Rainy Days…

It was with great privilege and also sadness that we got to visit a few of our local night shelters these past two weeks.

We always strive to give back to the community and were in the fortunate position to donate over 400 rain jackets to the night shelters in our area.

As we didn’t want to just drop the rain jackets off and leave, we made an effort to establish how many occupants there were in the shelter, when they would be available to see us and also if we could meet some of the house guests.

At any one given time there are roughly 60 – 80 occupants or clients as they are referred to, at a shelter.  They can’t take in more people than they have beds for.  We decided to divide the amount of rain jackets we had amongst three nearby shelters.  We were also able to leave some extras for any newcomers that may join.

Our first visit was to the Kensington Night Shelter on one very cold, stormy and wet Wednesday evening.  We were greeted by Keith, one of the supervisors.  What an amazing man he is!!  He introduced us to the rest of the staff, and then took us through to the dining area to introduce us to the residents.  Residents are required to pay a small fee for their accommodation, which also covers food. Keith then took us through the whole of the shelter to show us where the necessities are stored as well as the kitchen and the dormitories.  Everything was so organised and well structured. A well-oiled machine to say the least!  And the best of all was that there was never a complaint, only an expression of gratitude and blessings. We each humbly received a bunch of roses when we left as a thank you for the donation.

I always thought that the night shelter was just for a one night stay, or a maximum stay of one week.  It became obvious that some of these clients stay on for as long as two years. They go out every day to get a day job and then return to the shelter each night.  They become one big family and are dependent on the love and support of their fellow house mates.  They share their heart sore and their life stories with one another.  It is not just a roof over their head and a warm meal; it is so much more…

We then went through to Kraaifontein Night Shelter to drop off more rain jackets… Norma greeted us there, but due to the dreadful weather and the business of dinner and house meetings. We were not able to stay long or meet the residents.

Our last stop was the Bellville Night Shelter, and again, what an eye opener.  We met Craig, the supervisor on duty.  What a remarkable man!  He also took us through the shelter to show us the dormitories and then introduced us to the residents for the night. They were all cheerful and happy to be in a warm environment where they felt a sense of belonging. It was just amazing to see their faces and their appreciation of the plate of food and a warm bed for the evening.  Craig then started telling us his life story. He himself was a client of the shelter for two years due to drug abuse and the fact that his family didn’t want anything to do with him.  He decided within these two years to change his life because of the warmth and the belonging he felt at the shelter. He slowly but surely started to do admin work, cleaning work, worked in the kitchen and after two years he has proved himself… and become a Supervisor!!!!  He has now been transferred to a secondary house in Kuilsriver and now makes a difference to so many people’s lives.  He told us that he has eventually found his purpose and place and couldn’t stop talking about how he loves his life!



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Franschhoek by tram…

Being a traveller by nature, I love nothing more than to explore, whether it be local destinations or over the seas adventures. I am always fascinated by old world charm, ancient ruins or anything that has a fascinating history.

Travelling by tram through the vineyards of Franschhoek took me back in time and for a few hours I was indulged in that nostalgic feeling of eras gone by.

Starting off in the centre of this quaint little village, we board a tram-bus. Upon leaving, we are enticed by the beautifully calming music aboard as we weave through the blissful suburbia of Franschhoek. This gives you a taste of how this current town has managed to keep its old school charm. As we head up to our first stop, Haute Cabriere, we are greeted by the most magnificent views of the wine lands.  Moving on to Dieu Donne, we all indulged our senses with a wine tasting session and got to take in yet another breath taking view. Out next stop was Chamonix. Roasted Quail ‘A La Française’ anyone? A long leisurely lunch was spent under a canopy of trees, shading us from the heat of the day. Following lunch we were picked up by a vintage open-air truck and transported to Rickety Bridge. Crossing a ‘rickety bridge’ indeed we were welcomed with yet another tasting, refreshing us for the last leg of the journey. Finally we get to experience a tram trip on the original tracks built in 1904 that served as an alternative to ox drawn carts for farmers wanting to get their produce to market. Our last stop, Grande Provence, allowed us browse through an art gallery, do some gift shopping and enjoy yet another glass of world class wine.

All in all, a day fit for any traveller! Perfect weather, fine wine and dine and the company of good friends. Is this not what life is about…


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SalesGuru Experience (Part 2)

If I thought that Peter van Kets was the best motivational speaker I had ever heard, I soon realized that the next guest was not going to be any less entertaining and inspiring!  Entrepreneur Extraordinaire, Vusi Thembekwayo made his way onto the stage, fists flying, bouncing up and down to the theme of Rocky!  Wow, what an entrance!  I knew that this was going to be good!!

This is no ordinary man.  He is a director of a multinational company, which operates in 9 countries with a R17bn annual turnover, and has been from age 25 years of age. Again……….. WOW!!!

It is not just the wealth and success of this man that made me sit up straight and listen!  He is an awesome speaker.  He is both funny and hard-hitting, not mincing his words and not afraid to tell the truth.  He comes from a family which was not well off and was in fact disadvantaged.  He had many challenges which he believes are part of his basic composition.  He says that “There were times in life where the only food I had to survive on was the passion that fed me.  I used to sleep on the floor; had a blanket as a curtain.”  The thing that drove him was this passion to succeed and his ability to “Dream Big.”

As a scholar his teachers told him that he should pursue public speaking as he was so talkative in class.  He worked as a salesperson later in life and only in 2008 did he begin to focus exclusively on public speaking.  “Risk lies on either side of investment and reward,” says Vusi, who believes that the youngsters in South Africa are stuck in the mindset of “hustling”, and not investing time and effort into their goals. To the youngsters of today, it’s all about surviving or hustling.  Vusi says that the youth of today need to change their mindset and realize that “surviving shouldn’t be the option; extreme success should be”.  This really hit home and I just wish that each youngster in South Africa could hear this man speak!  He knows what he is talking about and can relate to all.  He was forced to drop out of university due to financial constraints and returned to school later in life.  For him, education is key.  He says that “education becomes more relevant once you know what you want to do with it.”

He encourages people to keep asking questions.  “It’s not the answers that matter – but the questions.”  He is determined to let the youth know that they have to question the world around them and get clarity in their lives.

The Black Sheep in a family is often the lost soul who does not fit in with the rest.  To Vusi, this is perfect.  We should strive to be the “Black Sheep”.  He encourages us not to play by the traditional rules and live life with blazing ambition to work.  He lives by these rules and is reaping the rewards everyday, both financially and spiritually.

I never want to be a “White Sheep” as these “creatures, according to Vusi;

  • Are predictable (not good in the world of business)
  • Are product orientated and work towards targets.  Once a target is reached, they are happy and go no further.
  • Will never succeed as they are “passionate” about their jobs, not “obsessed”.
  • They slow down when the “ride” gets a bit bumpy.  They cannot maintain during turbulent times and lose focus.

I choose to be a “Black Sheep.”  Vusi says that these wooly wonders are those who;

  • Offer experiences to customers, not just products.  He relates the “2 dollar Taco story” to us.  Please Google Taco Bell and see how a simple idea has turned into a cult following.  A travelling bus, serving very basic food, but after the food is sold out, the party begins and the thousands of people have a great time with fabulous music.  It is the EXPERIENCE that so many people travel far and wide queuing for hours, just to be a part of Taco Bell.
  • Are Result drivers who know what to do even when times get tough. They have a “B” plan if the “A” one is not working.
  • Are G-T-G people (Go to Guy).  They are those who want to be the only option, the only choice for a prospective customer.
  • Are like Grand Prix motor cycle racers, who speed up on the corners. They never put the brakes on when a difficult situation arises.  They just go faster, overtaking their competitors.
  • Are a bit crazy.  They are not afraid to be a leader and never fear failure!  They know that the “rest will follow”.
  • Only work with the very best team.  The “A” team is the only option and it is imperative to surround yourself with other “Black Sheep”.  Success is the reward.

Thanks Vusi for letting us into your world!  I only wish that all South Africans, from all walks of life; politicians, students, mothers and fathers to name but a few, could have the opportunity I had.  If we all took just one point from Vusi and lived our lives accordingly, our country would be a much better place for all.  One cannot fail if you keep trying.

Even Alison Moyet said, “Within three months I had gone from being this black sheep of the town to suddenly becoming a pop star.”  If only she had met Vusi earlier in her career, she too would have realized, “After all, the wool of a black sheep is just as warm.Ernest Lehman .



SalesGuru Experience

When I was offered the opportunity of attending a “SalesGuru” event at the Cape Sun on Feb 8th, I was to say the least, very excited.  I had heard about these events and seen the magazine, but never had the good fortune of being part of one!

When I looked up the definition of the word “Guru”, I was given, “a person with knowledge or expertise:  an expert”.

This is exactly how one can describe the CEO of SalesGuru, Mark Keating.  He is an “expert” in what he does and immediately had the large sales and marketing audience, enthralled as he took us through a few clever games to get us thinking and involved!  This man sure knows how to hold a crowds attention.  He asked us “What are you doing differently to achieve success in 2013?” and promised us that by the end of the session our mind set would have changed to varying degrees! He says, “Impossible is Nothing”.

The first guest speaker was Peter Van Kets, who is an adventurer who gave many ideas to inspire us to success.  He is an adventurer in the true sense of the word and won two unsupported 5438 km rowing races across the Atlantic Ocean, one of which was solo!  These were 76 days of literally, blood, sweat and tears, filled with hardship and isolation. He explained that the reason he succeeded in these and other adventures was his pure determination. He kept Sir Edmund Hilary’s quote “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”, close to his heart when times were extra hard.  In 2012 he took part in an extreme 888km race to the South Pole and again endured hardships beyond belief.  He has truly inspired me with his feats of courage, endurance self belief and unrelenting hard work!  This requires levels of commitment which are unbelievable!

The main tips I took away from his amazing talk were;

  • Have a vision or a dream;
  • There is always a process to follow to realize your dreams;
  • Embrace the hard times & learn from them.
  • Focus on the good times
  • Always surround yourself with the best team, having trust; integrity; respect and accountability.  This is always a winning team!
  • Be courageous during the “storms” and economic trials.  Do something which your competitors are not doing and provide a service which they are not!
  • If you want longevity to your business there must be meaning and significance to your success.
  • Never let fear of failure paralyse you.  Failure is part of the process towards success.
  • It is imperative to move from external discipline to a state of self discipline to succeed.  We need to work and perform as a result of an internal drive pushing us, not as a result of fear from a boss or manager!

This is just a brief summary of the first amazing speaker at this Years SalesGuru Cape Town Event.  I left with so much enthusiasm and feel inspired to take on anything!

Next time I will highlight the amazing Vusi Thembekwayo an entrepreneur extraordinaire.

But ……. Right now…… roll on 2013!  I have been told “Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low.”  Tom Peters.



Valentine’s weekend @ STRANDLOPER OCEAN LODGE

As per our normal tradition, my husband and I were looking for a weekend breakaway over Valentine’s.  We’ve always been very keen to visit Paternoster for a weekend as whenever we have passed through, we have commented on this beautiful village.

So without further ado, we decided to book at the Strandloper Ocean Lodge for the weekend.  From the moment we arrived we were not one bit disappointed in what was awaiting us (except for the gale force wind that was blowing!).  Tapiwa, our host, welcomed us at the lodge and showed us to the Garden King Suite.  We had requested the Ocean View Suite when we booked, but because there are only three Ocean View Suites, all were already taken.  We were so pleasantly surprised by the feel of tranquillity, overlooking the “absolutely nothing” landscape … just ‘bossies’ and more ‘bossies’.  Our suite was huge (hence the name ‘KING suite’).  We had a lounge area separate to the bedroom, with an open plan en-suite bedroom.

We asked Tapiwa to book a table at Voorstrandt Restaurant for Friday evening, but oh boy were we disappointed – again – by the absolute devastating hospitality of the owner.  This was not the first time that we had visited the restaurant, but never again will we go back – nor will I be recommending it to anyone.  Just amazing how one person can ruin it all!

On Saturday we were spoilt with a lovely in-room breakfast spread on our patio overlooking the serene landscape.  We opened up a bottle of sparkling wine and just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery and the delicious breakfast. I am personally not a mushroom lover, but boy oh boy, were the mushrooms delicious!

The rest of the day was spent exploring Paternoster and the surrounding areas.  What a lovely eccentric little village, with so much happening.  From the fresh crayfish that is sold at the harbour, foreigners enjoying the local culture, the Paternoster Hotel that is the “heart of the people”, to the beautiful stretch of white sand inviting you for long walk on the beach.

When we returned to the lodge, we noticed that the guests who stayed in the Presidential Suite were busy checking out.  We asked Tapiwa to show us the Presidential Suite, and fell in love … immediately we decided that we want to move over to the Presidential Suite.  As they say – go big, or go home! The stay in this suite was something out of this world…the amazing view over the ocean, the spaces for ultimate relaxation, the décor, the feeling of…I want to stay, and never leave!

That evening Tapiwa booked a table for us at Noisy Oyster.  This was a stunning evening in a courtyard filled with fairy lights, lovely food, stunning service … and friendly people!! Wow, the total opposite of our experience the night before.  I can highly recommend this restaurant – and although they don’t have a view of the ocean, they still have a setting that transports you into a fairyland garden setting.

The next morning we had difficulty getting up with the lovely sea breeze coming through our window.  We were served pancakes and coffee in our room, before we had to start packing up. We finished off with a light luncheon at the lodge just to indulge in the sea view and the smell of the ocean one last time…


King Suite Bathroom

King Suite Bathroom

Presidential Suite Dining

Presidential Suite Dining

Strandloper Lodge

Strandloper Lodge

Seasons Greetings!

Seasons greetings to all! We will be closing today 20 December 2012 and opening again 7 January 2013. To all who are travelling, have a safe journey. Wishing everyone a joyous festive season and a prosperous New Year!


Useful Tips for Shooting People (no guns involved!)

  • Do not use a flash indoors. A flash can make people look harsh and unnatural, especially for indoor portraits. Make use of natural light as far as possible.
  • When taking a portrait of a person, don’t be afraid to zoom in close!
  • Focus on the subject’s eyes.
  • To avoid a double-chin, tell your subject to imagine that there is a thread  attached to his/her nose and you are pulling it slightly towards the camera. It might feel awkward for the person, but it makes a huge difference on the photo. See for yourself in this video  http://laughingsquid.com/the-disappearing-double-chin-trick-for-portrait-photography/
  • When taking group photos, imagine the whole group to be a single object. Make sure that all people in the group are visible. If they can’t see the camera, the camera cannot see them.
  • Search for ways to shoot from an elevated angle. Using a balcony or climbing on a car to get a higher viewpoint could work perfectly. It will definitely be worth the effort, because instead of an ordinary and common shot you will get a more interesting and inviting perspective. This tip also works wonders for the double-chins!
  • Take multiple shots at a time. There are bound to be photos with closed eyes and weird expressions. Multiple shots allow you to pick the best photos.
  • Smile – Yes YOU should smile! There’s nothing worse than a grumpy stressed out photographer. Have fun and enjoy the process of getting your shots and you’ll find the ‘model(s)’ will too.
  • I  use Picasa (http://picasa.google.com/) to edit my photos. It’s free, has face recognition and is an easy tool to make any photo look like a piece of art.
  • Happy snapping!

by Santie Nel

Candy’s top make-up tips

  • Your Eyebrows Frame Your Eyes, So Make The Most of Them. A soft, full, arched brow is the way to go.
  • Always use a primer on your eye-lids before applying eye-shadow.  This will keep the make-up fresh.
  • Layering your eye- liner with eye shadow is the secret to a perfect smoky eye.

Apply mascara like a pro:

 Step 1: Wiggle the wand left to right at the base of lashes. It’s the mascara placed near the roots — not the tips — that gives the illusion of length.

Step 2: Pull the wand up and through lashes, wiggling as you go. The wiggling part is key because it separates lashes.

Step 3: In this final step (which I always skip), close the eye and place the mascara wand on top of lashes at the base and pull through to remove any clumps.

  • The whole idea of putting color on your cheeks is to mimic a healthy glow. Though there’s room for variation, roses are best for pale skin; apricots work for medium complexions; & muted brick reds flatter dark skin.

Candy says that make up done well can make blue eyes pop; it can plump up a wrinkled face and play down a large nose. It can even out a red mess of a face or a brown mess of the area under the eyes. However, there’s an order in which makeup is best applied. A basic rule of thumb is to start with your face first. A flawless face means you’ll most likely need less eye makeup or lip color and we all know less is more when it comes to makeup. After the face, move on to the eyes and then to the lips.

These tips and tricks will have you feeling great, just in time to celebrate the holidays with a new and improved look!

For tips on how to get the smoldering look, please refer to the guide above.

For tips on how to get the smoldering look, please refer to the guide above.