MARK'S (NOT SO) DAILY BLOG

Mark Pilgrim Kia

2014. The year that was.

So it's come to the end of the year. Surprisingly I've been quite busy so haven't had a chance to write a blog in about a week. Sorry for that!

This is the last one for the year. I'm going dark at the end of this week. No, I'm not changing my colour (although I do plan to spend a lot of time in the sun). It's radio code for "no more communication". Once a year I need to stop the tweets, blogs and Facebook messages. It's like colonic cleansing in cyber space.

Looking back at 2014, I must admit it's been an interesting ride.

I left radio and said a sad farewell:

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I missed it so much, I went back on air 5 months later:

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I did some TV shows:

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And sold a few products:



I drank a LOT of wine:

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And then decided I had been drinking too much and switched to green tea as a substitute:

(no photo here...too boring).

I bought a few gadgets:

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And also went crazy and opened a frozen yoghurt store:

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But if I look back at 2014, the bit I'll remember the most... was watching my 2 girls grow up just a little bit more:

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After all, nothing is more important than family:

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Happy holidays. I'll chat to you in 2015!


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Is that a bug in my Apple?

Ask any paediatrician and they'll say that once your kids go to school they'll have a bug at least one in every four weeks. The problem is, it then hits the rest of the family. And boy, does it hit the family hard.

It started with both girls getting an eye infection Monday to Thursday last week, and then a bug hit on Friday and Alyssa was spewing everywhere. Unlike adults that know to dash to a loo or grab a bucket, a 2 year old acts liker a sprinkler system and just chunks over everything.

Just as she recovered, yesterday my wife was man (or woman) down, and this morning at 3am my oldest daughter also woke up and spewed all over her bed.

I'm now also feeling queasy, but not sure if I have the bug or I'm just sensitive to the constant smell of vomit.

So the net result for a Monday is Alyssa and Nicole are feeling better enough to go to school and work. Tayla-Jean and I are lying in bed feeling sorry for ourselves watching cartoons.

Just before I go and hold the bucket for my daughter, just a reminder that it's a BIG Apple day today!

Each year they host the WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) and on the opening day Tim Cook does a keynote address where he reveals the next big thing when it comes to software or hardware.

Apple will stream his address live at 7pm SA time (on their website and on Apple TVs), and we're expecting big software updates for Mac computers, hopefully a major update to Apple TVs, minor tweaks to iPhone software, and there's a SLIM chance the iPhone 6 itself will be revealed. In fact, if not revealed tonight, they'll definitely have it's launch in the next few weeks because it's rumoured to actually go on sale in September and the media launch is always about 3 months prior to it hitting the shelves (in the States). I'll definitely blog some of the highlights tomorrow!
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The purple blob is back in our household!

I write a monthly "dad" column for Living & Loving Magazine here in South Africa. My March article (2 issues away) is all about the bedtime stories we were brought up with and still read to our kids today. They're horrible and scary!

In almost every fable there's someone being killed or a child being snatched away from their parents (or snatched from their Aunt and Uncle... because their parents are already dead!). This includes: Wizard of Oz, Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel and so many more! I realised it when I was trying to read Snow White to Tayla-Jean and had to tame down the part where she is almost bludgeoned to death by a hit man, then strangled and finally poisoned!


So when, over the past 2 weeks, Alyssa started taking notice of Barney, I've started embracing the purple blob as if he's my very own son. It does mean I have to continually watch him do that stupid jump/skip thing and hear him sing all the time... but at least I know nobody dies in an episode!
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My girls and the chicken run

It's the small things you do that make you realise your kids are growing up. About 3 months ago we removed the kiddy gate from the bottom of the stairs so that Alyssa can now venture up and down on her own.

This morning was another one of those milestones... I removed the chicken mesh from the staircase railings!


I had it up for 2 reasons. One, if the toddler fell, I didn't want them slipping though the railing gap. Fortunately, their craniums are now of a size that it would be like trying to get a tennis ball through a hosepipe. Secondly, I was worried that one of the kids might kick the chihuahua and drop goal him for 5 points. He's now learnt to steer clear of people on the stairs... and the girls have learnt that Charles is indeed not a sports ball.

I woke up this morning with what I thought was a stomach bug, but it might just be nerves. Tomorrow Tayla-Jean starts big school (Grade 000) and Alyssa starts Nursery School! Nicole and I have no idea how the day will pan out.... will let you know tomorrow. Excuse me now though, I need the loo!
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Happy 2014!

I love Christmas time and after the holidays it's always that mixed emotion of sadness that the holidays are over mixed with renewed vigour for the new year!

My girls and I had a great holiday in Cape Town. I think I dunked my toe in the water once. It was so cold every possible appendage retracted back towards my torso for warmth. My kids loved the beach.


When coming back to Johannesburg, we took them to the Egoli equivalent of non-stop entertainment... Pappachino's restaurant. Thanks heavens for restaurants that now cater for children with huge play areas. We spent almost a whole week there.

Today (hopefully) the builders also come back to our house to finish off the last few days of renovations. It's been a hectic 4 months, but well worth it, as Tayla-Jean is loving her new bedroom. It used to be the "old spare room": 


And now her bedroom is almost bigger than ours:

Alyssa has also had some changes in her bedroom. Last week she moved from the cot to a bed... and has only fallen out once!


Here's to a great year ahead with some big changes. I've formed a new company which will hopefully be doing great things in 2014. More details as things come about! I'm also looking forward to continue bringing you the biggest songs every Saturday as I count down SA's top 40 tunes on the KIA Take40sa.
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The weekend that was

It's been an intense few days reflecting the mood of the nation on air as the world still mourns the loss of Madiba.


Most of us are conflicted between the celebration of his legacy and the sadness of his passing. To reflect both emotions while doing a radio show has been extremely challenging and by the time I got off air on Saturday afternoon I was exhausted. My family and I took time out and went to Mushroom Park in Sandton to just chill. It's like Central Park in that there are high-rises all around us, but you get to enjoy the green belt.


About 300 metres away is a frenzy of activity at Nelson Mandela Square as hundreds of people lay flowers in the square, and international television networks set up broadcast platforms from where they'll be anchoring shows over the next few days. The last time we saw them all here was for the Soccer World Cup. My favourite television show, NBC Nightly News has also began anchoring their evening broadcast to the States from here. I podcast the show every morning when I wake up. Great to have Lester Holt and the rest of Brain William's team here. Pity about the circumstances.

Whilst the world's focus is on South Africa, Tayla-Jean is too young to grasp any of it, and her main focus is on the progress of her "new" bedroom (which used to be her sister's room until we doubled it in size over the past 3 months). It's almost complete and I'm just so happy it no longer rains INSIDE my house!


My new home office is also taking shape:


Just got to lay down the floor and then I'm ready to move in and give the dining room back to the family!

We actually all gathered in my sister-in-law's dining room and lounge yesterday for an early Christmas yesterday (Stephany is about to have a baby and probably won't be feeling too "christmassy" on 25 December!). Here are my girls and their cousin getting some presses:


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The stache is off and the tree is up

I spent the weekend at the Berg River in Paarl with 94.5KFM's Big Chill. Thanks to everyone that came and camped out for 2 nights to enjoy KFM's hospitality. I had a great time with listeners and also catching up with colleagues who I only get to see a few times a year because I do most of my shows from Johannesburg.

But ultimately I couldn't wait to get home, especially when Nicole sent me a photo of my daughter...


We always put up the Christmas tree early in December and this is the first year Tayla-Jean REALLY has got into the whole Santa vibe. She was in her element decorating our 2 metre high tree:


While the trees decorations went on the tree, we were also celebrating my Movember moustache coming off:

I feel a good decade younger again! Speaking of young, I'm back in Cape Town next weekend as I'm doing my show from the launch of 1D World at the V&A Waterfront. If you're not into One Direction (the group), you wouldn't know what it is, but it's the ultimate fan pop up store that will be attracting thousands of young groupies. It's going to be absolute chaos... and it's great that their record label wants my chart show, the KIA Take40SA, to officially open the month long event.
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It's been a busy few days

I had a friend moaning at me over the weekend, asking why my blogs have been infrequent of late. At least I know she reads them!

Besides being on radio and television, I spend a lot of time involved in corporate communications, and this is "silly season" at the moment, where I've been on stage at corporate events almost every day over the past 2 weeks, and just haven't had much time to write a blog. Even now, I'm writing these words from Monte Casino's Ballroom where I'm on stage (well not RIGHT NOW. There's a speaker on stage now, but I'll be popping up there again in a moment. Hopefully I don't miss my cue!).

It's day 12 of Movember and I'm starting to  look like a younger version of Dr Phil.  That's not a good thing! Almost every hour of every day I think about shaving this bloody thing off, but I've pledged to stick it out until the end of the month. 


I feel like a middle aged businessman living in 1985!

At home things are chaotic at the moment. Our renovations are in full swing and the house is an absolute mess. I've been watching the developments remotely via my cameras...


It's amazing how things go wrong at home when you're not around. My wife called while I was on stage last night saying that we no longer have hot water coming out our taps. And then she called to say that Tayla-Jean is sick with the Cocksacky virus. Seriously? Who came up with that name! She has to stay at home for a week to allow her immune system to fight it off. It's also highly contagious for kids so my younger daughter will probably get it too.

Even though Tayla-Jean is sick, she still thinks she's a rock star after I gave her a Barbie microphone 2 weeks ago...


Alyssa is growing up everyday and has started with temper tantrums. I though they only started at 2 years, but hers have come early! She collapses on the floor as if she's possessed by Chucky! 

That's my quick update!
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Happy birthday to the love of my life!

I won't explicitly say how old Nicole is today, suffice to say she is now an All Gold bottle of tomato sauce (if you remember the ad from a few years ago, you'll know what I'm talking about!).

To the person who taught me it's okay to love unconditionally. 

To the mother of my two gorgeous daughters. 

To the girl that still laughs at my jokes, even though they're the same ones everyday

 
To the cook who has a unique way of cutting onions without crying...

Happy birthday Baby!!!!


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My girls share a room...and the walls came crumbling down!


I'm back in South Africa and can blog once again!

I was in Malawi filming a television show I do for Standard Bank. One of the most noticeable things when driving between towns in Malawi is how quiet the roads are. being such a poor nation, there are hundreds of people walking on the sides of the road, but not that many cars.


I'm not going to lie. Parts of Malawi are beautiful, but it was so nice coming back home. We were delayed at Blantyre airport by an hour though because the Malawian president arrived at the airport (which barely has space for 2 planes) and the marching bands and choirs were all bussed in to make her feel great as she got off her plane.

I generally have a problem with any country that insists the president's portrait be up in all buildings, so I didn't take too graciously to the delay. I kept my frustration under wraps though as security forces were there n force and even wanted to confiscate any photos tourists took. My logic is, it's not the pictures that pose a threat, but the fact that 150 somewhat impatient SAA passengers were allowed to stand on the tarmac with a vantage point to take the photos in the first place.

Anyway, after the locals sang her praises and blew a bit of presidential sunshine up her jet stairway, she moved off the tarmac and we were allowed to board our plane.

I came home to a broken house! In just one day my office and Alyssa's bedroom have been demolished. We're moving the exterior wall of the house out by a metre to give me a little more space at home. By the end of the week, the office will have a new interior wall and the renovations will be bricked off from the rest of the house until complete.



The biggest upheaval though while the renovations take place is not my office, because I can work in the dining room. It's that my 1 year old Alyssa doesn't have a bedroom for 2 months and we were faced with the dilemma of her sleeping in our room or her sisters.

Siblings sleeping in the same room works in some households and in others causes World War 3. Nicole and I have always been strict on the girls not sleeping in our room, so with much trepidation we mentioned to Tayla-Jean that it would be SO COOL if her sister slept in her room with her. Surprisingly our territorial offspring also thought it would be cool, and so last night we moved Alyssa's cot into her bedroom.  I'll let you know how it goes over the next couple of days!
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So did I over-react?

A seemingly innocent action... and my reaction has sparked a debate on twitter. Did I over-react when a strange man approached my 3 year old daughter at Pick 'n Pay and attempted to pinch her cheek?

I knocked his hand away and (with quite a bit of assertion) told him NEVER to touch my daughter again. I'm not talking about an 80 year old granny, but an unknown middle aged man.

I mentioned what happened on twitter and responses were mixed:
  • Karen Jones@WartyJ agreed! As a parent it is your responsibility to protect your child. The world can be an ugly place! No over- reaction!
  • chantal smuts@csmuts with today's society we MUST teach our kids about stranger-danger!
  • Cindy Diamond@CindzDee I agree with all comments and perspectives. You can't tell me you are 100% happy with your behaviour?
  • Tinashe Chabvonga@Chubbyvonga Big ups to your tweets today have honestly made my life, you should have introduced your fist to that guys face!!
  • Cindy Diamond@CindzDee  it's fine to be protective over ones kids, but it did sound a bit aggressive
  • Wayne G@MrGads2 Wow! A bit overkill there? Not everyone's bad.
Here's the reality. I'm almost positive the guy never had any malicious or salacious intent when he went to touch my daughter. But as a parent in a society where so many children are abused, it was instinct that kicked in.

I understand that some people, as a result of the public platform I'm on, feel they know me. By association (and because of the publicity my girls get) they probably feel they know my children too. I get it. I love it when someone stops me at a mall and says hi. How blessed am I to be in a profession where you get such validation! If I was an accountant, I doubt a stranger would stop me in the street and tell me how much they liked the way I balanced the books back in 2009. Unfortunately, TOUCHING my children does not fall into the same category.

Anyway, the above debate is irrelevant as the stranger who attempted to touch my daughter had no idea who I was (believe me) and paid me no attention. He simply saw Tayla-Jean and made a bee-line towards her.

So here's the bottom line. My girls are everything to me. If you're a parent, your kids mean everything to you. It has nothing to do with what job I do. It's about a parent protecting their child.

My advice, out of respect for the child and parent: the next time you're at the shops and you see a cute child, feel free to say to the parent how cute they look... but DON'T TOUCH (it might be me wanting to break your arm).

So, did I over-react? People are divided. Would I have done anything differently. Yes... I should have knocked him out.
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Mums... are you giving hijackers too much info?

As a parent, nothing is more important to me than the safety and protection of my girls. As a responsible Dad, I have a "Baby on Board" sticker attached to the back window of my car and so does my wife.

The latest trend though when it comes to baby signage is the "stick family". You build it up according to how many people (and animals) are in your family. So it's not a generic sticker, but a depiction of who lives in your house.

I'm no criminal, but I always try and put myself in their shoes, so I can ultimately try and outwit them. Whilst you might be a proud mum or dad, do you not realise by putting these stickers on your car you are immediately advertising to the carjacker the exact constitution of your family unit? You are giving them instant information to assess how vulnerable you are as a target, even down to the dogs they have to overpower if they enter your property.

A lot of people even have personalised "baby on board signs". I KNOW you're a proud parent, but to the carjacker or kidnapper you are instantly giving the name of your child away... if he mentions your child by name, he's half way there to gaining their trust.

If you have these personalised signs on your car, probably nothing will ever happen... but even if there is a remote possibility you're giving a perpetrator a heads up, is it worth taking the chance?

Just a thought. Would love your comments.

P.s, as a side note, even I am guilty. I tattooed my girls names on my arm... I have the stick family on my arms. 
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How my girls have grown

We didn't see our girls for 3 days while away in the bush, and it's amazing how much they seem to grow in your absence.

Tayla-Jean is now no longer sitting at her plastic table, but now sits at the kitchen counter eating her food...


And 1 year old Alyssa seems to be off shopping (for pants, I think)...


Speaking of shopping, I got my hands on a dash cam yesterday which I am testing for an importer to see if the brand is of a high enough quality. I'll do a write up on the product in the next couple of weeks, suffice to say for now it records all activity in front of your vehicle (similar to all the police footage you watch on reality TV shows). In Russia, it's the norm to have a camera record what happens in front of you. I just like the idea because I'm obsessed with gadgets! My wife just rolled her eyes when I told her what I put in the car! Just wait until that cop wants a bribe... it records audio as well!

If you are up early tomorrow, I'll be filling in on the breakfast show on 94.7 Highveld Stereo. Hope to catch you then!
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Who's your celebrity pass?

Who is that celebrity that, theoretically, your partner would allow you some time with?

For my wife, her celeb pass is Enrique (oh, the amount of times I've had to sing "Will you be my hero baby?").

Megan Fox was always my fav, but she got bumped off the top of the list after watching Safe Haven over the weekend with Julianne Hough. She was brilliant in the movie and quite the belter, which is saying something as I've never been into blondes. You have to watch the movie. It's in the iTunes store.

Staying with girls, Nicole was laughing at me this morning, because I was responsible for dressing Tayla-Jean:


Actually, for the record, I simply let her dress herself. And choose her own breakfast... peanut butter on a spoon.

My girls are getting used to TV cameras in the house these days. Yesterday we had a crew shooting a DVD for Cryo-Save. My one year old, Alyssa, walked around as if she was the director. Tayla-Jean, more than a little camera shy, spent 2 hours playing in her bedroom to escape the lens!

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Lights. Camera ... and boxing match.

I always find it amazing how the same gene pool can bring about different personalities in offspring.

My 3 year old daughter Tayla-Jean is the introspective and shy girl. Whilst a real actress around the house, in front of strangers she literally goes into hibernation. And for the record, let me state that mum and dad are perfectly fine with that. Just because her dad spends his life in the public eye, doesn't mean she wants to. So when it came to a magazine photo shoot... she opted out most of the shots.

On the other hand, my 1 year old daughter was destined from birth to be in show business. Hold up a camera and the smile just kicks in. And that's exactly what happened when the cameras started rolling for the cover photo of (probably) the October issue of Living and Loving Magazine.


In fact, she started getting ready for the big shoot the night before...


Back at home though, after the shoot, we had to remind her she's just a regular girl who still has to do her homework (...okay, you know what I mean). And with that my girls got back to good old sibling rivalry, which is a polite way of saying they started pushing each other around again.

At one stage I heard moaning coming from the kitchen, and when they heard me running towards them, with me expecting to have to separate them like a boxing referee, they both pretended to "just be holding hands". Alas girls, the eyes gave the game away. I knew you were fighting, but I played along, smiled and took a photo...

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Why my girls are everything

Single people must be finding my blogs INCREDIBLY boring, because most of them are about my kids. But that's whats important in my life. Everything else takes a backseat. I talk about work things on radio, so I don't "talk much shop" here :)

One of the reasons I'm always so focused on my children is that they almost didn't exist. Besides the fact that doctors didn't think I could have kids because of the cancer I had when I was 18, Sunday was the fifth anniversary of my heart attack. Here's the YouTube video I posted the day I got out of the hospital back in 2008:


It's amazing how a life altering event can change your priorities.  Yes, it's about working and providing a comfortable home environment for my family, but more important for me is actually spending time with my children. Gone are the days of wanting to work 14 hours a day. I'd rather earn less and know I've spent quality time with my girls. You simply never know how long you have in life to enjoy those moments. There's a great classic song by Ugly Kid Joe called Cats in the Cradle, which is all about life flying by for a Dad because he was always away working and when he looks again his kids are all grown up.

It's also one of the reasons why I still iPhone video my kids a few times a week. Just a snippet here and there. Every two weeks or so I add the clips to a video timeline and that way I have a visual record of how they grow up. The videos are great to look back at.

My little Alyssa will be doing a cover shoot for Living and Loving magazine in a couple of days time. She's been inside a few magazines before, but this will be the first time she'll be gracing the cover with mum. I'm a proud daddy! I have a feeling she'll like the limelight as she's always smiling at people and cameras.

My older girl, Tayla-Jean, whilst quite the actress, is not a fan of cameras and has to give me express permission before I'm allowed to take a photo of her! It doesn't happen often, but she gave mum the go ahead to take this picture last weekend:


So, yes, my blogs and life are dominated by my girls. I wouldn't have it any other way.
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3 reasons why I smile every morning when I wake up

Some of my blogs are work related, but most are about what happens in my life when not in front of a camera or behind a microphone.

After all, no matter how much I enjoy my job, it's what happens at home that defines who I am.

Today's blog is simple. It's 3 reasons why I wake up smiling every single day:



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So THAT's what happened to my shaving cream

First up, apologies I've been missing the odd blog every now and then. It's been a hectic few weeks and sometimes I just can't get to my mac to type away. Thanks for always popping on though to read my drivel! I'm trying to get at least 3 or 4 blogs out a week.

I've been neglecting shaving this week as I've been getting up early to host the breakfast show. I would rather sleep for an extra few minutes than be bald. But it's starting to look like I'm wearing a helmet so yesterday I went to shave my nog and realised I had no shaving cream left in the can. After a bit of sleuthing my wife showed me why...


Tayla-Jean decided to use my shaving foam for some artwork... with little Alyssa peering over the sun lounger, but keeping her distance.

So if you see me with some fluff on my head today because I couldn't shave, you know why.

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My favourite gift this past Father's Day

So for Fathers Day I didn't get any Apple devices. I suppose I am "Apple saturated" and don't really need any gadgets. Actually, I did get a Pod, it just didn't have an "i" in front of it. My girls bought me some chocolate scented Nespresso coffee pods. It was a nice way to wake up on Sunday. I also got a jersey for winter (no matching socks).

But my favourite gift of all was something my 3 year old Tayla-Jean made for me...


It's her first Fathers Day where she understands what its about, so it was really my first one as a Dad on the receiving end of some love. It was fantastic!

Yesterday we took the girls to Melrose Arch to ride their bikes in the piazza and have some lunch. Tayla-Jean is hooked on sushi these days ...


Alyssa is still content sucking an empty spoon...


That's the long weekend that was. It was all about the family. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
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R40000 up for grabs on my chart show!



A little bit of business news this morning. A big thanks to Kia Motors for being behind my radio show every Saturday. They have just renewed their annual contract with the biggest chart show in SA! What does this mean for you?... MORE amazing prizes coming up over the next few months! And we kick it of by giving away R40000 in cash at the end of this month!

Over the next 3 weeks go online to www.take40sa.co.za and enter the 40 second challange. It's a montage of 4 songs that are charting at the moment. Identify the tunes and you're in the draw for the money! The montage will change each week (you only need to crack one of them to be in the draw) and at the end of this month i could call you live on air to give you the money! The first 40 second montage will be online from tomorrow. Good luck!

Speaking of the chart show, this week's number 1 is Connell Cruise's "not just friends". Here's me chatting to him to let him know he's at number 1 in South Africa:


He's young, enthusiastic and very talented. Well worth getting hold of his debut self-titled album. And we'll see tomorrow if he can stick around at number 1 for 2 weeks in a row.

On the home front, my good friend Anita Olckers (www.anitaolckers.com) has taken some amazing pics of my little Alyssa who had her birthday on Wednesday. Here's a few pics:




If you are looking for a professional photographer to take pics of your kids, I highly recommend you pop onto her website and get in touch!

Have a great weekend, and i'll catch you on the radio tomorrow.
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A few birthday pics & the best steak in JHB

Yesterday Alyssa turned 1. Not that she really knew what the fuss was about. For her, it was just an opportunity to eat lots of sweets and cake.

Here we were just before heading out to the kiddies restaurant for the party:


This was her cake:


And here's Alyssa sitting on her Grandad's lap after devouring the cake:


I was so busy running between my two girls yesterday I didn't get to take too many pics, but I'll have more in a few days when I get them from our guests!

And then from one restaurant to another. Last night, Nicole and I went for dinner at Thomas Maxwell Bistro in Parkmore and it was without doubt the best steak I've ever had. Considering I've eaten a lot of cows in my life, that's quite a statement! In fact, the second best steak ever was at their sister restaurant Red Rabbit in Bryanston. It's well worth a visit if you are in the Sandton area.
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Hoppy birthday to my baby girl!


Having had testicular cancer as a teenager, Nicole and I were blessed when our first daughter Tayla-Jean was born. Two years later we were blessed with another miracle when we got news that we were having a second baby... born a year ago today!


To my little Alyssa, as you read this many years later in cyberspace, today is dedicated to you.

You have the patience of a saint putting up with your sister's torment every time she grabs something out of your hand. With your deep blue eyes, constant smile and inquisitive mind, you make mum and dad the happiest parents in the world. We love you.

Happy birthday my Chicken Sausage!
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Why my wife loves 84 inches.

Whilst at Monte Casino 2 nights ago for the Hangover 3 premiere, I dragged my wife into the LG store. Gadgets are my porn. Any chance I get, I browse at what I cannot afford, like this...


I'm not exactly sure what this heavenly rectangular 84 inch beast costs, but based on an article posted on MyBroadband's website (http://mybroadband.co.za/news/gadgets/78941-biggest-and-most-expensive-tvs-in-sa.html) about SA's most expensive TVs, I have a feeling it's the price of a small nation's annual GDP. By the way, I'm not sure why I'm groping the screen as if there's an image of Pamela Anderson on it.

My wife could do with 84 inches right now. She's "man-down" today with the flu and could do with some good TV time. Alyssa is also sick (again) with the flu. I would love for the Pilgrim household to go one week without someone needing a doctor.

Staying with my girls, this is what 2 of my tattoos are looking like at the moment after being touched up by Pepe yesterday:


"Tayla-Jean" looks so normal now. It's hard to believe it took over 2 years of laser surgery to remove the background, after another tattoo artist cocked it up. This is what it looked like at one stage....


If you have a tattoo that needs some laser work, I highly recommend Laserderm Dunkeld in Johannesburg (ask for Mezane).

Finally, a quick shout out to YOU magazine, who are now publishing my blogs every week or two. Thanks guys!!!!

Have a great weekend and we'll chat again on Monday!
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Parking off in Sandton

There's a great South Africanism called "picking up stompies". After the title of Monday's blog, so many people thought we actually moved into a new house over the weekend, when I was cryptically referring to the moving of my daughters' Wendy House. Now I know who just read the title of the blog and twitter and who actually read it :)


If you live in the Sandton area and need some "green time", yesterday afternoon my family and I took some time out and went for a walk at Mushroom Park in Sandton.


It's really well maintained and well worth a visit for some chill time. Speaking of chill time, Nicole and I are looking forward to some time out and are off to the movie premiere of Hangover 3 at Monte Casino tonight. Will let you know how it went in tomorrow's blog!
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In a household full of girls, I'm sometimes bewildered.

Being the only guy in a household full of girls can be really challenging and bewildering sometimes. Okay, Charles our Chihuahua is also male, but someone who squats when he does a pee doesn't count.

As a freelancer, with an office at home, I have pockets of free time in a day. So I'm one of the fortunate Dads that gets to spend a lot of time with his kids. My oldest, 3 year old Tayla-Jean, will often run to me when she falls or she needs something. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, it's Dad's side of the bed she comes to. Who must brush her teeth?...yep, Dad. And i'm the one that has to jump on the trampoline and play chase around the house.

So it always confuses my male pea sized brain when it's as if I've just jumped into a parallel universe and suddenly I don't get a hello or even a look. It's as if there's a glitch in the matrix.

And then, moments later, like the clouds have lifted and the sun is shining again, I'm the coolest Dad in the world once more.

Granted, Tayla-Jean is a little bit more emotional and senstive than my 11 month old Alyssa, but SHE does it too. For days on end I'm the one that can calm her down and get her to sleep in her cot. And then, like a savage plot twist in a Stephen King novel I am the sworn enemy.

And onto the third girl in the Pilgrim household, my wife. She reads my blog... so let me state she's ALWAYS sweet and kind (brownie points here please).

In a household full of girls (and one small male chihuahua), I'm often confused and left wondering what just happened?

I wouldn't change it for the world.
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My house with a hole.

It was a rough night last night. Little Alyssa had a 39C temperature and was not a happy camper. Someone told us that kids having temperatures all the time is just nature's way of letting parents know quickly that the child is sick and not just grumpy. We took her to the doctor this morning and it tonsillitis (again).

Tayla-Jean (my 3 year old) is doing much better since having her tonsils removed about 2 months ago. Here she was this morning taking photos of me while I was taking photos of her.

It's been a stressful few days in the Pilgrim household. We've been doing a small renovation to our patio, knocking out a wall and about to put a stacking door in it's place. There was a water pipe that we had to cut, but realised we couldn't shut off the house's water supply as the shut off valve had broke. It's taken 4 days to replace the valve. In the process, the water drained out the geyser and blew the element (which meant after the hot water back-washed into the toilets, we had no hot water left).

I've now replaced the element, and put a "non-return valve" on the geyser so we no longer have hot water in the loo (a steaming bowl of excrement is not a nice smell).

The irony is, even when the element in the geyser blew we should STILL have had hot water because it's a SOLAR geyser too. So, with all these mini disasters we realised the solar panels aren't working!  So that will hopefully be fixed today. I've spent 3 solid days with contractors ... keeping a house functioning is an expensive task!

When I need to retreat for a few minutes I would normally go to my "man cave", but that was converted into a kid's playroom a few months ago. So I do the next best thing... I buy something online! Any yes, it's always a gadget.

My new one is being delivered by UPS from the UK this morning... it's ANOTHER CCTV camera! This one is a Y-Cam HD Outdoor Bullet Camera. I swear hosting Big Brother must have rubbed off on my psyche.

After spending all the money on contractors to fix everything that's gone wrong and also buying the camera, maybe I should focus on actually buying the stacking doors now so I don't have a gaping hole on the side of my house.
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It's only a blog for parents with young kids today

This is only a blog for parents of toddlers today! Non-parents will fall asleep after the first line :)

My little angel is growing up. Tayla-Jean has been out of nappies for a good few months now during the day, but we've still put them on at night in case of any mishaps. We woke up this morning and decided today is the day... tonight we're going through the night without them.

It's partly born from the fact that no matter how many different ways I try and put on a Pampers Premium nappy (which is the rolls royce of nappies), the bloody thing still leaks almost every single night. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the brand and everything to do with the way I put the things on. So our logic is, if we're already washing bed sheets every day, why not see if Tayla-Jean is ready to go through the night without one and if there's a mishap, it's okay, I would have been washing the sheets in the morning anyway.

This is the kind of blog that she'll read in cyberspace in years to come and ask why I embarrassed her so much. It's more about writing it as a form of support group for mum and dad, because if we're going through it, there's a good chance other mums and dads reading this are going through the same phase!

Staying with Tayla-Jean, she's going through a Hello Kitty phase and we got her a beanie which she's now wearing all the time.

She's also been learning the basic concept of personal finance. Every time I go to work she mentions that the more I work, the more money she can put in her piggy bank... and she waves me goodbye with a smile on her face.


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The never-ending house alterations.

Today was one of those days when I woke up and decided that I'm going to get things done. It's more rare than an honest politician, but I got a bee in my bonnet and attacked my "to do" list with intense vigour!

Not that it was major things on the list, but its nevertheless little things that niggle at you until you do them. For example, I had to go to the pet store and buy more doggy poo anti bacterial carpet cleaning spray. No, not for my chihuahua, but for my 11 month old baby. She's got into a habit of plopping one out on the carpet the moment she has a moment of naked freedom. She's like a streaking dwarf that craps as she goes.

Also, we've decided that since my office has become a playroom, we need to convert a window into a full on sliding door into the garden. If fact, we've already done so many alterations to our house even though it's only just over 3 years old!  The reason behind it, is that we built the house BEFORE we had kids. Since our first daughter was born, our lounge location has changed 3 times (necessitating chasing cables into walls etc) and our lounge suite has changed 3 times as well to suit the new room.  My lounge surround sound system for watching movies... is now where the dining room is. At least we have good sound while chewing on chicken.

I guess with a house... it never ends! :)

It's a short blog as I'm about to go on radio and do a show. Until tomorrow!  ...
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Yes, that's MY kid screaming on the plane

Years ago, before becoming a devoted family man, I used to do gigs out of town, and on only 2 hours sleep get back on a plane and fly back to Johannesburg. If there happened to be a crying baby near me I would turn around and give the parents a scolding look as if to say "are you that bad a parent that you can't even control your kid on a plane".

Fast forward to 2013 and I am now that parent with the screaming child on the plane... and I realise how wrong I got it all those years ago!

Believe me, as a parent, by the time you turn around and give me that scolding look I'm already doing EVERYTHING in my power to calm the child down so that you don't need to pop a headache tablet at 33000 feet. If anything, your death stare makes me want to rip YOUR eyeballs out of your skull. Instead I turn into even more white trash... and glug down some red wine straight out of a dinky bottle to calm myself down...


Being a 4 hour flight back from Mauritius, eventually we get Alyssa to sleep for a short while and Nicole passed out from the stress as well...

Actually I'm not sure if she conked out from the stress or simply the bad odours that kept wafting past us because we were in the seats right next to the plane's toilet. Seriously, it must be the altitude that causes some people to give birth to dinosaurs in those loos. In fact the only thing that smells worse is SAA's poor excuse for an on-board meal. In fact, there is something even worse than the insipid food... it's the horrendous apathetic service you get from the SAA crew. It's as if they are doing you a favour by serving you. Give me Kulula ANYDAY.

But, the days prior to the flight from hell were amazing. We love going to Mauritius and quite often land up going to Sugar Beach because the resort is child friendly. Besides the beach and pool (including kids pool) they have large lawns for them to play on as well.

The girls had a lovely time playing in the sand and sea.

Nicole and the girls were there for 8 nights. Because of work I was only there 4 nights, but it was still enough to unwind and come back home relaxed. But as Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz... there's no place like home!
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Mauritius here I come

I can't take being home alone. There's only so much conversation I can have with Charles my chihuahua. With the girls overseas the home has no soul and it's now just a house. There's also only so many Woolies ready made meals I can eat!

One of the things I have been able to do though is watch quite a few movies over the past few days. One of the most enjoyable was 127 hours, about the hiker who got his arm caught under a boulder and eventually just cut it off.

I also started watching The Impossible, which follows a family at a holiday resort who are devastated when when the 2006 Tsunami hit. After 10 minutes I had to stop watching though considering my girls right now are holidaying at a similar resort!

I'll be joining them for a few days next week, so there won't be any blogging for a few days. Thanks for always popping onto the site. In fact, I've been spending the last few days designing a facelift for my website and hope to have it up and running in about 2 weeks time. I would love to hear your comments when it does go live (this site and the new one is designed using Rapidweaver for MAC).

Bye for now!


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My daughter and the North Korean bum bullet

Tayla-Jean had her tonsils out yesterday. While she was still goofed on medication at hospital she managed to smile a little and was very happy when Dad got into bed with her.

After a few hours at home though, the pain started kicking in and there were more than a few tears last night.

She's on a lot of medication, including the ones she hates the most, the bum bullets (suppositories). In between the sobs as the North Korean nuclear missile was latching on to its buttock target, she said to us:
"I'm not having a good day. You're bending my bum with those small things".

She's in for a rough few days, especially in a week when the scabs form in the throat. Mum and Dad are psyched and ready.

On a lighter but colder note, 48 hours ago we were using aircons to cool us down at night...  and then somone suddenly opened the fridge door in Johannesburg. It took me about 20 minutes to get the gas fireplace working (had to bleed the pipes), and in the kitchen I used a bit of psychological warfare on the cold... I switched on my virtual fireplace!
It might be cheesy, but it makes the room seem warmer!



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The birthday party

I'm not going to lie, when Nicole told me 2 nights ago that she had bought Tayla-Jean a dolls house and it needed assembling, I thought it would be a matter of slapping a few panels together and I would be done in 20 minutes.

But alas, it wasn't just a shack, it was a multi storey condo... in a million pieces so the Chinese manufacturers could get it all in the flattest box possible. Even all the "house furniture bits" were disassembled. 3 hours later and a few minutes before midnight it was done!
Just in case you're wondering what to get a 3 year old girl for birthday... this is a sure hit! Tayla-Jean has already spent hours playing with it.

Speaking of birthdays, hers was at 2.30pm yesterday at a kiddie fucntion venue in Sandton. For the record, the storm in the Johannesburg sky let rip at 2.35pm and only stopped 10 minutes after our party ended. Not that the kids minded being stuck in a room... it got them all closer to the cakes and sweets. This was my angel getting ready for the party...

And here is Tayla-Jean at the party venue, all set up outside just before the storm, waiting for all her friends to arrive...

This morning she is in hospital having her tonsils out, and I'm in Polokwane talking at a conference so can't be there until this afternoon. So this is an anxious dad today.
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A tribute to my daughter turning 3 today!

Because of testicular cancer I had at the age of 18, when Nicole and I got married we knew there was a very slim chance that we would ever have a child of our own. We were advised by specialists that even IVF might prove difficult. We indeed tried that route and it didn't work.

4 years ago, moving into a new house, we decided not to worry about things for a while and just go with the flow... and Nicole fell pregnant.

On the 3 April 2010 our little miracle baby was born (as a side note, we were blessed again 2 years with our second girl Alyssa, who is my chicken sausage).

Today, my little angel pie Tayla-Jean turns 3 years old. "Tayla" comes from a name I saw on the radio SMS line and "Jean" was the name of my late-mum who my daughters never got to meet.

Today is a simple tribute to a 3 year old girl who taught her Dad unconditional love. A girl who makes all the day's aggravations melt away when she gives Dad a hug and asks "are you okay?". Today is a tribute to Tayla-Jean Pilgrim:
Here's wishing this blog floats around in cyber space for many years to come and you come across it on google one day when you're much older. Just know that Dad loves you so much. I love you a hundred times more than the hundred kisses I give you everyday. At the end of each day when I get to bed exhausted because you made me jump for what seems like hours on the trampoline or chase you around the house, I fall asleep the happiest Dad in the world. I love you Angel Pie. Happy birthday!! xxx
This is my Tayla-Jean growing up over the past 3 years...

3 days old
6 months old
10 months old
1 year old
2 years old
3 years old

And if you are reading this blog 20 years into the future my Angel Pie... sorry we took your tonsils out 1 day later!!

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Dear wife, no, I'm not an adult baby!

How ironic that Carte Blanche had a story on adult babies last night (which I incidentally didn't see, switching off after the first 2 stories), because at about 8pm last night I got hit with a temperature that sent my neck into spasm from shivering so much.

Being in the lounge when it struck, I looked around desperately trying to find something like a blanket to throw over me to warm up. But alas, it's summer... who has blankets lying around their home in March?

I saw the next best thing... my wife. Nothing like someone else's body warmth to stop the shivers. I asked her for a hug and she started laughing, thinking I was being an adult baby (Carte Blanche) and needing a human "nu nu" blanket. No dear wife, your husband was freezing his ass off!

In the end it was a sprint to the bed where I turned on the electric blanket for the first time in months. Then 10 minutes later I was so hot I had to strip down. The joy of a fever. Through the night I went through 4 t-shirts waking up each time drenched in sweat.

And then this morning it was like nothing had happened and I was fine. How strange. Especially because I got the fever from Tayla-Jean who has had a temperature for 5 straight days despite being on anti-biotics and other fever meds.

In fact, the only peson oblivious to all of this at the moment is little Alyssa, who found much glee in brushing her teeth this morning with my toothbrush. Considering she only has 2 teeth, she landed up brushing a lot of gum.
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Those swollen dangly things have to go

What a difference a few hours can make. Just yesterday we were all having a nice supper at a kiddy venue in Sandton. A few hours later Tayla-Jean had a raging temperature and all hell broke loose.

Two weeks ago she had tonsillitis (for the 3rd time in 8 months). She's only just finished her anti-biotics, and she has tonsillitis again!

With all of us getting very little sleep, we were back at the doctor this morning. More anti-biotics. We'll see the specialist again next Tuesday and I have no doubt he will want to chop the tonsils out. Let's hope so! Those infected dangling stalagmites have to go (or is it stalactites?  I forget which ones hang down like bats snoozing in a 5 star hotel).

I'm sure the procedure has improved since I had mine out just after World War II, but no parent really enjoys their kid going under the knife no matter how simple the procedure has become. At least if she has the tonsils removed, Tayla-Jean will stop snoring like a drunken Russian sailor, and when we go on holiday next time, we won't have to get her her own room!
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