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#metoo

At first I wasn’t too sure how I felt about this campaign .

Yes, I honestly do believe victims of abuse and violence need to speak out but at the same time , as the mother of 5 sons and the financee of an amazing partner, at what point do we stop generalising every male on this planet along side the men who hold women with no regard?

And, at the risk of many woman’s verbal attack…. where do you stop being a victim , deal with your past and grab life with the courage of a winner? 

#metoo

This is my story 

My story sadly begins much younger than I realised. 

Its a family thing 

My parents married young and were a chaotic love affair of disaster.

When they weren’t shouting at each other, they were arguing about the other.

At 15, my parents chose to divorce. 

Their reasoning long forgotten to my teenage brain but what I will never forget is the hell my sister and I endured for the next 9 months.

Their bickering and fighting quickly escalated into flying objects and forgotten children. 

One particular afternoon I arrived home from writing an English exam at school. My parents lived in two separate homes, and I was shocked to see my father’s car.

Its a gun

As I entered the kitchen , the maleviolence 

clung to the air. Screaming and shouting broke my confusion as I saw my father pointing his gun directly into my mother‘s face.

 

Her battered ,bloody body told a story far too familiar to us but never before had I seen such a maddening rage in my father’s eyes.

He was deaf to our pleas and at some point I grabbed a brass vase , crashing it on his temple. Knowing the weight of his wrath was about to turn to me but needing to do something, anything to save my mother.

The distraction was enough for her to flee.

He wildly searched for her and amazingly i found the strength to grab my  younger sister, look my father in the face and tell him

 ‘shoot me if you must but I’m taking my sister somewhere safe’

The longest minutes of my life

With each step we took up that drive way I waited for a gun shot that would put end to my defiance. …

We stopped at a friends house and I asked her father if I could phone the police. 

Calmly I relayed what had transpired.

I remember her dad telling me how brave I was …. I didn’t see it! 

I had just asked the police to lock away my own father !

Nine months on the run

For the following nine months we moved weekly. Staying and living like nomads. My mother was petrified. And naturally, we saw what a monster my father was and we were equally as scared. 

I remember owning a denim bag and for nine months that was the sole amount of my belongings.

Bouncing from home to home. Friend to friend and relative to relative took its toll. My mother no longer cared. She lived in a distorted world of fear. Danger was all around her and she would wake in fits of anxiety and begin drowning her sorrows in any and all alcohol.

An uncles love 

It was around this time we went to spend a week with my father’s brother.

I was too young and nieve to grasp exactly why my mother had to share his room and bed. She told us it was due to space.

One day , my mom and sister went out and I was alone. My uncle forcefully tried his way with me. His large hands grabbing at me as he thrust me on the bed, trying to release himself from the restriction of his clothing.

 In fear I froze. 

This was a relative.  A man I should be able to trust. 

Somewhere safe ….

The downstairs door opened and my sister called that they were back. He released me and told me he would tell my father where we were if I said anything about what he had done.

Hushed

I got up , went to the bathroom . 

A feeling of revolt deep within me,vowing that I would protect my sister from this man, no matter what.

I quietly hid my secret and that night pushed a wardrobe in front of the door.

Two days later we moved again…..

A life of violence

Months later and so many more insidents between my parents we were finally found and removed from my mother’s care.

My father had by now moved in with a woman and her son.

Life became a misconstrued roller coaster of broken bones and blood. Alcohol thickly mixed into weekends of abuse.

Each weekend as Friday aproached , us kids would make plans to  not be home to  witness broken jaws and emergency hospital trips.

A man like my father

At 17 I fell pregnant with my boyfriend of two years. We were young . I was not interested in marriage from the start and we parted when Tbear  was just a few months old.

Two years later we reunited and went on to have a total of six wonderful children.

Throughout our marriage there were verbal threats and violent outbursts but I never once saw that I was married to a replica of my father.

Broken bones

Although he had hit me a few times and broken my finger fighting for keys out my hand when I tried to get him to pay the rent and not gamble, I honestly believed it was my fault. 

If I’d just ignored it…or kept quiet. 

In Tbears Matric year,  he was robbed at gun point. Our whole lively hood was in the Buckie they hijacked.  All his tools were gone and as we now had no transport and no way to do the work coming in , his own business had to close.

I thought he would look for another job, but slowly he sold off our belongings. Before long we were evicted and needed to find a new home.

An attack on my child

The new house was cold and still had the original concrete flooring so typical of old railway houses.

One day sbear was defiant to his father who  would lie in bed all day and spend money on cigarettes instead of decent food for the children. 

He grabbed my child  by the throat,  pushing him against the wall all the while screaming like a madman in his face.

The last straw

That was the last straw!

It was one thing to treat me badly,  a complete different story to attack my children. 

I grabbed him, and pounded my fists on him. Screaming of what a useless man he was. Months of hatred and oppression came spewing from my mouth.

He followed me back inside and seemed subdued. 

I  turned and felt a shove like lightening to my back. In agony I fell to  the floor where his foot continued to kick the lower edge of my spine. 

I remember yelling to my children to go to the neighbours.

I also remember dragging myself up to the couch , screaming how I’d see him rot in a cell, tears of pain falling freely from my eyes.

Coward

That day he ran.

He went to his mother for a steak dinner.

When he came home I was long gone. 

A mothers love

People don’t understand why I gave him a chance after what he did. They criticised me for staying.

Have you ever looked into your children’s eyes knowing all they want is their parents and knowing your love for them was large enough to endure all things ? 

I didn’t want my children to go through the divorce hell I’d experienced.

I was also dependent on their father financially…How would I live and  support my children if he wasn’t there?

But most importantly,  after years of hearing how awful I was. How ugly . How  useless and how no one would want me with six children, I believed I couldn’t do anything.

Courage

The next two years were no better. The stories read like a bad novel.

In those two years I build myself up amidst his chaos and crumbling tornados of drama.

I started a parenting page, began submitting my poetry and writings and joined as parenting expert to a parent website.

And then the day came …

One morning he refused to give me money to buy the children food. 

It was the last push I needed. 

I’d regained my confidence. I believed in myself. I had found a support network and I told him, after more fights, I wanted a divorce.

Three months later, and hour upon hour of senseless fights, i left him in JHB and started my new life…..

It wasn‘t easy 

It wasn’t always easy. And as with all journeys it had its pros and cons.

Those who lost the most were my children. I can only hope they understand why I found the courage to end their chaos.

One day I hope they never need to write a version past their parents mistakes.


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Wildlife clothing … a review

As an avid nature lover I fell in love with Wildlife clothing from  the very first shirt I saw.

Then , I visited their website and was blown away… 

Baby 5 for babies 

I immediately wanted the baby 5 shirts for little ones.

 I have been looking for a decent “Image of South Africa” print for bear since Heritage day and have sadly only found baby onsies (that he is too big for ) or shirts for older children (which he is too small for ). 

It was great to find a site that catered for kiddies age 1-3 as well as the rest of your family. 

Gifts from home

It’s also nice to know that there is a place I can go to order a special keepsake from South Africa to send to friends around the world without having to  visit a tourist market and pay exuberant fees.

 

 So many of our friends and family now live overseas and when looking for gifts we really want to send a piece of home to them. 

Our shirts

So when our two shirts arrived I was eager to see the quality of both the shirt and the print. 

Fast service meant we had our parcel within a few days of it leaving the depot.

Bear and monkey were super excited at receiving their shirts. Monkey even took his batman one off in favour of the big 5 image. 

Bear loved the bright orange colour and kept touching the animals.

Quality

How many times have you bought a stunning print only to have it crack, lose its colour or start to wash out after a few washes? 

The shirts are of a good quality. Thick and durable. The colours are vibrant and I was suprised that the prints stood out against all colour backgrounds.

But …

Still there was the wash test !!!!
The wash test

Being boys, it wasn’t long before both shirts landed in the wash basket …  here came my chance to test the print quality. 

After three washes the shirts still look brand new. No fading,  no cracks , and the colour of the shirts are still as vibrant.

Designs

Simple, stunning designs that are breathtakingly beautiful. Totally realistic and eye catching. 

I believe these images capture the  essence of Africa with their fine lines and striking resemblance. 

The wildlife company don’t only design animal shirts. They also have a range of ethnic prints as well. 

They currently have a portfolio of over 30 designs all drawn by local artist Stefan Rousouw.

For more info or to order your own pieces of Africa visit 

http://www.wildlifeclothing.co.za

Or

https://www.facebook.com/Wildlife-Clothing-153465124692242/

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5 best couple gifts

I’m not a big fan of gift registers for many reasons .

Whilst I understand their function I was brought up to believe a gift is given from the heart and so you should be great full for what you recieve.

I also feel it rude to demand a particular gift and quite uncomfortable for those who can’t afford items on your list.

As for the tradition of asking for cash ….that just makes me cringe. 

Whilst planning our wedding goodies I happened to find some fantastic ideas to gift couples that I thought I’d share with you for if you like me and prefer to just ignore the registery and buy a gift to give.

Couple shirts

These are too cheesey not to be cute. Not sure if I’d personally find them that adorable to wear out in public but they’d be great for a photo or seven.

Personalised scatters

These are my favourite and I plan on having some printed for us. Such a thoughtful and practical way to remember a special day.

Sensory gifts 

Gift the couple a gift to  match each sense.for example sound …a favourite cd,  sight…a photo of them in a cute frame,  smell …a Reed diffuser for their room,  taste …a box of chocolates and touch …a fluffy throw for the bed.

Shell and stone pictures

Make a romantic image by using shells and stones to form a romantic picture. There are many examples online.

Word images

These can be created using free image generators online and can incorporate the couples names and sentimental details.

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Make a tshirt scarf

Every season I throw out a handful of shirts that I just won’t wear again

 Repurposing them would be a much better idea. 

So this shirt scarf is ideal to turn your unwanted summer shirts into wearable winter warmers.

Simply cut the arms and neck off. Leaving you with a double square of fabric. 

Cut lengths on both the top and bottom edge and knot as above.

Stylish and economic friendly 

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Rumplestiltskin review

If Santa had a master toy designer it would be Mellissa from Rumplestiltskin.

This talented lady not only sews up the most beautiful of plush toys, she also dreams up and designs her own patterns. 

Each one sewn to meticulous detail and delivered with a piece of their own personality and her heart.
As an avid follower on her page I love to see the sneak peeks of a new creation on her table and delight in the final soft product she produces.

So many of her creations are given away free to those who need an extra cuddle and love and her dedication to her craft  is not only admirable but truly a passion for good. 

I awaited with antisipation when I heard I’d review one of her giant elephants.  This honestly was a product I’d fallen in love with. So , when the box was finally here I rushed across the road to Postnet to collect.

Bears eyes widened as he saw the cardboard box , but that was nothing compared to the delighted chattering as he reached for Elis grey trunk. It was love at first sight.
The elephant is beautifully crafted. Each crease in his forehead is defined and bear has his name neatly embroidered on its foot. The flappy ears are his favourite and he likes to lie on its tummy rubbing the soft blue fabric of the inner ear. 
The elephant is larger than bear and when seated is as tall as an arm chair. But you can order smaller sizes.
These elephants are not just great accessories for a baby room , the make a fantastic feeding pillow, first bean bag and best friend.
Thank you Melissa for gifting bear a treasured friend, soft hugs and a bean bag that he flops and lies all over.
To order one of Melissas gorgeous creations please contact

http://www.rumplekids.co.za

https://www.facebook.com/RumplestiltskinFancyDress/

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Macrame swing …review 

I love anything boho and handmade so you can imagine my delight when I stumbled onto Knot a Dream’s gorgeous facebook page.

I fell instantaneously in love and ordered a wedding backdrop with a tree of life macrame dream catcher as the centre.
But it was the baby swing that blew me away the most ….

Two days later I had the pleasure of meeting Rosinne,  the creator of these masterpieces and her husband Alan.

Wow! What amazing people …. this dynamic dueo are punctual and organised. 
Bear received his swing and I was even more impressed in real life , as the photos do not do the hours of patient knotting justice.

A strong sturdy base that he will be able to use until he is at least 3 or 4 years old. 

It’s self standing when not hung and can be folded down and stored neatly. 
The rope is neatly decorated and the 4 strong rope strands are securely knotted to ensure babies safety when hung.

I hung ours in a small tree and it held bears 10kg weight with ease. I felt safe placing bear in the string and it was great to see that even though he placed his head through the strings, with his legs between the seat strap he couldn’t easily fall through.  The seat also remained stable as I placed him in and out of the swing.
The precision in each knot of the design is meticulous and the beauty of this product , hanging through the green branches , would enhance even the drabbest of gardens. 

He , of course , was delighted and would have stayed all day in his swing. I have since hung it near our washing line so that he can safely swing whilst this mamma hangs the washing.😋

For more info and to view their beautiful products contact 

https://www.facebook.com/knotadream/