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Holiday beaches

7 Jan

I choose this rainy day to start a few quick posts about the December holidays. They were just here, I swear I smelled them. They are now finished. Swoosh, just like that! Anticipation of Ouma and Oupa arriving, excitement at seeing cousin Cleoné and a few weeks later, those are already memories.

This year we actually managed a few outings to the beach (It is hard to get to the beach when you have a solar-heated pool at home ok!)

We (re)discovered Noordhoek beach (Phillip and I go there every 14 years).

Building sandmen

Building sandmen

African dancing

African dancing

Chased by the sea

Chased by the sea

Captivated by sand

Captivated by sand

A warm pool of cousins

A warm pool of cousins

Taming the untameable calm  lagoon

Taming the untameable calm lagoon

A mother in the making

A mother in the making

Irresistible grin

Irresistible grin

Deciding on the target

Deciding on the target

My favourite mopkop

My favourite mopkop

We also visited Hout Bay beach. Kids love the dunes there.

National sport: dune-climbing

National sport: dune-climbing

... I'm not sure what they're doing, but it looks pretty cool

… I’m not sure what they’re doing, but it looks pretty cool

Life support. Holding hands.

Life support. Holding hands.



Ecstatic (Léa's favourite word at the moment)

Ecstatic (Léa’s favourite word at the moment)

Joyful. 2

Joyful. 2

Proof: Killian and I were there. Love the background.

Proof: Killian and I were there.
Love the background.


Take 2 – Surprises work better when people show up!

19 Apr

So after being left in the dark, in the stairways, behind a closed door, disappointed and forlorn, we heard footsteps from below. Recognising the mother’s footsteps, Claude quickly opened the door and we shoved ourselves into the living-room for a Take 2 -Real surprise!

Things I learned from this video:

1. The dog is very important (Just kidding. I already knew that!)

2. Man, but I have big teeth! I never took Phillip’s teasing seriously but he’s got a point!!!

3. My mother is more resistant than I thought! Fair enough, it’s not like I came back from the dead, but coming all the way from the bottom of Africa unexpectedly, I thought she would be more flabbergasted!

4. Last but not least, it was so flipping nice to surprise my mum like that!!!! I love surprises!!!!

Surpriiiiiise!!!! NOT.

18 Apr

Well it only took me a month to get back into the swing of things after my little escapade in France and around.

After struggling with YouTube for a day or two, I managed to upload the first of the two videos I want to post. Here is the story of the first one.

On the Friday, Lea and I finally arrived, with only one hour of delay. Claude, secretly, fetched us from the airport. After ignoring my mum’s frantic calls, panicking about the whereabouts of  Claude (Frejus is a very dangerous town. Who knows what can happen to a fully grown man in the middle of the afternoon downtown??!!), we finally parked at the back of the residency to avoid being spotted from the balcony. We walked like spies on a mission, clucked like excited chicken as we climbed the 3 floors to my mum’s flat, knocked on the door and…



France baby!!

3 Mar

Tonight it is from France that I’m writing. I know that you’ve all been dying to hear from me because my life is that interesting. Usually it would be a sarcastic comment (because my real name is Inks Sarcastic VB – I know you’re jealous right now!) but today, it is not. After all, I am in a hotel, in Carcassonne, with my only daughter, and my mum and Claude in the bedroom next door. Not too shabby!!

Rewind a few couple of days and the beginning of the big surprise for my mum’s birthday started. In a plane from Cape Town to Nice. Without a tribe to look after, only my very compliant, easy going little girl. What an easy trip it would be: no running after an hyperactive boy, no troop-motivating-general for my I-prefer-the-sitting-position other boy and no holding the vomit bag for my motion sickness husband. No wonder people think women should rule the universe!!

Anywhoo, I wondered who would be sitting next to me in the plane. My daughter’s only request was the window seat so I feared sitting next to a smelly man or a chatty woman. Don’t you hate people that try to make conversation in a plane? I’m not a fan, trying to hear what they say and smiling and nodding. But luckily, the Lord knew that my biggest need at that point was a quiet trip. The guy that sat next to me was a man (grandpa age, to reassure my jealous husband who thinks that men are just out to get me!) who was neither smelly nor chatty. In fact, I seriously doubted he was alive, were it not for him making a move towards his fork. He didn’t move, he didn’t look at his tv screen, he didn’t go to the toilet nor did he use his blanket. The only proof I had that he was in fact human was that he ate – everything on his tray.

Lea stared at her screen and slept. And I stared at my screen and tried to sleep.  I envy all those people who can sleep seated. Maybe my neck is abnormal but my head falls forward making me look stupid and half dead.

Otherwise apart for the hour late departure from London to Nice, it was a very uneventful trip.

That's us - 20 hours after departure. It's our best side.

That’s us – 20 hours after departure. It’s our best side.


18 Dec

Remember when I wrote that we didn’t have any traditions for Christmas? Well, it is not completely and utterly true. Like facebooking, blogging can also be deceitful! So even though I said that traditions become irrelevant in the light of Christmas being about Jesus, I happen to have a few traditions of my own.

I do. – Insert **shock and horror** face!

They are a bit different from the more common traditions that we hear about and they are mostly out of my control.

#1. My first tradition is my kids asking “so….. what is our christmas tree going to be this year?” with a vaguely interested tone of voice!

0I will be blunt and say that the traditional christmas tree just doesn’t do it for me. I don’t think they’re ugly but I don’t want them in my living room for one month. I’m not a fan of ‘fake’ anything (flowers, marble, gold…) and the ‘real’ ones look a bit miserable in the 32 degrees. But I looooove fairly lights. I think fairy lights should be up all year round. So every year, I need to find an alternative  that will allow me to enjoy a season of  their ambience setting.

This year, I saw a beautiful tree made of plank with writings on it and thought “Rats, if I were not so lazy I would totally make that!” and low and behold, my friend, without  knowing that I liked that idea, made it, painted it and gave it to me as a christmas present! So our tree – for 2012 – is made of white-painted planks with Mark 10:45 written on it (my very professional picture does not allow you to read the verse but it is painted in beautiful red handwriting “He came to give his life as a ransom for many”)

#2. My second tradition is a bi-annual December trip to the ER for Killian’s acrobatic prowesses.

WARNING: Do NOT try these experiences at home without the supervision of an adult.

5 years ago, he opened his forehead on the corner of a furniture trying to run away from me (that will teach him).

3 years ago, he decided to jump from the roof of our jungle gym onto the umbrella, hoping to bounce back into the pool. No, his plan did not work out and yes, he ended up with a hole in his skull.

Last year, he tried to jump off the rope in our garden, misjudging the backward momentum effect and ended up breaking his arm – 6 week in a cast with no swimming!

And a few days ago, he jumped in the pool grabbing the concrete side at the same time and landed on his chin. A 2 hour wait and 3 stitches later, he proudly wears another big plaster on his face.

It seems that we became very fond of tradition #2; so even though we planned on only making it a bi-annual trip, it seems that we’re speeding it up and did it again this year. Watch this space?!

At 30

At 7At 8

#3. My third tradition is having a very disappointed mum because the parcel she sent a month ago did not arrive in time for Christmas.

Disclaimer: All comments about the South African postal services might be an overreaction and an exaggeration as there are still a few days before that parcel shows up!!

My mum who can’t be with us for Christmas always sends a lovely parcel with exciting goodies for everyone. Every year, she prepares it well in advance but the south african postal services are not as efficient as the french ones. They might be friendlier but friendliness does not count as much as french mustard and mayonnaise!

And there you have it! You too can make up your own traditions! Happy Christmas!

Hibernating mode

17 Sep

It’s only been a month, and a bit, that I haven’t updated this blog of mine. I think it went into hibernation, like me. The winter has been long and hardy and like a true procrastinating bear, I went into my cave and put back to tomorrow what could be done today.

So without any further ado, I shall write. Write about Matty, his teeth, Léa and her birthday, Killian, his hair and many other important topics such as these. All that, in time.

For now, I just want to post some pictures of the cold winter we had. A few weeks ago, we went to Hermanus just for one night with some friends. The winter sea has that **awe* element that makes you reflect about the grandeur and power of God. Watching it, I nearly froze (of coldness) but I survived and dare I say, almost enjoyed it.

My precious…

Are you warm enough papa? Stolen moment… Love it.

Found a little cave, sheltered from the wind. Thumbs up and still all my teeth!

Oh my word, am I cold!!! Many many layers!! Under that fake smile lies grumpiness…

Half-smiley girl

Cuddly boy and his mum…

Killian and Stopayne (It’s the name of his blankie). I’m so glad I captured this. Stopayne is as much part of our family as any goldfish or rat would be: same smell and lack of personality…

Photos, photos, photos!!!

20 Jul


The impact cousins have on the french language…

15 Jul

When we visit my mum in France, my sister and her family who live 7 hours away usually make the trip to come and say hello. This time around, even though we went there in June i.e. during school term, they still made the long journey by car, with a 7 year old and a 6 year old, just for 3 days, just to see us!! It was short but it was goooooddd!!!

We went to one of our favorite place, the lake St Cassien!!  I’m always amazed at how well the kids so quickly get along. They see each other once every 2 or 3 years and yet Léa and Margot played together as if they had seen each other the previous week and the boys were fighting for Thomas’attention.

The best part about having the cousins around was that my conundrum about languages got resolved within a day. Why make the effort to speak french to mum when mum can speak english? Why make the effort to speak french to my granny when I only need the vocabulary for greetings and food. But if I need to play with the cousins…. ahah! By the end of the 3 days, my kids had seriously improved their fluency in French. And they sounded so cute!!!

So thank you my sister for coming all the way to say hello and touch base!!! We had a fun time!!! And thank you to my mum and Claude for moving out of their flat for one night to accommodate all of us!!! :–)

Some lobe transformation…

4 Jul

Because we were in France over Matty’s birthday – he got spoilt!!! – my mum wanted to spoil the other two as well, in advance of their birthday. So I thought and thought and thought and couldn’t find an interesting present for Léa. (I mean, does she really need another Barbie??). Until I got a lightbulb moment and had the best idea of a gift for Léa. She had been begging us ‘wheeeeeeennnn can I have my ears piiiiierced??!!’ so it was absolutely too special to do that with her and to do it in France where it will be a memory to cherish for ever!! It was extremely special for my mum as well to orchestrate and be there for that special occasion.

I do realize that it’s only a pair of ears being pierced (as I sound a bit over enthusiastic over the whole event). I really didn’t expect to feel so sentimental about it but it absolutely felt like a rite of passage for my little girl!! And I’m glad that I have footage of it 🙂

I do need to add that Léa was far braver than me at the same age. The lady that pierced my ear (no ‘s’!!) when I was about 8 couldn’t – wouldn’t – pierce my second one as I was screaming too much!! I’m so glad that at 36, I managed to have a second hole in both my ears!!!

Two minutes and forty-three seconds of smile on my face!!

Forum Julii

29 Jun

aka Fréjus – France. Three years later…

A picture descriptive of our holidays!

Sandy and happy

We arrived on Saturday, white and tired. By Sunday, we were less tired, more red and very sandy. As always, our holidays in France are characterized by sun and beach. No time to waste!

Léa and Matt, watching sandcastle disappear to the sea

That is Matty in a nutshell!!

It was Mother’s Day the first day after we arrived: the best gift I could give my mum! We spent the day at the beach Base Nature, all together, Goway (the dog) included!

We managed to get burned on our first day. I (stupidly) thought that the June sun is mild enough to go without any protection… ah ah! It set the tone for the rest of our time there! It also gave plenty of material to tease Phillip and his peeling state 🙂

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