The Dangers of Housewives Alone in Coffee Shops

I confess that I am not used to strange men approaching me in coffee shops. This happened a few weeks ago when I was replying to some e-mails in a coffee shop in Benmore while The Princess was at school. I’d walked in and seen only one table with three casually dressed guys who appeared to be in the midst of a business meeting. I’d deliberately chosen the table furthest from these guys so as not to fall prey to accidental eavesdropping.

Whilst fully immersed in all-important, housewife admin on my I-pad, I sensed that a figure had approached my table and I heard a deep voice say:

“Howzit, doll,”

I could not believe the audacity of this man and began lifting my head with the full intention of blurting out:


But as I looked up, something stopped me and I realised that I would have deeply offended (or amused) our good friend Erik, who relocated to Windhoek six months ago.

I had to remind myself that not too many men want to pick up a chick who’s eight months pregnant – at all – and certainly not at ten in the morning in a coffee shop.

This past week, however, “it” happened again. I was sitting at a table outside at Europa, Melrose Arch, guiltily devouring actual sushi with raw salmon and everything. (I was busy convincing myself that French women eat unpasteurised cheese – and probably don’t give up coffee, cigarettes or wine either – throughout pregnancy, so what was a bit of sushi between me and the 3.2kg buffeltjie still apparently growing in my tummy? He’d survived 30 Stopayne tablets the week before so I was sure he’d survive a bit of raw fish…)

I was looking down at my food when I caught a glimpse of a strange man approaching my table. From my experience with Erik, I’d learnt that it was unlikely he was trying to pick me up, so I was a little more pragmatic this time. Was he a husband coming to chastise me for eating sushi at 38 weeks pregnant? I felt slightly unnerved…

“You look like someone who’d know this,” he began. “Is there a spa in Melrose Arch?”

I guess you can take the girl out Keurbooms and put her in Sandton, but you can’t take Keurbooms out of the girl: when someone in a shopping centre asks me if there’s a spa around, I think of the Spar.

I was about to respond,

“No, sorry, there’s only a Woolies.”

But then I caught sight of my newly pedicured feet, clad in open-toed, bedroom slippers on loan from the Melrose Arch Spa. I also noticed that my “suitor” looked like the quintessential metro-sexual. He’d noticed my red nails and toes as opposed to my face – a face which still lives in fear of Botox, can’t be bothered with facials and which boasts bushy, dark eyebrows which I’m too afraid of waxing for fear the therapist will virtually denude me of any eyebrows to speak of.

I may feel more at home in a Spar than in a spa but at least I had fabulous red nails and toes which The Princess took note of immediately when I fetched her from school:

“Mommy’s nails are RED!” she announced.

That’s my little Sandtonite girl! 🙂

Old Age, Skin Peels & Bubbly

The Husband, The Princess and I arrived in Cape Town on Sunday night and spent yesterday meeting up with old friends from the Cape Town phase of our lives. Two of The Husband’s friends had also recently celebrated their 40th birthdays and The Husband and these two friends had all experienced turning 40 as “nothing to celebrate – we’re just getting older”. Fortunately, they got over themselves and ended up celebrating in various ways to mark the occasion.

Although you think you know everything and your mother knows nothing when you’re growing up, my mother had certain mini mantras that she liked to remind me. Two of these related to growing older. One was: “You can’t put an old head on young shoulders” and the other was: “Youth is beauty”. Although I rolled my eyes at these statements throughout my childhood and teenage years, deep down I somehow knew she was right. And her words have stayed with me.

I don’t know if this is the reason I don’t mind getting older as much as other people claim they are horrified by it. Don’t get me wrong, I completely fear my body and mind failing me in my eighties or whatever, but for now, I am young, I feel young and I don’t see every birthday as a step closer to – God forbid – “getting old”.

One thing that totally horrifies me – and I am going to sound like I am completely contradicting myself now – is the wrinkles around my eyes. I think the reason I so loathe them is that they seemed to appear overnight. And that was seven years ago. I was only 26 and I had never, ever in my life attempted to tan my face. (This was also thanks to one of my mother’s mantras: “your face is your fortune”. Of course, I’m still waiting for that multi-million dollar Ford modelling contract that would make my mother’s mantra come true…).

Anyway, one day, I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror whilst I was smiling or laughing and there they were: huge, obvious crease lines. And I repeat, I was only 26. So, a few years ago I asked my dermatologist if there was anything I could do about this. I trusted that he would not be fooled by some modern claim that was actually B.S. because he had told me that there was honestly nothing that science had come up with to date to prevent stretchmarks – literally, no cream or potion on the market could actually do what it claimed when it came to stretchmarks. So when I brought up the wrinkles question, I nearly fell off my chair when he casually replied “botox”. I really thought botox was for “those other people” who lie on sunbeds and don’t think they’re harming their skin. I never, EVER expected my dermatologist (who practically cured my life-long struggle with eczema and whom I consider to be some sort of demi-God) to recommend botox. The truth is, he wasn’t really recommending it, he was simply telling me that if the wrinkles around my eyes bothered me that much, there was actually something I could do about it.

I can’t claim that I have yet had the courage to book a botox session but I what I have come to realise is that it’s a hell of alot more mainstream than I ever thought it was and that millions of women are doing something about their wrinkles, whilst I just moan about mine.

I have, however, learnt about something that’s apparently alot gentler than botox: skin peels. I’m told that one of the benefits of skin peels is that they “reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles”. Sounds good to me, although I’m sure this is old news to most thirty-something girls who are in the know about these types of things. If you’re one of those girls and you’re based in Jozi, I recently heard about a skin peel special from one of my high school friends. Basically, if you try a peel at R550 and you fall in love with the results and go on to buy a series of five peels, you only pay R2,200 for the five peels, instead of the normal R2,750. That means a saving of R550 which can buy you six bottles of Krone Borealis bubbly currently on special at Woolworths for 89.95. How cool is that for a girlie Christmas pressie to self?

For details on the Linksfield plastic surgery practice running the skin peel special, click on this link: