An expression of creativity using nature as the point of focus

    Nature is a wild unbridled wonder and there are few people skilled enough to fully understand and successfully take advantage of the art of wildlife photography.

    The difference between traditional photography and wildlife photography is like night and day and this is why every year, thousands of photographers from around the world send in their wildlife photographs to have them judged by a panel of experts, in order to find that "perfect image", an image that quintessentially captures the true essence of nature.

The Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town is currently hosting the Wildlife Photographer of the year exhibition - an international showcase for the very best photography worldwide featuring natural subjects, which emphasize the beauty, wonder and importance of the natural world.

The exhibition runs until the 13 March 2010 and showcases 95 winning photographs in a selection of categories. Looking at the quality and spectrum of photographs, the judges must have had a tough time selecting the winning photographs out of 43,135 entries from 94 countries around the world.

The museum is located at 25 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens, adjacent to the Planetarium. It's open from 10h00 to 17h00, seven days a week. The entrance fee is R15 for adults, R5 for students and pensioners and kids under 16 years old get in free.

For more information call the Iziko South African Museum on 021 481 3800.

Pictures : "Fungal forest" by Hans Nuijt (Netherlands) - 11-14 years old - Highly Commended; "Little hopper" by Alexandr Pospech (Czech Republic) - Animal Behaviour: All Other Animals - Highly Commended; "The plunge diver" by Alexander Safonov (Russia) - The Underwater World - Runner-up; "Footprints" by Robert Friel (United Kingdom) - One Earth Award - Highly Commended (email thumbnail).

Source: Natural History Museum

Wildlife Photographer of the year 2009

Mushrooms are high in minerals

Contrary to popular belief, mushrooms are quite a gem full of nutrients - both vitamins and minerals. The focus on the nutritional value of brightly colored fruits and vegetables has unintentionally left mushrooms in the dark even though mushrooms provide a similar number of nutrients as brightly colored fruits and vegetables.

Minerals in Mushrooms

  • Selenium is a mineral that works as an antioxidant to protect body cells from damage that might lead to heart disease, some cancers and other diseases of aging. It also has been found to be important for the immune system and fertility in men. Many foods of animal origin and grains are good sources of selenium, but mushrooms are among the richest sources of selenium providing 8-22 mcg per serving. This is good news for vegetarians, whose sources of selenium are limited.
  • Ergothioneine is a naturally occurring antioxidant that also may help protect the body's cells. Mushrooms provide 2.8-4.9 mg of ergothioneine per serving of white, Portabella or crimini mushrooms.
  • Copper helps make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Copper also helps keep bones and nerves healthy.
  • Potassium is an important mineral many people do not get enough of. It aids in the maintenance of normal fluid and mineral balance, which helps control blood pressure. It also plays a role in making sure nerves and muscles, including the heart, function properly. Mushrooms have 267- 407 mg of potassium per serving, which is 9 percent of the Daily Value .

    Vitamins in Mushrooms

  • Mushrooms are one of the few natural sources of vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. One serving of 4-5 mushrooms provides 15 IU of this important nutrient.
  • Mushrooms are also a good source of the B vitamins that help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates so they can be used for energy. Mushrooms can be an important source of B-vitamins for people who don't eat meat.
    • Pantothenic acid (B5) helps with the production of hormones and also plays an important role in the nervous system.
    • Riboflavin (B2) helps maintain healthy red blood cells.
    • Niacin (B3) promotes healthy skin and makes sure the digestive and nervous systems function properly.

    NOTE: Remember that there are edible and poisonous mushrooms, so if you go mushroom picking be absolutely sure about what you select for consumption.

    Source: The Mushroom Council


    Natural and Organic Products Exhibition - this weekend!

    As we all hear and experience, the move towards the use of organic and more natural products has definitely been on the rise over the past few years. The visitor attendance at the Natural and Organic Products Exhibition held at the CTICC annually has increased from 4500 visitors to over 14 000 in the past few years.

    Admission is R50 per person per day (tickets are available at the door) and you get access to The Lifestyle Stage, The Green Home Exhibition and the Organic Wine Garden at no additional cost. Your R50 ticket will also give you access to The Women's Show, which will be hosted alongside the Natural & Organic Products Exhibition.

    The Lifestyle Stage is the hub of the Show and will feature live performances, interactive demonstrations, eco fashion shows, green business and lifestyle trends.

    The Green Home Exhibition will show you the best, unique solutions for you to green your home, making your living space healthy, more affordable and sustainable. Products and technology for solar and wind energy, LED lighting, state-of-the-art taps and shower heads, drip irrigation, garden furniture and decking from recycled plastics, new composting solutions and recycling, wall paints and cleaning products are among the extensive list of things to see.

    Exhibition Hours:

    Friday 19th February - 10h00 - 18h00
    Saturday 20th February - 10h00 - 18h00
    Sunday 21st February - 10h00 - 17h00

    Source: Natural and Organics Website

    Romantic and intimate

    A getaway spot perfect for you and your partner is located less than an hour away from Cape Town in the orchard rich area of Elgin, Grabouw.

    This area boasts some of the best apples and peaches in the country and roads are numerously lined with orchard upon orchard of these delicious fruits making it a vista on the eye.

    The original old staff cottages (widely spaced and set amongst apple orchards offering spectacular views of the Elgin Valley) have been renovated and transformed into intimate and romantic self catering cottages. A fireplace and beamed ceilings with the charmly decorated interior entices the occupants to cuddles in bed, wine by the bottle and tasty home cooked meals.

    A choice of a 1 bedroom; a small 2 bedroom; a larger 2 bedroom or a farmhouse chalet provides you with the selection to ensure your weekend getaway is perfectly suited to the intention of your stay.

    For more information visit Lavender Cottages

    Lavender Cottages

  • Hot News

    Water features in SA Home Owner

    SA Home Owner has published an article on water features in their February 2010 edition. A picture from one of Living Matter's projects implemented last year and short advice from Cheral Kennedy of Living Matter and other local water feature specialists have been included in this article.

    SA Home Owner

    New large landscape project

    Living Matter has been commissioned to design the landscape for a new Training Centre in Durbanville.

    The full project entails taking an existing residential home, and transforming it into a training centre with an outdoor relaxing space conducive for enhanced mental performance.

    An interesting project in itself:- the architectural and landscaping plans will need to be passed by council (Durbanville's environmental impact when town planning is taken very seriously), the training centre will be built and only then will the landscaping be implemented.

    Landscaping in Rondebosch

    A transformation from putting green and pool to high style contemporary living is what this project is all about.

    Living Matter is currently finalising the design for a landscape in Rondebosch, and will be project managing the implementation over the next few weeks.

    Rondebosch project

    Keep watching this space for the completed project detail and photographs.


    Senecio Tamoides

    Senecio Tamoides
    (Canary creeper)

    Family :


    Description :

    Indigenous fast-growing climber with semi-succulent stems and leaves that has a spread of 4 x 2m with yellow flowers.

    Flowering time :

    Late Summer / Early Autumn

    Conditions :

    • Full sun
    • Average water
    • Evergreen
    • Some frost tender
    • Wind resistant

    Quartz Carpet - a chic finish

    Tired of the same old paving choices available? Try this new product out - Quartz Carpet - a unique, seamless stone flooring system comes in 3 different aggregate sizes and in 9 nine colour fast shades.

    Quartz Carpet

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser
    January's Teaser Answer :
    "First Aid"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82