Thursday, 2 July 2015

Like the deserts miss the rain

Cheesy love songs are making me cry this week.

Travis, I miss you! I know it has only been two nights, and you've been away for two nights at a time before, but it's different now, and I miss you.

This morning at 7am your two little brothers climbed into bed with your dad and I, and I thought: "So this is what it's like for other families".

And it felt strange and good and then I remembered the sound of manic giggles bubbling up the staircase at 5am, letting me know that you're lying awake, and I'd better get my big butt out of bed to make you tea before you started screaming and woke the whole house up, or ripped your cupboard doors off or shredded a couple of R200 notes that you'd found in my purse or ate an entire tube of toothpaste for breakfast.

The truth? I used to hate the sound of your crazy, non-stop giggles coming from the other side of your bedroom door. It wasn't natural; it filled me with anxiety. Because they spelled another sleepless night. Another night of hairpulling, of my chest tight with despair. Of 2am tears and bargains with God: "Please Lord, just let him fall asleep and I'll be a better mom, starting tomorrow."

For almost 8 years, if you didn't sleep, I wouldn't sleep. That was just the way of it, like Mother Nature hotwired us together.

Now I lie in bed blanketed in the promise of delicious, uninterrupted sleep and all I can think about is if you've had something to drink. I'm tortured by the idea that you're dying of thirst and no one has noticed because they don't know you like I know you.

Or did I ever know you, Travis? Have I just imagined everything that flitted unspoken between us these last few years? A delusional, desperate mom who would tell herself that she shared some kind of telepathy with her non-verbal, mentally challenged child, because it sounded better than the truth? That she was locked out from Day 1?

These are not worthy thoughts. You are getting the very best specialised care that money can buy: 24/7. I know, I know, I know.

I'm twisting the knife because I feel so guilty, heartsore, relieved, depressed, angry, confused for feeling relieved, so ladle on a big old extra helping of guilt for that... It's such a mess inside my head right now.

Travis, I miss you. I know this is for the best, but I miss you. Did I mention I miss you?

Do you miss me too?


Blogger Tricks

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Children’s books delivered to your door once a month? Yes, please.

When I was in Grade 2, I won the prize for reading the most books in class.

A love of reading was the single greatest gift that my grandparents gave me; I was a complicated girl child who needed to escape from the boogiemen in her head, and losing myself in The Magic Faraway tree was just what I needed.

A love of reading welled up between the typewriter keys as I grew up, and exploded into a love of the written word. And when I found out that I was pregnant with the Lionheart, the first thing I did was buy a thick, gold-edged, beautifully illustrated compendium of fairy tales – because if there was one gift I would give my children, it would be a love of reading.

Today the bookshelf in my kids’ room is a treasure of secret worlds, and funny tales and many, many memories of nights spent huddled over the pages.


So when The Book Owl flew into my inbox a few weeks ago, I said: “Oh, yes!” It is a simple, elegant idea. Sign up for R250 a month, and your children will receive at least three books: two picture books and an activity book, and at least one of the books will be from a well-known children’s author like Julia Donaldson, Emily Gravett or Eric Carle.




We received Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson (which we don’t have yet), a funny story about a Fat Cat that the boys loved because it’s rather mad, and a very nice, full-colour activity book – and you know how activity books sometimes cost R10 in the bargain bin at Reader’s Warehouse and have that cheap, scratchy paper; this one was excellent quality. Also, it had stickers, which made it an instant hit with the kids.

If you had to buy these books yourselves, you’d pay about the same, so what you are paying for is the convenience of having new children’s books delivered to you once a month, and for someone thoughtfully choosing engaging and educational books that are age-appropriate.

You’re also paying for the delight in your kid’s eyes as they see their names on their personally addressed box, and a letter to them from The Book Owl telling them all about this month’s books. Then comes the best bit: unwrapping each individually wrapped book!


We spent a lovely evening reading Fat Cat, and putting ‘red bus driver’ stickers on the boys’ bunk beds that they discovered in the activity book.

Verdict: Five out of five roars for The Book Owl service from the Lionheart family.



Disclosure: I was given two Book Owl boxes – one as a prize for last week’s bingo night, and one for me to review with my boys. Regardless, I’m in love with this clever concept.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Bingo night and the last few days before we say goodbye

What a night to remember – and a special thank you to City Power for loadshedding while we played bingo. It really did add a special ambiance that I don’t think we would have enjoyed under fluorescent lights for the Lionheart’s fundraiser.

Bless our good friends with generators who dashed through to the venue at a moment’s notice to make sure that we had power for the bingo machine and the projector. Bless everyone who dressed up like Golden Oldies! It was all fox fur and cameo brooches and blue eye shadow.

Our Best Dressed Golden Oldie prizewinners

Did I mention we raised R28 000? Did I? Because I still can’t quite believe it. When I set a target of R20 000, I thought that we would never in a million years come close. As you know, I am not much of a tearful Tina, but my emotions have gotten the better of me a number of times in the month that led up to Golden Oldies Bingo Night.

Some of the donations that came through – shew, my inbox would go “PING!” and I would see the name on the payment notification, and it would be from someone who I hadn’t spoken to in years, or someone I never even knew cared about our little family and what were going through, or even some of our clients – and the hot tears would come and I just cried and cried and cried.

There are definitely things that I could have organised better for bingo night though. I should have taken special dietary requirements into consideration: we had some vegan and Jewish supporters come through for the evening, and I hadn’t catered for them. I’m annoyed with myself for not thinking of that. (Especially because I was all over the loadshedding thing – there were enough candles ready to light up a stadium.)

I should have familiarised myself a bit better with our bingo guy’s particular style of bingo (there are all different ways that you can play, you know). Also, I basically ended up MC’ing the event – which I did not foresee. And we had TOO MANY prizes. This is a good problem to have, though.

I wish I had more time to mingle and have a drink with the people who came through to support us –and everyone came; no one who bought a ticket didn’t pitch for the bingo night, even though there was loadshedding and the traffic was a tangle.

Putting on an event is bloody hard work. After spending a couple of hours setting up at Old Ed’s, I looked around at the tables and thought to myself: “Good grief, I can’t believe I spent so many hours and days and car trips driving up and down collecting prizes and sourcing d├ęcor and printing posters.” The tables with their cheerful yellow overlays and jars of Koki pens and Fizzers looked so simple in the end. Well, they did to me, anyway.




Are we going to do a bingo night every year? The first time someone suggested I hadn’t even considered it. But then another person asked, and another – so yes, I think so. There have been some great suggestions for how we can take it up a notch if we do it again – think food trucks and a bit of a street market outside the bingo hall. Oh yes, oh very yes.

Now that all the anxiety excitement of the Lionheart’s fundraiser is over, there is no escaping what comes next: on Wednesday Travis moves to Oakhaven full time. It’s happening, and my heart is in a knot.

We received just over R2 000 in Mr Price vouchers! I spent Saturday morning doing a bit of online shopping on the Mr Price website to buy him new T-shirts, hoodies, tracksuits pants and basics like socks and underpants. Believe it or not, Travis has very little in the way of clothes. Almost everything he owns is threadbare, and now at least we can send him to Oakhaven looking smartly dressed and with all the necessities.

Tomorrow I am going to take him in-store so that he can pick a couple of things out for himself. Travis doesn’t really show us if he does or doesn’t like certain colours or items of clothing, but I still want to involve him in choosing some outfits for his Oakhaven wardrobe, particularly a few more pairs of shoes, and let’s see if we can interest our Lionheart in picking out a nice duvet spread for his room there (he will be sharing the Yellow room, if I am not mistaken.)

Even though it needles me in all the soft parts to let my son live somewhere other than under my own roof, we keep hitting the jackpot when it comes to finding the right care for Travis at the right time. First his incredible special needs school Wiggles and Squiggles where he has been for the last five years, and now nabbing the last spot at Oakhaven.

Please think of us on Wednesday, as we make the drive through to settle our Lionheart in his forever home. Dear Big Guy Upstairs – I know You had something to do with this. Thank you for shuffling the universe a bit to make this chain of events possible.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

We made ‘chicks in a blanket’ with Simply Chicken

Sponsored post

I love a kitchen challenge. With three hungry boys in the house and a very tight schedule, I like to think the Lionheart family is pretty thrifty in the kitchen when it comes to whipping up tasting meals in the least amount of time possible.

Simply Chicken challenged me to come up with easy-to-make, family-friendly meals using their chicken viennas and steaklets. The idea being to save time while still making something delish - a little life hack, if you will. Simply chicken actually has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to simply living life hacks for families, like this one:


The Simply Chicken Crumbed Chicken Steaklets come in packs of 4, or an 8-pack of mini steaklets, and they are also available in Original or Cheese flavour.

The Simply Chicken Smoked Viennas are made with chicken breast meat, and come in two flavours: Original and Cheese. I grabbed a packet of both – they retail for R38.99 in my local grocery store. I’d barely started unpacking the ingredients back at home before my boys had one of the vienna packets open!

Here’s my quick and easy lunch for the Lionheart clan.

Chicks in a Blanket
The Popeye version with plenty of spinach and feta

Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Makes: 12

INGREDIENTS
1 x roll of ready-made puff pastry (thawed)
6 x Simply Chicken Smoked Viennas, cut in half
Sundried tomato paste
Handful of spinach
Crumbled feta
1 x egg, beaten

METHOD
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with tinfoil.


Roll out your pastry and cut into 12 squares.


Smear tomato paste diagonally down the centre of the pastry square (the “blanket”), top with spinach leaf and crumbled feta.




Lay a Simply Chicken vienna diagonally across the pastry square, then bring the corners up to wrap the Vienna securely.

Brush with beaten egg.


Bake for 30 mins.



Tip: try other combinations, like tomato paste and cheddar cheese. These are great for lunchboxes.

Here are a few more recipe ideas that you can find on the Simply Chicken website.


Cheesy chicken wraps (recipe)

Chicken, basil and parmesan pasta (recipe)

You can win a kitchen makeover worth R40 000!

To enter, buy any pack of Simply Chicken Smoked Viennas or Steaklets and SMS your name and the last 4 digits of the barcode to 47901.


Let me know if you make our Chicks in a Blanket recipe. Tweet us a pic!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Lego fans - win tickets to Art of the Brick!

Congrats to Fiona de Souza for winning the tickets!
This competition is now closed.

Joburg readers and Lego fans, are you ready? In my post about the Lego exhibition that’s in town, I mentioned that I would be doing a little giveaway. Well, here it is!

With the school holidays just around the corner, the Art of the Brick is a must on your list of family fun activities. The Lionheart family is definitely going! I have driven past the posters that are up, with all kinds of Lego yearnings. Plus, my boys are going to go mad in the Lego play pit for kids.


Up for grabs: free tickets for a family of four to go and see Art of the Brick in Rosebank!

Plus the first 10 people to enter the competition will get a 10% discount on tickets for them and three others (i.e. four tickets). Fastest fingers first!



All you have to do to win is guess how many blocks of Lego are in this jar. Closest guess wins! Tweet your answer, like this:



I think there are [your guess] Lego blocks in the jar, @MissStaceyVee. Gimme those #ArtoftheBrickSA tickets! http://ow.ly/OGzhE



I will announce the winner on Friday at 5pm. If you can’t wait until then, buy tickets now for Art of the Brick.






Terms and conditions
Prize does not include travel costs. This prize is only open to residents of South Africa.

Monday, 22 June 2015

This blog post contains 3% fat and 32g of carbs

My relationship with food is a bit like Tinder, the moment something yummy appears in my field of vision I swipe right – right through the drive-thru. Or the pastry section. I have a particular weakness for fried chicken wings and glazed doughnuts that I buy in boxes of six.

I actually grew up in a home where we ate balanced meals. Grapefruit and a slice of toast with peanut butter on one side and marmalade on the other for breakfast. A sandwich, a fruit and a glass of milk for lunch. Usually meat, starch and two veggies for dinner. So it’s not like I don’t know what a nutritious diet looks like. I just can’t seem to eat one.

I blame it on my busy schedule, but the truth is worse: my physical health is expendable to me. Somewhere in a dusty corner of my mind is a list of my priorities, and my health isn’t on there and never was.

It’s like I am completely disconnected from my body. I live inside my head, and my physical form is just a vehicle for my mind. I am an “inside” person, with very little interest in other people’s outside appearances. Or my own, for that matter. I am interested in bright thinking and fresh ideas and sparkling minds, and little else.

I need my fingers for typing blog posts and emails and articles. I need my eyes to navigate as I rush from meetings to school pick-ups and to finding the best price on tinned tomato at my local grocery store. That’s the full extent of the mind-body connection for me. The Internet and social media just exacerbates this out-of-body experience.

With crap, cheap, empty calories freely available to shut up the inconvenient rumblings of my stomach, food has become a no-brainer for me. By “no-brainer”, I mean, it is not something that I give a lot of thought too. For me, a drive-thru is one of modern life’s little conveniences that I rely on to keep my day running smoothly, like the banking app on my phone, or being able to order shoes online instead of having to trawl through shopping malls.

The thing is: I’m sick, and I have been for a while. I wake up every morning with my kidneys weighing down like twin rocks in the dip of my back – like they’re going to burst. I pee several times a night to “empty” my system, but it doesn’t help. My digestive system feels toxic, like the radioactive sludge from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is trickling through my intestines. I am vaguely nauseated in the mornings, so much so that I can’t drink my usually spoon of sugar in my coffee because I will vomit. Type 2 diabetes?! I have chronic foot cramps. My skin is dull. 

And most of all, I worry that my mind isn’t as sharp as it used to be. My cousin once told me she read an article that said that the quality of the food you eat when you are young greatly affects your chances of avoiding Alzheimer’s – that piece of info haunts me.

(Jeez, typing down this list of ailments makes it sound like I need to seek medical attention immediately, but they are just something I live with every day and can ignore. Like a squeaky wheel on a car.)

Food is security for me: when I receive a windfall at work, I stuff our pantry like a turkey on Christmas day. I don't eat when I am sad, I just need to be surrounded by food to feel safe, or at least have easy access to food at the drop of a hot wing.

My dilemma is: I don’t have the time or the money or the creativity to be planning nutrient-dense meals that don’t cost a big chunk of our family budget.

(Man, I sound like such a Moaning Minnie. “I know I have a problem. I know what I need to do to solve it. I’m just not going to listen to logic right now, okay?”)

It’s not a weight loss issue for me. I have that classic band of abdominal fat around my middle that comes from sitting at a desk all day in a high-pressure job. The rest of me is in “okay” shape. It’s my actual health that makes me fret. In the last year I tried Banting, and a lose 6kgs in 10 weeks weight-loss challenge with some girlfriends... nothing I managed to stick too.

I keep putting off making a solid plan of action. Like; let’s just get past bingo night this week. Or let us just make it through the end of the month at work, there are so many deadlines to navigate between now and then. I don’t want to be pondering how many handfuls of macadamia nuts I need to stuff in my lunchbox when I have clients awaiting their content! Then, oh wait – we are going away in July and we can’t be spending money on organic chickpea salads when we need to pay for petrol for our trip.

Excuses. Excuses. What is wrong with me?

Well, at least I am writing about the issue and acknowledging that squeaky wheel. Tell me, where is your health on your list of your priorities? Is it something you are actively addressing, or do you just follow your body’s lead when it comes to healthy food and exercise? Why is it so hard for me to “adult” in the health department? Thank goodness for my kids, who have forced me to make sure there are fruit and veggies in the house.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Wanted: Sand Man or the Epiphany Fairy

It’s 4am and I’m watching Orange is the New Black. The refrigerator is making a funny squeaky sound, like a loose fan belt. Every now and again I can hear one of my boys breathe deeply as they dream. Chasing cars.

There is so much going on in my life right now, so when the sand man is stingy with the magic dust – third time this week – you expect some kind of reward for all this lost sleep. I like my rewards to come wrapped up as life epiphanies. Like a syrupy baklava, in layers of flaky pastry...

I would kill for a baklava right now.

Instead, I will settle for that second cup of tea, and toast slathered in an obscene amount of butter. You know, the amount of butter you wish you could smear on your toast, but you can’t because people are watching.

Alas, the epiphany fairy has stiffed me, too.


I don’t know why I can’t sleep these days. A psychologist would bill me 700 bucks to snot up his couch, and tell me it’s because Travis is moving in 10 days.

I almost typed “leaving” instead of “moving”, but I backspaced because I am guarding my thoughts. Language shapes your thinking. And I choose to think that Travis is going to boarding school, and coming home every second weekend to visit. And not… the ugly way of saying it. Or thinking it.

I am so focused on the arrangements for his Bingo Night fundraiser (say you’ll come!) that I haven’t allowed myself to dwell too much on what happens the weekend afterwards. I’m planning to take Travis shopping with all the Mr P vouchers that you’ve so kindly donated. Try and spend some alone time with him, although he’s not very cuddly these days.

So that’s the Trav stuff.

The work stuff is going okay too. I’m insanely happy in our new offices, although it is a 25km drive for me straight down the N1. Brendah and I made the decision to keep core office hours of 9.30am to 3.30pm, so that we all miss the traffic. Everybody puts 2 hours in at home every day to make up for it. For me, this is one of the secret joys of running my own ship – we get to make the rules.

Also, we’re pitching for new work, so light a candle and drink a teacup of holy water and lemons for me, will you?

Family stuff? Oliver turns two years old this weekend, and he is shooting up like one of those cotton wool bean projects. A few days ago we found him with his nappy off, sitting on the loo. We helped him do his thing, and then he went to the cupboard and put on two pairs of Spiderman underpants. Because two is better than one, m’kay?

So, I guess Oliver has decided for us that he’s toilet training now.

I don’t share stories about private things going on with my two youngest boys because I’m uncomfortably aware that they will read this some day. But this is worth mentioning because it’s a milestone for me.

My littley is a big boy. I’m no longer a baby momma. (The irony is that my eldest is still in nappies, and likely to be for his whole life, but honestly, it is not even something we fret over anymore.)

This is not a boo-hoo post, though. It’s a “hello dear readers” post, just a shout-out from my couch in the wee hours of Friday morning to let you know I am here, and I’m doing fine and I miss talking to you. And if you spot the sand man or the epiphany fairy, send them my way.

Monday, 15 June 2015

How Lego play is good for kids with special needs

Two more weeks until the school holidays start, and the Lionhearts are going to check out the Art of the Brick Lego exhibition.

Man, I don’t know who is more excited – me, dad or the kids. I hear there is a giant T-Rex made from 80 000 Lego blocks, and all the famous works of art have been immortalised in Lego. Best – there is a Lego play pit for the kids!




Did you know that Lego isn’t just fun for kids to play with, it is also therapeutic for kids with special needs

I have found that my two youngest boys are great at construction, and big brother Travis the Lionheart is more into demolition. He takes great pleasure in “deconstructing” Lego buildings and cars brick by brick.

Lego therapy is actually a thing! (Why wasn’t this around when I was little, I ask you?) It uses the basics of play therapy, and involves all the senses in an open-ended form of play. It is especially helpful for children with autism, ADHD, depression or anxiety.

It’s taking off in the UK in a big way. I found this video from the BBC that shares how it works:


Giveaway alert!

Next week I am giving away free tickets to Art of the Brick in Johannesburg for a family of four, plus the first 10 people to enter the competition will get a 10% discount on tickets for them and three others (i.e. four tickets).

If you can’t wait until then, buy tickets now for Art of the Brick – and then maybe come back here and tell me all about it. Did I mention how excited I am to go?

Friday, 12 June 2015

Here are some of the prizes for Bingo Night!

Have you booked your tickets to come our Golden Oldies Bingo Night on 25 June at Old Ed's in Rosebank? So far we have raised almost R14 000 of our R20 000 target, and there are still about 50 tickets left. Please come, and if you can't make it, consider donating to our cause (banking details at the bottom of this post), or sponsoring a prize (we still need a few).

We are raising funds for Travis the Lionheart's move to full-time residential care at Oakhaven next month. Any extra funds we raise will go towards sponsoring free weekends of respite care for other families like ours.

Here is a taster of some of the prizes we have rounded up so far, including some of my very favourite things!


The sold-out (again) Enchanted Forest adult colouring book by legendary illustrator Johanna Basford worth R279 each at Exclusive Books.


I have tasted just about every flavour of cake and cupcake from Angel's bakery over the years.
Winners, all of them!


A splash of my yummy find for winter: Sally Williams Nougat Liqueur! R169 a bottle.



A R250 Takealot voucher sponsored by the sweet Cath Jenkins. Yours to spend on whatever you like! (Me: graphic novels)


A 2-night stay at any Tsogo Sun hotel, to the value of R5 000! Yes please!
Enormous thanks go out to Kate Kennedy for organising this.


A sweetie box from The Counter worth R500!
Best brownies, fudge, salted caramel and burgers in Joburg. Please can I win this one?

Mail me on livinglionheart@gmail.com if you have a prize to sponsor. And if you would like to buy a ticket, here are those bank account details again:

BANKING DETAILS

Living Lionheart
First National Bank
Acc no: 62432194463
Branch: Sandton City
Branch code: 254605

Please use your name as reference when paying for your ticket, or making a donation.
See you there!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Dear 21-year-old Stacey...

I am turning 35 this year. The way I figure, I am halfway to dead, taking into consideration that most of my relatives make it into their 70s and sometimes early 80s.

I am pretty much at the razor-edge of all those 35 People to Watch Under the Age of 35 lists. This is the part where I say that I don't really care about that kind of thing anyway - but I do. I am a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I really do. Not because I want to be the girl with all the cake, but because I want to leave something behind when I am gone. Not my name, but something that rustles the leaves of time. Even if it's just some of the more heartfelt posts on this blog.



When you are contemplating being halfway to dead, it is easy to forget how far you have come. When I think about 21-year-old Stacey, she seems like a stranger. Not even someone I would be friends with. If I could give her a little shake, I would. But I can't, so I am writing this letter instead.

  • Wear more dresses. Just kidding, you still hate dresses.
  • You never write that book. Scratch it off your bucket list now and spare yourself the dithering.
  • You squint at the TV because you need glasses. Get your eyes tested now; you are going to have terrible frown lines on your forehead that no amount of Botox can fix. Not that you will be able to afford Botox.
  • Stop trying so hard to make people like you. You will never know what it feels like to be in the cool crowd, even when other people think that is where you reside. It's an illusion.
  • Also, you won't be besties with anyone you went to school with when you are an adult. Do what you will with this information.
  • Get the hell out of the Vaal Triangle sooner. The job at the community newspaper kick-started your career, but... just move to Joburg sooner, okay?
  • On the flip side, don't leave FHM after 3 years when they tell you that you don't have enough experience to be managing editor. You don't. Stay and savour the excellent friends you made there a little while longer.
  • Drugs are boring. Experiment if you must, and good job on staying away from the hard stuff. At least you'll have a few colourful stories to trundle out at Happy Pines.
  • No, he won't love you if you have sex with him, or take him to cool parties, or buy him stuff.
  • The ¨one that got away¨ has a drinking problem. When he tells you, don't try to handle it by yourself. Get him to an AA meeting. Before the car accident.
  • After he dies, don't become such a cynic about love. You will spend a great deal of your 30s wondering when you stopped believing in it. It was at this moment. Open your heart.
  • You turned down the job at Cosmopolitan. Then you turned down the job at Living & Loving. Don't lose any more sleep about it. Print is dead. 
  • Don't withdraw all your pension money, dammit.
  • Don't withdraw it a second time. Will you never learn? 
  • 58kg is not fat. And neither is 61kg. Or 65kg.
  • Your friends will ask him: ¨What is your favourite part of Stacey's body?¨ He will say: ¨Her brain.¨ Marry that guy. Marry him hard.
  • Listen to your father when he tells you to rather take the money. A wedding is a stupid way to spend R100k. Put down a deposit on a house or something.
  • Also, don't burn all your journals before your wedding day. You still wish you had them.
  • Get more tattoos. Really.
  • It's a good thing that you hate it when people laugh at disabled people, because your first-born will be mentally challenged, and not in the heart-warming Forrest Gump way.
  • Spend more time with your grandmother; she won't live to see her first great-grandchild born.
  • Spend more time with your aunts and cousins. It takes you far too long to realise how incredible the women of your family are.
  • No, you don't become a single mom to a dark-haired, solemn boy child with a genius IQ, and the two of you don't hop continents exploring curiosities and eating bowls of noodles. That is a Disney movie. You will get married and live in a townhouse and have three sons: one with brown eyes, one with blue eyes and one with grey eyes. None of them eat spinach.
  • You still hate spinach.
  • Always make sure the pool net is on.
  • Get a hobby. Not writing. Writing eventually becomes your full-time job, and that is no fun. Collect graphic novels. Go on that pastry course. Learn how to animate. Do something else with all that free time, because when you are 30, there is no more time to learn new skills.
  • Put your late mother's wedding ring somewhere safe.
  • Exercise more. Eat better food. Read books that challenge your thinking. Feed those trashy paperbacks to the shredder.
  • Never, ever turn down an opportunity to travel because of other commitments. By the time you are my age, you still haven't set so much as a toe in Europe.
  • Say ¨yes¨ more often; stop over-thinking the consequences.
  • You still haven't seen the Northern Lights, but you do get to cruise the Bahamas and see Atlantis, take a shower under the stars in the African bushveld, stamp on grapes and make your own wine, experience 4Gs of speed on a ride at an amusement park, dive on the Great Barrier Reef, ride a camel and an elephant, go dune-surfing in a 4x4 in the desert, and chase through the Magaliesburg to see the International Space Station pass overhead.     
  • Buy stock in Apple. And Google. And at least one Bitcoin.
*I was inspired to write this post by Nikki Temkin - go and read her list; it's fascinating.

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