Your invitation to a better 2017

I subscribe to the Betterman Blueprint by Erik Kruger and received the following invite this week that I’d like to share:

My friend,

This year is drawing to a close. Many are excited for the upcoming holidays and the opportunity to unwind.

It’s been an interesting year. Trump. Brexit. My discovery that some people believe the world is flat. Did I mention Trump?

Irrespective of how interesting or horrific your year turned out to be. There is room for improvement. It’s wise to understand that there is no clear route to success. Anyone who thinks they can outline the steps needed to achieve such greatness is delusional. But there are definitely steps that you can take that will vastly increase your odds.

Let’s chat about a few easy ways to prepare for an incredible 2017…

1. First up, take stock.
Your current situation is an accumulation of your past decisions and actions. As simple as that. Although we might not have 20/20 clarity when looking at our destination. Hindsight is always crystal clear.

People can often identify the exact moment when things started going wrong. They can pinpoint the second when everything changed. But it’s important to acknowledge the small events that led up to that tipping point.

To get your mind going in the right direction you can ask yourself two focusing questions:

1. What went well this year? Even the worst year has a few bright moments.

2. What could I have done better this year? Admit to failure and incomplete actions.

2. Work on your core-chassis.
I have borrowed the core-chassis idea from P&G. Every product has a core-chassis. For toothpaste it consists of the ingredients that cleans and protect from cavities. From there you can start adding other more interesting elements such as different flavours, whitening etc.

The core-chassis of productivity is:

A sustainable diet
Eating for productivity is different to eating for a ripped body. I wont get into it for now, but your diet in this instance should provide continuous energy throughout the day. No highs or lows. Small, light meals during the day. Stay away from processed foods and white carbs.

A healthy body
Exercise is as important for your mind as it is for your body. You don’t need to look like a cover model. But you should stay in shape.

Enough sleep
This is obvious, and the most neglected. Think you are coping fine with less than 7 hours of sleep? You aren’t. Hit the bed.

A challenged mind
A mind that is just going through the motions everyday accomplishes very little. It needs to be challenged and pushed. Read new things, weird things, and hard things. Look for the relationships between seemingly unrelated areas of life.

3. Accept total ownership.
This life is yours. It’s up to you to make the best of it. Along the way you will find people who will help you to raise your game. But they cannot act on your behalf. They cannot be responsible for your happiness or success.

When you take ownership you start evolving. Something deep in you stirs. A voice starts whispering that no matter what comes your way, you will conquer it. No matter the battles you have to face, you will not allow your tranquility to be disturbed.

This evolution is slow.

So you have to be patient.

But with each passing day you will become so much more.
Acta non verba,

Suburban Spring


I spent some time planting new flowers in our “garden” yesterday. While we live in a complex where the units are wall to wall, we decided to have at least some form of garden. We’re the only ones. I’ve never been fond of gardening – that is Ryno’s department – or getting my hands dirty in any way. But for me this little garden that blooms is a great reward for the bit of effort we put in.

Holiday planning

Ever since we moved to the Winelands, we’ve been complaining that we don’t get enough visits.

You know how you always get so excited when someone moves home to a holiday location, you say things like “now I have a place to sleep when I need a holiday” and “I can’t wait to come visit”…. It doesn’t happen.

BUT this year my dad is coming to visit for Christmas and having my first off day after working 10 days in a row, I decided I’ll spend the day planning the itenerary. As a bonus, which I’m also super excited about, two old friends are also coming to visit during Christmas as part of their Cape tour.

Needless to say I used up all my data. But we’ve now got a lineup of JC le Roux MCC tasting (at the JC le Roux farm of course), lunch at Moyo on Big Bay/Blouberg, a day out at the V&A and, of course, Family Christmas lunch at home for 7. It will be the most guests we have for a meal since moving here.

While the two friends won’t be visiting long enough to join us on all the adventures, I cannot wait to see them again. Ryno bought a new set of linen for the guest bedroom and we’ll be getting guests towels soon. It is the small things that matter. We used to have all of this and so much more before moving South and rebuilding a complete home has been more of a challenge than I initially thought.

Each part of your home is an investment. Every pot and candle and towel is worth money and sentiment and letting go of things used to be my trademark, but I’ve learnt to value each item and be grateful.

60-second pizza dough

Tonight we tried a new recipe that I got from one of my colleagues. She is an all-over-the-place mom of two who has been working 7days a week for the past 4 months while also moving house twice in that time. So this 60 second pizza dough is a life saver in her busy schedule and I thought I’d give it a try. 

You need:

  • A baking tray
  • A mixing bowl
  • 250g plain yoghurt
  • 2 cups of self raising flour
  • Non-stick spray
  • 1 teaspoon oil

Do this: 

  1. In the mixing bowl, put the yoghurt and the self raising flour and fold over with a spoon till thoroughly mixed (about 20 seconds)
  2. Rub the oil on your hands (about 5 seconds)
  3. Spray the pan/baking tray with the non-stick spray (about 5 seconds – including opening the kitchen window to avoid choking)
  4. Using your oiled hands, put the dough in the baking tray and press to even out (about 30 seconds)

And there you have a perfect dough for pizza. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Spread some mayonnaise, fried chicken fillet with mushroom cut in small pieces, grated mozzarella, herbs and fine grated lemon skin before you pop it in the oven for 20min for a Rarno-favourite. 

I loved this and you will too!

Blue Mondays at Zevenwacht 

I work at the Zevenwacht branch of Bakwena Spa each Monday and I must say it is the best place to recharge and find creative inspiration. The view is simply amazing. Every week when I’m here I absorb every detail of the work our team has put into the design of this unique place. I just needed to share a few pictures of something I’m proud of and grateful for having a part in…

The Pearl of the Winelands

So the place where I work is up for auction and an article about it being the last of Fidentia’s assets appeared in the Rapport today. Here’s the article:

Laaste van Fidentia se skatte in die mark

Deur Aldi Schoeman 13 November 2016 00:00

Fidentia-beleggers se laaste hoop om nog geld terug te kry, is op ’n “lendelam” hotel buite die Paarl.

Die Santé Hotel & Spa, die laaste van Fidentia se bates wat opgeveil word. Dit is buite die Paarl en het ’n uitsig op die Bolandse berge. Foto’s: Conrad Bornman


Die Santé Hotel & Spa word op 1 Desember opgeveil. Dit is die laaste van Fidentia se bates wat van die hand gesit gaan word en maak ’n einde aan Fidentia se “weelde en luuksheid”, sê die afslaer, ClareMart, in ’n verklaring.

Meer as ’n miljard rand word nog deur beleggers geëis, luidens die jongste kuratorsverslag.

Fidentia is sedert Februarie 2007 onder kuratorskap en J. Arthur Brown, die veroordeelde bedrieër wat die grootbaas was, dien 15 jaar gevangenisstraf uit weens bedrog van byna R300 miljoen.

George Papadakis, een van die kurators, sê die Santé-eiendomme is in 2004 en 2005 vir sowat R117 miljoen gekoop. R41,4 miljoen is aan bedryfskoste bestee vandat Fidentia in kuratorskap is.

Uit die jongste kuratorsverslag blyk dit daar was verskeie probleme met dié hotel, wat deur die Orion-hotelgroep bestuur word.

“Dit lyk of Orion sukkel om die hotel finansieel volhoubaar te bedryf,” lui die verslag.

Agterstallige heffings van R4,75 miljoen is in Januarie betaal aan die huiseienaarsvereniging van die landgoed waarop die hotel is, volgens die verslag.

John Levin, een van die kurators, het bevestig dat agterstallige munisipale rekenings van R2,3 miljoen (“ná ’n gróót afslag”) ook intussen vereffen is.

Die ooreenkoms met Orion is dat die perseel 60 dae nadat die eiendomme verkoop is, ontruim sal word.

Voëlmis teen die mure is die minste van die probleme by Santé.


Gaste was die laaste ruk klaarblyklik nie beïndruk deur die hotel nie. Solank jy jou aandag toespits op die fantastiese uitsig op die berge deur die venster, is dit ’n wonderlike belewenis. Maar in die kamers is daar stukkende ligte, ’n lendelam yskas en handdoekreling wat van die muur val as jy ’n handdoek daaroor hang.

“Die kamers lyk ongelooflik totdat jy sien hoe vuil die deure, muurproppe en vloere is,” het Lorinda Voges van Sandton op 1 Oktober op die reiswebtuiste TripAdvisor geskryf.

Die hotelbestuur vra telkens op die webtuiste om verskoning vir besoekers se slegte belewenisse en onderneem om probleme reg te stel.

Besoekers wat tevrede was, het veral die mooi ligging uitgewys. Gaste was ook tevrede met die spa, wat deur Bakwena bedryf word.

Met Rapport se besoek aan die landgoed was die hotel op die oog af netjies, maar daar was voëlmis aan die mure en op die plaveisel, stowwerige hoekies met spinnerakke en verf wat hier en daar van die mure afdop.

Volgens ClareMart se verklaring is die hotel ’n goeie beleggingsgeleentheid.

Die hotel het ’n kroeg, biljartkamer, vermaakarea met ’n patio by die swembad, ’n restaurant en tien luukse suites. Die spa het onder meer ’n jacuzzi en ’n warm binnenshuise swembad.

Só lyk eise teen Fidentia

Die totale waarde van eise wat die kurators namens beleggers teen Fidentia ingestel het, beloop R1 366 960 951, lui die verslag.

Hiervan is R324 111 729 teen 31 Mei 2015 uitbetaal. Die totale eise wat uitstaande is, is dus R1 042 849 222.

Daar is net sowat R20 miljoen kontant wat saam met die opbrengs van die hotel aan beleggers uitbetaal kan word.

Ook die konferensiesentrum en drie villas gaan opgeveil word. Papadakis sê daar is nog nie besluit of die eiendomme saam of afsonderlik opgeveil gaan word nie.

Luidens die kuratorsverslag het Grant Thornton die eiendomme gewaardeer, maar hul bevinding is vertroulik.

Die tanzaniet-edelsteen wat in die laaste kuratorsverslag as ’n bate gelys word, is nie veel werd nie, sê Levin. Niemand stel daarin belang om dit te verkoop nie.

Fidentia se 26%-belang in die maatskappy Moshate is ook nie die moeite werd nie. Moshate het in ’n ander maatskappy belê wat ’n begraafplaas in Johannesburg wou begin, maar nooit ’n lisensie daarvoor kon kry nie.

Jonathan Smiedt, uitvoerende hoof van ClareMart, sê ’n “onoorkomelike vlak van skade” is aangerig. “Die veiling kan nooit heeltemal die finansiële nood van soveel mense vergoed nie, maar ons wil die beste moontlike prys kry om by te dra tot ’n mate van vergelding vir die Fidentia-slagoffers.”

Pre-gruel weekend

Wow! What a great weekend we’ve had!

I made a point of resting as much as possible for two reasons. First is that we had the PaarlApp launch on Tuesday which was not only exhausting, but also resulted in loads of admin, loading new clients on the app and getting the accounting part updated. The second reason is that Yolanda, my manager at the spa, will be on leave this week and I’m left to run the show.

We certainly made the best of the time we had off together, something we’ve been neglecting for a while. On Friday evening we went to Cape Town with Ryno’s co-workers for a Gin Festival. What a disappointment! After having paid R100pp for tickets, we arrived at the event and to our surprise, we were expected to pay to taste each brand at R80 for the cheapest one. So we quickly decided that there may be alternatives to make the evening more worth while, seeing that we’re already in Cape Town.

I suggested we go to Beefcakes, a personal favourite burger bar known for their (ahem) muscular, toned waiters and drag shows. Another letdown was that the show’s price has gone up with R70pp and one doesn’t have the option of just having a drink – so the “drag show ticket” acts as an entrance fee at R150pp. Luckily the manager heard that we’re there as a corporate team that was disappointed in the gin fest, and allowed us to have drinks without having to pay for the show.

The show was great and I indulged in a “Pink Tea” or two. The ladies in our group opted for nibbles and weren’t disappointed. Afterward we went to Crew Bar where all of us suddenly remembered that we actually needed the night out. We are all so used to working 7days a week and regularly on evenings that we’ve become accustomed to sitting at home on our off days. We’ve all become older than we are and aren’t used to meeting new people or staying up late.

We danced and sang and had a few drinks before we collectively decided to go home. I’ve always been one to take every moment as a lesson and what I’ve learnt from this night out is that a group of people can respect each other enough to make unanimous decisions if they communicate properly, that we should never assume anyone is used to what you deem the norm, and that we should definitely go out more often to stay updated with the prices of our favourite places!

Enjoy the week and be kind xx Arno

PaarlApp Launch Success

Paarl was introduced to a new interactive guide to everything they want to know last night. The launch of PaarlApp held at Le Bac was such a huge success that I got home feeling more recharged than exhausted, although I didn’t sleep in the three days leading up to the event.

The event was styled as an open networking event and each invitee was asked to bring their business cards. We invited about 150 marketing decision-makers of businesses in Paarl. Current clients (pre-ordered) had expo stands to showcase their product or service while guests could network with each other and the expo stands.
Haute Cabriere PaarlApp
Arriving at the venue each guest received a glass of Haute Cabriere MCC, which they had sponsored for the evening. At around 19:30, Reg from Le Bac introduced the venue and their offerings whereafter I was up for my presentation. In hindsight, I stressed too much about it as it went down quite effortlessly. I really hope someone took a video because I’m proud of that moment.

As soon as I finished my presentation, I put the mic down and turned around to see Ilde from The Boland Showcase (PaarlApp’s official sales partner) already signing a contract with our first paying client. I bought a Yoco card reader so that we could take payments on the evening for signups. For the rest of the evening I simply made rounds and tried to talk to every person – I should probably mention that there were 96 guests – and by the end of the evening Ilde had signed 11 contracts.

PaarlApp Launch Event

I need to thank everyone who assisted in making the event a success, as this event is a clear projection of the future of PaarlApp; Ilde and Johnny from Boland Showcase for organising so much, conversing with most of our sponsors and helping to get invitations out; Reg and Francois from Le Bac for letting us use your beautiful venue, for your motivational words and for the absolutely beautiful canapès (I didn’t have a chance to taste, but I hear so many amazing things) and overall for executing a flawless event; To our sponsors at Haute Cabriere and The Strawwberry King for the welcoming experience; And most of all my mother and the man at my side, WOW, your financial and emotional investments have carried myself, the event and the business to a place where it cannot be anything but a success. Thank you!