Christmas: 3 things not to buy

Christmas FireplaceI can’t imagine that it is that time of the year again. December has come too quickly, I just wish there were a few more weeks in this year so that I can do the things I didn’t do while I was busy with my studies – now that I have a holiday (kind of). You will probably ask yourself why on earth would this man still like this year to be a bit longer while others are just wishing for the new year to start already. Well, the answer is quite simple: I would like to rest as well – growing up is hard. Nobody told you that growing up is a trick: holidays are only a few days long.

Nonetheless, December is here and I am going to embrace the last few days that’s left of this year. I enjoy spending time with my family and doing the things I should (and want to) do on my own time. Another thing, Christmas is on it’s way. To me, it is not all about the presents, but being with family. The feeling of togetherness is something you don’t really experience any other time of the year. Even though it is not about the presents there are still some things I would not like to receive as a gift. Not for Christmas, or any other time of the year – people are in anyway going to buy gifts so make it worth the receiver’s while.

So here is my 3 things nobody should buy someone else for Christmas:

1. Clothes

When someone buys me clothes it is either too big, too small, really not my style or something they would wear themselves. If you would like to buy someone clothing you should know for sure that they are going to wear it and wanted the shirt (or any other piece of clothing) for a very long time. Alternatively just give them a gift card, they will buy them something they like for sure.

2. Toiletries

This is an easy cop out – especially buying a gift for men. No, do not buy someone shower gel, shampoo or deodorant for Christmas. If it’s expensive cologne it is a rather different situation – this also usually happens when the person knows the other person really well. If you have the money to buy someone their special fragrance for Christmas, be my guest, otherwise not. Be a tad more creative.

3. Useless gifts in general

You are going through all the trouble to buy this person a gift for Christmas, why not make it something that they will be able to use. They will then also be reminded of the great time they had during the festive season when they use the present.

Christmas time is a time where families come together after they’ve been busy with other things during the year – maybe living past one another. Make this then the time to get to know that person a little better again and find out what he or she likes. Remember to do this in advance; last minute Christmas shopping is really not a pleasant thing to do.







Cookies, please!

As one would’ve been able to see from my previous post, I really like coffee. Sometimes one wants something to enjoy with your coffee and what would be better than cookies or rusks. The word cookie, as we know it, originates from the Dutch word “koekje” also known as “koekie” in Afrikaans. In Afrikaans “koekie” is the diminutive form of the word “koek” which is cake in English – luckily the English don’t speak of “caky”, it would’ve really been quite funny. “Can I have a “caky” with my tea please?” No. Keep in mind that the word biscuit is also used to refer to a cookie, but with people moving around the globe the words “cookie”, “cracker” and “biscuit” have different meanings in different places (these exclude slang references to these words).

Cookies are really enjoyable with coffee and to me it is really a treat to be able to devour some cookies with my coffee. As we all know, after seeing the Oreo advertisement, there are some weird and interesting ways to enjoy cookies. I like to take bite of the cookie first and after savoring the taste I will take a sip of my coffee just to swallow it down. Sometimes the coffee isn’t even necessary, I would eat a whole packet of cookies by myself. It is like some people would devour a piece of chocolate or pizza (I like those too, by the way). My favorite cookies include Romany Creams – the original choc and Eet-Sum-Mor Biscuits – short bread of any kind will actually do. There are some amazing recipes out there and I would really recommend the short bread from Seattle Coffee co. Even though I have these preferences I enjoy home made biscuits as well and they are made with love which makes them taste even better.

Speaking of the word “cookie”, there are some funny idioms with “cookie” and the one that comes to mind is, “that’s the way the cookie crumbles“. Sometimes we have to accept a slightly unfortunate event that we have no control over. There will come a time in one’s life that you will want something with your whole heart but are you are unable to get it. These things may include a job you really want, that new outfit that caught your eye in the shopping mall, or someone who stole your heart but doesn’t reciprocate the way you feel about them. These things are all things you cannot (necessarily) control and are determined by the choices other people make. It might be that there is something better in store for you, who knows. I know it’s not easy and one will feel unhappy if you cannot get what you want, especially if you’ve worked hard for it.

When this happens to you and you feel a little sad, treat yourself with a cookie and accept that there was and is really nothing you were able to do about the situation.



Black Coffee

IMG_20150824_184441Black coffee may be something that most Europeans (and a lot of other people) enjoy. But back here in South Africa most people drink instant coffee which doesn’t taste as good if you do not add milk and sugar. I grew up in a family where coffee is something we drink everyday. My father drinks up to twelve cups of coffee a day. Following his example I started to drink coffee when I was 10 years old and soon drank just as much as he did. We had instant coffee in the house and I was fine drinking it for almost nine years until I came to university and started to drink filter coffee. Drinking this amount of coffee with two spoons of sugar was a lot of sugar intake per day. I decided to lessen it by drinking only one spoon of sugar with my coffee. This made me think that I could just as well get used to no sugar at all. There are a lot of disadvantages in drinking too much sugar. It was not that I necessarily wanted to make healthy lifestyle choices, I just wanted to enjoy the taste of coffee, and coffee only, a little more.

After a month of drinking sugarless coffee I decided to try my coffee without milk. It took quite a while to get used to the taste and today I drink my coffee black and bitter. Some of my friends still ask me, “Doesn’t it taste bad?” then I tell them, “As soon as you start drinking your coffee this way you won’t be able to drink it any other way.” I visited one of my friends who added some sugar to my coffee and it was horrible. It is also during some of these visits that I have to drink instant coffee. There are only certain types of instant coffees I would dare to drink, because some of them takes like really bad tea. I am really not a snob, but somethings in life are not worth compromising, and why should one?

I am also no coffee connoisseur but I know when I am drinking a good cup of coffee. The richness, the taste, the aroma – everything just blends well. Black coffee tastes amazing with some freshly baked goods and the very cliche croissant(something only becomes a cliche because of its popularity). And as I mentioned there are also some health benefits to drinking black coffee (click on the link to read and find out what they are). Try something new and maybe you will be surprised by the outcome. It may be that you even like it more than you thought you would. I always thought that black coffee must be the most disgusting thing one can drink, but alas, today it is one of the pleasures I wake up to each morning. It is like a ritual drinking my coffee – waking up, making coffee in either my coffee machine or plunger (it depends if I overslept or not), taking a shower giving the coffee time to finish up, and finally pouring the cup of coffee filling my nose with the amazing aroma’s of filter coffee.

This is how I start my day! What gets you up in the morning? Start to enjoy the small pleasures in life, it may end up being the greatest things in your life.

Keep it real.

The Nature of Instagram

Yesterday was an eventful day. To start off, I listened to first year students doing their orals on various topics. One of those topics was Social Media and the impact it has on the way you perceive yourself. It was an interesting topic and one student even asked me if I have been a victim of Social Media, implying that I looked at myself differently (maybe even despising the way I look) because of the image Social Media portrays of the perfect man/woman. My answer was , “I use Social Media everyday, so therefor I might have been?”

Retrospectively,  after some serious thinking, I was certain that I am being influenced by the way Social Media portrays this “perfect man” (from my perspective). It is not necessarily as negative as they portrayed it to be. I am a confident young man, and when I see other images or posts about how successful one can be it motivates me instead of making me feel bad about myself. However, self-perception of many students are negatively influenced by Social Media.

I make use of Social Media to my advantage and there are many ways this can be done. I do not measure my self-worth on the amount of followers I have on Twitter or Instagram or the amount of likes I get on Facebook. I am going to admit that it feels great if someone does, but it is certainly not changing the way I see myself. One of the things I do use Social Media for is to store my photo’s and other things online. After discovering Google Drive and Drop Box my life has been changed. I can now be certain that my projects, assignments, photos, videos, etc. will be save and secure. I save it on a flash drive, external hard drive and of course, online. (Yes, I am a bit paranoid. I have lost quite a few files in my life.)

I am also aware of the fact that Social Media is used to share your life’s happenings and interesting events with others, usually friends. Social Media is therefor not a competition I need to win. There is no real fame and fortune in having countless of followers. It is like monopoly money in reality, maybe a little useless. Having a certain amount of followers or likes may improve your stance in your social group but does it really ensure true happiness? Why not just enjoy what you enjoy and not what others has socially constructed for you to enjoy?

Me and a few other people are working on a project that we are going to launch at Clover Aardklop this year which makes use of Social Media. It is an interactive reading experience we are experimenting with. Byderhand is the name of our project and we have various sub-categories in this project. We would like users to scan a QR-code they will receive at various points and then give feedback on Social Media. This is one of the positive uses of Social Media. As part of the project we need to do some trial runs to ensure the links work for when the actual project is launched. We were at out university’s Botanical Gardens yesterday and there I took some photos that I shared on Instagram. I wanted to share my experience with others. This is the main reason I make use of Social Media.

So go out there, share your experience with others, but also to save your photo’s online. It doesn’t necessarily have to be to the likes of other people, it may just be for you.

Be who you’re ought to be.



To start, I would like to call on all the readers out there. I am an Afrikaans speaking person and write in Afrikaans, pray in Afrikaans and dream in Afrikaans. I am making this blog post in English though.

One would think that people wouldn’t want to speak English in South Africa, especially as an Afrikaans native because the English oppressed the South Africans for quite a while, but that is certainly not the case. If one looks at the different countries that were previously colonised by European countries one would think that the natives will despise them to such an extent that they wouldn’t want to speak the language that they were forced to speak. The same as the Englishmen did with the South Africans. Nonetheless, English is the ‘lingua franca’ of South Africa. Read more about the history of English.

I sometimes feel that Afrikaans and all the other African languages has to compete with English in the South African context.  One should take into consideration that we live in the Age of Technology and the Age of Social Media. It is inevitable for human beings to find a language that everyone will understand, especially living in a global city. Therefore, I am a proud Afrikaans speaker, but also thankful that I know the global language so that I will be able to communicate and understand the world around me. Not only to have another perspective regarding my initial views and ideologies of life but also to be able to enjoy the literature and communicate with others in South Africa and around the globe.

I had English as a major in my first and second year at university and the books they exposed us to could be compared to one word in a whole dictionary. There are so many good books out there, in both Afrikaans and English, and I think I will die someday still wishing I have read a thousand more books. I try to read as much as I can, no matter what type of reading I am doing as long as I am reading. It opens doors to many places one wouldn’t have been able to imagine. And most of all it also helps you to relax.

I recently attended the launch of romantic novels. I am really not a big fan of this type of literature, but Creative Writing is one of the modules I’m taking as part of my studies and it is good to be familiar with all the genres available out there. The authors mentioned that they are not writing a literary intriguing novel but the average Joe, or Suzy in this case, would enjoy the book because it is only mindless reading and they would easily get carried away. Not every book you read has to be difficult or something with great literary value, as long as you read and support the art of published books. Not only to escape and fantasize but also to take a break and relax!

Until next time.

DJ Cloete


Today I took the first step to creating a website that I can really call my own. On this page I want to share ideas, excerpts, quotes, experiences and a lot more with the world. I am still new to everything and may take a while to become a professional blogger and create a website that will keep you coming back for more.