Top winter DIY jobs

With the weather beginning to turn and the nights drawing in, it's time for homeowners to think about the DIY jobs they need to do on their properties before temperatures plummet.

There are several things we should be doing every year to ensure our houses can withstand the worst of the winter weather, so here's a reminder of some of the top jobs to do in the coming months.

Clean your gutters

While this is never a favorite chore, it's one that has to be done. Blocked gutters can cause a lot of damage to your home if the water runs down a wall or builds up next to your roof, potentially leaking into the property or causing damp patches that can be costly to repair.

photo credit: zen via photopin cc

The simplest way to do it is to climb a ladder with a bucket in one hand and a leaf scooper in the other, allowing you to fill your bucket with the accumulated debris and dispose of it safely.
If you're not happy holding a bucket at the top of your ladder, position an old sheet beneath your ladder and simply scoop out the leaves and drop them on to the ground, where you can wrap them up in the fabric once you've climbed down.

Replace missing roof tiles

This is obviously not a job you'll need to do every year, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check your roof regularly to make sure it's in top condition. The exact way in which you replace a tile will depend on the type of material that's been used for your roof, but if you carry out basic DIY at home, you should have all the equipment you need (aside from replacement tiles, of course).

photo credit: Iguana Jo via photopin cc
While you're up on the roof, be certain to also check the flashing around your chimney for any signs of damage, as this could result in a leak if there are any cracks.

Install insulation

Loft, wall and pipe insulation is all important if you want your home to retain its warmth during the winter - and reduce your energy bills in the process. Some of these jobs are easier than others - fitting insulation on your pipes, for instance, is relatively straightforward.

The type of loft space you have will make a difference to the kind of roof insulation you can install, however, and you may need to hire specialist tools to complete this job yourself.

photo credit: PSHiker via photopin cc

When it comes to wall insulation, though, you will almost certainly need to contact a professional tradesman to do the work, as it not only requires specific equipment, but also specialist knowledge to ensure the right type of insulation for your property is fitted.

Cut back trees and bushes

While this might not seem like the most important DIY job to do before the winter sets in, not doing it can have more of an impact than you may think. If you have any trees or large shrubs near your house, it is advisable to prune them so that no branches are in contact with the walls, roof or windows.

photo credit: Li'l Wolf via photopin cc
This will prevent them causing any damage to your house in high winds and also means that the risk of an old branch falling and hurting someone or landing on your car, for instance, is greatly reduced.

If you've got any advice about which DIY jobs to approach in the autumn and winter, let us know in the comments below.


South Africa's Cheetah Outreach

Cheetah Outreach in South Africa promotes the survival of the free ranging, Southern African cheetah through environmental education and delivering conservation initiatives.

One of these initiatives is the breeding of Turkish Anatolian Shepard dogs and placing them on South African farms to guard livestock in an effort to reduce conflict between farmers and the cheetahs.

The cheetahs raised at the center, are raised as ambassadors of this species and to help raise funds to save their wild counterparts. They themselves are caged, but are cared for and given space to run, play, eat, and are treated with the utmost respect that a captive animal can be.

We had the pleasure of visiting the center and meeting these extraordinary animals face to face. They were sweet, gentle, and of course, the cubs were little rambunctious

Meet the Cubs

Meet Joseph (an adult)

And here's a little video so you can see them in action.
(not sure what youtube did to my little title cards but I don't care...)

Coming soon... our shark cage diving experience!

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Creative & bold fashion tips for women Over 50

If you are already over 50 and thinking that you have crossed the age of fashion, then you are totally wrong. It is generally seen that women over 50 have a tendency to wear dull clothes with little or no makeup at all. But it is surprising to note that so many women across the world believe that once they cross 50 they need to wear dull clothes with no makeup! We believe that fashion knows no boundaries and even an older woman has every right to keep with the latest styles and trends. But they need a proper guidance on how to look graceful at this age.

How to dress agelessly

People say that there is a little girl hidden in every woman; so try to be as stylish as possible even after the age of 50. But there are some points which you should keep in mind before deciding on a dress. Try to avoid tight outfits as much as possible. Choose clothes which are stylish, elegant and trendy. We would suggest that you wear a tunic with sleeves. Settle for clothes that are comfortable and suits your style and age. Make sure to avoid strapless and halter dresses and do not wear anything that is meant for an 18 or 20 year old. Similarly you shouldn't wear dresses which are low cut or have plunging necklines, as these are not age appropriate.

Makeup tips
Just like dresses, there are some tips to follow with respect to make-up for 50+ women. We never advocate that women over 50 should shun cosmetics but we have just listed out some guidelines to follow.

1) Eyeliner - Eyeliners are a must for women who are aged 50 and above. However, you must apply it very thinly above the top lashes. Always choose the eyeliner based on your complexion.

2) Lip liner - Since lip liners give an aging effect, you must apply it with caution. If you want, you can opt for neutral colors to ernhance the lip line.

3) Lip gloss - It is advisable to mix a little bit of color with the lip gloss if you are above 50 years of age.

4) Eye shadow shimmers - There are a whole lot of eye shadow shimmers in the market but not all are good and perfect for you. But you can indulge in a little bit of experimentation and try out a little bit of shimmer to give yourself a new look. Adding a light color to in inner corners of your eyes creates a more "awake" look as well.

It is said that once you cross 50 you are into a different fashion world altogether. So the onus lies on you to mix and match rather than copy the youngsters and look weird in the process. There are a number of celebrities who have crossed 50 but still look as elegant as their glorious days. Some of them are very popular such as Helen Mirren, Ann Margaret, Susan Sarandon etc.
About the author: Kelly is a blogger by profession. She loves writing, reading and travelling. She contributes to Engage BDR


South Africa: Private Pork Tasting at Moreson

During our stay in Franscchoek, we got a private pork tasting at Moreson with Chef Neil. He's a lovely man, passionate about pork, and 100% humble. When we offered him a tip he refused, and said he had a great life just riding his bike to work everyday and working with meat. What a guy! I need to think like this everyday. His character is the perfect example of how precious the people of South Africa are. We could not have spent our honeymoon in a more generous country than this. We are so grateful for everyone's generosity and will be back!

That being said... meet Chef Neil.

And his stocked meat locker!

I honestly can't tell you what we tried. It was all so amazing. I know, vague.


Chef Neil told us that the pork raised for his Charcuterie is raised naturally, 
and the pigs live long happy lives until it's time.
It's true, we saw pictures of the acres of land they live on and roam.

We tried so many different varieties, and listening to Chef Neil was a treat in and of itself.

And then we washed it all down with some wine.
I have to admit, I did not taste a bad Pinotage, 
which is South Africa's main red wine varietal.

Thank you, Moreson! 
Thank you, Chef Neil!

Coming up... 
Photos and VIDEO of our Cheetah experience.

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South Africa's Winelands: Food, Wine, and Beauty

During our stay in South Africa, we spent a few days in Franschhoek up in wine country in the Western Cape. The beauty of this land speaks for itself so the least I can do is give you a tour and show you the food. We stayed at Le Quartier Francais, just off the main road. It's a lovely hotel equip with a pool, breathtaking views of the mountains on all sides, and one of the best restaurants in South Africa: The Tasting Room. Unfortunately it was closed while we were there so I'll just take the Internet's word for it. We did, however, have a lovely meal and afternoon just up the mountain at La Petite Ferme. Everyone in South Africa that we spoke to recommended this winery for lunch and we were so glad we listened. That's definitely a tip when traveling: Listen to the locals!

And now for the tour...
Here was our view driving out to the hotel:

A walk through town and some nibbles along the way:

I'm on one side...

 ...I'm on the other side.

Sparkling and Oysters

Curry, Chicken,Veggies and Wine:

La Petite Ferme offers gorgeous views... 

...and wild entertainment (baboons- lots).
The staff chased them off with a slingshot. 
Don't worry, they'll be back for an encore.

The food at La Petite Ferme was scrumptious. 
We certainly went a little French with the Escargot and Goat Cheese salad,
and then had the Risotto and Calamari to finish off the meal.
All washed down with this winery's finest white and rose.


After our meal we got a little tour of the wine cellar and a tasting.

Even if you don't like wine (how dare you) you MUST make the winelands a part of your African Adventure. It's such an eclectic mix of Africa and Europe (think Tuscany!); add the amazing food and being surrounded by mountains and you'll feel like you are in paradise.

Coming soon... 
I'll show you our private pork tasting at Moreson with head Chef Neil!
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