Vivez Bien * Live Well

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Dealing with the Drought - Stylishly

As my local readers already know, Cape Town is in the grip of the worst drought in over a century, with less than 10% of it's usable water remaining for its residents. If and when we reach day zero, we will have our taps turned off completely and have to queue for our daily allocation of water which is a way of life almost inconceivable to many of us. 

If we are reduced to a daily allowance of 25 litres per person, our morning routines will start to resemble this Degas painting, so lets get prepared people!

Being a glass half full type of person, I have decided not to dwell on the negative, but to try to make living with the bare minimum of water as stylish as possible. 

We have all got used to the buckets filled with grey water lined up in our loo's to flush when necessary. Instead of the ugly, plastic buckets, why not use these more stylish enamel ones?

Even better, try and find one with a lid, especially if you have toddlers in the house...

Instead of washing hands after using the loo, supply some hand sanitiser instead. I like this simply packaged one from from Charlotte Rhys.

....or buy an inexpensive version in bulk and decant it into a stylish glass spray bottle.

 Opt for putting your bath towels in the sun every day to dry out - you will need to wash them less often as the sun kills bacteria. Find yourself an attractive free standing towel rail to put in a sunny corner of your bedroom or bathroom....

...or move it out into the garden during the day

Use an enamel basin for washing in your bathroom so the water doesn't disappear down the drain. Instead, redistribute it for flushing the loo or in your garden. 

If you can find an old enamel jug as well, even better. If we get to the point of having no water coming out of our taps, a jug like this filled with water for washing will look much better than any plastic container.


Use a glass of water for teeth brushing, leaving a little to rinse the toothbrush, instead of a running tap.

Wash you hair less often, use a dry shampoo for inbetween days and invest in a stylish hat.

Instead of washing your face with water, use Micellar Water to cleanse, no rinsing required.

In the kitchen, fill a handsome water dispenser like this one with drinking water and place it on your counter.....

Instead of using ice, keep these reuable whisky rocks in your freezer to cool down your drink.

Use a basin inside your sink  for washing your dishes. It makes it a lot easier to collect your grey water.

Did you perhaps get one of those silver napkin rings inscribed with your name when you were christened. Now is the time to get them out of the archives. Reuse your napkins for a few meals before you wash them. More enviro-friendly than using paper napkins. 

Steam your veggies instead of boiling them - it uses much less water and is healthier.

Now some ideas for your garden... if your rainwater tank is in a highly visible position, perhaps disguise it with trellising, latte or bamboo.  

Place a good looking galvanised watering can just outside your door for any grey water destined for the garden. 

Collect your fruit and veg skins, tea leaves and other suitable waste in an attractive compost container. Regularly add them to your compost heap - compost rich soil retains moisture much better.

Plant only drought tolerant plants like lavendar, succulents and olive trees and replace lawn with gravel or pavers.

or, dare I say it, how about some artificial turf - you will never have a brown lawn again!

Finally, Capetonians, you have never had a better reason to drink less water and more wine.

So there you are - my tips for staying stylish sans water!

Till next time
Sharon x

Friday, December 22, 2017


Apologies for my long absence... I hope there are still some of you out there reading this! I've realised that blogging regularly requires quite a bit of discipline and sadly, I'm not as disciplined as I'd like to be. I somehow got out of the habit and struggled to get back into it. I have missed it though so am going to make it a New Year resolution to blog more regularly. On second thoughts, that's a bad idea - I'm useless at sticking to New Year resolutions. Let's just say I'll be trying much harder from now on. 

I have been quite restrained with my Christmas decorations this year. I find that every year I tend to put out less and less stuff. I also include much less colour, tending to stick to the natural and neutral with touches of gold and silver. When my kids were young they were drawn to the bright and shiny, and the decorations were all red and green. I found this photo, below, from about 8 years ago. I haven't used this wreath for many years now, but am hanging onto it because hopefully one day I'll have some grandchildren that will appreciate it! (It might just disintegrate before then)

 Now that the boys are all teenagers and older, they don't really notice things like Christmas decorations. That would involve turning their heads away from the PlayStation and that's not going to happen! The upside is that I can indulge my own ideas without interference. 

This scene above my mantel feels a bit like a white Christmas. In those blazing hot summer days here in Cape Town I imagine myself lying in the snow somewhere freezing. My friend, Jacqui, just spent some time at the Ice Hotel in Sweden. I was as green as a Christmas tree with envy!

The boys' Christmas sacks are out waiting to be filled by Father Christmas. They might have lost a bit of interest in the Christmas decorations but they certainly haven't lost interest in the gifts! They are stuffed with newspaper for now, and might not look quite as abundant on Christmas morning. (What was I thinking making such huge Christmas stockings!?!)

As usual other peoples ideas are always much better than mine. Here are some pictures found on the web which really appealed because of their simplicity....

Frosted pine cones in silver containers under a cloche, so easy and so effective...

 Tea lights in pretty holders and a pine branch...

Baubles in a rustic urn....

 Wooden beads and white birds in a tree....

Fairy lights under a cloche....

I think these trees made out of drift wood are a lot more suited to a South African Christmas than the traditional fir tree. Especially in drought-ridden Cape Town at the moment with our parched gardens, we should be able to find a lot of dead wood lying around!

How about paper trees? The boys could use their school books. It would probably be the best use they would make of them all year!


Love this idea.... just simple foliage in a silver vessel. I could use my silver trophies. I have quite a good collection, not through any sporting or academic prowess, just excellent shopping skills!

Fresh olive branch wreath with gold bells - neutral, fresh Christmas

 And finally, a wreath made from an olive branch and some Christmas bells. 

On that note, wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas filled with peace, love and laughter.

 Till next time (and there is going to be a next time, I promise)....

Sharon x

 For some more Christmas ideas, visit my Pinterest page here.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Have you Heard of Hygge?

Pronounced "hueguh", hygge is a Danish word, loosely translated as cosiness, togetherness, conviviality, comfort and contentment. The Afrikaans word "geselligheid" is a good description.

The Danes are one of the happiest nations on earth so perhaps it's worth paying attention to the concept of hygge. While I don't believe that anyone can be in a state of perpetual happiness (unless you are smoking something which might come with its own set of problems), I do think a state of general contentment with moments of pure happiness is worth pursuing.

So how do we create hygge in our homes? 

It's not about doing specific things, eating specific food or having a particular style of decor. It is more about creating an atmosphere of comfort and contentment that makes you feel happy.

 It tends to be associated more with winter - think fires, blankets, candles and hot drinks....

 but is certainly attainable on summer as well.

It is indulgent, but not decandent.... is about togetherness with family or friends...

but is equally achievable on one's own with a good book, a puppy and a glass of red...

It is about casual entertaining, no pomp and ceremony and no need for perfection. Its about inviting your friends over without worrying about your house being a bit untidy. 

It's about lighting candles...

bringing out the board games...

cosy blankets ...

comfort food....

and warm drinks.

It's not limited to home either. A picnic on the beach is very hygge... is meeting a friend for coffee and conversation.

 It is about slow food...

and fresh flowers.

It is about talking rather than texting and books, rather than TV...

It's about knitting, not networking. 

Its about creating family rituals and living in the moment.

...its about hot baths...

and snuggly babies.

And it's about love and laughter.

So why not introduce some hygge into your life? I'm definitely going to bring some into mine. 

Till next time

Sharon x