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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The Un-Social Media.

This morning, in the office, a colleague was making a huge noise about filling the printer with paper. Boxes were being dumped on the floor, printer draws were being opened aggressively and grunts and sighs could be heard while she did.all.the.things. 

I caught myself rolling my eyes back into my brain and getting annoyed by her very obvious effort to attract attention – and then I realised – I am guilty (as are you, sorry) of doing this every single day.

Except nowadays we aren’t chucking red Typek boxes of paper onto office floors but rather posting ranty-ravey messages on Facebook, taking mysterious selfies and alluding to things on Twitter and Instagram. We are all basically spending our lives hiding away from people online whilst simultaneously looking for human connection.

The reason I say I am guilty of this is because – without knowing it – I have come to trust relative strangers over those closest to me.And if you are doing the same, you probably feel how I do. I write blogs, I post a lot on social media and I share my photography images on various social platforms. I do this for two reason; A) I adore writing and sharing my ideas and B) I’m exceptionally proud of my photography business, and as we all know, word of mouth is one of the biggest marketing tools there is. So, whats the problem? The problem is that the more I share the less response I get from actual physical flesh and blood friends. I get tons of compliments and likes and shares from people I have never met, but people who like my work, enjoy my writing style or simply find me interesting enough to follow. Which is superb. I am so grateful for this body of support and love that gets shown to me on a daily basis.

But. And there’s a big but. Where has the actual friendship gone? I’m talking about the mate-to-mate connection that was so much more prevalent before it became easier to watch a buddy’s life through a smartphone screen. Has Facebook made us into an insecure and jealous society? I physically ache for the acknowledgement of my peers and so, I believe, that if I post pretty photos and witty anecdotes on my socials, then those friends will respond and react. Except they don’t. I’ve become that lady in the office shoving paper into the printer hoping someone will ask if they can help.

I put this theory to the test recently when – after driving home from a shoot on Mother Day – I was in a car accident. A taxi rear ended me and what could have been a simple swopping of insurance details turned into a really frightening experience when he became aggressive and intimidating and with me fearing from my life. Normally I would have gone straight to Facebook with a woe-is-me tale of the incident – but instead I sent some friends a message telling them what had happened.

I’m no expert but I truly believe (and like to think) that it’s not a lack of love but rather an over stimulation of the senses, that has made connectivity grow but connectedness die. If you see everything you need to see on a 24/7 channel, then you become an expert in that subject matter. Admit it – without having ever met them – you thought you knew Ross and Rachel better than anyone, right? Well, just like they were or (or weren’t – #TeamRoss!), we need a break. We are watching the TV of our friends lives and because we see everything, we assume they know that we know and that we care.

So, with that in mind (and I probably wont cut down on the amount of time I spend on social media) I am going to make a conscious effort to be more involved in communication and to re-establish real and physical connections. I want these people, who’s lives are now so visible, to know that they aren’t actually invisible. I want them to remember that I genuinely care about them, am happy for their successes and want the best for their lives.

PS – This is now way means you should’t please share my blog or book me for shoots. I need to pay for all the nice things. 😉

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Putting Your Best Foot Forward with Superbalist.

I love my photography job. I cannot tell you the goosebumps and adrenaline I get before and after each and every session. However, there is one thing I dislike about them – and that’s how frumpy I look when I arrive for a shoot – especially as the people I’m arriving to photograph always look magnificent!  I’ve ruined enough pumps and sandals to know that only flip flops will work when leopard crawling for that perfect angle, and most of the time I simply end up barefoot. However as we approach Winter it’s pretty cold and stupid to have naked toes in 7 am frosty grass.

I also always arrive looking like a slob in the clothing and hair department (thanks partly to early mornign call times, a very bad ombre experience and the lack of enthusiasm to have it fixed for the 4th time). Just last week I said to my hubby that I wanted to invest in a new pair of funky and stylish sneakers to wear to shoots. And then we laughed and laughed because his bank account has been hacked and we had to spend elevently million on prepping my son for potty training (more on that coming soon) paraphernalia.

So, it was with serendipitous timing that Superbalist.com contacted me about their new range of sneakers that have just landed on their site.

They’ve asked me to pick my top 3 pairs from their website and envision how I would wear them. So basically, this is the couch potatoes version of window shopping and the grown up version of ‘dress-up’. Winning all round!

I have been obsessed with the Nike Roche range since it was launched. Obsessed. And have always wanted a pale pink pair for myself. And then I saw them on Superbalist. I’m so excited I could plutz and I cannot wait to order them in my size!

I’d pair these feminine beauties with a dark pair of skinny denims, rolled up to the ankle, a slim fit white t-shirt like this Annie Tee which I’d tuck in the front. To accessorize I’d keep it simple with a brown skinny utility belt  and this khaki anorak (the pockets are perfect for lenses, car-keys and a cellphone). Naturally I’d also look like a supermodel and people would stop and “ooh” and “aah” at my beauty.

Because this is my shoe fantasy I’ve selected anther Nike Roshe pair – this time in a gorgeous olive green with the distinctive Nike tick in a pale pink.

Not all my shoots involve trekking through the Suburban jungles – some require me to be a little smarter, but still be comfortable. I’d use these shoes for this sort of shoot and pair them with this gorgeous, soft and seemingly flattering dress from Noisy May. I like how the front wrap bit looks like it would hide my not-so-new-mom-but-still-very-much-there paunch and the grey and green combo would work beautifully together.

To keep track of the time, and because it’s shit-hot, I’d pair the outfit with this oversized watch from Daniel Wellington.

Lastly, and it was hard to choose a 3rd winner, I’d select these old school classic Reebok sneakers in white. You can never go wrong with white shoes and they dress really well up and down.

I’d wear them with these khaki green Pop Trash joggers and this environmentally (made from recycled plastic!) denim jacket from Raw for the Oceans.

So, now that my Winter shoe wardrobe has been decided on – what would your picks be? head on over to Superbalists site and let me know!

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On Bucket Lists and Dreaming Big

I’m really stressed. Two very busy and demanding jobs, being a mom a wife a friend and a nice human being are all taking its toll on me. That and the daily financial stress of life, revolting Johannesburg traffic and wondering what the hell I’m destined to do on this earth have left me feeling severely Eyeore’ish. So much so that yesterday I even had a driz in the office after a long and frustrating phone call with my bank about home loan rates and the fact that I’m literally being bent over and rogered on a daily basis by their fees.

Speaking of traffic; my daily 3-4 hour commute and back to my offices means I have a lot of time to listen to shitty radio. So I don’t. I listen to inspiring podcasts and Internet radio stations and interviews with people who climb mountains and jump off buildings and follow their dreams. And ultimately I feel inspired for just a little bit until my actual life takes over and I’m knee deep in admin and invoices and editing and earning a salary.

The other day one of the interviews turned to a discussion on bucket lists, and while the radio crew rattled off their wish list I found myself completely stumped. The biggest thing on my agenda at the moment is ‘surviving’ so I was completely taken back by what these other folk had on theirs.

I haven’t stopped thinking about this since that day, and I’ve been thinking long and hard about what really makes me tick, what my dreams are and what my bucket list would be. It’s been quite a fun time letting my mind push through the mental constraints I’ve had and to conjure up a dream book of ‘what if’s’. It’s also been very hard to let myself think big and I challenge you to do the same, come up with your own list ad share it with me.

So, what is on my bucket list?

  • A photographic safari documenting wildlife ala National Geographic style. Think the Great Kenya migration, tree frogs in the Amazon and lemurs in Madagascar. I want to get up close and personal with everything from wide-eyed bush babies to the wrinkled and calloused skins of ellies. Naturally this means using only the best equipment and gear and sleeping under a ceiling of stars with my camera set to a long slow lazy exposure to capture them as they wind themselves around the night sky

  • Speaking of photographic safaris and all things National Geographic: remember this photo? I’ve been obsessed with it ever since I painted it for a matric art class project. I adore taking photos of people and something I have always wanted to do is travel the world and take portraits of locals in small unknown towns. Black and white head shots of ladies in the dusty streets of India, solemn faces of praying Monks in Tibet, curious kids on steps in Stonetown, fresh faced ladies at Croatian festivals and thin lipped, toothless ladies in China. I would travel with a guide who could speak any language and who would help me communicate with these people so they trusted me enough to take their photos and step into their personal space.

 

  • A complete house renovation with unlimited budget. My décor, my design, my dream and my space. Glossy dark wood floors, white open airy windows, furniture found on Pinterest and a garden so lush you could lose yourself in it for days.

  • A collection of rescued and abandoned farm animals. Sheep, a cow, a chicken or two. The money and space to take them on.

 

  • To write my book. Have it published, be wildly popular. Make fuck tons of cash dollar.

 

  • To do a photo-shoot in the snow

  • To learn how to design my own logos, brochures, adverts and more.

 

  • Have a ‘yes’ day. Don’t tell anyone but agree and say ‘yes’ to every single thing thrown at me. This one terrifies me a bit as well, I mean, what I someone asks me to go camping. Or dancing. Or eat meat.

 

  • Visit the pub/restaurant I was named after ‘Kate Kearneys Cottage’ in Ireland

  • Win an award for a photo I’ve taken. Any photo, any award

 

  • On the subject of photos – have someone buy a photo of mine that they have fallen in love with. And I’m not talking a family member buying a photo that I took at their family session, I’m talking random stranger loving something I’ve created and wanting to own it.

 

  • Finding the perfect foundation and the perfect bubblegum pink blusher.

 

  • Achieve a body weight that makes me want to run around naked. Buy an expensive bikini and put it on said amazing body.

 

  • Understand a little bit about every single thing. I love learning, but to be able to contribute to a conversation on anything from politics to propagation, without reaching for Dr.Google, must be a hell of a cool feeling.

 

  • Be office and traffic less, and when I do have to be in traffic have a driver so I can find more productive ways to while the time.
  • Be the voice of a character in an animated movie.
  • Get veneers for my teeth, and transform my smile into this:

 

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To Kate, On Your 33rd Birthday.

You know you’re getting older when you get woken up at 5 am on your birthday by your 1 year old, and instead of jumping up ready to open a hundred presets, your only wish is for 20 more minutes of sleep. Naturally that didn’t happen, and to be honest – the best part of my day will probably be snuggling with Carter while he was still drowsy and playing with my hair and running his little fingers over my eyelids, and into my nose.

You also know you’re getting old when your birthday present is an electric toothbrush. something you actually wanted. Other wish list items – apart from the ‘you’ve got to be joking’ camera lenses and other such fancy-ware include dishcloths and ‘some nice new crockery’.

Last year, on my 32nd birthday, I wrote myself a letter. I purposefully haven’t gone back to read it incase it sways the tone of this post. Hopefully, after having published this one, the message will be that life has trended upwards. Hopefully.

Celebrating a birthday in Janu-worry is rough.People are still broke, hungover and reeling from the previous year. For some, 2016 was their worst yet, and while for me it wasn’t the absolute best, it was a pretty good one. The biggest achievement I made in the last 365 days, between two birthdays, was the startup and introduction of my photography business. To think that its not even 5 months old is mind blowing. It’s done really well and people seem to actually, really like my photos, a lot. So much so that bookings are flying in and I’m having to now turn down a lot of work – which is both sad but also a lovely feeling. I love it so much. It’s so hard to explain the feeling I get when I know I’ve landed that perfect shot, or when a mom is so grateful to have memories of her with her kids (a rarity) to treasure forever. I pinch myself daily and am so so so happy, grateful and relieved I finally took that little leap of faith. So, as a side note – to each and every person ho has supported me for it – I thank you from the bottom of my overflowing heart. Your comments, likes, shares (and bookings) mean the world to me, really.

33 is an interesting age – it’s a slow creep towards 40 – and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it is still a pretty scary thing. Alas, I still have pink floor tiles, no holiday home and endless amounts of bills, but I’m feeling like financially I’m going to get on top of things this year. Really. Cross my heart and hope to invest.

Body wise I’m still a shit storm in leggings. I can no longer blame hormones, but hell, I was last in line when God handed out genetics. Do you know how hard it is when your entire family are skinny as fuck? Crisis. Also, I eat my feelings. So in my 33rd year on earth I need to have less feelings. Apparently that’s the only answer.

I’m also going to look after myself more – in a long term kind of way. So, I’m planning on swopping superficial spending for long term spending. Out with the nails and in with the botox, out with the Pick n Pay clothing splurges and in with the ‘it costs how much??‘ Bodytec. It’s all about preserving, reversing and prolonging at this stage.

We recently lost Barry’s granny and it’s been a reminder to not take my two for granted. They have so much wisdom and so many stories to impart and being around them so often and having them available means one tends to not really appreciate how rare that is. Just last night, as she has done for the past 33 years, my 92 year old Oma sang a pre-birthday song to me in German. That’s pretty special and to be honest, I love it as much now as I did when I was 7. Same for all family. I want more meaningful relationships with my family. Yep, guys. Strap on the big boots, we are going to bond, hard.

We want to spend time with those who value us, and treasure us and less time with those who don’t add value and joy. Luckily we don’t have many people like that in our lives, so not much room for improvement here.

I want to be at home more. I want to decorate and DIY and make my house into a space I love. Pretty hard when you are a triathlete widow with a 1 year old clinging to you at every second, but try I will. I vow to finally knock a hole into the cottage and extend our home, get rid of our revolting floors and buy some grass. All things I’ve been told to be patient on for 3 years. It’s enough. Life’s too short for sandy patches and pink terracotta.

Then, travel. Again, very hard when weekends are spent working or training, but it is something I want to do more of. Even if we keep it local and lekker for now. I want to go out more, see more, photograph more.

And less? I want to waste less, spend less, weigh less and stress less. Less drama, less salt, less traffic and less being polite.

But first, donuts and champagne. Because, Happy Birthday to me. I love you.

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Win a Kate Rankin Photo Shoot Valued at R2500!

It’s my birthday week (25 again!) and I’ve decided to reward one lucky person with an awesome prize – a professional photo-shoot from Kate Rankin Photography – AKA me 🙂

For those of you who have followed my photographic journey you will know that it’s one of my greatest loves, and to be able to give a shoot away just makes me so happy.

The value of the shoot is R2500 and can be for pretty much anything – family, newborn, kiddies party, maternity, couple, engagement… you name it! Have a look at my website to see the sort of photos I take, it may just give you some inspiration.

It’s really easy to enter:

  1. Like KateRankinPhotography on Facebook
  2. Like KateRankinPhotography on Instagram
  3. Comment on either the Instagram competition post or the Facebook competition post and tell me what shoot you want
  4. Share the Instagram or Facebook post

Then, cross fingers and toes and vaginas (if you’ve had a baby and pee when excited) and wait until 27 January when the winner is announced… on my birthday!

The Ts and the Ts

  1. Shoot to take place in Johannesburg Northern Suburbs. Should the winner be residing elsewhere he or she to make their own way to the shoot/venue/location
  2. Shoot has to be booked and claimed before 30 April 2017
  3. Winner will be drawn at random
  4. Only those who follow competition mechanics will be eligible for the draw
  5. Winner consents to having his/her photos published on my blog and Facebook pages
  6. Shoot duration will not last longer than 2 hours
  7. Shoot details will be at the final discretion of the photographer

Good Luck!!

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