7 ways to a less cluttered house

Cape Town – When my niece was in Grade 2, she needed an empty shoebox for a project.

Picture: freeimages.com

Picture: freeimages.com

This should have been simple – but it wasn’t.

Neither my sister, my mother nor I had such a thing as an empty shoebox. I had to ask a colleague (who has beautiful taste in shoes) to bring one to the office so that the school could get its project. 

Things I have learned while lying down

A way to work while supine.

A way to work while supine.

Cape Town – It was a laundry basket that did it.

As I have done for years, I pulled the wet washing out of the machine and put it in the basket. Then I lifted the basket on to the top of the washing machine, ready for hanging out the next morning.

My back went into instant spasm – and the next morning I was being driven to the doctor for the first of many appointments. I’ve been prodded and poked, bent and banged, scanned and X-rayed. The upshot is that a disc in my lower spine has “extruded” and is impinging on a nerve, meaning that my right leg is subject to a constant dull ache and sitting down is well-nigh impossible. 

When #mtg cards meet a mom

Cape Town – Every week, I have to come up with an idea for a column.

Sometimes the idea is right there in front of me. Sometimes there are lots of ideas I just don’t want to touch. And sometimes there is nothing at all.

This was one of those weeks.

What, I said to my husband and son, am I going to write about?

Magic the Gathering cards

Magic the Gathering cards

Jak, 13, had an instant response: write about Magic The Gathering, he said.

When beauty is in the detail

Cape Town – I spent a couple of hours in paradise this week.

Well. maybe not paradise exactly, but it is a gorgeous piece of Cape Town.

I was invited to spend some time with Groot Constantia’s winemaker Boela Gerber, and so a gorgeous late summer Wednesday was spent on the country’s oldest wine estate rather than eating lunch at my desk.

I’m on a steep learning curve in the world of wine and the kind PR people who represent Groot Constantia thought I could up my game a little by spending some time there. Boela took me on a tour of the vineyards and we did some tasting of his fine wines sitting outside at Jonkershuis, and I did learn a lot.

The simple joys of camping

Cape Town – A friend – a women of strong views – is adamant: she will not go on holiday to any plac

The evening braai over the Dutoitskloof mountains.

The evening braai over the Dutoitskloof mountains.

e where she cannot plug in her hairdryer.

And I know what she means. The daily shower ritual is as essential to me as breathing. The day simply does not begin until I have stood in some hot water, done my face and put in some earrings.

And yet there is something to be said for unhooking oneself from the daily rituals.

One way to completely unhook is to go camping. 

How much is too much for a good school?

Cape Town – Every week I am supposed to write a column.

And this week, it appeared that my ideas folder had run dry.

That’s partly because I am much pre-occupied with the dreadful, all consuming task that besets the parents of Grade 7 pupils: the finding of a suitable high school.

We did some research and went to some school open days last year (on the sensible advice of a friend, who said that helps ease the pressure when you hit Grade 7) and have found a school we love – and our son has been given a place there.

Can you do vitiligo, Joseph Fiennes?

In the summer my son Jak turned four, he started to develop strange white patches on the skin of his neck.

Over the course of several weeks, the patches spread to his chest and right arm.

The paediatrician was a little flummoxed and put in a call to a dermatologist. It was, she said, vitiligo.

And so began our journey with a rare condition that most people know nothing about.