Kingdom of contrast

27 Jul

1158 kilometers, 6 friends, 6 kids, 3 days and a whole lot of contrast – our road trip to Lesotho was in one word – awesome.

I say a whole lot of contrast because Lesotho (while surrounded by South Africa) is nothing like SA. People are really destitute - and there is nothing for miles… except pure, raw beauty. We drove an hour into Lesotho once through the border to get to Maliba lodge, a 5 star lodge in the middle of nowhere. Infact…if you look at the map on the website, you will catch my drift. Just enough time to get a good feeling of the country, its people and its poverty. A country where in true African style, the monarchy live a lavish life, and its people suffer the consequences.

Through its tortured suffering, a true Kingdom never the less. Every bend a breath-taking view, every small village a sobering sight.

 When we arrived, I was awe-struck as to this treasure trove of  sites, literally tucked away in the folds of the valley, seemingly untouched.

Our cabin on the river was the perfect place to spend the weekend, snug and comfy. No warm water for showers did pose a small problem for the adults – but the kids enjoyed the 1 warm bath that seemed to be the daily quota.

The river that runs outside the cabin was ideal for putting our gumboots to the test. The top surface was frozen over, and Davon loved lifting the sheets up like a piece of glass (apparently like a superhero) while Caylee found her slice of river to suck.

After a good nights rest, the next morning we headed out to Afri ski. A first for all 4 of us, a day in the snow.

The excitement of the kids (and our) faces made the further 2 hour drive, (on some of the most dangerous roads I’ve ever been on) – absolutely worth it.  The ski slope is nestled in the  Mahlasela Valley, 3222 meters above sea level, we really were in the clouds.

The trip back to the lodge was much quieter than the one to the resort, with our little snow angels fast asleep after a very exciting day. After an early night for the littlins, the 6 of us were able to enjoy a good meal, some good laughs and some good gluwein.

Sunday mornings breakfast on the lodges balcony was the perfect end to the weekend. The lodges staff , amenities and incredible views are truly 5 star.

One last stop before heading home was the rock pools, where the 3 guys decided to brave the sub-zero water. A contrast to the snowy adventures from the day before. Seeing the same river had ice floating in it an hour prior…I was proud of them even considering to jump in.

The bravado demeanor very quickly turned to quiet, slightly blue quivers. They did a great job of getting us all home safe, even with their now slowed down heart rates.

I cant wait to go back and experience Lesotho’s glory again. My heart has a flame for the place – even though my fingers and toes are still slightly frozen.

Footnote: Ivan, Tracy, Erin and Adam Henin and Cuan, Louise, Jade and Nevada Demmer were our fabulous company for the weekend. Special times.

Old life…new story

19 Jul

 I have a craving for another visit to the absolutely gorgeous Midlands for some second-hand shop rummaging with the best relic hunter I know…my gran – Shirley.

Whenever I go to second-hand shops, my first love is the black and white photos…I just want them, I want to take them home – and frame them. I want to know their stories. We are the VERY proud owners of some old snaps of our own – the oldest being one of my great-grandfather in 1903 when he was at school.

We have  pictures of Stefan’s grandparents on holiday, my moms gran on her wedding day, my father playing in a band, my mom in a pram, my gran on her gran’s lap… and a few arb ones of some distant ‘someones’ that no-ones quite sure who they are. We have a small pile on the floor that don’t fit on our wall…. (we need a bigger wall!!)

Here are some fab shots I got from my gran on our last visit…

That’s my gran on the left. 4 years after World war 2, and 6 years before the birth of my mother….. and her – stuck somewhere in the middle. That’s her cousin next to her.

This is her entry for a beauty contest she won first princess for in Margate in 1949. (second from right)

kind of sad that I take so many photos everyday… and yet have non printed and framed (although…walls are in shortage around here).

Feeling much happier I have my blog to showcase them – each individual moment carefully framed.

Heres a piece our little collection.

If you wondering what to get me for my b-day… (uh huh)

get down to your local pawn joint – cos Im going to start a scrapbook for arb B and W pics. (please put your 1 line description on the back of what you think the story is) A new life for those old pics.

All photos by me

Lessons from Cupcakes

17 Jul

You can learn a lot from making cupcakes, theyre tiny bite sized chunks of homemade happiness.

Victorian-Tech

8 Jul

Steampunkery is a style I find myself quite strangely drawn to…

Wikipedia says -

Steampunk involves a setting where steam power  is still widely used—usually the Victorian era  Britain —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic  technology  or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned  them; based on a Victorian perspective on fashion , culture , architectural style , art , etc. “

The new Sherlock Holmes movie has quite a few references to this style. I like!

Christopher Lloyd in back to the Future 2, and the 4 non blondes also seemed to be fans. Not everyone’s cuppa…but certainly very visually interesting

My sister Farrah

7 Jul

The longest relationship you will ever have in your life is with a sibling. Not the easiest, or the least complicated…the longest.  I was blessed to get 2 brothers, and 2 sisters. I was lucky. I was teased, and bullied and sometimes even a little beaten. I was so lucky. :)

What better gift can a mother give than a sibling, but for me, especially a sister.

If you don’t understand how you could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child. 

My special sister is 6 years younger than me, but often 6 years wiser than me. She (hardly) never judges my thoughts, or actions, always forgives me, is always my biggest fan, never steals my thunder, looks up to me…and most of all, she loves me. I know she does because I can feel it. When we are together there’s a knowing in the silence, and when its my time to shine – she claps the loudest. She understands best all the things that have moulded me, and her smile can reassure me.

I just want to say to her Thankyou, Thankyou for being you , and that I know I really can call you at 3am, or ask a favour – and Thankyou for loving my children like you do.

I am so very blessed that you are MY sister… if I could choose a sister – it would be you. Thankyou for always thinking of me when I need you to, and a big Thankyou for the gorgeous flowers this week. :) made my day (like you often do)

I love you Lilo. x x x

Sisters are different flowers from the same garden.  ~Author Unknown

The Grass Menagerie

7 Jul

How lucky to be able to go away to the Bushveld for the weekend…. and how lucky to do it with people I love… and how lucky those people are  family! :)

Heres to open spaces…to blue crisp mornings…to warm camp fires, (and hearts.)

 

Blessings – big, small and snoring

20 Jun

Its been just a little over a week since devastation and chaos hit my life, you see  – everything materialistic that is close to my heart got swiped out of my life in one very very foul swoop. My car was broken into and my laptop, handbag, camera and a few other precious belongings were cruelly taken. Officially been in mourning. No – genuinely and seriously sad. It’s like a violation and frustration beyond measure.

 But – my big girl brookes once again come out and, I am now officially letting it go. So – breathe….  and there.

Now – for picking up the pieces.

The first thing was to get a new laptop (that is, besides the frustration of all my official documents – ID, drivers, bank cards etc…) -  my ever amazing and brainiac nerd of a husband did his usual research (to the tune of my moping) and found me a beaute. A cuter, lighter, whizzier model – with keys that light up to boot. Its taken me a few dates to get to know the guy…but I think me and my Dell are ready to move to second base. One or two minor glitches, but generally a big  improvement. Sigh.

Next on the agenda – my deeply beloved camera… just when I had fallen so crazy for it. Once again, a fabulous, easy to use (with awesome results) Canon, carefully picked just for me by that ever amazing brainiac man of mine. This poses a huge problem for my hording side. (The camera was starting to help with my deep need of collecting stuff, it allows me to collect the photos of the stuff instead) I’ve found myself in at least 5 great photo opportunities since the tragedy. Deeper sigh and gritted teeth.

The other precious belongings (my stunning grey handbag, jacket, watch and other items to many to mention) cannot be replaced – well not easily anyway. Lucky for me, I’m versatile, and so open to some suggestions (and gifts of course).

Somehow, I’ve made it through the week, with the odd reminiscence of the moment of the loss.(its been 10 days, 5 hours and a few minutes since) and so – actually, maybe the loss wasnt so bad after all. I mean – there are a few things I can think of that I actually couldnt breathe without…3 to be exact, and they are all peacefully sleeping right now in my care. :) so whats a little bump in the road?

The Burning house is a website I’ve stumbled across through my daily blog reading…the concept is: If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It’s a conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.

I just love looking at it and seeing what people would grab. Makes my sit in wonderment at how each human has their own things that make them tick.

As soon as I get a new camera, I’m gonna take a pic of mine and Stefan’s collections  – to see how two people who live in the same home with the same things would choose different items.

Below are some examples from the site

 

And so…. stock take time. Stop the fussing, and the pouting… and count those blessings, 1 by 1 –  no matter how small (or snoring).

 

 

 

City lights

5 Jun

Every now and then you find yourself in a moment where your mind takes a snapshot. All your senses work together and you know its going to be a moment you remember forever. On Friday night as I stepped out of the lift onto the 22nd floor at Randlords – it happened to me.

Mobys Porcelain was playing, the sweet smell of bushveld wood burning, and the view over Joburg.

It was like being in Gotham City, the city sounds and buzz. I kept half expected Batman to land next to me on the balcony and the Bat signal to light up the dark night.

It made me feel a little excited, and a little nostalgic.

Once upon a time,  the city was the place to be – in the late 70s (just before I was born) my Mom and Dad used to party inside Ponte City (the tubular building that has made the Jozi skyline so unique). How cool?

I was lucky enough to get a tour (while at Wits Technikon studying Interior Design) to the 48th floor of the 54 floor apartment building, actually, maybe its more like I was lucky to get out unscathed from my tour. It was revolting…the rubbish piled up nearly 5 stories in the center of the tube. From the top, the birds eye view of Ellis Park (where the rugby world cup had taken place the year before) and a lot of Joburgs surrounds kinda took the attention off the filth. What a waste of a totally gorgeous view, I kept thinking. Since then, there has been a huge effort to clean parts of the old CBD up.

I love it that pieces of the city are being renewed -  :) , and it has some great trendy spots to visit  popping up all over -  with 70 Juta Street  , Arts on main (including a market on Sundays) the ever popular 12 decades hotel and of course Narina Trogan to name but a few.

The experience of the city at night, topped with the amazing pop up dining experience was honestly one for the memory box. It certainly wasn’t the last time I experience either of those…

So, watch out Jozi…here we come. Me and my ever adventurous partner in crime Stefan have you in our sights

Cape of good times

2 Jun

I felt a little guilty sitting on the plane home from Cape Town on Sunday night. It was a little like what I guess Francesca Johnson felt like in The bridges over Madison County… 3 days falling in love with something , romancing it – and then at the end of it all, facing reality, putting on your big girl brooks and getting on with your life. I have always been a Jozi girl, and have pledged allegiance to the smog and vibe – I have it tattooed onto my soul, and my first love will always be Joburg.

But there’s no denying it…there’s just something about Cape Town.

We started our weekend going up the cable cars , the weather was so kind to us – giving us blue skies and a breath-taking view (the gusts of wind were also a little breath-taking I must admit) Each view was more exquisite than the next

The Two Oceans Aquarium the next day was also such a treat – and the excited squeals from the kids made it even more worthwhile . I was so impressed how every staff member that we came into contact with went out of their way to interact with us, a knowledgable, friendly bunch.

Besides the abundant ocean life, clean tanks (still amazing to me because we can’t even keep our tiny pool blue), easy access and really amazing displays – there’s a fantastic play area downstairs for the kids to be entertained while looking into a tank and penguin pen, and cherry on the top? – coffee on tap for the exhausted moms and over stimulated dads. A general winner of an outing…and a must see for anyone.

The Jelly fish were the stars of my show, and the roving eye that Soles have, was my interesting fact for the day (weird and kinda eerie…but intersting)

Box Jelly fish with shrimp lunch

After the aquarium, we went for a walk on Camps bay beach. I just kept thinking on the drive there – THIS only 2 hours away from home?  Honestly quite beautiful.

On Sunday it was rainy and windy…so we decided to go to the Museum, (Iziko) where the Dinosaur skeletons kept Davon amused. I was really looking forward to seeing the Tretchikoff exhibit…but the kids weren’t keen at all… so we ventured to Deerpark for lunch and some outside play time under the Mediterranean pines (which are quite majestic…alien or not) Caylee kept dancing around in the wind laughing.

It was special to get to hang out with our good friends The Bones – V , Tony and Owen. Since they’ve moved to Cape town in October, our visits have been few, and because I didn’t get to see that exhibition (which runs until October 2011) I think another visit is a must !

So back to reality it is, in the city of Gold-en opportunities.

Looking forward to my next Jozi adventure on Friday night – our first pop up dining experience (Guerrilla Cheffing) …being held in the fabulous Randlords in Braamfontein.

What better way to fall back in love with Johannesburg than with a 360 degree view, great company and excellent cuisine. There may not be a mountain… but in a pink sunset, the mine dumps do look very pretty.

Buoys then boys …

26 May

Its been 5 years since we went on our Honeymoon to ‘the Med’ and just over 9 years since we’ve been married (uh huh , that’s right, something isn’t adding up here)

When we got married, instead of going on a mediocre Honeymoon, we decided to save up and go on a seriously kick ass trip. And THAT.WE.DID.

My mom was cleaning out some old files over the weekend, and when I popped in on Monday she gave me an envelope with a few of my things she had found. One of them was an old passport from the late 80s (including a very bad photo in which I look like the daughter in that Tony Danza movie  – she’s out of control) BEFORE the amazing change…. decided against posting a copy of the pic…

In the same pile was an itinerary of our trip -

Dubai - Piraeus(Greece) > Piraeus – Izmir(Turkey) > Izmir (Turkey) – Istanbul > Istanbul (Turkey) – Mykanos > Mykanos (Greece) – Dubrovnik  > Dubrovnik (Croatia)- Split > Split (Croatia)- Venice > Venice (Italy) – Rome… Rome (Italy) >and then Home

How awesome?

It was such a romantic and special trip, and so inspiring. Not a week goes by that I don’t think of something we did, or we saw…and I just cant wait to go back.

Because our trip was in May, its kind of the anniversary of it. There was one day we spent on the ship (Marco Polo such a gorgeous grand dame, and ex russian Ice breaker, a beautiful ship un-commercialised as far as cruise ships go) that I was so sea sick , and no-one else was… that’s probably because there were no waves.

Little did I know, I was already pregnant with Davon.

During our 2 weeks, there were way too many gorgeous sites and things to behold…but we managed to purchase a little treasure in every city. My favorite by far was the ring I found in a tiny shop in Venice.

It’s a combination of pewter and what I guess domed resin  – enveloping prints of different Madonna and child images.

It reminds me of Venice, and of us celebrating our marriage and of being pregnant… all such great memories.

It reminds me of the first moments of being a mother, and me not even beginning to fathom the amazing journey I was about to embark on (as soon as I got back from my other amazing journey)

It reminds me of the little treasures I see in my children every day – and how lucky I am that I don’t have to search for them in a little shop, down a little alley, in a foreign city, a million miles away…but the are beautifully wrapped up for me every day in their precious smiles.

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