Skinny laMinx launches new range of fabric and cushions

Skinny laMinx - Diggi Dot fabrics

I’m a huge fan of Skinny laMinx’s fabrics. I discovered Heather’s work about 4 years ago when we first moved to Cape Town and bought 2 of her cushions straight away for our new home. Note: Her cushions are also stocked at Vamp, where we bought ours. Over the last few years we’ve built up quite the cushion ‘collection’ from top SA textile designers like Heather, love Milo, Menagerie and Artvaark (our sweet bunny origami cushions) We also have a few from over the seas, like our bunny cushions from Urban Outfitters. Right now, we’re looking at getting a few pieces from India, which I’m really excited about. We’re also re-doing our lounge at the moment, which I feel is important for Winter. We’re spending much more family time indoors lately, so I *need* to freshen the room up a bit to help me deal with the winter gloom.

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We’ve just ordered a few cushions from Heather’s online store, as her new range ( search #DiggiDot ) launched last week Friday. All of Skinny laMinx’s work is timeless and gorgeous, in good quality. We made the mistake of buying cheap scatters before, and within 3 washes and 2 weeks the fabric fades, tears and thins out. I’ve learned that cheap is just never worth it. Screen printing is such a delicate and tender art, which I discovered when I did a whole lot of research on it last year. Heather presses water based inks onto a natural-toned cotton/linen blend basecloth.  Her designs are very creative, mature, original and colour-happy. I love that she’s incorporated some simple stripes in her new range, for the busier rooms like those with decorative bedspreads or overly colourful children’s rooms. Now, her entire range has fabrics to brighten up a space, add character or tone down a room with minimalist styles in simple colours with loads of white space – like nothing you’ve ever seen from Heather’s work before. The modernized polka dots with digital influence and pops of bright colour with charm the decorator out of anyone. When looking at previous ranges tied in with the new fabrics, you really get the feel that Heather’s kept older pieces in mind so that you can build on your current collection without having to redecorate or toss previous purchases. It all works together so nicely.

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I can’t wait to show you our new space! We have loads of work to do in the living room and I’m really excited about having a cozy, colourful and creative family space for these chilly days. I want to spend every afternoon at the fire with hot cocoa and lazy dogs sleeping at our feet while we watch movies and spend loads of time together. While it may be gloomy and grey outside, we’ll ensure that inside gets a ‘happy’ makeover this season. You can shop Skinny laMinx’s new range here > DiggiDot Range, Heather Moore, Skinny laMinx.

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A Cape Town Steakhouse

We recently went for supper at The Butcher Shop and Grill in Mouille Point, Cape Town’s favourite Steakhouse. Their Sandton branch has been going for over 20 years, and they only opened in Cape Town about a year ago and already the place is packed almost every night – even Mondays. Desperate to satisfy Graeme’s steak cravings, we decided to try somewhere new and to see if The Butcher Shop is even family friendly at all. We put some smart shirts on the boys and drove to the seaside to see what all the fuss is about.

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Firstly, The Butcher Shop is super fancy. The decor, the plush finishes and modern twists on everything makes your eyes wander in every direction. I was suddenly worried that the boys and their child-like ways might not be welcome in such a sophisticated atmosphere, but I was so wrong. Everyone was really friendly, and there were one or two other kids in the restaurant too. Without a designated play area, we were a bit nervous about how the boys would behave, but you know – without a play area, they spent all their time at the grown up table and we had such a good time connecting with them. They sat at the table and chatted with us like little mini adults the whole time, and we really enjoyed that! It’s not often these days that we can all sit together and catch up without the television, toys, games, computer, dogs and a dozen other household distractions. It was also really nice to treat them to some proper and delicious food and great service. They were such little gentlemen the whole evening. While I want the kids to run and play and be free and joyful and a little crazy most of the time, it was really sweet to see them ‘clean up’ like that and realize that they can have fun without colouring-in pages and running up and down the aisles of a restaurant with a balloon the whole night. It was so special to watch them be such good (and civilized) little boys.

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The food. Was. Delicious. Graeme and I tucked in to the wine, and the appetizers (sausage, gravy and bread) arrived almost as we sat down. That kept the boys busy, cause kids love bread and dippy sauce, am I right? I ordered a few Oysters and Graeme had the Grilled Baby Calamari (with a lemon butter sauce). Their Oysters are locally sourced, ocean-fresh and plump. Every lemony, salty bite was just incredible. I’m a huge fan of oysters, and there’s nothing worse than overly creamy, cultivated ones. If you’re in to this delicacy, you’ll love theirs. Graeme said that the calamari was delicious but very, well – safe. Then again, so is Graeme. He always orders the same things, so when it came to mains – he chatted to the Master Butcher to make a recommendation. I have watched Graeme order the same meals at restaurants over and over again with a bleeding heart for 8 years, so it was great to have the in-house butchery right there to encourage his adventurous ordering side, you know?

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For mains, Noah ordered the Falafel Burger (vegetarian burger topped with a portabello mushroom, fresh tomato and tangy rocket), and Ben had the Shepard’s Pie (lamb mince with creamy mash). They do have a designated kids menu, but you can also split portions between kids, order from the starters or keep those left overs for the lunch box. The boys loved their food and it was good to see them eating something other than Mac n Cheese / Pizza / Fish Fingers at a restaurant. I can’t get over how much fun it was to watch them be mini grown ups. I want to take them FINE DINING now. Get them ties! Okay, no we won’t do ties. I mean, they even tucked their napkins in to their shirts. My heart!

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Graeme had the Kobe-style Wagyu Beef without any sauce. He wanted to keep it all natural and beefy. He said that the meat was really marbled inside (I don’t know what this means) and that it was super juicy and tender. And, like everyone else says > it really was the best he’s ever had. The Butcher Shop is obviously very famous for their meat. This from their site > Our meat hangs in carcass for three days. Then our rump, sirloin, fillet, ribeye, T-bone and prime rib are aged for 21-40 days, at which point we invite you to take a walk, stand at the counter and make your choice of a specific cut. Get it on or off the bone; grass or grain-fed. Also, did you know that SA beef is leaner in natural fat (11%) than beef from the USA (33%) and Europe (23%)

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I had the Line Fish, which was Dorado. I also opted to have it ‘clean’ with a horseradish sauce which I feel accentuates flavours rather than messing with the product. Graeme warned me about ordering fish at a steakhouse, but their seafood selection is extensive. I always want my fish to flake and break at the touch, and I got exactly that: Fresh, buttery and steamy Dorado was exactly what I wanted. Nothing was plated in a super fancy way and the presentation wasn’t exaggerated. You get what you order, in big portions with great quality and solid flavour. Traditional, uncomplicated and honest dishes have sent The Butcher Shop Group soaring for over 20 years. Their emphasis is on quality and service, and you’ll go back over and over again for more.

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Keen to go? Find them on Beach Road in Mouille Point (opposite the lighthouse) and call them on +2721 434 0813 to make a booking. You can also mail them to book: enquiries@thebutchershop.co.za. Want to see what you’re in for? View their menu here. Note that they are family friendly, and if you’re looking for an upmarket dining experience, you’ll find it here.

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Summer Bodies are made in Winter, right?

This time last year, I was prepping for my first ever half marathon. I took part in a challenge to go from “Couch to 21km in 8 Weeks” with no previous running fitness or experience. In hindsight, it wasn’t the best move on my part. I jumped in too quickly and went too far, too fast. I ended up with injuries including blisters, stress fractures, shin splints and it took months for my quads to feel back to their quad-like selves. I was super proud of myself, and signed up for more races straight away but every time I ran I was in pain. I did a few short runs but most days couldn’t clock 2km. Running is something I LOVE doing, but I switched to fitness classes to strengthen my body and to keep moving without my running shoes. At gym and I do Shape classes every week, which is 30 mins hard core cardio and 30 minutes toning – squats, lunges, sit ups, planking, all of it. I don’t know the names of the things we do but I know that you can’t walk for 6 days after, and it feels great. Toning and strengthening my core has made such a difference in everything that I do. A few weeks ago, I went for a run again in the Overberg and for the fist time in almost a year, it didn’t hurt. I’ve slowly been adding more runs to my routine, mostly on the treadmill just to keep the muscles warm and active. One of my favourite things to do is run my little heart out to super loud music and watch the swimmers.

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Now that I feel stronger and fresh again, I really want to up my game. Last year I wrote about my sudden and epic weight gain, where I gained like 7-10 kgs in a matter of weeks. Call it the 30s, call it pasta (probably the pasta though) but I ate my way through my entire wardrobe. The 21km was the perfect challenge for me to adjust my life, get fit and healthy – and it worked. I’ve been keeping active since then, and I feel good. Winter can be pretty crummy in Cape Town cause it rains a lot, so I hang out at gym  more often. Also – our gym has a huuuuge indoor play area for kids with basketball court, so the kids LOVE going and getting a little workout too. I take the dogs for a walk every single day, sometimes twice a day. We have 4 great parks in our area, so I take my running watch with me and do a few laps with Jack and Daisy. They really love it when I run, and while I’m breaking a sweat they literally look like they’re not even trying. Mocking me with their finesse and endurance, those darn dogs.

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So while I’m slowly upping my fitness, I’m also trying to lose those last few kgs. While I fit in to all my clothes again, I still feel like I should be wearing LONG shirts and HIGH waisted pants (what muffin top) to cover any and all wobbly bits, you know? What I wouldn’t give for skinny, toned arms you guys. I’m not doing enough in my diet, and I have the appetite of a teenage boy. I never used to care for things like cake, but since becoming a vegetarian, I’m craving more carbs and sugars. I’m trying to find the balance with the protein and iron to nourish my body appropriately without it craving or needing anything unnecessary. I love healthy food and I do eat well, it’s just the little extras that are weighing me down (or up, am I right?). I’ve switched to soup because it’s easy for me to add proteins like dollops of cottage cheese, kidney beans, spinach and chickpeas and it’s working! I like soup because preservatives and added ‘secret’ ingredients freak me out, and soup is just vegetables and water which makes me feel super clean and healthy and like the food is pure. I’ve cut out carbs completely, which isn’t a great move because two hours later all I want is chocolate cake. I just need to start creating a better balance. Or I just need to stop ordering cake but let’s not be ridiculous you guys. I mean.

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So I want to lose 5kgs. I’m not a banting kinda gal (because gross) and I 100% believe in balance and moderation. I would never DENY myself anything. If I have cake, I know I need to run that little bit extra the next day or I add another walk in to our routine. I don’t drink enough water, and I need to add even more activity to my schedule. Resistance training and running makes you younger, stronger, healthier and reduces your risk of disease and osteoporosis quite drastically. Not eating meat is helping with cholesterol and cancer risks, but I want to do even MORE to live a healthy life. One of my besties has joined my gym so we’re doing Pilates which I feel quite weird about cause I’d rather be RUNNING, but I really need to get to my core and balance, and get in tune with what my body is capable of. So I need to stop eating the added crap, and I NEED you guys to support me. I’m going to be posting all my meals on Instagram (@therabbithaus) again. I call it #tashbunnydiet if you want to find it or follow along. My goal is to lose 5kg by Friday 26 June and the real challenge will be to maintain it throughout winter. By reducing my body fat percentage, I hope to be lighter, healthier, fitter, faster and more confident. Feeling self conscious isn’t sexy, you guys. So here’s to more running, less cake, a tiny bit less wine, more water and more balance. This blog post is all about being held accountable, so please will somebody count on me. Do you have any health goals this winter? Let’s run them out together. Lace up!

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Weylandts is going against the grain.

I have a major crush on Weylandts, and I’m sure that you do too, so I quickly wanted to show you their new range. Weylandts has just launched its new, edgy black and white outdoor furniture collection, now available in all stores. This is the first time that they’ve ever released such a bold themed collection with patterns on-trend and paralleled to the Fall/Winter 2015 collections of fashion icons Balenciaga and Valentino. “This year’s patterns are bigger and bolder than ever, unlike the monochromatic minimalism seen in the past.” comments Chris Weylandt, MD of Weylandts. If you know their furniture, you’d agree and see why this is pretty big news in the home decor circles.

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Seventies Occasional Chair

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Star GazerBasket Occasional ChairWhile everyone’s shuffling and scuffling to claim the ‘minimalist’ look (including me), Weylandts is following the “more is more” rather than “less is more” trend. While I’m not a huge fan of tribal prints, I do love these large gingham checks. Look out for the Rock Lounger (R 14 995), Seventies Occasional Chair (R 2 995), Basket Occasional Chair (R 8 995), Tribal Occasional Chair (R 7 995) and the Star Gazer Chair (R 11 995) Also if any of you are getting these pieces, then please buy me something. No really. Browse, window shop, wish list and purchase all your furniture dreams on their site. I do this at least weekly. Good for the soul, keeps you motivated!

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Interviews with my father. A podcast.

In one of my recent posts I chatted a bit about our crazy family holidays. And I got to thinking about my parents a lot, and the amazing lives they’ve lived. I got the idea of doing a podcast (starting with my dad) to interview him about his life a bit. I’ve been nagging him to write a memoir for years, but my dad… He’s not great with technology, so he wouldn’t be able to type it all out. He’s got this book where he jots memories down but he doesn’t know how to get going with all of it. I figured we could start with little interviews and see where that goes.

My dad has had the most incredible life, and it really just needs to be documented. My dad is also just the nicest guy you’ve ever met in your life. He’s just so real, and different and authentic. He’s such an old soul, and we are really close. I also want my boys to know more about their grandfather, as my dad lives in Empangeni we don’t get to spend a lot of time together. I started with a little clip this morning, and I’m researching how the heck you even create a podcast – what do you use to record it? Do I have to do any post production sound engineering? How do I do that? I also need to get hold of some old pictures and things, and I’m putting together a timeline of my dad’s life to date to get a feel of chapters and how to break it all down. Can I do it all by recording our voice conversations? What about the quality? Loud speaker audio is so miff. So I got myself a little side project to work on, and I’m super excited about it. I’m eager to learn even more about my dad and both my parents’ lives – and uncover some family tree information as well.

This morning I just wanted to do a sound test, to see how the audio would work. Man I’m so bad at this – I just took a video clip of me on the phone to him – in photo booth. Sigh. My dad said we can do the recordings at night and over weekends so he can concentrate. I’m gonna do the first one tonight, and get those kids to bed super early so we can figure it all out.

I am EXCITED you guys. If anyone has any advice on the best way to go about creating a podcast, right down to how to record it, please let me know. I woke up at 4am with this whole idea and called my dad pretty early to discuss all of this, and his phone went straight to voicemail. It’s going REALLY well you guys.

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Family travel memories – mine and yours!

When I was a kid, our family had our favourite holiday spots. We traveled a LOT as kids. My parents were / are huge outdoorsy adventurers. We went on holiday to so many places that I can’t even remember them all. We went camping throughout Mozambique for 3 weeks and saw the most incredible, untouched things. We drove for days, discovered new paths, dodged land mines, had near drowning incidents (raises hand) and honestly, had the greatest experience of my life. My parents did Botswana and the Okavango by Landrover, sleeping in their roof-rack tent. My parents used to own a bush camp / lodge / game reserve in Hluhluwe and I’d help my dad ‘hunt’ poachers and find snares on weekends. I have had some of the most unreal, African experiences of my life – mostly fuelled by my dad’s love and hunger for the bush.

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We stayed in manor houses and rode horses and canoed and got trapped by baboon spiders (raises hand again) Honestly, I can’t even remember where all these places were, but I remember the fun. The togetherness. The thrill of discovering new places, towns, houses, camps, oceans, rivers and mountains together, as a family. We roughed it sometimes. We stayed in 5 star hotels sometimes. Man, we really did everything. I am so grateful to my parents for giving us such an exciting and memorable childhood.

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Anyway. The one place we went to a couple of times was this resort called San Lameer. I’d love to go back there some day. I don’t even know where it is or if it still exists, but I have the very best memories there. I remember that place like it was right now. We must have gone there dozens of times, and it was packed with fun. I remember neon sunblock and holiday programs, a giant lizard, endless open space, villas with secret path ways in between. Swimming and sunburn and sand stuck in your cozzy. And that is what Grootbos is to my kids – and to us. Grootbos has become our family holiday spot, and we’ve gone once a year for the past 3 years now. It’s something that they will always, always remember.

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You know, before we left last for the last trip, I told Noah “We’re going to Grootbos” he didn’t remember the name, but I said “The place with the horses and the game room and pool” and his face lit up like a starry African sky. He drew a picture of a horse and said “This is Sparkles. I’m taking this picture for him.” I had no idea who Sparkles was, but eventually discovered that it was the pony he rode on the last time we were there. He remembered some of the staff, he remembered our room and every single little thing that we did. The boys were both DILLY excited about the trip. We’ve been there three times and we still haven’t done everything.

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You get a list of possible activities to do when you arrive, and over a cocktail the family sits together in the lounge and decide together what everyone would like to do. A must this year was their eco-farm where they grow all their own veggies and where their FREE range hens live and play all day. The nature safari was breathtaking and the guide was beyond what ee’d expected. I was on the phone to my dad every ten minutes telling him about the sugar birds and that they have over 750 species of fynbos and he fed me questions to ask the guide and it was just so incredible. The boys learned so much about nature. They were permanently outdoors. On horseback, in a jeep, on the beach, at a farm, in the nursery, in the fynbos, petting zoo or up a tree. The Grootbos magic is real, and I’ll be telling you more about it on their blog real soon. In the meantime: here are some of my favourite pictures from our last stay. As the boys get older, I’m getting quite emotional about all the memories they’re clutching on to. I can see it all being saved and stored, and I know that these experiences will feed and guide them throughout their lives. Being an earth-conscious child is something that I’ve always wanted for them. Read more about Grootbos’ responsible tourism initiatives. They’re situated just a 2 hour drive from Cape Town and just 30 minutes from Hermanus. View their rates and packages and take the family to experience it for yourself!

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A note on blogging from a blogger

Hello daar, blog. Flipping flip I haven’t been writing for a while, have I? Guys have you noticed how many blogs there are lately? There are one or two that I read, but those of you from back in the day (7 or 8 years ago) might remember a completely different and more isolated internet life. Back when some of the greatest and most important blogs were around and everyone really gave AF about what they said and thought about the world. Nowadays – not as much. It’s all gone a bit commercial and kak, hasn’t it? In it for the ‘opportunities’ these young guns. The stats, the awards (remember those) the freebies and I don’t know what else. I saw a blogger meet up thing the other day and flip you guys that was what Nicki, Angie and I started up about… six years ago? Five? Back when I was at a PR agency in Joburg. A LONG time ago. Remember when Nicki blogged? I miss her writing so much. So many really good writers have censored or packed it in completely because it’s just too much. And you guys, some bloggers these days can be hard-core-mean to each other, and super serious. It’s changed. I have noted that the real writers, the artists, the sentimental and passionate… are still here. The ones who built their house on the rock, you know?

Do you still read blogs? With all these apps and services and devices, it’s pretty easy to stay in the loop these days. I’m so guilty of not updating and it bugs me because this is where I keep all our memories. I made a bit of a U-turn a few months ago, or was it last year – when was it? and decided to stop and say NEE to the sponsorships and cash monies and things because it blurred a lot of what I wanted to do with my online space. Blogging is not a business, or well it’s not my paycheck. I have a business that I put all my energy, love and excitement in to every day and it’s just so rewarding. Some of you may know that I run a little social media agency in Cape Town. With blogging: I find that when you start getting paid to do something you love (in terms of hobbies) then even that starts to become a bit of a chore. A deadline. A responsibility. It’s no fun, I say. And I’m not a salesman you guys. That’s not what I wanna write about. And I’ve been doing SO MUCH writing lately, just not online or published because some things are private. Here is a picture of me looking private. Look how private I am.

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I’ve become very… personal about a lot of things, and I think it’s great. I’m quite an introvert IRL, and a bit of a recluse. I was telling Graeme how I struggle to make small talk or make friends because the friends I do have, I’ve had my whole adult life (and most through childhood and teen years too) So meeting new people and telling them about me sounds just… exhausting. I am a complex person. My besties know everything about me, and there’s great comfort there. I don’t trust many people because there are just so many jerks out there, you know? I like to stay warm by the fire of my close friends, family, children and dogs. We went to a kids party yesterday, and I spoke to a group of moms for a few minutes and as G and I walked away, I was like “OMG was I okay? Did I say anything weird? Do you think they’ll think I’m okay? Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned this or that, or like spoken a word at all. Was I weird?” Cause the thing is that I AM weird and I’m afraid of opening my mouth around people for most of the time. Also, G is so used to my quirks / probable personality disorders that he is completely useless at giving feedback. He’s like “you were just yourself” and I’m like “NOOOoooooo that’s awful!!” I’ve really been struggling with school moms. The ‘other’ moms I call them. I mean they all seem nice, but I am so skittish all the time. Is there an app for people skills?

I have these friends that I’ve met over the years who I know don’t know me at all. You’ve got them too. Friends you keep at the very tip of your fingers and who you ‘friendship’ with every day, but they don’t know a darn thing about the human you are deep inside. In the corners and shadows and behind trap doors. You don’t ‘show and tell’ those parts because heck, the therapist you hired and paid couldn’t open that kak with a crowbar.

So sometimes it really is easier to go online and talk to complete strangers than it is to whatsapp your mother and get IRL feedback. Sometimes it is nice to talk to absolutely nobody about absolutely everything and to remind y’all that this is real life people.

My friend Stacey (real-deal writer) has described my writing style as confessional. She picked it up off the bat because hers is too, and I’ve always suspected that Stacey and I are similar. I love friends like Stacey because she’s felt extreme and utter heartache. Not a standard requisite for a tick-box, but I feel comfortable around people with broken hearts. People who have suffered are real. Humble. Intelligent. Wise. Wordly. Experienced. Haunted. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable around people who live ordinary or sheltered lives. Easy lives. Does that sound bad? Look how insecure I am all over my blog today. I wonder if you’re able to feel without your heart broken in half, like it needs to be exposed and vulnerable to heighten your awareness and absorb more life.

I’m more drawn to honesty and bleeding emotion. I want to read and write and feel. I want to save my own memories for a rainy day. I want to remember everything about this life and I want people who love me to remember all about me too. I’ve been following this tandem blogging experiment over on Cath’s blog (thanks for the invite, bitches) and I’m really enjoying it. They get a ‘line’ every week and a whole bunch of them have to write a blog post on it. It’s very cool! I also read my friend Keri‘s blog because her writing is lekker and she likes to leap out of her comfort zone, which I really respect about people. Some research (a tweet I sent out once) has shown that we follow blogs because we’re drawn to the writer’s personality and feel connected to them. I get that, because even if my favourite bloggers are writing about computer games, I’m all in cause I like to read their words and find out what they’ve been up to, like a creepster.

So I guess what I’m TRYING to say, is that it’s pretty hard to stay authentic in this new world and wave of bloggers who might be in it for different reasons – reasons that weren’t even around when some of us started out, and that’s okay. We have our own motives, and who’s to say who is right anyway, just cause someone isn’t doing something the same way – doesn’t mean they’re wrong or right and who cares… let people do what they wanna do, right? I haven’t been feeling very creative. As I write this, it’s Sunday morning and the kids are being hella loud, running up and down the passage and outside (up to no good I’ll bet) so it’s hard to stay focused. I know I sound like a whiny mother. I am a whiny mother. I’ll write more soon, little rabbit haus memoir. I swear it!

 

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Stylish Metallics from TFG online: @home and hi-online

I recently joined ranks with TFG online – @home to select my favourite winter decor trend. We’ve been putting a lot of love and light in to our home lately. Graeme is an art director by profession and styles decor shoots and designs products for an actual living. He’s always fiddling around the house, moving things around and art directing our home. I love clutter and colour and a touch of messiness. A home needs to look cozy and lived in. It also needs to be BRIGHT and happy. It’s hard (for me) to create a welcome and messy space that is also modern and child friendly. I’ve learned so much with the boys over the years. Our couches (and any couches hereafter) will always be grey or dark brown with slip-off-and-wash cushion covers. Anything white is only at arm’s reach and not climbable. Our walls get wiped down once a week and our ornaments need to be indestructible. Like, two days ago the dogs had a tussle under the dining room table and knocked a vase and some aloes over. Next to all the couches and beds are streaks of dirt from after-school kiddie feet and sleepy dogs. Over the years I’ve become a professional kiddie-proofer while trying to keep a tasteful living space. NOT easy, friends. Being a mom-on-a-budget, it’s also super hard to find pretty decor things that won’t drain my bank balance. I’m a ‘shop from low to high’ kinda gal. Anyway, we’ve collected some pretty things over the years that have lasted.We already have loads of @home decor bits and bobs around the house to give it that little kick. The boys room is looking really sweet lately, and one day I’ll get around to taking some pictures (when I have the will and strength to actually clean their room haha) How sweet is this wall hook that I got from them a while back?

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It’s probably not very ‘blogger’ of me to tell you that I’m not a fan of decor (or any other) trends. I like to do my own thing, and if what we have happens to on trend, then great – but I can’t go re-decorating our home every season, you know? I mean, I caved and did the bunting and chevron cushions way back when, and after like 2 weeks I wanted to burn. my. house. down. Your home is your personal, intimate space where you spend your time together as a family. I love that @home is showcasing trends that will last every season. While they’re hot buys RIGHT NOW, they’ll be hot items for many years and memories to come. So, this is how they’ve incorporated all the must haves in to their every-day offering. And WHOO-HOO!, these are my picks! Warning: You’re gonna want ALL the things!

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I chose stylish metallics! And this is the little bit that I wrote for them about why I love erm, metal:  I love metallics for the sleek, luminous finish that it adds to any room. Inject your home with a bit of glitz with a rustic undertone. I especially love copper and brass, and find it interesting that raw metals from older times have been modernized with on trend designs. Adding a bit of raw metal with other earthly tones, lots of white space and greenery creates a stylish and minimalist look that we’ve incorporated in to our own living space.

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180167521801680818017216To create an easy living space: Do the same as you do for your wardrobe: Start with neutral colours. Neutral walls, couches, curtains, blinds, carpets. Nothing too busy or fancy or colourful. Then add your textures and colours with accessories: Scatter cushions, throws, occasional chairs or an interesting coffee table. Add indoor plants for some ‘earth’ and some metals for contrast and tone. We have lots of glass and I always have fresh flowers on the table. I’m really loving the new decor that’s emerging lately and you guys, I am SO GLAD that we’re over chevrons. I really am. You can shop my selection here > http://goo.gl/aLDOIJ

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And if you’re looking for ideas or if you’re not a fan of metallics, then check out the two other classic looks that you can create with @home! Remember, you can shop online and they deliver within like 2-3 days or express if you’re an impatient brat like me. All trends are from TFG Online, where customers can shop both @home and hi-online trend items. I want ALL the Minimalist Grey things too. Apologies to my credit card, things are about to get real. Happy shopping, friends!

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Please note, as a ‘thank you’ from TFG for helping them select a few trend items, they gifted me a little voucher which I used to buy a few accessories, including this Rose Gold Basket (R89.00) and this Housey Wall Hook (R119.00) Really nice of them, thanks guys!

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Matjiesfontein and the Lord Milner Hotel – Karoo

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I was recently invited by the Mc Grath group to spend an evening in Matjiesfontein, at the Lord Milner Hotel. I LOVE the Karoo, so I was super excited to explore this little village, rich in history and heritage. Firstly, I thought that Matjiesfontein was a town, then they said it was a village and when we got there, I realized it was really only one little strip of road. Matjiesfontein is TINY, friends. I was so charmed by this little community – population 320. There is one hotel, one motel, a bar, a coffee shop and well, that’s pretty much it. Some of the original buildings like the post office and the little bank had been converted to museums some time ago. The entire village is a national monument. Why?

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This tiny village, on the fringe of the Great Karoo, was founded in 1884 by legendary railway man, James Douglas Logan. Immerse yourself in living history; life here is a tribute to the early Karoo, the Anglo-Boer War and Queen Victoria’s England. Wikipedia says: Originally, Matjiesfontein was only a small depot and farm, however a Scotsman by the name of James Douglas Logan, who was superintendent of this stretch of railway, bought land at Matjiesfontein, moved there because of his weak chest, and opened a refreshment station for the passing trains. This was so successful that the business soon formed the nucleus of a growing village. Logan was unintentionally very influential in South African history as he had secured the catering contract for the railways through his friend in parliament, James Sivewright, and discovery of the corruption involved led to the fall of the first government of Prime Minister Cecil Rhodes in 1893

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The double-storey Milner Hotel was built in 1899 by James Logan, in the early stages of The South African War. The hotel was used as a military hospital during the conflict with British forces and the hotel turret was then used as a lookout post. Some 10 000 troops were camped around the village during this time. James Logan, founder of Matjiesfontein, died in 1920 and is buried in a little cemetery 10 kilometres from Matjiesfontein. His tomb is located next to the grave of George Lohmann, a famous English cricketer who spent the last years of his life in the Karoo.

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In 1968, David Rawdon, hotelier par excellence whose claim to fame includes establishing Rawdons Hotel at Nottingham Road, the well-known Lanzerac Hotel set in the Stellenbosch vineyards, the Marine Hotel Hermanus, and The Drostdy Hotel in Graaff-Reinet, purchased Matjiesfontein Village. After performing extensive renovations and utilising the wealth of antiques gathered during his world travels, David reopened the hotel in 1970, renaming it The Lord Milner Hotel.

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The extravagant Royal Lounge portrays the life of James Logan and other famous Victorian personalities who occupied or visited the village over the last century. The grandeur of Matjiesfontein stretches back to a heyday when the village was a fashionable health spa that attracted visitors from all over the world, including Lord Randolph Churchill (father of Winston), Cecil John Rhodes, Rudyard Kipling and of course, Olive Schreiner.

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And you know what? You will completely understand why so many literary greats and artists were so attracted to this village, and why you will be too. It’s a popular wedding venue (because you can literally hire the entire town) and I’m definitely going back with the kids. They will LOVE the transport museum, old courthouse, the lush gardens, pools, open space, fresh air and the museum. We did a night tour of it, and I was scared near to death. Not to mention all the ghost stories. Do yourself a favour and google “most haunted building in South Africa.” Yeah, they only told me that part on the bus. I was legit terrified you guys.

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Please visit this quaint little community. You will absolutely love it. Be sure to take the old London bus tour for the shortest tour in the history of mankind, and a completely hilarious experience. Johan Dippenaar (hotel manager, fire chief, police captain, museum curator and I forget what else) is an incredible host and you simply must spend some time with him and hear all the insanely cool stories. You feel special just being there, and you’ll never forget it.

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Clinton Friedman Botanics

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I haven’t done a decor post in a while, and heaven knows that we’ve been so busy with the house lately. New floors, washing lines, gardening, replacing skirting boards, putting up blinds, fixing the front wall. We’ve had contractors here for two weeks trying to get it all done, and as soon as one thing is sorted, another pops up. You know how it goes! I’ve mentioned that my dapper husband works at Weylandts and spends his days at super cool decor shoots, show rooms etc so he’s been pulling some weight on the decor front. As you might know, I LOVE plants and nature and earthy things. Forests, lakes, oceans, hikes, walks, cycling – take me outside and I’m a happy gal. So when I saw these Clinton Friedman creations, my heart did a double punch. How gorgeous? I’m not very good at keeping up with Pinterest, so I like to save all the little things I find here, in my little online journal. I saw these for sale on Esque (one of our suppliers) and dug a bit deeper. Clinton Friedman does wallpaper, prints, umbrellas, cushions and fabric. This is his website if you’re in to this sort of stuff. I finally figured out what to do with a drab gap piece of wall in our lounge. Helloooo wallpaper! PS This is not a sponsored post. PSS Expect a lot more of these as I find new and fresh local designers!  We’re doing a bit of a decor overhaul right now, just because I spend so much time at home and we see so many clients at our home office and boardroom (Also, the children have grown up a bit and have stopped throwing up on everything as much)

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