Tag Archives: celebrate

Mama Thembu’s getting married today

2007 - At a 'P Party'

2007 – At a ‘P Party’

A decade is a really long time. In a decade:

  • Legwarmers went from über-cool to oh-my-God-I-can’t-believe-I-wore those.
  • Billy Ray Cyrus went from rocking to ‘Who’s that?’.
  • Fondues went from the height of chic to let’s-just-hide-it-under-the-stairs.
  • Hummers were so hot, and then so not, before a decade was out.
  • Lazer disks crashed and burned.
  • Cell phones went from brick-sized to pebble-sized.
  • I stayed married.
2008 - A 21st at Albisini Dam

2008 – A 21st at Albisini Dam

Yes, this month is my 10-year wedding anniversary. My Mister and I have been married since 2003 – I was just a little 23-year old chicken and he was just a little 30-year boy. What did we know? Well, apparently we know enough to stay married for 10 years! Yes, I know that sounds really arrogant, but I believe this is a milestone to be proud of, so I’ll ride the wave while I can. And, while it’s ‘just’ our 10-year anniversary, we’ve been together for 16 years. So I am very proud of us.

Let me tell you a little bit about our wedding. I don’t think I’ve ever been a conventional type of person. Sometimes I’ve even gone out of me way to do just the opposite because I felt like being otherwise. So, for the big day, I researched different wedding ceremony traditions and either completely excluded those I didn’t like, or changed them in a way that suited our personalities a little better. My poor mother was mortified. But I think I do that regularly – mortify her.

Here are some of the traditions I discovered and didn’t like (they may or may not be true, but the interweb said they were true):

Bachelor’s and bachelorette parties

I told my Mister-to-be how I felt about the message these parties sent. They’re a celebration, or rather a mourning, of the end of an old life and the beginning of a new, less exciting life. By the time we were married we had been together for six years – nothing was changing; there WAS no old and new life. Also, I felt it was offensive that one would want a party that says, ‘Ooh, my life was fun. Now’s it’s going to be crap. Let me get drunk’. Don’t you find that just a little insulting?

The wearing of veils

Women wore veils in the days where arranged marriages were far more commonplace. The veils were there to hide the bride’s face until the ‘I dos’ had been said and the groom couldn’t back out. This little tit-bit of info offended my sensibilities, so I refused to wear a veil.

Father giving away the bride

This one was a really simple decision to make:  I do not, have never and will never BELONG to anyone. Therefore, I was no-one’s to give away in the first place. I asked my brother to ‘escort’ me down the aisle in case I tripped on my train and so I wouldn’t get lonely.

Seeing each other before the wedding

I don’t know what this is all about – I think it’s similar to the wearing a veil story – but I needed to see my Mister before the ceremony. I was so overwhelmed and freaked out and no one could calm me down, so I insisted someone fetch him to come and chat with me as I got ready.

2013 - A wedding in Cape Town

2013 – A wedding in Cape Town

Despite these potential wedding pitfalls, and me breaking tradition, and Mister seeing my face, we made it through the ceremony, the reception (just barely), the morning after (when South Africa was playing Australia in the Rugby World Cup), the honeymoon, the anti-climax after the honeymoon and the subsequent 9 years and 48 weeks that included the birth of a gorgeous little girl. Well done, Mister. I love you and thanks for putting up with mortifying me.

2013 - with our amazing baba

2013 – with our amazing baba

If you’re celebrating something this month, grab a copy of the October issue of Essentials magazine and read our feature on the top road-trip routes in South Africa – what a fab way to celebrate with loved ones!

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Party like a rockstar, Mister

My Mister’s 40th birthday is on Saturday. We’ve racked our brains over how to celebrate it. We’ve debated whether it’ll be destination party, if we’ll go out for lunch or have it catered. I’m all for all of those options because it means I don’t have to clean up and can spend my time concentrating on paying close attention to my crispy cold Sauvignon Blanc.

Hogsback Inn. Photo: heritageportal.co.za

Hogsback Inn. Photo: heritageportal.co.za

Mister always said he’d like to have his 40th birthday party in Hogsback, a quaint bohemian village in the mountains of the Eastern Cape. And, while we would have loved to have gone back (we spent a few nights of our honeymoon there and it was beautiful and strange), it was just too difficult to organise family and friends to all meet up in such a remote location for a night (it’s like herding cats just trying to get the friends into one car). Hogsback has a labyrinth and many quirky little cafes. It’s high up in the mountains and very misty and pretty. I believe it to be South Africa’s very own Hobitan.

Photo: telegraph.co.uk

Photo: telegraph.co.uk

Little furry footed creatures aside, we decided to have family and friends over to our house to celebrate there. So, come Saturday afternoon, my beautiful new house will see an influx of excitable children ranging from 15 months to 16 years, a host of happy grannies who’ll be spoiling their grandchildren with sneaky bites of Eton Mess, a bevy of boisterous boys telling their big loud man-jokes in deep voices, and a clutch of pretty, patient wives gulping their wine.

Photo: thereaux.net

Photo: thereaux.net

I want to make the day really special so I’ll be doing the food myself (*lowers eyes and shakes head at self*). And I’ve bought a lovely gift. Mister asked for a skateboard (I’m serious – you can’t make that up) but, since our medical aid savings is depleted (their word not mine), that can wait until January 1. He also asked for a fancy watch but, according to my last payslip, my salary is not the equivalent of South Africa’s ministerial vehicle allowance. So, in the end, I decided to compromise (read: buy something I could also enjoy) and bought him a Nespresso machine.

So on Saturday I’ll be alternating between my wine and cups of coffee while I slave away in the kitchen doing everything I can to make sure my Mister has a wonderful birthday. Because he is amazing and I love him a ridiculous amount. And, if you’ll be slaving away too (for whatever entertaining-reason), and need some fab foodie inspiration, grab a copy of the October Essentials and follow our recipes for:

  • a sizzling seafood platter (with J.C Le Roux La Vallée MCC)
  • hazelnut tarts with strawberries
  • asparagus and prosciutto lilies
  • classic Cobb salad

Or visit Essentials.co.za and click on the Food tab for some delectable recipes.

 

 

Sisters are doing it for themselves

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.’ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre.

Holly1With August being Women’s Month I’ve decided to dedicate this post to some of the amazing women I’m fortunate enough to know. All the women in my life have stories and qualities that make each of them worthy of their own full-length feature film (played by a movie star of their choice). So I’ve decided to focus on those who have the qualities I hope my baby will one day have herself.

I have to start with my mother because, well, she’s my mother. My mom is tolerant. She is one of the most placid and laid back people I’ve ever met. There is very little you can do to irritate her and it takes a lot for her to lose it. I can count on my one hand the number of times I have seen her throw her toys during my life and those times were when someone had really provoked her. Next is my mom-in-law. She’s patient. But like biblical-Job patient, not nursery school teacher patient. I’ve never seen her lose her temper and she has six granddaughters under the age of 13! She once went on holiday with five of these shouty, energetic (sometimes whiny, always demanding) little girls and they all came out alive on the other side.

My sister in law, Charmaine is kind. She is one of the nicest, most giving women I know. I once asked her to babysit Holly for a month when we were stuck without a nanny and, without thinking twice about it, she agreed. At short notice (like two-days-before short notice). My other sister in law, Bianca is nurturing and maternal; she’s a wonderful mom to her two beautiful, clever and funny little girls and somehow she always knows what the right thing is to do for them.

map

My Mister’s two sisters, have so much they could teach Holly. Vanessa is a published author, a mother of three stunning, smart little girls, and lives in America. Vanessa could teach her niece courage. It takes an astonishing amount of bravery to leave the country you know and love, and your family to pursue wonderful opportunities in another country. Lesley is my Mister’s other sister. She could teach Holly how to balance her home life and her work life. Lesley has a very highly respected position at a bank and does quite a bit of travelling for her work. And she has two tween daughters. Somehow, and seemingly without effort, Lesley manages to balance her work and home life like a particularly skilled tightrope walker in a Russian circus. And… and she still manages to bake the most delicious cakes and treats!

From these six amazing women, I want Holly to learn: tolerance, patience, kindness, how to be nurturing, courage and balance.

path

From the women I work with, who all have their own stories of strength and who’ve all travelled incredible journeys, I’d like Holly to learn the qualities that will make her the kind of woman people don’t easily forget. I want her to learn resourcefulness from Kirsty, who’s also one of the strongest women I know. Kirsty is so incredibly resourceful, not only can she make anything out of nothing, but she also always knows what to do and say in every situation.

Tahra can teach my daughter charity. She’s always looking for new ways to help people in need and will regularly take on fund-raising initiatives to help others without a thought about how it’ll affect her.

Working girl

I want Holly to learn independence from Grace who wouldn’t have been out of place in a movie like Working Girl and could easily have been a pin-up for the 80’s, power-suit wearing, ball-busting corporate high flyer.

From Taryn I’d like my baby girl to learn generosity. Whenever Taryn goes to a launch, or ‘town’, she comes back with a little something for us. Whether it’s a book she thinks we might enjoy or a coffee we desperately need, Taryn is always sharing.

Stephanie could teach Holly curiosity: she’s not scared to ask questions when she doesn’t know something, a quality that’s so admirable and so rare.

And from Caryn I’d like her to learn humility – a more humble, almost to a fault, person you’ll never find. Caryn is so good at what she does, but she’ll be the last person to blow her own horn (or wear her own designs?).

These incredible women I work with could teach Holly resourcefulness, charity, independence, generosity, curiosity and humility.

If my daughter grows up to have all of these qualities, she will certainly be a woman to be reckoned with; an empowered woman of strength, courage, patience and kindness – the kind of woman we all aspire to be. I am so lucky to have such amazing women in life and, this month, I will honour them in as many ways as I can, starting with this story about their strengths.

Walk

Grab a copy of the August issue of Essentials magazine to read about more inspiring, real women like you.

Mamma mia

camel

I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom playing with my 10-month-old precious Holly when I heard myself saying to her, ‘Oof. Oof. Do you want to lick the camel?’ Now this isn’t as strange as it might initially sound. Let me break it down for you into regular English words: Holly’s first word is ‘Oof’. What she’s trying to say is actually, ‘Woof’, because she loves the dogs and thinks it’s just fabulous when they bark. And the camel reference means just that: I have a scarf with camels on it and Holly pulled my scarf off its hook and stuck her tongue out in their direction. I had an out-of-yourself, imagine-you’re-watching-a-movie moment, and I thought, ‘I wonder how many strange things moms find themselves saying and doing evry single day?’. So I thought, for Mother’s Day, and as a tribute to all mothers, I’d compile a list.

toilet paper 2

You’re a mom when:

  • You’ve uttered the words: ‘Don’t eat the toilet paper, my angel.’
  • You’ve gone out with baby food in your hair, on your forehead or down your back and thought, that’s ok.
  • Entertaining a baby or toddler has become the norm while you use the toilet, have a bath or pluck your eyebrows.
  • A little bit of wee on the onesie won’t hurt anybody as long as it’s untucked and not flush against the skin. It’ll dry.
  • Hearing other people’s little ones laughing or playing makes you want to rush home to hug and smooch your own baba.
  • Waking up with tiny feet in your face, hands up your nose and no blanket is a normal morning.
  • Sitting on the kitchen floor to have a conversation while your husband feeds the baby is the done thing.
  • Going to bed at 8pm on a Friday night is awesome!
  • Repeatedly shouting, ‘Ahhhchooo! Ahhhchooo!’ is not a sign of impending craziness but rather an attempt to elicit a laugh.
  • You’ve been humming the theme tune to the smurfs for so long now that all your friends find themselves doing it too.

MomAnd you’re most definitely a mom when you struggle to articulate how you feel about your child, because you’ve never felt that way before, but ‘obsessed’ comes quite close. You’ve also probably said something along the lines of: ‘I love you so much my heart gets physically sore when I look at you.’ I think blogger, Claire Bidwell Smith sums this unique mother-child-mother relationship up perfectly when she says, “I often find myself breathless with the realisation of just how much my mother loved me.”

And there’s a corollary to this madness too. You know you have a mom when you’ve heard the following (and recently, not just when you were little):

  • Pull in your stomach, my girl.
  • Do you want to borrow my hairbrush before we leave?
  • Shoulders back, boobs out.
  • I know you probably know this but you must sterilise the baby’s bottles, hey?
  • I know it’s 27°C outside but I really think you must put a vest on the baby.
  • I’m not sure if I like those shoes you’re wearing.
  • If your Mister is being mean to you, you probably said something to upset him. You mustn’t fight with him, you know – you’re very lucky to have him.

Or when you look at your mom and think about all the little things she’s ever done for you, how she made you better when you were sad, how she stuck up for you when you were in trouble, how she was the most beautiful woman in the world when you were little. How she’s still the most amazing woman in the world now. And how she makes you want to be the very best mom in the world too.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies out there. You’re incredible, amazing people and your children love you more than they can say. Even if we don’t say it often enough, our hearts are popping with our love for you. If you’re looking for some inspiration to buy an amazing gift for your mom have a look at our online shopping guide: http://bit.ly/Z868Ho and if you’re stuck for a way to celebrate Mother’s Day, read our review on Piza e Vino and Africology Spa: http://www.essentials.co.za/index.php?p[IGcms_nodes][IGcms_nodesUID]=634521759ea2465986533be0e31e523a.

rainbow

Birthday bizarre

balloons

A few days ago we celebrated Caryn, our fashion editor’s birthday and with this being a new blog and March being my birth month, I’ve been thinking a lot about birthdays. Particularly mine. I’ve always believed that my birthday is the most important day of the year and fully expect others to see it as such too. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not because I have an overblown sense of importance but rather because I get so unbelievably excited about my birthday that I want everyone to feel as happy as I do. I still count the sleeps until my birthday from at least a month before the big day and I start right after Christmas with the, ‘You can get me those shoes/that car/pink fluffy things/those earrings/an orang-utan for my birthday’ to my long-suffering and patient Mister. Bless him – I used to wake him in the middle of the night and demand, drill sergeant-style, ‘When’s my birthday, Mister?’ This may have been a cruel and unusual method of getting him to memorise my birthday, but it worked – he’s never forgotten it! So there’s a top tip for you: If your own Mister has the tendency to forget your birthday you might want to try this tactic. It’ll work for memorising shopping lists and anniversary dates too.

I’ve been trying to decide how I should celebrate my birthday this year, 33 being a weird in-between kind of number that’s neither here nor there, and I’ve been struggling to find something that really excites me. Because I still believe myself to be 17, there’s the part of me that really wants to cake on the make-up, get tarted up and put on my dancing shoes to go clubbing. But then, when I start thinking about the logistics of a babysitter (not too many 17-year-olds have to worry about that), a designated driver, that my dancing shoes are actually quite uncomfortable and will pinch my toes, what to wear and the crucial afternoon nap before the big night out, I get really tired and just feel like lying down.

Tent

So, clubbing it won’t be, but how about a weekend away with friends? I began thinking about possible travel destinations and how to accommodate the incongruous tastes of all the friends. I know my husband is quite fond of rubbing a couple of sticks together and playing with fire, what man isn’t, so he’d quite enjoy eating straight out of a tin of baked beans while camping. But there are the friends who refuse to roll off an air-mattress onto the floor, pick leaves and insect bodies out of their hair and begin the day with a spring in their step. They require a comfy bed, crisp white linen and a hot bath to get a spring in their anything, so camping is out of the question. There are the friends who’d like a sophisticated hotel, with lie-ins in the mornings, fabulous high teas in the afternoon and elegant dining experiences in the evening. Think Sex in the City meets the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

And then there’s me, with a seven month old baby. The words sophisticated and elegant no longer feature in my vocabulary (having been replaced with ‘milestone’ and ‘smelly nappy’) and probably won’t for at least the next 19 years. Right now, with an average sleep count of approximating 4,34 hours per night, an ideal holiday destination for me would be a lumpy couch. Or a yoga mat on the floor. Or even a towel under the tree in my garden. You see, my standards for holiday destinations at this point are not very high, so I’ll be really easy to please.

If you’re also looking for a great place to get away from whatever for a little while, somewhere that doesn’t feature the aforementioned lumpy couch, the March issue of Essentials has some great travel destinations for you to peruse while you soak away your worries in a hot bath with a glass of wine. There’s a beach holiday, a country stay or a couple of bush breaks to choose from. Whatever floats your boat down a meandering river, or blows your hair back on a hike, you’ll find it in the March issue.