Archives for category: Life & Style

He is the sweetest, kindest and most thoughtful person I know, puts me to shame all the damn time. And two months back when I broke the news that it looks like we will not be able to attend the Johannesburg International Motor Show, JIMS as it’s fondly known by enthusiats, I could see the blood drain from his pale-black face.And it broke my heart.But the truth of the matter was, we were broke as church mice,and dipping into our credit cards for this sort of thing was just not an option. As a matter of principle, none of us even broached the subject.

The show is hosted once every two (2) years and we have known since our last visit in October 2011 (when I had a cute little 3 months pregnancy bump) that we were definitely returning,in 2013. Ooopsie.

Being the financial Minister of our household, along with a million other portfolios I have been “assigned”, I made a mistake.I overspent,under budgeted and most terribly,I didn’t do my projections/forecasts right. And our situation was made bad, mainly due to funds that were being diverted to our shoe business, unfortunately leaving our household finances in tatters.

But truly speaking, in my defence, the whole truth and nothing but…. it was the weak Dollar-Exchange rate that threw me, us and our finances to the bottom of this dark abyss, in the end leaving us a little strapped for cash, especially when it came to “luxuries” like JIMS. The next few months looked a little too blurry for my liking.

But lady luck had a change of heart. The second consignment for our private label is due to leave the Brazilian factory next week, cash is ready, both for the 70% release and for all the heinous taxes and duties, PLUS we have a windfall, some odd little spare change to actually go indulge in one of our favourite pasttimes alone without baby, ok not baby anymore, the just turned 18-month-old-law-unto-himself-little-man. Fewer things give more pleasure than seeing my husband’s face light up, baring  teeth and all, and seeing the imaginary wag of his tail at the sight of something he adores, or in this case, something good he hears, as I calmly broke the good news to him. “Sweetness, I know we have plans this weekend, but if you are game, we could abandon those,do JIMS instead, in and out on Saturday since it’s starting On Friday”.

Not toothy a smile, but the kind of cheer that melts my heart!JIMS 2011

Not toothy a smile, but the kind of cheer that melts my heart!JIMS 2011

The reaction was priceless; A sudden jerk of the head, a bashful smile followed by a serious wrinkling of the face in disbelief as he tried to search the sincerety,or lack thereof on my face, not wanting to get too excited lest I was pulling a prank on him (his style not mine, by the way), but after I explained that 1.The dollar-rand exchange rate is now favourable to us, 2. Some of our savings came through and 3. The shop was able to raise enough money to pay for its own taxes and duties, after an awfully dry and depressing winter…. he gave me that  8 year-old-boy-mischievous-sunbeam-smile and I knew we were on. Yaaaay, happy days, happy days.

So with that ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. My husband and I are driving to Johannesburg this coming Saturday, to see how the other half live, or in this case, how they get from point A to B while the rest of us drool to no end.

A few of the machines from the 2011 show……

I never got  its name, but I call it the Beemer Spaceship.

I never got its name, but I call it the Beemer Spaceship.

The BMW 650i..#sigh#

The BMW 650i..#sigh#

The Audi R8 GT.I fell in love with the R8 on Ironman and the love still runs deep..

The Audi R8 GT.I fell in love with the R8 on Ironman and the love still runs deep..

The Audi E-tron.....Wooow!

The Audi E-tron…..Wooow!

Yip.That's me and my barely there bump....In awe of this German machine!

Yip.That’s me and my barely there bump….In awe of this German machine!

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SPECIAL FRIEND
For months I have wanted to write something about friendship,about my once in a lifetime friendship, but time and space weren’t availing themselves,even words, until this morning when I came across this post on the “interpretation of true friendship”.

1992, the year I started High School, 12 years of age,  a little knob kneed, shy yet talkative, and wide eyed. The place and year I would meet my best friend. We were in the same Form A class and I did not like her one bit. She was rowdy, naughty and just plain irritating.She was every teacher’s worst nightmare,mine too.And there was not a day I did not go home to my mother moaning about this girl in class who just made my blood boil. I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but she had quitened down, seemed shy, decent, respectful, all the things she never appeared to be at first, and she had become part of my group of friends. Did I mention how pretty she was? She was a lot chubbier than I, very dark and very beautiful, with the smoothest buttery skin I had ever seen. I had a typical teenage acne face, so drooling at her prettiness and perfection of her skin were the order of the day.

Months passed, years went by, and our friendship got tighter and tighter. Both our families loved our friendship and revelled about how mutually happy we were. We were young and carefree, so we would spend hours and hours on the phone, we would talk before an event about the clothes we were going to wear, and always insisted that they were similar clothes, just like twins would dress. And typically, if we were going to a musical concert or party, we would always opt for denim jeans (in the color of the day), white baggy shirts and some high top sneakers or ballerina flats. To our parents delight, we were not typical teenagers, we didn’t experiment with alcohol or drugs, we were not into parties, or rather we were not allowed to go to parties except once or twice, and would attend an awkward one or two music festival, where we would get to see most of our favourite artists of the time perform.

Boys were also some sort of mystery to us.Yes, we had boyfriends but as much as I don’t think we ever talked about it, boyfriends to us were just that….Friends that were boys, who were just “supposed” to enjoy and share in our interests, like going to the movies ,going swimming, enjoying some Saturday or Sunday afternoon ice cream walk, nothing more nothing less. As a result we got disappeared on/dumped a lot, hahahahaha, because we were just “not up to the required standard”, no making out, no kissing (yuck), and obviously no funky-monkey-dance.

After our fourth year of high school (in 1995 I believe) I changed schools, and went to study outside the country, in a town some odd 100’s of kilometres away,made new friends, and if my memory serves we well, that’s when our friendship started to show some cracks. I would be with the new friends sharing our experiences at the time and my dear old friend would feel out of place because she somehow felt cut out from the rest of the group. Something she took time to point out, but when she eventually did, I made a serious effort to acccomodate her.

Life went on, distance still a factor, but our friendship still intact, she met a boy, they were besotted with each other,in love,and they were serious but I didn’t really like his obnoxious tendencies, she didn’t like that I had other close friendships and wanted me all to herself and the cracks became bigger crevices. More distance got added to the equation, and the next thing I know we are not sharing each other’s lives, triumphs, joys, downs, dreams and crazyness as we used to. Both our families were unhappy at this turn of events, because they had seen how much positivity and love we brought to each other’s lives, how genuine and pure our bond was, but alas.
REAL FRIEND

We were very similar, but very different. We shared the same principles and values, but had vastly different outlooks on life and love I suppose. I am a free spirit.I had other friendships which brought different aspects of life, into my life, but by no means at the expense of what she and I had.To me she was a friend, a mentor, a confidante, the sister I never had, and for that reason I never questioned our bond, our love, despite who came in and out of our lives. She and I have never had the time to explore what really happened with us, but I believe she questioned, her faith in us waivered, and she let the comings and goings of other people in my life determine the future of what she and I had, our sisterhood. Had she known and believed in us, she would have known that she was and she still is the sister I never had.

Both married with families and kids of our own, years of possible memories and achievements lost between us, but I pray someday soon I will write a more positive post about the crazyness our now 30+ old selves haven gotten into, like serious-hurt-your-belly-roll-on-the-floor-laughs we used to have at each other’s problems,before we could get to the serious business of playing Nancy Drew, trying to unravel the mistery that is our lives and problems.

GIRL  shenanigans<

Feisty and maddening with her stubbornness at times, I will forever love her and cherish the love,honesty and sincerety we shared……..My once in a lifetime true friendship!

happiness-Thankful for everythingJust when you think you understand it all.You realise that you don’t.

When we are young, we are encouraged to go to school, study hard and get good grades, so that we can come out of school, contribute to the economy and make successes of our lives.To be able to achieve for ourselves and our families, one, two, and three. In the process, while trying to cheer us on and motivate us to achieving the set goals, whether it be passing grade 1 or meticulously cleaning the dog pen, we are offered rewards.These come in either the form of hard cold cash,some possession, or even an experience. Whatever the case, a child is taught earlier on in life that they have to be a dreamer, an achiever, to be able to attain success, in however many interpretations of it there are.

I have lived my entire life exactly to fit that mould.At first my little life was channeled towards getting good grades, which in turn would make my dear parents happy and they would offer me some reward or other,usually a mega christmas shopping spree or some coveted item or other.Yaaay, success.

As I grew older the reason and motivation to succeed was spurred by something a litle bit more me,and a lot bigger, the need and want to buy myself a fancy house and a fancy little sports car, travel the world and eat in all the fancy little cafes and restaurants.I would be successful and happy, and my life would be perfect.My happiness depended on all things that needed money, and lots of it.Meaning I propelled myself forward, to achieve great financial wealth, to attain financial freedom.
HAPPINESS not MONEY,but PEOPLE

I started working (seriously) in the corporate world, a little over ten (10) years ago.I have achieved a lot,I have seen,acquired and travelled a lot, although not to even half the extent of what I am “supposed” to have financially achieved already, but I find myself content and joyful despite this.

Have I become complacent, lazy, less ambitious,or maybe depressed? This is the question that has come to haunt me a lot of late, especially in light of the fact that there currently is a management position vacant at work, just ready for me to apply and hopefully fill, but I am not one bit interested.

Rewind; Being an only child, when I was in my teens, I suffered bad bouts of depression, possibly because of loneliness I don’t know.But thank God to my best friend, my mother and a great listener, who would always lend her patience and tender care, her two ears and some wisdom, once in a while her hard earned cash, to allow me some retail therapy. She knew that my passion for books and stationery would see me heading straight to the nearest book or stationery shop, where I would eventually buy diaries and journals and learn to document my feelings, discover motivational books, and the most important of all, the bible.

In the end, the bible became my friend, my comforter. I found something solid to stand on,some solid reference point and compass, and with such unwavering conviction in the bible and the Lord came my new found true meaning of success.That joy and happiness is found in the small everyday miracles.That no amount of material wealth can bring one joy. Temporarily yes, but not in the finlong run.I would learn to rejoice in all things, keep a positive mind and spirit and learn to appreciate the small things.As a result, I learnt to relax and take life as it comes, shedding the dreaded weight of expectations and conformism that is normally expected of one. I learnt to be me….I lived a lot more, danced a little and laughed a whole lot more.

Which is no surprise then that after I got married in the year 2011, and the birth of my son 14 months later in 2012, the goal posts shifted once more.My life’s purpose seemed to effortlessly move into making sure that I am happy, my husband is happy, my son is happy and we are all a happy and joyful bunch.Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing my two boys happy and in good spirits.Small things like an appreciative husband who loves and respects me make life all worthwhile. We enjoy 95% of the same interests; travelling and all its joys, good food, cars, clothes, most importantly spending time together doing little things. Our paths diverge only at the point where he sits in front of the tv and watches animal programmes, at which I happily take my book and go cuddle up somewhere, to immense myself in the written word.

My definition or dependenceies for happiness have changed and at present I’m at a little crosroads about certain things, especially in light of the fact that, currently the world over, people seem to be glorified and respected for being multitaskers, amassing so much wealth, some even professing to getting only a few hours of sleep a night.Superhuman I don’t know, but what I know for sure is that, that is not what I want for myself.That is no what I want for my life. I want a good life, a good quality life, and not one characterised by how much possessions I have, but by how much peace and calm I have in my spirit and immediate environment.

For now though, I have to forge ahead, run the rat race and be able to provide for all my son’s basics and rewards for getting good grades, until he himself can achieve his own financial freedom and hopefully a well balanced sense of what true happiness entails…..for him.

What defines true happiness for you?

Spring officially sprang on us in the Southern Hemisphere about 12 days ago.Needless to say, it was not a warm and beautiful day as one had imagined and anticipated.

It was cold and very breezy few days, with reports of snow falling in the mountains. Effects of global warming some would say…..

Spring as with most days that bring the promise of new life,positivity,change and an injection of vava-voom into people’s lives ,always sees people making resolutions. Well, I am not a resolutions kind of girl.I do things pronto (well after some serious negotiations with Ms. Prissy Procrastination) but I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of sunny and warm days like everybody else, but most importantly the courage to finally leave the warmth of my blankets, and hit the gym to loosen some stiffness in these old ruggedy bones of mine.

A lot of drama ensued in the days following my “resolve” to go to the gym, which saw me postponing until eventually this past Monday, 09 September, I walked into the gym, cycled,rowed and pilates-d my way into a lighter, smilier and less lethargic me.

It’s only been a few days of good old working out, and the sore muscles are beginning to make themselves heard, but nothing greater than the feeling of sore muscles to remind me that I am leasing myself a few more, healthier, beautiful and vibrant days in this earth. Did I mention sexier? Yes, that too!

Here’s to beautiful, happy workouts.

This post was motivated by a fleeting remark I made in the post preceding this one. Read the rest of this entry »

Hubby dearest complains from time to time that the DSTV (paid channels) subscription is under utilised by me.Because if i’m not watching the series channel, I am watching the home channels, and mostly for the cooking. And I’m always quick to point out that he only watches national geographic and  automotive channels, but at least he gets instant results and gratification from my watching the cooking shows….And he gives me a silly grin.

Gone are the days when we used to spend hours, weekends sitting and cuddling in front of the telly watching movies. Well, this applies more to me than him, because he at least still finds more spare hours to quietly indulge in a movie than I.

The point of this “note” however, came after the realisation that,yes I am predominantly drawn to the home decor and cooking programmes.I remember my first introduction to reality cooking shows;”top chef”. I loved the format, the different settings and ambience they had for the show. After that, I saw a super abundance of these reality cooking shows, amongst which are; chopped (which I like), Masterchef (which I took time to get used to but now thoroughly enjoy), Amazing Wedding Cakes (which I adore), Buddy Valastro, the feisty American-Italian with his many shows,the Cake boss,the Next great baker and Kitchen boss ).

However the point within the point I am trying to make is that,of all these amazing shows I have mentioned and more,I realised that at present, I am more in love with two, as in hectically in awe; The Great British bake off and Food and Drink. The former, I love for the format and setting. The competition is between a group of enthusiastic novices, or non experts in the baking field if you may. People that just have a love for baking and some lovely home baking memories/history, and that’s it. It takes place under the watchful eye of baking experts, including my two favourite, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.Don’t their names just sound like exotic cocktail drinks you would indulge in, at a meditteranean holiday?

Merry Berry and Paul Hollywood picture (both in the middle) from the BBC website

Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood picture (both in the middle) from the BBC website

Anyway, the competition takes place in a tent, out at an open field unlike the closed studio settings one has become accustomed to, the grass in all its green glory.And the judges themselves undertake the challenge, showing us viewers what goes into the cakes, the do’s and dont’s and what the final outcome should look like. Imagine my excitement on Sunday morning when I tune in to the omnibus and find that in one of the episodes, Mary Berry-my lovely cocktail, is baking the Battenberg cake,The very same one I had made on Friday evening in honor of my mother’s birthday on Saturday. I used the recipe  from one of my recipe books, except I opted to use round cake tins instead of the square ones, with lemon curd as a filling versus jam.And instead of the marzipan, I used some leftover self-made marshamallow fondant I had used to cover my son’s birthday cake previously.Yuuuummy!

 

The Battenberg cake picture obtained from Google

The Battenberg cake picture obtained from Google

The Battenberg cake picture obtained from BBC food website

The Battenberg cake picture obtained from BBC food website

The DivineMo Battenberg Slice.

The DivineMo Battenberg Slice.

Mummy's Birthday Cake, made by DivineMo with love.

Mummy’s Birthday Cake, made by DivineMo with love.

My next favourite show is, “Food and Drink”, hosted by the “young”, sexy,kitchen God, Michel Roux Jnr and his lovely drinks expert lady,Kate Goodman.The show’s presentation is just impeccable.

Firstly Michel is apparently of culinary royalty, with his father and uncle being renowned chefs in their own right.Secondly the guy is hot (a topic for another day). Thirdly, the ease with which he presents his show and prepares the marvels in his kitchen. The cooking space.Ooh how I love his cooking/dining space in its blinding whiteness…A thing of beauty indeed.The celebrity guests just make the show all the more wow. From appearances by Nigella Lawson, Gregg Wallace, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay…..the show is as eclectic as eclectic gets. And how can I forget the drinks expert contribution,Ms Goodman on her ever informative and eye opening suggestions on wines, spirits and beers. Can someone say Aamazing?!

I am neither a food nor a drinks connoisseur, and I don’t pretend to be.Although in my next lifetime I wish to be…..A food and drinks expert that is.I just have a huge appreciation, and respect for the art that is cooking.

The point within, the point, which is within the point I made earlier……My favourite shows are British.How uncanny? And the British are not really renowned for their culinary skills.Who would have thought?

Toad in the hole anyone?

What’s your ultimate reality “food” show? and why?

“Winter, Spring, Summer of Fall….All you gotta do is call, and I’ll be there yes I will, you’ve got a friend oh yes”, #singing#.

I found myself singing this song. I cannot for the life of me remember who the artist is, but it’s one of those tracks I grew up on and it got me wondering what my favourite season was.Over the years, I have been confused between Winter and Summer, because of course Spring is the winner, with autumn in hot pursuit. But of the two extremes, which one is best?

I love summer for its warmth, the brightness of clothes, swimming outdoors, picnics, the lush green lawns,dining al-fresco, the light and vibrant foods.Summer is just a pleasant season all around, except for the few days where the African sun may decide to come out fully and play, scorching any and everything in its path.

 

Winter also has its perks; sitting in front of the fireplace,the cuddles, endless cups of hot beverages (coffee, hot chocolate, tea), the super elegance and simplicity of clothing, coats and high heeled boots and the beauty of the whiteness of the snow (on the rare occassion when we get to experience it in the lowlands. The chill factor and the huge expense it rakes in its wake however, are definitely huge turns off for me.

Snow capped Maluti Mountains. Photo by Jaco van Tonder

Snow capped Maluti Mountains. Photo by Jaco van Tonder

Spring morning in Lesotho.Photo by Tessa Joughin

Spring morning in Lesotho.Photo by Tessa Joughin

Frozen waterfall.Photo by Tessa Joughin

Frozen waterfall.Photo by Tessa Joughin


With Fall upon us and Winter slowly creeping in now in the Southern Hemisphere, and after much deliberations throughhout the years about what my favourite season is, I have finally come to the conclusion and acceptance that Summer is the overall winner.

I should just work hard and explore the idea of migrating to the North everytime we have Winter down here. I really am not looking forward to the next few months.

http://www.pbase.com/tessajoughin/lesotho__mountain_kingdom