That dreaded time of the year – no, not Christmas time (yet)

I bet that if you tapped someone on the shoulder and asked why we celebrate Guy Fawkes Day or Night, they would not be able to give the actual reason. According to Wikipedia, it started way back in 1605. The people of London, celebrated the fact that King James I survived an attempt on his life – by the Gunpowder Plot – by lighting bonfires. The person arrested as part of this Gunpowder Plot was Guy Fawkes.

So now, many years later, after having been carried across the sea by the settlers and contorted into a money-making and noise-making affair, it is still observed by many. Do we really need to? Should this antiquated and so far-removed from our South African history observance still take place? Here are some of the reasons why I believe we should stop it:

  • Not a part of our SA history. It was brought here by the colonists. Maybe the #feesmustfall and #decoloniseSA people should take note of this!
  • Despite the designated areas, fireworks are still being set off in residential areas – which is illegal
  • Animals have a much more keen sense of hearing than we do. What – to us – may sound like a dull thud far off probably makes an animal think it’s in a war zone. Remember, they are not aware of the rituals we humans make use of, so this comes out of the blue for them. Also, consider the wild animals, not just our pets.
  • People are literally taking their money and lighting it on fire! In our current economic crisis with Pravin’s imminent arrest and all the other melodrama our government has landed us in, is this really what people want to do?
  • It has the potential to be quite dangerous.
  • Think of all that litter from burst fireworks flying around, causing blocked drains, dirty beaches etc.

I urge you to speak to the people you know and make them see how senseless this observance is. Remind them that discharge of fireworks outside a designated area is punishable by law.


Useful numbers to call:

Illegal sale or use of fireworks: Metro Police 0860765423 or SAPS 10111

Reporting a fire: 107 or 021 480 7700

SPCA Inspectorate for distressed animals: 083 326 1604

More info on designated sites (Sunrise Beach is NOT a designated site this year!)

Bacon and cheese (and mushroom) quiche recipe

A few years ago I borrowed a recipe book from a colleague who has since left and neglected to ask me for it. I tried to return it, but the Universe conspired to allow me to keep it. Should she return to Cape Town, I will gladly deliver it to her; in the meantime, I will reap the rewards of having such a book in my possession. One of the recipes I found and absolutely love is for bacon and cheese quiche, which I amended by adding mushrooms.

Bacon, mushroom and cheese quiche

Serves 8
Pastry shell
1 roll of Today puff pastry
Spray and Cook
Pie weights – don’t have? See my hack below
Baking paper
Pie dish (diameter of about 23cm, depth of 3cm)
Pastry shell instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 190 deg
  2. Spray the spray and cook into the dish
  3. Roll out the pastry to fit into the dish
  4. Make small incisions into the pastry so that when it puffs up some air can escape
  5. Layer a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and evenly distribute pie weights over it
  6. Place in oven and bake for 12 minutes, remove paper and weights then continue to bake until golden
  7. Remove and set aside (leave the oven on 190)
Four slices of shoulder bacon, cut into small pieces (I used a kitchen scissors)
6 button mushrooms, diced
3 eggs
250ml cream
1 cup grated cheese (I used half mozzarella, half gouda)
1/8th teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Getting it all together
  1. Maintain the temperature at 190 degrees Celsius
  2. Fry the bacon until crisp and then drain.
  3. Fry the mushrooms
  4. Place bacon and mushroom pieces into pastry shell
  5. Beat together the eggs, cream,cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper
  6. Pour over the bacon and mushrooms and bake until puffed and brown, about 30 min.
Don’t have pie weights?
I knew that jar full of cents would come in handy some day! I put two handfuls of the coins into a container then disinfected them using vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, then just for good measure rinsed twice with boiling water. Place in dish evenly.
Crazy fact: my dog, Harvey, went nuts for the smell of the coins in my vinegar/bicarb solution. He started barking at the container – I wonder if his sensitive doggy nose picked up on the chemical reactions.

Delicious frikkadel recipe

I love eating good food, and it’s even better if I’ve prepared it myself. I’ve compiled a list of recipes in a Google Doc* which I use regularly and the most recent addition is for Frikkadels, a South African meatball which is usually fried, baked or fried then baked.

Frikkadels (CC-BY) by Rainer Zenz on Wikipedia

I usually find that I have to tweak a recipe to make it work for me. Here is the recipe I found on the Woolworths website.


Traditional frikkadel with garlic and chermoula


4 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
1 tbsp Brown vinegar
cos lettuce leaves, for serving
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil, enough to cover fish
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp Worcester sauce
1 egg
4 Tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 large onion, diced
500 g free-range beef mince

Cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Combine the mince, tomato, onion, parsley, breadcrumbs, egg, Worcester sauce and brown vinegar.
Season to taste, then mould the mixture into large balls. Place a nonstick pan over a medium to high heat and add the olive oil.
When hot, fry the garlic and frikkadels, until the latter are browned on all sides.
Transfer to an ovenproof dish and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until firm and cooked through.
Serve nestled in crisp cos lettuce leaves with a tomato-and-red onion salsa and a small bowl of chermoula paste, for dipping, on the side.



My own twist

I had to get rid of the liquid (residual water, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar) from the mixture by forming the balls then squeezing gently. I also sliced a few garlic cloves in half and dropped them into the oil but removed them before they got too brown. Next time I will create my own garlic-infused oil and add a bit to the frying oil too.

I also bought a can of Rhodes chopped tomatoes and poured it over the frikkadels in a deep oven dish then baked as per the recipe. Not only does it add delicious flavour to the frikkadel, but it also retains the moisture which is sometimes lost by oven baking. When serving, pour some of the tomato smoor over the frikkadels.


*When viewing the Google Doc, click on Tools –> Document outline if you’d like to see a table of contents

Do you have any frikkadel recipe variations you’d like to share? Comment below and you could win a 16GB OTG flash drive valued at R150. Draw to take place on 14 September. Competition open to South African readers only.

I get my creativity and entrepreneurial spirit from my mom

What is the opposite of Law Enforcement?


On 13 August, my husband decided to take a different route home after taking my step daughter to her ballet class. It was while we were driving down Sunrise Boulevard, which we don’t normally use, that we saw a man walking in the rain, holding up a puppy for people to see. This man was clearly selling this puppy. My husband must have groaned inwardly, thinking “Here we go again…”.

I love animals, I love them more than I love humans. I will stand up for any injustice I see and I am like – excuse the pun – a dog with a bone when I want justice.

So, I made him turn around and confront the guy, who said he wasn’t selling the puppy, but that he just wanted a R50. My blood boiled. R50 for this living being who felt pain, and who was probably freezing. I immediately called Law Enforcement, because up until that moment I was an upstanding citizen who abides by the law.

Did you know that it is illegal to confiscate a puppy from a person who is also illegally trying to sell said puppy?

I stressed to the person on the line that they’d have to send someone quickly, as this man was now aware we were onto him. Hah, the wasted breath!

It was about 15 minutes later that I found this guy again, at the Capricorn Square Shopping centre, still walking around with the pup, soaking wet, but quiet in the face of this injustice done to him. After calling the SPCA inspectorate, he disappeared and by the time I flagged a cop down, he was gone. By the way, thank you to that cop who sped out of the McDonald’s parking lot, leaving his partner in the store, to follow me.

There was another metro cop who stopped me and heard my story gave me an “Oh, it’s just a dog” look.

Law enforcement? Cue that night-time cricket sound… nowhere to be seen! (Note: LE offices are a 3min drive from where I initially spotted the puppy seller!)

Because I had bothered a SPCA inspector months ago about just this type of issue, I contacted him again. He then forwarded my email to some Law Enforcement guys who never responded.

What do I want from this?

  1. Law enforcement needs to be held accountable for this: my call went unanswered, so did my and Inspector Moyo’s emails. Ok, someone replied but such a listless reply, my word! See in gallery, email 8. 
  2. An inclusive programme which prevents illegal selling of animals. A partnership between SPCA, LE, SAPS and the interested public, maybe?
  3. For all to know that should I see someone selling an animal again, I will take matters into my own hands, because clearly nobody else cares.

Screenshots of emails in gallery below

Thanks to Inspector Moyo of the SPCA, TEARS and AID for Animals in Distress (who responded to the second incident), and the cop who helped me at Capricorn Square. Also, thanks to the City of Cape Town twitter account (@CityofCT) that asked me to DM the problem – not enough characters on Twitter for this story 🙂

How to cut out a shape from an image and place it on a different background

I’m not an aficionado (just yet), but let me share how to take a shape from one image and place it onto another image or background. I hope I haven’t left anything out. If I have, let me know!

Download GIMP here

Tips for managing storage on your mobile device

In this day of technological abundance, we often find ourselves spending more time filling up our mobile devices with pictures, documents, music and videos. I initially imported the OTG flash drives to help people with managing the space on their devices, but I realise that I was addressing the problem, not actually providing a solution.

Here are my top tips for managing space on your device:

  1. Photos

We all love to document every single moment of our lives, and oftentimes it takes more than one picture to find the right one. Sometimes we end up with a gallery of blurry or photo-bombed pictures which clog up the storage. I suggest, if not at the time, once a week, go through your gallery and delete the images you will never use.


I, for one, very rarely listen to a whole album. I usually have a few different songs that I listen to, on repeat, until I am sick of it. Two things: only load the songs you want to listen to and once you’ve reached the point of “Ugh, I don’t want to listen to this anymore” delete them


  1. Install Google Drive

Internet giant, Google Inc “focuses on on improving the ways people connect with information” (Forbes Most Valuable Brands article). While Cloud storage is not everyone’s cup of tea, it is a convenient way to manage your documents. Google Drive comes pre-installed on most Android phones. If you don’t have it, go to the Play Store (on Android devices) or the iOS App Store (for Apple devices).

In my next post, I will discuss how to set up a Google account in order to access this storage marvel and how to use it effectively. Can’t wait? Pop me an email, or comment below.

For those of you who need a backup alternative for your PC or Mac, Soteria may be the solution for you. Sign up for a free 30 day trial here

4 things we wish South African store owners would teach their employees

I’m only 30, yet when I say things like “When I worked in retail…” or “when I was growing up…” I feel so ancient. Those types of utterances are common in my day-to-day vocabulary, and I am, quite frankly, not ashamed to say it.

My most common utterance: “When I worked as a waitress, or in a clothing store…” Jeez, people, the behaviour of some “customer service consultants” in certain popular chain stores makes you wonder if they received any training at all. And, when I say training, I refer to client relations, not the actual work. Because, believe me, the training manager will not skimp on the hard-skills. It’s the soft skills that need toughening up.

Here are the four things I wish these chain store managers would drill into their employees

  1. Be aware of your surroundings and respect the customer’s space

Just today I was walking in the store. There were two guys wearing the uniform who were chatting away merrily and walking. The one bumped into me because he was not looking around to see where he was walking. I’ve been told I have a very expressive face, and I think the lady at the vegetable weighing station saw my reaction and she told him to look where he was walking.

In fact, this is not something that should be taught at work, it’s something that your mom tells you as a kid, “Nicole, look where you are walking, don’t bump into people.”


  1. Serving the customer is a priority. Your attention goes to them first.

I could not find something in the store – silly me, I thought I was in the Tokai branch but was instead at Capricorn – so I walked up to one of the ladies talking to a fellow colleague. My polite “excuse me” was met with a dirty look and a very listless response.

When I went for training I was told that I was not allowed to talk to my colleagues in case a customer needed help. Oh, how I hated that rule, but now I see why it was important. There was another rule for when standing at our stations: don’t remove your red peaked-cap. Oh, Lor’ ha’ mercy, but that was the most horrible cap I was ever forced to wear! (I worked at Meltz as my first job)


  1.   Always give the customer right of way

Something that sticks out from my training I received all those years ago was this rule. That means that if a customer is walking, do not jump in front of them or make them wait for you to pass. This happens quite often and really gets under my skin. Anyone else?


  1. Should you need to ask your colleague something, don’t shout across the aisle

I also get really peeved at the group of coloured girls (and I can say coloured because I am a coloured meisie myself) who tend to shout at each other from across the aisle, “Sementaaaaa, waa’s ie wassing powder?”

Dear lady, no wonder people from all over the world look at us and think we are super gee-ay-em. You may not be able to speak well, but at least walk over to your most knowledgeable colleague and whisper, “Sementa, waa’s ie wassing powder?”

That was my little rant. Do you have any stories you’d like to share? Comment below and you could win a 16GB OTG flash drive valued at R150. Draw to take place on 14 September. Competition open to South African readers only.

On-The-Go Flashdrives

Two years ago I began importing OTG flashdrives. I took a chance, and it turned out very well. So far I have sold just over 200 of them, with not one complaint from my customers.

My latest shipment has a new twist – I now have 32GB and 64GB, in addition to the 16GB I have been importing.

OTG flash-drives - many colours

Disclaimer: the image above is to show what they look like. Currently, available colours are red, blue, black, silver, champagne

Things you should know about these awesome, handy drives

  • They have a dual function: as a normal flash drive and as a mini USB to plug into your hand-held Android (and sometimes other) device
  • They mainly work on Android-powered devices, but I sold one to a colleague who has a Proline S210TU which runs Windows (and it works!)
  • Just like you have to “safely remove USB” from your computer, you should unmount it from your phone before physically removing it.


List of devices they are known to work on

  • Huawei G8
  • Proline S210TU
  • Nexus 10″ tablet running Media Importer Software
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8, S3, S4, S7, Tab 10″
  • Lenovo IdeaTab