<![CDATA[revlaine hurford - BLOG]]>Fri, 21 Jul 2017 09:49:01 +0200Weebly<![CDATA[UNTITLED 1]]>Mon, 28 Nov 2016 22:00:00 GMThttp://revlaine.durban/blog/untitled-1
Justin, caught on film by Gary Henwood-Fox of Henwood-Fox Photography at Salt Rock. 
I have been - internally - debating on how I'd go about typing this post about our little Justin, every day, since his passing; it's not something that I could get away from - he really meant - and still does mean so much to both Chris and myself and I'd be doing him an injustice by not saying goodbye to him in words and photos. 

Grief is a funny, little creature in that way; we've been taught that it's a private matter and socially not acceptable to allow our vulnerability to show in times of extreme sadness and loss but at the same time, we are encouraged to open up and share - thus bringing us closer to those who perhaps find themselves in a similar situation. It can be confusing at times but for me to move on, I need to do this; not to necessarily close the chapter that was his life with us but to bookmark it and have something to look back on with love and fond, bittersweet memories. So here goes...

I knew of Justin well before he came to be ours - by 18 months or so - when our first dog, Max, was a puppy Chris would accidentally call him Justin from time-to-time; on enquiring who this 'Justin' was, Chris explained that years previously - when he had lived in Johannesburg - he and an ex from that time had had a Jack Russell cross Whippet who he had been very fond of but sadly had to let him stay in Johannesburg when he moved back to Durban. After Max, we soon added Cleo and Jessie to the pack and before we knew it almost two years had passed; then out the blue, Chris found out that Justin was being put up for adoption and was in need of a loving home. I'll be honest - at the time - the thought of having four dogs, one of which came with some personal history was unnerving, slightly, but as with everything we do as a couple, we do it together. So caution to wind, Justin became ours!

He was 10 years, going on 11 when he arrived at ours - and like a cat that immediately goes to sit on the lap of a person who doesn't particularly like cats, Justin latched onto me. Did it have something to do with me being home more so than most people? Perhaps this created a sense of security for him and - finally - allowed him to relax and not worry about being left alone for hours at a time. I don't know. As much as he loved us both, Chris will even admit that he was my dog, in the weeks that have followed since putting him down, I'd get terribly teary, which has been compounded with guilt by the knowledge that Chris is grieving too and me being all apologetic about that, as if I'm the only one who has lost a much loved member of our family. Chris - being the good man that he is - has firmly said to me that I was Justin's 'Alpha' and truth be told, I had never really thought about it like that and yes, looking back, I was his world. He arrived at our's with me not being really too sure I wanted him around but by the time he left, he left with me not wanting him to go, with me wanting him to stay with us just that bit longer. I wasn't ready to say goodbye; am I ready to say goodbye? 
Chris honestly has been my rock during these last few weeks, even though I am painfully aware that he has also been grieving too. The one thing that bothered me terribly was not knowing what Juzzie looked like as a youngster and Chris kindly managed to get hold of these few sweet photo's of our old man - he was the cutest little dog! - oh how I wish that I had had the chance to help raise him like I've done with our Jack Russell's from puppyhood but I suppose I would've taken his presence for granted had that been the case. 
There have been so many sweet words of condolences from our friends and some family members, from those whom had the chance to meet and get to know him and others from those further afield whom only knew him through photos and us talking about him. Things like, 'they become part of the family', 'he's in a better place and not in pain', etc. were said, which is undeniably true and pre this life changing moment happening to us, I would've most likely have said the exact same things to someone in our situation; until it dawned on me that for those us who will never have children (well, we never know....) that our pet's do become our children. They have need's that must be met, whether it be protection and being kept safe and warm; ensuring they're health and wellness are looked after and that they're made to feel secure emotionally and part of the pack., made to feel wanted. Yes, I know one doesn't have to worry about things like school fees and such but it takes time and active participation to know when they aren't feeling well, because it's not like they can say, 'Dad, I have a sore tummy, I may need to go see the Vet'. If that makes sense? One has to be in tune with these little individuals that communicate on a whole other level. It breaks my heart when I hear of people who only see their pet's as possessions and not as the individuals that they are, with their own personalities and emotional needs. 
Chris and Justin, reunited after being apart for many years. 
I try to be as open and honest about things like my suffering from terrible bouts of insomnia and one of the things I'll miss most is having Juzzie joining me in the kitchen - in those early hours of the morning - as I sit at the kitchen counter, checking emails, typing a blog, working on photos, essentially enjoying those sweet few hours before the sun starts to rise - wherever I was in the house, he wasn't far behind. I often refer to him as my gatekeeper and that he was - those quiet times - whilst the rest of the house was sound asleep was his time to keep me company, watching patiently over me. Every morning would invariably start with him pawing my side of the bed, kindly asking in his own sweet way for a sneaky cuddle under the duvet; then as I'd be making a cup of early morning coffee in the kitchen, I knew he was on his way to find me with the pitter-patter of his paws as he made his way down the passage. It made for some sweet photos too. He never needed any encouragement, he was always ready for a love and some affection. He deserved it so much in my - obviously biased - opinion. 
Oh my Juzzie, such precious moments caught on film, during the early hours of one morning.  
It took me a quite a few days to go through the archives of our photos - there are literally 1000's of our hounds, some out of focus, some not perfect but each one taken a snapshot of a particular period in time - which was for me simultaneously sad, cathartic, bittersweet and, at times, even funny looking for photos to share, I found these two that made me smile - typical Juzzie. 



Juzzie, caught taking a seat on the couch and having a sneaky nap - on his first of our many moves - in a duffle bag. 



Over the course of the last four and a bit years - since Juzzie's arrival - I, at times, thought that Max, Cleo and Jessie have had a good start to life in the sense that from the day of their respective arrivals, they had myself and Chris to build a solid foundation on - their needs were met from day one. When they need some love, they actively seek it out but for the most part they are content and in a way independent - like, 'We know you're there for us but we're not going to follow you around'. I became used to that way of life in our family, then Juzzie arrived. We don't know that much of Juzzie's life pre us but we've come to understand that for a period of time, whilst his previous owner was away overseas, he spent a few months in temporary accommodation, coupled with the fact that he was rescued from the SPCA as a puppy - this may have contributed to his anxiousness, as if he was waiting to be left again - with us, he had finally found a home that would love and accept him for who he was and have guardian's that would not leave him for extended periods of time and if I am to take one thing away from his last four years with us, is that he lived the remainder of his golden years being adored and having someone to focus all his attention on - in our case, it was me. I - at first - wasn't too sure how to deal with this but he forced me to climb out of myself and give him all the love he so rightly deserved and in return, he gave me his all. I often say to Chris that I wasn't a terribly emotional person - sensitive, yes but emotional, no - that statement is not true today. 

There were so many photos of times like these. 


As I was going through our photos, another thing I realised that I'll miss dearly - yet cherish all at the same time - were all the cuddle and snuggle time's that were had - truth be told all our hounds, except for Ruby (she's a Labrador and too big for couches!) love cuddling - he liked nothing more than being wrapped up under a blanket, next to me., whether it was early in the morning, late in the afternoon or in the evening - I think that's why the week's that have followed since his passing have been particularly hard for me, I had unknowingly become just as used to having him around as he had become used to having me there for him. No more pawing my side of the bed in the early hours, no Juzzie being caught having a sneaky nap on - always - my side of the bed, no more turning around and finding him there just looking at me or casually lying in such a way that I was within eyeshot of him. No more him. Period. Whilst we're on the topic of napping, Juzzie enjoyed nothing more than a good nap - towards the end, he did that more and more - especially on the couch or bed - whether we were there or not - cue to either myself or Chris shoo'ing him off - sometimes a photo or two was taken beforehand and sometimes he was allowed to just chill. There were so many to choose from that it was quite hard picking just a small handful!


He loved nothing more than a sneaky nap on the couch or bed, towards the end we allowed him this small treat - what was the point of getting to his ripe old age if he couldn't get a pass every now and again?!


I don't know if we struck it lucky with our hounds or if it's the way we raised them from puppyhood but there was no animosity nor pangs of jealousy on his arrival; in fact, it was just the opposite - it's like he had finally arrived home - if he wasn't at my side, whether I'd be in the kitchen cooking, giving the house a clean or reading, he would most likely be found chilling with the other hounds, if they were lucky, he'd spend some time giving each one a good clean by licking their faces and their ears - sounds gross, I know but the love they all shared was tangible and my original concerns regarding how he'd fit into the pack, that I had prior to his arrival, dissipated on seeing those sweet moments between each one of them. The girl's seem to be adjusting just fine without him, our dearest Max has been battling a bit. We've chatted to our Vet and he has assured us that this adjustment period will be tough for him as the dynamic of the pack has changed and he's just not too sure of his place and where he fits in. So we've had to be patient and understanding of this, again, it just goes to show that animals are so more than what we think they are - that they indeed do have feelings and emotions and need just as much care as any child would need. 
He was loved by all in the pack!
The Johannesburg weather made it necessary for all to wear jerseys - patiently awaiting a treat from Chris. 
He loved nothing more than napping near the gas heater during winter - he and Max were the best of pals too. 
Whenever he wanted a cuddle, he would not-so-subletly let me know his intentions - he'd sit patiently waiting for me to notice him, then when I did, the game was on - there was no way that I could ever say no!
The camera loved him. Chris loved him. I loved him. 



Just one little dog, but oh so many photos were taken of him. 



I'm so glad that Chris convinced me that we needed to adopt him, apart from being 10 years old at the time that he arrived at our's - not many people would take that responsibility on, be it the emotional or the financial implications that an older animal comes with in regards to medical and Vet costs, etc. - I knew Chris loved him from way back; looking back now, I don't think I could've lived with myself knowing that I had denied them both the reunion they so rightly deserved - even though Juzzie latched onto me more so than Chris, but Chris didn't mind - I think he's grateful for that, that I was there for him these last few years. 
Chris and Juzzie - our first Christmas in Johannesburg 2013. 
I had started the grieving process for Justin well before he actually died, which in itself was an odd experience - usually one has the privilege to grieve the person or animal they have lost post their death but that wasn't the case with Juzzie.

After watching from the front row, so to speak, his health get progressively worse over his last few months with us, we knew we had two options - and knowing he had been on the strongest dose of pain meds possible - on one hand, we could've kept him over-medicated and watched what made him the special little soul that he was slowly and painfully wither away, or we could've been the best guardian's possible and make the hardest decision we've ever had to make together and let him go. We chose the latter. We chose the best for him and how we wanted to remember his presence over our own seemingly selfish want of wanting to keep him around - if I could've, I would've kept him for forever. I really would have...

But I digress.

We're taught that there are five stages when it comes to grieving, if I can recall them correctly; denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance - I may have the order muddled, but oh well. I couldn't deny that Juzzie was ill and our Vet had confirmed that there was nothing that could be done, apart from keeping the pain at bay with pain killers - which worked for the first few months. We decided that we weren't going to renew his pain meds script - that once finished, we would say our goodbye to him - that's when the bargaining with Chris started. Every day, and I do sincerely mean every day, I'd say to Chris, 'Are we doing the right thing? Could we not prolong his life with us?' That's when I realised how terribly selfish that would be, the last thing he needed was to be in constant pain - so that stage too did pass. Anger, I don't think I have been angry; though, as much as this kills me to admit - closer to his last days with us, I found myself getting terribly annoyed with him. I suppose - in retrospect - it was my way of distancing myself from what was to happen, that when I should've been showering him with even more love, I was internalising this annoyance towards him. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of cuddles, snuggles and our usual routine, but as always, my coping mechanism is to keep things at arm's length. As I type this do I only now realise that perhaps I was angry, not angry with him - that I could never be - but angry in the sense that there was nothing we could do to protect him. To save him. The last month has seen me being very quiet blog-wise, I haven't wanted to share, or speak of anything really - but as always, I needed to do this and by that I mean putting my thoughts down in words and hopefully by doing so this fog will lift. So yes, I may be slightly depressed, or should I say deflated? I am going with deflated. I have every right to be, don't I?

One Sunday morning, in Salt Rock, the three of us joined an awesome photographer for a special photo shoot and Juzzie was the star and shine he did - thought I'd share a few photo's from that sweet day on the beach and in the park with all of you reading this post. What a fabulous, bittersweet but most of all loving way to remember our dearest Justin - for a dog that was in terrible pain, one would never think that from the photos below. 
The day before we said our very tearful goodbye - Chris had to go to Ladysmith on business and he took Juzzie along for the drive, so that they could spend some time together - just the two of them. On The Day, I took Juzzie for one last walk, our last walk together, just us two. I had imagined talking to him and asking what it felt to have lived a long, happy life but alas, we just walked in silence. We had gone for 100's of walks together but that one was tough for sure, me trying to stop the tears as we walked the streets of our suburb, with Juzzie stoically by my side - as he had always been, as one of my walking companions. It was as if he knew what was coming - though he didn't really know what was to come, but still... He was such a pleasure to walk with, I am glad that I had the chance to be his handler in that regard for the last four years. I have yet to go for another walk, with and without the hounds - Chris has been bravely doing it on his own, it's too fresh. Perhaps I should?

Chris had offered to take Justin to the Vet on his own, I told him that I was going to be there and that was non-negotiable. I had to be there, I needed to be there. I needed to be the last face and voice he heard - forget what one saw in Marley & Me - there was no prolonged period to say goodbye, it was all over within a short moment. Years of dedication, love and responsibility gone in the blink of an eye. Do I have any regrets in co-adopting an older dog that needed a home? Not for a second. Do I wish that we had had just a bit more time with him. Always. Will I feel better about all of this in time? Yes, this I know. Will I still love the rest of our hounds unashamedly? Definitely, I wouldn't have it any other way.  
I shall never forget you, Justin. You're always in my heart - now and forever. 


Until next time, 

​Rev
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<![CDATA[GUARDIAN - ALANIS MORISSETTE]]>Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:53:15 GMThttp://revlaine.durban/blog/guardian-alanis-morissetteI've always liked this song because it speaks of two very different topics - simultaneously - the first one is literally from the perspective of a guardian-like figure; be it to a child, a family member, a friend or even a pet - essentially a soul loved by you, whom you want to protect. The second interpretation - and this is how I like to listen to it - speaks to one's own inner-child; that, ultimately, we are all capable of being our own guardian. 
'Guardian'

You, you who has smiled when you're in pain
You who has soldiered through the profane
They were distracted and shut down


So why, why would you talk to me at all
Such words were dishonourable and in vain
Their promise as solid as a fog

And where was your watchman then

I'll be your keeper for life as your guardian
I'll be your warrior of care your first warden
I'll be your angel on call, I'll be on demand
The greatest honour of all, as your guardian


You, you in the chaos feigning sane
You who was pushed beyond what's humane
Them as a ghostly tumbleweed

And where was your watchman then

I'll be your keeper for life as your guardian
I'll be your warrior of care your first warden
I'll be your angel on call, I'll be on demand
The greatest honour of all, as your guardian


Now no more smiling mid-crestfall
No more managing un-manageables
No more holding still in the hailstorm

Now enter your watch woman

I'll be your keeper for life as your guardian
I'll be your warrior of care your first warden
I'll be your angel on call, I'll be on demand
The greatest honour of all, as your guardian
Until next time, 

​Rev
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<![CDATA[RIP MY DEAREST JUSTIN]]>Wed, 19 Oct 2016 09:02:46 GMThttp://revlaine.durban/blog/rip-my-dearest-justinWe tearfully said goodbye to Juzzie today...
Justin - caught on camera this past Sunday - by Gary, of Gary Henwood-Fox Photography. 
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<![CDATA[CHOCOLATE SENSATIONS]]>Tue, 11 Oct 2016 22:00:00 GMThttp://revlaine.durban/blog/chocolate-sensations
The Chocolate Sensations story started on a cold and gloomy day back in August 2012 in Hilton, a small town that lies on the brow of the escarpment, about 10Km's outside Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal. Judy had undertaken to have a stall at her local church fair but after casually explaining to her neighbour Gwynne - over a cup of coffee - that she was in a quandary as to what her stall would sell. Judy mentioned that she had some old, unused chocolate moulds from years back - Gwynne jumped at the opportunity to help her make chocolates - at this stage they had no idea of how to go about it! They bought some Belgian Chocolate, melted it down into the moulds and packaged them for the fete stall - they were a sell out! Gwynne jokingly said to Judy that they should start their own business - they both laughed heartily at the thought - little did they know!

​Chocolate Sensations officially opened for business on 1 December 2012 and they have been perfecting their craft ever since - being self taught - they watched many Youtube videos and with tears and hard work they even tempered their chocolate - no mean feat - by hand! In their own words they were 'so green' but with time and understanding, they've come to realise the conditions that govern production of fine chocolate and have since then invested in a tempering machine, which also speeds up production. Using the finest Callebaut Belgian Couverture Chocolate, in dark, milk and white - no compromising in quality here, as this chocolate has been the preferred choice by Belgium Chocolate makers for the last 100 years - their chocolate's and chocolate related goodies are deluxe, handcrafted and hand decorated - they even personalise their products, depending on their customer's requirements - personalised, handmade merchandise that is packed to suit your needs - how awesome is that? 

Now for those of you who may be diabetic - they offer a Couverture Diabetic range that contains Maltitol - or if you're health conscious - their Carob range is non-dairy and sugar-free and instead contains sun-dried fruit which include dates, berries and various nuts. There really is something for everyone and something tells me if they don't offer what you're looking for, they'll do their best to accommodate your request!

Their products are made from 100% sustainably grown cocoa beans - yay for sustainability - and include (but are not limited to) corporate hampers, wedding favours, single novelty chocolates, gifts for special functions and occasions. They also make fudge, brownies / squares, chocolate dipper spoons and 
ready-to-use sweet sauces! They have managed to perfect upmarket, handcrafted products at affordable prices - that's a feat in and of itself. 
Say hello to Gwynne and Judy. 
In the interest of research, we bought a few of their wares to taste - it may have been the few glasses of wine - it was a food & wine fair after all! -  that I had already consumed by the time we reached their stall, but I found myself engaging with them; appreciating their passion and customer service dedication, I found myself offering to blog about them! Promise kept, here goes! 
Chocolate, Pecan and Caramel Squares!
Where do I start with their Pecan Squares? In my opinion, it came across very much like Millionaire's Shortbread - but with Chocolate Sensations spin on it. The buttery, short, melt-in-your-mouth biscuit base? Generous portions of pecans? Thick shards - no thin shavings here - of white chocolate that covered the top? Tasty layer of caramel that's not sickly sweet (just the right amount) but marries oh-so-well with the biscuit base? Chris is no fan of anything too sweet and he even agreed that they were tasty, I managed to even get a 'lovely' out of him. So - if anything - if he liked them, then you know you're on to a winner! What impressed me most, was the near perfect ratio of white chocolate to the pecans, to the caramel that topped the biscuit. Every bite delivered the perfect amount of each ingredient - which you could taste individually - there's no hiding behind fancy flavourings, each co-starred perfectly to form a well balanced treat. Rich and decadent but in a subtle, non-pretentious way; I even like how each piece wasn't perfectly square - just what you'd expect from a homemade, small-batch treat. 


Their simple packaging allows the product to take centre stage - what I also liked about their presentation is that you know you're not paying for fancy, unnecessary packaging - just the tasty goodies inside!. 


Maraschino Cherry & Whiskey Liquor singles; White & Milk Chocolate covered Honeycomb. 
The Maraschino Cherry & Whiskey Liquor single's are the perfect pop-in-your-mouth treats! Both are covered in the delectable, dark chocolate which is the perfect pairing to their respective fillings. The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate offset's the rich, Lindt-like-centre consistency of the Whiskey Liquor single - the whiskey shone through perfectly. It is oh so rich; oh so creamy; oh so indulgent. The perfect - adult alternative - to an 'After Dinner Mint'! The Maraschino Cherry single is also paired with the dark chocolate, a match made for each other - as with the Whiskey Liquor single - the coating of chocolate is generous (no skimping here). As you bite into the Maraschino Cherry - which was plump and juicy - the burst of the subtle cherry flavour combines so well, again, with the the dark chocolate. I found myself wanting more - sadly we only bought one of each for ourselves!

Chris does love him some chocolate covered honeycomb - he chose to buy the pack that we took home. - and what a pleasure it was to taste. The honeycomb had a decent crunch to it, that melted to a chewy, gooey consistency that we've all come to know from honeycomb. I sampled the white chocolate whilst Chris happily munched on the milk chocolate. Chris assured me that it was one of the best chocolate coated honeycomb treats he's ever had! In fact, he has asked me to place an order for more - Gwynne and Judy, expect an order to be placed shortly! I found the white chocolate a nice alternative to the normally found milk chocolate covering - the balance between the sweetness of the honeycomb and the milkiness of the chocolate was perfect. Again, a decent coating of chocolate could be found - it managed to straddle the line of rich and decadent without being overly sweet, thus allowing the ingredients to shine. It is simply made, yet well executed. 
We shall forgive them for spelling 'Ganache' incorrectly. 
The ladies' gifted me a Lime and Chilli in Dark Chocolate Ganache treat to sample and review - I happily obliged!
Hand decorated!
The lime and chilli in dark chocolate ganache is an unlikely combination of flavours, yet they compliment each other so well; I suppose it's the citrus flavour that reminds me of a 'Terry's Orange Chocolate' but with a surprisingly pleasant hint of chilli after-taste! The smooth and creamy ganache was encased in a thick layer of dark and white chocolate - as with all their other goodies we tasted, there certainly is no skimping here! It's something different - may not be for everyone - but well worth the trying!
To place an order, or to find out how they can assist in your chocolate requirements, please do contact them via the following:-

​T:     +27 33 343 4424
​E:    chocsensations@gmail.com
FB:  www.facebook.com/chocsensehilton
W:   www.chocsensationshilton.co.za
B:    www.chocolatesensationshilton.wordpress.com
So what are my final thoughts on Chocolate Sensations? It's simple, their final product easily reflects the quality of ingredients used; then there's the perfectly paired combinations of flavours - not an easy thing to achieve - and their generosity with regards to the amount of chocolate used. As I had the pleasure to meet them both in person, it did not surprise me that their product's are not only well made but demonstrated a high level of care and thought that has gone into producing each chocolate treat - one can taste that they've used the best quality ingredients possible. 
I'd happily tell anyone looking for handcrafted, locally made and personalised Belgium Chocolate goodies to give Chocolate Sensations a go - now, how do I convince both Gwynne and Judy that they need me as their official taste-tester?!

This was not a paid for blog and all opinions are mine (and Chris'). 

Until next time, 

​Rev
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<![CDATA[PILATES vs YOGA]]>Thu, 06 Oct 2016 22:00:00 GMThttp://revlaine.durban/blog/pilates-vs-yoga
After taking my Winter break from yoga; I naively thought I could just rejoin my regular class with no problem whatsoever come Spring - little did I know that my regular class would no longer exist on my return! Some light research later led me to find that there were no other yoga studios in the area offering lessons in the price range that I was willing to pay. So with that in mind, I had to rethink my approach to how I was going to achieve my 'low impact, high repetition' strategy of exercising. I attempted to keep up with my jogging but that too had slowed down over the cooler months and I had also hurt myself - I really was feeling sorry for myself, truth be told. The straw that broke the camel's back - so to speak - was when I started having to pull my tummy in a bit to squeeze into some of my pants. I was like, 'ok, let's get ourselves into gear!' This is when I decided to bite the bullet and join a pilates class - I enquired at a few studios and found one literally down the road from us, so I weighed up the traveling costs vs fees asked and thought it made financial sense
I then had to ask myself what is the difference between these two forms of exercise and here's what I have found out on this particular subject. Bearing in mind that there are so many different forms of yoga and pilates, it does make it difficult to determine definitive distinctions between the two forms of exercise. True, they are similar but there are some differences. Also, I'm no expert on the subject - so this is how I understand it and I'll try explain it the best I can. 
The purpose of yoga is to unify the mind, body and spirit - it can be used as a way to help heal the body and to find mental wellbeing. It also gives your body more flexibility and promotes relaxation, even in stressful times - this is the reason why I have always enjoyed practicing yoga - to reduce stress and help me focus. In yoga, all movements are performed on a mat, with the weight of your body used as resistance for the exercise - this takes a fair amount of concentration and focus, with the flow in and out of each pose being fluid in the sense that one movement leads into the next sequence. There's no stopping for any length of time - which is also another reason why I enjoy yoga - there's no time to dwell on that particular day's worries; you're simply too focused on the set to worry otherwise! Each pose focuses on specific target areas and needs, they are not what you'd call 'workout moves'. 

On the other hand, pilates - which has many of the same goals as yoga in mind - bar a major difference. In addition to mat work, there are different exercise 'tools' that are used too; in the class I happily attend, we use a combination of the following; an elastic stretching strap, a mini exercise and a balancing ball, a resistance ring and some light weights. In pilates, the entire body gets a workout! The focus of pilates is on the core, so that the rest of the body can move freely - making your body stronger both in and outside. This balance between flexibility and strength results in stronger and leaner muscles. 

Listed below are a few points on how the two differ from one another:- 

Origin: The practice of yoga originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. It has evolved over the centuries and cultures into many different types: Ashtanga, Bikram and Vinyasa to name just a few. Pilates, on the other hand, is a much younger practice (early-20th century) and was started by an athlete named Joseph Pilates - he created the exercise as a form of rehabilitation and strengthening.

Mind, Body and Spirit: Both yoga and pilates bring an understanding that the mind and body are connected. However, yoga adds an additional element to the mix, the spirit. Exploring spirituality is a part of yoga practice, especially through meditation. Whilst pilates focuses on creating an understanding that the mind and body are connected and how this can help in everyday life. 

The Class: There are some styles of yoga that have more of a set plan, such as Ashtanga and Bikram. Essentially the poses, sequences and variations can be combined into a myriad of routines to create a class - so it will be up to the style of yoga you practice and / or the teacher guiding you - another element that is not always brought into a yoga class is meditation; some classes may use a chant or meditation to bring in the focus and dedication at the beginning of the class and to seal in and appreciate the benefits of the practice at the end of class. Pilates classes are a little more structured - because of this - you will more likely know what to expect from class to class but again, it's all dependent on the methods used and your instructor. 

The Workout: With both yoga and pilates practices, you will gain strength and flexibility. Pilates classes offer a total body workout but it focuses on aligning the spine and strengthening the core. The exercises done in pilates classes almost always involve regimented movements to gain core and spine strength. Some classes may use machines to gain strength, while others will keep you on the mat and use your body's resistance to gain results. In a yoga class, you will work every muscle in your body equally - each posture is accompanied by a counter-posture to ensure you create balance in your body - while core strength is definitely an important part of yoga, it is more a by-product of it rather than it's entire focus.

Breathing Techniques: Breathing and concentration techniques are important to both yoga and pilates. However, yoga uses breath work on a very deep level; one breathes in and out through the nose, matching these deep breaths to the movements and poses - often, in yoga classes, there will be segments dedicated to breath work. In pilates, you inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. 

​I have practiced yoga on and off for years; so when I started pilates, I was definitely a little insecure about whether or not I could do it but I am now over a month into my practice and am thoroughly enjoying. It does help having an awesome instructor and fellow classmates - always a laugh to be had, which also makes it fun. Who could ask for more? Exercise and a laugh - perfect!
If you're thinking of giving yoga or pilates a go but can't decide which practice would suit you best? Ask yourself if you want your practice to be spiritual and de-stressing, if so, yoga may be the better option. If your priority is to focus on your core, pilates may be a better fit.

If you don't know where to start, try them both! You will soon know which practice will benefit you most.

Until next time, 

Namaste
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<![CDATA[THROWBACK THURSDAY!]]>Wed, 05 Oct 2016 22:00:00 GMThttp://revlaine.durban/blog/throwback-thursday1773860This week's #tbt takes us back to January 2014 - I had just arrived home from my morning walk - Chris and I were having coffee on the balcony, when Justin decided to join us. 
Justin, my little gatekeeper!
Until next time, 

​Rev
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<![CDATA[THE LAST TIME - TAYLOR SWIFT feat. GARY LIGHTBODY]]>Mon, 03 Oct 2016 22:00:00 GMThttp://revlaine.durban/blog/the-last-time-taylor-swift-feat-gary-lightbodyI wouldn't go out my way to say that I'm the biggest fan of Taylor Swift but I do like me a good duet; and I reckon this song is rather sweet - it features Gary Lightbody, the lead singer of Snow Patrol. 
'The Last Time'

I find myself at your door
Just like all those times before
I'm not sure how I got there
All roads they lead me here

I imagine you are home
In your room all alone
And you open your eyes into mine
And everything feels better

And right before your eyes
I'm breaking no past
No reasons why
Just you and me

This is the last time I'm asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list
This is the last time I'm asking you why
You break my heart in the blink of an eye, eye, eye

You find yourself at my door
Just like all those times before
You wear your best apology
But I was there to watch you leave

And all the times I let you in
Just for you to go again
Disappear when you come back
Everything is better

And right before your eyes
I'm aching no past
Nowhere to hide
Just you and me

This is the last time I'm asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list
This is the last time I'm asking you why
You break my heart in the blink of an eye, eye, eye

This is the last time you tell me I've got it wrong
This is the last time I say it's been you all along
This is the last time I let you in my door
This is the last time I won't hurt you anymore

Oh, oh, oh

This is the last time I'm asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list
This is the last time I'm asking you why
You break my heart in the blink of an eye


This is the last time I'm asking you
Last time I'm asking you
Last time I'm asking you this

This is the last time I'm asking you
Last time I'm asking you
Last time I'm asking you this
Until next time, 

​Rev
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<![CDATA[IT'S THE SMALL GESTURES THAT COUNT THE MOST]]>Thu, 29 Sep 2016 22:00:00 GMThttp://revlaine.durban/blog/its-the-small-gestures-that-count-the-mostThe last couple of years have seen me attempting - and it's a decision I had to make consciously - to really be there for people. Sadly, I'm not talking about the ever-increasing number of homeless, begging people who seem to be swarming every intersection and stop street at the moment - even though my heart goes out to those poor souls, there's not much I (as one person) or we (as a couple) can do to make their lives better, apart from making donations to The Salvation Army in the hopes that at least a few people will benefit from our small donations. 

I have come to realise that I can't be there for people that I don't know, especially if I'm not able to make myself available to the dear, sweet souls I interact with on a fairly regular basis.

Unlike Chris, who happens to be blessed with this ability to give of his time - be it an ear to listen, business advice - you name it; he will always try his best to be there and be present. Unfortunately, there have been times when a few people have taken advantage of this and Chris has had to learn when and when not to be there for others - it's sort of ironic in that sense - Chris having to learn to be more selective in his giving nature, whilst I'm having to learn to be more giving of myself. It's like we're simultaneously working - though, as individuals - towards that oh-so-fine middle ground between learning when to say no and when to say yes. We obviously aren't at the same place, yet, but it's comforting to know that I am not alone in having to realign my inner self and that my loving hubby (side note: I can't believe we've been married 6 months already!) are on the same - in an alternate universe sort of way - journey. It would be very easy for me to romanticise it and say that we have brought these qualities out in each other, who knows, perhaps we have. It's certainly not as easy as flipping a switch on and off. It takes effort and understanding - from the both of us - especially when one has their foot on the accelerator pedal and the other has their foot pushing as hard as possible on the brakes! 

But I digress, back to the subject at hand. 

​I am more guarded; I have always had to be - thinking of it now - perhaps it has something to do with my tumultuous family life growing up (which I can't change and which I really wouldn't want to truth be told - it's a part of me, it defines me) I think it's given me a better, whole-view of situations - without my past, I wouldn't have everything I have now - in the form of Chris, our dogs, our life together - but there is certainly an element of me keeping people at arm's length; not sharing my time, not letting people see the best of who I can be. Why it took me over 30 years to realise that I am indeed able to contribute, have my voice heard - without fear - and be of meaningful service to my - albeit - very small social circle but baby steps, right?

I suppose in order to reach the light at the end of the tunnel, I indeed have to walk through the tunnel!

In order to grow - in my opinion - you have to put yourself into situations that force you to climb out of your comfort zone, no matter how trivial it may seem to you. 

The last three weeks I have spent Monday through to Thursday evening's staying at Aunty Helen's place whilst her son is overseas with his daughter, visiting her maternal family. She politely asked a few months back if I'd mind staying over at hers; I said yes, the thought of her staying alone wasn't really an option but it's something I always do; I agree to - fill in the blank - and when it comes to showing up, I start questioning whether I can or cannot do it and sometimes I bail. This time I didn't, I couldn't. There was no way I could break my word to Aunty Helen - especially after the emotional and traumatic months the first half of this year have brought with it.  

It only then dawned on me - two weeks into me staying over at Aunty Helen's - how used to a certain routine both Chris and myself had become accustomed to. Evenings spent with me making dinner and us debriefing each other on our day's news, etc. Little did I know how much we would actually miss each other whilst I was away - even though we saw each other during the day! How I worried if he was eating properly and just general stuff like, 'should I have agreed to stay over? Did I make the right decision?'.

Then last week Friday evening - whilst I was making supper - Chris arrived home with a bouquet of flowers; a huge smile on his face and when he told me how much he loved me and how glad he was that I was home for the weekend. I knew then, with that small gesture of flowers, that my small gesture of agreeing to stay over at Aunty Helen's place meant just as much to her as Chris' flowers meant to me.

The penny dropped! It indeed is the small gestures that count the most. 

I may not always get it right but I am certainly heading in the correct direction and that's the important lesson I have learnt from these past three weeks; it will certainly act as a reminder the next time I am considering bailing out on whatever situation I may find myself in that requires me having to climb out of my comfort zone - that I actually can do it. That I indeed can be present and show up for those whom I love and respect.  
The bouquet that inspired this blog, in full bloom!
Until next time, 

Rev
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<![CDATA[THROWBACK THURSDAY!]]>Wed, 28 Sep 2016 22:00:00 GMThttp://revlaine.durban/blog/throwback-thursday3761861This week's #tbt takes us back to August 2012; we had just recently adopted Justin. He had lived, up until joining us, in Johannesburg - so we thought what better way to welcome him into the pack than with a trip to the beach!
Awwww!
Until next time, 

​Rev
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<![CDATA[YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE - MARIA MENA]]>Wed, 28 Sep 2016 12:31:13 GMThttp://revlaine.durban/blog/youre-the-only-one-maria-menaI discovered Maria Mena whilst rummaging through a bargain bin at Musica a good few years back - the album cover looked interesting - and I also enjoy listening to Scandanavian musicians who sing and write songs in English - think I spent maybe R10 for the album? At that price, I was prepared to take a gamble - even though I'm not a gambler! We have such a varied music collection, that her style of Norwegian pop fits snuggly into the mix! 
'You're The Only One'

Well I saw you with your hands above your head
Spinning around trying not to look down
But you did and you fell, hard on the ground
Then you stumbled around for a good ten minutes
And I said I'd never seen anyone look so dumb before
And you laughed and said I still know how to turn you on though

You're the only one who
Drags me kicking and screaming through fast dreams
You're the only one who
Knows exactly what I mean 

And I probably forgot to tell you this
Like that time when I forgot to tell you about the scar
Remember how uncomfortable that made you feel?
See you're not what I expected
But you're the only one who knows how to handle me
And you're such a great kisser and I know that you agree

You're the only one who
Drags me kicking and screaming through fast dreams
You're the only one who
Knows exactly what I mean

I hope you can forgive me for that time
When I put my hand between your legs
And said it was small 'cos it's really not at all
I guess there's just a part of me that likes to bring you down
Just to keep you around 'cos the day that you realise how amazing you are 
You're gonna leave me

You're the only one who
Holds my hair back when I'm drunk and get sick
You're the only one who
Knows exactly what I mean

You're the only one who
Drags me kicking and screaming through fast dreams
You're the only one who
Knows exactly what I mean

Exactly what I mean

Well I saw you with your hands above your head
Spinning around, trying not to look down
But you did and you fell, hard on the ground

Until next time, 

​Rev
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