I have had such a gem of a week! And yes I know, since I am pretty much living as a hermit the bar is pretty low on excitement, but this time it was legit pretty fabulous.
I entered ‘The Ultimate Africa Giveaway’ competition I saw on Instagram which was launched to celebrate Africa Day on the 25th of May. I was ever so delighted to be notified that I won! There are lots of prizes from all of the amazing sponsors coming my way.
First is a signed wildlife print from Freddie Child-Villiers Photography. Freddie is an amazing photographer and his images capture the real heart and soul of Africa.
You can follow Freddie via these links, on Facebook: Freddie Child-Villiers and on Instagram: @fcvphoto. Freddie also has a beautifully presented showcase of his work on his website. I am mesmerised by his home page and can just sit and watch the images slide past for hours, they are all stunning, he has a brilliant eye for composition.
Next is the prize of 5 Multi-Award Winning Premium Gins and 1 bottle of Rum from African Craft Beverages. The gins are infused with the unique magical tastes of Africa: Litchi, Baobab, Honeybush, Naartjie, and Marula. They are all beautifully designed bottles and boxes which will look lovely in my bar (yes I have a bar, are you jealous?). The label on the bottle of rum makes it a work of art in itself. I can see some rum cocktails in my future and once we have had the vaccine I will be having a gin party to let my pals sample them all!
Next is an A3 Premium High Definition Photo book from Orms Print Room & Framing. I have told Lily that she can have a special wedding book made with this prize. The book looks like it is amazing quality and a wedding memory will be a keepsake for her to treasure. I will go to Orms to see about framing my beautiful elephant print as I have heard they do brilliant framing as well and the way that the print is framed makes all of the difference in the impact it has.
I also won a signature food hamper from Aioli. AIOLI, a name inspired by Annalize and Ollie, is a range of sauces and condiments created by the world-class chef duo from Annalize Catering. We all know how much I love food!
And last but certainly not least I won a 4 Seasons Eternity Necklace with my choice of a Ruby, Sapphire, Diamond or Emerald stone from Tyldesley Jewellers. I have chosen sapphire as it is my birthstone and as the necklace is silver I think it will pop. I love the simple design.
You can follow Tyldesley Jewellers via the following links, on Facebook: Tyldesley Jewellers, or on Instagram: @tyldesley_jewellers. Caitlin Tyldesley does beautiful work and specialises in designing hand crafted, custom made jewellery.
I am so lucky!
Once again after a week of bad weather we had a gorgeous Sunday last weekend and I managed to get outside and achieve some of the chores I had been itching to do. I love having at least one day on the weekend to potter about my garden. I attacked the wild irises by our pool as there were so many dead fronds and it looked a right mess. I emptied all of the little seeds from the dried pods and scattered them in another area. Lola kept attacking all of the fronds and generally being an adorable nuisance.
I added some clippings to other pots which had bare patches (as inevitably some things survive and some do not) and I planted up the globes I had recently bought online.
I finally managed to wear down Norm’s resistance to adding more clutter to my kitschy kitchen window. It is full of some of my favourite things: pigs with wings, fairies, fat ladies, butterflies and plants. Kitsch or not it makes me happy and that is what matters.
I filled the bird feeders and decided to convert one of the feeders into a planter as I have never seen a bird eat from it but I love the shape of it. I gave it a good scrub and then added a few clippings which I nipped off of existing plants. I love how it turned out. Hopefully the string of pearls will grow to drip down lusciously all along the opening.
It was really hot and I underestimated the power of the African sun and got a bit sun burned. I had that ‘on holiday’ feel after I showered and washed my hair, you know where your skin feels tight and you are tired from frolicking outside. Getting my hands in the dirt rejuvenates me and Mother Earth gives me energy so it was a great day despite my prickly skin and exhausted body.
On Monday I had an appointment with my manicurist Vanessa after work. She soaked off the gel nails I had done weeks ago which were still looking gorgeous. If my nails had not grown out so much and left the naked half moon bases I could have gone on for a few more weeks but the gels only covered two thirds of my nails in an eau de white trash sorta way. I also had a much needed pedicure as my feet were like hooves. My neighbour Kate joined us for a glass of wine and to get a new set of gels on her nails. The three of us had a lot of giggles and talked a lot of nonsense. It was good for my soul to have some female energy in the house. We have already booked our next appointment in 5 weeks time.
Kate always laughs at how classy and conservative Norm is versus how saucy and swear-y I am. Norm and I really are complete opposites but as we have been married almost 24 years whatever we have obviously works. However Kate and I are so much alike that Norm calls us the Terrible Twins. We were even dressed like a geriatric 80’s girl pop group with Kate wearing a leopard top and black trousers and me wearing a black top and leopard trousers. All we needed was a gold lame scrunchie and some teased crimped hair. We both even had soup on our tops.
The weather turned cool again during the week and there were lots of clouds floating across the mountains and a nip in the air. The rain started again so we built fires on Thursday and Friday nights.
My Mom had her appointment with her Cardiologist on Wednesday to discuss her treatment options for her leaking tricuspid valve (I keep mistakenly calling it a bicuspid which I think is a tooth?! #IAmNotADoctor). They have referred her to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville for consultation but as she is turning 80 next month and has such severe osteoporosis it may be too risky. Nashville is about a 2.5 hour drive from where she lives in Ringgold and she would need someone to drive her there and back. Her heart is back in rhythm again so the immediate issue is at least resolved but I do worry about her.
We had the builder Mark come around again on Thursday to measure out the other bedrooms and family bath as we want to buy all of the tiles and flooring at the same time to avoid any inconsistencies in the patterns. I decided to do the en-suite with the gray mosaics and the family bathroom with the tan mosaics. We received the quote for the bathroom vanity and it is a bit more than we expected but it is exactly what we want and need. I have chosen the lights to go on each side of the mirror above the vanity too. I do not want anything too modern and they need to be chrome to go with the fittings. What do you think? I like their simplicity and they are a bargain!
Today Norm and I had a lot of errands to run. We went to a lighting shop and we went to a plumbing shop to look at taps. We then went to Builders Warehouse and I bought lots of paint to do some little projects around the house.
We then went for lunch at Quince Restaurant. The weather was sunny but with a chill but fine for sitting outside.
Norm ordered the fish and chips. It was a lovely big piece of hake and he really enjoyed it.
I ordered the panko crusted calamari with chips and salad. The calamari was very tender and my meal was all delicious.
Afterwards I popped into their deli and bought some of their divine brownies and 2 jars of their preserved green figs which I adore. We bought their entire stock of clivias as well and this should fill that section of the garden nicely. It was a relaxed and productive day.
The weekly COVID stats for the week show little change in ranking. Despite being in our 3rd wave, SA is still 20th for total cases with 1,654,551. The UK is still 7th with 4,477,705 and the USA is still first with 34,022,764 total cases.
There is also no shift in ranking for total deaths and SA has stayed at 16th with 56,293 lives lost. The UK is 5th with 127,768 and the USA is still first with 608,961 deaths from COVID.
On the more even comparison of deaths per 1 million of the population, SA has dropped yet another spot and is now 54th with 938 deaths per million of the population, but the UK has remained at 17th with 1,873 and the USA has stayed at 18th with 1,830 people out of 1 million dying from the virus.
The virus roll out stats from the SA government is being reported that 700,904 vaccines have been administered in SA. In the UK the government is reporting that 38,871,200 people have had their 1st dose and 24,478,052 have had the 2nd dose. In the US, the CDC is reporting that 166,388,129 people have had a single dose and 133,532,544 are fully vaccinated.
Norm is still patiently waiting for the SMS to tell him that he can get his vaccine but at least things are moving forward.
Norm and I finished ‘The Irregulars‘ series which I blogged about last week. I did enjoy it and I give it 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐.
We have now started the series ‘The Last Kingdom‘ on Netflix. It is a few years old (it premiered in 2015) but that never bothers us if we find something we both enjoy. So far I like it but it is a bit gory in parts. We are only a few episodes in but so far the basic premise is that the Danes attack Bebbanburg, a Saxon village, and the young noble Uhtred is abducted by a Viking warlord after his father is slain in battle. The Viking village is then attacked and decimated after Uhtred is an adult and his adoptive family are slain. Uhtred heads off to claim his ancestral birthright.
For my musical section I give you two songs from the Mahogany Session channel. First is ‘Nextdoor Neighbour Blues’ performed by Gary Clark Jr. One of my favourite types of music is blues, especially when it is seasoned with a soupçon of bluegrass in it like this track. I was unfamiliar with Gary Clark Jr.’s work but I love this track.
The second video is The Teskey Brothers performing ‘Pain and Misery’. This is the sort of song you imagine playing softly in the background in a dusty, dirty roadside dive on a warm summer night when you are tipsy on margaritas and slow dancing with your lover. You might be forgiven for mistaking their sound for a Motown band from the late 60s but they are actually an Australian blues rock band from Melbourne, named after the two brothers who formed the group in 2008: Josh Teskey and Sam Teskey. The band also includes Brendon Love and Liam Gough. I love their soulful sound, it evokes something deep inside me.
Until next time stay safe and have a fabulous week ahead. Remember to check on your friends and family who may still be isolating on their own.
Socially distant Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox