Cool Stuff

Liebster Award

This blog was nominated for a Liebster award twice in quick succession and I’m going to respond to both nominations at once, so the following post goes above and beyond the level of narcissism normally associated with a personal blog.

A Liebster Award is something that new bloggers (with less than 200 followers, even way, way less hypothetically) can be nominated for. When you get this award you are supposed to come up with 11 random facts about yourself, answer 11 questions set by the people that nominated you, then set 11 questions for 11 new bloggers that you nominate, and let them know.

Liebster Award

I’m very grateful to have been nominated by Rubenesque Smoothie and Bake, Glue and Trend and the little bit of encouragement is much appreciated. It’s really nice to know that this blog is bringing positivity to the lives of readers I didn’t even know I had. Thank you!

Running this blog has been a surprisingly positive experience. I had always assumed that the moment you put original content on the web you would be attacked by a mob of  nasty trolls. To date the only negativity I’ve encountered is somebody complaining that my clothes are wrinkled. Ironing? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

11 random facts about me

As an engineer I don’t use words like “random” lightly. Did you know it is actually impossible for a computer to generate a truly random number? And semantics aside, truly random facts like the length of my index finger would be incredibly boring to read, so instead I present 11 curated and somewhat unique facts about me:

  1. I am African. My family have been in South Africa for 300 years. My heart belongs to South Africa.
  2. I have cut out human brains. I dissected a human cadaver for a whole year as part of my medical school training.
  3. I love horror movies, the scarier and/or more gruesome the better. And I love bad ones as well as good ones…
  4. But my fear of sharks is so great that I can’t swim at night, even in my own swimming pool.
  5. If my whole CAREER thing fails I could go on a brutal diet, grow my hair, move to LA and try to make a living out of being a Drew Barrymore lookalike, by singing Charlie’s Angels theme tunes on a Hawaii cruise ship.

Liebster Award

Back-up plan: Drew impersonator

  1. When I was 7 I lied to the cool kids and said that Boyz II Men were my favourite band, rather than Simon and Garfunkel.
  1. Once an unattended candle set my bedroom on fire while I was with my family in another room. Luckily my door was closed so it was contained , but by the time the fire brigade arrived the room was gutted. I lost everything but the firemen saved my schoolbooks.
  1. My sister’s friend observed that I drink milk like a calf. I love milk. Full cream or skimmed. Holstein or Jersey, unpasteurised, chocolate, strawberry, coconut, almond, sesame, rice, soy milk, I love it all. And since it’s topical, I’d probably even like horse milk.

Liebster Award

Artwork by Pearpicker

  1. Once I was asked to be the token girl on a tech TV talk-show (I said no).

    10. There was a time during my gap-year when I was so short of money that I ate plain white rice, seasoned with salt that wasn’t even mine.

    11. My hair has been its natural colour since a dying disaster a few years ago. While transitioning from bleached white to fiery red at the salon, the bleached hair dissolved and turned into paste and I was left with nothing but a few centimeters where my roots had grown out.

Questions for me

First questions from Rubenesque Smoothie:

  1. If you could dress only in fashions from one decade, which one would it be?

If you had asked me a few years ago when I was still rocking my mullet it would be the 80s, but now I’m all about the big skirts and cinched waists of the 50s.

  1. If you had to create a whole new blog, what would you write about?

I suppose I might  have several more focused, niche blogs instead of lumping many things I want to share into one blog.

  1. What is your favorite book and movie?

That’s extremely hard to pick, but I’ll go with my favourite book being 1984 by George Orwell. For my movie, I’d say Apocalypse Now directed by Francis Ford Coppola, which I’d highly recommend watching after reading Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

Liebster Award

Must read 1984. Must watch: Apocalypse Now

  1. If you had to participate in a food eating contest, which food would you choose?

I have a high tolerance for anything sour, so if it was sour sweets, lemons or vinegar I think I’d have an advantage.

  1. Why do you blog?

I want to share certain aspects of my life which are relevant, helpful or inspiring to others, like decorating on a budget and DIY, finding affordable clothes that fit and ideas for styling them, sharing travel experiences, cycling, being a female engineer and a foreigner in London.

  1. What is one thing you do every day, no matter what?

Apply lip balm (about 30 times per day) because I cannot function with dry lips.

  1. Do you inspire others? If so, how?

I hope I do! I hope that I inspire others to be unafraid to take the road less traveled. I hope I promote a positive body image. And I hope I inspire people to take up cycling!

  1. What always makes you laugh?


  1. Is there a trend you love but are afraid to try?

Sometimes I think it would be nice to have long, flowing mermaid locks in a totally different colour, by way of a wig or clip-in extensions. But not everyone would understand that sometimes girls just wanna be mermaids, and it’d get really tedious explaining it all night.

  1. If you take a trip in the next 6 months, where would you go?

Iceland has been on my hit-list for quite a while now. I’d like to swim in the thermal pools in the middle of the snow, ride fluffy pones along the black beach, see giant waterfalls, geysers and volcanoes up close and of course see the northern lights, and a concert by Bjork or Sigur Ros.

Liebster Award

Iceland, hopefully my next holiday destination. Photos by:
Helder Caixinha, andywon
opalpeterliu, –Patrick–
poptech, Danny Nicholson
vicmontol, thesuperslice

  1.  What is your dream profession?
    A profession in which I’m making a positive impact on society and one which I can be proud of.

Questions from Bake, Glue and Trend:

1. What does the last text you received say?
“Congratulations, your accommodation in New Orleans is booked…”

2. Look out of your window, now tell me what you see.
The street below is completely empty now, but I love witnessing the opera students coming home from a night out and getting a bit loud and rowdy in the street.

3. What would your last ever meal on earth be?
A 35-course taster menu from Elbulli. This Spanish restaurant which recently closed had what was supposed to be the most imaginative menu in the world, which is why there were 2 million requests for its 8000 seatings every year. It was only open for 6 months of each year, the other 6 months were dedicated to food research and experimentation.

4. If you had to be locked in a room with a song playing on repeat forever, what song would it be?
That’s easy, John Cage’s “Four minutes, thirty-three seconds” of silence, which was composed in the 50s for any instrument, don’t you know.  I wouldn’t want to condemn any songs I love to being hated through over-exposure.

5. Would you rather have brains or beauty? And why?

Liebster Award

Brains or beauty?

6. What is your proudest achievement to date?
When I started as an undergraduate in South Africa I would have never imagined myself working in some of the best universities in the world. It’s not that I even dreamed of it, it was completely outside of the set of all possible things that could happen. One particularly proud moment was speaking in the Nelson Mandela Lecture Theater at Oxford University. I felt proud to present my PhD research which I’ve worked hard for, and extra proud to be honouring Madiba and my country on a podium halfway across the world.

Liebster Award

While working at MIT I stayed in Simmons Hall which has a ball pit!

7. If you could change just one thing in your life right now instantly what would it be and why?
I’d drag Europe down towards South Africa so it would be easier to see my friends and family who I miss. This was shown to be feasible in the 1976 version of Dr Dolittle, when he asks a blue whale to move an island for him.

Liebster Award

Dr Dolittle, 1967

8 What was the last thing you ate?
Fromage Frais, it’s a kind of plain yoghurt Mr Zissou and I have been obsessed with since it was served with every breakfast we had in Provence.

9. Comfort or Style?
Comfort. Shoes come to mind here, and I don’t own a pair of heels because I become miserable in them after an hour.

10. If you could give your 13 year old self one piece of advice what would it be?
Get rid of the tie-dyed bell-bottoms, they are awful.

11. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Before I left South Africa I had over 70 pairs which was disgusting. I vowed to not let that happen and now try to limit myself to 20 pairs, which is still a lot.

Blogs I nominate for a Liebster Award

There are so many lovely new blogs out there it was really tough to narrow this list down. It’s also hard to know how many followers a blog has (and therefore if they qualify for a nomination) unless they use Google Friend Connect amiright?


1. Once: South African lifestyle blogger who has moved to Australia
2. The Painted Blackbird: South African illustrator with regular, beautiful updates
3. The Darling Buds Of May: South African style blogger who has just moved to London
4. Velo City Girl: all about stylish cycling in London
5. Eendag op n Reendag blog of a South African ceramic designer
6. Head in the Clouds: art/craft/design/style in the UK


7. Animated Cardigan: outfit posts with a deadpan look
8. Pashteit: elegant and retro outfit posts
9. An Old Story: an expert thrifty shopper
10. The Duchess: “curvy fashion blogger”
11. Zero Style: :”over-dressed twenty-something funeral home employee”

11 Questions for Nominees

All my questions are blogger related as it turns out. Sorry for the grilling, friends.

1. When you find a new blog in the sea of blogs, what are the characteristics that make you follow it?
2. Will blogging be the next Myspace, disappearing into obscurity in a few years?
3. Have you experienced any negativity on your blog and how did you deal with it?
4. Which is more important on a personal blog, style or content?
5. What appeal do smaller, non-professional blogs have to readers, if any?
6. Do you find blogging fuels your consumerism?
7. Do blogging and social media ever make you feel like you are living life through a camera?
8. People evolve all the time, do you ever feel the need to edit old posts?
9. Do you ever feel shy to tell people about your blog and why?
10. How much do you think about your online identity and how do you decide what is too much information to share?
11. What is the most rewarding part of blogging?

Thanks again to those who nominated me, and to all the readers of this blog for your support. I’d love to hear your feedback, what are your favourites and what would you like to see more of round here?