Monday, 31 August 2015

Lately August 2015

It's been such a crazy last few weeks that I've hardly had time to think about where my next meal is coming from, let alone plan more blog posts. But things are finally starting to wind down and it's just hit me that in less than 1 week (5 sleeps, to be exact) I am going to be heading off to Germany!

Ok, granted it's mainly for work, but still! I've managed to organise to spend the weekend before I start in Germany and I'm going to be meeting up with a friend who moved there recently and is going to come and spend some time exploring Cologne with me. And then, the weekend after I'm going to go and see where my friend lives in Regensburg. I've been doing a little bit of research into the places I'm going to be visiting and I'm really looking forward to it! In between the weekends I'm going to be training and then testing the software we've spent the better part of 6 months customising to suit our client. It's a tough life when you work on a project that sends you to cool places like Italy (see here) and Germany!

Since most of this month has been taken up with work, it feels like I haven't really done much, especially around the first half of the month. Although, that being said, we did manage to spend a wonderful afternoon at Spice Route the other weekend with some friends. And one Saturday I went to a morning Nikon Camera Course for my D3100 and Nathan Bezuidenhout taught us some awesome tips for using our cameras (after having it for a few years, there was still extra stuff that I could learn, which was great!) and then in the evening we went to a friends birthday party. And we made good use of our Table Mountain Cards and used them to catch a lift down after hiking to the top of the mountain one morning. And this last Sunday I went to a great market out near Darling on Groote Post Wine Farm with a friend. We may have come back with a boot full of wine and delicious toffee from Darling Sweet (think red wine and chocolate flavours, or honey and salt)...So scratch the idea of not managing to do all that much this month, considering we worked two weekends this month, we definitely made full use of the other two weekends! 

In the Nikon Camera training, we learnt how to take those cool pictures where the subject is in focus and the
background is blurred, this was the best one I got of my hand while I was playing around.
80's Themed Party
Me and Frosty at our friends awesome 80's themed birthday!
Chocolate cake with multicoloured heart in the middle
How incredible is this cake? I wish I could claim I made
it, but unfortunately I cant :(
View from Spice Route Front Lawn
Beautiful view from the front lawn of Spice Route.
View from Spice Route Front Lawn
We were so lucky with the weather on that day - probably one of the best day's we had in August!
Orange breasted sunbird being inquisitive
I can't get enough of the Orange Breasted Sunbirds on top of Table
Mountain. This little guy was extremely interested when we started playing
his call using the Roberts App!

Orange Breasted Sunbird on top of a red hot poker aloe on Table Mountain
Looking regal on top of a red hot poker aloe

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Friday, 28 August 2015

Quote #6: Gratitude

Shew, I'm a bit late with my quote of the week this week, but better late than never!

Gratitude. Isn't it interesting how sometimes we forget to be thankful and instead focus on what we don't have. I love that this quote cuts to the chase and makes us realise that if we are grateful for what we have, we see that we actually don't need all that much...

I also read an interesting post on gratefulness (here) which I think fits in quite nicely with this theme. And since there was a challenge at the end, here's what I'm grateful for:

  • My Family: they were the people who knew me before I knew myself and helped to mould me into the person I am today. Although most of them live far away, we always have great fun when we're together.
  • Frosty: the guy who gives the best hugs, has his own type of logic (Frost Logic) which he uses to teach people complex ideas, who adventures and explores with me, who challenges me and lets me challenge him. My friend and my favourite place.
  • My Friends: from the adventure time family who are mainly in Cape Town to those who I don't see often and wish I could see more of, new friends and old friends and everyone in between. Whether it's a reason, season or lifetime, all of you bring out a different aspect in me and for that I am so grateful.
  • My Work: I have learnt so much from my two different jobs - what I like and what I don't like. What I'm happy doing and what I will do my best to avoid. Qualities to keep or discard in the workplace. The opportunity to travel to cool places within my work and to interact with people from all over the world.
  • My Privilege: the food that keeps my tummy happy, the roof over my head, the home that I live in, being able to drive to work in my own car and having enough money in my bank account to be able to do fun things every now and then.
  • My Education: going to a wonderful co-ed junior school, earning a scholarship to a prestigious all-girls high school and then off to a university class where I was one of few girls and getting a degree that has allowed me to find well-paying jobs. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn skills that are incredibly valuable in this day and age.
So, those are a few of the things I'm grateful for...what are you grateful for? Feel free to tag me on Instagram or leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

Practical Cookie Wise Words Wednesdays Week 6

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Monday, 24 August 2015

Tea Time Win

A few weeks ago I entered in a competition run by Melissa Louise and Zomato to win a tea experience at O'ways Teacafe in Claremont. I promptly forgot all about it, but a few days later, my day was made when I found out that I had won one of the vouchers!

On a free Saturday morning, Frosty and I headed off to go and use up my voucher and we decided that since it was close to lunch, we may as well order lunch as well. 

Neither Frosty nor I are big tea fans (we both usually prefer coffee), but the tea-making ritual was so peaceful and unhurried and it definitely left me thinking that I could become more of a tea drinker, just to partake in that ritual a bit more regularly.

One of the things that we both noticed over the course of our meal and tea was that service was a key factor for O'ways. The staff were well trained and pleasant and the owner took her time at each table and mentioned just how important service was to them when she came to deliver our bill to us. As both Frosty and I spent some time working at a Four Seasons (which is a hotel chain renowned for it's service and attention to detail and where training is important for all staff), we often notice that South African restaurants are lacking in this department. However, O'ways impressed us and  when we get a chance I'd like to go back to test out some of their other teas (and maybe some coffee too!).

Thanks Melissa Louise, Zomato and O'ways Tea Cafe, it was awesome to take part and win a competition and I'm sure we'll be back to visit O'ways soon!

O'ways Tea Cafe Tea Pot with Tealight Candle Underneath
If I remember correctly, I got the Rooibos and Ginger tea 
O'ways Tea Cafe Tea Pot with Tealight Candle Underneath
We discovered the meaning behind the term Tealight Candle!
Frosty got the Kenyan Black Tea
Peasant Food - Lunch at O'ways Tea Cafe
We got some nibbles before our main dish arrived, they were delish!
Gnocchi and Pesto - Lunch at O'ways Tea Cafe
Frosty got the Gnocchi with Pesto and it was scrumptious.
Peasant Food - Lunch at O'ways Tea Cafe
I got the Peasant Food - a hearty meal of a Veggie-soup type dish with a freshly baked roll - yum!

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Quote # 5: Our Ultimate Freedom...

Practical Cookie Wise Words Wednesdays Week 5

Isn't it interesting how, so often, we let situations beyond our control affect us in horribly negative ways without actually realising it? 

I love that this quote reminds us that we have the power to choose how to react to situations and that we can choose to feel frustrated or annoyed or disappointed at certain things, but we equally have the power to choose to process these situations, learn from them and then try to let them trickle away, like water off a ducks back.

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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Quote #4: I Hated Every...

Practical Cookie Wise Words Wednesdays Week 4

On Monday and Tuesday of this last week, I attended First Aid Training Level 1 with MEC in Pinelands which I really enjoyed. It was great being able to learn some new skills and get out of the office for a few days, but as you can tell from my lack of posts last week, I've had a busy last two weeks or so...

Anyway, part of the training was allowing us time to practice the things that the trainers were teaching us. And it wasn't just 5 minutes to practice after they had demonstrated something. They gave us a good hour of practice for each demonstrated thing and then at the end of the day we had a practical "exam" where we had to demonstrate the activities again. This got me thinking on the importance of training.

All those hours, spent practising the same thing over and over again. It sometimes get monotonous. But it also starts to hard-wire those activities into our brains so that, when the time comes and we need to perform that activity in real life, we can do it automatically, without thinking and with speed. Pretty important when you're dealing with an emergency situation... It's an important lesson to learn, but definitely a worthwhile one, I think!

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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Numeric Math Camp Fun

A few weeks ago, some of my colleagues and I got to spend a morning at the Numeric Math Camp which was held over the course of a week at UCT. We got to interact and chat to learners from Gr 6 - Gr 8 and really had a fun time. 

Numeric is an after school program which uses Khan Academy to expose learners in low income areas to maths and aims to improve maths scores in those areas by focussing on the basics and letting learners go at their own pace. To find out a bit more about Numeric, click here. This maths camp gives some of the top learners in the program a chance to gain some more exposure to maths in a fun and engaging environment and find out why maths is relevant later in life. 

I gave a fun talk on "My Maths Story", where I shared my maths journey. Starting from the age of 16, I explained the impact of Maths and Computer Science on my life and how Maths enabled me to pursue a career in Engineering and Software Development. I also explored the various careers I was interested in over the course of my schooling, illustrating how Maths was required in order to study all of the degrees I was interested in. I explained one or two simple engineering concepts that require maths and finished off with a few maths tips that I have learnt along the way.

It's always a bit nerve-wrecking standing in front of a lecture hall (probably the engineer in me coming out) and I often find that it takes me a few minutes to settle into my presentation and get comfortable in front of a big group of people, but by the time I had established that the majority of these kids knew about the CSI and NCIS TV programs, I had got into my stride and really enjoyed giving the rest of my presentation, you should hopefully be able to click through my presentation below*. The rest of the morning my colleagues played some fun maths activities with the learners, teaching them about binary numbers, the basics of image processing, sorting logic and ordering. 

Numeric also put together a video of their 2015 Math Camp - see if you can spot me!

* I used Prezi to create this presentation, it's a great alternative to Power Point!

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