Discovering Gauteng: Breathtaking Hiking at Hennops

Hennops Hiking Trail

Living in a big city and especially living in Gauteng, we tend to think the only thing we can do on the weekends is going to the malls. Only about 40 minutes drive outside of Johannesburg waits an adventure in nature ready for discovering. It’s called the Hennops Hiking Trail.

Hennops Hiking Trail

Set on the Hennops river on the border between the Gauteng and North-West Provinces on a tranquil family farm, this piece of natural beauty makes for the perfect day outing any time of the year. At only R70 per adult and R40 for school children, it is definitely worth a day out.

Hennops Hiking Trail

There are three different routes to choose from:

Krokodilberg Trail: 10km

On the website it says it can take about 4 to 5 hours to complete this trail. It starts along the same trail as the Dassie Trail so if you want to slip off early (come now don’t do that) you can. We didn’t do this one but the piece we did do was spectacular and the rest looked just as beautiful. If you’re up for a long hike where you can see some wildlife as well, this is the one for you. Make sure you take enough water though. 

Hennops Hiking Trail

Zebra Trail: 5km

We started with this one. It takes you away from the Hennops river toward Hartebeespoort Dam’s side. The climb is pretty tough but the view from up top is incredible. You also pass some historic old buildings and can also spot some wildlife – we saw a Zebra. The change in foliage is also very interesting, from steep dolomite mountain climbs to beautiful grasslands. It’s tough but not too bad and a family would enjoy this hike a lot.

Hennops Hiking Trail

Dassie Trail: 2.5km

This might be the shortest trail but it’s probably also the toughest. As I mentioned, it’s the start of the Krokodilberg trail and it has some very steep climbs where you literally scamper up the cliff face, and then go up some more. The route follows the river almost all the way so it is in the shade and with the trees growing over the route, it looks almost like a fairytale forest. The view from up top the Hospitaalgrot (Hospital Cave) lookout is breathtaking. As the water rages along below you realise how much of this country there still is to see and experience. It’s beautiful. Something not to miss on this trail (which you can very easily cause it looks very unimpressive at first glance) is Pruimpie se Gat (Prune’s Hole) which is cave used by an orphan called Pruimpie in 1837 to hide from the Zulus. He ended up living in the cave and if you take the time to go down you’ll understand why it made quite a nice little house for little Pruimpie.

Hennops Hiking Trail

The River Cable Car and Suspension Bridge

Crossing a river has always fascinated me and crossing the river on a suspension bridge is even better! This you can do on the Dassie trail and there are some beautiful caves as well.

The highlight for me definitely was the Cable Car over the river! So much so that I did it twice.

Hennops Hiking Trail

Don’t fool yourself though, just like the hiking trails, the cable car also tests your physical strength. It is a manual cable car with a pully system first pushing from the one side and then pulling to the next when you are halfway. A word of warning you do get wet (so maybe not recommended in the winter) but it is refreshing and so much fun. It’s not difficult at all and anyone can do it. Definitely worth a go if you are a little more adventurous.

Why Hennops

Hennops is so close to Johannesburg and Pretoria that is really is perfect for a day trip. What makes it so special is the pristine way it is kept. Nature is allowed to take its course, but the footpaths are still kept nice and clean. On the whole 5km and 2.5km routes I only picked up 3 very small pieces of trash, which is incredible if you think of all the trash laying around in the parks in the city. It’s not an expensive outing at all and it doesn’t have to take you all day but it can also make for a wonderful adventure, especially for families.

Hennops Hiking Trail

If you’re a tourist to South Africa you definitely need to give Hennops a go. You will see so much of this country’s natural beauty. If you’re a city bug like us, then get out of your comfort zone and explore your neighbouring nature spots.

It’s such a privilege to be able to walk on those old old Magaliesbreg mountains, touch the stones that have been there for centuries, and breath the fresh air of Africa. Experience the beauty of this country at Hennops!

Hennops Hiking Trail

How I’m Healing my Skin with a Natural Beauty Routine

Natural Beauty Routine

I started changing my beauty routine about 6 months ago after experiencing terrible trouble with my skin. The skin on my face was flaky, dry, red and inflamed and broke out all the time. I’ve never had perfect skin and I’ve struggled with acne throughout my teens and as a young adult, but I knew there had to be some way to heal my skin that did not cost thousands and also would not damage my skin on the way to get there (thus medication). I needed a natural beauty routine.

Around the same time my whole wellness living journey started, I also decided to change my beauty routine. At the end of 2017, I wrote a piece about how my beauty routine had changed to one that was much more natural up to that point. You can read the post here, but that was only the start of my journey.

After nearly 6 months I can now say that my skin looks and feels better than it has in years. It feels soft and glowing and many of my old marks have healed. I still break out, especially around my chin area and forehead, but it’s more manageable. It’s improved my self-confidence as well and I feel beautiful again.

I wanted to share with you how I’ve changed my routine and hopefully, it can help you make the jump to holistic, eco- and animal friendly, natural beauty.

Natural Beauty Routine

Animal Friendly

It was very important for me that all the products I use on my body are not animal tested. This has proven to be a bit of a challenge in normal cosmetic stores like Clicks and DisChem (in South Africa). Clicks have very few products that have the animal friendly logo on them and those that do are much more expensive, such as the Body Shop products.

DisChem isn’t much better either. I was standing in DisChem looking to buy essential oils and I held the exact same Peppermint oils in my hand, both DisChem brands, but the one had the animal friendly logo and the other did not. The animal friendly one was, in fact, more than twice the price of the other one!

It was the first time I did this experiment and I was disgusted. Some might say well it might still not be tested on animals, but my reasoning is that if it’s not tested, why not just say so.

Luckily there is Wellness Warehouse and Faithful to Nature that sell animal friendly products, but I am still disappointed that the two biggest cosmetic stores in the country have not migrated to these holistic products yet, and I wonder if they ever will…

Natural Beauty Routine
The African Extracts Rooibos products I use.

A Combination of Natural Products

I used to wash my face with one product morning and night for years and going through puberty it was fine. It got to point though where I was scared to use anything else as it would affect my skin badly. But as fate would have it, a small composition change in the products I was using suddenly started affecting my skin badly and I started breaking out a lot.

I then switched to a product I received as a sample and for a short time it seemed to work. The product dried my skin out a lot and initially, this was good because I have quite oily skin so it definitely helped with the breakout.

Natural Beauty Routine
I love the Good Stuff body care range!

Before long though my skin was so dry that it felt tight and chapped and so sore…

I knew I had to change but this time I was not going to put any more chemicals on my face. I was going to opt for the natural option.

Once again Faithful to Nature came to the rescue. I’m so glad for the website because where the chain cosmetic stores failed in products, and The Body Shop failed in price, they made up for 100%! Slowly I started scrolling through all the different options. I’m going, to be honest, I was slightly overwhelmed, but I started with some products that were on sale and slowly from there it’s only become easier.

My Beauty Routine Now

I now use a combination of products and my routine goes something like this:

Natural Beauty Routine
Scrub. Heal. Moisturise.

Night Routine:


Scrub face with Essential Collections Face Exfoliator

Use African Extracts Rooibos Purifying 3-in-1 Face Scrub and Mask – leave on for 5 minutes

Use African Extracts Rooibos Purifying Toner to remove any other impurities

Use Victorian Garden Lavender & Myrrh Face Healing Oil on problem areas

Use Yorba Face Moisturiser on my face and neck (I try to avoid my T-zone)

2 Days a Week:

Same as above but ONLY scrub, no mask

Rest of the Week:

Wash face with African Extracts Rooibos Spot Control Face Wash

Use African Extracts Toner to remove any other impurities

Use the Victorian Garden Face Healing Oil on problem areas

Use Yorba Face Moisturiser cream on my face and neck (I try to avoid my T-zone)

Natural Beauty Routine
This natural Acne Assist cream is amazing!

Morning Routine:

Wash face with African Extracts Rooibos Face Wash

Use Bee Natural Acne Assist on problem areas (by the way this is just lasting forever. A tub was R118 but it can last up to 6 months which is amazing!)

Use Yorba Face Moisturiser cream on my face and neck (I try to avoid my T-zone)

It’s pretty simple but I’ve found by switching it up my skin doesn’t get used to just one product and I can never get caught out when a certain product changes their recipe or goes off the market.

Natural Beauty Routine

A Little Extra for the Body

My love for natural beauty products does not stop at my face. I have also swapped out ordinary shower gel for the Good Stuff body wash. It is also non-animal tested and comes in big bottles which are cost effective and last forever!

My love for this brand started when all of a sudden my underarms started breaking out with red spots and felt very sensitive after using roll-on. It became so sore I couldn’t wear a short that touched the skin under my arms. I was so happy to find the Good Stuff roll-on and it’s been my favourite every since, especially the Bee Natural flavour.

One other plus point about the brand. You can buy it at your local Clicks or DisChem so no online shopping needed.

Natural Beauty Routine

My skin is not nearly perfect yet, but it’s easier to manage. My skin feels younger and hydrated again and I feel more confident to not wear makeup every day. I have an incredible friend who doesn’t wear any makeup anymore, except for special occasions, and she is my idol for beauty. One day I hope to have her confidence, but until then I will keep it natural and slowly learn to love and take care of my skin again.

On a Journey with Meditation: A Review of Three Meditation Apps


I love meditation and I can’t start my day without my 10 or 15 minutes of me-time. But learning to meditate was scary in the beginning. At times it felt like I was making no progress and at other times I became bored with doing the same meditation over and over again.

In the end, I truly believe that meditation saved me and has really helped me to become calmer, to take on my daily tasks, and big problems, in a more level headed way and has ultimately made me someone who tries to take a moment and think mindfully about a situation before simply jumping in. At the end of last year, I wrote a post about my Journey with Meditation so far.

But just like with anything in life, doing the same thing over and over again can become boring and can ultimately lose its appeal.

I started out doing only meditation videos on YouTube but when I wanted to move on I was unsure about what else to try. If you’ve felt the same, then don’t fear, cause I’ve done the work for you and tried out 3 very different meditation options and below are my likes and dislikes of each and my recommendations.


YouTube – Boho Beautiful 

The Boho Beautiful YouTube channel is what started my initial journey with mindfulness and I trusted Juliana and her calm way of introducing you to the world of yoga, pilates, and meditation enough to finally try their meditation videos.

Boho Beautiful YouTube Channel


  • Its FREE – cause it’s YouTube of course.
  • They have 17 different meditation videos on their YouTube channel which gives you a great variety.
  • They have beginner videos which are just under 10 minutes and longer videos of up to 16 minutes – so depending on your day and time you can alternate.
  • All of the mediation videos are Mantra based which means you repeat a mantra in your head while meditating – personally this is one of my favourite methods and it is really helpful for beginners to meditation as it helps keep your mind from wondering off.
  • The videos and sound are so beautiful – you aren’t supposed to be looking at the screen but even just the sound is amazing, you literally feel like you’re starting your morning in a jungle somewhere (which is great when you live in the city and mostly hear traffic).
  • All sessions are theme based which is nice for mixing it up each day.
  • They have a very nice 9 Day Meditation challenge which practices a number of different mantras and lengths and is nice for beginners as well.

Boho Beautiful YouTube Channels


  • They ONLY have 17 videos. Lately they have been posting a few more videos but only having 17 meditations to choose from can become a bit boring at a stage.
  • They have been focusing more on their Patreon channel and DVDs which you can buy and which is great, but if you are not based in the US the price is very high and unfortunately, we cannot subscribe to Patreon from here in South Africa.
  • Personally I would have liked a few more shorter videos as you don’t always have time for 16 minute meditations in the morning (oversleeping in the winter much).


Apps – Headspace

Headspace is a meditation app that you can download for Android or iOS. It’s highly recommended and has really cute little animation characters throughout the app. As I was writing this the app said that 20 727 people were using the app to meditate, so it really does work.

Headspace Meditation App


  • The trail version is Free and is a 10 day Foundation Course – what’s nice about the trial is that it is not 10 consecutive days but rather the 10 days you are using it, so if you don’t meditate for 2 days you won’t lose 2 days of your free course.
  • There are a number of other course of which you can try the first lesson for free as well (which technically means you get more than just 10 days free).
  • The Foundation Course is really nice for both beginners and those like me who want to refresh their meditation practice.
  • The Foundation Course takes you through a number of meditation methods like Noting.
  • There are a couple of really nice animation videos throughout the Foundation Course, and some of the other course as well I assume, that help you to understand the different meditation methods better before you start with the session of the day.
  • You can set your meditation time for the day to anything from 3 minutes to 20 minutes – this really helps when you’re starting out and when you might not have the same amount of time to meditate every day.
  • Your meditation journey is recorded on the app so you can see all the different Headspace courses or single meditations you have done.
  • Your meditation stats are also recorded on the app which means you can see how many hours, sessions and average meditation time you’ve used.

Headspace Meditation App


  • Subscribing to the full app is expensive – per month it is R249.99, yearly R1 899.99 or lifetime R5 999.99 – some might say this is an investment in your mental health and wellness, but this as a normal working person I would need to save up quite a bit to afford this and thinking of another debit order of this amount going off is something I cannot afford. (on the up side at least the price is shown in Rands and not just Dollars).
  • The Foundation Course does teach you a number of different methods, but no Mantra method is included which was a bit of a let-down for me as I enjoy Mantras.
  • The Foundation Course does not include any music or sound for that matter, except for the instructor’s voice – sometimes this is nice but it doesn’t help to cut out the sounds of the city which you need sometimes.
  • It’s so frustrating that you can start with the first class of some of the meditation courses and then have to subscribe but that is how they catch you so it’s not really a dislike, just a ,I wish I had the money to subscribe.

Headspace Meditation App


Apps – Evenflow

Evenflow is probably the most well known meditation app out there. The app can also be downloaded for Android or iOS and really does aim to help you build a lifestyle through meditation and not just make it a once off thing you do sometimes. The app really makes you come back for more and more.

Evenflow Meditation App


  • The trail version is Free for the Foundation Course – there is no day limit to the trail which means you can take as long as you need to finish the course.
  • The Foundation Course consists of 12 meditations and they all differ in length and focus which means you won’t easily get bored during the course.
  • I loved this app and almost everything about it from the design to the structure and the courses – it felt inviting and personal and exciting, I know this is a very personal decision but that’s the feeling I got from the app the moment I started using it.
  • Evenflow has a team of teachers who have a number of different backgrounds and who each teach different courses on the app – this ensures a lot of diversity and also adds that personal touch to the app as you can read up about the teacher of each course before starting the course.
  • There is an About section at the beginning of each session explaining what you will be learning or practicing in that session – this helps you to go into the session with the right mindset and also to know beforehand if this session is what you’re looking for today.
  • There are a huge number of different topics to choose from including courses and single sessions – this is however only in the paid version of the app but you can see it in the free version.
  • Your progress is tracked – when you start out you set goals for yourself to work toward, such as a number of sessions per week, if you achieve these sessions you receive badges as rewards (I know badges whatever, but it’s still that little bit of acknowledgment which boosts us all).
  • You can set Intentions for your meditation journey regarding the time of meditation, the days you want to meditate etc – this is a great way to hold yourself accountable.
  • There are also a few meditation sessions which you can download (during the free trial as well) and use offline at a later stage.

Evenflow Meditation App


  • The paid version is still expensive but not as expensive as Headspace – R154.99 monthly, yearly R100 per month, lifetime R2 999.99 once off (this is much more doable, especially the yearly option).
  • I didn’t find any Mantra sessions in the Foundation Course which was disappointing, but I am almost sure there will be something in one of the other courses.
  • That’s basically it…

Evenflow Meditation App

I’d love to hear your opinions if you’ve tried any of these meditation options or know of any other cool options I can try out.

Happy Meditating!

Meditation Program Review

The Perfect Tea for Every Season

The Perfect Tea for Every Season

My tastes in tea change with the seasons, literally!

Just like with any meal or drink, I believe there are different teas ment for each season; summer, autumn, winter and spring. These are the perfect teas (in my opinion) for each season.

DISCLAIMER: This is completely, 100% a personal preference post. So if you don’t agree with me or have better suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.

The Perfect Tea for Every Season


We’re just about to start going out of summer in the Southern hemisphere and the Northern hemisphere is just about to go into summer, so I’ll start off with this one…

Long days, water, fruit, sunny skies – that’s what I think about when I think about summer. So the perfect tea for summer had to be the same. It can be difficult to choose a tea for summer because who really wants to drink something warm in sweltering weather. But despite the heat, I think I found the perfect tea, and it can be drunk hot or as an iced tea.

Watermelon & Mint – refreshing, summer tastes and smells incredible.

The Perfect Tea for Every Season


Autumn is usually the time when I get the flu. Some days are still blazing hot and others are really cold already. Then of course there’s the last bit of summer rain (here in Gauteng at least) somewhere in between as well. You have to be prepared and you have to boost that immune system before the winter cold.

Ginger (and Lemon optional) Tea – the ginger only option might be a bit of a shock to the system but you’ll thank your teacup for the boost. This one is from Woolworths and you can order it online as well.

The Perfect Tea for Every Season


Winter is definitely my favourite season. Time to wrap up in a million layers (I am the queen of layering), wooly scarves and socks and gas heaters. It’s also the perfect season for tea of course, however teas that warm you up from the inside are essential and what better than warm apple.

Apple & Cinnamon – I recently discovered this warming apple tea from Lipton and it really does make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

The Perfect Tea for Every Season


Spring is the time for new beginnings and a time to experiment! It’s also a time to freshen up your tea supply, but we all know there are those colder days when you still need a bit of comfort drinking as well. That’s why I simply couldn’t choose between these two tea. They are both loose leaf, which is perfect for a fresh spring burst and as a way to try something new (if you are unsure about loose leaf tea read my post on the difference between loose leaf and tea bags).

Vanilla Rose & Fruit Loose Leaf Tea – Vanilla Rose for those colder days when you still want some comfort and Fruit Loose Leaf for those days you feel more adventurous.

The Perfect Tea for Every Season

The Perfect Tea for Every Season


I hope you enjoyed my selection of teas for each season and I hope you try them out!

The Perfect Tea for Every Season

Swimming Midmar Mile and Loving my Body


Last weekend I did one of the physically most challenging things in my life. I swam the Midmar Mile.

Midmar Mile
The husband took some amazing photos of me swimming!

About 9 months ago I started swimming for general exercise, but like I am, I can never do one thing for too long without it having a goal to work toward. So the husband suggested why don’t I train for the Midmar Mile. Before I knew it I was telling people I was going to swim Midmar.

Nothing is ever as real as it is until you start telling people about it…

I had no idea what journey I would be going on with myself, my mind, my self-confidence and my body, but those are sometimes the best kind of journies to go on.

I started off just swimming, then it was a training program for the Sun City 1.5km Swim and then it was another training program. My swimming training became more than just swimming, it also became a place and activity for me to learn about my relationship with Exercise and see the Ugly Side of Exercise and Control. I could finally start to face the fact that I had been using exercise as a way to find control in a world I had always felt was spinning out of control. Admitting something like that to yourself is very scary. But it has also allowed me to get back to enjoying exercise and Finding Balance in Exercise.

Midmar Mile
Getting ready – It was pretty cold that morning

Your body goes through a lot of changes when you’re training for anything, and especially when swimming. I’ve always been quite skinny and I used to joke that my bony butt would poke me when I sat on a plastic or hard chair. One thing swimming does is it gives you a bum, it really does.

In the beginning I was excited. I had an ass for the first time in my life! My jeans actually fit now.

But any intense exercise also builds other muscles. In my case, it was thigh muscles and arm muscles. I’d always been very self-conscious about my arms and I remember looking back at photos and determining my skinniness, and ultimately my prettiness, based on how thin my arms were. I was in this tug of war between wanting strong arms and wanting them to be as skinny as possible. Writing this down now I realise how scary a thought that is, but I also know that so many other girls feel or think the same…

Midmar Mile

So now my thighs were getting bigger and I didn’t have my skinny upper legs anymore. They are now beautiful and muscular and I love how strong they are now, but when you put on pant after pant and it stretches tighter than usual around your legs, then it can make a huge dent in your self-confidence.

I tried to tell myself that this was just a phase (which ultimately it was) but it was difficult, especially when a lady at work commented one day that I was picking up weight. I was so in shock because no one had ever said I was picking up weight, rather that I was losing too much weight. In that moment all I heard was I am fat, not you are building muscle because you are training for a goal.

Looking at photos of myself at the Sun City Swim I was disgusted with how my legs looked but didn’t say anything, and I hoped that all this muscle would be worth it.

Midmar Mile

Then came Midmar. I was extremely nervous. I’d done a mile before so I knew I could do the distance. I was more scared of all the training (and weight gaining) not being worth it.

And then I hit the water…

Midmar Mile

After swimming Sun City I felt disappointed, but I promised myself for this one I would not hold anything back, and I didn’t.

I loved every minute. Despite all the “o it’s so scary” and “o, it’s so difficult” comments I had before the race from various sides, I loved every minute of swimming Midmar Mile. I enjoyed the swim, the burn in my muscles, the water, the adrenaline, the competition. Even the moment when the lady swam into my toe (yes she literally swam into my toe) which I’d sprained two weeks before and almost broke then, even that moment I’m not angry about.

Midmar Mile

I pushed so hard and I finished with a time of 37:13 minutes which I am extremely proud of!

Midmar Mile

I walked out of that dam happy, proud, very sore, but ultimately grateful for what my body had been put through and had carried me through.

Midmar Mile

Looking back at the photos now I am so proud of my body! I see a body that is so strong, that has undergone many changes to get to a point where it could participate in a sport it had never done before, in a very competitive time.

As girls, we will always have issues with our bodies. Society and how we were raised influences that. BUT, today I am in love with my butt, and my strong arms and bigger thighs. I am proud of this body and see it in a completely new light. I will keep on working on my body and I’m sure it’s going to change even more as I set a new goal for myself. I’m sure I will go through the same process of denial and irritation and sadness and ultimately immense gratitude.

Midmar Mile
This is my favourite photo of the day! So much gratitude for the body.

You don’t need to swim a mile to learn to appreciate your body again, but I hope everyone can find the same gratitude and sense of pride in their bodies as I have. It might not last, and that’s ok. I’d much rather look back on photos of a body that was strong enough to achieve a goal and base my perception of beauty on that, than skinny arms.

Midmar Mile
Done and so happy!

A Morning with Sarah Graham at the Women’s Wellness Event

Sarah Graham Women's Wellness Event

It was a rainy morning on Saturday the 27th of January, however despite the stay-in-bed-all-day weather, I made my way on the Gautrain to Pretoria for the Sarah Graham Women’s Wellness Event.

Sarah Graham Women's Wellness Event

Despite the gloomy weather the atmosphere inside The Capital Hotel School was warm and inviting with women from all over excited to learn about wellness and healthy cooking from Sarah Graham and Jeanne van Zyl.

Me with Sarah Graham
Me with THE Sarah Graham

It’s the perfect event to spend with a friend and I was lucky enough to have a two of my best friends with me. When we walked out at the end of the day though, the sense of community in wellness and healthy living was very strong.

Me with Jeanne van Zyl
Me with Jeanne van Zyl

We all grabbed seats around beautifully decorated tables with special goody bags packed for each lady including some of Sarah Graham’s delicious Nourish Power Balls, yummy Kambucha for the gut and face products from Skin Creamery. We couldn’t wait for the yummy brunch which was being prepared from Sarah’s own recipes, but first up was a morning Pilates session with Jeanne.

Pilates to start off the morning

I haven’t done group Pilates classes in a long time so it was a lot of fun to share the session with a whole bunch of women. We laughed a lot and worked up a sweat. Jeanne was a great coach and made sure our souls and faces were smiling all the way through the hour long session. We were rewarded with some yummy coconut water (it was my first time trying coconut water and despite needing to get used to it at first, I actually like the slightly sweet taste) and basil and berry iced balls to cool us down.

Dr Tom's Kumbucha
Dr Tom’s Kombucha for the gut
Almond Butter
It was my first time trying Almond Butter and I was immediately in love!

After Pilates we were all starving so the yummy beetroot and berry smoothy and brunch was a welcome treat. Next up was a Healthy Eating Hacks demo from Sarah. It included things as simple as learning to make your own Almond Milk, to making the most delicious Tumeric Milk (it might sound strange, but believe me, it is amazing!). Sarah also showed us how to make her husband’s favourite Overnight Oats and Cassava Pancakes, which our table was lucky enough to taste. My mouth was in absolute heaven. It was like Sarah said, to feel well, you have to eat goodness.

Sarah Graham Women's Wellness Event
The incredible Tumeric Milk
Sarah Graham Women's Wellness Event
Home Made Banana Bread from Sarah’s new cookbook, Wholsesome

Next up Jeanne shared her amazing knowledge of all things wellness and healthy and balanced eating with us. I resonated a lot with her when she said that she does not believe in setting resolutions, but rather setting plans (I wrote a blog post about setting Intentions, rather than resolutions for 2018).

She shared with us how we can have a balanced life, especially when it comes to food with the following steps:

  1. Setting an Action Plan
  2. Creating a Vision for how we want to live balanced
  3. Taking Ownership for our actions
  4. Taking Small Steps

Coconut Water

After a morning such as that, with so much yummy food and wellness advice you couldn’t help but feel reenergised and ready for another year. Some might argue that the after effect of these type of events are pretty short lived, but I think that taking the time to go to events like this and spending time on yourself, being kind to yourself and spoiling yourself, has a much longer effect than the event itself.

It was a wonderful morning and not only did I pick up a couple of really useful cooking tips and tastes delicious food, I also flet part of a much bigger community, which ultimately is what we all strive for, finding our tribe. Thank you to both Sarha and Jeanne for the wonderful event and I can’t wait for the next one!

Sarah Graham Women's Wellness Event
Delicious Food

What is the new Matcha Green Tea Trend Really About…

Matcha Green Tea

Matcha Green Tea is somewhat of a new thing for me, which is very unusual as I pride myself on knowing and having tried almost every type of tea available. However, it wasn’t until about 2 months ago that I had my first cup of Matcha Green Tea. In my case, it was a Matcha Latte at Mugg & Bean and after the first cup, I was still a bit unsure about this really green tea.

Matcha tea photos are very popular on Instagram and all the Wellness Bloggers rave about their daily dose of Matcha. In South Africa, it’s honestly not that big a thing yet and I was surprised and very impressed when I saw the Matcha Latte on Mugg & Bean’s menu (and even more impressed when it was on the list of beverages to get with your Vitality vouchers).

Before going ahead and delving deeper into the Matcha cup I wanted to do some more research on what exactly Matcha Green Tea is, and why my first cup smelled like seaweed in a cup, despite having a really refreshing taste…

Matcha Green Tea Latte
Matcha Green Tea Latte from Mugg & Bean

What is Match?

Matcha is a form of Green Tea, but unlike any other tea where the leaves are brewed and then eventually removed from the cup, Matcha tea is actually the ground tea leaves. The power produced from grounding the leaves can then be used in tea, smoothies and even in baking (I saw a Matcha Green Tea cheesecake once).

Like most other Green Teas Matcha is also grown in Japan and has its origins there. According to the website House of Matcha, Zen Buddhists used to drink Matcha Tea to help stay calm and focussed during their meditation processes and Samurais would drink it for its revitalising properties before battle.

Matcha Green Tea

The Secret is in the Shade

The tea plants used to produce Matcha are actually shaded from the sun for the last few weeks before it is harvested. This protects the leaves from direct sunlight and decreases photosynthesis, which in return releases the green chlorophyll pigment, giving the tea its intense shade of green.

Matcha Green Tea
Matcha for Me, Coffee for the Husband

Why Did My Matcha Smell Like Seaweed?

I was pretty concerned when I had my first Matcha and it had an extremely strong seaweed smell. It was so yummy, but the smell really put me off and I only recently tried another cup, which had a much better smell.

From my research I found that it sometimes happens that Match Tea can smell and even sometimes taste like seaweed or fishy, but this is not actually normal…

According to the website Teasenz, Matcha tea should taste grassy, smooth and creamy. I definitely got that taste in both my cups, but the smell was definitely not grassy (which is one of my favourite smells).

The problem comes in that Matcha tea, because it is in a powder form, can absorb odours and humidity very easily. It’s called being “denatured” due to heat and humidity. It’s not that the Matcha powder is off or can make you sick, but the smell can put you off it completely.

Personally, I’m very glad I now know this as I’ll be much more careful when ordering my next cup. Ordering a Matcha Latte from a big chain restaurant who are not really trained in making them might not be the best choice, especially not if you’re only just starting out your Matcha tea journey.


I’m definitely going to give Matcha another try. The taste is so refreshing that I really want to have another cup, but now I know to keep a whiff out for the smell. Will you be trying Matcha as well?


PS. New Tea Posts will now be posted every second week going forward. This will allow me more time to create beautiful, well researched content for you, the reader, and make me feel less guilty about missing a week.

Why I’m Embracing My Late Twenties, and Why You Should as Well

Embracing my Late Twenties

Last week I realised with a shock that in 6 month’s time I will be turning 27! It’s strange because I know that 27 isn’t really that old, I mean it’s not 30 (just kidding) but it’s an age I never really thought about, an age I never really planned for but an age I have grown into over the last 2 years.

Embracing my Late Twenties
Cape Town, South Africa

It got me thinking about growing up and about how it really is ok to grow up. I believe, unlike a lot of cultural references want us to believe these days, that growing up is a great adventure and that it’s one of the biggest privileges.

Thinking of my mom at 26/27 she was married, lived in a house they owned and already had 1 child and was less than a year away from having another. Yes, it was a different time, but I’ve been catching myself lately hoping for the same kind of grownup adventure to begin. I don’t believe I’m ready for children yet, but there are other grownup tasks that have become tasks that I really enjoy doing.

I’ve been married for just over a year and whenever anyone asks me how it is to be married I tell them with the more conviction than anything else in my life, “It’s amazing!” And it really is!

The younger me believed that I would never get married. The younger me was wild and crazy, and restless and lost in my own lack of groundedness (is that a word…).

Embracing my Late Twenties
Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

The me at almost 27 is happy, peaceful, in tune with myself, and grounded.

There’s that common saying that daughters become more like their mothers the older they get, and in many ways, that is true for me. I have also found real joy in other homely tasks, things Iike hanging the washing, which was one of my tasks as a kid which I hated. Now I have a strange sense of pride in washing our clothes, trying out new eco-friendly washing liquids and powders, and hanging them up properly afterward to dry.

I find pride in cleaning our house and keeping it clean. Honestly, I actually love cleaning the house!

How weird is that…

Embracing my Late Twenties
Eating meals that make me feel happy and healthy

Two years ago, when I moved to Johannesburg with my then boyfriend (soon to be fiancé and then husband) I couldn’t imagine the idea of finding joy in, let alone wanting to, clean the house, do the washing and even cook.

Where my early twenties brought fun and crazy nights and adventure, my late twenties are bringing a new kind of adventure. An adventure of contentment and striving toward making myself and the world around me a better and happier place.

I never would have imagined even two years ago the happiness I feel now. Despite everything not being perfect, I am completely happy. I am content and balanced and in a big way I have stopped looking for that “something”.

Embracing my Late Twenties

At almost 27 I am comfortable in my own skin. I care less about what people think and somehow, I am finally beginning to understand that you don’t need a million people around you all the time, just a group of really special people. I am content and grateful for the people who have been in my life and I hold the moments I had with each so dear, but I’m not trying to relive those moments.

My late twenties have finally given me back the time that I felt was always running away from me in my early twenties. I know there is still time, and if there isn’t then I’m ok with that as well because now I am living each moment fully.

I’ve written about Seasons in Life before and I truly believe this is my season of joy, of discovering what really makes me happy.

If this is what my late twenties are like, then all the fear my younger self had about her thirties simply melts away. I cannot wait for the rest of my twenties adventure to unfold and my thirties after that, but right now I am so very content to just be here and live this day.

Embracing my Late Twenties
Spending time with family, like my beautiful cousin who lives in Cape Town, has become a priority

Green Tea: The Healthiest Tea in the World

Green Tea

Historically Green Tea was the first variety of tea to be developed and today it is one of the most, if not the most, well known tea in the world. The cleansed taste that comes from Green Tea goes well with fresh citrus, florals, and honey. All those wonderful fresh summer smells and tastes that make us think of long days and sunny skies.

Green Tea

What is Green Tea?

Green tea is high in antioxidants because of the unique way in which the leaves are processed. Unlike most other teas, Green Tea goes through an additional drying stage to stop the oxidization process.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what oxidization is, I didn’t either. Oxidization is a process of deactivating the enzymes (types of proteins) in the tea leaf through rolling the leaves and releasing these enzymes, and thus the aromas and flavours.

Green Tea

Green Tea, however, does not undergo this process and in Mandarin the process to create Green Tea is actually called Shaquin and this allows Green Tea to preserve its greenness and health benefits.

The Green Tea leaves are dried either in pans or even steamed and some Green Tea leaves are rolled into small balls that unfold when they come in contact with warm water. It is seen as one of the most versatile teas and has hundreds of different variations and ways of producing and drinking it.

Lipton Green Tea

Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green Tea has been hailed by some as the “healthiest drink in the world” and it just might be…

Because the oxidization process does not take place in Green Tea it is rich in polyphenols which can reduce inflammation and even help the body fight cancer. The polyphenols in the Green Tea, according to studies, kills cancer cells and can actually stop them from growing. However, the number of cups vary as much as 2 to 10 cups a day to see results.

Green Tea

Other health benefits include helping to improve memory, a lower risk of having a stroke and a number of heart health benefits.

The real value of Green Tea lies in the fact that it is a tea with no added flavourings, a “clean” tea if you will, of which the good qualities have not been removed but come through in every cup.

Lipton Green Tea

Despite my great love for tea, I’m still a Green Tea beginner. The husband swears by it and has at least one or two cups a day. Learning about all the amazing health benefits of this clean tea has prompted me to give it another chance. Will you?

Green Tea

How I Found Balance in Exercise Again

Balance & Exercise Blog Post

I’ve written a few posts over the last few months about exercise and especially my swimming and Midmar training journey. Over the last 6 months, it’s been a huge learning curve, going from hating the idea of exercise to almost over exercising my body to a point of exhaustion, to finally finding a balance which now leaves me feeling strong, healthy and happy. Here’s how I did it.

Balance & Exercise Blog Post

If you’ve read my other blog posts you’ll know that I have had a love-hate relationship with exercise for most of my life. In high school, I trained so hard for track that I racked up a number of injuries (most that I have luckily recovered from completely). I also chose training over friends and sometimes I felt worthless if I didn’t do my 6 training sessions a week.

After school, I wanted to avoid that pattern of self-destruction so I stopped exercising completely. In the beginning, it was hard but the less I did it, the less I wanted to exercise.

In my mind, exercising lead to unhappiness and pain and I didn’t want that again.

Slowly I started getting back into exercise more and more and marrying a man who grew up with sport running through his every fibre, I slowly began to find joy in exercising again. Parkruns every few Saturdays and pilates were what I needed to get me back into it.

Balance & Exercise Blog Post

Unfortunately, I slipped back into the pattern of over-doing it when I started swimming. I wrote a blog post about Control and Exercise last year and how it really can be the ugly side of healthy living.

It happened to me again, and I wanted to be so in control of my exercise routine that I exhausted my body completely. Before my Sun City Swim in October last year, I was swimming 3 times a week and pushing myself to 155 heart rate training for at least another day and then running as well. I was exhausted and after the Sun City race a part of me wanted to stop. Swimming was not making me happy in the same way it did when I started anymore.

You know that saying: When you get tired, rest, don’t stop… Well, I guess I followed that advice and took a break…

Balance & Exercise Blog Post

It was the best decision I could have made. With the husband’s help and inspiration, I decided to change up my workout routine.

I had been so scared before the Sun City swim that I wouldn’t be able to finish the 1.5km swim. But I did finish it and after that race I knew I could do even more.

I decided to take a look at what it was that was making me so tired. I loved the feeling of being stronger and healthier than I have even been in my life – for the first time in my life I have a bum! I know it might sound silly, but having a bony bum is one of the most uncomfortable things ever! I realised that I was tired not from the amount of exercise, but because of the execution and the combination of exercise.

So, I decided to change it up a bit and add in more different types of exercises…

Balance & Exercise Blog Post

I now swim twice a week in preparation for Midmar, and I feel strong and motivated every time. I have seen an improvement in my times and strength and last weekend the husband and I did a full Mile swim as a practice and I could finish it well (even beat the husband).

I’ve also rediscovered my passion for running. Running had left a sour taste in my mouth after high school and even running after school I used to get a lot of injuries. I’ve now realised that the problem was that I wasn’t fit enough yet to really run in the way my body needed to. Swimming has given me that fitness and strength. We do Parkruns on Saturdays and I’m slowly working towards my new goal of running a 5km sub 27 minutes (literally shaved off 3 min in the last 2 months). We also do a lot of road running training and I’m loving it! I am so strong in my running that I do not pick up injuries and I can run through fatigue and even the crazy heat we’ve had in Joburg lately.

I love running so much now again that I would like to start training for a longer road race or trail run after Midmar.

Balance & Exercise Blog Post

I also realised that when doing strength training I need to work against my own body and not use weights and equipment, it simply causes injury in my case. I now do home workouts including things like squats, planking, star jumps and other high-intensity training. I’ve rediscovered why I loved Pilates so much and am doing more Pilates training routines.

I still end up exercising 4 to 5 times a week but I don’t feel tired all the time, exercise now revives me. If I do have a tough week and feel my body close to burn-out I allow myself to take a break and skip a workout, even if it means going off schedule. My exercise routine also changes from week to week. I try to get the same amount of training in but the days on which a swim or a run or a strength training happens always changes.

The short and sweet of it is that I’ve taken the pressure off myself and found enjoyment in exercising again. By balancing types of exercise with the amount, I’ve found a good rhythm for my body and it has made me stronger and happier.

I’ve said this before, I don’t agree with cutting exercise from your daily routine completely at all. There are too many benefits to doing sports and exercising. I have however come to understand that balance is the key to growing stronger, achieving your goals and enjoying the journey as well.

Balance & Exercise Blog Post