Namibia -The Soul of Africa

I love the fact that my job allows me to travel Africa and see the amazing places that we have on our door step. Although travelling for work doesn’t always allow for site seing, I always try to make the best of every trip. 

I was a bit disappointed with the amount of time that I lost coming through passport control. We are one of the luckiest countries in Africa in terms of how efficient and effective our passport control and customs departments are at OR Tambo International Airport.

On most work trips, I get to stay in some of the best hotels. Hotel Thule in the heart of Windhoek tops the charts for me. This based on the impeccable service and the outstanding views that allow you to set your eyes upon almost the entire city of Windhoek.

The hotel rooms were super spacious, comfortable, clean and well stocked with a complimentary bottle of wine and lots of chocolates. The bedside chocolates were restocked daily, isn’t this the best hotel in the world..

While at the office, I got to see the weirdest looking, most colourful lizzards I have ever seen. Unlike anything I have seen in South  Africa. There were orange, yellow, blue and green ones. They were the nicest from far, but if you got too close, they jumped up the trees like their lives depended on that jump.

While touring the small yet beautiful city of Windhoek, I stumbled across the most majestic church I have ever laid my eyes on. If this structure does not instill the fear of God in you, I have no idea what will.

Right accross the street from this magnificent structure you will find the Independence Memorial Museum of Namibia which focuses on the anti-colonial and independence movement of Namibia.

Namibia is an upcoming country with tons of development in the works. If I had to pick one thing that I love about this country it would be the amazing views and the way the clouds hug the beautiful buildings they surround.

As much as I loved my time in Namibia, there is nothing quite like the South African sky.

 

 

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Carb Conscious Bolognaise

Ingredients:

500g Lean Beef Mince

1 Onion Finely Chopped

1tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tomaotes

Pinch of Italian Herbs

Low Fat Mozarella and gouda cheese to top

1 Packet of Carb Conscious Spinach and cauliflower noodles

Method:

Heat olive oil in a medium pan

Fry onions until soft

Add mince and italian herbs and fry until brown

Add chopped tomatoes and allow to fry until soft

Remove noodles from bag and heat in microwave on high for 2 minutes

Plate noodles and mince and add cheese as desired

All ingredients were purchased and are available from www.woolworths.co.za

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Setsong Tea

I was recently given the opportunity to do some product photography for a local brand and along with this came the opportunity to sample some of their products which was exciting for me as I often see so many in store and online tea options but I am so afraid to try them. I’m a born and raised Rooibos tea kinda girl.

I was sent the following teas that make up the Setsong Teas range:

  • Orange Spiced Fusion
  • Diya Detox Tea
  • Lemon, ginger and cinnamon Fusion
  • Chai Tea Fusion
  • Vanilla Spiced Fusion

My first thought when I saw them, on the heels of my fitness and weight loss journey, was that I had to try the Detox tea. For me, Detoxing is a very important part of my life as I am so often binge eating and drinking things that I shouldn’t be. Doughnuts and milkshakes mostly. So it’s normal for me to do regular detoxes, generally with plain and infused water.

When I opened the detox tea, the first thing I noticed was the amazing aroma. This owing to the fact that berries are one of the main ingredients. If you’re reading this and you know me, you will know that I live for berries. Any kind of berries, aside from the poisonous ones, are good in my books.

I started the detox tea 5 days ago, I’ve had a cup a day since. What I like about this, over other detox and slimming teas that I’ve tried is that it actually has a pleasant taste and does not make you feel like you have soaked cardboard in hot water for 3 days before drinking it. Since starting with the detox tea, my stomach has become more regular and I feel alot less bloted. Especially considering that my Easter bloat was still hanging around as of the beginning of this week.

Out of the range I was sent I also tried the Vanilla Spiced fusion and the chai tea fusion. These also have great tastes and leave you feeling refreshed. The chai tea is by far the best chai I have tasted and just like a great tea should, there is no need for milk, honey or sugar. The teas all have a pleasant aroma and taste and don’t leave you with a bitter after taste.

If you’re interested in trying these products for yourself, head over to

www.setsong.co.za

Setsong Tea not only caters to your tea needs but also provides you with all the accessories you need to make the perfect brew. Their products are also penetrating the store front and festival scene and are currently available by visiting the following locations:

  • Farm Table in Linden
  • Leafy Greens in Muldersdrift
  • Selinas Food Store in Parkhurst

Fear not though, because all orders over R400 on their website include free delivery and for the month of May, we are running a joint giveaway to the value of R500. Head over to our Instagram feed to take a look.

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La Rosa Mexican Grille

I am such a lover of Mexican food and always somehow end up eating Mexican food that just happens to be part of the menu at other restuarants. I even have a sambrero that lives in my bedroom that I got from a tequila night that I would much rather forget.

Before going to La Rosa Mexican Grille in Johannesburg, I had never been to a truly Mexican restaurant. There was so much that I was yet to learn about Mexican food, traditions and beliefs. Going to Larosa opened me up to a whole lot of research that I had never in the past bothered to do.

The look of this restuarant is absolutely breathtaking. There is a massive mural of a smiling sun painted on the ceiling of their upstairs lounge area, that given the right amount of tequila, takes you to another world.

 

The sun for Mexicans and many cultures around the globe represents positive energy and is worshipped and present in many ancient writings for this reason. The beauty of this mural is indescribable and is only justified when seen in person. 

This is not the only amazing decor that can be seen here, the walls are painted with figures of skulls, not the kind that scare little children but ones that are beautiful and intriguing. These skulls can also be seen throughout Mexican culture and represents a tradition called Day of the Dead or Dia De Los Muertos which is an annual celebration of the souls of ancestors and loved ones who have passed on from this mortal life .

Apart from the decor, La Rosa has an amazing variety on their menu to suit a variety of appetites and the drinks menu is one for the books. Never in my many years on this earth have I become intoxicated after one margarita. The frozen margaritas are served in skull glasses that match the decor, they are super tasty and full of tequila. To say they leave your limbs feeling tingly is an understatement.

By the time the food came around, I was ready for bed, but was pleasantly awoken by the flavour and aroma that filled the air. I ordered the Nachos because I am a girl of habit if nothing else. The Nachos were topped with cheese sauce, mozarella, cheddar, jalapenos, salsa and guacamole. Like who puts cheese sauce on their Nachos, but now, who doesn’t?

They tasted so much better than they looked and sounded. My husband ordered the wet Tonys Cali Burrito which I had a taste of (quite a few tastes.) This, like the Nachos was absolutely to die for. There was way too much in both dishes for one person to eat so we were both lucky to have left overs the next day to the envy of our colleagues. The smell filled the office and made everyone ask questions.

Overall, La Rosa provided for a pleasant, entertaining and very well priced dining experience and I will definitely be back for more. After tasting the real deal Mexican cuisine, I don’t believe I will be ordering Mexican food from other menus anytime soon, because really, who doesn’t put cheese sauce on their Nachos???

To check out their menu, where they are and what you’re missing out on, visit http://www.larosamexican.co.za

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My dogs and Eukenuba

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. This is true for my 3 fur babies at least. It doesn’t matter how bad the day has been or how miserable I am when I get home, seeing them and their pure and unrestricted happiness when I walk through the gate in the afternoon makes it all better. When I go away for a week at a time, they know that I’ve been gone, they act differently when I return by not wanting to leave my side, more so than usual. So if all this is true, surely I would do everything in my power to keep them healthier, happier and alive for as long as possible.

I used to have my dogs on one of the cheapest pet store brands which was working out great until they started to eat less and less. They eventually got to a point where they would all eat around half of their normal dinner portion which consists of pellets with soft chunks in gravy. They used to love this and finish up their dinner in a heartbeat. It then also got to a point that they would not touch their dry pellets at all during the day.

After a few weeks of them being seemingly dissatisfied with their food, I received a perfectly timed email with some discount vouchers from Eukenuba. I signed my dogs up on their website about two years ago and started receiving these vouchers although never using them because my dogs seemed happy with what they were getting. I informed my husband of the vouchers and brought up the issue of their seeming lack of appetite and he was more than happy to make the switch. It wasn’t a very easy switch to make as Eukenuba is more than triple the cost of the previous brand that we used, but, well worth it in the long run.

When we headed out to our local pet shop, VIP Pets, we were headed there with the intention of buying the Eukenuba breed specific food for Daschunds. Although it may not look that way, all my dogs have some daxie in them. We have a pure bred Daxie, a Labrador Daxie X and a Boerboel Daxie X. So with Daschund being the prominent breed here, that is what we intended to go for. We were a bit disappointed when the sales person indicated that the breed specific variations were soon to be discontinued by Eukenuba. I’m not certain how far this is true, never the less, we went with the Eukenuba Small Adult food. This owing to the fact that all of them are fairly small.

Another factor that went into us choosing Eukenuba was related to the fact that the dogs practically devour the vets hand when they go for their check-ups. She keeps a variation of Eukenuba in her rooms which she offers dogs as a treat before she checks them over. She’s amazing. While trying to select which variation to purchase in store, I felt through the bag for the size of the pellets in an attempt to find something of a similar size to what she gives them. This is also what led to the selection of the small breed variation.

So, we made the purchase, minus R100 thanks to the Eukenuba discount voucher that I had on hand and we made our way home. We arrived home with this new shiny bag of food and our dogs were intrigued. Every time we go shopping, we generally come home with something for them, so they knew that something was happening. They are used to their food arriving in these massive bags, but this one looked a whole lot different, so they were all sniffing and curious.

We have a “bin” that we transfer their dry food into, so we did this as normal and the result was unexpected. They started sniffing the pellets in the “bin” and starting munching as we poured. This did not happen with the previous brand at all. We had to stop them as they were getting over eager and over eating. This was a good first sign. Dinner time came around and we gave them the new Eukenuba pellets with the same chunks in gravy and the food was gone before we filled up their water bowl. My Phoebe chewed her food fast but carefully as if savouring the flavor of each bite, she normally just scoffs everything down. The following morning, we gave them their dry pellets as usual and this was gone in minutes.

Let us just clarify that I can no longer use the term dry pellets as Eukenuba is anything but. The pellets look nutritious, healthy, full of flavour and are seemingly coated in somewhat of a light oil that makes their texture look even more scrumptious. A few weeks later and we have gone through more food than usual, because the dogs are actually eating it. Their coats look shinier and they seem a lot healthier and happier. My daschund is starting to put on a little bit of weight, which is good because he wasn’t a huge eater and his weight was somewhat of a concern for us. Overall, the cost is definitely worth the results. We seem to have found what works.

To go into more detail on their feeding routine, I believe in them having dry pellets available so that they can eat on demand. This has always worked well for me, my dogs are not overweight and never have they overeaten. Whilst doing this, we also monitor the rate at which they consume their food and caution them to slow down when they are gobbling away too fast. Again, this is something that has always worked, as our dogs are fairly well trained and listen quite well.

For dinner, we have not changed the chunks in gravy from Petleys as they seem to still be enjoying this. We also give them Beeno biscuits twice a day as well as a bone once or twice a month which helps with keeping their teeth clean and takes away the urge to chew. There is no better feeling than seeing your dog happy, healthy and eating well. The switch was overdue and has been well worth it.

You too can get your dog happy and healthy with Eukenuba while saving at the same time by visiting www.petheaven.co.za According to their website, you get between 5 to 10% off scheduled purchases, telling them you want food delivered once a month or every 6 weeks etc. They also offer free delivery on purchases over R500 and offer the convenience of delivering your dog food straight to your door so that you don’t have to break your back from the pet shop. Give Pet Heaven and Eukenuba a try and let me know what you think.

Check out more about the products mentioned above by visiting:

http://www.eukanuba.com/

http://beeno.co.za/

 

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Hi, My Name is…

The importance of someone’s birth given name can and should never be underestimated. A name gives a person their first form of identity. Before a personality develops, a name is given to describe the
person. To set them aside from others. There is so much thought, time and effort that goes into selecting just the right name for a child, only for people to mess it up.

So many children throughout their lives blame their parents for the ridicule they face as a result of their unique names. This should not be, we should teach our children the value of a person’s name. We should teach them the precious sentiments that are uttered when that name is spoken and more
importantly, we should teach them about the effort that should go into learning how to say a person’s name.

There are so many diverse cultures, religions, races and practices in South Africa, yet after all these years we refuse to accept one of the fundamentals of diversity, people’s names. People are forced, not only in SA, but the world over, to subject themselves to “english/christian” names to make the lives of others around them easier. They take on names so foreign to them just to please society and make conversation flow quicker and easier.

Nandos has somewhat touched on this issue in South Africa with their #RightMyName campaign which did not see as much traction as I had hoped, but it did take us a step closer to bridging the divide. #TheYearWeMispronounceBack was another campaign that hit the nail on the head but also did not gain the traction that it had hoped. Both campaigns very meaningful but very short lived in a society where we do not know the significance of a name.

There have been so many instances in my work and personal life where I have gotten to know “Jane,” only to find out that Jane is not Jane but she is in fact Xoliswa. I find this astonishing, I have an “english” name which gets butchered on the daily, but I refuse to call myself Mary, which is a lot easier to remember, just to please others. So why do we subject the people around us to this practice?

It happens, because society does not feel the need to spend time trying to learn things about other people. Society enjoys self indulgence, society enjoys living in their own little bubble without any interference from the outside world and society often refuses to accept the beautiful diverse country and world in which we live.

I believe there is no greater respect than affording a culture, a religion, a person, a race or a language the time and patience to learn their beliefs, their practices and more importantly, their names. A name is so much more than just a few letters printed on a document. Our names are our birth given rights, our freedom from oppression and the one thing that makes us who we are. We become the names that we are given.

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The Best Investment

I am by no means a coffee addict, but, I do love good coffee. When I say I love good coffee, I love having the ability to consume two good cups of coffee a day and be done with it. I enjoy waking up to a good cuppa and going to bed with a better cup. Yes, I sleep very well post a cup of caffeinated goodness. Go figure.

My husband and I have been around the coffee block and back with filter coffee machines, espresso makers and the works. Until now, we have never found anything that really fit. By fit, I mean, something that gives us the goodness of coffee as if we had just bought it from a top notch coffee shop.

The husband has been nagging me to buy a bean to cup coffee maker for as long as I remember.  I’m sure this was probably on his to do list before he met me. I can’t say that I ever saw the value in spending a junk load of money to make me a beverage I’m going to drink twice a day. So for R6000 to R10 000, the answer was always HELL NO!!!!

Fast forward to two weeks ago, standing in Makro, as we usually do out of boredom, hoping to find some coffee promoter promoting some new machine and giving away free coffee. It was a week day, so unfortunately, no free coffee. What we did stumble upon is the Delonghi Prima Donna on special for R9 999. Now my first thoughts as a consumer, that’s R10 000, stop lying to me. My husbands words on the other hand “It’s only R9000 and look, it comes with free mugs.” Really, free mugs. Thanks Makro. Marketing strategy, spot on.

So I decided, not for the love of coffee, but  to save my marriage, that we would take the plunge, the knock, the kick and the bite and buy this coffee machine that I haven’t stopped hearing about for as long as I can remember. As we approached the tills, my heart began to race, my palms began to sweat, I began feeling woozy. My bank balance cried a long, howling cry as my card went swish swish through the speed point. “There’s no turning back now” it said.

The unpacking was blissful for him and so painful for me. Once the box was open, there was no going back. He cleaned it up, switched it on, filled it with milk, water and coffee beans. What came out, absolute heaven. We tried a few combinations before we got it right, but now, I would never look back.

We paired it with the aromatic, full of flavour Woolworths Organic Coffee Beans and the result, is there anything better than heaven? You tell me. All the choices, cappucino, cafe latte, espresso and latte machiato. I cannot wait to try a red cappucino.

This machine is super easy to use, it has an awesome digital display that tells you what to do and when to do it. It tells you the time and even gets ready in the morning for you before you wake up. In addition to all that, my kitchen counter is now down two appliances, it doubles as a kettle, which not many machines do, and with it being bean to cup, you don’t need a bean grinder.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have taken the plunge and made this investment years ago.

To check out this beauty, visit:

http://www.delonghi.com/en-za

They are currently priced at R13 999 with Makro

https://www.makro.co.za

Or you can wait for the Coffee and Chocolate Expo which always has amazing deals on these products, for more info on the Expo, visit:

https://www.coffeechoc.co.za/

And lastly, if you would like to try the amazing coffees Woolworths has to offer, visit:

http://www.woolworths.co.za/

 

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