Book Review : On Second Thought

Kristan Higgins is fast becoming a favourite author of mine in a genre I often do not enjoy – a touch of romance, even if contemporary.

With two divorces behind me, I know all that glitter isn’t gold and that loneliness can make for strange bedfellows.

I do believe and experience love, lust and the lingering of romance but… I stick to reading/listening to psychological thrillers, detectives working on the puzzles of murders and I adore memoirs.

Back to my review.

A touching read of a woman losing her husband after a short marriage, the insecurities that come with grief as well as being a second wife.

A sister in love with the idea of love publically humiliating by the man she put on a pedestal. The adventure of finding her way back to herself. Realising you can’t pour from an empty jar.

I enjoyed the read immensely.

Narration by Xe Sands is always a treat. Amy Rubinate integrated beautifully. The story was deliciously unpredictable, characters well developed.

This book is a cupcake with ample frosting…. and I love cake.


Kristan Higgins is a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestselling American author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She is a three-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award and a five-time nominee for the Kirkus Prize for Best Work of Fiction.

Twitter : @Kristan_Higgins

Facebook : Kristan Higgins

Instagram : Kristan Higgins

Book Review: The Overdue Life Of Amy Byler

“Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.
https://books.google.co.za/

-*-

A bit slow in places, but light, enjoyable and relaxing. Perhaps a read next to the pool with a cocktail. Enjoyed the narration but I definitely did not find it laugh out loud material!

⭐⭐⭐ All-round.


Kelly Harms is an author, a mother, and a big dreamer. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her sparkling son, Griffin; her fluffy dog, Scout; and her beloved Irishman, Chris. Before this midwestern life, she lived in New York, New York, and worked with many of her author-heroes as an editor at HarperCollins and then as a literary agent. When she’s not lost in a book that she’s either writing or reading, you can find her on the water, in the water, or near the water. Say hello anytime at www.kellyharms.com.

In conversation: Chantal Stanfield

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

I have met some endearing and fabulous people during my social media journey, one is the authentically, engaging and talented Chantal Stanfield. I will let her introduce herself!


“Hi, I’m Chantal Stanfield and I get paid to not be myself!” Haha! I’m a performer, whether that’s on-screen, stage or in-studio, in various guises.

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Most people would know me from my television role as “Cecile Whittaker” on Sewende Laan and “Dalene Phillips” in Montana including my music video for “Nothing There“.

I’m also a new Mom which is a very different role altogether!

What does the “white picket fence” look like in your head?

My “white picket fence” is a place where I can be fully myself and be comfortable. That doesn’t mean that it’s perfect all the time or right for anyone else but it’s real and works for me and us.

Realistically, does your partner or your children come first in your life?

Realistically, and almost selfishly, I still come first in my life. Best believe I sacrifice time and energy for our new baby – that last cuddle that makes me late to a meeting or not showering at the time I want to, for example – and my partner and I are still reconfiguring our relationship with a newborn in charge. But I always remember the in-flight announcement on aeroplanes – fasten your own mask first before helping others. I can’t give from an empty vessel. So I have to remind myself to look after and think of myself too, so I try to continue my gym routine, go to yoga or finish one of the many bedside table books I have!

What about marriage and motherhood has surprised you?

We’re very protective of our marriage and relationship so you’d be hard-pressed to find any intimate details floating around the ether! But I will say that I’ve actually experienced a great sense of freedom in our relationship – freedom of self and security. It’s taught me, as one of my new lyrics describes, that love is not a cage.

What’s surprised me most about motherhood so far is how “naturally” it came to me. I’m not saying it hasn’t had its challenges. Parenthood is not easy and this is still the first few months! I was fearful as a first-time Mom about not bonding with baby or developing post-natal depression.

I, or we, still had great difficulty with breastfeeding which made me weepy. But I realised even before birth that it was okay to feel however I would feel and I didn’t need to be perfect, this thanks to various online articles and blogs I’d read. There’s such a wealth of knowledge and advise – some good, some not. Having an understanding and supportive partner has made such a difference!

Name two things you will not skimp on buying groceries?

Milk – for a decent coffee (or three per day!) and All-bran breakfast (I definitely need the energy more now). Underarm spray – because, stank ain’t cute!

Who and how do you manage time alone outside your home in your relationship, as well as separate outings as a family?

We’ve only recently had our first “date” without our baby, who’s just two months old. I’d actually asked one of my friends, who’s has two kids, for her advise with leaving Baby with Granny for the first time. Her invaluable advice was basically to trust that everything would be okay and to be present with Hubby on our date. Other than that, the mall around the corner and Joburg granny’s house, we haven’t had many family outings yet! I have had a few outings with friends – book club and the theatre, which has really helped me feel more like myself than just a milk machine. It definitely helps that my partner is fully hands-on and involved.

Do you celebrate your birthday in an elaborate manner, or is it just another day?

My birthday celebrations depend on where I am in life, mentally, physically and financially. But I do like to have a good, memorable “moment”! For my 25th birthday – I must’ve been doing really well! – I hosted a private party and paid for ten friends at a fancy hotel and I stayed the night in the penthouse. My 35th last year was hubby and I having pain au chocolat and café au lait at Charles De Gaulle airport after our first Eurotrip together. This year was a coffee and slice of cake at the Woollies café at Killarney mall with our little family, just four weeks after giving birth.

How much time do you spend on social media on average per day?

Gosh, I think on average about five hours! It’s definitely increased since having a baby – scrolling through my phone while breastfeeding is the culprit!

Do you have a daily to-do list or do you just wing it?

Right now, I wing it. There’s a general plan i.e. write a few lines for a new play while baby is sleeping or go to the park for our Vitamin D fix. We now have to work around what admin needs to get done, like a bank visit with various certified documents, with timing baby’s feeds and nappy changes. It’s a challenge but do-able!

Share something most people do not know about you?

I did sailing in high school!


You can catch Chantal in the upcoming production of “Rock of Ages” #yassssqueen!

Rock of Ages

From: Thursday, 26 September 2019 to Sunday, 20 October 2019

Venue: Montecasino Teatro

Times: Tuesday – Friday: 20h00
Saturday: 15h00 & 20h00
Sunday: 14h00 & 18h00

Tickets: R150 – R350 per person


I wish you enough,

Wenchy

🌿 🥂

#EnoughIsEnough #MentalHealthMatters

This week has kicked my psychological ass.

#EnoughIsEnough‼️ Please check in with your friends and family who you suspect may be struggling. Some of us are excessively vulnerable and particularly sensitive to outside triggers.

❌We cannot mourn a death, but not recognise suicide!❌

Contact SADAG if you need assistance. Each one, reach one.

#Xenophobia
#AmINext

#mentalhealthmatters
🌱

“You promised to protect us.”

We cry as you didn’t do, what you promised you would.

You promised to protect us.

Have you read what happened?
We were raped, beaten, kidnapped and brutalised.
We scream out in desperation.
Why didn’t you help us?
We can barely breathe, as we watch our sisters weep.
You taught us how to be safe, do you think it worked?
As our panties lay at our ankles, dripping with blood?

You promised to protect us.

You taught us how to be safe, and yet all you taught us was how to make sure the other girl is raped instead of ourselves.
Men, what have you done?
We never owed you anything, and yet you were never taught that we aren’t yours for the taking.

You promised to protect us.

You blamed us.
Our clothing, our attitude, our sexuality.

You promised to protect us.

Yet, you didn’t.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Victoria Yvonne Trudgeon, 2019

#aminextprotest #stopkillingourwomen #enoughisenough #stopviolenceagainstwomen

Guest Post : Two instead of three.

Grief.

No one ever explains how it’s really going to feel. How it’s really going to affect you. How it’s going to tear your insides apart. How surreal it’s going to feel. How heavy it is on your chest that you can’t catch your breath. But when it happens, you know. And no one else knows, unless they have walked that same path.


On 7 December 2018, I lost my husband. And our little girl, who is 3 and a half years old at the time, lost her daddy. Our world was turned upside down and it felt like I just couldn’t breathe. How would I raise Quinn on my own? How will I get up again tomorrow? How will we come home every day to an empty house? How? Why? WHY???

Is it easy? Not by far. Do people understand? Not unless they have been there. Do you get judged? Absolutely. Does it come with a good dose of depression and a really large helping of anxiety? YES!! I smile and I laugh, because I can’t focus on the pain and broken pieces I feel inside but I am aware that that makes people think I am fine and healed and have moved on. Grief isn’t something you just work through and move on from. You grow with grief, but it always stays. Grief is something you manage by glancing at it and then focusing on the present moment again. But it comes at you like a sneeze, without warning, out of the blue, it hits you and takes you down.


I have learnt to switch on my survival mode. Who knew there was a button for that. But as a mother, you can be damn sure that it’s there. I have learnt to give all of myself, not just when I want to or when I feel like it, but constantly, without end, to make sure my daughter lives a balanced, disciplined life with a good routine. Do I have a nanny or family that live close by and can pick up the slack when I’m tired or sick? No. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to show up for her.

Sometimes I am tired and I want to just give up. I don’t want to wash my hair, or do my make up or be strong for anyone. But I know that I have to be because I have a beautiful daughter, who didn’t ask to be here and she deserves nothing but the best.

This was and is my journey and road to walk and a life lesson that my soul has chosen to experience. I spend many nights asking myself HOW this is our life now, I cry, I get angry, I sob, I curse. But then I dry off my tears, I focus on our blessings, of which we have so many, and I get back up again and do the best that I can. For my daughter. For myself. And for our life we are living now… as two instead of three.

I am not unbreakable. I’m scared and I’m brave, or somewhere in between. I’m beautifully strong and tragically confused. I am learning to love myself and to be kind to myself. And I know that one day…one day it will all be okay again.


You can follow Simone on Instagram.

Book Review: Lost Daughter by Ali Mercer

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

Lost Daughter is the story of three very different women who join a support group where they are the only members. They are separated from their children for very real and emotional taxing reasons.

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The main storyline concentrates on Rachel. Rachel is separated from her artist husband and they have a teenage daughter. There are insinuations that Rachel had done something so horrid that she is trusted to only sees her daughter on a Saturday Her estranged husband appears to make all decisions regarding their child. There are many references to Rachel’s mental health and how this influences her ability to care for her child.

Continue reading “Book Review: Lost Daughter by Ali Mercer”

City of colours, hearts of gold.

Dear friends and other interesting people,

Sometimes there are so many things I feel passionate about that I feel my heart will explode. My mouth already can’t speak fast enough! Really do we need me talking more? Don’t answer that. 

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When I came to Johannesburg in December 1984, at eleven years of age, weeks after my father died, I hated it. It was grim, grey and dreary. The Hillbrow tower was the way I directed myself in the maze. Still. Today the feeling, it is my pulse. It gives me rhythm. The skyline brings me joy. The smiles of my people. The hugs of strangers, the smiles of friends. This is my City. Filled with contradictions – just like me.

I love being alive! So many things, people, sounds, books, food, art, joy, laughter, pain, tears – all of it.

I wish you enough,

Wenchy

#wenchytude
#AfricanHipsDontLie

Guest Post: “I’m having an affair… with a woman.”

It’s a cool Saturday morning in Hillcrest. I make myself a cup of coffee and climb back into bed, feeling lazy. I give in to the urge to contact Tracey. I can’t help myself. She’s become my drug of choice. My entire body tingles with anticipation. I crave the intoxication of her presence, her touch, her lips on mine. I love the flirty banter when we speak, so I give in and phone her. As usual, we can’t stop chatting. Excitement buzzes through the phone connection. I’m high on the thrill. I’m laughing on the phone when I hear the front door open.

Shit, it’s Brad. I freeze. My heart beats wildly. My mind betrays me and blanks. I put on a smile, while a thread of fear twirls in my gut. I turn off the phone knowing that Tracey has heard him.

“We need to talk.”

Continue reading “Guest Post: “I’m having an affair… with a woman.””

Guest Blog: I am a Prison Wife.

On the surface I am your traditional bride to be planning my wedding – I am choosing my dress, my husband-to-be’s ring – getting all the butterflies and counting down the days until THE day that I say I Do and marry the love of my life, my best friend, my soulmate.

Except.

There will be no flowers. No cake. No guest list and my dress has to adhere to a strict dress code.

The reason for this is that my fiancé is 15 000 km away, in prison. In the United States of America and him and I have been on this journey for the last 4 years.

I am a Prison Wife.

Continue reading “Guest Blog: I am a Prison Wife.”