Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge Resort in the Pilanesburg National Park

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We left rainy, cold Cape Town last week to visit Kwa Maritane in Pilanesberg. We flew out on Friday afternoon, our flesh covered in a mass of jackets, jerseys and scarves. As soon as we landed in Pilanesberg a wave of heat washed over us as we scrambled to offload our winter attire and swap in to shorts, slops and vests. The weather was incredible – reaching 28 and 29 degrees every day. I don’t know know how to summarize everything that we did, saw and experienced, but we really grew closer as a family this weekend. With the bustle of school, Graeme’s job, play dates and my business, we’ve grown comfortable in our homely routine. My mindset is mostly to ‘get things done’ and over the past few months we’ve lost the joy of just being.

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There’s no adventure in routine, and no fun in chores, so I really appreciated this break. We stepped out of our comfort zones in a big way this weekend, but also really enjoyed the relaxing moments too. The boys are in love with this place, and I am too. They made a few holiday friendships and they were so relaxed the whole time. Usually when we travel with the kids, we worry about them going crazy (also known as ‘being kids’) but I think they were so enthralled by everything that we were doing that there was no time for them to get distracted or bored.

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The ‘lodge’ is more like a resort, with all kinds of different accommodation options positioned like a village and nestled under ancient African trees. Green grass, thatched roofs and an abundance of bird life will get you in that ‘safari’ mood as soon as you arrive. You’ll immediately notice that the resort is fenced and as you walk to your chalet / lodge or room you’ll spot a few zebra, a wildebeest and maybe a few impalas on your way. You’ll probably literally walk in to a Loerie because they are so tame and friendly that you’ll want to put one in your backpack and take one home. So here are a few of our favourite things that we did during our 3 night, 4 day stay.

The Game Drives will get your heart rate going.

I jumped right in to this because the wildlife is incredible. I mean, I grew up in Kwa-Zulu Natal so obviously I had been on game drives before. At Kwa Maritane, we had a few breathtaking and heart-stopping encounters that have created buckets and baskets of family memories for us. Sheldon was our guide, and I mean what a great guy. The kind of guy that you want to invite over for a braai, but also the kind of guy that you really want to stay close to when you’re in the wild.

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Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 2.52.54 PMWe went on 2 drives every day at 15:30. The days were hot, so this was a great time as all the animals were coming out of hiding and moving out of the shade. I was dead-set on seeing a Lion and to lift my ‘never seen a lion in the wild’ curse. In retrospect, I really enjoyed our game drives at Hluhluwe because of car windows that could close. Going in one of those “I HAVE NO WINDOWS”  jeeps is next level vulnerable. We had some gorgeous, heart-stopping and wonderful sightings.

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We had moments where we just switched off the engine and watched the animals ‘be’ and interact with one another. We watched herds of elephants move across a veld while zebras and wildebeest played and grazed in the foreground. The kids had little naps, we tucked in to some wine and we had picnics, stops and visits to the hides. Probably my favourite moment was being maybe 5 meters from a journey of Giraffes. Isn’t that the most beautiful collective noun? A journey of Giraffe. Thanks Sheldon! Other highlights included Graeme spotting a Leopard lounging on a branch of a Marula tree. As he leaped out of the tree and started moving… Well that was the first time I checked for my window’s handle. Awkward.

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Another highlight was definitely stopping alongside an elephant bull just going about his usual elephant business. I really respected how well Sheldon knew the animals in the park – knowing and recognizing most by their nicknames among the staff and other guides. He knew their personalities and behavior patterns. He knew which ones he could get closer to, and which ones to be wary of. He knows their individual stories and their relationship dynamics with other herds and animals too. It was incredible.

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We drove back to camp in the dark each day, with about 30% vision provided by the Jeep’s head and sidelights. We had our Boma dinner to get to, and as we came around a bend, we quite literally almost ‘bumped’ in to a mother elephant with her 3 youngsters. We were lucky that the youngest was closest to the vehicle at that point, and that we didn’t give the mother the initial fright. Sheldon quickly cut the engine and switched off the lights while we waited for them to make their next move. Can I please explain to you what it’s like to be that freakin’ close to a wild elephant? While freaking out (inside) about the safety of your own kids? The youngest was quite curious and touched the vehicle with his trunk. This made the mom get protective, so she moved toward us to put some distance between us and the others. I literally felt like I was in Jurassic Park and every step was like water shaking in a glass. Another elephant moved past Graeme’s side on the right and if he’d have stuck his hand out he would have touched it. The boys didn’t understand any of it. Disclosure: MY KIDS DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF WILD ANIMALS OR DANGER.

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The boys were getting bored and couldn’t understand why we were sitting motionless and in silence in the dark. I get it. Sheldon was doing a super job at keeping calm, and keeping us calm as he watched the mom’s behavior and decided what to do. We were stuck, because if we put the lights or engine on, then we’d scare her and she would probably  have charged. She was just standing there in her giantness, right in front of the vehilcle, just watching us. She’d moved forward to close the gap between us and her family. As she started to lose interest and move past us, we’d just whispered “Shhhh” to the kids, but G and I did it at the same time which upped the volume. She turned like a woman on fire and faced us with her ears flared. I have never in my life felt so tiny or insignificant. I was scared, my heart was racing. Sheldon was talking us through the possibility of starting the engine and making a run for it, and warning us that she might give chase. Graeme was (finally) getting a bit freaked out and the kids were like “what time is supper and do they have pudding”.

Eventually after Sheldon standing his ground and showing that we’re not a threat, she moved past us and we switched the lights on and kept going, all of our hearts beating at about 140km p/h and feeling rather relieved. I hadn’t felt adrenaline like that since jumping off a bridge with a rope tied to by ankles. It was intense, and incredible. I was super happy to get to dinner and drink a LOT of wine. There are no pictures of this incident because quite honestly I was afraid to even breathe. Another thing we loved about Kwa Maritane was…

Alllllll the kids activities, play centers and pool areas

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Everything from rock climbing, chess, swimming, super tubes, snake shows, pool tables, table tennis, foosball, trampolines, jumping castles, play areas, secret tunnels and hides and especially the wildlife center. They have this program called “Junior Rangers” where a guide takes the kids out for a few hours to track animals and learn about the bush. They saw fresh lion tracks, found nests, spider webs and even saw an elephant carcass. They each got a book with lists of all the things they need to find in the wild, and ticked them off as they went. They also get a certificate, badges, stickers, treats and a colouring book. When we collected them at the wildlife center they were SO CHUFFED and felt like the smartest, most important little boys in the world with all their goodies. I love it when our kids are out and about in nature, so this was especially special for me. We’ve been back for a week and they’re still filling in their little wildlife books and gushing to everyone they see that they know how to track and find real animals in the real wild! Graeme and I had taken our laptops with, in case the boys wanted to watch a movie or something. Needless to say, they didn’t ask for any kind of technology even once. Even the televisions in our rooms had live-streamed footage of the watering holes around the lodge. Every time we got back to our room, they rushed to the TV to see if the hippo had moved, or if a new little bird or animal had arrived. While there is SO MUCH good, wholesome and educational fun for the kids to do, I really loved

All the fun things for adults to do too

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While the kids were at the wildlife center and out in the bush, Graeme and I retreated to the Kwa Maritane Spa. It’s such a gorgeous setting, with the heated pool and loungers overlooking the game reserve. We saw Kudu and Zebra and more Impala as we lounged around in our robes between massages and manicures. I had my nails done while Graeme opted for a full back, neck and shoulder massage, which he obviously loved. The spa is gorgeous and quite busy, so be sure to get your name in their diary as you book your stay.

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The boys were very occupied at the pool, where we also had lunch every day. They have a really good poolside menu, so you can order salads or prego rolls, hotdogs, burgers, sandwiches and seafood from the comfort of your lounger without disturbing your tan. The boys spent all day on the super tube, which freed up a lot of time for Graeme and I to watch them and catch up with each other while tanning and indulging in a few delicious cocktails.


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I have so much more to write and tell you about, so consider this my first post. I need to tell you what happened when we saw the lions, and HOW it happened, and how I freaked out… again. We need to talk about the Boma dinner and drums and dancers which was completely magical. All that for another day. If you live close to Joburg or Pilanesburg, you absolutely must visit and take the whole family. Find the rates and book here >

If you live around KZN or Cape Town, then know that SAA flies directly to the Pilanesberg airport, which is 3km from Kwa Maritane. We had an incredible time and we’ll definitely be back, probably this December holiday. The boys have not stopped begging since we got back, they really did have the time of their lives (and us too!) A major thank you to Patrick, Sheldon, Megan and Trevor for making our stay that much more special, and to Emma and all the other guides that took such great care of our boys. We’ll be back real soon!

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How to create a perfect, Pinterest inspired kids room in South Africa

Clever Little Monkey is definitely the best kids furniture & decor shop in South Africa. You’ll find the most beautiful collections to transform and kids room in to a Pin-worthy masterpiece that your kids will LOVE. You can shop everything from wall art, decals, bunting, bedding, scatters, furniture, beds, accessories – literally everything you need to create the perfect look for your child’s play or bedroom. I wanted to quickly show you a few of their goodies.


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The best news? You can shop all of their beautiful items and curated collections online. Check out Clever Little Monkey here > and some of the items are currently on sale! Happy shopping, friends!


Your old house.

Yesterday we were driving home and Ben said “I don’t even remember our old house” and you two chatted to each other for a good while trying so hard to remember little details. I giggled at the things you did remember, and I felt so sad that there was so much of it that you completely forgot. I clearly remember little details from the house I lived in when I was very little. I remember the brown couches and the cushions with weird flowers on them, and jumping over the back of the couch to watch Heidi in the mornings. I remember there was a tree at the top of our driveway that had tiny little yellow berries on it. I remember my brothers skateboarding up and down the driveway and I remember friends (James en Melt?) that lived nearby. When you said you couldn’t remember YOUR old house, I felt so disappointed by my blog. The whole point of this is to keep your memories for you, for me and for all of us. Our own digital memory box. In this new blog I’ve created little sections for each of you where I keep your photos and letters and stories. Right now, I wanted to show you your old house, in your own tabs. We moved in here just before Noah’s 3rd birthday, in January 2011. Ben you were so tiny, you had just turned 1. I’m quite weepy now, thinking about how little you both were. We lived in this little house until 2014 – for 4 years. Do you remember Roger and Charlie and Lola running around in the courtyard? Do you remember the break-in, and Miriam? Do you remember the park around the corner and walking down the street to buy num-nums and chappies at that corner shop? Do you remember the sushi place with fish in the fish tank. Do you remember how the windows used to rattle in the wind. Remember they used to slide up and down, the windows. Do you remember Ben’s little yellow potty next to the toilet, where Noah taught Ben potty training. Do you remember dancing in the lounge to “Lolliipop Lollipop oooh lolly lolly lolly” and “She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini?” And that daddy used to take you to school every day. Remember Disa Park? Your little school by the 3 buildings. Do you remember when we got Jack? Do you remember Miriam taking you to the train station to watch the trains? And the library? And Banjoe? Do you remember your friend James down the street. And climbing through the fireplace in the lounge to the fireplace in your room? Do you remember when we swapped rooms and you were so upset, so you never wanted to sleep in your room again? Do you remember sleeping in the lounge for like 3 years. Remember the bathroom had sky lights and how loud it was when it rained, and it used to scare you sometimes. Remember when mommy fell down that step in the kitchen and I had that big bruise. And remember Ben’s Pinocchio party and you guys had that big dinosaur that could walk, with red eyes. Remember hiding in the white cupboards in our bedroom. Please don’t ever forget. Any of it.


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31 is the new 21

I turned 31 yesterday and I’m so excited and relieved. When you turn 30, there’s all this pressure to be new, improved, changed and suddenly mature. Your 20s are flipping hard, and Graeme and I did it with two babies and then toddlers in tow. Somehow. We started playing house from the age of 23, and at 23 you don’t even know a single thing, never mind how run a life properly. We grew, we learned and through all of it we never let go of each other. I’m grateful. I’m proud of us. 8 years and 2 cities later, we have our solid family unit; a beautiful home, established careers and a mountain of things we still want to achieve. Like everything finally fits. So here are a few reasons why I think that 31 is the new 21.

1. I can barely remember who was at my 21st ten years ago, and I’m hardly in touch with most of them anymore. People who I thought were my BEST, forever friends. While most of my current besties are from my childhood, I think you make your solid friends in your late twenties, and another group after you’ve had kids. Friendships change, careers move at different paces and having a family shifts your priorities. When I say “shift”, imagine a construction site and a very large bulldozer pushing your old priorities off a cliff. In my 20s, I let go of BEST friends who weren’t even friends at all. There’s sort of a “ek vat nie kak nie” attitude that comes in your late 20s and you realize that not all friendships will survive these years. And that’s okay!


2. You have more money. Scraping by in your 20s and sending your parents please call mes to help with your rent is something that most of us went through. The best of us. In your 20s you learn about credit and savings and investing and interest rates, insurance and bonds and taxes. You make some pretty expensive mistakes. I remember I BLEW my first credit card when I was 20 like why would you even give a 20 year old a credit card. I spent years tidying up my credit record and then years trying to build credit to qualify to buy a house. In your 30s everything sort of evens out, you might stop living month to month and debits off your account no longer break your heart. Sometimes.


3. I am personally in better shape right now than I was in my 20s. I eat right. I care. I train. I run. In my 20s it was all big macs and 24 hour steers and now it’s all juices and water and salads and wholewheat everything. I never cared about my health, I was like WHATEVER I’M YOUNG I’LL EAT WHAT I WANT and now I’m like “Okay so I really want to live a long and healthy life and not get colon cancer.” I’ve also become more responsible. I used to party like a crazy girl and now I’m like “WHAT IS THIS 3 DAY HANGOVER.” Seriously – what is that?!


4. Your soul sprouts. I was pretty selfish in my 20s with very little regard for others, the earth or consequence. In your 20s your heart will break. You’ll disappoint yourself, and others. You’ll gain an awareness of others that you didn’t think possible. Only when your heart is truly and completely broken will it be vulnerable and susceptible enough to comprehend how you’ve affected others. There’s a sensitivity and humbleness that arrives in your 20s somewhere, and you’ll never shake it. It will make you a better, more sensitive and caring human being.


5. Your career will change maybe three times. You might not be working in the field that you studied and by now you’ve probably realized that your degree means very little in the greater scheme of experience. I made monumental professional mistakes in my 20s. I took jobs I didn’t really want, I worked insane hours and I said yes to a lot of things that I should have walked away from. You learn that passion is the very core of any kind of success, and you will never succeed at anything unless your heart is in it. At my 21st, I had just left my Journalism studies and I was working in an old age home and night shift at a hospital’s Emergency Unit. I wanted to be a nurse, and work in pediatrics. I wasted two entire years in the medical field, which I would eventually walk away from. I worked as a TV producer and Multimedia Manager until I found what I was passionate about. You will never feel as confused, lost and desperate as you do in your 20s. Eventually you’re like


6. By the time you reach your 30s you’ve developed your personal style. Sure it might change later, but you start to build a wardrobe. You ignore trends and fashion and focus on yourself, dressing for your body shape and investing in good quality, timeless garments. What looks good in a magazine or on your best friend won’t necessarily suit you. You discover which colours and fabrics and cuts flatter you. I’ve thrown and given away heaps of clothes over the years and I’ve learned that it’s better to buy one expensive item a month than 4 cheap ones that won’t last three washes and definitely not to the next season. You go from cheap clothes to good clothes like


7. For some of us, we learn about motherhood in our 20s. You learn a love beyond your comprehension or understanding. Your heart and soul leaves your body and probably never comes back. You become a nurturer, not just with your own kids but with all others. You will never walk past a crying child and you will appreciate and understand humanity in a much deeper and connected sense. Motherhood is amazing. It will test, grow, fulfill and break you.


8. You will fall in love. With yourself. Your body, your heart, your personality. You’ll accept all your own flaws and setbacks and mistakes. You’ll work through your dark bits and you’ll reach a point where you don’t need recognition or validation. There’s a confidence that emerges somewhere along the line that will really change your life. You’ll start saying no to things, you’ll stand tall in your convictions and you’ll appreciate yourself for who you are. I was really insecure in my 20s and I wanted everyone to like me, agree with me, stand by me. As you grow, your confidence does too.


I usually get sad around birthdays. Another year of life cut short. A year less with my children, and theirs. Another year closer to losing loved ones, but today… I feel good. Relaxed. Like my wild spirit has silenced and evolved in to a deeper consciousness and understanding of everything around us. I feel… satisfied. Now that all those BIG boxes are ticked, I’m excited to start enjoying life more. I want to travel and expand my studies and keep learning about myself and our beautiful world. I want to kick back and really enjoy my husband and focus more on him and watch him go through his own journey. I love that man so much. He fills my heart with a thousand sunny days, ice cream cones, forests and sunsets. I want to watch my children be children and spend less time consumed by my to do lists and deadlines. I want to write books and stories and poems. I feel ready for anything right now and I really do believe that 31 is the new 21, at least today, right now. Happy birthday to me, and happy it is indeed.



A TV interview about juicing on kyknet, Flits tv

Last night I did a little live skype interview with Kyknet, for their program called Flits. I am NOT very articulate in Afrikaans, but you can watch the clip here if you’re keen! Thanks so much to Kyknet (en jy Bibi haas) for the interview. It was really fun and I’m glad that more people are getting curious about this juicing business! If you’re in to juices or smoothies, the health benefits are incredible. Do it!


Luxury bush accommodation Gauteng – Kwa Maritane

Exciting news! We’re flying to Gauteng next month to check out Kwa Maritane, a luxury bush lodge in the Pilanesberg National Park. We’ve never been on a family ‘bush break’ holiday, so I’m really excited to check it out. The boys have never been on a professional game drive either, and I’m so excited to experience it with them! They have a Junior Rangers program for the kids, and a gorgeous looking Spa where Graeme and I will be spending some time too! I’m especially excited about the Game Drives and the Bush Braai Boma. You can view all their activities here > Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge Activities.

Kwa Maritane

The lodge is located on the slopes of an ancient volcano, in a malaria-free area. They’re situated 2 hours from Johannesburg, 3km from the local airport and 10 minutes from Sun City. We do a lot of exploring around Cape Town, so we’re all really excited about this trip and to see what Kwa Maritane is all about. We fly out on the 14th of August and we’ll spend 3 days exploring the lodge and its facilities. In the meantime, here’s a sneak-peek of what we’ll be up to. All images supplied by Legacy Hotels, Kwa Maritane.

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My Paris itinerary for September

Two weeks ago, I booked and paid my flights to Paris. This week, I collected my visa! I’m putting a lot of effort in to the planning, and a lot of muscle behind the excitement. Things that I love in life include travel, research, organizing, making list and schedules. So this is like the best time of my life right now, you understand? Other things that I love is heritage, art, art history, literature, writing and poetry. DO YOU UNDERSTAND. I have incredible friends who have given me the best “Paris” advice, like Vanessa and Keri and even complete strangers and acquaintances like Rebecca have gone out of their way to get in touch and share some info with me.  I am so grateful and treasure every little bit of advice. This trip is costing me quite a bit, so I don’t want to waste entire DAYS doing things or getting stuck somewhere that I don’t actually want to be.


I am going alone. Graeme went to Cannes a few years ago (although it was a work trip) and logistically it makes sense for him to stay with the boys for this trip as they are still very little. Although we have my mom that would love to have them for a few days, and Graeme COULD come with, Paris is not a destination that he’s super passionate about at all. In his words, he said he’d rather go somewhere remote like (his actual words) Antarctica or climb Kilimanjaro. How our marriage has survived this long, I just don’t know.

To be honest, I want to go alone. Some people find that horrifying, but I absolutely love being on my own. Being alone is my comfort blanket. My actual sanctuary. I know that my boys will miss me (and I will miss them like mad), but they just spent 4 days with my mom and apparently only missed or mentioned me once or twice. While I’m away, the boys will be at school and super busy with extra murals. I’ve got little plans to leave a present and letter for them to unwrap every day while I’m gone. I’ve also scheduled my flights so that I leave on a Sunday night and get back on a Saturday afternoon, so I’ll still have the weekends with my little family. In reality, the person who will probably feel my absence the most is Jack. I think the boys will really enjoy their ‘daddy’ time and I’m sure that Graeme will spoil them with special dates and activities. The thought of going as a family on our first trip is just a bad idea. I mean, we can’t even go to Cavendish together.

Another point to mention is that when I’m in Paris, is that I don’t want to eat at a single restaurant. At all. I’m not a foodie, and mostly view food as a necessity – sustenance. I get a buffet breakfast at my hotel every morning and I’m not a big eater, really. I’m happy to grab fruit and cheese at a local market and shove it in to my bag to snack on throughout the day. Food doesn’t interest me. Another thing is that I don’t want to do any shopping or go to any shopping centers. Sure I love clothes, but I am not big on shopping. I am not going to Paris to eat or shop, because that’s just not me. I am going to Paris to see art, write, paint, walk, learn, grow and explore. So these are the things that I’m keen on.

A lot of the pictures are shared from Love Made Visible’s Paris blog posts. Their travel pictures are phenomenal – go read her Paris posts! The other pictures are from the official websites linked below. Do you have more suggestions on where to go? Or did you find any of these to be a total waste of time? I am getting mixed ‘reviews’ on Versailles. Is it worth the trip? Here’s my must-list!

Musee D’orsay (image by lovemadevisible)

I can’t explain how excited and overwhelmed I feel. I can’t believe that I’m going to see some of my favourite artworks in real life. From Degas, Monet and Renoir. I’ve read at least 17 articles in search of tips and tricks, like to start at the top and work your way down. To go AT opening time. To pre-book tickets. I really want to buy some art prints and stationery, and I’ve already browsed their online shop and created a budget for it.

Musee d Orsay


For obvious reasons. I know that people suggest NOT going as the queues are intense and it gets super crowded (and the Mona Lisa is small) but I’m going to pre-book my ticket and have it sent to the hotel. Again, gonna try go super early. On Thursdays the museum is open at night, so I might do a night visit too. I AM SO EXCITED.


Musee de’l’orangerie

I am only going to see the Water Lilies. They’re in Tuileries Gardens, so maybe I can ride my bicycle around there and try find that funfair that’s around there, if it’s still around. The museum has exhibitions going all the time, so hopefully I’ll discover some new work! I’m really excited about this tiny little baby museum.


Montmartre City Tour  (image by lovemadevisible)

Rebecca told me about this free tour and sent me the site! It says > Hidden in the North of Paris, Montmartre joined the city year 1860 and became the place for bohemians, artists and courtisans including Van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir & Degas. I’m staying in Montmartre in a sweet little hotel, so I’m dead keen on this tour!

Montmartre Moulin Rouge

Paris Bus Tour

Obviously I am doing this! I might buy a 2 day ticket and use it to get around and spread the trip over a few days. I don’t know, but I sure as heck want to be a tourist and learn all about Paris. The tour also covers all the main sights that I don’t really, really want to spend time at, like the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and Grand Palais. Maybe I’ll do this on my first day so it will help me gather my bearings. I am awful at directions!


Funfair next to the Tuileries gardens (image by lovemadevisible)
I don’t know if this will still be here, but I’m keen to cycle around here and take a few photos. I might pack a picnic in my backpack for the day and just spend the entire day cycling and having little picnics with my notebook all over the place. Or I might be super hung over and sit under a tree all day, people-watching. Who knows?
Funfair Paris

Montmartre – Place du Terte – a square full of artists

I want to get my portrait sketched or painted by one of these guys. Maybe they’ll have a nice piece that I can buy? I’ve purposely saved loads of wall space in my office for art. Graeme doesn’t like the impressionists as much, so I have full reign over the office (I am assuming)


Seine – paint something.

I haven’t painted in years and I’ve really been itching to. Even if it’s awful, I can always say “I painted this in Paris”, you know? Any suggestions on where I can pick up some acrylics and brushes or am I allowed to take that kind of stuff in my luggage?


Shakespeare Bookshop – write something (image by lovemadevisible)

I really want to write a few short stories. I have some ideas in my head and want to spend a lot of time just fleshing out a few adventures. I found the perfect notebook and pen for this – the pen is so important, right? I want to spend most of my time cycling around Paris with brushes, notebooks and my camera. Maybe a sneaky bottle of wine and some cheese, or buy some treats from local vendors. I am emotional as I type this.

Shakespeare and co bookshop

Seine boat at night 

A girlfriend of mine is going to be in Paris on my arrival day, so I’m looking for something fun to do. I’ve seen some pictures of the Seine cruise and seeing Paris by night, so I’m really hyped about this. Apparently they do dinner and a show too, but I don’t really want that part. I’m looking for other boat companies that just do standard night time river cruises. It’s going to be the end of summer / beginning of autumn.

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Crazy Horse Cabaret

Again, I’ve heard such mixed things about the Moulin Rouge and so many blogs have said that this is a super cool alternative. More authentic Paris cabaret. There won’t be any ballet on while I’m there, and I love theater… so Crazy Horse it is! Apparently it’s incredible.


Belleville – Cafe Aux Folies

I’ve always wanted to see Belleville, and apparently this cafe was an Edith Piaf favourite. I’ve been reading up on most of the places I want to go to to see if there’s a bit of history or emotional connection there. Any other great cafe’s you could recommend in Paris?

Aux Folies

Le Marais (image by lovemadevisible)

I don’t really know if I want to visit here, to be honest. Everyone says it’s super amazing and beautiful, but I don’t know if it’s worth spending an afternoon here? I imagine sitting in this cafe with a few glasses of wine and people-watching for a few hours with my notebook. Anything else I should see in Le Marais?

le marais

Sundowners – les Ombres

Okay so I found the holy grail of great restaurants and hotel bars that all have an excellent view of the Eiffel Tower. I don’t want to go UP the tower, but I wouldn’t mind having a few cocktails while looking at it, you know? Apparently I’ll see a lot of great cafe’s in the area, but I’ve made a list for back-ups!

les ombres

Rent a bicycle in Paris

Maybe this is something I can do while exploring le Marais? Maybe I can ride around Luxembourg gardens? Or around Canal st Martin? I’ve been looking for pretty places to cycle around and also I’ll need a backpack! And a map.


I’m going to have a ‘general’ plan for while I’m there, but I’ll probably end up missing one or two things. Please add any travel or Paris advice. I’m super keen to learn from you guys, and to make my first trip as awesome as possible. Again, not keen on malls or restaurants because it’s just not my personal vibe. Any websites you found helpful would also be great! If you have any suggestions, I would love any and all advice. An interesting Parisian to follow on Instagram? A useful website? A great tour or a way to skip the queue at museums? A nice place to hire a bicycle? A great online booking resource for museums? Really anything is so appreciated. Where do the artists hang out? Where can I buy certified art prints? Is the Crazy Horse really better than the Moulin Rouge? I am a huge art lover, but I really don’t want to see the Dali, Picasso or Rodin museums just based on personal preference. I want to go wine tasting, but don’t know where. Please let me know if you want to add to this list! Please please.



10 things I learned while being on a juice cleanse


Two weeks ago, I embarked on my first ever juice cleanse. I was really excited about it, and all the juices arrived beautifully packaged and organized with pamphlets and guides on which juices to take on each day. The pack included day-specific tips, information and supplements. Here’s what I learned, and what I took from the whole experience. Note that I used Juice Revolution for the quality of their juices, as they extract the juice using a state of the art hydraulic  cold press juicer, which I learned allows them to retain the highest possible levels of nutrients. They imported their press from the US in Jan this year, it’s the 1st of its kind in Africa, used by all the big and famous cold press juice companies in the States. I was not paid to do this cleanse nor was I paid to write this blog post. The following views are my own and not those of Juice Revolution. Here’s what I learned!


1. Day 1 and 2 are a bit tough. You are never hungry, but coming ‘down’ from refined sugar and caffeine was tough. I felt a bit… spaced out. I was really glad that I started my cleanse over a weekend because on day 1, all I wanted to do was couch it – which I did. And I went to bed early. I didn’t feel nauseated or hungry, I just felt… weird. On day 2 I had the odd piercing headache, but nothing hectic. I also skipped a juice because I was unorganized, and had my first food craving. Do NOT skip a juice, you will want to eat your own family.

2. By day 3 you feel completely normal, just with more energy and your caffeine cravings are a thing of the past. I don’t crave or want coffee at all anymore – it’s bizarre. You wake up feeling awake, and you have much more energy at night. I usually have a dip in energy at around 3pm every day, and I didn’t have any fatigue while I was juicing – nothing after day 2.

3. You can still exercise and go to gym. Hundreds of athletes and rugby players use these juicing programs, so please don’t think that you won’t manage. I still did my treadmill sessions and took the dogs for long walks every day. Juice Revolution encourages you to keep moving, so do!


4. You might crave salt. By day four I really wanted Pretzels – something I’d never enjoyed before. I don’t know why I was so after the salt. I didn’t want sweets or coffee or bread or pasta or cheese or anything like that, but I was ready to shove a teaspoon of salt in to my mouth. This craving was only once, and lasted maybe an hour. The juices are all incredibly delicious, except the Super Juice because I don’t like lime. Graeme (and Ben) freakin loved those, so that’s where those went. People will want to drink all your juices, so prepare to stand your ground.

5. In MY opinion, it’s okay to cheat even when you do it by accident. We don’t realize how often we snack during the day without even noticing. Like when I pour the kids’ cereal, I’ll always grab a piece or two. Or when I dish up food for them, I’ll end up licking spoons or pinching a cucumber wedge. Of course the entire point is to cleanse your system, but don’t beat yourself up if you slip up – just keep going. You are still a winner.


6. A lot of people asked about my erm “metabolism” or “movements”. Can we just be straight and call it a colon? Some people keep going as usual, and some people get a bit blocked up for a few days while your system re-adjusts. My COLON emptied every day and I felt super light the entire time, so no issues or horror stories there. Your stools are a lot lighter, and have more erm… texture. But you’re not going to be sitting in your office cubicle with the runs for 7 days straight – don’t worry.

7. You will lose weight. Your body isn’t working as hard to digest food, so it starts digesting your thighs and ass instead. NOT complaining. I lost 2.8kg in 7 days, and my jeans are really loose around my thighs. On day 3 you wake up with a flat stomach. I put on about 500g again since I stopped juicing, so my ‘real’ weight loss from juicing was about 2kg, if we’re being honest.


8. You are never hungry. For real, I only drank half my juices on some meals. I don’t understand why you are never hungry, but I learned that your body is being nourished by vitamins and nutrients, which your body sucks up like a happy sponge. When your body is being ‘fed’ by vitamins, it does not need to be fed by empty foods like mac and cheese that serve practically no nutritional benefit, but leave us feeling full non the less. I felt satisfied every day as long as I took my juices within the recommended times so that my blood sugar levels didn’t drop.

9. Your eyes and skin will brighten. I literally always feel tired and like I don’t get enough sleep. I put eye drops in on most mornings, especially if I’m going to see clients. I also get break-outs sometimes, so getting ready in the morning for me is a bit of a mission. By day three, my eyes had cleared up and my skin got very supple and plump, like I’d been drinking 10 liters of water every day. You drink more water while you’re juicing (I think the supplements made me thirsty too) so you’re boosting your body in every direction.

10. The main thing that I learned is that I want to keep juicing. I’ve ordered a “Lifestyle Box” from Juice Revolution (starting today) to use as a meal replacement every day. Sometimes lunch, sometimes supper – depending on how busy we are. Their lifestyle box is R390 plus VAT for 10X 500ml juices. By drinking just ONE of these juices, I’ll be filling my daily 5 portion requirement of fruit and vegetables. The convenience of grabbing a juice ‘meal’ out the fridge and sipping on it while I work is a luxury that I’m not ready to let go of. Below is the Lifestyle Box menu for the two Boxes that they offer. Ive’ ordered Box 1 today, and below that is the option for Box 2. They have an online shop, and apparently my order’s gonna be here tomorrow! (happy dance)


So that’s it! I’m super in to juicing now. I personally find it to be affordable, with excellent health and weight loss benefits. I’d much rather drink a vitamin dense juice every day than swallow a handful of pills, so this is my new vibe. You can find out more over at Juice Revolution’s site. They deliver all over South Africa. Please let me know if you have any questions, I’ll answer them from my personal experience! Mail Fiona from Juice Revolution – she’s amazing and also really nice >


The Cellars-Hohenort. Luxury travel in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town Hotel

Last weekend we went to visit and spend two nights at the beautiful Cellars-Hohenhort. I’d heard so much about this beautiful hotel and estate, and it lived up to every expectation we had. The Cellars-Hohenort was originally established as a refreshment point for ships traversing the oceans to gather spice imports from Asia.

The Cellars

The Cellars buildings is located on nine acres of beautifully maintained land in the Constantia Valley of Cape Town. Their gardens are award winning, and won the Relais & Châteaux Garden Award in 2010. The boys had such fun running around the gardens, chasing squirrels, feeding the geese and ducks and playing a few games of casual tennis. <sidebar> there will be no tennis champions in this family, but they had a lot of fun.

Cellars HohenhortTennis Cape Town South AfricaFamily Travel Blog South Africa

Originally known as Klaasenbosch Farm, this property first belonged to the chief surgeon of the Dutch East India Company, Hendrik ten Damme, in 1693. In 1991, Liz McGrath purchased the Cellars building to restore its historical beauty, transforming it from a simple country guesthouse. In 1993, McGrath began an extensive renovation that saw the hotel reopen its doors. How beautiful? Liz McGrath passed away earlier this year, and her heritage and vision lives on here. We felt so honored to spend time here.

Cape Town South Africa Hotel

We stayed in inter-leading rooms in the main building, with the boys occupying a Double Room and we had a Suite. There’s a door to close off and lock the passage, so you have your own mini house with a kitchenette, 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms and living room all to yourselves. Both rooms opened up to a patio / verandah with little tables and chairs and direct access to the lawns and pool area. It was incredibly private, so we didn’t have to worry about the kids being noisy or anything like that. We felt so relaxed and the kids were occupied and entertained the whole time. Amazing.

Cape Town Constantia hotel and spa

Double Rooms at The Cellars-Hohenort each offer either a view over the garden or open onto a terrace overlooking the lawns.

The room fee(R3850) includes:

  • A welcome bottle of wine
  • A fruit platter
  • Slippers and bathroom amenities
  • Romantic turndowns, with sparkling wine, for honeymooners
  • Tea and coffee making facilities in the room
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • A bottle of water at turndown
  • Hot water bottles placed in beds at turndown in winter
  • A complimentary newspaper

They have three resident cats who will stop by and pay you a little visit. The boys called this one “socks” and there was a ginger one that they played with in the lounge while we were finishing off our dinner. The kids were highly amused that neighboring geese popped by for swims in the pool, much to the caretaker’s distress, I’m sure. We felt right at home.

The Cellars South Africa

We need to talk about the food, because you’ll be excited to see what Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef Peter Tempelhoff gets up to in the kitchen. We had dinner on the first night and every dish was absolutely incredible. They’re running a great Winter Special in the Conservatory at the moment: 3 courses for R210 pp. If you want to treat your husband / girlfriend / mother / wife / father to a delicious meal in an exquisite setting: Go here! They’re situated on 93 Brommersvlei Rd, Constantia and you’ll love the Fern Bar, Martini Bar and Conservatory. NOTE: The Greenhouse is currently undergoing renovations.

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Cellars Hohenort

And then we really need to talk about breakfast. If you’re looking to seriously impress someone or treat a loved one, then you absolutely need to to bring them to The Cellars-Hohenort for breakfast. I have never in my life seen such a gorgeous room and setting. I love how the outdoors carry through to the indoors with loads of botanicals and inspiration from nature in all the decor. You really feel like you’re dining in a greenhouse.

Cape TownFamily TravelFamily Travel BloggerThe Cellars ConstantiaScreen Shot 2015-07-08 at 11.49.41 AMIMG_4890

The Cellars-Hohenort also has a gorgeous Wellness Center and Spa on the grounds, including a hairdresser and even a few boutique and jewellery shops. I had a 90 minute Dermatologica facial and felt a bit ‘hollywood’ when I walked out of there. The spa is gorgeous and the treatment rooms have stunning, private views of the gardens too.

Nail polish spa cape town manicureSpa Hotel Cape Town

We had a really great time as a family, and there were loads of local couples and international holiday makers there too. For locals, I’d say this is the perfect spot for a romantic anniversary celebration. There’s a Martini Bar with luxurious lounges and a huge wall to wall fireplace. Go for a picnic on the lawns, play tennis, go for massages and ask for the ‘romantic turn down’ at night, with bubbly and rose petals. You’ll enjoy the quiet and tranquility, as well as the luxurious finishes at The Cellars. Find more information here > The Cellars-Hohenort.

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 11.51.45 AMPlease note that all pictures and views are my own, and not those of The Cellars-Hohenort or The Liz McGrath group.