By Lisa Moore

Many avid travellers have heard of exotic tourist destinations such as Mauritius, Zanzibar, and the Seychelles, but few have heard of the little gem that is Reunion Island. Situated off the eastern coast of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean, lies a multicultural society of roughly 770 000, composed of people originally from China, the Comoros,  France, India, Madagascar and Mozambique. Rich in both its unique French culture and history, Reunion Island entices those who are searching for a place in which they can put their feet up for a few days and relax, as well as caters for those who are more after adrenalin-pumping adventure and outdoor activities.             

 

Snow Peak

Reunion is a small island, almost round in shape, with a main road that goes all the way around it, covering over 240 kilometres in length. This island originated out of two volcanoes, so its appearance is that of a mountain rising out of the ocean. The first volcano is said to have occurred 2.5 million years ago. Magma gushing out of the crater spread around and into the ocean, and made up what is now the island’s highest point, “Piton des Neiges” (Snow Peak) at 3 069 metres. Despite its name, snow hardly ever falls on the summit, and this volcano is extinct.                                  

Furnace Peak

The second volcano erupted 380 000 years ago, roughly 30 kilometres to the south eastern region of Reunion. Here, a new volcanic mound formed, and attached itself to the first one, becoming “Piton de la Fournaise” (Furnace Peak), measuring 2 632 metres. This volcano is still active, and regularly erupts, providing a spectacular show of entertainment with its stunning lava flows and fountains, which are safely approachable. It is no wonder that Reunion is a tiny heaven for volcanologists; and there is also a Volcano Museum where more interesting facts can be learned and seen.                                                                                                             

Otherwise known as “La Réunion”, this island is one of the 26 regions of France, and therefore belongs to the European Union. Reunion was uninhabited until the mid-17th century, when it became a stopover on the rapidly increasing trade routes. The island contained an abundance of fresh water, which was available near the coasts, which is why many navigators – Arabic, Portuguese and English – visited Reunion. However, the French were the first to inhabit Reunion, and they used it as a punishing colony (prison) for the unwanted people from Madagascar.  

Reunion is very characteristically French, but despite its historical connection, the citizens continue to be proud of their individual roots. Catholics, Hindus and Muslims alike live beside each other, and religion forms a large part of daily life for these locals. A moving mix of blues music, called “Maloya”, originated from the slaves of the island, while “Sega” music reflects the influences of both Africa and Europe. Here in Reunion, culture is expressed and reflected in its diverse inhabitants, and each person is free to honour and celebrate their respective customs and traditions.                                                                                                            

Lamb Masala

Striking Creole architecture decorates the small towns and also adds a special touch to the delicious cuisine, which combines this with the different tastes of French, Indian, Chinese and even Italian, all with an island twist. Much use is made of the available seafood and locally grown unique fruits, vegetables and spices. The two dishes every visitor to Reunion should taste are “Lamb Masala”, an Indian recipe, and curry, which is the major local speciality. A typical Reunion curry is made of fish, meat or shellfish stew, prepared with cloves, garlic, ginger, onions, turmeric and other local spices. It is served with white rice and “grains” (beans, broad beans or lentils) and is topped with a spicy sauce made from lemon, pistachios and tomatoes, called “rougail”. In the Creole culture, it is vital to eat well. Cooking remains to be an art, and secrets are passed from mother to daughter over the generations. 

Reunion is subjected to a very tropical, humid climate, plentiful rainfall and rocky terrain. All these factors create primary forests, which cover a great deal of the island. Hiking lovers worldwide come here to experience for themselves its firmly established reputation as a naturally beautiful hiking destination. There are also a wide variety of landscapes which are affected by exposure to prevailing winds. Cliffs, black, pebble or coral sand beaches, lava flows –  the coasts also vary dramatically. Flora reigns in breathtaking varieties – bamboo, bougainvillea, hibiscus, orchids and palms are just a few that will attract the attention of botanical fans.                                         

La Reunion National Park

La Reunion National Park

In August 2010, Reunion Island won UNESCO’s World Heritage status within its National Park. The Pitons, cirques and fortifications of the site of Reunion Island overlap with the core zone of La Réunion National Park. This property covers more than 40 percent of this small island.                                                                                            

Chris Gilson, 47, a sales representative from Port Elizabeth, visited Reunion Island in April of 2009. He found out about Reunion Island via the travel web site Unusual Destinations. Chris booked his holiday through this website, which is also a travel agency. “What I could judge was that if you are into outdoor activities, such as surfing, hiking and paragliding, this is their main thrust”, says Chris, “but there are many other things as well, so it is difficult to really say.” According to Chris, there are many ‘touristy’ types of shops that can be explored, as well as an array of sights to be seen – so, essentially, it offers a typical tourist experience in a fresh, new place.            

Over the years, due to increased tourism, craftsmanship has increased in Reunion. You are able to buy typical souvenirs, such as T-shirts, books, food products (vanilla), and CDs and DVDs. However, some items made in Reunion are quite rare, such as tortoise-shell jewellery and items and objects made from fish skin and woven vegetable fibres.                                                                                                  

“I think the best experience for us was observing the live volcano from both angles – from the top as well as from the lava fields at the coast”, shares Chris. “The drive up to Salazie was also great, there were lots of waterfalls, and not to forget the great beer!” Chris thinks that going to Reunion Island is a bit more expensive than normal holiday packages, but the added value is that you do a ‘self-drive’ package, so you are not stuck in one resort for the entire length of your holiday.                               

“Yes, I would say it is affordable, if you don’t splash out on things like helicopter flips, et cetera and don’t eat in fancy restaurants”, he says. Chris suggests rather eating from roadside ‘sandwich bars’ as they are a lot easier on the pocket. In the end, the entire seven nights, including flights from Port Elizabeth for two, cost Chris in the region of R 35 000.  It is important to keep in mind that you still have to get French visas, though, and the price of these will obviously depend on the rand/euro exchange rate.                                                                                                                   

Due to the fact that it is so different, the vegetation and scenery changes constantly, the water is safe to drink and there are no diseases such as malaria or yellow fever. This automatically boosts Reunion’s Island status as a very interesting and attractive tourist destination. According to Chris, there is nearly no crime, there are completely diverse foodstuffs, and “the list is endless”. So, if you are looking for a place to get away and experience something totally new and different, why not meet Reunion Island? It is an island of true contrasts – you surely won’t be disappointed.

Travel Tips for First-Timers Visiting Reunion

When should I go? Any time of the year, except in February, when it is cyclone season.

Do I need a visa? Yes, if you are South African. If you have an American, British or EU passport, you are exempt.

What language is most spoken? French

What currency is used? The Euro. Exchanging money at a bank proves to be very difficult, as well as using traveller’s cheques, so it is strongly advised to travel with either a Master Card or a Visa credit card. 

What is the time difference? GMT + 4 hours

What is the weather like? Along the coast, it is hot, being dry on the west and humid on the east. It is mild in the mountains, becoming cool to very cold at night.

Are there any health hazards I should be aware of? The water is drinkable, and there is no malaria, so no immunisations are needed.

Must-sees and must-dos!

  1. Cilaos

    The three Cirques:

    View from Maido of Mafate

    Cirque de Mafate boasts lush, wild scenery and widespread trails. Accommodation is provided in ‘mountain houses’, for an authentic experience.

    Cirque de Cilaos is drier than Mafate, but hosts the perfect mountain bike challenge, offering a coastal ride for cycling enthusiasts. Visitors can also see the thermal springs and have a taste of the local wine-making industry.   

    At Cirque de Salazie, there is the renowned mountain retreat “Relais des Cimes”, which shows off the most gorgeous scenery.

    At the centre of the island, these enormous basins meet at the highest peak, “Piton des Neiges”.                                                 

  2. La Plaine-des-Palmistes and Bebour-Belouve Forest: This is one of Reunion’s most beautiful towns, and in spring and summer, vibrant flowers can be admired.
  3. Palm Hotel: Situated in the south, and surrounded by 3,5 hectares of a nature park, this also overlooks the island’s most stunning coral beach, “Grand Anse”.
  4. Saint Denis: This is the second town founded in Reunion, after Saint Paul. During the mid-17th century, this site was a natural site where a fort was due to be built, but in 1689, it became a town.
  5. Saint Gilles Les Bains: This is the ideal seaside resort location, with a distinctive French Riviera feel to it, for those wanting a holiday in the sun, sea, sand and surf. Coral reefs provide plenty of ocean life to see and experience whilst swimming in the lagoon, snorkelling or diving. There is a vast array of hotels, restaurants and bars, and provides access to “Boucan Canot”, Reunion’s prettiest white sand beach.

    Boucan Canot

  6. Saint Leu: On the west coast, this is every surfer’s paradise, where international surfing competitions are held. Those who are looking for a pulsating nightlife will definitely find it here!
  7. Piton de la Fournaise: This is probably the most thrilling site, and the fascinating lunar landscape can be viewed by helicopter. Those who are more adventurous at heart can venture along the hiking path from “Pas de Bellecombe”, and watch the lava flows on the east coast, near the tiny settlement of “Tremblet”. Here, along the south east coast, it is wild and unspoilt.

 

Reunion Island… An Adventure Waiting to Happen!           

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By Andile “Ace” Magxaki

Sedgefield is a little town situated on the world-famous Garden Route in the Western Cape, South Africa. It is cradled neatly between Knysna and Wilderness along the N2 between Port Elizabeth and George. Because the town is situated on the N2, most travellers drive right past, barely noticing the gem that is Sedgefield.

However, to the alert eye of the keen traveller, Sedgefield demands a second glance, as it boasts a beauty that warrants even the weariest eye’s attention. The town possesses the feel of a mountain resort as well as that of a coastal holiday destination. Nestled beautifully between sea and mountain, it is canvassed by forest and the hilly backdrop that makes much of the Garden Route so beautiful.

Being a small town, it does have its limitations in terms of activity, but that is all dependent on the type of holiday that one is embarking on. If it’s tranquillity you want, it has it. If it’s adventure you want, it is definitely there as one can go hiking in the forest, white river rafting, camping in the forest and of course the famous Wild Oats Community Farmers Market. Another activity-filled attraction is the Goukamma Nature Reserve, which is suitable for any kind of traveller, be it family or individual. This coastal protected area, criss-crossed with hiking trails, is a diverse range of habitats for birds, mammals and marine life.

In terms of cuisine, there are two restaurants in Sedgefield, namely ChefALMA@Groenvlei and Chattanoogas. The former specializes in contemporary cuisine whereas the latter incorporates local cuisine in their menu. Both restaurants have outdoor seating as the views from the decks serve to make the dining experience all the more pleasurable.

If one is spending a few nights in Sedgefield, there are some great places to stay. The Coral Reef Guest House is one of the most famous guest houses on the Garden Route, along with the Pelican Lodge, Pine Lake Marina and Haus Seeblick. Each of these guest houses have something distinctly Sedgefield about them to allow guests to soak up all that encapsulates this lovely town.

The Garden Route is like a puzzle and each piece of it complements the other. Sedgefield resembles a little Eden with its lush greenery and landscape. Often, with regard to travellers, it is an age-old case of not knowing what is around until you stop, take a moment and look or unlock the treasure chest. Therefore, the next time you are on the Garden Route, take a moment to stop and visit this little gem.

A little further north, parallel to the Garden Route, runs the R62 which is home to the Klein Karoo Wine Route. The Klein Karoo Wine Route in the Southern Cape is arguably the most diverse of South Africa’s wine regions. It is the easternmost wine-producing region in the country, stretching along the Cape Route 62 from Montagu in the west to the Langkloof in the east.

The Klein Karoo

The Klein Karoo is situated between spectacular mountain ranges, and its vines are mostly grown on the high slopes in the fertile alluvial soil along the riverbanks. The climate is generally drier than that of the other wine regions, resulting in healthy vineyards which are grown organically to a large extent. 

Various microclimates enable Klein Karoo winemakers to produce a wide variety of quality wines, including dry wines, fortified wines and pot-stilled brandies. World-class Port and South Africa’s champion Muscadel are specialties among the fortified wines produced here, along with a host of outstanding red and white wines, which vary from full-bodied cabernets to lighter styles for easy drinking.

More than just an excellent range of wines, the Klein Karoo Wine Route offers visitors its unique cuisine, the warmth and hospitality of its people, and the charisma of its landscape.

North of the Klein Karoo lies the vast Groot Karoo and to its south, coastal planes which spill into the Indian Ocean. Enclosed by various mountain ranges, it is known for extreme variations in soils and climate.
 
The botanical diversity of the region is very much like the broad range of fine wines produced by local winemakers. While allowing for appealing blends, some of the coolest wine areas in South Africa along the magnificent Outeniqua, Langeberge and Swartberg mountains, yield crispy white and full-bodied red varieties..
 

The Klein Karoo Wine Region is one of the most diverse of South Africa’s wine regions and a travel destination in its own right. Furthermore, the Cape Route 62 runs parallel to the Garden Route and is an alternative route to travel from Cape Town to Knysna. The different towns in the Klein Karoo region are ideally situated to accommodate day visitors from the coastal towns. Therefore 4 different Day Trips highlights the attraction in each town.

Old Boys vs. Young Blood

Posted: October 28, 2010 in Sport
Tags: , ,

By Riaan Marais

 

 
 

Old Boys: The 1995 World Cup winning team.

 

Were the rugby boys of old really that hard? How do the younger generations match up to their predecessors? Times have changed, and so has the game.

Francois Pienaar: Lifting the Webb Ellis trophy after winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

We look back at the 1995 Rugby World Cup and see Francois Pienaar lift the trophy. “I bet he could teach these new boys a thing or two”, would be a typical remark from the older rugby fans.

Many people like to believe that the guys that represented South Africa back in the good old days are much tougher than the current players, that somehow they were harder men. However, there are increasing factors that argue against that point of view.

Prior to 1995, rugby was a sport, not a profession, and players had jobs outside their rugby careers. Francois Pienaar himself studied law at the Rand Afrikaans University, and worked while playing for the Springboks and Transvaal. Today, he is the provincial executive for First National Bank in the Western Cape. The point being that rugby players back then couldn’t afford to be professional rugby players like the guys today.

Nowadays, rugby players earn substantial salaries, and during international off-seasons, they have the opportunity to play abroad and earn obscene amounts of money. It has become more than just sport to them, which means they have to be good at it to earn a living. And to be really good at rugby, you must have skills, brains and, above all, you have to be as tough as nails.

John Smit: The second South African captain to lift the Rugby World Cup trophy, twelve years later.

Just like the reasons for playing rugby have changed, so too has the game itself changed over the last fifteen years. Simple rules like picking players up in line-outs, or the four-step scrum initiation (crouch, touch, pause, engage), are small things that have changed the game. Some other rules are put in place just to help with the flow of the match, increasing the tempo of the game. This quickened pace requires players to be much more alert and aware of everything round them. “The game probably needs to recalibrate slightly and look at how we can put more emphasis on skills rather than power”, says Damian Hopley, CEO of the Rugby Players Association and former England international player in an interview with artslondonnews.co.uk .

Don Shaw, team manager of the Harlequins Rugby Union Team in the United Kingdom, raises the issue of physicality caused by the new rules. “The game has become a lot faster, and more competitive. Players have become a lot more athletic, much stronger, more muscular, and leaner”, says Shaw. Hopley confirms these views: “Inevitably, players are getting stronger, faster, bigger and more powerful”.

Pierre Spies: A fine example of international rugby’s evolution in recent years.

There are many international rugby players that can attest to Shaw and Hopley’s point of view. But there is one player that definitely stands out from a South African perspective, and that is Pierre Spies. This 194cm, 107kg Springbok and Blue Bull lose forward started his international test début in 2006, and has only improved since then. Due to health complications (a blood clot in his lung), Spies’s rugby career was almost cut short in 2007, but since his recovery he has gone from strength to strength. “When it comes to training, I never take shortcuts. I always train really hard”, says Spies about his sessions in the gym. It’s clear that the hard work pays off by looking at Spies manhandling Australian hooker Saia Faingaa in a recent Tri-Nations clash.     

 

 

Pierre Spies manhandling Faingaa

Young Blood: 2007 World Cup winning team.

Even though the rugby legends of fifteen years ago deserve praise for the way they played and what they achieved, things have changed. It’s not the same game they played back in the day, and match physicality is at an all-time high. The young bloods exercise differently, train with more intensity and treat what used to be a pastime as a career. Give them fifteen years and they will be the legends of 2025.  

Mini interview with Pierre Spies

By Odette Kemp

Before the advent of Xbox and Playstation, children grew up with regular television games, such as Tetris and Mario Brothers. While DVDs and Blu-Ray are now taking over the market, it used to be dominated with video cassettes. In the same way, high-priced gym equipment has replaced the simple, old-fashioned forms of exercise.

Of course, each workout machine at the local gym has some special function designed for specific needs. One machine is for exercising your legs, while another will tone the muscles in your abdomen. The only problem is, whether you visit the gym or buy the equipment for home use, it is more often than not, quite pricey.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. All it costs is a quick trip down memory lane. With the help of some childhood toys, you’ll be ready to get back into shape in no time.

The Hula Hoop:

Though many are unaware of it, hula hooping dates back to ancient Egypt. Nowadays, it is a simple but effective form of cardiovascular exercise. The hoops used for these workouts are slightly larger than the children’s hula hoops, and customized for exercising purposes. However, the added weight makes it easier to use than normal hula hoops.

The benefit of working out with a hula hoop is that it increases your coordination and boosts energy levels. It also exercises your entire body, and it can be used in different ways if you want to focus on a particular area.

WAIST:

Place one foot in front of the other and shift your weight between your two feet, to move the hoop. This is easier than trying to move your hips in a circle. If you don’t have the time for an extended workout, this exercise will be sufficient as it exercises your whole body. It especially tightens your stomach muscles and burns fat in the waist area. You can do the same exercise around your hips instead of your waist.

ARMS AND LEGS:

Stretch your arm to the side and use it to swing the hoop in a circle. This motion helps burn body fat. You can do similar exercises with your legs, but it is best to lie on the floor for those exercises.

The Jump Rope:

Cheap and relatively simple to find, the jump rope has become quite useful as an exercise tool. If you intend to use a jump rope, make sure the handles are comfortable for your hands, and that the rope is the right length. The middle of the rope should be at the back of your ankles when you are holding the rope. An important thing to remember is that jumping rope can be a strenuous workout. Take breaks between each set, and make sure your sets aren’t longer than 25 jumps each. Do your jump rope exercises on a wooden or carpeted floor, or place an exercise mat on a concrete floor.

The basic jump is performed by swinging the rope over your head and skipping over it, in a forward motion, while keeping your feet together. Do not try any of the other routines until you are comfortable with the basic jump.

Once you master the basic jump, you can substitute it with the reverse jump, swinging the rope backwards instead of forwards. Another variation is the jogging-step jump, which is similar to the basic jump, except that you keep your feet apart and jump as if you are jogging.

The Playground:

Tina Vindum, owner of a California gymnasium, has some advice on easy exercises. In an article in Parents magazine, she explained some simple workouts that can be done in a children’s playground or park.

“SWING CRISSCROSS”:

When on the swing, lean back at an angle of about 45 degrees. Point your toes in the air in front of you, with your feet together and your legs straight. This is the starting position.

For the workout, move your feet apart until your legs form a V. Cross your legs at the calves for one count, keeping the swing as still as possible. Switch back to the V position, and then cross your legs again, with the other leg on top. Repeat this 12 to 15 times for an effective workout. The “swing crisscross” helps tone the abdominal muscles.

“JUNGLE GYM PULL-UP”:

If you want an exercise that focuses on the back and biceps, this will be very useful. Find a bar on the jungle gym that is 3 to 4 feet above the ground. Place your hands on the bar, shoulder-width apart. Slide your legs forward until your chest is under the bar. Make sure your feet are hip-width apart.

Now, pull yourself towards the bar, by bending your arms alongside your ribs. Straighten your arms. Perform this pull-up 5 times, at least when you start working out. Aim to do more each time, and work your way up to 12 to 15 sets.

“JUNGLE GYM STANDING PUSH-UP”:

Find a part of the jungle gym that is structured like a ladder, and leaning at an angle. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on a bar that is lower than your chest height. Lean forward, keeping your body straight and resting your weight on your toes. Bend your arms as if doing a regular push-up, then straighten them again. Do 12 to 15 sets.

With these exercises, you can become lean without your wallet doing the same. Not only that, but you have the chance to revisit your childhood, and have fun while getting fit. All in all, this is one reunion that should be worth it.

So 90s countdown

Posted: October 28, 2010 in Entertainment
Tags: , , ,

By Sanelisiwe Maliza

There are certain songs that evoke memories when you hear them play.  These songs make you remember exactly what you were doing and what was going on in your life when you first heard them. Début magazine counts down the most memorable artists and songs of the 90s.  These are the artists and albums that define our childhood memories, the songs we used to cry to and partied to. This is the music we used to create dances to and these are the artists we mimicked in the mirror.

10. Eminem – My Name Is

Eminem came onto the music scene during the time of boy bands and pop princesses. When he came out, he changed the game – going against everything the music industry stood for at the time. As a white rapper, he was not only entertaining but also actually able to rap.  Eminem came out with music that was insolent, satirical and very catchy. My Name Is was the first single released from the album The Real Slim Shady in 1999. The album went on to win a Grammy, was highly acclaimed  and even went on to be listed in the Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time

9. Cher – Believe

Believe is one of the highlights in Cher’s musical career. This became one of the first songs to use auto-tune, thus people knew it as the “Cher effect”. Believe became the ultimate dance song.  It made history as one of the best selling singles of all time by selling over 10 million copies. This song was also able to rake in a Grammy and several other awards.

8. Korn – Freak on a Leash

Freak on a Leash is a song by the American nu metal band Korn, featured on the group’s 1998 studio album Follow the Leader. Prior to the album’s release, Korn had an instrumental section of the song, described as a “noisy guitar break.” The section was taken out of the song after their fans requested it be taken out. After Follow the Leader‘s release, the song was released as a single on May 25, 1999, and since then, it has been re-released several times. The distortions and dissonance used on the song create the trademark aggression from Korn.

7. Oasis – Wonderwall

This song, written by Noel Gallagher, was released in October 1995. The love song, which was voted best British song of all time, beat the likes of the Beatles’ Imagine and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for the top position.

6. Mandoza – Nkalakatha

There are few songs that can unite a country. Nkalakatha is one of those songs. In a country that is diverse, having a song that is loved by all races and creeds is rare. Nkalakatha is a South African cultural artefact, the song that was played at every sports game, disco and braai. The song is one of the few songs that was a hit for several years.

5. MC Hammer – Can’t Touch This

Can’t Touch This is MC Hammer’s signature hit, released in 1990 from the album Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em.  Selling over 10 million copies, the song has stood the test of time.  Remade into television adverts and featuring in several movies, the song is the ultimate feel-good, dance-along tune.

4. Elton John – Candle in the Wind

The death of Princess Diana shook the world. When Elton John sang Candle in the Wind during her funeral service, the song was both touching and unforgettable, bringing tears to the eyes of people that were in attendance. The album went on to become the best selling single of all time.

3. Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On

My Heart Will Go On is the theme song to the blockbuster movie Titanic. This song went on to be number one all over the world. As the best selling single in 1997, it took over the airwaves, and débuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

2. Britney Spears  – Hit Me Baby One More Time

Britney Spears broke out in 1998 with the single Hit Me Baby One More Time. The song elevated Britney to super-stardom, sparking a revolution as a teen sensation. As a pop princess, she was the girl that young boys had a crush on. Hit Me Baby One More Time was the song that every young girl sang in front of the mirror. Britney was loved by many and seen as the girl-next-door who just happened to sing and be very famous. 

1. Spice Girls – Wannabe

This all-girl sensation took over the world in 1996 with this single. Wannabe was the debut song to the album Spice. The Spice Girls were the commercial breakthrough for pop music. With a movie, shoes, bubblegum and several other items, the Spice girls were more than just artists, but became a brand. With the message of “girl power”, the Spice Girls were the biggest cultural icon of the 90s.

By Claricia Coeries

Handling our demanding jobs, taking care of families, paying the bills… These can all prove to be an exhausting amount of responsibilities to stay on track with. We are always running from the one commitment to the other and often lose track of the things we actually enjoy doing. 

Life’s business gets in the way of spending time with friends, doing jigsaw puzzles, walking through a park, swimming, or reading – the things that help us relax and bring us a sense of comfort and enjoyment. Taking time to slow down and enjoy the small pleasures of life brings meaning and purpose to a busy life. Before you say: “But I just don’t have the time!”, consider the following suggestions. 

1.         Be Present. How often do you zone out in a meeting or while picking up a quick bite at a café? People pass us by, each on their own mission, each with their own problems and preoccupations. How often are you actually aware of your surroundings? Do you notice the blue sky, the wind in the trees, the overworked waitress who still serves you with a smile, the smell of a good cup of coffee, or your dog’s wagging tail when you get home? Most times we’re in such a hurry to get to the office, pick up the laundry, or get the car serviced, and small beauties go unnoticed. Be present to wherever you are. You’d be delighted to find what you’ve missed out on all this time.

2.         Re-connect with your family. Remember the times when your family would pack up a car on a Saturday morning and spend the entire day at the beach, splashing in the waves and soaking up the sun? Or the times you would round up friends, play a few board games and have a good South African braai? Can you even remember the last time you spoke to the cousin you used to visit every other weekend? Life gets busy and families drift apart. It takes hard work to keep our relationships close and personal. Getting in touch with family could bring back many pleasant memories and keep you grounded with the people you love. They’ll appreciate it.

3.         Appreciate Nature. The salty scent of the ocean, the cheerful chatter of birds welcoming spring, the warmth of the sun on your back, the beauty of the moon’s glow, the lazy sweep of tall trees as they blow in the wind… Breathing in fresh air in the early morning and feeling it spread through your lungs… This is one of the best ways to start out a busy day. Nature holds so much beauty, if we only take a moment to observe and experience it. Take a walk to a nearby park and just sit and listen to the sounds around you and feel how nature can soothe the senses.

4.         Eat slower.  A busy lifestyle almost never leaves enough time to enjoy a good, nutritious meal at leisure. Breakfast and lunch come and go in a few minutes – just enough time to gulp down two slices of toast or a pastry-pie. Food is meant to feed the body, yes, but it is also meant to be enjoyed. Why else do we have tastebuds?!  Savour the juices of a sweet red apple, feel the crunchy bits of your favourite nuts between your teeth, enjoy the aroma of a healthy, cooked meal and take time to taste every bit of what you put into your mouth. Eating slower means less indigestion, and the simple pleasure of enjoying what you eat.

5.         Listen to yourself. When was the last time you took a half hour out of your day to regroup, think, dream and consider? We can get so caught up in going from the one task to the next, keeping ourselves busy, that we lose sight of our goals. Taking time to ask yourself tough questions such as “Am I happy? Do I enjoy what I do? How can I improve my relationship with my partner? What can I improve about my character?” can help you refocus on what is important in life and where you are headed. Listen to your thoughts and musings; take time to get in touch with your inner self. 

6.         Try something new. If you always wear the same colour-scheme, always take the same route to work, always eat at the same restaurant, and always order the same drink, I dare say it’s time to try something new! The saying ‘A change is as good as a holiday’ might be overused and so clichéd, but re-ordering our routine can do wonders. Finding different ways of doing the same things over and over could bring an element of excitement as you embark on the unknown. The same can be said for trying out a new sport or hobby such as squash or photography. Trying new things keeps us mentally active and prevents us from getting ‘stuck in a rut’. Be creative and dare to do things differently! 

7.         Laugh more! There are few things that laughter cannot cure. Laughing releases endorphins throughout the entire body which immediately sets one in an amiable mood. Some people even find that seeing the funny side in every situation helps them cope better with difficult situations and brings relief from anxiety. Lourens Shlebush, author of Mind Shift:  Management and your Health writes: “Laughter and humour… lets people relax and become less inflexible and more receptive to new ideas.” Rent a good comedy film and enjoy a good laugh. Or, better yet, find what’s funny in everyday life and laugh more! It’s like a mini holiday, and will leave you feeling much better.

Blast from the Past: The 80s revisited

Posted: October 28, 2010 in Fashion
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By Sanelisiwe Maliza

Fashion is much like karma. “What goes around comes around”.  The 80s have come around again this summer and is bringing in neon colours, oversized shirts, leggings, shoulders pads and a bright attitude. Fashion is taking us back to a time we know nothing about; this was the time when most of us were still learning how to walk. So as a little guide to the 80s the inspiration for the season is a little bit of Madonna during the Like a Virgin period (without the cone bra of course) and a touch of The Breakfast Club,  the 80s was a bright time; it was a time for change. The sexual revolution and the wars were over and communism had collapsed. All of this was reflected in the clothing during the 80s.  This means it’s time to revamp your wardrobe – out with the old – including those boring LBDs (little black dresses). Summer is calling for more colour, prints and drama!

Tips on achieving the 80s look

The key to achieving the modern 80s look is to take an 80s item and incorporate it with your clothing

There is a fine balance between looking 80s-inspired and looking like you have just walked off Madonna’s Like a Virgin video. The key to looking modern with the 80s look is to ensure that you incorporate an 80s item with modern pieces. If you are going to wear an 80s dress make sure that the shoes and accessories are modern to look like you are still living in the 21st century like the rest of us.

The 80s are all about accessories…Lots of them!

The 80s were characterised by lots of shiny accessories, necklaces and bracelets. To achieve the 80s look without going drastic, you just have to add accessories to an outfit.  Even if it’s just a pair of jeans and a top, the accessories will glam up an outfit, making you ready for a night out.

Bright colours and prints

It’s all about standing out, and bright colours and prints help to achieve it. Neon colours are the quintessential 80s colours. They are bright and bold, yet to look modern they have to be combined with a muted colour like white or black to attain some sort of balance.  Prints are usually best for thin and slim-figured people as they tend to accentuate curves. If you are bigger, the best way to incorporate prints into your outfit is to wear prints through accessories like shoes or a bag.

Ensure that your clothes are tailored! Especially the shoulder-padded jackets!

80s clothes tend to be baggy, like the T-shirts and jackets and make a person look bigger than they actually are.  Make sure that padded jackets are well fitted and tailored to enhance your figure. Wearing oversized T-shirts with either leggings or skinny jeans balance the outfit and ensure you don’t look like a balloon. They can also be worn with a belt which can be used to accessorise and make the T-shirt more form-fitting.

Stonewash and Skinny jeans

The stonewash and skinny jeans are also surprisingly back in fashion, for both girls and guys. The stonewash jeans, which were worn with mullets in the 80s, have come back but a little more modest. They are now worn with muted colours or a simple top. They are great to go out with, worn with a beautiful heel, they can make an outfit.  Stonewash jean jackets are great to be worn with a casual dress or black jeans.   

Off-the-shoulder

Flashdance inspired the sleeves-off-the-shoulder look in the 80s. Now as they come back, the T-shirts give the easy look for any Friday or Saturday. They can look sloppy at times so to create a unified look, they are to be worn with skinny jeans. The cut-off, off-the-shoulder T-shirts which reveal the navel, are best worn at the beach or with a vest underneath to look proper.

The jumpsuits

The jumpsuits are the must-have item for summer. They are effortless, flattering, cute and comfortable. Fit is everything! Check key fit points: waist, rear end and bust. Bagging in one area, while sagging in the other, will kill the look. This is one look that may require the finishing touches of a tailor. A jumpsuit makes a statement. No need to pile on the jewels or layer on the makeup with this look.

Even though the 80s are back, there are certain things that will not be joining the party. These are the things that you should stay away from:

The mullet

The return of the hairstyle would just break our achy-breaky hearts.  The ridiculous business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back look that was made famous by Billy-Ray Cyrus has thankfully not made a comeback this season. This vintage look is shabby and unflattering. The large and teased hair for women is also a style we hope will not return in this century.

The Boom Box

The “ghetto blaster”, as it was known in certain ghettos of America, was a portable radio, with two speakers as a minimum – the heavier and the bigger, the better. The loud obnoxious boom box was an accessory that was placed on the shoulder and carried everywhere. Thank goodness for iPods and mp3 players.