Defrosting doves and such

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This morning I overslept completely, woke up at 07:40.
I have to be at work by 08:00.

But I found something to blame.
Yesterday's Lusito Land. It's a Portuguese fest, held in Wemmerpan. And it involved an alcoholic beverage called Caipirinha (maybe that's why I'm sitting with this headache now), a couple of beers, candyfloss, my parents, prawns, espatadas, Portuguese chicken and those typical carnival type rides that had me screaming my head off! So that's reason numero uno.
Just quietly crapping myself...
And eating candyfloss in a sexy way

The second scapegoat is BridalPlasty. It comes up late at night, and I wouldn't miss it for the world! Next week is the finale, finally! And can I just add, I hate Jenessa. Dislike is too nice a word.

And the defrosting doves you ask? This morning, as I was driving into our work's parking lot, I saw this big bundle of something next to the entrance. After parking, and closer inspection, I found a half-frozen dove, with an injured wing. SO, I tucked him under my hoodie and brought him into the office. He is still residing here, in a box with shredded newspaper, and will be taken to a bird rehabilitation centre tonight by one of my colleagues.

But then the beau tells me that I should watch out for lice and fleas. And I can't stop itching or scratching. I dislike my brain right now.

Oh, and in case you are curious about a Caipirinha, here's a recipe for you to try at home.

You will need:
  • 1 oz (30 mL) cachaça, vodka, or wine
  • 2 lemon or lime wedges (from a ripe fruit of medium size)
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) sugar.
  1. Cut the lemons or limes into several pieces.
  2. Put the lemons or limes into a cocktail shaker.
  3. Add sugar and mash it into the lemon wedges making a little juice.
  4. Fill the glass with ice. Crushed ice melts faster and dilutes the drink more quickly than cubes. 
  5. Add the cachaça, vodka, or wine, mix well, and serve.

Et Voila! You have a drink that tastes like cooldrink, but isn't.

Update: the dove was picked up during our lunch hour by my colleagues beau and he took her (yes, it's a girl!) to a rehab centre in Springs. Apparently it was bitten by a dog, but will survive. Happy days!

Travel Tuesday & Across the Pond guest post

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last, but not slightly in the least is one of my favourite bloggers. And we even share a name. I love reading her blog, as her posts are funny as heck and always cheers my day up. Seeing as I like traveling and I plan on going overseas again soon, she will lend us some genius on this topic. Enjoy!

Hello lovelies! 
I am Megan from Across The Pond
a born and bred southern California girl living in England for a year.
Now that I have been here for almost seven months..
I am clearly an expert on travel/studying abroad. 
Thus, I have compiled a list of noteworthy do’s and don’ts for the Europe bound visitor.


1. learn geography so that you can avoid questions like “why cant we drive from Ireland to England?”

Answer: because there is a body of water in the way....

2. Buy winter clothes in the actual country if from a warm climate originally

hint: “winter” coats in southern California are not actually winter coats.

3. Figure out what each change ($$) piece is so that you don't have to look at every single coin up close every time you make a purchase.
4. Do hold on to anything on the bus to keep from falling, except a human being.

5. Do go outside if the sun comes out, because it might not be back for months
6. take advantage of the cheap airfare and travel, travel, travel.

7. learn the language. and yes. British is a different language. cheers.


1. cry when you realize you have to walk 15 minutes from your house to the university...especially when people walk 45 minutes and that is considered normal.

2. step off the curb without looking BOTH directions, especially when cars come at you from the wrong side of the rode.

hint: pedestrians do not have the right of way in Europe, in fact, it is an ongoing game if the driver can hit you or not. I'm convinced of this.

3.  smile at every single person you walk fact, don't smile at all, especially if visiting eastern Europe.

4. lock yourself in your home during winter because you hate the cold, otherwise you increase your seasonal depression exponentially and may or may not go crazy.

Nottingham (My University campus)





Nottingham, Wollaton Park

Barcelona, Spain



Frills and thrills guest post

Monday, April 25, 2011

The second guest post is by the sweet Sam from Frills and Thrills. Seeing as I know very little about fashion or rather, I just wear whatever fits and is clean enough (I sound like a boy don't I?), I got this lovely blogger to tell you guys a bit about what to wear in these cold months ahead. Listen to her, she knows what she's talking about.

It's that time of the year again, where we pack away our strappy tops and sandals and fill our closets with warm winter wear. These are some of the trends heating up stores this cold season.

The Colour Palette
Khaki, army green and camel fit in well with this year's military trend. Deeper shades of blue from navy to midnight have been an inherent feature on the international fashion scene. Bold red tones are hot for winter, as seen at Carolina Herrara, Proenza Schouler and Antonio Beradi. Colour blocking is also starting to take off (Lacoste, Gucci). Grey has replaced black as the new neutral.

The Prints
African-inspired prints were seen on both local and international runways. Animal prints from zebra to leopard were shown at Thula Sindi, Kluk, Gucci and Balmain. Add a dash of fierce leopard print to your wardrobe with scarves, belts, bags, jackets or even shoes. Look out for beautiful tribal prints in rich colours. (Kluk/CGDT, Vivienne Westwood).

The Fabrics
Expect to see luxurious fabrics like velvets (Oscar de la Renta, Dolce and Gabbana), faux fur (Errol Arendz, Marc Jacobs, Abigail Betz) and chunky knits (Chloe, Micheal Kors). Lace adds a romantic and feminine twist to outfits. Leather is a winter staple and can be seen on skirts, jackets, pants and boots. (DKNY, Celine, Prada).

The Silhouettes 
The 70's flare – Tired of the skinny leg? You will be pleased to know that the 70's style wide-legged trousers are a Huge Trend this winter. Wear them high-waisted and with heels for a longer silhouette.

The Retro Blouse – soft, billowy blouses paired with the flare-leg pants embody sophisticated 70's glamour.

The A-Line Dress – Channel the ladylike trend with 50's inspired A-line dresses, featuring clinched waists and full skirts.

Maxi's – Skirts and dresses are longer and fuller this season. Choose printed fabrics for a Boho-chic look and warm up with a cropped jacket and boots.

The Peg-Leg Pants – Cropped with a relaxed, looser fit, the peg-leg pants will suit taller girls. It can be paired with a boyfriend blazer, simple tee and brogues for a casual look. Or dress up with heels and a pretty blouse.

The Suit – The masculine suit has been tailored and polished for a sexier look.  Wear with a well-fitted shirt and contrast neutral colours with bright accessories.

The Jackets 
Military jackets make a comeback with metallic buttons, structured shoulders and cuffed sleeves.

Other jacket options include comfier capes,  parkas, classic trench coats and woolly shearling aviator jackets. Get the punk rock edge with studded leather biker jackets. (Burberry, Just Cavalli)

Accessorize with: 
The floppy 70's hat
The satchel or messenger sling bag
High-heeled hiking boots
Two-tone brogues
Skinny belts that accentuate the waist.
Feathered jewellery and fascinators

Most importantly, wear what makes you feel comfortable, have fun mixing textures and embrace the elegant feminine trend. Happy Winter Shopping!

A home away from home guest post

Friday, April 22, 2011

First up is the sweetest American expat Jenna. She has come to South Africa to study and found love. I really enjoy chatting with her about all her adventures in our country, but if you would like to know more, make sure to stop on her blog! She is a real treat!

Hi Second Floor Living readers!  It's Jenna here from A Home Away From Home filling in for Megan while she is away soaking up the sun in Durban.  I was so excited when Megan asked me to do a guest post for her while she was away since she happens to be one of my favorite ladies in the blogosphere and I always look forward to reading her posts on life, music and travel.
Since the sun has decided to virtually disappear from Johannesburg these past couple of weeks, Megan asked me to do a winter-inspired post.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to think about some of the things I actually look forward to during this time of the year.
Here's what I came up with!
Hot Chocolate Galore!
Oversized Sweaters
Boot Season (duh)
Indoor Forts (will never get too old for these :)
Finding a reading nook and getting lost in a good book
Homemade Gluhwein (compliments of the bf :)
(Recipe here)
Extra excuses to cuddle!
Leg Warmers
Oversized Scarves
Ample reason to lounge in your pajamas all day :)
Winter never looked so good!
What are your favorite things about winter?
Thanks so much again for having me Megan! Enjoy your trip in KZN and I can't wait to hear stories and see photos when you get back.

Goodbye, farewell, adieu adieu...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

For only a few days! As some of you may or may not know, I am on my way to KwaZulu-Natal for the long weekend we are enjoying in this lovely country of ours.

I am truly excited, as this will be my first trip to Durban, with a brain. I was there about 21 years ago. And only have a few pictures to give me an idea of what it looks like.

I am also super excited, as I will experience some sunshine again. The city has been unkind to us the past few days, the sun has sung its sweet lament in the wake of winter and I still have upper respiratory tract infection, so maybe the warmer weather will clear up my chest. In the meantime, I have been picking up my lungs from the ground every ten minutes, flown to Limpopo for the day yesterday and am getting on a plane again tomorrow. Sigh. Even harder sigh.

Yes, I have had my fair share of flying, going to Phuket, Tanzania etc, but I still hate getting onto a plane. The lift off is always the worst!

However, I will not leave you without entertainment during my sunny hiatus. I have a few extrasupervery special guest posts lined up. Make sure to drop by and read them. They are going to be a treat!

Happy Easter too! May you and your families be blessed and may God keep you safe in your travels, whether it be on the roads or via the sky!
Enjoy Easter (pic via weheartit)

Travel Tuesday: the rest of Hoedspruit/Mpumalanga

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm still chronicling our recent trip to Mpumalanga. After Mariepskop, on Saturday, we caught up with the rugby, listened to the hippos have a sound match with the cicadas, and eventually passed out.

On Sunday, we woke up early, had another yummy English breakfast (me eating dry cereal because of diet reasons) and then hit the road. We decided to leave Hoedspruit early so that we could take the long way home, probably an extra two hour detour. But stopping at every tourist attraction along the way, we only got home about eight hours later.

The Baobab

We stopped here on Saturday afternoon, on our way back to the lodge. The baobab tree is considered one of the big five of the plant world. These trees grow to an average circumference of 28 m and live to be thousands of years old. African folklore tells us that God, in his anger with the stupidity of mankind, planted the tree upside down. It is definitely a site that you can't miss.

The Three Rondawels

What can I say besides dizzying heights and even more dizzying sites. This really had me gasping for breath at the sincere beauty of our surrounds. Flip and I trudged over rocks and clambered like monkeys, went past the "Do not pass" signs and lived on the wild side! Luckily, my parents weren't in sight, or we would have had an earful about how reckless we are.

Danger? I laugh in the face of danger. Ha ha ha ha! (If you can guess who I just quoted, without googling it, high five!)

The Three Rondavels, across the Blyde Canyon and at the end of the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga, are huge triplet rock spirals rising out of the far wall of the canyon. The word "Rondawel" is a South African word that refers to a round hut-like dwelling (usually with a thatched roof). The three well known gigantic peaks of quartzite and shale with their sheer rock walls tower more than 700 m above the surrounding landscape.

Weekend wind-down

Monday, April 18, 2011

I think I have upper respiratory tract infection. Well, that's what WebMD says. Oh, I love google!

But, I'm not surprised if this is the case, I think a bunch of people will agree with me that this weekend's weather was absolutely gross. Meh!

So my to-do list for today includes: buying Vicks cough medicine (so that I could stop sounding like a depressed blood hound); and presents for a pressie swap I am involved in. It was my full intention to buy it this weekend, but we traveled again! This time not too far, just to Warmbaths, a mere two hours from Joburg.

In a few words, it was muddy. It involved two massive pups, a rottweiller cross and a ridgeback, who though that my lap was the perfect place to sit. And one stage, the perfect place to pee from excitement. Remember to check tomorrow's Travel Tuesday, lots more of Mpumalanga to come up.

Hope you have a happy Monday!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Inherently, I associate my hometown with boerewors rolls, volkspele and church bazaars, very bad Afrikaans music, and people who paint themselves blue on Saturdays.

In comes folk/electronica band Fulka and shakes these foundations on which I have built Pretoria. Since their ‘Mystery of the Seven Stars’ album’s release last year October, this Polish-inspired quintuplet have caused music aficionados to leave their music forest patch and point their ears in a deer like fashion. (They have a deer on their cover; I had to bring it in).

Lending a bit of electronic genius from band member Jacob Israel, who produced songs such as ‘Think of someone you love, he will think of you too’, the band emanates the feebleness of life, but keeps it upbeat with accompanying banjo and a number of string instruments.

Fulka lead singer and wife to Israel, Ola Kobak shares some of the band’s experience from its start and some of their future prospects.

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. (Now that song is in your head isn't it?)

Ola, you're from Polish descent. How did it come to be that you are in South Africa?
My parents are from Poland. They decided to leave the country as it was under Communist rule in the 1980's. After being in a refugee camp for two years, there was an offer to come to South Africa and so they took it. I was born here in Pretoria, South Africa 1985.

How did the band start?
When I finished writing the songs for the album, I recorded them in my bedroom studio and did preproduction. After that, I went to Jacob Israel's studio - Benjamin Studio in Pretoria, and we spent a year recording, mixing and producing the album.

During that time I started scouting for other Fulkans to join the band. Corné was the first to join as he has been a friend for many years now. I met Christian Henn at Jacob's studio. And we met Jean-Louise Nel at our first Fulka gig opening for Dear Reader in early 2010 at Rustic Theatre in Johannesburg. We got together, rehearsed and BAM! We are a happy Fulkan family.

What would you say inspires the band the most when it comes to songwriting?
 For the album, the biggest influence was mythical themes of redemption and hope, of fragility and decay. It all depends on what I’m going through.

You and your husband are both musicians. How does this affect you?
When we started working in the studio, we wanted to rip each others heads off. Looking back now, I learnt what his musical language is and I learnt about his 'space' musically, what he communicated and how, I learnt to respect that and honour it. We have started working on our own side project now and the writing process has blossomed and its smooth and it has enhanced our relationship too. Its great!

What does music mean to you?
The earliest memory I have of music was my grandfather in Poland teaching me Polish Folk Rhymes. The last track on the album called "Little Ola" is a recording my folks made of when I was a little girl, singing those rhymes. Since my father is a musician, I grew up with music and it has become a part of who I am. I think without it, I'd be really bored.

When looking at the South African music industry, there isn't a lot of other bands that follow in your genre. Would you say that this genre is a challenge?
The most challenging part of this genre that I have experienced so far is the live aspect. When we play live, we are constantly swapping instruments on stage. In one song, I play banjo, Christian plays guitar, Corné plays bass and Jean-Louise plays synths. Then, the next song, I play guitar, Christian plays synths, Corné plays banjo and Jean-Louise plays bass and so on and so forth. Jacob has the best deal actually because he remains the electronic guy throughout the live set.

So, the sound engineer breaks a sweat each time we play live and our setup is trickier than most bands that have drums, bass, guitar and vocals.

What are your views on the local music industry?
The South African music industry is growing and diversifying and thanks to the internet, South Africans have so much more accessibility to different kinds of music as opposed to just what the local music stores have to offer.

It would be really awesome to have more venues around, because you do one tour around the country and then you have played at most of the venues already. It would be nice to have an arts council that would invest in experimental projects and collaborations too, (and if there is one already, please contact me...Jacob and I have some great ideas)

Your first album was released in October. Where are you going from here?
 Music videos, new material, interactive shows with the audience, acoustic recordings and shows, shows, shows.

If you want to listen to their music or find out more about their gigs, check out their webpage right here.

A little bird told me...

Hey guys, I don't know why I haven't done this earlier, but in my defense I did have a link to it on my contact page. Whoa, what may I be talking about?

This, of course!

I now have a link in the sidebar of my page. Follow me on twitter tooo if you like :)

It's a dilemma

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A house is not a home without a puppy. I coined that. If anyone else ever thought of this phrase - great minds.

For the first time since my adventure as a second floor dweller in a complex, I am really sad about not having a puppy. I was reading a few posts this week where people had mentioned how their dogs fill their lives and how happy they are to have a four-legged companion. And this morning I read a news paper article about how residents at an old-age home have to give up their furry best friends because of complaints. Near broke my damn heart!

I have never not had a dog and I find apartment living to be depressing sometimes, because you get  days where you really just need a furry face to light up your day, or give you a lick or press their ice cold nose against your bare leg in winter. I miss having that. I'm sure there are a lot of people who feel exactly the same way.

I used to have this very aggressive little Jack Russel, named Jasper, and he wanted to play ball all day long, or press his snout against you, just to let you know that he is there. He was run over last year, and its still sad to think about his lovely excited face when he saw a ball. He would also say hello, or start crying like a baby when he couldn't come into the house.

What's not to love about these creatures?

But I know that I will have a house with a yard someday and that I will own a lot of pups! 

What are some of your best memories of your dogs?

Dogs are miracles with paws.  ~Attributed to Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

After waking up at 6 on Saturday morning, I had so much energy and wanted to explore the gorgeous surrounds, but everybody else was still pretty much asleep and tired after the previous evening's misadventures!

But soon after we had a nice English breakfast and were on our way to see what we could see. We found Mariepskop. My mom described it as "the most beautiful place I have ever seen and probably the most beautiful place in South Africa." I just nodded. I did however describe it as being so close to heaven that you could touch the angels. Corny right?! Hahaha. But it was really a sight to see and I felt as though we were in the Cape and not in Limpopo/Mpumalanga. Here are some photos from our adventure.

On the way

Herding some cows

The road was blocked several times by some cattle. I got out and played little herder. Ha!

Mpumalanga lovin'!

Hoedspruit, I love you!

My parents invited the beau and I to go to Hoedspruit, Mpumalanga for the weekend, as they had booked a six sleeper lodge at Ethukuleni Reserve. We had planned on leaving on Friday afternoon, after work and meet my parents there.

As luck would have it with my family, my parents’ car broke down early on Friday morning. They had left at ten o’clock and the engine seized just outside Witbank. Luckily, the insurance company helped them out quickly and we have some family members there who kept them busy until Flip and I could leave from work.

So eventually we picked them up, leaving their car in Witbank and drove through to Hoedspruit, What a nightmarish ride. It was dark, chilly and the GPS coordinates we had on a printout were wrong, so we were lost! And to top matters, there was absolutely no cell phone reception. Stuck, like a pig.

Meanwhile, I got some signal on my phone and googled the resort, which had the correct GPS coordinates and a better description of how to get to the place. The printout my parents received had some route that only a mathematician would be able to decipher.

We arrived there at one in the morning! And had our own little game drive on our way to the chalet. There were impala, blue wildebeest and other antelope right on our doorstep!

Exhausted, we unloaded our entire luggage, including a fruit basket filled with fruit, thanks to my eccentric mom, and went straight to bed.

And then we woke up to the most beautiful place I have seen! And the lovely smell of bushveld! I once again realised how much I really love it!

I would love to tell you about the rest of the weekend, but thought that I would rather do it in a series of posts that will feature every Tuesday, ie Travel Tuesday, because we visited so many sites and saw so many things that it would be unfair to load it all on you today! So expect the first post tomorrow.

Hope you had a lovely weekend and that your week ahead is better than mine! I woke up this morning with swollen glands, and the feeling that some unseen force is trying to pull my throat through my ear.


Friday, April 8, 2011

I was just featured on Tracy at Forgetting Neverland's blog. She started a new weekly feature, and I was lucky enough to be her first insert. Check it out!

Taxi Violence

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Americans think that they invented rock and roll, but if they were ever to search for the embodiment of crazy onstage personality, illustrious guitar riffs, a little bit of blues and overall fucking awesome rock ‘n roll, they would have to drop their KFC buckets, switch of their tellies and fly to South Africa. (No offense to the Americans, it's all said in jest :) )

aKING bass guitarist Hennie van Halen once said that when you see this band live “you will want to grow your hair and start a band. This is noisy, sweaty rock 'n roll personified."

This is none other than Taxi Violence. A bunch of Cape Townian guys who, with their magnetic beats, can even make the most dyed-in-the-wool indie/folk music fan tap her feet to the rhythm. 

Taxi Violence is currently touring South Africa to promote their new album which will be released in May, stopping over in Pretoria’s Tings ‘n Times on Friday 8 April, and Jozi’s Town Hall on Saturday 9 April.

I caught up with lead singer George van der Spuy to find out about the band’s latest endeavours, how they lose their money and how they find inspiration...and Roxette.

But first, where and when did you guys start?
We started playing in bands from a very early age, all of us. Taxi Violence however started towards the end 2005 when we released out first 3 track EP, including a music video produced by our then bassist Loedi for only R400 at our rehearsal room in a military base. The video still looks good, except for the fact that we lacked fashion sense. We’ve come a long way since then but only really found our stride in the last two years.

Who cares about how you dress if your music rocks! How's band life? Do you guys live together?
Band life is great but can be difficult to juggle with work and personal life at times as some of us also own our businesses on the side. If we could do it full time and travel the world we would give it up any day!

Rian and Louis have been mates since school days and live together…in the same house. They were also in their first band together. The rest of us stay pretty close to one other.

Tight like tigers. So, what's the craziest thing the band has ever done?
This one time at band camp…that’s a difficult one to answer seeing as most of the crazy, or shall I say, stupid things we’ve done has been under the influence and thus we can’t remember too might be better that way. There are so many, where to begin?

We get told these things the day after…and sometimes you win a bet, but you never see the money….Just ask Elvis

I’m presuming Elvis Presley. What does music mean to the band?
I think I speak for everyone when I say that none of us could be happy without music in our lives, in some way or another. We would probably all be on anti-depressants if we couldn’t play music. It’s like a drug, you get hooked and it won’t let you go – and I for one, am fine with being addicted to it! Not a single day goes by that I don’t listen to music, I have to get my fix!
I shoot up with music too. What inspires the band?
The urge to write new music when you’ve played the old stuff so many times. To get an emotion or feeling out of your system, experiencing new things/people/environments, being on the road, not being on the road, getting drunk, staying sober – everyday life. Our fans inspire us too, all the time! Their enthusiasm is contagious!  

You are used to being onstage. What are some of the best bands you have seen live?
Nine Inch Nails when they were on their ‘Beside you in time ‘ Tour  - amazing production and performance, from the lights to the pyro to the visuals and the raw energy! Then there’s also Muse – insane musicianship. Can’t actually believe Matt Belamy can pull off those vocals live.

Muse is one of the best bands live ever! You can’t believe the vocals; I can’t believe he bedded Kate Hudson. Lucky bitch. What is your music guilty pleasure?
I know Rian’s is Roxette, he can actually play a lot of the songs on piano, ’Fading like a flower’ etc. but we all like Vanilla Ice! The whole band went to his concert when he was here; he blew MC Hammer out of the water!

Hahaha, I always get a kick out of that question. Any Final Words?
If only these walls could speak.

If you would like to know more about their gigs and tours, check out their website

Theme created by PIXELZINE