Category Archives: Family

Cake, Love & an iPad

I pretty much had the best 30th birthday possible. Two nights of live music, time with my parents, wonderful friends who give lots of hugs, an incredible iPhone cake from Charly’s Bakery, and being super-spoilt with gifts – including a beautiful iPad 2!

I felt lucky and privileged to have a husband I adore and so many special people in my life. Thanks to all of you for making it so. X.

iPhone cake from Charly's Bakery

Surprise! It's an iPad!

Me and my gorgeous Mom

Graffiti at 5Gum party

Krushed & Sorted at 5Gum party

Twitter? It's a piece of cake.

Gazelle makes me do a happy dance

Dad’s first SMS

I love my Dad. He can be gruff and grumpy, but also incredibly cute. He finally decided to upgrade his ancient Nokia and wanted an iPhone 4 because a business associate had one. “It’s the only phone I’ve ever seen that makes sense,” he said.

This is a man who doesn’t use a computer and has never sent an SMS. He teases my mother about her Facebook addiction. He doesn’t quite understand what my husband and I do for a living.

Yet I’ve never felt more proud of my Dad than when he sent me this yesterday:

What happens on New Year stays on Facebook

We’ve all had a few embarrassing mishaps on Facebook. Even if you untag yourself, you can’t remove other people’s photos.

Relationships end over this – “Uh, honey? Who’s this guy you’re hugging in the picture Alice took?” – and jobs can be on the line – “Feeling better Mike? Apparently the hottie you met at Clifton yesterday found you on Facebook and wants your number.”

This time of year is called the silly season for a reason. Things tend to get out of hand and onto the web far more easily. So be smart and considerate, and you, your friends and family should survive the journey into 2011 with your reputations and your dignity intact.

  • Don’t drink and tweet. Ever. Tweeting “Happy New Year” after a few glasses of bubbly is fine. Drunkenly telling the world that you just kissed a random stranger at a club is not. Neither is the 11am “Oh my god I’m so hungover” tweet. It may be funny, but it’s also tacky. And unlike Texts From Last Night, you’re talking to everyone you know (and many you don’t).
  • Follow the 24-hour photo rule. “Ha ha, look how brilliant Kim is, climbing over that BMW while balancing a champagne bottle on her head. We have to post a photo on Facebook and Twitter.” In advertising we have something called the “24-hour rule”. If a great idea still seems fantastic after 24 hours, we go ahead with it. This should be applied to putting photos online too.

Untag, untag, untag

  • Don’t broadcast your holiday plans. Foursquare is simply annoying most of the time – we don’t care where you are (unless you’re doing something interesting) – but over the holidays it can be downright dangerous. Don’t broadcast the fact that you’re leaving 5 Chestnut Avenue, Sandton, and going to Malaysia for three weeks.
  • Don’t bitch about your relatives. Rainbow, your hippie cousin, has once again managed to disappear when it’s time to do the dishes because she needs to “re-align her chakras”. Your fundamentalist Christian step-brother insists on a 20-minute Bible reading before you eat. It’s very tempting to vent online, but if it gets back to them it’ll be even worse next year. Play nice, it’s only for one day.
  • Live in the moment, not online. This could be your last Christmas with Granny Pam. Do you really want to spend it checking Facebook and Twitter from your iPhone / Blackberry? The best present you can give yourself and others is to actually be present.
  • Social media is not a substitute for phonecalls. Don’t DM your best friend that you can’t make her New Year’s party anymore. Don’t send a Facebook message to your mother on Christmas day. If you can’t be with the ones you love, pick up the phone and use it as if it’s 1999.

Of course, nothing is foolproof over what marketers like to call “the festive season”. Friends will be stupid and annoying. Relatives will drive you to distraction. You will be tagged. But if you can keep your cool when everyone else is acting like 5-year-olds, it will all soon pass in a haze of rich food and parties.

How To Choose a Husband

I met Alistair when I was 18. We fought all the time and broke up when he went overseas, but we just couldn’t leave each other alone. Over the years we’ve survived more crap than most people do in a lifetime, but I never doubted I wanted to marry him.

Here’s how I knew:

  • Biceps: Al was wearing this fitted 3rd Base T-shirt the first time we met and I thought, “Wow! My tutor is hot.”
  • Adoration: Marry a man who loves you a tiny bit more than you love him. People are horrified when I say this, but women are more prone to the romanticism of uncertainty. It’s exciting. (Why do you think Carrie kept going back to Big?) In the long run however, you’ll always wonder if he loves you as much you love him. Marry a man who adores you and you’re far more likely to be happy.
  • XXX: Skills are essential if you plan on sleeping with this person for 40+ years.
  • Manners: Al insisted on opening the car door for me on our first date (still does).
  • Brains: Marry a man who’s potentially more intelligent than you. This is far more important than biceps. People call my husband “The Walking Encyclopaedia”. I voraciously consume and re-appropriate information. He’s knowledgeable, I’m smart. We complement each other and we never get bored.
  • Eyes: I’ve got a weakness for blue eyes. After his biceps it was the next thing I noticed. Some women love puppy-dog brown or sea-green irises. You’ll be staring into them for years so make sure they melt you.
  • Kindness: Silly bravado and Neanderthal male bonding rituals aside, the guy who gets groceries for an elderly neighbour is a keeper.
  • Proximity: Occasional separations are good for a relationship, everybody needs space, but more than five days and I start to feel like Lyra separated from her daemon in His Dark Materials. I physically ache. A cousin and her husband (now divorced) spent months apart in different cities, quite content, even though it wasn’t completely necessary. Why bother being married if you live separate lives?
  • Humour: It’s such a cliché, but life can be rough – share it with someone you find amusing. My husband makes me giggle like Marge Simpson.

Everything I just said aside, a wise friend once told me that you can’t really define love – it just is. He was right.