Reasons to write

Writing about beauty and fashion on social media makes me a dime-a-dozen. There are probably hundreds of thousands of lifestyle and beauty blogs out there, and it seems like every blogger has their own special recipe to ensure their voice is heard.

As for me, I honestly don’t have a recipe or a strategy. I don’t have a team of content creators or developers, and I often sit, staring at my laptop in frustration when I find mistakes on the blog that I have no idea how to fix. I depend on my friends and my network to get my work “out there” and I hope that someone sees what I create, and something small resonates with them.

I sketch this picture because it is part of the message I have in mind when I write. If you told me 5 years ago that I would be writing about fashion and beauty in such a public way, with my own name attached to my work, I would laugh because I have never been so scared of anything in my life!

But this is why I write!

I write to share my vulnerability. To show others that it is good to pursue your dreams, even when they don’t amount to what society sees as success. I write because I have confidence issues with my looks, my body, my personal style, yet I know that I am more than the total of my issues combined.

I write because I HATE seeing social media flooded with pictures that fill women with the need to have perfect eyebrows and fake lashes each day to somehow be of value to the world. I review products honestly, because I buy them and I will not make grand claims about something that is hyped up on social media just for the sake of popularity.

I write to send one small voice of kindness into a world filled with so many beautiful people who mostly believe they are not. I write because no one can ever accuse me of perfection and that gives me approachability.

In writing, and sharing and snapping away, I want to speak to you, whoever you are, wherever you are in life. I want to be a voice of reason, someone who says that it’s ok to splurge on a new pair of shoes, but it’s not ok to squander your hard-earned money to fit in with a society that is obsessed with buying things to be worthy.

I create so others can find their own inspiration in my work, so I can nudge you to take the step in whatever direction your heart is pulling you. I create for my friends, for young girls on the verge of womanhood, for ladies who are unsure about their “mom-bodies” and women who are underrepresented in mainstream media and fashion.

I stand for valuing you as a person with a heart and soul before valuing you as a body that needs to be posed and plucked and perfected at any cost.

I believe that each and every woman can be her own brand of beautiful wearing whatever makes her happy. But more importantly every woman should feel beautiful underneath the clothing and make-up. I would be the happiest lady alive if every woman can find her perfect shade of lipstick and her ultimate skinny jean.

Will you join me on your own journey in finding your beautiful?

 

Photo credit: Simone Franzel  (I cannot recommend her highly enough for any occasion photography. Find her work at http://www.simonefranzel.com/)

 

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10 Ways to stay productive when you are sick

I have been planing a new design and stream of posts since January which I hoped to publish on the 1st of March. Clearly, that did not happen and the main reason is that I am an awfully good procrastinator, but also, I have been sick!

My husband and I both came down with a bout of summer flu and it has stuck with us for a while. We have been trying to shake it off but it is so difficult to get better while life goes on. We still had to feed our pups, go to work and honour our commitments, so things have been a little chaotic in our house.

This first post is going to get you through it if you are in the same boat, whether you are recovering from flu or need to rest and recuperate after minor surgery. Please remember, these are just tips and you should always consult your doctor for professional medical advice.

That being said, here is how I keep myself going when I am bogged down by some kind of ailment.

 

Get up and take a shower

I know it sounds hard and it may be awful but taking a shower and putting on clean clothing will already make you feel better. When I feel under the weather, I always try to maintain my routine because lounging around is great but doing it in dirty clothes when I am less than presentable actually makes me feel worse. All you need is a quick shower and a change of clothes to avoid crashing on the couch smelling and looking like a zombie. You can even comb your hair and tie it back if you have the energy to do it

Eat a decent meal

This sounds like a no-brainer but I can’t count how many times I have stopped eating when I got sick. You may not feel like preparing a meal or your appetite may be non-existent but now is not the time to starve your body. You will need the energy to power your body to fight. Recovery is very hard work for your immune system so fuel it by eating properly

Pace yourself

Don’t try to work at your normal pace. You will be slower and things will feel like they are dragging on forever, but it is important to remember that you need rest and by trying to maintain your normal pace you will only end up exhausted and frustrated. Do some work, rest a little, snack on something and then get back to work

Do things you never get around to

All those awful admin tasks that are completely brain-dead are the perfect things to do when you are not at your best. I can never sit still so these mundane tasks get thrown by the wayside, but when I am not at my best, these tasks are often on my to-do list simply because they are not super exciting and they won’t take a lot out of me. The perfect example would be unsubscribing from newsletters you really didn’t want in the first place (Google Unroll.me to see all your subscriptions and unsubscribe in a flash!)

Sleep! a lot!

I can’t stress this enough! Sleeping is essential to your body and the more you sleep, the quicker you will feel better. If you are not used to taking a nap during the day you might find it hard to fall asleep. Crash on the couch in front of the TV and switch on a show that is only mildly interesting, this always helps me to drift off

Keep hydrated and eat healthy snacks

When you are taking medicine, your body needs the extra water to metabolise the chemicals. Your liver will thank you for drinking lots of water. Same goes for snacking. Don’t immediately reach for all the junk you can find. This will give your body another problem to deal with when fighting to recover

Check and re-check any important work you have been doing

Even better, get someone to check your work. Feeling sick often affects our ability to concentrate and mistakes can easily set in. If you are working on something really important, double check your work and ask someone else to take a look. This way, you are ensuring that you don’t end up doing work you will later have to redo

Plan ahead

Planning is a great way to be productive in your down-time. It forces you to sit down and think about what needs to happen. It also helps you to be more realistic in setting goals for yourself because it is hard to overestimate yourself when you feel sick

Move around a bit

Please don’t hit the gym when you are feeling sick! All you need to do is to get up from your spot now and again to get some fresh air and to move your muscles a bit. Being stationary for too long will lead to cramps and pains

Do something to lift your mood

Watch a good movie, phone a friend or get crafty. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as the activity is not too strenuous and you are having a good time. When you enjoy yourself you will feel more positive and that will motivate you

 

Do you have any great ideas for being productive when you are not at your best? Be sure to share them with me!

 

Book review: 50 People who stuffed up South Africa

First, let me start off by saying that I am not an avid reader of political commentary in book form. I am not well read in this category and cannot by any measure call myself an expert on political or social aspects in this specific landscape. You’ve been warned.

That being mentioned, I am amazed by how much I enjoyed this book. It is written by Alexander Parker and the illustrations are so magnificently provided by Zapiro.

This collection of short insights on the most infamous and damaging contributors to South African history is a to-the-point commentary on the many men and women who have etched deep markings into our history. In the 200 odd pages, the gloves come off in the most astute manner, touching on Lords, Ladies and Losers alike.

Parker does an amazing job of drawing the reader into a web of misfortunes ranging from the early evils manifested in the likes of the Lords Carnarvon, Milner and Kitchener to the modern muppets of mayhem such as Julius Malema, Steve Hofmeyr and the minibus taxi driver.

What stuck with me while reading this book were the recent happenings in the social landscape of South Africa following the ongoing protests on university campuses all over the country and I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer some of these insights would’ve been if Parker had been writing them today (I am looking at you, Cecil John Rhodes on pages 130 through 135). Reading this book six years after the initial publication, I am thinking that there must be another volume due any day now (is there another one I haven’t noticed?). In 2012 Alexander Parker followed this title with 50 Flippen Brilliant South Africans, which I am still to devour, but I do hope that Parker continues in this line of assault and revelry of South African popular history.

We are currently in a very stuffy political and social climate in South Africa and I have found this book to be a breath of fresh air, blowing out some very dense clouds of nonsensical drama that hangs over us as a nation due to mistakes and horrors of our past. I am not saying that we should deny or ignore these issues of our past at all, but that we should not let these mistakes cloud our vision of our future in this country and Parker helps to clear out some of the mist that has been kicked up recently in the light of elections looming on the horizon.

All out wonderful read for those who are informed or ill-read on the history of South Africa’s motley crew of villains! Don’t wait as long as I did to finish this book, it would be a terrible shame indeed!

This book was published by Two Dogs (imprint of Burnet Media) and should be relatively easy to find at your local bookshop or at Loot.co.za (their prices are fantastically competitive on most titles)

Ps: There is a revised edition available, so keep a lookout for the latest one under this title! It’s available from Loot.co.za at this link: http://www.loot.co.za/product/alexander-parker-50-people-who-stuffed-up-south-africa/lspw-2363-g080