Friday 25 November 2016

Black Friday musings

TGIF Readers, 

As we near the end of the year,  it feels as if time has been sped up. Everything seems to move super fast, and with today being "Black Friday", the only thing that moved excruciatingly slow was the traffic... all around! I was not planning on finding myself in the shopping centers today, but due to the traffic mayhem caused, I was held hostage at a shopping center waiting for the traffic situation to subside.

I am usually pretty keen on a bargain, but I draw the line at queueing, pushing and fighting for it. I do not enjoy the hoards of people in a race to buy goods which are not really discounted by that much, I may indulge in an online sale, and only if the discount is significant- which wasn't the case at all this year.
So instead, this year I found myself wondering where the throngs of people came from, shopping up a storm like there is no tomorrow. The air was filled with a frantic energy, and I couldn't help but wonder if all the 'bargains' were in fact worth the headache. I wandered through stores, and would walk in, and leave immediately when faced with shoppers pulling things off shelves in a frenzy, waiting at the fitting rooms to try on clothes and standing in endless queues to pay for groceries. 
My cellphone kept beeping with retailers reminding me that it was 'Black Friday', emails flying around declaring huge discounts; and it dawned on me that this time of year is not only characterized with a manic need to wrap up business, but it is also a time when we are predisposed to spending without thought. The idea that a particular item is just so well priced, that it's hard to resist, whether we need it or not. This leads to buyers remorse, or at the worst unworn pieces of clothing which linger around in the wardrobe. 
This is a time when the emotion of year end, with the holiday spirit upon us and good will loosening the purse strings. We tend to feel that after a year of hard toil, that we deserve to be spoilt with that little bauble, item of clothing, or electronic device. As I sat and watched shoppers today, with my phone reminding me incessantly of the limited time to enjoy the bargains- all I could hope for shoppers to put a little bit of thought into buying these 'low-priced' items. A little bit of consideration of the actual need before parting with the hard earned cash. Before filling up the wardrobe with impulse purchases, consider how it will fit into the wardrobe, whether it complement the wardrobe and whether it qualifies as an investment piece or merely fleeting trend. 
So be mindful out there... it seems some retailers have decided to extend Black Friday to Black Friday weekends!!

My outift post today features all pieces which were purchased on sale, where they actually more than 50% off. Apart from the sunglasses and shoes, each piece was bought on sale, but purchased mindful of how it will transcend seasons and be able to integrate into my wardrobe for work and leisure. The shoes have been in my wardrobe for more than 5 years, so it was really an investment piece. The crisp boyfriend shirt was purchased on winter sale and the jeans and handbag have also been in my wardrobe for a while. 

Outfit details:
Ralph Lauren Polo shirt
Polka dot jeans (old)
Scarf (old)
Accessorize clutch bag (old)
Country Road wedge heels (old)
Honey beaded necklace
Armani sunglasses from Sunglass Hut
Ciao for now,
RuBe xoxo
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Friday 18 November 2016

Purpose is peaceful busyness

 TGIF lovelies!

There are so many things happening at the same time in my life, that it's hard to keep up sometimes. It is in my nature is to keep busy, in fact, I thrive on new projects, and constant learning.

I recently wrote about the trials of being a mom who works from home and the busyness that goes with it. So it goes without saying that I do not stay in pj's all day while checking emails; I get dressed each day, sometimes apply makeup and prepare to face the world. Some days I have meetings, some days I do errands in between and everyday I do kids and household in between. The reality for me is that I thrive on having a purpose. I enjoy knowing what my week will look like in advance and I can plan things. 

While working in my corporate career, my 'purpose' was to grow new business and ensure profits. Thinking back, it was actually just a job, not a purpose - and even though I enjoyed it - when I exited, I was not drawn to go back. What I missed the most about corporate were the friendships I had cultivated and the clients I interacted with on a daily basis. But through all the years I spent working in my chosen career, at the back of my mind was the knowledge that there was something else I wanted, needed, to do. It was a feeling of biding my time, paying my dues in a sense, until I was able to venture out and follow that voice. The ironic thing is that I probably wouldn't have taken the step if my body had not signaled the need. I was eventually 'forced' to leave work due to health reasons. 

And the next phase of life morphed into what it is today, working on my own terms, being present and involved with my kids, having the time to cook leisurely, engaging with incredible friends, and just basically do what I love. My purpose has guided me into a role where I am able to contribute, and make a difference to someone else. In a sense, paying it forward, as I am happy to share my skills and see my guidance and input make a significant impact. My purpose has steered me into a happier place, a comfortable place - where I feel as if I fit perfectly. I have no desire to be doing anything else than what I do everyday. For me, that is the epitome of being at peace with what life has placed at my door, at peace with where my path has led me. Peace and busyness may sound like contradictions, but when you feel as if you are where you belong, doing what you should, then the busyness takes on another dimension entirely. And it becomes natural to just follow the path.

I believe finding my purpose has done just that, brought a peaceful fullness to life. And while I do not believe that the shifting in my purpose has ended, it will continue for as long as I am learning new things about myself, and the eternal yearning for knowledge endures.  
I also accept that we are all predisposed to our calling in life, and with some introspection, work and patience we will be guided to find it. 

On another note, this outfit, represents the transformation of my previous corporate career to what I now consider work wear. I would not have dreamt of wearing denim in corporate, and now in my new role it just fits.
This look just fits.
No question.
I have paired a light linen culotte with a studded vest, denim jacket and lace up heels, finished off with a tasselled bag. A little bit of a smart bohemian look- two contradictory styles in one OOTD.

Outfit details:
Guess Denim jacket (old)
Country Road studded vest (old)
Topshop striped culotte (sale item)
Shoes own import
H&M Fringe bag (old)
Necklace (old)
Woolworths scarf

Ciao for now, 
RuBe xoxo

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Tuesday 15 November 2016

My MSC cruise to Mozambique

Welcome readers,

One month until the end of the year!
 And that means the inevitable burn out and the insane rush to finish all that was planned for this year.  I am usually extremely busy this time of the year, and find that by the time December comes around my body signals time for an extended break, and the gradual slow down ensues.

So for some holiday planning and ideas, I have finally put together a post on my Durban break and MSC cruise to Mocambique earlier this year.


We travelled during the Easter school holidays, so the weather was still relatively good and promised to be pleasant. Once we had booked our cruise, we thought it would be good to spend a few days showing the kids around Durban. We stayed along South Beach, mainly for the proximity to the harbour and for ease of embarkation, and chose to explore this less advertised area of Durban. 
After the 2 hour pre-dawn flight, we collected our rental car and headed to the hotel, luckily we were able to obtain an early check-in to relax and grab some breakfast. The Garden Court staff were friendly and accommodating, and the hotel was functional enough to cater to our family needs.

We spent 4 days exploring Durban, visiting the popular tourist areas- UShaka Marine World, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Umhlanga- walked along the promenade and did some beach combing.
A vacation is not complete without some mall hopping, namely Gateway and La Lucia and of course indulging in some spicy bunny chows. Since my youngest would be celebrating his 12th birthday on the cruise, we indulged him in some birthday shopping and Durban was a goldmine of soccer paraphernalia and kits. Just up his alley, he was over the moon indeed!
The time spent in Durban prior to the cruise was just what we needed to get ready for our cruise.

The Friday morning we were packed, returned our rental and ready to set sail. What I hadn't realised was that we could have opted for a fast track embarkation, without which we stood around queueing for more than an hour to embark, while the fast track passengers slipped by us through immigration. So if you're not up to queueing (in the Durban heat) enquire about the fast track embarkation process.
Since the cruise would be stopping off at international shores, we needed to pass through immigration, so unabridged birth certificates were required for all kids- remember this when booking the Mocambique cruise option.

MSC Cruise

When we finally arrived on the ship, administration bits such as buying drink booklets, excursion options and charging the deposit to the card (or depositing cash) for any expenses (drinks being the main one) one would incur whilst on the cruise. While the luggage was being dropped off at the cabins, a buffet lunch was served and the party atmosphere kicked in. The pool deck was alive with music booming and people milling about. Everyone gathered at the rails to watch the liner depart from the harbour, with waves and shouts from passengers. We settled into our cabins after the emergency drill and took in the tranquil views from the balcony.
I chose balcony cabins as I really enjoy being able to see outdoors, and watching the horizon sail by. Important note: Ensure that you're stocked up on anti motion sickness pills, my entire family started taking medication two days prior to embarkation, although it still took some getting used to the constant swaying.

The evening was spent exploring the retail shops, wandering about the various decks, the sit-down dinner and signing Ihsaan up for the youth club. The teens decided to join us for dinner, and explore on their own, making a note of the time the disco and parties started on the upper decks.

When we woke up on day 2, we were approaching the Bazaruto Island, a stretch of undisturbed white sandy beaches with the MSC banners waving in the breeze. There were several excursions which passengers had to pre-book for, snorkelling, Turtle Island exploration, shopping excursion with lunch at a beach bar/restaurant, or just enjoying the stark white sand and moderately warm, still sea.
We chose the Turtle Beach excursion, which involved a 'tour' (bumpy ride on the back of a bakkie or 4x4) through the dense vegetation, with a pitsop to meet the Inhaca King/ Chief, who is a highly respected elder in the village. He held a brief 'court' with us, telling us about his life and the island and its workings. Thereafter we trekked through some more bush for about 40 minutes, in sweltering heat on the back of an open 4x4 bakkie. We stopped at the foot of a range of huge sand dunes, which we would have to scale in order to access Turtle Beach. Hopefully we would be able to see some turtle nesting activities which occurs on this breathtaking beach. On the other side of the sand dunes we were greeted with the most awe inspiring beach view. There was undisturbed shores as far as the eye could see, against a backdrop of azure waters- truly a splendid sight. Unfortunately there were no turtles to be sighted on that day.
After spending half a day exploring Inhaca Island, we chose to return to Bazaruto beach where lunch was awaiting. By this time the beach was packed to capacity, everyone flocking to the water to cool down in the tropical heat. Back to the ship, where I expected fewer people, but even though it looked as if all the passengers were frolicking on the sandy shore, there were still so many onboard. Time for some rest, grab a session in the spa and chill until dinner time. 

Day 3 was Ihsaans birthday, so after breakfast he joined the youth club in their mini chef workshop while we took in some fresh air by the pool. This didn't last too long before we left the sultry heat behind and enjoyed a leisurely day taking in the theatre, the shops, a fulfilling lunch and some more shopping. The birthday boy was treated at dinner time and thereafter a party at the youth club. He also spent the day buying as much duty free candy as he could find!
The next day we arrived in Durban harbour, and just like that our tropical cruise was at an end. A perfectly leisurely break, where I was not required to cook, clean or entertain the kids. I also didn't have to plan any sight seeing or excursions as this was done by MSC. 

Overall, this was the perfect balance between a city break and a leisurely island cruise. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves, the adults were relaxed and free and food ready any time of the day. 

A few pointers:
1. The showers in the cabin are pretty tiny but functional.
2. Ensure that anti nausea meds are taken before you depart and again when the ship starts moving.
3. The activities at the junior clubs are great up to age 7, thereafter the activities are limited up to age 12.
4. There are movie screenings in the Business Centre, which is smaller than an actual cinema, 
but will work for the kids.
5. All expenses onboard is in US $ so it can be pretty pricey with ZAR currency, so buying the booklets upon embarkation is useful to save some pennies. 

Other than that, it was my second time on an MSC cruise, and while everything was still the same (even the sit -down dinner to a degree), I had the most amazing time!

Enjoy the pics:
Left to Right:
Ihsaan loves the airport atmosphere; Dad and boys; Keeping busy while waiting to board;
The most majestic pre-dawn flight
Left to Right:
Rides on South Beach; Mom & Boys; Moses Mabhida Stadium; Gateway shopping
View from the top of Moses Mabhida Stadium
A Day at Moses Mabhida, it is so precious to see how family vacations strengthen the bond between them
A Day at Ushaka and beach swimming
And after a few days exploring Durban, embarkation day for our MSC cruise!

Lesson: If you didn't get the fast pass, you'll end up waiting close to an hour
to pass through Immigration!

And finally through Immigration and ready for cruise life!
Our first Sunset onboard the MSC, view from our cabin
                                  Day two: Excursion to Bazaruto and Inhaca Islands, Mocambique
Always time for a selfie
The view as we sail away from the docked cruise liner
The shore of the uninhabited Bazaruto Island
Left to Right:
Couple shot on the beach; the first glimpse of the Bazaruto island; View from the excursion point;
MSC in the distance; activities on the beach have all been arranged by MSC; excited Ihsaan ready
to explore!
The form of transport to the Inhaca Island was on a tiny speedboat (much to my surprise) -Top
Left to Right: I was taken aback at how many passengers were squashed onto this little boat;
abandoned buildings as one arrives on the shore; the idyllic beaches;
 a beach bar is merely some patio chairs and umbrellas & a restaurant is a wooden structure on the main road of the town.
Our transport into the heart of the island via 4x4
As we leave the centre of the city (essentially one main road) the infrastructre is basically a rough dirt road
Granted an audience with the chief/king of the Inhaca Island

All sweaty at the top of the last sand dune, its only downhill from here

Arriving on Turtle Beach after scaling extreme sand dunes

To access this beach one has to climb immense sand dunes in the sweltering heat, so it is only visited by tourists.
But how beautiful and undisturbed is the shoreline?
A moment in the surf on the shores of the Turtle Beach, Inhaca Island

This birthday boy enjoyed the day immensely, from smoothies at the pool bar, to the magic show at the theatre,
some retail therapy and a mini chef workshop at the youth club

Birthday dinner before he joins the kids club birthday celebration

The final sunset with the birthday boy

Caio for now,
RuBe xoxo

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Friday 11 November 2016

Follow your passion..

Welcome lovelies, 

It's unbelievable that we're already almost halfway through November, and everywhere I look the festive cheer has started to infiltrate. 
So as Christmas bells start ringing and carols fill the air at every single store — my business doesn't slow down. In fact it’s a time where entrepreneurs start calling me in and business owners wanting a consult on strategy. Business owners reflect back on the year, re-evaluating plans and decisions made this past year and how to tweak it for the year ahead. I find consulting with entrepreneurs and business owners rewarding and fulfilling, as opposed to larger corporates where the business soldiers on even in the event of a mistake as they have the economies of scale to handle obstacles, unlike an entrepreneur. 
It is precious to be allowed into the space of an entrepreneur, for them to put their livelihood on display for critical analysis. I appreciate the courage it takes, and the strength required to have someone poking around with your ‘baby’. The joy experienced when we put our heads together to work on new ways to evolve the business is priceless, and even more so when the strategy works! 
Being a business owner is primarily about pursuing a passion, for some it’s about making a difference and giving back, paying it forward in a sense. An entrepreneur is able to find a way to make a dream a reality, to work towards the dream and find joy in the toil to realize the dream. An entrepreneur takes the risk, makes themselves vulnerable in the pursuit of a goal. But at the end of the toil, long hours, grey hairs and stress lines, they feel a sense of satisfaction. There is no big question “WHAT IF” and even if they failed at first, it was a lesson learnt, and an opportunity to attempt a different avenue. Everything does not always work out on the first try, but the entrepreneur by nature is always doggedly snapping at the heels of success — fully aware that things may just fall into place around the next corner. 

I feel privileged to engage with entrepreneurs on a daily basis, I feel fortunate to be privy to ideas which turn dreams into a reality. The passion is contagious, it is a beautiful thing to witness and even better to see an end result. If you find yourself with a dream, but glued to the comfort of security and stability, just remember that it starts with only one step. It starts with following and engaging a passion, something we tend to keep dormant. Unleash the potential, whether it’s on paper, on a business plan and consult it every day. Pretty soon, it will look more like an inevitability and less like a pipe dream. 

“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself."

- Oprah Winfrey

Today's lookpost features a relaxed look, worn on a Sunday afternoon when hubs and I decided to go out and enjoy the beauty that Cape Town has to offer (sans kids). 
I paired a white sleevleess blazer with a striped shirt, jeans and sneakers. This look will also be suitable for a work look, paired with tailored slim pants and a pair of heels.
Versatile and light for Summer!


Outfit details:

Superbalist sleeveless blazer (now on sale: shop here)
Banana Republic shirt from Stuttafords
Guess Jeans
Converse SA Sneakers
Rebecca Minkhoff bag
VArious bracelets
Old Khaki scarf
Vogue sunglasses from Sunglass Hut

Caio for now, 
RuBe xoxo

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