Snowy Hike

This winter was tough. November through January was lovely, but then February happened. As these things go, it was a record cold February in Calgary–you know, just to welcome its new South African residents. It seems we’ve been breaking records where weather is concerned wherever we’ve moved in the last few years. Remember last year […]

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Two Jack Lake & Banff

We couldn’t wait to go back to the mountains. I think this is going to be a theme. We go, have a blast, then already miss the feeling of a higher vantage point as we drive home. We’re always a little desperate to go back, always more at home in those higher reaches. Last time […]

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Walking on Water – Lake Louise

You’d think–after everything–we’d pretty much be sick of road trips, but you’d be wrong. Why? Well, mountains. They call to us. We’ve seen some mountains before, of course. When Kayla was just a wee babe we went to the Drakensberg in South Africa, and we also experienced the glorious Bavarian Alps one December, back when […]

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Calgary

Toronto is a city of skyscrapers. Steel and glass. Grey. Yet, there’s an energy there that refuses to be contained. It’s always on the move. Vendors and tourist and business people, rushing from place to place, night or day. Festival after festival, ball games, concerts, camera crews, and every culture represented in food and drink. […]

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After the Silence

I admit my recent blogging history has been a little strange. After 4 years of never taking more than a week off – even when on holiday, and even when sick – the last three and a half years have been riddled with random weeks or longer of absence. I’ve tried tighter schedules and more […]

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Horton Tree Farms

Living in Canada means loads of snow and maple syrup. As a self-proclaimed right of passage in our journey to become Canadian citizens, we figured it was a must to visit a maple farm and witness the process of making maple syrup. We’ve seen it a time or two on TV shows, but the actual […]

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Visit to Reptilia Zoo

It’s no secret that Kayla is a serious lover of creepies and crawlies. Her perfect day involves crocodiles and spiders, so we figured we’d deliver. The Reptilia Zoo in Vaughn caught our attention last year, but we haven’t had a free moment to go – until last weekend. As you can imagine, we had one […]

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Canadian International Autoshow 2018

As you can probably guess from the title, we saw some cars the other day. And rightly so, considering I share a house with two major auto enthusiasts. Kayla’s one big dream for the day was to see a real racecar, while Jan wanted to check out all the American cars we don’t usually get […]

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Sledding Fun

I mentioned on Monday that we went sledding for the first time. Loads. Of. Fun. I never imagined I’d like it, I’m not a very sporty person, but I’m excited for when we go again. 🙂 And if I’m excited, you can imagine what’s going on in the Kayla’s mind. She had an absolute blast, […]

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Niagara Falls and Fog

Lots and lots of fog. And thick. Trust us to lose one of the most impressive natural landmarks in the world in a blanket of fog. Oh, you don’t believe me, do you? Nobody can lose a waterfall, not one that big. Luckily, I have photos as proof. 🙂 We headed out to the falls two […]

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Hello 2018

Welcome back! I lost touch with the blog for a moment there – totally unplanned – and it’s great to be typing something especially for you again. I’m a creature of routine, so being back in routine is a relief. Here’s a little catch-up post. My parents visited us for 5 weeks. It was good […]

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Snow Fun

I learned one of the most important lessons of my life as an immigrant this week – don’t leave the snow shovelling for the next morning. Also, snow shovelling? Not fun, but really satisfying when it’s over. Having a walkable sidewalk made me feel fantastic, weird as that may sound. And thankfully, I had my […]

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CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium (My WIP)

I’m typing this as the snow is falling and slowly piling up outside. Just thought I’d put that out there, since our friends and family in Europe and the UK have been spamming us with wonderful imagery of snow, and we’ve been feeling left out here in Toronto. Ironically, everybody was expecting us to spam […]

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A December Update

It’s been one of those weeks. My parents arrived from South Africa on Monday, so you can imagine emotions were all over the place at our reunion. We’ve been catching up, exploring and just being together. Then on Tuesday, Kayla’s school called me to come and fetch her. A stomach bug is running through (punny) […]

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Gingerbread House

When we saw gingerbread house kits in Michael’s the other day, my husband immediately knew we had to build one together. He’d always wanted to try baking a gingerbread house, but I’ve never been that interested in art of the food variety. Sure, I bake when I have to, but I much prefer a paintbrush to […]

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Toronto Christmas Market 2017

I guess we wanted to see how the Canadians do Christmas. You know, considering we’ve been to a lot of European Christmas markets. 🙂 Living in Germany will do that to you. Honestly, the Toronto Christmas Market was a lot like its German counterparts – merry, happy, jolly. Sure, this time around we understood the […]

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A Life Update

Aside from the immigration, we’ve been facing a lot of other changes recently. Life, it seems, goes on. Even amid the chaos. Kayla is *finally* going to school. Of all the changes, this is the biggest one. I’ve spoken about our troubles getting her enrolled in a kindergarten in Germany, and also mentioned how easy […]

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Photo Catch-Up

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some photos with you, I’ve barely been in front of my computer in the last few weeks. In the name of some semblance of normalcy though, it’s time to fix that. These pics span from around the middle of October to this past weekend. There’s no real theme […]

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Let’s Do This

No, this isn’t another of those please-bear-with-me-posts, I really am here to blog to my little heart’s content. Starting today, the schedule is back in action. #FTW A general update on the Canada side of things – we’re getting there. Most of our stuff has been sorted. Heck, Kayla even started school today. You remember how […]

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First Week in Canada

It’s difficult to believe, but there it is. We’ve been in our new home for a week already. One of the first observations or questions we get asked now has to do with the weather. Who’d have thought, right? 😛 But no, it’s really not freezing here in the north. In fact, at this stage, […]

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Family Weekend in Pictures

I’m so sorry I missed Friday’s post! It slipped away from me without my notice. We had my brother and sister in law over for the weekend, a last visit before the big move, and spending time with them got priority over being in front of the computer. This was also probably the last weekend of […]

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Duisburg Zoo 2.0

We’ve had precious few sunshine days this past season, so whenever we had even half a chance of catching a ray or two, we were outside. Feeling bolstered by the cloudless day, we hiked to Duisburg Zoo. We’ve been at the zoo twice before and this is my second blog about it (hence the 2.0). […]

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Anniversary Pics

As promised, here’s the bonus Thursday post. 🙂 For the 9th anniversary, we headed to Düsseldorf. This actually happened by accident. The real reason for the trip was to pick up our passports with the brand-spanking-new visas to enter Canada. Both of us had completely forgotten it happened to be our anniversary too. 😛 Since […]

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A(nother) Note

Today, folks, is my wedding anniversary. Nine years ago, I married the awesomest dude on the face of the planet – he’s my best friend and soulmate, the greatest father and sweetest husband ever. In honour of that, I’m taking the day off blogging. 🙂 OK, not only that, we’ve got some errands to run […]

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Visit to Duisburg

Would you believe we’d been living in Germany for almost two years before we went for a stroll in Duisburg (our neighbouring town)? I couldn’t either. Duisburg is a quiet city with an abundance of fountains in the city centre. Colourful and weird, these fountains create a strange contrast to the ancient buildings in the […]

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Soccer – Essen vs Mönchengladbach

We’re not the biggest sports supporters in the world, but there’s something incredible about going to a live soccer game. To those of you who take this seriously, I know it’s called football in Europe. I’m South African, so to me it’s soccer. No offence meant. Anyway, the last game we went to (which was […]

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Sunday Afternoon Hike

Sunshine has been rare this summer – I don’t know what’s going on. Apart from three or so heat waves, we’ve had an excess of rain and gloom this season. Pretty depressing, if you ask me. Especially considering the fact that I had a tan last year this time. So, when the sun is out, […]

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When Parkruns Rain Out

Well, I’m sure some of the other runners still had their fun, but by the time we reached Düsseldorf, it was coming down in buckets. So much so that my water resistant jacket (and shirt underneath) were drenched and we had to stop to buy something dry and warm to wear. Jan and Mario would have […]

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Ten Pin Bowling

Life is full of little firsts. A while ago, one of these came up for Kayla, when we took her bowling for the first time. Jan and I used to love bowling back in SA, but haven’t played in about 5 years. Thinking about it now, that puts the last time we played at before […]

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Düsseldorf Kirmis 2017

Another weekend, another fair. Let me tell you something about this one, though – it was huge. Everything is bigger and better in Düsseldorf, right? I almost felt bad for the Saarner Kirmes we’d visited the weekend before. On a cloudy Sunday, we headed to the city to see the fair. Loud music, delicious food […]

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Weekend Recap

I’d call it a Weekend in Pictures post, only I took too few photos for that. I don’t understand how the picture-drought happened, to be honest. We got up to SO MUCH, I just didn’t think to snap the events. Those moments I did shoot fall off the other side of the spectrum. I have 32 […]

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The June Report

My… month in pictures? The monthly recap? As far as alternative titles go, these aren’t the best. Sorry. 🙂 Since I didn’t do a single post with photos from this month, I thought I’d give you an overview today (all my WIP posts were of adventures from past months). I’ve been toying with this recap post idea for a […]

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The Random Post

This is the end. We had a blast, saw amazing things and bonded with our tribe. We miss them terribly. The house is still quiet. Going through all of these photos somehow amplifies that. But, before I get too soppy, let’s get on with the post. While I shared all the main events with you, I […]

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From Beethoven to Burg Castle

On the last full day of our vacation, we drove to Bonn to fulfil a dream. Lizanne is a muso and a massive Beethoven enthusiast. So, when she found out that we could go to his birthplace, she was pretty much out of her skin.

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Hello, Amsterdam

Oh, Amsterdam. Still one of my favourite places on earth. The sweet smell in the air (no, not the weed, the pastries :P), the buzz in the streets and the beauty of the city will always draw me to return. Add the fact that we can be understood when speaking Afrikaans and it becomes all the more […]

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Farewell, Rome.

On our last day, we had to leave the apartment by 10. Since we had to keep our luggage with us until we left for the airport, we decided to treat the kids. They’d been such little troopers with all the sightseeing, after all.

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Rome – Day 4

By this time, we were knackered. Four days in Rome, walking off your toes will do that to you. Having said that, we were still just as in awe of the place as we were upon arrival. Rome, folks. It’s magical.

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Rome – Day 3

After the excitement from the night before, we returned to the Pantheon first thing on the third morning. Well, first thing is relative. The Groenewalds are early risers. An admirable trait, I tell you. Kayla and I, though, *are not* early risers. In fact, we’re some of the grumpiest morning people you’ll ever meet. Nobody wants […]

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Rome – Day 2

In an unfortunate turn of events, we seem to have lost some of the vacation photos. Don’t hyperventilate yet, though. All my photos are still intact. We’ll get the rest at some point in time, but you probably won’t get to see them. Meh. Our second day in Rome (day one here) was sunny and […]

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Rome – Day 1

So, Rome. Folks, you don’t even begin to understand the spell this place has me under. Even now, I can’t get it out of my mind. But then, Venice was amazing, so maybe I should have known how bewitching I’d find Rome.

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Cologne 3.0

There’s a feeling that fills your chest when you round that corner, or take that step out of the train station in Cologne. The first and most undeniable structure in the heart of the city is the Cologne Cathedral – majestic, impossible and awe-inspiring. It claims your every thought and emotion with its sheer size, […]

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The House is Quiet

Well, I’m back. This vacation was one for the record books. Having friends over was seriously special, and more so because we experienced so many new things together. It was an honour to have them fly half-way around the globe to visit us. All the warm and fuzzies were felt. Having said that, I’ll try […]

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Being in the Moment

A while ago, a friend suggested that I write something on this topic. Yea, I’ve been trying. Do I have a nice, glowy outcome planned for this post? No. Not at all. #idontknowwhatimdoing All I know is that this is something I struggle with immensely, especially when I’m obsessing. As in now. Being in the […]

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Chillax (My WIP)

Last week, I mentioned the rain being late. Yeah. Not long after I posted that, it came down in buckets. The rain didn’t stop until Friday afternoon, when the weather jerked into spring mode. As in, it went from cool indoors and winter-jacket-cold outside to ‘hey, we’re in short sleeves, please turn off the heating’. […]

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The Rain is Late

Last year this time, we had maybe an afternoon of sunshine every two weeks. The drizzle was constant, predictable like the beat of my heart. Depressing too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of rain. I come from a place where the thunderstorms are legendary, with rushes of rain like waterfalls and crashing thunder […]

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Kaiser Animal Park

With the weather in Germany finally turning, we’ve been seeing some sun. Though, that thought barely crossed my mind when the rain arrived. As I type this, it’s dristing outside. No, that’s not a word. It’s a weather phenomenon that is neither drizzle nor mist, and is so definitive of Europe that you probably have the exact […]

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Unexpected, but Fun

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’ll know I’m the obsessive type. Whenever I do something, I hurl myself at it until it’s done and I’m exhausted. Then I go into a weird, anti-climactic ‘what the hell now?’ state. That’s what I’m combatting now. So, since finishing the latest revision of The […]

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Water Fun

I’m happy to report that my insane revision period is over. For the moment. The editing was strong with me this weekend, but I did have some forced breaks mixed in. Also some spontaneous breaks, otherwise known as procrastination, which led me to find my Patronus is a St Bernard. I know. Anway, while not […]

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Ice Cold

Last week, I bombarded you with images of snow. This week, it’s ice. You see a theme here? This winter has been more than a smidge colder than last, but the weather brings many new experiences for those of us originally from warmer parts. So, ice. We live close to the River Ruhr, but we […]

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Snow Day

If you’ve hung around the blog, you’ll know we’re a family of South Africans living in Germany. Johannesburg is our hometown, and is overall not a very snowy place. In fact, we’re used to truckloads of sunshine all year round, with some thunderstorms in the warm season. We find European weather a strange phenomenon. Here […]

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Neuschwanstein Trip

We’ve been ogling this castle for a looooong time. You know how I feel about castles to begin with, but this one was kind of special, and not just because it’s the template for the Disney castle. Imagine this place, with its majestic spires and pristine white bricks, keeping its vigil on the side of a […]

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Munich Zoo

Hello, all you lovely folks. Hope you had a good weekend. As I mentioned on Friday, our trip to Munich ended in a zoo, because of a three-year-old’s heartfelt request. For this reason, we braved the cold, ignored the patches of snow on the ground, and went to see some animals. The highlight of the […]

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Sightseeing in Pöking and Munich

I mentioned on Wednesday that our journey to Munich began on a rainy Sunday morning. We’ve never been to any other German state, so this was a big trip for us, especially considering how much we wanted to see Bavaria. We’ve been told on many occasions, by both Germans and non-Germans, how incredibly different Bavaria […]

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Kayla’s Birthday Blog

My baby turned three yesterday, folks. Three. I can’t even. I baked the cake on Monday afternoon, cleaned the house, wrapped the gifts and then Jan and I decorated the cake in the evening. We woke up to Kayla bellowing something about her birthday party yesterday morning. 🙂 From there on, it was gift opening, […]

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My WIP – Tree Decorating and Tower-scapes

We spent Kayla’s first two Christmases in South Africa, but for the one she was 6 weeks old and for the other, just over a year. So I doubt she remembers much. Last year, we didn’t want to make too much of a fuss, because our apartment was still temporary and we didn’t want to […]

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My WIP – Where Did Autumn Go?

First of all, I apologise for missing yet another blog post on Friday. I went to my German lesson as always, then received the bad news that one of our doggies in South Africa passed away. I was really sad and shocked by the news, which really just jumbled my mind, I accomplished nothing for […]

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My Long WIP – After the Rain

Hello there! Hope your weekend was good. Mine sure was. I didn’t take so many photos, but the family and friends will be glad to hear that this post will officially be Kayla-fest. As any typical mother, there will always be tons of photos of my kid. 😛 Inktober is in full swing, but I […]

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Visit to Kaiser Park

So, Oberhausen has a schloss (this word can be used to describe anything from a castle to a manor house – in this case, it’s a manor house) and a park, but we’ve been putting off going there. First of all, the schloss is not that impressive (in our opinions) and we had no idea that […]

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My WIP – I See You

I’ve always had pretty good eyesight, but recently it’s been a mission to read the signs at the station, or the subtitles when I watch anime. Plus, the headaches. I knew it was time to have my eyes tested looong before I actually had them tested, but, you know, anxiety. You can guess by the way this […]

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My WIP – Forests and Food

Welcome back! I said this last week somewhere and I’ll say it again – I feel as if a train ran over my head, realised it was on the wrong course and then reversed. I’ve been unable to stay fully awake at any given time for about 8 days solid. Hello, Monday. This weekend was […]

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My WIP – Heatwave

You would never guess from the title, but we had one hellishly warm weekend. In fact, all of last week was the kind of weather where your clothes are perpetually stick to your skin – moist and glistening. Yuck. All I can say is that a lot of ice cream was involved. On Friday, our […]

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My WIP – Girls’ Day and Legoland

This title is probably a little misleading, because everyday is ‘girl’s day’ in my house. You know, because I stay at home with Kayla and all that. The difference is that we don’t usually have girl’s days on weekends when Jan is home. Last week from Thursday to Sunday was Gamescom in Cologne and, being […]

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Castle Hopping – Part One

Friends – castles. Over the weekend, we saw three of them. OK, fine, we saw one castle and two palaces, but you get the general idea. We also visited some monuments, a small fort with an actual moat and drove between two countries. It was amazing. Here’s how it went down.

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South Africa Trip – Recap

Hi there, folks! I am indeed back in the northern hemisphere and back to blogging / work. Of course, before I can get to blogging about other stuff again, I know you want to see my vacation photos and hear about what we got up to. First of all, I have to warn you that […]

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Schloss Styrum Aquarium

Since discovering Schloss Styrum, it’s been one of our favourite hangout spots. And of course we had to go see the little aquarium they have there, especially considering we have a kid who is CRAZY about fish. This little aquarium is open on Sundays and is free to view. So obviously, we’ve been there twice. […]

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Visit to Duisburg Zoo

On a sunny Thursday, we took Kayla to the zoo. Duisburg zoo is one of the biggest zoos in Germany and it has a pretty cool dolphinarium and Koala enclosure. Check out the Wiki page for more. It’s much different from zoos in South Africa, but it was still a pretty cool experience. In SA, […]

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A Visit to Schloss Broich

These photos are actually from my Mother’s Day weekend. It’s late, I know, but I was writing a novel! Yes, the keyword in that sentence is ‘was’. More on that soon. 😀 With the amazing spring weather, we’ve been sightseeing a lot lately. There are some pretty awesome sights to see right in our back […]

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Visit to Werden

On Ascension Day, we hopped a train to Werden. This picturesque place is a suburb of Essen and is seriously gorgeous. The buildings are still in the old style and there’s almost a fantasy-type vibe to the old taverns turned cafés. Walking through those cobblestone ways certainly piqued my creative flow. Then, there’s the parks […]

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A Visit to Schloss Styrum – TGC

We’ve been living in Germany for seven months. Can you believe that? It’s been interesting. We’ve been adapting. There are still better days and worse days, but overall, we’re finding our feet. Jan is starting with German classes soon, and our landlady has undertaken to teach me too. Once he learns, I’m sure my own […]

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London Vacation Pics

Fair warning, this is going to be an image rich post. 😛 We set out for London from Düsseldorf airport in pretty much perfect weather. The flight itself was only 55 minutes, but of course we stood in the line at passport control for over an hour and a half. 🙂 I honestly don’t blame […]

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You want to put that where?

We’re safely back from our trip to London, of which I promise I’ll share some photos this week. I just wanted to let you know I’m still alive, even if I was unsure for a minute there. We arrived back in Germany last Monday night and on Tuesday, the floodgates opened. Kayla was super ill, […]

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My Weekend In Pictures – Carnival in Düsseldorf

This weekend was a sunny one. After the rainiest two months of my life, we’ve been extra thankful for every ray of sunlight coming our way. Hopefully, that statement didn’t jinx it… Anyway, all of the sunshine means a lot of outdoors activities, even if it’s still chilly out. This weekend, we went walking a […]

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My WIP – Grandma’s Memorial

This weekend was a sad one, because it involved a final goodbye. It was my grandmother’s memorial service on Saturday, in Durban, South-Africa. Thanks to modern technology, we could be part of it from thousands of kilometres away via a Skype call. It pulled at my heartstrings that the pastor used my tribute as a part […]

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A Tribute

This morning, my grandmother passed away. It was a long illness. I remember the first time I asked people to pray for her on the old blog, I was pretty pregnant. That’s around three years ago now. She had a lot of pain and problems closer to the end, and I really do believe she’s […]

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Go Fish

Continuing on the other day’s shape-thing‘s wave, my mom made a second cool gift for Kayla. This one is a fishing dam with glittery fish and fishing poles. And it’s just as easy to make and effective at occupying little hands as the shape-a-ma-jig. What makes this one great is that Kayla can fish on […]

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Fun Shapes for Kids

When my folks came to visit, my mom brought some cool hand-made gifts for Kayla. I mentioned in a post that I would share more about these gifts with you, so I’m doing that now. As a mom of a two-year-old who still has her own things to do and ambitions in life, I’m always looking […]

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First Snow

Coming from Johannesburg, I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t seen real snow before in my life. Sure, there were two occasions, but I’ve never seen enough of it to cover the ground. This is why moving to Europe had me hopeful for some snow this winter. Of course, it doesn’t really snow in our part of Germany. […]

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Random Vacation Photos

This post is to show you all of the vacation photos that didn’t make it into other blog posts. Because if you know my family at all, you’ll know that very little is ever done without cellphones or cameras in the air, clicking away. Pictures or it didn’t happen, right? So here are some of […]

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My Weekend in Pictures – Fun with my Folks

The title should probably have read ‘all the same places’, because that’s where we went. But we wanted to show my parents the places we like to go, so that means Christmas markets. We had some delicious gluhwein and gluhbeer, some traditional food and sausages, and just enjoyed the sights. The only difference is the […]

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Dortmund Christmas Market

Yeah, I know. ‘Yesterday‘ ended up being a week. Humblest apologies. Our pictures with Willem from the Christmas market at Dortmund will feature today. Can I just say that I love Christmas markets? One thing we’ve noticed fairly quickly here is that Christmas celebrations in South Africa pail in comparison to those in Germany. Goodness, […]

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Amazing Fun in Oberhausen

Continuing from yesterday, I’m going to share more pics with you from my brother in law’s visit. On Sunday we went to CentrO’s Christmas Market and on Monday we visited an amazing indoor kid’s playground in Oberhausen. Kayla had a blast, but I have to admit that we ‘adults’ had just as much fun. I know […]

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Playground Fun and Christmas Markets

Hiya folks! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying a visit from my brother in law. It’s been amazing to catch up and explore Germany together, with the added bonus that Jan’s taken a few days off to spend with us. We’ve done all kinds of awesome things, and before we head out again for the day, I […]

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