Monday, August 13, 2018

As you all know by now, nothing screams my name more than an aromatic cappuccino and a delightful treat to tickle the taste buds. Having already spoilt my senses at Coco Safar when they were located in the Cavendish Square, I was dying to spoil myself and mumsy at their new bigger, bolder and far more brazen premises in Green Point (Seapoint .... oh heck I never know the friggin difference ... but it's along that drag).

COCO SAFAR 2.0

So the new Coco Safar was said to boast a coffee shop, a Capsule Emporium and Espresso Bar, a Couture Pâtisserie, a tea brewery and bar and much more ... whats not to love right? So off we headed with the "fandamily" (aka my cousins and aunt) and mumsy.

Do I smell coffee? 

The Capsule Emporium
At Coco Safar, they offer quality coffee at various strengths to suit your palette. They also are front-runners when it comes to the world’s first home compostable, oxygen tight Bio-Capsule offering their clients a sustainable capsule experience (at a price however as these capsules are by no means cheap). 

However, if you have a discerning palette and choose quality over quantity ... you are going to love this place. The Emporium collections offer you a wide selection of fine freshly roasted coffees curated from the finest speciality beans and regions around the globe, so do give it a try at least once before you pass judgement ... chances are you will be back!


The Espresso Bar
A state-of-the-art Espresso Bar provides a myriad of reasons to travel out of your way to get your coffee fix, not to mention the world’s first Spirit Idrocompresso espresso machine with lever technology, exclusively made for Coco Safar in Holland by Kees van der Westen. Time to sit ...sniff ...slurp ...aaaah! Nothing like a good cuppa joe. As with many of the best things in life, don't be in a hurry this place is always packed.


The Luxury Café
The Coco Safar Café with its French style and retro-chic setting are all about understated luxury and indulgence. There is a seductive and timeless ambience of the store which belies its rather characteristic sense of old-school colonial "poshness". The food is exceptionally well presented and very tasty, but once again it is rather pricey for what it is.

While I don't mind the occasional splurge, I do have to be honest and say that this will not be my corner cafe on a weekly basis. For a coffee (or two) and a breakfast, you are looking at about R120 - R200 per person and yes, that is without cake ... and let's face it, who wants to come here and not eat cake, right?



The Couture Pâtisserie
As the French would say "oh la la" and indeed they would be right. Coco Safar's Pâtisserie will leave you spoilt for choice and biting your lip with indecision. It's prettiness personified and even more so when plated (although this will set you back another R30-40 bucks). Coco Safar does, however, offer you an incomparable couture pâtisserie experience. The offering is inspired by the great French tradition, our pâtisserie and viennoiseries and are dreamt up by the pastry artisans spanning Cape Town and New York.






So no matter what you do, if you live in Cape Town or are visiting, you need to add this unique coffee experience to your "to-do" list. But, whatever you do ... do not take your mom in law with you, she might just rock up a hefty bill as a little revenge or payback (tee hee). Oh yes, and leave the kids at home!

Personally, I love the prettiness and had a lovely morning at the new Coco Safar.


Thursday, August 02, 2018

Many have asked why Vietnam? I wish I could tell you that there is a sane and well thought out answer and yet ... there isn't!

I simply felt in my soul that it is a place I want to visit. You see I love people and cultures, I love getting into the heart of a country, not just the pretty fluffy stuff but actually walking the streets, wandering through the markets and sampling the traditional and native foods and cultural mannerisms.

I am the spontaneous type and while I like my trip to be planned and to know that I will be safe, I also like the spontaneity of exploring alone, getting lost, getting frustrated and succumbing to the fact that not everything is in my control. After all, if we never miss our creature comforts how will we ever truly appreciate the uniqueness and distinctive defining qualities of a faraway land?

So it was along these lines that I started to plan my first overseas holiday in 17years at the beginning of this year ... destination North Vietnam (Hanoi, Sapa and Halong Bay)!


NORTH VIETNAM ON A BUDGET
So let's, first of all, discuss the budget, after all, that is the deciding factor no matter what the destination. The purse strings are always tight unless you are one of the fortunate who don't have to fret the bank account (lucky you!). For me as a single woman, paying a bond, a car and all the insurances and day to day living expenses ... let's say it can get tight some months.

That being said, I knew that if I didn't start making a plan, life is somehow going to pass me by and leave me one day saying "what the hell happened" or worse yet "I wish I hadn't waited". You see life passes by in the blink of an eye and if there is one thing my dad's frail health has taught me ... it's that tomorrow is never guaranteed!

At the beginning of the year, I really felt prompted by God and the word I got was "LIVE", I later went to a wedding and on the keepsakes there were messages and once again mine said "LIVE". I have pretty much put my life on hold since getting divorced and have dedicated myself to the church and to my family, it was clearly time to choose me ... and take a chance.

As a result, when Hyperli advertised travel packages to Vietnam, it pulled at both my heart and purse strings. After rolling the idea around in my head I spoke in passing to another single friend and before I knew it I had a partner in crime. I purchased our deals online for less than R5000 (7 nights and 8 days) each and there was no turning back.

The flights we had to wait on so that we could accumulate some funds to purchase our tickets and so we perhaps paid a little more than I liked in the end. Originally we could have got flights at about R11 000 if we had bought 6 months ahead of time, however, we landed up paying R12 700 in the end (minus our taxes, visas and insurance).

THE NITTY GRITTY
So I want to share the whole experience in bite-sized portions because it is a lot to write and a lot to take in. But, in the meantime here is the nitty-gritty of planning the holiday and what you need to look at spending.

VIETNAM VISA'S
Okay, so this was a mind shift for me who has travelled quite extensively. In Vietnam, you get your Visa on arrival in the country. There is a separate counter before customs, you head on over, take your papers which include:
- 2 x photo's
- 1 x paperwork
- 1 x Visa approval letter (from your tour agent costs approx $20 USD)
- $25 USD for the Visa

Take a seat and watch for your image on the TV screen as they call you up to pay. Once this is done you can proceed through customs.

TRAVEL INSURANCE
There are so many options however I must stipulate one thing, DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS! Vietnam is a country with zero medical infrastructure, and anything more than a broken leg will require airlifting to a major hospital. Cover yourself, you never know when you become an unlikely victim of Murphy. Oh yes, I used JETKLIK which was R800 for both of us.

We spent our last night on our own in a quaint Air BnB called The Little Prince home, we wanted to experience a night in a local apartment and do a few touristy things on our own before returning ... and it was great. Our hostess Yhen Nhi was super friendly and always quick to respond making it a great experience.

So there you have it, for now, watch this space for more.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Lashes, lashes where are you? Yes, folks mine are all but invisible and so thin that they make lash building a whole new art form ... it's true!

So it makes sense then that I am on an eternal quest to find the ultimate "lash building" mascara, one that will not only give me visible lashes but also be visible to all those around me. If you are a woman you will know how hard this feat it no matter how well versed you are in the application of mascara.

So what exactly is it that I look for in a mascara?

Well, my personal requirements are:
- flexibility (I hate a clumpy mascara which sheds all day)
- solid colour deposit ( black must be black people)
- buildability (I need to create them lashes because mine are fine and blonde)
- wearability (it needs to last all day and at least be smudge proof)

Let's take a look ...

 Avon Ultra Volume Lash Magnify Mascara - Review

So the lovely peeps at Avon sent me this mascara as a gift and it had me intrigued, so much so I abandoned another mascara already in use (not a favourite, but that's for another post) in order to try it out.

It looks impressive I thought ... so let's hope it delivers!
The packaging is pretty much the standard broad tube currently trending, but with its black veneer and rather lush gold print, it does offer an air of importance and elegance ... something about a little black number ... right?

The applicator is rather large for me non-existent lashes and it takes some clever aiming and great concentration to avoid smearing my upper eyelid with mascara. As with all mascara's after a day or two I acclimatised to the wand and it was much better.

The mascara requires multiple layers in order to build and achieve that false lash look. What does impress me is:
- the amazing colour deposit
- the fact that the lashes remain separate
- it does not clump

In conclusion:

All in all, Avon Ultra Volume Lash Magnify is an affordable mascara with great buildability and coverage I would definitely repurchase this baby. Even better is the fact that it is the first Avon mascara to not burn my eyes ... yasss!
Retails for R149.90

Could we have a waterproof option too please Avon?
And if that wasn't enough, browse the latest brochure with its seductive pages of fragrances (yes they are beautifully displayed) and go spoil yourself for goodness sakes!

BROWSE AVON CATALOGUE

Here's what's on my wishlist ...


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hey peeps

I am sooooo sorry but it seems I really lost my mojo again. I wish I could put it down to any one thing, but in reality, I think it is just "Digital Overload" and the need to escape my daytime reality.

Now don't get me wrong, I love my job ... but being exposed to social media all day ... every day can slowly drive you nuts if you let it! You get to see the good, the bad and the ugly of people across society. You get to see politics at play, trolls at war and innocents who are spouting happiness and rainbows ... but at the end of the day, none of it is tangible and it all seems to fill your headspace with other peoples crap!

Life as a reality

That is why when I get home all I want to do is fling open the doors, breathe in the fresh air, cuddle my kitties and unwind. Yep, I want to pretend we still live in the 90's where your attention was not on demand but rather requested, where your opinion was not voiced but rather discussed and lastly where assumptions and judgements are not the order of the day.

The truth, however, is that this is now the world we live in and very much the reality of those of us who work in a digital space. I do however long to just unpack my thoughts over here and I have so many ideas... but the motivation falls flat every time! Forgive me but I am sure that I will find my mojo again and a modicum of balance. I hope that you can bear with me ... please do not desert me, I promise you are treasured and valued more than you know!

Upcoming adventures

So as I claw my way back to blogging and sharing life, love, reality and dreams let me share that I am getting super excited about my upcoming holiday. I am going to Vietnam ya'll!!

Yes, that is right! No, it is not some rich fling, it is in fact, the first actual holiday I am taking in 17 years and I have worked damn hard for every penny. It has taken loads of sacrifice and as a result, I know that I will treasure and value every second ... are you keen to come along? 

Would you like to see what I explore through my camera lens in my upcoming adventures?

So I promise to make more of an effort in the coming months ... thank you again for your patience. Coming up next is a review of one of the latest Avon mascara's.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

It sad to think that we have finally succumbed to a digital era where even feelings are filtered through the cyberweb. The old-fashioned heart pumping sweaty-palmed days are fast becoming emotions of a bygone era.

These days people hide behind the safety of a computer screen, laughing, sharing info and images about themselves, without ever actually having any form of physical introduction for months ... if not years. Is it even real? Sadly, no - often people are fed artifice. Stories and fantasies that have been made up by the person on the other end of a keyboard.

The reality is that they may, in fact, be talking to someone older or younger, more or less attractive, real or not real, a serial killer, a paedophile or simply just an innocent loner - BUT you will never truly know!

CYBER DATING, LOVE & REAL LIVING

Now don't get me wrong, I am not admonishing the use of dating sites. As with most things they are in fact a necessary evil connecting people who are otherwise very lonely. But, keep it real and honest and don't lose yourself in a fantasy or fairy-tale which may, in fact, be nothing more than the fiction of another loner's imagination.

I myself at one point tried the various dating sites such as a Christian dating site, Tinder, online dating and well it just never gelled me. I found that I seemed to only attract weirdo's and blame it on my curvy figure and old-fashioned view of life (which I am not trading in for anyone by the way), and so I decided unequivocally to delete my profiles and live a life of the "solo-journey" until I meet "the one" in person - less trauma and emotional hurt.

I see all day every day the sad state of affairs of our emotional wellbeing thanks to the digital era, and being in social media it is very hard to escape the lies, untruths and blatant misinformation.

IS REAL LOVE STILL ALIVE?

I find myself wanting to say "I just don't know?", but I refuse to give up the hope and the dream of someday meeting my "Mr Wonderful" - no, not the fairytale, the man who is a gentleman, the man who is what he says he is! The one who loves me by respecting me, being honest and sharing every aspect of life ... yes, even the flipping dishes!

Being in your forties and single is not for the faint-hearted but at least I know what I want, who I am and I am not prepared to comprise - no matter how much loneliness comes knocking!

Sunday, April 01, 2018

The Secret Garden Market, how would I describe it? Lazy summer days spent in the shade of lush trees while sipping on hand-crafted gin and nibbling on freshly shucked oysters. Can someone say "bliss"?

The Secret Garden Market Launches

I  recently got to spend part of my afternoon strolling through an array of curated gift stalls. The wares were nothing if not beautiful and bespoke and offering anything the heart could possibly desire.

Set on the premises of an old Constantia Estate, the gardens were manicured and maintained beautifully and poised to make an exquisite impression on all who chose to enter her gates... The house itself was breathtaking and somewhat enviable, although I shudder to think of its value (clearly out of my price range).



The quaint stalls of The Secret Garden Market were spread out over the estate in a manner which led itself to slow explorations, ending a central point complimented with all the refreshments you could possibly crave.

Some of the days tasty treats (gobbled by me) included:
Crumbs & Cream Ice Cream Sandwiches, the ultimate ice cream sandwich. I chose the chocolate brownie cookies and a Snickers flavoured ice cream laced with peanut butter yumminess ... it did not disappoint! I have been wanting to try one of these for absolutely ever and a day!
 For more visit Crumbs & Cream's website.
Nothing gets me more excited than a food truck ... weird I know (I blame it on the Cape Town Street Food Festival). On this particular day, I ordered the chicken burger from Boulevard 82. There is nothing quite like some good wholesome food. The portions were really great too and it was super to see some Irish visitors enjoying the market.

As if I wasn't busting at the seams already, I just had to try the olive tasting station. Chrisna's Olives are from the Del Vera wine estate. There are a variety of whole olives, olive blends, tapenade's and pastes to try as well purchase.


 This Mediterranean mix was the shizzle and of course a pot went home with me!

Next up... something to "whet the proverbial whistle" and boy were we thirsty by now. The sun was beating down, we had been browsing for an hour or two and we came across this locally crafted ginger beer.
Made by The Dragon Brewing Co. this ginger beer comes in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties and a new cherry flavour in the process of being launched.

I must be honest and say the non-alcoholic version is divine, it is not overly sweet (a huge plus for me), it is mild in taste with refreshing spicy undertones ... an absolute winner for any summer soiree.
Sit, relax and enjoy some shade and live music, all whilst nibbling on your purchases and sipping on your drinks. It's rather like a communal garden party. Chairs, blankets and bamboo mats are provided and they do rather encourage, nudge and coerce you to spend a lazy day at The Secret Garden Market

Upon my explorations, these were a few of the wares which caught my attention:
 Beautiful floral canvas block prints.

Seed bricks by Supersprout, these are germinating seed slabs. Heirloom, organic, Non-GMO seeds. For more visit Supersprout's website.

Velt, a local handmade collective of pressed fauna, which has been framed to create beautiful feature pieces.
Bottled in the Cape's beautiful handmade jewellery pieces, including porcelain pendants from shards collected on the beach from shipwrecks.
Vintage and antique jewellery collectables, enough to make you want to give-away your paycheck ... you have been warned!
Stunning and stylish pottery worth displaying in the most humble of kitchens. I just love love love these green floral designs and this gorgeous figurine.

There was so much to see, do, taste and purchase that my post does not really do it all the justice it deserves. I do however hope that it encourages you to come and explore and support this lovely new little market. Catch the latest news and upcoming events on their Facebook page - The Secret Garden Market

A big thank you to Marina Nestel of The Little Black Book PR for the opportunity to attend the first of what I can see will be many markets.




** Disclaimer 2


Monday, February 26, 2018

Hey guys, sorry I have been so quiet but somehow life managed to "klap me" ... as in sucker punch me (for the non-South Africans) again. My parents have been in and out of hospital again so I have been playing chef, taxi and shopping assistant for the past two months ... man am I exhausted!

I am however still standing! No mean feat I tell ya, no mean feat.

Solo and sad, my battle song

Sadly I have also not managed to shake off the loneliness and yearning for a life partner, so once again despite my better judgement, I tried online dating. Oh, my holy aunt guys ... #wtf @%&*^
I know that I am overweight and that I am no supermodel ... but Lord have mercy, it is like every weirdo in the universe thinks that I am his best match .... oh, hells to the no!

So once again, I have left the world of cyber dating, disheartened, disillusioned and quite honestly feeling like shit! I would rather be a snivelling pile of self-pity than a self-hating, self-doubting human ... honestly, I would!

So life is still solo and well let's just say ... bah humbug and move on alright?

I did, however, discover THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, a musical movie and I have been enamoured since the moment I first listened to the theme song/anthem "THIS IS ME". In fact, it pretty much describes exactly how I feel. Feelings which can only be described as follows "that the modern man seems unable to look past a woman's physical attributes". It is such a great movie, worth every penny and well Hugh Jackman is not bad to look at either ... and that fabulous song ... do take a listen.

So despite the desire to be paired up with someone, I made a few promises to myself this year and I have started checking off my list, starting with a holiday. I have decided that I will no longer say "when I meet someone", but rather that I will do things even if it means doing it solo or with a friend.

Well, I have an exciting holiday coming up in Vietnam and I just can't wait ... it'll be my first holiday overseas in 17 years and I am beside myself with anticipation. A friend and I are taking a much needed "me time", in a foreign land, with an exotic culture, great shopping and a whole host of other adventures ... so watch this space!



I just want to remind you of what I tell myself each day. 
That no matter what, you are worth the effort, you are enough and you've got this babe!
Go on, conquer the world and show them that you can! ... and if you are anything like me ...
FAITH IT!



Get up little sister your time has come
the world you despise is now undone
Get up little sister rise and shine
only you can create the heavenly and sublime
Get up little sister and never lay down
for your worth and value lie in your crown
(Hdb)




** images: Unsplash

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I know I know Christmas is already a distant memory, we have all settled back into the mundane and routine of our day to day lives.

But this year Christmas brought a little "added" excitement for me. Here in South Africa we do not have the Bath & Body Works franchise much to my despair, having travelled in the States I got used a shop virtually being on every block and I love love love the Vanilla body mist. So I guess it goes without saying that when a friend said she was headed for San Fransisco, I was the first to squeal with delight (for both of us of course).

I promptly scoured the Bath & Body Works site and saw that their Limited Edition Christmas Collection was already available, and with their 3 for 2 offer. I was a gonner hook, line and sinker! Trust me if I had more moola at the time I would have done way more damage.

Bath & Body Works Fine Fragrance Mist Review

If you really aren't familiar with the Bath & Body Works brand and you have the store's locally I urge you to splurge, the fragrances are such fun and the candles are too die for.


So here is what I got:

VANILLA BEAN NOEL
This fragrance is described as:
"A wintry sweet treat blend of fresh vanilla bean, warm caramel, sugar cookies, whipped cream and snowkissed musk"

What did I think?
I absolutely love the warm, rich and buttery undertones of this mist and I will have to find another way to supplement my addiction soon.

WINTER CANDY APPLE
This fragrance is described as:
"A blend of Red Apple, Candied Orange, and Winter Rose Petals"

What did I think?
Initially, this mist is quite sweet but it soon settles to a lovely soft, sweet and rather sophisticated fragrance. I do enjoy wearing this on a hot summer day (a contradiction I know), it is light and feminine.


SNOWY MORNING
This fragrance is described as:
"A bright-and-early blend of frosted bergamot, mistletoe berry and snowkissed lavender"

What did I think?
This fragrance is of the "water fragrance" family, it's light, fresh and floral - a barely there, but a beautiful fragrance none the less. I love this one for bedtime, it's delightful!

The body mists tend to retail for between $14 - $16, and there are often specials like 2-for-1 or 3-for-2! This Christmas mists only come out once a year but do not be fooled- all of their fragrances are heavenly and you quickly find another 1, 2, or even 3 items for your shopping list.


Click here for more on Bath & Body Works



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