Thursday, 19 December 2013

Joyeux Noël!

Wow, life really has run away with me. What with the hectic final push at work, trying to see friends before Christmas, being mugged (which was lame), navigating the madness that is Cape Town in December, buying pressies for awesome people, and generally trying to be a functioning member of society, I'm sorry to say that my blog has not been my top priority (which is even lamer. Well, maybe on par. Ok, being mugged was lamer but you get my point!).

So since I am going home in less than three days time (yay!) and am not planning on even LOOKING at a computer, I think that this will probably be my last post for 2013. How crazy is that?! This is normally the time of year that everyone gets nostalgic and looks back at the things that have happened over the past 12 months, but I think I'll save that for my diary (I'm not Bridget Jones after all!). Instead, I just want to thank all of the special people who have made 2013 a truly incredible year. It has been quite a journey, but I've come out on the other side with a smile on my face and lots of love in my heart for all of you.

Happy holidays everyone! I'll leave you with this amazing illustration (given to me by my editor) by Karl Lagerfeld of his (very spoilt) kitty Choupette. One day, I hope to be rich enough that I can spoil all of my kitties with iPads, personal maids and caviar, too (true story)! 


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Just another average Thursday


I'm having a bad day. I have a cold, woke up late, missed brekkie, had parking issues, got unnecessarily crapped upon, walked in the rain, and discovered that my favourite boots of all time have a hole in them (so now I have a wet sock). Bleak street. It's at times like these that I often wonder whether or not to blog about my woes. Let's be honest, most of us don't want to hear about other peoples' issues. Which is why I find it so interesting that the increased usage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc has been linked to what psychologists are referring to as "social media depression". In a nutshell, people feel sad, inadequate or left out when they compare themselves to how they perceive their friends through the internet. Think about it: we never see pics of the unglamorous days or statuses about UTIs and bad breath. We post pics of us having fun, looking awesome and being popular. Sure, there are the occasional my-boyfriend-broke-up-with-me-and-now-I-hate-all-men rants, but the majority of people always appear to be super happy, good-looking, hilarious fashionistas. All.The.Time. And that makes us sad.

Now I'm not suggesting spamming my newsfeed with depressing anecdotes about how much you hate your life – trust me on this, I WILL delete you – but I wouldn't say no to a non-filtered pic every now and then. If I follow you, am friends with you or read your blog, I want to know the good AND the bad, pimples and all. (No seriously, posts of gorgeous people with pimples always make me feel better about my own flaws.) So here's a non-perfect post for all of you: I'm having a bad day. I am human. And I hope that reading this makes you smile (even if it is at my own expense!). 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Long live Nick Cage!

It's Friday. And in honour of this awesome day, I am giving you all a gift. That's right! Because I am almost as awesome as Friday is. The other day I was perusing Pinterest and, much to my delight, came across this amazing post:


That's right. It's a picture of Nicolas Cage being creepy (as always) and lurking in the most unsuspecting of places.  Now that's what I call AWESOME! Naturally I decided to do this myself and I have to say that the prank went down a treat. In fact, after about 20 minutes of being in the kitchen, completely missing the looming figure present in the fridge, my beloved finally turns to the toaster and yells "What the Nicolas Cage?!" AWESOME! I still have one stuck behind a picture frame that has yet to be spotted - I'm considering re-sticking them up around the house for about a week, just for funsies! So now it's your turn: I give you your very own Nicolas Cage:


Save it, print it, stick it, and have fun! Long live Nick Cage!

Friday, 18 October 2013

50 Shades of "I quit!"

This is just to let you all know that clearly Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim actor and Christian Grey wannabe) reads my blog. He has officially announced that he will no longer be playing the masochistic sex fiend. Obviously he realised (thanks to my excellent post of course) that he just is not fit to play such a devilishly handsome role. You're welcome Charlie, I'm glad I could help.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Ryan Gosling's Doppelganger

Yes, I've done it! I've found Ryan Gosling's doppelganger! OK, he has a different skin colour but still! When I excitedly shared this amazing discovery with others, most people kind of squinted at the pics and said "Weeeelll.... maybeeee...". They are, of course, complete morons. See for yourselves:


This is Nicholas Strong. You may recognise him from Under The Dome, where he plays Phil Bushey - the super gorgeous radio DJ whose presence totally makes the show. Ok, he actually has a pretty small role and the series could probably go on without him, but whatever!



This is Ryan Gosling. If you don't know who he is then I have no patience for you. Get off my blog!

Now, observe:

















Nicholas Strong in sunnies looking all hipster                 Ryan Gosling in sunnies looking all hipster








Nicholas Strong being interviewed in a suit                      Ryan Gosling being interviewed in a suit


Nicholas Strong looking concerned                                   Ryan Gosling looking concerned


NAILED IT! 

Now the only question is, is this an example of a black Ryan Gosling, or a white Nicholas Strong? Hmmm... Chicken and egg anyone?

Friday, 27 September 2013

Can you smell that?



This is a really gross topic of conversation, but something that's been playing on my mind nonethless. Last night I, being the good girl that I am, decided to go to gym. Now don't worry, this is not a post about the lack of changing etiquette in women's locker rooms (although I may have to follow up on that sometime soon), but instead it's about something (I find) even more disturbing. Having come straight from work, I discovered that once I had finished changing into my gym kit I was desperate for the loo. Although there was a long queue of women with the same idea in mind, I decided to patiently wait in line instead of risking wetting myself on the treadmill. When it was finally my turn to relieve myself, I walked into the cubicle and was hit with the most putrid smell. No, it wasn't the smell of someone who had just emptied her bowels (which I somehow think I would've been able to handle), but instead that stench of really icky urine.

Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. Anyone who has spent a large amount of time in a public space (office, shopping centre, school) and is forced to use the toilet has encountered this on more than one occasion. So what is it that makes some people's wee smell normal and others' smell like something has died and exited via their genitals in liquid form? Is it a case of your own urine smells ok to you and gross to everyone else? Or is it mainly to do with what you eat and drink (nutritionists, help me out here!)? Whatever the case, every time I've been to the office bathroom today, it's all I've been able to think about!

So ladies and gents, next time you feel the need to urinate, please pay attention to whether or not your pee smells like sewerage. If not, go you! Keep on doing whatever you're doing - we're proud of you! But if so, please take these six steps immediately:

Step 1: Spray the cubicle's infected air with air-freshener, deodorant, insect repellant - anything with a disguising odour.
Step 2: In an attempt to preserve your name (and honour) try to leave the toilet as inconspicuously as possible. If there is another person waiting in line, make some loud remark about how the toilet has a weird smell so as to shift the blame onto someone else - perhaps that girl who always gives you the stink eye when you see her.
Step 3: Fill up a 2 litre plastic bottle with water and drink it down immediately. Can't handle it? Then get used to being a social pariah for the rest of your life you stinky-wee heathen.
Step 4: Spend the next week drinking copious amounts of water and eating nothing but celery. It's full of vitamins and minerals and, most importantly, WATER! You may even lose some weight while you're at it. Go you!
Step 5: Practice urinating at home before taking your wee out in public. Only when you are absolutely certain that your urine only smells like.. well... urine, then you can start reintroducing it to the rest of the world.
Step 6: Thank Karen for saving you from forever more being known as the person with smelly pee. You're welcome.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Crazy cat lady


This weekend I had a sudden realisation. It happened at about 14:00 on Saturday afternoon, when I willingly chose to leave the warm confines of my flat, walked downstairs in my pjs and over-sized cardi, and out onto the street to see if I could see my neighbour's cat. I stood on the pavement for a while, looking like a complete bare-footed hobo, until I realised that my other neighbour was sitting in his car staring at me like I was a poorly-dressed lunatic. After one final check for the cat, I calmly turned around, walked back indoors, went upstairs and into my flat... and realised that I am, in fact, a crazy cat lady. 

I always thought that this was a domain solely reserved for old, lonely women who wore big, fluffy jerseys covered in hair and had no problem with their homes (or themselves) smelling like cat pee. I am not old or lonely, and I certainly have far more regard for my wardrobe than to ever let it become irreparably hair-encrusted. But I do like cats. A lot. Like my-vocal-range-increases-in-decibel-whenever-I'm-near-them a lot. I've taken to wandering aimlessly around the neighbourhood searching for unsuspecting kitties to cuddle. I buy cat food (even though I don't own a cat) on the off chance I have a whiskered-visitor. I jump at the opportunity to visit someone if I know they have a cat (yes, I'm using you, deal with it). And, just this morning, I found myself contemplating starting a "Cats" Pinterest board. 

It's official: I'm doomed.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Grey-t Expectations (heehee)

Today the powers that be officially announced who is going to star in the new 50 Shades of Grey movie. Although I haven't read the books, I also don't live under a rock and therefore had a few expectations of my own regarding what said characters should look like. And by said characters, I'm obviously referring to the big chunk of hotness that is meant to be Christian Grey. For this infamous super sex machine, they have chosen 33 year old Brit Charlie Hunnam: 


What do we think? He's a bit... pretty. And that beard's really gross. Plus his eyes are pretty close together, thus giving him the appearance of a water rat. I've heard some people compare him to Heath Ledger but I mean seriously, who can compare to Heath? 


Ahhhhhh, Heeeeaaaatttttthhhh..... 

But on the positives, Charlie does have awesome abs (see left) and a British accent (imagine one since I don't have audio), and quite pretty eyes (even if they are in very close proximity). I can see how some ladies would swoon over him, but I can't help but feel that he's falling very short of my mental image. Christian is meant to be suave, sophisticated, arrogant as all hell. He absolutely MUST look great in a suit. Which is why I have concluded that Karen's Christian Grey is Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) from Suits. Mmmmmm..... Give me some of that cheese.



Monday, 26 August 2013

Day Of Karen



Saturday was a Day Of Karen. What does a Day Of Karen involve, I hear you ask. As little or as much as I want it to. This is a day where I switch off my phone and see as few people as humanly possible. Anti-social much? Yes, absolutely. You know how some people complain about being lonely? I used to be one of those people. Now I'm the sort of person who'll make excuses to get out of social obligations so that I can spend the day in my jimmy jams doing whatever the hell I want. Hello, dear Karen, have you brushed your hair today? Why no, random person, this is a Day of Karen and you are interrupting me so BUGGER OFF! 

Obviously I have inspired you so much that you wish to have a Day Of <Insert Name Here> of your very own. Yes? Yes! So I have taken time out of my busy schedule to compile a list of absolute essentials that are needed on such a heavenly day:

1) An empty flat. This is something on which there cannot be any compromise. No matter how well you get along with your flatmate/Mom/significant other, the last thing you need on a Day Of Karen is judgy eyes getting all judgy-judgison on your ass. On that point, maybe kick out your cat for the day too - you know how those guys love to stare...

2) Copious amounts of series/movies/porn. Ok, no porn for me, but you get my gist. The moment that you become BORED is the moment that you know that your Day Of Karen is FAILING. This is the day that you get to watch back-to-back episodes of, well, ANYTHING! Your boyfriend thinks Gossip Girl is lame? Time to indulge in all 6 seasons. Your flatmate hates any movie with Will Smith in it (get another flatmate - Will is a champ)? Line up Hitch, Independence Day, and all three Men In Blacks for your viewing pleasure. In terms of the porn, I'll leave that up to you... 

3) Usually "forbidden" snacks and bevvies. Why did Eve eat the forbidden fruit? Because it was the one thing DENIED to her. Never deny yourself on day Of Karen. My guilty pleasure is Coke. No, not the white, powdered variety but good 'ol fashioned crammed full of sugar and bubbles Cokie-Cola, which is possibly just as bad. Did I drink water all day on Saturday? HELL NO BUDDIO! Bottom line: indulge. This is YOUR day.

4) Comfy clothes and NO BRAS. I spend my week dressing up, doing my hair, applying my makeup, and donning uncomfortable push-up bras. There are no bras on Day Of Karen. There are elasticated pants, slippers and over-sized jerseys. There is comfort and joy that only comes from a day devoid of underwire. I went to the shops on Day Of Karen. I wore a hoodie to hide the fact that I was not wearing a bra. Verdict? NAILED IT!

Ho ho! I hear you exclaim. Ho hum! You're telling porky pies Karen - I saw you at the gym on your so-called precious Day Of Karen. Uh, yeah, it's called Day Of KAREN for a reason dummy - KAREN makes the rules. If I want to go to the gym, I shall go to the gym. If I want to run around my neighbourhood naked wearing nothing but a Santa hat, then that's exactly what I'll do. It's MY day. And to my accuser, who are you anyway? I don't like you. You're forbidden from having a Day Of Karen. Ever.

And so, dear readers, that's all there is to it. We're all busy people. We have busy lives full of friends, family, lovers, colleagues and other people who we devote our every waking minute to. We need - nay - we DESERVE a day all to ourselves. A day to toss our bras and do whatever the hell we want.     

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

theoatmeal.com

It's not often that I find a site that manages to keep me entertained for longer than 6 minutes (yes, it's that specific), but thanks to stumbleupon I have discovered the best (and most random) site in the history of the world! Please, allow me to share with you, theoatmeal.com - a completely bizarre website with even more bizarre comics. A sample from my favourite series,The Bobcats:





Gotta love kitty humour :)

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Follow me on bloglovin'



Hello team! In a tech-savvy attempt to widen my followers circle and find some awesome new blogs to follow, I have joined bloglovin' - a pretty cool platform that brings all blogs together in one super, happy, blogger family :) I've added a widget (yes, using technical terms here!) to my blog, so please follow me if you're keen. And just ignore the gobble-de-gook (some people call it code???) below: apparently I need it for something or other! Happy Wednesday everyone .x.

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/10319231/?claim=bhnexj2zqjh">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Some people really do rock


It's been a weird past couple of days. What with restless evenings, terrible nightmares and feeling overly sensitive about everything, I've been struggling to adopt a positive attitude. But then this morning I was reminded that although there are some pretty sucky people out there, there are also some pretty awesome ones, too. Due to the fact that I live in Cape Town, I am constantly struggling to find parking - seriously Helen, you need to get on that - and since I am new to my office, I do not have my own parking space (sad face). But for the past two weeks, I have had the luxury of parking in one of my incredibly lucky co-workers' spots (she's lucky because she was away in Rio for 2 weeks, not because I stole her parking!) and I was starting to forget the stress and pain that I normally go through searching for a that-looks-relatively-legal place to park. 

After a very disrupted night - at one point I was certain that there was a goat in my flat - I woke up late and rushed to work... only to remember that I no longer had a lovely little rectangular oasis all to myself. And so I began the incredibly frustrating parking search, avoiding the spaces where I'd be charged a bundle by orange-vested meter people and steering clear of yellow lines for fear of the dreaded pink parking ticket. On my third lap past a business in the general vicinity, an impeccably-dressed man stepped up to my car and asked if he could help me. Assuming that he thought that I was a customer, I quickly thanked him, explaining that I was just trying to find a place to park. He looked at me for a moment and then, obviously detecting my desperation, told me that I could use a space reserved for the business.

I know that this sounds ridiculous, but that one sentence filled my heart with joy. Not only did I now have a safe place to park (and wouldn't be late for work), but here was this complete stranger putting his position on the line for me for no reason whatsoever. He didn't have to help me, but he did. And in doing so, this good samaritan has unknowingly helped restore my faith in humanity. If this weird funk of mine continues, I'm going to try and remember this morning and how life (and people in it) can really be pretty damn sweet.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Guil-tea as charged



I had a very interesting moment today that made me stop and think. In my office, one of the duties of our interns is to make everybody tea or coffee. I know, it sounds like cheap labour, but it's actually a really nice way to help integrate them into the environment and get to know everybody - even if it's just by their beverage order. Everybody says please and thank you and thinks nothing of asking for a cup of joe every now and then. Up until now, every intern that has come through our doors has been female.

We now have a new intern who happens to be a man. Ok, that sounded really ominous but you'll see where I'm going with this. Anyway, today I was really jonesing for a good 'ol cuppa - I had a headache and a backache and was generally feeling very sad and sorry for myself. Since tea makes everything better (I come from a British family), I turned to ask our new intern to make me some, when I stopped and thought 'No, I can't ask him to do that'. Now I'd like to think that I thought that because he's new and doesn't know the ropes, or because he's a design intern as opposed to an editorial intern (they generally are our glorious tea-bearers) and perhaps had not been told about the tea rule, but alas, that would be a lie. I felt uncomfortable asking him to make me a cup of tea because he is a man.

Shocking right? I almost smacked myself in the head when I realised! Why is it that I find it more acceptable for a woman to run around after me than for a man to do the same thing? There should be absolutely no difference! And yet, here I sit, with a cup of tea that I just made because I am too embarrassed to admit to myself that I mentally discriminate between men and women. I like to think that I am pretty open-minded about most things, but this just goes to show how certain notions of sex, gender and duty are engrained in our psyches. We all do it. If someone talks about their doctor, nine out of 10 people will assume that said doctor is male. Just like a teacher is automatically female - these are stereotypes that we unwittingly follow and enforce.

But never fear, there is hope for us yet. The fact that I stopped and realised that my thought pattern was wrong is a huge step up from merely accepting the idiocy that ran through my head. Take some time and stop and think about certain ideas that you take for granted. You'll be surprised at how sexist we really are, without even meaning to be so.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Happiness is...???


When I first read this quote, I thought to myself, "What a stupid thing to say. Why wouldn't you do what makes you happy?" But it seems that karma has come to have her way with me and I'm finding myself struggling more and more with finding the time for the things that I love. I am by no means a workaholic and I like to think that I live a relatively balanced life, but it's almost as though there are too many things that I love to do and not enough time in the day. How do you prioritise what makes you happy? Conundrum.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Unsafe Parking at Gardens Shopping Centre

What's the best way to ruin a great weekend? Having your car broken into on Sunday night. Yup, that's me right now. And since this irritation happened in Cape Town, my fellow Capetonians can consider this post a public service announcement (as well as a much-needed rant from a very pissed off Karen). So where, you may ask, did this horrible act of vandalism take place? In a dark and dingy alleyway that smelled of pee? Outside a suspect establishment under a bridge? Oh no, dear readers, my beloved car (now that I come to think of it, she really needs a name) was broken into in the undercover, "secure"parking lot of Gardens Shopping Centre in Gardens. 

Last night, with a severe lack of decent viewing on TV, I decided that I really needed a DVD to end off my weekend. So at 19:00 I drove to Gardens Centre and I, being the responsible person that I am, thought that it would be safer to park inside the parking lot than on the street . Sure I'd have to pay R6, but I figured that it would be far less money than paying for a vandalised car. I was in the shopping centre for no more than 15 minutes and, when I got back to my car, I noticed that the back, rear window had been smashed. Since I keep nothing of value in my car, the culprit's intention was to get at whatever was in my boot, which in my case was a yoga mat and a bag containing leggings, a yoga bra and top. Since the mat was left behind, I'm pretty certain that my car's attacker isn't a budding yoga enthusiast (or wears a 34A bra) and was probably hoping for something a little more exciting.

When I looked around the parking lot, there was not a security guard in sight. And no, I did not want to leave my car and go searching for one (in the parking lot where a vandal may still be lurking), and so I left the centre feeling incredibly upset and even more unsafe. I'm sure that somewhere on the back of the parking ticket there's a statement in fine print saying that I park at my own risk, but surely the whole idea of safe and secure parking is that you can go into a shopping centre without worrying that your car is getting broken into. And what if the situation had been much worse? If no one was around to protect my car, who knows what other unsavoury characters could be hiding in the shadows waiting for a 24 year old woman to return to her vehicle.

I often get told that I do not complain enough, but this is one situation where I simply refuse to let things slide. This morning I lodged an official complaint with Gardens Shopping Centre and am waiting for a response. And now, I'm off to draw money to pay for my R1200 bill to replace my window. Make that R1206 - I did pay R6 for parking after all.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

That Helpless Feeling



On this, Mandela’s birthday, I am faced with a moral dilemma. This is something I’ve been grappling with for quite some time now, but it seems that today’s 67 minutes initiative has encouraged me to address this issue head-on and find out whether other people feel the same way. Every day on my way home from work, I see familiar faces at my car window begging for money. And every day I feel like a terrible person for turning them away. It’s not I’m not sympathetic, but I also don’t believe in continually giving people cash handouts – especially after I’ve just slaved away at a desk for 10 hours to earn that money. 

But then a few weeks ago, the cold weather really set in and I noticed more and more homeless people sleeping on the pavement or in the shelter of shop doors, with hardly anything to keep them warm. I know that we can’t save everybody, but if we don’t try to help our fellow man then what does that make us? I used to have a teacher who would always say that you must put yourself in another person’s shoes before you judge them, and so I stopped to think what I would want if I were in that situation.

Naturally I, being obsessed with my stomach, immediately thought of a hot meal and this sparked an idea: I would make a big pot of soup, buy some polystyrene cups, and go and give soup to these poor, cold people. I was excited, I was all ready and rearing to go, and I was feeling really good about the situation. But then something began to rear its ugly head – some may call it pessimism, others realism – which made me stop and wonder whether this was really a good idea. Is a 24 year old girl driving up to a group of homeless people and handing out soup an act of compassion or stupidity?

When I mentioned this to a friend of mine, he told me that it’s far too dangerous and that the best thing that I could do is to buy a whole load of blankets “and throw them out of your car window as you drive past”. I felt deflated: is this really what our world has come to? That we’re afraid to help people less fortunate then us because of the fear that we’ll become a newspaper headline on the next morning’s front page? Am I being completely naive about the world that I live in?

So here I sit, on the great Madiba’s 95th birthday, wondering what exactly I should do. It seems that today most people are happy to give 67 minutes of their time to help another, but what about all of the other minutes that pass us by? Do we not act selflessly because of fear, uncertainty, circumstance or just plain apathy? Should we continue to exist in a society based on fear, or should we try to change that and make it one based on love? What do you think? 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Yellow and Grey

Yellow and grey - one of my favourite colour combinations at the moment :) I really want to make a skirt out of yellow and grey chevron material, so if anyone sees any please let me know!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Turquoise

My sister is crazy talented when it comes to all things crafty, especially scrapbooking. She has an awesome blog - nickywithstripes - where she posts pics of all of her latest amazing creations. Yesterday I was perusing her layouts and was inspired to create a design for her made up of pictures that I've found in shades of her favourite colour - turquoise! While it was still in the process, Jillian at work came and looked over my shoulder and said "Oh, are you making a vision board?". I stopped and thought, "Hey, I didn't realise that that's exactly what this is!" So now I'm inspired and think that it would be awesome to make a whole load more boards with great pics to give me (and you!) a creative boost, and Nix some more designs for her layouts. Stay tuned for some more vision boards in more beautiful colours :)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The glorious world of Antonio Gaudí

Wow, life is crazy right now! I've barely had a chance to breathe, let alone blog! So this is going to be very short but very sweet. When I logged onto Google this morning, I was pleased to discover that today marks the 161st birthday of awesome architect and visionary Antonio Gaudí. It made me smile and I was going to leave it at that when I had the sudden thought that some people may not know who this incredible man was and (more importantly) that they may never have seen pictures of the truly spectacular buildings that he designed. So consider this a little lesson in modern architecture:

Antonio Gaudí was a Spanish architect and many of his buildings can be seen in Barcelona, Spain. His work is famously influenced by elements from religion, nature, architecture and mechanics, and he famously integrated crafts (ceramics, stained glass, ironwork and carpentry) into his designs. Gaudí was a visionary unlike any other, and his buildings are some of the most visited sites in the world. He is truly one of my favourite architects of all time. Here're some examples so you can see why:

Casa Milà
Also known as Le Pedrera, meaning "The Quarry", this building was completed in 1912. Situated in Barcelona, Spain and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

Casa Battló
Locally known as Casa dels ossos, meaning "The House of Bones", this building was originally constructed in 1877 by one of Gaudí's teachers Emili Sala Cortés. In 1904, it was redesigned by Gaudí and is now considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Barcelona.


Park Güell
Originally part of a commercially unsuccessful housing site, Park Güell is now a municipal garden situated in Barcelona and is home to Gaudí's famous salamander sculpture El Drac or "The Dragon". Completed in 1914, it is one of the largest architectural works in south Europe and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Sagrada Família 
This Roman Catholic church in Barcelona is the last architectural project that Gaudí was working on at the time of his death in 1926. Despite it being incomplete, the church was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is renowned for it's amazing interior, especially the ceiling details of the nave. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Kitty Cuddling at the SPCA


As you all know, I decided a couple of weeks back to stop feeling sad about the world and actually do something to try and make a difference. So, after going to an orientation workshop, filling out all the necessary paperwork, and getting a not-too-painful tetanus shot, I awoke bright and early on Sunday morning for my first day of volunteering at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA. As I drove to Grassy Park, I felt a mixture of nerves and apprehension: what if I just wasn't strong enough to handle volunteering? The last time I had spent any length of time in an SPCA was when my mom and I had to have our very old dog put down and, as I walked through the doors and was hit with that familiar smell of animals mixed with disinfectant, I could feel my resolve crumbling.

I'm really glad that I didn't turn around and leave right then and there and, after some quick introductions, I was swiftly led to the cattery (I had requested to start my volunteering there). I don't know about you, but when I think about stray animals in any sort of shelter I get flashes of the evil dog-catchers in Lady and the Tramp and picture sad animal faces staring out at me from dark and damp concrete cells. But, I am very pleased to report, that the sight that met my eyes was nothing at all like my Disney-inspired imaginings. The cattery is divided up into different rooms (most of the cats have a friend that lives with them) that have both an indoor and outdoor section, separated by a glass window. At night, the cats are put inside where they have a desk, their beds, food, water, kitty-litter trays, and a panel heater that is left on all night in winter. When the staff/volunteers arrive in the morning, they open the window so that the cats can get into the outdoor area, where they have all of their toys, scratching posts, more blankets, and climbing apparatus. Disney failed to include those luxuries in his animated portrayals!

I met Raymond, who cleans out the rooms every day, and I helped empty kitty-litter trays, fill up clean ones, and let the cats outside whilst bonding over our mutual home-province the Eastern Cape (with Raymond, not the cats.) And then came the best part: I got to spend the rest of the morning loving some kitties! Note to all: do not wear clothes that you mind getting cat hair/claw marks/disinfectant spray all over. In order to avoid passing on any cat diseases, it is important that you spray yourself down with disinfectant after leaving every enclosure and, if you're like me and let the cats crawl all over you, you'll be covered in hair within the first five minutes! If you ever feel like life is moving at too fast a pace and you need a quiet moment to sit and gather your thoughts, then this is definitely for you. There is nothing quite so calming as stroking a purring tabby, having a full-grown Tom snuggle on your lap, or playing with a 3 month old kitten.

After my four hours of volunteering were up, I left the COGH SPCA with a completely different mindset than the one that I had had on the way in. Yes, it's heartbreaking to see any animal in a shelter no matter what the reason, but yesterday morning gave me a much-needed glimmer of hope. I didn't see scared, malnourished, or abused cats, but friendly, beautiful, and happy ones with so much love to give. So if you're like me and can't have a pet of your own (although that didn't stop me imagining taking them all home with me!) think about volunteering. You really can make a difference in an animal's life as well as in your own. 

Visit http://www.spca-ct.co.za/volunteer.asp for more information.