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This piece of glass excavated from our garden can tell a story.

This piece of glass excavated from our garden can tell a story.


I love excavating things that have enough information on them to date them.

Amongst the endless amount of glass shards buried in our garden, I do find every now and then an intact bottle or a piece of glass with some inscription on it.


This small piece of the bottom of a bottle reads “Harveys Bristol”.

Turns out this is a sherry called Harveys Bristol Cream.


Furthermore, their bottles are blue now, and changed from green to blue in 1994.

So this bottle is definitely from before 1994, and probably vintage.


I can just picture how the residents at The Broken Palace sat on their stoep, sipping on a glass of sherry on a warm summer evening.

Does this ring true or is it just a romantic notion? If you know more kindly get in touch:




Puppy Bliss: Lola is the cutest

Puppy Bliss: Lola is the cutest


I don’t really like giving pets human names. It only asks for confusion.


Our first puppy came to us through a friend’s post on social media. I offered to foster, I didn’t want to overcommit, although we were planning on getting a dog.


However, first that little munchkin went to PETS to go through the general check-up. In this one day, that she was at an animal shelter, they gave her a name: Lola.


My cousin’s daughter’s name is Lola. – Back to my statement on top: That’s why I don’t like giving pets human names.


This was odd: Lola is one of my favourite names, and I don’t have many. Not that I would necessarily give it to anyone or any animal. But since “Run Lola Run” I, like many Germans, am somewhat fond of that name.


So I asked my cousin if it was ok to name my dog after her child. She was. That gave the name Lola extra meaning: I can’t wait for the two to meet. 🙂


And the name is indeed befitting: Because one thing Lola is very good at is running really fast, and I love it every single time she gives me the opportunity to cheer her on: “Run Lola, Run!” 😉



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Google Translate gets it wrong and turns a small ball into a meat ball: 'Baellchen' does not always refer to 'frikkadelle'!

Google Translate gets it wrong and turns a small ball into a meat ball: ‘Baellchen’ does not always refer to ‘frikkadelle’!


The word I was looking for is ‘balletjie’, because when our puppies sleep, they curl up into a cutie balletjie.

‘Balletjie’ is the diminutive of ‘ball’ in Afrikaans.

I don’t speak Afrikaans, and ‘balletjie’ sounds very different from how it’s spelled – more like ‘ballikie’. But it’s such an awesome word that I try different hacks to get to the correct spelling.

One way of course could be to learn the Afrikaans grammar. Another could be to quickly look up the translation.

English doesn’t really have proper diminutives. You can say ‘little ball’ for a translation, but that doesn’t yield the results I’m looking for.

So I tried the German diminutive of ball: ‘Bällchen’.

And to my utter surprise Google translates this with ‘frikkadelle’!

‘Frikkadelle’ is of course a meat ball. For Google to turn a small ball into a meatball, not on! 😮



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Rats have ever growing teeth that need constant grinding down. They keep their teeth short by bruxing or of course gnawing. They have to, it’s what rodents do.


When it comes to the ability to gnaw through concrete, maybe a super power type of skill that can be respected.

When it comes to your clothes, bags, shoes, sheets, blankets, towels, you name it, not so cool.


Here a friendly reminder to make sure your home is ratproof:


This was one of those reusable shopping bags, quite handy if you want to stop using plastic bags.

Reusable shopping bag

Reusable shopping bag


Quite comfy too it seems, at least if you’re a rat. We kept this reusable shopping bag in a box that had an opening just big enough for pet rats to squeeze through…

Next time we wanted to use it, the handles were chewed off!


So I gave it to our ratties, clearly they liked it as nesting material. And this is what they’ve done with it:

There is beauty in destruction: Pet rats are master shredders!

There is beauty in destruction: Pet rats are master shredders!


That’s why you must always ratproof your home.



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This water saving tap is not only very efficient in reducing water usage, it also makes pretty patterns.

This water saving tap is not only very efficient in reducing water usage, it also makes pretty patterns.


In an effort to conserve water new ideas are being implemented, new products are being created.


Here a great example of a water saving tap at the Woodstock Exchange:


A simple, yet so efficient idea, and in addition to fulfilling its purpose, it’s also beautiful!


No surprise this concept by Simin Qiu won the 2014 IF Concept Design Award.


Thanks to clever designs like these it is stylish to upgrade to water saving. #EveryDropCounts



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Dogs are great to cuddle with, they even cuddle with each other: This is how Gigi and Hutch chill together.

Dogs are great to cuddle with, they even cuddle with each other: This is how Gigi and Hutch chill together.

Puppy Bliss! How smitten I am with our pooches. I could hug them all day long.

Dogs are really good for us. They make us happy and healthy.

Since my childhood I missed having a dog. I wanted to have a house so I can have a dog.

But I only ever had family dogs, which actually meant they were my mom’s dogs and tolerated me.

I didn’t know how special the bond is to your own dog. And even more so with a rescue dog.

I feel blessed for every happy moment these lovely creatures share with us.


Please help find a forever home for Starsky & Hutch. 🙂 



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I hope you get the chance to celebrate Women’s Day today.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the movement for women’s rights.

That means women and men alike can celebrate this day, supporting equality in all fields for women.


However, it appears the internet thinks it’s a day to celebrate women like Mother’s Day. By which it becomes commercialised and keeps on reinforcing old boring stereotypes.

Just look at these horribly sexist greeting cards floating around online:


Wrong! You don't have to be beautiful to celebrate Women's Day.

Wrong! You don’t have to be beautiful to celebrate Women’s Day.


Wrong! You don't have to be a mother to be celebrated as a woman.

Wrong! You don’t have to be a mother to be celebrated as a woman.


Wrong! You don't have to be beautiful to be celebrated as a woman.

Wrong! Every woman is equal.


Wrong! Women who are nice don't get anywhere.

Wrong! Women who are nice don’t get anywhere.


Wrong! Every woman deserves to be celebrated.

Wrong! Every woman deserves to be celebrated.


The list goes on. And all I had been looking for was one meme that actually empowers women.

Luckily, being a woman I don’t give up that easily and eventually was successful:


I am a woman. What's your superpower?

I am a woman. What’s your superpower?





I can start a coin collection:

South Africa, 1952, Threepence (1937 to 1952), King George VI Series – Silver Threepence (Tickey)

South African 1952 Silver Threepence (Tickey) (1937 to 1952), King George VI series. As per Professional Coin Grading Service: The obverse design: Head of King George VI. Inscription: “GEORGIVS VI REX”. Designed by Henry Paget (“HP”).

1952 George VI South African Silver Threepence

1952 George VI South African Silver Threepence. As per the PCGS: The reverse design: A Protea (National Flower), in full bloom, forms the center of the design. An inverted triangle surrounds it. The sides of the triangle consist of three bundles of four sticks each. The three bundles denote the coin’s value and the sticks represent the four provinces of the Union of South Africa (Transvaal, Cape, Orange Free State, and Natal). Inscription “SOUTH AFRICA” to the left, the date at top center, “SUID-AFRIKA” to the right and “3p”, flanked by two little flowers to the left and right, at the bottom center. Reverse design artist: Kruger Gray (“K” to the left and “G” to the right of the flower’s stem).

I found another 3 pence coin amidst the rubble of The Broken Palace in our garden.

It is part of the 1937 to 1952 King George VI series coins from South Africa and made from real silver.

But it’s so small and so light the value of the coin outweighs the value of the silver.

The 3 pence coin is also known as the “Tickey” in South Africa.

Even though the tickey was only around until 1960, after which the British currency was replaced by the Rand, the word stuck in South African vocabulary.

Many South Africans will remember the “Tickey Box”, the old public telephone:

Excavating relics from our garden is like a history lesson in action.

If you know more about The Broken Palace, please get in touch: 🙂




In a drive to get more subscriptions, many brands lure in new subscribers with the prospect of winning something.

I always felt that was pretty unfair to existing subscribers – after all their loyalty should get rewarded just as much.

The least already signed up customers should be allowed to do, is enter that competition too.

Here a great example of going one step further and proactively recognising and rewarding existing subscribers:

I'm already signed up, but can still enter this competition. - To minimise churn, reward your existing subscribers too.

I’m already signed up, but can still enter the competition. – To minimise churn, reward your existing subscribers too.

There are good reasons for marketing automation software to manage your customer engagement.

It works even better when you add a human touch to it: Like you would recognise returning customers, they should feel welcomed by your brand, too.





Sisi and Dot: Watch Dot bruxing, she's so relaxed, it's eye boggling:

Sisi and Dot: Watch Dot bruxing, she’s so relaxed, it’s eye boggling:

Rats’ teeth never stop growing, just like fingernails or hair.

That’s why pet rats do something called ‘bruxing‘ – they grind their teeth down. This can look funny, as their eyes boggle:

It’s a comforting feeling to ratties, so they do it when they are very relaxed and happy; or when they are stressed, to calm themselves down.

For newbies to the whole having rats as pets experience it can be a surprising action to witness. But not to worry, rats naturally boggle their eyes and brux their teeth.

You might find the rhythm of grinding their teeth like a soothing white noise and that it not just calms your pet rat, but you as well. 🙂



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While Western Cape residents are urged to do everything they can to reduce water usage, saving water doesn’t stop at home.

But how to go about it in public spaces?

Most water saving methods are rather intimate, bordering on hygienic issues.

However, as we are learning new water saving habits at home, it’s easy to extend them to the work place.

Even if it’s small steps, every drop counts.

Here a great example at the Bandwidth Barn, where they place ice cream tubs in the sinks to collect grey water:

Ice cream tubs works well for capturing grey water in sinks.

Ice cream tubs works well for capturing grey water in sinks.




When Lola is happily relaxing, she lies on her back with her belly exposed and no worry in the world.

Often she stretches and yawns just like a human and raises her front paw into the air as if she’s ready to fly off like Buzz Lightyear going to infinity and beyond.

Lola loves to lie on her back. When she stretches, she raises one front leg into the air.

Lola loves to lie on her back. When she stretches, she raises one front leg into the air.

It’s the cutest thing. 🙂

Buzz Lightyear doing the To infinity and beyond!

Buzz Lightyear doing the “To infinity and beyond!”



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Sometimes you take a funny snap that triggers some comical associations:

A snapshot from the beach: Gigi looks like she is grinning at me with her mischievous triangular eyes, tiny floppy ears, wide toothed mouth and long pink tongue.

A snapshot from the beach: Gigi looks like she is grinning at me with her mischievous triangular eyes, tiny floppy ears, wide toothed mouth and long pink tongue.


This pic somewhat reminds me of Disney’s Stitch:

Disney's "Lilo & Stitch": Stitch with his tongue hanging out - enamel pin

Disney’s “Lilo & Stitch”: Stitch with his tongue hanging out – enamel pin


Especially as Gigi has more than just her looks in common with this naughty little creature. 😉



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Starsky & Hutch are looking for a forever home. Please adopt these cuties.

Starsky & Hutch are looking for a forever home. Please adopt these cuties.


We don’t know much about Starsky & Hutch. They were rescued from a street hawker as puppies – undernourished, neglected, full of ticks.


It’s easy to assume they’re brothers, and they do look similar: Both have huge ears, a friendly round snout, a somewhat curly tail, are of similar size and have the same light tan colour.

But then of course, they’re also very different: Starsky has black mixed into his coat and is of stocky build, reminding a bit of a Rottweiler. Hutch is plain tan, but has black coming out in this tail which ends in a white tip, he is a bit lighter on his feet, looking more like an Africanis.


Maybe they are brothers from another father?


Dogs are not monogamous, and their polygamy can go as far as polyandry where a female can mate with several males during her estrus.

If you ever wondered about the size of your dog’s bollocks – it’s because they mate (with) a lot, just like rats and lions.


So it’s very well possible that dog litters can have more than one father. That could explain why Starsky & Hutch are brothers, but look quite differently: They’re actually half-brothers.


Either way, even if they weren’t blood related, these two are certainly brothers in spirit. They’ve always been together and love and watch out for each other that it melts your heart.

That’s why we hope they can stay together and find a forever home that is big-hearted enough for the two of them. ♥ Please adopt these two cuties! Kindly get in touch: 🙂




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The dogs are having a jol at Milnerton Beach when all of a sudden Gigi spots a seal swimming in the waves!

The dogs are having a jol at Milnerton Beach when all of a sudden Gigi spots a seal swimming in the waves!


It was Gigi who spotted the seal first:


She was actually so excited, she ran into the water towards it!


It looked like she was barking at the waves when all of a sudden the head of the seal popped up out of the ocean, looked at us for a moment there and then continued to surf the breaking waves.



This was the first time I ever watched a seal surfing the waves, having so much fun.


The dogs were all like: Us too! But they didn’t venture into the deep waters. The waves of the atlantic ocean are something to reckon with!


Well, unless you’re a seal that is.


Because this seal was just enjoying itself, not having a care in the world, also not about the barking dogs.



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Handsome rattie boy Poeksie! And yes, that's his balls bulging out from beneath his bum.

Handsome rattie boy Poeksie! And yes, that’s his balls bulging out from beneath his bum.


Rattie boys are much more placid than girls, but you wouldn’t think so looking at the package they carry beneath their tail: Male rats, or bucks, have proportionally huge testicles, I mean, they’re almost as big as their head!


That’s because of their mating behaviour: If there are many rats around, females, or does, can breed with many males. This is called polyandry and results in sperm competition: If multiple males mate with a female, it’s up to their sperm to finish the race. And a good chance that one of your guys makes it to the eggs is if you deposit a lot of them. Hence the big balls, they hold a lot of sperm.


There is a direct relationship between testicle size and sperm competition, so this applies to all animals with a polygynandrous mating system such as lions and dogs.


So there you go, rattie boys are little stud farms on their own, but having big balls does not stop them from being absolutely adorable!


Rats Make Great Pets 🙂



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My pet rat Milka shows me her behind.

My pet rat Milka shows me her behind.

This is my pet rat Milka, as she sits on our bar stool in our kitchen, looking down the edge of the seat, pondering.

I just love this shot.




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WordPress has an integrated spellchecker. It also automatically tells me when there's nothing to check: No writing errors were found.

WordPress has an integrated spellchecker. It also automatically tells me when there’s nothing to check: “No writing errors were found.” – Phew! 😉


Because we all make mistakes, why take a chance when it’s so easy to double check:


Write your copy in a text editor with a spellchecker. At least it’ll help you get rid of those really silly errors.


When it comes to using copy in an image editing program, copy and paste the text into a word editor to confirm your grammar is correct.


Even better: Use an integrated spellchecker in the software. Most programs offer to activate a spellchecker or to install a widget or plugin.


Don’t fall for the temptation to switch off the spellchecker.

Maybe you’re using professional terminology and get a lot of words highlighted as wrong. Rather add these to your spellchecker’s dictionary and customise it to your needs.


And because we all still make mistakes, always proofread your copy.




Are you doing the Bucket Dance? Capturing every drop for grey water with multiple buckets in the shower.

Are you doing the Bucket Dance? Capturing every drop for grey water with multiple buckets in the shower.


In and around the buckets we shower,

We place them in line, in circles, on top of each other.

We do what we can, we take this power

in our own hands and prove that we bother.


It’s a means to save every drop,

Once you started you can’t stop.

So we turn, twist and hop, we balance, shuffle and mop,

anything to make sure this doesn’t turn into a flop.


Because water is rare and we’re running out.

No time for a blank stare, this is a serious drought.

We need action now, the question is not why but how,

so do your bit and put on a good show:


Lift that leg, do the fandango, take a stance:

Turn this from a crisis into a chance!

We’re all in this together so let’s do enhance

this situation by joining the Bucket Dance!






The City of Cape Town’s water map shows the water usage of households around Cape Town.

The City of Cape Town’s water map shows the water usage of households around Cape Town.


Here we get to see what the City of Cape Town uses for an at a glance overview of water usage at residential properties:


Criticism arose that “the map enables residents to check up on their neighbours’ water habits” and thus acts as a “name and shame” campaign.


Surely, you’d check up on your own address first.


And as a self-check tool this water map is really useful:


Every month you get to see if you managed to stay below 6 000 litres at your property, indicated with a dark green dot. 🙂


If your plot shows a light green dot, it means you used between 6 000 and 10 500 litres last month and you need to read up on some #water #saving #tips. 😉


Use the map rather as a “name and acclaim” campaign: an incentive to show off and help your neighbours to #GoGreen, or to follow suit and work harder on your #WaterSaving.





Doppelgaenger déjà vu: Starsky also has only the right ear up, just like Lola and Gigi.

Doppelgaenger déjà vu: Starsky also has only the right ear up, just like Lola and Gigi.


What is it with our dogs and having one ear up and one ear floppy?

And not only that, it’s also the same combination: The right ear stands up.


After seeing double with Lola and Gigi, the same is occurring now with Lola and Starsky:

He is ‘wearing’ his ears the same way Lola does – right ear up, left ear flopping down.


I don’t particularly remember dogs having different ears, as far as I can recall it was either or: either both ears stand up or both ears hang down.


Lola can do with her right ear both: She can let it hang loose or she can lift it up. She often sleeps with her right ear up, it’s as if she can only relax one-sided. She does make a great guard dog.


Gigi also went through a phase where only her right ear stood up. But she grew out of that, both her ears are floppy now, even though they’re so tiny. It’s hilarious she can’t perk them up, only raise them, but her mini cute ears are still hanging floppy down.


So who knows what Starsky’s ears will look like when he grows up, but this picture is just like: Doppelgaenger déjà vu!



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Please help and find these two adorable rescue puppies a good home!

Please help and find these two adorable puppies a good home!


Please help!

Puppy brothers Starsky & Hutch are looking for a good home.


Starsky is the puppy with the dark hair like Ben Stiller in the movie and Hutch is the blond one like Owen Wilson.


Just like Starsky & Hutch they make a great team!


While Starsky is outgoing, adventurous and up for anything, always in the middle of the action, Hutch is a very gentle soul, a tender handsome little boy, who always wants to cuddle.


Together they play and explore. Watching out for each other, they always have each other’s back. With their puppy clumsiness and swagger, they make a funny pair. You don’t want to miss out on all the hilarious entertainment these adorable cuties bliss us with every day.


Both are housetrained and socialised with other pets. They get on well with children and are an awesome addition to the family. As young as they are, Starsky & Hutch are already very protective over us and would make great guard dogs.


They’ve had all their medical checks, are dewormed and vaccinated, and come with dog bed and harnesses, although they are outgrowing these quickly!


Because they get on so well with our dogs, we’d love to find them a home in Cape Town or even Woodstock, so we can meet up for playdates. I’m also happy to dogsit them any time.


Most importantly we’d like them to stay together, they’ve been through such ordeal as rescue pups, but they always had each other.


Could you be the one who can offer Starsky & Hutch a forever home?


If you know someone who has the space for two medium sized well natured and absolutely charming male dogs, please get in touch: 🙂


For updates on Starsky & Hutch, please like their Facebook page: @SAfricanis





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Oopsie, another bag full with used tea bags...

Oopsie, another bag full with used tea bags…

I drink at least 2 litres of tea a day. I use 3 teabags to brew 1 litre. That’s a minimum of 6 teabags per day.

So that 200 teabag bulk offer is probably what I go through per month.

Accordingly I have a lot of used teabags to do… well, what with? Read on for some useful tips.


What to do with used tea bags


Used tea bags belong in the garden.

A used tea bag is still full of nutrition. It is nitrogen rich and can be used like a fertiliser. Tear open the bag and sprinkle the tea into your pot plants or around your garden.

Line plant pots with old teabags, especially around the drainage holes, before filling them with soil. The tea bags retain water and nutrition.

Tea is a must-have for your compost, as it counter balances all the carbon-rich materials.

The caffeine in the tea is just as much a stimulant for your garden inhabitants as for you and has a great effect on earthworms: They will work and breed faster.


Used tea bags make great sponges.

Apparently adding used tea bags to your dishwashing water helps to break down grease and food stains.

You can use the tea bag itself to preclean dirty pans and trays. Be careful not to break the tea bag, as it works wonderfully to wipe up that grease, and simply throw it in the bin, instead of having to rinse your kitchen sponge with a lot of water. In addition, the tannins in the leaves will prevent the oxidising process, preventing rust.

Similarly, freshly brewed hot tea bags can be used to preclean windows. The tea’s tannic acid will leave the glass sparkling clean.

Scrub your dark leather shoes with a damp used teabag. Tanning leather involves tannin, the tea can add a new shine.


Used tea bags capture bad odour.

Place dried old teabags in the bottom of your kitchen bin to absorb liquids and odours.

Wash away odours from your hands: Rinse your hands with water and a brewed tea bag to remove odours of onions, garlic, fish and other foods.

If you’re a smoker or have an ashtray out for guests, put a wet tea bag or the leaves from a wet tea bag into the ashtray. When you or your guests ash in the tray, the wet leaves will hold the ash and absorb some of the smell from the smoke.

The antibacterial contents of tea bags will help neutralize the odour in your litter box as well. Just sprinkle the dried out contents of a brewed tea bag into the kitty / rattie litter.



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First visit to the beach for Starsky & Hutch! And all I get a photo of is their backside… Which is, of course, also cute! 😉


“Hutch, over here!” Nope, Hutch is way too excited about what’s happening around him at the beach to look into the camera.


Clearly the first time at the beach is incredibly exciting, because not once did the puppies hold still just long enough to take a picture.


And the entire time Starsky & Hutch were watching Lola and Gigi run and enjoy the freedom of endless beach, with shadows of seagulls to chase.


The sand was also intensely interesting, to smell, to eat, and to dig. No time to look up at me long enough for at least one nice snap.


Well well, it was a lot of fun, and that’s all that matters. 🙂



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Sisi and Molly are sharing and tearing a mini muffin. Harley and Mulan look cute in front. At the back, Cinnamonkey's bum. Somehow in there: Felix and Milka.

Sisi and Molly are sharing and tearing a mini muffin. Harley and Mulan look cute in front. At the back, Cinnamonkey’s bum. Somehow in there: Felix and Milka.


Our ratties’ 1st birthday! And they celebrated with lots of #rattie #treats:

Mini fruit skewers, mini bruschetta, mini cupcakes, mini biscuits, mini 85% dark chocolate splinters: Our ratties turn 1! :)

Mini fruit skewers, mini bruschetta, mini cupcakes, mini biscuits, mini 85% dark chocolate splinters: Our ratties turn 1! 🙂


Watch rattie Mommy enjoy her fruit skewer:


And a cupcake on top of it:



Yoshi is undeterred and only focusses on licking the yoghurt off the cupake:


They came, they saw, they ate:

The empty buffet after the ratties are done with it.

The empty buffet after the ratties are done with it.


Like after any good party, the ratties pass out all cuddled up:

After the feast, the ratties are cuddling up to sleep.

After the feast, the ratties are cuddling up to sleep.


We can conclude: The ratties had a great 1st Birthday Party! 🙂



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Darn, my pet's drinking bottle has algae growing inside, and I can't even reach the rim to clean it!

Darn, my pet’s drinking bottle has algae growing inside, and I can’t even reach the rim to clean it!


In the 20+ years that I had pet rats I never had problems with algae in the ratties’ drinking bottle.


Then I heard from one of my #RattieSitting friends that she has to buy a new one, because hers has turned all green.


Weirdly enough, not too long after, also my pet water bottles showed signs of algae infestation.


Maybe something has changed to the Cape Town’s drinking water with the drought crisis?


Fortunately buying a new water dispenser is not necessary:


How to get rid of algae in your pet’s water dispenser


Simply soak the dish or bottle in 100% white vinegar.


Around the internet you’ll find a vinegar-water solution recommended at a ratio of 1 to 1. White vinegar also works well when diluted. Caution is advised when handling even food-grade vinegar as it is an acid.


But I find rinsing my rattie’s water bottle with pure white vinegar and let it soak for a while, does the trick: The algae simply disappears.


Wash the drinking bottle extensively to make sure all traces of algae and white vinegar are gone.


White vinegar is not bad for pet rats, apple cider vinegar is even good for them, but of course: only in a very diluted form. So don’t worry if the water bottle still smells of vinegar, a tiny bit of it won’t do any harm.


Of course, taking the time to clean your pet’s drinking bottle thoroughly means you need at least two. A good practice tip is anyway to provide two water bottles – just in case one fails – to make sure your pets always have access to water, especially in hot weather. This also gives you the chance to alternate between the two bottles when a proper clean is needed.



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Gigi makes herself small to play with the puppies. Just the other day she was a puppy herself, now she's all grown-up with our foster pups.

Gigi makes herself small to play with the puppies. Just the other day she was a puppy herself, now she’s all grown-up with our foster pups.


Our dogs are quite relaxed about other canine visitors. As I offer dogsitting services, they got used to having their friends around.


Inviting some newbies into our home such as foster puppies Starsky & Hutch has however an impact on the pack hierarchy, and it’s fascinating to follow how the dynamics change:


Gigi, so far the youngest, behaved very much like a puppy, including the odd wee inside the house that left me puzzled to wonder if she has a mini bladder and just can’t hold it long enough.


In come the rescue puppies. And voilà: Gigi stops peeing inside and behaves all grown-up and mature, doing her business in our garden. No more accidents.


Gigi is also the one who fell in love with our foster puppies first. She adopted them right away, and although being a puppy herself, she is looking out for them, watching over them and there in a flash when one of the pups starts whining.


All the while Lola, who did the same for Gigi, takes it easy with the new addition to the pack and only slowly allows them to interact her. So now that Starsky & Hutch can, they kiss her mouth and snuggle up to her and generally worship her.


But it is Gigi who takes on the role as puppy nanny and keeps them entertained all the time. She makes herself small, lying on the ground, robbing towards the pups to play with them.

Especially Starsky is on the same energy level as her and welcomes every opportunity for some play action. Hutch is more a cuddly one and will watch the tumult of puppy play unfold, preferably in the safety of a human’s lap.


Incredible how quickly they grow up. You don’t want to miss a second, before you know it the puppy phase is over!


So please spread the news for Starsky & Hutch: They’re looking for a forever home and whoever will adopt them won’t want to miss out on all the cuteness overload they’re blessing us with every day! 🙂


Kindly get in touch:





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Extreme chill-out: When we took our pet rats on holiday with us to Beaverlac and it got hot, this is the way our ratties relaxed: They hooked their teeth into the cage bars to literally hang.

Rattie version of putting your feet up: Our pet rat hooks her teeth on.

Rattie version of putting your feet up: Our rat hooks her teeth on.


Rats don’t sweat and don’t pant. The only way for them to release heat is through their tail.

In the wild they might stay in a burrow throughout the day to avoid the heat. But in your pet rat cage it could get pretty hot.


10 Tips how to protect your pet rat from overheating


– Keep the air cool but not draughty

Of course, the best way to keep your rat cool is to keep them in a cool environment. Place their cage in a cool spot and remove all blankets. However, because rats are prone to respiratory illnesses, don’t put them in a draughty spot. If there is a draught, place a wet blanket over the cage. It protects against the breeze and cools the air down.


– Build a rattie aircon

Simply put a small bowl of ice cubes on top of the pet rat cage and cover with a larger bowl. This will guide the cool air into your ratoots’ cage and keep them chilled.


– Remove bedding and newspapers

To protect pet rat’s feet it’s a good idea to put down a solid surface on the cage floor. When it’s hot however, remove it. Your ratties will enjoy lying flat down on the cage wire mesh as it allows them to release heat 360 degrees all surround.


– Place a container filled with ice in the cage

This can be a frozen water bottle or a flat ice cream tub filled with ice cubes. Anything that cools down the rattie cage, as long as it’s safe and non-toxic in case the rats nibble on it.


– Place cool surfaces in their cage

Tiles, stoneware or terracotta pots are naturally cool materials and can help absorb the heat from your pet rat’s body.


– Feed them ice cube treats

Some rats really like ice cubes. Mix in a bit of juice and turn them into ice popsicle treats your ratties won’t be able to resist.


– Feed them frozen food

Feed them fresh veggies, salad and fruits straight out of the fridge. Prepare some frozen food mix and serve it right out of the freezer. A fun game for pet rats is fishing frozen peas out of a water bowl, perfect entertainment in hot weather.


– Freeze their bedding

Freezing the rattie bedding is a great way to kill mites. It also helps your rats cool down when it’s hot.


– Give them a bath

Spritz them with mist, rinse them under the tap or dunk them into water up to their necks. A cool bath will provide instant relief from overheating. If your pet rat really doesn’t like water, make at least sure their tail gets wet to cool down.


– Place a bath in their cage

Your ratties might seek a refreshing bath and welcome a bowl of water to use for washing. Make sure it sits safe and the surrounds can handle a bit of splish splash.



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Scabs in your pet rat's fur can indicate a mite infestation.

Scabs in your pet rat’s fur can indicate a mite infestation.


Most parasites you find in your pet’s fur are only there because of a weak immune system.

Mites for example are always around, in bedding, on skin, in hair. It is only when the natural defence mechanisms of your pet are not strong enough to fight them off that you need to step in.

A weak immune system due to illness, malnutrition or old age is an invitation for mites to multiply. Once they’re taking over, it becomes a hassle for your pet to get rid of them.


There is medicine you can administer that kills off all parasites in general:

Ivermectin, which mites could be resistant to however, and

Revolution, which is normally for cats.


I try to avoid medicine as far as possible, so here is an alternative method:


How to get rid of mice or lice in a natural way


  1. Groom your pet

The mites have taken over and your pet is struggling keeping these buggers at bay.

Help them by grooming them with a small comb. You will soon notice that you’re combing out small particles, each one of them is a relief to your pet.


  1. Douse the affected areas with olive oil

I use high quality extra virgin olive oil and don’t dilute it.

Whatever oil is in excess, your pet can lick off and it’s even good for them: Virgin oil has proven to have a life-extending effect in rats.


Depending on severity you can give a pet rat an olive oil bath.

According to this story that can end up very messy.

But it seems drenching your pet rat in olive oil really does the trick, as this comment confirms.


Pouring pure olive oil on the affected areas should suffocate the mites and at the same time heal the scabs. Together with an immune-boosting diet, your pet should be able to fend off the invaders.



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Do you need to pee or not to pee? That is the question.

Do you need to pee or not to pee? That is the question.


Our first rescue puppy came at a semi-surprise: We thought about having a dog, but then it all happened very fast when I offered to foster and fell in love with Lola.


Telling my mum about our new addition to the family, she casually mentioned: “And always remember: When puppies wake up, they have to go.”


Best advice ever. Because all puppies do is eat, play, sleep, and yes, go to the toilet.


It makes things a whole lot easier if you just follow their pattern and watch out when they wake up. As soon as they do, simply take them outside to do their business.


Of course there’s the in-between pee and the it-surprised-us-all runny poo.


But anticipating when puppies have to go and putting them outside in time so they have the chance to do it right, helps to housetrain them quickly.



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Hello you little schmoopies! Starsky & Hutch are recovering nicely.

Hello you little schmoopies! Starsky & Hutch are recovering nicely.


It is so rewarding seeing these two improving day by day.

What handsome little boys they’re turning into!

While two puppies might make twice as much mess, seeing them play makes up for it. This is double dose of cuteness overload.

And play they do! Every day they get more daring.

From sparring to barking, wrestling, jumping, from whining to grabbing, dragging, growling, howling, it is fascinating to see them playfight.

They fence with their teeth, they attack from behind and they go for the kill. That’s usually when the game comes to a halt, as both actually need a break.

But soon after it continues, and the two are outdoing each other with tumbles, thuds and bangs, one being clumsier than the other.

The more amazing it is to see them fearlessly climbing the stairs, jumping into the garden and taking on our big dogs.

Stasrky & Hutch are having so much fun, it’s a joy to watch them as they become bestest brothers.



These two rescue puppies need a forever home. Please share, like, and spread the news.

Kindly get in touch:




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When faced with potential disaster, and overcome it, there’s a great urge to make things better.


Like it was so close but we managed to escape catastrophe unscathed, it’s not possible to carry on the day as usual.


What better thing to do than put our new learnings into action:


Rubbish is a fire hazard, so let’s get rid of it!

Wild growing shrubs can also easily catch fire, especially during drought, so let’s pull them out!


So now the empty corner plot at 23 Greatmore Street is clean again:

People power: Together we can clean up even Woodstock! :)

People power: Together we can clean up even Woodstock!



Because this is how the council leaves it:

All the council had to do was to maintain it clean.

All the council had to do was to maintain it clean.



Seems like this is going to be same procedure as every year, because this is how we cleaned up last year:

All cleaned up and neat! This 'earth' is actually compacted rubbish that collected over the years and needs to be removed.

All cleaned up! This ‘earth’ is actually compacted rubbish that collected over the years and needs to be removed.




The fire brigade managed to get the blaze under control quickly, thank goodness!

The fire brigade managed to get the blaze under control quickly, thank goodness!


I would’ve never thought that 3 shacks could threaten to burn down the entire neighbourhood: Especially with the drought crisis, informal settlements pose a dangerous fire hazard!

That’s what I learned after a representative of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management assessed the abandoned plot at 27 Greatmore Street.

The verdict: We were very lucky the fire didn’t spread to the neighbouring properties. Who knows what would’ve happened then. Well, clearly disaster enough for the City of Cape Town to be very concerned!

From my perspective, no luck was involved, but the combined efforts of neighbours fighting the fire with whatever means we had, keeping the blaze at bay until the fire brigade arrived just minutes away from our house going up in flames.


See our everyday heroes in action

The fire brigade is hosing down the fire:

Lots of smoke and steam from the fire:

After the fire all the rubbish is still smouldering:

Our back wall is so hot from the fire it is steaming:

This fire and then the water hosing is causing structural damage to our house:


But the real heroes to me are still our neighbours who did what had to be done without thinking twice:

As the fire had started in the early morning hours, we were all not dressed properly as we climbed onto our roofs to combat the flames with what little water we had.

In moments of potential disaster, nothing matters but action. It is thanks to this heroic act that nothing worse happened. Luckily, no-one got hurt, but we’re all left with structural damage to our properties.

If you don’t want this to happen to your home, report any illegal housing constructions right away: Report a problem building.




A firefighter is hosing down the smouldering debris at 27 Greatmore Street.

A firefighter is hosing down the smouldering debris at 27 Greatmore Street. Watch this space for more pictures to come.



Today in the early morning hours the informal settlement at the abandoned plot of 27 Greatmore Street went up in smoke. The flames leaped so high, they came over our second storey roof and burned through the telephone overhead line.



It was thanks to the group living rough on the empty field next door that I was alerted about the fire. They saw the smoke rising behind our house. As I ran upstairs to look, I could already see the flames licking at our windows, which means they were about 5 metres high.


We have all emergency numbers on our fridge, so I called the fire brigade who had already been informed by our community.


As the house started to react to the heat of the fire with bangs and cracks, I realised I had to protect our back wall.


Since the drought crisis we collect our rainwater in water canisters, the only problem was just:

How to get those 50 litre containers from the other end of our house up onto the roof?


First I had to untangle our folding step ladder and then, and I’m not really sure how, but I managed to heave that 50 kg water container up onto the top of the ladder and from there up onto our flat roof.


By that time the flames were coming at me and our roof fascia was smouldering. I poured the 50 litres down the back wall into the fire. I just lay the canister on its side and dragged it along the roof while the water was spurting out to get as much surface wet as possible.


Opposite me, from the back of Oxford Street, our neighbour stood in his blue boxers atop the roof, hosing down the fire with what little water pressure they got. It was reassuring to see we were just doing whatever we can.


I was busy heaving another canister up, when the fire brigade finally reached the blaze and contained it quickly.

Just in time, as our water distribution efforts were only holding back the fire for a short while.


It appears no-one got hurt as the people living in the shacks had made a runner.


As the firemen were hosing down the smouldering debris, the smoke cleared away and revealed the mess of burnt rubbish. The fire had eaten up everything and blackened the ground to a grotesque landscape like from an apocalypse movie.


Our back wall got so hot, that it was steaming as soon as the fire hose hit it. The plaster and one of our windows cracked.


Thank goodness for fire regulations which demand to set back the windows 1 metre from the boundary wall, I see now that this is for a good reason!

And thank goodness our windows are double glazed, which means only the outer pane cracked.

And thank goodness we’re storing water at home, it came to an unexpected helpful use.


As quickly as the fire had spread, it was all over within the hour. It was still before 8am when the fire brigade left.


And as another hot and sunny day commences in Cape Town be extra careful: Especially now during summer season coupled with a drought crisis, it is so dry, anything can just go up in flames.





It's tempting to rescue abused puppies from street sellers, but if you want to help end this cruel practice, do NOT buy them.

It’s tempting to rescue abused puppies from street sellers, but if you want to help end this cruel practice, do NOT buy them.


What would you do when confronted with cute puppies who are clearly in need of rescue?

Your animal loving nature is what these cruel puppy sellers are counting on when emotionally blackmailing you into buying their pups.

Unfortunately however, rescuing these creatures in need by buying them will only contribute to this vicious cycle: For the puppy seller any sale is a success no matter the underlying motivation. So they will continue this irresponsible puppy breeding to make more money.

Instead, be vigilant, stay safe and report these illegal puppy sellers:


What to do if you encounter puppies being sold on the street

1) Take a photo of the perpetrator

Be careful, these puppy sellers know it’s illegal what they do. But they might not know that you know.
Keep it that way until you got a clear headshot picture of the offender and have safely put away your device with which you took the photo.

2) Call the police and the SPCA

The SPCA is very clear that you shouldn’t buy that puppy.
Instead call Law Enforcement on (021) 812 4464 and the SPCA on (021) 700 4158/9.
The puppy seller is committing a criminal offense and should be arrested. Remember you’re dealing with an animal abuser, let authorities take the appropriate actions.

3) Do not take the puppies home

You’re putting yourself and your pets in danger of contracting any illnesses these puppies might carry.
The first stop for these abused pups is the vet. Alternatively you can ask any animal shelter to take care of them.
Unless the dogs have been treated for worms, fleas, ticks and received the proper vaccinations, handle them with extreme care: wash your hands frequently and disinfect the area around them.

4) Publish the photo of the offender

Email the picture you took together with time and place to the SPCA:, so they can build a case.
Utilise social media to warn others about this crook and use the opportunity to create awareness about not ever buying from puppy sellers.

5) Adopt Don’t Shop

There are so many pets in need out there, give one of them a chance! If you’re looking for a pet, rather adopt from one of the many animal welfare organisations.
Every day many rescue animals are being put down. Save a life by offering one of them a home.




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Our dogs look on as we accommodate the two new rescue puppies.

Our dogs look on as we accommodate the two new rescue puppies.


Foster Bliss! Look who popped into our lives being rescued from one of those opportunistic street sellers.


These two little boys were confiscated to protect them from further abuse and rushed to the vet where the prognosis was grim:

Besides the usual neglect – dirty, full of fleas and ticks and grime; abused, covered in scabs and bruises; malnutritioned, with underdeveloped and wobbly bodies – they had a severe problem:

It appears all these puppies got fed was bones.

They had to be operated to remove all those sharp pieces from their tiny bellies.


What a hardship! To go through such a tough operation. At such young age, about 8 weeks old. They are so small, the scar looms along their entire underside.


And yet, and this is where the foster bliss comes in, they are so happy and grateful!


Especially Starsky, the black and tan pup, such a clever little chap! He already goes to the toilet on a newspaper. Full of energy, he barks when he gets bored in his puppy corner. Already he explores every nook and cranny and even tried to climb up the stairs.


Hutch, who is tan with cute white markings, is taking it easy as he’s recovering. A very gentle soul, he monitors everything with a slight suspicion, but gets it when you’re doing good to him. He held very still as I washed him in the sink and enjoys being wrapped up in a blankie.


This is such profound inspiration: These boys went through a terrible ordeal of abuse and yet, the moment someone is kind to them, all of it seems to fade away and they are just happy happy happy.


I too am grateful to live in the moment with them where everything can only get better. 🙂

I just have to remind myself that these two are not for keeps! 😮


So watch this space, as these lovely munchkins are going to be up for adoption soon.

It’s difficult to tell what they’ll turn into, but they look like medium-sized, short coat but fluffy haired, floppy ears and upward pointing tails type of dogs.


Please share and spread the message:

We’re looking for a loving home for two little puppy boys, Starsky & Hutch, who will surely bring a lot of love and happiness to their new owners.

Kindly get in touch:




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While it’s always best not to waste water in the first place and make sure you close the tap and plug the sink whenever possible, the next good practice to save water is to collect what you can.


That means out come the buckets!

The bliss of rain! Quick, capture as much water as possible!

The bliss of rain! Quick, capture as much water as possible!


Collect water in the sink

Recycle a large ice cream tub by using it to catch water in your sink.

This grey water can be used to flush toilets or if it’s dishwater you can water your plants with it.


Collect water in the shower

Quite an acrobatic feat, place a bucket right beneath the shower head to capture most water while balancing around it.

Better even: Stand in a large plastic basin while showering and catch as much water as possible.

The bucket can be emptied out into the toilet canister to reuse as grey water.


Collect rain water

The fresh smell of rain! The soothing sound of drops on the corrugated iron roof!

Ideally you collect all rain water that hits your roof in a water tank.

Until you get there, whip out all the buckets, watering cans, canisters, you name it, and collect as much rain water as possible. It can be used as non-potable water to flush the toilet, wash your clothes and water the plants.





Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.

Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.


Here’s a way to realise how much water is wasted down the drain: Put a plug on it.

Close the plug in all your sinks – bathroom, kitchen, pantry – just for one day and see how the water builds up.

All of what you capture is grey water and can be used for flushing the toilet or watering the plants.


Remember to put in the plug more often:


Save water when washing your hands

Not much water is being used washing your hands, yet you could save around 3 litres per wash if you put in the plug instead of using running water. When doing an activity that requires frequent rinsing, such as working in the garden or painting, leave the plug in and wash your hands / equipment in the water collected in the sink.


Save water when brushing your teeth

Get a feel for how much water you’re using by closing the plug when brushing your teeth. Close the tap whenever you don’t need running water. Rinse your toothbrush in the water you collected. If you don’t feel like scooping out the water to reuse it, you can clean the sink with it.


Save water when shaving

Put the plug in the sink when you shave and rinse your razor in the water collected. Even better: Fill a cup with hot water and shake your razor clean in it. Not using running water when shaving can save up to 1200 litres a month.


Save water when you shower

If your shower is in the bath tub, close the plug. All the water collected can be used as grey water. If you flush your toilet with your shower water, it’ll smell nicely of your shower gel, so it can have unexpected benefits. Scooping the water out is a mission though, ideally you’d upgrade your plumbing system to automatically collect grey water.


Save water when cooking

When washing fruits, vegetables or salad, make sure the plug is closed. You can do your dishes in the water collected. Scrub potatoes, carrots and other sturdy veggies in a bucket. Use this nutrition rich water for your plants.


Save water when doing the dishes

Close the plug of your kitchen sink. Your dishes get prewashed by themselves if you simply collect the water in the sink and let them soak. You can use the water to clean your dishes and then you can still use it as grey water. The only problem is scooping it back out, so make it easier by placing a bucket in your sink and doing the dishes in there. Whatever you do, not one drop should leave the kitchen sink when it can be reused.




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