Last updated on Feb 1st, 2016 at 10:26 am

If you’re dying to do some exploring, check out these fascinating and beautiful towns – right on your doorstep! And if the budget forces you to stay home, you can update your home with some great DIY ideas.

Mooiloop! The Book, as seen on SABC 2

Mooiloop! The Book is based on the popular SABC 2 television series about local people, places and recipes from 39 small towns in SA.

I’ve just moved to the small town of Hartbeespoort (a new province and a completely new part of the world for me), and the pages on Harties in Mooiloop! are proving to be really useful. I’ve discovered my favourite place for moerkoffie and melktert, and have a list of things to do this weekend.

I’ve also always wanted to visit Prince Albert and Nieu-Bethesda and the pics and descriptions in the book have encouraged me to plan my next holiday.

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Admire some of the breathtaking, picturesque settings, take a walk down the streets and explore the shops and places of interest. Walk or drive to the township, feel its heartbeat. Be inspired by the artistic expression. Learn about the history, architecture and economic activities of these ‘dorpies’. Take a moment to enjoy a meal with a local flavour.

The book covers 39 small towns and villages in South Africa, introducing readers to local landmarks and also to the people who call these places home. Each visit focuses on a variety of lifestyle elements, including some local cooking, adventure, tourism and music. All aspects of the town are featured, from the unusual touristy spots to the townships and attractions in the surrounding areas.

A handy fast-facts panel features the nearest major road and airport, GPS coordinates, contact details of tourist information offices, and population.

Make Your Home: 75 Décor and Lifestyle Projects by Germarie Bruwer and Margaux Tait

Cover that boring old typist’s chair or make a lampshade out of a basket: there are some great DIY ideas in this book that I’m dying to try.

Germarie & Margaux created the website as a platform to inspire lovers of arts, crafts, décor and design. Now, they’ve put together the fantastic book Make Your Home (also available in Afrikaans as Skep ‘n Tuiste) which includes 75 décor and lifestyle projects.

Upcycling and repurposing are key terms in their design lexicon

The authors love taking everyday items and giving them a twist. As they say: “Trends come and go, but you have to live in your home, so make it a comfortable space that can grow and change with you.”

Through their innovative ideas, inspired use of materials and ability to reinvent ordinary objects, the authors present projects suitable for all craft and décor enthusiasts, from beginners to those with more advanced skills.

Whether you prefer to tackle projects with a handsaw and cordless drill, craft paper and scissors, or a sewing needle and delicate trim, there is something here for everyone

From storage solutions and paint techniques, through knitted rugs and upholstered seats, to stamped tiles and outdoor seating, there are ideas to brighten and enliven your home and outdoor spaces – all showcased via beautiful photography, concise instructions and an appealing design.


Make Your Home Top 5 DIY Tips – Homeology

Here are the authors’ top tips for tackling any home DIY and renovation project, big or small:

1) Gather you thoughts

It’s quite difficult to know what you want when you are not sure what you like. Start a favourites board on Pinterest or create a pin board with cut-outs of magazines so that you can get your thoughts together on a project. It’s great to see a whole room come together with a series of collected images!

2) Don’t be afraid!

There is such a wealth of information out there on anything from installing a kitchen sink to building a roof over your patio. If you do the right research, you really can achieve anything. A great inspiration guide like Make Your Home helps of course!

3) Define your style

The days of rigid style regulations are thankfully a thing of the past. As long as you are comfortable with the things you’ve put together, it can work. As Morris famously said: have nothing in your home that you do not find useful, or believe to be beautiful. Be confident in your choices and love your home.

4) You get what you pay for

Whether you are renovation an entire house or revamping an old chest of drawers, always choose the best materials that you can afford. When it comes to tools, paint and accessories, you certainly get what you pay for. So if you want it to last, work with trusted brand names even if they are more costly. And be sure to follow manufacturer’s instruction to guarantee optimal performance of your products.

5) Take your time

Don’t rush a project and compromise on quality – rather let it take longer and do it right! If things don’t set, dry or cure properly, it won’t last and all of your hard work would have been for nothing.

Above all, enjoy the process – your handiwork should make you proud!

About the authors

Germarie is an interior designer, DIY fanatic and blogger. Margaux is a décor and lifestyle stylist, graphic designer, photographer and entrepreneur. Together they created (which won the award for Best Arts & Crafts Blog at the South African Blog Awards 2014). This is their first book.