This past weekend, we celebrated my mom’s birthday with a family picnic in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve.

Following a little meander along the Palmiet River Trail, we settled on some rocks close to a rushing waterfall and enjoyed fresh Portuguese rolls, coffee, tea and home-baked goodies courtesy of Imar and Tamara. This spot also happens to be a designated swimming zone that I’d love to revisit on a sunnier, more summery day.

After the picnic, Imar and I decided to head back to Betty’s Bay along the 6km Oudebosch trail, which connects the Kogelberg Nature Reserve with the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens. After being damaged by the devastating fires in January, the hike has been closed for much of the year. It was reopened to the public recently, but with much of the path back down into the garden not fully restored just yet and a couple of rusty tools scattered along the trail, we suddenly doubted whether this was really the case.

We were very pleased and excited to walk alongside two sets of Cape Leopard tracks – possibly a mother and a cub – for quite a bit of the middle section of the trail, though, and kept our eyes peeled for the elusive creatures. Sadly they were in no mood to be spotted (Lol lol).

Either way, it was an invigorating and memorable experience. Here are some photos I took:

Continue Reading "Snaps: Picnic in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve"

It’s been a heady few weeks for us South Africans since the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup at the end of October.

The team returned home last week and received a well-deserved heroes’ welcome at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, followed by more of the same in the various cities they’ve visited as part of their Trophy Tour.

Today was Cape Town’s turn and, of course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

After an early wake-up to get some work done, I grabbed my camera, got on the MyCiti bus and headed into the streets just before 11am.

I wended my way from Strand, through St. George’s Mall and all along Adderley, turning down into Darling Street where the celebratory atmosphere was practically palpable. All along the way, fans waved South African flags and burst into spontaneous renditions of Shosholoza and the National Anthem. Most were kitted out in green-and-gold, but sadly some couldn’t escape their workwear. No matter what they were wearing, though, not a soul was left out of the festivities!

It was truly a sight to behold and I relished capturing some special moments on camera.

Here they are:

Continue Reading "Snaps: Springboks Trophy Tour"

With all the Bok-related patriotism in the air, it’s hard not to think about being South African. I’ve caught myself softly singing our national anthem a good few times since Saturday and, without fail, feel my eyes well up when reaching those last two lines.

Earlier this year, I wanted out. I wanted to pack my bags and move somewhere safe. I wanted to escape the violence and the tension and the feeling of always looking over my shoulder.

But what good would that do? In the name of safety, I’d lose so much.

I’d lose living in a country where:

Continue Reading "On being South African"

Last year, I discovered my old point and shoot film camera in a drawer. Believe it or not, I actually still used it to capture my first few months at university back in 2004!

Anyway, since I had started dabbling in film photography, I decided to pop one of the expired Kodak Gold films I had recently acquired into the sturdy little body and decided to keep it in my handbag for spontaneous shots.

Well, over the next few months, it became my constant companion and ended up accompanying me on work trips to Maputo and Mpumalanga, as well as random adventures all around Cape Town. Sadly, one fateful day, it must have decided that it had served me loyally enough for long enough and simply gave up the ghost.

Fortunately, I could still wind the film up and have it developed.

The result? Super grainy snapshots – some overexposed, others under and yet others completely covered in light leaks. Not great photos by any standard. Yet, somehow, the more you look at them, the more charming they seem to become.

Or maybe I just feel loyal to them.

Maybe you should judge for yourself:

Continue Reading "Snaps: Super Grainy 35mm Point and Shoot"
Even though yoga lends itself so well to an ‘anytime, anywhere approach’, it sure is hard to set up a home practice.
 
I’ve been trying for more than 10 years and only recently managed to carve out at least 3 hours a week for at-home yoga.
 
One of the main reasons for this little success is the fact that I started my 200hr yoga teacher training (YTT) course in August. Apart from having to practice a certain number of hours per week, I was also given specific poses to work on improving.
 
While joining a yoga class is great for getting into a delicious flow, an at-home practice is the perfect way to get better at things you’re not that good at. Yet.
 
Being committed to arriving on your mat in your own space can also save you a lot of money when studio/gym costs are hard to scrape together. Which – let’s face it – is a reality for many of us.
 
So, if you’ve also been struggling to get a yoga practice going at home, here are a few things that helped me set mine up:
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I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot lately and how each of us seems to have a blueprint for how it should manifest in our lives.

We collect moments and images and places and carefully constructed ideas of perfect people to create a bright and colourful collage against which we constantly compare our own lived experiences.

Of course, it rarely measures up. Yet, still, we wonder why.

My thoughts on this topic were sparked when a much younger friend – who at a glance seems to be living his best life, travelling, exploring, meeting new people, the whole shebang – expressed concern that he was not doing enough to fill his time with true happiness. That, somehow, despite his best efforts, happiness continued to elude him.

I sensed the anguish in his words and felt like I was having a conversation with my own 18- or 22- or 27-year-old-self. That wild-eyed girl for whom nothing was ever enough.

Although she still surfaces every once in a while, I dare say I’ve gotten better with age. Like crossing over into my 30s has allowed me to loosen my grip. To hold my ideas of happiness – everything, really – a little more loosely.

While I certainly wouldn’t lend myself out as a guru on the topic and – at 33 – still have a lot to (un)learn, I do believe I’ve come to understand a few things about happiness that I might as well share:

Continue Reading "A few thoughts on happiness"

For the past few days, my creativity has been at a bit of a low ebb.

Since I’m quite comfortable with the idea that things move in cycles and we can’t always be at peak performance, it doesn’t alarm me too much.

However, I don’t like wallowing in this state for too long.

Something I enjoy doing to help myself snap out of it is leaving the confines of my flat and heading out into the city for a walkabout. Cape Town’s streets always have something interesting, thought-provoking, humorous and beautiful on offer to get those creative juices flowing again.

Today, was an especially good day to seek out the Mother City’s streets, as earth warriors from across the peninsula gathered to participate in the Global Climate Strike.

In all honesty, I hadn’t intended to join the march – not because I don’t love mama earth, just because taking to the streets in protest isn’t really something I do.

But, when I found myself falling deeper into the creative funk, I thought being part of something bigger might just offer me some much-needed perspective.

Also, I’ve always loved protest photographs, so this was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at taking some too. (I do, of course, also realise that my camera, notebook and observation skills often serve as a safety blanket in situations like these).

Anyway, so here are some images snapped at the Global Climate Strike in Cape Town:

Continue Reading "Snaps: Global Climate Strike – Cape Town"

I recently had the opportunity to cover an event at the University of Cape Town, where Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng (aka Fab Academic on Twitter and Instagram) shared some career advice with postgraduate students.

While I long ago closed the chapter on pursuing any kind of academic career, I found a wealth of wisdom in the VC’s address, which can be applied to any professional path you choose to follow.

Here are my top five takeaways:

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‘The Wild Woman Interviews’ is a series of Q&As with women who do interesting, brave and inspiring things. The name hints at how nature, the outdoors, travel, the natural cycles of life etc. motivate and influence their passions and pursuits.

This month’s Wild Woman is Saray Khumalo and actually needs no introduction. Earlier this year, Saray became the first black African woman to summit Mount Everest. She is an award-winning mountaineer and a business executive with over 15 years’ experience in industry-leading blue-chip companies which drive innovation and change both locally and internationally. I chatted to her about her love for mountaineering, her passion for inspiring other African women and also about ‘Summits with a Purpose’, her initiative to help educate South Africa’s youth. 

Continue Reading "Wild Woman Interview: Seven Summits and Breaking Stereotypes with Saray Khumalo"

Every so often, when my schedule allows and deadlines aren’t coming at me as thick and fast as they normally do, I spend an hour or two volunteering at an urban farm close to my home in Cape Town.

Sometimes, I help place tiny seeds in polystyrene planting trays and other times I clear weeds from the veggie beds. It’s nothing fancy and I love it precisely because of this. A couple of hours away from my laptop, feeling the sun on my shoulders and inhaling the scent of earth and soil.

Continue Reading "Random Thought: Of Our National Anthem and the Ones Who Love It Most"