Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gorgeous design

I think it's inspiring and fun to see what people are doing with wedding invitations – the possibilities for personalised stationary are endless. I stumbled upon the local me&e design collaboration, who are doing magical things from websites to weddings. I'm definitely putting them in my address book.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cath Kidston Wishlist

So after blogging about how much I love Cath Kidston's stuff, I took a look at what was on offer... and as usual, I fell in love. Again and again. So, here's my top 10 on my Christmas wishlist.

  1. Messenger bag (I love the contrast of the antique rose floral with the striped strap.)
  2. Floral phone case (Practical meets pretty.)
  3. Sheepskin slippers ("with corsage" – bless!)
  4. Cherry umbrella (I love "birdcage" umbrellas – especially see-through ones so you can watch the rain – they somehow give you more coverage. Even though this one says it's for children, I think that's totally debatable!!)
  5. Laptop sleeve (Who doesn't love polka dots? And the leather zip detail is great.)
  6. Rose business card holder (Every busy girl needs one. What a brilliant stocking filler.)
  7. Holiday bag (So useful, a real investment (all those things I say when I buy a new bag!) and it would go perfectly with...)
  8. ... this Travel set (A great gift – perfect for the jetsetter. Also available in polka dot print!)
  9. Provence rose cup and saucer set and cake stand (The name says enough – her crockery is so cute, it's hard to pick one and I love cake stands, too. I would obviously need one to match the teacups, obviously. Okay, technically these are two items so this list has gone up to 11!)
  10. Sewing basket (Because I sew... Okay, sometimes... Okay, I may be getting carried away!)

Festive fever

Looking for festive inspiration, I found Eat Drink Chic. The gorgeous blog is hard to leave! I can't wait to get stuck into the DIY section. And the blog's author is a fan of Cath Kidston which says something about her impeccable vintage kitsch taste. (BTW – How quaint are Kidston's holiday designs?!)

For more commercial Christmas ideas, I also found Hostess With the Mostess.

My life would be complete with these...

These gorgeous Love Bird Salt & Pepper shakers – "Love, Rest, Dream, Nest". What a fabulous local blog and online shop – In Good Company! I definitely will be spending some Christmas love here. I mean a whole section on ribbons!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pink brogues

It's been a rather dark week with long hours and high stress levels over deadline, but my new dusty pink brogues from Mr Price brightened my day yesterday (and for just R69.99, noggal!).

Gorgeous gift cards

I got to spend a lovely evening with the fabulous girls of my Book Club, and managed to top up on Baby Birdie's favourite gift cards from entrepreneur StrawberryJan –Bluebird, LoveBird and Tweetingbird. Check out her other gorgeous designs, plus Christmas cards and tags, and order online here.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Yesterday was Thanksgiving, a tradition of gratitude that really appeals to me and that I've celebrated for a few years (despite having never experienced it in the States). A year ago, my overseas family was visiting and we spent Thanksgiving together. It turned out, that my sister was only a few days pregnant at the time, so a year later, we have a gorgeous new addition to the family to be thankful for.

I started a tradition of bringing in sweet treats to our office for Thanksgiving in 2008. Everyone has to write down something they're thankful for in order to receive! I then type up all the gratitudes – anonymously! – and stick them up around the office. I'm always amazed how hard it is for people to think of something they're grateful for at first, but once they do, the thanks keeps flowing and there's really a feeling of good will in the air.

It was my mother (and Oprah!) who instilled an attitude of gratitude in me, which – ha ha! – I'm very grateful for! Taking time to tally your thanks really puts things into perspective.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Funny luggage tags

My holiday obsession in full, swing, I found these quirky luggage tags here. Definitely think I'll be ordering some – they make great stocking fillers too.


I got some amazing news today. No, not that I'm getting promoted, an above-inflation raise or a 13th cheque. No, I haven't lost 5 kilos. Nope I didn't win anything. I found out that my luggage restriction for my trip overseas is 23kg. But, that's not all. Between the two of us, we're allowed THREE CASES! 69kg!!!!!! I am consumed with thoughts of how many baby grows I can fit on the way there for my niece, and how many shoes I can bring back after the Christmas sales!

December 16 – The Departure Date – is a mere three weeks away, but it's felt like an eternity with all that needs to be done before now. Let the excitement begin!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My dream room

I get misty eyed just thinking about the the scene in Sex & The City movie when Mr Big remodels the (bee-ootiful) New York loft so that Carrie has every girl's dream: a walk-in closet. Every morning when my boyfriend and I queue for the hanging space, circling each other in our underwear-clad morning dance, searching amongst the compressed garments for a blouse, which is hidden under a shirt because I have to put a few things on one hanger, I think to myself, My life would be complete with a walk-in cupboard.

This weekend I did the seasonal swop – despite the rain and grey clouds, steadfastly switching winter coats and jerseys for bikinis and shorts; making a pile of clothes I didn't wear once this season to give away. I like my cupboards to be tidy, if cramped, so getting things organised and rediscovering something that was shoved to the back of a drawer can be a liberating experience. But I've been putting it off because it's a pretty time consuming puzzle working out where everything fits and folding and stacking and hanging, and, well, I'd rather be napping, or reading, or going for a walk, or having a sundowner or doing a headstand, anything else really on my precious Sunday.

So instead, I turned a rather uneventful weekend into a learning experience. I learnt...
  • To finish what I start – I'm prone to become so overwhelmed by the chaos I've created, that sitting on the couch seems like the only option at the time.
  • To get rid of something that I'm hanging onto because I like the idea of it.
  • Rose wine can really help clear your mind and help with the process.
  • Men don't understand this process, or why it has to take so long.
  • They are also far less sentimental about your stuff, so are good to ask when you're unsure whether to toss something.
  • You can stop after three biscuits.
  • To choose a Sunday with a dismal Sunday movie, so you're not tempted to give up and watch it.
  • Look at the big picture, and don't get lost in the details.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Posh Indian at Bombay Brasserie

I reviewed Cape Town Taj's Bombay Brasserie on JP Roussouw's new site. Check it out here.

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I do

I love wedding blogs. While I believe in marriage, I believe more in commitment. And while I had day dreams about a wedding, I've never been desperate to be a bride. So this is not a life-long scrap book obsession culminating in one day; it's more a passion. I get lost in gorgeous wedding blogs, in wedding photographs and ideas. I'm a details person, so I do love and appreciate the sentiment and tradition (whether upheld or subverted in a quirky way), ritual and creative elements of a wedding. And I love seeing people's unique interpretations and how those are captured in great imagery.

One that I've enjoyed exploring, from its template and icons to its layout, pictures and inspiring ideas, is a local The Pretty Blog. And an all-time favourite is Snippet & Ink. Enjoy!

Introducing Olivia

I've mentioned Narina's gorgeous Crazy Aunt creations before. Here's one that was made specially for my niece (7 week old) Olivia, who lives in England. Olivia herself was created in South Africa while her parents were on holiday here almost a year ago. I'll definitely be putting an order in with The Crazy Aunt Co for Christmas!

Time out

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. – Carl Sandburg

The last few months have passed in a blur. I've watched three issues go to print and begun working on January 2011's issue already! I've welcomed a niece into the world and celebrated my boyfriend's milestone birthday. I've walked on a windy West Coast beach in Jakkalsfontein, and then seen the same beach from the air, flying over it in a helicopter. I've experienced the fickle change in seasons – basking in the sunshine and then running in from the rain. I've stayed in my pajamas till 10 on a Sunday, sweated on the treadmill, overindulged, laughed and cried and read a couple of books.

As the year draws to a close, I look forward to longer summer evenings and opening all the windows to listen to the city go still; to wrapping up a decade, focusing on the final stretch and reaping the rewards of holiday with family; and to welcoming a new year. I like new starts, cleans pages, beginnings. But, I'm determined during this silly season, not to let it go by in a blur. I will blog.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The perfect way to start the day...

The perfect way to start a bright Friday and get ready for the weekend – coffee and an almond croissant from Jardine on Bree's impressive bakery.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spicy, hearty, easy homemade cassoulet

  • Potatoes (to bake)
  • Pork sausages (or whatever your preference)
  • Garlic (About 2 cloves, crushed)*
  • Chilli (About 1 to 2 tsp fresh or dried flakes)*
  • Onion, diced finely
  • 1tsp Garam Masala
  • 2stp Dried herbs
  • 1tsp sugar
  • Salt & pepper
  • tin of kidney beans & tin of butter beans (or whatever your preference)
  • 2 tins of tomato
*Haven’t prescribed amounts (I have a propensity for chilli and garlic, they basically make the world go around), but I guess I’d say two cloves of garlic and 1tsp chilli would be good for your first attempt.

How to make:
Turn on oven to around 180ºC and put potatoes in to bake while you prepare cassoulet. In casserole dish, fry pork sausages on stove top, browning. Remove, slice and set aside. In same casserole dish, add a little more oil and saute onions, adding garlic and chilli when onions have softened a bit. Then stir in herbs and masala and add sliced sausage back. Add the tinned tomatoes, sugar, a pinch of salt and some pepper. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes then stir in beans, put the lid (or some tinfoil) over the casserole dish and bake for about half an hour. Serve over piping-hot, crispy baked potato met a glassie rooi wein.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Love is...

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Edward Estlin Cummings

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gorgeous Gifts

The perfect, personalised gifts for my friend's two year old, Rylee, thanks to the talented Crazy Aunt Narina. Check out her blog and more gorgeous creations here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Biscuit Mill

The Neighbour Goods Market forms the Saturday ritual of many foodie Capetonians and trendy tourists alike. So, like a good tour guide, I initiated another visiting friend with a trip to the B-Mill. The overcast weather was a blessing, as it had kept away the hoards, though I was still elbowed and trodden on enough times to make me feel like I got the full experience. Speaking of experiences, you have to go hungry and I wasn't disappointed with a lamb souvlaki made by the chuckling-authentic-Greek-guy, and amazing cinnamon and caramalised sugar crepe for dessert, washed down with a lemon iced tea.

The visit was concluded with a trip to my favourite stall, Skermunkil Design Studio, for the beautiful, heart-shaped pendant – a little Women's Day giftie for moi – I've been lusting after!

Sushi at Kyoto Garden

For this week's date night, we went in search of sushi. The craving had spoken and we were determined not to fall into our old comfortable routine of reliably delicious sushi at the Waterfront's Willoughby's or hole-in-the-wall Minatos and to try something new. It was a challenge to think of somewhere that was a dress-up, date-night venue, but that didn't have the price tag of Nobu or the dusty reputation of Tank. Kyoto Gardens in Tamboerskloof (around the corner from Rafiki's and opposite Miller's Thumb) is somewhere we'd wanted to try for a while.

I'd read in comments on JP Roussouw's site, that the service was slow and indifferent, but, thankfully, that's not what we experienced. The waiter was efficient and the food came quickly (we'll overlook that the restaurant was quite quiet!). The cocktails were delicious, fresh and well balanced – a must! The main courses were exotic (and expensive), but we were there for the sushi. To start, we ordered the paper-thin "Tempura Light", which had been recommended. We went for the prawn and scallop tempura (only one of each so not ideal for sharing!), with melt-in-your-mouth aubergine, broccoli and sweet potato tempura, and the mushroom and seaweed salad with a perfect, fresh wasabi-soy sauce accompaniment.

Following more recommendations, we ordered the red salmon sashimi, which was little more textured than Norwegian, and yellow-fin tuna (they were all out of the big-eye tuna we were after and we certainly weren't ordering the blue fin – tsk tsk!) sashimi, Alaskan crab sushi and eel sushi. The waiter grated real wasabi root, which was sharp and hot and far more tasty than the horse-radish-like lurid green wasabi on offer. The soy sauce itself was delicious – obviously different to the watery, salty liquid at some sushi restaurants – and the waiter explained that it was full-flavour, high-soy content Kikkoman Soy Sauce. Good to know!

The strange owner, mentioned in most reviews and comments, was around, but only in the background, delivering packets of what looked like wine and produce from his double-parked car. This disorganisation may explain why two of the white wines we ordered weren't available, but we were graciously given two glasses of decidedly-average white wine on the house for the inconvenience.

Desserts sounded delicate and light, but our meal was concluded with warm saki, though we overheard a couple next to us raving about the green tea ice cream.

With expertly-presented quality ingredients, expect an adventurous, exotic menu and prices to match your carbon footprint ~ Kyoto Garden Sushi, Tamboerskloof, 021 422 2001

Friday, August 6, 2010

Before & After: The Writing Desk

BEFORE I found this gorgeous little writing bureau while trawling the haberdasheries of the northern suburbs with talented creative Narina of The Crazy Aunt Company. We had a wonder in Die Handelshuis, a second-hand furniture store with everything from ceramic dogs, authentic leather biker jackets to huge velvet love seats dying to be recovered and placed in a trendy, sexy Cape Town bar. For sustenance, we stopped in at the coffee shop called La Cute at the back of the dusty shop, for some moer koffie and cinnamon pancakes. And there was the writing desk... We both fell in love with it instantly! It has such gorgeous proportions and personality. Sadly (or happily since it led to a new project), the paint job had much to be desired...

AFTER Removing the wooden knobs that we wanted to keep their lovely, rich, worn brown colour, we sanded the cupboard down with a small hand sander, until it was really smooth and some of the wood was exposed. I painted a coat of white oil paint and we sanded it again, exposing some of the blue and wood, making it look weathered and distressed.

It's great to have somewhere to store paperwork and unattractive, miscellaneous files and cables, as well as having all our stationary in one place. This little writing desk is the perfect addition to our small study that has a simple trestle table, dominated by our computer and printer, and a modern square-framed book case.

Hand-embroidered Foldable Tote

There's nothing like a hand-made, one-of-a-kind piece. Find out how to make this cute, hand-embroidered foldable tote (how useful!), courtesy of QueenAndCorgi's Alex, on her site here.

Weekend snacks: Pita crisps

These pita crisps are amazing snacks to have with a wedge of cheese, dipped in humus or tzatziki or with a bit of pate slathered on top. I love taking them on picnics. Plus it's always cool (if you are sharing them!) to offer guests a snack that looks homemade!

Directions Halve pitas and then slice them open and cut them into triangles. Make a mixture of dried herbs, sea salt and olive oil to baste one side of the pitas with. Cook slowly until golden (you gotta watch them, but about fifteen minutes) in about 160º oven.

Proudly African

Porcelain African continent on brown felt ribbon, courtesy of Keyna-B. More like a trophy pin – I love that!

Beautiful Patterns

A selection of gorgeous and inspiring patterns by Julia Rothman. Such a great mix of colours, retro-damask-floral chic and quirky illustration.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Before & After: The Cupboard

I decided to fix up this piece of furniture – once my aunt's cupboard when she was a teenager in the Fifties (my mum remembers climbing into her older sister's cupboard when she was little and playing records on her big sister's wind-up record player), reincarnated for my sister, and a decade later for me, as storage in our wendy house, and now as our hall coat cupboard.
I'd thought of putting material on the cupboard doors, but wanted something really special, unusual and versatile (read expensive). While browsing a material shop, I got the idea of using lace, but finding something special enough, that wasn't shiny ice white and an ugly repeated pattern, was a challenge.
In my opinion, the only good use for net curtains is never their intended purpose – as curtains! I found the last piece on a bale, with really pretty flower vine running down it. After measuring the width of the doors and deciding how I wanted the vines to run on either panel, I attempted cutting the lace netting. Getting it perfectly straight was a challenge (specially with an inquisitive kitty who wanted in on the action!), so I folded it in half, and half again, and pegged it in an attempt to stop the slippery fabric from moving.

Preparation I got a piece of masonite to do a test piece to a) chose a colour (it was between white and an off-white-cream, which ended up making the lace look dirty), b) see whether the lace would work at all to create interest and texture at all and c) discover whether the paint would work as adequate glue to stick the lace in place. I enlisted a trusty helper to sand the cupboard down!

Painting First step was painting a layer of white undercoat, letting it dry, giving it a light sand until smooth before painting on a layer of white oil paint. Using oil paint meant I didn't need to varnish it. It went on very easily and gave good coverage (I suspect because of the white undercoat). I also didn't want it to be perfect gloss, but to have some imperfections, so I didn't do a second coat. One layer on the door panels, and I stuck the fabric on. Tip: work fast – if you do have to peel up and reapply the lace straight, do it fast. The paint seems to shrink the fabric.

Finishing touches The inspiration for keeping the refurbishment simple and classic, was really this door knob, which I wanted to be the feature. I love interesting door knobs, and found this one in New York at one of my favourite stores Anthropologie. I picked up the colour of the knob, by adding a hint of turquoise on the finishes, in all cracks and grooves. I hand sanded the edges to expose some of the wood to make it look aged and antiqued.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Button Up

I love how quirky button brooches can change and develop an outfit by adding a new facet. These are some from Skinny Laminx that I added to a formal, tailored grey wool blazer.


Simple, classic, elegant – all the things that make a gorgeous accessory.