Posted in Art, Charcoal Drawings, Courses and Workshops, My Art Work, Ordinarylife

Life Drawing

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

For me it was on Saturday when I went to my first ever life drawing session.  I was really nervous beforehand, I did not know what to expect, I was not sure if my drawing would be “good enough” and I did not know anybody else that was attending.

As with most things my worrying was unnecessary.  I absolutely loved it.  Although not a class or workshop they did give us a couple of pointers when requested. There were quite a few people there that were also doing it for the first time and it was fun to walk around and see what everybody else had done.

There were some people that had never drawn people before and there were some professional artists.  Nobody was made to feel that their work was inferior or “not good enough”.  And the lady hosting it did give some pointers for us “first timers”.

How it worked was they got the model to pose for short burst first, extending the time.  It was first 60 seconds, then 5 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 1 pose of 1 hour.  I was amazed at how quickly the time went.

Below are the two of my drawings that I am most happy with. The first one is a 30 minute pose and the second is the 1 hour pose.  I took these photos with my phone, so they are not the greatest.  I think I will need to try to scan the pictures.

30 Minute drawing
30 Minute drawing


60 minute drawing
60 minute drawing


Both drawings were done with a mixture of pencil and charcoal.

Posted in Hiking Trails, Knysna, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, South Africa, Trail Running, Training

I plan to run this city (and its surrounds)

I am not a fan of winter, however if it continues like this I might just change my mind.  It was 30 degrees in PE on Monday.  In fact I think I am going to change my mind anyway, regardless of the weather.  My reason –trail running!  I love trail running.  I have done a few over the past couple of years, but really go into it last year.  This year it is becoming a bit of an obsession!  So much so that my sister and I have entered a multi stage event in November – I am really excited.

It is the Fairview Dryland Traverse and is over 4 days, the first day being a 8km prologue with parts of it through the Cango Caves!  How awesome. The next three days are each about 27km.  VERY EXCITED!  However after last week’s little 23km run I have realise I need a lot more training, on trails, it is very different to the roads.  So I have tried to set up a schedule of events to keep myself going and excited. I won’t be able to do all of these, and some are more for fun that training but here goes.

JUNE 2013

1st June – 11km or a 5km in Baakens Valley – to enter and for more details

2nd June – Muck Run – for fun 8km of mud and muck (Entries for this event are SOLD OUT and yes, I do have an entry)

Muck run

8 June – Royalston for Rhinos – This is to be held at the Royalston Reserve, which borders on the Lake that Firefly mentioned in a couple of his blog posts – HERE.  Entries are open there is a 15km and a family 5km –

Run for Rhinos

15 June – 18km or a 5km – to enter and for more details

17 June – 10km or a 5km SOS Horsing Around Trail Run Series –Schoenmakerskop, More details on Facebook

22 June – Katberg Eco Trail Run;  18 km, 10km, or a 5 km Details on below

Kat run

29 June – Heartbreak Hill 21.1km.  Not a Trail Run but fun nonetheless.  I do plan on doing this.

Heartbreak hill

JULY 2013

28 June to 7 JulyKNYSNA OYSTER FESTIVAL.  There are a whole LOAD of events to choose from (not all sporting, it is the Oyster Festival after all.


6 July 2013 – Knysna Forest Marathon 21.1km and 42.2km- Charity Entries still open.  (I am not doing either of these – long story)

7 July – HoutKapper Trail – 27km (Entered) there is also a 16km and a 8 km .  This is the first time this event is being held and is part of the Knysna Oyster Festival Details HERE  (Yikes – it says the 27 is for “experienced trail runners – not sure if I consider myself that yet)


20 July – 10km or a 5km SOS Horsing Around Trail Run Series – Bushpig Adventure Cape More; details on Facebook


4 August – Woodridge Trail Runs – not a series this year, this is the only date  (I have done a couple of these races before – read HERE)

9 August – PROVISIONAL _ Details to be announced.  There are talks about a 25km out at Cockscombe.  Should be awesome, can’t wait to hear more.

10 August – 10km or a 5km SOS Horsing Around Trail Run Series – Walker Drive Shopping Centre – More details on Facebook

9 – 11 August – Southern Cross Multi Day Trail Run – Details here  (I won’t be doing this, but have heard it is fantastic)


8 September – Sunshine Coast Trail Run – Details to Follow (I did this last year, was awesome, read about it HERE)

14/15 September – Urban Run – entries open on 1st June.  ENTER , ENTER, ENTER!!!! Although not a trail run it is one of my favourite events of the year!  LOVE IT.  HERE (2012) and HERE (2011) are blog posts about the previous 2 runs held.

Urban run

14 September Baviaanskloof Trail Run – Entries are very limited and open soon.  I will not be doing it, but would like to one year.

22 September – Rhino Run – There are numerous runs held around the country with the PE event being held at at Crossways Village it has a 6km, a 12km and a 20km  Details on Facebook HERE

Rhino Run

21/22 or 23/24 SeptemberOtter Run SOLD OUT.  I would like to do this one year, but have heard it is very tough and entries are limited.  I have walked the Otter Trail a couple of times and it is an awesome part of the country.


7 – 10 November – The BIG ONE – at least for me!  The FAIRVIEW DRYLAND TRAVERSE! Can’t wait.

If I have left any out that you think I would like or that you would like to include in this list please just put it in the comments and I will add it.

I also believe that there are training runs most Thursday nights, one held at Dodds Farm and one held at Hopewell Estate (run by the Charlo Running Club).  I unfortunately have art classes on a Thursday night and so have never done these.


So, PE people you can have no excuses not to get out there and see the surround areas.  Some of these runs are actually right in the centre of the city.  You will be amazed at the beauty we have here – we are very fortunate!

Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, Ordinarylife, Parenting

Conversations with a 3 year old

3 is cute.  I love that she is now talking and I get a glimpse into what she is thinking.  It can however also be very frustrating when she thinks she knows everything and that she is right.  Sometimes though, even that can be very funny.

On our drive into school/work each day we pass a Mac Donald’s and from the road you are able to see the outside of the kiddies play area and climbing stuff.  A few times now Little OL has asked to go but I always so no.  She has not yet been to a Mac Donald’s and I don’t want to start something.  The conversation normally ends with me saying “We are NOT going to Mac Donald’s” Sometimes she insists a bit more, sometimes she leaves it.

On Saturday however the conversation went like this.

Little OL: “Mom, Donald’s”

Me: “We are not going to Mac Donald’s.  It is not nice and we are not going” (truth be told I am a bit of a sucker for their Quarter Pounder with cheese but I am not getting her hooked just yet)

Little OL: “It is nice!”

Me: “How do you know, you have never been”

Little OL: “I have”

Me: “No, you have not, It’s not nice, we are not going”

Little OL: “But I want to go, it is nice!  I want to see the animals”

Me: “What animals?  There are no animals at Mac Donald’s?”

Little OL: “There are!  At the back”

Me: “Little OL there are NO animals at Mac Donald’s”

Little OL: “There are” and then breaks into song “Old Mac Donald had a farm, ee-eye, ee-eye oh”

I probably should have pulled over, I was laughing so much.

Feeding a goat (not taken at Mac Donald's)
Feeding a goat (not taken at Mac Donald’s)
Posted in Ordinarylife

Retirement – will you be ready?

226 Months – that is the amount of months I have till I retire!  Or in other words the number of salaries I have left assuming I work until I turn 60. Scary isn’t it!

Two of my Facebook friends posted about financial wellbeing or retirement today.   The one posted the following:

“47% of women over the age of 50 are single; *50% of marriages end in divorce *in the first year after divorce, a woman’s standard of living drops an average of 73%; *Of the elderly living in poverty, 3 out of 4 are women, yet 80% of these women were not poor when their husbands were alive; *90% of all women will be solely responsible for their financial well-being within their lifetime.” – US stats.

And the other posted the following link:

Is your retirement something you think about? Is retirement something you believe you will be ready for?  Or do you rely on the fact that your husband/partner/wife (if you have one) probably has it sorted?  Do you know what position you will be in when you retire or even if you will be able to afford to.  Our daughter will only be starting university when we want to retire.

I work for a small company, I have always worked for small companies (or on contract or traipsed around overseas) I have never had a company Provident Fund or Retirement Fund.  A few years ago I took out a Retirement Annuity but nowhere near enough to cover what I would require to retire comfortably.  I knew I needed to make another plan so I started looking at buying property.  Not to live in, but to rent out.  I, myself, was renting at the time and it made financial sense for me to continue renting, which I did until I got married and movedin with my husband.  Somebody asked me the other day how I manage to do this.  I guess the best article I have found so far to describe it is HERE.  (Thanks Marcia  of Organising Queen for the link to this blog).  I always make sure that the rental I stand to receive covers not only my Bond repayment (I Bond it to the max ) but also the water (tenants pay their own eletricity), rates, levies etc.  And yes, it is totally possible, but you need to look around and be VERY fussy.  I look at a lot of properties!  You also have to realise that because you don’t want to live in that specific neighbourhood does not mean that nobody wants to live in that specific neighbourhood.  The lower income areas generally make for better rental areas.

There are a few other reasons why I buy in lower income areas.

1. I could never afford the deposit (or mortgage) on a more expensive property;

2.  At least if my tenant does not pay or I don’t have a tenant for a month or two I could afford to cover the bond (even if I need to use my credit card for that month – which is not a good idea by the way) and

3. There are more tenants looking to rent in lower income areas so your property is less likely to stand empty.

I have had hassles with tenants not paying and/or damaging my properties, but then so have friends of mine who rent out in more affluent areas.  I don’t beleive that the level of income is always a sign that somebody is going to take care off your property or pay on time.

So, for my retirement I have a goal – I want to own at least 10 rental properties by the time I am 55.  I have 3 at the moment and will be putting in an offer on another one this week.  I have however calculated that if I want to retire solely on the rental and maintain a decent standard of living I need at least 14 paid off properties – remembering that I rent out to the lower end of the market.  Thankfully I also have that RA ….

Do you have any questions?

NB:  Please note that I am NOT a financial advisor or expert in this field.  This is purely based on my experience.

Posted in Ordinarylife, Running, South Africa, Trail Running

I had fun! Honest.

Today I am not drinking any water!  None!

I know it is supposed to be good for me blah, blah blah…. But the toilets are on a different floor to my office and I am not going up and down them unnecessarily.  My legs are in pain, actual physical pain!  I am so stiff I am surprised I managed to drive myself into work this morning.

On Saturday I did a little trail run and today I can barely move.  Truth be told I could barely move at the 19 km mark on Saturday but still had 2 km to go, or so I thought.  The 21km ended up being 23.5km but hey what is an extra 2.5km among friends….  Quite a bit it turns out, when your legs don’t want to move.

There has only been one time in my life when my legs have been more sore whilst running, and that was on the last 3 kms of a 32km training run where I started out too fast.  The ache felt so deep in my legs it felt like my bones where aching.  My calves were sore, my thighs were (are still) sore, my hips were sore.

On Saturday I could not decide which was worse – running or walking!  Both were equally as painful but after a while I figured that at least if I ran I would get to the end quicker and could sit down, so I ran.  That and the fact that there were 3 girls right behind me who told me they were going to catch me… Hell no!  Pain or not that was not going to happen (and who says I am not competitive).  Also fortunately the last 2.5km were downhill.

All in all though it was a great race and the route was fantastic.  I absoloutely loved the first 19km.  It was organised by Zports and held at Elephants of Eden near Woody Cape and at one point you could see Bird Island and the sand dunes.  It was stunning.  I love getting out of town and doing trail runs.  I did this one last year (link here), but they changed the route slightly, made it longer and reversed it.  The scenery was amazing and for quite a bit of it I ran with friends – until my legs decided to pack up on me.

I am very glad I did it, and by tomorrow my legs will be back to normal an I will only remember how awesome it was to get out there.


Posted in Baby OL, Family, Ordinarylife, Parenting

I have been told she is now 18

At each stage/age of Little OL’s life I have said that “I LOVE this age”.  I always thought that I would prefer just to be given a 2 year old so it came as a total surprise that I would even remotely enjoy the baby stage but I did.

So, as she gets older and changes, grows up and becomes a little girl I once again have to say “I LOVE this age”  I must however put in a little addition – I LOVE this age….90% of the time.  The other 10% I want to run away screaming.

Boy – the 3’s are tough.  (I am assuming it is an age thing and not just the fact that we are the only parents that have an absolute little terrorist on our hands at least 10% of the time – please tell me we are not the only ones…….)  Anyway, I love the fact that she is growing up; the things she does and says are so flipping cute.  I love that we can have conversations about random stuff, go out together, play pretend and that she loves helping me.  I love that in the morning she will open the curtains and say “Mom it’s a beautiful day?” even if it is not.   I love that she can be kind and thoughtful and caring.  And then she is not….

I don’t like the screaming, lying on the floor hitting anyone in sight, little monster that happens at the flip of a switch. (and back again as soon as she realises she is not getting her way).  She will go from laughing to crying and back to laughing quicker than you can say “Time Out”.  Academy Awards have been won for lesser performances!

I also don’t like that she want to grow up so quickly.  I have been informed that I need to give her my car keys and money as she needs to go to the shops – alone!  She’ll drive…. I told her that was not happening until she was 18 and had a licence – apparently she is already 18 – or so I am being told.

Potato Stamping
Potato Stamping

10 or so minutes later the potato stamping turned into potato throwing…..

Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, Ordinarylife, Parenting, Running

Her first race – not quite according to plan

I signed Little OL up for her first running race this Workers Day. It was part of the Spar Ladies Race – which is on Saturday. This was organised for the girls that are too young to take part in that and was called the Little Ladies.  She loves running (see picture chasing bunnies HERE) and I figured she would easily manage 2 km.  Maybe not run the whole way, but definitely walk and run.  Quite often on a weekend, when I get back from a run, she insists that we go out for a run/walk around the block together.


She was super excited about it. I told her about it on Monday and it is all she has been talking about. She proclaimed she was going to be the winner……  We did realise though that she does not really understand what a winner is when she told us that I would also be a winner.  We told her that everybody that does it will be a winner.


On Wednesday morning she was up and dressed by 5:30 – the race only started at 9:00….. She even wanted her hair in ponies (apparently that is what you do when you run).  She knows what I wear when I go running, so my sister (who joined us) and I wore our normal running kit.  She even made me phone my sister to make sure she was awake and getting ready too….. (although I managed to get her to wait till just after 7 to make that phone call)


The whole drive down there she was excited, the walk across the field to register she was excited…. And then the wheels fell off.  I think the number of people was just a bit overwhelming.  I ended up carrying her for the full 2km.  She would not even walk 2 meters never mind 2 km…..  Thanks to my sister for “running” with us, and my brother and his wife for supporting. Although they ended up walking the whole thing with us too.


I must say though that the whole thing was great, there were a lot more people than I expected and each little girl received a really nice medal – which later on in the day Little OL was showing off with great pride.  I will try again at another race, but maybe one that is not quite as big.