there but for the grace of the gods….

Last Monday seemed to come round so quickly as it was just a regular two day weekend. It had started to get chilly so I was happy to have Sunday’s leftover soup for lunch. I got in early to a stunning sunrise outside my office window.

  
As we hadn’t done a proper weekly shop Norm just popped in for bits and bobs while I was at work. He picked up pork chops and I baked those and to go with it I fried red cabbage in balsamic and butter and baked some butternut cubes.

Tuesday I seemed to spend most of the day in meetings. It was icy cold in our office, even though I was wearing 3 sweaters. The cold wind off the snowy mountains goes straight to your bones. Most South African homes do not have central heating, we do have a fireplace but we have a crack in the chimney lining so can’t use it. It’s bitterly cold.

While walking to my car after work on Tuesday I was approached by a homeless guy. He asked for cash. He was reeking of shame. Of sadness, and desperation. That mix unique to an addict. He said he never thought he would be in that situation. I refuse to open my bag on the streets. It’s unsafe. I put money aside when I’m in my car and if they are still there after I drive past, I stop and give them cash. He was nowhere to be seen. It tugged at my heart, he was a young, nice looking white guy with blond hair and beard. He was tidy and well dressed but had the dirty, over-tanned look of a person who lives on the streets. I wondered about his story.

There but for the grace of the gods go I and all that. I thought of my own periods of desperation where only my strong network of friends supported me and held me up. What if I didn’t have those networks or I had a serious addiction which resulted in me stealing to support it and made my friends turn their backs on me? 

There was a guy last week who was selling key chains, not begging. He made them and said he wanted money for the shelter. After I drove out in my car he was there by the exit and I gave him ten rand, he was happy as I didn’t take a key chain, I let him sell it on to someone else. 

I thought both times how it is hard to know who and what people or charity to support when there are so many. So many worthwhile groups and individuals that it’s hard to choose and one can’t give to all.

It weighs heavy on my heart.

That evening I layered chicken breasts, baby spinach and sliced mushrooms in a casserole pan and covered it all with 2 containers of pouring cream and a few knobs of butter. I baked for 45 minutes but forgot to top with mozzarella after it had cooked for 30 minutes as I usually do. Oops. It was still tasty and I served with steamed green veggies.

  

There was a bit of drama and yet more bad PR regarding the South African Firemen who are over working in Canada. They had gone on strike and finally returned to SA this week.

Basically it started as great PR that SA sent over all the firemen. Everyone was so proud.

  
Then the firefighters found out they get only $7 a day of the $170 per day fee the Canadian government is paying per firefighter.

Once again the people are being exploited for someone else’s financial gain. 

We were at a Client site on Wednesday and when we finished I decided to just work from home a bit and then finish early.

I stopped off at La Cuccina in Hout Bay as it was on my way home and I was starving. It was now about 1 pm. I ordered the Sweetcorn Fritters Breakfast at R68. It consists of poached Eggs, plum tomatoes and crispy bacon.  It isn’t Banting but hopefully less carbs than a normal Eggs Benedict.

  
I had free wifi so I worked there for an hour and had a few coffees. I then headed home and snuggled up with Lola while trying to nap with yappy dogs and Cordelia hoovering in the background.  

Lily and Caitlin were both out so we planned to go out Wednesday evening as Thursday was a public holiday but it was too damned cold to go out! 

We decided to get take-outs and snuggle in for the night. I was non Banting and ordered Lasagna. Oh well. 

The dogs were happy we stayed in.

  
The next morning Norm had a meeting and Lily and I watched Notting Hill which is one of my all time fave movies.

After the movie we made Brunch. We made chorizo scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and rosa tomatoes.

  
Thursday was Youth Day in South Africa which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Soweto uprising, in the form of Youth Day. 

June 16 was the first day of what came to be called the Soweto uprising – a day that students stood up against the bantu education system. It began in the Johannesburg township, but soon spread to other townships around the country. The protest was against the forced learning of Afrikaans, what the people saw as the language of the oppressors. 

On June 16, 1976, police blocked the movement of between 10 000 to 20 000 pupils marching towards the Orlando Stadium. It was during this confrontation near Orlando High, that 13-year-old Hector Pieterson was shot by the police. The photograph by Sam Nzima became forever part of South Africa’s history and the iconic demarcation of the beginning of the uprising. It showed a bleeding Hector Pieterson in the arms of Mbuyisa Makhubo, running, his face twisted in grief. Hector’s sister, Antoinette, was running beside them crying hysterically.

  
I think knowing so many people fought so hard for freedom of education is why I can’t understand how today protests can result in the burning of schools. Why fight so hard for something one day and throw it away the next? It baffles my logical western educated mind. 

We watched 2 hours of Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. Our fave was of course RHCP.

I adore Anthony Kiedis. My daughters adore him, he is ageless. 

It was freezing cold and Caitlin had to work so Lily and I were happy to just veg out while snuggled up in a blanket with the animals. We watched ‘How To Be Single‘ which was brilliant. 5 Kitten Stars.

  

We laughed so much. Rebel Wilson is one of my favs and Dakota Johnson was only mildly annoying. I really like Leslie Mann she is adorable and quirky.

This week has had so much international tragedy. Orlando Florida had a triad from hell. The shooting of Christina Grimmie while signing autographs first shone the public eye on Orlando.

Then we watched in horror at the footage of the aftermath of the shooting and mass killing in an Orlando Gay Club. Ironically several of those killed were not gay if that’s what the killer’s objective was to target gay people just for being gay. There were victims who accompanied gay children out for a night of fun and a bartender who had 2 children. 

The third tragedy was the death of toddler Lane Graves who was taken by a gator while wading in a lake by Disney. 

Then UK politician Jo Cox was murdered by a racist, this one a supporter of Britain First a political party which is against immigration. Jo Cox was adamantly pro-immigration

It can be a dark world. So much hate doing so much damage. 

This week I’ve blocked and deleted several people due to the ignorant things they say. One was a friend of 30 years. An immigrant who believed in keeping out other immigrants from the U.S. and a supporter of the oppressors of women and the poor.

The irony of supporting those who would oppress them seemed to escape them. 

I checked the little button that allows you to view your interactions on Facebook and all of mine to that person were friendly, supportive and positive. All to me however were saying some snarky comment to my liberal gun hating, mass murder protesting memes or facts. That isn’t a friend. So I unfriended. 

People I went to school with spewing racist homophobic poison, gone. I don’t need that negativity. 

I feel better, as if allowing that poison on my timeline, even if it is hidden, is some sort of complicit agreement of their views. 

As Thursday was a holiday and our project just delivered I decided to use up some of my overtime and treat myself to a day off which meant yet another 4 day weekend! Everyone else was working though so I decided to go to the Blue Route mall nearby as I needed a few bits and pieces. It was a gorgeous sunny day but the air was a bit brisk. 

I first went for a quick bite at Mugg and Bean in the mall. They were busy so I didn’t object to the very crowded area where they sat me, it was so close you had to put your arse in your neighbors face to get into your booth. Charming. 

They brought a gorgeous hot latte to me and I ordered a cheese omelette with crispy bacon on the side. 

  
The bacon was like charcoal in places yet the fat was still somehow gelatinous so I sent it back and just got out of there as quick as I could. They took the bacon off the bill, but it meant I had an unsatisfactory experience as I would have ordered avo or something had I know bacon was off the options. In the U.S. my entire meal would have been comped, but that does not happen here. No matter how poor the experience you seldom get compensated. 

I bought some cute new boots at Woolies having tried on every pair in the mall. It’s so nice that every pair zips over my newly thinned down calves and I have that freedom of choice, before Banting I couldn’t zip most boòts. I used to only be able to wear ankle boots due to my chunky calves. My chunky everything.

Cute heh? I don’t wear much beige or brown but I will now. 

  
I got some of the other things I needed and came home to sit in the sun and stare at my mountain.

  

I relaxed for the remainder of the afternoon and then Norm and I went out for date night. 

We were lucky to get a table as it was Friday and we had no booking so we were pleased to get in to Grill Under The Milkwood.

When we sat down the music was so unsuitable for leisurely dining. It was a rather intense Trance beat. It made you want to shoot an espresso and get moving, maybe grow dreads. Or whatever one does at a Trance event, I have no desire to find out. The thump thump was certainly not the pace to set for leisurely dining. We asked the host to please change to something less intense, he cheekily suggested ‘Classical’ but he wandered off and the music dropped pace. 

We both had the same dish for our Starter – the baby calamari. Norm had his grilled and it was in a lemony sauce. I had mine fried.

  
It was delicious. The tentacles crisp and light. Very nice.

My main was the 200gram fillet steak with mushroom sauce and vegetables as my side. Norm had the 300gram. 

  
The tradititional SA fare of butternut and spinach was perfectly cooked. I liked the little bit of raw shredded cabbage in a sour vinegary sauce. It was excellent. The steak was the end cut of the fillet and therefore was not as tender as it could have been, but it was cooked exactly as I asked, pink throughout but not bloody. Perfection.

We shared the Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc my absolute fave, it was divine. While Norm had a post dinner coffee I had an amarula on ice. Yum.

  
We had a lovely evening chatting and I went home quite happy. The girls were home when we got back and we watched a silly Mr Bean film. We were in the mood for a bit of nonsense.

  
We were up very early Saturday as it was my friend Anze’s funeral at 9 on the other side of town. It was in a lovely church where I think Anze’s brother in law is the pastor. There was a huge turnout, they had to bring in extra seats for all the people to fit in. That says so much about what a special woman Anze was. Her current man, Patrick and her ex-husband Angelo both brought me to tears when they spoke, but when Sarah their 9 yr old daughter read a verse of scripture it was just so touching. Anze’s children are so young, Angelo asked that we all help keep Anze’s memory alive for the children. It was a very special ceremony. I’m broken hearted for all her loved ones, especially Sarah and Eli. 

  
Anze will be missed, she touched so many lives.

Llewelyn Clayton is Anze’s ex-brother in law who gave the service and another pastor Selwyn did something I’ve never experienced but thought was lovely, they had the family all stand in a circle, like a group hug, and the other attendees all prayed for them, raising hands toward the family. A way to pass on strength and share their burden.

We created a border and the pall bearers walked the coffin out to the hearse, loaded the hearse and left. Norm and I headed off after the ceremony. 

By now it was 11am so we stopped off for brunch at Newport Deli in Mouille Point.

  
It is directly opposite the lighthouse.

  
We parked on the coast road and walked up, it was grey and overcast and bitterly cold.

We ordered a coffee and breakfast. We sat upstairs with a view over the park.

  
  
They must be halaal as bacon was replaced by macon on the menu, so instead of bacon I had salmon and avocado with my eggs. It all tasted so fresh and delicious.

  

Norm had his eggs with avo and grilled tomato which he said had tons of flavour.

  
We headed home after eating to find a sad and upset Caitlin who was just about to book an emergency flight to Durban as her friend Annie’s father had passed away suddenly. Such a day full of sadness and tragedy. 

Norm had work to do and I just relaxed and played distracting games on my iPad. The weather is so cold, we finally broke out the gas heater.

  

We finally finished watching The Making of A Murderer. It makes me feel ill that these things can happen. The world can be a cruel place.

Today is Father’s Day. My own father passed away before my children were born. I so wish he could have known them he would have been so proud of them. They are pretty amazing people.

  
My Dad was one of the original Hipsters. When being a hipster meant being cool, not an annoying poseur.

The weather is dire and it is pouring with ice cold rain. Caitlin was up and away at 5 am to catch a plane to Durban to support Annie. Father’s Day will always mark a sad day for Annie. Bless her. 

Lily and I got up early and fed the dogs and took Norm a coffee in bed. We then attempted Cream Cheese Pancakes. My only adjustment was to use a tiny bit of local honey instead of xylitol.

  
They turned out OK. Put it this way, if Banting means the only pancakes I can have are these ones, I can live with that! They are better than no pancakes at all. 

Lily took a tray up for Norm.

  
The girls had bought a few presents to open and Lily gave them to him and we all relaxed until our lunch booking at Papino’s at 2 which is perfect in this miserable weather as they have a roaring fire. 

  
Norm had his usual hollandse biefstek with veg.

  
I was non Banting and had a pizza.

  

 
 Now we are watching The Spotlight and just having a cozy night in front the fire. 

I hope you had a lovely weekend. I could get used to this 4 day week scenario! 

Lipo for the Soul

After 4 lovely days off I was back at work on Tuesday to over 100 emails, 6 documents to review and issues on two of my projects. No chance of easing in gently to my 4 day work week.

So that evening I only got home at 7pm, exactly 12 hours after I had left home to go in to work. Norm offered to go for fish and chips and I crumpled and indulged. I was too exhausted to take charge. 

Wednesday we had a workshop planned at Meerendal vineyards. 

It is a lovely little estate. 

  

Not long after we got started with the workshop they brought a yummy tea of sandwiches, bagels, spicy chicken and salad. We had a productive workshop and then we broke for a late lunch. I had a salad of rare roast beef and Parmesan.

  
After the workshop we had a wine tasting. I wasn’t driving so I could indulge. The Chardonnay was nice enough as it was unwooded. There were lots of reds but as I’m not a fan of red wine I went for the whites. After the Chardonnay I had the Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and then the 2015. I preferred the 2014 as it was less acidic. 

The view is nice.

  

I had arranged the night before for Norm to collect me at Camps Bay football club on Wednesday afternoon as my colleague Darren offered me a lift to Meerendal if I would be ready for work at 6.45am and if I could get a lift home from Camps Bay after the workshop as he had a football match. When we left the wine farm to come home I messaged Norm to say we were leaving. I then later messaged to say we were in the CBD and then again when we arrived in Camps Bay. I waited and waited. Eventually Norm rang and asked where I was. He was at Hout Bay football club, not Camps Bay, so he was looking for me 15 minutes up the coast road.

I saw a lovely sunset at least.

  
Finally Norm arrived. He drove home slowly and deliberately rather than quickly and a bit erratically like Darren had been driving all day. I drive more like Darren.

I noticed all this while we sat in hostile silence on the way home.

I’ve never been a strategist. I’m not calm and rational enough to be great at thinking about the effect of my actions. I’m an impulse kind of girl. My driving reflects my thought processes. 

Anyway, my sulk ended when I got home and Norm quietly went to the kitchen and made dinner for us all of fillet steak, broccoli, cauliflower mash and fried mushrooms. It was perfectly cooked and I was so grateful. 

I’m such a lucky woman. Even when I’m a cow.

On Thursday I made good progress on my project that is due for delivery. It’s hard juggling multiple projects.

After work I had an appointment to see David for Body Reactivating treatment. I left feeling great. Just like I was light as air, unburdened of emotional baggage. 

I wondered how linked my weight gain was to that baggage and was this emotional clearance a sort of liposuction for the soul? I felt my weight gain was linked to my mental state, the deep sadness I felt while away from my children. I find I’m healing and finally able to let go of that angst, and with it that need to fill that hole with food.

Or is it purely hormonal and my body is simply insulin resistant, so stopping the daily sugar saturation I was subjecting my body to has resulted in returning to the metabolism of my youth where I was able to eat what I fancied? As long as I don’t fancy carbs and sugar every day.

Whatever the reason, I lost not only the kilo I gained on my indulgent weekend away, but I lost another kilo as well! That makes about 17-18 kg (40ish lbs) I’ve lost. 

And we eat so well! 

For those who have never had Body Reactivation, the practitioner receives ‘words’ somehow and he then works on clearing the emotional blockage created by these feelings. The word which used to come up was ‘grumpy’ and ‘frustrated’ but we have worked on those for months, this week the words were ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘exhausted’ and I am indeed both. Work is really stressing me and the 12 hour days, hours traveling and lack of sleep are wearing me down.

Thursday night Caitlin offered to cook and made a delicious dinner of chicken wrapped in bacon, red cabbage, mushrooms and gem squash. 

  
It was so yummy and perfectly cooked.

I felt spoiled again! 

The clock is ticking on Lily moving to Great Brak which is down the coast about a 4 hour drive. I am going to miss her so, she always hangs out with me after she gets home from work. She moves at the end of the month..

I stayed late on Friday, I usually leave once I’ve billed my 40 hours but I had some gap analysis I was well into and knew stopping and restarting would waste an hour I don’t have. So I just stayed and finished it off. 

We had thawed scallops from woollies for that night’s dinner and Norm took them out just before I arrived home. I washed them and put them in a bowl with lemon juice and pepper. The parboiled sweet potatoes just rolled out of their skins. I then sliced them into 3-4 little pieces and fried in a pan of melted butter. I steamed some broccoli liberally sprinkled with lemon. 

Once every thing else was ready I fried the scallops in butter for 3 minutes each side. 

  
It was simple but the flavours all complimented each other beautifully. 

We spent the evening chilled out with the animals. Norm did a bit of work. 

  

I had Pixie’s chiro appointment for her back problems so we were out of the house just after 8 Saturday morning. We got stuck behind a digger for ages, then a student driver so I barely made my scheduled appointment. I decided to book myself in as well on the next visit. My tilted pelvis is causing me such pain in my sacroiliac joints. 

I relaxed that afternoon until 5 when we headed off to our friend Greg’s 40th birthday party. It was on the other side of town and we took the motorway. At one point there were 3 route options, 2 got us there, the third took us back towards the city. You guessed right, we took that wrong exit. We took the next junction which looped us round and we found their house. We hadn’t seen them since their wedding a year earlier! 

I also saw colleagues from 8 years ago and met Priya’s children and both Greg and Priya’s parents. It was a lovely evening and great to see some of their other friends whom I hadn’t seen in ages. 

Towards the end of the night I got a message that a work friend Anze had died. It was just her birthday on the 9th and she had gone out with friends. That night a friend stayed over and in the morning the friend couldn’t wake Anze so she went to phone their other friend, then when she checked again my friend was dead. A tragic accident.

Anze has 2 small children and was in love. I feel so heart sore for the loved ones left behind but especially for the children. Their lives will be forever changed. It is heartbreaking.

This morning the dogs let us sleep til 8 which is a rare treat. I woke thinking of Anze and feeling grateful for my children and husband. I’m glad that at least Anze had a great life, she was such a brave woman. She had been so supportive to me after my armed invasion. She had an armed invasion herself and to save her child from the grasp of the robbers she jumped off her balcony, crushing both her feet and ankles. She was a fearless mother and a supportive friend. 

Norm spoiled me with coffee in bed this morning as I was feeling a bit dreary.

I finally got up and Lily and I made us all a Banting brunch of cheese omelette, onions and mushrooms fried in butter and grilled bacon.

  
Then my friend Retha came and we had a glass of wine on the balcony and a catch up. 

  
This afternoon every one has been napping and I’m pottering about in my pajamas. I’ve made a bit pot of spicy soup, perfect for this cold weather and I’m happy being lazy and to have my dogs and family nearby. I think Pixie senses my sadness and is very clingy.

  
Hold your loved ones close. 

King of the OverHill

It was lovely to have my husband return home on Monday last week. He wasn’t gone very long, he only slept away 4 nights. We had a dog walker for Navajo and Charlie brought a friend one evening who offered to walk the Poms and then Caitlin walked them once so even the lil ones got a bit of exercise. 

Monday came round quickly and I had another busy day at work. I’m analyst on 3 projects and Project Manager on 1 so I am so busy!

I’m leaving home before sunrise and some mornings I’m walking across the city in the twilight. Is it twilight in the morning? No that is dawn, right? Either way it’s a bit eery yet beautiful. Peaceful yet frightening. 

I worked til 5pm last Monday and only got home an hour later. I fried mushrooms in coconut oil then added cubes of pork fillet until browned. As I was also preparing a lasagna sauce at the same time I chucked in some puréed peppers, onions and garlic. I also added a container of cream, the dregs of some sour cream, a tsp of Dijon mustard, the remainder of some tomato purée and spices. I steamed a head of cauliflower and baked some cubes of pumpkin.

   

Pixie fancied a bit and didn’t take her beady eye off of me. She is such a funny wee thing.

At the same time I also made the sauce for the lasagna I served on Tuesday. So when I came home late Tuesday evening I just had to layer the marscapone, mozzarella and the sauce and bake. Instead of lasagna sheets I used thinly sliced zucchini for the final layer. 

  

It was rich and fully Banting.

I had to drive to the northern suburbs early Wednesday morning for a workshop. I arrived early about 7.45 and stopped for a latte at the odd unfriendly little cafe at the entrance to the estate. It took a while to get started and we finally kicked off actually being productive after 9 so instead of the planned half day it was almost 3pm when I got back to the other project work. I needed to finish a set of analysis and only got away at 5.30. There was a major traffic accident in the city and the roads were grid locked. It was a nightmare and it was pitch black when I finally got home. As a result we had takeaways from Spiro’s. I had such delicious ribs and salad. Thank goodness for Spiro’s.

Thursday I was again really busy at work with more things to do than I had time to do them. I rushed out of the office to get home by 5 to meet both Vanessa for my pedicure as well as the girl who was house sitting to show her the dog food etc. After everyone left it was late so we went to get fish and chips at the new place in Hout Bay. I did have both mushy peas and chips, I figure the occasional chip won’t kill me. Little did I know I would derail so often this weekend. 

Friday we got up and packed to hit the road to Wilderness. Norm had woken with a dreadful cold but he soldiered on, sneezing the whole way with Caitlin in the back seat wearing a scowl under her germophobia scarf. 

  
My son Trevor was having his 30th birthday at Joplin’s in Wilderness which is about a 6 hour drive door to door. (Yes I said 30. Yes Years. Bloody hell I feel ancient.) We planned a surprise party with a comic con theme. 

The drive down was grey and rainy. 

  

Travel does not always accommodate Banting and this trip was one of those. We stopped for a bite at the Blue Heron Farmstall on the road to George but everything had pastry or sugar. We bought little bacon and mushroom quiches and coffees.

We arrived in Wilderness just before 7pm and Caitlin went off to have dinner with her Dad and his wife in George.

Amber, Trevor, Norm and I had dinner at Salinas just up the road. I had the seafood tapas platter at R150. The fish gujons had a crisp tempura batter and were delicious, the mussels nice, but the calamari was tough and a bit fishy.

  

We went back to Trevor and Amber’s and relaxed and chatted and had an early night. Norm still wasn’t feeling very well and we were all tired. 

I woke up early on Saturday to find Amber sneaking round the kitchen decorating her Cupcakes of Catan. She is so creative.

  

Too cute! Trevor is so lucky to have her, he is very artistic but I hazard a bet that like me he is a lazy one pot cook when possible.

Norm and I got ready and drove to George, it’s such a stunning drive.

  

We went to the George Mall and we had lunch at Mugg and Bean

  

We both ordered a cheddar Omelette with bacon. 

  

It was nice but service was incredibly slow. They only had 1 card machine and probably had at least 30 tables. It was a complete nightmare. I finally gave up left cash on the table and left.

We did a bit of shopping and I bought some jeans and found I have dropped down another jean size. Yay me! We visited Eden Meander which is a newer part of the mall. I thought Amber said it was called ‘Eat and Meander’!

We headed back to the house to get ready for the party. This is Lily as Tank Girl, Caitlin as Jareth from The Labyrinth and me in Steam Punk mode ready to depart. 

  

We had to stop for petrol and everyone at the station and in the surrounding cars was pointing and laughing.

  

At the party there were loads of props to play with and take pics with.

   
  This is me with Rose who owns Joplin’s and who hosted us for the evening. Rose is Amber’s mom. She’s lovely. 

  

It was a brisk but warmish evening for winter and as I had on pleather leggings it was lovely outside on the veranda. 

 

This is Trevor in full regalia as Kylo Ren, he looked brilliant. Amber ordered the outfit and had it sent to my house as it was all a surprise.
   
  

Amber worked so hard on the decorations and the food.

We had such fun.

  

   
 The Cupcakes of Catan were arranged like the board.

  

 
Caitlin made a Wall of Trevor tribute to him. 
We all clubbed together to buy him all the bits and pieces for him to build himself a very fancy gaming PC. 

  
Next day we all felt rather rough. I had a few coffees and drank a lot of water. This was my fave little spot, we could see buck jumping round in the distance.

  
Trevor and Amber’s house is so stunning.

Eventually Norm and I felt up to going out. Everyone was immobile except Amber who was her usual energetic self looking after everyone. We went to Timberlake Organic Village which has some wonderful little shops and cafes. There were little monkeys running round everywhere.

  
There was a cute cafe with an outside area with a singer.
  

We got a table in the shade on the veranda. 

  

And I ordered some hair of the dog in the form of a Bloody Mary.

  
It was a very nice one, very spicy. It was just what I needed. We listened to music, relaxed and watched the monkeys.

I ordered the chicken salad.

  
Norm ordered the beef burger with low carb fritters instead of a bun.

But he had chips. Oops.  
We had a lovely time out while everyone napped at home. We went for a drive along the beach.

  
We came back home and Amber built a roaring fire, the kitties were happy. 

  

We kicked back on the giant sofa and watched back to back episodes of Making A Murderer. We have three left so no spoilers please!

We ordered Thai food and Amber’s cousin Calum went to collect it. We chowed while devouring episode after episode. We stayed up far too late as a result.

We got up early this morning as we didn’t want the dogs on their own any longer than required. Trevor opened his presents, Amber got him a cable for something or other which means he can adjust the volume from his TV rather than his PC. I got him a top with a cool collar which morphs into a hood. Or a hood that morphs into a collar. Chicken, egg. I also got him a flannel shirt with a hood and a lovely blue nubby knit sweater with a hood.

I seemed to be obsessed with hoods.

I hope he liked them all.

We had one last group pic in the garden.

  
We decided to try to get halfway and then stop at Wimpy as they do all day breakfast. I got the low carb with 2 eggs, bacon and mushrooms.

  
We didn’t mess about and hit the road as soon as we finished, 

We had a real ‘Only in Africa’ moment when we happened upon a troup of Baboons just chilling in the road.

  
Crazy. We navigated through them then carried on.  When we hit Sir Lowry’s Pass it was so misty.

  
In LA we would call that smog! 

We got home just before sunset, it’s so nice to be in my house but I love spending time with my boy. I’m so blessed with how fabulous my kids are.

We got takeaways from Spiro’s and when Norm set the packet on the counter it fell right off. Lily and Caitlin both lost most their food and all their chips. We managed to share the food out between us. It was so delicious! Just sparse.

Back to reality tomorrow I’m afraid. 4 days off went too fast.