Wacky, is that you?

Once or twice a year, an event happens in the Langeberg and Robertson Wine Valley that truly wakes us from our deep sleep and brings the entire area alive. Next week is such an event. The Wacky Wine Weekend, also known as the biggest festival on the social calendar in the Langeberg area, is taking place next week right here in our little valley.

Visitors come from all over the country and all over the world to attend this festival. Last year I met at least ten Americans who couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful and underrated South Africa, and indeed the Langeberg region, is.

The word ‘Wacky’ has become a verb in our little area. Everywhere someone is confirming whether or not you’ll be ‘wackying’ this weekend. Essentially, the Wacky Wine Weekend includes about 50 wine farms in the surrounding areas, each of which offers a variety of wines and activities. Visitors purchase one ‘passport’ (at R110) that allows them to enter any of the participating farms and taste wines (note: taste). However, wine drinking and other activities come at an additional cost.

With the passport, you’ll also receive a little goodie bag that contains a wine glass (for the tasting that’s about to go down) and an itinerary which indicates what activities each farm will offer. You can then select a farm to visit based on whatever tickles your fancy. There is everything from stalls that sells fragranced soaps and candles, to some of the yummiest foods, to entertainment for kids and adults alike. It’s extremely well organised and so much fun.

The countdown to the Wacky has officially started and the anticipation can already be felt with the residents here. Come on Wacky, we’re waiting…

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RIP Phenomenal woman, Maya Angelou

Today the world has lost one of its most treasured beings. Maya Angelou was such a inspiration and a gift to the world. She provided eloquent commentary on race, gender and living life to its fullest. May she, through her books and poetry, continue to inspire us to become better human beings.

Rest in peace, phenomenal woman.

Phenomenal Woman
by Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

The winter is coming…

While the folks in the north are getting ready for summer, we here in the south are bracing ourselves for yet another cold and wet winter. And if the longevity of this year’s drawn-out summer is anything to go by, I can predict that this year’s winter will be looong and brutal.

However, in line with my melancholic side, I absolutely looove winter. I would be happiest if it could rain everyday. Love, love, loooove the rain! While we gear up for winter, I’ll share a list of my faviourite winter must-haves…

Here goes;

1. I love big Boots and I cannot lie!

I love boots; long boots, short boots, black boots, white boots, high-heel boots, flat-heel boots. Boots, boots everywhere! A girl can never have too many pairs of boots. These are my fave pair at the moment. It’s a pair of Caterpillar boots that I picked up at Old Khaki but they’re also available at Cape Union Mart. They are the most comfortable pair of boots in the world and I am so in love with them. They’re totally worth the price.

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2. Butternut soup

Here’s a banal fact; anything with butternut is king’s food in Meriza’s world and butternut soup is no exception. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m an addict for Woolies’ butternut soup. It’s incredibly creamy and oh so very yummy! I try to stock up as much as I can, as often as I can. It’s an absolute winter must-have.

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3. Rusks

A cold winter’s morning without a cuppa java and a few pieces of delicious rusks would simply be wrong. I prefer Woolies’ Ayrshire Buttermilk & Bran Rusks but when I try to watch the calories I opt for Ouma’s Lite Muesli Rusks. They have borderline cardboard tendencies but at least they’re ‘easier’ on the hips. I do love me some rusks.

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4. Cetaphil

I have a skin condition called ‘Atopic dermatitis’, as my dermatologist calls it. My skin flares up especially during winter and I have to take extra care of it. I use this wonderful product called Cetaphil. It fights the cold and keeps my skin soft and moisturised. It really is the best product out there. I wouldn’t be able to survive winter without it. It works wonders for my skin.

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5. Electric blanket

Together with my fluffy duck feather duvet, my electric blanket is my other winter bestie. The Langeberg valley gets extremely cold during night times and it’s almost impossible to survive without an electric blanket. It’s the best invention since sliced bread. Trust me, once you go electric, you never go back.

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6. Red, red wine

No winter’s evening would be complete without a glass of red wine in front of the fireplace. In fact, it’s probably the only thing that makes the cold slightly bearable and enjoyable. Throw a couple of pieces of steak on the fire, invite over some interesting conversationalists, and you my friend, may just have one of the awesomest times of your life. I heart red wine. The end.

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7. Red hat

I bought this red wool hat at Woolies a few years ago and it has been one of the best investments I have made to date. It simply does not go out of style! Never does a winter go by without me rocking it at least a dozen times. And it looks elegant and stylish and fits my ‘mostly’ neutral-coloured wardrobe perfectly.

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8. Blush

I’m always jealous of lighter skinned people who manage to pull of au naturel blushing cheeks during cold winter days. I simply cannot blush, or maybe I do underneath my skin colour, but no one sees it. Luckily, the makeup gods have made provisions for people with non-blushing cheeks like mine. (Thank you makeup gods!) I use a variety of blushes including Maybelline, Bobbi Brown and Loreal. Artificial pink cheeks are as good as the real thing, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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9. Chamomile tea with honey

Another winter favourite is my Chamomile and Lemongrass tea with honey. However, at the time I took this picture, I only had Freshpak’s ‘normal’ Chamomile tea, which is the second best thing. Besides for tasting delicious, it’s packed with antioxidants to keep up your immune system and fight those nasty flu viruses. Win-win situation, don’t ya think?

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10. Heater

A bit of an obvious choice, but a house is not a home without a heater in the winter. No, you don’t understand; the winter nights in the Langeberg can easily drop to around 0 degrees Celsius and it can be pretty brutal. A heater is not only vital, it’s a necessity. Get a heater, or die. It’s really that simple.

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Do you have any winter must-haves? Tell me in the comments box.

Until next time,

M xx

Off to the polls we go…

This year, South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy, and today we will once again head to the polls in our fifth democratic elections. I’ve been contemplating a lot of what I will write for my voting day blog post. I wanted to make it significant enough to stress the importance of voting, yet not too detail-orientated so that my non-political readers will be bored.

Contrary to popular believe, I used to be an avid political commentator. Back in my journalism days I used to follow political parties, read their manifestos and listen to their party promises. However, as of late, I have taken little interest in the goings-on of the halls in Parliament, sadly.

Truth be told, I simply didn’t have the stomach to sit through yet another year of lies and empty promises. For the first time since democratic South Africa, I have completely withdrawn from all election news. I have not tweeted or retweeted any election-relating news, I have not facebooked any and I surely didn’t blog about it either. Electioneering, just like the poo-throwing in Cape Town, left a stinky residue and an uneasy feeling in my stomach. As far as developing countries go, South Africa is way up there with cheap electioneering tactics. It literally is sickening.

However, in line with my life goal to leave a legacy for my future children, and as is befitting of a good, democratic citizen, I have voted this morning. Many people have sacrificed their lives for my freedom and so I do not take my freedom for granted. So here goes South Africa, let freedom reign in the halls of your voting station. Make your mark. Leave a footprint.

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On my way to the voting hall…

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The voting hall in my small town.

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There are days that I don’t believe democracy is an effective form of governance… Today is not such a day. Voted the hell out of that ballot. Awesomest feeling ever! Been there, done that, got the selfie! #thatshowIroll #elections2014

If you haven’t voted yet, do it now!

My love affair with quotes

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Initially, the idea with this blog was to share my photography with the world, but I’m afraid my love for writing is getting the better of me, so please bear with me. I will try to spice things up a little with a bit of writing inbetween the gorgeous pics.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an ongoing love affair with quotes. My love for quotes and the English language is synonymous in that I have fallen in love with both around the same time, which, if memory serves me right, was around eighth grade (yes, I’m a bit of a late bloomer, but a bloomer nonetheless). My love for English can largely be attributed to one reason only; my eighth grade English teacher. Miss Titus was a 30-something, (mostly) single lady who was beautiful, daring and could pronounce the most eloquent English words from our prescribed textbook, The Battle of Bubble and Squeak. I could listen to her readings for hours.

One of the very first quotes that stuck in my head was one that was plastered onto Miss Titus’s classroom wall. It read; “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” I saw that quote every single day for an entire year. It was difficult to miss. The quote, just like the English language, slowly tiptoed into my heart and before I knew it, I was head over heels.

However, the quote that I’ve adored above all other, the one I have lived by for many years, I came across while working as a barista at Starbucks in Chestnut Hill, Boston, US in 2003. It was on a big poster against the wall at the top of the stairs and you simply couldn’t miss it. After cashing up your till downstairs, following a long day on your feet behind the espresso machine, it was the one thing that made the voyage up the stairs a little bit more bearable.  It was one of those quotes that once you’ve read it, you’d never forget it, and so I never did. It read: “Winning is not everything, it’s the only thing.” It was a quote by Vince Lombardi and it was only many years later that I discovered who he was.

I loved that quote since the first time I laid my two tired eyes on it. I knew then and there, that I was going to win. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I knew one way or another, that to me too, winning was “the only thing”.

I suppose telling a 22-year old Starbucks employee that “winning is the only thing”, can be a bit depressing especially since you are still trying to make sense of the world and figure out where you fit in. And yes, of course I had the occasional depressing day, but mostly it inspired me to keep going and to never give up. And that is exactly what I did. It is for that very reason that I have lived by this quote and will continue to do so for all my days.

There are three historical figures whom I admire for their quotes, their sense of humour and their wit; the authors Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain and the previous British Prime Minster, Winston Churchill. Google their quotes. It’ll be worth your while, I promise. Below I will share ten of my favourite quotes with you…

1)      “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – (the great) Albert Einstein

2)      Let a man lose everything else in the world but his enthusiasm and he will come through again to success.” H. W. Arnold

3)      “Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.”Khalil Gibran

4)      “Pay no attention to critics. No statue has ever been erected in honour of a critic.” – Jean Sibelius

5)      Nothing is out of the question for me. I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up in the morning and see the light… Then I’m grateful.”Miles Davis

6)      “I’m the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”Muhammad Ali

7)      “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”Norman Peale

8)      “I’ve put my heart and my soul into my work and have lost my mind in the process.”Vincent van Gogh

9)      “There is a vision for my life that is greater than my imagination can hold.” – (of course I had to add) Oprah Winfrey

10)   “Fight for your dreams, and your dreams will fight for you.”Paulo Coelho

 

Okay, ten proved to be too great a task, I simply have too many …so I’ll just add ten more… That’s it. Promise.

11)   “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”Tata Nelson Mandela

12)   “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”Mark Twain

13)   “Don’t let your schooling interfere with your education.”Mark Twain

14)   “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”Thomas Edison

15)   “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

16)   “I’m so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”Oscar Wilde

17)   “I don’t at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited.”Oscar Wilde

18)   “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.”Ayn Rand

19)   “I love talking about nothing… It is the only thing I know anything about.”Oscar Wilde

20) “I put all my genius into my life; I put only talent into my works.”Oscar Wilde