me Life and Times of the Fireflies: September 2017

Friday, 29 September 2017

Things to do at the V&A Waterfront this School Holidays

*Written in collaboration with V&A Waterfront*

Exams are over, the weather is starting to look more promising, and school is almost out for a 10 day break!! Can we have a collective "WOOHOOO"!!!
Once the weather warms up, there's really no better place to be than right here in Cape Town. It's actually sinful to spend the days indoors! Cape Town definitely has it's own unique, laidback charm; and the warmer weather, for us, is all the invitation we need to down tools and have a mini vacation in our own city. And one of the best places you can always depend on to feel like a tourist, is the V&A Waterfront. With all the luxuries of a general mall on the inside; and a host of fun activities on the outside; you will be guaranteed to always have a good time. There's just such a touristy vibe about this place that I absolutely LOVE!
For a family that frequents the Waterfront a lot, we haven't even gotten to explore every single nook and cranny yet- not even the half of it. So when the V&A Waterfront invited us to an afternoon of fun to showcase the range of activities on offer to keep the holiday boredom at bay, we were eager to see and experience all the parts we've been missing out on.
First up was lunch at the newly opened, Italian inspired franchise, COL'CACCHIO. The new concept store has a grab and go section of ready meals, as well as all the familiar favourites of their normal menu - with an addition of a few new extras. It  is not a halal franchise, but they do have vegetarian options, some new fish dishes, as well as a very exciting looking dessert menu if you just want to hang out for a coffee. The décor is warm and inviting and the outside terrace has a spectacular view (which you can see in the video at the end of the post)!


Next, we headed outdoors for a trip up on The Cape Wheel. We've been on the wheel a good couple of years ago when the kids were much smaller, and I don't even think Zee can remember any of it; so it was really cool to experience it with them now that they're a little older. Plus, the view from the top never gets old (check it out in the video below)! It was overcast on the day we went up, but usually you get great views of Table Mountain, Robben Island and a few other landmarks. Apparently, according to my 15 year old, the lighting is also amazing up there for selfies!


 Next we headed towards the clock tower to find the outdoor skate rink, Fantasy Skate. There is a very distinct and tangible energy in the air once you exit the mall that is uniquely "Waterfront". Besides this massive wheel peeps out at you wherever you turn, there's so much buzz and activity outside that a day spent here can never be boring.
 Fantasy Skate is a synthetic ice rink located on the Pierhead Wharf at the V&A. It's not a massive rink, but the kids seemed to have a lot of fun trying to glide around on it maybe because it looks less intimidating than the big ice rink. I must also add that skating on the synthetic ice isn't as easy as skating on actual ice, but the kids all had a good time falling flat on their bottoms while trying. A skate session will cost you R30 for 20 minutes.

After enjoying a bit more time outdoors, we headed back inside for a coffee and cake treat at Limnos. Limnos is famous for their decadent confectionery treats and I always get secretly thrilled when people compare my Milktart to their legendary Fabiola! Anyway, this was a deliciously sweet stop before heading to the Waterfront's newest attraction for the kids : the opening night of Future Park, which is now on at the Watershed.

Future Park is an interactive digital universe that brings your children's drawings to life. The exhibition has a host of fun activities that will captivate the imagination of your young ones while introducing them to the wonders of technology by using scanners and sensors to make each child's drawings come to life in a digital universe.
But drawing is not the only thing you can do at Future Park! The two stories worth of interactive digital activities to keep your children occupied and enthralled. A light ball orchestra and musical hopscotch and so much more...definitely something worth going to see while they are here! For more on what to expect from Future Park, watch the video insert below. 

ABOUT THIS VIDEO : I'm starting to enjoy the process of documenting things with little videos as well. It definitely tells a part of the story that pictures and words can't. So do click on the video below to get a different perspective of the days happenings!

That's it from us for today. Thanks for reading!




Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Travel Diary - Phi Phi Island, Thailand

We decided from the onset of our trip that we weren't going to spend our money on "things", but rather on experiences instead. We didn't want to come home with a suitcase full of arbitrary items that cost a fortune and that we will hardly ever use, but rather with stories of wonderful adventures that would last us a lifetime. We wanted to make memories - with our children...with each other. And that's exactly what we did!

Tourism is a major economic factor in Thailand. The people pride themselves on this and almost everything is commercialised. But of all the things we did while there; of all the clichéd tourist spots we simply had to visit, the island tours remain undoubtedly our favourite experiences of them all! The raw, unfiltered, untouched, natural beauty that exists within the waters of the Andaman sea is so breathtakingly beautiful, so picturesque, so...perfect! A collection of islands that resembles a real paradise on earth. Phang Nga Bay was beautiful, but I really think we saved the best tour for last!

By this, our sixth day in Thailand, our kids already knew the drill. They dragged themselves out of bed knowing full well that there was a lot of exhilarating experiences expected for the day ahead! After a quick breakfast we headed to the foyer and got to our tour bus (on time this time), and headed towards the same pier and same procedures as the last time.

This time round I tried to soak up more of my environment instead of trying to photograph all of it! Mounds and mounds of incredulous limestone boulders jutting out of green seas, until eventually giving way to crystal clear blue waters, as we made our way to our first stop - an uninhabited island (except for a few tourist boats docked on the shores) where we were allowed to lounge around, snorkel or just soak up the views.

We went at a time when the island wasn't too busy and it was quiet and calm enough to truly enjoy ourselves. I got to venture out deep into the where my feet could no longer touch the ground, and I swam alongside fish of all sorts and sizes. And I probably wouldn't have gone out so far out if it wasn't for my daughter's adventurous spirit and deep love for the sea! Watching her fearlessly face the ocean was absolutely magical. The boys played it a bit safer and stayed near the shore and hubby and I took turns to go a little deeper while one stayed with the boys.


There are scores of  tourists who embark on these tours on a daily basis, and the tour guides we had tried their best to take us to these popular spots when they are least populated. For that reason, our second stop was an early lunch. This island was the first one we visited that was visibly inhabited. Modest, wooden, beach facing houses with the most incredible views! I pottered around the island, took a few pics while some of the other tourists took the opportunity to enjoy the warm waters.

For our next stop, we slowed down near hidden bays and passed concealed lagoons and made our way to Monkey Island. I read a lot about Monkey Island in my research. About being careful with our cameras and phones and general belongings. I saw beautiful pictures of people floating on wooden swings hanging from trees with the clear blue oceans strategically behind them. But I'm guessing we were there during high tide, because the was no shore to disembark onto and we all kind of hovered towards the front of the boat to get a glimpse of the monkeys. This was also another strategic move since it awarded us more time at our next two stops which turned out to be the highlight of our tour! Monkeys are cute and all, but we wanted some more adventure!

We thought we saw it all, but this next stop completely took my breath away!!! Like literally! I couldn't even believe that what we were experiencing was real! Waters so clear that you could see all the treasures that lay between the oceans surface and its floors. And just as quickly as the water turned the most beautiful colour of aqua and gave us a glimpse of all the beauty it holds, it went completely dark again and then our boat came to a complete stop in the most magnificent setting I had ever set eyes on - docked in a  lagoon somewhere in the middle of the sea, no shore in near sight- we grabbed our snorkel gear and jumped off the front of the boat and into the sea. I won't lie, I was frightened out of my mind. But once I saw the kids fearlessly jump into the water below, there was no choice but to follow!

After spending some time swimming around, we went back to the entry point of the lagoon, where just a couple of metres away the water was a completely different colour and so was the fish that swam beneath its surface. Here we stopped again, jumped off the side of the boat and, with our feet unable to reach the ocean floor, we swam with the hundreds of multi coloured fish.



They say travel changes you. That it opens your eyes and your heart and broadens your perspective on life - and it's true! For me, I thought I would find my life changing moments in Thai culture; but instead I found my greatest lesson on the shores of the iconic Maya Bay. And it was in the moments that my eyes scanned this beautiful shores, as I tried to soak up this last bit of Thailand that I was really able to truly see myself reflected in every single tourist there...standing against the light, trying to capture the perfect picture.

And there I stood, camera in hand, face to face with this picture perfect setting; and then after a few brief shots, I shoved the thing back into my bag, took my kids by their hand and marched off to the edge of the water. This was our last stop of a day that was full of adventure, once in a lifetime experiences and the most spectacular memories. At this point I just wanted to float on my back and absorb surroundings that I'm not sure I will ever see again. I wanted to swim with my daughter as deep as we could possibly go, equally as much as I wanted to catch the waves on the shore. I wanted to get lost in these final moments in paradise...but you know what I didn't want to do as much as I did at the start of this journey? I wasn't as interested in taking pictures of everything.

And that's how we spent the last hour of this tour. Languishing in the deep blue sea that was relatively empty save for a few other people who also decided to leave their cameras on shore.


Some people may say that travelling with kids could hold you back from experiencing things on your terms; and that having so many extra people to consider could prevent you from making the trip solely about what you want to do. A small part of that may be true...but on this trip, travelling with kids led me to do unexpected things. I don't think I would've jumped off boats or done half the things I did if I wasn't with them. And I don't think anyone else would've had the power to make me put down my camera. So thank you kids, for teaching me the value of being present and completely immersing myself in the moment. This wouldn't have been as fun if it were not for all of you <3
ABOUT THIS VIDEO : Undoubtedly my favourite video of all the videos of this trip! It's not a very long one, but it truly encapsulates all the most memorable moments. Would be great if you could check it out :-)

And just like that, my travel diaries are over! But the memories will live on...over here, and even more so  in my heart!

For more on our Thailand Travels, read here:

Travelling with kids

Destination Thailand

Chalong Temple

Tiger Kingdom

Phang Nga Bay Island Tour

Old Phuket

Thanks for reading!


NAMU :-)

Friday, 15 September 2017

Eid-Ul-Adha 2017

Every year I hesitate to write an Eid post. I wonder if it's even possible for things to change from one year to the next and if there will even be something new or profound worth writing about, instead of it just being a post about sharing pictures. Every year I wonder, hesitate and then write a post anyway - and it's amazing, when going back to read them now, how things really have changed over the past few years!

Besides the kids growing considerably in this time, we've also welcomed new additions to the family and only have some treasured memories remain of those who have gone. And so these posts have become like little beacons of memories, spread out over time, capturing this ever changing landscape we call Life! And despite old traditions giving way for new ones, one thing remains unchanged; and that is that Eid days will ALWAYS be about family.

There is a lot of significance that revolves around this second Eid, and this year I was feeling particularly sentimental about it all. So many close family and friends similar in age to me embarked on the sacred journey of Hajj, and I'd be lying if I said that my heart wasn't deeply impacted when going to bid my farewells. There was a deep sense of emotion and yearning in me that I was completely unprepared for...and then reading all their updates from the holy land really only intensified the tugging on my heart in a way that is simply impossible to ignore.

With my brother's visit coinciding with Eid, it was also the first time in a very, very long time that our whole family was able to celebrate Eid together! Amidst the vibrant energy - the laughter, playfulness and banter - it was impossible to escape the ominous presence of Time hovering and taunting as the tiny granules of sand slipped speedily through its hourglass. With ageing parents and the cruel concept of time, the memories made in these moments will be forever cherished...and the words "until we meet again" weighing too heavy on the heart.

And it made all the other simple things I usually worry about on this day so irrelevant! So I didn't get to colour my greys, and they can be seen peeping out in all my pictures of that day; and I also completely forgot to make an appointment to thread my eyebrows and wax my lip; and I didn't lose that impossible 5 kilos so that I could look better in my dress. And instead of worrying about all these vain concepts to make me look flawless in front of people who all already know my flaws; I threw in the proverbial towel and said "flip it all!". I put on my best dress an my favourite shoes and embraced myself as I truly was, in that moment, flaws and all; and had the best Eid I possibly could!

It's impossible to include ALL the pictures I took on the day, so I just included a few of my favourites <3











Thanks for reading!