Been singing a whole bunch of Christmas carols recently? Our church had a carol service yesterday afternoon and when Seth went to practise the music early on Saturday morning, Riya woke up and asked where he was. So I mentioned that he’d gone to practice the carols. Then later the siblings asked the same things and she shouted, “He’s gone to practise the Christmas Caramels!”. Haha
Anyway, it’s Monday again which means it’s time to take a look inside another bloggers home. Today we’re wandering through the home of Cath Jenkin out in Durban.
INSIDE THE HOME OF… CATH JENKIN
1. So, who the heck are you?
Hello, I’m Cath. I’ve been rambling around the great and sparkly internet since the days of tiny modems and that piercing tring we all used to secretly love. By profession, I’m a freelance writer, editor and communications consultant. By life, I am best known as Mama to C, and fiance to The Paul. My dogs will tell you, however, that I was actually born and raised to be their full-time minion, eager to do their bidding at a moment’s notice.
2. Give us the low down on your blog. We want to hear it all. (What’s your niche, what kinds of posts do you do, that kind of thing)
I’ve become a terrible blogger as the years have passed, but I still feel very committed to the community around it – some of my best friends became so through blogging. As I have committed more of my work life to writing professionally, my personal blogging journey has suffered quite a hit (I used to blog up to three times a day at one point, but for my personal blog, I probably get to it once or twice a month now. Eek). Nonetheless, I write for a number of beautiful publications as a columnist too, so often that effort goes elsewhere. I do love the explorative nature of blogging, and always have. Moreover, the personal nuances, honest-life retellings and beautiful stories that are shared online never cease to both awe and intrigue me. I started blogging as a way of writing to my daughter in the future – I started when I was pregnant with her in 2005. I still write to her as often as I can, and this takes on a range of different forms. You can find me at cathjenkin.com, cathjenkin.co.za and I’m also over at Contently –
3. Share all your social channels so we can stalk you…
4. What does a regular day in ‘the life of you’ involve?
There is never a regular day, but there are some definitively normal parts, which include: waking everyone up every day with coffee and a gentle prod out of bed. I am usually evicted from sleep by my dogs who demand cuddles or attention by about 5:15, so I grab coffee before waking the rest of the house by 6am.
Once everyone has left for the day at school or work, I settle down to tackle my inbox, tend to clients and check on my to do list for the day. Very often, things need to be moved around to fit in with surprise developments (this week’s surprise happens to include a giant hole in my house’s exterior walls – never a boring moment!) so I rely quite a bit on my Google calendar. Usually, there are one or two meetings a day, either in-person or over Skype, and the rest of my work day is devoted to: writing; taking care of client accounts and/or pitching for new work. The latter part is the hardest for me, but I enjoy it the most. I also try and devote at least half an hour a day to learning something new, whether it’s relevant to my work or not. Very often, it’s those little learning sessions that help me to pitch for new work, incidentally – learning something new about an industry or approach I have no experience in always pays off.
I work, every day, until about 2pm and then take care of my home life for the afternoon. That includes: homework supervision, cooking dinner and prepping lunches for the next day. Throw in a little afternoon kitchen karaoke session (the dogs hate that part) and pretty soon thereafter, my family return home after their days at work and school. Then we enjoy dinner together (we get this right almost every night! Amazing!) and, after that, we either relax for the evening or Paul goes off to his show for the night (he is a drummer. I am marrying a drummer. This element of my life never fails to thrill me). After 20h00, you’ll find me bidding my daughter sweet dreams and I’ll head back to my computer to complete the day’s work. If I’ve managed to finish everything for the day, I will indulge in some personal quality time with Netflix and try to scoop up some space for myself on the bed. This is not always easy, if you’ve met my dogs. Hah.
5. When do you fit in time to blog?
*insert nervous laughter* Truthfully, when I can!
6. Please can you share your top 5 tips relative to you blog niche…
My top 5 tips for life, I guess, that I hope my daughter will learn, know and live by. Here goes:
- You get what you give. You will never regret making an effort, even if others seem not to notice it.
- Never be afraid to be wrong. It means you are learning.
- If you ever feel like you can’t tell someone something, tell it to your mom.
- There are a million important things to do in one day. Decide which ones will matter in five years’ time and do that one first.
- Never let anyone lead you to think you are not worthy of the things you believe possible for yourself. Once you have an idea, make a goal and then create your plan towards it. It does not matter how small it may seem – it counts.
7. Give us a brief tour of your home and garden – tell us about renovations you’ve done – before and afters, parts you love, parts you want to change, go crazy…
You’ve caught us at a strange time in our home, haha! We live in a semi-detached house in Durban, with a big garden and beautiful views. We moved here about two years ago, as a way to be closer to The Paul’s family, but primarily for my daughter’s school. Our family life evolved in a way that meant moving suburbs made sense, but it started with a conversation around wanting a dog to join our funny troop. That dog ended up being our Jake – a rescue pup who’d been through a hell of a life before landing in our laps. We nursed and loved him past it and he is now a 30+kg hound who is a devoted cuddler, even if he seems heavier than a house. We added our Zoey to the mix about a year later and, as she’ll tell you, Jake may be the Prince, but she is Queen. Zoey either likes you or not, and you’re most likely going to be liked if you give her a belly rub. Okay, enough about the dogs.
Our home has everything we need, but what made me fall in love with it was the kitchen. When our landlord first met me here, to show us around the house (Paul had found it, sold me on it and just wanted my final approval on it), I walked in the door and instantly knew, before even going upstairs. But it was the kitchen that sold me on it – It’s big and packed with cupboards, which has nurtured my no-longer-so-secret love for cooking. I learnt to cook by trial and error in my twenties (apologies to anyone I ever fed back then, it’s okay. I know it was terrible!) and am always keen to try some new fandangled recipe. Often, I don’t get it right, but then sometimes, I do! Cooking has become something I adore, and serves as a sort of daily therapy for me. My family’s favourite is, hilariously, my spaghetti bolognaise, which I learnt to make by watching my mom as a child, and then recalling as I learnt how to cook. I’ve added my own spin to it nowadays, but it all started with my mom.
Upstairs, our bedrooms are pretty sizeable, with my daughter’s room now home to the bunk beds she’s wanted since little. Paul’s ManCave is also upstairs, and I have a little work spot in our bedroom too. At the back of the house is my office, which offers an often-quiet spot for me to focus and work. Very often, I don’t work in there though, as it’s more beneficial to be elsewhere in the house for the day. Thanks to The Paul, we have an incredible fibre line, so working from home is actually really easy.
During 2016, we’ve undergone some unintended renovations. As a result of the terrible floods we had in July, we lost a big part of the boundary wall between us and another property. As I type, however, I’ve just heard that it may finally be fixed sometime soon. Thank goodness. We’re also, as I type, enduring another round of unintended renovations, as our family bathroom has a massive water leak. But, as I am absolutely grateful for her, things are being fixed as we go. Our landlord is great!
8. What’s your favourite room/area in your home and why?
Our favourite room? Oh, that’s easy. It’s a little unconventional, but perhaps that’s why we like it. Earlier this year, I noticed that we weren’t watching television together as a family. It seemed like a waste, because we have a massive television in the lounge (instead, we were watching individually, or in my bedroom). Also, our lounge gets quite hot during a Durban Summer, but our dining room stays quite cool, thanks to the French doors that open out onto a small courtyard. So, in an effort to change that, we swapped our lounge and dining room around just this past weekend and, I can already tell, this was a great decision. Our ex-lounge-now-dining-room now has a special reading corner (highly important because I and my daughter are avid readers), and our new TV lounge is cosy but airy – perfect for family movie night! This is definitely our favourite room now, but I do want to add one more thing to it – an A-Frame bookshelf, so I’m hunting for the right one.
9. If you had endless money and you could change anything in your home, what would you do?
Haha, we talk about this at least once or twice a month. We’d buy the property, bash down the walls between the two units and create giant bedrooms, a bigger TV lounge and bigger study/work spaces. We’d also put a swimming pool and then I’d also love to add on a scullery to our kitchen. We’d have the room! Now, where is my winning lottery ticket.
10. Where’s your dumping ground – you know that place that you dump all your clothes and frantically have to clean before you have guests over…
Oh. It’s the kist. Haha. The kist is a family heirloom, passed down from my mother’s side of the family. It’s very special to me, but it’s also the scene of daily chaos.
11. Do you have a book collection? Let’s see it. Which one is your fav? (photo please)
Yes! Let’s show you that reading corner we made. I have to choose a favourite? I could be here for another ten years. 😛
Thank you for sharing your home with us Cath!! I love how you’ve changed up the space to spend more time together as a family – it’s so worth it.