The Art of Inspiration: A hat tip to Colours of You SA

13882138_1775442932698090_822200258108124904_nI’ve wanted to be a photographic artist since I was about 15. Before I even knew I wanted to write, I knew I wanted to take pictures. Silly thing that. I suppose. I don’t even know why I decided I wanted to do it. I probably saw a pretty photograph. Probably one that my grandfather took. I can’t remember, but of course this was a mad idea.

I wasn’t into the idea of being someone who is paid to take pictures at weddings. Or do school portraits. I wanted to take pictures because I wanted to take pictures. The idea of photography as an art instead of as a career was completely lacking in any pragmatism so it made no sense to pursue it once I left school. Of course I still have no career anyway, so walking away was of no practical consequence, but at the time it seemed reasonable to forget it. Forgetting it, back then, did at least save me a bit of money, because film photography was really expensive and I certainly could not afford to play with it!

Today, of course, digital exists, and with it a whole new artistic avenue. And I’m getting old now. I’m figuring out that holy crap life goes quickly thing. So I’m kind of less open to walking away from the stuff that makes me tick. Even if I’m a little shitty at it and have no business trying let alone succeeding.

And that is what brings me to my reason for posting today: Gerard and the Colours of You team. (more…)

A Sanity Saving Staycation at the Plantation

13934945_10157366918415094_3507844175433383530_nI’m sitting on my bed right now watching TV and feeling grateful that I’m in a should I nap or read? mood rather than a if I don’t nap for seven hours right now I might as well set myself on fire mood. Last weekend had a weird suck factor to it that I don’t really want to get into right at this moment but it did and it left me feeling out of sorts and perhaps a little irrationally wounded. Anyway, sometimes I have to wonder if The Universe somehow conspires to apologise for these things by injecting a little goodness just when you need it.

13906895_10157366918850094_535266262889412620_nOn Tuesday night Ty and I got to stay in the bridal suite of The Plantation which is situated just outside of town and it was more glorious than I even imagined it would be. Ty won the night for us in a little competition that he entered back in April, I think,  and we decided to use it on Monday night because Tuesday (Women’s Day) marked our 7 years together anniversary. Now of course, such places are usually way out of our league. We humble folk don’t usually indulge in such fancy things, but my goodness it was a welcome treat! We were fed the most incredible picnic right in our room. I think I squeaked and oohed and aahed through that entire meal! Cheese and crackers-type food is kind of my favourite thing to eat. But this was over the top! Homemade pate and a cranberry salad with salad dressing that I all but ended up drinking from the bottle! The luncheon meats were obviously bought from places I would never consider stepping foot in. All of it: so beautiful! And we got to wash it down with the most delicious bottle of champagne! And then blissful sleep with no real life to bother us until morning. (more…)

Homeschool Photo Club

69290_10152670267355094_1319767039_nForgive this post for possibly being a little long-winded as I preamble to the point. My husband and I were having a little bit of a chat the other day, saying how we wondered if we should worry about the amount of time our children tend to spend on their phones as well as their computers. Of course, their curriculum demands that they spend plenty of time on their computers as it is, but there’s also Youtube, Showmax, Netflix…the list goes on.

But the thing is: this is the world that we live in. And when it comes to technology I do try to consider such things. For one: I’m on my phone/iPad/computer/tv all the time too! I’m not saying that it’s particularly “ok” but it does definitely seem a ittle disingenuous to go the banish the technology route if I am a culprit myself.

So what I decided to do was have a discussion with the kids about our concerns regarding their phone use especially, all the while acknowledging that it is just sort of how it is these days. The we had a long discussion about creativity and how important it is to play with that side of your persona. I suggested to them that if we can’t get away from our phones, perhaps we could put them to a little bit of creative use.

The thing is, I am severely ill-equipped to help them draw pictures or paint or sculpt without resorting to Youtube videos and going “have at it!” but I have been getting into photography as a hobby lately (finally!) and while I acknowledge that I still know very little in this field, I am willing to play alongside them and share my tiny bits of knowledge if they’re willing to learn. Of course they were willing – they are quite polite children, after all – and so it came about that we decided to start a bit of a homeschool photography challenge.

Photography can be a great art medium, and if you use what you already have (phones, ipads, mom or dad’s camera) it doesn’t have to cost the earth to develop a love for it.

We’re calling it a homeschool photography challenge mostly because we’re homeschoolers, but also because we’re trying to put a bit of “education” into the challenges. That’s a bit of a challenge in itself! We’re hoping that a couple of you homeschoolers out there might join us on Instagram as we play our way through this journey. If you’re not a homeschooler, however, we really don’t care and we’d love you to join us anyway.

Basically we’ll share a challenge on our Instagram page and then possibly re-share photographs submitted to the challenge in a “special mention” kind of way.

Follow @homeschoolphotoclub to keep up with our challenges and check out #homeschoolphotoclub to see our collective pics.

Happy hashtagging, folks!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child *review*

13901513_10157331776850094_1030296456742360513_nSome of you are lucky enough to have The Cursed Child to look forward to right now, but Harry’s story is over for me. I’m done. I sat down yesterday and in one sitting I devoured the last of it. It’s gone. Over. Where do I even go to from here? The crime novel on my bedside table that I’ve slowly been making my way through doesn’t seem to be quite the right fit after the end of an era…

My not-one-for-crowds-and-late-nights self went to Exclusive Books’ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child party on Saturday night. At midnight. I admit there was a part of me that thought I might not make it. Not because it’s hard for me to be up at that hour. It’s just hard to find my enthusiasm at that hour! Especially in winter when it’s warm in bed. And there’s tea. I even dressed up as a more dignified version of Rita Skeeter (I can’t pull those sour lemon faces of hers!). I ended up having a ball being sorted into Ravenclaw (even Chance knows that I belong in Ravenclaw!) and being given my own wand before being handed a glass of red wine. (try #nayeslovesharrypotter for various pics)

And can I tell you another secret? I wasn’t sure that I even wanted this book. It’s a screenplay. Well, I keep calling it a screenplay  but actually it’s just the playplay. Surely that wouldn’t be fun to read? Especially not for R299 which I don’t have because we’re trying to do that thing where we save money to travel instead of buying things.

And yet… Oh I am so happy that I bought the thing!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is just exquisite. I loved every second of it. And I can’t tell you how impressed I am that reading “just the screenplay” was a wonderful experience. JK Rowling has done such an incredible job of making the Harry Potter world part of our core beings that I didn’t even need context or scene setting with this one. It was enough to just “listen” to the characters talk to each other. My brain filled in all the blanks. My brain drew all the pictures. I didn’t need to be told what was there. I already knew.

And I absolutely love that! I love that Harry Potter is just such a part of me that reading a play about it was such a colourful experience. I love that my breath was taken away from the beginning, and that I was able to take a leisurely stroll through the rest of the story, letting it envelope me in that Harry Potter whimsey just one more time.

To JK Rowling I would just like to say: thank you. I know I am not alone when I confess that Harry Potter has played a significant role in who I am as a person. I have learned so much from this journey that you shared with us. You truly are responsible for an incredible amount of goodness that exists in actual real live people and I find that so extraordinary. And while I am sad that today you announced that Harry’s story is well and truly over, I have no doubt that there will be much greatness still to come from you, as well as from the people that you have undoubtedly inspired.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Social Media and the Trainwreck of Life

imageFor the fourth night in a row now I’m finding it difficult to fall asleep. I’m here in the dark, listening to the noises of the night, typing away and hoping that my keystrokes don’t wake Noah. My wakefulness doesn’t seem to bother him much though, so at least there’s that. Oh who am I kidding? He’ll probably wake up at some point and then refuse to go back to sleep until I do.

It’s been a weird day, I suppose. Or couple of days. My brain is trying to work things out and just not managing to process. This typically leads to a sort of sludge-like eep. I am still. And possibly stagnant.

It’s difficult to know who you want to be when it comes to writing. I’ve been a fiction writer probably since I was a little girl. It took me long time to admit it though, and it took an even longer time to figure out exactly what it was that I even wanted to write. It was only after I had written and published my first book, and finished my second (still unedited) book that I even began to figure out the style I wanted to write in. I picked up pieces of it in what I had already written, but there was something about the oh this is how I want to write decision that kind of just tied things together and gave me my identity. The two completed books and one half book that came after I realised how I wanted to write, I am surprisingly content with. Even though they need massive amounts of work before they look even remotely complete. I love them. They are properly me. Me, plus.

Online life, it seems, is following the same sort of unsteady-and-in-need-of-definition-pattern. Now I’ve been blogging since around the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009. I forget exactly when. But that’s quite a while. And I’ve never really defined my online life in any sort of way. I don’t mean to say that I in any way act a sort of online part. On the contrary I would most likely be hopeless at acting any specific part.

But what exactly am I even doing? (more…)

On Depression, SAMREC, Cape Recife Lighthouse, and why are all the snails dead?

13686700_10157312362800094_8714966834069855283_nCan I confess something just quickly? I’m feeling absolutely depressed today. Like cry-about-the-undone-laundry depressed. Worry-that-I’m-not-enough-for-the-kids depressed. Holy-crap-I-need-to-work-more depressed. And it’s damn hard to get anywhere when I’m feeling like this. It’s hard to not want to do anything but sleep. I get that it’s not real. I get that it’s in my head. But it’s here today.

So I need to try and think of something that brings me actual joy. And I need to damn well remember that even though 2016 has been a shithole of a year for the world, in many ways it has actually been a kind of awesome year for me.

Remember that, Nadine! Dammit! Remember that this is the year that you started to take your love of travel seriously. You made it work. You ARE making it work. For the first time you have moved from that’s not possible  to  how can I make this possible? And that’s a big deal. And even though the state of the world pains you to no end, it has also served as a very grave reminder that life is to be lived now because later might not exist. And you’re getting better at it. Which is something. (more…)

Congrats to the Ticket Winners!!

13782274_168105583595180_1259028898326339199_nHappy Tuesday, folks!!

This is just a short CONGRATULATIONS post to the folks who actually commented on the Wine Show Ticket Giveaway last week.

I decided to split tickets as follows:

1 ticket to Jocelyn Fryer

1 ticket to Anonymous (heehee I know who you are!)

2 tickets to Nkosana (we can’t leave out the Mrs now can we?)

This means that everyone is a winner and I get to feel like Oprah for three point five seconds which is kind of cool.

 

Would you like tickets to the Tops Wine Show?

imageI was hoping to put a post or two between all the alcohol posts so that folks don’t end up thinking that all I do is drink wine and beer, but yesterday was a hard mom day and the glorious plans that I had to gush about the wonders of one of our local institutions kind of fell by the wayside in favour of me hiding under my duvet and playing on Instagram for most of the afternoon (and evening). Did you even notice? Of course not!

Now, back on topic…

I mentioned before that there’s a Wine Show happening at The Boardwalk from the 4th to the 6th of August and I’m lucky enough to be able to give away two double tickets to the event. Technically I’m supposed to ask you a simple question like “when is the wine show?” but you all know that simple isn’t always my go-to style…

Because I adore Carnival Themes with An Extreme Passion and because I am a lover as well as a teller of stories, I thought instead that I would ask you this:

What is your absolute favourite Carnival Story?

Did it come in the form of a book? A movie? A tv show? Was your favourite carnival story a personal experience? Tell me what you love. Why you love it. How it makes you feel. Tell me. Show me! My favourite answers get tickets to the show, and if I struggle to decide I will hand it over to Facebookland to help me.

Sound good?

Of course it does!

(If you’re too stuck for an answer, go off and read Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern,  and then go and watch the series Carnivale and then come back and tell me how awesome they are.)

Otherwise, you can check out my Instajourney with wine here: #nayesexploreswine and leave me some Instalove while you think about your answer.

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From Beer Cocktails to Carnival Style Wine Shows

imageYes, I’ve already spoken about beer today, but last week I was also super stoked to receive a personal invite to the Tops at Spar Wine Show which will be taking place at The Boardwalk on the 4th, 5th, and 6th of August. I’m still not sure exactly how I came to be on this invitation list, but, when it comes to fancy invitations my new policy is to accept politely and ask questions later, lest someone figure out that I somehow got onto the list by mistake. Seems wise, doesn’t it? Otherwise you don’t end up getting to try awesome things like Beer Cocktails or whatever wonderful things the Wine Show has in store for us. As I write this I’m actually considering the life coaching merits of the movie/book Yes, Man – but I digress.

I was stoked to get this invitation for four reasons…

Reason 1.) This invitation is fancier than a wedding invitation and it makes me feel fancy. Feeling fancy is important for us frazzled moms who sometimes aren’t so sure of how good a job we’re doing at keeping it together.

Reason 2.) There was a bottle of wine that came with the invitation. Who doesn’t get excited by free bottles of wine?

Reason 3.) The theme they’ve chosen for this year’s show is The Greatest Show Unearthed  which is a CARNIVAL THEME!!! Anyone who knows me or has paid any slight attention to the little things that make my heart happy will know that I absolutely adore all things carnival themed. I am a silly crazy kind of excited! I absolutely cannot wait for the show!

Reason 4.) They’re letting me take my partner with me which is awesome because fun is better when I share it with this big bear of mine.

This is what the folks from Tops have to say about their event:

LIFE’S A CABERNET AT THE GREATEST SHOW UNEARTHED

The TOPS at SPAR Wine Show is back this August

From Merlot to Malbec, Pinot Noir to Pinotage, The TOPS at SPAR Wine Show presents South Africa’s top wine labels all under one roof. Back in PE for its 7th consecutive year, the event engages wine lovers of all ages and ilk to taste and buy the country’s best bottles directly from wine producers at cellar door and show prices.

Themed The Greatest Show Unearthed for 2016, the event will channel a vintage burlesque experience while expertly blending hundreds of fine wine exhibitors, edu-taining activities, food and festivity between the 4th and 6th of August at the Boardwalk. A highlight not to be missed is the popular Weekend Post Wine Theatre; it presents a series of interactive tasting talks hosted by industry experts and wine personalities.

Visitors are also invited to vote for their favourite wine producer in the “People’s Choice Awards” to stand a chance of winning a case of wine.

Tickets can be purchased pre-show for R120 from www.itickets.co.za or at the door for R140. Price includes a tasting glass, all tastings, access to The Weekend Post Wine Theatre and a map to help navigate the show.

Details:

–          Dates: Thursday 4th– Saturday 6th of August 2016

–          Time:

o   17h00 – 21h00 (Thursday & Friday)

o   12h00 – 21h00 (Saturday)

–          Venue: The Boardwalk, PE

 

About The TOPS at SPAR Wine Show:

The TOPS at SPAR Wine Show was launched in 2006 and has since grown to become arguably South Africa’s fastest-growing consumer wine exhibition. Buoyed by its new owners in 2015, the event now hosts five shows around the country in Johannesburg (11th show), Durban (5th show), Nelspruit (2nd show), PE (7th show) and Pretoria (1st show) between May and November. Besides its diversity of quality wines to taste and buy direct from the exhibitors at cellar door and show prices, seasoned wine connoisseurs as well as up-and-coming wine fans are engaged with its fun, edu-taining format that includes the Wine Theatre.

imageIt sounds fun as hell to me!

To my Port Elizabeth friends I just have four questions:

1.) If I run a ticket giveaway will you all take part?

2.) If you don’t win will you come with me anyway?

3.) If you come with me will you dress up? (say yes!)

4.) Where does one purchase stripy stockings?

Have a happy Tuesday, my lovelies!

Becoming a Beer Babe

imageOk so I’m laughing at the title as well. Actually no, I’m not. I AM a babe! *fluffs up own feathers*

Last week Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism invited me on a sort of beer tour which seemed like a serendipitous turn of events since the husband and I have been trying to explore our home town a bit more these days. Of course, exploring and fund fluidity tend to go hand-in-hand so when it comes to all expenses paid “invites” my policy is to respond with a resounding yes! And this particular time I even made my husband take a half day off of work to join me.

Apparently Brewery Tours are a thing around these parts and we even have enough craft beer brewery places to make the tours feasible! Who knew?! We were introduced to the folks running The Dockside Brewery on our mini tour and we got to hear all about the interesting workings of the craft beer world. Believe it or not, this rustic little spot located at The Grand Hotel in Belmont Terrace, not only makes a beetroot infused beer, but on Friday afternoon they launched a raspberry-infused beer as well. And even better than raspberry beer? Raspberry beer cocktails! Yum. Seriously: just yum! (for pics on this adventure check out #nayesexplorescraftbeer)

imageAfter our visit to Dockside, our tour actually got even more interesting. We all hopped on a bus (yay!) and rode off to Motherwell where we all got to hang out at a place called 469 Bar-Lounge – which is a bar slash lounge slash butchery.

Guys: what a vibe! I have to admit it was damn nice to get out of my usual zone and just zen out somewhere new. The music, the people, the food! All of it was damn lovely. We ate a weirdly not-oriental but still spicy chicken with slices of the most incredible dumpling I have EVER eaten. My husband was brave enough to try the tripe and pap. All of it cooked by the cutest woman who took catering to large crowds in a stride that I can only describe as majestic. No stress around here, folks! We only do happy.

As I was sitting there, with a full and happy tummy, sipping on Kasi Craft beer brewed in my own city while listening to a hybrid mix of marimba drums and house music, I couldn’t help but slip into my contented explorer state and just smile. I found the feeling. In my own town I found the feeling. If you’re a traveller you know the one I mean. It’s the one where you are completely out of your space, your comfort zone, and yet you are still content. You still fit in, even though you don’t fit in. It’s that feeling of being in the right place. Being in the moment.

And it’s just a little bit like being in love…

Beautiful Birds of Eden

DSCN5591I think Birds of Eden might be what heaven is like. Or if we get to choose our own heavens, Birds of Eden would be mine. If you like bird sanctuaries, this one will ruin all other sanctuaries for you for life, because it is magnificent. In fact, it is the largest free-flying aviary in the world, and being inside of it feels a little bit like magic.

I love birds. I don’t really know why. It’s not like I had an exceptional cockatiel as a kid and have never recovered from it. In fact I actually don’t like cockatiels so much. How did the segue into cockatiels… My apologies. Moving on…

Oh yes now I know why it segued into cockatiels: because what on earth could I possibly say about Birds of Eden that would properly express how I feel about the place. Very little probably. Or at least very little that wouldn’t have me coming off as a gushy poodle of some sort.

It truly is a wonderful place though. There’s something so special about ambling through the trees along the boardwalk and pointing out each new birdy discovery with your spouse and children. I imagine going alone would be satisfying in itself, but sharing it with my favourite people, ticking off each bird species in the bird booklet as we spot it, getting excited together at the magical shots we’ve caught with our cameras, and grunting in disappointment at the shots we’ve missed, always proves to be an especially good way to spend some time together.

I wish I could build a tiny little cottage at the bottom of that valley, under all those beautiful birds, and just spend my days being surrounded by them. They’re noisy, no doubt, but at the same time they are somehow very peaceful.

And so very special…

My Instagram pics of Birds of Eden can be found here: #nayesexploresbirdsofeden

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5 Monkeys in Monkeyland

DSCN5028Where are we at now? Three weeks since we got back from our road trip? Four? I can barely remember… This week alone has already felt like three weeks all on its own. So actually I wouldn’t mind going back in time a little and finding myself wandering back through Monkeyland, back when life was simple and my children didn’t need rescuing from bullies. Perhaps I should just take us all on another trip again? If only my bank account could agree with that!

Back to Monkeyland though…

Monkeyland and Birds of Eden are two of my absolute places in South Africa. I’ve been to Monkeyland 3 times and Birds of Eden 4 times, and I can still say that I’d be happily up for revisiting both again any time.

DSCN4952I can’t say I’ve been to many sanctuaries in my lifetime, but in comparison to the few that I have been to, Monkeyland is an undoubtedly superior space. Mankeyland is basically a fenced off piece of forest (I won’t pretend to know the dimensions, but it’s big!) where rescued and rehabilitated monkeys (and lemurs – so many lemurs!) can live out the rest of their days in “freedom” while still being cared for and fed by humans. The creatures in Monkeyland come from all over the world. Most of them are rescued or surrendered pets or performance animals, who are not capable of surviving in the “real” wild. While this is a bit of a sad thought, it does at least provide a way for folks like you and me to experience the wonder of these creatures without having to resort to frequenting the horrors of the nearest zoo.

Taking a tour guided walk through this place is an exceptional education for both young and old and I can’t recommend it enough for anyone touring through The Garden Route.

I wish so much that I could just quietly hang out in the sanctuary with my camera for hours on end, quietly waiting for the perfect photo opportunities to present themselves, but alas time and circumstance meant that in reality  I could only shoot off a couple of snaps as we wandered through the trees. I did a terrible job, but I have shared a couple on Instagram (follow me please – barely any of my instameet friends are following me back and I need some validatory love!) and tagged them with #nayesexploresmonkeyland if you’d like to check them out.