From funny Twitter accounts to conversations with strangers, here are a few things that have been adding value to my life lately.
Walking/commuting to work
Apart from the fact that settling into my new job as digital editor at Cape Town Partnership has been an all-round enriching experience, I’ve really been enjoying the necessary and mundane act of getting to-and-from work everyday. In my first week I took the MyCiti bus exclusively, but when a colleague mentioned how he walks from Three Anchor Bay most days, I decided to give it a shot too.
According to Google Maps, the distance I cover one way (from Sea Point to Bree Street) is about 3.7km, all gloriously flat and easy along a dedicated pedestrian/bike path. Taking me between 30 and 40 minutes, I’ve used the time to catch up on podcasts, discover new music (Silly Things by Wild Child has been on repeat) and rediscover old favourites (Saves the Day, Radical Face and AFI stand out in particular). I’ve also noticed how walking gives you a chance to really organise your thoughts for the day/evening in a way that driving in traffic never could. Plus, I am now at the point where I can tell how late/early I am for work by who of my now-familiar fellow foot soldiers (coming from the opposite direction) I encounter where along the way.
On the odd days when I still hop on the bus or in a taxi, I’ve been blessed with some truly enriching conversations and interactions with strangers, something Austin Kleon recently also highly recommended doing every once in a while.
These three Twitter accounts
In Buenos Aires there is a ray of light which is reading a newspaper.
— Magic Realism Bot (@MagicRealismBot) September 17, 2016
A couple of years ago I discovered the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende and Salman Rushdie and fell head over heels in love with magic realism. Imar is well aware of this little literary obsession of mine and alerted me to Magic Realism Bot, a glorious Twitter account that writes a magical story every two hours.
4: I'm ready.
Me: Did you brush your teeth?
Me: Your hair?
Me: What did you do?
4: Put on princess socks.
— James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn) September 20, 2016
James Breakwell is the dad of four adorable daughters aged between 9 months and six-years-old. He tweets hilarious snippets of conversation from his home life and also has a rocking Snapchat account with more of the same!
We only rate dogs. Pls stop sending in non-canines like this Mongolian grass snake. This is very frustrating. 11/10 pic.twitter.com/22x9SbCYCU
— SpookyWeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) February 19, 2016
The #1 source of and global authority on dog rating. It’s very important that you follow them too.
Taking better care of myself
As I mentioned in my blog post about turning 30, I haven’t been the best at looking after my skin, hair and body over the past decade. Now that I am starting to see the signs of ageing, I’ve realised that while I can’t turn back the clock, I sure can try making it tick a tiny bit slower. So, I recently decided to cut down on sugar, carbs and dairy, while upping my intake of fresh fruit & veg, protein and water. While the effects might not be visible to others, I must say I’m feeling really good – my sinuses are clearer, my skin is way less prone to breakouts and I don’t feel nearly as flabby as I did a month ago.
Apart from this, I’ve also started investing more in my skincare routine – toners, serums, scrubs, eye creams and primers are now part of the daily regime, so is full-body dry brushing and proper eyebrow maintenance (eyebrows are important, yo!). As you can see from the picture above, I’m very much in an experimental phase with products right now and also determined not to spend a fortune. Justine is an old favourite, but unfortunately the Mattifying Range I use has been discontinued. Just my luck. So I’ve turned to Faithful to Nature in search of alternatives and feel rather chuffed with my finds so far: Angel Factory face wash, Bee Natural Gentle Face Scrub & Rehydrating Face Balm and The Victorian Garden Firming Eye Serum.
Hair care is something I haven’t quite cracked yet – I just can’t seem to find products that really work for me. So, if you know of anything that works well for someone with a lot of hair that tends to look a bit limp at the roots and fluffy at the ends, help a sister out?
Experimental eating and cooking
Since I’ve adjusted my eating habits, I’ve also had to change the way I prepare and cook meals. While work lunches used to consist of slapped-together sandwiches (or expensive and unhealthy takeaways from all around town), I am now a pro at constructing delicious, fresh salads and religiously packing healthy snacks like nuts and sunflower seeds.
Similarly, breakfasts now lean toward boiled eggs, smoothies and oats, rather than uninspiring sugary cereals. Dinners are my real playground, however, as I’ve had to steer clear of usual staples (pasta, cous cous and wraps) and experiment with recipes that emphasise the use of veggies and a mix of meat/fish/eggs.
Picnics on the promenade
Instead of catching up over a glass (read: bottle/s) of wine at one of Cape Town’s many overpriced bars/restaurants, Marli and I decided to have a little picnic on the promenade last week. We sat down with an array of healthy snacks and soon found ourselves the main attraction among the lively dog population (to their humans’ utter frustration). Best. Idea. Ever! We’ll definitely be doing more of those as summer approaches.
I never post stories and I hardly follow anyone, but Snapchat filters are one of my daily joys! They’re light-hearted and fun and really bring back a childlike sense of humour that most other social media seems to lack.
Not being in a long distance relationship anymore
It’s been really nice having Guillaume just a stone’s throw across the Boerewors curtain, rather than 300km up the N2. He’s working super hard to get his landscaping business off the ground, which involves putting in hours and energy that he doesn’t always even have. So, our situation isn’t a walk in the park, but we manage to do fun stuff and enjoy some quality time as often as we can.
Fun, feminine fashion
Frills, floral prints and bare shoulders. Sign me up for wearing clothes this summer!
But seriously, my wardrobe is in dire need of an overhaul… and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Apologies to any male readers who may be slightly squeamish about these sorts of things, but I just have to share. Ladies with periods, this is for you. After my cousin told me how getting a menstrual cup changed her life, I decided to give it a try too, since I seriously loathe the discomfort of pads and tampons. So, I headed on over to Faithful to Nature once again and purchased a Goddess Cup. It’s reusable, discreet, eco-friendly and could last up to five years if you look after it properly. So toss away those disposable sanitary items for good, this little invention has you covered!
Apart from the fact that investing in a menstrual cup has really made my periods way more bearable, I firmly believe they can help change the world. Why? Well there are thousands of young girls out there who end up skipping school for an entire week each month, because they just can’t afford the feminine hygiene products the rest of us take for granted. Fortunately, the ladies behind the locally-produced Mina Cup are on this already – go check out their Thundafund campaign and help keep our girls in school!
Late afternoon light in my flat
It’s beautiful and melancholy and takes my breath away every day.