Tag Archives: rest

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.



Not dogs, not playing rummy


It snuck up on me. Like a stealthy, well-trained ninja, hell-bent on destruction. I thought I was safe. I thought I was we’ll-protected – I take a multi-vitamin. But there it was lurking in the corner, ready to pounce as I woke up last Monday morning and clawed my way out of bed. I didn’t notice immediately, it being that well disguised. It was only as I sat in traffic, in the gently glowing sun, that I realised how deeply, and completely, exhausted-to-the-bone I was.  And it only got worse as the morning wore on. No amount of coffee, not even coffee administered intravenously, could ward off the weariness. And that’s when I began to brew my plan.


I made a Fooble (Facebook and Google) request for some suggestions of a spa where I could have my nails done while lying down having a nap (so I could multi-task, you see, like all moms do). I got some great responses from friends – and a few weird ones from my brother – and finally settled on Riverview Spa in Muldersdrift (www.riverviewspa.co.za). Because it was the week of Essentials’ magazine print deadline we had a half day on Friday so I decided to make it a full day off.

pattiserie belle

I woke up on Friday morning and decided to treat myself to a brekkie to kick-start my day off. I stopped in at Patisserie Belle (www.patisseriebelle.co.za), a gorgeous little eatery that serves delicious light meals and is decorated in the opulence of sixteenth-century France. I had an omelette that was as light and fluffy as a cloud stuffed full of cheese and mushrooms and it was fabulous! I sat all alone reading my Country Life magazine and sipping my cappuccino. I’ve never done this before (gone out for a meal alone) and I don’t know why – it was peaceful and relaxing and I could do whatever I wanted to do. It was a promising start to my weekend of wellness.

I followed my breakfast up with a couple of hours baby-and-husband-free clothes shopping, another thing I’m not used to. It’s so much easier trying on clothes when you don’t have someone tugging on your arm to leave, and not having a baby there either also made it less if a chore.  And then I went for my spa treatments.

Imagine, if you can, a place in the countryside nestled between the hills and alongside a babbling brook. A place where the birds sing, butterflies flit and the bees happily collect their pollen. This idyl is Riverview Spa. And it’s a mere 20 minutes from Randburg. I was gently led to a covered wooden deck overlooking a swimming pool and the hills in the distance. I lay down and floated away as the melodic tones of gentle pan flutes carefully caressed my aching body and tired mind.

I woke an hour and a half later with very pretty pink toes and finger nails and a quietly soothed and restored body. As I drove down the dirt road and away from my temporary sanctuary that had saved me from temporary insanity, I mused about the appropriate start to my weekend of wellness.

packed car

Saturday dawned bright and early (ok not bright, it being early in winter in Johannesburg) with the soft cooing noises (read: loud shouting) of baby Holly playing as a soundtrack to the dawn. We packed the car and headed off to the Vaal Dam for a short getaway with friends. Just a quick aside here: going away for one night with a baby requires the same amount of luggage two adults alone would need to go camping for three weeks. The rest of the weekend was spent  doing all the things my tired, drained and cluttered mind and body so badly needed for restoration. We drank magnificent wine (ALLÉE BLEUE STARLETTE PINOTAGE 2012 – about R42) , ate tasty food and gorgeous pudding and played Mexican Train (an entertaining domino game) with Arrested Development on TV in the background. We laughed, joked, caught up on each other’s lives and teased one another – something I’ve not done in a while and something I definitely needed.

Ballée Bleue

Ballée Bleue

So as we drove home on Sunday afternoon and I wrote my very late blog post, I pondered the importance, the necessity of friends, and how some friendships are so special, that regardless of how long you haven’t seen one another for, things are exactly the same as they were when you last left off. And, in the  weird and random words of the back window of a taxi I once saw: when times are dark, friends are few. How patently untrue.


Mother of all breaks

Picking myself up and dusting myself off after a particularly gruelling print deadline (or as I like to call it, death line) has got me reflecting on work, home life and juggling the two. It’s made me wonder: How do we cope with the demands and stresses of work, and the pressures and anxiety that come with having a full and meaningful life outside of the office?


It’s coming to that time of the year where we’re all getting a little tired, our motors are running out of stream and we’re fast becoming the little engines that would if only we had a little more energy. In short we’re in need of a break. As I’ve mentioned before, sleep is something other people do, but still remains the Holy Grail for all mothers. Juggling a home (including a baby and a husband) and a job that I love and am committed to, is exhausting. So, how do we do it?

Without trying to sound like a martyr, the way we cope is, we just do. And that really is the long and the short of it. But maybe there are a few things we do along the way to push ourselves forward a few metres when we threaten to fall down. And those things really do help, like going for a mani or a pedi or even just having our eyebrows mowed while we catch a little nap on the treatment bed. Yes, I didn’t know it was possible to sleep while having my eyebrows waxed until I had a baby. Anything for a chance to shut my eyes!

And if you’re looking for a little make-up related R and R, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics is launching the Pretty Powerful campaign for women and girls on 8 March, International Women’s Day. This campaign ensures that women and children affected by HIV receive the education, life skills and job skills necessary to thrive. Join Bobbi Brown for event activations at Gateway Theatre of Shopping from 12-18 March, Sandton City and the V & A Waterfront on 19-25 March.

Or if you’re looking for a gorgeous weekend break where you can escape the crowds and lie on the beach, try Rocktail Beach Camp, in the Maputaland Marine Reserve. Cosy and luxurious accommodation is available from R 1 686 per person sharing per night (please note that the price quoted is per person sharing per night, as specified in the T&Cs on page 124). For more information on this fab beach camp, visit wilderness-safaris.com and read more in the March issue of Essentials.

Something else I’ve always loved doing and I’m struggling to make time for now is reading. My Bookspassion for reading and for books started at a very young age and has by no means dimmed over the years. To my long-suffering Mister’s utter horror, I insist on buying rather than borrowing books. So, as our library grows and our bookcases groan and creek under the weight of millions of well-thumbed pages, the bank balance takes a steady beating. Still I can’t part with my beautiful little friends. Although I know in my heart I’ll never, out of choice, read a book more than once, I cannot seem to let them go. I will, and do, read anything that is printed in English. From cereal boxes at the kitchen table to shampoo bottles in the bath. Nothing escapes my addiction.

As I grew older, I was introduced to the library and the millions of little rectangular possibilities awaiting me. From Richard Scary and his beautiful poems, to Dr Suess, the paragon of madness, and his green eggs and ham. I soon progressed from fairy tales to Enid Blyton and her exquisite world of imagination, mystery and adventure. I journeyed with the Famous Five (Julian, Dick, George, Ann and Timmy the dog) on every one of their amazing quests. I had clandestine meetings with the Secret Seven at the bottom of their little garden. I learned about ‘Bellypoppers’ from the Big Friendly Giant and travelled all over the world with James in his giant peach. I detested the Twits and their spiteful cruelty to hapless birds and almost tasted the delectable chocolate in Willy Wonka’s factory. Nancy Drew and her friends became my friends and we went everywhere together. I never tired of reading and eagerly awaited birthdays and Christmas presents that would undoubtedly include a box of books. When I was sad I had my own worlds to which I could flee. When I was happy, I had millions of friends with whom I could share my joy. I am so grateful to my brother, Nicholas for teaching me to read and for unlocking a world of endless delight, and increasingly grateful to my mother for encouraging me to read and for supporting my habit. I hope one day I can bestow the same passion on my own children. I am a bibliophile and proud of it.

If you’re looking for an amazing new book to sink your teeth into, have a look at the Essentials website for our book editor, Taryn’s recommendations at http://bit.ly/XjTyTC.  And if you have any favourite favourites that you’d like to share with us, or even if you want to share your most memorable reading experience, visit us on Twitter at essentialsmagsa or Facebook at Essentials Magazine South Africa; we always love hearing from you!