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November Nail Anarchy Challenge

Hi everyone! I am part of a Whatsapp chat group of South African polish lovers. We show each other our nails, we bounce around ideas, we joke around. It is just a fun group of ladies together, all with a love for polish and nail art in common. Somehow in one of our chats one day we came up with an idea for a monthly nail art challenge. One of us picks a theme for the month and everybody else does manis inspired by the set theme and posts on their blogs. We plan to post on the last Friday of each month (that’s today!) and will have Inlinkz at the bottom of our posts so that you can see all of them :)

November’s theme was chosen by Briget and she chose “Outer Space”. If you Google “outer space nails” you’re going to get wall to wall galaxies. Everyone else can’t be wrong, no? ;) I wanted to do a little alien thing, but someone beat me to it…so I ended up doing a galaxy in my favourite colour :) Let me show you!

I started off with a double base coat of OPI Nail Envy. I painted all my nails with Essence Elves Like Lilac. Once that was dry I started sponging a few different colours over the base to create the cloudy “galaxy” effect. I sponged with the following essence polishes: that’s what I mint, purple sugar, hello marshmallow (original) and Elves Like Lilac again. After the sponging was done to my satisfaction, I painted one coat of the glitter side of the Revlon Milky Way duo from their Expressionist collection. The glitters in Milky Way are irregular glitter shards or flakies. These are iridescent and really beautiful! Flakies can stick up, but an extra layer of top coat will help for that if you don’t like sticking up bits. I added a few dots for stars using a dotting tool and Sinful Colors Snow Me White. On my middle nail I placed a small, clear crescent moon shaped rhinestone and on my ring nail a small, clear star rhinestone. I sealed everything in with a generous coat of Seche Vite. The result:

November Nail Anarchy Challenge

November Nail Anarchy Challenge

How is that for a purple galaxy?! I really loved how these turned out! They are a bit more blingy than I intended, the flakies seriously shine at any angle and combined with the Seche Vite it makes for a very shiny mani indeed! Galaxy and random sponging manis hardly ever turn out the way you imagine…I’m not sure exactly what I thought it was going to come out as, but I really liked the result.

What do you think? Do you like this mani? Be sure to let me know in the comments and to check out the other posts in the linkup below!

Thanks for reading :)

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Discipline

Discipline is something we really struggle with in our home. I guess you can’t say we are new to the parenting game since Elijah is nearly 5, but we are new to having to discipline someone! It can be so frustrating. I don’t like the idea of giving hidings. I don’t like for my child to be fearful of us. Time out and naughty corner have also never worked. Taking away privileges doesn’t seem to work either, which doesn’t really leave us with too many options.

I have noticed sometimes when I speak reasonably with my almost 5 year old son, he seems to get it. He also seems to go away and think about what we discussed as he sometimes comes back later out of his own and apologizes, but is that enough? We should be teaching him action = consequence, cause and effect, right? I suppose as a family you have to work out what works for you, but up to now we haven’t figured it out yet.

I am really worried that we’ll end up raising irresponsible and nasty children if we don’t get a handle on the discipline and I feel like time is running out for us to find a reliable way of enforcing rules. I try to discuss these things with Rudi, but he struggles as well. For example, if he is angry and wants to resort to a hiding, I usually intervene and get him to calm down to diffuse the situation. He is still cross though and then dishes out a punishment that he intends to follow through on, but often it doesn’t happen. He might say no sweets/treats/luxuries for the rest of the week (on a Monday!), but by Wednesday it is forgotten and a request for a cookie is not turned down. Or he’ll tell Elijah he won’t sleep with him for the rest of the week and when this results in a melt down, eventually cave. I know that the most important thing when it comes to discipline it following through on what you’ve said and if you don’t you teach the child that they will probably only bear the consequences for a short while if at all. That’s not so bad, is it? *sigh* I’ve tried time and time again to stress the importance of this to Rudi, but we keep slipping up. I resort to shouting, because ears are made of clay, but that doesn’t get results either.

While Elijah can be extremely cheeky, defiant and disrespectful (to us), he is actually a sweet child with a good heart. He is amazing with his sister (for now) and can be so cute. Yesterday he had 3 blocks of chocolate. His father told him to give his sister who was sitting with me in another room a block and he came to do so. He showed me his remaining two blocks. I asked him if one of them was for me and he snapped them in half and gave me his last block. I didn’t take it, but the fact that he offered it to me was so sweet. I made sure to tell him that and relay it to his dad in his presence. He beamed.

If we could just figure out how to discipline him while nurturing that sweet child within, I would feel much better.

I would love to hear from you what works for your family and if it was trial and error before you figured it out or how you figured it out at all.

Savage Nail Junkie

Hi everyone! I have a very simple mani to show you today. Even though it was super simple, it came out really well and I loved wearing it! Rudi painted Gabby’s toes with Sinful Colors Savage and I simply had to try a full mani using it, because it is such a beautiful colour. Let me show you what I came up with.

I started off with two coats of OPI Nail Envy as a base. I’m still nursing some split nails and trying to keep them from splitting further which is why I have reverted to Nail Envy temporarily. I use two coats because Nail Envy feels thinner than my regular base coat. I painted two coats of Sinful Colors Savage onto all my nails. This polish is very opaque, I think you could get away with 1 coat. It dries to a matte finish. My bottle was a little thicker than I’d like, so I’ll add a few drops of polish thinner to it to get a consistency the consistency I prefer. I use Seche Restore to thin my polishes. Once my base was dry I used tape I purchased from Born Pretty Store (purchase here*) to tape off the sides of my index, middle and ring nails. I really love this tape, it isn’t too sticky and it works well for me. It isn’t as finicky as striping tape either which is a huge plus. One nail at a time I painted Sinful Colors Nail Junkie over the nail left exposed and immediately pulled off the tape on either side using a tweezer. On each of the glitter strips I places a 2 mm round black stud, also purchased from Born Pretty Store (purchase here*). I sealed everything in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

Sinful Colors Savage and Nail Junkie

I absolutely adored wearing this mani! It was so simple to create, but people absolutely loved it. I am not usually a fan of blues, but this is such a gorgeous shade! It leans more towards teal if you ask me, but I’m not going to split hairs about it.

Now for the bad news….I was totally horrified when I removed this mani. This polish stained my nails badly! Somehow my nails were specifically stained underneath the studs. I have green dots where the studs used to be. It left some green staining in the ridges of my nails as well. Look, I don’t need an excuse to paint over my nails, but I would really prefer if it didn’t get so badly stained! I’m specifically annoyed because I was wearing TWO coats of base coat underneath! I took the precautions, but this polish totally screwed me. I tried to do a soak with my fizzy manicure balls, but it didn’t help. I scrubbed and it didn’t help. My last resort would be to buff them off, but I don’t want to buff my nails because it removes healthy layers of nail…so I’ve just painted over it. I painted quite a dark polish over it and I had to paint two coats to cover the stains. Meh. Hopefully they will fade over time, or I’ll just have to grow them out.

What do you think of this mani? Is a polish that stains badly a deal breaker for you? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading :)

*Don’t forget you can use my affiliate link in the sidebar on the right to register on Born Pretty Store, as well as my 10% discount code for non discounted items :)

When Splatter Fails, Shatter

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Hi everyone! I have a “Plan B” mani to show you today. My intent was to do a splatter manicure, where you use a straw to blow polish onto your nails, creating a splatter effect. I failed. Miserably. I even applied craft glue on all my fingers up to the second knuckle in anticipation of the mess I knew it would create. I painted my base and once that was done tried to blow polish onto my nails through a straw. I felt like the Big Bad Wolf. I blew and I blew and nothing came out! The one time something came out it splatted over my whole nail, completely defeating the purpose. I blew so hard that my base polish (which obviously wasn’t completely dry) wrinkled! I even got Rudi to try and blow splatter onto my nails. We both failed, so I looked around and quickly decided on something else to do over the base I had already painted. Let me show you.

I started off with a base of OPI Nail Envy (gift). I’ve had some problems with splitting nails on my right hand, so I thought I’ve give the Nail Envy a try to see if I could save them and prevent them from splitting further. I  painted two coats of a gorgeous nude polish that I was gifted by @tatibble – she had received it in a Rubybox, so there is no name on the bottle. It is pictured below. This polish matches my skin tone pretty nicely, although in the picture it kind of makes my skin look red, commonly referred to as “lobster hands” in the nail community. It has a very strong silver shimmer which you can see in the bottle in the picture. It had a great formula and I didn’t have any problems with it. I used Tip Top Crushed Grapes and the top image of PUEEN 45 to stamp over all my nails. The image is like shattered glass, I have eyed this image often and since I was going for a very random pattern to begin with I decided to try it out. After doing the stamping I couldn’t decide how to jazz up the mani, so I topped it off with China Glaze Fairy Dust and sealed everything in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

Rubybox nude stamped with PUEEN 45 and Tip Top Crushed Grapes

I enjoyed wearing this mani. I completely killed the silver shimmer in the base polish by painting Fairy Dust over the it, but you can see how strong it is in the bottle. It isn’t quite as obvious on the nail, but it is definitely there and this is a beautiful base that I will reach for again. People who regularly see my manis didn’t love this one, or rather were not very impressed by it. Strangers on the other hand complimented me when they noticed.

You know what I love about my nails/nail art? If someone else doesn’t like it it really doesn’t upset me. Each to his own, different strokes for different folks. Not everyone is going to love everything I do and that is ok. What really irks me is when *I* don’t like something I’ve done. That really bothers me and makes me want to throw my toys. I can totally take criticism and “I don’t like that” from other people. Criticism in other areas are sometimes hard to take, but when it comes to my nails, I have no qualms. I love that! Of course, I do listen to opinions and take them into consideration, but I don’t walk away and sulk about it.

What do you think of this mani? Can you take critisism of certain things without getting upset? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading :)

The Christmas Tree Saga with the Happy Ending

Finally! I got a Christmas tree! On Sunday we went to Sonstraal dam for a picnic and to be harassed by ducks and geese. Sheesh. Those ducks and geese certainly are very comfortable with people. They had absolutely no qualms coming right up to us and nosing around, obviously searching for food. No amount of “Shoo!” deterred them. I am not really comfortable around birds. They freak me out. They have sharp claws and beaks man! Those things can hurt you! Not to mention the terrifying huge wings flapping all around. I just don’t like them, so having so many birds in such close proximity was quite unnerving for me, especially when they waddled up to our blanket and stuck their beaks out looking at me with their beady little eyes. Let’s just say outings to the dam are not the most fun thing for me. We enjoyed some rolls with cold meat/viennas and Elijah distributed the leftover rolls (at least 8 of them!) to our hungry onlookers. We took a stroll around the dam and then headed to the mall to search for a Christmas tree. Some pics of the birds on our park excursion:

Ducks

Baby Ducks!

So many birds!

 

I showed you the tree I saw on takealot…which I thought was very expensive. I decided to shop around in the shops to see if I could find something I liked for less. I went to Game in Cape Gate and they didn’t really have anything that tickled my fancy. There was one tree which was nice and fluffy, but it had almost lime green “needles” mixed in between the dark green and I didn’t really like that. We went to Checkers and I saw two trees that I liked there, but nobody could find the box of one of the trees for me to compare to the other and they were not priced. The staff was pretty confused as well and after spending about 20 minutes waiting for them to try and find what I was looking for we decided to leave. The fact that Elijah had spiked a fever while we were there contributed to us rather leaving. One of the store assistants actually opened about 4 Christmas trees trying to find what we were looking for, so I wouldn’t say they were unhelpful, but I still don’t know how much that tree costs. We pickled off to Pick ‘n Pay and Cape Gate did not have a Christmas tree bigger than 60 cm. I knew for a fact that Pick ‘n Pay Tygervalley had decent sized Christmas trees, so I decided to give it up as a bad joke. I often find that Cape Gate mall, which is much closer to where I live, seems to get the scraps stock-wise. More than one store doesn’t have half the stuff the other mall has. We packed it in for the day.

On Monday Sanita and I went to Tygervalley to go Christmas tree hunting again. We started at Game and I saw a tree I absolutely fell in love with. It had more realistic “pine needles”, tipped with silver glitter. They also had the tree I saw at the other Game. The tree I liked was clearly marked with a price and I started hunting for a box. I couldn’t find a box with that particular tree in the entire display. I asked a staff member who checked and then went to check the back and the response was that the specific tree I wanted was sold out. They took my details and said they would try to source one for me. Sanita was not hopeful since she has received bad service from this particular store before. I didn’t even take down a name. We went to Pick ‘n Pay as well and while they had a much bigger selection than the other branch, no other tree came close to the one I had seen at Game. Their display tree was awesome and I had hoped it was in stock somewhere, but it turned out the display tree was just that. A tree they got from head office to decorate the store. I was despondent. It was like the universe did not want me to have a tree!

On Monday night my phone rang while I was in the shower. Rudi answered and it was the manager at Game! My Christmas tree was there waiting for me!  I was so excited. Lunch time Tuesday Sanita and I descended on Tygervalley to collect the tree. We also got some other admin done while we were there, but the tree was the purpose of the trip. I couldn’t wait to go home! It turned out that there was actually stock of the tree in “the back”, but it was still packed in a container which the floor staff did not have access to.

Elijah was super excited about decorating the Christmas tree. We had a quick supper first and then the unboxing began. Each branch was individually wrapped in plastic and the tree was split into 3 sections, which is pretty common for a 1.8 m (5.9 ft) tree. It felt like it took us forever just to pull all the small plastic sleeves off of every branch and once that was done I went about bending the branches out to fill up any empty spaces. Here is what the tree looked like before we started decorating it:

Silver Sparkle Christmas Tree

Isn’t it beautiful?! So full and fluffy! I then untangled and tested our 3 strings of lights and started to wrap them around the tree, followed by the tinsel. Finally it was time to hang the decorations. These branches are a little tricky to hang decorations on, but the needles are quite stiff and you can hang most of the lighter decorations on the needles if you must. Elijah’s enthusiasm quickly waned and Gabby was pulling off decorations faster than I was putting them up. I found so many broken balls it wasn’t funny and also came across some personalized hand made decorations that my friend Nicola sent me from PE. They are so special and make me so happy. The only problem with the decorations is that our little angel that normally sits atop the tree won’t stay on. The needles are quite stiff and sort of pop back out when you put her skirt over them, causing her to fall off. I guess we’ll just have to get one of those huge glitter stars or something to put on the top of our new tree :) Here is a pic of the tree with the decorations:

Decorated Silver Sparkle Christmas Tree

I am now perfectly content! It was totally worth the wait, don’t you think? Is your Christmas tree up yet? We’re halfway through November people!

 

Magnetic Nail Fail

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Hi everyone! I have a bit of a fail to show you today. Even though I was quite disappointed by one aspect of this mani, in general it wasn’t too bad. I think it is only fair I show you when things don’t turn out exactly like I wanted, right? Here goes :)

I started off with my usual Tip Top base coat to protect my natural nails. On my thumb, index and pinkie I wanted to use essence magnetic nail polish in magic wand with the magnetic effect. Maybe I just don’t know how to do it properly, but sheesh. You have to paint 1 thick coat on your nail and immediately place the magnet as close to the nail as possible without touching it. I did this, I held the magnet like only 1 mm away from the nail. I could see the magnetic effect, but it wasn’t very strong. I waited for it to dry before I added a top coat too, since I know that it can lessen the magnetic effect if you top coat before it dries. I was very disappointed by how non existent it was. The colour, however, is beautiful! It is a purple metallic that is just gorgeous. On my middle and ring nails I painted 2 coats of magic wand. Once it was dry I used a small piece of make up sponge and L.A. Girl Sputter to sponge on a glitter gradient. Sputter has dark purple and white matte glitter hexes in various sizes suspended in a clear base. I sealed it all in with Seche Vite. The result:

essence magic wand magnetic and L.A. Girl Sputter

See? You really have to use your imagination to see any kind of magnetic effect. The glitter nails do not have the magnetic effect and they look the same if you ask me. I think the glitter and the colour of the polish made me feel much better about the mani overall.

What do you think about this mani? Have you ever used magnetic polish successfully? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

Thanks for reading :)

Gold Finger & Highlight Of My Summer

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Hi lovelies. I have a fun mani for you today that I really enjoyed wearing. After last week’s rather heavy posts, I hope this lightens up my blog a bit.

I started off with my usual Tip Top base coat to protect my natural nails. I then painted Maskscara Gold Finger on all of my nails except on my ring nails. Gold Finger is a lovely gold foil. I had no issues with the formula at all. I think I’ll try and stamp with this one at some point because it was fairly opaque. Not a 1 coater, but good enough to give it a go. On my ring nails I painted 4 coats of China Glaze Highlight of my Summer. Highlight of my Summer is like a mint green neon. I really love the colour. It is bright, but not as in your face as a neon pink or orange. The formula on Highlight of my Summer is quite typical of China Glaze neons and I needed a 4th coat to smooth it out to my satisfaction. I gave my nails a few minutes to dry and then used the polish brushes to make random dots along the sides of my nails, alternating the colours and size of the dots. I took Sinful Colors Black on Black and my smallest dotting tool to outline the spots and make random black spots in the blank spaces. I sealed it all in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

Maskscara Gold Finger and China Glaze Highlight Of My Summer Leopard Print Nail Art

Maskscara Gold Finger and China Glaze Highlight Of My Summer Leopard Print Nail Art

I really loved this mani and got loads of compliments on it. I used the polish brush to make the dots and you could totally do the black outlines with a toothpick. Leopard print is one of my favourite nail art patterns. It is simple and easy to do. It is quite hard to mess up, since the pattern is rather random. I like the colour combination I chose here and in general I just love it. I will always come back to leopard print.

What do you think of this mani? Do you like leopart print? I must say I don’t wear leopard print clothing and am not particularly drawn to it, but I love it on nails! Would you give this a try? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading :)

 

Jamie’s Birthday Celebration 2014

Yesterday was a tough day at work for me. It was the first year since Jamie passed away that I was not able to take leave to be at home. What this meant was that I was quiet and withdrawn all day and burst into tears periodically. My colleagues are really not used to me being quiet. I’m willing to bet they wish I would shut up sometimes!

This also meant I couldn’t bake for Jamie’s birthday like I normally do. Look, I’m not a good baker. It is a labour of love as well as an experiment every year. The first year I baked a cake that looked like a scone when it came out of the oven. It was also hard enough for me to be afraid that it might hurt birds that ate it, so after forcing a piece down I binned it.

Yesterday Sanita took me out during our lunch hour for a little but of retail therapy. When I grieve I find buying stuff to be really therapeutic. To put it in perspective, the day after my grandfather passed away I bought a king size bed. I really wanted to buy that Christmas tree yesterday! It didn’t take spending that much though. I visited Planet Nails and stocked up on nail files, bought some nail stickers and some fizzy manicure balls (like those bath bombs you get, but miniature ones for your nails). We popped off to a little shop to buy some cake for our annual celebration. Sanita recommended a chocolate swiss roll that you find at this shop that is slathered in caramel. Sounded good to me! I also bought some candles for the kids to blow out. Elijah really enjoys that :) I really felt better after we came back from our lunch break, even though I had not spent thousands.

I also decided pizza for dinner was a good idea. We decided to try Dominos which is new to South Africa. Although the pizza wasn’t bad, I still prefer Panarottis. After dinner Elijah asked for cake every 5 minutes, so we didn’t wait too long before we had the cake. I popped some candles onto the cake, Elijah came to blow them out – Gabby wasn’t very interested, I’m sure this will come with age. I snapped a pic of the moment:

Jamie's 6th birthday 2014

 

For some reason this year was more difficult for me than last year. I managed to take things in my stride last year and had a small cry. Yesterday I was distraught for the most part. I suspect having to be at work had something to do with that…just being around people when I would much rather be alone to wallow was hard. Hopefully next year I will be able to get the day off.

My blog hit 364 views yesterday. That is my highest number of views in a very long time. I received so many messages of love and support. It warmed my heart. I said in my letter to Jamie yesterday that other people have forgotten, but they have not. I was really grateful for everyone who took a moment out of their day to send us a message for Jamie’s birthday. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart <3

Happy Birthday Jamie x

Dear Jamie,

It is your 6th birthday today. I cannot believe it has been 6 years since you became an angel baby. So much has happened since then. You have a brother and a sister now. How lucky are we? Your brother talks about you sometimes. We’ve told him about you and sometimes he will tell me that you visited him in a dream. He says you play together nicely and have fun with each other. He says you have long brown hair and brown eyes. It makes me wish that I could plug into his dreams to get to know you and spend time with you too. I would really have loved that.

I usually take leave for your birthday, but this year I was not able to. It will be the first year that I am not home baking something for you. I am not sure what my day will be like at work. It may have been 6 years, but I have already teared up writing this post, so while time has helped stitch my heart back together, it still hurts at the seams. This is a kind of pain that everyone else has forgotten and that most do not understand, but it is there and it is real to me. The week leading up to your birthday I always feel sad and since I’m not always actively thinking about what we were going through 6 years ago at this point in time, sometimes I wonder why. I should know better. I really should. It is always there.

I wonder sometimes if you grow up in heaven. Your soul does not have a body, so how does that work exactly? I won’t ever know, but I like to think you can think for yourself and communicate in some way (with us or other souls) even though you could not do that when you left us.

I try not to be sad, but how could I not be? I know that you probably would not want me to be sad. I know time is probably different to you and to me. 6 years is a long time where I am. I do my very best not to let my sadness creep into our home life. I don’t want to be sad around your brother and your sister. They are too little to understand. I’m not sure they will ever understand until, God forbid, something like this happens to them. Until they lose a little piece of them they can never get back.

Some days I still feel so guilty. Your brother asks very basic questions…questions about how you died. I find those so very hard to answer. Sometimes he will say, very bluntly “Who killed her?” and he might as well be stabbing me in the heart. This morning when I told him he would be able to eat cake with us if he was good today, he asked me when you are coming back :( While I know we made the right decision, not only for us, but for you…it isn’t always crystal clear and sometimes the lines blur and my heart breaks all over again. I don’t dwell on the “What ifs”. I simply can’t when it comes to you. I cannot do that to myself and I know deep down in my heart that I could never have done that to you either. Still…I wish you were here. I have nothing but memories of you. Nothing to hold onto, nothing to touch. I’m not sure if that makes it harder or easier.

If you were still here your sister probably would not be. That is hard to imagine. I know her in a way I never got to know you. I still don’t know exactly why you happened to us, but I know there must be a reason. Maybe to pave the way for your siblings…maybe to kindle a burning desire for them within me. Perhaps I needed you in some sort of physical sense. I don’t know.

Just so that you know, you are not forgotten. Mommy misses you.

Until we meet again,

Love always

x

***If you are new to my blog and you are unsure what this post is about, you can learn about Jamie in my About Me section.***

Oh, Christmas Tree! Oh, Christmas Tree!

Oh, Christmas tree :(

Last year when we took our relatively expensive Christmas tree down, we decided to chuck it as the branches were no longer properly attached to the main stem and were drooping and made the whole tree look horrible. We bought this tree the year I was pregnant with Elijah (2009), so the tree wasn’t even that old, but it was no longer a pretty Christmas tree. What I did not realize at the time was that times would be very tough this year. Our bonuses are practically non existent, so I don’t have that extra cash flow to replace the tree without a second thought.

Guys, you know me. I’ve put up my tree in September before. I love Christmas and although Christmas has been a downer the last few years, the tree was the one thing that always lifted my spirits and made me feel warm and fuzzy inside…even when everything else was meh. Elijah is also old enough now to understand Christmas, relate to the whole theme of things and was really excited to decorate the tree with me last year. I’m totally ready to put the tree up already, except…there’s no tree. So I started looking for trees online…HOLY COW. When did a plastic Christmas tree get so expensive?!? This is my dream tree…only one thousand two hundred ront. Wait, what?! I haven’t actually been into the shops to check their prices, but I doubt that it will be much less.

Look, I know Christmas is not about the tree. It isn’t about the gifts. I know a huge number of people don’t have a tree or even gifts. I know all of this. I sure would like a tree for my kids and to get myself in the spirit too. Rudi suggested getting a live tree, but a) those are not available yet b) they die and you have to throw them away c) they are just as expensive! I saw an ad on Gumtree for a 2 m live tree – R850.  For 1 year.

Maybe I should settle for a smaller tree. It is just so awesome to have a tree that is taller than you are! I don’t know what we are going to do about the tree situation. We don’t have a garden. We don’t have anything to decorate really.

I don’t know what I am going to do…but I NEED a new tree…and a big one. Who is with me?!

By the time I finished writing this post I had practically convinced myself to just buy it on my credit card. *sigh*