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Monthly Archives: May 2014

As cute as it looks, the burning question remains: What was rattie Siri busy doing in our couch?


Pet rats are very easy to keep: They don’t need to be walked or exercised, they don’t need much space and they are easy to feed as they have nutritional requirements pretty similar to humans.

But, like any other pet, rats require time and attention:

Rats love to roam and explore, they go on quests and rummage. It is fun to watch them.


However, from a rat’s perspective your space is their space, and that can cause some conflicts:

– Rats have ever-growing teeth and need to gnaw or grind them regularly. Make sure it’s not your favourite object that falls prey to this foraging behaviour.

– Rats love to build nests and have the perfect shredder mechanism. Their razor-sharp incisors will go through your couch / curtains / bedding like butter.

– Rats are scavengers and hoarders. That means whatever dirty secrets you have hidden beneath the couch, they will find it, and keep it.

– Rats are opportunists and curious to the ‘killed the cat’ level. Coupled with a determination that would leave the Terminator taken aback, they will get to that place that you thought they’d never reach. So prepare. For ALL eventualities.


Coming up next: How to ratproof your home. 🙂


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Ceramic heart painted in dry brush technique

In the spirit of gifting: Make a personalised Mother’s Day present.

When it comes to finding a present for Mother’s Day I prefer something personalised, something that comes from the heart.

So I looked for inspiration and came across John Bauer’s exquisite ceramics. One of his signature artistries is to imprint fine lace and other knitted patterns into his porcelain.

As with all people who have found their true calling, John is thriving on exercising his talents. He has produced a many beautiful things. One very endearing one is a ceramic heart you can stick to the refrigerator.

I was fortunate enough to snatch one up, as I felt this makes the perfect Mother’s Day gift. The heart itself with its fragile delicateness of detailed designs is gift enough. But I wanted to personalise it.

John Bauer is also incorporating a special clay mixing technique that leaves lovely traces of colour in the pottery. This made my decision a tough one, but I chose to paint over it.

There is a simple enough dry brush painting technique that works especially well if the surface has a high contrast structure. And so the results were stunning: With very little effort the decorative reliefs sprung out and came to life.

Using different colour saturation and dryness, I created various looks on the different parts of the heart, exaggerating an in-depth, almost 3D appearance. This was fun! And it enabled me to give the heart for my mom a very personal touch.

As the heart is so light, I could post it like a normal letter. I can’t celebrate Mother’s Day with my mum in person, but now I can at least send a small token of my love instead.

If you’d like to learn how to dry brush or where to purchase John Bauer’s ceramic hearts, please contact me:

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Bad politicians are elected by good people who don't vote.

Bad politicians are elected by good people who don’t vote.


The recent Brexit fiasco proves that voting is to be taken seriously: People voted the UK out of the EU out of spite, not actually considering the consequences of leaving the European Union. Already on the day the election results were announced, #BrexitRegret swept the British nation. Now it’s still being discussed if Brexit is actually feasible.

This shows what many of us seem to forget:


Democracy is a responsibility, not just a right!

That means it is our duty to be an informed citizen, who has done their research, discussed and formed an opinion and came to a logical conclusion which voting result would be the best for the nation. Your vote determines the future of your country!


3 reasons why you should vote


1. Voting is part of your democratic duties

Others have died or suffered greatly in the fight for the right to vote. Honour them by casting your vote!

Not voting means you are barring yourself from your democratic rights – you’re giving up your chance to influence your country’s future.

There’s no point in moaning about the government unless you do something about it by voting accordingly.


2. Not voting does not count

When you don’t vote you let others decide on who will run your country.

The least you can do to express your frustration is by crossing out the entire ballot and thus officially documenting your refusal to vote. Unfortunately though this only makes your vote invalid and has no influence on the election outcome.

If you don’t know who to vote for, you can rather vote for an acceptable underdog to show the big parties they have to do a better job to earn your vote.


3. Vote because others can’t

There are groups of people who have no access or no permission to vote.

Think about why the government would exclude certain people from voting. For example:

– The 2016 US election registration process unnecessarily excludes poor citizens in general, and poor minorities in particular.

– Before 1996 also non-citizens could earn the right to vote in South Africa. But since 1996 no law provides voting rights for non-SA-citizens.

There is politics at play here, making sure the people who would vote against the current government don’t even get the chance.

If you’re on the electoral register, you have been granted the privilege by the government to make your vote count. Use it to change things for the better!


Updated August 2016.

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What’s left of our tyre thanks to the R355…


  • Know your way.

You don’t want to take a wrong turn. Make sure you have maps and directions at hand.

  • Slow down for oncoming traffic.

Depending on size and speed of the oncoming vehicle and the wind direction you might find yourself engulfed in dust with instant zero visibility.

  • Slow down for upcoming traffic.

If someone wants to overtake you, let them. Give them plenty of space and slow down: In return for your courtesy you’ll hit a wall of dust.

  • Have your car in tip top shape.

This is like an endurance race for your car. Give it a good try by having it serviced and geared up accordingly.

  • Have a tyre repair kit ready.

Two spare tyres (yes, at least two), car jack, tyre foam, and whatever tools it takes.

  • Don’t overload.

Find out what your car can carry. Adjust the tyre pressure accordingly.

  • Keep your car balanced.

Balance the weight right, so it sits evenly on all four tyres. Consider a roof rack rather than loading everything into the back.

  • Don’t adjust the pressure of your tyre.

The first time around we had received the tip to let air out of the tyres and it worked.

But according to Outbackjoe’s Tyre Pressure Guide this increases sidewall bulge and so exposes the tyre to potential damage by grinding and slicing across the side of obstacles protruding from the road or track.

And that is exactly what happened to us the second time around: The tyre got shredded into strings of loosely hanging, sparsely clinging together strips.

The potholes are especially tyre munching: The tyre doesn’t just plunge into the hole. It gets cut along the side by a harsh edge, razor sharp as if the stones are aligned around the pothole like teeth.

So be warned: Don’t underestimate the R355 and take it easy! Make the journey part of your experience, drive slowly, take in the view, watch out for the welcome signs, have a good time!

(But not too good: Beware the police check!)


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Very happy to see our very flappy tyre again!


In 2013 we cruised the R355 in a breeze. But 2014, we were in for a surprise (or two).

Don’t dismiss warnings about this track eating tyres for breakfast, lunch, dinner and as a snack in between. This road is not to be underestimated.

We were prepared of course: Spare tyre and tyre foam.

So when the first tyre blew we were taken aback, but all set and ready to quickly replace it.

Yes, you read right: When the first tyre blew. That means: We had two flat tyres!

While the first tyre hung in shreds off the rim, with the second flat tyre we had more luck: It was a slow puncture close to the AfrikaBurn gates.

A quick fix with the tyre foam allowed us to just about make it to our camp! It was like our car got there on its last breath, or well, rubber.

So we made it safe and sound to our campsite, but now had to prepare for the return journey and needed to fix those two screwed tyres. That’s when we realised we had lost one! The spare tyre had gotten loose and must have fallen off along the way.

To our biggest amazement the good AfrikaBurn spirit worked out: Our lost tyre story had made the rounds and on the next day already it was returned in all its shredded glory.

This meant we could get our tyres fixed at the tyre shop which gave us a chance to make it home.

So remember: Take it easy! Drive slowly, keep your distance and take in the view. Enjoy the journey!

And: Read the Tips to survive the drive on the R355 to AfrikaBurn.


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