As you may know my precious little (paid-off) car was stolen in May last year. I managed to get a rental car for a month while insurance paid out. But because I wasn’t permanently employed yet I made the decision to wait before buying a new car. Luckily I was able to borrow a friend’s car that wasn’t being used. And when she did need it again a few weeks later, my father offered me the use of their spare car that was living in Sedgefield. I hadn’t expected to use the car for so long but with starting a new job and waiting for my probation period to come to an end and become permanent, it’s now been several months.
I started 2015 knowing it would be the year that I stepped out of the limbo I’ve been living in the last year and become a grown up again. I would buy myself a new car. I would find myself somewhere more permanent to live. I would sort out vehicle and household insurance. And generally just sort stuff out.
Well I got a phone call this past Sunday from my dad that has set the wheel in motion…he’s asked for the car back by the end of February as he and my step-mom are wanting to drive down to Sedgefield and leave the car there. Of course my first reaction was to panic because HOW CAN I POSSIBLY FIND THE RIGHT CAR IN A MONTH, and OMG NOW I REALLY HAVE TO START BUDGETING PROPERLY AGAIN. But truth be told, I’ve been putting away a set amount every month to get used to a car repayment, and because of this I know the maximum amount I could spend on a monthly installment. And because of this wonderfully technological society we live in, I had a few (read over 25) options by this past Wednesday. Organised is my middle name…
I promptly invited myself over to my sister’s house that evening so I could bend my brother-in-law’s ear since he knows a thing or two or three about cars. He told me which of my options were good, which to discount immediately, and which I should just test drive for fun. The main decision in my car choice is something that will have good fuel economy, something that’ll be big enough to suit me in a few years time, and something that fits into my budget, obviously!
I’ve narrowed down the options and seen a couple of them already (and will be seeing them again tomorrow with Mr Man as a second opinion). I think I’ve already made my decision which means I’ll probably have a new car by the end of next week… Oooooh! The excitement!
Last Friday afternoon I left for a weekend away in the Drakensberg. My bag was packed. My iDevices were charged. I had a bag with drinks and snacks for the drive. I was ready for a weekend away!
Last year around July I attended a Tsogo Sun event where I came first in my round and ended up winning a weekend away at any of their hotels in the country. The only “problem” was that I had to use it within 6 months of winning it which proved problematic with starting a new job and going into the busy event season. Since I spent my Christmas break at the coast I had to think of a hotel closer to home so no flight costs would have to be paid – close enough to drive to, but far enough to be a proper weekend away. Hence the easy decision to go to the Drakensberg Sun!
We arrived around 21h30 on the Friday night after taking forever to get out of Joburg because of Friday traffic and stopping in Harrismith for dinner. The only drawback from arriving while it was dark was not being able to see the rolling green hills around us, but the starry night sky seen from the sunroof was incredible!
On Saturday morning I opened the curtains and was greeted with a misty view, just as the weather man had predicted. On the bright side the drizzly weather meant we were going to have a completely different experience on the canopy zipline tour I had booked for later that morning.
The canopy tour is located on the same premises of the hotel which made it really easy to find. It would have been lovely to walk the short way through the grounds to get there but I was worried about the rain and how wet and cold we may be after the tour so we took the car. (We needn’t have worried though as the drizzle dried up by the time we were finished and we were given the most attractive rain suits to cover our clothes.)
This canopy tour was so different to the other tours I have been on (Knysna and Polokwane). Not only did we experience a true rain forest experience because of the drizzly weather, we also didn’t have to use our gloved hands to control our speed when approaching the landing areas. This made it more exhilarating and you could take a few moments to look around you and take in the view without worrying about speed. It was also made that much more special because our group was made up of two guides, myself, and Mr Man…a private tour.
After huffing and puffing my way up the gajillion steps from the last platform, we made our way back to the hotel where I lounged in the bath for a little while before heading back to bed for a quick nap. (Weekends away and canopy tours make you tired you know.) Upon getting undressed I noticed my sneakers… You have to know that it was a good canopy tour when your white shoes look like this. Either that or the rain suits didn’t do their job properly.
After my little nap I headed over to the spa for a relaxing full body aromatherapy massage. Definitely a must on a weekend away! And then we headed to the bar for some pre-dinner drinks and enjoyed a lovely sunset from the patio.
We checked out on the Sunday morning and headed up the road in the hopes of visiting the Raptor and Reptile Centres. Unfortunately our city mentality had us assuming that there would be card facilities available to pay the entrance fees so the closest we got was the front gate at each centre. A little deflated, we then decided to head on home but stop at one of the many battlefield heritage sites along the route. We ended up stopping at Spioenkop and walking the self-guided trail. Amazing views, but at that height I was also closer to the sun (this is my excuse) so I got quite burnt in the 30 odd minutes we walked around.
There were many mass grave sites and many of these crosses, most just simply saying “Here lies a brave Burger”.
It was an amazing weekend away! The Saturday seemed to go on forever which is unheard of when you’re away for such a short time. Perhaps it was the relaxing surroundings. Perhaps it was the early morning start. Or perhaps it was time spent with a lovely guy where I made the most of every minute…
It’s been several years since I last dipped my toes in the dating pool and things sure feel different now. In the past I was young and carefree and wore my heart on my sleeve. After finding love, thinking it was forever but having it end in heartbreak, has changed me and made me a little more cautious. Having met a lot of new people this year and discovering more about myself I have realised this cautiousness is completely normal but that it shouldn’t stop me from diving in again and seeing what is out there.
But here’s where the problem comes in… The dating game has changed with the advent of technology – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tinder. It is easy to “fall” for their online personality without really knowing much about him/her. You can of course also stalk a potential new interest quite easily but this skews the perception of this person and it takes all the fun out of discovering things as the relationship progresses. Now you add Tinder to the mix because you aren’t meeting anyone special through your friendship circles because you know all their friends who are married, in serious relationships, or not your type, or because you aren’t meeting anyone interesting when going out with the handful of your friends that are single. And with Tinder being only about what you look like you then need to sift between the guys that are only after one thing and those that are actually genuine about wanting to find someone special, which I suppose makes things a little easier and quicker depending on what you’re after of course.
I remember when things seemed simpler… When you would spend hours chatting and messaging (and racking up the phone bill). When you would jump in to something new without worrying about whether it would end or whether you’d be heartbroken. When I had a good grasp of guessing the person’s age and trusted my intuition. When life didn’t seem so complicated because of me over-thinking my every move.
I’ve promised myself to be a little more crazy, to letting things happen and run their course, to jumping in and showing the dating game what I’ve got.
Last weekend I decided the afternoon would be well spent by ticking off another item on my list and going to the planetarium. I have wanted to go for ages because it’s a place I have never been to because, if I remember correctly, I missed my high school outing to the planetarium because of a swimming gala or something.
I was very happy to find that the planetarium has a website which covers the shows it has over the weekend. I went to the 3pm show of the Sky Tonight which was awesome as they point out some stars you’ll be able to spot in the sky for the next week. They then also give you a printout of this star map so that you can try and find the stars yourself. (Note to self to go to the planetarium again before I have a weekend away so that I can make sure I have the printout when the stars are at their best out of town.)
If you haven’t been to the planetarium then you really should change that soon! It is situated on the Wits University premises with more than enough parking.
When you’re lead inside the domed area where the magic happens, you suddenly feel quite insignificant because the white dome seems so huge and then you stand next to the machine in the centre and feel even smaller!
The machine is on a series of gears and basically projects the stars and planets onto the dome.
The show isn’t just about stars, they also show you videos of what it’d be like if you were on Mars, what Saturn looks like, what the Milky Way looks like, etc. It really was quite interesting to see how small and minuscule Earth is compared to the rest of the solar system and our galaxy.
If I hadn’t been working at events and generally crazy busy this week then I would have loved to try and spot some of the stars in the sky. The trouble with being in a city is that you just don’t get to experience the starry skies of when you’re away. I think another road trip is in order…
This was one of the things added to my list to do this year. See what else I’ve got up to or what I plan to get up to over here!
The big Three-Oh. The start of my Flirty Thirties (or dirty thirties if you prefer). As with most birthdays I don’t feel any different. Not older or wiser, although the past year has shown me more about myself than I knew. What I have realised is that I have viewed my thirtieth birthday as more than just a birthday…it became a destination, a milestone, a point I just had to get to. Because in my mind, the arrival of my birthday would signify the end to all the bad stuff. I just needed to reach it and still be standing and then I could embrace this change, start afresh and leave the past behind. And in a way that’s what has happened. Yes there are still a few things to be sorted through before the past can be completely laid to rest, but I’m hoping that these things will sort themselves out without too much hassle and allow me to move on.
Since it’s been a tough year, and it was a big birthday, a suitable celebration had to be planned. And boy did I plan it!
I decided on a pirate theme because who doesn’t love dressing up and searching for buried treasure. (Although in this instance there wasn’t any buried treasure.) I roped my dad in months ago and told him of my plan to have a treasure hunt. Not just any ordinary treasure hunt though, one of epic proportions like the one he’d organised for a family New Year’s Eve party in 1998 where there were a few teams that have to solve a series of riddled clues situated at the house and around the area (so driving is required). My dad loves this type of thing and he later set to work in creating the most difficult and longest treasure hunt ever!
To start off with, I came up with a digital invitation using a treasure map I found online.
Then I gathered my dress up supplies and searched in my cupboard to put an outfit together.
And thought it quite hilarious to torture my sister…
I found some awesome “loot” bags for the sweetie table and the most awesome dollar bill serviettes which completed the little bit of decor I had.
An example of the crazy clues my dad put together. And this was one of the easier ones! Thank goodness I knew the area a bit and had placed siblings on the other teams otherwise we’d still be searching now…
Part of my awesome team!
Some intense pirate-face pulling towards the end of the evening…
And the best for last…my amazing treasure chest birthday cake created by my step-sister from a pic I’d sent her!
My celebration was just that…a celebration with my friends and family looking back on the past year with a sigh and looking toward the future with a smile.
Last year I wrote this post the night before my birthday and it’s in such stark contrast to this year.
I’m not sure whether I subconsciously knew that a few short weeks later my life would start changing beyond belief. But looking back now I see things much clearer. My birthday has always been a big celebration for me and reading last year’s post has really opened my eyes to how much I had changed and how I hadn’t been putting myself first. I’d compromised, which isn’t a bad thing, but in this case it was.
With everything that has happened, I vowed that this year would be one to remember. I don’t want to remember all the hurt and pain, but rather the obstacles I overcame, the strength I found within myself, and the happier me that has emerged. Like a butterfly coming out of it’s cocoon if you will.
I have been planning my thirtieth celebration for many months and I am sure it’ll be everything I hope for and more. (With my friends and family around me there’ll be no reason to doubt this.) I plan on waking up tomorrow with light, love and happiness. I plan on welcoming my Flirty Thirties with the strength, courage and wisdom I have found within me this year. And I plan on continuing to celebrate life even with the twists and turns it delivers…
So, hello Thirty! I’m no longer scared of you so give me everything you’ve got!
For the past few months I’ve been involved in the final stages of a project for a new function venue in Kramerville which was launched last week. I was brought on board because of my experience in the events industry and have been managing a lot of the admin processes. I have created cost estimate and proforma invoice templates. I have compiled the fact sheet and bar list. I have setup some social media profiles and now manage those. I am also the main point of contact for venue enquiries and handle all the venue hire quotes and bookings.
Now for those who don’t know, I technically have two jobs… Not only do I work for this new venue, I also work for the events company behind this new venue. My days are spent attending to venue-related things like quotes, site visits, enquiries, etc, and events-related things like booking staff, capturing staff timesheets, attending meetings, running events, etc. A LOT of my day is spent attending to emails coming in to my FOUR email addresses. Yes, four email addresses! I used to love the sound of a new email on my phone. Now my eyes don’t even search over to have a look. But anyway…
So although we’d had a sneak peek of the venue for select clients in August, a proper launch party was a must! Once a date had been decided on, I was tasked with putting the guest list together. I was also asked to get a list together of all the events management companies so we could add them too. It was no easy task. And I ended up having a lengthy relationship with Google’s “next” button while I trawled page after page, clicking through links to see whether the company listed did in fact organise events and if they were based in Johannesburg. The list came together and then it was time to start sending the electronic invitations off.
Unless certain guests were from the same company, each guest received a separate electronic invitation via email. This meant sending out hundreds of emails. And then having to deal with out of office replies and delivery failure notifications; calling some people to get their correct email address or following up to find out if they would be attending. So most of the guests were from the events industry, and you’d think that since they know how important an RSVP is that they would RSVP themselves… I can’t tell you how many invitees didn’t RSVP.
So the launch day rolled around and I spent the entirety of it at the venue. I was there to manage the setup and make sure everything came together for the 5pm start time. Now anyone in the industry will tell you that no event is ever complete smooth sailing. We began with contractors still painting the walls. Add to this some of our staff helping in cleaning up the venue with mops and brooms. (Hello hayfever attack!) There were two bars to stock. There were bathroom cubicles to stock with bins and toilet paper. There were napkins to fold and small handtowels to roll. There was furniture to place, caterers to manage and decor to check.
The real fun started when one of our sponsors’ furniture items were late in arriving. Murphy’s Law it would be the sponsor that we’d requested the most items from. But the adrenalin surges. You find yourself moving a heavy couch with ease. Not feeling the bashing of chairs and barstools against shins as you move furniture around. Not noticing that you actually haven’t eaten the whole day and you’re now shaking. Not realising you can hardly breathe and need your Asthma inhaler. Or how you multitask between briefing the staff on what they need to do that night and ordering other staff on where to place that chair or table.
And suddenly everything falls into place and you have a second to breathe before rushing to the bathroom to change just as the first guest arrives. Thank goodness I’d had the foresight to pack a change of clothes, some perfume and some make-up.
The launch went really well! We were lucky that the weather was on our side and we could enjoy the views from the rooftop deck. The food was great. The drinks were cold. And the waiters ensured everyone had their full of both. I was ecstatic about everyone’s excitement over the venue, particularly those that had seen the space while still under construction.
I won’t lie, I’m really excited the launch is out of the way because now I can focus on attending to quotes, following up on enquiries, managing confirmed events, and just generally keeping on top of things.
Now for some pics… These have been taken during the course of the last few months. Some from the sneak peek we had in August while it was still under construction. Some a little while later when building rubble still littered the floor. And some from the party last week.
The other weekend I joined my friend Justine at the international polo match between South Africa and the United States. I have never been to a polo match and was really excited to go.
My memory brought up images from Pretty Woman of beautiful ladies wearing gorgeous dresses, wide-brimmed hats and sexy shoes. And then I had a mild panic attack wondering what on earth I would wear!! Luckily I had bought a dress earlier this year to wear at a friend’s wedding in June. It ended up being too cold to wear it then so I have been waiting patiently to wear it and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
I paired the dress with a pair of wedges since I didn’t want to have to walk painstakingly around trying not to get my heels stuck in the grass. And I think I rocked the outfit…if I do say so myself!