Jack of all Trades – Catherina Heunis

16 May 2016

Being as unpretentious as she is, it came as no surprise when Catherina insisted I meet her at her office in Stellenbosch instead of a fancy coffee shop or hotel.  She decided to do some work before I arrive.

        ……the perfect example of a conscientious employee – she worked on the Saturday of our Tea Date; and late every day due to management pressures!

Catherina, you qualified to move in behind my desk. It brings memories of your PA days where you also sat behind my desk 😉

Catherina desk

A bit about Catherina

Catherina started work at Tokara Wine Estate 11 years ago. She was appointed to an Administration & Accountant position.  Hard work and further studies, lead to her promotion as Administration & Financial Manager.

 Catherina’s coffee mug

No tea cup for this girl, just a plain white coffee mug “because it is functional – it works for both coffee and tea.”

…..a typical accountant?!  🙂 

 Oh, yes, there is another reason as well:  “it has a thin edge lip – I hate thick-edged mugs”

Mug final

Our Live, Love, Laugh conversation:

 Live:   “I am a fixer, but I had to learn to accept the fact that I cannot fix everybody’s lives for them;  especially not to be the way I think it should be.  When someone has a problem, I am always the one to jump in and find a solution.  I have, however, often been disappointed by people who did not agree with my suggestions or did not accept my help.  It took me a long time to realise that sometimes one just has to let go and allow others to solve their problems in their own way….and it is still tough for me to keep my distance.”

Catherina lost both her parents at a very young age and was the strong one for her 3 siblings. She also lost her first husband shortly after their marriage. Through all these circumstances she had a fighting spirit and did not allow life to get her down.  No wonder you are a fixer, Catherina!

Love your LookCatherina’s image tip

“I have no tip – you know that I cannot get the dress thing right.  Did you notice I am wearing a scarf today?”

….You are just so preciously honest!

 “Ok, on a serious note:  find out who you are, how you want to look and do not try to dress like someone else”

….See, you are not clueless!

 Laugh:  “As we are also in the restaurant business,  let me share with you how strange people can behave when eating out. Someone I know went to a well-known restaurant on Mother’s Day.  He noticed a group of people who frequently passed a handbag from the one to the other and would then do “something” with it, but trying to ensure nobody notices.  Guess what did?  The had a “papsak” wine in the handbag, made a hole at the bottom for the tap and filled their glasses under the table when the handbag was moved around.  Can you believe it?”

 Catherina’s secret revealed:

“I have an unbearable desire for knowledge! I always want to know everything (gossip excluded) although I have no clue as to what I want to do with it all. BUT, I always think I may just need that information somewhere in the future!”.

….so Catherina, are you like those little kids who keep on asking “why?”

The crazy classy gift!

As Catherina is a very organised and methodical person who may easily forget there is more to life than just work, I chose red bicycle paperclips for her.

May these remind you to have more fun too!

Gift photo

 What I have learned from Catherina: 

She gives a different meaning to the expression “dynamite comes in small packages”.  Although she is energetic, walks fast, works hard, fixes problems, moves and shakes; she remains humble, unpretentious, positive and prepared to “fix herself” (learn from life).  This little dynamite lady can explode, believe me, but by the time it happens she has good reason; and never the intention to hurt or humiliate people.

Catherina, value the fact that you are a very special lady with a huge heart!


Until we meet at the next Tea Date!





Plain Jane – Ronel Smith

9 May 2015

The very humble Ronel allowed me to choose a venue for our Tea Date.  She deserved to be spoiled and I took her to the Peninsula Hotel in Sea Point.  The weather played along and we had a super time next to the swimming pool!

Ronel, you look great behind my desk!  Welcome!

Ronel desk


A bit about Ronel

Ronel is an accountant at Cape Cheese. After 21 years at the company she knows the business inside-out…and of making cheese too!

       …….come to think about it – I should have twisted her arm(sic!)for a gift of cheese 🙂

Ronel’s tea cup

Ronel brought a tea cup belonging to her Mom.  This reminds her of her granny, a real lady, who enjoyed tea and a biscuit at 11h00 daily.  The tea cup stayed on our table throughout our conversation and attracted much attention and comments to our amazement!

 Tea cup pool

Our Live, Love, Laugh conversation:

 Live:   “Life threw me a curve ball when my sister died 9 years ago.  I have never seen myself as a ‘go getter’, but this experience has taught me that we can determine our own destiny. I was bowled over, but realised that I cannot depend on others to pick me up. I had to get up myself –  the world owes me nothing!  I try to instill this lesson in my children as well:  “There is no such thing as ‘I cannot anymore’.  Endure and try – you will see what you are capable of.”

Ronel has 2 daughters of her own and adopted her sister’s 2 daughters all 4 now teenagers!  Salute! to what you have achieved thusfar with these beautiful young ladies.

Love your Look:  Ronel’s image tip   :  “I dress for comfort!!”.

        …..there you go!  Words of someone who is happy in her own body.

Laugh:  Ronel shared a personal story which had me in stitches.  Ronel has always been a very shy and reserved lady. Some time ago she visited a Dermatologist who, to her surprise, asked her to strip down to her underwear and wear the gown on the examination table.  She then, with horror and embarrassment, discovered that the gown was way too small and could not gather in front – which half exposed her!  Ronel’s comment:  “What is he thinking – not all women are the same size”.  Imagine this sight – the doctor entering the examination room and breaking into a grin!?

 Ronel’s secret revealed:

Ronel loves reading Mills & Boons novels and even taught me how these books are colour coded : there is a different ‘band colour’ for each genre!

Well, this piece of information intrigued me and I went to Google it.  It seems that different countries use different coding systems, but the Afrikaans website shows  MODERN – dark blue;  DESIRE – red;  MEDICAL – green; INSPIRE – turquoise, to name but a few genres.

The crazy classy gift!

I decided to spoil this busy lady with a Mills & Boons book – how could I not?! (and please note the band colour: pink for ‘soothing’).  The bookmark will hopefully remind her of her carefree childhood days when she lost herself in books and never even took notice of friends who came to visit.

I hope this will encourage some “me-time”, Ronel

Ronel geskenk

What I have learned from Ronel: 

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  Despite the fact that Ronel is very quiet, reserved and prefers to stay in the background, she is an exceptionally strong woman who has made lemonade with all the lemons life has thrown at her.  She has, however, done this in her own quiet, remarkable manner without complaining nor looking to others to solve her problems. She practiced what she preaches:  “get up and move on!”


Until we meet at the next Tea Date!