Monday, 20 February 2017

The birth of my little star gazer, Maksimilian Pablo. My story.

delivery room, last shot of baby in my tummy

I need to write this story before baby brain completely erodes my vivid memories of one of the most epic journeys of my life. I know that I have only lived 29 years and 5 months of my life and so there will certainly be plenty more adventures to consider for this coveted title, but this particular event reigns supreme until further notice.

Last week (ha, when I first started writing this post) I was 39 weeks preggers, the 29th January due date looming ahead. First pregnancies often carry longer and especially little boys, but I had the most fun watching people’s expressions when I told them I was due that coming Sunday when prompted with the question of the big day.

Late Thursday afternoon, I found a little clue that lodged the idea in my head that this baby was coming very, very soon. The last month of pregnancy is the hardest, filled with much frustration about all the things you cannot change (and shoes you can wear) and the anxiety about the general child birth. I spent a lot of time reading about labour, watching antenatal workshop videos on youtube, attending real life classes on the stuff and started feeling less prudish about the whole crowning situation. It’s funny how once you’re pregnant, anything that you found was distasteful to talk about in public becomes as natural a conversation as one about the damn weather. It’s truly fascinating how everything about this process prepares you to become a mom - nothing is gross anymore. Nothing. More on this later…

So Friday my huzzband is on another shoot and I’m desperately anxious for him to come home. He’s supposed to have wrap drinks/dinner at 8pm and I’m to join him but my thinking is that we should stay home - seriously do not want to recount a story where my water broke in the middle of dinner in Melville, as cute as that story might be.

The evening passes without event and whilst my huzzband slumbers, I read my kindle.. Read, read, read until 01h00 and then I decide, sheesh I should really get some shut eye. Fifteen minutes later, my uterus has other ideas.

Hmmmm, that’s not something I’ve felt before. 01h24, that feeling happens again. Another 10 minutes. Am I imagining this, or am I feeling contractions?! After an hour passes, I decide it’s time to wake Markstry.

“I’m having contractions”
MS: “Should I get dressed?”

During the hour that I have been counting the time between contractions, I’ve been urgently checking all my pregnancy books to see when is a good time to go to the hospital. Or call the doctor. I couldn’t bear the idea of going to the hospital early - especially when my own choice of 3 toilet seats for the ever increasing trips to the bathroom far outshines those of a hospital.

It’s quite hilarious how much packing goes into having a baby. There’s a bag for me, a bag for baby and a bag for huzzband. And then there’s also my separate toiletry bag, my handbag, and the folder containing all the documents. Lots to remember in a time of what could be considered sheer panic masked as excitement.

Eventually, after parking card mishaps in the parking garage of our apartment block, we arrive at the hospital. Casually and calmly we walk to the closed doors of the hospital and make a racket to wake up the security guard to open up for us. Head over to the labour ward, the one floor we didn’t get to visit on the hospital tour due to reasons unknown now that I think about it.

Anyway, get into this ludicrous green gown I’m told, and before the midwife has a chance to fetch a cup (or enormous plastic jug, which was what she actually brought to me) I’m in the toilet, peeing for the thousandth time. No matter, I’m pretty sure I can get you another urine sample quite soon. Although the challenge will be to hold this mammoth plastic jug whilst gripping onto the handicap bar, pissing and dealing with a contraction simultaneously. Again, no matter! :P

Night shift midwife, apologies, I have forgotten her name but you’ll forgive me this in a matter of sentences.. So, night-shift midwife (let’s call her NSM for a bit to save time) tells me she will examine me. Yes! The moment I have been waiting for, to confirm that these contractions aren’t just practice, that I am actually dilating. I am fucking thrilled for this.
Until her fist is half way through my pelvis, doing some unimaginable scraping. To say that I am giving a shrill scream like I am being murdered is an understatement. That examination was worse than any contraction I felt before or after. I have honestly not experienced worse pain.. And I am currently sitting on a donut with stitches that feel like my asshole is sewn in (oh and for the second time round I might add) and writing this recount and I still believe that examination was more painful than the sensations I’m feeling this very moment. (But I have had breakfast and painkillers so this could also be clouding my judgement).

I was honestly beyond terrified at this point. I look at my huzzband’s compassionate face, trying to remember the excitement I was feeling. Especially when NSM tells me I am 2cm dilated. 2 fucking centimetres. I feel like Rachel Green and I miss my art deco inspired toilet so much more in this moment.

And then I see it. NSM’s hand. And her fucking 1,5cm fucking nails (TALONS) that were just digging around my fucking cervix. And I almost fall unconscious. I’ve read birthing stories, you know, you have a birth plan and sometimes, as it does with nature, things don’t go according to plan. But I distinctly remember reading that if you do not like the hospital staff and you’re feeling mistreated, you should ask for a replacement. I did not think this would happen to me, and it’s seriously the one thing I was not even remotely prepared for. I’ve only ever fired one person in my life, okay, maybe two, but I remember how dismal I was at the task, so I had nothing to relate to this.

But luckily for me, as with many beautiful things that happened on this journey, the shift changed! So I had the wonderful midwife Charlotte take care of me until I met my baby, and she had wonderful clean, short nails and a much gentler hand.

At 07h00, my doctor came and examined me, him too with a more merciful hand and I was progressing well. 5cm.
At this point, he asks the epidural question.

Now, I had wanted drugs from the start. I read about all the options. Gas, pethidine, epidural.. And there are so many cons that far outweigh the few pros, and our family doctor friend (who also happens to be an anaesthetist) strongly recommended that I go without the epidural unless a c section was in order. So I was really hoping to go without it.

But my doctor, Dr Hurwitz told me not to be a hero. He told me my baby was very big. And his head had not dropped yet so it would be his strong recommendation that I do this. “But have your breakfast and decide. We can always call the anaesthetist back”

I didn’t know what to do. On the one had, I had already endured 8 hours of contractions, some easy enough to doze off through (I hadn’t slept since the day before!) and some almost broke (both of) my huzzband’s hands. He was afraid for me. So I gobbled the scrambled eggs and piece of tomato and urged him to get the doctor and tell him we’re taking the “happy-dural.”

An hour passes, 09h30 reads the time somewhere, and now the wait for the happy-dural is implacable. It’s like the contractions have gotten worse. Which duh, they would, as now I am 6cm strong, or maybe further. Panic has not quite set in, but the thought that it’ll suddenly be too late for the epidural has definitely crossed paths in my mind a few times.

But there arrives glorious Dr Mohammed and the beautiful midwife Charlotte has already prepped the tray table with all the goodies needed. The local anaesthetic burns like a bitch and I’m suddenly remembering all the reasons I didn’t want the epidural in the first place.

“Don’t move”

Oh gawd. Please let us not have a contraction at this time…

And it’s in. Get me into position as I start to feel a strange tingling spreading from my toes upwards. Heaviness takes over my legs and within a matter of moments, complete numbness.

post happy dural bliss

I am so peaceful. Oh so very peaceful. Huzzband tells me, you’re currently having a big contraction.
My head is all fuzzy and high and wonderful.
“Really?”
And yes, when I turn my head to gaze lovingly upon the monitor and paper thingy, I do see that I am indeed, having a rather epic contraction.

contraction tracker and baby's heart rate monitor

What the hell was I waiting for? This is magnificent! I am floating on a frikken cloud here, no more pain! Only the loving thought that my baby will be here soon and this is magic and why don’t all women do this, and why didn’t my mom do this and oh this is so, so wonderful.

But one of the many disadvantages of happy-dural, other than not having the feeling or urge to push, or knowing that you are indeed pushing, is that it delays labour by at least an hour. So the progress I had been making was delayed. For most first time child births, labour is about 12 hours, so my 13 hour labour was like they wrote about in the books. But another, more drastic disadvantage of the happy-dural is that 1 out of 8 epidurals fail to take. So unless you have the knock out spinal tap reserved for c-sections, the other epidural needs top ups. And when mine came time for top up, I started regaining feeling in my left side. And even after the top up, the left side still remained partially woke. It’s bizarre to feel contractions in only the left side of your stomach. Like, really bizarre.

But I chose to look at it this way: I would still choose an epidural, it doesn’t make me any less strong as a woman, this child birth thing is fucking hard. And my left hand side that came back to life, well, it was just nature and my baby’s way of helping me know when to push. Because the nether regions still remained numb.
And friends, my baby was a star gazer that needed much assistance so I am beyond thankful for that numbness.

See, the interior design of this room..

When it was time, we were taken to the delivery room. My poor huzzband. The set up of the room was not conducive to avoiding the "pub burning” when the baby arrived. He stayed as much near my head as possible..
My legs had to be strapped into the stirrups and this had to be done by several people as I still couldn’t feel anything - although I did have very small feeling in my left foot, which really helped to gauge whether I was pushing or not.
I wish I could describe in greater detail the experience of trying to push but since I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and I’ve already taken up so much of your time already.. Well, it just didn’t feel like I was doing anything. And I was in agony. I could feel these weird half contractions *by no means am I saying half pain here, it was full on torture but limited to the left hand side. The doctor kept telling me that he’s going to help me, and suddenly he’s holding onto some bizarre contraption.

And then pop. Contraction comes off and there’s blood squirting but there’s no baby and I don’t know what’s going on, I’m just trying to push when they tell me to push and remembering to pant when I’m not supposed to push. And to hold my breath when I do push and my huzzband is luckily remembering all the counts and I feel like nothing is going on. And suddenly Dr Hurwitz is telling my huzzband to look, baby is crowning and I’m thinking oh my fucking gawd, he is only crowning!? And I’m screaming because the contractions are almost killing me, and the midwife is not telling me to push but I’m so fucking sure I’m supposed to push because I can feel the contraction and so I keep scream-asking if I can push and nothing is happening..

AND THEN HE IS OUT.
THERE IS A BABY IN FRONT OF ME. ALL OF A SUDDEN.
AND HE IS COVERED IN GOO AND HAS BLACK HAIR AND HE IS SCREAMING. BEAUTIFUL.

AND HE IS PLACED, LIKE BANG, ONTO MY CHEST. AND HE IS SCREAMING.
He was not keen to come out really, check that grip on his cord!

And I just start to cry. This is the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me. I can’t believe I did this. I have never seen anything so beautiful. My baby is in my arms!
Screaming incessantly, I am so thrilled. He has beautifully formed lungs if he is screaming this hard.

Okay yes, you can clean him now, fine.

“Markstry, go with him.”

Again, I must mentioned the bad interior design in this room. Dr Hurwitz is pushing my stomach to what I can only imagine is to encourage the placenta to depart from my jol, and directly opposite is where baby boy is getting weighed, and measured and cleaned. My poor huzzband.


35cm head circumference, 56cm length, 3,730kg weight - our very big boy Maksimilian Pablo Strydom-Micic

And I am bleeding. There is blood everywhere. And I am exhausted. And I don’t think it’s from the blood loss. I think it’s cuz I didn’t sleep at all, I’ve given this 13 hours and he is here and I really just want to have a quick nap. No, no, wake up! Huzzband is next to my head, holding baby boy all wrapped in a blanket with a little hat, huzzband has panic stricken look on his face. Wake up!
Mmmmm, still bleeding. Still so keen for a nap.

But eventually, it’s all okay. Possibly 1000 units (?) of blood lost. But baby boy is in my arms again. Time to give him my boob. Oh my gawd this is weird. But such a good weird.

The overwhelming feeling I have, is that this is a right of passage. I’m not trying to promote anything here, I know that the world these days leaves much to be desired about bringing new life into the world.. but as a woman, this was the most exceptional expedition I have ever had the privilege of undertaking. I don’t want to say that I wasn’t that woman who judged people that applaud having children as some great achievement, because before it all, I may just have been - but. After this, well damn, this was fucking hectic and I sure as hell am proud of my damn self for creating life and bringing it into the world and survived it all. The 9 months of pregnancy and the 13 hours of hard labour and now the three weeks postpartum including labia repair which sets back recovery once more. Yes. I am amazing. And I don’t care if you judge me, naysay or hate. I would do it a million times over if it meant that I could have this baby boy in my life.

xx

newborn perfection
post breast feeding bliss

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Oh, it's only the final count down.



My app says 21 days to go. 37 weeks today. Wowzer, I remember the epic snail crawl that it was to the 12 week mark we tried to hold out for before telling everybody. And now, according to so many posts, readings and books, the last month of pregnancy is back to that similar snail crawl. For which, as I am currently kicking my feet up in NiceNa, my opinion is torn in two. On the one hand, I cant wait for this pregnancy to be over, I am done with the swollen ankles (and newly added oversized knees) after five minutes of being on my feet and having foregone the capability of bending over my enormous stomach to do well, basically anything but mostly trying to tie the straps of my shoes. I look forward to the waving goodbye to the feet that resemble my grandmother’s. I love my granny, but I’m not even 30 yet, have not been on my feet for twice as many years so I really am done with this look. It’s not vain. I just finally own a pair of united nudes for goodness sake! 

And then on the other hand, there’s that terrifying task ahead of me of child birth. Which as much of a hurry I am in to get this #fattummy time over, I’m feeling like I really would like for little lion cub / babyPablo to hold up until we’re home and a 10 minute drive over to the hospital to have Dr Hurwitz deliver. 

So when asked whether I’m ready for this to be over, my answer is as non-decisive or flippant, or what’s that damned word when you cant decide between things and constantly change your mind?
Flaky! Yes! Flaky, my answer is always dictated by the weather and the condition of my ankles. On lovely, cool days, I can hold out. On those hot, humid, everything is sticking to me and all I can do is lie down, no, get this guy out of me.

But having said all of this, and having seriously questioned the ethics of many moms telling me how magical pregnancy is, I do understand the nostalgia. Of course, this only happens when my feet are up, I’ve just enjoyed some delectable non-diet food and there’s no chance of catching my reflection in a mirror.. Or any reflective surface for that matter. I’ve found that there is a conspiracy amongst moms to entice the newly pregnant, that pregnancy is such a beautiful journey blah blah, foregoing the truth of the matter that your body is kidnapped for 9 months and there is very little sympathy you have for yourself over that period of time. But if there wasn’t such a conspiracy, there would no longer be any cute babies made. And on the upside, every month is worse than the last, and the hormones help you forget pretty quickly how irritating it was to not fit into those “fat day” pants in the fourth month. 
trying to encourage my ankles to return through walks on the beach

Which brings me to the topic of maternity wear. Having been told plenty times that it is so refreshing to see a woman embrace her preggybelly and flaunt her new bod (although this only happened when the “I ate too many pies” boep became a non-mistakenly baby bump) that I started to wonder about this whole maternity fashion thing. Ladies telling me how back in their day they had to wear the frumpy frocks because it was expected that a pregnant woman should wear pregnancy clothing. Huh? Sorry, but for the first time in my life, I am not afraid to waddle in a bikini because A) it’s the only swimming costume that fits COMFORTABLY and B) I’m not fat, I have a person inside of me that needs all my new wobbly bits. In fact, the part I am most proud of is the tightly rounded stomach - I could seriously do without the new orange peel and flabby arms. I might even be convinced that the boobs can stay too but I’ve got way too many pretty brassiers in my usual size that I’m looking forward to wearing again eventually.

The price of maternity wear is unbelievable. Whilst in Spain, I found a very plain denim skirt with that familiar maternity elastic band waist and tried it on. I mean, it was uber comfortable, but it was honestly the most boring piece of clothing I have ever tried. Also, it did NOTHING for my ass. Not to mention at 40 Euros, was extraordinarily expensive for something that I was able to fit into comfortably at 5 months pregnant. Every pregnancy is different but one thing is for sure, you just keep getting bigger and bigger and this is not something you have ANY control over. I have both the fortune and misfortune of having a summer baby so the bulk of my pregnancy is aimed at trying to stay cool - I can't even imagine the torture of covering up in winter time, I have not been able to wear pants since July.. Leggings don’t count, those are not pants. Having said that, I’m sure I’ll be blessed to have my second pregnancy in the winter times so that I can have that next challenge. Although, at this point, a second pregnancy on its own would be a challenge. Seriously, I can feel the swelling on my feet shaking, you know, on its own accord, I’m not doing anything except elevating my feet in the vain attempt to soothe it. Magical time really.

I digress. As one does with pregnancy brain. But I really do want to talk about what’s out there for maternity wear. Because I folded and I ended up buying a pair of maternity pants. I’m a believer of cutting off the size tag because it’s about how clothing looks on you and makes you feel more than trying to squeeze into a size too small because of some stupid number. But you can’t even imagine what it’s like to try on a pair of pants in an unbelievable number, still not be able to bring these over your thighs and to think THIS IS MATERNITY CLOTHING? Are they making this for pre teen mums?? I haven’t had thunder thighs since I stopped eating two minute noodles at film school, so I don’t have especially thick legs to speak of (although pregnancy changes all of this, RE orange peel fun times) so I cant imagine which pregnant woman can fit into such pants without needing the assistance of a wheelchair to support the extra weight of her stomach on such stick legs! Seriously!
But as I said, I gave in and bought these ludicrous pants, wore them once and now they taunt me with their elasticated band and my shame. But I couldn’t let it end there. I needed to take this into my own hands. 

After watching the True Cost documentary two years ago, I researched finding material, my ultimate mission was to find an organic cotton that was fair trade and I succeeded in finding such a supplier of such but alas it was also at that heavier price tag - you know, fair trade! 
But then whilst working in Cape Town in Feb, I got a mail that she was relocating and selling off some of her beautiful jersey cotton for next to nothing. And about 25m of the stuff. It was navy and white striped cotton so quite the challenge to think of designs for clothing using that particular material so for the most part of the year, after the great effort to get it home, it spent time under the guest bed.. waiting for my pregnancy eureka moment to make some #fattummy clothes from it.
I also made tops out of that African fabric hanging there, huzzband brought that for me from Kenya even.



My huzzband teases me and says that it’s like I have a uniform but I think that my experiment turned out pretty great. I also got very excited and decided to buy some different material to copy the patterns of my #fattummy dresses and tops to extend my variety from striped pajamas to some more fun. I chose designs that you can wear post pregnancy too. My dresses can be worn without a preggbelly or paired with a belt to show off a cinched waist. The tops are flattering for all body shapes. Because it’s summer, I opted to only make one of the long dresses using my striped supply, but I think it can also be a good transitional/seasonal option for when it is a bit colder. 
Oops, where did my bindi and red lip go?



I also used the left over materials from the dresses and tops to create crop tops which I pair with long skirts for now with my #fattummy and I can hopefully wear like I used to pre pregnancy with high waisted skirts and pants post natal. I’m not delusional, I know that my post natal body will still resemble 28 weeks, but don’t tell my huzzband. He’s been ever so gallant in this journey, seeing how upset I am over clothing and generously afforded me this new wardrobe ;)
crop top AND the uniform skirt :) also, Grandfaazha.

So I tried to be clever with this expedition of clothing during gestation (sorry, I just couldn’t keep using the word pregnancy over and over in this epic essay) by making choices that would go beyond the call of duty and remain a staple within my wardrobe but you can never really prepare for how big your stomach gets. Something that fitted perfectly for two months suddenly becomes too short, something that was comfy for all time becomes too constricting over your elements (read bladder, chest, stomach). It happens. And it’s okay. Ish. Only a little further to go until you meet the little wonder that has caused such uproar in your life. You can only know for certain it’s going to get harder and even more different. So you tell yourself that it’s all okay. And you try not to read too much about labour beforehand.  

And wait, I just felt another kick. Weird how the kicks make up for everything. Here sweet little lion cub, let’s have another piece of chocolate.

xx


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

#PreggyMoon - An Introduction

Back when we became betrothed, huzzband and I decided that, like  everybody else in the world without kids, that we would travel annually. I hate being home for my birthday, a trend I set for myself a long time ago and so I encouraged this annual holiday to occur around this time - it also helps that it allows for 8 months of "saving" until day of departure and drapes itself so elegantly over a northern hemisphere summer :)

The horrendous euro to ZAR situation in the beginning of the year deterred me for wanting to visit Europe but huzzband insisted. I bought a guide book for the Greek islands. But huzzband had other ideas. Spain he said. So one fateful evening in February, on a whim before we could even think about it, purchased airplane tickets to Barcelona returning via Madrid. Done. No flexi flights. No refund. 

And we watched as the euro went from 15 ZAR to 17 ZAR.. And we found the two lines of the clicks test. And we watched the terrorist attacks on the news in France. And in Germany. And tried not to listen to Schmommy's disgruntled comments about going to Europe in such a turbulent time. 
But it was too late. 
All accommodation booked and paid for. 
Even the ticket change to come home a little earlier was paid for - 5 weeks was a little over zealous on my part when booking initially and now we have a little lion cub to incubate safely. 

All the books said taking a holiday during the second trimester was a great idea, the last holiday we would spend alone as a couple. (For a while anyway)
And so how glorious that this trip was definitely within that timing I thought. 

Even when we discovered that we couldn't leave on our intended day of departure, even when we had to pay for ticket changes and say goodbye to 4 days in Valencia, even then we were not deterred.


Whoever said that the second trimester is the honeymoon period obviously never ever went to the coast of Spain during global warming. 
Today I am 20 weeks pregnant and have been having the fun time of the swollen feet with disappearing ankles ever since landing in Barcelona. 

And despite the obvious signs, like these swollen ankles and bulging stomach (uuuuuugh and chunky arms uuuuuuugh) it's hard to remember that I am pregnant. That I am not super human. That I need to rest. That I can't tackle the sight seeing like I used to. And certainly not in humid, 30 degree full sunshine days. I suppose we are not in the plains, but where is the rain in Spain? 

We are currently in Valencia. Which was a smoldering 40 degrees when we arrived. I thought September would be that perfect temperature - you know, the one where the heat is slowly peeling away, it's warm enough to swim but cool enough at night to wear a cardigan to hide my hideous arms? 
Nope. Not here and not now. Checking out the predictions for Madrid and the scorching doesn't seem to dwindle. Le sigh. So glad I brought all those leggings with me... Expanding at an unbelievable rate, I realized today that I have no idea what I'm going to wear on the airplane back home - pretty sure I'm not going to be able to fit comfortably in my g star leggings, no matter how stretchy they are and how they were intended as travel wear. Le sigh.

And so, this is why, even on the borrowed time we have in this beautiful old town, I am indoors, comforted by air conditioning, writing blog posts, dipping in the hotel pool and waiting to go for a manicure on my holiday - because little lion cub needs me to take it easy. Have fun and eat plenty but also, take it easy. 
It's just so much harder to do this mentally and emotionally than I had ever expected. I'm so thankful for Birkenstocks and Maxi-Dresses.

xx


Friday, 5 August 2016

Spilling the Beans


Around the time of our first year anniversary, I was under heavy stress and in full swing of a most hectic production that offered me no spare time to arrange an anniversary present until pretty much the day before the big day.. I had these beautiful ideas during the year, where I discussed them with my huzzband, figuring that maybe we could do a joint vaaib to alleviate the additional pressure on both of us for individual xmas presents. Although mostly for my sake since it happens to be his birthday in December too.

Because the first anniversary is paper, I thought it a great idea to commission art for this and ran it passed Markstry who merely murmured hmmm mmm maybe at the time.

So come the day before the anniversary and I still haven’t a paper present having not had a moment since October to arrange anything particularly extravagant like the art I had in mind earlier in the year. Also, feeling particularly flush at the time having worked some, I decided an airplane ticket would be (albeit a bit predictable) a good and quick idea.
And maybe a guide book and map.
Or maybe just the guide book and map after seeing the ticket prices to Greece.

But then I remembered how we’ve always wanted to traverse the winelands of the Cape and quite immediately I knew this was the not so predictable airplane ticket - accompanied by a wine diary and map. Not to mention the lining up of dates in April, several public holidays dotted over a week enabling us a week’s stay in the winelands without needing to worry too greatly about missing out on any work. Not that advertising cares much about holidays but I took the leap anyway.

So the morning of the big day, I was too chuffed to present huzzband my fabulous, well thought out gift which was met with much enthusiasm.
And then of course, he had to up me with my very own idea and gifted to me a paper drawing of us by the wonderful Koos Groeneweld. Cheeky, clever huzzband.





So as the time approached for our WinelandsMoon (I’ve started to just add the “Moon” part to every holiday we take) I was feeling rather flush again when booking the accommodation.. Initially playing with the idea of staying over at a different wine farm every night, I decided that I didn’t fancy living out of a suitcase so much and opted to stay in a central hotel in Stellenbosch. And so it was that I found the boutique hotel, Coopmanshuijs. One of the oldest buildings in the town, with the most charmingly decorated rooms, I begun to worry whether my huzzband and his luxurious tastes would actually like it or not.
Up until this point in our marriage, my huzzband had handled ALL accommodation bookings - which does two things. One, it allows me the freedom to complain if I don’t like it and secondly he forfeits that privilege. Maybe that’s just one thing. Either way, it made for a much more costly stay in Croatia than I expected as he chose all the lodgings. In all my previous trips outside of my grandmother’s house, you’re able to find some pretty affordable spots but I digress.

Back in Stellies, at first we were shown to the what I imagine is the smallest room in the hotel and I was dumbfounded. This was not what I was expecting at all. I pleaded with the manager on duty that evening and asked him if we could please have a different room, at least one with a bathtub as we were here for our anniversary.
It always helps to handle situations like these in a calm and pleasant manner, although it does take a lot of self control to not lose your shit over it either, so this lovely gentleman showed us to another room, much bigger and with the coveted bathtub.


The following day we set out to Franschoek after a most delishis breakfast at the hotel. The continental spread was impressive and once I found my omelette of choice, this was me err’day.

Our first day out in the winelands and we hit the famous Haute Cabriere, sampling all of the wines on offer. This was the day that we discovered we quite enjoy Chardonnay which is quite big news considering that neither of us are really big white wine drinkers.
We witnessed the owner of the farm performing the slicing of the top off the bottle of bubbles with a sword and pretty much ordered a case of everything we tried bar the sweet wine.
And even after a week in the winelands, wine pairing at dinners, we still aren’t so keen on this type of wine, or at least enough to buy it for home.

On this day we also visited Moreson and delighted in the Chardonnay on offer here. The Mercator, the flagship, was like an explosion of sunshine in your mouth, I felt like I was eating the sun. Dr Reason Why was an unwooded Chardonnay that was aged in three different containers and then blended together, those being steel, terracotta and concrete. I mean, who could resist buying a case of that?
And then, as if we didn’t have enough, they offered a Cabernet Franc which is rare to find on its own as it’s only really used in Bordeaux blends, of which there were only 2000 bottles of that vintage that made it, being quite the tricky grape to grow.
After this we indulged in a 2 course lunch at the restaurant on the farm, Bread and Butter and the food was exquisite.

After day 1, we were 40 bottles in and we were only getting started. And it appeared that we couldn’t get enough of Frranschoek either and kept coming back for more - La Motte, L’Ormarins and Rupert Rothschild, Zorgvliet (which is more Pniel but close enough) to a name a few.







Every restaurant we visited was a monumental foodie affair. We were basically eating three course meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner never mind the copious amounts of wine tasted and purchased. But life is short, and you only live once, so waste not a moment! And there’s always diets and detox when we get back home right?

Not really so much when it would seem the consistent array of couriers arriving to deliver box after box of wines. 130 bottles to be exact.

And before I leave Stellenbosch, after all, I haven’t really touched on many of the little gems we found hidden behind the more well-known farms, I must impart the story of our return to the hotel after our first day out. It’s quite a lovely service, leaving the car outside the front of the hotel and having one of the concierge park it for you and bring it out front again when you need it.
After our return from Frranschoek that first day, we were greeted so pleasantly by the reception desk and congratulated on our anniversary. When we stepped into our room, we discovered a complimentary bottle of bubbles (from Haute Cabriere even!) on ice, a slice of cheese cake and rose petals everywhere. It was as sweet a gesture that I will soon not forget - you have to admire the hotel’s attention to detail here.

So now back in Jozi, dealing with courier company phone calls all day and imminent arrival of wine, having eaten and drunk our way through Stellenbosch I was feeling rather plump and inflated. But as it would be after such an indulgent holiday, right?

Still, I was feeling rather depressed about the whole thing, especially since I couldn’t face the idea of a diet when I had been eating so richly - I constantly felt like I was starved. It was also difficult to try and attempt any detox when there were so many pleasant wines to choose from, and it was just one glass at dinner anyway.

I begun feeling the usual erratic array of emotions that accompany those days before the monthly flow, the swollen breasts and month-on-month-off desire to eat all of the chocolate, this time more than usual. I even tweeted about it, wishing for my damn period to arrive so I could feel better about the despicable way I was behaving.

And then I started experiencing a single cramp like I’ve never had before. 20 seconds of sheer agony about twice a day. I’m never late, I may be a day or two off every month but never late. Huzzband offered to go and buy tests and I laughed and told him to go right ahead. We’ve been “reckless” since our wedding night and so I wasn’t particularly thinking that anything was a miss.

It was not even 10 seconds that the second line appeared on the Clicks (pretty damn accurate) test. Nothing can ever prepare you for how you feel when you see that. I’m almost 29, married to a great man, in a fabulous place in my career but when I saw those double lines I felt like I was 16 and going to be in the biggest trouble of my life. Shaking controllably (it’s a thing) I told Markstry and the beautiful beam of happiness that washed over him only made me feel worse.

“I was going to be disappointed if you weren’t.”

Well damn, what now? Slowly, logic made its way back to my mind and started to help with the “is this really happening” thoughts. We popped the final bottle of champagne that I would have over the next 9 months and celebrated. We discussed telling our families when we would all be together in NiceNa in a months time and I went to bed feeling so very strange.

I woke the next morning and it was like I was a different person to the semi-neurotic mess from the afternoon before. I was elated. I couldn’t believe that I had felt any of those doubts the day before. This was the best fucking thing that could have ever happened to me, I am amazing! I am a vessel, I am growing life inside of me! And only me and Markstry know about it. It was the best secret in the world to have. But definitely not one I could keep from my schmommy. As soon as the doctor confirmed it for me, clutching my first picture of Little Bean, I made the most teary phone call. I asked her to keep it a secret because of our intention to tell everybody in a month.



Jeepers. There’s no more mammoth task than trying to keep the news of a pregnancy to yourself. And so despite our best intentions to wait a month, along with Schmommy’s daily calls “I’m dying, please let me tell Dad” we took to tell all the future grandparents that very weekend.

Suddenly I felt like spreading the news like wild fire in a pine forest. We sat our close friends for dinner to break the news. It was against all the rules of waiting till the 12 week mark, but I couldn’t stand the idea of everybody guessing because of the clear lifestyle change. Not to mention how many of my dearest smoke damn cigarettes - already I’m some kinda helicopter parent.


Now, rather beyond the 12 week mark, I am still safely cradling our little lion cub in my womb, feeling my uterus ever stretching and getting told off by the doctor to watch how many carbs I eat. Dammit, and Schmommy told me to enjoy my pregnancy and not worry about such things...

And so begins my latest journey with my wardrobe obsession, each day finding an outfit that fit and then as if it wasn't enough, outfits for our little lion cub :D 

xx


Friday, 20 May 2016

home improvements

It appears that it is common knowledge that renovations end up costing you twice as much as what you were initially quoted. and this is only true because once you’re in that strange, theatrical world of bashing and tiling you figure, hell, might as well get that done also. Oh and yes, I’ll take those real, oak wooden floors too. Le sigh.



My one sincere regret in all of it, has to be that I didn’t replace the one and only bathtub in the whole apartment. Goddammit; R10 000 never looked quite so affordable as it would have in my brand spanking new bathroom.

before.. (also please note, all same finishes used throughout previously, kitchen / bathroom? same same)
after.. with the same tub shame.


Another universal truth is how we as humans, manage to accumulate so much clutter and crap in less than a year of living in a space.

I was granted the great fortune of working solidly since the January 8th until the end of April on some really wonderful projects (more on that later, much later or possibly not at all as my blogging seems to have slowed down to a backwards sort of hop) which kept me busy and temporarily living outside of my city.

Upon my return, and every return is also experienced this way; the absolute joy and reverie to be in our apartment again. To sleep in my king size bed (no, standard, not extra length; jeepers who can afford that linen…)

So now in my down time; home in Johazardousburg, I’ve been tackling some home projects that we’ve been threatening to do. Before we moved to Millie’s we lived in a 2 bed 2 bath, 80 odd square meter apartment in the heart of Sandton. The second bedroom was literally my wardrobe room and here I had immersed my clothing onto many magical items; like the spiral clothing rail you’ll find at shops, an antique 3-door wardrobe and numerous disposable (I say this because these things always, without fail, break) rails to house my incredibly gluttonous collection of clothes.

herewith the empty remains of my wardrobe rail contraptions at Grayston. Also, I totes upgraded that little seatee you see.


Now, cut to moving day into Millies. A 3 bed, 3 bath apartment where we chose to use the master suite as a private lounge rather than our bedroom. And the cupboard situation is quite dire. But this you don’t realise when renovating a place without having actually lived in the space first. The cupboard in our bedroom could only just fit my huzzband’s wardrobe; and his, although not quite the same quantity, gives me a good run anyhow.

So this left me with the cupboard in our private lounge/master suite. No problem. I’ll just use the antique wardrobe and one of those disposable rails for the over flow.
Okay, I’ll also use spare room’s cupboard for the coats; just like we did at Grayston.

Yaaaas. Which brings me to the spare room. Gosh, these spaces are never nice. Always the door you keep closed and usher guests very far away from.
Which would be just fine if this room wasn’t situated adjacent to the powder room.

With so little storage space, one becomes limited as to where the hell to keep all those ugly items; like vacuum cleaners and ironing boards, step ladders and tool boxes.
Oh and, let’s just keep our old, mix and match bedroom suite in here; exactly as it was. Broken feet on the bed base? No problem, leave it on the floor. No head board? No problem, just keep using the rickety room divider from Markstry’s old bachelor pad. Oh and here’s every old laundry basket/bin thing that you ever owned ever, you know just incase you thought the room wasn’t crowded enough.

Anyhow. What I’m trying to relay here, in the long winded fashion that is my only way to do so; is that the spare room was my number one project takedown in this uncommon free time.
Not that I haven’t had free time before.
It’s just now I have free time and cash money.
Storage space (and all this docu-drama of fair trade) has curbed my spending on clothing so this is my new, almost-30 way of spending copious amounts of money; on house things. Also, they don’t care if you get fat; they look pretty and beautiful just the same.



First thing, and I would be misleading here if I didn’t mention that this was done first up a while back, was to get my huzzband to install new feet onto the base of the bed. Ta-daaaaaa, already a world of difference to the space, suddenly appears to have room although still containing much of the above mentioned cleaning and drilling equipment.

Next, call Enock.

Here is where I am devoutly self-claiming, that I am a wonderful caring and sharing person because I will gladly share Enock’s details with anyone who asks. Enock is this incredible human who paints miracles.
I owe a lot of home transformation items to him, all the wonderful paintwork at Millie’s is thanks to him.
Together, we took an old piece of rather ugly office furniture and created a pretty damn awesome display cabinet that now proudly exhibits the fancy china.

before, in its office furniture like glory..


during..

the final and beautiful result
So Enock comes round to gift me quote on the few things I had in mind for the transformation; and of course, not wanting to be left out, I also added a few bits for my bedroom too. Enock tells me that this what I want is actually wallpaper. But anything is possible.

And so it is to be that I sneak some suspicious pink like colour passed my huzzband and completely recreate the vaaib that’s going on in the spare room. I decide on a very quick upgrade to the BIC and we paint that too. I use a drill for the very first time and install the new handles myself. (Not the easiest task for me and my weak little hands, but I was determined to do it alone and show off to the huzzband later)
Spring/Autumn clean everything; get rid of that which we do not need anymore and find space in the cupboard to hide as many ugly tools. Choose one laundry basket to stay. Get mirrors into the tennis rackets purchased 5 years ago.

Now all I am waiting for is the chosen headboard. I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll update this later when I have a pic of the glorious finished product.

couldn't resist sharing a little sneak peek..

So now, my project is complete. Well, sort of. Minus one head board that we still wait for. 
And then there’s the two chairs for the head of the table that we are restoring. But I can totes talk about that another time. Pictures to follow even.

had to share a snapshot of our master bedroom. master because this is where we sleep.


k thanks bye.

xx

Monday, 19 October 2015

where to from here?

I'm struggling to write a single post today as there about a few hundred that are circling my brain right now.
But there is this urgent pressure to put something out there, incomplete as it may be.

I pushed my wedding up by a year and after 30 days of crazy..
I got married.
Then.
I renovated our apartment.
Then.
I embarked on the honeymoons to end all honeymoons with my huzzband.
the #MegaMoon

Now I'm back home after 6 magical weeks and I need to share all these ancedotes but I have no idea where to begin even.
I have experienced so much in the last year and all I want to do is share my learnings, from the reality of being a Bridezilla, to transit in Croatia, to shocking truths about fair trade and the garment industry it's really hard for me to decide where to begin.

so.


perhaps my best way forward is to quite simply, write my intentions.
that's it.
let's get stuck in.

how to plan a wedding in 30 days.

the mini moon part 1: all of the h's
the mini moon part 2: graaf reiniet
the mini moon part 3: eastern cape

#projectmilpark

#megamoon : munchen
#megamoon : berlin
#megamoon : paris
#megamoon : croatia

and this list will grow and be updated. and it will not appear in any particular order but I'll be sure to tag it correctly so that ya'll have some sort of choice as to what you would like to read ;)

oh, and also, please bare with me with the new arrangements of the look of this here blog. I was told that the "dynamic" template I was using earlier just didn't reflect enough of me. Hence, I am currently trying to renovate this look too and my skills at CSS, HTML and other #BSTechJargon are limited at best but I'm trying here :)

okay bitches, be back soon!

xx

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

LET ME EAT CAKE


It is Day 25. And I would love to say that I stayed strong throughout, and of course I could lie but even in the written word I am a terrible liar. So yes. I cheated. I had cake over the weekend. But now that I’m back in the 011 area code, I have taken control of my self discipline.

Funnily enough, I had started writing this post last week and it began with all self-boasts and flattery about my strong sense of determination and discipline. Whilst “pffffffff" is what I have to say to that now…

But not so much on day 6 (yes, don’t linger on that number for too long now, a temptation is still a temptation be it four days or forty years) when I spied the cutest baby pirate pants I had ever seen. Of course, the infant clothing is certainly not a temptation but merely a distraction from the real problem at hand. That being that I had chosen to attend the Collective that morning with Caraki.

Ordinarily, my bestie is who you would call your eternal fountain [of praise] — the gift that keeps on giving; that friend that insists you purchase that skirt that makes your ass look like an idol upon which all of mankind will worship. Yes. Exactly the kind of friend you want around for a HUGE shopping spree. Except that this was entirely the opposite kind of situation. I remember finding the most delicate necklace from The Makery -- I have become completely preoccupied with the colour of sunshine and sea of which said neckpiece had both— but more so the vivid memory of reluctantly passing into the hands of Caraki who most eagerly purchased it. Self discipline yes, but sometimes it’s enough to kill me.

So I left the Collective bursting with self-pride at having left without purchasing anything for myself. Boom, going strong bitches! And going strong despite the impending trip to Cape Town for the Loeries. I sit wondering at the precision of my timing here, I have this impeccable flair to choose the most inappropriate dates for my ban on shopping vaaib. Not only have I forced myself into a corner whereby I cannot buy any new outfits for the AWARDS, but also Cape Town is known to have the WORST weather over that weekend EVERY year.
What’s a girl to do but pack everything? Four days, 19kg compromising of: 5 pairs of heels, three different coats (a girl’s gotta have options yo) and a multitude collection of outfits for every occasion and weather report.

And then.

Well then, then I got to Cape Town.

But fuck it, I lasted 20 days of zero shopping and it had to be an all black, beaded and wired protea brooch that let my walls cave in. I’m such a fucking tourist. Thank you Cape Town, thank you for proving for the umpteenth time that you are the city of sin where I’m concerned.

And because I’m the worst liar in the world, I have to tell you that it didn’t stop there. Nope. I visited the Woodstock Exchange and despite my valiant efforts to avoid a particular store, markstry convinced me otherwise. “C’mon” he coaxed, “look at their mirrors, I know they’re your favourite thing..”
and so it was that I found an armchair.
a most magnificent and beautifully re-upholstered seatee that was desperate to join his friend the glass display cabinet back in Apartment 177.
I sat glued to it.

“Do you deliver to Joburg?”
“Yes, we do.”
“DONE! What’s next?”

But it wasn’t to be dear friends, for the very next day I was grievously informed that they could no longer arrange the courier to Johannesburg. So instead of holding a glorious quote in my paws, I was now calculating a plan to get the chair to JHB myself. The first problem being my rental car not having enough space for my suitcase let alone an armchair. Second problem being that the store is closed on a Sunday. Gah.

And then the worst news came at 10pm on Monday. The chair had been sold to somebody else. Probably to somebody who had a house in Blouberg and drove a Toyota Fortuner. Needless to say, I did not wake up a happy girl on Tuesday morning.

Cheaters never win.

October 1st, it is SO on.

xx


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

hair extraordinaire.. a journey

I'm currently working on a project about hair and it's reminding me to tell ya'll the story about my hair. yessssss, I have finally made peace with my hair and I am ready to share my story. 

It was the summer of 2013 and I had broken up with my hairdresser. By broken up I actually mean that I silently never went back.. there's a small chance I may be averse to confrontation.. and then I found Guinevere. Oh sweet Guinevere. My hair was just passed my shoulders, burnt and varying shades of yellow gold. I love yellow gold, LOVE it. Around my neck, around my fingers and wrists but not so much as a hair colour. 

So Guiny told me like it is, that we were going to have to chop it, but mermaid length and shiny hair was the goal which would be in reach within a year. So we chopped. And we chopped every month after that because I preferred the sleek bob to the potential stripper barbie hair that I was initially hellbent on having -- guys, I even tried to do the extensions vaaib. Tsk tsk. 

So it was with heavy heart in February when I left the salon with a slightly yellow tinge to the usual ash white blonde I had grown accustomed to. I was assured it was the lighting. 
Yeah. Okay.
I checked in every fucking lighting source available, sunlight, tungsten, fluorescent, cold, warm. It was fucking yellow. And I couldn't deal. 
Barely a week since my last bleach bath, I forced the ladies to fix it. Who came first, the chicken or the egg kind of question, but the result was frizzed, totally fucked and dead hair. My beautiful white blond hair, dead. Wintour's matted knots that I pull out of her fur were more lively than my limp hair on my head. 
And that wasn't the worst of it. 
Yeah. Perhaps it's not as harrowing a story as the floods in Serbia but this was a devastating event in my small life. 
I could sort of deal with the limp dead hair. Sort of. 
But coupled with broken pieces? My world was shattered. 
Especially if I saw the photographs taken of me. I considered sharing the ones taken of me on a shoot in March but I want to forget that time. And even more so when I recall the make up artist piping up "OH SHAME. What's going on with this dead hair, shame!"
(Needless to say I haven't hired her again).

And then that which I had been avoiding became so suddenly clear. No amount of treatment is going to bring back the hair that broke off. Nor is it going to revive the pathetic strands that still remain. 
I was going to have to chop it.
Chop it short like a boy. 
Chop it short like a buzz cut.
And all I could think of was the time my mother cut my hair like a boy. Like a buzz cut. When I was four. I'm not sure if I actually have that memory or if I made it up from seeing the ID photos of my four year old self sporting a very short and spikey do. But I remember hating it. I've never wanted short hair, apparently even as a four year old, so this was not going to be easy. 

But there I was. I was ready. Bring it. Bring on those scissors.
Guiny and the girls tried to comfort me.
With red wine. 
Much red wine. 
Guiny doesn't mess around friends. She starts in the front. Boom. 
Like a stab to my gut. 
Boom. 
Oh gawd, why didn't she start at the back?
Red wine.
Chop.
Red wine.
Done.
Okay.
It's all gone. 
Okay.
Everyone around me is ecstatic. 
Except me.
I am numb. And I've a party to get to.
Okay.
Everyone around me is ecstatic. And I just want to get drunk. I cant deal.
I come home to @markstry and as the words "you look beautiful" are out his mouth, I am collapsed in body-wrenching sobs. 
"I HATE IT"

That was the first night. I didn't care that everyone was so encouraging, that everyone thought it suited me. It wasn't my choice, I wasn't trying something new, I wasn't brave. I was distraught. It didn't help that @markstry always said I wasn't allowed to cut my hair short like a boy.

Gawd, I am so dramatic. 

Guinevere did a spectacular job on the colour and most importantly the cut. Despite my initial melodramatic reaction to my haircut, my hair on the other hand was LOVING life. It felt so alive and healthy, it stuck to the style without much persuasion from my part. It is literally the easiest hairstyle in the world, and all the while giving me a more elegant and grown up vaaib.

It's been two months now. Two months since the cut, and two months since my hair has seen bleach. And I'm hating on my hair now for it being too long. I'm going to the salon on Friday and I'm wondering if I'm still sticking to growing it out..

xx


ha! like I would ever leave you without showing you the hair cut