Thursday, November 29, 2012

Virgin Active Wellness Wednesday: WIN A 3 Month Membership At VA & Your Own Summer Transformation

In case you don't know, I'm currently hosting a competition for you to WIN your very own Summer Transformation. This awesome prize hamper includes pretty much everything you need to get yourself looking and feeling fantastic this summer- including a 3 month Virgin Active membership.

You could WIN:

- a hamper of products from Dove
- a bottle of Bio-Oil
- a set of hair extensions from Clip-In Hair
- a pair of heels from Madison Shoes
- a pair of slops from FitFlop
- a hamper of products from BuchuLife
- a hamper of makeup from Inglot
- a QMS facial at The Spa at Cape Grace
- a 3 month membership at Virgin Active
- a pair of Skechers GoRun running shoes
- a summer wardrobe from NEUW

I've had some absolutely incredible entries so far and the competition is still open until the end of tomorrow. I've received emails from women from various walks of life- moms, students, working girls... All telling me why they need their own Summer Transformation. What has really blown me away has been the realisation that we are all in exactly the same boat. 

We all wish we had more time to exercise. We all wish we had more money to spend on products. We all wish we had the willpower to stay away from ice cream. We all want to be happy with the way we look. It's so important to remember that giving up is not an option. When you're feeling down and wishing you could be somewhere wearing a ski jacket instead of having to put on a bikini- don't seek comfort in a plate of slap chips. That's only going to make you feel so much worse!

This prize is going to help you realise that looking after yourself is one of the best ways to feel good about yourself. No matter what shape you're in, making an effort makes you feel that much more confident. Even just 30 minutes in the gym will leave you feeling proud, excited and all endorphined-up! That's why I honestly think that this Virgin Active membership is the best gift I could give to any girl's self-esteem.

So if you need your own Summer Transformation, click here for details on how to enter.

#SheshaTuks Launch In Sandton

At the beginning of this month I was in Joburg for an Old Mutual and Shesha Tuks launch. Twenty five tuk tuks were launched in the Sandton CBD, acting as moving billboards for 5 amazing initiatives that Old Mutual supports: The Bulungula Incubator Project, Nqabayensimbi Poultry Farmers, Reikemetse Agricultural Project, The Heiveld Tea Co-operative and the Wildlands Conservation Trust.

 You can read more about the work that Old Mutual is doing to support these communities 

These super cute tuk tuks travel in a 3km & 5km radius and cost R25 & R35 respectively. From the Sandton Gautrain Station you can get as far as Mnet, which always seems like its about 25 kilometres away to me, but turns out its only 6.

Ten bloggers and influencers were invited to take part in a challenge where they raced around Sandton on tuk tuks, completing 10 challenges with the help of their followers: @deanoelsch, @beardedwiseman, @mikestopforth, @baileyschneider, @luciamthiyane, @_TOOLZ_, @00Hendri, @leratolicious, @mikesharman and @warrenharding.

At each of the 10 checkpoints they were given an envelope with either a GPS coordinate or a question (the answer to which could be found on the Do Great Things website). They had to ask their followers for the name of the location or the answer before they could move on to the next challenge.

No Google aloud! Bloggers were being monitored to make sure that they were in fact getting the answers from their followers and not from the trusty Google machine. Each blogger had R2000 worth of prizes to give away to the follower who was helping them the most.

#SheshaTuks trended nationally and the hashtag received more than 1000 mentions between 9am and 12pm. Well done to Old Mutual on an amazing campaign which highlighted some amazing initiatives.

Find out more about the work Old Mutual has been doing on their Do Great Things website and follow them on Twitter @OldMutualSA

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

WIN! Your Own Summer Transformation

Over the past couple of months, my friend Fran and I have been furiously working toward "bikini comfortable" bodies for summer. We've been working out, eating healthy, using great products and learning more about our own bodies along the way. I mean, we've obviously also been eating unhealthy, skipping workouts and drinking wine. But we've found some balance.

It's meant so much to us to have this project to work on in the lead up to summer. There's nothing like the motivation of a friend to keep you going when the going gets boring/exhausting/too much of a pain. Some days I ate bad things. Some days I didn't want to get into the pool, but I'm still doing a lot more to look after myself than I was ever doing before.

I've learnt more about nutrition, exercise, my body, the products that work for me and my own willpower than I can fit into this post. This project has been an incredible journey so far- and it's not over yet. I've got just 20 days left before we finally get onto that plane and make our way over to Thailand! But you know what, I'm feeling confident. A few weeks of really staying away from refined sugars, saturated fats, wheat, gluten and alcohol and I know I'll be ready to hit the beaches.

This transformation hasn't just been about losing weight, obviously. It's been about finding a healthy routine (swimming with a coach Tuesdays and Thursdays), setting new challenges for myself (taking part in my first 1000m open water swim in years), learning which foods work for my body (gluten and wheat = death) and learning about products that work. It's been about clear skin, toned arms, and a happy body.

The fantastic thing about this project, is that with the help of a few incredible brands, we are able to give you the opportunity to have your own summer transformation, getting you looking great and feeling comfortable enough to spend this summer in your bikini!

We're giving away:

- a hamper of products from Dove
- a bottle of Bio-Oil
- a set of hair extensions from Clip-In Hair
- a pair of heels from Madison Shoes
- a pair of slops from FitFlop
- a hamper of products from BuchuLife
- a hamper of makeup from Inglot
- a QMS facial at the Cape Grace
- a 3 month membership at Virgin Active
- a pair of Skechers GoRun running shoes
- a summer wardrobe from NEUW

That's pretty much everything you'll need to make sure you don't spend this summer wishing you'd worked a little harder before bikini season hit. We all want to feel comfortable in our own bodies. And I've found that the more you care for your body, the better you feel about it.

As women we are brainwashed into thinking that if you're not model skinny, you should just pretend your body doesn't exist at all. But the truth is that the models are not the norm - we are. And no matter what shape or size you are, as long as you are comfortable with the way you look, you look amazing! 

To WIN this AMAZING prize:

Send me an email with My Summer Transformation in the subject line and let me know why you think you need your own Summer Transformation.
Tweet a link to this competition and include me.
Send your entries to

Competition closes 30 November and is open to SA, but some prizes are limited to Cape Town. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Latest Obsession: Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 Soundtrack

Say what you will about Twilight, but anyone with ears can tell you that the soundtracks to these movies are amazing. Whoever their music compiler is sure has some great taste. I may or may not actually have all the albums somewhere. But lately I've had the soundtrack from Breaking Dawn Part 2 on repeat in my car.

My favourite song on the album is Passion Pit's "Where I Come From".

Buy the album on Loot here and have it within 24 hours.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cape Town Festival of Beer 2012

The gates are open and Cape Town Festival of Beer 2012 is officially under way. Over 100 beers will be up for tasting this year, making CTFOB the largest beer festival in the Southern Hemisphere . They are expecting 10 000 people over the weekend, so whether you like beer, love beer, hate beer (??), have never tasted beer (???) or are a beer connoisseur, you're likely to have a fun time.

The CTFOB is South Africa's largest gathering of beer enthusiasts and hosts over 40 breweries. I am a huge fan of beer, particularly Black Label and a few incredible craft brews, so I am ready to run out of the office this afternoon and head straight to Hamilton's Rugby Club for my first of many beers this weekend. (Beer indulgence will be temporarily paused while I swim 1000m at WP Open Water 2 tomorrow morning)

On Saturday afternoon I'm doing a tasting challenge with Black Label which is a nice backup for my argument that drinking really is a hobby. I have a suspicion that I might actually pretty good at this whole beer tasting thing, as I managed to correctly identify Darling's Bone Crusher at a tasting a few weeks ago. Conveniently, I was seated next to SAB's Lord of Brewing (Master Brewer) who seemed wildly impressed by my accurate identification (guess).

Nash & I had our first ever home brew tasted on Tuesday night by a CTFOB panel of experts. Apparently most of the beers were infected, which sounds much worse than it actually is. All the blogger's beers looked so cool. Very professional. Above, from left to right: Urban Ninja, Life Is Savage, Bangers & Nash, Cathy Marston, Raising Men, Tails Of A Mermaid, Front Row Grunt, Stephanie B, Mr Cape Town.

Natasha's beer came in at 3rd place, Raoul's came second and the winning brew was Tank's Front Row Grunt Lager. To be fair, Tank's brew definitely deserved the title. His beer was the closest to a clear, lagery lager and was actually very drinkable. Apparently the infection in our yeast (gross!) means that while it's not at all harmful to drink, the bottles will start exploding not too long from now. Given that we are going to Thailand in 22 days, I think we'd better get drinking!

Our Moustache Mermaid The Breach Lager won Best Label Design thanks to this beautiful design by Claire Baleson.

Jasmin Nagel designed this amazing label for our Moustache Mermaid Cross Dresser Orange & Coriander Lager which we thought was fantastic, but the judges weren't impressed by our departure from the typical style of a traditional lager. Either way we had an awesome time brewing these guys!

If you're in town, get to CTFOB for an awesome experience, and make sure you visit Nash at WHAT UP, RIBS when your tummy needs food. Tickets here.

Skinny Pizza...Nope, That's Not A Cruel Joke

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to Col 'Cacchio for the launch of their brand new summer offering. You guys, I was blown away by their new, health concious option: Pizza Foro. Basically, it's a 500 cal pizza. I am not trying to play with your emotions here. That is a true fact. You really can indulge your pizza cravings at just 500 calories a pop - share one with a friend and that's just 250 cal!

 Foro means "hole" in Italian. My limited Italian (pizza, foro) translates Pizza Foro to "pizza with a hole in the middle". In the middle of the pizza is a fresh, crisp salad. The pizza's have lower fat ingredients and are slightly smaller, but they are packed with flavour! Obviously you can have them in wheat and gluten free, which I have always been a fan of.

So basically, you can have a wheat-free pizza with low-fat toppings like light mozarella, mushrooms, tuna, veggie and chicken and a healthy salad on the side. I absolutely love the idea of being able to indulge in a pizza and not leave feeling bloated. Perfect for summer! I think it's so awesome that Col 'Cacchio is making an effort to include healthier options in their menu. Such a responsible thing for a restaurant chain to do.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

WHOA! We're Going To Ibiza! Voting Now Open

You've probably been seeing quite a bit of talk online around the Super M Ibiza competition. You might even have chosen your favourite candidate already. I was a bit in two minds about the whole idea of asking you guys to vote for me, but I've decided that since you'll be coming along if I win, you're actually voting for US.

Super M is sending one Blogger plus their biggest fan to the Ibiza Rocks Hotel in 2013. They're looking for a reporter to update everyone on the world wide web on all the action. Do you think I'm the right person for the job? But more importantly, do you think you're the right person to go with me?

This is how the competition works:

1. Visit the Super M Facebook page and in 500 words, tell them why you think I'm the perfect Blogger to 
    go and report from the party. I'm sure you can think of enough reasons?
    (I've been to every major festival in the country several times, I've even MC'd Oppikoppi thrice, I promise  
    to do lots of diet and exercise before we go and look good in a bikini by the time we get there, you love 
    my blog and my writing and you basically think I am the modern day, female Hunter S. Thomson without 
   the drugs etc.)

2. They'll let me know what their favourite entries are, and let me choose which ones I like most. 

3. Then it's up to us to get our friends voting. I'm sure you have a significant social media presence of your      
    own, so that part of the competition shouldn't be too hard. Everyone probably loves you. You're probably 
    the life and light of every party you go to.

So that's pretty much it. You have until Wednesday to vote.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Virgin Active Wellness Wednesday: Inspiration (part 2)

On the subject of motivation, let's not allow the frantic end of year scramble to distract us from our goal: Feeling great on the beach this summer! At this time of year you might find yourself hiding from your workload under a pile of donuts. Maybe you are eating your emotions. Perhaps you're gorging yourself on your stress.

Your calendar is probably rapidly filling up with events like "pre-Xmas dinner with the girls" and "Festive feast with the BF's family" and of course "End of year office party".  I've honestly been finding it all fantastic. My bum disagrees. At this crucial pre-beach point its important not to allow yourself to slide into the category of "I'm giving up on being beach confident". The main thing is to keep your eye on the end goal....

Eighteen glorious, sunny, hot, beach-filled days in Thailand. I'm putting the chicken pie down right now.

Stay motivated. The more you work out, the less you want to eat unhealthy stuff. Don't give up. We are almost there.

Sign up with Virgin Active.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Miss You, Ouma

My Ouma sadly passed away unexpectedly last month. She was only in her late 70's and she seemed to be healthy so it was a big shock to the family when she passed. Over the last few weeks I've been thinking about her a lot and remembering all the fun times we had together.

My Ouma and Oupa used to have a farm out in the middle of nowhere and they'd often take us grand kids away during the holidays. The farm had a really basic old farm house and one of those phones where you had to listen for your specific tone when it rang, like "short, long, short, short" and if it rang "short, long, long, short" you knew it was for your neighbour and if you were a sneaky seven year old you could pick up the phone and listen in on their conversation. And when you wanted to phone your mom you had to pick up the receiver and ask the operator to dial you through.

When I was a kid I used to think my Ouma was the smartest woman on the whole wide planet. In fact, I used to verify all facts my Mom or teachers used to pass on to me with my Ouma before I believed them. "Did you know that the sun rises in the East?" "Mmmm...I'm going to ask my ouma."

It was for one of these holidays with my Oupa and Oupa that my Mom wouldn't let me pack my brand new pink Barbie dungarees. So obviously, I hid them in the bottom of my bag. I was only about six years old at the time. When we got to the farm my Ouma and I went for a walk, hand-in-hand, through the new fruit orchid that my Oupa had been digging. It had been raining a LOT on the farm, and the holes that had been dug for the new trees were filled with water and hidden from sight. A cruel trick of the eye for an old lady and a little girl. A few steps into our walk I was suddenly neck deep in a huge hole, soaking wet and completely muddy. Through my tears I told my Ouma the story of my Barbie deceit and she laughed while hauling me out of my sodden outfit. My Ouma washed and washed the little pink dungaree suit and promised not to get me into trouble. And she never did.

My Ouma got married to my debonair Oupa (a much older man) at sixteen and often told me that girls shouldn't marry young if they didn't want to hate the first ten years of their marriage. So one family holiday when, at the same age, my Dad wouldn't allow me to have a cider, my Ouma whispered in my ear "when I was your age, I was married...go buy yourself a cider at the bar", while slipping a note into my back pocket.

My Ouma was deeply religious and when I was a little girl she wouldn't allow Christmas decorations in her home as she felt they cheapened and commercialised the birth of her holy saviour. But when I had begged and pleaded enough, she spent the day hanging baubles and tinsel all over the house...while telling me not to let the commercial festivities distract me from the true meaning of Christmas.

My Ouma baked her own bread until she was about 70. But I mean, the whole add the yeast, let the bread rest overnight kind of bread. And she made the best pancakes. My Ouma was effortlessly stylish and only ever wore neutral colours. In fact, I only ever saw her in head-to-toe neutrals; camel, pale yellow, white and lots of variations of beige.

My Ouma gave me my very first diamond. For my 18th birthday she gave me a square gold ring with the diamond my Dad had bought for his first girlfriend (and later taken back to give to my Ouma).

When I was about four years old I stayed with my Ouma and Oupa while my folks were in the States. She brushed my hair so softly that the bristles hardly managed to untangle the blonde knots and when I got out of the bath she would always, without fail, ask me "Het jy jou sterre en agter jou ore gewas?"

These are just a few of my favourite memories of this special lady.

Wat is 'n Ouma? Oumas is ou tannies wat nie kinders het nie en dis hoekom hulle na ander mense se kinders kyk.

Miss you, Ouma.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Would You Vote?

When I was still a TV Presenter, towards the end of that part of my career, I started noticing a trend amongst TV production houses. When new TV shows were in the pre-production phases and the search to find the perfect presenter for the show started, instead of hosting a casting, inviting old and new faces to come in for an audition and a screen test, more and more producers were hosting "Presenter Search" TV contests. The prize: The opportunity to Present the show. Or as I like to call it: A job.

The "opportunity to start your TV career" a "once in a lifetime opportunity!" to "make your TV dreams come true!" Were they offering to pay the selected individual who would most likely be one of the make or break elements of their show? No of course not- you were the lucky one after all.

They were giving you the gift of "fame". Experienced Presenters were now battling it out with wannabe models and fresh-outta-AFDA actors for the few jobs that were around. Soon after this trend started, I decided I'd had enough of TV. Ten years of hard work and respectable jobs in the industry and I couldn't even get a paying job, being told that there were "thousands of other young girls who would do it for free". Well, the TV industry can have them. You get what you pay for...and what you don't.

Now of course this way of doing things is not limited to the TV industry, we've been seeing it all over. "Win the opportunity to be a cover model!" "Win the chance to write for our magazine!" Everyone in the Entertainment Industry is trying to cut costs by telling us that we are "lucky to have the chance" to represent them. I wonder though, does the same "payment" get offered to the people behind the scenes? "Win a spot on our production team!" "Your name could be in our closing credits!"

I know we all follow people on Twitter and Facebook who would spam you to vote for them to win the chance to be in a lucky draw to win a scratch card that could possibly maybe 1 in 100 chance contain the code to a safety deposit box that might hold the key to their modelling career. I know how much I hate it so I can only imagine you do too. In fact, the first time I ever asked you guys to vote for me for anything was for the mycamera competition and I tried to do actually mind-ninja you into it. Did it work?

As I'm sure you're noticed, this trend eventually started finding it's way into the Blogging world. Clients want maximum engagement with their Social Media pages, and agencies want to make that happen. So how do they do it? By hosting Blogger Competitions, of course. Offer fantastic prizes to Bloggers, urging them to get their communities to vote for them. Most of the "top" (a relative term, obviously) Bloggers in SA have between 5000 and 10 000 Followers on Twitter. Not to even begin to look at their Blog stats.

That's a lot of people brands could potentially be reaching by offering a high cash point prize to one lucky Blogger. I'm not really ethically opposed to vote for me competitions on Blogs as most Bloggers have other jobs. We don't all call our Blog our career. So it's not like agencies are taking the bread off our tables. It's more that I don't want to annoy my readers.

So here's my question to you. If I got involved in a Blogger competition, would you vote for me? If the prize was, say...A trip to Ibiza for me and a reader (you), would you motivate and support my (our) cause?

The reason I ask is this: Last week I received a really great personalised Blogger package from Super M. Inside the box were all the items I would need if I were partying it up in Ibiza.

On the outside of the box, an invitation. To compete against a few of the biggest Blogs on the South African web (2 Oceans Vibe, Between 10 & 5, Don't Party, Mahala, Durban Is Yours and Texx and the City) for a trip to Ibiza to cover one of the biggest parties of the year. All expenses paid for me and my most loyal reader.

Here's how it works: Super M is sending four people to Ibiza to party at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel in 2013. They're looking for someone to report on the vibe. Someone who knows about partying and about writing. Someone like me, perhaps.

What you would need to do:
Visit the Super M Facebook page and tell them in 500 characters or less why you think I'm the right person for the job.Why you think I have the right vibe, the right experience and the right Blog to cover the party in all it's glory and detail.

What they will do:
Super M will take a look at the day’s best entries and send them through to me, to help me whittle down that epic list and find my most excited and supportive reader by Wednesday, November 28th.

Once I've selected the best entry, I'll be paired up with my reader and placed up against all the other Bloggers and their own ├╝ber-fans.

What everyone else would do:
On the Super M Facebook Page, everyone you or I have ever met will have to vote for who they think the best Ibiza Blogging/Partying duo is (us, obvs).

The voting round will close on November 30th.

So what do you think? Would you vote? Before I sign up, before I take on the challenge. Before I stand up as tiny little David (8000 unique monthly readers) against the massive Goliaths (1 million unique monthly readers - I'm talking to you 2OV). Before I beg and cry and go on hunger strikes for your support... Would you vote?

Friday, November 16, 2012


You may have seen on Twitter that I've been playing around with an amazing Olympus PEN EP-3 recently. mycamera approached me, along with 5 other bloggers to get involved in their #givethatbloggerapen competition. We had 10 days to capture images of "joy", "curiosity" and "alone". These are mine:

This picture was taken at home while Nash was on the road (again). I end up eating quite a few dinners alone. But recently I've been enjoying alone time more and more. So this picture has a double meaning for me. It's a bit lonely, but it's also a bit beautiful

 I took this picture of BABYCAT while she was playing in the garden, stalking various small creatures. I don't think I could have found a better image of "curiosity".

I love this picture so much. This is my friend Lizanne and her adorable little boy, Sweet Baby James. This was taken on a wine farm, on their first day out as a little family. Lizanne is the most beautiful new mom I've ever seen. She is so chilled about having little James as part of her world now and she just looks so happy in this picture that it makes me smile whenever I see it.

The pictures are up on the mycamera Facebook page, along with the pictures the other bloggers took. There are some really awesome images up, so go have a look. If you think mine are the best, please hit "like" so that I can win that gorgeous camera. I promise to take lots of pictures of BABYCAT, for the benefit of the whole world wide web.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fun Little Serious Interview (tm): Part 3

By now you must be addicted by to Fun Little Serious Interview (tm) posts. If not, reread part 1 and part 2.

Today's interview is with one of my absolute favourite Twitter accounts EVAR, @egg_dog. If you're not following him yet, do so immediately. Here are a couple of my favourite @egg_dog Tweets.

1. im eggmond doggtevsky and i am always sicking up my awful brain onto the internet

2. u probably already knew this but i write about bees and skelingtons a lot but im not sure what they are!

3. never trust a man called mitt because like his name, hes probably caught a lot of stuff.

4. the worst job ive ever had was telemarketing. id reccomend it. nothing more humbling than trying to talk about windows to people who want to talk about football.

5. on twitter i get jealous of stupid puns. this also happens everywhere else.

6.write a sentence using loose and lose.... you snooze you lose, unless its a snoozing competition, then you have a loose chance of winning.

7.write a sentence using then and than.... this is lengthening my vocab, thank you!

8. write a sentence using julienne... my birthday is near julienned but i celebrate it in august

9. this summer i promised to do a whole bunch of things i didnt do. apologies if i end up not doing this too. tho HOW WOULD U KNOW!! woooooo!!! *assorted ghost beeps and honks*

10. pop culture is something i stay out of. dangerous stuff. I don't even know who nicholas minaj is.

11. my fave twitter accnts are @piersmorgan and @realdonaldtrump; horrible, toupee'd, botoxxed white men that make me feel better about myself.

12. hashtags, an accurate analogy would be when you want to dial out from inside an office & on the other end is a assault of people trying to sell you energy drinks and music made by children in expensive jeans.

13. cats are meant to have nine wives but ive never seen this. they seem too stuck up to have relationships.

14. when no one is looking i wave my arms HEY PAY ATTENTION TO ME. please pay attention to me…

15. i remember when everything had wires. remotes, phones, stationary, fruit. look how far we have come!

Thanks @egg_dog! I love your work.

Virgin Active Wellness Wednesday: A Little Motivation

We all need a little motivation sometimes. On those days when we would rather drink 5 litres of chocolate milk and wear a grey baggy t-shirt over a pair of an old boyfriend's rugby shorts than negotiate a healthy salad and 60 minutes of exercise into our schedule...for example.

I'm talking about those days when there cannot be enough dishes that contain cheese to satisfy your cravings.  Those days when you ask your co-workers "Is running out of ideas considered actual exercise hahaha?" Days like today.

Below are some pictures of girls who clearly never have those days. Butter is not a food group they have ever delved into and a day of skipping a workout for a drink is a day lost. Feast your eyes ladies. And then dry your tears, lace up your running shoes and step away from the Nik Naks. We're just 4 weeks away from our summer holidays.

Get healthy. Be happy.
Sign up to Virgin Active and check out their Facebook page.