South Africa

I haven’t done an empties post for a couple of months. It’s so very satisfying to finish up stuff. So let’s ferret through my trash shall we?

Cleansers and toners. I have found my HG of cleansers and made my way through a bottle of it without deviating. It’s The Body Shop’s Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil. OMG. Love at first sniff. I’ve read that some people don’t like the rather strong camomile scent but I love the lemony floralness of it. And what an effective cleanser. Slap it onto dry skin and work it in to dissolve makeup and impurities. Wash off and you have silky smooth skin. It’s a very effective cleanser and I don’t need to double cleanse. I’ve already bought another bottle but have to finish up a couple more cleansers before I get stuck into it.

The second cleanser I sort of gave up on. Didn’t really like it, meh. It’s New Zealand brand, Skin Food, Cleans All. Nothing really wrong with it. I just didn’t find it a joy to use and I didn’t see any impact on my skin.

The toner is a bottle of rosewater. I don’t use conventional toners; I always use rosewater and preferably rosewater with glycerin. I finished up a 200ml bottle of NZ brand, Home Essentials, rosewater. In the photo below, you’ll see the older style bottle. I really wanted to like this product but I found the ethanol (aka alcohol) way too overpowering. I didn’t see it contained alcohol when I bought the bottle (smack to head). I decided to stubbornly make my way through the rosewater and couldn’t get through it fast enough. Meh.

Dry shampoo. Yep. More Batiste. The leopard print can is the Wild oriental scent and the pink can is the Blush floral scent. I have gone back to No Drought dry shampoo by LUSH because it’s very easy to fluff some of the lemony-scented powder through my hair. No Drought also gives me more volume than Batiste but I still like the Batiste dry shampoos.

Body Butters. I only use The Body Shop body butters. I’ve used them for YEARS. My fav is probably the Shea body butter and I finished up a jumbo-sized one as well as a Coconut body butter. I’m not so keen on the coconut one actually. I don’t really fancy smelling like a tropical island as it interferes with whatever perfume I’m wearing. Next in line to finish up are the Olive, Cocoa Butter and limited edition Raspberry body butters. I love the thick creaminess of TBS body butters; you really can’t get any better.

Moisturisers. Two knocked off. The first one is The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Boost and it smells of oranges. Lovely smooth texture and it contains Amazonian camu camu berry. I found my skin looked brighter after use, especially when I applied it over The Body Shop Nutriganics Drops of Youth serum. The Vitamin C skin boost works exceptionally well as a primer. Will certainly be repurchasing.

Shower gels and soaps. Another large 32oz bottle of Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps was used up. This time the Almond liquid castile soap, which has a subtle almond scent. I adore Dr Bronner’s soap as it has so many uses: shampoo, body wash, hand soap, fash wash, dog shampoo and dishwashing liquid.

You’ll also see yet another Nivea Natural Oil – I bought two bottles in Stockholm in 2012 and only just got round to using one of them. A very delicate, pleasant scent but heck, you go through it quickly. Took me just one week to finish up the 200ml bottle.

Sad to finish up a fav shower gel – Greek brand, Korres,Vanilla Cinnamon shower gel. I’ve used this scent for years and years. I love the warm, spicy creamy lather.

I also knocked off two bar soaps – one by Himalaya Herbals, which I bought in Bhutan and the other by an Australian company, Thurlby Herb Farm. The Himalaya Herbal soap was Almond Rose and what a delight to use. Super creamy, delicately-scented and just the right size. Dang, I should have bought more to bring back with me! The Thurlby Herb Farm soap was the Orange Blossom Olive Oil soap. Whilst it was creamy and certainly reminded me of orange blossoms, I found the bar was just too big and flat.

Eye cream. Australian brand, Rosehip Plus, has an interesting concept: a roll-on skin boost serum. You can use it around the eyes, which is what I bought it for. But…..the roller ball stopped working after a few uses so it’s getting tossed. Meh.

Hair. I finished up the L’Oréal Paris Elvital Volume Collagen Root Lifting Spray. I bought this to replace my HG volumising spray, David Babaii for Wild Aid Bohemian Beach Spray, which has been discontinued. Initially, I didn’t like it but it grew on me. So much so that I’ve bought a second bottle. Does a good job of giving my fine hair some volume and is light-weight.

Eyes. I finished up a concealer, eye shadow primer, two mascaras and an eyeshadow. Yeehah! The concealer is Maybelline’s Fit Me in Fair. A lot of hype around this concealer. It’s good. It’s creamy. It does a good job of concealing under the eyes. But…is not as good as Rimmel’s Wake Me Up or Almay’s Line Smoothing Under-Eye concealer .

I knocked off another tube of Too Faced Shadow Insurance. I think this is my third tube and most likely the last. I doubt I’d buy it again. Not since I discovered Bare Minerals 5 in 1 BB cream eyeshadow in Barely Nude. This is just the BEST eyeshadow primer and doubles as a creamy eyeshadow. The Shadow Insurance is good but I find it too liquidy.

Two mascaras gone. Maybelline’s Lash Stiletto in Very Black. I think this now comes in a black and red tube. I went through a couple of tubes and then gave it a rest. Going back to this mascara, I don’t like it as much as I used to. I think because I’ve now discovered Essence mascaras, which are seriously good. The second mascara I picked up in Hong Kong earlier this year: Maybelline The Rocket mascara. What a great mascara – doesn’t clump or smear. Glides on.

And I knocked off an eyeshadow by Too Faced. It’s called Nude Scene. When I lived in Australia, I went through many pans of this eyeshadow. Just love its neutral, soft peachy tone. I’m not sure if this shade has been discontinued as I can’t find it on the Too Faced website.

Lips. Labello care gloss and shine. Every time we visit the relatives in South Africa, I pick up many of these little tubes because they really hydrate the lips. My HG lip care treatment is the Nivea Lip Butters, with my fav being Caramel Cream. I think I’m correct in saying that Nivea is known as Labello in South Africa or maybe it’s certain products. I’ll be picking up more Labello tubes when we visit Johannesburg in 2015.

Clarisonic. Yet another brush done and dusted. I think it was a deep pore cleansing brush. I use the Clarisonic about three times a week.

Toothpaste. Yet another of the NZ brand toothpaste, Red Seal, used up. This one is the Natural SLS free tube. Minty with a hint of licorice. Love.



Oh look: here’s Karma and her foal (well, yearling now), Saffy!! No wait! It’s a couple of wild zebra in the Kruger National Park. 🙂 I find zebras so serene and was hoping to run across some during our early morning safari. Luckily, we came across two zebras quietly strolling and enjoying the warm rays of the sun.

As they came towards our safari truck, I couldn’t help but glance at their hooves – was there a mustang roll? were the toes too long or the heels too high? They had perfect hooves from what I could see and this just shows how the horse family in the wild maintain their own hooves.

The zebras sauntered along the road and one even came closer to my side of the truck, stopped and posed for a photo.


Naturally trimmed hooves!


Hey human: I’m posing for you, take my photo.

I’m finally getting around to telling you a bit about my trip to South Africa. Yesterday’s story was all about how I might have been flattened by a bull elephant reeking of musk. Fortunately (very fortunately) that didn’t happen and I live on to show you photos from the Kruger National Park.

We started the safari drive at 6.30am and, around 6.45am, we came across three giraffe gently nibbling treetops. On the head of one giraffe was a hitchhiker – a bird known as an Oxpecker or tick bird. These birds are often seen on the heads and backs of giraffe. They help keep giraffes parasite-free by eating ticks and other parasites off the skin of the giraffe.


I FINALLY downloaded photos from our South African trip during April. Nearly two months later…mmm. I have one roll of B&W film taken with my Russian Zorki 4K 1970’s camera and I’ll take this off for processing soon. Meanwhile, over the next few posts, I’ll post some photos but….first…the elephant story.

We spent four days at the Pestana Kruger Lodge, just outside the gates of the Kruger National Park. Because my mother-in-law came with us, we booked a mini-lodge – it had two huge bedrooms with ensuites plus a swimming pool. Breakfast and dinner were served in the Buhlebethu restaurant located within the Lodge and with a fantastic view of the Crocodile River.

This isn’t what I want to tell you about though. Nope. This story is about one heck of a big bull elephant and how I thought my number might well have been up. We went on an early morning safari tour starting at 6.30am. El Hubs and I have been to the Kruger a couple of times and we’ve been fortunate enough to see the Big Five. But we hadn’t been to the Kruger for a few years and thought it would be a gentle tour for my mother-in-law (since you sit in an open safari truck for a few hours whilst looking for the Big Five).

That morning, we struck it lucky – zebra, rhino, hippo, hyena, giraffe, leopard, elephants. We had just spotted a leopard and were driving slowly down some road in the Kruger when we came across a large herd of elephants. There was a cute baby elephant in the middle of the herd and then we caught a whiff of an overpowering smell. This turned out to be musk, which the bull excretes from a gland behind its eyes. This lets the females know there’s a man on the prowl. It also means the bull can get quite edgy and aggressive.

There were eight people in our safari truck. I was up the back with El Hubs and my mum-in-law. Our driver stated the obvious – the smell and that bull elephant up ahead of us equals a possibly dangerous situation, we’ll proceed slowly. Up come another three safari trucks and they surround the agitated bull, who is trying to make his way down the road. We were all pretty surprised that these trucks were getting so close to the bull. Our driver had stopped the truck but we were in the bull’s path, so he said we’d wait and see what the bull might do.

Yeah great. I was already contemplating my escape – should I ditch over the side of the truck and take my chances that I wouldn’t meet up with that hungry-looking leopard we’d just seen down the road? Or should I wait in the truck to see whether the bull would turn us into road pizza?

The elephant came closer and the smell was pretty yuk. The other trucks kept going backwards and forwards so that tourists could get photos. We were all pretty quiet in our safari truck. Our driver was not taking any chances – he wasn’t inching forward and was clearly considering how to get out of this situation.

The bull continued ambling down the road. Then, one of the other trucks, moved forward (idiots!) and the bull turned around aggressively, moved towards the truck but then dashed into a bush. Our driver took this opportunity to whizz by the bull. As we powered by, El Hubs was on the side of the truck closest to the elephant. Truck and elephant were in close proximity and I thought I saw El Hubs turn a couple of shades whiter. He kept his wits about him though and even managed to take a snap.

The very next day, we heard at the lodge that a Chinese woman and a Polish man had a close encounter with an elephant. We were told that it was a bull elephant that overturned and basically flattened the car the couple were travelling in. I have no doubt in my mind that, if it was a bull, it was the very same bull elephant we had seen the day before.

road ele

Reeking of musk and on the prowl for females, the bull elephant makes his way down the road.


As we approached the elephant, he was starting to lift his ears.


And then the bull was charging out of the bushes. El Hubs was in the line of fire, being on the side of the truck closer to the bull. He kept his calm and took a photo. I closed my eyes and hoped for the best!!

I didn’t buy much in South Africa in my attempt to be as frugal as possible. Sure there was a lot I could have bought but I didn’t. I did succumb to Jacqueline Singh though. And I did succumb to Havaianas. But I needed some new thongs (or jandals as we say in New Zealand) because Zsa Zsa chewed the pair I brought across from Oz. You know puppies and shoes.

In Cape Town, at the V&A Waterfront, is a Havaianas shop and amongst the hundreds of pairs on show, I knew immediately which ones I wanted. The gold metallic pair I fell immediately in love with and they will be reserved for special occasions when I can get away with wearing foot bling! The pink pair is just so cute with the little plastic flower and the carved out butterfly in one of the petals.

My challenge is to hide them from The Point-in-ator who only this week has ripped the guts out of two more soft toys. Just imagine what she’d do to my Havaianas should she ever get her fangs into them. It just doesn’t bear thinking about.

I was showing you one of the luxury mansions I toured inside a special gated estate in Johannesburg. And I mentioned that this estate had wild animals freely roaming around. I didn’t manage to see the giraffe but I got up close and personal with some zebras.

There were about six zebras on a corner block, drinking from a tap that is apparently especially for wild animals. I could literally walk up to them. They showed little fear but they didn’t like anyone getting too close I think. I doubt I could have patted them. One of the zebras was gazing at a group of houses, probably wondering if anything tasty was on the dinner menu that night.

Can you imagine living in a luxury house, walking out your front door and coming face to face with a zebra who is quite comfortable with humans?

There are a lot of rich people in South Africa. We visited a special eco-estate that is basically a gated luxury community. There are only two roads into this community and both are heavily guarded. Once inside, you simply cannot believe the houses. Well, mansions really. It’s like everyone is building a Taj Mahal and trying to outdo each other. Frankly, I was a little uncomfortable with such displays of wealth in a country with very poor people.

But I can appreciate a luxury home when I tour one. The mansion we visited has just been completed and has the most amazing feature – a huge rock structure on the bottom level. The person who built the house and showed us around explained that removing the rock would be costly and so why not make a feature out of it? The rock itself is lit by back lights and has a lovely gold pink tone to it. To the left of the rock is a huge slab of marble complete with embedded fossils.

Roaming freely around the estate are wild animals such as giraffe and zebra. I’ll show you some zebra pics in my next post. You can literally walk out your front door and find a zebra standing looking at you. There are three dams in the estate for all the animals to drink from and congregate.

The mansion in this post is to be sold for around Rand 32 million (or around NZ$5.2 million) but we also saw a mansion that had been sold for Rand 87 million. My head was spinning. I live in a small New Zealand rural farm house surrounded by muddy paddocks and hay barns. Whilst I wouldn’t mind living in one of the mansions I did find that everyone was living on top of everyone else. It was luxury suburbia.

There were actually two kitchens in this mansion and they were HUGE.

One of the bathtubs has built in headrests!

Back view of the mansion.

The rock feature on the bottom level.

This slab of marble next to the rock is embedded with fossils.

Main foyer area.

Main staircase with AMAZING chandelier.

Amazing chandelier.

Swimming pool with outdoor shower area.

Front view of the mansion.

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