Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A bit of excitement and a lot of blandness

5 years ago I went to Paris with my mother and one of my sisters. I think I had seriously low expectations of what it would be like because it turned out to be way more magical than I could ever have dreamed. I have wished and wished to be able to go back (not over exaggerating at all) and my wish has finally come true thanks to my fairy godmother- or my mother and father whichever you prefer. 
In just less than 2 months time my mother and (now) two of my sisters and I will be jetting off to Paris and Amsterdam *contains excitement*


I am now on the hunt for things to do in Paris. Most of the large museums and art galleries we checked off our lists last time we were there although to be honest I wouldn't mind doing them all again (if you have any ideas of exciting things we can partake in in Paris please do tell).


In other news: we love love watching modern family (okay, so maybe I do more than Graham does) and there is this one scene in the first few episodes where Cam, a pretty hefty character tries to convince the audience that he's only put on a "few pounds" due to adopting a baby. In the next scene we see Cam being caught on camera in the pantry stuffing his face with food. How does this relate to my life? Well, I got fat. Okay maybe not fat but certainly 10kgs heavier. We first realized when I zipped up my skin in desperately trying to fit into one of my dresses (that I fitted into perfectly 8 months ago). So I have been packed off to gym for weekly sessions with a trainer and a super delicious (heavy sarcasm) new eating plan. Things like regular cheese and pasta and potatoes and fruit loops (only just recently re-discovered) are considered "cheats" and apparently I'm only allowed to cheat once a week.


In the past 8 months-being married to Graham- I have developed more of a love for food than I had before. I pour over my recipe books for hours trying to decide what to make for dinner, something that will challenge me and develop my cooking skills. And (I think) that Graham has had fun tasting all my exotic creations. But now with this new eating scheme things have become more difficult (and I can't help but feel more bland). We are limited to meat, chicken or fish with veggies for dinner. Last night worked out pretty well, I haven't cooked fish before and I added in some cous-cous for Grahams carbohydrate need. If any of you dear readers have ideas or recipes that fit our -hem- restrictions please email me or Facebook me or comment in the section below.


I'm busy making lists for Europe in my head. My parents bought our flights yesterday. I found a little paper version of the Eiffel tower and a beautiful passport cover and am just trying to justify buying them. Be prepared to hear lots more about Paris and Amsterdam on the blog in the weeks to come.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

learning a lesson

I feel as if I have been to the edge of the world and back. 
My whole life I've spent believing that the rest of the world was more beautiful than the country I live in. All it took for this to change was our short road-trip through 3 provinces 2 weeks ago.


Graham hated the driving. I, on the other hand loved it because I like to watch the world go by outside
while eating nik-naks and listening to Graham singing along to Queen. The first day we drove for 9 hours. 9 hours of watching the dry sparse landscape go past. 9 hours of Grahams choice in music. 9 hours of not being able to feel my rear end. But we eventually got to Bloem, had some dandy times with friends and food, and started the second leg of the joinery early the next morning.


Graaf Reinet was absolutely not what I had expected. A Quaint beautiful old town with one very trendy coffee shop called polka [definitely worth the visit if you're ever in town, it has the most wonderful fire place that inexplicably seems to warm the whole place. Perfect for a cold winters day/night]. After much ambling we drove to the farm where we would be staying. Our guest house was an old house that had been beautifully re-done, with wooden floors and enormous bathrooms and (the most important part) a smashing fireplace. I won't bore you with a step-by-step account of our time there- it was filled with a very wonderful reunion with two long lost friends, two icy cold nights spent snuggled around the fire place with board games books and chocolate, breakfast held under the blossoming cherry trees, croquet on the lawn, a painful hike up the mountain, watching the sun set over the river and then having hot chocolate at the aforementioned restaurant, a windy night, an early morning and breakfast on the road in some small town and then Port Elizabeth.


The boys had planned something special for Thursday night, a show of some kind, they were very proud of themselves for having thought of it. It magically turned out to be ballet (surprising if you know Graham and Sean). And the next morning we whisked ourselves away to St Francis bay. Windy as hell. There we stayed with new friends and did much bonding over Modern Family season 2 and board games. We spent the 2 days in St Francis dreading the 13 hour drive back home but it sneakily arrived at 5am on Sunday morning. We hit the road. Graham conquered 4 hours before we had to stop for breakfast at a steers (keeping it classy) sometime later- just before we entered cows-in-the-road country- I took over. Learning to dodge cows and goats as they walk into the road and then panic because they've walked into the road is definitely a skill I do not want to develop. After a few hours of rear-end numbing driving we came to the border between the Eastern Cape and KZN and it was in this area (while Graham slept curled up beside me) that I had the privilege to encounter some of the most amazing scenery that I have ever seen.

To be clear. I think (rather thought) that the most beautiful places I have seen are in Europe- parts of Germany, England, France, Turkey, Italy- but driving through the land just before we crossed into KZN I was ashamed to have been surprised that such beauty existed in South Africa. I passed deep ravines (that looked like they had been made by someone ripping the earth apart-terrifying and beautiful) which were sprinkled with fine, beautiful sand colored grasses that made the ravines look like they had been covered in velvet. The ravines gave way to enormous black hills which in turn became kilometers of pine forests. The sun started setting and the ghostly moon rose and sat above the enormous pines as we flew past. We could have been anywhere in the world but to my incredible delight we weren't, we were at home. 

Fast forward a few hours of driving and we arrived back in our little suburb in our little province. Graham and I decided that the only rational thing to do after 13 hours of driving and our happiness at being back in Durban was to get curry for dinner. So we did. 
And then we had the best sleep of our lives.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Holiday mornings

There are two types of people in this world. People who see holidays as the perfect opportunity for getting up early, reading, going to the beach, going for a run and then spend the day doing something productive (exhibit A. My husband) and then there are people who think that holidays have been given so that we can sleep in until 11am, stumble into the kitchen to make tea and then head back to bed and the laptop for the rest of the day. I am the latter. Yesterday I got out of bed 3 times and it was glorious. And the reasoning for this lifestyle? That holidays were designed for rest and that exactly what I'm going to do (even though much rest was had during the semester).


Now before you all start saying in your heads "ah, so that's why she looks like she does" I want to make clear that I've only spent the past 2 days in this manner (even though it is my preferred way of spending my days). This past weekend Graham and I got back from Cape Town (me feeling exhausted and graham feeling refreshed from all the running around). I had the most wonderful two weeks there, they were full of meals with the family by the fireside, discovering an amazing greek restaurant with friends, two beautiful weddings and seeing people we haven't in ages, road trips in the dark, listening to hours of Thin Lizzy and Journey, Lunches with friends, Despicable me 2, games nights, secret birthday party planning, baking with my sisters, waking up every morning to have my dog jumping around on our bed, pizza for days, watching the sun set over the city, cold toes and many many trips to second hand books shops.


Graham had his birthday this past week & because I think birthdays should be over-the-top-exciting (and he totally doesn't care about birthday at all) I tried my hardest to make his wonderful (this included making him wear a Birthday Boy badge and getting up at 6am to make him breakfast- why yes, I am the most dedicated wife ever, thank you) which involved having (too much) sushi for dinner and watching modern family (my birthday gift to him). 
In other news I've found the most exquisite smelling bath bombs, before these I was a dedicated bath bubbles girl but oh my goodness these things smell like heaven- I've put one in my car. I got them at The Space in durban so I'm not sure whether The Space in Cavendish are also running the line (if they are you should share it with the world and then everyone would be happy and smell nice).


This week Graham and are doing some more road tripping with friends we haven't seen in 7 months! We are so excited- but I'm probably going to have to take my neglected Latin homework with. It's even been neglected this week because iv'e developed an addiction to modern family and everything has come in second to that (sometimes I read though) (that was incase Graham reads this post). Another recent addiction? Panic at the Disco. They are fantastic and magical and I could listen to them for hours.


[but in light of my current mood I'm going to post lyrics from one of my favouritest songs ever, Down by the Riverside by Agnes Obel- listen to it if you haven't already] 

Down by the river by the boats 
Where everybody goes to be alone 
Where you wont see any rising sun 
Down to the river we will run 

When by the water we drink to the dregs 
Look at the stones on the river bed 
I can tell from your eyes 
You've never been by the Riverside 

Down by the water the riverbed 
Somebody calls you somebody says swim with the current and float away 
Down by the river everyday 

Oh my God I see how everything is torn in the river deep 
And I don't know why I go the way Down by the Riverside