Friday, 28 October 2016

Religious Life(style): Don't over-commercialise Diwali

Let me just start off by saying happy Diwali to all its followers! May this be the most memorable one yet for you, no matter how you choose to celebrate it.                                                                         

As we all know, Diwali is a season for commemorating the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. It is a magical time filled with the most amazing celebrations and festivities. A time for cleaning out the old and bringing in the new. A time for being thankful and for giving.                                                                       

However, in the last few years the tradition of gift giving has turned into a majorly commercialised event, with people spending a fortune on gifts whilst losing sight along the way of the true meaning of the custom.

It is true that "new" is a big feature of Diwali practices, rituals and traditions, but expense need not be. In fact too many holy days have turned into huge spending sprees, making those who fall into these expenditure traps, lose more than just money along the way. 

Why not break away from the practices of the masses and make this Diwali one which exhibits the true meanings behind this, the most sacred of Hindu holidays? It is easier than you think as all you really need to do is control how much you spend, and put some thought into gift giving, by giving gifts to those dear to you of a more personal and significant nature. 

For instance you could rather give your sister a nice box filled with childhood memories (items from both your childhood days), than a new cell/mobile phone. It is true that the cell/mobile phone would make a great gift, but it will not make a memory. All it will make is a hole in your pocket/wallet and someone else happy for a split second in time. Think creatively and meaningfully when planning the gifts you are going to give, instead of just running out to the shops and spending obscene amounts of money. 

How about the new clothes you are going to buy? The idea of expensive, lavish outfits sounds amazing, but wouldn't buying beautiful material and having your grandmother make you something beautiful and new hold more meaning for you in the end? 

Meaning is the keyword to focus on during the time of Diwali, so remember to light your diyas in celebration and be filled with the spirit of the season. Just be careful of setting your wallet alight in the process.  


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Monday, 24 October 2016

Love Life: Don't go chasing love, let love find you!

In a previous post namely; "Mental Health: Do you feel unsatisfied with your life?", I mentioned how we all deserve to have fantastic (romantic) relationships. This made me think about a mistake that so many people make in their love lives. People go "running after love".

Everyone has a perfect match somewhere out there, unfortunately the tricky part tends to be finding them. Just don't go out "looking for love" though. In my opinion this is one of the worst things you can do (and one of the main reasons for sky high worldwide divorce rates). 

I am very fortunate and blessed when it comes to love, but there is one simple reason for this. I never went chasing after love. I simply let love find me. 

When we are lonely, we tend to make hasty decisions regarding love and if you go out looking for love just because you cannot take being alone any more, you are bound to land up with the wrong person. Yes it might be true that in some cases, people have managed to find their soul mates in this way, however, this is very rare. The chances of landing up with someone you are likely to call your ex one day is much, much more likely when you go about things in this manner.

You see the trick to finding your soul mate is firstly getting to know the person, before you can start falling in love with them, or before you can really say you are in love. Ask yourself, how can you honestly say you love someone if you don't really know anything about them yet? There is no such thing as true love at first sight. Love is something that needs to be built up (and continuously built onto).

When we are lonely or on the rebound, anyone is bound to look good in our eyes because in our subconscious we are so desperate, we are telling ourselves how amazing they are or how perfect they seem for us. This is the danger we face when we go out looking for love or romantic relationships. We jump and rush in. 

Don't rush into things! True love takes time! Remember, there is a huge difference between real love, lust, attraction and temporary passion. Don't be blindsided! Just look at the relationships of celebrities and then compare those to the relationship your grandpa and grandma had or even the relationship your parents have (if they are still married to each other). Trust me, you will notice the huge difference. 

"But I am lonely", some might say. This is no excuse. If you are really that lonely, spend time with family, friends, or take up a new hobby. Just don't go out trying to find love. Love will find you when the time is right.

But just how do we then allow love to find us? It is simple. Go out, visit with your family and friends, take on new hobbies, just live your life and don't be an indoors house hermit. You are bound to meet new people this way and get to know others you might have already met better, and who knows, just one of them might land up being THE ONE (once you have taken the time to get to know them better and love blossoms naturally of course). Socialise as much as possible! Interaction with others is the key here to make this all work. 

Bear in mind though, that when I say Interaction, I mean real, physical interaction and not conversing on social media. This is looking for trouble because no one is their "real selves" on these platforms. The only way to honestly and truly get to know someone on a deeper level is by mixing with them in person, and not through typing to each other. 

Go on, get mingling and remember that life is short so do things the right way and spare yourself unnecessary heartache and hassles.


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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Mental Health: Do you feel unsatisfied with your life? Then this one minute read is for you

Many of us don't feel content in our current lives. Most people often think to themselves, "this is not the life I pictured I would have one day when I was a child. Where did it all go wrong? Will I ever find happiness and true contentment in this lifetime?"

My simple answer to you is yes, you will! We all have the power to lift ourselves up into the existence we so desire. I promise you this is possible and I should know because I am doing just that!

Dream big, fantasize, and try different things. This is my advice to you. We are all so unique and therefore only we, ourselves, can figure out what is right for us in life. There is no "one size fits all" solution. However, we can give each other ideas of things worth trying and/or advice in the form of a recall of our own personal experiences and achievements, and who knows, you might just land up finding your "true self" in this way (or help someone else find theirs). So read more interesting articles and socialise more with people you find fascinating!

We can learn so much about ourselves from others. How? Through the ideas they can create in our own minds about things. For instance, I would never have known I am passionate about photography, if it wasn't for the interest to try it out, sparked in my mind by the experiences of others. I would never have known I like live classical music (instrumental) performances/concerts, if I didn't decide to follow the advice of a friend and attend such an event. Remember to also share your life experiences with others!

We all deserve to have a life we love -To have interesting hobbies, a career we are passionate about, fantastic romantic relationships and a strong bond with friends and family and it is only we, ourselves that are standing in our own way. We create barriers in our lives by NOT believing we can achieve and by not being willing to try new things and embrace the change that comes with these! We also tend to live our lives in such a fast paced way that we forget to make time for others. This is a major no, no! Your nearest and dearest are very important, so make yourself, make the time to visit with them. 

As mentioned above, don't be afraid to try new things, because what do you have to lose in doing this? Just don't follow others blindly and attempt to do stupid things just because they recommended it (a good example of this would be me, attempting to make my life easier by cleaning a shower with a combination of vinegar and bleach one afternoon, because I read on-line that this is the simplest and easiest way to achieve fast, amazingly clean results, however what the blog failed to mention was the fact that this combination creates a lethal chlorine gas which, in effect, almost killed me). Do your research!

Happiness is almost within your reach so what are you waiting for? Start building your ladder so you can grab it!

Here's to the great journey ahead and here's hoping you find yourself along the way!

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Friday, 21 October 2016

Financial Life(style) - How to live a cheaper existence and ease your stress and burdens

In this day and age it's getting harder and harder to get by and make ends meet (especially in countries like South Africa, China and India, where the currency is so much weaker). In fact most people I know of have admitted to having to go into debt every month just to buy food and other groceries! It truly is shocking how much the Global Economy in general, has gone downhill in the last 20 years or so. Money seems to have no value anymore. 

Because of the above-mentioned, I have decided to share some tips with all of you on how to live a bit cheaper and in the process, ease some of your stress and burdens (hence making you happier and a little more content again). People in other countries outside of South Africa, India and China, can also benefit from reading this, since in this day and age, we can all use some money saving tips and advice.

Tip number one - work on a budget 

Start budgeting your grocery bill (by making a weekly list and sticking to it). This is actually a lot easier than it seems and I have been doing it for years. When you make your list, put your maximum amount to spend on each item, next to that item. This way you can total up your total maximum spend, and not have any nasty surprises at the till/checkout.

Tip number two - purchase a cheaper car 

We all need vehicles to get us from A to B but what we don't need are vehicles costing a small fortune. Why put yourself through obscene payments in a month for something that decreases in value? Rather purchase second hand than purchasing new. Something I find totally ridiculous though, is the fact that the used car market has even become outrageously overpriced. I was laughing the other day when I saw a vehicle, that used to sell brand new, for 40 000 South African Rand (an Opel Utility Vehicle), in the market by a car dealership for 60 000 South African Rand. Can you imagine?! In South Africa you will pay more for a used car now then when it was new! I am fortunate enough to have access to motor vehicle values booklets and was shocked to see how many used car dealers advertise their vehicles for way over book value. So do your homework first by finding out the real values before searching for a more reasonably priced car, to avoid being done in.

Tip number three - not only cheaper, but also smaller (car)

Remember, the smaller the vehicle the less the petrol/fuel, which means less expense in a month. Some households can save thousands this way. Don't believe me? Well compare cars (and their average fuel consumption) and do the math for yourself.

Tip number four - live in a cheaper house/home

It is true our homes are our castles, but why pay the price for a castle if you are not a king? Property has become obscenely expensive in South Africa the last few years. Some might say it's due to the weak rand, however I have been doing a little research recently and this led me to discover something very interesting. Some homeowners and Estate Agents are the ones causing the unrealistic rises, by advertising properties at drastically bloated prices (in order to pocket more money in sales and commissions). Again, do your homework by finding out what the real market values are, before purchasing a home. 

As for those who are renting their home, my advice would be to try and find a house/flat of equal standards, or maybe even a little smaller than what you have now, for a price more affordable than what you are currently paying. 

Remember, the key here is to be realistic and to not live above your means. 

Tip number five - cheaper insurance

Insurance is yet another expensive commodity we cannot dare live without. Just be sure you are getting yours (car and household insurance) for the absolute lowest premiums possible. Beware of brokers though as they will take a cut (making your insurance a bit higher). Rather compare different insurances online for yourself.

Tip number six - cut back on the booze

Boozing it up might be fun but it doesn't come cheap (health and money wise). Many people (especially in South Africa) don't realise how much money they drink away each month. I do realise drinking is a stress release but honestly, if I have managed to find cheaper and healthier stress relieving pastimes, so can you.

Tip number 7 - take holidays closer to home

Surely you can skip that sea/beach holiday once in a while and take a break someplace closer to home. You might even land up having more fun (since you will be exposed to new and different types of experiences). If you simply can't stand the thought of not going to the Ocean, why not do it out of high season then?

Tip number 8 - make use of Groupons and other coupons

I am relatively new to the whole Groupon concept myself, but what it basically is, are various coupons for various things (such as restaurant meals) which you buy online to get the said item for a much cheaper price. Other coupons for a discount on items such as milk can be found in magazines, pamphlets and newspapers. Don't be embarrassed to make use of these, since in this day and age any savings you can make are worth it. 

Tip number 9 - try to use less electricity

 Set your geyser/water heater lower, use energy saver bulbs only, cook on a gas stove, have a prepaid electricity meter installed. All these (mentioned) things are a huge start. There are many other ways to save on electricity bills if you just apply some grey matter (such as making use of solar lanterns at night to create a peaceful mood and save some bucks for example).

And that is it from me. The above nine tips can save you a ton each month (and keep you out of financial trouble). There are of course many other money saving tips and tricks out there, as mentioned above (that don't involve things like re-using a tea bag for example). All it takes is some research and some thought.

Happy saving!

Monday, 17 October 2016

(Mental Health) - Food for the soul: Don't act your age!

Yes, you read the heading of this post correctly! Don't act your age once in a while and do all the things a child would, such as play board/TV/computer games, watch animated movies, play hide and go seek and such.  

What few people realise is that play is not only important for the development of children but it is equally important for the well-being of adults.

The benefits of play for adults are numerous and includes things such as an increase in energy levels, the enhancement of brain functionality, stress and anxiety relief, depression prevention and creativity enhancement to name but a few.                                                                  

Playing (games such as tennis, monopoly, hide and go seek) with other adults can also improve your relationships as well as help to further develop your social skills.

Does the value of,"playing as if you were a child" sound far-fetched to you, even though you have now read of some of the benefits? Well don't take my word for it, just "Google" the topic (play for adults) and you will find a wealth of information confirming all I have said as well as some articles linking back to scientific evidence to back up these facts. This topic has long interested me and I have actually been doing some research on it for years. Do your homework and it will overwhelm you just how beneficial recreational childlike play is!

I must say that I am living proof of the benefits since I too make play a part of my regular routine in the form of building puzzles, colouring in pictures, playing games on my Xbox/Nintendo/PC and rolling around on the grass with my dogs (just like a child would) amongst many other childlike activities. 

Just how has this benefited me you may ask? Well I am a 35 year old woman with normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, I hardly ever get sick and when I do (the flu) it never lasts for longer than two days. I still have all my teeth, - no grey hairs, my weight remains constant and I have very few lines and wrinkles.

I am also a very happy person who very rarely has a down mood or demeanour. Now I do realise that my diet and overall healthy habits have a lot to do with all this, however I am convinced that my "play" sessions are big contributors as well, because since I started my little "play" routines I have noticed a huge change in myself in that I don't seem to care that much about what other people think anymore and I don't sweat the small things in life (in other words I don't stress as much anymore over petty nonsense).

Still sound ridiculous to you? Well many people in New York City would beg to differ, since they all pay big bucks for the chance to play like children in Brooklyn's very own "Adult Play School". Their reason for doing this? Stress release mainly I would think, but I am sure they also do this for many of the other reasons (and numerous proven benefits) I chose to make play part of my routine. 

Still not quite convinced? Well then take my little challenge. For exactly one month, try to play for at least an hour every single day, doing things such as;
2. Playing a board game of some sort with others
3. Playing any type of TV or computer game
4. Watching an animated children's movie
5. Playing outside with your dogs (running around with them etc.)
6. Finger painting a picture
7. Sculpting items out of play dough
8. Playing a game of hide and go seek with your children/friends
9. Building with Lego or other blocks
10. Colouring in a picture

This list is in no way extensive and you can add any other forms of play you wish. The more childlike it is, the better. However any form of play will have its benefits, - stress release normally being the main one. 

Once you have taken the challenge and completed it successfully, I guarantee you will feel so much better and no longer find the whole concept of "playing" ridiculous. If not, well then what did you really lose, except an hour a day spend doing something outside of watching television or sitting in traffic?

Happy playing y'all.


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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

(Moral Lifestyle) - Food for the soul: Adopt a "rescue" pet

I honestly believe there are few things in life that compares to the happiness and joy a pet can bring us. In fact, the more the merrier. If you can afford to care for it and feed it, adopt it!                           

However, what I do not advocate are pedigree dog breeders. The market is so over saturated already and the last thing the world needs are more puppies or kittens. There are more than enough animals out there waiting for a good home, and breeders are the result that these animals don't find homes (and often have to be put down as a consequence). Also, breeders often make use of "rape stands"(Google for more but be warned this is a horrid, cruel practice and the images aren't pleasant ones), which further makes me hate the practice of canine breeding. 

Township rescues (South Africa only), RSPCA rescues (UK only), ASPCA rescues (United States only) and SPCA rescues (International)! That's the way to go if you are in need of a furry companion. Trust me on this! The act of helping to save a rescued pet is a pure, unselfish type of soul food of a paramount magnitude, likened to no other feeling on this earth! Just make sure that your new friend has had all his/her shots (especially the Canine Distemper and Parvo virus ones as these illnesses are death sentences 90% of the time. as well as being highly contagious). 

The joys of adopting a rescued furry baby are many. A good example of one of these joys would be the glorious warm feeling you get in your heart, each time you watch your doggy/kitty enjoying something that he/she would otherwise never have had the opportunity to experience, if it hadn't been for the fact that he/she was rescued. For me, nothing compares to the deep heartfelt stares of gratitude these little angels give you. It's a heartbreaking and euphoric experience all at the same time.

Of course, the same rules apply for adopting RSPCA animals, which in their own right are the same things as township rescue animals, although the poor little township rescues are often doggies/kitties that have had to endure unbelievable abuse and/or circumstances. Check out the following links if you would like to see what I am speaking of and/or if you are interested in becoming a rescue angels' parent, and/or if you wish to make a donation (Note: As far as I know, only residents of South Africa can adopt these animals, however for more information you would have to contact the organisations themselves by means of the contact details given on their webpages/sites):



I too am the proud mommy of a few rescue babies myself and they are honestly the light in my life. My latest baby (Amelia), featured in the first photograph on this posting, being the most recent. I however rescued her myself when it came to my attention she was made to walk 5km on a daily basis on the side of the N12 Highway (an extremely busy, traffic filled highway in South Africa). She was tick and flea ridden as well as half starved when we brought her home. I am happy to report that so far she is adjusting fantastically, however she is still at risk of having Parvo and Canine Distemper and will only be declared in the clear in a few weeks time (holding thumbs). Although I have isolated her from the rest of my animals, she receives constant attention and has already taken over the whole house. Next week she should be strong enough to have her shots/immunisations, since we first had to treat her for a worms and a very bad Canine Influenza (which could still turn out to be the Parvo/Canine Distemper I spoke of above). Even now, in this short time we have had her, she has been such a blessing and the source of a great deal of daily joy. I have no idea how old my puppy is or even what type of mixed breed she is (even though I think I detect a hint of boxer in her appearance) but to me she is worth more than a thousand pedigree horses. 

So what are you waiting for? Feed your soul and go and save a life! You won't ever look back!

N.B -  Please just remember to have your new baby/babies sterilised/neutered and immunised! 


NOTE: Since writing this piece/article, Amelia (our rescue) has had all her immunisations and has also been given a clean bill of health by her vet. She is no longer at risk of having parvo or canine distemper! Her symptoms were just due to having a bad chest cold from being forced to sleep outside in the township. Here is a photo (below) we took of Amelia a little while ago. See how much she has grown!

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