I found a magnificent student town recently called Wimberley outside of San Antonio – what a fantastic place! It reminds me of Grahamstown in South Africa. (more…)
I went to an incredible nightclub the other night here in New York called “Hudson Terrace“. That’s 621 West 46th Street. As a South African, I’m so thankful to have friends here who have connections to get us in the club for free (put us on a guest list so we don’t wait in line; we just walk in or offer to buy drinks). For my South African readers, you know how expensive this is and all these costs really add up. So that being said, I’m thrilled I have wonderful people who get me into these places and have tables waiting stocked with ice buckets and alcohol in VIP sections. Since starting at the New York Film Academy I have really enjoyed my time in New York. The classes are highly intensive. NYFA has various campuses across the city; up to now my classes have been at “Pearl Studios” and I have classes this week at the SOHO campus in Union Square. I will write more about my course soon!
My dogs really make me smile. It’s one of the reasons I love coming back home. My Chocolate Labrador, Bella, gets up to all kinds of mischief when we go walking. She’s not like my Golden Retriever Joe Fox who is happy to just sit in the sea and never wants to leave! I cherish every moment I’m with them.
I like eating food at nice places with good service, a great wine list and a cosy atmosphere. I recently went to a restaurant here in Cape Town called “Simon’s”. It’s situated at a beautiful wine farm called “Groot Constantia” and during the day, the views of the vineyards are heavenly. My mom and I ordered a steak with cooked veggies and our friend ordered the duck. Together we shared a bottle of Merlot and it was the perfect evening. The food there is very good and I can highly recommend it! For dessert we had a cheeseboard. I must say, it’s my new all-time favourite. It got me thinking about some of the best places I’ve been for dinner here in Cape Town, South Africa. If you live here, here’s a list of places I would recommend (I also include some coffee places that offer light lunches because we all love a good coffee and it’s nice to try somewhere new):
1. The Brass Bell along the Main Road in Kalk Bay
2. Top of The Ritz Revolving Restaurant at The Ritz Hotel along the Main Road in Seapoint
3. Aubergine at 39 Barnet Street in Gardens
4. Duchess of Wisbeach at 3 Wisbeach Road in Seapoint
5. Carne at 70 Keerom Street in the City Centre
For light lunch and coffee
1. Jason Bakery at 185 Bree Street in the City Centre
2. Birds Cafe at 127 Church Street in the City Centre
3. Clarke’s at 133 Bree Street in the City Centre
4. Cafe Nood at The Quadrant Square, Wilderness Road in Claremont
5. O’ways Tea Cafe at 20 Dreyer Street in Claremont
One thing I really love to do is write. I’m an expressive person by nature with lots of thoughts and ideas that spill into my head at any given time. I realized recently that I have no vehicle through which to do justice to all that. So I took myself to exclusive books and got myself a gorgeous little moleskin book and some nice pens! With the new year having started I’ve decided to journal more. I encourage you to all keep a journal or diary of some kind to keep track and record things. Going to Spain, Portugal and New York this year should see me filling up quite a few pages! I believe in balancing your life – physical, social, mental and spiritual. Journalism is a great way to achieve that balance.
After journaling for about a week, I’ve realized a few things:
- I have a better idea of what 2012 was like.
- I have a better idea of what I want 2013 to look like.
- I take for granted how lucky and blessed I am.
- I much prefer old-fashioned pen and paper to the screen and keyboard!
Do you journal? What do you use it for – to spill your thoughts? To share your fears? Recap your day?
1. The night-time flea market The Mercado de San Miguel. This sounds like heaven to me! I love flea markets… we have many similar markets like this here in Cape Town. This one sounds pretty fantastic. I like that it’s festive and full of local flavours and foods. It offers high quality products, pastries, tapas, a wine bar, and a variety of foods with 33 vendors. There are steel tables for picnics within the venue in which it is housed called Plaza de San Miguel, closest to the east side of the Plaza Mayor. It operates Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays between 10am and midnight. And on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 10am and 2am.
2. The Palacio Real de Madrid which is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid. This sounds amazing and a tour of this would definitely be on my list! Apparently it opened in 1755 and is open now daily from 10am to 6pm. I absolutely love history and I think seeing this would be a treat!
3. Gran Vía is next. An ornate and upscale shopping street located in central Madrid, it’s also known as the “Spanish Broadway”. Known as one of the streets with the most nightlife in Europe, and the “street that never sleeps”, it’s definitely on my list!
4. The Temple of Dood. This is an ancient Egyptian temple that was rebuilt in Madrid! The temple was built originally 15 kilometres south of Aswan in southern Egypt very close to the first cataract of the Nile and to the great religious center dedicated to the goddess Isis, in Philae. In 1960, due to the construction of the Great Dam of Aswan and the consequent threat posed to several monuments and archeological sites, UNESCO made an international call to save this rich historical legacy. As a sign of gratitude for the help provided by Spain in saving the temples of Abu Simbel, the Egyptian state donated the temple of Debod to Spain in 1968. The temple was rebuilt in one of Madrid’s parks, the Parque del Oeste, near the Royal Palace of Madrid, and opened to the public in 1972.
5. The Plaza de Cibeles sounds amazing! Wow, this is a square with lots to offer. The fountain of Cibeles in the centre of the square is named after Cybele (or Ceres), the Roman goddess of fertility. It’s seen as one of Madrid’s most important symbols. Built between 1777 and 1782, the fountain depicts the goddess sitting on a chariot pulled by two lions. The fountain of Cibeles has been adopted by the football club Real Madrid, whose fans use the area to celebrate its triumphs in competitions. (I hope they win something while I’m there!) Also in the square is the Cibeles Palace (formerly named Communications Palace). The cathedral-like landmark was built in 1909 as the headquarters of the postal service. There is also the Bank of Spain and the General Staff Headquarters of the Spanish Army. Finally, opposite the Bank of Spain is the Palacio de Linares. The baroque palace was built in 1873 by a rich banker, José de Murga. It houses the Casa de América, a cultural center and art gallery focused mostly on Latin American arts. And guess what? The building is said to be haunted by the spirits of its first owner, who made his fortune in the New World!
This past week I attended a very fun event here in Cape Town, South Africa. It was held at the “Shimmy Beach Club” at the harbour. I loved the vibe of the evening. There were loads of people all gathered together to see who would win the coveted title of the Cosmopolitan Hottest Bartender of the Year (with prize money of R20 000)! Cosmopolitan magazine, in partnership with Collison’s White Gold Brandy, announced on 14 January this year the five guys and five girls who got the nod to compete for the title of “SA’s Hottest Bartender”. The 10 finalists for 2013 were featured in the February issue of Cosmo. Readers had the opportunity to scrutinize these movers and shakers of creative cocktails, and to vote for their favourite. The aim of the Cosmopolitan Hottest Bartender search every year is to find a bartender with the perfect combination of creativity and charisma, who has his or her craft honed to perfection.
The competition is not judged only on looks: each entrant has to submit an original cocktail recipe.
They will then be required to prepare their cocktails on the night of the big finale in Cape Town on 14 March, and the overall winner will walk away with the grand prize of R20 000.
The 10 finalists were:
- Dillon Nuss from Taco Zulu, Durban
- Le Riche Meyer from Carnival Court, Cape Town
- Nicole Adams form Boulevard, Durban
- Gabriella Trollip from Tiger Tiger, Cape Town
- Domenico De Lorenzo from Molecular Bars, Johannesburg
- Johnny Bezuidenhout from Café Caprice, Cape Town – WINNER
- Robyn Horwitz from Movida, Johannesburg
- Imaan Mac Quena from Jade Champagne Bar & Lounge, Cape Town
- Nancy Ellis from Hooters, Durban
- Donovan Prince from Café Caprice, Cape Town
I thought the girls were great contestants! They had a lot of spunk and could definitely hold their own next to the boys. But I have to say, the boys had that cheekiness that’s a huge crowd pleaser in something like this. Let’s put it this way……while the girls were smiling, doing a few dance moves from behind the counter and tamely stirring in the vodka, the boys were literally ripping their shirts off, jumping on the counter and flexing their tattoo-covered muscles while shaking that martini!
The winner was Johnny Bezuidenhout from Cape Town’s most popular beach bar Café Caprice and he was really deserving. MC Poppy Ntshongwana didn’t have a hard time handing over the cheque!
We shot Caprice’s Skybok Profile a few months ago and for the video, we got Johnny to prepare a Mojito for us on-camera – check out his talent for yourself by watching it HERE. A great performance was given by “iScream & The Chocolate Stix” after the show and I really enjoyed their performance. It’s nice to hear local bands singing good music. Check out their blog HERE. Thank you to everyone involved for bringing us an awesome event!
Here are a few tips I’d like to share with you about taking great photos for your Instagram:
+ Get Close up and personal
Whether you’re eating a salad, see a cute animal or want to capture a lovely moment with someone, getting close to the subject comes across really well. Enjoy an angle you wouldn’t have otherwise tried from up close and you will see your shot becomes so much more effective. Photograph that cup of coffee or your make-up spread across the vanity in a different way that you haven’t seen done before by getting close and trying a different angle. Once you add your filter it will look like something out of a magazine!
+ Stick to the square
Unfortunately, Instagram gives you a strict option of cropping when you upload your pictures. Sometimes a stunning vertical photograph you see before you wouldn’t work on Instagram. Remember that when shooting and just ‘stick to the square’ when composing your shot!
+ Tap to Focus
This is a wonderful little feature I only just realized myself. With all of these smartphones, you can tap on a subject within your frame which you specifically want to stand out in your shot. Say you are capturing a crop of daisies, but have one in particular that you want to stand out, tap it on the screen as you hold your phone up to take the picture. You’ll see it comes into focus and the others sort of fade to the background. This adds such a beautiful and interesting dimension to your shots, and I highly recommend it.
+ Be Aware of Light
Natural lighting is the best for Instagram. Rather stay away from using your flash. Move near a window if you must. If you want to specifically take a ‘mood’ shot by shooting in the dark, leave it at that and allow your peers to see what you are experiencing.
These are 3 things I would love to do this month in my down time:
- See an arty film. Now I love mainstream films with all their glitzy movie stars and action-packed storylines. They usually leave you with a satisfied and uplifting feel when you leave. You can just mindlessly watch and you’ll enjoy them so much without having to think too hard. But every now and then, I really believe it’s a treat to go and see something you would otherwise never see. Just to broaden your mind and make you think. Art movies are usually much longer than ‘normal’ films and they very often carry with them deep and profound messages. Often they are based on true stories. They don’t always have a happy ending (in fact they almost never do) and they are totally dedicated to depicting life in its rawest form. Here in Cape Town, we have a great Cinema Nouveau at the waterfront. We also have loads of DVD shops and a DVD Nouveau right near where I live. I don’t care if I hire it out or go watch it, my first goal for March is to go see something which I would otherwise never consider watching.
- Bake something! Even if it’s terrible. The last time I baked something was 2 years ago when I did a short cooking course at Silwood. I challenge myself to make a decent milk tart/scone/red velvet cupcake – I’ll figure it out!
- Look up interesting things to do in Lisbon. Since I’m going to Lisbon for a Rotary Convention in June, I figure it’s time I compile a really educational list of things to do while I’m there. I don’t want to wait until the last minute, I want to look up beautiful sights, foods, places and spaces I should make sure I see!
Working too hard has got me totally consumed these days. I’m neglecting the side of me that needs down-time … I’m hoping these can provide that for me. What about you? Do you have goals for March? Here are pictures of a course I recently did in cooking at Silwood School of Cookery.