Words: Betsie Loock-Van der Merwe | Images: Supplied & Rene Walker
Rita-Mari Ludike started her blog called Rita Hello shortly after she decided to become a freelance artist. “It was my way to keep busy, stay inspired and not panic about the massive life decision I’d made. I hoped it would in some way also inspire readers.” Rita mainly posts about artists, events and places that she finds interesting.
As a freelancer, it’s of particular importance to her that her home represents “a space where you can retreat and recharge, a place where you can express yourself freely and creatively, and a place where you surround yourself with the people, animals and things that make you a better person”.
Rita and her husband have found and created such a home in the lovely Pretoria East suburb of Lynnwood Ridge.
Home sweet home
The couple moved to Lynnwood Ridge in 2015. “When we decided to move and started looking into properties, we made a list of things that were important to us. Being close to work and having easy access to big roads and amenities were some of those,” she says.
“We prefer living in older areas with a good infrastructure. After considering our budget and our ‘want list’ we decided to look at properties in the greater Lynnwood area.”
What Rita personally loves most about Lynnwood Ridge is the fact that if they need anything, be it for the house, the garden, art supplies, groceries or fuel, it’s a five-minute drive from their house.
Rita spent her childhood all over South Africa living in different towns and cities. “My fondest childhood memories will always be of Heilbron, a little town in the Free State. Winters there were magical and when it snowed we celebrated by sliding down slopes on my friend’s farm on old beer boxes.”
Similarly, she has great memories of her high school career that was mostly spent in Pretoria. “Because I attended boarding school and came from small towns, discovering the city was a thrilling experience.”
Perhaps Lynnwood Ridge with its dual character in a way reconciles these different joyful memories for Rita. “At any point in time, there’s always some form of activity around us, whether it’s the sound of traffic, people having a good time at nearby restaurants or our neighbours. This definitely gives us our ‘fix’ of city-living, which is exciting and also invigorating. And then some days everything is dead quiet and you can hear birds chirping the entire day.”
Gems in the neighbourhood
It’s often the small treasures in a neighbourhood that bestow the greatest pleasures on its residents. Rita shares a few of these gems. “This might sound like a crazy pick, but I have to mention the BP fuel station on Camelia Drive. Not only do they have the friendliest staff in Pretoria, they also have the best car wash and loyalty system.”
This ex-small-town girl also points out the tiny patch of forest-like area tucked away in the neighbourhood as one of her favourite features. “If the arts-and-crafts bug bites, Jimnettes is an absolute treat to find almost anything art related. We also love doing some plastic-free produce shopping at Lynnwood Housewife’s Market.”
Last but not least, she adores “the dear man on the corner of Jacobson and Freesia streets who replaces shoe soles and fixes clothing. My leather boots would have given up ages ago if it wasn’t for him”.
The couple loves spending their downtime at home. “We renovated our home and made sure to create spaces and not rooms. Our kitchen flows into our living space which makes this our favourite and most-used space in the house. This is not only where we cook, but where we dance, talk, entertain and have playtime with our cats,” says Rita.
Rita and her hubby also enjoy sitting outside in their small garden drinking coffee and looking at the light change when Pretoria shows off with its glorious sunsets.
In summer, if the weather permits, they’re keen on walking over to some of the nearby restaurants for a drink with friends.
“Because of the fact that we have such a wide variety of property – complexes, an exclusive security estate, spacious older houses and guesthouses – we have a very broad demographic mix in Lynnwood Ridge, another reason why we love this area: you get to meet a variety of people”
Rita’s pick of restaurants:
Piza e Vino: beer and pizza after work every now and again
Oyama Sushi in Gift Acres: fantastic sushi (there are sushi specials available almost every day) and all sorts of interesting imported drinks
Lynnwood Bridge Retail Centre
Gift Acres Shopping Centre
Menlyn Park Shopping Centre
Theatre shows at Atterbury Theatre
Movies at Menlyn Park Shopping Centre
Picnicking at Faerie Glen Nature Reserve
Kids entertainment at the Fun Company Menlyn Park
Entertainment at Sun Arena at Time Square Casino