~Written and edited by Veronica Clark ~

Monday, 30 January 2012

Goodbye Newby Party

Good Monday Morning to you all!

I hope you all had a relaxing weekend and that Monday behaves herself well.

When I started blogging a few months back, I had no idea of what a blog party was or indeed how to "attend" one. What I also did not realise was that the blogging community was a force of its own with endless possibilities and inspiration.

Just a short week into blogging a new blogging friend educated me very efficiently by inviting me to join in a party that she was attending (Thank you Marsha...xxx) From the glam blog Splenderosa I felt a bit green, as you can well understand, and the idea of "linking up" made me very nervous, as I was not very computer savvy (current status ~ slightly improved...) with much to learn still!. A few emails from the hostess Stephanie from Angelic Accents quickly set me on the right track and I linked up and discovered a world of wonder!

Needless to say I joined many more "parties" and had a wonderful time discovering others. One such Party was specifically designed for Newbies like myself hosted each Monday by the lovely Debbie from Debbiedoo's Blogging and Blabbing. ( She has an awesome blog!) If you are new to blogging it is a great place to meet other new bloggers and help each other along this wonderful journey.

Thank you Debbie for always graciously hosting me and your inspiring comments on my posts! I now sadly graduate from the Newby party as I have more than 100 followers and have been blogging since May 2011, but I will be back to visited regularly and keep track of my favourite newbies!

I have been a bit quiet on the blogging front as I re organise my life after getting divorced but all is back on track and I have some lovely posts lined up for you. I thanks you all for visiting and leaving me such inspirational comments!

I will also be bringing you a new series on my favourite bloggers and all those lovely people that have helped me along the way. So it is a Blog it Forward Series that will introduce you to some wonderful blogs!

For my latest post, please click here

to read all about my Esteemed Art Critics!

I currently have a Vintage Jewellery giveaway from www.shabbyapple.com Please click here to enter. The winner will be announced on Wednesday!

So, bye bye Newby Party and thank you to Debbie!

Live Well




Tuesday, 24 January 2012

My Esteemed Art Critics

Hello dear friends

A while back, I did a post on how I came to acquire some of the art in my home. If you missed that post and want to see what the art critics found so amusing you can read about it here! In that post my focus was of course, the art, and I did not include any pictures of the esteemed art critics.

Much later,a new follower to my blog found the post quite amusing and promptly emailed me, complaining bitterly that I had not given due credit to the esteemed art critics and that really, honestly, I should have included some pictures of them. You are so right dear reader and here I am,setting the record straight and giving credit  for a fond memory,where it is due!

Shall we start with the older and wiser's CV?

This dude is a cross breed between a Pug and Toy Pomeranian. He has the body and little pig tail of the pug, but the pointed snout of the Toy Pomeranian. Well, that is just about the only physical acknowledgement to that lineage!

This January he turned SEVENTEEN years old! Now what makes that special you might ask?


He is almost completely blind, deaf and is diabetic. (By the way, the art was bought some years back when he of course had all his wits about him!! Actually,most of them remain very much in tact believe me!!)

He was diagnosed with diabetes in December 2004 and has to be injected with Canine Insulin twice a day. Shortly after he became diabetic he lost his eyesight.

Now, he has always had the most intriguing character and is a very "chatty" dog! He regularly communicates with snorts of derision if the service in this hotel in not up to scratch!

If things get really tardy and he has to wait for the door to be opened and several snorts of derision later you have not magically materialised to let His Highness in, he will bark at regular intervals, not furiously you understand, but a single meticulously timed barking sequence that is not unlike being in a torture chamber, especially on a Sunday morning when he sometimes decides at 5 am,that he has now had enough of his kennel lodgings and demands entrance to the house. I of course, have a very possessive duvet and have to fight it to let me go... but, that well timed single bark every few seconds soon wears me down, and I have to violently extract myself from the possessive Egyptian Cotton thread count to save my sanity and to prevent my neighbour from hammering down the door!

Meet, Spot!

Here,been decored for Christmas and quite obviously in a comatose state of bliss!

Please note how he sits smack bang on his derriere to the one side. Now you are muttering to yourself...

"But, he has not a single spot??"

Quite right, apart from the black one on his nose. When dear Spot came to us, via South African Airways, on a flight from Johannesburg, all crated and cute as can be, my son , then five, was reading a book called "My Dog Spot" and there was nothing for it, and  the new arrival just has to be named Spot!

Now, as you can see Spot is a dog of some girth and when in full flight chasing after you  to answer the doorbell, on the tiled floor, he has a few issues applying the brakes and will slide into a very ungraceful spin and occasionally collide with the front door, nose first, barking furiously, on this occasion as it is called for, much to the fright of any unsuspecting visitor on the other side of the door. In a very cartoonish fashion he will back pedal and make an about turn barking and try to assert himself once more upon the ringing door with even more dire and comic consequences. Trust me, I have on numerous occasions opened the door in fits of laughter much to the astonishment of my guests!

According to our vet he is something of a veterinary marvel, being diabetic for so long and being of the age that he is. He is giving Madiba a good run for his money!

Spot has establish a routine to travel from the patio door to the grass to make his daily deposits. He exits the door and immediately turns left and proceeds down the ramp, follows the paving until he meets the grass and then happily trots off to find a suitable landing for said deposit. The grass signal safety from the pool! That was the easy part... Now, the  journey back to the patio door is much more complex and arduous. He continues only in one direction and will walk until he finds the flower bed on the far side of the garden and then negotiates a small passage between the pool and the flowerbed. He keeps to the edge of the flowerbed and stops occasionally to sniff suspiciously at the mass of water to his right. Satisfied that he is on course he will proceed slowly, and not unlike a chameleon, lifting his paws high and slowly, keeping an "eye" that the water mass does not jump closer uninvited. He then aims for the stone table and this is where he seems to throw caution to the wind and "wings" it blindly until he finds the flower box and the set of patio stairs which he then "hugs", coming alarmingly close to the water's edge, before making a sharp left and ascending the ramp back to the patio door, concluding his safe passage and announcing his arrival with a snort if the door has been rudely closed on him!

Friends and visitors marvel at his GPS

To say that he rules us is most certainly an understatement. He is my constant companion and follows me like a shadow everywhere, even into the shower if I will allow it, or until I turn on the water and he leaves very rapidly in disgust and with a great deal of shaking and snorting, since water is not his favourite thing in the world. And of course, he will give me a "mouthful" as he exits!

Spot's sidekick is much larger and younger!

He is the handsome blond fellow and as silent as the moon!

Smirnoff, is a golden Labrador and was born in the neighbourhood. A friend once suggested that I selected him to fit into the colour scheme of my decor! Honestly, would I do such a thing??

Meet Smirnoff...

Quite obviously, he got named after a favourite drink at the time and often would be called Vodka by my son's music teacher when she failed to remember his brand name!

Now, where Spot is the brains of this outfit, this dude is nothing more than a looker in Spot's opinion. Apart from being the butt of many a blond joke, he is also the silent one that hardly ever barks. Barking is not his thing and he leaves such trivia to Spot who has it down to a fine art to communicate the partnerships requirements very effectively and efficiently. He merely hovers expectantly over Spot to supervise that the communiques are delivered timelessly.

He is just one lump of cuddly lovable blondness that silently accompanies me everywhere as well. Watchdog, does not come into his vocab and he will lick everyone to death with love. And anyway, he thinks that every single person who enters his domain has made a special trip to come and visit him and he welcomes them appropriately in a loving scrummage, smiling and wagging his tails endlessly.

That wagging tail can clear my coffee table in an instant sweeping cups and glasses of liquid off in a gracious frantic wag of pleasure!  Sigh,,,,,long mopping up sigh,,,,,!!!

Now, Smirnoff is a swimmer of note. He swims daily and has quite a routine involving the pool. When he decides that it is time for the morning plunge, he will take a turn all around the pool inspecting it and then will proceed in a gentlemanly fashion down the stairs, take a short lap and then exit, shake and repeat a stroll around the pool and get in for another. This can go on for anything up to twelve or more laps!

When he has been for a walk though, he gets in the front door and charges through the house in a frantic "Marley and Me style" not always "making" good turns around the furniture and plunges into the pool in a blond mass!
Trust me folks, you do not want to get in the way of him and his pool. Must have some hippo ancestry!

Swimming with a smile!

Each exit is followed by a tail that projects a stream of water onto any unsuspecting bystander and of course a good shake...

His, that was great face! And as you can see the pool level drops dramatically!

Spot and Smirnoff are best of pals and often remind me of the cast of the movie " Homeward Bound" when standing side by side!

So, those are my esteemed art critics folks!

There is still time to enter my Vintage Jewellery Giveaway,

Please click here to enter

Good luck!

The winner will be announced on Monday

Live Well



Linking to:

Friday Unfolds at Stuff and Nonsense here
Mosaic Monday at Little Red House here
Creative Bloggers Party Hop at Homemaker on a Dime here

all images are my own apart from the lovely Giveaway from www.shabbyapple.com

I would love for yo to leave me with you comments below.
Thank you for your company

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Vintage Jewellery Giveaway!

Hello dear friends

I am very excited to announce my very first "Giveaway"!


I have a gorgeous piece of vintage jewellery to give to a fab follower resident in the USA! ( I am so jealous)

In order to qualify for this amazing giveaway you need to:

~ be a follower of  Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds


~ "Like" us on Facebook (here)



~ Please leave a comment at the bottom of this post and tell me which era of vintage you like best!

As easy as that!!!!

More good news!!

Shabby Apple is offering readers of Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds a 10% of for the next 30 days!
Please quote the following code "tasselsandtwigs10off"
Shabby Apple (www.shabbyapple.com) is an on line vintage dress boutique offering some very stylish attire. I browsed the on line catalogue and found a few favourite things that I would love to share with you.

Take a peek...

This neutral  dress is from The Tinsel Town Collection and I just adore the gloves  and  the gold fill Champagne Swarovski earrings and pumps!

Black and white is one of my favourite combinations!
Love these Black onyx earrings teamed with outfit from The 1943 Collection and Silk Road Collection.

Some of these  gorgeous  dresses from The Silk Road Collection in jewel colours are all very stylish and I love the

How about something from the All That Jazz Collection. Incidentally, I love the location showing off the Tinsel Town Collection as much as the collection itself!

These glamorous swimsuits are from The Amalfi Collection and I really like the detail and flirty designs. Pure glamour!

That's it folks...

Good luck!

Live Well


All images from Shabby Apple

Linking with:

Friday Unfolds at Stuff and Nonsense here
Potpourri Friday with Honey at 2805 here
Freshman Friday at Home Savvy here
Friendship Friday at Create With Joy here
Savvy Home Made Monday ay Home Savvy A-Z here
Market Yourself Monday at Sumo's Sweet Stuff here
Creative Bloggers Party Hop at Homemaker on a Dime here
Market your Biz at Homemaker on a Dime here

Friday, 13 January 2012

The fine art of Sabrage.

Hello everyone.

 How is 2012 treating you so far?

 With New Year's celebrations still fresh in our memories and welcoming 2012 with a glass of bubbly I was inspired to do a post on champagne and the delectable tiny bubbles that weaves a magic spell with my tastebuds. If you missed that post you can read all about it here to rekindle the magic of those tiny bubbles.

Well, one thing led to another and I can not seem to get off the topic of champagne!

Is that a bad thing?

 Nope, I don't think so...

Well, next my thoughts wondered to the flamboyant fine art of Sabrage.

So, lets take a look at ...

Sabrage is a technique for opening a bottle of champagne with a sabre.

Napoleon is said to have  claimed the following...

"Champagne! In victory one deserves it: in defeat one needs it"

Sounds logical to me!

I think I am in full agreement with Napoleon on this one!

Who wouldn't be?

Sabrage became a popular technique in France just after the French Revolution, when Napoleon's cavalry's weapon of choice was the sabre. You see, there was loads to celebrate and during these parties the Cavalry used to open their champagne bottles with their sabres! I guess they also didn't go to war with a bunch of cork screws in their saddle bags ...although, on second thoughts, I wouldn't put it past them....

Very flamboyant, don't you think?

There were many stories around Sabrage and one of them was that the widow, Madame Clicquot, who had inherited her husband's Champagne house at the tender age of 27, used to entertain Napoleon's soldiers and send them on their way with a complimentary bottle of champagne. Naturally they wanted to impress her and as  they rode off they would open their gifts with their sabres to impress the young madame!

These days, however, Sabrage seems to be reserved for special occasions like weddings, and ceremonial occasions. 

You have to admit that it is pure theatre.

I would love to try it but I am short of a sabre. I need to put a sabre on my wish list! And perhaps put the emergency services on my speed dial before proceedings begins.

Sabrage on horse back, just like back in the day...
I can just imagine how opening a bottle of champagne with a sabre will add some serious spark and a good dash of glamour to any party as well as an element of pomp.

Yes, well... you only live once and you have to at least try it once... but prefeably not on horse back!

How does it work?

The sabre is slid along the body of the bottle, towards the neck and the force of the blade hitting the lip (called the annulus)  breaks the glass to separate the collar from the neck of the bottle. The cork and collar remain together after being separated from the neck! Due to the high pressure inside the bottle ( apparently akin to the pressure in the tyres of a London double Decker  bus... Phew!!! No wonder we duck when a bottle is opened by less than a connoisseur!!!) the cork shoots out at high speed and can travel quite a distance.

Below is a step by step guide to the process, but I am not sure that you should try this at home!

It is a slicing action more than a chopping action.Chopping the neck of the bottle will shatter the cold pressurised bottle and sadly your bubbly will end up on the guests and the floor leaving none to pour! Although a baptism is champagne should not illicit too many complaints!

Keep safety in mind above all else though!

Your safety and your guests is surely of paramount importance whilst attempting this ceremony. There is no risk of glass entering the bottle due to the pressure but the top of the bottle flies of at some speed so be sure to aim it where no damage can be caused to property or anyone else in close proximity when sword meets bottle!

Maybe, we should get some hands on training from an expert first...

Below is Achim von Arnim a local master of the art of Sabrage from Haute Cabriere, a beautiful cellar which is a must visit!

The noble art of sabrage...You have to admit it looks like pure theatre!

Apparently in days gone by the wire "cage" was not as easy to remove and after battle the men were thirsty hence the use of the sabre.

I think it is a spectacular tradition and one that I would certainly like to perfect.

Some would say it is just a show off and pure pomp but I am all for a little theatre !

These two gentleman wielding Champagne Sabres opened some bottles with precision to begin a ceremony in dramatic fashion. Imagine, they poured a Champagne cascade into stacked glasses for a special time honoured tradition. Double theatre as a Champagne waterfall slushes down 6000 coupes in the lobby of The Brown Palace! Another  tradition which is said to have been started by Madame de Pompadour during parties at Versailles. Being a sommelier there was clearly not for the fainthearted..

Imagine, the task of the precise stacking...
steady now!

And  the delectable champagne waterfall...

So, dear ones... no matter how you open your bottle of bubbly...

Just by popping the cork...

...or if you have a sabre on hand ...

Keep Calm and ...

Vive la Tradition!!

Cheers again!!

I seem to be saying that alot!

Live well and remember

Safety first!

You wanna live to enjoy the glass of bubbles



Now you may regale me with some tipple tales down below in the comment box!

I am all ears....

all images here

Linking with:

Honey for Potourri Friday at 2805 here

Thanks for your company!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Tiny Bubbles....

Hello dear friends

Well, 2012  is off and trotting away already!  I hope that you have  had a wonderful festive season. For us in Cape Town, it only ends on the 2nd of January as we have the Cape Mistrals Carnival on what is know as the second new year. It is a very colourful event and it gives us an extra day to celebrate!

On New Years Day I had a "virtual" luncheon with a group of talented bloggy friends in Paris! A gal can and should dream at the start of a new year, and boy we did! If you missed the post please click here to see what we wore, ate and to eavesdrop on the chitter chatter.

In reality, on New Year's day, I stationed myself firmly within a two meter radius of the pool with a pile of magazines and some bubbly. No, not Paris for sure ... but not a bad deal either! A most relaxing day lying in the sun, reading and listening to the birds and a good deal of daydreaming since I has just done
 the post on Paris!
Pure Bliss...

As I was sipping my champagne,  lazily lounging about, I contemplated my glass of tiny bubbles. It was not the first glass of the day either and I decided that it needed a bit of colour, so I trotted off to the fridge and popped two raspberries into the glass. It looks divine and the tiny bubbles enfold the raspberries as they plop into the glass in a fizzy whirl floating on air.  As you sip and  get closer to the bottom a whiff of raspberry assails your nose and finally you get the flavour of the fruit in the last few sips. Lastly, of course, you pop each  fizzy berry onto your tongue and...bliss...

Now, as I mentioned in my post A Splash of Red my favourite summer tipple is strawberry puree topped with champagne. It looks so summery. I find it refreshing and I also love the fragrance of the strawberries. Just take a look.. festive delight in a glass! Who could resist, presented with a glass of this?

If you are going to try this at home...a warning please...
(I got an email from a friend who had a petite explosion)

Pour the puree or strawberry juice into the glass and then please tilt and then slowly, I repeat, slowly... top with champagne.. Oui, the dog got a fair share of her precious tipple and was most pleased...

Around here, we do not need much of an excuse or any particular "occasion" to indulge in a glass of bubbles. And we're not to fuzzy about which label is best. In fact, my favourite is a local  called "La Domaine" from The House of JC Le Roux. Heck folks, a wind free summer's day in Cape Town is reason enough to break out the bubbly. Practically living in the vineyards , we have to support the local business, you understand? Good, now that that is settled...

... and we all have a drink, how about looking in the closet?

It seems, champagne is a good companion all round, even glaming up a pair of jeans !

Oh, and can you ever have too many shoes?
Take a closer look at these babies...

I have a similar pair of earrings that often adorn my ears and they are timeless.

I am sure that this line has been used a few times...

Look at the gate...

... and, what do you think about a gown like this? Not to mention the setting...

The art of pouring a glass...
In our exuberant youth we had very little regard for the etiquette of opening a bottle of champagne. All we were interested in, is the delightful pop of the cork and the fact that the cork took off like a missile in a graceful arch elicited squeals of laughter and sheer delight!
Someone always ran to retrieve the cork, while the other ducked for cover!


A true connoisseur would be most disapproving of our lack of good manners and would never allow a champagne cork to become a missile.

So, to open a bottle in good company, gently peel of the foil to expose the wire encasing the cork. Remove the wire with care, hold the bottle by its neck in your right hand, with your thumb lightly holding the cork. Now, keep calm and turn the bottle with your left hand until the cork starts to release and thus you can guide it out with perfect control. If you have done it all to the letter, your ears would meet with an enchanting poof and not a loud pop!!

Why the bother do you ask?

Well, there is always a reason, isn't there?

When you release the cork rapidly and too much gas escapes the bubble count is greatly reduced!

Reason enough?

Raspberry fizzzzz

Huh? with a straw??

The term, elegantly wasted comes to mind....


No, madame, behave yourself , please!

There are uses for the corks as well as the metal encasing, as you can see.

A confession, would be in order, right about now...

I had a very obstinate cork to deal with on New Year's Day and no help was about. I wrestled the wayward cork into submission and it managed to launch itself right onto the roof! Good  glory, I was so relieved to have the bottle open that I clean forgot that a low bubble count would be  most embarrassing  and a total faux pas, hence the added raspberries to remedy the situation.




for all these gorgeous images

pour yourself another glass...

...and toast all the photographers...

and dear pinners who pinned them...

for our enjoyment....

Now, that that is done, you may regale me with your comments

Thank you for your company!

Who ever said, it's not okay to drink champagne on your own?

Linking with:

French Inspiration here at The French Cupboard
Potpourri Friday with Honey at 2805 here
Inspiration Friday ay The Picket Fence here
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home here
Vintage Inspiration Friday At Common Ground here

Mosaic Monday at Little Red House here