Tag Archives: inspiration

Life is not a straight line


Pied crows 40_cr

I really don’t seem to get the concept of a 101 things in 1001 days list, do I?!

All I know is that these lists are supposed to inspire you to achieve personal goals… but what if your life has changed so much since the time you first penned those goals that many of them are now rendered useless – depressing, even?

By way of an extreme example, let’s say you had a list full of goals relating to physical activity, and then all of a sudden you’re crippled in an accident. Now what? You can no longer have goals like ‘Climb Mount Kilimanjaro’ on your list… they would just be an annoying reminder that you’re not who you were. The only sensible thing to do would be to make a fresh start with new goals for your new life.

Well, in a much more mundane way, that’s where I’m at right now. When I started this list I was a housewife with plenty of freedom to dream big. When I later updated the list it was because I’d moved back into the working world and had to adapt to that busy schedule. And now I’m itching to change the list again, because building a new home and having an ongoing career have reshaped my life once again.

Building a home costs me money, and working outside the home costs me time. Together, these factors limit what I can reasonably do for fun.

For instance, I love travelling. But keeping travel goals on my list for the next two years, when I know that there’s absolutely no budget for travelling, is just getting me down. As I see it, there will be no long holidays or trips over the next few years, because of finances.

Another reason I’m ready to rework my list is that I’ve recently realised how many of the goals are there for silly nostalgic reasons. Some of these goals I’ve already achieved once or twice before in my life, but they’re on my list because – until very recently – I’d been hankering back to my past as if I could recreate it in some way.

It’s only in the last month or so that I’ve finally come to realise that yes, my past was pretty cool, but my future could be even more amazing if I’d just face forward and dream again. Sure, some things are great fun and worth repeating… but maybe not if there’s something new to try instead.

I’ve also learnt a lot about the ‘101 things in 1001 days’ list since I first began. I’ve realised that it would be much more realistic if I had two lists: a ‘101 things’ list and a ‘someday’ list. The someday list could record many of the places I’d love to travel to and adventures I’d like to have, but which seem too large, expensive or impractical at this particular time in my life. They’d still keep me motivated, but without the pressure of a deadline. Then the 101 things list could be for the more achievable short- to medium-term goals, which rightly deserve a deadline.

My mom always used to say, ‘What’s a mind if you can’t change it?’, which drove me batty as a kid because I was usually the exact opposite: sticking boringly, tenaciously, stupidly to one thing until I’d completed it – even if the task had long since lost its usefulness.

Well, now it’s my turn to draw on my mom’s idiom and change my mind about some of my goals. So in the next post I’ll take a look at some of the goals that I think definitely need to go…

A Liebster award!


I was kindly nominated for a Liebster award by Busy Darling – an ADHD blogger (that’s meant as a compliment, btw!) who shares my love for rats 🙂 Hint: Go check out her style blog too 🙂


From what I gather, this award is to celebrate those bloggers who are inspirational and/or ‘up and coming’. Plus, there’s a list of questions to answer and ask in return.

So here are my answers to Busy Darling’s questions:

1) What is your earliest memory? – Running to my dad, crying, because I had a thorn (an especially nasty one called a ‘dubbeltjie’ in Afrikaans) stuck in my foot. I must have been about 2 years old, but I can remember the sunlight on that day and the hope that my dad would fix me… which he did 🙂

2) Describe your natural environment. – A very green leafy suburb in Jozi.

3) What is your pet peeve? – Uh, I hate to admit it, but I actually have quite a few ;-P Fake people. Small talk. Crass jokes. Blasphemy and swearing. Et cetera 🙂

4) What is your favourite colour? – How can I choose?! I LOVE colours 😀 It’s probably easier to list the colours I don’t like: ochre, olive green, drab browns and reds. Other than that I love all bright, cheerful and preferably neon colours!

5) What is your maybe-one-day dream car? – If it ever worked out, I would love to drive a restored version of the OLD Fiat 500 (not that new overpriced modern one).

6) And your keep-on-dreaming dream car? – Without a doubt, the Audi R8. In lime green and black. Ahhhh yeahhhh!

7) Name 3 items of clothing that define your style. – I used to have an awesome style all my own but I guess I kinda lost that somewhere on the way… But 3 items that have stayed with me since those days are my funky hat covered in badges, my bright orange beanie and my collection of random jewellery.

8) Do you have any scars on your body? – Yes I do… and my ratties keep adding more (especially during their bathtime when they’re desperately trying to escape the water)!

9) What inspired you lately? – The discovery of customising your own Moleskine diary/planner. Where have you been all my life?!

10) What was your last awkward moment? – Now that I think about it, it’s actually been a while. Great stuff for someone who only opens her mouth to change feet…

11) What was the last thing that made you smile? – The funny way rats groom so fastidiously. It’s as though they try to pull their ears into their mouths to wash them! It results in some funny expressions, as Vodka and Mishka model for us below:

Ear wash

Ear wash 2

Here are my nominations:

1. http://setapartemiratesgirl.wordpress.com/

2. http://clownyfish.wordpress.com/

3. http://nomineuk.wordpress.com/

4. http://ablumeswithaview.wordpress.com/

5. http://theverybesttop10.com/

6. http://askepticaldesigners.wordpress.com/

7. http://thekatsrats.wordpress.com/

8. http://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/

9. http://valleysandhieghts.wordpress.com/

10. http://godinfitness.wordpress.com/

11. http://sinaithegreat.wordpress.com/

And here are my questions:

1. What’s your main reason for blogging?

2. Three favourite flavours?

3. What’s the funkiest thing you’ve ever done with your hair?

4. Where was the last holiday you took?

5. Favourite pet?

6. What do you enjoy most about Christmas?

7. Who’s your role model and why?

8. One dream you think you’ll never realise?

9. Do you use a diary or daily planner?

10. What are your three most cherished possessions?

11. When last did you do a random act of kindness?

Thanks once again Busy Darling! :mrgreen:

Cheddar: how to stay young


Have I discovered that cheddar cheese is the secret elixir of eternal youth? Alas, no (how I wish!).

But receiving Cheddar the Rat as a gift from my wonderful husband did make me think about what keeps us young at heart…

Here’s Cheddar:

Rat soft toy

Rat soft toy

Cheddar is a soft toy character from the ‘My Blue Nose Friends‘ series, related to the ubiquitous ‘Tatty Teddy’ or ‘Me to You’ brand. Cheddar is supposedly a female field mouse, but if you ask me it’s a male ratty 😉 (The Blue Nose series does include a ratty, Scraps, but his buck teeth bother me somewhat… I think my blue mousie is way cuter!)

Anyway, so what does this plush toy have to do with defying old age and staying youthful?

Well, it struck me as pretty cool that at my age, Ninja could get me a gift such as this, knowing I’d be happier with that than with something fancy or ‘grown-up’.

Sure there’s a time to be mature and behave properly. There’s a place for serious occasions and adult gifts. But I’d rather be fun than fancy, and in my opinion playfulness is a big factor in keeping people young.

Besides, I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Have you heard of Stephen Jepson? He’s an old man on a mission to stay young, and his key to success is creative play. If you have a moment (and even if you don’t), take a look at his website: Never Leave the Playground. How’s that for a healthy dose of inspiration?

So I may be well on my way to 30 and have plenty of real-world responsibilities to face each day, but most of the time I’m still just a happy little kid clutching my stuffed toy ratty and bouncing around with glee. Which is what I did – right there in the mall – when Ninja bought Cheddar for me 🙂

How can you add some play to your day too?


Happy birthday Sunshine Scrapbook!


WordPress has just reminded me that it’s been a year since I first signed up with them to begin creating my blog. I can hardly believe it’s flown by so quickly (but don’t we say that kind of thing every year?) 🙂

It all started with a tentative first post but soon kicked off properly with a post about – of all things! – cayenne pepper. After muddling around a bit with my doomed-from-the-start Fascinating Womanhood experiment, I branched out into a variety topics ranging from ratties to baking to setting goals. Along the way I’ve learnt a lot about myself. I’ve discovered some very special fellow bloggers and their writings. I received a few blog rewards, which was an honour, and I gained a few more followers over time.

Thank you!


But a lot has also changed in my life over the year that’s passed. When I first began, I had just recently quit my job to become a freelancer and housewife. I had so much free time to spend creatively, and I had a good idea of why I wanted to blog here. A year later and I’m back in the routine of an office job, which, although a blessing in its own right, leaves me with precious little time and energy for so many of the things I’d like to do.

I’ve realised that this blog is going to have to grow and change with me. I’ve been letting it lie fallow for a while (which by all accounts is blogocidal!) in order to think about my goals for this space. You may have noticed I’ve been posting infrequently, and I thank you for your patience. Just know that it’s with good reason. I want the Sunshine Scrapbook to be something more than a happy, messy jumble of rats, recipes and randoms 😉

Here’s to a new year filled with fresh perspective, fun ideas and new friends!


83 things in 751 days


1.         Keep a photographic record of this list

2.         Update my blog at least once a week

3.         Read the Bible through in one year

4.         Knit something colourful

5.         Get to my goal weight and maintain

6.         Finish a scrapbook

7.         Volunteer at or donate to an animal shelter

8.         Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years

9.         Go on 3 hikes

10.       Go on 3 motorcycle rides (1: 21.03.13)

11.       Grow my hair to my waist

12.       Dye my hair black

13.       Get a belly button piercing

14.       Work through the Love Dare again

15.       Get a pretty girly camera bag

16.       Paint every nail a different colour and leave them be for a week (09.12.12)

17.       Paint 5 artworks on canvas

18.       Assemble a disaster/emergency kit

19.       Go horseback riding on the beach

20.       Visit a cave

21.       Go for a walk in a forest

22.       Bake 5 different cakes (1: chocolate cake 03.04.13; 2: custard cake 21.04.13; 3: lime, sour cream & coconut cake 09.08.13)

23.       Make a list of 100 things that I am grateful for

24.       Read all the Twilight books (11.03.13)

25.       Design room themes/colour schemes for my future home

26.       Participate in a 5km run/walk

27.       Complete a 1000+ piece puzzle

28.       Go on a road trip

29.       Go on a rollercoaster

30.       Visit a planetarium

31.       Go camping

32.       Go to a concert

33.       Find a personally inspirational quote and work it into a piece of art or home decor

34.       Read 101 books and keep a list of them (16 so far…)

35.       Host a dinner party (16.02.13)

36.       Go vegetarian for a month

37.       Make a custom recipe book

38.       Visit 5 different museums and/or monuments

39.       Have a sleepover party

40.       Go for a bicycle ride

41.       Take 101 different photos of my new pet rats

42.       Eat 5 things I’ve never tried before (1: soya milk, 2: cake pops, 3: curry pizza, 4: shrimp, 5: coconut flour)

43.       Give someone a handmade gift (25.12.12)

44.       Grow a plant from a seed

45.       Invite 20 different friends/couples over for a visit (6 so far…)

46.       Cook 5 new veggies (1: Swiss chard, 2: patty pans, 3: purple carrots, 4: brinjals, 5: pak choi)

47.       Do a punk photoshoot

48.       Try 5 new cocktails (1: mojito, 01.05.13)

49.       Decorate for a holiday

50.       Write a letter to my favourite author

51.       Spend a day without technology

52.       Make a 7-course dinner (13.12.12)

53.       Get some rat-themed merchandise

54.       Apply henna 5 different times (1 = 01.02.13 ninja kanji)

55.       Get 10 more hat badges

56.       Surprise my mom with flowers

57.       Go to Sun City

58.       Buy myself a bottle of expensive perfume (13.12.12)

59.       Stay up for new year countdown with friends (31.12.12)

60.       Go on holiday with friends

61.       Navigate a maze

62.       Use up a sheet of temporary tattoos

63.       Write a list of 101 things I’ve already achieved in this lifetime

64.       Send in a photograph to a contest

65.       Leave an inspirational note inside a book for someone to find

66.       Take part in a colour run

67.       Visit Namaqualand in flower season

68.       List all family and friends’ birthdays and anniversaries

69.       Get more pet rats (Four new boys due 31.08.13)

70.       Eat at 5 new restaurants (1: Catalino’s, 2: Gingko)

71.       Holiday in the Drakensberg

72.       Do a 30×30 Challenge (30 minutes of physical activity for 30 days)

73.       Get a zoom lens for my camera

74.       Go on a boat ride

75.       Take photos of 101 different birds (90 so far…)

76.       Go to Gold Reef City

77.       Make a playlist of 101 of my favourite songs (07.04.13)

78.       Celebrate 5 obscure holidays (1: World Sparrow Day, 2: World Rat Day)

79.       Make a time capsule

80.       Visit Knysna wolf sanctuary

81.       Visit bird of prey centre

82.       Take the tourist bus around Cape Town

83.       Go on holiday by bus

84.       Learn to touch type

85.       Revisit our wedding venue

86.       Publish my best poems

87.       Spend a night in a fancy hotel

88.       Go to a Lipizzaner show (24.02.13)

89.       Go to a movie by myself (29.04.13)

90.       Watch 26 movies I’ve never seen starting with each letter of the alphabet (13 so far…)

91.       Kiss someone at midnight on New Year’s (Ninja, of course: 31.12.12)

92.       Read Pilgrim’s Progress in the old English

93.       Go on a picnic (17.12.12)

94.       Have professional photos taken (27.04.13)

95.       Revamp my lingerie collection

96.       Enjoy another spa day with my best friend

97.       Photograph 10 old buildings in South Africa

98.       Play the lotto with numbers from a fortune cookie

99.       Put away R5 for each completed task – the total to be spent shopping at the end of my 1001 days

100.     Write 5 letters to 5 people who changed my life (1 so far…)

101.     Brainstorm an overseas trip

Shifting the goalposts (again)



I’ve done it again. I’ve decided to update and tweak some of the goals on my 101 things in 1001 days list.

Now before you sigh, just hang on a minute…! 🙂

What’s the point of making goals when you’re in a certain season of life, and then being too rigid to adapt them when your circumstances change?

When I started the list late last year, I was a new housewife with all the time in the world and no real plans to head back to full-time employment. So many of the goals I chose were things I could easily achieve in those circumstances.

But life changed, as it always does, so I updated my list in the hopes of making it more realistic. And now life has changed again, and I feel it’s time for a fresh take on things once again.

At this stage of our lives it looks like I’ll have to keep working outside the home for the foreseeable future. So if this 101 things list is going to be of any use at all, it has to fit in with my ‘new normal’. I really don’t see the point in having a list of goals that just depress me because I doubt I’ll ever get to them this side of retirement…

So without further justification, here are the specific goals I’ve reworked (along with reasons for the changes, as though I owe you any!) 😉 I’ll post my complete new list separately.

Goals that are changing

Goal #4: Exercise at least 30 min/day, 3 days/week, 3 weeks/month – This is the first goal to change. Why are we not surprised? I had a wonderful time exercising daily when I was at home, but my new schedule allows for much less routine. Although I’m still aiming to get in a decent amount of exercise, I’ve removed it from this particular list. The replacement goal is: Knit something colourful :mrgreen:

Goal #7: Volunteer at an animal shelter – I’ve tweaked this one to Volunteer at or donate to an animal shelter, since I may not have much time to volunteer, but if I can help by donating then I will look for ways to do that instead.

Goal #10: Go on 10 motorcycle rides – I’ve reduced this down to 3 rides, because Ninja’s bike is getting a little long in the tooth, so we’re trying to preserve it and stretch out the time between services and such. A pity, but that’s life eh? At least one of these three is already done 🙂

Goal #14: Read one passage per week from my German Bible – It’s difficult enough keeping up with my daily readings in my English Bible (for Goal #3), so sadly this one will have to go. I’ve replaced it with: Work through the Love Dare again. For those of you who don’t know, the Love Dare is a book for strengthening marriages, linked to the lovely movie Fireproof.

Goal #15: Make an origami animal – Of all the brainless goals, I wonder how this one made the list! Instead, here’s something I really want to to: Get a pretty girly camera bag. I can’t very well pitch up at special events in heels and a backpack!

Goal #17: Paint 10 artworks on canvas – Ten is a hefty number for someone with my new time constraints. I’ve changed this to Paint 5 artworks on canvas. In fact, I recently finished one (a gift for my parents), which I hope to post about soon.

Goal #25: Work through my entire ‘Teach yourself Hindi’ textbook – It’s a realy shame that my language goals are some of the first to fall away (I recall my brother, also an avid language learner, warning me about this when I first added language goals to my list…). Instead of this goal, I’ve added: Design room themes/colour schemes for my future home.

Goal #38: Visit 10 different museums and/or monuments – Can we make this 5? Please? At the current pace of our lives, Ninja and I are unlikely to fit in even that many visits before September 2015 (when this list ends).

Goal #41: Take photos of the same item in 101 different locations – Oh, this one never got off the ground! I started it and then it just faded out of the way… But because photography is still an overall goal of mine, I’ve replaced it with a similar but much-more-likely-to-be-achieved goal: Take 101 different photos of my new pet rats!

Goal #47: Get my passport – To go where, exactly? I don’t anticpate that we’ll have the means to travel outside our country at any point in the remaining 751 days of this challenge, so this goal is just wasting space on my list 😦 Instead, the new Goal #47 is: Do a punk photoshoot, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, preferably with my bro 🙂

Goal #53: Photograph a landscape from the same location, capturing all four seasons – I was reluctant to change this one because it’s still something I’d really like to do, but I don’t have much regular access to inspiring and seasonally changing landscapes at this point in time, so I know my pics would just disappoint me coz they’d fall short of the images in my mind. Maybe one day if we have our own garden, Lord willing… For now though, this has become: Get some rat-themed merchandise. You know. As in, ‘been there, done that, got the rat, got the T-shirt’? 😀

Goal #55: Go skinny dipping – Considering the fact that I can’t even recall the last time I had access to a pool or swam at all, I don’t even know why this is still on my list! Of course I can always still do this, but you’d be the last to know… 😉 So, the fun and sensible replacement for this one is: Get 10 more hat badges. Remember my cool hat from this post? It still has plenty free space on it.

Goal #66: Send a message in a bottle – Again, the impracticality of this goal is just overwhelming all of a sudden. I’d have to (a) get to the sea and (b) get far enough out to sea to drop the bottle and avoid it just washing straight back to the sand at my feet. Plus, um… isn’t it kinda like deliberate water pollution? Far be it from me! Instead, I aim to Take part in a colour run. Perfect. I’ll go for air pollution instead.

Goal #72: Clear out all my junk – Now what on earth is a mundane goal like you doing on a fancy list like this?! In its place, how about I Do a 30×30 Challenge (30 minutes of physical activity for 30 days)? At least, it looks achievable on paper.

Goal #73: Find the perfect fitting pair of jeans – There isn’t just one; there are many. There’s the slinky new pair I buy each time I drop a dress size (OK, that’s only happened once in the last two years); there’s the comfy old pair that I can wear around the house; and there’s the stretchy accommodating pair for when PMS or overindulgence have added some nasty bulk. So to take the focus off me, I’ll replace that goal with this one: Get a zoom lens for my camera.

Goal #85: Make my own outfit – Who?! What?! When?! Where?! Why?! How?! Instead, I hope Ninja and I can Revisit our wedding venue. Awwww 🙂

Goal #86: Finish writing my book – Once upon a time, in a life far away, I dreamt of writing a marriage book to help Christian newlyweds. But the warp speed of life since then has seen almost all my friends married long before I finished half the chapters. I think it’s time to bury this goal for good. Yet I’ve always wanted to publish something I’ve written, so I think I’ll try to Publish my best poems instead.

Goal #96: Learn the basics of self-defence – Meh. Not going to happen any time soon, and it’s not particularly measurable or motivating either. Instead, I’d like to Enjoy another spa day with my best friend.

And finally, Goal #101: Start planning an overseas trip – This just seems too far away now to even be on this list. Ninja and I do hope to have the privilege of travelling overseas together one day, but the more practical goal of getting a home of our own ranks higher on the list. But since this goal list is also meant to inspire, I’ll just tweak this one to: Brainstorm an overseas trip.

Now I’m freshly motivated to reach for 101 goals that I stand a chance of achieving 🙂