MARK'S (NOT SO) DAILY BLOG

Mark Pilgrim Kia

The fairy is not long in the tooth

There's something magical about the mind of a child. Not cynical at all. Simply believing.

It's a time where Santa really exists and there's excitement on Christmas morning when you realise that the cookies have been eaten by the fat guy and he left some presents as he climbed back up the non-existent chimney.

It's a time where your favourite pooch doesn't die, Fluffy simply goes to live on the farm with his mum and dad.

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And it's a time where money has never been so easy to make. Simply leave a tooth under a pillow and the tooth fairy comes in the night and exchanges it for money. There were times as a teenager I wish I could have taken my step dad's false teeth and left them under the pillow to make myself a quick buck.

My oldest daughter has just lost another tooth, and this is one of the big front ones. When it popped out yesterday we were all jubilant. My daughter was happy because she knew the fairy was coming, and mum and dad relieved because we haven't been able to brush the tooth for days as it dangled precariously like a floppy stalactite from a bat cave.

It's also one of those moments as a parent when you realise your child is growing up. It's bittersweet. You want them to see them blossom and hit those milestones, yet you also want them to stay small and innocent forever.

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I've learnt my lesson from a cash flow point of view though. When Tayla-Jean lost her first tooth we were all so excited the "tooth fairy" left her R100! What the hell was the fairy thinking? Setting that kind of precedent is ludicrous considering there are 19 more baby teeth to fall out. Now the fairy only leaves R20. If my daughter ever asks why the remuneration has gone down I'll try and explain as simply as I can about how our president fired Mr Nene the finance minister and it caused a rapid depreciation in the value of our currency, resulting in everyone feeling the pinch...even the tooth fairy.

That's me just being cynical. Let's get back to the innocence of a child. Tayla-Jean got a tooth fairy depository upgrade a few months ago and she no longer leaves the tooth in a little box under her pillow. She has a tooth fairy front door on her wall. The fluttering dentist opens it to get the tooth and leave the money.

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Watching the glee on her face this morning as she saw the glitter on the floor as well as the written note and money behind the door was worth more money than the tooth fairy could ever leave behind.


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Fatherhood and bunnies.

It's been a while since I've written a blog about fatherhood, but how can I resist after a long weekend of chocolate bunnies... and more chocolate bunnies.

I think as adults we get a little jaded and forget how special and how much fun events like Christmas and Easter are for kids. My girls woke up at the crack of a sparrow's fart on Sunday morning to go Easter egg hunting.

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The race was on. Who would get the hidden eggs first... my girls, the chihuahuas or the human sized ants at Harties? The damn ants are so big I think they can be used for human organ transplants.

But neither the flesh eating ants, nor my pint size pooches could come between my girls and chocolate. Within minutes Tayla-Jean and Alyssa had scooped up about 40 Lindt bunnies and we now have a cupboard full of chocolate rabbits. Which is not good for me... 2 glasses of wine in the evening and I'm on the hunt for the golden foiled creatures from heaven. Nicole usually hides the choccies from me, but there's only so much hiding you can do when there's a rabbit farm in your kitchen.

I would say it's easy to burn off the extra calories, but I'm currently boycotting my medical aid's attempt to get me to run a friggin' marathon every morning at a "vigorous pace" so that I don't have to pay for my Apple Watch. I'll pay for the watch rather than give myself another bloody heart attack pretending to be Usain Bolt in my suburb.

But there again, eating too many Lindt bunnies probably doesn't help matters.

In other news, I'll be helping out quite a bit on Hot 919's Afternoon Drive Show over the next few weeks. My good friend Sash is on and off as he is busy with another project, so Disi and I will be keeping you company as you navigate the Jo'burg traffic home. Lock on if you can!

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And staying with Hot 919FM. A big welcome to Kia Fourways who become the new vehicle sponsor of The Mark Pilgrim Show on Saturdays. Great to have Chris and the team on board!

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Parenthood and discipline. It's a war zone!

Every morning is like a lucky packet (if you remember those)... you simply just don't know what you're going to get. Will it be peace and harmony in the Pilgrim household or will it be a shit storm like never before.

My 5 year old is going through a defiant stage. Everything has a condition or rule attached. Want her to brush her teeth? She says wait 1 minute, or she wants to do something first (like crawl towards the bathroom on her stomach pretending to be a snail).

If I had hair I would pull it out. There's two ways of handling the situation. Threat of punishment or promise of reward. The option we try is dependent on our mood at the time of the crime.

Punishment involves no television. Tayla-Jean doesn't care. It also means she has to sleep in her own room (she likes sleeping with her sister). There's no sweets over the next 24 hours. She handles it in her stride. And then noodles are placed in the "sad jar". Ironically this affects her more than the sugar ban.

Then there's positive reinforcement. The allure of a pretty dress at the end of the week if she doesn't bounce off the walls when it's bed time. The promise of a milkshake if she's polite and says "please" and "thank you".

There are a multitude of books dealing with defiant kids. Sometimes though I think us parents have to realise it's just part of growing up. You have to just get in the trenches and deal with it. There'll be days when I feel like the dad from Bob Carlisle's song "Butterfly kisses", and then there's days I feel more like I'm a hostage negotiator from the movie "White House Down".

Parenthood. Not for sissies.

Onto other news. If you're in the Johannesburg North area, there's a new "after-work" venue called The Windjammer (3 Blueberry Road, Honeydew). This coming Friday I'll be playing some of your fav tunes and also the band Brent Harris (Just Jinger) And Thee Jam with be playing too. It all kicks off about 6pm. Hope to see you there!

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Every parent with a teenage daughter needs to see it

As a dad of 2 young girls I am overly protective. At shopping malls I have caused more than one scene when I've swiped someone's hand away who was going in to touch my girls. I don't care if you want to shake their hand or pinch their cheek... DO NOT TOUCH MY GIRLS.

What will be even harder to control is when they are older and, as teenagers, do things on their own. After watching this social experiment I'm even more paranoid as a Dad...



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Father's Day... and my fear of feet

It's the best day of the year for dads.

I was so excited to get showered with hugs and kisses that I woke up at 5am and couldn't go back to sleep. Usually both my girls are up by 6.30am, but (of course) they slept in late yesterday and only woke up at 7.30am!

It was worth it though. Tayla-Jean had been working on her Father's Day card for about 2 weeks and she was bursting with pride as she came into the room and gave it to me. Alyssa had also done a card at school (even though the honesty of a 3 year old... she said she didn't actually do the card).

I haven't really told many people this, but I suffer from podophobia. Feet repulse me. I don't like touching other peoples feet and definitely don't like my feet or legs being touched. If the devil had contributed to designing any part of our body... it would be that part. So when my 3 year old said she wanted to give me a foot massage for Father's Day, I was in a quandary. This is is something special my baby girl wanted to do for me. So I sucked it up and stretched out my feet. I was dying inside, but she loved doing it!

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Breakfast in bed was my favourite egg on toast... and a(nother) Nespresso Machine!

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Well actually, the Nespresso machine will be for a new house we bought a few weeks ago. In fact, at this stage the Nespresso machine is the only appliance/furniture we have for it, so it will definitely be the centre of attention in the whole house, let alone the kitchen.

Father's Day was great. I can't wait for next year!!




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Best Father's Day gift ever

Over the years I've received various Father's Day gifts, from the stereotypical socks to USB memory sticks, and each year as my girls get older they become more and more aware of what Father's Day is all about. Yeah, presents are great and so is breakfast in bed. But the best present of all is just being showered with love from Tayla-Jean and Alyssa.

My 5 year old (with the help of her teacher), filled this form out yesterday:

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By the way, I'm flattered she only thinks I'm 35 years old.

Ultimately though, I think the last few lines in my upcoming book describes how I feel about Father's Day:
But when it comes to my legacy in life, there is only one thing that matters to me. It’s not money nor fame. When it does come the time to inscribe a message on my tombstone, my career means nothing to me. All I want it to say is:
Mark Pilgrim… the best dad ever.





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Happy Birthday Alyssa!!!

To my little Alyssa...

From the moment you were born you were literally a bundle of joy...

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You are our little laughing buddha...

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Your happiness radiates outwards and brings warmth to everyone you meet...

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Your smile is contagious...

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You love Barbie the Popstar so much...

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You are OUR popstar!!

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I love you my Little Chicken Sausage. xxx

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Happy 3rd birthday!!!!
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Yesterday I was the cool dad.

Yesterday it was my turn to pop past my daughter's school and read a story to the class. Well, actually it was Nicole's turn, but she got stage fright a day before and I stepped in!

As parent we are so proud of our kids in whatever they do, but it's not often you get to see your young child proud of you as a dad or a mum. As I sat there with about 15 children and my daughter next to me, I saw her shyness was gone, replaced with confidence, happiness and pride. HER dad was reading a story to the class.

Here's a pic of us sitting in front of the class along with her amazing teacher Pippa:

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I chose to read the Greedy Rainbow and it was a hit (Phew)...

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When she's a teenager in years to come I'll probably embarrass her more and the "cool dad" will be a remnant of the past, but for now I'm gonna bask in the glory and enjoy the moment.

She's already selected the next book for me to read when my turn comes around again later in the year.


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Happy birthday to my girls

If you're a parent you know how expensive it can be having a birthday party for your kids.

That's why Nicole and I strategically decided to have a small family birthday party for each of my girls on their birthdays in April and June, and then one combined party in the middle of the 2 birthdays where all of their friends are invited, which happened to be last Friday.

They loved it. There were so many kids and mums on Friday afternoon (along with 2 dads...one of them being me), that the kiddy party venue was frenetic hub of screaming minions.

We did the usual jumping castle and face painter, but what my wife has also been doing for the last 2 birthdays is Clamber Club. The 4 and 5 year olds LOVE it. It's a kiddy obstacle course with facilitators that keep them entertained for over an hour. I won't go into detail about it, but you can find out more about them here.

Tayla Jean is fixated on rainbows at the moment, so she had a rainbow Barbie cake:

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Alyssa is obsessed with "Popstar Barbie" and could not stop staring at her cake:

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But their favourite part of the day was when we got home and they were able to rip open all the presents!

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The girls had a great time. My wallet is just happy that the next big birthday party is only in a year's time!



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What we do for our kids

Tayla-Jean's birthday was last week. My baby girl turned 5 years old.

As a present for her (and her sister having a birthday in 2 months), we got rid of the jungle gym which they no longer play with and bought a wendy house. It's an amazing playroom with its own little porch. I hope they like it because it took up a quarter of my garden!

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To go with it, my sister-in-law bought a "kitchen". What is it about furniture in a box? When things are assembled you think it looks quite simple to put together... until you have the very same item unassembled in a million pieces...

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You've got to be in the right frame of mind to tackle something that has a thousand nuts and bolts, so last night I got stuck in and did it. Three hours, one bloodied thumb and 4 glasses of wine later, it was complete...

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Two broken backs later, Nicole and I had manoeuvred it into through the hobbit sized wendy house door and it was in place...

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Happy birthday to my baby girl. Enjoy playing in your wendy house (and now smaller garden).



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Daughter making me do my homework.

For the last few months, whenever I put Tayla-Jean to bed and we've finished reading our story, we switch the light off and she asks me questions about anything and everything. For 10 minutes I sound like the most intelligent person on earth as I try and thumb suck some answers. For example here are some:

Q: Dad, why do we have cheeks?
A: So the food doesn't fall out of our mouth.

Q: Dad, why do the dogs need to eat?
A: Otherwise there would be piles of uneaten dog food in the world.

Q: Dad, why do we need to sleep?
A: Because there's not enough TV shows for us to watch all the way through the night.

A few weeks back it got interesting when Tayla-Jean came across a human anatomy app on her/my iPad and was fascinated by the red arteries and blue veins. So, instead of bullshitting my way through things, I did my homework and started really explaining the basic concept of the circulatory system.

Some of the words are quite large and I new it would be hard for her to remember them, so I used a strategy that kids love... a rhyme! This is what we have so far:

Oxygenated haemaglobin,
Keeps the circulation a flowing'!
Blood and air mix together,
but it doesn't last forever!
When it goes up the vein
DE-oxygenated is it's name.

You cut your finger on a plate,
Your blood begins to coagulate.

Its still a work in progress, but now my 4 year old can say "oxygenated haemaglobin'!
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Losing the nu-nu is a no-no

Here's another one of those "parenting" blogs. If you're not into kids, you might want to skip this one and come back tomorrow! :)

My girls are growing up so fast.

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No matter how much a child grows up though, there's so often one item they like holding onto. It's their comfort "thing", their 'nu-nu".

For my girls, it's always been little blankets. My 2 year old still goes EVERYWHERE with hers:

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My 4 year old Tayla-Jean has pretty much grown out of it, and it never normally leaves her room (in fact, trying to find a photo of her blanket I had to go back to when she was 2 years old as well):

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But even now, when she goes to sleep, she still likes having it in her bed. So when we went on holiday it made sense that we took it with to Mauritius. What was the ONE THING we left behind in the hotel room when we checked out? Yep, the friggin' blanket! How to feel shitty as parents! :)

Despite contacting the hotel, it was never handed in to lost property, so we've had a rough few evenings putting Tayla-Jean to sleep.

One day we'll look back at this and laugh, but for now we've placed an urgent order with our neighbour to please crochet another nu-nu blanket ASAP!



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Surgery today

Sunday was just one of THOSE days where everything goes pear shaped.

In fact it started on Saturday when Eskom kicked in load shedding at Forest Hill City at 2pm, slap bang in the middle of payday weekend trade. I lost just over 50% of my turnover as everyone just left the mall and it never recovered after that. Hoping to make things up yesterday turned out to be an absolute disaster because thieves stole City of Tshwane power cables (for the fourth time in a month) and we could not trade at all. I lost 100% of my turnover for the busiest Sunday of the month.

Our frozen yoghurt machines pull a lot of 3 phase power, so as a small store, we simply can't afford a generator big enough (besides there would be no place to put it). But, even if we had a generator, with everyone leaving the mall during a blackout, we'd be trying to sell to nobody. The only option is for the mall to have a generator to power the stores, costing a couple of million. I feel it's their duty to keep feet in the mall, because these constant power cuts (whether by Eskom or thieves) is seriously damaging the reputation of Forest Hill City Mall. Businesses will start folding if this isn't sorted out soon.

As if that wasn't enough, we had our medical emergency on Sunday afternoon. Tayla-Jean slipped and smashed her chin into a tiled floor. It burst open like an over ripe tomato. As you read this blog today, she is in hospital where a plastic surgeon is operating on her. She has been very brave throughout the whole ordeal, but Nicole and I are wrecks!

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And then the icing on the cake was Alyssa developing a 39C temperature last night. Fortunately this morning the temperature has subsided.

So forgive me for not sticking to my clean eating 100%, but by the end of Sunday I needed a cheat glass of wine! At least my meals were still on track and it's been a weekend of egg and chicken salad. Having dropped 3.5kg last week, I'm determined to drop another 1 or 2 this week to get the body fat percentage down.

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On a lighter note, since I couldn't be at my store with no power, I joined the Vespa team for the biggest Vespa gathering ever in Johannesburg on Sunday morning. About 200 of us made our way through Sandton with the final stopping point being Parkhurst. We looked like a swarm of bees descending upon the restaurants late Sunday morning!

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Here's to a good week ahead, where my girls get better, the power stays on, the Vespa stays upright, and my weight comes down.

Cheers!


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I was a... princess for a day.

This past weekend I clocked another year under the belt. I'm not ashamed of my age. Quite the contrary, I embrace it. I turned...



The serious side of the celebration is that after almost pegging at 18 from cancer and 38 from a heart attack, my age is almost an act of defiance! You have to love (and embrace) bonus time!

I didn't go too large over the weekend though. In fact, the biggest irony is that despite the industry i've been in for the last 20 years ,which is all about glitz and glamour, I prefer low key events. Lunch was with my close friends at a restaurant in Melrose Arch, and then for dinner it was just Nicole and I.

My staff at Smooch Forest Hill also surprised me with a birthday cake...



And my girls baked me a cake. Well, actually that's ALMOST true. They helped mum bake the cake, by licking the icing of the mixer...



Oh, and let me not forget, Tayla-Jean insisted on turning me into a princess on the morning of my birthday...



Speaking of princess, Tayla-Jean and her best friends dressed up yesterday to perform their first ever dance recital on stage at the Barnyard Theatre in Sandton...



She looked so beautiful in her dress. As a dad, I almost shed a tear... because I couldn't be there. While she was at the Barnyard, I was on a flight to Durban for work. As luck would have it, my daughter landed up being too shy to go on stage. She definitely isn't following in Dad's footsteps, but I was nevertheless so proud of my little girl.

As I write this blog I'm overlooking Durban's North Beach. I haven't been here in years. Whenever we come to the area, we always stay in Umhlanga, but this time around I'm at the Elangeni Hotel to give a talk this morning to Old Mutual brokers. I have to say, the hotel has had a major revamp and is fantastic. Well done Southern Sun!

And while in Durban, I just HAD to have curry last night...



YUM!! I'm here for another night before heading off to Port Elizabeth tomorrow, so I think tonight's menu will be curry again!

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Gadgets and old school stuff

It's my birthday tomorrow and every year Nicole struggles to come up with an idea for a present. After all, there's not much I need, and most of the gadgets I WANT are just too expensive!

This year though she knocked the ball out the park with something that means nothing to others, but means the world to me.

Back in the late 90s we all still played CDs, and whilst at 5FM released 3 compilations through EMI. Two of them were 80s's albums (the first one went just short of Gold) and also a rock album. Production of them was discontinued years ago, but Nicole has now preserved the great memories for me...



I absolutely love it!

From old school to new technology. Alyssa had a fever last night and I was able to try a new product that might be coming to South Africa. The importer has asked me to give it a test and I must say, it works really well. It's called the iThermometer and it provides a real-time temperature updates of my daughter. There is a small flat sensor (that she doesn't even realise is there) which I placed under her armpit, that transmits to an Apple device like an iPad. From there it streams into the cloud so my wife  can be at work and still get a "live" temperature reading whenever she wants. It also sends warnings if the fever exceeds defined levels.



I'll keep you posted as to if and when it gets released in South Africa. It's a cool gadget with very practical functionality.

Staying with gadgets, I went to the launch of NODE last night. It's a new device from Altech in SA that controls your media entertainment, security cameras, appliances, a telephone system, and even allows you to pay your speeding fines! Well done Altech on putting so much into one box.



If you're into home automation as well as media streaming, then you can read more about it here:
www.node.co.za.

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The hair raising morning at home

My two girls came into our room at about 5.30 this morning and instead of asking for their iPads, said they were off to go draw in Tayla-Jean's room.

Nicole and I, very grateful for a few more minutes in bed so we could wake up like normal human beings, waved them goodbye and wished them well on their journey down the passage.

A few minutes later Tayla-Jean popped into our bedroom again to show us how careful she is when walking with paper-cutting scissors (she's been taught to stretch out her arm and point the scissors to the ground as if she is pointing a stick at the floor). Semi-comatose Mum and Dad once again smiled from the bed and then continued nursing our cups of coffee.

Thats when things took a nefarious turn. After about 5 minutes of silence from the adjacent bedroom we heard laughter followed by the words: "Look Alyssa, I did it. I cut your hair"...

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Whether Tayla-Jean had planned it all along, or she got a sudden spurt of creativity when she had the locks of her sister in her hand, she decided to make a masterpiece with them and got hard to work...

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A few minutes later it was done, and quite well done I might add... a hair shoe:

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To save Alyssa any embarrassment when she gets older and comes across this blog, I'm not including a picture of my 2 year old with a bald spot on her head.
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What I put my family through

Imagine a child that has had so much sugar, they're buzzing like the energiser bunny. That's how Tayla-Jean was yesterday (without the actual sugar consumption), when Medi-Clinic's camera crew came to our house to shoot for the cover of their quarterly magazine.

Alyssa took the shoot in her stride and smiled when she felt like it, and then played on the slide (out of frame) the rest of the time!

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(We hope nobody noticed my chihuahua Cappuccino that was about to hump Nicole's leg in the shot above).

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A big up to my wife as well, who is not a big fan of being in front of the camera. My friend Kim (who does the make up for the judges on Idols) popped past to give Nicole a bit of a makeover and she looked looked dazzling in front of the camera!

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We look forward to the magazine coming out in a month or two! Thanks Pilgrim family for doing the shoot!
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Yesterday I bought a dress

As a parent I fall into the trap of getting so involved with work that i'm not really focussed when my daughters ask me to play with them. It also doesn't help having an office at home where I'm always popping into it to send an email or write an article "quickly".

So yesterday I decided to switch off the phone and close the laptop. Tayla-Jean and I went shopping for a pretty dress (for her, not me). First up though, we made a pitstop for some freezos...

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And then the shopping started...

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Fortunately she took her purchasing patterns from me and not my wife, because after only a few minutes she knew what dress she wanted...

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We got home and Tayla-Jean turned into a little princess...

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Now that was a great morning away from work.
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The weekend that was

It's been a busy few days. It was a bumper weekend at my SMOOCH store! Thanks to everyone that popped past for a dose of delicious frozen yoghurt! A big thanks also goes to the team at Jacaranda FM who did their shows live from right outside my doors!

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Whilst I still do some of my other voice over work etc, I am spending a lot of time at the store making sure it's up and running properly. In fact, you know you've clocked in the long hours when you leave and your car is the only one left in the shopping centre parking lot!

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While I was doing my thing, my girls were having fun elsewhere. Tayla-Jean rode her first horse!

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And Alyssa tucked into some Sushi, showing some good chopsticks skills for a 2 year old (even if she did use them to spear the sashimi).

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I'm sitting at Cape Town airport right now waiting to catch a plane back to Johannesburg. having a little bit of downtime on my hands, I plan to catch up on a few episodes of Game of Thrones. I just have to be careful watching the show on the plane though as the person next to me might think I'm watching porn!

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Peace at home!

There is peace in the valley!

For a solid year my girls have been fighting. Nicole and I sometimes feared coming home because we knew we would be entering a war zone. But the tides have shifted in recent weeks and it seems we all successfully weathered the storm!

I'm not saying theres no squabbles, but things have improved to the point where Tayla-Jean (the chief instigator in the battles), even wants to sleep in her sister's bed at night...

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The downside is, when one of them wakes up at 5.30am...they both wake up now! It's a small price to pay for harmony.

Speaking of harmonies, Jacaranda FM will be broadcasting live from outside my SMOOCH store this Saturday! If you're in the area, pop on past Forest Hill City Mall. It's going to be lots of fun!

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Yay, my girls are coming home!

While I've been working in Swaziland and SA over the past couple of days, my girls have been frolicking in the sea in Umhlanga.





It's amazing how a house is no longer a home when the family is away. It's just been me and my chihuahuas.  To pass the time in my empty house I started watching Game of Thrones last night...



I watched the first episode while eating dinner... I almost couldn't finish my meal seeing so much blood and gore! Having said that, I'm 3 episodes in and hooked!

I've also been spending a lot of time at my SMOOCH store at Forest Hill City. Thanks to everyone that's come past already and wished me well in my new venture (I call it my mid-life crisis).

Of course there are so many people that don't know I've quit radio and now own a frozen yoghurt store... the initial confusion on customers faces is priceless as they know they've seen me somewhere before, and then the quizzical expressions when the penny drops and they realise who's helping them behind behind the till. Thanks for the good laughs my staff and the customers themselves are having!

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Hello darkness my old friend...

Ask me how much revenue my new shop has generated since Sunday and the answer will be ZERO! Thanks to the Tswane Municipality's inability to safeguard their own electrical sub stations, not one, but 2 of them were vandalised over the weekend, with the guys stealing millions of rands worth of copper cables (they recycle them for cash). So hundreds of thousands of homes (and my store) has been without power since Sunday morning.

We managed to save our product and transported 120 litres of milk and 150 litres of yoghurt to my business partner's other restaurant where he has a huge walk in fridge!

Not that we spilt any, but as the saying goes, no use crying over spilt milk. We're hoping the power comes back on today!

By the way, Gareth Cliff has invited me onto his show on Friday morning, where we'll chat about frozen yoghurt, and the long standing rumour... was he responsible for me getting me fired from 5FM 10 years ago? I'll be in studio just after 7am. Lock on if you can!

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As I don't live in Tswane, I actually did have power at home last night. Nicole went out for dinner with her girlfriends. With my 2 year old asleep, Tayla-Jean and I had a pyjama party in the lounge, scoffing pro vitas with cheese and marmite (yum!).

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Okay, I had wine as well and she had "juicy wine" (Liquifruit). She's at a great age now where we can have long conversations about things. Being a Dad to 2 girls is the greatest thing... even if I have to watch Barney or Frozen 10 times a day!
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The Dogg was Snooping...

Every now and then you get a song, regardless of whether you like or not, that just sticks in your head and you land up reciting the same few words over and over again. The latest one haunting me is Jason Derulo and Snoop Dogg's track "Wiggle"...



In my frustration of muttering "wiggle wiggle wiggle" to myself every 5 minutes I took to twitter to vent my frustrations and simply said "Damn you Jason Derulo and Snoop Dogg". Five minutes later I got a retweet from Snoop Dogg himself :)

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I thought that was quite cool. Sorry, let me get the lingo right... it was the Shizzle!

The highlight of my weekend though was not getting a Snoop Dogg tweet, but celebrating Father's Day with my two young girls who are now old enough to know that it's dad's special day! I got this card..

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And I got lots of hugs and kisses...

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Speaking of kisses, my SMOOCH store is taking shape! This past weekend the guys were tiling and over the next few days the "magic" starts happening!

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We hope to open our doors as Forest Hill City in Centurion in about a week's time!
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This weekend it's all about being a Dad.

So it's Father's Day this Sunday and I'm SO looking forward to lying in bed and having breakfast brought to me by my girls! Nicole asked me what I would like as a gift. I said 16GB of computer RAM for my Macbook. I think I'm getting a t-shirt. That's cool too :)

All I really need though is a big hug from my girls.

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Dove the soap (oh hang on, it's not a soap, it's 1/4 moisturiser!) have just released a great commercial for Dads:



Since I'm sharing YouTube videos, this one is brilliant. A guy was stuck overnight at LAX Airport and decided to make a music video just using his iPhone:


Finally, just a quick update on my SMOOCH store opening on 23 June at Forest Hill City. The guys are hard at work doing the shop fitting:

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When we open it will look like this:

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We're looking for college/university students that want to work casual shifts on weekends/evenings/holidays. If you qualify and are interested, please send your CV to SmoochFHC@gmail.com.

It's also the final countdown towards my last radio show on 28 June.  I've done 441 countdowns since July 2005, with only 3 to go. Hopefully you can tune in for my last show on Saturday 28 June 10-2pm!
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Okay purple blob, you're done.

My little angel Alyssa had her 2nd birthday party yesterday and she had the time of her life. She is Barney mad, so no guesses what the theme was...

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The party was going to be at our home, but my wife never anticipated everyone RSVP'ing! Whilst we loved having ALL our friends and kids over (this translated into about 30 kids and 50 adults), we simply couldn't accommodate everyone in our garden, which you can mow simply by using scissors, so we had to make a quick change of venue and had it at her folk's place.

We hired in a jumping castle and something called Clamber Club, where these guys do fun obstacle courses for the kids (they loved it):

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But I think it's the cake all kids love the most...

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Kids parties are always exhausting, especially when it's your own kids, so by the end of the afternoon we returned to our humble abode and collapsed... Tayla-Jean and Alyssa were like energiser bunnies though as they were still buzzing after eating chocolate and sweets all day!

Thanks to everyone who came to the party... and to my neighbour Wayne who lent us his Barney cut-out wall!

Sorry Barney, this WAS your year, but next year you'll be replaced with fairies or princesses. I better start saving now...
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Happy birthday to my little angel Alyssa!

I get very emotional when it comes to my kids birthdays. I think back to the day they were born. To all the times they made me laugh and cry. You see, as a testicular cancer survivor, my prognosis of having children was slim to non-existent.

Well, Nicole and I beat those odds naturally... twice! Two years ago my second bundle of joy came into the world. Today is Alyssa's birthday!  To my little Chicken Sausage...

From the moment you were born you stole my heart...
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Even as a baby your smile made the day's frustrations melt away...
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We play silly buggers and laugh at ourselves...
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Right now in your life, you're fixated with Barney. You love having long showers with your sister. You get upset if you can't feed the chihuahuas.  And you draw me pictures everyday...sometimes on the wooden floor.

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When you read this in cyberspace in 15 years time, just know that Dad loves you so much. Thank you for being in our lives. Happy birthday!!!
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My house is "girl-down" at the moment

Parents know the cycle. For every few weeks of a germ free household, the wheel always turns and the kids WILL get sick.

Earlier this week my 2 year old Alyssa was off school because she contracted pink eye. Two days later she was much better... and then Tayla-Jean got it and had to stay away from school. Today she goes back... Alyssa spent last night vomiting so she's off sick again.

When adults get sick we tend to aim and minimise the splatter. When a 2 year old vomits, its usually everywhere! At 3 o'clock this morning I had her bed stripped bare and was washing linen. As I write this blog at 8am I have done 4 loads of washing already!

My only distraction this morning was a stupid comment by Charlize Theron which Sky News is reporting on. Look, we all make gaffs. I've said my fair share, and I'm sure it'll happen again that I'll say something stupid I'll want to retract. But today its not my turn, it's hers.

She equated the paparazzi invasion into her life to being raped (story here). Let me say that I obviously have no idea the mental trauma a rape victim actually goes through, but what I do know is that people don't choose to be victims... whereas Charlize CHOSE her career.

She knew what she was getting in to. It's not as if paparazzi have been lying dormant all these years and chose her to break out and wreak havoc in her life. I don't get these celebrities who choose their career path, spending the first few years seeking any attention and publicity they can get, and then when they are "cool and wealthy" they reject the very system that made them "cool and wealthy". I understand her desire to protect her child from the razzmatazz, but it's a far cry from being raped Ms Theron.

Anyway, I feel better know that I've vented!

Onto other news. Yesterday was the launch of Forest Hill City, the new mega mall in Centurion where my SMOOCH store will be situated. I say "will be", because we only start shop fitting on Monday. As with any mega project, the mall suffered many delays and at yesterday's launch a lot of the shops were not open yet. Having said that, everyone should be finished by the end of June and the centre is going to be spectacular! Here are some pics from the section of the mall that is complete:



This is what my store looks like at the moment:


I promise there is magic happening behind that fake white wall!! Our new expected launch date is 22 June. We also have the ice rink right next to us which is starting to take shape:


That's my news for now. Have a great weekend!!
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Pilgrim household update

So the Pilgrim household is on the mend! Alyssa is feeling a lot better now that she is almost over her Pharyngitis and bronchitis.


I'm still leaking spider gunk out of my abdomen...nothing new there!

Even though I'm hobbling around I'm also dashing around with excitement as we begin shop fitting the Smooch store next week. It will take about a month to get everything in place and we'll open along with all the other retailers on 29 May when the new mega mall, Forest Hill City, officially opens its doors.

Closer to the time we will be interviewing students for weekend work at the store, so if you live in Centurion area and want to earn money whilst working for a funky brand, drop me an email and i'll let you know when the interviews take place towards the middle of May (mark@markpilgrim.co.za)!




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The weekend that was.

Tayla-Jean is blessed to have lots of friends who celebrated her birthday with her this past weekend.

I've seen how her excitement and joy has evolved as each birthday comes along. Her first birthday came and went with her sleeping through half her party. When she turned 2, she enjoyed the sweets, but didn't really absorb that other people were around. For her 3rd birthday I noticed a change. For the first time she was really absorbing it was her special day. And now, as she turns 4, it was as if she won the lottery! She loved her friends being at her party and she LOVED all the presents!

Here she is with her friends and cake:


And this was the aftermath of opening presents at home with her best friend!:


For me, the party continued later at Tiger Tiger on Saturday night as I deejayed at a Nitefever reunion gig. Nitefever was a legendary club in Johannesburg I co-owned back in the early 2000s in Fourways. It was great to see so many of the old faces back for one more celebration!

Here I am with DJ Lior and DJ Costa (the legendary deejay behind the BUMP CDs and niteclub). In fact, I was the only person in the box without "DJ" in my name! :)


On Sunday morning I was a little fragile... I realised though it wasn't from alcohol (as I didn't have any). It's just age catching up with me!

Have a great week!

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Happy birthday to my baby girl!

Four years ago today a little bundle of joy came into our lives. 
Tayla-Jean turns 4 today!

Day 1

1 years old

2 years old


3 years old

4 years old! 

Happy birthday angel pie!
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The weekend that was

What a difference a few days can make. In my last blog I wrote about my little chihuahua that kept crapping upstairs because he could climb the stairs, but not yet go down them. This weekend, he braved the height, faced his fears and now scoots up AND down. And he still does the odd poo upstairs.

This weekend was also a big moment for Tayla-Jean. A non-parent wouldn't appreciate the moment, but for us it was a milestone. My daughter progressed from a normal car seat to a booster seat. This is probably the equivalent of giving a teenager a set of keys for their own car. You see, now she gets to use a normal seat belt for the first time. She's been beaming and talking about it non stop!


This past weekend was also a twitter record for my show. Based on tweets per second, the #KIATake40SA trended worldwide alongside the politics of RUSSIA and the disappeared Malaysian plane #MH370. It happened all because I was giving away an autographed postcard of One Direction. The boys have some passionate fans out there!




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Everyone cooling down in Pilgrim household

The Pilgrim household is slowly returning to normal! Both my girls and my wife have got past their fevers and everyone is now back to 36-37 degrees.

Well, actually that's not true. Our two chihuahuas have a core body temperature of 38-39 degrees. In fact I was told that chihuahuas were bred in Mexico as hot water bottles. Try having one of them on your lap on a hot summer night and you land up with sweat on your thighs in a way that looks very unappealing.

Our 12 week old puppy Cappuccino is settling in nicely. He now knows where he should and should not poo. He doesn't always listen, but at least he knows! In fact, his only problem is that he loves climbing up the stairs, but hasn't yet quite figured out how to climb down them again. So every now and then we hear a squeal from above with a slightly cross-eyed chihuahua looking dauntingly at the Grand Canyon:


My first SMOOCH store is starting to conceptually take shape. At this stage we are working with the architect and shopping centre, designing the store front and interior. It's amazing to be part of the process and also great to be involved in something new! Being a gadget man, I'm loving sinking my teeth into the different security camera options and till systems.

Speaking of tills, we put quite a bit of cash in a restaurant's cash register last night as all the parents of Tayla-Jean's class got together for a dinner to get to know each other a bit better:


That's my news for now! I'm on air tomorrow morning 6-9am on 94.7 Highveld Stereo. If you're around, i'll chat to you then!
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The weekend that was

With so much rain coming down in Johannesburg over the past few days, my doggie poo gazebo is proving to be a big hit. Not so much for the dogs, as they still seem to wander past it boundaries and get drenched in the garden, but at least I'm quite dry while I stand there waiting for them to do their business!

Our little chihuahua has settle in nicely. Cappuccino is now almost 12 weeks old and he's tiny legs can carry him up our stairs. He just hasn't figured out yet how to come back down... or that my finger is not a sausage:


Onto our 2 legged children. Alyssa had a raging temperature last night. She's off to the doctor this morning. Kids get temperatures quite often, as if nature designed it that way to be the red flag to parents that something is wrong. But despite her fever, she still wanted to dance in my office at 6am:


So the One Direction fans got more than a little excited this weekend. While chatting to the concert promoter Big Concerts about the 1D World pop up store coming to Johannesburg at the end of the month, Justin also admitted that plans are underway to bring the lads to South Africa, probably next year. This is the first official confirmation we've had and twitter exploded moments after the interview. My radio show started trending at number 1, above the weekend rugby chatter and Oscar trial!


One of the fans recorded the interview and it was on Soundacloud minutes later:

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How much is that doggy in the window?

The weekend started with me saying "f*ck the fish".  After 5 days of eating a strict hake and veg gym training diet (and losing 2.5kg), I had to take a break this weekend and eat normally. Now that the weekend is over I hit the final 5 days of fish again. I think I'm turning into a merman (is that the male equivalent of a mermaid?).

Nicole woke up on Sunday morning and decided that our beloved chihuahua, Charles, needs a buddy. If you follow the blog you'll remember his best buddy Eddie died suddenly of multiple organ failure a year and half ago and we got Charles another friend almost immediately, a chihuahua called Willie (so named by his previous lesbian owners...).

They never really bonded though and Willie's dad must have been Satan himself. This new chihuahua ate everything including my office wall. After 4 months of therapy (for the dog, not Nicole and I, even though we needed it), we eventually had to concede defeat and return him back to his original owners.

Now, over a year later, we're ready to take on a puppy and have a "new child" in our home. I've always believed in rescue dogs if possible, but there are actually very few shelters open on a Sunday, including the SPCA. I know even volunteers need a day off, but would have thought it better to close on a Monday or Tuesday and actually have the doors open on a Sunday. That's the perfect time for a family to take their kids and see the animals needing a home.

One shelter that is open on Sundays is Ark Animal Centre in Chartwell, north of Johannesburg.


Whilst we didn't see any tiny dog pups there (they put them straight into foster care as they might get bullied by the bigger dogs), they're doing a great job looking after our furry friends and they say weekends are their busiest trade. Yesterday there was even a Dad who brought his daughters along to do something good and take some of the dogs for a walk.

Much respect to the team at Ark Animal Centre!


Alyssa didn't see any dogs. She was fast asleep in the pram when we got there. When she woke up though she decided she was peckish. My girls already know how to tap into dad's wallet. They wanted sushi for lunch:


And when it comes to my girls, they have dad wrapped around their fingers!


Have a great week ahead!
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I am the new James Bond villain.

As a guy, one of the greatest unsolved mysteries are girls emotions. We just don't get it. Men are rational. Females are emotional. End of story.

I say this because as the father of 2 young girls, I sometimes ask WTF just happened!? My oldest is almost 4 and I find myself approaching her with trepidation because I'm not sure whether I'm going to to get the biggest smile and hug in the world, or whether hell itself has just opened up and a new Chucky movie is in the making, with me as the bad guy.

Sometimes, both emotions happen within the same encounter. All will be going rosy and in her mind Tayla-Jean has already nominated me for Dad of the Year... and then like someone flicks a switch, I realise that coffee mug with "I love Dad" on it has been ripped out of my fingers and I am arch enemy number 1.

With my bald head, all I need is a white fluffy cat and I think she'd see me as the evil Ernst Blofeld (the villain in the James Bond movie Thunderball):



Actually, I'm allergic to cats, so maybe she sees me as a similar villain, except in our household I am Blofeld with a chihuahua on my lap?

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What my girls will do when they're older.

I posted this photo on twitter over the weekend, but in case you missed it, here are my girls in a brief moment when they were not screaming at each other:


Even though she's hasn't done it yet, Tayla-Jean LOVES everything to do with ballet and always prances around the house in her "ballet dress". In fact, we have to keep explaining to her why she can't wear it to school. Alyssa, does everything her older sister does, so she is now wearing her ballet dress too.

Speaking of Alyssa, she has become obsessed with my motorbike. In fact, it's ALL bikes. We were at Sandton City yesterday and I had to keep taking her to the parking lot (or experience the wrath of her tantrums), because she wanted to keep saying hi to the parked motorcycles. At home we have to say good night and good morning to my Vespa parked in the garage.

So it would appear that when my girls are older, i'll have a ballerina and a biker chick.
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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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We survived the first day of school!

We survived the first day of school... and so did my girls! It was a day I will remember for years to come. In fact, it was a double dose of tension both my girls took a step into the unknown this morning.

Tayla-Jean has started big school in Grade 000. It means wearing a uniform for the first time in her life, which is a battle in itself as all she ever wants to wear is "pretty fairy dresses". It takes her a while to warm up to people and new environments, so Nicole and I knew it would be a bit of a challenge this morning.

All was fine until my wife had to say goodbye. If you heard a continuous scream at about 7.15am... yep, that was my daughter. After about 15 minutes though she calmed down to a mild frenzy and the rest of the morning went okay. She was a little glum when she got home... until I pulled out the ice cream (still referring to my daughter and not my wife):


My younger daughter, 1 year old Alyssa is a lot more happy-go-lucky, and taking her to play school today for the first time was a breeze. I hung around for a few minutes and she took off to make sand castles:


So, much respect to all the mums and dads that went through the same motions this morning.

And unlike the 30% pass rate accepted by our education department... to my girls: Dad considers a pass to be 70% or higher!
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The hole in the wall and the tired chihuahua

This weekend was 48 hours of great family time. I've been jetting off a lot lately so it was great to be able to chill at the pool with my girls and go for walks.

We forget though that our little chihuahua's legs clock up a lot more steps than ours do, and half way on our 4km stroll to the shops yesterday, Charles put his thumb out and asked for a lift.


Speaking of steps, our younger daughter took her first step towards emancipation this weekend. She got the freedom of the stairs... we removed the kiddie gate. It's amazing how excited we got as well as we no longer have to hurdle over the thing every time we go up and down. You'd be surprised how often we land up going up and down those friggin' stairs. My pedometer often shows I've done 2km in my house before 8.30am).


Of course, if I really wanted to get downstairs quickly I could always just jump out the back of the house...

Yes, that IS a gaping hole in our house wall. Renovations are well under way. I would love to write more, but I must go as I need to cough up some more dust.
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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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