Handbag Essentials for the Coronavirus Pandemic

I used to hate leaving home. In fact I still do but the fact that I can barely go out to the mall without fear of bringing home the virus, makes me equal parts excited and exhausted. Excited because YAY I AM LEAVING THE HOUSE. Exhausted because leaving the house means packing a million different things in order for me to feel safe.

Here are my handbag essentials for the Coronavirus pandemic:

  1. Hand sanitizer: This one is obvious. I like to take my own sanitizer because sometimes malls and stores have the icky one that goes on all thick and goopy. No, just no. This also came in handy for the one time I went in to a store and there was no one there to sanitize me because the guard was too busy flirting with the cosmetics lady. Three days later, another branch of the store had to close because one of their staff tested positive for the Covid virus. You can never be too safe.
  2. Disinfectant wipes: I like to use these to wipe down my handbag and anything else like the car door handle. These wipes are a lifesaver if you came across the type of store that takes down peoples details and has everyone using the same pen.
  3. Backup mask: I rarely use my mask until I am in the car. Sometimes I find out that the mask I picked is too big or just doesn’t fit right. I carry a back-up mask just in case.
  4. Wallet with driver’s license, bank cards and enough cash if needed to tip guards: I prefer using cards so I don’t have to touch cash. However I remember way back before we had so many positive cases in South Africa (I think it was March), there was a female car guard who helped me with my trolley but refused to touch the packets. She explained that she had heard what was going on and would not touch my groceries. I packed the car, thanked her but made sure to tip her. I don’t know exactly how much a car guard takes home but it made me sad that she was probably losing her livelihood already due to the beginning of the virus.

What are your handbag must-haves? Is there something that I am missing? I’d love to know below.

Fiction Friday: Bookworm Buys

I have not spent as much time reading as I should. However the one bookish thing I do whenever I am not reading is scouring the internet and bookstores for great deals (both bookish and not bookish).

So I thought why not create a section here where I can share some of the deals I’ve found. Maybe someone would find something that interests them.

  1. Reader’s Warehouse has a special where you can buy two boxsets and get 25% off
  2. “Midnight Sun” by Stephanie Meyer is out! Bargain Books Umhlanga has it for R295. I went in-store to check it out and the book is HUGE! It actually looks bigger than “Breaking Dawn.”
  3. If you’re fine with venturing out in public, CNA is having a R20 sale. On some stores this applies to their cute stationary as well so definitely stock up if this applies to your nearest store.
  4. Not technically a sale but a bookish deal that you should not miss. “Awkward in Print” by Rachel Rhodes is $3.44 on Amazon.com

PSA: Check in on Your Loved Ones

lady in window

So in South Africa, we have been in Lockdown for about 4 months. While most of the city and businesses have opened, we are still technically not allowed to visit or spend time with family members.

Now I don’t know you or what your own rules are regarding the pandemic but here in South Africa, most people are breaking the rules.

If you are one of them or even if you aren’t, make sure that you are taking the time to keep in contact with your loved ones especially if they live alone.

While we have been assisting with doing shopping for both of my grans, once the spread increased, we stopped all contact so it’s been about a month or two since I’ve seen either of them.

Whether it’s a phone call, video call or a Whatsapp message, make sure you are checking on your family and making sure that they are okay during this trying time.

Book Review: Holding the Dream (Dream Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts

Holding the Dream by Nora Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Kate meets an old friend of her father and learns about her father’s shady past. Still reeling from this discovery, Kate is even more shocked when she is fired for suspected embezzlement. She has put her whole life into her career and now she is left out in the cold.
Kate decides to join Margo and Laura at their store, “Pretenses.” But as her stress levels slowly rise with everything happening around her, so does her attraction to Byron, the Templeton’s new employee.
Kate drove me crazy in this novel. While I loved her relationship with Byron it drove me crazy that she just accepted the embezzlement charges.
From the get-go it was clear who was behind everything but Kate was busy with her life (no Kate, you worked hard for this career, dammit) and unable to see it.
Besides that small but annoying itch, I enjoyed this book. I love seeing the Templetons together. I almost feel jealous of their beautiful home and luxurious lifestyle (Actually I probably do).
The embezzlement plot is probably my least favorite part of this novel but I really did like seeing how Byron and Kate came together.



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25 Life Lessons I’ve Learnt in 25 Years

On the 1st of July 2020, I unfortunately turned 25. I saw it coming but it was still a shock. When I imagined 25, I saw my life in a completely different direction. Nonetheless here we are. The damage has been done. The 25 years may not be what I expected but it has been a great learning experience.

Here are 25 life lessons that I learnt:

1) DO NOT tie your identity to your job

2) Money is important but it is not the MOST important

3) Surround yourself with those that you love

4) Network. You never know where it may take you

5) Also- always try something new. You never know where that might take you

6) Always carry a spare tire in your car

7) Ensure you have savings- for a rainy day, for retirement. Just make sure you have money available.

8) No matter your best intentions, life rarely ever goes as planned

9) Do NOT make decisions when you are unemotional (unless those decisions are food-related like what to buy to make yourself feel better)

10) Also, do not make purchasing decisions when you are emotional

11) Leave work at work. There’s a reason you have “working hours”. And leave the office on time

12) If it doesn’t affect your pay, don’t let it affect your day

13) No, you do not need more books (but buying a few more doesn’t hurt anyone)

14) You don’t go to the gym to go to the gym. You go to the gym for the feeling you get after the gym

15) Take time out for yourself no matter how busy life gets

16) Keep moving forward (thank you, Disney)

17) Tea is always a good idea. So is any warm beverage

18) Live within your means. Live below your means if possible. This is especially relevant in the Corona era

19) Time is the most valuable resource and it’s one you can never get back. Use it wisely

20) Stressing about something accomplishes nothing (though in my case, it keeps my brain occupied so I allow it within reason).

21) It is always a good idea to learn a new skill be it work-related or personal

22) Not everyone is going to like you. You are not R100. Some people don’t even like R100 (I am one of these people. R100 disappears too quickly. R1000 is a good amount).

24) A car is a deprecating asset (and a damn expensive one) so there’s no need to pay a ton of money on an expensive model especially if you don’t have that money.

25) Spend more on quality in the first place so you don’t end up having to pay more to replace something cheap (like when it comes to repairs for the above deprecating asset)

What lessons have you learnt in your time of Earth? I’d love to know below!

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Daring to Dream (Dream Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts

Daring To Dream by Nora Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Margo, Kate and Laura grew up in Templeton House together. The three girls were as close as sisters.
The daughter of the Templeton’s housekeeper, Margo always wanted more. So as soon as she graduated she took the first opportunity to leave their small town to become a model.
She had fame, success and money. Until it all came crashing down with a scandal.
Forced to return home and try to make something of her life, Margo decides to open a store and sell the last pieces of her pampered life.
I’m not sure why I picked up this book because there isn’t much that appealed to me in terms of plot. I guess it was just an impulse because of the pretty butterfly on the cover?
Surprisingly I loved this book. There’s a legend, close-knit friends and family. This is a feel-good novel though and though which I really enjoyed.
The relationship between Kate, Laura and Margo was beautiful to watch especially seeing how they were so different in personalities.
If you’re looking for a romance book with a lot of heart, I strongly recommend you start this series.



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Fiction Friday: The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne

The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This was the first book I read by Holly Bourne and wow, IT IS ONE HELL OF A BOOK!
Amelie and Reese were in love. Or so she thought. But now that they are over, Amelie is beginning to see the cracks in their relationship. She is starting to see that maybe, just maybe whatever it is that they had was not love.
“The Places I’ve Cried in Public” paints a pretty accurate picture of what it’s like to fall into a toxic relationship. Ever so slowly that you don’t even know its wrong until you’re too far gone and then wondering what happened.
I knew a Reese in high school and this book really took me back to that time. I had to keep putting the book down to cry and then I sat and bawled my eyes out when this book was finished. I felt seen. I felt heard. I felt understood.
This book is so important and so relevant.
It is realistic and well-written and just sheer, utter perfection.


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Learn to Give Yourself a Break

Back when I was a young, naïve college student I wrote a blog post about the importance of taking a mental health day. It’s funny because looking back, I was under the impression that all jobs allowed a mental health day. After all how could you be expected to function at a job if you’re not at your best? However, this is the real world and sometimes mental health days are just not an option.

Girl with headache
Real life depiction of the position I am in as I type this

A few days ago (a week to be accurate), I came home from work with a headache. This wasn’t unusual as I normally have headaches during the weekend (it’s my blog/study/writing time).

However by the time Monday rolled around, I didn’t feel any better. Plus I had my sinus acting up. By Wednesday, the pain was too bad and I eventually started crying before begging to be taken to the doctor.

I had a feeling I knew what the cause was but I hoped he could help. Nope. He decided it was a tension headache. From what little I knew, I knew tension headaches were stress-related. I didn’t know how not to stress. But I was in horrible pain and I was already behind on my studying.

I took medication and went to sleep, hoping to return to work on Thursday. No such luck. I woke up with an awful sore throat and my head still hurt. I dosed myself with large quantities of flu medication, home remedies and spent most of the day asleep. In fact I was only awake for 4 hours.

I felt horribly guilty and ashamed. I was behind on all of my work all because of a stupid headache.

I managed to rest enough that it was fine for me to return to work on Friday.

My head still occasionally hurts like hell but I’m trying to make a concentrated effort to remain calm and not stress (a difficult feat for someone with anxiety).

So the point of me sharing this story is simple. Learn to take a break. You don’t want your body deciding all of a sudden that it needs a break. Because trust me, your body will definitely pick the most inconvenient time possible/

Fiction Friday: Red Lily (In the Garden #3) by Nora Roberts

Red Lily by Nora Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“Red Lily” is the final book in the “In The Garden” trilogy and oh how it breaks my heart to see these characters go (which is odd coz I barely remembered them in “Black Rose” but I guess I’ve gotten attached to them).
“Red Lily” follows Harper and Hayley as they try to start a relationship together. The two of them have had feelings for each other for a while which they’ve been pushing back.
However a short while after their first kiss, the Harper Bride has a temper tantrum and her violent behaviour starts to escalate. She then starts possessing poor Hayley who is no longer sure what is her and what is the Harper Bride.
I found it incredibly sickeningly that the Harper Bride would go after Harper as he is technically her family (insert vomit emoji here) however I was also moved by how she was clearly losing her sanity.
This was a great read that I devoured in one sitting (although it WAS lockdown so it could have been that too). I loved watching the entire family come together and I was glad to finally see the Harper Bride put to rest.



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Book Review: Black Rose by Nora Roberts (In the Garden #2)

Black Rose by Nora Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I read “Blue Dahlia” about a year or two ago so I’m not sure why I decided to pick this up when I barely remembered the first book.
All I did remember was the ghost of the Harper Bride and I was curious to know more about her.
So I picked this up with a vague recollection of book one but surprisingly I enjoyed this book.
Roz Harper is a single mother and businesswoman, running “In the Garden”. She has hired Dr Mitchell Carnegie to help her discover who the Harper Bride really was.
The first time I picked up this book, a year or so ago, I couldn’t see anything of interest between Roz and Dr Mitch which is why I didn’t bother reading this book.
But I pushed through and sure enough, a cute story came through.
Roz is reluctant to give in to another relationship especially after two marriages. But when her creepy, gold-digging ex-husband returns to torment her, it is easy to see how different Mitch is from him.
But as Roz considers the possibility of starting anew with Mitch, the Harper Bride is determined to stop her.
I thought we would learn more about the Harper Bride and her history and I was left feeling pretty disappointed. What does she want? What would it take to free her? And why is her behaviour escalating?
I’m hoping those questions would be answered in the last book.
This was a fun read that had me up till the early hours of the morning



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