A birthday to remember in Hermanus

The last few weeks have been fairly anxious ones with big changes causing all sorts of disarray in my life. My birthday fell smack-bang in the middle of it all and I was really worried the occasion was going to be undone by stress.

Thankfully, past-Sally seemed to anticipate a weekend of self-care was going to be sorely needed by future me and planned something very special.

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How to turn a business trip into an adventure

Promotional book tours help get the word out once a book hits the shelves. They’re especially important in the first six months after publication, which is generally the period authors become adrenaline-fueled squirrels of activity.

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Looking back at being different

Growing up, I knew my parents were different to other kids’ parents. They did their own thing. They listened to Black Sabbath and had a collection of vinyl records from the seventies. I used to watch The Muppet Show with my mom. We’d picnic in the park and eat junk food. The garden was my wonderland where I could literally do anything I wanted – dig holes, climb trees, stay out all day. I was so wild sometimes I’d sleep on the ground using the dog’s furry belly as a pillow.
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Kitchen experiments

I love the alchemy of cooking and baking – how mixing certain ingredients together can result in something deliciously pleasurable. I especially love the effect that good food has on people – that ooh after the first bite, the satisfied sigh.

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Taking it slow on Route 62

Working full time is tough. Not only do I have less time to write fiction, it also means getting up super early every day to the same alarm tone, sitting in traffic, and working long hours that often eats into my personal time. The next thing I know, there’s three or four hours left to make dinner, shower, catch the latest episode of something and then its bedtime.

Free nights and weekends become a game of Roulette. Is the dice going to land on writing, spending time with friends, catching up on chores or taking work home yet again? It can wear you down.

A long weekend away is the perfect antidote.

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In praise of Japan

I don’t have the most refined palate. Growing up, meals were a rotating conveyor belt of toast, spaghetti, mac and cheese, stew and braai (charred to a crisp, the way my father liked it.) Take-aways like KFC were a weekend treat, and on special occasions, and I mean, really, really special, we went to Spur.

I consider this a blessing. Being raised without a silver spoon in my mouth helped me understand the value of hard work and getting what you pay for. Which is why these days, when I do have a little extra to spend on eating out, I try to get my money’s worth.

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Dreaming of an island I’ve never seen

I’ve spoken to a few of my friends about my unusual ancestry, usually during a lengthy evening chat over a glass or two of wine. I’m even writing a book about it.

Recently, I’ve started to obsess about it.

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When a book is so much more than a book

To call myself a Harry Potter fan would be an understatement.

One of my best friends gave me a homemade Harry Potter Monopoly set for my birthday this year. She has a twin set herself, with different properties and Chance questions. The reason we’re friends in the first place is because of our mutual love of the boy wizard. (We’re the type of fans that immediately pick up the mistakes in the Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit game.)
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Harry Potter and the midnight launch

As an adult you have to accept that certain things are inevitable and you just have to get on with it. And one of those things is queuing. You queue when you do your taxes. You queue when you renew your vehicle license or your passport. Queues can’t be avoided.

There are some cool things that also involve queuing, like the waiting lines at Disneyland rides, the queues at ComicCon (and in our case, FanCon) and the midnight queues for new Harry Potter books.
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