Mental Health Monday ~ My Mental Health Story

1 my story
Welcome to the first post in the new series called, “Mental Health Monday”. Today I’d like to share my mental health story.

I was diagnosed with depression when I was in Grade 12 and 17 years old. I hadn’t eaten properly in 2 years (my parents had gotten divorced when I was 15), slept way to much, had become withdrawn and had suicidal thoughts, among other symptoms. My father was concerned, and rightly so.

Thankfully our family doctor had known us for many many years and knew something psychological was up. After speaking with me and asking, what I thought, simple questions, I was diagnosed with depression and put on the medication, Fluoxitine. I am still on this medication today, though the dosage has been changed since then.

Just after high school, I moved to a little town in the Free State called Bethlehem, to be closer to my mother and brothers. I had stopped taking my medication after moving out of my father’s home and as a result, I had a major relapse. There I started seeing my first psychologist after I started experiencing panic attacks and she really helped me with some things I had been struggling with.

I had been on and off my medication during the years before The Hubby and I got together, mainly because I didn’t have the finances to buy them. During this time, my life felt like it was out of control and I struggled to pull myself together. Being a single mom having to send my child to live with my mother in a different town didn’t help at all.

My life has changed for the better over the last 11 years since The Hubby and I got together. Life is not perfect, but because I have the support of this amazing man, I can honestly say that I am doing so much better managing the depression and it no longer rules my life as much as it used to.

Don’t get me wrong, its a daily struggle to live with it.

I have to make a conscious effort to remember to take my medication. Missing one day can throw me off for a week and it takes a toll on my family. It really isn’t fair for them if I forget.

I have heard so many times that I “need to get over” or “just deal with” my depression. That my medication is an unnecessary step. I can say, under no uncertain terms, that I simply cannot function when I’m not on my medication. The Hubby can attest to that as well.
If you, or someone you know, suffers from depression, or any other mental health issues, and needs help, please contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group. SADAG is Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group. On this website you will find comprehensive mental health information and resources to help you, a family member or loved one.

Should you wish to share your story, please feel free to contact me by clicking on the green email icon on the top right side of the blog.

Review: Absolutely Awesome South Africa

Absolutely Awesome South Africa
I won this book by Derryn Campbell called “Absolutely Awesome South Africa” in one of the lucky draws at the recent SA Mom Blogs Jozi Meet Ups.

Absolutely Awesome South Africa is an entertaining compilation on South Africa which is packed full of fun, facts and trivia. This completely new coffee table book is packed with completely new content and design on every page and is full of South African humour, history and interesting facts. The vibrant and colourful pages of Absolutely Awesome South Africa captures the heart and the soul of this magnificent country.

The contents if this book covers a variety of subjects like “Having a Laugh”, “Public Holidays”, “Sporting Nation”, “Everyday Living”, “In the Past”, “Wonders of Nature”, “Facts and Figures”, “World Heritage Sites” and “Culture”.

My favourite page in the book is the “Chappies” page. It brought back so many great memories of my childhood and being unhappy when the paper was ripped during the unwrapping.
Absolutely Awesome South Africa
In going through and reading this book, I was startled when I realised how much I didn’t know about my country, my home, my neighbours’ cultures.

Little, simple things that I find fascinating. For instance, Did you know that almost all of South Africa’s major cities have nicknames and that South Africa’s nickname is Mzanzi? I didn’t and here I thought was an informed citizen!?

Did you know that there are various archaeological treasures (other than the Cradle of Humankind) around the country and a rich trade route to the south of ancient Africa? These are things I have heard of, but never really thought about. This book briefly covers so much information on our beautiful country that has peeked my fascination of early history in SA. What an amazing source of inspiration in learning more about the country I love.

There is simply too much amazing information in this book to cover every aspect, so do yourself a favour and seek it out! I can’t wait to go through it with my children and give them a glimps of the ABSOLUTELY AWESOME SOUTH AFRICA we live in!

This entry was posted in Reviews.

SA Mom Blogs #Jozimeetup

The A.W.E.S.O.M.E ladies from SA Mom Blogs, Heather from One Step at a Time and Laura from Harassed Mom fame, hosted a mom bloggers meet up on Saturday.

We had two wonderful speakers, both Mom bloggers, who gave us some very valuable information. Sharon from Blessed Barrenness spoke about blogging ethics and Shan from You, Baby and I gave us some very useful and handy tips on how to utilize Facebook to promote our blogs. I walked away from this day with a ton of information of things I had never considered and I’m grateful that these ladies were willing to share their expertise in these areas with us.

Salomé from Yellow Lab took new headshots of all of those who attended the meet up. I am not photogenic AT ALL and she made me look beautiful. I am on tender hooks waiting for my photo to arrive. How exciting!

Lets NOT forget the goody bags! We received 3, yes THREE, amazing goody bags stuffed full of amazing products. I was floored by the amount of awesome goodies we received.

A HUGE shout out goes out to the following brands for making all these great goodies possible:
Tangled Tree for the wine
Snowflake for the Cupcake Kit and Scone Mix
Jacobs Kronung for the coffee
for the Coconut Water
Oreo for the #letwonderout Oreo Goody Bag (keep an eye out on Monsters Ed for the post regarding all the Oreo Goodness)
Oh Voila for the Leather Jewelry
Little Interiors for the Little Me Sleepy Eyes wall decor
Aramex Global Shopper for the Vouchers
Glamore Cosmetics for the Lipstick and Night Cream (a special thanks to Wenchy for introducing us all to this range of cosmetics)
Dettol for the Hand Wash
Batiste for the Dry Shampoo
Enjoy for the Hand Cream and Shimmer Lotion
Dr Beckmann for the Colour and Dirt Collector
Gumtree for the Stationery
Cherubs for the Nappy Sacks and Wet Wipes
Always On Wifi and Uber for the Vouchers
sa mom blogssa mom blogssa mom blogssa mom blogssa mom blogssa mom blogssa mom blogs

I won this fantastic book by Derryn Campbell called “Absolutely Awesome South Africa” in one of the lucky draws.
sa mom blogs

There were also prizes from Baby Sense, Kelloggs and Bell Jars.

We finished off the day with a quick introduction to the Smile Foundation by their Operations Executive Director, Moira Gerszt.

The Smile Foundation is a South African NGO that assists children with any type of facial abnormality, to receive free corrective Plastic and Reconstructive surgery within South Africa.
We help children who suffer from treatable facial deformities such as Cleft Lip and Palate, burn victims, Moebius syndrome (facial paralysis) and other conditions.

The meet up was held at The Open, in The Main Change building, in the heart of the Moboneng Precinct.



With its beginnings in art, Maboneng has evolved into a collaborative hub of culture, business and lifestyle that entices curiosity, encourages exploration and promotes a sense of urban togetherness. Maboneng is a destination on the eastern side of the city’s business district offering retail stores, entertainment venues and restaurants mixed with residential, office and industrial spaces that appeal to a wide variety of people and businesses.

If you are a South African Mommy Blogger and you are interested in joining us in the future, please register your blog over at South African Mom Blogs. This is a wonderful group of ladies who are there to help each other in any way possible and hold a wealth of blogging knowledge.

sa mom blogs

Much love….

How to keep your kitchen cabinets well cleaned and organized

How to keep your kitchen cabinets well cleaned and organized

Keeping your kitchen cabinets well cleaned and organized is important to know where your cutlery, cookery and other stuff are stored. This way you will spend less time to look for things and won’t get frustrated. Keeping sanitized and systematized cabinetry will make your kitchen look good. If the items tumble out when you open your cabinets, it’s time to rearrange them. Take a look at the ideas presented here to keep your kitchen cabinets functional and hygienic.

© Pixabay

© Pixabay

Before starting to organize your cabinets clean them inside and outside thoroughly. Remove everything you find in them and put plates, glasses, cups and other stuff on the kitchen table. Use soapy water and a cloth to wipe down shelves, cabinet doors and every cranny of your kitchen cabinets. You can use whatever cleaning supplies you have chosen according to the material of your cabinetry. Wipe clean dried splashes, crumbs and dust. Cleaning your cabinets inside and out will protect them from gathering bugs and bacteria.

If you prefer self-made cleaning products use a solution of white vinegar and a little water. To add a scrubbing agent to this cleaning product use baking soda. Be careful when cleaning cabinets that are made of unpainted wood as they can get easily scratched and damaged are advisign you from BestCleanersLondon Earls Court.

Get rid of items which you don’t need. Paper plates, non-functioning appliances and other kitchen stuff which no longer serve you or you never use you can purge without regrets. Some of them you can recycle, undamaged items you can donate or sell. Take the clutter out of your kitchen cabinets and think if there are things you need but don’t have. Purchase such now before starting to tidy your cabinets.

Find suitable linings to cover the cabinets’ floors and keep them protected from odours and getting dirty. There are paper, rubber, vinyl and cork linings of various textures and colours, sold in markets. Some of them have adhesive backings to be kept on place. Measure your cabinets, cut to size the linings you have chosen and put them on your cabinets’ floors to keep them fresh and clean.

Keep the things you use most frequently at easy to access areas and get rid of the items you don’t need and use by donating, giving away, selling or recycling them. Rarely used items store at the back of your kitchen cabinets. Before organizing the kitchenware think of the cabinets as open ones or having glass doors. If everything is visible the interior of this furniture should be tidy, attractive and clean.

If you have a lot of vertical space, use open cabinets without doors or with glass such to display your most beautiful sets of kitchenware. If you prefer open cabinets remove some of the doors and paint the interior of the cabinetry.

©Better Homes & Gardens

©Better Homes & Gardens

Cabinets under the sink can be a challenge for arranging due to having plumbing pipes and pull-out hoses. Use acrylic or wire shelving to store some of your cleaning supplies, towels and sponges there. Put a bin to gather the kitchen garbage. Mount a metal organizer on the internal side of the cabinet’s doors and hooks to attach hangers for grocery bags.

Organize the items you have by type: sets of glasses, plates and cups on one place, spices on the other, cutlery somewhere else, etc. Make your cabinets tidy and easy for orientation. Keep the things you use most often at hand in easily accessible cabinets. Open cabinets are suitable for this purpose. Buy racks, organizers and removable shelves to install in your larger cabinets and optimize your space.

Keeping your kitchen and its cabinets clean and well organized will save you space and time.

Written and submitted by: Kiera Tomlinson from Best Cleaners London Earls Court.


Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentines Day!

A little under 11 years ago, The Hubby and I started dating and have been married for almost 7 years. What an amazing, and sometimes hair raising, roller coaster ride it has been!
In preparation for this post, I realised that The Hubby and I have had very few photographs taken together in recent years. That’s rather sad, considering we have countless photos of the children.
That is going to change as of today! Ok, more realistically, from now on. We will be having photos take together more often.
Hubs and I met in Primary school. His brother and I have known each other since we were 6 years old. I only really started noticing him (secretly) in highschool, when he was in Matric (Grade 12). Little did I know that we’d be together 8 years later!
There have been good and bad, happy and sad times. But we have pulled through, working on our marriage to make it work. Come what may!
Parenting has really brought us together. Putting up a united front in front of our children has been something we have always strived to be. We may not always agree on the same thing, but compromise (something I am NOT very good at doing) has been something we have both had to work towards.
I cannot imagine my life without him. He, and this may sound a little cliché, completes me. Having him in my life has made me work on being a better person and in return, a better parent to our children.
Thank you, Babe, for putting up with my stubbornness and, sometimes downright, irrationality. You are truely one in a million and I’m glad I found you. I love you more than I could ever express.

Reality check!

So on Saturday morning I received an ugly reality check! I saw, actually saw, myself in the mirror for the first time. Rolls, bulges and all. I was devastated and spent the entire time I was blow drying in hair in tears.

I have been working on my image in the last few months and having to lose weight (close to 50 kgs!) has been something I have wanted to work on, but, honestly, it hasn’t been something I’ve put much thought to… until now.

The Hubby and I are now on the Paleo with dairy diet and I’ve been trying really hard to stick to it. I am really struggling to cut out my morning coffee with sugar. Coffee without sugar just doesn’t do it for me and not having coffee in the morning really isn’t an option. But other than my 2 cups of coffee during the day, I have been doing well.

I have taken to walking every day. On Saturday, I started walking around the football field while the kids were at practice. I made it round, at a good pace, 3 times. I was exhausted, but its a start. I have taken to walking around our housing estate every afternoon with Tammy, our Doxy. I’m stiff and sore today, but I’m feeling better than I have in quite some time.

Being told, rather frequently, that I needed to lose weight did nothing but irritate me. Now that I’ve actually noticed what I really look like, I’ve realized how much weight I actually need to drop. I have already lost a few centimeters. My belt, which I bought less than a month ago, is already to big and needs a new hole to hold up my jeans!

It is going to take quite some time to get back to the weight I was before I fell pregnant with Noo 14 years ago, but I’m adamant that I can and will do it. Watch this space!

Much love…

Date night at Madame Zingara

Image (18)
The Hubby got me GOLDEN CIRCLE tickets to Madame Zingara The Queen of Flanders show for Christmas.

In celebration of our fifteeth year of magic, Madame Zingara presents the Celebration, our biggest production yet. Thirty five electrifying artists from around the world unite to push the boundaries of dinner cirque theatre, housed in the world’s largest mirror tent, the magnificent “Queen of Flanders.” This is Madame Zingara like you’ve never seen before!

We had the best time. It was, by far, the best date night we have ever had and one of the high lights of my life. I kid you not.
When we arrived, we were greeted at the door by one of the characters dressed in the top part of a tuxedo, suspenders and fishnet stockings with the highest stilettos I’ve ever seen a man wear. We were served canapes and champaign by shirtless man candy. Ooo lah lah. The Hubby and I strolled around the entrance a little and discovered a store full of fun dress up goodies (some X rated *blush*) and settled on feather boas (which we got for the girls), a hat each (We bought a bolero for Koko) and a fan. MAN was it hot!
Before they let us into the Mirror Tent, we were introduced to our servers for the night. They were all dressed as Penguins to start off with. I was amazing to see during the show that even the servers had costume changes. Four changes in all!
Once we were seated, right in front of the stage, and drinks had been ordered, the show started. It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! The areal acrobatics took my breath away and the singers were fantastic.
They even had me up on stage dancing! ME!!!! I cannot rave enough about the experience. They have the most amazing face painters on site to add a little extra fun to your night. I opted for a “small” eye art.
If there is nothing else you do this month, I highly recommend you go watch this show! The last show is on January 30th at Monte Casino in Johannesburg! Its a MUST SEE!

We were served a 3 course meal during the course of the show. The food was spectacular. We will definitely be going to another show next year, if they come back to Johannesburg! I’m all giddy with excitement just writing about it!

Much love…

Taking charge of the home

A house should not just a building you live in, it should be a home filled with people and things you love. I have allowed our home to become just a house. We are swamped with STUFF, lots and lots of STUFF! *SIGH* Hoarding is a something both the Hubby and I struggle with. I hoard school STUFF and he, well, doesn’t throw anything away.

There’s a saying, “A place for everything and everything in it’s place“. That may be easier said than done, but I’m on a mission to make it so in our home.

Part of organising our home, I have started purging tons and tons of junk that we don’t use, need or are broken and/or damaged. No point in keeping all this stuff if its not being used.

Decluttering pushes my anxiety up to insane levels, so I do it bit by bit. Taking a bag and pile of STUFF a day and going through it. Taking a break every hour, if need be. On good days, I may get through more than 2 bags. The important thing to remember is not to try do it all in one day. It took more time than that to collect the STUFF. Trying to do it all in one go can do more harm than good.

My first port of call is the kidlet’s toys. With Christmas coming up this week, sorting through their toys and donating that which they no longer play with and tossing the toys that are broken and damaged. We usually do this after Christmas to make space for their new toys. It’s important to include your kidlets in this process.

Before the new school year starts, I want to go through all our school books and donate those that we no longer need. Especially the baby books Pixie has outgrown. The books that we will be keeping for when the girls reach that level in school will be stored in airtight storage containers in the garage.

We donate all the toys and books to the local charity, The Grace Factory. The Grace Factory, is a non-profit organisation (NPO 123-700) that aims to support children’s homes by providing them with basic necessities such as clothes, blankets, toiletries, nappies, formula etc.

The Garage also needs to be sorted out, but that I’ll leave to The Hubby and my father-in-law.

I’ll be following storage and organisation tips I have gathered on Pinterest.
Follow Momma Jo’s board Storage and organisation on Pinterest.

I’ll be sharing our progress as we declutter, purge and organise our home. I’m rather nervocited (nervous and excited), as Pinky Pie from My Little Pony says. Watch this space as we start going STUFF free!

Much love….

Scrapbooking for Granny

It has been many many years since I have done physical scrapbooking with paper and all the messiness that goes with it. I think the last time I did actual scrapbooking was just before Koko (now 8) turned a year old!

We spent a week with my Grandmother and got some really great photographs of her with the Kidlets. I give her photographs of the children every year. This year, as part of my “reawakening”, I decided to make her a scrapbook page with all the photographs and have it framed. I have just finished it. Tomorrow I’ll be heading out to find a frame for it to go in.

I have forgotten how much fun scrapbooking can actually be. This took me a little over an hour (excluding the constant interruptions and dinner, LOL).

This is the best photograph I could get of the page, I’ll get a photograph of my Gran with it when we see her in the new year.
I’m planning on doing quite a bit more of this in the future. I find being creative so relaxing and its great for the psyche. I have yet to start scrapbooks for Fifi and Pixie. I have a feeling I’ll be spending quite a bit of time elbow deep in glue, glitter, embelishments, stickers and pretty paper.

Much love….