Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Things I'm learning

Its been a rough few weeks full of learning opportunities . I thought I'd share some :)
1)My husband is awesome ( I always knew that but I wanted everyone else to know it too)
2) No matter how old you are when things go wrong you still need your parents
3) The size on the tag of the clothes doesn't matter its how you feel in them that counts!  (anyone else battling to find to find things that fit? If the fashion industry out there is listening taller people need clothes too!)
4) When moving house in a hurry don't leave everything to the last minute and throw things into boxes without labels... especially if you will not be unpacking those boxes for a while!! it makes finding things hard!

5) life doesn't go according to plan ! but God knows!!

Friday, 14 September 2012

friday thought

While Driving to work this morning I stopped behind a car with a number of bumper stickers on the back. One in particular jumped out at me and I thought I would share the sentiments with you today
 I made up a free printable for those who would like to be reminded of this
click Here to download
We need a bit more of this in the world we live in
Have a wonderful weekend

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Fish are friends, Not food

Hi Friends
I hope you have been enjoying the Guest Guru Posts from the last few weeks! I've been wanting to write something here for a while now but my inspiration has been running low and life has run away from us with its craziness!
This past weekend we packed up our little home and moved lock stock and barrel into W's Parents place in preparation for building... our life now looks like this
We're going to get the last bits and pieces tonight and then are starting the big clean up to get the place ready for the new owners... it was quite sad to move out actually and we were both feeling a bit sentimental about it but we're definitely looking forward to the new place (even if it means living in chaos for the next few months)
On Sunday, we did what any sane person does in the middle of moving house and went a bought some fish.... Why I can hear you asking , because we can is the only answer I can really give you :)
I some-how got a bee in my bonnet about it ,I blame Pinterest .... you can follow me here
I  saw this :
and then decided I wanted some fish. My dear sweet husband allows me my randomness and we went on the search:)
we came home with this 
meet Ben and Jerry (you know like the ice cream..... don't judge it just fit;) )
I have no idea why the water looks so murky but they are happily living in their new home on our chest of drawers:)
I haven't forgotten about guest guru this week! you'll have to come back and see who we've got lined up later in the week!
If you would like to contribute please email me at

Friday, 7 September 2012

Guest Guru: how to plan a wedding on a budget: part 2

As promised in my last post, here are the last few tips of Tamlyn's 15 tips to planning a wedding on a budget for you:
A lengthy engagement
If you need a little extra time to save for your dream day, there’s no need to rush down the aisle!  He’s proposed, he wants to marry you, no need to tie him down quickly!  Hubby proposed in February, and I had always had my heart set on an October wedding, but there was no way we would have been able to gather funds in eight months!  So we booked for the following year, and had an 18 month engagement.  We’re now virtually wedding-debt-free.
You want how many bridesmaids?!
Every bride dreams of having all her girls at her side when she marries the man of her dreams, but let’s get down to business – you don’t need eight bridesmaids!  That means eight dresses (at around R1,000 a pop, you do the math), eight hairdos, eight pairs of shoes…  Choose two or three of your closest friends (if one is just too few) and make it an honour, not a given if you’re a female attending the wedding.  When you start doing your calculations you’ll see just how much you save.  And on the topic of bridesmaid dresses, there’s no need to choose designer gowns – scout chains like Foschini and Edgars for gorgeous cocktail dresses that suit your theme.  You can pick one up for around R450 – a huge saving!
Sales are your new best friend
It may sound cheap, but there is nothing wrong with browsing sales for gorgeous dresses, shoes, accessories, even wedding bands.  Let’s be honest, how many girls actually end up wearing their bridesmaid dress again?  There is just no point on spending crazy amounts of money on a one-wear dress (except yours, of course!).  And gold is gold is gold, so shop around for those wedding bands!
Choose seasonal and local flowers
You may love the idea of fresh orchids, but can you truly afford to turn your venue into an Amazonian rainforest?  I didn’t think so.  Your florist can recommend gorgeous local flowers in your wedding colours that will turn your venue into a wonderland at a fraction of the cost
DIY where you can, and where it makes sense!
If you have a special talent, put it to use!  If you’re good with flowers, why not create your own bouquets and centrepieces?  If you bake, why not make your cake?  If you’re a talented seamstress, why not make your bridesmaid dresses?  You can save thousands by simply doing it yourself!  But please, if you’ve never picked up a fresh bloom, or have no idea what an oasis is, rather leave it to the professionals.  The cost of saving a few rand can sometimes be too high.
What about stationery?

Everyone wants to make a good first impression with their wedding invitation, but stationery can set you back thousands if you don’t know what you’re doing!  There is no need to spend hundreds per invitation on laser cutting if it’s not realistic, you don’t need it!  If you can’t afford them, you don’t need personalised menus, order of service booklets, or cute name cards.  Stick to just your invitations and let them do the talking. Many brides are now opting to make their own stationery and, by all means, if you have the talent, go for it!  But again, if this isn’t your strong suit, consider what items you require and let a professional do it. 
Always read the small print!
I cannot emphasise this enough!  So many couples neglect the finer points of a contract before signing, and then are livid when the hidden costs rear their heads.  Always make sure you know what is included in your costs, and if you’re not happy with something, say so!  Find out whether  your venue hire covers tables, chairs and all other necessary items or whether they’re an additional cost.  And always enquire about wait staff!  Many venues tack this on at the end.  And don’t forget the Golden Rule - always, and I mean always, ask for an itemised quote for all services – no exceptions!  Understanding is power!
Use a planner!
Oh yes, I can hear the sighs.  “She’s a planner, of course she would say ‘use a planner’!”  But I don’t say this selfishly.  A planner knows what questions to ask, has contacts within the industry, knows good and reliable service providers, will draw up a realistic budget and shoulders the stress the bride would usually bear.  They are there on your big day to make sure everything goes according to plan and, believe it or not, at the end of the day they can save you thousands with their advice and contacts.  Consider it.
thanks again Tamlyn for Sharing your valuble insight with us! I hope that these tips help those of you out there who are in the middle of planning a wedding!
till next time

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Guest Guru: 15 tips to planning a wedding on a budget part 1

This weeks guest Guru post is going to be split into two ... thats right two! After reading Tamlyn's post full of amazing idea's I thought it was only fair to split it so that none of the information got lost :)
Meet today's Contributer , Tamlyn from Jade and Jasmine.
As with our Previous Guest, Tamlyn and I go way back (cough *highschool* cough) . We lost touch over the years but thanks to facebook and a common love of wedding planning we've reconnected.
I hope you enjoy what she has to share with us :)
Fifteen Tips to Help You Plan That Dream Wedding on a Budget
When Emma first approached me about being a Guest Guru on her blog, my mind ran rampant!  What would I write about?  How could I possibly take all the ideas in my head and distil them down to one solid topic?  Then it came to me, like a frying pan to the face – brides-to-be don’t need more real wedding inspiration, or advice on creating the perfect 80s-inspired neon palette (what is happening to the wedding industry!?).  What more and more brides are asking for is advice on stretching that budget to cover everything their trend-loving hearts desire.
At the risk of sounding overly vain, I am especially well-placed to give this particular advice.  Not only am I a qualified wedding planner, but I just recently planned my own 80 guest wedding for just R65,000, while carrying a bouquet of roses and lilies down the aisle in my custom-made, lace wedding gown.  If that sounds too good to be true, I assure you it’s not. And there is absolutely no reason you can’t do it too. Here’s how.
Once you’ve set your budget, stick to it!
The most beneficial thing you can do when planning your wedding is be honest with yourself about how much you have available to spend on your big day.  If you can’t afford a lavish event with three hundred guests, don’t have one.  I assure you, you don’t need it.  When setting your budget, bear in mind that the average wedding will set you back R1,000 a head overall, so if you’re planning on having eighty guests (which, for the sake of this article, you are), you’ll need to budget around R80,000.  Inversely, if you have a budget of R60,000, you’re looking at a guest list of about sixty.  Have a frank chat with those involved with paying for the wedding, usually your parents, and decide who will be responsible for what.  This will help you establish how much of the final amount you will have to come up with yourself.  Don’t let all these big numbers set your head a-spin, keep calm and breathe!  And remember - people do this every day!
Be strict about your guest list!
If you’ve decided on 80 guests, stick to 80 guests.  Catering is calculated per head and, on average, your catering with comprise half of the total cost of your wedding!  So be picky about who you invite to share in the celebrations.  Be honest with your friends and family – if you have a great aunt or uncle that you never see, it’s not expected of you to invite them.  The same goes for friends you’ve lost contact with.  Your friends and family will understand that you need to keep your guest head count low – and those that don’t are simply not worth the time. 
Consider catering!
The trend nowadays is toward an afternoon wedding leading up to a grand, three-course dinner in the evening.  And it is entirely do-able on a budget!  But for those of you who need to trim down the numbers even more, consider alternative catering styles.  Perhaps opt for a morning wedding with a hearty brunch, or a classy cocktail reception for a younger, fun-loving crowd.  If neither of these is to your taste, consider a buffet rather than a plated meal.  Replace the starter course with finger foods to be enjoyed with the welcoming drinks, and serve your wedding cake as dessert to cut costs even further. 
Opt for a cash bar!
Okay, I can hear you all screaming “but it’s not the done thing!”, and I respectfully disagree.  Consider this: many venues will ask for a down payment of a set amount per head – sometimes as high as R250 (to be generous).  That means that before your guests have even cracked open that first bottle of wine, you’ve shelled out R20,000 – not conducive to staying within that budget!  Especially if you have those two or three guests who will milk the open bar for all it’s worth.  (I’m sure you’ve already come up with a few names as you read that.)  A nice compromise is to have certain drinks paid for, and a cash bar thereafter.  Consider maybe a bottle each of red and white wine, a bottle of champagne for toasting, and a jug of juice available to each table, and let your guests pay for their own drinks thereafter. 
Be creative with your wedding cake!
If you’ve started shopping around for that all-important sugary symbol of happiness, you’ll know that you’re unlikely to get away with anything less expensive than R3,500.  If this leaves a sour taste in your mouth and your jaw on the floor, don’t fret, just make a plan!  If you have a friend or relative who is a particularly good baker, why not ask them to help out?  Or visit your nearest home industry store and pick a pretty cake you can embellish with a few fresh flowers.  Simple! 
You don’t need that trendy, expensive venue!
Open Google, type in “wedding venues”, and watch the results pour in!  But as you read more, you realise that there is no way on this blue earth that you’ll EVER be able to afford that lavish venue!  Again, breathe.  Just because it came up on the first page of results, doesn’t mean it’s the only option out there – keep looking!  Many venues now offer reduced hire costs, or no hire cost at all.  All they ask is that you use their catering service.  Sound too good to be true?  I assure you it’s not!  The venue hubby and I chose for our wedding cost us nothing to hire, and included all tables, chairs, linens, cutlery, crockery and glassware.  All we paid was our catering price per head and a ten per cent service charge which covered our wait staff, set up and clean up.  So keep looking!  If you can’t afford the lavish venue, you don’t need it!
Consider your wedding date
If you have your heart set on a lovely Saturday wedding, be prepared to pay top dollar for your venue and service providers.  It is officially the most expensive day of the week to get married.  Prepare to pay even more if you’ve chosen a date in wedding season (for South Africa that would be September – February).  If you have your heart set on a specific venue or month, enquire about weddings on another day of the week.  Thursdays, Fridays and Mondays are becoming increasingly popular.  Many venues also offer winter specials, so take advantage of these if you’re not fixed on a season.
I hope you enjoyed part 1 of Tamlyn's advice!
come back Friday when we'll look at the rest of her tips:) in the mean time you can check out her blog here
Tamlyn please feel free to grab a button from the sidebar and thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

IT"S HERE!!! Guest Guru post 1

I've had so much Fun trying to gather a mix of people to give us their advice to hopefully benefit some-one out there. 
Today Post is aimed at all of you out there who ever dreamed of writing a book :)

My dear friend Jacky who blogs at As the Voices Speak is our guest guru for today... I've known Jacky since I was 4 years old... hows that for a long time :) she is a very talented and funny writer and is sharing today with us how she plans and plots her stories :)

Thats Jacky :)
Hope you Enjoy


Novel writing is something I’m slowly teaching myself and learning from my mistakes, challenges and feedback from friends. I haven’t taken any writing lessons or anything, this is just a passion, a hobby. I have written three novels, none published…yet. My “first” novel I attempted to write years ago is not finished as I wrote out of boredom during quiet days in my first job. 

Almost four years ago a friend challenged me to write a 50 000 word novel in a month for a ‘competition’ called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My unfinished novel was sitting nicely on 48 000 odd words after over four years of writing and I thought, ‘no ways, that’s impossible’ but I took up the challenge and I reached my 50 000 words in under a month…and so my novel “Hidden Evidence” became my first complete novel.

Because this NaNoWriMo takes place over November, one is only allowed to write/type in that month but you can plot in advance. My first novel in 2009 was a quick plot novel as I agreed to do it a month or two before November. 2010 was a better plotted novel, and last year was a novel with no plot as I was studying and wrote my exam on the last day in October…which is why the third is a disaster.
So because of the way I write (starting my novels in November), I’ve had to learn to plot in a certain way, knowing that it will change a few times before I begin writing. 

So in plotting, these are some of the things I’ve learnt over the few years is:
  • Know you main character. I never understood this until I found myself ‘thinking’ the way my character would….it can be scary sometimes when you’re typing and can ‘hear and see’ you’re your character play out in your mind. If you’re artistic, a simple sketch of how you would picture your character can help; also know his attitude and personality. One thing an author told me once is that you should know what is in your characters pockets/bag.
  • If you are writing about a fictional world/country, again, having a basic drawing of what it looks like can help in creating that world.

  • Keep a note book on you, if possible, at all times. I go for small ones that I can keep in my back pocket. People say things or act ways and it’s always good to write it down before you forget. Also at times you’ll get an idea for your novel.

  •      One I’ve learnt recently is use an old calendar to keep track of days, weeks, months and years in your characters life, specially if your novel is going to be a series. I’m finding myself having to go back to past novels to work out what month of the year I’m plotting in, and it can be frustrating when you’ve plotted for a specific season and yet the time of the year is wrong.

  • ·       Work on having a good beginning and a good end and the in-between bit can fall into place naturally. Also, try having a twist. If you’re getting bored plotting, then scrap that idea and work something else.
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When it comes to November and you decide to get writing:
  • ·        Don’t stress if you decide to go slightly off your ‘plotted ideas’. Sometimes spontaneous ideas while writing can be good.
  • ·     Don’t be scared to write ahead if you hit a “road block” in your novel. Continue writing from a point later in the novel and come back….at some point you’ll think of something to bridge the gap.
  •        I’ve found it helpful having a friend read a page or two after I have written them, specially if it’s off the plotted track or if it’s a part you didn’t plot. Sometimes their thoughts help or their anticipation of what they think is going to happen can make you rethink you storyline and write it differently. Also be open to criticism.
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     So that’s a few things I’ve learnt over the years. I’ve recently bought another book to try and help me…don’t be scared to use the resources out there to help you.


Thanks Jacky for Sharing your knowledge with us ! hope it gives some aspiring writers out there some confidence to start :) NaNoWriMo is just around the corner

Jax feel free to grab a guest Guru button from the side bar:)

come back next week when we have another exciting guest to share:)

mop it up mondays