Here’s My #STexperience!

After I attended the media launch of the Ford Focus ST, I found a competition Ford was running entitled, The Ford ST Experience. I entered immediately as the grand prize is an exclusive VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the Ford Focus Factory in Germany and secret testing ground in Belgium, homes to the All-New Focus ST!!
A few weeks later, I got an email notifying me that I was one of a couple of hundred people who had won an “ST Experience” all around SA! I was told to head for the Swartops Racetrack and my Glugster went with me with the intention of waiting for me (I don’t like to drive in the rain) and we discovered that he was allowed to attend the event with me!

Our rides were filmed with special cameras inside and outside the car, and I was VERY lucky to be taken on three laps around the racetrack with Gary Formato as my driver!

And for your amusement, here’s my video (I’ve watched a couple of the other videos and I can’t believe the other people are so quiet)!

Celebrating #AnGlugBirthday

This year, my Glugster and I celebrated our birthdays together for the first time!

I usually celebrate my birthday a month early as I was born on a date on which people are seldom around, sober, or have any money, and it is often overlooked because three days after Christmas and three days before the New Year, people have a lot on their minds! That said, I do love to celebrate it and I can’t just let it go by.
My husband was never big on celebrating his birthday, but as I think birthdays are important, I changed that when we started seeing each other.

His birthday is about two months before mine, so celebrating mine a month early and his a month late meant we could meet “in the middle” and decided to do something all our loved ones could enjoy.

We opted to go 120 years behind the times and headed for Gilroy’s in Muldersdrift.

I sent out save the date notifications waaaay in advance of the date and by the time I phoned to book a table (you have to book if you’re heading there) I had 60+ RSVPs! Knowing people and events like I do though, I booked a table for 40 people and it turned out that that was perfect! We had two long tables reserved for us and we filled them up toot sweet!
I took my camera with me but I didn’t take it out of its bag!
I baked a whole lot of mine and my Glugster’s favourite cupcakes (Oreo, red velvet and strawberry) to take with us as dessert and they went down a treat!

We had a fabulous time! Almost all of our favourite people in the world were there to celebrate with us, and if you’ve been to Gilroy’s you’ll know the atmosphere is simply awesome. The food is fabulous and even if you’re not a beer drinker its worth trying at least one. There’s lots to keep the kids busy too- if you have some extra cash- so lots of the parents could enjoy their afternoon without kids counting their teeth!

Thank you to all who joined us, and thank you for the gifts we received!

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.

Do Star Charts Or Reward Charts Work For Children With AD/HD?

This blog post started as a comment on Unwritten’s post titled Kids and rewards. She’s not keen on sticker charts- recommended by a shrink- because she doesn’t want her children to be taught that they will be rewarded for everything they do.

Here’s my take on them.

Star charts (AKA reward charts or sticker charts) for children diagnosed with AD/HD are not about rewarding behaviour, they’re about encouraging the correct behaviour.
In essence they should be aimed at behaviours that can not be timed – not arguing when sitting down to do homework, brushing your teeth without being told, and so on. Once the behaviour is achieved, its no longer rewarded and a new point goes onto the chart.

Here are some tips from “The Manual That Never Came With Your Child“:
~Each behaviour should have a 3 week target (which is how long it takes to form a habit) and each chart should focus on only one or two behaviours.
~Negotiate the rewards up front so its clear to everyone.
~A sticker must only be put on the chart for achieving the complete criteria, and if there are tears or an argument when no sticker has been earned, turn it into a lesson about putting your emotions into words.
~Using numbered squares instead of day names (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, with the reward on 5) means you can start on any day of the week, and missing a day doesn’t leave a gap on the chart- gaps can lead to anxiety about under achieving.

Also consider putting the chart where you can all see it, but not where all his friends may see it and perhaps make fun of it.

Sticker charts can be successful for a child diagnosed with AD/HD, if they are consistently managed by that child’s parents. Forgetting the sticker or the reward, or putting it off, defeats the object of the chart and this is often the biggest reason they don’t work.

As with many aspects of raising a child with AD/HD, consistency is the key.

Gadgets That Make My Life Easier!

I’m not referring specifically to electronic gadgets here, I’m sure most of you know how I love my phone, laptop and camera. And my Kenwood Chef.

My pooper scooper! Hells bells I dunno how I went without one for so long! I have one exactly like this one from Westpack, but I got mine from Pick n Pay. I hardly have to bend at all, and since I scoop poop in my garden several times a day this gadget is right up there with my favourites.

My fans. Not fans as in fanatics, fans as in handheld fans with which to fan my face.
I simply LOATHE the heat! I can’t tell you how much! I cannot function when it gets too hot, and having a small fan with me at all times means I can wave cool air around my face and neck no matter where I am.

My round cutters! These are the cutters I use on cakes when I want to quickly and cleanly trim the excess sugarpaste cover on the cake board!

My tilting, rotating cake stand! Okay, to say I can’t do without this tool is the understatement of the year! I gasped in excitement when I found it in a shop I could afford! I can’t tell you how much easier this tool has made my life!

So what are the gadgets you use, to make your life easier?

Just a disclaimer- I wasn’t asked, paid, bribed, invited, or otherwise coerced into writing this blog post, nor did I receive anything in exchange for writing this blog post.