Friday, 22 June 2012

"Amsterdam Yes I Know I AM"




And our Euro trip has officially begun! After two and a half months of working our butts off and living like Jews we were finally able to save up enough money to start our European adventure. First stop: Amsterdam! And No, (Yes, I know what you’re thinking) their lawless culture is not the only reason why we wanted to go there! There is so much more to Amsterdam, not only is it dirt cheap to travel there but it is home to historic architecture, thousands of bicycles, famous artists, tranquil canals, CHEESE, beer and, well, interesting window displays! Haha!

After watching Euro Trip numerous times I took some tips into consideration for Amsterdam, stay away from places like Club Wandersexxx, even if they offer you a free T-shirt, don’t act high after consuming brownies (they might not contain Hash) and always keep my travel wallet within sight. With that in mind I was ready for the long 10 hour bus drive and 2 hour Ferry ride that layed ahead.

We arrived early Sunday morning, checked in and took a stroll around central Amsterdam. The architecture is similar to the Old Dutch style houses in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. Except the top of these buildings slant outwards and are separated by dingy cobble walk alley ways. There are large fat cats roaming the streets, one can expect that, where there is cheese there are mice and where there are mice there are cats!



The hostel we stayed in is called Aivengo, we stayed in an all girls dorm on the 5th floor, besides the 1000 stairs we had to climb our room was amazing, stunning view, loads of space, very central and really tidy. After a long Sunday nap we decided to hit the Dutch Supporters Club to watch the Portugal vs. Netherlands game. They take soccer very seriously in Holland, the streets are decorated in oranje streamers and soccer balls, and the pub was filled with Dutch supporters sporting orange gear. They weren’t too impressed when we shouted for Portugal’s victory. We ended off our night with a visit to a coffee shop (for coffee haha) and the best burger I have ever eaten from a little place called Burger Bar!




Day two: We decided to get to know the area a little better so we went on a lovely walk to the canals followed by a visit to the Anne Frank Museum where we got to see the rooms the Frank family hid in during the war. We then headed back home to get ready for the night, a night my mom wouldn’t approve of! We took a stroll down the Red Light District; it was interesting to say the least. Seeing men come out of the red lit rooms and she-males flaunting their bits was definitely the funniest.



Day Three (and this is where shit gets interesting): We decided to join the masses and hire a yellow bike. Thinking it would be a breeze, we got on our bicycle and hit the streets. Yeah not as easy as I thought, dealing with advanced cyclists who don’t even need to hold the handle bars, trams, cars that travel from the opposite direction, pedestrians, motorbikes and no cycling zones made for a slow start. While the others cycling skills were up to scratch besides Adriana’s bike bump into a park car, yes parked, I was left cycling at snail’s pace and waiting for it to be completely safe before crossing the road. Our mission for the day was to cycle to the I AMSTERDAMN sign, our hopeless navigational skills made for a long ride across canals where we stumbled upon a gem called Rembrant Square, a guitarist kept bystanders entertained, we used this opportunity to stop for some ice-cream. With no place to lock up our bikes we decided to lock it all together around a tree. End result, hilarious! We finally found the I AMSTERDAMN sign after asking people to point us in the right direction every 10 minutes or so. During the evening we met up with a friend, who took us to the popular party area Leidseplein, as it was a Tuesday all the popular clubs were closed but we had a fun night at one of the pubs none the less.


  





Day four (last day in Amsterdam): The girls woke up with a broken butt from cycling, me...well, I have a butt of steel. Bianca and I woke up earlier than the others so we headed to central to eat and look at souvenir shops. On our way back we stopped at the Bulldog... drove our bicycles back (I tried, but kept falling over so decided to walk it) then we went on a quest to Kaasland to get a free muffin/croissant but the owner directed us to his brothers shop who was running the special (only to find out that his bothers shop doesn’t exist) but waffles with Nutella and cherries was the perfect substitution. 


Our plan for the day was to do a canal bike ride, but after being caught up in our waffle eating frenzy we only had 1 hour until closing time otherwise we would lose our deposit we put down to hire the canal bikes. We decided to take the risk, Adriana and I teamed up and Bianca and Nikita were on the opposing side. I voted Adriana as steer Captain of the ship as every time I took the reins we kept bumping into the parked boats on the side of the canal, yes parked again! Nikita and Bianca decided to take over the canal by cruising in the middle instead of abiding by the stick to the right rule which was hilarious when they tried to steer out of the way of oncoming boats. The views were stunning until we realised we were lost, travelling all the way to a dead end, we had to ask people in their boats how to get to the final destination, all of them giving us a different answer. Smart Nikita finally figured out the map and we got back to the canal bike hire right in time.







Our last night in Amsterdam was pretty chilled, as we had to get up early in the morning so we just strolled around taking in the little time we had left in the vibrant city. There were three things I didn’t experience: the taste of Dutch cheese, Van Gough’s artwork, the sex museum and the windmills. A little disappointed, but now I have a reason to go back again! 

My menu for the holiday:
Mc Donald’s Big Mac
Crepe with Nutella and banana
A pizza from Pasta Bar
2x M&M Mc Flurry
Burger King Cheese Burger Meal
Waffle with Nutella and cherries
3x Burger Bar Burgers
(Fat I know)

I can’t wait until our next trip, did someone say Barcelonnnna!!! This post is dedicated to all of those who thought we wouldn’t make it past the first month, as Nikita always says “Suck on my chocolate salty balls, put it in your mouth and suck ‘em” hahaha!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Two Month Jubilee



The weekend marked our two month anniversary in lovely London therefore I thought it would only be fitting to update you all on the dirty deeds since day one, and by dirty deeds I mean eating our first meal in London on the floor in front of Mc Donald’s, sleeping in dirty hostels, finding a pack of Mentos on the floor and eating it, turning the 10 second rule into the 1 minute rule (no food will ever go to waste), doing our washing in the sink to save money on laundry, drinking ‘Cup Of Soup’ out of our old coffee cups which we dug out of the bin, getting our hands dirty at work when clearing food off tables and cleaning plates before giving it to the porters, and moving into a home that is made of dust, grime and dirt. Okay.... before I suck you into our world of unforgivable dirtiness I think I should start from the beginning.


Our adventure began at Cape Town International, all of our families and friends joined us for a long and sad goodbye. We were not off to the greatest of starts as we almost missed our flight due to one of the airport staff telling us our flight was delayed when in actual fact it wasn’t. The next leg of our journey involved a 9 hour flight to Dubai followed by a 7 hour flight to London. London greeted us with grey clouds and 10’C weather.


We checked into our back packers late that afternoon, to our surprise Brazen looked nothing like the pictures on the net but it was home for the first month of our stay, if you get past the smells, the dirt and bug invested beds it wasn’t too bad of start. We made loads of friends there, from Hungary and his tasty Tesco doughnuts to Scotty and his pint of beer in the mornings. Most of the nights were spent making microwave food in the upper kitchen where we shared a meal meant for 2 between the four of us (this was during our “WE NEED TO SAVE PHASE”). The rest of our meals for the past two months have ranged from Burger King's 'King of the Day', Mc Donald's and Subway to dodgy Chicken shops or Tesco/Sainsbury meal deals, healthy I know...


The Job Hunt: 

As we all know one cannot survive in a country without a job, so when we arrived it was game on. I applied for numerous jobs over the internet, sending my CV to various businesses in the fields of design, hospitality and administration. The girls and I even printed off our CV’s and handed it out to businesses in Wimbledon. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so Nando’s was one of the lucky contenders I handed my CV to. After the trial shift, I never heard from them again, it’s safe to assume that my waitressing skills weren’t exactly up to scratch. In terms of my design applications, I got a call back for a job as an Adobe suite lecturer, I attended the interview and all went well. For a while I didn’t hear from them, however on the day I signed up for Elements, I got a call back saying I should come in for a trial shift as I was shortlisted for the position. I declined hoping that Elements would be the better option.

Before our shift at Hilton Park Lane

Elements is an agency which ‘hires’ you out to five-star hotels within London for banquets and events. Work varies from waitressing at weddings, serving drinks at buffets and my personal favourite doing room service at hotels. One of my favourite things about working for Elements is that you get to meet new people all the time, picking up friends along the way. From the awesome staff at The W to the crazy Auzzies/Kiwis we work with every day, each and every one of them keep me thoroughly entertained.


The things I have learnt from my job thus far:

  • Napkin folding and polishing cutlery/glasses is an art.
  • Silver service was invented to make you look like an idiot.
  • Australian men wear “Thongs” haha!
  • Never drop curry on a ladies bag or a glass bottle of water in a guests room because then you are an idiot!
  • Always dish yourself three servings of food at the hotel cafeteria in order to save money, and keep eating even when you can’t anymore.
  • Always say yes to free food, that’s why you doing this job in the first place.
  • Whoever invented court shoes should be repeatedly beaten with it!
  • Make sure you read the bus/tube maps properly otherwise you might end up in zone 5.
  • Make sure you ask someone how to use a bottle opener before you attempt to tackle the task yourself.
  • Always ensure that you know which celebrities are at the hotel otherwise you might be unaware of who you serving (as that look profoundly different in person).
  • You can carry 10 plates on one arm and 8 wine glasses in one hand.
  • Yeah... I'll rather stick to Graphic Design!

We haven’t shaped up too bad, we have a home and holiday plans for the up and coming weeks, I shall elaborate on these a bit more in my next post. I will also share my London site seeing with you and wait for it... my trip to Old Trafford which will be a post entirely on its own. The past two months have been an amazing adventure and I am looking forward to the new experiences with my Lundun Ladies!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Circus is in Town: My 21st Birthday


I have always been fascinated with the circus, but not the circus of today. I much prefer the traveling circus, the circus where clowns were funny, lions jumped through flaming hoops and elephants were the main attraction. Okay I haven’t seen a proper circus before but I remember going to a similar circus in Wynberg as a child. It was a circus in a tent; we were greeted by the ringmaster and entertained by clowns, monkeys, dogs, snakes, elephants and horses. I still remember buying a huge bag of popcorn and enjoying every minute of the show while munching away.

I don’t know if many of you will remember this but many years ago SABC 3 use to show various circus and magic shows on Sunday afternoons. After Sunday lunch my father and I use to spend the rest of the day entrapped in a world of fantasy and entertainment. In 2010 The Great Moscow Circus was in Cape Town and I was lucky enough to score a free ticket from my aunty. My hopes for the show were high but I left there rather disappointed. The circus wasn’t in a tent, there were no animals, the clowns were boring and there was no magical atmosphere what so ever.

Most of my high school and College design work was inspired by the circus. It’s a great theme to run with as there is so much to it. Take a look at a couple of my circus themed designs:



So naturally for my 21st theme I decided to go with… yes you guessed it a Circus theme. The party planning was an enormous task, and it was up to my mom and I to plan an awesome party on a small budget (as I am traveling to London for a year, blog post coming soon).

I had my party at home so that I could spend more money on the important things like d├ęcor, food and alcohol of course. We put a circus tent by the front door and had welcome shots for all the guests who arrived. The welcome shots were Apple Sourz accompanied with a sour worm.


The sweet table was also by the entrance and was filled with some of the yummiest candies, like candy floss, gum balls, chocolate marshmallows, popcorn, cupcakes and gummibears. Needless to say we had very little left over by the end of the night.



There was a jumping castle for the all the people who felt like being a kid again.



Bashews were a must at my party. Not only are they everyone’s most memorable childhood drink but the bright colours and glass bottles gave my party an extra edge.


We had a hubbly area which we decorated with bales of straw, colourful bean bags and red draping. This was by far my favourite section of the party.



The night came with a special surprise, a carnival games section. I wasn’t sure if my friends would enjoy it so I had to entice them with a prize, a bottle of Ponchos! Points were collected for each game and by the end of the night the points were tallied up and the winner was revealed which was Renaldo Da Silva. (He cheated though, and popped all the balloons with the tickets in it, not giving anyone else a chance to compete!)




The rest of the formalities followed including embarrassing yet touching speeches from my friends and family, with a beautiful song sung by my sister and her friend. The BLACKPANNDJAT gave me a wonderful surprise birthday gift, an iPod Touch and a charm bracelet. The charms represented my friendship with each member of the BLACKPANNDJAT.




One of the highlights of my night was definitely my Manchester United Ice cream cake and the ice cream fight that followed! Yes I picked out the design but I felt really proud trying to blow out the sparkles on the cake.



Good food, good drink, good music and great company. I couldn’t have asked for a better 21st and a better bunch of friends and family to share it with!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Support a Cause


Prestige Academy Bursary Fundraiser 2012 

When it comes to supporting a specific cause, I become overly passionate and try to spread the word as much as I can. For example the #KONY2012 campaign (if you don’t know about this campaign read more about it here) had a really big impact on me. I want to help in any way possible, but the thought of donating money online always freaks me out. Not knowing where the money is going to and freely giving my banking details online is a risk I am not willing to take. I believe that spreading the word via social media is truly beneficial even though thousands of critics think otherwise. But instead of starting big, start small, help out causes within your community, spread the word to get others involved. I attended a fundraiser hosted by Prestige Academy in aid of student bursary funds. I was a bursary student myself so I know how important a benefit like this is. The greatest gift you can give a person is education so that they too can fulfill their lifelong dreams.

A message from the director:

“On 2 March 2012 Prestige Academy hosted their first bursary fundraiser at the Barnyard in Willowbridge. The evening was filled with the talent of the musicians of the Six of the Best show as well as great laughter, delicious food and open hearts.

Prestige Academy donates R150 000 from their annual profits towards the bursary fund. This money is then allocated to the study fees of students who are academically qualified to study at our institution but financially unable to do so. The bursary fund makes it possible for these students to take another step closer to the better future they desire. However, this amount is not enough to fulfil in so many disadvantaged students’ needs.

We decided to host a fundraiser this year in an effort to raise more money which will give more students the opportunity to further their education. The fundraiser also gave us the opportunity to build closer relationships with the parents, schools and suppliers who form a large part of the Prestige Academy family. Some of the companies that shared the evening with us was Bornman and Hayward; Konika Minolta; Jackson Neethling Accountants; Milkjug; Mineral Spring Boerdery and Futura. We also had tremendous support from the parents of current students. Several head masters and teachers of high schools attended the events as well.

For our first fundraiser we had a full house of guests. Mr Justin Afrika of New Orleans Senior Secondary in Paarl was the lucky winner of the raffle, which consisted of a table for 10 at the Barnyard, valued at R1200. The prize was sponsored by the Barnyard, Willowbridge.

After months of planning the evening proofed once again that Cape Town’s hearts are open to support community outreach, and in this case to empower the youth of South Africa.”

I have added some photos of the event:

I designed the banner on the right (yay me)
 

  


Follow Prestige Academy on Twitter or like their page on Facebook if you are interested in finding out more. Let’s all get together and support causes that can make an immediate difference within our mother city. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts: GoldFish Live



While most people spent Sunday stomping and head banging at Ramfest, I decided to go for a more subtle approach to end off my spectacularly relaxed weekend, jamming to the awesome beats of Goldfish. The Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts are held every year, it is a great opportunity for old and young, families and friends to come together and watch their favourite South African artists perform. I’ve been to a summer concert once before where I watched The Dirty Skirts perform. Live music with a superb backdrop of mountain and trees accompanied with your own wine and snacks, a lovely way to spend your Sunday evening.


I have always been a fishie fan but my mom however, takes the cake. Whenever I’m playing one of their tracks at home I can be sure that my mom will run into my room waving her arms and moving her hips singing along to their songs. Not a pleasant site for any child to see. So when news broke that Goldfish was indeed part of the 2012 summer concert line up, I made sure I purchased tickets well in advanced just so that my mom could hear them live and hopefully not pester me with any more of her ‘I wana see GoldFish live’ grunts.

 
The long ass line:


I’ve seen GoldFish a couple of times, and my favourite performance of theirs was at Rezonance NYE fest back in 2010. I haven’t seen them perform in a while, so seeing them again yesterday was a lovely treat. Tickets for the show sold out fast, when we got there the line was long and it was a scorcher of a day but as they say ‘We come together, no matter the weather’. Once inside we found a lovely spot where we set out our blanket and started to nibble on our snacks while awaiting Goldfish. Their performance was amazing as always, everyone got up to dance to their killer tunes. They have a whole lot of new remixes and there is nothing quite like new music.



The thing that I enjoy most about GoldFish is that they play their own classical instruments and mix it with the music, which is different to any other electronic DJ. It allows them to engage with the crowd on a higher level. During the instrumental bits of their songs, goosebumps covered my flesh and I believe that only great music is hair razing. The best part of the concert was when the GoldFish mascot graced us with his presence and awesome dance moves! Yes, GoldFish is definitely one of South Africa’s best exports. It’s because of local artists like them that I am Proudly Capetonian.


GoldFish Live:



Dancing Goldfish:


If you haven’t heard their music before (which I’m sure you all have) check out their website: