Sunday, 31 July 2011

While the gardner works, he's being watched... time for boerie rolls and an ice cold savannah

We picked up this delightful little jewelled bird at the garden centre. 

Its funny, in so many ways I am so un-girly (is that a word?? haha), and in others I am so very much a girl.. with sparkles and beads etc. So this lil bird appealed.

To me this looks like a humming bird. There is no description on it. It is overlooking my veges and some flowers. 

East Sheen Garden Centre

This is a beautiful garden centre near us, not inexpensive by any means, but you get what you're looking for and the quality is great.

Only downside is with all the beautiful flowers comes all their fragrant aromas.... which is an asthma trigger for me... so I had to hold my breath quite often as I was going around the garden centre.

We are careful about the fresh flowers we bring home. I get lillies sometimes from clients, and as pretty as they look, their smell is so overwhelming, my chest closes immediately... so I always have to give them to my (very happy to get them!) neighbour, Mel, at no. 10.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

80s party photostrip

80s party!

80s party dancing!!!

Nothing quite like having a good boogie to 80s music!! We had SUCH fun at this party - a combined 40th birthday party for Debbie and Geoff.

We got them a '40 year old survival kit'... and a 1972 Top of the Pops CD... to see what songs were popular when they were born.

80s party 29 July

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Hunting for feathers is fun!

I give the kids (aged 1 and 2) little tasks every day... today the task was to find the following:

1 feather
2 sticks
3 pebbles/stones (and not out of Jen Jen's flower bed!)
4 unbroken leaves
2 broken leaves

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Johannesburg... 'World Class African City?'

What is your view of a world class city... in this case, an African world class city?

Even here in 'first world' London... pot holes, litter, billing crisis, corruption, lazy folk on the dole etc. exists... many live in squalor. 

To me a world class city is about the people, the infrastructure, the culture, the history... working together for the betterment of those living with it.. especially taking care of the vulnerable... the children, the elderly, the animals. Education, healthcare, safety are paramount. Acceptance of diversity and willing to change for the sake of all. Humility and love for your neighbour.

There is so much that IS world class about Jhb and CT (focussing on these 2)... the airports are FAR better than many I have been in, service MUCH better generally than in European cities, people smile even when they have little materially, people look you in the eye, infrastructures like the Gautrain are fantastic, the stadiums that were renovated/built are world class - mind boggling that they were done on time. 

We have come such a long way since apartheid, which was horrendous, and yes, there are things (like certain mindsets... aka Julius) that are frustrating to hear... as they have no place in our new, democratic nation, where colour should NOT play a role. We are past that, need to stop living in the past.

We need to focus on the positive in moving forward, do our bit in society (volunteer at your local Aids orphanage/volunteer for Missing Children South Africa/visit an old age home/help mentor a child in an underprivileged area etc.)... if we start making the change ourselves, it spreads. 

Easy to whinge from the comfort of an armchair, but the whinging will stop when we get off our butts and make a difference ourselves... and ensure fine people like Maimane and Zille are voted into power.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Organic and home grown!

This morning a client gave me some of her homegrown broccoli, delighted!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Lance's 40th birthday @ Shaka Zulu's Restaurant

The gang... Eleanor, Dale, Judy, Jen, Lance, Jane, Glen

The drummer said Lance has good rhythm. Weird to have a guy dressed up like a Zulu.. and then to have this perfect English accent coming out his mouth hehe

He got TWO cakes this year! My chocolate one and the one I ordered from the restaurant.. the chef there made it.

Lance took this shot - just in case you were wondering!!! haha... Cool hey!

These ladies go around... dancing, chatting, posing... such a good idea! The zebras are beautifully done. 

Congrats my dear on your 40th! 

Shaka Zulu!

Stunning wall mosaics and low and high relief artwork... the most beautiful place I have been to in a while.. certainly the best restaurant... food and service was great, as was the dancing!

Some pics from Saturday night's celebrations! What a ball we had. Lance's sister, husband, son and girlfriend were with us, as was my sister.

We went to Shaka Zulu's, an upmarket restaurant/nightclub, in Camden Town. There are huge statues of Shaka Zulu (they use Henry Cele as a model) and his warriors adorn the place... the lighting is stunning... furniture African patterned and delightful. I wish I could take a chair home! 

Shaka Zulu bongo drummer!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Having fun!

Chocolate overload ~ Lance's 40th birthday cake

Lance's 40th birthday cake 

40 years ago, a little boy was born...

My loveliest hunka hunka... and when he's clean shaven he looks no older than 18... 

I've made him a huge, calorific chocolate cake, and will make him one of his favourite meals for dinner. No candles, he is allergic.

Tonight he will spend some time opening his pressies... I have got him all kinds of little gifts - shaving brush, Spurs gym bag (his English football team for you non Brits), Sharks tshirt (his Saffa rugby team for you non Saffas), latest Springbok shirt (I assume y'all know who they are...?), wireless stereo headphones for gym, 1971 Top of the Pops CD, C-130 Hercules flight simulator game, Around the world in 80 gardens DVD by Monty Don, Jack Russel mouse mat... all individually wrapped... he will kill me... haha

Ah the joy!

Tomorrow night he is going out with the lads for some drinks... and Saturday night we are going with family to Shaka Zulu Restaurant, a fab and funky new restaurant/nightclub in Camden Town. Will dance the night away... me in heels eek! That's rare. 

No big parties for him, quite low key for such a big birthday. But then that's him. Less fuss as possible. Hence me going overboard with the pressies! 
Me... I like a little fuss :)

What's your preference? Low key or a little fuss?

Happy 40th Lance x

Thursday, 14 July 2011

What a fabulous review!

A client wrote this review of me. I was nearly in tears when I read what she'd written. Feel so honoured to be a part of children's lives, and realising the impact I could possibly have on an adult's life too. Humbling. 

People lead such busy lives, they most often do not have the time to say how they feel, and I assume much goes unnoticed/taken for granted... and then I get this incredible token of appreciation and I realise NOTHING is not seen and all is appreciated. The big things as well as the small.


'Better than good!
user rating
The good rating is not enough to describe how fantastic Jen is.

My daughter has been with her for approx 1 year now and is so excited to see Jen every time we drop her off. The kids have so much fun each day and come home with a diary of their daily activites, what they ate etc... which is so lovely to read. Jen creates a very loving, caring and educational environment. Even the kids hug each other hello each day!

One of the many things I love about Jen is that she sends me photos of my daughter during the day which brightens my work day beyond belief.

Jen is also accomodating with extra days of care which can be quite helpful.

I cannot rate her high enough. I know both my daughters life and mine are enhanced by having Jen in it.'

All4Women - Ways to collect water

All4Women - Ways to collect water

Monday, 11 July 2011

Result time

We've been quite busy this past week, usual work stuff (had emergency child today too, a lovely 3.5 yr old called James); with summer and the good weather comes many social things too (I had 4 social events this past weekend alone - it's crazy! And turned down a further two); and we try get to gym as much as we can.

Now that we've started gym again - we have seen personal trainers and I've been given exercises for my knee primarily at this stage, so I work on two machines, and then swim, and do further exercises there. 

Lance has been given an exercise program to strengthen his back and increase his flexibility, then he swims too. Lance had physio on Monday and then today, he went to the doctor to get his MRI results.

He has disc damage, dehydrated discs and they have discovered schmols nodes, which means he may have had/has Scheuermann's disease. There is slight narrowing of the vertebral foraman, which has been touching the L5 nerve root, which causes the pain. 

He's not allowed any weight training at this stage. He is going to see a rheumatologist about the consequences of the schmols nodes, and to get clarity on Scheuermann's disease, and what he needs to do about it. Physio is helping with the pain. Plus he has exercises to do at home, plus the gym training (and swimming!). 

Onwards and upwards. At least we have some kind of answer now as to why he has the pain he has/suspected stroke episode etc.  

Friday, 8 July 2011

Henry Moore at Hatfield House

Hatfield House

With Mel at Hatfield House

Types of asthma

Classifying Asthma 
Over the years, there have been several ways of classifying asthma and of distinguishing one form of the disease from another.

Traditionally, doctors have divided asthma into two general categories, Extrinsic (allergic) asthma and Intrinsic (non-allergic) asthma, depending upon the types of stimuli that trigger attacks.
As well as these classifications, asthma is further split up into categories such as Exercise Induced or Nocturnal.

Extrinsic Asthma 
An "allergen" or an "antigen" is a foreign particle which enters the body. Our immune system over-reacts to these often harmless items, forming "antibodies" which are normally used to attack viruses or bacteria. Mast cells release these antibodies as well as other chemicals to defend the body.

Extrinsic asthma is caused by this type of immune system response to inhaled allergens such as pollen, animal dander or dust mite particles.

It was found early this century that some asthmatics had an immediate skin reaction such as swelling or redness, when an allergen was injected just under the skin. This reaction is described as "Atopic" and so Extrinsic asthma is also called Atopic or "Allergic" asthma.
People with allergic asthma and their families frequently have other allergy-related problems such as hay fever, rhinitis, skin rashes, hives, eczema and so on. Our trigger subsectiondiscusses in detail about allergens.

Allergic asthma usually responds quite well to the use of inhaled steroids as these suppress the immune system, particularly in the lungs where the reaction is creating havoc.

Intrinsic Asthma
Intrinsic asthma is not allergy-related, in fact it is caused by anything except an allergy. It may be caused by inhalation of chemicals such as cigarette smoke or cleaning agents, taking aspirin, a chest infection, stress, laughter, exercise, cold air, food preservatives or a myriad of other factors.

Antibodies are not produced and even when skin tested to various antigens shows a reaction, these substances do not lead to an asthma attack. The cause may be an irritation to the nerves or muscles in the airways. Asthmatics' airways are unusually sensitive or "hyper-reactive" and the asthma presents itself in the usual manner of constricted smooth muscle, airway inflammation and increased mucus production.

Treatment of intrinsic asthma is not easy as it may not be known what triggers the asthma in the first place and therefore avoiding triggers can be impossible.
Avoidance of things with strong odours such as perfume or cleaning agents may be possible at home. Not going to smoky bars or discos, avoiding air which is hot/cold/humid/dry - depending on your particular trigger and keeping calm can only be maintained up to a point.

Mixed Asthma
As its name suggests, mixed asthma is a mixture of intrinsic and extrinsic asthma. These people react to some allergies but their asthma is also triggered by other things.

Is It Important To Know Which Form of Asthma I Have?
These classifications can be useful for you in understanding your disease and suggesting a path for treatment. For example, in asthma, empahasis on avoidance of known allergens can be useful.
However, you should be aware that most asthmatics have mixed asthma. For example, it is common for someone with the extrinsic form of asthma to experience attacks when he has a chest infection - an intrinsic trigger.

Approximately half of all asthmatics are triggered by allergies and the other half are not. However extrinsic asthma seems to be more prevalent in the young:
    Infants or very small children have a high response to food allergies which produce wheeziness but this response becomes much less by the time the child is about ten years of age. From about four years old children develop allergies to inhaled substances and this is more likely to stay with the person for a lifetime though it subsides during adulthood. After young adulthood the reaction to allergies dies down and so often does the asthmatic response. These factors help to perpetuate the myth that "he will probably grow out of it" at seven, fourteen or twenty-one years old.
As well as intrinsic, extrinsic and mixed, asthma has been further categorised into other types such as Nocturnal and Exercise Induced. Your condition may have been given one of the following labels:

Nocturnal Asthma
Noctural asthma classifies asthma which suddenly worsens in the middle of the night, typically between 2 and 4am.
With nocturnal asthma, asthmatics often fall asleep quickly because they are physically exhausted only to wake some three to four hours later with breathing difficulties. They cough and wheeze, take reliever medication, a visit to the bathroom or a drink of water and try to go back to sleep. This is difficult and when the person finally sinks into a deep sleep he is woken a short time later by the alarm. He staggers out of bed feeling as if he would like to climb back into it, unfortunately it is time to get ready for work.

This type of asthmatic frequently feels totally exhausted during the day and needs catnaps to keep functioning at an adequate level. Nocturnal asthma should be taken seriously as there is a high frequency of respiratory arrest and death due to asthma in the early hours of the morning.

Bronchial Asthma
Bronchial asthma is usually an allergic reaction with breathing difficulties and wheezing. The smooth muscles wrapped around the airways spasm causing them to narrow and mucus is usually produced because the airways become irritated. Most attacks are caused by hyper-sensitivity to air-borne particles or allergies to foods.

Exercise Induced Asthma
Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA) is noticed during or shortly after exercise. The person feels wheezy and short of breath. Exercising in the winter seems to be particularly bad for this type of asthma.
Because exercise becomes a problem and is unpleasant, often the person does less exercise, becoming less fit as a result. Sometimes this deteriorates to the point where the only exercise taken is from the house to the bus stop. If you have the misfortune to be late for the bus then it becomes a major problem! Find out more aboutreducing EIA.

Occupational Asthma
Industrial or Occupational asthma develops anywhere from a few months to years after starting a new job. Symptoms usually improve while on holiday or after leaving the position. Some common causes of Industrial asthma are: sawdust, chemical fumes, constant dusty conditions, close contact with animals, glue fumes, fluff off fruit, leaves etc. Read more about Occupational Asthma.

Seasonal Asthma
Seasonal asthma can be triggered by trees, grasses or flowers releasing pollen to the atmosphere or by a particular climate. For example, some people find the summer heat makes their asthma worse, while others find spring is paricularly bad with the icrease in flowering plants.

Silent Asthma
Asthma attacks which give very little or no prior warning and very little wheezing. They are usually severe and can be life-threatening.

Cough Variant Asthma
Asthma is displayed by a persistant and irritating cough. 

Saturday, 2 July 2011

No Prague after all, but that's a-okay!

We found a lovely hotel in Prague, but we will go another time. 

After paying a huge car service bill (the ONE time I begrudge having an Audi!), paying the rest of my business tax, and paying off the Algarve villa for August.... we made the wise decision to stay home this weekend... and I am so glad we did! 

This is the first week I have been off crutches when out and about... we went to Wimbledon tennis last Saturday, my first trip out sans crutches, took it easy. Had my first longish walk in Richmond Park yesterday too, which was lovely, capped off with a picnic. 

And so, now that I am off crutches, and the asthma is more under control, I have joined gym again... woohooooooooo!!! 

Lance and I have our training session (we have vastly different training schedules, needless to say!haha), then we swim and have a time in the jacuzzi together. There is this lovely waterfall machine in the jacuzzi that slams water down onto your back/shoulders... it's d.i.v.i.n.e.

I am also having a few sessions with a personal trainer, he's a sweet chap, who has 2 staffies! That's what sold it for me ;) 

What a joy!

I am quite overwhelmed to be feeling so good and MOBILE. Feeling better physically than I have in years.

Burger time!

A granary roll, beef burger, onion, carrot and beetroot topping with sunflower seeds. Side of grapes and strawberries :)