Don Le Bon
  • face to face

    We all have our own routine when it comes to making nice with our face and hair. So, …

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  • gift books

    When  it comes to Christmas I'm all about making something or buying something that really is useful. Gone …

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  • sri lanka – part II

    This is the follow-up to Part I of my Sri Lankan adventure. PART II The mountain roads are riddled with …

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ag

By September 2, 2015 fashion

Hi. And no, this post isn’t titled after the kind of ‘Ag’ we all sigh out here in South Africa. It’s titled after the symbol for silver. And so, let me introduce ARJUNA.AG – a brand started by a South African born, New York living friend of mine, Mikaela Bradbury. The ethos of the brand is to create a ‘sacred space for the mind, body and planet‘. Sounds like something we need more of in the world, right? Currently I feel like I could do with the entire Silver + Bamboo collection in my wardrobe, not to mention the soon to hit the shelves ‘Milk’ collection. The line has recently been picked up by the likes of Matches.com. But, not only is this clothing made ethically and good for you to wear – it is really beautiful.

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Here is what they have to say in their mission statement:

‘Clothing has long served as a form of habitat and protection. From medieval armor to modern-day space suits, clothing augments the human form to meet the conditions of its changing environment.

The human species now faces a new era in its environmental evolution; radical changes have already occurred and taken effect. Some of the key changes are: the rise of environmental toxins (air, noise, light, electro), increased mobility and connectivity, the spread of germs and bacteria, and decreased habitats. 

Of particular concern is the rapid increase of digital and wireless technologies, which pose both real physical and psychological impacts on the human body.

Ultimately, our mission extends beyond the protection of the individual to include the protection of the planet, including the communities, habitats and natural resources upon which each life depends. To that end, we pursue sustainable practices at multiple levels of the company, including: sourcing cutting edge sustainable fabrics that reduce harm to the environment; manufacturing all garments locally with maximum respect for working conditions and relationships; and designing clothing that is long-lasting and versatile. ‘ 

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here to stay

By August 24, 2015 food, travel

It is time to embrace everything local. From eating to travelling. I want to encourage everyone to look at places closer to home for their annual getaway. Not only will it be a lot more economical (basically you can go with friends, and you can go way more often), but you will be supporting local guesthouses, b&b’s and farms through the slow winter months. Here’s the first place I would go – with more to follow soon!

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Paternoster and Tietiesbaai

Only and hour and a half from Cape Town and you are in this white-washed fishing village. Its packed full of the best places to eat and on some great unspoilt beaches. If there is only one place you eat at make it lunch at Oep ve Koep Bistro. Chef Kobus van der Merwe is a genius, and he needs an entire post dedicated to his art, so I won’t get into it now. But think foraged sea food. No, not seafood.  Go with a good appetite and an open mind. He will change the way you think about the ocean.

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Beach Camp

This is Cape Town’s offering of ‘glamping’. The Beach Camp in Titiesbaai nature reserve is a secluded little tented camp, close enough to Paternoster for those wanting to dine out on fine seafood cuisine, but also just far enough removed from it all to crack open a good bottle of wine, get the cards out and rustle up some braaibroodjies on the communal open fire pit, under the stars. Their website is really helpful with essentials to bring. But here is what to cook!

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Braaibroodtjies

– Get some delicious farm style bread and spread one side with farm butter and sprinkle with a bit of salt.

– For a traditional braaibroodjie; spread the other side with some good chutney, a couple slices of extra matured cheddar and some sliced onion.

– Alternatively add camembert, dried cranberries, thinly sliced garlic and flaked almonds. Or; wholegrain mustard, thick cut white cheddar and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

– Butter the outsides of the sandwich lightly.

– Place all sandwiches in a braai grid to hold them together, and to make turning them easier.

– Grill over the coals for 5-7min on each side, making sure they are properly toasted.

 

Coal Roasted Stuffed Butternut

– Cut open the butternut and scoop out the seeds.

– Spoon out some chèvre into a bowl and mix with fresh picked coriander, dill, mint and black sesame seeds.

– Fill the seed hole with the herbed goat cheese.

– Season, drizzle with olive or sesame oil and then cover each half with foil, leaving no part of the butternut exposed.

– Once you start braaing stick the butternut straight into the coals, making sure that they are getting heat from every direction, except on top.

– They will take about 20min – 35min depending on the size of the butternut and heat of the coals.

– Don’t be afraid of some charring, the skin of the butternut is a though little guy and will keep the flesh from burning as long as you don’t put coals on top of the cut side of the veg.

– You can always take the butternut out the coals and check on it if you aren’t sure that it is cooked completely and stick it back in there if it needs a little longer.

– Serve straight out the coals.

 

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(The awesome photos above were taken by the multi-talented Alice Toich)

 

 

 

 

the ancients

By August 3, 2015 beauty, food

Ever wondered what Cleopatra used to keep her skin looking oh-so good (she definitely had some good skin!)? I was wondering the same thing. So, I did a little research on what the woman in the bygone times used to keep their skin free of blemishes, redness and perfectly glowing. It seems that after a million and one chemical things we have tried in the modern era we are reverting back to the old tried and tested formulas that nature has to offer us:

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Pearls. Not only good for adorning swanning necklines but also, as you can imagine, it brings out a luminosity of the skin that helps smooth out uneven skin tone.

Where to get it: In a lucky oyster. Or…

How to use it: Use Chanel’s Le Blanc range.

 

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Frankincense. Yes, its one of the 3 gifts brought to the baby Jesus in the bible (to keep up his great complexion of course). This resin known for its antibacterial qualities, more valuable than gold in its hey day, also boosts collagen formation. Goodbye fine lines.

Where to get it: From a health store. Buy pure essential oils to make sure you are getting the purest form of the good stuff.

How to use it: Mix with a neutral oil, like jojoba or into your moisturiser. Alternatively, get your paws on some of the frankincense collection from Neal’s Yard.

 

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Saffron. These painstakingly, hand picked stamens are widely known for giving food some delicious fragrance and colour. Used as a rouge by some Indian and Moroccan women it adds a youthful glow, balances hormones and acts as a sunscreen.

Where to get it: At your local supermarket.

How to use it: Why not try Cleopatra’s bath of milk and saffron? But, if thats a little extravagant for your taste, you can always make this delicious soup from Sarah at My New Roots:

Split Pea Sunshine & Saffron Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 cup dried yellow split peas, soaked
a pinch of saffron (approx. 20 threads), soaked
knob of coconut oil or ghee
¼ tsp. cayenne (optional)
¼ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. paprika
5 bay leaves
pinch of sea salt

2 large leeks, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 small Hokkaido (or any winter squash/pumpkin), cubed
4 carrots (set aside two), chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1 lemon

Directions:
1. Pick over split peas to remove any stones or debris. Place them in a bowl and cover with water. If possible, let soak for up to 8 hours – if not, set them aside until you cook with them.
2. In a very small bowl or cup, place a pinch of saffron (approx. 20 threads) and cover with a couple tablespoons of hot water. Let steep for at least 10 minutes (set aside until you cook with it).
3. In a large stock pot heat the oil and add the spices and bay leaves, stirring frequently for a minute or so (watch carefully so they do not burn). Add leeks, garlic, pumpkin, and carrots. Stir to coat with spice mix. If the pot becomes dry, add a little water. Cook for 5-10 minutes until veggies begin to soften.
4. Drain and rinse split peas, add to the pot. Cover with stock, add saffron-water, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer.
*5. White the soup is simmering, cut out sun shapes with the carrots (this is totally optional, but fun. It also makes the soup very appealing for kids!). Pick out two very straight carrots. Wedge the entire length of your knife blade into the side of a carrot on a slight angle. Just beside that slice, wedge the knife blade in again at the opposite angle to meet the first cut (creating a very long triangular cut-out). Repeat all around the carrot, then slice thinly across the end of the carrot to make sun shapes. You will be able to get enough for the whole soup out of two carrots. Reserve a few for garnish. See photo for clarification.*
6. Once the peas are cooked through and soft, remove bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, blend on high until smooth (you can also use an upright blender). Thin with water if too thick. Add the juice of ½ lemon. Season to taste.
7. Add sun carrot shapes, simmer until softened (5 minutes). Serve immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a couple carrot suns and a wedge of lemon juice.

 

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Lemon. This humble, little, sour citrus contains alpha hydroxy acid which is found in most anti ageing treatments.

Where to get it: Almost everywhere. Try make it organic.

How to use it: Make a body/face scrub using lemon juice and sugar (do not eat!) which will get rid of dead skin cells and help your skin absorb moisturiser better on these dry winter days. Or, get the Rind Concentrate body balm from Aesop.

 

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Seaweed. Super rich in minerals, and prevalent in an unpolluted ocean near you. This slimy green stuff is really hydrating, packed full of vitamin B-12 and very alkalising.

Where to get it: Why not sign up for a foraging course to learn a little more about the gazillion types of kelp and seaweed that can be found, harvested and used to cook with? Look this up at Good Hope Gardens. Or get it dry at a well stocked health food store.

How to use it: Make a seaweed lasagne. (You heard right!) Take a regular lasagne recipe and just sub out the pasta sheets for sheets of kelp. You got yourself a major conversation starter at the dinner table.

 

 

the skinny

By May 13, 2015 food

Its been long. And there are numerous reasons why. Actual reasons – not ones that don’t count like: I didn’t know what to write about; or I was just so gloriously busy.

No, none of that. I just bought a restaurant. So, I mean I haven’t been busy at all… Wrong. What a journey it has been! If you have followed me for a while you should know how into food I am. So this was bound to be on the cards at some point. Where, when, how, you ask? Well here is the story.

Skinny Legs was born 3 and a half years ago to twin sisters Jesse and Jamie. They started the business with no previous experience in the food industry and created quite a little establishment with a super loyal following. I was one of those followers. The restaurant is 2 blocks from where I live and in the summer I would waft down there to devour a warmed goat’s cheese salad – just like the ones I had had in Paris. On one such occasion in November of last year, after I was seriously considering a move to LA to pursue a possible acting career, Jesse delivered my salad with a, ‘We’re selling, don’t you want to buy?!’ And yes, after some some quick but serious thought, I did in fact want to buy! LA went flying out the window and admin me went into overdrive. And there you have it. I bought and now run Skinny Legs Luxury Cafe with my mom. Check us out at 70 Loop Street, Cape Town.

For now here’s some tasty looking goods that we offer up – and you can stalk us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook: @skinnylegscafe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

pools

By January 14, 2015 lifestyle, travel

I came across this article on Twitter a weekend or so ago and thought, ‘Yes, pools are nice.’ Wouldn’t it be grand to make list of beautiful pools across the world and make it a mission to visit them all? There is even one of our country’s very own on the list. Tick.

1. Molitar Hotel – Paris, France

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2. St Regis – Lhasa, Tibet

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3. Katikies – Santorini, Greece

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4. Amangiri Resort – Utah, USA

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5. Hanging Gardens – Ubud, Indonesia

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6. Sixty LES Hotel – New York, USA

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7. Singita Sabi Sands – Limpopo, South Africa

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8. Hotel Caruso – Ravello, Italy

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9. Evason Ma’In Hot Springs – Jordan

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10. Giola Lagoon – Thassos, Greece

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11. Marina Bay Sands Hotel – Singapore

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12. I-Resort Tent Spa – Nha Trang, Vietnami-resort-tent-spa-swimming-pool-nha-trang-vietnam-conde-nast-traveller-17dec14-pr_1080x720

 

12. Blue Lagoon Geothermal Resort – Grindavik, Iceland

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I find that I like pools best when they aren’t crowded. And the temperature should be tepid. Not cold. Maybe I should look up the best baths out there… Here’s to pools!

 

 

zehra

By December 8, 2014 beauty

So maybe you have seen some mention of this brand in my previous blog posts. Here is a little more about it and how I got involved:

I have the awesome opportunity to be the brand ambassador for this skin care product. Basically put this non-evasive product is an edible collagen powder that you drink everyday. So, while you drink/eat it – in smoothies, or water, or even on your yoghurt – it works at hydrating your skin to the fullest and plumping up your collagen cells which ultimately reduce the visibility of fine lines.

They gave me a super zooty little mini to cruise around town in. Here I am within a stupid girl scout grin on my face.

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Packed with protein, from the collagen, as well as Co-Q10 and vitamin C this is an all round good thing. This is what they have to say:

Added antioxidants Vitamin C (needed for collagen formation) and Co-Enzyme Q10, make Zehra a unique skin-support women’s health supplement that helps prevent deep wrinkle formation, boosts moisture and smoothness, and keeps skin supple.

Research shows that supplementing daily with hydrolysed collagen stimulates collagen production, improves skin moisture levels, and re-densifies the dermis.

Ups:

– It’s completely non-evasive.

– It tastes like gummy berry juice.

– It is totally versatile, add it to pretty much anything edible or drinkable – especially good in beetroot and berry based juices. So basically you are working on hydrating your skin from within.

– It makes you feel fuller for longer… I’ll take that, thank you very much!

– It’s good for the men-folk too.

– It works – and it only takes 12 weeks to start seeing some major results.

 

Downs:

– Uhm… Can anyone find a down?

And that is that. To try it out, or if you want to know a little more about the science side of things, go here.

kraš

By November 25, 2014 art, photography

Ana Kraš is a Serb. I have a thing for the ‘Eastern Blocers’ – they seem to find me across all parts of the world. Or I find them? I have a handful of them as best friends. One thing I know is that I would like to be one of Ana’s best friends. She is one very talented woman. Anything that flows from the hands of this beauty is gold. A photographer, furniture maker, model and artist – with a killer sense of style – she is something to be reckoned with. Just see.

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all images from ana kraš website. 

gift books

By November 24, 2014 books

When  it comes to Christmas I’m all about making something or buying something that really is useful. Gone are the days when you should buy a Lush fizz ball for someone just because you don’t have a present for them. Rather bake them cookies. Or get them a book that teaches them how to bake their own cookies. Here’s a great selection of books for almost anyone in your life – and conveniently they are all available in one place – astoreisgood. Find it at Shop 3, Mooikloof Centre, Kloof Street, Cape Town.

 

For the man in your life: 

Because if cowboys can do it then so can any man that you know. The Manly Art of Knitting by Dave Fougner separates the boys from the men – only men can ride a horse and knit at the same time.

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For your artsy sister: 

The ultimate way to learn about key artists from all movements and generations The Art Game by James Cahill and Mikkel Sommer is a set of artist trump cards for a slightly more elevated audience.

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To amuse your uncle: 

Big Appetites: Tiny People in a World of Big Food by Christopher Boffoli is food done different. Think linguini carwashes and spilt milk lakes.

 

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For any little one in your close proximity:

As far as alphabet books go Alphabetics by Patrick and Traci Concepcion is most definitely the coolest one out there.

 

 

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For your sarky cousin: 

It’s a Punderful Life by Gemma Correll is full of my favourite form of humour – puns.

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For any design loving family member (that includes yourself): 

You basically want everything thats on each one of these pages – Commune: Design in California by Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, and Pamela and Ramin Shamshiri is just the best.

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For your teenage brother: 

The Vegan Stoner Cookbook by Sarah Conrique and Graham I Haynes, is genius. Not just any recipes – but vegan recipes – are made simple by the cool illustrations of stoner fruit and veg just chilling out.

 

 

 

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For your mid-century loving dad: 

This is the ultimate post-modern furniture collection, Eames: Beautiful Details by Eames Demetrios. Plus if you get this for your dad then you can always ‘borrow’ it.

 

EAMES_beautiful_details1For your mom the cook: 

Sunday Suppers by Karen Mordechai is not only filled with recipes that will help your mom cook up a storm for Christmas lunch, but the images are amazing too.

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adornment

By November 19, 2014 fashion

Christmas is fast approaching, much to my denial that it is almost the end of another year already! So, I decided to hide away in the lushness of some gold jewels for a couple hours and put together a perfect selection for my jewellery box. Now if only I could find a way to hint to some people about what I want for Christmas…

 

EARINGS

 

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NECKLACES

 

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RINGS

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Find all your jewel delights over at these fantastic places:

CatBird

Dear Rae

Julie Nolan

Kirsten Goss

Mociun

Pamela Love

Polly Wales

Satomi Kawakita

Wwake

 

all images from respective sites. 

 

 

 

sri lanka – part II

By November 6, 2014 travel


This is the follow-up to Part I of my Sri Lankan adventure.

PART II

The mountain roads are riddled with pot-holes and extremely exhilarating, if you find putting your life on the line exciting. The roads are filled with busses, cars, overflowing tuk tuks, children, and old men on bicycles, mopeds, dogs and trucks that take up the entire width of the road. We wind our way through increasingly smaller villages. At each fork in the road Ganesh and Buddha, and sometimes-even Mary, are there to guide you along your journey. You choose who you would like to watch over you. Our driver is clearly Buddhist and at every fork removes his hands from the wheel to bow to Buddha, while driving at break-neck speed. The country in general is much cleaner than I expected. Jasmine wafts through the air. Everywhere we go people are dressed in white and it gives off an air of grace and regalness.

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We arrive at Ulpotha 3 hours later and are welcomed by Padma, Nirosha and Athi. Our bags are taken off us and we are whisked through palm tree walk-ways to lunch. Copper and wooden dishes are laid out on a large reed mat at the centre of a square open air room. People are seated in clusters on the raised sides that act as benches and the walls to the room. We pick up a heavy clay plate each and fill it with jackfruit curry, red rice, cucumber and tomato salad, chana dahl and green aubergine curry. For dessert we have our first try at what becomes a firm favourite – buffalo milk curd served with kittul, a type of palm treacle. All the food at Ulpotha is organic and grown predominantly on the land where we will be staying for the next 2 weeks. And it’s delicious!

After lunch we head off on a tour around the village with Padma as our guide. We serpentine our way on little paths, old elephant tracks, past a vast, but almost empty lake, the yoga shala, sleeping huts, tree houses, lake houses, the kitchen and the bicycle shed. We end our tour at our hut – also open air – with only bamboo shutter blinds that shelter us from the monkeys in the morning and the wind at night. Our separate mattresses are placed closed together each with their own mosquito net. We unpack our clothes into 2 baskets provided in a lock-up mud cupboard, not to prevent stealing from any human hands, the monkeys here like to claim the place their own. We are then off to our first yoga class.

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The shala is packed. A tall, soft-spoken, tattooed Belgian named Giel introduces himself to us all and then proceeds to lead us through the Ashtanga primary series. My heart sinks with every posture. I was expecting Vinyasa. By the end of class I am so frustrated that a huge homesickness is stirred up in me. I start to question what exactly it is that I am doing here – in the middle of nowhere!? Who are these strange people around me and why did I choose to come here of all places. My love/hate for Ashtanga yoga runs deep. But, by dinner time I have relaxed a little into things and once fed on an array of vegetables and tucked safely under my mosquito net I can read a couple of familiar pages of my book by oil lamp. There is no electricity here. The darkness brings new noises and each one is amplified by the fear of the unknown.

Sleep is good albeit a bit short. We are up for yoga at 7.30 and I work through another Ashtanga class with more composure. We then head for a shower in our communal lavatory space – the shower area consists of a spiralled wall of dried palm leaves and a petrified tree with a shower-head (read pipe) coming out the top of it and there is only one temperature: cold. Monkeys spring around in the bamboo and palm trees, knocking down coconuts that fall sometimes a little too close for comfort.

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Breakfast is a small selection of goods: mini bananas that you pull straight off a large bunch cut fresh from the tree; rolled pancakes stuffed with palm sugar; papaya boats with wedges of lime; herby rice porridge; buffalo curd; and fresh coconuts for days! Raja spends all morning prepping the breakfast area for us and then chops away at the orange-yellow king coconuts to pour the rehydrating water into glasses for our thirsty mouths. After breakfast I’m booked in to have my first massage with Padma, who is a small Indian woman with a wicked sense of humour and a motherly love for everyone that surrounds her. When I arrive at her hut she explains that she is going to do a typical Ayurvedic massage technique where she will massage my whole body with specific oil using her feet. OK. She asks me to remove all my clothes wraps me in a sarong and sits me on a stool for a head massage. After that I find myself starkers, lying on a mat on the floor with an oil being poured over me and this wonderful little woman, who is holding herself up via a rope hanging from the ceiling, standing not over, but on me. If there was one way for me to get settled in properly this was it.

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