‘Spread the Love’ – Free Valentine’s Day Cards

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It’s almost Valentine’s Day, but there’s a good chance you haven’t got anything for your partner/crush/loved one yet and time’s running out! But do not worry! Your card at least is sorted!
Simply download and print a Bovril, Marmite or Vegemite spread quirky card to “spread the love” and gift to your lover/loved one this V-Day.
Inside message: “Happy Valentine’s Day!

1W2W3W4W5W©Amy Slatem 2019. For personal use only.

HOW TO DOWNLOAD:

Click on the card name below (it will open in a new tab) > (right click) save image as > then print as A4 (don’t fit to page).
1. BOVRIL
2. MARMITE
3. VEGEMITE

HOW TO FOLD:

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  1. Fold A4 printed page in half horizontally.
  2. Fold in half again so the Spread is on the front. Open the card and write your message on the right inside page.
  3. Tadaah! You’re done. Now pop it in an envelope. 

 

Please do not edit, re-purpose or sell these files or printouts. For personal use only.
©Amy Slatem 2019.

But please do show me your finished printed cards by tagging me on Instagram @shmaymee.

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Aus Chap #2 – Settling Down Under

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#2 /  SETTLING DOWN UNDER /
Sept – Dec 2018

I’ve been back in Aus for 3 months now since returning in September from a good time at home. During my “holiday” (well not really, as a freelancer the work travels with you) I was lucky to be home for my brother’s, gran’s and mom’s birthdays as well as my best friend’s 30th, in the space of 2 months. This time was also spent packing. Oh the joys. By the end of the lengthy process of sorting, donating, chucking out and packing I was able to edit my belongings down to just 2 [big] boxes… not including clothes.

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BOX SAGA:
After getting a good quote from U-Bag (and great service – free advertising here!), my boxes were finally picked up in PE to arrive at Sydney airport the week I was set to land. To collect my boxes myself from the freight terminal on the other side was half the price of them delivering to my door. Had I known just how much effort and inconvenience I was in for, I might have chosen differently. Getting to the airport is an effort on its own – a 40min drive in bottleneck traffic (due to roadworks) with tolls ($$$). But I thought that’d be the hardest part and I’d just grab my boxes and go. WRONG.

Having made the trip on the public holiday just after the boxes arrived (after phoning to check all was open), we were told customs was not actually open once we arrived and we would have to come back during the week. This meant I’d have to do that drive by myself, the ever nervous driver I am at the best of times.

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And so I did. The next day I journeyed back. The entire feat took 5 hours! It involved having to wear a “high-vis” orange vest while getting lost in the freight terminal area, dodging trucks and trying to find the Customs House (which has 0 signage and about a km from the Qantas office where the boxes were held, over a bridge and far away), signing customs forms (and luckily passing without inspections, so don’t expect to see me on Border Security…), returning to the freight terminal with the paperwork and another confusing wait as to where to collect my boxes. And once I finally had my damn boxes I was relieved but $270 short after having to pay for handling fees and storage (separate from the shipping costs) and still had the stress of the drive back. P.S. I (and the car) made it back in one piece in the end.

ADELAIDE:
The box saga wasn’t even the first adventure since arriving back in the country! The evening after I landed (and 4 days before the box debacle started) we set off on a 14 hour drive down to Adelaide in South Australia for the long weekend, with my jet lag in tow. The point of the trip was for my bf to tie up loose ends (having lived there for 4 years before moving to Sydney this year, just before I came to visit initially), to see his friends and for me to experience a new city, his old city.

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Adelaide is great from what I experienced during our short stay. Smaller and less overwhelming than Sydney, with great pub streets and a much younger chilled out vibe. There is lots of street art around, pretty parks and a tram system. On Sunday we did a brief tour of Hahndorf, the little German village just outside the city hidden among the green hills, before the hectic 14 hour drive back up to New South Wales. The long drive home is inland so it’s basically dry flat stretches of roads dotted with kangaroo corpses. Because there wasn’t much else to do, we played Count-the-Kangaroos and came to an average of 3.6 dead kangaroos/1 km over the particularly bad stretch. #funfact

Fairlight Place:
About a month after I’d unpacked my boxes and finally had some of my home comforts up around the house, we found out we’d be moving the next month. And so the spring cleaning, chucking out and packing began once again. Back into boxes. Back into limbo. Shed

Because we had to be out of the house a few weeks before we could move into our new place, we had to make a plan by living in a Quest hotel apartment while our stuff was moved into storage. Having room service everyday has been pretty sweet though. 

Quest

01/12 – BLUE MOUNTAINS:
I’ve really been wanting to do a Blue Mountains trip, so one Saturday morning we decided to make it happen. The drive was about an hour and a half, and once you finally exit the city the scenery becomes wonderful as you drive past flowers and mountains and pass many little towns boasting antiques and art stores. We’ve already decided to come back soon and stop at these treasures as well as find the Jenolan Caves and explore more. But for our first trip to the Blue Mountains we decided to go the tourist route and pay for an entrance to Scenic World ($43). Blue-Mountains.jpg

This gave us an all-day pass to ride the Skyway and Cableway (basically cable cars), the Railway (the steepest passenger railway in the world at a 52° incline) and then access to all the walkways around the park. We decided to just choose one of many paths to hike after catching the Skyway high above the mountains over to the other side of the cliff. We ended up heading down into fern-covered subtropical forest paths with waterfalls and rivers (and very few tourists). As someone who isn’t such a fan of the sun, this was perfect as it was all in the shade and cooler than being at the top of the mountains. Of course, when you go down, you have to go up again… and tackle a lot of stairs. We were also able to get many shots of the iconic Three Sisters rock formations at various angles throughout the walk. We shall be back soon for more!

For now, we are getting ready to fly home to SA for the short Christmas break and back to move into the new apartment to start 2019. 

 

 

Aus Chap #1 – Sydney Saunter

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(
Aus Chap. = ‘Australian Chapter’ [of my life; of this journal; or Aus Chap = my bf.)

#1 /  SYDNEY SAUNTER /
May – Aug 2018

This blog post has been sitting in my drafts with a title, a few edited pictures and a blinking cursor since early-May. At the time of titling it, I was living out my two-month plan to visit my boyfriend in Sydney (from the end of March) with a flight scheduled home for late May. However, the title should rather stand as “Sydney Snowball” as things escalated pretty quickly since then to me pushing the flight back to July, applying for a long-term visa and booking a one way ticket back from South Africa in September.

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So that’s the low down if you’ve been sceptically following my seemingly never-ending holiday Down Under on Instagram (and now in SA, as it’s already August and I’ve delayed this post by a whole country…). Maybe you were thinking that I seemed way too comfortable and had
surely overstayed that flimsy 3-month tourist visa, and wtf…bought a car there?! Yip, yip and yip. (I’m on a bridging visa now btw – if any authorities are reading this).

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But to start from the beginning, this was my first time going to Australia. I left SA end of  March just a month after returning from my year in Korea to experience a new country, making it my forth country to be in for 2018 (Korea, Japan, SA and now Aus). 

^ at the time of that post, it was A$1=R9.08. Today (25/08) it’s R10.45. 😦

Coins
^ The coin proportions feel so off. Cents vs dollars.

During my stay, however, no one offered me shrimp on the barbie, I hadn’t noticed kangaroo steak on any menu, I’d seen ONE man dressed like Crocodile Dundee (in the mall, and very out of place) and yes, a lot of people do say ‘mate’. And ‘fair dinkum’. And go to the ‘dunny’ to pee.

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Ah, Vegemite! This stuff has been around for 95 years, and I didn’t know it was such a thing in Aus thing till I got there. I’ve tried it, but Bovril all the way for me, thanks. Although the smoothie bar, Boost Juice recently released a Vegemite Smoothie . It also has banana, chocolate and yoghurt and other good stuff in it too though, so all good – I guess I’ll have to give it a go.

TOURISTY THINGS:Sydney-Opera-House

What’s Sydney without its iconic Opera House? Ok, quite a lot from what I’ve since found out but it’s obviously top of the list of the first things to see when you get there. Although it’s an impressive building, I was actually more impressed by its location at Circular Quay, with its flurry of ferries and the magnificent Harbour Bridge stretching across in the background. The Royal Botanic Gardens are right there too, offering a scenic and peaceful meander through the beautifully kept gardens right next to the water. I have yet to find Mrs Macquarie’s Chair which apparently is at the point that offers some of the best views of the harbour.

I arrived in Australia in March with a stronger idea of what the outback might look like than the cities, and when imaging Sydney I just saw the Opera House and Bondi Beach. Klaar. So I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the architecture (particularly in the CBD, older areas) is beautifully Victorian and Edwardian styled (and many more).

Cathedral
The first time walking in the city while passing statues, parks, old-style detailed buildings and lampposts I felt like I could be in London. This style fades out the further you go from the city centre unfortunately, but it’s beautiful and impressive every time I go into the city.

ZOO ZOO KANGAROO:ZooIt took me over a month after I arrived to finally see a kangaroo for the first time ever. A MONTH! And we had to go to the zoo to do so. Guess they don’t roam the streets like expected (this is a joke). The Taronga Zoo is across the harbour from the Opera House, so you can catch a ferry to the other side, which I really enjoyed. This also allows for the zoo, in particular the giraffes (not just because of their long necks), to have an impressive view of the Opera House, the bridge and the city skyline from across the water. I also got to see some koalas, wombats, echidnas and Tasmanian Devils for the first time.
P.s. Almost R500 for a day ticket into the zoo…

PUBLIC TRANSPORT:

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I find figuring out an unfamiliar country’s public transport system rather exciting, but also a bit overwhelming and frustrating. In Sydney, the trains (which are double decker) are really reliable/on time, but I’ve found the buses can be a bit hit or easily missed. And not quite cheap either. 

ROADTRIPPIN’:COastal

One weekend we decided to take a road trip south of Sydney along the coast in a general direction and see where we ended up. We stumbling upon quiet and beautiful viewpoints above the ocean, whale watching points (the whales were on winter break though), a blow hole in the rocks and small holiday towns with quirky shops and paths along the water’s edge with pelicans and stingrays. On the return trip just before taking the road home, we found a detour along a “Tourist Drive Route 9”. And suddenly we were snaking along a narrow road among green rolling hills and farm lands filled with cows while the sun slowly began to retreat on our spontaneous day out of the city.

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VIVID SYDNEY: the light show
This is a yearly festival that lights up the city (in and around the Circular Quay area and a few places beyond) with light installations, music and food events. This extends to The Rocks which is the historic and touristy precinct with restaurants, bars and shops in the old buildings along cobbled roads and through old archways. Very English feeling.

vivid.jpgParticularly impressive (as well as the many tall buildings being lit up with moving colourful displays) is the whole of the Opera House’s exterior painted in light and moving images that change designs often. You can get a great view of it from the other side of the quay. Despite the rain on the night we chose to go, we saw a lot and enjoyed it. Because we live far south, we had booked a hotel a short walk from the main event so we could enjoy the festivities till late. And by late, we found out is only 11pm when bars start closing. 11pm. During a festival period in the main part of a huge city…?

INCREASED MOBILITY:
Living in the spread out suburbs means that running simple errands or going to the mall takes double the time and planning when you don’t have a car and need to rely on the bus which comes once an hour. And so, after much scouring on car sites online and used-dealerships in person, my little baby was found hidden among many cars. I’ve had a car crush on the Fiat 500 since 2011 when I first saw it in a series I was watching at the time. And now she’s miiiiine 😀
Car

FYI: I can drive with my SA license as long as it’s current and has no suspensions etc. 

CHAPTER #2 to follow once I return/move to Sydney at the end of September and get some adventures going. 

Toilet Humour – FREE PRINTABLES

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My boyfriend and I decided the toilet room’s walls needed to be filled, so we came up with some cheeky music-inspired sayings to illustrate.

But why keep it to ourselves? If you fancy some toilet humour for your own WC, click on the “DOWNLOAD HERE” link below each artwork for the high-res version, right click on the image in the new window and click “Save image as…”.
Best printed at A6 or A5 size.

The originals were painted in Winsor & Newton ultramarine ink.

Tinkle-Town
^ Tinkle TownDOWNLOAD HERE

Poop-City
^ Poop CityDOWNLOAD HERE

Plop-n-Roll
^ Plop ‘n RollDOWNLOAD HERE

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Illustrated Travel Journal: Part 12

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I know I’d been counting down my time left in Korea since about 6 months in, from then already dreading the impending end. And soon those 6 months quickly became 3, then 1 month, and that became 1 week, then suddenly 1 day. And now I write this after a blur of almost 3 weeks post-Korea from my bed in South Africa wondering where my year in kimchi-land actually went and if it all even happened at all! So, while I fend off the already-present nostalgia, here is my final chapter from my last month in SK.

Mon 05/02/2018 – This one time I was sick. For like a day.
Okay, so I’d only really been sick once in Korea and it was just a couple months into my contract and I should’ve gone to a doctor but things were still rather overwhelming back then so I didn’t. Fast forward 10 months to winter, a sore throat and last minute curiosity, I decided to use this as an opportunity to visit a Korean doctor. And an ear-nose-and-throat doc no less. But more for the experience than the meds. 1

With a recommendation from friends for a nice doc, I rocked up with no appointment and waited about 10 min to see Dr Park. Less than 5 min, a quick chat, check, scope down my throat later I was done and given a 3 day prescription and an invoice for W5000 (like R50!). At the pharmacy they then individually package your pills into morning, noon and night packets per day (fig. 1). So easy and inexpensive! Overall review: unnecessary – maybe. An experience – worth it! 

Wednes 14/02: Galentines Day
When you’re single or can’t be with your bae on Valentines Day, you can have a Galentines Day with your besties and go shopping, beer drinking, curry consuming and beer ponging. On a week night! Yay! ❤
(P.s I miss you guys already! </3 )
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Mon 19/02: The final week
My last week in Korea only had 2 days at school luckily. Monday was my final teaching day (ever!) and I had 5 classes of gr 4 so I drew a tree on the board, gave each kid a leaf-shaped sticky note and I told them I was “LEAF-ing” so they could write a little goodbye note and stick it on the tree. The joke was 90% wasted on them. Sigh. But I got a few creative or cute notes worth keeping and some soppy goodbye hugs. Sweet, man.
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Tuesday, being the closing ceremony day, meant we left at lunch time for our final teachers’ dinner/farewell for a large number of teachers changing schools. This as always, was filled with a lot of food (marinated BBQ pork this time – SO good!) and soju (mostly thanks to my gr5 co, Minkyung/my soju partner in crime over the year with Ms Min (crazy, fun and mother of 2) close behind if not the instigator as well as pourer-of-her-own-drinks. Of course my luck in the seating arrangement was me being placed right next to the principal and vice with the “higher powers” around them. A couple of hours and soju later, I had to say my final goodbyes to 2 of 3 of my co-teachers as we parted ways for the last time.

Friday 23/02: Ms Kang’s lunch
2 days before departure.
As my main co-teacher, personal co-ordinator, Korean translator and teacher of gr 3-4, Ms Kang and I spent the most time together over the year and she kindly invited me to her house to cook for me as a farewell. I got to meet her 7 year old daughter (who was super cute but got frustrated that I couldn’t understand her speaking in Korean) and her husband. My last dose of Korean hospitality.


Sunday 25/02: Departure Day4b
It arrived. And so at 9am I left my apartment for the last time, with two bloody heavy bags in tow to the airport for my flight at 12:45. Yes, I was early. Very early. But the inevitable had to begin at some point, so I’d rather be early than to be left behind. I’d expected the whole leaving thing to feel a lot more final. But it felt so normal. So unexpecting of the finality of it all. After a 2 hour-ish flight I landed in Beijing ready for an 8 hour layover – only to find the wifi would not let me connect. Thanks, ma’China!5

In that time I bought some Yaun (¥), some coffee, drew a bit and walked in circles for 8 hours in preparation for my impending 14.5 hour sitting test on the flight to Joburg.6
One hour into my longest flight (ever!) and I was already questioning how I was going to make it through this! Luckily I managed to sleep through a lot of it thanks to my packed necessities:7
My exhaustion was then met by an awful experience in OR Tambo at Joburg with delayed bags, rude staff and nearly missing my connecting flight due to the short layover time… and some tears, but I made it to PE in the end! Finally home in South Africa after 32hours since leaving my Korean home, and I miss it already…8

Thanks for scrolling!
This is sadly the final instalment of my South Korean Travel Journal.
New adventures are in the pipeline though…
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Illustrated Travel Journal: Part 11

Part-11-Header.jpgWith a visa in my passport, some yen in my purse, a small carry-on bag as my luggage and a birthday to be had, I set off on my first Japanese adventure!1_noted
Ok, so my trip was solely to Tokyo and only 5 nights long with the first 2 days being a solo adventure to begin with. But yay! Tokyo in winter! (which was surprisingly warmer than Busan).

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Getting from the airport to your accommodation is usually the biggest stress, but I made it, having pre-booked everything though (plan-a-lot-Amy). But then there’s still that moment (or many) when you come out of the subway and slowly do a 360 on the spot trying to orientate yourself in a foreign place while your internal GPS keeps saying “Connection lost. Connection lost. Turn back now.” But then you pull out your phone and things make sense. I don’t know how old-school travelers used to manage before Google Maps. 
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My hostel’s location was great, overlooking the beautiful Ueno Park which includes dams with ducks and also the zoo, and made for an easy landmark for getting back to it. The downside to the hostel was the strict policy for silence within the dorms which seemed to carry up to the common room and kitchen which was filled with people and awkward silence. No chill.  

DAY 1 – 21/01: Akihabara Anime District
I guess the advantage of not really knowing too much about a city is being able to be so much more surprised by what you aren’t expecting. I don’t know much about Anime or that Akihabara is like the homeland of it, but I went to explore with an open mind. I first got “lost” in the 9-floors-of-everything electronics store of Yodobashi which proved to be a sensory overload with so much stuff everywhere! I did stumble upon the Wacom tablet section and found a stationery level. I spent a good 6 hours in the area exploring the comic book stores, vintage console shops and the many arcade/ SEGA buildings (I had a go on Mario Karts too), found an artisanal market and tried my first bowl of ramen in Japan – food heaven!4_Akihabara

DAY 2 – 22/01: Asakusa and snow
I explored what I’ve decided is one of my favourite areas, Asakusa, an area with what felt like mazes of traditional-feeling street shopping with interesting curios and food. There is also the beautiful Sensoji Temple when you make it out of the maze. I even saw some (very cold looking) people dressed in kimono.5_AsakusaI also got to experience Tokyo in sleet and then snow. It’s the most snow I’ve been in before, including walking about 10km over the course of the day in pretty miserable constant windy snow-stormy weather. Despite this unpleasant weather I pushed on and made it to the Ginza area and through more angry weather, later made it to Tsukiji Fish Market (although mostly closed as it’s primarily a morning market and it was well after noon already for me). But I made it, and by the time I finally got back to the hostel all cold and wet, the city was falling deeper into a stormy night white landscape.

DAY 3 – 23/01: Biiiiirthday
I’m officially in my late 20s now! But what a way to turn a year older – welcoming in the new day by sipping on sake with a friend who had just joined me, and then waking up to a magical sunny and glistening Japanese winter wonderland outside. The difference in weather from the day before was amazing!
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Besides the rather treacherously icy walkways, it was the perfect setting to visit the white Sinjuku Gyeon National Garden to eat birthday cake while attempting to walk through snowy slosh. I also got to see Tokyo’s snow covered rooftops and parks from the 42nd floor of the Metro Government Building. Our busy day also included visiting the Meiji Shrine, finally going to Harajuku (much anticipated!) and sipping on birthday cocktails in this iconic quirky “kawaii” fashion area before heading to The Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku for a crazy show. This was 90 mins of bright lights, robots, large floats, loud music, people in weird costumes, dancing, singing and corny story lines all within a rather tiny area but totally worth it. A great strange Japanese experience for the books. 

DAY 4 – 24/01: Final fun 
My last full day in Tokyo was spent at the zoo in the morning (I got to see my first panda! As in a panda, he had no friends) before heading to the Shibuya Crossing to walk across one of the 5 cross paths of the famously busy intersection (to the other side of the road – a bit of an overhype but a must do). 7_ZooWe chose to walk from Shibuya to Harajuku which was a great experience that would have been missed had we taken the train. Along the way we found the Disney Store which looked like a castle and further on we found an Alice in Wonderland-themed store hidden through a tiny door into 3 floors of Alice-themed decorations and things. Last stop: Harajuku (for one more time) for more street exploring and shopping. My Harajuku trophy was a “Temaki Cats” shirt with cats in sushi hand rolls on it. I’m chuffed. There was also a large H&M sale on, so that’s one way to use up left over yen notes. Ching ching shop shop. 

After my whole [awesome] trip, I unfortunately came back with 0 beer labels for my journal. Not that I didn’t drink any beer, but all the convenience stores seemed to stock (besides seriously impressive pre-made convenience meals) were cans only. No labeled bottles. So I left with just some sake in pretty boxes. 

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Thanks for scrolling!
The final instalment of Part 12 to follow soon… Sad face.
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South African Flower Cards ~ FREE PRINTABLES

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Each card was lovingly hand-drawn and painted before being digitised and uploaded for you to print at home for a loved one. Choose from four beautiful South African flowers with the option of a special wish on the front of the card, or opt for a blank template to write your own message or your loved one’s name. Folding instructions below. 

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©Amy Slatem 2018. For personal use only. 

Special Message Cards:

Print the card to suit the special occasion.

To download:
Click on the card name below (will open in a new tab) > (right click) save image as > then print as A4 (don’t fit to page)

Blank Message Cards:

Write your own message or loved one’s name in flower’s banner.

To download:
Click on the card name below (will open in a new tab) > (right click) save image as > then print as A4 (don’t fit to page)

HOW TO FOLD:

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  1. Fold A4 printed page in half horizontally.
  2. Fold in half again so the flower is on the front. Open the card and write your message on the right inside page.
  3. Tadaah! You’re done. Now pop it in an envelope. 

Please do not edit, re-purpose or sell these files or printouts. For personal use only.
©Amy Slatem 2018.

But please do show me your finished printed cards by tagging me on Instagram @shmaymee.