I can’t believe that it’s almost Christmas – we’ve celebrated our first-born’s second birthday, our second baby has been with us for almost a year and we’ve worked harder this year than ever (at least that’s what it feels like).


But back to Christmas. One of our main focus areas for this year was to prioritise experiences over possessions. We’ve cut down on spending, hardly ever go to the mall (that’s what online shopping is for), cut down hugely on the amount of animal products that we use and consume; and we’ve embraced the concept of minimalism (this is an excellent resource if you want to know more: The Minimalists).


With this in mind, we’re wanting to give a ‘gift experience’ to friends and family this year – we want to help them create memories, not accumulate more stuff that they don’t need.


These 5 of Our Favourite Gift Experience Options for 2017:

1. A Make-Over Experience

I have been meaning to do this for myself for YEARS. I don’t have hours to get ready in the morning (I have a 2 year old and an almost 1 year old), and I don’t have time to google and experiment for hours with different ‘looks’, and I DEFINITELY don’t have budget to try different types of products with no idea whether they will work for me or not.

Lauren Amy Studio Makeup TutorialSo this is the best way to 1) optimise my makeup routine in the morning, 2) have a ‘go-to’ day and night look that works for me 3) know which products to use – even if I need to use only top-end products, I’ll still be saving by only buying what I need. To make it fun, I went with my mom and sister (two of my favourite humans) because we were all in need of fresh inspiration and some help on what products to use.


We spent over 4 hours with Lauren and I can honestly say it has been 4 of the most valuable hours that I’ve spent this year. Lauren has so much knowledge and because she is kind in her approach, the atmosphere is very comfortable which meant that we were able to ask all our questions and get useful tips. Her advice was practical and since our time with her 2 weeks ago, I’ve been practicing most mornings and I’m pretty sure that I’m getting better. Read the full review.

Lauren Amy Studio Makeup Tutorial


2. A Family Photoshoot

With two little boys our hands are full – and we often forget to capture the moments: our two year old is learning to talk, and our one year old is busting through his milestones at a rate of knots.


We’ve found that a yearly photo shoot is a great way to capture a moment in time, ensure that we have some lovely photos of the WHOLE family. There are some very talented photographers out there, it’s more affordable than you think – and the memories that you capture are priceless.



3. An Adventure

We’ve given all kinds of vouchers – from manicures to massages, but the best vouchers are those that give an adventure. Two of our favourites are paragliding and kayaking. They’re easily accessible, only take a couple of hours and are the perfect way to get out of a rut and experience something different.

This is picture from my instagram when my husband went kayaking with a friend of his.

Kayaking cape town

4. The Entertainer 2018

I’ve had a copy of this app every year since they launched and we’ve always enjoyed the great value that it offers (and it’s really easy to use). You can have a look at the reviews from past years (here and here and here). If you have friends or family that enjoy eating out, this is a really great gift.

eKhaya Bush VillaThey’ve got R100 off at the moment – if you buy before the end of November.


And as a little gift to CTI readers, we’ve got 5 copies of the Entertainer to give away. The competition is running on Facebook and Instagram – so head over there and tag a friend in the comments.




5. A Weekend Away

We’ve realised that getting out of town, even just for a couple of nights has been so helpful for us. Making a little bit of space often helps us get out of a rut, become freshly grateful for our lives in Cape Town and stops the weeks flowing into each other, because time really does seem to be flying past. One of the sites that I’ve really enjoyed for accommodation browsing in South Africa is Afristay. They are relative newcomers to the travel scene, but have been really proactive with helping me to plan time away. If you’re struggling to find accommodation they have agents that will act as intermediaries, you give them your budget, dates and area and they will then come back with a list of options. They have listed over 20000 establishments, including eKhaya Bush Villas.

Ekhaya room


Happy Festive Season Everyone!


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