The ever-evolving guide on how to work with your spouse!

So as a couple, we are new to the game of working together, although not so new to the game of spending an unusual amount of time together. Since our London days, we have always been in the position of not having restrictive working hours or jobs so we have always spent the maximum amount of time together. Sometimes to our detriment as we do rather get on each others nerves sometimes.

However when it comes to working together, developing business and making a living for our family we still figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
So far here is what we have learnt so far:
1. It helps if you both have the same vision and goals, and communicate these frequently. Overall in the bigger picture we both see the same thing, which is great, but the path we take to get there sometimes, more often than not, brings some form of conflict.
2. Thinking something along the lines of “my way is not the only way” may help in this instance.
3. By giving eachother creative space, backing down on your opinion and supporting eachothers ideas you also can bring more harmony to the journey.
4. Having definitive roles and responsibilities helps too, although sometimes if you are a control freak like me, letting someone else do it their way takes much tongue biting to stop the suggestion of how I would do it.
5. By choosing the jobs that are best suited to your individual skills, you can avoid micro-management.
6. Don’t forget praise where it is due and go easy on eachother for the mistakes, you have to share the bed tonight afterall.
7. When it doubt, get out. Take breaks from the office, to reassess things. We regularly sit in the sunny lounge for our morning brainstorming sessions, away from the kids, chaos and confusion. Or we drive around on content generation missions.
8. And last but not least, do the little things for eachother. I am the chief coffee maker, but when I get pleasantly suprised with a cup, or the kids get attended to whilst I am in the middle of particular piece of work, it alleviates the pressure and is a welcome relief.

IMG_4451We know the challenges will always be there and the pressure will always be on, but hopefully with the right focus and efforts we can make it successful and rewarding. If you are a couple who works together or know of any that do it really well we would be interested to hear your thoughts…

Bigger is better…in Kariba!

big house 1 I don’t know many Zimbabweans who haven’t been to Kariba, but where does everyone stay?  The last couple of times we have been we have stayed at Lomagundi Lakeside, because you can moor your boat there and stay in the large self-catering house as a family.  Prior to that it was Charara twice for the Tiger Tournie.  Now with things like Test of the Best underway and the Kariba Marathon in August, it got me wondering where else you can stay if you are a large family or group travelling together.  Is there a big house, with all the things you’d expect from a hotel – Sports on TV for the guys, a pool for the kids, somewhere for the ladies to relax, where your meals are served and you can check email.  By the way, did I say in Kariba?  Sounds unlikely.  But after a little digging I found the perfect solution.  The Big House in Kariba!

The house is nestled on top of a hill, overlooking the lake and in the main bedroom you don’t even have to sit up in bed to see the lake.  There is a balcony and fabulous open bathroom in the main en-suite, but all guests sleep comfortably in en-suite bedrooms, complete with large square mosquito nets and air con.

big h5In between fishing, boating and game viewing, down time at the lodge can be spent in leisure by the pool, or simply relaxing in the air-conditioned lounge watching DSTV on the 42” flat screen, whilst surfing the web on their own wireless broadband, in case you need to stay connected to the world.

The kitchen is fully equiped with cooker, fridge, freezer and microwave and at an extra cost you can hire a cook during your stay.  Perfect for total relaxtion and entertaining guests with no added stress to your day.  There are cleaning staff who ensure fresh clean linen and towels are provided and the house is kept clean during your stay, you may even get your washing and ironing done for a very reasonable charge.

You simply have to arrive and relax.  The house has a borehole and the property is secure, tranquil and quiet although you may have visitors in the form of Elephants and Zebra in particular.  Buffalo, Warthog, Hippo and Impala have also been seen, even Lion on the very rare occasion.  However you are completely safe with in the wall and electric fence, so its just a matter of sitting on the large verandah and observing nature at its finest.

big h6A large dining table on the verandah makes for wonderful al fresco dining and with a great hiring supplier based locally, the Big House has been known to host some great parties and events too, right on the verandah which has ample space to accommodate a large number of guests for dining or conference options.

There is no doubt that a stay at the Big House will go down well with larger groups and families travelling to Kariba, whether its for an overnight stay before boarding a houseboat, or after spending a few nights at Spurwing.  If you are holding your wedding in Kariba and need to book group accommodation, this is the perfect answer for anything between 10 and 14 guests, if some don’t mind sleeping out on matresses on the verandah.

If you are planning on visiting Kariba soon and would like to stay at a home away from home, then you will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, breathtaking views, wildlife visits and complete peace of mind that the Big House offers.

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Bon Voyage!

Routine resumes!

So back to school for my two babies today.  This is their second term of pre-school and they both seemed quite happy to be dropped off there this morning, probably delighted to be doing something interesting for the first time in 6 weeks.  I lie a little, they have done a lot of interesting things in the last 6 weeks – animal parks, boat trips, adventurous family days out and of course attending their mom and dads wedding.

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Today we also started the ‘big school’ applications for Keira, next year will be Rocco’s turn.  Time is flying by and although I call them my babies, they are not really little babies any more.

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Keira is two and 8 months and a typical little girl, who likes to play dress up and have her hair done.  Rocco on the other hand, even at 20 months much prefers getting muddy from head to toe whilst obsessing over ‘big trucks’.  They both love to sing all the nursery rhymes together and recite verses from other random songs too.  The house is definitely quieter without all the singing, shouting, tears, tantrums and bikes riding up and down the driveway, but I miss the chaos in some small way.

So back to work, routine and structure in 2013…for a moment.

Looking back on 2012…

It’s already the 30th December and 2012 is nearly over.  We started our own family tradition of looking back on the years photos and video clips on the eve of New years eve, so as I get all the albums and files ready I have been reflecting back on 2012.

Here are some of the highlights  for me:

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Shan and I got married on 12.12.12, the day I turned 31 and spent the best day with our closest family and friends at Alo Alo restaurant.  We had amazing photos taken by Lesanne from Lesanne Photography, at the Quarry and a little animal park, and although it drizzled throughout the entire shoot, we couldn’t stop smiling and laughing.

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The food was outstanding, the drinks flowed and we danced a lot. We also didn’t stop when the restaurant closed, we all came back to our house and carried the party on, a two day celebration no doubt!

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Rocco turned one and Keira turned two this year and it still astounds me daily that they are both now small walking, talking people who make me laugh everyday.  The things they say and do!  Being a mom to these two is the most amazing part of my life, little cheeky mini-me’s that have the most tender and valuable hearts, they are definitely my biggest pride and joy.

This was them at the beginning of the year….and then this is them later on in the year in the car off to their first day at school.

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They started Playgroup / Nursery School at Elisfanya  Day Care and are benefiting from the Montessori programme and are making friends with the American children who also attend the school.  I started helping with swimming lessons there twice a week and have watched some of the kids go from afraid to eager.

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We moved into a beautiful new home early in the year, complete with swimming pool, tennis court, gym and staff quarters which meant finally our maid could live on the property and the kids have lots of space to play and run.  Despite no borehole and good old electricity cuts we love it here and were even originally planning on having the wedding here under a marquee.

The wedding was a highlight as I have already mentioned, but planning the wedding should also be noted as everything was arranged in 7 weeks.  No small feat but when we figured out what we really wanted, the rest miraculously fell into place.  We had considered everything from eloping, to having a ceremony only and no reception to a huge marquee in the garden to every possible venue in Harare.  Luckily we choose an unusual date, which fell on a Wednesday so nothing clashed with other people’s weddings on a Saturday in December and we could organise it at short notice.  My dress nearly didn’t arrive on time, we had issues with the suits, arrival of the flower girl dress and a guest list of nearly 200 to originally consider but like I say, it all fell into place beautifully because we got the most important thing right – each other!

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We got our cat, Diego, at three weeks old and we had to feed it out of an eye drop bottle when it was still a tiny kitten.  He quickly became a firm favourite toy of the babies and is a very loving and tolerant cat to date.

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Keira also started potty training and has made excellent progress with this.  She is still wearing nappies at night and when we go out but is fine wearing her little pants in the day.

 

 

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Rocco started talking and was speaking fluent sentences long before he turned 18 months.

I watched Shan get his first tattoo, done by Brad Conradie at Instinckt Tattoos and a visiting American artist added colour and detail to mine.

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We hosted a fun Mexican themed night complete with vast amounts of tequila, maracas, décor and amazing food. My sisters boyfriend, professional chef Darren Gall helped put on a delicious feast of tacos, burritos and chile con carne with all the trimmings.

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I organised and hosted a surprise baby shower for one of my close friends Tracey, that I have known since school and we watched her and Wayne walk down the aisle too.  Several months later little Luke was born.

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My two bridesmaids, Crystal and Leandra organised the best hen party ever for me and the three of us ended the night swimming at sunrise, after lots of cocktails, flaming zambuca’s, quizzes, games and Tezza, the most horrendous blow up doll complete with stubble.

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I started this crazycarlysworld blog to document some of the fun, crazy and demanding jobs I do and to try develop my writing skills again.  I enjoy the learning curve blogging sends me on too, I learn something new about myself and life often.

I enjoyed helping Shan realise his career potential in refrigeration again and felt proud watching him pursue this as it gave him a new found confidence and motivation.

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I launched a brand new business, Cosmetic Sculpt Studio, which is a non-surgical body sculpting and facial rejuvenation clinic.  I had no idea how intense starting a new business would be, but from securing a loan, to importing equipment, décor, marketing, company registration and a launch event I did it all myself and it was very rewarding.  I have personally carried out treatments to a number of clients and achieved some great results in inch loss and wrinkle removal.

I developed and managed my own social media campaigns for Wedding Wise, Cosmetic Sculpt Studio and Zimbabwe Plumbing & Maintenance, a combination of family owned businesses and personal ventures.  This lead to me falling into a new job within social media management and I now manage some large clients including Delta Beverages and Swift.

I started modelling again, after two years off and have been involved in runway shows (St Johns Fair and Clothing Indaba) modelling for a variety of designers including Intisaar Mukadam, Jo Burger Swimwear and Marija’s.  I did two magazine shoots for my favourite Zimbabwean magazine Out Of Africa, attended a breakfast launch for Cape Camisa juice, did fun promotions for Bulldog energy drink and Barcardi and I also attended a charity golf day for Car Guard.

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We visited some fun local destinations including Leopard Rock in the Vumba, Troutbeck in Nyanga and Pamuzinda Safari Lodge.  Day trips to Mbizi Game park, Darwendale Dam, Lake Chivero and the Lion and Cheetah park were also highly enjoyable.

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We bought a professional pool table and I learnt to play properly, despite much frustration in the beginning, the goal of becoming a hustler spurred me on.  I can now hit the ball, which is a bonus and have been known to sink a few one after the other on the odd occasion.

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We enjoyed visiting kids friendly restaurant St Elmo’s on a number of occasions and loved the fact the kids are not only entertained but also supervised.  So we can sit back and enjoy the rest of the wine and pizza knowing they are having a ball on the indoor jungle gym.

We have met some interesting, crazy and cool new people this year too, some that come to mind are: Chiyedza Chitepo, Jan and Kayla Grobler and their little boys, Mel Carruthers, Gareth and Vanessa Jones, Judith Williams, Jackie Mgido and all the models at Model Management, Soraya, Tash, Tari, Shaylee, Moanna, Tasha, Anton, Marshall, Kathryn and Bron.

So an interesting, fun and full on year behind us, we move forward into 2013 and I am looking forward to the challenges, celebrations and successes ahead.  Here’s to a great 2013!