Monday, November 17, 2014

13 Alternative Christmas Trees

So the Festive Season is around the corner and if I go by shopping mall decorations, I should have already posted this in October. Here are a few alternatives to the beloved Christmas tree. And why would you need an alternative? Well if you're like me, I will be out in the mountains and that calls for an alternative to the Christmas tree. 

If you have spare space on your wall add some washi tape

Washi tape makes everything better. There are so many different colours and variations and best of all if you mess up, just pull it off and start again. Click here if you would like to get your hands on some lovely washi tape.

Paper Craft Trees

Get your paper crafting on with these easy to assemble trees. Instead of one tree, why not create a tree curtain by sewing paper strips together? Get the whole family involved with an origami tree . Use decorated paper for a more dramatic effect or plain paper and decorate it afterwards. For a mini tree use buttons to decorate and any one cut up paper into strips. Finally create strips of paper, glue or staple them together to create a chain.

Something for every one 

 Use your Christmas cards to create a tree or create an advent calendar. For the foodie, bake some festive cookies and arrange them in a tree shape. If said foodie is on a diet, use fruit or veggies to do the same. For book lovers, grab all of your summer reads and stack them up. (If you've joined the e-reader generation, then this is not for you). And finally for the wine connoisseur collect, those corks. Giving you a reason to try out new wines.

And if all else fails...

Grab a branch and make it your own.


The first decorated Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510.

Friday, September 5, 2014

On Packing & Beating Jet lag

I'm leaving on a jet plane tomorrow. The last time I did a half way round the world trip, was because I had spent a rather large sum on getting my pet back to South Africa. I decided to save some cash and get the cheapest flight back. It took me about two days and four flights to get back to Johannesburg. This time I'm off to the US of A via Dubai. I am a lot older than I was when I did that trip, so I wanted to see how I could make my flight there fun.
I want to go to there. :)

I like to think I'm good at packing. The last time my BFF and I went to Cape Town for a long weekend I only brought a backpack. Paulo Coelho describes the luggage you carry around with you as the "weight of your vanity" and I wanted to carry as little of that as possible.

So here are some ideas on how to pack lightly and beat jet lag. I'm writing this before, so will have to let you know afterwards if it was successful or you can just take my word for it. :) 


  • allocate a settling fund to buy necessities when you get to your destination. This means that you don't have to worry about packing everything for your trip. It also means that if you do forget stuff, you can just say that it was part of the plan all along.
  • pack the things you regularly wear and narrow it down, twice. We always end up taking way too many clothes anyway. 
  • roll your clothes. This saves so much space, you can easily see everything when you open your case and I have found this doesn't crease them either. 
  • pack a sarong or large scarf. You never know when this will come in handy - you can use it to keep yourself warm, as a headband, shawl or little blanket. 
  • take comfy shoes. Going abroad usually means you will be a tourist and will do lots of exploring. Make sure your shoes are comfy. Happy feet = happy adventures.

Jet lag is for amateurs

  • the most obvious is stay hydrated. Not with fermented grape juice or potatoes, but with water. As my Dad used to say when we were kids and complained that we were  thirsty, "Drink what the lions drink".
  • Walk around. Every hour or so get up and talk a walk to the bathroom or through the aircraft and see which unlucky flyers have the screaming baby. There is always one. 
  • Adjust your watch to the time at your destination. When you arrive avoid the temptation to go straight to bed, and only go to bed when it is night time there. 

Read more by Tim Ferris - How to never check luggage again

Monday, September 1, 2014

Time to unplug and read

So recently I've taken up a little social experiment. I try and switch off from the digital world after 8. That means no twitter before bed. I really think the medium affects our brains and I wanted to see if I would sleep better and read more real books. 

Although I work in the digital space and love spending time online, I really think it is important to unplug. See @AriannaHuff and her book #Thrive for awesome tips (which I got via Twitter). I don't always stick to this but since I have started, I've managed to read more and experience the thrill of having to finish a book to see what happens. That doesn't really happen when you read Twitter. 

Here are my two Young Adult (YA) novels I read last week which I highly recommend.

This book sounds weird and it is, but in a glorious way. It tells the tale of Nobody Owens, or Bod as he is affectionately known, who grows up in a graveyard among the dead.  As the book progresses, Bod has some great adventures and the reason his family were killed is revealed. A definite must read with great quotes like the one above.

Markus Zusak is best known for The Book Thief, and this is his YA novel. I remember always seeing this book among one of the few English books in my small Taiwanese town bookstore. I always read the back  but never bought it. I found this copy in my favourite second hand bookstore and once again it piqued my interest. It was as Jimmy Carr jokes, a page turner. (Yeah, I know how a book works.) An underage cab driver is sent an Ace with addresses on it and has to figure out how to help those people that live at those addresses. The plot thickens and it keeps you guessing until the end.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Healthy Chocolate Mousse Recipe

I have such a sweet tooth. Instead of giving up on my love for sweet things, I thought I would try and make "healthier" versions of the chocolate goodness that I love. Now before you judge this here Chocolate Mousse recipe, I urge you to try it. I did an office taste test and didn't tell people that the main ingredient was avo, and once I had told them, the were shocked. It tastes that good. 

avo chocolate mousse
A delicious chocolate mousse with a secret ingredient - avo.

A Healthy Chocolate Mousse Recipe for your Face

  • 2 large avocados
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 6 Tbsp. honey (change to agave nectar if vegan)
  • ¼ cup skim milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee 
Take all of the ingredients and place in a food processor. Blend it up and then place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

 I got this from Oprah. 

Now feed your face! Yummy.