The Anatomy of a Perfect Picnic

I like to think of Greg and myself as expert picnickers. We like to pack a variety of food, usually which we have lying around (ie, no extra costs) and taking them to free or low cost locations in which to devour our lunch (or sometimes, breakfast). Kirstenbosch is one of my favourite places in Cape Town to picnic; lying in those gardens all day for me, is the equivalent to most people of a full day at the beach. I’ve been waiting and praying for a sunny Sunday so we could go hang out out my favourite spot, and with a public holiday looming last week I was getting really excited!

For most people public holidays are the greatest gift to your life. Especially when you’re a student, but for different reasons: extra time to work extra hard on that looming assignment! Being married to a student, I had to stand up for my rights this public holiday! Sunday: all work. Monday: all outdoors. So at least that deal was sealed, and all we had to do was pray for good weather… especially after Sunday was so cold and rainy. But the weather worked in our favour (ie it didn’t rain, and wasn’t freezing) and off we trundled with our full picnic baskets.

We lounged around for the rest of the afternoon and had a lovely time. Now, our time would not have been so great were it not for the factors which lead to a great picnic, which I have decided to compress into this handy little picnic guide. Enjoy your next picnic 🙂

Good weather

This basically means no rain (the day before, the morning of, or on the day – this will result in wet bums!).

Good venue (with good views)

Kirstenbosch really does have some of the best!

Good food

Packed with a full picnic basket, a real cooked meal (chicken stir fry!) and plenty of snacks!

Good company

Greg is pretty decent company.

Good entertainment

This of course is optional, yet recommended if your company is a bit average… we took our favourite board game, Settlers of Catan, books, and of course – our camera (you sometimes forget how fun self timer can be!

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What to do with off bananas

Bake with them of course!

I really like bananas, but we often can’t eat them quick enough without them going off. So our options are usually either running backwards and forwards to the shops to buy bananas every other day, or otherwise buy a big bag… and the last few go off.

But for the first time I got smart, and decided to bake some muffins with them. May as well put them to good use, and make something gross and mushy into something yummy. It took about 5 minutes to mix up and then just threw it into the oven for 20 minutes. I even got a bit adventurous and threw in a bunch of chocolate chips – I think it made all the difference!

baking banana muffins

baking banana muffins

 

4 medium ripe bananas

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten.

1/3 cup of oil

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarb

pinch of salt

chocolate chips!

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Mash bananas. Add sugar, eggs, oil. Add sifted dry ingredients. Mix until it comes together (mixture will still be lumpy), stir in choc chips. Spoon into greased muffin tray and bake for 20 minutes.

I got about 15 out of this recipe 🙂

The Vanity Post. [Photoshoot Photos]

So our photo’s are ready to order online!

Our package only lets us choose 50 out of the 80 or so pictures that have been uploaded, so now we face the daunting task of having to pick and choose our favourites! Eeeeeekk!!

Either way, here are a few of them for you to have a look at. Aren’t we just lovely?

and my favourite photo of all (which I am dreaming of getting printed on an A0 canvas…)

Photoshoot!

This morning we finally had our photoshoot!

I was totally calm, chilled and had my outfit all planned – up until yesterday afternoon where I frantically started looking online for “how to style couples for photoshoots” and naturally, browsing pinterest for ideas. I got so stressed out about it last night, that I eventually decided to leave it til morning. I practically threw everything I could possibly wear onto the bed after trying each option (the bed is still in said mess), and then took a good stare at Greg’s cupboard choosing clothes for him while he was in the shower. Of course, I chose an entirely different ensemble to what I thought I was going to wear.

We woke up to pretty grim weather. Thankfully it wasn’t raining, but it was cloudy (with some sun attempting to peak through). We asked Günther Schubert of Vorsprung Studios to meet us on the Sea Point promenade for our shoot. While we waited for him, we played in the park and just got into the fun photo taking mood.

We were so happy when we met Günther. Never have I met someone so chilled in my life. Having our photos taken by him was the least stressful experience. It was great to have photos taken so long after our wedding, I personally found the photos at our wedding the most stressful part of our entire day! I was most looking forward to our couple photos, but we only had 1.5hrs between the ceremony and reception, and after the gatrillion family photos were taken we only had a little time left for ourselves. Thankfully, our wedding photos are totally beautiful, but it was just great to have photos taken while we were both so relaxed and under no pressure of time constraints (or 200 guests waiting for us in the hall…)

Günther was totally laid back and chilled with us. We started with some posed photos, and took it from there. He gave us some general light direction of how to pose, where to stand, which relieves us of having to think of what to do. He was also very welcoming of all our thoughts and suggestions: “can we shoot here?”, “let’s do one like this?” and was very patient when poor Greg kept having to take break in looking at the camera due to the sun shining in his eyes.

We shot at the park, on the slide, the swings, the merry-go-round, pictures on the rocks at the beach, sitting on benches, making use of rusty railings, lying down with cards scattered, playing with cards (because Greg is a super magician, of course!), walking, jumping and laughing around!

We really had so much fun, and having Günther made it so much more relaxed. It really makes such a difference to shoot with a photographer who makes you feel comfortable, and is feeling your vibe. Between takes and walking we chit-chatting, and the guy is really super talented! At such a young age he is already shooting for the morning show Expresso and for Top Billing! If you’re looking for a photographer for anything, I would highly recommend Vorsprung! Check them online, on facebook and on twitter!
Photos coming soon! (hopefully!)

Ps. I tried to find pictures online similar to what we did so you could get an idea, but I couldn’t find much (which I suppose makes us unique?)

It’s important to date, even once you’re married.

When you’re a couple dating (and don’t live together), almost every day you’re trying to see each other or to go out and do something. Now you live together. You see each other either way, and because you just want to see each other, you sometimes are quite happy to just settle at home.You become happy to just lie in bed and watch series at night, or play a boardgame, or get busy with the piles of dishes you have to do before having to go get ready for bed so you can function at work the next morning.

In general Greg and I don’t go out too much. But we decided a while ago that we need to go out on dates. Getting out of the house is really important. While domestic bliss is fun and all, sometimes you just need to run out like the star-crossed lovers that you are deep inside.

So last night we went to the Pink Flamingo, an outdoor cinema set up at the roof of the Grand Daddy Hotel in Longstreet, to watch The Breakfast Club. It’s kind of like the happy union of a drive in, and an open air theater. They have a variety of price packages, and you get a little goodie bag of popcorn and sweeties. Sadly, we couldn’t eat the stuff, and were told we could bring our own snacks (We may have gone overboard bringing an entire picnic basket including an old school popcorn box). Even though it was just a movie (which isn’t the most social of events) it was really good to get out and do something fun and different.

I really recommend you check out the Pink Flamingo, I’m sure they’ll have plenty great movies showing in the Summer time!

picnic basket

Greg kept me entertained before the show making sponge balls appear out of our colourful blanket.

 

 

Making mistakes.

I made a mistake at work today. It was so silly, and so stupid and I was really ashamed of myself afterwards. I was shaking from anger for having done something so stupid.

I immediatelly starting thinking all these irrational thoughts: “oh no what have I done!”, “everyone is going to lose faith in you”, “you’re so stupid/worthless/insert-appropriate-word-here”… I moped about it for a bit, wanting to just sit and cry, before realising it wasn’t going to get me anywhere.

I realised that the thing with mistakes – is that everyone makes them. The thing is, you make them once – and you need to learn to never do it again. That’s the thing with mistakes. They’re not always fun things to go through, but they really can teach you something if you let them.

Thankfully, it was something I could correct. I apologised. While it may not have erased the issue, and some people were still mad, it made people know it was sincere and not intentional. I smiled the rest of the day, so that it didn’t look like I had taken my own mistake so personally and got on with the rest of my work. I think that I do a good job, and a mistake like that will only make me extra careful and more aware of what I do in the future.

If I stick to that mindset, I shouldn’t really go wrong.

“So all you do is sit on Facebook all day?” Umm. No.

Where does someone go when they want to comment/ask a question/or complain to their favourite brand or local shop? Usually they hop straight onto one of the brands social media platforms. They like to get quick responses, yet find it hard to believe, and forget to think about the fact that someone actually has to be manning those accounts. Usually, the company themselves don’t have the time to do this themselves and employ someone to do just that!

At the moment I manage the social media accounts of 5 different clients. Some only have Facebook, others have gone the whole hog with Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+ and Pinterest. I update each social media platform of each client daily. It gets time consuming. Especially when it comes to weekends, and I spend a good while scheduling posts for each account, for each platform for over the weekend. If you do the maths, and I’m scheduling 1 post a day, to 4 different platforms, for each client… you can see that this alone takes some time.

Social Media Icons

I don’t spend hours at a time just sourcing content to post onto the pages of clients. No, no. At about the middle of the month, we start preparing for the posts which are going to be posted the following month. On my first day of work in July, I was already preparing content calendars for August. This method works really well, instead of sourcing content for an hour every day (per client), you spend a couple of days the month before to prep the following months calendar. Often, you have to keep making changes because the client doesn’t like this, or would prefer a post like that, so you keep editing until they approve the content. These calendars in and of themselves are very time consuming, yet in retrospect save you time in the long run.

Not only do we have to post, but we also have to respond to facebook posts, comments, and inbox messaged (our 1 client is a fertility clinic, and I once had to respond to a message from a woman asking how to give birth to twin boys. For reals.) Twitter I sometimes feel is a bit chaotic. Every second people are posting tweets which I have to keep up with. I have to follow the timeline of each client and interact with media, bloggers and other people we follow.

tweet deck example

Above is what my tweetdeck looks like, its a program that allows me to manage many twitter accounts at once. These are only some of the columns, I have about 2 or 3 for each client which needs to be watched, as well as a column for scheduled tweets.

On top of all of the above I help develop strategies, come up with competitions, liaise with bloggers for forms of digital PR. We write monthly reports for the client to let them know how their pages are doing. We come up with digital PR events which need to be approved by the client and then actual implementation!

I recently experienced an interaction on twitter, that really showed me what a difference good community management can do. I have a voucher for yuppiechef which I need to spend. My eye caught these gorgeous salt & pepper shakers in the shape of paint tubes. I tweeted about how I loved them, but asked if people thought it was worth it. I wrote “yuppiechef” in the tweet, but hadn’t actually “mentioned” them with @yuppichef. They picked it up, and responded. Note their tone, and without even mentioning which product I was talking about – they knew.

and below see the interaction I had with them yesterday.

Note how they offered to extend my voucher? How can I not love yupiechef after all this with such a great and friendly interaction via twitter, which I never even initiated!

So no, I dont “just sit on Facebook all day”, I really do a whole lot more.