Cape Town in Winter – A Wintertime Wonderland of Fun and Games

Cape Town in winter – it’s usually the summertime that people consider a vacation in Cape Town, so it is amazing to discover that there is more partying going on in Cape Town during the colder months than at the height of summer.

The recent Wacky Wine Weekend in Robertson has set us all off, with the town renowned for its choice of beautiful wines and enchanting wine estates, opening their doors to wine lovers from around the world, who flock to its annual festival.

If you thought wine would be the main topic of conversation… well… you’d be right, but you would be forgetting the endless fun and entertainment on offer from pony rides to rugby, river cruises to arts & crafts. From the smallest tot to the eldest connoisseur, there was something for everyone.

If you are feeling miffed that you missed the partying, why not come and join us all in Stellenbosch for the weekend of 28th – 31st July 2011?

Stellenbosch is the home to South Africa’s wine industry and is immensely keen to show off its wines to an appreciative audience. The oldest wine route in the country puts on a show that will certainly be the equal to Robertson’s weekend and may well show you a thing or two you didn’t know – your chance to sample over 500 wines from around the district, along with olives grown locally, together with a host of food and wine experts on hand to show you round.

Make sure you estate hop using the buses put on especially for you to be able to drink and not drive! And why not make it a day off from the driving by catching the special buses direct from Cape Town’s Waterfront?

My favourite party though, is going on in Tulbagh where Christmas comes early… or is it late?

Christmas glitz with decorations galore, tinsel and Santa! Oh, the joy of winter in Cape Town. I have to admit, we get the best of both worlds here in Cape Town, South Africa – sunbathing and sundowners on the 25th December; with the chance to do it all again in the cool of the African winter’s day – 25th & 26th June. Hurry and get your skates on if you want to join us… Santa won’t be round for long and you won’t want to miss out! I particularly like the log fires and the excuse of cozying up with a glass of something warming… Amarula lights my fire!

Examples of Fun Outdoor Games for the Family

Are you the type of parent who is always busy with work or with business? Then you might as well make up for it by organizing some out-of-town trips or weekend family bonding time. To make these events more fun and exciting then it would be great to come up with some fun outdoor games that everyone can enjoy.

Here are some examples of fun outdoor games perfect for the whole family:

1. All weather corn toss game -If you can aim and toss a corn bag at least 10 feet away then you are good to play. With this, even little kids can join the fun. This is indeed one of the most exciting and fun outdoor games for the whole family. It can be played anywhere; from the park, campgrounds, backyards or driveway. So the next time that you will have an out-of-town trip you might as well include cornhole game in your list.

2. Backyard mini-golf tournament – If Daddy loves to play golf with his friends every Sunday or any day possible so why not bring the tournament in your own backyard and let the kids go against Daddy. For sure, this is going to be lots of fun. This is also a great way to train little boys or little girls to play golf. Eventually, they will be enjoying the real game too.

You can also invite your neighbors to join the fun and go against each family. This will be very exciting!

3. Bubble Brigade – you should divide the group into two (so it is best if you will invite many participants like your neighbors). Each player will have a bubble solution and wand. The team will line up shoulder-to-shoulder. The first person in the line blows the bubble, then passes it to the person next to him/her using the wand until it reaches the end of the line person. The first team to successfully pass the bubble to the end line wins the game. When the bubble pops before it reaches the end, the person who popped it will blow another bubble for the solution. Be careful not to hit the eyes with the bubble solution to avoid irritation or allergic reaction.

4. Mom (or Dad) Calling – This is another fun game to play with other families. The mothers (or fathers) will line up on one side of the park blindfolded. Their kids will be at the other side calling out their names. Blindfolded moms will try to reach and find their kids just by following the sound of their voices. The first mom who will grab her own child wins the game.

It is definitely fun to spend time playing these games with your family so make sure to allot at least one day a week for these kind of activities especially with your children. Your relationship and bond will be stronger than ever which is of course great for everyone.

Home Improvement Tips: Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

Reasons for A RedoHome improvement projects often begin with someone saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if… ?” usually followed by a wish for a remodelled kitchen or a room addition for space to accommodate every family member’s needs. More often than not, reality and dreams don’t coincide, due to limited funds for realizing the dream, or limits on the available space. The trick: turning your dreams into reality. Begin with a realistic evaluation of your needs. Homeowners usually consider home improvements for one of the following reasons.You may feel the need to update something that is out-of-date. If your kitchen colour scheme was perfect a few decades ago but no longer works, now may a good time to update it.Some home improvement projects grow out of an immediate need to replace broken or inefficient fixtures. If a sink, tub, or toilet needs to be replaced, consider taking advantage of the opportunity to do a makeover on the entire bathroom.If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ll want to be sure to get top dollar from the sale. That’s great motivation for some home improvement projects.You have decided that staying put and improving your home is a better option than moving.Your family has grown and you need more space.Improving to Move? or Improving to Stay?Evaluate your plans carefully if you’re improving your home to list it for sale. Cutting corners may hurt your prospects rather than helping them. But don’t go overboard either. Potential buyers may prefer not to pay for some of the extras, such as a hot tub or pool. You’re better off keeping the changes simple.And remember that buyers who view your home may not share your tastes and may not appreciate the care you took to find just the right shade of green paint for the walls.You’ll find that improving to sell is easier if you can think about it from the prospective buyer’s point of view: What is important to the home buyer? Here are a few remodelling projects buyers are likely to find valuable:Adding or remodelling a bathImproving the kitchenAdding a new roomLandscapingAdding a bedroomAdding or enclosing a garage.If you’re remodelling because you want to stay in your home, you should still avoid over-improving it. You’ll probably want to sell it someday, and even if your house is the best on the block, it may be difficult to convince potential buyers to pay for the things you considered important. And when you consider making improvements, keep in mind the value of other homes in the area. Your home’s value should not be more than 20% above the average, which means that a $10,000 kitchen improvement project well could be a better investment than a $10,000 hot tub, especially if yours will be the only home in the area with a hot tub.Home Maintenance versus Home ImprovementsIt’s unfortunate that some home improvement projects are undertaken because something has broken. Replacing a leaky bathtub may be the first step to a major bath remodeling: since the tub has to be replaced anyway, why not do the whole room?While that might be a legitimate reason to remodel, avoid basing your home improvement projects on immediate needs. You’ll be better off if you minimize problems with proper maintenance. Examine every part of your home at least once a year. Check the roof, the plumbing, electrical wiring, etc. As soon as become aware of a problem, fix it. Making repairs when you’re first aware of them will help you avoid larger expenses later on. Keep in mind that maintenance does not add to the value of your home. Usually repairs are not improvements; they are necessities.Hiring Professionals May Save You Time and MoneyIt should go without saying that home projects can be expensive, so you may be tempted to tackle them yourself as a way to save money. That may be a smart move for small projects. You won’t have to wait for someone to fit your house into their busy schedule, and you can boast about having done the work yourself.But unless you’re very versatile, major home improvements are better left to professionals. If you decide to remodel the kitchen and plan to do the work yourself, will you be able to handle the plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work on your own?. And don’t forget that you’ll need to finish it quickly, because you won’t have a kitchen as long as it’s a “work in process” and eating three meals a day in restaurants could get expensive. Keep in mind, do-it-yourself jobs generally take more time. And you’ll be responsible for getting all the necessary permits and inspections.Hiring people who have the required experience can save you money and time, too. For example, these professionals can help you get a custom look using stock products, and that can be a significant savings. Getting something done right the first time will give you value that lasts for years.To find qualified and dependable home improvement specialists, check with friends, business associates, and neighbours for recommendations. Always get at least three references, and check them out thoroughly. Also check with the local chapter of the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce. Their numbers can be found in the community services section of your telephone book.Once you’ve located the necessary home improvement specialists, make sure everyone is in agreement about the design, the schedule, and the budget, and get the details down in writing in a signed contract.It’s also wise to check on professional certifications and licenses, where required, and be certain that the contractors you hire are fully insured and bonded. Your town or city Building Department can provide that information. And it’s very important that you make sure contractors carry workers’ compensation insurance: if workers are injured on the job, you won’t be liable if the contractor is covered. Request copies of their insurance certificates. And make sure that either you or your contractor have gotten any necessary permits before the work begins. Contact your local Planning and Zoning Commission for information.Here’s a quick overview of some of the professionals you may need to work with when you remodel your home:Architect: Architects design homes or additions from the foundation to the roof. If your project will require structural changes such as adding or removing walls, or if the design is complex, you will probably need an architect. Since architects may charge an hourly or a flat fee, make sure you get an estimate of the total cost: drawing up the plans for a major remodeling project can take 80 hours or more.Contractor: The contractor oversees the home improvement project, including hiring and supervising workers, getting the necessary permits, making sure inspections are done as needed, and providing insurance for work crews. It’s always a good idea to get proposals from one or more reputable contractors, based on the specific details of your project.Be sure each contractor bids on exactly the same plan so that you can compare their bids more easily. When you’ve chosen a contractor, make sure the contract specifies that you will pay in stages. You’ll usually pay one third when the contract is signed so that the contractor can buy supplies. The number and timing for making the remaining payments will depend on the size of the project. Do not make the final payment until all the work is successfully completed, inspected, and approved.Interior Designers: Interior designers are specialists who will provide advice on furnishings, wall coverings, colors, styles, and more. They help save you time by narrowing your selection, and save money because they usually receive professional discounts from their suppliers. When meeting with an interior designer, be sure to tell them about your personal style and preferences. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour, or you may be able to negotiate a flat fee of approximately 25% of the total project cost.