Wednesday, 31 August 2016

In a different world, for an hour or two

On Saturday we visited Market @ the Sheds in midtown Pretoria. What a lovely experience! It is so cosmopolitan - not like you imagine Pretoria to be. I have shared many markets in and around Pretoria and even Cape Town before but this one has to be the new "must visit " one around.

Entrance to the Market from Helen Joseph street
As always with markets - pictures speak louder than words - take a look and visit - the next market is on 24 September. There is always live music, and array of wonderful food to choose from, great places to sit and have a craft beer/ smoothie/ cocktail and something to eat. And it has to be the cleanest and neatest market I have ever seen.
Wonderful space of the main shed with the market.
Tables and seats facing the band inside the shed

Yummy mommy has fantastic cakes on offer as well as sweets for the kiddos.
These are so beautiful

Tasty deconstructed cakes
Thise Brownies at the back - best ever!

I would love one of these stunning well made leather bags

You have to go and see this! Absolute brilliance.

L had to buy some biltong - tasters provided

Huge range of risoles

Venison "burgers" and chips

This looked interesting - may try it next time
Feeling Mexican?

A wide variety of cocktails - and there is wine by the glass including good Cape Classique bubbles and my favorite Graham Beck Gorgeous wine

Great coddee at the Urban Barrista

Neat as a pin ablutions
There is a small kiddies area with child minders close to some seating for parents of the tiny ones
This was our favorite space- a stunning courtyard with seating close to the main shed - you can hear the music but have a conversation - just perfect, while you are enjoying the eats and drinks

I was contemplating buying the red one for the next Capital singers ...

A bought a set of earrings for R30 here!
These are stunning and unique
 There is also a big craft beer hall at the top area which early in the morning was still quiet but I am sure fills up later in the day. So if you are in Pretoria or visiting in September do join us! Unique in Pretoria without a doubt.

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music....

I am about 4 or 5 - we are traveling back to Pretoria from Joburg late at night. In my mind I see the exotic costumes of Kismet/ the dancing in the imagined streets of West side story/ keep singing "I feel pretty oh so pretty" from My Fair Lady...

My parents loved musicals and as an only child I had the privilege to attend many of them from a very young age. Later after the State Theater opened in Pretoria in the hay days of the Performing arts councils I saw many more - Hello Dolly, Camelot, Oklahoma - you name it! In later years Hunter and I saw the unforgettable Cats and breathtaking Phantom of the Opera. Of course there are the movies of the musicals that our kids love - Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins and Annie are firm favorites.

For me the ultimate musical moment has always been Julie Andrews on top of that Austrian mountain spinning around and singing : " The hills are alive with the sound of music". In my head I have sung it so many times. This weekend I at last got the chance to do it - with 401 other singers, an orchestra, soloist and two of the most inspiring conductors I have ever seen.

It's a tough and busy program over a weekend of music. Solid hours of practice after receiving the sheet music and MP3 to practice on your own. I arrive on Friday night, happy to see familiar faces from school and church - even a family member, but very unsure of how well I know the music and words. I am very nervous about the "Les Misrable" medley which I struggled to learn  on my own. Parts of the "Chess" medley merge into a bundle of notes... all the jumbled intricacies of Queen's music are turning in my head - how on earth did I think I could manage this...

But somehow the moment you hear the orchestra and the other voices join things seem to fall into place. By coffee break I feel a bit more sure of myself. By the end of Friday night's rehearsal I am not so sure about all this any more - we struggled through some of the pieces. But we get homework - to watch and listen to some originals of the works on You Tube. That night in my bed "Les Mis" comes together for me. On Saturday morning it is as if things simply fell together over night for the whole group - and suddenly I think, just maybe , this will be great. This could be magic.

On Saturday afternoon we have our first performance. All dressed in our concert blacks with a touch of red we are ready, and I am nervous. After the Cats overture by the Orchestra we launched into Phantom of the Opera. The sound is huge - an orchestra, organ and 402 voices. After all that practice at home and over the weekend it indeed feels like magic. In my mind and in my voice I am Sandy in Grease, Grizabella singing Memory in Cats - Elaine Paige has nothing on us when we sing "I know him so well". Our voices soar to the sky when we sing "You'll never walk alone" and we put our common hats on for "Les Miserables" and cheer to the Master of the House. Proudly South African we sing  from" Ipi Tombi " and "Ons vir jou Suid Afrika". The medley from Mama Mia has us all acting and singing like "Dancing Queens" and we tackle the unforgettable music of Queen from their musical "We will rock you" . We are inspired by solos from the beautiful Magdaleen Minaar that sings with us and I get goosebumps every time I hear two guitars and a violin play "Somewhere over the rainbow"

And briefly for 3 performances I was Maria on top of that mountain singing "The hills are alive with the sound of music..." followed by the song I chose when the original call for suggestions went out - "Climb every mountain". An unforgettable experience of song, soul and friendship. In my heart (and sometimes even physically) I keep singing:

The hills are alive with the sound of music
with songs they have sung for a thousand years.
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing ev-'ry song it hears"

 The Capital Singers is a mass choir initiative by Boabab Music that functions as a project choir. This was the first time I took part in it and I have already registered for the next one. It was mere chance - or maybe Kismet, that the first project I took part in was one featuring musicals.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Tuesday Booksday

I have been thinking about reading and writing - the more I think about it the more I am leaning towards thinking that writers, even if just bloggers, are in general readers too - it seems to go hand in hand. Or what do you think?

I have read 3 great books over the last few weeks apart from the rather large batch of Afrikaans books I reviewed 2 weeks ago. Not all of them are everyone's taste but I do think there is something for all in this batch.

The Husbands Secret - Liane Moriarty

 Cecilia Fitzpatrick has her life sorted - a successful Tupperware business, a household that runs like clockwork, 3 adorable daughters and top school mom. Then she discovers an envelope with the words "For my wife - to be opened only in the event of my death".

Tess lives a seemingly very happy life with her husband, son and cousin and business partner. Her life falls apart in a few sentences and she decides to move to Sydney and her mom with her son.

Rachel's life is centered around her grandson after her daughter passed away as a teen. Then her life gets turned upside down when her son and daughter in law informs her that they are moving to New York.

At first one is unclear as to how these 3 very different woman's lives interact with each other apart from sharing a school and geographical location. As the story progress the connecting points and interwoven fabric becomes more clear.

The characters are beautifully depicted and the development in the book is very clear and defined. Moriarty writes with such understanding and sympathy that  makes the great story line even more enjoyable.

I absolutely loved this book and found it an outstanding read. I will without a doubt find Liane Moriarty's other books and read them too. A must read for all. 9/10 

Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes
This crime -noir (by lack of other genre description) novel by South African author Lauren Beukes takes place in Detroit - a city marked by dread,  darkness and depopulation - and mostly despair. The whole atmosphere of the book is marked by it's setting.

Detective Gabi Versado is tasked with capturing the quickly named "Detroit Monster" after the discovery of a half boy half fawn body. Her teenage daughter Layla is on the verge of danger while playing a dark game with an online predator and dealing with her best friend's impulsive behaviour. There are plenty other characters and subplots exploring everything from homelessness to online journalism and bullying.

Broken Monsters is a very dark crime thriller bordering in places on the unexplained and unknown world. It is a very unsettling book that is without a doubt not for all. But it is a very well written book and if this is your type of read I will surely recommend it. Not for sensitive readers. 8/10

Recipes for Love and Murder - A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew

Now and again one reads a book that totally absorbs you into it. You can smell, see and even taste it while reading the book. You wish that you can step into the world of the book that is so well portrayed. You can even hear the characters and the tone of their voices.

Recipes for Love and Murder is exactly this type of book. I fell in love with the story and characters right from the first page. Wonderful characters populate it each with their own motives and thinking. Typical small Karoo town it takes all kinds of folks to make it as colourful as it is.

Tannie Maria is the local paper's agony aunt (and recipe dispenser, cook of note and amateur detective). She makes a great if hard headed team with Jessie her fellow Karoo Gazette journalist. She is also cast from the same formidable African woman mold as Mma Ramotswe - not only in stature but also in good rational and clear thinking.  I can picture the two of them sharing a cup of Rooibos tea and some cake on Tannie Maria's stoep or under Mma Ramotswe's big tree . In fact I would love to be Tannie Maria's best friend.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will asap buy the second Tannie Maria Mystery. A book that provides you with the wonderful recipes cooked in it is in any event a winner. And a book that had me buying vetkoek and making mince on a Saturday afternoon because I have been craving it since I read a chapter in it 3 days ago is a winner for sure. A 10/10 for a fabulous easy and hugely entertaining read. My must read recommendation of the moment.

So what are you reading? Are you going to read any of these?

Friday, 12 August 2016

Five for Friday edition 16

All the public holidays have done nothing but increase my workload in the days available so I have sadly not posted for a whole week.

1. Our long weekend was filled with sick kids and later on a sick me (all just a cold but unpleasant enough to boycott any fun events). But we are all better and am looking forward to a happier weekend. Pretoria is really doing that early Spring thing at the moment although we know we are still in for a good few cold fronts.

2. I attended the #Jozimeetup on Saturday and it was just a great one. Great to see some old friends in the computer and great to make some new ones. The goodie bag was great and although every single item is much appreciated the Palladio blusher/bronzer is my absolute favorite and will be a staple in my make up bag from now on.

3. I have had the best service from Totem bags - there has been a stock shortage for a while at the retail outlets so I phoned them directly. They informed me when they received the stock, I placed the order on the website last Friday and despite the public holidays we had C's new school bag on Wednesday. Yes, their bags may cost a bit more than others but they are well designed, safe for backs , approved by medical practitioners and very sturdy. A's bag is almost 3 years old and you can hardly spot any wear and tear on it and it gets washed 4 times a year! They also come with a 3 year guarantee. (I was in no way approached by them for a mention nor received anything from Totem - this post is for the interest of all reading here - my form of "Public service")

4. The magic of zinc! A started having the typical little spots the pre teens get. I chatted to our pharmacist who suggested adding zinc supplements and brewers yeast. And guess what - a fantastic improvement in just two months! Our au pair has given it a try as well and also had a big improvement on spots. 

5. Some times this little blog gives me huge surprises. My Afrikaans book reviews post was just 24 hours old when I looked at the stats - quite possibly my 3rd best performing post ever in such a short time. So it's true - there is without a doubt a need for it.

With this I hope you have a wonderful and warm weekend!


Friday, 5 August 2016

Five for Friday edition 15

Wow Friday - a week with public holidays always confuse me a bit.

 1. On Tuesday we voted - for the first time in many years it actually felt as if your vote may mean something. We went early and on Hunters' suggestion took coffee and rusks for the 4 police officers that manned our station. It was such  feel good moment when they were thrilled with such a small gesture. They work really long hours during elections.
 2. If you thought it was a bit colder than the weather report looks this week I think you were spot on. The whole cricket pitch cover was covered with a layer of substantially thick ice yesterday morning. Brrrr.
 3. I have started another drawings challenge with a bit of a difference called Zentagles. I am loving it even more as it is so close to the doodles I always used to draw. If you want to join have a look at my Instagram feed. Below is days 1-4 and 5 in pencil.
4. A friend and I went to see "Me before you" on Saturday night. I went with an open mind trying not to compare with the book and just thoroughly enjoyed it. It is such a beautifully made movie - almost every scene is breathtakingly beautiful. And the characters were perfect. Nathan is such a hunk though! A solid 9/10 for entertainment. We cried buckets full of tears.
5. We had such a lovely blog drop from My Little Ponies this week. When A cleaned out her toys she kept a few things - among them every single pony she has and played the rest of that day with them . She was delighted to add the beautiful Rainbow dash to her collection. Watch Nicktoons from this month on channel 308 for all that Pony magic.
I hope you all had a great week and enjoy the weekend. Any 5 for Fridays?

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Tuesday Booksday - Afrikaans book reviews (Afrikaanse boek resensies)

  My third most viewed post in 9 years and1447 posts is a called "Afikaans book review" and reviews an early Chanette Paul book. Therefore I am 100% sure that there is a demand for Afrkaans book reviews. I have read an extraordinary percentage of Afrikaans books over the last 2 months (for me) so today's Tuesday Books day is devoted to Afrikaans books. 

As jy hier is en Afrikaanse resensies soek is jy welkom om deur my ander Tuesday Booksday posts te soek - hulle is so tussen die Engels ingesprinkel. Jy kan ook op die "Afrikaanse book review" tag kliek. Ek het ook Tags vir van die skrywers

 'n Goeie dag vir Boomklim - Jaco Jacobs
Jaco Jacobs doen dit weer 'n keer! Skryf 'n jeugboek wat net so heerlik lees vir die bedoelde gehoor se ouers. Ek lees gewoonlik 'n jeugboek as my leesverslaafde 11 jarige hom my in die hand stop met 'n "jy gaan van die ene hou". En ek het - sommer baie.

Marnus is 'n gefrustreerde middel kind - in elke opsig. Die Desember vakansie is ook die slegste een van sy lewe ooit - lank en sonder hoogtepunte strek dit voor hom uit. Tot Leila een oggend die deurklokkie lui met haar petisie om 'n boom in die parkie te red. Voor Marnus sy oe uitvee is hy 'n eco-stryder, hoog in die boom saam met haar. In die proses oor die volgende 3 dae leer Marnus van menswees, meisies, protes, dapperheid, familie en bo alles om homself te laat geld.

Wonderlike (letterlike) kleurryke karakters gee lyf aan die boek - van mevrou Merriman met haar pienk hare, pienk poedels en pienk kombers tot die sober standvastige Caretaker - my gunsteling karakter in die boek.

Dit is 'n heerlike boek vir oud en jonk. Lees hom gerus as jy van jeugboeke hou 

9/10 vir lekker lees

Oorlewingsgids vir 'n Bedonnerde Diva - Sophia Kapp

Simone trek terug na haar grootword dorpie in die Vrystaat na haar tweede huwelik rampspoedig einding. Saam met haar is haar tienerseun met wie sy 'n nuwe lewe moet uitbytel tussen die mense in 'n klein dorpie. Tipies klein kunstenaarsdorpie is daar iets van alles en almal en word Simone deel van die gemeenskap so op haar eie manier. Iewers in die jaar ontdek Simone weer haarself en haar menswees en werdwees vir ander - en boonop 'n romanse.

Diva is 'n heerlike boek en werklik sonder gelyke. Ek was mal oor die oorlewingsgids gedeeltes wat vir almal onder ons lekker , soms tong in die kies, raad gee.

'n Heerlike leeslekkerte wat ek vreeslik geniet het.
10/10 vir 'n deurbraak boek vir Divas

Snoeiskêr - Piet Steyn
Snoeisk√™r is maklik een van die grusaamste boeke wat ek nog ooit gelees het. Dit is op die vlak van die Skandinawiese skrywers se boeke waar geen grafiese detail verswyg word nie. Dit net eerstens vir 'n waarskuwing - dit is nie 'n heel eintlik mak Deon Meyer boek nie. 

Lyke word geving met hul duime afgensy en soms heel seremonieel op hul borste geplaas. Eers is die plekke en persone so wyd uitmekaar dat daar nie ooreenkomste gevind word nie maar weldra word besef dat hul hier met 'n reeksmoordenaar te doen het. 

Die storielyn is baie spannend en die karakters heel interessant. Sommige is baie stereotiep maar ander heel interessant.. Ek het egter die "twist in the tale" heel vroeg besef so dit het effe van die verassingsfaktor weggeneem.

Ek sal beslis sy ander boeke lees soos wat ek hulle in die hande kry. 8/10 vir 'n lekker storie

 Openbaring - C Johann Bakkes
Dit is baie moeilik vir my om die regte woorde te vind vir hierdie boek. Johan neem ons op 'n reis na die koudste en warmste plek op aarde - sodat mens nie lou word nie. Hy ondersoek sy (en ons ) strewe na voluit lewe ten spyte van soveel. Om warm of koud te lewe - met ander woorde voluit, maar tog asseblief nie lou nie - nie sonder oordenking en oorgawe nie. Die boek gaan baie dieper as 'n reisvertelling - dis meer 'n vertelling van die lewe en voluit lewe ten spyte van baie.

Hierdie boek het my ook op 'n reis geneem en weer laat dink oor hoe mens lewe en beleef. Dit is beslis in die "moet lees" kategorie. 10/10