“Do you want to help me?”

Today I took a train to Pisa. It was raining hard in Florence and from the looks of things it might be a little drier in the region of the leaning tower.

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Installed in good time in a window seat, snacks at the ready, off we rolled with a long tunnel making way for country scenes. Hay bales in green fields, cement bridges, yellow fields with yellow brick Tuscan houses, silver streaks reflecting skies above and trees like sentries along hilly rises. Continue reading

A Lesson In The Merit Of Staying The Same, From Dulwich Village Stationers

Yesterday I visited Dulwich, where my mum grew up and I spent time visiting my grandparents, and popped in at the stationery shop I worked in for a month when I was seventeen. It was, quite literally, exactly the same, with seemingly no attention paid to the passing of thirteen years. The same products on the same shelves with the same people visiting, and Mr Green – now in his eighties – greeted me like it was yesterday. There is something almost unbearably beautiful about its not having had to change or update to survive in the surging charge of today.

All this time, all this life that’s been had, and it’s just been there silently keeping on.

Things like that, make me think. Also being sick makes me think. Last week I had to stay in bed with flu for four days and it felt like a lifetime. Initially all I wanted to do was sleep and be still in my room-cocoon but as soon I felt a bit better – and still needed to be home, snug and resting – I began to itch for the pace I am used to operating at, and felt distinctly uncomfortable without the usual stream of information, alerts, notifications, news and more that I drink in from being online and connected for at the very least least nine hours a day. As I became aware of it I became determined not to pander to it. And it wasn’t easy.

Especially working in social media, and remotely, I have decided I need to be more cognisant of unplugging. I love growing in knowledge and awareness but there are downsides to the never-ending story of the internet. Plus, being a healthy and happy part of a distributed team is going to take more discipline than I have been exercising so that my soul knows when we are no longer ‘in the office’. Continue reading

Let us be lovely

New years are strange creatures. We reflect, make promises, buy new journals and re-organise. I’ve found myself pondering where I was a year ago, starting my 29th year in Cape Town working for Yuppiechef and very well, settled.

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I had a murmuring feeling things were about to change and they did. In March I decided to resign and move to London to make my fortune, drink tea, marry Prince Harry and so forth. At that stage, I had no idea what I would do work-wise, friend-wise or anything-wise but was certain it was the right decision. Continue reading

Learning to surf and from Eleanor Roosevelt

Last weekend I went camping in Devon with some new friends. It was altogether lovely and included fresh country air, pub dinners, my first surf, creamy fudge, wellies, wild flower picking and piping hot showers. Very repeatable!

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I have just finished Eleanor Roosevelt’s You Learn By Living which is ultra-recommendable. The weekend even included some reading aloud of this fine specimen. Some of my favourite quotations would have been included, had I not gone and lost my Kindle.

It is officially getting chillsome in London, I felt a little like Snow White on the way into town yesterday with orange leaves, damp ground, black boots and a shiny red apple for good measure. In such weather, one simply must buy a bobble hat that is dangerously similar to your tea cosy and visit Anthropologie.

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Tonight an adventure to a rooftop cinema in Peckham Rye with Carey-Anne awaits. Feeling thankful today for a warm house, good cup of tea, job I am really enjoying and countless other blessings – including my inbound mum, who arrives for a visit to London on Tuesday. We’ll be heading to Spain together for some sun and relaxing, and then I will go onwards to Turkey and Bulgaria.

“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have tobecome heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each new thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” – E. Roosevelt.