Kids, with #WonderWomanDay being celebrated on Saturday 3 June, 2017, in honour of the ultimate female superhero’s 75 year anniversary and the release of her first live motion film, it was only a matter of time before I dusted off my Amazon Princess suit and took to the streets of Cape Town in it…
Ok, maybe not the streets – but definitely to Readers Den, my home away from home since age 5, for their Wonder Woman Day event:
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From superhero themed jewellery and glitter tattoos to endless geek memorabilia and opportunities to meet our favourite comic book authors, there was just SO much to see and do at FanCon.
Kris went nuts for all of the cool jewellery at the Treasure Box stand, picking up a really lifelike looking Horcrux, from the famed Harry Potter series, while we snagged a gorgeous Tardis print for Leo in the Art Alley:
Here are few of the awesome social media posts by fellow geeks of the event:
Kids, on Valentine’s Day in 2017, I found #LoveAtFirstBite with Dunkin Donuts…
Ok, fine, I fell in love with their quirky heart shaped offerings BUT I also experienced a resurgence of faith in the speed dating industry after attending the Dunkin Donuts ‘#LoveAtFirstBite speed dating event on Monday 13 February, 2017.
I know I said I’d NEVER attend another speed dating event after the disaster in 2015 but you know, hope springs eternal and come on, who can say not to donuts?
Here’s why the #LoveAtFirstBite experience rocked my dating world:
Men, men, me EVERYWHERE:
I “dated” nine men in the space of 40 minutes …the fact that there were so many guys for the first time at a speed dating event was heartening AND they were relatively good looking!
2. Talk to me, baby:
Behold the blessings of a good conversationalist! A few of them, like Ryan, the hot primary school teacher ( awww, he loves kids and giving back to the community!) made the five minutes allocated to getting to know each other fly by with their interesting anecdotes.
3. Keeping things sweet:
Look, I’d be lying if I said the real reason I was there was to potentially meet your father … because let’s be honest, I love sweet things and, donuts, like a lot!
Besides the romantic #LoveAtFirstBite deal Dunkin Donuts was running for Valentine’s Day, they kept us sweet all night with special editions of their famous product and ice coffee. My favourite was the Hazelnut flavour and the choc choc heart!
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Did Cupid’s Arrow hit my voluptuous butt at the Dunkin Donuts event? Who knows … the point is, the evening gave me renewed faith in love, sugar and singledom and that, Kids, is all I needed to meet your father.
Kids, at times when the search for your father seemed to come to a complete stand still, it was good to get out of Cape Town and have some fun (and go where there was sure to be hot, single men …we hoped!). Luckily for your god mom Marisa and I, we were invited to the ultra-cool, must-do Darling Summer Beer Festival on Saturday 3 December, 2016.
Co-hosted by the local brewery Darling Brew and Darling Tourism , this fun day out in the gorgeous dorpie (little town) featured stalls by local cider, beer and foodie producers (Riot Brewery, Savage Brewery, Flagship Brewery, Mountain Brewing Company and Everson’s Cider& Decider) and live music from up and coming bands like Red Tape Riot, Jimm Harisson Project & Stone Jets.
I lost my foodie heart to the Flying Pig, who conjured up such a magical Cuban sandwich, I kept dreaming about it for days after the event.
Our eclectic mix of Igers was transported to the Festival in a super rad Nomad Tours truck and let me tell you, it’s a driving experience unlike any other I have ever had.
I’ll readily admit that I wasn’t much of a craft beer drinker before the Festival ( the last time I had chugged down some ale was when I was trying to impress Monroe on a night out …and we all know how well that turned out –NOT!) but I thoroughly enjoyed the Gypsy Mask and the Midnight Hawk brews.
One of the stalls at the market made a mean beer-infused ice cream that was easily my favourite item of the day!
These are some of our tasty memories of the Festival:
Kids, by the spring of 2016, my cosplaying obsession was in full swing and with my all-time favourite holiday of the year, Halloween, coming up, there was just one more character I simply had to inhabit: the Zombie Bride of the Mother City at the Zombie Walk Cape Town 2016 event.
Your Uncle Leon laughs at me for this but my zombie alter ego had been steadily building up to major life milestones for several years – I’d been a cheerleader in 2014, a nurse in 2015 and now it was time for me to tie the undead knot.
Your Nan also really got into the spirit of wedding dress shopping … I know how much she’d been dying for that to happen!
29 October, 2016:
Cosplaying events are always way more fun with friends and so off your Uncle L and I went with Kaanita, Daniel, Ethan and Tania in tow, to join the hordes ( and I mean HORDES) of rotting bodies for Zombie Walk 2016.
These are some of our cool undead memories of the day:
I’d had countless unbelievable experiences ( hotel stays, theatre shows, concerts, restaurants meals and events) through my work as a travel writer and met world-renowned illusionists (with the front page newspaper coverage and national TV broadcasts to reflect my efforts) through my magical PR job so having my crazy dating and running stories recognised by Garmin was an all-new writing career high!
Kids, by the spring of 2016, I had been a novice runner for a year and a bit, competing in several racing events ,including the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Gun Run.
I was having tons of fun blogging about my transformation from couch potato to relatively fit runner and to my surprise, running helped me get a new perspective on my love life (or lack thereof).
Here are five things running taught me about dating:
Just do it:
Procrastination might very well be my middle name because I was always putting off going for a run, in the same way I put off going on dates.
Whether I was hurriedly slipping into running trainers or high heeled boots, I always found that once I committed to the act of running or dating and actually did it, I felt much better afterwards.
To quote the most epic of philosophers, Nike:
No one runs and wins a half-marathon on their first go so what made me think I was going to meet The One immediately?
All good things come to those who train and dating was my training. I needed to give myself time and stick to a healthy regime of meeting new people at events I liked going to like Fan Con or Zombie Walk; online dating sites; parties; set-ups or speed dating hang-outs.
Being nervous is ok:
Man, did I get butterflies in my tummy before every run and date! My heart would race a mile a minute, my palms would be sweaty and I would be thinking “Why the f*** am I doing this?!” every five minutes in the lead-up to the big event.
Being nervous was ok, though, and helped me get excited about what lay ahead, both on the road and in love.
When you fall down, get back up:
Getting my heart broken or being stood up hurt every bit as much as falling flat on my ample sized butt on the road but if I could motivate myself to get back up and run again, I could get back out into the dating scene again too.
Sure, every WTF online dating pick-up line or extremely bad date made me want to run for the hills (ha-ha, pun totally intended!) but I managed to shake it off and bounce back stronger than before.
Having support is important:
Your Spirit Mom Leo was the one who set me on the path to running greatness by encouraging me to enter races, running some of them with me (and providing ample motivation in the form of naked Alexander Skarsgard, Matt Bomer and Henry Cavill photos …hee hee!) and providing a platform for me to document my progress with a monthly blog post.
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Similarly, she and your Uncle Tendai listened to my crazy dating tales, tried setting me up on blind dates, were my wing people and told me some much needed motivational stories about their own love adventures.
No runner can do it alone and neither can a dater. House of Wyrd, you rock my world!
Running may not have had me quite on Whitney Houston’s path to love:
BUT it did get me out and about and on the road to happiness.
Kids, after Mr “Let’s Go Dutch”, I was a little gun shy about meeting new people – spending two hours with someone boring who hogged ALL of the attention just wasn’t appealing.
Also, after the spate of bad, and I mean, BAD online dating chats that were leading nowhere fast, I had all but given up hope of ever finding your Dad.
Hope, though, always springs eternal for singletons and so I turned to back to my old faithful, Ok Cupid, for a bit of a romantic shake-up.
Here’s a look at that time I schooled an American tourist in the art of dating a Capetonian woman:
September 2016 …
Tdater 31 was a Pennsylvanian engineer, visiting Cape Town for the first time ever (I am stressing this because it becomes important later in the story) for his sister’s wedding. After a weird stop and start, we got into a rhythm of flirting (mostly him because as I might have mentioned, I am Bridget Jones-bad at picking up hints that guys are into me).
Date One was a coffee (and that was the actual hot drink, NOT the other hook-up kind of coffee) and pizza meeting at Cape Town’s new caffeine hot spot, the Honeybadger in Loop Street.
He wasn’t impressed I was keeping the date to 90 minutes because I had a movie date planned with your Spirit Mom (screw it, we’d won tickets for a Michael Fassbender movie and there was NO way I was missing out on it!).
We got along well, though, chatting about Star Trek, Comic Con, work and family. He was funny and smart but …
Tdater31 seemed to have no sense of desire to explore Cape Town, a city he had travelled 25 hours plus to visit. Call me crazy but I always research a destination before I visit it to know what’s on and where I should explore. Hell, I’ve stalked New York so often, I feel like I live there.
Mr Man was annoyed that I had to work and that I had a social life filled with family and friends ‘engagements that I wouldn’t cancel to spend time with him:
Bro, let us be clear on a couple of things: a) I am a busy woman with a full life who will not be your personal tour guide and b) no man comes before my friends and family.
Against my better judgment, I agreed to a second date because hey, maybe he was nervous and just coming across as a doos inaccurately.
At 30, I still had to learn to trust my gut feelings about people. If I found you annoying, boring and a pain in my ass the first time I met you, that impression would not change later.
Tdater31 had indicated that he wasn’t into the big touristy things like the attractions and he wanted to experience what the locals do as well as the local cuisine. Since it was First Thursdays, I decided we’d do that and then I would take him to Biesmiellah in Bo Kaap for some authentic Malay dishes.
Right away, he pissed me off by being WAY too handsy … I do not like people touching me unless I initiate it and grabbing my ass repeatedly or balancing bottles on my head while I was crouching to snap a photo was not winning him any brownie points.
Secondly, he did nothing but bitch about how most of the patrons at the Gin Bar were white. Where were the locals, the Africans, he wanted to know. Jerk, are you seriously getting racial on me? Caucasians are f***ing local!
The moaning about not wanting to leave his hotel room because he didn’t want to go where all the tourists were carried on throughout this date from hell.
By 7pm, I had had enough of Tdater31 and his narrow-minded bigotry and stupidity so I helped him order his “authentic” meal, stuck him with the bill and wished him safe travels back to Pennsylvania with a “Yeah, I am never visiting you, see ya!”
Here are 30 things I learnt about myself and life after turning 30:
I have no more f***s to give and it’s ok:
No, really. Before 30, I would be stressed about what people thought of me and whether they’d accept me for the weirdo I was.
After 30, I was like “well, f*** a f***ing zombie, if you don’t like me, screw you!” I liked me:the dressing like a hobo writer; dance in the car and the supermarket; can’t be bothered to even pretend to like people I should me and that was all that mattered.
No was my new favourite word:
As in “No, I am not attending a family function where I have to pretend the perpetually divorced aunt’s comments about my inability to land a man doesn’t hurt my feelings” or “No, I really don’t want to pay for your mother’s birthday cake just because you’re broke AF and didn’t plan ahead”.
I especially loved saying Hell to the f*** no when friends, acquaintances and potential dates tried to talk me into going to places or doing things because it was more convenient for them.
My comfort, after 30, came first… f*** the rest!
Here are my boundaries, now f*** off:
So-called friends who couldn’t deal with not being the centre of my universe whilst I was in the middle of taking care of my dying grandfather and dedicating myself to passion projects or clients who contacted me after hours were not so graciously told where to f*** off to because I have boundaries.
Staying home was my new favourite past time:
Time was when I’d be out there with the most narcissistic of socialites, snapping pics on red carpets and attending every event or show opening under the goddamn sun.
By 2016, I was tired of the constant fake behaviour and forced friendships with so-called celebrities so I found new events (GOT premieres) and red carpets (my bedroom’s) to frequent.
Shutting myself in my apartment for at least one day a weekend where I didn’t have to go out at all because it was too peopley out there was how I held onto my sanity during all of the adulting I had to do.
Holding my tongue was no longer an option:
I learnt to be blunt AF because it was the only way people would understand me when I kept saying no (see point 2).
My entire life, I was always worried about protecting other people’s feelings and not daring to retaliate when they hurt mine.
New me didn’t have such qualms. If you were a guy wasting my time with small talk about the weather or asking me to send you boob pics on dating sites, I told you exactly where to stick your small member and not ever f***ing contact me again.
If you were a client who wanted me to rise at the crack of dawn to fill in for you because you were going away for the weekend, I told you where to get off on the bullshit train.
Biting my tongue to keep the peace was no longer my modus operandi.
I am a cosplaying freak:
Who loves nothing more than donning tights and a cape and showing off at events to other geeks.
Your aunts Sam and Mishka and your godparents Leo, Tendai and Leon are the only five people in Year 30 that I felt completely at ease with.
They loved me when I was crabby and happy over silly things; they let me cry when I needed to or just be quiet when I couldn’t put into words the things that hurt me and they weren’t afraid to call me out on my crap when they needed to.
Feeling guilty is a waste of time:
So I finished yet another tub of Nutella without using it for the pancakes I actually bought it for… so freaking what?! Did anyone die? No? Then, shut up, Brain, and just let me enjoy my chocolate high right now.
Ditto for not finishing blogs, reports etc for work when I was ill. I was delirious on medication and sleep deprived, for Drogon’s sake, it’s not like the company would fall apart without me!
I am worth showing up for:
Old friends who bailed last minute on plans and dates who stood me up were no longer worth my tears.
Spending time with me, especially when I had to rearrange shit so I could see them, was a f***ing privilege. If they couldn’t be bothered to show up, I wouldn’t be bothered to answer calls and texts in future.
I will not settle for mediocrity:
I deserved the very best I could give myself – from a future partner to what I ate and who I spent my time with to where I travelled to – so if those things were not up to par, they had to go.
We are so focused on making sure everyone else (family, friends, significant others etc) is happy and getting what they deserved but what about ourselves?
In 2016, I made myself my priority – f*** anyone who thought that was selfish!
It’s never too late to do anything:
Like read the Harry Potter book series for the first time (yes, I know, considering I saw all the movies and worked in magic, I should have done that yonks ago but whatever!)
If I don’t know how to do something, I’ll ask Google:
Dudes, what I knew about being an executor of an estate or how to process a medical aid claim back was dismal. Being an adult doesn’t come with an instruction manual so thank the Seven for Google!
Eating breakfast for supper is ok:
As a kid, I would laugh at my Dad and your Aunt Sam for tucking into a bowl of Kellogg’s at 6pm but I came to appreciate the wonders of a good scrambled egg or waffle at supper time.
Life is short, do shit that scares you:
Like training for and running a 10km race or lasting five minutes in a paint ball game (I am NEVER doing that again!)
I felt broken and strangely well-put together at the same time. I cried at the most inappropriate times, like being surrounded by 13 000 people at a public running event or went for weeks without shedding a tear because I was so busy organising his affairs.
I laughed at his multiple memorials because he would have loved seeing his entire family together for once.
There is no rhyme, reason or quick fix to grief and I had to learn how to be patient with myself until I got to the other side.
Being afraid and insecure are realities of adulthood:
I can’t take money with me when I die, so I spend it:
I splurged on spa days at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel with your Nan and went to several 3D movies with Leo a month.
I did body shots at Beefcakes; applied for loans to go to Mauritius and bought multiple cosplay costumes because I could. Life was for the damn living!
I can let it go:
That grudge I have against the boy who broke my heart; the too tight dress from 2007 I’ll never fit into again and the paperwork of things I sold eons ago – I’ve cleared them out.
The awesome Bennii was a HUGE inspiration to me in this regard. I watched her give away sporting equipment she didn’t need; disperse advice freely or say exactly what she was thinking and it made so much sense to me.
Cleansing yourself emotionally, mentally and physically is important so be like Frozen’s Elsa:
I will not compete for anyone’s time or affection:
Throughout my childhood and early adulthood, people, especially family members would compare me to my siblings or cousins, making me feel like I had to compete for their affection because I wasn’t good enough.
That belief spilled over into my friendships and working relationships. By 30, I realised that this shit had to come to an end and it started with me.
I was f***ing awesome just as I was – I didn’t need to be more like anyone else. Again, if you didn’t love or appreciate me for who I was, f*** you!
I hate SMS texting:
I also hate people who use it. If you are over 18 and writing lyk dis, I will f***ing disown you.
I detest selfie sticks and their users:
Unless you’re Zoolander and Hansel – then let’s do a #selfiestickselfie and can Alexander Skarsgard be in it before I lure him away for a long, LONG stay in my love dungeon?!
I can’t party like a 22-year-old anymore:
Dear gods of Westeros, my liver roared its dissatisfaction at being used as a chemical waste ground the minute I turned 30 and I couldn’t manage more than one glass of bubbly or four watered down cocktails on a night out.
Gone were the days of bar-hopping with Tendai and Leon down Long Street …a damn shame!
I can still shake what Soraya gave me:
Sure, I couldn’t down shots anymore but man, could I still dance like no one was watching!
Clubbing occasionally whilst sober or you know, giving everyone in my local Spar a show by dancing in the aisles still felt really, really good as I got older.
I do not have to pretend to like every theatre show or movie I’ve seen:
Man, I wish I had learnt this earlier so I could get some hours of my life back.
I love babies, children and animals:
It is other adults I have an issue with. Seriously, if people could just keep their unwanted opinions, their filthy habits and oversharing to themselves, that would be great.
I adore food:
I will eat anything and everything and I will not feel guilty about it.
If you are going to be one of those annoying as all hell women who talk about how many calories are in curly fries, I will silence you with a death stare or get up from the table and let you eat your cardboard in peace.
Spending time with my family and friends is more important than anything else:
I don’t care if there is a conference or launch happening that simply everyone has to be at – I am not everyone and the people of my heart come first.
Tag me in shit if you have to and I might retweet, repost or like it but my must-attend moment is where my tribe is.
Equally important is me time:
Even Wonder Woman needs a break from everyone else’s troubles and to find her centre. When I am having me time, I am not doing nothing, I am being me.
Age ain’t nothing but a number:
Aaliyah was right (though she may have been referring to something else!).
Age is a state of mind – at 30, I felt more in tune with my 18-year-old self and rediscovered the values I had as a teenager. When applied to my adult self, those ideals made life really simple for me and I was far happier for it.
So, when the opportunity arose to transform into Hermione Granger for the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child launch party, there was NO way I was going to miss out on it!
Your Spirit Mom Leo, lovely mermaid Emma and I had to complete quite the rigorous process to get our owls and golden tickets to Hogwarts aka Exclusive Books ‘party at the Canal Walk Shopping Centre – I mean, seriously, with the amount of hoops we had to jump through just to score an invitation, I practically had to give one of you up before you were even born…
After two months of emails, registration AND costume planning, The Night finally arrived:
30 July 2016 …
Any fan of the book or movie series will know the feelings that hearing the signature Potter music conjures within you.
Add that to the incredible sense of belonging you feel when you see hundreds, nay THOUSANDS, of fellow Potterheads dressed as Dementors, Dumbledore, Luna Lovegood; Moaning Myrtle and more and you’ll understand when I say that I felt like finally, I’d come home.
Leo, Emma, your aunt Bennii and I were utterly gobsmacked at the realistic and detailed costumes on display. While we rocked the crazy hot Bellatrix, gorgeous Quidditch Seeker, beautiful muggle and sexy student looks; other fans were unbelievable Snitches; Sybill Trelawneys and more:
As I said, the atmosphere was utterly magical because of all of our die-hard Potterhead enthusiasm and seeing everyone in costume BUT I need to stress that the event was no party.
By the mere mention of the word party, we’d been harbouring fantasies about chocolate frogs, a sorting hat ceremony etc …what we got instead was a four hour long queue and preferential game playing cards with very little communication from the Exclusive Books staff about what was happening.
The organisers either desperately needed to hire Leo and I to do their book launch parties for them in future because we’re kickass publicists, magic fanatics AND awesome cosplayers or they should have taken a leaf out of Ster Kinekor and Mnet’s, uh, books (pun TOTALLY intended) who rocked a feast with music and entertainers worthy of a Westeros wedding for the Game of Thrones Season 6 screening.