Tuesday, 8 December 2009

India calling....

I am at my wits end... for the last 3 weeks or so I've had 3 (sometimes 4) calls from some company from India... and they ask for me by name and say they're doing a survey for electricty blah blah blah... I was polite at first and asked them not to call me, 'I am not interested', 'please take my number off the computer system', 'I am registered with TPS' (so they can be fined for calling me like they are)... NOTHING WORKS!!!!!!!!

My politeness has now left the building!

Hubby says when I hear the long delay (and so can assume it's them - apologies of it's any of my family overseas phoning! )... I should set off the little mobile squeeling alarm I carry with me... which I cannot do when the kids are here of course - would scare them half to death! Plus it's not pleasant for me either to have to always do this. It's an awful noise.

Today's three calls got no response at all, I picked the phone up and said nothing... they put the phone down on me. I just cannot carry on like this though... it happens at any time... and is often when I've just got the kids down to sleep or am in the middle of a pooey nappy or something.

We have two phones and neither have numbers that come up... and they're phone fax systems so would be very expensive to replace.

What can I do to get them to stop harrassing me???


Our new home

Here are some photos of our new home. 3 bed, 2 bath, and a lovely size, even by South African standards.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

A mini miracle!

Phew, what a week! After looking at 16 properties in all we got word
that the 1st property we had seen... was ours! The offer was accepted!

What a relief. A miraculous relief.

Thankyou to all who have been there for us this past week, for the
fervent prayer, encouragement and care. It means the world to us.

We learnt a hard lesson... and hopefully we won't have to go through
this property system again in the UK... where it is frowned upon, but
NOT illegal, to gazump. There is NO thought to the emotional,
financial and logistical ramifications of the selfishness of
gazumping. It is disgusting to do this to someone and yet it happens
all the time... simply amazing. What a sad and ugly society we live

Having said that.. I retract that. There are far too many decent and
moral people out there to all be labelled so. It's the bad apple that
always ruins the rest.

So the great news is, we moved in two nights ago and our new home is
gorgeous... We are so blessed to have the opportunity of living in
such a lovely area of Greater London.

The kids love the garden and we have visited the local village
already, celebrating our first day in the new home with a picnic party!

So over the next couple of days I need to continue packing, and
cleaning clothes for our holiday next week... Yes, California here we
come! We are off to Hollywood Beach, San Fransisco and Yosemite
National Park. A much needed holiday after this house palava!

So, bye for now, will write here if possible whilst away but doubt Ill
get the chance to.

Hambagahle! x

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The search is on!

The last 2 days have been a crazy blur. We've looked at 13 properties, put an offer (to rent) on one really nice one yesterday and will hear today if we get it - our problem is time, we are out of our current property next Tuesday so have 6 days to get into a new one!

We had put monies down on the house that fell through, so once we have moved into somewhere new we will then persevere to get that back.

USA holiday is definitely not a priority right now (even though 90% paid for eek!), home and business is.

My clients have been very understanding, they know this can (and does) happen. They are quite concerned though naturally. The kids are keeping me grounded... am so busy with them and cannot let them see my upset/worry. They can sense things are out of kilter though and I told them 'Jen Jen is feeling a little funny today, and needs lots of extra hugs and kisses'. they have been very obliging bless them.

We have a possible backup if this current one falls through... not nearly as nice (needs interior painted, bathroom redone etc..... which could feasibly be done whilst we are in the States for those 2 weeks, then be ready for when we return - not ideal, but doable). 3 more to look at tonight. Our problem is the urgency of it all.

Hard lesson learnt this week...

My family are praying, we haven't told many friends yet... Please continue to cross everything crossable and pray that we get this one today and that we can move in asap!

Monday, 10 August 2009


We had a funny feeling it might happen and it did. We were moving into our new house on Saturday and now have no-where to go. Might have to cancel our US trip too in 2 weeks time as finding a home and moving is a priority.

In overdrive. Viewing 5 places tonight, got 8 lined up for tomorrow.

There are some really awful cr@ppy people in this world!!!

* 'Gazumping' means they take on another buyer/renter... they've done this to us to avoid agents fees.

UK property law needs changing!!!!!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

And today....?

The mum brought the sibling of the child on tami flu in today, I explained all that I had had to do yesterday due to her daughter being dropped off at my place, even with suspected swine flu.

She was a bit defensive, saying they had not been told the severity of it all and that they didn't know the child should be isolated at home whilst on the course of tami flu.


They spoke to a doctor and then picked up the tami flu from a chemist, am I meant to believe BOTH healthcare professionals failed to mention this crucial element regarding the medication?

I somehow doubt it. Plus the fact it was the dad who picked up the medication from the chemist, and he is notoriously absent minded and puts work before childcare often... and seems to make light of serious situations.

So their child is not here today, but will be tomorrow. They had better be honest with me re whether she has any more symptoms too.

Another little girl I care for, who was exposed to this child on tami flu yesterday, is off today, with a roaring temperature of 40 deg celcius and a hacking cough... sure signs of swine flu... oh my goodness! This mum is very responsible though and will keep her off if sick for sure.

Monday, 27 July 2009

A swine of a flu!

One child is on tami flu with suspected swine flu - she's on day 3 of a 5 day course... but as she seems fine... THEY BROUGHT HER TO ME TODAY, EXPOSING ME WITH MY DODGY LUNGS AND 3 OTHER UNDER 5S - ALL HIGH RISK PEOPLE - TO SWINE FLU!!!!!!

The mom doesn't tell me at the door as there was someone else there dropping their child off... she says (on the phone later) she didn't want to ''alarm him''...!!!???

She says a quick ''bye, I need to chat to you about something, will phone you later'', then drives to work - over an hour away... and then calls me to let me know re the tami flu AFTER a meeting... whilst the child is already here... exposing us all!!!

I am livid!!!!!

I now have to let other parents know their kids have been exposed to a child on treatment for possible swine flu, cancel other people coming here etc. I also have to isolate a two year old without alarming her and her 3 year old brother.... a nightmare!!!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

'It's raining, it's pawning'

Oh we certainly do NOT do things in half measure, Lance and I.

We have wanted a private garden for some time, saw a house we liked and jumped on it - and got it! Took us by surprise too I tell ya. Spontaneous decision. Thing is... we - and my business - will be moving into this house mid August! Have to arrange new certificates and register new address so can trade asap. All happening really quickly.

This happens a couple of days before our States trip (we'll just take a moving box each as luggage haha).... and at the same time as tenants are moving out of our other home in Joburg - then it's being painted, electrics checked etc - then new tenants will move in. A time when we really need to be contactable to sign new leases, check refs etc... and all happening whilst we have NO INTERNET, as it won't happen that quickly at our new home, and then we'll be away.

Not sure we thought about it that clearly hmmm, but this house is really nice and we were surprised we can afford one this nice in our area tbh.

ps: The title comes from a little 1 yr old girl I look after, Sophie... who says 'It's raining, it's pawning' when the rain comes down :)

Sunday, 28 June 2009

'What a match, they roared, then miaowed'

The title is the comment an English friend (Lions supporter) left me on my Facebook profile yesterday evening... and so true!

We were suitabley impressed by all the red supporters at Loftus Versveld (Pretoria stadium), the Safari/Rugby Tour packages are obviously doing very well at the moment!

I always chuckle at my husband - he gets so incredibly tense watching sport. He hurt his arm, wore out the carpet and nearly had a baby by the time this match was over!

Both sides played well, both side's had some thug players who didn't play fair - like Schalk sticking his fingers in the eyes of his opponent. He was given a yellow card and sent to the sin bin for ten minutes, and he was lucky to get only that! Very bad sportmanship!!!.

The SKY commentators got so cocky as the match went on, with good reason some of the time as they were playing hard, but twenty minutes before the game ended, with the Lions in the lead... they were going on (celebrating!) about the Lions victory!!??

A tad too soon methinks...

The springboks got a second wind from kicker Morne's appearance on the field. A crucial try was scored by the Boks, which gave them the lead! Followed by a penalty for the Lions which meant a draw.

Then, in the last minute, South Africa got that crucial kick that allowed them to be Match and Series Victors!


We then jumped into our car to go to a friend's home outside of London for a braai... which was now a celebratory braai of course, them being South African too.

On the way there we had a very sudden and short and hard thunderstorm... huge droplets of rain on the car... like a Joburg storm. We've never experienced this in England before.

The driver in the Jaguar cabriolet behind us quickly put his roof up, not before being drenched though!

As quickly as it came though, it went...

We then spent the rest of the evening in the company of friends and my sister, eating good food, watching some Michael Jackson videos (as the TV is plastered with it at the moment, understandably).

All in all, a lovely Saturday.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

'One of the hardest email's I've ever had to write...'

'One of the hardest email's I've ever had to write...'

That's how the email started... a parent giving me notice this am... these children have been with me from the very start when I opened my childcare business 2 years ago. They are moving out of London, to the country, so a little bitty far to come to me.
I love these kids dearly and get on so well with the folks, especially mum.

I have already filled their vacancies as I have been expecting this notice for a while now (they've been waiting to exchange and he needs to start school in September). But when you get the actual notice it still hits home in a big way.

Black and white.

This is the part of the job I hate the most. Saying goodbye.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Wimbledon Common

Wimbledon Common 31 May 2009, originally uploaded by Mrs Flower.

I live across the road from this glorious common... it's full of dogs, horses, squirrels, bunnies, birds etc. It has a few smaller ponds, and a couple large lakes, like this one.

It also has a big (original) wooden windmill, with a museum inside.. with loads of different windmills and the history of the common.

The wombles play their role here still of course, I am a huge fan of them!

We love to picnic, walk and cycle here, watch the people and the animals. Take in the rays.

We are most fortunate to have this on our doorstep.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Things I love...

  • Africa
  • Amarula Cream
  • Antiques
  • Art & crafts
  • Beads
  • Castles and ruins
  • Children
  • Detective programs
  • Graphic design
  • Handmade paper
  • Helping others
  • Integrity
  • Jane Austen
  • Laughter
  • London
  • Making jewellery
  • Making paper & wire work
  • MUM!
  • My husband :)
  • National Geographic
  • Old churches & villages
  • Painting (on canvas)
  • Photography
  • Reading
  • Red wine
  • Singing
  • South Africa
  • Theology
  • Travel writing
  • Wildlife
  • Winding lanes

Chewy and her hamster ball

On the 25 April 2009, this cute little critter moved in at 7.5 weeks old. She lives in a 3-tiered hamster palace (as is seen in previous posts)... she has more floor space than us! She also has this little ball... in which she runs around, exploring and *sniff sniff* sniffing.

*sniff sniff*

*sniff sniff*

No, it isn't cruel. It gives her independence!

*sniff sniff*

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Father's Day blues

Throughout my life, Father's Day has brought me nothing but hurt and confusion. Opened the wounds. Re-living the sought-after dream of a dad that would start caring... and loving his offspring.

My own father left me (and my 3 siblings) when we were very young... and we never had a relationship with him - his womanising, drinking and unsavoury friends always coming first.

Thankfully I have a Lord and Saviour who has been my spiritual daddy all my life. And I have a mum who is 'da bomb' as Randy Jackson would say! She is my rock.

An earthly dad would have been nice though.

Last July my father died in Johannesburg at the tender age of 62 due to his rotten lifestyle. Liver and lung disease - his smoking and drinking caught up with him.

Even though he was never there for me and was a stranger in every sense of the word... my heart still bleeds... for 2 reasons:

(1) Now that he is gone, there is absolutely no chance of any kind of reconciliation with us kids. He doesn't know his grandchildren, or even our spouses...

(2) Where is he? Oh Lord I pray he looked to you in his eleventh hour and submitted to your grace.

I can only hope.

But I'll never know.

I had a step-father briefly as a young teen, he was a man on his own mission and has been married 5 times... I have a FIL now, and he barely acknowledges my existance, bar to offer me a drink. So I have never had a 'father figure' I could respect and look up to.

If you have a proper dad in the true sense of the word, one who holds you close and loves you like a proper daddy should - please do give thanks for him. Every day.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

English Lawn Tennis Club

English Lawn Tennis Club, originally uploaded by Mrs Flower.

The grand opening of the new retractable roof at Centre Court at Wimbledon took place on 17 May. Katherine Jenkins, Farah Smith and Blake (?) performed.

Much better to have the roof for everyone concerned! :)

The handsome one (my other half) measured how far we live from Centre Court at the English Lawn Tennis Club, where the Wimbledon Championships are held.. and it is 800 metres as the crow flies! I didn't realsie we were THAT close to the courts. Wish I was a crow so could watch all day every day :)

Monday, 15 June 2009

California beckons!

After 5 weeks of battling with a heavy chest and bronchial infection, losing my voice and getting a sty on my eye... I am happy to say my voice came back this weekend, sty is all about gone, chest feels better, I feel stronger - breathing problems are so debilitating, it is amazing.

We have also (excitedly!) booked our holiday to California end August this year! We are flying from Heathrow to San Francisco, staying overnight at a Crown Plaza Hotel, to fly from San Francisco down to Lax, then onto Oxnard in the morning.

My dear friend Kat lives there... I haven't seen her since her last visit to London January 2008, so it's been a while!

We are splashing out a little and hiring a convertible for our stay in Hollywood Beach - it was only £40 more in total so is a good deal! It just cannot rain now whilst we are there...

We will spend three days with her and her hubby, staying in their beach condo (ooh la lah!), popping up to Santa Barbara, seeing other pals etc. I cannot wait to see her and have a good natter!

Then it's back to San Francisco where we are staying at a lovely little boutique hotel for a week, The Orchard Hotel. It's on a popular tram line, which will be good, I so love exploring cities... but don't do hills (errr we will be in SF...)... being asthmatic and overweight do not bode well for hills! But I will persevere!

We will visit Alcatraz, Sausalito and the Muir Woods with their huge redwood trees, do a wine tour, have tea at The Palace Hotel, Golden Gate Bridge with the lovely Japanese Garden close by, do a Hop on Hop off tour, visit the USS Pampanito (submarine), and the Balclutha (full rigged ship) at the Marina, and museums and art galleries. We'll check out Pier 45 and Fisherman's Wharf - well aware it's a bit of a tourist trap, but hey. Let's hope we aren't scared by the man that goes 'BOO'!

So, lots to see and do in San Francisco! I love the style of architecture and the *flavour* of this city... much like I loved the *flavour* of everything in Charleston too.

We are then off to Yosemite National Park for a couple of days, we are staying in the park itself at Yosemite Lodge. We are so looking forward to this too, we are nature lovers of note.

So, all in all, a holiday to look forward to!

Friday, 12 June 2009


So, we finally succumbed and bought some crocs.

I have never been a huge fan of them, however I have to say - they are incredibly comfortable! We went for a long walk in the common yesterday (Wimbledon Common), and, apart from the odd little stone getting into them now and again, it felt like we were walking on air!

Can you guess who is who here?

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


Apologies my blogging friends for not being around much of late - I have been quite poorly the last 5 weeks and haven't had the strength to spend time on the compy. Respiratory problems can be so debilitating... everything seems to happen in slow motion at times.

Anyway, I am feeling loads better and will be on fine form soon.

I hope you are all well x

Saturday, 23 May 2009

I nearly burst into tears!

I went to the doctor yesterday and I was feeling really sicky and yucky... could hardly breathe I was wheezing so much, have no voice, a crackly chest infection... looked and felt a sight!

The doctor is a new doctor there, this is the second time I have seen her, the first time I had 3 little mindees with me when I was having BP taken and general asthma care queries (which the parents knew about and had okayed).

Do you know what this (now favourite) doctor said to me?

'If I had children I would want them to come to you. The children obviously love you and you have a wonderful way with them. You are like a mum to them. They seem to be developing so well too, I am sure you have a good hand in that'.

I was gobsmacked ... and nearly burst into tears! What an incredibly kind thing to say, especially when I am feeling so rubbish and hubby and I are wanting children so badly. I do put my all into my job.

It gave me an extra spring in my step on the way home... okay, twas a wheezy springy type step... but a springy step non-the-less!

We live in a society that loves to assume, judge and upset, with their ignorance and arrogance. If everyone paid a compliment to one extra person each day, just imagine how many more smiles we'd see on the bus, in the Tesco queue? I'd think loads more.

What has anyone - a stranger?/a family member?/a friend? said to you lately out of the blue that was so uplifting?

Friday, 22 May 2009

Ugh. Poorly again.

I am really battling with it again. Saw the doc twice this week... at first as was a mere head cold on Monday. Hubby had it too, but after 3 days was right as rain. Not me though. The last 2 nights I've had high fevers, cannot eat, am coughing loads.

So back to doctor this am. Don't want to end up in hospital again!

Now I have a full-blown chest infection so am on bally antibiotics again, on steroid tablets (grrrr they put about 1kg on me each day!), excema cream (which flares up when body in distress), got more inhalers etc. that I needed. She nebulised me too which helped with the wheeze, although chest still incredibly tight.

Thankfully I chose a good week to get ill as 4 of my 6 mindees are on holiday! So I only had to concern myself with 2.

I am very good with my daily inhalers and generally it's fine... but then now and again have a relapse. With the head cold it was fine to mind (I look after kids who have colds, no prob), but then as I felt that becoming a chest infection I stopped care. I could plod on, take it easy with the kids, as I know it's difficult for parents to take time off work... but I offer a service with high care and I would be acting irresponsibly were I to soldier on I believe, especially where my breathing is concerned. An attack comes on very quickly too.

What do other CMs with chronic asthma do? How bad to you get with your asthma before stopping providing care?

I put this question to some CM coleagues, and these were their responses:

'I do feel incredibly guilty taking time of work for any reason - I am only minding part-time and so it only really affected my other part-time job. You will be off work longer if you try to soldier on and possibly end up back in hosp which will be much worse for you and the parents/children. You are doing the right thing as your health is very important.'

'Parents won't give a hoot if the level of care slips a bit or you go on less outings than usual or you take it a bit easier... so stop worrying about that!!

It really is down to how you are feeling and whether you're best carrying on so that you have something to take your mind of the asthma... or if you're best stopping to get yourself better.'

Their responses have made me feel better. I do hate being off sick... have only had 4 days off in 2 years which isnt too bad, especially considering I have a chronic condition. But was good to hear what the girls had to say.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Is my last name Rockerfella???

What can I do?

Our tenants in Johannesburg are supposed to pay their rent in latest the 5th of every month.

Last month = NO RENT!!!!
This month they paid on the 12th!!!!

Is my last name Rockerfella???

We have tried to manage the property from afar for the last 2.5 years but are thinking we just have to get an agent in to manage it for us. It's such a hassle when the plumber is needed.. rates and taxes law changes etc.

Their lease ends on 31st July 2009. And it WILL END. No matter how many emails we get re how 'happy they are there'. He says he had a medical emergency. I don't quite believe him. Plus there are two of them there, so why wasn't half the rent paid at least? And why is it always late? Do people not consider the roof over their head?

I wish the property market wasn't so bad currently, because I just feel like selling it.

And to top it all off I have (yet another!) bronchial chest infection. My lungs are still suffering from the attack in November 2008 - they are working at half capacity now, not a quarter as they were then (small steps)... when will they mend?

Thursday, 14 May 2009

The open casket

Below is a letter from my friend. It had me in tears. These poor kids,
losing their mum at such a young age. I am not too sure about them
seeing their
dead mum in an open casket though, what do you think?


Hi Jen,

We buried Betty yesterday and it was a sad day, but yet thanks to Tom it also
was a celebration of life. How can you not cry and laugh when you see the

innocence of a very rambunctious little boy who embodied the joie-de-vivre of
his mother who he won't really remember, and who was loving the attention!

David is going to have his hands full with him as was shown as Tom stood
behind him at the reception after the service trying to pull down his pants,
with a grin of total mischievious 5-yr old boyishness!

Poor Alice, she was a little more overwhelmed by it all - sort of understanding
but not really. She was concerned about her mother being left in the cemetary
all by herself. I was talking to David last night about it, and told him what my
mother told me when I was little and my grandmother died - that it was only the
outer shell that was put in the ground, that she was in Heaven with God and with
loved ones. Hopefully he can help Alice understand that her mother will always
be in her heart, and not in a hole in the ground.

Funeral customs I know are different around the world - and even here with
different cultural/religious groups. We have "visitation" or a "wake" usually
the day (or in some cases for 2 days) before the service at a "funeral home".
There is always a controversy about open casket or closed... I prefer the closed
with a nice photo of the deceased.

Betty's was open and David had the kids in to see her which some thought was
gruesome. Actually, I think it gave them a better sense of the closure - the reality.
It was a decision only a parent could make, knowing his children.

I think it was better that they were not hidden away from it all - and their
curiosity was very natural. It was heart-breaking hearing about Tom wanting to
get in the casket with her - I think it had as much to do with a little boy wanting
to climb into a box! And then that Alice touched her hands and was sad that
Mummy's hands were so cold.

One happy thing that did come out of this situation was that another one of our
cousins who has been estranged from her father came out from western Canada for
the funeral and built a bridge with her father. She hadn't seen him in 10
years, and it was good to see. Not that they are going to be best friends, but
she can go home knowing that she took the high road and made the effort. If her
father dies before she sees him again, she has that peace of mind.

I've never been more proud of her - so glad that she did it and it was a better
reunion than I had expected. Neither of them are Christians but there's been a
lot of prayers that there would be reconciliation between father and daughter.

Much get going to work... but thought I'd tell you about yesterday, in part.
Hugs and good wishes your way,


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The fear of death

I heard three pieces of bad news today... one from a friend in South Africa, whose mum has to start chemotherapy again, as her cancer has returned.

Another friend's
sister in law in the States passed away due to... you guessed it... the 'c' word. She wrote me a beautiful letter which I will post, sans identity. Made me chuckle and cry all at once.

Another friend in the States is so stressed, her son has an inoperable cyst in his spine. He has a baby due in July too, and everything in their life is so bittersweet ... she said she wishes she had the faith I do to believe in God, so He could help her through this trauma... she is an atheist.

Tragic. All of it. Why???

One of the worse part of any illness is the frustration of not being able to do anything physically to fix it - to make the patient better - and the unknown factors.

I received an inspirational message a week or two ago that said:

'When I have something to worry about I hand it to the Lord.
He's going to be up all night anyway'.

I truly believe that the Lord will give us all the strength we need if we let Him.


Glass, originally uploaded by Mrs Flower.

I bought these lovely brightly coloured gel flowers to decorate the playroom window... the girls love it, as do I! Lance even does! The sun was going down and I loved the effect this lighting had on the window.

It's the seemingly little things that make all the difference sometimes!

The postman came....

And with it he brought our passports with Indefinite Leave to Remain!!!!

Woohoo.. only took 6.9 years and ooooodles of money (aaaahh!!) but so glad we finally got it. We can now start preparing for our holiday in August to the States as we have our passports back, and are secure in the knowledge we can live and work in the UK till our dying day should we wish to.

The photos in the passports are sadly absoluuuuuutely gruesome - Lance looks like a serial killer and I look like a rough chav... we were both sick with flu at the time typically



Glad that's another big hurdle we've ticked off!!! Thank you Lord for this answer to prayer!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Chewy loves stuffing her cheeks with food and storing it in her special places.

This lil creature has really become a integral part of the household... she is clearly quite bonkers, madly scurrying around, pushing her little wooden castle over... pushing all her sawdust down her tunnel (thus closing her entrance to the next level in her cage!) etc.

She's mad. And she fits in well because of it. hehe

Monday, 11 May 2009

Where's the bally postman?

Oh ring the buzzer why don't you?

We applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain about 8 weeks ago, and know it can take up to 14 weeks to get your documents and passport back... with the much needed permanent residency inside!

My sister, hubby and I sent in our applications together as we (obviously) use the same ancestral original documents.

She received hers on Friday. Woohoo!!! She excitedly phoned us straight away.

We immediately sat and waited for ours... yes, she lives about 7 minutes from us by road... but maybe, just maybe, we have the same postal sorting office?

Half an hour later there was a knock at the door.
There stood the postman.

No passports!!! No passports??? No passports!!!

So we have different sorting offices - we guessed as much. Sigh.
Ah well, should come soon hey?

So here I sit today. Biting my nails. Looking out the window at the street every 10 minutes. Staying inside and out of the gorgeous sunshine... just in case he comes a knocking! Biding my time...

Postman... where art thou???

Sunday, 10 May 2009

They're signing!

I received their all-important email, with my new prospective client wanting to sign contracts, for me to childmind their little baby of 3 months old!!!

It's so difficult sometimes, not being able to read someone. I honestly never knew which way it would go with this couple.

She was warm, chatty and friendly, asking loads of questions with ease.

He was cooler, also asked loads of questions, complimented me on my website and portfolio etc. ... but there wasn't that *connection* made with him, as it was with his wife. I felt he was eyeing me out too much.

I felt on the spot!

Phew. So that's that then.

Goes to show one never knows the impression you've made with someone, when someone is more guarded.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Lord Bingley of Derbyshire

Lord Bingley of Derbyshire, originally uploaded by Mrs Flower.

We brought this little hedgehog home with us when we visited Matlock Bath and Chatsworth in Derbyshire last year... he is gorgeous! His name of course comes from Jane Austen's novel, Pride & Prejuidce... there is a Bingley in the story... plus the Hollywood version of P&P was filmed in Chatsworth House (Mr Darcy's 'Pemberley'!).., so we thought it apt!

Friday, 8 May 2009

In a nutshell!

Here's my story:

I am one of four kids, born in Cape Town, South Africa, brought up by an incredible mum in Johannesburg... she is my rock. Dad was never there... We may not have had a physical daddy but we had a spiritual one.


Life wasn't easy, but wasn't unhappy, growing up, we went without loads materialistically, but spiritually and emotionally and mentally we were fed well... and that has shaped and moulded me into who I am today.

The Bible is actually really simple to understand, it takes so-called *wise* men (preachers/philosophers/theologians/kings & queens etc.) to complicate it, cause wars in the name of it etc.

Jesus' teachings are simple and valid for today.

My Christianity is not a religious one, or one that feels the need for bells and smells on a Sunday morning, it is a living breathing everyday thing for me. It's who I am 24/7, not a cap I wear on Sunday.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


We have a lil hamster called Chewy who moved in on the 25th April 2009 - She likes to snooze during the day (with the odd snack), and comes out at night... spending hours and hours on her wheel... crawling through tunnels and running up and down the ladder and into her castle.

Her favourite treat is raw carrot.

The kids think she's great ~ and so do we!!!

What does it mean to be 'a professional'?

Why are childcare workers not deemed professionals so often? Do you have to wear a suit to be a professional? Talk a certain lingo? Follow a certain brand?

I am currently doing a diploma in childcare. I have 6 years nursery experience in Johanesburg, and have done LOADS of training courses in London to ensure my service is professional and well informed, and that the kids I mind are looked after very well.

I put my heart and soul into my job.
A job I love.

I worked in the publishing industry for many years (was a Senior Graphic Designer in London and had my own design company in Cape Town) and I can tell you that many childminders and the Early Years team I deal with are FAR more professional in their work than the people I worked with in the corporate world.

To be a good professional takes head AND heart. No matter what industry you are in.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Losing 4 kids in 2 weeks...!!!

The 4 mindees are 2 sets of siblings - one is going to school which is far away and I cannot do school run, so they have to get a nanny for him and little sister. The other 2 are moving far away (about an hour from London)!

These kids were my originals so it's going to be tough to say goodbye!

After the initial shock of getting the notice so soon after eachother, I phoned those on my waiting list - and I have already filled the vacancies verbally... just have to get it in writing! The other 2 mindees I have have been wanting to increase their days with me too, which has helped.

Gosh, it never rains, it pours!!! Shows how insecure we actually are when self employed, doesn't it? My income would have gone down to a quarter of what it currently is, overnight!

I just hope these other people sign asap. The one couple are coming on Thursday again - I met the mum, but will now meet dad... and the other couple have been on my waiting list since July last year... and will find out soon what 3 days they actually need.

It's a waiting game...

Monday, 27 April 2009

Well impressed!

I am well impressed with ebay!

On 23 March I bought and paid for quite a few wooden toys (£43.69). I didn't get them, so emailed the seller on 7 April.

No reply.

I emailed her again (always being very friendly!) on 18 April. She replied on 19 April that she will resend goods out (resend? So she HAD sent them?) and I'll get them in the next 2 days or so.

On 24 April I email her re no delivery yet.

On 25 April I open a paypal dispute... I want a refund. I need these toys, they were for a particular theme I had planned and I really wasn't happy with her lack of communication. Paypal said the seller had till 6 May to reply (huh? still wait another 11 days to hear from her?)... I wasn't happy but thought I had no choice...

Then ebay sent me an email saying I should call them as they noted I had opened a dispute. I phoned them today and they are refunding me the full amount! They will investigate the seller and take necessary action... but they have a new program where they feel their good buyers shouldn't have to deal with disputes and bad sellers, ebay will help!

I have 100% rating, pay immediately always. So yes... I am a good buyer!

I am so chuffed about this. She said I am one of the pilot customers they've emailed to make use of this new service.

What do you think about it?

*Jen starts watching bank account*

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

National election day in South Africa!

Voter turnout has been phenomenal today!

Sadly, the ANC is very likely to win, far more people have registered to vote than ever before, I think mostly because all the previously apathetic people are trying to ensure that they do not get a two-thirds majority rule. There is word that that Zuma plans to change the constitution (to suit his own purposes due to his two recent court cases on charges of rape and corruption respectively) and our constitution can only be changed by a two thirds majority on the entrenched provisions.

Already, one presiding officer has been shot at a polling station in an attempted robbery. Another has been arrested for pre-marking ballot papers in favour of the Anc. A third has been killed in a motor vehicle accident.

We are only a few hours into the voting.

One good thing was that I phoned my mum as she was voting and, as she has just turned 60, she got moved to the front of the queue... hehe. Fabulous! In 1994, the last national elections I could vote in (they were the first democratic elections!) , I stood in the queue for 7 hours... madness.

So, how do your national elections compare?

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Online friendships... real or not?

Many people just don't realise that true online friends are real people (friends) too!

I belong to an international travel club and we have meets all the time - in 2006 I organised a party (hired out a restaurant in London!) for 88.5 (there was a baby) people from all over the world, many I had never met in real life, only online, many I knew already... my family thought me daft at the time (maybe I was... logistics were a nightmare!)... but have come to see that some pals I made from the travel club are some of my closest pals in real, life.. it was merely a place we met (online).

My brother met his wife online... they've been married 6 years, have 2 kids... not a dating site, was on a religious debate site and her mum was the moderator (in the States), and she told her daughter about this lovely South African lad who comes online sometimes... so that's how they 'met'. They chatted on the phone for about a year and then he flew to the USA for a month, and, 12 days after meeting her, proposed... and that was that!

What has your experience been? Do you have online friends that have become 'real life' friends too?

Monday, 20 April 2009

Cornwall, the gem of a county

We had a restful and enjoyable Easter break in Cornwall, SW England. We stayed at a lovely 4 star B&B called Thurlestone Guest House in Carbis Bay. Gary and Mandy have found the perfect balance of combining a quality-filled family life, with a thriving B&B business at home. Carbis Bay lies right next to St Ives... it is less known and thus far less busy and touristy, which suited us down to the ground, hence us opting to stay here, and travel into St Ives.

One of the things that drew me to this beach was the fact it wasn't full of people! They were all paddling at St Ives! Carbis beach is in a pretty cove, is sheltered and out of the way enoough to deter throngs of people visiting it. Which suited us just fine! The sand is white (which is a must-have in my opinion), seas were blue, weather was great.

We particularly loved Porthminster Beach (a cove btwn Carbis Bay and St Ives), Sennen Cove, and the quaint open air amphitheatre, Minnack Theatre (neighbouring Porthcurno Bay is stunning!!!)

St Michael's Mount with it's imposing castle... situated next to the coastal town of Marazion, an ancient village. You can walk across the causeway to the castle during low tide, but will have to take a boat across to the castle during high tide.

We had a nice cream tea in Marazion at The Chapel Rock Cafe... with superb views overlooking St Michael's Mount. Another place that looked nice to have them (more quaint but no space when we looked), was the Seagrove Gallery and Tea Garden. This is a shaded area, the Chapel Rock Cafe is far more sunny, plus has the view.

We had a really good pub lunch at The Kings Arms there too. We visited here twice we enjoyed it so much.

I bought this ceramic piece of jewellery from Seagrove Gallery and Tea Garden. It's simple in design and I love it.

St Ives is a must, full to the brim with cobbled alleyways (wear comfortable trainers!), galleries (from cheap and average, to expensive and high quality artwork), restaurants, architecture, beach, harbour... we loved it.

For a nice fishy lunch try Beaches Restaurant on St Ives Harbour.
Very nice. For a lovely evening meal try Mermaids (St Ives).

Bailey's ice cream is available at the harbour too.. just be wary of the cheeky seagulls who literally take it out of your hand! This is my Bailey's-flavoured ice cream.


At this precise moment there was a loud
*whooooshhh!* and my poor sister's ice cream was nabbed by an over zealous seagull, then nonchalantly dropped on the beach, less than a foot away from a startled beach-sun-worshiper! Cheeky b*gger.

I never shared mine with her. Just call me 'meanie'.

Visitors (stupidly) feed the birds, so they are far too tame and not shy at all.. literally taking the food out of your hand.


We didn't think much of Land's End at all to be frank. My hubby was there last in the 90s and it was far less commercialised and enjoyable. We got the obligatory photo, but it is commercialised and overdone. I wish we'd had time to see Mousehole (drove past but no time!) and Tintagel. Another time!

Cornwall ~ land of the pasty and serpentine... a mini country of it's own in many respects.