Monthly Archives: September 2013

We don’t need no education

I was watching a programme on the cooking channel the other day and it was about a woman who’d become a chef quite late in life. But she’d worked hard and pursued her dream job and finally she’d reached her goal. And so it got me thinking about the people I know and the jobs they do, and the jobs I’ve done, and the job I now do.

When I was small I used to spend a great deal of my time lining my dolls up and teaching them the rudiments of the English language and the multiplication table. You see, I dreamed of becoming a teacher. And, fortunately after having travelled down a number of different educational and career paths, I finally found myself where I’d always dreamed of being: in front of a classroom full of students. But, that turned out not do be the dream I thought it was… And soon, I ventured down a different track.

Everybody has a dream job, something they believe will make them truly happy, something that they believe they’re meant to be doing with their lives. Even though I knew what the answer would be, I asked my Mister what his dream job is. He wants to be a dog walker and a television tester. My Mister loves dogs. All dogs, even the ugly ones. When he was little he used to walk around his neighbourhood giving the dogs names and talking to them. And I believe the TV tester thing is self-explanatory.

I asked my brother and sister-in-law the same question. My brother wants to be a farmer. And for some reason that makes me think of a story he once told us. His wife’s family is friends with a man who owns a game farm. This man, whose game farm is in a very isolated area, sometimes doesn’t get dressed. And I don’t mean he stays in his pyjamas. On some days he pulls on his socks and shoes, smears on the sunscreen and out he goes. Naked. I can imagine my brother doing this.

My sister-in-law Bianca wants to open a deli or a bistro. She’d like to grow her own food that she’ll serve at her deli. They’ve just moved to a small town on the coast and the only deli-type restaurant that was there burned down a couple of months ago. I’m sure she had nothing to do with it, but it does put her in an excellent position to open her own bistro.

We spoke to four readers who’ve also managed to turn their dreams into their dream jobs. And now, as the saying goes, because they love what they do they never have to work a day in their lives. To read about how they started living their dreams, get a copy of the October issue of Essentials and read all about it. And, if you’re doing your dream job, send a mail to and tell us about us – we’d love to hear.


Stop the bus!

putco+bus+crash+xgoldThe wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round… and then they fall off. And yes, while I am a mother and I do find myself singing nursery rhymes to myself in the shower, that’s not what this post is about. Well, not entirely. What it is about is how the wheels did in fact fall off. And then the whole bus fell over.

16_09_13I’m sitting in my newly moved into back garden watching my amazing, bright and curious little girl stomping around barking at the dogs and eating leaves. I’m almost overwhelmed with emotion as I think how lucky I am to have this incredible little person in my life, a loving supportive husband, and a job that mostly doesn’t feel like one at all. And then I think how maybe trying to be prefect for all of them is the cause of the wheels falling off the bus. Let me explain.

We’ve finally moved into our new, dream house. Just 10 days ago. But it’s been a supremely long wait and this time I’m not exaggerating. It’s been FIVE long months of roller-coaster emotions. And I think that’s been the start of the all-fall-down that culminated in a visit to the emergency room. I think the continued stress was too much.

what the new building might look like...

What the new building might look like… from

Add to that the changes taking place at work: our building is undergoing extensive renovations, so there’s been quite a bit of upheaval there too. Although we know we’re going to have some amazing offices at the end of it all, it’s still been tough.

And, then finally, there’s been the online course I’ve been doing that takes up every ‘spare’ (insert ironic laughter here) minute I have.

So basically my body said, ‘Ok Lady, enough’s enough. We’re putting you in a time out.’ And I got bronchitis. So, I stayed in bed for three days resting, reading, sleeping, coughing and hiding from my baba who couldn’t understand why Mommy was home and wouldn’t play with her. I kept hearing her little feet patter up the passage and her tapping softly on my bedroom door as she gently implored, ‘Dada?’ She calls everyone Dada.

AccidentEmergencyN_2276103bBut, on day three of my internment, I decided I had too much work to do to carry on with this sickness malarkey and decided to work in bed.  And that’s where the headache from hell (that wouldn’t respond to non-industrial painkillers) was rooted and ended up with me in the emergency room at 3am  trying to explain to the doctor that I don’t have seizures, I had a Caesar. Not really relevant to the current situation. But when you have a migraine you’re not exactly thinking clearly.

So in the end, my body won. If I wasn’t going to listen to the subtle hints it was putting out there, it would and did take me down to funky town like a rodeo clown.

Rodeo 3.5.2011

From the

If you’re feeling like you’re hanging by your very last nerve and your body is hinting subtly that you need to calm down and smell the burning feathers, then you should listen. The October issue of Essentials is out on Monday, and Tuesday is Braai Day or Heritage Day, either way it’s a public holiday. So, grab a copy of this issue (we think it’s amazing), pour an icy glass of wine, find a comfy chair and take some time for yourself. Before your wheels fall off.

Time to whine


I’ve just recently started doing Pilates. I decided that I needed to do something that was just for me, with no expectations from anyone else and no accountability to anyone except myself. I also decided that if I were to avoid going completely bat$&/# crazy, a la Britney Spears circa 2007, I’d have to be able to take one or two hours a week off from being a mommy, wife, food and copy editor, sister, daughter, friend… In other words, I had to take time just to be Simone.


Waterkloof Sauvignon Blanc

Waterkloof Sauvignon Blanc

It was either Pilates or drink a bottle of wine on a regular basis (more on that in the September issue of Essentials – Wine time) but, because I hear exercise is good for you, I thought I’d give Pilates a bash. I really should have gone with the wine! While I  do love my time to myself, without my delicious and amazing baby climbing my leg or smearing butternut in my hair, Pilates is difficult! These are my top four reasons why I find it to be challenging:

* I have no balance so I fall over with astounding ease. A little like a drunken stork on a medicine ball

* My body has become so accustomed to being in a seated-in-front-of-the-computer shape that I’m almost like a human lower case ‘h’

* I cannot reach my toes. In fact, I can barely reach my knees…

* Despite carrying a 10kg 14-month-old around for what seems like 23 hours a day, I’m actually embarrassingly weak


But I’m determined to work at it and get better. I will get stronger. I will improve my balance. I will locate my knees and toes. I will continue to spend a couple of hours  a week away from my responsibilities. And dammit, I will come home from my Pilates class and enjoy a glass or two of wine.


Help! I need somebody. Help!

Is it easy to ask for help when you need it, or are you completely self-reliant? I find it very difficult to ask anyone for help with anything. Even if I’m walking up seven flights of stairs, carrying five parcels with a baby strapped to my back and a 20 litre drum of water on my head, if someone asks me if they can hold the door for me, I’ll say, ‘No thangs. Mm fine’. (I have a pocket of oranges in my teeth). And I don’t know why.

BubblyIt’s not as if I believe I’m completely self-sufficient and can exist solely on my own without the company, let alone help of anyone else. I think it may have something to do with the fact that I believe that if I start something I should be able to finish it (like a slab of Cadbury Bubbly mint or a bottle of wine – btw, see the latest issue of Essentials magazine for some delicious wine suggestions). If not, I shouldn’t have started it in the first place and my self-imposed punishment is to do it without anyone’s help so next time I’ll know better than to start something I can’t finish.

And now that I read this I’m thinking: ‘Geez, I really am very hard on myself!’. I’ve never actually thought about it before but I do remember someone saying this to me once. And I just poo-pooed their comment.



I think it may also have something to do with my believing that asking for help makes me weak. Please note that I did say ‘me’ here. It’s absolutely fine for others to ask for help – in fact I love helping other people out and actively encourage them to seek assistance when they’re in need, which is why I became a teacher (so very many years ago). It’s just not OK for me (man alive! If there are any psychologists reading this they’re going to have a field day. Good thing I haven’t told anyone about the recurring dream I have where I’m writing my matric finals and I haven’t studied…).

But, having admitted this to the whole world (OK granted, the whole world isn’t reading this but they could if they wanted to) I’m on my way to a full recovery. Admitting I have a problem is the first step. And it’s something I will work on. Because, walking up the stairs with two alpacas under your arms, an armadillo on your back and a briefcase loaded with Chelsea buns in each hand is not a load one should carry alone. In fact… it’s not a load anyone should carry – ever.