As you know, the need to get my home decorated and sorted is strong. I had ticked off one item so far – the couch for the TV area in the loft – and now just needed to sort out the blinds for the kitchen, bathroom and the stair landing leading up to the loft.
While I was still on leave I drove around getting some quotes so I could compare prices. (Adulting hard!) I opted for wooden blinds as these are a more hard-wearing than aluminium blinds that can bend or snap from the wind alone, but they are more expensive. I went to two companies specialising in blinds as well as Builders Warehouse. (Most people said I was stupid for going to Builders Warehouse because they’re so expensive, but they ended up coming in second with cost.)
One of the specialised blind companies ended up being the most cost effective so I confirmed their quote and asked them if they could please come to my home to remeasure the windows for recessed blinds just in case I had measured incorrectly, as well as bring the colour samples so I could see what they looked like in the right lighting and against my walls and mosaic backsplash.
After many samples and running between the areas trying to find the best choice for all three places, I managed to settle between these two. I wanted the blinds to be the same throughout the house to ensure continuity since I had used the same floor tiles throughout as well as the same mosaic backsplash in the kitchen and bathroom.
My final decision was to go with the “Ash” since this had more of a grey-brown undertone than the “Sand” which I thought to have more of a yellow undertone.
They were installed the other week and I am really happy with the final look. Now there’s more privacy in the kitchen while cooking or washing the dishes, and less glare from the afternoon sunlight. And the added bonus is now everything is a little darker when we go to bed since the complex’s lights stay on throughout the night.
Since moving into my home I’ve been on the lookout for some doorstops. The patio doors are fantastic when open as they bring the outside in and create even more space in the place. BUT there are no latches to keep the doors open, and even if there were, there wouldn’t be enough space to get around the door to latch them because of the patio balustrade. And I hate doors banging closed because of the wind. For a while we’ve been using an old wooden wine rack to wedge the door open but I wanted something nicer, something cuter, something more long lasting…
One weekend I decided to make it my mission to see what was available and my first (and only) stop was Mr Price Home as I spotted these little cuties. They have a light grey-blue coloured fabric with little white embroidered hearts, little ribbon collars and then sewn-on noses and eyes. How could I resist them?!
So meet Scotty and Harry. They are so well behaved and well trained that they know exactly what is required of them. Best house-trained doglets I’ve ever had! 😉
My most favourite dessert on a hot summer’s day is strawberries soaked in sherry (or port) and served with whipped cream. I made some over the weekend and wanted to share it with you.
First you cut off all the stalks and leaves, then cut them into quarters and place into a bowl.
Then you sprinkle them with sugar. You can use normal sugar or castor sugar. I use normal sugar and use two teaspoons per punnet of strawberries.
Then grab some sherry or port and douse the strawberries. I used about 1/3 of a cup of Old Brown Sherry for the one punnet of strawberries.
Finally, place a lid or cover on the bowl and mix a little before placing in the fridge until serving.
I usually serve these strawberries with whipped cream. My favourite way of whipping cream is to add a teaspoon of vanilla essence as well as about two teaspoons of icing sugar or castor sugar before whipping. And a nice change to this dessert would be to mix the strawberries and cream and then layer onto a meringue base for a decadent pavlova.
With the beginning of a new year has come the need to start decorating my home and getting each room settled and sorted. The first two things I wanted to get done was getting blinds sorted for certain areas and a couch for the TV area in the loft.
Towards the end of last year I came across this awesome Facebook page where users can sell second-hand goods. I had been keeping an eye on the group to see if anyone was selling a previously-loved couch that was in good condition, but most importantly would fit within the confines of the loft area. I had seen a few that looked great but were just too big for the space. I was almost at the point where I thought I’d have to grit my teeth (and loosen my purse strings) and buy a brand new couch when I saw the one!
It was the perfect size. It looked super comfortable. And it was being sold by someone I know, which is a definite plus as you can imagine the number of scammers out there.
I made plans to view the couch the Thursday I returned from holiday to see what condition it was in, as well as to sit on it to make sure it was as comfy as it looked. And it didn’t disappoint! We made plans there and then as to when I would collect, which would be that Sunday.
The move from their place to mine was uneventful, as it should be. One of MrMan’s friends arrived just as we got back as he was going to help us to move it in. Just as well there were two guys to move it in as it ended up being more difficult to get in than we’d anticipated…
We’d measured the loft area where the couch would be, BUT we didn’t think to measure the small staircase going up to the loft. Based on the pitch of the thatch roof and the size of the couch, there was zero possibility of getting it up there using conventional means. So we had to go through the kitchen and use the balustrade as a leverage point.
It was pretty stressful, I won’t lie! The couch was first positioned normally and then the guys moved it so that the couch was standing up (the longest part reaching from floor to ceiling). They then hoisted it up a bit while I manoeuvered some dining room chairs underneath the one end to give it some height to start the leverage process. Then it was a case of climbing on step-ladders to hoist the couch on top of the kitchen cupboards and motoring up the stairs to help pull the last of the couch over the balustrade. I am still reeling from the stress of worrying whether the balustrade would break, whether the kitchen light would be pulled out, whether someone would end up crushed by the couch as it came tumbling down… If anything this experience has taught me never to underestimate MrMan and his ideas!
Now that the couch is up and being lounged on, I have been told that if we ever move or if I sell the house we will have to sell the couch with it. Little does MrMan know that this couch is coming with us no matter where we go because it’s comfy as hell! Plus, gravity will be on our side when we need to move it out through the kitchen…
Now I just want to add a few colourful cushions, maybe change the throw blankets, and add an ottoman that can double as a small coffee table. We’re definitely on track to getting sorted – 1 down!
I have naturally wavy-curly hair but since I am not a fan of my hair in its natural state, I usually straighten it. This also means that my hair is more manageable between washes as in its curly state I end up not brushing it for days…
Saying this though, I do still love the option of having curls. Since my curly hair doesn’t always listen when I need it to, I have wanted a hair tool that will give me perfect curls every time. I have tried to use my hair straightener to curl my hair as “they” it can double up as a curler. But even after watching multiple different How To videos, I am still not able to get it right. I also tried using a curling tong but I ended up with more burns to my ears, neck and forehead than curls. So I decided to try out the BaByliss Curl Secret. I think my life may have been changed…
The curler works very similarly to a hair straightener in terms of working from the scalp to the end of the hair. The difference with the Curl Secret though is instead of winding your hair around a tong and releasing it after a certain amount of time, you rather place a section of hair between the designated space then close the tongs allowing the strand of hair to be pulled into the curling chamber where it is heated.
Although it is super easy to use, the first attempt is nerve-wracking as I wondered what would happen if my hair got stuck in the chamber. Would I have to resort to cutting the strand off at my scalp?! There is a built-in safety feature whereby the device beeps an alarm if you haven’t put the hair in correctly or if it has become tangled. Just in case though, I started off with a bottom section of hair.
The device has multiple settings for temperature as well as curliness! The temperature gauge has two options – fine hair (I) or normal hair (II). Then there are three options for the type of curl you’re after – wavy (8), curly (10) or tight curls (12).
Once you have placed a section of hair into the mouth and it has pulled the strand into the curling chamber there will be a succession of beeps about a second apart ending off with quick consecutive beeps. Once you reach the faster beeps you need to release the tongs and slowly pull them away from your head. Depending on the level of curls you’re after, the number of beeps will be different.
When I tried out the tongs I opted to put the temperature setting for normal hair and went for the in-between “curly” option. Keeping the chamber always directed towards my scalp, I slowly worked my way through sectioned pieces. I think it took about 20 minutes in total which is roughly what it took me to straighten my hair when I first got my GHD so I am sure I will get better and quicker with practice.
This is the final look! Definitely think I’ll be more confident the next time round and about to contort my arms a little to get the curls to start from higher up at the back. But for a first time, I think I did quite well.
I definitely want to see what the difference is between the wavy and tight curls setting. I will probably switch between wavy and curly more often than using the tighter curls I think…
If you want to see the full How To video, click below.
My new route to work routinely passes Hamilton Park in Bryanston. Towards the end of last year I noticed that some construction was taking place within the park (fencing, some shelters, a wendy-house, etc) and was curious as to what was happening. I went for a walk there this past weekend and finally managed to assuage my curiosity!
The sectioned off area is a special Doggy Daycare area that has been organised by the team at Sandton Doggy Daycare.
This is such a fantastic idea especially considering our lifestyle where we work a full day and live in smaller spaces. For those dog-lovers that live in a first/second/third floor apartments, this is a great way to keep your doglets busy during the day with lots of fresh air and room to run and play.
I wanted to find out more about this initiative so I got in touch with Tamara at Sandton Doggy Daycare… This service allows you to drop off your dog where they will get one-on-one play time, walks on a lead, and socialisation with other dogs. The daycare also employs young adults with special needs through The Living Link allowing them to find gainful employment, empower themselves and contribute to society. With the backing of Johannesburg City Parks I definitely think this idea will go far…
You can either opt to book your doglet in for a full day (08h00-16h00) or half day (08h00-12h00/12h00-16h00). There are different pricing options available depending on the number of days per week you require the service.
For more information (rates, additional services, etc), please get in touch with Tamara (0721086701 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
*Note: I was not asked or paid to write this piece. I wrote this as a community service announcement as I think it is a fantastic idea.
The best thing about having unpacked most of my boxes from storage and making my house a home, is getting all my books out! The year before last I had to pack everything away, with some covers having never been opened. And I finally had the chance to get my bookworm on!
In just a few months towards the end of last year I read these books…
Alice Peterson – Ten Years On
Cecelia Ahern – A Place Called Here
Cecelia Ahern – Thanks for the Memories
Cecelia Ahern – The Year I Met You
Diana Wynne Jones – House of Many Ways
Louise Lee – The Last Honeytrap
Mitch Albom – The First Phone Call from Heaven (*not pictured)
Veronica Rossi – Under The Never Sky
I then read another three books while I was on holiday! Now I just need to continue the streak and read a little bit each night. Although I have already run out of space on my new bookshelf so perhaps I’ll have to make a dent in the E-books I have!
We returned from our December break a week ago and boy do I miss it! I miss being with my mom. I miss taking Miss Molly (the Schnoodle) for a walk on the beach every morning. I miss the incredible sunsets each evening. I miss the relaxation and spending my days doing what I want to. But adulting is necessary. And adulting means returning to reality at some point – work, routine, normal life… So allow me to relive my holiday a little.
MrMan and I left for Hermanus on a Sunday and as it was a stop-over destination from an overseas country the plane was chockers! Luck was on my side when I checked in online as I chose the best seats on the plane with lots of leg room.
We arrived safely in Cape Town and my mom was waiting for us in the airport arrivals parking area. The first thing I did after placing my bag in our room was to sit on the new couch on the balcony, have some tea, enjoy the view, and tuck into my first book of the holiday.
Little Miss Molly (aka Duchess Molly) is the cutest little bundle of fluff. We first met her when we went down in April last year and she was still a mischievous puppy ready to bite toes. She is still as playful and regularly chases after her squeaky plastic chicken, or goes a little crazy when I chased her signalling that it was time to play.
Our Hermanus holidays are never complete without a puzzle or two. They are never just any puzzle that would take a few minutes to complete… They are always massive puzzles of at least 1000 pieces and are typically very gorgeous pictures but seriously difficult to put together because of the similar colours or intense patterns. This time around we had to bring in a different table completely as the puzzle was too big to fit on my mom’s dining table which is where we normally build the puzzles.
One of the highlights of our holiday was our trip to Kleine Zalze Wine Estate and the Terroir restaurant. MrMan had organised this through work and we were thoroughly spoiled and treated like royalty! We were seated with the estate’s wine-maker, and the estate’s representative and his wife and started off our lunch with a sparkling wine. We then had a gorgeous assortment of breads delivered followed by the most sublime three course lunch. Throughout our lunch we sampled about six wines, mostly whites, all of which were perfectly paired with our choice of starter, main and dessert courses. Based on my inability to handle alcohol though, I was pretty tipsy by the end of our lunch, even though I had kept up my intake of water. This top-ten restaurant was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and definitely something I won’t forget soon.
Our return flight was at the crack of dawn which wasn’t good news for my heavy eyelids, but was definitely fantastic news for my camera lens. We had stayed in Cape Town the night before we departed based on the time of our flight. We decided to have lunch in Cape Town while waiting for MrMan’s cousin to finish up with work/errands as we were staying with her and her family that night. We had had great plans of getting an early night, but this was not to be as there was a lot of catching up to do since it’d been a while since MrMan had seen them. We also decided quite late to go out for a “quick” dinner which ended up not being as quick because the restaurant was so busy. But it was a great night out nonetheless and an awesome time spent getting to know them.
It’s been an eventful year and amazing holiday spent with this handsome human and I wouldn’t have wished any of it to be different. Here’s to the year ahead – new adventures, new challenges, new memories and loads of love.