Friday, 22 May 2020

How to clean your computer, smartphone and tablet - Cleanipedia tips

                                                                                                                  *Trade Exchange

We have become much more conscious of cleaning in these pandemic times (Covid-19 Corona Virus times). It is lock-down day 57 here in South Africa. I am spending more time when I get into the office to clean my workplace, and also my smartphone. I have also been keen to know if I am doing it right. The Cleanipedia portal has some very useful tips for cleaning, I have been spraying anti-bacterial sprays on tissues/paper towels when cleaning my electronic devices. It's not too far off the mark, but it is great to get some extra insights.

Cleanipedia has the following suggestions to clean your smartphone. See also their tips on cleaning your laptop, keyboard and other electronic devices.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Lock-down Day 55

Lock-down masks

I wanted to document every day, but here we are... It's day 55 of lock-down in South Africa. How did we get here so fast? It has been nearly two months, and we have apparently not yet reached the worst. We are hopeful that we are going to level 3 from June.

I saw this on Twitter today, and decided it's good enough reason to give me motivation to start again to write. To document these times for myself, and for future memories.

I have been longing for everything to go back to "normal". Who would have thought that we wished each day to go into the office, and work a full day? To go back to school for our Tween... She can't wait!

Friday, 24 April 2020

Week 4 in lock-down - Mattel Playroom ideas

Lock-down day 29. We are stressing, but we realise that we still have it very good. We still have a house over our heads. Although it is not our house anymore. We can't wait to move to our new lodgings. We are not sure if we will be able to move yet in Stage 4, but all fingers crossed. We can't believe it's been nearing a month of this. (This too shall pass!)

I am still on stand-by, and go into the office as required. Miss Fine has gotten into a good routine with her weekly homework. Which is a lot of work. I am grateful that we have the devices, and wifi, but we are struggling with printing stuff. (And then I think of all the learners who don't have any, and I feel very grateful that we are able to continue.) Miss Fine also loves the fact that she can sleep a bit later.

Miss Fine is a bit of a dawdler, but we get her moving with a bit of delayed gratification. "You do this, and then you can play, play with an app, watch YouTube, or connect with your friends on your phone." We also got the super cool link to the Mattel playroom, which has given us great ideas and apps of what to do during this time.

Mattel Playroom front page (screen print)

Friday, 17 April 2020

Mona Lisa on the Moon, Thirty-two Thousand years in the making - Vol 1 Review

I had the perfect book to get me through the first 21 days of lock-down. We are now in the extended final two weeks. Thank you, Booktasters, and George B, for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Volume 1, Mona Lisa on the Moon, Thirty-Two Thousand Years in the MakingVolume 1, Mona Lisa on the Moon, Thirty-Two Thousand Years in the Making by George B
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you, Booktasters, and George B, for a free copy of this book. It was especially great to read during this time of lock-down during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is my review in exchange: I love a good science fiction novel. I love this one, especially! It has all the allure of what I enjoy about a futuristic novel. Volume 1, Mona Lisa on the Moon, Thirty-Two Thousand Years in the Making, is the first in a series. I hope the next one is coming soon, because it ended in a cliff-hanger.

I totally agree with the premise that the earth has had many high civilisations (and many life cycles), which were wiped out, and started again. Higher evolved beings, with much longer earth lives, living and working with artificial intelligence in harmony. Exploring space, and terra-forming and populating other celestial bodies. With all the challenges (and other life forms) that comes with it! This novel is set in a time frame thirty two thousand years ago. Mind-boggling, but totally believable. (Looking forward to the movie/series edition).

The heroine and main characters are mostly too good to be true, but it did not bother me at all. It was great reading a story where, although the suspense is high, we can expect the outcome to be in their favour. (Mostly...). The plot do not get bogged down with elaborate descriptions, but enough to sustain a good story. Saving earth, saving humans on other planets, as well as saving other life forms in the universe... It's all part of their daily existence.

Maybe it's because we are living in strange times, locked in our homes, that I enjoyed this escapist science fiction even more. I recommend this to all who dream of better futures, where we are in charge of our own destiny! One day we will be where Mona Lisa is! Thank you, George B, for making us dream.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Week 3 in lock-down - Covid-19 days in South Africa

Lady with mask in underground parking
We have totally lost count of the days. It was day 6 when I said it was day 5 on lock-down. It's day 19 here in South Africa. (I hope.) Nothing much is happening here. 

The days are the same. What gets me is how quickly each day goes. I have so much plans, and of course still packing, but most of the days we can only mark of made food and washed the dishes. Watching too much news, and too much of everything else. We have also caught up with most of the movies that we have always wanted to see. 

Our move has been postponed again. We have never felt so much out of sorts. We should have been in our new house, but now we are stuck in limbo... I know this is going to be a good story, but at this stage it is not funny. We have paid our rent for our new lodgings, and now we are expected to pay rent in our existing home as well. Which we don't have. We are hoping that everybody would be more gracious in their dealings with each other... We are all stuck! In the meantime we are living between boxes. 

I go into work when there is a request. I find it very scary driving through the empty streets, and driving past road blocks. Each time I have to suppress a few tears, and thinking about all the essential workers who have to go in each and every day. Thank you! So far I have not been stopped. But I have my letter, my entrance card and my mask at hand. I also feel very sorry for the beggars that are still hanging around. 

Miss Fine is getting a lot of work to do at home. It is not going well, as she wants constant reinforcement, and help. Which when we give it, is rejected. We have been battling (a much better word than struggling) the maths. She, Hubby and I have been trying to do Amesa maths which have been sent through. It is DIFFICULT! I have come to the realisation that I am very stooopid, and I don't know where I got the idea that I was good at maths at school? Or maybe we did a total other different version of maths? 

We realise she gets a whole lot more done when she is at school. Miss Fine says she can't wait to go back to school! (I'll keep this for future reference, of course.)

I have more nightmares than usual. It is normal for these kinds of days, but it is scary!

How are you coping?

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Lock-down - Day 5

Bitmoji "Keep your distance"
Bitmoji "Keep your distance"
Things have changed drastically for all of us. Here in South Africa we are in lock-down as well. Day 5. We can't even walk the dogs or go for a run. I am not saying this as a negative, as we all commend our government for acting fast and decisive. Our move is on hold, and although this could have been the first day in our new house, we are stuck where we are. We have more time to pack, and go through our stuff. Which is a positive during this time...

Who could have guessed that we would be contained in our own houses for three weeks? And most of us already expect that the containment will last longer. We are worried about the future and how this will impact all of us. I am getting a salary, but my husband's work in the financial industry has slowed down considerably.

I am on standby for work. This means that I make sure I am ready to go in each day. I have my "essential services" letter to show when I have to go in for work. I am able to access my emails, and keep a regular check-up for when a request comes in.

Miss Fine has been living her best life. She loves not having to go anywhere. She is also not motivated to do any school work, as her teachers told them they could enjoy their vacation, and could only expect them to start sending work when school was supposed to start. (She says?) We had a gymnastics exercise scheduled on Saturday, which she missed because we struggled with Zoom. Next week we are going to try again. The gymnastics' teacher sends them regular exercises and updates, which is very cool. But, we have yet to convince Miss Fine to do any of them. Any advice would be appreciated?

I want to give a huge shout-out to all the moms who keep their children entertained with school work,  exercises and arts and crafts. You rock!

The rest of us are just trying to adjust to a new normal.

These are strange times, and it will definitely go into the history books.

For my own records: It feels like the end of the world. Who could have known that we would look forward to normal working days, sitting in traffic, and wishing for that perfect cappuccino from our favourite coffee shops? And we are only on Day 5? We still haven't started with our exercise routine, although Hubby got the exercise bike working again. I baked banana flapjacks yesterday. We still want to bake a banana bread with the rest of the ripe bananas, but there's no baking powder in the shops. Hubby says he and two other men were searching the shelves in Spar today, and a lady was laughing at them, because none of them knew how baking powder looks.

How are you coping?

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Our move on hold with Covid-19

Selfie with dog
Our dog living her best life with all of us at home
Corona! The past few days has been hectic. For everybody! It has been very scary!

I have been quiet, because that's how I deal. I have been watching too much news, and then too much of everything else.

Just this morning I wanted to do a final shopping, but standing queues before entering the shops was just unfathomable. I tried my nearest Woolworths and Spar. I only went later, thanks to my daughter's advice, to a nearby Checkers which had fewer queues.

I am sure it is going to be better during the lock-down to go shopping, but we all want to stay home as much as possible.

We were supposed to be moving at the end of the month. That's been put on hold. As if moving is not stressful enough, we now have to contend with staying put. We can't move, and the people moving into our house, can't move. Our house is full of boxes, and it's in a mess.

I have been on leave to pack, but has heard today that I will be expected to come in to work as needed. The National Broadcaster has to continue, and we presume archive material will be needed. I am awaiting my letter to carry around with me. It is making me uncomfortable to think that we would be expected to produce proof of reason why we are on the road.

These are strange times indeed.

Miss Fine loves to stay home, and she has been in her element. Also watching too much of everything. I had her schedule a daily routine, but it made her anxious, so we told her to relax, and enjoy her holidays.

I am also supposed to be exercising, and packing, and doing things, but I can't show too much for every day. I will be good to myself, and give myself some grace during these extraordinary conditions.

I hope you will too?

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Gauteng Choristers Human Rights Concert - WIN TICKETS

Human Rights Concert poster
Human Rights Concert
The Gauteng Choristers celebrate Human Rights Day with a glorious two-day choral concert

Human Rights day is upcoming on 21 March. The Gauteng Choristers, alongside a 53-piece Orchestra, will commemorate the role of struggle stalwarts and the church with two cantatas performed on 20 – 21 March 2020 at the  Linder Auditorium at the Wits Education Campus in Parktown.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

New Food Lover's Market at Morning Glen Mall

Food Lovers's Market entrance
Food Lover's Market at Morning Glen Mall
Food lovers in the heart of Morningside, Morning Glen Mall, are in for a greater variety of food as Food Lovers Market opens.
Food Lovers's Market Farmer's Crop
Food Lovers's Market "Farmer's Crop"
I was most impressed last week with the offerings at Food Lover's Market at the revamped Morning Glen Mall. As a vegetarian I spend most of my food budget on vegetables, fruit, nuts and beans. The Morning Glen Mall has recognised the need to support the growing healthy living habits of the community. My list grew larger and larger while I was walking through the displays and shelves. The variety, freshness and healthy choices makes it easy for a one-stop shopping experience. Which I always try to do!

Friday, 21 February 2020

We sold our house, and we have to move soon

Bitmoji Karen du Toit: "Honey, I'm home!"
"Honey, I'm Home!"
Change is not easy. As much as we know we are working towards a larger goal, it is difficult to let go of our own space, and our stuff. We sold our house, and everything has moved much faster than expected. We have a month to find a new place.

I love my house. Even more so now that we are looking for other spaces to call home...
We are lucky that we found a buyer in the economic climate, and who gave us our asking price. But now we have to fit our stuff into a new smaller space which is not customized...

Breathe, Karen!

It will be okay!

Friday, 7 February 2020

A short drive for a great weekend break - Magaliespark

Magaliespark bucks
View from the chalet at Magaliespark
We haven't been away for quite a while. The last time was in 2017 when we had the holiday in Ballito. We desperately need a long break somewhere, but in the meantime this past weekend at Magaliespark helped with a bit lot of relaxing.

Magaliespark view over dam
Magaliespark view

We were pleasantly surprised by how lovely Magaliespark is. The greens, and the accommodation and the facilities... There is nothing like arriving at your chalet, being greeted by some wildlife, and the sun setting on a fire for the braai! (That's heaven!) The best is, we only had to drive for 45 minutes in Friday afternoon traffic! It's my dad's upcoming 81st birthday, and him and my mom are celebrating 54 years of marriage. He used his Holiday Club points for the weekend. Thanks, Dad!

Monday, 27 January 2020

We love Arctic Justice - WIN tickets

Arctic Justice poster
Arctic Justice in cinemas from 24 January 2020
Going to a cinema to see your favourite movie is still a great outing! Especially for the family. We saw Arctic Justice (see also Arctic Dogs or Polar Squad in other parts of the world) at Cedar Square yesterday morning. It is a sweet movie, with a number of life lessons thrown in the mix. The director is Aaron Woodley, with a great cast including Jeremy Renner, Heidi Klum, James Franco and John Cleese.

We have two tickets up for grabs for a reader of this blog. See below.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Johannesburg International Mozart Festival - WIN tickets

Johannesburg International Mozart Festival logo with slogan
JIMF 2020

Johannesburg International Mozart Festival to give resonance to Beethoven’s concept of unity

It is a special time of the year when it is the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival. The Mozart Festival has so much to offer families, whether you have a passion for classical music, or want to bring the joy to your children as well. We have been going for the past 2 years, and we have received tickets for the upcoming Chamber Music Orchestra with the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble.
See details below on how two families can also win tickets for this Saturday's Show.

The JIMF  runs from 25 January to 2 February 2020.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Spies in Disguise movie - Delightful - REVIEW

Spies in Disguise poster
Spies in Disguise poster 

This family loves animation. Luckily! Because the parents enjoy it just as much as the kids! We were invited to a kids' media screening in December of Spies in Disguise. It launched on Christmas Day, but it is still running in the cinemas. It is such a cool movie, and great for the whole family!

SPIES IN DISGUISE is a comedy adventure with the world’s greatest super slick secret agent, Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and awkward tech genius Walter (Tom Holland). They are the most unlikely duo who are forced to team up for the ultimate mission. A "lucky"(unlucky) mishap leads to  an almost impossible disguise – transforming Lance into the brave, fierce, majestic… pigeon.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

KOO Mixed Bean and Salsa Salad - recipe

KOO Mixed Bean and Salsa salad in bowl
KOO recipe and image

Last year I was so lucky to be invited to a KOO media event, where we were introduced to all the new KOO options available on the shelf. I now never walk past the vegetable can section in a supermarket. My favourite is the KOO Black Beans in Mexican Style Sauce. It is such a versatile can to have in the cupboard. Great as is, or in bowls and wraps. As a vegetarian, it is great to bring along when friends or family forget about your food preferences.

Please let me know where you see it on the shelve? (It is not always available)

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Word for 2020

Grab, word for 2020 - Canva creation
Word of the year - Grab
There is nothing more powerful than a word. A word for the year is a gift to yourself. This year I am going to GRAB life!

My word for 2019, Resilience, was a powerful word that kept me grounded. It gave me the confidence to power through when times were tough. I can give myself a pat on the back. I have the resilience to grab what life is offering me!

Life is giving us an opportunity. Sometimes we ignore it, and we can never go back! This time we are grabbing what comes to us! We are eager and excited! New beginnings and new adventures await us...

Thank you, Life!

What is your word for 2020?

Monday, 6 January 2020

Welcome 2020

2020 Karen du Toit Bitmoji

2020 is going to be a great year! We know it!

2019 was not that great. When I think about it, I just have an overwhelming sense of relief that we somehow got through it... We were in survival mode, and each month got worse and worse! But here we are! We made it!

2020 can only be better!

I am not only saying it to put out positive vibes. We have plans to make it better! Our goals are set, and the wheels are already in motion. I am not at liberty to say much more... Watch this space! The excitement is high!

We had a great holiday staying home. It was Miss Fine's favourite place to be, and she complained each time we had to go somewhere.

We saw Star Wars over the past weekend, and we loved it. I was so apprehensive that it would not be good (because of social media comebacks), but it is an adventure! Go see it, if you haven't yet! We also saw Spies in Disguise at a media launch in the beginning of December, and it is a hoot! It's still in the cinemas, and worth a family outing!

We watched tons of series. The Morning Show (How good is this?. Can't wait for Series 2) , Stumptown, and After Life are a few of the memorable ones.

I am still busy reading Dan Brown's Deception Point. I finished The Afrikaner by Arianna Dagnino. I owe her a review. It is an exceptional book! (This year I definitely must read more!)

Back at work. Back at the grind! Luckily I have a great job (radio archivist), and can't wait to catch up with all the great programmes I have missed.

Happy 2020!