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

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Three Green Living Questions We Asked A Marine Biologist…

May 20th, 2018 · No Comments

Did you know that this week is World Turtle Week, so in our series of Three Green Living Questions it would be entirely appropriate to interview a Marine Biologist, especially one who loves and adores turtles…

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Introducing Talitha, a Marine Biologist


My name is Talitha Noble, I am the conservation coordinator at the Two Oceans Aquarium. I run the Turtle Rescue Rehab Release programme we have and am further developing and expanding the conservation work we do.

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Image courtesy of the Two Oceans Aquarium

Three Green Living Questions

  1. What one thing do you do in your home that you feel makes a difference to the environment?
  2. I work on reducing my waste. I do this by:
    Saying no to single use plastic wherever possible-don’t use plastic bags and avoid plastic packaging wherever I can. Recycle, everything is recyclable, and compost all organic waste.

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    Image courtesy of the Two Oceans Aquarium

  3. If you could tell your community one thing to change what would it be?
  4. To pick your battle and stick with it. Decide on one thing to change, for example: stop using plastic bags or straws. Commit to that one thing and go from there.

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  5. If you had an opportunity to speak to world leaders what policy would you ask them to implement?
  6. Weekly national cleanup days (like Rwanda has), where everyone has to clean up a local space (from president to pauper). When we see our rubbish, we should hopefully want to reduce it.

    Previous Posts in This Green Living Series…

    Watch this spot, same time same place next week… for another Green Living Interview…

→ No CommentsTags: Green Living

Introducing GreenPop’s Eden Festival of Action…

May 20th, 2018 · No Comments

Last week was the launch of Greenpop’s Eden Festival of Action… exciting times. For many years, Greenpop has held a Festival of Action in Livingston, Zambia. In fact, I was able to attend the Festival of Action in Zambia a couple of years back and it was life changing. I had this idea that I was off to plant trees and change the world… and actually I learnt so much, while I planted trees, that it changed my world. As a family, it escalated our Green Living journey, and we started embracing opportunities to be greener wherever we could.

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This year the Festival of Action won’t be in Zambia, they are relocating to the Southern Coast of South Africa, and will be planting trees and changing lives along the Garden Route of South Africa. The Garden Route is aptly named as one of the most green, lush and forested regions in South Africa, but they were devastated by brutal fires last winter. Greenpop, are using their Festival of Action to bring hundreds of green living volunteers into the region, to help reforest, regreen and regroup for those folk who are starting their lives over from scratch.

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The Garden Route

I visited the Garden Route last September… and the small towns in the region were still reeling from the shock… and just a glance at the surroundings…

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Where once was green forest… was now barren…
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And the beautiful Featherbed Nature Reserve…
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To the right of the Knysna Heads totally burnt out.

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Introducing the Eden Festival of Action

So last week at Cape Union Mart, Canal Walk, Greenpop launched their new Festival of Action with an evening of information and talks… of course… Bos Ice Tea was there…

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And so was Cape Union Mart with a number of spot prizes…
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Why You Want to Join the Festival of Action

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When Georgina joined GreenPop a while back, she discovered that changing the world with Greenpop is a lot of fun. And she loved being part of the gathering of minds that defines Greenpop Festivals of Action. After the ecological disaster of the devastating fires of 2017, not only does the area need a replant, but the problem of the resulting surge in alien vegetation needs to be tackled now as well. The Southern Cape forests, the Afromountain forests, need a helping hand and GreenPop fully intend to bring all the hands they can.

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Greenpop will be focusing on carefully researched projects in the region, specifically in Rheenendal, Plettenberg Bay and Knysna. They plan a massive tree planting in the Featherbed Nature Reserve, as well as a the clearing of aliens throughout the area. A clearing of aliens in the Goukamma Reserve, as well as helping Heartland Permaculture to become more sustainable and adding indigenous trees to their surroundings. Otherwise, there will be permaculture workshops, greening underprivileged schools and engaging children with the environment. Not to mention eco-bricking, and construction projects, modular furniture and even buildings. They will be creating conservation corners in the region, painting murals and using art to build bridges between players in the region. The Festival Action will be a retreat of a very different kind, there will be plenty of work… and plenty of play. It will be the very opposite of all talk and no action.

Pippin Director of Environmental and Geographical Science at UCT.

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If you get a chance to hear Pippin speak, grab it with both hands, she is an urban ecologist and firmly believes that we need to enjoy the nature we have, where we are. More than half the world lives in cities and the nature within our cities is it. New leaders are growing up in cities, and cities drive change. We need nature for our health, for our physical well being and psychological well being, not to mention the infrastructure of the city… well maintained sand dunes, and vegetated rivers prevent flooding for example. We live in a significant biodiversity hot spot in the Western Cape, lots of biodiversity for our relatively small area.
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We have a very divided city… there are those who have access to a wealth of nature and those that have not a lot, the implication is that poorer don’t care for nature… this is not the truth lack of access does not mean uncaring. The poor people of Cape Town do not have access to nature and yet 200 tons and of firewood and medicinal plants are collected within our city each year. Far from the unwelcoming sidewalks of the wealthier areas in the city Cape Town needs more welcoming spaces like GreenPoint Park a park that people are prepared to travel far to enjoy. Nature in our surrounds is essential to our health, it is also a privilege and we need to find ways to share it. Create more green areas, immerse children in nature, and provide engaging and informed adults to share our natural legacy.

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If you want to know more about the Eden Festival of Action taking place in June/July 2018… then dash over to the Greenpop website for all the details…

This is not a sponsored post, I was not paid to write it, though I would like to thank Greenpop for the invitation to their media event.

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Women’s Wellness Workshops at Sport Science and Finding Balance…

May 16th, 2018 · No Comments

This year the Sport Science Institute is presenting a series of Women’s Wellness Workshops and I wanted to blog about them and tell you what they are about… and bring value from the workshops to our readers wherever you are. These workshops are packed with women, and they are not all super athletes by any means. Just regular folk who want to know more about being healthy, and you don’t have to be a member of the gym to attend… just head over to their website and you can find all the details there.

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The event was sponsored by Future Life and we were gifted with a box of cereal… we are not a cereal family by any means… because when ten of you sit down to breakfast… well a box of cereal wouldn’t go very far at all. That being said, I love their energy bars and toss one in my backpack whenever we go hiking and I don’t have to think about any other food for myself. The other sponsor was Granny Goose bedding and they had a grand prize of a cosy duvet and linen…

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Photograph used with permission of the Sport Science Institute

Workshop #1: Getting the Balance Right

The first workshop was in April… and there were two speakers: Clinton Gahwiler, a sport psychologist and Dr. Dale Rae a sleep scientist. The workshop was aimed women, from all walks of life, who would like to figure out time for work, rest, family and all the other responsibilities… and still have a little time left over to play. It was a great evening, I learnt a ton of practical tips… and I am going to share some of tips I learnt down below…

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Clinton Gahwiler, Sport Psychologist

I first met Clinton when I started the Healthy Weight Program last year and he really helped me get started and break down some of the road blocks in the way of my fitness journey, I was eager to hear what he had to say. He opened by giving us a musician’s metaphor: “Life is a mixing desk, and we need to get the balance right. Each song is totally unique.” And immediately went on to say that sleep is the poor relation when it comes to finding balance in our lives and the first thing we let go of when we run out of margin. We need to consider our season of life and what matters to us now. We only have a 24 hour day, we tend to lower our standards and respond to the loudest shout when it comes to getting things done… this is way too random and we need to be much more strategic when we are moving towards balance. There is a wide gap between our ideal list of things to do and our non-negotiable minimum, which is really the very least we can get away with doing. We need to be brutal in minimising the gap… and compromising on sleep is not the way to go!!! When we look at the gap between or ideal to-do list and our non-negotiable minimum, there are many obstacles to closing the gap… perfectionism, people pleasing, low energy, lack of planning, to name a few. The best way to close the gap he suggested were: leave open spaces, manage your boundaries better, and be reasonable.

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Dr Dale Rae, Sleep Scientist

The first time I met Dale Rae was on World Sleep Day, where she expressed that our problem with a lack of sleep was a far bigger problem than we ever acknowledged. She began her presentation with some excellent quotable quotes to encourage you to sleep.

Sleep is my hobby. Maria Sharapova


Sleep is extremely important to me – I need to rest and recover in order for training I do to be absorbed by my body. Usain Bolt


It’s not just the quantity of sleep that matters, but the quality. Michael Phelps


If I don’t sleep 11-12h a day, it’s not just right. Roger Federer

She went on to say that if you are concerned about the amount of sleep you are getting, then you need to pay attention to that… stealing time from your sleep is not finding the balance. She didn’t get too far in her presentation before the questions started flying, quite simply… everybody wants to know about sleep.

She did an outline of the architecture of sleep… slow wave sleep is important for physical repair and recovery. REM is for mental alertness and psychological recovery. We are so dependent on REM sleep that our body will grab it the next night if we don’t get enough, and quite simply, without REM we will die. The consequences of disturbed sleep are really dire, take a look at new moms for instance, they are folk with very disturbed sleep (by definition), develop insulin resistance and experience often extreme weight gain.

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An alarming slide from the presentation.

She emphasised that medication was not the way to go when you are trying to improve your sleep quota, sleep medication suppresses REM sleep and provides poor sleep quality. Exactly what you are trying to correct. Otherwise, while athletes nap for recovery, we nap because our night time sleep requirements are not being met… we are chronically under slept. If we nap for a short time we might feel energised, but if we nap for too long we may well wake up in the middle of a deep sleep cycle and feel dreadful.

Basically, improve your sleep health and improve your life… the reason we don’t feel well the first night that we try to improve our sleep is that our body goes into recovery mode, we are literally detoxing our body of “lack of sleep”… we feel dreadful and tell ourselves that more sleep feels awful and continue to build up our bank of sleep debt.

Sleep hygiene is all about having good sleep habits: Responding to our natural day/night cycles; Avoiding blue light, which is designed to make us more alert, at night… so no phones, and no screens; Choose a paperback rather than an e-reader for deeper sleep; And be realistic about how much sleep you actually need, determine your sleep sweet spot. Basically, there are lots of little things we can do to improve our sleep… we need to just reprioritise our sleep.

Workshop #2: Women’s Running Matters: Healing, Hormones and Health

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Photograph used with permission of the Sport Science Institute

The next Women’s Wellness Workshop on Running Matters is the evening, on running and I will definitely be blogging about this in the near future. In the meantime, if you want to grab a ticket and attend the details are over here….

My Fitness Journey From the Start

This is not a sponsored post. I have been working out at The Sport Science Institute of South Africa for the last year and a bit, and I know that a lot of you have been following my journey back to fitness. Over this time I have become the Brand Ambassador for the Healthy Weight Programme. It sounds alarmingly important… but it just means that I have been given full access of all the facilities and resources, available to a typical member of the Healthy Weight Programme, for free. I am not paid to write for them, but I think my journey back to fitness, is one that will interest our readers, and so I have been documenting my story as I go along.

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Three Green Living Questions that We Asked An Environmentalist…

May 15th, 2018 · 1 Comment

A while back we introduced a series of Three Green Living Questions that we asked a number of folk who are working on environmental projects. Towards the end of last year on a damp and dreary day we were thrilled to get up and head out into the field with an environmentalist, whose job it is to do the field work for researchers who remain in their lab.

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We had the most amazing walk through the veld learning all about local plants. Part of her project was to collect certain markers in the field, each with their own specific GPS location… only trouble is weathering and animals and people in the area, meant that some of the little flags were no longer visible.
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All the markers were part of a project to determine the effect of fire on areas where alien clearing had occurred and where there hadn’t been in any alien clearing. Meanwhile our environmentalist friend turned out to be an absolute font of information and she knew so much about every single plant… we had a fascinating morning and got home inspired to learn more about our local plants.
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A gift for Latin names… Roella Ciliata

Introducing Suzaan an Environmentalist


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Let’s introduce our environmentalist, Suzaan… whose official title is Chief Technical Officer, nature conservation and science support for the center of invasion biology.
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Three Green Living Questions

  1. What one thing do you do in your home that you feel makes a difference to the environment?
  2. I have a beautiful Indigenous fynbos garden that requires no watering and no maintenance. The plants are hardy not weedy. Otherwise we practice recycling and keep a compost heap.

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    We had a burst of rain, and decided that some tea would be a great idea

  3. If you could tell your community one thing to change what would it be?
  4. Save water… Every one has to do their best. Don’t worry what other people are doing just do your best. It is a lifestyle of using less.

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    We fell wildly in love with her beautiful dog.

  5. If you had an opportunity to speak to world leaders what policy would you ask them to implement?
  6. World leaders should take responsibility for environmental issues. You can’t just manage education and industry and think everything else will fall into place. When you manage a game farm you have to manage everything, right now they are managing the whole world wrong. Alien clearing and climate change are not enough they need to consider the whole environment.

    The Photo Gallery


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    Previous Posts in This Green Living Series…

    Watch this spot, same time same place next week… for another Green Living Interview…

→ 1 CommentTags: Green Living

Hiking Devil’s Peak with the Gang…

May 14th, 2018 · 4 Comments

It is hiking season over here, we have literally hiked all day every day this week. It is the best time of year for glorious days… not too hot and not too cold. Last weekend we embraced our family tradition of hiking on Table Mountain over the first weekend in May. We have been doing this for years and done a lot of exploring over time. Since our first stagger up Platteklip to the People’s Trail last year. This year we decided to try something new to us and headed up Devil’s Peak. It was fantastic… in fact I can’t understand why the whole world goes up Lion’s Head so often, when Devil’s Peak is there.

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Don’t get me wrong, we loved hiking Lion’s Head, but if you have enjoyed getting up Lion’s Head… then next time head up Devil’s Peak. The views of Table Mountain and the city are unprecedented and while the hike is steeper and further than Lion’s Head… there are none of the crowds, just wide open space and fynbos like never before.

From Tafelberg Road…

We began our hike on Tafelberg Road… If you drive past the Table Mountain Cable Car Entrance, and keep going past the hut at the start of Platteklip Gorge, just before the road closes with bollards there is a group of trees where you can park.

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The path begins on the road there and then zigs zags upwards, cross the contour path and keep going up the slope towards the saddle.
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There are stairs… and lots of them… and it is totally doable, just keep plodding.
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I am guessing that this in the heat of summer must be pretty unbearable, but in the early morning on a perfectly crisp autumn day, it was lovely.
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This will take you to flat rock and you will be rewarded with pretty running water…
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And from the saddle… it is a 300m push to the top… it is steep and gravelly… but just take it slow and chug up it… the views are totally totally worth it.
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You pop up at a good rest point, just before the last short push to the top. There is a great lookout over Table Bay…
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And then a last stretch of up to the first beacon…
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That isn’t quite the top, but it is very close to the tippy top. A quick walk through the most pristine and untouched fynbos will leave just in awe… And that’s it. You are at the top.
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Unprecedented Views

Let’s say, that you can see straight into the hike that is Platteklip George. From our perspective, while Platteklip is a hugely popular hike, it is not for the faint-hearted… and I would treat that hike with caution.

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Otherwise the view from above the car park quickly emerges…
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And from the saddle…
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From the first beacon…
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From the top you can see the whole of Table Bay…
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As well as down the peninsula towards Cape Point… not to mention the whole of Table Mountain.
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And the Knife Edge, which is a hike for another day…
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Fynbos and Birds

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Otherwise it appears to be the season for King Proteas and they were everywhere… and spectacular. And sugar bird on almost every single protea bush.
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A Little Diversion… to Pulpit’s Rock


After some coffee at the top… we headed back down the slope that took so long to get up (!) and arrived back at the Saddle fairly quickly. The gravity that made it so hard to get up to the top, meant that we could tumble down fairly fast. Instead of going back down the way we came we took a quick walk towards the Newlands side of the mountain so that we could have a look at Pulpit’s Rock.
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Which, of course we had to climb… because having seen it from the highway, looking up the mountain for years, we really wanted to have a chance to look down on a miniature Newlands Forest and the Southern Suburbs.
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It is a long way down…
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The Way Down


From Pulpit’s Rock we headed back to the Saddle, and instead of the zig zag stairs down to the road we took an alternate route past Oppelskop Ridge down to the road…
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This path is not nearly as steep as the way we went up…
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And some astonishingly beautiful natural features…
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And this is Oppelskop…
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Following the path takes you back down to Tafelberg Road… you can further around the front of the mountain to Woodstock Cave or the King’s Blockhouse, but we were happy to take a look at the guns below the road and then take a wander along Tafelberg road, back to our parking spot.
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Gallery of the Gang

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Photo Album

Devil's Peak

→ 4 CommentsTags: Hiking

Three Green Living Questions That We Asked the Founder of the Beach Co-Op…

May 8th, 2018 · 4 Comments

On Earth Day we introduced a series of Three Green Living Questions that we asked a number of folk that we have interacted with recently when working on environmental projects with them. Over the last couple of years beach cleanups have become a way of life for us. One of our favourite cleanups, and a monthly event is the Beach Co-Op Beach Cleanup at Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg. Rain or Shine, every new moon for the past couple of years a group of volunteers are out there at low tide, gathering garbage… and experiencing all the awe and wonder at the incredible sea-life right there.

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Introducing Aaniyah from the Beach Co-Op

I am Aaniyah Omardien, founder and director of The Beach Co-op. We recently registered as a non profit company. As the founder and one of 2 directors I drive change along the single-use plastic supply chain.

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So thats means doing beach clean-ups to remove it from the marine environment, documenting what we find to understand the source of the marine debris and thereby being able to work with restaurants, retailers and other businesses that want to reduce and eliminate single-use plastic. We also intend engaging with the manufacturers of single-use plastic to see how we can design for recyclability or with the circular economy in mind.
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Three Green Living Questions

  1. What one thing do you do in your home that you feel makes a difference to the environment?
  2. I recycle, buy/shop in bulk, separate organic waste for compost and have an indigenous garden that uses less water.

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  3. If you could tell your community one thing to change what would it be?
  4. Try and refuse single-use plastic. And that is hard so try and refuse one thing that is wrapped in single-use plastic.

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  5. If you had an opportunity to speak to world leaders what policy would you ask them to implement?
  6. Wow, that is a hard one. It would have to be related to our consumption patterns as humans. Getting us to understand that our resources are finite and we need to look after them – be it climate change, marine, food security. They are all connected. And without a healthy planet we will not survive.

    The Photo Gallery

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    If you want to know more about The Beach Co-Op you can follow them here on instagram, or check them out on Facebook.

    Previous Posts in Our Green Living Series…

    Watch this spot, same time same place next week… for another Green Living Interview…

→ 4 CommentsTags: Green Living

Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #364

May 6th, 2018 · No Comments

Time for a Fabulous Fun Post… we have been busy busy busy… it is the season for glorious weather and plenty of hiking. We having been squeezing in lots of outings before our winter arrives, making the most of the endless summer days. And otherwise lots of maintenance and getting things done, and all the while getting lots of school goodies done!!!

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Upcoming Events That You Want to Know About


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Photo courtesy of the Sport Science Institute

The Sport Science Institute of South Africa: have begun a series on Women’s Wellness Workshops. I attended the first one that focussed on finding balance and sleep… and I really don’t want to miss this one on running.

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Photo Courtesy of Greenpop.

This year GreenPop is going to be having a Festival of Eden on our Garden Route: People from all over the world will be gathering together to help regreen the region after the devastating fires of 2017. There will be tree planting, eco-education, mural painting and nature immersion… pop over to their website to learn more about the Eden Festival of Action.
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African Waters 360 at The Two Oceans Aquarium: There is an informational evening coming up, three speakers on water in the African context. Florian Wagner (photographer), Jean Tresfon (photographer) and Kholosa Magudu (WWF Project Manager) will be showcasing their work. Follow this link to find out more about the event on the Two Oceans Aquarium Website.

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Lovely Links

  1. I just discovered a literary feast: The Little Library Cafe, a blog devoted to recipes discovered in books.
  2. We recently visited the Cape Town Environmental Educational Trust and we were fascinated by
  3. If you don’t follow My Little Poppies on Instagram, then follow them quickly. Right now!!! Meanwhile, take a peak at My Little Poppies’ post on The Best Nature Journaling Books for Creativity and Inspiration. And here is the Gantouw Project website.
  4. The most epic Fairy Garden that I have ever, ever seen by Tonya Staab.
  5. If you, like us, enjoy studying about different cultures from around the world, then take a look at the collection of Ramadan Crafts for kids over at Nurture Store…
  6. I really need to buy a couple of math books, so I made the mistake of looking at the Sonlight website. Anyone who follows our blog knows we are ardent Sonlight fans… and our kids read their way through our Sonlight library for school. Anyway I clicked on What’s new at Sonlight, and I should never ever have done that!!! Because, oh my… have you seen the new science curriculums and the Hands on History…
  7. If you and your teens aren’t following The Rebelution, then you should: Here’s a great post: 5 Questions to Ask Before you Pick up a Book.
  8. In case you are looking for free audible books over the (Northern Hemisphere) summer… Modern Mrs Darcy can introduce you to Audiofile Magazine… I listened to a great collection of books last summer and right now I am listening to A Study in Charlotte and enjoying it.

A Blast From the Past:

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Book of the Week

Under Earth Under Water by Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński: Who brought us our favourite book ever, Maps… this book is a visual delight of everything you could ever imagine looking for underground and underwater…packed with the most fabulous illustrations and intriguing facts… just totally totally love this new arrival on our coffee table.

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

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Related Posts with Thumbnails

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