On turning 30 – a few jumbled thoughts

DISCLAIMER: This post is a couple of months old. I found it in my drafts folder the other evening and was rather surprised by its substance. 

I’m nine months into 30 now, the Paris attacks seem like an eon ago (with far too many similar horrors having followed in their wake), and Adri’s beautiful little Fia is motoring around their home on chubby hands and knees already (nothing like watching kids grow to make you realise just how brutal the passage of time is). But much of what I felt and anticipated here still rings true. 

I obviously thought it was no good/too personal to publish at the time, but since my sentiments haven’t changed, I’ve decided to put it out there anyway. Better late than never. Maybe I’ll follow it up with a few new insights in due course.  Continue reading

vergenoegd wine estate, stellenbosch, indian runner ducks, ducks, cute, animals, winelands, winter adventures

Snaps: Vergenoegd runner duck parade

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I have a real weakness for animals. Especially cute ones.

Just dip into the Gypsified archives and you will find plenty of evidence – phantom cat syndrome, alpaca cuddling with Marli, Monday menagerie, sleepy owls, lonely whales and, of course, a Sandokan overload.

So, when Vergenoegd Wine Estate’s daily duck parade started making headline news sometime earlier this year, it wasn’t very long before I developed a serious obsession.

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Rod's Trail, Betty's Bay, mountains, hiking, overberg, overberg hiking, adventure, travel, explore, fynbos, kogelberg

Snaps: Rod’s Trail, Betty’s Bay

While the past week or so has been a rather stormy one down here in the Western Cape, I must say, we’ve really been blessed with some particularly pleasant winter weather.

And nowhere is a bright winter’s day more beautiful than in Betty’s Bay. Anyone familiar with that side of the world will know that for 80% of the year it’s a high energy zone – all gale force winds and stormy seas. But when it decides to take a breather and… just… rel…ax, it’s seriously the most exquisite place in the world.

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10 Obsessions of a pre-teen girl circa the late ’90s

Blink 182 recently released a new album and you know what came with it? A flood of nostalgia.

Since hearing the first strains of California a few weeks ago, I’ve caught myself reminiscing ever so often – about my childhood, which has left me feeling intensely grateful for how uncomplicated it was (thank you mom and dad) and also about my teen years, which has left me feeling intensely embarrassed about how angsty I was most of the time. Dang, if only I knew how good life was back then!

I guess retrospect is a good teacher. It has certainly reminded me that living lightly and being happy is so much more rewarding than getting stuck in a rut of negative moods and emotions.

It has also brought to mind some of the quaint hobbies, activities and fashion obsessions that occupied my mind in that vulnerable slice of time between being a child and becoming a fully-fledged teenager. That awkward year or two of discovering just how very wide the world was and how strange it could be to find your place in it.

Here’s a little snapshot of things that tickled my fancy back then… maybe you can relate:

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An itinerary for my brain on its 3am adventures

3am – Depart from the land of Fitful Sleep for a short excursion into Wakefulness en route to the Republic of Deep Sleep.

3.20am – Train delayed due to howling winds outside? No problem! While away the time by exploring the popular after-hours district of Existential Dread.

3.30am – Enjoy a lengthy trip down the dark side of highly acclaimed Memory Lane with its spectacular display of neon billboards flashing all your worst, weakest, meanest and most embarrassing moments.

3.45am – Since the latter normally proves to be particularly gripping, we highly recommend taking the time to investigate the extensive exhibits on display in the Museum of Awkwardness.

4:15am – That was fun right? Well it could hardly match what happens next: a continuous replay of the scariest moment from the FIRST AND ONLY scary movie you EVER watched, followed by the renowned What Was That Noise?! rollercoaster ride.

4:45am – Head down to Blues Beach and take a languid swim in the Sea of Comparison. This ancient site of emotional torture will have you weighing up your life, looks, personality and intelligence against every other human you have ever known… and particularly those you don’t, in no time whatsoever!

5:15am – By now you would have worked up quite the appetite! Quench your thirst with the legendary Self Doubt cocktail while indulging in a platter of the choicest selection of What Ifs.

5:45am – After a jam-packed adventure in Wakefulness, it’s finally time to head on to the Republic of  Deep Sleep.

6:30am – Curse the alarm clock and come up with the groggy idea to write this silly blog post. Also vow to steer clear of the District of Existential Dread on the next excursion into Wakefulness, planning to opt instead for a wander down the Lane of Love and a top-down drive along the Coast of Contentment, cruising back along the Happiness Highway.

Any insomniacs out there who can relate or is it just me?

 

Ice Cream sandwiches in Sea Point

I’d heard about ice cream sandwiches before, but never really paid them much attention.

The picture I had in my mind was that ice lolly you buy when you can’t afford the big guns – Magnum and Mega and even Fruttare: a rectangular slab of vanilla ice cream encased in two crispy wafers. Relatively uninspiring, but icy and creamy enough to suffice as a substitute for deliciousness on really hot days.

So, when my cousin, Nikola called me up one afternoon to ask whether I wanted to go for an ice cream sandwich at Crumbs & Cream, this new place in Sea Point, I was slightly skeptical.

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A short list of things freelancing has taught me… so far

It’s been just over four months since I set out from the safe harbour that was my stable job as a content producer for a well-respected media house into the wild waters of freelance writing.

While I wouldn’t say resigning was a spur of the moment decision by any means, it certainly was a 1-2-3-JUMP, now-or-never kind of thing. I’d felt a change in the tide of my life and knew it was time to take a definitive step instead of just waiting for the restlessness to abate, even though I didn’t have too much of a plan in place.

Apparently this isn’t an altogether alien occurrence among those about to clock over into their 30s and my friend, Leandra, even told me its name: a Saturn Return.

Wikipedia explains it as follows: “The phenomenon is described by Western astrologers as influencing a person’s life development at roughly 29.5 year intervals, though the planetary influence may be felt for a few years before the exact conjunction… These intervals or ‘returns’ coincide with the approximate time it takes the planet Saturn to make one orbit around the sun, roughly 29.5 years.”

While I find astrology to be little more than light entertainment served up among the gossip and self-help articles in glossy magazines, I have to admit that this Saturn Return theory sounded rather spot on, especially since my big decision came exactly – almost to the day – at 29.5 years of age.

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What I’ve been listening to lately

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Okay, look people, I’m of the opinion that if there weren’t any music in this world, there would pretty much be no reason to exist. At all.

Imagine we had to wade through our lives sans soundtrack.

No soppy love songs to accompany the mushy first flutterings of butterflies-in-the-stomach.

No epic oeuvres to guide us along winding coastal roads at sunset.

No palm muted punk rock to soothe our angsty teenage souls (and take us right back to those best-of-worst-of days unexpectedly on a Tuesday night in our late twenties.)

No Alanis Morisette (or Taylor Swift/Adele/death metal if you’re that way inclined) to blast at top volume when those butterflies suddenly turn into sharp little shards of ice.

No Bohemian Rhapsody to… actually just that. No Bohemian Rhapsody.

Doesn’t that just sound unbearable?

In fact, I’m quite partial to the idea that if there weren’t any music in this world we probably wouldn’t exist in the first place. At all.

An age old concept Bruce Chatwin highlights poignantly in his amazing Australia travelogue, The Songlines:

 “Aboriginal Creation myths tell of the legendary totemic beings who had wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path – birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes – and so singing the world into existence.”

 

Don’t you just love that? The idea of everything being sung into existence!

So, I guess it’s no surprise that discovering the kind of soulful music we crave is always a rejuvenating, life-giving experience.

Here’s what I’ve had on repeat in my ears for the past week or so:

Ambient Electronica

m83

After months and months of pretty much listening to only to various forms of indie, indie folk and folk music, I suddenly had an overwhelming craving for really pretty, ambient, almost ethereal electronica.

So, I decided to dig around a bit and get some recommendations. Within a few hours I had constructed a Grooveshark playlist that comes pretty close to perfection, featuring Felix Laband, M83, Andrew Bayer and Air. Give it a listen, yo!

John Wizards

JohnWizards

It was a blog post by the lovely Emma-Jane that introduced me to these local lads earlier this week.

Originally from Cape Town, this six-piece band has been making quite a name for themselves overseas with their delighful eclectic electronic reggae.Their songs have a very definite African tinge to them both in sound and name – there’s one called Muizenberg, another Lusaka by Night as well as a Limpop and iYongwe.

According to their website they will be traversing Europe till deep in November, but I really hope they do a little December home run!

 

Milky Chance

Milky Chance

This super cute German duo’s sound has been described as alternative pop folk rock with reggae and electronic undertones. Which means their tunes are actually quite similar to John Wizards. But then there’s the voice. Oh the voice! Slightly gruff with that sexy folky twang. Hmmm… and the man behind it isn’t too bad either.

Okay, yes. I have a huge crush on the singer dude. HUGE.

Thanks to my friends Marli and Bronwyn for introducing me to my new obsession with this song that just makes one want to boogie.

Also check out this super cool video for their song, Down by the River.

Nahko Bear and the Medicine People

nahko bear

I’ve been listening to Nahko Bear for a while now and fall just a little bit more deeply in love every time I hear one of their songs. It’s difficult to describe their sound, but guess it comes down to a vibrant blend of a little bit of everything – jazz, folk, hip hop, Native American tribal, surf rock… All I know is that it’s full of good vibes and happiness.

It really makes you “believe in the good things coming,” as ‘Black as nigt‘ professes.

Oh and Nahko is just gorgeous!

These are my two favourite songs:

 

Last, but not least… an assortment of vinyl

After wanting one for close on forever, I finally took the plunge and invested in a record player about a month ago. It’s a super cute little thing – a pink Crosley Cruiser the size and shape of a suitcase, with tiny built in speakers that make a big sound.

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Currently I own only about 15 records, which I picked up for dirt cheap at flea markets and second-hand shops. And unfortunately most of them don’t sound that great.  But ever willing to help me pursue things I’m passionate about, my parents kindly lent me some of their old vinyls to get me into the swing of things so long.

My current favourites include an assortment of greatest hit collections, including Queen, Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Leonard Cohen, Peter Sarstedt and the Eagles, as well as Dire Straits’ Making Movies.

On a mission, though, to build a mighty collection!

I absolutely love the ritual of it – getting home after a long day at work or waking up on a lazy Sunday morning, opening up the suitcase lid, lifting that little arm, picking a record, placing it gently on the turntable and carefully letting the needle drop just right to crank some old school tunes.

It’s my best!

If you’re looking for a little Crosley of your own, check out Superbalist.com