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A Newsy New Year 2015

January 1, 2015

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And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

written by Minnie Louise Haskins

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2014 came and went in a flurry of excitement and activity for me. After 2 years of being housebound due to a series of oral and jaw surgeries spanning the two years it was amazing to be free and to start living again. And live I did! I have done SO much and experienced so much and been blessed in more ways than I can ever say. Some of my year’s highlights were:

organizing and holding the most successful Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba to date during February 2014 – my lovely business partner Jeanne from Cooksister who was helping with the organizing from London sadly had a very bad fall while skiing in France earlier in February and smashed her femur so I had to take over all the final two weeks admin and organizing and, because she was unable to attend or fulfill her duties as speaker and presenter of two workshops, I had to find some last minute folk to step into the gap. After some serious panicking and sucking on bottles of Rescue Remedy it all eventually came together and was truly a superb day. I am so grateful to my amazing family who stepped up to the plate and threw themselves into assisting me at that stage. It has taken a long while but Jeanne has made a great recovery through 2014 and is currently visiting in Cape Town and I look forward to meeting with her over breakfast next week. A blog post about the Indaba is currently being written and will be posted next week.

2 trips – 4 weeks during March/April and the month of September to spend time with my brother Rey, who suffered a serious stroke during 2013 that has left him paralysed down the right side, and his wife and son on the farm in the Free State. Oh how much I loved the special time of bonding and relaxing, coffee mornings on the stoep with just Rey and I, chatting about so much and hearing nothing but birdsong and the buzzing of insects, watching magnificent sunsets from the verandah, cooking and baking in the big farmhouse kitchen. And walking in the sun while everyone was freezing back home. Those lazy afternoon naps just don’t seem to happen here at home.

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Then in May I won fabulous tickets to the DSTV Delicious Festival in Johannesburg as well as airline tickets and accommodation for the weekend for Donald and I. Along with that prize came a beautiful solar jar which has come in very handy throughout the load shedding periods and a bottle of Moet & Chandon, which we finally cracked open this evening to say a delicious farewell to the old year.

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In October I won another competition – yes I do enter lots of them and yes I do win….quite often! This was a once in a lifetime trip on the magnificent The Blue Train – SA’s Blue Jewel – the most luxurious train in the world, courtesy of First Choice Custard, who currently have another awesome competition running so buy their custard and enter! A trip on the Blue Train has been a bucket list item for Donald and one we certainly could never have attained at the price of around R14,000 per person per night. The trip included flights up to ORT in Johannesburg, a very comfortable chauffered drive to the Sheraton Pretoria Hotel where we spent the night in an executive suite with a bed so high my feet were at least a foot off the ground and I had to shout for Don to hear me on the other side of it 🙂 Our view was magnificent – the Union Buildings with a giant Madiba, arms raised benevolently, watching over us!  We were treated like royalty for the duration of the trip and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A blog post about the trip will follow soon.

luxury-suites-6Photo of a luxury suite borrowed from the Blue Train website 

During the year I also reinvented myself – I lost almost 30kg of myself and 100cms of me has disappeared into the ether. I was approached to be interviewed, made up and photographed for Good Housekeeping SA magazine’s January edition, along with 6 other fabulous ladies who have all lost large amounts of weight. That was loads of fun although I was nervous as anything. I have discovered that beauty and fashion editors are the most enchanting people around. They make you feel so comfortable and relaxed that even the photo shoot is a breeze. The magazine is on shelves now if anyone is interested in reading my story. I will continue in 2015 to complete the reinvention and then get onto a maintenance program. My health has improved drastically through the year and I am in my doctors bad books because I don’t visit him often enough and his tyres are starting to get threadbare ~ an old joke between us….he always said when we met up somewhere it was time for a visit as he needed new tyres 🙂 I still have a way to go but I will share more about my weightloss journey in another blog post but you can also follow it and catch up too on my instagram account

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So that was 11 fabulous months! And yes there are 12 months in the year and the last one has not been a good one for me. Ironically losing all the weight and getting actively walking has done my knees no favours. I come from a family who suffer with very bad knees and osteoarthritis and because I was large I didn’t exercise much so my knees just coped. I was told 17 years ago after undergoing knee surgery that I would need knee replacements but at 44 years I was too young so I just plodded along waiting. Now that I am walking such distances so often we discovered that there is no cartilage in the joints anymore and the bone is grating on bone and the pain is excruciating so, after one failed miserable trip to the mall that lasted about 10 minutes before I told Don I couldn’t anymore, I have not been able to do any Christmas shopping or prep or visiting much this year. Some lovely highlights during this down month has been Christmas lunch with the bookclub girls at the delightful Casa Labia Cafe in Muizenberg (I was taken up in the service lift as I couldn’t walk up the stairs but those girls were determined I was not going to miss it!),

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a visit with my lovely friend and fellow (ex) blogger Thea and her family while they were down from KZN for a visit, and a day spent with my sisters and a surprise guest, my niece and my tiny great nephew Reuben who we met and fell in love with for the first time. Other than that I have barely been able to hobble to the kitchen. I am seeing a knee specialist on 15 January but the prognosis is most probably knee replacements in my near future. I say bring them on so I can REALLY enjoy this new lease on life.

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We ended the year on a high tonight by doing our traditional picnic with a breathtaking view at the top of Chapman’s Peak while watching the sun setting on 2014. I am totally convinced that we live in the most beautiful place on earth 🙂

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HAPPY NEW YEAR to all reading this. May 2015 be a year filled with God’s richest blessings, joy, great health and much happiness.

browniegirl xx

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2015 12:54 PM

    Lovely post… you should add another bow and become a writer in 2015

    • Colleen permalink*
      January 2, 2015 3:02 PM

      HAHA! Thank you so much Gill 🙂 Happy New Year xx

  2. January 1, 2015 4:50 PM

    Colleen, congratulations on your “reinvention”! And it’s probably a good thing you held off on the knee replacements until now. They’ve made such strides with the surgery in that time. Our neighbor had the surgery and was out walking (slowly) right away. It was amazing.

    • Colleen permalink*
      January 2, 2015 3:04 PM

      Thank you so much for popping by and commenting Jean. Yes, I do agree and am happy that the medical field has made such strides in the interim. Hopefully I will be making strides myself soon 😉 May your 2015 be awesome x

  3. January 1, 2015 9:32 PM

    Happy new year to you too Colleen. I loved reading about your 2014 and I hope 2015 holds many more highlights for you. I love your positive attitude, so hopefully your new knees arrive sooner rather than later.

    • Colleen permalink*
      January 2, 2015 3:05 PM

      Thank you so much Nicola 🙂 If 2015 can top 2014 I will be blessed indeed. Am looking forward to new knees and happy walking 😉 Wishing you an amazing 2015 xx

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