Tuesday, 31 December 2013

I Wrap Up The Year

Hello everyone!  After quite a break with the Festive season I decided that I had better do a blog post to round out the year.

It has been an interesting and exciting year.  I turned 40, my son 16 and my hubby 50.  Next year my daughter will be 13! 

I have made new friends this year and even met them!  It sounds so funny to say that, but that is social media.  I have stepped out of my comfort zone and attended wonderful functions and started blogging.

I made a decision this year that I was tired of sitting at home, doing the housework and fetching kids only.  I needed to see and meet new people.  Life has become a lot more interesting and a lot busier too!

I must thank my incredible hubby, Neil for all the support he has given me.  He truly stands with me and is not fazed at all with his wife's gallivanting.  He even asked me two days ago when I had last done a blog post.

This new year promises to be a year of more fun, laughter and blessings - at least I intend it to be!

I have entered the Midmar Mile and I must confess that I am scared!  It is a long way to swim and I have not done any training recently.  Our cruise, then flu, then Christmas and now I have about a month to get ready.

Over the years (actually since Laura was born) I have wanted to lose weight and as usual have done nothing.  I am hoping that in 2014 I can achieve some weight loss.  I never make new year's resolutions as I would never keep them.  I think I should rather set myself some goals to achieve as I have proved to myself already this year that I can.

So that is my short and final blog post for this year of 2013.

May God give all of you great blessings in 2014.

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Meyer's Go On A Cruise

My Father has been saying for yeeeaaarrrssss GO ON A CRUISE!!!  More so recently GO ON A CRUISE BEFORE THE KIDS ARE TOO OLD TO GO FOR FREE!!!

So we did!!

First a bit of background before I get to the actual cruising part (with pictures).  We applied for and received our passports - strangely painless procedure.  Then it was the booking of the cruise - not so easy.  I looked on MSC Cruises website, I phoned their offices - strike out.  You see we had a very strict budget.  We had to pay for the cruise, have spending money on-board and pay for the animals to go to the kennels.  I could not find a cabin for the four of us together - the pay for two adults kids travel free option.  The best MSC Cruises person at the office could come up with was interleading rooms and we would have to pay half price for the kids - no good as BUDGET!  So I decided to visit a travel agent.  I knew there were places at Hillcrest Corner so one day after fetching the kids from school I went to take a look.  The first place was Flight Centre - obviously not what I needed.  Then up a level was Pentravel - yes this would do.  A lovely young lady (Melissa Wilson) was available to chat to us and she was able to perform a miracle.  A cruise leaving on the 04 December to Portuguese Islands, 3 nights, 4 days, one room and kids stay free.  She was also surprised to discover that our cabin had a porthole.  The only catch was that the cruise left on school break-up day.  I sent a BBM to hubby and the return message was "BOOK IT!"  So Melissa with a few deft strokes on the keyboard booked the cruise.  I must state how incredibly impressed I was with Melissa and Pentravel.  She organised everything, was in constant contact and answered all my questions.  She even called me the day before we left to check if everything was okay and I received an email this morning welcoming us back.  Pentravel supplied us with the tickets, passport cover and luggage labels to.  On one of my forays onto the MSC Cruises site I saw mention of an Ice Cream and Soda package for R144, so Melissa organised two for us.  When you go on a cruise get a few of these booklets as they save a lot of money. 

I organised parking at N-Shed at the harbour and the cost thereof was charged to our on-board account.  Boarding was said to be 11am and we reached the harbour at about 10:20am - should have got there earlier.  It was a lllooooonnnnnggggg wait.  First we waited in the line to give our tickets.  Giving tickets, having photos taken, activating on-board account with credit card, getting access cards and giving luggage was quick.  Then we moved into the terminal and ground to a halt. Wait, wait, wait, wait etc Move through security check. Wait, wait, wait, wait etc If you are travelling with anything over R5000 declare it at customs.  We certainly weren't travelling with anything expensive so we bypassed this. Then picture taken as a family with a backdrop of the Sinfonia. Wait, wait, wait etc Then give our passports at immigration.  Finally wait to board ship and then go through ship security.  I think it took about two hours from when we arrived to finally board the Sinfonia.

Access Cards

The only picture we bought (19 dollars)

We checked out our cabin, it was rather small but we were only planning to sleep there.  Then it was off to see this huge ship.  Neil took the map along so we could find where everything was.  We found the restaurant where we had to go to for supper - first seating at 6:30pm (Il Covo).  After the long wait we were starving so we didn't look around too long as we wanted to eat.  Wow wow wow!!   La Terrazza Buffet - full carvery with vegies, salads, rolls and pudding.  Caffe del Mare with chips, hot dogs, burgers and fresh pizza.  Fabulous!!  So as I mentioned earlier about the ice cream & soda package.  When you use a ticket you buy a soda or an ice cream straight.  If you just buy on your card you also pay a 15% service fee.  Everything is also in Dollars.  I wish we had bought more of the package.

At the back of the ship still in harbour

Our cabin with Laura sitting in our porthole

Picture taken from the highest deck

After our delicious meal we went exploring again.  While we were on the upper deck an announcement was made for the emergency drill.  Oh yes, when we received our access cards we also received red emergency ones as well.  These cards were to be given to a crew member at the emergency drill.  Quickly back to our cabin and grabbed our lifejackets and went to our station.  Put on the lifejackets and the drill was explained to us and then we were told we could leave.  The ship is really big so make sure you have comfortable shoes.  They have quite a few lifts but you can wait quite a while for them.  We 98% of the time took the stairs, we also needed to walk off all the food we were consuming.  It is really really good food.

At 6:30pm we went to the restaurant Il Covo which is quite fancy.  We were given a set table to sit at and we could choose a starter, mains and pudding from the menu.  Every night was different.  We didn't have a very late night our first night there are we were so tired from the excitement.  We were due to anchor off the Portuguese Islands the following morning and then go by small boat onto the beach.

Unfortunately we experienced rain and strong wind so they had to cancel our trip to the island.  We stopped for about 45 minutes and then turned and headed back to Durban at a snails pace.  The cruise director Stephen Cloete was very quick to pull out the back up plans and the entertainment got going immediately.  There were games and much laughter.  On deck there are two swimming pools and two Jacuzzis.  Every morning after breakfast we would go for a soak in the Jacuzzi.  It was cold and drizzly and the water was so warm.

Rough sea

Raining and wet

Portuguese Island

Can you believe it! On our very last day the sun came out and it got very hot.  We still don't know where all these people were hiding as now the top deck was full.  All deck loungers taken and swimming pools full.  It was a beautiful day and we got burnt.  That night we went to watch a show and it was amazing.

Enjoying our non-alcoholic cocktails

I am trying to think of all the things I can possibly say about the cruise - it was simply amazing!  Great duty free shops too.  Bought myself 75ml Estee Lauder Beautiful and Toblerone.

On our last day we went to the theatre so that we could hear an explanation about disembarking procedures and then we stayed to watch a video about behind the scenes on the MSC ships.

There is so much to see and do on-board and we really enjoyed ourselves (especially the food).

So the Meyer's finally went on a cruise.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Testing the Waters for Midmar Mile

I suppose people that I have met for the first time would never believe that I was/can be a very reserved person who keeps to herself.  I turned 40 in May and wow has life changed.  Meeting lovely ladies from Twitter, starting a blog, attending functions and mingling with fairly well known people.

I also made a decision this year that I would swim the Midmar Mile 2014.  My 12 year old daughter Laura swam it this year and I watched these really old women make it to the end.  One lady was over 80!!  So that is when is decided that I could do it to.

To test the waters Laura and I swam the Capital K 500m fun race at Midmar Dam on Sunday.  I needed to experience the conditions of swimming in the dam.  Well it was a HUGE eye opener!!  Swimming 500 metres was not easy.  I really battled to get to the first buoy, but I was determined I was going to finish.  Hubby says I was swimming too fast.  There was this awful smell of fuel, so every time I took a breath it was there.  We also experienced a few waves and I needed to take two strokes to get through which was extra tiring.

The  most important thing was that I reached the end and now I know what to expect next year.  I am going to have to train very hard to make sure that I am ready.

Here are a few pictures of Laura and I at the Capital K.  I am being very brave by putting these pictures up of me in a costume!!

Before the race
At the start

Entering the water

I made it!!

Just out of the water

 My question to whoever reads this post is : What are you going to do to challenge yourself??

Monday, 25 November 2013

Mr Price Home Event - More Pictures

My wonderful sister Carryn (@VintageKitchy) took these pictures.

Taking at the hotel while we waited for the shuttle
The bridge we crossed over to get to the event
Fabulous drummers
Table decor

Loved these huge balloons

Keiren Holland (Mr Price Home Digital Marketing)
Shopping station

This is me shopping

Choosing the correct duvet

Adding duvet to Bag

I realised after I had published my post about the Mr Price Home event that I hadn't mentioned that Inge Loker @Inge_Loker and Faeema Sader @fayinthemaze were also there.  Was so lovely to see you both again.  Sorry that I couldn't spend a lot of time chatting to you both.
Here are more pictures that I took :
Aaron McIroy 

 Veranda Panda
Aaron McIroy


Faeema and Carryn
MD of Mr Price Home


Friday, 22 November 2013

Mr Price Home Event

I am still on a high after attending the incredible Mr Price Home event celebrating the launch of their online store.  I was so incredibly blessed to have been one of the winners to get an invite to this amazing event.  Keiren Holland (Digital Marketing) called me last week to give me the good news.  The prize included flights and accommodation at the Docklands Hotel.  Unfortunately as I am Durban based I didn't get a flight but my sister in Jhb did!!! *shrieks of excitement* So amazing!! They flew my precious sister down to Durban so that she could attend the event with me.  Carryn arrived at the hotel at about 3:40pm and I think people must have thought we were mad with all the hugging, laughing and cries of delight.  We put her luggage in the room and then came down again to enjoy a cappuccino.  We were sitting in a lovely courtyard chatting and had to move inside as it started raining :( Then it started to pour down and hail.  A whole group of wet and bedraggled ladies from Mr Price Home came in.  They had just been at the event site and were so sad that a whole lot of things had been destroyed and they had to cancel what was going to happen outside.  Carryn and I met Keiren Holland and were introduced Kerry Strauss (Marketing Manager), Bridget (Catalogues) and other ladies (sorry I really should have written down all your names).

Keiren Holland

We finished our coffee and took our cups back.  Before heading to our room to get ready we met and chatted to Izelle Venter from Media24 (former Editor In Chief of You, Huisgenoot and Drum @IVenter) and Eugene Marais (@EmaraisR).  Then it was time to get dressed up for the event.

We came down to reception at about 7pm to wait for the shuttle (we didn't want to walk there in our high heeled wedges).  The lady organising the shuttle told us she was waiting for one more passenger before she could send us over.  A lady rushed in about 10 minutes later and we all went to board the shuttle.  Well! The lady turned out to be Suzy Brokensha Editor of Fair Lady magazine!!!!!!  What a incredible, sweet woman she is.  The shuttle dropped us off at the event and what a fabulous sight it was with lots of lazer lights flashing and a light saying Mr Price Home constantly turning.

We were warmly greeted at the entrance and given our name tags and the ID tag to use at the event.  Carryn and I made full use of this ID tag.  There were 2 photo booths that were activated by the tag and it would take your picture and tweet for you.  Here are 2 of our many photos :

The MC for the evening was Aaron McIroy, what a hilarious man! 

Their were waiters circulating with platters of delicious food and a bar was set up on one side.  We loved all the d├ęcor with its many dots. 

I was so privileged to also meet Fiona Rossiter of Inspired Life (@inspired_lifeSA www.inspiredlivingsa.co.za), Vicki Sleet (Lifestyle Editor/Assistant Editor of Good Housekeeping and blog www.iwantthat.co.za @iwantthatnow).  Also got to meet and chat to Nicola Ashe (@AskAshe and Terry Angelos @AngelosTerry

Fiona Rossiter

Suzy Brokensha

Suzy Brokensha and Carryn

Vicki Sleet

I did some shopping on the Mr Price Home online store which I found easy to do.  I bought a 3/4 and double bed duvet and a fitted sheet and bed frill in Natural.  I still want to buy a few more items.  Carryn and I left at 11:30pm and went back to Docklands Hotel.  Only got to sleep at about 12:30pm as we had to do more chatting.

Thank You Mr Price Home for an incredible event!!