I Have No Clue What I’m Doing

For the last two weeks or so I’ve been happily sharing the progress of The Littlest Bookshop’s progress and then last night my brain suddenly went: Nadine what on earth are you doing?! All those before photos are just fine but you don’t even have a clue what the after plan is!

And it’s true: I have no idea what this spot is supposed to look like “after”. Not even the teeniest bit. And so of course now that my anxiety has been able to shift focus from Noah’s first day of school to “my” stuff, it’s going “you dumbass what if it looks terrible and all these folks are watching and telling you they can’t wait to see the end result!”

Well… awkward…I guess. Haha! For a second or two my inner critic had me, I must admit. I started to panic. Like oh my gosh what if it doesn’t turn out like I’m hoping! Then of course I realised I had no particular hope in mind. Which is something I’ve actually taught myself to do because it’s not possible to be a writer and stay sane if you’re too hung up on expectations. Apparently that habit has infiltrated to a few other areas. I’m going to go ahead and call that a good thing.

So the point is this: I don’t know what I’m doing. Not even a teeny tiny bit. I’m just going with the flow and seeing what happens. So when this is all done I will be just as surprised as all of you by how it turned out. I do apologise if it turns out to be a bit of a letdown. My decor skills are not exactly on fleek (*snarf*) in the first place and I did kind of spend all my money on cement and floorboards with none left for decor items. And to be honest there’s pretty much only space for books and maybe two people at a time in this little Hobbit Hole of mine anyway. But whatever happens, whether it turns out better or worse than I was hoping, it will still be filled with hundreds and thousands of beautiful stories. And that particular part, the most important part, I have covered. So we’re good, right?

The First Day of Our New Life

I think I might have forgotten how to blog. Today was such a monumental deal in this house that surely whole thing should be documented in some way and yet I sit here barely able to put one word after another. It might be all the tired at play…

My littlest peanut went to school today for the first time and thankfully I am quite content that it will all work out just fine. You see the thing is, this little school that my little peanut went to for the first time today is kind of the #1 reason that we moved here.

A little bit mad? Maybe. But mad things must be done from time to time.

And so my littlest peanut started school today. The reason we moved started today. And today was a really good day. Even though I nearly cried ten times. Even though I can see he’s a little overwhelmed and exhausted. Even though I know I’m going to have to keep my finger on the pulse here and somehow magically balance Noah’s penchant for social and emotional burnout with my own burnout struggles. Even though this is all going to be totally different to what we are used to.

Today was a really good day.

New year new life, right?

Or something like that. Usually this is my favourite time of year. The New Year feels like a reward for getting through Christmas for me. But here I am, burned out and overwhelmed. And very surprised that I haven’t been crying a lot more than I have been.

How are we all doing, by the way? It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Since I was last here. I’ve sort of told you that I’m moving (move date: Feb 28) and you know that I started a new business. Because why do one huge thing at a time when you can do two? Right? Or seven…

Here we go though. 2019 promises to be challenging af. I’d like to say “I got this” but I truly don’t we’re all just holding thumbs and hoping for the best…

How’s your year going so far?

One Month Later…

My shop has been open for a month. And y’all? It’s been a ride to say the least. This weekend I actually started to worry that I was about to shut down a little, which was scary because I don’t have time for burnout right now. But luckily I changed the brand of magnesium I was taking (I have no idea why the Clicks one works better) and I’ve been happily sipping on banana cream Herbalife shakes (the magnesium and potassium content in there is superior!) and I’m feeling better today. Much better. In fact I’m happy so yay!

But…oh yes! I have a bookshop and it’s been a bit of a nutsy month. Pretty much everything else in my life has taken a bit of a backseat, I’ll admit. Blogging especially! Balance has not been easy (or forthcoming!) but I’ll figure it out, right? No probably not. I’ll make peace with it though. Maybe.

For now I just wanted to acknowledge the magical support I’ve been getting. I am so grateful. And I cannot say thank you enough!

PS: I sort of feel like my feature pic doesn’t quite match the mood of this post. But I’m way too lazy to take another selfie right now so I’m going with it. It’s the only one in my phone that has books in it. Just imagine I’m actually super happy, but I’m also super tired and I’m busy trying to stay positive about what seems to be a carpel tunnel issue that has reared its head thanks to all the extra social media-ing I’ve been doing. So the pic kind of fits, right?

There’s Something I Haven’t Told You

I’m a little ill today. My body is rapidly burning out I think. It’s ok though. I’m catching it. Resting. Taking my supplements. Liquids. Probably I should go and make some tea…

OK I’m back. I totally made coffee though. And some toast. And MedLemon because honestly cherry MedLemon is the best thing about being sick I really like that stuff. Probably I should consider this addiction of mine something akin to drinking too much? Probably let’s rather not think about that now.

Anyway: back to the thing I haven’t told you yet…

I’m moving.

And I’m moving really far away. Far away to a place I believed I would never return to.

I’m moving home.

Every time I try to talk about this in conversation it ends up a being very long and probably boring story about how we came to the decision to do this. But what it really boils down to is that I want something different for my kids. And even myself and my husband. But mostly my kids.

So we’re moving to Molteno. Thanks to my mother and father-in-law, we’ve gotten ourselves the loveliest home to move in to. I love it so much I can barely comprehend it. And funny enough it’s a home I spent a lot of time in as a child. I loved it back then already. The fact that it is almost “ours” still blows my spoilt little brat mind. I can’t get over it.

But we’re moving. And it’s exciting and scary and sad and happy and a whole bunch of other contradictory things. But mostly it’s just time. Time for a change. Time to be with my sister and brother-in-law who I adore while I patiently wait for them to give me nephews and nieces. Time for my teens to experience a quieter life. Time for my son to be with his best friend in the world (seriously: it is possible to make a decision to move somewhere just because you really like your friend’s kid and you think he’s good for your own child) and time for my husband to experience the small town life that he has been begging me to consider for years.

I haven’t processed the part where moving somewhere means leaving here yet. And to be honest I am afraid. Because I do love it here so very much. I can only have faith that someone will catch me once the reality of it all hits. For now I am distracted by plans and packing though. And by writing blog posts while ill because if I don’t do “something” I will think too much.

We’re moving. What a beautiful and horrible thing.

Bypassing the Open Windows

I’ve been meaning to write this post for months. Ever since I got back from Thailand, really. I just haven’t had the words. Or the heart. Passing the Open Windows has been a kind of mantra in my life for so long now. Silly, perhaps, to latch onto something that you read in a book once and make it your life.

It has been my life though. Keep passing the open windows. Basically it means don’t commit suicide. Not really something that’s socially acceptable to talk about. But that’s what it was for me. A place to record and celebrate all the reasons to keep passing the open windows. And sometimes a place to rage against the things that send you in the wrong direction.

Of course, last year, on the advice of someone who believes in niche blogging, I split my blog into two spaces. Here, a place where I can awkwardly tell you about my “real” life, and There, a place where I shared the travel life.

But the thing is this: It’s all my real life. And my life has no niche. It’s all just a glorious and beautiful and hideous messed up jumble.

And so I have decided to let Passing the Open Windows go. This is a small bit sad for few reasons. One is that I did really liked the idea of being “a travel blogger” and living a glorious life of travel “one day”. Another is because the windows have been part of my identity for so long. A few plans ands ideas are being let go as well. That’s ok though. It happens.

Stephen Fry said something very interesting once that has stuck with me ever since. If you will forgive my paraphrasing (I don’t know how to Google this and find the correct wording) he said don’t label yourself as any one thing. If you call yourself a “writer” then that is all you will be. Rather be “a person who writes” because then you can do many other things as well. Mr. Fry has been and done many things. And I like to think that idea fits with me.

I am a person who travels.

I am a person who loves motherhood.

I am a person who writes.

I am a person who takes photographs.

I am a person who owns a bookshop.

I am Nadine Rose Larter.

So, the Open Windows will still be found here even though there are no travel plans in our near future. I knew as soon as I booked our Thailand tickets this year that they would be the last plane tickets in my life for probably a very long time and I have made my reluctant peace with it. Travel will always be in my heart and hopefully always accessible to me in one way or another. I might not be able to afford to fly for now but I can still walk. Exploration is accessible.

A few other adventures await.

I’ll just be telling you about all of them here from now on.



The Stranger on the Internet

I’m having a small giggle to myself right now. As I said yesterday, I started admitting that I’m in the middle of attempting to start my little bookshop business this week and the response has been so heartwarming. But yesterday I got a message from a stranger on the Facebook page that I created for a business that doesn’t not technically exist yet.

Where is your store located?

Uhm…? Enter the panic! It’s all very well and fine when you tell your friends you’re stepping out of the mom life and moving into the business world but it’s very different when strangers stumble upon your business and ASK QUESTIONS! Because oh my goodness. This woman doesn’t know me from Adam. She doesn’t know I’m a blocked writer homeschool mom of three. She doesn’t know I’m a disaster in harem pants with a headband addiction. She doesn’t know I own several hats with ears on them. She doesn’t know that I often wear my fuzzy teddybear pyjama hoodie during the day because it’s warmer than my other stuff. She doesn’t know that I legitimately consider my cats to be my friends. She doesn’t know that I regularly poke myself in the eye with my eyeliner and that stuff that you use under your eyes to make people stop asking you if you’re tired. She’s a stranger. So she doesn’t know!

All my friends at least know all that stuff. There’s a comfort in that.

And now I must….what? Impress her surely with my business savvy?

Nadine, you have no business savvy… You’re not even sure you spelled savvy correctly… Computer says it’s fine but it looks wrong, man.

Thankfully my penchant for radical honesty took over so I just told her honestly that my “store” doesn’t technically exist yet and that I’m busy cataloging and will hopefully soon be able to share some of my gems (and there are gems) on my Facebook Page.

And you know what she said? She said things like “you go girl” and “dream big” and “follow your instincts” and it all just reminded me that there is nothing more beautiful than kindness. Because probably she doesn’t care that I can’t remember when last I brushed my hair. Because guys, I don’t remember. Projects make me a little one track minded…

Wait… where was I?

Oh yes.

Thank you, Pam. I was afraid of making a fool of myself in front of you but what I got instead was a warm fuzzy feeling and a smile to carry me through the rest of today. You reminded me that even though “strangers on the internet” have this scary power to make you feel small, they also wield the power to make you feel big and kind of badass. I hope that I am like you when I am a stranger on other people’s internet.

You inspired me today. Thank you for being so beautiful.

The Littlest Bookshop

Hello, it’s me again…

I kind of just wanted to say thank you. In the last little while as I have been burrowing my way through trying to figure this all out, so many of you have been kind and supportive and it is everything. My heart is so full that I don’t even feel embarrassed to say corny things like “my heart is so full”.

I cannot believe how many messages of encouragement and enthusiasm I have received. Thank you. I cannot believe how many offers of help with books I have received. Thank you. I cannot believe all the kindness. Such a beautiful reminder of how we should be in this world. Thank you.

I have spent my last pennies. I have no real plan. I might have to sell books out of the boot of my car.

But my heart is so full.

Thank you.

Yes, I’m Starting a Bookshop.

The last six weeks or so have a been a little chaotic. Sometimes, when you’re just sitting quietly minding your business, thought worms wriggle into your head out of nowhere and suddenly everything changes. Does that ever happen to you? (if this is weird please note I’m totally kidding it never happens to me)

The thing is, I’ve kind of always wanted to do this, and with a few impending changes in our lives, I sort of thought: well we might as well just add another “crazy thing” to the mix, right? Well, possibly I could be very very wrong, but for now I’m kind of just going with it. Sometimes you just have to ask yourself: why am I not doing those things that I want to do? And take steps to make the necessary changes.

So I’m opening a bookshop. A secondhand bookshop, of course, because these are my safe places. My glorious portals of potential. My source of joy in times of pretty much anything. And so I have determined that I should take the steps to become one of these places myself.

As of yet, I have no premises. I have no website (don’t really want one). I have no solid plan.

I do, however, have a dining room table full of stock. And a a dining room floor full of stock. And an entryway full of stock. And a personal library that I have finally made peace with disseminating. I have a start.

So even though I have nothing figured out yet, I am starting with what I have. And from there I will have to see what happens.

I won’t lie. I’m a little terrified. But also kind of excited.

You’ll have to excuse me for now though, I have piles and piles of books to sort through…

A weird update on my health…

This is another short post but something health related happened last night which I personally found to be quite profound. You may find it a little strange, I suppose. I don’t know. I got quite excited about it though.

Around this time last year was pretty much when my health was at its worst. And at the time a friend gave me tickets to another friend’s charity function. I’ll be honest: I did NOT want to go. But I did. With two other friends, and my unfortunate husband who I think might have been one of only two men there.

Anyway. At this function I nearly lost my mind because it was an introvert’s nightmare, and I was experiencing some serious sensitivity issues with pretty much all of my senses, so that made it about a thousand times worse that it normally would have been. I laughed my way through it (quite literally – there was a section on laughter therapy – it was the least funny thing I have ever experienced) and then I took a week to recover from it afterwards.

At that event though, we were given a goodie bag that contained a huge jar of a very rich body lotion. It was a really good lotion. One that was worth quite a bit more than I usually spend on lotion from Clicks. And guys, the smell of that lotion literally offended me. It made me so angry. And I knew it was irrational to feel angry about a lotion, but oh my gosh that stuff just pissed me off so much. Now, understand that even regularly I have a very keen sense of smell and taste, but during that time all of my senses felt like they were in overdrive. Bright light was too much. Too much sound would make me cry. Even being touched was too much at one point. Luckily I have very understanding family members! Anyway, the point it that I couldn’t stand the smell of the scary body lotion that came from the scary event. I couldn’t even bare the smell of it on my husband. It had a very particular smell. A rich smell, perhaps. I can’t explain it. But that smell. It made me angry. And quite frantic if I’m to be honest.

But this was like R400’s worth of lotion. You don’t throw that away because you’re a bit nuts…

Well, last night I got out of the shower and because of who I am as a person I couldn’t immediately find the body lotions that I’ve been using for the last while. So I picked up the terrifying event lotion. And you know what? It doesn’t actually smell bad at all. I remember exactly what it smelled like at the time and it actually doesn’t smell like that at all now. I used it all over and it didn’t bother me at all.

It’s just weird. I know that the sensitivity I was experiencing back then has calmed a LOT in the last 6 to 8 months, but even now I find it fascinating how different this particular experience is compared to how it was back then. And all because of a mineral imbalance.

Gosh… I started by saying this was a short post…

Sorry about that.