Monday, August 16, 2010

tough times call for interesting measures

Times can be really tough, especially these days. From next month my rent goes up the usual 10%, electricity is up and let’s face it… basically everything, even tins of tuna and bags of apples aren’t what they used to be. Just a month ago I wrote in a letter to a certain magazine in the hopes that I would potentially win a R500 shopping voucher. Without success.

But, there may just be a much easier way to win R500… and potentially, the granddaddy prize of: R50 000.

There is so much I Could do with R50 000…

Practical me: Put the money towards a new car; place it into a savings account to build up a buy-my-own-house-one-day fund; pay off my outstanding accounts and then buy 40 pairs of untrendy, but practical flat leather boots. (Okay, maybe not the last one…)

Excited-and-overjoyed-recent-winner-of-R50000 me: Head straight to the V&A Waterfront and buy those sexy 3-inch, red-leather heals I’ve been dying for, take my boyfriend out for ‘as much sushi as we can eat’ and then head to flight centre to plan the holiday of a lifetime.

So how does one get closer to fulfilling their dreams…?

Well, one way to stand a chance of winning either a very helpful extra R500 or an extravagant and wondrous R50 000, would be as a MyCard holder, to write-in and tell Standard Bank how you would spend your MyCard moments with your cash-back. You can enter under one of the following categories: Travel (trip to visit Granny Wanda), Lifestyle (get that full-body massage), Career/Finance (workaholics need to invest in only the best coffee), Health/Wellness (new mountain-biking shoes), and Other (for people that have wilder and weirder joyous dreams). Your story, if not too bizarre (and rude), will be published and you will receive a personalised URL which will allow you to view your MyCard moment on the website.

I’m just spreading the love, because after all, everyone deserves to fulfill their dreams.

And as much fun as it is to day-dream about how I would spend my moments, it’s time to get back to the grindstone…

PS – this ends on 19 November so get your act in gear quick!!!

decisions, decisions

It’s 8am, and I’m in the office, alone. Generally I’m always one of the first of my colleagues to get in, and sometime the last to leave. Such is the life of a young up-and-hopefully-coming individual living in the Mother City. As much as I love my job, I know there is more to life than typing away on my keyboard 24/7. And if you’re a creative person like me, it’s important to do things that inspire fresh ideas and help you de-stress… As a 20-something-year-old (it’s just plain rude to ask how old a woman really is), who earns more than R8000 per month (once again, it’s rude to ask how much exactly and not wise for me to necessarily tell a world wide web of blog-readers) – I’ve been placed into the situation where a number of different companies have offered me their financial products. What I mean is, I’ve been approached by men in black suits, bored women in call-centers, or simply just mailed random letters asking me, do I want to join this, get this card, become a part of the blah blah blah… The truth it’s pretty scary, and one of my friends got herself into quite a bit of debt. So I’m very wary about these amazing, but powerful little plastic cards that slip-oh-so-easily into our wallets – and get swiped as easily. Plus the basics offered are just not enough anymore; I believe a company needs to offer me more than just the expected. So, if you are reading this, I came across something extra special I want to share with you. There is a card that exists, that I can call mine, literally: MyCard. And not only does it offer all kinds of cash-backs on purchases (and I’ll be honest, I know how to purchase!), but it offers all kinds of additional support reacted to medical costs such as cancer, disability, emergency situations, road-side accidents, disability and more. On my way in to work this morning I saw somebody on the side of the road using jump-leads to try get his car started, well, what if that happens to me, and a friendly neighbour isn’t near by? Or I get a flat tyre in the middle of some dodgy area? With MyCard I receive assistance during a roadside emergency, which even classifies locking my keys in the car. I can also receive discounted doctors bills, which is great news for someone like me who just two weeks ago paid R700 for a consultation and antibiotics for some throat infection. So, if you’re like me, and interested in finding out more, I suggest you visit you’re nearest Standard bank branch ask about MyCard.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day trips from Cape Town





It's a Saturday/ Sunday morning, you're keen to get out of town and see something new... but you don't know where to go?
Well, here are some cool options under two hours drive from the Mother City center. So go on.. be adventurous!!
This was another article of mine published in the Horizons magazine that i believ should eb shared with you all :-)

Cape Town day Trips:

1 Head up the R27 to Darling, a village tucked between vineyards (CLOOF WINE ESTATE IS FABULOUS) and wheat fields, to see SA’s beloved Evita Bezuidenhout (satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys’s alter ego). She has her own theatre at the delightfully boere-kitsch Evita se Perron (at the Darling Station), as well as a restaurant, museum, sculpture garden called Boerrasic Park and a community arts and crafts shop. Her shows from 11 June to 11 July include Evita’s Soccer Free Zone, A Koeksister for Zuma and Tannie Evita Praat Kaktus. R110 per show, book on 022-492-3930, evita.co.za. Then discover the rest of Darling’s delights… darlingtourism.co.za PLUS IT'S FLOWER SEASON NOW - SO CHECK OUT THE DAISIES

2.The southern tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas is worth the three-hour (one way) drive, if only to say ‘Been there!’ Take the N2 from Cape Town, then the R316 and keep going. An essential stopover is Napier, a quaint artists’ community. For home-style food or a boerekos Sunday lunch, try Pascal’s (028-423-3146) or stop in at the Moerse Farmstall (028-423-3334) in the main road for milk tart, vetkoek, biltong and the best Afrikaner koffie. The town of Caledon, also en route, is home to a lovely hot-springs facility (R100 entry), ideal for a steamy dip.

3.Hermanus is famous for its land-based whale-watching, and it’s a good time of year to see the southern rights and humpbacks (May to December). THE WHALE FETSIVAL IS IN SEPTEMBER SO KEEP A LOOK OUT FOR THAT! Even if the whales prove to be shy, the walk along the cliff path is exhilarating, and there’s lots to see and do in town. Getting here could also mean taking the ‘alternative to Chapman’s Peak’ drive on the R44 from Gordon’s Bay, around the spectacular coastline to Rooiels, then to Betty’s Bay – stop at Stony Point (open ‘til 4.30pm, entry R10) for an alternative, less crowded penguin-spotting option to Simonstown’s Boulders Beach – and on to Kleinmond (lovely beach and lagoon) and past a few fishing villages to Hermanus. hermanus.co.za

4.For an old-style country getaway, follow the N2 from Cape Town, over Sir Lowry’s Pass and carry on until the turn-off to the R406 and Greyton. Mind the cows and donkeys and note that the speed limit in this village is 40km/h. There are two essential sweet stops: Von Geusau
Chocolates (028-254-9037) and The Open Vine for Greyton Traditional Ice Cream (082-761-6512) – yes, worth it, even in winter. The rest of the exploring is up to you. greytontourism.com

5.Aquila Private Game Reserve is one of the closest places to Cape Town to see the Big Five, although a tame version of a game reserve. Its day trips include transport from the city, breakfast, a lunch-time feast of African food in a boma, a game drive and a visit to a San rock-art site. There’s no chance of seeing a kill as predators and prey are kept separate, but sightings are virtually guaranteed. R1995 per person (021-431-8400, aquilasafari.com). To see the Big Five – plus rare white lions – in a wilder safari setting, book a night at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve (3.5 hours from Cape Town). 041-407-1000, www.sanbona.com

*This article of mine was featured in the Horizons magazine, June 2010 issue

Best places to take a photo in Cape Town





This is from an article i wrote for the Horizons magazine in June, and just because that month is over and the mags are no longer available, it does not mean that this great info should go to waste.
The idea behind the story was where people can take that 'postcard' photograph in cape town. And here are the top five - plus info on how to get there, costs etc...


CAPE TOWN

Places for a PERFECT Photo

1 Cape Point, or the Cape of Storms, is where one can witness the meeting of the warm Agulhas current and the cold Benguela current – on a good day, the water is two distinctly different colours. Drive out to Scarborough to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, pay R75pp entry and head south to the Point. Take the Flying Dutchman funicular (ticket R33) and then clamber up to the historic lighthouse, which offers incredible panoramic views. Open 7am to 5pm daily. 021-780-9010, capepoint.co.za

2 As an alternative to snapping from the summit of Table Mountain, try Lion’s Head next door. The views of the city are just as spectacular, but one also get shots of the Atlantic Seaboard. It’s about a two-hour leisurely hike, with a small section of climbing near the top (there are ladders and chains to assist climbers). Pack a picnic, chill out and wait for the sunset. The most popular outing is when it’s full moon (26 June). The Lion’s Head path starts on Signal Hill Road. Do not walk alone, be prepared for weather changes and take a torch.

3The iconic photograph of Table Mountain is best snapped from Blouberg, on the other side of Table Bay. Head from town on the N1, take the turn-off to Paarden Eiland and
keep following the coast until Big Bay, a beautiful beach popular with surfers, windsurfers and kite-surfers. The wind can be unpleasant, but it is the Southeaster (or ‘the Cape Doctor’), after all, that spreads the famous ‘tablecloth’ of cloud over the mountain. On the way back to the city, stop in at the Blue Peter Hotel – upstairs is great for dinner and cocktails, and a nice
day will find locals toasting the setting sun on the grassy bank
out front. 021-554-1956, www.bluepeter.co.za

4 It’s in the Bo-Kaap (the Cape Malay Quarter) on the slopes of Signal Hill that one finds the cute, pastel- coloured houses so instantly recognisable from travel books and postcards. Start in Wale Street and stroll uphill and down side streets. While there, to better understand the
place, visit the Bo-Kaap Museum (10am to 5pm, not Sundays; 021-481-3939, R15 entry) and pop into Atlas Trading (super spice merchant). For the other famous multi-coloured buildings, head to St James or Muizenberg beach in False Bay – home of cute Victorian bathing huts painted in primary colours.

5 The Cape’s baboons are comical, photogenic and none too shy of tourists, but they are also cunning and very dangerous to approach. Animal charity Baboon Matters hosts guided walks to see troops in the mountains near Kommetjie, on the southern Peninsula. See baboons crunching
on pine nuts, swinging up into trees and carrying their babies on their backs. Walks take about two hours, but are not too strenuous. R295 (adults), R140 (children), baboonmatters.org.za

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Twice Coffee




I stumbled upon the most amazing coffee shop (if you will), which two months ago snuck onto the corner of Main road and St Johns road in Sea point. While the artisan coffee smelt amazing I was after the other thing this shop specialises in: Ice-cream. I know it’s technically still winter and most Cape Townians would think me crazy to be after anything with the word ‘ice’ in it. But this was truly something special. And let’s face it – it’s actually been pretty warm these days anyway.

The owner, Christopher whipped up a marvellous treat for me in a large bowl that’s reminiscent of the 50’s American Ice-cream parlours.

Instead of having millions of silver tubs of multicolourful ice-creams, there was juts one large tub of homemade vanilla – free of all additives and gelatine and made from Madagascan vanilla pods. When he said he could make me 20 different flavours, I was doubtful as to how long this might take. So I told him to pick one for me. The verdict: Strawberries and cookies & cream.

Out came the fresh strawberries, oreo biscuits, special chopping equipment and voila: a dream come true.

Other flavours on offer are: rum & raison; chocolate, peanut brittle, gooseberry and raspberry to name a few. These can also all be made into milkshakes. YUM!

They also do sandwiches and offer free super-fast wi-fi all day.

I just wish they were open on Sundays, but if you want to catch them make sure you are there before 2:30pm on Saturday, or any day during the week.