In no particular order…
Also in no particular order
I’ll make one thing clear…I am absolutely not a fan of New Years resolutions - I think they’re pointless and put way too much pressure on you. I do however, believe in positive change. I wanted to make 2019 the year I didn’t make any new years resolutions…I seem to have failed that resolution as well 🤦♀️. If that isn’t irony then I don’t know what is.
So, the reason that I believe that 2019 is in fact the year to be more Freddie? Well Freddie was always honest and always himself. He was the most beautiful character not because of looks but because of much more. Freddie had substance - he didn’t always fit in and he actually didn’t care at all. He made wildly bold clothing choices and pranced around stages. Freddie brought so much joy through his life and his music and honestly…who wouldn’t want that for a year, for a life.
"I won't be a rock star. I will be a legend." -Freddie Mercury
What Freddie had in droves was confidence in who he was and what he did. We all need a bit more confidence in our lives. Confidence (not arrogance) is such a beautiful thing to behold. You see so little confidence these days especially in women. We spend so much time judging ourselves, our outfits, our decisions, our likes, our dislikes and our bodies that we forget to enjoy ourselves. Part of the beauty of confidence is that you kind of forget yourself a little bit. Think about the difference between how a little girl and a woman approach a mirror…yep the little girl has confidence because she isn’t looking for flaws. So when you approach a mirror, approach it like Freddie did - like you are the most wonderful person in the world darling and the mirror should be honoured to have you.
“You can be anything you want to be, just turn yourself into anything you think that you could ever be.” - Freddie Mercury
Next up is knowing that you can do and be anything you want to be. If you can think of it and believe it…you can do it. You can wear absolutely anything that you want. You can forget silly rules and silly people. You can put just about anything behind you as long as you know that what’s important is what’s ahead of you. Be you-tiful darlings
“Dullness is a disease.” - Freddie Mercury
Don’t go out and live a mediocre life…don’t have a mediocre year because you are scared. You will absolutely never be dull as long as you are yourself, as long as you are honest about who you are. You don’t need to disappear, you deserve to wear bright colours if you want to and take up space in the world. You are only ever dull when you are trying to hide who you are which ironically, most people tend to do in a bid to be liked. So don’t try to impress people - you do you boo.
“If I die tomorrow I will not regret. I really did everything I could.” - Freddie Mercury
Live without regrets. So often we live in the past way too much of the time. We go over things that happened and things we might have done differently. Live in the present and do everything you have the chance to. Say yes to a lot more and challenge yourself…you never know what you might find out. If you died tomorrow- would you die happy, fulfilled?
“I love the fact that I can make people happy, in any form. Even if it’s just an hour of their lives, if I can make them feel lucky or make them feel good, or bring a smile to a sour face, that to me is worthwhile.” - Freddie Mercury
So often we destroy each other. We don’t live to make each other happy - we don’t strive to see other people smile. How much more wonderful would the world be if we all strove to make one person smile. That is indeed a worthwhile life to live. Ask one person how they are, greet someone or give someone a genuine compliment. If you are at a complete loss, resort to playing Queen 👑
“Oh, I was not made for heaven. No, I don’t want to go to heaven. Hell is much better. Think of all the interesting people you’re going to meet down there” - Freddie Mercury
This final quote just happens to be one that I love and its so outrageous and so Freddie so I thought I’d leave it here with - speak your mind and be honest about who you are. Say what you want to say. Honestly is the best policy even if that you’re about to say is outrageous.
If you have a bookworm on your Christmas gifting list, this is the gift guide for you. I am an avid reader myself and all of these are books that I have read and that I love deeply. Each book on here has made it to this list because I think it has a very special message to give and is a must-read. Please note that these books are in no particular order 😉 Also this post is not sponsored by anyone although I wish it was…Exclusive books - hit me up 🤙
HOW TO BE A GROWN UP BY DAISY BUCHANNAN
R 195.00 -R 231.00
I have this in audio book format on Audible and I have listened to it over and over and over again. Daisy is an absolutely brilliant writer and this book is a testament to how great she is. It is such an honest recollection of the trials and tribulations she has gone through and those which we go through on our journey to adulthood.
I have listened to this book often when my life seems to be going downhill at an impossible speed and I simply don’t know what to do - I reach for this book. I have cried on the streets of Brighton and put on my earphones and listen to this book and it has stopped my tears.
If you feel like you’re failing at being in your 20’s, you aren’t - you aren’t failing and you’re not alone. I have laughed and cried my way through this book. I know I will keep reading it because it resonates so strongly. This is to date one of the most important books I have ever read and I strongly recommend it as a gift…what’s better than a book which tells you that you’re doing fine and you aren’t alone.
ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE BY GAIL HONEYMAN
R 185.00-R 236.00
What an absolutely brilliant and engrossing book. I absolutely loved this book and so much of it rang true for me. When we first meet Eleanor, she is most definitely not fine and is 100% stuck in a rut. She scorns other peoples need for human connection and distances herself from everyone.
This is the quintessential 'don't judge a book by its cover' lesson. In the beginning, Eleanor seems very odd and difficult to relate to (even if we've all shared her thoughts on humanity once or twice) but once you get to know her and learn about her story and how well she has actually coped with everything she's been through, you develop a new respect for her as a character.
The book follows Eleanor’s journey from her thoroughly traumatic past to a future where she might have a life rather than just a mere existence. This book is a brilliant commentary of how connected each and every person is. How any act of kindness, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem to you at the time is vital. Eleanor learns about love and friendship and how people improve each others lives just by being there. Alongside Eleanor and her snide world view, we learn how vital it is to look upon each other with kindness.
Whilst Eleanor Oliphant is most definitely not completely fine, she is one fantastically different, vibrant and brilliant heroine. In short, this book will make you want to invite every single person you know round for a cup of tea and a hug...even the weird ones.
Buy it here:
THE GUILTY FEMINIST BY DEBORAH FRANCES-WHITE
Probably the most important book of our time written by one of the most brilliant women of our time. Deborah Frances-White is the writer and comedian behind ‘The Guilty Feminist’ podcast which has had more than 50 million downloads.
Deb is most definitely a thought leader of our time and her opinions are so beautifully thought out and balanced. Feminism gets a very bad wrap but since the #MeToo movement more and more women are coming out of the woodwork to join the feminist movement.
In the Guilty Feminist podcast, Deborah created a safe space for women to include themselves and feel heard. Since I started listening to the Guilty Feminist, my opinions and world views have changed substantially for the better. I have started to understand that I am not alone in what I go through day to day. It is amazing to hear incredible women who ordinarily, you wouldnt get to hear. Women who have incredible and thoughtful opinions that the world needs to hear and without people like Deb and her podcast and book, they wouldn’t have a platform.
My favourite episodes of the Guilty Feminist (although I love very single episode that has been made) if you want a flavour of Debs comedy:
Buy it here:
THREE THINGS ABOUT ELSIE BY JOANNA CANNON
R 245.00 - R 267.00
“There are three things you should know about Elsie.The first thing is that she's my best friend.The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.And the third thing... might take a little bit more explaining”
84 year old Florence lives in a flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. She has had a fall and while she lies there on the floor of her flat and wonders whether anyone will come to help, she tells us her story.
Florence has lived a long life and she has a best friend, but not the kind of friend where you’re only friends for a few years. Florence and Elsie have been best friends ever since she can remember.
But there’s a secret that Florence has been keeping her whole life, something terrible that she did when she was young. She wonders whether that secret might die with her.
As we go on the jouney of long forgotten memories with Florence, we find that things aren’t always what they seem, friendship is vital and that we are more than our biggest mistake. Life affirming and beautifully written, this is a must read for fans of long journeys and battenburg cake.
Buy it here:
PURPLE HIBISCUS BY CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE
R 155.00 - R 308.00
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie must be one of the most powerful writers of our time. She is also one of the best speakers of our time (just pop her name and Ted Talk into Google and you’ll see what I mean).
Purple Hibiscus is so beautifully written and is so immensely powerful. I read this book in all of one day and I physically could not put it down.
In the book, we follow Kambili, a fifteen year old girl who lives in Nigeria. She has, it is obvious, an abusive and strict father who makes and dictates all the rules. Her days are structured around schedules created by her fanatically religious father and she has never known laughter or happiness.
During a military coup in Nigeria in which her Father seems to be suspiciously deeply involved, Kambili and her brother are sent off to stay with her Aunt who’s house and life are the complete antithesis of the life they have come to know. Their Aunt lives a free life which is filled with love and laughter and family fun. In her Aunt’s fun filled house, Kambili discovers that the life she and her brother have been leading is not normal at all and that her faithful family isn’t exactly what it seems to be.
Read it because its a really heart bracingly beautiful book and I could not put it down. Read it all in a day.
Buy it here:
HOW TO STOP TIME BY MATT HAIG
R 280.00 - R 304.00
How To Stop Time is honestly one of the most incredible books I have had the privilege of reading. Matt Haig must be one of the best authors of our time. The attention he pays to not just a single character but multiple different characters, each with their own story, their own history. Every single character in how to stop time is unique and 3 dimensional. They are those characters that you come to love and by the end of the book, you don't want to let go of.
This is one of those books that makes you think, the type of book which keeps the brain ticking over and thinking. It is such a difficult book to describe, how could I possibly describe something which fits into pages so beautifully and yet, as you read, brings about new realisations not just about humans in general but about yourself and who you are.
The book is split into sections which all correspond and correlate perfectly. We always come back to present day London and thus the comparisons between history and what is happening in our world right now are that much stronger. Here, we follow Tom Hazard who, whilst he may look like an average 41 year old, has a dangerous secret. He has a rare condition which means he lives much longer than other humans.
Tom constantly has to change his identity in order to survive in secrecy and won’t allow himself to get attached to any humans because he is afraid of loosing them. We follow Tom on the road to finding his child who has the same condition and who he hasn’t seen in years. How To Stop Time is a beautiful story about finding the truth and finding yourself.
Buy it here:
HOW TO BE HAPPY BY EVA WOODS
'How To Be Happy' is an absolutely brilliant book which explores the fact that it is often the smallest things which make the biggest difference. The difference between actually living, feeling and being alive and simply existing. The book explores the way so many people just trudge through life, always settling and never really happy. It explores the difference between living your life waiting for the storm to pass and dancing in the rain.
When we meet Annie, she is the prime example of someone who is trudging through a miserable and unhappy life. She is so deeply unhappy and has been hurt so many times that she has literally forgotten what it's like to be happy. She lives her life out as if it were just a movie playing before her eyes, stuck in a rut, going to work everyday to do a job which brings her no joy whatsoever with people she doesn't particularly like. She lives in a uniform of black and is in general, just miserable and lonely. Her mum has just been diagnosed with early onset dementia and is stuck in hospital. Annie visits everyday even though, most of the time, her mother cannot remember who she is.
The day we meet her is the day on which her life is set to be changed forever is, for all intents and purposes, a 'normal' day. Annie is at the office in the hospital trying to change her mothers address so that her post will go to Annie instead which, though it sounds easy is proving difficult if not impossible. Then she meets Polly who is the epitome of happiness, a rainbow on legs and the complete opposite of Annie.
Polly, Annie learns quite quickly is dying...terminal cancer. She has been given 100 days to live and is trying in earnest perhaps for the first time in her life to actually start living. To use up the small amount of life she has left in her to do all the things she really wants to do. Polly is trying to fit 35 years of living into 100 days. She is wearing all the clothes which she has but has never worn because they just weren't quite right for the occasion. Polly is like a living rainbow, throwing joy around everywhere she goes, inspiring others and being bright and cheerful. Somehow, Polly manages to drag Annie into her '100 Days Of Happiness' and through those days spent together, they learn from each other.
They form a beautiful friendship in the short space of time and together, they do everything from going up the shard to dancing in a fountain. Polly gives Annie her friendship and in doing that essentially, teaches Annie how to live again while she herself is dying. She shows Annie how to move on from the past, shows her that everyone is dealing with something and battling their own demons. They help each other to move past what has happened to them and along their way, they re-kindle old friendships and spark new ones.
They teach each other lessons about life like that you're never completely alone in your suffering, that other people suffer silently alongside you. When you only have 100 days left to live, you make every moment count. Make sure that every single thing you do adds something to your life, adds value. Through Polly, Annie learns how to live again, how to forgive and how to love and let people in. Annie takes from Polly hope...
This book is unforgettable and a brilliant life lesson wrapped up in an absolutely beautiful and heart-warming story. It's the sort of book that every single person should read. To remember how lucky you are to have this day, to have no cap on your life. To have the freedom to dance in the rain (or a fountain) to sing out loud and to stop being afraid, maybe just eat what you want. Nobody lives forever...The most brilliant and life-affirming book I have read in a while and really well worth the read or listen:
Buy it here:
TWEEXY POLISH HOLDER
For the girl who loves to have perfectly manicured nails, this is the perfect gift! It’s not too pricey either at only R175. The perfect little gift or stocking filler, it comes in three colours so it doesn’t have to be pink ;) Tweexy claims that it fits all fingers and nail polishes.
For that girl who collects mugs (I am one of those girls much to my parents disgust). I am absolutely in love with this mug, it’s hilarious…and true. I would really like to own all the mugs in the world but a combination of my parents’ lack of agreement and the lack of space in the kitchen cupboards says no. If however, you are gifted a mug…well how could you refuse a gift. Bring on the gift mugs guys.
DISNEY DRINK BOTTLE
Everyone knows someone who is absolutely obsessed with Disney. I’d say this is one of the cutest (and most useful) gifts on the list. Even the cap has ears…how can you not love it? It’s cute, it’s pretty and it’s pink. The perfect gift for the Disney obsessed girl. It’s also really great that it’s metal because it’ll keep your water (or vodka…whatever floats your boat) cooler for longer.
I actually struggle to think of a better gift to receive than this one. What kind of person hasn’t dreamt of being a mermaid? I mean you get to be snuggly, warm and a fucking mermaid…what more could you ask for this Christmas? Also, would you just look at the pretty colours they’ve used? Typo is an absolute must visit for Christmas gifting this year. They really have gone all out and their range suits everyone which is an absolute blessing.
HARRY POTTER SLEEP TEES
As if it needed mentioning that I already own this. As you all know, I am a Slytherin and proud of it. I saw this sleep tee in Typo and I knew I had to have it. I love that Typo have done these sleep tees for all the houses and not just for Gryffindor. I’m so bored of seeing Harry Potter merch that only represents Gryffindor. I men come on…we’re real fans so of course we’ve been sorted and we ain’t all in Gryffindor. I have this, I love this and I recommend this heartily. The packaging it comes in is also so lovely.
Another Typo gift on the list. I am obsessed with their novelty earrings. I own a pair (unsurprisingly) it’s actually beginning to seem like this is simply a list of my favourite things…it is I guess because how else can I recommend things? Anyway, these are such a cool statement piece to wear and they certainly attract attention. I wore their ‘Fabulous Bitch’ pair and I’ve literally never had such positive responses to my earrings before.
Go anywhere near a major highstreet retiler and you'll see their telltale bulky shape. These are not going for the prettiest shoe award but they sure are in for the long haul in terms of fashion.
We've all seen them and they're absolutely everywhere lately, from Zara to Mr Price, anywhere you go, you'll see the chunky trainers everywhere. I vividly remember my mum having a pair of sneakers which looked a lot like the chunky sneakers of today although perhaps they were a bit more wedge than the chunky sneakers we are seeing today. This chunky 80's/90’s revamp is currently the biggest thing since sliced bread and I'll admit that I couldn't be happier. I'm a petite girl standing at only 5 ft 2 and I'm more than happy to admit that I just adore the boost in height the chunky sneaker gives. I'm also absolutely on board with the dress/skirt and chunky trainer look. I always think it looks really fresh and it's a bit more of a chilled and toned down look. These trainers are a far cry from what has been the ‘fashion’ sneaker previously. They are nothing like the sleek, flat soled Stan Smiths or Adidas Superstars of yesteryear. These are sneakers with presence and personally, I hope they’re here to stay.
If you're looking for the culprits of starting this ‘ugly’ trend, look no further than Balenciaga. They were the first to bring us a bold, shoe with a bulky silhouette in the Triple S. Before you could so much as draw breath, all of the It girls were wearing it. Originally, I thought that there was absolutely no way this was going to catch on. Then I walked into Topshop and saw a pair and then into Zara and then I just knew that the trend would take off. There are many negative things you can say about fast fashion high street stores but one thing you can’t say it that they are behind the times…they are never behind the times. Topshop brought out the chunky trainer in white and grey and boom! they sold out, just like that and as they added more colours, on it went, they were almost constantly sold out. Then Zara came on board with a slightly higher price tag than Topshop's 49 pound and suddenly places like Primark and Mr Price joined the fray. Even Adidas and Nike have joined the chunky sneaker brigade with their Falcon and Tekno shoes respectively.
If you're looking for a pair of your own:
I always wondered why those lyrics from 'Wicked' struck such a chord with me and I think I eventually found out tonight. I was one of those girls who was consistently single instead of constantly in a relationship. I was never 'with' anyone. Not because I particularly chose to be single but because two things happened simultaneously. One, no guys ever asked me out and two, I was always working.
Now I say working and you're probably thinking of scholarly work, That's not the truth, though, I didn't particularly enjoy school and I wasn't very good at following orders, perhaps a major reason that I work for myself today. No, I was always striving for excellence within myself. I was born a perfectionist and anything I do, I want to be the very best at. When I was singing, I wanted to be the best singer in the world (I’m not) and my passion for progression towards perfection dictates that I work until I’m the best. That being said I was also quite a home body. I wasn't really the type to go out drinking every weekend. Call it whatever you like but I hated clubs and my parents hadn't attached a stigma to alcohol so from a certain age I was allowed to drink at home with them and so I guess I never really saw any reason to rebel against them. The opposite was true of my school. Good God, I rebelled in school. The heavy duty rules like no drugs or smoking I never had a problem with but the idea of controlling the colour of our shoes, stockings, socks and hair ties - the stupid rules, those I adored breaking.
Now on to the topic of why nobody ever asked me out, I wouldn't say I'm an ugly looking person but I'll leave that to you judgemental internet people (haha) to decide since there are pictures of me all over this site. I can, however, come across as rather intimidating and it really is just who I am. It's more that I am a bundle of nerves than anything else really and the sheer fact that I get hugely uncomfortable. I would say that the more that I like you, the more awkward I am around you. If I don't know you, we can chat for days but the second I know you better and I have to start watching my Ps and Qs, I flounder.
I often find myself asking the question after an event, launch or meeting, does he/she like me. And whilst lightly considering this might be important for personal development, it's not really a viable thought path unless you give each and every person you meet a questionnaire. Then the question arises, do I care and indeed should I care. I mean, would I re-adjust my attitude for every negative comment in the metaphorical questionnaire? The simple answer is no, I wouldn't. I mean, would you? How would you sift through all the comments and ticks and crosses in order to decipher whose opinion is worthwhile and valid and whose is not? You shouldn't need a questionnaire for that though should you? You could simply ask the people you care about for their opinion and if the same thing keeps coming up, maybe you need to re-evaluate. I mean, what do you care if Jack going down the street thinks you're a bitch if he's never met you? I am quite comfortable with who I am and long term I would want a man to stand next to me and be proud to stand with me for exactly that.
Something else hit me like a ton of bricks tonight, I really like men who are slightly or entirely out of my reach.I would say that you don't quite meet my tastes if you aren't a bit on/off with me. If you reach for me, I tend to lunge in the other direction. Strange? Maybe, but in reality, people are always falling for people who are out of reach for one or another reason. I mean, movie stars are a prime example of that are they not?
As a blogger, I am consistently dealing with what I call 'heaving room syndrome'. It's the idea that when you are in a room which is full to the brim with people, you are still alone. Realistically, if you came alone, you are there alone even when you are absolutely surrounded by people. Whilst simply being alone doesn't equate to loneliness, over time, it seems to morph quietly from one to the other. Seeing something pretty and not having anyone to turn around to and mention it, that's all. Every time I attend an event (alone) that's just how I work best, I sort of dream of someone being along for the ride, right by my side for the evening. Someone who is mine but there entirely for me because so far, the people I have invited along have done nothing but embarrass me. For me, the very idea of someone standing with you, just quietly and being 'yours' in a crowded room is romantic. And perhaps romance has changed then? Or at least it has for me.
Tonight in a room full of creative people, maybe three of whom I knew and knew me, I suddenly realised that I am in fact in love but not with a man, rather the idea of a man, at least right now. This realisation begs the question, how do you know when you are falling for someone vs simply falling for the idea of them? I don't know but I do know this, I am in love with the man who loves me exactly as I am, warts and all. So right now, no, I'm not that girl but I'm my own girl and today, tonight, that's enough...
I'm enough, You're enough, It's enough
Gert Johan Coetzee is probably the most famous of all the South African designer with 180 000 followers on Instagram. Gert has always been known for making the most beautiful dresses and gowns. His design is extravagant and beautifully tailored for the female form. His collections are always a sight to behold and an extravaganza of fashion.
This year marked Gert’s 8th year showcasing with SAFW and he definitely brought his A-game. Not only did he show his usual calibre of elaborate and showstopper red carpet and bridal gowns but he also added a ready-to-wear Gert line, a menswear collection and his new ‘Gert’ men’s underwear collection.
Gert has revealed that this new collection for A/W 2019 is inspired by his travels and love for luxury and Italian style. This collection has built on his previous work with McDonalds where he explored a more playful and pop art like feel in his collection.
I have to say that out of all of Gert's many, stunning collections, I feel that this one is my favourite to date. It is eccentric enough to stop traffic whilst remaining reserved enough to be wearable on a day to day basis. I may also be a bit biased about this collection because walking the runway among models were some of my closest friends.
I have picked out a few of my absolute favourite, which I immediately fell in love with, some of which I want to own with my whole heart, I’m not sure how well my bank account will take it though 🤦♀️.
First is this amazing suit which was Maps’ second outfit. As per usual with Gert, the tailoring is sublime.
For me, the fabric reminded me of Michelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The print just screams Renaissance with its fresco like appearance and cherubic beings.
I’m pretty sure that this is one of my favourite suits ever.
Whilst I’m on the topic of that amazing suit, I would like to state that I am completely in love with this skirt and jacket variation on the theme and I would very much like to own it and wear it literally everywhere I go (see third image below)
Then my favourite of all, these amazing pants.You remember those ultra cool carpets that some kids had? The ones with roads and trees and road signs? Well this is the pant equivalent of that and I want them…badly. This was absolutely my favourite item of the entire show and i’ll be frank, I just want these pants in my closet stat.
Images from the entire show are below for you to browse through.
This year, South African Fashion Week comes of age, celebrating its 21st year. To celebrate the occasion, Lucilla Booyzen (CEO of SA Fashion Week) announced that she and her team had created a book which will stand as a permanent record of the past 21 years of SA Fashion Week.
The book is a celebration of South African fashion and the amazing designers behind the scenes. The images featured in the book were specifically chosen by a panel of local and international experts. The book begins with Spring/Summer 2018 and leads you back through time to 1997. Also included in the book are images from the Fashion Weeks through the years.
During her speech, Lucilla thanked all of the attendees, photographers, make-up artists and media who have made SA Fashion Week possible. I was also lucky enough to see some of the beautiful pieces which are being exhibited at SAFW. The exhibition begins with the pieces from 1997 and leads you through to Spring/Summer 2018. The pieces are absolutely stunning and its well worth a visit.
To hear a bit more about the making of the book, I’ve linked the video for you below.
If you’d like to buy the book, it’s available via the links below:
New series alert!
I've decided to start a weekly post here where I share some of my absolute favourite things. They could be anything...things I've been listening to, watching, eating, buying or just enjoying in general. So for my very first 'My Favourite Things' I've decided to share some of my favourite podcasts to listen to. So, in no particular order, here goes...
THE GUILTY FEMINIST
Hosted by Deborah Frances-White, this podcast is an absolute revelation. I have learnt so much in such a short time and have had such great fun doing it as well. Deb is full of knowledge and interesting points of view.
She explains Feminism in a way that is both beautiful and easy to understand. The guests are brilliant, witty and inspirational. In short, I would seriously recommend this podcast to everyone - man, woman, child, it doesn't matter! Please give it a listen!
THE FRINGE OF IT
This podcast is hosted by Liv Purvis of What Olivia Did and Charlotte Jacklin of Betty Magazine.
These two are a must listen. They cover everything from day to day millennial life to deeper issues like race and activism.
They are an absolute joy to listen to and full of great one-liners and witty commentary. I relate to them so much and I can't get enough of this podcast! Definite must listen
THE GARETH CLIFF SHOW
The Gareth cliff show is a breakfast show which you can listen to live (as a radio show) via The Cliff Central app or in podcast format post-recording. The show is South African centric but Gareth and co are full to the brim with knowledge and witty repartee. The GCS is all about uncensored real conversation about current affairs. Highlight for me is ‘Said by Siya’ and Bens Sport which is the most interesting sports reporting you’ll ever hear.
*I don’t always agree with his views but find the show as a whole very interesting and enjoy it for all the knowledge it offers up.
THE HIGH LOW
Dolly Alderton & Pandora Sykes are the hosts of the High Low podcast. On the podcast they chat about everything from everyday life to whats happening in the world of politics and how it impacts on us as people living in the world created by our leaders.
Two brilliant women who are both brilliant feminists and lovers of life.
They give fabulous book, movie and series recommendations and are a lot of fun to listen to.
It is generally accepted that people, especially young people but people, in general, make bad decisions when it comes to money. Whether it's the absurd decision to buy a ridiculously overpriced handbag or ending up with the credit card bill from hell, we've all been there at least once. But everyone makes mistakes and it's how we learn and grow and thus, the 'Oh Sh*t Bill'.
The premise of the 'Oh Sh*t bill' is that everyone is allowed one screw up which doesn't have any major consequences. It's basically a 'get out of jail free card' for real-life fiscal fuck ups. It can be for either minor or major financial screw-ups but is usually reserved for the really big, terrifying ones.
The history of the Oh Sh*t Bill (which will be referred to as an OSB from now on due to the fact that the star thingy is a real pain in the arse to type out repeatedly and I'm lazy) is as follows. My Dad's old boss somehow ended up in a club in Dusseldorf (I can only assume that some kind of alcohol was involved) and ended up spending all of the budgeted money for the trip. He came clean to his boss about it (presumably this was after a major freak-out the next morning) and his boss let it slide saying that everyone was allowed one 'OSB'. My Dad's boss later had the pleasure of passing on this favour when my Dad, tasked with entertaining a group of clients in Cape Town ended up putting the entire bill on the company tab, that is the entire bill...It was a lot of money. Oops.
It should be mentioned that my father is a very smart man and is unfailingly kind. So, my OSB came about when I went on a trip to England when I was 15 or 16 (and yes I know that I'm very privileged) it was a time when more people had Blackberrys than iPhones and data roaming was a fairly new thing. I sense that many of you will probably have guessed where I'm going with this. I got back to South Africa and promptly got a text message from my carrier at the time saying something along the lines of 'Your bill is now over R11 000' or something to that effect (that's about 600 quid by the way). I actually thought it was a joke, that's how little I knew about data and data roaming. Basically, I had forgotten to switch my data roaming off. I told my parents immediately and my Mum had a minor freak out about it but ultimately recovered quickly and my Dad said it was okay and this was my OSB and was not to be repeated.
Worth mentioning is that I love nice things and would definitely buy a Bentley and only wear Gucci given half the chance. Liking nice things is no big deal as long as you have the money to pay for said nice things. Also worth mentioning is that my parents trust me, like they really trust me. They trust me so much that I have a credit card on their account which I've had now for a few years. It is also worth mentioning that I am an idiot who is easily confused by nice handbags. I should explain...I found myself invited to the opening of the very first H&M store in South Africa and the store was opening with the launch of H&M X Balmain. This was my very first blogging event invite and I was very excited. It turns out that I cant be trusted to make good decisions with a credit card which doesn't belong to me when there are lovely, expensive designer pieces around. I wanted everything but I settled for a R3000 handbag. I didn't have enough money because I wasn't working or earning any money but this was a one time opportunity so I just used my parents' credit card.
Needless to say, they were not happy with said purchase of overpriced handbag but I insisted on keeping the bag. This time, as I had used up my one OSB, I paid them back with some of my savings but even writing this sorry story makes me cringe. I used the bag a couple of times and then became too concerned about it getting ruined (it is suede) to take it out. It remains in my wardrobe in South Africa. I don't want to sell it because I cant get my money back but I don't use it. I was warned of this when I insisted on keeping it. I am an idiot.
I wanted to share some of the stories of my (many) monetary fuck ups. I am not perfect, I am in fact so far from perfect that it's laughable. IF you are making these kinds of mistakes, congratulations...you are growing up and part of growing up is failing epically. We're all allowed the occasional fuck up and it's totally okay to make mistakes.
If you've done some crazy money spending or relate even a little bit to any of these stories, let me know in the comments below
Okay so this doesn't sound like the kind of post that any reasonable person might read but you should. I've been fired twice while I've lived in England and I've had three jobs...to be honest, this is not great statistics-wise. However, in some jobs, in fact in the two that I got fired from, I hadn't actually even got through my probationary period. This sounds shit...it is, it truly is.
Here's the thing...as long as you don't lie on your CV or during your interviews and you are honest about who you are, what your skills are and what you can bring to the table...it's not your fault if you don't make it through the trial period. This was not particularly apparent to my brain yesterday though when I got taken in for 'the talk' after only 6 days at the company. By the way, by 'the talk', I mean the 'we don't like your work/think you're right for the job/believe you can do this' talk and not the sex talk...that would be infinitely worse.
To say I felt like shit would be an understatement. Basically, my boss didn't like the job I was doing and expected more of me (within a week apparently) but this isn't actually very fair. I was myself during the interviews and told them only the truth about my abilities and the work I had done. I am 23 years old and I have about as much experience working in an office as the average cat. They knew when they hired me what I could do and somehow, a weird assumption was made that in fact, I'd been lying about my talents in the opposite way...that I'd somehow been underselling myself.
There is not a person in this world who doesn't make mistakes and fail occasionally, it's part of life. The best thing about mistakes and failures is learning from them. As long as you're learning from your mistakes, you aren't failing, you're just learning and growing. Essentially, there were one or two things that I definitely could have improved on but I didn't get the chance. The thing about employing someone in their twenties is that no matter how highly qualified and how good they are at their job, they will screw up because that is how you learn and grow and get better at your job.
Both of the jobs that I got 'fired' from were in the fitness industry and I think I might have finally got the message that I just don't belong in fitness. I somehow managed to make the same mistake with two different companies. That first job was stressful and horrible and I spent a lot of time crying even before I was 'let go'. The people weren't nice at all and I found myself being constantly badmouthed when they thought I couldn't hear them.
My first boss really was an awful little man who thought a lot of himself and was really good at manipulating employees, particularly the female ones. He was quite rude and quite mean. It stands to reason that when he fired me, I cried. I cried right there in his office and it wasn't the silent and dainty kind either. This probably reinforced the idea that I was too young and immature to him but really, sometimes you just cry and you can't help it. I made things much worse for myself by begging him to reconsider, which he was definitely not going to do. Looking back, I know that my actions on that day were not good and I could have dealt with it much better. I don't like him and I have little to no respect for the company because of the way in which I was dismissed and the way in which I was treated whilst I was there. However, this isn't meant as a hateful post so I'm not going to go into it.
After that job, I took a job in luxury retail...the job was okay but my boss there was a wonderful woman who respected and appreciated me. She was a great mentor and leader and she taught me a lot while I was there. I did not get fired from that job. That job, however, included a lengthy commute from the depths of Kent to London every day which easily took 4 hours extra off my day and sometimes I would end up working 7 or more days in a row without a break. I enjoyed the selling and the clients, I built great relationships with my colleagues and learnt a lot both about myself and others but I couldn't continue.
It's hard to admit it but for me, London was just too much. There are so many people and its always so busy. I always ended up feeling alone and like it had managed to suck out all my energy. It was because of that and my respect for my mood and body that I decided to leave and start over in Brighton.
Before I could move to Brighton though, I needed a job. I didn't actually even reach out to them, they found me. What I didn't realise in the midst of my desperation to settle down and get a job was that this was the same job and the same style of company as my first company. It was only the week before I started that I began to have doubts because, thinking laterally, it was so so similar to that job I'd been fired from.
It just so happens that in fact, I was right and this job was exactly like the first job. I tried really hard there, I honestly did. I was nice to everyone, took all the criticisms on board (and all I actually got was criticism) and looked happy even though the constant negativity from my boss was making me very unhappy. I tried everything in my power to impress her and I failed but I honestly don't believe that there was anything else I could possibly have done, I don't think I could have impressed her if I stood on my head and whistled 'God Save The Queen' through my asshole. There was just something about it and we just didn't gel for whatever reason. Funnily enough, I feel no hatred for the company at all, I just wish that they'd at least allowed me a month to prove myself.
Here's the key thing though, when she told me that they had decided to 'let me go' I didn't cry or freak out (externally). I was shaken but I managed to calmly explain to her that I didn't believe that they had given me enough time to prove myself and that I had more to give. I also expressed to her that I understood and thanked her. In the spirit of full disclosure, I did end up crying when I got back to my desk but it was just drippy and sniffly, at no point did I bawl and at the end, I turned in what I had done (in my first job, I rather spitefully deleted it all but I don't believe they would have wanted it anyway), thanked her, told her that I hoped we would get to work together again sometime (albeit a bit tearfully), she gave me a tissue, walked me out and thanked me.
If I can give you my top tips on being fired (because shit happens)
Don't ever beg for your job back, that is below you
Don't expect them to change their minds but do explain why you disagree with their decision (try not to do this while bawling)
Don't spitefully delete everything, even if they have treated you abominably and you are thinking of ways to burn the place down
Don't ever be rude (or as my Dad likes to say, don't burn bridges as you just never know where you will end up)
Try your best not to cry, although this is just human so if you do, just give a watery apology
Clear up your desk, pack everything up and just leave
If you're feeling very teary and trying to walk down the road, I suggest an audiobook or song to distract you. Try to take deep breaths and don't walk in front of traffic.
Don't get angry, it's over
Do whatever you can to end it on good terms
Go home and have a good wallow (for how to have a good wallow, see Daisy Buchanan's book: How to Be a Grown Up - Chapter 12 you can get this book from Audible if you click on this link (http://tidd.ly/bc57b896) or click on the link below.
Whenever I'm looking for a hairdresser, I get very nervous and not unreasonably so. I mean listen, my hair has been through a lot. It has been badly dyed blonde which resulted in the ends just snapping off (which might I say is very disconcerting) and has had plenty of cuts which ranged from bad to very bad. Basically, my hair has been through hell and I honestly feel awful for it. When I moved to the UK, my stress levels went rocketing and my poor hair, which was already in a bad way due to aforementioned salon disasters, just started to fall out. I was absolutely desperate to say the least. I had a rubbish cut as well because only half my hair had actually grown while the top bit remained frazzled. HELP!
Eventually, I simply left my hair alone and wore some light weight real hair clip in extensions for a few months. I did nothing to my hair but styled the extensions and allowed it to finally grow and begin to heal. Just before I went back to South Africa in March I decided that enough was enough and made the rather stressful trip to a hairdresser. I chose 'Samantha Cusick' because of the incredible styles and transformations that I see come out of the salon repeatedly. I heard about Sam via Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella) and let's all be honest, her hair is incredible and even though its dyed blonde, it looks strong and healthy. I have always longed for that kind of hair but never ever had it. It is a very sad state of affairs when you are repeatedly spending around R1000 (around 70 quid) on your hair and always run from the salon either crying or covering your head and running for your car. We pay for this, it's a service and I feel that we should at the very least be happy with the results. You should not want to run home and wash and re-do your hair...that's so not cool.
Before I continue with this story you need to know that my hair was still all different lengths. I just went for it and booked an appointment for the evening before my flight after work and by the way, I know this is crazy...I am crazy but I did have back up in the form of extensions. I rang up and was told that Samantha herself doesn't do cuts, only colours so I needed to find someone in the salon. I asked for the names of the stylists who would do it and once I had those, scoured Instagram pages looking for someone who could work a miracle. Out of everyone, I chose the stylist with the most images of great short hair, Kostantinos (www.instagram.com/konstantinos_hair)
Somehow I managed to get an appointment on the day I needed with the stylist that I wanted. I went to Konstantinos with my full head of clip in extensions still in my hair. Once they were removed he kindly informed me that what I wanted (the trendy lob which is all one length al a Poppy Deyes) was not going to be possible. To say I was devastated was an understatement. All I wanted was hair that I could actually like for once. I was starting to think that there was actually something wrong with me. He told me that he would cut it and style it in a way that I could wear it but that allowed the top part to grow to match the rest of the length.
That cut was not easy for Konstantinos and it certainly wouldn't stand out for him as one of his favourite hair moments but for me? It absolutely changed my life because that cut changed my hair and for the first time ever, I walked out of a salon and did nothing to my hair. I liked it...no it wasn't exactly what I wanted but he explained to me that it would all take time but it would come right. He emphasised how important it was to get all the hair growing again so that I could have my dream hair long term. He also recommended using Olaplex at least twice a week on my hair (about which there is a post coming soon).
Sam for her part was actually doing front of house duties when I arrived which I have to say is something I greatly admire in any business owner. Sam is incredibly involved in that salon and definitely loves what she does. She is incredibly kind and always has time to chat to everyone.
She also has a dog called Sidney who comes to the salon with her. He is a bulldog and quite possibly one of the loveliest dogs ever. Remember those extensions I mentioned, well lets just say that Sidney the Bulldog shares his owners passion for hair ;)
For me, the feeling of a salon is actually as important as the job they do. A good salon should make you feel relaxed and comfortable. It should look professional and clean but be welcoming. You want a stylist who takes time to understand you and what you need and want. Konstantinos was brilliant at that, he took a lot of time with me just chatting about my hair and what my options were. The cut was brilliant then and i'm still happy with it two months down the line. Konstantinos actually suggested that I only come back in June to see him for a cut. At no point did I feel any pressure to buy anything extra at the salon. I was not shamed for having a rather difficult head of hair nor did they make a big deal out of how long it took me just sitting in the chair and chatting to Konstantinos.
Samantha is a brilliant young woman and by all accounts a hugely talented hair stylist and I hope that one day I'll be able to go and see her for a colour. As for Konstantinos, well I'm very very glad that he works there and for the first time ever, my hair is growing, it is shiny and healthy looking and i'm actually looking forward to my next hair appointment. What a difference a great salon makes...
To book visit the website: https://samanthacusicklondon.com
** All images here have been taken from Google or Sam's and Konstantinos' Instagram accounts. Therefore I claim no ownership over any of these images and all rights lie with the people who originally took the pictures.
Samantha's Instagram: www.instagram.com/samantha.cusick
Salon's Instagram: www.instagram.com/samanthacusicklondon
Konstantinos' Instagram: www.instagram.com/konstantinos.hair
If you follow my blog and Instagram, you will know that I have recently been back to South Africa for a visit. Every year, my parents and I got to Umhlanga in Kwa-Zulu natal which is an amazing (but underrated) town by the sea. The beaches are pristine and the weather is almost consistently amazing. I love this place and because it's very much a tourist town, it is full of amazing restaurants. A list of the ones you should visit will be up on the blog within the next couple of days including price point*
Cafe La Plage though, deserved its own post. We were invited to go and experience Cafe La Plage on our last night in Umhlanga which was a Friday. Wow, this place is buzzing on a Friday. Its busy pretty much any time of any day but Friday nights are insane. Its really a huge restaurant with inside and outside seating and it was packed.
The restaurant itself is situated maybe two minutes from the beach, just off the promenade. It's decorated in over the top French style complete with gold toilets (no I am not joking). The staff are absolutely brilliant and so accommodating and kind. Really, I don't have a bad word to say about the place...its amazing!
Starters (shown below): The first image is the stuffed calamari risotto which is what my Mum had to start. I tasted it and it does in fact taste as good as it looks! The next started is crumbed Prince prawns which my Dad and I shared. The prawns were perfectly cooked, sweet and tasty and the batter/crumbed top was extremely light. What a fabulous meal!
Mains (shown below): Mum decide to go with a Mediterranean vegetable salad which included chickpeas, olives. feta. beetroot and butternut. I had a taste of that and it was absolutely delicious and Mum loved it! I had the King prawns with savoury rice which was to say the least, amazing. The prawns were big and juicy, perfectly cooked and just really insanely good! Dad had steak which he said he thought was the best steak he had ever had. It came on a bed of vegetables and with chips. Needless to say, I didn't have any steak but I'll take Dads word on it.
Dessert and Cocktails (shown below): The cocktails are absolutely incredible at Cafe La Plage and by amazing, I mean like some of the best I have ever tasted. I had two cocktails both at our lovely waitress' suggestion. The drinks were amazing in and of themselves and would have been incredible even if they weren't served as they are which is in PINEAPPLES!! LET ME REPEAT THAT, THE COCKTAILS ARE SERVED IN PINEAPPLE SHAPED GLASSES!!!
I mean, can drinks be more beautiful than this? Having said that, the cocktail prices are relatively pricey for South Africa but definitely not outrageous and very well priced if you're a tourist. We also had probably the best chocolate cake ever made here. Mum, Dad and I shared one piece between us but honestly, it was incredible. I think I may have overused the word 'incredible' in this blog post but I honestly can't help myself. Some of the best cake I have ever eaten!
I would definitely recommend Cafe La Plage to anyone who is in Umhlanga! If you're South African, you'll find the prices a bit steeper than 'normal' but definitely worth it. If you're from overseas then you'll find it as reasonable as eating at Zizzi but with much, much better food!
*Price point is relative and graded from cheapest to most expensive as in GBP all the food is reasonable in comparison to restaurant food in the UK