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Listen, the best way to travel in Berlin is not by tram, bus or train, which is both expensive {unless you abuse the system, which you shouldn’t do, and which I totally didn’t} and super confusing to work out, but by bicycle! I recently spent a five-day stint in the city of bloggers, artists and parliament.

On my first day in the city, I used all trains, taxis, trams and buses and by the time I reached my destination, I was so overwhelmed that I just cried non-stop. The S-bahn and U-bahn gets easier as you go along, but then – as soon as you get off – you still have to navigate the streets. Let me tell you something, one kilometer in Berlin is a communist kilometer! You end up walking five kilometers, even though the map indicates just one. The city’s layout is confusing as heck for a first timer. Here in Joburg, if someone tells you that something is one kilometer that way, it is literally one kilometer in a straight line that way. Berlin, well Berlin isn’t. 
So, I decided that as I had a Berlin Pass, which was about R1800 for two days – but includes free trips and museum entrances and many other things – I would make use of a bike trip with Fat Tire Bike Tours. I had a number of options, but chose the All-in-One City Tour. Best decision I could have made while in the city. Believe me, it is just the best way to travel. 
Our trip started on the Sunday afternoon at 16:00, with Andrew as our tour guide. Now in SA, the sun starts setting not long after that in autumn, but in Berlin autumn – albeit a bit chilly – the sun only really started shining then and shone until 7ish. Our tour lasted well into the night, and I made some solid friends – two New Zealanders named Sam and Angeline – while on the tour.

The tour takes you to see all of the most important landmarks in the city – great, if you do not want to walk yourself to death! – and included highlights such as the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, The Wall, Museum Island and a break in a beer garden, in the middle of Tiergarten, the huge park in the middle of the city.

Our tourguide, Andrew, was like google on wheels and gave so much insight into the history of the city and all of the sites we saw. For history afficionados, like me, it was a real treat. And even when we peppered him with questions, he was still so well prepared to answer them.

The great thing is that you can also rent a bike for about 10 euros a day – or R150 – and explore the city on your own. This is only advisable if you do not mind getting lost or treading far.

The next day, I met up with Angeline and Sam (the New Zealanders) and did just that. Angeline was born in South Africa, but her parents moved to NZ when she was 9 years old. However, she still speaks Afrikaans, so we spent the whole day chatting away, while poor Sam understood little more than asseblief and dankie.

TOP TIP: The Europeans drive on the wrong side of the road, so you have to check yourself when riding your bike. Are you on the correct side of traffic and are you in the wrong bike lane {or on pedestrian territory}? I got many foul scowls from German pedestrians because I was not in my lane. It can be very confusing.

Also, if you hear a cling cling cling coming from behind you, it means “Get the hell out of my way!”. All the bikes have little bells on them that warn people that they are about to get hit by a bike. People also don’t seem to like when you ring your bike bell out of enthusiasm. In Germany, it is strictly about business. Don’t be the girl or boy who cried bike bell – you will get such awful looks.

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The best way to describe the Irene Country Lodge is as an escape from the city, in the city –  a breakaway from your home. Irene has long held a special place in my heart, it is one of the suburbs I covet, and would love to live in. It reminds me of the English countryside, with its diary farm, stretching green lawns and rock walls.

We were greeted by the friendly receptionist and lead out onto a veranda, where we were not only treated the most beautiful sunset, but also some delicious cocktails. It was hard to believe that, while sipping on our cocktails and listening to the birds settle for the night, we were only an hour’s drive from our house, and not even nearly out of the city. In fact, we were almost smackbang in the middle of Centurion.

After cocktails, we were invited to a buffet dinner, served by a culinary school’s students. Although the food was not the greatest I’ve ever had, owing to my prawns being undercooked and Flip’s calamari having the same sad affliction, the pudding more than made up for it. Honestly, it did not disappoint.

I love, but love meringue and the mine meringue bites were just perfect and the right amount of crunchy and sweet. I wished that I could eat all of them! I would definitely recommend the Irene Country Lodge for a high-tea, bridal shower or baby shower as the desserts were out of this world. We both had a caramel mousse tart and I had a bite of Flip’s chocolate mousse tart. Listen, I’m not saying it was similar to a very loud scene from When Harry met Sally, but it was clearly audible how much we enjoyed these puddings. Eye-closing moments.

They are also relaunching their menu on the 25th of October, with something foodies like to call a molecular gastronomic menu. I am excited to see what that is all about.

The lodge recently refurbished their rooms and we had this huge bed waiting for us after dinner. While we missed out on our complimentary spa treatment because of time constraints from our side, just thinking about plunging into the bed after a looong hot bath was therapy enough for me. I had also just returned from Berlin {I will still post about that, promise} and had a little bit of jet lag, so I just wanted to have a relaxing night in. But, for the more hyped-up ones, there are several clubs, bars and trendy restaurants in the area to enjoy a night out. Having a night cap at the lodge was the better option for me though.

What I liked: the room was big and oh so beautiful! I also loved the big bath. The property is stunning, I love the out-of-city feel it provided, perfect for a little weekend getaway.

What I didn’t like: the fact that the food was a let down; we were also invited to enjoy a picnic for lunch and was told to arrive at the hotel at 12:00 to pick it up. We arrived, was kept waiting for 45 min and then told that the picnic basket was taken to the dairy farm and that we had to collect it there. When we arrived at the dairy farm, the managers had no knowledge of the picnic baskets and said that we must pick it up from the hotel. This confusion just really let me down and I threw in the towel, not even worrying about the picnic and the delicious food it might have contained.

The next morning, after a lofty breakfast, we visited the Irene Dairy Farm, which is only about 500 m down the road from the lodge. I love cows and wish I could have a dairy farm. While other people might think it is gross to have a cow lick you up and down, I loved it! Their tongues are actually quite raspy, like a cat’s tongue, did you know?

We also spent the rest of the day snooping around at the Irene Village Market, which is about 1 km from the lodge and said hi to my grandma, who lives in GEM Village close to the market.

For a weekend spent in the city, this was quite the treat!

You can find the Irene Country Lodge on Nelmapius Road, Irene, Centurion. Make a booking by phoning them on 012 667 6464 or visit their website // Our stay was sponsored by African Pride Hotels.



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I am the worst girl ever. I somehow missed the boat on hair braiding and also didn’t pay attention in class when nail polish application was mentioned.
For me, applying the perfect coat of nail polish on my fingernails is like asking someone in a weelchair to stand up – impossible. (Except if you’re Kanye, then anything is possible). So here are my (entirely tongue-in-cheek) tips to not suck at being a girl, or applying nail polish.

1. Get a manicure
Honestly, the best way to ensure that your nails absolutely don’t suck is to have it done by a professional. They have been trained to do it, so if you can fork out the money to make your talons look extra pretty, I’d say that this is the best and easiest option. Unless you are squeamish like me. I find manicures to be very painful and I HATE it when they have to file your nails. HATE it. (Totally suck at being a girl)
2. Don’t do anything for a few hours
Unless you have those super quick drying nail polishes that cannot smudge, just don’t move for a couple of hours. I have pink nailpolish on my teeth today, because I smudged a nail and stuck it in my mouth to smooth it out. This is why it might be better to do your nails in the evening while watching tv and doing nothing else. Or just go to a nail salon.
3. Paint outside the lines
Listen, if you are not to worried about this, paint outside the lines. Paint your nails in the evening and go crazy with that polish. The next morning, in the bath or shower, just {trying to think of a nicer word, but can’t} scratch the polish off from the sides of your fingers. If you managed not to smudge your nails, it should look perfect.
4. Use a nail polish with a flat brush
I don’t know why, but I have found that those flat brush nail polishes are not as easy to mess up as the traditional round brushes. They don’t go outside the lines. Or check the interwebs for ways to apply nail polish correctly.
5. Put your nail polish in the fridge
It’s supposed to last longer that way. I’m guilty of keeping my nail polish for months, and often find that it’s stringy and sticky and won’t move from the brush to the nail. Keeping it in the fridge also helps it to go onto your fingers more smoothly. Or you could just chuck the old polish and buy some new ones. 

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Pics from Pinterest

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When looking at the history of fashion, it really is mind-boggling how much has changed. In the years pre- and post-World Wars, everything was handmade – something that is today considered a luxe item – but people didn’t really dare. Everyone wore crimpolene dresses {generalising much?} and if your dress had, for example, a floral print, you were the most daring of your friends.

Today, fashion is used as a form of self-expression; if you want to wear swear words on your shirt or wear a beanie with the words #yolo embossed on it, it’s no biggie. In the old days, it was shocking if women wore shorts.
I am fascinated by how much things have changed in a few decades and what intrigues me most is kids clothing. I have heard a number of people complaining about kids and babies being dressed up as young adults, which I find very cute, but I also stand by the saying that kids should be kids. The other day, I saw a crop top ‘pakkie’ for preteens and I nearly fainted! That’s why I love Ninakind so much; the brand embodies exactly that – letting kids be kids, but in the cutest way! 
Known for handmade baby products, including toys and clothing, graphic designer Nina Jonck, the brain behind the brand, strives to make each and every product unique and different.  “So much love and care goes into every stitch. I hope you love my creations as much as I love to make them,” Nina tells The Sun House. 

Well, I am absolutely in love with your creations and wish I had little ones to dress up in your adorable garments! How did you start and how long have you been doing this? 
I’ve been doing this since 2012, but only started full time about a year ago. 

It all started while I was busy studying Graphic design. In our second year we had to design a character, so I put pencil to paper and designed a cute monster. I then realised the shape would work well with felt, and made a little monster out of yellow felt, stuffed it and stitched it! My classmates fell in love with the yellow monster and soon the orders started rolling in. And as corny as it may sound, the rest was history.


What do you do and do your provide services? I make handmade baby products, that includes soft toys,  babygrow details, mobiles and a few special requests here and there. I make to order, so normally a client would contact me if they’re intrested and we would work something out from there on.

Where do you find inspiration for your creations? Today we have the internet and lots of social media platforms where you can browse for hours. I try to look at pictures and illustrations and picturing them in 3D or even in patterns that I can utilise to make my dolls. I never copy and always try to stay true to myself, and just to use any artwork as a base and not a direct copy. A lot of my clients also come up with ideas that I can play around with!



What are the challenges of being your own boss? Getting up in the morning! NO! Im just kidding. If you love what you do and everyday you get to create something new, it’s pretty hassle free to be your own boss. BUT sometimes you have to work hard not to mix work life with personal life especially if you work from home.

How do you perceive the South African design landscape? Well, South Africa (Cape Town) is the design Capital of the world. I think that is pretty great for the creative South African! I love our diversity and to be able to express yourself freely. The support we get from each other is great and inspirational!  There are so much to inspire you here, and it is awesome that even the smallest artist get recognised! 

Speaking of diversity, what are your favourite materials, colours to work with and why? I mostly work with felt. And any colour will do, but the colour I like to work with most is grey and red. You may not know this but I also doodle and love to work with ink especially black. I don’t know why but I like working with different mediums, maybe it’s the challenge to get to know each one, that I love.


Your doodles are amazing! What would you do if you won the lotto?
I would travel the world! I will take all my friends and family  with to join in on the fun.
And I would donate a cut to child welfare! 

What has been your proudest moment to date? Being featured on your blog! Well I feel very proud each time I get a new order, it shows someone out there likes and appreciate what I do.

Really? I feel so honoured! Tell me, where to from here? I can only go up! I would love to have a successful online shop and become a Proudly South African product. Maybe go to a few markets like ‘Die Trommelskou’ and KKNK.

Find Ninakind at these links:

Instagram: @nerina_nina


>>> GIVEAWAY TIME <<<
You can win some amazing Ninakind products by following her Facebook page and sharing it with your friends. Click on the picture for details.

http://facebook.com/ninakind

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This weekend we did something spectacular, in the name of love – well, for me it is spectacular – and I am only getting around to writing about it now.

Marriage is such a special and blessed thing, to spend the rest of you life with the person who knows all your quirks, your moodswings, your ins and outs, your gross moments {come on ladies, we have all let out a little poot in front of our other halves} and still loves you and misses you when you both are at work – now that’s awesome! I mean, there are days that we absolutely want to kill each other and when I feel sorry for my poor neighbours for all the words coming from our house, but in the end, you forgive, forget and have wonderful make-up you know what. (Hopefully my mom is not reading this. But I’m married. So.)

Even though love can sometimes be blurry and not go the way you want it to go, it’s the little things that count. This picture for example – it is so far from perfect, and it shows how far from perfect we are as human beings – but its us in a cute moment, and I love it. 

Speaking of sex, the magazine that promotes a healthy, sexy and adventurous sex-life for married couples, Intiem, launched its Love Bridge at Magnolia Dell this weekend, and we were lucky enough to attend this momentous occasion. There was much fanfare about the bridge, designed by Johan and Grete Wentzel from Wdesign. (Read more about it in my previous post on it)
After a morning in the sun – which left me lobster red – we stood in line to have our locks hung on the bridge. Engraved with our names nogal. It was a very sweet moment for me and I got all teary eyed and flustered when we walked back to our car – to think that we have tied the knot just under a year ago and now we are putting a lock on our love. It reminded me of the unbreakable bond a marriage should be, it should go way past the big ceremony and the fanfare, it should go deeper than just every day things. Marriage should be a place to connect with your best friend on an emotional, physical and spiritual way and I am so lucky to have a partner that shares these values.

We also followed the Intiem Marriage Week programme for the week, and surprisingly, we fought more than I expected. It was sort of therapeutic fighting – we discussed things that really bothered us both and ways in which we would improve on that specific topic. It was followed by bible study, that served as guidelines for the correct way to act and be. Let me tell you, this was so enriching! And I will do it every year, because I don’t want to end up in a lawyer’s office bwcause we both kept things locked up in our hearts. In this sense, the arguments were awesome.

I am really happy that I could have shared this awesome day and marriage week with my best friend and life partner.

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Spring is here! Last week was still so cold, but just like that, change came along! Warmer weather brings so much change in the environment around you and also ignites change in yourself. Have you noticed that you are just a little bit happier because it is Spring?


With the warmer weather, I am also thinking of the wonderful things to do in the city; mostly looking at some perfect little date nights! I think it is really important in any relationship, whether you are together for ten years, or married for one, that you never stop dating each other. Always try and find something new to do with your person – and if you love it, do it more than once! And always try to find out something new about your person. They are human, changes are bound to be made in their life. Did your guy start with a new gym routine? Ask him about that!


Joburg has about seven lakes and dams in and around the city. Bet you did not know that. Starting in the east, there’s the Benoni Lake and Gillooly’s farm, both beautiful places to take your dogs on walks and have some lunch. 

Moving into the city, you can go for a row on Zoo Lake! For reals! Check out my friend Tash’s post on rowing at Zoo Lake here. Or you can have a beautiful day out at the delightful botanical gardens in the leafy suburb of Emmarentia. Be sure to grab your camera as you tour the terraced Rose Garden, with its many fountains and pools, as an especially romantic spot. You can even arrange for a boat ride on the neighbouring Emmarentia Dam or just watch all the sailboats and canoes passing by.

If you’re up for a little more adventure, you could even have a romantic weekend at the Vaal dam, only about an hour’s drive out of the city.


For the more adventurous type, there are park runs and mountain biking. I am still trying to convince Flip to go on a park run with me, and although he has agreed, I can’t get him out of bed on a Saturday. Little steps. But, I have seen many couple just gently strolling along, holding hands, listening to the birds and just chatting the whole 5 km away.

 If you haven’t seen your spouse or significant other for a while, be it because of distance or work, a park run is the perfect way to catch up, without the interruption of a tv or waiters at a restaurant. But, if you are super competitive and want to kick your better-half’s butt, then try some mountain biking. Be ready to eat some dirt though, you are more often than not likely to fall.
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Parkrun pic
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The Maboneng precinct must be the perfect place to have an entire date night! Start of with pre-drinks at The Living Room  – they have an amazing Amarula chai tea and some select craft beers. They also have great art pieces made of plants, that you can buy, as well as decor pieces to make your house look amazing.

Follow your pre-drinks by walking around the corner to The Chalkboard, where you can have some fantastic pizza – I promise you, the best – and some whiskeys while declaring your eternal love with love notes drawn onto the chalkboard wall. You can immediately follow this up with an indie movie at The Bioscope. Conclude your evening by booking into the 12 Decades Art Hotel – every room has been decorated differently!

If you plan your date night for a Saturday, you can sleep in and have brunch at the Arts on Main market, which is open on Sundays. Hey, husband of mine, I hope you’re reading this! I want a date night like this.

We’ve only done the mini version of this date night, going to The Living Room and The Chalkboard.
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Maboneng Pic
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I personally love a picnic, and it was one of the first dates Flip took me on. To Emmarentia Dam, no less. But you don’t need to have an outdoor picnic. Indoor picnics are pretty romantic too! All you need is a picnic basket, a blanket, a few candles, wine and some good food of course!

With four putt-putt locations around the city, take your girl or guy out for a fun and relaxed date. There are three courses of 9 holes each, a R70 ticket will enable you to play once on each course. The courses are well landscaped, with plenty of birds in the trees, lush vegetation, caves, waterfalls, and ponds full of attractive Koi fish. Some of the holes are very challenging.

 There are so many concerts coming to the city in spring and summer that I almost didn’t know how my budget is going to handle it. Have a fun day in the sun, or make out like teenagers at an evening concert – the fun is endless! Make sure to get your tickets for any of the concerts early enough, before they sell out! 
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Concert pic

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Post sponsored by Gumtree


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Tracking your running in terms of time and speed is nothing new. In the pre-smart phone years, people used stopwatches and wristwatches to see how fast they were going, how long it took them to run a certain distance and how they could improve on their time. But you couldn’t really measure your heart rate while running – unless you did it the old-fashioned way of two fingers on the wrist. And you couldn’t track the amount of calories you burned during your workout, and you couldn’t share your times and achievements in an instant like you do today. You had to phone everybody to tell them.

I started running a little more seriously last year and although I haven’t participated in any races, except for Park Runs, I still like to track my performance ad that is why having a personal trainer in my pocket is so amazing. I have always used the Nike + app, but since upgrading my operating system, I’m having endless problems with it, so I tried a few other apps to see how they compare.
https://secure-nikeplus.nike.com/plus/products/gps_app/

What I like: the coach, the powersongs, the encouraging voice. This is the benchmark for me when it comes to running apps, as it was the first one I used and I love it. I am used to all the buttons and things, so this is my favourite. 
What I don’t like: the encouraging voice, the inaccurate tracking.
The Nike app allows you to ‘upload’ your shoes and see how much mileage they have performed. It also has a coach option, which coaches you to run certain distances, depending on your preference. The app is also available on a number of operating systems, including Android and Windows. This is the only app of the four that tracks you while you are on a treadmill, just choose the indoor option.

http://runkeeper.com/

It is a lot like the Nike app, but you can pair it with a heart rate monitor, if you have one. It also has an Elite option where you can access all training plans for free and some rewards programme that  I am not yet familiar with, because I haven’t run far enough with it yet. You can add your reason for running and what motivates you to run.
What I like: It’s like the Nike app, but has a more interactive interface.
What I don’t like: The voice wants to make me kill myself, could have more enthusiasm.
http://www.strava.com/running-app

What I like: that it is like the Nike Running app in terms of measuring running distance, calories and time.
What I don’t like: the interface, the user-friendliness is not that great, the colours, lacks in tech department.
I think this app is better suited for cyclists than runners. It is also subscription based, which I understand, as companies need to make money, but I feel that it excludes a large audience. It also features a Segment Explorer, showing you what sort of running or cycling activities is in your region, as well as give you the option to plan your route. You need access to a desktop for this though.
http://www.lornajane.com.au/ljapp


What I like: it’s pink and pretty!
What I don’t like: I dont know how tracking is done, especially on the bike. My music stops when I open the app and doesnt fade when a voice over is playing. It also doesn’t have the indoor tracking option Nike app has, so when you run on a treadmill, your map shows that you have run up and down.
If you are a fan of the clothing range and love all things girly and pink, then this app is for you. It’s like getting a cupcake every time you exercise, without the bad side effects 😉
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