The Digital Bookclub: January

While the notion of a bookclub might bring to mind a room of old ladies swapping, sharing and telling each other of the latest books they read, and while I don’t consider myself (that) old, the idea becomes more and more appealing as time goes by. I love to read. I loved at school how during “Library” period the librarian would always recommend a handful of books. I usually read by recommendation, which is fine by me.

Yet an actual book club can get difficult to manage and organise. Herein comes Kirst with the idea of a digital bookclub. The concept is simple. At the end of the month review any book(s) you’ve read, and share the love. A list will be compiled that can go around. It’s pretty wonderful.

So here is what I’ve been reading:

khaled_hosseini_a_thousand_splendid_suns1A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

I devoured this book. I’ve been recommended to read this on a number of occasions by many different people, and it’s really not something you should put off reading any longer.

Written by the same author of The Kite Runner, it was incredible. I’m not going to give too much away in this, because you need to read this yourself.The story spans a period of 50 or so years, and centres around the stories of Mariam and Laila, and their growing relationship

Initially we meet Mariam, a young girl of her servant mother and her wealthy father. Because she is born out of wedlock, she cannot live with her father and his other wives and children. This alone brings up many complications in her life, her surroundings and her upbringings. Non-the-less, he visits her every week, and they continue a relationship, much to her mother’s wariness. Tragedy strikes her little world, very quickly leading her into a forced marriage with Rasheed.

Next we meet Laila on the night of her birth. We meet Tariq, and their fun, loving and also tragic friendship. We witness Laila’s horrifying childhood in Kabul. The story goes into the history of the time, war, and ho it affected society. Eventually we learn how these two women, of completely separate ages, lifestyles, and ubringings come together to develop such an interesting and intricate way. You’ll love it.

It’s one of those books where so many outrageous things happen, that if it were anything else, or written any worse, it would seem like badly written fan-fiction. But it’s not, at all. And everything comes together so brilliantly despite so much tragedy and heartache. The story involves love: on so many levels. Father and daughter. Mother and child. Romantic love. Marriages with no love. And the complicated yet so beautiful relationships between Mariam and Laila.

I might be a little late to the party on this one, but I think it’s hit my #1 spot, shared by The Time Traveller’s Wife.


percy-jackson-and-the-sea-of-monstersPercy Jackson, The Sea of Monstors – Rick Riordan

I’m a big fan of books that get turned into movies, usually it means the book is pretty incredible. I’ll be honest, Greg and I are huge fans of the Percy Jackson movies, so when I saw the box set on sale, I bought it for us. I’ve really always loved Greek Mythology. This is the second book in the series, I read the first a few years ago before the first movie came out and I’m currently reading the 3rd. I definitely think it’s harder to read a book where you know the narrative, though. You lose the “page-turner” element of it.

So, after some Monster drama (including some explosions in the school gym), Percy escapes school with his friend Tyson (who later turns out to be his half brother, and a cyclops). Anyway, terrible things are happening back at Camp Half Blood. Thalia’s tree (Thalia, the daughter of Zeus was turned into a tree years ago, to protect her soul from going to the underworld when she died. This tree now protects the camp) has been poisoned and only the Golden Fleece (which is protected by a giant cyclops) can cure.

Percy then embarks on a quest (even though Clarisse, another camper, is officially on the quest) to the Sea of Monstors, in the Bermuda Triangle to save Grover and capture the Golden Fleece. The cyclops protecting the Fleece has trouble seeing through his eye, and seems to believe Grover is his bride-to-be. It’s a humourous touch.

Along the way they come across some ships, an island spa (where Percy gets turned into a guinea pig, because apparently that what men “really” are), they pass the Siren where Annabeth asks Percy to tie her to the ship so she can hear their song (which tells the listenevr their deepest desires)  and they also find Luke, the bad guy from the last book, who’s trying to destroy Camp Halfblood and the Olympians. Eventually, they capture the Golden Fleece and save Thalia’s tree, and as a result, camp halfblood.

The end was my favourite, just like it was in the movie, but it wasn’t as drama filled. But – the book did offer more insight into the goings-on that the movie did. It was a pretty exciting lead up to the next book, which I’m rather enjoying. I hate to say it, but it just wasn’t as exciting as the movie.


It’s been a bit of a mix. I really hope to read a bit faster, more so that I don’t forget what books are about halfway through reading them. I’ve struggled finding books I like recently, I’ve been starting books, not finishing them and putting them on hold. Currently have about 3 of those. I need more time for reading. Hopefully this will help.


Happy reading, guys.

Have you read anything great recently? I’m always looking for new books.

This Photographer Time Traveled to her past

Technology is amazing, and in this case I don’t actually mean a time machine. Chino Otsuka, a photographer, photoshopped images of her current day self into photos from her chlidhood for this particular project. I love how sometimes the two of them are interacting, and sometimes she’s just observing.


She explains her inspiration here:

“The digital process becomes a tool, almost like a time machine, as I’m embarking on the journey to where I once belonged and at the same time becoming a tourist in my own history.”

timetravel01 timetravel02

timetravel06 Snowman timetravel04

9 reasons why Survivor is a fantastic TV show


You might have watched the first season way back when in 2000 in Borneo with Richard Hatch (everyone remembers him), maybe even season 2 in Australia where Tina won. And maybe you might have watched season 3 in Kenya. Maybe. But after that, most people I know dropped off – I know I did for a very long time. Until a few years ago where Greg and I watched an amazing season, and have proceeded to watch ever since, and even catch up on most previous seasons.

I know I won’t convince any of you, especially if you’re not partial to reality TV game shows, but I thought I might try explain to you why perhaps, it is a great show after all.

1. Blindsides

Oh, you thought you were running the whole game? Oops, everyone’s turned against you, and you’re going home. Boom.




 2. The Mental Game.

Who is in an alliance with who? If they win immunity, who do we vote next? Who can I beat in final three? Who do I want to take to the end? Do I stick with my alliance or jump ship? Outwit, outlast, outplay, they said. No wonder these guys hardly get any sleep for 39 days.

3. It’s always changing.

You don’t really believe a show could be 27 seasons strong (yes, they’re starting season 28 next month. Chew on that, F.R.I.E.N.D.S) if they kept it the same season after season.

Is it going to be 2 or 3 tribes?

Will it be a final 2 or final 3?

Will there be exile island (where you’re sent away from the game between challenges, and miss out on camp life and scheming), redemption island (where you’re voted you’re not actually out the game and can eventually win your way back in) or none at all?

Will it be men vs women, young vs old, fans vs favourites, blood vs water (past players playing with loved ones) – who is going to be against each other?

Are they bringing back returning players?

If so – who? Do we like them? Do we hate them?

You see, there’s really a lot to consider.

4. The Challenges.

Those darn challenges. Firstly: where do they build them? In the states? On the island? Where do they get the resources? And where do they get the ideas?! Granted, they have reused challenges (sadly, we’d know), but they do keep coming up with new ones all the time. Many challenges are intricate, physical, mental and incredible. It’s a great element of the game.

How long would you be able to last?

How long would you be able to last?

This is probably only one element of a challenge. Sjoe!

This is probably only one element of a challenge. Sjoe!

Need to use your brains too!

Need to use your brains too!

5. “The usuals”

Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with the same old, same old. The family episodes (that get me so emotional every time). The Survivor Auction. The food eating competition (though those are less frequent nowadays). We actually got very upset in this past season because there was no family episode. Come now, guys.

Reunited with their families :')

Reunited with their families :’)

6. Location, location, location

OK, personally I love the different places the show takes place in. Why do you think Nicaragua and Micronesia are on my travel bucket list? It’s like watching the travel channel, but far more fun. I’m telling you, I would 100% go on a Survivor cruise or tour. Totally.

How is that water in Nicaragua?

How is that water in Nicaragua?

Micronesia's Palau Islands - I mean, hello?

Micronesia’s Palau Islands – I mean, hello?

7. What actually goes on.

There are so many rumours. Apparently the Jury stay at some fancy resort and come back for tribal every few days. Apparently they’re sworn to secrecy about the game until the reunion show. Apparently they reshoot scenes from challenges so that they have better footage for the shows editing. How on earth do people wonder off alone to go find hidden immunity idols or to conspire with a camera man following them, and not get caught? Those individual interviews – how do they know exactly what to say? And seriously, how long is tribal council really?

I have a theory that they edit and switch around the reading of the votes at tribal to achieve maximum drama. And lastly, guys, what happens when Jeff leaves everyone behind at the final tribal counsel with the votes in hand? Is it all “cheers, see you in LA?” You’ve just nailed these final three, half of them hate one another, and now they’re left to their own devices? I think a Survivor documentary is in order.

8. Jeff Probst

Whether you love him or lovProbstJeffe to hate him, Survivor wouldn’t quite be Survivor without Jeff and his one liners.

“The tribe has spoken.”

“Drop your buffs.”

“You’re gonna have to dig deep”

“Want to know what you’re playing for?”

  • Once the votes are read, the decision is final, the person voted out will be asked to leave the tribal council area immediately.

Grab a torch and approach the flame. Dip it in and get fire. In this game, fire represents life. Once your fire is gone, so are you.

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9. The Reunion Show

After seeing people for 39 days in the dirt, it’s always interesting to see how they look in the real world (or rather, on live TV).



Well, it all keeps us coming back.

Season 28, here we come.


Table Mountain, you beautiful thing.

We were lucky enough to be given a set of tickets to go up Table Mountain the other day. I was really looking forward to it as the weather had been lovely and the last time we’d gone was before we had even gotten engaged. So it really was a fair while. We graciously accepted, probably to many locals’ (and possibly tourists’ too) dismay at not hiking our way up.

Last week we met up with friends from Australia, who wondered if Cape Tonians ever noticed the natural beauty around them. I proudly told them how much difficulty I have keeping my eyes on the road on my way to work, with Table Mountain spanning my entire view (don’t worry, I always win this internal battle). I asked Greg the other day “isn’t it weird and wonderful how there is this massive mountain in the middle of our beautiful city?” and he rightfully responded “Lee-Ann, you mean what is this city doing built around this mountain?”, which I thought was true and somewhat insightful.

We went up, walked around, took some photos, admired the view, picnicked on sushi, chatted to lots of tourists – and offered to take photos for them, and ended the evening watching the sunset.

2014-01-19 18.18.452014-01-19 18.09.06  2014-01-19 18.19.37  2014-01-19 19.56.45 2014-01-19 20.07.41 2014-01-19 20.07.48 2014-01-19 20.11.52 2014-01-19 20.08.23 2014-01-19 20.08.55  2014-01-19 19.56.26

Cape Town, I love you.

Friendships, they’re funny things.

Do you remember your first best friend? I do. We were in grade 1, and I’d just moved back to South Africa. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but our friendship lasts to this day. I don’t see her much these days, as we live in separate cities, a couple of times a year, but whenever either of us are in the other’s town (she’ll be in CT more often than I’ll be in Joberg) we’ll meet up.

Do you ever see on Facebook those people who are friends with the same group of friends from High School? I always have a little bit of a laugh. On the one hand I think it’s really sweet, and really nice.But sometimes also a little strange. Out of my group of friends in High School, I don’t think I see any of them anymore. Not because of any fall outs, but they’ve all moved elsewhere. Are you still friends with the same crowd from High School? I wonder what keeps certain groups together after so many years. What is it that doesnt change, or do they all “change” in the same direction?

I’m happy to say that I haven’t “lost” any friends. I’ve never had such a fall out with someone that I can say “I used to have this friend” and only have nasty things to say about a relationship gone unfortunately sour.  Anyone I’m not friends, or in touch with anymore, is mainly because of distance. Sometimes when you don’t see each other anymore in the environment that first brought you together, you just tend to go your own way. And I truly believe that’s perfectly ok. Sometimes the things that bring us together, won’t always keep you together. Yet distance won’t always separate friends. You’ll have friends you don’t see for months, or years, and still consider one of your closest. It might range from the weekly Skype call, to whatsapp conversations or even sporadic emails.

I have so many of these friends. My best friend from primary school is one of them. My friend in Joberg who came down for my wedding, who I’ll only have seen once before celebrating her wedding later this year. A handful of close friends who have moved to live in Joberg. A friend from school living in Israel, who isn’t so good technologically and we send each other an email every other month to catch up. A friend from New Zealand who I Skype a couple of times a year. My friend in Sydney who came for my wedding, and is currently updating me via whatsapp on the plans for hers. Too many friends in Israel. Too many. It’s tough having so many close friends scattered across the world. Not knowing when you’ll see them again is literally soul destroying.

It’s starting to sound bad isn’t it? That I have so many friends far away. It’s hard. But thankfully, every year that friends have left (it’s been too frequent to count) we land up making new friends, so you don’t feel as lonely. It’s like an ebb and flow of the sea. Being married, husbands are awesome company. But they’re really not the same as your girl friends.

I find it so funny how since school has ended I’ve bumped into so many former classmates. So many who were in my grade since grade 7, that I mostly never spoke to all the way up to matric. Your inner 17 year old thinks it’ would be so awkward, but seriously, High School was so 6 years ago. We’re all adults now. I’ve landed up working with two people from school. Another was the HR manager at a job I was applying for.  I bumped into someone at a wedding last week, and I reconnected with another over twitter. And none of these encounters were awkward in the slightest.

Twitter. I’ve found it so wonderful how “twitter” friends, can become your actual friend. To date I’ve met two people who originally I met on twitter. I’d consider them friends. I’m sure if I met more of these people in real life, they’d become my friends too. People on Facebook don’t understand how the local twitter “community”, if I may call it that, is just that – a community. It’s not a bunch of weirdos who sit and live on their computer. Who knows, maybe it’s just my industry and interests. And the blogging community. I’ve recently become fascinated by the concept of communities, and how they can form over something so seemingly random. Like covering your hair. I know, right? But through my 365 project, and some groups on Facebook it’s like I’ve discovered another world of people who feel like my friends.

For me, it was refreshing to get out of High School and making new friends. That’s probably because I came from a Jewish school. At university people were all so different, yet brought together by their interests and their choices of study. My friends from university all hold such a special place in my heart. Most I haven’t seen in years, some since my wedding, or even graduation. I’ve bumped into a few in and around Cape Town. How can you forget the friends that you spent hours in the sun on Jammie steps, had you laughing through 1st year English or got you through some boring lectures. I miss my one friend, who we’d have wonderful discussions about life and our respective religions, the type of conversation that really enriches your soul. She flew in for the day for our wedding, and it hurts me that I can’t return the favour to be at hers. Though it’s been years since seeing these people, I know if I had an afternoon with them, the conversation would never stop flowing.

Naturally, the people you spend the most time with are also ones that you’re likely to develop friendships with. My parents always tell me how lucky I am to have had such great colleagues. Colleagues that become friends. One of my closest friends, started out as a colleague. I definitely saw more of her in an average day than I saw Greg, and I didn’t even mind so much. Even since starting a new job everyone has been so lovely, and while it’s only been a short time and we haven’t hung out outside of work, as time goes by, I could definitely see this happening. I really felt this the other day when I bumped into a guy I used to work with. It was just so nice to see him.

Sometimes it feel like all my closest friends are leaving. 2 of my friends are moving this week (and more to come), and while sometimes it’s pretty easy enough to get caught in the downward spiral of misery wondering where all my friends have gone, I like to keep things positive by focusing on who is actually still here. I have a theory, that every year people leave, and every year new people move in to town. It’s not easy when your friends aren’t a short drive away, and you won’t replace them, but it’s nice to know you won’t be lonely. So I’m quite excited to focus more on certain friendships and nurture and cultivate them. Kind of like growing a plant (except, I really can’t do that. I’d be much better at growing friendships).

My friends, and the concept of being a good friend are both very important for me. Even though so many of my friends live so far, I feel cornily lucky to have them. May the friends and friendships you have, the friends you hardly see and the friends you’ll make in the future continue to enrich you all and make your heart as full as my friends do for me.

Project 365: Weeks 6 & 7

Just because I haven’t been updating the blog, it doesn’t mean I’ve neglected this little project. I’m uploading daily on instagram (where you can follow me on leelipman89 – I promise it’s not all daily scarves). Looking back, it shows I need to try more hanging down looks (I like the plait in week 6) and need to try show the other side of my head, or my neck might get stuck that way.

I think I need to get some more scarves, I’m actually interested in counting how many I have. If you have any that you’re planning on throwing out or don’t match any of your clothes anymore, give me a shout, perhaps we could do a swapsies 🙂

Either way, have a wonderful week guys!

Week 6

Week 7