Wake up and smell the coffee…

There is an often overlooked rule in history; far more is lost and forgotten than is preserved and remembered. The rule relates to progress. As a species we are on the information highway and know more, but are we wiser?

When I think of wisdom, I am always reminded of this quote from Brian O Driscoll “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”

 Our attitude, spirit and tenacity can affect the outcome of any challenge that comes our way. To be proactive, you must also be self-aware to understand who you are and your purpose. Long term thinking and planning allows us to reap the rewards in the future.

Continue reading “LESSONS I WISH I LEARNED IN MY 20’S”


Frigate bird chick, Galapagos Islands

We’ve all heard it over and over again about the irreversible damage caused to the planet because of our habits of over consumption. Social media or plain “green” activism is great to create a sense of awareness. It is a nice feeling to like or share a post on planet friendly causes. But this will not change anything. Our daily habits affect every part of our life. Taking time to practise habits that care for the planet, remind me of self-care too.



Syngonium podophyllum

House plants have become a topic of conversation lately as people are reconnecting with all things nature and organic. They have always been a design feature and for me it makes my house look fresh and stylish. If you choose the right plant, they can be relatively low maintenance and the plant sings out your green fingers. I believe nurturing house plants is a win / win situation – if you have enough large house plants, they remove volatile organic compounds from an indoor environment. Indoor plants offer the joy of taking care of something and seeing it respond and connecting to the plant that way helps in our own personal growth.

10 Hardy Indoor plants

ZZ plant/ Zamioculcas

Heart leaf Philodendron vine/Philodendron hederaceum

Peace Lily / Spathiphyllum

Devil’s ivy / Pothos

Mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant/ Sansevieria trifasciata

Mother-in-law’s tongue

Swiss cheese plant / Monstera deliciosa

Rubber tree / Ficus Elastica

Fiddle leaf fig / Ficus lyrata

Fiddle leaf Fig

Radiator Plants /Peperomia

Cactus / Cactaceae

Some such as fiddle leaf fig, Swiss cheese plant, Rubber tree and Philodendron can get very big. If you are a novice at growing, you are better to get a full sized one or if you have a bit of experience, you can get a smaller one in spring and nurture it to full size.

Now that I have my plants what next

Get yourself off to a good start by buying the right plant for your space and lifestyle.

I like to place a used kitchen sponge or kitchen cloth between the pot and the saucer. I believe this retains some of the moisture and prevents the roots drying out.

The plants mentioned above like to dry out between waterings which is why they are user friendly. They will thrive best with bright, indirect light. You can group two or three plants together and make a living sculpture.

Ponytail Palm

Tips to take care of your plants

 Make yourself a routine of inspecting the health of your plant and watering on a regular basis. Perhaps in the initial stages you can make a time on your calendar until it becomes a routine.

Do the “finger test” to avoid over watering – pop a finger in the soil. If it’s still wet, don’t water it. Over watering is a common mistake and the reason why house plants die.

When I go away on holiday, I fill my bath tub with about an inch of water and I lay old towels in the bath tub. I place all my house plants minus the saucers in the bath tub. I have left my house plants this way for up to five weeks over summer and they all survived.


New York Sour

Friday night drinks have become a ritual in our household. Weeknights are busy with work, school and gym but Friday night is special as we are all relaxed and we get together around the island in the kitchen. This one was my son’s creation. Looks decadent and tastes amazing.

60ml rye whiskey

½ teaspoon triple sec or Cointreau

15ml simple syrup

30ml lemon juice

Egg white

Red wine (Shiraz/Malbec/Bordeaux

Soda water (optional)


Put whiskey, triple sec, simple syrup, lemon juice and egg white in a shaker. Shake without ice to mix ingredients. Then shake with ice to chill and dilute. Pour into a desired glass. “Float” wine into glass by pouring over spoon. Top with soda and serve immediately. Makes one drink.


There are maintenance jobs to do at this time of the year – pruning roses and feeding your spring bulbs with liquid fertilizer come to mind. I guess the leaf raking goes without saying because it is winter. Everything is so sodden and water logged so be careful when you tread on lawn – you don’t want to compact your lawn by walking on it too much. The other usual winter jobs in the garden are pruning lightly pruning any deciduous fruit trees and giving them a spray of neem oil.

If your roses are infected, it would pay to spray them with neem oil. In fact even your ornamentals can do with a spray of neem oil from time to time. It is also good time to plant summer lilies. Talking about planting – a few weeks back I planted garlic and potatoes. You are meant to plant garlic on the shortest day to harvest on the longest day. Both garlic and potatoes require heavy feeding and well-draining soil. I have planted some in soil and some in pots. Garlic is a first for me and seems promising with the shoots appearing already.

Seed potatoes and potato planter

For winter colour, you can’t go past cyclamen and primulas. They are just so bright and cheery and once you plant, they require the odd feed once every few weeks and reward you with their cheerful blooms weeks on end.


I do use a lot of herbs in my cooking so I have also planted Italian Parsley, sage and rosemary all in pots and placed them on the patio where the afternoon sun comes. I did the mistake of planting mint in my garden and it grows wild everywhere. Just as well I love the freshness mint delivers be it for sweet or savoury dishes or Friday night drinks so I don’t feel bad.

When I was working, I did not have enough time to care for my citrus and even though I have a few in the garden, they never fruited. Now I can tell you that I have learnt the art of taking care of them so they are fruiting abundantly. Here are my tips:

Lime tree looking healthy

Citrus are hungry and big feeders. You may need to feed them with a citrus fertilizer three times a year. When the tree is giving out new shoots and flowers, I feed it a generous amount of Epsom salts (the variety you buy in the supermarket). Every time you feed make sure you spread the fertilizer around and water it in. During dry season, you must not forget to water once every few days at least. Lastly, I mulch them with pea straw – spread the pea straw around the tree leaving some space empty around the trunk. If you feel the leaves are curling, then give it a spray of neem oil.


The geraniums I planted towards end of summer are still going strong and adding some brightness to the patio. I dead head them regularly and feed liquid fertilizer once every three to four weeks. A couple of months back they got a bad case of caterpillar infestation and yes I hand-picked the caterpillars out but also sprayed with my trusted neem oil.


Wildflowers in Porirua


A friend of mine Rachel, sent this to me just over ten years ago. I saved it because it is an inspiring message delivered well and makes good sense.

George Bernard Shaw said, “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them.”

Well, it’s pretty apparent, isn’t it? And every person who discovered this believed (for a while) that he was the first one to work it out. We become what we think about.

Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn’t know where he’s going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety and worry – his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing …. he becomes nothing.

How does it work? Why do we become what we think about? Well, I’ll tell you how it works, as far as we know. To do this, I want to tell you about a situation that parallels the human mind.

Suppose a farmer has some land, and it’s good, fertile land. The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn’t care. It’s up to the farmer to make the decision.

We are comparing the human mind with the land because the mind, like the land, doesn’t care what you plant in it. It will return what you plant, but it doesn’t care what you plant.

Now, let’s say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand – one is seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds – one corn, and the other nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land – and what will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted.

As it’s written in the Bible, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

Remember the land doesn’t care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance as it will corn. So up come the two plants – one corn, one poison.

The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn’t care what we plant ….success….or failure. A concrete, worthwhile goal… or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, anxiety and so on. But what we plant it must return to us.

You see, the human mind is the last great unexplored continent on earth. It contains riches beyond our wildest dreams. It will return anything we want to plant.


Years ago when my kids were still in primary school (so possibly 15 years ago) I printed these commandments and we used to read it aloud together. I was rummaging through stuff in my study and came across the printed version. They are still so relevant.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it.

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

If you want your dreams to come true, you mustn’t oversleep.

Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

The heaviest thing you can carry is a grudge.

One thing you can give and still keep … is your word.

You lie the loudest when you lie to yourself.

If you lack the courage to start, you have already finished.

One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.

Ideas won’t work unless ‘you’ do.

Your mind is like a parachute … it functions only when open.

The 10 commandments are not a multiple choice.

The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime! It is never too late to become what you might have been.


I believe Dr Seuss was a literary genius and while his prose about Green Eggs and Ham may have fired our childhood imaginations, there is great wisdom and life lessons to be learned.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

You are you – so special and unique. Why bother trying to be someone else when you can be the best version of yourself. Celebrate your uniqueness and stand proud. Here are the lessons I learned along my journey and I hope they help you become confident and the best versions of yourself.


This does not necessarily mean getting a degree or diploma – it means a quest for learning and improving/ developing yourself every day for the rest of your lives. It is a thirst for knowledge and whatever kind of learner you are, make sure you learn something new every day.


I still believe in the relevance of SMART goals as it gives you direction and purpose not only at work but also in your personal life. Think about what you want to achieve in life and work on specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound goals (SMART). They could be for the next six months, or in the next five years.


Self-care can never be underestimated. Look after your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Eat well and regularly to nourish your body. Exercise regularly. Take time out to smell the roses. This is not selfish and I am often reminded of the flight attendant instructions of putting your oxygen mask on first, before helping others. … Because if you run out of oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask!!


Learn to prioritize and say “No”. Once you try pleasing people there is no end in sight. This is very good advice given by my mum when I got married. Initially it might be hard but at least you are clear on your boundaries and people will not take liberties (aka you won’t get hurt or upset)


Keep doing what you love. Stay curious and interested blocking out all the social media noise. This is your life and no one else is better at living it than you. A famous Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right,” Be the fairy tale little engine that could. Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati is a line from the Ancient Vedas which means your inner thoughts make your outer appearance. You are what you believe and you become what you believe


There are no shortcuts in life. Be very wary and guarded if something seems too good to be true or does not seem reasonable. All that glitters is not gold after all.


This is an attitude that allows you to see more, do more and be more. Make a conscious effort to recognize the unlimited possibilities surrounding you. You are restricted by the limitations/ restrictions set by your own mind. So start breaking free.


It is okay to have delayed gratification. Things bought on credit card end up being more expensive if you can’t pay the credit card within the month. Saving money is good for you and puts you in financial control. Saving gives you a sense of achievement plus everyone needs to save for a rainy day. You are your own unique self and you do not have to keep up with the Joneses.


It is human to make mistakes. Own your mistakes, take responsibility and try your best to make it right. Every encounter is an experience we need to move us forward. Setbacks and failures hep make your resolve stronger and you do become more resilient.


Humility is considered a state of being, highlighted by your behaviour and approach to things. Humility is not about hiding away or about becoming a ‘wallflower’, but it is about the realization your abilities and actions are not better or less. Humility doesn’t require the ranking of things, but it calls for the understanding of the true value or worth of things. Staying humble will keep you grounded.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis


Time and tide wait for no one and time is a great healer. We are all transient in this world and luckily the hard or difficult time you are going through is temporary and will pass soon. A new dawn brings with it the promise of a new day, new experiences and opportunities. Believe in yourself and you shall overcome.


Do you have a sibling or parents or a partner or close friends who love you unconditionally? They are loyal and care for your wellbeing and you know you will not be judged. These people in a way are your care mentors and as we navigate through life we need to nurture our inner circle.


For as long as I can remember I have always dreamed big – wild fantasies and visions of achieving big great things in life. I know I am not the only dreamer. Dreaming involves holding tight to a vision of a better life, one of success and abundance. While getting there might be difficult, having to deal with setbacks and failures along the way, it’s surely well worth it. Anyone who’s achieved a big goal knows just how true that statement is. It all starts with a dream which is a thought, which becomes your vision and then your reality.


The dictionary defines gratitude as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. John F Kennedy so aptly said “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”


In the spirit of making the world a better place, you have to share to show you care. Share within your community, share with a neighbour, family, friends. Be it knowledge, experience, time or money – emulate the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett but do share at your level. Give what you can afford – share with the Universe in an unselfish and not wanting anything in return way and the Universe gives you more.

End of another week

I wanted to share this quote from Anne Lamott with everyone as it is so apt for anyone who finds excuses for inaction:

“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written, or you didn’t go swimming in those warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

Don’t be a bystander – be bold and confident and do your thing .. whatever it maybe.