When you’ve had a blog a relatively long time you’re on a pretty hefty mailing list. Over the years I’ve met and engaged with hundreds of brands and PR agencies; some make their press releases and opportunities personal, others just don’t bother. Sadly most of the mails I get are unsolicited and completely irrelevant to me and my audience, so I delete them and go on my merry way. But every now and then a really great e-mail lands in my inbox, like a recent one from Nine West.
I couldn’t help but laugh when I realised the angle I was being propositioned to explore for their cheeky new Autumn/Winter brand campaign aimed at the modern woman and the situations she finds herself in: Starter Husband Hunting. Thanks Nine West, I see you’ve been paying attention. At first I thought “cripes no, I couldn’t dare discuss this very real and personal thing with the world”. And then I thought the opposite. Why not share my thoughts and experiences on a subject that’s raw and relevant to so many women?
So I found myself in Johannesburg and single in 2015. Fuck. I mean, I’m 31 and I have a cat. Isn’t that supposed to be man repellant? I embraced the suck and turned to wine, okay wine/gin/tequila/vodka and maybe even Strawberry Lips one night. Please don’t judge me, I didn’t order it. Fortunately my incredible friends who supported me through the early weeks of the break-up were equally as thirsty.
After a month with my surrogate family I moved back into my wonderful old flat in Illovo. Thank-you universe for small mercies like my tenant having a short-term lease, and me actually owning property in Johannesburg! Finally I had my independence back, my sanctuary, my stuff and my normal. Well, as normal as things could be under these circumstances. I also decided to say yes to [almost] everything. New people, new experiences, new ideas, new hobbies, new technology.
I mean, the proverbial new-age husband hunting-ground, right? I’ll admit, I went to dinner with some friends and we thought it would be funny. So I created a profile and started left-swiping. And then a total stranger on twitter noticed me, tweeted about it and it scared the crap out of me. I felt exposed and caught out, embarrassed even. Profile deleted less than 24 hours later.
That’s one of the options it gives you when you match with someone. You can only chat to someone on Tinder if you’ve both right-swiped each other, which means you both ‘like’ each other and you match. Keep playing? It may as well say Play On, Playette, in the immortal words of Blackstreet. And that’s the thing; like archery, so too is Tinder a game. And a stupidly addictive one at that. Because you see, whilst you know it’s completely ridiculous and teeming with creeps, CrossFit ambassadors, guys who obviously can’t afford sleeves and don’t know how to spell, there’s this little voice that goes “But what if your future husband is just one swipe away?” when you want to stop ‘playing’.
Needless to say I’m back on Tinder, still telling myself that there have got to be some nice guys in the mix, surely?
The real world.
Equal parts fun and terrifying. Fun because there is so much to be had when you open yourself up to it, and I’m having so much of it. Terrifying because how the hell does one hunt a husband? And even more terrifying than that is the notion that I fall into a category of women affectionately known as Husband Hunters.
I feel like I need to interject here with a disclaimer: I’m using husband hunting to replace the word dating. There. Not as vicious and leopard-print clad anymore, is it? Good.
Last night I went to the Sir James Van Der Merwe Bar in Kramerville with some of my girlfriends. Now you see, 98% of the people who go to SJVDM Bar on a Wednesday go there straight from work, in their work clothes, for a few drinks, a prego roll and a dance (not always in that order). So you see when you’re really hunting, you stand out like a sore thumb, as did two women with shocks of black hair and shockingly short skirts. Ugh and they had their baps out too. Choose one, ladies, never both. In this instance I prefer to label these types as Range Rover Hunters, gentlemen beware.
I haven’t started dating yet, but I am excited about it. I’m also glad I’m in Johannesburg to do it, where the ratio works in our favour and the men [generally] are well mannered and old-fashioned, in a good way. I don’t know what my tack will be, or how I’m going to approach this exciting/terrifying new world of singledom, but what I do know is I’m going to be exploring it in heels, mostly.
The awesome folks at Casalotti’s Pizza Rapido in Johannesburg invited me and a couple of other bloggers to create our dream pizzas. Good news is mine is available for the month of March, and it’s also the most awesome. Because artichokes, salami, avocado, olives and chilli. You’re welcome. All you need to do is order the All You Knead is Love when you call to place your order. Here for their amazing menu and contact details.
If you’re a geek like me you’re pretty excited about the upcoming IAB Digital Summit and Bookmarks taking place at Turbine Hall in Johannesburg next Thursday February 19th. I’m giving away 2 separate tickets valued at R4500 each, and headline speakers for the summit include:
- David Sable, global CEO of Y&R in New York
- Matthew Bull of Bull-White House
- Dmitry Shishkin, BBC Digital development editor
- Zeinab Badawi, presenter on BBC World News
- David Doty, executive vice-president of IAB US
- Ali Jafari, vice-president of direct sales for Twitter, Europe
- Gregor Waller, global digital strategist, Germany
- Eyabo Macauley, head of EMEA advertising, Shazam
- One hour think-tank sessions hosted by IAB members
The IAB Digital Summit in association with BBC.com will bring together leading industry professionals, decision-makers and thought leaders under one roof to exchange and share their experiences about all aspects of digital marketing. It will also provide a multidisciplinary forum to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, strategies, challenges and solutions in the field of digital media and marketing.
Right. So here’s how you can get your paws on those two tickets I’m giving away:
1. Leave a comment on this blog post. Easy.
2. Re-tweet my IAB Digital Summit giveaway tweet. Even easier.
Competition closes at noon on Monday February 16th, and I will announce my two winners that afternoon. Note, the summit is an all-day event and you will need to be available from 8am. Please don’t enter if you can’t go, because then you’re being a douche-bag.
My friend Jess introduced me to Vogue’s 73 Questions and I’m hooked. 8 celebrities, 73 questions, 1 take. I love this use of video because it still feels a little bit raw and unpolished. I also love that the questions are unusual and that you get a glimpse into the homes and lives of the celebrities we think we know. Here’s 73 things you never knew about Sarah Jessica Parker:
To watch the rest of the season, click here.
A few months ago I decided to send more flowers. There really is nothing better than getting flowers; it makes a gal feel so special and cherished. Lately I’ve found myself trawling through pages of scary 80s bouquets in a sorry attempt to find something modern, something magical. I leave most web browsing sessions feeling deflated and uninspired. That, or I end up defaulting to an orchid or bunch of plain white roses because there’s really nothing more interesting available.
I think our web florists need a kick in the panties. With all that’s at our disposal in terms of visual inspiration, there’s no need to keep perpetuating naff bunches of flowers better suited for funerals than friends. Vases don’t need to be over the top and expensive; use jars. And please, please add simple green plants like delicious monsters to the mix. I’d be happy for a guy to send me a monster and tell me he thinks I’m delicious. And what about craspedia, those awesome little yellow flowers that look like balls on sticks, sometimes called Billy Balls?
I stumbled upon an Instagram account called Dear Whimsy a while back and I just adore Tammie Markham’s flower-arranging style. She does the weekly arrangements for the Rifle Paper Company in Florida, swoon! Her arrangements aren’t over-the-top or technical. They’re, as her social media alias suggests, full of whimsy and magic. I really think our online florists could take a leaf. See what I did there?
All photos courtesy of Tammie Markham via Dear Whimsy.
If you’re aware of any fabulous online flower sellers doing things a little differently, please do leave me a comment and let me know.
Happy New Year, lovely readers. I’m planning on spending a lot of 2015 in my future office. I’m working on some exciting new projects and I’ve decided they need a nifty little nest to incubate from. Needless to say I’ve spent a lot of time on Pinterest designing the space and getting inspired. Some goals this year include learning Photoshop, doing a photography course, doing pottery again and if time allows, going for art classes. Bri Emery and her phenomenal Design Love Fest blog have inspired me to feed my urge to be more creative this year and I think the HP Sprout is a great tool to help get those juices flowing. I mean, this video just makes me want to make mood boards for days.
Check out Bri’s review of the HP Sprout below. Dang I’d do anything to get my paws on one of these bad-boys…
Summer is upon us and so are her festivities. If you’re in need of a beautiful dress for the Christmas parties, weddings and gatherings that the next few months hold in store, the Mungo & Jemima dress collection is ideal. I recently bought a beautiful floaty lace dress from Blackeyed Susan via their online shop and I’m impressed with the service, quality and fit. The lovely folks at Mungo & Jemima have offered one lucky brandslut reader the summer frock of her choice, as well as a nifty R500 voucher. Here’s what you need to do to get your paws on that prize…
How to win:
- Hop onto Mungo & Jemima, peruse their dresses and pick your favourite
- Then let me know which one you hope to win by sharing it on either facebook, twitter or instagram with the hashtag #MandJSummerDress and tag @brandslut_ (twitter) / @brandslut (instagram) and also @MungoAndJemima. You can name it, take a screen grab, photograph your screen, draw it, whatever.
- That’s it! You’ve got until midnight on Friday December 5th to enter. My winner will be announced on Monday the 8th.
- Fingers crossed!
Here’s a look at the dress I bought. I just love the little lace capped sleeves and also the low back. I think this dress would make the most exquisite bridesmaid dress with a flower crown and simple strappy leather sandals. Just saying. I tried to dress it down with some suede leather boots from Country Road.
You can check out some of the looks I’ve put together for the GAP Styld.By. programme here. And check out the new summer range in GAP stores now – it’s awesome.
I had the privilege of attending Susan Greig’s a Festive Feast cooking class this morning. It was a last-minute invitation to join some of my lovely new colleagues on a creative team-build and I had an absolute blast. Susan runs monthly and bespoke classes, but today’s Christmas inspired Festive Feast menu took us through the steps needed to prepare the ultimate Christmas lunch or dinner, including:
- A smoked salmon mousse wreath
- Herb and pine-nut crusted roast gammon topped with pomegranate seeds
- A Genoise turkey
- Balsamic and parmesan potatoes and parsnips
- The ultimate roast vegetables
- Peach salad with burrata, almonds and proscuitto
- Christmas pavlova
- Almond semifreddo
I know, right?!
The recipes she taught us were practical and simple and beautifully presented on platters emulating festive wreaths and wonderful abundant circular patterns. The best bit? Most of the dishes can be prepared in advance and are served cold (bar the turkey and the roast veg), which allows the host/hostess the time and pleasure of enjoying in the celebrations, sans sweat-beads and panic. I know I’ve been too scared to attempt a gammon or turkey (I always think meat is complicated to cook, so I avoid it and stick to what I know) and I’m so glad I now know what to do. Hell, it really ain’t complicated. Some of my favourites were the salmon mousse, the ciabatta turkey stuffing (I mean!) and the polenta-crusted roast parsnips. She also threw in a quick crackle demonstration (similar to brittle) for the semifreddo.
Susan teaches from her home studio and cooks using herbs and vegetables from her garden, one of the most exquisite gardens I’ve ever seen. Her veggie patch is my dream; really. Raised bed-boxes filled with everything any salad or meal could ever imagine. I walked around the gardens fumbling over my semifreddo and my iPhone trying unsuccessfully to capture the beauty.
Susan’s classes are extremely well priced at R350 + per class, which includes lunch/dinner of course as you get to taste the recipes she demonstrates. Great for a gift, a bunch of friends or a team-build. I’ll definitely be back for Susan’s Thai and Indian classes. And if you’re nimble and keen on trying out this limited time only Festive Feast class, there are two left – tomorrow and Thursday. So click here to book now.
Inspired by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, these wheat, gluten and dairy free chocolate treats are out of control. Today they’re affectionately know as Loadshedding Tartlets because you can make them sans electricity, which is exactly what I did today – the perfect task for these dark times. So, I followed Jessica Sepel’s recipe somewhat, but improvised a little. This method is designed for a chocolate tart but makes for a great chocolate macadamia nut cup recipe. Here’s what you need:
- 1 1/2 cups of almonds
- 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup of coconut oil
- 5-6 fresh dates, pitted
- Pinch of Himalayan salt
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs
- 1/2 cup of carob powder (or cacao powder)
- 1/4 cup of molasses (you can use raw honey, agave or maple syrup)
- 1/4 cup of coconut butter or oil
- Macadamia nut butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
1. Chop the almonds and dates into small pieces and combine all 6 ingredients of the nut crust (a food processor would’ve been easier, but I chopped and mixed by hand). Scoop out the crust with a spoon and place mixture evenly inside your cup moulds. Press down and place in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate filling.
2. You will need to melt the coconut butter/oil if it’s not already melted. Once the coconut butter/oil is melted, incorporate the carob powder, molasses and cinnamon. Keep the macadamia nut butter aside.
3. Take the tart crust out of the freezer and pour a little bit of macadamia nut butter into each cup. Then top by pouring the filling into each cup. Once the cups are filled with the chocolate, store in the freezer or fridge for up to an hour (keep them in fridge until you serve).
I was left with a lot of nut crust mixture, so I flattened the mixture onto a non-stick pan and made a second batch of filling for some squares. I left the macadamia nut butter out of this lot but they still turned out great. The perfect tea-time treat, or that little something sweet to end dinner off with.
Here’s the recipe in pictures…
Here are the squares I made using the left-over nut crust:
I’m really chuffed at how these turned out. They’re packed with goodness and are absolutely delicious. If you give these a whirl, let me know how how they turn out!