Behind the #JerseyBoysMonte Scenes, Courtesy of @MONTECASINOZA

~~as per my Ladybloggers pledge, I must state clearly that whilst I was gifted tickets for the show, I was not paid to write this blog post, and all opinions contained herein are mine and mine alone~~

Now this was a wonderful treat! What an incredible production! I’ll never listen to “Oh What A Night” the same way again! 🙂

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It was a great evening out with several other Twitter folk- @P_Kuttah, @sian_202, @Roxy_Robinson, @DalenLance, @Akio_DJ_ID, @sanchahein and @Sandbrat__, thanks to @MONTECASINOZA!

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After drinks @ Monte Restaurant, we were given a backstage tour by Jersey Boys Manager, Yolanda. Photography was restricted as the stage, props, costumes and stage setup are subject to copyright, but we were allowed to take a few pictures in neutral sort of areas… 😛

20130515_IMG01809 20130515_IMG01811 20130515_IMG01812 20130515_IMG01813The level of organisation and planning is mind blowing! The live performance is managed to the second by an incredible crew! And every set piece, costume and design in all aspects of all the productions worldwide are identical.
The fastest costume change for one of the female cast members between scenes during the show was 9 seconds!
The musicians are actually backstage in soundproof rooms so that they can provide the cleanest possible sound to accompany the singers on the stage, and even the singers on the stage aren’t singing alone- the entire cast sings along to every song during the performance to ensure a quality of sound that you just won’t believe.

After the tour we headed back to @ Monte Restaurant for dinner which was phenomenal, and then back into the Teatro for the show.
We had wonderful seats too and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

20130515_IMG01814After the show we headed back to @ Monte Restaurant for dessert and coffee.

Oh what a night!

The @FordSouthAfrica #KugaLaunch

~~As per my Ladybloggers pledge, I was not paid to attend the event nor was I paid to write this blog post, and all opinions contained herein are mine and mine alone.~~

Being invited to a product launch or an event of some kind is ALWAYS a pleasure, and a Ford vehicle launch is no exception. Getting to drive a fabulous new vehicle and being put up in luxurious hotels is simply glorious!

On Tuesday morning I was flown to Cape Town courtesy of Ford South Africa, and even though @TanyaKovarsky and @laurakim123 were both on the plane, I ended up between some much older people who didn’t stop talking… But its my own fault for trying to practise my mingling skills!
Once we arrived in a rather chilly CT, we were plied with coffee and snacks whilst waiting for the full complement of bloggers and journos to arrive, and I finally got to meet @cupcakemummy in the flesh!
Then after an intro to the all new Kuga, we quickly partnered up and made a mad dash for the keys with everyone trying to get a first drive in the top-of-the-range Titanium.

I really could go on and on and on, but I am going to try and keep it as short as I can without leaving out too much awesomeness…

Kuda introducing the all new Kuga to the gathered bloggers and journos

Kuda introducing the all new Kuga to the gathered bloggers and journos

@laurakim123 looking fab behind the wheel of the all new Kuga

@laurakim123 looking fab behind the wheel of the all new Kuga

@Cupcakemummy experiencing the slightly spooky Park Assist

@Cupcakemummy experiencing the slightly spooky Park Assist

Look ma! No hands! Moi trying out the Titanium Park assist!

Look ma! No hands! Moi trying out the Titanium Park assist!

@cupcakemummy getting a golf lesson - apparently she managed to hit a duck...

@cupcakemummy getting a golf lesson – apparently she managed to hit a duck…

The Spa at Arabella where I had a magnificent neck and back massage

The Spa at Arabella where I had a magnificent neck and back massage

Nothing like a road trip in an awesome car...

Nothing like a road trip in an awesome car…

How divine was my room!??!

How divine was my room!??!

A bit of a messy panoramic view of the scenery outside my hotel room balcony

A bit of a messy panoramic view of the scenery outside my hotel room balcony

The breathtaking entrance to the Arabella Hotel & Spa

The breathtaking entrance to the Arabella Hotel & Spa

Arrival at Arabella Hotel & Spa

Arrival at Arabella Hotel & Spa

From behind the swimming pool waterfall at Arabella Hotel

From behind the swimming pool waterfall at Arabella Hotel

We spent the night at the Arabella Hotel & Spa, where we were not only afforded the luxury of some precious free time but were treated to either a massage or a golf lesson! Guess which one I opted for… 🙂 We were also given a chance to try out the park assist functionality first hand (see below) and before heading into Hermanus for a glorious outdoor dinner in a Forest Theatre with an operatic duo providing entertainment, we covered the business side of the launch with presentations by Ford’s Dean Stonely and Kuda Takura.

My dinner company @laurakim123 @cupcakemummy @TanyaKovarsky

My dinner company @laurakim123 @cupcakemummy @TanyaKovarsky

The opera duo who entertained us at dinner

The opera duo who entertained us at dinner

So typical of social media users at a function!

So typical of social media users at a function!

As I knew it would, the Kuga impressed me no end.

The new Kuga looks a lot more aggressive than the previous Kuga which should make it even more appealing to the husbands of the moms who will fall in love with this car!

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The Ford Kuga (official photo)

The Ford Kuga (official photo)

The Ford Kuga (official photo)

I did the first half of the drive to Kleinmond with Harassed Mom navigating, and I only almost-stalled it twice (being used to driving an automatic), and then we switched halfway there with Laura-Kim driving the dirt roads! I was first to drive the Titanium the next day as well – on a different route – with the half-way switch meaning Laura-Kim had her first go at driving an automatic.
On the drive to the hotel we drove the 1.6EcoBoost Trend with a 6-speed manual gearbox, then on the way back to the airport the next day we drove the 2.0TDCi Titanium which is an automatic with the SelectShift option.
The Kuga is an SUV, so its a big car, but it doesn’t feel like one when you’re behind the wheel. And with an urban fuel consumption of 8.3L/ 100km for the Trend and just 7.4L/ 100km for the Titanium, it won’t feel like a big car when you’re refuelling either.
The new Kuga is longer, lower and narrower than its predecessor and it handles like a dream. The power is great and there is almost no lag when you put your foot down to overtake, or to *coff* experience its power a little bit. The steering wheel is small enough that you don’t feel like you’re steering a tractor and the doors are sturdy enough to give a nice “thunk” when you close them but you don’t have to dislocate your shoulder to pull them shut from inside. Its spacious and comfortable, and the automatic gear changes are seamless. The Kuga’s front seats can be adjusted six ways, with lumbar support, and the back seats can be reclined! And all the Kuga’s come with the push-button start which I love.

www.ford.co.za

www.ford.co.za

Even the Kuga's engine looks classy!

Even the Kuga’s engine looks classy!

The Kuga's trip computer has several different displays

The Kuga’s trip computer has several different displays

The Kuga's dashboard and centre console (official photos)

The Kuga’s dashboard and centre console (official photos)

And it has an incredible FIVE STAR EURO NCAP safety rating! Do you know how hard it is to get five stars!??!

The Ford Kuga Titanium with Rooiels in the background

The Ford Kuga Titanium with Rooiels in the background

Looking at the Kuga from a woman’s “…ooh look another cup holder…” perspective, there are eight of them! More than enough in the front and the back and there are even trays in the back that fold down for the passengers to use! And with me loving all the fiddly bits on a car- there is hidden storage under the back seats, the centre console space can hold a 1.5L bottle, and there’s a 230-volt inverter in the back of the car for laptops or chargers! The seats fold flat quite easily, and the load floor can be adjusted for when you need a level surface – like transporting boxes and boxes of cake and cupcakes!!

The Kuga Titanium's Hands Free Tailgate

The Kuga Titanium’s Hands Free Tailgate

The tailgate on the Titanium opens on its own power, you can open it with the remote for when your hands are full, and on the Titanium you can add the mind blowingly fabulous Hands Free Tailgate functionality where you can open AND close the door with a swish of your foot under the bumper!

The Park Assist functionality is an optional extra on the Titanium, and its a fantastic-futuristic-slighty-creepy option at that. Using the sensors in the car to tell you when to brake, you take your hands OFF the steering wheel and it neatly parallel parks itself. Sitting in the driver’s seat watching that steering wheel spin is a slightly surreal experience and it had Cupcake Mummy and myself giggling our heads off in disbelief.

Here’s a video demonstrating how the All-Wheel-Drive was tested on the Kuga (AKA Escape in North America), AWD makes driving easier but its also a phenomenal safety feature..

I would go out tomorrow and buy myself a Kuga if I could. In Frozen White or Moondust Silver.

Ooh! And do check out these links to the blog posts written by some of the other bloggers who were at the launch – Cupcakes and SailorsWiscellaneousRattle and Mum and Harassed Mom!

How To Identify A Twitter Spammer

Your first contact with a spammer on Twitter will more than likely be a  tweet mentioning you with a URL contained in it. Clicking on the URL might lead to disaster, and personally I never click on a URL from someone I don’t actually know.
If you’re not sure someone is a spammer, there are a few clues that are dead give-aways in a spammer’s profile.

Whilst their name might look like a regular name and surname, its most likely foreign-sounding, something exotic.

The Twitter handle will be something like @AlonsoSX781 or @Fernandonkxs7 – something that looks like its been automatically generated (because it probably was).

Their profile description will look something like this: “Certified thinker. Wannabe tv enthusiast. Friendly web buff. Total social media lover. Lifelong coffee junkie. Pop culture guru. Food geek.” or “Entrepreneur. Evil tv evangelist. Coffee geek. Professional travel specialist. Total gamer. Hardcore food fanatic.
Finding all of the following words in one person’s profile is practically a guarantee that the profile belongs to a spammer:

  • certified
  • wannabe
  • buff
  • junkie
  • guru
  • geek

A Twitter spammer profile will have few if any followers, and will most likely not be following anyone either.

And last but not least, whilst there may be a couple of hundred tweets in their history they will be garbled nonsense and/ or filled with URLs. Here’s an example of an actual tweet by an actual spammer: “have find they out are on we are one at its for your was this up to my not was of me when with my can with I that all just at my“.

I hope that helps!

I Just Might Be Able To Say “Thank You @Absa”…

But I’m going to wait a month before I do, I have learned not to look a gift horse in the mouth when it comes to banking…

After I blogged yesterday about how upset I was about what I was paying Absa every month, they got hold of me on Twitter and asked how they could help.
This morning I got a call from a very sweet young lady who offered me a package deal that she promises will cost me just R79 a month- all inclusive- although I will start paying for ATM withdrawals after the 5th one- which is fine since I almost never do that anyway.
She also apologised that I had had to throw my toys out the cot before I got offered a far more cost effective package.
When I asked why it wasn’t standard across the board anyway, she said that when they implemented it last year they started calling people to offer it to them but people don’t answer “private number” calls!
I had to laugh as I am guilty of that too.

So, as of the end of this week- she said she’d put a rush on it- I will be saving a lot of money because I won’t be paying for debit orders, internal transactions, internet banking or card payments when I shop.

If you’re an Absa client, phone them or go and see them and get your charges sorted out too!

The Conrad Pezula Hotel Launch

Now THIS is luxury… The Conrad Pezula in Knysna, the newest addition to the Hilton Hotels chain.
Eighty six rooms including two Grand Suites, five Villas and the sumptuous Pezula Private Castle on Noetzie Beach.
Log fire places, private patios and balconies, heated plunge pools, complimentary WiFi, 5 different dining experiences, plenty of on-site activities, golf course and a magnificent spa and gym.

Discover a haven of privacy and indulgence on the coastline of the Western Cape at Conrad Pezula Resort & Spa. World class amenities and personalized service create experiences never to be forgotten.

With a slogan like “the luxury of being yourself” it sounds like sheer perfection!
This hotel has actually earned a spot on my “places to see before I die” list!

I didn’t actually get to go to the hotel for the launch, as it took place at the Hilton in Sandton, but they brought the Conrad Pezula chef up to Gauteng and the food was quite simply out of this world!
I went home feeling like I’d filled up on suckling pig when the actual food on offer was exquisite haute cuisine type dishes served in little individual portions. And I didn’t even get to the cheeses!
I actually mingled when I arrived and joined a couple of ladies from Superior Choices (hello Ina) who proved to be excellent company! And then @Gnat_J, @ZK and @kimmybanks arrived and I was REALLY in good company. Its so cool to follow a hashtag on Twitter to see who else is at an event!

Its the embodiment of luxury, but children are welcome, and kidlets over the age of four years can go to Kiddies Club- run by trained, experienced child minders with the emphasis on fun in a healthy, natural environment. How’s THAT for fantastic!?

Anyhoodle, going home from the launch with fanTAStic goodie bags made up for not winning anything in the lucky draw which took place on the sweeping steps of the Hilton.