Monday, January 31, 2011

My dear friend whom I affectionately refer to as The Dickhead, sent me an email the other day – all the way from Helsinki.

As always, The Dickhead had a lot of really important things to say and a lot of good advice to give. Ever the optimist and self-inspired, self-taught copywriter ad-guru, I could have guessed his choice of words would have me moved,

But it was this one thing that he said that struck a chord. It made me realise how important it is to stay true to who you are. Yes life in the advertising world is tough, but I reckon life as a florist is pretty tough too.

Regardless of what you’re doing or whom you’re trying to impress, it’s hard trying to get to the top the right way, and stay there. It’s hard to not feel down sometimes too, when hard work doesn’t actually pay off. But I think the key to it all, as clichĂ© and overdone as this may sound, really is as simple as “being true to yourself”. Let’s be honest … If you can’t be good at being you, then how on earth do you expect to be good trying to be someone else!

Thanks Dickhead

After devouring the ‘shop online’ section at In Good Company, I went to their goodie guide section on the website and found this fabulous digital catalogue for chicks planning their wedding, (for all chicks really … ) looking for inspiration and great ideas.

They’ve created a gorgeous little piece on the girls from Sex & The City, with a take on what each different character’s wedding could look like. It’s so tasteful I just love the whole thing. They’ve got tons of other catalogues for other occasions too. Definitely worth a couple of hours squizz time.

Here’s a few pics of the catalogue, but really, there is just far too much deliciousness on the site to be able to show you everything. So do yourself a favour and go check it out. But like I said before – there’s a LOT to take in so make sure your boss is out for a meeting or do it this weekend when you can use your own bandwidth to perve over the loveliness that is In Good Compay.

It really is a gift-wrapping, scrap-booking, party-planning, creative-dream come true. So enjoy


Sorry if a few of the pics are pixelised - just wanted to blow them up as big as the sky to show you how beautiful everything is! I know I keep on saying it but check out the website for more.

Friday, January 28, 2011

So … I’ve been playing around and swipe swipe swiping away at a really great website for the last couple of weeks: and although it pains me to have to share my secrets, I feel that it’s only fair to let the rest of you get a chance to swipe for yourselves. Although I’d be super surprised if most of you didn’t already know about this wonderful gem of a website/company and weren’t already huge fans.

In Good Company are an online based company that both sells and hires all types of wonderful bits and pieces. They also have a blog on their site and great ideas on party and event decor.

At first I only caught onto their product offerings - which includes some of the most fabulous ribbons, tags and string that you can think of. Ideal for Christmas time gift-wrapping, or even nice to buy a roll of twine and keep it handy for every time you’ve got a birthday gift to wrap. Brown paper and pretty twine makes for a really nice DIY-looking gift.

And not just ribbons; BIG ass colourful balloons, bunting, garlands, and all types of pretty hanging things. Candles, cutlery, crockery, dining ware, party fare and kiddie delights. Wedding inspirations and DIY invitations, lanterns, lighting and loved-up goodies – there really is everything you can think of, and lots of stuff you never even knew existed.

 to be continued  ...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

There’s just something about fairy lights that reminds me of my childhood, a time long long ago. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps the fairy books spoke of strings of light that danced like fireflies, or of magical pathways illuminated by glowing husks of whiteness. 

It could be that the simplicity of a tiny little light bulb, grouped together with other tiny little light bulbs makes a big and wonderful blur of colour and glare that takes me back to a time when lights did what they were meant to do: Light Up Your Life.

Monday, January 24, 2011

For today's wedding inspiration, I've come across a gorgeous blog that I'd like to call "porn for dolls". It has heaps and tons and oddles of ideas for any type of party or function you can think of. I saw these pics of a desert table at a wedding and just had to share them.

I love the simplicity: The old box makeshift tables coupled with the name tag rosettes that look like puffs of candy floss. I also love the way they’ve carried their colour scheme right through to their desert settings. Very tasteful.

images courtesy of Hostess With The Mostess. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Here are some more pics of another little party I put together for my friend with the newborn baba. After jumping off the Moses Mabhida Stadium, followed by a moooosive Ponchos Tequila party – I’m pretty chuffed with my early morning baking results. Not too bad – if I do say so myself.

But enough now, all these pictures are bringing on a nasty bout of sweet-tooth-ness. Time for some boring tea instead.


I was going through my photos the other night and I found some shotsI took of my gorgeously-adorable-deliciously-cute nephews 1st ever birthday party: with a Cowboys and Indian theme. As with most of our family hosted parties, it always starts off really nice and sweet, but then the big boys start drinking their beers like party punch and it all gets horribly fun and raucous. Here’s some colourful pics from the morning, before people were sticking fizzers up noses and braaing marshmallow clowns. We had such fun with the baking and setting up. Nice to be young-at-heart again, but only for a day, because I can't tell you how many Flings I ate. SIGH.




me thinks batman ate too may flings too, he can't even fit into his kit.  

What ya’ll doing this cool and overcast summers evening?
I’m meeting up with a long lost friend (who actually lives a stones throw away from me, but who I never see – half because I’m useless and half because she’s just as useless as me) and we’re going to perve over all the delicious food at the Sunset Food Market.

I think it’s really great how, more and more, Durbanites are embracing this whole market vibe. It’s very Cape-Town of us.

The grand-daddy of all flea markets -  this old faithful happens every Saturday, come rain or uprising. I doubt there's a single sole in the greater KZN area who hasn't spent a Saturday morning strolling its stalls. find out more here

(my personal favourite) Best to get there early before the field becomes overcrowded with cars, people and dogs of all shapes and sizes. And by early, I mean like 5:30 in the morning, when there’s still dew on the ground, the coffee is fresh and hot, and there's less of a chance of standing in dog pooooooh. Very awesome place for a family breakfast and an early start to your weekend. find out more here

On the first Saturday of every month. Wonderfully crafty, very DIY and becoming increasingly popular with the community of bloggers in Durban - considering the community of bloggers in Durban all sell their stuff there. Also becoming increasingly more expensive, but I guess if it's the good quality, hand made products that you're after, then it's totally worth it. find out more here

On the last weekend of every month. Haven't been to this one yet but I'm told it's really cool. Lots of yummy food bits and pieces: pestos, breads, nougats, sweets, jams, and all that jazz. find out more here

It’s not really called the AMAZING Night Market but I need to find out more about this one – we went one evening in December last year, and it was seriously awesome. A few vendors from the I heart (with increased prices … maybe things become more valueable after dark??) delicious snacky food and beers, and just a really great festive vibe  - complete with a quartet jazz band. Very cool.

And now this:
So if you don’t have much planned this evening between 5pm and 9pm, why not come along to the Norwegian Hall on 214 St Thomas Road for some catch ups, home brewed beers and a nibble or two on delights from all across the world. It is, after all … PHUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZA THUUURSDAY! find out more here

Info courtesy of the WWW

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's official. I've got the wedding blues.
I'm just so disappointed with the KZN wedding facilities and the things on offer to poor little old bride's like me. POOR: because like more and more people are doing ... we have decided to pay for our own wedding. And OLD: because by the time I save up enough money to do the things I want to do at the wedding, I'll be well into my 30's. Crisis!!!!

But I digress. 
I'm battling. I'm really battling to find a wedding venue in KZN that 
a) suits our country chic style, 
b) doesn't cost half a gazillion South African rands, and 
c) doesn't come with a huge amount of fine print and super-sneaky adjustable quotes that will nail you just before you head off on a honeymoon you can no longer afford.

Being engaged sounds exciting, doesn't it!
Don't get me wrong - I'm still having heaps of fun. Ok maybe not heaps, but finding the venue, I think, is pretty much one of the 348 most important things about your wedding day. Like the invitations, it sets the tone for the day to come. So if you're having a beach theme but your venue is an enclosed hall in the midlands - in winter ... it kinda doesn't really make sense, right?

And about this retro cool, casual, country chic that i'd like to go for ... well, I know what you're thinking: "are you crazy ... KZN has the midlands ... it doesn't get more country than that"

I know, I know, I totally know - I've been all up and down it for the last 3 months (well, virtually anyway) and they all look the same to me. Maybe I'm just having an off day. 

Or maybe I'm not. It's just that they all offer the same thing: 
* Maximum 150 guests
* Round tables
* Plastic chairs  (and if you pay upfront, they throw in the chair covers for free! BONUS!)
* A cake table, and knife
* A DJ table
* A really small chapel to squeeze into 
* and the use of their lawn for your over-priced, largely uncreative photo shoot.

Oh my I do sound bitter, don't I. I apologise - this is meant to be a happy place and a happy time. Perhaps I should go check out Kat on rock n roll bride - she's all about doing things differently when it comes to throwing a "kick ass" wedding. Which I guess is what every bride wants. The key is to stay positive and to find yourself a blank canvas that you can change into your own personal dream come true. 

I think the reason for my slump is because all day i've been looking at average places with average offerings, and then I spent a good hour and a bit drooling on the oh-so-incredible Mr Otto De Jager’s website, and it’s times like these that I just wish we lived in Cape Town. Just look at these beauts - they wreak of Cape Town country chicness:

But enough nastiness to KZN. I shall return with only good things to report on.
Til tomorrow peeps

The awesomeness that is has a really great, really thourough post up today about he Golden Globes. take a squizz here

Are you sitting down?
Because this is a looooong one!

My cold, cold feet
Ok … so our holiday started off with a big bag of despair, as all the flights into and out of London were being cancelled. But in true South African spirit we continued to pack our bags, waiting in anticipation for SKY NEWS to announce that the snowfall was clearing up and everything would soon go back to normal. Yes: Christmas would be saved!
“It’ll never happen to us” we said.
“It’ll be gone by then” we said.
“They’ll clear all the runways” we said.
But it did happen to us, it wasn’t gone by then, and they didn’t clear any of the runways. Things only got worse.

Screw it, we thought, let’s go to the airport anyway, catch our flight to JHB and throw our toys until they put us on a plane that will get us to where we want to go.

Sitting at DBN airport, waiting to take our delayed flight to JHB, we started to drink away our sorrows. But it didn’t last long because … thank heavens for the fee-arn-say and his incessant addiction to technology – with the BA, QATAR, HEATHROW, and GATWICK App’s on his apple iTouch, and a cousin in the travel industry, he managed to get us off our cancelled flights, fully refunded, and onto a midnight flight to Doha on QATAR airlines. So now we drink because we’re happy!

A never-ending wine supply

Off we go on a delayed flight to JHB, then 6 hours onto DOHA, where we have 4 minutes to get through the airport to check in with our connecting flight to Gatwick. We’re second from the front - almost there - when the little old lady before us hands in her ticket, only to be told: “Sorry Mam, this flight is full, you can’t get on it, please go stand in that queue over there."
I handed the man with the grin my ticket and prayed like crazy. Beep Beep, “Thank you mam, you may proceed.” I was so relieved I could have kissed Bin Ladin! 
After 7 hours we land in Gatwick, and the entire plane cheers and applauds the pilot who managed to land us safely on an icy runway.

Now remember we were originally booked to fly out on Wednesday the 22nd but because the Kings Of Leon were playing on Tuesday the 21st we cleverly moved our flights forward to the 20th, bought the very expensive concert tickets and were set …. Or so we thought!

Franks new watch

Finally, and safely in the United Kingdom we say goodbye to mom and dad-in-law who head off to Reading to spend the day with their friends and we mission off on the tubes and trams and buses, as fast as we can, to get to our mate's house to shower, shave and what-not before hot stepping it to the much-anticipated, much-revolved-around, Kings Of Leon concert. After 2 hours of additional traveling, we get off at the right tube stop, and we walk for about 4 kms through the winding roads and alleyways to try and locate his house. “It’s the one on the corner, double story, with a  little white fence and postbox” he tells us. But every house is on the corner, is double story, and has a postbox with a white fence! So now we're lost - and walking round in squares. Eventually we find it thanks to Frank, who arrived from Germany that morning and is waiting on the curb for us with a stiff drink in his hand. We say our hellos, get inside, take off the layers of coats, etc, and prepare ourselves for a big night out.

“So”, I say to Mike, “Is the POA to shower and then meet the Londoners at the concert”

“Er” Mike says. “About that … you might want to sit down”

Turns out some silly* little** fire on some silly* little** tour bus was enough reason to cancel the entire concert! And so … our holiday began!

(* is key for a really bad swear word)
(** is key for an even worse swear word)

The bird is the Kings Of Leon. We are the statue.

With our spirits still high (more shock and disbelief and oh-well-c’est-la-vie, than high) we hit the town regardless, had a super time in London that evening, then wake early and spend the next 12 hours (I kid you not) strolling the popular streets looking for wedding dresses, jeans, snow boots and other tid bits. It was exhausting, but isn’t that what London is all about? 

Trafalgar Square - from a short persons angle

London's version of Christmas decorations 

The Norwegian-imported Christmas Tree

A piece of South Africa in central London

Now because our connecting flight to France was also cancelled in the mess, we spent the evening munching on square pizzas and googling alternative modes of transport,  eventually settling on a ferry from Dover to Calais. We decided we would cross the bridge of how to go further, when we got there.
(note: South Africans make the BESt pizzas BY FAR!)

And so began the early start of 3:30am in a taxi off to Dover, where we were meeting the in-laws who were also traveling by cab from Reading. When they arrived, with minutes to spare before boarding … we discover that the cab driver had taken ill and dad-in-law had ended up driving them to the ferry station, in the cab! Again ... I kid you not.

We board the ferry, I spend the entire trip in the bathroom getting sick, we dock, wait 2 hours for a shuttle to the train station. We managed to get the last 5 tickets on the last train into Paris. Costing us a small fortune in the process. All the while, extremely nervous because when we arrive in Paris we know 2 things:

1) We need to get from Gare du Nord (where we will arrive) to Gare de Lyon which is half an hour away. Cab will be the only option as 5 people with 5 big bags and rucksacks navigating the French tubes is not a pretty sight.

2) When we get to Gare du Lyon, we have no plan. Our connecting train tickets were for the first trains that morning, which we missed thanks to the snowball effect (excuse the pun) of the initial cancelled London flight. And all the trains are fully booked for the next 3 days.

So, into two cabs, we hoover it to Gare de Lyon, then jump – illegally - onto the next train heading for Lyon. We shove our bags into the baggage hold, and stand around the bar area like lost farts hoping to blend into a French perfume factory. The TGV (the train we were on) has designated seats for its passengers, so we had to stand for the 3 and a half hour journey. What’s more is that our worst nightmare came true – in the form of not 1 but 2 French conductors strolling down the isle asking to see everyone’s tickets. We all pretend to read our books, mom-in-law even had her book upside down at one stage she was so nervous. We needed to look inconspicuous and not scared beyond belief that we might get turfed off at the next available station. Our plan of action was to only speak Afrikaans to each other and if we were approached by a conductor we would simply act dumb, and I would try and speak in very broken French: something about “pas de flights” and “BA ma dit que cette train est bon pour nous” – which if you know any French, you’ll know is VERY broken French. J

Anyways … so along comes this conductor and he heads straight for dad-in-law, who waves him away with his hand!!!! Eventually the conductor wins and dad-in-law hands over his ticket and continues to “read”. What felt like hours passed, and to our shock, horror and total relief the conductor hands back the ticket with a simple “Merci” and moves on to the rest of us. At which stage the bright shining light bulb above the fee-arn-say's head begins to flicker as he feebly admits: “agh I read this on the back of the ticket but I didn’t know what it meant”. On the back page of our tickets in big red, ENGLISH type it clearly states that the tickets are completely redeemable for up to 24hrs from the time they are booked! So we drank some more!!!!

The house wine at 3600 metres

We got to Lyon, caught another TGV to Grenoble (about 2 hours) and were greeted at the station by a very happy bunch of people - Marc’s two uncles and 3 of the 9 cousins. Into 4 different cars we head off out of Grenoble for 25 minutes to the quaintest most gorgeous little village in the world. It’s called: Saint Martin de la Cluze. And it’s where we would be living for the next week. We arrived late at night so didn’t get to see much of the place but what we could see was magical. We headed for our accommodation, a refurbished, totally authentic castle from the 1500 Century, and I have the photos to prove it. Then off to our French host's house (the fee-arn-say's uncle and French aunt) for a big reunion dinner.

It was the first time the fee-arn-say and his young German cousins had ever met. They’re all really young, but they latched onto the 2 boys like crazy the whole holiday – was very cute, and added on another year or two to the age he wants to have kids.

French food is weird, they’re not very into their meat so we were really treated like Kings on Christmas when we got to try out Wild Boar and Fois Gras (Duck Liver). Hmmm. 
Their salads consist of lettuce leaves and a balsamic dressing - that's it. Salt is a no-no on the dinner table, as is bread on your plate – it must lie next to your plate on the table. Cheese and lettuce comes after mains, and red wine is on tap. Delicious red wine. Vegetables are always pciked fresh from the back garden, desert is always chocolaty and rich and makes you want to go for a 15 km run just after looking at it. You must always buy two baguettes from the shop, one to eat on the way home and one for the table. The cafĂ© is strong, cappuccinos come with a big dollop of whipped cream on the top, no milk. And mayonnaise with “French” fries is a staple diet. AS is Tartiflette (potato bake with rich cheese) Raclette (wood melted cheese scraped onto small boiled potatoes and a selection of hams and pickled onions and gherkins) and the crisps come in one flavour: original, which if you ask me, is very unoriginal!

Lasagne and salad from a Grenoble restaurant

Fresh pumpkin soup, served INSIDE a pumpkin

La baguette - obviously

Creme Caramel Butternut Soup - Insanely delicious

Death by chocolate fruit ice cream cake thingy magigy

with nuts

the best salad in the Northern Hempisphere: warm goats cheese and pear with artichokes and cured meat. Note the Raceltte potatoes on the side. Raclette MUST be accompanied with a bottle of white wine - it's a law in France (!!!)

When we woke up for our first morning in France, it was bucketing down with snow! Absolutely beautiful! Not even the photos that we took could ever do it justice.
We spent the next few days visiting all the different ski resorts, and shops and villages and town centres, and every night a big dinner at the main house.

Our snow-frosted cars in the morning

The Frozen Pond the EVERYONE reversed into

Outside the Castle Doors

There really is just too much to tell.

Basically we stayed in a castle, we skied on Christmas day and two special friends who were with us in the 2nd week at Les Deux Alpes Ski Resort got engaged. We ate Tartiflette and raclette, and tobogganed down a hillside at midnight. We went 3600 metres up – so cold that the pain in your feet eventually goes away and your sniffles turn to icicles. We ate 3462390845 baguettes, tasted Munster: officially the smelliest cheese in the world. We drove 220 kms on the autobahn, ate Macodnalds for breakfast on New Years Day, rode in more buses, cabs and trains than humanly possible and spent far too much money on red wine and evian water.

Morning Dew

The 1500th Century Stairwell

The 1500th Century stairwell - from upside down 

A 1500th Century Door in the Castle

Our 1500th Century Kitchenette

The 1500th Century Servants Quarters

Our morning coffee maker

Christmas Decoration in a quaint little Mountain Hut

Raclette Cheese on the fire

Flight patterns and Mountain Peaks

An iced up walk way

Icy, scary, beautiful Glaciers

The view from 3600 metres up

The Snow Boarding Maniac Fee-Arn-Say

Standing on the edge of La Grave - 3600 metres up

The cloud cover over Les Deux Alpes

The Boots that Frank wore
It’s always so wonderful going away on holiday, even when the travel demons try and ruin it for you. Our trip back was no less eventful. On day 1 when the fee-arn-say managed to get our flights to London refunded, they just so happened to refund the entire package, including our return flights. So we arrive at Heathrow, more than ready to come home only to be told we’re not on any plane. Thanks to the young guy behind the counter, and thank goodness we tried to cut our 8 hour wait at Heathrow short by getting on an earlier flight … because he managed to get us on a flight which would normally have cost us 3000 pounds. Never mind that the flight he got us onto was delayed by 2 and a half hours, which meant we had to sprint for our connecting flight in JHB, only to JUST make it and then sit on THAT plane for an hour and a half because there was a problem with the fuel tank(????!!!!!)

And the cherry on the top would be the bags not arriving in Durban because the problem with the fuel tank was that they put too much of it in and subsequently had to take my bags off, and some other 40 bags. But luckily (for them) they offered to have them dropped off at our house.

Les Deux Alpes by night
And now I’m back at work, and all I can think of is baguettes dipped in red wine and snow filled espresso mugs!