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. 


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 
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