Show & Tell

A collection of snippets & bits from here & there for Halloween.

* LOVE this home filled with ballet shoes & skulls

* More skulls - but a little less romantic

* Cute skeleton craft

* Beautiful resin rings with sparkly gold bits

* Not your normal mummies

* Perfect skully eggs


Show & Tell

This weeks stuff & stuff

* Cats. Lots of them!

* This girl called 911 about a massive spider!

* Bored Couples

* Collections of collections

* An abandoned car in China discovered under ivy

Special moments with Nico

Just a few weeks ago, we spent a lazy Sunday morning with Luca & a beautifully pregnant Carol at their gorgeous home in Newlands. It turns out, we were just in time to capture this moment in their lives, as literally 4 days later, Nico surprised them by arriving to say hello early.
He has filled their home & hearts with love ever since. 
And you can see why from this leetle peep.
He is truly a very special little boy.




Show & Tell

Here's some stuff I saw this week:

* Beautiful Photography

* Skip straight to the 2 min mark - then these dogs are funny.

* Free-running in Sarajevo

* Jumping off a mountain & landing on a lake - oh, and without a  parachute

* Starbucks Seduction attempt started viral craze

* Very funny Cat Stalker

* Sirens of the Lambs,  Banksy's stuffed animal truck

Tra la

Show & Tell

* Love this sneak peek at this artists sketchbook

* oooh colour clouds

* The finniest Google Maps image

* Everyone's (guys) talking about Grand Theft Auto?? This time-lapse from inside is cool though.

* Jean Paul Gaultier "On The Docks"

* Beautifully shot extreme skateboarding, filmed here, down Franschoek Pass for Mercedes

* These Travellers are much more stylish than the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding crew

* This exhibition "Animals" looks interesting

* This would scare the croissant right of me for sure!

Winter Dinner Dates - The End

And as the sun starts to tickle our cold frail skin, the evenings draw out longer & the birds start their morning songs earlier, Winter Dinner Dates comes to an end. This weekend we celebrated the end of winter by having our own fabulous collection of little birdies over for an evening of chirping.

I realised as I was preparing the table, that this dinner involved guests with 3 of the best-est & loudest laughs that I know of, so it was bound to be an evening full of silliness & fun. And I wasn't disappointed. We laughed.
Until it hurt - and that is truly the best food for the soul & heart EVER.

Evenings like these, remind me of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family of friends here in South Africa. I can't imagine not having these special ladies in my world and I really appreciate the happiness that I feel when we're together. There is nothing better than deep uncontrollable, belly-full bouts of laughter.

So the food was kind of irrelevant and as there were a lot of us I kept it simple, with a couple of favourite tried & tested recipes, rotisserie chickens & a selection of salads to balance out the potato wedges.

Nigellas Roasted Nuts!
Roast a couple of cups of mixed nuts in the oven @ 180 degrees for about 10 mins & then  toss in this delicious spicy mix : 1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper, 2 Tsp sugar, 2 Tsp salt, chopped rosemary & 10g melted butter.

For starters we had one of my favourite dinner party dishes : Butternut Risotto
The easiest,  1-pot wonder meal to whip up.


* 2 Rotisserie chickens (helps save on time & oven space which can become a problem when catering for a larger group)

* Baked potato wedges - super easy. Cut the potatoes in to quarters, drizzle with a good coating of oil, salt & pepper & back for 40 mins @ 200 degrees, turning a couple of times to ensure even crunch. Finish off with an extra sprinkle of chopped rosemary & Maldon salt.

* A selection of salads

Avo, orange & mixed lettuce salad, dressed with a squeeze of fresh orange, dash of white wine vinegar & glug of good olive oil.
Cucumber, tomato & red onion salad dressed with 1 Tsp white wine vinegar, healthy slosh of olive oil, squeeze of lemon & generous handful of fresh basil.
Celery, apple & grape salad with white wine & olive oil dressing.


Brownie smartie cake
I used a ready-to- make Brownie Kit, melted a bar one on top & decorated with Chuckles & Smarties

And some fresh strawberries dotted with delicate little LadurĂ©e meringues all the way from Paris ♥

And the beautiful & rather funny guests (if not a little fuzzy in places)
Amazing Karin & her (soon to be) twin boys

The Book Club couch vs The Silly Champagne-drinkers couch 

* Angus & Julia Stone
* Ellie Golding iTunes concert

And that, was that.
Winter's over (hopefully) but we really enjoyed hosting these dinner parties to maintain a bit of a social life during the colder months. They don't need to be a big mission & cost loads of money, and the value we got out of having our close friends over was invaluable. So I'm going to endeavour to maintain regular diners, catch-ups, nibbles, drinks or a packet of crisps with those special people we know, to stay connected & work those ab muscles from lots of heavy laughter.

Detox Part 2

The 1st 3-day detox went by quite easily, so I followed it up with another 3-day detox.
A week seemed a good amount of time to cleanse the system, reboot my mind & get me motivated about feeling good for summer.

So a week of no wheat, gluten or dairy, turned out to be fairly manageable despite my love for milk (I have to say I have missed a good cup of tea, but a cup of honey infused Rooibos is still pleasant).

This detox is adapted from The Best of This Life Smoothie Detox & I combined it with some ideas from my previous plan & a bit of Paleo thinking;  and it was a welcome relief to the 1st high vegetable based 3 days. I really appreciated the freshly squeezed orange juice on the 1st morning & the thick yummy banana based smoothies. Which is great. You learn to appreciate & relish good, natural food rather than looking for treats in the form of processed, stodgy take-aways & fatty/carb-heavy snacks.

Here it is :

* Wake Up Water
- I'm continuing the practice of having lemon & ginger water 1st thing in the morning, based on the previous detox plan

* Decaf Green Tea (with lemon)

* Breakfast Super Juice

- 1 deliciously juicy orange freshly squeezed along with 1 apple, a few kale (or spinach) leaves, ginger &  lemon

* Smoothie mid-morning snack
These 3 combo's I tried are fantastic & filling
Blueberry crush
Strawberry Coconut Blitz
- 1 banana, 1 cup of Almond milk, 4 dates (+3 Tbsp coconut milk yoghurt & 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract optional    I didn't have)
- 2 bananas, cup of frozen blueberries, 2 cups of Almond milk, 1 Tbsp Chia seeds, 1 Tsp raw honey
- 1 banana, 200ml coconut water, 1 date, strawberries & handful of kale

* Sushi Salad Lunch (or green salad)

* Afternoon snack
- 2 brown rice crackers with almond butter
- handful of nuts

* Dinner
Roasted Butternut Curry Soup ♥

- Stir 2 Tbsp coconut/olive oil with 1 Tbsp curry powder in a big bowl. Mix a diced butternut, chopped onion & clove of garlic in, spread on to a baking sheet & bake for 20 mins @ 250 degrees. Then heat the cooked veg with 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, 3 cups of chicken/veg stock & 1 can coconut milk/cream, simmering for 2-25mins. Blend, add coriander & enjoy!
Roast Butternut/courgettes/squash, onion, drizzled with 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil for 45 mins @ 200 degrees. Spread the cooked veg with 1/2 cup blitzed, kalamata olives.

I was surprised how easy both detox's were, and how with a bit of preparation you can skip dairy, meat & wheat without even noticing.

I think I'll do these quite regularly to just keep a check on my nibbling habits!

Show & Tell

* Peace Day art installation in Normandy

* Bouncing cats - why not?

* Kale Chips. They were Jennifer Anistons treat for "We're the Millers" stripper scene body workout & kids love them apparently. Worth a try.

* "#Hashtag" with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake.

* Reminds me of growing up in UK - always good for a laugh

And another corker of a giggle:
I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa."


Detox Week!

Following my 30 day challenge, I felt like I needed to check my diet too.
It's almost summer & I'm going to have to expose these shy dry legs & wear summery clothes verrrry soon. 
It feels right to carb up & eat comfort food whilst you're wrapped up in your onsie under a blankie in front of the fire in winter, but as soon as that sun comes out to play, it's time to feel fresh, light & energised.

And I'm so pleased I decided to do a detox (or 2...).
It's amazing how it helps alter your mind set & bring awareness to what we are eating  - rather than just shoving everything in sight down!

I have a terrible 'gowwan then' habit when it comes to yummy things. Whether it's birthday cup cakes at the office (there's 100 people, so it happens often), someones leftover weekend baking delights, a handful of raisins here, a leftover fish finger & chunk of cheese there, I'm often not fully aware of how many extra nibbles I'm consuming in the day.
I believe I eat quite healthily, and I do, but I probably eat too much & have too many 'extras' through the day.

So just like the 30 day Exercise challenge helped me conquer my fear of exercise & make it an every day norm rather than something to dread, this detox has helped make me more conscious of what & how much I am eating.

I have to say, when I list the food used to make up the meal over the 3 days,  it seems really measly, but surprisingly, I haven't been hungry once & quite the opposite, have felt full most of the time. The combination of food obviously works.

And the best thing is, the food is all readily available & affordable. I wanted to feel cleansed & refreshed without spending a fortune on special powders & supplements.

Here you go, from the Hungry for Change Detox Plan :

* Wake up Water
Squeeze 1/2 lemon juice & the squeezed juice from 1/2" knob of grated ginger in to a glass of water.
This apparently boosts your metabolism, hydrates your body & activates the bowels, ginger being a great detoxifier

* Breakfast Super Green Juice
Blitz 2 sticks of celery, a handful of parsley, 2 Kale leaves, an apple, 1/2 lemon juice & half a cucumber together with water to make a thick refreshing & nutritious juice.
This juice is a blend of easily digestible, alkaline minerals, like potassium. And alkalising the blood is important during the cleansing process as it keeps bad bacteria, yeast & fungi in check, which helps prevent cravings 

* Mid morning snack
Celery, Cucumber & carrots cut in to crunchy sticks
(or have another Super Green Juice)

* Lunch : Sushi Salad
Salad : 1 Avo, 1/2 chopped cucumber, 1 grated carrot, Handful of sprouts (alfalfa/ sunflower sprouts), handful of coriander, 1 Nori sheet cut in to bite-size pieces, 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds.
Dressing : 1 Tbsp finely grated ginger, 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce, Juice of 1 lemon
Sea vegetables such as nori, are one of the most nutrient-dense plant foods on Earth. They are particularly high in calcium & iodine which help draw toxins from the body.
This is so delicious, so detox or no detox I'll be adding this to my lunchbox options.

 * Afternoon snack
Soak 3 handfuls of raw nuts (almonds, macadamia, pecan, hazelnuts, Brazil, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds)overnight, drain & store them in the fridge in a jar for the 3 days
Soaking the nuts improves digestion, increases vitamin intake as well as all sorts of other benefits as listed here 

* Dinner : Potassium Balance Soup (makes enough for 3 days)
4 cups of water, 4 courgettes, 3 celery stalks, 1 cup of green beans, handful of parsley, 3 medium tomatoes, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 tsp unrefined sea salt, 2 teaspoons of dried thyme/rosemary or French Provence herbs
Chop all the ingredients up & bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for 30 mins & then blitz to whatever consistency you like (I like mine totally smooth, no pieces)
This vegetable tonic provides an ideal combination for restoring acid-alkaline & sodium-potassium balance to the body's organs & glands.

* Dessert : Chia Seed Pudding (makes enough for 3 days)
Combine 1 1/4 cups Almond milk (or homemade coconut milk) with 1 Tbsp raw honey, 4 Tbsp chia seeds & 1 Tsp cinnamon.
Shake it all together & then divide in to 3 potions & leave to thicken in the fridge (30 mins)

* Calming Chamomile Tea
Finish  the day with a cup of herbal detox tea (Chamomile/ Nettle / Dandelion/ Liquorice)
A deep restful sleep is important during the cleanse as it will help digest unwanted stress hormones which can cause weight gain.

The 3 days were really easy. I feel fresh & eager to continue to eat healthily.
On to Detox No 2