Vivez Bien * Live Well

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dying to Braai

This week will see the start of Spring and in South Africa we all know what that means….time to braai again. For non-South Africans – a braai is basically a barbeque, but the food tastes better, because if there is one thing a South African can do well, it’s a braai!

To get you out there sweeping your stoep and dusting off your braai gear, I thought I should show you some inspiring outdoor braaing and dining areas. 

You might have read the book, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” where the premise is that men are the hunters and women are the gatherers. This notion could not be more perfectly illustrated than at a typical South African braai.

The women are generally responsible for …. planning the menu, doing the shopping for the food, marinating the meat, baking the potatoes, making about 3 different salads, setting the table, filling an ice bucket, laying out drinks and glasses, inbetween making countless trips to the man at the fire as he requests braai tongs, or a torch, or some basting sauce, or some water to sprinkle on the lamb chop that caught alight.

The man is responsible for making the fire, watching said fire while drinking beer and chatting to his mates. Putting the meat on the fire, watching the meat while drinking beer and chatting to his mates, turning the meat, watching the other side of the meat while drinking beer and chatting to his mates,  shouting to the woman to bring a dish to put the meat into as he could not possibly take his eyes off the meat to make a trip to the kitchen (he is the hunter, the meat is his prey), taking the meat off the fire, eating the food while drinking beer and chatting to his mates, gracefully accepting all the accolades that he gets for the wonderful meal and all his hard work, and then finally, when everyone has left, going for a nap on the couch because he is exhausted from all the cooking so could the woman perhaps work quietly as she cleans the house and washes the dishes.

As you can see, his list is much longer than hers so he must be the one doing all the work. 

Lucky for me, I am married to a British born South African who is very helpful with the prep and cleaning, but can still braai a great chop!

I would be more accepting of the South African man's attitude to their meat if they actually were the ones going out and hunting it themselves. Much of the time, the meat comes from Pick 'n Pay and does not require any stealth, stamina or cunning in obtaining it. Although, Constantia Village Pick 'n Pay on a Saturday morning may require some of those skills after all!

 But we love our men and they do produce some good food, so we will continue to slave away in the background but, subversively, we will teach our sons to make a salad and wash the dishes and a new regime might exist in the next generation. 

And perhaps standing in front of a hot fire is best left to the men anyway as melted mascara is not really a great look on a woman. 

So to all my fellow South Africans, happy braaing and to my readers across the seas, if you come to Cape Town, you're always welcome for a braai! 

This is where we will be hanging out....

Finally, the Vital Protection Competition is now closed. Thanks to all who entered. A winner was drawn using a very high tech system involving a boy and a hat. Congratulations to Debbie de Villiers! Vital Protection will be in touch regarding delivery. 

Till next time

Sharon x

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sharing and Shopping

I would love to introduce you to Audrey Friedman and French Vintage Home. 

I plan to be Audrey in my next life. She gets to travel between  Dallas, USA and the Dordogne region of France, where she has restored a fifteenth century Chateau nestled in fields of lavender and sunflowers. When she is not entertaining friends, she spends her time scouring Brocantes to find the gorgeous antique treasures she sells in her online shop, French Vintage Home. Audrey also has a blog which you can follow to read more about her travels, shopping and entertaining, all which she does with her flawless style.

These vintage French mahogany knives give you a taste of what is available in her shop.
You can also access her website on my sidebar.

While on the subject of online shopping, if you follow my blog you should already know about my friend, Miranda with her fabulous South African based online shop NetDécor. Its the perfect solution for those busy people who battle to find the time to go from shop to shop to find that special something for your home. Miranda constantly finds new and beautiful items to add to her store. You can also access the NetDécor website on the sidebar of my blog.

A small sample of some of the lovely items available from NetDécor.

Finally, Oflocal is a website about the best of everything local. The public creates a list of what they consider the best 10 of anything from wedding photographers to craft markets and vote for them throughout the year. Here is a list of the 10 best home decor stores in Cape Town. Have a look and vote for your favourites. My personal favourite is, without question, Block and Chisel. They have a store quite close to my home and if ever I am in need of inspiration or just a bit of cheering up, I go and pay them a visit and just lurk for a while. Their in-store room designs are just beautiful, but be warned, you might go home and want to turf out everything you own and start from scratch!

Block and Chisel's current promotion called "Woven Whimsy" 

So there you go people, some useful info for you. Dust off those credit cards (as if they have time to gather any dust) and get shopping. 

Thanks to all of you that entered my giveaway. The winner will be drawn on Monday.

Till next time

Sharon x

Monday, August 22, 2016

Perk up with Paint and a Giveaway

In these trying economic times, why not find your inner "Suzelle" and attempt a bit of DIY.  

It’s no secret: one of the easiest, cheapest ways to redecorate is to repaint. And now that most of us are feeling the pinch, it’s an even more attractive option.
Maybe you’re parents-to-be preparing a nursery, perhaps your teen is “so over” the kiddie colours on his bedroom wall, or you could be looking to freshen up your living room/lighten a pokey bathroom/add joy to your kitchen – whatever your décor dilemma, a fresh coat of paint is a great option.

Here are three innovations that will help:

1. Choosing the right paint colour is seriously hard. For some of us it’s impossible to imagine a room we’re used to seeing in one colour, dressed in a different hue. The great news is there are apps for that! Both of our favourites let you take a photo of the room you plan to redecorate, and then try different paint colours on the walls (or cupboards, or whatever you want to paint). The Dulux Visualizer lets you “see your own room in any colour, live”. House Painter is similar (it cleverly works out what is wall, what is décor, what is a picture, and paints around it). Both apps are free, and they can save your money, time, and the misery of a bad colour choice.

2. Once you’ve chosen your colour, you might still be hesitating, wishing you could splash out on some wallpaper instead. Wallpaper’s popularity has exploded, but it is significantly more expensive than paint and, to be honest, the hassle-factor is huge. Good news! Stencils can give you the same effect at a fraction of the cost. (Have a look at – they have the largest selection of stencils in SA and some amazing options for look-alike-wallpaper. If you’re in Cape Town, visit their store at the V&A Watershed for advice and inspiration.)

3. Wait! Before you paint that wall, you need to know about the third innovation that has South African home owners rejoicing. Believe it or not, redecorating your home can also rid it of creepy crawlies. Vital Protection AM3 is revolutionary paint additive that when mixed with any water-based internal or external paint, provides real protection and repellency against mosquitoes and other biting insects. Say goodbye to fleas, flies, ants, spiders and mozzies. Simply add a sachet of Vital Protection AM3 to five litres of water-based paint and once you’ve applied it, voila! You have long-lasting effective protection for up to 36 months. It’s safe to use even in a baby’s bedroom. Vital Protection AM3 is available online at or from Build It Hermanus, The Paintsmiths in Paarl and selected Overberg Agri Outlets.

Thanks to Vital Protection, I have a hamper to giveaway on a lucky draw basis. All you need to do is email me your contact details and your name will go into the hat. Competition closes on Monday 29 August. 

The hamper includes 100ml AM2 spray on (R108), 220ml AM2 spray on (R198), 1litre AM2 spray (R599) and Falke socks (R70). The value of the hamper is R1024.00.  

Hamper contents

AM2 (1l) Spray On
A product which provides all the benefits of Vital Protection in an easy to use textile spray application. Vital Protection AM2 is a safe and easy to use pump action spray. Applicable to a wide range of fabrics and products, for example sleeping bags and other camping equipment, sport and outdoor clothing, mosquito nets and home textiles.

AM2 (100ml, 200ml and 1litre) Spray On
A product which provides all the benefits of Vital Protection in an easy to use textile spray application. Vital Protection AM2 is a safe and easy to use pump action spray. Applicable to a wide range of fabrics and products, for example sleeping bags and other camping equipment, sport and outdoor clothing, mosquito nets and home textiles.
Clean and effective application.
Ensure item is clean and dry.
Holding bottle around 40cm away, spray evenly until fabric is moist.
Allow item to air dry or you may tumble dry*.
Once fully dried the process is complete!
*Depending on the care instructions of the item

Falke InsectPro Tech Hiking Socks
Falke Hiking Socks provide total performance and protection against insect and tick bites that lasts through 30 launderings! By combining Insect Pro Tech process that embeds a formulation of Vital Protection to woolen fibres, Falke Insect Pro-Tech creates a barrier from annoying and potentially dangerous insects Available in Navy, Grey & Black.

So don't delay - email today

Till next time

Sharon x

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Riverside Retreat

When I feel like escaping from the daily grind of lunchboxes, laundry and school lifts, but I can't  physically run away, I resort to a mental escape instead. Here is a place that I could very happily spend some time out in. Based in the Frio Canyon area of Texas, USA, this home has beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and has the added benefit of being right on the Frio River.  

The stone homestead has a rustic, country feel, with contemporary touches that keep it up to date. It has a warm, inviting atmosphere, with loads of natural light. 

The white painted high ceilings prevent the rustic beams from becoming oppressive and create a beautiful backdrop for the eclectic light fixtures. 

There is a little area is to the right of the fireplace perfect for board games and beer.

Looking through the living room towards the kitchen....

...and the dining room on the right.

A beautiful open space, perfect for casual living and entertaining.

I love the extra large kitchen island that could easily accommodate a whole bevy of family and  friends prepping meals and chatting. 

Below is the separate scullery area.

The bedrooms are a great combination of luxury and simplicity.

There are mezzanine loft areas in 2 of the bedrooms for extra sleeping quarters. Very clever for accommodating families.

An outdoor shower adds to the bathroom options.

The open plan living area flows seamlessly onto the large enclosed patio which has a built in barbeque at one end and fireplace at the other.

And finally the beautiful river setting - perfect for gazing into the distance, enjoying the peace and quiet, the only sound to disturb the stillness would be the gentle sipping on a G&T!

Ok, after that bit of time out, I'm ready to return to life and laundry.

Till next time

Sharon x

Architects: Shiflet Group Architects
Interior Design: Blair Burton