Old Topic Reposted: My Coke Fest 2007 - South Africa

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
One of my old concert experiences.....It's been more than 4 years ago that I saw these artists but the atmosphere that day has stayed with me. Maybe because it was my first ever "real" concert. The "My Coke Fest 2007" was held at the New Market Racecourse on 27 April 2007. Here's a recap of that day:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Truly spectacular, what can I say??! Okay, so I about 20m from the stage, and the performers are the sizes of giant ants, but the sound and atmosphere were truly amazing.

We arrived for the My Coke Fest 2007 at 10am in the morning. The concert started at about 12pm noon, kicking off with several South African bands, who were also impressive performers. The international bands came on at about 5pm, starting off with Hoobastank. I think they sang about 9 songs, I lost count after the first few that I did not recognise. But I must give credit, the lead singer was adorable to watch on stage, such character!!! You can guess I am not a fan, but they did perform their greatest hit, The Reason, which I sang along to, haha.

Second to come was Staind. I also enjoyed their performance although I think they were a bit too heavy for me. "It’s Been Awhile" and "Outside" were perfect renditions.

Thirdly (this is so like a pun!!!) 3 Doors Down came on. And I must say, they were really the highlight of the concert for me and my husband. I must confess around about this time, I had already lost my voice (some to screaming, most to singing along). I even recorded some of their songs but to my dismay, I found out later that I actually ruined the recording with my offkey voice singing along in the background :-(. What a shame. They sang "Kryptonite", "Let Me Go", "Away From the Sun", "Loser", "Here Without You", "I Can Be Like That", among others. I am definitely a fan from here on out.

Last and top-billing the concert (after Guns and Roses cancelled) was Evanescence. Amy Lee’s voice was astounding. They came on a bit late at 9.30pm and finished 11pm. They performed "Bring Me To Life", "Call Me When You’re Sober", "Good Enough", (and on encore) "My Immortal", and others. Amy Lee was great on the piano and could very well have performed solo and got away with it.

After this liberating 12-hour head-bashing experience, I shall leave you with some words of "wisdom" from one of these exceptional rockbands to hit SA shores:

"I really don’t mind what happens every now and then, as long as you’ll be my friend til the end…If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman? If I’m alive and well, will you be there holding my hand? I’ll keep you by my side with my superhuman mind…Kryptonite, YEEAAAHH!!!"

VTT Postcard - Where To From Now?

Monday, May 30, 2011
NOT MY PHOTO
I have now reached the end of my weekly European tales. I've thoroughly enjoyed re-telling them as they just brought so much of the memories back.

I have yet to start the next instalments as I still need to decide where to go from here?

Somewhere overseas again or shall I try local destinations this time?

I have not formally planned my next trip yet but hopefully, finances permitting, I shall bring back VTT Postcard with a bang soon enough.

Watch this space, my fellow travellers. I will not be gone for long.

Mmm.....Mango!

Friday, May 27, 2011
Ever since I can remember, I have always had this thing for mangoes.

Being a self-confessed picky eater, a food that can hold the title of "never ever turned down yet" in my life should definitely be some kind of wonderful. And that is how I truly feel about mangoes.
NOT MY PHOTO

Back in the Philippines, I opted for the already ripe, yellow-skinned, sweet-smelling kind (pictured above). And I used to cut them up in exactly the same way.

I haven't had one in years. Makes me kinda miss it now just talking about it. But before I get too distracted......

Nowadays my mangoes are no longer yellow as South African mangoes are normally red in colour (pictured below). And the redder the mango, the more ripe it is. It was really a culture shock when I first arrived in this country and I couldn't find a single mango. Only afterwards did I realise that the fruit I was looking for was just "dressed" differently :-)
NOT MY PHOTO
And now that the mango season has just ended (it ended in April), I can't wait for the next season to start, which will probably be around the middle of December. What a long wait!

For now though, I'll just have this picture of chopped up mango pieces ready to be served to tide me till then. Yummy!



Novice Blogging - Note #25 (Gathering The Masses)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I'll admit that the post title sounds a bit like something from a gardening magazine, but of course, it is far from that. I am neither a green thumb nor a flower person. And it is a novice blogging post, so it would mean that it has something to do with blogging, right?

Weighing In: Week 10 For The Food Diarist

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I just realised as I pre-post this that on the day this post comes out, I will be sweating myself out at the Wits University examination hall, trying to burst an intelligent vein for my CIMA exam. Pardon me if I talk and scramble myself in between present and past tense. I am slightly not myself from all the late nights - eating peanuts (supposedly a brain food) and doing revisions.
I am hoping that my study techniques will give me a more rewarding result on my exam than what I have gotten so far with this diary. Yes, that is a tone of despair and disappointment. But no worries, I am not about to give up. Not just yet anyway.

VTT Postcard - Days After - Johannesburg, South Africa

Monday, May 23, 2011
Just a recap of all the places in Europe that I visited last December:

London, United Kingdom – saw a lot of attractions….or outlines of attractions all covered in snow :-) It was a real winter wonderland for me but I found that the British did not quite think the same of the snow. I vow to come back….hopefully next time, minus the snow.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands – snow cold and would have been fun if I was into their fun stuff :-) It was really heart-wrenching to see the Anne Frank House and be reminded of what happened during WW2.

St Goar, Rhine Valley, Germany – I got drunk and so couldn’t tell much, except the white wines were really nice and I wanted more of those ice wines! Oh, and that bloody, funky keyboard!

Munich, Germany – Although there would probably have been more about Hitler and the Nazi history, there were actually a lot of other buildings and castles to see in Munich. Have to make a note and go back to see that Disney castle.

Innsbruck, Austria – the Alps were nice but I came unprepared without a ski gear in sight.

Venice, Italy – I suffered some heart palpitations when we went gondola riding in the rain. Very unstable conditions. Lucky there was gelato to calm my nerves :-)

Rome, Italy – I loved the whole historical atmosphere to the place, just didn’t like all the walking. There are two things that you will always find at every corner in Rome – churches and fountains.

Vatican City – wish it had been televised, but I saw the Pope…and he was blessing us :-)

Florence, Italy – lots of nude statues all around.

Lucerne, Switzerland – we were back in the snow. But even with this weather, this is the cleanest place I probably will ever see.

Paris, France – I would have loved to have seen all the attractions, if only there were less queues. I suppose I need 30 days just to visit Paris properly.

And for those who have been following from the start, remember my wayward baggage? Well, it actually arrived back in South Africa, 3 days after I did. All intact and untouched (I think). I wasn’t complaining as it just gave me a full licence to shop!

MZ Gets A BF!

Friday, May 20, 2011

My eldest and her BF blown up to smithereens. She sure had loads of fun dolling up the photo.

I suppose I should be happy that the BF that my eldest brought home one night turned out to be a tiny highlighter dressed in blue and bright neon yellow, else I'd be flabbergasted and rolling on the floor now.

Wonder what the real live version looks like? I have yet to meet him. I heard he is much taller than his stationery counterpart.

Aaaah....young love. Wait till he meets me.

DIY FYI: Holes Where You Don't Need Em

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Oh, the hazards of being Handy Mary!

Amidst the putting together and putting up of the cupboards, I felt that my hubby was moving too slow for my liking. I decided to "help" him by marking where the door handles were gonna be. And later, still feeling he was going about it slowly, I went on to drill the holes myself.

Imagine my hubby's surprise when he put up this one gigantic cupboard and he realises that the handles between the left and right doors were uneven!

The result was a re-marking and re-drilling.......and 2 small holes where they shouldn't be. :-(

We are holes. Can you see us?
P.S. Hubby did say I need not worry as the holes were fixable with the help of a little coloured putty.

Weighing In: Week 9 For The Food Diarist

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
So we start of another week with yet renewed faith. I wish I could feel all week like I do every Monday morning. It's true what they say that you must always start anything at the beginning of the week. I believe that. It's the ending part that remains hard for me. I always fall off the bandwagon somewhere along the way. And so, at the start of the next week, I am starting again.

With all this start and stop, I've also sorta decided not to continue the food diary in this fashion. It is just TOO boring to read. I think I will just do the updates on regular interval and blog about it quarterly or bi-yearly or something. I will endeavour that next week will be the last weekly food diary post till I have something new to report. :-) Wow! This sounds like the penultimate post, haha.

VTT Postcard - Day 15 - Paris, France

Monday, May 16, 2011
Aaahh…..all good things must come to an end. Today was the last day of the tour. Even sadder was that I was not going back to London with the group. My tour ends here and now. I exchanged goodbyes with the group at breakfast and watched as they left.

So what is a girl supposed to do all alone in Paris? Not to mention that I was down to my last few Euros.
Early in the morning at the Eiffel Tower before the sun shines
I decided that I would start early and leave for Eiffel Tower, which I missed going up to yesterday because of the queue. I arrived at the Tower, but it seemed we were faced with another adversary – the weather! It was foggy and misty and in the end, I only got up to the second level. But it was high enough for me. I am ON the Eiffel Tower! I forgot to mention that I actually arrived at the Tower to queue at just before 9am. When I arrived there, there was already a queue of about 50 people. When I eventually got up, it was already 10:45am. Queues are really bad in Paris when it’s peak tourist season. Aaaargh!
View from Eiffel Tower's 2nd level
After that, I decided to make my way to Sacre Couer Cathedral, which was located near our hotel. I still had to take the Metro as I was fast running out of time. I went from the Tower to the Cathedral and got there at about 11.30am. I really did a super fast number on the Sacre Couer as I only had an hour to see what it offered and I needed to get back to the hotel for my airport transfer pickup.
Sacre Couer Cathedral
I walked all the way up to the Cathedral. And believe me, it was ALL the way up! The Cathedral was perched on a hill but really felt like a mountain hike to me. The Cathedral was very nice outside but I did not have a chance to look at it in detail inside as there was a sermon going on at that time. All I can say is that it was really massive inside!

When I came down from the Cathedral, I quickly made my way back to the Metro and then back to the hotel. My airport transfer came around 1:30pm and drove me to Charles de Gaulle International Airport. It was still really early when I arrived at the airport and so I walked around and decided to try Starbucks coffee (which I don’t have a pleasure to taste back in South Africa).
Starbucks coffee at Charles de Gaulle International Airport
My flight took me to Frankfurt and then to South Africa. I spent the celebration of the New Year up in the air while flying over somewhere in Europe. We were greeted Happy New Year by our captain twice. Once when it was New Year's in Europe and then the next hour when it was the New Year's at our destination.

Can’t believe I actually made it. Can’t believe my frail, old body survived the whole trip. Can’t help feeling it was a nice long unforgettable journey but I really need my own bed now….

Missy Smelled A Rat

Friday, May 13, 2011
Stuck on my fridge door in between the various fridge magnets that I collect (from different places that we've been to) was a short love letter written by my youngest:

I Love you rats
I going to give you a thesh to nite.
Love Adelaine.
rat and maws

It was kinda sweet. Missy is currently learning to read and write. And her attempts of spelling cheese (thesh), tonight (to nite) and mouse (maws) were just awfully cute. I simply could not resist posting!

With this musing, I am oblivious to the fact that I might have a bigger problem at hand. Now to find out if she's really hidden some cheese around the house for this rat.......

DIY FYI: Are We There Yet?

Thursday, May 12, 2011
An update on the kitchen: We have spent more than 8 full days and 3 half days toiling away at the area. I even tried my hands at being Handy Mary, smashing and de-tiling the whole kitchen. I must admit, this exercise definitely brought out the tomboy in me :-)

So after much lifting, pushing and shoving....the cupboards decided to cooperate with us and stay put when they were screwed in. The results:
  


At the time of publishing this post, our kitchen is much less naked than pictured above. At least 75% of the tiles were already up. Hopefully, the kitchen will be ready for unveiling soon.

Novice Blogging - Note #24 (Mind-Blogging Titles?)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

PHOTO NOT MINE

Someone commented recently that I think up the oddest (awesomest if you ask me) post titles.

I know, I know. Blog experts do talk about just naming titles that readers can easily identify and see what the whole post is gonna be about. However, I am pretty sure I am just short of being an exhibitionist. And a simple title just doesn't do it for me. So peril to me as I go on with my bad blogging ways.

Weighing In: Week 8 For The Food Diarist

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
This week sees the last of the long holiday ending on Monday. And everything is back to normal. Or as normal as they can be. Battle is still there with the bulges in my midsection. Hubby says I must start doing situps everyday, which I am lazy to do. I will try and start this situp regime again. Slowly. And then I'll work myself up.

Monday - workout - 1 hour aerobics step class
Monday - breakfast - Kellogg's All Bran flakes with a banana and full cream milk
Monday - lunch - white rice and fish soup (sinigang na isda)
Monday - snack - boiled and grated yam dessert (halayang kamote - we don't have ube here in SA)
Monday - dinner - white rice and ginger chicken soup with papaya (tinolang manok)
Monday - snack - watermelon seeds

Tuesday - breakfast - 3 cheese sausages
Tuesday - lunch - Nando's mild quarter chicken breast portion and pieces of potato wedges (total of probably 1 1/2 potato size) and an Ola ice cream cup
Tuesday - dinner - brown rice and chicken adobo (with soy sauce)
Tuesday - snack - 75g cheese snack
Tuesday - workout - 40 situps

Wednesday -  breakfast - Kellogg's All-Bran flakes and one banana and low fat milk
Wednesday - lunch - Nando's mild quarter chicken breast portion and 2 pieces salmon fashion sandwiches and 1 slice of salmon sashimi
Wednesday - dinner - chow mein with chicken pieces and sousou (sayote) and prawns
Wednesday - snack - 75g cheese snack

Thursday - breakfast - 200g boiled peanuts
Thursday - lunch - chow mein with chicken pieces and sousou (sayote) and prawns
Thursday - dinner - brown rice and fried pork chop
Thursday - snack - 125g sweet thai chilli Lays

Friday - breakfast - 120g boiled peanuts
Friday - lunch - 2 x Nando's mild chicken wings and half a potato portion and deep fried hake and 2 small slices of pepermint caramel fresh cream cake
Friday - dinner - 4 pcs Zinger wings

Saturday - breakfast - 3pcs Zinger wings
Saturday - workout - 1 hour aerobics step class
Saturday - lunch - brown rice and 200g grilled steak
Saturday - dinner - McNuggets and french fries

Sunday - workout - 5 mins rowing + 20 mins fastwalking
Sunday - breakfast/lunch - vermicelli noodles hot soup with chicken and carrots
Sunday - dinner - seafoods galore (fish, calamari tubes, prawns, calamari heads) and some french fries
Sunday - snack - 50g salty snack

Weigh in at the gym said that I was 0.3kgs over my starting weight :-( I suppose it was to be expected as I've been yo-yoing with my menu as well. No wonder my weight is going up and down like an escalator.

VTT Postcard - Day 14 - Paris, France

Monday, May 9, 2011
We left the hotel very early as we were scheduled to attend a demonstration at a perfumery. We learnt about fragrances and flowers and scents. I am not much of a wearer but I don’t know, there was just something about those scents that enticed me to buy two small bottles of perfume for myself.

We walked our way to the Louvre where TM showed us a secret entrance. The queue was not as long as the obvious entrance but we still spent an hour waiting just to get in. And the place was packed! It felt like being in a mall looking for sales on Christmas Eve. The only thing that we went straight for was the Mona Lisa. It was showcased in a cordoned area where flash photography was not allowed. The crowd was simply too much so after we’ve taken our souvenir photo, we left the Louvre.

Happy Mother's Day To Me...

Sunday, May 8, 2011
Happy mother's day to me, happy mother's day to me,
Happy mother's day, happy mother's day....
Happy mother's day to me!

What's a mommyblogger to do on a day such as today???

Blog about the children that made her the mommy she is today!

My eldest got all her creative juices going and made this little keepsake for me.
 
The Mom That Helped Us Be The Girls We Are Today
 
My share of Mother's Day 2011.

Invasion Of The Toll Gantries

Friday, May 6, 2011
A picture that depicts what most Gauteng-ers will be dreading this coming end of June: a strange, neon blue light coming out of the sky!

Old Topic Reposted: Mother's Day Gesture

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Mother's Day is coming up and so I found myself reminiscing about old Mother's Day appreciations I've received from my kids. Here's one of them oldie :-)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Friday before the Mother’s Day (May 11, 2007), I was late coming home from work. As soon as I had stepped into our kitchen door and announced my arrival, my youngest daughter came rushing to me with a card in her hand. This is what I got:
White paper folded to shape like a flower and a straw for the stem
And inside it had a stuck-on message that went like this: THE PERFECT GIFT - A HUG! Relieves tension, Improves Blood Flow, Reduces Stress, Non-polluting, Helps Self-Esteem, Generates Goodwill, Absolutely NO cost, No batteries required, Non-taxable, Silent performance, Extremely personal, Fully returnable GET ONE TODAY! (It’s a bit blurry from these jpg files…)


All this from a 3-year-old who can barely talk, let alone read what she has given me. I thank my child with a lump in my throat, asked her how the playschool was that afternoon and who made the card. "Teacher did it", she answers. I thank her again and to end the touching episode, I get the perfect gift - a hug from my daughter as she wraps her tiny arms around my right leg, "Wuv u mommy".

Weighing In: Week 7 For The Food Diarist

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
This week we continue to be besieged with public holidays. The Monday and the Wednesday are off days for me. Not to mention that the following Monday (not part of this week's food diary) is yet another day to goof off. All I can say is.....yehey!

We are currently busy with the kitchen renovation at home and so if my food rations looked a bit erratic than normal, it is because it has been difficult to choose what fastfood to eat as nothing could be home-cooked.

Monday - workout - 2 hours step/vbox aerobics class at the gym (what a way to start!)
Monday - breakfast - 75g sweet thai chilli lays potato chips (and there I go doing bad habits again!)
Monday - lunch - brown rice and 5 pieces of medium-size butter-sauteed prawns
Monday - dinner - 2 mins noodles
Monday - snack - 100g bugles (very similar to potato chips, they are not good when eaten too much)

Tuesday - morning - dried mangoes
Tuesday - lunch - half of a strips and spicy rice order at Nando's
Tuesday - dinner - 100g potato sticks snack

Wednesday - morning - scrambled eggs, one sausage, mushrooms and brown toast
Wednesday - no lunch
Wednesday - dinner - 8pcs KFC Zinger wings and half a Magnum ice cream

I never thought I'd say this but I am starting to get tired of the takeaway food. I wish we'd finish the kitchen by now but our tentative end date is only next week Monday. More takeaway stories coming my way.

Thursday - breakfast - dried mangoes, Kellogg's All-Bran flakes with one banana and full cream milk
Thursday - lunch - Oreo McFlurry (???)
Thursday - dinner - brown rice, seafoods galore (grilled hake, grilled calamari tubes, 3pcs of small prawns, some fried calamari heads)
Thursday - snack - 50g cheesy snack

Friday - breakfast - Kellogg's All-Bran flakes with one banana and full cream milk
Friday - lunch - Nando's mild strips and spicy rice
Friday - dinner - brown rice and sauteed pork mince and potato (homecooked meal, finally!)

Saturday - breakfast - 3 cheese sausage and a KitKat bar
Saturday - lunch - 4pcs KFC zinger wings
Saturday - dinner - 3pcs KFC zinger wings and some green beans in soup

We were going to a christening party on the Sunday and so I planned not to eat too much.

Sunday - workout - 40mins cardio fast-walking
Sunday - no breakfast
Sunday - lunch - chow mein noodles and one piece barbecued pork strip and one piece barbecued chicken wing
Sunday - dinner - microwaved popcorn
I weighed at the gym and after 2 long weeks, I am back exactly where I started. I weighed my original starting weight. Here's hoping it goes downhill (?) from here. What I meant was that the weight should go down from here.

VTT Postcard - Day 13 - Paris, France

Monday, May 2, 2011
"Tu veux venir avec moi à Paris?"

Don’t worry, I have no idea what I just said as well, hahaha….I used Google Translate to ask if you want to come with me to Paris?

Today was the day we made our long trek to the famous French capital. We left Lucerne very early as the drive was almost the whole day. We would arrive in Paris before sundown.

First up, we were taken to our hotel, the Ibis Hotel Paris Berthier Porte de Clichy, where we ate an early dinner so that we could paint the town red. After dinner, we were taken by our Contiki coach around Paris to give us an overview of where we could go and what attractions we could see.

It is true that wherever you are in Paris, you can see the Eiffel Tower. Everyone just went gaga when they caught a glimpse of the tower from our moving coach. Even from afar, the tower was magnificent. Since it was nighttime, the tower was even more stunning with all its lights on. TM gave us around 10 minutes to stop and go have our photo taken with the tower.
Eiffel Tower at night
Afterwards, we went back to the coach and proceeded with our driving tour. We got to see the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Hotel des Invalides and even took a drive through Champs Elysees, a prestigious avenue filled with luxurious shops.

Hotel des Invalides
Around 9pm we were taken on a 1-hour Seine River Cruise where we saw much the same things that we saw while we were on the coach drive. Oh, and we saw the Paris version of the Statue of Liberty.

The Eiffel Tower lit up with sparkling lights though around this time, almost looking like a giant Christmas tree. It apparently does the sparkling thing every hour for 5 minutes or so.

After the cruise, we went back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep.