Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Favorites

Favorite Highlight of the Month: 
My Dreams Came True!

The biggest thing that happened throughout January was definitely getting my second novel in my hands! 


I even got the ISBN bar code! 
I couldn't be more thrilled!

There's still a fair bit of polishing the book needs to go through before I can start going further with it - but then, my friends, it will be available for everyone to enjoy!

Favorite Goal of the Month: 
Getting Fit!

I started taking USN supplements to help me get fit and toned...... it didn't last long. 
I now have a box filled with protein shakes, capsules and tablets that I'm not going to use. 
Before you think I flaked - let me explain... 
Did you know America refuses to stock USN??? They claim that what USN says it can do, it can't.
God knows if that is true - I'm just repeating something that I was told....
The images they show you of the 12-week results do seem seriously far-fetched anyway. 

So now... instead, I am reducing my alcohol intake and attempting to eat more healthily. 
I attended two introductory crossfit class (it scared the shit out of me! I can barely hobble around right now and my left arm is swollen up!) and I plan on becoming properly dedicated to my morning jogs... once my muscles recover from Crossfit that is!

I already feel so much better. 

I'll have that firm, hot bod by the time I jet off to Indonesia! 
Mark my words!

Favorite Socials of the Month: 
Farewells... a lot of them :(

After our good friend Ashley left, it was down to just Louis, Lucien and me for the month of January... we had lots of great times together throughout the month.

But then it was time to say goodbye to Louis too... 
Everyone seems to be heading off onto bigger and better things this year. 

Favorite Auntie Moments of the Month: 
Jenson is Walking!

That's right. 
My little man has started to toddle around on his own two feet! 
It is TOO cute to watch. 

Nothing beats it when he runs over to you and wraps his arms around you. Nothing.

I am and always will be the proudest Auntie in the world.

Favorite 'Jam' Moments of the Month: 
We took a little road-trip...

It was SO good to get away from Knysna for a weekend... even though that's all it was. A meager 3 nights away really helped to refresh us after spending countless months in this cramped little town we call home. 

We spent our 4 month anniversary at a theme park going on roller-coasters and water rides that almost made me shit myself I was so scared!

(I think the Asian woman might actually have done....)

Favorite Sentimental Moment of the Month: 
A Reunion With Ashley

Of course, while we were road-tripping I begged Sam to let me see my Ashley friend since we were so close by to him. 
It was so lovely to see him again so soon after him move. 

I also got to see one of my very good girlfriends, Rene!
So many of my friends live in Cape Town that it was impossible to see them all. But I did manage to see these two beautiful people at least!! 

Favorite Restaurant of the Month (or EVER!): 
Eastern Food Bazaar

I apologize in advance for all of the photographs below...
But I found heaven in Cape Town City Bowl. Eastern Food Bazaar.. Wow!!! It is so incredible, it feels like you have just stepped into a little India with all of the spices and crowds, Indian music and gorgeous decor... and it was SO cheap!!!! 
You could choose any sort of Eastern food you wanted and pile on the food on your plate, guaranteeing that it will be one of the cheapest meals of your life!

Mind Blown!!!

I was in literal heaven.

And that pretty much wraps up my January of 2015! 

Hope you all had an amazing one too. 

Did you get up to anything exciting??? 
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

In Need Of Some Guidance

You know those days where you wake up and you just want to cry? For no apparent reason at all?

Well... this pretty much sums up how I feel today:

I lay in bed this morning and just had a good cry.
My life is so up in arms right now - above and beyond trying to stick out the next couple of months in this hell hole I call home with a desk job I love but right now just want to run away from, I'm also busy editing my novel and let me tell you that picking apart my book straight after finishing it is completely soul destroying.

Why else do I feel like this??? Well, because I'm so frustrated that I actually fear for the lives of anybody that comes across me today.

Let me explain.....

I just realized that I've only been back from my first travels of 2015 for ELEVEN days.. and already it feels like I've been back for a lifetime. 

I guess that's when you know there's a problem.

Can you remember when you were a kid? Around Christmas time or your birthday... you'd write a letter to Santa or a wishlist to you parents for what you wanted that year. 
It was always things like a new Nintendo game, the latest Barbie doll, a TY Beanie Baby, a Tamagotchi.. or in my case a little brother or sister (but that was just pushing it...).

Write your list now, of what you would want at this moment. 
What's on it???

When did we do the flip from wanting a little toy airplane to wanting that paper ticket to board a real plane? 
My list is filled with things that money can't buy. 
Things like freedom, wholeness and happiness. 
All I want in life is to travel the world...... (and maybe a new surfboard and a Go Pro camera.. and a manicure and pedicure because it actually pains me to look down at my nails right now).

But really... that is all I want. To travel the world with no limitations.

I don't want a day job, sitting behind a desk with a build up of admin papers so high I can't see over the top of them. 
I don't want the perfect house under my name and the fancy sports car that's entirely paid off. 
That isn't me. 
I used to think that some part of me wanted the double story beach house, a nice Ford to get around in and buckle my three hypothetical kids safely into while driving them to school.
I used to think I wanted the husband to cook meals for every night and a great career to brag about.
But I don't.

As the days have gone on lately I have realized that all I really want... is nothing. 

All I really want is nothing and everything all at once.
I want to travel the world with no obligations.. but it's been so drilled into my head that you need to marry and have kids that a part of me thinks I'm running out of time!
Get this... I meet this absolutely breathtaking bloke that is the DEFINITION of what I want for the life that I used to think I wanted.... and a HUGE part of me is petrified to let him slip through my fingers.

So what do I do???

Do I go off and adventure around the world carefree, relying on destiny and fate to one day bring me and this guy back together IF it's meant to be????
Or do I put aside these whimsical dreams of mine and just get on with life as it should be? As we're told it should be.

Or maybe it's because I used to dream of proposals and marriage, falling pregnant and living happily ever after so much that maybe now because none of that has happened for me I just really feel it isn't going to happen??? Maybe that's why I've moved on to dreaming about something new.

I have cats and a nephew that make it so hard to just GO for months on end anyway. I'd miss them terribly and my cats would more than likely disown me, my nephew would forget me... there's just so much to consider and things that could potentially break my heart in the process.
But counteracting that is the fact that you just can't escape the bitchiness that comes with living in a small town. Whether it be from friends, family or work-colleagues. 
There's a lot you can't escape... but that's been the one thing that's been bugging me a bit more than others lately. I just have this huge urge to run away and take all of those people that put you down or talk behind your back, look at you funny or are just downright mean and put them into a lockable box and bury them. Then I want to forget where I buried them while I'm off trotting around the globe, filling my heart and soul with INTERESTING and LIKE-MINDED people. I just want to get away.  

By 2pm I was feeling a lot better... 
I'd been in touch with some travel agents and pretty much secured my accommodation for my stay in the Philippines which I am VERY excited about. 
A whole week at a surf camp in South East Asia - ALONE. 
Angels are singing.

The only way to make yourself feel better about any situation you are in is to get on with it and figure it out. You are the only one that can fix your current rut. 
So that is what I am doing.. escaping for a while to Asian territory.. and after chatting with travel agents and a friendly Italian man named Gianni who runs the surf camp in the Philippines, I am feeling much more perked up. 
PLUS after work I have another Crossfit class and although I can hardly manage to pick up a kettle right now.. I am really keen for it!

Even though I said that you are the only person that can make the choices and fix things in your life... I still need some guidance from you all:

I consider many of you to be true friends to me after these years of connecting and keeping in touch and so your advice through the comment you leave me is always appreciated. 

I need help. 
Maybe this is all some sort of an alcohol withdrawal breakdown. I'm on day 4 of no drinking today and maybe my body is punishing me.
That must be it.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

No More Drinking

The world has shifted on its axis. Pigs have flown. 
Jade has stopped drinking. 

No, I'm not joking.

I've finally had enough of getting home after work every night and heading straight for our old hardwood, bar and shoving a corkscrew into a bottle of wine. 

I am nearly 24 years old and for the past few years of my life, I have been drinking wine almost every night. In actual fact, I think in the last 1460 days (rough figure... don't judge me) I have probably abstained from drinking a mere 3 nights in total. 

I've been kidding myself and thinking that it's OK. I'm a writer, it's what I'm supposed to do. I mean, you watch movies or read books about the surly, introvert writers that hide out in their darkened, dusty dens and tap away at their typewriters while swigging straight from a bottle. Well, after living in that pathetic stereotype for the majority of my life now my poor liver must be shot!

I'm probably being dramatic.... I only have two-three glasses of wine a night, I don't go absolutely mad. I couldn't afford to even if I wanted to!!! 
But I'm just over it. I'm over it all.
I've had enough of it. I want to traipse home after a hard day at work and curl up onto my couch while the kettle boils away. I want to kick off my black sky-high Aldo heels and ease my aching toes with a nice foot rub while I read a good book and sip at some tea.
That is how I imagine life to be.... not getting wrecked every night.

I want wine to be a special treat. It should be, shouldn't it? 

On Friday night, the latest season of my favorite show is finally airing here in South Africa. 

Season 19 of The Bachelor. 

So you can just guess what I'll be doing at 8.30pm in 3 days time (but hey, who's counting?).
I just love it. I've been waiting for months to have it start again and so I have decided that Friday is the time where I will indulge in a nice bottle of red me thinks. 

(Plus I just absolute adore Chris Soules.... heart palpitations..... right now! He's quite literally earth-shattering....)

Wine, vodka and ciders are expensive and although on Monday I became debt free (barring the cash I owe my father....sorry dad!) I have decided to save up for a Go Pro Hero 4 Silver Camera. 
It's for my upcoming travels to Bali and Philippines (5 months away!!!) Tell me, HOW can you go to such an incredible spot filled with surf and sea-life and not have a Go Pro with you to record your adventures!?
I've already put down a deposit on it so it is all mine when I can finally scrape the next couple of thousand together and hand it over to the cashier who laughs every time she sees me. 

I want to get it sooner rather than later so that I can learn how the thing works before jetting off. I don't want to spend my month across the globe fiddling around with it and trying to figure it out. So that means I need to cut a few certain things from my life - like wasting money on a bottle of wine a night... or going to beach bars and generously ordering copious amounts of shooters for everybody in the place! Buying Pringles and expensive cheeses from the Deli. It all needs to stop. 
I'm already a bit of an extreme cheapskate as it is (because I try and save every ounce of my salary possible to afford travel!) but over the next few months until I can go over and indulge in Indonesia, it's going to get even worse I'm afraid!

Above and beyond that.. as previously mentioned at the start of this glorious new year, 2015 is my time to get fit and healthy. Booze doesn't exactly fit in with that new notion now does it??

Just yesterday, I attended my first ever Crossfit class.
They do this fitness test on you and out of roughly 10 people, I came second!! Basically you have to do a 400m run, 40 air squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups and 10 pull-ups and there's this big daunting clock up on the wall that times you.
My time was 7 minutes and 10 seconds.
The person who beat me was at 6 minutes and 45 seconds - everyone else was up to 9 minutes and more!! So I really surprised myself!
I'm not really a competitive person but it did feel good to not be last, you know?

After two days of no drinking (tonight will be my third) and an evening of absolute pure TORTURE in the gym, I am feeling absolutely fabulous... although my muscles are aching in places where I didn't even know I had muscles!!!!

Waking up without that alcohol-induced thump in the back of my skull is so wonderful.
I can also concentrate so much more in the evenings on reading a good book or editing mine without getting lazy about it or forgetful... and in general I just feel better about myself.

Tomorrow, I am driving back to the gym after work and doing another round of Crossfit! Apparantly it will be totally different to Tuesday's class.... so that's exciting! I mean, it might be too early to be saying this, but I actually loved Crossfit! I'd been so scared of it for the longest time, thinking that it was for the extremists when really... it was tons of fun!

2015 - this is my year!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wives V Girlfriends Book Review by Katie Agnew

Amid the exclusive villas and searing heat of the Spanish summer, four women discover there's no such thing as a level playing field when it comes to love... 

For Jasmine, engaged to her footballer fiance, her dream wedding should be just the chance she needs to bury her secrets in the past.

Lila gave up everything for marriage. In return she got a gorgeous movie star husband, two beautiful children - and a broken heart.

All Maxine wants is that ring on her finger. But is she chasing the wrong dream?

And what journalist Grace can't tell you about being a mistress isn't worth knowing.

Just how far will these senoritas go to get what they want...?

My Review:

From rags to riches, infidelity, heart-break, saucy scandal and sexy scenes that would put Fifty Shades to shame - I must say, I adored this book. 

Wives V Girlfriends has pretty much everything you could want in a book: Romance, drama, glitz, glam, action, thrill and even a gripping slice of horror.
It is the furthest thing from what you are expecting and that's great! 

The story is set between good old London and exotic Marbella, Spain.
Spain is a place on the map that I've never been to or really, if I'm honest, ever thought about going to... until now.
This book is the cause for just another place being added to my endless list of must-see travel spots.
Katie Agnew made Marbella sound divine.

The story darts between the lives of the rich and the elite, sharing each of their unique stories throughout each chapter. Her writing is moving, warm and full of entertainment.

I had no idea what to expect when I picked this book up in an old, rickety secondhand bookstore... and I must say that past the shocking pink cover with Posh Spice staking claim on it and past the name dropping  of celebrities and designer labels that is almost as annoying as someone speaking just in hashtags... I was actually pleasantly surprised.

Star Rating (out of 5): ★★★☆☆

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Other Woman

Here it is... the moment of truth!

After getting such wonderful feedback on different cover options for my novel from all of you in November 2014 (take a look at what the options were HERE), I finally decided on one set image and had the book cover designed and the pages bound. 

"The truly good stories in life are the one's where the characters go through a certain amount of turmoil and pain. 
A story becomes amazing when said characters overcome all that they have had to go through.
All that's left is the ending... Good or bad?
In our situation, we have no idea how it will end. I'm really hoping for a great ending, but in the meantime, we just need to keep writing. 
The story needs to have pain and conflict.
There are still so many pages to go until we see the end."

Tabitha's life was at a standstill. The sun, surfing, photography and driving through the same streets every day had gotten her stuck in a rut. 
When she met Ezra, she had no idea that her life was about to be permanently altered. But Ezra had a secret and Tabitha's conditioned life was about to fall apart. 

She was about to become...
The Other Woman.

The above is the blurb on the back of my second novel, The Other Woman. 

I still just can't believe it's done... well, almost done. 
Now that I have finished writing the actual book, I had it put into book form so that I could read it and let my family read it to help me pick up on any little gremlins lurking between the pages... you know, like typos (shudder!) or grammatical errors (gasp!). It's pretty much every writers nightmare... that's why we hire editors. But nothing can be perfect. I see books with spelling errors in them that were published by Penguin for goodness sake! We're only human.
But before I readily distribute this pride and joy of mine around the globe like I did the first one, I wanted to give it one final bit of polishing... which is what I am doing right now. 

And so begins the 5am alarm tones, the excessive coffee intake and annoying eyebrow twitch that I just can't shake as I obsessively edit my book - slowly turning it into something beautiful. 

I have such high hopes for this novel - it's got such a strong back-bone of a story-line, characters you just can't help but fall in love with, romance, turmoil, drama, drugs and pain. It's got depth and meaning, quotes from various ancient scriptures and poets. It's got messages and lessons, advice and wisdom.

So now with two novels under my belt.... what else is there to do but start a third?! 

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Travel Must-Haves

Travel is life. 
I think by now most of you know this as my life motto. 

I was recently inspired by a company called RelayRides to do a post based on travel must-haves. They are such a convenient company that offers car rentals straight from the airport. What better way to start your road-trip than with a reliable, clean and ready-to-go car waiting for you just outside of arrivals?!

If you're interested in booking a car rental through them then follow the link below:
RelayRides Airport Rentals
Not only that, but you can actually make money by submitting your car into their rental agency! Insurance? You get a RelayRides insurance card which you put in your glove-box which takes care of that. 

So anyway, after being so impressed with their company, I had to do a bit of a travel must-have's post for my blog.
Every traveler's list will be unique. 
We all have different things that are important to us - so today I am sharing mine with you!

I hope you enjoy it! 

1. A backpack.

There's no better feeling than packing that backpack filled with only the bare necessities and slinging it across your shoulders before you lock up your house and head off on your travels. 

2. Bare-feet on the dashboard!

How nice is it to kick off your shoes and lean back in the car-seat, knowing you're on a new adventure?

3. Red Bull.

For the early morning / late night drives.
I know it isn't the healthiest of things - but it beats pulling over at a random petrol station you drive past in the middle of no where to take a cat nap for an hour! 

4. A Go-Pro Camera.

The possibilities are endless with a Go Pro. 
Your photo's will be EPIC and you will capture SO much more of your trip. 

5. A guitar (or any other sort of musical instrument).

If you're lucky, someone you're traveling with will be able to play... and there's your nights entertainment if you're out in the middle of no where, camping next to a bonfire. 

6. A bottle-opener!! 

I'm not joking.

A while ago I was on this Safari with my mother for a few days out in the middle of no where and of course we packed an endless supply of beers (and wine) but forgot the opener!!! So there I was trying to force the bottles open with seat-belt buckles for half the game-drive. We did get them open in the end though. Hurrah!

7. Disprin.

(Extra Strength!) 
For those God awful hangovers that WILL happen while letting your hair down. 

8. A good book.

Whether it be in an airport, a train station or bus stop.. there will always be time to kill while you're exploring and traveling. A good book is essential to keep you company for those waits to catch your flight or long car journey to your next destination!

9. My surfboard.

I would get serious F.O.M.O if I was traveling around and suddenly stumbled across a beach with some delicious looking waves... so a surfboard is definitely a must-have to be strapped to the roof-racks of my car!

10. An Umbrella.

Rain or sun - an umbrella is a fantastic thing to have around.
It can keep you dry when it's wet and miserable and it can keep you shaded and cool if it's scorching hot. 

Just this past weekend I was up in Cape Town, South Africa and I spent a day at Ratanga Junction which is a seriously fun theme park up there. As fun as it is though, the queues can be seriously ridiculous. 

I waited to go on this ride called Monkey Falls

The wait was literally about an hour and a half (it was worth it in the end!) but there was barely any shade to hide under while queuing up in the blistering sun. 

11. Toilet Paper

Guys really do have it easy. 
If you're in need of a pee, you can just pull over and whip it out pretty much anywhere!! 

Us girls need to find a bush and squat.... which is not the most attractive or lady-like thing in the world. 
Drip drying really grosses me out....
So a roll of toilet paper is definitely a must on my list!! 

12. A Whistle-Kettle

I love whistle kettles. 
I've got a bit of a love affair with them actually... magical little minx's! 

On a serious note, they are so convenient when you're traveling though... especially if it's camping and you have no electricity around.

I for one cannot go without coffee in the mornings - so a whistle kettle is exactly what you need to get you up and going for the day!

13. A Fishing Rod

We've all got to eat! 

Anything could happen while you're traveling - you could get stuck with a flat tire or lost out in the middle of no where (but that's just half the fun of traveling isn't it!?) but with that in mind, it is always a good idea to pack a fishing rod with you... just in case. 

14. Passport

Juuuuuust in case you decide to hop across somewhere else on a whim.
I could never be without this trusty guy. 

15. Pillows

Sleeping on dusty, hard concrete floors or lifeless rickety backpackers beds is all part of the traveling lifestyle... but you know, we all have those little luxuries we just can't live without. 
One of those, for me, has got to be that big feather stuffed cushion to rest my head on at the end of an eventful day... a pillow enveloped with that familiar homely smell that just makes you smile as you drift off until the next adventure.
It's always good to keep home close to you - even when you're off gallivanting around the globe.

Safe travels everybody - and sweet, cozy, cushy dreams!

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