Vivez Bien * Live Well

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Photography, Cushions and a Giveway

I know you are all dying to know how my photography course is going .... let's just say my brain hasn't had to work this hard since 1st year Maths at UCT in 1982! But the basics are slowly being absorbed. We have been given some homework  projects to do so this morning I was up early and went out and about, armed with my camera to take advantage of the early morning light. I felt like quite a cool, hip and happening photographer type, lining up artistic shots at interesting angles, but then I got home and had to make the bed, unpack the dishwasher and hang out the laundry. All hip and happening illusions were swiftly dispelled! I'm sure real photographer types would have gone to a cool coffee shop and hung out with interesting and creative people and discussed the merits of their photos. C'est la vie. My next project is to take photographs of urban scenes at dusk, so if you see me lurking on dim street corners - don't get the wrong idea. 

 You might remember that I bought some of my photography accessories online and also did quite a bit of my Christmas shopping online last year, or "on the line" to quote Vince Vaughn. I feel that I am becoming quite good at it, although I don't think my husband agrees that this is a skill to be nurtured! I definitely find it a lot less stressful than trudging around a shopping mall, especially if I have a few disgruntled children in tow. 

Which would you choose......

I have mentioned NetDécor before - one of my favourite online shops and during the holidays. I was lucky enough to meet the owner, Miranda Reeder, for a coffee. It was like meeting a long-lost friend. She is so friendly and bubbly and full of life. We talked non-stop for about 2 hours.

Miranda Reeder
NetDécor has a great range of home decor accessories and they have recently introduced  fabulous scatter cushions, a few of which I have my eye on! What an easy way to give your decor a bit of a boost.

NetDécor has a permanent link on my sidebar so whenever you are visiting my blog, just nip across to see what's new on offer.

Whatever your decorating style, believe me when I say this ....
 "t h e r e   i s   a l w a y s   r  o o m   i n   y o u r   l i f e    f o r   o n e
 m o r e     s c a t t e r     c u s  h i o n"
I know this is quite a profound statement so feel free to quote me.

Now onto my GIVEAWAY.......

I have....not 1.....not 2.... but....

10 Double tickets to the
Johannesburg Homemakers Expo
 to give away.

Valued at R100 each


Some of what you can expect at the Fair....

The Builders DIY Theatre extends their presence at the show this year with their very own Get-it Done arena. The arena is an extension to the very popular theatre. You can shop for specific DIY tools and accessories to get your DIY projects done now. Enjoy mini products demonstrations in this area and at the same time look out for amazing specials.

The first must visit element is the HOMEMAKERS interactive wall where you (and the kids) can touch, feel, colour and play around on a magnificently designed platform.

The 947 Boxes challenge is a design challenge with a twist. Hosted in collaboration with 947 FM, the challenge takes place within the parameters of two good old fashioned shipping containers. DJ's Darren Simpson (Breakfast Xpress) and Anele Mdoda (Afternoon Drive) are battling it out in this decorate the box banter . Come and vote for your favourite. Two lucky winners will each walk away with the R100 000 plus worth of content!


In collaboration with the University of Johannesburgs Industrial Design students and supported by the three brands: Festool, Makita and Black and Decker. See how Joburg's youngest talents move around mowers in their high-tech designs. In this innovative competition we challenged the students to show us their take on a rechargeable lawnmower. HOMEMAKERS supports young designers.

This is a brand new curated area to the show. Feast your eyes on the hand-picked collections of décor and home improvement goods.

25 - 28 February 2016
Ticketpro Dome
Thursday and Friday 10:00 - 19:00
Saturday and Sunday 09:00 - 18:00

 All you need to do is either leave a comment telling me how much you love my blog  (make sure you include your email address), or email me at  Winners will be chosen by lucky draw and notified via email.
PS.  I was joking about the how much you love my blog thing, but I would love to learn a bit about my readers so anything you can tell me about yourselves and your interests would be appreciated.

I look forward to receiving your comments or emails.

Till next time

x Sharon

Monday, January 25, 2016

Less is More, more or less

Stack of moving boxes.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how we spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and then spend the latter half trying to off load things - at least in my family that seems to be the case. My mother, now in her mid 80's  has spent the last 30 years giving away many of her possessions to her children. I used to be thrilled to receive these bits and bobs, but I seem to have now entered a new phase in my life - I want to declutter, pare down, off-load, but my children aren't really at a stage that they want any of it.

This approach is even extending to my clothes and accessories. There used to be a time when a wardrobe like this would have sent my heart racing....

 ...but now I am more drawn to something simple like these below...

  I have been reading about the concept of a capsule wardrobe and how when women have downsized their wardrobes to just a few basic items, they have found that it saves them both time and money and is so much easier to get dressed for the day - this is something that men have probably known for ages - but have been keeping to themselves! While I would like to drastically simplify my wardrobe, it is a process and a  commitment and will require a bit of mental adjustment  so will probably be the subject of another blogpost down the track.


In today's post I thought I would talk about bedrooms and how important I think it is to have this space be as calm, peaceful and uncluttered as possible. I believe that a cluttered environment leads to a cluttered mind and how can one have a good night's sleep with a cluttered mind! I also believe that so many of the illnesses suffered by our generation are stress related and surely, going to sleep or waking up in an environment that is overfilled with stuff adds to our stress. I'm not talking about going minimalist here - I am not and will never be a minimalist - but just the idea that your bedroom furniture could be limited to a bed, bedside table and perhaps a chair or chest of drawers and on your bedside table, you might only need 3 items instead of a surface cluttered with things  So here are some bedrooms that have inspired me and will hopefully inspire you to create a peaceful haven for your nightly rest.....


I feel more relaxed just looking at these. And did you notice that they are all decorated in subtle, muted shades, no bright colours here to jar the senses. I think I will sign off now because I feel I a little nap coming on. I will leave you with a quote....

Till next time

x Sharon

Saturday, January 9, 2016

This is going to be a good year...

Happy New Year to you. I hope this year will fulfill your hopes and dreams whatever they may be.

I am quite excited by the year ahead. It's going to be a bit of a different one for me. For the first time in a couple of years, I am not going to be formally employed! I might have an exciting decorating project lined up but otherwise I am going to have some more time on my hands and here's how I'm going to fill it....

My kind and generous husband gave me a very nice camera for Christmas. When I started this blog years ago, my intention was to photograph ideas in my own home to illustrate the subject matter of my blog post, but when I saw my pathetic attempts compared to the glorious interiors I come across online and in magazines, I tended to not bother that much with taking my own photos. But that is about to change. I also do most of my paintings from photographs so I am now very motivated to learn to take better photo's.

But let's focus on the important things first - the stuff! My current camera bag is a bit small, especially if I intend to accumulate some more lenses over time and the bag that came with the camera is one of those typical bags that screams, "I am a tourist or I have an  expensive camera inside me - please steal me". And then, of course, there is the issue of style. I have seen some beautiful leather camera bags online, but they cost a small fortune, so I decided to improvise....

I found this camera bag insert online through Amazon...
and found the perfect size bag, via Bidorbuy to accommodate it - voila - an inexpensive camera bag. I thought this bag with it's slightly distressed canvas outer and leather trim would look quite cool and give me some street cred!  (Thank goodness my kids don't read my blog - I can picture them howling with laughter at the idea of their middle aged mom having anything vaguely resembling street cred!)

 ....and then just to complete the picture I found this really cute camera strap, also on Amazon, for the price of 3 cappuccinos.


I am going to be the most stylish photographer out there, but, sadly, to quote a friend's son
 "I now have all the gear....but no idea!"

I have tried reading the manual, but for all the sense it makes, I might as well be reading the Chinese version. I have fiddled and faffed with my camera, read some tips online, and watched some video tutorials, but I'm still really battling to understand it all. ISO, F/STOP, AV, TV, ...H.E.L.P.!!

Someone once told me that you loose a few brain cells every time you have a baby. The fact that I have 4 children might explain it, although, apologies to the younger three, I might have donated them in entirety to my oldest son who just got 98% for Maths in his Matric exam! Whaaat! I said that with that mark, he surely must have the highest Maths mark in his school. No, he replied Kirk got 100% . Unbelievable. I have never achieved 100% for anything, well maybe spelling in Grade 2. And Kirk isn't even a nerd! Talking about nerds, did you see Mark Zuckerberg's great response to a fan who said she was going to encourage her granddaughter to date a nerd in case he turned out to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. He suggested that she should rather encourage her granddaughter to become the nerd and invent something amazing. Yes please, then one of my sons can marry her!

I seem to have digressed - I think I was talking about my lack of brain cells... I think the best course of action is to do a Beginners DSLR course through the Cape Town School of Photography. Some poor unsuspecting lecturer is going to have to get that info into my head one way or another. And if anyone wants to buy an unused, unstylish, camera bag for an excellent price, please contact me.

Getting on to my other plans for 2016....

I am going to install one of these in my home...

I am going to resist one of these, but my husband might as well know that I won't be able to resist for ever....

I plan to spend more time walking on the beach....

 with this....

and these....

I am going to spend more time painting....


In fact, my brother-in-law has commissioned me to do some paintings for his offices.

 I need to give some thought as to what a group of manly, building industry types might want to spend their days looking at. I know what you are thinking... I don't do that type of art!

Maybe some extreme sports... that's quite manly, don't you think?

Like this...

or this...

or this...

 I don't know, I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

This post is getting quite long so I will stop now, but since this is essentially a blog about interiors, I will throw in some pics that caught my eye while I was browsing through Tumblr recently.

And finally, to make sure I leave you with a smile on your face, there is this one...

Till next time

Sharon x