earlier this year i was lucky enough to be invited to stay at the Babylonstoren Farm Hotel, and so Anton and i went to celebrate our anniversary in style. i’ve been there many times before and have enjoyed wandering through their unbelievable garden as well as eating lunch at Babel. but i’ve never dreamed of staying there, mostly because it would be a bit of splurge for us and it’s only 45 minutes away. does it count as a getaway if you live around the corner? turns out it does… at Babylonstoren.
hello! merry christmas! happy new year! just wanted to let you know that i am still here, and have not suddenly abandoned the blog without a word… we are currently on our summer holiday in Kei Mouth, a small town on the Wild Coast about 14 hours drive from Cape Town. once a year we get to truly break away from it all – no work, no internet, no television. besides Instagram because, well, i can’t help myself.
one of my favourite things about the holidays is that i read tons of books, something i only ever manage to do when there’s no internet to distract me (how sad is that?). i first blitzed through Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – a wonderful, poignant story that starts out as a mystery but ends up being about so much more. then i read The Silkworm by ‘Robert Gailbraith’ which i really enjoyed (i am naturally a fan of the Cormoran Strike novels, because i do so love JK and HP), and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty which was a quick, light holiday read and quite amusing in parts. i actually need a few more titles to read this week – any suggestions?
we have one more week of holiday before 2015 really kicks off. until then, we’re still in a holi-DAZE.
road tripping up to Kei
the landscape changes from the Cape’s dry summer brown to lush lush green as we near Kei…
Kei Mouth beach
the view from Anton’s family holiday house
flame lilies grow on the beach
yes we took the boat up! perfect for skiing on the Kei river.
i prefer sitting on the beach to skiing…
the view across the Kei River looking towards the old Transkei
New Year’s lantern
capturing a lighting storm. BOOM.
if you follow me on Instagram you may have caught some photos that i was sharing from my mom’s photography trip to Morocco. she first picked up a camera in her fifties and started taking photos with slide film, then eventually transitioned to digital. she now regularly goes on photography trips with her friends, most recently to Morocco – but she’s also been to Cuba, Bhutan, Turkey, Canada and all over Europe.
hopefully i can share her “official” photos with you soon. but for now here are the photos she sent me via whatsapp. they were quite a hit on IG! #moroccomamma even went on camel back into the desert.
for those who might be wondering, i do call my mom “Mamma” – it’s an Afrikaans name for mom.
shortly after i did my SS15 collections round-up the Valentino show debuted on the runway and i almost kicked myself because it was, naturally, amazing. but it was a good thing in a way because Valentino always deserves its own post. but how? i didn’t want to just cut and paste the images – that’s why fabulous resources like Syle.com and other fashion blogs exist. no, this called for a comparisons post. of course.
i sat and stared at the pieces: some so vastly from each other that i couldn’t pull a common thread in my mind, at least not related to any artist or movement i could conjure up. i thought about who would wear these dresses. in what fantasy situation would they exist in someone’s wardrobe. perhaps a dress for every occasion? for every excursion? for every… country?
“draw me like one of your French girls”. yes, these dresses would be suitable for women like Rose DeWitt Bukater who in their day would have leisurely travelled between countries and continents and have a special dress for every gangplank they might set foot on.
please note that this post is in no way affiliated with Valentino and is simply a fun fan tribute. all runway images courtesy of Style.com. all vintage posters available for purchase at Affiches Marci. please do not reproduce these collages in any print or commercial publication.
yesterday we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary and as a serious treat we spent a night at Clouds Estate outside Stellenbosch. we stayed here just after our wedding, so it was special for us to return, and of course just amazing to get to spend time at this exquisite location.
if you ever make a trip to this part of the world and you want to treat yo self then this is it. they also have self-catering units, and they are right next door to Delaire Graaff estate where you can go eat at Indochine and see Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl – the original.
summer truly arrived in Cape Town this weekend, as you can probably tell by these pictures.
a funny thing happened the other day. we wanted to get out of town for a last minute weekend getaway and i googled a few places – including Die Laaitjie in Robertson, and my own post from 2010 popped up. haha! luckily for us the main house was available, so finally 4 years after the fact i actually got to try out the place.
we have spent a lot of time in the valleys in and around Robertson (about 2 hours from Cape Town) on weekend aways, but i have to say that the location of Die Laaitjie is the most breathtaking of them all. the house is surrounded by a mountain range that actually made me say “bloody hell!” every time i witnessed the sunrise or sunset making its way across the valleys.
the pictures of the accommodation on the website are a bit misleading. the main house is nicely decorated, but it looks like it hasn’t been painted or touched up for a good few years. there is an air of a rambling farmhouse (Grey Gardens came up a few times) rather than the luxe accommodation which you might expect. something i personally have no problem with – but, if you’re the owners of Die Laaitjie and you’re reading this: a lick of paint won’t go unnoticed.
i was lucky enough to spend an evening at India House (so named for the bright blue old wooden door brought from Gujarat, India), a self-catering cottage in the Bastiaanskloof at the bottom of the Bainskloof Pass, less than 2 hours from Cape Town. the setting is so amazing that the beautiful decor and luxury finishes of the house itself are kind of just a bonus. not that anyone would complain about that swimming pool or lounging around on huge comfortable couches all day long. just beware of the baboons.
you can see more pics of the house and its lovely interior here. all photos by me.
Andrew Jacona spent a month in India in 2012, just exploring and pursuing his passion: photography. he took these photos with a Contax 645 camera using Kodak Portra 400 film. they are SO BEAUTIFUL that they actually make me psychically ache to visit India. Andrew lives in Sydney with his wife Paveena and their two kids. you can see more beautiful photos of Andrew’s family, and his travels, at his Flickr and portfolio website.
Nomad is a fashion label based in Porto, Portugal and Stockholm, Sweden – an interesting combo that you can see in their clothes. a bit of a Mediterranean feeling, combined with that pared down Swedish design sensibility. the SS14 collection, Road to Dambulla, was inspired by a journey through Sri Lanka by bus: easy to wear pieces that you can just throw in a bag and go.
Designed and produced in Portugal with a strong handmade approach, Nomad fully embraces the experimental process behind every collection. All our knits are hand-loomed in our studio and the rest of the pieces are made in a very small, family-owned local factory. Rather than focusing on trends and mass-production, we at Nomad choose a more conscious approach and are committed to being as sustainable as possible, both by using materials that are local and eco-friendly (many of them are dead-stock coming from small, local warehouses), and by manufacturing our pieces in the most fair and sustainable way we can find.
city guides are one of my favourite things to discover online (i even created my own one for Cape Town, and also a guide of sorts to places i like in NYC). i bookmark them all the time, even though i probably have no intention to travel to some of the places – it’s always handy to have in your virtual back pocket. one of the places i always wished i had a great insider’s guide to was Paris, i have been there 4 times but i always feel like DAMN there must be some cool shit that i don’t know about!
fret no more, Cereal Magazine (who i mentioned before over here) has launched an awesome series of online travel guides called Guided that i have been fortunate enough to preview. their first installment covers ten cities, and they are always updated – so if something closes or something new opens, Guided will tell you.
The digital city guides feature bespoke content and photography exploring ten cities, with ten more to follow. Taking in a concise edit of recommended hotels, restaurants, cafes, museums and beautiful, outdoor spaces and landmarks that are all hand selected, by the GUIDED curators. Hosted online, the definitive guides are updated regularly and accessible from both smart phones and tablets with a downloadable version to view use when you are offline.
you can currently preview their guide to London, and if you are also interested in NYC, Paris, Hong Kong, LA, Bath, Bristol, Austin, Charleston & Vancouver then you can subscribe for an annual fee of £20, which gives you full access to all of the travel guides. looking through all the cities has me wanting to visit places i never considered even travelling to (Vancouver looks especially amazing!) here are some of the places i’d like to see some day. just realised that most of them are restaurants because… i like to eat. all images courtesy of Guided.
The Ethicurean in Bristol
LA Country Museum of Art
Bestie in Vancouver
Steven Alan Home in NYC
Two Boroughs in Charleston
Margaret Howell in London
Septime in Paris
Spartan in Austin
Yardbird in Hong Kong
The Marlborough Tavern in Bath
thought i’d share some photos of our current holiday at Kei, Anton’s family’s holiday home where we got engaged this time last year. Kei Mouth is a small town on the banks of the Kei River, which used to be the border of the old Transkei. this area of the Eastern Cape, known as the Wild Coast, is the traditional home of the Xhosa people. it is beautiful, rugged, wild and tropical. yesterday we took the ferry across the river, drove up the hills past herds of Nguni and 4×4’d our way to The Gates at the Qolora river. it reminded me, once again, how much there is to see on our own doorstep. i think a perfect new year’s / life resolution would be to explore more of South Africa.
all photos shot on iPhone, edited with VSCO / Afterlight. more on my Instagram.
The Gates at the Qolora River
Tropical Heat at the old-school Seagulls Resort
ferry ride across the Kei River
sunsets at Kei
i LOVE staying in hotels. i don’t travel often, so i don’t have that jaded traveller attitude to hotels and flying as if it’s all old hat. it’s always new hat to me. even the most boring, average hotel – i’m basically like, “wait, i get to sleep in this foreign place, i don’t have to make my bed, AND someone else is making me breakfast tomorrow? sign me up.” of course when a hotel is actually nice that feeling is multiplied by a thousand, which is what i imagine it would be like to stay at the Hotel San José in Austin, Texas. i have never had any inclination to visit Texas, but now i do.
Built in 1936 as an “ultramodern” motor court, the property has been transformed into a 40 room urban bungalow-style hotel tucked behind stucco walls and set amidst lush garden courtyards. More than just a unique place to sleep, the Hotel San Jose serves as a gathering place and occasional hub of community activity for locals and visitors alike. Dogs are always welcome.
since i have shared a bit about the wedding i thought it would be nice to show some pics from our honeymoon. whenever people asked where we were going post-wedding, and we replied NYC, they were either really excited for us or genuinely confused about our choice of destination. i guess people associate honeymoon with tropical beaches or romantic cities like Paris – but we have always, always wanted to visit NYC (ever since we first got together) and we are far more into new visiting places that allow us to explore, see museums, eat great food, shop and just experience something other than what we have at home. we have beaches at home… and fantastic ones at that.
our trip unfolded like something out of a storybook. everything we did was awesome. staying in Williamsburg and taking the subway into Manhattan every day like some kind of a real New Yorker (and being totally blasé about it – just gonna take the subway), doing a cheesy but required and ultimately enjoyable boat ride in Central Park, seeing the Book of Mormon on Broadway (highly recommended!), running into someone i know from the internet at a random subway station on our first day, experiencing Sleep No More (what a trip), eating more pizza than i could handle (i can handle more pizza than you might think), indulging in very expensive lobster rolls as a treat, seeing more art than my eyeballs could deal with, falling in love with the Natural History Museum, spotting some celebrities (ok don’t look now but Hilary Swank is eating a burger right behind you), going to the top of the Empire State building at night, eating a feast at Brooklyn Crab, spotting a Banksy, seeing ARCADE FIRE at a secret show in Brooklyn after discovering a cryptic poster in Red Hook – that actually happened! for reals! it was just absolutely unbelievable and amazing. by the end of it we were walking fit and our bank accounts were drained.
i want to thank everyone who commented on this post (and emailed) with recommendations of places to visit in NYC. we tried to do everything on the list but it was just impossible, even with 2 weeks there. if anyone is planning a visit soon be sure to check those out. you can also visit my pinterest board for more.
i took all of these photos on my iPhone. had the best intentions to take actual nice photos with my camera, but after taking perhaps 5 shots i decided i didn’t want to view our holiday through a lens. and, because i know it will be asked, they were edited with either VSCO or Afterlight, depending on whether i was on my phone or iPad – VSCO doesn’t work so great on my iPhone anymore after the iOS7 update (of course!) so i often just used Afterlight, which is simpler but also great.
if you want to know where any of these were taken, just ask in the comments!