Tag Archives: Jozi skyline

My dream living room is a quirky one

I never thought of myself as quirky, but as I have grown as a Designer, I find myself more and more drawn to the unusual.

General Geography Lamp

One of my designs – a desk lamp made out of a used book-end (Lilly Loompa)

So much so, that I am trying to break away from the traditional in so many areas of my life. Some may think I am a rebel, but maybe I just don’t like the conventional. Conventional is boring!

My most recent stint to fuel my hunger for the off-beat, is my home. My family and I live in a shipping container, called “House Madeline“.

It is far from complete, but it is a labour of love. We have been living in this home for close to 2 years and have recently shipped it to our home province, the Western Cape, where we live in it now.

As mentioned, it is far from complete. We have big plans to make it a comfortable, yet stylish home with personality! (maybe my personality…don’t tell my husband!)

Another design inspired by the environment I find myself in…Jozi Art (Lilly Loompa)

I want our house to reflect our true style and personality. I want it to be filled with items that make me happy and pieces that tell a story…just like my furniture pieces. So I have some ideas of what our living room should look like:

Crushing on Marissa Tomei’s apartment

I love Marissa Tomei’s style (not to mention that she is my hubby’s TV crush!). I really like the animal-skin tripod chair and the lamp, they add a uniqueness to her apartment.

I love retro furniture, especially this couch!

Again, above the natural elements speak to me! The nguni skin rug and the leather couch make the space feel warm and inviting.

The artwork is unique but unified by framing it all in black

Light and airy spaces are essential for me.

Patterns, texture and plants are also non-negotiable!

I have recently seen a beautiful couch on Arhaus. I have decided to build a mood board around it:

Neutral colours for the base furnishings


Continuation with neutral colours and pops of turquiose

Colourful accents

Obviously these are ideas of what I would want to see in our living room. As a Eco-Designer, I have to stay true to my values and principles by re-using and buying green products. But I will use this as my guide for inspiration.

Have you designed your dream space? Are you living in it right now? Would love to hear from you! 🙂

Sources: Lilly Loompa, Arhaus, Nkuli Mlangeni, Marisa Tomei 

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DIY-Wall clock done!

I shared my progress on this creation a few weeks ago.

This clock was inspired by the skyline of Jozi. I originally intended it to be vertical in shape. But as I started working on it, it evolved as is.

I found these off-cuts in a skip at my local carpentry factory. I love rummaging for good stuff. It is birch-wood plywood…oh, it is beautiful wood.

Wall clock.3

Quite happy on the container wall

Wall clock

I used Popsicle sticks to adorn the clock mechanism


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Unique and bespoke wall clock


Wall clock2

Lovely textures

And it is totally hand-made. Quite chuffed!

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On top of Africa: Almost touching the sky

Skyscraper ~{A very tall building with many stories}

Last week for my hubby’s birthday, we decided to have breakfast in the city.  Although I have been in the Carlton Centre a few times, I have not taken any leisure time to really explore.

The Carlton Centre, with 50 stories, is the tallest building in Africa, and has been for the last 39 years. Yes, not much to brag about when you take into consideration that the tallest skyscraper in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.  At over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, our little Carlton Centre seems minute.

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Burj Khalifa


View of the city from my home

Anyhow…excitement ran high as we made our quick ascend to the 50th floor.  The views are spectacular!

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Western region of the city. Ghandi square is clearly visible.

Hubby visited Chicago a few weeks ago and this was the picture he took while on top of the Willis Tower.

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View from Willis Tower, Chicago.

I know, our buildings look like Mickey Mouse playhouses.  However, our city is also strong.  In the space of a century, the Johannesburg city has been rebuilt four times: first it was a tented camp, then a town of tin shanties, then of four-storey Edwardian brick buildings, then a city of modern skyscrapers. (http://www.jda.org.za/fast-facts)

A few surprising facts you didn’t know about Johannesburg:

  1. Even though Johannesburg is well over 120 years old (founded on 4 October 1886 during the gold rush), it is still one of the youngest major cities in the world.
  2. There is only one other city on the continent that is bigger than Joburg, and that is the bustling metropolis of Cairo in Egypt. Johannesburg is the second biggest city on Africa.
  3. The Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital is the largest acute hospital in the world, with 2 964 beds, is the only public hospital serving the 3.5 million people in Soweto, Johannesburg.
  4. Johannesburg is the world’s biggest man-made forest, with over 10 million trees. This number is set to grow, as City Parks launched the Greening Soweto project in 2006, with the goal of planting an extra 200 000 trees in the famous township. Not only do Joburg’s trees combat the greenhouse effect, they help reduce noise in this ‘urban jungle’.
  5. Johannesburg is the world’s largest city not built on a coastline, or on a lake or river. That’s why Joburg is also called the world’s biggest ‘dry port’. More than half of the cargo that arrives through the ports of Durban and Cape Town arrives at the container terminal at City Deep.
  6. With the rich archaeological site known as the Cradle of Humankind on the outskirts of the city, it’s not surprising that 40% of the planet’s human ancestor fossils have been discovered in the Jo’burg area.
  7.  At 269m high, the Hillbrow Tower is the tallest structure in Johannesburg. It used to have a revolving restaurant at the top, before it was closed down in 1981 for safety reasons. It is a prominent feature in the city’s beautiful skyline.
  8. The Johannesburg Zoo based in Parktown, is over 100 years old, and houses the only two polar bears in Africa – Geebee (who came from Canada) and Wang (who came from Japan).
  9. OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg – named after the famous former leader of the African National Congress – is the biggest and busiest airport on the continent of Africa. It is estimated that 28 million passengers pass through its terminals every year.
  10. While Johannesburg has a reputation as one of the most dangerous cities in the world, it takes an average of only 60 seconds for police to respond to a crime scene in the central business district (CBD). There is a CCTV system that covers every street corner and scanning vehicle licence plates.
  11. There is also a Johannesburg in California, although it only has a population of 176 people (2000 census). It was named by miners who had worked in the gold mines of Johannesburg, South Africa.
  12. It takes one-minute longer to boil an egg in Johannesburg than it does in the coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban. This is because Joburg is 2000m above sea level, and the air is not as dense.
  13. The Shaft of Terror, located at the popular amusement park of Gold Reef City, is a vertical-drop roller coaster that has the distinction of being the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Africa. It has a 47-metre drop, and a G force of over 6 Gs!
  14. Johannesburg is the home of Kwaito music, a catchy genre of African house music that was born in the 90s and has become a South African phenomenon. It is most famous for its catchy lyrics that embody post-apartheid township culture.
  15. While Johannesburg is also known as the City of Gold, or ‘eGoli’ because of its beginnings as a gold-mining town, it is known fondly to locals by the shortened ‘Joburg’, or now more popularly as ‘Jozi’.

There you go! More views of my beloved city…

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North-western view. Far at the back you can see Auckland Park and the Sentech Tower

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Antique telescope. It still has Afrikaans print on it and the old cents. It is still in working order but you do not have to pay to view…which is a bargain!

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Eastern view. In the distance you can see the area where I live.

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The two most iconic buildings of the Jozi skyline. The Ponte Tower and the Telkom Tower

Besides the fact that the top floor needs an urgent revamp, this experience was so refreshing.  With that said…it was extremely clean…the decaying floors shone like diamonds.  The Carlton Centre is an understated gem.  It cost only R15,00 ($1.50).  Super cheap and unexpected.

The visiting hours are 07h00 to 19h00 everyday.

Next expedition is to go at night to get some nice pics of the skyline when the lights are on!

Go on and try it!

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I think I found the one…

What does it mean to be settled?  According to the Word-Web dictionary it means:

Established in a desired position or place; not moving about”

For the last decade I have been moving about. From one house to another…19 times in total.


Sometimes we moved caused we sought adventure…other times we were driven out of a house because our empty bank account could not make up the bills.

However it might be…moving became part of my life, whether I liked it or not. In the beginning it was easy because it was only me and Ashley. Then after 5 years, came Chelsea and shortly after, Kirsten. Obviously it became more challenging. Kids need stability in general. They need routine to function and require some sort of norm to feel safe.

There we go again…

Chelsea in her short lifespan (almost 6 years old) has moved a staggering 8 times! Now that I’ve numerated it, it shocks me!

Anyway, so our journey has taken us from south to north, to west, to south again, west again, everything in between and now lastly east. We sound like a circus…but really we are not. We are actually very stable people…believe it or not. We have learned to adapt quickly and settle quickly wherever we end up. Priority is to make life work in our new home as soon as the first day. I hang pictures…get the flow right and find a creche for the kids.

Business must go on…so computers get plugged in, printers get connected and while I do that, I do a load of laundry. I might cook that same night, depending on the amount of boxes I still need to unpack…otherwise we just grab takeaways. The next day I might start painting a room and decorating it just to make me feel normal.

Life must go on…I must not allow circumstances to dictate my state of mind.  But sometimes, many times,  the moving gets to me.  It gets me under.  I long for stability…a place to call home.

I sometimes envy people that have lived in one place for more than 2 years…and I tell myself: “surely my lifestyle can’t be normal?”  I am not a roamer, a free-spirited gypsy…I am in fact very normal (well that’s what I tell myself).  At some stage I almost started to crave moving.  It became a rush for me.  The thought of moving to a new place, new people, new surroundings made my life more exciting, giving me an edge.

So we moved into a fabulous house about 2 weeks ago. Apart from unpacking a few more boxes, we are fairly settled.  I haven’t found a creche yet so the kids are still at home.  This house is artistic and inviting.  It has wooden floors and picture rails.  I wake up in the morning to the city skyline of Jozi.  It is such a blessing.

It is snowing in Jozi today.  Snow is a rare occurrence in Gauteng, with snowfall having been experienced in May 1956, August 1962, June 1964, September 1981 and on June 27 2007.

September 1981 has the greatest snowfall on record, with statistics showing snowfall accumulating up to 10 centimetres across the province. (http://mg.co.za/print/2012-08-07-snow-in-joburg)

Surprisingly snow fell in Gauteng today

They say one’s home should be an extension of your personality.  I can safely say…I think I’ve found the one.  I’m home.

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Being on live TV was the most nervous I’ve ever been…

Lilly Loompa appeared on TV yesterday.  I was humbled to be interviewed on etv’s Sunrise Breakfast Show..

First of all let me pay my respects…it is no joke doing live TV.  I take off my hat to Sindi Mabe & Stacey Holland, anchors of the breakfast show.  They get up before the crack of dawn every day, drive to the studio, get powdered and styled (not that they need any beautification…they are both gorgeous!) and give us the latest scoop on current affairs, news etc.   Well done girls…I loved meeting you!

It was really exciting and a first for me.  Here is a photo essay of the morning…(and oh my camera is still out of order so I took these with my BlackBerry)

On our way to the studio

Jozi early morning skyline

Walking down the corridors

Welcome to the Sunrise Show!

In the guest waiting room

My creations waiting to be featured

Everything happened very quickly and my nerves were shot! I didn’t know what to expect but what I can say is that everyone I met knew my name and I felt really important.  Then I had to get my make-up done.  Now I didn’t realise how much make-up you needed to be camera ready.  I put up some make-up before I left home but they had to get me tv-ready.

Totally out of my comfort zone with made-up eyes and reddish lips

I had butterflies all over and my legs felt like jelly.  What if I say something stupid…I mean once it’s out there, there is nothing you can do about it!

Nombongo Koti is one of the producers from the show and she was absolutely great. She made me feel at ease and introduced me to another producer, Annelie who took me to the studio.  Now at this point I had to leave all electronic equipment including my phone so I couldn’t take anymore pics!

They hooked me up with the microphone and then us was time. Instructions from the floor manager: “Lizl don’t fiddle, don’t look to the camera, don’t do this and don’t do that!” Oh my, now it was on!

Let me say, TV looks very glamorous but really these people are as down-to-earth as you can get. They are all very professional with extraordinary talent to present live TV.  Sindi was great and really made me feel at ease.

On TV!


It is very weird and gruelling watching yourself on TV.  I didn’t even realise how many times I repeated… “like I said”!  And I made the weirdest movements with my mouth many times!  The interview went by so quickly and I had so many things I still wanted to say!

All in all…one of the best experiences of my life ever.  Very educational and informative.

PS: I recorded the interview on DSTV PVR but I am unable to download it from the hard drive.  My brother, Dustin, is hoping to get the clip soon to those who missed it!  I will try to upload it once I have it!

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