Happy Diaversary to Me!

I never use to celebrate my Diaversary because to start with, I did not even know such a thing existed and two I did not know when mine was.

I first heard about A Diaversary a few years back when I became very involved in the Instagram community and then I had to go ask my mom when I was diagnosed.

A Diaversary is the anniversary of the date you were diagnosed as a Diabetic. Diabetic + Anniversary = Diaversary

I did not really understand why one would celebrate the day you were diagnosed as a Diabetic because I believe it is one of the worst things that can happen to you. Especially for someone being diagnosed later in life.

I, on the other hand was diagnosed at the age of 10 months on 3 October 1986. My diagnosis story is for another day, but today I celebrate 35 Years of being a Type 1 Diabetic.

Happy Diaversary to ME!

Why do you celebrate it? (I am sure you are asking this question). Believe me, I had to answer this for myself at the start as well.

Here is why I celebrate.

I do not celebrate being a Diabetic. I celebrate the following:

  • By the Grace of God I made it to another year
  • It is another year that I had no lasting Diabetic complications ( I had a trigger finger, but we caught it well in advance) 
  • It is another year that I kicked the Diabeast ass!
  • I have access to medicine, health care and some bad ass tech (I am looking at YOU Freestyle Libre).
  • I met amazing people along the way.
  • I celebrate life.

Each year I get me something that I can stick a sparkler or candle in, light it, take a picture, get a kiss from my husband and for that moment imagine it is my birthday and I just won the lotto.

This year I am thankful for how technology have changed my Diabetes management. I am thankful for being healthy and strong as a horse (metaphorically speaking, as I can not even hold more than 1 pan in one hand at the moment). I am grateful for the community I became a part of. I am grateful to be alive.

Here’s to being a sterk lekkertjie!

Cheers!

E xx

AMA (Ask Me Anything) Diabetes Event-30/09/21

On 30 September 2021 I was part of one of the coolest things I have done in quite some time.

After I found my tribe earlier this year (read about it here), I asked that if there is an event or somewhere where I can become more involved with the Diabetic community, count me in please.

I was then invited to be part of the AMA about the emotional side of Diabetes Event.

We do not generally talk enough about mental health and even less so for people living with Diabetes or any chronic illness for that matter.

It was an honour to be part of this and it felt awesome to share some of my experience with mental health and anxiety around my Diabetes. It was wonderful to see that people can relate not only with what I am dealing with, but what my peers are dealing with. Well, wonderful in the sense that we can help each other. #thestruggleisreal

A community that comes together can move mountains.

The recording of the event can be found on Facebook or Youtube. It is about an hour with some very valuable information. If you only want to see my face, you can skip ahead in the video – LOL! I would encourage you to take the time and watch it all!

We had Daniel Sher, Clinical Psychologist also living with Type 1 Diabetes join us with some tips and advice. Bridget McNulty was our wonderful host with the team from Treeshake and Abbott. You guys were amazing! Thank you.

Daniel and Kirsten put together some facts around mental health and Diabetes:

If you have any questions or would like to become part of this wonderful community, please drop a comment or visit the Diabetic South Africans Facebook Page and join the tribe today!

E xx

*links not affiliated

Customer Service-The Good, Bad and the Ugly

Warning: Sarcasm will filter through

Recently I celebrated my first 6 years at one company. The first 4 years was almost butterflies and rainbows. I really enjoyed my work and I really like my company. I will always try and assist to the best of my abilities, wherever and whenever I can. Even by working overtime for a whole week at free will (No comment).

I have moved around a lot in the first 3 years. I started as a customer service agent, moved on to an after hour customer service agent, then back to day shift on the amendments team and then to an admin agent for amendments. I started off by taking between 80-100 calls a day. No jokes. This is real statistics. I used to get home and throw my own phone in my room and ignore it. Later I ended up despising a ringing phone. It is so bad, I still do not answer a phone unless I know who is calling. My family and friends know by now to send me an instant message. Do not phone me. The only person that still phones is my husband. I Should talk to him about it. Haha

The last 2 years have been really tough, not only on our industry, but hugely our operational agents.

Covid hit us and our industry very hard. Customers forget that they are working with humans who also have families and are experiencing more stress than the previous 4 years. Apart from the customers travel plans being interrupted and the disappointment that brought along, we have been dealing with much more behind the scenes that they can not see.

It breaks my heart that we sometimes have to listen to the kind of verbal abuse that these customers, who not too long ago sung our praises, throw at us.

The only thing I will say to this is the next time you speak to a customer service agent remember this, you are speaking to a mother, a father, a wife, someone who most likely lost someone to Covid, someone’s child and you do not know the situation of the person on the other side. This goes both ways. Be kind to one another. Everyone have a lot they are dealing with.

All right, this being said. Let’s get to the good, the bad and the ugly.

In the past 6 years I have dealt with very obnoxious, rude, a special kind of stupid, funny, sad and sometimes just normal people.

I thought it good to share some of the funny, sometimes really stupid questions, the rude, poor language and praise we get from our customers.

Phones first

When I answer the phone, or call someone ”Thank you for phoning (company name) this is Elré speaking” and then I get “Oh Hi Elmarie/Audi/Alrie/Alri/Elrise” So, I started articulating my name El(pause)ré. Even though I sound like a Grade 1 teacher doing syllables, it still does not help.

Answering the phone and the customer is going ballistic on the other side about how long they had to hold on and how dire their situation is and when you ask for the reference number you get the reply “Oh wait let me go back into my email and find the reference number quickly” So, what have you been doing the few minutes you had to wait to speak to someone?

Or you tell me you are having issues checking in and when I ask you “Do you see this and this” tell me “Oh let me log into the website first”.

Calls like these make other customers wait longer because you need to look for something. I always think to myself when I am phoning a call centre, be ready because you have a reference and a specific question relating to that reference and the agent is going to request it. Don’t be a dummy.

Contrary to popular believe agents do not want to chit chat. We do not mind if you jump right into the question as this speeds up the call and we can get you sorted and on your way faster. Asking me how I am is not necessary because I can promise you that should I be having a bad day you are the last person that wants to hear about it.

I had a man, quite rich in age, ask me once to please quote him on a flight between Lanseria and OR Tambo. First I was dumbstruck and then I had to inform the poor man that the airlines do not operate that route as the airports are more or less an hour’s drive from each other. Shame. Maybe he was just not feeling the drive from Johannesburg to Krugersdorp.

This passenger requested a bus ticket from Cape Town to Potchefstroom on the My City. Now, the My City only operates in and around Cape Town. She just could not understand why they would not take her to Potchefstroom. It took a lot of explaining and patience.

A client phoned one of my colleagues in the middle of the night to book a Vegan meal for the next day flight. I also once had a call just before midnight for a seat request on a flight that was almost ready for checking in at the airport.

I had a customer call and say: “Oh Hi, where am I flying from? Which airport?” My reaction was, like really? Were you present when you made the booking?

Sometimes I just sit in wonder.

Next, emails.

We receive funny emails, blood boiling emails, emails all in capital letters, one word emails, you name it. I don’t think I have seen it all, but here are a few.

I WANT TO BOOK – in the subject line with no further details –so would you like me to send you to hell? Timbaktu? Iraq? China? Put-sonder-water? Where would you like to go and when?

I had a client reply in response to the ticket email asking “Where is my ticket?” Halloooo, did you read the email and check the email before you responded? I do not think so. It takes a lot of self control to not be sarcastic in this situation.

The client wanted to travel to a different city due to the volcano that erupted in Bali but did not specify so we asked where do you want to go? The response: anywhere is South East Asia. I thought, lady, South East Asia is a big place. Some places you cannot fly to, you must drive or sometimes even walk. It is always advisable to be very specific with your request.

We receive a bunch of date change requests where people do not specify the dates they wish to travel so we need to ask them. So the questions sent was what date do you want to go? The response was 29 Nov or any time before the end of February where I don’t have to pay anything additional. Now let me explain something. We get so many emails like these and doing these quotes take times. We need to check every single day to find the lowest available. You can do a once of week/month view. Try and explain this to someone. This takes another few emails, it is not easier on a telephone line. It is also these customer, most of the time, when you went through every date who comes back and say “Oh, I can not travel on the suggested date”. See why we ask for specific dates/time frames.

On our quotes it says the following after the break down: Total: R0.00 per person per change (additional) Question from the passenger: So, is it (amount) per person? My response in my head, I don’t know-maybe?

We also receive quite a few of the next email. How much is a flight? That’s it, nothing else, no other info. So, can I send you to Timbuki land? We sometimes feel we want to send a quote to a random place on a random date.

Now, this next one had me cracking up. Gosh, I laughed out so loud!

A passenger writes to us: and the reason why we can not travel is because I realised I’m pregnant its a natural cause , something beyond our control, I personally don’t think this is fair. -Really? Were you not present when that happened? We should watch out people. Natural causes are dangerous.

Another funny one.

The passenger requested a refund and as per airline policy it is not much. After he/she was quoted the response came: “Hi there – please go ahead with the refund. At least I can buy a nice steak”. At least he had a sense of humour.

Now on our website you have to complete the name field with your first and second and third or how many names you have, but if you do not have a middle name you leave it blank.

A client sent this in regarding a name change: “Hi I bought a ticket for my daughter, she does not have a middle name so I inserted N/A (Not applicable) Her ticket now shows first name NA surname. Can you please amend and resend the e ticket”

She can thank the stars that the N/A was only showing on our side and not on the airline system. Airlines are very strict these days and most do not allow name changes, corrections maybe, but removing or adding names are most of the time a no-go. Luckily this was fixed quickly, but again, what are people doing behind the screen?

Another idea people have (and we get this a lot) is that you can swap and change between airlines like you do when you buy clothes on Zando or Superbalist. I had a lady so upset at me because she could not understand that we as the agency sell all the different airlines and we cannot swap and change between them. Let me explain this in a simple way. Even though we are 1 agency and we sell different airlines every single airline is managed separately. It is like buying from PnP and wanting to swap it at Checkers. Same principle. The only way to do that (if it’s an airline) is to cancel (with penalties) and book a whole new ticket.

The bad and the ugly.

My colleagues and I have gone through very rude language and personal insults. Let me share a few.

I was called a gas lamp. “Ek het alweer met ‘n gas lamp gepraat” – Could not believe my ears. This was said as I was about to transfer the call because the passenger chose the incorrect option. I wonder who is the Gas lamp now? I am still not 100% sure what she meant by that. Could be that the light is on but it is not very bright, who knows.

I had a call one evening from a guy who was freaking out because his ticket was not issued yet. Never mind that his card did not want to go through for the whole amount. He was hysterical. He phoned the person who was responsible for the flight and while he was talking to her he told her no he is on the other line with this chick and this company is f-ing up his flights. I snapped. I got his attention and I told him that I am no-one’s “chick” and that if he bad mouths my company again I will hang up. All I was trying on my side was to assist him. WOW! He changed instantly. So sweet and “my friend I am so stressed and I am sorry”. All I could do was roll my eyes. Some people. At the end the person who was responsible for the payment begged me to just issue the one ticket and get him off her back and then we laughed together at his unnecessary freak out.

We had this complaint once. You guys are so stupid. How can a flight from Johannesburg to New York only take 4 hours. You people don’t know what you talking about. How is it even possible for one to fly to America in 4 hours. Idiots you are.

This guy forgetting its called Time Zone’s.

In a response to a refund query our agent answered and then received this beautiful response: “don’t waste my time you f*ck refund is refund you mother f*ck”

Another agent responded with Good day, how are you? How may I assist you today? My name is… to which the client responded: “f*ck you”

I was trying to explain to a customer the breakdown of the refund quote. There were 5 people on the booking and the quote is per person-as always. I advised her to get to the total, just take the amount and multiple it by 5. She just did not want to understand this. This is now after she have spoken to numerous people and even one of my colleagues in the refund team.

At one point she uttered the words “you little whore” and I put the phone down. We do not have to take verbal abuse like that. If she swore I would have warned her as we do, but you do not attack me personally because your are being too daft to understand.

My colleague heard the whole conversation and the lady phoned back and told my colleague she does not understand why I put the phone down and my colleague just said “no ma’am, I heard the whole conversation”. That was the end. I do not know or care what happened after.

The Good

We do receive compliments from time to time as well, this is when people takes the time to write them. These days it is much easier to complain than to give credit where credit is due.

These are a few of my favourites.

Dear Elre

You are so wonderful! Thank you and your team so very, very much for your kindness and I’m sorry I didn’t hear your call and again, apologies for my error. I sincerely hope that when a time like this comes in each of your lives you will find people as kind and caring as you have been to us to ease you through it.

Thank you is not a big enough word.

The next one made me cry a bit.

Hello Elrie (hope spelling is correct)

Once again thank you for your help with my disaster on Fri 23rd Feb passenger (Name Surname) that you SOLVED IN SUCH AN AMAZINGLY PROFESSIONAL MANNER

I remember this one very well and this poor lady was so upset and stressed out. I am just happy there was a plan to be made.

I would like to compliment you, Company Name, for helping me get to Ireland for my Mum’s funeral. All my travel plans went wrong at the last minute due to a transit visa glitch. I was at the airport ready to fly and they told me I couldn’t. Stuff of nightmares. I contacted you and spoke to a lovely lady named Elrie (not sure of the spelling.) She calmed me down and made a plan for me in time for me to get on a flight about an hour later. Service of this level, in the circumstances I was in, really made me want to write your name in lights across the sky. A HUGE thank you. Thanks to you, I was able to say goodbye to my Mum.

Then, this has to be my favourite compliment ever received. Just look at this cute cartoon!

I even got a gorgeous ponytail. This is the coolest things ever.

Look, working with people is tiring and you deal with so many personalities in a day. I like solving problems, I like helping people. It takes a lot from me to not swear at some people for being rude. In some situations it is difficult not to let it get to you personally, but as the years gone by I have became a hard ass and I am going to have many more of the above. But let me tell you world, a pinch of salt. Take it with a pinch of salt. This does not mean I do not have bad days, there are plenty, but then you smile and wave and go on.

Tell me in the comments if you ever had funny or terrible things happen to you while working with customers.

E xx

Radisson Red – 3 Year Anniversary

On 16 June 2021 we celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. We always try and do something exciting and special for the day.

This year Etienne had a very elaborate plan and a huge surprise for me.

On the Tuesday, 15th of June, we drove out to town to go and collect our painted mug and bowel we did for his birthday. You can read that story h e r e. We took a walk up and down Long Street and we had some coffee at Bootleggers.

Our original plan was to go and have high tea as this is something that both of us have wanted to do for some time. Unfortunately the hotels only offered high tea over weekends. After we had our coffee and on our way out of town, Etienne mentioned that he wanted to go and see what The Silo hotel looked like. He kept saying I had to check for the parking right at the beginning of the Waterfront as this is the closest to The Silo.

We found the parking and off we went to go and check it out.

As we entered he popped into The Raddison Red and I asked him where he was going and he mentioned that he just wanted to take a look around. I was so alarmed. I told him they are not going to let us have a look around, it is Covid. They are hardly going to let us in unless we have a booking.

Totally oblivious I followed him through the door and he went for the check-in counter. In my mind he was asking if we could take a look around. Meanwhile I felt so out of place and one of the staff members approached me and asked if we are staying to which I reply “Nooooo we are only having a look around. We do not have money to stay over”. He was not too bothered, laughed a bit and let me be.

Etienne was taking some time and I went to him at the counter to find out how long he is still going to be. Everybody was so friendly and welcomed us and one of the staff members was busy explaining check in and rules to Etienne and I looked at him in complete puzzlement.  Etienne is busy handing a credit card to the lady and then one was asking if I want Gin or Popcorn. I had no idea what was happening.

After my initial shock and being so overwhelmed with everything happening, realisation hit. We were staying over the night and Etienne is busy checking us in.

I wish I did not have to wear a mask because the smile and amusement on my face was precious. HaHa. Even if I have to say it myself.

I was like a little girl. Totally gobsmacked into silence. I was just smiling and meantime the lady was still waiting for my answer on the pop corn or gin! I took the popcorn.

I could not believe it. Etienne pulled it off without me knowing about anything. I have wanted to go into town for a night and sleep over in a hotel for a birthday or anniversary in 2020 but because of Covid we could not do it. He surprised me this year with a day out in town and accommodation in The Raddison Red. I could not be more excited and happier. I could not stop smiling.

This was apparently a group effort as my sister also had help him with the planning. Earlier this year she organised an epic kidnap for her husband’s bachelors so she had it down.

One of the first things I asked Etienne was, I was in panic mode instantly when I realised we are staying, is what about my insulin. I got into trouble a lot because I do not take it with me and sometimes he wants to stay over and we cannot because I do not have all my insulin with me. He said not to worry. He had clean underwear, a shirt, shower things, insulin, everything packed up in the car. I could not believe it. I was still in awe.

And so our night out in town started with a bang.

We took our overnight bag to our room where we had a little welcome card and some more popcorn and soaked in the view a bit. We then went up to the roof top bar. We had sundowners, a nice cold whiskey on the rocks and Etienne had beer, watched the lights gradually come alight and the sun painting the sky in wonderful colours. Perfect!

I was given a choice whether I wanted to have dinner in the V&A Waterfront or in the hotel room. I chose the latter. We were planning on spending time in the V&A Waterfront the next day. I have always wanted to order room service and never have, even though I have stayed in hotels before, because it is expensive. But this was our anniversary and I was allowed to order anything I wanted. What a treat!

In the hotel’s restaurant they have a small “distillery” where you can mix your own gin. A variety of flavours and a great alternative for the normal wine tasting. The in-house restaurant is also where you order room service from and where you have your breakfast.

We spent the evening in the room, had our dinner and did some channel surfing on the TV. We basically just chilled. It was fantastic!

What was nice about this stay is that you do not have to leave and check out at the break of dawn. We could lie in, have a nice hot shower, have breakfast and then went back to collect our things and freshen up.

We spent the day in the V&A Waterfront, did some shopping for Etienne (I just could not find anything that tickled my fancy) and ended with ice cream and chocolate at the Lindt shop. Delicious!

This was one of those night/days where everything was just perfect. I have wanted to do this for some time and Etienne totally blew me away.

The Raddison Red is a hip hotel in the V&A Waterfront, the décor is very funky and everyone made you feel so welcome. From check-in to check-out and everything in between. The view are nice and if you are on a budget but want a nice experience, do yourself a favour and visit. They have these great Fatsak poofs all over the corridors and they are so comfy!

Thank you Etienne, this was a fantastic experience!

E xx

*links not affiliated

Finding My Tribe – Diabetic Meet Up

I have not been part of a Diabetes community for quite some time. My parents used to take me to meetings and Diabetic camps, but it kind of died in Primary School. This really made me feel so alone.

 I had some pen pals who I exchanged letters with through the years but I lost connection with some and two of my Diabuddies passed away.

This is such a terrible condition.

At the end of 2019 I became part of a community again. First it was on Instagram and then later it moved to wattsapp and Facebook and then in April this year it was real life.

I was so excited for this day to come. I could not wait to meet real, actual people just like me with a normal day-to-day life but who happens to have Diabetes as well.

10 April 2021 we met up in The Green Point Urban Park in Cape Town and we just instantly became friends. What a brilliant day it was.

We did the normal introductions, where you from, what you do for a living and so forth. We shared some Diabetes stories and kind of exchanged notes in terms of what do you inject for this, or no my bg (blood glucose) levels do not like that, and yes I have experienced that.

It almost looked like we are having a tribal council meeting .

What made this even more great was the fact that non-Diabetic friends and loved ones join. This was so good to have Etienne next to me as this is still a learning process for him as well. He got to chat with other non-Diabetic partners who had advice and tips and stories of their own.

I found my people,  my tribe. I felt like I belong and that I am part of something bigger. This meet up just opened doors for me and I got to chat to so many people from different walks of life who not only understands but knows what I am saying and referring to. I cannot explain what this means to someone with a chronic condition.

We as people were not created to be alone. We were created to be more than just 1 and support one another.

I am very thankful for this community and so happy to be a part of a tribe. I look forward to many more tribal council meetings to come! (Hehe)

E xx

Klipkrans-Where the silence makes a noise

Fishing to me has always seemed so pointless. I could never imagine just sitting there waiting for a bite, then reeling it in just to let it go. I did not get it.

In March this year we went to Klipkrans, situated between Worcestor and Villiersdorp. We just needed a break. 2020 was shit and we were emotionally drained.

This week was one of the best in a long time.

Etienne wanted to fish and I just wanted to rest and read.

We arrived on the Monday early afternoon and while setting up camp I dropped one of the table legs on my foot. It was super painful. I do not know what I was thinking, but trying to screw in the leg and using the wrong side resulted in a worm forming on my foot. I was man down for a few minutes rubbing is on it. Yoh, painful I tell you.

Not long after our camp was set up, the lines were in the water and a camp fire on the go. I asked Etienne if I can throw a line and sinker for a bit. He showed me how and then I just started throwing the line and sinker into the river and reeling it in. I had quite some fun. Even if I have to say it myself, I did well for a rookie. Etienne agreed.

On Tuesday I did something I never thought I’d do. I asked Etienne if he will add some bait to one of our rods and I wanted to launch it. The first throw was disastrous! It fell almost just before my feet and the bait left the cage. Take 2 then.

In the line went and then the wait started. I was not anxious but I was very excited. It was not long after when my first even fish was caught. According to Etienne it was perfect because it was the right size to use as bait again. I felt so very proud. Our neighbours wanted me to kiss the fish, something about tradition. I was like, nope. There is no way I’m doing that. Etienne then said now I have to bait my rod on my own.

After this excitement  Etienne had to go to the bathroom and he left me with his rods and mine in the water. I was so alarmed. I told him you cannot leave me alone what if a fish bites?! He was very chilled and just told me that if the fish should bite, just reel it in. Easy, right?

I thought to myself no it won’t happen that fast and he will be back in no time. Pfft, this was not the case.

Not long after he left, a fish did bite and not a small one. I yelled in excitement and I think a bit in fright as well. Our neighbours thought something bad happened. I started reeling in but this one was giving up quite a fight. After struggling a bit I was just thinking that I have to get this one out. Etienne is going to be so mad if I let this one go. At one point the rod was almost bent in half! I got the fishy out onto the sand bank, but as I was trying to reel it in more and the rod arching like it is going to snap, the hook came loose and went straight into the tree branch above my head. It got entangled instantly.

At last the neighbour aunty came to try and help but she just made it worse, by accident. The Line snapped at that point and everything got left behind on the branch.

Etienne arrived and I felt so bad! I lost his fishy. I explained to him what happened and the tannie told him it was her fault, he just laughed at me, but also taught me what to do and said that this is the reason there is a fishing net. I told him I am a rookie and I only 2 hands and I looked like an octopus who got tied up in knots trying to reel out the fish.

After this it was smooth sailing. I caught another 2 fish and it was the most relaxing time. I now understand why fishing is such a popular sport. This will most certainly become a regular activity for the both of us.

We really enjoyed this camp site. Except for fishing you have some hiking trails as well as 4×4 trails. You can also hire a canoe and paddle up and down the Breede river. You are able to view Oryx, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Springbuck, Duiker, Steenbok and the very exclusive Klipspringer as part of the game in the park. This is a Private Game Farm and Campsite.

They have some ready tents you can hire as well as well as two lapa’s.

There is wifi at certain spots (closest to the bathroom) for texting purposes, but at the site where we were it does not connect and we loved this. It allows you to cut off from the outside world.

They provide an honesty kiosk with extra wood, ice and other basic necessities you might have forgotten.

Be warned, the wind can be a bit of a pain. The Friday morning when we left it started and it was kind of angry, but as for the rest of the week we had lovely weather.

Another warning, please make sure you have enough repellent for mosquitoes and midges. I was attacked and came off with a bad allergy. It itches like crazy and the urge to scratch is super powerful. Keep your tents closed and lights off, only switch it on when you are inside and locked up. You will thank me later.

On how to find and book a spot, please visit their website H E R E

We will most certainly go back and if you are looking for an escape from the buzz in town, Klipkrans should be a first choice.

E xx

*links not affiliated

Clay Cafe In The City

I came across this restaurant on Instagram. Everybody was visiting and raving about the experience. I was intrigued.

It is called Clay Cafe in The City.

The main restaurant is in Houtbay, but they have a flagship one right in town.

I sent the link to Etienne and told him that this will be a great idea for my birthday later this year. Before I know what was happening we were booking a seat  for his  birthday! I had such a laugh. Etienne was so impressed by the idea of this restaurant that he wanted to do it for his birthday.

The idea is that while you have something to eat that you paint as well. The premise is that at least 80% of the party should paint something.

When booking you can add special requests and I thought it a good idea to ask for something special for Etienne and I was most satisfied with the special request.

When we arrived we were first led to our table. They had a sign to wish Etienne happy birthday and he was surprised, this put a smile on his face. Mission accomplished. He felt very special.

We were then taken back down stairs to choose our weapons. No, not really. We were explained how it works, the different effects you can create with the paint and tools. We were left to choose the product we want to paint as well as our paint colours and tools.  

Back at the table we had a lot of fun. Trying and failing, then trying again and then laughing because we do not know what we are doing, but we pretend that we got this.

We had a lovely lunch. It was so, so yummy! And the coffee was goood!

At the end Etienne received another surprise. They gave him two chocolate brownies to take home and celebrate his birthday. Let me tell you, those were delicious!

Our waitress was fantastic. She made us feel like the only people there.

You have 3 hours to spent here and it sounds like a long time, but flies while you are having fun munching and painting. Etienne described it as therapeutic, which it certainly is.

If you want to do something fun, relaxing , with delicious food and a great atmosphere, I can most definitely recommend Clay Cafe in the City.

We picked up our products about 4 weeks after and it did not disappoint.

Visit  their website H E R E

E xx

Sutherland Birthday

As tradition goes, my husband took me away for my birthday last year. The only catch, I did not know where we were going.

The Friday morning he loaded me in the car and off we went. I knew we were going to be on the road for some time so we left bright and early.

We had breakfast just on the other side of Ceres next to the road at one of those cement tables and chairs. As we were getting ready to leave again and collecting our stuff, I was standing next to Etienne, he was still sitting down finishing up his last bite, and briefly looked down, just to find a dead snake! It was cm’s from my foot. I froze and almost passed out. It was not just a snake, it was a puff adder (Pofadder). His head was smashed in and it was pretty fresh. He had to be very naughty. I think it was murder but the body was moved. There was no blood spatter around the scene.

At this point I was fairly convinced we are going to Touwsrivier, but we made a u-turn and took off on the gravel road.

I saw road signs indicating the distance to Calvinia and Sutherland. I thought to myself no, we will not go to Sutherland because this is something we want to do in Winter one day to see the snow.

As we drove I figured out, well, I think Sutherland it will be. At one point Etienne looked at me and asked if I now have any idea where we are going and I looked at him with a smile on my face and said yes, I think we are going to Sutherland to watch the stars. He asked me if this was my final answer and then he confirmed.

I was excited.

I have always wanted to go to Sutherland. Sutherland is always referred to as one of the coldest places and when the weatherman predicts the weather and indicate the temperatures for sure they are always either real cold or super hot.

They also have the cleanest sky and that is one of the reason why the telescope is there. On a cloudless night you can see to infinity, not really but you get the idea.

It really is a very small town. There is not much to do. They do have a few restaurants, a PEP, liquor store, police station, a beautiful church, Primary- and High School and the observatories.

There are more than one place in town where you can go do stargazing, this is the reason after all why most people come here, but we were referred to Uncle Jurg, he is one of the best in town.

Friday was a very chilled day. After we arrived in Sutherland, eventually, felt like we drove for ages, we went for lunch and then back to our camp site and had a quiet evening. Accept for the cars leaving and entering the town.

Our campsite was just outside of town, but it felt like we were next to Kyalami. It was very noisy. There were road works and workers driving in and out from different work sites outside of town. They all seemed to stay in Sutherland. The hotels were pretty much fully booked.

On my birthday the Saturday Etienne filled some balloons with air. He said he want our camping site to look festive. We had a lovely homemade breakfast and we spent some time in town.  We had something to eat and drink at different places, we went to two of the shops that sells some handmade- and or  second hand products and had a lovely conversation with one of the ladies in town.

I had to ask her how she kept herself busy because there was really nothing to do around there. She laughed and said that she is involved in some small projects and groups with the older ladies in town. She loves it.

I even had some left over cake that I baked myself.

So, on my birthday the Saturday night, we went to go star gazing with Oom Jurg. It started with a presentation and showing the constellations and which ones we will be looking at. This guy really have a passion for stars. It started as a hobby and now he does it full time.

We also had a chat with a young man who is a palaeontologist. We saw some pictures and very interesting fossils they have dug up

The way this evening was presented kept me listening and had my interest. I enjoyed the stars immensely, but I was waiting for the moon. Yes, maybe I have a bit of a thing with the moon. No particular reason it just fascinates me how much of an influence the moon have on the earth and one cannot really fully comprehend it.

Oom Jurg had this neat trick to take a photo with your cell phone and we got some pretty cool shots. I was very impressed.

We stayed a little after everyone left and had a chat about photography, particularly night photography and Oom Jurg had some good tips.

It was really wonderful. I really enjoyed it and would like to go back.

Go have a look at their website HERE, it has all the info on how to book and activities available.

Have you gone star gazing before?

E xx

Hubby Say it Like it is

Maybe it is not always a good thing, but I love myself a questionnaire. Not only to answer myself, but I like to “questionnaire” my husband too.

This is his unedited (accept for spelling mistakes) answers.

1. Where did we meet? At a mutual friend’s house, while still in a relationship

2. Where was our first date? Went to Newlands for Proteas vs Sri Lanka t20

3. What was your first impression of me? What do my friends think of me? Is this wanna-be emo chick, full of tattoos and with a (gross) nose ring. suppose to be my type?

4.When did you meet the family? A week of two after we went on the cricket date, I surprised her at home during the week.  She was helping her dad in the garage, him being his funny self called her by saying the pastor is here for you. Her response: What the hell did I do now?

5. Do I have any weird obsessions and if so, what? She will definitely become That cat lady, when I’m gone one day.

6. How long have we been together? 4 years

7. Do we have any traditions? We take leave on our birthdays and go away together.

8. What was our first road trip? Went to Saldanha, Jacobsbaai and spent the weekend at my brother’s in Vredenburg. You can read about it here.

9. What was the first thing you noticed about me? Her nose piercing. Thought she didn’t wipe her nose clean after she blew it.

10. What is my favourite restaurant? Asami’s

11. What do we argue about the most? Nothing specific, but we do disagree from time to time. 

12. Who wears the pants in the relationship? Me.

13. If I am watching TV, what am I watching? Some kind of kiddies movie. 

14. What is the one food I do not like? Aubergine

15. What drink do I order when we go out to eat, accept coffee? Coke Sugar Free or Chai Latte

16. What size shoe do I wear? 6

17. What is my favourite kind of sandwich? PB without the J

18. What is one talent I have? Remembers where I out my stuff.

19. What would I eat everyday if I could? Caaaaaarbs! Potatoes, fried, mashed, baked, crisped. Just not raw. Yet.

20. What is my favourite cereal? Oats with sweetener, cinnamon, vanilla essence and a little butter.

21. What is my favourite music? Club, Trance and Gospel

22. Who is my favourite sports team? She prefers tennis and motor racing

23. What is my eye colour? Grey

24. Who is my best friend? Me. But Marizanne nearly ties for first place

25. What is something that you do that I wish you didn’t? Touching her belly button.

26. Where am I from? Brackenfell

27. What kind of cake would you bake me on my birthday? Dark chocolate with ganaché

28. Do I play any sports? Nope.

29. What can I spend hours doing? Knit and read

30. If I could live anywhere, where would it be? Canada

Did anything surprise you?

E xx

Eating Low Carb with The Insulin Type

Leah and I have met on Instagram a few years back and since then we have had many discussions. She is also a Type 1 Diabetic.

She has been a huge motivation in my Diabetes Management and I like to call her The Low Carb Queen.

I asked her some questions to share her mountains of knowledge around eating low carb and how it changed her Diabetes Management.

1. How long have you been a diabetic?

I have had type 1 diabetes for 12 years. I was diagnosed when I was 14. It’s crazy to think that I have had diabetes for almost half of my life!

2. Your diagnosis story?

Well, it was pretty similar to a lot of other diagnosis stories. I was showing symptoms for at least three months prior to diagnosis. A few highlights: I ate and ate and ate and ate and ate…and drank and drank and drank. I would wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, but would get such horrible calf cramps that I couldn’t walk and felt like I needed to scream. I once peed behind a bush in the middle of the city because I had to go so bad.

There were rumors going around my high school that I had an eating disorder because I was so thin. Despite being an A student, I got detention because I left a class to go to the bathroom (I was out of potty breaks). I remember struggling to stay awake in classes too. So yeah, I was exhibiting all signs of type 1 diabetes. Hunger, thirst, tiredness, constant bathroom. I went to the doctor, not because I didn’t feel well, but for a physical so I could play hockey in school. Receiving a diagnosis like type 1 diabetes and leaving the hospital the same day was extremely overwhelming. 

3. When and why did you start eating low carb?

After I got married in 2016, I started to think more long-term in life. I thought about future pregnancy, and also how my diabetes impacts my husband. Diabetes can turn us into monsters, and the mood swings from out of control diabetes are a real thing! So at that point I knew I needed to start taking better control of my diabetes.

I tried really hard, but taking insulin and just eating seemingly healthy is actually really hard to do. I was sick and tired of chasing blood sugars. I actually stumbled upon someone with diabetes on Instagram. They were eating “keto” and posting a lot of their blood sugars. So I read more about low carb/keto and decided to give it a go. Shortly after, I bought Dr. Bernstein’s book, Diabetes Solution. I haven’t looked back once!

4. What happened to your bg levels when you started eating low carb?

When I started to eat low carb, I noticed an IMMEDIATE improvement with my blood sugars, and it hasn’t let me down yet! There’s no denying that carbohydrates have the single largest influence on blood sugar, so by reducing carbs, it reduces the likelihood of fluctuating blood sugars. It’s science. Less carbs, less insulin, less fluctuation.

The hardest adjustment is being able to say no to carbs. It was at this point, where I truly struggled with saying no to carbs, that I realized how addicting they actually are. If they are that addicting, that I can’t NOT eat them, then something is wrong! The human body does not need carbohydrates to sustain life. That’s a fact. It can take a while to truly be able to say no, and I’m thankfully at that point. But this journey has proven to me just how toxic carbs are.

5. How did your body benefit from starting a low carb diet?

Basically everything has improved. My skin is clearer, my mind is clear (no brain fog), I have more energy, I am less moody. I also worry a lot less about my diabetes. Because of eating low carb, my blood sugars rarely fluctuate. This means that I don’t need to focus on rollercoaster numbers, worrying about going high or low, or anything else. Eating low carb has made my diabetes predictable. That in itself is worth it!

6. What do you classify as carbs or “bad” carbs?

Oooooh! Basically, any carb that will raise blood sugar quickly is what I would classify as bad. So, any flour, grain, starch, sugar, fruit, etc. Gross! I look for low glycemic vegetables and fruits. Some great examples: cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, peppers, strawberries, blueberries, etc. 

7. You have a few Keto recipes-how do you incorporate this with the high fat levels?

Well, I actually don’t eat “keto”. I aim for more protein than I do fat. The key to any meal is to be satiated! I don’t count calories, ever. I eat real food until I am full, and by eating adequate amounts of protein I feel full until my next meal. There’s a GREAT book called, Why We Get Fat, by Gary Taubes. He basically addresses why carbs are the reason that we gain weight, not fat or calories. Insulin is a fat storing hormone, and insulin is produced when we eat carbs. It’s a truly fascinating book.

8. How did you go from eating high carb or “normal” to low carb eating? Was it a process or was it cold turkey?

I wish I could say that I went cold turkey. I didn’t though, it was a slow process for me. The reason that I say I wish I would have gone cold turkey is because it is incredibly difficult to say no, but only sometimes. It is incredibly difficult to eat just one piece of chocolate, or one bar, etc. And for a long time, I said I would just limit myself to “some”. But that’s super ambiguous and doesn’t work for a lot of people. I made so many exceptions and so many mistakes because I simply said, “oh just this once”. Most people are like me and can’t actually control, even though they want to. That’s why I would recommend the hard stop and just say no. Period. Thankfully I’ve reached that point now though!

9. Million dollar question. Me myself have a huge struggle with carbs and I have a wild sweet tooth. I want to go as low carb as possible. What is your advice (for me and newbies)? 

That’s a hard question. I think it depends on your personality type. Gretchen Rubin wrote a great book called, Better Than Before. She discusses how some people are moderators and some are abstainers. A person with a moderator trait is able to truly take things in stride and not fall back because of this. Moderators could truly eat one piece of chocolate. An abstainer on the other hand, needs an absolute. I am definitely an abstainer. It is easier for me to say no, than to say sometimes. I think if we are honest with ourselves, most people are abstainers. But who wants to admit that they can’t say no? It sucks.

So if you’re struggling with being able to say “sometimes”, try saying an absolute no! You may be more successful when you simply say no! It does take time to get to this point though; I don’t underestimate that.

On another note, I can totally relate. I LOVE chocolate and never in a million years thought that I would be able to give it up. For me, I spent time (and money) to find healthy alternatives to the foods that I love, or I make my own sweets. My blog has a lot of links to great recipe websites! So part of the whole process is finding alternatives that don’t make it seem like you’re actually giving something up.

10. Please any idea and comments if you think something should be added!! 🙂 

I think it’s important to be honest with yourself. It took me a very long time to get to where I am now, and I wish it wasn’t this way. I was making too many exceptions, even though I knew they weren’t going to work. But embracing the journey is key. Realizing that you’re doing the right thing, and that you’re on the right path is half the battle! You have a willingness to change, so don’t beat yourself up too much along the way. 

How lovely does all these food look? They are all low carb and all which Leah prepared for herself.

You can reach out to her on the following social media sites:

Instagram // Facebook // Twitter – click on any of these.

Her Blog has valuable information! Click: The.Insulin.Type

Thanks for sharing your knowledge Leah!

E xx