Ta-daaa

I’ve hinted a couple of times about a big and exciting change happening in my little corner of the blogging world.

Finally, after much deliberation and procrastination, I have taken my blog to the next level. From a .wordpress.com site to my very own domain. And here you are… www.inhilshead.co.za!

I am so, so happy be able to share this space with you! A lot of time and love has gone into creating a space that’s all mine, from the design to the written content.

So what’s going to be happening InHil’sHead in the coming months? I guess the best way to describe this space is as a lifestyle blog… about my life as a busy, working mom, trying to live my best life. From my food and life hacks, to parenting, my efforts at fitness, the books I read, the places I go and the thinks I think. And everything in-between. I even have my first giveaway lined up – super exciting and I can’t wait to share it! I’ll be sharing my monthly column with you too – a light-hearted look at parenting tweens and teens. I have so much news to share about what I’ve been up to recently – expect loads of tropical island pics!

Oh – and my old posts are all here too, so you’re welcome to take a look through those while you’re here!

Click subscribe below so that we can stay in touch! You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And please, please let me know what you think in the comments below!

Loads of love,

Hil xxx

Musings of a high school mom

If you’re a friend or a regular reader you’ll know that this year Ewan started high school. I posted a long while back about choosing a high school. In the end, we chose the all boys traditional public school. 

It’s only been a few weeks since the new school year started. We’ve dealt with so many changes in such a short time! Looking back, I can’t really believe that it’s only been just over a month. It feels like we’ve been doing this forever. 

The first few days were rough. The older grades asserted their seniority, which was a little intimidating for the total newbie. Fortunately there wasn’t any of the horror initiation I’ve heard about! For the most part, I think it was good natured and just the older boys showing the formies where they fit in this new society that they’re part of. Ewan took it well, with his usual good humour. All the same, he was relieved when it was over and they were left alone to blend in with the rest of the school. 

The bigger shock to his system was having to deal with making new friends in a completely strange environment. He was a well liked kid in his nurturing primary school and he’d made some very close friends in the time he was there. Finding new friends in a new school, where everyone was a stranger took some time. I underestimated how hard it could be for a 13 year old. You know how little kids who’ve just met will just wander off to the jungle gyms and an hour later be best friends for life? Well I had to remember that it gets more complicated when you’re older. He had to find his crowd. Boys that he could relate to.

For the first week or two, he was pretty sure that no such kids existed in his new school. I’m so grateful that his old primary school friends have been around on weekends for hangouts and a sleepover or two during this time. Thankfully, he’s now found a gang! He’s  found his people and he’s starting to feel comfortable in his space.

All in all, it’s been a positive experience. 

I am still finding the communication lines a bit confusing but I guess I’m getting used to where to find out what and I’m also learning to rely on Ewan for info.

It’s strange not to really know who teaches him what. We’re yet to formally meet any teachers. We’ve only listened to them talk at a the parent’s info evening. 

I appreciate the strong sense of respect and discipline the school is instilling in the boys. 

And brotherhood… it’s only been weeks and I sense that Ewan already feels a strong bond to the school. 

They each have a matric mentor and it’s awesome to see the older boys taking the younger ones under their wings. Yesterday, the formies had a braai with their matric mentors and I was really happy to see them actually interacting with the older boys when I arrived to fetch him. And goodbyes were said with fist pumps, elbow bumps and everything, lol!

I love the regular visits and news they get from old boys who have done well. From Rhodes scholars to Olympian medal winners & provincial sportsmen. I really do think it inspires the boys to be all they can be. 

I enjoy our car trips to school. We’ve solved the world’s problems, had silly laughs and driven in companionable silence (and I’ve given a few lectures – I am the mom of course!)

I’ve learned that buttons don’t get sewn on. They pierce holes in their blazers and anchor the buttons in place! Ingenious, I tell you. 

So far, so good, but bring on the holidays!

And for our next trick, we need to figure out where to send Claire!!!

P.S. This post was read and vetted by the subject before I hit “publish”. 

The only constant thing

It’s been a big, hard week for my big kid! So much change, so much to get used to! While I have no doubt that in time, we will all find our way in this new teenage world we’re navigating, it doesn’t make the right now the easiest place to be. 


Which got me thinking about all the times in life I’ve been through the same thing. There were those five schools I went to. Oh and the move from Jozi to Witbank and then a move back to the big city a few years later – which just happened to tie in with the year I went to highschool! 

Then there was me joining the working world. Lordy, that was big! I distinctly remember not being sure whether I was allowed to leave my desk to go to the loo without permission from my boss – and her laughing at me when I did finally get desperate enough to ask! And then my second job – okay, admittedly it  made somewhat easier by having a bit of prior work experience and the fact that I made an awesome friend on that first day. Who just happened to be the guy I married a few years later. 

There was moving out of my parent’s home into a flat share and then later into my own place. And after that, sharing a home with Nick. Learning to budget for monthly groceries, deal with house maintenancy stuff. Hey – when Nick first did a grocery shop, he bought the most enormous tin of instant coffee and bag of cake flour. The flour grew weevils way before it got turned into something edible and we had bad coffee for months and months! 

There have been a bunch of work changes since those first two jobs. Most recently it was when the comfy little company I worked for got bought out by a big corporate. I knew it was a good move with great opportunity but my word – those first few days in the new place! I remember feeling so strange and uncomfortable as I walked the passages. The hundreds of unfamiliar faces. The uncertainty of how any of the processes worked, even something as simple as ordering a meal in the canteen. Now, just over a year later, I walk down the same corridors and cheerily say “Hi” to colleagues and friends (assuming I’ve had  my two cups of coffee by then)!

The thing is, I’m a reasonably confident girl when I’m comfortable in my space. I can be chatty and friendly and even a bit funny. But put me in a space which is new and intimidating and I’m suddenly quite shy and reserved. I’ve only recently tried to learn the art of “fake it till you make it”.

Probably the biggest change of all was becoming a parent. The belly and all the physical preparation for a change which was so much more complex than just adding a new person to our household. And then the rapid and constant change that parenthood brings! I remember remarking, in frustration, that no sooner have I gotten the hang of one stage of mommying my baby when they would suddenly have a growth spurt and some new challenge would present itself – growing teeth or spitting out apple purée or peeing behind the couch. 

So yep, this change that’s happening now, this big new world – it’s hard! But it’s the way life works – he’ll find his feet. And just when he thinks he’s got it all waxed… 

H. 

Back to School Sanity-Savers

Geez – this back to school stuff is expensive! This year particularly , what with the teen entering high school and needing an entire new uniform!

By uniform, I’m not talking white shirt, grey pants and black shoes. I haven’t even done that shopping yet! I’m talking blazer, a straw basher (umm – what century are we in again?), PT kit, house shirt, rugby shirt, rugby boots, tracksuit… the list is literally endless!

And then there has to be new bags and pencil cases for both. We teased the tween and told her that she could just inherit her brother’s bag if hers wasn’t good enough. He could have a new one, because new school and all *evil laugh*!

Seriously though, after a year of hard use, they both need new bags! And then there was the task of convincing the tween that the pretty sparkly satchels that you can buy at “Typo” and “Claire’s” are not appropriate for lugging around a pile of exercise books, text books, stationery and three week old sandwiches and banana skins. I wish I were kidding about the bananas but the tween’s main complaint was that her backpack smelled of banana. I’m sure that it is at this juncture that my mom or aunt will remind me of the time they discovered a couple of moulding peanut butter sarmies in my school bag when I was about 9 – all neatly flattened in-between those cardboardy compartments that all uncool school bags had.

Anyways – back to the shopping. I’ve been doing this back to school thing for a fair number of years and these are some of my top tips for the back to school drill:

  • We have a super awesome little stationery shop in our local mall that make up stationery packs according to individual requirements. I simply emailed them the lists that I got from the school for each grade and within the day I had a quote and by the end of the week the packs were ready and waiting to be picked up and paid for. And price wise, they’re really competitive. I did a spot check on one or two of the more expensive items like the scientific calculator and they were really well priced. So, so, so much easier than fighting your way through Makro or Game or CNA and hunting on hands and knees for a specific 745 page right margined, half quad and half feint A25 work book.
  • We always buy new stationery as per the lists provided each year so that the kids start the year off with some excitement about all things shiny and new. I speak from experience as I can’t get motivated to get going with my own studying with yucky old stationery. I go through all the old stuff and save what is usable for the home work desks. I sharpen all the pencils and test the khokis and highlighters and throw out the broken and almost finished. Spare scissors, glues, sharpeners, compasses and protractors are kept aside for those last minute “mom, I’ve lost …” requests, five seconds before we are due to leave the house.
  • And sticking with glue (see what I did there?) I also buy a couple of extras because they ALWAYS run out! I also always buy a pad of coloured poster paper to keep aside – for those last ditch attempts at projects.
  • If you don’t fancy keeping last year’s used pens and pencils etc – spare a thought for the needy kids who don’t get awesome new goodies!
  • I strip the clean paper out of last year’s partially used exercise books and keep it in one of those clear plastic storage boxes from Westpack. Scrap paper is always useful for random things shopping lists and visits from littlies wanting to draw. That’s about as far as my recycling of school stuff goes. I tried once to melt down a gazillion wax crayons into one big one – but that was a waste of time and energy. Thank goodness my kidlets are past the wax crayon stage!
  • If you do have to buy paper text books and particularly if you plan to pass them down to younger siblings – take your time to cover them with sticky backed plastic. It makes such a difference to keeping them in a decent state so that the younger sibling doesn’t cringe with embarrassment when their turn comes to using the books.
  • And on the note of hand-me-down books, I’ve now dedicated a bookshelf for text books and set works and dictionaries etc. Saves us having to fork out extra ronts when sibling 2 needs a book that you’re 110% certain sibling 1 had and can’t find anywhere until months after it is needed.
  • Get the kids involved in getting all this back-to-school stuff ready. Seriously. If they can write their names legibly, they can help with the labelling! I’d also like to take this moment to thank the stationery gods for slip on plastic book covers!
  • takealot.com has an awesome selection of school bags at good prices. Let’s just hope ours arrive in time for school next week. I left the ordering till today, but online shopping really is the bomb.com

What are your tips and tricks for back to school? And tell me I’m not alone with the mouldy sandwiches, please!

Love,

Hil

P.S. My little local stationery shop has branches in Randpark Ridge and Morning Glen. Find them on http://www.capmor.co.za/ – they didn’t ask for a punt – I just think they’re super cool!

Top