desire. I love the high of going to bed nice and early, knowing that I have had a “good” day – eaten well, built up a sweat, drunk lots of water and looked after my body like it deserves to be looked after. I have to stop myself from mentally judging people eating junk food (I know!!!! It’s so bad) because nothing is more irritating than a holier-than-though fitster (not sure if this term has been coined, if not, you heard it here first ha!), but I honestly just want everyone to feel as freaking good as I do right now, and to be as inspired as I am. I’m reading more, writing more, focusing on the important things, meditating, listening to music and just feeling like an amazing living, breathing, functional part of this fabulous world. It is just so so so SO great.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of Kayla Itsines’s fitness and nutrition guides, click here. You can also follow my progress on my Instagram fitness account: @kez_be_strong. I cannot recommend this lifestyle or praise Kayla highly enough for putting me on the right track. I feel in charge of my life again. I’m driving this body and it is heading in the right direction – strong and true.

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My Tips For Getting Fit and Strong (as learnt by me – for my body):

Be in bed by nine pm as many nights of the week as possible.

Up by six am. Plan your daily exercise for the week on Sunday evening and stick it up somewhere that you can see it.

Exercise first thing in the morning every day – leaving it until the afternoon means you may put it off and choose the couch over the gym.

Three days of strength training a week (legs, arms & abs, total body).

Two days of running and gentle yoga/stretching.

Dark chocolate (85% and over) to satisfy evening cravings – stop at two pieces.

No more than three cups of caffeinated tea/coffee a day. After that decaf and herbal teas.

Eight glasses of water a day – 1 on waking, 2 before breakfast, 2 before lunch, 2 before dinner and 1 before bed.

No seconds.

Minimal sugar and “good, low GI” carbs.

Protein portions the size of your palm.

Coconut and olive oil for cooking.

Try drink as little alcohol as possible. None if you can.

No fizz. In anything.

Take photos and measurements on the same day every week to measure your progress (I do Tuesday or Wednesday mornings).

Don’t be too strict on yourself, desperation and temptation will make you fail or become obsessive – neither of which are fun!

Start an Instagram account (anonymous if you’re shy) to share your progress and gain support, inspiration and encouragement from people on the same exciting journey as yourself.

Be a fitster. Inspire others by inspiring yourself.

fitster

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hope in a world gone mad

I’m naturally curious. I read a lot. I think a lot. I write even more. And I like to know what’s going on in the world.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I’m also a hugely sensitive empathiser.

Which means that if I see or read too much of the bad stuff, I get down in the dumps. Really down in the dumps. With deep empathy and compassion comes withdrawal and depression.

These past two weeks have not been encouraging for me as a human being on this planet and I don’t think I’m the only one who may be wondering if the world has gone mad. A plane with a bellyful of innocent people was shot down for no reason at all. An Israeli Prime Minister called for the killing of all Palestinian women, branding them the “mothers of terrorists”. And of course, I have been reading My Piece of Sky, a book on stories of child sexual abuse in South Africa, which I reviewed on Friday.

I have been feeling scatter-brained, un-focused and melancholy lately, not to mention in dire need of intense grounding. I visited Colleen at Midlands House of Healing yesterday for my bi-weekly repair session, and while we both agreed that the super moon over the previous weekend has brought all our crazies to the surface, I knew that there was something deeper going on.

The thing is that I have been so deeply emerging myself in the darkness that I was starting to lose sight of the light. I know many people, including my mom and Colleen, who simply choose not to watch the news or listen to the radio. My husband point blank refuses to watch scary movies, even the tamer thrillers and he shook his head every evening as he watched me reading My Piece of Sky on the couch next to him, fighting back tears as I read about the worst atrocities you can ever imagine. If Andrew sees something awful on the television, he changes the channel immediately. Last week he saw the body of a seven year old girl who’d been killed in an accident lying on the highway and it haunted him for days. You see, I married a sensitive empathiser like myself… except he knows how to keep himself sane and balanced, while I am still struggling. I battle to see how we can change the world and make it a better place if we bury our heads in the sand and remain oblivious to the bad things happening around us. I feel that putting blinkers on and floating about like a giddy fairy is a cop out and a relinquishing of your fundamental responsibility as a human being to help others and to help make the world a better place.

But. But. But…

I need to find a balance. I need to laugh, man. I need to read a funny, light hearted book after a serious one. I need to click on funny links on the internet more than I click on the horrifying ones. I need to see the good in the world and the light in a human eye

before. i. lose. sight. of. the. beauty. in. every. living. breath.

I need to remember…

The world was always full of madness… we just see it now on every little screen we own. It’s a magnifying glass and we live under it and it’s up to us to shield ourselves away from what brings us pain, instead of further reflecting the madness in each other.
It’s about balance. The yin and the yang. The good and the bad. I can’t allow myself to be a complete ostrich, but I can choose what I watch and listen to, and if it doesn’t bring me joy, then it’s not worth it.
I can’t keep trying to change the others and the world. I can only change myself and hopefully that will slowly effect those around me in a positive way.

I got home last night and starting reading a beautiful book on meditation called The Vibrant Life by Donna Thomson and a passage from the introduction jumped out at me like a tiny island of refuge in a sea of insanity. I think you will enjoy it too.

Both modern science and ancient wisdom teach us that everything is interconnected in the great web of life. Chief Seattle’s often quoted statement that what we do to the web, we do to ourselves, is also true in reverse: what we do to ourselves, we do to the web. This means that as we tend to ourselves with care, attention, and understanding, the effect ripples outward. As we learn to work with our energy – to understand it, to conserve it, and use it more effectively – we not only develop our inner resources, we also become aware of how we use the resources in our environment. We experience greater peace in ourselves and in our immediate surroundings. As we experience greater balance in our own lives, we bring greater balance to the world in which we live.

So what I have taken from this passage is that I need to sort myself out first – to live in a way that brings balance to my own life and hopefully, in turn, to those around me. To look after myself. To eat well and exercise daily. To breathe and meditate and set daily goals. To work through my own shit. To not get distracted and unfocused by terrible news stories. (I have officially un-followed and un-liked all news stations on Facebook and Twitter today.) To watch comedy shows and funny movies. To play loud, happy music in the morning – Bob Marley works a treat (thanks for the tip, Colleen!). To read enlightening and spiritually positive books. To protect myself from others and their drama. To be firm and to say no to doing things and seeing people whom I know drain me of inspiration and energy. To carve out time for me. To play and create. To empathise, but to not lose myself to the darkness that is despair. To look within for my own reflection when someone is annoying me and to recognise the humanity in every person, both good and evil. To surround myself with similar-minded people, because you are who you spend time with. To actively cultivate a sense of hope and to search for the beauty in every waking moment I have on this earth.

I’m concentration on keeping my house clean, and hoping that those around me will be inspired to do the same… until our whole neighbourhood is shining with peace and love.

railway girl

Post Note: I have no regrets about reading My Piece of Sky, and still recommend that every human should read it in order to help understand why child sexual abuse happens and why we need to be more open about it. Just read a funny book simultaneously or watch a funny movie after every read and remind yourself of the joy still very present in life.

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Unless otherwise stated, all words and images are copyright to Keri Bainborough and the Midlands Musings blog. Please contact me if you’d like to use any of the text and graphics featured on this blog. Disclaimer