Kate Rankin Photography

A year ago today I went back to work after maternity leave. It was a big deal – and anyone who has ever been wrenched from a warm womb of maternity bliss and chucked back into open plan offices, deadlines and tuna salads named ‘Kevin’ understands just what a tricky transition it can be.

I went back to work with a renewed sense of purpose and my feelings on working moms, flexi time and balancing it all are not hidden. When I went back to work I wanted to do really really well at my job, but also be a great mom. And I did, but something was missing. I wanted to find my passion project. Wine drinking aside, I never really knew what it was that drove me. They say the things you do when you’re not consciously thinking about it, is what you really love. So if I think back on my life it’s actually pretty glaringly obvious that photography has always been my thing. I am never without camera, and my favourite present of all time was a 1.2 megapixel digital camera that came free with a double mattress from Dial A Bed. Oh, bless you, growth of technology.

Taking photos for me means capturing and preserving a memory forever. I view life through the eye of a lens and to me, everything is a picture waiting to happen. When Carter was born it was the perfect opportunity to take this interest of mine, and turn it in to something more. During my maternity leave I studied and passed with a distinction a diploma in photography, and finally felt comfortable using my camera on that terrifying ‘M’ mode. Sadly, work, motherhood and the aim for the perfect-mom-bod all got in the way and I let my camera gather dust for several months. Then, a few months ago, as if the heavens were aligning, I got asked by a mutual acquaintance – Jen –  to come and do their family/newborn photo shoot. I was flattered but said no. Then she asked me again. I explained that as much as I would love to, I didn’t ‘know enough’, ‘wouldn’t be able to do it justice’, ‘was too scared’. She insisted, and I’m so glad she did, because that was what it took from me taking this from a fun hobby to something more serious.

What followed was an intensive 2 week self taught crash course in ‘how to make nice picture for dummies’ and picking the brain of photographer friends. I dosed my arse on Clair from Fraser Photography’s couch for the better part of a morning and picked her brain on newborn swaddling and ISO and drank wine with Devin from Devin Lester Photography and tried to understand the ins and outs of Lightroom. I posed teddy bears on window sills to try backlit window shots and used my sweet (not so) obliging 1 year old as a model. A friend helped me design a watermark and YouTube became my best friend. The more I learnt the more confident I l felt. I also used this time as an excuse to sign up to more diplomas and buy a lens. Any excuse for a shop. Also, I now need to start making money off this fast-becoming-expensive hobby.

When I tell people I want to go into photography I’m often met with a lot of bashing and negativity. It’s pushed me more, and I’ve had some really great people help and support me and make me believe that maybe, actually, I can.

About two hours ago I shared the newborn pics with Jen and then posted them to social media. I was shaking like a leaf. Putting it all out there meant that I was out there, that people could now actually see, crit and comment on my work.

They say your first 10,000 photos are the worst. I’m pretty certain I’ll look back on my first few shoots in years to come, and cringe, but for now I’m so proud, and happy, and my heart feels so fulfilled.

Say hello to Kate Rankin Photography.

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Shield It’s Your Move – It’s A Wrap!

At the beginning of August I wrote about a blogger/lifestyle challenge I was taking part in with Shield. The challenge was all about seeing how people – from different industries kept moving – and stayed fresh while doing it. The idea was simple – a bunch of bloggers and influencers from around SA were given a fitness tracker and a supply of Shield and told to go about their normal lives. Shield then tracked our movement for the month, and an event was held on the 27th of August to celebrate the month of moving and announce the winner.

The event itself was amazing – the Shield SA ambassadors Unathi and Janez Vermeiren hosted us as we all took part in an intensive movement filled morning of Boxing, Dancing and Yoga. Sorry, Most people took part in boxing, dancing and yoga. I have 3 left feet so pretended to admire the view while everyone got rhythmic with the music.

They also announced who had done the most steps for the month, and that person was…well…me. Blush. You guys! Apparently my competitive streak is an actual thing, and that, combined with gym, running, dogs, a 15-month-old and my accountability towards my activity tracker meant that I won the overall event. And I walked away with a snazzy new Apple watch (that I won’t be paying off monthly like my husband a lot of people I know…)

I absolutely loved this event – keeping active and moving is a huge part of my life’s mantra, plus I’ve been wearying a fitness device for ages now, and it really does keep me accountable. I’m also a massive Shield fan – it was the only deodorant to see me through my sweatiest of days – my wedding.

A massive thanks for the Shield and Tribeca PR team for one of the most fun campaigns I’ve been a part of!

Check out more from the campaign here:

Interview with Pete from The Sports Eagle

Channel24

The Media Update

Spice4Life

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Catch my interview with Peter Stemmet from The Sports Eagle about winning the competition: http://thesportseagle.co.za/tse-live-episode-2/

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On This Sickness Thing.

Everyone is a perfect parent when they don’t have kids. Then you have kids, and everything you thought and said pre-spawn files right out the window and hits some poor unsuspecting low flying duck in the face.

When I was a non-mom, one of the biggest ‘my child will never be like that’ thoughts I had was around sickly, snotty kids. Everywhere I looked there were babies and toddlers with runny noses, unwell children, coughing children and people bailing on social events due to said snotty coughing unwell children.

When Carter was born I handed him around to everyone within sight like a bad scene from the Lion King. “Touch him” I would screech, “hold him” I proclaimed “let him be exposed to all the germs” I yelled. And he did, and he was, and he was fine.

Even when I sent him to crèche at the tender age of 119 days I was met with disgust from most people, people horrified at just how many germs he would be exposed to. Steadfast in my belief that my child was a Kearney, and therefore healthier than a pot of organic yoghurt, I insisted that crèche would be the best thing for him. “immunity building” I think is what I said. And for the next three months it was great. I had a healthy, happy contented kid. Until one day – when he was seven months old – school phoned. Carter had a temperature. I was more panicked than Trump on a windy day, I raced to the crèche, fetched my utterly miserable child and spent the rest of the day wondering how he could have gone from farting and happy to 40-degreed and miserable in the space of a few hours. A few days later he was A-Okay, back at crèche and everything was just dandy. Except his immune system seemed to have been activated – like breaking that wee seal at a night club – and suddenly the crèche calls were more frequent. Not to say he was always sick (in-fact, he’s more healthy than not) but if there was a bug or virus doing the rounds, then my kid was bound to catch it.

We had our fair share of colds, eye infections and UFBD (Unidentified Filthy Baby Disease). In June he got gastro turned dysentery and in the past week he’s been off school with sinus infections and semi-bronchitis. Yes, that’s a thing.

He’s not alone, kids are foul creatures, and all the spitting, drooling, toy swopping and face touching means that germs will spread faster than a gossip session at ladies night. So, is my child more healthy or sickly than his peers? Absolutely not. Around 98.7% of my phone data is used up on mommy chats discussing our small humans bloody stools, projectile vomit and gunky eyes.

I already have game plans for illnesses that don’t exist. His medicine box is stocked for everything from a sore toe to a tsunami, Life hospital will be my destination of choice should he ever need to be admitted (they have beds and food for parents!) and bedtime vitamin administration is a mini assembly line.

Not that any of this will work, because they’re kids, man. And their small little bodies mean that they have much weaker immune systems. What might make us sneeze four times could cause them to need an antibiotic drip and a 5 hour nap. We have to remember that essentially they need to get exposed to everything at least once – so whereas you and I are revolting tainted grownups, our pink footed little munchkins still have a long way to go.

So, whilst Winter may be a hell pit of sickness and snot, at least I know his immune system is getting an excellent workout, and slowly building itself up to Kearney standards.

PS – If you are looking for a list of medications to stock up on for your little one, for those ‘just in case’ moments, may I suggest using this handy list I’ve complied, below.

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Oscar Pistorious, Mob Justice And The Frying Pan.

Several years ago I broke up with a long-term boyfriend. We were living together at the time – in his house – and I was renting my house out to tenants. The breakup was innocuous with relatively little drama. I wasn’t happy, he wasn’t happy, we decided to part ways. He left for the weekend while I packed up my things – including all the items I had brought in when I moved in –  furniture, art, accessories, utensils, crockery etc. I had two friends come stay with me over the weekend to help, and on the Sunday I left, the place was spotless – I even left a vase of flowers and a note reading something along the lines of  “I didn’t know how to split the gym we both paid for, so I took the boxing bag. Please take care of the fish, and yourself. Goodbye”. I do remember, in the rush of that weekend – which tends to happen when you have 48 hours to pack up your entire life – that we had run out of toilet paper. I think my friends and I used serviettes and Carlton roll-a-towel for those 2 days. We were drunk on wine and emotions, and didn’t really care.

Fast forward a few days and I was living like a nomad, sleeping at friends, my brother and my parents. I was exhausted, sad to my core and had zero stability. Then my phone beeped, and my world seemed to crumble even more. “You little lying bitch”Thief” “Fucking robber”. The messages poured in, relentless. Then they started appearing on my Facebook wall, on my email, and on my voice mail. I had no idea what was going on – perfectly nice people, albeit now considered my ‘exes friends’ had started attacking me in the most vicious of ways, attacking who I was, my character, my feelings and my heart. And I had no idea why.

I made contact with the ex – we hadn’t exchanged one word since the split – and asked if he could shed some light on what was going on. “My mom says you stole my pots and pans” he said.

Excuse me?

Apparently this (grown) man’s mom had come to Joburg after the breakup and had inspected the now emptier (naturally) house, and deduced that I had stolen everything from under her son’s nose (I don’t think she realised, or cared to understand that I had simply taken with me what was mine, and left what was his). Spurred, obviously by her maternal concerns he then decided to jump on the bandwagon and mentioned that I had also maliciously stolen the toilet paper.

I realise how ridiculous this sounds, and even when I relay the lead up of events I can’t help but wonder how something as petty as a mom’s assumption and finishing the 2-ply could have resulted in what happened next.

Shit escalated. Badly. Friends of his jumped on the bandwagon. Friends of mine did too. Turns out that they weren’t very nice people, and my world is better off without them, but the several months of abuse, bullying, defamation and character assassination that followed was nothing short of illegal. I didn’t know what to do. Suddenly a toilet paper issue and supposed missing pot had turned into the theft of the century. Suddenly I had ‘robbed him blind’ ‘taken everything he owned’ and ‘left nothing behind’.

I kept my mouth shut for weeks, sobbing uncontrollably. I thought if I let things die down then it would simply blow over. I didn’t want to go out and shout my innocence from the rooftops. It was all simply too bizarre. What would I say? “Um, hey guys, sorry about the loo paper confusion. Also, that mirror was actually mine’? The thing is, after weeks it hadn’t stopped, in fact my new reputation preceded me and I had random people stopping me at social gatherings asking if ‘I was that girl who stole from X’. After weeks of silence I phoned my mom in tears – I told her I wanted to find a lawyer and sue. I wanted to fight back. I have many, many flaws, but honesty and integrity are my strengths. I’m the person who hunts down owners of lost wallets and who always defends the underdog. I hated what was happening to me, how people were attacking me, and how low and close to suicide I was feeling. My mom told me to hang back, to not say anything. She assured me it would all blow over. During this time the friends who had helped me pack up (my) things didn’t say much – I wanted to shout at them, ask them why they weren’t helping to defend me. I don’t think they ever realised just how bad it was. I wanted to die. I was broken, devastated and absolutely stunned at the ferociousness of human nature.

It’s been years, many years, and I never spoke up, never called a lawyer, and never caused a scene. I’ve never really even spoken about it, until now. And then yesterday Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to six-years in prison, and people reacted. I witnessed again the brutal force of mob justice. Of people forcing their opinions on to anyone who would lend them half an ear. I saw just how brutal a mass of bored, angry, internet police could be, and it shook me.

This story is not about Oscar, nor is it about the verdict. This story is about people who – without fact, evidence, reason or proof – believe that they have the right to character assassinate another human being.

I was there for many years – without trial, without defense and without a voice – I felt mob justice first hand. And for what? For finishing the loo paper. For something that – in other cases – would have made quite a funny story had I bumped into my ex several years later, when we were both in different stages of our lives.

“Hey Kate, remember when we broke up and you moved out, you know you finished the toilet paper?”

 “Yes, how funny, the girls and I were wiping our bums with pink scented tissues”

“I know, I had a shit and had to wipe with a kitchen towel. Oh, by the way, I also found that frying pan I thought you had taken. LOL”

And we would laugh, wish each other well, and go our separate ways.

That’s what should have happened. Instead, people who I knew and loved decided to forge an opinion based on feelings, not fact, and ruined a solid chunk of my life.

I’m good now. I’m married to a guy who would never actively hurt someone he once cared for. I have the right friends in place and I’ve learnt a major lesson: Empathy can go a very long way in today’s society. So, until you are 100% affected by something, and until you have 100% of the facts in place, shut your mouth and don’t cause a scene. At the end of the day, the person on the receiving end of your opinion is a living, breathing human being.

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Why I’m Left Feeling Bitterly Disappointed By Half Iron Man.

Three years ago I took part in, and completed my first ever Half Iron Man in East London. Upon crossing the finish line I burst into tears. I was elated, so proud and felt like I had achieved the impossible. (Turns out, it’s the 2nd hardest course in the world, so my feelings were justified I suppose). Fast-forward to 19 June 2016 when I crossed the finish line in Durban, and all I felt was a heavy heart and bitter disappointment.

It’s been a few days since finishing the race, and I’ve been trying to understand why I feel so ‘let down’ about the entire experience.

The weeks and month leading up to the race were not kind, and as mentioned here, the odds just seemed to be against me. When I did the race for the first time three years ago, I had a lot more time to train, people to train with and it was I Summer, which meant Winter with its debilitating cold, dark and sickness wasn’t an issue. Back to back bronchitis, chronic anemia, no sleep, shin splints, planning a first birthday party, a resignation from work and massive stress in my life left me feeling seriously fragile for most of my training.

We arrived in Durban on Thursday – to give us enough time to register, chill with the friends whose house we were staying at, and acclimatise for the race. The big rule before any event like this is easy; REST UP. Unfortunately, the Monday before, Carter had started with some severe gastro that was so bad we did what we have never done before and actually panicked enough to take him to the hospital. There, they declared a viral gastro infection and asked us to ‘wait it out’. On the Saturday before the race (having waited it out for 7 days) he was only getting worse; there was blood in his stools, he wasn’t sleeping, had a raging fever, was as miserable as sin and we were exhausted. We took him to the hospital in Durban and within twenty minutes he was admitted for dehydration and on a drip. Emotional doesn’t even begin to cut it, I was devastated for two reasons – one for my poor sick baby in hospital, with a now bacterial dysentery (the guilt!) and two, for the race in less than 15 hours time – which Barry and I had both trained so long and hard for, sacrificed family time for and had been planning for, for the better part of half a year. Barry insisted I still race – knowing that after this 70.3 I was probably going to give up triathlon for a bit and focus on finding some balance in my life. With a heavy heart I left the hospital to go and pack my transition bags and rack my bike. If it wasn’t for my friend Eryn who we were staying with – who had just completed the Full Iron Man – I probably would have given up there and then. Thankfully she got my mind right(ish), helped me pack my bags, nutrition and bike and helped me get to the race to set up. She also took me down to the race the next morning at 5 am and stood on the cooking hot pavements, with her hubby and son, and supported me the entire day.

On the same Saturday that Carter was admitted – before we took him to the hospital – we had the pre-race training swim. Normally the pre-swim is a free for all where athletes get to play in the water, get a feel for the waves, the current and the ocean. This year the ocean was not playing ball, and the race organisers seemed uneasy. They made it a swim where you had to queue up and head off 10 at a time, with the organisers checking people in and out using our timing chips. Alarm bells were ringing in my head, and as the queue got longer and longer and more and more swimmers were coming you the water looking less than happy, I was in full blown panic mode. After about an hour and a half of waiting to go in, they abruptly cancelled the pre-swim. The water was just too dangerous. My heart sunk a bit further into my chest. The swim was my Achilles heel and mentally I had been preparing myself for this single discipline the entire time. Distracted by a very unwell baby though, we left and took him to the hospital, as above.

After a last visit to see my baby and Barry in the paed ward, I went home to Eryn and Greg and slept surprisingly well (could be the red wine or Xanax..or both). Up to this pint I had also picked up a tiny bit of Carter’s gastro, which meant an upset tummy and zero appetite – also not great before a race).

Race morning arrived and I was up at 4 am. For those who take part or spectate in triathlons, you understand its not as simple as arriving and running in to the water. It’s a mammoth task of logistics, planning and time. Even though your bike and two transition bags are packed and racked the day before, you still have to get down to transition the morning of the race to pump tyres, stock nutrition and triple check you have everything you need in the relevant bag. I did this all and left the transition area to find Eryn. It was dark and fresh and a beautiful morning. My tummy was feeling better, Carter seemed to be on the mend, and I suddenly had a bit more optimism about the race. Then the race organisers made the announcement: The swim had just been cancelled.

3000 athletes went in to panic mode. This was the first time in 20 years that the swim had been cancelled – which meant that the ocean really wasn’t in a good mood. Many people were angry and quick to judge. I was gutted. The biggest challenge for me, and one that I finally felt ready for had been pulled form under me. Which meant we technically weren’t doing a triathlon – we were doing a duathlon. I, along with 2999 other athletes felt cheated.

The race, instead of a well oiled slick machine now turned into disorganised chaos. The pro athletes (only about 16 in total) still had to do the swim, and the rest of us plebs would start on the bike once they were done. We walked down to the swim, my mind now completely unraveled and watched them start. ‘The waves aren’t that high’ I thought to myself as I looked down. Then the gun went and the pros went off and the only thing I can liken it to was confetti being tossed into a gale force wind. Swimmers were everywhere. Some immediately got pushed several hundred meters to the left, others got pushed to shore and some just could not get past the surf. Two ladies had to be rescued and many of them (remember, all pro athletes) said they thought they were going to die. To give more context – take a look here.

It was while watching the pro swim that I realised the organisers had definitely made the right call. I can guarantee that several people would have lost their life that day should the swim not have been cancelled. However, that still didn’t stop the thoughts banging in my head. People just aren’t going to respect us now. People will say it wasn’t a real race.

Now, this is where I think I started feeling like a loser, and why the race has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The bike start – instead of happening as people came out of the water – ie a staggered approach – but still relatively in line with your age groupers happened with all 3000 athletes at the same time, but actually not at the same time at all. Which meant a 2 hour queue as they let people off, five at a time every 15 seconds. I happened to be one of the very last in the queue, which meant that by the time I eventually started my bike, other athletes had already been out there for almost 2 hours. That does a lot for ones psyche, and even though your time only officially started once you had got on your bike and started cycling, mentally it felt like you were already behind. As an example, if athlete A started at the front of the queue and cycled a 4 hour race, and athlete B started at the back of the queue and cycled a 3 hour race, athlete A would still finish the bike first and start the run while athlete B was still riding. This is what happened to me, and even though I feel I had an OK’ish bike time (for me anyways!) I came off the bike and started the run when pretty much everyone had already started. Because of my late start, and the mentality of the organisers and volunteer staff being that of a normal race (ie cutoff times after swim and bike), by the time I turned around at the 40 km mark, people had already started packing up cones and aid stations and cars were flying past me on the freeways. Not cool. That, coupled with a really bad stitch in my shoulders made me a glum chap.

I got off my bike in transition and looked around in dismay – it seemed as if 90% of the bikes had been racked – which made perfect sense when you thought about it logically, but totally threw me, because even though I was well within my cutoff time, it felt like I was coming stone last. I started the run when most people were on their second lap, and so by the time I started my second lap, I had marshals rushing me along – again forgetting that I was making decent time and that time on the clock wasn’t an indicator of athlete performance. “I started 2 hours after everyone else!” I wanted to scream.

The run was shitty, and I will never again underestimate a ‘quick 21km’ again. Because it was completely flat I assumed it would be the best and easiest part of the day. It wasn’t. Flat means no hard uphill, but it also means no lovely downhill to relieve your legs. It was also 1 pm by the time I started, and 36 degrees.

I just felt the spectators at that point were disinterested, and I felt lonely for most of the run. Even my parents, who had come all the way to see me race, looked bored. I think it had been a long day of waiting, and due to the slow start, there wasn’t much excitement in terms of masses of athletes all competing at the same time. I could see them thinking ‘really, is this it?’

About 8 kms in I started running with a girl Siobhan who I met along the route and who mentally helped me a lot. I left her after a few kms as I was feeling a bit stronger, and she needed to walk a bit more. (I hope she somehow stumbles across this blog and makes contact – I never caught her last name, but we did commit to having lunch in Joburg together to celebrate not dying). The last 10 kms were much better than the first, and I kept a very slow but steady pace (race day goal was a 6:45 and I was managing between 7:30 and 8. I was hurting and the tummy cramps of the previous few days had flared up.).

On those last 10 kms, again due to the lateness of the day and mentality of how it’s usually done, a lot of the aid stations had closed up, sponges and water had run out and the promenade had been opened properly to the public. I ran into 2 people, was hit by a wayward soccer ball and had to dodge more than one child running in and out the crowds. By then I was close to despair and started going in to a very dark place.

Eventually, I finished, in my slowest 21 km time ever of 2:44. I crossed the finish line happy, grabbed my medal and T-shirt and made my way back to the supporters area. It was completely empty. That kind of (un)welcome does a lot for this already battered ego, and I felt so sad and despondent.

The positive to the race was that my baby boy was discharged that afternoon so he and hubby at-least got to see me on the route, which was a beautiful sight when you are empty and broken inside.

Sadly, I don’t feel as if the organisers handled the delayed start well, and I’m bitterly disappointed by how I was made to feel like a B grade athlete out there – at no fault of my own. I think the organisers had been prepped for a 7:30 am start and a cutoff by 15:30 – so when the plans changed and the time got pushed out, they weren’t aware that it was OK and athletes competing were not a bunch of losers. I also definitely know that having had the swim portion cut out – which actually made the race harder for some reason, has made me feel like a 2/3 Iron Man.

Does that mean I have unfinished business, and will be coming back next year to see it through? Probably not. I’m feeling a massive sense of relief that this race is over, and that I can focus on some other aspects of my life right now. Nothing that looks or sounds like a swim, bike or run… although, that’s what I said straight after my very first Half Iron man in 2013…

CJ was less than thrilled as well
CJ was less than thrilled as well

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I took this photo when the pros went out on their swim. You can see the lifeguards rushing in to assist a swimmer

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Carter in hospital with bacterial dysentry
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Race registration with Eryn
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Finishing in a time of 6:26
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On the Friday we did a team swim. The water was harsh but not unmanageable.
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Readers, Lend Me Your Brains.

I have a lot on my mind – everything from finishing a rather massive race in 9 day’s time, to re-doing my entire house décor. So, seeing as you bunch are so freaking smart, I thought I’d try a new crowdsourcing exercise and get feedback from my readers – all of you! So, if you can help/answer any of the below queries, then I will send you a package of dolphin tears and glitter

  • I want to try do these concrete kitchen counter tops at home – does anyone know of a supplier or someone who does this? Also, because its concrete does it mean I will need to reinforce my existing cupboards and doors? (Look at me sounding all building savvy).

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  • I need to make a photobook – who are the best suppliers/website/template makers out there?

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  • I love this wood wall look for behind my TV in my lounge. Do I need a specific wood and does it have to be treated? (The husband is convinced it’s a breeding ground for termites). Then, is it easy enough to do as a DIY project, or should I rather go the trusty builder route?

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  • Under eye fillers. I can’t stop thinking about having this done ever since my GP gently encouraged me. I’m also convinced it will stop everyone from asking me if I’m tired. All.The.Time. Yay/nay? Have you had fillers done? Where?

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  • Weight loss. After 4 months of religiously training for Half Iron Man I’m still sitting with a lump ‘o lard around my tummy, and feeling very sorry for myself. (I was SO sorry for myself this morning and almost tripped a skinny bitch in the change rooms as she waltzed around in a G-string and non-mom boobs). I think after the race I’m going take up more Pilates and strength training. I also want to adjust my eating plan slightly – I can’t do banting as I don’t eat any meat. What’s worked for you? I know there’s a lot of talk around fermented foods and how much it aids your digestion – I think that’s definitely a route I’m going to explore.

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  • Shaving your face. Ok… so this has been met with much division, but I recently read this article on the benefits of (ladies) shaving their faces to aid skin renewal, exfoliate and slow the ageing process. Thoughts??

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So looking forward to your comments and feedback. Especially from my mother around the eye fillers.

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WIN A Personal Training Program Worth R4000 With P3 Fitness Centre

A while ago I wrote this post. One that resulted in floods and floods of emails, calls and messages. I’m still amazed at just how many women could relate to how I was (and sometimes still am) feeling.

It’s been a few months and I’m getting there. Slowly. I still have some kilos to go, but in the middle of work, training for a Half Iron Man, being a mom, wife and friend, I find very little time to stress about it as much.

Also, I really, really love pizza.

I do also fall off the wagon from time to time, and being winter in Joburg also means its a lot harder to train and find time when it isn’t freezing or dark, to get my ass in to gear.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who has hit a bit of a mid-year slump, and who’s waiting for a change of season/new month/week/year/bikini/the stars to align to start working for the body they want.

The thing is, the time really is now, and every day wasted means a day you haven’t started. A year from now you’ll wish you had. I promise

So, some good news for those of you ready to take the plunge, but aren’t quite sure where to start.

I’m teaming up with P3 Fitness Centre and personal trainer Jennifer Barkhuizen (BA (socsci): Sports PsychologyBA (HMS) HONS: Sport Science) and giving away a two months personalised online training experience with her. The prize includes a dietary programme, online training plans specific to your needs, Skype consultations with Jennifer, body measurements, before and after photos and so much more. The prize is valued at R4000, but the way you will feel afterwards is priceless.

I personally find that being accountable to someone is half the battle won, so a customized 2 months plan with an exceptional trainer might just be the motivation you’ve been lacking till now.

So, if you are looking to get your body back after baby, trying to lose weight for your wedding or simply want to be a better you, then this is the competition for you.

It’s so simple to enter:

  • Comment on this post and tell me why you want to win this prize
  • Like the Rupert Approves Facebook page
  • Make sure you follow the Rupert Approves blog
  • You can also get an extra entry by tweeting me @KateKearney

Winners will be drawn and notified on Friday 3 June

In the meantime, if you want to find out more about P3, you can contact Jennifer on barkhuizen.jennifer@gmail.com

Good Luck!

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Dear Google, Thanks For Making Me Look Smarter Than I am. (Plus, Win a Google Swag bag!)

I am never late. Truly. If punctuality had a face it would be mine. If Big Ben were to speak he would shout my praises from the rooftops. It’s who I am, and quite frankly, with all the technology available at our fingertips these days, it’s even more inexcusable to ever be tardy again.

And by technology, I mean Google. Not only does it get me everywhere on time with Google Maps (except that one time, last month, when I decided to try another ‘GPS’ device and instead of going to Houghton – my intended destination, it sent me to Melville. And I was 90 minutes late for a meeting…with a brand new client. I’ve told you I’m never late, right? Lesson learnt).

Google has also diagnosed my illnesses – no, you’re not dying, you just have a head cold, pre-empted pretty much every baby question I have ever had, and given me recipes to 90% of my meals.

I Google everything.

Now don’t tell anyone, but what I use Google the most for is when generating finance documents for my clients. I work on fee structures, and every client has a different rate. Now, I’m good at many things but ‘percentager worker outer’ isn’t one of them. So, when my sister in law (accountant) isn’t available, I turn to Google for all my finance related queries. The poor search engine dives deep into the realms of science and maths and answers world important questions such as “what is the percentage difference between 506400 and 405000” (FYI – its 21) and “How to work out 15% of a spend amount”

So there you have it. My big Google secret. Next time you receive a cost estimate from me, and marvel at the mathematical magic on said piece of paper, just remember that it was all thanks to Google.

I don’t feel bad – even Isla Fisher in ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ had to rely on Google to get her job done

So, now that I’ve told you my Google Story, it’s time to tell me yours. And in return we might just reward you with something money can’t buy – a Google Swag bag, valued at over R5000, consisting of the following:

Your story might also be featured in Elle magazine.

How To Enter:

  • Share your Google story (How did Google help you land that job, meet that special person, learn a new skill or save you from embarrassment) with me via Twitter (@KateKearney) Facebook (www.facebook.com/rupertapproves) or Instagram (@KateNicoleKearney).
  • 300 characters or less, please
  • Make sure you use the #MyGoogleZA
  • I’ll pick my favourite and announce it here as well as on the Rupert Approves Facebook page
  • You have to be 18 or older to enter, and must have agreed to our Ts and Cs found here
  • Entries close on 16 May 2016

 

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From One Martyr, To Another

Happy International Women’s Day for yesterday.

Did you get spoilt, woman? Gosh, I did. I woke up at 5:30, went for a run (with a male friend, because one can’t simply run alone these days), fought my way through traffic, paper work, emails, rude people and unappreciative humans. Fought my way back home after an incredibly stressful day. Fetched my child, went grocery, fed my child, bathed him, made dinner, put him to bed, did some work and then designed an invite for his first birthday party. Then I climbed into bed to sleep, but instead was kept awake by feelings of guilt, exhaustion and long lists of to-do items that are nowhere close to being checked off.

I’m so tired. And not in a jokey ‘a glass of wine and 5-day nap can cure anything’ way. I’m tired to my bones. My face aches from the constant tension in my jaw, I’m tired of constantly fighting my way through life, deadlines, traffic, to-do lists. I’m tired of the feeling of ‘what exactly did I achieve?’ that I feel at the end of every single day. I’m tired of feeling like I take it all on, and that I alone am responsible for the world.

I know I’m not alone, ladies everywhere are feeling the immense and massive pressure of being this ‘does it all, has it all’ woman. I hate to say it, but we have become our own worst enemies. We are all martyrs, and it has to end.

Recently, I read something in a novel that resonated with me, deep in my core:

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“But if a man and a woman work equally hard at things outside the home, who will ensure the children get to the dentist, eat the right foods, have vitamins, get dewormed and learn to share and be kind to others? At the same time, that person needs to ensure that there is toilet paper, shampoo, colouring pencils and three types of cereal….So, by this unquestionable logic, if men do 50% and women do 50%, and men (try as they may) are unable to take over more than 20% of the mothering, that’s another 80% heaped on you. Which is why us women are often not coping, and we need to find a way to fix it” – Jami Yeats-Kastner (Sam, Me and The Hard Pear Tree)

My wish for you all, this Women’s Day (snort) is that you give yourself the respect to just let irrelevant shit go, to rely on a partner or colleague to do their bit, and to be kind to yourself.

My wish for myself it to not take it all on, all the time. It’s to delegate chores and try not have an internal meltdown when I get let down, again. It’s to give myself a pat on the back and remind myself that I’m fucking great. I’m a great mom, I do great work, I have brains in my head and I don’t need anyone to validate me or my actions.

So, short of burning my bra (because it’s expensive, and I rely heavily on it to keep my mom boobs above waist level) I’m going to take a bit of a stand against modern society and tell you all that it’s OK to not always be everything to everyone. Be good to yourself, and go from there.

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To Kate, On Your 32nd Birthday.

Dear Kate

32 today. I know when you were younger, you always thought that by the age of 32 you would have achieved so much. There were visions of holiday homes, your own company and enough cash floating around to never feel like you couldn’t breathe. I guess the reality is that even though you have none of these things, you really still have achieved a lot.

You are married to a man who still thinks your post baby boobs are sexy, you’re happy, and you live in a home that you love. It may feel like those 1980 pink terracotta floors will never turn into the Italian porcelain tiles that you want, or that the crack in the wall will ever be fixed. I know you want so much for your space, but you’ve taken the first step towards changing it – buying that house.

You have a car that gets you to work, is new enough to not cost you anything and a job that is fulfilling. A bigger salary would be nice, but you can afford to put food on the table, and send your child to crèche, right?

And your child. Your beautiful, incredible, hilarious happy full-of-sunshine 8 month old baby. You made that. Can you believe you made that? You’re a very good mom – you sing stories, and play games and insist on cooking organic meals even though he would rather eat peanut butter on toast or something from Woolworths. You keep him nourished and happy and you’re raising a well-developed and confident little man. Well done.

Of all the hundreds of birthday messages you received yesterday, so many of them alluded to the fact that you are a nice, kind funny person. I think that’s something wonderful. It’s a great thing when you can make other people smile.

I know you often wonder what you’re good at. I see you doubt yourself on a daily basis, questioning everything you do and everything around you. Let me tell you that so many people would kill to be able to crack jokes like you do, write rambling blog posts or tackle challenges and tasks head on. You may not have a degree or feel like you are worthwhile, but you are. You are very worthwhile.

Aren’t you lucky you have a family who doesn’t stop talking, laughing or worrying? That they are all healthy and capable and living their dreams. You have people who love you, and who you love in pretty much every corner of the earth. Your brother is drinking sake in Japan, your parents are relaxing in their bush house and your two grannies are tagging you on Facebook and berating you for answering your phone while driving, even though you’ve told them a hundred times about Bluetooth. You have in-laws who would go to the ends of the earth for you, a sister in law who loves your child like her own, and two nieces and a nephew who prove that love comes in tiny packages.

I’ve seen you let people in traffic and get screamed at by people who felt inconvenienced, I’ve seen how much people’s attitudes can make you sad, but I’m so proud of the way you still always do the right thing, anyway.

I’ve seen your boards on Pinterest – the ones that range from 6 pack abs to 6 stick butter cake recipes. Make that cake, get those abs, then visit every destination you can. Fuck the exchange rate.

I’m so glad you’ve saved all those nice bottles of wine and champagne – but for the love of all things delicious, please open one this weekend before its gets old and corked.

Drink that wine, write that book, buy that Polar watch you’ve been talking about for 2 years now.

Happy birthday Kate, you’re doing just fine.

Love, me.

joy

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