Posts from October 2014

Paint me like a French girl

October 28, 2014

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 Images: Nicole Leftwick

Last weekend I spent my Saturday morning doing just about everything that encompasses a perfect girls day out – and that would be painting, drinking tea and eating cakes of course.

I have always adored the look of shabby chic French furniture and decor, so when I heard about at the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® workshop at Bon Bon Maison in Umhlahi I jumped at the chance to book a seat! By way of background, Annie Sloan is one of those super women that does it all – she’s a trained artist from Oxford England, who has combined her love of colour with a successful career as paint designer, teacher, entrepreneur and writer – with over one and a half million of her books sold so far. And of course, she is the founder of the amazing decorative and most brilliant paint in the world; Chalk Paint®.

As her brand is all about giving people the tools to create, Annie started developing her own line of paints because she was not happy with those on the market – and when you try Chalk Paint you will know why it’s revolutionised the way we see decorative painting. The unique paint is so flexible and easy to use, it even allows furniture to be painted without priming or preparation as it adheres to almost any surface from different wood finishes, fabric, ceramic pots and tins – I was amazed at how easy it was to apply! It comes in 32 beautifully rich colours that you can mix and match, it dries fast and has great coverage – because ain’t nobody got time to watch paint dry these days!

The lovely and talented Su from Suzanna Jane Furniture took our ‘Introduction to Chalk paint’ class – Su lives on the North Coast and upcycles furniture for a living – and she’s an absolute Annie Sloan ambassador. Her vast knowledge of the product, combined with her passion for painting and patience with those of us less experienced than others made her the perfect candidate to teach us all the tricks of the trade. Armed with our own pieces of wood, a plethora of brushes and pots of paints and even a hair dryer, Su took us through a few different techniques including whitewash, one-colour ‘chic’ finish, adding texture, two colour distressing and the use of clear and dark wax.

I found the workshop thoroughly enjoyable, inspiring and enlightening and I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in exploring paint techniques, DIY projects or creative ways to up cycle old furniture. Like anything creative I think it’s best to experiment practically first hand, so I won’t spoil it for you all but rather provide some of my top tips I took from the day –

  • It’s always advisable to clean your surfaces before painting to remove dirt and grime and give you a clean base – you can do this with sugar soap and water
  • Some woods with heavy natural oils e.g. teak, can bleed through the paint, to prevent this use Knot Seal to prime the wood
  • Use a separate brush for waxing
  • Always apply a coat of clear wax before dark wax
  • Wax can be applied a s quickly as 40 minutes after painting
  • To maintain your pieces, wax them once a year and clean with a feather duster rather than chemical products
  • After painting you can use a coat of deck seal on outdoor furniture to keep the paint from weathering
  • To prevent surface marks, ideally wait about 30 days before putting things on top of your painted furniture

Most Annie Sloan stockists in South Africa offers paint technique workshops. Bon Bon Maison is an ideal stockist for North Coast residents, but recently the range became available at La Maison in Durban North. To find your nearest stockist go to http://anniesloansa.co.za/workshops/ I’d also recommend jumping on youtube if you’d prefer to teach yourself or even if you need a little refresher post workshop.

The Annie Sloan half day workshop is R500. To book visit Bon Bon Maison’s Facebook page here

 

 

Meet: Bron Fourie

October 20, 2014

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10730999_707227189353422_8870957696495260218_n Images: Vanilla Photography and portraits of Bron by Alexis Diack

Part of the reason I started this blog was to profile and celebrate great, local talent – Durban based freelance photographer Bron Fourie from Vanilla Photography is one of these people. What started as a hobby, fuelled by Bron’s passion for creating memories in photographs, has now materialised into a flourishing career that keeps her very busy taking beautiful images of everything from weddings to engagements, families and commercial shoots. Like me, Bron is passionate about living in Durban and gets super excited about local people following their dreams and doing exciting and innovative work.

Bron specialises in weddings and portraiture, but is open to all ideas and opportunities. Follow her incredible work or book Vanilla Photography for your own shoot at http://vanillaphotography.co.za

I hope you enjoy meeting this lovely, talented lady x

How did you get into photography?

I knew from a young age that photography was what I really wanted to do. My dream was having my photo on the cover of Elle Magazine or Cosmo! But instead of following that dream, I decided to go into Interior Decorating. After 5 years working in the design industry, I realised that my heart was still in photography, so I did a few courses to up my skills, quit my day job and dived head first into the unknown. And instead of the cover of Elle, I’ve hit the covers of wedding magazines! So although my dream has altered slightly, I’m definitely living it.

Top tips for taking a great photograph?

My passion is trying to capture the emotion in the moment – something that tugs at the heart strings and triggers a memory. I feel that that is a sign of a great photo.

Why do you love living in Durban?

Wow, where to start? The fact that we have the sea at our feet, the Midlands at our shoulders and the Berg as the cherry on top! Who wouldnπt want to live here? The diversity of the people, the old school feel of the city centre, the amazing drive of the entrepreneurs in our city- it makes my tummy tingle knowing there are so many youngsters in our city trying to break the mould!

Best places to go in Durban?

For food- Marco Paulo
For coffee and working out the office – I want my coffee
For markets – The Wonder Market
For a chilled weekend away – Nottingham Rd
For awesome quirky decor – Antique Cafe in Churchill Rd
For drinks- Franks

Fave accessory (other than your camera of course!)?

I LOVE a good watch and a good chunky necklace. And I have a leather jacket that I wear all the time!

What does living with soul mean to you?

Living out your dreams, and feeling passionate about life, and everything in it. I love the freedom of being able to do what I love, and meeting the most amazing people while doing it. Connecting with strangers fills my soul! I’m a big believer in following your passion, and doing everything within your power to make it work for you.

Best place you’ve ever travelled to?

I’m an avid traveller, and have extremely itchy feet. I feel like this world was not made to have your feet planted in one place. There is too much to see!! I would say Barcelona is my favourite city, Croatia is my favourite country, and China is an incredibly fascinating place to visit. The Great Wall should be on everyoneπs bucket list too. But at the end of the day, there is no place like home (or Cape Town!)

Who inspires you?

My mom. Sheπs is the strongest, kindest soul I have ever met. When I grow up, I want to be just like her!

One piece of advice you’ve never forgotten? I have 2 things I live by:

1. Take the time to do the things that make your soul happy
2. Life is uncertain, you should eat dessert first!

 

Local love

October 19, 2014

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Images (top to bottom): MaXhosa by Laduma, Shoppe, Supergra campaign featuring Poppy Ntshongwana, Zana bags, Mr Price Home, Shoppe on Marriot Road

Since moving back home I’ve been having the best time exploring SA brands – you could say I’ve been getting back to my roots in the best way I know how – by shopping! These are some of my fave finds so far – and I’m sure there will be more to come x

MaXhosa by Laduma - An innovative Xhosa-inspired knitwear brand. I first noticed this eyecatching range in Supergra’s new campaign featuring Poppy Ntshongwana (above), where she rocked one of his fabulous knit pieces – and then I saw the full range and Laduma journey during a designer feature on Top Billing. I’m in love with the bright prints and unusual shapes – it’s modern African fashion at its best. Shop Laduma here

Zana - Decor, accessories and fabric in beautiful prints from a team of creative lovelies based in Woodstock, Cape Town. Adore everything they create, especially their cat prints. Read their blog here and shop Zana here 

Shoppe - If you’re into quirky decor pieces then Shoppe is a must-see if you’re in Durbs. It’s conveniently located on Marriot Road (number 40) in the same space as Market Restaurant – so you can pick up a mean coffee and a unique decor gem in one trip :) I could spend hours in this shop perusing though all the little treasures. Their ceramic bunny monsters and Sonia Vosloo pineapple cookie jars are to die for – and as for their Marmite stools and Zoo Biscuits cushions – I can’t! Check out their Facebook page here

Mr Price Home - It just keeps getting better and better – this brand is going to take over the world. They are so on the pulse with new trends, from gold pineapples to neon print pillows, you name it, they’ve got it. With their wide selection of items from lighting fixtures, to ceramics, bedding, garden and even stationary, you could literally style your entire home and office beautifully. Love love love. Shop Mr Price home here

 

 

 

DIY Cards

October 15, 2014

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Images: Nicole Leftwick

As if buying gifts doesn’t come with a high enough price tag, then you have to actually buy the tag, baubles and beautiful bits to wrap the things! The good news is that pretty pressie packaging can be done on a budget. These DIY cards are super easy and give your gifts that personal touch x

What you’ll need: Scissors, double sided stickers, paper glue any bits and pieces you have lying around like lace, twine, pom poms, ribbons, stickers etc. – and a cardboard or paper card which you can print on a colour printer if you have access to one. There are so many lovely prints, illustrations and photos on the net that you can easily find something that matches your gift or giftee.

How to: Simply print the cards and get creative! You can make little ribbons to bring the pics to life, add dimension with stickers or pom poms, use paint/watercolours as your base, colour block with coloured paper – basically style with and however takes your fancy. If you have limited materials lying around the house then think thrifty, even newspaper can work as a quirky wrapping paper or card base.

 

 

Coconut Craze

October 13, 2014

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Image credit: Pinterest

I’m literally bananas about coconuts – I can’t believe that I only really discovered the goodness of these tropical nuts in the past few years! Coconuts give us three wonder products; coconut oil, water and milk – here are some ways I incorporate them into my life, but really, the options are endless x

 Lather

In my years of being a publicist for many a beauty brand I have tried A LOT of hair masks, but my best product yet is pure and simple coconut oil. It helps relieve any dryness of the scalp and also leaves hair feeling soft and nourished. I rub some in before showering/washing my hair or, if my hair is need of lot of hydration I leave it in overnight and wash in the morning.

Coconut Oil also makes a beautifully natural body and lip moisturiser. It’s more hydrating than average body cream because the oil penetrates deep layers of the skin and actually helps to strengthen underlying tissue. It’s SO good that my friend used it on her little Yorkshire Terrier’s back – the poor pup had a dry itchy spot that would not go away – and a week later it was completely healed!

Drink –

In Sydney I used to be able to buy whole, chilled coconuts from the veggie shop. The staff would cut them open, pop a straw in and voila; you had your instant coco-fix. Pure coconut water is full of electrolytes, which play a vital role in your body, especially in maintaining proper functionality of your nerves, heart, and other muscles. It also contains essential vitamins B6, C Thiaman and folate. If you are buying a bottled coconut water then make sure it is 100% natural and has no sugar added. I searched far and wide for coconut water with NO sugar and finally I found some at Gorimas (the Indian delicatessen).

Cook –

Coconut Oil is one of the healthiest oils you can use for cooking. Many known ‘healthy’ oils like olive oil break down into harmful compounds when heated but coconut oil remains stable at higher temperatures – so keep the olive oil for yummy salads!

You can also use coconut cream/milk as substitute for milk. Some recipes I love to make with coconut – oil for homemade chocolate e.g. raspberry ripple and homemade popcorn, coconut milk for scrambled eggs and green smoothiesmango and coconut smoothie.

 

Meet: Marisa Van Vuuren

October 9, 2014

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Images: Nicole Leftwick, and Fine Art Photography

Meet Marisa van Vuuren, the founder of Yoga Zanzibar. I was fortunate to meet this lovely lady and spend a week under her wing on the island a few months ago during my travels through East Africa.

As part of the retreat I practiced yoga twice a day, morning and night for 7 days in a very intimate group. I learnt so much more than I had learnt in years of doing yoga in overcrowded classes. It was the one on one attention and little tweaks that helped me become so much more in tune with my body and improve my practice dramatically. Things I loved were; the focus on different types of breath, becoming more aware of the way we position and ground our feet, feeling the alignment in our bodies through wall and partner work and trying out the more challenging poses after seeing Marisa illustrate them for us – proving how far we could go with our practice. Granted that doing yoga in front of  a beautiful sunset every evening helped a little too! Marisa is a beautiful lady with a beautiful soul as you will see from our conversation below – enjoy!

You can read more about Marisa and her yoga retreat packages at www.zanzibaryoga.com

Q&A with Marisa -

Why do you love yoga and why does it make us feel so great?

I think yoga gives us the time and space to reconnect with ourselves. Yoga allows us to live from our “soul center” instead of the ego or mind. The ego is limiting. Our true self is unlimited and full of potential. Yoga helps us to get out of our own way.

Any tips for complete newbies to the yoga game and wanting to give it a try?

Just do it! Just give it a try and do the best you can according to what your body allows you to do at this point in time. You don’t need to be “flexible’‘or strong to do yoga. You just need you – just the way you are.

Tell us something that a lot of people don’t know about yoga?

There are probably a lot of people that don’t know that yoga is much more than just physical postures. It is a scientific technique of arriving in the present moment and allows you to live your life to the full potential, to be the best version of you and allowing acceptance – acceptance of yourself and others.

We keep hearing a lot about ‘mindfulness’ – what is it?

Mindfulness for me means to become aware of our emotions, thoughts, tendencies and habits in the present moment. Through observing without judging, noticing, becoming aware of it – it will lessen or even gradually disappear gradually over time. Don’t beat yourself up about your thoughts, tendencies or habits which are not serving you for the best. Just simply observe, accept and embrace instead of resist. Embrace your dualities – your positive qualities and less positive qualities.

What does having or living with ‘soul’ mean to you?

Living with “feeling.” Living and doing the things that makes you feel alive – that spark which lights the fire within, living with passion, living from the heart!

What are your top tips for living a soulful life?

Bring as much love, laughter, music & dance into your life. Just BE YOU. Don’t overthink. Live with passion. Know that you have to power to create your life and to live your dream. Do what makes you feel alive! Be in the present moment. Know yourself. Connect with nature. Follow your heart. Be real. Take responsibility of what you attract and create in your live. Living from a sense of abundance and not from lack thereof. Accept and love yourself which in return will determine the quality of  your relationship with the people around you.

What is one piece of advice that you’ve never forgotten?

I do love Irene Cara’s 80”s song: What a feeling! “Take your passion and make it happen!” However, I don’t think we should  follow any rigid advice or philosophy in life– just feel and be true to yourself, follow your heart and your gut feeling within. Our gut and heart are our road map in life – it is when we follow these feelings and do the things we love that allow us to be in the right place at the right time – being in flow, being in harmony. Science is even teaching us how to create coherence between the mind and heart and how that brings about balance in the physical body, making us overall happier. Check it out here.

Namaste

x

Flawless

October 9, 2014

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Image credit: Pinterest

It’s cold and mis in Durbs today but I just watched the new Beyonce and Nicki Minaj new Flawless remix music video and that perked me right up! (along with a strong coffee)… and yes she is perfection. Surfboard.

Aussie Rules

October 8, 2014

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Images (Top to bottom) – SaboSkirt, Elle Ferguson at Spell in Byron, Christine Centenera, Spell Designs, Forever Soles, Natalie Alamein and the Theyallhateus girls.

When I first moved to Sydney I was in complete awe of the Aussie style. Australian women generally just have a knack for pulling off that ‘effortless’ look by piecing together basics, denim, killer shoes, beachy hair and great accessories. Girls like Elle Ferguson and Tash Sefton from blog Theyallhateus, Pip Edwards and Mimi Elashiry make the casual cool ‘I woke up like this’ look flawless and as for the likes of Christine Centenara – no words, she’s still my style icon.

Besides the obvious and more pricey Aussie labels (Zimmermann, Sass and Bide and Lover to name a few), here are a few of my fave (and more budget friendly) labels that you need in your life – and in case you’re wondering, yes I have done my research and almost all of them deliver internationally – win!

Spell - If your vibe is boho gypsy kid then you have to check out this label by two Byron Bay sisters Elizabeth and Isabella. Think floaty fabrics, exquisite layers of adornments and dreamy boho homeware. Shop Spell here

Saboskirt – One of my first Aussie finds via Insta and a brand that’s perfect if you’re searching for that new, on trend, weekend outfit. The owners Thessy and Yiota are absolute babes and chronicle their daily outfits and lookbook shots on Instagram. Hot product at the moment? Their summer fresh crochet crop tops. Shop Sabo here

Natalie Alamein - I discovered Natalie’s range of earrings when selling some of my own second hand goods at the Bondi markets (a must see if you visit Sydney!) I hadn’t seen anything like it before – beautifully unique, hand crafted earrings and bags (as above) in bright colours. Natalie’s website is still under construction but you can get in touch on her Facebook page. I don’t think she delivers internationally just yet, but you can always ask  a friend visiting Aus to bring you back something small – well that’s my plan anyway!

Forever Soles –  Another boho find, perfect for the free spirit festival goers and boho brides. I’m loving their anklets and barefoot sandals. You can also style up basics beautifully with some of their chunky pieces. Shop Forever Soles here

Skull Candy

October 6, 2014

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Images: TypoPinterest, Spell Byron Bay

I’m really crushin’ on ‘skull’ decor at the moment – but I do admit that, although a beautiful cow/steer hide or skull has its place in certain homes/countries, the vegan option of ‘fauxidermy’ can look just as effective – and is of course fauna friendly.

A skull can bring a rustic, boho feel to a space – style it as feature piece on a wall/mantlepiece or mount it amongst a collage of frames to create a gallery with dimension. You can also decorate skull decor in different ways e.g. through painting, carving or even embellishing with layers of your favourite statement jewellery pieces, flowers or pretty globes.

I saw that Typo are bringing out  a great basic faux steer skull in their Christmas range (see here – I really can’t wait until they open up shop at Gateway!) and apparently you can buy some hand crafted steel ones from the craftsman on the side of the road in Jozi x

Hope

October 5, 2014

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Images: Nicole Leftwick

Some days leave you both empty and full at the same time, today was one of those days.

I visited The La Lucia Baby House for the first time – something that I have wanted to do for a long time and I’m so glad I finally did.

The Baby House is a transitional home for abandoned babies in Durban, run by crisis parents Skip and Sheila Collins. They are both originally from the USA but have been in South Africa since 1989. By day, Skip is the Creative Arts director at Grace Family Church in Umhlanga and Sheila is on staff at the church as well as a graphic designer.

We had a beautiful day on the tree shaded balcony of the baby house with Sheila, the two lovely ladies who work at the house; Thuli and Thando and of course the five baby boys currently staying at the house, that range in ages from one month to 10 months. Needless to say that once you’ve met these adorable little souls you can’t believe that they have been orphaned, but the sad reality of life in Africa is that poverty, the lack of family support and many other factors have affected these babies lives.

I didn’t know much about the adoption process so Sheila spent the time telling me about how it works and some of the babies stories. They work tirelessly to try and give each baby a chance at a new life with adoptive parents – it isn’t easy but the good news is that it isn’t as difficult as many people think it is and can be done a lot quicker than I had previously thought – especially for people already living in South Africa.

Volunteers to the house can visit the children to play, feed and bath them. Yes, I will admit, it is sad, but seeing the incredible and selfless work that Sheila and Skip do every day, and knowing that you are enhancing a little ones life  just by spending some time with them is worth the sadness you may feel and so fulfilling for the soul. It was a Sunday well spent and I will definitely be going back to give these little guys as much love as I can x

More about the La Lucia Baby House -

The Baby House is a project of The Peace Agency, a registered on-profit and public benefit organisation. It depends soley on donataions. If you want to support then find out how here 

Follow the La Lucia Baby House on Facebook 

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