Category Archives: My Life

Wall Mounting My Flatscreen TV

So as I mentioned previously, one of the recent purchases I made from Tafelberg was a nice, compact work desk for me to place in the braai room so that I feel like I’m in an actual work area instead of just sitting by the dining room table as what I was previously doing.

IMG_20150121_173322

For a long time now I’ve been using my 40″ Telefunken LCD flatscreen television as my second monitor, and given the now reduced work space area, I’d finally have to take the plunge and wall mount the thing – a terrifying prospect if you’ve never before entrusted your TV to the wall I tell you!

Anyway, because I needed a simple, flat profile wall mount without any fancy tilt bells and whistles, I opted for the Ellies’ “large flat screen wall mount“, made of powder coated mild steel, which allows for flexible off-center wall mounting, and which retails for just under R500 at Tafelberg.

The unit essentially consists of a flat rectangular metal plate/bracket which you firmly attach to the wall, two metal arms which then screw to the television (most televisions and brackets all conform to the VESA mount point standards) – all of which then “hangs” on the wall fastened plate. The final part of the package is a slim, lengthy plate that slides in behind the mount once everything is up, allowing you to padlock the television in place as a bit of a security feature.

IMG_20150121_195151

Helpfully, the box contains a huge selection of nuts, bolts, washers and screws, so you shouldn’t have to go out and buy any fasteners for this project. You do however require a 10 mm concrete drill bit to drill the holes for the wall plugs – luckily I already had one (unused) in my toolbox. (It’s not often I drill such big holes. Scratch that, I’ve never needed to drill such big holes before!)

The spot where I wanted to hang the television unfortunately features the main power box into the house (because the braai room is technically my converted garage), meaning that I first needed to pop the lid and make sure no power cables are exiting the box at the top – in my case they weren’t, meaning there was a pretty good chance that I good drill with impunity, i.e. no risk of hitting anything in other words.

Another plus for me was that I was mounting on a solid wall, meaning that I didn’t need to go to the trouble of hunting for studs against which to mount.

One thing I discovered while sinking all six bolt holes was that my house is built with so called air bricks – because every time my drill bit hit a certain depth, there was a sickening thud as the drill smashed into the wall thanks to a sudden lack of material to drill through!

Luckily for me though, with the added depth of the plaster, the holes were still deep enough to safely bolt into, and with the help of my useful ratchet tool, I soon had the back plate securely fastened to the wall with six big bolts.

Then for the terrifying part. With the two arms successfully attached to the mount points on the television, I hoisted up the television by myself (not recommended – it’s best if you are two people to be honest) and hung it.

I held my breath, said a little prayer and stepped back – with the television happily still hanging exactly where I left it!

IMG_20150121_195052

A few photos later, I slid the little lock plate in, breathed a sigh of relief, and went to bed – particularly pleased to wake up the next morning and not find shattered glass, plastic and concrete dust all over the floor! :)

The end result? Perfection.

IMG_20150122_071457

Related Link: http://www.ellies.co.za/brackets_mounts/BAMLFPWM

Tafelberg and the Defy Oven Returned!

Back in May 2013 I proudly shouted about our brand new, R8,000 Defy 831 Multi-function Thermofan oven that I had bought from Tafelberg for Chantelle’s baking business. We were very excited about the new baking capacity, but sadly that excited feeling soon turned into frustration.

In little more than a year, the oven broke down four times, meaning four times Chantelle was let down and had to make a baking plan, and four times Defy needed to send out a technician to exact a repair.

Needless to say, Chantelle was less than impressed, and so like a pitbull bereft of its bone, she contacted both Defy and Tafelberg, complained and complained, and eventually got both Defy and Tafelberg to agree to give us our money back in the form of store credit – because there was no way in hell Chantelle wanted another one of these damn Defy ovens!

Although all of this drama unfolded in the third quarter of last year already, Chantelle and I kind of dragged our feet in going out and spending the R8,000, and in fact, it was only after a couple of phone calls from Tafelberg (following up on our credit note) that we did actually go.

Now given the fact that we had in the meantime taken possession of Cheryl Montgomery’s old oven after they renovated their kitchen (our Defy had long since been picked up by Tafelberg), we needed to blow the money on things that technically we didn’t need but would probably be nice to have – in other words, it was like going shopping when you’re not actually the one picking up the bill! :)

First on our shopping list was a new vacuum cleaner to finally replace our broken, second hand machine that has long served us up to now, and in the end we found a pretty awesome 2100w  Electrolux vacuum cleaner that we both kind of liked.

So into the shopping cart it went:

IMG_20150121_195128

Next up we spotted a beautiful white wooden shelving unit that would be perfect for Jessica’s room for all the toys. Expensive in my opinion, but the perfect man for the job, so onto the checkout list it went!

IMG_20150121_173224

(It was awesome to see how excited Jessica was when it finally arrived just by the way. She was shrieking in delight and best friend Cara and her pretty much immediately sprang to the task of ecstatically relocating all of her toys into it!)

In addition to the shelving unit, Chantelle and I also spotted a gorgeous wooden, slatted outdoor table, one that has a clever folding out mechanism that essentially allows you to extend the table lengthwise if you have more guests or need more table space than usual.

Although we’ll have to get the chairs (R715 each) paycheck by paycheck, we both quickly agreed that the table was a must buy:

IMG_20150121_173338

(Sorry, that’s a terrible photo of it. I haven’t removed the wrapping off of it yet because I’m still to cut the ankle high grass where it is intended to stand! Oops.)

Finally, fitting perfectly within our R8,000 spending limit (with a little jiggling from the super helpful Tafelberg saleslady), I picked up some items for my office corner in the braai room – a perfectly sized, proper desk for me to work from (finally, no more dining room table for me!), and an Ellies slim profile television wall mount to allow me to shift my 40″ Telefunken LCD television off from my current work space (because well, my new desk can’t exactly accommodate it – but that was the plan from the beginning anyway).

IMG_20150121_173322

So a very, very successful Tafelberg shop then I have to say. Yes, it hurt to just spend R8,000 for the sake of spending, but heck, it was kind of fun to shop with such a degree of abandon for a change! :)


P.S. It took a couple of days for delivery from Tafelberg, meaning that while my current office space stood decommissioned (I’m good at jumping the gun like that), I was forced to take my laptop and work off of our kitchen counter – not the perfect scenario, but beer did make it a bit better. Not that I had to stare at the dirty dishes for the whole of that period mind you – a lunch time meeting with Distell at the gorgeous Asara Wine Estate did give me an afternoon vista that looked like this:

IMG_20150120_123816

It’s a hard life, I know! ;)

Sleeping on Plastic Crates (or rather, a New Bed from Bed City)

Way back in June 2010 Chantelle and I was forced to buy a new bed. Given our weight we wanted something good, no not good, great, and as such we shopped around and eventually ended up buying a fantastic Dynamic Bedding produced queen sized bed from Bed City for R,8500 – a lot of money, but not so bad when you consider that we didn’t yet have children or for that matter our own house!

Anyway, fast forward four years and a couple of months (November last year to be exact), and the bed started to sag. It’s a foam mattress, not a spring one, so there shouldn’t be any problem there, and seeing as we were still within the warranty period, we approached Bed City who in turn sent someone out to look – who then promptly exclaimed that it was unusual, but it would seem that the wood of the base had sagged. So nothing broken then, but definitely a bed that needed to be replaced.

So at no cost to us, the order for a replacement was placed, and before long, we had a Bed City bed installer drive up in their little truck, mattress securely held in the back.

But wait a minute, where was the base?

Well much to my amazement, the wooden bases have now been completely done away with in favour of a new moulded plastic solution, which basically consists of a whole lot of bits that snap together and then get fastened together with screws – the end result looking a lot like a giant milk crate!

a new bed from bed city and dynamic bedding - plastic base and all 1

However, the new plastic bases allows for more feet points, meaning that pressure is distributed much more evenly, meaning that in theory the bed should never sag – so pretty much the perfect solution then.

Needless to say, Chantelle and I were not convinced that this flimsy looking plastic contraption could hold the two of us, but with the mattress on top, and the decorative base sheet fitted, I have to say, you can’t even feel the difference – and pleasingly enough, neither Chantelle nor I have woken up off the floor, surrounded by exploded shards of plastic just yet.

a new bed from bed city and dynamic bedding - plastic base and all 2

Finally, one nice new bonus is that the new base is a lot higher than the old one, so getting up in the morning is just a matter of swinging your legs over the side and voilà – you’re standing!

So yeah, sleeping on milk crates – who would have thought it? :)

a new bed from bed city and dynamic bedding - plastic base and all 3

Related Link: http://www.bedcitywesterncape.co.za/about.html

The Carpenter and Lötter Family Shoot (2014-06-29)

In the middle of last year, my sister Claire went ahead and organised a professional photo shoot for the family. She hired her professional photographer friend Matt McLagan to handle the photography end and together they decided to make use of Claire and Riley’s gorgeous, award-winning garden at the back of their Constantia home.

ClaireFamily_MP084

The brief for the shoot was for blue to be the primary colour of everyone’s outfits, and come the Sunday morning, Chantelle, Jess, Emily and I found ourselves up bright and early, and slightly lost in the Southern Suburbs, trying to locate Claire’s house. (There is this one turn which both Chantelle and I are forever missing!)

Not that being strictly on time mattered that much in the end though, as Matt ended up being held up for a fair bit on his end before making it through to Claire’s place, giving the family plenty of time to play catch up with one another. In total we were a nice sized group. Claire, Riley, little Devon and baby Grayson, Riley’s mom Colleen, Kirsty and Mike, Mom and Dad, Ryan, and of course Chantelle, Emily, Jessica and myself!

ClaireFamily_MP027

The weather played along beautifully, and Matt captured seriously fantastic photos of everyone – some of which I’ve put up in the gallery below. It was loads of fun for everyone (furniture shifting and all), and the morning was ended off with a delicious selection of snacks that Claire had thrown together.

So, what do you think of Matt’s work?

It’s worth mentioning that Jess was totally enthralled by Matt’s setup – and pretty soon he had her pressing the button to take photos, much to her absolute delight! :)

ClaireFamily_MP029

So thanks for organising this Claire – it was definitely worth the effort! :)

Related Link: http://mclaganphotography.blogspot.com/

Theatre on the Bay: Wild (with Robert Fridjhon)

I’m kind of looking forward to this evening to be honest. Following our recent trip to the always fantastic Theatre on the Bay to catch Alan Committie in his latest hysterical one-man show, Chantelle and I made a conscious decision to make a go at rekindling our “going out and seeing something” spirit which we seem to have kind of lost after having the kids – kicking things off with a trip straight back to Camps Bay tonight, back to our favourite little theatre on the bay! :)

Robert Fridjohn. Wild.

The newly opened show that we’re off to see is called Wild, written by and starring Robert Fridjhon, and directed by Alan Committie. From their own blurb:

“If ever you miss a dinner date with your girlfriend, common sense tells you that you’d better have a good excuse. Which I did … on both counts. And my excuse was outstanding. I was attacked … by a lion … at an office party … in a strip club … in Jo’burg. Well … ok … let me go back to the beginning.”

Multi-award-winning ROBERT FRIDJHON presents a new one-man comedy after a long sabbatical in theatre working with herds of actors. Bitingly humorous, often dark and touching, WILD is a fantastical account of one man’s accidental journey into the otherworldly realm of the animal kingdom where he meets a stray kitten, a herd of wildebeest and a lioness called Eleanor. Through them he discovers that the earth’s creatures know a lot more about him than he ever did.

WILD is based on Robert’s experiences in wildlife during which he was bitten, kicked and scratched (mostly by people), and then educated by lions.

I have seen Robert in one or two theatre pieces before (I particularly enjoyed Boeing! Boeing! from start to finish), and of course I did spot him on the rather admittedly awful Safe as Hausers sitcom that ran on SABC3 a little while back – but I can’t say I’ve ever seen him on his own, let alone him doing straight comedy.

So yeah, this should be fun(ny).

Oh, and as an added incentive to go and catch this while it is still on – Robert is donating 10% of his WILD earnings to the Drakenstein Lion Sanctuary (which we recently visited!).

Related Link: http://www.theatreonthebay.co.za/

Emily’s 1st Birthday Party (2015-01-11)

So the 13th of January rolled in and with it, Emily turned one. Seriously can’t believe how the first year of having the cutest baby in the world as part of our family is already over! Anyway, taking Chantelle’s guest house shifts into consideration, we decided that the best date to hold Emily’s birthday party would in fact be two days earlier, namely Sunday 11 January. (Funnily enough, Claire hosted little Grayson’s 1st birthday party on Saturday 10 January, meaning a weekend filled with 1st birthday parties!)

Mom and Dad graciously let us use their home as the venue (we wanted the space and more importantly the pool), and to sprinkle Smarties on the top, the day’s weather was absolutely perfect!

Chantelle, Jess, Emily and I made the trip through to Bellville early morning to start the setup operation, and believe it or not, our timing was exactly spot on because we finished up just as the first guests started arriving – in other words, right on time! :) (So, so many rolls were cut and buttered, Spanspek diced, and Watermelon sliced!)

It didn’t take long for the kids (and the parents) to find themselves in the pool (where the coloured balls soon made an appearance and were an absolute hit – with the dads, who couldn’t stop pelting one another with them!). The fire was soon on the go, and lots of boerewors rolls, spanspek, watermelon and cold salads eventually descended onto the outside table in order to attempt to feed the hungry hordes.

Needless to say, Chantelle had prepared an awesome upside-down ice cream cake for Emily (hastily prepared seeing as we were out the previous day attending Grayson’s party), but the real treat for the day was without a doubt the kids’ ice cream station that Chantelle had set up – complete with about eight flavours of ice-cream, a selection of cones and bowls, and a gazillion different topper treats! Young and old alike gorged themselves (multiple times) on the sweet treats, and then as before, it was back in the pool for pretty much the rest of the afternoon!

Towards the end of the day, the guys mostly gravitated towards the television in order to sit down and watch the unfolding T20 game between the Proteas and West Indies (sadly, South Africa lost), whilst the girls remained outside, rolling their eyeballs and chatting up a storm. (At that stage I’m not sure what the kids were up to because I was watching cricket).

All in all, the day was a huge success story, the kids had a blast, and the parents looked to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves (even if that sentiment is based entirely on all the dads pretty much pelting each other in the pool with coloured balls for the entire day – seriously, we never grow up, do we?).

IMG_20150111_135831

Continue reading

Gibson’s for Date Night in the Waterfront (2014-05-10)

So my quest to play catch up in finally getting around to posting all of my phone camera photos up to the blog continues… Last year Chantelle and I did something uncharacteristic for my birthday by heading out for a very rare date night on the evening before the main event. We really wanted to try out this fantastic burger joint everyone had been recently raving about, namely Gibson’s Gourmet Burgers & Ribs, tucked away somewhere in the V&A Waterfront.

With the kids safely tucked in at Oupa and Ouma’s house, Chantelle and I headed south across the Boerewors Line, and not only successfully located the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, but actually managed to find parking as well (We hadn’t been there for a very, very long time, so I count that as something worthy of noting)! Then the hunt for Gibson’s was on, and after a long, enjoyable and sightseeing jaunt around the area, we realized that the restaurant is in fact a small little shopfront tucked in the food court in the actual Waterfront mall itself!

Initially a bit disappointed with the size of the restaurant then, our tune quickly changed when once seated, one quickly realized how cleverly the setup has been done – you pretty much feel that you’re inside a proper eatery, despite the fact that the mall walkway is literally right there in front of you!

Anyway, in terms of the food, we were definitely NOT let down. An awesome selection of burgers made the final choice difficult, but the end result that was put down in front of us were two of the best, freshest burgers that we had ever tasted.

In other words, a definite ‘recommend’!

By that stage it was pretty dark, and so we capped off an enjoyable evening together by taking a ride in the big ferris wheel that dominates the waterfront these days – the aptly named Cape Wheel. Neither Chantelle nor I had ever taken a ride on it before and so we were understandably excited stepping into the designated pod after slapping down our money on the counter (which was a little too much in my opinion, but hey, tourist fees – comes with the territory I suppose).

The ride is over pretty quick, and I have to say, we probably robbed ourselves of some of the views by doing it at night, but nevertheless, it was an enjoyable 10 to 15 minute sightseeing ride, and as always, the lights of Cape Town certainly didn’t disappoint!

IMG_20140510_222539

Continue reading

Pink and White Keter Playhouse

This Christmas holiday Chantelle and I were adamant to get something for Jessica to play outside with, you know, to encourage her to play more instead of just sitting down to watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Slides, swings, trampolines, they were all on our shortlist, before Chantelle and I finally decided that perhaps a kid’s plastic playhouse would be just the ticket that we were looking for. Jess always runs in and plays in a playhouse given half a chance, so perhaps she’d absolutely love having one of her own.

So we started shopping around, and came across a very nice looking one from Keter at Game for R1,799. White, pink, with a chicken on top and a pony pasted on the door, it seemed too good to be true! I made the decision there and then to buy the playhouse for her at the start of her holiday instead of waiting until Christmas, meaning that she would therefore have the maximum amount of playtime in it available to her over the vacation period.

Consequently, while she was out on her last day at Vergeet-My-Nie playschool, I nipped out to Game, handed over the money, and somehow managed to squeeze the rather big box in my little Hyundai Getz.

IMG_20141211_121034

Back home I set about the assembly phase of the project, and I have to say, hats of to the guys at Keter (made in Israel by the way) – this is a very well thought out, well manufactured, and easy to assemble kit.

In no time at all, with the help of a detailed instructions booklet, I had the sturdy (relatively) little plastic structure up, complete with oh so cute ladybug roofclips and rooster weathervane sitting snuggly on top! (No screws, hammer, or screwdriver required).

I put a nice soft blanket on the floor, pulled in her chair with some books, and arranged all the ponies as a colourful welcoming committee.

IMG_20141211_125820

Jessica was of course super duper excited when she arrived home, and immediately played in it for the next day or two, but sadly that’s where our plan failed, or rather as far as it went – those two initial days were pretty much the last thought she gave to the structure for the rest of the holiday! :/

I think the answer lies in the fact that on its own, the playhouse is just a shell, and without anything inside to make it more of a house, well then there just isn’t all that compelling a reason to play inside.

After all, it’s much cooler and with more space just to play in our actual home!

So the next step for Chantelle and myself I guess is to start looking around for kitchen toys to populate it with. Hopefully that will spark the interest that we originally had so hoped to ignite.

Oh well, live and learn I suppose, live and learn.

Bonus! On another related note, my heart literally sank a week after buying the playhouse – I was out shopping at Checkers Hyper and spotted the exact same whimsical pink and white Keter playhouse selling for… R1,299 – a full R500 cheaper than what I had just paid at Game less than a week earlier!

Thankfully though, enough people quickly reminded me of Game’s awesome policy whereby they will refund you the difference in purchase price if you spot something you just purchased cheaper elsewhere within a given time limit, meaning that the R500 was swiftly recovered and then spent on some more Christmas gifts for the girls!

Related Link: http://www.keter.com/products/magic-playhouse

Vergeet-My-Nie Year End Picnic (2014-12-10)

Last year Jessica’s awesome playschool Vergeet-My-Nie ended off their year with a big weekday morning picnic, to which all the parents, grandparents, and whomever else wanted to come along were invited. We were treated to a beautiful Summer’s day with fantastic sunshine, soft grass, and of course large patches of shade provided by the multitude of trees standing tall in the picnic area at Helderberg Nature Reserve.

The kids were out in force, the teachers (complete with Santa hats) had their hands full, and it quickly became apparent that this was to be a day of play and certainly not a day of structured activity!

Songs were sung, prizes handed out (Jessica loved receiving her little ballet certificate), and of course a few Christmas-themed snacks made their way into the crowd. The parents had been instructed to drop off a gift for their child earlier in the week, meaning that there was even a chance for some much enjoyed present handing out – which as you can see, Jess was more than just a little enthralled with! :)

IMG_20141210_100241

All in all, it was a awesome morning out with Jessica (we left Emily at Baby Steps creche in order to give Jess our full attention), and Chantelle turned out to be pretty popular whilst manning the climbing wall and fireman’s pole! (I lucked out – my injured knee meant I wasn’t overrun with hyperactive kiddies!)

In fact, Jessica must have had a ball – seeing as she pretty much passed out once we got back into the car!