• a few favourites

    It’s that time of the week when I have to write that post I have committed myself to and which I already forgot to write last week (I blame all the chocolate and hot cross buns). Anyway, here’s whats been keeping my heart singing lately. wildflowers We went camping (lol) in the Drakensberg this week(…)

  • project minimalism

    In a bid to declutter and un-busy my life, I have decided to do the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge this April. Like all other good things, I came across this challenge on Pinterest a little while ago, and saved it under my secret board of challenges for a rainy slash inspiring day. Well, the time(…)

  • a few favourites

    Due to my dismal posting lately, I’ve decided to do a weekly blog of things/food/books/thoughts that I’m loving at the moment. Just to touch base with you guys in a way that I don’t feel compelled to vomit everything I do and think onto the keyboard. Time is getting more and more precious lately and(…)

  • change your mindset for a week – go meat-free

    As you know, I’ve been vegan for almost four months now (that’s a third of the year!!!). If you didn’t know (lol. yea, right) or are new to this blog, then click on over to this post to see why I became vegan. Someone asked me the other day if I had experienced any health benefits(…)

  • life and stuff

    Hey hey. There has been some serious silence over here for the past few weeks. Life has been busy and life has been soooo good. For some crazy reason, everything I seem to be asking for this year, I get. It’s like the Universe, the angels and God are all on my side, which is(…)

  • how to be vegan – a guide for newbies

    Since becoming a herbivore a few months ago, and after writing this post, many of my friends and followers have become vegetarian and vegan or have consciously started decreasing their meat and dairy intake. This makes my heart so happy. Although I do know it’s a very tough process, especially out here in SA where(…)

  • claire & seth

    There are certain friends in my life who are home. Friends who I can rock up to visit with wild hair and no makeup, skip the niceties and small talk, and get straight into the nitty gritty of life. Seth and Claire are two of these friends; friends whom I got to know separately and(…)

  • weekend in the city

    Well, hello. I’ve been a little quiet on the blog lately – in fact, last time I wrote over here I was twenty-nine. And now, just like that, I’m thirty and all confident and sure of myself and my place in this world. Jokes, I still feel as awkward as I did when I was(…)

  • babylonstoren

    We went down to Cape Town last week on a very sneaky last minute (ad)venture and I swear I had completely forgotten the intensity of the Cape Town summer heat. It. Was. Heaven. We stayed in Stellenbosch on our first night and headed straight to Babylonstoren the next day for lunch. My love of and(…)

  • smaller house bigger life

    If you haven’t heard of container houses or read about the exciting project that Sophie and Cameron Smith in Cape Town are up to, then you’re going to be so glad you’ve stumbled across this here little blog post today. You know people who talk the talk but won’t walk the walk? Well, Sophie and(…)

a few favourites

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It’s that time of the week when I have to write that post I have committed myself to and which I already forgot to write last week (I blame all the chocolate and hot cross buns). Anyway, here’s whats been keeping my heart singing lately.

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We went camping (lol) in the Drakensberg this week and I couldn’t get enough of all the pretty little windflowers everywhere. Thanks to my entire family for their patience as I halted our hikes every five mintues to take pictures. Totally worth it though.

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It’s not often that we go away with family anymore – peeps are re-married and us kids are all grown-up, having their own kids and living their own lives. And so it was really special to go camping with Andrew, my dad, stepmom and stepsister. The beers/port/whiskey/gin/Pimms came out and we cuddled around the campfire listening to my Dad’s stories of his time in the army and when he lived in Texas. I wish I had recorded it all to play to my grandkids one day, because I NEED to remember this stuff, you know? Yes, I AM getting sentimental as I get older. It was awesome and we all had a good laugh at some old army colonel’s expense. Said colonel had it in for my Dad. Dad nicknamed him Pienk Vark (Pink Pig) and did everything possible to irritate the crap out of him. I always thought I had inherited my other-wiseness from my mum… turns out I got a rather decent dollop from my pop too! We also played a noisy round (ok, maybe four rounds) of Kings in the pub and Andrew and I taught my little sister how to play Fives Alive. So, you know, if she goes to Rhodes, she’s pretty much set. (BIANCA, GO TO RHODES).

piglets

Speaking of Pienk Vark, I’m a little obsessed with piglets at the moment. Especially piglets in water. The piglet obsession started when my mom sent me a message saying that she wanted a piglet. Haha. Next thing I knew, I was on some random website cooing over pigs in baths. I won’t be getting a pig just yet – I have a zoo as it is, although that would suit a little piggie down to the ground – they are very social creatures and love playing with other animals – which is why sow crates break my heart… but if my Operation Release The Pigs In The Disgusting Piggery Next Door happens in the dead of night anytime soon, I might rescue a couple. If you’re keen to join me in this operation, mail me. I need cameras and brave souls.

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The nights and days are slightly chillier, the leaves are beginning to yellow and bathmats on bathroom tiles are gold. I bought some fluffy slipper/boot things whilst camping and have pretty much lived in them since. They will be my perfect partner for working at my desk this winter. I also made a delicious sweet potato, broccoli and marrow soup with quinoa and red kidney beans the other night and the excess has been zip-locked and frozen for yummy last minute lunches and snacks. Once your body adjusts to the evening temperature drop, winter in the Midlands is one of the most stunning climates to be in. The nights are still and cold and the stars are so close you can touch them. The days are crisp and clear and you can see the Drakensberg in high-resolution from just about anywhere… not to mention the beautiful yellow and brown hues of the land juxta-positioned against the stark blue winter skies. Ooo! I do love winter! Just as long as it doesn’t snow. Also, I can wait to make this yummy super-creamy vegan hot chocolate.

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the hair cut

I haven’t cut my hair since I bobbed it for our European trip last year so that puts me officially on two haircuts in two years now. I’m so low maintenance it’s frightening. But I think I’m in need of a trim and maybe even a fringe and a little ombre action. I can spend hours searching for hair styles and colours. This is my favourite-can’t-stop-thinking-about-it style and colour at the moment. Maybe I’ll just continue dreaming and rocking the mousy wild locks. MUST. PHONE. HAIRSTYLIST. ON. MONDAY. Or not.

old postcards

My husband is a hoarder and a clutterer and a misplacer-of-things and everything else you can think of that equals messy and untidy. If you’re thinking of coming to stay with us – don’t. He has accumulated SO MUCH kak in our spare room that I can’t even see the bed, never mind make it up for any guests. There are golf bags (about four of them, I’m sure), sports bags, a snow board and boxes and boxes filled with invoices and slips and tickets stubs and letters from old girlfriends. The other morning he spent about ten minutes trying to make a dent in that room and came out with a tiny pile of stuff (literally like two books and a magazine) that belonged to me, declaring that “You see???!!! It’s not only my rubbish in here!” Anyway, in that (very little) pile was an old postcard from my friend Andrea from when she lived in Italy and was beaching it up in Rimini. Isn’t there something so magical about old postcards? There is an entire box of them at the little antique shops next to The Farmer’s Daughter and I can spend hours going through and reading old messages (creepster). There are entire websites like this one dedicated to the sale of old postcards! Perhaps one day my great grandkids will read Andrea’s postcard to me and giggle. I think we all need to start sending more postcards – even if it’s just from your own hometown to a friend. We need to keep history alive.

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vegan restaurants in london

We’re off on a bit of an English and Scottish adventure in July and I’m just ridiculously excited to be going to places where there are so many vegan restaurants to eat at. Did you know that the concept and term “Veganism” was officially coined in England in 1944 (not such a passing fad, then)? Edinburgh is hugely veggie friendly and my friend Rose sent me this list of vegan friendly restaurants in London. I’m hoping to tick at least three or four of them off my list. If you have been to any of them, let me know what you think and which are your best, can’t-miss-out-on-it ones! It’s going to be amazing to be spoilt for choice and to not have to order a green salad (hold the feta) and a plate of slap chips when eating out. Glory, I’m salivating just thinking about it!

recycling

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never recycled until recently. My mom started doing it ages ago, but it seemed like such a hack – cleaning tins and plastics out, sorting and then taking it all down to the recycling centre in Howick. But lo and behold – there is a drop off point in Nottingham Road behind the toy shop at The Junction. I separate my waste into old wine boxes and try to remember to drop it off whenever I go into town. It really is so easy. Becoming vegan has opened up my eyes to all my consumption patterns and I really want to tread as lightly on this earth as I can. I can’t believe how much I used to waste things for my own greed/laziness – including precious little lives. It’s a really great feeling to be walking your talk as much as you possibly can. Now excuse me, I have to go rescue another mouse from the evil clutches of the Abby Cat. Have a wonderful week everyone!

much love xxx

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project minimalism

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In a bid to declutter and un-busy my life, I have decided to do the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge this April. Like all other good things, I came across this challenge on Pinterest a little while ago, and saved it under my secret board of challenges for a rainy slash inspiring day. Well, the time has come people and today we start! You can read the original post by creator, Anuschka, of Into Mind, here. The rules are simple:

You don’t have to do the assignments in the order presented, but do one every day for thirty days.

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Since my job entails being online pretty much 24/7, I’m going to probably have to go completely offline during a weekend (and let my clients know in advance), so I’m swapping number 1 out for another day and starting with number 30, which is:

evaluate your last five non-essential purchases.

Scary. Here we go….

5. Magazines – I like to fool myself that buying and reading the latest Grazia, Elle and Visi magazines are work-related because I need to keep up with the trends (which is true, to an extent, in my line of work), but… I should probably rather do a magazine swap with a fellow magazine lover and save some cash/space. I have saved every copy of Elle magazine since it first came out in April 1994 and those magazines take up a lot of valuable room! I donate all my other old magazines to the local farm school for the kids to read and cut-out off for their projects, so at least some good comes out of this addiction?

4. Clothes – Another massive weakness. I can’t go by for one month with buying something new to wear. My clothing purchases over the last month have included a pair of loafers, dungarees, a beanie, a poncho and a faux lather sling bag. And maybe a couple of long-sleeved shirts. Eina. This was all bought in excitement at the coming winter season (yes, winter is my favourite season, especially when living in the Midlands), but I really need to probably limit myself to perhaps one essential item of clothing a month. I’m looking forward to assignment number 12 and re-evaluating my closet and sizing up I need vs what I want to and dream of wearing on a daily basis. And I need a new pair of wine boots. (You see??? The impulse is real)

3. Box Office Movies – Yikes. I spend like R200 a month on renting movies. I need to cut down, I know, but at least I’m not pirating them from the inter webs (have you noticed how I’m clutching at silver linings for all my bad habits? lol). I do need to spend more time reading and less time watching television though, especially when its crap movies I’m spending my money on. It’s tough when your husband has square eyes, but I’m just going to have to find myself a reading spot away from the tv this month… bring on assignment number 20.

2. Books – I mean… come on, are they really unnecessary, though? I love buying books from the shop and from iBooks, but man they are pricey. There is a library in our village, and I should probably check it out. Mission for the month. Here’s holding thumbs that there’s more on the shelves there than Mills & Boons and Danielle Steel.

1. Coffee dates. I must say that since going vegan, I have started eating out a lot less (purely because there aren’t many vegan options up here), but, maaaaan, I can still spend some cash on good coffee and good food made by somebody else. I’m also usually too nervous/shy to ask people to meet me at my house rather than at a cafe or restaurant because I live down the beaten track, rather far from anywhere. But perhaps I need to be more diligent about this in future. I have an amazing Breville coffee machine in my kitchen, which I really should utilise more! And a great recipe for vegan carrot cake… Coffee at my place, anyone?

So that’s Day One of the Minimalist Challenge done. Feel welcome to follow on or join the challenge yourself – I’ll be posting from the blog and from Instagram (@keribainborough) with the hashtag #thirtydaycleanup. I’m about to print out the printable version so that I can tick off the assignments as I go. My desk and my cupboards, and to be frank, my life, is in dire need of a clean-up and I can’t wait to get stuck in! Oh, and let me know if you want to be my magazine swapping buddy. I need one real bad.

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a few favourites

Due to my dismal posting lately, I’ve decided to do a weekly blog of things/food/books/thoughts that I’m loving at the moment. Just to touch base with you guys in a way that I don’t feel compelled to vomit everything I do and think onto the keyboard. Time is getting more and more precious lately and so I have to learn how to be more succinct when I have to. Here are some of my current favourite things:

1. Colouring-in. Yep, you heard right. I’ve got my mum, my godmother and numerous friends hooked on colouring-in and it’s all thanks to Andrea and her You Biscuit Colouring Poster. Studies have found that colouring-in is actually good for you and helps relieve stress (read here and here) so there is absolutely no need to feel weird about spending your evenings colouring-in. Add a glass of pinot noir into the mix if you’re worried about looking immature. And if you couldn’t give a kak, make that a glass of pink Nesquik and revel in playing with your inner child again.

DSC044412. Speaking of Nesquick and other milk-related stuff, I am in love with almond milk, and more specifically, the cocao-flavoured almond milk I bought from the Super Natural stall at the Morning Trade Market last weekend. There is honestly nothing like it. Also, since I no longer consume dairy products, finding a feta cheese substitute was number one on my list because man I was addicted to that stuff. (read this article if you want to know why cheese is so addictive – it’s literally like crack for the human brain). This macadamia nut cheese recipe on Wellness With Taryn’s blog has been an absolute lifesaver and has been the recipe I have dished out to newbie vegans with chronic cheese cravings the most. It really adds a cheesy flavour and comfort to any salad or stirfry and has the same crumbly consistency of feta cheese. I even crumble it on top of soup. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to dairy milk feta cheese, you must give it a whirl.

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3. I’ve never been a little averse to a onesie in winter and I’m hundred percent investing in this navy blue hooded one with thumb loops (so David Beckham) from Tous Les Jours. It’s also that time of the year when my skin starts getting dry and I need to change from using product for normal skin to product for dry skin. I am still using and loving the locally made Tous Les Jours skincare products and I just love it – my skin feels so firm and looks so radiant and a stranger told me the other day that she thought I was twenty when initially meeting me, not thirty! (LOVE HER).  I think a combination of eating a plant-based diet and using all-natural products on my skin is doing me pretty well. You can order this natural, made in the Midlands skincare range online here. Or you can enter the Tous Les Jours Facebook competition and stand the chance of wining a pair of their new winter jammies AND a skincare hamper. What have you got to lose? Entries close Wednesday noon.

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4. My earth angel has moved! Colleen from Midlands House of Healing is setting up a beautiful off the grid home on Satori Farm Lodge (an eco-friendly lodge made out of hay bales – yes, you heard right. HAY BALES) and I am loving the amazing views on my journey through the Dargle Valley to see her. I’m set to stay over in a couple of weeks time to experience the full Satori experience, as well as one of Colleen’s amazing and restorative reiki massages – watch this space!

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5. If you’ve read this blog for a long time (good on you for still sticking around!), you will remember that I used to practise quite a lot of yoga. Not fancy classes or anything, just yoga in my house on the mat in my living room. I first got into it when I was at high school and used to tag along with my mom to her classes (ah… my lovely mom, who was raw juicing and stretching and reiking way before everyone else) and then I got back into it in 2011/2012 through Mandy Ingber’s Yogalosophy. Over the last year or so, yoga has been pushed to the side due to the Bikini Body Guide and other life things, but lately my body/mind/soul has been screaming to return to stretching out the old limbs again. Che’s awesome yoga account on Instagram and her experiences at the Yoga London teachers’ training course has left me super inspired to do mine too. And this post by Freya has also left me excited to get back into it. The thing about yoga – she is always waiting for your return. I spent twenty minutes on my mat yesterday, just going through some basic poses like chair and bridge and warrior and my butt sure knows about it this morning! But man, did I have a good day afterwards and I can’t wait to get back on it today. Also, I really need a pretty new yoga mat. Please send any brand recommendations this way.1423488761926Processed with VSCOcam with h3 preset

6. As you know, I became vegan because of Marmite, the orphan calf. Something clicked, the cogs in the wheel turned and I no longer wanted to consume or use animals for my own needs/greed/entertainment et cetra. You know the drill. It was a happy, easy choice and I was SO excited about it, but as time has gone on, I began to understand why everyone warned me that becoming vegan was going to be hard. It wasn’t because of the food or the eating out – it was purely because of the constant uphill battle with judgey judgers. Hells bells, there are some unforgiving people out there – both vegan and not. A lot of people who are drawn to becoming vegan or vegetarian are afraid to because of the “vegan police” as they have been dubbed. And these police are both vegan and non-vegan people – let’s clear that up, straight away. They sit like vultures, watching your every move, waiting for you to fuck up and accidentally eat a little piece of cheese or wear your old pre-change leather shoes and then they pounce on you with all the intent of a bloodthirsty predator. Some of my friends have quietly stopped eating meat but are scared to say anything for fear of the vegan police wrath. I was rather weary of them too. Until I read Mainstreet Vegan by Victoria Moran. This is one of the most informative books I have read so far on how to go about being vegan and I recommend it to anyone who has recently done so or is thinking of making the change. There are entire chapters on eating out as a vegan, on being an animal activist (or not), on which vitamins to take, which plant foods contain the most proteins, vitamins and nutrients and there are lovely recipes in there too. And there is a chapter on the vegan police. The bottom line is that if you are aware and conscious of what is going on around you; if you have opened your eyes up to the truth and you are trying your best to lead a compassionate, kind life and are making the best choices you can regarding your consumption of animal products – be gentle on yourself. Remember that you are going to screw up. We are all human. We all make mistakes. Please don’t judge others and most importantly don’t judge yourself. There are so many different ways to make a change and there are so many different kinds of vegans and vegetarians out there. You don’t need to label yourself and then walk on eggshells (lol) for the rest of your life. Fuck it – you have opened your eyes and are doing the best you can to make a change, which is more than can be said for some others.

Below is a great chart from an article I found here (you must go and read it) and although many members of the vegan police may turn their noses up at it, I firmly believe that any change is better than no change. So if you take a look at the chart below and decide that you could be one of these, then great! Damn the vegan police! Although I do still consider myself as an ethical vegan first and foremost (and would obviously love the whole world to be this way), I also started out slowly as a virtual vegan. For the first month, I used to occasionally eat eggs from our own free-range chickens. And you know what? Last week Andy wanted to make us his homemade pasta for dinner using one of our chicken’s eggs and I ate it. Guys, I was just so ecstatic that he wasn’t eating meat and that he was actually making me a veggie pasta with no cream, that I wasn’t going to turn down his offer for the sake of one cruelty-free, homegrown egg. It was my first egg in over two months and I more than likely won’t touch another one (knowingly) for many more months and I’m okay with that. A lot of my friends are Parisian Vegan (LOVE that name and God knows how hard it is to eat purely vegan when you’re out with friends, especially in South Africa) and Jamie Oliver could be described as a Weekday Vegan (he is now up to three meat-free days a week – how awesome?!). I would love for my husband to be a VB6 (Vegan Before 6) and hopefully he might just start heading that way after completing his meat-free week. Every little bit counts. So stop worrying and judging and start living life and loving yourself and other beings the best way that you can.

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7. Kids kids kids. I have been unbelievably broody lately – I think largely to the following of this awesome new Instagram account called Happy Sleepy Folks (thanks Tamzin for the recommendation) which belongs to this twenty-two year old mama called Kristen Hedges who writes so well and has such a great outlook on life and motherhood (the post she wrote below is my favourite). I’m dying for a copy of her book, Something Like The Desert, and her blog and IG account (@happysleepyfolks) are just a dream to get lost in. And then Lauren’s post on whether she should produce sproglets or not has also struck a chord. When I wrote my reply to her in the comments section, I might have well been talking to myself. Let’s see what life has in store for us.

Hsf copy18. Although having a baby may just get in the way, or perhaps add to, the list of goals I have written out for myself. I didn’t do a new years resolutions list this year, because back in December I was stuck in limbo and really had no idea where my life was taking me. Things are a little clearer now and so this weekend, I sat down and write out some goals I’d like to achieve over the next year or so (no pressure). They’ve all got to do with bettering myself, improving my talents and setting into motion some business ideas I’ve had swirling around in my head for years… I’m so excited to get on it! For the first time, I have a clear vision of what I’d like to achieve in this lifetime and I can actually see the baby steps that I will need to take to get me there. And I know that the money will come, just as it should, because the universe is on my side and I’m following my heart. And if it doesn’t… then man, there will always be another way.

And on that corny note lovers, I hope you have a peaceful, loving and productive week.

Muchos love xxx

Yoga image by Freya at www.nishaantishu.com

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change your mindset for a week – go meat-free

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As you know, I’ve been vegan for almost four months now (that’s a third of the year!!!). If you didn’t know (lol. yea, right) or are new to this blog, then click on over to this post to see why I became vegan.

Someone asked me the other day if I had experienced any health benefits from eating a plant-based diet (and I write this with a tickly sore throat as my body acts out against the beginning of the winter as it does every year – being vegan does not mean you’re never going to catch a cold again, unfortunately) and although I did not choose to stop eating animal products for any health reasons, I have noticed a few changes in both the body and mind which I am finding highly beneficial. These include, and are not limited to,

  • better digestion (poops all day, every day – whoop whoop)
  • clearer and firmer skin (who needs botox)
  • healthier, stronger hair
  • a feeling of lightness in the body (probably associated with point one)
  • so. much. energy… I need less hours of sleep and wake up raring to go
  • a greater sense of empathy and connection to others (both human and non-human animals) and,
  • a deeper sense of purpose in life

Not to mention the tough skin and sharp comebacks you have to develop to to take all the teasing! Yesterday was my dear friend Gemma’s birthday and she and her husband Geoff hosted a beautiful big vegan braai. We all brought along vegan dishes and Gem made the most delicious blackbean patties, vegetable kebabs and a massive chocolate brownie cake. It was so good and we all loved being spoilt for choice and being in the company of like-minded people (we actually outnumbered the meat-eaters for once which was quite funny…. don’t worry, they still ragged us!) and it truly was a lesson in just how much food you can eat and how fun you can have without involving any animal products.

So, it’s Meat-Free week this week, supported by the lovely Jamie Oliver, who is starting to feature more and more vegan recipes on his blog – bless him), so if you have been thinking about giving the light side of life a try, this is the perfect opportunity to do so! And even if you’re not anywhere near ever going vegan or vegetarian, this is still a great exercise to try and a wonderful cause to support – click on over here to the Meat Free Week website for more information and to sign up. No meat week means no animal flesh – from red meat such as beef, pork, lamb to white meat such as chicken to fish. But you can still cover everything with cheese if you feel that no meat is way out of your comfort zone. There are so many lovely vegetarian recipes on the Meat Free Week website, on Pinterest, on Jamie’s blog, on Deliciously Ella’s blog and in every other crevice of the internet – you need not be uninspired while cooking meat-free this week! And if you’re really struggling, try out meat-replacement products from Frys, Woolworths and the Wellness Warehouse. Give it a go – I want to see your meat-free recipes on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – tag me (@keribainborough) and hashtag your meal #meatfreeweek to join the thousands of other people partaking all over the world. Remember to sign up on the Meat Free website to show your support too – you can sign up as an individual or get your whole office/family/sports team involved and sign up as a group! It’s going to be fun! Dooooo it. Here are some reasons why you should (you can totally tweet or post these facts on Facebook too):

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Have a good week everyone! I hope you can join us to make it a cruelty -free, earth-loving, conscious-clearing one!

Kez xxx

PS: All the food featured below is vegan – how cool? Sorry about the blurry images – I was just so excited!

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life and stuff

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Hey hey. There has been some serious silence over here for the past few weeks. Life has been busy and life has been soooo good. For some crazy reason, everything I seem to be asking for this year, I get. It’s like the Universe, the angels and God are all on my side, which is pretty ding-dong-dang awesome. Long may it last! I’ve got so much going through my mind regarding so many topics lately and I want to write about them all and discuss them with you guys, but man, time is something I do not have much of lately. It’s funny, because when I worked a 9-5 for a boss, it seemed like I had all the time in the world to blog, and now that I work for myself, every spare non-working moment is spent plotting and planning and learning the skills I need to improve my business. I mean, you should see how many unread posts I have on my Bloglovin’ feed. It’s unheard of.

As for these photographs below (still loving my new camera), we were in Franschoek and Stellenbosch for Tatum and Phil’s wedding week at the end of February and we stayed at a lovely little wine farm in Francshoek called La Bri. Their wines are so good – you must try them – especially the clever white blends. Thanks to Irene, the awesome winemaker, for our personal tour of the cellars and for treating us so well – much appreciated. We were the only people at La Bri and stayed in this lovely little Cape Dutch cottage, which is basically my dream house. I mean… it was all elegant business in the front and fun party at the back with a beautiful courtyard, lots of  space to lounge around and a view of those majestic mountains. Heaven. We also stayed in the Eleanor Cottage on Hartenberg Wine Estate in Stellenbosch which was another copy-and-paste-for-later little cottage for me. As I get older, the thought of a big house freaks me out. I want a house with two bedrooms max. The more space we have, the more kak my husband seems to leave lying around.

We managed to sneak away from Franschoek for a few hours and I headed straight on over to Raw and Roxy in Woodstock for a delicious vegan lunch. I’ve heard so much about this place and have been dying to go. I was not disappointed in the least. We feasted on yummy fresh juices and shared the tapas platter for lunch and finished off with vegan “Magnum” ice creams… which were just as great as everyone said they’d be. The owner, Beatrice, is so kind and even gave Andrew his juice for free after he taught her something about internet banking (don’t ask, Standard Bank and me do NOT get on well). I would love a Raw and Roxy up in here – anyone got the time to start one? I’d come every day, I promise. While we were in Francshoek, we visited the Huguenot museum (my maiden name is le Roux, which means my ancestors are French-Huguenot, not Dutch, which explains my crappy Afrikaans accent) and it was awesome to go check out all the stories and trinkets. We were rushing a bit though, so I will have to go back there again soon and take my time looking around. I’m dying to look around the graveyard. Andrew hates graveyards and thinks I’m crazy to enjoy looking at grave stones. Am I? Does anyone else love to imagine the lives that were lived by the people buried beneath? Just me?

Have a great weekend, guys. Hopefully catch you in not another two weeks again.

xxx

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how to be vegan – a guide for newbies

Since becoming a herbivore a few months ago, and after writing this post, many of my friends and followers have become vegetarian and vegan or have consciously started decreasing their meat and dairy intake. This makes my heart so happy. Although I do know it’s a very tough process, especially out here in SA where we are rather far behind the rest of world. There has been ridicule, taunting, arguments, disbelief and many declarations of “you’re wasting your time, nothing is ever going to change.” But to the people who have joined me on this journey, for whatever reasons, namely Bryni, Andrea, Tara, Nicole, Talya, Chereen, Jade, Tash, Leigh, Gemma, Kristi, Candice, Tamzin, Nick, my mum, Angela, Sam and Andy – this is for you. So, ultimately, this post is intended for newbie herbivores, or any meat-eaters who feel that they may like to come on over to the light side. If you are prone to getting angry or offended by the vegan vibe, perhaps please don’t read any further.

Okay, you’re still reading. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

1. You may begin this journey for health, environmental or moral reasons, but in the end you’ll stick with it simply to annoy all the haters. And there’s a lot of them. If you’re lucky, you will have a supportive family and partner. If not, check on over to point 5.

2. Be prepared to eat and think about food a lot – its preparation, its taste and exactly where it comes from. For now, this obsession is only because it’s so difficult to come across good vegan food products in our South African shops and restaurants. But don’t worry, when the rest of the world catches up, vegan food will be in abundance and available everywhere and your obsession with making that perfect nut cheese will fall to the wayside.

3. Vitamins. You will probably be getting a far wider array of vitamins and minerals than you used to as a meat eater, but only IF you consume lots of veggies, beans, whole grains, leafy greens and fruit – just like doctors recommend to all humans – omni or not. Yes, there is indeed such a thing as an unhealthy vegan and it ain’t got nothing to do with protein deficiency. So much junk food is vegan-friendly. SO MUCH. From crisps, dark chocolate, cookies and french fries to vegan convenience meals and jelly tots. Use these in moderation. Just because you’re not eating meat and dairy, doesn’t mean you are now free to eat all the kak. Do your research. Refined sugar is still bad, yo. Treat yourself occasionally, but also stick to organic greens and grains and legumes as much as possible. Take Vitamin B12 and iron, calcium and zinc supplements if you’re not. Don’t be that person who makes all the rest of us look bad because you get really sick eating vegan junk food and then one visit to the doctor later and you’re eating meat again because veganism made you “so ill.”

4. Grow a thick skin on the street and cry yourself to sleep in your bed at night. Once your mind and soul is open to the truth of what really goes on in the world and you have made the connection between man, nature and animal, you will, at first, be devastated – especially if you’re doing it for moral and ethical reasons. Every time you see someone slicing into a steak, your tummy will churn; when you drive behind a truckful of pigs on their way to the slaughterhouse, tears will run down your face… and god forbid you see someone feeding their toddler a lamb chop whilst stroking the family dog at the same time. This is the initial stage of “awakenment” – when you simply can’t believe what’s really happening in the world and how everyone turns a blind eye to it, either unknowingly, or even worse, knowingly. You will also find that as you detox the numbness and heaviness associated with eating meat, you WILL become more empathetic and emotional (there are whole entire podcasts on this topic – click here for Joyful Vegan). Just keep it together in public – because vegans have a bad enough rep already… and then go home and scream into a pillow. And cry. And eat Oreos. As time goes on, you will come to accept that everyone else needs to make that connection in their own time. Some of them may never make that connection. And that’s ok too. Remind yourself that veganism as a chosen lifestyle is growing in numbers by the day and that very soon laws will have to be passed in every country in the world to shut down factory farming and testing on animals. Even Jamie Oliver, the king of all food and cooking everywhere, has said that plant-based foods are the future. He knows it. So many others know it. You know it. Think of yourself as a pioneer and keep doing your thing.

5. Join online vegan communities. These are my best. Especially if you’re like me and live in a remote farming area where people eat red meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have never heard of tofu or quinoa. Contrary to popular belief, and my own belief before I became a herbivore, vegans are actually really cool people. They’re intelligent and compassionate beings and are always super-duper excited to teach newbie vegans the ropes and impart their knowledge upon them. Of course they sometimes get a little emotional about their cause, especially when faced with comments like “but where are you getting your protein from?”, but on the whole they really are lovely. I’m not saying there aren’t some areshole vegans. Of course there are. But there are also some arsehole meat-eaters. I don’t think we need to base arse-holery on a person’s dietary choices. Take the time to get to know other vegans and appreciate their unwavering support.

6. Old meat-eaters are tough on the spirit. Not all of them, obviously – but a lot of them. They grew up hunting, fishing, killing and devouring everything that moved and they also pretty much began the royal mess on earth that we are all living in now. The older generation – the ones who started the McDonalds drive through and animal assembly lines – are the ones who will not entertain any reason for your giving up animal products and will call you “ridiculous” and “silly” straight to your face. If you try to explain to them that the entire earth will benefit from the reduction of animal agriculture, they will get mad and smoke may actually come out of their ears. They just don’t get it. Also, they don’t know how to use YouTube and educate themselves, so that’s an excuse. In fact, it’s probably a far better excuse than the younger generation who know where to educate themselves, but whom still choose to ignore all the information out there for fear of change. Another thing I like to remind myself of when faced by a meat eater onslaught of judgement and ridicule is Karma, baby. And unfortuantely, in these cases, it usually comes in the form of heart disease and diabetes.

7. Beauty, hair, skin and household products found at health shops are usually vegan and cruelty-free. Ask an assistant if you’re not sure. Most makeup is tested on animals (yes, Bobbi Brown, you have BROKEN my heart). Don’t be disheartened. There are a lot of great companies out there providing vegan products and more and more are emerging by the day as the demand for cruelty-free vegan products grows. Also, just a hint to any entrepreneurs out there: there are a number of gaps in the market here in SA when it comes to vegan products – you should get in there early. Check out www.vegansa.com if you’re unsure about any products or food and drink items. And if you know of a product that is vegan, but is not on the SA Vegan list, submit, submit, submit. The more products on that list, the greater pressure other companies will feel to make the change and get with the times. Also, don’t be shy to tweet and ask companies if their product is vegan – the more demand we place on companies to supply us with cruelty-free and vegan products, the better we will make the world for our children.

8. There will be days when you are despondent. When you are faced with people with the silliest reasonings and angry people with hurtful comments and believe me, you will just want to throw in the towel and move to that desert island everyone always brings up in those ridiculous “but what if” arguments.

Breathe. Be still.

Remember why you’re doing it. Whether you chose this path because of ethical, health or environmental factors, revisit the reasons why you’re here. Re-watch the films, re-read the books and remember, most importantly, that you too, took time to get where you are now. Remember that everyone is on a different journey. Try to spend time with the people who understand and respect your path, or whom are on a similar journey to you. There will also be times when the plight of animals and the destruction humans inflict upon the earth gets to be so much that your head and heart feels like they may just explode. Remind yourself that the animals live completely in the present, just as all the spiritual teachers urge us humans too do. They trust and love freely and without debt and we have so much to learn from them. They are, above all, forgiving, even in the darkest of moments. It’s only ourselves as human beings and guardians of the earth that we need to forgive.

2b40b4cc4bbe06763fcc3f9e0f90c2ddIllustration by Naoise Dolan

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claire & seth

DSC03815There are certain friends in my life who are home.

Friends who I can rock up to visit with wild hair and no makeup, skip the niceties and small talk, and get straight into the nitty gritty of life. Seth and Claire are two of these friends; friends whom I got to know separately and then whom I discovered were dating, who eventually married each other, travelled and worked in Turkey and Taiwan and then ended up back home in the Midlands with their daughter, Emma. I went to school with Seth and university with Claire, and they are a breath of fresh air in this sometimes claustrophobic small town world –  a gentle reminder that the real, the intelligent and the creative can reside and thrive anywhere. Claire is one of those freaks of nature who is not only a maths whizz, but also a literature-loving writer. She has written two books (!) and also blogs beautifully over at Go Lightly. One of my favourite posts of hers is this one. Oh, and this one. Actually, just read her whole blog. Claire’s raw honesty and insight is breathtaking and I dare you not to fall in love with her words. I’m almost finished her second book, a novella called Mariella, which is about the powers that control us and which takes us into a fantasy world run by the Anonym. Here a young woman called Mariella is born to challenge the authority and change the paradigm. To buy  Claire’s books, click on over to her author profile on Smashwords where they are available in all eBook formats from Kindle to iBooks. And as for my old friend, Seth… along with running their cattle farm, he is also following in the tradition of his late father, David, and owns and runs The Falconer Foundry, casting bronze works for artists such as Llewelyn Davies and Robert Leggat. Seth has also *jumps up and down excitedly* created and cast his own range of sculptures which are a beautiful twist on conventional mythological creatures – look out for his backward mermaid and centaur in the images below. I WANT ONE. I spent Saturday with these lovely humans and felt completely refreshed and inspired when I got home – which I always do after being around them. They fed me delicious homemade bread and dhukka. We swapped recipes and stories and laughed a lot. Seth and Claire, expect to see lots more of me. And thank you for letting me snap away at your home and pretty things! I had such fun with you three beautiful souls and I can’t wait to see what the future brings you and your little family. xxx

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weekend in the city

DSC03478Well, hello. I’ve been a little quiet on the blog lately – in fact, last time I wrote over here I was twenty-nine. And now, just like that, I’m thirty and all confident and sure of myself and my place in this world. Jokes, I still feel as awkward as I did when I was fifteen. And twenty-five. The only difference is that I can’t handle Jägermeister and insufferable people as well as I could back then. Oh, and I’ve discovered coconut oil. Coconut oil fixes everything. I’ve been so spoilt over the last week – spa vouchers and photoshoots and cookbooks and jewellery and pretty stationery… it’s been a whirlwind of lunches and drinks and dinners and I’m so thankful for all the well-wishes and messages. You guys rock! Things have been wonderfully busy on the work front and I’ve been reading all my astrological and numerological predictions for 2015 and everyone concurs that this is going to be a great year of change, service and possibly even a little financial success for me. Can I get a mother-forking “oh, hells yes!”. There are a lot of things in the pipeline at the moment and I’m getting so excited about everything in store for us and our future. More on that later when I know what’s actually going on but let’s just say that the limbo period we have been stuck in for a while is almost over. I’ve also been continuing to have great fun with my new camera. I spent the weekend with my cousin, Claire, and her friend, Tarryn, at Tarryn’s flat in Durban, which is absolutely gorgeous and straight out of Pinterest. I mean, she has an actual gallery wall. I’ve never seen one before in real life. And also a walk-in closet with the most impressive Carrie Bradshaw-like shoe collection. Tarryn’s mum, Leigh, helped her decorate her space and as soon as I have a space of my own, I’m calling on her to work her magic. The girls took me to Lola’s Coffee Shop in Umhlangha on Saturday morning and I had one of the best coffees of my life there, as well as a custom made vegan breakfast of falafel balls and humus on toast with tomatoes, mushrooms and avocado. YUM – my new favourite breakfast place, except that, like a lot of other funky coffee shops in Durban, it’s weirdly closed on Sundays – which is the day we’re most often in the city (nursing a post-rugby match hangover and dying for a big breakie). Sad face. Anyway, enjoy the pics and try not to be too envious of this gorgeous little house. I dare ya.

Hope you all have a happy and productive week xxxDSC03466DSC03464DSC03481DSC03482DSC03469DSC03475DSC03473DSC03484DSC03486DSC03440DSC03430DSC03436DSC03446DSC03428DSC03447

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babylonstoren

DSC02328We went down to Cape Town last week on a very sneaky last minute (ad)venture and I swear I had completely forgotten the intensity of the Cape Town summer heat. It. Was. Heaven. We stayed in Stellenbosch on our first night and headed straight to Babylonstoren the next day for lunch. My love of and obsession with the De Kas has had me dreaming of this place for ages. It did not disappoint – everything is pretty and perhaps even almost too perfect. I loved watching all the free roaming hens and turkeys taking dust baths under the trees as we walked in. It was hotter than hot though, which made exploring the beautiful paths and gardens a bit tough, and so I was more than happy to sit down after our wander for lunch at The Greenhouse. I was rather amused at the massive ice blocks hanging from some of the trees – especially when three little kids stood on their tip toes and started licking them. Would have been extra funny if it had been dry ice. Lunch was amazing and fresher than fresh – you really can just taste when food goes straight from garden to plate. Or maybe its just my newly awakened tastebuds. The homemade chutney was next level yummy and I smeared it all over the freshly baked ciabatta which I gobbled up in no time. I really am enjoying eating carbs again after years of limiting my intake of the good stuff. It’s amazing what rewards your body will give you when you reward it. We also had a taste of their yummy wines – I went with the Viognier – it was fresh and light and faintly fruity – just what I needed on a hot day. I’m so looking forward to spending a lot more time here in the future and also eating at their acclaimed restaurant, Babel, which is apparently booked up weeks in advance. And let’s not forget – the place is a treat for the camera. These are just a few of the millions of snaps I took. xxx

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smaller house bigger life

2cheap1If you haven’t heard of container houses or read about the exciting project that Sophie and Cameron Smith in Cape Town are up to, then you’re going to be so glad you’ve stumbled across this here little blog post today. You know people who talk the talk but won’t walk the walk? Well, Sophie and Cam are two people who are freaking walking their walk – big time. Sophie is a brilliant photographer and her husband, Cameron, is a rock climbing guide. They are into remaining debt-free, up-cycling and keeping things simple – especially when it comes to material possessions. So when they found themselves in need of a new place to live at the end of last year, they decided to build themselves a house out of a container. Yep, you heard right, a shipping container. But where are they going to put all their stuff???? I hear you scream. Well, that’s the whole point – their ain’t gonna be space for all that stuff, and I love how Sophie explains the reasoning behind their decision.

 

Although our home won’t be big, living in a small space makes you really use space wisely, stop hoarding, and stop buying more stuff that you don’t really need. Think about it – if you have less space, you will have less stuff! Before we went to Canada, we gave away and sold a lot of our stuff, but we still managed to drag a lot of it to Cape Town to cram into our parents’ shed. Since we have been back, we haven’t touched most of the boxes – in fact, we have actually even packed up some of the things we initially unpacked because we just weren’t using them. We have realised how little we really need to be happy. As long as there is lots of shelving for my explosive clothing and plenty of hidden storage for our climbing and camping gear, we get by on the basics.

I think I need to live in a container too. I’m married to a hoarder – we need two spare rooms in our house just to keep all Andrew’s stuff (I mean, really, who needs two sets of golf clubs and three golf bags?). It’s getting a little ridiculous and so Sam and Cam’s ideals are looking very appealing to me right now. Their ability to load up their house and just move on off if they need to is also very, very attractive to a commitment-phobic Aquarian like myself. But the story is not mine to tell – hop on over to Sophie and Cam’s blog, Smaller House, Bigger Life and read all about their journey so far. I’m so excited to see the end result and it’s such fun being a part of the process and keeping up with Sophie and Cam’s updates. You can also follow Cam and Sohpie on instagram: @smallerhouse_biggerlife. Enjoy reading all about it – I suggest you start with their very first post – 2015 –  a year of new beginnings.

Oh, and check out this article too while you’re at it – a bunch of gorgeous houses all over the world made from containers. Just wow.

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Unless otherwise stated, all words and images are copyright to Keri Bainborough and the Midlands Musings blog. Please contact me if you’d like to use any of the text and graphics featured on this blog. Disclaimer