Wednesday, 22 April 2015

In Her Shoes - Second Hand Sale

A group of fabulous ladies here in São Paulo are hosting a chic second-hand sale Bazaar - the first Edition is tomorrow starting from 5pm and they have some beautiful items which have been donated for sale. All proceeds are being donated to Vida Jodem. Don't miss out!!!

Monday, 30 March 2015

A little bit of charity... Canadian International Society

I have a very soft spot for the Canadian International Society here in São Paulo and the projects that they support. I started working with them on their Board when I first arrived 5 years ago and it was a great way to meet people, keep myself busy and start to integrate not only into the expat community but the broad group of Brazilians that had been a part of the CIS for almost 50 years! Unfortunately this year many members of their Board are leaving or can't volunteer anymore, so if you are looking for something to be passionate about and keep yourself busy then please contact them!  *No, you don't have to be Canadian or Brazilian!! 

Please take a moment to donate to one of their crowd-funding projects! See details below x

Project Dentinhos Brilhantes

They say a smile is worth a thousand words. Since 2004, the Casa São José has been operating the project “Dentinhos Brilhantes”, providing dental hygiene and education to children and adolescents in the Jardim São Luis neighborhood. Now we need your help to keep this vital program going and to continue bring brilliant smiles to the children of this community.

If you have four minutes, please watch the video to learn more about this project: The Canadian International Society (CIS) together with the organization Juntocomvces have launched this crowd funding project to raise $R6000 to help fund the Dentinhos Brilhantes project for another 6 months. 

Please help! Make a pledge now. Just pick a donation level in the right hand column and click to donate - it only takes a minute:

This is a great opportunity to part of a worthwhile cause. The Casa São José dental program has helped inumerous children and adolescents since the inception of the program. Every dollar pledged makes an impact. A pledge of any amount will make the difference in enabling the program to continue.

This is all or nothing campaign, which means we need to hit our goal or the program won´t get any money.

Please share this link:

Help spread the word - The success of this campaign depends on getting the word out as widely as possible. Even if you can´t make a pledge, please support us by sharing the above link with your friends via email, Facebook, twitter etc.

Let´s help make the smiles of the children in the Jardim São Luis neighborhood continue to shine bright. Thank you so much for your support.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Pre-Natal Yoga in São Paulo

If you are looking for Pre-Natal Yoga in English then look no further! Check out Aviva's Pre-Natal courses here in São Paulo!

Charity Second Hand Sale Event : In Her Shoes

Monday, 9 March 2015

Coffee in São Paulo

The very first coffee I had when I arrived in São Paulo was from our local padaria. I mistakenly asked for a "cafezinho" - which was filtered coffee, pre-sweetened poured into a small chopp glass. One sip and I gagged (politely), asked to pay and tried to hide the almost full cup of black sweet tobacco "coffee" somewhere behind the half eaten coxinha. Where was the amazing Brazilian coffee I had always heard about!!??

5 years ago there were two cafés that served good coffee- Octavio on Faria Lima (filled with business men sipping R 10 coffee) and Santo Grão in Itaim and Jardins (decent coffee, slowest staff ever).

In the past few years some true coffee enthusiasts have finally opened some establishments serving great local coffee. The café culture that I know from New Zealand still does not exist here but you can find an espresso much more readily in padarias and local restaurants, along side Nespresso (ugh, but I can see why it is so popular here in Brazil when there is not many other options). I brought my own espresso machine in from the US and then started the search for decent coffee beans... and YAY, I discovered FAF coffee. You can order online from their issoecafe site here and they deliver, or you can pick up from their Lab in Pinheiros. My favourite is the FAF Reserva organic beans which can also be ground if you don't have your own grinder. If you're looking for a great milk for frothing, my favourite is Leitissimo- even thought it is UHT milk it is super creamy, and the "cleanest" milk you'll find in Brazil, even more so than the fresh A grade milk.

Other coffee shops to check out here in São Paulo include Sofa Cafe in Pinheiros, Coffee Lab in Pinheiros which also gives courses, Deliqate in Jardins with a good lunch option, the barista from Café Urbe just won best barista for Aeropress this weekend just gone and of course our very own Sophie & Theos' Cafe in Jardins where you can have the best cupcake alongside your coffee - and a great place for taking a few hours to sit and chill / work.  There are still very limited options but the list is slowly growing.

Sophie & Theo's Cafe - Rua Augusta 2239, Jardins inside Escola São Paulo. An oasis from the hustle and bustle of Rua Augusta - step into Escola São Paulo and choose to work in the quiet (aircon) library or take in the calm of the terrace at the back with a coffee and a cupcake. Serves light lunches, fresh juices, and open from 8am-10pm Monday to Friday and 9am - 5pm Saturdays.

Sofa Cafe - Rua Bianchi Bertoldi, 130, Pinheiros.

Coffee Lab - Rua Fradique Coutinho, 1340, Pinheiros.

Deliqatê - Alameda Jaú, 1191, Jardins.

Café Urbe -Rua Antônio Carlos, 404, Consolação

Octavio - Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 2996

Santo Grão - Rua Oscar Freire, 413, Jardins or Rua Jeronimo da Veiga 179, Itaim

Fruit and Vegetable markets in São Paulo

When we lived in Jardins we had a fresh fruit and vege market, "feira" literally on our doorstep. I always prefer buying from the feiras than a supermarket, the experience is so much more fun. My favourite market is on Saturdays in Vila Madalena on Mourato Coelho. Things can be more expensive than some of supermarkets but I love being able to pick out my own fruits (or ask the vendors to pick fruit out for me), and try lots of exotic fruits. I've also been meaning to check out CEASA* which is a big market in Pinheiros. It has a flower market on Tuesday and Friday mornings and the rest of the week it's a giant feira - apparently very good for fresh fish. I will try and visit in the next couple of weeks, now that I can drive there!

An update (09/03/2015)
*CEASA is located on the Marginal just past Parque Vila Lobos in Pinheiros. It is one of my favourite places to take the girls early morning on Saturday or Sunday. It is enormous! You can find the trolley queue and leave an ID with them in exchange for a trolley, pop your kids in and go have a palmito pastel with a fresh coconut, eat watermelon or mangoes from the hands of the fruit sellers, let the kids pick bright red tomatoes or the crunchiest cucumbers. They also have the best chilli stand - you can buy jalapenos, hot red malaguetas as well as Bhut jolokia - the spiciest chilli in the world!

If you are looking for a market near you, check this link here.

Thursday, 5 February 2015


The drought here in São Paulo has finally come to the forefront - now that people are having water rationed in their apartments and houses all over the city and the Head of Sabesp (the water company) told all Paulistanos to leave the city. (How about they actually fix the problem!?!?). Unbeknownst to the lucky ones, some people have already been living without water for almost a year. São Paulo has been in drought for over a year and had record high temperatures.

The Problem
The 6 reservoirs that supply the city (aka Cantareira)  has been sitting at a dangerously low 6- 10% level meaning dirt and bacteria are omnipresent. It's officially called dead water and it needs to be pumped up into the pipes. (2 days ago it was recorded at 5.1%  of capacity). It is like a "black box of pollution". Gross! And you say, but there has been lots of rain this month?? Firstly, it is not all in the right catchment area... and secondly it has been barely enough to sustain the minimum level without the water becoming diseased (maybe we've reached that point already). They say that São Paulo would need 6 months of non-stop rainfall for the reservoir to be restored to 100% levels.

The Election
The water shortage was a small election issue back in October and downplayed by the Government and Media. . The São Paulo Governor Alckmin didn't want to enforce water rationing in fear of losing votes. In retrospect, education about water responsibility over a year ago when the warning signs started would've been the smart thing - still win votes and the city would not be in such a grave predicament now. This short term water shortage predicament will result in improved water infrastructure and education in São Paulo. Governor Alckmin has just approved 8 new projects for water treatment, and water sourcing. 

Cautious Water Use at Home
We usually drink double filtered water through the system but since October we're been buying filtered water. As a little girl in NZ I remember one of their slogans during droughts "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down" which is fine when you live with people you generally like... haha,  we save bath water to water the plants and I'm conscious when washing dishes, or even clothes. Limited electricity use needs to also be taken into account when this country is fuelled by hydro-electric power stations. Households are being given discounts if they use less than 20% of monthly water consumption.

You can find out more information following the Crise de Agua on Folha de São Paulo and this Facebook Group.
More articles on BBC,, The Economist,, Bloomberg

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Pizza for lunch in São Paulo

If you haven't noticed already pizza is a Paulistano institution here - they claim it as their own, and that their pizza is the best in the world. Better than New York and even better than the Italians! I, myself, have come to love Brazilian style pizza - after I insist on a tomato base, with their catupiry (ok just a little) and thin bases.

The tradition here in São Paulo is that you eat pizza only for Sunday dinner! Ridiculous right? Who doesn't like leftover pizza for breakfast anytime of the week? There was a time when I was heavily pregnant searching for an open pizza restaurant on a Sunday at 1pm. NADA. But things have changed since then and I have found one great pizza place opened for lunch on weekends.

Maremonti is locted in Jardins and also serves other dishes. They might give you a strange look if you are ordering pizza outside of Sunday evening but it is still on the menu! I take the girls there early lunch hour when it's not so busy and they can eat pizza, and busy themselves playing with pizza dough. And the pizza is good!

Pizzaria Braz - we usually order from then online using the app ifood but they also have multiple restaurants (none open for lunch though).

A Pizzaria - my new favourite pizza find in Morumi (Real Parque). It's small but has great ambience on a Sunday night with lots of neighbourhood families there, and the pizza is good!

Free Kindermusik Demo class this weekend

An amazing musician / teacher / mother / friend of mine will be setting up her Kindermusik programme in São Paulo by giving a free demo class this weekend in Pinheros. If you have kids under the age of 7 years old and looking for an activity in English you definitely have to check it out!

If you are also looking for other things to do with children here check out my list on things to do with kids in São Paulo which is eternally growing.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Feliz Ano Novo!

Just arrived in Punta del Este sans children which I count as my real holiday .. and finally have some time to catch up on the blog!

Last year ended in a rush, as it always does. Parties, end of school, work, cupcakes, planning for Christmas dinner and trying to avoid the traffic. We decided to stay at home for Christmas this year - flights are ridiculous, lots of people were around and I wanted the girls to wake up in their own beds this year for Christmas Day!

Christmas Dinner
Christmas dinner here is celebrated on the 24th. Found a fantastic acogue (butcher) in Mercadão (phone number 3228-2855 who delivers to your house as well. 2 legs of lamb for R$120 plus motoboy delivery (fee depending on address). I had told everyone to come early not realising that there is absolutely no traffic on the 24th anyways. 
On actual Christmas Day we booked into the Hyatt brunch which was fantastic. I didn't want to cook and clean again and this was the perfect solution - free flow sparkling, oysters and sushi (this will be my new Christmas tradition) plus a kids play room where they could stay with monitors. 

For New Years Eve week we drove up to Rio and stayed in Santa Teresa. Amazingly had no traffic either way. It was extremely hot, the first day was almost 50'C... New Years Eve babysitter fell through so after a few hours of back and forth decided to take all the children down to Copacabana for the fireworks. For New Years eve, the only way to get into Copacabana (if you're not staying nearby) is to take the metro. You have to buy the tickets in advance (they do not sell on the actual day of the 31st) and you buy for an allocated hour and they only have a certain number of tickets available for each hour. For example, we bought tickets for 11-12pm with an open return. It was like we were living in Singapore again - the most orderly, efficient process I've experienced in Brazil so far. We arrived a little early but they let us wait inside the station until the clock turned 11pm. The metro popped us up 3 blocks from the beach - we arrived at 11:30pm, ate some candy floss and the others drank beer.. I was too worried about having to pee!! and also Lei Seca - the drinking law is so rigorously enforced in Rio I didn't want to take the risk. The fireworks were amazing, the kids slept through the second half of them but it was worth it just to say we've done it! We rushed back to the metro thinking there would be a mad rush but it was completely empty and we had the kids in bed by 1:30am. 

We've been to Rio a couple of dozen times now so it was fun exploring another neighbourhood. People think Santa Teresa is rough and dangerous, it is.. just like the rest of Rio. Our friends were in a "arrastou" (portuguese for "drag" i.e. a group of more than 20 kids will run on the beach and rob beachgoers in one sweep, or drag) on Ipanema beach one day and we could hear someone being robbed down the road in Santa Teresa (the girl came up the road crying 10 minutes later). The crime is much more in-your-face in Rio and I was definitely on higher alert here. An amazing restaurant to try is Espirito Santo - great creative menu and they use alot of the jambu leaf from the Amazon, traditionally used as an anaesthetic as it gives your tongue a slight numbing sensation. Go early or book.

The bookshop in the middle of Santa Teresa has live samba on Saturday nights - entrance use to be R $5. Beers sold through a small window - a great cheap option for a night out. 

Down on Copacabana, we had dinner at Amir's, a great lebanese restaurant , if you're looking for something different.

We also went to check out Ilha da Paquetá which is a 40 minute ferry ride from Praça XV in Centro. It's an island that traditionally rich Cariocas kept holiday houses on. The water became very polluted from Guanabara Bay (the same water that feeds the polluted waters of Botofogo) and most people moved away. There are still over 3000 residents with 40% of them who commute to Rio for work. There are no cars on the island so you can go around by either horse and carriage (barter please, we got completely ripped off - R $100 for a 20 minute ride around the island) or by a bicycle taxi. Lunch was fine - not many options. The island is really lovely and the streets are well kept, and they have a cemetery for just birds.. but the water was so disgusting that we had no interest in spending time on the beach there. The girls loved it for just the ferry ride so all in all was worth the trip!

And last but not least, for the coffee lovers out there check out the side cafe that the jeweller Monica Ponde puts along side her beautiful jewellery shop! They serve a Jacu Petit Noir; Jacu is a bird that eats coffee beans and the "processed" beans are then picked out for a delicious coffee... also not the cheapest coffee at R$12. Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 365B, Lojas 5 e 6.