Category: Lifestyle

My Top 10 Favourite Christmas Movies

4 Questions about Chirstmas Traditions

Christmas is celebrated across the world by some 2.1 billion Christians Jesus’s name day. But when you take a closer look at its traditions, you’ll find that Christmas traditions have less to do with the religion more to do with cultural exchange. Here are four questions you may have about the history Christmas traditions:

1. Why is Christmas on 25 December?

No one knows why we celebrate Christmas on 25 December. There is no precise date given in the Bible and early Christians – making the origins of the date murky. The most popular theory posits that Christmas is on the 25th because it coincides with the winter solstice which was celebrated throughout the Roman Empire. This argument makes sense – Christmas traditions borrows heavily from pagan traditions. Another theory holds that 25 December was selected because it’s nine months after Jesus’s conception. But both these theories lack written historical evidence – we just don’t know for sure why the Church selected 25 December.

World, Meet Siki


 Who Killed Biko?

Three words. One powerful, layered statement which conjures up a collective pain and an unresolved history. Pigments – a word that may bring to mind splashes of colour and joy and the creative process. This is the contrast that shapes of the context of Siki Msuseni, one of South Africa’s up and coming designers (although she bawks at the term). Siki is making waves on Instagram with her politically conscious tote bags about fallen heroes who were killed in the quest to dismantle apartheid through her vibrant company, Pigments Studio.

The Fantastic and The Beastly – A review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Rating: 6 ¾ wands

When I heard that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was being adapted to film, I had a lot of feelings about it. Released in 2001 to benefit the charity Comic Relief , you weren’t a Potterhead without your own copy. (Unfortunately, the original “textbook” is no longer in print in South Africa, so you will have to settle for the screenplay instead). Having watched the film adaptation, I still have a lot of feelings about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Here are the fantastic (and beastly) things about Fantastic Beasts (don’t worry – its spoiler free).

5 Videos to help you through that Existential Crisis

Every now and then, you’re hit with an existential crisis. You’re not sure where your life is going. You thought you’d be married by now. You hate your job. Life has no meaning. These feelings are normal, but they aren’t fun. So I’ve collected 5 videos to help you through different types of crises, starting with the King of Comedy himself, Jim Carrey.

Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address

Watch this when you’re feeling afraid of the next step in your life. Carrey’s inspiring and touchingly humorous speech gives anyone who hears it the courage to chase their dreams.
So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m saying I’m the proof that you can ask the universe for it!

This is Water

Watch this when you feel like you’re stuck on a hamster wheel. David Foster Wallace begins with a parable about fish:
There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?
Wallace teaches us that life is how you choose to think about it. It’s awareness, not a feeling.

The Most Astounding Fact

Watch this when you need to take a moment to reflect and appreciate where you are. Neil deGrasse Tyson tells us what he thinks is the most astounding fact – “we are part of the Universe, and the Universe is in us.

Kid President’s Pep Talk

Watch this when life has got you down, and you need a pep talk. As Kid President says, “What if there really is 2 paths? I want to be on the one that leads to awesome”. Don’t we all Kid President, don’t we all.

Why 30 is not the new 20

Watch this when you need direction. Controversial to some, Meg Jay gives my generation a reality check. It may seem like we have all the time in the world, but we’re deciding our lives right now.

A trip down Morrison Street

Lauren Veckranges, Morrison Street, Durban, James Hu
Image courtesy of James Hu

Last weekend, I took a rather spontaneous trip to Durban and was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon the hidden gem that is 8 Morrison Street.

By its own account, The Morning Trade Market (there is a sign but no one calls it that) is inspired by Jozi’s own Arts on Main situated in the thriving Maboneng district. From the artisan coffee to the rustic warehouse feel, one can’t help but be reminded of the Johannesburg hotspot. The proud Jo’burg girl in me says anything that Jo’burg does no one can do better. But I am here to betray my people and tell you it’s much, MUCH better.

For one, it’s not crowded. You can walk from stall to stall without fear of being run over by a craft beer drinking youth, fighting the scourge of middle-class oppression.

Morrison Street, Durban, Market, Arts on Main, Neighbourgoods, Lauren Veckrangse
Ample space for cart wheeling and other Sunday morning activities

As a bonus, the market offers a wide variety of delicious food and fresh produce. The most exciting product on offer was undoubtedly the kale chips. You know who eats kale chips? Kourtney Kardashian, that’s who. Apparently the authentic food on offer including falafels, polish sausage and koeksisters are also pretty good – no word if this is supported by a Kardashian yet.

Frankie's ginger beer, 8 Morrison Street, market, beveragekale chips


And then there is the selection of sweet temptations. I have nothing to say here but: macaroons, ice cream, cupcakes, homemade marshmallows, toffee apples, diabetes.

macaroons, market, 8 morrison streettoffee apples, 8 Morrison Street


Head down to (you guessed it) 8 Morrison Street every Sunday between 8 – 2 to stuff your face and mess around in the photo booth.

Lauren Veckranges, photobooth, 8 Morrison Street#Durbanism, 8 Morrison Street, photobooth, Durban#Durbanism, 8 Morrison Street, photobooth, Durban#Durbanism, 8 Morrison Street, photobooth, Durban, James Hu, Lauren Veckranges

Resolutions Worth Keeping

The first month of 2014 is almost over! (Cue various clichés about how the year is going by so fast).

Judging by the available parking spaces at my gym this morning, I think it’s safe to say that most people have fallen off the New Year’s resolution bandwagon. If you count yourself amongst the fallen – my condolences. Better to have resolved to change and failed than to watch the new year roll idly by, while you get hopelessly drunk on poorly mixed SoCo and lime.

But I digress. My reason for writing this post on the last day of January is to make a public appeal to make two resolutions that I think are worth keeping.

1.       Keep Toppers in your car

Jozi streets are filled with the hustle and bustle of hawkers, entertainers, window washers and beggars trying to get by in the city of endless possibilities and harsh realities. Many are opposed to handing money out, unsure of where it will go. But averaging less than R5 a pack, keeping these non-perishable and filling biscuits in your car is an effortless way to pay it forward.

2.       Be kind to yourself first

Too often, we are distracted by trying to please everyone around us. Be it working 50 hour weeks, harming your own emotional wellbeing in a bid to foster someone else’s, or sacrificing the activity that brings you calm and joy so you can fit in yet another social engagement; putting other people’s needs before your own can easily become habit.  Whatever challenges you face this year, remember to put yourself self. Treat yourself with the same kindness and consideration usually reserved for those around you. Do this, and everything else will fall into place. Promise.

TTFN January!