4 surprising lessons from an average Coronavirus survivor

It’s been around 18 months since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. As it stands today, there have been over 175 million confirmed cases worldwide with more than 3.8 million deaths. Sadly, I must count myself and my family amongst the 175 million who were tested positive. Thankfully though, we survived our quarantine period with only mild symptoms. 

I’m not going to go into the details or arguments of vaccinations and masks, there are plenty of qualified people to advise you on such things. There are also plenty articles explaining how to avoid contracting the virus. I’m not a Doctor, a politician or a health worker. I’m a simple mother, employee, wife, friend. So I am just going to share with you the 4 surprising lessons I’ve learned from my pretty average experience with contracting Coronavirus. 

Lesson 1: It’s hiding in plain sight

You would think it would be pretty simple if you test positive to look back on the last few days and say, “Ah yes, I was around Joe on Friday and he was coughing”, or “Yes, I had coffee with Jane on Saturday and she tested positive”. But it’s not. Here in South Africa, masks are compulsory and our hands are raw from sanitizing. We avoid public places for the most part, we don’t hug our elderly parents anymore and birthday parties and family get togethers are a thing of the past. Well, that’s my story at least… 

So what went wrong? I was not in contact with any positive cases that I’m aware of. I don’t know of anyone who was sick within 2 meters of me. I can’t point to anyone or anything and say, “That’s where I caught it’. But I did catch the virus. From somewhere…someone…somehow. 

Lesson 2: The guilt will keep you up at night

Thankfully for the majority of Covid patients, it won’t be the symptoms that keep you up at night. If you’re lucky, like I was, you may feel a little under the weather, but it will be mild. What will keep you up at night is the guilt. There were many nights I lay awake, going over the past few days and faces of people I had been in contact with. Worrying about my parents. Wondering if my friends had been on contact with me. Thinking about all the diabetic, cancer, heart-condition friends of friends and family. Berating myself because I touched my mask or didn’t wash my hands with the 5 point technique. 

The reality is that you have very little control over this. Life happens, even when you try to follow all the rules.  

Lesson 3: Texture and temperature counts

I’ve read plenty articles on the loss of smell and taste as a symptom of Covid. This is in fact, the very thing that sent me off to the lab for a test. Nothing can quite prepare you for it though. When your nose is stuffy, it often messes with your sense of smell or taste. You have to breathe in a little deeper and opt for stronger tastes when you have a normal cold, but there is still some semblance of your senses, albeit it dulled. 

This is different. Totally. You will stand in front of a pan of sizzling bacon, breathe in and smell…only hot air. Your kids will blind-fold you and give you pickle juice to drink (true story) and all you will taste is…water. 

It’s difficult to WANT to eat, when everything tastes like cardboard. You have to tap into your food memory bank and IMAGINE what the food tastes like. Playing with textures and temperatures does provide some kind of relief. It triggers the memory and makes the meal more palatable but still…I miss being able to taste chocolate!

Lesson 4: You’ve gotta have friends

In today’s day and age, most things can be done online. Need groceries? Woolworths or Checker 60/60 will deliver. Need medicine? Upload a photo of your script to the Dischem app and they will deliver too. You can even have a virtual Doctors appointment! 

But when you’re cooped up in your house for 10 days, stocked up on tissues and vitamins, it soon becomes very apparent that there are some things an App just can’t do for you. An App can’t call you everyday to find out how you are and ask you what you need. An App can’t give you the reassurance you need when you lie awake all night feeling guilty. An App can’t say “I love you” and “I care about you” and “I’m praying for you”. And that is what’s going to keep you sane and positive on the road to recovery. 

To those of you who have managed to evade the virus, I wish you luck. It’s still an ordeal, no matter how mild your symptoms. To those who have lost loved ones to the virus, I send love.  

Amazing series by SJ Maas!

Court of wings and ruin

Action-packed masterpiece!

As war bears down on Prythian, Feyre finds herself deep in enemy lands at the Spring court. She is determined to make Tamlin pay for the betrayal that cost both her human and Fae family so dearly. To do so, she must play a deadly game of deceit and it will take every weapon in her arsenal, and more to ally the High-Lords to protect the two worlds she loves so dearly.

What a roller-coaster, magnificent masterpiece! Maas weaves a fantasy world full of adventure, beauty, treacherous betrayal and romance. She adds additional characters in this installment with rich back-stories that deserve dedicated novels of their own. I was already in love with the rich characters of the Night court but this novel continued their stories of personal growth, making me fall in love all over again. This one is action-packed and will have you in tears, in stitches and swooning!


Top favorite fantasy series!

Court of mist and fury

Fantastic fantasy!


Feyre died under the mountain, at the hands of Amarantha. Now, reborn as Feyre curse-breaker, she returns to the Spring court to take her place at the side of the man she loves. But she cannot forget the things she was forced to do to save Tamlin’s people anymore than he can forget watching her die. Then there is the matter of her debt to Rhysand, High-Lord of the night court, who arrives at the most inopportune moment to collect on Feyre’s promise while the threat of war looms.

Epic, fantastic, thrilling and romantic are just some of the words I would use to describe this installment of the series. Rhysand has quickly become one of my favorite characters of all time and definitely book-boyfriend worthy! The chemistry and often gentle tenderness he has with Feyre makes for a gripping page-turner.

Feyre’s personal development is a beautiful, perfect arc. From broken human girl to fierce warrior, she makes the change with a wonderful cast of strong supporting characters by her side, each with his or her own, richly woven back-story.

The fantasy world of Prythian is richer, lighter and full of hope in this novel. The detail with which Maas spins this emotional, imaginative and descriptive tale is breath-taking. This is definitely one of my favorite series!

A very different flavor to the usual Maggie Stiefvater

All the crooked Saints



Owls are attracted to miracles and the little Colorado town of Bicho Raro is teeming with them. Pilgrims come to the town in search of the Saints of the Soria family, hoping for their own miracles. But miracles are strange things, and sometimes require more than just the Saints of Bicho Raro to be completed. Sometimes it takes a miracle for the pilgrims to reach inside and find their own answers and once in a while, miracles can happen even to the saints themselves.

Maggie Stiefvater is hands down my favorite author. Her writing is always lyrical and symbolic and I marvel at her creativity and talent. This book has an entirely different flavor to it. I struggled a lot to get into this story. At one point, I considered giving up but I continued, searching for the hidden gem. There is a huge amount of underlying symbolism in this novel. While the story in itself was gentle and not awe-inspiring for me, the message it carries of hope, of the darkness we each carry and our ability to slay it together, is.

Get ready to open your mind with Dan Brown’s “Origin”.



Where do we come from? Where are we going?

Professor Robert Langdon is intrigued when he receives an invitation to a mysterious presentation from his friend, futurist Edmond Kirsch. He is even more curious when, just before the presentation, his friend admits that he has made a break through scientific discovery that will change the face of religion. But Kirsch’s presentation is cut short when he is assassinated on live television. Robert Langdon and Kirsch’s friend Ambra Vidal are determined to find the password that will release Kirsch’s discovery to the world.

Dan Brown remains one of my favorite authors. It’s impossible to read a Dan Brown book without opening your mind to new ways of thinking and emerging with more insight, and often more questions, on the other side. Origin seeks to answer the greatest questions of all time: Where do we come from and where are we going? Brown tackles the conflicting schools of science versus religion with boldness and tact. Like a true scientist, he provides the facts and encourages each reader to find his or her own truth.

Brown’s descriptions of Spain and in particular, Basilica de la sagrada familia, are so vivid and exquisite that his book is sure to ignite a fresh wave of tourism. His references to technology and how it could shape the future of humanity are both exciting and frightening. It may be fiction, but I hope that each of us hears and heeds the underlying messages of warning and of hope for a better future.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The hate u give

Hard-hitting but inspiring

There are two Starrs. The one who goes to the preppy suburban neighborhood school and the one who grew up in drug-infested Garden Heights. Starr balances between her two lives, drawing the lines so that they never meet until…

Starr witnesses a police shooting of a childhood friend. Soon, she is thrust into the spotlight as the community seeks the truth and demands justice.

These are the kind of stories I love most – thought-provoking and hard-hitting. Angie Thomas addresses highly controversial topics in a gripping and creative narrative. Topics like modern day racism, hidden, disguised and perpetuated with words, money, and laws are laid bare, forcing the reader to dissect and examine each situation and intention.

Angie Thomas knows how to draw you in with witty dialogue and scenes that invoke all of the senses, including those of the heart. I love the familial and community scenes. There is tragedy, anger, and heart-ache in those scenes but also, a sense of community, sticking-together, sharing and greater-good.

While the topic may be tragic, I found the book uplifting and enlightening. It carries a message of hope and raises awareness of the society we should all be striving to build – one where the color of your skin truly doesn’t matter and where we all come together as one community to uplift one another.

There’s nothing frilly about this court

Court of thorn and roses

Fickle and lovely

Feyre never set out to kill the wolf. She never would have touched it had she known it was something more, something ancient and powerful from beyond the wall. But she hadn’t really had a choice, had she? The wolf had been hunting her prey and she needed that deer to feed her family.

So, she’d killed it.

Now, a creature has come to claim revenge for the life Feyre took. The only way she can atone is death – or she must consent to live out her life in the magical fairy kingdom across the wall.

Feyre makes the only choice she can and heads off to the lands of the fairies, where fearful, dangerous and beautiful creatures live. She soon discovers that her handsome and frightening captor is more than he seems and that a dangerous sickness threatening the land of fairies could spill over into the human world, obliterating everything. Can the fairy-Lord crack Feyre’s, hardened heart? Will Feyre be the one to break the curse and free the fairies from the blight?

I’m an ardent Sarah J Maas fan. Throne of Glass is one of my favorite series, and yet this book exceeds my expectations. There is something so poignant, raw and beautifully descriptive about her writing. She brings to life a world where beauty and horror live side-by-side, survival is king and the strong toy with the lives of the weak. There is nothing frilly about this magical world beyond the wall, it is cruel and lovely, with characters who are both fickle and deep.

I’m enchanted by this world beyond the wall and I can’t wait to find out what lies in store for Feyre!

Oh, what a wonderful world!

Written in red


In this world where humans are prey, Meg Corbyn’s odds of survival are slim at best. As a blood prophet, owned and kept by her human Controller, she’s had little exposure to the outside world. Now, she has escaped and finds herself at the mercy of a world she doesn’t understand.

Pursued by her Controller, Meg finds refuge in the unlikeliest of places – the Lakeside courtyard, a business district operated by “The Others”, the supernatural predators who control the world. Here, she begins to learn about the world of the humans and “The Others”. She makes some unlikely allies and friends, and her unusual kindness and innocence soon have “The Others” re-evaluating the relationships between their kind and the humans who work for them in the business district.

But Meg’s Controller wants her back, and he will stop at nothing to require his property, even if it means destroying the tenuous peace between the humans and “The Others.

Oh, what a world! The detailed intricacies and characters are like a carefully drawn map and each corner reveals yet another delight. What a magical, beautiful and brutal place this is, full of every kind of creature you could imagine. Each has its place within this political and familial society of “The Others”.

It is a delight to meet each character and to unravel their strength’s, weaknesses and quirks. Each character has its own journey and they come together in a beautiful tale of friendship told by a very talented author!

5 stars to Jacques Pouw and his shocking expose

The presidents keepers

Hard-hitting expose

First off, I need to disclose that I am a born and bred South African. I think this is important to mention because it means that I probably have some sort of bias already about the subject matter. Someone from another country might be able to read this book with cool detachment but let’s face it, it’s hard to remain unemotional when the money referred to comes from your own pocket and the flag is the one you proudly call your own.

From a writing perspective, Jacques Pouw has presented the facts in a neat, uncomplicated and practical manner. He is an award-winning journalist and it’s easy to see why. His research is thorough and his wording precise but fearless.

With regards to the subject matter, I have to say that this was probably one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read about South Africa. If even half of it is true, then the extent of the rot in our government is unprecedented and extremely frightening. The idea of my hard-earned tax money being wasted on drug-running, murdering, corrupt criminals while my fellow South African’s starve and live in tin shacks enrages me.

The knowledge that evidence exists, but has been buried beneath legal and political shenanigans depresses me hugely and I have to wonder – will these corrupt leaders ever pay for what they have done to my beloved country, or will I continue to have to fork out my hard-earned money while they play games with our economy and ultimately, our lives? Will my fellow South African’s see the light and use their vote in 2019 to make a positive difference? How long will it take to dig us out of this hole that appears to be much deeper and wider than the Presidency alone?

Jacques Pouw offers some optimism in the form of recent developments within our judiciary system and the pressure that civil society is putting on government to hold corrupt officials accountable, but it’s been over a decade and as a citizen, I have to ask – when is there going to be some action?

5 of 5 stars to “The Barrier Between” by Stacey Marie Brown

The barrier between


Tension, danger, betrayal, and romance

Zoey’s life has been irrevocably changed by the unnatural storm that has devastated Seattle and taken the lives of the only two people in the world she loved. Zoey discovers that Daniel, her DMG partner and the man she has loved for years, has left behind a devastating message for her, unraveling the truth behind the DMG and the experiments they have been conducting, not only on the Fae they hunt but even on their own hunters. Zoey discovers that as a result of one such experiment, she is dying. Now, it is a race against time to find someone who can help transfer the Wanders Fae powers back to Ryker before Zoe takes them with her to the grave forever.

Stacey Mari Brown takes her fantasy world to another level in this installment of the Collector series. The workings of the Fae world and the back stories are nicely fleshed out. The focus of the story remains the relationship between Ryker and Zoey. Brown has a definite talent for hiking up the tension as the attraction between them grows. Then, to the already boiling pot, Brown throws in the third point of a love triangle, creating a delicious conflict.

The story arches are neat, with some danger, intrigue and betrayal brought in with various supporting characters. The changes in setting and location also add some variation to the story and broaden the scope of possibilities. I’m thoroughly enjoying my immersion in this wonderful world of Fae.