Adventures in Adult Braces: October 2017

So I had my latest torture session with my orthodontist and I am once again left with tender teeth and a seriously bummed out spirit.

I just want this damn thing to be over and done with now. I’m so over it. I had a random thought while my teeth were being yanked on. I think I’m really stupid for paying someone to cause me physical pain every six to eight weeks. This though was followed closely by: “If I ever have to go through this again I am just going to have all my teeth pulled and fake ones put in.”

On the whole, the feedback was positive. The way my back teeth interlock is now perfect. This was the whole reason for getting such an intensive treatment in the first place. so that’s good. My Dr has even seen a difference in my gumline and I can see from my before photos that my face has changed ever so slightly.

The bone of contention is that my orthodontist thinks that the way my top overlap my bottom teeth is off and he is working on creating more separation there. I’m not sure how he expects to get this right as this is the way my teeth have always been for as long as I can remember.

According to the doctor, I am on track to have the braces removed early next year. Then he said sounding ever so pleased with himself ‘March/Aprilish’. Now that is not early next year. That is a third of the way through next year. There is a huge difference. Early in the year in January, maybe February. early March at a push. But April? April is the second quarter. It also marks being in braces for two years! I was told this was an 18-month treatment. I am very annoyed.

This whole process has been very much like renovating a house. The construction company gives you the quote and a time frame then spends the entire time you’re building pushing the finish date further and further back. All the while you cannot see what they have done to justify this because whenever you do a site inspection nothing looks to have changed.

This month I also got these lovely, comfortable (#sarcasm) wires wrapped all around my top teeth – every. single. tooth. Yay for me. I also got a larger gauge wire for the bottom teeth and have to wear elastics day and night again. So over it.

A small spark of good news is that at least the bloody things are paid for now and I get to go back in November for more torture.

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Willow’s Two year swim lessons anniversary

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Willow and I recenlty celebrated our two year anniversary of swimming lessons at Little Fishes swimming school in Bryanston.

Every week I am blown away by her progress. It has been so much fun to watch her grow and develop, get more and more comfortable in the water and have a ball while doing it.

I am asked quite a lot why we started swimming lessons so early. The first thing that comes to mind is that I didn’t want her to be scared of the water. Living in South Africa, we spend most of the year around the pool. Our summers are long and hot, our winters are short and a lot of our social activities take place outside and near water. I wanted to make sure she was comfortable in the water and knew what to do in the event that she should fall in.

But during our journey, I have seen so many other added benefits.

It’s very social. She has some special friends at swimming lessons that she has been swimming with pretty much since the beginning. It is also social for me. When she was very young it was a great reason to get out of the house, see some people and have some interaction with other moms.

It is incredibly strengthening. Willow’s core is incredibly strong. Swimming is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of hard work. She can climb in and out of the pool all by herself now and that takes a lot of strength for a toddler. I think it helped a lot with her crawling, walking and coordination as well.

It tires her out. Swimming is the only structured outing we have every week, but in the beginning, we would do two lessons of swimming a week and one session at Clamber club. These activities were great for letting Willow play and get her energy out. I have always found that she slept really well on these days. I just make sure I balance it out with lots of rest and free play so that she’s not overscheduled.

Willow’s swimming teacher is incredibly happy with her progress and there is talk of graduating her to the next class in the next few months. It won’t be until she’s ready, what I love about the Aquatots program is that each skill is built upon the foundations they have been instilling since the beginning and moves at the child’s pace.

She holds her breath beautifully and is self-propelling through the water. What is really cool is that she does so in a forward motion with her head down and her body in a straight line. According to her teacher, this is actually really hard to teach kids.

Willow can jump into the water, spin around, come up to the surface and grab onto the wall. It’s one of her favourite games.

She is also experimenting with floating which freaked me out a little bit (She holds her breath and floats face down in the water for a few seconds). She is basically swimming; she just doesn’t have the strength needed to get from one side of the pool to the next.

At the moment we’re working on coordinating her arm and leg movements and refining her propulsion. This has been a lot for her to learn. She’s got the kicking part down pat but struggles to kick and use her arms at the same time.

I’m really proud of her progress and I love that she enjoys it. She is always asking to go swimming and to see Teacher Monica. She also can’t wait to get into her swimming costume and climb into the water each lesson.

I would absolutely do this again with my next child. It’s a vital skill to have and I have seen how much Willow has benefitted from it.

 

Life lately: September 2017

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Wow, long time, no blog. In all honesty, I have been writing quite a few blog posts, but I wasn’t sure if people really wanted to read about me wittering on about stuff, so they never really made it onto the blog.

We’ve had a mixed bag this month. Some of it was really good, some of it was a lot harder than I anticipated. But I suppose that’s life, isn’t it?

We’ve been blessed with some great weather. Johannesburg bypassed spring and jumped straight into summer. Willow and I have already been in the pool a couple of times, the garden looks fantastic and we’ve had some rain! It makes my heart really happy.

Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to lately.

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Willow seems to be getting a handle on the whole potty training thing (I always knock wood when I say that. I’m not a superstitious person, but I really don’t want to jinx this.) It was both an easy experience and really, really hard. I can’t quite explain the dynamic. We have struggled a bit with number 2s in the toilet – this situation was the cause of the majority of our accidents. But in the past few days, she seems to have turned a corner. She’s made a number 2 in the toilet a few times now and I think she’s learning to anticipate it now. I was speaking with her teacher the other day who says she is one of the children in her class who has clicked with potty training the best and they have paired her up with other children who need to see what to do. That makes me really proud of her.

She’s also doing incredibly well at swimming. Her swimming teacher wants to graduate her out of the Aquatots programme into ‘big’ swimming lessons in the New Year. So we’ve been put in the advanced class. She gets so excited about going under the water and can propel herself really well. She’s learning to coordinate her kicking and paddling with her arms and she’s working on learning the basics of diving. It’s all very exciting to watch.

I’ve been really getting into my sewing and have made a few garments I am incredibly proud of. I’m working towards building a completely handmade wardrobe. It’s a lot of fun to sew and so satisfying to wear something I worked hard to make. A lot of my blog posts that never got published have been about sewing. I’m pretty sure it would bore people to death, but it makes me happy.

I have also been struggling with the strange dizziness again. It leaves me feeling really sick of out of sorts (definitely not pregnant!). I’ve been doing a lot reading up on the symptoms. I know you shouldn’t but when I have an episode I can’t go to the doctor and then to go afterward and say, well, yesterday I was dizzy but now I just feel hung over and tired makes me feel really stupid.

I think they’re vestibular migraines. I get a lot of migraine symptoms: blurred vision, trouble with speech, sensitivity to light and smells on top of the dizziness, trouble walking/standing and nausea (It feels like I’m on a ship in a hurricane, being tossed about.) I often have to lie down or lean on the walls. The only thing I don’t get is the pain. I get a really uncomfortable pressure in my forehead and stiffness in my neck and shoulders. Then for days afterward I feel like I’ve done a few rounds in the boxing ring. They seem to be triggered by changing hormones and stress. I’ll definitely go to the doctor if they get worse.

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So there’ you have it. I’m pretty excited October is here. It’s my birthday month and my favourite month of the year!

Sewing project: The Florence Dress

 

I discovered Simply sewing magazine a few months ago and now I have a full blown addiction to it.

As a novice with the sewing machine (I believe we’re called sewists? What a strange word) this magazine has been beyond helpful. Every month it focuses on new techniques, discusses trends and has interviews with different creators in the industry. Plus it comes jam packed with projects to make. It’s a British magazine, so it’s a little more expensive, about R120. But if you think that a pattern runs you about R90 and more, then I feel like this all balances out.

In the first issue, I bought the discussion is all about mindful sewing – really taking your time with a project to be precise and enjoy the process of creating. The example they used was this gorgeous dress pattern that they included. The whole point was to do a sew-a-long. The pattern was divided up over two issues.

It took me ages to get my act together and buy some fabric to make it, so by the time I started both issues had been released. But the idea of mindfulness stuck with me. Especially as a beginner and I determined to take my time and get it right.

I really enjoyed working on this project. It took me almost two weeks to complete and while it’s still not perfect (I really struggle with straight seams), it is the most accurate I have ever been on a project. I’m so ridiculously proud of myself I could burst!

I used a very beautiful, floaty sateen, which was a bit of an error on my part, as it was very slippery to work with. But I found that going slowly and using a ton of pins meant that I could control things better. I can see a huge difference between my seams at the start of the project and when I finished.

I did things I have never attempted before including using interfacing, making a button placket, making and attaching a collar, making button holes and more. It was certainly a challenge to my rudimentary skills, but the instructions were well written and I was able to follow along.

I did adjust the pattern. I did it very simply so that I would stray too far from the instructions. The original pattern was a maxi length with ¾ sleeves. Living in South Africa means that spring already have 30 degree days and I knew I wouldn’t get as much wear out of a dress with long sleeves. Also, I don’t think that maxi dressed flatter me. So I shorted the skirt and the sleeves. I’m really pleased with the final result.

The dress has a bit of a 40s feel to it (at least to me) and looks lovely with a pair of nude heels and a pair of flats. I’m so, so happy!

August Empties

It’s been a minute since I last posted some empties. But I have been diligently working away at finishing up products in my stash. This post is a little bit of June, a little bit of July and a whole lot of August empties.

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Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution in Soothe and Sleep – This stuff is the bomb, if you find you’re not sleeping well, your children aren’t sleeping well or you just need a little help to unwind get some of this! A small scoop for Willow and a large scoop for me is just the ticket. I usually get mine from Dischem, but I hear there are supplier issues at the moment.

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Annique Gironky and Friends Rooibos Bubble bath – we use bubble baths are a special treat for Willow. A always makes mountains of bubbles and she loves it. This one smells really delicious. It’s supposed to be gentle on little ones’ skin, but I can’t really attest to that. It still has SLS in the ingredient list (it has to or it won’t really foam and then what is the point?). But we use it for high days and holidays and it’s fun.

Sheets masks! I have finished working my way through my Innisfree sheet masks and I need to get some more asap! This is all kinds of awesome. Having used them all now I can say my favourites are the Bamboo, green tea, rose and blackberry. I wasn’t a huge fan of the strawberry and there was one other that didn’t float my boat, but I can remember what it was now… I get mine from Kokoro Asian Market in Rivonia and they are a must have in my skin care regime. The dark package is a different brand (can’t remember which one!) in the brightening with peony root extract. It’s delicious and really hydrating to the skin. Loved it.

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Batiste Dry Shampoo in Strength and Shine – What is an empties post without a dry shampoo? I enjoyed this one. It didn’t leave my hair as gritty as other kinds have and the shine was definitely noticeable. I did find it wasn’t as effective at soaking up oils. It worked, but others have had more oomph. It did feel more gently on my hair though. I liked it.

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L’Oreal Infallible Mattifying Primer – I enjoyed this. It’s a very silicone heavy product so if you don’t like that then this is not for you. I didn’t use it for its mattifying properties so I can’t really speak to that. But I did find this kept my make up looking good all day long. It’s great under BB cream too.

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Dischem Rosewater and Glycerine – This is what I use to make my home made micellar water and it’s also great mixed with a little witch hazel for a refreshing facial mist/setting spray. I have bought many of this and will continue to do so.

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Concord Acetone free Instant Nail Polish Remover – This is a very fuss free, quick method to remove your nail polish. I really enjoy this and have bought many in the past. I need to get a new one soon. It takes the polish off really quickly. It won’t work on glitter polish though. It does dry your cuticles out a bit, but most nail polish removers will do that.

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Justine Epigran Oil Cleanser – I love this stuff and have used up many bottles in the past. It feels so silky, is excellent for your first cleanse and dissolves pretty much anything including really stubborn mascara. If you haven’t tried it yet you must.

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African Extracts Rooibos Hydrating Creamy Cleanser – I used this for my second cleanse. I didn’t see SLS on the ingredients list and it left my skin feeling soft, hydrated and clean. It’s a lovely little product available in most stores.

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L’Oreal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum – How many of these do you think I have gone through by now? I obviously love the stuff. I am using up other serums at the moment, but will definitely repurchase at a later date. I love what this does for my skin.

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LA Girl Pro BB Cream in Light/Medium – This is the post for old favourites isn’t it? I love this, have bought it many times. I am trying others, but they just don’t compare in product or in price. Will be going back for a new one soon.

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L’Oreal Infallible 24-Hour Matte Foundation in Vanilla – This is a drugstore gem. If you’re looking for a high coverage perfecting base that will last all day and look good in photos this is your guy. I used this on my friends and me for her wedding and it looked amazing in all the photos (I paired it with the primer I already mentioned). Love it.

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LA Girl Shady Slim brow pencils in Soft Brown and Taupe and essence Make Me Brow in Blondey Brows and Browny Brows – How many brow products can I squeeze into one post? These were used up over three months and I love them all. The essence products are a great dupe for benefit Gimme Brow. I will say that I used up the taupe pencil a lot faster than the soft brown pencil. I think it was a lot softer so it distributed more product with each swipe and got used up really quickly. I actually preferred the effect of the darker pencil and will repurchase that one over the taupe.

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Neutrogena Anti-Wrinkle deep wrinkle daily moisturizer – I really enjoy this range. It’s one of the few drugstore ranges that you can find with retinol in it. It always leaves my skin looking lovely. This is the first time I’ve used the day cream and I liked it. It’s a bit basic though. I’m not complaining, just thought I’d mention it.

Phew! That was a lot to get through. It always feels really satisfying to finish up and throw away products that I got every last drop out of.

 

Knitting project: Striped jersey

I have finished my striped jersey and I love it! I really enjoyed working on this project, as evidenced by the fact that it’s complete.

It was so simple, yet watching the colours come together was such a joy. I love that each time you work this project it will be completely different.

I won’t lie though, finishing it up was a real pain. There were so many ends to weave it! So many ends! But I couldn’t be happier with the final result.

The completed jersey as quite an oversized, boxy fit. I made it in extra small and it is still oversized on me. So be aware of this if you decide to tackle it yourself.

Although I mixed in a lot of different wools, the majority that I used was Elle Gold DK and it has worked into the most luxurious feeling fabric with lovely weighty drape. The jersey has a slashed neckline and dropped shoulders so there is minimal shaping required. In fact, the only shaping I did was on the sleeve at that was a few rows at best.

I am very happy to report that I finished four balls of wool while knitting this up and there are a few that are so close to finished. I really want to make Willow a jersey in a similar vein to this and I think I’ll work on those finals balls so we can finish those up too.

This is a great project and I highly recommend you give it a go.

Find the pattern here.

Friday Favourites: September 8

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It’s been a bit slow going this week. I haven’t had a bad one, I just feel like I’ve been trudging uphill all week. I could definitely do with a slow, chilled weekend!

After finishing my Florence dress I was all inspired to set up a permanent sewing space for myself. This led to some much needed decluttering and tidying up in my office/desk area. I always feel so buoyant after a good decluttering session. It feels good to clear the decks a bit. I’m really chuffed with what I have set up so far with regards to my sewing area. I have a few plans that will take some time to achieve, but until then I’m very excited to start testing it out. I think I may start a new project on the weekend.

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I also hope to continue the decluttering this weekend. We have a few cupboards that are hoarding things that we no longer need or use. I’m in a spring cleaning mood, I need to take advantage of it before it passes!

I hope you have a great weekend and get to all the things you want to do. Chat soon! xx

 

Product of the week: The Maybelline SuperStay Primer and Setting Spray have been regulars in my make up routine lately and I love the combo. The primer is very liquid yet feels silky on the skin and I really do think it helps hold onto makeup. The setting spray has an amazing nozzle that gives you a lovely big, yet super fine mist. I can practically do my whole face with one pump.

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I can’t believe how much this carpet changes the way our passage looks. I love it

Purchase of the week: What’s going on? It feels like I have a brand new house! I am definitely not complaining. Instead, I am going to celebrate the addition of this incredible carpet to our home. I love it and the personality it brings to this previously barren passage. Yay for home updates!

 

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My completed Florence Dress. I’m so proud of myself

 

Project of the week: I finished my Florence dress. I am so incredibly proud of myself! I love how the print looks and the flow and drape of the fabric makes such a pretty dress. I’m very chuffed.

 

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Willow has been very into her baby recently. She needs to be fed a bottle all the time and then gets put to bed. Its adorable

 

Random: As important as I feel it is to be patient and understanding with your toddlers you need to be patient and understanding of yourself too. This week I have been an absolute bear and poor A and Willow have born the brunt of it. I have been feeling so much guilt over it, but I have realised that it’s a sign that I need to back off a bit and give myself some TLC. I’ll try to do better in the future.

Best Moment: Finishing my dress, sitting outside in the sun while Willow plays quietly on the patio and celebrating my friend’s 30th with her and all out mates.

 

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Willow’s ‘cheese’ face. She asked me to take this photo because she looks ‘so cute’ her words!

 

Looking forward to: Willow being completely potty training. It’s been challenging so far. She’s doing pretty well I think, but it’s hard not to get frustrated when she has an accident, especially when it’s just a few minutes after she was on the toilet or if I asked her if she needs to go and she says no.

September 2017 goals

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What is the saying? If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans? That pretty much sums up August for me.

I started out with the best of intentions, but then life happened. The whole family was ill, we struggled to get our routine in order and I eventually felt like I was operating in survival mode. As a result, the goals were put to the side in favour of things like sleep and recovery.

But things seem to have settled down now and I am ready to tackle September with enthusiasm and optimism.

In terms of last month’s goal, I didn’t take a Skillshare class, I didn’t really sew. But I was moderately successful at going to bed earlier, I did finish my striped jersey and I ate breakfast 80 to 90% of the time. I’m celebrating those small victories!

For September I would like to:

Make progress on my purple jersey – I have been whittling away at this and it feels really good. I have some renewed enthusiasm for this project on the back of my high that I get from finishing something. I want to capitalise on this feeling.

Complete 1 sewing project mindfully and carefully – Mindfulness is the name of the game. I want to really appreciate the journey of the project. I am still learning and get caught up in the enthusiasm of the new project. By taking extra time and care I hope to end up with a superior quality product.

Keep to my cleaning routine for one whole month! See the long story about being ill above. The house has looked better and I have a severe case of the lazies right now. I need to make it a priority.

Practice yoga three times a week – The same case of the lazies has affected how active I have been lately. I feel like three times a week is manageable.

 

The bed wetting struggle

I don’t know why I haven’t written about this until now. I think I’ve just been so deep in dealing with the issue that it just didn’t occur to me to turn it into a blog post.

For a few months now we have been struggling with Willow soaking through her nappies at night. I have done a lot of reading about it and apparently, it’s pretty common for toddlers to do this for a number of reasons. Sometimes they have just outgrown their nappy and need to go up a size, sometimes they just need a more absorbent night time nappy and sometimes they take in too many liquids at night time. Willow falls into the last category.

It would have been a very easy fix if all we needed to do was to put her in a night time nappy or go up a size, but no. My toddler has made her bottle her security object and can’t fall asleep without drinking large amounts of water. I knew for a long time that this was the problem, but I felt so bad about taking away the item she has attached herself to that I just put it off.

The final straw came when I was changing yet another set of soaked through sheets one morning. It dawned on me that she isn’t even potty trained yet and it was completely unnecessary at this stage for me to be changing the sheets every morning.

Willow hasn’t been sleeping well and has been waking up cold and uncomfortable. We then have a battle over changing the nappy because she just wants comfort, but she’s soaking. It just makes us all grumpy. So it needed to change.

So I finally bit the bullet and read up on how to handle this. There are a few methods on how to limit liquid intake at night. But the only one that would work for us was a cold turkey. Usually, I prefer to slowly reduce the amount of time or amount of liquid in the bottle, but once she’s had her ration she was just going to shout and cry for more water which I was just going to deny her anyway. So I decided to just not give her the water.

At bedtime that night I explained to her that from now on she can’t have water in her bottle because it makes her have accidents. Now if she wants water she can ask and I will bring it to her in a cup. Well, let me say right off the bat that this did not go down well.

She drank her milk and then wanted water. We explained the situation again. She screamed and cried. I went into her room gave her the cup of water and she took a few sips. Then I cuddled her a bit and put her back into bed. And we started the process all over again. I fell back on our sleep training methods of waiting longer and longer intervals before going back into her room.

Eventually, she fell asleep at around 8.30pm, which is not too bad all things considered. She also slept like a log all night long – there was no whining or whimpering after she had fallen asleep. In the morning, even though her nappy had been used she was dry and comfy and in a much better mood. Success!

Since then the going to bed has been easier, but not smooth sailing. WE have to explain over and over again that she can’t have water in a bottle, only from the cup. She calls us in multiple times for water and I wait longer and longer between visits. I can usually distinguish when she really wants the water versus stalling tactics. I give her the benefit of the doubt a few times then I tighten the reigns. Is it wrong, is it right? Truthfully I don’t really know.

So far this had gone on for about 15 or so minutes – usually about three visits. Then she falls asleep. She has been sleeping soundly all week, getting up between 6 and 6.30 am. And she hasn’t soaked through a nappy once since!! Celebrations. I’ll continue to minitor the situation, but I feel like we mat be rounding a corner.

Friday Favourites: September 1

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The big news this week is that our potty training journey is officially beginning. I had to take Willow to go buy big girl underwear and the school is going to start training next week.

I don’t know if I’m ready for this. It feels like Willow is growing up too fast! I am very grateful that the school is guiding us through this process as I have no idea where to even start. Interesting times lie ahead, I wrote a blog post about my feelings here.

I have been really productive this week and it feels so good to be back on my feet and busy in a good way. I have got some awesome momentum built up now. I’m trying to capitalise on this good mood. The house is clean and almost tidy, healthy dinners have made it to the table in good time, I have made time for my hobbies and have been able to spend some quality time with my family. It’s been a really good week.

I hope that you have a great weekend. Chat soon! xx

 

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My mirror/shoe cupboard. Plus my awesome jeans from Pick n Pay

 

Product of the week: I was pretty spoilt last week. A bought me this incredible mirrored shoe cabinet for our bedroom. I have been complaining about the lack of a full-length mirror in our bedroom and he certainly delivered! We got this from Takealot.com. It’s pretty fantastic. It stores 30 pairs of shoes! This also means I have been able to tidy up not only this mess but also the shoe situation in Willow’s room. Celebrations all round.

Purchase of the week: I have two purchases I want to discuss this week, to make up for the lack of one last week. The first being these incredible embroidered jeans from Pick n Pay. So comfy, so pretty and perfect for spring!

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The second purchase is this nifty coffee pod holder which I found on neatfreak.co.za. It fits snugly underneath our Nespresso machine and fits four full sleeves of Nespresso pods. It helps so much to cut down on counter clutter. We used to use a counter top holder but it took up so much space. This is a much better solution.

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Project of the week: This week I have slowly but surely been working on making a dress. I purposefully didn’t want to rush the process and I am so glad for the extra care that I have taken with it. It is coming together so beautifully.

Random: I have been obsessed with my garden lately. It is looking so good at the moment and I have done a bit of reorganisation, tidying and new planting for spring. I’m trying my hand at herbs this year and so far so good. I have taken to sitting out here while I eat my lunch. It is so peaceful and a lovely way to recoup in the middle of the day and gather the energy to power through my afternoon.

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Best Moment: Spending time in the garden with my friend on Saturday. I love digging around in the dirt and being able to create a new garden from scratch was pretty rewarding. We still have a few things to do, but this garden is going to develop beautifully. I’m quite excited to see it happen.

Looking forward to: Spending time with my friends at  T’s 30th birthday party on the weekend. It feels like its been ages since we all got together!