The One and Only Ivan, book review

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

I am a HUGE book lover! However I also love to listen to audiobooks. So after listening to the whole Harry Potter series, we were on the hunt for another audio book for our daily car rides. That is when we found The One and Only Ivan.

The One and Only IvanYou get to love Ivan the gorilla, as he tells you his story of friendship, struggles and the inner world of he and his animal friends. You see, Ivan knows no more than a cage in The Big Top Mall and Video Arcade as his home, with a TV for entertainment.

It sounds too sad to listen to, but trust me it’s more about friendship, hope and creating a better future. I recommend this for kids 8 years and older, and by the way my Mom loved it too!

cherry and peach pastries

I’m in Italy!

Ciao peeps

Here I am on the Vegano Italiano Festival in the south of Italy. Fun, fun, fun with my Mom, Gran, Sister and other great tourists like Carolyn Scott-Hamilton (The Healthy Voyager).  Between visiting a castle, monastery, beach and chestnut orchards, we got to cook together!

Do you like cherry and peach pastries? Then check out my quick video HERE


cherry and peach pastries

My first crib note!

vegan whispererBefore I tell you about my crib note – guess what? “I’m a teenager now, so my tagline changes, “A VEGAN TWEEN TEEN WHO ENCOURAGES COMPASSION BY GENTLE EXAMPLE”.  I started my blog at 11, and I am so pleased to have you join me on this journey! 🐾

It seems many of you enjoyed reading about my sister’s party, and then knew that I wanted my 13th party there too. So this is where my crib note comes in….

Because I started exams today, instead of writing my own blog about my FUN party, I’m going to let you read all about it on my Mom’s blog post, HERE!

My 13th party

A piece of peace, and lotta fun!

Horses at Peace of EdenI’ve discovered a whole nature land in my back yard. Well, 20 minutes from my Knysna backyard that is!

It’s called Peace of Eden and we were there for the weekend to celebrate my sister’s birthday. We arrived after sun set and were met by Howard who took us to our little cottage along a dimly lit forest path. He started a crackling fire for us while his lovely wife Jen cooked us a delicious vegan meal. Gwendalyn's Glade

Garnished with herbs and a swirl of cream, the tomato soup was my favourite! After a plate of creamed spinach, butternut cupped phyllo pastries we were ready to curl up in bed.

The morning met us with monkeys on the roof, birds singing in the dew-topped trees and a hot breakfast of omelettes, mushrooms, muffins and homemade butter. We quickly got dressed to discover forest paths, rescued horses, silver ferns and a swing.

PondWalking amongst the foliage we reached a tinkling stream, hopping from stone to stone to cross it. We came to a little pond filled with lilies. Here I feel really connected with nature, as if I am part of it. This fills me with joy and I feel so happy to have found Jen, Howard and a Peace of Eden.

Hope to come here for my birthday! (Check out what my sister’s party was like at my Mom’s blog here!)

My first visit to an animal sanctuary

Catskill Farm Sanctuary

I  haven’t blogged for so long because, how do I put my experience of such love and happiness into words?

Well, I’m going to give it a try.

Our first sighting of the green fields of Catskill Farm Sanctuary was breathtaking. I love the colour green and I love fields. I especially love knowing that contented animals are enjoying themselves, without limit or fear.

I was happy.

My sister and I raced down the twisting road that lead into the sunshine on the green fields. Our first sanctuary visit had begun.

running to CAS

We  were met by two inquisitive goats named Arthur and Stencil. To their delight we enjoyed the cool shade of a willow tree while pulling down the high branches for these hungry goats to eat the juicy green leaves.  To me goats seem similar to dogs. They are intelligent and have kind eyes. They also reminded me of our dog Trix, just as greedy for their food!

feeding Stencil at CAS

We all need to share our love, so we knelt down to Jailbird and Emmet, two huge cockerels who were patiently waiting at our feet. To our delight Erica, the Homestead manager, encouraged us to pick them up! With no objections from us, we scooped them up with great pleasure. It was then that my creative juices started flowing. I made up this video poem:

vegan whisperer

We then went inside the shady barn where the horses came in after 3 pm. We bonded with Bobby a blind horse, Mirage a horse with a hurt jaw and forgiving Noah who has learnt to trust humans again.


After much loved time it was the pigs turn. Moses, Ginger, the sweet potbellied Shy Girl, Miss Piggerty and all their friends are so kind and their intelligence shows.  Apparently pigs have the intelligence of a 5-year old child, that’s a lot. Even if they didn’t though, they are worth our respect and to live without being killed for their body flesh.  We hugged, snuggled and watched them as time flew by.

Moses and I


Miss Piggerty







We walked around the fields and the peaceful pond seeing all the chickens, cows, bunnies, sheep and ducks. When we got hungry we ate the ripe juicy fruits of a mulberry tree.

eating mulberries

Talking about food I must mention the breakfasts that Erica treated us to at their Homestead. The first morning we enjoyed pancakes with syrup and strawberries. The next morning we hungrily ate tasty scrambled tofu with veggies. On our last morning at the Sanctuary my sister and I helped make our family some waffles.

made a waffle

Then it was time to head off to say goodbye to our new friends, but I’m sure it’s not forever.







Sweet temptations

For me as a kid, (and can I assume you too?) the temptation of sweets is huge! In fact when shopping with my Mom at Fruit & Veg I ran straight past the fresh stuff to get to the sweet section.  I was after watermelon, but some how it’s not the real watermelon that attracted my attention, but rather cute little watermelon shaped balls. I was prepared to pay for them myself – I wanted them!!


Yummy chemicals?

Hold on, first I had to check if they had gelatin in them. But I was in for a bigger surprise! There was a whole lot of ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce!!!  Where was the food in all this?


Bugs anyone?

Other than eating a whole lot of chemicals, us kids are eating a whole lot of bugs! Did you know that? I didn’t until I was looking up what our pretty pink cake decorations had in them.  Turns out there are boiled, steamed, or cooked, and then ground up beetles in these tempting little shinnies.


What, bugs in my food?! I learnt that cochineal beetles are commonly used in things that have a red colour, like some cool drinks lipsticks and many sweets. What you want to avoid on the ingredient list is: cochineal, carmine, carminic acid, crimson lake, natural red #40, or E120, because it’s all the same thing.


Like some bugs’ bodily fluid?

So Carmine is made from the insect body itself. There’s more – Shellac is something unappetising that also fills our stomachs.  It’s a sticky substance secreted by the female lac bug (this insect is in the same cochineal family). The insects suck the sap of the tree and excrete “stick-lac” onto the bark. People scrape this off the bark and made it into ‘food’.

Ordering skin & bones?

Why aren’t we more grossed out that our sweets are made out of skin and bones? Why is it okay that our mothers are buying this for us and that we are asking for it? I think it’s because we look at these beautiful, colourful and tempting sweets and forget what they really look like – skin & bones.


A fresher, juicer and kinder temptation

I now want to go straight to the fresh, mouth-watering watermelon! Or decorate our delicious cupcakes with fruit or vegan sprinkles and marshmallows. My pretty lipstick is from LUSH and The Body Shop. (That’s worth licking my lips for!)


Don’t get me wrong, I still love sweets and eat plenty of them, but I choose smartly, no bugs or skins for me!


My English oral – ‘the man who inspires me and why!’

In English class we were asked to write about who inspires me and why, so cool!

Here’s the how and why from me.

I’m going to tell you about the person who inspires me, Davey du Plessis.

You might say, “hey that’s not a famous name, like a swimmer, actor or pop star, but that’s because he is new on the scene, having just written his first book, called ‘Choosing to Live’.


Davey has sure got a story to tell, being a South African adventurer!

This is the man who chose to go to the Amazon Jungle, all by himself, to mountain climb from the start of the Amazon River and kayak along it to where it ends at the sea.

His trip was supposed to take about 4 months but about 2 months into it, while on the river, he got shot and the attackers were ready to finish him off.

I’ll read a paragraph from his book, once he was shot 3 times already, and comes face to face with one of the attackers….

“The man just stared blankly at me as he continued slowly upriver. He looked at me as if I was nothing, staring straight through me as if I wasn’t even there.  It was a cold, cruel and sinister look due to the emptiness it portrayed. I was expecting some reaction but I received nothing but a hauntingly blank stare.  I had never seen such a lack of compassion or empathy in a human.  It was as if he denied my existence. It was a look that only someone who had lost all emotion, or someone who had perhaps killed before, could successfully pull off. There was no anger or malice in his stare, just a void, as though his brain had shut off the synaptic connection between sight and response, conscious, but hollow inside.  I could not understand his lack of empathy, or lack of response. “How can there just be nothing?” I thought.  He was acting as though I wasn’t even worthy of a wince, smirk or frown. Nothing.  I stopped pleading and just stared back at him, standing motionless in the shadows, watching him cruise calmly and nonchalantly pasted me as if I were just a rock and it were just another regular day for him on the Amazon River.”

And his story continues.

I think though, I have left the best part for last. This brave man, Davey du Plessis, who chose to live not die, is vegan.  Yes, he inspires me because he gives animals the same choice. To live, not die!


Animal circuses – fun or frightening?

We all love animals, right?

That’s why we go to circuses, to see these amazing animals do awesome tricks!

If only we were all flies on the wall. This way we would get to see behind the scenes. These captive wild animals are forced to practise  uncomfortable and often painful acts. There are whips, scary noises, water and brooms used as threats of punishment if they do not perform what is expected of them.

Through the animals eyes you would see these tricks as confusing and forced. These lovely animals need someone to speak up for them.  So we joined a group of people in protest.  Although a silent demonstration, our banners were loud and clear.



My family and I were there on all three days of the protest and on every day more and more kids joined us.  I was happy to see that children were getting involved.  Sadly though, there were also lots a parents taking their kids to the circus. I also noticed that the parents were avoiding looking our way, yet their children look very interested in what we were saying.

My wish is that more parents will be open to these messages and teach their children FULL animal love!

Here’s two very short video’s where I’m NOT silent! This one and this one!