The Purple Socks

At the end of 2006 my mom went on a holiday and spent some time in London. When she came back among many other souvenirs, gifts and amazing stories to tell she gave me a pair of socks. At that stage I was someone who spent more of my life in socks than shoes, I barely even knew what my feet looked like anymore so receiving socks from somewhere overseas was special.

They were from London, birthplace of my father so I treasured them for that reason. They are dark purple, stripey, they have white rubber patterned soles and they are toe socks! It doesn’t seem like much but they were a functional, simple gift with so much symbolism. I have probably worn them less than ten times since they were brought back for me. I don’t want to wear them because they were (expensive at £10!) socks from a place I am longing to visit and have not done so yet. I felt wearing them would wear out my dreams of visiting the UK so I preserved the socks, I preserved the dream. So I never wore them.

Last night was a bit chilly and what would match my purple hoodie (note: I am eternally a purple fanatic) than some purple socks! Glancing over my 50+ pairs of socks all strewn in my drawer I see my London-purple-expensive-dont-wear-me-stripey-toe-socks and without a second’s thought pulled them out of the sock crowd and decided to put them on.

Life is life, you don’t know when it will end. Live today for today, wear the good socks, go to the good places, speak all the good words and LIVE!

 

Love Local

I heart Durban, I love Durban, I am proud to call Durban my home. Of late I have had so many interactions and conversations with different suppliers for our anticipated wedding that it was enough to make me feel crazy and to talk to myself, out loud, even more than I usually do.

With that exact thought of Loving Local in mind my fiancé and myself have sought out to use locally produced items and suppliers. From the cake to the chef, the ceremony venue and favours we are actively trying our hardest to not only get Durban on the map but to assist all of our young entrepreneur friends out there who are trying so hard and doing so well at the same time. As they say, “any publicity is good publicity”.

Followers of our #8ofthe8 wedding need to hold on just a little bit longer before the big day and big reveal of all the wonderful, talented, local suppliers we are using. It will be worth the wait!

Play Nice

It irks me that I have to even title my blog, ‘Play Nice’. It bothers me that people do not naturally gravitate to a positive state of being in any given situation. It’s beyond me how someone will deliberately go out of their way to be nasty. I just do not understand why.

I have worked in and grown up in many different customer care/customer focused and tourism industries. I very often saw how a situation played out and only when one complains, threatens or raises their voice do they think they are getting their own way. People are so egocentric that they will verbally and sadly sometimes physically attack someone who is a server, a helper, a blue collar worker, someone who they believe is lower than them in some way to make their point and position known. I try my very hardest not to get ahead of myself when in a trying situation. Especially when I am a customer as I do not have immediate entitlement merely because I have laid down money. We are all human, we deserve respect and if I can be the person to thank the teller first and tell them to have a great day I will. Would you believe how shocked most people are when I do so.

It’s sad to see the surprise on someone’s face when I ask them how they are, wish them well and help them if they need an extra hand. Pay it forward, be the person you would want to be serving if the roles were reversed and that was your job.

Bloggerversary 7 February

This week marks one year since I first put my fingers to the keyboard and ferociously wrote a blog on a very short time limit with an incredibly fast beating heart and sweaty palms. A year since I opened up my mind and my heart to the Internet and gained confidence, experience and with enough luck, followers.

It does not mark a year since I started a company with my fiancé and started working from home, that is in April, however, I do feel this is equally important. I have taken this past year as a year of self-discovery, learning more about myself, my relationship and where I live. I took time to relax (as so many my age are far too busy trying to fit in all the work, all the deadlines, make it to all the social events and parties and eat well and look good and be smart and funny and the life of the party all at the same time – basically try and achieve perfection, I didn’t want to attempt all of that in one go, key word being attempt). I decided I would slow everything down and get through each anxiety, each irritation, each goal I was not able to achieve one at a time. Meditation and yoga and weekly running allowed me to explore the depths of my mind. Reading and actively speaking out even though it was often painful to do because of shyness brought out exactly what I was feeling and let others know. I am extremely grateful that all I have written has had a positive response and created some discussion and a few people in agreement with my quirky, out there ideas. This was the big one for me. So often throughout my life I felt as though I was against the grain in many instances and situations. I follow mainstream living when I feel like it and other times I want nothing to do with society or to live on the grid I just want to be invisible. Fifty-eight blogs later, a whole lot more words than I ever thought I would have produced during that time and a lot of revisions and practice rounds and mostly stepping far far out of my comfort zone and now I can declare myself, Nicole the Blogger! I have grown.

I do blog for clients and I am extremely lucky that I have my own way for a majority of these blogs so again I can express my own feelings and project exactly how I am feeling and reacting in a particular situation. My blogs are based on my truth, my ideas, ideals, thoughts and problems. I have religiously said that writing is journaling and journaling is getting your problems out of your mind and out there to be solved, even it if is merely by writing them down and putting them behind you, or tackling them as a discussion.

I have always loved writing, the act of writing itself lets me see what my hands can do let alone what my heart and mind does. Utterly messy handwriting that changes from paragraph to paragraph as I spill my ideas onto paper, it’s mine and I love it. I often beg my fiancé to write something for me so I can keep it and treasure it. It’s like your own personal font, one no one else has or can replicate. I keep many letters and notes from family both here and gone and I am so grateful I have done this as the memories live on.

One year from now I want to have written more than fifty-eight additional blogs. I would ideally aim for triple digits but it is all dependent on life, time and of course the quality of my writing. Sometimes my thoughts are immensely congested, cloudy and so muddled that they aren’t able to be untangled and comprehensively written into a beautiful piece of literature, sometimes I see the synopsis in my thoughts and this becomes a tweet!

I have a strong adoration for the English language, my childhood book-wormy pastime and reading and writing speed. I am incredibly lucky to have been brought up not only to speak well and clearly, to write well, to love what I write and to constantly want to better and improve on my vocabulary, my diction and language.  I have been told, unfortunately, twice in the past to “dumb down” how I speak to people as I am too formal. At the time I was devastated that my passion in life, that at school as well as university where I reveled in the English language only to be told I learnt too much, I use my knowledge too often, that not everyone can understand me? Alright, here’s one for you, go (**%^&$( yourself. Colloquial enough for you?

Richly Blessed!

Somehow, even though it is only the seventh of the month I have already received sms’s and emails from my bank telling me I need to deposit some cash ASAP. It’s always disheartening being woken up at 5am to read that with sleepy eyes. This morning sitting at my desk I absentmindedly made sense of it all and my panic is now no more. I look back on December and I would not have changed one thing about that month. We celebrated monumentally, we lazed about, we laughed, we ate, we drank, we swapped wonderful presents, we saw family and friends many times. It was not a long holiday but it was without a doubt one of my favourite breaks yet.

Thankfully and luckily I had already had all of my accounts up to date prior to spending the last dimes in my purse so now I sit back and contemplate all the good and positive around me. I have my home, it is full of my needs, necessities and luxuries (with more recently added from a stupendous Christmas and birthday), I have my family at the other end of an internet connection and I have my friends that I am lucky enough to boast are within walking distance. I have commitments and goals, I have to write, I have to exercise regularly and I have a home to clean, food to cook and (future) husband to love, enjoy and spend time with. I do not need money to get me to 31 January I need a better outlook on these next few weeks. I have used what I was given and if Abraham Maslow had any say in the matter we would both agree I am quite high up on his Hierarchy of Needs. Well at least I say so.

It always makes me wonder why we hold money on such a pedestal? Why, when we have all we need in our homes, our pantry, our cupboards do we want more. Take time in January, because I am certain I am not the only one who has received that dooming sms, to do things that involve no spending. It has giving me an opportunity to read a book instead of popping down to the pub, yoga at home instead of a movie at the cinema, discovering what interesting meals I can make with only what is in my kitchen and foregoing the urge to go to the shops each day for “something new to try”and end up spending R200 on, honestly, an item, or five I could have done without. With that all being said, I am grateful for the remuneration I do receive on a monthly basis, I am grateful for the debit orders that go off each month because it is my sense of achievement and security, I am living a richly blessed life where my necessities are covered and I can allow myself some of the luxuries I want. I am ever thankful for what opportunities I have experienced in my schooling, my nurturing, from my parents and peers as each encounter and experience shapes who I am and how look at and work through a situation.

Happy New Year, happy new outlook!

It’s about the presence not the gifts

Christmas, birthdays and a new year to celebrate is just around the corner for us all. Our time to celebrate the victories of 2014, anticipate and set goals for 2015, family time, togetherness. I absolutely cannot get enough of Christmas and Christmas time, some of the things that have run through my mind in the last few weeks are:

Why did I not celebrate ‘Half Way To Christmas Day’ on 25 June by taking out all the decorations and playing Carols all day?

Why do we not have a real tree this year?

Why I have thought about a Christmas themed wedding more than once?

Why do I love Christmas so much?1503371_10152135750905850_36982060_n

I think the only question that warrants an answer is the last one. You see, my father passed away on 14 December 1997, it’s tough when it is eleven days to Christmas and the person you loved the most in the world can’t be there for you anymore. He had already wrapped our presents and wrote on the cards for my sister and me, cards I have still kept. Even though my sister was only four and I was only eight I see the reason for me loving Christmas was a result of what had happened on the 14th. It sounds like a paradox, loving the time straight after we lost someone but what it is, is that first year where we were all so lost, emotionally destitute that the only people we wanted to be around was each other. Our love grew, my mom, sister, gran and I became closer and didn’t let a loss take away our love, it strengthened it. Each year we shed a tear on the 14th but our home also bursts with love, tinsel, trees and all things sugary! We didn’t go away for Christmas, we always stayed home and brought the party there. We baked, cooked, sang, dressed up, decorated. From 1997 we held onto Christmas time as our emotional refuge. We had all gone through a lot of pain on that day and as a result I am infinitely and unconditionally drawn to these strong women.

Christmas is the ultimate time for giving. Coinciding with school holidays we were given opportunities to build and break sister bonds, which happened daily. This time gave us the moments where we all could stretch our imagination and come up with new and wild ways to have fun and get into trouble. We were given the look when we complained that we were bored or for the umpteenth time asked our granny to take us swimming in the complex pool. We were given the biggest feast of all sorts of savoury, sweet, sour and salty foods for all meals of the day. The official tree and house decorating is still probably my favourite part of this time of year. One year we decorated our three metre tall Conifer in our front garden with tinsel.

December and January is the time where we used to get birthday presents wrapped in Christmas wrapping. We used to have our birthday presents put under the Christmas tree and once we decided TWO Christmas trees are better than one, our lounge was closely resembling a forest! There is nothing more amazing than the warm, full, happy, giggly feelings that this time of year gives me.

Have a Merry Christmas lovelies! xxx

Release the Beast

I happened to look in the mirror yesterday while applying moisturizer and then again later on when I was changing. Yesterday I had a thought that I have not had before in my life when I have seen my body, I like it. I like it on its own. I am very confident in the confines of my own space at home, be it on my own or with Mike home too. I have the ability to parade back and forth, strutting my stuff and feeling on top of the world. I am happy with who I am!

Fast forward to the moment I actually leave the house. The moment someone from outside my house sees me. My confidence plummets faster than Felix Baumgartner falling back to earth. I make sure before I walk out the door that I am mostly covered, summer or winter aside, I dress as though I have religious views over my body. A short dress for me does not rise higher than my knees and I would prefer to wear scarves and long-sleeved shirts all year round. I could go into why I always want to hide my body but if we all probe and scrutinize our own bodies that much we will all only find fault. It bothers me greatly, I am bothered by the fact that when I have absolutely nothing and no one to compare myself to I feel perfect. I love my legs, my butt, my tummy and strange hour-glass/pear shaped figure. Genetically I can tell you exactly what part of my body comes from which parents and grandparents so logic would tell me that this is my shape, no amount of exercise or healthy eating will change my tiny torso and wide hips let alone the fluffiest, curliest, mind of its own hair you ever did see. My favourite comment on my hair when I had let it down was that I had “released the beast”. For years I was insulted by what my friend had said but now, I can laugh and realize it is a beast, of many nationalities and holds so much history that one day I will go out with my hair down and like it as much as I do when I am at home.

My fear of my own reflection took such a drastic hold over me, I, at one point I did seek professional help to get over my suffocating ways of self-depreciation every single time I saw a photograph of myself. I have to say that I am improving slowly and with the love and support from Mike I am slowly changing this stubborn mindset of mine. Writing about this is a step I have decided to take in my efforts to change negative into positive, belittling myself into confidence and complimenting myself.

The Morning Trade

Sunday morning, a bit of a chill in the air, a little bit of wind too. Durban springtime provides us with such comfortable weather. Not a lot of humidity, no cold, no blistering sun, perfect bright skies from around 4:30 every morning. My love sleeps in every weekend, by sleep in I mean he wakes around noon so to kill time, get a few good hours out the house and come home with delicious treats I decided to venture down to The Morning Trade on my own. Having checked with a few friends what they thought of TMT and having not too many friends actually go down and check it out I was immediately excited to form my own opinions.

Now, Uber and I have a very special friendship. The ultimate designated driver, the company that makes me feel like a celebrity while I am driven around where I choose by the ever-gentlemen in suits, the reason I probably will never drive, yes this is Uber. Cab called, sitting it an Etios with Siyanda from UberX who told me it was his first day. I always chat to the person who safely takes me from A to B, except for that one time, after a Hen’s Night at 4am, I probably spoke a lot but can’t recall for all the tea in China. Oh how I would love all the tea in China!

Arriving at TMT on 8 Morrison Street, Rivertown welcomed by the giant orange, alas not a peach and I wasn’t sure if anyone was named James. I saw a hustle and bustle of breakfast seekers and keen coffee connoisseurs all sitting, mingling as if each person there was a long lost friend and this was where they all happened to meet up! Now, I get lost easily, lost in my thoughts, lost when I go walking, lost when I buy groceries so TMT was the right size spot for me. It’s in a warehouse of sorts, so high ceilings and wide open spaces become the perfect nesting spot for Sunday nibbles. I kept seeing people walking around holding clear cups and an enticing orange liquid inside, of course this had to come from the giant orange at the entrance. Reading the chalkboard menu I decided on some Summer Lovin’ which was orange, carrot, lemon and ginger from Juice Up Durban and I received a R5 off coupon for Grandma’s Eggs which was just inside. I have saved this coupon so I have a reason to go to TMT again soon. I gravitated towards stands that had everything sweet. Cupcakes caught my eye and obviously I left with one for myself and one for Mike, and as I always do, by Sunday night I had eaten both of them! Who could resist a milktart cupcake and a dark chocolate and orange cupcake, heavenly.

 

TMTcupcakeNext was to find a spot to sit and enjoy the bustling views. Seats were in demand so I do suggest getting there earlier than the 10am breakfast stop I made or be patient as seats become available on the wooden benches quite quickly. I went passed a stand called Black Pig if I recall correctly. Mesmerized by the friendly guy giving the ‘tour’ of his table. Salami, parma ham, chorizo and many other delicious and natural local meats not only amazingly priced but I had about twelve tasters of different deliciousnesses so much so that I was unable to purchase anything else for breakfast other than the local pork chorizo and some Guinea Fowl parma ham that was eaten at home that night. I ventured round once more, like a lap of honour after winning a race and that race was the cuisine kind! Passing some scrumptious looking scotch eggs that pulled at my heart strings as well as enough cheese to make the Dutch look like plebs I decided it was time to Uber back home to have some tea and half a cupcake, okay a whole cupcake. I requested my cab and to my surprise Siyanda fetched me once more. We picked up our conversation straight where we left it and had a good drive home to my man, who was obviously still sleeping.

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