Not a Blogger

It’ll be twelve years in March this year, since I first started writing online. Back then, I was afraid to call myself a blogger, because I was still so new at it. Because I didn’t know all the technical stuff.  Because we were far away from everything we knew, in a new and foreign place and I was just me, writing my personal rants and journal-style stuff, and no-one actually read it.

And yet, what I was doing was keeping a web log of my life. A blog. I wrote almost every day, and had loads to say about all sorts of things. And it turns out someone, somewhere,  did start reading it. And after a little while, that someone became maybe three someones. Eventually, my three readers became five or six. And as I found my voice and kept on writing, a few more people started stopping by to read my posts. By the time we moved back to South Africa, I’d made contact with a few other South African bloggers and we started meeting up every so often, to share offline what we didn’t necessarily share online.

Brands started taking note of blogs as a potential marketing tool and, by some fluke, I somehow landed on a couple of media lists and started receiving invitations to cool events.

And then everything changed. Blogging as a thing and blogging in South Africa in particular grew up and got serious.

Suddenly, it wasn’t enough anymore just to have an opinion on something and to write about it. Now we were comparing ourselves to other bloggers, installing site counters (remember those?!) and keeping track of how many comments we received on each post. Within what seemed like moments, there was a massive evolution and various metric and analytics tools started showing up everywhere.

Intimidated by how much I didn’t know, I let myself get left behind and started blogging less and less frequently. Concerns around my family’s privacy started becoming an issue and I started blogging even less. Until, eventually, managing to throw together a single post per month became an achievement.

And still, life, family commitments, laziness, fear of failure – all these things – caused me to hold myself back from learning about and using all these new tools of the blogging trade.

Meanwhile, braver souls who had embraced these things started really going places with their blogs, while I stopped writing at all, sometimes for months at a time. Because I was either too busy, too blocked or just too damn tired. Of what, I can’t honestly say…

I started doing a blog makeover toward the end of last year and got as far as a header & logo after having booked and paid for an hour session with a consultant. And when I look at it now, I’m not even sure I like what I’ve done all that much.

Maybe it’s because proper blogging and all that that entails costs money these days. I definitely don’t feel I can justify spending money on my blog, when there’s so much I still haven’t taken the time to learn how to do for free…

Maybe I was just never that into it in the first place. I find that a little hard to swallow, but the statistics speak for themselves, don’t they?

Whatever the reasons, justifications, explanations or excuses, I think it’s safe to say I can’t really call myself a blogger anymore. Certainly not in the most current sense of the word.

I’m almost relieved to have reached this point, actually. No more feeling guilty for the things I haven’t learned how to do; no more pressure on myself to meet unrealistic goals; no more interrupted posts sitting in my drafts folder forever because the moment is gone. No more fooling myself that I have the time or inclination to ingratiate myself with brands or with anyone else, or writing out of a sense of obligation rather than desire.

Rather, I’m getting back to just being me, writing my personal thoughts, experiences and other life stuff, without guilt and without fear. I’m bringing back the old-school blog and there’s space on this bus for two or three someones…

 

Beauty Blogger Argan Oil Draw

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted on the South African Bloggers’ Facebook page that I was looking for beauty bloggers to review and give away samples of organic Moroccan Argan Oil.

Well, tonight, I finally got around to roping in my boys to help me select five of the 32 ladies who responded to my Facebook post.

I’m not even going to pretend I have a clue as to what I’m doing with a camera or filming anything, so let’s just get the disclaimers out of the way:

The video below is purely for the purpose of showing that the draw process was as fair as I was able to make it. (It was also kind of fun getting my kids involved – I have never asked them to participate in anything to do with my blog before!)  🙂

I am sending each of the five ladies whose names were drawn 2 bottles – one each for their own use and review, and one each to give away on their blogs. (If you are one of the recipients, please share your blog giveaway link with me!)

I will contact each of the five selected bloggers on Facebook to get their details so that I can arrange for delivery of the samples.

Thanks so much once again to everyone who responded – I hope that this first “giveaway” on my blog marks the beginning of something fun that I will be able to continue doing (and will hopefully get better at!) in time.

And so, you can view the video here:

 

 

 

 

Funny Story

No, not really.

I’m pretty embarrassed to admit this but I’m afraid that, despite having started blogging more than 10 years ago, I am pretty much an imbecile when it comes to the technical bits.

That’s why, although I have finally gotten around to drawing the names of the five Beauty Bloggers to whom I’ll be sending those Moroccan Argan Oil samples to review & give away, I have not uploaded the draw video as promised. I’m in the process of figuring out how to put the video online so that I can either link to it or embed it in the blog post (in my drafts folder) that it will accompany…

In the meantime, I’ll notify each of the five ladies in question on Facebook, in the comments on my original post about this.

If you’re one of the 32 ladies who commented on that post, thank you for your patience!

 

Lanced

I have this thing where I feel like I have to make each new post follow at least vaguely on the last one. It’s kind of annoying. So I’m just going to stop it, because I can, damnit.

For someone who’s a supposed writer, I have very little to write, I’ve realised. I’m not even going to try to figure it out or come up with reasons why.

I saw a post in a bloggers’ forum on Facebook today in which some guy tells us all how whiny and boring we are. I was instantly offended but couldn’t really counter what he was saying. At least, not as far as it concerns me personally. I only ever really blog when I need to vomit up my ugly stuff (and then I do it under strict censorship anyway), or when something big has happened. (And then I just give you the basic bones of it, afraid either to put too much out there or too lazy to go into any significant detail.)

I’m a bad blogger. And I don’t mean in the “I-don’t-post-as-often-as-I-should” way. I mean in the “my-blog-is-shit” way.

But you know what?

I don’t care.

There. I said it. Who gives a shit whether my blog is boring? Who even bothers reading it? I’m obviously not making a living off this thing, or I’d be starving. And the few people who stop by whenever I bother to share that I’ve posted something are people I’d tell this stuff to if I saw them in person anyway. Mostly.

HahAAAA! That dude is right! And I don’t give a fuck!

On another note, I’m feeling much better. Maybe still a bit raw after exposing myself somewhat more than usual. But certainly better for having let out some of the built-up stuff.

So that’s something.

More on that another time.

 

 

OREO kidding me?

Rattle and Mum gave away 5 invitations to the OREO pop-up store in Rosebank last week and I was one of the lucky winners! (Yes, I still enter some competitions – I just don’t spend ALL day, EVERY day, doing it anymore…)

It was the best ever leverage over my kids while we waited for the weekend to roll around – the slightest hint of grief was met with the threat of being left at home while the rest of us went to the OREO store and I don’t think any of my kids has ever been so well behaved!

We were the first to arrive on Saturday morning, of course. And it was such a great morning and so cool to get to spoil my four short people with all those amazing OREO treats!

The setup is like a sushi bar, so the first thing you see as you walk into the store is a conveyor belt of pure decadence, with such things as an OREO & Magnum ice cream sandwich, OREO cupcakes, OREO popcorn and even OREO & white chocolate fudge, to name a few! You receive a card with colour coded dots on it, which correspond to the colours of the plates on the conveyor belt and a staff member marks off on your card whatever you eat. You then present your card to the cashier on exit and they tally up what you owe.

The OREO belt
The OREO belt
Blue Card
Blue Card

I totally fell off the wagon and stuffed my face with an OREO and ice cream sandwich, which was divine and I can highly recommend the experience. I love how inventive they’ve been with the eats on offer and the prices range from R10 to R40 per item, so it’s really not too hard on your pocket.*

OREO ice cream sandwich

The store’s decor is bright and fun and they have a huge model BMW, built out of wire, rubber and some old car components. My little guys were particularly impressed the car’s ancient DATSUN engine which they both got busy inspecting pretty much immediately.

Little men at work
Little men at work

There was also an awesome marble obstacle course which, once completed, dispenses a mini pack of OREOs!

Obstacle course
Obstacle course

They have a decoration station, where you get a mini pack of OREOs, a little baggie of sweets and a little packet of black icing sugar with which to make faces out of your OREOs.

Then you get to place your OREO faces in a super cool miniature rock stage setup, Instagram it with the hashtag #PLAYWITHOREO and then you can look it up on the printer system set up in the store and print off your OREO characters’ rock show photo!

Play hard, Rock hard

We really enjoyed the morning and I would happily take my kids back there. And to make it even more of an event, the The Art of the Brick LEGO exhibit is right next door, so you can really make a day of it!

*My kids and I enjoyed all of our eats and drinks, compliments of the OREO store because it was a prize. I was not asked to blog about the event or paid in any other way to write this post.

Philips AVENT just celebrated 30 years – and we joined in the fun

This year so far has been all about the nose grinding, persevering and other everyday slogging to get ahead. So, where possible, I’ve grabbed greedily at every opportunity to take some time out and be sociable.

Last weekend, we got to attend the Philips AVENT 30th Birthday brunch. This was one of those rare occasions on which I got to bring the whole family out with me and it was one we really enjoyed. Between the delectable eats, candyfloss, bubbly and fun things for the kids to do, I got to see some blogging friends, meet a couple of new ones and to share in the celebration of a brand I support wholeheartedly.

My mom bought me an AVENT breast pump and feeding bottle & storage set just before Jack was born and it was a lifesaver when I was forced to return to an office job when Jack was only 5 months old.  This set lasted not only the duration of my breastfeeding journey with Jack (as well as restoring my faith in my ability as a mother to breastfeed my baby – something that hadn’t worked out with my first two babies), but also with James a year and a bit later.  Both of my littlest boys were breastfed for 9 months each, before weaning themselves off the breast and breastmilk. This would not have been possible without the help of my AVENT set.

What set this event apart was the fact that it really offered something for everyone. There was plenty to keep the kids occupied, including a photo booth, where we all got to have some fun, some brilliant face painting, candyfloss (did I mention the candyfloss?) – they had me at candyfloss… ;-P and we were spoilt with some very personalised gifts at the end. Each person got to make a handprint with their child (in my case, I got to make handprints with each of my four kids!) and received a frame to keep it in. Again, in my case, I received one for each set of handprints, so I get to preserve these memories of each of my precious monsters. What a thoughtful gesture!

So, although my babies are all well beyond needing feeding and burping and worrying about air bubbles in their bottles (which we never had to, when we used our AVENT bottles), we felt very much a part of this AVENT family event.

Thank you to Philips AVENT for a memorable and most enjoyable morning.

 

The End of March

And just like that, a month has gone – don’t ask me where!

March is always a busy one for us. We have 5 close family members’ birthdays in March: My brother’s on the 7th, our James’ on the 9th, FIL’s on the 10th, David’s on the 17th and my mom’s on the 26th.  And, were he still alive, it would have been my father’s on the 8th.

We’ve kept it pretty low key this year, and I think it’s good we did. To be honest, I just don’t feel up to going big for anything right now. It could be to do with my feeling a bit – what? Depressed? Numb? Nothing?…

It’ll pass. It always does. As much as they exhaust me sometimes, my family holds me accountable for myself. They don’t know it, but they do. Because how could I do anything other than keep on going, when opting out would mean leaving behind these five people who would then forever wonder if I simply hadn’t loved them enough to stick around?

Ah, fuggit.

Clearly, tonight is not comeback night on this blog. I’m off to immerse myself in yet another day in the life of Detective Sergeant Logan McRae, of the brilliant crime series by Stuart MacBride.

Tomorrow, school’s out for the Easter holidays and I’ll be busy figuring out how to keep the young ‘uns occupied and entertained and out of my hair long enough to let me get on with doing some work every now and then.

Sleep tight, Mr. Serious. Maybe you’ll feel better tomorrow.

Liebster Award

Okay, so I wasn’t actually awarded this one. I saw it over on Cassey’s blog and mentioned in her comments section that I may use it to inspire some cool Q&A type  stuff for a post on my blog. Of course, it sounded like a totally unsubtle hint at wanting an award,  so she added me to her list of nominees. Yay, me! ;-P

liebster-award

And here’s how it works:

  • 1.  Thank and link the person who nominated you.
  • 2. Answer the questions asked by the nominator.
  • 3. Nominate 11 other bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers and link them.
  • 4. Create 11 new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • 5. Notify your nominees via social media/blogs.

And here are the questions Cassey asked, with my answers:

1. When you go somewhere new, what’s more important seeing the sights or eating the food?

Depends on the place and what my budget is. But more often than not, I’m all about the food first, then the sights. The scenery will still be there tomorrow but I might not, if I starve to death! 😉

2. Five cities/countries/places you must see.

New York City, Venice, Germany, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Hong Kong, Thailand, Milan, Cyprus, Greece, the Louvre (again), the inside of Burj Khalifa, Disneyland,  the LEGOLAND resorts, Cadbury’s Dairy World… And everywhere else in between. Sorry, no way I’m picking just five. You can’t make me!

3. Favourite city/country/place.

Right now, Johannesburg. Because it’s where I’m setting up the systems and structures that will create wealth for my family and allow us in time to visit and explore and fall in love with all the other places we’ll go.

4. Shades of grey or black and white?

All of them. Some things, you just know are right or wrong. Others, you have to gauge what’s the greatest good for the greatest number…

5. Who’s your favourite superhero?

Not sure. I’m kind of disenchanted with what moviemakers have done with superheroes of late – they’re all coming off a bit poncey. I really like David Dunn of the 2000 movie, Unbreakable? He’s real and raw and wounded and vulnerable and big and unbreakable and just a good guy, deep down.

6. Who’s your favourite villain?

Elijah Price. He’s the perfect polar opposite to David Dunn but also not really. In his own way, he’s kind of a good guy, too.

7. Top three books.

The Hounds of the Morrigan – Pat O’ Shea

Kringe in ‘n Bos – Dalene Matthee

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Of course, this could change at any moment. Picking favourites is hard because the way I feel about a book can change at any time, depending on where I’m at, mentally and emotionally. If it communicates something to me that resonates with me, I love it. When it stops doing that, I move on.

8.  Top three series

I really don’t watch much TV at all, so this is hard. I’ll have to list the only three series I’ve actually watched over the past couple of years:

Prison Break (How kak was the ending?!)

Dexter (only saw up to end of Season 6)

Game of Thrones

9. Tea or coffee?

Coffee in the morning. Rooibos tea the rest of the day. And maybe the odd coffee in between.

10. Favourite game.

Up until recently, I was having loads of fun playing Criminal Case on my phone. But that went the way of social media and now I don’t play any games anymore.

11. Favourite character you’ve played.

A long, long time ago, when I dabbled in RPG, I once played a Ravnos vampire  with a bunch of cool skills but known to be dead. It was awesome.

And here are my nominations:

I’m not nominating anyone.  I don’t think there are even 11 people who read my blog. And I’m pretty sure that most of the bloggers I follow have more than 200 followers. Also, I’m not on social media, so this eliminates the notifying nominees bit from the equation, too. So, if you read my blog and would like to play, here are my questions to you:

1. Where in the world have you been?

2. What is your signature dish – the one thing you can make/cook/bake better than anyone else?

3. How many of your high school friends are you still in touch with now?

4. What did you want to be when you “grew up” and are you doing/being that now?

5. Five books you could read over and over again?

6. Five all time favourite films?

7. Top five songs in your current playlist?

8. What has been your biggest adventure so far?

9. What is your single greatest regret?

10. What is your single greatest motivator?

11. If you could change one thing in the world/your life/your job/the universe, what would it be?

And there you go.

 

@TheatreOnSquare #DoubleBass

What a happy surprise to find an invitation in my inbox last week to the opening night of Patrick Süskind‘s The Double Bass at Sandton’s Auto & General Theatre on the Square!

Thank you, Wenchy!

Many people don’t know this, but I was accepted to Pro Arte for Drama many, many years ago.

It has been a very long time since I’ve indulged in the theatre experience, which is sad because I ADORE theatre! So I jumped at the chance to drag my David off to Sandton to see the show with me.

This was my first visit to Theatre on the Square and I simply love the venue!

 

Invitation
Invitation

 

Media release:

Daphne Kuhn
by arrangement with Rosica Colin Limited London presents

PATRICK SUSKIND’S
THE DOUBLE BASS
translated by MICHAEL HOFMANN

17th February – 14th March

directed by ALAN SWERDLOW
set and lighting by DENIS HUTCHINSON

starring PIETER BOSCH BOTHA

Internationally renowned, award-winning play, THE DOUBLE BASS, opens at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square in February. Daphne Kuhn has assembled a stellar team to bring you an original South African production of this much celebrated work. The illustrious award-winning, Alan Swerdlow will direct highly acclaimed and versatile actor, Pieter Bosch Botha in this delightful piece which will be designed by Denis Hutchinson. The play is written by the German author Patrick Suskind, who is most known for writing the famed novel and film, “Perfume”.

THE DOUBLE BASS is a serio-comic monologue that explores a double bass player’s relationship with his instrument, illuminating both the instrument’s and the player’s supporting role in the orchestra as well as in life. The character is caught in the claustrophobic world of his soundproof, hermetically sealed apartment. He is on his own with his dissatisfactions, desires and dreams. The only companion that he has is the heavy, solid, raw insurmountable double bass. The instrument is alternately characterized as feminine, reliable, discriminated against, and simultaneously protesting and threatening revolution.

The play is a delightful allegory of the downtrodden who are crying out to be heard, set in the elegant world of classical music. The play is liberally dosed with comic overtones and is a must for lovers of legitimate theatre and music.

When Süskind wrote “Perfume”, he described smells with such imagination and accuracy that to read the book is like smelling with your eyes. In his one-man play THE DOUBLE BASS, which he wrote before the novel, he proves his prowess and gift for writing in many genres.

THE DOUBLE BASS was first staged in Munich in the eighties and has since become one of the most performed plays in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It has also been performed at the Edinburgh Festival and at the Royal National Theatre in London. The Auto & General Theatre on the Square is proud to present its professional debut of the play in Gauteng.

Bookings can be made by calling the theatre’s box-office on tel. 011 883-8606,
via Strictly Tickets on tel. 082 553 5901 or on-line:
www.strictlytickets.com

Enquire about group discounts, dinner show packages and Tuesday specials.

ENDS

It was marvelous to be able to dress up and slip away from life for a couple of hours, sip a glass of wine and immerse myself in something that requires nothing of me but my presence (mental and physical). I found myself nodding furiously a number of times throughout the show, or nodding and laughing, when I wasn’t coasting right along with the double bassist on his emotional ride of frustration, passion, disdain and longing. It is astounding and humbling that a single actor is able to engage an audience so intensely for close on two hours!

This show is a must for anyone who has ever been involved on any level in the performing arts or for anyone who’d like a glimpse into the mind of a performing artist. And if you do go and see it, remember to tweet @TheatreOnSquare using the hashtag #DoubleBass!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of complimentary tickets to the opening night of the show in the hope that I would blog about it. Everything in this post besides the media release text and photo is my own opinion.