Monday, February 27, 2012

Cleaning Out Your Closet

Things around the house are literally chaos.
Our garden is dug up, we have a ton of dust covered men marching back and forth who are repainting the walls, fixing the ceiling, moving furniture... there's an awful 'For Sale' sign in front of our driveway too - I have refrained from ripping it from the ground and throwing it away... for now....
It all just happened so fast.
One day everything was fine. Our house was our beautiful mess; and within seconds our lives turned upside down.

I almost feel like I'm in a nightmare, I feel like I'll wake up soon enough back in my clustered space and let out a huge sigh of relief.

But its not going to happen.

Upon seeing our house have its own version of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, I decided to get cracking on my own room too.
As you've seen in a previous post, I cleaned it at last, thank God. The drawers though, were still pretty manic.








I grabbed clumps of clothing and stuffed them into black bags and carted them off to my car.

It was great because I managed to find some amazing numbers which I'd either forgotten or lost in the depths of my cave, such as my beloved snood.
Quite a while back, my blog was pretty dedicated to my fashion advice and opinions but I felt this was unproductive and not meaningful. I wanted to write about deeper things. One of my fashion posts though, was all based around the one and only fashion must-have all year round: The Snood.
I love love love my snood and my best friend Rachel happened to buy me a truly beautiful one from Woolworths for my birthday (along with some rather kinky launderette which was thrown around the pub that night.. thanks guys..), I was so gutted because I'd lost two of my best snoods but now they are safely at the front of my cupboard, ready to be worn :)

I decided to visit Rachel while on my way to town to offload my bags of clothing as she'd just moved into her very own little flat with her man.
Their flat is beautiful! Its just big enough for two people, with an enormous shower, a convenient amount of cupboard space, a spacious kitchen and lovely
outdoor braai area where their two very 'unique' cats hang out.

One cup of coffee turned into a few cups of coffee, a bowl of noodles, a tube of delicious pringles, a walk through a mini lush green forest, bush whacking, an abduction to Kwik Spar to buy a cheap bottle of red and by accident I locked her in the vehicle with no air on a rather humid day and she swears she nearly suffocated...
We arrived back at the flat and before we knew it we were shaking the last drops of wine from the bottle and time had run away.

So my car was stuffed with black bin liners for a few days until I could find the time to get rid of them - which happened to be today.
So I'm finally rid of what was making my cupboard handle collapse constantly, but I'm sure it will be just as full again shortly :)
Out with the old and in with the new as they say!

But if you've got a moment to spare, try free up some space. Be merciless and relentless. Just let go. It feels amazing.

Happy Monday all!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Camping for Valentines





I realize that this post is long overdue and that the festivity of romance has long since passed.

Unfortunately my computer has decided to go on strike… every time I try to do some form of productive work on it, it restarts itself. My brother tells me that it’s the heatsink and fan or the power supply That needs replacing, but personally I just think the thing hates me.

Between work, sleep, an attempted social life and the occasional heated bitch slap given to my computer I haven’t been able to find the time to write at all.

Also, I took some great photographs over my camping trip which I wasn’t able to get my hands onto straight away and I couldn’t bare publishing this specific article without the beautiful evidence.

So here it goes; my little belated Valentines tale…

*


Not only had Shaun been keeping me in the dark about any form of plans, but he also kept receiving mysterious telephone calls that sent him running off behind closed doors.

Eye contact became non-existent as I tried to pry information out of him for days – but in my defense, Valentines treats have never come often for me so I was beyond the stage of excitement to experience a real Valentine’s Day filled with spoils.

When the big day finally arrived, I’d somehow managed to pack a bag for a trip that I knew nothing about, (and for those of you who know me, you know that I HATE surprises!!).

He rushed me around the liquor store, in a fluster to get to our mystery destination before the sunset.
We finally arrived at the opening to Old Drift where he gave two small hoots, clearly to ‘warn’ someone that we had arrived. This sent my wired mind into an absolute frenzy. We stopped the car and started trekking off into the bush, far away from the usual picnic spots.

Soon enough I started noticing the odd rose petal teasing the way towards a beautiful candlelit clearing by the waters edge.


The sand was painted in red polka dots from the array of gorgeous rose petals scattered along the surface.

Honestly, I couldn’t have planned it better myself, it was that breathtaking.

Once the initial shock had passed, his dad climbed out of a small hiding spot in the trees and wrapped me up in a big hug.

The hoots that Shaun had given as we’d entered the field had been for his dad, who quickly lit all of the candles leading up to our tent while we were walking down.

I know it all sounds so cheesy and cliché but nothing like that has ever happened for me before so I was overwhelmed by it all.

Valentines with my previous boyfriends had never been something for the books – so I literally felt like the luckiest girl in the world and was completely inspired to crack open the spine of my latest notebook.


And of course I roasted the much anticipated marshmallows!


I'd love to hear back from each and every one of you letting me know what you all did this Valentines.. even if it was just staying in with a glass of wine and a movie. I want to hear it all.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How To Pass Your Probation Period

Passing the probation period of your new job can be tricky.

You could be absolutely perfect for the position and do everything down to the ‘T,’ but you may have a problem fitting in with your colleagues.



Unfortunately this tends to happen quite often, especially in a working area such as mine.

I work in a 5-star spa attached to a luxurious, well-known hotel. It is impossible to not be intimidated for the first week or so when entering a workforce dominated by a handful of powerful women.

Luckily for me, the women I work with are amazing. I am so lucky to have found such a strong team to be a part of. (For my regular readers, my new job is going incredibly well and I will soon write a more detailed description about it.)

Or your dilemma could be the exact opposite:

You could be undeniably disastrous at your job that your best friend helped you into getting, yet blinded by that fact because you get along so well with everyone.
We’ve all heard or experienced this scenario before… it feels like family, right? Becoming chummy with your colleagues has both its advantages and disadvantages – feeling comfortable doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing well. In fact the majority of the time if you feel comfortable you subconsciously start slacking off in small ways that some wouldn’t even notice.

You need to find the balance between working your little arse off regardless of if you get noticed for polishing the glass doors or not; and becoming friendly with your colleagues without being unprofessional.

It is true that sometimes it is in the workspace where you meet your best friend or even the love of your life, alas that is only for a lucky few…


Don’t let the girl with the welcoming smile know that you only stumbled in at 3am this morning after a night out on the town; she may have alternate motives. You never know what one will do to get noticed or advance in their job. So no matter how sweet and friendly they are, just be wary. Let them in but keep your distance.


I have compiled a list of great tips and advice on how to easily pass your probation period and advance in your workspace.

Enjoy it!





  • Go The Extra Mile – if there are finger prints on the glass doors or window panes that the cleaner missed, polish them away. It takes less than five minutes to do so, it’s productive and it’s true that a cleaner environment makes for a happier you.




  • Don’t Expect Praise – Sometimes you could be doing really well, but that doesn’t mean that the manager is going to let you know that! You need to earn praise, don’t expect it to be handed to you on a platter after not mucking anything up in the first week.



  • Leave Your Problems At The Door – I think every manager’s nightmare is hiring someone who darkens everyone’s day. Try to be optimistic about things in general. Happiness and unhappiness are contagious. If you’re having personal issues at home whether it is with your folks, your partner, a friend or your kids… just be aware that this is not works problem. You will only make matters worse for yourself by putting a downer on everyone else’s day. Don’t put your job in jeopardy.




  • Free Up Your Calendar – Unless they are arrangements made prior to your employment there; try not to ask for special days off unless it is really necessary. Manager’s want someone that is flexible, someone that they can rely on. Keep that in mind next time your friends peer pressure you into taking time off to join them on a pointless drinking marathon.


  • Good Time Management – Try to be fifteen minutes early for your shift and don’t leave a second before your shift should end. Don’t even pack up until the clock strikes onto your closing hour. Your eagerness will be noticed.



  • Smoke Breaks – Having recently quit smoking myself, I am in no situation to preach; but try not to take advantage of your smoking breaks no matter how stressed out you are. Your employers will definitely get fed up if you’re dashing out back into the smelly, damp alley-way every hour for a quick puff. Three times a day max, even that’s pushing it.




  • Be Eager To Learn – The only questions that are stupid are the one’s that are not asked. Don’t be shy to learn, even if you think it to be the simplest of things, better safe than sorry.




  • Look Presentable – Do you really think your employer wants you greeting clients or sitting behind their desk in baggy or ripped jeans, that grungy looking beanie that’s far too big for you or a button up shirt with missing buttons or a noticeable stain on the cuff? No. Keep your hair back out of your face, it opens you up and makes you look more approachable. Make sure every crease is ironed out of your clothes. Keep your nails in good condition and only wear minimum, tasteful jewelry. Don’t wear items that are undeniably too small for you (it looks trashy,) or that comfortable shirt that you think looks great but you know you actually swim in. Cover up your tattoos to the best of your ability even if it is for a video store job or personal trainer where these things can usually be overlooked.




  • Women – Makeup. I know many women who either just can’t be bothered, don’t have time or just don’t like putting makeup on for work in the mornings. But lets face it, a lot of us tend to look washed out and messy without it. I have mastered painting my face in just over two minutes now (daily natural look consisting of base, blusher, mascara, earthy eye-shadow and lip balm). Would you rather be assisted by someone that looks tired and unfriendly or someone who looks well put together, pretty? I know its shallow, but its how the world works.




  • Men – Why are you so lucky with so many things? Shave. That’s all. Keep it clean. If a man was assisting me who was sporting a Guinness Book of World Records beards I would be mightily distracted. Otherwise, just look after your hands. Keep the nails short and clean. Brush your hair once in a while, your girlfriend might adore the bed-head look on weekends but your manager despises it during working hours.




  • Posture – Don’t turn into the Hunchback of No’tradame, even if you don’t feel like being at work today. Stand tall and proud and plough through the day.




  • Distractions – Either keep your mobile off or on silent during working hours. Show your employer that work is your main priority. Facebook, Twitter and Myspace will all still be there after your eight-nine hour shift. If something happens that’s life threatening someone will get hold of you somehow and they won’t do so over social media networks anyway!!! Personal problems left at the door remember?!




  • Eye Contact – When in meetings or engaging in casual conversation, make eye contact with the people you work with as well as the clients. Show interest in what they have to say. You will look confident, organized, professional and in control.




  • Always Have Something To Do – If there is nothing to keep you busy other than standing around playing with your hair, find something. Don’t ask for something to keep you busy straight away, use your own initiative. Do walks around your work environment, get stuck in and dirty those hands.

    It really all comes down to the first point mentioned, go the extra mile.


Good luck everyone, I’d love to hear your feedback about this post. Please comment below and let me know if my advice helped you get through and sign onto your position on a full-time basis! If so, congrats!!! If not, I know it gets really old hearing it, but the right thing WILL come around eventually. As much as you believed that this was the right thing, it clearly wasn’t; stop focusing on the past or feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t give up! Polish up that CV and get it out there.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nostalgia kicked in and so did a rather deep and personal playlist

Ever have those nights where sitting alone with your thoughts in a shut off room is all you want?

I listen to music not for the way the artists voice sounds or the melody.. I am slightly deeper than that. The music I listen to I like because of the lyrics.
The reason I turn Windows Media Player on in the mornings or after work is to find inspiration or hope in the words being poured from the speakers into my soul. An easy to listen to, pleasurable voice is of course a bonus for me... I believe to sing meaningful lyrics you need to have respect for the words. You need to believe in what your saying and say it with confidence...

Tonight I padded into the kitchen, barefoot with an unstoppable craving for hot chocolate. After being momentarily satisfied with my quick brew, I retired for the evening to my little boudoir.
Depending on my mood each and every day, I make playlists to get me through whatever is eating away at me that day.

A lot of the time I never really figure out what it is that is eating at me - but the music puts my troubled mind to rest. Music is soothing and relaxing and everything that I need in my life to make it complete.

The Cure's incredible cover of Tainted Love originally recorded by Gloria Jones in 1964, Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm by the Crash Test Dummies, Colorblind by Counting Crows...
They are but some of my favourite songs.

Yoav, who I met in Knysna (there should be a post somewhere in my tangled mess of blog entries on my meeting with him...)
Believe it or not, after a day of pure disappointment of meeting one of my musical heroes who was only interested in a skinny blond harp player and completely ignored what must be one of his clichéd biggest fans... he actually ended up apologising and serenaded me around a camp fire, singing my ultimate favourite from his beautiful collection, 'One by One'...
Although I was always a huge fan of his work, I'm not one to watch music videos.
I prefer closing my eyes and listening to the songs. I wish we could do that with our love lives. I wish we could all close our eyes and talk to people... find interest and love in someone from what they have to say, For who they are, not for who they appear to be. Not for their sex appeal....
Anyway - my point being that as I had never actually WATCHED Yoav's performances, only listened, I didn't know that all those beautiful drum-like taps throughout his acoustic guitar and miracle of voice is him tapping the guitar with him fingertips. He's amazing. Such a talent and I am so proud and boastful about the fact that South Africa has so many amazing artists born and bred here.
Elvis Blue, Prime Circle, The Parlotones... I could go on, but they aren't featured in tonight's playlist.
Though the following artists are.. and they are well worth a listen. Especially if you are in one of those nostalgia-ridden moods as I am tonight.



 Bethany Joy Lenz - a young woman introduced to me by a very amazing television show called One Tree Hill. Not only is she incredibly talented, she also has her head in the right places. Her music means something to me, it could mean something to you too.
Deep dark secret: I have a tendency to belt out her music with my volume cranked up to 30 after a glass of wine or two.....

 Bright Eyes.. What can I say? I don't really think the actual songs are very good to be honest; but the lyrics are beautiful, raw truth. The truth that it gives us if we are willing to overlook the exterior is a blessing. Even if you just google the lyrics and read them in your own time, it will change your life.

The Counting Crows... God. Lets just say after 'Cruel Intentions' I was hooked. Enough said.

 Death Cab For Cutie - I cannot even remember what age it was when I started listening to these guys; but they have helped me through some of my darkest hours. I Will Possess Your Heart is a recent favourite of mine, I just love the long intro. I love how you have to get through four and a half minutes and pure rhythm before a word is said. When I find songs that I adore that contain no lyrics, I know it must be pretty special.

That's always the thing about blogs... you could have all of these great ideas and write manically... but the start and the end of your post is always a tricky one.
How do you start a blog post and instantly hook peoples attention?
How do end a blog post and leave the reader wanting more?

Usually the start of my entries are fairly simple.. I just start. Ending is a different story though. When do you stop? I could carry on writing forever... especially after all the creativity mulling around in my head after the above playlist has worked its magic.

I guess all I can say is that's all I have for you tonight.
Keep reading beautiful people, for your time is something I am so unbelievably appreciative of.

Keep a look out for my post on my camping trip which took place last night... its a work in progress and I am still fiddling with all the awesome photographs I captured.

Sweetest Dreams World.

Signing Out.
Jade.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bloglovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

What to pack when Camping

Does any woman really ever know what to pack for a night of roughing it in the wild?

Tonight I'm camping, which before you get me wrong, I love. 
I just thought it would be a great idea to show you women in dilemma, exactly what you should pack for your night in a pitched tent.

The first things I think about, long before clothing or even the tent is marshmellows, hot chocolate and my trusty whistle kettle.

When I was young, roasting marshmellows around a campfire in the gardens of Manchester was one of my favourite past times. Tonight I will relive those memories.


Toiletries.. what exactly do you need to pack when there is no sink or shower? No toilet????
First, pack toilet paper. Pack in it first to make sure you don't forget it. Drip drying is not comfortable or hygienic. 

Wearing makeup in the great outdoors isn't necessary. Though I know some of you just won't be seen without it, I myself feel naked without at least a coat of base on just to cover up a few freckles and dark circles from those late nights writing away...
So pack some makeup wipes just to be safe. Plus, I love using them nightly even if I don't have makeup on. Its refreshing.
Pack your face cream, it'll make you happier. I promise.
Panado or your own personal choice in pain killers. You never know what could be awaiting you in those woods; whether it be a deadly hangover or a nasty scrape against a tree. 

Toothpaste and toothbrush and even floss if you have it. Pack a bottle of water specifically for rinsing your mouth out after a good scrubbing. 

This camping trip for me is a romantic, belated Valentines. So I have packed the saucy, steamy game of Monogamy. Use your imagination...
Alternatively I have also packed some cards.

A hoodie, for those cold breezy evenings while the men get to work on making a crackling campfire.. ahh those good old primal male instincts. 

A hat.. you cannot be out in the sun without a hat for sun protecting purposes of course.. and its never too laid-back to bring some style into the picture!

Pajama's.. my choice would be sweat pants and a t-shirt but whatever floats your boat.

Black tights and an oversized t-shirt. Ugg Boots. Ear Muffs. Leg Warmers. A Cardigan. Clean knickers. A bikini (ok, sorry for you in the UK but here in SA we are blessed with fresh water rivers. Skinny dipping is also a very inviting alternative for those daring darling...)

Peaceful sleep to keep away those damn mozzies. 
A torch with spare batteries. A head lamp... just because I enjoy seeing my man wear it while braaing, it makes me happy.

Other little goodies: A book, a notepad and pen, your camera (a must!), how else will you capture all the magical memories?

How could I have forgotten!!! The tent, mattress, sleeping bag, pillows, towels.... guess I got slightly carried away with the other things... such a girl.


 And now for the big questions... what to eat and drink?

My partner rang me bright and early this morning asking what I felt like drinking this evening. Although the answer will probably always be Hunters Dry, my signature cider, I couldn't even think about it. I was still in waking up mode.
What does one normally drink when camping?
In good old England it would probably be OBS, but here I guess normal beer and cider will do.

Braai / Barbeque... my favourite being chicken drumsticks. I also love junk food with a passion, crisps of any flavour in general.

*

I hope my little article on camping managed to help you out a bit! 

Happy Camping!

Bohemian Room - Cleaned!

So it took me seven hours - three of which were purely dedicated to untangling my necklaces from one another.
There's still a lot that needs to be done, such as the shower head being tightened and my door replaced, but this is the outcome of my personally designed humble abode.

 I even got creative and put my mothers pottery bowls to use. I am so happy with the vintage outcome of my room, it almost feels completely new.
 I've been carting around a green triple-decker tray in the back on my car for months now and finally got some space open to put it to use. Lauren Conrad (my fashion guru) has her Style book lying on the top, the middle is filled by my novel, 'Walk With Me,' which I recently sent off to Penguin Publishing and I'm waiting for feedback as patiently as possible! The bottom holds my red box filled to the brim with nail polish, filers, clippers and other sorts of nail care products that I can't even put names to.





So that's it!
Finally got some time to declutterize my room.
Cleaning is something I find to be very therapeutic. It really did help. I'm not sure what it helped with exactly... my minds been pretty clogged recently with my relationship taking sharp turns when I least expected it, my new job at the spa which is going great by the way and just life in general! It helped
to clear my mind for seven hours. I had something else to focus on. Those seven hours were my very own kind of productive meditation.

I have noticed now that a clean room definitely helps clean the cobwebs from your soul too. I feel revitalised and fresh...
Clean room - happy me!
Time to put my feet up.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Operation Declutter

I have decided that I need to spend my off day tomorrow organizing my chaotic room.

I always see these gorgeous boho, vintage rooms and I am so envious of them all. 



 My room is so cluttered along with what looks like sixty necklaces tangled into each other, a pile of disorganized shoes, a broken cupboard, paintings discarded on my wooden floorboards against my maroon walls while I wait for hooks to magically appear. A hole through my door, my door that doesn't close unless I place my stool in front of it I might add... A shower head that is in dire need of a good tightening... need I go on?

Somehow I made it work up until this point however. Now I have just had enough.

And yes... those are chilli seeds on my window sill. Don't ask.

I have mountains of clothes that I will never wear again, about three hair-dryers, two God-like GHD's and more cobwebs than I can actually count.

My room is in desperate need of some spring cleaning!
I swear - next time I find a penny on my floor I'll start believing my poor room is starting to pay me to clean it! It is that bad.

Valentines Day

There is no denying that it feels great to be spoiled on Valentine's Day.
The day of romance started out with an explosion of paper hearts fluttering wildly through the air for me as Shaun surprised me on his way to work with a HUGE card and a single red rose.
Inside the card was a beautiful poem that he'd hand written.
I'm so glad to announce that we sorted our problems out just days before Valentines Day and are now stronger than ever. In a way, we've agreed that we actually appreciate the drama happening as it has brought us closer in a way. It made us realize what we had and how much we wanted it.