Lovely things to do this year

I have some routines I like to do around my birthday every year which I thought I’d talk about and link to, so that you can be reminded to do them too, if you’re so inclined.

If your birthday’s at a completely different time of year, put a link to this post in your calendar, a week or so before or after your birthday.

If you’re reading on a mobile device like an iphone, tap the square with an arrow pointing up, copy and paste the link into your calendar.

Here’s my annual birthday routine:

1. Organise a celebration. I believe that every year on this earth is a blessing so I like to celebrate my birthday every year.

2. Do a birthday review. This year I changed one or two questions but the main 4 questions are the same as my monthly review: what worked well, what didn’t work well, what did I learn, what do I need to let go of?

As a reader mentioned in the comments last year, it is a brave thing to do, to face up to things may not have consciously considered, but it’s always good to take an honest assessment of things. If you need some hand holding as you do this work, please book a coaching session with me.

3. Make a list of lovely things to do this year. This is purely a fun list ๐Ÿ™‚

I put things on this list like books I’ve always wanted to read, restaurants to try, fun things to do like take a photowalk with a friend to take photos of the jacarandas, things I want to do with Dion or the kids, and recipes I’ve wanted to try.

So far on my list I have to (finally) buy new frames because I’ve had my current frames for about 3 – 4 years (lenses have changed, but I kept the frames).

I also have some fun books I want to read, and I think I finally need to read the Total Money Makeover. I also want to listen to Andre Agassi’s Open.

Keep checking my Instagram because I’ll be sure to post my list when it’s done.

I have a friend who schedules a massage on her birthday, another who always takes a day’s leave to “think about her life” and still another who books all her appointments like gynae, eyes, mammogram in her birthday month. Fun, thoughtful and practical.

Please tell me about your birthday rituals and if you’re not signed up to my list yet, please do so if you want the free “lovely things to do this year” printable. My next newsletter goes out on Tuesday 15th.

Have you done your annual birthday review yet?

If it has to be done, you might as well enjoy it

I’m learning more and more that everything in life comes down to perspective.

And we can either get really annoyed with things, do something about them or do the best we can.


A few examples:

1. I really don’t enjoy driving in peak hour traffic at all. And that’s a very polite way of stating how I feel.

So since I have to do it, I make it as enjoyable as I can – I listen to podcasts or audio books on the way to work.

It has to be done so that’s one way to enjoy it.

These days I actually look forward to my days in the car to listen to a current book or catch up on my podcasts.


2. Related to driving, some days I don’t have early morning meetings. Instead of still rushing into the office, I take some time and have slow mornings.

Once D and the kids leave, I make a mug of tea and go read my book for a half hour before getting ready for work. It’s such a gift in my busy day because it feels really decadent, almost like I’m on holiday.


3. I don’t know why I hate packing my lunch bag so much. It’s got to get done though because we don’t have a canteen at work and no way am I walking to the mall to spend unnecessary money on food.

So I make sure I’m listening to a podcast and I focus on how all that walking up and down my kitchen is also good for my Fitbit steps ๐Ÿ™‚

Over to you!

What do you have to do, but hate doing?

How can you make it more enjoyable? Music? Get a friend (or kid) involved?

What’s making me happier this week (1)

Gretchen Rubin has a little 1 – 2-minute podcast on a Monday which is called A Little Happier, just a quick inspiration for the week ahead.

I thought I would do a similar thing on this blog but I’d share a couple of small things that are making me a LOT happier.

I actually have 3 for this week but I only have a photo of the one, so I’ll post the others in weeks to come.


this is the nice, bright light and bonus – it also makes cool patterns on the wall ๐Ÿ™‚

At some point we swopped out our regular lightbulbs for the energy-efficient ones. The problem is that the energy-efficient ones were only available in a much lower wattage (?) for the fittings we had (bayonet).

A few days ago I woke up early and turning on the lamp hardly did a thing in terms of light.

That was my trigger because I really wanted to read instead of scrolling Instagram.

I went to get a proper lightbulb and I swear my happiness increased 100-fold.


Now I love reading in bed again. I read TWO books this weekend with my nice, bright bedside lamp ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve previously referred to these tiny annoyances as tolerations and you can read more about them at that link.

Which tolerations are you putting up with that you can fix super-quick?

What’s making you a little (or a lot) happier this week?

Which is your desert island item of make-up?

1303 M and kids best-009

I’m sharing my make-up “routine” today to show you how I keep it simple and easy, which saves me lots of time.

  1. After my face is clean, I use Olay complete care day fluid (moisturiser). I’ve tried others (I’m not sure why!) but I always come back to this one so I’m not messing around anymore. It is light, non-greasy and goes on very easily. More importantly, one bottle lasts me 6 months and only costs R90.


2. Then comes Garnier BB cream. I love this one. I’ve used another Garnier one before that left my face too oily but this one is perfect.

3. Maybelling eyeliner

4. Cheap eyeshadow on my light eyebrows


5. Lip liner – once you start you can’t stop using lip liner. It really keeps your lipstick on longer. I prefer a pencil and usually use a house brand one from Clicks. Pictured is the Smudge brand, and the Essence one, and there’s a Yardley retractible liner there too but that one’s broken already with only two applications. I think I probably have too heavy a hand.

6. My favourite lipstick is currently Rimmel’s 066 Heather Shimmer (they have two Heather Shimmer colours – I found that out the hard way!) followed closely by Yardley’s Nude long-lasting colour

And that’s it. Nothing earth-shattering but it makes me look like the best natural-looking version of myself ๐Ÿ™‚

This is not all my make-up – I have 8 other lipsticks; some are “summer” ones, others are spares for my work bag, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

If I could take one make-up item to a desert island, it would be lipstick. What would your item be?

This is my previous post on make-up – I see not very much has changed ๐Ÿ™‚

5 favourite non-fiction reads over the last year

I had a question recently about which non-fiction books I recommend.

I really had no way to answer that because I didn’t know anything about the person.

In case you feel like dipping into a new non-fiction book this weekend, here are my 5 absolute favourites over the last year.

In case you feel like dipping into a new non-fiction book this weekend, here are my 5 absolute favourites over the last year.

I just realised I’ve listened to all of these on Audible, which is definitely my non-fiction carrier of choice. if you’re not a member yet, try it out and get two free books.

1. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

I really, really loved this book and like I said in my Goodreads review, I think people who hated the book or the author didn’t actually read the book!

I did listen to it on Audible though and I always feel that the author’s voice comes across with their intention a lot more.

If you haven’t read it yet, get the Audible version of this memoir – she is so funny and has really good comedic timing too.

2. Overwhelmed

I said in this review that it’s the time management book I wish I’d written. It’s smart, insightful and really interesting.

I wrote one post about time confetti but I want to re-listen to my bookmarks and write some more posts about this wonderful book.

For those who like to talk about how there’s not enough time, but also who are interested in how different people make things work.

3. Smart Money, Smart Kids

I wrote a ton about this book in this post. If you have kids still living at home, the clever thing to do is to read it.

4. Better than Before

I’m like a Gretchen Rubin evangelist. If I know you even a little bit, chances are I’ve told you to go take her quiz to find out your tendency, and then I’ve told you to subscribe to the Happier podcast. Yes?

This one is going to get another listen from me; it’s just that good!

I’ve written 7 posts about this book here…

5. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

You all know I love this book – I wrote a ton of posts (20!) about the concepts in here that you can access here, or by clicking the picture on the right sidebar —->>

She has a new book out called Spark Joy but I can’t talk to that one yet as I haven’t read it.

Have you read any of these books? Did you love them?

What was your favourite non-fiction book over the last year?

PS there’s always my Goodreads to check some of my other favourites.

PPSย  Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

{Mindset Monday} Mottos

It’s lovely sometimes to think about things you know to be true for yourself.

Mind you, these do not always ring true for others, but they resonate for us.


This is a section of my Amazing Life workbook, my mottos.

I like looking through my workbook monthly-ish because it often reminds me of things I’ve written that I may have forgotten, like one of my favourite work mottos:

Deal with things and don’t procrastinate.


I used to sometimes wait for the muse to hit so I could use particularly beautiful language in an email and be really diplomatic, but really, people would rather just have their answers, right?

And best of all, I feel better not only because the thing is done and off my to-do list, but it’s off my mind, and truthfully, a clear mind is much more important to me these days.

If I’m really angry about something, I have another motto that I have to get completely calm first before responding, but that is usually not longer than a day.


For home, I know that I always, always feel better if I get outside and get moving, whether it’s going for a walk, going into the garden to take photos, or kicking a ball around with the kids.

There is such a huge return on my time investment that it’s always worth it.

What are some of your favourite mottos for work or home?

What I learned in April and… my May goals

I spent this morning completing my goals review for April and setting goals for May.

A Goals Night, of sorts, but on a Monday morning.

To be honest, I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a Monday morning, unless it’s at the beach ๐Ÿ™‚


April was a great month in many ways; here are some of the things I learned:

  • A friend and I FaceTimed (?) and it was such fun. I also had numerous phone dates which is a new thing for me but it was surprisingly fun. I say surprisingly because normally I’m not a fan of the phone. I think what made it different was that I was not taken unawares, and the expectation was to sit, chat and connect. In other words, it wasn’t a sales person trying to sell me something ๐Ÿ™‚
  • The house-buying process has changed a LOT in the last 11 years. My word, one needs hours and hours to complete application forms by hand or on the telephone, and a TON of paperwork. I created a folder and there are over 20 documents in there!
  • Seeing friends after nearly 24 years is just as wonderful as you’d imagine it to be. We had such fun that the intention is to now do something together every 2 – 3 months.


    • D and I had our 21-year anniversary. The three friends in the pic above saw the whole thing unfold and I remember Thembi (bottom left) saying, “finally!” when I told her we were officially “going out”. Ha! Fun times. Fun fact – Linda (pink dress) and I share the same birthday.
    • Show houses are so much work. We had two this month and I’m hoping that the person gets a bond approved otherwise it’s back to the drawing board ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    • It really is very easy to read more books. I read 9 books in April. The key is simply to spend a lot less time on social media and more time with your nose in a book. I used to have the excuse that my phone had to be right next to me so that I could activate “sleep” on the Fitbit app. That was true but they updated the app so when the device syncs to your phone, it picks up the sleep cycles automatically. Now I don’t need my phone with me anymore and this is a good, good thing. Try sleeping and waking up without it and see ๐Ÿ™‚
    • Bullet journals are a lot of fun to read about, talk about and try out. I’ve written two posts so far – have you read them? And my third one will publish on Wednesday.

And now, for my May goals.


I mentioned before that this year I’m focussing on 3 – 4 key areas and I set goals within those areas.

What are those areas for you?

        • Health?
        • Family?
        • Work?
        • God?

This month, try to set just one goal per important area of your life to keep you focussed throughout the month.

What did you learn during April?

PS the notebook above is a Piccadilly one. I LOVE them, because they all have the same format – a blank page for mindmaps (or doodling/ sketching) and lines for writing the notes. I haven’t bought one for years, but I’ve seen the A5s at CNA for about R90, which is a complete bargain.

10 things to celebrate about you

Things to celebrate about you |

I had something completely different to write about today but when I realised that it’s the work anniversary at my previous company, I thought I’d do something different and more mindful.

You see, by the time I left, my confidence was really low and even the things I know that I know that I know about myself (Oprah’s what I know for sure things ;)) weren’t so clear.

I started from scratch – I made a list of promises from the Bible because what better place to start than with the word of God and when those started to take hold again, I moved onto the things that are uniquely me.

Maybe today, you also need to be reminded of who you really are?

May I strongly suggest you open up a Word doc, or pull closer a sheet of paper (or your bullet journal!), and quickly jot down 10 things to celebrate about you.

Things to celebrate about you |

I’ll share 5 of my favourite promises from the Bible:

Psalm 5:12ย Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

2 Tim 1: 7ย For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.

Isaiah 26: 3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you…

Phil 4:13ย  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

and these are just 5 of the things I want to celebrate about myself today:

Things to celebrate about you |

Tell me theย top 3 things you want to celebrate about yourself today.

PS this page is from my Amazing Life workbookย – I have the digital version so I can print multiple copies ๐Ÿ™‚


March review and a few happy links


March was a really good month for me. It’s always a good month when you have 10 days off to recharge but boy, did I pay for that last week when I got back.

I’m just about caught up so hopefully (!) this week will be easier.

I mentioned in my newsletter that I’d had “big plans” for my leave but beyond a bit of organising, some Konmari-ing, I did mostly nothing except lots of reading and sleeping. I way exceeded my sleep goal for every day of the holiday except one.

I read 10 books in March. 10! Besides December when I was pushing hard to reach my 2015 reading goal, I don’t know the last time I read that much for leisure. So decadent!

So I have to give a shout-out to the best book I read in March – Smart Money, Smart Kids. Dave Ramsey and his daughter, Rachel Cruze, are the authors. Oh man, just read it. It is fabulous. Packed full of big picture strategic thinking and really practical common sense (which is not at all common these days) in raising money smart kids.

If you have kids, you should get this book. Just do it – seriously ๐Ÿ™‚

Other highlights

  • We took 4 walks (it’s still far too hot… 7 months and counting now)
  • I have been bullet journalling – posts coming up soon
  • My Project Life is up to date for Jan and Feb. And my photos are nearly done for March.
  • I did a few things on the house to-do list, but not as much as I wanted!


And now a few posts you may have missed:

Goals for kids

The adult colouring craze

Do you toss your Christmas cards?

Project Life – before………. and after

On being a printer of photos


Your favourite instagrams

This Goals Night one, the Konmari one and the Easter craft one

My favourite instagrams

This one, this one and this one ๐Ÿ™‚

How was your March?

We’re up to 355 followers (this is a lot for me!). If you’re not following yet, check the feed and click follow. I love to engage with you so ask questions if you want to (the rug I feature a lot is from Superbalist) and that yellow table was the brightest Plascon yellow they had ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Getting kids interested in money

We use star charts to reward the kind of behaviour we value at home and usually the kids choose a small treat when they complete a chart of 35 stars.

TIP – the star chart itself is simply an old calendar page. They usually have a grid with 5 rows and 7 columns. #reuse #recycle #repurpose ๐Ÿ™‚

A treat is a small something in the region of R30, very occasionally R40. In the past, Kendra has chosen a pair of earrings, Connor has chosen stationery, but they have mostly settled on getting taken on a date with a parent for a milkshake, muffin and tea, or a breakfast.

Savings accounts for kids |

It’s very important to me to train the kids to be responsible financially.

They already tithe on any money they receive, and saving was the next step so this year I had a good idea to encourage them to save. I told them they could either have a treat, or they could have R50 in their savings account (which we had yet to open).

Both kids decided to bank 3 star charts’ worth of treats that I owed them.

TIP – keep track of when they start and complete a start chart, and when/ how it was redeemed. You might not have this situation but I have a boy who negotiates so hard that I’m left wondering if he is actually correct and I still owe him more treats!

Savings accounts for kids |

So off we went to my bank and I opened the accounts. That very afternoon, I transferred the R150 each plus whatever they had in their wallets. Let me just say, I think I have a natural saver/ hoarder of money and a spender ๐Ÿ™‚

Hopefully this is the start of really good financial habits for my kids.


In other news, I’m about 15% into Smart Money, Smart Kids, a book Dave Ramsey (The Total Money Makeover) wrote with his daughter, Rachel Cruze.

Who knows? I might abandon my star charts in favour of his commission system soon ๐Ÿ™‚

How are you teaching your kids about money?

Share your tips!

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