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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thanks for the memories, Greece

We've come to the end of our amazing two week trip to Greece and it feels like we've experienced and seen so much! I'm sure I've put on about 20kg's in delicious Greek calories and I've seen some of the most beautiful sights of my short life. 

I can't wait to tell you all about our Athens and Santorini adventures; from discovering the Athens locals love to stealing petrol from an unsuspecting Santorian. There's a lot to tell, but for now, here are a few pictures from the trip. 














Thursday, October 16, 2014

Street Food on Bree

Whenever I come across a fantastic new restaurant in Cape Town, I become so excited about it that it's all I can talk about for a couple of days. "Have you been to this place?", "How come no one told me about how great this place is?" "I went to this place the other day and it was so amazing". I just can't help myself, I want people to eat great food.



I had a meeting in town yesterday and I spotted a place I've been meaning to pop into since they opened and since it was around lunch time (more or less) (ok it was 11:30) I decided I'd give it a try.

Street Food on Bree is a proper hole-in-the-wall on busy Bree Street. It's small and kind of dark inside, decorated with prints of street food from around the world. There's a glass cabinet filled with freshly prepared take-away meals and a Deluxe coffee stand.




I opted for the Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls with a spicy peanut dipping sauce. One bite in and I was like "Whoa this is amazing! How come no one has told me how good the food is here?" The rolls were super fresh, tasty and filling and while I was sitting there the chef brought out several more options.



Tuna tataki with fine green beans, Chinese chicken with rice, pork belly...so many options! I am actually going back today to try something else. So the next time you're in town, I suggest you pop in - don't say I didn't tell you about it. Try get there before 1pm - apparently everything sells out really quickly. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Recent Experiences In Fashion

I wouldn't describe myself as a fashion blogger or list "shopping" and "fashion" as two of my hobbies. I mean, I wear clothes and I like finding nice ones, but fashion isn't a preoccupation of mine.


That said, I like to watch trends and experiment with them. I might incorporate one or two new items a season into my wardrobe, trying out something I've seen on someone I admire. My fashion sense is a bit erratic, I'll admit, but I think that's because my attention span is oh look a cat just walked into my garden.

In my wardrobe you'll find a purple sweater printed with cats shooting multi-lasers from their eyes floating in a galaxy of starts, between a lot of black, white, blue and grey. It's like, I can't decide if I'm into out-there fashion (like, really out-there) or monochromatic chic.

Recently I've been interested in kaftans and turbans. Combined, this makes for a pretty extreme look, I'll admit. So I wear them separately. I found this really beautiful printed kaftan at a small store in Stellenbosch and it was marked down by 75% so I bought it on the spot. It makes me feel super chilled out, like one of those really young moms with long legs and thick eyebrows.

I'm not really a hat person, but I'm coming round to the idea of headgear. The current turban trend suits me and I've been YouTubing "how to tie a turban" as I wrap scarves around my head. I think that the key to wearing something overly-trendy is confidence. Wear it like you've always worn turbans and now finally everyone else is coming round to your style.

This is exactly what I was channeling the other day when I stepped out of my car onto a busy main road in my new turban. I was feeling slightly self conscious but I wasn't going to let that show. What I lack in confidence I make up for in red lipstick, so I was ready to look people dead in the eye with a stare that says, yes, I am wearing a turban and I am into it and so are you Calvin Klein.

So there I was, strutting down the street, defiant in my choice of vaguely tribal head-wrapping, when a homeless lady took one look at me and shouted "GO CLEAN THE TOILETS!"

Prepping for Greece

You know when you start planning a trip and it's months and months away and it seems like the time to board the plane will absolutely never come and then suddenly you're like, 5 sleeps away?


I leave for Greece on Monday morning and I am slowly but surely busy prepping for 12 days away. What I really want to do is lay out all my black, white, blue and grey clothing items and all my toiletries and pack them right now, but that makes no sense at all. So I channel my excitement and enthusiasm into lists.

Lists of electronics and charging cables, camera gear and paperwork. Check-lists. Lists lists lists. I just love a good list.

We'll be in Athens for 6 days, where I will be attending the TBEX Conference, meeting up with a few super friendly local Greek food bloggers and exploring the city with my Keenan.

There are a few key physical preparations to any successful trip and these include a good hydrating facial, a trip to the hairdresser and a visit to the beauty salon. I like to travel light, which is much easier when my skin, hair and body are in good shape. It means that I need to take less stuff with me and that I can look back at the pictures in 50 years and be like, wow I had really great hair.

Prepping for a Trip


Skin

My skin is kind of sensitive and doesn't respond well to climate control, so I like to have a facial before I spend 20 hours in an air-conditioned plane. I normally schedule a facial with my QMS specialist a few days before the trip, and up my moisturising regimen in the days leading up to the flight.

I like to travel with the QMS Hydro Foam Mask, which is a leave-on treatment that keeps my skin super hydrated during the flight. I don't wear makeup when I fly (it tends to dry my skin out even more and it stresses me out to have it on my skin for like, 24 hours), so I might carry MAC's Fix Fluid to sprits onto my skin when it starts looking a bit dull. Also a mascara and a lip balm for when I land (thanks to my facial my skin looks pretty good foundation-free).

Hair

My hair stylist, Carlos at Scar has been the custodian of my hair for the past couple of years and I love him. I try pop in for a trim and a treatment before I travel so that my hair will be more get-up-go than tie-up-and-gross while I'm away. Obviously dry shampoo is my best friend not only when I travel but basically al the time. My friend Camilla from All Dolled Up taught me this great trick: Tie your hair in a loose bun and spray your hairline with dry shampoo before bed. In the morning, your hair will have lots of body and it won't be ratty around your face,

Body

I always get a bit of cold from flying, so I try to stock up on immune boosters for a few days before I get into that cesspit of human illness. I am recovering from a pretty severe ear infection right now (worst timing) and my kinesiologist (don't laugh) has recommended high doses of Vitamin C combined with bio-flavanoids and super-high doses of probiotics.

She's recommended Vibrant Health (which apparently contains over 25 billion probiotics - I can't image I need many more than that) and NRF Vitamin C 2000 which are both available at Wellness Warehouse.

I also give my skin a good once-over exfoliation and intense moisture-kick. I love The Body Shop for body scrubs and I recently started using Lipodol's After Shower Oil and I love it. It leaves my skin hydrated, gets absorbed quickly and it doesn't have an overpowering fragrance.

I normally only travel with one perfume because who has the space or inclination to carry more than that around? I am in love with Elie Saab for day and night.

I also like to get my nails done so that they don't chip and or look gross because I'm sure not going to be travelling with a nail kit. I've been going to Kath at Sacred Care Skin & Body since I moved to Cape Town and I just love the salon. Kath and her team are like friends to me now and they offer amazing service at really reasonable prices.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Oh Goodness, Dear Me

When I'm planning a special dinner, or I want to treat a friend for their birthday, I book a table at The White Room at Dear Me. On the level between the sunny Dear Me eatery and the ultra-trendy Tjing Tjing Bar (who serve the absolute best cocktails in Cape Town, by the way), the White Room is like a blank canvas for the artistry of one of my local food hero's, chef Vanessa Marx.

Image by the insanely talented Claire Gunn
Entirely white from top to bottom, with whitewashed wooden floors and sparkling chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, the evening feels special as soon as you walk in. The impeccable service ads to that and the wait staff and sommelier are friendly and personable, yet discreet. I think the space really lends itself to intimate conversations and slow-paced evenings, and having a team work around that without interrupting is something really important and hard to get right.

Image by Claire Gunn

The White Room is only open on Thursday and Friday evenings and the menu is seasonal. There is a choice between a five course and an eight course menu, with or without a wine pairing. We had the five course paired with wine (obviously) and my favourite dish was a "veggie garden" which had a truffled chocolate soil of some kind. I mean, delicious! The current menu is on the website.

Image by Claire Gunn
Image by Claire Gunn


Image by Claire Gunn

Such a special dinner and a real Cape Town foodie highlight. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Summer's Here: The Sansui Summer Cup

Have I ever told you that my grandpa was a jockey? In fact, he was a really good jockey. Despite being one of the tallest (and heaviest) jockeys the country has ever seen, he won the title at the Durban July and the Met and when he passed away the horse racing channel aired an homage to his career.

If he was still alive and racing, I would have loved to see him take the title at Joburg's biggest race, the Sansui Summer Cup. It's the oldest and most respected first-grade horse race, hosting its first run in 1887. 

Sansui shot this fun video to highlight jockeys and Joburgers' similarities. I'm pretty sure my pappa could have out-driven these guys too.


If you’re into fashion, sports, or just a want some good entertainment – you can follow SANSUI Summer Cup on Twitter here and Facebook here.

Find out more about ticket packages on the Sansui Summer Cup website

Steenberg Farm #visitSteenberg



I was recently invited to spend the weekend at Steenberg Farm out in Constantia. Even though I lived just around the corner for about a year, I never really visited the farm. You know how it is. Sometimes we don't notice the beauty right under our noses. I was blown away by the five star luxury (especially the incredibly friendly service), delicious food and wine and the natural beauty. Spring is a great time to visit, since the immaculate gardens are in full full bloom.

I am obsessed with yellow pincushion proteas so I was in my element the entire weekend. They grow wild all over the farm. We stayed in the hotel, which was fancy but very homey. Huge plush beds and thick heavy curtains provide the kind of sleep you can only get outside of the city, even though it's only a 15 minute drive from the CBD. Throughout the hotel huge bunches of king proteas provide colour and life and outside the sprawling lawns make you feel like you're in a Victorian love story.


The food! Oh man the food was amazing. On Friday night we drank what the next day felt like hundreds of bottles of wine and ate a selection of small plates at Bistro1682 - the farm's lunch and early dinner venue. Asian sticky pork belly, toasted cheese and truffle sandwiches...it was all just so good!

The restaurant is inside the tasting venue, where we went through the farm's range of wines. Outside there are rolling lawns where you can relax with a bottle of whatever's your favourite. Steenberg has just released their new bubbly and I took a real liking to it. I ended up buying a couple of bottles to take home, as well as the Nebbiolo red for my wine rack.






On Saturday night we had dinner at Catharina's Restaurant. Once again, I was blown away by the food. I had beef fillet with mushrooms and truffle sauce and Keenan had duck. Delicious!

You could easily spend the entire weekend on the Steenberg property. Wine tasting, walks through the immaculate gardens, a game of boulle on the lawns, a quick visit to the Tokai market on Saturday morning, a nap in your enormous bed in the afternoon, a picnic lunch packed by Cathrina's Restaurant, a cycle through the vineyards and dinner over a couple of bottles of wine. Of course there's also the spa, where we had a steam bath and massage on Sunday morning before heading home.









 Steenberg is close to Cape Town, with delicious food and wine, lots to do and glorious natural beauty. Definitely a place I would recommend to visitors and locals alike.