Sprung

How is it already the end of September? I thought I was getting into this blogging groove thing but it’s already been more than a month since my last post!

That said, I’ve done a lot more thinking about posting than I usually do, and even drafted some notes on my phone, with the intention of doing some scheduled posts. I know that many of the bigger bloggers out there use scheduled posts to make their lives easier. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m wondering whether it’s worth the bother in my case, because, scheduled or otherwise, there’s still the issue of having to find the time to actually write the posts. (Those of you who have this down, some tips would be welcome!)

As you will have guessed by the title of this post, I’m doing my Spring thing today – half-arsed and late to the party, as always. I must be honest, though, and tell you that I’ve had some really cool things happen since my last post, not least of which was being invited by Jacaranda FM and Discovery to participate in a blogger activation in anticipation of the Jacaranda FM & Discovery Spring Walk 2016, which took place on 25 August at the gorgeous Planet Fitness Platinum health club in Sandton.

Upon arrival, bloggers were treated to refreshing drinks and delicious smoothies, during which we exchanged Twitter handles, greeted familiar faces and tweeted the obligatory selfie or two. Next we had a bit of a warm-up stretching session with a semi-sadistic fitness coach, interspersed with frequent water breaks and fuelled by some delicious wraps, juices and other edible treats. Because you can’t exercise properly without being appropriately plied with food, right?

Suitably stretched and refreshed, we made our way to the club’s fabulous indoor running track, where we split into teams and it was fastest feet first for some amazing prizes. This part of the day’s fun brought me to the shocking realisation that, having not run all winter, I am extremely unfit! Luckily, through sheer luck and the kindness of better athletes, I walked away with the best prize of the day: A complimentary 6-month Premium membership to Planet Fitness, which I intend to put to very good use, regaining some semblance of fitness and (hopefully) toning up for the coming summer! You can catch a glimpse of me coming in 6th or 7th place, here:

(I’m the one in the light blue crop top! 😛 )

Because happiness is healthy-ness, right?

 

We bought a house.

The building next door to the house we’ve lived in for just over 5 years now once belonged to the Mayor of Johannesburg. You could tell, looking at what remained of the original house when we first moved here, that this house had been a grande dame in her heyday.

But several decades, a nightclub and a fast-food joint (both of which failed) later, the house is no longer the grand old home it once was. And then, a little over a year ago, things started happening there. There was talk for a short while of the house being restored, which made me happy. But then we learned to our horror toward the end of last year that this beautiful old landmark is to become a KFC instead, complete with drive-through ramp and window overlooking our garden and living room.

And so, after 5 1/2 years (the longest stretch we’ve spent in any one house), the time had come to find a new home.

The decision to buy rather than rent was made quite quickly, although not lightly. And we told ourselves we’d take our time and not settle for something we could live with, but that we’d hold on for the perfect place; one that lies within a particular little pocket of the neighbourhood, has VERY little work to be done and came at the right price.

I felt oh, so very adulty, looking over the options, inspecting every tiny detail and debating the merits of each house we viewed with my husband. We came really, really close to putting in an offer on a particularly pretty place, until we went to see it for the third time and discovered some very nasty, VERY expensive issues. The seller (according to the agent, at least) refused to negotiate on the price, though, so that was a bust. There was just something off for us about that particular agent… And so I mentioned to D that there was a particular house I’d looked at a couple of years ago, that had recently come back on the market. We chatted with the agent, who put us in touch with a bond originator and we started looking at whether or not we’d be able to swing the bond on this place. But by the time we’d gotten a pre-approval figure back from the bond originator, the house had been sold.

Still, we met up with the agent, gave her our list of requirements, price range, etc. and she set up a few appointments for us. And then, after four or five houses, she suggested we take a look at a particular house that had been up for sale for a while. She said she knew it wasn’t what we’d said we wanted but I guess she must have just had a feeling about us and about this house.

Let me begin by saying that the house is pink. Not a subtle, pale kind of pink that could almost pass for a warm, creamy colour. No. It’s a deep (albeit sun-faded), bright, just-this-side-of-salmon kind of pink.

Of course, my first comment was that it would have to be painted immediately.

It is also enormous, filling the bulk of a steeply sloped, 1300m2 stand with its 4 levels (5, if you count the triple garage at the very bottom).

The garden is a ghost of its once glorious, terraced self, overgrown with weeds and home to all kinds of rubbish left behind by tenants who did a real number on the place.

We put in an OTP within an hour of having seen it once.

By 5pm, the seller had accepted.

That was on 15 April.

We are now approximately 2 weeks away from moving into our very own home for the first time. There is a huge amount of work to be done to make it the home we want, but it’s ours, which makes all the scrubbing, painting, fixing, weeding, sealing and other stuff worth doing.

I plan to document the transformation of the house as we go, so watch this space!

 

 

 

What it felt like to run my first 32km

This past Sunday, I ran the Colgate 32km.

This is the longest distance I’ve ever run (if you can call it running, given that it took me very close to 4 hours to finish!) and it was HARD.

The day started off hard, because it was freezing, so just getting to the starting line in the first place took a hell of a lot of pushing. So, this one time, I guess I’m at least a little bit grateful for that voice in my head that reminds me how much I’m going to hate myself if I don’t do the thing/s I’ve set out to do.

I set my alarm to wake me at 3:50 on Sunday morning, so that I could throw on my shoes & running gear, pick up my running buddy and hit the road by 4:20 at the latest.

I grabbed a little container of leftover curry mince & rice and two small bananas, gulped down some L-Glutamine and headed out as planned. We arrived at Boksburg stadium just before 5:00 – an hour and a half before the start of the race. I ate my mince and rice, set my alarm to wake me again at 5:45, reclined my seat and curled up to catch a few more zzzz’s…

When my alarm woke me again, I hopped out of the car for a second to grab something from the back seat and regretted it instantly. Let me tell you, I was THIS close to starting up my car and driving straight home! Instead, I handed my running buddy (who was signed up for the 15km race) a banana, and ate one myself, and half  joked about how much I wanted to go home and get back into bed.

I started the race REALLY not feeling up to it and at 3km in, I doubted I was going to finish. But I reminded myself that I have a full marathon coming up in 2 months’ time and I had, at this point, only ever run about 23km.

At around 6km, I needed a loo really badly, so I did the unthinkable and stopped at a petrol station along the route to use the bathroom, and quickly learned that I was but one of several runners who’d had the same brilliant plan. Ultimately, the bathroom break cost me somewhere between 6 and 10 minutes which, given how dismally I performed in the end, didn’t help. But then, given how dismally I performed in the end, 10 minutes weren’t going to make a huge difference, either. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The race route is a double loop around the Boksburg stadium and past the Unilever factory, so many of the places you pass (twice!) appear to be really close to the finish. At times, this is great, because it creates the impression that you’re nearly done. At others, it’s awful, because it creates the impression that you’re nearly done, only to reveal after another 3km that you still have several more to go!

I was sorely tempted to pack it in after the first lap, and follow the rest of the 15km runners to the finish. But my legs carried on straight instead of taking the turn into the stadium and to the finish, and I fought a small mental battle with myself in that moment, and lost. Or won, depending on how you want to look at it…

In the 16th kilometre, I found myself completely alone on the road and wondered for a second whether I was imagining that there was a race at all. It was one of the single loneliest moments of my life, out there in the middle of suburban industria, feeling like I must be the last runner on the road.

By 17km, I had caught up to and passed a couple of my fellow stragglers and I felt encouraged to keep slogging away. At 18km, I was joined by another runner, who came up from behind me and kept pace with me. We ran next to each other, silently, until two other runners came up from behind us and one cracked a joke and we all managed a chuckle and my new comrade and I introduced ourselves.

Suddenly, we were chatting like old friends, urging each other on in turns. It’s as if the universe knew that I needed someone to share the slog with just then.

By 21km, we caught up to the cut-off bus and agreed that we’d stay with them, ensuring that we would make it to the finish on time. But I found their pace difficult – I just couldn’t get into their rhythm. So I let my legs do what felt right and soon found myself pulling ahead of the group.

By 24km, my friend and I had widened the gap between us and the bus by a good 0.5km, which felt good!

But at 26km, I started taking strain. My legs felt heavy, my mouth felt dry, my right ankle started protesting and the Coke I’d been gulping down at the refreshment points was starting to repeat on me. I thought about stopping and catching a ride with the sweeping vehicle, if there was one, or calling my real running buddy, who had my car keys, to come and pick me up. But then my new friend urged me on a little bit further, and somehow I managed to pull myself toward myself and run another step. And another. And another…

My phone rang somewhere between 28km and 29km, my D wanting to know how it had gone. I felt a mixture of pride and shame as I told him I was still running, and pushed myself to keep at it just a little bit longer. I could hear the bus chanting behind me and was determined not to have come this far to fail. So on I went, alongside my new friend.

A man was handing out Jelly Tots at the 29km mark and smiled at me  nodding a “Hell, yes!” at him as I approached. I grabbed the packet from him and slowed to a walk.

Another friendly face at 29.5km called out the words I needed to push on again, “You can’t walk now! Only 2.5km to go!”

Turning off the road and into the stadium grounds at 31km, I had to have another little internal discussion with myself, once again a split second away from giving up. But then that cut-off bus loomed just behind me again and I couldn’t.

As I turned into the stadium, expecting to see finish line, I almost cried when I realised that I still had 500m to go, around one end of the athletics track. I think I shouted at a marshall “When does it end?!” before forcing myself to suck it up and get to the finish.

I watched the clock tick over 3:56:00 just before I crossed the finish and that was that. 32km.

 

 

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.

 

@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.