• 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(…)

  • my piece of sky

    If you follow me on Instagram, you will perhaps know that I am currently in the uncomfortable/enlightening process of reading an incredible book called My Piece of Sky. Compiled and written by journalist Mariella Furrer, My Piece of Sky is a collection of stories, statements, diary entries and photographs of a number of victims and(…)

  • it is very exhausting all this living

    Beep beep. 24/7 availability. Read this. Eat that. You must try this drink. Play, laugh, live, love. Let’s meet for coffee. Lunch date on Friday? Have you been to that new place on the corner of Smith and Fifth? No, we can’t go there – the service is awful. Nine hours of sleep a day.(…)

  • a perfect day

    My perfect day would consist of the following: Being humbled. Learning something new. Breathing deep. A stretch and a raised heart rate. Appreciating a loved one and telling them so. Recognising my ego and putting it back where it belongs: far away from my mouth. Apologising for my mistakes. Writing down my thoughts. Acknowledging my(…)

  • news 24 interview

    Makeup? Check. Hair. Check. Google Hangout download? Check. Sitting in a quiet spot (very hard on a busy farm with noisy dogs)? Check. Nerves? CHECK. So on Friday last week I was interviewed by the lovely Jen over at News24 Live. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, so she sent me links to two(…)

  • winter hibernation

    I’m in a funny place at the moment. I went to see my earth angel, Colleen at Midlands House of Healing yesterday and, as always, a session with her brings on some introspection. As an Aquarian, a child of water and air, winter does not always sit too well with me. I miss early sunrises(…)

  • a very special wedding: nix and andy tie the knot in ponta malongane

    I can’t look at this wedding album without tearing up. And I’ve looked at it a lot. Andy and Nicole are very dear friends of ours. I met Nicole back in 2010 – Andrew and I had just started seeing each other and he held a housewarming party where he invited all of his old(…)

  • all about the bikini body guide by kayla itsines: weeks 1 – 4

    So, as I mentioned last week, I have been doing the 12 week Bikini Body Guide by Australian personal trainer Kayla Itsines. As I’m entering Week 5, I thought it an appropriate time to start chatting about my first month on the programme and the amazing results I have seen so far. I first came across Kayla(…)

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.

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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.

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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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my piece of sky

If you follow me on Instagram, you will perhaps know that I am currently in the uncomfortable/enlightening process of reading an incredible book called My Piece of Sky. Compiled and written by journalist Mariella Furrer, My Piece of Sky is a collection of stories, statements, diary entries and photographs of a number of victims and perpetrators of child sexual abuse in South Africa.

The sexual abuse and molestation of children in this country is complicated, scary and confusing. Life in South Africa adds factors such as race, poverty, violence and HIV/AIDS to the already frighteningly common occurrence of the rape and sexual molestation of young boys and girls. You will recognise familiar street names, towns, and even some people in the stories in My Piece of Sky. It literally hits home and makes these stories all the more real and very, very chilling.

Paedophilia and child sexual abuse is something that I am hugely concerned with for a number of different reasons. I think I can say without contention that many members of my generation, and to a much larger extent, my parent’s generation, as well as those generations before that, were subjected to childhood sexual abuse in an era where there was no safe space to confide in either peers or adults. Child abuse was not spoken about – paedophilia was a taboo subject and because of this, children (and indeed, perpetrators) were more likely to hide their abuse under layers upon layers of tormented carpets for years and years rather than open about it or seek help for it. It was easier to forget about it than to talk about it, which unfortunately results in massive emotional upheaval later on in life and often serves to destroy lives and relationships, as well as to perpetuate the cycle of sexual abuse.

The problem with sexual abuse is that sex and sexual stimulation is pleasurable.

This makes it awkward for victims to report or open up about abuse because how are you supposed to say you actually didn’t want a certain something to happen to you if you received pleasure out of it, as unwanted as it may have been? Many victims report that they felt betrayed by their bodies. Perpetrators of sexual abuse know this and use the basic biology of human parts to their advantage. For a lot of perpetrators, the abuse and rape has more to do with power and attention than pleasure. It truly is heartbreaking to see how deep the scars of childhood sexual abuse run and how this is largely a direct result of the massive guilt young victims take on. Reading this book has also made me understand how and why so many (read: not all) victims of sexual abuse grow up to become perpetrators themselves. From a young age, victims of sexual abuse are forcefully and deceitfully inducted into an adult world of pleasure and pain which they are unable to process, but to which they may become reliant on, and sometimes even addicted to.

Listen, this is not a pretty topic to chat about. No one wants to imagine grown men and women getting it off by giving or receiving sexual pleasure with and from children barely old enough to comprehend their own existence, never mind grow pubic hair. But we need to. We need to read these stories, we need to talk about child sexual abuse at social gatherings, we need to open up the conversation and blow to pieces the taboo in order to prevent it happening over and over and over again for generations to come. We are so lucky in this day and age because there are now such things as recovery groups for paedophiles and there are active support programmes for both victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse. There are places to go for help. The longer we don’t talk about this, the further we push people into a silent darkness, where they will either continue the cycle of abuse or attempt to lose themselves in alcohol, drugs, violence, crime and rather frequently, suicide.

I’ve cried in almost every single story in this book. I’ve found myself sympathising with the perpetrators. Yes, that’s right. I felt sorry for paedophiles. (I also wanted to reach into the book and strangle a few of them.) And that’s why this book is so important for every human being in South Africa, if not on this planet, to read. This abuse has happened since the beginning of time and for the first time in history, we can talk about this. We can fix this. We can recognise patterns and traits in children and adults and help them help themselves before it’s too late and further damage is done. We can acknowledge the humanness in a paedophile. But this is only possible if you open up your heart and mind to these stories and to this daily truth. IT IS HAPPENING. ALL THE TIME. Open up to understanding and empathy. Relate. Engage. Talk to your friends, your children, your therapists. Get rid of the carpets. Tell your stories, no matter how big or small… I’m sure almost everyone in this country has witnessed or heard of or been a part of something not very savoury. It’s time to shine a light on these dark places. Get over your fears and prejudices, get over the feeling of discomfort and get in touch with the world and what’s really happening, right here on your doorstep…. and in your parks and on your beaches and in your schools. Our kids will thank us for it. And so will theirs.

To order My Piece of Sky, please visit the website by clicking here. Please also take the time to read up on Mariella Furrer and her very important project while you’re there.

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The excerpts above are all taken from My Piece of Sky by Mariella Furrer.

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it is very exhausting all this living

Beep beep. 24/7 availability. Read this. Eat that. You must try this drink. Play, laugh, live, love. Let’s meet for coffee. Lunch date on Friday? Have you been to that new place on the corner of Smith and Fifth? No, we can’t go there – the service is awful. Nine hours of sleep a day. Eight glasses of water. Breathe deep. Be nice. Smile. Ask questions. Nod your head. Don’t speak to your father like that. Remember the lippy. You should really wear more colour. Meditate. Low Carb. High Carb. Low Fat. High Fat. High Protein. Chicken or beef? Skip to the loo, my darling. Make love at least twice a week. Talk, talk, talk. Be hopeful. Be alive. Be entertaining. Dance. Listen to your spirit, but don’t show your pain. Where is this thing called spirit? Be grateful. Change the world. Help others. Buy this, buy that. Drive that car. Covet that couch, that marriage, that body. Save, save, save. Cut out sugar. Drink full-cream milk. Reproduce yourself, twice over. Three is a little too much? Perhaps a little too selfish.

I watched a missing persons report on the television yesterday. There were reports of mothers and fathers and young adults who had simply run away from home, never to return. A mother gone for five years, leaving behind two children and a heartbroken husband. Fell off the face of the planet. Too little too late. A nineteen year boy missing since 1995. His parents miss him every day. Gone gone baby. Off on a new adventure.

I envied them.

wintersunset

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a perfect day

My perfect day would consist of the following:

Being humbled.

Learning something new.

Breathing deep.

A stretch and a raised heart rate.

Appreciating a loved one and telling them so.

Recognising my ego and putting it back where it belongs: far away from my mouth.

Apologising for my mistakes.

Writing down my thoughts.

Acknowledging my pain and anger. Digging deep to see where it is coming from.

Napping a little.

Having a bubble bath.

Cuddling a furry friend.

Watching a good movie or reading a good book. Listening to a happy song and shaking my tail feather to its own rhythm.

Kissing my partner properly, long and hard.

Eating well – for my mind and body, not my emotions.

Sleeping like a baby, deep and true, restoring every cell in my being.

Praying and giving thanks to my maker, whomever she may be.

camelkezAbby Cat Napping

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news 24 interview

Makeup? Check.

Hair. Check.

Google Hangout download? Check.

Sitting in a quiet spot (very hard on a busy farm with noisy dogs)? Check.

Nerves? CHECK.

So on Friday last week I was interviewed by the lovely Jen over at News24 Live. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, so she sent me links to two of her previous interviews – one was with a mommy and DIY blogger and the other one was with a shoe blogger. Both very, very different to me! I decided then and there that I was going to talk about the topics I love writing about and which so many of my readers love talking/discussing/arguing about. Important topics. Stuff that makes the world go round (or repeatedly bash its head into a wall). And so we did. We spoke about feminism and #YesAllWomen, we spoke about Roscoe and how nice it was to get a man engaging with me (and other women) on a blog which is primarily read by women. We spoke about this very popular post and how race is still such a huge issue in South Africa and how badly we need to open up to each other and chat honestly about our pain histories in an attempt to heal. We spoke about mean comments and internet trolls and how to deal with them. It was awesome. I was sweating profusely by the end of it, but I really did enjoy the process!

This morning I received both links to the interview – Jen and I chatted so much that they had to make two clips. The first is an introduction to the blog and the second is one where we talk about my most popular posts – take a peek! In closing, I think I can safely say that I am definitely a writer, not a speaker! Ha. But without further ado, here they are:

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Thanks again to Jen and the team at News24 Live for the great opportunity.

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winter hibernation

I’m in a funny place at the moment. I went to see my earth angel, Colleen at Midlands House of Healing yesterday and, as always, a session with her brings on some introspection. As an Aquarian, a child of water and air, winter does not always sit too well with me. I miss early sunrises and warm runs at 5am. I miss late evening chats on the verandah. I even miss the rain and the Midlands summer mist (well, if I’m indoors, that is). I miss skinny dips in the pool at sunset and I miss sleeping naked under a thin sheet. I miss skin, man. I miss the buzz of being alive in a warm, active body and I miss a mind crazy-full of ideas and dreams.

You see, right now, I’m in limbo, or hibernation if you will… for a number of reasons, some of which I may be able to share with you soon. I’m 67 days away from an overseas holiday which we have been planning since last year and which I can honestly say I day dream about at least seventy-eleven times a day. I’m halfway through a 12 week fitness programme with Kayla Itsines (PS: well done to all you ladies who’ve started the journey over the past two weeks – you’re going to love it!), and while I have seen so much change and progress, I’m eager to get to the end where I’m hoping to be strong enough to be able to start boxing… or at least do a proper pull-up. I’m chugging along with my freelance work and although I know I need a few more clients, at the same time I don’t want to sign any up and then be like, “oh hey, I’m going travelling for a month – hope that’s cool”. Freelance may “free” up when you choose to work in the day, but it’s not too kind on entire holidays away. One needs to prepare rather carefully for those, especially when you’re a one-man team. And as for the other unmentionable, well that could change the course of everything.

Patience, little one, patience.

So what do we do when we are feeling the winter limbo?

We breathe.

We take stock and we give thanks.

We keep at it.

We are kind on ourselves.

We nurture our bodies.

We take it slow.

We rest.

We write. We paint. We draw. We play. We laugh.

We prepare for tomorrow while appreciating today.

We shave and moisturise our legs. And paint our toenails. Even if no one is going to be seeing them.

I hope you all have a good week and that you are looking after yourselves in every way. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your constant support. You all mean the world to me. Really, really, pinkie promises. xxx

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All images copyright of Keri Bainborough, taken at Aldora Stud in South Africa.

To book an appointment with Colleen, email midlandshouseofhealing@gmail.com.

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a very special wedding: nix and andy tie the knot in ponta malongane

I can’t look at this wedding album without tearing up. And I’ve looked at it a lot. Andy and Nicole are very dear friends of ours. I met Nicole back in 2010 – Andrew and I had just started seeing each other and he held a housewarming party where he invited all of his old mates from Empangeni to join us up at the farm. Nicole and I clicked straight away – she is just one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet. It may just be impossible not to click with Nicole. We’ve been tight friends ever since, bonding over a mutual love of red wine, running, solving the world’s problems… and more red wine. Nicole is also one of the most beautiful creatures you’ll ever lay your eyes on. And Andy ain’t half bad either – being of the surfing, spear-fishing, kite-boarding variety – he comes standard with a six pack and dreamy blue eyes. The two really are made for each other and when Nicole called me after our own wedding last year (where her and Andy caught the bouquet and garter, of course) to tell me she was pregnant with the chubby little pumpkin we now all call “Critter”, I couldn’t have been more ecstatic – until she told me they were to be married in June 2014 in Mozambique! Then I really hit the roof. I knew it was going to be an amazing wedding in every way. How could it not be with two such amazing individuals who are so loved by the family and friends?

The wedding was nothing short of what I expected – it was even better. It was a very emotional wedding for everyone, but was fuelled by the deepest love and tons of belly-aching laughter – a small wedding of family and close friends, which made it all the more special. And Nicole also brought their newest member of the family along – she found out she was pregnant with the “baby bump” two months before the big day! Old friends and new hung out from start to end and it really was such a great relaxed and happy vibe. The actual wedding was held at a beautiful private beach house in Ponta Malongane, which was nothing short of spectacular – the gorgeous decor and sweet details just added to the gloriousness of probably the best beach wedding ever. After the ceremony, we all made our way to a local Mozambican restaurant down the drag for dinner and speeches, and then headed back to the house for dancing shenanigans and the most delicious wedding cake. I ate a lot of those chocolate shells. The tequila came out, people jumped into the swimming pool and stumbled around the dance floor and it was just lovely. It really, really was. I said to Nicole afterwards that it was the best wedding I’d ever been to, and she very kindly said, “after yours, of course.” And I was like…. “Oh ya, mine was pretty cool too!” Haha, sweet thing.

I couldn’t wait to see the photographs from this wedding! Not only because of all the beauty I knew they’d hold, but because Wes and Stace from The Shank Tank were behind the lens, as well as the styling and decor. Remember the Vintage Vineyard styled shoot Chè and I did a couple of months ago? Remember that video that made you tear up? Yep, that was the clever work of Wes and his pint-sized wife, Stacey. I was so chuffed when I heard they were doing Nix and Andy’s wedding and let me tell you, they did not disappoint! These photographs were up on their blog yesterday and I immediately asked Nix permission to post them (thanks my poppet for saying yes – I know how you are about your privacy xxx). So enjoy. Feel the love. Soak up the beauty. And let your heart be broken by the cutest little Critter and the pure, deep love of a beautiful young family. Oh goodness, I’m welling up again… Cheers you all! Enjoy :) Nix and Andy – shmaak you stukkend. X

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If you’d like to see more of this stunning Mozam wedding, visit The Shank Tank by clicking here.

Decor & Styling by Stacey Cruickshanks. Hair & Make-up by Donna Pronk. Music by DJ Dyl.

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all about the bikini body guide by kayla itsines: weeks 1 – 4

So, as I mentioned last week, I have been doing the 12 week Bikini Body Guide by Australian personal trainer Kayla Itsines. As I’m entering Week 5, I thought it an appropriate time to start chatting about my first month on the programme and the amazing results I have seen so far.

I first came across Kayla last year on Instagram. I started following her and was continually amazed and inspired at the amazing client progress images she’d post. In March this year, I bought the guide to firm up for the styled shoot I was doing with Che. I was still working weddings at that stage, and to be honest, I was a little lazy. I did the first workout (The infamous WEEK 1 – LEGS & CARDIO) and was so stiff that I couldn’t move for the next five days. Instead of pushing through the pain and attempting Arms & Abs on the Wednesday, I gave up and put the guide away.

About six weeks ago, a whole lot of shit went down on our farm (I’m sure you remember this post and then this post) and I came to the realisation that although I’d love to live in a utopia where everyone is nice to one another and no one hurts one another… I simply don’t. I live in Africa. I live in South Africa. I live in a rural part of KwaZulu Natal. On a farm. Sadly, the threat of crime, rape, violence and murder is a real one. I decided then that I was no longer going to moan about it all, because, quite frankly, I ain’t going nowhere and the only thing worse than a moaning ex-pat is a moaning resident. I’m a firm believer in fit in or fuck off and I’m not fucking off anywhere soon, so I decided I’d better start fitting in. TIA, baby, TIA. I made the conscious decision then to get strong and fit. I want to be able to protect myself physically and I want to be able to run away from any potential danger without dying of breathlessness first. I want to go to self-defence classes and I want to learn how to fight. Properly. Like boxing-fighting. But first I needed to get fit.

So out came the Kayla Itsines Training Guide. And this time I pushed through through the pain. I was just as stiff as the first time I had tried. I walked like a penguin. Sitting down to pee made my eyes well up. Getting into the car made me wince. It wasn’t pretty. But I carried on. At the end of Week 2, I started to see the light as I realised I was at that magical stage between pain and glory: I could see the end and it was looking beautiful. The muscle ache was almost over and my mind and body were about to start working together. Since Week 3, it’s been awesome. Yes, I still feel the stiffness and the muscle ache, but I love it. You could almost say that I’m addicted to it. I look forward to my workouts and I seriously miss them over the weekend.

So, in 4 weeks I have:

  • Lost 2kgs (more than happy with that as I wasn’t looking to lose any weight anyway. This is about strength, not skinniness. I was skinny-ish before, but more skinny-fat than skinny-toned).
  • Said goodbye to my love handles. I am no longer hanging over the top of my skinny jeans!
  • Said hello to my new bubble butt! Squats are the way forward. Increased strength in my thighs and bum has meant that my running time has improved too. I love that my jeans are feeling tighter on my legs and looser around my waist – it used to be the other way around! Cheerio apple shape!
  • Lost centimetres – I’m not sure how many, and I wish I had taken measurements when I first started, but I know I have because my underwear is getting too loose for me! Not complaining about the need for new lingerie though…
  • Speaking of lingerie… my boobs are firm and perkier! Yay – no need for surgery.
  • Improved my sleeping patterns and am feeling full of energy. I wake up excited about the day and ready to go.
  • Guys… the sex life. Am all into it. Any time of the day. (TMI – sorry mom.)
  • Built strength and muscle. I think I can safely say that by the end of this programme, I will feel confident enough to join boxing classes and maybe, maaaaybe…. even sign up for a half marathon.

So here’s the evidence: Kayla strongly advises taking weekly photographs of yourself to track your progress and the change in your body. This has helped motivate me a lot, especially as it’s not weight loss I’m aiming for , but a toned and strong shape. You will mostly see the change in my arms and tummy. Please note, that I am not following the Kayla Itsines eating plan – I am simply trying to eat as healthily as possible (cutting out carbs and alcohol as much as I can). These first four weeks occurred during a spate of weddings and hen parties, which means I wasn’t being particularly good on the nutrition and no-alcohol front at all – and still I achieved these results!

photo 5Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetphoto98photo 4photo676skinnyjensProcessed with VSCOcam with h5 presetTo use The Bikini Body Guide, you need to go to Kayla’s website and purchase it online. There is also a special on the bundle – meaning you get both the workout and nutrition plans. Once you have paid for the guide/s, she will email you with a link to the download. Easy peasy! The only equipment you’ll need is:

  • a skipping rope
  • a medicine ball
  • dumbbells (I’m using 3kgs at the moment – I started off with 1,5l tonic water bottles!)
  • a step (you can use any step in your house)
  • a bench (I used a desk chair on my yoga mat to begin)

Stay posted for my eight week progress report. I’m thinking more muscle tone! Maybe even an ab or two?

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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