My Life in Africa

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On Pets…


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Dogs Collages

There’s nothing like animals to ground you. Here are some photos of my pets taken last Christmas (they love our pool more than we do!). My golden lab is named “Joe Fox” + our chocolate lab is named “Bella Blue”. I love thinking up unconventional names for animals…. what are your animals named?

** the photo at the end is our friend’s dachshund, so cute!

Cute dogsCute dogsCute dogsCute dogsCute dogs

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Free Wifi Spots in Cape Town


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Free Wifi In Cape Town

Reblogged from Cape Town Magazine, here are places you can access free wifi in Cape Town!

Latitude 33

Unlimited free and fast Wi-fi is just one of the many reasons that this surf-inspired clothing shop-meets-restaurant-meets-art gallery has put itself on the map. We won’t delve into the other motivating factors, but we will say that as this multi-purpose city centre spot was founded with the intention of giving locals a “comfortable space to spend the whole day”, web cruisers can confidently settle in on one of the plush leather couches – there’s also a fireplace – or in amongst the light wood tables for some uninterrupted surfing. Otherwise, those who crave the odd distraction or bit of servicing can peruse the exclusive Aussie mens- and womenswear, have a gander at the exquisite portraiture or simply order a coffee or more substantial meal from the bistro menu.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 7am – 3pm; Saturday: 8am – 1pm
165 Bree Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 424 9857

Peter’s House

Though inspired by the age-old storybook The Tale of Peter Rabbit, this cosy Gardens eatery has a few modern day trappings – one of which is unlimited free Wi-fi. Whether you’re popping in for a famous slice of homemade carrot cake, a glass of cold-pressed juice or a hearty meal, you’ll find the quirky café a more than hospitable place to fall down the black hole of the internet. Nostalgia and warmth burst from every corner, and some would even say Peter’s House’s prices are pretty old-fashioned. Aside from the mahala bandwidth, you can get main course for as little as R30 and as much as R70. So, hop to it.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 11am – ‘til late; Saturday: 9am – ‘til late; Sunday: 9am – 2pm
14 Kloof Nek Road | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 424 3451

Hudsons: The Burger Joint

This popular Cape Town burger franchise serves up free Wi-fi alongside its well-stacked bun-and-patty combos.  All three of Hudsons’s outlets (situated in Green Point, Claremont and Gardens) offer patrons 40 minutes of free Wi-fi access and its burgers include some truly mouth-watering options like The Wiseguy, which is layered with tomato relish, fresh chillies, jalapeños and rocket, and The Original Royale, which comprises bacon, cheddar, chilli and battered onion rings. Not to mention, you can sip on cocktails like mojitos, bloody marys and long island iced teas while checking your mail, updating your Facebook status or cruising for matches on Tinder.
Opening times:  Every day from 12pm to 11pm. 
Shop 1A, 25 Protea Road | Claremont | +27 (0) 21 674 5152
69 A Kloof Street
 | Gardens | +27 (0) 21 426 5974
Cnr Somerset & Upper Portswood Road | Green Point | + 27 (0) 21 433 1496

Truth Coffee

Not only does this java haven “roast coffee properly”, but it also gives customers one hour of free Wi-fi while they sip and enjoy (Wi-fi costs R60 a gigabyte after the first hour is up). Artisan coffee has something of a cult following in Cape Town, and Truth has an array of great blends for you to indulge in while you surf the Web, check emails and draw up business propositions.  As this Wi-fi hotspot has branches in both the Fringe and Green Point, it’s perfect for those Capetonians living or working just away from the CBD.
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 7am – 6pm; Sunday: 8am – 2pm
Prestwich Memorial | 1 Somerset Road | Green Point | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 200 0440
36 Buitenkant Street | The Fringe | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 419 2945

The Field Office

This Wi-fi hotspot is the place for creative people to get together, socialise and plough through a little work. So, if you own a skateboard or bicycle and live in District Six or Woodstock (they have branches in both areas), take a quick ride down. Here, you can listen to good music while you tweet, blog and skype with friends and colleagues (both spots offer unlimited free Wi-fi). The Field Office cafés serve up bold and earthy Deluxe Coffeeworks coffee, which customers can enjoy while taking in eye-catching artwork and design products, all produced by local artists.
Opening Hours: Barrack Street: Monday – Friday: 7am – 4pm; The Woodstock Exchange: Monday – Friday: 7:30am – 4:30pm, Saturday: 9am – 2pm
37 Barrack Street | District Six | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 461 4599
The Woodstock Exchange | 66 Albert Road | Woodstock | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 447 2020

Cascades on the Promenade

If you find yourself in the Sea Point area and in need of a coffee and free unlimited Wi-fi fix, then head over to the Cascades on the Promenade bistro, where you can get the best Italian java while browsing the Web and updating your social media. The corner eatery also offers a range of tasty dishes, from eggs Benedict and french toast to popular lunch options, such as a twice-baked cheese soufflé and a freshly made chicken pie.  The terrace, populated with designer chairs, also has an ocean view, so if you do look up from your device, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Opening Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 7:30am – 11pm
11 Arthurs Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 434 5979

Lola’s

This small bistro-style eatery offers both free Wi-fi and tasty fare (think sandwiches, soups, linefish and more). Situated on the corner of Long and Buiten streets, it is conveniently positioned smack in the heart of Cape Town’s central business district. Lola’s fresh, rustic interior creates a vibey, young feel for workers on the go. However, if you’re looking for a quiet place with lots of privacy in which to work, perhaps this bustling haunt is not the Wi-fi spot for you.
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 8am – 4:30pm; Sunday: 8am – 3pm (the restaurant opens until 6pm from Monday to Saturday in the summer months)
228 Long Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 423 0885

Tamboers Winkel
Intimate and cosy, Tamboers Winkel, which sits just off Kloof Street, has a rustic, farm-style feel and offers a selection of breakfasts, a range of fresh breads, free-range chicken, local cheeses, charcuterie, Deluxe Coffeeworks coffee and more together with free unlimited Wi-fi. The eatery is a bit smaller than other inclusions on this list, so keep this in mind if you prefer a work setting that’s a little more spacious. If you do pick this spot though, you can opt to enjoy some privacy at the counter by the window or join the long, communal centre table to chat with other patrons while browsing the Net.
Opening Hours: Monday – Tuesday: 8am – 6pm; Wednesday – Friday: 8am – 10pm; Saturday – Sunday: 8am – 4pm
3 De Lorentz Road | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 424 0521
220 Princes Lounge

This upmarket, laidback coffee lounge, which rests in the heart of Cape Town’s Gardens and doubles up as a private function venue, boasts a classic vintage feel and casual, peaceful atmosphere. Hence, the trendy 220 Princes Lounge – it claims both an elegant communal dining room and a sumptuous sofa area – offers an ideal environment in which to relax in front of your laptop. And better yet, you can pair your browsing session with a cup of strong black coffee, a butter croissant, sandwich, salad or variety of other dishes.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 8am – 3pm
Corner of Hatfield and Wandel streets | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 461 6175

Loading Bay

If you’re the fashionable, contemporary type, then Loading Bay in De Waterkant, the Mother City’s trendy gap capital, is the sort of place you’d hang out. The Cape Town hotspot offers customers one to two hours of free wireless Internet in an inspiring worker-friendly environment (though it can get very busy at times). What’s more, owner Jon-Paul Bolus marries years of experience in the design industry with passion and originality (all reflected in the design of the bistro) and ensures that the comfort food and artisan coffee served is both local and lekker.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm; Saturday: 8am – 4pm (Loading Bay will open for Sunday brunch soon too)
30 Hudson Street | De Waterkant | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 425 6321

Rick’s Café Américain

Housed in a 100-year-old Victorian building, Rick’sCafé Américain is a laidback eatery that features a labyrinth of rooms where you can relax while cruising the Web. The Casablanca-inspired restaurant offers free Wi-fi until 7pm to any customer ordering one of its delectable meals. Laze on a couch in the loft lounge upstairs while you enjoy Moroccan- and Mediterranean-style tapas, or head to the large roof deck or front veranda, both of which present magnificent views of Table Mountain, and relish some tasty seafood (Wi-fi is available in all these different areas).
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11am – late (Wi-fi only until 7pm)
2 Park Road | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 424 1100

Caffe Neo

This Hellenic restaurant has a reputation for hospitality that ensures it’s jam-packed on both weekdays and weekends. So, if you’re looking for some quiet time, it’s a good idea to pop in during the afternoon or early evening. Caffe Neo offers free unlimited Wi-fi to all patrons indulging in something from their delicious menu. While surfing the Web and tucking into contemporary Greek cuisine, customers can relax on the balcony and enjoy beautiful views of the Mouille Point promenade and sparkling Atlantic Ocean beyond.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7am – 7pm
129 Beach Road | Mouille Point | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 433 0849

❤ Africa, My Life in Africa, South Africa

Township Tours in South Africa


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T O W N S H I P S

When Skybok was up in Durban 2014 filming for the Tourism Indaba, we went on an organized media tour. It was incredible seeing townships one would never get to see. If you travel here, make sure you do an organized tour with a legitimate company. We spent the day touring Durban and surrounding townships where Nelson Mandela began his journey with the ANC. The particular township we went to also happened to be where Ghandi spent his years in South Africa. It’s called the Inanda Heritage Route. We ended off with a gorgeous beachfront party and buffet in true African style! Below is a list of companies who do township tours. It is an unforgettable and heart-warming experience. You won’t be sorry.

Townships of South Africa (more…)

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How To Plan A Wedding


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p r e t t y (2)I recently went to a very pretty wedding. It made me think about how much work goes into planning one and making it extra special. After extensive research, here’s the pointers for planning your big day from the experts.

16 Months Before

+ Begin leafing through bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design and food magazines for inspiration

+ Determine how much you have to spend, based on your families’ contributions and your own

+ Pick your wedding party

+ Start a guest list – make a head count database to use throughout your planning process with columns for contact info, RSVPs, gifts, and any other relevant information

+ Decide on a date

+ Book your venue

+ Research a good photographer, band, florist and caterer

+ Hire a wedding planner if you wish

+ Throw an engagement party – remember that your invitees should be on your wedding guest list as well

Pretty weddings + how to plan them

1-DSCN1040

8 Months Before

+ Hire a photographer and a videographer

+ Book the entertainment, florist and caterer

+ Purchase a dress – you’ll need to schedule time for at least three fittings. Veil shopping can be postponed for another two to three months

+ Reserve a block of hotel rooms for guests – pick three hotels at different price points close to the reception venue

+ Create your gift register – sign up at a minimum of three retailers

+ Launch a wedding blog or facebook page – create your personal page through a free provider such as weddingchannel.com, wordpress.com or Facebook. Note the date of the wedding, travel information, and accommodations. Then send the link to invitees

Pretty weddings + how to plan themPretty weddings + how to plan them

6 Months Before

+ Select and purchase invitations

+ Start planning a honeymoon – make sure that your passports are up-to-date and schedule doctors’ appointments for any shots you may need

+ Shop for bridesmaids’ dresses – allow at least six months for the dresses to be ordered and sized

+ Meet the officiant – map out the ceremony and confirm that you have all the official documents for the wedding (these vary by county and religion)

+ Send the save-a-date cards

+ Reserve structural and electrical necessities – book portable toilets for outdoor events, extra chairs if you need them, lighting components etc.

+ Book a florist

+ Arrange transport – consider limos, minibuses, trolleys and town cars. Remember that low-to-the-ground limos can make entries and exits dicey if you’re wearing a fitted gown

+ Start composing a “day-of” timeline – draw up a schedule of the event and slot in each component (the cake-cutting, the first dance)

Pretty weddings + how to plan them

4 Months Before

+ Book the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner venues – negotiate the cost and the menu. If you’re planning to host a day-after brunch for guests, book that place as well

+ Check on the wedding invitations – ask the stationer for samples of the finished invitations and revise them to suit your needs

+ Select and order the cake – some bakers require a long lead time. Attend several tastings before committing to any baker

+ Send your guest list to the host of your shower – provided you, ahem, know about the shower

+ Purchase wedding shoes and start dress fittings

+ Schedule hair and makeup artists

+ Choose your music – what should be playing when the wedding party is announced? During dinner? To kick off the dancing?

Pretty weddings + how to plan them

3 Months Before

+ Finalize the menu and flowers – you’ll want to wait until now to see what will be available, since food and flowers are affected by season

+ Order favours, if desired – some safe bets: monogrammed cookies or a treat that represents your city or region. If you’re planning to have welcome baskets for out-of-town guests, plan those now too

+ Make a list of the people giving toasts

+ Finalize the readings

+ Purchase your undergarments and schedule your second fitting

+ Finalize the order of the ceremony and the reception

+ Print menu cards, if you like, as well as programs

+ Purchase the rings -this will give you time for resizing and engraving

+ Send your event schedule to the vendors

Pretty weddings + how to plan them

2 Months Before

+ Touch base again with all the vendors

+ Meet with the photographer

+ Discuss specific shots and walk through the locations to note spots that appeal to you

+ Review the playlist with the band or deejay

+ Send out the invitations – the rule of thumb: mail invitations six to eight weeks before the ceremony, setting the RSVP cutoff at three weeks after the postmark date

+ Submit a newspaper wedding announcement – if you’re planning to include a photograph, check the publication’s website: Some have strict rules about how the photo should look

+ Enjoy a bachelorette party – arranging a night out with your girlfriends generally falls to the maid of honour. But if she hasn’t mentioned one to you by now, feel free to ask if a celebration is in the works

Pretty weddings + how to plan them Pretty weddings + how to plan them

1 Month Before

+ Enter the RSVPs into your guest-list database – phone people who have not yet responded

+ Get your marriage license – the process can take up to six days, but it’s good to give yourself some leeway. If you are changing your name, order several copies

+ Mail the rehearsal-dinner invitations

+ Visit the dressmaker for (with luck!) your last dress fitting – for peace of mind, you may want to schedule a fitting the week of your wedding. You can always cancel the appointment if you try on the dress then and it fits perfectly

+ Stock the bar – now that you have a firm head count you can order accordingly

+ Send out as many final payments as you can

+ Confirm times for hair and makeup and all vendors

+ E-mail and print directions for drivers of transport vehicles

+ Assign seating

+ Purchase bridesmaids’ gifts – you’ll present them at the rehearsal dinner

+ Write vows, if necessary

+ Get your hair cut and coloured

Week of the Wedding

+ Reconfirm arrival times with vendors

+ Delegate small wedding-day tasks – choose someone to bustle your dress, someone to carry your things, someone to be in charge of gifts (especially the enveloped sort), someone to hand out tips and someone to be the point person for each vendor

+ Send a timeline to the bridal party – include every member’s contact information along with the point people you’ve asked to deal with the vendors, if problems arise

+ Pick up your dress

+ Check in one last time with the photographer – supply him or her with a list of moments you want captured on film

+ Set aside cheques for the vendors – put tips in envelopes to be handed out at the event

+ Book a spa treatment – make an appontment for a manicure and a pedicure the day before the wedding. (You might want to get a stress-relieving massage, too.)

+ Send the final guest list to the caterer and all venues hosting your wedding-related events – typically, companies close their lists 72 hours in advance

+ Break in your shoes

+ Assemble and distribute the welcome baskets

+ Pack for your honeymoon

Pretty weddings + how to plan them

Notes

+ Get everything in writing from suppliers

Get everything in writing from suppliers and read the fine print. Written cost estimates should be carefully checked and physically signed off by you or your partner. Couples have been caught out in the past by, for instance, hotels that charge double rates after certain hours. Also, set a limit on your bar bill, because no-one wants to cancel their honeymoon just to pay off the tequila

+ Ask for a discount

If you get married on any day other than a Saturday, you may be eligible for major discounts. Most venues and suppliers set their rates for ‘in-demand’ Saturday afternoons, so ask for a discount because rates on other days may be cheaper

+ Choose the right marriage officer for you

Choose a marriage officer (priest, rabbi, imam or guru) who knows his or her stuff. They should be able to advise you about the legalities, paperwork and order of ceremony. For instance, a wedding is only legally binding if the register is signed in a religious building, private home or government office. Plus, South African citizens must present valid green ID books; passports are not permissible. Your marriage officer should cost between R1 700 and R1 800, and that should include about 10 hours of counseling and rehearsal time

+ Get it copied

Get a photocopy of the marriage register and your marriage certificate on the spot. Otherwise, this can take up to six months to source

+ Fix your will

Get your will amended because you’re now part of a new family. Sign an antenuptial agreement. Think long-term sensibility, even in the midst of the wedding planning and blissful excitement

+ Wedding planners

Wedding planners should charge a maximum of 10% of the total cost of the wedding – but only on invoices from suppliers they commissioned on your behalf. Make sure you check the suppliers’ clauses. For example, if a venue charges overtime, you’ll be paying that extra cost plus another 10% for your planner

Wedding Planning Companies in South Africa

Timeless Weddings 

The Little Pink Book

Wedding Concepts

 Wedding Photographers in South Africa

Cape Town

Cape Town

Stellenbosch

Johannesburg

Johannesburg

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth

Pretoria

Durban

❤ Africa, My Life in Africa

Do Gentlemen Prefer Blondes?


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Do gentlemen prefer blondes?

I dyed my hair brunette for a temporary change a few months ago. It was fun and interesting to see how people acted with me after. It led me to do some research on men’s attraction to different hair colours and why. I found an awesome article on psychology.com. Apparently in a recent article published in the “Scandinavian Journal of Psychology”, Viren Swami and Seishin Barrett conducted two studies in the greater London area. Studies 1 and 2 consisted of 120 and 126 male participants respectively.

The study

1. To determine whether the same woman would be approached by men at one of three nightclubs as a function of whether she was a brunette, blonde or redhead (her hair was manipulated with dye).

2. To gauge whether photos of the same woman sporting the the three hair colors would yield different evaluations by men along the following ten traits: physical attractiveness, sexual promiscuity, intelligence, introversion, neuroticism, approachability, competency, arrogance, neediness and temperamentality.

The findings

Brunette: Scored higher than the two other hair colors on physical attraction, intelligence, competence and arrogance. Scored higher than the redhead on approachability.

Blonde: Scored highest on approachability than the two other hair colors, as well as highest on neediness.

Redhead: Scored higher than the two other hair colors on temperamentality and lowest on approachability. This seems to be a manifestation of the “fiery redhead” stereotype.

There were no differences in the findings on impressions of sexual promiscuity, introversion, and neuroticism.

The bottom line

It would appear that blonde women are approached more frequently in a nightclub but are generally judged more harshly along a wide range of traits. This could explain the lower score than the brunette on physical attraction in the photo. It’s logical men subconsciously take into account these traits when making a first impression. Hair colour preference is likely driven by individual idiosyncrasies as well cross-cultural differences (i.e. this is a preference that is rooted in evolutionary principles; that lighter hair is associated with youthfulness, a trait universally fancied by men).

How interesting!

My Life in Africa, South Africa

Domestic Violence in South Africa


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Domestic Violence in South Africa

With the recent Oscar Pistorius case, my attention was drawn to Domestic Violence in South Africa. Living in the country where it’s all taking place, I watched a lot of interviews online and on news channels about this issue as they covered the case for a worldwide audience. While it was understood this is a real problem in the country, I didn’t hear any actual facts or figures. As a result, I’ve done some extensive research into this topic and can give you some statistics about what kind of problem we are looking at here.

South Africa has one of the highest incidences of domestic violence in the world. Organisations estimate that one out of every six woman is regularly assaulted by her partner. In at least 46% of cases, the men involved also abuse the children living with the woman. Reeva Steenkamp was statistically just one of three women killed on Valentine’s Day by an intimate partner.

(more…)

My Life in Africa

South Africa Stunned After Oscar Verdict is Given


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Reeva Steenkamp

After quite an emotional week for the country, with the Oscar Pistorius verdict, I’m hoping to simply wind down this weekend. I still don’t know what to believe. A lot of my friends overseas aren’t convinced he’s telling the truth. The papers here were critical of him being cleared. Reeva was in the industry I’m in, not to mention she was from my home town! It’s my aunt in the courtroom sitting next to her mother. Here are some interesting links for you:

Domestic Violence in South Africa

Oscar Pistorious Verdict Recap

Oscar Guilty of Manslaughter 

My Life in Africa

June Greetings


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Skybok

This past couple months has been very busy. On the Skybok front, we filmed a couple awesome places to add to our database of online video profiles showcasing South Africa. Scoot on over to our blog here and read about them. This includes work not only showcasing places here in Cape Town, but also work done at the Durban Travel Indaba. Read about it and see pictures here. I’ve done some voice work at my favourite studio, West Beach Studio, which is run by music producer Frank Smuts who also happens to be one of South Africa’s top triathletes! I did an awesome interview with Grootbos Nature Reserve who recently hosted me to blog about their 5-star luxury resort. Check out the interview here and read my article on the place here. Concurrent to that, I did an interview for HotelsCheap.Org on what to expect when travelling to South Africa – read the interview here. On the PR / Social Media Management side of things, the RetroAfrika Bioscope has received some stunning news regarding their digitally remastered 1980’s South African film Joe Bullet; that it’s to be premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in July this year. Check out their press received here and their gallery of behind-the-scenes at the Waterfront Film Studios here. Up in Johannesburg, The Art Meets Fashion event took place at Constitution Hill and showcased some stunning work by local fashion designers and artists, following in the footsteps of its partner event up in New York. Read about my involvement as an ambassador for this cause here. International collaborations to strengthen ties between South Africa and the rest of the world in order to move us forward in the global arena in any and all creative spheres is something I feel passionately about. I feel we have a pool of undiscovered talent here. Modelling wise, I did a great hair shoot with Sarah Keogh who is an asset to her craft and always produces strong images. I’m looking forward to the BWA Awards (Business Women’s Association of South Africa) in which I’m a finalist in the category of “Emerging Entrepreneur” and whose ceremony is at The Crystal Towers here in Cape Town this week. On the blogging front, an exciting enterprise coming up is a campaign I’m taking part of with City Lodge Hotel Group, where they’re sponsoring me to travel to their hotels around the country and blog. Looking forward to a busy month ahead with lots of different projects! Hopefully I can provide you with some entertaining stories 😉

What have you been up to? Are you in the film industry here in SA? 

Skybok

Skybok