My one year Londonversary!

I have been in London for a year already!  The time has flown!  What an exciting, exhilarating, amazing year this has been for me!  If I had told my 20 year old self that this is what I would be doing with my life at 44 I would not have believed me!

It’s weird because on the one hand I have had lots of time on my hands to do nothing, but when I put it all down on ‘paper’ I  can see just how much I have accomplished. This post is a tribute to my first year in London – all the places I have been in London, all the places I visited outside of London in the UK and my travels to other countries.  It’s a pretty impressive list, even though I say so myself!

July – Arrival which was coupled with a few stressful moments –  finding work and the accommodation debacle. Thank goodness Cait and I had our day out in London!  – Cait, Tait and Bi-Bim-Bap

August – I started work in August but prior to that I managed to get myself around quite a bit of the UK.  Nottingham (to visit Dan’s gran), Gloucestershire (to visit an old friend from SA), Cheltenham (to visit my cuz) and Malvern to visit my old friend Annabel where we had a marvellous time hobnobbing with the rich and famous! Also attended my first big festival in the UK: Nottinghill Carnival – what an absolute jol!

September – After only being in the UK for 2 months my only living parent (of which I had 3 originally), passed away suddenly.  Here is my tribute to my step-dad – On Becoming an Orphan

October – Little did I think that I’d be going back to South Africa so soon!  But I had to go for the funeral and sort out my dad’s affairs – I spent a hectic week in Cape Town

November – Went and saw The Lumineers as part of my birthday weekend and went to France for a long weekend!!!!

December – Went to Reading to my cousin for a few nights for Christmas and then of course, the main attraction of Dec 2016 and January 2017 – the Kids visit!!!!!

January – The Kids Epic Holiday in London

February – I did Dry February and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes this month.  MFATGG was the show I went to alone (but with Dan in my pocket)!

March – Back to South Africa to visit the family

April – Long weekend in Portugal – Lisboa you beauty!

June – I always love when I have visitors to the UK as it forces me to get out and about in London which I don’t tend to do when I’m on my own.  Extra special because it was the boyfriend who visited and we really got around this trip! Dan and Maria do London (and a bit of the countryside too!)

June – I LOVE AMSTERDAM!

July – Summer Concert in Hyde Park – main act was Green Day but we also got to the see The Hives, Gorgol Bordello and Rancid.  Hands down the best production I have ever been to!  Hands down the most sober I have ever been at a concert so maybe that’s why! 😉  Green Day played for 2hrs 45 minutes and their stage presence and interaction with the crowd was just amazing and heartwarming and yeah, I’m gushing.  🙂  We were in the middle of a rowdy group of people who moshed to most of the songs and everyone was making friends with everyone else, people were pissed and having a great time.  There are LOADS of videos on YouTube of this crazy event but the part that blew me away the most was when Green Day had a quick break and they played the music to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and the crowd sang every single word.  Watch this video to see and also to see how insanely BIG the crowd was – 65 000 people!!!!  If this doesn’t give you goosebumps, nothing will!

I’ve been in the same job since I arrived here and that too has been an interesting one as there have been times when its been super slow and boring and I was constantly weighing up the pros and cons of the job.  But for the most part I am really grateful to have a job with a great salary and very importantly, that I am able to walk to work, the little bit of exercise I do still get!

I will admit that the travel bug has bitten big time and what I’ve learned from all these quick adventures to other places, is that I would like to immerse myself into the culture of a country, to be able to take time to explore and learn things more deeply than you can when you go for a few days.

Which is why I am doing the TEFL course so that I can go to South America and stay there for as long as I can afford to, living with the people, learn a new language, and really explore … the country, and myself.  I love London and I am so happy here but I definitely feel like I do not want to just be here now.  I need new experiences and new adventures and that is what I am working towards with London’s help – as its paying me the salary I need in order to save enough! 😉  No more travelling for Maria this year!  It’s all serious from here on out – study, save and get slim is my new mantra for the next six months!

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My previous life

Every time a person asks me what I have tattooed on my leg it makes me realise how far removed I am from my old life.  I actually want to say to these people:  Those are the names of my children, the children I had in a previous life.  I think about this a lot.  I think it’s because when I was living that life I couldn’t imagine my life being any different or that it would ever end.  Having three children spaced apart by first four years and then five years meant that I had young children for a very long time.  Also because I had them so young for the first 23 years of my adult life, I was a mom.  It was all consuming.  And so today, in this new life of mine, it completely amazes me that I no longer have that life.  My life could not be further from that life.  I feel a bit like Benjamin Button.  Like I literally have the life now that people normally have in their twenties.  Even the people who like me, had kids young, seem to already have grandkids and are therefore still in the family lifestyle mode.

It makes me wonder if people who have kids when they are older, can actually see that there is life post kids or is it the same for everyone – even if you did have ‘life before kids’, when you are in it, does it feel for everyone that there will be no end to the sleepless nights, the constant meal-making, the constant dependence they have on you (even when they are no longer children and are teenagers, they are still dependent in terms of needing lifts here and there, help with homework and studying, support, love and attention).  

For so long I was a mom and wife first and foremost.  Nowadays people meet me and unless it comes up, I am just a person, Maria, who recently moved from South Africa to live in London.  I am not sure how I feel about that.  Maria IS a mom and will always be one, no matter where I am in the world or what I am doing.  Three very important pieces of me are my kids, yet they are not all encompassing anymore.  

I’m writing this post because this is something that has been on my mind a lot but also to get other people’s viewpoints on how they experienced or are experiencing motherhood.  Does or did it feel all consuming to you too with the feeling that it will/would never end.  If that has come out negatively it was not meant to.  I loved being a mom when my kids were growing up and I think I was a pretty good one but I do remember thinking at times that it would never end; and being so very weary a lot of the time.  This is why we should listen when older people say, enjoy every moment, because before you know it, they will be all grown up.  That precious time when they are young and completely yours is so fleeting.    

I think that’s also why I am so sedentary in my new life now.  There is no need to jump out of bed in the morning and race around making sure everyone has everything they need.  So I don’t.  I can lie in bed all weekend if I so wish, and sometimes I do.  I can eat toast and butter for dinner every night and sometimes I do.  My time is my own and I am free. Having said all that, I do miss the morning cuddles.  I do miss seeing everything through the eyes of a toddler.  Every worm on the grass, every puppy in the street, every fish in the aquarium, every programme on TV is met with pure delight.  I miss getting cards that say You are the best mommy in the whole world (although I did get a really awesome card this Mothers Day that said ‘You’re Not Like Regular Moms.  You’re a COOL MOM!’)  It’s such a double-edged sword because while I don’t necessarily want that again, in fact I know I don’t, and I love that I am finally at a place where my time is my own, I do think back to it and wish I had been more present and more grateful for what I had.

I read mommy blogs from moms who struggled to have kids and I appreciate how much they appreciate that their kids are a gift and a miracle.  I planned two of my three children and wanted all of them very much so it’s not like I didn’t appreciate the gift I was given.  But by the same token, as much as a mom who desperately wants a child after years of waiting, after waiting 23 years of adult life, I appreciate every single day I wake up alone in my comfy bed to do exactly what I want to do.  The problem though, is that I’ve gotten lazy.  Because of the frenetic lifestyle of my previous life which was constantly on the go – when I have a choice now I often choose to do nothing.  The thought of getting up and going for a run does not do it for me anymore.  I’m definitely fatter and lazier for not having young kids anymore!   

Being a mom is the best thing I have ever done and will always be the best thing I have ever done, no matter how much I accomplish.  Their accomplishments are mine and I could not be prouder of the young adults they are today.  I didn’t provide them with the perfect childhood but it was certainly interesting.  Love and miss them more every day!

Home for the holidays

Before Portugal I went back to Cape Town for 2 weeks to visit my boyfriend, family and friends.  It was my first trip back since I left in July last year (except for that one hectic week when I went back for my dad’s funeral) so was looking forward to seeing everyone and catching up.  So for starters, two weeks was not enough!  You need one week to get settled, then another week to actually start enjoying yourself and get into the Cape Town vibe and then another week to be at one with it all.  So next time, definitely three weeks or more! 🙂

I crammed so much into that time!  First of all, the boyfriend had acquired a motorbike since the last time I was there and was very excited for me to ride with him.  I, on the other hand was slightly nervous and had all sorts of scenarios flashing through my mind, not least of them was that I have no medical aid in South Africa anymore so if something happened …. Anyway, I bit the bullet and feel like I gave off a very unanxious vibe throughout the holiday.  I’m sure the boyfriend would tell you otherwise. But seriously, by the end of the holiday I was not squeezing his midriff so tight he could hardly breath and was able to hold onto the handles on the side quite comfortably without feeling like I was going to fall off.  And truth be told we did some amazing rides.  On the one Saturday we did the entire Peninsula.  Started in Glencairn, went up through the Navy barracks; I sat on a cannon.  We found Just Nuisance’s grave and went for a long walk there – saw Simon’s Town from an angle I have never seen it from before which was actually amazing.  You live in a place your whole life and you think you have seen everything so it’s uber cool when you discover something new!  Then we went all the way around Cape Point and ended up at the 2’6 for a pint (half a pint for Dan as he was driving). Then we went back through Scarborough, down to the beach and then to the Jolly Skollie (Camel Rock Restaurant) for a bite to eat.  That was the best bike day.  We also went to Hout Bay which was the day we went the fastest we ever went (on the M3).  160kmph and weaving through the cars!!!!!  Let’s just say that I preferred the sedate coastal drive. 😉

Trying to look sexy & confident while shitting myself 😉
Me at one with a very big cannon (and a helmet)
Just Nuisances Grave
The view from the top! Absolutely stunning!
One of the very few couple selfies I was permitted to take on my trip

Other highlights of the holiday include:

Staying at Monkey Valley for 2 nights.  I’ve spent a bit of time there and got married there once upon a time; yet I never get over its beauty.  That view is just one of the best you will ever see in the world.  It was extra special that I got to invite all my special peeps over for a braai on one of the nights.  However, it was far too short and if we go again, 3 nights or more is a must (Dan, take note!).

View from our chalet

My besties birthday – we drank champagne from morning until night non-stop and we didn’t even get drunk! Still not quite sure how that happened.  Now that I think about it, Cathy was making the mixes in the beginning, hmmmmm, maybe the key was that not much champers was going into those first mixes.  That would explain things!!! 😉  Anyway, whatever happened it worked, because it was just a fun, chilled, awesome day, hanging with good people and good vibes.

Happy, shiny, beautiful people!
Ok, so the night did END somewhat sketchily with us dancing all over the house, in passageways for example

My get-together at the Glencairn Hotel –  another fun-filled afternoon seeing people I haven’t seen in ages and managing to see family too (thank you for coming, you know who you are).  (Did not take one picture there, silly me).  However, afterwards went back for 2 nights at an absolutely stunning home in Glencairn courtesy of a friend who could not make it to my get-together as she was away.  Thank you so much Adrian and OMG did the threesome have fun that night braaiing and played Heads Up.  I want to choke with laughter every time I think about it.

View from the balcony
View from the braai
Our feet at the end of the night! Don’t ask!

The Farmhouse – watching Grassy Spark – one of our favourite SA bands! Going there was probably the most nostalgic I felt during my holiday. Have had such good times there and this time was no different.  The vibe was excellent, and the bands all put on such a good show.   The energy was top notch and I got to dance and jump and go mad with the sun on my face, my whole body energised.  Then afterwards, a divine braai with friends, which ended late and resulted in hangovers but totally worth it!!

Tania and her tribe, arriving at Grassy Spark. Excitement much!
So happy that Khaya came and joined in the fun. So much love for these chicks!
In our happy place!

Family nights with the kids – we had so many fun nights playing board games, eating sushi and braaiing (and yes, I believe one night was sushi and braai – why not!).  Nothing quite like having a braai, with your nearest and dearest, just chatting and catching up.

Nick guessing which famous person he is – check out the mullet wig
Daniel guessing which famous person he is – the mullet really suits him!

We even had a cultural evening and went to the theatre.  Kalk Bay Theatre is a must do if visiting the Deep South.  It is intimate and cosy (the complete opposite to most theatre experiences you would have in London). There is a restaurant at which you can eat beforehand with lovely (but not spoilt for choice) 3-course meals and of course as much tipple as you like.  You can even take it in with you to watch the show. The show we went to see featured the gorgeous Liam McDermott (Khaya’s boyfriend) and because the audience really is so very small we took up a 10th of the entire audience so you can imagine how much clapping and cheering was coming from our section.

Me and my beautiful daughter before the show!
Me and my beautiful friends after the show

As suspected, I did not do everything I would have liked to do while there. I missed going up Lions Head – but my ex-colleague wanted to do the usual mission and go at 5:30am before work.  I somehow could not get my head around doing that!  I missed seeing some of my friends that while we are not close, I would have loved to have seen.  I’m just grateful that I did get to spend time with my nearest and dearest.

Had some hilarious restaurant experiences where the service was just so awful you felt that surely there was a hidden camera somewhere playing a joke.  On the whole though the food was amazing.  We ate out a lot and ate a lot of calamari and seafood.  Hands down though, the best food we ate was at the Chapmans Peak Hotel in Hout Bay.  Baracuda’s in Fish Hoek was not bad either.  And the waffles, egg and bacon with syrup at Fish Hoek beach was top notch.

I do not feel drawn to South Africa at this time.  Especially after Portugal and the realisation that there is so much of this beautiful world to see. Yes, my kids are there but I’d rather see them over here or plan a trip to another country than go back to Fish Hoek again for a very long time. Fish Hoek/Deep South in general, you are truly magnificent and I appreciate your beauty but you will be just as beautiful as you are now next time I visit.  Actually more beautiful because by then hopefully all the vegetation and mountainside ravaged by the recent fires and the pending rain will have fallen (Please Universe, let it fall).

Beautiful sunset at Tania’s house
Beautiful day at Tania’s house – these are pics she sends me when I am already back in the UK to try and lure me back, tempting for sure!
Fish Hoek beach from the catwalk

Kids in London

So after such a long build up – I think Rayne started the countdown at 100 days, the kids have been and gone.  What a whirlwind time we had!  Not sure where to start … so many dimensions to this trip.  The touristy stuff combined with the emotional stuff.  Being together for two solid weeks made me realise just how connected we all still are.  After living such separate lives generally – Nic at boarding school, the girls leading their grown up, working lives, we integrated and gelled so completely well again – like we were never apart.  Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean we didn’t get irritated with each other.  The normal sibling stuff was there but it was not bad at all – Nic had two mothers the entire trip.  His cool mom and his irritating mom.  I am the cool mom.  I will say no more.  🙂 Because this is not a travel or adventure blog and because my blog is about being in London away from my children, I want to focus more on the emotional aspect of them being here.  It’s been almost a week since they left and already it feels like a dream, yet while they were here it felt so real and solid and right.

I got to give my son some of the best experiences of his life so far.  He went to a football game on New Year’s Eve and watched a really good game of football.  Chelsea vs Stoke (4-2).  We went on a stadium tour of Arsenal stadium which is where I got to watch him chat to the tour attendant and realise that my son is a vibrant, interesting and interested boy who gets on well with people and is becoming a mature, solid guy.  Affection was not taken well by him on this trip but I can live with that.  ‘Don’t touch me’ often came out of his lips when I wanted to get all demonstrative.

Their first day was an adventure in itself.  First of all I thought I would be late to the airport because I had under-calculated how long it would take me to get to the airport.  I knew they had managed to get OUT of South Africa because Rayne had messaged me – the reason why this was so important is because we had been hearing horror stories about kids not being allowed out of the country at customs due to not having the correct paperwork.  Rayne had already asked permission to leave her brother at customs if this happened!!!!  (I said NO!) After all that, the only bad thing that happened was a really long queue at customs (not one question asked) so I ended up being there in plenty of time and then obsessing about why they were taking so long.  I had cried three times before they eventually came out of arrivals and wondered how it would be to see them – maybe it’s because the break from seeing them hadn’t actually been THAT long but it was just like, OK we all together now, let’s go!!!  And go we did.  These kids did not know what hit them.  Got them on a tube, then on a bus, then home, then back on a bus, then a tube, hit Winter Wonderland, did some crazy rides, ate some crazy food, then back on a tube, then a bus, then a walk home.

My biggest coup of the whole holiday was taking them to see a play in the West End – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.  Nic was in no way happy to have to go and see a play. That is SO not cool! I chose this one specifically because I thought the storyline would appeal to him.  And it did.  He was blown away and loved it and was not afraid to say so!  In fact, it was number 3 on his list of best to least favourite things we did on the trip.  Here is his list:

1    The Chelsea vs Stoke Football match at Stanford Bridge Stadium

2    Camden Market

3    Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

4    Winter Wonderland

5    Madam Tussaurds

6    Arsenal Tour

7    The London Dungeon

8    The Science Museum

9   The Tate Modern Art Museum (this was expected but needless to say Khaya insisted on staying when we needed to leave because she was enjoying it so much and Rayne loved it too, much to her surprise!)

Look! Khaya and Nic met Morgan Freeman
Look! Khaya and Nic met Morgan Freeman
And Shrek!
And Shrek!
And the tour would not have been complete without meeting Bob!
And the tour would not have been complete without meeting Bob!

The funniest part of the trip was when Khaya vomited at Winter Wonderland.  She went on two extremely crazy rides one after the other and after the second one got off, green, and gesticulated wildly that she needed to hurl.  Luckily we were close to about the only grass patch in the whole place and I said just go for it.  And go for it she did! Was hilarious!  We had such fun that day, went on so many rides, drank wintery mulled wine and cider, ate roasted chestnuts and churros … and that was just Day 1.

Me enjoying the mulled wine (with a shot of brandy) at Winter Wonderland
Me enjoying the mulled wine (with a shot of brandy) at Winter Wonderland

Rayne and Khaya did not like the transport system and they did not like the weather.  But they shopped till they dropped.  After the first disaster when I sent them off shopping and told them to just catch the same bus back from the bus station and they got lost because that bus actually left from a different area of the bus station that I did not know about.  The unfortunate thing about me being a relative newby to London is that half the time it was the blind leading the blind and I feel like we took some very long routes at times.  LOL.  Nicholas did his best to annoy his sisters and did very well most days, especially the day we went to Madam Tussauds and went on an automated tour in little buggies.  The people in the buggy are meant to tune it to the language of choice and Nic thought it would be funny to change the language.  Unfortunately once chosen it could not be unchosen, so Rayne and Nic listened to that whole tour in French!!
Both the girls have their own blogs and so I am sure they will share more of how they experienced the trip.  It was the trip of a lifetime, because it was so fantastic and because we will probably never have a holiday with just the four of us again.  It was so special because I shared it with the most special human beings in my life.  I am so lucky and honoured to have given birth to such awesome people!  Only 115 days until I see you all again, let the countdown begin!

Walking the streets of London!
Walking the streets of London! And boy, did we walk!
Camden Town!
Camden Town!
Us on the Millennium Bridge, just before going to visit the Tate Modern
Us on the Millennium Bridge, just before going to visit the Tate Modern
Our last day - enjoying coffee and croissants!
Our last day – enjoying coffee and croissants!

Sayonara 2016

As 2016 draws to a close I’ve decided to make this my last blog post for 2016.  With the cold weather coming in fast and knowing that I am going to have 2 weeks with my children exploring London to its fullest, I’ve decided to hibernate a bit until they get here and no activity means no blog posts. Well, that’s not entirely true as many of mine are not about actual London activities and more about things that have interested me since I’ve been here but it’s good to have a break, nonetheless!

I’d like to reflect on 2016, which was a tough yet exciting year:

Things I learnt in/from 2016:

    • Technology really does make the world a smaller place.  If it wasn’t for my phone I would never have been able to leave my kids and my friends and travel halfway across the world.  I speak to my daughters and my best friends every day and I don’t think I could have given that up or have survived so well without having that connection.
    • Leading in from the above point, I am not homesick.  And I think it’s because I am still so connected to my people.  Not so connected to my country, which is sad but a reality.
    • My son does not miss me.  I religiously get hold of him every weekend to Skype (he is in boarding school during the week so I can’t chat to him anyway during the week).  This is our conversation:

“Hello my boy, how are you”

“Hi, fine”

“What you doing this weekend”

“I dunno”

“Can you skype”

“I dunno”

“Hows school”

“Fine”

You get the picture …

    • Long-distance doesn’t work.  Actually, no, sometimes it does but it doesn’t work when there isn’t an end-date to the time you will be apart.  And when one party is adamant that their future is in South Africa and the other party is adamant that their future is in the UK for the foreseeable future, then something has got to give.  This relationship has taught me that you don’t have to hate the person to break up with them, but rather to remember the good in them and good they brought out in you.  And that sometimes, it’s just circumstances, rather than anything more sinister that brings a relationship to an end.  
    • Walking long distances every day does not make one thin.  But it does make one’s butt look better.
    • The sun really does go down at 4pm in winter in the UK.
    • It’s a very real dilemma to be in a job that you hate but requires no travelling on any form of public transport.  Stay in the job that is so chilled that you are constantly bored or get a better job that requires an hour’s travel each way with the threat of having to stand under sweaty armpits and delays, just to name a few. This is something I actively have to address come 2017!  I feel so blessed that I was eased into London life so well but now I have to take the bull by the horns and realise my potential.  London, look out, here I come!  

MY FAVE FOUR

I’m dedicating this post to my children and boyfriend.  Readers must be aware that even though I don’t mention my kids or boyfriend in all the posts my blog is very much about and for them.  They have seen every single one of my posts, Rayne is an administrator on this blog and we chat daily about the blog and about everything else too.  Since I moved to London I’ve made sure I’m on every single chatting / social media forum available, because they are.  And that way I sometimes learn things about them that I wouldn’t know otherwise. I wake up half an hour earlier than I need to every morning so that I can watch their snap chats while drinking my coffee and waking up.  It’s the best and makes me feel like I am with them catching up on all their news!

OK, so a bit about my fave four:

Rayne – 23 – Beautiful (inside and out), funny, witty, creative, kind, extremely interested in hair, clothes and beauty and always makes sure she is impeccably turned out, yet she has no problem with snap chatting late at night with her hair up in a bobble, completely devoid of all make-up (even though she has huge issues with her eye-bags). Rayne is so completely different to me and to be honest I don’t understand her absolute passion and commitment to make-up but I admire her dedication to it very much.

Baby Rayne
Baby Rayne

After Rayne returned from au pairing in Holland she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do but she did know that she would need to find enough money to keep her fashion and beauty addiction fed so she started her own on-line jewellery store.  She ran the on-line store for 3 years and it was hugely successful, even attracting a partner who bought into the business. Rayne learnt a lot of skills that no diploma or degree could have given her. Now she works for a jewellery design company as their social media manager.  Her true passion however, is her blog  where she reviews make-up, hair products and events that she has been invited to. http://www.makeitraynex.com  Join Rayne on snap chat as well for some laughs – she is funny!!!  I am so very proud to be her mother.  She has taught me that we don’t all need to agree on what we like and don’t like, but rather to be passionate about what it is you DO love.

Rayne is also a devoted girlfriend to her awesome boyfriend Marius.  She absolutely adores him and that too makes me proud.  Because he is not a metro-male, he is a regter egter Afrikaaner male who wants to braai, watch rugby and drink beer with his mates.  And sometimes she lets him!

Grown up Rayne!
Grown up Rayne!

Their relationship is based on trust and both having separate interests and allowing each other the space to grow.  I wish them all the happiness in the world and an abundance of children – but not yet – Mom has to do London fully first!

 

 

 

Khaya – 19 – my hippy child – how do such very different kids come from the same parents is beyond me.  Khaya was named after the Bob Marley album of the same name and when they were young I would always sing that song to both of them … ‘Got to have Khaya now for the Rayne is falling’ … I played whale and dolphin music to Khaya in my stomach when pregnant with her and wrote exams when I was 8 months pregnant. Needless to say academically she is my brightest child. That is really not something that I am bragging about, I just wonder if the whale music and me studying had something to do with it. 😉 One way that Khaya and Rayne are similar is that neither of them are afraid of hard work.  They both worked from an early age to have the things they wanted (not needed).  Best advice I can give parents – do NOT give

Beautiful Khaya
Beautiful Khaya

your kids everything they want, because if they want something badly enough they will make a plan.  Rayne babysat from an early age and Khaya waitressed. I also kept reminding them that mom was going to fly the coop as soon as I could so they musn’t rely on me being around for anything except emotional support.  I sometimes think its the parents who don’t want to let their kids go and not the other way around.  Kids stick around because it’s convenient but the parents are scared to let go as they will miss them and fear being alone and never seeing them.  Anyway, I am generalising but also making statements based on things I’ve observed over the years.

Khaya and me at the Color Run!
Khaya and me at the Color Run!

Khaya wanted to have a gap year this year because Matric was so challenging so she was just going to au pair and waitress and chill – a lot! But because of her charismatic, bubbly personality, she was head-hunted (at 18!!!) to become the field marketer for CAT phones in the Western Cape.  This chick earns a shit hot salary and is loved by all who work with her.  How proud must I be right now??? Right!  Khaya is also funny, with the biggest heart, would bend over backwards for the people she loves, loves her family, loves animals and loves the environment. Khaya recently started a blog too called http://www.wastelessafrica.wordpress.com.  Follow her there and on Insta!

My clone people say - I hope so, she is gorgeous!
My clone people say – I hope so, she is gorgeous!

Nicholas – 13 3/4 – is handsome, and kind and sensitive and also, SO funny.  Not sure where they get it but they all have wit in abundance!!! Nicholas has a healthy sense of self-preservation – he loves sport but he doesn’t want to be in the A-team because he understands the total dedication one needs to remain at the top and he knows

Eminem Concert 2014
Eminem Concert 2014

himself well enough not to aspire to that. He has also seen how many of his friends have been concussed by having to face Paarl Boys High boys!!! He wants to enjoy life.  He loves his close-knit group of friends.  He can spend lots of time on his own but also loves company.  At the moment, mom is not high on his list of favourite people.  I’m embarrassing.  Although, even though I’m embarrassing I know for a fact that all his friends think that I’m the cool mom.  I know as he has told me.  Not sure that still stands but it was like that pretty much all through Primary School.  Now maybe I’m embarrassing because I’m still cool?  I’m definitely different.  Don’t think any of his friends mom’s are in London at present. 😉

Nic's Grade 7 Graduation
Nic’s Grade 7 Graduation

Nicholas was my only child who grew up completely with me – he was always with me until he went to boarding school and when he was little we had the most amazing mother/son relationship.  He adored me and I him.  Life was stressful but nothing beats going to the beach or the zoo through the eyes of a four year old.  (Until they get tired or hungry).

His level of interaction with his sisters is virtually non-existent at the moment because he is a boy and verbal communication to make a plan is not high on his agenda.  But they still manage to get together once a month and catch up.

And in December they will all be together for two weeks because they are all coming to visit me in London!!!  Eeeeeeeek.  That is this year’s birthday and Christmas presents from me to them!

I’d like to think that by giving my children wings and not restricting them emotionally I have grown better children.  I know that I am parenting as a direct result of my upbringing and what I wish I had.  That doesn’t always work.  But I think in my case it has.  I could not ask for better progeny. Truly blessed I am!!

Nic on Chapmans Peak
Nic on Chapmans Peak
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Daniel in London 2 years ago

Daniel -27 (the boyfriend/toyboy)- Daniel and I met at a trance party (outdoor festival) 4 years ago and the less said about that the better (mainly because the meeting is hazy at best).  Apparently though we did swop numbers and here we are today to tell the tale.  Dan is 17 years younger than me.  Now I’m going to bring in that whole Age is But a Number thing because seriously it is.  He is the most laid back, gentle, chilled person I know.  He likes to party but it needs to be at home.  He likes to live vicariously through me which is why me being over here and him being back in South Africa is working so well.  He has also recently just started his own business which is doing well but requires him to work long hours and therefore would not be conducive to a good relationship if I was there.  He did 18 months in London 2 years ago so we have done this before.  And we are good at it.  At the moment it works for us.  I love having the freedom to do what I want when I want (within reason) yet still having someone ‘to go home to’ and tell all about it.  With FaceTime, Skype etc. its all so easy. Obviously there is no physical element but with that also comes the advantage of no smelly farts, top off the toothpaste, toilet seat up, etc. to have to deal with.  Yup, its pretty much a sweet deal from where I’m sitting.  Daniel is also coming in December!!!

Dan and I having fun!
Dan and I having fun!
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Last Mothers Day before I left SA
Khaya and Nic back in the day
Khaya and Nic back in the day
Rayne and Nic back back back in the day, this pic must be about 6 years old!
Rayne and Nic back back back in the day, this pic must be about 6 years old!