I’m Back, B*ches!

I was thinking about, how when I wrote this post, that I would need some witty intro line like ‘hey, remember me’ or ‘gosh, I haven’t blogged in so long my website is dusty, har har’. But then I can to my site and logged in, and realised I had forgotten my password. So  this, in fact is my opening line:

Hi, I’m Kate, former blogger who cant even remember how to access her own website.

I realise that too many of my (sporadic and poorly spaced out) posts have started like this, so it’s also made me realise that A) I need to get my writing ass into gear and B) I’m sorry. I’ll try harder. All 3 of my followers tell me they miss my content.

So where does one begin after an almost 1 year hiatus? Everywhere and nowhere. I guess in a way my re-emergence from the fog means that my next few posts may be more of a (what the fuck?!) life lately than anything specific. So here goes:

It has been a hell of a year. In the last 13 months my husband and I both lost our jobs, started our own businesses, had a baby, renovated (twice) and then because I clearly didn’t have enough going on, I bought a business. So whilst some of that was super good, it has also been a really really terrible year. An Annus horribilis as Queenie would say.

I can’t get into the work front but let me just tell you, to be out of a job the first week you go back after having a baby is pretty much the biggest kick-while-you’re-down thing that can ever happen to a gal. I realised, recently, that I’m suffering from PTSD and am trying, every day, to remind myself that I am freaking awesome, capable and talented. Sounds pretty arrogant, but I need to start building my own confidence up. As with all sad stories though, it had a happy ending, and I finally had the push I needed to take my photography business to the next level. So I’m thrilled that Kate Rankin Photography is doing so well, and amazed that people keep booking me and using me and it really is the other love of my life. I love t so much, that when I was approached in January to buy a posed newborn business, I jumped.

On 1 March I became the official owner of Slumberings photography, and as I type this I am still sitting in a puddle of wee (not my own) glowing after having just shot a twin newborn session in my brand new studio.

The business, although wonderful, has come with a lot of additional stress. Not only have I had to get funding to buy the business, but I’m also loaned to my crotch hair on building debt and other-fun-stuff-that-comes-with-renovating. It’s been a long journey but I am so so happy to finally have an amazing little studio and office and a home for all aspect of my photography (come visit, I have good coffee;))

On the family front, Piper, the baby I told you about when I last blogged over a year ago, is already 14 months. This little spunky, wild eyed feral child has turned my life upside down and inside out. She took everything I thought I knew about parenting and blew it to smithereens with 8 months of no (and I mean NONE) sleep, dramatic flairs and tiny pint sized diva meltdowns. To say I love her is an understatement. She has climbed under my skin and into my heart and absolutely changed the way I feel about the world around me. Someone told me that she was sent to earth to teach me a lesson, and whiles I have no idea what lesson is, I do know that in her short 14 months she has made me more patient, more exhausted and more of a mom than ever before.

Carter, my angelic now 4 year old is just the most amazing child. He is the calm to her crazy and the brains to her bossy. My little big man makes me so proud with his intellect, thoughtfulness and eagerness ot learn. They always say that children are different but these 2 kids are polar opposites. yet it works. I think he has come to accept that his sister is the ruler of the Rankin roost, and he is merely her plaything and food-bringer. My sweet child.

Oh, and on the family front, because I clearly hared any sleep I was getting or any free time I never had, we got a puppy, Pixel. I have always wanted a Pointer and so I applied to a few rescue groups as I desperately wanted to re-home a dog. Three times we were approved, and then denied when a re-homing position became available – due to us never having owned the breed before. It was heartbreaking meeting a future dog and then being told he wouldn’t be yours. So we got Pixel from a farm in White River, and he has matched my daughter in character, busyness and attitude. He is wonderful (and so fucking naughty we threaten him with the SPA several times a day. (Rupert and Bella are still trying to make up their minds, though)

 

So that’s it, really. Apologies if you clicked through looking for dramatic anecdotes and hilarious stories – but there is just so much going on that it’s almost impossible to out down into just one post. Make sense?

Next week I promise to write about asshole friends, bad parenting and too much wine 😉

I can guarantee that I will be back here, way more often, and hopefully this Stella will get her writing groove back soon

Thanks for the love, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That’s a Wrap, 2018

You know when you think you’re kinda holding it all together and then you realise you haven’t actually put proverbial pen to paper and blogged in several months? Not that anyone really cares, but me, although I have had a few loyal readers ask me when I’d be back. It gets harder, the less you write, and so I’ve put all blog things in the back of my mind cupboard and procrastinated hard about writing – because as much as I adore it, I also don’t want what I do wrote to sound contrived and forced. Because you should never force farts, friendships or writing.

So, I’m pretty grateful that I stumbled upon this Instagram post that was shared on Twitter. A,  because it resonated with me and B, because it’s the perfect structure for my re-entry into the blog-o-sphere. It’s also brilliant timing as I wrap up what has got to be one of the most hectic years of my life.

So, thank you @elmanga – I’m going to jump on board and take part in your virtual closing the loop retreat.

I began the year feeling…

SO excited. I was 7 months pregnant with my Piper and couldn’t wait to meet her. She was the absolute highlight of my year

The experiences that stood out for me this year…

My daughter being born

Leaving my job and becoming self employed

Understanding that I wasn’t at fault for a lot of the bad things that happened to me

Battling in my marriage and realising it’s been the hardest thing I have ever done

Finding myself falling more and more in love with my kids – I never thought you could actually love this much

Going solo and finding work and job opportunities around every single corner (why didn’t I do this sooner?!)

Getting my garden redone and FINALLY getting rid of our pink floors

I felt most supported by…

Strangely enough, strangers. I really feel as if I get the most wonderful and kind validation from my followers on Instagram and Facebook. I 100% realise we should never ever rely on social media to make you feel supported – but I guess it’s the whole concept of being able to talk more openly to relative strangers (you know, striking up a conversation with the person in line at the supermarket, or telling your hairdresser your deepest secrets). The kid words, blog shares, photography support and all round niceness that I feel from thousands of people I have never met is truly wonderful, I don’t think any of you realise just how happy you made me.

I have also had the support o a group of moms on a Whatsapp group – several of whom have become exceptionally close friends. It’s amazing how a daily check-in or ‘how was your day’ can make you feel buoyant.

I felt most inspired by…

Natalie. More on that below

My heart broke when…

A client/friend lost her baby boy to leukaemia. I met him when he was in her tummy, and then did his newborn shoot and so when he left to be with the angels I felt shattered for his family, for his life and for just how unfair it all was. Natalie, his mom, has inspired me every.single.day. She has made me realise that you have two options when something bad happens and she reminds me not to sweat the small stuff and to embrace, love and honour people more.

I continued to…

  1. Work my arse off. I feel like in between having a baby and taking 5 days off at the coast I literally did not stop working. hopefully one day I can reap the rewards, but man, I am tired.
  2. Start an eating and training plan and then stop. 2019 needs to be the year when I can be more consistent with my diet and my exercise and it shouldn’t be the result of a ‘fat day’ or boozy weekend. I need to treat my body kinder.

I let go of…

A friendship. It’s never easy but it had run it’s course and I think we both felt like we weren’t getting what we needed from the other person.

My body told me that…

It can make great babies. It is strong and powerful. It can feed said great babies and it can work just as well at 39 week pregnant as it can at 8 months post-partum. My body also told me that it didn’t like post-baby Kate and shifted and swelled and bloated and widened. After many thousands of rands with endocrinologists I do feel slightly better knowing that a lot of my grievances with my image are due to hormones, and out of my control.

I was exhausted by…

My workload. (I’m sure you’re exhausted of hearing it, but it’s true). I went back to working when Piper was 28 days old and basically haven’t stopped since.

I felt most alive when…

We took a spontaneous week holiday to the South Coast last month. On our last day we went for a long walk on the beach and saw dozens of whales in the distance. The salty sea air was spraying my face, my baby was nestled in her carrier and my son was jumping on sand dunes. My heart was the most full and content it has ever been. If I could bottle that feeling I would.

I was confused by…

How people can be so cruel. Both my husband and I have experienced something this year thats made me wonder about humanity. Thank goodness we are both removed from it now, but how people can treat other human beings has left me quite shaken. I unfortunately cant talk about my situation but I am genuinely suffering from some form of PTSD.

I was amused by..

My hilarious children. carter especially. He says and does the greatest things, and if I was a better mom I’d for sure have written a book by now

I tolerated too much of…

Selfish relationships. Although I say this every year and I do nothing about it, so I’m clearly a sucker for punishment 😉

I freed myself from…

An abusive miserable environment.

I learnt that…

Life goes on, and t goes on fast. People don’t change. Not many people can be relied on. What you give others is not what they will give back. People show love in different ways. You can survive (barely) on no sleep. You have to look after yourself.

I surprised myself when…

I solo parented my kids for 5 days. PROPS single parents. Jaysus but you have the hardest job in the world ;))

I also learnt how to be a bit more honest and push back – can’t say the people who have been on the receiving end of my new-found conflict skills were thrilled, but I suppose its new to them and me.

I placed top 10 in 4 Admired In Africa categories – a photographic competition that honours South Africa’s top photographers.

I had the courage to…

Become self employed with less than 24 hours warning. 6 months on and I couldn’t be happier.

So, I guess, my year in a nutshell. I would love to hear yours?

 

 

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Why Are We Not All Talking About The Menstrual Cup?

One of the greatest parts about being pregnant – apart from the obvious ‘baking an adorable baby’ bit, is that your period leaves you in peace for anything from 9 months to 2 years, depending on how long you breastfeed for.

However, as they say, what goes up must come down, and so when Aunty flow does finally come back, she brings her extended family and their in-laws and it’s a fucking party in your pants, and you’re reminded once again just how little control you have of your own body.

Men, queasy folk and those sensitive to gore, stop reading.

It’s a literal blood bath and renders you exhausted, anaemic and stocking up on hand washing powder on a monthly basis.

Roughly 2.0705 billion women in the world get their period. Yet no-one ever talks about it, and when they do it’s usually a poorly narrated Tampax ad with some sunkissed blonde haired beach babe wearing tight white jean pant playing volleyball or leaping in the air in a cream tutu while the camera slow pans over her crotch mid flight. Look ma, no blood!

And because no one ever talks about it, no one ever knows if what they are going through is normal. I just assumed that everyone was like me and went about my business for 21 years before finally plucking up the courage to ask some girlfriends about their flow.

I was shook. Apparently bleeding out like a sacrificial lamb for eleven days a month is actually not normal. Apparently having to change pads and tampons and underwear every 45 minutes is also kinda odd. So I’ve basically spent the equivalent of a newly legal American thinking that everything was OK DOWN THERE.

It was only when I started talking to friends that the channel of communication opened. One friend, after a Whatsapp conversation detailing the goriest details about my life, suggested I try a menstrual cup. She caught me at a weak moment and I decided that spending R250 on an egg cup shaped piece of silicon couldn’t hurt. Plus, it was pink.

I did some research, jumped online and 2 days later it arrived on my doorstep.

Honestly? I was terrified to try it. It looked big and bulky and I could not fathom how I would ever fit that up there. Turns out, a quick YouTube tutorial and I was good to go. They are remarkably easy to use – out the box you do need to pop it in a cup of boiling water to sterilise it, then in between cycles it needs another good sterilisation, but during your cycle you can simply rinse it off and re insert.

Let me interrupt my self here by saying that this post is in no way sponsored, I just had to share a product that Ive been using because I truly think it’s amazing. It does take some trial and error so I’ve answered the FAQ’s you probably don’t have yet, below:

  • Often referred to as the moon, cup, goddess cup, diva cup etc
  • Any woman over the age of 30 or who has had a baby (regardless of how said baby came out) is a size ‘large’
  • The cup can be inserted in a few ways – I use the C fold, but each to their own
  • The cup is designed to stay in for 12 hours at a time so you can (if you aren’t me and need to re insert a lot during the day) plan it so that you do it in the morning before work and at night before bed.
  • They hold between 20-30ml depending on the brand. It’s frightening to see how much you do or don’t bleed. For me it was enough to see my doctor and for him to be absolutely horrified. Again, sorry queasy readers. And my dad.
  • No, you cannot feel it.
  • Yes, taking it out feels totally weird. Tip – take it out slowly and at an angle. Don’t just yank it out unless you’re keen on a scene from Kill Bill
  • Yes, it can leak if not inserted properly. There are tons of tips online, I wont bore you here
  • Yes, if it’s in properly it will not leak. I have done a shoot with it, chasing a 5 year old, a 1 year old, a LabraDane puppy and a grumpy husband and it stayed put. An early Christmas miracle
  • It has a lifespan of 10 years
  • I got the ‘Pink Cup’ from Takealot, but there are tons of options out there.
  • Its eco friendly and saves you money on buying sanitary products. Fuck you Li-lets and your overpriced toilet-rolls-with-string!
  • I have now converted 10 mates to try this product, and I like to think of this post as a way of cutting out the bullshit from your period. Period.

Try it, and let me know?

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Life Lately… And An Apology

Guys! , I know it seems as if I’ve fallen off a cliff face, and whilst it kinda feels like I have, I managed to get caught on the ledge and am slowly starting to make my way back up.

So, first off, my apologies for the radio silence. I know my 6 loyal readers have missed me terribly. But I’m back, kind of, and now that the craziness of the last few months has come to a semi-solid place, hopefully this little ol’ blog of mine will gain some momentum again.

So, where did we end off? Oh yes, having a baby leaving my job and starting a business. Somewhere there, I think.

Yep, I went back to work after maternity leave, and left. So, whist it was all very unexpected it was the push I needed to get my little business that I had been running for two years off the ground. You are now looking at (well, reading words by) Kate Rankin Photography owner founder and creator and Kate Kearney Consulting, owner, founder, tea lady, loo cleaner, MD etc etc.

The photo business, as you know, has been happening and thriving and doing better than I could have ever imagined (see what happens when you buy a fancy camera? ;)). The consulting business started recently, and sees me doing a little bit of everything – I’m running and managing the social media for some awesome clients and freelancing at a company in Sandton assisting with their project management. Its amazing and wonderful and BUSY as all fuck. So, if you ever need a photographer slash writer slash social media’r slash jack-of-all traders, you know where to find me.

So, that’s the work news.

Kid news? Pinch me, cos I got the best ones out there. Seriously. I look at my daughter and am filled with absolute awe that I made this inquisitive, big eyed, feisty, fun, friendly and loud human and I look at my son and cant believe this cheeky, smart, creative, anal, obsessive, quirky, shy and kind little man is all mine. And together, well they are just amazing. For those on the fence about adding a sibling to their brood, all I can see is, despite the manic chaos of it all, it’s a bond thats actually too beautiful to describe.

Whilst this all sounds super happy and posotive it’s been a really rough few months as well. I learnt some valuable lessons about human nature and trust, I lost out on so much sleep that my body went into a state of mild depression and I am still fucking fat after having a baby. (Side eyes rooibos tea. Dreams about cake.)

Those are the two biggest and most obvious parts of my life, and I guess it’s what I naturally talk about. But the past few months have also got me thinking about feminism, emigration, the menstrual cup, chronic fatigue, stress and weight loss. All things I’m going to be delving into deeper on this blog, because if I cant tell you the perks of a moon cup, the anxiety over whether to stay in SA or flee for ‘greener’ pastures or about how women are fed up with the patriarchy, then what use am I to you, really?

So, thats it really. My last 4 months in a very tight little nutshell. A hazelnut, really.

Thanks for sticking around, if you did, I appreciate every single (literally, single digits) one of ya.

xx

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My Instagram QnA – You Asked and I Answered.

A week or so back I was inspired by a blog post that an Instagram friend, Gaelyn, had written. It was based on a whole bunch of questions that she had got people to ask her on the app. I told her I loved the idea so much that I was going to steal it, so I did. I had tons of fun with this – it’s been a bit of a slumpy few months in the writing department, and so this was just the creative unblocking I needed. You guys were the perfect writers block laxative 😉

Thank you to everyone who took the time to ask me questions, You guys were all super tame, I don’t know if I’m relived or not!

Let me know if I should do another one of these?

PS – I wasn’t sure who wanted to remain anonymous or not, so I’ve removed everyones names.

How is the weight loss going and how are you staying motivated?

You know the saying ‘a year ago you’ll wish you had started today?‘ Well, that’s kinda me right now. It’s been 6 weeks since a group of us made our #FatttisAndMoanies pact and I feel like I’ve fallen off the wagon too many times to count. That being said, the last 2 weeks have been really good in terms of consistency and training. I’ve started doing a bunch of classes at gym, which for me, are so much easier than following apps or plans. I tend to give up if I miss a training day on an app, but with classes it’s just easier to pick up where I left off. I’ve also been training with a friend which really helps to stay motivated and committed. As far as weight goes, I haven’t even lost 100 grams! Nothing is shifting which is really, really demotivating. So, I’ve actually decided that instead of stressing about fitting into my pre baby jeans I actually just went and bought 3 new pairs of bigger jeans to tide me over. Trying to fit into my thin clothes was causing me so much stress that I just want to put them away for a few months and not feel like an octopus in a condom every morning, trying to squeeze into them.

That being said – I am shocked to see how many retailers have inconsistent sizing in their shops – I recently bought 2 pairs of size 12 jeans from Cotton On. the one pair doesn’t even go over my knees and the other pair fits perfectly – something I need to remember when berating myself for being a certain ‘size’.

When are you starting solids and what are you starting with? (Need some solid inspiration)

We are going to try wait until 5 months, like we did with Carter. I’m not going to do any rice cereal as they just have such a bad rap – rather I want to try get her tasting all sorts of flavours and textures from the get go. I haven’t got a set plan in mind but I do want to (where possible) incorporate as much protein into her food as possible, because protein = sleep and well, we could ALL do with more of that around here.

How many adverts have you been “the voice” to on radio?

8 years ago? TONS. Nowadays, I think one ad that’s still doing the rounds in a Dubai IKEA 😉 When I took up photography, and when photography took off, I had to cut the amount of voice over work I did as I just wasn’t able to get to the studio when they needed me. I miss it, but I also had to be realistic.

What is your biggest fear?

How long is your piece of string? I am fearful by nature – everything from car accidents to retiring with no savings. My ‘silly’ fear is spiders and my ‘serious’ fear is something happening to my kids. Drowning, getting hit by a car, leaving a baby in the car seat. Everything! I’m pretty sure all parents feel this way and its true what they say, that as a parent you will never ever stop worrying. I also worry about my place in this country and our financial security and future. Man alive, thanks for the question, now I need a Xanax 😉

What or who inspires you every day?

Seemingly normal and everyday people. Just yesterday a woman I followed on Instagram shared a pic of an interview done on her in which she talks abut being a hot shot lawyer. My socks were knocked off – I had no idea! I am motivated by my friends for following their startup/entrepreneurial/study and travel dreams. I am inspired by the work I do – being a perfectionsit means I can never settle and am constantly striving for excellence. I am inspired by a random lady stepping off a taxi looking like a runway model, or how great someone looks in a messy bun, or the busy mom who still gets up to train every day at 5 am. I don’t really do the self help books or TED talks, rather, I look to my peers and society and use them all as one big Pinterest board.

Im looking at starting my own business. eek. do you have any advice? 

No, I have zero idea what I’m doing 😉 I have been doing my photography on the side for almost 2 years and so the advice I can give is this: Start small and start on the side, like I did. Open up a business bank account and allocate 20% for tax/SARS. Take advantage of platforms out there to help you with your admin (I particularly like Wave as my invoicing platform). Use your connections and gain trust by being reliable, reputable and kind. Don’t underestimate your value either and charge competitive rates. Offer discounts but try not to do too much for free. I had a rule when I started taking photos; The first of anything was free (first wedding, first newborn etc) that way, there’s less pressure but you also get great experience. Learn wherever you can – mentorships, online courses, YouTube tutorials and shadowing. Ask peoples advice and don’t be scared to put yourself out there. Lastly, fake it till you make it and remember that everyone suffers from some sort of ‘imposter syndrome’ and that is totally OK. Good Luck!

I just found out Im pregnant! can I ask you all the baby questions as i go?! 

Yay! Congratulations! And yes, absolutely, but my answer to the hard questions will probably be something along the lines of ‘have a glass of wine and don’t sweat the small stuff’ 😉 Kidding. Kinda.

Who did your micrblading? They are so perfect 

Firstly, thank you 😉 Secondly, what makes you think they’re not natural? Thirdly, who am I kidding, I have awful features. I had mine done by a lady called Melanie at a place in Clearwater mall. I’ve just tried to find her on Instagram but it seems she’s no longer on it… and I cant remember the shop name either. That being said, I’m pretty sure if you ask around you can get some great referrals for other brow artists. PS – I went a shade darker which means my hair grows blonde over them, and it looks a bit odd. I still tint my eyebrows once every 6 weeks and use a brow pencil (‘Brow This Way’ from Rimmel) to touch up the dodgy patchy bits.

Bedtime routine for two tots 

What is this routine you talk of? My once angelic boy now pulls out all the nightly stops to avoid actually getting into bed at the prescribed time. That being said, amidst the madness we do sometimes have moments of luck, so our typical night/bedtime routine goes like this:

Carter gets home from school at 5/5:30 and we play, chat catchup a bit. He then eats supper between 5;30 and 6:30 depending on his hunger levels. If we are both at home one parent will sit with Carter while the other carries Piper (because her royal highness will not be put down during suicide hour). My hubby always does the evening bath time at 5:45 with Piper. Either Carter will bath with her or shower with Barry later. Barry will give Piper her bottle at 6 and she’s asleep (again, not always successfully) by 6:10. If Carter is still in the bath while Piper is having her bottle, and only one parent is home, then we have a rule whereby we call out to him every 5 minutes and he has to answer, otherwise he’s not allowed to bath alone again. Carter’s bathed/showered and in his pyjamas by 6:30 and then he is allowed half an hour of TV before bed. Some nights we build puzzles or draw but 5/7 times he gets TV. I think our strict TV rule has worked well as its such a novelty for him that it keeps him occupied for 30 minutes and allows us to prep dinner, pop Pipers dummy back in 87 times or just sort out lunches for the next day. At 7 pm the TV magically turns off (thank you iPhone remote!) and Carter is then given the option of 10 more minutes of TV or a story in bed. The story usually wins and – if he’s not being a threenager – he’s in bed and sleeping by 7:30. We went through a massive wobbly when he was about 2.5 and his bedtime routine is only coming right now (thanks to spanking, bribing, shouting, crying, timeout, toy confiscation and wine).

How do you juggle marriage, motherhood, your career and still manage to go to gym? 

I have a spouse who carries 50% of the parenting load, for which I’m so grateful. He’s very big on us each getting our own time off to train and so we usually alternate mornings or evenings. So, one of us will go to gym in the morning leaving the other to dress the kid for school (ha sucker!) and then the other one gets to gym after work or go for a run in the evening. That being said, the arrival of baby 2 totally threw this off kilter as shit got super busy. Hard core training like Iron Man stuff has completely fallen by the wayside, which is OK, I mean, who really has time to train for several hours a day? We have both slacked in the exercise department, but I am now fortunate enough to leave Piper with the nanny for an hour, once Carters been dropped at school at 7:30, and head to gym. Barry’s started running a lot more and we have a stationary bike and treadmill in our dining room. When Piper is a bit older and we don’t need to split the bath time and feeding routine I like to think we will get back into a proper groove. As for marriage, I’ve always said that it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I think we both had a really big wakeup call a few months ago and so we are taking the time to be kinder with each other and go on a few date nights. It’s a work in progress but just these small changes have made us a stronger team. As for career – it’s tough for everyone – but we share calendars and can always see when the other person has a shoot/meeting/function so we can plan accordingly. It’s not perfect, but it helps.

Remember the day you, Lucy and I were counting microscopic ferns? Now you have Carter and Piper 

So, this wasn’t really a question as much a statement, but I loved it so much that I decided to include it. (thanks for the fun reminder, Zee!) The back story – I was told that I would battle to have kids, and me being me, I went into panic and planning mode. I bought this little lipstick sized ovulation microscope online that – when ovulating – showed up as teeny tiny fern like shapes. Well, I brought it to work the one day and the entire office had a go at seeing their saliva under the microscope. Imagine my surprise when it was my turn and BOOM! There were hundreds of fat ferns. Needless to say, Carter was born 10 months later. PS – it’s clearly a lucky charm as the three friends I lent it to afterwards all fell pregnant.

Why are you so hard on yourself? I ask because your honesty and humour when dealing with life is so relatable.I think you’re doing an amazing job

I have, for as long as I can remember, used sarcasm to hide my insecurities. I feel like I have always been the ‘good enough’ girl. good enough looking, good enough at school, good enough at sports. Nothing ever really defined me, and so I used wit to give myself an identity. So I guess what you see by me being hard on myself, is the only me that I know. Plus, aren’t we all? As much as I know that social media is almost entirely fake, where people only show their greatest and most joyful moments, it also makes me incredibly insecure, and so I swore that I would ever not be authentic on the platforms I’m on. So I show the good, the bad and the ugly – and as much as I want to – I don’t even use on of those face filter apps to make me look like I’m not mid-thirties with 2 kids 😉 But I promise I’ll try to be gentler on myself (after I’ve lost the 20 kilogram and had a boob job). kidding!

Why did you leave radio? 

I am a verbal person, and have always spoken my mind. Working in radio began to feel a bit too scripted for me – I didn’t feel as if I had an opinion or was actually making a difference. It was also the first job I had ever had and as much as I loved it – I still miss it – I wanted to see what else I could do with my life. I was worried that I would never grow in a professional sense and the corporate world seemed quite exciting. Even though I left commercial radio, I feel like my blog and my photography has allowed me to still be creative and express my feelings.

Tips for breastfeeding/sleeping through the night 

I’m not sure if you mean getting baby to sleep through the night, or mom being able to sleep after she’s woken for a feed, so I’ll give this answer my best shot:

Firstly, I chose to stop breastfeeding at 2.5 months. I battled in public and it was leading to massive weight gain (for me, not her ;)) However, when I was breastfeeding I would express, alot. Which meant Barry could do feeds and I could sleep, and visa versa. This allowed us both to get to atleast 5/6 hours stretches. I am also 100% routine mom and so from day 4 we tried to get Piper on a day and night feeding routine. I would limit her time on the boobs so she didn’t get lazy which meant she knew that at feed time, it was time to chow! We also didn’t feed in between her 3 hour sessions, unless it was an emergency. It’s worked for us and we know (sort of) what to expect.That being said, my darling daughter does not sleep though the night, and between her and Carters new-found night terrors, I feel like no one in my house will ever sleep again 😉

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A Glamping Experience!

Is anyone else feeling like this year must just end now? I am so ready for 2018. Although 2018 has been great (baby news, renovations and other lovely things) it has also been a year of difficulties. My pregnant body is tired of 7-day-work weeks and although that wont change come 1 January, at least it will feel like somewhat of a fresh start.

I’ve been revelling in my rare ‘off’ days lately, and so it was such a treat to be invited by Tented Adventures to come sty at one of their camps for a weekend a month or so back. Barry and I were all too eager to ditch the dry heat of Jozi and head to the Pilansberg Nature Reserve for 2 nights of bush bliss.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – the website for Tented Adventures promised ‘an authentic African safari experience‘, but it also mentions ‘tent’, and to me anything in a tent is camping. So, it was with excitement and a little trepidation that we headed off early Saturday morning.

Upon arriving at the camp we were greeted by the friendly camp manager, Bennie, who showed us to our ‘room’ and told us to relax for a few hours until our 5 pm game drive. The tent was actually perfect – on a raised platform with plug points, a fan, hotel quality duvets and a sturdy bed, I could have quite comfortably stayed there for a week or more. The private area, to the side of the main camping site, had several tents and then the main tent – where guests would eat dinner together or grab a hot coffee and rusk before the 4 am game drive.

The heat was ferocious as we arrived, and unfortunately Barry had to leave to head back to town as we arrived to find a battery for his car. I took advantage of the alone time and static heat and stillness and dozed on the bed. Something I did the very next day as well. There really is something about the bush that just makes you so relaxed.

There aren’t ablutions on the site so guests do have to walk several hundred metres to the main campsite and ablution facility. I am no princess, but shared ablutions have never been my thing, ever, so I must admit it was the least favourite aspect of my trip. I can also blame my pregnancy, but having to wee all the time meant frequent dusty walks to and from the tent to the loos. I mastered the ‘roughing it’ look and managed to avoid washing my hair the entire duration of our trip.

Dinner was served after the game drives in the main tent. The food was simple but tasty, and we were so exhausted after 4 hours of game spotting that we downed our food and headed straight to bed. The website did mention that drinks were included, but they weren’t. Next time I would be better prepared and bring along snacks, such and booze for us to enjoy at mealtimes and on the drives. Luckily theres a campsite shop so Barry could buy some beer. No-fun knocked up over here nursed her water and Sprite. On the second night there was a power failure so we all headed to the main lodge restaurant for supper.  Not at all associated with Tented Adventures, this was one of the worst culinary experiences of my life – but made hilarious and fun due to the crowd we were with and the absolute comedy of the evening. The Manyane camp in Pilansberg really is stuck in the 1970s and the overall place could do with a huge revamp (and some waitron training!). Again, our camp manager Bennie really made a huge effort to make sure we were all fed and looked after and did his best at helping us in a situation he had zero control over.

Breakfasts were also served at the main restaurant and if you are a foodie, I wouldn’t suggest touching Pilansberg with a 10 foot barge pole. However, if like me, you are an animal and wildlife lover, then you can overlook the catering and come just for the game drives. An absolute highlight of our trip, we were fortunate enough to see of of the Big 5. Our rangers were enthusiastic and super knowledgable and I would go back and back and back just to relive the sightings and animals we saw. Game drives take place twice a day and after every drive you are met by the staff who make sure you are escorted to your tent or off the vehicle safely.

Tented Adventures is really reasonably priced and perfect for the bush lover who isn’t quite ready to take the camping plunge just yet, but is keen to dip their toe into some tented water. No kids allowed, which means apart from game drives there really is nothing to do except relax, read and refresh.

For more info, head on over to their website to find out more.

Thank you Tented Adventures – you prepped me so well that I actually went proper camping 2 weeks later!

 

 

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There’s Too Much Salt In My Tea.

It’s been a really, really rough few weeks. And as I type this I can imagine a few eye rolls, because given the greater issues that millions of people face in our country every day, this may all seem relatively trivial, but like anything, when stuff starts to add up and compound, it can all feel like a little bit too much.

If someone had to make you a cup of tea, and sneak one small grain of salt into it, you would drink the tea and think it was lovely. The next day, should that person add 2 grains of salt, you probably still wouldn’t notice a difference. But slowly, if the amount of salt added to your tea increased, then very soon your tea would be soured and undrinkable.

My teacup has too much salt.

About a month ago my husband went through some really ugly stuff with work. And that’s pretty much all I can say. But it was enough to really put a dampener on our spirits and set a rather sad foundation for the situation. At that same time, we had to rush him to hospital where he needed an emergency appendectomy. The surgery went fine and he’s recovered well from his 1/3 C section (which I like to remind him of daily). A week after that though, we had some exciting news – our long-awaited house renovations were finally starting. Much excitement as windows got knocked away and ground got broken. But less than 12 hours after, we were woken at 3 am to the sounds of intruders in or on our roof. It’s funny, nothing happened and no one got in our home (apart from half a security guard who fell through the ceiling when on the hunt for these criminals) but I felt terribly afraid. Suddenly a break-in was more than just a threat to Barry and me, it was a threat to our two-year-son who lay in bed with me while strange mean ran along our roof, asking what the noise was.

Violated, but unharmed, life went on, until 3 days later when we arrived home to find out that our electricity had been accidentally cut off. On the coldest day of the year. This was 5 days ago and we have still not been reconnected. Again, thousands of people in or country live without electricity every single day, but it has just been one little blow, one small grain of sand, after the other, and I am exhausted. This also means we have lost all power to our beams, alarm system, gate and fridge. We are bathing over pots of water and lying wide-awake listening for more feet on the roof and more sounds in the garden. The alarm is trickle charging on the generator for a few hours every night and dies early hours of every morning. We have a ritual of a midnight trek to the garden – I stand waving a solar powered jar looking for baddies while Barry pours Valpre bottles of petrol into the generator. He then lies in the lounge listening for sounds while I attempt another 2 hours of sleep. There has been only one night since Monday where a siren hasn’t triggered, where we haven’t had a security guard knocking on our window and where we haven’t lain awake for hours on end wondering if tonight is the night someone actually gets in to the house.

I am sick and tired of it. I am tired of being a good person and paying my bills and living responsibly only to have incompetent government and municipal institutions carry on with their inefficient ways. There is no accountability. I’m tired of spending our hard earned renovation money on CCTV and electric fencing upgrades and UPS systems instead of taps and tiles and paint. I’m tired of wondering how I am every going to explain this to my son. I’m tired of arriving home to a black hole in my suburb, not knowing what lies in or around. I am tired of everything always being a fight. I am so tired of salty tea.

And I know, when the power does eventually get restored and life returns to ‘normal’ that this will be forgotten, and life will carry on, but for now? I’m angry and cross. Not just for me but for our whole country – a country who is subject to archaic, sulky and incompetent processes and governance.

 

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Making Our House A Home

When we bought our current house, 3.5 years ago, it was love at first site (see what I did there?). Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but it looked and felt like it could be our forever home. And it still is, but like every romance, the early days are very rose tinted and you can see no flaws, or in my case, floors.

Not long after moving in I began to realise that we had a fundamental problem on our hands. The flooring of the house was dog shit ugly. Mismatched pink glossy and matte terracotta tiles, broken grouting and jut plain ugly. No matter what I did decor wise, it was basically lipstick on a pig.

When I was pregnant with Carter we redid his bedroom floor and it became the nicest room in the house. I began to hate my flooring, it was cold, unattractive, pink and kitsch.

I started whining about the need for new flooring, and the more I whined, my husband, who quite frankly has the same interest in decor as he does in the Kardashians, would roll his eyes and just tell me to be patient. I also really never thought that we would be able to afford renovations. People who do are clearly laundering money or prostituting themselves. We seemed to be living month to month and I couldn’t fathom the idea of how we would ever save enough to actually fix the problem.

When I took on a second job, I knew it would be demanding, but I also knew it would financially free us up somewhat. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough photoshoots in the word that can cover all the work we needed to do, especially with my time frame (“before we have another baby”) and so we did the only logical grownup thing; We maxed out our bond. I’m telling you this, because I’ve spent the last 15 years of my adult life scratching my head and wondering how people afford nice things. I hate the shadiness of some people when they just wont tell me how they make it work. Even worse, when people are sponsored by the bank of mom and dad and then pretend it’s all their doing. So yes, peeps, our renovations are courtesy of Standard Bank and our 3 job incomes. And those random R2 coins I find in couch cushions. You’re welcome.

So, after 3.5 years of waiting and saving and praying and drinking, we started our renovations today. I am so excited I could platz. (Remind me of this joy in 2 months time when I’m sneezing dust and have no where to live, k?)

Some of the work we are doing includes finally knocking through to the cottage on the property which has been a glorified storeroom since we moved in, and turning that in to our bedroom. Redoing all three bathrooms, re-flooring the whole house (Oh yes, no more pink beauty), updating the kitchen, the patio, the jungle gyms and the garden and adding a playroom/photo editing study for me.

I think I just wee’d a little bit.

Someone ased me if I would be sharing the before and after pics, and as mortified as I am to show you all the existing tiles, I think I have to. And as someone else pointed out this morning: “The worse the before, the better the after”

So, the blog might deviate slightly from babies and booze to home stuff and decor, my other love. I’m going to be sharing and recommending suppliers as well as progress pics along the way.

So, cheers to our little family as we break new ground and begin turning our house into a home.

PS – To confirm just how excited I am, this is a photo of me and 2 taps. Because they’re bronze, and beautiful and ohmygodimfinallyredoingmyhome.

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I Broke Your Heart Today.

Nobody ever actively sets out to hurt their child. Sure, things may happen while raising a kid that will hurt them, but nine times out of ten those thing are beyond your control. Crime, accidents, bumps and bruises. These are all things that – try as we may – we cant always prevent.

Today, I knowingly and actively went against every single good piece of parenting and broke my sons heart. Knowing full well what I was doing. And I’m feeling like a pretty un-spectacular human being because of it.

I’ve always been the first to tell you all that marriage is hard – having a kid is nothing compared to the daily work a relationship entails, and anyone who tells you it’s easy, is bullshitting you. It’s fucking hard.

Barry and I got into a fight. It started yesterday over something so silly and innocuous, but on day two had grown into such a large festering ball of anger, resentment and trudged-up-he-said-she-saids from 2011 that it finally imploded at 6 am this morning in a very ugly screaming match. I did and said things I wasn’t proud of (I’m hoping he feels the same) and short of airing all our dirty laundry, it escalated so badly that my poor little two-year-old who was sitting on the bed during the incident burst into tears and sobbingly cried and begged us to stop.

It broke me. And today I am a complete wreck, because I took away a little bit of innocence from my perfect, pure boy and showed just how ugly and mean humans can be. Worst of all, I brought him into a situation that he didn’t deserve to be in and I showed him his mommy and daddy acting like idiots.

I like to think that we removed him from the situation quite quickly, sorted our shit out (like we should have done in the first half an hour of the stupid fight) and that he will never ever remember this, but I do believe that I’ve done some damage to his sweet little soul. The way he sat on my lap hugging and kissing me afterwards hurt me inside until I felt bruised.

Growing up I barely remember my parents fighting. The only time I can recall is on an overseas holiday when I was about 12, and I vaguely recall my mother storming out the hotel room and my dad chasing her down the street. Does it make it easier or worse that we were seldom exposed to it – that I remember that one specific event? Is it normal for our kids to witness such ugliness, and if so, is it wrong?

All I know os that I cant wait to go home his evening and see my little dude, feel his little hands monkey themselves around my neck and to make sure he’s OK. I also want to tell him how very sorry I am for making him the adult in the situation, and for forcing him to watch a screaming match (that may or may not have involved a cup of coffee being hurled across the room).

We do the best we can, but yoh, sometimes the guilt just eats away at us.

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Win With Adventure Boot Camp For Women!

It’s June already. I mean, not to be that person who wakes up on the first of every month and is like “Oh My God It’s June Already?!” but seriously, “Oh My God It’s June Already.”

Which means – we are half way to Christmas and half way to Summer holidays and shorts and bikinis and all those things that make me want to run (ironically) and hide under the closest Krispy Kreme delivery vehicle.

Today marked day 1 of a 4 week transformation challenged that Barry and I have signed up to (read:I signed up to and convinced him to do because there’s no way I can do a month of detoxing all alone. Not with the way he downs chocolate and curry). And it’s needed hey – a little step on the scale this morning revealed that I am a mere 3 kilograms away from full term pregnancy weight. Hideous! I blame eating all the feelings and the fact that my feelings taste like macaroni.

So, if you too are reading this, nodding your head and side eyeing that pie in the other hand, I have some good news.

Firstly – you probably look beautiful, but secondly, if you want to be beautiful in a size 8 pair of jean pant then I am giving away something which just might make you feel better about the future of fat.

You’ve probably heard of ‘Adventure Boot Camp for Women’ which is SA’s largest outdoor fitness programme for women. ABC is an outdoor exercise plan that offers workouts for women, fitness instruction, nutritional counseling and motivational training packed with fun and energising activities designed to help you reach your fitness goals.

They are running their annual 40 Day Challenge which is South Africa’s biggest outdoor challenge for women.  Ladies across South Africa partake in boot camp for 40 days, Monday to Friday. The ladies involved are also supplied meal plans from accredited dieticians, Clicks physical assessments and stand a chance to win weekly prizes from sponsors such as Garmin, MovePretty, Puma and many more, including the chance to win R10 000 when they sign up and another R10 000 on the completion of the 40 Day Challenge. On completion of the 40 days, ladies are rewarded with a luxury hamper filled with exciting sponsor products. An amazing package!

The 40 day challenge is running from 19 June to 11 August. Yep, slap bang in the middle of Winter. Which is exactly when Summer bodies are made, right?

Even better, ABC has venues all over South Africa and with over 100 locations to choose from, there’s bound to be a class near you.

I’m going to be signing up to the classes as soon as my 4 weeks of hell detox is over, and am really exited to be training in a female only environment – not a single silver back ‘gym oke’ in sight!

So, today on the blog, I’m giving one lucky lady the chance to win an entry for the 40-day challenge. Valued at R6000, it’s the perfect gift you can give yourself this Festive fat season.

All you need to do is make sure you are following this blog and have liked Rupert Approves on Facebook. Then, leave a comment below about why you’d like to win this competition. You can also enter on behalf of a friend – simply refer them in your comments below.

Good Luck… you skinny bitch you!

The Ts and The Cs

  • Winner will be selected by random draw on Wednesday 7 June
  • The winner must reside in South Africa and be close to one of the ABC venues to ensure maximum participation
  • The winner agrees to be available for the 40-day challenge and agrees to sign up to take part in the challenge and partake to the best of her ability
  • The prize is not refundable for cash
  • Only one winner will be selected
  • The winner agrees to looking fabulous once the 40 days are over 😉

———————————————- WINNER UPDATE ——————————————————

Congratulations to Adele who has won this prize! Adele, please be in touch so I can send you all the details! 🙂

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