Weekend reading: stage fright, trigger warnings and bananas


The New Yorker | I can’t go on! What’s behind stage fright? Joan Acocella explores the history of stage fright and how it affects people.

The Atlantic | The Coddling of the American Mind Can trigger warnings, which aim to protect university students, actually harm their mental health?

The Atlantic | That’s not funny! Today’s college students can’t seem to take a joke Are American universities rejecting comedy that unsettles in favour of comedy that soothes?

The Economist | The medium matters Does the physical act of writing (slumped or erect, in bed or at a desk) influence how and what we write?

Quartz | Move over Shakespeare, teen girls are the real language disruptors Researchers think it was young women that changed hath, doth, maketh to has, does, makes. We can also thank them for vocal fry, the use of “like” and uptalk.

SuzelleDIY – How to Make Braaied Brandy Banana Splits

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Weekend reading: perspectives on money, French shirts and compost


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Love to read

Can We Change Our Childhood Perspectives on Money? This is such an important read for couples with differing approaches to money. The relationship Meg describes with her husband is pretty spot on for my partner and me. Ask yourself: If you found R1,000 would you spend it or save it? And what would your partner do? (You should also read 7 Tips for a More Equal Household.)

Authenticity Online. I’ve followed Jolie Ankrom for a little over a year now on Instagram (you can find her at @becomingjoile). I love her style, her approach to motherhood and her thrifting skills. She also introduced to me Whole30! But lately I have been touched by her insights into marriage and relationships. This piece she wrote is wonderful. You should read it if you’re in a long term relationship. I’ve read it a few times now and every time all I can think is “me too”. It’s a reminder that we’re not alone in our struggles.

How a Darth Vader selfie showed the worst side of social media. A reminder not to post your suspicions on social media. This poor guy had his picture shared over 20,000 times on Facebook after a stranger labeled him a creep and a possible sexual offender.

“What a horrible mother:” How a call from a “good samaritan” derailed these mothers’ lives. I remember staying in the car while my parents did the shopping – it was more fun than being dragged around the shops. Recently mothers in America have been charged with child endangered for doing the same thing.

Save Tax Free Investment Calculator. I thought this was a pretty useful tool for South Africans trying to figure out what tax free investment suits their needs.

French Speakers Hilariously Discuss What French T-Shirts Actually Say. “This is not even French. Putting “le” in front of a random foreign-sounding word doesn’t make it French.”

The 20 Most Beautiful Countries In The World. South Africa bags the top spot!

The Urban Death Project. If you don’t want to be buried or cremated you can be turned into compost. Sign me up!

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Swiftie X-stitch: Shake It Off!


I listen to Taylor Swift’s 1989 album every week. I put it on when I’m cooking, driving and relaxing in the garden. When Shake It Off was released last year I played it on repeat for about two weeks.

I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend who probably loves Taylor more than I do. We’re total Swifties.

I have started sewing again recently. I wanted to do a quick cross stitch to get my fingers back into shape. This little Shake It Off cross stitch took about 60 minutes. The pattern is below.

If you make one please share your creation on Instagram with the hashtags #kateomegamade and #swiftieXstitch. I would love to see them!

Shake it Off!

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 Get your cross stitch fingers ready!

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Weekend reading: poopy cats, flat hunting and blame


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The 9 Circles of Hell of Flat-Hunting in Cape Town. We went through the flat-hunting process in Johannesburg earlier this year. It’s enough to make me want to buy a house. I never want to move again.

The Mystery of Elderly Animal Matriarchs. Did you know that there are only two species that go through menopause? Humans and orcas.

Brené Brown on Blame. My mum sent me this. Why do we blame people and what does it do to our relationships?

Who needs Creme Eggs when you can make your own Creem Eggs? I am tempted to make these but the cost of buying 800g of good quality chocolate puts me off.

Anatomy of a New Yorker cartoon.  Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor for The New Yorker magazine, explains what makes cartoons funny and why.

Rescued from the flames. Read about the small team working to rehabilitate wild animals injured by the Cape Town fires.

A Day at Poopy Cat Office. This is pretty much my dream office environment.

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An upcycled gift: a baby succulent and bunting


Last weekend my friend Laura had a birthday party. She is the only person I know who would choose to cook for 20 people on a day when people should be cooking for her! She is Belgian, a lovely person and a fantastic cook. For her birthday dinner she cooked a Belgian beer stew, roast potatoes and green beans. An enormous bowl of homemade mayonnaise was pass around and slathered on everything.

I wanted to make her something homemade for her birthday. I decided on a baby succulent upcycled into something special. I grabbed my supplies: a small succulent, an empty baking powder tin, a few scraps of fabric, two skewers and some thread.

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I love baking powder tins. I like buying products that have reusable packaging. These tins are so versatile and quaint. The first thing I did was punch a few  holes in the bottom of the tin so that excess water would be able to drain away from the soil. I resorted to using a thin metal screw driver and brute force. Three or four holes in the bottom should be plenty.

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Next I carefully transplanted the little succulent from his plastic pot to the tin. This was a bit fiddly and I had to redo it a few times to make sure he was snug. I used an old teaspoon to manoeuvre the soil around. Once he was in place I also watered him (just slightly) to settle the soil.

The next step was to add some bunting. Because what is a birthday present without bunting? I used two skewers as poles and placed them gently in the soil – trying to avoid the succulent’s roots. I then snipped them to the height I wanted using strong kitchen scissors.

I used this tutorial to make my bunting. But before I glued the bunting to the thread I sewed Laura’s name in split stitch.

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Once I had finished all the letters I glued the bunting to the thread and tied it to the skewers and I had a perfect little present for a lovely friend.

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An aside: I have been reading Erin’s recent posts on gift giving at Christmas (over at Reading my Tea Leaves). I really like her approach to minimalist gift giving and quality over quantity. I also think that a homemade gift can be very  special.

If you enjoyed this post follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also sign up for email notifications (at the top of the page). Pop by on Friday morning for my Weekend Reading post.

Weekend reading: cancer, cats, dogs and smart people


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Ursula K. Le Guin on Aging and What Beauty Really Means. A lovely piece on the difference between cats and dogs – and cat and dog people.

CatsWhen did girls start wearing pink? Did you know that “[t]he generally accepted rule [was] pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl”?

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the T. Swift. Joanna Robinson tells us why she loves Taylor Swift. See point three: She Makes Cat Ladies Look Good.

What living through cancer in your 20s looks like. Beautiful and heartbreaking pictures of 30-year-old photographer Amelia Coffaro’s battle with breast cancer.

The Food Lab: How to Poach Eggs for a Party. Did you think poaching eggs for a group of people was impossible? I did and I was wrong.

Why smart people are stupid. Question: “A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?” Once you have your answer, head on over to read the article.

Women Having A Terrible Time At Parties In Western Art History. I can identify with all these woman. Sometime parties are hard work.

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Weekend reading: Taylor Swift, freezing your eggs and Ebola


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Don’t Say Goodbye. Just ghost. I am a ghoster. I will say goodbye to the host if I can but I am not going to take 20 minutes to say goodbye to everyone at a party.

If All Disney Princesses Were Taylor Swift. The whole gang is here: Tayriel, Jaslor, Swift White, Mulor, Taylorella and Tay. It’s the only way you could make Disney princesses any better.

Facebook and Apple to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs. Facebook and Apple are trying to keep talented women in the workplace for longer.

These Cyclists Found an Awesome Way to Demonstrate Why Bikes Are Better Than Cars. Yes bikes take up less space than cars. But I think this is a good reminder of how much space drivers should give cyclists on the road.

Facebook introduces Safety Check. In the event of a disaster the Safety Check tool will help you let friends and family know you’re safe, check on others in the affected area and mark your friends as safe.

After terrorist threat, feminist video game critic Anita Sarkeesian cancels lecture at Utah university. A scary reminder of the threats and physical danger feminists have to deal with.

Relax. You’re not going to die of Ebola! Is the panic about Ebola more dangerous than the disease itself?

Diet Coke – Taylor Swift Kittens. Could there be anything better in the world right now than Taylor Swift drowning in kittens?

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