Friday, 18 December 2015

Don't stop

Although I am slowly continuing on my running journey - gritted teeth and all - the flu coupled with a weekend away has meant that I haven't run for a while. So last night, after waking up early every morning this week with the intention of venturing outdoors only to hit 'snooze' on my alarm, I decided to put on my takkies and give it a go. One of the major reasons I've chosen running as my main form of fitness is because I am inherently lazy. If I have to drive somewhere to exercise, I'm out. If I have a class that I have to go to every Monday and Thursday evening, I try for a while and then end up letting everyday excuses get in the way. (It was a long day at work. My head hurts. It's too hot to exercise at this time.) I like being able to step out of my front door whenever I feel like it and go, because then there's no turning back, no room for deviation. That's what makes living at the base of a mountain so great - in hilly Vredehoek, not so much. I'm also not so good when I don't have an end point in mind. I like to know how far I'm running and where I'm running to and from. That way, I can mentally prepare for what I have to endure. 

Because of the above, I have worked out that once around my block is exactly 1km. Plus, there's quite a nasty hill above Derry St Spar that you have to tackle, making it a pretty decent route. So when I don't have my running buddy in town or the energy to run on Seapoint promenade (too far, traffic, working late, excuses, excuses...), I run around the block. I've never completed less than three laps or more than five to date. And every time, it's a struggle. Last night was particularly bad thanks to my running break and the heat, even at 19:15! After my first hill, having not even run 1km yet, I was already saying to myself that I wouldn't be able to make more than two laps. And from that moment onwards, an inner mental struggle began: 

'Oh my gosh, what was that HILL? You can tell you haven't run for ages, Karen. And it's hot. It's really HOT! It would be so easy to stop right now. Look, there's your front door. Come on, just stop. You look RIDICULOUS. Imagine what everyone is thinking as you pant past them. Just go home, now.' 

As I fought against the burning in my legs, the tightness in my lungs and the very strong voice in my head, a smaller, less-obnoxious voice softly started to speak. 

'Don't stop.' It said. 
'But I want to,' I thought. 
'OK,' the voice said. 'It's not the end of the world. It's just a run. But ask yourself this: what will happen if you stop?' 
After a moment's thought, I answered, 'Nothing.' 
'That's true,' the voice replied. 'But what will happen if you don't?'
'Everything,' I said. And I kept on running.

Friday, 4 December 2015

This time will pass

Life in the publishing world is crazy. And then the end of year hits and we all wonder how the heck we're going to get through everything we need to do by 15:00 on 24 December. Tempers flare, stress levels run high and grey hairs increase. The workload never seems to end and the deadlines feel impossible to meet, especially when the sun is shining outside and you know that your friends are frolicking on the beach with glee. And yet somehow - through all the blood, sweat and tears - we come out on the other side exhausted, but with smiles on our faces. They may be plastered over grimaces but, faint as they are, they are still there!

The point is, no matter what you're going through, remember that this time will pass. Whenever I have to do something I don't want to do or am going through something horrible, I repeat this mantra over and over to myself: "This time will pass". I do it when I'm running and want to stop because my chest feels as though it's going to explode - "This time will pass"; I do it when I'm sobbing over a stupid mistake I made and my world feels as though it's about to crumble - "This time will pass"; I do it when I'm battling with money and wonder if I'll never make ends meet - "This time will pass"; I do it when I have to get an injection and think I'm going to faint thanks to my fear of needles - "This time will pass".

So here's to all of you who are going through a hard time, whether it's mourning the loss of a loved one or trying to keep your head above water at a new job. Remember that you are not alone in your struggles and that things will get better. It may not seem that way right now, but the sun will come up again tomorrow and something will make you smile. And - even if it's just for a second - you'll forget your pain. This time will pass, and I'll do whatever I can to try and make it pass just a little bit faster for you. Lots of love, always .x.x.x. 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Cat Photo Friday

The cover of Cher's 1974 album Dark Lady. I adore this photograph.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Be kind to YOU

Yesterday wasn't a good one for me and I found myself feeling really frustrated with people in general. So during my lunch hour when I had very little time and very many errands to run, I decided to be inconsiderate. I parked badly, I didn't pay my car guard, I hooted at the assholes who don't know how to drive, I didn't let anyone into my lane and I didn't do my usual, "Hi, how are you?" routine with people behind the tills. When I came home and was finally able to stop and think, I felt terrible. This isn't the sort of person that I am, but for once, just once, I wanted to be the person who didn't care about the people I encountered - because, more often than not, that's the way that others treat me. I was tired of being a pushover, taken for granted and generally treated badly... but that didn't mask the guilt and shame that I felt when I thought back on the day's events.

This morning when I found out that today is World Kindness Day, I felt even worse. Here I was being a total bitch to people because I was having a bad day - not cool. The more I thought about it, the guiltier I felt, until I was plummeted into a dark hole of "I'm such a horrible person." But then I realised what I was doing: I wasn't being kind to myself.

We all make mistakes, we all have bad days, we all act in ways that we wish we hadn't and say things that we regret, but I think that it's important to give yourself a break. Learn from those times and grow as a person instead of chastising yourself. Next time you think a mean though about yourself, stop and think 'Would I ever speak this way about somebody else?' More often than not, the answer is "Of course not, that's so mean!" – so why are we so cruel to ourselves? If you don't love yourself first, no one else will - remember that.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

The (bikini) bottom line

For the past few months, I’ve been trying really hard to eat better and run regularly even though I despise it. The aim is to relieve stress, be healthier and look after my heart since heart disease runs in my family, but an added bonus is that I have slimmed down in the process. So you can imagine my delight when yesterday I put on my bikini for the first time since April and discovered that the bottoms were miles too big. (That and the fact that I didn’t lose them in the ocean which would have resulted in a somewhat awkward trek back to my towel on the beach!) This shouldn’t have been a surprise I suppose since I’ve dropped in trouser size from a 10 to an 8 in a good pair, so I was keen to ditch my baggy size 12 bikini bottoms and find something new to flaunt my new figure.
I don’t know whether it was my haze of new-found body confidence or merely my bad memory, but I forgot how painful an ordeal bikini shopping is. Putting aside the exorbitant price of these teeny tiny pieces of fabric that barely cover your fun bits and the hideous lighting in changing rooms, what got me most was the fact that the only bikini bottoms I could find that fitted me were… a size 12. The same size as my old “too big” pair. When another customer overheard me lamenting about this sorry state of affairs, she sweetly informed me that every year bikini sizes are getting smaller and smaller, and that she ranges in size from an 8 to a 12.
To which I ask the swimsuit manufacturers, why are you making costumes that are so small that they make women feel even shittier about themselves? It’s not about me being a 12: it’s the fact that I find the thought of wearing a bikini horrible enough, without being told that my ass is actually two sizes bigger than I thought. And what about those women who don’t try things on in the shops and buy bikinis in their actual sizes assuming that they’ll fit, only to be bitterly disappointed when they try them on later and find that they are too small?
Women have real bodies that don't match the cookie-cutter mould of the Photoshopped beach goddess who is wearing the bikini in the campaign photograph. We have lumps, we have bumps, we have hips and we have bums (I can't speak on behalf of the boob department!). Stop making us feel bad about this. I want any woman to be able to walk into a shop, pick up a swimming costume in her size, try it on and feel great about herself. Is that so much to ask?
PS I did buy a bikini today. The bottoms are a size 12 and the fluorescent lighting in the changing room highlighted my cellulite. And now I feel so sad about it all that I am no longer proud of my new figure and don't even want to wear my new purchase. What does that tell you?

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Word of the day: escutcheon

I discovered this word after stumbling across this beautiful pendant by Chandler House and doing a bit of research online - isn't the internet handy? 

Visit for more in this range.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Punny love

Love is in the air! This post is dedicated to all of my newly-wed/engaged friends/family – congratulations! In honour of your love, I've posted something that I love: puns. Enjoy :)

Monday, 28 September 2015

Beg the question

I normally never stop with my car window rolled down, but I was at the petrol station early one morning last week spending my last bit of cash until pay-day, when a man came seemingly out of nowhere and started begging me for money. We live in SA, it's nothing new, right? So I said sorry, that I didn't have any. But, undettered, the man kept at it:
"Please, just a Rand hey..."
"No, I'm sorry I have no money."
"It was my birthday yesterday..." 
"Look, I really have no cash."
"It's cold, just some coins for a coffee, please man..."
"I'm sorry, I've got nothing at all."
"But please..."
And here we were talking over each other, he over my rejections and I over his requests, both of us only taking enough of what the other was saying in to be able to counter argue, until eventually my Whitehouse gene* kicked in and my anger appeared in what seemed like a flash:
"Listen buddy, I don't have any bloody money, OK?" I said with my hands clawed  in the air and my debit card on my lap to swipe for however much a 1/4 tank of petrol costs nowadays. "This is the last of my..."
But he'd already started walking away to ask someone else, not caring about the situation of his unwilling donor. And there I was left sitting in the car, my anger slowly getting washed away by a wave of guilt, that horrible emotion that I feel far more of often than not and makes me feel like a shitty shitty person.
I know that beggars hear white lies and excuses all day long, but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish we would just treat one another like human beings and recognise that times are tough all round. We are all struggling one way or another in this complex, crazy, confusing thing we call life - maybe we should stop, take a second and realise that although we are all the star in our own movie, there are others around us that are dealing with life too, same as you. I'm by no means comparing my situation to that man's, but I also don't like being made to feel that I'm lying because I'm not willing to give someone a handout. Sometimes, no really does mean no.
* For those of you who don't know, my darling mum's maiden name is Whitehouse, and Mrs Whitehouse senior was my granny. She was a difficult woman to say the least, and I think that I get my stubborn/angry/stroppy streak from her. Then again, that's also where I get my backbone.   

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Ring a ding ding

I feel as though love is in the air. Everywhere I look, people are conceiving and birthing or engaging and wedding. Now even though I'm not doing any of those things anytime soon, I am a sucker for most things bridal. No, I don't have a cabinet full of pale blue-bowed garters and a satin-covered book full of wedding ideas, but I do believe that designers really outdo themselves when it comes to bridal decor, flower arrangements, fashion and, most importantly, jewellery. Another confession: I'm also a sucker for Pinterest. (Can you see where I'm going with this?) Recently I've noticed that the majority of the rings that I've pinned are engagement rings, so I've created a gallery for the bling lovers out there. Disclaimer: I'm not traditional and some of these may not even be meant to be for your left-hand ring finger, but I am particularly fond of the interlocking ones. Let me know what you think!