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Bathroom #2 Redo

bathroom reno

When we bought our house 10 years ago, we fell in love with the trailing morning glory on the pergalo and the sweet little wooden playhouse outside.  We loved the space, the open planning and the number of rooms.  What we didn’t fall in love with were the bathrooms.  They were clean and neat, but dated and showing some wear and tear.  10 years on and the wear and tear was threatening large bills in the form of cracked cisterns and peeling ceilings.  So we were so very glad when our budget finally allowed us some renovation space.  We started with the kids’ bathroom (see Kids Bathroom Renovation) and then, after a two week break, started in on our bathroom.  What was to take 3 weeks took almost 5 thanks to the shoddy building work of the original extensions – we had falling down internal walls and crumbling plaster to deal with!  But, Ladder and Chisel did a superb job and we now get to enjoy a beautiful bathroom. And here’s the proof of the transformation:

Before (as in the day before the demolition of the old bathroom)…


that’s our shower floor in the photo below – believe it or not, it’s actually clean as a whistle.  That’s permanent staining.  Yes.  Ew.


Mildew build-up on the sagging ceiling, peeling paint on the floor…


hideous pink tiles on the walls…


honestly, just gross…




gross, gross, gross…


that’s our leaky toilet there… I wasn’t kidding about the gross factor…



Demolition time!




Finally!  AFTER:

Like the kids’ bathroom, I wanted something shabby chic with a Victorian-Modern edge to it.  Craig was more partial to grey, so I tried to incorporate a grey-beige colour using mosiac travertine tiles and beigey-grey wall paint. 



Once again, we sourced our bathroom furniture from Ruby’s Cottage – I found the cupboard above the toilet a few months before we started our renovations and I bought it with the view to put it exactly where it now is – but before I had any other ideas and before asking Craig!  But, it has worked out beautifully.


One of my favourite pieces in our bathroom was the conversion of this old kitchen dresser:


into this beautiful bathroom dresser:


Ruby’s Cottage did it up for me all shabby chic, replacing the glass doors with mirror glass, adding some tongue-in-groove boards in places and separating the top section from the bottom section with an added shelf.  Unfortunately, when it first arrived, the shelf covered over the taps.  But Ian, owner of Ruby’s, kindly came to our house and jigsawed a curved cut-out that our painter then touched up, creating a beautiful final piece.



Once it was all completed, it was just a matter of a few finishing touches, like these photo frames:


I think that they’re a bit too fussy, so I’m not convinced they were the best idea, but I love the little cameos of our family taken from a photo shoot by Susie Leblond in April 2013.


I so loved using these handles in the kids’ bathroom that I just had to use them again in ours.  So beautiful…


Mr Price has been kind to me and my tastes lately – the heart and towel hooks and towels particularly:



Oh, and this cute little spice box that really belongs in a kitchen but looks so nice on my window sill!


My mom’s friend, Jenny Book, makes beautiful pottery.  This is one of her pieces.  Love it.


More beautiful pottery, this time from my mom-in-law – so pretty.


More angles:


Our builder (Jerome from Ladder and Chisel) retrofitted our drawers for us, providing space for the basin in the unit, but still allowing us the use of the drawers.  Love that!  Thanks Jerome!



This panoramic shot from my phone includes the floors – we went with stick-on sheet vinyl again.  Cheaper than most flooring options and yet so beautiful and WARM underfoot.  It looks like wood and goes so beautifully with our bathroom.  It’s finally a pleasure to use this bathroom!



Sonlight Giveaway $25!

It’s getting to that time of year again when we homeschooling parents start thinking about next year.  What do we want to do with our kids?  What programmes should we try?  Curricula?

Well, as most of everyone knows by now, we love Sonlight.  It is the programme that got us homeschooling in the first place and one of the reasons we keep homeschooling.  Sonlight is a huge part of what inspired me to write my first novel, Seekers of the Lost Boyand has been the backbone of our homeschooling experience for the last 7 years.

Along with the celebrations of my book, I thought it would be awesome to celebrate Sonlight’s role by sharing the love! (keep reading…)SeekersSonlight giveaway

So here’s the deal.  I’m giving away a $20 gift voucher to Sonlight.com.  The contest is open to ANYONE in the world who opens a new account with Sonlight.  Together with Sonlight’s $5 discount for all new accounts with a first purchase of $50 or more, you could have a total of $25 off your first purchase!

To enter, follow these steps:

  1. Head to sonlight.com and sign up for a new account.  In the “referred by a friend?” section paste this code: TH20169508 (this automatically earns you $5 off your first purchase of $50 or more, whether or not you win this giveaway)
  2. Once you’ve done this, then head back here and fill in the form below.  By filling out the Rafflecopter form below (can’t see it?  You can also find it here: http://bit.ly/18jsFqS)  you’ll gain one entry into the competition.  Filling out the form unlocks other entry options, so make sure you do it!
  3. Share the love with your friends by clicking on the sharing icons below!
  4. AND if you want the opportunity to win 1 of 3 Kindle versions of Seekers of the Lost Boy, then click here for more giveaway fun: http://tarynhayes.com/giveaway-seekers-on-kindle/

Competition is open until the end of July 2013!  All the best, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Seekers Cover (5)PS – for all those new to this website and my book, Seekers of the Lost Boy, here’s the skinny: Seekers is a youth novel that follows a young homeschooling family on an incredible journey.  It begins on Muizenberg beach in Cape Town when 12-year-old Simon finds a message in a bottle at the water’s edge.  It contains a letter written by another 12-year-old boy, Joseph, from 30 years ago.  The letter intrigues Simon and his siblings, twins Nic and Kim, so they set out to find Joseph.  Their journey takes them into their country’s apartheid past, focusing on forced removals from District Six and causes the family to answer a few unexpected questions.  Read more about it on my website: http://tarynhayes.com or on Amazon

Sonlight Curriculum

SAfm interview with Nancy Richards

(audio clip embedded at end of article)

This part Sunday ended up being quite an eventful one for us.  What with it being Father’s Day  and Youth Day, it was already a special day.  But add in a whole lot of gastro for one little boy in our family and my first live interview on national radio, and you’ve got a real mix of a day!  And to think how I agonised over the decision in the first place!

source: wikimedia.orgThe original plan had been that Craig and I would go through to the SABC studios in Seapoint.  I’d do the half-hour or so interview, and then head back to the family lunch at Craig’s folks’ place.  Then Sam got sick.  So, Craig stayed home with the boys, and the girls came along to the studios to experience the other side of the radio broadcast.

And what fun it was!  They took dozens of photos and a few video clips, including a few selfies!

IMG_1896They got to see the sound engineer at work, learn what a “chill room” is and see what a studio looks like.  With our president doing his annual Youth Day speech, we had some time to chat to our interviewer, Nancy Richards of SAfm’s Literature show (amongst others she does in the week).  She interviewed the girls, off air, and they were delighted when she mentioned them being in the studio, on air later on.


IMG_1874Nancy was a great interviewer and presenter.  I think that it’s always tough to interview someone you’ve never met, know very little about and is quite possibly not from the same philosophical viewpoint as yourself.  I imagine that it must take quite a bit of talent to ask great questions that draw out great answers, giving the listeners something interesting to engage with. 

I had been feeling quite nervous about the whole thing initially.  But, after our off-air chat beforehand, my nerves faded and the only strangeness lurking at the beginning of the on-air interview was the awkwardness of getting into the flow of conversation, given that I’d never before had to speak into a radio mike, wear fancy headphones and answer questions for just the one person in front of me, but also, really, for a few million people listening.  But Nancy was so easy to talk to, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The reason for the interview was to highlight my book, Seekers of the Lost Boy.  Since it is set in South Africa and about young kids, I imagine that the producer of the show figured it would be a fitting story for the Youth Day show.   It’s not often that authors get this call, and so it was a huge privilege and opportunity to promote Seekers on national radio.  We had a great chat about the book, but, with the protagonists being homeschooled kids, and myself being a homeschooling mom, our conversation quickly went the homeschooling route.  And what fun that was!

I was able to chat about some of my most favourite subjects, like Sonlight, Footprints, Charlotte Mason, literature-based education and more.  It was such a wonderful opportunity to speak about homeschooling things in a positive light.  Of course, I have gone over the interview and picked up on the things I wish I had said and hadn’t said.  I would’ve liked to have included everything there is to say in answer to every question – I did feel as if I was only able to cover a small portion of the reality in each answer.  And, I do cringe at my many moments of inarticulate umming, ahhing and stumbling over and grasping at words!  But, the reality of the situation dictates that I couldn’t have changed it in any way.  Yes, I know I could have said a whole lot a whole lot better, I’ve had to remind myself to cut myself some slack – it’s radio after all, with totally unprepared questions and I don’t have the advantage of time to think, in the same way that I do with writing.  mostly I think that it went well. 

If you’d like to listen, click the embedded audio below, or if you’re reading from RSS or email, then click this link: http://youtu.be/dl5lVTUuMic

this post first featured here: http://tarynhayes.com/safm-interview-with-nancy-richards-2/

The Vine School


Yesterday we went to school.

Now, that’s a pretty ordinary sentence in most households, but in ours it’s most unusual.  That’s because we homeschool and have homeschooled since day dot.

But, yesterday, we went to school. That is, the girls and I.  The reason?  Well, there is a fabulous little school that’s getting it.  “It” being education.  And we were there to see how the school could partner with homeschoolers in this thing called education.

The Vine grew out of a lovely little school called John Wycliffe Christian school.  It was the school where I spent my (short) teaching career.  It was the very reason I started to teach in the first place, with Mrs Lynne Weber being the teacher I most admired.  She is a brilliant teacher and gets kids.  At JWCS, she not only had them learning in a fun an interesting way, she also had relationship with each child.  And they responded well to her.

From JWCS came The Vine.  A school that follows the Ambleside way.  Ambleside is a philosophy of education based on early 1900s educationalist, Charlotte Mason’s approach to teaching and learning.  It’s also the approach that our homeschooling experiences are based on.  Learning through literature.  Learning through narration.  Learning through living.  The Vine has been operating under the Ambleside way for almost a year.  And it’s revolutionised the school…

So, we went along to visit.  The girls went to enjoy the experience of a classroom.  So they got introduced to the other kids in the school as the special guests.  The school kids had expected them the week before, so by the time we arrived, they were all very excited to meet the “new girls”. 


I got to visit a couple of classes and see Ambleside education in action.  I was impressed with the narration I saw the children enjoying, both in this Grade 1 class…


…and in the Grade 7 class I visited.  Character development is an integral part of the curriculum, that seamlessly filters into the day-to-day lessons.  I was also impressed with the level of handwriting!  The grade 7 class enjoyed a half-hour discussion about South African history, and then had to narrate back what they had learned in writing.  I walked through the class and was astounded to see just about perfect handwriting for every single kid!  When I chatted to the teacher, he told me that a year ago their writing was nothing like this, but with Ambleside comes an expectation of neatness.  The kids have risen to the expectation and along with neat handwriting has come pride in their work like never before. 

But far and away, I was impressed with the enthusiasm of the teachers!  Those I spoke to were clearly sold out on the Ambleside way.  They all come from regular government school backgrounds, but have been in Ambleside training for the past year.  What they’ve experienced since switching has blown them away.  Kids are asking for homework, they are loving what they’re learning so much.  Children are loving maths and understanding it.  The Vine has discovered children who love learning.  And children are loving learning the Ambleside way.


After visiting some classes, I met with the school director, the principal and the marketing manager.  And the discussion was hugely encouraging. The Vine wants to offer homeschoolers opportunities that they can’t necessarily get elsewhere: extra murals, events and more.  Their ideas are exciting and the future options are even more so.

The Vine is the school I’d seriously consider sending my kids to, if we ever chose to stop homeschooling. 

Homeschooling families in Cape Town – The Vine will be sending out an invite soon to all homeschooling families to come to the school for a meeting to discuss ways they can serve us and how we can be involved with them.  So, pencil in July 18th on your calendars!     

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