Monday, 30 January 2012

My ♥ stopped in our office

We are in the process of doing up our study at home. We moved into our home a good while ago, and I had all good intentions of decorating each room within the first couple of months. It didn't go as planned. Our study is the only room in the house that is empty and unloved. I think it's because I've been waiting to find the 'perfect' pieces for it, and have now realised that I need to go on a hunt in CT to find these things. I've made it my project now. I've found some office inspiration...

All pics courtesy of Pinterest (but of course). 

There's one thing I'm looking for in particular, a brass lamp. Something in the same family as these...

I think I might do a before and after series. We're having a desk custom-made, and still need to create a photo wall, plus have to decide whether to do a book shelf or floating shelves. So many decisions, so little cash flow ha ha. I put the lamp out to the panel on Twitter this morning and got some good store recommendations, one of which was Vamp, so I'll be heading to check it out soon. 

Feel free to leave me some store suggestions for anything office-like. I would appreciate the help.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

My ♥ stopped at Val de Vie

I have been dying to do a wedding post for a while now. I wrote about the planning so much last year and now I can finally show you pics from our special day. We tied the knot at Val de Vie Polo Estate, just outside Paarl, and we were lucky enough to get a scorcher of a day. We had rain on either side of the day, so naturally I was stressing, but in the end we had one of those days that reaches 30 degrees and not a drop of wind (in fact I was getting a bit of tan at the altar). 

Notice my father-in-law in the reflection!

My bridesmaids were so fantastic on the day, making sure every detail was perfect for me and just by being relaxed and enjoying the moment, they made me relax and enjoy the moment. The black bottle bubbly above may have helped ;) The dresses were made by Chica-Loca boutique, and I really think the girls looked stunning. I've told you before that I don't believe in making b-maids look ugly, I went all out to make sure they felt fab. They had buns in their hair, ranging from tight to messy (I let them choose) and I gave each girl a necklace and some pearl earrings to wear on the day. In the pic the dresses look slightly blue, they were actually gun-metal gray short numbers, very sexy.

The groomsmen looked so smart in their suits, wearing orchid boutonnieres. They had matching gun-metal gray ties. A really special group of guys who have walked a long road with Andrew.

Eric Uys was our photographer, brother to the esteemed Jean-Pierre Uys. He was fantastic and I was completely blown away by the pictures when I got them. The funny thing is, I didn't even notice him running around and capturing special moments, he seemed almost invisible. He really and truly does have a special style. Because he likes to shoot almost documentary style pics, you really get a lot of emotion from them, as opposed to the very 'posed' ones, which also have their place. He is remarkable, that's all I can say. 

The bunting used in the ballroom was hand-made, and yes a labour of love. But it added such a nice touch to the overall look and feel.

Our DJ was Warren Morse, better known as "Hey Mr DJ". He played a mix of old and new, because we had a mix of oldies and youngies at the wedding. 

My dress. The beautiful dress I only got to wear for one night. It had a sort of tutu-style going on and looked almost feathered. I decided not to be too precious about my dress, I decided to rather enjoy myself, too much! At one point, people stepped on pieces of it on the dance-floor and bits of tulle were scattered about. The sign of a night well enjoyed I like to think. It was made by Robyn Roberts, the queen of wedding dresses in my mind. I loved it, I love it still.

The food at Val de Vie is outstanding, made perfect by chef Dewald Hurter. When everyone arrived we served a Turkish Delight lemonade as a welcome drink (5pm) and then moved on to Pimms and lemonade. Canapes were served while we had photos taken, and included sashimi, satay chicken skewers and chilli poppers (my husband insisted on the chilli poppers). For mains we had Fillet Medallions with a Herb Crusted Potato Rösti, Asparagus and Red Wine Jus & Crumbed Chicken Breast with a Parma Ham and Emmenthaler Filling, Mushroom Risotto and Artichoke Sauce. Our vegetarian dish was butternut ravioli. We had salads and breads and the most divine Panna Cotta for dessert. After dessert we had macaroons, made specially for me in the wedding colours, accompanied by a simple 3-tier wedding cake with orchids cascading down the side. All in all a very yummy affair!

The flowers used on the day were roses and orchids. My mom got married with orchids and so I decided to as well. I alternated the decor on the tables, to mix it up a bit. But each table had a glass underplate, a lightbox, and silver and white striped linen. As party gifts, I gave the girls butterfly fridge magnets and the boys got lottery tickets (which tied in nicely with the venue). I used butterflies with names on them, perched on wine glasses, to show everyone where to sit. 

My hair was done by Liz Kaplan and my make-up by Algria Ferreira.  They really made my day special, and I thoroughly enjoyed having them around for a couple of hours before the ceremony. I went very plain and simple for the wedding because I am like that. I didn't want to go too over the top with hair and make-up, because it just isn't 'me'.

Andrew (my husband) was so composed the day of the wedding. I wondered if maybe he'd been popping some Rescue remedy because he was super calm. He wore a Hugo Boss suit, with a light gray tie and an orchid boutonniere. He was the best looking groom I've ever seen. 

It was truly magical, and I wish I could relive it again. We both enjoyed being surrounded by 130 of our favourite people, or as Andrew says our 'Golden Circle'. Magical. 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

My ♥ stopped at Goedgedacht

2012 is the year of making healthy choices (this is what I've decided anyway). And one undeniable way of doing this is choosing foods that benefit you in some way, like olives. Rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, olives prevent heart disease and maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and let's be honest they're just yum.

Goedgedacht top quality, extra virgin olive oil should definitely be on your shopping list, if it isn't already. They have a range of goodies (found in major Pick n Pay stores) which include olives and delicious dressings, tried and tested by moi. The best part is, you are supporting a community based programme, aimed at strengthening people and helping them out of poverty.  

The Goedgedacht Trust is concerned with issues of poverty as it effects the lives of the rural poor. It is particularly interested in the needs and aspirations of new farmers and farm workers from previously disadvantaged communities.
The Goedgedacht Trust should also have an abiding interest in climate change and the future of our world, for without it there would be no future for our children.

Visit their website (here) if you want to check out all the other good stuff they're up to. 

So next time you've got the hostess-block (happens to me a lot) and need that extra something to dazzle your guests, try one of their dressings. Here's a recipe to inspire you.

Thai Beef with Blueberry Dressing

1 kg beef fillet or rump
Goedgedacht blueberry vinegar dressing
Extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions
1 red pepper
Tom yum Goong
Cabbage marinated in the blueberry dressing
Julienned carrots
Coconut cream /milk
Jasmine rice
Rice paper
Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
Sweet plum sauce
Goedgedacht Blueberry Dressing
Ponzu sauce
Soy sauce
Chillies (optional)
Cut the fat off the beef and give to cats. Cut up and marinade strips of beef fillet and rump in vinegar for 8 hours.
Galangal (Thai spice in powder or root form – we used both. Soaked the root in boiling water all afternoon and used 1 cup of the flavoured water in the mix).
Flash fry in hot oil. Add red onions, red peppers, carrots, galangal, 1 sachet of Tom Yum Goong and cook for a few minutes.  Vegetables should stay firm/crisp.  Add tin of coconut cream or milk. Wrap in rice paper.
Mix the sweet plum sauce, Goedgedacht blueberry vinegar dressing, ponzu sauce and soy sauce in equal parts for dipping sauce for the rice paper parcels.
Serve with Jasmine rice.
Serves 6.
For added heat, put some chillies in vinegar and  put on top.
Could also include broccoli, or chopped green beans.
Will work for chicken or prawns as well. For a sweeter flavour for chicken, add a can of drained mielies.
Order your Goedegedacht oils (here). 
Happy cooking everyone! 

Friday, 13 January 2012

My ♥ stopped at yuppiechef

I'm making it my duty to tell you all about my online shopping experiences this year, mainly because it's fairly new to me. As you know I got married last year (wedding post to come) and received an 'early wedding gift' from yuppiechef. I thought this was a great marketing idea and literally couldn't get to a computer fast enough to try it out. What yuppiechef didn't know was that I am a kitchen tools addict, with more plastic cutting boards and multicolored pasta strainers than guests. I go completely weak at the knees for Joseph Joseph anything and I can't get enough of Le Creuset. Obviously these things don't come cheap so really it's a luxury purchase for me. Anyway I digress. So I logged on to and decided to get us a Scanpan 3 stage blade sharpener with the R250 voucher. We have many knives waiting for revival in our house.

Love the copy on this! Very cute...

I cannot stress enough how intuitive the yuppiechef site is, it's so user-friendly and I love that you can shop by price, because when you're on a budget there's nothing worse than scanning over everything you can't afford! The purchasing process was super easy, requiring me to type in my voucher number, fill in my delivery address et voila! 

I timed them, I did, I know it's wrong but I wanted to see how well this company delivers. And they delivered! Early! Less than 24 hours and a happy me was furiously opening a package in the office.

A handwritten note, what a fantastic touch. And not just a 'thanks from the team' rush job, but a full on, 'nice choice on your spanking new blade sharpener, we wish you many happy cooking moments, bye for now, Sam and the yuppiechef team.' 

If you love your kitchen like I do and you are constantly searching for creative kitchen tools, then get your Martha Stewart on and stop by yuppiechef (here), it's well worth it. Let me know your thoughts. 

Pancakes and syrup to all of you.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

My ♥ stopped at Birds Boutique

I love finding hidden culinary hot spots in Cape Town, and Birds Boutique on Bree is definitely one of them. I went there for a baby shower this week and was super impressed by the food! It's such an interesting space and from the moment you walk in you're noticing details like swan sugar bowls and bird houses on the walls. The wooden tables make the place feel relaxed and the open kitchen integrates it all nicely.

The menu has a mix of organic, home-baked goods that give you that "I want to order everything" dilemma. The best and the worst is that the ingredients are so more-ish. You simply can't help yourself and all new year's resolutions go out the window. I had the Parma Ham, Bree, Rocket & Walnut Pesto Classic Sandwich for R35 and I was shocked at how delicious it was! And to make it worse I had serious food envy when seeing what others had. It's a must-try for sure.

Visit them at 127 Bree Street
Contact: 021 426 2534

You can thank me later :)

(Swan pic from Aficionado/JamieWho)

My ♥ stopped at Hanky Panky.

Nothing makes me happier than fetching a parcel from the post office. There is something about handing in the slip, waiting in anticipation and finally opening it up at home to see what's inside. Good old-fashioned rush I say. I was lucky enough to experience this rush a couple of times this holiday and can't wait to tell you about some of the loveliness I received. The first of which was Hanky Panky underwear.

Loved by Blake Lively and Cameron Diaz, Hanky Panky thongs are just the ultimate in comfortable, stylish underwear. And they're celebrating their 25th Anniversary. I found the packaging fun and loved that I got an orange pair and a beige pair (different colours for different moods, you know the drill). The best part about Hanky Panky is that you literally feel like you aren't wearing underwear, and god knows, having the wrong underwear on can ruin your day. Hanky Panky is produced in New York, but never fear an online site is near! 

2012 is clearly the year for online shopping. And why not? The truth is sometimes you don't feel like sitting in traffic or dealing with the mania attached to some shopping malls. The Hanky Panky site (here) is user friendly and home to some beautiful underwear. 

"Hanky Panky has led the way for women’s lingerie and intimate apparel since its beginnings 25 years ago. The Hanky Panky underwear line has remained true to its flirty and fun roots by creating pieces that reflect that same spirit, such as the quintessential Hanky Panky thong. Hanky Panky continues to improve the quality, comfort and fit of their products as the company continues to grow."

Tried and tested, I can tell you this underwear is fab girls.


My ♥ stopped in Thailand.

I'm sorry. Sorry for being a TERRIBLE blogger and literally disappearing off the face of the earth for a month. The truth is, it's been a crazy time, there was a wedding, there was a honeymoon and there were many, many stories in between. But I'm back, and have started 2012 with a box of Smarties and post-holiday exhaustion, but am nevertheless ready for the year of the dragon!

The pic above was taken by me, not stolen off a Flight Centre website, I was actually there!!! Pinch myself. 
It was truly magical. So welcome back Heartstop readers, I promise not to be the phantom blogger in 2012.