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.

Beauty and Travel, Travel

Travel period pain free with Livia South Africa.

You know when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired? That is how I have been feeling for the past 15 years!

One thing I know I hate is having to travel with the burden of a bloated and painful tummy. I remember my trip to Mauritius like it was yesterday because besides feeling fat, I felt awful the whole time. If only Livia was a thing then, I would have conquered period pains like a champ.

This month I had the opportunity to try out a new product by Livia South Africa which is a small device which works to reduce the amount and pressure that comes with period pains.

Livia stimulates the nerves, making it impossible for pain to pass. The method Livia uses has been proven effective in several clinical studies and I strongly recommend the use of the device to relieve PMS at any time. -Prof Bari Kaplan

 

 

HOW IT WORKS:

The technology behind Livia is based on the Gate Control Theory, which states that non-painful signals close the gate to painful signals – blocking the sensation of pain before it’s even felt. In other words, Livia sends stimulating pulses from the surface of the skin to the nerve strands, preventing pain signals from reaching the brain.

By just connecting the cable to the device and the other end of the gel pads to your problem area- either the lower back or lower abdomen, switching it on and concentrating the amount of pressure the electrolyte should reach for those pulses to ease pain. The device can last up to 5 years and the gel pads can be replaced after every three months if used accordingly.

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WHAT YOU BUY AND GET:

The product package is very simple and well protected so it is highly unlikely that you will receive a damaged product. The colours have been well thought of as they are those that ease the brains and playful. In the Livia South Africa package, you get:

  • A Livia device
  • A cover in any colour you like as shown in the pictures.
  • A case to store and travel easy
  • Three (3) months supply of gel pads.
  • USB cable to charge
  • A detachable cord for the device and gel pads

 

AFFORDABILITY:

I have received a lot of comments asking how much the product is and for only R1980, the entire package is yours. If you calculate, the product will only cost you R33 a month over 5 years and that is even CHEAPER than the pills we buy to get rid of the pain. If I had know about this, I would have put it on my shopping list a long time ago or asked someone to get it for me as a Christmas or birthday gift- yes you can do that! The best thing about this is that you can use it for 120 days and if it does not work, you can claim your money back and return the product (this is what I thought would happen with me because my period pains get so brutal, I still have mine and I don’t even have a thought of taking it back).

This product has received positive reviews from Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed and The Economic Times. This device can only be bought on Livia South Africa’s website and the gel pads on Amazon.

WHAT I AM EXCITED ABOUT:

If I could go back in time to the many times I have toured places like Paris and the Netherlands and my work trip to Mauritius to have Livia South Africa’s device with me, I would have better memories of my period. Now I can take my girl buddy with me everywhere I go and use it on the plane. It is very small and can fit into any purse which means, drinks are on me- or my girls when they decide to hijack me to an evening of fun, music and drinks!

 

 

What are your period pain remedies?

Would you give them up any day for Livia South Africa’s period pain device?

#MyLivia #LiviaSouthAfrica

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.

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:

Europe, Travel

Paris, France

A day in Paris, France:

If someone told the twenty-years old me that I would someday find myself in Paris, I would have laughed them to shame. This year however, I did find myself in France and my oh my, it is absolutely everything they say it is and more. Well kind of!

My partner and I are in a long-distance relationship and with that comes traveling to each other’s countries. This year instead of me going to see him, we planned to a cross country road trip to Paris. In my head, I always imaged Paris as this expensive and inaccessible city where you must spend thousands of Rands to make the trip work. Here is how you can spend a day in Paris and spend less and still get to visit ALL the sites:

Paris is designed in a way that all the tourist and historical sites are in a semi-circular way when using the metro. We stayed in a hotel 35 minutes outside of the city center called Hotel Tilde , a cozy hotel that is close to the best bakery ever! (side note: my life will never be same after those croissants. It’s unfortunate I don’t remember the name). The best thing about this hotel and Paris is that there are Metro stations EVERYWHERE!

Where to go:

paris tour map

As seen in the map above, we visited five sites which we visited smaller and “in-between detour” sites while heading to the rest. This can be done from 9 am to ensure you have all the time to enjoy each place you visit. We visited:

  • Sacre-Coeur: The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France.
  • Arc de Triomphe: Is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly named Place de l’Étoile — the étoile or “star” of the juncture formed by its twelve radiating avenues
  • Eiffel Tower: Is a wrought-iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower
  • Notre Dame de Paris: Meaning ‘Our lady of Paris’ is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture
  • Louvre which is the largest art museum in the world!
  • Champs-Elysees which is the longest avenue in France filled with restaurants and luxury shops.

There is so much to visit which we could not because of the service protests are currently happening.

Getting there:

As mentioned, there are Metros everywhere and it is so easy navigating the city with google maps. Google maps gives you detailed routes to all the places including which metros to take- either buses or “trains”. In Europe, the train we use on a daily is what they use for long distance travel and they call their daily trains “metros” and “trams”.

The best thing to do is buy a minimum of 20 metro tickets for € 14,90. You are given 1h40 minutes to use one ticket however you want between stations for all metros within the city- great right! I mean who has money for parking because it costs €15 a day out of the city, imagine how much it is within the city.

Things to look out for and more:

Paris is not really a clean city so don’t be shocked when you get there and get shook by the sites. It is not entirely dirty, but it is not as clean compared to the Netherlands or other European countries and the issue might be the huge number of tourists coming in and out of the city, so I am hoping there will be some sort waste management system going on around the country.

The city is insanely beautiful! The only mistake I made was wearing heels throughout the entire trip and I had a bad case of sore feet.

Eating out can be nice but Europeans love discounts so always ask around for restaurants that have specials and nice food. I always eat anything and everything on holiday because I do not have time to watch my weight or eat clean.

P.S: You can add more stops to your map as you go along. Also, something you do NOT want to miss, Paris by night is a sight for the gods especially the Eiffel Tower.

Here are some of Auguste Rodin’s work from Musee Rodin which is a must visit! 

Enjoy Paris if your next stop is there! I do however wished we went into the Louvre and Versailles.

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