Thursday, December 24, 2015

Best Cape Town Gift Stores // Online and Off

Looking for gifts in Cape Town and tired of the run of the mill chain stores? Here are five of of Cape Towns finest specialty stores which are guaranteed to win you brownie points and secure you gifting goddess status. 

Zana 

Online or Unit G3 Salt Circle Building, 19 Kent Street, Woodstock, Cape Town
Think: Screen printing and beautiful typography on a variety of homeware products such as cushions, aprons, laptop and tablet sleeves. 



Present Space 
50 Kloof St, Gardens, Cape Town 
Newly Opened: Shop Number G72, Willowbridge Store
Think: A showcase of local designers with products spanning from beautiful ceramics, to crochet pot hangers, to intricate jewellery. This is a one stop shop for thoughtful gifts which are kooky and clever! 


Oh Lief 
Online or stocked by a number of stores in Cape Town including Wellness Warehouse on Kloof, not to mention Woolworths (Canal Walk, Cavendish, Tygervalley, V&A, Blue Route and Adderley Street) 
Think: Organic products which are environmentally friendly and made with love! Incredients include beeswax and exotic oils like baobab, avocado and lemongrass, to create body waxes, oils and hand washes in flavours like Green Rooibos, Lavendar & Roman Chamomile and Grapefruit, Sweet Orange and Tea Tree! I have the Grapefruit body wax and it smells divine!  



Skinny La Minx 

Online, On Superbalist or 201 Bree Street, Cape Town
Think: Textiles, tea towels, wallpaper courtesy of designer Heather Moore. The products are aptly described to "bring pattern and practicality" into your home. 


We Heart This 
Online 
Think: Beautiful jewellery, wooden boards, prints, leather bags, pouches. They don't have a physical store but only charge R60 courier delivery in Cape Town. 



Want to be a part of this chic list or know of a shop which should be? Contact me! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

How to Travel Thailand on a Budget

Keen to travel but can't afford to splurge? Thailand really is the perfect destination. The South African rand is roughly 2,5 to the baht, making it a totally affordable option for the young and restless. I went in April of this year with three of my friends and can honestly say I will look back on the two week stay with the fondest of memories.

What was the itinerary, you ask? We decided our must see's were Phuket, Railay and Phi Phi. Often, you'll find that travelling from Cape Town quickly becomes expensive, but we were lucky enough that our flights (booked through STA travel) weren't routed through Joburg. Instead we flew Qata airlines via Doha. Despite having an eight hour layover in Doha on the way there, the journey was relatively painless, mainly because we were placated by the amazing shopping in the airport! I for one bought a Harrods (yes, Harrods!) wallet in the airport for the equivalent of R500. And flying into Phuket is like nothing I have ever experienced before - it was so drop dead gorgeous, you forget all about the exhaustion that was starting to set in.

We were of course met by a heatwave as we got off the plane, which kind of made it that much more exciting and tropical. Although we knew we were going at an incredibly hot time of year, we didn't realise just how hot. On one of the days we were in Phuket, the tour guide proudly reaffirmed that it was the hottest day of the year. Anyway, one of the mistakes I would advise against is trying to exchange currency at the airport. I was offered a ridiculous exchange rate which is badly inflated in comparison to the other exchanges in and around Phuket. Also, not all of them take rands and the few that do will sometimes only take "new rands" (with Mandela on it) or as I like to call them, Randela's!

We stayed at Peach Hill Hotel & Resort in Phuket for five nights. It is a short walk or tuktuk ride down to Kata Beach. Definitely the highlight for me were the selection of beautiful pools that you can swim in as well as proximity to amazing Indian restaurants! Interestingly enough, we ate way more Indian food in Thailand than Thai food.  My favourite were definitely all of the paneer curries - I was in foodie heaven! The first couple of days we lounged, explored Phuket tuktuk and did a day of snorkelling. I had never snorkelled before and, after being warned of all sea urchins, started to wonder if I would enjoy it. I absolutely loved it though, and the guides (despite speaking poor English) are so sweet and show you how it's done! Regardless of your swimming ability, it's amazing just to float on the surface with a life jacket open underneath you, as flailing limbs aren't ideal for not disturbing the fish. I was absolutely mesmerized and didn't want to get out of the water! On one of the last days that we were in Phuket, we did a boat tour around the surrounding islands, which although nice, was heaving with tourists and the smell of boat petrol hung thick. The least spectacular of the whole trip was James Bond Island, whose next door island is a depressing market frantic with tourists.

Other cool things we did in Phuket included visiting Big Buddha and Wat Chalong Temple. 

We also ventured to Patong Beach for an extremely eventful evening out! We walked down the infamous Bangla road to laze on the beach for a while, and were offered wristbands into a club called Illuzion. Needless to say, after drinking a bottle of rum as predrinks, we were all too keen to see what Illuzion was about. And it definitely did not disappoint! It was so thrilling to be in a nightclub with incredible dance music and acrobats suspended from the ceiling! We caught a taxi back to Peach Hill after a long night of dancing, and woke up early the next day with a lot of great albeit hazy memories after one too many vodka red bull buckets (One is in fact too many :) ) to leave to Krabi. 

Getting there was a scary ordeal - we caught a mini bus, and the driver insisted on overtaking on blind rises and running through red lights, which seems to a be a frightening norm in Thailand. 

Peach Hill was the only accomodation we had booked for the trip - we wanted to play Railay and Phi Phi by ear - so looked a lot at TripAdvisor for accomodation ideas and found an amazing hotel in Aonang for us to stay at called Aonang Eco Inn. We booked for two nights but ended up staying much longer - the staff were so kind and they also rent scooters (which, after a zip around the parking lot, I was too nervous to drive on the road!) 

The shopping in Aonang was absolutely incredible - I far preferred it to shopping in Phuket and managed to get all my gifts for my family here. The snorkelling was also better here than Phuket (couldn't believe there could be anything better!) so all round we were incredibly happy during this part of the trip. Incredibly, there were some insane Italian restaurants in Aonang, so after a long day of shopping you are able to indulge in a delicious Alfredo! The haggling in Thailand certainly takes a lot of getting used to, but in Aonang I found myself finally getting the hang of it, and have a beautiful sarong and typical Thailand pants to show for it. Another one of my favourite moments in Thailand was getting to the top of Tiger Cave Temple - 1200+ steps later. It was so calming climbing all the way to the top, although the heat did make it a challenge. 

After an unexpectedly long time at the Eco Inn, we caught a ferry to Phi Phi - the party island of Thailand. It is certainly paradise for young party goers, and we were so excited for the night of fire poi that lay ahead. I didn't enjoy our accomodation in Phi Phi but simply because it was right on the beach so very sandy and noisy - so I could definitely have better anticipated that! We also discovered our aircon not to be working and so had to move rooms shortly after checking in. Regardless though, it was totally suitable given we only spent one night in Phi Phi and caught a ferry back to Phuket the next day to fly home. 

All in all, I have to say that Thailand was an absolutely incredible holiday. Sure, I went with lovely people, but I think it would be hard not to enjoy the food, people and beaches of Thailand. If you are willing to brave the tourists, taxi drivers and in some places, bad littering, it is otherwise incredible. The whole holiday couldn't have cost us much more than R16 000 which, considering the amount of snorkelling we had done and food we had eaten, we were pleasantly surprised by. 

Photography // Saturday Shoot


On Saturday I was very lucky to witness my very talented bestie, Di Jordan, at work on a photoshoot. She and two other photographers had each chosen a model to do a grunge photoshoot with in a beautiful studio at Eden on the Bay (Tableview, Cape Town) called The Square Cube . They are actually currently running an opening special until 31 January 2016 and I would highly recommend it - it's light and bright with everything you need. I was helping with hair on the three stunning models and had so much fun doing big, messy hair on them. 

Watch this space for the final pictures! 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Nails before Males // Belvedere Sorbet Gelish Mani Review

Being a huge fan of all things girly, it was always hard to justify going to get my nails done at the salon. I have had Gelish done on occasion for weddings and such but really the thought of getting trapped in a cycle of having to get it soaked off each time annoyed me. Anyway, out of convenience, I booked a Gelish with Angela at Sorbet Belvedere (Cape Town) which is just around the corner from my house. She honestly does it so much better than anyone else and it lasts between two and half and three weeks without chipping which is definitely a first! She is also super creative and makes great colour suggestions when you are overwhelmed. Best advice is to go on a Sunday when it is quieter and very relaxing. Also - if you (like me) hate the soak off idea, I think in Gelish's defence (testimony in the pictures below) - the fact that they are UV cured mean your nails actually grow - honestly can say that mine never seem to get past a certain length! I would strongly recommend this branch specifically - but love Sorbet in general. The telephone number for the Belvedere branch is as follows: 021 671 7631


In need of some Pinspiration for the holidays? I love these! 



Another amazing find this week was that of Hey Gorgeous - they are the most amazing online store. It seems like they are soon to open retail franchises too - sigh! To be able to do that would be a dream come true. I recently ordered the Sonic cleaning brush for my aunt and it arrived in no time. Will be sure to ask her for a review ;)
Here are some more of their fab products - can we just take a moment for the Turkish Delight Whipped Body Mousse?

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Best Youtubers in Cape Town

It never ceases to amaze me how many talented creatives there are in Cape Town. And in my opinion, there's no richer medium that Youtube! So I thought it would be apt to pop together a list which combines two of my loves - Youtube and Cape Town. Check out who to follow if you are in the mood for a laugh, some shopping advice or social commentary.

1. Theodora Lee 

Subscriber Count: 200,000 ; 7.5 million Views


Theo is a real ray of sunshine on a rainy day. She sets out to empower girls with sisterly advice about everything from boys to harder hitting issues like sexual harassment and cheating.

This year, she moved in with her boyfriend, fellow Youtuber Andrew Tainton and often they make totes adorbs videos together.

Why not visit her website to see more of her lifestyle, advice and travel content.

Favourite Video? Meep so hard to choose. For something a little different, I loved their travel video from their Asian Adventure.

2. Georgie Goullee 
Subscriber Count: 2,800; 132,500 Views 


Georgie's tag line reads "I love telling stories. Would you like to hear one?" Yes. Yes I would. Georgie is a down to earth vlogger who posts about exploring this beautiful city of ours.  She did 14 days of "Daily Activism" - fun excursions to celebrate Cape Town in all its splendour include planting trees, visiting penguins and going to Newlands forest with her boyfriend Sacha.

Favourite Video? Kira Drops her Sausage 

3. Warren Haydon 
Subscriber Count: 10 000 ; 196 000 Views 
Warren is a "coffee fuelled" adventure junkie. When he isn't at uni, he makes videos - and very funny ones at that! A definite one to watch, his comic timing and frankness is guaranteed to put you in a good mood.

Favourite Video? South African Slang. 



4. Anton Taylor 
Subscriber Count: 8 500 ; 1.3 million Views 

Anton has some really winning claim to fames - namely being the Former Internation Man of Movember and the Co-Creator of the hilarballs Jozi Shore. He is refreshingly honest, anything but apathetic and loves creative writing. That and his weight loss journey is truly inspiring (note to self: stop eating KFC). I love that his social commentary isn't preachy or verbose - he just tells it like it is, with a humourous spin.
Favourite Video? Don't Be a D*ck at Daisies 

There you go! From me to you - my favourite Youtube bloggers in Cape Town.
Have an amazing four day week if you are in sunny South Africa!

xx Meg

Friday, January 30, 2015

Feature Friday // Roxy Hutton of CityGirlSearching

Welcome to the second Feature Friday where I feature upcoming self starters, photographers, designers, entrepreneurs and game changers -  all looking to make a name for themselves and inspiring those around them at the same time.

The first Feature Friday showcased Anna Atkinson from Anna-Louise sleepwear

My second Feature Friday is the stunning Roxy Hutton over at CityGirlSearching.She is a twenty something year old South African photographer, blogger, stationery store owner and teacher currently living in South Korea.

I met Roxy when I was at Rhodes, and attended many of her intense spinning classes - is there anything she can't do? She is just the most bubbly, sweet person and is just too creative for words. 


1. Roxy and her pup Shadow
2. Rox and her hubby Dale - their farm wedding pics are just too beautiful. You just have to see them.
When/how did you decide to start your stationery store?
The stationery store has the most gorgeous, cutesy stuff on it. It will make you want to go to South Korea like yesterday. 
Roxy does a mean manicure! 


When/how did you decide to start your blog?

I started my first blog (FarmboyandCityGirlHitAsia) as a way to document my life in South Korea when I was first teaching English in 2010. When I moved back to South Africa in 2011 I felt like I needed more of a creative output, and I wanted to focus on more of the pretty things in life. And so CityGirlSearching was founded. I started reviewing places in and around Johannesburg, as well as doing makeup reviews and recipes and sharing more of the beauty I was inspired by in South Africa.

My love for stationery compounded when I first walked into one of the millions of unique stores here in Korea. On just about every corner you’re bound to find stores filled to the brim with pencils, notebooks, washi tape, letter sets, note cards and so much more. I knew that I needed to find a way to share what I had found here, and of course to try and get rid of the boxes of stationery I had already collected! And so my stationery store was born.


Your photography is incredible (check out Rox's portfolio here) – where did you learn to take such amazing pictures?

Thanks you for those kind words. I learnt all the basics from my husband who was the one to contribute all the travel photographs to our first blog. When he had had enough of photographing flowers and nail polishes I picked up the camera, armed with a lot of patience and set about trying to re-create pretty images I found online. Pretty soon I learnt enough to make and style my own photographs and have found a new passion too.

What does your typical work day entail?

I teach English to Middle School girls here in South Korea and so the majority of my day is spent teaching and lesson planning. Every morning my husband and I are up at the crack of dawn to walk our little rescue pup, Shadow. Then it’s a quick breakfast and then off to school. After work it’s out again with pup on a hike around our town before dinner.

What do you love doing on the weekend?

I often collaborate with my stylist friend, Storm, on styled shoots involved paid clients and friends. We set up Pinterest boards during the week and then head off in my car to scout out locations. I also work with Storm to host DIY days with here in Korea, as a way of bringing together like-minded people.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

This is a tough one.  I usually find advice the most helpful after I’ve learnt a hard lesson. As the only way to really learn something is to do it, do it wrong, and then learn what to do better next time. So I guess I would say the best advice I’ve ever heard was to never stop trying, and to never be afraid of putting yourself out there and making mistakes.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher (I don’t plan on teaching English here in Korea for the rest of my life) but I definitely want to head into teaching little ones when we get back to South Africa.

What inspires you?

God. Travel. Early Mornings. Exercise. My husband. Warm sunshine on a cold winters day.

You have traveled extensively – where is your favourite place?

This is a hard question! There have been definite highs to each and every place we’ve travelled to, and just as many low points (getting food poisoning and then the flu on an island hopping adventure in the beautiful tropical islands off the Philippines…missing our flights back from Vietnam and only realizing we had maxed out our credit cards when  we tried to book later flights…catching sand fleas in Malaysia and having scars and bruising for 6 months due to the most insane itchy bites on my legs) and yet I cannot contain my excitement at the thought of our next travel destination. You learn so much about yourself and your partner/friends when you travel, and it’s one thing that you will never, ever regret doing.

Your pooch is adorable! Can you tell us about him?

Thank you! We rescued what was then a little black and brown bundle of fluff from the middle of the road late one night. Here in South Korea dogs are often abandoned (there is very little population control down on street dogs) and a lot of dogs are kept in cages and bred for meat. Our little Shadow was destined for the soup pot and so there really was no two minds about keeping him once we laid eyes on him. He has since grown into a very mischievous and handsome boy, who loves the snow and most especially, loves dirty socks! We aren’t sure what he is exactly, we thought he was a Korean Jindo (a special, but common breed  of hunting dogs here in Korea) but he is looking and acting more and more like a husky everyday. So we are going with the term ‘Jinsky’…a bit of a Jindo/Husky/Pavement special. If you’d like to you can find more of him on Instagram using the hashtag #ShadowTheJindo.


Thank you so much Roxy for agreeing to be featured!

Follow Roxy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

Most importantly - don't forget to check out her blog and stationery store

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review // EOS Lipbalm

New on SA shores is US import EOS lipbalm! It's available in South Africa at The Bikini Club, Beautyworx and Hashtag Awesome. [The Bikini Club features Rachel Roy four packs and a special edition Wildberry.]


The first one I got was the Pomegranate Raspberry. I ordered it off Hashtag Awesome and it arrived six days later so all and all I was pretty happy!
The other two are for friends I promise... 
On that note, they also stock Renova, Urban Decay, Anastasia Beverley Hills, The Gentleman's Beard Oil and Too Faced. They are a new store who imports luxury brand and are definitely worth a squizz!

The second one I got was a gift from one of my besties - she bought it in Hong Kong. She bought me the Strawberry Sorbet one which to be honest I prefer to the Pomegranate Raspberry.

I was a little bit nervous that it was gimmicky / all about the cute packaging - but I have really loved mine. They are such gorgeous presents and are so nice for your handbag.

They are touted as being "95% organic and 100% natural". It also has vitamin E, shea butter and jojoba oil in it, so it really is good for your lips. Overall I am really happy with them, they are really beautifully scented and are a different and fun product to add to your make up case.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Feature Friday // Anna Atkinson of Anna-Louise Sleepwear

Helloooo - You are looking at the first installment of FEATURE FRIDAY! 

I will be featuring upcoming self starters, photographers, designers, entrepreneurs and game changers -  all looking to make a name for themselves and inspiring those around them at the same time. 

My first Feature Friday is showcasing Durban talent Anna Louise Atkinson of Anna-Louise Sleepwear, a luxury sleepwear collection which provides stylish and comfortable designs for both men and women locally designed and made in South Africa.
 
How stunning is her sleepwear? Shop the range now!
Where do you come from?

I live in Durban.  I grew up here but after matriculating I decided to move to the Western Cape and study at Elizabeth Galloway Fashion Academy in Stellenbosch. I ended up living in Cape Town for 7years before moving back to Natal.  

When did you decide to launch your own business?

Growing up, my mum owned her own retail stores selling luxury bed linen and gifts.  I always knew I wanted to follow in her foot steps and one day own my own business. So after working in the magazine industry for two years, I went onto work for a PR company and then onto working for a big retail company and then knew it was time to launch Anna-Louise.

What advice would you give women wanting to open their own business?

If you can dream it, you can do it.  There’s a quote I love by Steve Jobs – “If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed, the vision pulls you.”  I think this quote is so powerful, If you really passionate about something and love what you do, you will make it a success.

Why sleepwear?

After finishing at Elizabeth Galloway Fashion Academy in Stellenbosch my dream was to become a designer, so I gained experience in retail, media and styling before focusing on my designer dream.  While gaining experience with big retail companies and media houses, I saw how people’s lives were becoming faster, more demanding and leaving less time for luxury and relaxing. Anna-Louise was born for my love for sleepwear and the frustration over the lack of sophisticated product available in the market.  Anna-Louise Sleepwear creates a calm in the evenings, a balance in the chaos of life that helps leave the stresses of your day behind. My vision was to create sleepwear without teddy bears, cartoon characters or corny sayings that anyone would be proud to wear all day, every day.

 Your branding is beautiful! How did you decide on your brand's aesthetic?

When I launched Anna-Louise, the branding was pink and girly.  As Anna-Louise has grown and after we launched our men’s collection I thought it needed a little something stronger.  So I decided to keep it classic and go for something timeless.

What does your typical work day entail?

Every day is different.  Being the perfectionist that I am, I wish it was more structured but a phone call can change the whole day’s routine.  I spend the mornings responding to mails, sorting out online orders – wrapping and packing them up and the afternoons are spent in my car sourcing fabrics, choosing new threads and buttons and making sure orders are completed in time.

Today was a perfect example of how a phone call can change the day – I had a bride call me, who is getting married tomorrow. She asked if she could place a personal embroidery order, luckily I had the stock she was needing but spent most of the day making sure the embroidery could get done and the delivery could take place before her wedding tomorrow.  I hate to let people down and try my best to get their orders done, especially when it comes to bridal orders.

What do you love doing on the weekend?

My fiancé and I have recently moved house, we actually in the middle of renovations so our weekends are spent house shopping, choosing paint colours or sorting out things for the wedding. I am loving every minute of all of it.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

“A river cuts through rock not because of its power but because of its persistence.”

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always knew I wanted to be involved in fashion and design.  From pre school days, I was dressing my dad, mum and older sister and always telling them what to wear and what to buy.

1. Anna is an avid traveller and recently jetted to Seychelles with her fiance
2. Must read this! "Girl Boss" by Sophie Amoruso
3. She has amazing taste in cushions - these puppies are available from Emeline Designs.
4. She also posts awesome foodie pics. What can this girl not do?

What inspires you?
My mum’s always been an inspiration to me.   She’s always lead by example, so I would say she is my main inspiration.  I have and always will inspire to be like her.

“Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation”.

Some more casual (beautiful) travel pics 

Thank you so much Anna for agreeing to be featured! What’s really sweet is that Anna featured me on her blog way back in 2011 – so incredible to see everything that you have accomplished in such a short time!

Follow Anna on Instagram (all of her pics featured here are from her beautiful Instagram account) ; Twitter ; Pinterest and Facebook