The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Se7en Discovers that Writing is Fun…

October 18th, 2017 · No Comments

The fabulous thing about homeschooling is that when something isn’t working it is in your power to change it and change it for the better. For a while writing just wasn’t working for us at all. And folks kept saying to me I can’t get my kids to write anything, and I kept thinking, “Well my kids write.” But to be honest, while my kids were writing they definitely weren’t loving it and some of them were digging their heels in so firmly that I did start to think that they might never actually write an entire sentence. However, I did notice that they were happy to write the things they needed for a game they were playing or a letter they wanted to write to a friend. I thought I would build on that.


Some folk’s outing journal over here looked a lot like: “We went to “pick any place” and it was fun. The End.” Every single outing. I knew that I had to make some changes. I decided to add a little writing inspiration to their lives and see where it would go, you know just gently up our writing game… really easy like. Looking for fun books with writing ideas in them in library and just taking them out every other week or two and dipping into them as part of our family school. My kids responded surprisingly well to that.


They loved creating characters and had a lot of fun figuring out new settings and so on. Teeny tiny writing projects, I have a feeling nothing overwhelming is a big part of writing for fun. Everyone was happy, we were slowly beginning to win at writing. The ultimate goal is that my children write for pleasure, so that when they have an idea they will have the skills to jot it down. If they want to develop their story further… then so be it. Honestly, I was so surprised by how much they enjoyed it all.

A Writing Week

I decided to up the game a little more and declared a writing week. Normally when we take a break from school, we have science week and do tons of science experiments. Well a writing week works just the same… just a fun writing project everyday. Honestly a writing week requires very little preparation… a pile of paper, some pretty paper, old photographs and magazines for picture inspiration, and colourful pens and pencils help a lot too. Not to mention stickers. I was very intentional about our goal… the writing was to be pure fun for everyone, and it was to be completely voluntary. And it was to feel, as far as the East is from the West, like anything remotely to do with school. I admit, I made it very arty and crafty and there was tons for them to play with and inspire them to write more. But the point is, they loved it and wanted to write more.


To start our writing week I gathered a few books for inspiration… put all our materials together in one place: notebooks, one or two magazines for pictures, markers and watercolours and such like. Our very first meeting we spent covering and decorating our notebooks… yes, you could buy fancy notebooks and skip that step, but it turned out to be quite fundamental to setting the tone. Firstly, I sat there and created my own sketchbook with them (always a win if I join in) and we spoke about all the things that you could expect in a writing club… writing for instance!!! I am so glad we did that… because expectations are quite important to establish right from the start.


I kept it really simple, and if the only writing they did was one or two words, then so be it. My intention was to keep it joyful and once we had made one page together in our notebooks they were very keen to carry on creating more elaborate projects on their own. They really just needed to get this project started and they were good to go the extra mile. The idea is that they love writing… and of course they will learn how to write a formal letter, and a comparative essay in time… but half of my students are in primary school… it is alright for them to have a playful attitude towards writing, the fact that their older siblings want to join in and play along too is really just a winning situation. One day we turned ink blots into cartoons… and I love how every child has a completely different interpretation of the same project. Another day we pretend we were someone else and created passports.


Another day we created a party cake in a mixing bowl…


And I love these…


Life got a little busy and I forgot about it for a while… and then my kids started to ask if they could write during our family school time in the mornings. Stop. Read that again. They enjoyed writing so much, that they asked if they could do some writing everyday as part of their family school. I said, “I would think about it.” While secretly dancing a jig for joy!!! Anyway, writing week, became writing club and once a week or so we spend time together doing a writing project.

Free Writing… Really?!?


And we have upped our game again and added free writing to our family school routine as well. Quite the most astonishing thing… I told them I would only do writing if everyone arrived at the table with paper and a pencil ready to write and as long as no one complained about it, we would continue with it. After one person’s complete melt down at the start, “I can’t write, you can’t make me, I will never be able to write…” Everyone else was so absorbed with what they were doing, that said person realised the drama was wasted and just got on with it. It has become our favourite part of school time, no-one complains, everyone is busy and from grade two till twelve we are writing every single day. Some people write a page, some people write a line… I don’t mind. I especially don’t worry about spelling and details of that nature. This is free writing in the very free sense of the word.


Free Writing for the Win

All you need is paper and pencils and a timer. And a topic jar… we create our topics by going round the table and giving everyone a turn to drop a topic of their choice into the jar. We begin each day by selecting a topic for the day from the topic jar… and set the timer and off we go… all of us, particularly me. I began with the timer set for two minutes, thinking that any longer would overwhelm some of my frail writers… well it took us a week to build up to five minutes and three weeks later everyone thinks they are still writing for five minutes, but I have steadily built it up to ten minutes a day. My kids are writing, without complaint for ten minutes a day. They are writing for themselves, for their own enjoyment and they are happy with that. Once a week, they each select their favourite peace of writing from the week, prepare it and choose to read it to us.


The key really has been joining them because writing is hard. It isn’t like a workbook where you fill in the gaps, there is a lot going on. Not only do you have to concentrate on penmanship, but you have to concentrating on expressing your ideas as well. One thing you can do to ease the pain is to write alongside them… this has helped my kids enormously. To see me stumped by a topic during our free writing time, or to see me just keep on writing when I have actually run out of things to say. Work through it and write on, write on… it has been good for my kids to see that they can actually do this… it is not impossible. It doesn’t have to perfect, for them to want to carry on with it and keep at it, it has to be fun.

A Couple of Fun Resources

Writing definitely can be fun, and when it is fun it is amazing how inspired your kids will be to try harder things and go the extra mile.


→ No CommentsTags: Se7en at School

Se7en’s Spring Tide Beach CleanUp With the Beach Co-Operative…

October 16th, 2017 · No Comments

This past year we have been joining the Beach Co-operative for a monthly beach cleanup at Muizenberg corner.


Their mission is: “Our mission is to engage with single use plastics at all points of its supply chain: remove it from the beach, refuse it when making purchases, work with brands and companies who want to use less plastic, and encourage manufacturers to design plastic packaging with a circular economy in mind (design for recyclability).”
Writing by Beachscriber

Apart from developing a bigger heart for beach cleanups, it is helped our kids enormously to be part of a real scientific study. Data is collected from each beach cleanup and analysed carefully, statistics are kept and hypothesis are tried and tested. There have been some very interesting discoveries for us… for instance garbage is seasonal… a lot more garbage needs to be collected on days when it has rained and more debris is washed from the surrounding area onto the beach.

A lot of the garbage collected is related to the local restaurant industry and to this end these restaurants have been encouraged to green-up by using less plastic packaging – fewer shopping bags, alternatives to plastic straws and so on…

Raising Eco-Warriors

Raising eco-warriors is very trendy right now, and changing our behaviour and impact on the environment has become a top priority in educational circles the world over. Wherever your children are in school they are most likely learning about environmental issues and what we need to do to have less on an impact on the environment. The thing is there is a vast gap between head-knowledge and practical application. For many of our kids’ friends there is a vast chasm between knowing the reason why we should use less fossil fuels and then driving to the library to exchange books, when they could easily walk there.


And gathering together for a beach cleanup on International cleanup day is not the same as taking “3 for the sea” every time they go down to the beach for a swim. It really has to become a habit, something that we all just naturally do… the ocean is full of plastic and garbage and we have the power to make a difference, just by participating in beach clean ups.I think the goal for our kids is that they are active citizens, doing something practical for the environment not only makes a difference to the environment, however small, but it has to give us hope.

Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg

Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg is a very popular surf spot for people from all over the world, it is one of the best spots to learn how to surf and somewhat of a surfing mecca. The popularity of the spot means that there are a number of fast food spots and restaurants there and the resulting fall out onto the beach means that it is a good spot for garbage to collect on the beach.

Now Muizenberg has been a blue flag beach and is a very popular Cape Town beach for families… warm water, white sand, and miles and miles of gentle surf. A veritable army of cleaners, thanks to the City of Cape Town, keep the popular, surf friendly area of the beach surprisingly clean. However, just off the beach towards to mountain side is a rock pooling haven, it is less frequented by the public and specifically visitors and so gets less attention from the cleaning staff and beach cleanups in general.

Every new moon, when the tide is at its lowest and the rock pools are the most exposed, we have been joining the Beach Co-op for a beach cleanup. It is the perfect way to expand our family lifestyle of beach cleanups to a more community based project.

The Beach Co-Op Clean Up

We collect two kinds of garbage at this clean-up, your regular garbage that is found lying on the surface or somewhat submerged in the rock pools and then the garbage, that we collect in a separate bucket of things extracted from sea-anemones.

For most beach cleanups the first thing we see is the amazing natural beauty and wildlife… but as our eye “tunes in to garbage” it is fairly easy to spot plastic shopping bags more than partially buried and filled with sand, as well as plastic bottle lids and tons of individual sweetie wrappers.
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All the Garbage

And then there is the garbage… bottle tops, plastic and glass, straws and cigarette ends, as well as carrier bags. The carrier bags are possibly the hardest to collect and only after your eye has adjusted to noticing the garbage do you actually spot them. They are almost always weighed down and semi-buried in the sand, trapped in the rock pools.

They tend to be filled with and buried in the sand, which make them really hard to un-earth and pull out in one piece, nobody wants them to break up and have small pieces drift away.
A sinker and fishing tackle removed from an anemone.

A typical haul from our cleanup

Some months you collect a lot of a particular item… for instance the month we found half a dozen bottle tops

At the end of each cleanup the garbage is washed of marine debris and taken back to the lab to be counted and measured. Statistics are kept and analysed.

All the RockPooling Magic

The first surprise to most folk is the incredible natural beauty that you find amongst the rock pools. Nobody suspects that so close to home is this magical world filled with incredible beauty. Starfish abound, as do sea anemones… even the kelp is a fresh new rainbow of green.






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Just a fascinating project, real science and a community project, that we have enjoyed being part of, you can follow them the Beach Co-Op on instagram.

Surfer's Corner Beach CleanUp

Previous Beach Cleanup Posts

Se7en Celebrates World Turtle Day With a Beach Clean Up

Se7en Tune a Beach Clean Up into Eco-Brick Construction

Another Week, Another Beach Clean Up at Cape Point

Just Taking a Week Off School to Volunteer

Se7en+1 Steps to a Beach Clean Up

International Coastal Clean Up Day and a Quick Report

Diaz Beach and a Quick Clean Up

A Muizenberg Clean Up

Where Does Your Garden Go?

Thinking About a Green Manifesto for our Family

→ No CommentsTags: Saturday Spot · Science · Se7en at School

Se7en + 1 of the Latest Kid Reads from PanMacmillan South Africa

October 13th, 2017 · No Comments

What can I say, when you don’t post book reviews for a week or two… the review pile on the coffee table gets crazily high and suddenly we have quite a few lovely book posts coming your way. I have to confess I saved this post up for a Friday, because is there anything better than a collection of good weekend reads? I had to bring you a review post of these fabulous books, every single one of these is a firm favourite over here, and they have literally just landed.


Se7en+1 of the Latest and Greatest Kid Reads

Chris Riddell

Travel’s with My Sketchbook by Chris Riddell: I know, don’t ever out your best book first… but I have to say this has to be our book of the year. This is not technically a book for children, it is a book for people, especially folk who love books. While I have read each and every word, my kids have all dipped into it and followed the inspirational Chris Riddell on his journey as Children’s Laureate.
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A while back we spent a wonderful morning with the magical Chris Riddell, and yes he is just as magical as you imagine him to be. We poured over his pile of sketchbooks, we learnt about his favourite pencils and listened to his stories… It was a lovely morning, a peaceful moment in time, when things stood still while the busy-ness of being the Laureate carried on around him.
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And this book is just like that morning, only it is a snapshot of a glorious time that was his time as the Children’s Laureate from June 2015 through to December 2016. Sketchbook page after magical sketchbook page, documenting his journey through through the laureate ship: school talks, library discussions, visits to book stores, plans for impending books, and some of his political cartoons… this is a book that you can dip into or like we did: read right through it and then turn back to again and again and again. It is packed with delightful moments, little visits into Chris Riddell’s world… stories of his childhood and his children’s childhood… insight into his life and times, snippets from his books, and impending books, the things he loves and the things he hates… all of it. What can I say, his work is so good, because he works so hard… unceasing!!! The book is a chunky hardback, with a fabric spine and has the feel of a delightfully fat notebook. Lots of attention to detail about the presentation of the book, as you would expect from Chris Riddell. All that is magical and then some. This has to be our book of the year…

Ottoline and the Purple Fox by Chris Riddell:
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When you believe that you are Ottoline, and then you spend a morning with him and at the end of the interview he says, “I am inspired to write another Ottoline book.” And that is how Ottoline and the Purple Fox was born… Ottoline has been a firm family favourite for a number of years and we are reading the series again… as one does. Ottoline is a smart young gal, who together with her best friend Mr Munroe, set out to solve a number of problems… and in this book they have a dinner party to organise. I love these books, they are picture rich and perfect for emerging readers who get overwhelmed by vast swaths of words. That being said they are real stories with a really classical feel to them, stories to get lost in and kind of join in. Nothing frilly and no space wasted on nonsense, a good story beautifully illustrated and the presentation is of course out of this world… and like all Chris Riddell books there is a little surprise waiting in the back of it…

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The Snark by Lewis Carroll and illustrated by Chris Riddell: And now for something completely different, another Chris Riddell!!! And I have a feeling that he had a lot of fun creating this book. The Snark is nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll, author of The Jabberwocky, it is a little longer and lot more nonsense… a group of folk on a boat, set out hunting for a Snark… they don’t find it, and have endless shipping trouble… and you read on and on, up and down waves and in and out of the water… pure fun, lots of new and remarkable words and they do not find the Snark… and then they do!!! Pure fun and lots of it, intriguing and detailed illustrations all the the way through with fabulous colour as well as black and white. It is a hardback with fabric binding and icy blue frosting sprayed on the edges… this is a very giftable book and will make a fantastic keepsake for lovers of words of all ages.

Where’s Wally

Where’s Wally? The Totally Essential Travel Collection by Martin Handford: This is the ultimate Where’s Wally Book. You know we are big fans, Wally and I share a birthday in fact. And there are tons of Where’s Wally books out… but this one has all se7en classics included inside it, as well as hidden inside the cover… postcards to colour in. There are also flaps to lift up for extra searching… this is a really great collection.


It is about the size of a chunky notebook with a shimmering gold stripes on the cover, perfect to toss in your backpack and go… and then hours and hours of fun. It is bound like a hardback book and lies pretty flat when it is opened up… so no split covers or exploding pages… no matter how often it is paged through. The book has a great rugged quality about it, it has been thoroughly loved and dare I say overused over here and is showing no signs of it’s burden at all. For Where’s Wally fans… Another perfect gift.

Rabbit & Bear

Rabbit and Bear: The Pest in the Nest by Julian Gough and Jim Field: When we met Rabbit and Bear for the first time, we knew we had discovered a classic. Just slightly more words than an easy reader, and perfect first chapter books. They are great for reading aloud or being read too… and the stories are seriously funny. Folk with a somewhat dry sense of humour will love Bear and Rabbit… Rabbit is quite a fiery personality and doesn’t do anything by halves… and every nuance is capture by the genius illustrator, who is Jim Field. Bear is the lugubrious bystander the bringer of peace and understanding, the calming factor that every fiery personality needs from time to time.


In this story, as the woodland friends start to surface from their wintry hibernation a woodpecker arrives in the hood. And the bang, bang, banging causes quite a disturbance in the neighbourhood. Let me just say, rabbit almost loses the plot… he is very upset about the happy noise of the industrious intruder, and his friend tortoise just sadly sleeps through it all, well rabbit is not happy about that either. There is a life lesson in there. It is funny, it is light reading and just great. We love Bear and Rabbit and will be looking after for more of them.

Cressida Cowell

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell: I was so excited to get this book to review, I couldn’t help myself I had to just dive right in, I wasn’t waiting around for the kids after reading the entire How to Train Your Dragon Series out loud, I felt I earned a little me time with this one. Now this book comes with a lot of hype, and it is well deserved, it is written by the wonderful Cressida Cowell after all. My kids will LOVE this book, I certainly did. I have to say there are some scary parts, but judging how they loved the scary parts being read to them in the How to Train your Dragon series… I am guessing they will love when I read this to them as well. My older kids will read this in a flash, but I will definitely be reading this to my younger three, because firstly it took me a while to get into, there is a whole new world to define and secondly because the scary parts are scary.


So the story is about Xar a wizard lad and son of a King, who appears to have not received any magical powers, he does however have a naughty defiant streak and a good heart. The kind of kid where everything around him explodes and his face has a look of innocence and his mum says, “He is a good kid really.” And then there is Wish, a girl child from the Warrior tribe, a fearless and feisty gal, a heroine of note… and yet a bitter disappointment to her Warrior queen mother and therein lies her tragic streak. The two tribes are sworn enemies and interaction means war. However, they do have their common enemy, witches are long extinct. Or are they? It turns out that long extinct witches may not be that extinct after all.

An evening of independent mischief has both Xar and Wish flung together, with all their combined fury… both of them are considered to be “self seeking losers” by their tribes and it turns out that they are both heroes in their own rights and while they have their own best interests at heart, they do rather save the day… or do they? Clearly a series, and hopefully a long one, is going to follow after The Wizards of Once.

Alex T. Smith

Claude: All at Sea by Alex T. Smith: Claude is a fabulous series about a fabulous dog… one of our favourite series in fact. Claude is a little dog, who lives with Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes and his best friend Sir Bobblysock. As soon as Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes leave for work in the morning Claude and his best friend get up to all sorts of adventurous antics. Whatever they need to complete their adventure, a paintbrush or a bath duck, for instance, well those can be found inside Claude’s beret… his expandable, bottomless beret.

In this adventure Claude finds himself at sea, and when he and a number of is friends find themselves in the tummy of a magnificent sea monster called Nigel. And then Claude comes to the rescue. He totally saves the day using the contents of his beret. And when Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes get home from work at the end of the day and find Claude sleeping in the bath tub they do rather wonder what went on while they were out… And Claude just smiles a little smile. Delightful, sweet stories… little adventures and loads of fun, and packed with adorable, witty illustrations.


Oi Cat by Kes Gray and Jim Field: Oh when you spot Oi and Kes Gray and Jim Field on the cover of a book… it is going to be fabulous, grab it, sit down and take a read. You just can’t go wrong with the Oi books, so very much character is expressed between the pages of this books, there is everything to love here: fabulously funny illustrations, and witty words all the way through. Gotta love them. In this particular book, Frog informs Cat that he has to step away from the gnat… and Cat hates gnats… he should be a pony and sit on macaroni… fun, rhythm and rhyme, exactly want you want to read aloud and a twist in the tail… that is revealed by a large lift the flap. Pure fun, a bedtime romp… and a picture book that nobody will mind reading again and again and again…

Huge thank you to PanMacmillan South Africa for supplying this fabulous collection of books for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post and all the reviews are as usual my own.

→ No CommentsTags: Brilliant Books

Se7en Discovers the Garden Route on a Fancourt Day Tour…

October 11th, 2017 · No Comments

There are so many fun things to see and do along the Garden Route of South Africa, it literally is a holiday maker’s paradise. From extreme sports, to national landmarks, incredible wildlife and hiking trails; incredible nature reserves and from the beaches of Plettenberg Bay to the Canto Caves of Outdshoorn; the Garden Route situated between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, the Garden Route literally has something for everyone.


During my recent stay with Fancourt, the media team were treated to a great day out, a morning of market browsing and an afternoon floating about on the Knysna Lagoon… it couldn’t be better really.
When you stay with Fancourt there are any number of day outings that you can choose from and that they will organise and take you out on.


Sedgefield is a tiny little town, famous for its smallness and the high number of retirees amongst its residents. Otherwise it has an extremely low (negligible crime rate) and it is famous for its Saturday morning markets, as well as a used car dealership of note. Cars of extremely rare vintage and interesting vehicles that are used in movies all over the world.


You can actually select from a vast array of cars, have it packed in a container and shipped to you within three months, almost anywhere in the world. Next time you see an ultra cool car in a movie… then it could well come from here!!!


The Sedgefield Markets

Let’s talk about the markets for a second, because they are stunning!!! Three markets, all very close to each other and I thought that that would be just a little bit too much, but I was wrong. Each market is packed with lovey goodies and they each have their own very distinctive atmosphere. Don’t visit just one of them… you have to visit them all!!!


The Mosaic Village Market

The Mosaic Village Market is a market with a sweet country tone, lots of hand made crafts for sale, and lots of edible treats. There was nothing ordinary, clearly the crafters in this part of the world are all about letting their own magic and personal touch, shine through their products. It was very easy to see all the love at this market… literally everywhere…


Hearts… and drums,


And vintage…


And crates…

And hearts…

And beads…

And hearts…

And rainbows…

And hearts…

And fun…

And hearts…

The Wild Oats Market


The Wild Oats Market… a whole of locally produced, ethically sourced, green-living products. I loved this market… this is a food lover’s dream and super eco–friendly, which was a welcome relief from the rest of the weekend I was having. Tons of recycling, masses of bring your own mugs, plates, containers and so on. The entrance to the market is all about local flavours and fynbos. I felt right at home in this market… and if I hadn’t just had a fabulous breakfast I would have dived right in.




Is this fynbos…

And edible treats…

To taste…

Citrus sunshine in a box

And lunch…

And more treats…

Did I say Hot chocolate!!!

And Green Living!!!

The Scarab Art and Craft Village


And onto The Scarab Art and Craft Market, which looks like a more permanent fixture than the other two markets, with actual buildings and such like. The Scarab Art and Craft market looks like a market for more established artists with lots of crafty magic, and also genuine art and at reasonable prices too.


Between whales and ships…

There was a lot to look at…

Absolutely loved the whole array of bird feeders…

But it was all the dragons that stole my heart…




The Knysna Waterfront

From the Sedgefield Markets we drove on to the Knysna Waterfront, which has all the prettiness of a market town… but is definitely catering to a rather upmarket clientele. I have a feeling that if you asked the locals where to go and what to see that this wouldn’t be where they hang out. I would have loved to explore more of Knysna, I was there with my hubs nearly twenty five years ago and we found lots of lovely things to do in Knysna… definitely, definitely need to get back there and explore like a local again.


For all that, the Waterfront is lovely and there is tons of eye candy to see…

These colours…

I just love…

And where in the world are we…

And it is a Waterfront…

So… ships…

And shipping…

And on to our afternoon adventure…

And it was out on the water… and I love that!!!

The Paddle Cruiser Experience

I couldn’t have been happier when I heard our tour would be spending the afternoon out on the Knysna Lagoon on the Paddle Cruiser, and enjoying lunch on board as well… Fun times ahead.

Just everything to love about this…

Magic as far as the eye can see…

And our log cabin honeymoon spot, Under Milkwood, with it’s own little beach…

Lots of ocean lovers to admire out on the water…

They have a very entertaining menu…

And my absolute favourite feast ever…

Mussels in a creamy white wine… my best!!!

What can I say, I highly recommend and afternoon out on the Paddle Steamer…

Previous Posts in this Series

Fancourt, the Garden Route

This is not a sponsored post, I was not paid to write it and opinions expressed are my own. That being said, Lesley Simpson Communications did invite me to the media weekend and together with Fancourt South Africa provided me with a weekend away.

→ No CommentsTags: Outings · Saturday Spot

Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #355 And a GiveAway…

October 10th, 2017 · 4 Comments

It’s a new week… and time for a fabulous fun post…


And… I have a mountain of review books on my desk… so I will definitely be blogging the latest and greatest reads in almost every category that you can think of, between now and the end of the month… Meanwhile, here is…

A GiveAway… that you have to send on…

It is World Post Day… and a while back we received this book in the mail all the way from Istanbul. The book, called Book, is on a journey around the world… and it is way past time for us to post it on.

So in celebration of post day leave a comment and tell us where in the world you are… You have to be quick… this is a 24 hour (from when we publish) turn around give away. We will pop all the names, from instagram and over here, into a hat and pick a winner, hopefully in an exotic place, to send book on.

It is a beautiful book, a piece of art really, all about how the book became a book and how books have changed through time, beautiful poetry, quotes and artwork as you wander through the pages. All written from the perspective of the book… Anyway, the idea is that you leave a comment and tell us where you are and we gather the comments together and pick a winner… the winner will get the book, read it and enjoy it and then send it on it’s way to a new and exotic location. Don’t forget to leave a comment… and tell us where you are!!!

Lovely Links from This Week

  1. If you are looking for great books… then look no further than Brightly, awesome site packed with fabulous real live recommendations.
  2. Style and Shenanigans took a trip to China with her son… and her posts: 33 Awesome Things to Do in China and China: What to Pack and Other Things… should have every body wanting to take a trip!!!
  3. Love these beautiful sailboats that float on MerMagblog…
  4. 5 Reasons why Outside is the Best Side!!! on Imagine Childhood… Actually I love everything on Imagine Childhood, have you seen 5 Reasons to love Fairies.
  5. Because I so love Nature Notebooks on Raising Little Shoots, and have you met Scratchpad Journal?
  6. Best Homeschool Post ALL YEAR… and it’s October folks… by Kara S. Anderson: Getting Back on Track: Finding Your Rhythm.
  7. And for Pretty Inspiration from Design Sponge…
  8. So many friends have been asking me about podcasts lately… here is the post for you… 10 Homeschooling Podcasts on Simple Homeschooling. I assume absolutely every book lover everywhere that wants to install a love of books in the next generation is listening to the Read A Loud Revival… but if you homeschool and you haven’t listened to Homeschooling in the North Woods, I have been enjoying that one.
  9. The Shorter Your Sleep the Shorter Your Life in the Guardian. Just saying…

A Blast From the Past:


Coming Soon: Museum Night at the VandA Waterfront

We are so looking forward to this on the 25 October 2017… diarise it and look out for it… we loved the previous Museum night, check it out here…


Book of the Week

This book is quirky, suggests mindful missions and kindness adventures… it even inspired a Kindness Club in our house. I love it… I thought it would be a little tame… but you have to step inside this beautifully created and illustrated book. And for all the folk that ask me, “How do you teach your children to be kind?” This is the book… totally not twee, but full of really practical kindness ideas. Suggestions on: How to be the best guest ever; recruit your younger siblings into your kindness adventures; make a welcome home banner on an ordinary day; offer to was someone’s car (I know two grannies that would love their car to be vacuumed); and so on… Go and look at the website: 366 Days of Kindness that the author, Bernadette Russel.

That’s us… hope you have the most fabulous week!!!


→ 4 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

Se7en Brings You All you Need to Know About Feasting at Fancourt…

October 8th, 2017 · No Comments

I knew that a weekend away to Fancourt would include a weekend of feasting… what I didn’t realise was the level of feasting. Unprecedented. Fancourt food goes way beyond your expectations of resort food, they have divided up their service between a variety of fine restaurants. Each restaurant has entirely their own character and vibe, not to mention a team of kitchen staff that are only satisfied when they are doing their best. A variety of restaurants is a great way for folk who are visiting over an extended period, to eat out every night, without ever leaving the resort and never get tired of the menu or the location.

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A Visit to the Kitchen

A quick visit to the kitchens on a Saturday night, where they had a large wedding party to serve, the team from our media weekend were having a banqueting evening and a number of guests, golfers, families and so on. One would expect a certain amount of chaos, but there was none of that. Careful planning is key, and a lot of planning clearly goes into providing guests with the best local foodies have to offer. We also got to take a peak at the exclusive Henry White’s, which is undergoing a complete revamp before the summer season.


Because the kitchens serve a number of guests and eateries, they are in somewhat of a labyrinth beneath the establishment. Ancient greek mythology and the island of Crete spring to mind. I have to say that they pride themselves in catering for every single guest’s hearts desire and so a central kitchen and careful planning are key.

They are situated in the heart of the Garden Route and so have easy access to a vast array of fresh and locally grown ingredients. It helps to know that your food hasn’t flown half way around the world to get to you. Also, to improve their service they have an onsight bakery and butchery. Really, they do… fresh food delivered to your table.

The Club Bar and Lounge

On arrival, we were directed straight to the Club Bar and Lounge, for a light lunch of snackable foods.


We also ended our banqueting evening there, with out of this world desserts… really…

Really… if you are ever there…

Then head straight for the milk tart in a jar option…

Because “sublime” is the word!!!

Monet’s Restaurant and Deli

On our first evening we headed to Monet’s Restaurant and Deli for a braai, which for our overseas friends, is a barbecue. A Braai is always a good way to mingle and meet new people. And I just have to say that Fancourt brings a touch of finesse to every meal… and this level table setting was indeed for a braai.


The thing is that every person visiting has their own idea of what should be served at a braai and to be honest they had that covered too. There was something for everyone…

Meat and seafood…

Breads, salad and vegetables…

Potjies and pap…

Followed buy the prettiest deserts… cheese cake and chocolate mousse…

La Catina

We spent the better part of our weekend of feasting at La Cantina, we went there for breakfasts and our banquet evening. To be honest when I walked past these pizzas on the Saturday evening, I did for a moment wish I could spend the evening in my very comfortable room with a take-out and the book I had brought along to read…


Let’s talk about our banqueting evening…

You could have stopped me at the first course…

Where we were introduced to the salumist… and the most amazing array of cured meats…

I didn’t actually photograph the main… good conversation and good food meant total distraction, which is a good thing!!!

Meanwhile Breakfast at La Cantina


A fine breakfast happens to be my favourite meal ever and my goodness this was a fine breakfast!!!

Fresh fruit and yogurt…

And everything hot…


And Everything Else…

Snacks at the Poolside CafĂ©…


And little bedtime surprises… that totally blew me away… like I said, service!!!

Fancourt, the Garden Route

This is not a sponsored post, I was not paid to write it and opinions expressed are my own. That being said, Lesley Simpson Communications did invite me to the media weekend and together with Fancourt South Africa provided me with a weekend away.

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Se7en Takes a Tour of Fancourt…

October 6th, 2017 · 4 Comments

After a media weekend in Fancourt, on the Garden Route in South Africa, I thought I would take you along on a tour of the exclusive resort. Almost as soon as we arrived we were whisked away for a tour of Fancourt South Africa, and the most striking feature of the resort, the key feature that stood out was not just the beautiful surroundings or the fantastic facilities, but the friendly team of professionals they have working there. Every single member of staff was happy to engage with us and proud to show us the part they play in the running of Fancourt.


Let’s meet the media team from all over South Africa,

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And our tour guide and and all round “help with anything at all that you might need for the entire weekend,” Michelle, the Marketing Manager.


Fancourt For Golf

When most people head for Fancourt it is for the golf. With two courses, the Outeniqua and the Montagu, open to guests and elite course The Links, exclusive and for members only, Fancourt is indeed a golfers paradise. All three of the courses were designed by the legend Gary Player and are amongst the top ranked courses in the world.

Not only three courses to play on but teaching and training by professionals in The Academy too.

The Links is the number one golf course in South Africa and provides an exceptional and private golfing experience to its members.

You can see why this course is considered to be one of the most challenging ever and a dream course for golfers, the world over, to play on.

Honestly, I have never played golf in my life and the closest I got to a golf ball was through my camera lens.

The point is that while Fancourt is an absolute dream holiday for golfers, there is so much more to it, and people like myself and families can have a fantastic holiday experience without ever having to head for the greens at all.

Fancourt For Functions

What folk might not know is that Fancourt also has conference facilities…


And they can service almost any kind of function…

While we were there, there was a banquet for Miss South Africa and the CANSA association…

And the most splendid wedding, that every girl can only dream off… I managed to sneak a photo of the dessert platter… I know dreamy!!!
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And there are little sweet touches wherever you look… this would definitely be an unforgettable memory.

Fancourt For Activities

While Fancourt is all about the golf, there is so much to do there that isn’t golf.


And a variety of trails for walking, running…

And cycling…

Indoor swimming pools…

And outdoor swimming pools…

A well equipped gym…

And for the less energetic there is even a cinema…

Or the Club Lounge…

A comfortable lounge area to relax…

Or party…

Fancourt For Families


Children are very welcome to join the Fancourt family and so many of the facilities are available to them… but, just so that their parents can get a little down time, and because young children might not enjoy watching their parents play golf or linger in the spa…

There is a fabulous airy club for children to play in, with activities and a busy busy program for them to join or dip into throughout their stay.

Your kids will be busy with face painting, arts and crafts, games, play doh, movies and pool time, all supervised by friendly and engaging staff.

Safety is paramount and there are plenty of staff available to look after your children…

Catering from tiny tots to teens…

There is a well stocked teen lounge for those kids who are older than tots, but not keen to play golf all day…

Fancourt for Beauty and Relaxation

For those of you who are not into golf, or just need a break from all the activities available on the grounds, there is a fully equipped spa to gather your strength and recoup yourself. Apart from Treatments and Massage their is also a Hair Salon, and for any aching muscles there are physiotherapists.


Not one for idle lingering myself, I could honestly settle here for an afternoon.

The Spa facilities look out of this world…

Including the incredible Roman Baths…


The Manor House

From the grounds we went on to look at all the accommodation… starting with the master bedroom suite.


The view…

The grandeur and the butler… Your own car and driver for the duration of your stay…

Did I mention the gowns…

Every detail…

This bathroom, with the fireplace… just lovely…

Love the details, like this beautiful chair…

And the lounge…

Ranked as Africa’s most romantic retreat for years… the Manor House has a number of exclusive rooms…


I just loved the room numbers…
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The private pool…

And endless fresh towels…

Beautiful lounge…

Chess and good books… of course!!!

Fancourt Suites


And so many details… not just petals…

Origami skills… And towels everywhere…

My Room


With this glorious bed all to myself… and now I know why people spend so much on luxurious sheets…

A large lounge area, and, “Just call if you need help to start your fire.” and I have to mention the underfloor heating and heated towels. Obviously a chocolate and tomorrow’s weather as part of your evening “turndown.”

Fancourt Service

I think one thing that really characterises Fancourt would be their attention to detail… every detail. And in a nutshell service. Their service consistently went above and beyond reasonable expectations. Golf carts to carry us or our bags around, friendly faces charging our battery packs (ahem might have forgotten to pack those vital cables) and gifts on your pillow. In fact I was kind of sorry it didn’t rain, because there was umbrella in the closet just in case.


What can I say, attention to detail and excellent service made for a fabulous weekend.

Fancourt, the Garden Route

This is not a sponsored post, I was not paid to write it and opinions expressed are my own. That being said, Lesley Simpson Communications did invite me to the media weekend and together with Fancourt South Africa provided me with a weekend away.

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