Friday, 21 December 2012

A year ago today - 21. 12. 2011

It's amazing to think a year ago today, I was preparing to walk towards the man I would promise to love and cherish forever. I can still feel the butterflies in my stomach as I remember stepping into my dress for the first time, hugging my mum tightly, looking into my dad's excited and love-filled eyes as he took my arm to walk me down the aisle. The crunch of the stones under my heels as we walked up through the lavender, warm sun on our backs, blue skies and the impressive and dramatic Franschhoek mountains as a backdrop, I can remember thinking - could this be more perfect. 

Thanks to the lovely Christine Meintjes for our beautiful photos

The day went off without a hitch, aside from a near spin into the cake (video evidence here) on our entrance into the reception, but all in all, it was the perfect day, in the perfect location, surrounded by all the people we love in the world, marrying the perfect man. So I guess, a year later all I can say is - I still feel like the luckiest girl alive. Not a day goes by that I don't pinch myself. Yes, of course, life is not always rosy. We are both highly passionate and dramatic (ok, well I am atleast) we are both feisty and fiercely loyal Scorpios, so we do have our moments and can drive eachother crackers (ok, me again) - but in short we are BFFs, the loves of eachothers' lives and our own biggest fans - so if all the years to follow are as good as year one - we're onto a good thing. Happy Anniversary to my favourite person in the world, may the next year be filled with even more love, exciting changes, challenges, champagne bubbles and bundles of joy! (wink wink).

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Happy Snapping - December Photo a Day challenge

After a break in November, I am back again my new iphone primed and at the ready for fatmumslim's December Photo a Day challenge. Will you be joining in? Come on you know you want to... 

For a reminder of what to do and some photo taking tips for when you feel uninspired or stuck, head over to Chantelle's excellent fatmumslim blog, it's full of great ideas. Good luck and happy festive snapping xx

Sunday, 25 November 2012

What to eat today - Sausage, kale and flageolet cassoulet

I don't know about you, but in our household on a Sunday, there are three things that happen without fail.

1. Extra hot lattes and honey toast in bed
2. A dash to the shops to get the Sunday Times AND
3. No matter what the weather, something will be put on the stove to cook and bubble away filling the house with delicious and comforting aromas. 

This particular recipe, from Leon, is just gorgeous. I can't claim to have discovered it myself - but when I tasted it for the first time, I knew it would become a Sunday fave (thanks Nick and Fi). For starters, I love anything with sausages and beans, throw in kale and crispy bread and I am sold!

Sausage, kale and flageolet cassoulet Photograph: Tricia de Courcy Ling for the Guardian

Serves 4

2 tins cooked flageolets beans (you can use others, I have used butter beans and they are just as good)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500g sausages (cumberland or toulouse), cut into 2.5cm chunks
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 heaped tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small red onions, cut into large chunks
800ml chicken stock
75ml double cream
300g kale (woody stalks removed), chopped into 5cm pieces
Small handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Crispy bread - ciabatta or a french baguette 

  1. Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based casserole dish and fry the sausage pieces until golden brown
  2. Add the garlic and rosemary, then turn down the heat and stir in the onions. 
  3. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 15 minutes until the onions are soft and lightly browning, giving the occasional stir.
  4. Pour in the chicken stock, add the beans and season.
  5. Bring to a relaxed simmer and cook for around 20 minutes, skimming as necessary. 
  6. I add a bit of lemon zest in here, but that is up to you
  7. Stir in the cream and kale and mix well, then simmer for 10 minutes with a lid on and another 10 minutes without. 
  8. Adjust the seasoning and finish with the chopped parsley.
  9. Serve with crispy bread and a buttery white chardonnay ... mmm

Happy Sunday y'all 

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Photo a day - October

October is my absolute favourite month in the whole year... it reminds me of being a kid again. From the change in season - the crisp feeling in the air - to kicking up the Autumn leaves and the excitement of Halloween, sparkling nights,  mulled wine and fireworks - it all just makes me feel happy. I guess it's also partly down to October being birthday season in my family - one of which is mine.. and also my beautiful Pleasure Treasure counterpart. We are two days apart which always gives us an excuse for two double date dinners (love) AND two parties (double love)!

However,  more of that to come in later posts. For now, this is just a little reminder to say get ready for the new October 'photo a day' challenge from Chantelle, the fab mummy blogger behind Fat Mum Slim

Remember this month the hashtag is slightly different - it's fmsphotoaday - good luck, enjoy and happy snapping.

To read more about how it works or inspiration and ideas go to Fat Mum Slim.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

In the bag - holiday reading

I love reading, but for some reason I never seem to get time to do it in my busy work week (something I am working on). On the odd occasions that I  manage to get to bed as early as possible to read - I get half way through a chapter and bang - I fall asleep. So, if it's a school night I tend to stick to cook books (I have a pile by my bed ALWAYS), online newspapers and the odd interior design magazine.

HOWEVER, as soon as I am on holiday I relish nothing more than, lying by the pool or beach and getting stuck into a good book or two - as does my husband, who on holiday is dubbed the Constant Reader. So, this Friday, as I am jetting off on holiday and don't want to be bored waiting for the Constant Reader to finish his chapter in time to get me another cocktail, I have chosen a few books to have in my bag for both on the plane and by pool. I'm not sure about you, but I like to have a bit of a mix - one serious, one not so serious and then a couple of wild cards... this is what I have in my bag this holiday ... what's in yours?

The inspirational one: Build a business from your kitchen    
Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker

Now I never win anything... .A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G - so when I won this much coveted book in a blog contest, I literally back flipped in my living room! And ever since I have been dying to read it! It follows the story of the two fantastic and inspiring women who founded one of my favourite sites - My dream has always been to be my own boss, run my own business and have something to be proud of, so this one is my inspirational read. 

The saucy/naughty one: Fifty Shades Trilogy  
E L James 
Ok ok ok, now I know I am VERY late onto this bandwagon, but for some reason this book has just not appealed to me at all. However, I've never been one to sit on the sidelines and not give something a go, so I thought - why the hell not. I have read review after review - some good, some bad, some downright hilarious - but will approach this trilogy poolside, with an open mind and a cold glass of vino in hand... 

The 'incase Fifty Shades doesn't work out one': How to be a woman Caitlin Moran

I have only heard good things about this book - one word - excited!

The can't live without one: Red Magazine 

So it's not a exactly a book - but it's my holiday and my rules. No long haul flight is  complete without my monthly bible - Red Magazine. From fashion to beauty, food and the excellent Alpha Male column by Rosie Green (who the Constant Reader thinks is actually my alter ego) - nothing makes the post chicken or beef option more bearable! To be read with a glass of wine before the in flight movie. 

What's your reading style? And what kind of books do you take on holiday with you? We'd love to know. xx

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Champagne Friday

Wishing you all a lovely, champagne-filled weekend xx

In the bag: What to take to the Olympics

We've got it in the bag: Olympics fever

We've got it in the bag: Olympics fever by nkirkmartin featuring a union jack umbrella

We are super excited about the Olympics - London is at fever pitch! The Opening Ceremony was absolutely spectacular and the Games have gone off with a bang - 2 weeks of fun ahead (hopefully in the sun...).

There are strict rules about what you can and can't bring in to the venues - similar to going through airport security, there are restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels. Having watched the tennis and volleyball, we thought we'd compile a short list of the things you don't want to be without:

Umbrella (a small one - golf umbrellas are banned)
Camera (to capture those Olympic moments)
Sunglasses (for when the sun decides to show its face!)
Purse (for coins and cards)
Scarf (to keep you warm and double up as a flag - go Team GB!)
Sun cream (200ml or less)
Empty water bottle (you can fill it up at the events)
Chewing gum (to keep you fresh)
Antibacterial wipes (for emergencies)

The less you take, the better, but whatever you do, don't forget your tickets!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

What to wear - The L B C

Say what you will about Kim Kardashian, but that girl knows how to work her curves! When I saw this photo of her on a beach in Hawaii it made me think - YESSSS - that's it! Everyone should have an LBC (Little Black Costume) in their wardrobes.

Kim Kardashian in her LBC 

As I have a holiday on the horizon I decided instead of going in search of the perfect bikini, which can also be quite a tiresome experience for some (ME) - I was gonna get me a LBC!

Bearing in mind it is end of summer in the UK and most of the stores are full of Autumn/Winter stock and EMPTY of any holiday gear. Anyhow, as I am convinced of the longevity of this addition to my closet - I decided to splurge on it.  Just like its equally sassy cousin the LBD - this is something that just WON'T date.

Jessika Allen for Jets 

Are you switching from separates to a one-piece? Let me know your thoughts?


Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Big 'Three Oh'

Right, so 2012 is a big year. Not only is there the Olympics, Paralympics, Diamond Jubilee celebrations and all that jazz, but ... for me it is also the year of THE BIG THREE OH (shudder).

I still can't really believe 30 years have gone by so quickly, I do still feel about 23 - at a push maybe 25. Anyway, turning 30 isn't actually that scary. It's actually a good time to take a look life and take stock. A chance to think is this where I wanted to be by now? Am I on the right track? To look at what I have achieved and to be proud and then look forward.

Anyway, as my big day is a few months off, I thought I would share a post from one of my best childhood friends, fellow blogger and just all round amazing girl, on her big Three Oh moment. 

Nicki Dadic, the beauty and brains behind the One of the Boys blog has shared her life with us through her excellent and funny mummy blog for a few years now.  I love her down to earth and very open approach to sharing her thoughts and experiences of being a mum - no sugar coating - this girl is REAL and she writes it how it is. We're not the only ones who love her, Nicki has been up for Mummy blogger awards galore and this month is featured in SA's Fair Lady! So I am proud to welcome her and share her '30 days to Thirty' post with you.. enjoy.

Nicki is wife to David, mum to super cute Luca and Mika, digital marketing and social media gal, full-time Gleek, part-time blogger, Wine Gum addict and eternal optimist.

That’s right, in 30 days I will be THIRTY!

I’m not dreading it. I’m not worried about it. In fact, I am, and have been for a while, looking forward to it!

I’ve always felt like I’d be taken more seriously at 30. That I’d REALLY be an adult at 30 … says the woman who’s just bought her SECOND home, has TWO children and has been married for FOUR years and with her HUSBAND for almost TEN years. Yes, being 30 is what makes me an adult

Anyway, after my visit a couple of weeks ago with Rosemary, the incredible Astro-Coach who works out of Moemas every Thursday, I felt even more excited about reaching this notable milestone. Rosemary talked about my first Saturn return being a very important time in my life in particular. Where many may become depressed about their impending adulthood at the age of thirty because previous years have been misspent or even wasted, I feel that my turning 30 will only magnify the great successes that I have already achieved, giving me guidance as to where I’m going for the next 30 years.

I always said that I wanted to have had my children before I turn 30 … DONE! I want my 30s to be the beginnning of new and profound experiences for me. I want to start making a difference. I want to make these differences close to home as well as in the homes and hearts of others.

By signing up to be a donor (and very quickly selected as a donor by a recipient) with Nurture, I feel that these experiences are well on their way. I am SO excited to be doing this – to be making such a huge difference in someone’s life! 

Closer to home, I want to be a better wife and a better mother. I want to cook more (especially healthy, homemade food), bake more (starting with the peanut butter cookies I’ve been dreaming about lately), sing more, dance more. Be spontaneous. Spend more Sunday mornings snuggled up watching cartoons. I want to spend more time with my children, teaching them whatever they want to know. I want to forget about the petty things that may have annoyed me in the past and move on, worrying more about how my family are and what they need from me.

I want to (and this is already in progress) run! I have committed to the #RunSoweto10km in November and I am slowly making progress to this goal. I’m not sure I’d ever have the physical or mental strength to run the insane distances people like Tanya do, but I’ll do what my body allows me to. Don’t get me wrong … I’ll push my body, but I am learning to respect it too. Look what it’s given me! 

My two perfect, beautiful, intelligent and incredible little boys. Thank you, body. I LOVE YOU AND I APPRECIATE YOU! 

So yes … I believe (I’m hoping) that the return of MY Saturn will bring new, positive and life-changing adventures. 

And that was the “heavy” part of this post  

NOW I’m going to get on with the fun part: my birthday list! Hop over to Nicki's blog to see her birthday list in photos!

I have never been big on wearing a watch. I mean, I love them … I’ve just never had a watch that I could wear ALL the time. I saw this GORGEOUS Thomas Sabo watch and I’m in loooooove … 

I’m also obsessing over the Nike+ Fuelband, which Dave Greenway informed me is only currently available in New York. Boo! Guess I’ll just have to *settle* for an iPod Nano then …  

I’d love a treatment or four at the new Rosebank Life Day Spa … particularly the flotation tank, a facial … a massage, a pedi … okay, I’ll have one of everything, thanks

I want need clothes. Seriously! And I’m not fussy either. Woolworths and Country Road have GORGEOUS winter clothes …

And finally (yes, there’s more!) I want to get my … *does quick count* … 9th tattoo. It will be in memory of my late mom, as well as a tribute to my Mika-moo My mom (and, strangely enough) Dave’s mom both collected owls. Ornaments, not actual owls. Dave and I recently bought three beautiful owl line drawings at an exhibition at Wolves. They are GORGEOUS and for a while, I’ve been looking at images online and found this one that I LOVE. I want it to be like a pen drawing – lots of lines and character. 

 Going to work on customising it especially for my mom and Mika, with a little ribbon banner instead of a branch … what do you think? 

If you enjoyed this post - follow Nicki over on her blog One of the Boys

Are any of you thinking about your next birthday - and if it is a big one - share your thoughts with us..

Monday, 13 August 2012

What to eat tonight - Cajun fish with sweetcorn and avocado salad

After having success after success with recipes from the Waitrose Kitchen magazine it is fast becoming my go to mag for a quick and delicious mid-week supper. Serve this beauty with a delicious crisp white wine and you're onto a winner!

Preparation time:10 minutes
Cooking time:10 minutes

Serves: 4


4 Icelandic plaice fillets
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
326g can sweetcorn in water, drained
1 avocado, roughly chopped
1 x ½ x 250g pack cherry tomatoes, halved
1 x ½ red onion, sliced
1 lime, zest and juice
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
1 x ½ x 28g pack coriander, roughly chopped
4 tbsp half fat soured cream


1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. Place the fish skin-side down on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Mix 1 tbsp olive oil with the Cajun seasoning and brush over the top of the fish. Roast for 5 - 6 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, mix the sweetcorn, avocado, tomatoes, red onion, lime zest, chilli and the remaining oil in a bowl. Season and toss with most of the coriander.

3. Mix the soured cream with the remaining coriander and lime juice. Serve the fish with the sweetcorn salad and the herby soured cream.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Body beautiful - Top ten fitness tips

Photo courtesy of

Today we are focusing on being fit, healthy, strong and beautiful. 

Pete Griggs (AKA Mean Pete) personal trainer deluxe who whipped us both into shape for our weddings, is on the blog today sharing his top ten tips to getting motivated, keeping fit, healthy and body beautiful. 

We sat down (or should I say, squatted, lunged, crunched and sweated our little hearts out) with Pete - who has just launched a new free workout website Zoobado -  to discuss everything you need to know about fitness. And trust us, this man knows his stuff. 

Pete's Top Ten 

1. Goals - from the word go decide specifically what you want to achieve. Make sure you know what your goals are, weight loss, toning, muscle building, fitness etc - as different goals will require different training programmes.

2. Choose a programme and stick with it until it gets easy - stick with any training for at least six weeks before you make any drastic changes, if you are one of these people that picks up a fitness magazine and does their latest workout every week, you might find yourself going round in circles.

3. Progress progress progress - make sure you always improve on the previous workout, that way you get fitter and fitter.

4. Diet - you should be putting as much effort into you diet as your workouts. Don't go and undo all your hard work by having a greasy curry after a hard workout. Stick to unprocessed natural foods. 

5. Carbs - if you are looking to shift a few kgs then try cutting out the carbs after lunch. Stick to meat and vegetables only (no potatoes or sweetcorn). Carbs are fine if you're very active because you will burn them off, but if you're not - they will be turned into fat!

6. Muscle - build some muscle up - don't worry you won't end up with bulging biceps. The more muscle you have on you the more calories you burn, its like having a bigger engine on a car - it needs more fuel.

7. Drinking - go easy on the alcohol, not only is it full of bad calories but if you have a boozy night out the following day's workout gets written off because you're too hungover to do it!

8. Diary - start writing everything down as it will help you keep track of your progress. Write down your workout stats including time, distances, levels etc it will help you make improvements. Also, write down the food you are eating as it will start making you aware of what you are actually putting into your body. Plan and schedule your workouts in your diary and make them a high priority - make SURE they happen.

9. To gym or not to gym? You don't need an gym membership to have a great workout, for around £100 you could buy everything you need to have a great workout at home. Part of the problem with the gym is getting there and back, this can easily eat up an hour out of your day. Trust me once you start training at home there is no going back!

10. Top tip - don't go running with the Pleasure, Treasure girls, Abi's run will end up in a wine bar and Nicky's will end up in a cake shop!

To give Pete's home workouts a try go to Zoobado - otherwise - you can contact him directly for more info. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

We love Lamingtons

One of my all time favourite treats as a little girl was tea and cake with the grown-ups. And when it came to lamingtons, this was an extra special occasion. A lamington is a sponge cake square first coated in chocolate and then dessicated coconut - hugely popular in South Africa and Australia.

You can either bake your own vanilla cake or buy a ready made one (if you buy a ready made cake, skip to the Dipping Sauce step). I use the cake recipe below which is extremely light and airy.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (a little lower in a fan oven).

Prepare a square cake tin (butter and line the tin with baking paper). Note: The cake can be difficult to remove because it is so soft, so make sure you let it cool completely before removing from the tin!

4 eggs
pinch of slt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 heaped cup sugar
57g butter
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sifted plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

Beat the eggs with the salt, vanilla essence and sugar. Beat extremely well - about twice as long as you think  you need to, until the mixture is practically white.

Melt the butter in the milk. While the butter is melting, add the flour and baking powder to the egg mixture. Fold in very lightly and do not over mix.

Next, pour in the melted butter and milk mixture. Blend only just enough to mix everything together, then pour into tin.

Move quickly at this stage and get the cake into the oven as quickly as possible while the mixture is still warm.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely and do not remove while still hot - the cake will break (I can vouch for this...)!

Once cool, cut cake into squares.

Dipping Sauce:
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon butter

Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Dip cake blocks to coat with sauce and then roll in coconut.


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Photo a day challenge - August

It's the first day of August and not only does it mean we're heavily into the Olympics in London and we are over half way through 'summer' of 2012 - it also means a new monthly photo challenge from Australian blogger Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim. Both of us in the PT team have been doing the challenge for a few months now and it is totally addictive. One of us is definitely better than the other -no names mentioned (Nicky) but as she says to me on a monthly basis: 'There are no hard and fast rules. It's just for fun, if you miss a day, just catch up or go to the next'. 

So once again I am dusting off my iphone lens and getting ready for an epic month of happy snapping! Hopefully this time I can complete the circuit and win the gold (sorry shameful but obligatory Olympic puns!) and finish the month without missing a day. 

If you're keen to take part, all you have to do is save the photo list below and get snapping. You can keep your photos to yourself or if you want to share to twitter or facebook remember to use the hashtag #photoadayaug. Let us know if you've done the challenge before as we'd love to see how you've done so far.  

To find out about how the photo challenge will change your life pop over to Chantelle's site. You can also follow her on Twitter @fatmumslim and Instagram and see how she does her thing - it might inspire you.

Nicky's #photoadayjuly 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Silent Sunday - Today we are...

Loving the Olympics fever in London
Wondering where the sunshine has disappeared to
Making Jamie's strawberry and halloumi salad
Drinking Pimms
Eating strawberries and cream (we can't get enough!)
Going for gold with Stella McCartney

Are you watching the Olympics? What did you get up to today?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

What to eat tonight - Chilled Cucumber Soup

I have learnt over the years that chilled soup is a little bit like marmite. It’s something that you either love or hate. I still very clearly remember on a hot summer's evening a few years ago, cooking a 'fancy' dinner party for a group of friends and serving this little number as a starter.

I presented it with pride in a beautiful silver soup dish, sprinkled it with parsley and mint, chuffed as nuts that my guests were going to love the gorgeous creamy crispy chilled cucumber yumminess that awaited them. The oohs and aaahs were swiftly followed by confusion, which, I must admit, I was oblivious to at the time! So at the end of the evening and after a few glasses of vino blanco, one of my guests came over to me and in a 'Come dine with me' tone that was hideously embarrassing for me (rather than for him) whispered … ‘It was really great and all, but the only thing is... it was a bit cold...’

Needless to say, despite selling the concept to the best of my ability, he wasn't at all convinced by soup on the rocks and this is the thing with chilled soup - it’s an opinion divider.  Like marmite, you love it or you hate it! I have, however, learnt my lesson and only make it if I know I will have happy guests at the end of the evening.

Personally, I love soup - it's generally (if you avoid the stilton, creamy ones) low in fat, full of the good stuff and it fills you up - what's not to love?!

So do as the Italians do and enjoy yours cold! Here is my recipe for the perfect chilled cucumber soup just as my mama made it. It is a very relaxed, simple recipe and the amount of milk/cream you add is up to how thick or light you prefer your soup. Hope you like it!

Chilled Cucumber Soup
  • 2 Cucumber - grated or roughly chopped 
  • 1 cup of yoghurt 
  • 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar 
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
  • Cream/milk depending on texture 
  • Half a clove of garlic grated 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Small bunch of parsley/mint to garnish 
Whizz altogether gently so you still have the bite of the cucumber.
Keep in the fridge until ready to serve
Serve chilled.

Do you have a favourite cold soup? We’d love to know which one you like. Or if it’s not your thing – we’re happy to hear what you love eating on a hot summers evening instead.