Friday, 31 July 2015

Nine Strange Things I Spotted While Driving Around Jozi Today

True story- these are some of the things I observed on our Jozi roads while driving today... just a short trip on the creche route with a stop for groceries.



Johannesburg is nothing, if not unique. (Disclaimer: I have astute and well-honed female multi-tasking abilities so I also had my eye on the road at all times while observing the below).

1. A half naked man pushing a wagon twice his size along the road, being overtaken by a tuk tuk.

2. A bus being overtaken by the tuk tuk mentioned in point one above (which incidentally has a maximum speed of negative 20 km/hr). 

3. Bicycle lanes everywhere, some complete and some under construction. Total number of bicycles observed: zero.



 3. A man on the pavement taking huge bites out of a whole orange with the peel still on. Yum.

 4. A shop with a sign indicative of a hairdresser selling meat. Another shop with a takeaway sign selling what appeared to be appliances and toys.

5. A poster for Dr Nabil who can find your lost lover and cure pimples, acne marks or dark spots- clearly a man of many talents!



6. Students outside their university playing what looked like hopscotch.

7. A fire truck parked horizontally across two lanes of traffic opposite the fire station and blocking traffic in both directions. No apparent fire in site.

 8. A veld fire which seemed to be rapidly spreading (about 5km away from fire truck in point seven above, which was presumably still stationary and blocking traffic).

9. A Ferrari driver picking his nose. It is true- class cannot be bought!

Only in Jozi! Have you seen any strange sights in Jozi today? Please share!!!


Thursday, 30 July 2015

Sister Act hits Joburg Theatre


If you haven't heard the super exciting news by now, Sister Act is currently on at the Mandela Stage of the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein. The well known 90's Whoopi Goldberg movie version of Sister Act holds special memories for me as it was the first movie that I ever watched as a tween with friends and no adults at the cinema (yes, giving away my age here) and I loved it back then. The theatre version of most productions beats the movie and with a Janice Honeyman production, you know it is sure to be a winner!!!

This story of a disco diva who finds herself in protective custody in a convent after witnessing a murder has all the elements I personally enjoy- a feel-good, family friendly story with lots of humor.

 You can catch a sneak peak and get a feeling of the sense of energy and excitement here.
 
Candida Mosoma plays Deloris Van Cartier (the disco diva nun played by Whoopi Goldberg in the movie version), while Kate Normington plays Mother Superior and Keith Smith the role of Monsignor O' Hara in this 'non-replica' production of the musical.

Candida Joburg Theatre
Candida and Kate

Joburg Theatre Janice Honeyman

Critics already have glowing reviews of this production. Peter Feldman calls it a 'theatrical triumph, a magnificent production', Diane de Beer from the Star says it is 'a thrilling merry go round' and Gayle Edmunds from City Press hails it 'a glorious success'. 

Have you booked your tickets yet? If not, what are you waiting for? The show will run until 16 August, from Tuesdays to Fridays at 8pm, Saturday at 3pm and 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets range from R200 – R350 and are available from www.joburgtheatre.com or by calling 0861 670 670. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

New Pampers Pants- 5 Packs to be Won!!!

pull ups
I never imagined that we would start potty training Squish yet, as he is a mere eighteen months old. To our surprise, for the past week he has actually been asking us to take him to the toilet.  Only a mom will understand the sense of pride when your baby makes that first pee and poo in the potty and for us that precious moment came last week (with a few repeats since). The timing could not have been better for our free sample pack of the new Pampers Pants to have arrived. 

We used the old Pampers Pull Up Pants for Noodle once she was potty trained in the day and just needed night nappies. Back then, they had Dora the Explorer pull ups (for girls) and Diego pull ups (for boys). In contrast, the new pull ups are unisex and look very similar to the regular Pampers Active Baby-Dry nappies, so your little one should feel right at home in them. Truth be told, I thought the Dora ones were more aesthetically pleasing, but the new ones look softer and more comfortable. 

nappies
Top: New Pampers Pants | Bottom: Pampers Active Baby-Dry

What makes the Pampers pants so unique? The new pull up pants are designed to be easy to use. They have two dry zones with an extra sleep layer that absorbs wetness and distributes it evenly across the core for twelve hours of dryness. They are breathable and non-bulky, with stretchy waistbands and leg cuffs
· 

Here is why I think pull ups are a great idea for toddlers:

1. They make potty training so much easier, as they can be pulled up and down easily and quickly when it is time to make a run for the toilet.
2. Changing a wriggly toddler lying down is just plain hard work. Pull ups are easier for mom.
3. It is a great transition between nappies and underwear and toddlers can learn independence as they are able to put these on themselves.
The Pampers pull ups have some great features:

My top tips for using pull up nappies (these views belong to Jozi WAHM and are not necessarily those of Pam):
1. Always make sure that the nappies are positioned properly (centred with no wedgies) to avoid leaks.
2. For changing wet nappies, simply pulling down and cleaning is easiest. However, if you need to change a poo nappy, I would suggest that you tear open the seams at each side of the nappy for easier clean up.
3. Ensure that used nappies are placed in a nappy bag or other recycled bag afterwards, as they cannot be resealed like the baby nappies with the sticky tabs.
Squish giggled with excitement the first time I pulled the nappy up his legs while standing, as opposed to lying down baby style. He loves being able to pull them down himself when going to the toilet.

 Do you have a toddler who wears size 4- 6 nappies? Have you tried out the Pampers pants yet? If not, read on.


competition giveaway

How would you like to win a pack of these pull ups? Five lucky readers will win one pack each.*

Enter here to win #newpamperspants with #PampersSA:

The more steps you follow, the better your chances of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Entries only open to South African entrants and winners chosen randomly using Rafflecopter and random.org

**While this was not a paid post, sample nappies were provided to us for review by Pampers. Pampers is also sponsoring the prizes as mentioned above.
 

Monday, 27 July 2015

In the Dark- The Updated Loadshedding Survival Guide

We have spent the bulk of this weekend in the dark... again... thanks Eskom.

My Saturday night

I previously blogged on how to survive loadshedding here. However, that was when it was summer and loadshedding only occasional, so while a lot of it still applies,  it seems like a more aggressive guide is now needed. This weekend, which happened to be a cold, wet and windy one with temperatures below freezing, our power was off for about ten hours on Saturday and another five on Sunday. 



Side note: For my non South African readers, we have this bizarre system called loadshedding, which basically means that in order to save power (or for a variety of other reasons, some of which are plausible, as speculated by conspiracy theorists), our state owned electricity provider shuts off electricity to large areas, for several hours at a time. There are schedules drawn daily and various apps where you can check when you are due to be loadshedded, in theory anyway (these schedules are often inaccurate and not accessible anyway when all your device batteries are flat).

So here are my updated loadshedding tips: 
PLAN B:

If you have the means, consider getting a generator (you now even get silencers for them). Or even better, move to greener options such as solar power where possible.  Disclaimer: I have not done either, but these are becoming real considerations. 

Alternative to the above, invest in lots of bright, rechargeable LED lights. Find out if gas can be connected to your area and if it is economical to do so. Alternatively, gas canisters with those small cookers that you can attach can be an option.

Consider investing in a power bank so that you can keep crucial devices charged.  

SURGES:

Very important: invest in surge protector plugs for when the power does finally come back as I know of a few people who have suffered loss of appliances after a power surge following loadshedding. Unplug any appliances that are not connected to surge protectors during loadshedding. If you are affected by a power surge (in Johannesburg), you can contact the City Power Legal Department on 011 490 7546 and complete a claim form, after which a technical report will be submitted and a decision made on whether or not to settle the claim. Alternatively, it might be covered by your household insurance, depending on your policy wording.

CANDLES:

 Since loadshedding, we have taken candle light to a whole new level. Candles are calming, relaxing and loadshedding is the perfect time to indulge in their prettiness.

Noodle and I made  some candles out of old broken crayons (see here). They did not turn out as pretty as I had hoped, but they are functional.



In addition, I have been on a hunt for the best smelling candles in Jozi. Here are my finds:



1. Soy Lites: these are not just any candles. Made from soybean wax and essential oils, the candles are actually moisturisers too and can be used on your skin for for manicures, pedicures and massages. I have seen these used at a few exclusive spas. They are pricey but they smell divine. These can be purchased online.
2. Yankee candles: pretty to look at and they smell so good. These come in every scent imaginable. These are available online and at Yankee Candle stores.
3. Mr Price candles: these come in amazing scents. The ones pictured above are mandarin and berry. 
4. Prices candles- vanilla scented: these are available at local supermarkets and are dirt cheap. They are very ordinary to look at but smell like freshly baked yumminess.

(Note: I have no affiliation to any candle manufacturers.)

PATIENCE:

Bucket loads of patience. This is the number one tool for surviving loadshedding.



 What are your best loadshedding survival tips?

Friday, 24 July 2015

Inside Jozi WAHM's Kitchen- Tickled Pink Lemonade

My neighbour gifted us with a huge bag of large, juicy lemons from her tree and when life gives you lemons.... you know what needs to happen!

I didn't follow any specific recipe,but this turned out to taste just like the Woolies pink lemonade (which is delicious if you have not tried it).


INGREDIENTS:

1 litre of water;
Juice of 5 lemons;
1 glass Ceres Secrets of the Valley Juice (I did not have cranberry juice but I think this tasted better anyway);
One glass of aQuelle lemon flavoured water (you could use Sprite instead but the omit the sugar);
Quarter cup sugar

METHOD:

Mix all of the above until well combined and chill. I put a little bit of the lemon zest too.
Serve with crushed ice, mint leaves and lemon slices.
 
ENJOY !!!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

And the Winner is....

Congratulations Sara Essop! You have won a R500 Cresta Shopping Centre Voucher. Happy spending!!!

Thank you to all that entered and shared this competition.  I wish I had more vouchers for all those who entered... but rest assured that we have some more exciting giveaways in the pipeline in the near future. Watch this space!!!

* This competition was run using Rafflecopter and the winner was randomly selected using random.org.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The 7 Best Free Android Apps That Will Help You Run Your Business

As you probably know, I work from home, which means that I have only a basic office for one person. I am also out and about quite a bit but try to use my time optimally even when not deskbound. 

One of my most frequent tools is my smart phone and I am going to share some of my favourite apps that help me get things done. The best thing of all is that all the apps that I list below are completely free from the Google Play store (other than data costs of course).

<a href="http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/social-media">Social media vector designed by Freepik</a>

EVERNOTE

This app is amazing if used effectively. Use it to store and organise all sorts of notes, documents, images, clippings from your web browser, audio files etc. so that you have any information that you need at your fingertips when you need it. You can also use it to set reminders and it can be synchronised between your various devices.


CAMSCANNER

Yes, you can use your phone as a free scanner on the go. Just take a photo of your document and allow the app to convert it into a PDF or JPEG scan. This one has saved me dozens of times (just last week I was able to scan and email urgent documents that I had just collected from my phone and send them to the recipient from my car! Without it, there would have been at least an hours delay until I was desk bound).


BLOGGER APP

This app allows me to compile blog posts and add photographs on the go. It lacks features to edit fonts, colours and other formatting but it gets the job done. There is also a Blogger stats app that allows me to see how many people are reading my blog (yes, now I can keep track of all three readers, lol). 

Wordpress has an equivalent app for those using the Wordpress platform to blog (or who run a Wordpress based website).


DROPBOX

This will allow you to save files remotely and safely and also to share large files with others. It also allows you to save files in one place and then access them from all your devices.

OPERA MINI

This app compresses web data so that you can surf the internet from your phone faster while using less data.


CLEAN MASTER

When you are doing all these fancy things on your phone, you need to clean out your phone regularly to avoid clogging it with junk, which will eventually slow your phone down and drain your battery. It also has antivirus protection, which is important for obvious reasons.



SOCIAL MEDIA APPS

Okay, this is not just one app, but various apps. To run any business these days, you need to be on the major social media platforms relevant to you and to engage with your target audience. This means that I am active on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram both for my primary business and for this blog. Luckily, there are great apps for all of these platforms which allow me to manage these while on the go.



What are your favourite business and productivity apps? Please do share!!!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Eid ... and Other Random Bits

I just saw that it has been almost a week since I have blogged. Life has been a bit busy this past week, between WAHM'ing, some home fixing-upping (yes, these are real words, even if I just made it up now), minor medical emergencies (the type that happen when kids are kids), Eid preparations and other life events.

Saturday was Eid-ul-Fitr, which is a day of celebration marking the end of Ramadaan. A belated Eid Mubarak to any readers who celebrated.


Besides the religious aspect to this day, the day is nicknamed 'Eat' by some as it consists largely of eating copious amounts of food. To illustrate my point, breakfast at my in-laws comprised of roast chicken, samoosas, kheer (a rich, milky drink), naan (a type of bread), fruit and more. Lunch at my parents was biryani, roast beef and roast chicken, with an assortment of at least ten desserts. In between, the tables at both households were laden with an assortment of biscuits, sweetmeats and other snacks. The norm is to visit extended family members during the course of the day, where insistent family members will force-feed you with even more fat-laden delicacies.  We are still eating leftovers and I suspect that I will have to be rolled out of the house soon.

Some of my Eid goodies
Squish has reached the terrible 1.5's with a vengeance. He has taken to answering any question asked with a defiant 'NO' (even when he means yes). He has grown a few inches taller, which means he can reach more places, including the cutlery drawer, which is his current obsession. As a result, we have had to move all our sharp knives, which he thinks are excellent toys. Noodle is back to creche in the mornings this week (secret sigh of relief on my part- I love my children, but having two with me all day is exhausting!).

In other news, we are still running our Cresta gift voucher competition- you have till tomorrow to enter to win a R500 gift voucher to spend on anything that your heart desires. Please see the post below this one to enter and spoil yourself to some well deserved retail therapy!!! Hurry- time is running out! 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Minion Fever- and WIN with Cresta Shopping Centre

On Saturday the kids and I were treated to a Minion inspired afternoon of fun at Cresta Shopping Centre to celebrate the launch of the new Minions movie. My two minions both love the real Minions (come on, who doesn't, they are just so cute!).

I was alone with both kids as A had a day of extreme DIY activities planned at home, which meant it was best to have the kids out of the house to avoid destruction. The Minion fun day at Cresta was the perfect place to take them out for a few hours.

Incidentally, Cresta is one of my favourite shopping destinations. Apart from being conveniently close to home, as only one of ten super-regional shopping centres in South Africa, it has every shop that I ever need to go to. No wonder over a million people visit every month!

First, we were treated to some fun in the activity area, where the little ones had the chance to have their photos taken, control a hi-tech remote controlled minion robot or engage in all sorts of creative arty activities. 



At the activity area, we first lined up for novelty Minion photo's. Our picture only has Noodle in it as Squish spotted balloons and ran away at the critical picture moment. Noodle was very proud of herself when she finally figured out how to control the Minion robot and enjoyed all the creative activities on offer- colouring, cutting and pasting Minion creations are right up her alley. Squish did a bit of colouring scribbling of a dinosaur (and he even learnt to say dinosaur) but for the most part I needed to stop him from eating crayons and glue. 

After that, we were treated to lunch at Panarottis. Well the kids were- it is still Ramadaan, so I looked and drooled (and had delicious leftovers the next evening-  still good). The giant  vegetarian pizza we were provided with was possibly the largest I had ever seen so there was plenty left over! (P.S. Their menu also features a dessert pizza which kids can make themselves- always great fun for the little ones).


By this time, Squish, who had missed his nap time was starting to get a bit cranky, but his mood turned when he discovered the play area at Panarottis. The Cresta Panarottis has an amazing outdoor play area with jungle gym and trampoline which my kids love. I was reluctant to let Squish navigate the huge twirly slide on his own at first but quickly realised that he is more than capable. 

Then it was movie time. The Minion movie is great for all ages- Squish and Noodle liked it and adults will enjoy it too (well those that like a good animated film anyway). Noodle wanted to know why the Minions speak Afrikaans (the ancient Minions speak some strange Minion dialect for which no subtitles are needed).

"The story behind the Minions movie began at the dawn of time, where the Minions started as single-celled yellow organisms which evolved through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters, from T. Rex to Napoleon, the Minions found themselves without someone to serve and they fell into a deep depression.  But one Minion named Kevin had a plan, and he, alongside teenage rebel Stuart and lovable little Bob, ventured out into the world to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. The trio then embarked upon a thrilling journey that ultimately led them to their next potential master."
Cresta Shopping Centre was extremely generous in providing us with a delightful goody bag, which included these awesome Minion goodies. How cute are these t-shirts? Noodle and Squish already put on their t-shirts at the movies.  Now Cresta Shopping Centre are going to spoil one lucky reader too!!!



COMPETITION TIME!!!

Life apparently begins at forty and Cresta Shopping Centre turns 40 next month. To celebrate, they are giving away a R500 gift voucher to one Jozi WAHM reader. Enter here to win! The more steps you follow, the better your chances.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Amazing Healthy Chocolate with Just Three Ingredients

Have you ever had an intense chocolate craving but no chocolate in site? I am a chocoholic of epidemic proportions and for moments like these, I have come across the most amazing, super easy recipe for chocolate, with just three ingredients. Usually, this would spell disaster, but fortunately this recipe is actually a fairly healthy one.

The three magic ingredients are:

1. COCONUT OIL

I never knew how good this  stuff was until after my son was born, when I discovered its multiple uses as an anti-fungal, antibacterial for everything from nappy rash to thrush in babies. (My son had thrush when he was a few weeks old and the stuff prescribed by the paed did little to help but the coconut oil cleared it quickly). It turns out that eating coconut oil has all sorts of health benefits, from aiding cholesterol to appetite control. Use organic, cold-pressed virgin coconut oil for best results.

2. CACAO (OR JUST REGULAR COCOA POWDER)

Rich in antioxidants, this stuff is actually good for you. If you do not have cacao, use the best quality you can find as this will affect the taste of the final product. I like the Cadbury Bourneville or Nomu variants.

3. HONEY

 We all know how good honey is for you (in moderation of course).

HOW TO MAKE IT:

Melt the coconut oil on low heat until liquid and then immediately remove from heat. It melts very quickly so a few seconds should do it. (In summer it should be liquid already so I would imagine this step can be skipped). 

Mix equal amounts of the coconut oil, cocoa and honey until well combined (okay that is what my sources told me but I found this a bit sweet so I will half the amount of honey next time). I have not inserted quantities because you can do as much or as little as you want- it is fast so you can even do a teaspoon of each for a quick snack.

Shape as desired. You could mould the chocolate in silicone moulds, mini cupcake cups, ice trays or however else you wish.

You can get fancy and sprinkle with nuts, dessicated coconut or anything else that tickles your fancy.



Here is mine before setting (with a bit of fine almond chunks added). It was a bit gloopy and messy in the cupcake holders and a bit trickled along the side.

Stick in the freezer to set for an hour and voila... decadent dark chocolate, with a bit of an exotic coconut-y taste.

While I am the type who could (I am embarrassed to say) scoff down an entire slab of chocolate if I did not control my urges, this recipe is super rich, so I found myself eating just a tiny little bit before being satiated. My kids loved it too (I did not tell them it is healthy chocolate).