Just a Minute in September

Monday, September 30, 2013

September in the Southern Hemisphere is my most favorite month because it means Spring is on the way! Here's the highlights reel for what I got up to this month: 

My real life: 

Watching: Freaks & Geeks - I can't believe I've never watched this show before - young James Franco is as sexy as older James Franco. 
Orange is the New Black - I've succumbed to the hype. It's not like the white lady version of Oz I was hoping for but it's still pretty good. 
After Earth - terrible! I think the top level if Scientology for movie stars is to make a heinous space film. 

Listening to: a lot of 90's hip hop. 

Reading: about how Antartica is like the land god forgot & also about Socrota (an island off the coast of Yemen) which is definitely the most alien looking place in all the land. 

Downloading; iOS7 - thank you Apple! My phone/ laptop is so purdy now. 

Parenting: the shit out of my awesome baby Sophie. She is just the best. 

My blogging life: 

Bring on October! Who can believe that there are 3 months left of this year?! Crikey! 

Friday Finds: Apps that are making life easier

Friday, September 27, 2013

Before I got an iPhone (3 years ago) my idea of an app was a calorie counter, Ubersocial or Facebook apps that I used on my Blackberry. While these apps were fed my social media addiction, they didn't help me in anyway or make my life easier. 

*Cue angelic voices singing hallelujah*

My oh my how things change with an iPhone/iPad. Now if I download a non photographic app it has to have a point, it has to work for me in some way. 

So here's a round up of the apps I love right now: 

Mint.com Personal Finance 
By Mint.com

Mint.com allows you to track, budget and manage your money all in one place, so you can see where you’re spending and where you can save. Open an account, add your bank, credit, loan and retirement accounts and Mint will automatically pull in and categorize your transactions. It’s safe, secure and easy to keep your personal finances organized.

Cozi Family Organizer: Calendar and Lists
By Cozi

There's nothing stationary about your life, so why depend on a family calendar that hangs on a fridge or wall? Cozi is the leading choice for families and includes a shared calendar, shopping lists, to do lists and more. Cozi also offers a premium ad-free version with additional features called Cozi Gold (available as an in-app purchase).Cozi Family Organizer is shared, so you only need one account for the whole family. Cozi's free features include:FAMILY CALENDARSHOPPING LISTSTO DO LISTSFAMILY JOURNAL

By Sophiestication Software

Tipulator is a beautiful, fun and easy to use tip calculator for your iPhone and iPod touch.Tipulator allows you to:- Easily split the check among friends and colleagues.- Choose from various rounding options.- Calculate tips excluding sales tax.- Use the palindrome feature to prevent frauds.

Kids First Aid
By Matthew Cook

This app is aimed at the South African market. The content provided is South African specific.

Your children are irreplaceable and accidents happen when you don’t expect them. The First Aid app empowers you as parent to have first aid information available to you anywhere, anytime. With step-by-step instructions you will be guided to ensure your child or infant is treated immediately for the most effective results.Features:* An interactive interface that guides the user according to the emergency situation* Voice guided walk-through for CPR situations* Uses the device GPS to provide the closest hospitals to the user’s location* South African relevant emergency numbers that calls directly from the app* Information on possible training courses brought to you by EMT South Africa* In depth tutorial videos on how to perform CPR and help a choking child or infant

I often find that navigating the ocean of apps that is iTunes a little overwhelming. I usually visit Best App Daily to check out new and interesting apps. They also have an app, but an app to tell you about apps is maybe taking things a little too far... for me at least. 

Lowcarb, clean eating, paleo, 5:2… what what what?!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I stopped buying magazines in my early 20’s because I felt completely overwhelmed by all the articles about diets, screaming orgasms and how to make men love you. I felt that as a young woman I should be feeling empowered and if anything should overwhelm me it should be an awesome “can do” attitude. Instead I would pick up a mag, scan the glossy pages looking at clothes that would never look good on me, holidays I couldn’t afford and reading about the kind of sex I am yet to have. Fast forward (almost 10 years) and I have started reading magazines again, granted now my choices are more of the Woman & Home, Good Housekeeping variety.

As I approach the dreaded 30 I have started thinking so much more about health and beauty. I’m not sure if its typical of my age group but up until now I have never really cared about beauty regimes and while I’d gladly waste an entire pay check at the MAC (cosmetics not computers) shop I never really bothered to cleanse, tone or moisturize. Similarly, eating well meant opting for veg instead of chips and onion rings at Spur. Now I am 29 and have just had a baby. My body is a toilet and while my skin looks good and my face still moderately fresh (I fear its only a matter of time till my skin and face follow in my body’s footsteps) I have come to realize that the when it comes to health and wellness, the time for action is, most certainly, right now.

So about my body, to quote my soul mate Bridget Jones, I have always been just a little bit fat, before Sophie was born, I had lost a bit of said fat but oh gosh pregnancy brought it all back and then some. Since before I gave birth I have been looking forward to my post baby diet. I have done my research on all the hot new fads, of which there are a few, and while all of them have their individual merits I just cant be bothered to go through the almond milk, salmon fillet budget fuckery that is the paleo diet, nor does the eat what you want for 5 days and fast for 2 train of though peak my interest. Where does that leave me? Oh yes, the good old healthy eating, smart food choices, portion control, exercise route!

Lets go back for a minute to the previously mentioned Women & Home, specifically the July (page 133) and August (page 97) issues… While these articles are different – one is about eating for wellbeing and not necessarily weight loss and the other focuses on 10 ways to kick start your diet- both tell a story that I am so receptive to right now: stop the fad diets and just go back to simple, clean eating and you will feel/look better. Weight loss is really simple at the end of the day, eat less + move more = better body. And to do it sustainably, eat for wellness and not solely for weight loss. I mean realistically, how long can you swear off carbs? They have a place in a balanced diet just like everything else.

So for the next few months I’ll be aiming for slow and steady weight loss through healthy balanced eating paired with continuous exercise.

Here are the 10 quick start diet tips from Woman & Home:

  1. Eat protein first
  2. Get enough sleep – as a mom to a 5 month old I’ll have to ignore this little pearl.
  3.  If you drink while you’re eating swap out your cold drinks for warm water with lemon or herbal tea
  4. Instead of going on a crash diet, make small changes and gradually cut down your calorie intake
  5. Eat smaller meals more often
  6. Make smart snack choices
  7. Veggie up your serving
  8. Join a weigh loss group
  9. Take a break between courses
  10.  Ditch the fizzy drinks
If, like me, you’re starting a diet or changing the way you eat I wish you good luck! It’s not easy saying good bye to the Top Deck Mint slabs or endless glasses of coke (especially while breastfeeding) but nothing worthwhile ever came easy right?


Friday Finds: Links I Love (warning: lot's of feelings ahead)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Let's bow our heads for a minute and think about the days when #ff was a thing. While I was occasionally the recipient of the much coveted #ff, what I really loved was finding new people, new blogs or new brands to follow and engage with. 

So it's in that spirit that I am sharing a few of the things I have read this week that have totally moved me, or inspired me or just made me feel something...

tailsofamermaid: posted a blog this morning about depression, its something so many people suffer from and also something we are so scared to talk about, go over and read it. It made me feel better this morning. 

iheartyouroutfit: shared some of the things she experienced at the Dove breakfast she recently attended. I am so in love with Dove's new ad campaign, which focuses on loving the skin you're in. You can see some of the adverts over here

raisingmen: wrote a post that I am struggling to describe.... it's like an honest account of life as it currently is. I know that this may not resonate with everyone as it did with me, because I have also recently switched to working from home and leaving the 9-5 life has literally felt like a massive bag of jaggerdy, rusty scrap metal has just been lifted off my shoulders and it has done my mind, my relationship and my home some serious good. 

obnoxiousowl: she is my go to feel good blogger because she writes things like: "In life, olives are inevitable. Just pick them off the pizza." which is both incredibly simple and wildly profound. If she isn't on your feedly reading list then you are missing some true pearls of wisdom!

Them be the links. I went to an NA meeting once and there was a guy who had just come off of a pretty life changing heroin binge and he started off his share by saying, "I'm feeling shit because for the first time in years I'm feeling shit" - it's important to feel shit, good shit, bad shit, it all makes us better people, I truly believe that. That's been my learning curve this week. 

Follow me on Twitter (Shameless #ff to myself)


Friday, September 13, 2013

I’ll never forget the day I took the pregnancy test… Up until that point I had been living in a carefully cultivated sense of denial. On some level I knew I was pregnant, but I kept making up excuses for my missing period. Maybe its stress, maybe its cysts, maybe I miscalculated and it’s actually due next week (I mean really!). So when the day finally arrived to wee on the stick, my blanket of denial was rudely yanked away. While I defiantly wanted a baby, I was totally unprepared for how quickly it was all happening. When I walked out of the toilet, wee’d on pregnancy test in hand, I remember telling Regan, “Well I’m pregnant”. I sat down in the doorway to the balcony and started giggling like someone possessed. Regan eventually joined in. We then smoked 6 cigarettes (yes, upon finding out about the baby in my baby box I needed to chain smoke just 3 cigarettes, everybody stay calm). Pregnancy was a huge fucking deal. Huge. But we didn’t freak out. We were so happy. Scared, but so happy.

Now I have this story that lives in my heart, it’s a story about being pregnant and becoming a mom. Women do this everyday. Women give birth in fields and in lifts and in cars. It’s nothing new, but oh my gosh, it is colossal. Right now as I sit here on my bed with Sophie lying asleep next to me I am so intimately aware of my journey into motherhood. Looking down at her now I see why it would be impossible for me not to write about it. If you must write about what you know, then this is what I know. It is who I am.
Getting ready for Sophie's arrival... Regan fell asleep while I labored. 
While I was pregnant I didn’t feel the immediate motherly awareness people speak about. I kept asking myself when does motherhood begin? I had this amazing tiny life growing inside of me, was I just suddenly a mother? I didn’t really feel like one, I still felt like the same old Nikki. Pregnancy was perfect, I loved the changes my body went through, and living every day with the knowledge that I was literally growing a life was so surreal and powerful.

Some people say that motherhood begins during labor. To me labor felt like a war between my body and my mind. After my water broke I was in labor for 22 hours. Labor made me feel insecure and afraid and sorely lacking in confidence in my body. I didn’t get an epidural (poor time management on my part and know it all nurses on the hospitals part). The pain was immense and it was made worse by the crippling fear I had that I just could not do it. After everything I had read and everything I had watched and all the information I had amassed in the previous 38 weeks I thought I would have been better prepared. Now if you are reading this and have not had a baby you’re probably wondering, is the pain that bad? Was the pain such that it caused her to question her willingness to bring forth this new little life? Nope, it was the anticipation of the pain that played me dirty. Not knowing how bad it would get, not understanding how to “push like you are doing a poo” (this is what one of my nurses told me 21 hours into my 22 hour labor) – I didn’t know what I would feel, I just knew I would feel a lot of it.

Giving birth/being born is super exhausting, even for dads.
Exhausted, drained, drinking a Powerade and swirling around on a birthing ball I definitely did not feel that “can do” motherly attitude.

After my last decent push, Regan looked up (tears in his eyes – I swear I did not expect my manly man to cry but I guess the birth of your daughter will do that to you) and said, she’s out, and I heard her tiny little cry I knew, I am now a mother.

This was the feeling I was waiting for. The nurse handed me my little baby and she was writhing and furious and so utterly perfect. Here in my arms was my big bang, my own cosmic singularity. This 3.2kg mass of screaming baby destroyed my world and put it together again in an instant.

If I had to describe my pre-Sophie life I would only need one word: indulgent. There was a lot of money thrown around, good food, good sex, long nights out on the town and countless double gin and tonics. Having a baby is to become halved, and Sophie is my other half. My life is no longer my own, it is hers too, and it’s this feeling that spurs me on to purchase things like vitamins and life insurance. My life definitely had meaning pre-Sophie, but her arrival has added a purpose to my existence unlike any other. It’s through her eyes that I able to see the world for the first time. She inspires me to become the person I want to be, makes me feel like I can still change the world. Life is harder and more wonderful than ever.

She is poetry come alive.

Spring has finally sprung y’all!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

This isn’t going to be one of those blog posts about the wonder of spring, ok, maybe it is. I’ve always been a winter person, more than the chill in the air or the fabulous array of winter fashion to be found, winter to me is that feeling of walking out of the frigid Cape Town outdoors and into a warm home. Winter is pot roast and grey skies and relentless rain and all the things I adore. Now here’s the but… this winter felt a little too unforgiving. It was colder than usual, we even had a sleet storm and the relentless rain was, well, just slightly too relentless. So when the first of September rolled around I, like everyone else did a little gig of happiness. Spring is here. Summer is on the way. Cape Town is slowly waking up again.

I always feel like this is the best time of year for all improvements to happen. Work improvements, life improvements, body improvements etc. We put so much pressure on ourselves to make big changes at the end of each year, but really, is there any better time than spring? The flowers are blooming, the winds are warming, and the sun shines a little brighter. It’s most inspiring.

Personally, my improvement to do list is quite long. Aside from losing the 25 arse’s and 52 chins I gained during my pregnancy I am also starting a new business venture and I’ll be attempting to find a balance between being a mom and being the second half of a healthy committed relationship. Lately it’s all Sophie all the time and I sometimes forget Sophie has a dad that loves me and needs attention too.

So here’s to spring time jolly & improvements & not neglecting your man.
Spring ftw!



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