Archive | October, 2013

Social media metrics discussed at PR-Net at Ambassador Hotel

31 Oct

Matt Barclay of Meltwater shared his views on the essential insights that social media metrics can deliver. We first met for drinks and canapes at The Salt Vodka Bar, Victoria Road, Bantry Bay before using The Ambassador Hotel’s Alpha Conference Room.

JP and I then had a tip top #LCHF #Paleo dinner at The Ambassador’s new restaurant, Koi. Here are some images from the evening:

Calling my ancestors

24 Oct

We have just returned from the most spectacular visit to Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve in the Cederberg mountains. Climbing to the rock art sites, some over 10, 000 years old, I felt a profound connection to early man.

My ancestors have been on my mind recently. Here is a picture of me taken in the road where my grandfather was born in Scotland. I’ve written a piece about it which you can read here.

A rainy day in the Gorbals where Nathan Moses Berkman was born.

A rainy day in the Gorbals where Nathan Moses Berkman was born.

I can see all things better now

16 Oct

So frustrated with glasses falling off my face while bending forward or jogging I resolved to have corrective Lasik surgery in the hope that my days wearing glasses might, finally, be over.

Turns out, according to Panorama based ophthalmologist Dr Carina Slazus, that I am not the ideal candidate for Lasik surgery and would probably not be satisfied with the results. At 45 and with my level of astigmatism, wearing glasses will, according to Dr Slazus, be best for the next decade.

Spectacle Warehouse at Willowbridge, Tyger Valley is my go-to place for eyewear. The trend nowadays is towards Lifestyle Dispensing rather than simply testing a client’s eyes and selling them a pair of spectacles. This, according to optometrist Sonja Moolman is most relevant when older (that’s me) clients visit their practice.

Rudy Project sunglasses darken on demand and can contain prescription lenses as an insert.

Rudy Project sunglasses darken on demand and can contain prescription lenses as an insert.

“There are times when a two-in-one shampoo that cleans and conditions the hair is perfectly fine but other times a different product, like anti-tangle or anti-dandruff is needed. The same applies to spectacles.  Multi-focus lenses can be thought of as the two-in-one shampoo but, like for people who like to read lying in bed, will not be as effective as just a pair that addresses reading.” Moolman, who lives in Durbanville, says that bowlers need to wear different specs from people who play golf.

“We spend a long time interviewing our clients to be sure they we are dispensing the right product for their needs. One’s depth perception can be compromised with certain multi or bifocus lenses so if we know the client is a bowler, for example we will recommend an appropriate pair of specs.  This doesn’t just apply to older people. We recently had a brother and sister who needed glasses. Both were musical but he played the violin and she the piano. Knowing this meant we were able to adjust their spectacles accordingly as the sheet music for people who play the violin is considerably further away from the eyes than music on a piano is.”

After shedding more than 70kg my eye script and needs changed. “As someone how now uses a mountain bike and hikes extensively you needed multifocal’s for every-day use. We also recommended a pair of Rudy Project sunglasses that have a corrective lens insert that can easily be removed”, Moolman says of my specs. “This way you wear the Rudy Project with the bi-focal lenses when on the bike or climbing the mountain but can also use single-day contact lenses when being on the beach or at the gym and the Rudy Project just for sun protection. None of us has only one pair of shoes but we seem to think we should only have one pair of specs,” she says.


Ray Ban frames give me that Clark Kent look.

Moolman says they also have a range of underwater goggles fitted with prescription lenses. “Not only does having prescription lenses fitted to goggles mean you can see the fish better underwater but, more essentially, see how much oxygen you have left or at what depth you are diving. People who are birders will appreciate having binoculars that can be used with their specs on or those adjusted for their particular script,” she says.

“As a mother, one of the things I am most passionate about is our Vision & Learning Centre at Willowbridge and Access Park branches. Many children struggle to learn to read because they cannot see properly and we have a remedial teacher on our team that helps children with visual therapy and getting them used to specs,” she says.

Now, instead of no glasses I have two pairs and contact lenses but feel that I have better sight than ever before. Each day that I use the contact lenses they go into my eyes easier and quicker. As soon as I think about using lenses when at the gym the same way as pulling on gym shorts and shoes it easily becomes part of my routine. And, considering the price of eye surgery, a whole lot cheaper too.

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My connections to royalty run fairly deep.

7 Oct

Brilliant Table Mountain views from Den Anker.

Brilliant Table Mountain views from Den Anker.

We once slept in the same bed as The King of Sweden. Not, admittedly, at the same time, but immediately after, at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge in Sabi Sands reserve. Although not royalty by the blue-blood variety, we also spent the night in the same bed at The Vineyard Hotel as Stephen Hawking and found his pyjamas under the pillow when we retired. But, for now anyway, I’m writing about our connection to the Belgian royals.

In 2006 I was hired by Den Anker Belgian restaurant ahead of the now King, then Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium. It was the start of a long and happy association with mussels and chips, chips and mayo, Belgian beers and the now late Denis Bouckaert and his wife Lies. I also got to know restaurant manager Rejeanne and chef Doekler too who soon after married and now run Den Anker and a new Belgian beer import business. I digress.

As I hardly eat out nowadays and then only steak or high-protein foods with a side of low-carb vegetables it had been an age since I returned to eat again at Den Anker. When you sit there, with Table Mountain looming large through the pavilion-style building and seals and dragon-boat teams entertaining you in the water, it is easy to fall in love with all the good things about the Waterfront all over again.

We started with mussels but without the chips and Doekler sent a gift of seared tuna with sesame/wasabi dressing as a fore spice. The tuna is really fabulous but I’d forgotten about how much I love the way Den Anker prepares their mussels. The broth tastes like a herby sea. While they use beer in their recipe and, as you know, I don’t drink alcohol, I’m happy to order this dish as I think the alcohol evaporates during cooking.

Mussels without chips

Mussels without chips

The pepper fillet is a real classic and doesn’t need a sauce as the meat is encrusted with pepper but as I was feeling greedy I had the cream-based pepper sauce – the combination of which left my mouth zinging for more.

Perfect Pepper Steak at Den Anker

Perfect Pepper Steak at Den Anker

On chatting to Rejeanne after dinner she tells me that the Belgian Royal Family is returning to Cape Town and to Den Anker later this month. Seems the royals and I are as closely knit as I’d like to believe.

I wonder when Kate and Will might call to invite us to tea.