Friday, 1 November 2013

Hi ho, Hi ho...

Today has a theme, and the theme is hard-core women power. Everywhere I look today, its been in my face. Now, I'm a big believer in 'everything happens for a reason' - I don't sit around navel-gazing trying to figure it all out, but I'm open to the fact that the reason will reveal itself when I'm ready to see it. So, the reason for all this awesome, uplifting fem-power in my day? It was preparing me to take a BIG dose of medicine...

I recently had a late-night, wine-fuelled conversation with a friend, in which I said some things that were really hurtful to her. I didn't say mean things, but I spewed out some nonsense that was really unsupportive of her life choices (which you can read about here). Now this is someone I have been friends with my whole life, someone I love deeply and someone for whom I certainly do want the very best - So why, oh why do her completely valid and, to be frank, utterly delightful life choices bother me so much? I knew it wasn't her, even as I was saying those things, I knew they weren't about her. Really, the problem lies with me, and that is a bitter pill to swallow.

Every day we share inspiring talks and clever memes on Facebook, we've read the book, seen the movie and bought the t-shirt - we talk the talk, but do we walk the walk?

The truth about me, is that sometimes I don't, sometimes, I judge - ugly, but true.

What I'm realising though, is that mostly it comes down to issues of my own self-worth and how I measure that. Even the fact that I want to be able to measure my worth, speaks volumes about how I value myself. Just because someone's choice wouldn't be right for me, does not make it wrong. Just because there are alternative choices they could make, does not make them better. Accepting the greyness and relativity of life is clearly a learning-curve I am still climbing. I think part of my struggle lies with the fact that I apparently need external validation. It's not that I want us to all look the same, but when my friends make similar life choices to the ones I have made, I feel validated. I have made some choice over the years that left me sitting out on a limb all by myself, and it can feel pretty cold and lonely out there - I don't like being cold or lonely. I guess it's all a matter of perspective - if I looked up, I would likely see my friend sitting out on her own branch - we are all pushing our own boundaries in some way. The trick seems to be to not allow our choices to divide us, but rather let our common goal of growth unite us. 

Since I'm being brutally honest here, I will admit that there is also an element of jealousy. Jealousy at the fact that others can make the choices I wish I could make, and still feel good about themselves. I look at my friend's life and I wonder if she is hiding her true feelings. Is she doing all these activities to fill the void? Is she secretly depressed?  Um, no - no she is not. She is truly happy and fulfilled, she is chasing her dreams, catching them and making them come freakin true! No, the person who was desperately filling the void, the person who was secretly depressed - that was me. When I took two years away from a formal 9 - 5 job (ah, yes - I've had my turn too), I was not happy. I wasn't bored, or sitting around doing nothing (anyone who thinks that SAHM's do nothing all day is retarded. That is all.), but I was not happy. I am jealous that she can be so happy doing the thing that made me so miserable. I will admit that perspective is important. She has embraced her "time off" with open arms and a glad heart, while I know I didn't bring the same lust for life and growth with me on my journey. And now that I'm older and wiser, and have a long list of all the things I would pursue given my liberty, I still fear that I would turn back into that sad little person without the sense of self-worth and formal validation I derive from my job and paycheck (however meager) at the end of each month. I hope not.

Really, I think my friend represents the next step in female evolution. She had the successful corporate career and she chose to move beyond that, to follow her dreams, not to allow herself or her sense of worth to be defined by "the man". She is making life-affirming choices on a daily basis and has taken real control of her life, without all the comforting structure that the formal employment sector offers. Her sense of self-worth comes from within and that is something to be celebrated. To me, she is the X-men of girl power, and when I grow up I hope to be a mutant too. 

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Got Milk?

As anyone who knows me will know, I am a MAJOR proponent of breast feeding and the concept of 'human milk for human babies'. That said, somewhere along the way cows milk gets introduced to our lives and we never seem able to part company - bread and milk, they are the staples, yes? uh, maybe not so much....

They other day I was sent a link to 'Milk: It does a body bad' and the information they gave got me thinking.

Then, today I watched this fantastic and inspiring TED talk by Sarah Britton, author of my favourite food blog, My New Roots. Enter the idea of MAKING my own milk - and for once I am not talking about my breasts!

And the answer my friends, are nuts, seeds and grains.

If you don't have time to watch the whole TED talk (it's about 15 minutes long) then watch this video - it really is that simple folks and if you don't want to try nuts then why not try rice milk?

Happy milking!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Being Human

So, over the weekend I managed to bash the fender and wing mirror of our car on a pillar, while reversing out of a parking bay - and my very first thought was 'Ohhhh, the Rooster is going to be SOOO angry with me'.

Coward that I am, I Whatsapp'ed him the bad news before actually arriving home, and his response was pretty much 'As long as you and Chicken little are fine, then that's all that matters and we deal with the rest later'. Needless to say, this was not the response I was expecting. When I got home he didn't even have a look at the car. I spent all evening in a state of nervous anticipation, waiting for the other shoe to drop...and it just didn't. Granted, when he did finally look at the car the next day he wasn't thrilled, but still not to the extent I was expecting. 

This got me thinking....was my fear all in my head? completely unfounded in reality? I felt like this was the fact I had to accept, that somehow I had turned my fairly mild-mannered man into some sort of monster in my head. Until this afternoon....

The Rooster and I had a very interesting conversation, in which he shared something he had been keeping from me - and why was he keeping things from me, you might ask? Because he was afraid I would be angry!  In fact, he told me the only reason he felt he could share was because I was kinda in the dog box over the car and in no position to get to upset about any misdemeanours on his part. 

Ridiculous! Here we both are, thinking that the other one expects some sort of other-worldly perfection from us, when really it's our own expectations of ourselves that has backed us into these corners. Sometimes it's good to be reminded that we are human, that we make mistakes, both intentional and accidental, and that's ok. Even if that reminder costs a few grand!

Today I am glad to be loved by, and be in love with, a human.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Product Review: Body Thrill's Face Butter

So, yesterday I gave you a brief introduction to Body Thrills, and I thought I would follow it up with a few short reviews of my favourite Body Thrills products.

First up, is the Chamomile, Lime and Almond Face Butter. Hear me when I say, THIS MOISTURISER IS AMAZING. It smells delicious, absorbs instantly, lasts forever and is perfect for sensitive skin. Both the Rooster and I love this product, and yes, my man is a metrosexual, thank you for asking.

My favourite thing about this moisturiser is the inclusion of almond oil. Almond oil is a lightweight oil, easily absorbed by your skin and, unlike synthetic moisturisers in most commercial face creams, it is more similar to the oils naturally produced by your skin. 

NOTE: If you're allergic to nuts, this is not for you, but don't worry, there are plently of other lovely products to choose from!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Body Thrills: 100% homegrown & handmade

I am a hippy.

I don't generally like labels, but this one is hard to get away from. I recycle, have a worm farm, gave birth at home, still breastfeed my 3 yr old, use a moon cup, no poo my hair and use bicarbonate of soda as deodorant. So, while I don't have dreads and I do wear shoes, I accept that I'm a hippy. However, that doesn't mean I have to be deprived!

I have written about Body Thrills before, and their products undoubtedly account for at least half of the bottles in my bathroom - the Rooster, Chicken Little and I are all huge fans! These products are all natural, preservative-free and locally hand-made. Not only that, but they have something for everyone - pregnant thrills, manly thrills, child-friendly thrills (Chicken Little loves these bath crystals) and lots and LOTS of womanly thrills!

This week Body Thrills is running some amazing winter specials (just in time for Father's Day ladies), so check it out - you will be glad you did!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A fishy experience

Ever since seeing that episode of Ugly Betty, where Wilhelmina gets a fish 'pedicure', I have wanted to try it. So I was pretty thrilled when my mum bought us a couple of groupons for a little fish therapy. 

We went to Le Fish Spa in Blouberg and I have to say, while the pedicure and fish therapy were great, the service was not. The spa was being used by a film crew, delaying our appointment by 45 minutes, for which the spa was not particularly apologetic! Also, as an aside - I am a busy working mom on a fairly tight budget, I don't often get to do pampering things, so when I do I want the full experience, so offer me a cup of tea, for crying in a bucket, or at least a glass of water! I hate looking forward to a spa experience, and then sitting there for an hour dehydrating. After all, isn't hydration the cardinal beauty rule? but I digress...

Back to the pedicure. It started with us putting our feet in a foot spa, after which our nails were filed and buffed and cuticles trimmed, followed by a foot scrub. I REALLY enjoyed the citrusy foot scrub, which both smelt and felt invigorating. Then it was into the fish tanks - eeek! Even though I was really keen to try this it still took me a couple of attempts to work up the courage to put my feet in. The tank had about 6 fish in it and they were pretty big! I'd say about 15 to 20 cm each - not exactly the little nibblers I had imagined. Once you get over the initial 'eek!' though, it's actually fine. Their little mouths feel like soft sandpaper suctions. The only time it borders on painful is if they nibble on your ankles or legs, which they do occasionally, but its not bad. Actually, worse is when they get the ticklish spots under your feet! Trying to sit still so they can do their job when your instictive reaction is to pull your foot away is actually quite challenging! So, after 20 minutes of fish time we dried off our feet and then had a short foot massage, about five minutes a foot. Again I REALLY enjoyed this part, but then my feet are very sensitive and I LOVE foot massages :)

Garra Rufa aka the Dr Fish

Overall, my verdict is that the experience was fun, but to get the most out of this therapy you probably have to do it at least bi-weekly, which can get pricey fast. I don't think I will bother to do it again, but if you get the chance to give it a try, then I say jump in with both feet :)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wild Flour

As you may or may not know, I am fairly obsessed with baking, and my current focus is all about ridding our lives of processed food. This has been an exciting and fascinating journey thus far, including much discussion about goats...

...but more on that another time.

At first my quest, to produce better than I could buy, began with bread. I buy bread, so why not just make it myself? However, once you pull the thread it all begins to unravel, and then you start asking questions about what you are making it with...

Today lets talk about flour. White powdery stuff, simple right? actually not so....

I, like most people I imagine, have been in the habit of just buying which ever brand is cheapest. I was aware of a brand of flour produced by Eureka Mills, and I knew that it was stone ground (because it said so on the bag) but I actually had no real understanding of what that meant, or how significantly different the end product can be.

Allow me to break it down for you. Modern mills generally use a large number of steel rollers to grind their flour, this results in a huge amount of heat being generated. This heat basically destroys the beneficial enzymes within the wheat. Stone grinding flour is essentially the 'old-fashioned' way of doing it - with large stone grinders. However, fewer grinders made of stone, produce far less heat than many, made of steel. Thus, the protein in the wheat is not damaged before your body can use it, making this flour much better for you.

Modern flour processing also generally contains a bleaching step. While this has been purported to produce better baked goods, it is certainly not better for the health of your body! Happily, Eureka Mills does not bleach their flour and I, quite frankly, have never noticed a significant difference in my baked goods.

unbleached flour
Eureka Mills also source all of their wheat locally, with most being grown in the Southern Cape by farmers using sustainable farming practices. These include crop rotation with legumes, so that nitrogen fertilizers need to be used much less than they would on commercial wheat farms. Therefore, better soil = better wheat.

If you care about what you eat, and are going to go to the trouble of making baked goods yourself, then you are at liberty to control what you put in your food. As such, choosing good quality products makes the best sense, both in terms of your health and your purse! It is still cheaper to buy good quality flour and make your own bread, than to buy commercially-produced bread. And honestly, there is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house.....