The Art of Living in a Ruin

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Living in a Ruin

Living in a ruin is not for sissies. The most important factor before moving in is that the ruin is safe to live in and there is a roof over your head.

I am making the assumption that you don’t have electricity or running water.


Access to water will contribute to luxury living in a ruin.

You will need water for drinking, ‘bathing’, dishes, and to use as part of the restoration/renovation clean-up. At the bottom of the range of luxury living, you may need to fetch water from a water source, or set-up a system to catch rainwater, and make sure the water used for your consumption is kosher.

They say you can never be too thin or have too much money, but I say you can never have enough buckets living in a ruin.

Fire (heat)

A two-plate gas stove is sufficient. You need fire to cook your food, make hot drinks and warm your bath water. Fire is a great mood restorer; I know you’ll agree after a cup of coffee on a cold winter’s morning.

Fridge and Food

Since there is no electricity, you will have to create some cooling system. Google field fridges; I’ve used the 2 ceramic containers method with some doubtful success. If all else fails, stock up on tinned food (veggies), rusks, biltong (if you can afford it), nuts, rice, oats, and powder milk. Make sure every item is well secured and sealed for roaming rats and mice at night.


The first step I would recommend is to sugar soap all the painted walls in your ruin. This removes a lot of dirt and grime as well as old energy (yes it does), and makes your place looks fresher. Hang your paintings on the wall, put your Persian carpets down on the floor, take out your best cutlery, light some candles and incense, endeavor to put fresh flowers in an empty ‘Farmer’s Girl’ baked beans tin, often. In fact, use everything beautiful you have to enjoy living in your ruin.

Finally, don’t underestimate the beauty of virgin white paper plates ~ it makes washing up a breeze!

Are you ready for BLACK FRIDAY?

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Black Friday Update

Are you ready? Latest shopping traffic update: Festive season is around the corner and what better way to get the plastic melting than by kicking off the “Shopping” seasons with Black Friday.

Traditionally black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States. Retailers are announcing specials in advance, with shop front displays bigger and better than ever. Even online shops are gearing up for increased shopping traffic. The general American public flock to the major retailers for unbeatable specials on major retail items. Dedicated shoppers are known to camp out in front of major retail stores to be the first in line to get hold of those special offers. Black Friday has become known for the smell of credit cards melting and ardent shoppers fighting, pulling and pushing each other for that illustrious sale item. Black Friday is the ultimate showcase for the latest products and sets the shopping tone for the festive season. This is the ideal way to stock up on Christmas gifts for that someone special!

In South Africa the trend is not far off from the US market, with even our local online stores offering Black Friday deals. Retails stores in general look at the festive season as one of the most profitable periods that contributes millions of Rands into a weakening economy. This remains the time of year where consumers spoil themselves and those they hold dear, by throwing financial caution to the wind. Whether you have saved diligently or just reverting back to the good old faithful credit card, Black Friday deals are the best way to stretch the festive season budget. So start your holiday shopping now by looking out for Black Friday deals on online shops such as eBay, and even

Shop Shop Shop, click click click is what the retailers want to hear so if your neighbour is shouting out loud he might have gotten the deal of a lifetime.

Happy shopping and enjoy the holidays!



More Interesting Reading:

What is BLACK FRIDAY all about?

Travel is a way of Education

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Discover your country and your continent!

To travel is to learn and to grow

Travelling has been described as one of the very best ways to gain a useful education, to learn, to live and to grow as a person. The planet offers so many opportunities: there are natural wonders to behold, historic sites to visit, precious art to appreciate and people to meet. There are new and interesting things to eat, flavours to savour, smells to explore and civilizations to admire. To be able to travel is to be given the chance to explore a very rich treasure chest of wonders, amazements and surprizes.

Many people forget that it is not always necessary to travel halfway across the world to discover new cultures, sights and experiences. Most people will be pleasantly surprized to learn just how much their own regions have to offer. South Africans are blessed with a country that is truly a world in one. Incomparable natural beauty, a magnificent variety of wildlife and indigenous flora, a multitude of fascinating cultures and a bewildering array of exciting activities and events all vie for the attention of those that want to explore their own country.

Travelling can be hazardous and tiring if not planned properly. It is always a good idea to make all basic arrangements, such as for accommodation, in advance. It saves time to conduct some research before travelling to an area. It is seldom possible to participate in every event and to experience every magic moment that any particular destination has on offer. It is definitely best to decide in advance what to do and see. In this way time can be saved and disappointment avoided. The internet is a rich source of information for travellers to any part of the country or other parts of the world.

It is certainly a privilege to be able to travel to different destinations. It is sad when one considers the fact that so many people in our beautiful country are not able to see the rest of it, not to even mention other parts of the world.

Whether you travel abroad or in your own region always be sure to be well insured.

How to identify a no-no budget travel partner

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How to choose a travel partner

It has been said that you really get to know a person when you spend a holiday with them, but even more so when you take the plunge and travel together. A tight budget means sharing lodgings, basic foods and lots of walking, in close proximity of your travel buddy.

Choosing the wrong travel partner may well turn an exciting adventure into a tortuous nightmare, so be warned. Here are 3 guidelines to avoid the not-so-cool travel companion:

Sounds in the Night

If you are a light sleeper or one of the sensitive types when it comes to loud, unsophisticated sounds, best find out if your potential travel-mate snores. You are going to be exhausted after a long day exploring exotic surroundings on foot or squashed on a bus or train, and a good night’s sleep will be a sincere desire.

When traveling with this noisy breather, looking forward to a good night’s rest will but become a fantasy, and after a few insomniac induced nights, you will be ready to send your travel companion on a make believe errand with the secret intention of jumping onto the next bus to who-knows-where-but-NOT-with-the-snorer!

Table Manners

To make sure that the last few days of your travel itinerary won’t be spent fasting, check out your prospective travel companion’s eating habits. Is it extravagant? Remember, a fine palet does not necessary make a budget travel dream companion. Sooner or later your to-be-travel-mate is going to run out of money and those hungry eyes are going to look at you, and well, if you’re a softy…

Decide beforehand on the types of food that will fit the bill to keep both of you happy and healthy. Draw up a rough menu and food budget and make sure your buddy understands that fine dining needs to be put on the back burner for a while.

Whining Downhill

The destination you’ve chosen will determine the type of transport that will be available. If your travel plan includes a lot of walking, make sure you don’t select someone who whines continuously and/or gives up after a few ponderous steps. A potential participant in The Biggest Loser will also not be a good choice. If it whines, that is. Some big people can walk a mile in your shoes if you let them.

So choose well, and travel well.

Bon Voyage!

Life is a Game of Soduko


How the Sudoku Game Works:

Sudoku can be best described as a block of 9 squares repeated 9 times within a larger block, arranged as 9 lines and columns. The aim is to use the numbers 1 to 9 both horizontally and vertically, without repetition.

Life itself as a game relates to Sudoku in the sense that all things add up in the end…we just have to figure it out as we play this game called Life.

Life – Sudoku Numbers and Numerology:

In numerology the foundation numbers 0 to 9 have meaning.  The zero missing in Sudoku makes sense, as this is the potential, the No-Thing; the void of Life where all that is birthed originates from.

Here’s what Life’s ‘number-factors’ looks like:

1 – New beginnings, the start of something

2 – Duality, partnership, polarity

3 – Solution, Creativity, First Form

4 – Stability or Stagnation, Structure

5 – Upheaval and Change

6 – Adjustment and Harmony

7 – Surrender, Sacrifice

8 – Re-organisation, abundance

9 – Completion

Life – The Level of Difficulty:

There are easy Sudoku games, and difficult ones. Some people seem to have the knack of moving through Life effortlessly. If you think your life is difficult, look at someone who has major challenges in Life and decide if you would want to tackle their ‘Sudoku’.

Life – Playing the Game:

When there’s upheaval in your life, the numbers just don’t seem to add up; you many feel stuck, brain-fogged, alone and close to giving up.

Here’s how to use the Sudoku game of Life to flow with Life’s cycles:

2 – Keep in mind that there is always some kind of support.

3 – Remember there is the solution for all of Life’s problems even though it does not seem like it at the time.

4 – Find a structure that works for you and make sure stagnation isn’t part of the problem.

5 – Change your attitude to one of gratitude.

6 – Adjust to this cycle, find your groove.

7 – Surrender to that which cannot be controlled.

8 – Acknowledge daily that abundance surrounds you.

9 – Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, learn from it and know that with every ending there is …

10– A New Beginning!



Author: Sharon du Plessis

Bio: Artist and Writer, author and illustrator of self-published Afrikaans Tarot Deck, Shaman apprentice and teacher. 



Banting away Body Fat: Tim Noakes decarbdiet

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Have protein, cut the carbs

Tim Noakes’ decarb-diet: Enough Banting will turn you into a bantam-weight bore

If one more of these thin okes* talks about Tim Noakes, I am going to run screaming to the nearest bakery, and stock up on every kind of sugar infested carbohydrate treat that was created for gratifying consumption by humankind. The worst of it is that those complacent souls that discuss the topic endlessly also look so marvellous: slender and energetic. It is just a pity that their conversational skills fall by the wayside. This is one of the side effects of the diet that really should be documented. Health warnings on dangerous products are compulsory these days. “This book can cost you your best friends” stickers can easily be affixed even at this stage. Over- weight (or normal) people that enjoy the odd beer and chips on a Friday night feel like sinners and start avoiding the banter of Bantingers.

Tim Noakes’ decarb-diet: Delightful history

William Banting (1796- 1878) was an obese undertaker in Victorian times. Futile diets, fasts and exercise regimes despite, he had huge (sic) health problems. His medical adviser, one Harvey, devised a diet of 4 meat based meals a day. This (contrary to popular belief) increased fat intake, not protein. It also included vegetables, fruit and wine. Banting lost weight and never regained it. He was altogether healthier. In 1863 he published his writings under the grandiloquent title Letter on Corpulence Addressed to the public.

Tim Noakes’ decarb-diet: Health and Wealth

There is no doubt that one of the most common modern diseases (caused mainly by carbohydrates and sugar) is diabetes, and the Noakes diet prevents or manages it effectively. The aspect that most makes it sustainable, is that there is no calorie restriction. One can eat and enjoy, without counting. It is also satisfying as fat is, to quote Prof. Noakes, “the body’s preferred fuel.”

However, this is a rich man’s diet. How one feeds a family this way, I know not. Unless you are a millionaire, a brood of teenagers gets through the day on porridge, pasta, potatoes and rusks. Twice a month the budget stretches to cheese and sausages, with lots of bread; once a week there might be eggs or peanut butter. The cheapest cut of pork, stewed with cabbage and carrots, still needs a mountain of brown rice. Milk and yoghurt, fruit in season, spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin and herbs from the garden (for those of us lucky enough to have one) and the luxury of olive oil keeps my family fed.

If I could I suppose I would consider de-carbing. But how many ordinary families can?

But when I splash out….

I have been telling people for years that butter is good for one, but nobody listened. I was treated as a pariah because I have cream in my coffee and parmesan on my scrambled eggs, top steak with pecan, Parma ham and provolone, roast free range chickens in goose fat, fry leeks in mutton fat sparingly trimmed from the chops, make egg yolk mayo with litres of olive oil, and refuse to have low fat anything in the house.

My theory (that whole foods are naturally good) made me compete with Bin Laden for the position of Public Enemy Number One, and so my great plan to write a book about it came to naught. Now somebody else is making money from it. Alas poor fate, she was ever too late and got crushed by the weight of what she ate.

I think I’ll have a sulk. Let me just get the poor man’s pizza (origanum, garlic, tomato puree, green pepper and a meagre sprinkling of mozzarella) in the oven for the kids, and have a glass of Pinotage.

Don’t put your Insurance policies on diet though!

This article was published on and reposted with permission.

Footnote: *okes = guys/ South African slang from ou – outjie.

Is your cellphone your best friend?

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My cellphone – My Sanity – My Safety

We are so conditioned to rely on certain things, that we are quite lost without them. I try (still) to see the absence of certain mod cons as a kind of adventure, to test my ability to cope creatively with whatever situation I find myself in. But in spite of my bravado under the circumstances it is trying and frustrating. For most of us modern life’s demands are pretty relentless, and there is no getting off the bus just because we are in a tight spot.

Here’s a dull commonplace story: On a quiet day at home, catching up on the laundry was the plan, and then there is a power failure and now it is in the machine, soaking in its first dirty water. Oh joy! Should I plunge my hands in and wring and squelch, should I wait and if so for how long, etc.?

O.K I tell myself, do not be such a ninny. Millions of women have no running water. Have a cup of tea. Oops, no electricity for the kettle. Maybe it is just something that tripped. It is too dark to see in the hall where the switch board is.

Try to ‘phone neighbours/municipality. Cellphone is flat. Find charger; no electricity. Use the landline – the number you need is on the dead phone. You know the feeling!

Repercussions galore

The above is not a crisis, but we certainly do depend on our cellphones to prevent or get us out of crises. We have been coerced into using them to manage our everyday lives. If one’s cellphone has fallen into the washing machine or been stolen from one’s handbag, how do you contact the people that are supposed to help you? It is like those infuriating, frustrating self fulfilling sentences one learnt at school: “When you are not looking at it this sentence is written in Japanese.”

The helplessness that lesson induced in me, is the feeling I get when I lose the use of my cellphone. I get childishly tearful, hovering between embarrassment and fury.

Let’s face it: the consequences are at best unavoidable and at worst disastrous.

What to do

The best one can do is to minimise the damage, and get connected as soon as possible. Cellphone cover is sensible, and it is a good idea to look at the Dial Direct Stay Connected Insurance.

There is an express claim that pays out the same day. You can either specify your cellphone on your portable possessions insurance or take out insurance on only your phone.

Remember to at all times know the 24 hr emergency call centre number. Memorise it or be childish like me: write it on the inside of your hand.

This article was posted on and reposted with permission.


Getting to Better Health!

<img src="health.jpg" alt="health" width="300" height="200">Traditional Spanish Tapas And Red Wine

Think before you eat!

5 Steps to Better Health

Why live a healthy lifestyle? Life is filled with danger, disappointments, heartache, so why not just live any way I please and have a ball!

From Bucket to better health

…or kick the bucket and miss the ball!

We all know that better health brings with it many benefits and we can enjoy good opportunities which may arise, with energy and vigour. Without energy and good health excellent opportunities could easily be missed. Let’s look at some steps towards better health.

1, 2, 3, kick to Better Health!

Make a bucket list! Write down what you would love to achieve in your life and then set out to make it possible by following the steps to better health:

1. Exercise! This must be a priority in your life if you want to be healthy. Everyone has an excuse not to exercise…

You don’t need time, money or transport to walk around the neighbourhood for fifteen minutes after work each day. It is really just a matter of getting into a routine and sticking to it. Just do it!

2. Food! Think before you eat. We so often grab the first, best thing to gobble down quickly, instead of taking the time to think about what we are going to eat. Take time to prepare it and sit down to enjoy and savour it! Think healthy!! Include fresh produce in your daily meals and balance your intake of proteins, vitamins and fats. Your body needs them all. Go slow on the starches and fats!

3. Rest! No human body can endure constant work and pressure without sufficient rest. You need to make sure that you sleep a minimum of six hours per night and at least once per week have a good night’s rest for eight hours.

4. Healthy mind, healthy body. Think positive. Dwell on what is good and beneficial. Speak about what is positive and influence others to do the same. Surround yourself with positive people.

5. Drink! … and with this I mean water!  Your body needs water to function well. The way to better health is by drinking six small glasses of water per day. As you grow accustomed to drinking water you can increase the quantity to two litres per day.
Be kind to your body and reap the benefits of better health…and stop smoking!

With your newfound better health, it is also the right time to check you Insurance Cover.

The First Lady: which of Jacob Zuma’s wives is it?

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Who wields the sceptre and who the spear in the Zuma entourage?

Sizakele Khumalo Zuma attended the 2014 Presidential inauguration at the Union Buildings. As elder wife of our president, this dignified lady behaved with decorum and was dressed with understated style. She made us proud to be South Africans. Yet she is not our First Lady. She is one wife of many.The presidency released a statement that none of president Zuma’s wives had a constitutional role or received state funds.

Polygamy is legal in South Africa. Jacob Zuma’s latest and current fourth wife, Bongi Ngema was a long time girlfriend, accompanied him on foreign visits and their son was seven (and President Zuma seventy) by the time she married the president. His marriage to Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini ended in divorce and his wife Kate Mantsho committed suicide in 2000. He has sired 21 children.


Zuma’s public image has been controversial . Legal scandals and corruption and racketeering charges were cleared in 2001, but resurfaced when his financial advisor Shabir Shaik was convicted of corruption and fraud in 2005. The question of whether Zuma took the bribe has yet to be answered satisfactorily.


Also around that time, Zuma was charged with rape. He was acquitted as it was established that the sex was consensual, but he displayed lack of responsibility by publicly flaunting the fact that he knew that the woman with whom he had sex was HIV positive, and that he did not deign to wear a condom. Then he revealed a combination of ignorance and arrogance that had the world reeling: He said that he had taken a shower to prevent Aids after intercourse.


Zuma’s triumph over the challenges of his early life, and his subsequent success (this is his second term of office) renders him an attractive figure to emulate. He is known to be hard working and had overcome many hardships. He is also a polygamist and a philandering male who does not wear a condom. He has as his anthem the song “Bring me my machine gun”. He is also the president of a nation and his example is followed by millions. This nation also happens to be the rape and HIV/AIDS capital of the world, and a leader in violent crime.

Ladies, first and last – a cause that could change the world

Oscar Wilde said, “Bigamy means having one wife too many.” Is South Africa a place where every man has one wife too few….always? And if you are not able to support more than one wife, are you still entitled to have several, and “father” many children? Culture should be respected of course. But culture has many built in safety nets which modern life and the absence of community structures, extended families, institutional practices and the morals that evolved around these, cannot always sustain.

Traditional customs came with huge responsibility, and traditional societies enforced those rigorously. We cannot be either selective about the aspects of traditional culture which we embrace or stop short when it comes to the application of the self disciplines and deprivations also upheld by traditional societies.

“Dignity and respect for all” has become a mantra of the modern South Africa. Yet women and girl children (who are still the primary victims of rape) seem to be excluded from this.

Now there is a cause our first ladies can take on! Imagine if the four wives of President Zuma can come out and say, “Oh yes! We do have a constitutional role. We uphold the rights of women and girl children.“ Imagine if they can carry this message to the people. Imagine if they publicly encourage condoms, birth control and self restraint. Imagine if we can live this fully, on the streets and in our homes.

It is hard enough for one mother and one father who both work hard to feed, clothe and care for one child. Imagine if every man can say, “I am responsible for the care, safety and well-being of not only my child, but also the child of my brother/neighbour.” Now there is a kind of manhood we can be proud of! Then and only then can we really hold our heads up high, and own the idea of Ubuntu.

With so many homes to care for, the president surely needs insurance.So do you. Zuma’s wives


Father’s Day

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Father’s day, it is your Day

I can hear some women muttering under their breaths “why should there be a father’s day…he has done nothing to warrant it!” But, there is a father’s day, because there are genuinely fathers who deserve to be acknowledged.

Sound the alarms, ring the bells, it is Father’s day for daddies

On the 19th July, 1910, the governor of Washington proclaimed the first Father’s day. But only in 1972 the day became a holiday in the US.

I think mother’s day was probably the reason for father’s day. Fathers need to be honoured on Father’s day for their role in society and for the fact that they work hard to support their families

Most fathers are still the breadwinners of the family and miss out on the upbringing of their children…a role mostly ascribed to mothers, therefore a special day to acknowledge them is warranted.

Absent fathers

We live in a society where there are so many absent fathers, due to the high divorce rate and pressures at work. Fathers don’t always get the time they deserve with their children. They are not always shown the gratitude they deserve either. A lot of fathers are not absent out of choice, but due to pressure or restraint.

In 1909 a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, who was raised by her father along with five other siblings, tried to establish father’s day. She searched for support from churches, businesses and government officials. She was successful when the day was celebrated for the first time on 19 July 1910.

Many people, especially men, tend to think of the day as just another commercialised day for businesses to make money.

So what? Let us honour the fathers anyway

The fathers I know are mostly thankful for a day on which they are ‘placed on a little pedestal’. They work hard enough to deserve such a day.

Even if gifts for Father’s day are bought with money they earned, it is still solely for them and their pleasure.

Father’s day is one day you are able to make your father feel like the most important man in your city. A man who is honoured and cherished. A man who was part of your life. If it was not for him, you would not have been here…even if the part he played was mostly pleasurable!