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Odette

Books

Coffee at Little Angels Review and Giveaway (along with some other goodies)

November 6, 2017

I’ll be upfront. I doubt I would be able to do an unbiased review on Coffee at Little Angels by Nadine Rose Larter, the blogger behind the travel blog Passing the Open Windows. Cause I think she is an amazing person and I am fortunate enough to call her a friend. Granted, I had bought an ebook copy of Coffee at Little Angels and read it before I befriended Nadine, so I will nevertheless try to be unbiased.

Port Elizabeth Blogger and Author of Coffee at Little Angels, Nadine Rose Larter

Coffee at Little Angels review

The story takes place in an unnamed small town. Seven childhood friends, who are now in their twenties, are reunited after the death of one of their friends, Phillip. Now grown up, they don’t have much in common anymore and they have many unresolved conflicts between them, that have been simmering over the years. The only thing that currently links them and brings them together, is the untimely death of Phillip.

The story is written from the point of view of all eight characters Sarah, Kaitlyn, Caleb, Maxine, Grant, Melanie, Josh and even the dead man himself, Philip. There are a number of flashbacks and each individual’s story is entwined. Coffee at Little Angels is very much a character-driven story.

Most of the characters were interesting, except Sarah (many of the reviewers on the book’s Goodreads page like Sarah). Her character annoyed me to extremes, she was always so needy and perfect, and in some parts, I felt like she was making Phillip’s death all about her. Nevertheless, the other characters personality’s made up for Sarah’s perfection. If I had to pick a favourite character it would have to Maxine. I feel that she had the most character growth in the book and as a character, I feel that she is a good person, without being perfect.

The book took me through a range of emotions. While reading, I felt happy, sad (I may or may not have cried a bit at some points), annoyance (mostly at Sarah, occasionally because of Melanie) and even anger. At the end, I was furious.  But I’m not going to spoil the ending for you, you’ll have to read it yourself.

All in all, I give Coffee at Little Angels, 5 out 5 stars. To purchase a copy, you can contact Nadine on her site or alternatively you can purchase the ebook version on Amazon. I loved this book so much, I’ve bought a copy for a friend and bought one for you guys. Nadine has also been awesome enough to sign this copy.

Coffee at Little Angels giveaway

Some extras

I’ve added some extras to the book. I had been gathering some stuff for a giveaway but never seem to get around to getting all of the items. So I thought these would be the perfect addition to the book.

Caribbean Tan Tan in a Can

I had gotten this tan in a can in one of my #ECMeetup goodie bags. As a Coloured person, I tan naturally quite easily. All I need is 15 minutes in the sun (unfortunately I turn red in my cheeks just as quickly). Although I’ve heard many amazing things about this product, I’m sure one of you guys can put it to better use.

Colour Pop Supershock Highlighter in Wisp

Guys do you know how much I love this highlighter. I seriously contemplated keeping this for myself as a backup, but instead, I’ve decided to share the love. This is my go-to highlighter, I have a huge pan showing in mine. The only thing that I don’t like about it is that I have to use my fingers to blend it as it doesn’t work with a brush.

Enjoy Flirty Fun Hand Cream

Enjoy products are pretty awesome and they’re pretty affordable as well. I’ve used the Enjoy body wash in Flirty Fun before and I loved the scent. It smells like sweets, those heart shaped ones with quirky sayings such as kiss me written on them. Their creams are also pretty good.

Essence lipgloss

Essence is an amazing brand and I love most of their products. Which is why I popped in two of their lipglosses (I forgot the names), but it’s two pretty reds.

Giveaway

This is not a sponsored post. The winner will receive a signed copy of Coffee at Little Angels along with the aforementioned beauty products.

Before entering the giveaway,  read the terms and conditions for competitions on OSI.

To enter the giveaway complete the list below. Each point is one entry in the giveaway. None of the steps is mandatory, so you can only do the entries that you’re comfortable with.

To enter do the following:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Recipes

Healthy braai alternatives I’ll be making this Braai Day

September 23, 2017

It’s almost Heritage Day, or as it’s commonly known Braai Day. I’ve been eating really unhealthily over the past week so this Braai Day I’ll be making some healthy braai alternatives. This doesn’t mean my meal’s going to be bland. In terms of the actual cooking, a braai is actually really healthy. Provided that you use fresh cuts of meat, no oils or added fats are added in the cooking process.

Healthy braai alternatives

Toss the marinade and spice it up instead

Braai meat is actually quite healthy, but marinades, especially store-bought, can contain bad fats (yes there’s such as good fats), sugar and other ingredients that are not good for our bodies (even though they taste so delicious). Using spices cuts down on calories, but make sure to read the labels to make sure there’s nothing hidden in the ingredients. A co-worker of mine sells a delicious homemade braai spice which can be used on nearly every kind of meat. I’ll be sprinkling this spice on my meat instead.

Have corn on the cob instead of bread rolls

What is a braai without a piece of meat on a roll with potato salad? It’s still a braai. Bread is probably one of the greatest inventions mankind has ever created.And braai bread is one of the best kinds of bread. But have you tasted freshly grilled corn on the cost with a dash of salt and a bit of butter? Delicious! Corn is a carb, so it can easily replace bread. And it’s a good carb (still needs to be eaten in moderation though). Try it with me, you’ll be munching on your cob long after you’ve eaten the corn.

Go green for a healthy braai

I don’t know about other areas, but in PE a braai should have 3 salads, being: potato, curried pasta and baked beans. As we all know, these are all carbs. Now add the standard braai rolls, the only none carb on the plate would be the meat! I will be replacing the salads with one salad, a delicious green salad with feta and avocado. Add some garlic vinaigrette and it is delicious!

I’m also thinking of getting some portobello mushrooms and grilling them on the braai. They’re also tasty with some cheese (in moderation). I’m not a nutritionist, dietician, so making use of these alternatives is at your own risk.

I’ll be sharing my meal on Sunday on my Instagram stories, so be sure to follow me on @osoinspired.

What are your plans this braai day? Let me know in the comments below.

Images via Pixabay

My journey

Move more, more or less

September 5, 2017

I haven’t done a fitness update in while, mostly because there is not much to update. I’ve been going to gym on and off. This is dependent on my school and work schedule. There was a point where I went every morning to gym for a week. Then I fell ill and struggled to get back into my routine after 3 weeks. And basically, since then I’ve been going to the gym whenever the wind blows in the right direction.

I also tried out the new Pound class at Virgin Active, and oh my word, it is so much fun. I went on Women’s day and unfortunately the only times that the class takes place is when I’m working, which makes me so sad. I’d really love to attend it regularly.

Run? Where?

And then there’s the running. Or shall I say lack there of? Since I’ve tried completing the 2017 Two Oceans Half Marathon, I probably went on one jog. How on earth am I ever going to complete a half marathon if I keep this up? I realised that the reason I’m not making any progress is that firstly I lack willpower, but mostly because I don’t have a routine. My gym routine consists of doing a few spin classes, a functional fitness class or two, or some cardio and strength training. I realised I wasn’t working towards anything. How am I supposed to reach my goals without having a plan? It’s like going on a road trip to Cape Town without following a map. Chances are you’ll end up spending 4 hours on a gravel road before you reach your destination, that’s if you reach it at all.

Ideally, I would love to go back to my personal trainer, I saw so much progress when I was with him. Unfortunately, my bank balance doesn’t allow for them at the moment. Apparently, I’m brilliant at making poor financial decisions.

The way forward

I’ve decided that the best plan for me would be to start from the bottom again. That means starting with a 5km plan. The Runners World 5 Weeks To Your First (Or Best) 5-K, plan is one that I’ve completed before.  I  feel that this plan would be a good place to start again. Once I’ve completed it, I’ll move up to a 10 km plan and from there to a 21km plan.  There are 6 months till the 2018 Two Oceans Half Marathon, and I feel that is sufficient. I reckon if I dedicate 5 weeks to 5kms, 3 months to 10km and the rest to 21km training I can make it.It would have been better if I had started immediately after the last Two Oceans, but time cannot move backwards. I can only prepare and plan from here and now.

I’ve been posting a lot of my workouts and meals (even if they’re not so good) on my Instagram stories, so be sure to give me a follow to keep up to date. I’m at @osoinspired.

Featured image via Pixabay.

Empties, Declutters and Project Pans

April to June 2017 Empties

August 2, 2017

Wow, this post is nearly a month overdue. These days I feel like I’m constantly busy but never get anything done. I’ve been feeling very fatigued, lethargic and generally tired. My face looks like a hot mess from breakouts and me picked at pimples. I haven’t been working out like I should be. OSI still hasn’t been rebranded. And I can go on. Recently my family and I had a lovely, but short break to McGregor, and I had such a lovely time that part of me feels like they should have left me there. But I digress, this post is long overdue.

Body products

The Body Shop Frosted Cranberry Shimmer Lotion

This is the last of TBS Shimmer Lotions I had. As much as I love TBS products, I am so glad that I am done with all of these lotions.  At first, I loved the shimmer, but after a while, I felt like a disco ball every time I used it. There was just so much shimmer! And it got on everything I wore. I seriously doubt I would ever buy shimmer lotion again unless it a teeny tiny bottle. That being said, I enjoyed the scent and the product itself is not terrible.

Bramley Magnolia Tissue Oil

This has now become my go to tissue oil. As I’ve said before, it works well and at R20, is super affordable. I keep one on my beauty shelf and another in my gym bag.

Avon Femme EDP

This was a light and lovely feminine scent. It has floral and fruity notes, without being too sweet, so it’s right up my alley. It can only be purchased via an Avon representative. I would repurchase this perfume.

EAD Tissue Oil Body Butter

I took this on a whim. I was in Edgars picking up some essentials and my feet were sore from running errands all day. The last item on my shopping list was a body lotion, and I saw this on one of the shelves at the checkout line. So instead of going to another store, I decided to try it out. It’s a pretty decent body butter. It’s not thick, it feels more like a lotion than a body butter. To be completely honest, it’s not terrible, but it’s not amazing. It’s one of those midrange products. I’d probably buy it if I was in a similar situation again.

Mitchum Roll On

This roll on is one of my monthly staples. It’s one of a few that works for me without turning my clothes hard and white. I always try to keep at least one back up.

Foot products

Skin Logic Foot Repair Treatment

I love the Skin Logic Foot Peel Mask, so I thought I would give the Foot Repair Treatment a try. It’s not as amazing as the peel, but it does a decent job. I feel like I need to give the treatment another try.

Avon Footworks Cooling Spray in Ruby Grapefruit

I love Avon’s Footworks Cooling Sprays. They’re great at preventing and masking foot odour (it’s inevitable if you wear pumps). I would repurchase. In fact, I’m already using another one in a different scent and have a backup.

Face Products

Clicks Berry Delight Face Mask

This mask smells so amazing. It does a decent job and is pretty affordable. Also, you can easily get 3 to 4 uses out of it.

Benefit Cosmetics The Porefessional Primer

I’ve been let down a number of times with hyped up products. The Porefessional is worth the hype. I have another sample, but in a tube, and I’m using it sparingly, as I don’t want it to finish.

Himalaya Herbals Natural Fairness Cream

When I first started using this cream, it worked well with lightening dark marks on my face. It doesn’t, however, work for acne scarring. I would repurchase, but every time I go into Clicks I get distracted by other products and end up forgetting to pick one up.

Nivea Men Post Shave Balm

This is a hyped up product amongst online beauty personalities. Just for clarity, it’s often used as a primer, which is used underneath foundation. The first time I tried it, I loved it, but the more I used it, the more I disliked it. Firstly, it made me get oily faster. Secondly, it felt like it was clogging up my pores. There’s still quite a bit of product in it, so this is a declutter. And no. I won’t be repurchasing.

Avon Conditioning Eye Makeup Remover

Until recently, I never saw the appeal of liquid make up remover. To remove my makeup, I used baby wipes, followed by washing my face. Then I started getting into makeup removers. This is a declutter. I’ve had it for years, so it’s probably not safe to use. I don’t think I used it consistently enough to decide whether or not it is worth repurchasing. That being said, I’d probably give it another try.

Lipidol Night Oil

This oil I received as a gift in a Women’s Health magazine. It did a decent job and my skin felt so smooth and moisturised after using it. It has unfortunately expired, so into the bin, it goes.

African Extracts Rooibos Deep Cleansing Facewash

African Extracts is a great, affordable local brand.I enjoy using this face wash. It does a great job cleansing my skin, but doesn’t feel harsh on my skin, or dry it out. This was in fact, my second bottle. So yes I would repurchase.

 Himalaya Herbals Repair and Regeneration Shampoo and Conditioner

My aunt brought this shampoo and conditioner from the UAE. I’m pretty impressed with both products. Especially the shampoo. The products are sulphate and paraben free. I have recently discovered that it’s sold at Clicks. At my local Clicks its found by the natural hair care products. I would definitely purchase these.

Oh so Heavenly Love your Colour Shampoo and Conditioner

This has a great scent. I’m not a fan of the shampoo (it has sulphates) but the conditioner was decent. The bottle sizes were so convenient, I ended up popping them in my gym bag.

Kair Silicone Serum

This silicone serum is a staple in many homes. However, it takes forever to finish. I’ve had this bottle for so many years, it needed to be decluttered.

Eye products

Essence Lash and Brow Gel

This is probably the 3rd or the 4th tube of this gel that I used up. It holds my eyebrows well and is pretty affordable. I would continue to repurchase this gem.

Elizabeth Arden Lengthening Mascara

This mascara was a part of a gift that my brother bought me. It did a decent job. Most mascaras have the same effect on me, so if I could get this for a decent price, I would repurchase.

Essence 3D Duo in Irresistible First Love

I depotted this and a bunch of other colours. The container I stored them in, fell and smashed most of the eyeshadows I depotted. Check out my project pan roulette to see one of the eyeshadows that survived. I’m not heartbroken about it, I don’t think I ever used it, as it’s too light and cool toned for my skin tone.

Avon True Colour Duos in Crushed Orchid and Ocean Waves

These duos were also victims of the great fall. I’m also not heartbroken as I barely used them. Also, they were very old and had gotten a hard pan. These colours are too bright for me, I wouldn’t wear them regularly enough to justify repurchasing.

Revlon Colourburst Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya

I went through a phase where I only wore this lipstick. I loved it. It was so moisturising and went so smoothly onto my lips. It has, unfortunately, expired. I think this range has been discontinued, else I would repurchase.

Avon Colourtrend Lipstick in Deluxe

Gorgeous shade, but this lipstick had a terrible colour payoff. Also, it expired. I’ve found that the Colourtrend lipsticks to not be very opaque.

Essence Effect Lipgloss in Frosty Flakes

If wearing large flakes of glitter on your lips is your thing. This is the lipgloss you need. It is however not my thing, especially if the gloss has worn off and I’m left with random pieces of glitter all over my lips.

Revlon Colourburst Lipbalm in Charmed, Audacious and Honey

I loved these so much. They’re so moisturising and had a great colour payoff. Honey was my favourite shade. I wore Audacious occasionally, but only swatched Charmed (it was too light for me). The colour of Honey was buildable and it left a lovely dark pink stain on my lips after a few hours. They have unfortunately expired. I would repurchase Honey, but not the other 2.

L’Oreal Infallible  24-HR Matte foundation

This foundation is another case of me liking something when I first purchased the product. In summer, this foundation was wearable, but in winter my skin is so dry and this magnified all of the dry spots that I had. I am just really over matte foundation, in general, to be honest.

Avon Glimmerstick Eyeliner in Starry Night

This eyeliner was super soft and super pigmented. However because it was soft, it broke off easily. I would repurchase but preferably in black.

Unbranded Flat top Kabuki brush

This brush I bought at a Chinese shop and it worked well for a number of years. I used it to apply foundation. It has however begun shedding and having bits of hair all over my face is not appealing.

Not pictured is a Ubu Baby Blender. I forgot to include it with the photographs. I loved this blender, but recently I’ve begun breaking out (my face is a hot mess at the moment) and I suspect that this gem may have contributed to it.

Have you used any of these products? What products have you used up recently? Let me know in the comments below.

Travel

A weekend away in McGregor

July 31, 2017

Nestled in the Langeberg Valley is the quaint McGregor Village. Thanks to McGregor Country Getaways and the #ECMeetup I won a weekend away for 6 people. I ended up taking my family, my brother’s in-laws, and as McGregor is a 2-hour drive from Cape Town, I invited one of my best friends who resides in the Mother City. We ended up being 8 people going for the weekend, so my brother and his wife booked a place across the road from the cottage where the rest of us were staying.

The road to McGregor

The trip from Port Elizabeth to McGregor is roughly 6 hours. Which for me felt like a life time. The last time I travelled to the Western Cape by road was in 2011. The trip would have been quicker, but we had leisurely breaks at Storms River and Mossel Bay. Then, of course, there’s the GPS. Sometimes I think these things are traps. My dad’s one is always taking him via dodgy or rural backroads. And on this trip, it lived up to its reputation and took us on a 19km gravel road. That alone took us an hour. Once in the village, we learned that it would have been quicker and more vehicle friend to travel to the village via Robertson.

Francolin Cottage

It was early evening when we arrived in McGregor, so we all got settled in. We stayed in Francolin Cottage, which consisted of the main house and a flat. The cottage accommodates 6 people in total. The cottage had a very homely feel to it and there were a lot of small touches that made staying in the facility enjoyable. Firstly, we arrived to find preheated rooms and beds (they had electric blankets. In other news I’ve been looking the prices of them, they are the bomb). Being in the middle of winter, and in a valley, the village can get really cold, I’ve been told. But in my opinion, it was not as cold as I expected it to be.

Another nice touch was a welcome bottle of wine and that the cottage has filter coffee. Yes, proper decent coffee! Not those Ricoffy sachets most other places have.

Another unique touch was that the cottage does not have a TV or radio. And to be honest it was a great thing. This forces visitors to either A) Talk to one another or B) Explore the village. There are though a number of games in the cottage to encourage interaction. However, there was some big rugby match on the Saturday afternoon, but there is a pub a few houses down from where we stayed. It’s so quiet though, that it would be easy to miss that it was a pub. In any case, most of us went down to the pub. My family went to watch the rugby at the pub and enjoyed themselves.

Karoux

On Friday night, after we settled in and chatted for a bit, we went out to eat at Karoux restaurant. Karoux is owned and run by Ryan and Aimee Josten. Their menu is written on a black board, as it changes regularly (I think weekly, if not daily) and it is dependant on the fresh produce that they find.

The highlight of the meal for me was the salted bread that was put on the table. OMW, I think I had three pieces.  I’m not a salt lover. I cook without salt and can easily eat meals without it. But that salted bread, I loved it.

I find the restaurant to be a mix of artisanal and fine dining. I had springbok loin with pampoen tert, baby spinach, sherry and porcini sauce. The chef serves the springbok rare, but it can be well done on request. I’ve never had springbok before or eaten rare meat ( I prefer medium or medium rare depending on where I’m eating), but I thought. When in McGregor, do as the McGregorians do. The meat was very soft and tasty, but I think in future I’d stick to meat that’s done medium. I really enjoyed the pampoen tert as well. My mom had the pan roasted sea bass, ginger pickled calamari, rice noodle, Thai red curry and coconut cream broth and I tried a bit of it as well. It was also really enjoyable, and the red curry gave it a bit of a kick.

Saturday Morning Market

Nearly everyone told us that the Saturday Market is small and short and over in an hour. The market takes place at the church on Church street. It starts at 9 and it is said to only last an hour. We were running late but fortunately got there around 09:20 before everything was sold out. There aren’t many stalls, but if I remember correctly no two stalls sold the same items. We picked up some lovely finds, including a litre of olive oil for a mere R60! I picked up some herbs, treats for Bishop, olive oil and a book.

Walk down the roads of McGregor Village

After visiting the market, we walked down the main road (nearly everything is in walking distance). We popped into some of the shops on the road. We went into a shop that sold jewellery and stones, a gift shop and a few wine shops.

While walking through the town, we also stopped at Bemind, a boutique wine cellar, where we had an impromptu wine tasting. But hey, you can’t go to wine country and not taste wine. I bought a bottle of their Sauvignon Blanc. We also stopped at Rhebokskraal Olive Estate’s shop in the town. They have a variety of olive products and they offer olive and juice tastings. I picked up a delicious smokey olive pate.

Viljoensdrift River Boat Trip and Wine tasting

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to walk through the entire town, as we needed to get to Viljoensdrift Estate for a river boat trip and wine tasting. The estate is on the Robertsons wine route and is 20 to 30-minute drive from McGregor.

We tasted some of their wines and I bought a bottle of their rosé Muskapino (a muskadel and pinotage blend) to enjoy on the boat trip. The estate also has a deli where you can purchase a bunch of snacks to eat while on the ride. The 50-minute trip took us up and down the calm waters of the Breede river.

After, the trip most of us went to the pub to watch rugby. I only stayed 15 minutes, because I’m not a fan of most sports. We then prepared a braai for supper.

The trip was way too short. I wish we had more time to explore the village and surrounds. I really wanted to go on one of the hikes, but no one else was keen. I’ll do a haul post with all of the goods that I bought in McGregor soon.

Overall, we had a lovely time and hopefully, I will see McGregor soon again.