Its picnic time NO:4 in #romancingthehomesundays

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A wonderful idea came up in our #romancingthehomesundays to fit in with our spring theme, I thought to myself that this is just the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with the family. But to tell you the truth this one had me at a loss, I could not find the time or ideas. Its been such a crazy long week and my creative mind went on holiday with out telling me…

SnapseedIts not like me to leave things to the last minute, but it’s quite funny how things sometimes just fall into place. I whipped this up in 5 minutes and it was a family winner. The kids and even my hubby have asked to do this more often. It kinda felt like we went out for the day, but we just had lunch in our own back yard.

At any given time I always have some cheese, preserves and fresh fruit in the fridge. My go-to-lunch on a Saturday afternoon is fresh bread, cheese and some lovely cold meats. Its just a no brainer for me on a busy weekend and everyone loves it.

Its quite simple to create a cheese board that looks like you have spent hours preparing, you need just a few ingredients. I have a collection of wooden boards in various sizes. For this occasion I used the smallest so filling the board was simple. I topped the camembert cheese with some delicious chillie jelly (I bought from Jasmyn at Hartbeespoort a while back) add some olives and crackers and you’re done! This year I decided to try pickle my own olives, not going to lie it is quiet a mission but you just can’t compare them to shop bought… they’re divine! There is an abundance of them in the house and they are simply delish! A top tip to add some style to your cheese board is to add a sprig or two of fresh herbs and some fresh fruit, any will do but a beautiful fig or pomegranate just looks beautiful.

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I cut up some red onion, cucumber slices and some baby spinach to go with the smoked beef. I always have homemade pesto in the fridge so I whipped up some pesto mayo to go on the fresh panini bread.

I found these little jars with rubber sealers from Westpack for R15 each. A really cute and clever idea to keep everything fresh for your picnic.



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Old fashioned lemonade with lavender and vanilla

I love growing lavender in my garden. Its such a versatile plant. I made a simple syrup with lavender and vanilla. You simply bring 2 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water to the boil with a hand full of lavender and 3 vanilla pods.

Leave to cool and add it to freshly squeezed lemon juice and water… whala …old fashioned lemonade with lavender and vanilla. My family loooooooooved it and so did I. Pat on the back for sure for this one.



After all life is what you make of it. A mantra I live by.

A challange to come up with something beautiful when the world around me was pulling me in a diffrent direction.

Sometimes you just need to slow down, take a challenge and let life happen. I loved this challenge for two reasons:

1 : The look on my girls faces when they came outside to a beautifully laid out picnic with some yummy lunch.

2: I found out that even though I thought I could not pull this off in time, I did and I did it in style.

It just dawned on me that life threw me lemons and I made lemonade.

Join us next week where we have tea for two… or three.. or… you get the picture.

check out other in this series.


Talia @My Shabby Shack

Stacy @Sawdust And High Heels

Liz @Keep It French SA



Alfresco luncheon, No.3 in our series #romancingthehomesundays


A simple lunch with the neighbors I told my husband…lol it certainly took on a life of its own… knowing myself…of course it was not going to be a simple lunch!


I set off to decide on a menu, colour scheme and I knew from the get go it would be centered around our pergola and we will be dinning Alfresco!


Beautiful french ticking napkins, white hydrangeas from my garden and a simple wreath from an olive tree. I picked lemons from the veggie patch and lay a simple but elegant table setting. The perfect occasion to add a bit of bling… out came the crystal glasses.


My guest were welcomed by some wonderful award winning wine #Bonnievale crisp and absolutely yummy!


Tapas platter served under the grape vine pergola which gave all my guest a chance to chat and mingle before lunch was served.


Lunch followed the alfresco Italian theme, home made chicken parmesan. My very own recipe…

it was so delicious and totally took my guest by surprise at how fancy the meal looked.



Now on to the best part of any dinner party… dessert!


Simple and delicious vanilla pannacotta with berry coolie.

Bar raised, what on earth will I do for next years Neighbors lunch?????

I will post all the recipes for this menu in my next post…


Be sure to check out others in this series:


Stacy @Saw Dust and High Heels

Liz @Keep It French – SA


A Secret Garden…NO:2 blog #romancingthehomesundays

Here she is looking for bees in a bed of allsium.

There is nothing I love more than to enjoy my garden with a cup of tea. I can honestly tell you that my garden in one of my biggest inspirations next to my beautiful daughters Aurora 11years and Luna-Scarlette 5years. My little one, Luna is just like her Mamma at the tender age of 5, she is learning botanical names of plants that catch her interest and I am afraid to admit that she knows more than did at the age of 35.


The moment hubby and I found our home (5 1/2 years ago), I was 7 months pregnant with Luna and my eldest Aurora was going on 6 years old. I had no clue about gardening, in fact our house had a beautiful established garden. However it just did not reflect my taste and style. At first all I did was water the garden just to keep it alive!

But slowly my love for gardening took on a life of its own…

3 years back I attend the annual #ludwigsgardentour , and this is where my passion for roses grew.  So deep is my love for roses that I now have a  rose garden that boasts over 300 rose bushes and counting… many of them #davidaustinroses an English rose variety with beautiful old fashioned colours and form.



I was once told that you should decorate your garden they way you would your home… a strange concept at first but it really helped me as I embarked on this journey of decorating my garden with plants. One room leads into another with focal points and entry ways the lure you in. I will be writing a post about each room as soon as my garden starts to bloom.

In the far corner of my garden lies a secret garden with a beautiful arched gate smothered in lady banks roses. A stunning statue almost 100 years old (a gift from my uncle) take pride of place and is surrounded by #davidautinroses #ambridgerose lambs ear and many iris’s and bulbs. Reclaim pavers lead you up to a center point and boxed hedges formalize the garden.


Under a beautiful young Magnolia tree is a pretty little garden bench tucked neatly in the corner. With its beautiful shade and quiet surroundings I can sit back read a book or just have some quiet time. This little spot gives much needed shade from the heat of the day with a pretty views of the rest of the garden. A sweet little bird bath sits next to the bench surrounded by ferns and a “Just Joey” rose.


A place to rest, read and admire the beauty that only mother nature can create.  A place for me and my girls to make cherished memories. It’s a place to stop and smell the rose.

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The ladies of #romancingthehomesundays have such beautiful spaces to share: have a look!

Talia @my Shabby Shack

Stacy @Saw Dust And High Heels 

A place to relax

Liz @Keep It French SA

Liz- beautiful garden


Be sure to check out next weeks post on #romancingthehomesundays for Alfresco dining tips and tricks.


Romancing the Home – A Designer Bloggers Meet Up

It has always been a dream of mine to design, play house and just have fun with my creativity in my own home and not have my husband think I am a crazy woman for always moving or changing things. I now have the best excuse as tomorrow is the start of a wonderful creative collaboration that I am honored to be a part of. The beautiful ladies of #romancingthehome. A team of dynamic, creative, inspiring woman who share a great passion of mine for designing, homemaking, flowers, dinning and all things vintage…with a little french country thrown in for good measure.
Join us while we create, style and share our homes with you. Read more about us here


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Talia Botha – My Shabby Shack

Talia is another true creative, having been involved in creating and marketing positions since she was 18. She has done everything from signmaking to marketing, from bar tending to running events through her career. Her latest occupations include cake baking & decorating (she has a Professional Masters Diploma in Sugar Art) and renovating and decorating her gorgeous home. Besides learning how to pave, rewire their home and hang wallpaper, Talia has created rustic cheese boards, trays and shelves and upcycled furniture, transforming it from Drab to Fab.

You can find Talia on Instagram, where she showcases her latest projects (including that divine Sugar Art) and she will be launching her blog soon!


Liz van der Merwe – Keep it French

Liz goes by many names – Mom, Wife, Entrepreneur (as the owner of Zau Spa in Cullinan) and now Blogger.

She will be showing us her personal hand-picked and enjoyed Francophile finds. From books to gardens, recipes and much more, Liz will be sharing her journey exploring a beautiful life.

You can find her at her blog, Keep it French , or hanging out on her stunning Instagram feed.



Stacy van Zyl – Sawdust and High Heels

Stacy – Wife, Mother, Manager, and now, Blogger. I just love all things DIY and home decor and can think of no better way of spending my weekends than by tackling a new project. I have no formal training in design or home construction, so am learning by trial and error. I have a passion for sharing what I am learning along the way!

You can find Stacy right here on her beautiful and inspiring blog, , Instagram.

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Ramona Afonso – Ruffles & Rust

And me…Ramona is a wife, mom and career woman. I am also a fashion and interior designer, with a love for ruffles, rust and all things French Country. She is an accomplished interior designer and DIYer, whose stunning work has been featured in multiple magazines – including being placed solid second in Home/Tuis Magazines 2017 Fix it with Flair competition.

come hanging out on her gorgeous Instagram feed, and my new website

We have decided to share our September Spring themes with you, so that you know what you can look forward to. We hope that you will find these inspiring and that, should you decide to play along with us, that you share your creations too!

02 September – Spring Wreath

09 September – A space to relax

16 September – Alfresco dining

23 September – Time for a picnic

That’s it for now, we can’t wait to embark on this series! If you have anything that you would like to see from us in October, please let us know! We would love to incorporate your challenges into our weekly themes!

Naughty Forties….


So my bestie got a running start to the infamous “Naughty Forties”. With Mine only a few months away, I wanted to look back on this event and not only admire my handy work but a friendship that will hopefully see us into our Fabulous fifties, sexy sixties and beyond. Chantal is what you would consider a outrageously lavish and OTT kinda girl, nothing is ever in half measures and if this is how I would describe her personality her birthday party would be nothing less than magical with a little too much!

Theme: Burlesque

Dress: Sexy and stylish

Colours: Black, gold and cream with loads of style and glamour

The stage was set in her beautiful french style garden, a simple layout of cafe’ style tables and lounge area lite by soft candle light set the stage for a beautiful evening.

The stunning desert and cake table had peoples jaws on the floor. A cute vintage style swing was made up for photo booth opportunities.

I also tried my hand at a cheese cake – came out so beautiful and if I am to admit, I am a total cheeseaholic! I think this just might be the cake for my upcoming party.


I think the party will be one to beat, we has the best evening and my beautiful friend dress by me …. of course looked fabulous! happy birthday my Biestie, thank you for all the love and friendship over the years. Cheers to you sexy lady!

Woodland’s baby shower


You know life can be crazy sometime, but sometimes life can give you unexpected opportunities to let your inner child out and just play.

My neighbor whom is now a very good friend of mine, often asked me to style her parties. This one was particularly fun as the party was held in honor of her sister’s first baby.

The theme WOODLAND’S seems to be all the rage now…but it was sooooo much fun.

Check out the hand made mushrooms and all the detail with moss and raw wooden boards and of course the cutie little animals.

Delicious eats were presented on one center table and a stunner of a cake took center stage.


Boy’s to Men

As a mother it is never easy to make the transition from baby to child to pre-teen and oh dear I say it adult! One of my latest styling jobs had my most fun yet.

The client:

A mother of two growing boys.

She wanted to surprise her boys with their new room.

Key words:

  • A place for them to study
  • organization
  • they need to grow into the room
  • functional but must look appealing
  • A place to keep all her boys books (they have loads)
  • industrial look with elements of vintage

The room had been outdated with old baby furniture that had long since past it’s expiry date.

A custom industrial wall shelve and double desk combo was installed into the room, new head bards, linen, curtains and for a pop of colour some stunning duck egg blue industrial style chairs and bed throws.

I find the industrial look can be quiet cold, so adding elements of vintage pieces with the old books and suit cases along side vintage inspired maps brings the look together.

Don’t you just love the glass cloche/spider …so cool! Now the boys have room that can inspire and grow with them…

A French Country Christmas


My absolute favorite time of year! Decorating our home over Christmas allows me an opportunity to bring out the “bling”. I am closeted “bling” girl. As much as I love the soft tones and patinas in old vintage pieces as secret side of me is always shouting for something a little more dramatic.

Out come the tree and on goes the french Christmas carols…Its a beautiful big tree, faux of course. I love unpacking the boxes and finding all my treasures that I have grown so fond of. Each ornament has a story to tell and one works so beautifully next to the other all in shades of cream, gold and sliver.

Since our reno we are able to hang up our Christmas stockings and of course there is a story to tell with these. Years ago when Nuno and I first got married, I saw these beautiful stocking in white(of course). I bought one for Nuno and I and and I bought an extra two…for our kids that we would have…very special as for the last few years we have been so blessed to fill them up for our precious babies.

The tree is hung with these darling ornaments and some very special pieces from around the world Barcelona, Paris, London, Bruge to name a few. The latest edition is this sweet little bird in in a nest from out trip to Franshhoek Western Cape.

This year I commissioned a beautiful hand made chicken wire house from our local wire subculture. He did such a wonderful job. Now it sits centerpiece on our table flanked by two moss covered reindeer just to finish the festive look.

Now onto planning our Christmas table…

Fix it with Flair

In June of this year, I finally plucked up the courage to enter our kitchen reno into one of SA design DIY magazines #Tuis/home #fixit. I have been buying the magazine for years and always admired the reno’s that were featured. In fact it was many of them that peaked my interest in adding bricked up units and concrete counter tops.

top 5

Much to my surprise there we were, Top 10 and Then top 5. The top 5 contestants all found our selves at a beautiful wine estate in Paarl, Western Cape #lebac…What an amazing treat…I was totally blown away by the fact that not only was our hard work recognized but we got a wonderful break from our crazy city life and got utterly spoilt!

We arrived at the venue on the Friday afternoon around 1pm and quickly ran into our interview. There was a panel of 5 judges, the editor of the #tuis/home #fixit magazine, a DIY guru, design editor and the MD of #buco #timbercity (DIY specialty store) the sponsor for the event. The interview was super chilled and I think Nuno and I had a great time reminiscing about all the ups and downs we experience during that time.

After that we had some free time so we wondered around the venue and had a quick nap before we all meet for an informal pizza and wine dinner. We got to met all the contestants and judges. It was the perfect setting to get to know everyone and I think we made some good friends along the way.

The next morning was the Gala event held in honor of the #fititwithflair2017 #fixit #tuis/home. There was stunning table decor, diy demos and interview where we all stood up and faced some hilarious quotes from our interview…I am now officially know as a scavenger…Thanks to my lovely husband…Yes I am a sucker for a great bargain!

The gin tasting was the highlight out of all the demo’s …surprised I was not called the gin queen after that!

As the day drew to a close and all the interviews and entertainment subsided, it was time to announce the winners…

Nuno and I landed ourselves in 2nd Place and we could not have been happier!

The winners Jaques Muller and Justin Duckit…So well deserved! These guys  poured their heart and souls into their home and we wish them all the best for the future.


Thank you again to #Tuis/Home Magazine and #Buco for such and incredible journey and one Nuno and I will cherish!


Romancing the home…

For me there is nothing better than to go outside to my garden a pick a bunch of beautiful roses and other seasonal flowers to place on the night stand, coffee station or kitchen counter tops.

I love a showy garden but sometimes I feel that to leave these beauties there for just a fleeting glance seems some what unfair to them.

Last year I tried my hands at Dahlia’s and boy was I surprised…They simply are stunning and bountiful. They truly are a great cut flower, due to their growing habits the more you pick the more you get.


I love the mix of roses and sweet peas, to me this made one of the most striking arrangements I have made. I find the tendrils of the sweet pea quiet whimsy.


Bulbs also tend to make a beautiful cut flower, Tuber roses are not only beautiful but fill the room with soft fragrance similar to the well known and well loved magnolia.


As a small child I would go out into the garden and pick the last rose in the garden to put next to my bedside table (much to my fathers dismay). My little Luna has picked up on the habit and is forever picking flowers and bringing them into the home. I often remember the look on my dad’s face when I see my prized rose not in a plastic cup…but one look at little Luna’s face and I melt.

Here are some posies I created for my bedside table. I love going to bed at night and the sweet fragrance from my fresh cut flowers gently take me to sweet slumber.

Here are some tips I use to keep my flowers lasting:

  • cut early morning or late in the evening – never in the heat of day
  • have a bucket of water ready to place your cuttings in
  • add a teaspoon of bleach into your water
  • remove all leaves that will be in contact with water as these decay and pollute the water.
  • replace water daily to keep your flowers fresher for longer.
  • Enjoy their beauty.

happy cutting…