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Heritage day is around the corner and if you are not planning to make a braaibroodjie, are you even going to have a braai?

Every year (around this time) the lyrics of that old famous song by Die Heuwels Fantasties (DHF) gets stuck in my head:

“The Spring has arrived in Southern Africa
Not a cloud in the sky
Only flames in our eyes
As if everybody seems to know what time it is
Time for a braai
It’s time to have some fun”

Let’s get crackin’ … You will need:

– Ciabatta Bread
– Pesto
– Red onion (finely sliced)
– Baby tomatoes (thinly sliced)
– Mozzarella Cheese
– Salt
– Pepper
– Olive Oil (to baste the bread on the outsides with)

What to do?

– Cut the bread in two halves
– Add a decent amount of pesto onto each halve
– Add the thinly sliced red onion
– Add the sliced tomato
– Top Tip: spice the insides with salt and pepper (on top of the ingredients already on the bread)
– Add a good amount of cheese and close the bread
– Baste with olive oil

And then?

– After you’ve braai-ed the meat on the coals (read: husband/boyfriend/better half braai-ed)…
– Put the bread on a braai grid, making sure the coals are not too hot.
– Use two bricks to balance the braai grid on the coals (approximately 20cm above the coals))
– Turn the braai grid over until you can see the cheese melt and the bread becoming a little darker in colour.

“Cause it’s so *Mzansi
Happy times are so naturalle in our country
**Re rata sunshine
Pull out your smiles come on let’s have a fun time”

*South Africa
** We Love

A braai (for the non-South Africans – a barbeque) is simply not a braai without the famous (traditional or not)  braaibroodije!

If you have any tips and ticks or a lovely recipe to share – please do so!

The post Re Rata-Sunshine Gourmet Braaibroodjie appeared first on 9Lives.

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What’s better than chocolate? How about chocolate and the chance to win R10 000 every day?

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I have very little resistance when it comes to chocolate. I have an especially soft spot for for anything with a nutty twist. When I was a kid my dad would buy a Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut on a Sunday night and we’d nibble away while watching the movie on M-Net. It was my ultimate treat.

The thing about chocolate is that it’s always a pleasure – even if you eat a whole bagful on your own because that guy you really really like just dodged you in a bar. It’s finding the Lunch Bar mini in your goodie bag, getting an oh-so-indulgent P.S because someone thought you’re special, or eating a Crunchie while watching Pretty Woman, biting all the chocolate off first and leaving that crispy honeycomb right till the end (did anyone else do this?)

Now, if it’s even possible, Cadbury has managed to make chocolate even better by giving you the chance to bag R10 000 every day for 60 days!

All you need to do is buy one (or all) of the following Cadbury chocolate bars:

  • Lunch Bar (48g)
  • Lunch Bar Dream (48g)
  • P.S. Milk Chocolate (48g)
  • P.S. Caramilk (48g)
  • 5Star (48.5g)
  • Crunchie (40g)
  • Lunch Bar mini (23g)
  • P.S. Caramilk mini (24g/19g)

Submit the unique codes found inside the wrapper by dialling the USSD code *120*101112# and following the
prompts. The promotion runs until 31 October.

The Cadbury Wrapper Flapper has also made a comeback, giving you even more chances to win! Just grab one of the chocolate bars mentioned above and present your wrapper at one of the national activations taking place over the next two months. Once inside, you’ll have 10 seconds to catch one of the golden coins inside, winning you instant cash or airtime.

The Cadbury Wrapper Flapper will be starting off at Savanna Mall in Limpopo (06 th – 09 th September 2018), Diamond Pavilion in Northern Cape (20 th – 23 rd September 2018) and  finally ending off at Twin City Mall in Free State (11 th – 14 th October 2018).

WIN with 9Lives and Cadbury

Tell me how you would spend R10 000 every day for 60 days, and you could win an epic Cadbury hamper worth R500! Get daydreaming! Try a hot air balloon ride, book a luxury safari, go shoe shopping in Sandton City.

Pop your entries in the comments section below. Entries close 25 September.

The post Tell me how you’d spend R10 000 and WIN with Cadbury! appeared first on 9Lives.

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Taking a minute to let go of life’s stresses is always a good idea. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our daily stress and anxiety that we forget that our minds need time to relax and refocus. I’m definitely one of those people, but I’m also very impatient and if I have to make time during my busy schedule to relax it will never happen.

However, there are a few activities which only take about a minute or even less that can help you de-stress, relax and refocus. I’ve tried a few techniques and here are the ones I found actually made a difference.

1. Distract to refocus

Distracting yourself from the thing that stresses you out by doing something else is probably one of the best tips I’ve tried. I can get so caught up in one thing that’s giving me anxiety that I lose focus and become less productive.

Taking a break from what you are doing, even if only for a minute, will help you to clear your mind and refocus your efforts on what actually matters. I enjoy playing a quick game on my phone which distracts me from what is causing my anxiety and helps me to detach emotionally. After only a minute or so, I feel ready to tackle the problem I was having with a fresh perspective.

2. Writing things down

My mind is always filled with 1 000 things to do and it can be extremely distracting. I always try to take a minute to write all my racing thoughts down on paper. It gives me the assurance that I won’t forget it, so my mind doesn’t have to bother me with it while I’m busy doing something else. As things pop into your mind, keep writing them down and at the end of the day, take a minute to go through your list and tick off what you’ve accomplished.

3. Try breathwork

Try doing breathing exercises when things are getting a little bit too much, to help you refocus your mind. All breathing exercises follow the same rule of a deep breath in through the nose, and a long and strong exhale with a quick pause before taking another deep breath.

4. Re-organise your desk

When we get busy, our desks tend to get untidy. Papers and books are scattered everywhere and without realising it, this can add to our anxiety. Taking a minute to quickly rearrange the items on your desk in an organised way can really help to release some tension. And who knows, maybe you’ll find that piece of paper you’ve been looking for all morning!

5. Tension release

During the day, as we experience stress our muscles tense up which can make our anxiety worse. What I like to do, although this can sometimes feel a little bit awkward, is tension release.

Focus on a specific muscle, make it tense and then release. Take deep breaths as you tense and release, starting with your toes and working all the way up until you’ve reached your eyelids. Refocusing on your body distracts you from what is causing your stress and helps you to focus on what matters, your body and your health.

Which techniques help you to de-stress? Let us know in the comments below.

The post Take a minute to de-stress appeared first on 9Lives.

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Release Date: 7 September 2018

In a PlayStation 4 exclusive, Insomniac Games boldly ventures into the world of one of Marvel’s greatest heroes, Spider-Man. In this open-world adventure, we’re introduced to the ever-genius and ever-broke Peter Parker, living a humble and seemingly uneventful life. That is apart from the foreshadowing newspaper clippings of villains and a hero suit ready to take into battle.

With the return of the original hero suit, not the spiffy new spandex showcased in the promotional material seen earlier this year, Marvel’s Spider-Man completely skips this hero’s origin story as we leap into action. That’s right folks, Uncle Ben doesn’t need to die again!

Receiving a distress call, we take flight towards our first mission to investigate trouble at Fisk Tower as we are introduced to the new flagship web-slinging physics that when mastered, becomes an effortless aerial dance of web-swinging, leaping and wall-running.

Upon reaching Fisk Tower, we’re met with an explosive battle as hired mercenaries are determined to defend their Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, from the NYPD’s best efforts to take him down. It’s up to Spider-Man to make the difference and finally bring an end to Fisk’s villainy.

A fresh style of combat

Bringing a hot fresh cup of bodily harm to evildoers, we’re introduced to the reactive combat system reminiscent of the Batman Arkham series. This elegantly brutal combat system introduces the Spider Sense ability to evade and counter oncoming danger. This allows you to seamlessly stack sequences of complex combination strikes including hand-to-hand combat, a myriad of gadgets and even using objects in your environment. Because some henchmen need a high-five, in the face, with a chair. As if that wasn’t punishing enough, Spider-Man also delivers a pun with every punch.

Marvel’s Spider-Man’s combat system includes the brilliant feature of the Focus Meter, which builds when stacking combination strikes successfully, allowing you to perform beautifully choreographed Finisher Moves that instantly knocks out an enemy. It can also be used to heal Spider-Man after the most brutal battles.

Strategy and side-missions

The game also introduces multiple strategic approaches to completing missions. This gives you the option to go in webs blazing, or to take a more methodical approach by exploring the area and finding the best hiding places to gather information, catch henchmen unaware and stun them without making a sound.

The open-world adventure of Marvel’s Spider-Man truly comes to life when playing its side missions. Explore a gorgeously rebuilt New York City as you complete Taskmaster’s challenges, take down henchmen hideouts, and find backpacks scattered throughout the city containing crafting materials and bonus experience. Although repetitive at times, it’s still a tremendous amount of fun and truly satisfying for all the completionists out there.

Collecting crafting materials and gaining experience ensures tremendous replay value as you’ll be able to upgrade gadgets in the most fun and bizarre ways, reminiscent of the quirky weaponry of Insomniac Games’ massively successful Ratchet & Clank series. Unlock new moves, and unlock the unique power-ups and upgradable modifications each collectible hero suit possesses.

Old and new characters

The world-building of the game succeeds in bringing the rich history of the Spider-Man universe to life through the return of many loved characters, with Wilson Fisk being the first of Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery. We’re also introduced to Doctor Otto Octavius before his descent into madness in which the persona Doctor Octopus was born. Founder of the Sinister Six, Doctor Octopus is joined by Mister Negative, Electro, Rhino, Scorpion, and Vulture. Together, they form one of the most terrifying teams of supervillains in Marvel history. With the appearance of other loved characters who are sometimes friend, and sometimes foe, like Shocker, Silver Sable, Taskmaster, Black Cat, Norman Osborn, and of course J. Jonah Jameson, the surly editor and proud protestor against Spider-Man’s web-slinging antics.

This time Spider-Man won’t be braving it alone. Yuri Watanabe and the full force of the NYPD joins you in arresting Wilson Fisk and pursuing a myriad of evildoers. Mary Jane joins Peter Parker and work together to uncover sinister plots as their once estranged love for each other is restored. Miles Morales, who fans have been dying to see, takes his first step in becoming a superhero with Peter Parker as his mentor.

Thickening the plot

In Marvel’s Spider-Man the plot focuses not only on Spider-Man, but Peter Parker as well. The storytelling of the man without the mask is sincere and relatable as the themes of friendship, mentorship and love are explored. Peter Parker faces decisions that are every bit as distressing if not more than those his alter ego braves.

The impressive strength of the storytelling is further supported by a brilliant script and the voice talent of Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker, known for voicing incredible characters such as Sasuke from Naruto and the prince from the Prince of Persia series. Laura Bailey stars as Mary Jane Watson, known for her impressive career of voicing characters in video games and Anime with characters like Maka from Soul Eater and Chun-Li from Street Fighter. Nadji Jeter stars as Miles Morales, known for his appearances in hit television shows such as Castle and films such as Grown Ups.

Insomniac Games delivers in giving you the chance to truly feel like Spider-Man in this open-world adventure, soaring through the skies of New York City, defeating henchmen and villains alike, and forging the bonds as Peter Parker that defines the hero we have all come to love, our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.

The post Is the Marvel Spider-Man Game Worth Playing? appeared first on 9Lives.

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I have had my fair share of different hairstyles and colours. I’ve chopped off my long tresses for an angled bob, done the whole ombre look and gone as far as bleaching my hair Khaleesi style. Now that my silvery locks are growing out in multicoloured shades of blonde and brown, I think it’s time for a new look. Change is good, right?

With the hope of summer hanging in the air, I decided to check out a bunch of summer hair trends for some inspiration. Here are a bunch of my favourite cuts and colours for summer.

The bob

I have masses of thick hair, which can be a tad high maintenance in summer (there is nothing worse than hair hanging heavily around your face on a hot day.) A fresh bob cut may be all I need to lighten the load. I was happy to see that the bob is trending big-time at the moment. The great thing about this hairstyle is that it can be worn in a variety of different ways and styles. The trick is finding the right cut for your hair type.

While the sleek edged bob cut is the in-thing at the moment (and is a great choice if you’ve got naturally straight hair), my hair tends to curl and wave in a somewhat haphazard fashion. I think I should rather opt for a choppy cut bob. With tons of volume and texture, this cut will allow my locks to fall in natural waves and is perfect for my thick hair. Let’s look to Dua Lipa, who is rocking the blunt cut bob, bleached nude blonde. Lighter neutral shades of blonde are a go-to-option at the moment (So maybe it’s time I freshen up my silvery tones).

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A post shared by DUA LIPA (@dualipa) on Sep 3, 2018 at 2:53am PDT

Rose tints of gold

In a wide range of shimmering tones, from enhanced rose gold to softer hints of champagne pink, strawberry, gold blonde, to ombre lavender and peachy undertones, the rose gold hair trend has a magical allure. To add a fun and edgy spark to my look, I would love a summer fling with this romantic hue! Best of all these shades of gold and pink off-set a textured cut beautifully.

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A post shared by Elle Fanning (@ellefanning) on Aug 3, 2018 at 11:49am PDT

French Retro

For the love of the 20’s, the French flapper-girl bob with bangs is making waves. Reminiscent of a sultry summer in Paris, this is certainly a cut that makes a statement. Dare I be different and give this super cool vintage cut a try? Well, all I can say, it looks fabulous! Let’s look to Kacy Hill, who has mastered this look. Her copper coloured hair also creates a radiant warm summer effect. It seems that juxtaposing hints of blonde and red hues into darker shades is also a fiery hot trend this summer.

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A post shared by Kacy Hill (@kacyhill) on Aug 15, 2018 at 1:35pm PDT

Look natural

A Mop of curls with bangs (think Tina Turner and the 80’s) is a major comeback this summer, where the hair is shaped in effortless layers with long curling bangs framing the face. The natural hair trend has also been imagined from Beyonce’s iconic billowing waves. It’s all about embracing natural curls and hair textures, as an expression of the sultry summer vibe we so love. I just adore Beyonce’s wild mane of golden caramel and blonde tone, which truly echoes the essence of the tropical sun.

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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Sep 6, 2018 at 8:18am PDT

Long layered locks of gold

Keeping my hair long, shaped with long invisible layers is always an option. Gigi Hadid knows how it’s done and has mastered the long layered look, styled in an effortless, tousled fashion. Mixing and matching dark brown and light brown hues into long flowing layers is a picture of 50 shades of summer. Sounds super sexy to me! For the brunettes, soften darker shades with soft honey tones to add a deep golden glow to your hair colour.

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A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on Jun 20, 2018 at 11:33am PDT

Summer is golden and I love the idea of expressing its warming glow in my hair look. What are your favourite cuts and colours for summer? I’d like to know. Feel free to drop a comment below.

The post Cuts and Colours to try out for Summer appeared first on 9Lives.

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Usually, it’s out with the old and in with the new. But vinyl seems to have risen from the ashes and made itself popular again. Perhaps it never died? Or, maybe it’s like an eighties fashion trend that’s in style for a while but then we move on to the next best thing. Since I don’t know much about this music format, I asked two of my music-lover friends, Mia and Barry, why they choose to listen to vinyl.

Mia is a cool, dark and mysterious chick with a light-hearted spirit and killer style. More than that, her taste is music is sublime! Barry, on the other hand, is a creative genius. His knowledge on everything videography is beyond this world, and so are his videos. The majority of artists Barry listens to I had never even heard of, until I met him. Since then, he has become my go-to guy if I’m in the mood to discover new music.

Why go vinyl?

When I asked my friends why they listen to vinyl, Mia answered, “I like the mood it sets; the crackling sound comforts me in a strange way.”

Barry then responded with “besides the unique audio texture and quality, a vinyl is also a tangible thing that you buy and then possess. It’s something you can pick up, look at, open up, and read. It is more of a thrill to buy a new vinyl than loading music online. It gives more value to the music. You can go back to your record collection after many years, and pick out a vinyl that will bring back old memories. I also find a kind of enjoyment in placing the needle on the vinyl and listening to an album the way the band intended it to be heard. You can’t press shuffle. Bands generally design a structure for the album, which takes you on a journey.”

I suppose there is something nostalgic about vinyl. It fills a room in a way that digital music can’t but at the same time it really does create a more intimate “mood”.

How is vinyl different from digital?

Their answers resonated with me, but I wanted to know more. I asked them what makes vinyl different from digital music to which Mia replied, “the speed is something just ever so slightly faster or slower, and there’s the crackling. It sounds fuller and smoother on vinyl versus sounding loud and sharp and big when it’s digital.” Barry commented that digital music has its time and place. “Sometimes you just want to put on a quick playlist or listen to a variety of music, or you’re not in the mood to go shuffling through a stack of vinyls. It’s quick, easy access.”

He continued by saying “it is always great to be able to go back to your vinyl collection when the mood hits. In terms of sound, depending on the quality of course, digital music tends to be cleaner and perhaps louder… whereas vinyl music will have a texture or “warmth” to it… which creates a different vibe. Even the crackling of an old dusty vinyl is a sound I like. Some people hate it.” Their answers were pretty similar, the crackling and the experience of listening to vinyl is what attracts them to it.

What about the turntable?

I went on to ask more technical questions, wanting to know which turntable and set-up they use to play their vinyls. Mia uses a Santo turntable and a Pioneer amp (both are vintage models), while Barry uses an old Technics automatic turntable system that plays through an old Technics HiFi system.

What record should you start with?

When I asked them about their favourite vinyl record, Mia answered without hesitation “Slowdive by Slowdive.” Barry had a little bit of trouble answering the question, saying “it’s very difficult to pick one, so for now I will say, from my collection: Ágætis byrjun by Sigur Rós. Tomorrow it may be something else.

If this doesn’t make you want to give vinyl a try, I don’t know what will. I have an old hand-me-down turntable that needs a bit of work before I’ll be able to enjoy the intimate vibes of vinyls, but I’m looking forward to it more than ever! In the meantime, I’ll start collecting a few vinyls at my favourite second-hand stores and thrift shops.

Do you listen to vinyl? Let us know in the comments below.

The post The resurrection of vinyl records and turntables appeared first on 9Lives.

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So we’ve all been there, right? Driving for 3 hours straight, almost hearing your tummy rumble over the playlist in the background, which has probably repeated at least twice by now. But you don’t even notice this because you are having painful regrets about those 3 bottles of water that you chugged down along the way. And what better excuse to work in a cup of moer koffie and a freshly baked pie, than a much-needed bathroom break?

The N2 has to be one of the most beautiful tourist routes in the country. From the ocean views on Sir Lowry’s Pass, past the rolling canola fields near Caledon, and all the way to the almost black forests in Knysna, it’s become a personal favourite of mine. And I have made it my mission, as a regular traveller on this route, to give all of the farm stalls along the N2 a try.

To the thousands of locals, and ‘valies, travelling on the N2 every year, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite farm stalls to get your coffee, jam and pastry fix:

1.  The real king of pies: Peregrine Farm Stall, Grabouw

Peregrine’s is not only the first stop on this route but also my first choice overall. When I leave my flat in Somerset West to visit the parentals in George, I always conveniently ‘forget’ to eat breakfast, because I know what’s waiting for me in Grabouw. If you’ve experienced the queue for their freshly baked pies, breads and quiches, you’ll agree that I’m a fan for good reason.

They sell a whole range of fresh produce, all of which are sourced from the local Elgin farmers. They even recently came up with the idea to provide a free apple to every kid. Neat, right?

I would recommend that you stop for one of their famous freshly-baked pies (the chicken and mushroom is amazing), while the kids get rid of their bottled-up energy in the outside play area.

They are open from 07:30 to 18:00 every day.

2.  ‘Hoeked’ on Houw Hoek Farm Stall, Elgin

If you’re not keen for the busy buzz of Peregrine’s, I recommend that you keep going for the next 12 kilometres and stop at the Houw Hoek Farm Stall, located just before the Houw Hoek pass.

Also a top-contender in the pie-wars, you just have to squeeze in another one, or at least take one to go. If you have a little more time to spare, sit down at one of their tables for a lekker cup of coffee and one of their freshly prepared meals. That is if you manage to get a spot at this very popular stop. Otherwise, if the weather allows, get some fresh air and enjoy a picnic basket somewhere in the shade.

The shop also stocks some of the best fresh produce, from local wines and fruit, to freshly baked goodies.

They are open from 07:30 to 17:30 every day.

3.  Be pleasantly surprised by Dassiesfontein, Botrivier

Dassiesfontein is every antique-lover’s dream come true. Be ready to get lost in the endless sea of goodies, stacked in every corner possible. Ladies, this place is a totally valid excuse to to pull over for a break.

Situated on the N2 between Botrivier and Caledon, it’s hard to miss this thatched roof gem. The exterior looks a bit rugged, but once you’re inside and the smell of freshly baked bread hits your senses, you are more than happy to spend at least an hour exploring all their their goods.

With traditional South African cuisine, boeretroos and ice cold beer, this place simply speaks to every true South African.

They are open from 08:30 to 17:30 every day.

4.  Next stop: Blue Crane Farm Stall, Heidelberg.

Now that your tummy had a while to process all that pies and boerekos, get ready for your next stop. Only 3 kilometers from Heidelberg, there is no way you can miss this popular blue-roofed stop. It can be like one of those “whoever spots the sea first, gets an ice cream” games.

With Blue Crane being half coffee shop, half farm stall, they cater for everyone. You can either browse through their collection of biltong, dried fruit, fresh produce and assorted cheese, or sit down for one of their delicious light meals. The kids would also be more than happy to run around in the play area or snack on something from their kiddies menu.

They are open from 08:00 to 17:00 every day.

5.  Fuel up at the Kontrei Padstal, George

If you are on your way to Plett and you missed out on any of the other farm stalls along the N2, you might just be in time to catch this one while it’s still open. Conveniently located at the Sasol garage on the N2, you can fill up on gas while you refuel your tummies at the same time.

This is another one of my favourites – and not only because my mom regularly suggests visiting Kontrei for breakfast or lunch on her. The vibe is lively and the food is to die for. Supporting the local farmers by using the fresh produce from their farm stall, you can feast on freshly baked breads, real South African cuisine, or just enjoy a good cuppa.

They are open from 08:00 to 15:00 every day.

Have you been to any of these farm stalls along the N2? Tell us about your favourite experiences in die comment section below.

The post My favourite stop-worthy farm stalls along the N2 appeared first on 9Lives.

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I’ve always had an unhealthy relationship with food, either eating too little during the day or overindulging with every meal. After gaining quite a bit of weight, I decided I needed to change my eating habits.

While on a quest to help myself make better food choices I came across a paper on cambridge.org about the role of mindfulness, mindful eating and intuitive eating in changing eating behaviour. The paper found that “mindfulness and mindful eating interventions appear to be most successful in the reduction of binge eating… [it] also reduced emotional eating and eating in response to external cues.” I was intrigued and wanted to find out whether mindful eating would be able to help me take control of my eating habits.

As if it was fate, I found a 10-day mindful eating meditation series on one of my favourite meditation apps, Headspace. The goal of this meditation series is to train your mind in awareness and to change your relationship with food by using a technique called noting.

I used the app’s seven-day mindful eating plan outline to direct my week of mindful eating and here’s how it went:

Day 1: Jot down your plan

At the start of the week, I made a list of all the ingredients I have at home. This is something I usually do so it was fairly easy. The only time it got a little bit tricky was while I was traveling for work. Most of the time what I ate was beyond my control but the days I did go to the shops to buy food I tried to be more mindful of what I was buying.

Day 2: Pause and reflect

Checking in with my body wasn’t something I was used to. I just ate whenever I felt like it. I never focussed on why I was eating which meant I usually ate because I was bored or just because there was food around.

Throughout the week, I tried to reflect both physically and mentally before choosing to eat. If I wasn’t feeling hungry I didn’t eat. If I felt a little bit peckish, I ate something small instead of a big meal. Deciding to eat something or not to was quite empowering. I felt proud for saying ‘no’ to delicious food I would usually eat, just because it was there.

Day 3: Have a seat

I am guilty of watching television while I eat. I must admit this is a habit that is still hard to shake. However, during the week I was travelling I didn’t have a TV so I ate sitting at a table most of the time. Eating without distraction is difficult if you’re not alone though, as people can be pretty chatty when sitting down to a meal. Whenever possible, I tried to focus on the food I was eating, appreciating every bite. However, I don’t think I have got the hang of this one yet, but I’ll keep practicing!

Day 4: Handy reminders

Setting reminders is a great way to remember to eat mindfully. I set reminders on my phone to pop up every 3 – 4 hours. I definitely needed the reminders around dinner time, because I tend to scoff my dinner down hastily after a long and busy day at work. I usually forget to eat during the day and then get home ravenously hungry. Setting a reminder around the time I usually eat dinner, helped me to focus on eating mindfully. I also wrote down each of the tips of the previous days to make sure I didn’t forget anything.

Day 5: Engage your senses

The tip for day five was a little awkward. Closing my eyes while taking my first bite made me feel like I was acting in a commercial, not to mention the people I was eating with thought I was a little bit cuckoo. But I tried to savour and appreciate the scents, flavours, and textures of what I was eating. While taking my first bite I tried to guess all the herbs and spices used to make the dish, although I quickly realised my palate isn’t nearly as sophisticated as I had hoped. Another thing I enjoyed was thinking about why I was enjoying the food I was eating. It wasn’t because I was ravenous, it was because I appreciated the hands that made the food, how it tasted and the way it made me feel. I also stopped eating once I felt satisfied instead of eating until I felt full.

Day 6: Be kind to yourself

This was a big change for me as I usually get very upset with myself when I overeat or succumb to my junk food cravings. But the app helps you to focus on being kind to yourself when you have a weak moment and don’t eat mindfully. It helps you to refocus and reminds you that there are other meals you’ll have to be mindful of. Food isn’t good or bad, it’s just food. When you give food a moral value and have negative emotions connected to food you’re more likely to overeat. Being kinder to myself about how and what I eat helped me to be more conscious in the end. I started to think more positively about food which made me feel more confident about my food choices.

Day 7: Keep practicing

The last day was about reminding yourself that mindful eating is a journey. Teaching yourself something new and letting go of the habits you’ve formed takes time and practice. The more you practice the easier it becomes. By consistently practicing what I learned throughout the 7-day meditation, these will eventually become healthy habits.

Mindful eating is a practice that has changed the way I think about food. It has given me a sense of confidence about my recent food choices and taught me to not be so hard on myself when I do indulge from time-to-time.

Would you give mindful eating a try? Let us know in the comments below.

The post How mindful eating changed my relationship with food appeared first on 9Lives.

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Ever paid a visit to the Apartheid museum? The site of the concentration camps in Bethulie? Robben Island? Or the District Six Museum? Then you can, to some degree, describe yourself as a dark tourist.

Defining Dark Tourism

No, it is not heading to tourist destinations in the dark. Dark tourism is a particular type of tourism that focuses on visiting places associated with death and suffering, or the seemingly macabre.

As you can imagine, there are a few different categories to Dark Tourism, as it comes in a variety of different forms. With some of the categories the connection to ‘death and disaster’ can be very direct, whilst in other instances it is much more subdued.

Categories include grave tourism, Holocaust tourism, genocide tourism, prison and persecution site tourism, communism tourism, cult-of-personality tourism, Cold War & Iron Curtain tourism, nuclear tourism and disaster area tourism.

But why?

While the concept of dark tourism may seem foreign to some, it can be very appealing to others. The theory is that the very nature of dark tourism is a product of modern media. The attraction of death and disaster is romanticised by modern media and the assumption is that without it certain travel destinations wouldn’t even attract visitors.

When you think about it, this is nothing new. The fact that the popularity of horror movies has only increased in the last few years is testament to our fascination with death and despair. A lot has been written on the subject; and while some theorise that it is our own fear of death that drives the fascination, other attribute it to schadenfreude, which is the pleasure we take in the misfortune of others.

Furthermore, it also forces us to confront our nightmares. What would you do when faced with a natural disaster, or if you lived during WWII or if you were to live next to a serial killer? Lastly, it can also be seen as an educational experience. Confronted with the mistakes of the past, we are bound to (hopefully) reflect on the present.

So what counts as dark tourism experiences?

Like previously mentioned it can be something very direct such as a display of the bodies of communist leaders (Lenin’s embalmed body in Moscow to be precise), volcanic or other natural disaster sites, former death camps, war museums and more.

Netflix recently released the docu-series Dark Tourist where David Ferrier tackle dark tourist destinations by continent. Visiting Latin America, Japan, the US, the Stans, Europe, Africa and more, Ferrier faces some seriously ‘dark’ situations. With a lot of these destinations being in countries that do not allow outsiders, countries ravaged by nuclear experiments, visiting the homes of serial killers, and voodoo festivals, it opens up a world of dark tourism unknown to most.

What about local dark tourist destinations?

Believe it or not, there is a site dedicated to dark tourists everywhere. Aptly named dark-tourism.com, this site gives a list of all the dark tourist destinations across the globe, and it contains a section solely for South Africa. Here, they list Robben Island, the District Six Museum, the Holocaust Centre, and also Apartheid-themed township tours.

Here’s where it gets a bit murky for Saffers. The website goes on to list the Kruger Park, Sabi-Sabi, and Hermanus (for whale watching) as dark tourist sites. We can only presume that this is a result of foreigners’ limited understanding of safaris and other wildlife experiences.

For a real dark tourist experience, we would recommend visiting Robben Island, the Apartheid Museum, the District Six Museum and the Holocaust Centre. You can also visit the Anglo Boer War death camps (in Bethulie, for example), and the Anglo Boer War Museum located in Bloemfontein, where you will also be able to see the monument dedicated to the women and children that died in these camps.

Around three hours from Oudtshoorn, you’ll find the Swartberg Pass that leads into the Gamkaskloof. There you’ll find the area known as ‘The Hell’. In 1830, farmers wandered into the valley with its fertile soil and abundance of water. They decided to farm and live in comparative isolation for about 130 years.

In 1958 the first car was brought into the valley and that caused the younger generation to seek fortune elsewhere and the older had no choice but to follow. By 1991 the last permanent resident left. In 1998, Annetjie Joubert returned to Gamkaskloof and opened a guesthouse where you can visit this historic site today and see how they lived in isolation.

A post shared by Ruan Bekker (@ruan.bekker) on May 25, 2018 at 10:41pm PDT

What about just across the border?

Close to the small harbour town of Luderitz in Namibia, lies the ghost town of Kolmanskop. During the diamond boom of the 1900’s, the area produced one million carats or 11.7 per cent of the world’s total diamond production.

Because of the immense wealth that the inhabitants accumulated through their excavations, they could afford several luxuries and the town was built with no expense spared. For example, a German expert was brought in to design and supervise the building of a magnificent hall known for its impressive acoustics.

Fresh water was brought in by railway from 120 kilometres away and was used to water the lush gardens that were kept in the middle of the desert. Elaborate homes were built to accommodate the town’s architect, teacher, doctors and mining managers.

By the 1930s, the area started declining as a slow depletion of the deposits started occurring. When more diamonds were discovered to the south near the Orange River, many of the town’s inhabitants joined the rush to the south, leaving their homes and possessions behind. The last three families left in 1956, leaving the remains to be taken over by the desert.

Today, you can visit the ghost town and marvel in the wonder of a town forgotten. They have daily tours that take you through the little town and show you the most important sites, the ice plant and some of the houses.

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A post shared by Laura (@laurzon) on Sep 4, 2018 at 12:01pm PDT

Do you have any dark tourism activities you can recommend? Pop them in the comments section below.

The post Have you ever heard of Dark Tourism? appeared first on 9Lives.

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We have a new grown up drinking spot in Stellenbosch! Hank’s Old Irish, a favourite whiskey bar in Cape Town, has recently opened on Dorp Street, right above De Akker. What use to be the dark and dingy space of Hidden Cellar has now been transformed into a slick, trendy setup that could easily become your new regular haunt.

Walking up the black and white checkered staircase you’ll instantly sense that they’ve put a lot of effort into their interior design. The bar has a vintage and mysterious, yet classy feel to it. Vintage artwork hangs above plush mustard-yellow couches, inviting you to linger all night long with a tipple of rare whiskey in hand. Or pop down on a olive green barstool at one of their white marble tables.

They mainly offer a wide selection of whiskeys, from classics like Jack Daniels Sinatra to Midleton Barry Crockett. Also on offer are a selection of bourbons, beers, wine and tasty cocktails like the Old Fashioned – a blend of Bourbon, Bitters and Orange.

If you’re feeling peckish, their tapas menu will hit the spot. We snacked on delicious olives, spicy nuts and biltong – exactly what you want when enjoying a cold one after work. And if you’re really hungry they offer are burgers, hotdogs and a mix of sausages on the menu. They are also bringing out a new food menu in the near future so be sure to keep your eye out!

On entering you’ll also spot a stage on one side of the room, so you can still expect some great live music from this space. On Tuesday evenings Hank’s has live jazz music from 8pm, which I’m definitely popping in for soon.

Hank’s is an absolute must for the older drinkers in town – or anyone who has outgrown the typical student spots. Check out some of the other bars in Stellenbosch for grown-up drinkers.

Hank’s is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm to late.

Have you been to Hank’s yet? Tell us what you thought below!

The post We Popped in at the new Hank’s Whiskey Bar in Stellenbosch appeared first on 9Lives.

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