Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Snaps: Rose-picking at Chart Farm

For the longest time now, I’ve wanted to visit Chart Farm in Wynberg to wander among the roses and – best of all – pick a selection of my own to take back home.

But, on one condition: that my mom could come along, as her love for these fragrant blooms runs deep and connects with a tender nostalgia for the birthdays of her childhood in Piet Retief. Born on the 16th of November, my mom’s celebration of life falls slap-bang in the middle of peak rose season, which also happens to be most spectacular in the highveld areas of our country.

Continue reading

img_9130
Processed with Snapseed.
vergenoegd wine estate, stellenbosch, indian runner ducks, ducks, cute, animals, winelands, winter adventures

Snaps: Vergenoegd runner duck parade

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I have a real weakness for animals. Especially cute ones.

Just dip into the Gypsified archives and you will find plenty of evidence – phantom cat syndrome, alpaca cuddling with Marli, Monday menagerie, sleepy owls, lonely whales and, of course, a Sandokan overload.

So, when Vergenoegd Wine Estate’s daily duck parade started making headline news sometime earlier this year, it wasn’t very long before I developed a serious obsession.

Continue reading

What I’ve been listening to lately

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Okay, look people, I’m of the opinion that if there weren’t any music in this world, there would pretty much be no reason to exist. At all.

Imagine we had to wade through our lives sans soundtrack.

No soppy love songs to accompany the mushy first flutterings of butterflies-in-the-stomach.

No epic oeuvres to guide us along winding coastal roads at sunset.

No palm muted punk rock to soothe our angsty teenage souls (and take us right back to those best-of-worst-of days unexpectedly on a Tuesday night in our late twenties.)

No Alanis Morisette (or Taylor Swift/Adele/death metal if you’re that way inclined) to blast at top volume when those butterflies suddenly turn into sharp little shards of ice.

No Bohemian Rhapsody to… actually just that. No Bohemian Rhapsody.

Doesn’t that just sound unbearable?

In fact, I’m quite partial to the idea that if there weren’t any music in this world we probably wouldn’t exist in the first place. At all.

An age old concept Bruce Chatwin highlights poignantly in his amazing Australia travelogue, The Songlines:

 “Aboriginal Creation myths tell of the legendary totemic beings who had wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path – birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes – and so singing the world into existence.”

 

Don’t you just love that? The idea of everything being sung into existence!

So, I guess it’s no surprise that discovering the kind of soulful music we crave is always a rejuvenating, life-giving experience.

Here’s what I’ve had on repeat in my ears for the past week or so:

Ambient Electronica

m83

After months and months of pretty much listening to only to various forms of indie, indie folk and folk music, I suddenly had an overwhelming craving for really pretty, ambient, almost ethereal electronica.

So, I decided to dig around a bit and get some recommendations. Within a few hours I had constructed a Grooveshark playlist that comes pretty close to perfection, featuring Felix Laband, M83, Andrew Bayer and Air. Give it a listen, yo!

John Wizards

JohnWizards

It was a blog post by the lovely Emma-Jane that introduced me to these local lads earlier this week.

Originally from Cape Town, this six-piece band has been making quite a name for themselves overseas with their delighful eclectic electronic reggae.Their songs have a very definite African tinge to them both in sound and name – there’s one called Muizenberg, another Lusaka by Night as well as a Limpop and iYongwe.

According to their website they will be traversing Europe till deep in November, but I really hope they do a little December home run!

 

Milky Chance

Milky Chance

This super cute German duo’s sound has been described as alternative pop folk rock with reggae and electronic undertones. Which means their tunes are actually quite similar to John Wizards. But then there’s the voice. Oh the voice! Slightly gruff with that sexy folky twang. Hmmm… and the man behind it isn’t too bad either.

Okay, yes. I have a huge crush on the singer dude. HUGE.

Thanks to my friends Marli and Bronwyn for introducing me to my new obsession with this song that just makes one want to boogie.

Also check out this super cool video for their song, Down by the River.

Nahko Bear and the Medicine People

nahko bear

I’ve been listening to Nahko Bear for a while now and fall just a little bit more deeply in love every time I hear one of their songs. It’s difficult to describe their sound, but guess it comes down to a vibrant blend of a little bit of everything – jazz, folk, hip hop, Native American tribal, surf rock… All I know is that it’s full of good vibes and happiness.

It really makes you “believe in the good things coming,” as ‘Black as nigt‘ professes.

Oh and Nahko is just gorgeous!

These are my two favourite songs:

 

Last, but not least… an assortment of vinyl

After wanting one for close on forever, I finally took the plunge and invested in a record player about a month ago. It’s a super cute little thing – a pink Crosley Cruiser the size and shape of a suitcase, with tiny built in speakers that make a big sound.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Currently I own only about 15 records, which I picked up for dirt cheap at flea markets and second-hand shops. And unfortunately most of them don’t sound that great.  But ever willing to help me pursue things I’m passionate about, my parents kindly lent me some of their old vinyls to get me into the swing of things so long.

My current favourites include an assortment of greatest hit collections, including Queen, Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Leonard Cohen, Peter Sarstedt and the Eagles, as well as Dire Straits’ Making Movies.

On a mission, though, to build a mighty collection!

I absolutely love the ritual of it – getting home after a long day at work or waking up on a lazy Sunday morning, opening up the suitcase lid, lifting that little arm, picking a record, placing it gently on the turntable and carefully letting the needle drop just right to crank some old school tunes.

It’s my best!

If you’re looking for a little Crosley of your own, check out Superbalist.com

5 things I hate (to love) about yoga

yoga instructor

I was lying on my back, spine pressed flat against the floor, legs raised straight into the air, a wooden block squeezed between my thighs, hands interlaced at the base of my head and elbows pointing to the ceiling when I suddenly realised how much I hated yoga.

We weren’t even 10 minutes into class and already I wanted to burst into tears and give up.

“Squeeze your thighs together, lift the sit bones, suck in your stomach and on the out breath reaaach over to your left knee,” the instructor said… as though this was all completely natural.

On the ‘out breath?’ Lady, I have breathed in and out about 10 times in the eternity it took you to describe (or maybe rather prescribe) that movement.

And frankly if I raised my sit bones and sucked my stomach in any further my spine might cut right through my mat and leave an indentation on the wooden floor… which would hopefully distract everyone from the majestic fart that has been building in my bowels and will surely erupt with even the slightest added effort.

Controlling-farting-during-yoga(Image: theempoweredmomma)

This was it, I decided. Never again. I’d sell what remained of my year contract to some unsuspecting seeker of suppleness and turn my back on yoga forever. A decision I happened to have made the day before and the day before that… and frankly every day since I started yoga in October last year.

But before I knew it, the class was winding down and the teacher uttered the magic word: savasana. Corpse pose. The pose of total relaxation.

I lay on my back once more, this time feet flopping comfortably outward to the edges of my mat, arms spread wide, eyes closed, breathing even and calm and suddenly I loved it.

nap time

(Image: Yoga Haarlem)

I guess I just have to accept that, like most other newbie yogis and yoginis, I have a love-hate relationship with yoga.

Although I’ve dabbled in the practice for a couple of years, mostly attending the odd session at gym, I felt inspired to take it to the next level sometime last year and decided to join a studio instead.

My friend, Marli, was on a similar mission, so we set out on a grand studio search… which eventually led us to an unassuming little entrance squeezed between a Chinese restaurant and an estate agent, with a supplement shop close by and an upmarket shopping centre across the road: Hot Dog Yoga.

It is at this stylish, yet cozy, affordable, yet quality, serious, yet fun, strict, yet friendly second floor studio in Sea Point that I have started gaining insight into the gut-wrenching, limb-twisting, mind-stretching, balance-enhancing ancient discipline of yoga.

And also here that I am finding out new things about myself.

For instance, these 5 tings I simply hate to admit that I love about yoga:

joy-updog

(Image: Flyingyogini)

1. Yoga pants. I LOVE yoga pants. Certainly my own yoga pants, although they are pretty boring in black and grey. But mostly those groovy ones the instructors and cool yogis wear. The ones with pastel galaxies or neon aztec prints. I’ve promised myself that one day when I manage to do a headstand I might treat myself to a pair… and a floaty top to match. But that might take forever, so let’s settle on doing a proper crow pose instead. Okay? Okay.

2. Downward Dog. The classic yoga pose. And one I’ve detested for the longest time, because, well standing like an a-frame with your butt pointing to the ceiling, your legs like arrows, your spine like a poker, your head dangling down and your arms stretched strong in front of you is not really comfortable. However, the more you practice, the easier it gets. I’m finally at the point where I actually ENJOY getting into it. Weird.

#namaste #elephant #cute #yoga #yogaworks #valencia 🙏

A post shared by Yw Val (@ywval) on

3. Those damn instructors. They’re wacky and weird and far too flexible to be trusted… but they’re just so NICE! Never a raised voice, never a mean word, always encouragement and compliments… even when you strongly suspect your bird of paradise looks more like a crooked Karoo windmill.

4. The challenge. I have never been very good at seeing challenges through. I often find myself backing out of things just as the going gets tough. Not a good trait, I know. But yoga is changing that. It’s teaching me to ENDURE the pain and the awkwardness and the loss of balance and the strain, because there WILL come a time when I will be able to ENJOY the fruits of my effort and rock a handstand while floating on a surfboard. Obvs. Maybe not soon, but eventually.

5. Sweating during hot yoga. Yes, it’s pretty gross, but I get a major kick out of feeling little sweat drops trickle down my back and face during hot yoga classes (I even wrote a Pablo Neruda-inspired elemental-ode-esque poem about it once). It’s like detox made visible. Totally fascinating. Is that weird?

Do you practice yoga? What are your loves and hate?

P.s. If you’re looking for some motivation, check out Rachel Brathen aka Yoga Girl’s Instagram account. Who doesn’t want to be gorgeous like her?!

Latest obsession: Out of Africa

If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me?

Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?  – Karen Blixen (as Isak Dinesen)

When I was a baby I had trouble sleeping. The pressing heat of a Namibian summer made swathing me in blankets close to impossible, leaving my not-yet-controllable limbs to do as they pleased: mostly flailing energetically to keep me wide awake.

Of course, there was very little my poor mother could do to relieve my discomfort and soothe my infantile insomnia.

So she devised a plan to employ the best remedy she knew would have no nasty side-effects: music. But not just any music. Oh no! She had a single soundtrack on repeat (which in those days, of course, entailed manual turning over of a tape)… the dreamy score of Out of Africa.

Now, I’m no baby psychology expert and don’t really know when memories actually start, but what I do know is that some essential part of that soundtrack got stuck in the fibers of my being.

Until this very day, those are the soothing strains of ‘home.’

But strangely, despite the central place its music has taken in my life, the film has remained largely marginalized… in that I had never actually seen it.

Well, that is, until two nights ago. And let me just tell you… I found myself intensely enchanted. (Fortunately! I can’t imagine how devastated I would have been if it turned out any differently.)

Enchanted by Karen Blixen (played immaculately by Meryl Streep), the brave baroness and master storyteller, Denys Fynch Hatton (played by the swoon-worthy Robert Redford), the tough hunter with his ever-curious mind and marshmallow-soft heart, the long-gone colonial type safari with those luxurious tents, the almost idiosyncratic gramophone, the coffee farm in the Ngong Hills, the sinewy Kikuyu and ethereal Masai.

Enchanted by Africa and her gloriously untameable wildness. Once more. As always. 

Photo: Digital Journalist

Enchanted by incredible scenes like the one where Denys washes Karen’s hair by the river while reciting a poem and the one where all the local children crowd into her home to watch the little coo coo peek out the clock.

And of course the one where they dance to Mozart playing from a gramophone while on safari.

Inevitably, I now find myself fiercely intrigued by Baroness Blixen’s life, because, well, if the film is anything to go by (and I think it is), she was one hell of a woman… the kind of woman I wouldn’t mind being.

And here is why:

Photo: My Imaginary Brooklyn

  • She trekked across African plains entirely unfamiliar to her, to take her husband and his stuck-up British friends a wagon-full of supplies to aid the little colonial war they were waging with Germany.
  • On said journey lions attacked the oxen and, for want of a rifle, she grabbed a whip and literally whipped them right away!
  • She was a storyteller.
  • Her style was immaculate.
  • While she yearned for a life less lonely than she had, she never let being alone get in the way of living out all the extraordinary adventures she dreamed of.
  • She won the heart of a gorgeous man (with an incredible character) by telling him stories.
  • Even though she was quite assertive, she treated everyone she encountered kindly and with grace.
  • With the guidance of Denys, she understood the impact colonialism was having on Africa way before most of their peers.

Can’t wait to get my hands on the Out of Africa, the book she penned under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen and her biography.

 

Travel Tuesday: That one time I ran away

Completely contrary to my cautious nature, there was that one time I packed my bags at the end of December and ran away to the Wild Coast. It was just two days after my 23rd birthday and you had infected my homely heart with love and adventure, whisking me away in the rattle-trap elegance of a blue and white Golf.

But I did it all wrong, leaving home in a huff, and spent the journey sleeping off confused tears on the back seat, only surfacing when our travelling troupe of three stopped for a cold one in the Little Karoo. Or a pie in Port Alfred (or wherever it was). For last minute supplies in East London. And to help pitch the tents when we had finally managed to navigate the potholes of old Transkei, finding ourselves in a subtropical slice of heaven.

My heart had somewhat settled down and it all passed in a haze of fire-side banter, warm Indian Ocean waves, views from a little green hill, sweet-obsessed children, cows on the beach, fresh crayfish, mosquitos, a rainy new years day when we all decided to keep crawled into our sleeping bags…

Maybe I had hoped that the wildness of that ocean would wash over and consume me, making me a wild thing too… like you. And maybe it did… for a short while. But now, now I find it hard to remember exactly… and I can’t find the photos to remind myself.

Snaps: Sandokan

Sphinx

I can lick my elbow... you?

This sun... it's making me...

zzzz

I got to spend some time with my cat, Sandokan, over the weekend. He lives with my parents in Betty’s Bay, and has been living there since last year, because the academy (not the one they thank at the Oscars, just the good ol’ Media24 Journalism Academy) had me traversing the country. And, well, this cat is no fan of the gypsy life. Anyway, whenever I go home, I love bonding with him. It always takes a while, because he’s generally quite haughty, but he soon warms up and becomes a real sweetie!

Since my life has stabilised somewhat this year, I’ve been wanting to bring him to live with me in Cape Town, but my dad keeps convincing me that he is not a city cat, but rather a wild hunter of the coast. It’s kind of true, but I also think my dad just fears the empty nest.

However, the thought of him hating Mother City life and trying to run back to his lovely seaside home all along Kloof Street, Buitengracht, the N2 and Clarence Drive just gives me the hibee jebees! What to do?!

Kitty experts out there, some advice please?

This is him in a very lazy sunny Saturday afternoon mode.

P.S. Doesn’t he just have the cutest little vulnerable pink nose?!

Good advice

Source: I can read

I love how often the best advice comes at the most unlikely of times, from the most random of sources. During the weekend my cuzzie and I had one of these unexpected “light bulb (said in Despicable Me voice) moments” while partying it up in Boo Radley’s with some of her work buddies. While discussing the pros and cons of love and relationships we obviously happened upon the old favourite question of how to “find that someone” and one of the gentlemen (a fellow whose daily life keeps him busy with politics and democracy) imparted these words of wisdom:

“You have to open your mind – take up a hobby, read widely, spend time with different people – guard your heart and put your body off limits for as long as it takes for all those different parts of your being to be in sync again. Only then will you really be able to gauge the depth of your feelings accurately.

So, when you meet someone who makes something tingle in your mind, your heart will respond and eventually you may find that your body will be blessed like never before.”

And that from a political researcher, thanks Justin!

xx