Cape Town cool

June 4, 2015


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 Images: Nicole Leftwick

Cape Town – always cool, classy and breathtaking.

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, but I have been mulling over a little winter getaway to Cape Town and as I was going through some old pics of my trip back in December I decided that this post would be the perfect segway to get me back into ‘the space.’

So if like me, you like to plan ahead here are some of my must sees if you’re in the Mother City over summer – or winter (wrapped up accordingly) x

For market meandering – Hout Bay Market

Blown.Away by this market. Set in an authentic old fish factory, Hout Bay Market is a melting pot of uniquely South African arts and crafts. It’s one of those places where the creative energy and the vibrancy of South Africa come alive and you just get that proudly Saffa shiver up your spine. There’s something for everyone there – I personally indulged in a delicious salmon and poached eggs brekky, impeccable coffee at ZA cafe and got me some blue mirrored sunnies from one of the many to die for fashion stalls.

For road trippin’ – Kalk Bay and Boulders Beach

When I’m in CT I always squeeze in a road trip to see the little penguin men at Boulders Beach – and with the picturesque little retro town of Kalk Bay en route, it’s definitely one of my highly recommended ventures. Penguins and boutique stores – what’s not to like, really?

For wining and dining–

Ok it’s no brainer – in Cape Town, we drink wine. There are so many beautiful wine farms it’s hard to recommend one – just get a driver to chauffeur you around! Some personal faves of mine are Tokara, Meerlust, La Motte, Spier and Beau Constantia. I am looking forward to visiting in the colder months – sipping on some red wine around a fireplace is my kinda holiday.

For fresh air and exercise – Lions Head

Table Mountain’s little sister, always a goodie for a Sunday morning hike with a rewarding breathtaking view at the top. No more words of persuasion needed, you’ll see why…

For the health nuts – Wellness Warehouse

I died and went to health nut heaven here. 3.5 hours later (and I had only just moved over from the food and into the skincare) and I was convinced I needed everything from coconut yoghurt to kale chips and every superfood supplement under the sun – eventually had to get outta there… My fave part was the lovely wellness café inside that offers delicious vegan, vegetarian and gluten free meals – something still lacking in Durban I am finding – but we’ll get there.

Wellness Warehouse is situated in the Lifestyles on Kloof centre, 50 Kloof Street.

For an authentic township vibes party – Mzolis

This was newbie for me and man I am glad I ventured out to Gugulethu. Mzoli’s is a butchery and grill bar on the outskirts of the township. I was at the outset, a bit concerned that it would be far too touristy for my liking, but was pleasantly surprised! Aside from the queue taking a good two hours – made a bit more fun by meeting many energized and festive spirits and being able to buy a few cold ciders and soft drinks from a mama’s homemade shebeen across the road – it was a really authentic experience. You choose and pay for your tray of meat and then head to the back where you wait in a smokey kitchen for your chosen cuts to be cooked (doesn’t sound fun but it was!). After that you take the charred cutlets back to your table inside the bar area where you proceed to devour it savagely with your hands, quickly clean up and then dance the night away to some really great African and RnB beats. A rustic and tasty African experience – I smelt like braai afterwards but it was well worth it!

For sun downers with a view – The Grand

And this is why you go to Cape Town (aside from the wine), to sip a cocktail on a private beach. A lovely spot for a Sunday sundowner x

Meet: Tayne Draper

December 3, 2014









Images: Wokshots, Maxine Elphick, Instagram

Anyone that knows me well knows about my obsession with coffee – and please note, not freeze dry, add hot water and milk kinda thing – I’m talking freshly brewed, rich bodied, ‘gourmet’ java – and so I was elated when I heard about a cool new spot in Durban North that specialises in not only mean coffee, but also craft beer, boutique wine and gourmet burgers – dream combo right?

Republik’s mission is to cultivate a healthier, happier world by spreading goodness through nourishing foods, honest words and conduct that is considerate and forever kind to the environment. They encourage everyone around them to Eat Responsibly & Act Responsibly through means of handcrafted, great tasting, high quality natural and free-range produce, while striving to act in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable manner  – I like that.

I recently interviewed Tayne Draper, co-owner and founder of Republik (along with her business partner Matt Richardson), to get a little more insight into this local Durban spot and generally just chat about good food, good coffee and good people.

I hope you enjoy meeting this epic lady – and make sure you stop by for a coffee and a burger, bru.

Republik can be found at Unit 8 Broadway Shopping Centre, in Durban North (the corner of Broadway and Kensington.) They are open for breakfast from 6:30am weekdays/7:30am on weekends and open til late in the evenings for dinner and drinks. Silly season is now upon us so they are giving us some Sunday session love from 5pm – 8pm (snacks and drinks only).

For bookings call 031 573 1429 or visit their website or Facebook page for more details.

Tell us about Republik; the food, the people, the vibe…

We like to define ourselves as a “meeting place” and our motto is “for the people.” We wanted to create a fun different place for the people of Durban to come and hang out – and we didn’t want to be defined as a bar or restaurant or even a coffee shop. The food is single focused, we do burgers and we like to think we do them pretty darn well. All of our meat is locally sourced, free to roam, grass fed, routine anti biotic and hormone free, our rolls are made especially for us from Madison’s bakery in Waterfall and all our fresh produce is delivered daily – if we can’t get it fresh we won’t serve it. We pour Tribe coffee which is roasted in Cape Town and is Matty’s favourite coffee brand – it’s insane, we love it and it even got me to start drinking coffee. We focus on Craft beers and awesome boutique wines at a reasonable price and we’ve just introduced a tasting boards; so EPIC! The vibe? Well the vibe is what you make it I guess.

What inspired you to start up the Republik and open up shop in Durban North?

Sjoe, now that’s a long, round about story, should we just say it was the right timing for both of us? Haha, no seriously, it’s been a dream we both unknowingly shared and the timing was right so I guess we figured if not now, then when? Durban North was an easy decision really, we were originally looking in Umhlanga but, decided against it for a number of reasons. When our little corner became available we just knew we had the right spot. Durban north is awesome, the people are great and it just seems to be getting better. I think Mackeurtan Avenue started it off and we hope with the opening of Lupa next door to us we will continue the growth of this area.

Best thing on the menu?

Dude, you can’t go wrong with a cheese and bacon burger – but then again we change our toppings as often as possible, so you never know…

I LOVE good coffee and really got into the coffee culture in Sydney. What, in your opinion makes a good coffee?

From my limited experience I’d say consistency makes a good coffee, something that consistently pours well (this is generally down to how well the coffee is roasted), is smooth and being a chocolate addict I like a mild chocolate undertone. Matt reckons that a well extracted shot that provides the best balance of flavours.

Any restaurants/cafes around the world you’d highly recommend?

Well we might be a little biased but the Tribe Coffee shop in Woodstock Cape Town is an epic spot to go if you have the chance. Zumbo in Melbourne, Australia was a life changing experience for me, best macaroons and cronuts I have ever had in my life, EVER.

Do you love living in Durban? And why?

We both frikkin LOVE it. What’s not to love? The weather is awesome, the people are laid back and friendly, you are never further than 20 minutes from the beach or 2 hours from the mountains and we have an awesome variety of food – the flavours you can find in Durban blow my mind! The sky is the limit and Durban is only getting better.

What does living with soul mean to you?

I think to me living with soul would mean living with purpose, finding happiness in a useful life, try look at what it is you can do to better other people’s lives and you will begin to see your life change for the better. Make an impact, dare to be different…

Who inspires you?

As cliché as it sounds, my parents do and I know Matt feels the same way. Every day I woke up to see my dad work long hours to achieve his dream no matter how hard things got, I saw the support my mom gave him and I saw how that support gave him the courage and energy to carry on even when things got tough. And in a huge way Matt inspires me, we are so different and I know there is a lot we can learn from each other, he’s one of the most passionate and hardworking people I’ve ever met and every day I’m grateful for our partnership.

One piece of advice you’ve never forgotten?

A lion does not lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.

Meet: Lola Berry

November 5, 2014

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Images: Lilli Waters (top) and Pinterest.

I know I’ve said it before, but three years of living in Australia really opened up my eyes to nutrition and it’s direct link to wellbeing. In my early 20’s as a Uni student and then when I went on to live in London, I used to eat a lot of food that was high in sugar or carbs because it was quick and easy and gave me instant energy. Over the years, I have learnt the importance of a proper diet and how you can really nourish your mind and body through what you eat. As well as living in the health hub that was Bondi, where you could get green juices at your doorstep and banting, gluten, dairy or sugar free options at just about every cafe, it was people I was exposed to like like Sarah Wilson from I Quit Sugar and Lola Berry who inspired me to take the first steps to leading a healthier lifestyle through my diet.

I was very fortunate to have Lola, a leading Australian nutritionist  as one of my yoga teacher’s in Bondi – I used to get such a high from her energy-fueled sessions in which she combined her DJ’s skills with yoga. As well as a nutritionist, DJ and yoga teacher, Lola is also a television, writing and radio personality, chef and author of a cookbook – talk about an over-achiever! Lola’s colourful personality and passion inspires all of those around her  so I really hope you enjoy my conversation with her x

Check out recipes from Lola’s 20/20 diet cookbook here and follow Lola at or on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

What does living with soul mean to you?

It means doing what you love, being real and coming from the heart, and you know what – I think that’s pretty rare. You know when you meet someone who’s truly real; they’re the ones with that extra little spark and they always make your head turn.

What or who inspires you?

Anyone who has the courage to live their dreams. Steve Irwin is a huge inspiration for me. And my Dad, he’s pretty ace too.

What’s your food philosophy?

Eat real food, listen to your body, nourish yourself and share food with the people you love most.

Biggest food myth?

That low fat is healthier and all the fake sugars, those artificial sweeteners are not cool at all.

We know that you love a good quote – hit us with one of your best!

‘Authentic people are enigmatic because more people are so comfortable in their hiding, conforming, dis-empowered state that someone brave enough to be simply real is fascinating.’ – Jamie Catto

Have you ever been to South Africa? If so what do you think and the big question – do you like our food? 

I would love to visit South Africa, my Dad went last year and his photos looked amazing. I’d been keen to try as much of the local produce as possible, I love spices so i think there’d be so much I could learn.

We know that you used to be a DJ – what music are you listening to at the moment?

Ahh – yes, I am still a big music nerd. At the moment I am loving Chet Faker, Ta-ku, Hozier and Sigur Ros.

Are there any awesome yoga playlists that we can find online?

I’d  say so but I collect my music for gigs – I love going to live gigs and I’ll try to make a playlist around things I love listening to at that moment.

And finally, one piece of advise you’ve never forgotten?

When I moved away from home to pursue my dreams, my dad said to me at the airport (when iw as crying); “Kick some goals girl” –  so that’s what I always try to do – be kicking goals.

Coconut Craze

October 13, 2014


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


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

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.




October 5, 2014








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 

Green Glow

October 4, 2014


Image credit: Nicole Leftwick

I am hands down a die-hard raw juice fan – I love how it makes me feel and what it does for my skin. I remember my good friend in Australia, Helen Dowsley, a Celebrity Hair and Make-up Artist, who I worked with for many years, telling me that one of her top tips for amazing skin was to drink a veggie juice everyday – and I haven’t looked back since.

Although a green or ruby red beverage might not look all that appetizing, it actually is quite tasty – here are two recipes that I like to drink in the morning – you literally just throw them all in a juicer (not a blender – it’s different!) – but note, there are no exact recipes to raw jucing, the best thing to do is play around with different quantities and veggies with different benefits. Beetroot, for example, contains potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamins A, B6, C and folic acid. Read about what all of this does for your body here. 

Served with a lot of ice, it’s really refreshing and amazing for your health and skin –

The Green Glow – half or one green apple (depends on how sweet you want it), 3-4 dark green leafy veg e.g. spinach or kale, 2 celery sticks (with the leaves), a handful of mint and about 3/4 of lemon (no rind).

The Big Red - 2-3 baby beetroots, 2 large carrots, either half a red apple or an orange (no rind) and a bit of ginger.

You can pick up some great bargains on your veg packs, at any Food Lovers. If you’re not into blending then you can cheat and buy bottles of cold pressed juices. Some companies like Skinny Juice Co in CT do actual 5 -7 day juice cleanse packs for a full juice detox (that’s no eating, just juicing!). I haven’t found any yet in Durban, but I will. Hit me up if you know of any – I’m addicted x



October 2, 2014


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Images: Nicole Leftwick

After 3 year’s of living in Sydney, I can now safely call myself a ‘market veteran.’ I lived opposite the famous boho-chic Bondi markets, where fresh food and affordable fashion were literally at my doorstep – and as for the coffee, let’s just say a girl never had to go far to get herself a beautifully creamy cappuccino!

Coming back to Durbs, I didn’t expect my penchant for market perusing would be as satisfied as it was in Aus, but when I heard about 8 Morrison Street’s ‘Morning Trade’ I had to go and see what Durban had to offer in the way of markets…

8 Morrison is in the Rivertown Precinct (basically town side), an initiative by Durban City as part of an urban regeneration strategy for the area – aptly coined ‘Durbanism.’ I must say that coming back to Durban has thus far left me not only exceptionally proud of my hometown, but completely inspired. It seems that since SA hosted the World Cup a number of years ago, old buildings and areas are constantly being renovated, new cafes are popping up everywhere and markets or local events on the weekend are never amiss – and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, even CNN recently named us ‘the coolest city in South Africa you’ve never seen.’ It’s an exciting place to be right now.

The verdict? #Durbanism at its best. We drank frothy coffee, bought fresh flowers and veggies (they even do juice packs!) and browsed through the delicious delicacies ranging from beautiful cheeses, to cakes, paleo dishes and a spread of rainbow coloured macaroons – oh and did I mention the coffee?

The Morning Trade is open from 8am – 2pm on Sundays.

For more details find @8morrison on Facebook

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