simply flowers

simply flowers

Creativity flourishes when you take time out to play. No specific goal, just grab what you have at hand and let things develop instinctively. See where you end up. I needed a break from food and I have some very vague ideas in my head, which refuse to be pinned down. So this morning I saw my hydrangea outside and decided, it would do. I grabbed my camera and some wax paper and disappeared into my head. Fiddling with my camera settings and different set-ups. I went into exploration mode and played. When I “woke up”, this was what I had.






cut flowers


dark hydrangea

I’ve decided to make these freebees. If you’d like to download the printable versions (A6 300dpi) for personal greeting cards or designs, you can find them at this link: simplypause hydrangea cards

Simply download them directly onto your desktop and then press print, whenever you need a quick card!

(If you would like to use them for business purposes, I’d appreciate being asked beforehand, and some aknowledgement of simply pause as the source. Send me a quick message to clarify things here 😉 )


Sardinian Treats

Nougat 1

In Sardinia, we went to a local night market and one of the stands there had me fascinated.

A big strong man with an apron was standing there shouting stuff in Italian. Then with a great big swing of his cleaver he would bang down on his chopping board. How he kept missing his fingers I have no idea.

I stood closer to see what the white stuff was that he was massacring into neat little squares was and to my delight, I saw freshly made nougat! I was mesmerised. The rest of the world zoned out. I stood to the side and watched. How else was I going to figure out how to get some?

Nougat 2

I wish I’d taken my camera. He would take these huge bricks of nougat, filled with hazelnuts, walnuts or almonds and violently chop off giant chunks. He’d weigh it, shout something loudly, quickly wrap it up, hand it over and take the money. More shouting, more people, more chopping, more nougat.

Somebody spoke to me, “What?” It was my husband urging me to get over my nerves of not speaking Italian and buy some. He nudged me forward.

Ummm… ummmm…(I had to point and use my hands)…that one. This much? Oh, ok that much. “Division?” Did he say Division? Oh, divide? Nod! Yes please! Si! And he deftly cut up the chunk into bite-sized pieces. “Quattro!” Quattro? ummm… four. Four Euros. Got it!

And that’s how I got handed the best nougat I’ve ever had in my life. It’s packed full of nuts and you can taste the fresh honey. It’s gooey, not spongey. It melts.  Smooth, creamy, chunky, crunchy – It’s just divine!

So I came back, googled it and photographed the tiny bit I hadn’t scoffed.

Turns out what we call nougat, isn’t originally from Sardinia, but they have been making it, for centuries using traditional methods and recipes. They think it’s one of the oldest forms of sweets ever made and seems to be related to halva.

In some places it’s called nougat, others torrone or turrone. All that I know is that it’s addictive and very photogenic.


Nougat 4


Simply getting away

Getting “away” has always been a priority and simple pleasure in my life. My husband and I have been blessed (or cursed) with a more than healthy supply of nomadic blood, so luckily we share this need. It’s not always easy to support our “habit”, but we always seem to find a way. We’ve ended up borrowing a car, camping, sleeping in the car, travelling with jerry cans of fuel in the back of a stationwagon, over heavily potholed roads – all just to get away.

So coming back from holiday, I’ve been trying to sum up, why we actually do this and I’ve ended up with a notebook full of my life history in holidays, which would bore you to no end. So I decided to ask my kids, what they think of holidays, because they often have this uncanny act of simplifying things.

1. Why do we go on holiday?

Littlest: Because it’s fun!

Medium: To have a break from work and it’s fun and to relax. Being together!!!

2. What do people need to have a good holiday?

Littlest: Suitcases!

Medium: A Good mood + A place to have a holiday + the family, to be together.

Aren’t they clever?

As a child I went on many wonderful holidays, disproportionate to the amount that my parents earned. I have a wealth of memories of adventures, experiences and laughter with my family. There always seemed to be enough money to go somewhere together. We did a round trip of South Africa, we travelled through Zimbabwe. Stayed in simple accommodation but went on boat trips out on Lake Kariba. But even if it was just going to the beach, when life got too much at home, we’d escape. Take a breath of fresh air and return.

One of the places we went on short weekend breaks to, had these little prefab houses on a farm on the Eastern Cape Coast (South Africa). No flushing toilets, we collected fresh water outside at a water tank to wash and cook with. But the front prefabricated wall lifted open and you’d have a full uninterrupted view of the lagoon which pushed out to the sea, behind the huge sanddunes, where the neverending empty beaches lay waiting for you. What more did we need? During the day we would swim, walk on the beach, read, have braais* and at night (if the bushbabies behaved) we were lulled to sleep by the sound of the sea.

For some reason, I have this urge to tell you, it needn’t be grandiose, fancy, luxurious or for very long. But getting away just does one good. We had an awesome holiday. We kept the accommodation simple, but spoilt ourselves with the location. Friends have commented on my holiday email and said – “you look HAPPY”  and – I’m sure you’re “Feeling relaxed and in your centre again”. And that’s it isn’t it? It’s about pressing PAUSE and letting your soul catch up with the rest of you. It’s about seeing your life from a distance – getting perspective on life.

It’s about being with your family. Having fun as a family. And all you need is a place to go, a good mood and suitcases! 😀


(*braai – South African word for barbeque)