Wall Art & Hump Back…er…Whales?

I came across a curious sight just in front of me during a Zumba class the other day. It was a clothing label on the backside of a woman working out in front of me, right in my line of vision. Even as we bopped up and down to impossibly wiggly Brazilian moves, I was able to make out the words:


Someone needs to tell the developers of that brand that unless one looks like Elle McPherson, one can feel just a teensy bit self-conscious of one’s body in the gym – the place where one would be likely to be wearing one’s Hump Back gym gear. I mean, if anyone said to me…

“Quick! Complete the phrase: hump back… what?”

…I don’t know about you but I’d be really hard-pressed not to say “whale!” Exactly what you want to feel like in a pair of butt hugging, spandex, work out pants.

Speaking of gym, I am working up the nerve to enroll The Princess in the baby care centre at Virgin Active, for those long Saturday mornings and early afternoons when I am a cycling widow. I don’t imagine it’s going to go down at all well with The Princess so that’s why I haven’t yet plucked up the courage to do it, but I’m working on it internally…

Speaking of The Princess, I know this is not only shallow but also cheesy… but I am constantly in awe of how exquisite she is. Sigh. And I’m not the only one. On Thursday, at Clamber Club, a great big 10 month old boy bounded over to her on all fours. She was one of four girls in the group and this “little” (he looks like a mini rugby prop and weighs in at a whopping 12kg at only 10 months) made a bee-line for The Princess. Catching up with him, his mommy whispered to me that he’d gone for the prettiest of all the girls. Double sigh. The pride… I know beauty is only skin deep etc, etc, but there’s something about porcelain skinned babies and their big smiles. Or perhaps there’s something about one’s own baby. Possibly, it’s the latter, but I’m going to soak it up for now anyway. I’m going to sound about 90 years old now, but when I see teenagers, I often marvel at how so many of them make themselves oh-so hideous with their badly dyed hair and their bad, bad, bad outfits. It makes me feel very much entitled to stare at my beautiful, peaches-and-cream baby in her frilly pink and white outfits for the time being.

On another topic, I am by no means an Arts & Crafts Mom, so you won’t find too many pics of beautiful Etsy-inspired handmade baby items on this blog. I admire anyone who has the time, skill and above all, the creativity for these things. For those moms like me who can’t create themselves, there is a wonderful decor aid out there for us: vinyl wall art.

I ordered the wall art for The Princess’ nursery on-line, from Lara, the owner of Cape Town-based Pink and Posh. Here’s what it looked like on her wall:

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to stick down the fine lines of the bird cages perfectly – I should have asked one of my artsy, crafty friends for help. You need lots of attention to detail and you can’t be impatient when it comes to wall art with thin, dainty lines. If you’re like me and have messy cupboards, you’re super impatient you have no attention to detail, go for thicker, more solid wall art options. Like this design which I successfully stuck to The Princess’ other wall, also from Pink and Posh:

And these butterflies which I recently picked up from The Flower Spot/ The Party Spot in Woodmead to replace the finicky, bird cage wall art which I ruined:


So, these are my artsy/ crafty tips for the week… or maybe the month.

And now, for the words that only a South African stay-at-home mom would ever say: “Yay, yay, it’s MONDAY!” (i.e. a clean home and assistance with child-care).

Home Exec Seeks BFF

During my sabbatical, there’ve been some signs that the whole “Home Exec” thing is not exactly for me. This morning I awoke to another such sign. Overnight, the ceiling-y-thingy underneath our upstairs balcony collapsed. It collapsed in exactly the spot where The Husband spends a significant amount of time puffing on his Peter Stuyvesants. Of course I was suitably grateful that the ceiling-y-thing did not fall on his head, but it would really have killed two birds if it had fallen on a couple of hadedas (‘scuse pun). At least that would have solved one home improvement problem (apparently it’s illegal to shoot the b*ggers) so a fatal piece of falling rhinoplast would have been ideal.

“Oh, Mr Conservation Officer, there’s been a terrible accident…” Instead, nothing but more Home-Maker maintenance. Not my strong point.

On the bright side, however, “my renovator” (that’s what I’m calling him from now on, even though I only met him this morning) could not be sweeter. He’s been running to me excitedly every time he figures out yet another source of our internal waterfalls, looking like he’s cracked a code or something. He then proceeds to explain the solution in great, painstaking, slow motion-like detail. Bless. Now, I want to live in a house where I won’t get rained on while I’m watching TV as much as the next housewife, but it really is a struggle to stay animated about drainage, plaster and pipes.

Aside from the fact that project managing home improvement is not my forte, there’ve been a few other signs that full-time home-making may not be for me. Looking back, I think I began to realise this a couple of months ago. It was after I got it into my head that I needed a partner in crime to help me through this life-changing phase. I rationalised that new mothers had Mom & Snots, the baby boomers had bridge and bowls and the kugels had Tashas. But what about us child-free ladies of leisure? What did we have?

I decided I needed a friend. I just needed to find her. Shortly thereafter, I started seeing this nice, normal-looking girl at the gym in the middle of the morning. She looked about my age and she wasn’t drawling “Hiiiiiii!” to every second gym-goer. “Aha!” I thought. “A fellow outsider! And if she’s working out at 9:30 in the morning she can’t have a regular day job. Maybe we can be friends!!!”

All these thoughts were racing around in my crazy little head, but of course, I was far too cool (too shy) to introduce myself. Then, later that day, I saw her at a coffee shop at the Blubird Centre.

“Oh my God,” I’m thinking, “This is DESTINY! We’re like…TWINS! We hang out at ALL the same places! And she doesn’t have any friends either!”.

It got even better: she had a huge slice of carrot cake in front of her! “She does gym AND she eats cake – OMG, she’s PERFECT”. I’d just arrived at the coffee shop with my current best friend (who was up from Cape Town) and I didn’t want her to think I was completely loony, so I just said, half-joking, “Hey, that’s the girl we saw at the gym this morning. She obviously doesn’t have a job either. Maybe she can be my friend”.

Now, Current Best Friend (CBF) is all about the confidence. At 19, she dragged me into London bars frequented by Naomi Campbell. (Not kidding, I actually saw Ms Campbell once). CBF would walk in looking like she owned the place and, more importantly, like she was simply born to drink champers there. I, on the other hand, would be hiding behind her, praying no-one recognised me as the waitress from the Spur-style joint down the road. So Current Best Friend leant over to New Best Friend and went:

“Hey. We really should sync our schedules”.

New Best Friend looked a bit confused but Current Best Friend was undeterred:

“We saw you at the gym this morning,” she explained.

By this point I was bright red but simultaneously imagining us as mid-week pilates partners and godmothers to our unborn children. I also seemed to have swallowed my tongue but fortunately, Current Best Friend is never short of a word or two, so happily, the conversation was flowing.

As I was half-way through my speech (in my head) for her kid’s christening, we learnt that she was out from London for two weeks her best friend’s wedding.

And that she had a job – and a personal trainer (thank you very much) – in London. (The little beetch). And that’s when I realised I needed to get a life – or a job. Or more Facebook friends. For now, I’ve settled on the latter.

And yes, it’s working pretty well. Thanks for all the birthday messages Facebook friends – you’re the best!

Alarms & Shorty Pyjarms

I have to say that being on sabbatical after a December holiday really helps the back-to-school blues. Despite having trouble keeping track of the days of the week when I got back to the Big Smoke, I managed to rock up for my bi-weekly personal training slot.

At 9am.

I’ve had this decadent, late morning slot for the past 6 months but have struggled to find a training partner – go figure. So when The Iron Man (my personal trainer) asked me whether I’d like to join his A-team of female clients at 6am in the morning, I found myself saying ‘yes’. The word just flew out of my mouth without any instruction from my brain. I think my brain may still have been on South American time, which tends to be a little “behind”.

In order to make the red-eye slot, I calculated that I’d have to get up at 05:30. I also calculated that to get 8 hours sleep (another New Year’s Resolution which is danger of being struck off the list for non-implementation) I’d need to be asleep by 21:30. And so, on Monday night, I dutifully climbed into bed really early and willed myself to sleep. I then fell into a a state somewhere between slumber and alertness, with my mental alarm going “FIVE THIRTY! FIVE THIRTY! FIVE THIRTY!” Needless to say, when that delightful hour finally rolled on, I felt like I’d been hit by a TGV. It was, after all, the crack of dawn so I figured the gym would be a morgue and I figured I could roll out of bed and stumble through the doors without so much as a smidgeon of mascara.

Apparently not.

Who would’ve thought it but Melrose Arse was positively heaving. Even the normally ultra-calm Iron Man was in overdrive. I was hustled to the step machine with the A-teamers and told to “warm-up quickly!”

Jeez, dude. There was none of the customary “hey, how’re you doing, how you’re feeling”. Which was just as well since I would have launched into a long lament over my lack of sleep, how the red eye slot might not be for me after all, etc, etc, etc. But none of the A-teamers had spoken a word so far, so I felt compelled to shut my mouth and to try and imitate their seemingly effortless pull-ups. Each of the girls was even tinier than the first and when The Iron Man did eventually initiate some conversation it was about their marathon training programmes.

“Ja, you need to be doing about 20-30km per day,” he was saying. WTF? (Mind you, I have also heard him say that he “chats to Lance” (Armstrong) on Facebook, so perhaps some of his assertions need to be taken with a pinch of salt.)

Then I learned that super sexy A-Team Member 1 has given birth to two kids and that A-Team Member 2 is in her early forties and five-months pregnant with her third kid. I think the three of them (2 A-teamers plus 1 unborn baby) collectively weigh less than I do.

Suddenly, in my semi-sleepless hungover state, I got the Iron Man’s plan for me: competition. I decided to chill out and just enjoy the work-out. The great thing about Melrose Arse is that no matter how gruelling one’s programme, the characters that frequent the place provide you with priceless entertainment. My current fave is what I’ve termed the “shorty pyjamas”. A few of the guys wear the tiniest, teeniest little pairs of shorts imaginable. I’ve seen similar proportions on Clifton beaches, but these are even better, because they’re nice and loose – they let the breeze in. And then a loose T-shirt is worn so it’s impossible to tell, for sure, how high the shorts have been pulled up. The whole ensemble is just a beaut. The best is – it cracks me up and improves my mood every single time. Bring on the pull-ups!