Beauty and Travel

My Top 5 go-to winter products

Welcoming winter in 2019 has been such a struggle especially for everyone who is new in Cape Town. As much as this is a bit of a problem, I have just the products to get you through winter. In this week post, I share with you my top 5 inexpensive products you can try.

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Before I get into it, I know that a lot of black women face the issue of having their skin dry out during this particular season and we have to plan the transition from summer products that are both moisturizing, non-greasy and sun proof to the oil based, motorizing and takes care of dry skin.

Here are my top 5, inexpensive products that I always run to:

  • Vaseline blue seal: Due to my skin being dry, I always opt for this product because it has glycerin which helps me with preventing my skin from cracking under the pressure of cold weathers. It is oil based and is definitely good for both dry and oily skin. For women with oily skin, I would recommend using after a night bath followed by a coating of a body butter the next day so it balances the oil. This product retails for approximately R60 at stores like Pick n Pay and Clicks. IMG_E0333[1]
  • African Extracts No-Shine Day Cream: With benefits such as improving skin texture and brightens and evens skin tone. Ingredients include aloe vera, bio-active rooibos, evodia leaf and Japanese cedar- glow up of the season is most certainly guaranteed! The radiance range by African Extracts is everything a girl needs to have in their skin care routine. Their products have been endorsed by Beauty Without Cruelty and they are vegan – meaning they don’t test their products on animals.

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  • Woolworths’ Shea Butter and Honey Hand Cream: This is by far the best hand lotion I have ever used. I received this at the Cosmo Influencer Workshop held a few months ago and my hands have been feeling so soft and moisturized ever since. This product is also vegetarian with milk and honey and has been endorsed by Beauty Without Cruelty.

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  • Black Opal True Colour Liquid Foundation: I have gone back from using NYX liquid foundation to using this one because it moisturizes my skin the way I like. It is perfect for dry skin so I would suggest a more matte finish such as Essence for ladies who have oily skin. The benefits I have seen so far is that they offer really rich tones, it has light coverage so it does not really show that you are wearing make up and that is a plus for me because my skin gets irritated easily and has shea butter. They only offer 12 shades in this range though so it is not for everyone. This is only R295 at Clicks.

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  • Spier Wine Farm’s Creative Block No. 3: Nothing good wine cannot fix- I recently learned that red wine is popular in winter? Compared to white wine as it is fruity and drank cold, red on the other hand is usually appropriate in winter as it is commonly paired with warm winter meals. This particular wine however comes from one of my favourite wine brands in South Africa, Spier Wine Farm from it creative block collection. Within the collection comes Nos. 2, 3 and 5. The bottle retails for R169 on the Spier Wine Farm website.

“Did you know: The creative block wine collection was inspired by the Spier Arts Academy project, winemakers combine grapes from different vineyard blocks to curate unique tastes- always so much more than the sum of their parts.” -Spier Wine FarmIMG_0065[1]

One other product mention would be Benylin for Flu, which is one a must for people who don’t have a problem with alcohol in their cough syrups. This has saved me many times especially on my recent trip to Gauteng. I somehow had this flu that nearly had me “woman down” and if it was not for this product, I would have not enjoyed my trip. It can be found at major pharmacies in South Africa and recommended for flu- however, I would advise visiting your doctor first.

If you are someone who is well prepared for winter, care to share any tips on how you get through winter pimple and flu free? Vaseline blue seal leads the list as it literally saved my skin at the start of this year’s winter, so I recommend it to everyone trying to repair their skin.

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Africa, Food, Travel

Spier Wine Wonderland

Winter is a time to cosy up in new warm spaces, discover restaurants that offer the best soups, trying everything new that brings warmth and laughter in cups and bowls. For me, winter happens to be my favourite season and with it comes endless wine tastings from of my now favourite wine farms- Spier Wine Farm. This past weekend I was invited to visit their farm for a winter wine tasting and to also try out their new wine range which will be hitting stores in July. 

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Right in the heart of Stellenbosch, there sits a Wine Farm with hearts and smiles ready to welcome anyone and everyone who visits with the hope of leaving with great winter memories and stories to tell. As gloomy as Cape Town looked outside, I was ready to be treated to a full day of wine tasting, landscape splendor and spoils by the globally acclaimed wine brand.

Spier Wine Farm is based in Stellenbosch, Western Cape South Africa- for me only 29 minutes drive from my apartment. Spier prides itself with offering a selection of wines which its history dates back to 300 years ago. It is not just a wine farm but also offers luxury accommodation and conference facilities- talk about a brand that has it’s hospitality together. Besides the farm being environmentally friendly, they have recently added a wine range to their selections of wines and I am living for it and this is why I was exclusively selected to be one of the first few people to taste it.


About the tasting:

As part of their winter tasting and beyond that, Spier Wine Farm have released a wine range called Seaward – “a wine inspired by the cape’s coastal terroir”

Seaward wines are truly differentiated by their terroir, both within South Africa and globally. The Cape is one of the few wine growing regions in the world where two different ocean currents converge. Moreover, its coastal vineyards are distinct from those located inland, because the surrounding mountain ranges act as a natural barrier to those very cooling sea breezes that give ocean-facing grapes their unique character – a character that reflects resolutely in Spier’s new Seaward Chardonnay and Shiraz.- Spier Wine Farm

Upon arrival, we were welcomed by warm weather and green landscape and for me, it opened an endless array of smiles and magnificent hospitality! The winter tasting comprised of the following wines and pairings:

  • Spier Creative Block 2 paired with some cauliflower and smoked cheese soup to go with it.
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon– I can still taste the crisp white blend!
  • Surprisingly one of my favourite from the new range, the lightly-wooded Spier Seaward Chardonnay paired with a carrot soup topped with goats cheese and cashew dukkah.
  • The love of my life- the richly suave Spier Seaward Shiraz paired with a spicy roast tomato and basil soup which reminded me of my grandmother’s tomato gravy.
  • finally, the wonderfully and sweet warming Spier Cape Vintage Selection.
Did you know: You can use simple home baked bread to cleanse your wine pallet?!

My favourites from the entire winter wine tasting have to be the Spier Seaward Shiraz, Chardonnay and the Creative Block 2. The chardonnay is best for people who are still new in their wine discovery journey as it is light and soft on the taste while Creative Block 2 is rich and offers this berry aroma that compliments the spicy taste when paired with the carrot soup. As for the Shiraz, I am a lover and a fan and it is refreshing that Spier got this right.

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This brand offers a mellow tasting Shiraz with the flavour heightened the moment you taste their spicy roast tomato basil soup which for me is the most perfect pairing of all time as the chili in the soup releases the spice in the wines and it just hits the throat in the most subtle and perfect way (YES, I said “perfect”).

Please be advised that the tasting is VEGAN FRIENDLY and kids can also enjoy a day of tasting house juices while the adult enjoy spicy drinks.


About the Seaward range:

The Spier Seaward Chardonnay 2018: Made with grapes sourced from the Tygerberg Hills, this lightly-wooded wine has aromas of ruby grapefruit, mango, citrus with undertones of raw almonds. The creamy palate offers fresh citrus and nectarine notes with well-integrated vanilla on the finish.

The Spier Seaward Shiraz 2017: High-quality Shiraz grapes were selected from Darling, Durbanville and the southern side of Stellenbosch for this wine. Having matured for 14 months in a mixture of first, second and third fill oak barrels, the Shiraz has beautifully layered aromas of mulberry, violets and plum supported by infused allspice. The palate has richness with good length and smooth tannins.

Spier Wine Farm wine tastings range R40 pp to R120 pp depending on your add-ons and pairings. Source: Spier Wine Farm



The Extras and Overall Experience:

As people like to force me to believe that I am “lucky”, the Spier Wine Stating was also accompanied by a winter Chef’s platter menu at Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery carefully selected by Chef PJ Vadas. This platter offers 8 dishes and thanks to my favourite season, the restaurant is slicing the platter price to only R200 pp. This price includes some of my personal favourites from the platter: a Kansas-city pulled pork; beets with feta, naartjie, dukkha and elderflower, smoked brisket and BBQ sauce among others. Please be advised that this winter menu is only available until August 2019.

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I will definitely be visiting Spier Wine Farm again because of their hospitality. With regards to their wine tasting, I am glad their Seaward Shiraz is different to all the wines I have tasted and better compared to wines from other farms that I have visited because of its smooth taste and aroma that does not fill your nose before you even taste it.

Now I know there is no such thing as a perfect review, and most of the time I will have a critique or two about where I visit or what I use as a measure of improvement for brands- however, after visiting Spier Wine Farm, I truly have no negative points whatsoever! Spier didn’t just meet my expectations, they exceeded them! From making sure our table was ready on arrival, our consultant was all smiles throughout, plus she allowed time for questions and palette cleansing and this for me is a total plus!


Please enjoy a video below of my first experience at the beautiful Spier Wine Tasting.

Africa, Travel

Hiking up Lion’s Head, Cape Town

Ladies and gentlemen, finally my first hike of the year has taken place and I feel GOOD! It feels good to have had the opportunity to start again- Here’s to many more *cheers.

Where to go:

Every mountain has its people and Lion’s Head seems to be the place where everyone goes to start off their hikes whenever in Cape Town for a long stay or just a tourist, passing through. It is the easiest and give you the view of Camps Bay, Clifton, Seapoint and Robben Island and you don’t have to pay a single cent to climb it. This hike takes about 1h45 minutes on an easy pace.

(Other people who want a bit of a challenge always go for Table Mountain, Kasteelspoort trail or out of Cape Town where you find the ponds you can swim in after a long hike and these take place during summer or just before summer ends into winter). Such hikes can take up the whole day which can turn into picnics and are best in groups for safety and fun.

Did you know?

Lion’s Head peaks at 669 metres (2,195 ft) above sea level. In the 17th century the peak was known as Leeuwen Kop (Lion’s Head) by the Dutch.

-Wikipedia

What you will need:

My hike days usually start at 6am to give me time to be fully awake and get ready. I usually start with a nice cup of coffee and packing everything I will need which is something like this:

  • Jersey: the top is usually windy and a bit chilly
  • head-band/scarf: I sweat a lot so I need something to help me holding the sweat back.
  • My cellphone: For an Uber ride from my place to the mountain and back.
  • Wallet: I take my wallet everywhere
  • I always buy fresh food on the day of the hike so I make a pit stop at a grocery store to get the necessities like water, grapes, sandwiches because you really must have some food at the top, it is relaxing.
  • Sunglasses: I have a pair sponsored by ThisGuy Eyewear which are AMAZING and only go for R550 because they are on sale. If you want to buy, you can get an additional discount by applying this code: SHADY_KARABOM and get 15% off.
  • Friends: hikes are better done in a group of two or more, that way you get to have conversations and gossip about everyone lol.

 

What to expect:

Hiking for me is like church so I treat it with so much respect. It feels good meeting people along the way who also enjoy it and share stories about all their travel escapades and who they have met and all. The only problem I have is the humans who run up and down the mountain as if they are running from something because one mistake, one can fall and take you down with them.

There are also people who bring their kids on their backs which is really cute, you have to start them young! and if you are scared of dogs, just know that sometimes there can be dogs up and down there so be mindful and don’t be scared, usually the owners are nice and the dogs are friendly.

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Lastly, here is a video of my recent hike. Enjoy it and share your hiking stories or hiking dreams and you never know…

Travel

5 Ways to cope with travel anxiety

Planes booked. Hotels booked. Sightseeing list prepared. Cash passport read! Everything is ready and you just cannot shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen? I get that feeling too almost every time I have long trips. Sometimes you even find yourself creating Final Destinations scenes on the many things that could go wrong and eventually leading to your death. I do that too!

During most of my travels I was fortunate enough to have my partner help with a lot of my travel anxiety such as checking delays, tracking where I am to make sure I don’t miss my connecting flights, local transport and all. I do however think that if you will be traveling alone, it can be so stressful to even get on that ride to the airport especially when you think you are carrying something that might be confiscated at customs like wine bottles (which it usually is not a problem).

If you are planning a trip soon anywhere within the country- a girls’ getaway to a resort or a “baecation” or maybe you are brave enough for a solocation, here are a few things I have tried to keep me feeling calm and like I have everything under control:

  • Find your calm technique: I knew watching a lot of movies was gonna help me somehow one day. I learned my breathing technique from Ninja Assassin (which reminds me, I need to watch it again tonight), on breathing from the low point of your stomach. That way, you get to take deep breaths and it works for me whenever I am feeling like everything is getting too wild for me to control.
  • Know your pulse: Just like fitness, when I need to practice the first technique and I know I am way deep in within anxiety, I check my pulse and start doing my breathing exercise. Sometimes travel anxiety is not cause by a fear of flying, it is caused by being too excited because you are so overwhelmed that finally you are going somewhere and you don’t know what to expect but it is a good thing because you have been dying to leave.
  • Never panic: Panicking will NEVER solve any issue, it just escalates the situation from bad to worse. There have been a few time I nearly missed my flights and throughout, I tried with so much difficulty to stay calm and when I made it, I realised that if I panicked, everything would have just been a sh*t storm. Just don’t over think things.
  • Healthy eating: Always make sure that you are hydrated and not eating junk food that might even cause bloating. Temporarily stay away from the sweet stuff because they can be very bad for you.
  • Keep to your fitness routine: If you are a yogi, dedicate some of your time during your vacation doing anything and everything that has to do with fitness at least for 30 minutes a day- even if it is just walking. I made the mistake of not committing to any sort of fitness movements and it was a bad idea- not only did I become lazy, I lost track of time doing nothing and felt tired 80% of the time.

I hope that these 5 easy tips help with your anxiety or any type of stress you might be going through over your next trip. Everyone has their own techniques from categorizing the items they need or luxury to help with packing, meditation and other methods. We all function differently and what works for one person might not work for the other.

Please share your techniques and hopefully I might learn a thing or two.

Uncategorized

5 best affordable things to do on Valentine’s Day

I know I am not the only one who dreads Valentine’s Day and that is for many reasons which one of them is that it falls in the middle of the months and usually involves spending loads sh*t of money. Lucky for you, you don’t have to go around searching for things to do and asking you girlfriends or trying to find out what your girlfriend wants as a token of appreciation.

Lucky for me (lol) I get to spend V’Day alone, not by choice though but because I am in a long distance relationship plus I am moving house so we know we can’t be spending a lot when we have a mission at hand. This however does not mean I cannot share a few fun things you can do alone or with loved ones on this very “special” day. Here are the best top 5 things I recommend you do on 14 February:

  1. Visit any Botanical Gardens in your area for a picnic: I am not a fan of journeying to the park but by the time I sit down, I am already enthusiastic about the idea of just sitting and being unbothered about everything because it is always just so quiet. A picnic with someone you cherish should also feel the same. I remember
  2. Hiking: Anything for a day in the “wild” is what I would sign up for any day. Not only you get to hike with someone or people you love (maybe alone), when you get to the top, there is a feeling of fulfillment and it comes with any type of hike.
  3. Movie and beer at home with a projector: What do you need the tv for if you can just use a projector for some big screen action right in the comfort of your own house. All you need is a projector, a laptop and a clear wall and you have yourself a movie marathon.
  4. Host a game night: You are never too old to have a scavenger hunt or just a good old charades or 30 seconds. This is great because you will be having fun and at the same time learn about each other’s qualities. I know my boyfriend is competitive and a sore loser, myself on the other hand can win and lose without pressure.
  5. Cook together: A meal for two is the cheapest way to reminisce about how you met and the funny stories that were so bad then but all jokes now. Some couples even go for a cooking competition where they time themselves and they create a romantic meal from a cooking show and rate each other with a side of good wine.

There is clearly no excuse to not love Valentine’s Day. There is also no reason to hate it. I feel like people who hate Valentine’s Day are just sour that they are not as creative about self as they think they are. The fact that you bought yourself wine and sat alone does not mean you hate it, it just means you love your own company so when you go out there to the world, please try appreciating that you had the chance to celebrate it, don’t make others feel bad for having done something special for their loved ones. If you feel like you need to do something for yourself, how about writing a love letter to yourself or a spa day- there are so many deals online that will cost you so much less compared to a full on Mangwanani spa day.

Travel

!kwa ttu: A day in San culture.

The San, the first people in South Africa

The earliest hunter-gatherers in southern Africa were the San people. The San were also known as ‘Bushmen’, a term used by the European Colonists that is now considered derogatory. The San populated South Africa long before the arrival of the Bantu-speaking nations, and thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.

Source: South African History Online

It is always exciting to use a travel opportunity to learn about cultures and tribes in your country and this past weekend that is what I did. My friend and travel buddy Bee from Bee Du Jour invited me on a day tour at the !kwa ttu education center in the west coast. !kwa ttu famously written as Khwa ttu, is an organisation that offers education and training for San people to deal with tourism and hot to showcase San culture to the world.

At first I was a little reluctant to go because I thought the heat was going to make it very difficult to do anything and plus I have nothing that interests me there, little did I know that it was going to be so worth it! Bee picked me up at my place and we drove about an hour out of Cape Town to what seemed like “the middle of nowhere”. When we arrived, there’s a certain cool breeze that is blown from the beach onto the hot plain land and there it was, !kwa ttu.

What you will need:

  • You are only required to pay a fee of R50 and little bit extra which can be found on their site for all the extra special tours.
  • A hat if it is hot like the day we went, the sun was at 30d/c, plus some sunscreen. They offer you water.
  • A camera because you will learn a lot and you definitely want to capture the moment to probably show your kids one day about the cultures of South Africa.
  • Comfortable shoes and clothing. In this case, shorts and a t-shit plus sunglasses will do. Luckily, ThisGuysZA gifted me with a pair.
  • An open mind and excitement to learn.

What I learned:

  • There is a difference between the San and the Khoi. The San are hunter-gatherers while the Khoi are more like farmers.
  • When a girl comes out of age (start her period), she is taken to a hut to stay with the elder women and for seven days, they will be teaching her how to be a woman. She then returns to her people and she will find a hut already made for her by her father.
  • Courting is something interesting: a boy will have a “love bow” which when he finds a girl he likes, he will follow her and her friends to a river or field and he will hide and try to shoot the bow on the bum of a girl he likes. She will then pick up the bow and ask him if it is his. He will then try to apologise and if she gives back the bow, she is not interested, but if she keeps it close to her heart then it is all systems go and their parents will start planning for their wedding.
  • A San village has huts facing the middle where there must be a bonfire all day everyday all year round. The reason for this is to keep them warm during the winter and to ward wild animals off especially lions because they hate the smell of fire. The huts are placed that way so they can be able to spot danger from all corners, it is a community effort.

We ended the day with a drive to Yzerfontein beach. Please watch video below and enjoy:

Beauty and Travel

Eye Candy Brows

When traveling, you always try to spend less time on grooming because you want to focus more on site seeing and enjoying time with friends and family . Lucky for me, being a Eyecandy Brows Ambassador means I get all kind of treatments to prepare me for my travels so I get to enjoy myself and not worry about how I look.

Eyecandy Brows is the biggest specialist of Eyebrow Threading in South Africa. They can be found in the following Cape Town and Johannesburg centres:  Lifestyle Centre on Kloof (CT), Tygervalley Center (CT), Carlton Hair Cavendish Square (CT), and Sandton City Mall (JHB).

Eyebrow threading and tinting:

This treatment offered by Eyecandy Brows is affordable and quick. Both the treatments cost R190 and take about 45 minutes max to get done. I had a bit of an uncomfortable feeling with the threading because its remove the brows from the root which is great because eventually, your brows stop growing (the unwanted ones that is).

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Lash lift:

The lash lift is a new thing to me because I naturally have long lashes and I think faux ones are heavy. I do however love how Agnes (Eyecandy Brows Specialist) applied mine because she applied them between the real ones to create an illusion to make them look real. Each one is applied to fit the natural size of your lashes and they come in different shapes and sizes. It took about 2 hours to get mine done and they stay on for two weeks and that is long enough to go with. The price of the lash lift is R550 and is totally worth it!

Eyecandy brows offers a range of services and treatments, but remember to always make an appointment. Even though they do take walk-ins, its best to know you will get your treatment done without having to wait in line.

Eyebrow Do’s and Don’ts from Eyecandy Brows:

  • Don’t use a razors to shape your brows because they cause skin irritation and then ingrown hairs which are very painful.
  • You will not get all the unwanted hairs out.
  • Always go for threading or plucking as it removes hairs from the root.
  • Plucking is more painful than threading.
  • You definitely will have some skin irritation after threading but that is just from removing the hairs.
  • Always follow-up with your treatments.
  • Be open with your consultant about how you want your brows done or ask them for advice on what they use so you avoid any allergens like myself, I can’t use coconut oil as an “after threading” oil.

Have you done your brows before? threaded? and how did it feel? Would you do it again or do you want to try it? Please let me know your thoughts on this in the comment section.

If you have visited any Eyecandy Brows bar, how did they treat you and what did you get done?

visit them online or contact them:

Email: info@eyecandybrows.co.za

Tell: +27 72 452 0264

IG: eyecandy_brows_sa

Facebook: Love Eyecandy