Friday, February 27, 2015

Hello Friday

I know. I'm pretty much a terrible blogger these days ... but I think it's probably a sign of things to come.

At the moment it is because my life isn't really very exciting. We don't do much anymore (to be expected, really), so there just isn't that much to tell. I've been trying to get the Turkey Blog Posts done ... but have to get photos before I can publish the next one, so hopefully I'll remember this weekend.

I have 5 weeks of work left. And I haven't decided how I'll manage blogging after The Littlest One arrives ... I mean obviously at first I probably will be far too exhausted. And then? I guess I'll wait and see how much I feel is really up for public domain. I am not sure the role of mommy blogger really sits well with me. I guess, like everything coming up, it'll be a wait and see and take it as it comes kinda thing that'll just happen along the way.

This is going to be a crazy year. Did I mention we're selling up all our houses (my 2 investment properties, the one we live in and the one The Trucker is building)? We had the first 3 valued. I don't think we're going to make much on the sales because the oldest unit, I've only had almost 5 years ... And it's really kind of amazing, when you look at how much you put in to cover the lawyers fees, the bond registration and the transfer costs. And then you add in all the extra you've paid in on levies (in my case the rentals cover the bond repayments, but not the levies). And then what I'll probably lose after the sale in Capital Gains Tax. I would probably have been better off just putting all that money into a savings account or unit trusts. I would probably have more "cash in hand" that way than what I'll end up after selling.

That said, all purchases were the right decision at the time ... I had a 10 year plan (prior to The Trucker coming into my life). Buy 1 property at 30 and pay it off by 35. Buy a second one and use the rental from both to pay it off in 3 years and then buy a 3rd and use all 3 rentals to pay it off in 2 years. Then I figured I could either use the money from the rentals to buy my own place or sell all 3 and buy myself something.

That's obviously not what happened ... I did buy the first at 30, a place I never planned to live, only an investment. But I bought the 2nd at 31, as a place to live ... and then, at 33 The Trucker and I bought a place together.

See. Life gets in the way of the best laid plans :) I don't regret any of the decisions we made ... but it turns out, right now, with the imminent move to Cape Town and the need to afford a place there (OMG, how DO people actually do that?!?!) that we have no choice but to sell up everything here first.

Anyone wanna buy a studio, a 2 bedroom or a 3 bedroom ;) ?

Okay, so that was a ramble I wasn't expecting. I guess it's just been particularly on my mind. Yesterday was The Trucker's birthday. We went to Rocomamas for dinner together. I feel like we haven't really been out in ages, honestly. It was really nice :) Last child-free birthday for either of us!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

Private investigator Isabel Spellman is back on the case and back on the couch -- in court-ordered therapy after getting a little too close to her previous subject.

As the book opens, Izzy is on hiatus from Spellman Inc. But when her boss, Milo, simultaneously cuts her bartending hours and introduces her to a "friend" looking for a private eye, Izzy reluctantly finds herself with a new client. She assures herself that the case -- a suspicious husband who wants his wife tailed -- will be short and sweet, and will involve nothing more than the most boring of PI rituals: surveillance. But with each passing hour, Izzy finds herself with more questions than hard evidence.

Meanwhile, Spellmania continues. Izzy's brother, David, the family's most upright member, has adopted an uncharacteristically unkempt appearance and attitude toward work, life, and Izzy. And their wayward youngest sister, Rae, a historic academic underachiever, aces the PSATs and subsequently offends her study partner and object of obsession, Detective Henry Stone, to the point of excommunication. The only unsurprising behavior comes from her parents, whose visits to Milo's bar amount to thinly veiled surveillance and artful attempts (read: blackmail) at getting Izzy to return to the Spellman Inc. fold.

As the case of the wayward wife continues to vex her, Izzy's personal life -- and mental health -- seem to be disintegrating. Facing a housing crisis, she can't sleep, she can't remember where she parked her car, and, despite her shrinks' persistence, she can't seem to break through in her appointments. She certainly can't explain why she forgets dates with her lawyer's grandson, or fails to interpret the come-ons issued in an Irish brogue by Milo's new bartender. Nor can she explain exactly how she feels about Detective Henry Stone and his plans to move in with his new Assistant DA girlfriend...

Loved this. Seriously. Such a fun read. Am so enjoying this series!

* These books are part of The Spellmans series: The Spellman Files (2007), Curse of the Spellmans (2008), Revenge of the Spellmans (2009), The Spellmans Strike Again (2010), Trail of the Spellmans (2012), The Last Word (2013)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall

At the end of the twenty-first century, in a transformed America?the families of convicted felons are tested for a set of genetic markers. Boys who test positive become compulsory wards of the state, removed from their homes and raised on "Goodhouse" campuses, where they learn to reform their darkest thoughts and impulses. Goodhouse is a feral place, part prison, part boarding school and now a radical religious group, the Holy Redeemer's Church of Purity, is intent on destroying each campus and purifying every child with fire. We see all this through the eyes of James, a transfer student who watched as the radicals set fire to his old Goodhouse and everyone he'd ever known. In addition to adjusting to a new campus with new rules, James now has to contend with Bethany, a brilliant, medically fragile girl who wants to save him, and her father, the school's sinister director of medical studies. Soon, however, James realizes that the biggest threat might already be there, inside the fortified walls of Goodhouse itself. Partly based on the true story of the nineteenth-century Preston School of Industry and the boys who lived and died in its halls, Goodhouse explores questions of identity and free will and what it means to test the limits of human endurance.

So, I hadn't heard of this book before it arrived from Penguin Books for review. The blurb on the back cover made it sound interesting.

Unfortunately I wasn't very impressed. Even tho it has an interesting premise, it left me feeling mostly unsure of what it was supposed to be about or what feelings it was trying to evoke. I was too confused for the first half of it to really bond or care about the characters. There were obviously bad things happening, but I didn't really grasp why. Power corrupts? Yip, great, I got that already.

It alludes to being based on the Preston School story, which I had to look up online. I was assuming it was that reform school where all the bodies were found. But after a quick look on Google, it wasn't that one ...

All in all, I wouldn't recommend you bother with reading this. Honestly, I didn't find it page-turning or much of a thriller.

* This is one of my Featured Book Reviews, sponsored by Penguin Books.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Urgh. What a weekend. Seems there was quite the tummy bug going round our office last week ... a few people were off with it on Thursday and by Friday there were loads of people affected. It hit me on Thursday evening and I took Friday off.

I was a little nervous, what with being 32 weeks pregnant, but I spoke to my gynae and she wasn't too concerned (the only real risk is dehydration) as long as I stayed hydrated. There was a lot of energade, a couple of apples and some bovril provitas in my day.

It seemed to lull by midday on Friday. A good sign because we had our Infant Survival course on Saturday from 8 - 3pm.

I am so glad we did it! The Trucker was a little bored ... because he's done cpr training before as part of his rescue divers course. But for me it was all new. I arrived a little nervous but left feeling much better about things. Definitely learnt some things! And, more importantly, learnt to think about a few things that hadn't even crossed my mind!

It was a long day tho. And after a brief rest at home, we headed to @clairam's birthday braai. I think I probably over-indulged on the food ... hard not to when you've been on a minimal bland diet the day before! And unfortunately I woke up with the tummy bug again on Sunday :(

So, on Sunday, I literally did nothing. More energade, lucozade, apples and bovril toast ...

Not sure yet if today will be okay or not. Am back in the office ... there are a lot of Zombie Quarantine posters around (haha). I have meetings all day, one that I can't miss first tho, so I guess I'll see how it goes after that one.

Urgh. Feel quite out of energy!

Friday, February 20, 2015

13 October: Urgup

Up and ready by 5am. Second morning in a row wasn't any easier. Clearly the novelty has worn off. Haha.

We were collected at our hotel and then dropped off at the Urgup Balloons offices where we got a little snack (juice and bread rolls) while we waited for everyone to arrive. We were in the Blue Group. No idea how many balloons they have, but there were red, orange and green .. as well as some people also with Blue stickers that weren't on our balloon?

Anyway, eventually they called us and we got driven to the launch site. It was still dark but you could start to see the silhouette of these large round shapes as we drove. And then a few lit up. It was very exciting, especially once we arrived at our balloon.

The experience was completely magical. Even tho I've been in a Hot Air Balloon before ... there is nothing like watching a hundred other balloons launching and flying around you! And then there is the unique cave landscape that you're flying over.

Spectacular and completely worth it! What a superb and perfect way to start a Monday - haha.

Oh and the morning weather could not have been better. Thanks goodness :)

Eventually when it was done, we landed and had a little toast of local champagne (not very good) to celebrate before returning to our hotel for breakfast. I squeezed in a shower while The Trucker had a nap before we had to pack our bags and head off on another day tour of Cappadocia.

Our tour started with a 5km "hike". Luckily it wasn't really a hike, a bit of a downhill and then a lot of flat walking thru a Valley and ending in the Old Greek City (no idea exactly what they were called). It was unexpected, but absolutely beautiful! We walked thru the trees and growth, between the mountains, spotting masses of pigeon houses along the way (so many that we joked we should have a drinking game for every time our guide said "pigeon house"! See photo below).

I had no idea Greek and Turkey swapped a bunch of their people back. Seems pretty peculiar, if you ask me ... am going to have to read up about it!

After our walk, we headed to a similar tourist buffet spot for lunch. And then we visited one of the apparently many underground cities. Bizarre. Apparently from way back when the Christians were hiding ... not quite like the Cu Chi Tunnels, these went underground for 4 floors (or more? apparently a lot has collapsed). Still. All these people hiding underground around the world, in such different times. Surreal.

We had one final viewpoint stop: of another castle (Ortahisar) ... but I found the surrounding architecture far more fascinating (photo below). It seems the cave hotels are all built in Greek Cave Houses and a lot of them apparently collapsed around 1960.

The Greek Cave Houses are obviously not the same as the Christian caves you see at the Goreme Open Air Museum. Or maybe they were adapted from them?

When our tour finished, we were dropped off at a different hotel with a few hours to wait till we'd be taken to the bus station. After a bit of sitting around doing nothing we decided to go for a walk.

We stopped for a drink, tried some pistachio baklava, bought some Cappadocian wine to take home to try ... you know, when I can drink wine again ;)

And we got some supplies for our bus trip. We got collected and taken to the bus station (which we'd walked past, like a road away!) at 7pm. At 8pm, we got put on a tiny little shuttle bus (full) like we'd used in the last 2 days on our tours. Pretty unimpressed at what was apparently our situation till 6:30am tomorrow morning but we tried to make the best of it.

Less than an hour later we pulled up at the next staion. And they started taking off all the luggage. Turns out that was just a shuttle from Urgup to the real bus station ... and our bus is only arriving here at 10:30!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

In The Woods by Tana French

Dublin 1984 dusk, three children vanish in the woods. One, Rob Ryan, grips a tree trunk in terror, unable to recall any detail of previous hours. Twenty years later, the detective on the Dublin Murder Squad keeps his past a secret. But when a girl 12 is killed in the same woods, Rob and Detective Cassie Maddox — partner and best pal - investigate present and past.

Shewee but this was a long book (approx 12hours according to Kindle - which is long for most of what I read).

But I did enjoy it, it was a bit weird to classify tho. I think like most people, I was a little disappointed [spoiler] that the cold case wasn't solved or explained. [/spoiler] But, aside from that it was quite an enjoyable book to read. I enjoyed the characters, although some of the time it felt like there was a lot more fluff around them and their emotional turmoil than the solving of the case.

I see this is the start of a series ... am not really sure where it'll go from here tho, since [spoiler] the book split the team up in the end [/spoiler]. I guess I'll have to read the next one to find out :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

12 October: Istanbul to Urgup

The early wake-up was easier than I expected. It was dark but felt warmer than I expected. We got dressed and packed and headed downstairs to find out airport transfer waiting.

We got given a small snack (a box of peach juice and chocolate twinkie type thing) on the ride.

We saw lots of axis and airport transfers on the road and Ataturk Airport was bustling! At the airport we got ourselves a croissant for breakfast after checking in. The Trucker also had his first Turkish Coffee :) We didn't expect to be fed on the 1hr20 flight to Kayaseri.

It was rainy and dark as our plane took off and we both dozed off. Until the drinks cart came around ... with more food! We got quite an impressive food box with a sandwich (which we both kept for later), a strawberry yogurt which we atee and a weird little olive, cucumber and tomato salad (yuck). Wa-ay too early in the morning, even for The Trucker who likes olives. I was very nervous about my weird pregnancy hunger & snacking on this trip but I think I'll be fine - haha!

And then we landed in Kayseri. Looks kinda strange so far. Definitely bigger than I expected and so many apartment blocks going up ... in the middle of nowhere. Reminded me of China like that.

And our luggage took ages to arrive on the belt again. But eventually we got outside ... and although there were plenty of drivers with placards, none had our names.

So we patiently waited. Everybody left and we were the last people standing around. Aren't we lucky my phone had roaming. Just for these sorts of emergencies! We called our tour company and they said they'd contact the driver.

20mins later I called back (turns out she'd responded via email, but there was no free wifi at the airport). Our names were with a driver at a whole other airport so they'd had to get another driver to come get us.

Luckily he arrived minutes later. He, however, had an almost full bus of people who had been collected alongside us. And one particular person (American) demanding to know why we hadn't got on in the first place. Like hello? If your driver had had our names to start with, even if we hadn't seen them, he wouldn't just have driven off. #sigh

Needless to say, once we arrived in Urgup, we switched to our correct minibus and joined our day tour which headed straight for Goreme Open Air Museum.

Shew, this place is surreal and fascinating and pretty spectacular! We wandered thru the churches and saw all the amazingly preserved frescoes. It completely reminded me of the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. These unassuming exteriors painted floor to ceiling (and in this case, right across the ceiling!) in the most amazingly preserved colours and pictures.

From there we headed to a pottery place. People seem fascinated by pottery made on the wheel ... but I did pottery in primary school, so I've used on myself. As well as having seen much the same thing in Fez.

They did produce some pretty gorgeous stuff tho. They apparently use powder to paint and then glaze before firing. Reminded me of the Ageing Aunt's enamel process.

Unfortunately, regardless of how nice it looked, it was all far too expensive to even consider buying!

And by now it was lunch time. We got deposited, along with a car park of other tour buses (yes, this is going to be one of those tours) at a buffet restaurant. The food was actually really nice. I tried a little of many tasty things. Oh, and the dessert! So full.

The Fairy Chimneys were next ... as a thunderstorm came rolling in. Luckily it seems to have completely passed now and the weather looks good for our early Hot Air Balloon Ride! We got quite nervous there for a moment!

From there we headed to Pasabag (Monk's Valley) (photo above)and got some great big looming thunderstorm skies :)

We completed our tour with a wet stop at the Goreme Viewpoint (complete with rainbow and a quick hot chocolate!) and a look at the Castle (photo left) before we started dropping people off at their hotels.

I won't lie, I'm a little bummed our hotel didn't turn out to actually be in Goreme. The town looks too adorable (the only comparison I could make would be Chefchaouen). We're staying at MDC in Urgup, which while completely schmancy, if I did this again (or were asked for advice) my money would be spent staying in Goreme.

Back at our hotel, we discovered our gorgeous cave room had a jacuzzi bath so we had a long hot laze with our Kindles. Superb.

By 6pm we decided it was  time to find another early dinner. I was super keen on just sticking with the hotel restaurant which, once we looked at the menu, is exactly what we did. So much less hassle than getting a shuttle and trying to find somewhere else.

I had Borek to start (another tick for my foods-to-try-in-Turkey list). The Trucker wasn't keen on the Manti for mains so instead we shared Meatballs in a hot pot, which was superb. Not a lot of veg in the dishes so they seem to come with a surplus of sides. I tried the apricot dessert, which was a little weird, but not bad.

It's almost 9pm now so bedtime. At least our pickup has been shifted to 5am tomorrow morning now.

Can. Not. Wait *grin*

Monday, February 16, 2015

Relaxed and Organised

So I had a pretty good and very relaxing weekend. Score! I see much more of those for the next few weeks (while we still can).

On Friday we got take-out from Col'Cacchio and watched series (woo, new Walking Dead!). On Saturday morning, we were pretty lazy since we didn't have anything specific planned for the day and we were both pretty enthralled in our books.

Eventually we got out of bed and headed to breakfast at Urban Angel. And then it was home to get started on the only thing we had planned for the day: The Nursery!

So yes, The Trucker got the big stuff done while I was in Cape Town last weekend. But this weekend was all about putting together her cot and pram and unpacking / packing away her things. It is so awesome now. I love having her door open and seeing her room as I walk up the passage. I love going in, in the mornings and evenings to open and close her curtains. It definitely feels like she is "here" a little bit more, if that makes sense?

We also had a ton of stuff to sort thru which was temporarily moved to the guest room. I think we made amazing progress this weekend. The Trucker did tons more sorting than I did ... I went thru all my Fresh Living magazines, which I'd been collecting since the end of 2008 ... and tore out the recipes that I liked and we've recycled the rest. With everything online these days, keeping magazines seems a little crazy. Now we have an awesome recipe flip-file which is so much easier to keep handy in the kitchen.

We still need to sort thru the stuff that got moved to the garage. With the impending move to Cape Town, we're being a lot more cut throat about what we're keeping (hopefully).

On Saturday afternoon we were very lazy and napped and read our books. This heat! Thank goodness for that blow up pool of ours ;) It stays pretty chilly too cause it is completely out of the sun.

In the evening we braaied at home for Valentines Day. Nothing special, but pretty perfect. I forgot our Eversons tradition, but The Trucker didn't ... unfortunately he couldn't get any. It was a superb evening in the garden, with our animals :)

Afterwards we watched The Interview. I didn't make it to the end. What a pile of crap.

On Sunday we had croissants in bed for breakfast and then The Trucker headed to cricket while I stayed in bed till I finished reading my book (around 11am)! Then I did the grocery shopping. I keep re-learning not to go shopping for food on my own while pregnant. Oh the crap I came home with ;)

The Trucker came home and we had a delish leftover braai lunch :) And then he mostly napped for the afternoon. In the evening we continued with The Big Sort.

Friday, February 13, 2015

11 October: Johannesburg to Dubai to Istanbul

Dubai International Airport: So we left Joburg last night on a very busy Emirates flight. Luckily I had possible the only empty economy seat next to me. But, I still didn't sleep very well.

I was already exhausted by the time we left South Africa (at 22h00), but stayed up for dinner (some chicken and rice dish, with lots of crackers. Pretty good really) and watched a movie. There wasn't a lot of anything I was especially interested in. Which was fine since I really wanted to sleep.

I ended up watching Tammy. Seemed to be pretty much standard Melissa McCarthy fare. Which is fine by me, I generally quite like her for light entertainment. And the rest of the cast was pretty star-studded too. Weird seeing Susan Sarandon now playing a granny. She's come a long way from RHPS!

I dozed as much as I could manage but never really got comfy, I'm too short and they didn't have any foot rest things under the seat in front :(

I was pretty disappointed that we didn't get one of those overnight flight packs (with the teeny toothpaste & tooth brush and an eye-mask). I really could've used the eye-mask on this flight!

Woke up for a very early breakfast, which was terribly boring. Just a muffin (orange flavoured?) and a mini croissant. We landed soon afterwards.

Before landing, I remembered that I hadn't got myself a new travel diary and also hadn't brought a pen!

Luckily I found both at the airport :) Shew. After buying that, we got ourselves a Starbucks coffee (frappachino for me). Honestly, before our USA trip, I wouldn't have given Starbucks a second look, but man, I do enjoy their frappachinos now!

Istanbul: The wait at Dubai didn't feel too long. And it was an easy flight to Istanbul from there. I watched Edge of Tomorrow (The Trucker had watched it on the flight to Dubai and said he'd enjoyed it). I also enjoyed it :) It was vaguely similar to that other movie where the guy keeps waking up in the same moment. And I'm not so sure about how it ended ... but otherwise perfect plane fodder.

I had a very nice lunch on the plane too. And before too long we were ready to land. Shew it was very cloudy coming into Istanbul and we couldn't see a thing thru the plane cameras till we'd almost already landed.

I also wasn't very impressed with the Emirates Air Hostesses ... wanted some water a while after lunch had been cleared and I must've pressed the hostess button at least 8 times with no response! I had to stop 2 different ones to actually ask for my water before it arrived. Yoh!

Passport Control was super smooth but we waited about an hour for our bags to arrive on the carousel. Then we walked thru, found the guy with my name on a board and headed for the Saruhan Hotel.

Quite a nice drive. They have all these manicured gardens on the verge with flowers planted in patterned arrangements. And it's along the coast. Smell the salty air :)

There are loads of old fortress walls and the place seems a haphazard mix of old and new and under construction. Our hotel is in the Old City and a lot of the roads are cobbled and they're very thin and twisty. Was amazed at trying to drive them (so many one-ways)!

After checking in, we decided just to dump our bags and head out, it was already 5pm. We have a 5am pick-up tomorrow morning for our flight to Capadoccia. So we decided to just get the lay of the land around our hotel and grab some dinner.

We strolled around, looking at little supermarkets. Very few brands we recognised! Definitely one of my favourite things to do while traveling :) Haha.

We found an ATM, got some cash and then started looking for somewhere to have an early dinner. While wandering, we walked past a fresh pomegranate juice seller so decided to try a small cup. I quite liked it, it did make my tongue feel weird tho, from the oddly sour taste.

Another thing we've noticed already in our short time here are all the stray cats and dogs! What I find so weird is the dogs are all big dogs, not small ones (like strays I've seen elsewhere). Saw quite a few Gypsy-like cats too ... awe, I miss those two cuties!

For dinner we decided on Kosk 2 because of it's terrace, 4-storeys up, which gave us a nice view of Hagia Sofia Junior, a little bit of sea and all the houses nearby.

The Trucker had his first Efes beer (pretty much the prevalent local beer here) and I had an Apple Tea (which had been recommended to me before we came). We both liked it (which surprised me as I'm not a tea-drinker).

To eat we started with some pita and babaganoush. And got a complimentary yogurt dish a little like tzatziki (without the cucumber). The babaganoush wasn't how I remembered it from Egypt. It had quite a smoky flavour but I still liked it. The Trucker less so, as there were also red peppers in it.

For mains I had wanted "Turkish Ravioli" (Manti) which was on the list of Turkish dishes I wanted to try, but they were out. Instead we had a Beyeki Kebap (lamb & beef mince in a roti with a yummy tomato paste/sauce & more yogurt) and a Kosk Pide (which seemed to be a mixed pide). I liked the Kebap the best.

After that we walked the cobbled streets back to the hotel. Had a shower and were in bed before 9pm with a very early alarm set!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What a Prize!

Mkay, so believe it or not, I was actually going to kick of The First (proper) Turkey 2014 post today ... but then something else happened ... so maybe tomorrow, okay?

So, maybe you didn't know it (I didn't before) but apparently February is Pregnancy Awareness Month. If you've been reading a while, you'll be aware that I am pregnant. So obvs this ended up on my radar for the first time ever.

It's also apparently Pregnancy Education Week (10 to 22 February 2015). Apparently only about 5% of pregnant women in SA do a formal / private antenatal course. Which I was kind of surprised about ... we got a voucher for free Antenatal classes (along with a voucher for a free 4D scan when we did our pre-admittance to hospital, a Mediclinic). We happen to have chosen not to go to the Antenatal classes offered by our hospital, so we are paying extra for ours ... but that's because of convenience. We didn't want to do it all in one day session and there is a much closer hospital (it's a Netcare so we couldn't use the voucer) to our house (which we're not using for the birth because my gynae works out of the other hospital - I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person in this scenario). So we are going to 2 hour classes one evening a week for 6 weeks. Apparently we can also claim some of this back from Medical Aid, but we'll see what happens when we try.

I've heard mixed reviews from people who have done Antenatal classes, some loved it and some thought it was a waste of time ... we're only 2 classes in, and so far I'm glad we're going. Some of it makes me realise why you only do it in your third trimester ... because it's too late to change your mind about having this kid now (we did all the types of contractions this week o_0). But mostly it is good just to feel like the more you know and prepare yourself the calmer you feel. Chances are slim you'll need everything you learn or hear about because the resounding comment on pregnancy seems to be "it may happen, it may not" about EVERYTHING ... except, of course, that you are growing a child. That seems to be pretty much the only constant across every woman's experience.

On top of that, I've also booked us for an Infant CPR course. I've never done any first aid training so this was a really important one for me (and you get Discovery points!). I'm a little nervous (it's only in 2 weeks time) because you likely learn about all the awful things that can happen ... but more importantly, if I know about them and I'm home alone with the Babe, I won't freak out (okay, that may still be my first reaction), but I'll be empowered and know what to do in a crisis. More importantly, hopefully I never actually need this knowledge ... but hey, it's kinda like taking out insurance, you know ;)

The other thing we did was visit with a lawyer just to make sure there was nothing we didn't know about staying unmarried while raising a child together.

Anyway. One of the other things on our list to do was to do a hospital visit. They do tours for expectant moms & partners every Wednesday at 10h30 (this probably differs per hospital). I was dreading this, just from the added time I'd have to be off work on top of all the gynae appointments I already have, since it's right in the middle of the day. But when we had our 4D scan, they told us that they were having 3 evening open days, doing the tour with a lucky draw and plenty of relevant exhibitors (UIF people, stem cell people, breast pump reps etc.). So that suited us much better and we made a (mental) note to go then.

On Tuesday, sitting at our Antenatal class, we realised that was this week and we'd intended to go on Monday evening but completely forgotten. Obviously we couldn't make Tuesday evening either as we were at classes already. So last night it was!

It was nice to go and see and get talked thru where you'll be and for what and how it all works. We got a look in a private and a luxury room. I had already selected a preference for a private room on my pre-admittance so it was really cool to see what it was like. My reaction on seeing and hearing about the luxury suite was "Are they here for a holiday or to have a baby?". Each room, as you move up from general (covered by medical aid) comes with an additional fee.

Anyhoo, after the tour, we all headed back downstairs for the lucky draw. There were loads of prizes: hampers and vouchers and all sorts of cool things, leading up to the main prize of a luxury suite. I had a feeling if we won anything it'd be something like a Bio Oil hamper (which I already had) or a voucher for the CPR course (at the same place I've already booked with and paid for) because Murphy's Law.

We didn't win anything ... and then they threw all the names back into the hat for the Big Prize. I wasn't even paying attention (I had taken out my phone to check the time), but The Trucker shrieked when they called out my name! OMG. That is right folks, we won the Luxury Suite. How freaking insane is that?

The Trucker gets a proper bed to stay overnight in and his meals are included as well! The room is the size of our lounge and there is an insane private bathroom.

We also got a cool goodie bag on the tour (a bonus that I don't think you get on the regular weekly ones). That's another thing that amazes me! All the free stuff people give you when you're pregnant. So far we've had a Discovery Baby Bag (when you're 12weeks+) and a Dischem Baby Bag (when you're 28weeks+). Then last night we heard that you get another bag at Mediclinic when your baby is born with all the toiletries your newborn needs, newborn nappies and a few extras for mom. So all you need to bring for your baby is clothing!

So yeah, that made my yesterday pretty freaking awesome :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.
As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August," she says. "I need to send a message."
This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

I didn't really have any huge expectations when I started this book, but I really enjoyed it :) Seriously, it's such a novel little story and crafted really well. I never struggled with the "time travel" aspect (which I find with many books or movies).

Read this. It's a good one :)

Monday, February 09, 2015

Best Weekend Ever

I had, quite possibly, one of the Best Weekends Ever.

It didn't start well on Friday ... and the traffic this morning has already rubbed off some of my silly grin. Which is a pity. On Friday I was working from home because I had a flight to catch and didn't want to include traffic time into my day. Unfortunately as I started to check my emails at 6:45am ... the power went off. And no, we weren't scheduled for load-shedding (it was only supposed to be 6-10pm in the evening, regardless of Stage).

Aaargh. Thankfully The Trucker left me with his 3G (Telkom adsl & router are useless with no power) and I worked till 9am when my laptop battery gave up. There was still no power and no response from City Power Jhb. So I packed up my stuff and found a table at the nearby Doppio Zero. I wasn't the only one.

It's an expensive day out, sitting somewhere like Doppio to work. But by 12h30, The Trucker told me the complex had power again and I headed home. We had power till 2pm, but luckily I still had a fully charged laptop and managed to work till I needed to head to Lanseria.

Daddio collected me at Cape Town airport and took me to Mom's house where I'd be spending the weekend. She'd made dinner, but was being load-shed at the time. Luckily she has a gas stove and made a plan! At least while I was in Cape Town the power went out as it was actually scheduled to!

Saturday was my (first) Baby Shower :) I got kicked out of the house around 10h30 so that my Mom, sister and cousins set up and prepared. Daddio came to collect me and took me to collect my Birthday Painting. Then we did a little shopping, went back to his house, had lunch and I got ready.

I arrived a little early and was wowed with the effort they'd all put in! The Littlest One's nursery has a dinosaur theme and they went all out with the decor and snacks. I was so impressed!

There were dino footprints from the gate entrance into the house. There was a fantastic watermelon dinosaur head filled with fruit salad. There were dino biscuits and a giant painted (by my cousin) Dino on the wall. It was amazing.

It was a mix of family and my Cape Town friends and it was wonderful to see everyone :) My little girl got so spoilt with gifts! And all the knitting The Peeb has been doing since the day she found out I was pregnant was amazing to finally see! Oh the cute things. There was too much to mention everything, but it was awesome and I feel so blessed that my baby and I are so loved.

Daddio popped over in the evening to see everything. It's weird to think I won't see him again before she arrives! Yikes. There are so many things like that now. These were my last ever Before Baby flights. Hahaha.

On Sunday mom & I had a lazy morning and somehow I managed to pack everything (except the painted dinosaur) into my big bag. My flight home was delayed but I was thrilled to see The Trucker, I couldn't wait to show him all the cute little things we'd got!

But he had other ideas. When I walked into the house, the first thing I saw was that he'd put the tiled splashbacks up in the kitchen! I've been wanting them for ages and it is so awesome and makes such a difference :) I was thrilled! It had sounded like he'd had a pretty ordinary relaxed weekend but clearly he'd been busy.

I didn't realise just how busy till he asked me to go turn the fan in the Nursery (always a closed door due to the chaos lurking behind it ... it's been upsetting me every time I opened it. But we've been away the last 3 weekends and scheduled next weekend to sort thru it all).

OMG I was completely speechless when I opened that door! It still blows my mind just thinking about it! He had sorted thru the whole room and turned it into a nursery. It's all her stuff and he painted it just the way we'd planned. All while I was gone! He even got some help from his friends - I have no idea when he planned and organised all this!

And he went and bought the chest of drawers we'd picked out (a gift from my grandmother). That meant that the shelves in the garage had also been put up (that's what we were waiting for so that we could sort out the nursery).

You guys! It is so so fantastic. I can't even explain how my heart spent the rest of the afternoon just exploding. I am so excited. There are still little things to do ... which I am looking forward to. Now we can assemble her cot and her pram. Put up some shelves.

And I also have a lot of sorting out to do of all my stuff that was in there. But still. This is pretty freaking amazing. Amazing.

Ah, there is my happy glow. Writing about this has reminded me just how spoilt and loved I am. My baby girl is one lucky lady already :D

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Daughter by Jane Shemilt

Jenny is a successful family doctor, the mother of three great teenagers, married to a celebrated neurosurgeon.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn't come home after her school play, Jenny's seemingly ideal life begins to crumble. The authorities launch a nationwide search with no success. Naomi has vanished, and her family is broken.

As the months pass, the worst-case scenarios - kidnapping, murder - seem less plausible. The trail has gone cold. Yet for a desperate Jenny, the search has barely begun. More than a year after her daughter's disappearance, she's still digging for answers - and what she finds disturbs her. Everyone she's trusted, everyone she thought she knew, has been keeping secrets, especially Naomi. Piecing together the traces her daughter left behind, Jenny discovers a very different Naomi from the girl she thought she'd raised.

This was a strange book. It felt a little weird reading it now that I'm pregnant, wondering about the relationship I might have with my teenaged daughter one day. Is it really that easy to be completely unaware of what is going on in your children's lives? I hope not!

And aside from a pretty annoying ending, it's still a pretty scary read. A child going missing is up there on my list of worst fears. I dunno that I'd recommend this as a good book tho.

* This is one of my Featured Book Reviews, sponsored by Penguin Books.
Read more here.

Monday, February 02, 2015


2 months. That is all I have left at work ... if all goes according to schedule. Eep. The Baby Prep kicks in good and proper this month with Antenatal classes starting tomorrow and my first Baby Shower this weekend!

After this weekend visit to Cape Town, we've vowed to take things easier. Which is good, cause I'm definitely more exhausted. Away in the Pilanesberg last weekend and then this weekend we left work on Friday afternoon and headed straight to the Free State for The Trucker's mom's birthday. We only spent the night so it wasn't too exhausting. Plus it's kinda nice when there really is nothing to do but nap and read your book on a Saturday morning :)

It was a good visit, and Pepper always comes home exhausted. Unfortunately the drive home took a whole hour longer than usual because of an accident that closed the N3.

On Saturday afternoon we had a lengthy relax and then watched Interstellar. We didn't know much about it other than it scored more than 8 on IMDb. OMG. It is looooooong. I don't know exactly when or why ALL movies started being 2hr+ instead of the good old 90mins. But it now seems to be the norm o_0 #notafan Other than that it was mostly enjoyable ... except where could a movie like that really go? When they make up all these space-time rules, things get complicated. So yeah, in the end it felt like a bit of a waste, but it wasn't especially bad. I feel kind of middling toward it, I'd wouldn't recommend you do or don't see it ...

On Sunday we headed out to do our grocery shopping and then The Trucker headed off to play cricket. When he got home at 4pm we went to a friend's birthday at Mozambik. By the time we got home I was yawning already so we picked a shorter movie to watch before bed, The Little Death.

It's a bit of a peculiar movie which didn't really sit right with me ... but, it is still completely worth watching for the phone sex scene at the end: hysterical.

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