Magical Evening at the Royal Ballet

Royal Ballet 47

This post has been more than a month coming, but I finally had the time to put it together so here it is at last. Earlier this year my family and I were in the full swing of planning our trip back to Canada. This was my final year of high school and in the fall I am planning to attend university. This means I had to pack up all of my belongings in South Africa that I had accumulated over the 8 years I’ve lived there in order to ship them to Canada. As we were planning our trip overseas we were wondering if there was one last thing we could do as a family before I fly the nest later this year. Ideas came up about Hamilton tickets but they’re so expensive and you have to book so far in advance that it didn’t seem worth it to make the trip all the way to New York (which means flying through the States which is always a pain). Please come to Canada, Hamilton! When that idea fell through I threw out the option of flying through London Heathrow which is a regular route when flying transcontinental to see if it was possible to attend a Royal Ballet performance… I can’t believe it happened.

Royal Ballet 46

I’ve been a dancer for coming up to ten years and I had only seen two ballets in person. However, I knew a lot about the classics; Nutcracker, Swan Lake, La fille mal gardée, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, etc. One of my favourite past times (and procrastination activities shhhhhhh)  is watching the Royal Ballet rehearsal videos on the Royal Opera House’s youtube. As you start to get to know the dancers you get excited as different principal dancers are cast as different roles and you get to know more about the Royal Ballet’s repertoire.

Royal Ballet 44

As our travel plans started coming together it looked like heading through London would be very possible, and not only that but the weekend we wanted to fly through Heathrow was when the Royal Ballet was planning to put on a brand new production of Swan Lake (different from their previous versions). Which ballet is more classic than Swan Lake? Is this real?

Royal Ballet 42

Royal Ballet 41

It was pretty surreal for me to even contemplate viewing a performance in person, isn’t it only rich people who go to the Royal Ballet? Maybe not, but still, in my mind people who are paid in pounds are the ones who get to do stuff like go to the ballet and we are paid in Canadian dollars which are worth almost half what the pound is worth. Nevertheless, we wanted to make the effort for me to see this ballet, as a sort of graduation present. Generally the earlier you book, the cheaper the tickets are, but when we went to look at tickets for opening night (the night I wanted to go) they were almost entirely sold out. The best tickets we could get were roughly 80 pounds (yikes!) so while it would have been nice for my parents to come as well we decided it would be best if I went by myself and so could get a better seat that was single.

Royal Ballet 40

Royal Ballet 39

The night that we booked was on Thursday the 17th of May. It was opening night with two of my favourite dancers, Marianela Núñez and Vadim Muntagirov as the lead roles. I don’t know if I could have been more excited. The time I fell in love with Marianela was when she danced Kitri in Don Quixote with Carlos Acosta in the Act I finale and Act II pas de deux which I was able to view on youtube and am still in love with to this day. Her theatrical capabilities, acting, and of course dancing were exceptional and from there I could see she becomes any role she steps into. The first time I saw Marianela was in a rehearsal of the old Swan Lake that had been showing in the Royal Ballet’s repertoire so to be there on opening night of a brand new production of Swan Lake sounded like the perfect night.

Royal Ballet 38

Royal Ballet 36

As I started following Marianela, I began to notice she was being paired more and more with Vadim and as I watched more rehearsal videos I could see why; their quality of movement is so beautiful, and Vadim himself is an exceptional dancer. Was I really going to be able to see these two dancers in person?

Royal Ballet 34

The night I was going to attend the ballet was actually the night after we flew into London so we would get into London after an 11 hour flight at something like 5 in the morning and I would have to go to the ballet in the evening which lasts until after 11 at night. Talk about a long day. You never know what’s going to happen between leaving the airport and arriving at your destination, I have some crazy stories let me tell you, but in the event that I lost my bags I decided it would be prudent to pack anything I needed for the ballet in my carry on so if something happened to my big bag I could at least get through the night. My camera bag also had to fit in my carry on though, so here I am with half of my bag filled with my camera, the other half filled with a dress, shawl, heels, and makeup.

Royal Ballet 21

Royal Ballet 20

It was quite a flight. I managed to get some sleep on the plane, but of course there were a couple crying infants which made it difficult at times. When we landed we made our way to where we were staying with was a little room on top of a pub in Acton, it was quite fun actually. As soon as we had lunch though, we all flopped on our beds and had a nap; we needed it.

Royal Ballet 26

I was so groggy I had to drag myself out of bed and slap some makeup on my face trying to make the bags under my eyes look less noticeable. Then I got all dressed up in my dress and heels in order to majestically walk down to the subway station and ride public transport all the way to Covent Garden. That’s right, this girl knows how to do class.

Royal Ballet 27

Royal Ballet 32

London is such a beautiful city, I think my favourite thing about it is all of the architecture and visual interest, you can just tell it has such character, I mean, it’s been around for a long time. It was so fun walking up and down streets and exploring little nooks and crannies that you would never find anywhere else. I have to say, I fell in love with London a little bit, and I certainly hope I’ll be back.

Royal Ballet 31

Royal Ballet 22

So let me tell you a little bit about the ballet; you might have heard me say that this is a “new production of Swan Lake” but what does that mean? You may think that Swan Lake is just Swan Lake, but in reality there must be hundreds of versions of this ballet, all slightly different. The way ballet companies produce classical ballets is they make their performance unique to all the others so while it may be the same music and parts of iconic choreography stay the same, they will fill in places with light and shade in order to make their production different. This makes it so that you won’t see the Royal Ballet version of one ballet put on by the New York City Ballet; they each have their own versions. This makes classical ballets rather unpredictable because in Swan Lake you might have a happy ending, sad ending, or even an ending resulting in mixed feelings. No two Swan Lakes are exactly alike.

Royal Ballet 18

So this production was choreographed by one of the Royal Ballet’s resident artists Liam Scarlett. I’ve seen a bit of his work online, namely Frankenstein so right away you know he’s a bit different from the typical choreographer, he’s a bit darker and thinks a bit more outside of the box, so I was interested to see what he was going to do with Swan Lake. Also, costume design can change from production to production, as does set design, it all depends on the kind of feel the choreographer is going for. On social media leading up to the performance I saw teases of the tutus here and there and they looked absolutely stunning; the excitement was starting to build!

Royal Ballet 19

Royal Ballet 17

So when we finally arrived at Covent Garden we had to have a bite to eat before my parents could drop me off at the Opera House and we ended up at a Vietnamese restaurant with a group of South African friends who also happened to be in London (small world!). Afterward which we finally got to make our way to the Opera House.

Royal Ballet 15

How majestic is this building? If I could just explore the Opera House I would be 100% happy, but to think I actually got to see a performance? Well, that’s just…. well… wow.

Royal Ballet 16

Can we take a moment to appreciate these two? Look how graceful they are together (pictured below)

Royal Ballet 13

As I entered the Opera House I just walked around exploring anything I could. I was a good half an hour early but there were already hordes of people. A lot of people were in the Paul Hamlyn Hall which is basically a massive gallery with glass walls and ceilings where they’ve set up a bar and restaurant for people to eat beforehand and have drinks during intermission. I was so happy to be there I just kept doubling back on myself taking in the grandness of it all. Whenever I entered a room I had a jerk reflex telling me, “Don’t go in there, you’re probably not allowed in there, this is for people who have money to pay” and then I had to stop myself and say, wait a minute, I did pay! Well, my parents paid (thanks mom and dad, love you) but seriously, I had a ticket so there should be absolutely no reason to refuse me entry to any of these rooms no matter how socially unacceptable it was for me to wander around without paying for a drink. Once I got that mentality into my head I started relaxing and just enjoying everything about the Opera House. I traveled all the way from South Africa for this, I wasn’t about to let it pass me by! The staff were extremely nice and just smiled, not bothering to tell me whether my aimless exploring was socially acceptable or not. Honestly, I didn’t much care.

Royal Ballet 9

And then, I got to the theatre. Um, wow. So, funny story. I was originally going to get a ticket in the amphitheatre (the cheapest option haha) and generally you want some form of binoculars to help you see some of the detail of the dancing because when you’re that far away you still want to be able to see what’s going on. So we packed our heavy-duty binoculars that we normally use for safari game viewing and carted them all the way to London. When we left for the bus station (to take us to the subway station) I realized I had left them in our room so my poor dad had to run all the way back to the pub to pick up these binoculars so I could use them to see the dancers. We missed our bus and had to wait for the next one, but at least we had the binoculars now. So remember when I said I was going to be in the amphitheater? Whell when we saw there weren’t many seats left and decided I would be going on my own, we decided to book my seat in the left circle stalls which were lower and closer to the front. Only when I took my seat in the theatre did I realize just how close to the front I was. I could see the stage (almost) perfectly from where I was sitting, no binoculars needed. I had been so prepared to see tiny moving dots on a stage far below me I was shocked when I realized I was wrong. Well, if anyone needs binoculars, let me know.

Royal Ballet 11

So we all took our seats, and I couldn’t have been sat next to a nicer gentleman. He was an elderly man but I later found out that he was at the very first performance of Sleeping Beauty when the Royal Opera House reopened after WWII in 1946 and has been going to performances ever since. So here I was sitting next to a man well acquaintanced with the Royal Ballet as I got to experience my very first performance. It was a lot of fun chatting with him during intermissions about principal dancers and who has the best technique. It was extremely insightful as he also knew a lot about other versions of Swan Lake so some roles even I wasn’t aware of he was able to explain, which made the whole experience that much more enriching.

Margot Fontaine
Margot Fonteyn as Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty (1946), Sadler’s Wells Ballet (later The Royal Ballet). Photograph by Frank Sharman © ROH
ROH B&W
The Royal Opera House entrance on Bow Street © ROH 2012

Disclaimer: The above two photos are not mine and I take no credit for them. All rights belong to the Royal Opera House, I am merely using them for visual purposes. They were taken directly from the ROH website and I highly recommend taking a moment to read their history page to learn more about the backstory of the Royal Opera House.

During WWII the Opera House was used as a dance hall and following the war, they decided to make it the official home of both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet.

Royal Ballet 10

So the lights begin to dim and the very first scene is vivid and dramatic. Tchaikovsky’s music begins playing and there’s a little girl in a white dress… Rothbart approaches her menacingly, preparing to turn her into a swan. This is when Marianela Núñez bursts onto the stage; the Swan Queen in all her glory. What an opening! After the intro, we are taken to Seigfried’s kingdom and you see these huge golden gates dominating the stage, setting the scene in the purest form of the phrase. I was dazzled by the set design, my mouth literally dropped open and hung there for a good two minutes. Dancers started flowing onto the stage and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’ve waxed and waned about the lead principal dancers on this particular night but I didn’t know just how many principal dancers were going to grace the stage, another one of my favourite dancers Alexander Campbell played Seigfried’s friend and Seigfried’s sisters were played by Francesca Hayward and Yuhi Choe. Alexander was in a beautiful red coat while Francesca and Yuhi were in the most dazzling silver dresses I think I’ve ever seen. It was just magnificent. The performance only got better from there, I could detail every little thing I remembered and tell you about how amazing it was, but this kind of experience can never be put into words and I feel blessed and grateful to have been able to have the pleasure of witnessing it. If you want a peek at some of the amazing choreography, check out this rehearsal video showing Marianela and Vadim in their roles dancing Liam Scarlett’s expert choreography. I’m probably going to go and watch it now if I’m honest….

Black Swan
Vadim Muntagirov as Prince Siegfried and Marianela Nuñez as Odile in Swan Lake, The Royal Ballet © 2018 ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper
White Swans
Artists of The Royal Ballet in Swan Lake, The Royal Ballet © 2018 ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper

Disclaimer: Again, all rights belong to the Royal Ballet, I take no credit for the above two images. Read more about the ROH’s production of Swan Lake here.

“The Royal Ballet performs a new production of Tchaikovsky’s magnificent classical ballet. Production and additional choreography by Liam Scarlett and designs by John Macfarlane.”

Royal Ballet 7

I’ve said so much already, but as I’m recounting all that happened I’m reliving the night in my head and there’s so much I can say. The first act was, of course, incredible. During intermission I walked around a bit, had a drink of water upstairs (it was free) and just enjoyed the Opera House. The second act was even grander than the first with a massive gold ballroom and throne for the Queen to sit on. The Black Swan pas de deux (this is a link from an older production but it’s the Royal Ballet’s choreography) is possibly one of my favourite pas de deuxs in ballet because it’s so theatrical and exciting to watch. I got to see the Moscow Ballet do just the Black Swan at the Playhouse in Durban with my dance studio, and ask them; I was gasping excitedly telling them all what was going to happen next, “here come the fouetté’s!” I would say. One of the most iconic segments of Swan Lake are the Black Swan fouetté’s during the coda which is basically when the ballerina gets to spin around a million times on her pointe shoe (32 to be exact). Of course, Marianela and Vadim did not disappoint. I also loved how the black swan’s tutu mimicked the white swan as they both had silver threads lacing up and down the costume making for a detailed effect and less ornate than the previous tutus. I appreciated this because in my opinion it made the tutus more elegant and less stuffy than they had previously been while tying the story together.

Tutu drawing ROH
All rights belong to the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet. This image was taken from their facebook page. Visit their instagram page as well if you want to do a bit of stalking and find some more photos.

Royal Ballet 5

Then, as if this all wasn’t enough, the director of the Royal Ballet himself was there and I got to walk right past him on my way to the amphitheater viewing gallery during one of the intermissions. I pretty much just stared at him as I walked past and I think he saw me and probably wondered what on earth I was doing. And then the man I was sitting next to pointed out Liam Scarlett in the crowd as he was taking his seat so I stared at him too. What a surreal experience.

Royal Ballet 3

Honestly, if I lived in London I would go to as many ballets as I could, even if I had to get cheap nosebleed tickets in the amphitheater. Just being in that theatre and hearing the music would be enough for me. I hope it is not my last visit to the Royal Ballet although it may be a number of years before I get the chance to go again, but until then, I love you London, I love you Royal Ballet, and until next time….

Royal Ballet 2

~Abby

Xx

 

 

Fitting In

DBN Mrning 1

Everyone wants to be accepted and understood. It is extremely lonely pretending to be something you’re not just to ‘fit in’. Living in a South African context with a background that no one else can really understand has taught me that your identity does not depend on where you are living, or the kind of people you’re around. You have to decide for yourself the kind of person you want to be. Unfortunately though, that doesn’t give you a free ticket to happiness.

DBN Mrning 2

DBN Mrning 3

More and more I’m learning that people will always let you down. It doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault, it’s just something that happens. It’s a sad reality of the world we live in, but we have to accept that everyone is navigating this life for themselves and it doesn’t always result in a perfect relationship every time.

DBN Mrning 4

DBN Mrning 5

Being accepted for who you are is one of the greatest gifts of friendship, but that also comes with understanding one another. Especially when two people have differing opinions, you have to work to keep a relationship strong, and that can result in some very difficult conversations. It is my belief, however, that a relationship is never allowed to grow deeper without these kinds of conversations. It helps both people to understand where the other is coming from and allows them to feel heard and valued. Without that, feelings may never come to the surface.

DBN Mrning 7

DBN Mrning 9

DBN Mrning 10

Let me tell you a bit about myself… I am a people pleaser. I go to great lengths to make people feel loved and valued because deep down, that’s how I want to feel. If someone doesn’t reciprocate the same kind of effort and emotion, I assume that it’s a reflection on myself as if I’m not trying hard enough to make it work. This is why I’ve had to focus a lot of time and energy on accepting that I cannot make everyone happy. If there is a situation where I have to choose between the emotions I feel and the way someone else wants me to act, I need to do what’s best for myself.

DBN Mrning 12

DBN Mrning 13

My brain doesn’t let me choose myself as much as I would like. I can sit here and write things like “love yourself” and “put yourself first” but I can’t pretend it is that simple. In a recent situation with a good friend of mine I had to decide if I wanted to make a situation easier for everyone involved, or to stay true to what I felt emotionally. My head screamed at me just to let it go, and to make things simple so no one had to get hurt, but my heart ached at the thought of lying to myself.

I didn’t want to pretend that I was totally okay with everything going on around me, because I wasn’t, yet the desire to be accepted rivaled the desire to be true.

DBN Mrning 14

DBN Mrning 15

DBN Mrning 16

The result was a lot of uncertainty and wondering, but I felt a strange sense of peace inside me because my soul could feel safe and at home, not violated and ignored. I watched a great TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson in my grade twelve English course that talked about how the education system is “killing” students’ creativity. What I loved about it though was the depth of application to what he said. It didn’t have to be taken in the literal context of the schooling system, instead, I would apply this knowledge to everyday life. All of us are born with some form of creativity, it can be original thought, the use of art as a form of expression, or music, or dance. But then what “kills” this creativity is not being true to who we really are.

DBN Mrning 17

DBN Mrning 18

DBN Mrning 19

Just like ignoring your personality “kills” your creativity, it can also kill your happiness. I feel most happy when I can be myself around close friends, but if I am not true to myself around others, I cannot be true to myself when I am alone because I would feel one way or another I am lying.

People can feel trapped in different situations because they do not feel like they can freely accept themselves. To do so, would jeopardize the act of “fitting in” which is something that we find to be of the highest priority in a social context. However, it is this kind of behaviour that rips us apart, because our personalities desperately want to show. The act of pushing them down and hiding who we are makes us less able to embrace our uniqueness, from which stems creativity and original thought. No matter how many times people say that you’re unique and not to let anyone change you, we’re always trying to imitate something else.

DBN Mrning 20

DBN Mrning 21

DBN Mrning 22

DBN Mrning 24

DBN Mrning 25

I remember thinking that to put yourself first was selfish. I still do, sometimes, but I also am trying to learn that not being true to yourself can set you up for a lot of hardship  down the line. I think that while being accepted and understood by those around us is a wonderful feeling, it is not something that lasts. Instead, it is important to make sure that you understand and accept yourself. It’s a weird thought of having to “understand” yourself, but sometimes I react to things and I don’t know why. To fully understand why something bothers me so much, I have to fundamentally understand myself and what I value in life. Generally, if something gets under my skin, it’s because something I value is violated, and to fully understand why will help me to monitor my reactions in the future.

DBN Mrning 26

DBN Mrning 27

DBN Mrning 28

We will never truly feel fulfilled if we don’t experience life through our own eyes. We cannot pretend like we are something we’re not, there is no pleasure in that. While the desire to be accepted is fundamental in our social behaviour, we have to learn to fulfill that desire with our own acceptance of ourselves. Through showing who we truly are, we can discover those around us who truly accept us, and the result will be more life-giving than imitating our version of perfection. We will never achieve our version of perfect… we can only hope to be happy in ourselves, imperfect though we may be.

DBN Mrning 29

DBN Mrning 31

~Abby

Xx

Matric Dance 2017

Matric 17

As a homeschooler I never thought I would get to experience a prom or the South African equivalent matric dance. I had dreamed of it maybe happening sometime but I always thought that my graduation ceremony would be the extent of my high school festivities. You can imagine my surprise when a good friend asked me to accompany her to the matric dance they were holding at the school where she worked. My mom encouraged me to go and so the preparations began.

Matric 3

Matric 2

Matric 1

I’m not the fussiest person when it comes to getting dressed up, I can generally do my hair decently and make myself look presentable, but for a matric dance you generally put in a little more effort as a part of the experience. Unfortunately, my parents were away in Ethiopia the day of the dance so I was accompanied by my good friend to the hairdresser’s to get my hair and nails done. I think we can all agree they did a fantastic job! Especially with it being the first time I had ever gotten my nails professionally done, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome especially because I have the most brittle nails in the world that insist on tearing every chance they get.

Matric 4

I’m very happy with the way my hair turned out as well. I’ve heard horror stories of people getting their hair done just to end up hating it and I worried a similar thing might happen to me, but I trusted my hairdresser and she did a fantastic job as always.

Matric 5

I, however, wanted to do my own makeup – that’s half the fun! My favorite thing to do is to take my time on my makeup, I sometimes call it my therapy. Plus, I had an excuse to use my fancy lipstick unapologetically.

Matric 7

Matric 8

As the invitation was so last minute, we had limited time to search for a dress. Most girls know what dress they want months in advance but it was the week of the dance and I hadn’t even thought of the kind of dress I wanted. The typical dream is to have a long evening gown sweeping the floor as you dance, and while there were some in the store, none really suited me and they were somewhat out of our price range. When I tried this dress on it fit so well and looked completely classic. I was at first unsure of the shapeless fit, but as my mom pointed out, it was the style, and I hope I don’t sound too narcissistic, but I think it suits me. With dreams of evening gowns with a fitted waist you can imagine my surprise when I found myself at home with a shapeless dress that didn’t even reach my knees. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’m already looking forward to the numerous occasions I’ll be able to wear this little black dress and it’s entirely timeless in my opinion.

Matric 11

Of course, we had to have a mini photoshoot to show friends and family in other countries so I hope you’ll indulge me with some of these shots.

Matric 10

Matric 19

The dance itself was an experience since I had no idea what to expect. There was a huge red carpet rolled out for the graduating class and the arrivals were almost more about the cars than the fashion. Revving cars would be met by hysteric screams, you’d think Benedict Cumberbatch had arrived.

I’ll be honest, I was a bit of an insider at the event, I sat at the teacher’s table and was asked my opinion on fashion to determine the best-dressed individuals of the night, it was really quite fun.

Matric 12

Matric 9

The downside was I had sprained my ankle exactly a week before, and you can read all about that in my Persevering in the Berg post. I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to wear my fancy heels or be able to dance whatsoever, and if you know me, you know I love dancing. I was attending intense physio sessions during the week and I think it was by sheer determination that I wore those heels for the entire night, after walking on uneven ground in the park to get these beautiful shots. I have my gorgeous friend Limé (lee-may) to thank for that.

Matric 14

Matric 18

I got many a compliment on my ensemble which I have to say made me feel pretty dang special. I enjoyed talking with the teachers and saying hi to the few people I knew, but if I’m honest there was less socializing than I thought there would be. Maybe it was just because I was a bit of an outsider but it seemed like most people kept to their tables, but again, it might have just been me feeling uncomfortable. I don’t often feel uncomfortable in social situations, but being among my peers at an event that they have been looking forward to for their entire high school careers felt somewhat unnerving, but as the evening progressed I felt more included and I ended the night with tired feet and a happy heart.

Matric 16

Matric 20

Matric 15

Dancing with a crowd of people you hardly know without a partner I discovered is not exactly easy. My chaperone refused to dance as she prefers to watch from a distance, but if there’s a dance floor, you won’t find me far from it. While not a dancer herself, my partner encouraged me to go dance, and I eventually did, but I just kind of stood there in the crowd not sure what to do. All the girls had their partners, and the others had created a bit of a circle where people would showcase their dancing once by one, but I wasn’t one to just push in, so I kind of bounced on the spot completely clueless as to how I was going to make this fun. Eventually I took a break and had a breath of fresh air, and when I got back to my table for a drink a couple of the teachers invited me to accompany them to the dance floor. That’s when things started to get fun. The kids knew the teachers so already I was a part of the group and some of the girls started teaching me specific moves that I can only assume is the pop culture of today, but it was really fun as I finally felt like I was a part of something. I surprised myself to see how much I could do with a swollen ankle I had stuffed into my heeled shoe, but I found strength that I didn’t know I had and determination to have fun that I didn’t know was sometimes required. That’s just it, if you’re not determined to have a good time, it’s not guaranteed to happen automatically. You have to work to have fun sometimes, just like you have to work to have good relationships occasionally. Everything needs a bit of a boost, and for me, it was finding the right people to share the night with.

Matric 21

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed reminiscing on this once in a lifetime event.

Matric

Stay determined.

~Abby

Xx

Friends & Fun

shongweni-market-1

These pictures were from a Saturday that my family and some friends went up to the morning market in Shongweni. It was such a lovely day and I got so many pretty pictures that I thought it was only right to share them. I had to get up really early in order to get ready and the sun hadn’t quite reached this part of the house yet. I liked it though, it gives a sense of cosiness when it’s slightly darker, even though it turned out to be a rather warm day.

shongweni-market-3

shongweni-market-4

shongweni-market-5

Since it was going to be a full day filled with lots of fun and people, I decided to put a little more time and effort into getting ready, i.e. doing my hair. I love having straight hair but I can never put in the time to do it properly, plus I can never get the crown of my head at the back, it’s the bit I always struggle with. But today I put that behind me and got it done. I was pretty pleased with the result. 🙂

shongweni-market-6

shongweni-market-8

Honestly, it was worth getting up that early just for the food. Because it’s quite a busy market and it’s only open until 12 we decided to set out bright and early (since it’s about an hours drive from where we are) in order to get there just in time for breakfast. Look at this amazing “full house” one of the stalls was selling. Completely blog post worthy I’d say. Needless to say, it was delicious, and the eggs were cooked perfectly.

shongweni-market-10

shongweni-market-12

It turned out to be such a lovely day, and the market atmosphere is always nice to experience, especially on the weekend.

shongweni-market-26

shongweni-market-14

shongweni-market-25

shongweni-market-16

shongweni-market-17

shongweni-market-15

shongweni-market-24

shongweni-market-19

My friend and I climbed up a hill where this tree was standing and behind us was a kid’s play station and they were making bubbles! They had the most awesome bubble maker ever. It was a rope tied into various loops between two rods and they dipped it into magic bubble solution and let the wind do its work. We had a fair amount of fun chasing after them as the wind often took them right up to our perch.

shongweni-market-20

Like I said, I would’ve woken up that early just for the food. There’s something about market/fair finger food that you just can’t replicate. My friend and I shared this back of candied nuts and it was soo amazing. Like a crunchy sugary cinnamonny goodness. I was planning on making a batch of beer nuts this year for a spot of Christmas baking but I don’t think they’ll be able to compare.

shongweni-market-21

shongweni-market-22

And that was my day at the morning market. I didn’t really have much to say because the pictures speak for themselves. It completely transports me back to that warm spring day which is the best part about photography in my opinion.

Thanks for reading my latest blog, I hope you enjoyed it! If you did, hit the follow button for regular updates and stay tuned for more.

~Abby

Xx

 

 

Game Park Drives

Let me start off by saying hey! *virtual wave* This is my first ever solo blog post, so please bear with me and enjoy…

Sometimes in life, things get hectic, and everyone experiences those moments of busyness when you just feel like you never have time to get anything done. I recently went through a stage in my life that looked something like this, which is why it’s taken me so long to get this post up. My situation is pretty unique to what others may have experienced in their life. I suppose you could say a Canadian family living in South Africa isn’t exactly the norm. Just these past two weeks my family and I have been packing up our lives in South Africa to do 5 months of touring North America. We’ll be in Florida, Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia. I have to say it’s exciting, but not without its stresses.

Easter 2016 (Kerry Wiens)  4689

For Easter Sunday, I drove up to a game park with my family and looking back at it now it occurred to me that if my family had not moved to South Africa, I probably wouldn’t have been to a game park ever in my life, let alone several times before the age of 16. Wow, what a thought!

Easter 2016 (Kerry Wiens)  4680        Easter 2016 (Kerry Wiens)  4691

Easter 2016 (Kerry Wiens)  4600

Now we’re on the road, and flip, the trip is not short getting from one side of the world to the other. It doesn’t matter how many travel blogs you read or how many little travel trinkets you have, you can’t get around sitting on a plane for 10+ hours when you’re trekking as far as I did. I was miserable on the first 10hr flight, and having a bad head cold and an extremely sore throat didn’t help much at all.

But I made it, and Florida is keeping me comfortable as the weather here is almost the same as the weather we left, and absolutely stunning!

Easter 2016 (Kerry Wiens)  4685

Being in Florida is so inspiring, and if you know me, you’ll know I like self-expression whether it be art, writing, fashion etc. So when it comes to styling clothes, I enjoy making them suit me. I think for this outfit the star of the show is the top with the beautiful frilled front and the buttoned up back. It may surprise you that I bought it for almost nothing. It was a thrift item that I picked up at the local second-hand store, and it seemed to go perfectly with a skirt I had also got second-hand.

I then threw on my Keen® brown sandals, chucked my hair in a bun, and that was my easter outfit done.

Easter 2016 (Kerry Wiens)  4658

It just goes to show you that you don’t need lots of money to express yourself, often the materials are already at your fingertips. You don’t need expensive paints to create art, you don’t need a powerful computer to write a story, and you don’t need designer grade clothes to be considered stylish.

Easter 2016 (Kerry Wiens)  4682

I’ll be posting much more in upcoming weeks about my various travels, so please stay tuned, and I hope you enjoyed my little intro post.

Xx