Haters Back Off and what the hell did I just watch?

haters-back-offSo last Friday a new show dropped onto the Netflix list and it looked dreadful so immediately I pressed play. And then my eyes started to bleed…

Haters Back Off. Oh dear Lord…

Now generally it takes me about 30 seconds to sum up whether or not I want to watch something. This quirk drives my husband mad because it is mad, but it just kind of works out that way. There’s a lot riding on that first 30 seconds. I’m quite sure our TV makers must know this, because there are a ton of shows that manage to kick that first 30 seconds’ ass. And yes… I am aware of the grammatical dubiousness of that sentence…

Anyhoo… (yikes…. I must be tired)

So there’s this YouTuber called Miranda Sings and Miranda is basically a character created by a comedienne who has her own YouTube channel. Miranda seems to be based on one of those talent show entrants who you can’t quite figure out. Like… How did they get there and why did no one ever tell them that music is not for them? These people – in real life – are the exact reason that I absolutely cannot watch reality TV. It’s too stressful. But, as a character, I suppose they can be kind of funny if you’re into that sort of thing. So this Miranda YouTube chick somehow ended up with a Netflix show that explores the behind-the-YouTube scenes of this made up character’s life.

I watched the whole thing in one sitting. Even though the first 30 seconds made me want to peel off my own skin. And even though all of the following seconds also made me want to peel off my own skin.

It’s possible that I a.) have a problem and b.) have run out of things that actually make me happy to watch.

Anyway – the whole YouTuber gets a TV series story is kind of cool. The show itself is disturbingly “real” in a sort of jokey but excessively uncomfortable way. Like, you’re kind of laughing, and you know it’s supposed to be a joke…but it also doesn’t really feel like a joke…

Haters Back Off is an uncomfortable combination of Idols outtakes and the movie Napoleon Dynamite. Judging by the amount of this-is-not-for-me hatred I have for this show I am 95% sure that my sister will love it. I can only hope that the next batch of new stuff will be more suited to me. Thank God Gilmore Girls, 13 Reasons Why, and Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events are on their way.

This Week on Showmax: I need to talk about Girls

GirlsLast week Lena Dunham and her team of cronies landed on Showmax with Season 5 of the series Girls. I absolutely hate this show, so, naturally, I watched the entire season in one sitting. And this is what I need to talk about, because surely this is madness? I do this every single time. I devour this show like there is no tomorrow, even though it makes my eyes bleed. WHY? Most of the characters in this show make my skin crawl. And yet…

I think it might be too real. Is that possible? I think maybe on some level that I worry that Girls is a picture of white girl groups everywhere. Because let’s face it: it’s not about girls. It’s about white girls. And my god does everything about them feel unnervingly familiar.

My two absolutely worst characters in the show are Marney and Hannah. I hate those two so much! But there’s that thing where sometimes you hate in others what you recognise in yourself. And that scares the ever loving hell out of me because oh sweet Thor please come down and promise me, promise me, that I am nothing like these girls because I really really really need to not be like them, and I am terrified that my violent opposition to them is evidence of our sameness.

Isn’t that awful?

And what about this thing where I can’t stop watching it? Does that mean that it’s actually good? Because I do sort of feel like it is good, in a sort of different way to, say, Game of Thrones being good. I also hate GoT but the merits of that show make sense to me. And I also binge watch that show as soon as I can even though I can’t stand it. But with GoT I can say oh it’s good because it’s so complex and the characters are so well developed and the cinematography is brilliant and the storyline is so brave in that it has no regard for any of our feelings. That makes sense. But Girls?

Uh… It’s very honest. 

I can’t come up with anything else.

I can’t wait to see Season 6.

I’m so confused…

On Zanzibar and the Joys of Being Home

zanzibari-sunriseI’ve been home from Zanzibar for two weeks and I’m only just now starting to feel “normal” again. I’ve spent my days processing, and watching too much television (which you’ll probably hear about at a later stage) and just contemplating the madness of this year. Being home with no immediate plans – or even plans to make plans – feels exceptionally good.

Does loving being home make me a bad traveller?

I don’t actually consider myself a traveler  so much as I consider myself just a regular person who likes to travel and who has recently made a commitment to taking this love more seriously.

Every now and then you might see that meme on Facebook. It says:

Make a list of the things that you love.

Make a list of the things that you do every day.

Adjust accordingly.

I’m trying to do that. Although I admit I haven’t actually written a list. Maybe I should.

In the meantime I’m contemplating Zanzibar and what I need to say about it. It was a rather educational trip, I must admit. I suppose international travel often is. Or perhaps any travel has things to teach if you’re open to learning. But as beautiful and exotic as Zanzibar is, I left there feeling a bit…well…heartsore…

I know I’m supposed to share all the wonderful things about travelling. That’s what travel blogger do. And yet I feel like I want to talk about the Zanzibari people, and their less shaky political situation. I want to talk about how teachers in Zanzibar can expect to earn as little as $77 per month as a salary. And how the people of Zanzibar are without adequate medical care or family planning services.

It’s so hard to talk about “oooh snorkelling” when these are the things that stick in my mind the most. So forgive me, for a little while. So many folks have been saying to me I can’t wait until you tell us all about Zanzibar. I’m afraid it might not be the pretty picture you expect. At least not all of it.

There are lovely fun wonderful things out there. But there are humans, too. And I cannot help but feel the need to tell their stories first.



This Week on Netflix: Luke Cage

luke-cageEver since Mike Colter and Kristen Ritter indulged in some crazy aggressive sex in Jessica Jones I have been looking forward to the arrival of Luke Cage’s own show. As far as our Marvel heroes go, Netflix keeps giving us hours of binge-worthiness, and of course Luke Cage was no exception. I think we finished it in two sessions. And the only reason it took two instead of one was because I was in recovery mode after our two week adventure.

Luke Cage is brilliant. Not only is Mike Colter a magnificent specimen to behold, but he is a brilliant actor. He brings to Marvel a character who I cannot help but want to hug and hide behind simultaneously. This show is proof positive that when the roles are written, our black artists bring excellence of the highest degree to the table. Everyone in this show was so good. From the co-stars to the extras.

Pay special attention to the soundtrack when you watch the series. The is something absolutely beautiful about the musicians in the background there too.

Thanks, Netflix. This one was really extra special. I can’t wait to see more from this particular world. I love how Different Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Luke Cage are from each other, but how they still have that X-factor which kind of links them.

Whatever I watch this weekend is not going to be able to compare.

My Favourite Things to Do in the Friendly City

Cheapflights Nelson Mandela Bay BlogathonThrilled to be part of the Cheapflights Blogathon that seeks to explore a bit of the friendly city of Port Elizabeth (with the ever fabulous folk at Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, of course) I’ve been thinking about all the reasons I love my home over the last couple of days. I can’t seem to stop thinking of the review that Madonna gave of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. 

“The Alchemist is a book about magic, dreams and the treasures we seek elsewhere and then find on our own doorstep.”

When I first read the book (about 10 years ago) I thought that this review of Madonna’s was an inaccurate assessment and it kind of irritated me quite a bit. In a way, I still sort of do disagree with it, but at the same time I’m coming around to her thinking. You see, to me the book was saying that even though everything you need can be found at home, you should still brave the unknown and seek your fortunes (not necessarily monetary fortune) elsewhere. Of course this plays right into the psyche of those of us who love to travel. But I’m kind of liking the idea that maybe both of our assessments were right. Maybe the story teaches us that adventure out there is important, but also that what your soul needs can be found at home too. In the last year I have certainly come to understand that the most wonderful of adventures in faraway places have this magical way of making you love home even more.

And so I have decided to share my favourite things to do here in this friendly city of ours. Port Elizabeth has so much to offer, from temperate weather to blue flag beaches to adventure and tons of touristy fun stuff, but I have to admit that my favourites are more of the understated kind. These are the things that I try to indulge in regularly, or wish that I could indulge in more regularly. Please do feel free to share some of yours!

dscn1841-version-21.) SAMREC Penguin Releases

Hands down this is one of the most awww bless things to do in Port Elizabeth. If you follow SAMREC’s Facebook Page you should be able to figure out when the next one is. Or just contact them. Penguin releases happen pretty regularly and if watching those little critters run down the beach and jump into the sea doesn’t melt your heart, nothing will.

2.) A Coffee Milkshake from Something Good

Can I confess something weird? I’ve never been inside Something Good. This is one of the most popular places to eat in our city, but I gotta tell you, there’s very little chance I’ll ever go inside. Why? Not because they aren’t great. I’m sure they are. It’s because grabbing something from their take-away menu (roadhouse style) and then sitting in my car to consume it while watching the sea is one of my absolute I’m-not-even-nearly-kidding favourite things to do. So if I’m ever in that area this will be my entertainment choice. I speak purely for myself of course, but this is like the perfect date! Grab a milkshake. Park with your car facing the beach. And just sit there. It’s heaven. There are of course other great spots from which to sit and watch the waves (I did already mention that PE is awesome) but this particular piece of our shoreline just does it for me.

Noah at ArtEC

3.) Check out an Exhibition at ArtEC

If you love initiatives that are all about giving back to the community, then do pop in to ArtEC when you’re in town. I love most of our art galleries by default, but this is hands down the best one we have as far as I’m concerned. These guys are constantly putting on the most exciting of events and bringing the most diverse collection of artists to our attention. And they do this so humbly. It is a beautiful thing to behold. (pics: #nayesexploresartec)

4.) The Cape Recife Lighthouse

I’m not sure how we regular folk are supposed to manage to get up there without going on an actual tour that includes a bunch of other stuff, but I imagine if you contact SAMREC someone might be able to help you. In July(ish) this year, my husband and I used our Nelson Mandela Bay Pass and went on a tour with Alan Tours. This tour included a trip up the Cape Recife Lighthouse. Wow. The photo opportunities. The views. The everything. Go there. (pics: #nayesexploresthecaperecifelighthouse)

5.) The Redhouse Flamingoes

If you leave the city and drive towards Redhouse you will eventually come across a whole bunch of salt pans on your left. These salt pans are filled with gorgeous pink flamingoes. I love taking a drive out that way with my camera and taking a hundred terrible photographs of those birds. One day I’ll have a lens that can handle them at a distance that doesn’t make them fly away, but for now I don’t mind failing in my attempts to capture their gorgeousness. Just watching them is enough.


I really would love to hear what quirky things you love to do around our city. Feel free to share them with me and I might even be inclined to give them a try!

*disclaimer* While this post was sponsored by the good folks at Cheapflights in association with Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, the content and opinions found here are entirely my own.



Thinking about things to do in the friendly city of Port Elizabeth

Cheapflights Nelson Mandela Bay BlogathonConsidering I’ve just come back from Zanzibar, it seems a little weird that I’m now writing a post about things to do in Port Elizabeth. Because I have Zanzibar to write about first, surely. The problem is: I don’t want to! And I feel a little brattish about it but the truth is that I was so relieved to arrive home in Nelson Mandela Bay after our latest little adventure that I find myself needing a little bit of breathing space between myself and the last three weeks.

Besides, being glad to be home is truly quite an exquisite feeling. Isn’t it? We should take advantage of all those good vibes!

You see, I’ve been finding that the the more I explore outside of my city, the more I find myself wanting to properly explore inside of my city. Port Elizabeth has just as many wonderful nooks and crannies to discover as anywhere else. And why shouldn’t I approach my home town with the same curiosity that I employ when exploring places that I need a plane to take me to? In fact, for a while now I have settled on the idea that perhaps my goals for 2017 should be to become the absolute very best hometown tourist that I can be.

So, in the wake of making such a resolution, it seemed quite fortuitous to be asked by Cheapflights to be part of their Port Elizabeth Blogathon with Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism. And forgive me for gushing, but when the makers of your #1 favourite app on your phone ask you to do a campaign with them you say YES as loudly as you possibly can. And then you make a fool of yourself by admitting that their app legitimately changed your life for the better. Because you’re too old to be coy about these things.

I do hope you enjoy the upcoming things to do ideas for our little corner of the world. Give me a shout if you think you’ve got some alternative ideas. We like playing with the slightly odder things around here!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for White Kids

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Despite feeling like I might have Yuppie Flu I finally went to go and watch Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children last night. When I say finally I mean that I have been waiting for this movie for what feels like years, giddy with excitement that it was being done by Tim Burton and even giddier that Miss Peregrine herself was being played by Eva Green, who I have an insane crush on. I loved the book. And I knew I would love the movie.

I did. I loved it. A  group of friends plus some magic is my favourite thing. Something about this movie even reminded me of my absolute favourite: The Goonies. I don’t know why. But it was lovely. It made me smile. The 3D on it was incredible! The colours. The everything. I think it even changed a lot from the book (I don’t remember I’ll have to give it a re-read) but what they chose to do worked so well. It was fantastic.

And yet I couldn’t help noticing something…

On Thursday afternoon when I mentioned to a friend that I was going to see it, she mentioned that folks are a bit upset by the lack of diversity in Tim Burton films – with a particular emphasis on Samuel L. Jackson being the only black character in this particular film and him being a villain at that. When questioned on the subject, Mr Burton was quite flippant about itThings either call for things or they don’t he said.

Well… Yes. That’s kind of true, isn’t it? If our fiction is making a point of being true to history despite having a fantastical element, then “calling for things” can be a valid argument.

Of course, with this in mind, I found myself paying a more critical kind of attention. (more…)

Home for Hibernation

Processed with Snapseed.

Yesterday the husband and I, along with our three cretins, got home after a long family trip to the Free State followed by a quick pop-over to Zanzibar. And all I can think is please Lord can I just sleep for three days! Holidays are supposed to be rejuvenating, aren’t they? Relaxing, refreshing. All that.

But no.

I’m exhausted! I’m happy!! But I’m exhausted. And glory there is so much un-packing to do. All I want to do is hibernate. Like a real bear. For 6 months.

I can’t brain. I can’t focus. I can’t anything. I just need sleep. Please.

Tomorrow I will be better.

No. Make that Monday. On Monday I’ll be better. But maybe only next  Monday. Not this one around the corner. You can’t only hibernate for one day. It needs to be more.

So I have to have the quiets for a little while before real life comes back again. After that I’ll be back to tell you about Zanzibar and our own friggen awesome country. Because our country is awesome. And every time I go away I realise it just a little bit more.

Hakuna matata, my friends. I’ll be back. With pictures. And details.

This Week on Showmax: The Girfriends’ Guide to Divorce nearly lead to my own divorce.

mv5bmtcwmzi0odg5ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwndywoteznze-_v1_Last Wednesday (I think) The Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce landed on Showmax and then my husband and I had a fight about it for an hour an a half. Because that’s what normal people in normal relationships do, right?

So the fight wasn’t the fault of the show, of course (the show is fine – something to watch if you’ve run out of other things to watch, like I have) but either something that happened on the show, or the mere act of sitting alongside my husband watching a show about the dissolution of marriage, prompted me to ask him if he ever learns anything from the stuff we watch. My question was met with an emphatic no and then he seemed rather incredulous when I suggested that fiction as a whole can serve as a catalyst for personal growth as well as be a valuable source of entertainment. He looked at me like I was mad.

Of course this sent me into an unrivalled panic. The flippant rejection of the social importance of fiction felt like an absolute rejection of my entire being. After all, I myself am made up entirely of books stitched together with television shows! Books might as well be my parents! (apologies to the actual parents who are both lovely people but who cannot keep the look of how in the hell did we create this thing from their faces almost every time I open my mouth to speak…it’s the books’ fault, parents, it’s the books’ fault…and apparently it is the fault of my refusal to separate fiction from life…) (more…)

Nesting Season

photo-on-2016-09-13-at-4-36-pmYou know… I didn’t know that I thought it, but I think I’ve always just assumed that humans are these massively evolved beings that don’t really march to the beat of nature’s drum. That’s kind of stupid, I guess, when you take things like menstruation and ovulation into consideration (glory!) but yeah, you know. Actually no. That’s not right either. That stuff is biological, not instinctual.  What I’m trying to talk about is uncontrollable instinct. *shakes the cobwebs from her brain* Here I thought we were all at least semi-in-charge of all this nonsense that goes on around us, but after observing myself as well as all the people around me over the past couple of days, I think I might be changing my mind.

Now I am wondering: are we somehow instinctively tied into the changing of the seasons as well? In the same way that animals are? I know you could probably go and read up about this stuff online (I might do so just now) but just from my own observations I help but wonder. After a short winter of stagnation – comfort food and cosy weekends in front of the telly – September has arrived and everything seems to have gone mad. Is it like this every year?

Suddenly everything is busy! Nevermind spring cleaning…it’s just all this getting ready for this and that and the next thing. Work is mad. Life is mad. Kids are mad. And it’s not just me. It’s everyone! I’m starting to feel like a bird who just automatically starts making a nest and then suddenly he’s all “wait a minute…what am I doing? Why am I putting this twig here?”

Yesterday I actually felt myself burn out. The switch came while I was trying to have a conversation with my mother. It was kind of like my body was telling me “you didn’t listen when I gave you a fever blister, you didn’t listen when you couldn’t sleep, so now you have to crash, don’t say I didn’t warn you”.

I’m dead on my feet. And I feel ridiculous! Because the reason I’m wiped out is because we’ve been working towards good things! We’ve got a road trip with the kids coming up, and a wedding. And then we’re off to Zanzibar. The chaos has purpose. But the chaos also has damn sharp teeth.

So now I’m just sitting here going: Nadine, do not wipe yourself out before you have the chance to enjoy your damn holiday. Find your energy. And find it now.

Enough of the nesting season! I’m ready for a cup of tea and a nap.


I finally got to see a happy lion thanks to SANParks Open Week

img_2194Every year SANParks have an open week in September where it is free for all South Africans to visit any of our national game reserves. I have to admit that as homeschoolers we kind of love Open Week. If nothing else it always serves as a reminder that hey we have game reserves around here and we should visit them! This year, we are sadly going to have to give Addo a skip as a family…but on a happier note the reason we have to skip it is because next week we are road-tripping to Clarens!

I was, however, lucky enough to be invited to tag along with Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism on their trip to Addo Elephant Park yesterday – along with some crazy people, I might add – and I’m so glad that instead of being reasonable and declining the offer due to this month being chaos from (nice*) hell, I accepted the invitation and tagged along.

Sarah Dirsuwei from Chasing the Rainbow told me yesterday that if she is feeling particularly stressed due to work pressures she and her family will come out to Addo and just spend the day marvelling at the elephants. I have to admit I think she has a point. Spending the day out there in nature, allowing yourself to be taken in by the existence of such fascinating creatures, is cathartic to say the least. And if nothing else, it certainly makes you ponder the world, instead of yourself.

img_2221As we started our journey through the park, I found myself wondering – not for the first time – about why we even bother having zoos. This right here is how we learn, I thought. It is so hard to get on board with the “reasoning” that zoos need to exist because they are how our children learn about animals. Nonsense! Conservation is how our children learn about animals. And sanctuaries. And nature. And the circle of life. There I was, at 34, listening intently and learning so much as our game ranger tour guide shared all his wisdom with us. Explaining why there are no giraffes in the park (no tall trees – guys we should have concluded this with our own logic) and telling us about all sorts of wonderful and interesting things. I felt cleverer just listening to him. Don’t take my kids to the damn zoo. Take them on a game drive!

And then, almost as if nature herself was thanking me for that very observation, our vehicle turned left and right there napping on the grass were two beautiful male lions. I’ve never seen them out there in the wild. I’ve seen them in cages, looking bedraggled and weary. I’ve been on so many game drives, but not once have I ever been fortunate enough to spot the lions. One time there was one very far away and I could only see him by using the telescopic zoom on my camera, but that didn’t count. There they were though, napping in the shade, content as kittens. It’s such a pity that attempting to cuddle them would lead to certain death…

All I have left on my game viewing bucketlist is a hippo. I’m pretty sure that means that I had a damn successful weekend! I wish I could take even more advantage of SANParks Open Week this week. I wonder if I can convince the husband to take a day off work?


*nice hell is when you’re super overwhelmed but the reason you’re overwhelmed is because you’re working towards something awesome. In this particular case: Road trip to Clarens with the kidlets followed by 6 days of bliss in Zanzibar with the husband. The impending breakdown will be worth it. I’m sure.

This Week on Netflix: Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23

mv5bndkwmty4mdiwm15bml5banbnxkftztcwodc4mdk2nw-_v1_sy1000_sx750_al_Hmmm…. Three reviews in as many days… Should I rather be telling you about the rip-roaring 90 minute fight I had with my husband last night? And the conclusion I came to this morning? Perhaps… But causally mentioning my rather intense crush on Krysten Ritter (which started when she walked onto the Gilmore Girls set and culminated in the made-for-her portrayal of Jessica Jones – my god this woman is exceptional!) seems a more fun topic to delve into right now. Maybe I’ll tell you about that other bit of introspection tomorrow. If I feel like it.

So yeah… I have a crush on Krysten Ritter…

I think this show only recently came to Netflix. In the last couple of weeks at least. I’ve been Showmaxing more than Netflixing so I’m not entirely sure. But yeah. It was about time too though, because I find both Showmax and Netflix to be lacking in binge-worthy sitcoms for me to watch. At the very least they don’t have anything I haven’t already binged on before. So yay: something fun and new!

And? *hangs head* I binged through the whole thing in two days.

Believe it or not, James van der Beek is in it. He plays himself. He’s the celebrity best friend to one of the two main characters. I have this weird thing where I really really REALLY love it when actors play themselves and they’re just total tossers (have you seen Extras? haha!) so this show just kind of double does it for me.  Krysten is there being all kinds of badass that at least seven of my alter egos wish they could pull off…and then there’s ol’ Dawson being all doofish and kind of a tool.

Watch it. If for no other reason than we’ve run out of funny things to watch…