Of all the prints/artwork in my home, these two sets are my favourites!
Tony & Ian
When I was still searching for my home, I met up with some friends at a cafe in Illovo and spotted Tony and Ian. I can’t remember which is Tony and which is Ian now but I absolutely love these paintings. I love how the artist teamed a human body with an animal’s head giving these a fantastic talking point over their unusualness. I only recently got these framed as I was waiting to find my home, decide where to put them, etc. I love the bit of red backing board which makes the colour pop in their waistcoats!
It’s no secret that I am a BIG fan of a certain second hand group on Facebook. My first buy was a couch that is now sitting in our TV loft and is the most comfortable thing ever! I came across a young lady selling a bunch of hand-drawn portraits. There were six available but I chose the below four as they spoke to me the most. Again, I love that they are not the normal type of portraits one sees. I love that they add a finishing touch to my bathroom.
To see other posts about my home decorating see here:
The oldest orchid in my collection is approximately 4-5 years old. A few months ago I noticed these weird white spots growing in the roots, and white bugs on the leaves, spikes (stems) and flowers on most of the plants, so I started a household treatment of diluted dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. This seemed to do the trick on some of the plants in getting rid of the bugs but the issue of the roots was still not resolved.
A few weekends back I turned to this wonderful thing called The Internet to try and find out what the problem could be and how best to sort it out. It turns out that I’ve been less than stellar with my orchid care!
Did you know you should repot your orchid every year? Uhm…I must have missed this memo when I was given my first orchid about 4 years ago! It’s no wonder that the plant has been upset and giving me problems.
Before visiting the nursery to buy orchid potting mix and new plastic pots, I schooled myself with the help of a few YouTube videos. I watched this lady effortlessly remove her orchid from the plastic pot, soak the roots to make them more pliable to avoid breakage, remove leftover bark chips etc, and then repot. All in the matter of about 5-10 minutes. So of course I thought, “How hard can this be? She’s done it and it’s so super easy. Let’s give it a try…”
So the Sunday morning arrives and I decide I’m going to visit the closest nursery and buy the necessary things. I get home and get my little patio ready for this “easy” task.
Let me tell you something… When they say you should repot every year, they’re right on the button. Because if you don’t repot every year and wait four years to figure this out, you’ll end up having to cut your orchid out of the pot since the plant doesn’t just “twist out” of the pot. You’ll start off being super careful with the roots with gentle tugs, and quickly move on to wrestling with the plant and the pot trying to disentangle the roots from their death grip on the pot. You’ll be forced to cut the entire pot off but leave the bottom on, then soak the roots for a while longer, then work like a surgeon cutting pieces of the pot away until finally extricating all the roots. A ten minute job, my butt!
To treat the white spots surrounding the roots and make them pliable, I soaked the roots in an aphicide diluted in water. Once the roots had soaked long enough I was then able to remove all the “hangers-on” in terms of old bark chips, sponge (??), etc.
Then I disentangled the roots, placed the plant in the new pot and then held it still while filling with the orchid potting mix. The potting mix has some rather large bark chips so I some of these I had to break into smaller pieces. Before finishing, I used an old stake to “jimmy” around the edges to make sure the potting mix secured the roots as much as possible (adding more bark chips if necessary).
In total I think it took me about an hour to do this one plant. The other few plants I chose to repot thereafter were a little quicker (now I knew what I was doing and the roots hadn’t wormed their way through all the drainage holes). And this past weekend I repotted the last handful of orchids which took me no time at all. I suppose practice does make perfect! Plus the others have only been with me for about a year or less so the roots weren’t holding onto the pot for dear life.
I’ve learnt a few things from my up close and personal relationship with orchids and their roots…
- When you buy orchids from stores such as Woolies, you’ll need to repot them as soon as possible as their roots are packed with a sawdust type material and sometimes pieces of sponge. This material soaks up water and the plant ends up drowning and dying because the roots are too wet. Great for the retailers because you end up buying more plants. Bad for you because you think you don’t have green-fingers…
- Make sure the orchid is in a pot with drainage holes on the bottom so the water can drain properly when you water it. If you get a plant in a fancy pot, remove all the moss and fancy packaging and see whether it is potted in a separate pot that you can then take out when it comes time to water.
- Orchids like warm environments so plastic pots are best as they keep the roots warmer than a ceramic pot. You can still keep the plastic-potted orchid in a decorative ceramic pot but not directly in a ceramic pot.
- Water your orchids once a week in summer and once every two weeks in winter. Place them over a sink or in the bath so that the water can drain away. Put them back in their decorative pots only once all the water has drained away.
- Repot your orchid before they spike (send out a stem) or are in flower as this is less traumatic for the plant. If you’ve just bought an orchid which is generally in flower because they look prettier (see point 1) then you’ll need to go a bit more gently. Start by removing the stake and then removing the plant from the pot. Keep the stems supported as much as you can while removing the excess potting material, when soaking the roots, and when repotting.
- Feed them with orchid care every second week to make sure they are healthy and can bloom again. I also believe that orchids like friends as my oldest plant only bloomed again once I brought in other orchids.
- When buying or receiving a new orchid, quarantine them for a few weeks. This will allow you to see if this new plant comes with any new bugs or pests so you can treat it separately before introducing it to the rest of your collection.
If you’re keen to learn more about repotting, be sure to watch this video which is one I found to be most useful.
This year has been one to remember, with #MrMan popping THE question in March. It seems like just the other day on one hand, and so long ago on the other hand with all we’ve done this year…
We spent a few months just enjoying being engaged before we started on any wedding plans. We decided (more or less) on a month we’d like to get married and then visited a few venues before we decided on THE one and settled on a date. Then it was time to focus our energy on confirming the rest of the major suppliers – one being our photographer.
We first met Robyn Davie when my family had a photo shoot done last November. We really connected with her and loved her style of natural, in-the-moment photos (with a few posed of course). We started chatting about wedding photography packages and arranged to include an engagement photo shoot in the overall package.
Our engagement shoot took place mid-October at Delta Park. I specially ordered a casual LBD online (because photo shoot…because new clothes…) to complement #MrMan’s choice of clothes. It was a relaxed shoot and we absolutely love the photos we’ve received. The plan now is to use a photo or two for our wedding invites, and print a few for our home.
Here’s a sneak peek…
This past weekend I celebrated my birthday and I had decided I needed to bake an EPIC cake! I first came across this amazingness of a cake while on Facebook with a link to Shugary Sweets and just knew this was THE cake to bake!
The recipe is below for those of you who want to give this a try…
2 230 gram packages cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Carrot cake layers:
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups shredded carrots
Cream cheese icing:
1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 230 gram package cream cheese (softened)
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 cups icing
1 cup chopped pecans
For the cheesecake layer:
Prepare the cheesecake layer first as you’ll need to put it in the fridge/freezer once done.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Using a large roasting pan, add 1 inch of water to the pan. Place it on the lower 2/3 of the oven and allow it to preheat in the oven. Prepare 23cm springform pan by wrapping the outside bottom part of the pan with double layer of foil. Line the inside bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add in salt and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream and heavy cream, until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Pour into prepared pan. Place pan in center of preheated roasting pan in the oven, making sure to be careful not to spill water.
Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes. Turn oven off and let cheesecake sit in oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely on counter. When cooled, remove outside portion of the springform pan and place into the freezer for several hours or overnight. If using within 24 hours, just refrigerate.
For the carrot cake layers:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour two 23cm cake pans and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs until blended. Add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Beat for about 2 minutes. Add in shredded carrots. Pour into prepared cake pans.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack for ten minutes and then remove from the pans and cool completely
For the icing:
In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter and beat for 3 minutes. Add in sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream and beat for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Fold in chopped pecans.
To assemble the cake, place on layer of carrot cake then place the cheesecake on top and finally the second layer of carrot cake. Spread on the icing on the sides and top and decorate with leftover pecans. (I decided on a naked cake look and didn’t ice the sides.)
Store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.
I have been looking for the perfect item to help in organising my kitchen drawers for a while. My kitchen drawers are quite large and the items tend to roll and move around each time the drawers are opened and closed. I didn’t request any partitions when my kitchen was being installed as I wasn’t sure what I would need once everything was unpacked from the trillion boxes.
Then I came across these little Drawer Dividers from Yuppiechef! These must be one of my best buys yet!
The spring-loaded plastic dividers are able to expand to fit a drawer as narrow as 34.9cm or adjust/expand to fit 54.3cm.
I tackled two of my worst drawers – my baking/miscellaneous drawer, and my kitchen utensil drawer. It was better for your eyes (and my OCD) not to post the before pics of the kitchen utensil drawer…because…MESSY! This is the before of the baking/miscellaneous drawer.
And this is the after! The miscellaneous items (the I-don’t-know-where-to-put-this-stuff stuff) and the baking items are nicely sorted. I may look at getting a non-slip rubber mat to place loosely on the bottom to help things from shifting.
The cooking and serving utensils are sorted and now aren’t a big pile that needs to be dug through each time I’m looking for something specific.
If you need to bring some organisation to your kitchen (or other) drawers, then you should definitely get yourself some of these! (They come in a box of two.)
This weekend was a busy one, but a great one! And following on from a very busy week last week, I feel like today should have been granted as an honorary extra weekend day.
On Saturday I spotted this little guy building yet another nest right outside my lounge window while enjoying the perfect cup of coffee. He has built several nests over the past couple months but his lady was obviously not happy with the quality or the location because they were all torn down. You can just see the Weever beneath the nest. (I saw yesterday that he had started yet another nest close to this old-new one.)
Later in the morning that Saturday I went through to my dad’s retirement village to support their fundraising day. It was an afternoon spent buying raffle tickets, looking through the stalls, and supervising my niece and nephew with my sister while they played on the jungle gym, jumped on the jumping castle, and generally being littlies.
That evening we had booked to go the Cinema Under the Stars event and were meeting some friends there. The event was held in Kramerville and the movie screened was Cool Runnings (one of my favourites). It was quite a chilly evening so I was glad for the bean bags we lounged on, my thick winter jacket, and a warm blanket.
On Sunday we went through to the Wanderers Stadium for the South Africa VS Australia cricket match. It was a lovely day out spent with friends and even better that we won the match.
Last night was an early night after the busy-ness, but only after I had finished my latest book. 🙂
A couple months’ ago my dear DIY guy completed a built-in bookshelf in the downstairs lounge that we had been discussing for a while.
Many moons ago I am sure that other owners/tenants used the space to house those old-school box television sets as they would have fitted perfectly. The downstairs lounge isn’t our TV room so we wanted to keep this space for entertaining purposes and were trying to figure out the best use of the alcove. The first thought was a built-in bar but since Mr DIY had already built a bar unit on wheels, so this would have been overkill. We decided on a bookshelf after discovering how many books were still in storage…
Instead of using standard brackets, we used rectangular blocks of wood that were nailed directly to the wall and would provide the structure for the shelves.
Each shelf had to be measured separately because although the wall appears to be the same width all over, apparently no walls are ever built completely straight. So each plank of wood needed to be planed and shortened to fit in it’s specific position. It (looked like it) was a tough and irritating job but in the end they all fitted perfectly.
The after! I really am so pleased with how it has turned out! The weird space has been given a purpose and works so well. And the little white box on the floor? That’s my childhood toy box that now is now the official games box! It’s had wheels added to to back section so we can wheel it in and out of the alcove easily when needed.
To see what else we’ve been up to…
I recently posted about getting more active and have been using a FREE app called Seven, which is a full body workout in just seven minutes using nothing more than your own body weight, a chair, and a wall (and a yoga mat or towel if you have tiled floors). I started the workout towards the end of May and am so happy with the changes I have already seen.
The app comes with one workout unlocked which is to exercise the Full Body. There are 12 exercises that you do for 30 seconds with a 10 second rest in between each. The instructor verbally guides you through the exercises allowing you to focus on the exercise, and also counts down from 3 seconds which is awesome when you think you can’t last another moment longer.
When you first begin you are given three hearts or “lives”. If you skip a day and miss a workout, you lose a heart. And if you lose all three hearts in a month your progress resets to zero it’s “game over” and you have to start again. There is the option to purchase additional hearts but A) I’m a cheapskate; and B) I think that defeats the purpose of pushing you to workout every day.
For every second month you are active on the app, a random workout is unlocked. You can purchase these workouts to unlock them or purchase a monthly or yearly membership and unlock all 38 workouts (some aimed to lose weight, some to get beach ready, some to focus on specific areas). I do think though that the reward of staying active and unlocking these works is encouragement to continue (plus cheapskate-ness).
The app allows you to personalise it a bit by choosing from a list of instructors, adding reminders to exercise, as well as changing the amount of time per exercise or the rest period. The app has been based on scientific studies to provide the maximum benefit of working out regularly in the shortest time possible so they do recommend using the default interval timings (30 seconds exercise with 10 seconds rest between each set). If you do want more from your workout then just repeat the circuit once you’ve finished the 12 exercises.
When I began in May, I started with great intentions but then life got in the way with my mom visiting, family crises, work getting busy, etc and I lost all my hearts and my progress was reset. But I started again and challenged myself to unlock the achievement for working out 14 days in a row. <insert smug face> With that under my belt (and a much needed workout-day-off) I decided to up the ante and do two circuits of the full body workout each day. Soon I’ll have been using the app for 2 months and I’m hoping the Bikini Body workout gets unlocked next! Summer bodies are made in Winter after all…