Day 16: A letter to my younger self

Jodie, life is meant for living. Enjoy every moment of it. It’s a gift from God.

Don’t worry about your hair that’s not straight. Don’t worry about your weight. All those things you keep not wanting that you see on your mum’s body- you will get them all – and you will learn to accept and even embrace them.

Stay close to your family, keep them first always. Relationships are important, continue to build them and allow people into your life for a reason and a season. They may not remain your friends forever, but you will learn something from them even if it’s what not to do.

Keep your head up and keep smiling. Your cheerful disposition will keep you above the water when things are thrown at you in life making it feel like it’s not worth it.

That persistent talking, don’t feel bad when people criticism you about talking too much. You will use it to enrich people’s lives and make them laugh. It’s okay to enjoy talking.

The kids you are adamant you don’t want to have… you will become a mum and it will expand your heart in ways that you never thought were possible.

You will find somebody who loves you without having to change anything about yourself. You are perfect just the way you are.

Sing like there’s nobody listening. Dance like no-one’s watching. You are worth so much more than you think!!

Love from your future self xxx

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Day 15: What is on my bedside table

Let me start by saying that I have only had this little table next to my bed for the last 2weeks. It’s waayy too small as you can see, but it’s the only side table I own – yes we have 1.

Previously, all my jewellery was on a table where the TV sat right next to the TV in our bedroom, and I had a tub chair on my side of the bed which has now been moved to the hubster’s side. My jewellery was a bit squashed, but not as squashed as it all is now! You see, we put a bigger TV in our room after “upgrading” the TV in our lounge which left no space in our room next to the bigger TV for my jewellery so well…this side table was moved from the spare room into our room.

If it’s not clear from the photo below, the table has all my jewellery on it, the book I’ve just finished reading (the Sophie Kinsella… it was average!) and the one I’m currently reading, two bottles of nail polish that I recently used for my toenails (berry bash) and fingernails (cotton candy) and right at the bottom of table, you’ll see two photo albums. These photo albums are for each child and contain their pics at birth. I’m soon going to be embarking on a photo project to fill these albums with photos that I’ve already put into folders on my phone ready for print 🙂

The small wooden object that you can just about see on top of the albums is a foot massager – I got my dad one for Christmas last year and the website I bought it from sent me a slightly smaller one a few months later out of nowhere… no note, nothing… I think it was a mistake. I have no idea where to put it (I’ve never used it) so I just shoved it there.

The yellow bucket on top of the jewellery box is part of a birthday gift from the hubster this year that I have no idea what to do with.

When I go to sleep, my cellphone goes on top of the books so that I can switch the alarm off as soon as it beeps so as not to wake anybody else up. And now that the hubster is away in Sweden, I also put the panic button next to my cellphone just in case!!

What is on your bedside table?!

5x things I can’t live without

OK, there’s the usual things people can’t live without…fanily is definitely up there for me! I am who I am because of them. But then I thought of other things I could list and honestly, I know they’re very “1st world problems”, but if I didn’t have these things in my life, I’m not sure I would survive!!! Enjoy the read 🙂

1. OUR FULL-TIME LIVE-IN NANNY… P has been with us for 4years now. She is our 6th nanny! and although both kids are at school for most of the day 5days a week, I honestly cannot imagine life without her. Guys, being a full-time working wife and mum is hard as I’m sure lots of you can identify with. I cannot even begin to imagine having to wake up and make up my own bed every morning before work *rolls eyes* never mind having to sweep and mop. I’m spoilt I know it, but I really love our nanny.

2. CHUTNEY… Oh how I love Mrs Balls. I just about put chutney in every dish I cook. I used to buy the small bottle with the green lid, but I’ve graduated to the big fat one now cos I hate not having chutney around when I need it and even that barely lasts a month!!

3. HAIR CONDITIONER… have you seen my hair? It is extremely curly. It only takes me about 25min to blowdry but I try and either jog or gym a minimum of 4times a week so blowdrying it every other day is just a waste of time in my mind. My hair is therefore just about au natural for most of the week. I have learned to embrace it, really I have, but without some conditioner in it, it’s a real bush! So conditioner is very much part of my morning routine 🙂

4. ROUTINE BEDTIME FOR THE KIDS… this is honestly just for my sanity! My kids could probably sleep at any time and still move relatively quickly in the morning, but during the week, after 7:30pm, I do not have the energy to “mother” any longer. My patience levels are below 0, and I can no longer repeat myself 400 times with a smile on my face. A set bedtime is therefore seriously important to me.

5. MY CELLPHONE… unfortunately, I must admit, my cellphone is on this list! Other than social media (FB and the gram are the only two things I’m into) and as I’ve already mentioned, Whatsapp, I use the camera on my phone all the time and one of my phone apps that I forgot to mention in my previous post that I use all.the.time is Notepad. From shopping lists to passwords, most of the things I need to remember are stored here.

And that’s my list – what things can you not do without?!

Day 13: Winter wardrobe tips

Honestly I am the worst person to be giving any wardrobe tips let alone winters ones!!!

I really hate winter. I’m a summer girl… born and bred in Durban, I don’t recall ever feeling really very cold until I moved to Joburg. Joburg winter is on another level when you compare it to Durban. In Durban 20degrees is like coolllddddd… people have their jerseys on. In Joburg, at this time of the year, 20degrees (it was 24 today and that’s how it’s been the last few days #weird) and people are in shorts and slops, I kid you not!! But I digress…

What I hate most about winter is wearing warm, long sleeve, zip up clothes, stockings to work (my absolute worst!) and closed shoes… okay no, the closed shoes are the worst. I absolutely loathe closed shoes, even takkies. And then of course there’s the added plus of working in an office with central heating. When it’s 4degrees outside in the mornings, it’s like 4,000degrees inside – I’m not even joking. And the temperature changes all the time in my building. One day you walk in and it’s deliciously toasty at like 22degrees in winter, and the next 6days,it’s 4,000degrees! So I’ve learned that the only way to cope (especially when you’re in the office all day) – and this is my one and only winter wardrobe tip which I’m assuming comes as no surprise to anybody – is to DRESS IN LAYERS.

My winter wardrobe is honestly not very different to my summer one. Mostly, I take my summer clothes, add a long sleeve top under and a jersey on top, stockings on the bottom if I’m wearing a dress and a scarf around my neck. For extra cold mornings, I throw a coat on which gets dumped together with my handbag and my lunchbag at my desk the minute I walk in. Then it’s closed shoes at the bottom and voila – I look like the Michelin man 😉

Any winter wardrobe tips you guys can give me?!

Day 12: How my blog got its name

Finally a simple topic!

For those of you who don’t know, my surname is HOWE.  Yup, spelled like way, but pronounced like the English word how – as in “how do you do“.  And that in a nutshell is where my blog name came from…HOWE do you do 🙂 🙂 🙂  I thought it was a clever play on my surname!

 

Day 11: A life lesson I learnt

And just when I thought yesterday’s topic was tough, along came today’s! I feel like life is all about learning lessons right?! Learning is what makes us grow. The countless life lessons that I’ve learnt are too many to write down, and even to isolate 1 or 2 is really hard. But this one – even though it happened 26 years ago – will forever remain in my mind.

It was 1993. I was in standard 3. School was somewhat of a breeze for me… 1st or 2nd place came really easily. If only that had remained once I moved from my local school in a coloured area to a model C school in a predominantly white area *rolls eyes*… but I digress.

My standard 3 teacher had also been my standard 2 teacher for a bit of the previous year and I absolutely adored her! Going to school was awesome and school work was a breeze. Getting 100% for tests was my forte… please allow me to boast, honestly that was the last of that! I got marks like 20 and 21% in varsity, I kid you not, hehe.

That specific day, we were doing a test on abbreviations for English. Things like Mr for mister, eg. for example. I still remember the rule for abbreviations… if the abbreviated word ends with the same letter as the last letter of the full word, you don’t put a “.” at the end of the abbreviation. If they end with different letters, then the abbreviated word gets a “.” at the end. The test required us to write out the full word for each abbreviation. It was going smoothly – we were all totally engrossed in our work so much so that when the teacher popped out of the classroom, we continued writing the test in silence. I got to the abbreviation P.O. and I was stumped. It was the only one I didn’t know. The only item keeping me away from getting full marks. So I whispered to my friend that I was stuck and well… she gave me the answer. I wrote it down quickly, just as the teacher came back into the classroom. We all handed in our tests and the end of the day, we got given our tests to take home for our parents to sign. Of course I had 100%, but all I could think about was that I cheated!!

I didn’t say a single word to anybody, but when I handed over the test to my mum to sign later, I just couldn’t keep it in. I told her about what I had done and probably shed a tear or two. She told me plain and simply that it was lying and that I needed to let the teacher know the following day. She said that if I was lucky, the teacher would let me keep the mark and true’s Bob, that’s exactly what happened!! I told the teacher what had happened and she said that for my honesty, she’d let me keep the mark and the test result as 100%. See why she was my favourite teacher 😉

The lesson learnt, even at that age… honesty is the best policy!!!

Day 10: Describe my dream life

These topics are tough man! I’m conflicted about what to write on today’s topic. Like there’s my dream life i.t.o. “nice to have things”… you know – manis, pedis, massages whenever, wherever. Then there’s those ideal life situations on a deeper level – no crime, no racism, able to walk in the streets as a woman on her own without having to look over your shoulder all the time….

So I’m going to try and write something short and sweet that maybe combines these but let me first start by saying that I really do love my life. I say often that I’m blessed and I mean it. An amazing family, a husband and 2 precious boys, 2 cars, a home, a secure job, food on our table every night and a roof over our heads – what more can a girl ask for?! But in a fantasy world, I guess there are a few things I would love to have…

More children… Oh my heart yearns for another child. But practically, I know it doesn’t make sense. Firstly, the cost of living, enough said! Secondly school fees. The list of why nots goes on, but those two are enough to stop me in my tracks!!

A half day job… this kills the more children possibility immediately! I mean, most of us are barely making ends meet with 2 full time stable jobs. But I wish it were 50years ago you know. Where a mum staying at home was the norm. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t never want to work again – working makes me a good wife and mum, it contributes largely to my overall sanity 😉 But I wish I could walk out at 12 and then dedicate the afternoon to my kids.

Live closer to my parents… In the last year, my parents moved semi-permanently to Joburg. It was amazing. Really. Of course there were the extra hands – they did the school lifts most afternoons – but it was more than that. I could pop in whenever I felt like it. Join them for dinner every now and again. Bake a cake and drop it at theirs for a cuppa on a Sunday afternoon. The bonding time was really amazing. They’ve now moved back to Durban and I miss that. I miss them being around. Of course I’m cognisant of the fact that even that is a blessing… being in the same country and being able to visit frequently, but it’s not the same as living around the corner from them.

Have a career that speaks to who I am… I am where I am in my career by pure chance. I am a Business Development Analyst and I work at the zebra. I studied Accounting because Accounting was my highest matric mark. I never had a career plan and now, at the tender age of 36, I am looking at re-inventing my career so to speak. I want to do something that is more me. In my dream life, it would something with people, maybe planning or events, something that requires me to be on the move and not stuck behind a computer every day.

Live a simpler life… Living in Joburg means that life is busy… all.the.time. We live a relatively simple life in that we’re at home on weekends, we don’t do much other than the usual grocery shopping, perhaps go out for lunch with family or friends but for the most part, we tend to stay indoors and relax. Our friends are the total opposite. For the most part, they are busy most weekends. Setting up time to even visit means finding free time sometimes a month in advance. People often cancel and most times at the last minute because things pop up. Kids have school obligations many week day evenings and life just seems so busy. Gone are the days when you could just call a friend and pop by in an hour. Either we’re too exhausted to do that or our friends are unavailable. I just wish life were simpler.

-… AND WORLD PEACE… I know it’s not specific to South Africa, crime is all over the world. But the horrible inhumane things that you hear about in the news just so that the criminal could make off with a cellphone or handbag sadden me to no end. More for my children really. That they can’t walk too far away from us in a mall, they can’t even greet strangers because well, stranger danger. They can’t play outside on the road. They can’t take sweets from anybody, not even at school. It saddens me. In a dream world, I wish that there was no crime and violence. That kids were free to be kids. And that we wouldn’t have to subject them to the cruelty that we have in our world.

Now that I’ve started on this topic, I feel like I could go on for days but let me stop while I’m ahead. Yes folks, these are the things I would love in my dream world.

What would you like?!

Day 9: 3 Things I would do for no pay

Yay, I’m finally up to date with the challenge… day 9 on day 9 *happy dance* and you can stop being bombarded by multiple blogposts a day from me 😉

So today’s topic is actually quite a fun one…3 things I would do for no pay…

1. REVIEW FOOD… I loovvveeeee food. My whole world revolves around food. At breakfast, I’m already thinking of breakfast the following day never mind lunch or dinner for that same day! I love trying new things and I especially love trying new restaurants. Many years ago, I did a burger challenge… on.my.own. Yes – sad – I know, hahahaha. I even sent a review in to some food website with my challenge results. I’ve also reviewed food for Kauai before. The “pay” – you got a free smoothie and meal (well, you claimed back after each review) if you reviewed at least 3 different stores a month and tried different options off the menu. You see… you don’t have to pay me, just feed me 😉

2. ACT ON STAGE… Oh my lifelong dream! I’ve played the piano my whole life and I can sing – well at least I think I can. As do my parents but then they’re my parents. Flashback to about 5years ago… we spent Christmas that year in Durban. My dad volunteered me to sing A SOLO at their church on – wait for it… CHRISTMAS EVE singing….. *drumroll* Oh Holy Night. So do you think they think I can sing, hahahaha. Anyway, I am a drama queen of note and it’s really one of the things I would give anything for – to act on stage – I would even do it for free!!

3. PROOFREAD BOOKS…As I’ve already mentioned in this challenge, I absolutely love to read. I do it at every opportunity I get. The one thing that annoys me to no end is spelling mistakes in a book. I pick them up all.the.time. Even in books written by world renowned authors. And I always think – who in the world proofread this book?! My absolute worse is finding multiple mistakes, arrggghhhh. Anyway, I spot them now as is so I would have no problem doing it for somebody regularly for free 🙂

Day 8: 10 things every blogger needs

In short… I have no cooking clue! I certainly cannot think of 10 things. I didn’t have a ticklist before I started my blog. I just decided to start and boom, here we are, 7years later!! But the following are probably some of the things to consider at the very least;-

  1. A website. I went with WordPress as it was free to set up my blog on it. As you can see, my blog press address has…WordPress.Com… at the end. If you want a website with a “.com” or “.co.za” as examples, you may need to pay for it.
  2. A title. Something catchy, maybe a play on words, that will attract readers?! I also know that there’s been research done on what type of titles to use, even what time to blog to attract the most traffic but this is not something that interests me.
  3. Ideas! And lots of them. Especially if you want to attract audiences. I’ve read that it’s preferable to have a theme of sorts e.g. you can just blog solely about food so have a food blog. This doesn’t work for me as I like to blog about whatever whenever.
  4. A spare moment. People often ask me when I get time to blog. I only blog when something is at the forefront of my mind so that when I put the proverbial pen to paper so to speak, I churn out a blogpost in a few minutes. I honestly don’t think you need hours and hours but again, that’s just me.
  5. A love for writing. You really need to enjoy writing. I don’t think you necessarily need to be the best at it, but you need to be able to keep people interested and entertained and you really can only do that through the way you write.
  6. A device that’s reliable to use to type out your posts. I guess in the day and age we live in, that’s probably something that everybody has, but I remember when I first started blogging, I only had an iPad and it was so unreliable, I would spend ages putting a blogpost together only to have everything erased. Do you know how soul destroying that is 😦

Again, I’m not a professional blogger so I really don’t have a list, but the above are kind of practical things I’d say every blogger needs 🙂

Day 7: 5 photos and what they mean to me

Sjoe this one is hard! From the last few weeks alone, I probably have like 20+ pics on my phone. Anyway, instead of choosing the “usual” pics of each member of my family (who I absolutely adore!!), I thought I would post a few different ones. Enjoy!

1. This picture reminds me of enjoying the simple things in life – I love seeing life through the eyes my kids. My kids really do fill my heart and I love spending quality time with them. Doing simple things like the above makes me so happy.

2. Remember to always smile. Keep your head up. The things we go through can only make us stronger! It takes nothing to smile at somebody else, you never know how smiling at them can turn a bad day into a good one 🙂

3. Whenever I see the bond between my boys in special moments like this, I am reminded of one of my dad’s favourite songs… He Ain’t Heavy – He’s My Brother. Oh man, the love these guys share for each other, the special bond between them. I pray that it lasts forever. That nothing will be too much for either of them to do for each other!

4. Don’t take life too seriously! It’s a journey, enjoy the ride. I try and always have a positive outlook to life. Yes I’m thrown with obstacles and like everybody else, things happen in my life that upset me, but I always try to remember that there are many people worse off then me, and to count everything that I do have in my life. Every single morning that God gives… I’m blessed to have woken up and that I’ve been given another day on this beautiful earth…

5. What a mighty God we serve!!! There is nothing more special to me than pausing and seeing the beauty that the world has to offer. All made by the mighty God that I serve. And to quote one of my favourite songs… “If creation still obeys you so will I”. I thank God every day for my life and the abundant blessings that I have all from Him.