Friday, 27 May 2011

Flowers from a happy client :)

Missing petal alert!

Cheryl's bead forks are the perfect partner to a chocolate cake :)

Lovely Corrinne and her lil lad, Elliot, came for a play date today.

Not needing an excuse to make CAKE... haha... I baked a chocolate cake... which went down well (her hubby has a whole petal to look forward to haha). I love using Cheryl's beaded cutlery too. Such a talented lady, a fine addition to anything I bake.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

24 May

Today is the 'biological one's' birthday.
My late father's birthday.

I always feel funny on this day,
a mix of sadness and regret,
never having celebrated it with him,
him being absent in our lives always...
but since his death his birthday feels different.
I feel numb. And flat.
Such sadness for a man I hardly knew,
and the small part he did play in our lives was not pleasant.
I think my sorrow is because it is so finite,
the relationship that never was,
and there's now no chance of any kind of reconciliation.
Absolutely no chance of him asking for forgiveness,
and us perhaps forming a relationship,
father and daughter...
as he's gone. Forever.

A little reminder to treasure those you hold dear,
when they're gone, they're gone.
And for those family members who we might not particularly like...
to try and make a step toward changing things with them.

Who knows what tomorrow might bring?

Monday, 23 May 2011

I'm going potty!

I pop outside, finally managed to get all the kids asleep at the same time...


grab a banana and a book, sun hat on, and out into the garden I go to catch a few rays..
then *THUD*... a huge pot plant sails by... about 10 cm from my head!!!

Do I tell the neighbour about her flying pot plants?
She is an oddball deluxe.
Won't be going near that part of the garden till she's taken the others away, that's for sure.
We had very strong winds here, which dislodged them.

They are dangerous... and not small pots either, the plant that fell is about 80cm tall.
If she doesn't answer her door tomorrow I will complain to the body corporate,
and get someone to her - see if they can remove the remaining pots.
Other neighbours are so nice thankfully.
Her boyfriend and her (she reminds me of Yoko Ono, he of Einstein, but taller) are off with everyone.

Do we stay inside today, to play it extra safe?
I have little kiddies... worried about their safety.
Or do we just stay away form that part of the garden?
I think that's the best bet.

Silly neighbour.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

A lazy Sunday afternoon

A lazy Sunday afternoon with sis... we had just been to Spur (I had a starter pork rib meal with salad, sis had a burger)

A lazy Sunday afternoon

After a quick lunch at Spur, sis and I popped home and settled into a lazy afternoon in the garden with Lance... and some vino! London has been having an early summer this year... hoping it's a good sign of things to come over the coming months. Funny weather though, it will be really nice and warm, then a chilly wind will come out of nowhere.

Gotta grab the sun where we can though! :)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cape Town beckons

I have been yearning to return to South African soil for a couple of years. The decision was between London and Cape Town, after our latest little holiday in South Africa last month.

After 4 years of not visiting Cape Town, the mother city of my birth and a place I hold so dear to my heart, when I touched down, I knew I was HOME.

We returned to London, my heart lifted. My decision was made. Cape Town it would be!

But my husband has taken a while longer to decide. He has very real concerns re safety and our financial future. We are well settled and comfortable in London, and would have to start all over again, were we to return. As the man of the house and head of our homr he feels the responsibility of such a move more than I do.

We have been having disagreements, which is unlike us. The thought of living in England for the rest of my life, where many things have been so great, is unthinkable for me, as this is not where my heart is.

Stale mate.

My sister comes round yesterday to spend the day with us. It being such an emotive subject, it doesn't take long till it is brought up. Her contribution as an *outsider* is spot on. She acknowledges how our personalities differ (I am an entrepreneur, more of a risk taker and visionary), he has never been self employed and is less adventurous. Nothing wrong with that, he is more careful than I perhaps? I make decisions quickly and assertively. He has a more considered approach.

I think this is why we do well together... we work off and complement each other.

So, after a couple of hours of chatting in depth with my sister, she prayed for and with us.

Anyway, when she left for home later in the evening, he told me he is happy to move to the Cape, believes it's the right thing...!!!!!!!!

I cannot tell you how RELIEVED I am!!! I know far too many South African girls who remain here as their partner/hubby isn't keen to move to SA (whether they are Saffa/Kiwi/English etc.). Odd how it's always the girls who wish to return more than the boys? This has been apparent by the friends and family that have returned thus far too. The lads have listened to their wives though and gone back, and are HAPPILY back.

To remain in the UK is an easy head choice... to move to South Africa has to be a head and heart choice. And until one realises this, the decision cannot be made. Who leaves a 1st world country with good jobs, travel etc.?

Only a heart decision can be made in this regard.

So, I need to be here till end next year due to my operation (complications are higher the first two years post op), and we are looking at returning early 2013... depends on when we buy property there. Will hopefully manage to keep our Johannesburg property which is tenanted (is an excellent long term investment).

I will start another childcare facility there (in Durbanville), Lance will come into business with me. We are both going to study for a national Qualification (my qualification and courses I have done in the UK count, but it's best I do a South African teacher training qualification too as some things are different btwn the two countries). This is a total career change for Lance and he needs to do this. So we will study together.

We are also keen to be creative again and make handmade recycled products like I used to in Cape Town... so the play school might be half day, then the arvy be for making products etc. We will see. We have plenty of time to sort out the nuts and bolts.

Either way, the biggest decision has been made... we are returning HOME :)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Lil adventure in Kruger...

We were on a dirt road in the Kruger Park (you can fit Wales in there a couple of times, to give you an idea of the size of the park), we were following my brother, whose car overheated and broke down.

No aircon.
2 adults, 2 kids.
No phone reception of course.

Dirt road, not a main (tar) one, so it might be hours till someone drives through. You cannot get out your car unless you are wanting to be on an animal's dinner platter.

We pulled up right next to them, they passed the kids through their window into our car, they ran (like a bat outta hell) from their car into ours, and we all (snugly) drove to the nearest camp, which thankfully is the main camp in the park, with a tow truck!

Being in the wild has certain dangers alright.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Dear mum

(for Mother's Day, 8th May)

You make my world shine, you make me smile and laugh, you make me grateful for the joy a mother gives her child. Have a wonderful day, wishing we were with you to spoil you and make you tea and carrot cake. You are never far from my thoughts and heart.

Thank you Jesus for my mum.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

My head hurts

We told ourselves we must come back to London, and resettle into work again, then think about and discuss South Africa.

But it's so hard. We have been chatting about it long and hard. Non stop practically. Even had a barney (argument), one of maybe two we have annually (thankfully!).

And my head hurts.

We need to decide soon whether we will return to South Africa after 10 years in London. The choices are London, Cape Town or Nelspruit. We love all three for different reasons.

The immediate head decision is to stay here in London... we have a lovely home, have settled, hubby has been in his job for nigh on 9 years and is keen to come into business with me, my little business is doing so well and we are happy and secure.

But... when Africa is in your blood and heart and soul, it torments you.

Just being back there in December for a couple of weeks holiday, and then again in April (to visit Nelspruit and the Cape), touched me deeply and profoundly. Oh how I wish we could win the lottery and live half the (warmer part of the) year in London, and the other half in South Africa.

Wishful thinking!

The heart decision is something quite different though. My heart yearns for Africa... just being there, tasting the salt of the sea on my lips, feeling the soil under my bare feet, taking in the sunshine, seeing the smiles of happy, yes happy!, people... has deepened the need and desire to return to my roots.

We visited the Cape (which we know well, hubby lived there for 25 yrs), and I was born there and lived there for 7 years prior to coming to London (having been brought up in Johannesburg). We have both worked in the Cape, and I had a successful little design business there, where I employed local woman from informal settlements and we made all kinds of recycled eco friendly products for hotels, retailers (like Woolworths), weddings etc.

I LOVED my business and it was very hard at the time to start again in London. But start again we did, and we have settled and, with a career change into childcare (from a cut-throat, demanding publishing company), my childcare business has gone from strength to strength.

We have been so blessed.

We visited White River and Nelspruit (and Kruger of course! Our favourite place)... and where we do love the houses, can easily afford our dream home there, the weather is pretty warm throughout the year which is lovely... we looked at the crime there, the municapality services, chatted to a couple of locals in depth etc. and have decided Nelspruit, whereas it is a growing city and has so much potential, is not for us, apart for holiday visits.

It lacks a crucial something that the Cape has in abundance. A support network. Family and friends. We have a couple of acquaintances in Nelspruit, but our close friends and all of my husband's family, and some of mine, are in the Cape.

And, being back to the Cape only solidified for me how very important it is having that support network when you return. Friends of ours returned to the Cape (from London) in December 2010, and it is interesting to note how the English husband is settling easier than his South African wife. We stayed with them on our latest visit and heard firsthand re the good, the bad, the truthful.

But you can only listen to the experiences and opinions of others for so long... we are all individuals, have varying desires and needs and expectations.

For me, I want to do God's will for me in my life. As does my husband. And we have prayed about this trip and that we will have the same thoughts and decision. And herein lies the problem.

As things stand NOW, hubby, whereas he LOVES the Cape, is keener to stay in London as business is so good here, and I am keen for the Cape... and us starting a new play school there. I did it here... and, with him joining me in the business, it can only be better, and we can create a play school just as nice as what I have here in London, in the Cape.

I am also desperately keen to be artistic again and make products again for resale... and whereas my current childcare business is an eleven hour work day (so no time for anything else), a play group would be half day, and we then have the afternoons for our other creative business. Best of both worlds!

Hence our current dilemma. We are not seeing eye to eye. But it's early days yet, and hopefully we will both reach a (same) decision soon.

I LONG to be back in South Africa and know we can start again in business and be successful... even though staying here in London is the easy route.. everything is settled and the business runs smoothly. I am interviewing prospective clients whose kids are not even born yet... I have a long waiting list. The demand here is huge for childcare. But I can only think the demand is huge in the Cape too. People have kids there too, do they not?

I will write again when I have had a breather. My mind is reeling with all the possibilities and logistics and our future, and I need to rest it a bit. Savour the sunshine, sip some Amarula Cream, and let my knee heal.

Then we'll talk again.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Royal wedding celebrations

We arrived back from our whirlwind trip to South Africa on the morning of the Royal Wedding, of William to Kate, oops... I mean Catherine :)

My advice? Do NOT go to Heathrow on the day there is a big event in London. Mayhem! Thankfully me being on crutches (hence wheelchair assistance) got us to the front of the humungous queues.

So once my sister had located us in the maze that is Heathrow, we headed home. She had been housesitting at our home whilst we were away.

We had our usual Easter egg hunt (who said there needs to be children around to have an Easter egg hunt? haha)... and then we settled in with scones, jam and clotted cream, tea and chicken wraps to watch THE wedding.

How lovely, and how refreshing to see a young royal couple in love - a wedding so traditional and yet with their personal modern tastes too... like the trees in Westminster Abbey instead of bouquets of flowers... and them driving out with 'JUST WED' on the number plate of Charle's aston martin... modern and young, and refreshing!

The nest day we had a dear friend, Kristi pop by. She came to London from Chicago to see the wedding... she got as far as Hyde Park.

We took her to Richmond Park (King Henry VIII's hunting grounds), where we had a British/South African picnic, and then showed her Richmond. We live in a beautiful part of South West London... it's green, lush and quite beautiful. A different beauty to our beautiful South Africa... but a beauty that stands on her own.