Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Africa Geographic Competition

Facebook is pretty amazing. Through one of my contacts, I found out about the Africa Geographic Photographer Of The Year competition and the prizes look pretty amazing, so I thought I would enter with a few of my own pictures.

There are 3 categories:

I entered the below pictures for either the Travel or Wildlife category. Hopefully my pictures will soon be up on the Travel and Wildlife albums - if you see any of my pics, please like them so I can stand a chance to win the "most popular entry" category!

Baberton Green Mountains
Travel - Rolling hills in Baberton

Mabula Birds
Wildlife - Amur Falcons

Baberton Sunset
Travel - Baberton Sunset

A Trio of Rhinos
Wildlife - Trio of Rhinos taken at Mabula Game Lodge

Mabula Sunset
Travel - Sunset at Mabula Game Lodge
If this sound of this competition appeals to you, why don't you scour your pictures and see if you have anything that will fit into one of the categories? Let me know if you've entered by commenting below!

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Monday, 15 December 2014

What is the point of a #Hashtag?

The hashtag has been around for a while now and lots of people use it in their statuses and photo captions - facebook, instagram and twitter posts often contain these little '#'s. But how many of you really know what the point of a #hashtag is?

  • To make up cool phrases such as #bestfriendsforever, #I'mDoingSomethingCool, #bestideaintheworld?
  • Used to add some #oomph to your picture captions/statuses/twitter feed?
    Not really.
  • To annoy people who prefer to read sentences that aren't littered with strange symbols?
    Surprisingly - nope, not that either. 
The point of a hashtag, my dear readers (and yes, there really is a point), is to allow you to add keywords, known as "tags" to whatever the hashtag is associated with, such as a facebook post, photograph, blog post etc. These tags are used by search engines when they crunch out their algorithms in order to bring you the most relevant information. When you then publish this thing and let it loose into the www, there are a few things that happen. 

In facebook/instagram/twitter, if you use hashtags, you will notice that they're click-able or searchable, or both. Click on a hashtag to see what others have been posting about that topic. If you can't find anything, it means no one has used that hashtag. 

You can create your "own" hashtag in order to keep track of things. I'm thinking of using these to keep track of my Practical Cookie blog posts.

Lastly, if you search for something on a search engine, and it has an associated hashtag, it will probably show up at some stage. It might not show up on the first page, but it will eventually!

So - use the hashtag to get found, discovered and find out what other people are associating to particular words!

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Monday, 8 December 2014

My Favourite Things About Christmas

Christmas Tree Practical Cookie Black and White

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. As November starts to draw to a close, I start looking forward to the buzz that starts to fill the air as Christmas draws near. Holidays start to seem just a hop-skip-and-jump away and the summer days start to feel lazy, even on work days.

Here are my favourite things about Christmas:

  • Christmas Carols
    My folks have a Christmas CD called Carols by Kings which we would put on every year and this would also indicate that it was time to decorate the Christmas Tree! Every year I look forward to listening to this CD (and others) full of Christmas Carols.
Practical Cookie Christmas Carol CDs
  • Decorating the Christmas Tree
    What's not to love about getting your Christmas tree up - when combined with carols and some awesome decorations, an afternoon of Christmas Tree decorating is an afternoon well spent!

Practical Cookie Christmas Tree with Star

  • Family Time
    As a kid, I always took for granted the time I spent together with my immediate and extended family. Now that I'm older and living far from my folks, Christmas time means that I can spend some time with my family, reconnecting and catching up with everyone.
Practical Cookie Christmas Table
  • The Feel of Holidays
    This time of the year, the coastal regions become crowded beyond belief and everywhere else feels like ghost towns. Either way, the long summer days and evenings feel as if they will go on forever, which is such a great feeling.
Black and White Butterfly
  • Making and Wrapping Up Presents
    When I was younger, mum often organised for us to make Christmas presents for our family members. I've carried this through to present day and usually have a combination of handmade and shop-bought gifts. I love sitting with a pile of presents in front of me, ready to be wrapped. Firstly because it means I don't need to worry about any more Christmas shopping (or present making) and secondly it means I get to make my presents look awesome!
Practical Cookie Merry Christmas Decoration
  • Delicious Food
    Christmas is always a good excuse to get creative with food as well as revert to some old favourite dishes. One of my old favourites is the cherries and pineapple from a delicious ham.
Practical Cookie Christmas Gold Candle

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Monday, 1 December 2014

The Art of the Brick - Cape Town

A while ago, I found out that an exhibition called The Art Of The Brick is going to be coming to South Africa. I'm so so excited for this because by using Lego to create sculptures, the artist Nathan Sawaya has made art into something tangible and exciting for people of all ages (because, let's be serious, everyone loves Lego!). I really think that this is an activity that everyone would enjoy and be excited about - who knows, maybe you'll find yourselves inspired to make your own creations.

The Art of the Brick is going to be exhibited in both Cape Town and Joburg, so if you find yourself close to either of those cities over the following periods, do yourself a favour and take a peek.

Here's a bit more information:
Cape Town:           12 Dec 2014 - 28 Feb 2015          
Joburg:                 13 May 2015 - 12 Aug 2015         
Opening Hours:      9am* - 7pm
Prices:                  R99 - R145 pp

You can buy tickets at Computicket - they are sold for specific hours every day in order to limit congestion. 

*9am - 2pm from Monday to Thursday are reserved for school tours.

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