Although I absolutely adore the smell of a new book and the excitement held within its pages when you open it for the first time, there’s also something magical about the eBooks on my iPad. Mainly it’s because I always have a myriad of books available at my fingertips when I finish the book I’m reading. Since I discovered BookBub the number of books I have available to read at any given time has grown and the bookworm is me is ecstatic!
I first came across BookBub on Twitter when someone shared a link to the daily discounted eBooks. Some were discounted and some were completely free. The bargain-hunter in me was thrilled! I signed up to their site and noted the genres I was interested in, and the rest is happy, book-reading history!
Of course the cheapskate in me has only downloaded the free eBooks but these have kept me enthralled over the past weeks/months. Some of the eBooks I have downloaded are quite short where I can immerse myself in someone else’s “life” for a few hours (according to the speed of my reading measured on the Kindle app). So far these are the books I’ve devoured.
An Eclair to Remember by Rich Amooi
Finding My Prince Charming by JS Cooper
Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft: A Humorous Paranormal Romance by Mindy Klasky
Remember This by Shae Buggs
Something in the Heir by Jenny Gardiner
Summer at Sea by Beth Labonte
The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook by Josie Brown
The Wedding Trap by Adrienne Bell
What Stays in Vegas by Beth Labonte
Winter in Sweetwater County by Ciara Knight
I really love that over the past few weeks I have got home from work and opened up my iPad to read rather than switching on the TV. (This could also be because I’m running out of things to watch that I’ve downloaded to the hard-drive.) Not to mention waking up on the weekend (when I am lucky enough not to have any plans) and making myself a cup of coffee then continuing on with my latest story.
I started the year off with a fierce desire to change my house into my home. As it goes with decorating, things take time… I started off with installing blinds in the kitchen, bathroom and stair landing to allow more privacy. We also bought a special couch for the TV loft which fits absolutely perfectly but I still want to add some scatter cushions and colourful throw blankets.
I’m really lucky that MrMan is so good with DIY. Every now and then he gets a bee in his bonnet and rushes around tidying things up or sorting things out that are on the to-do list. (This also happened a few weeks back when he had a special proposal planned for that evening and couldn’t sit still even if he tried…)
Although I think we actually did this last year, we put up my iPhoneography Exhibition prints above the one couch in the lounge. There are a few other images I am wanting to print and include, but as it comes to choosing images for iPhoneography, this is pretty difficult. (And yes, the cushions not being symmetrical when I took this pic will haunt my OCD for life.)
When I lived with my dad I had two gorgeous shelves in my bedroom which I’ve kept over the years. They’ve been lying around in the loft study for the past few months while I’ve tried to decide where it would be best to put them. We settled on installing them in the loft just at the top of the stairs. The plan is to adorn them with photos of family and friends and other little ornaments.
My mom is coming to stay with us on her return part of her overseas trip so we need to get the spare room in order. MrMan installed the rustic wooden headboard a couple months back which was quite tricky. The headboard was two sides of a crate that needed to be “stuck” together. We then needed to find a way to hang it on the wall without using deadbolts, which we luckily managed to do with the help of our nearest hardware store. Recently we installed the curtain rail that we’d bought last year when we bought the rail for the main bedroom. Now all that’s needed is to buy some bedside lamps, more pillows, hang a pic or two, and move the leftover boxes to the study (for now).
At a Christmas party last year I got these awesome “hanging men” hooks that are just too cute. I was looking for the perfect place to put them and we decided they would work well on wall behind the main bedroom door as hooks for my multiple dressing gowns (summer, autumn/spring, winter). I had over-the-door hooks for all the gowns but it just looked messy. Now I smile every time I take off or put back my gown in the morning.
The colour scheme in my house is quite neutral which was the plan to ensure it was modern/classic. I decided the bathroom needed a pop of colour and red was the first to came to mind. My mom found a fantastic bath mat from Ikea when she was overseas last year so all that was needed was to find a similar colour red. This was a feat as each place I went to sold pastels or didn’t have the right red. Eventually I came right and I’m loving how the colour changes the bathroom!
We have also been searching for the right shelf to install in the shower. This has been a mission! I have found ones that don’t have enough shelves or space for all the stuff. Or ones that were great but that fit over the side of the shower, which would work if I didn’t have a corner entry shower. We eventually found one and it happens to fit perfectly and give us the right amount of space.
There are still quite a few things on our to-do list but it felt exhilarating to to cross off some of the items. I will post another update when we’ve sorted out a few other things…
The other weekend I decided some baking was required! I took out my box of recipes and quickly chose my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe.
While taking out all the ingredients to place on the kitchen counter, I came across a jar of assorted Lindt chocolate balls I had forgotten about. I brought them out too and decided to try create a secret centre or secret filling per cupcake. I happened to have some dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, hazelnut noisette, and caramel filled Lindt balls that I set aside.
After making the cupcake batter I brought out some special cupcake holders that I used for the secret centre cupcakes so I could tell them apart from the normal cupcakes which would be in plain white. (I didn’t have enough Lindt balls to make all the cupcakes have secret fillings.) I put a bit of the batter in, then popped in a Lindt ball, and finally topped with some more batter leaving enough room at the top for the cupcakes to rise.
I’m not sure whether it was the difference in cupcake holders with thicker paper or the addition of the chocolate ball but I had to bake the cupcakes for longer than normal. Once they’d baked and cooled a little I iced them with a chocolate butter icing.
The cupcakes had barely been iced or cooled down completely before I took one, gave one to MrMan, and we devoured it! They were perfect! Still warm from the oven. And the chocolate was still soft and gooey. The only thing I realised after biting into one was that the chocolate had sunk to the bottom. It was obviously too heavy during the baking process but they still tasted amazing!
I’m thinking that the next time I make secret centre cupcakes that I’ll try marshmallows… They are lighter in weight and perhaps won’t sink to the bottom but should still go gooey in the heat of the oven.
Last night I got engaged! I am still floating somewhere above Cloud 9 and everything still feels very surreal. But I’m engaged! I have a fiancé! And I was taken completely by surprise.
The night had been planned for a week or so as we had dinner plans with MrMan’s best friend and his wife and it was put into our shared calendar. I had incorrectly read the venue as Piccolinos and was wondering why I would need to go change when MrMan suggested I relook at my outfit. I quickly checked the diary entry and realised my jeans and a tee would not be suitable to dine at Piccolo Mondo at the Michelangelo Hotel. Off I went to have a bath and get myself more acceptable.
No red flags or suspicions arose since we were going to such a fancy restaurant because we were going with MrMan’s friends. Needless to say it was completely unexpected when he asked me to marry him between starters and main course.
He asked me to stand and look “over there” to see something that his friends had already seen. I didn’t understand what could be so exciting with Nelson Mandela Square or something I hadn’t seen before but I stood up and went to where he said I should stand.
He started by reminding me about his four key elements in life – Honesty, Trust, Respect and Love. With watery eyes and a sudden realisation of what was happening, I just said YES YES YES even though he hadn’t asked the special question yet. He then got down on one knee and I answered YES one more time.
The ring is absolutely gorgeous and a perfect fit. It is engraved with the four key elements and will be a constant reminder in our life together.
Babe, it’s you and me together forever. I can’t wait for what life has in store for us. I am so excited about all the new memories we will make and the journey we will walk together.
On Sunday evening I arranged a date night for MrMan. It involved driving through to The Bioscope in the Maboneng Precinct for a special double feature of the 1978 Superman with Christopher Reeve and the 1989 Batman with Michael Keaton. Besides wanting to do something special with my guy, the other reason for watching these particular shows is that tonight we are attending an exclusive premier of the Batman Vs Superman movie which is being released later this week. Why not create some more anticipation for this movie than venturing back in time to the films that first launched these awesome heroes on to the big screen.
The first film was due to start at 7pm so we drove through earlier so we could share a pizza and have a few drinks at The Chalkboard Cafe before the movies. The Maboneng Precinct was still pumping when we got there around 6pm and we only just managed to get a table. I had incorrectly thought that the long weekend would mean most people would be away and the inner city would be a little quieter…
Once we’d eaten and had a drink, we walked a bit down the road so I could show MrMan a teeny tiny bit of the area. I do still want to bring him through to Arts on Main one Sunday as he’s never been…
If you aren’t aware, The Bioscope is a small independent cinema that screens various documentaries and films. I absolutely love their cinema! The seating is made from old car seats so you almost get the feel like you’re at a drive-in. The only thing I missed are the cup-holders…
As The Chalkboard Cafe is managed by the same team as The Bioscope, you are able to order food and drinks and take these into the cinema. So if you do want to go through to watch something but don’t have time to sit and eat next door, don’t stress!
Unfortunately the first movie, Superman, got stuck an hour in which meant we didn’t get to watch the entire thing and thus started the second movie earlier than planned. And thank goodness for that because the Batman movie was over 2 hours long! I battled to keep my eyes open even though I’d had a strategic nap in the afternoon. And I am pretty sure that MrMan fell asleep towards the end.
We both enjoyed ourselves immensely. Not only was it a special date night, it was also something out of the ordinary.
If you live in Joburg and haven’t heard about Color Cafe then you need to change this FAST.
It is a lovely place situated in Hyde Park with hundreds of different pre-made pottery items that you can choose from to paint. They have everything from plates and bowls to cups, mugs and jugs to money boxes, and a host of other items to choose from. Once you’ve chosen your item, you then choose your paint colours as well as a design from the stencils available (if you don’t opt to paint on your own design). They offer an all inclusive package where the price of the chosen item is the only price you pay. This means you can use any number of paintbrushes, stencils, and coloured paints and take all the time you need to paint it. Once you’re done they’ll glaze and fire it in their kiln and you can collect it when ready.
I first heard about Color Cafe many years ago when my school friend arranged her birthday party there. We were all given small jewellery boxes to paint which didn’t take too long to paint once we’d actually figured out what design and colours we wanted.
Fast forward a few years to one of my first full time jobs where I suggested an afternoon outing to my boss where she, myself and our HR lady went to paint mugs for us to use at the office. It was a blissful afternoon spent being creative, chatting, and enjoying the drinks and snacks also available.
Then a few years later I went back with a colleague (from my new job) after I’d suggested making a personalised set of coffee cups and saucers for the boss for Christmas. We chose four colours and painstakingly pencilled his initial design (which is also the logo of the company) before painting. When choosing our colours we were advised to look at the paint bottle tops to get an indication of the final paint colour once it’d be glazed and fired. This is the pic after we’d finished painting but before they were placed in the kiln to bake. You’ll see the colours look quite muted and more pastel.
This is the after pic once I’d picked them up. The colours are a lot darker than before and worked really well together.
This really is a fantastic way to use some creativity while making something completely unique, as well as spending time with loved ones! I definitely need to arrange another afternoon at Color Cafe where I can make a few things for my home and loved ones.
A little while after I bought my home last year, I started looking for a fridge as this was something I didn’t have in storage and obviously would need when I moved in. I’d heard a lot about House of Demo and decided to go through to see what condition their stock was in. I knew that most of their stock had been on shop floors as demo models or may have been returned because it was slightly damaged (scratches or dents) so I wasn’t expecting anything absolutely perfect. I went through and was amazed at the amount of stock they kept – from washing machines and dishwashers, to fridges and televisions. I took a look around and found the perfect fridge! It was slightly banged up, mostly on the sides, but otherwise in great condition. So I bought it and ended up planning my whole kitchen renovation around this glorious side-by-side fridge. (Something similar to this pic.)
I moved in towards the end of July and was super happy with how well the fridge worked for my needs; fitting in perfectly in the kitchen and being big enough to hold all my groceries without over-stuffing.
Around the beginning of October the freezer side stopped working. Although we jumped into action as soon as we could, we weren’t able to return the fridge and arrange a loan fridge until the weekend which was a few days later. This meant that we had a huge amount of wastage as I couldn’t cook the chicken (etc) quick enough after it’d thawed, and we didn’t have another freezer to keep it frozen. The worst part is that we had just done the monthly grocery shop!
House of Demo have a 1 year carry-in warranty which means it was our responsibility to bring any faulty item to their premises in Kya Sands. Moving a side-by-side fridge from a first floor apartment isn’t an easy task and was definitely not something we wanted to do again, but we managed to get our fridge returned and came back with a loan fridge for us to use in the meantime.
Two weeks later I was notified that the fridge had been tested and nothing was found to be wrong with it. I made arrangements with their preferred delivery team to bring our fridge back and then return the loan fridge. We also discussed in detail that should something be faulty with the fridge again then House of Demo would need to arrange to collect the fridge and we would want a new fridge. (I had by this stage paid two delivery fees of roughly R400.00 each and had organised to borrow a bakkie from MrMan’s company to return the fridge.)
For the rest of the year all was good and well and the freezer worked as it was supposed to. Then fast forward to us coming back from a December holiday, during the heatwave I must add, to find that our freezer AND fridge were not working. The freezer was oscillating between 11 and 13 degrees and the fridge was stuck on 3 degrees but was definitely more at room temperature! Because we’d been away when it first stopped working, not only had we lost any groceries that hadn’t been eaten in December, we now had the most awful smell from moulding frozen veggies and rotten chicken.
We immediately called the guys only to find out that they were only reopening the following week. So we had to live with the smell for a few more days, even after we had thrown away every item in the freezer and fridge.
House of Demo arranged to collect our fridge and deliver a loan fridge that we could use until we’d chosen a replacement. About a week later we were notified that there was more stock due to arrive on a Thursday and I made a plan to go through during work to see what was available. Unfortunately all the side-by-side units available had water dispensers that required plumbing which would not work with the new kitchen. Then we were told that some more stock had arrived one weekend, so again I went through to see what was available. And this time we were lucky!
There were two suitable side-by-side options, both had water dispensers but these were plastic water containers within the fridge which meant no specialised plumbing was required (pictured below). I chose the best one out of the two and organised for them to deliver early the next week.
Big thanks to Mark from House of Demo who was so helpful and eager to get us sorted. I just hope this is the end of our fridge woes…
One of my favourite baking items in my kitchen is the Letterpress Cookie Cutters from Yuppiechef. The set has three cookie cutter shapes – a star, a heart, a rectangle – with a bag of letters as well as a few key words for phrases like Happy Birthday, etc.
The bag of letters can be placed in the dishwasher for ease of washing without having to wash each individual letter, which can get tiresome considering how small they are.
My best use of the cookie cutter set thus far is to use the cookie as a card to accompany a birthday or Christmas present. I see it as a gift that keeps on giving. 🙂 If you do want to use it this way, remember to use a skewer to poke a hole through a corner so you can thread some ribbon through to attach to your present.