Traveler. Novelist. Freelance Writer. Blogger. Surfer. Artist. Crazy Cat Lady.

Traveler. Novelist. Freelance Writer. Blogger. Surfer. Artist. Crazy Cat Lady.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

DIY Home Decor - Jewelry Hanger

I found this idea on Pintrest a little while ago and it was one of my first projects that I set too work on when I had a few days off work. 

I took a vintage photo frame (for great effect) and removed the glass slate. 

I then snipped up some old lace-like place mats into long strips and stuck them behind the frame with prestick. 

The holes in the lace were perfect to slide some earrings into and that's how I made my own DIY jewelry hanger.

I'm still trying to find something better than prestick to hold up my lace though, I tried pins but it won't go into the wooden framing. So if you have any tips or ideas please feel free to comment!

Have you found any cool ideas lately?
Link your blog or idea below and let's check it out!


Yardley Makeup | Supermoist Lipstick

I am a new Yardley girl.

With my job, we have to have lipstick on at all times – presentation means everything.
So when my everyday dark red lipstick that I had scavenged from my mother’s makeup box ran out (unbranded and untraceable,) I had to hunt in the town to find a new lip color that suited me.

Let me just clarify this: I am fussy. 
Whether it be lipstick, shoes, food; I have standards, (I just lack the money to keep up with said standards….)

Having been following Zoella’s blog for some time now (linked on the right hand side of this page,) I just cannot get enough of her bright lipsticks that she always shows off in her stunning pics.
So, with an idea of what I was looking for, I scrutinized every tube I could find in the stores to find that perfect color.

Eventually, fate brought me to Foshini’s and there I found a simple silver tube casing in the Yardley section.
 
The lipstick I chose is shocking electric pink in color and I hadn’t read the tube properly so when I applied a bit of the tester to my unsuspecting lips I was pleasantly surprised not only by how well the color suited my skin tone but also by how moist it was.

It is called Yardley Supermoist – Rendezvous; and I love it.

Usually I have to apply a coat of Fruity Shine Cherry Labello before touching on some lipstick as lipsticks are usually pretty dry, so I’m really happy with this brand for saving me the trouble. 

Another thing I love about this new find of mine is that it lasts for ages! 

Even as a non-smoker (most of the time...) lipstick doesn't seem to last long on me. But so far - this popping color stays on for at least two hours. 

Needless to say, I am a very happy customer.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Strawberry Chicken Salad


What you'll need to make this refreshing, summer salad:
  • Mixed Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Cashew Nuts
  • Slithers of Chicken Breast
  • Lemons
  • Feta
  • Cucumber
  • Red Peppers 
  • Onions
  • Spring Onion
  • Balsamic Vinegar
Cut chicken into cubes and grill, squeezing fresh lemon juice over it constantly and grinding some salt & pepper on. 
Leave in a bowl on the side to cool down while you prepare the salad. 

Toss in some mixed lettuce, chopped spring onions and onions.
Add cucumber, small diced red pepper and halved strawberries. 
Take handfuls of cashew nuts and crunch them in using your hands before adding in the chicken pieces. 

Once salad is prepared add the feta on top, serve into portions and pour a decent amount of balsamic over it. 

A while ago I started craving chicken salad, strawberries and nuts - creativity soon struck and after combining all of these scrumptious ingredients I mananged to prepare this. 
I took my creation along to a dinner party that night and had such positive feedback. 
Everyone adored the combo of feta and strawberries and they told me they had never tasted such incredible chicken. 
Needless to say - I was pretty chuffed.

This salad is deliciously refreshing and perfect for a Sunday afternoon in the sun along with some chilled white wine. 

 Enjoy!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Creative DIY for your Garden

I recently stumbled across this unique pot plant at a braai. 

We were making Texan steaks and as always I was lingering by the fire, attempting steal a bit of the warmth. Soon enough my eyes fell upon the most interesting 'pot plant' creation and I just had to share it!

Using an old toilet and a cactus (two items I'd never have thought would be used in the same sentence pleasantly!) these guys actually did an incredible job creating a unique garden feature!

I'm not too sure how many of us would have a spare, out of use toilet lying around to play with this 'pin worthy' idea - but it's a pretty good idea nevertheless. 

Have you found any out-of -the-norm ideas lately? 
Please share!

Pin it here! :
http://pinterest.com/pin/252131279109698568/

Happy blogging 
J

Friday, September 7, 2012

How to Handle Negative Feedback

After getting some pretty negative feedback from my previous blog post on home décor and what I had hoped to literally be just a humorous comment about a 'good cause,' I realize that my response was pretty immature. 

I guess I was just irritated with people leaving comments as if they know me and my intentions when they really don't. 

Last night I had some pretty bad news come through about someone very dear to me so when I opened up my blog to see a remark that would have been a valid point if my intentions were to go and indulge in spaghetti and wine in Italy.. but they aren't - I overreacted.  

After taking the night to think things through (and after posting spur-of-the-moment snappy comebacks out of anger) it got me thinking about celebrities and what they must go through each day of their lives. 

So many people flock over the latest celebrity gossip (most of which is entirely misinterpreted such as my previous post was!)

They wake up each morning being a subject of scrutiny. 
They can barely open their front door without people waiting to pick them apart. 
How did they learn to deal with scrutiny so vicious?
I'm sure by now they have learnt to take things with a pinch of salt but still, it must be tough on them. 

I got so irritated by someone last night not for their comment on my blog - but for thinking that they knew me and what I was going to Italy to do. 

My plan - upon being published, is to spend my days helping underprivileged children, supporting welfares and charities and talking to people in rehab centres. 
I want to let them talk to me. 
I want them to feel important and realize that their voice and opinion matters - then I realized that your opinions matters too. 
Good or bad - comment on my blog with whatever you like. 
I can't control what you feel and nor do I want to. 

Yes this blog is going to have typos and spelling errors. 
It is not going to be perfect. 
When I am a published writer I will have an editor to help me with that sort of thing. 
So don't come here expecting top notch posts - I'm only human. 

Yes, I would prefer it if you don't leave nasty comments and respect my page. 
If you really have nothing better to do than dampen someone's day over something as minor as a funny comment or spelling mistake then I honestly feel sorry for you.

Opening my blog up each day and seeing my page slowly blooming, growing and getting more comments is the most incredible feeling. 
I know these posts aren't all exactly life-changing but I work hard on them. 

My blog has a little bit of everything in it from movie reviews, recipes, fashion and beauty posts, home décor ideas... you name it, you'll find it here. 
Most importantly, I love doing it. 
I love documenting. 
I love creating. 
I love sharing. 



I want you to enjoy this blog and learn from it - and it appears that I learn too. 

It was a learning process to realize that you will always have haters'. 
You will always have that one cocky person that has nothing better to do in life than scrutinize your work - you just need to learn how to handle negative feedback. 
Show them you are better than them. 

Good luck and have a blessed weekend all. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Home Décor Ideas - DIY

Recently, I adopted the nickname Pebbles. 

In between working, editing my novel, endlessly moving house, having a number of really heart-breaking personal situations and trying to keep my blog updated, I managed to find the perfect thing to keep the balance. 

I love art. I might not be incredible at it but I love the freedom, the expression. I love that there are no rules in art. 



Using the simplest of items: 

  • Pebbles
  • A paint brush
  • A permanent marker
  • Acrylic paints
  • A glass of water
  • Tissues
I created a wide variety of the most awesome home décor ideas in the form of rock art: from door stoppers, book weights, unique letters to purely decorative.
These pebbles are perfect to fill up those unwanted empty spaces in your home and also make great pressies if its the end of the month and your a bit strapped for cash! 
The personal touch is what people love. 


I have also had a number of people ask me if I can make them some. 
I'll be starting to sell these simple stones at the price of R3.00 and all the money that I collect will be going straight into a jar for my Italy savings fund.








Soon, I will be making more gardening signs too and selling them at markets and online. They really seem to be working:





I know R3.00 doesn't sound like much - but every little bit helps and every day I get a little bit closer of living out my dream of travelling Europe.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Upside Down French Plait

Pintrest has had me dizzy with all of these amazing hairstyles lately - but my hair is at that awkward stage where it isn't quite labelled short or long. It's sort of in between and when it's at that length, it's pretty difficult to do pretty much anything! 

I can't get my dried out, bleached blonde locks into an impressive ballerina bun or have it flowing down my back like some of the pictures I've provided.
I can't do braids across my head like a Greek Goddess or even have it in a sleek ponytail. 
Yes, I could get extentions and clip-ins if I wanted to - but it defeats the purpose. I want it to be my hair!




I am about to start a three month course of a Thalgo product called Ocea' Perfect, which helps to strengthen hair and nails and also helps them to grow. 

So, with any luck in three months time you'll see a post up with me showing off my new and improved hair!










But for now, this is the best 'unique' style that I could muster up. 
It is literally just an upside down French plait:


Cool hey?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Denim on Denim

Following Lauren Conrad's latest update - I thought I would share with you a great way to combat that gorgeous denim shirt you've been dying to wear, with a pair of jeans. See below for 2012's latest fashion:

I remember not too long ago when wearing denim on denim was cringe-worthy - but styles roll back around like a ferris wheel it would seem.

Look at styles that are trending at the moment for example - bright yellow pants? Ring a bell? The 60's and 70's are back! 


Way back when: 



Now:

Using a denim button up I salvaged from Pippin, a vintage boutique run in Port Elizabeth, I have portrayed the perfect way to wear denim on denim without looking like a 'denim sandwich' as one would say. 



The trick is to use two different shades, usually lighter on top and darker on the bottom. 

I smile every time I put this button up on as it makes me look so much like the college version of my mom. 
I remember being just a few years old and tagging along to college with her in Manchester while she studied photography - denim was very 'in' in the early 90's and it seems to be back in today!

Its pretty hard to come across denim shirts these days though which is why when I saw this bargain in Pippin for just R150.00 I was sold - or should I say it was sold!

Link directly to Pippin here and find your own great vintage apparels in South Africa:

How did you pair your denim? 

Raspberry Crisp - A Simple and Easy Pudding Recipe

This is another one of my unplanned success dishes. 

I'd gotten the original idea from a Martha Stewart recipe - Blueberry Crisp. 

I hunted my town flat and the closest I came to blueberries were frozen raspberries; so I opted for Raspberry Crisp instead.
It appeared that berries in general just weren't in season in South Africa.

Below is the list of ingredients you will need should you wish to attempt this pudding:

  • 6 cups of raspberries (preferably not frozen, I will explain why later)
  • 1/2 cup of mixed nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • Salt
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cups of all-purpose flower
  • Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of Maizena
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees after your berries have defrosted. 

Empty the contents of raspberries into a mixing bowl along with the maizena, lemon juice and half a cup of sugar (I used a full cup - it depends on your sweet tooth). 
Mix these ingredients together until a pink mush is formed. 
Allow this mix to settle into a baking dish while you prepare your topping. 

To make the topping pour the all-purpose flour, baking powder, 1/2 a cup of chopped mixed nuts and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt into a mixing bowl. 

Mix together the unsalted butter with 1/3 sugar until resembles a fluffy dough and then add in the dry ingredients - this is where it gets fun and messy!
Using your hands, blend everything together and grab clumps of your mix to sprinkle evenly over the filling.

Now your dish is prepared, you can pop it into the oven to bake for just under an hour. 
It will bubble along the sides so don't panic if you see this happening, your goal is to get it bubbling in the middle and get the crispy topping browned.

After about half an hour I had a nosy little peak at my pies progress only to discover that the crispy topping had started to sink down into the filling - needless to say I was devastated as its not the cheapest dish to flop....

I let it finish baking - determined that no matter what, it would still taste good; and it did!

After cooling for thirty minutes, I took out my less than attractive looking concoction and dished up plates for family and friends. 
Everybody enjoyed it and it was as easy as pie :)

To dull the rich berry flavours I paired it with scrumptious vanilla ice cream.

What I Did Wrong:

I was supposed to use no more than an 8inch baking dish and my dish was enormous (couldn't have been helped...)

Raspberries go mushy when you defrost them so if you can get your hands on blueberries that would be more advisable. 

Upon researching about why my dish flopped, a friend of mine that just so happens to be a great baker let me know that it was more than likely the water from freezing them that contributed greatly to its failure.  
Find her mouth-watering foodie blog here:
www.thehungrydesigner.co.za

Although it did not turn out as planned or look like this -->

It was still pretty good.




The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Movie Review

Two nights ago I sat down with my family (three generations down,) and watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. 

There had been major chit-chat about this new romantic comedy so my expectations were pretty high. 
How could they not be with such a great cast?
Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench to name only a few of the British actors took on rolls of retirees lured to a captivating resort in India. 
Unfortunately they soon discover that the place had been photo-shopped to envision the hopeful future of the hotel upon their arrival.  
Starting out as disapproving, ripped-off golden oldies, slowly they begin to accept the hotel and grow together - making the most of what they have. 

Maggie Smith delivers an excellent roll of a sour, lifeless woman needing a hip transplant with a blatant disregard for anyone that is not white. 
By the end of the film she is a completely transformed and renewed woman and her growth is inspiring. 

Bill Nighy (impossible not to enjoy a film with his hilarious quips in,) is married to Penelope Wilton, a woman who just cannot accept the dreams of galivanting around trying to relive their youth. 
She is constantly putting everybody down and sucking the life and energy dry from Nighy - who eventually sods it and does his own thing. 

Judi Dench plays a recently widowed woman who had never done anything by herself and so she gains independence through her journey, teaching and exploring in India; proving to herself that it is possible to live without her hubby.
It does tend to twinge a few of those sensitive heartstrings...

John Madden (the director,) portrays India to a 'T' - from the hustle and bustle to the cultural aspects; I felt as though I had been there myself. 


This movie is a wonderful reminder that it is never too late to change your life.
It manages to explain over eight life situations which at the time seem impossible to change; yet as the movie unfolds so does the concept of breaking free and living life to the fullest. 

In all honestly this movie did not blow me away right away. I found it extremely long and a little slow -paced - but the messages it left me with afterwards changed my mind.

It was touching and compassionate and just what I needed to be reminded of right now. 

The film actually reminds me of a status I used on Facebook just a few weeks ago:

Let go and grow!

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Perfect Summer Playlist

Everybody seems to be slowly getting into the summer spirit in sunny South Africa.

However, for some of you late bloomers - I have compiled a mix of the best summery songs to get you feeling the vibe!

 The December Streets - So Fine 
♥ The Wanted - Chasing the Sun 
♥ Alanis Morisette - Hand in my Pocket 
♥ Ellie Goulding - Lights 
♥ Nicki Minaj - Starships 
♥ The Naked and the Famous - Young Blood 
♥ Dire Straights - Sultans of Swing 
♥ Foster the People - Pumped up Kicks 
♥ The Naked and the Famous - Punching in a Dream 
♥ Anything by Asleep in Transit 

The December Streets is a band that I discovered at 05h30 one morning on my way to work. They are South African talent with the catchiest tunes that you can't help but jiggle along to! I have hunted youtube flat and have yet to find a video of their song but trust me on this one  - this band is great! 
If you're into The Kooks or The Arctic Monkeys then this band will sound like 'home' to you :)
Link to them here:

Asleep in Transit is a band that stumbled across ME at the Knysna Rocks Music Festival this year. 
I had been waiting in a depressingly large queue waiting to get my Elvis Blue CD signed when an indie looking guy approached me with a freebie CD. 
When I got back to the car later that night I listened to this band and was blown away. 
The female vocalist is just incredible and their music is just so... happy! 
Find Asleep in Transit here:

Give those songs a listen and feel the summer burning in your veins!



Peyton Sawyer Music Quotes

"Every song ends, but is that any reason not to enjoy the music?"

"You know I've got this theory, there are two kinds of people in the world. There are lyric people and music people. You know, the lyrics people tend to be analytical. You know, all about the meaning of the song. They're the ones you see with the CD insert out like 5 minutes after buying it, pouring over the lyrics, interpreting the hell out of everything. Um, then there’s the music people, like Brooke. Who could care less for the lyrics as long as its just got like a good beat and you could dance to it. I don’t know, sometimes it might be easier to be a music girl and not a lyric girl. But since I’m not, let me just say this. Sometimes things find you when you need them to find you, I believe that. And for me its usually song lyrics" 

"Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live...Before they know it...time runs out." 


The Perfect Summer Salad

So I got a bit of hype over the salad photograph I uploaded in my August Favourites Post. 

If you're having a dinner party and fancy throwing a salad together that is easy, simple and most importantly delicious...
If you're wanting to add hard boiled egg to your salad or simply just looking for a new salad dish to try out, then read my post below to find out how to make the perfect summer salad:

What you'll need:

  • A box of eggs
  • Bean-Sprout Lettuce Mix
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Mange-tout
  • Tuna
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt & Pepper


Start by boiling your eggs. 
I don't know about you but I buy free-range!
Put the eggs into boiling water and leave for five minutes. 
Remove the eggs, letting them cool on the counter while you prep the rest of the salad. 

For this specific recipe, I literally scrounged around finding all the greens my fridge stocked and chucking them in... Lets just say that is wasn't a planned success! 
But for interests sake:

I had a bean-sprout lettuce mix packet which I lined my salad bowl with. 

I chopped up about three baby cucumbers, first length ways and then sideways, making a 'half-moon' shape with them. 
I scattered them over the lettuce and continued on with stuffing in some mange-tout. 

To add some colour I diced up a red pepper - it also adds a bit of that succulent juice you're always looking for in a salad. 

Cubing some cheddar cheese I dunked a few squares in before halving my eggs and prettily placing them around the sides. 

Once the salad is dished up onto your plate, coat the salad with a tuna / mayonnaise mix (I never measure anything, I literally go with my gut and hope for the best with anything I make!). 

Grind some salt and pepper on top (optional) and get two freshly made, hot fish-cakes to eat alongside and enjoy!





August Favourites


I can hardly believe it is sky-rocketing through September already!
You know what that means right? 112 days ‘til Christmas – but hey, whose counting!?

As a memoir to August I have decided to do a photo journal with the highlights of last month… Enjoy!



Getting an early morning cuppa’ from the petrol station and finding a little message scribbled on the lid. What better way to start the day!?

Watching the sunrise over the beautiful, majestic Indian ocean.

I took part in the 2012 Ross Taylor Surf Contest with my Jellybean surfboard. Admittedly a bunch of seven year olds kicked my butt, but it was fun nonetheless. 
Sophie-Lee Madison Evans was welcomed to the world on the 9th Aug 2012:

Chad Le Clos won the gold in the Swimming Olympics and non of us could have been more proud. This may have happened at the end of July but I think everybody stayed out partying until August rolled in!



Things got pretty colorful in the kitchen when I threw together this delicious health recipe. Salad for supper? Sounds dull - but I paired this with a tuna mayo mix and fish cakes. It went down a treat!



I got crafty with some pebbles stolen from my parents driveway. This is a really cute home décor idea to fill up those unwanted, empty spaces. They also make really great gifts! From door-stoppers, book weights, unique letters to purely decorative; you can't go wrong.


 Last but not least... I moved back in with my folks for a while. 
Mom's cooking, crackling fireplace and family nights in the lounge... I had forgotten how good it felt. Make time for your family if you no longer live with them - you don't realize how much you really miss them.




What were you favourite memories from August?