Traveler. Novelist. Freelance Writer. Blogger. Surfer. Artist. Crazy Cat Lady.

Traveler. Novelist. Freelance Writer. Blogger. Surfer. Artist. Crazy Cat Lady.

Friday, March 29, 2013

...Let The Adventure Begin...

Goodbye, South Africa! I am off on my journey across the globe to places that I have never been.
 
I'm ready.
My eyes are open.
My arms are out-stretched.
My soul is ready to engulf the freedom and lessons that I am about to learn.
I want to feel an aching back from a rucksack slung across my shoulder from camping across Europe for a few months.
I want to breathe in unfamiliar smells and walk on untouched cobbled pathways.. untouched to me anyway.
 
I'll be going to so many new and exciting places:
  • London
  • Brighton
  • Paris
  • The Swiss Apls
  • The French Riviera
  • Florence
  • Venice (twice!)
  • Rome
  • Munich
  • Berlin
  • Prague
  • and Amsterdam!

I have mystery road-trips planned by friends and loads of other surprises in store too that I have been completely left in the dark about!  
 
It is just a matter of hours - 70 to be exact!!
 
It still hasn't really hit me. I still haven't even packed my suitcase!
I never realized just how stressful it would be... with a weight limit (shit) and the liquid restrictions etc etc...
 
How do you pack months worth of things into one measly suitcase???
 
I enjoy variety. I can't just have three t-shirts and a pair or two of jeans to see me through.... my clothing rail is overflowing with all the things I'd like to bring with!
I'll quite literally need to cut my selection in half to be able to squeeze it all in!!!!
 
I guess these little challenges are all part of the excitment though, no??
 
I am beyond ready to leave it all behind.
My problems and issues can stay in South Africa, thanks.
Things have not been easy lately. Lifes never seemed so hard and I'm sure the term: 'It never rains, it pours,' is the story of my life of late.
 
It is time to spread my wings and fly.
 
And the rest? Well.. C'est La Vie!


 
Let the Adventure Begin!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Celeste and Jesse Forever - Movie Review

Last night I watched Celeste and Jesse Forever with my folks. I was absolutely knackered after work and really needed to unwind. I just couldn't bring myself to pick up a book... so instead I opted for a ginormous glass of wine and a film from my local rental store... and pasta.
 
It got recommended to me by a friend at work, Claire. In short, it is a film about a married couple who are getting divorced yet decide to stay best friends. They do everything together and appear to be the two most connected people that you could possibly imagine.
 
You don't really ever find out why they are getting divorced, although her success and the lack of his may have something to do with it I imagine.
 
Anyway.. so they are still very attached to one another but when Jesse decides to start shagging dating other women, this spins Celeste to a breaking point that she didn't know was possible.
Soon enough she realizes what she's lost and sets out to win back the man she loves - but is it too late????? - insert drumroll here -  
 
I really enjoyed this film and found a few occasions where I could really relate.  
I caught myself smiling in the memory of some of the goofy and silly things that I would do with my best male friends or ex boyfriends.
 
Some of the humor is really dry and I kind of like that in a film. It makes it real; believable.
 
On a number of occasions my dad and I were in fits of laughter together which was really nice.  
 
A truly feel-good film with a heart-wrenching twist between two best friends who will love each other and stay connected forever whether they want to or not.
 
The only thing that I did not enjoy was the ending... if you could even really call it that. It's a cliffhanger, put it that way... and that is beyond frustrating for me.
 
Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg play the roles perfectly. It actually has a very good cast with well-known actors popping up here and there which is a nice little surprise to add to this delectable film.
 
Enjoy!
 
 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Don't Let Me Go by Susan Lewis - Book Review

At first, I found Lewis' writing really hard to adapt to after finishing a Nicholas Spark's novel.
I've often heard people say that if you are going to write, you need to make it 'you.'
You need people to be able to see that it is your work without needing your name scribbled at the foot of the page.
I didn't really understand that - until now.
 
Her writing is very different and I really wasn't sure how to handle all of the abbreviations that were slung my way within the first few pages... calling a Bachelor Pad a 'Bach,' for some arbitrary reason... little things like that tend to bug me probably a lot more than they should.
Or every time a character would hang up the phone, which happened quite frequently... she would describe it as: Ringing off.
Perhaps I've been out of the UK for too long, but it just wasn't the descriptions that I was used to.
Either which way, I forced myself to keep turning the pages as beneath the unfamiliar writing style lay an undeniably good story line.
That much I could tell.
I didn't really understand what was going on at first. How Charlotte, the main character, and her three year old daughter, Chloe, got to where they were and who they were with.
At first it felt like I was supposed to have known more to the story than I did.
Only then did I realize that it is actually a sequel to her novel, 'No Child of Mine.'
I had no way of knowing this however, as it was the first time I'd picked up a Susan Lewis book and the book did not have any information about that on it!
While trying to Google more information on the book, a few readers' managed to tempt me to stay reading on by saying that they too didn't realize that it was a sequel, but that they were slowly able to puzzle piece it all together.. each one raving about how incredible the book was in the end.
So I pushed on further...


By chapter five, I was hooked. Despite the occasional off-putting writing style – her story-telling was rather charming as you discover more of, ‘Charlotte’ and ‘Chloe’s’ story.
All of the characters in the novel kind of spill out in one go so I found myself continuously flipping back to remember who was who.




Eventually I learned the ins and outs of Charlotte’s birth mothers family though; and that she goes to stay with them on an Island in New Zealand after fleeing from England with her daughter after a horrific event occurs in their lives.

It is Charlotte’s first time meeting her immediate family and soon discovers that she has step-siblings and a step-father to bond with now too. 




Her step brother, Rick, turns out to be the only man that Chloe can connect with and Charlotte too finds herself feeling quite at ease around him. 
Rick is engaged to Katie, a short-haired blond woman whom everyone loves – besides Charlotte and Chloe. Something about her just doesn’t sit well with either of them and as Katie deals with her fiancées growing fondness and affection for his newly found step-sister, things start to get messy.

Another thing I found was that drama after drama was slung at you like a cricket ball, smacking you right in the face.
Although it was good and kept me biting my nails, I struggled to see how one family could go through that much turmoil in their lives! Literally everything that could go wrong went wrong... and more... things that are close to impossible to think up! These poor people went through everything!!! More than anyone should ever go through in their lives - things that were revolting and made me shudder to even imagine it.  


A lot of what Charlotte’s past entails is very cryptic to the reader although you know the basics – Lewis only gives off slight hints here and there about the events that had once occurred but it all starts to unravel slowly which is actually pretty interesting because you are made to use your imagination for so much, that when the truth finally comes out you learn how off the mark you really were!

I found that really clever and enjoyable and it kept me turning the pages. 

I hadn't even realized how much I'd indulged in Lewis' writing until the start of the book became thicker in my left hand than the end of the book which lay almost weightlessly in my right!

I loved it!

Once I had gotten into it, I literally could not put it down.

I am also not one to cry while reading a novel... I've certainly never done it before. Some of the reviews had warned me that by the end of the book the tears would be free-falling but I didn't see them coming until they splattered onto the pages!

Fantastic book, brilliant story and something that will envelope you into its turmoil in the most pleasurable way imaginable.

The cover makes it look like your typical romance when in actual fact, it is far from.
There really isn't much romance in this book at all, just the unfaltering love between a fully grown woman and a three year old child.

It took my breath away

Monday, March 25, 2013

March Favorites

I am doing this post a few days early, as the next week is going to be absolutely manic with packing and sorting my life out before heading off to London.

I cannot believe that this will be my last Monthly Favorite post before I set off... the thought gives me shivers up my spine!

So what did I get up to for the month of March? A hell of a lot more than I did in February, I can tell you that much! It feels as though a part of me awakened again after spending February is almost complete isolation. Don't ask me why I did that . . .  I just needed time to mull all my thoughts and emotions over in my head. March is the month where I was finally able to enjoy life as a single woman, with a fantastic blog and amazing friends!
 
(Humble isn't a word that is in my vocab! Haha!)

To kick off the month of March, my folks and I gate-crashed a guest house party at 23h30 to watch a live Bluegrass, Irish / Folk band perform. More on this scandalous tale can be found here:
 
 



Photograph Credit: http://www.knysnaplettherald.com/news.aspx?id=45857&h=Sundowners-Celtic-and-Bluegrass


I read Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks - incredible story and probably one of the best novels I have ever read.

My review on it can be found here:



Reading Safe Haven at East Heads Cafe with a face in my cappuccino!
 
Then it was the 4th of March and time to celebrate my mum's birthday. As a family, we went out for a meal in town for the first time in what feels like years. My brother and I indulged in platters of delicious sushi. It was a special occasion and it was about time my mum got spoiled. I'd treated her earlier that day to a spa day at my work... letting her have a facial and a massage to truly unwind and relax.




I LOVE shrimp tempura prawns... mmmmm...

On the 7th of March I met (what I thought) were my two closest friends in Knysna, Lucien and Chantelle, out for drinkies.
We'd all hit a bit of a rocky patch and it was nice to rekindle our friendships and put the past behind us. (That didn't last for very long......)




It was then time for my sister-in-laws birthday and she threw a close-knit 'Mad Hatters Tea Party.' I've been having so much more family time than I am used to lately and I really am loving it. I think I distanced myself from my family for so long that all of these little get-togethers' feel a lot more special and I want to brag about them a lot more than a normal person usually would!




I cooked dinner for my best friend Kyle and his friend, Shaheen - I made my first ever pesto sauce that turned out perfectly and created another incredible pasta dish. The recipe can be found below:





To continue on my culinary creations - I made rosemary-garlic lamb chops a few nights later. It was completely effortless, quick and delicious.
I think my folks finally allowed me back into the kitchen after nearly burning my dads mouth off a few months back when I tried to make them a spicy pasta... hehe.
This marinade only had half a chilli in it, as my dad cannot stomach hot things too well at the moment; but for a normal family one chilli would be perfect!


 
 
As I am jet-setting off to London now, we had to hire a new front desk girl at the spa. I'd been looking and looking with no luck for what seemed like weeks! Then, one fateful day, an old friend of mine called Sharmon contacted me to say she has someone in mind.
I met up with them later that evening for a drink at Mos to meet them both. My potential new work colleage couldn't have fitted to profile better.
She was everything that we were looking for - so, after prepping her up, she arrived at Pezula Spa the very next day for an interview with management.
They too thought that she had great potential and she started the next day!
 
Her first day was overwhelming, as it would be at any new position... but she got through it and I joined her that evening for a celebratory drink at Tapas in town.
 
She seems like such a cool, down-to-earth person and someone I could see myself forming a lovely friendship with.
 
 


 
My apologies for the awful photo's.... but I am saving my camera batteries (bloody expensive things!!!!) for my travels! So blackberry is snapping away for me in the meantime.

For St. Patrick's Day I was able to grab hold of a slightly better camera phone! A Samsung something-or-another....






The other front office ladies and I had a girls night out during the week - we got up to mischief at a couple of bars as we celebrated a welcoming for Juliet and Renee, a birthday for Chanel and a See-You-Later for me! What a fun night... definitely one for the books.


 
I went to a wedding out in the crags... it was beautiful. I came as my best friend Kyle's date and pretty much rocked the dance floor all night... I also think I embarrassed him to a large degree as he felt the need to dance around the floor with a mop in hand after I swung a bottle straight out of my hand in mid-sway!!!!! 
 


And then.... somehow.... the garter landed on my head:




Yes... the below are 'Hangover' sunglasses.... as you can see, there was no actual sun. Just a hangover.

This was probably my last visit to one of my favorite places in the world: The Beach... until I return to South Africa that is. But that won't be for a long, long, long, long, L-O-N-G time.

I also really liked this shirt:




My blog is going to be taking a whole new turn by the end of April, with all of my travel plans.
By the end of April I will have visited London, Venice, The Swiss Alps, The French Riviera and then heading back into Italy to visit Florence.
 
My first Italian experience will be prior to my Contiki adventures as I'll be spending a weekend in Venice - riding Gondola's, drinking original Italian coffee blends, twirling pasta around on my fork and finally living out one of my oldest dreams of visiting Italy.

Now - I must be off. I need to figure out how the hell I'm going to fit my clothing into one measly suitcase with a weight limit of 23kg's!!!

See you next month!
 
Happy Blogging!
 
Jade

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Girl's Night Out

Allow me to paint a picture of my Tuesday night for you...

Warning: This may get colourful - not advised for photo-sensitive viewers.
 
We had suuuuuchhhh a blast last night. It started as innocent as a Tuesday could be.... me depleting a bottle of red wine to myself.
 
My girlfriends showed up after work and we started to crunk it up in the bar. It was kind of a 'welcome-to-the-family' for Juliet and Renee, a 'happy-birthday-bitch' to Chanel and a 'see-you-later' for yours truly!

Times are a’changin at the spa… with new ladies joining our crew, some aging (next year I’ll need to buy Chanel either a new liver or a leopard print lined coffin..) and some (ME!) off to backpack Europe and head off to London! Whoever has allowed me to be let loose around the globe doesn’t know what they bargained for  . . . watch out world! Here I come!






We found a fan.. (no, sadly not a flattering 'Can I have your autograph!' fan... but the actual scary looking machine fan that I keep having nightmares about,) and Renee became a Marilyn Monroe impersonator for a few amusing minutes.





And then, inevitably, we joined in.


Ok enough of that...


As many of you know, I don't drink tequila. I've never been able to stomach the stuff.
The below was purely a poser moment - lame.
 
I stuck to 'Pancakes' all night.
Best damn shooter I have ever knocked back.


This was not as hilarious as it looks. Greasy, salt seasoned chips in my ears. Classy.

 

But hey... it could have been worse!?

 
Moving on!
 
 
 
 
 
To anyone I ran into last night: The wine made me do it.

On that note, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise for my Ghetto dance moves. I'll let you all use your imaginations on that one.
I can tell you this though... whatever you're thinking, it's worse.
 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pink Baths Kind of Excite Me

So I've been reading Whitney's 'I Wore Yoga Pants to Work,' blog somewhat religiously for months now.
Her latest post is showing off her pink bath bomb evening accompanied by a glass of chardonnay and I cannot help but be green (the reminesce of St. Patty's Day still lingers it seems,) with envy.
Here in South Africa.. or in my little town at least, (that has nothing. Nothing. No Mcdonald's (fail), no cinema (fail), no archade centre (fail), no mall (fail), no Starbucks (double fail!).. I could go on but I'd start to bore you...) we know nothing of such things like luxurious bath bombs. That turn your bath pink. Or blue. Yes. You heard it. Yes, I want one too.
It's a good thing I am going across to London in two weeks time then and backpacking Europe all on my lonesome.
When picturing my future, I envision my backpack filled to the brim with these funny little balls instead of souveniers when I get back into London.
So what if my priorities are less than impressive?
Pink baths kind of excite me.

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans

Well hi there all you lovely bloggers'!
It's Monday. It's the day after St. Patrick's Day... if we thought we were clever by wearing green and consuming abnormally colored beer last night.... I'm pretty sure we're feeling slightly greener this morning than last. The aftermath has kicked in.

I was planning on being my boring old self (yeah right,) last night and staying in with my two kittens and ancient sausage dog, (I swear I'll need to get him a walking stick soon...) but at the last minute I got a text from a friend from out of town.
He lured me over the bridge and into Mo's on Rex where a live band was playing and four-leaf-clovers passed as the holiday decorations :) - needless to say we had fun with them.

I think this is when it's safe to say I'm thankful for photography - as I just do not have it in me to write much right now. So let my shots, (urgh I don't want to hear that word right now...) speak for themselves about my shenanigans last night.

Enjoy!







And that's all I've got for you today friends! The above events have lead me to the not so appealing: Hangover Monday.
At work.
At 6am.
Not ideal.. but a 5am shower this morning was actually really amazing. In truth, I cannot think of a better way to start out the day. I also bought new shower cream the other day... so I smell really good too. Just saying.

I hope you all had a great St. Patty's Day!

May the force be with you.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

GFC Closing Down!?!?

I am absolutely heartbroken.
 
ONE away from reaching 100 followers on GFC (OK, so it doesn't seem like much to some of you fancy bloggers,) but for me it was going to be a huge milestone! And now the site is closing down I hear!?!?
 
Don't believe me? Read it for yourself:
 
 
I am absolutely devastated and bloggers worldwide have now started to ask their loyal readers to follow them on Bloglovin' as well before the site closes and they lose all of their followers. That means there is going to be a HUGE decrease in Traffic.
 
You'll need start all over again....
 
I don't know how someone could do that!!!
 
If I think of how upset I am after having a measly 100 - I can't imagine what it is like for those who have poured their time and energy into building up a fanbase of over 1000 followers.
 
My thoughts go out to all fellow bloggers today.........
 
Please follow me on Bloglovin' as now I have to start all over again :(
 
The link can be found on the side of my page just below my 'Live Every Moment' quote and just above my Great Blogs advertisement section.
 
I would really appreciate the time and will do the same back to whoever asks.